Written by: Blackie Skulless
Wolf was a blip on the NWOBHM radar that came and went before they really had a shot at any kind of fame. The discography includes one demo in ‘82 and a full-length in ‘84, and that's all she wrote. The latter is what I’m here to discuss, because it’s an incredible gem that was not only overlooked, but also could have been huge if the spotlight was kinder to it. Edge Of The World is the name, and it falls on the warmer edge of the NWOBHM spectrum.
I say “warmer” simply because of its calmer delivery and overly welcoming vocals. The first thing that comes to mind is Def Leppard’s On Through The Night, but with guitars that are way undercooked. Melody dominates the entire disc, with concise vocals that latch themselves onto a vibrant scale of rhythms. I wouldn’t say that there’s much in the vein of mean riffs, but the production gives them a firm ground to reflect back the solid leads. This certainly allows for loads of bounciness, much like the faster but steady picking behind the chorus of “Shock Treatment.”
Written by: Lord Hsrah
It’s time for German heavy metal today, after a long time to be honest, and Elmsfire are here to present their latest offering, Wings of Reckoning. Dusseldorf based quartet Elmsfire have been around since a bit more than two decades and have had their own share of multiple lineup changes over the years, but that hasn't let this machine stop from churning out records, as Wings of Reckoning is their sixth. Frequent lineup shifts saw fellow compatriot band Van Canto singer, Ross Thompson, get enlisted to take care of vocal duties. The only constant that's been in the band is the main core, the heart of the whole group, the guitar duo of Germano and Doro, who not only team up for guitar duties but also split bass duties for the album.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
It’s always fun going back and covering albums that never got close to the spotlight, but deserve loads of it. It’s especially fun when all of the promos you’ve gotten in the inbox have been boring as hell, so you’re forced to dig up some old fossils. Enter Saint, a Christian heavy metal act hailing from Salem, Oregon in the ‘80s. They only had two records before splitting and reforming a decade later. Too Late For Living was their second, and most important record dropping in 1988.
Standing out immediately is how close Saint comes to sounding like Judas Priest. Simple rhythm patterns that hook the ear covered in dual guitar attacks make up the base structure, as hoarse but concise vocals with chant-like choruses lift things to new heights. Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? What’s even better is how incredibly this thing is produced, particularly with the way the guitar passages have a hint of echo, and stand apart from each other. There’s then room for drums to click harder as well.
Written by: Shane Thirteen
I tend to not read reviews of bands or artists I'm going to review because I don't want the influence of someone else's ideas to be in my head when I'm trying to think of how I feel about a project. That being said, I have no idea what other people are writing about War Cloud. What I can say is that if the words "AMAZING" or "Fucking Fantastic" haven't been used to define them, then that is a low-down dirty shame.
War Cloud hits on so many levels for me. I can take a snap and sink back in my chair and ease into that place in my mind that puts me back into teenage fantasies of being a riff-monster rock star. The guy who lays down the riff that changes the world. To me, War Cloud's Earhammer Sessions is the beginning of my rock and roll fantasy. I'm old. I mean like, I fucking remember the 70's kind of old. This album evokes that old school rock and roll spirit. It takes me back to the days of true rock and roll domination.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Woah man, the usual rate for Haunt dropping releases is one full-length per year, with a complimentary EP to go along with it. But 2020 is different, and considering the amount of shit this year has offered humanity, it’s nice when things are different for the better. Frontman Trevor Church dropped Haunt’s third album Mind Freeze at the beginning of the year--an album of the year contender for sure. But instead of an EP to follow, we get a second full-length under the name Flashback.
Unsurprisingly, this is the cleanest effort the band has dropped to date, especially considering the vocals taking more of the forefront than ever before. I chalk that up to the concise and clear delivery. Additionally, we’re met with a far warmer feeling to contrast the previous record, fitting the summer time feelings, rather than the winter ones of the previous effort. It’s probably safe to say that this is also where Haunt were reaching for more of a pop-metal aesthetic, especially with “Electrified.” The chorus is catchy as hell and somewhat watered down, though it isn’t bad by any stretch of the word. You just can’t ignore the prettier nature and simplistic build.
Written by: Blackie Skulless
Nothing really scratches an itch for the heavies like a solid slab of traditional doom with a monstrous boom. Castle have been around for a little while now, but they didn’t cross my radar until a friend suggested them, and their most recent effort Deal Thy Fate hooked me in an instant. Repeat listens only made me love it more. Every box is checked; intricate rhythms, strong solos, incredible vocals, and haunting structures.
With that, you can take it and run with it, or you can go absolutely nowhere, all depending on the songwriting. Thankfully, this department has been perfected. Guitar leads with bouncy energy reflected off crushing bottom riffage is the name of the game. You’ll also find all kinds of higher wails between the solos and the fretboard fun. Amazingly, they also manage to pack a lot into generally short runtimes for songs, cramming in endless riffs and licks that dance around the typical song structure. A darker shadow is cast upon this, but they never lose their accessibility.
Written by: The Voiceless Apparition
32 years?! It's crazy to say that Paradise Lost have been a band for 32 years. The masters of doom and melancholy have been going steady ever since then with no break-ups or hiatuses in between. After a brief wait, Paradise Lost return with their 16th opus Obsidian, the follow-up to the masterful Medusa. Said album was a slight return to their original death/doom roots although within a modern context...but enough about the past.
Obsidian is split into three different and distinct styles. You have the more death/doom-leaning tracks, the more gothic rock/metal-based tracks, and a subtler bridging between the two styles. It feels like a natural progression from the last album, with many of the trademarks we all love and adore about Paradise Lost, but with many twists and turns along the way. Welcome to the world of Obsidian.
Written by: Volt Thrower
Canada has been on a tear with its metal releases so far this year. Alberta specifically has been a hotbed for heavy lately. Whether you want genre bending devastation of the stunning Wake Devouring Ruin release, or some mind numbingly heavy stoner doom in Highbernation's Comatokes, chances are you can find something to scratch that itch in-province.
Now you might be saying, “I'm actually in the mood for some trad-heavy, maybe some NWOBHM speed stuff.” If so, gather ‘round weary reader, for the local village Journeyman has the release for you. Termination Shock, recently released through Gates of Hell Records, is the second full-length from Calgary speed rockers Traveler.
This review (in its unadulterated form) was originally published in December of 2018 but, as this Friday sees the re-release of an expanded version under Bonita Steel Records and Diabolic Might Records, we thought it would be appropriate to break out this ol' writeup. The following is an edited and updated version. - Ed.
Well, this is refreshing. Typically, when promo proclaims that a band represents a "bold new take" on a traditional, well-trod style, you can expect the same: yet another forgettable "revitalization" of a sound and aesthetic that has been done to death, reanimated, and then slaughtered by copycats once more. In the case of Tzimani, the status quo is effectively put in its place. Despite sparking synapses associated with a variety of high-octane hard rock and metal birthed in the days of yore, this self titled debut EP genuinely feels fresh-faced. Pull on your leather, put the pedal to the metal, and smell the gasoline: Tzimani begins with menacing distortion, a rumbling engine of Mad Max-ian proportion. This EP, previously reviewed by yours truly here, had been bolstered for a vinyl release by a new track, a couple o' covers, and some demos.
I just took a trip down the winding stairs of our scriptorium and braved the wretch’d outdoors. The reason for my madness? A brief visit to the Village apothecary, where I decidedly did not panic-buy their entire stock. It was a remarkably brief expedition; hardly worth putting on a jacket. But for those few moments outside my dusty sanctuary, the palpable tension--and I don’t mean to alarm you here--was quite high. Rightfully so.
Needless to say, I’m happy to be cloistered back at my desk with my speakers roaring loud ‘n’ proud. Monster Skull have wormed their way back into rotation for what seems the hundredth time, and now seems a prime time to chat about why I like their latest EP--the ominously entitled Visions of the Horrible and Strange--so damn much. If you too are in need of some upbeat jubilance in these troubled times, this Washingtonian duo has you covered.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!