Reviews Archive:

WARDOG - A Sound Beating
WARHAMMER - Deathchrist
WARRIOR - The Code Of Life
W.A.S.P. - Unholy Terror
WHITE SKULL - Tales From The North
WHITESNAKE - Ready An' Willing
WILD DOGS - Reign Of Terror
WITCHERY - Witchburner
WIZARD - Bound By Metal
WIZARD - Head Of The Deceiver
WIZZARD - Songs Of Sin And Decadence
WOTAN - Children Of Technology

A Sound Beating
(Metal Blade)

Yes! Tom Gattis is one of the few Metal musicians who never came up with bad music. All of his releases should be heard, no matter whether with DEUCE, TENSION and now WARDOG. A real Metal hero. The second WARDOG album could be an important step for the band. Last year's gig at the "Heavy Oder Was" festival in Germany, which was their first gig in Europe ever, became a tremendous success, the crowd's response was overwhelming. So, the time is right for this fine band. "A Sound Beating" is a classy Metal album, sounding very traditional. It varies from faster stuff ("Welcome To The New Underground", "Breakneck") to fantastic mid-tempo Metal ("C.I.A.", the title track or "Sniper") and to simply blasting Metal tune ("Changing Of The Guard", the aggressive "Close Friends, Closer Enemies"). No fillers, but several killers. The band had serious problems to produce the album, but in the end the sound could not be better for a pure Metal act like WARDOG. The guitars pump the riffs right into your mind and the vocals of Tom (only he sings on the whole album, the right decision) are nothing less than magnificent. Along with the new STEEL PROPHET and the second SACRED STEEL album, this release is one of the best True Metal outputs for a long time. Check it out if you want to know what real Metal music is all about! Congratulation WARDOG.
Heinz Konzett

(Grind Syndicate Media)

"Deathchrist" is already the second full length album by Germany's die hard HELLHAMMER necromantics and luckily nothing's really changed musically ever since the origin of the band. Did I just say nothing? Well, not really... Compared to their debut album ("The Winter Of Our Discontent") they managed to come up with a more authentic, raw production this time (which is a lot closer to their one and only demo release "Towards The Chapter Of Chaos" again). And as you can probably imagine, this captures the old HELLHAMMER feeling even better! The songwriting is still 110% similar to what Mr. Slayed Necros & Mr. Satanic Slaughter did in the 80's and will certainly satisfy the needs of every HELLHAMMER freak around the globe. With "The Tempter Of Destruction" you'll furthermore get a well-done re-recorded version of another old WARHAMMER demo-track and the cover-artwork takes the band to the next logical level. So, if your "Apocalyptic Raids" EP is already scratched from continued playing, these guys give you the ultimate replacement!
Frank Stöver

The Code Of Life
(Nuclear Blast)

Rob Rock joined WARRIOR. Big news for me as Rob is one of my fave singers. Joe Floyd is an absolutely slow song-writer, otherwise it would not be possible to release only three albums in twenty years- the classic "Fighting For The Earth" (I am still waiting for an official re-release as it's still a hard-to-find one on cd), the comeback "Ancient Future" and "The Code Of Life". The new one is not that different, still using the basic Metal elements and still playing mid-tempo US Metal. Crossing the music on "Fighting For The Earth" and Rob's awesome voice promised an album of the decade- it isn't. It's an above average traditional Metal release with cool songs, not more. Not enough for this line-up? Maybe, but enough to support WARRIOR as one of the last 80's bands that release pure Metal in the year 2001. Rob sings much more in mid-ranges and more aggressive than on his killer solo debut "Rage Of Creation". With "We Are One", the title track, "Day Of Reckoning" and "Open Your Eyes" there's enough typical WARRIOR arrangements to worship - Metal to the bones with a rather modern Floyd production that gives the music a more current and groovier touch than awaited.
Heinz Konzett

Unholy Terror

Being a long time fan of the band since the days of their debut album that carried many a conversation during junior high, I'm very intrigued by the different facets of W.A.S.P. that try to make each album distinctive. "Unholy Terror" fits the bill as an album that captures the energy of the early efforts while lyrically challenging the listeners like "The Headless Children". The opener "Let It Roar" blasts your stereo and the force of Blackie Lawless and company barrel you through to other emotive songs like "Loco-Motive Man" and the haunting title track. Lyrically focusing on Blackie's religious upbringing and coming to terms with his beliefs, the music provides an inviting backdrop with the furious riffing, stirring arrangements and over the top drum performances that one always anticipates in this Metal unit. I think W.A.S.P. have produced their finest album since "The Headless Children" and one that should bring the old school crowd to their feet easily.
Matt Coe

Tales From The North
(Nuclear Blast)

When I put the disk into my CD player the album started off with the soundtrack-like intro "The Quest". But when the first track "Tales From The North" started I knew that WHITE SKULL have kept their aggressive approach to Metal music and just added some keys, played by producer Luigi Stefanini, in order to create a bit of an epic feeling. But they are far away from being symphonic. The main thing that has changed are the lyrics and the arrangements of the songs. The lyrics are all influenced by northern mythology and legends, but it is no concept album. The arrangements are more dynamic and the choruses more melodic and sometimes even bombastic. The music is best to be described as classic, powerful Metal with a speedy touch. Federica De Boni has developed her voice a lot during the years and is now able to perform the full range from slow, melodic to furious and aggressive parts. Her voice is quite unique and very different from all the other "innocent girls" and "fairy princesses" in Metal music. My recommendation is "the heart of the disk", a little concept about Kriemhild and the Nibelungensaga, covering three songs and the whole musical range of WHITE SKULL. It starts off with the powerful, midtempo banger "Kriemhild Story" telling of Siegfrieds death. Next to come is the speedy "The Killing Queen" describing the revenge of Kriemhild and finally "The Terrible Slaughter", an emotional power-ballad showing where Kriemhilds revenge has led to. Some people will consider them as GRAVE DIGGER-clones, just because Chris Boltendahl performed some lead vocals (title-track, "Gods Of The Sea" & "Here We Are"). But this hard-working band really deserves to be given a chance. Once again, this is a great album of a band that worked hard for many, many years and now finally released a very mature, heavy and catchy album. What more should I say?
Helmut Posch

Ready An' Willing
(Axe Killer Records)

When it comes to vintage WHITESNAKE, the band's 1980 album "Ready An' Willing" has always been a number one choice. Not only that it features one of the best line-ups that Mr. David Coverdale ever had (Bernie Marsden and Micky Moody on guitar, Neil Murray on bass and the two former DEEP PURPLE members Ian Paice on drums and Jon Lord on keyboards), it also comes up with a big bunch of WHITESNAKE's later crowd favorites: 'Fool For Your Loving', 'Sweet Talker', 'Ready An' Willing' and 'Ain't Gonna Cry No More'. Apart from those, the brilliant ballad 'Blindman' still sends shivers down my spine almost twenty years later. I have no idea why Axe Killer decided to re-issue this classic of bluesy Hardrock these days (as it should still be available in its original format), but in case you shouldn't own it yet, it's a nice opportunity to finally go for it, cause with 'Mean Business', 'Night Hawk (Vampire Blues)', 'Don't Mess With Me' and 'We Wish You Well' it also features no less than four additional bonus tracks (from the band's very beginning in 1978) and the usual high quality Axe Killer packaging.
Frank Stöver

Reign Of Terror
(Old Metal)

3rd albums from metal acts are usually the pinnacle triumph of a band's career. Moving beyond initial influences while still hungry for glory, who can forget "The Number Of The Beast", "Sin After Sin", "Master Of Reality" or "Master Of Puppets" to name but a few. My point is- "Reign Of Terror" belongs with these classic albums if you remotely appreciate the metal category. New vocalist Michael Furlong gave an impassioned fire to the speedy songs on display, especially on opener "Metal Fuel" and "Spellshock". Guitarist Jeff Mark lashed out tasty riff after riff, reviving the great masters from Hoffmann (ACCEPT) to Rhoads in cuts like "Call Of The Wild" and the title track. Plus those who wonder what the fuss is about drummer Deen Castronovo need only listen to this album to hear his lightning fast arms and legs that work all parts of the drum kit to perfection. Old Metal offers 7 bonus cuts from a demo quality session that would have been the WILD DOGS 4th album- providing an insight into a band whose limited success was a shame to see as they deserved more fan appreciation. Definitely one of my top 5 albums of all time- "Reign Of Terror" gets at least 3 airplays a week in my stereo....forever! Contact: Old Metal Records/ 5953 N. 10th St./ Arlington,VA/ 22205/ USA.
Matt Coe

(Necropolis Records)

Their debut "Restless & Dead" has been one of the best Thrash Metal albums last year, along with IMAGIKA's "Worship". As promised, the little all-star band (members from THE HAUNTED and MERCYFUL FATE for instance) release a seven track EP with four covers of Metal classics. The versions of ACCEPT's "Fast As A Shark" (adding the "Balls To The Wall" riff at the end of the song), JUDAS PRIEST's "Riding On The Wind" and "I Wanna Be Somebody" from W.A.S.P. can totally convince. These covers are expertly played and the CARCASS-like vocals give those songs a peculiar feeling. Very entertaining. Only "Mob Rules" is not to my liking, because I miss the vocals of Ronnie James Dio and the aggressive ones of Toxine sound rather strange when singing this SABBATH classic. The other three tracks are WITCHERY songs and each one is a real speed inferno in the vein of old SLAYER and METALLICA in their glorious "Kill 'Em All" times. In particular "The Executioner" sounds like "Jump On Fire" on 45. For all you Thrash Metal supporters out there, WITCHERY delivers boundless power which is highly recommended.
Heinz Konzett

Friends Of Hell
(Heayy Metal Records)

That's another album that I really wanted on CD! Fuck yeah! If " Death Penalty" is a good album, this one (their last) is just insane!!!! That's band was so HEAVY that it makes a band like HELLHAMMER sounding like CELINE DION! Unfortunaly like most of the best N.W.O.B.H.M. bands, W. GENERAL never got any recognition and I still wonder why! Maybe cos they were too heavy, too SABBATH sounding?! Sure the SABBATH influence are obvious but those guys knew how to write their own killer songs and they still are the heaviest band in England along with early SABBATH and PAGAN ALTAR and also one of the heaviest in the world along with the mighty TROUBLE and PENTAGRAM!! That album have no fillers, everything is great, awesome power all the way! Check out how devastating "Love On Smack", "Requiem For Youth" or "Quietus Reprise" are!! There's also the "hit" song, "Music" which has a chorus that will not leave your mind until you will be dead! Sometimes Zebb Parkes sounds almost like Ozzy especially during the break of "Friends Of Hell", that's just frightening. What amazes me with that kind of record is the fact that it seemed really easy for them to come up with shredding riffs! Yeah, if you consider yourself as a True Metaller and you never had the chance to check out that band before, then it's time for you to buy that masterpiece If only they could reform the band and kick some ass then that would really kill!!
Laurent Ramadier

Bound By Metal
(B.O. Records)

Brothers of Metal! These Germans release the third true Metal album and it's surely their best so far. Already the cover drawing with its warriors, skulls and swords explains for what the band stands for. Heavy Metal in its purest form, sounding very German with a strong MANOWAR touch when it comes to refrains and the hymn factor. The lyrics are - as always - not on the intellectual side, singing about "Gladiators Of Steel" or "Brave Warriors" but would that fit to the traditional Metal sound? For the first time, the production can be called powerful and balanced as that point could be improved on the previous good but not outstanding albums "Son Of Darkness" and "Battle Of Metal". The very MANOWAR influenced title track, "Dark Wings" with a mighty riff and the fabulous opener "Hammer, Bow, Axe And Sword" mark the highlights, not forgetting that the band's performance in general really amazes. One of the best Metal albums from Germany in 1999. Support them.
Heinz Konzett

Head Of The Deceiver
(Limb Music Productions)

I've seen WIZARD play with VORTEX last year (2000) in Groningen. Before that I saw them at Wacken, and I thought they'd made a massive step forward. Their sound and their show were at least to be called impressive. This true metal band from Germany presents us their fourth album now, which is called "Head Of The Deceiver". Together with MANOWAR they can stand on the barricades and say that they are one of the few survivors of the true metal scene. Song titles like ""Defenders Of Metal", "Demon Witches", "Iron War" and "True Metal" will say enough I guess. Double bass drums are thundering, guitar solos are fired up in the air and Sven D'Anna (vocalist) sings and screams as if he was chased by a six headed monster. Remarkable is that WIZARD only has one guitar player in their ranks and that's Michael Maass. But the man simply makes noise for two guitar players, just like that. I hope this band will stay away from the well known GAMMA RAY, STRATOVARIUS, RHAPSODY influences, 'cause this will keep them unique for what they do right now. Next year they will hopefully make it to Wacken, 'cause unfortunately they had to cancel their gig there this year. And you can imagine that this would have been a great opportunity to promote this fourth album live on stage. Now they're gonna let the music do the talking, but only the music is convincing enough for me already to tell you that this is a superb new release of WIZARD.
Toine van Poorten

Songs Of Sin And Decadence
(Gutter Records)

Did I sleep or what? This band, hailing from Finland, already released one demo and two albums (the self-titled debut and "Devilmusick") and I didn't know anything of them. A big mistake because "Songs Of Sin And Decadence" brings back the spirit of pure Metal in the vein of old TANK, sounding more metallic and not as punky as the English NWoBHM veterans. Don't confuse the band with the Germans WIZARD even if their Metal style is not that much different. WIZZARD delivers a darker, heavier mood with slightly growling and rough but very powerful Lemmy-like vocals which fit perfectly to the evil, mid-paced riffing in ten Metal hymns as the insane "Temple Of Elemental Evil", "Angel De La Barthe", "Tormentor" or "Harbringers Of Metal". This is true Heavy Metal - such bands keep the Metal flag flying. Great. Heinz Konzett

Children Of Technology
(2R Records)

The origin of this German five-piece goes way back to 1985 and "Children Of Technology" is already the band's second CD release (their debut "Tranquility" came out on D&S Records in 1996). ASSASSIN, SLAYER and DEATH get mentioned as their main musical influences, which proves that there's still bands around with good taste. "Children Of Technology" comes up with seven really cool, quite intensely performed own compositions, plus a rather superfluous coverversion of the old SISTERS OF MERCY classic "Temple Of Love" (which just doesn't fit to their own material). Musically spoken there's nothing to complain about. WOTAN (which, by the way, stands for World Of Terror And Nausea) quite obviously have got the right feeling for this type of music as they never sound modern nor fake in any way. They really thrash 'till death the way it was supposed to be and certainly deliver the goods in a live situation. Too bad that vocalist Carsten Pusche can't live up to the rest of the band as his often uninspired sounding growling isn't really what I consider convincing. A bit more real aggression is certainly needed here. So, it shouldn't surprise anyone that it was the instrumental "Magnum-Song" which really saved my day. Further ordering infos you can obtain from: Antonio Rankel, Roseggerstr. 40, 12059 Berlin, Germany, phone / fax: + 49 (0) 30 681 09 86, e-mail:
P.S.: They must have the youngest bassplayer in the history of Metal in their line-up as Eric is supposed to be born on Sept.2, 1997 (if it's true - Heinz).
Frank Stöver


Symphonic/Melodic Metal bands normally reign supreme in Germany and Italy - but this quintet from Denmark prove on "Within" that you have a serious contender in the BLIND GUARDIAN/LABYRINTH class of originality. This 7 song/48 min journey represents the 1st part of a trilogy from the leader of this band guitarist Erik Ravn about a lonely man dealing with the search for something more than a typical life. Musically WUTHERING HEIGHTS can throw 10-15 different sounds at a time, building to crescendos and swiftly moving into quieter, more primitive acoustic laden passages, while vocalist Kristian Andren (of TAD MOROSE/MEMENTO MORI fame) sings with a melodic clarity that instantly catches your attention. Sure some band names will come to mind like ANGRA and the aforementioned BG - but WUTHERING HEIGHTS also add a guitar harmonic edge in songs like "Hunter In The Dark" and "Too Great Thy Gift" that recalls classic "Piece Of Mind"-time IRON MAIDEN, as well as folkish moments during the epic 13 min + "Dreamwalker" that SKYCLAD fans relish. I believe "Within" is a great album that can and will be bettered though - as this material has been rewritten and refined over the past 5 years, which leads me to believe Erik Ravn and WUTHERING HEIGHTS have more in store to complete the trilogy. Great punchy production from studiomaster Jacob Hansen, stellar performances, and a knack for making a melodious album full of little nuances to discover time and again- "Within" sparkles as evidence that Symphonic Metal shines brightly in 1999 and beyond. Incredible -captivating- album of the year candidate for sure! Contact: Sensory/ PO Box 388/ Voorhees,NJ/ 08043-0388/ USA Email:
Matt Coe