After receiving “Ganjahovahdosed” from The White Mice last October, we can’t really know what to expect from the label 20 Buck Spin. This month we got an equally cool, but completely different release with Christian Mistress “Agony & Opium”, the band’s long-awaited debut album. Featuring 6 hard rocking Heavy Metal tracks, you will surely be blown away by the band’s effectiveness in creating catchy and powerful melodies.
Coming from Olympia, Washington (also the label’s headquarters), Christian Mistress is surely set to take the American Heavy Metal by surprise with their guitar driven songs. The bands dueling guitarists do an awesome job in crafting the perfect back bone for Christine Davis raspy vocals. With less than 30 minutes of music the band makes a great introductory statement with this brilliant release.
For a band that has been around over 10 years, RAM has only released two full-length albums of their brand of traditional Heavy Metal. Hailing from Sweden, if we didn’t have any information about RAM we would imagine that they released “Lightbringer” decades ago. This release features what every die-hard Heavy Metal fan dreams about: an epic old-school Heavy Metal assault that will keep you to the edge of your seat.
“Lightbringer” presents us with 10 tracks that are highly entertaining and super diverse. There is not a single dull moment in this album since each track has enough magic inside them to make them stand out individually, and when placed together we get a top notch release that will surely turn heads left and right.
All the way from Germany today we have Iron Fate and their debut album “Cast in Iron”. This relatively new band features an interesting ‘slower paced’ combination of Heavy/Power Metal with some Thrash elements, we say ‘slower paced’ since this band never goes to 200 mph’s and lacks a bit of the epicness that the genre calls for.
The first thing you will notice about Iron Fate is their extremely versatile (and good) vocalist Denis Brosowski. This front-man can hit notes and resemble almost any Heavy/Power metal vocalist in the scene in a very impressive fashion. While the music behind this great singer is average, we feel that this is what brings Iron Fate down and (for now) stops them from being a great Heavy/Power Metal band.
Charismatic Iron Maiden’s ex-frontman Blaze Bayley returns with his latest album “Promise and Terror”. After the second implosion in 2007 or Blaze, he formed a completely new band and modestly named it after himself (who wouldn’t!). Anyways, the new Blaze Bayley band sounds as good as ever and “Promise and Terror” is a very powerful Heavy Metal release that showcases Bayley’s vocals in almost every single angle possible.
Featuring a very solid band behind him, Bayley is back in full form and his singing sounds as good as it did with Iron Maiden (don’t hate, he is a good singer). The feeling behind the songs is at an all-time high since some lyrics are very personal to Bayley. The overall sound of the album is also very dark and works wonders with his singing style.
This legendary German Heavy/Power Metal trio is back with yet another solid album. This band is currently celebrating their 25th year anniversary and what better way to do it with a super Heavy Metal release. Featuring Peter "Peavy" Wagner as the only founding member, the band has featured guitar virtuoso Victor Smolski since 1999 and recently (20070 added drummer Andre Hilgers. All of these musicians have heaps of experience in making solid music over the years.
The main appeal of a band such as Rage is the ability to write epic choruses and you can’t get any better than them for this task. Keeping a very traditional Heavy Metal sound this band can change the course of a song from just ‘good’ to plain epic with their perfectly crafted choruses. While some of them might sound a bit too soft, there is nothing soft about the overall power this band displays in “Strings To A Web”.
The current revival/rehashing of ‘traditional’ metal genres such as Trash Metal, old-school Black Metal, and old-school Heavy Metal, has been reaching the point of being extremely ridiculous. Every four out of ten releases we get have to do with some kind of new band playing old-school music. Now, it’s surprisingly shocking to us when we actually get a band trying to do something new and exciting.
Kissin’ Dynamtie hails from Germany and they formed back in 2002 to play… ‘traditional’ Heavy Metal, what a shocker. The band actually is very good at what they do and they capture the old-school sound perfectly. Some people are calling this band the next-best thing after Edguy (for German Heavy Metal), and while we can agree that musically this band is pretty solid, they have no originality at all.
After listening to Skyforger’s new album “Kurbads” the first thing that comes to mind is: WTF. The band started out Pagan/Folk Metal with Black Metal influences, and now it’s reduced to a semi-inspired mixture of Trash/Heavy Metal with some Folk influences. “Kurbads” is far far away from what we are expected from Skyforger.
Hailing from Latvia, it’s been seven years since the all-folk “Zobena Dziesma” album, and all these years have been wasted since “Kurbads” is downright terrible in our opinion. There are some good moments here and there, but mostly it’s just re-hashed Trash riffs with horrible vocals. The folk sections are ok, but during the band’s absence there have been great Pagan/Folk Metal releases that completely obscure this release.
The charismatic Marco Hietala brings us the ninth full-length release of his first band: Tarot. While this band is widely recognized in Finland and Europe, the band has been relatively unknown in the USA. With Marco’s popularity increase since he joined Nightwish in 2001, and his work with Northen Kings, Tarot is finally getting the worldwide spotlight they deserve.
Playing Heavy Metal, Tarot is a band that has always released good albums over the years. “Gravity Of Light” is another one of their solid releases and if you like Marco’s voice, you need no other reason to get this release (even though he does not sign as much as we wish). The band’s music has always been ‘standard’ and we might even argue that feels a bit tired after nine releases that sound very much alike.
After a very well received “Into the Night”, Enforcer is back with their 80’s inspired Heavy Metal, and with “Diamonds” they manage to pick up where they left off two years ago. The band is clearly very influenced by the 80’s and they sound exactly if they traveled through time in order to show us how it was done back then.
While some people might call them posers, we have to say that if the music is done correctly and it has the same feeling, then it does not matter that Enforcer is a flashback band, they kick ass and take names. Showcasing a perfect balance of Heavy/Trash Metal from the 80’s “Diamonds” is a pretty solid album that will make you want to dig out your favorite tapes and LP’s from those glory days.
With the Spotlight shining on the Bay Area Trash Metal scene once more we have legendary bands releasing their finest releases to date like Exodus and Heathen. We also have other bands resurrecting like Forbidden, all this activity has made other bands like Kaos want to make another push to establish themselves as major players of the scene.
Kaos has been around since the late 80’s releasing demo after demo until their first album saw the light of day in 2000 with “Vision Beyond”. After that the band signed to Relentless Records in order to release “Kaos Among Us”. Fast-forward to 2010 and we get the band’s latest offering with “The Pits Of Existence”, an album that clearly captures the old-school feeling and it’s marked to push Kaos into the spot light.