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.
Generally, whilst writing a review, I immerse myself in a band's back catalog. In the case of Screamer's four-album discography, that particular exercise feels moot: I already know what color-by-numbers heavy metal sounds like. While that may come off as pretty disparaging--and it is, to a minor degree, because Highway Of Heroes is less than inventive--this consistency in aesthetic ain't bad. Not by a long shot. This haggard scribe can get down with some blatant worship of convention, and in this regard, Screamer are unmatched in their old school heavy metal spirituality. While it did, admittedly, take a few listens to sink in, I'm confident in stating that Highway Of Heroes is one of the year's best entries in NWOBHM and affiliated fun-lovin' categories.
The infamous Captain Graves is back with another review--but this time, he seems to have lessened his blows. Could...could this mean that the Captain be showing a softer side? This must be some kind of ploy. - Ed.
There's been some new additions to the Village since my last visit. I wonder if they're warned of my sadistic ways, or do they just allow them to figure it out on their own? The stoned fools aren't ready for the annihilation that will ensue, warning or not.
Here we have Concilium, an Epic Doom outfit from Boston, MA. We've had the pleasure of playing a couple shows together. They became a sort of sister, and brothers in arms. Helping Advent Varic decimate Salem, and Allston. I had not heard of them before being booked together. As I normally do when booked with bands I don't know, I waited for that live performance to conjure up my opinion. I'd hung out with their singer a few times prior, and had no idea she was the lead vocalist in a band, or maybe she told me when I was drunk. I used to hit the bottle pretty hard. You fucking Earthlings really stress me out... but I digress.
In the drafty scriptorum of this Sleeping Village, power metal--and, by extension, said genre's upper echelon--serves a remarkably utilitarian purpose: pumping us the fuck up. In the turbulent seas of heavy music, very little rivals the charybdian draw of power metal's trademark infectious chest-pounding braggadocio.
As such, regardless of your contradictory opinions, and despite the (generally) bloody subject matter, an untouchable positivity reigns eternal in this particular arena. There's nothing like a little dose of Powerwolf or Judicator or Blind Guardian or Turisas or Falconer or Sabaton to banish a bad mood. Soaring vocals, lusty choral battlecries, meathook melodies, stomping riffage, and the promise of (obnoxiously) omniscient keyboard provide, for better or for worse, a highly energetic and uplifting experience. And, for that alone, power metal has earned a perpetual timeshare in our township.
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.