Album Review: Visigoth – “Conqueror’s Oath”

visigoth - conqueror's oath

It’s hard to escape the tendency to double-down on your sophomore album.  You hit a measure of critical success and use that as a springboard to expand, to up your ambition and simply do more.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes you get Use Your Illusion I and II.  It’s a harder road to critically look at what worked and pare down to the essentials, to trim the fat and unleash a street ready fighting machine.  Visigoth manages the tricky balance of paring an already lean attack to the essentials while simultaneously broadening their scope on the righteous heavy metal punch of Conqueror’s Oath.   Continue reading

Album Review: King Witch – “Under the Mountain”

king witch - under the mountain

A lot of bands lumped in the throwback circuit of 70s nostalgia rock (I’m thinking bands like Witchcraft, Kadavar, and the recently reunited Graveyard) takes their cues from the Marshall stacks and searing solos of the progenitors of the field, but there’s a smaller component often missed.  Listening to Under the Mountain, the debut album from Scottish classic rockers King Witch I discovered they realized that gap as well, and made sure to cover it on a powerhouse collection of tunes I’ve been spinning a lot these past few weeks.   Continue reading

Album Review: Lady Beast – “Vicious Breed”

lady_beast_vicious_cover

“Throwback metal” feels like a disservice to what bands like Pittsburgh PA’s Lady Beast are doing for the scene.  Keeping the torch burning for melody, galloping guitars and harmonized leads, bass that’s never content to merely double, and rock solid drumming in service to powerhouse vocals is vital to keep the heart and head, shoulder and fist in sync with that most glorious of terms, HEAVY METAL.  And on third album Vicious Breed the band carries the torch high, indeed.   Continue reading

Album Review: Sorcerer – “The Crowning of the Fire King”

Sorcerer_-_The_Crowning_of_the_Fire_King

I wish there were more bands fighting to claim the mantle of melodic doom made essential by bands like Candlemass and Solitude Aeternus.  In most cases bands tend to slip too far over to either pure doom or more traditional metal.  Striking that balance between incredible riffs, melodies and solos while maintaining keep your feet firmly planted in a solemn doom foundation is tough.  Unless you happen to be Sorcerer, who can seemingly pull head banging, fist pumping anthems to the heavy out of thin air on their newest album The Crowning of the Fire King.   Continue reading

Album Review: Argus – “From Fields of Fire”

argus - from fields of fire

Birthed in an attempt to drop the shackles of musical tradition, it’s interesting some 40 odd years later to coin the term “trad metal” when speaking about a particular sub genre that really feel of a place and time more than a decade after Sabbath dropped their massive blast of a debut.  But if we’re going to stick with what the populace now calls traditional metal; give me heavy bass, cascades of harmonized guitars and solos that slay great beasts.  Give me majesty and darkness in equal measure, give me a voice with the grit and power to convey it all with a solemnity that inspires awe as much as it does raised fists and head bangs.

In other words, give me Argus and their new LP, From Fields of Fire.   Continue reading