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

EOY 2018 Header 9C

* 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

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

ironflame pmaotm

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.
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Profile: Angus McFarland of Hessian

Hessian

Hessian‘s 2014 debut Bachelor of Black Arts is a fist-pumpin’ ode to late 70s and early 80′ heavy metal classics that paid close attention to guitar driven theatrics as much as it did colorful lyrical content. On their upcoming second full length, Mercenary Retrograde, the spirits of Priest and Diamond Head are alive in the guitar harmonies and old school vocals. True, the band did well on their debut but now they’ve stripped away any of the chaff in their sound and focus solely on nailing a raw, straight forward attack. This equates to an album that rocks harder out of the gate and sets its hooks deeper. We recently had the chance to ask mastermind and guitarist / vocalist Angus McFarland our set of Profile questions to get some inside info on the band and what makes them tick. Head directly below for that and don’t forget to grab your own copy from the links contained at the bottom. Continue reading

Album Review: Haunt – “Burst Into Flame”

Haunt - Burst Into Flame

I hear we’re calling this stuff the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal.  I’m always eager to embrace yet another nonsensical label, and await the inevitable usage of NWOTHM or whatever.  Point is, you can label Fresno, CA band Haunt whatever you want if it helps you get through the night.  Me?  The band, their sound, and their killer debut fell length Burst Into Flame is simple heavy metal, and the world is better for its honesty in simply wanting to rock you hard and sweet.   Continue reading

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