The early eighties Bay Area Thrash scene may be one of the most successful and influential metal scenes of all time. Their waves of influence are still felt today even in the far-off land of Slovenia. Continue reading
Just when you thought things had finally returned to normal after the pandemic, up pop Victorius to make you question your own sanity. Returning with their sixth full-length studio album (or second since going full dino-ninja bonkers) the five German nutters with a Gloryhammer sense of humour and an instant autocorrect for a name thrust Dinosaur Warfare Pt. 2 – The Great Ninja War (Napalm Records) onto an unsuspecting (Jurassic) world.Continue reading
It was a cold, rainy evening last Sunday in Motor City, but that didn’t damper the spirits of those attending the metal show happening at The Sanctuary. Residing in the humble hamlet of Hamtramck, next to Detroit, this music venue is the pulse of the heavy scene for the whole city. Many gathered in the quaint sized concert hall because the Doom Metal masters, Swallow the Sun were in town. This legendary act of doom ‘n gloom is on the road promoting their new album Moonflowers (Century Media Records). Plus, they brought along Abigail Williams and Wilderun as their supporting acts, making it a night filled with decadent heaviness.
Swallow the Sun is one of those bands that has created a notable amount of music over the years while remaining true to their own unique sound. They have managed to consistently innovate their thoughtful voice while maintaining their originality. For over twenty years, this Finnish act has been a wheel and stern to the Doom Metal genre. They have steered their ship into the darker depths of this vast category and beyond. It has only been two years since we were given their last album, When a Shadow is Forced into the Light (Century Media Records), yet the founder and writer for the band, Juha Raivio still has a lot to say. The group’s eighth full-length record, Moonflowers (Century Media Records) is coming out to expose their deeper levels of heartache and affliction. Continue reading
In contrast to the mythical themes that defined their first two albums, Seven Sisters’ third full-length presents itself with a more otherworldly sci-fi aesthetic. However, the music on Shadow Of A Fallen Star, Pt. 1 (Cherry Red Records) ultimately sustains the classy approach to Heavy Metal seen on its predecessors. Comparisons could be made to groups like Iron Maiden, Aria, and Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath with some helpings of Power Metal in the vein of Hammerfall and old school Kamelot.
Having established itself with a series of singles since their 2019 formation, Tasmania’s Fierce Deity takes an epic step forward with Power Wisdom Courage (Self-Released). Having three songs total to a thirty-two-minute runtime puts this release on that weird line between an album and an EP and seeing these tracks sprawl to ten-plus minute lengths results in a release with an epic scope and a compact execution. Fortunately, these seemingly contradictory elements end up coming together well to form an incredibly triumphant work of Stonerized Power Metal.
The last few years have been very good for Trad Metal bands and their fans. Be it the maturing of the old school heavy metallers, or the young hipstery bizarro mustachio, vest metal crew that have formed a new age fanbase, it’s been heartwarming to see a horde of fans support so many worthy bands of late. One that has gotten on my radar the last few years is Lavaborne; mid-western warriors who eschew the vanilla tropes of the style in favor of originality, top songcraft, and true Trad reverence.
Mourn the Light – Suffer, Then We’re Gone
Mourn The Light offers Traditional Doom Metal with a few twists on their first full-length album. It doesn’t quite hit the full operatic scope of Epic Doom or reach the speeds of Classic Metal, but influences from both at work throughout Suffer, Then We’re Gone (Argonauta Records). The riffs and song structures are in line with the busy nature of Psalm 9-era Trouble while the vocals offer a husky but theatrical bellow, drawing further comparisons to groups like Altar Of Oblivion and Argus.Continue reading
For the most part, Thronehammer’s second full-length is poised to offer the same colossal Battle Doom as 2019’s Usurper Of The Oaken Throne. Incantation Rites (Supreme Chaos Records) features a similarly expansive runtime at seventy-five minutes long with the individual songs putting in the same mix of drawn-out lengths and monolithic tempos. This continuation would raise concerns of recessing into stagnancy, but the band hones their focus while picking up a couple of new tricks along the way.
While Toronto’s Possessed Steel approached Epic Metal with a rough attitude on the EPs they released in 2014 and 2017, their first proper full-length is much classier in comparison. The style is as grandiose as ever, but a greater emphasis on intricate guitar harmonies and polished production gives Aedris (Temple Of Mystery Records) more in common with a band like Wytch Hazel than Atlantean Kodex. Further comparisons could also be made to The Lord Weird Slough Feg and Hammers Of Misfortune with the free-flowing structures and pastoral air throughout.