ALBUM REVIEW: Portrait – The Host


 

For their sixth full-length studio release, Swedish metallers Portrait journey to the land of the concept album in order to conjure up a tale of sword and sorcery set in the seventeenth century. Their first full-blown conceptual release, The Host (Metal Blade) is not an entirely fictional piece but also inspired partly by historic events, with the band imparting the tale of an unnamed protagonist seeking strength after encountering injustice and hypocrisy.
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CONCERT REVIEW: Judas Priest – Sabaton Live at MVP Arena Albany


Albany, New York may not be the first place that comes to mind when you think of live music and specifically, Heavy Metal. If you take a look at the history of the MVP Arena which was opened in 1990 as the Knickerbocker Arena, you’ll find a gem of a venue in the New York capital. It opened with a concert by Frank Sinatra and has also played host to The Grateful Dead, Phish, The Rolling Stones, and even Metallica on multiple occasions.  Most recently it was visited by a Metal God in the form of Rob Halford with Judas PriestContinue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Rhapsody of Fire – Challenge The Wind


If the quickest way to get from Point A to Point B is a straight line then clearly nobody thought to mention that to Italian Power Metal kings Rhapsody of Fire who to get where they are today obviously took the Enchanted Lands scenic route. This current incarnation of Rhapsody of Fire (version 666.0) might look very different to how it all began but as the fourteenth full-length studio release Challenge The Wind (AFM Records) proves in no uncertain terms, the music and the subject matter remain very much the same. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Witherfall – Sounds of the Forgotten


All too often bands falling under the “Power Metal” banner, lack power,  diminishing many of the key elements, such as aggression, that are necessary for metal.  On Sounds of the Forgotten (DeathWave Records) Witherfall take a heavier route, drawing from the mid-1980s. This tie to Thrash even led to singer Joseph Micheal taking the mantle from the late Warrel Dane to front Sanctuary for a reunion tour. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Unleash The Archers – Phantoma


Unleash the Archers is a band that reliably produces songs that are unconventional and wildly exciting. This Canadian Power Metal act has broken barriers in the genre by their dauntless divergences, hearty songwriting, and overall efficacious passion. The quintet is preparing to release their sixth full-length album, Phantoma (Napalm Records), which elevates their innovative skills and strengths to new heights.

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DragonForce – Warp Speed Warriors


Before we start, go back and take another look at the cover art. 

Go on, I’ll wait. 

See, while some bands go for a subtle or even abstract “don’t judge a book by its cover” approach, other bands are Dragonforce. Everything emblazoned on the cover to ninth full length studio release Warp Speed Warriors (Napalm Records) is represented here through the medium of eardrum destroying sound. No room for understatement, metaphor or artifice – just a bold, blinding explosion of light, colour and comic book action.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Sonata Arctica – Clear Cold Beyond


Finland is reported to be one of the happiest countries in the world. Even though it can produce some fantastically grim Metal acts, this Nordic nation has some jubilant bands as well. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Ryujin – Ryujin


The new year is off to a good start because Ryujin’s shining new self-titled album Ryujin (Napalm Records) is about to be released. Continue reading


CONCERT REVIEW: Dragonforce – Amaranthe – NanowaR of Steel – Edge of Paradise Live at the Majestic Theatre


It was a calm, brisk Thursday night when a line outside of Detroit’s Majestic Theatre started to form. No one wanted to pay for a coat check so the breeze bit through the gathering crowd’s black hoodies until the doors opened. The chill was worth it since Grammy-nominated power metal pros, Dragonforce, were in town. This band is on a North American headlining tour promoting their upcoming album and they brought along a varied group of special guests with them.Continue reading