Reviews Archive:

TALISPHERE - Demo 1996
TEMPLAR - A Touch Of Winters Discontent
TESTAMENT - The Gathering
THIN LIZZY - Live - One Night Only
TIERRA SANTA - Sangre De Reyes
TITANIC - Maiden Voyage
TNT - Transistor
TRUST - Still A Live
LUCA TURILLI - King Of The Nordic Twilight
TYGERS OF P.T. - Live At Nottingham Rock C.
TYRANT EYES - Book Of Souls

Demo 1996

You will probably consider this demo as a little dated, as it's from 1996 already, but hey - it's still the current release of this Texas based band, so there's absolutely no reason for us to ignore it. Especially not if you find out about the incredible qualities of TALISPHERE! These guys are just fuckin' u.n.b.e.l.i.e.v.a.b.l.e.!!!! Fronted by former JAG PANZER / S.A.SLAYER vocalist Chris Cronk this fivepiece is definitely one of the biggest hopes in traditional (American style) Power Metal! There's only three songs on this cassette, but all of them deliver first class musicianship and a really good production. You like awesome guitarwork? Fantastic leads? A killer rhythm section and highpitched, very skilled vocals? You got it!! I'm still so excited about these guys that it's really hard for me to believe that TALISPHERE haven't been signed yet! Why do labels waste so much money and energy on useless bandwaggon hoppers, when there's still honest bands like TALISPHERE around?! This is another group to be ad ded to the neverending list of first class Texas Metal (HELSTAR, S.A.SLAYER, JUGGERNAUT, WATCH TOWER etc. etc.) and definitely a MUST for everyone reading this magazine! BUY OR DIE!!! Contact: TALISPHERE, P.O. Box 692021, San Antonio, TX 78269-2021, U.S.A., Phone / Fax: + 210 694 2582, e-mail:
Frank Stöver

A Touch Of Winters Discontent
(independent CD)

Penn. quartet who have an 11 song CD on the table for those who enjoy solid mid-tempo power metal with leanings toward older QUEENSRYCHE and hints of CRIMSON GLORY. I love the low barrel vocal drawl that Michael DeGrena employs on "Wholly Insane"- many power singers fail to capitalize on all of their bottom range but TEMPLAR know how to use all weapons for maximum impact. You can even hear some doom riffing creep into songs like "The Haunt" and "Templar"- showing a band willing to write tunes that differ as the album progresses. I enjoyed the variety and the deep guitar tones- yet TEMPLAR's CD cover of a winter scene may deceive potential listeners as I wouldn't think this was very heavy upon first glance. Plenty of dynamics (including a softer acoustic intro to "Stone Garden"), passionate performances and you'll create a disc that differs from 95 % of the independent acts today. Discover the hidden TEMPLAR. Contact: Templar, 2400 Oxford Dr. 193, Bethel Park, PA, 15102, USA Email:
Matt Coe

The Gathering
(USG Records)

My world, this album rules! Chuck Billy and Eric Peterson survived all trends (Are you really sure about this Heinz? - Laurent) and business troubles to release one of the best Thrash Metal albums ever. Already the line-up has all-star format, Dave Lombardo on drums, James Murphy on lead guitar and Steve Di Giorgio on bass support the two main men in a fabulous way - a further introduction needed? The death growls that were too evident on "Demonic" are nearly gone, and when Chuck uses this kind of singing, it fits perfectly in the music now. "The Gathering" is the end of 90's version of "The Legacy" - coming up with unbelievable strong driving forward riffing, a fantastic drum sound and the unique voice from Chuck Billy that never sounded so good the last years and excellent song-writing: the mid-tempo killer "3 Days In Darkness", the speed inferno "Legions Of The Dead" or the insane "Riding The Sky", just to name these three out of 11 real Thrash Metal masterpieces. No I am not too ecstatic, this album deser ves all praises and if you call yourself a serious Thrash Metal supporter, buy it!
Heinz Konzett

Live - One Night Only
(Steamhammer / SPV)

This live album is the perfect opportunity for all die hard THIN LIZZY fans to re-live the incredible shows that Scott Gorham, John Sykes, Darren Wharton, Marco Mendoza and Tommy Aldridge played throughout Europe at the end of last year. And it is also a good chance for everyone else who stayed home (shame on you!) to experience the unquestionable live qualities of the "new" LIZZY! The setlist of "Live - One Night Only" is nothing but a 'best of' and almost identical to the band's Germany dates, with the only difference that 'Emerald', 'Massacre' and Tommy Aldrige's awesome drum solo are missing (probably due to time limitations of a single CD release) and 'Suicide' (originally the first encore) becoming number eight in the regular setlist. But all that doesn't really matter, cause the album still kicks some major ass! The spirit of Phil Lynott is very much present in this excellent performance, mainly due to John Sykes, who did a really good job to replace him on vocals. Sometimes it's really scary how close he managed to come to the unique Lynott style. But also the beautiful harmonies of the guitar department and the new tight rhythm section will certainly leave your mouths wide open pretty regularly! So, as long as these guys deliver such top notch performances I suppose that nobody will ever accuse them of doing it all just for the money. "Live And Dangerous" and "Live" (the other two official THIN LIZZY live albums) are still the ultimate, but considering the circumstances, "Live - One Night Only" is equally important for worshippers of this legendary act! BUY!
Frank Stöver

Ugly Side

Four long years after the release of the last THUNDERHEAD album "Were You Told The Truth About Hell?" original lead vocalist Ted Bullet returns with a brandnew backing band and another album in the typical THUNDERHEAD style. And you know what?! After all they managed to deliver a pretty good one! I was never really the biggest fan of the aforementioned last album (to me "Killing With Style" just rules eternally!!!) as it was too much lacking in good melodies and I didn't freak out on Ted's interlude with SONOFABITCH either. But "Ugly Side" is 100% THUNDERHEAD again! You will recognize Ted's charismatic rough voice straight away and the new recruited members Mark Franco (bass, ex-JOINT FORCES), Jimi Bell (guitar, also ex-JOINT FORCES and Geezer Butler) and B.J.Zampa (drums, who played on YNGWIE MALMSTEEN's "Seventh Sign" tour) turn out to be quite good replacements. There's no difference in style - it's still dirty, crushing, heavy Rock'n'Roll with a lot of energy, nice hooklines and a big dose of coolness! No t all of the songs do convince me completely and the production is not as good as on previous outputs of the band either. But hey - nevermind, it's still an ok sounding album and as usual THUNDERHEAD will be more convincing on stage anyway. So, buy the album and catch them when they will support METAL CHURCH on their upcoming Germany tour (which starts mid October!). Good to have you back Mr.Bullet!
Frank Stöver

Sangre De Reyes
(Locomotive Music)

Probably the most widely known metal band in the current traditional metal scene from Spain, TIERRA SANTA have excelled where IRON MAIDEN have failed in the 90's- producing some captivating guitar harmonies, nice bass bottom lines and a solid epic structure to their material. "Sangre De Reyes" is their fourth full length and keeps up the quality that we've come to hope for from this quintet. I enjoy the fact that the band placed a mid tempo track as the opener, as "David Y El Gigante" proves that the best songs on the album need not be speedy if there is enough passion in the arrangement and competent playing, which this song succeeds at. Singer/guitarist Angel has a commanding voice, full of grit when necessary in cuts like "La Ciudad Secreta" and "Juana De Arco"- probably equivalent to a mid-range montage of Ronnie James Dio and Bruce Dickinson. Sometimes the IRON MAIDEN worship gets too blatantly obvious- listen to the main riffing within "Pegaso" and tell me that these gentlemen have not been listening to "Back In The Village" from "Powerslave" a little too much. My only other quibble would be the drumming employed on many of the cuts- as it often plods along at a similar clip without any interesting fills to propel the songs further. Do not get me wrong- "Sangre De Reyes" is a better album than "Tierras De Leyenda", but the band have yet to top "Legendario" in terms of all of the songs gelling together to make a masterpiece. I predict their tour with GRAVE DIGGER to expand their following in Germany, and maybe down the road a US appearance could I know a lot stateside that would appreciate this Spanish metal diamond. Contact: Locomotive Music- PO Box 116094- 28080 Madrid- SPAIN. Web:
Matt Coe

Maiden Voyage
(Magdalene Records)

You awaited a bit more from ARMORED SAINT's comeback (not live but with the studio album)? Here is the alternative. TITANIC! The singer IS John Bush's brother, at least he has to be. And the rough Metal sound with the traditional, basic US Metal riffing reminds on "Delirious Nomad". Absolutely great. "Ocean Of Blood", "Gods Of War", "Fight Back" - classic US Metal stuff. The album is produced by Robert Sweet (STRYPER) and the label is one of the Christian scene, so TITANIC comes from that side that delivered some outstanding outfits as SACRED WARRIOR, RECON, GUARDIAN and the Thrash gods BELIEVER in the 80's, early 90's. And now TITANIC...
Heinz Konzett

(Spitfire Records)

Ronnie Le Tekro had been one of the most talented guitarists in the business as well as Tony Harnell an excellent vocalist. These two musicians came up with the strong "Knights Of The New Thunder" and their Hard Rock masterpiece "Tell No Tales" in 1987 and when I saw them live with SKAGARACK the same year, they were on the best way to the top of the genre. BUT after five more albums, the new record represents nearly nothing of the 80's TNT. The opener "Just Like God" is a terrible example how Hard Rock should NOT sound, using modern loops and synthies. The second one "Wide Awake" is more in the traditional way, without reaching the quality they delivered on their first three records. The fourth track "Crashing Down" sounds totally terrible, alternative music only..... The rest of the album has some small ups ("Because I Love You") and some major downs (the ultra-bad "Into Pieces"). A real disappointment and nothing, really nothing, worth investing your hard earned money. My advice to TNT - disband.
Heinz Konzett

Still A Live
(XIII Bis Records)

This is a two CD set containing twenty-one songs, with a total running time of over ninety minutes. It was recorded at the end of the year 2000. TRUST is one of the most important French hard rock bands led by Bernhard Bonvoisin. Their lyrics regularly contained political statements, but their music was always very powerful and heavy. It's also the only band next to IRON MAIDEN themselves that had the two IRON MAIDEN drummers in their line up. Both Nicko McBrain and Clive Burr were once members of this French band. They supported IRON MAIDEN on their world famous "Number Of The Beast" tour, and they also toured with their Australian friends AC/DC. Next to that they made some great albums, of which I personally like "Savage", "Repression", and of course "Marche Ou Creve" (I missed the great title track of this great album, by the way!, as well as a great song like "Certitude...Solitude". ) the best. A lot of TRUST classics are to be found on this nice double live CD, like "Prefabriqué","L'Elite" and their most well known song "Anti Social". They also play two nice rock and roll classics too- namely "Roll Over Beethoven (CHUCK BERRY) and "That's Allright Mama" (BOB DYLAN). This album got the title "Still A Live", I hope we must read this literally 'cause it would be a shame if we had to lose this great French band again.
Toine van Poorten

King Of The Nordic Twilight
(Limb Music)

This is the solo disk of RHAPSODY's guitarist Luca Turilli and fortunately it is not one of those disks showing off absurd abilities in abstract structures. On the contrary, this is a very song-orientated album with great songs. Luca has proved again that he is an excellent musician and composer, naturally it's obvious that he is also main-songwriter of RHAPSODY as the songs all tend into the melodic and symphonic speed direction. But he has taken the songs another step further and there are even more ethnic (Russian, Celtic), symphonic and classical, baroque influences to be heard than on "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands". I am almost tempted to call this disk a "Metal opera". Luca is not only composer and guitar player on this album he contributed some keyboards as well. And he is backed up by excellent musicians, namely Sascha Paeth (guitars & bass/HEAVENS GATE), Miro (keyboard/HEAVENS GATE), Robert Hunecke (drums/HEAVENS GATE). It are mainly the vocals that make the difference, the TREASURE SEEKER vocalist si ngs very powerful and melodic, but his voice is not as high as the one of Fabio and he sounds typically German. Therefore he reminds me more of Thomas Rettke (HEAVENS GATE) or Kai Hansen (GAMMA RAY), and only seldom - only in the high passages - of Fabio Lione. The production, once again done in the Gate Studios in Germany by Sascha and Miro, is dynamic and supports the symphonic, epic touch as well as the speedy and melodic base. If I had to choose one song I would take the closing and title track ,,King Of The Nordic Twilight" which is a true Metal hymn combining all trademarks of Luca Turilli's songwriting and virtuoso guitar playing. I hope to see Luca live in the near future, be it with RHAPSODY or solo; in the meantime I will "vertreiben" my time by listening to this great piece of music over and over again.
Helmut Posch

The Isle Of Hydra
(The Miskatonic Foundation)

I've watched TWISTED TOWER DIRE grow from its early performances at Powermad in 1999 to recently being blown away at the Classic Metal Festival 2001 with their new songs. True to his word guitarist Scott Waldrop sent me the advance of their second album, a 9 song / 51 minute plus effort that sounds infinitely better than their debut album in terms of the clearer, sharper production. As far as the songwriting the band have learned how to pace a song accordingly, making sure that in the longer/epic songs like "Battle Cry/ The Isle Of Hydra" that there are more parts that flow accordingly as compared to the previous efforts on their debut that sounded a little overdone or forced. There are also songs on here that have more of a straight forward feel such as "When The Daylight Fades" which recalls the great days of early GRIM REAPER or "The Dagger's Blade" that recalls "Somewhere In Time" period IRON MAIDEN especially in the patriotic guitar harmonies. More acoustics enter on the short intro to "Ride The Night", expanding the epic metal style the band is known and loved for while vocalist Tony Taylor rides high and low with his true metallic melodies. I love the cover art of the band in animation wielding their weapons at a dragon- everything is an improvement for the better from TWISTED TOWER DIRE. I can only foresee a wider appeal throughout the underground as more shows get played and more listeners become aware of this fierce metal storm. Highly recommended. Contact: Twisted Tower Dire- PO Box 223508- Chantilly, VA- 20153-3508- USA. Email:
Matt Coe

Live At Nottingham Rock City

I remember discovering "Wild Cat" 19 years ago and playing it at least four times everyday because the songs were just fantastic. There was a vibe on that album that I rarely found again for some reason and from that day I was addicted to TYGERS until they came up with the disappointing "The Cage" but that's another story. Anyway I have always considered this outfit as being the heaviest and most aggressive act out of all the big N.W.O.B.H.M. acts from that periods! Hell you can't resist vicious/ extremely effective riffs such as the ones on "Slave To Freedom", "Euthanasia", "Tyger Bay", "Blackjack", "Gangland" etc… And proof is that this official live recording from 1981- featuring John Deverill on vocals and John Sykes as second guitarist, shows that the band killed in a live situation! Classic after classic, the band rolls like a war machine! And if we have to believe what's written on the booklet by their old manager, the whole band was sick the night it was recorded! I just hope I'll never hear any recordings of them on a good day if I don't want to end up my life too soon. Seriously TYGERS OF PANTANG were a great live act and it shows on this first official live album, excellent vocal delivery all the way. Even on the "Wild Cat" material which wasn't gained at first because Jess Cox raw and abrasive vocals always added something more to the songs in my opinion despite the fact that obviously Deverill was a better singer, killer lead trade between Robb Weir and Sykes and a powerful rhythm section courtesy of Brian Dick and Rocky. The only flaw I found was the vocal performance on "Insanity", Jess Cox can't be replaced on that one. Every pure Heavy Metal freak must own this, there's nothing else to add! A must! Now let's hope someone will discover a live tape in the dust from the "Wild Cat" period! I cross my fingers hard for that.
Laurent Ramadier

Live At Wacken

Could 2001 be the ultimate comeback for TYGERS? It could be the case considering the fact that it seems a new studio album is in the works and these two almost simultaneously released live albums. As the title says, this one was recorded mostly at the 1999 Wacken reunion gig and a few songs during warm up gigs for that event. Despite the fact that only Jess Cox and Rob Weir were the original members for that reunion joined by BLITZKRIEG guitarist Glen Howes and an unknown rhythm section, they delivered a totally unforgettable live set that night. Judge by yourselves, "Rock'n'Roll Man", "Euthanasia", "Don't Touch Me There", "Wildcat" (sung by Rob), "Insanity" etc etc... everything but legendary material and there was definitely a magical delivery of these numbers that night as the men were totally into it and you could easily feel it. Rocky and Brian weren't there but their replacements did a good job, no matter what. If only they could have played the absolutely amazing "Slave To Freedom" during their set- which was only 45 min long for a headlining band actually then it would have sent me on solo, plus the fact that the recording sounds like it was recorded in front of 100.000 people which was not the case. Other than that, along with "Live At Nottingham", you have to add this cd in your Metallic collection no matter what. It's just too bad it's released on Spitfire but fortunately it should be released in Europe on Eagle Rock in the months to come and they can only do a better job than this crappy U.S. label. For now if you're a TYGERS afficiannado like me, go to and try to get a copy of this killer album...
Laurent Ramadier

Book Of Souls
(B.O. Records)

Melodic Teutonic Metal. With only three words I could end this review because all is said and everyone knows what sound to expect. But TYRANT EYES are one of those important upcoming bands like DESTILLERY or DARK AT DAWN that pump fresh blood into the German scene. First of all, the drums of the only okay production are mixed high in the foreground and the keyboards should definitely be used a bit more decent on a few tracks, fortunately the guitars are still loud enough to dominate the nine tracks plus intro. Then, the vocalist Alexander Reimund's melody lines offer a lot of talent, as on the catchy parts in "Dark Side Of The Moon" or on the fine opener "Broken Wings". In times of countless HELLOWEEN and GAMMA RAY clones it's good to hear a melodic, straight German Metal band that is more in the direction of older HEAVEN'S GATE, on the other hand the singer has to increase the strength in his voice and the band can not hold the quality of the first four tracks through the whole record. Hopefully on the next one.
Heinz Konzett