Nine* Circles ov…What “Didn’t” Make My 2018 End of Year List (But Could Have)

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* SPOILERS: it’s gonna be 20 albums…buckle your seat belts.

I told myself this year I was going to take it easy – do the Honorable Mentions, get the final list out, and put 2018 to rest.  On a global, national, and personal front the year’s been pretty much a disaster from the start, and the quicker I can put it in my rearview mirror the better.  But the more I tweaked and played with my end of year selections (thank you Trello for making that shit so easy) the more I realized that – like always – music was the thing that propped me up and made every setback if not better, at least tolerable.  And when the dust cleared from all the list building I found a huge excess of albums that didn’t make my lists but easily could have on another day.  Everything is interchangeable; we are not the people we were even a moment ago, and those experiences constantly inform our perspective on the world, metal albums included. Continue reading

November 2018 Power Metal Album of the Month: Dire Peril – “The Extraterrestrial Compendium”

PMAOTM november 2018 dire peril - the extraterrestrial compendium

Taking over the reins of this column has been an experience.  As I dove deeper into the ever-evolving mass that is power metal and its many offshoots, I’ve begun to tap back into those things that made me fall in love with metal when I was a kid.  The deeper narratives and mythologies, the technical prowess, all in favor to the all-mighty chorus – these were the things that shielded a troubled awkward kid growing up afraid and uncertain.  And as my life as a 45-year old man takes another sharp turn to the afraid and uncertain I’ve been leaning hard into those things that provided comfort before.  Since getting the promo for The Extraterrestrial Compendium, the debut full length from power metal super-duo Dire Peril, I’ve been struck with just how effective the album is at balancing grace and power, despite the pedigree behind.  For that and so much more it was a no-brainer it would be the November Power Metal Album of the Month.    Continue reading

The Path to Paradise Begins in Hell – Power Metal

The Path to Paradise Begins In Hell

Last month, I spoke about fandom once again and how it led me to appreciate folk metal for what it is rather than for what it could be. I tend to intellectualize things when I don’t understand them, which is why I can’t let myself enjoy music or video games sometimes. Looking for the bigger thing doesn’t always lead to answers and, sometimes, you just have to have fun.

Considering how there has been many events this past month that have occurred, I think I need to bring some comfort and cheese into this column just to get away from all the rage and despair we are seeing. This brings me to, of course, another unfamiliar genre of metal that I am only aware of because of two bands that I am familiar with, and then I jumped the gun. Of course, I am still wading my way through the genre, so forgive me.

Also, be prepared to hear me talk about vocals – I am fascinated by them.

It’s time we talk about power metal. Continue reading

October 2018 Power Metal Album of the Month: Hammer King – “Poseidon Will Carry Us Home”

pmaotm - hammer king

Not gonna lie: I spent much of October working on my own music (shameless plug) and being completely enamored of what is almost certainly going to be November’s pick for Power Metal Album of the Month.  So it was only in the last week or so that I really dove into the month’s offerings of metal both pure and true.  But as always there were more than a few golden nuggets to be had, and I was hard pressed to pick between four stellar stand outs (always a good problem to have!).  So I literally rolled some dice and came up with the majestic speed and 80s influence of Hammer King and their third album of classic metal Poseidon Will Carry Us Home.

But damn, any one of the albums listed below could have taken it so read on for the heavy and the pure! Continue reading

September 2018 Power Metal Album of the Month: Ironflame – “Tales of Splendor and Sorrow”

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There’s power metal, and then there’s metal with power.  Taking a break from his various other projects Andrew D’Cagna created Ironflame as an epic heavy metal outlet that took the melody and power of the bands he loved from the 80s and turbo injected it into a modern speed force.  Coming out a few weeks earlier than its physical incarnations, new album Tales of Splendor and Sorrow hit all the spots the debut did, crafting memorable hooks and soaring vocals in a tight, righteous package.
Continue reading