Dexter Ward – III Review

Score8.5/10
GenreHeavy Metal (Traditional)
CountryGreece
Runtime45:58
Release Date13 March 2020
Record LabelNo Remorse

Greek heavy metal force Dexter Ward have returned after four years with a third album of classic anthems and colossal riffage. This epic, gritty onslaught of medieval glory easily stands among the mightiest of axe-wielding metal knights. Within are eight tracks forged of metal worship and mighty tales.

Overall, III treads closely to the root Dexter Ward sound, kind of a combination of bands like Visigoth and Iron Maiden, with a touch of Running Wild. Along the same lines, the sound stays true to classic metal through the use of memorable riffs and a fair deal of facemelting. The vocals, while nothing to scoff at, are more dialed down than the usual belting of modern metal bands, instead taking a more Manowar (or to a lesser extent, Dio) approach to things.

For me, the highlight of III is the guitarwork. I could go into detail or pick songs (maybe ‘The Dragon of the Mist’ is on the upper end?) but I’d just end up saying the same shit over and over so I’ll just leave it and say the guitars are fucking killer, inside and out. The classic-inspired anthems of the choruses also take a stand as a high point, and the drums are far busier than in your usual classic metal band.

But, the real reason III kicks so much ass is its variety. The songs are all dynamic, with sick solo sections in some and chugging grooves in others. Fitting in with the whole sword-and-sorcery theme, a lot of the album is based around up-tempo gallops and 6/8, but there’s a good mix of musical feels, so playing the record front to back is no problem.

Fans of Greek power metal and classics like Iron Maiden and the aforementioned bands should definitely give III a spin (and the rest of Dexter Ward’s stuff). It’s one of the stronger albums in the genre I’ve heard in the past months, and I’m finding it hard to get sick of.

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Heavy Metal: New Single From Canadian True Metallers Traveler

Calgary-based heavy metal firebrands Traveler are a month out from releasing their sophomore album, Termination Shock.

They’ve dropped another rifftastic single, ‘STK’, which continues to hold the bar high for the upcoming album.

Termination Shock is set to be released on 24 April under Gates of Hell Records. It’s only been a year since the band’s debut, so a similar freshness is sure to accompany this effort!

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Throne Of Iron – Adventure One Review

Score6/10
GenreTraditional Heavy Metal
CountryUSA (Indiana)
Runtime42:28
Release Date21 February 2020
Record LabelNo Remorse

If you’re looking for new, cleanish-yet-classic heavy metal, maybe go and listen to the new Ironflame or Wolpakk albums, because you won’t find it here. This debut, forged by Throne of Iron, is no-bullshit traditional metal, through and through. You will find no synths here, nor will you find crisp mastering, orchestrations, or anything outside of 4/4. You will, however, find plenty of classic Ozzy/Sabbath vibes, as well as vocals that sound like they’re being sung from across an empty alleyway, as is characteristic of the style.

At the end of the day, though, most of us find ourselves coming back to this timeless sound, so, even though it’s been done a million fucking times since the 80s, new offerings are usually a welcome sight. Adventure One is pretty simplistic (both musically and production-wise), the riffs are solid, and the vocals aren’t anything special. But isn’t that what gives this kind of music its heart? It’s just a few regular dudes, playing their brand of metal. Besides, the solos are pretty sick, so there’s that.

Beyond all that, though, there isn’t much else to say about this album. Throne of Iron aren’t going to win any awards for being groundbreaking any time soon, but that isn’t really the point here. For what it is, Adventure One is good enough. Most of the album treads closely on the line of being repetitive, but that’s always a risk when you play this old, shoddy, occult-styled metal. Regardless, if you’re a fan of this style, give this record a spin.

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Top 25 Metal Albums Of 2019

Future generations will look back on 2019 as the Year of Power Metal. With very few exceptions, every major power metal band released new material this year, most of which was nothing short of excellent.

However, power metal wasn’t the only dominating force this year. Most of the big prog, heavy, and folk players also released albums, as well as bands that I don’t give a shit about like Slipknot, TOOL, and pretty well everything on the extreme metal side of things.

Anyway, the following features twenty five of the best “melodic” metal albums of the year! The competition was steep; of the 380+ albums I listened to this year, almost seventy of them were serious contenders for this list.

Also, you might notice that, despite a few placements in my monthly Top Tens and my scoring in general, some albums listed here are higher or lower than they “should” be. The main reason here is that, surprise surprise, opinions can change with time, and so can music.

Regardless, you can be damn certain that the following 25 metal albums are the best to come out of the monster than was 2019!

25. Elvenking – Reader of the Runes – Divination

Elvenking’s tenth album, Reader of the Runes – Divination, kicks all sort of ass, pagan-style. Fans will be pleased that Divination still retains the core Elvenking sound: a primarily-pop/punk vocal style, folk melodies, proggy song structure, and a power metal energy. Conversely, though, the album is as much a breath of fresh air as it is an Elvenking album, as it takes the band in two directions that they haven’t really explored in depth before; the road of Divination is generally darker and heavier than their previous material, and it also brings a whole concept that tells of a journey into a mystical world of runes and magic. It’s not the band’s best, but it’s really fucking good.

Full Review

24. HammerFall – Dominion

Since their founding in 1993, heavy metal templars HammerFall have fought to continue the legacy of 80s heavy metal, smithing more than ten full-length records and establishing themselves as Sweden’s and Europe’s premier heavy metal masters. Their latest album, Dominion, is an epic powerhouse that easily contends with their early material in terms of quality and heart.

Full Review

23. Rhodium – Sea of the Dead

Sea of the Dead is the latest offering of Greek power metal (think Firewind, Diviner, stuff like that). Featuring an almost all-new lineup, the album drives forth with exceptional guitarwork and even more impressive vocals, which sit somewhere between the usual, coarse Greek power vocals and higher Euro power norm. This is one hell of a sophomore album and is more than strong enough to earn spot on this list.

Full Review

22. Chaos Magic – Furyborn

Caterina Nix’s second installment of Chaos Magic is, quite simply, amazing. Written alongside Chilean musician Nasson, Furyborn is a far cry from its predecessor and exchanges its typical symphonic metal sound for a more original, albeit poppy, take on melodic metal. It’s full of sick guitars, killer melodies, and boundless attitude. This “pop” metal album blows all other pop metal albums out of the water.

Full Review

21. Frozen Crown – Crowned in Frost

Frozen Crown have solidified their sound in a heavier, grittier, more diverse power metal offering than their debut. This female fronted (or should I say, “female fueled,” due to vocalist Jade Etro as well as eighteen-year-old southpaw shredder Talia Bellazecca) powerhouse has created an exceptionally refined record that blasts forth with elements from harsh death metal, traditional heavy metal, and everything in between. Pair that with elaborate guitarwork and numerous vocal styles and you have yourself one ferocious album!

Full Review

20. Finsterforst – Zerfall

Furious German folkers Finsterforst are back with a fifth backbreaking album, complete with lengthy arrangements, chanted melodies, and intense orchestrations. Zerfall is a very unique take on folk metal, combining keyboards, orchestras, and heavy guitars with elements of death metal and folk melodies (sorta like Wintersun but heavier). The choruses have a slight ring of Orden Ogan to them that amplifies already-huge atmospheres, so it’s safe to say that you’re in for a poundingly heavy ride with this one.

19. Amulet – The Inevitable War

Blasting forth with a fresh lineup, Amulet’s sophomore record is an exceptional work of classic metal. The Inevitable War takes the band to new heights and is the best classic metal album of the year.

There’s really nothing to dislike. The mixing is flawless, the band is exceptionally talented, and the music simply bleeds energy. Each anthemic chorus hits with a similar impact as classic Manowar, and the galloping rhythm section chugs away with the likeness of Iron Maiden. Get your fix of the classics with this very new release.

Full Review

18. Control the Storm – Forevermore

This album is incredible: female-fronted power metal at its finest. The overall atmosphere is bright and energetic, and it’s fueled by symphonic components, folk elements, and rich vocal harmonies. Plus, the arrangements are dynamic and exceptionally written. If you haven’t heard of them before, this album is all you need to get excited about Control the Storm.

Full Review

17. Manegarm – Fornaldarsagor

In their best album in probably a decade, Manegarm have something grand in Fornaldarsagor. While primarily a coarser folk metal work, there’s the usual inclusion of impending black metal elements, as well as some female and clean male vocals. While the formula of Fornaldarsagor is typical of Manegarm, far more care has been taken regarding the songwriting that the past three albums.

16. ShadowStrike – Legends of Human Spirit

Legends of Human Spirit is probably the strongest power metal debut of the entire year. It’s insanely fast, vibrant, true power metal to the core. It’s really as simple as that. ShadowStrike, hailing from New York, have busted out of the gate with a DragonForce-influenced sound that manages to steer clear of being too derivative, delivering a unique, shredtastic album.

Part of the driving force of this individuality is the band’s tasteful use of symphonic elements (I would never consider this album “symphonic metal”, though) as well as sophisticated song arrangements. With nothing short of excellent on the record, ShadowStrike have quickly become one of my favourite power metal bands, ever.

Full Review

15. Noveria – Aequilibrium

Italian proggers Noveria don’t fuck around. As soon as it starts, Aequilibrium explodes into high-intensity with a death metal atmosphere and epic choirs. Through the rest of the album, we encounter sick riff after sick riff (not the least of which can be found in ‘Awakening’ and ‘Broken’) in all their beefy, syncopated glory, as well as beautiful interludes and pulled back sections. Another aspect that makes Aequilibrium stand out is the fact that, while there’s a dark tone to most of the album, it’s never depressing and it’s always energetic.

Full Review

14. Scimitar – Shadows of Man

Canadian pagan metal warriors Scimitar have been around for just over a decade. Early on in their career, they released their debut album, Black Waters, but the band took a bit of a break soon after. Now, nine years later, the band have finally unleashed their sophomore album. Shadows of Man is gritty, furious, and packs way more variety into it than I would have ever expected. With a sound that’s in the realm of Ensiferum and Vanir (although far less refined, production-wise), Scimitar’s combination of death, black, and folk elements will be welcome with any fan of the dark side of folk metal.

(Yeah, I know this is, like, the third melodeath/folk metal album on a “melodic metal” list. Deal with it. This is MY house.)

Full Review

13. Brymir – Wings of Fire

Brymir is extreme metal for the power metal fan and Wings of Fire is no exception. If it weren’t for the rough vocals, it’d be epic symphonic power metal through-and-through.No, I shouldn’t say that. It’s way too epic to be just that. It’s the kind of epic that’ll make you believe that you can crush mountains and fly through the sky as the bringer of life or death, sole judge of the universe, with all of the power of the gods in your hands, under your hands, through your hands, about your hands (but not over your hands). It’s that. Fucking. Epic.

Full Review

12. Sabaton – The Great War

This year saw the release of Sabaton’s ninth record: The Great War. Despite a lengthy career of two decades, the Swedish metal heroes are showing no signs of slowing down, and they prove that they’re here to stay by delivering their biggest, boldest, most bombastic blast of metal in years. Other than slamming the epic pedal down to the fucking floor, The Great War separates itself from Sabaton’s prior works by hanging a darker atmosphere over the music, as well as putting more emphasis on classical scales, especially in its guitar solos.

Full Review

11. Majestica – Above the Sky

After six years of hiatus, power metal cheeseballs Majestica (formerly ReinXeed) are back with their seventh album, Above the Sky. Aside from a drastic name change, Majestica’s sound has grown more mature, despite their lyrical content becoming more juvenile than ever. Of course, these are perfect qualities to have in a power metal album: bullshit, nonsensical lyrics over technically impressive music.

Full Review

10. Galneryus – Into the Purgatory

The finest neoclassical power metal band east of the Silk Road have unleashed yet another album of facemelting ferocity. Into the Purgatory is the twelfth album to come from the mighty Galneryus and, despite such a long career, it lives up to the band’s glory, and then some. A slice of Galneryus’ neoclassical edge has been swapped for a bit more of a progressive influence this time around so, while you can still expect a melodic work of shred insanity, it’s different enough from their other albums to keep things feeling new.

Full Review

09. Moonlight Haze – De Rerum Natura

Formed by ex-Temperance members Chiara Tricarico and Giulio Capone 2018, Moonlight Haze is a symphonic metal project that combines the talents of musicians from Elvenking, Sound Storm, and Epica to create a melodic, emotionally dynamic, technically-pleasing work of female fronted metal that stands high above your typical Delain or Nightwish ripoff. Complete with countless folk and world music elements, De Rerum Natura is as unique as a symphonic debut could be.

Full Review

08. Wind Rose – Wintersaga

Dwarf metallers Wind Rose are back with a rugged sound in their fourth album, Wintersaga. As usual, the Tolkien themes are strong, as is evident in half of the song titles. Additionally, the album is split into two sections; the first contains the fun, catchy party tunes, and the second, which encompasses the final three songs, features a more power prog approach that hearkens to the band’s earlier works. However, the core sound of Wind Rose has shifted as a whole from their progressive power metal roots to settle upon a more bombastic, anthemic sound.

Full Review

07. Twilight Force – Dawn of the Dragonstar

As you can expect from Twilight Force, Dawn of the Dragonstar is full of unlimited, overblown storybook energy. With the exception of maybe two moments, the album is consistently happy and heroic from the very first seconds of the galloping ‘Dawn of the Dragonstar’ into its final piano notes. This hyper-melodic, smile-demanding work isn’t just sheen and shine, though; there’s an absolutely staggering degree of talent and proficiency to behold in every track.

Full Review

06. NorthTale – Welcome to Paradise

NorthTale was born of vocalist Christian Eriksson (ex-Twilight Force), drummer Patrick Johansson (ex-Yngwie Malmsteem) and guitar maestro Bill Hudson with the dream of bringing back the glory of late 90s/early 00s power metal. Whether you’re in the mood for that golden-age power metal, anthemic stadium metal, or even a vegan happy meal, Welcome to Paradise delivers all that and more, complete with facemelting solos, exciting diversity, and catchy melodies. This is one of the year’s best power metal albums and is as technically impressive as it is fun.

Full Review

05. Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Eluveitie have hit their peak in their eighth record, Ategnatos. It’s fantastically fluid for such a diverse folk metal album, and, while it retains the trademark Eluveitie sound, it’s a distinct experience from their other releases.

The songs range from huge melodeath blast beats with rough vocals to softer, mournful tracks like ‘Eclipse’. There’s even a bouncy tune in ‘Ambiramus’ that’ll be stuck in your head for weeks (but don’t worry, you’ll welcome it). The broad instrumentation of this Swiss septet includes traditional instruments and shamelessly skilled drums, as well as three different vocal styles, my favourite of which are the versatile pipes of Fabienne Erni. The control she displays is insane and honestly, without her, the album wouldn’t have made it as one of my top picks.

Full Review

04. Wilderun – Veil of Imagination

Not many bands can pull off an exceptional atmospheric album so, when one does, I always get excited. One of the few (and latest) this year to accomplish such a feat are Boston’s Wilderun with their third album, Veil of Imagination. The album combines elements of death, symphonic, progressive, and folk metal to make a sound that bands like Wintersun have been trying so desperately to embody. It expertly conjures deep feelings of wonder, determination, aggression, hate, fear, reflection, and everything in between. With rich orchestrations supporting it, Veil of Imagination is almost impossible colourful.

Full Review

03. Gloryhammer – Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex

Epic, cheesy, heroic. These are words I often use when describing my favourite albums, but make no mistake; I only use these words if I mean it. So, if I were to say that Gloryhammer’s third and latest album, Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex, was one of the most ridiculously epic tales of heroism that I’ve ever heard from a power metal album, you can be damn sure it’s true.

Between the powerful cries of Angus McFife and the cosmic colours created by the rest of band, there’s no room to criticize the skill of these galactic warriors. Additionally, while the core sound is true, pure power metal (with a healthy dose of symphonic backing tracks), the songwriting is pleasingly dynamic. So, bust out your most enchanted headphones and get a load of this ultra-melodic cheesefest and see for yourself why this just might be the greatest power metal album of the year (or of all fucking time).

Full Review

02. Dream Theater – Distance over Time

Dream Theater are legendary. There’s no question about it. These guys are some of the best musicians metal has to offer, and they’ve given rise to more than a few prog masterpieces. While it’s true that their material has lost a bit of steam over the last decade, Distance over Time recaptures all of their former velocity as their best album since Black Clouds and Silver Linings. There’s a perfect mix of mathematical intricacies, solid melodies, and headbangable grooves, and, despite having a sound that’s closer to their earlier works, this is the freshest they’ve sounded in years.

Full Review

01. Beast in Black – From Hell with Love

Insane solos? Check. The best vocal performance in modern heavy metal? Check. Synthetic fanfares that demand the construction of a training montage? Check. Pack it up, every other band ever. Beast in Black have achieved the pinnacle of music. It’s all downhill from here. Go home. Show’s over. Nothing else will ever excite you as much as this album will.

Just kidding. Well, kind of. From Hell with Love is what every 80s revival album strives to be: catchy, fun, and technically impressive. Between the limitless voice of Yannis Papadopoulos and the songwriting gold of Anton Kabanen, this album holds nothing back. It’s intense. It’s fucking doused in cheese. It’s the pump up record to end all pump up records.

What a year! January is just around the corner, and that means that PowerThorn’s One Year Anniversary is close, too. It was reassuring to watch the viewership increase from a few tens a day all the way up to a few hundred. Between successful weeks of six reviews and desolate weeks of one, it’s been fun so far! Whether this is your first visit or you’re a regular reader, I deeply thank you for your support.

Look forward to more power metal content in 2020!

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Heavy Metal: Ironflame Announce New Album

Ohio-based US heavy metal warriors Ironflame are soon to unleash their third album upon the metal world. Blood Red Victory is set to drop on 7 February under Divebomb Records. For a taste of what’s to come, check out the new single, ‘Seekers of the Blade’.

The studio version of Ironflame is done almost solely by multi-instrumentalist Andrew D’Cagna, but Blood Red Victory also features solos from Quinn Lukas and Jesse Scott, who are also part of the band’s live lineup.

01. Gates of Evermore
02. Honor Bound
03. Seekers of the Blade
04. Blood Red Cross
05. On Ashen Wings
06. Graves of Thunder
07. Grace and Valor
08. Night Queen
09. The Serpent and the Throne*
10. Horns Held High*

D’Cagna on the album’s themes:
“There is a recurring theme of victory in the lyrics for this album. Some songs have an air of chest-out confidence; others are about overcoming adversaries or even adversity itself. Most have been written from a ‘we/us’ perspective, which makes the listener feel like, ‘We’re in this together.'”

Don’t miss this February release, because it’s sure to scratch that traditional heavy metal itch.

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Crystal Viper – Tales Of Fire And Ice Review

Score5/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountryPoland
Runtime42:01
Release Date22 November 2019
Record LabelAFM

Crystal Viper is one of the few bands that I think have never released an album that was less than great. From The Curse of the Crystal Viper to Queen of the Witches, all they’ve ever given is the best that classic metal has to offer, from more occult heavy metal to the regular, driving stuff. It’s been a non-stop onslaught of destructive riffs and traditional excellence with one of the best women in metal, Marta Gabriel, at its center.

Or, well, it was, anyway. Unfortunately, and much to my disappointment, Tales of Fire and Ice breaks this chain of greatness in an uninspired, commercial mess. Sure, it’s easy to understand why a band would want to try to replicate the recent success of bands like Battle Beast, who have also made this stylistic shift, but the trick to that is retaining what makes your music good while exchanging other elements to make your music more accessible, both of which Crystal Viper have failed miserably at.

Also, what’s not so easy to understand is the fact that, even though Crystal Viper have proven themselves to be one of the best classic metal bands in the business, they would want to abandon this and almost entirely change their sound. It’s not like it could never work, but I’m not so sure that they’re self aware enough to know what made them so fucking great in the first place. Where did the sick riffs go? Where’s the heaviness? Not here, that’s for damn sure.

So, what exactly am I bitching about, anyway? How is their style so underwhelming and different? Well, let’s start with the obvious; there’s no oomph anymore. That’s the root of the problem, really. Crystal Viper used to be in-your-face and shameless, but Tales of Fire and Ice lacks any sort of attitude. It’s no secret that Marta is a total badass, because she’s been showing it for the past fifteen years. However, she’s all but abandoned the aggression and authority that made her voice so iconic, and the rest of the band has followed suit. Aside from this, the songwriting has gone downhill, the melodies are substantially weaker, and (but this is actually a plus-side) the production quality is cleaner.

The closest Tales of Fire and Ice gets to having actual Crystal Viper songs are ‘Still Alive’ and ‘Bright Lights’. The former begins with a promising, thumping drive, but ultimately falls short due to its simplicity. On the flip side, ‘Bright Lights’ is actually awesome from beginning to end. It proves that the band is more than capable of recovering from this hiccup of an album. Most of the solos are still really good, too, so there’s that.

Between the piss-poor ballad ‘Tears of Arizona’ and the blatant monotony of Tales of Fire and Ice, you really won’t be missing much if you leave this one by the wayside. If you’re a hardcore Crystal Viper fan like me, I’d still check it out, otherwise, November has dropped so much excellence that you shouldn’t feel bad for skipping it.

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Top Ten Metal Albums Of October

2019 is still going strong! October held nothing back, unleashing exceptional albums (especially in heavy and power metal). There were a few notable folk metal releases which almost made this list (albums by Forgotten North, Tandra, and Nifrost) but, after a lot of back-and-forth, I settled on the following Top Ten Metal Albums of October!

10. Dawn of Destiny – The Beast Inside

When a unique band like Dawn of Destiny comes around with a new album, it always gets me excited. Fortunately, my excitement was well-founded in The Beast Inside, which is the band’s seventh full-length album. The songs range from energetic power metal to heavier, darker metal to unconventional-yet-melodic metal. Some songs are definitely stronger than others, with ‘Signs in the Sky’ and ‘If We Close Our Eyes’ being my favourites, but every track offers something different from the last, so make sure to give the whole album a spin!

Full Review

9. Secret Chapter – Chapter One

Sit down and strap the fuck in because Secret Chapter are going to take you on a nostalgic ride back to the 80s with their hyper-melodic, solo-rific debut, Chapter One. While Chapter One treads a similar sound he likes of Skid Row, TNT, Europe, and 80s hair metal in general, it keeps things interesting by maintaining a modern heavy metal undertone. The production, layered instrumentation, and driving riffs combined with undoubtedly 80s choruses allow for the best of both worlds, and there’s no shortage of passion or aggression. A lot of 80s metal bands just sound like refined metal from the era (if that), but Secret Chapter manage to maintain individuality by putting their own musical spin on things.

Full Review

8. Crow’s Flight – The Storm

Crow’s Flight have swooped in with a new drummer, new vocalist, and new album that’ll be a hit for fans of melodic metal as well as traditional heavy metal. While I wouldn’t call The Storm a classic metal by any means, there are enough traits that it’s worth a mention. Regardless, if you’re looking for strong melodies accompanied by kickass riffs and atmospheric keyboards, look no further.

7. Rumahoy – Time II: Party

Blowing in only a year after their debut, the self-proclaimed “Best True Scottish Pirate Metal Band in the World” Rumahoy are back with another booze-fueled party album ready to go: Time II: Party. After sailing the seas of the Wild West, Captain Yarrface and his skimask-clad crew have written ten catchy sea shanties of the most fucking ridiculous variety. Within you’ll find the expected power/folk metal combo that’s typical of pirate metal, but with a variety and dynamism that’s all but unseen in the genre.

Full Review

6. Iron Kingdom – On the Hunt

Vancouver’s own Iron Kingdom have dropped yet another solid slab of classic metal. Combining old school dual guitar sounds with clear, crisp vocals and some of the best drumming I’ve ever heard from a classic metal band, On the Hunt offers a bit more of a modern approach to the style of old. It’s the perfect balance, production-wise, because every part is clear and separated but there’s still an organic feel to the whole thing. There’s no lack of passion and sincerity, but there’s also just enough flare to keep me excited about it.

Full Review

5. Cathubodua – Continuum

Belgium’s female-fronted symphonic metal outfit Cathubodua have unleashed their devastating debut album: Continuum. Featuring folk, symphonic, death, and power metal elements, Continuum wastes no time in displaying its melodic, balls-to-the-wall epic onslaught.

Full Review

4. Aerodyne – Damnation

Smithed by the mighty Aerodyne, Damnation is, in short, one hell of a sophomore album. It’s energetic, anthemic, charismatic heavy metal with a blatant Ozzy undertone. Sound kickass? Of course it does! It’s true metal to the core, no doubt about it.

Full Review

3. Induction – Induction

In one of the strongest symphonic metal debuts of the year, Induction deliver shameless bombast, insane grooves, and killer musicianship. Featuring guitarist Tim Hansen, vocalist Nick Holleman, and Sean Brandenburg on drums, Induction is a dynamic symphonic power metal album with tons of prog influence.

2. Galneryus – Into the Purgatory

The finest neoclassical power metal band east of the Silk Road have unleashed yet another album of facemelting ferocity. Into the Purgatory is the twelfth album to come from the mighty Galneryus and, despite such a long career, it lives up to the band’s glory, and then some. A slice of Galneryus’ neoclassical edge has been swapped for a bit more of a progressive influence this time around so, while you can still expect a hyper-melodic work of shred insanity, it’s different enough from their other albums to keep things feeling new.

Full Review

1. Noveria – Aequilibrium

Italian proggers Noveria don’t fuck around. As soon as it starts, Aequilibrium explodes into high-intensity with a death metal atmosphere and epic choirs. Through the rest of the album, we encounter sick riff after sick riff (not the least of which can be found in ‘Awakening’ and ‘Broken’) in all their beefy, syncopated glory, as well as beautiful interludes and pulled back sections. Another aspect that makes Aequilibrium stand out is the fact that, while there’s a dark tone to most of the album, it’s never depressing and it’s always energetic.

Full Review

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Legendry – The Wizard And The Tower Keep Review

Score6/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountryUSA
Runtime47:12
Release Date1 November 2019
Record LabelHigh Roller

Springing forth with their third album are Pennsylvania’s heavy metal outfit Legendry. In The Wizard and the Tower Keep, they offer a unique heavy metal experience that’s drenched in late 70s/early 80s prog (think RUSH). Alongside this are other elements, too, such as speed metal (in ‘Behind the Summoner’s Seal’, for example), bands like Manowar, and classic thrash. While it doesn’t live up to the epicness it promises, the album is very different from what you’d hear from a metal band in 2019.

Contributing to this notable sound are the guitar solos, which are straight out of the 70s (and also the best part of the album). ‘Earthwarrior’ uses some funky guitar fx, and ‘The Lost Road’ has some sick classic shredding that’s worth pointing out. As far as the rhythm sections goes, everything is really laid back, and the mixing and easy vocals only pull on the music harder. This doesn’t make the music sound bad, but, for a band that want to call themselves “epic metal”, they’re basically shooting themselves in the foot.

Which leads us to the most crucial problem of The Wizard and the Tower Keep: its label. As I’ve said, Legendry refer to their style as “epic metal”, but this album, unfortunately, lacks the heroism that they’re so clearly trying to capture. Sure, epic metal can mean a thousand different things, with some heavy metal bands earning the title through all-out energy, or attitude, intense choruses, or through a beefy, powerful sound. However, this album lacks pretty much all of that and, while it’s not a bad album, it’s bad for what it’s intended to be.

On the other side of things, The Wizard and the Tower Keep excels in one aspect more than any other: sincerity. There’s no effort here to try to be something they’re not. They wrote an album, put their hearts into it, and, while it misses its mark, it’d be impossible not to appreciate this. There’s no bullshit here, no pandering or falsification. Just an honest heavy metal album with a lot of progressive nuances and long-ass songs.

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Top Ten Metal Albums Of September

It’s been a crazy month on my side of things, but it’s been even crazier in the metal world. There was almost more to listen to this month than there was for the entire summer, so, needless to say, my Top Ten Metal Albums of September had a few runner ups.

10. Ancient Empire – Wings of the Fallen

While not exceptional by their own standards, Ancient Empires Wings of the Fallen is an excellent traditional metal record. With solid, chugging riffs and strong melodies, it’s everything you’d want in classic heavy metal, plus a bit extra.

09. Excalion – Emotions

Melodic, expressive, keyboard-driven. It doesn’t take many more words that that to get me excited about an album. These characteristics are hardly unique when it comes to power metal, and more often than not I’m left disappointed upon actually hearing an album described by them, but, what can I say? I’m a hopeful guy. So, you can imagine my relief when Excalion laid this piece of work before me. Emotions is the fifth album of the Finnish outfit, and it checks all those boxes with massive checkmarks.

Full Review

08. Ereb Altor – Jartecken

Ereb Altor are no stranger to viking metal. With eight albums since their 2008 debut, they’ve worked steadily to bring the best of true viking metal. Their latest album, Jartecken, is pretty much what you’d expect at this point, but that isn’t to say it isn’t something new, too; it continues down the same path as the past couple albums, delivering a dynamic mix of mournful folk melodies and vicious atmospheres.

Full Review

07. DragonForce – Extreme Power Metal

DragonForce is back with their best album of the decade: Extreme Power Metal. One thing EPM does better than, well, every album up to Reaching into Infinity is variety. It has your typical, fast-paced power metal bangers like ‘Troopers of the Stars’ and ‘Cosmic Power of the Infinite Shred’, as well as a surplus of more commercial, poppy songs. There are a few songs that aren’t driven solely by spine-splitting speed, such ‘Remembrance Day’ and the excellent cover of Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’, but the intense dragon energy is never lost. There are also a lot of instrumental breaks that utilize strings, folk instruments, and the usual videogame SFX that are so characteristic of DragonForce. These video game themes run strong, with most of the songs having retro synth (or outright 8-bit) intros. Unsurprisingly, ‘The Last Dragonborn’ is the most videogame-fueled of them all, albeit more in content and less in sound.

Full Review

06. Borknagar – True North

Norway’s black/folk masters Borknagar pumps out great albums on the worst of days, so it should be no surprise that True North is on this list. In a word, the album is captivating. Between thunderous highs and serene lows, it’s as if Borknagar have invoked the very spirits of the mountains. To add to this dynamism, the album makes use of everything from clean vocals and bouncy grooves to furious blastbeats and skin-tearing growls. Of all the “winter-themed” albums to come out this month (like Everfrost’s Winterider and Sonata Arctica’s fucking mess), this one embodies that theme the best.

05. Cerebellar Rondo – The Realizing

It’s been a little while since I’ve heard a decent new Japanese power metal album, so it caught me off guard when the first one I’d heard in months swept me off my feet the way The Realizing did. The debut of Cerebellar Rondo, it’s fast, pleasantly melodic, and displays all of the flare and technicality that keeps bringing me back to Japanese power metal. Aside from the killer vocal performance, there are some seriously cool riffs that separate Cerebellar Rondo from a lot of the other (albeit still good) Japanese power metal bands.

04. Everfrost – Winterider

From the frozen north of Finland come Everfrost with their sophomore album, Winterider, which is one of the most expressive symphonic power metal albums of the year. The band bleeds musical excellence and, when their power is directed into over-the-top, cheerfully epic arrangements, they produce a truly unique sound, even by power metal standards. Everfrost’s winter-themed metal shows clear influences ranging from Blind Guardian to late-80s glam metal to Queen, which further pushes the boundaries of what you might expect from this genre.

Full Review

03. Centurion – Centurion

Centurion is an insatiable riff-beast, ready to prey on the ears of all who are close enough to listen. Not only that, but we’re also attacked with an onslaught of powerful melodies, facemelting solos (especially in ‘Ruka Sudbine’ and ‘Virtuelno Ognjiste’. Holy fuck.), and drumming that never settles for satisfactory. Seriously. This is one damn impressive group of musicians who are as mighty as the badass warriors on their album cover.

Full Review

02. Kybalion – Black Painted Skies

If you want a bit of a change from the usual 16th-based, djenty, instrumental modern prog that has recently flooded the metal world, give this EP a spin. Black Painted Skies is the first release (they call it an EP but I would consider it a full-out album, but maybe that’s just me) from America’s brand new instrumental proggers, Kybalion. This speed demon of death is super heavy and its ever-changing form will have you happily kissing the comfortability of 4/4 goodbye. With a diverse mix of highs, lows, feels, and time signatures, it’s evident that this trio doesn’t fuck around.

Full Review

01. Wind Rose – Wintersaga

Well, summer’s over. That means the time for beaches, bimbos, and barbecues is at it’s end, being instead replaced by the dark, wind, and cold. However, this is the perfect season for a dwarf! And what better way to explore your potential dwarfhood than cranking out the meanest, mightiest of man-metal? Enter Wind Rose, Italy’s finest dwarf metal army, and their fourth album, Wintersaga. As the band’s most impressive album to date, it’s as if it was smithed in the forges of Khazad-dum itself. If its epic chants and upbeat hymns aren’t enough to get you into the season, they’ll at least get your blood flowing hard enough to keep you warm.

Full Review

Did I miss something worthy of being a Top Ten? Bitch at me in the comments or send me a message!

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Metal Album Release Calendar – October, November, December 2019

This is a calendar of metal albums for Fall and Winter of 2019. Want to see what came out earlier this year? Check out the full Metal Album Release Calendar for 2019!

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1 October:

High Moonlight – Arcturians (Heavy Metal) [EP]

Asuryan – The Eye of Ra (Folk Metal)

Ente – Eterna (Progressive power Metal) [EP]

Grendel’s Syster – Myrtle Wreath / Myrtenkranz (Heavy Folk Metal) [EP]

High Moonlight – Arcturians (Heavy Metal) [EP]

Narwhale – Heart of the Corpse​-​Whale (Progressive Metal)

2 October:

Sereptah – Acoustic (Progressive Power Metal)

Cover My Sigh – Set the World Aflame (Progressive Metal)

Alicia Out of Wonderland – Entre la muerte y el amor (Heavy Power Metal)

4 October:

Iron Kingdom – On the Hunt (Heavy Metal)

Chur – Four-Faced (Folk Metal)

Crow’s Flight – The Storm (Heavy Metal)

Forgotten North – Kinder des Zorns (Symphonic Folk Metal)

Yurei – Saudade (Progressive Metal)

Dawn of Destiny – The Beast Inside (Power Metal)

Fought Upon Earth – Grave Miscalculation (Progressive Metal)

Knightmare – Space Knights (Heavy Power Metal)

The Fall of Eve – Nevermore (Symphonic Metal) [EP]

6 October:

Midnight Force – Gododdin (Heavy Metal)

Iron Attack! – Japonism (Progressive Power Metal)

9 October:

MistFolk – Королева воронья (Folk Metal)

Orthanc – Carnival (Heavy Metal)

Vinnie Moore – Soul Shifter (Shred)

11 October:

The Ferrymen – A New Evil (Power Metal)

Eclipse – Paradigm (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)

Ethereal Kingdoms – Hollow Mirror (Symphonic Metal)

Screamer – Highway of Heroes (Heavy Metal)

Silent Call – Windows (Progressive Metal)

Stargate – The Dream (Heavy Power Metal)

Unleash the Archers – Explorers (Power Metal) [EP]

FireForce – The Iron Brigade (Power Metal) [EP]

Vanden Plas – The Ghost Xperiment: Awakening (Progressive Metal)

15 October:

Arcane Tales – Power of the Sky (Symphonic Power Metal)

16 October:

Magistina Saga -Invite in the Story (Symphonic Gothic Metal) [EP]

18 October:

Nifrost – Blykrone (Viking Metal)

Secret Chapter – Chapter One (Heavy Metal)

Valcata – Valcata (Symphonic Metal)

Danger Zone – Dont Count on Heroes (Heavy Power Metal)

Induction – Induction (Power Metal)

Aerodyne – Damnation (Heavy Metal)

Rexoria – Ice Breaker (Heavy Metal)

Tandra – Time and Eternity (Folk Metal)

Armored Dawn – Viking Zombie (Power Metal)

Don’t Drop the Sword – The Wild Hunt (Power Metal) [EP]

23 October:

Galneryus – Into the Purgatory (Power Metal)

25 October:

Edenbridge – Dynamind (Symphonic Metal)

Metalite – Biomechanicals (Melodic Metal)

Moon Chamber – Lore of the Land (Heavy Metal)

Noveria – Aequilibrium (Progressive Power Metal)

Savage Master – Myth, Magic, and Steel (Heavy Metal)

Millennium – A New World (Heavy Metal)

Steve Blower – Back in Hell (Heavy Metal)

Turbokill – Vice World (Heavy Metal)

Hevisaurus – Bändikouluun! (Heavy Power Metal)

Dragonfly – Zeitgeist (Heavy Power Metal)

Cathubodua – Continuum (Symphonic Metal)

Rumahoy – Time II: Party (Folk Metal)

Vision Divine – When All the Heroes Are Dead (Progressive Power Metal)

Velvet Viper – The Pale Man is Holding a Boken Heart (Heavy Power Metal)

28 October:

Ironsword – In the Coils of Set (Heavy Metal) [EP]

Bloody Times – By Metal, We Send You to Hell (Heavy Metal) [EP]

30 October:

Elvarhøi – Dansen låter fra graven åter (Folk Metal)

31 October:

Apotheus – The Far Star (Progressive Metal)

Horizon’s End – Skeleton Keys (Progressive Metal)

1 November:

Angel Witch – Angel of Light (Heavy Metal)

Legendry – The Wizard and the Tower Keep (Heavy Power Metal)

Wilderun – Veil of Imagination (Symphonic Folk Metal)

Voyager – Colours in the Sun (Progressive Metal)

Wotan – The Song of the Nibelungs (Heavy Metal)

Dagor Sorhdeam – Fog of War (Power Metal)

French Maide – The Rat (Power Metal)

KingCrown – A Perfect World (Heavy Power Metal)

5 November:

IronThorn – Legends of the Ancient Rock (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)

6 November:

Genius – Spread Your Wings (Power Metal) [EP]

8 November:

Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra – Legacy of the Dark Lands (Orchestral Metal)

Dimhav – The Boreal Flame (Progressive Power Metal)

Minotaurus – Victims of the Underworld (Folk Metal)

The Dark Element – Songs the Night Sings (Melodic Metal)

Pretty Maids – Undress Your Madness (Heavy Metal)

Tamás Szekeres – White Shapes of Blue (Neoclassical Metal)

Terminus – A Single Point of Light (Heavy Metal)

Tales of Evening – A New Dawn Awaits (Symphonic Gothic Metal)

9 November:

Alexander Layer – Huginn Muninn (Progressive Power Metal)

Caeli Metallum – Birth of the King (Heavy Metal)

13 November:

Cernunnos – The Svmmoner (Folk Metal)

Atavicus – Di eroica stirpe (Pagan Metal)

14 November:

Great Master – Skull and Bones – Tales from Over the Seas (Power Metal)

15 November:

Conjuring Fate – Curse of the Fallen (Heavy Power Metal)

CyHra – No Halos in Hell (Melodic Metal)

Crusade of Bards – Tales of Bards and Beats (Symphonic Metal)

Nibiru Ordeal – Solar Eclipse (Power Metal)

R.U.S.T.X. – Center of the Universe (Heavy Metal)

Scarleth – Vortex (Symphonic Metal)

Subterfuge – Prometheus (Progressive Metal)

Heaven Shore – Golden Age (Viking Metal)

Phenix – Ignition (Progressive Power Metal)

Dravernue – Proyecto D.A.G.D.A. (Power Metal)

A Persuasive Reason – A Persuasive Reason (Progressive Gothic Metal)

18 November:

Hibernia – Celtic Furor (Folk Metal)

20 November:

Black Sweet – The Lights (Heavy Power Metal)

Illusion Force – Alive (Power Metal)

21 November:

Serpentyne – Angels of the Night (Symphonic Folk Metal)

22 November:

Crystal Viper – Tales of Fire and ice (Heavy Metal)

Eleine – All Shall Burn (Symphonic Metal) [EP]

Magic Kingdom – MetAlmighty (Power Metal)

Redline – Gods and Monsters (Heavy Metal)

Signum Regis – The Seal of a New World (Progressive Power Metal)

Spnus Corona – Time Is Not on Your Side (Progressive Metal)

Thunder and Lightning – Demonicorn (Power Metal)

27 November:

Hizaki – Back to Nature (Symphonic Power Metal) [EP]

29 November:

Coronatus – The Eminence of Nature (Symphonic Folk Metal)

Celesti Alliance – Hybrid Generation (Heavy Power Metal)

Second Brain – The Mind Awakens (Progressive Metal)

Stormwarrior – Norsemen (Speed/Power Metal)

1 December:

Pagan Reign – Art of the Time (Pagan Black Metal)

Energema – A Christmas Night (Power Metal) [EP]

Dawnbreath – Creatures of the Damned (Heavy Metal)

6 December:

Crystal Eyes – Starbourne Traveler (Power Metal)

Human Fortress – Reign of Gold (Power Metal)

Power Theory – Force of Will (Heavy Power Metal)

The Murder of My Sweet – Brave Tin World (Gothic Metal)

Rhodium – Sea of the Dead (Heavy Power Metal)

At Night I Fly – Mirror Maze (Progressive Metal)

Infinitas – Infernum (Heavy Folk Metal)

Bellathrix – No Fear (Heavy Metal)

Steel Witch – In Moss and Fern (Heavy Metal)

Stormburner – Shadow Rising (Heavy Metal)

SL Theory – Cipher (Hard Rock/Heavy Metal)

Of the Cold – The Game (Power Metal) [EP]

The Old Dead Tree – The End (Gothic Metal) [EP]

Leaves’ Eyes – Black Butterfly (Symphonic Metal) [EP]

Burning Witches – Wings of Steel (Heavy Power Metal) [EP]

Burning Shadows – Beneath the Ruins (Heavy Power Metal) [EP]

Running Wild – Crossing the Blades (Heavy Power Metal) [EP]

10 December:

Flaming Row – The Pure Shine (Progressive Metal)

13 December:

Eregion – Age of Heroes (Power Metal)

18 December:

Gauntlet – Departure for the Frontier (Power Metal) [EP]

25 December:

Octaviagrace – Radiant (Progressive Power Metal)

27 December:

Ash-Slater – Reinception (Progressive Metal)

Master Sword – The Final Door (Power Metal)