Interviews

FULL LENGTH ALBUMS

01-15
So shitty that they should put the name "Metallica" on it!
15-25 
Yawn! Wake me up when Benny Hill comes on!
26-40
Nothing special, nothing shitty! Ok if you can get it used!
41-50
Worth the money.
51-60
Better then waking up hung over with a redhead next to you!
61-68
Will rock your body and change the way you think!
69 
Thank the metal gods for a gift this good!

 

ABBA Freaks Dream Come True

Various
Tribute to ABBA
Nuclear Blast
56:51 mins

Bands:
Therion,Metalium,Sinergy,At Vance,Rough Silk, Morgana Lefay,Paradox,Tad Morose,....etc

Amen, finally someone else with the balls to admit liking ABBA! After years of being laughed at and having bartenders hit the skip button on the jukebox, I can feel proud of loving ABBA! To all the people who thought I was gay for playing "Gimme Gimme Gimme" you can suck my....(wait that would make me gay!) I could write on and on about this cd but I would lose my only 3 readers so I'll make it short!
Really the only disappoints on this cd is METALIUM doing "Thank you for the music" (but the belch is classic) and Flowings Tears (who the hell are they?) doing "One of us" both songs are too slow and i never really liked the orginials. So i guess they did a good job recreating them cause I still dont like them!
The masterpieces are At Vance,"Money Money Money",Rough Silk, "Take a Chance on me", Paradox "SOS" and Sinergy "Gimme Gimme Gimme"! All 4 songs are really heavy and just as addicting as the orginials. You have got to hear "SOS" to believe it! A+ to all 4 bands on their choices and delivering the goods!
The rest of the tracks especially "Voulez-Vouz" by Morgana Lefay (RIP) and "Eagle" by Sargant Fury (kick ass old school comic) are faithful to the orginials but are heavy enough not to bore your socks off!
Overall an excellent album for metal fans...if you like ABBA then its a MASTERPIECE!! Thanks Nuclear Blast you almost made up for dropping HOLLOW!

Rating: 68

A Delicate Boredom

Alchemy X
A Delicate Balance

Band:
Chris Fox (Guitars)
Martin Morin (Vocals)
Steve Ratchen (Bass)
Rob Schreiber (Guitars)
Chris Scorses (Drums)

Not being a big fan of Progressive metal in the first place, and then having to listening to this Prog. Rock cd my required three times to review it, really annoyed the hell out of me.
There is hardly anything on this CD that resembles metal to me. Plus most of the cd sounds like it was taken out of a book entitled “How to play Progressive music for dummies!” It has that same old sound and feel and a few "borrowed" Rush riffs that 75% of prog is built on! To me it isn't a musical movement, it is a bowel movement! But i bet the chicks dig it!
This cd is a prime reason why I hate bands that play prog. music and use “X” in their name. If they can’t come up with a creative name without using X then how can they come up with creative music?

Rating: 19

 

Better then the orginal..thank gods!!

Alchemy X
11:59:59

Band:
Chris Fox (Guitars)
Bob Mitchell (Vocals)
Steve Ratchen (Bass)
Rob Schreiber (Guitars)
Chris Scorses (Drums)

HUH? WHAT?? WHO?? Where did that crappy band called Alchemy X go? This album is heavier in the first 20 seconds then the whole last one was combined! Did the band hit puberty or just get rid of the prog music book and try to do something on their own? This album isn't delicate like the last one, this has some bite and balls! Plus the music on most of the songs don't completely follow the same old same old path for making progressive music.
Granted this is still at times to proggy for me but the new aggressiveness of the music and the improved vocals of Bob Mitchell (can’t believe he can sound so mellow and relaxed!).
Songs like “Penance” , “11:59:59” and “Beyond the Veil of Sorrow” actually give me a sense of awe and give me faith in prog stuff. I find this Album a lot more enjoyable then anything I have heard by the band that will ruin the Blind Guardian tour….Suckaphony X

Rating: 40

 

Psychological Messiah

Blaze
"Silicon Messiah"
SPV

MEMBERS:
BLAZE BAYLEY (vocals)
Steve Wray (guitar), John Slater (guitar),
Jeff Singer (drums), Rob Naylor (Bass)

To start off I say "I haven't been this blow away by a CD since I got Bronx Casket Crew! Gee I don't know where to start singing praise..... Lets start with the Vocals they are mind blowing the melody and harmony they can sometimes make you forget that there is a band. Speaking of the band they are very good for a bunch of guys i never heard of.....hell they have to be good to have a chance against the POWER of blaze's voice. I'm speechless as I listen to it for like the 20th time in the 5 days I have had it and everytime I listen to it i find something new neither a riff I missed behind Blaze's vocals or a cool drum attack that I missed in past listens. Let me tell you that there is more to this cd then great music and AWESOME VOCALS some of the lyrics are really thought provoking! The song "THE HUNGER" has all the depression that you could ask for from any song then it leads in to "The Brave" with lyrics like "Play to win not scared to lose, Walk the path you choose, Fortune favor the Brave, Risking it all again and again" you really go from one extreme to the next. Heck if the lyrics don't make you think ,Blaze has chosen to fill the booklet with the quotes of guys like Einstein and Nietzche to help you to see the wisdom. With the rocking "Ghost and the Machine" and "The Brave",the gloomy "The Hunger" and the intelligent "Identity" thats your moneys worth right there and thats not counting the Ying & Yang attack of "Reach for the Horizon"  and the Wolfsbaneish "The Launch" and the remaining 4 tracks. This CD is a must have for anyone with a clue about good metal! Its good to know that Blaze didn't make me eat my words about his cd being better then the new Maiden now its time for BRUCE to follow in BLAZE's footsteps!

Rating: 69

 

A NIGHTFALL at the Opera

Blind Guardian
A Night at the Opera
Century Media
Toooooo LONG!

MEMBERS:
Hansi Kursch (Vocals)
Andre Olbrich (Guitar)
Marcus Siepen (Guitar)
Thomas Stauch (Drums)

"WOW BLIND GUARDIAN THIS... WOW BLIND GUARDIAN THAT... WOW " thats all you hear anymore in metal. Well today you'll hear somthing new... "BOO DEAF GUARDIAN" After having "Follow the blind", "Twilight Halls" , "Imaginations" and "NightFall" in my collection I've come to enjoy their work. Maybe cause I'm not a diehard fan, or maybe cause I don't believe every word the labels say, is why I can slam this album. It's not a bad CD it beats the hell out off all the Hammerfall clones and most of the sissy NEW WAVE OF ITALIAN NOT SO HEAVY METAL bands. But for all the praise they get for being such awesome musicians, they seem to have rehashed their last two CD"s and seem to have forgotten the HEAVY METAL part. Too many choruses seem to cover up Hansi's vocals and the few heavy riffs they seem to have put on the CD.To be honest, the picture on the back of the book tells it all. Not only has Blind Guardian bored themselves to sleep but they have bored me to sleep too. They need to stop PRETENDING THEY ARE SAVATAGE RIDING PAUL O'NEILL's COATTAIL, WHO HIMSELF IS PRETENDING TO BE ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER . NUFF SAID!


Rating: 25..yeah that's it! (If I went lower I'd be lynched!)

 

THE REAL MEN IN BLACK!

The Bronx Casket Crew
Self Titled
Massacre Records

MEMBERS
D.D Verni (bass), Jack Frost (guitar),
Tim Mallare (drums), Charlie Calv (keyboards),
SPY (vocals)

WOW! *DROOL* The BRONX CASKET COMPANY CD has really blown my mind so I have to spread the good word, So here goes nothing I guess. After all the years of being an OVERKILL fan I've had lots of chances to see into BLITZ's mind but never really got to see what D.D was thinking, until now. When I first heard about this CD I thought D.D Verni and Jack Frost together?? That was enough to sell me, but when I heard some ex-misfit was the singer I was like OUCH, but I said JACK and D.D deserve the money anyway and the chance to see into D.D's head was to much to pass up.The first thing I noticed was the awesome digi-pack format, usually they looklike cartoons and don't feel too sturdy but this one was dark and scary looking and felt if it was made of black leather.

So I finally got home to listen to the CD and after a short intro about the signs of death...D.D's bass kicks in and I'm suddenly transported to a dark and gloomy place. As Jack's joins the riff and things get alot moodier and then the moment of truth arrives Spy's brooding voice joins in and a mind numbing blackness overwhelms me. As the CD goes on I grow more and more impressed with the style that I best describe as having the doom and gloom of SABBATH and SOLITUDE AETURNUS and the mood of TYPE Oand top that off with a little MEMENTO MORI depression and a shit load of bass and there you have it. Afterwards my mind was flooded with thoughts that no OVERKILL fan should ever think "Maybe overkill will break up so DD. can do more with BBC" it shames me to even think that, but the CD made me do it! So I'm going to prescribe a dose of I HEAR BLACK and HORRORSCOPE to myself to clear up my thinking. I hope I can listen to them without hearing WHO LIVES FOREVER,NO MIRACLES,MERCY LTD. and I AM GOD HERE booming in my mind. 

Rating: 67


DARK LORD VERNI RETURNS

Bronx Casket Company
Sweet Home Transylvania
The Music Cartel

56:40

MEMBERS:
DD Verni (bass), Tim Mallare (drums), Jack Frost (guitars),
Charlie Calv (keyboards), Spy (vocals)

Waiting for what seemed like forever for the new Bronx Casket Company (BBC) CD. I was figuring that there would be some let down between the 2 CDs; I was predicting a sophomore slump! Well I guess I forgot to tell DD Verni cause he proved me very wrong. Sweet Home Transylvania picks up where the awesome Debut left off. This CD is just as dark and intelligent as the first one and a tad bit heavier and experimental! Every track is as contagious as fear of Anthrax. (God I'm an ass!) Hell "The Other Me" was and still is my theme song for the last month or so. Songs like "Jesus Doesn't live here anymore", "Black Valentine" and "Dead…for the moment" blows anything that Type O Negative has done out of the water, when it comes to creating atmosphere. "The Other Me " and "BBC/Sweet Home Transylvania" are just incredible. "Killing MaryJane" is heavy as hell and DD's vocals just add to the novelty. This CD has it all heavy riffing, dark gothic atmosphere without getting boring, and some pretty cool lyrics. Top all that off with DD's bass, Jack Frost's guitars and Spy's killer vocals (he is quickly becoming one of my favorite vocalists) and you cant lose. Want to make sure you get your hard earned moneys worth? Then get this CD you wont regret it!

Rating: 66


Better then BLACK?

Cage
Darker then Black
Massacre



Band:
Sean Peck (Vocals)
David Garcia (Guitar)
Micheal Gordano (Bass)
Anthony McGinnis(Guitar)
Mikey Neil (Drums)

Calafornia isn't the only the home of the best underground metal band in perhaps the world (The Wierd Lord Slough Feg) but is the home of the one of the best Vocalists in the World. Enter Sean Peck of Cage from San Diego! Their last album Astrology was a masterpiece and Sean was in his prime on it. And after hearing all the hype about the new CD plus the fact that they were on a big metal label...made me wonder if it was that great or if people were jumping on their wagon now since they were on a real label. Well the rumors are true, the new album is great perhaps one of the best CD's of the year...and yes "Kill the Devil" maybe one of the best songs in CAGE's short career and perhaps metaldom. Yes, with Sean adding Black metal vocals to his style makes him a freak of vocal nature and a bigger force to rekon with. Yes, Dave Garcia might be one of the best Riff Masters no one ever heard of, Yes this album kicks major ass...but I still think Astrology is their crowning jewel.Well that is the only unpositive thing I can say about "Darker then Black" other then that it is a gift from the metal gods them selves.

"Kill the Devil" like I said is the best Cage song ever and one of the best in metaldom. "Chupacabra" has a catchy as hell riff and Sean goes from soaring vocals to black metal ones with ease. "Eyes of Obsidian", "Door to the Unknown" , " Philadelphia Experiment" and "Secrets of the Fatima" (even though the cd jacket has a typo and spells its SECRETC ) are all what I've come to love about Cage. Hearing Sean do the Black metal vocals (especially in "White Magic" ) still freaks me out a bit because he switches from the black and soaring vocals so fast that I can feel my own vocal cords rip under the stress! To sum it all up Cage is one of the best bands in metal (but i've know that for years) and "Darker then Black" and will put them on everyones radar. With Peck and Garcia as the foundation, the sky's the limit for CAGE. And I know they will be up to the challange.

 

Rating: 66

 

Catch Duece Duece

Catch 22
Time Reveals All


MEMBERS:
T.J. Berry (lead vocals/lead guitar)
Keith Taylor (bass/back up vocals)
Bob Britton (guitar/back up vocals)
Andy Brookhart (drums)  
 


Catch 22 is an obviously overused name/word. Over used to the point of generic! But let me tell you there is nothing generic about the metal band from Ohio called Catch 22! There is nothing generic about T.J Berry’s voice! Like a cross between Brad Divens (wraithchild america) and a rougher poor man’s Jon Oliva, in shriek-hawk mode during the "good savatage" years, Berry powers his way thru, even the average tracks sound special with his yelps. With 15 tracks of metal you can’t go wrong. Lots of variety and hooks to keep your attention. Some super tracks like ”Empty” (which is carried by Berry’s voice since it is nothing more then a typical chug chug riff) , “Disgruntled” , “Down the Drain” and “Dysfunctional” plus Berry’s multiple voices turns this CD into one of the ones that you listen to over and over, instead of one of those cds you say “wow… that was a good cd” and don’t listen to again for 4 months. The only down side to this cd is the drum production is weak making them sound like pots and pans at times (or like on ”Think for your self” where they sound like Weird Al’s Accordion case!) and that some of the riffs are rehashed. But for every negative mark I can find I have an equally strong positive point. TJ Berry’s vocals!

Rating: 49


METAL AWAKENING

CATCH 22
"AWAKEN
"




Band:
T.J. Berry (Vocals/Lead Guitar)
Keith Taylor (Bass)
Bob Britton (Guitar)
Andy Brookhart (Drums)

Wow, what a difference few years and a better production can make. Granted I really enjoy their first CD "Time Reveals All" but "Awaken" is leaps and bounds better sounding and more mature. Though I think the first Cd is catchier in and "sing along" way but it is by no means a better album. This album has so many strong points I'm not sure where to start! Ok T.J Berry's voice still rules, hell it's even gotten better! And the Catch 22 guitar attack sound way more pissed and brutal then before. Hell the drums and bass sound way better too, giving this album a shitload more aggression and power! Hell the drums alone are enough to pin your ears to the side of your head! This recording really captures the Catch 22's aggressive live sound perfectly.
The best of the best of the album are "Betrayal of the Masses", "Form", "Wicked from the Womb", "Blood on the Bricks", "In to the Black" and the excellent "Where Darkness Is Divine Trilogy". I been listening to this album for like a month now and every time I put it away it seems to find its way back into my mind,body and soul (that is if I have any of the before mentioned). Additive and Heavy Power Thrash at its best, with intelligent lyrics and purpose, watch out NEVERMORE!

Rating: 60

 

Keep it Heavy!!

CONQUEST
No Boundaries



 

The first thing that I noticed about Conquest's sound is how much they remind me of my Favorite Cleveland band Ground Zero! They kind of have that half thrash and half NWOBHM sound but they go seem to be drawn more to catchiness then cliché! Good riffs and catchy chorus seem to be all that these guys care about! With catchy songs like "Ruin my Life", "Back Against the Wall", "So Cold" and "Nightmare" it's just about the metal, nothing more!! Final song "Take" is a super catchy head banger that is like the ultimate "FUCK YOU, I am what I am" song, Popeye would be proud and so should Conquest because they made a kick ass album built around cool riffs and catchy choruses and not who they could impress with their superman song structure. Conquest has taken the old saying "Keep it Simple Stupid" and changed it too "Keep is HEAVY Stupid!"
Amen

 

http://www.conquestmetal.com/


Rating: 54

 

NO REGRETS!

Crimson Glory
"Astronica"
SpitFire Records

MEMBERS:
Ben Johnson (guitars), Jon Drenning (guitar), Wade Black (Vocals), Jeff Lords (Bass), Steve Wacholz (drums)

Having only been exposed to Crimson Glory by way of the shitty "I wanna be a MTV hair band" Strange and Beautiful there is no way I would have even got this cd except for the fact that through interviews I was hearing that they we not proud and actually ashamed of that CD so I thought "to err is human but to have the balls to admit it is divine" plus I knew they had a new singer so I said what the hell it won't break the bank. I don't regret it abit either now....... With their progressive( almost Egyptian at times) guitar sound and that thundering bass you almost feel as if your trapped between heaven and hell. Plus with Wade's Halford-like screams it just all fits together perfectly and overwhelms you. The power of songs like "War of The Worlds","New World Machine" and "Lucifer's Hammer" beat you into submission while songs like "Astronomica" and "The Other Side Of Midnight" nurse your wounds with their beauty. Plus there is a bonus track of a taping of 911 calls and dispatcher during UFO sighting like 5 minutes from my home town I actually knew where the sightings were happening! Maybe they were trying to find their failed experiment.......ME!

Rating:45

 

LOST AT A BIKER BAR!

Dirty Deeds
"Real World"
Sanctuary Records

MEMBERS:
Pete Franklin (Vocals, Guitar), Tony Newton (bass)Barry Fitzgibbon (Guitar), Dave Cavill (drums)

Having seen these guys open for MAIDEN, I wasn't impressed then and I'm still not impressed. I mean they sound decent, but to me nothing made a lasting impression, after I was done listening to the CD I struggled to remember a lyric or riff. They kinda give me the impression that they should be the house band of some dive bar instead of touring with Maiden. Honesty if I was wanted to listen to a rock/metal bar band I have to say "Please pass the WOLFSBANE or JACKYL"

Rating: 26

Prog Metal that doesn't blow

Exhibition
Sign of Tomorrow




Band:
Bobby Lucas(Vocals)
Brett Rome (Bass)
Jeff Shernov (Guitar)
Jamie Mazur (Keyboard)

If you read any of my past ramblings or review you know I really don't like prog metal at all. So when I heard one of my favorite singers ( Bobby Lucas ex-Seven Witches and member of Overlorde ) had joined one I figured the CD would tarnish his perfect record with me. But once again in spite of me my negative thinking creates positive effects. Granted this does have some times whn the keyboards have that normal prog metal annoyance factor but the vocals and musical structure of these songs actually make it a kind of interesting plus at times the keyboards makes it more moody which works for some songs but yet on other songs they ruin some of the heaviness. But with songs like "Wings of the Dragon" , "The Sign of Tomorrow", "Dark Horizons" and "Queen of Pain" there is more then enough non trendy prog things going on to make it metal. Plus "Shattered Memories" has to be one of the best ballads ever and this is coming from a guy who generally doesn't like them. The piano and Bobby's emotional vocals make me wanna cry. Overall I would have to say if you like Jacobs Dream and bands like that then you will love these guys, oh did I mention this has the members of Eternity X in it?

Rating: 54

 

Nothing gay About Enola Gay!

Enola Gay
" Strange Encounters"
Century Media

MEMBERS:
Peter Diersmann (vocals), Cagge (guitar), Nico Luttenberg (guitar), Marc Konnecke (drums), Christian Meyer (bass)

To be Honest the first couple times nothing on this cd really stood out to me except the very heavy "Rapacious Attack" but after a week or so I finally starting getting it. Now I consider "Sick Society" and "Psycho Lover" some of the finest metal songs I've heard in the last couple years. The "EGay" sound (sorry had to say that) is at times very aggressive and at other times very somber/relaxing but heavy and it took me some time respect that. To me they really don't sound like anyone else so comparisons can't be made. This cd is a strong enough outing that I would definitely fork out 20 bucks to get their next cd.

Rating: 50

REAL COWBOYS FROM HELL

GHOULTOWN
Give 'em more Rope
Angry Planet Records


MEMBERS:

COUNT LYLE -- vocals / guitar
LIZARD LAZARIO -- acoustic guitar / vocals
JAKE MIDDLEFINGER -- lead guitars
X-RAY CHARLES -- drums / percussion
SANTI -- bass

J. LUIS -- trumpet

“Give ‘Em More Rope” is the newest GhoulTown Cd, if you don’t know Ghoultown, you should. Formed by an ex-member of Solitude Ateurnus, Ghoultown (Lyle Steadham now known as Count Lyle) is I one of the most unique bands that I can think of. They are more punk then metal but the fact their band theme is all based around the wild west and the undead is cool. Picture the Misfits trapped in the Wild West. They even have a trumpet player so they sound more and more like Wild West Movie sound track. With songs like “Return of the Living Dead” ,” Fistful of Demons” , and “Dragging Your Bones” and 13 other tracks this CD is more then worth the money you will pay for it.
So unique! So brave an attempt to be orginal in a copy cat world! Great change of pace!!

 

Rating: 50

 

 

NEW kings of metal?

Gothic Knights
Kingdom Of The Knights
Sentinal Steel
43:19 mins

MEMBERS:
John Tsantakis (guitars),
Mario Cosentino (bass),
Kevin Myers (drums),
Bryan Avatar (Vocals)

Hitting harder then a hockey puck in the face, Gothic Knights bulldozes you with their brand of power metal. Lets put it this way Kingdom of the knights has all the elements you expect from power metal. It has the usual soaring vocals and epic riffing and soloing that you come to expect from power metal. But lately power metal has been lacking in one important part and thats the POWER! But fear not, for there is plenty of that in this album! From the opening song "At Dawn You die!" you know exactly what this cd is trying to do...Its trying to break your fucking neck! Hell I'll bet the first 3 tracks "At Dawn You Die! or "War in the sky!" and "Ring Of Souls" will have you either singing along (they can be that catchy) or have you whipping your head around like some lunatic. A couple days later when you finally stop hitting repeat for tracks one thru three, you will be treated to the rest of a kick ass album. "Song of Roland" and "That Evil Wizard" follow suite with lots of catchiness (is that a real word? ) and power. Then there is the reason I got the cd "Keeper Of the Gate" (nuff said!) The only drawback to this cd is its only 43 minutes and one song is an average cover of "The Ripper" (but then again I think this song should be retired after the awesome cover by Mercyful Fate!)
Gothic Knights follow that saying that we all learned as kids "KISS" (Keep it simple stupid!) I'm by no means saying the the cd is moronic, what I'm saying is the they put only what they need in the songs to make them fit together perfectly. No extra soloing to lose the listener. No extra repeating of the chorus to bore the listener. Not to cold or too hot, its JUST RIGHT!
If in your face bass, intelligent guitar work and metal the way it used to be, isn't enough to get your interest. Then perhaps this will "If Manowar doesn't get off their ass put out something new,I may have already found the NYC's new KINGS OF METAL!"

Rating: 55

 

TRIPPING METAL!

Gutrix
"Mushroom Songs"
New Renaissance

MEMBERS:
Hank Shermann (guitars), Claus Weiergang (bass)Bjarne T. Holm (drums) , Richard Plougmann (vocals)

If you go into this side project of Hank Shermann expecting a Mercyful Fate Clone your gonna feel ripped off and pissed, but if you go into with an open mind just wanting to hear a cool guitarist then you will get your money worth. If you are thinking its a stoner type metal from the cd title then your right because it is. There are a couple straight rockers like "Out Of Control","Hell To Pay" and a live version of "Exciter" but most of the cd sounds to me JIMI HENDRIX joined TROUBLE. Certain riffs will make you think "Wow! That's really cool i wonder how he did that?", with that said i'll finish by saying "It's like a very good chocolate cake, if you got the room and time get it, but if you need something to live on, get something more filling"

Rating: 39

OLD BROTHERS OF CONQUEST


HOOKERS II
"BLACK VISIONS OF CRIMSON WISDOM
"
SCOOCH POOCH RECORDS




Band:
Rock n Roll Outlaw (Vocals)
Tom A. Foolery (Bass)
Blizzard of Hoz (Guitar)
Stoney Tombs (Guitars)
Chris Hamilton (Drums)

The HOOKERS CD "BLACK VISIONS OF CRIMSON WISDOM" has all the attitude and imagery of metal but has a more rock and punk sound. Kind of like a pissed off combo of MotorHead and Ted Nugent. This might be perfect stuff for people who love their late 70's, early 80's metal. But for me it just doesn't get my blood or fist pumping enough for me to call it metal. But then again I think Judas Priest isn't metal either! It does make a nice change of pace once in awhile I have to say I would rather seen their new incarnation the BROTHERS OF CONQUEST live.

Rating: 33

 

Classic Metal

IMAGE
Drowning in a Sea of Life



 

Hailing from Tennessee is the band IMAGE, and after listening to their new album "Drowning in the Sea of Life" I find it hard to fit them in any genre since their sound predates the metal genre trends. I would just have to say that they are just a HEAVY METAL band and nowadays that's the hardest tag to get because genres make everything so much "easier" to explain. Image sounds like an extremely tight band ( it's almost if they were born from the same womb ) and seems to have perfected their sound, but I just can't seem to get used to David St. Clair's voice. Musically, especially on songs like "Tyrant", "Killer on a Loose" and "Dead or Alive" (which are my favorite tracks) Image is almost a finesse kind of metal band and St. Clair's rougher almost biker bar voice seems to cause a conflict and seems to take away something from the song, but then again, I can't sit here and say "Well Image sounds like so and so", so perhaps I'm the one that just doesn't get it. Perhaps it is just the mix on the album because his voice didn't seem to bother me so much live. Don't get me wrong the album is still enjoyable and guitarist Brain Primm has seemed to have mastered the art of the solo. So I bet if your more familiar with the early days of Heavy metal then I'm, you will love this stuff

http://www.imageslams.com/


Rating: 47

 

OHIO METAL

Jacobs Dream
Self-Titled
Metal Blade

MEMBERS:
James Evans (bass), John Berry (guitar and synth), Gary Holtsman (guitar), David Taylor (vocals), Rick May (drums)

Being loyal to my states Metal scene when I heard there was a band on Metal Blade from Ohio and I also heard they we pretty good so I had to check them out. At first listen I was "ok another progressive band..yawn" but after a couple listens I started noticing how heavy they actually were even though they were kinda artsy. I also noticed how intellgent some of the lyrics were. Songs like "Scape Goat" , "Crusade" and "Never Surrender" not only show how good of musicians they are but it also shows a thinking mans attitude towards metal. This band is one of the few that can use a synth or keyboard and not lose any heaviness in the process.This is a very solid debut for any band and shows that they may have unlimited room for growth. This could be one of those bands that make every CD very different from the others but yet never lose their sound. Which is rare in my opinion. Lets justt hope they don't outsmart themselves.
The whole Cd has grown on me and made me be proud to be a metalhead from Ohio! I await their second CD with eager ears.

Rating: 53

 

Metal Wisdom

Jacobs Dream
Theatre of War
Metal Blade
45:01 mins

MEMBERS:
John Berry (guitars and guitar synth)
Derek Eddleblute (guitar),
James Evans (bass),
David Taylor (vocals),
Billy Queen (drums)

At first I didn't think the heavier sound and David Taylor's voice mixed well, but after a couple listens I started to "get it". Once again, Jacobs Dream has shown that metal bands can write intelligent lyrics and still be metal. Hopefully between them, Skyclad and Nevermore labels will get the message that you can have brilliant lyrics and still sell cds!
Firstly I would like to say I been listening to "Theatre of War" alot more then Iced Earths "Horror Show" that should say tons for it. Gee I don't know where to start really. Here goes nothing! "SARAH WILLIAMS" is a and very emotional ballad about drunk driving, very classy and well done! The other must hears are "Sanctuary" ,"Wisdom" and "Critical Mass" they are surprisely heavy but yet very melodic! Jacobs Dream has done a very good job on evolving as a band. Every weak spot on the last CD seems to be a strong point on this one! (example: Cover,Layout,overplaying abit) Making this one better but yet the same as their debut (and I mean that as a good thing!) Very Intelligent! Class Act!

Rating: 58

 

Hail to the King Baby!

King Diamond
House Of God
Massacre Records

MEMBERS:
King Diamond (vocals)
Andy Lacque (guitar), Glen Drover (guitar)
David Harbour (Bass). John Herbert (drums)

I got some good news and bad news for you Diamond fans out there the good news is that "House of God" fricking rules and the bad news is that "Them" and 
"Abigail" may no longer be the best Diamond albums ever .The other good news is that he really lets loose with the high pitched vocals like back in the old days. The songs "The Trees Have Eyes" and "The Pact" start off fast and furious have some very cool effects with Diamonds voice. The Title track "House Of God" kinda has a lovey and dovey feel to it but then again it's suppose to, surprisingly! The song "Black Devil"  rips into you with some very aggressive riffing and thundering bass.
I'd have to say "Help!!" is my favorite KD song since "Welcome Home" with its riffing giving the impression of a throbbing headache caused by the main characters confusion. "Catacomb" and "This Place is Terrible" will really give you something to think about. Andy Lacque is awesome as usual and Glen Drover makes a strong showing for himself, actually this is the first time I could name "the other King Diamond guitarist!" My only bitch is that he should have lengthened the ending abit. Everything else on this CD fits perfectly into place making it in my opinion an instant CLASSIC not just to Diamond fans but to all metal fans!

Rating: 64



"Obscure world to which they belong"

Manticora
Darkness with Tales to tell...
Scarlet reocrds


MEMBERS:
Lars Larsen(Vocals)
Kristian Larsen (Guitar)
Flemming Schults (Guitar)
Mads Volf (Drums)

Rene S. Nielsen (Bass)
Jeppe Eg (Keyboards)

These are the kind of bands I love to find, Bands who no one seems to know about or review and I get a hunch about them and they prove me right. Like a wise man once said "I love it when a plan comes together!" When bands like Manticora, Slough Feg and Zandelle give me that warm sticky feeling (not that warm sticky feeling!) I feel so wise, so alive, so FUCKING METAL!
Maniticora fits under your usual power/prog metal band but unlike most don't forget to be heavy. They kind of fit into the Evergrey mold, but in my opinion heavier and not as proggy.( or maybe they seem heavier cause of the fact they are not as proggy) Lars voice isn't overwhelming and it seems to fit in perfectly, at times it just seems like another instrument in the band. This CD always seems to find it's way into my CD player, but yet I never seem to grow bored of it. Every track is heavy and hyponotic but "Dynasty Of Fear" and "Lost Souls" are the best of the best. I eagerly look forward to their next CD to spend my heard earned cash on.

Rating: 58

MOB BLOWS

Mob Rules
Temple Of Two Suns



Band:

Poor Bastards!!

To me there is only one thing worst then boring and lame Angra and thats other bands that dedicate their lives to ripping of Angra. Mob Rules should be paying AnGAY royalites in a big way. If flowerly NON POWER metal is would you like then MOB RULES almost rules. If you like like this stuff like this please get your Sonata Arctica listening ass off my website!!

Rating: ZZZZZZZZZ...i mean 20

 

 

Putting The POWER back into Power Metal!

Morifade
"Possession Of Power"
Loud N' Proud Records

MEMBERS:
Stefan Petersson(Vocals), Kim Arnell(drums) Jesper Johansson(Guitar), Henrik Weimedal(Bass)

Having got these guys because they had a decent fantasy cover and I never heard of them before i didn't know what to expect.It started off with a nice keyboard and a wise old sage narrator intro then goes into a pounding drums and riffs then into a shierking scream. They put all their cards onto the table at once for the start of "DRAGONLORD" and it blew my mind and heck its not even my favorite track. As the cd continues with songs like "CAST A SPELL","ENDING OF TIME" and"MY OWN MAJESTY" I'm in awe of how they smoothy use keyboards and choruses but never lose the heaviness and power like some of bands who go for that EPIC feel. By the time I got the final song "ANCIENT PROPHECY" my neck was sore from headbanging and shaking it side to side like some crazy conductor whos trying not to lose his job. Then after a short D&D like "message from the king" intro "ANCIENT PROPHECY" really broke my neck I'm lucky I'm not in traction! My only bitch about the whole CD is its recorded abit low and I can't really piss off my neighbors with it! A must have for people who want good power metal thats still heavy but epicy at the same time. 

Rating: 52

True Metal Glory

Paragon
Law of the Blade



Band:
Andreas Babuschkin (Vocals)
Jan Bunning (Bass)
Claudius Cremer (Guitar)
Martin Christeian (Guitar)
Markus Corby (Drums)

Having never hearing of Paragon before seeing them mentioned in a WIZARD and MAJESTY thanks list. I decided to check out their website and see if they had any MP3's. Once I heard a couple samples I got a kind of Grave Digger with some of Running Wild's speed vibe off of them so I decided to go out on a limb and buy their newest CD "Law of the Blade" boy I'm I glad I did because these German monsters are one of the best new bands ( new at least to me ) in awhile. They really do have a Grave Digger vibe but Andreas sounds way better then Chris from Grave Digger ever will. Actaully "Law of the Blade" is want I expected from the weak Grave Digger "The Grave Digger" to be kind of like, but to me I think Paragon beats Grave Digger at their own game. The starting track "Abducted" is worth the price of the CD alone. It's a fast paced track that tells you can soon as you put in the CD player "THE WEAK SHALL NOT INHERIT THE EARTH!" Hell the whole CD tells you that. Songs like "Palace of Sin" , "Armies of the Tyrant" and "Law of th Blade" all let you know that this isn't your girlfriends wimpy Hammerfall and Savatage. Hell even when they slow it down a tad for songs like "Across the Wasteland" they still are so heavy it hurts.

Plain and simple this is the way metal should be. Everything from the cover art, cd booklet design and production scream HEAVY METAL at it's purest form.

Rating: 63

 

 

Peaceful War?

Phantom Stranger
Self-Titled



Band:
Ray Underwood - Vocals
Rob Wiley Jr. - Guitar
John Salabounis - Guitar
Joe Valente III - Drums
Dan Allen - Bas

Phantom Stranger is a metal band from Illinois. Honestly after listening to their album a couple times (at least when I can get past the mystical "Trembling") I still think they are kind an a odd band to describe. The singer Mr. Underwood has a smooth as silk voice which at times reminds me of a young Harry Conklin or the Jacobs Dream singer. Then again I guess you could say with him they sound abit Queensryche-ish. That and the fact his voice is so high in the mix kind of gives Phantom Stranger a kind of mellow or mystical vibe. Sure the band is playing Maiden inspired riffs and metal but with his silky voice up front its like watching an Opera singer two feet away from you and a battle going on three blocks away, afterwards you just remember the singer!

As for the music, like I said it is kind of a cross of Maiden and at times maybe a touch of early Def Leppard (On Through the Night era ) the Maiden and Rock cross even seems to add to the mellow/mystical vibe. Rob Wiley's solos are excellently entertaining. The rest of the band also seem to be solid musicians, but at times it is hard to hear them over Underwood's vocals.

The only thing I would have to say negative about the cd besides the expected demo disc production is the fact that at times the band really jamming out some cool and heavy 80's metal and Underwood vocals are still in mellow and silky mode, which kind of gives it an odd contradictional kind of vibe. I'm curious to hear what he would sound like if he let lose!

Overall I would have to say the disc is enjoyable and I found the song "Trembling" almost addictive. "House of Lies" and "Enders Game" are darn good tunes too. I would have to say if your looking for an interesting NWOBHM band then Phantom Stranger is your cup of Earl Grey!


Rating: 48


Old School For A New Age!

Pegazus
Breaking The Chains
Nuclear Blast

MEMBERS:
Danny Cecati (vocals) , Johnny Stoj(guitars) ,
Cory Betts(bass) , Robbie Stoj(drums)


Ahhhhh......the good old days of metal when bands like Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate and Helloween had all their classics, if only there was a way to relive them! WAIT a minute,  now there is a way, and the way is lead by a band from down under know as the mighty Pegazus! Remember all those addicting riffs and choruses Maiden and Helloween USED to have! Well what they lost Guitarist Johnny Stoj has found and turned into his own!
I could go on and on about all the good things going on in this CD, but to make a long story short just imagine all the great songs Maiden and Helloween should have written over their last 4 or 5 cds, and you pretty much have "Breaking The Chains"! This cd is a reminder from the metal gods themselves of the golden age of metal! AMEN!

Rating: 65

 

DOWN UNDER THE POWER

Pegazus
Nuclear Blast
The Headless Horseman
53:37

MEMBERS:
Robbie Stoj (drums)
Johnny Stoj (guitars)
Rob Thompson (vocals)

Well here is another band that I loved who lost a great singer. When Danny Cecati left the band it hurt (not as much as Bobby Lucas leaving SW) He was replaced by a guy named Rob Thompson that no one knew shit about, except Johnny. So unlike SW I had no idea if the Pegazus sound would remain intact.
When I first go the CD I wasn't sure what to think of Rob's voice I kept thinking "this song would be awesome with Danny singing" but after a couple listens I realized that the songs "The Headless Horseman"," Call to Arms", "The Patriot" and" Look to the Stars" WERE awesome! Once I got Danny's Eric Adams like voice out of my head I realized like that Rob's voice was greast on it's own. He kind of sounds like a more aggressive and powerful version of Kai Hansan. So far this is the 2nd best cd of the year (close behind Blaze's Tenth Dimension and way better then the new Blind Guardian and Facloner )and just as good as past Pegazus albums. They are still soaring high!!!

Rating: 63

 

 

DARK METAL TO GENERIC METAL

Seven Witches
Xiled to Infinity and One
Noise Records
46:19

MEMBERS:
Wade Black (vocals)
Jack Frosr (guitars)
Billy Mez (bass)
Brain Craig (drums)

When Booby Lucas left Seven Witches I almost cried! He put so much emotion in his vocals that I knew it woukd be hard to find a singer to replace him. When I heard that Wade Black had replaced him (whose vocals I enjoyed on Astronomicia (Crimson Glory)) I was kind of glad and sad. I was glad that a singer that I liked had replaced one of my favorite singers of all time. I knew though that the dark vibe would be a thing of the past with Wade's voice.
Now that I have the new CD I can say unfortunetly I was once again right. The covers cries out DARK, EVIL and OCCULT but the music screams PRIMAL FEAR...I mean Judas Priest! Granted the CD isn't bad (better then half the Homo Fall stuff out there) but to me it is the weakest Seven Witches CD. It is closer to SPEEED and FROSTBITE then OLD SW and BCC. I guess the only way JACK FROST can be evil is if D.D VERNI and BOBBY LUCAS show him how. Wade delievers an techincially perfect preformance but doesn't seem to convay much emotion. (Plus his pic on the CD cover looks like a painful dump moment!) A good CD but not even comparable to the GODLY last two CD Rating is compared to past 7W cds and not other bands, thats why it is so low.

Rating: 40



Commercial Death Metal

Shadows Fall
Art Of Balance
Century media


MEMBERS:
Jonathan Donais - lead guitar/vocals
Brian Fair - lead vocals
Paul Romanko - bass
Matthew Bachand - guitar/vocals
Jason Bittner - drums

ShadowsFall’s “The Art Of Balance” borders on edge between metal and that soncalled metal crap stuff like Skinlab and the stuff that In Flames has been posing as metal the last couple years. Though this style isn’t my cup of tea, I find this cd much more listenable the crap cd “CLAYMAN” but that is’t saying much! The only reason I’ even reviewing this CD
Is cause of the awesome “Welcome to the Machine” cover. Over all it isn’t as crappy as the rest of the commercial death metal/ harcore bands and perhaps I’ll learn to like it for more then the cover song. But for now, I don’t get all the hype surrounding this band. Listenable at best!

 

Rating: 30

 

 

HAIL THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG

The Lord Weird Slough Feg
Down Among the Deadman
DragonHeart Records

50:11

MEMBERS:
Mike Scalzi (guitars,vocals), Greg Haa (drums), John Cobbet (guitar),
John Torres (bass)

Searching everywhere for this impossible to find CD and the one before it "Twilight of the Idols" for about 6 months to a year. I was finally able to track both down at POWERMAD at the Sentinel Steel table. And let me tell you neither one let me down! But Down Among The Deadmen is the true Masterpiece! Sounding like….actually NO-ONE! This band and Mike Scalzi show that there are still paths untraveled when it comes to making great heavy metal! Listening to Slough Feg is an unpredictable and strange ride through Heavy Metal. Scalzi's guitar playing and songwriting tell a story without the lyrics! Oh the praises I can sing! Slough Feg is a refreshing breath of molten steel. Songs like "Down Among the Deadman", "Heavy Metal Monk" and "Troll Pack" can redefine what Heavy Metal can and should sound like! Scalzi's Solos are genius and don't end up becoming musical masturbation! You won't believe his song structures even after you hear it for yourself! Unique and brilliant! I may have been a witness to the changing of guard and didn't even know it!

Rating: 62

 

SCI-FI FOLK METAL?

The Wierd Lord Slough feg
Traveller
DragonHeart




Band:
Mike Scalzi (Vocals/Guitars)
Adrian Maestas (Bass)
John Cabbett (Guitar)
Greg Haa(Drums)

When I got the new Slough Feg in the mail, I was afraidto open it. It looked to perfect in it's plastic wrapping. I was terrorfied that it would blow and ruin for me what I considered be the underground metal gods. Mike Scalzi's voice and guitars sound like NO ONE else on the planet! Slough feg has their own sound and vibe. Hell they don't even need to write catchy lyrics. Who needs choruses when your Slough Feg.
Would opening and listening to this CD leave me crying and forever ruin my image of underground metal or would it have me pounding my fist chanting "Slough Feg" to the metal gods!! So much metallic faith was laying in the balance! I'm I crazy or just crazy about my metal. With Hard Cider came Hard Courage! I broke the holy seal of plastic wrap, the sky darken, my knees shook with fear and excitment. My hand shook as it placed the holy disc into the CD player. Could Sough Feg make three godly albums in a row (four if you count the blessed Hammers of Misfortune)?? Or would I be crushed under my own religion?? Fear swam thoughout my body!!

The riffs issued forth into my ears, my mind, and my soul! The gods are great and the gods are back!!! Every riff and sound reeked of....SLOUGH FEG!! YES!!! ODIN BE PRAISED or should I say MIKE be praised the CD lives up the Slough Feg mythos. My gods did not crumble!! The Church of Slough is in session.

Now I must find a way to explain the divine with human thoughts and words.

Hmmmm....

Uhhhhhhh...

Can't type while I headbang....

ARGGGGGHHHHHHH.......

Slough feg has always been heavy but the drum production on this CD is unreal....it gives SF a whole new aggression. From the starting track to the ending one my ears are just pinned to my balls. Even though this album is 100% Slough Feg. I was still surprised by some curve balls in the riffs and song structures in songs such as "Professor's Theme" and "The Final Gambit". Even Mike vocals have improved....he has a more meodic quality about him. I hate ballads but I love " Baltech's Lament" it is so heavy for a ballad Can't help but to ramble and spit up the flashes of understanding when it comes to reviewing this CD....i can't put the emotions it creates into words. My body is too busy asborbing the power to think.

 

WOW....if me being short on words isn't enough to explain how great of a CD this is then nothing can!

DROOL....

Rating: 69

 
 

SPEEEDing Along!

SPEEED
"Powertrip Pigs"
Massacre

MEMBERS:
Aaron Randell (vocals), Jack Frost (guitar),
Ray Hartman (drums), Bernie Altmann (bass)

Needing only this CD to complete my Jack Frost collection it was the hardest to find by sure. Not being able to find any info on it before getting it , I guessed it would kinda sound like Annihilator/Frostbite! Boy was I wrong it has a power groove sound to it....and at first I was like this sucks I wanna hear some seven witches riffs. But then I thought hey if Rich Ward played on this cd I'd be all over it because this is what it was supposed to sound like. So I backed off and look at the cd as just another band and not a JACK FROST band. Sure enough after a while the very in your face riffing and change of pace vocals soon started to win me over. Songs like "Chinatown", "Zombies" and "Monkey Brains" will have your rocking just as much as any Seven Witches riffs. If your into Stuck Mojo or "Cowboys from hell" Power groove riffing then this cd is for you but, I also say if you wanna see a different angle of an excellent guitarists talent then give it a try!
Learn what I have learned JACK FROST never disappoints!!!

Rating: 37


STORMHAMMZZZZZZZZZZ

STORMHAMMER
"COLD DESERT MOON
"




Band:
Who Cares!!!

Super Generic Name, Super Generic Cover Art, Super Generic Power Metal & Super Generic Keyboards!! Makes me wonder who got a blowjob at Century Media to put this album out! Makes Power Metal Look Bad!! Makes HammerFall look Orginial!!

Rating:21

 

Forgot to scan CD before I GAVE it away! Damn the Damnation Game

Symphony X
"The Damnation Game"
CNR Music

MEMBERS:
Michael Romeo (guitar), Russsal Allen (vocals), Thomas MIller (bass), Michael Pinnella (keys), Jason Rullo (drums)

Upon hearing lots of good things about this band I decided to give them a try even though almost everytime I hear Romeo's name mentioned YNGWIE is also brought up. (whom i can't stand) The CD starts with the title track and "dressed to kill" which both are actually decent tracks though they would be much heavier with another vocalist. Then after that with the exception of a couple 5 second riffs during Romeo's solo's the CD gets too "FLOWERY" for me. Most of the heaviness on the album is usually ruined by Russal's Vocals or quickly changed by Romeo. Miller's bass is actually the only reason I listened to this cd a couple times. To be honest I guess If you are planning on dancing in the rain as you pick dandelions then this cd is for you but if you crave something with balls then look elsewhere!

Rating: 19

Better Unseen then Unheard!

Will 'O' Wisp
Unseen


Band:
Ermanno Argenti (Vocals)
Fabrizo Colussi (Bass)
Paolo Puppo (guitar)
Loredana Canepa (Keyboards)
Giancarlo Pancrazi (drums)

Will o wisp is an Italian band that crosses different genres to create their desired atmosphere. They use Gothic metal with female voices, Pink Floyd metal and even some Black and Doom metal elements. Even though the whole Pink Floyd metal thing puts me to sleep these guys mix things up enough and throw in some really bizarre sounding riffs or scales that make stay awake. Over all I would say I enjoy these guys more then Anathema and their clones. There are times when Will O Wisp sound like what I think Tiamat would have sounded like after Wildhoney, if they would have went with a darker sound instead of the pop sound they did.
And I have to say that I’m glad to add them to the short list of Italian bands (with Power Symphony, White Skull and ElvenKing) that can make music with out ripping off Helloween, Dio, and Rhapsody!

Rating: 42


 

BELARUS METAL CRUSADERS

Vicious Crusade
The Unbroken
Metal Records
59:10

MEMBERS:

Dmitry Basik (guitars, vocals)
Alex Vertel (guitars)
Alex Gladysh (drums)
Pavel Reunov (bass)
Alena Gornyh (vocals)


Growing up in the USA during the 70's and 80's I was programmed to hate the evil IRON CURTAIN know as Russia.(Just like they were told that we were evil! ) During the 90's I forgot they existed. During 2002 VICIOUS CRUSADE put them back on my radar and taught me that Belarus and Russia are two different things plus now they have me thinking perhaps it was a HEAVY METAL CURTAIN and not an iron one. VICIOUS CRUADE are an interesting band they can be heavy as hell, melodic as hell the next but they always seem to be catchy as hell regardless. They have both harsh male vocals and beautiful female vocals, but unlike a lot of bands they use the female vocals not only for singing lyrics but they use it as almost an extra instrument for carrying the harmonies. There are times when Alena Gornyh uses her voice to carry the songs harmony while the band is silent and the brilliant Dmitry Basik growls his part. Vocally imagine the magic THERION had on the song “Beauty In Black” and now picture a whole CD like it.
Musically VICIOUS CRUSADE has their own signature sound, that can’t be compared to anyone that I have found yet! The can me straight ahead metal or play a riff you would swear was written by the late Chuck Schuldiner or give a song an eastern feel.. (Must name drop to describe the indescribable! Think Therion, Dark Traquillity and Nightwish all rolled up into one!)
With songs like “Masquerade of Piety”, “The Unbroken”, “The Land of Lakes” “Who are these Men” and “Theodore’s Song” the CD the Unbroken has it all folk, death, NWOBHM, Opera, Theatre, Harmonies, Melodies and yet so HEAVY METAL that it almost brings tears to my eyes! (IT ALMOST DID! It is that good!)
In short with meaningful lyrics this is easily one of the best METAL CD’s ever in my book!! If I had to pick one CD to sum up everything I love in metal, piss on NUMBER OF THE BEAST, THEM, DREAMING NEON BLACK or IRRATIONIAL ANTHEMS, I would pick THE UNBROKEN. ( at least for this month! )

Rating: 69

 

BELARUS METAL CRUSADERS part 2

Vicious Crusade
Messiah..isn't it me?/Faces of Vice
Metal Records

MEMBERS:



The EP “Messiah…Isn’t it me?” is a tease for their new upcoming CD, but it also includes the mini-album from 97 “Faces of Vice” which I guess was their demo. Firstly all the songs on second half of the CD are the “Faces Of Vice” CD they are just earlier versions of songs on “The Unbroken” so no real surprises, just some different arrangements that are kind of cool. You can see why Metal Records grabbed these guys when they could. The first half of the CD is the new stuff that will be appearing on “The Forbidden Tunes”. The first song is the GODLY “Messiah…isn’t it me?” as awesome as all the songs on “The Unbroken” were I would have to say this is the flagship song of VICIOUS CRUSADE. It has everything dueling vocals, catchy harmonic riffing, pounding drums and hypnotic violins! It is a true work of art, plus it happens to be metal, which makes it even better! Next comes “Dancing on the ledge” with a name like that I wasn’t sure what to expect cause it isn’t you typical VC song title. It is a catchy musical song that kind of surprised me cause it was more lovey dovey then what I had come to worship from VC based on “The Unbroken” a very enjoyable song just doesn’t have that VC aggressive bite plus a trumpet in metal?? Now that takes BALLS! To bad GWAR beat them on that one with “Saddam A Go Go” The Pace once again picks up with “Divine Contract” fast paced riffs and fast and timely place violin attacks and what’s is that a trumpet again…cool. Very good song and a fast paced violin solo (a la Skyclad) make this a cool as hell. The last of the new tracks is “Capriccio in g-moll per violino ed basso guitarra” is a three and a half minute instrumental jam fest comes off as half folk and half classic but all in your face! POW! Very cool.

Rating: 60

 

BELARUS METAL CRUSADERS part 3

Vicious Crusade
Forbidden Tunes
Metal Records

MEMBERS:



After the “The Unbroken” I had high hopes for “Forbidden Tunes” but how can any band beat GODLY? Well Based on what I had seen on the EP I had high hopes that Vicious Crusade could beat themselves at their own game!

First song “Forbidden Tunes” has the same magic, same vibe and same result catchy metal and the VC mythos remains untainted!

“Lost Generation” is when I noticed abit of experimentation going on….it is still very much VC but kind of has a pop sound kind of like PYOGENESIS had before they completely went to crap. Sound kind of familiar but can’t place it. Still a cool listen….cause you can never tell what the hell VC is going to next. Just when metal experience tells you there is a guitar or violin solo next they shock you with something else.

ACK!! “Get Stripped” is either made to get some play in disco’s or is the missing track for Nuclear Blast’s Tribute to ABBA! Half techno, half ABBA…. not sure what to make of it… Bored? Experimentation? Only time will tell!

HOORAY “Hurt” starts out with the typical VC feel, even though it is a very good track it seems to lack the aggressiveness that I have come to expect.

“Requiem to innocence” is by far the mellowest VC song that I know of, even having the Tinker bell sound in it! Then they have a small rapping part? CRY!!!

The VC flagship song “Messiah…Isn’t it me?” quickly erases the bad taste in my mouth from “Get Stripped” and “Requiem to Innocence” God I love this song! Once again Dmitry growls his way to the darkness with Alena as his co-pilot. No one uses breaks in the music to more effect then VC in my opinion.

“Let it burn” once again returns my faith in VC. It a catchy as hell tune in the vocal duet fashion kind of like “Land Of Lakes” from the first cd.

“Dancing on the Ledge” is cool but in my opinion should have been left on the mini-album and replaced with the better “Divine Contract”

With a name like “Vogue” I expected the same failure as with “Get Stripped”! But in this case VC manage to pull off a cool and aggressive song that fits into the VC mold perfectly, even with DJ record scratches. Kind of comes off as a RAMMENSTEIN vibe, put since I like this song and don’t like them it could be a bad comparison.

“Breathe Of Life” like “Get Stripped” loses me, they are the only two VC songs that I hit fast forward on….this one sounding like a peppy country song. But be warned even though I don’t like this song…I have heard it bouncing thru my head at school, all VC songs are that catchy!

VC turns the reins over to ALENA in “Stigmata” and lets her stretch her vocal cords…between her and the band pure atmosphere is created. I’m mesmerized…too bad the song is so short for the mood they created.

Ok, here comes the hard part. Rating this CD. Since the last CD went off the charts and really changed my mind as to what metal bands can get away with. Firstly this CD is only half as good as “The Unbroken” but that still ends up being a good CD.

“Forbidden Tunes”, “Lost Generation”, “Hurt”, Messiah…isn’t it me” “Let it Burn” and “Vogue” are brilliant.

“Stigmata” is a mood creating pleasure.

“Get Stripped”,“Breath of Life” and “Requiem to Innocence” and “Dancing on the Ledge” …yes they are catchy but they smell of either label pressure to be COOLER or that the main force in the band has fallen badly in love and has kind of wimped out because of it. All three songs are brave experimentations but none really have the VC vibe to me like “Vogue” reeks of. I hope these songs are just experimentations and not the poison that kills what I think is to be one of the most groundbreaking metal bands that I have come across in recent history. No one sounds like VC! They are a truly unique beast that I hope with their dabbling on this cd will make their signature sound even more powerful and not forgotten with experiments!

Rating: 50


Horror Metal!?

Vyndykator
Heaven Sent From Hell

Band:
Bob Mitchell (Vocals)
Steve Ratchen (Bass)
Rob Oriani (guitar)
Bill Peña (guitar)
John Caton (drums)

Death metal and Black Metal have the imagery to be scary but even when the music is eerie and creepy the vocals always seem to screw up the sense of impeding dread and doom.
Isn’t impeding dread a major part of horror? Before super duper special effects, movies made us scared by NOT showing every monster in their full glory, our imagination filled in the blanks and that was what made us piss ourselves. Impeding Dread is exactly what Vyndykator music conveys to me! (Then again trying to spell their name gives me the same sense of impeding dread too!)
This cd is one hell of a mind fuck. Bob Mitchell’s vocals make you really wonder if he should be locked up and the key eaten! The music is half doom and half anger! I didn’t know whether to hide under my bed and pee my pants or go grab my axe and go find a crack head to hack up! Isn’t that the same effect King Diamond has been trying to get from us for years and years but yet rarely seems to do it?? But these wackos did it on the first try! Now that is scary! Like a wise man once said! "Nuff Said!"

Rating: 60


IMMORTAL REALMS

ZANDELLE
"TWILIGHT ON HUMANITY
"




Band:
Anthony Maglio - Guitars,
T.W. Durfy - Guitars,
George Tsalikis - Vocals,
Bob Delmini - Drums,

Being a big fan of Zandelle from the "Shadows Of Reality" days (even though the band website ignores the older stuff) I always thought Zandelle's secret was keeping metal simple and very catchy, so when I heard samples of the more complex and mature songs on "Twlight on Humanity" and just not getting into the new songs as much live. I was worried that Zandelles debut on Limb Music Records might end up in discount bins all over the web! But lucky for them, they let me down and put out hell of an album! Songs like "Warlords of Steel", "The Champion" and "Immortal Realms" make the album worth the 15 bucks I had to fork over for it. But the twelve minute epic "Twilight on Humanity" makes it worth another 10-15 bucks! I usally get bored with songs over 7-8 minutes but "Twilight" mixes things up enough to not only keep my attention but I usually sing along with it. Sure the song "Eternal love" usually makes me long for classics like "BRINGER OF DOOM" (one of the best songs in metaldom!) & "Flight of the Dragon" but its doesnt hurt the album that much, neither does the fact that George vocals somethimes seem to fade into the background at times.

Zandelle has taken the finesse of European Power metal and combined it with the aggressiveness of US Power metal to make hell of an album. What other band do you know that sings about Sirens, Centuars, Dryads, Nymphs, Fauns, and Satyrs? Most power metal bands like the MONSTER MANUAL but Zandelle has the damn thing memorized!!! Now thats Fantasy Power Metal!!

Rating:62

DEMOS

01-15
So shitty that they should put the name "Metallica" on it!
15-25 
Yawn! Wake me up when Benny Hill comes on!
26-40
Nothing special, nothing shitty! Ok if you can get it used!
41-50
Worth the money.
51-60
Better then waking up hung over with a redhead next to you!
61-68
Will rock your body and change the way you think!
69 
Thank the metal gods for a gift this good!

 

Bonedust Demo.

Bonedust



MEMBERS:

Local Metal....for some it means nothing, for others it is the only way to see a concert. Luckly for me I live near the metal kingdom of the USA (Cleveland, Ohio) So when I got the BoneDust demo I didn't have to live in fear of it being a Korn or Mallcore clone band. Maybe live in fear of it being a Hardcore band, but usually local bands follow the traditional metal roots and Bonedust seems to be no exception. Musically they seem to prefer the Morbid Angel path with a bit of musical tid bits from hardcore and grindcore. I don't mind death metal, but I like to be able to understand the vocals at least half the time. Unfortunatly I can't make out heads or tails of the vocalist's grunts,screams and mumbling. I'm sure the production doesn't help his cause, but I could only understand like 6 words on the whole demo. Plus the Phil Anselmo mumbling is annoying at times. Over all it is a very listenable CD (the music carries it) and at times makes me miss my Altars of Madness CD. It almost seems as if the MUSIC wants to be metal and the VOCALS want to be rich and famous.

Rating: 30

 

ROCKING SOLO PROJECT

John Bowman
Self titled
unsigned

MEMBERS:
John Bowman (guitars and bass), Roger Willianson (drums),
Tim Aymar (vocals)

When I first got this CD from a friend I saw it and I was why would she send me a country CD? The cover and even the back and the CD itself would lead you to believe your buying a wanna be Garth Brooks CD.But once you put it in your player you know that it isn't hick music. The start of "Beast Within" is nothing but pure metal rammed down your throat! All 7 tracks are entertaining and heavy as lead. John Bowman does a good job showcasing his skills on guitar and bass. His songwriting and lyricial abilities are good enough to put him on the map.This guy has a buttload of talent and will hopefully pop up again. The really cool part of the Cd is the fact its from 97 and you can see why Chuck picked Tim to be the vocalist for Control Denied...even back then he had the lungs and
the special talent of finding the perfect vocal melody! All this praise coming from a guy who hates SOLO projects too!!

Rating: 50

 

 

Like a moth I'm drawn to the FIREAXE

 

FIREAXE
Lovecraftian Nightmares

MEMBERS:
Brian Voth ( Everything)

Hmmm, this is going to be the hardest review I have or will ever do! I’m not sure what to make of the one-man band Fireaxe and the guy behind it Brian Voth just because it is so damn otherworldly Most of the CD is just music put to HP Lovecraft poetry, which in itself is enough to but it in the weird but neat category. But Brian’s Tribal chatting/singing and hypnotic guitars make it so damn weird that my ability to express myself seems to be in an infinite loop. Almost like I’m not sure where I’m at. If catchy predictable metal is your thing then look elsewhere cause this is as far of the opposite spectrum as you can get. At times it is more like a psychedelic journey then just listening to a CD. It is cool, creepy, strange and magical all at the same time. I can’t even give it a number rating because it is beyond my human limitations to perceive what I have just experienced over and over for the past week or so. But I will say this much…somewhere ELDER GODS which man was not to know, smile for the first time in eons.!

Rating: ??

Future of Metal

Knights of Tethys

MEMBERS:
Ryan Darnell (Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards)
Wraithchild (Vocals, bass)
Chris Clark (Drums)
jeff Crowdler (Guitars)

NO PICTURE

The Knights of Tethys are a newborn power metal band from the home of Jag Panzer. Named after I’m guessing a moon of Saturn. This band follows in the footsteps of Maiden and at times abit of Mercyful Fate pops up. The first song “Orion, the hunter” is a very enjoyable track that shows a lot of hope for the bands future. “When Lightning Strikes In A Snowstorm” has catchy riffs and potential but the out of tune vocal “ohhhh ahhhh” harmonies need to be fixed or put to rest because they detract from the songs overall potential. The King Diamond-ish vocals are a nice touch and give theses guys a different vibe then your typical maiden clones. “Summoning the White Knight” is a typical gallop driven power metal song though it doesn’t seem to interest me as much as the first 2 songs. This demo shows a lot of potential for these guys and I look forward to hearing whatever else they come up with. In my opinion these guys are a poor mans Cauldron Born and will be a force to reakon with onc they work out the bugs and gain experience!

 

Rating: 45


MAGI-cal Sabbath day

MAGI
self-produced
50:18

MEMBERS:
Jim Orlando(vocals)
Frank Taylor (guitars)
John Taylor (bass)
Scott Hetherington (drums)

Listening to MAGI is like taking a Time Machine back to the early days of metal when SABBATH reigned. Magi pays respect to bands like Dio and Iron Maiden at times but most of the time the band stays with that Black Sabbath realm. They have the power metal attitude of the before mentioned Maiden and Dio but they have the dark sinister musical feel that Sabbath had scared us all back in the day. To put it plain and simple, musically MAGI sounds like a bastard child of a mellower Deceased and Black Sabbath. Vocalist Jim Orando’s voice is a cross between King Fowley and low key Gerrit Mutz (of Sacred Steel). If pretty metal is your cup of tea, then stay away fro this cd. These guys are heavy, rough and dark. Surprisingly the production isn’t bad at all, though at times you wonder where the bass went….but then again I don’t care about production much. I care about if the music being played is enjoyable and I want to listen to more then once or twice. This cd passes on all accounts.Though this isn't groundbreaking it is a new twist on old stuff. Plus for a debut this is a very good cd.Nonetheless I suggest you check out these guys at their homepage.

 

Rating: 45

 

 

 

FIRST DEMO KICKS BUTT

Overlorde
Overlorde 200 Demo
Unsigned

MEMBERS:
Mark "M.E" Edwards (guitar) , Dave Wrenn (drums) ,
John "Kong" Bunucci (bass) , Bobby Lucas (vocals)

FINALLY I got my first demo from a band and lucky for me it was Bobby Lucas's (ex-Seven Witches) new band Overlorde. These guys are no means newcomers to the scene having formed in 85 and putting out a VINYL EP in 87 only to break up later in 88. But they decided to reform in 2000 and landed Bobby Lucas as lead vocalist soon after. After a couple listens to the demo I knew right away I was listening to something special. This is metal the way they used to play it. You would think with Bobby singing it would be Power Metal but its not, this is pure heavy metal plain and simple. Overlorde have their own unique sound for sure. I'm not sure if its the 70's vibe or maybe the almost funkish style but they got a good thing going.
The demo opens up with what I consider the weakest track out of the four, "Blackness". But don't get me wrong, its not a bad song. It holds its own with most of the stuff out on labels today. Its just that the rest of the CD is that good! "Blackness" is a straight forward rocker, nothing more, but it does showcase Kong's bass abilities..Then the Cd moves on to "Hell Hath No Fury". This song is a neck breaker with kickass background vocals for the chorus. Then comes the pride and joy of the CD in my opinion, "Ogre Wizard". It starts out as your typical medieval song but soon becomes a work of art. Fans of Bobby won't believe the vocals he uses for the chorus and the soloing by Edwards is top notch. The last track, "Metallic Madness", is a catchy tune that will haunt you even after the CD player is turned off.
Overall this demo is pretty damn kickass but a really big dicktease cause there are only 4 songs on it....but i guess that's what demos are really suppose to be, huh? The vocals are what you come to expect from Bobby, excellent! The bass is funky and at times really stands out. The guitar is, like I said, top notch. Some of the drum work really gets your attention at times. The production is good. The CD sounds crisp, but I think the drums could have used abit more juice. For more info or to steal some MP3's check out their homepage.

Rating: 63

 

Don't Silence Silencer!

Silencer
Kozmos
20:25

MEMBERS:
Keith Spargo ( guitars/vocals ),
Mat Bolten ( guitar ) , Jeff Alexis ( bass), Nick Seelinger ( drums)


Pummeling thrash with a hint of power metal would be the best way to describe the music of Silencer! The lyrics are intelligent and important but short and to the point all extra energy goes towards the music that as I said before is pummeling and at the same time brilliant. All the songs on the five-track demo are damn good. "Mourning Star", "Missing Hope" and "Industrial Command" are all heavy up-tempo songs that the metal world needs to know about! I can't really say they sound like so and so cause they have their own signature sound. But for the sake of comparison, if OVERKILL and NEVERMORE had a bastard child I would bet my money on it being SILENCER! I totally agree with their website when it says, "join the ranks, or be blown out of creation." But to be totally truthful even if you join the ranks you will still be blown out of creation!

Rating: 53


Lacking Thunder

Thunder Reigns
Evil One
4:15

MEMBERS:
Unknown

This one song demo sounds like it was recorded in someone's bathroom with a karaoke machine. The music isn't bad but the song isn't very orginial or powerful and the vocalist sounds like a poor man's version of Chris Boltendahl singing out of tune. I have to give them a couple points for paying tribute to the old school metal days. Just doesn't do shit for me! Now wheres my remote?

Rating: 16

The MITCH is back!!

Vyndykator
Sampler for "Heaven Sent From Hell"


MEMBERS:
Bob Mitchell (vocals)
Rob Oriani (guitar)
Bill Peña (guitar)
Steve Ratchen (bass)
John Caton (drums)

NO PICTURE

Vyndykator’s 3 song sampler was given to me by Bob Mitchell himself at the Classic Metal Fest, sadly I haven’t had time to write a review until now, but I had been listening to it enough to know most of it by heart. If your expecting Bob Mitchell to sound like did on the old Attacker stuff, well your wrong! He sounds better then the old days in his new half Udo and half King Diamond mode. This new vibe gives all 3 songs a more sinister feel then you would expect! Not only is Bob Mitchell in top form but also the surrounding musicians are also top notch. With catchy yet evil songs like “Bloodstained Gallows”, “Tappping the Vain” and “Rot in the chamber” Vyndykator new CD will stick out like a sore thumb in a metal world full of Maiden, Priest, Hammerfall and Rhapsody clones!
And that is what TRULY being metal is all about! Fuck trends and the norms!

Hail to the Vyn guys for being Different!

Rating: 57

WAKE UP Record labels!

Zandelle
Shadows of Reality
Unsigned

MEMBERS:
George Tsalikis (vocals,bass,guitar)
John Lasanta (drums,keyboards)
Anthony Maglio (Guitar)
Joe Hartoularos (Guitar)

When I was trapped in New York Shitty I quested the metal quest as I always do, searching, hoping and praying that I would find a gem of power in a town full of she-males and "new metal" wannabes! I caught wind of a band called ZANDELLE whom I tried to see live but just didn't work out. Abit later I finally tracked down one of their CD's and let me tell you it was worth the effort I put into trying to find them!  The songs "Darkness Of the Night", "Bringer Of Doom" and "Flight Of The Dragon" pay for CD in themselves. Heck I would pay the cash just to hear George sing nursery rhymes because his voice is not only good but for some reason seems very refreshing to me. Maybe because he doesn't sound like a clone of someone else or just the energy he puts behind it. This CD has it all , the D&D (R.I.P) imagery, funky ass bass lines, killer drumming, catchy as hell guitar riffing and soaring vocals! The only bitch iIreally have with it is the cd itself looks like it was done by a teenage garage band and it hides the true genius of what lies inside to morons who judge a book by its cover!
When a band of this ability can be found by a guy like me and not someone like Noise and Nuclear Blast who to busy signing anyone that ripoffs Helloween or Judas Priest, it gives me hope that I may one day find my niche in METALDOM! Find yours now by getting this cd from their webpage

Rating: 55

 

 

    Copyright 1999-2012 Damian "Prof. Manic" Smolko