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.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Grendel’s Sÿster – Myrtle Wreath Review

Score8/10
GenreHeavy Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime50:34 (25:17 per language)
Release Date1 October 2019
Record LabelIndependent

One of Germany’s more unique metal bands, the female-fronted Grendel’s Syster, have released their second EP. Myrtle Wreath includes both an English and German version, which allows for a slightly different experience depending on which you listen to. But, at twenty-five minutes per version, the album is is short, sweet, and easily manageable in one sitting.

The most impressive aspect of Myrtle Wreath (and Grendel’s Syster in general) is its individuality. The medieval sound is steeped in a doomy atmosphere and topped off with folk influences. Apparent inspirations that come to mind include Tanith and Wytch Hazel, and even a hint of early Manowar. All of these different elements are combined into a strong, almost epic feel, but with a slightly foreboding air over it.

Another cool touch is the vocal and guitar layering. Incanted vocal lines paint visions of covens singing old folk tunes while the guitars float between slow, deliberate riffs and countermelodies. They fill out the sound without driving it too far away from its rawness the way keyboards or super refined production quality would.

In a word, Myrtle Wreath is different, and that alone makes it worth checking out. Fortunately, it has plenty more than just individuality going for it, so your curiosity will be well-founded and well-rewarded.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Heavy Metal: Hulkoff Announce Sophomore Album

Hulkoff, the heavy metal side project of Pär Hulkoffgarden, has a new album coming in 2020.

Hulkoff has promised that Pansarfolk will be a much more folky album than their first, and it’ll include folk instruments and acoustic guitar parts. Fittingly, the album will also be in both English and Swedish.

Hulkoff on the new album:
“This time we will be digging deep into the Nordic roots. We will be looking at the way music sounded back when Odin was still a living king. . . It’s gonna be pretty god damn massive.”

While no further details have been revealed yet, check out the single ‘Scyth’, which came out last year.

Hulkoff was formed in 2017, with the first album, Kven, coming out that same year. It’s helmed by Pär Hulkoffgarden, who is also the guitarist and vocalist of the industrial metal warmachine Raubtier.

Go follow Hulkoff on Facebook!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Power Metal: Powerwolf Release 15th Anniversary Version Of ‘Kiss Of The Cobra King’

Germany’s Power metal priests Powerwolf have redone one of their most popular songs for their 15th Anniversary! ‘Kiss of the Cobra King’.

Guitarist Matthew Greywolf on the new track:
“To celebrate the packs 15th birthday, we decided to realize an idea that had been around for many years – it felt like now was the right time for it to be realized. As a birthday present to ourselves and all the legions of PW-maniacs out there, we have re-written the ‘Return in bloodred’-classic ‘Kiss Of The Cobra Kin’. This song has been one of our faves ever since and it was a fun experience to transform this song into how it would sound if it were a song written by Powerwolf in 2019.

In fact, it has become a totally new song and we absolutely love it. The writing and recording-session for this one was truly special to us, as there was no album context, no huge framework, just a loose idea and the freedom to let it happen. And since a special recording deserves a special visualization, we went all the way and shot an amazingly weird video-clip – enjoy!“

Also in celebration of fifteen years on the metal scene, Powerwolf have also come out with a board game, called Armata Strigoi. You can check it out here!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

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

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Power Metal: KingCrown Release New Single

French melodic metallers KingCrown have released the ballad ‘Over the Moon’ from their upcoming sophomore album, which will drop this Friday.

The video was filmed, directed, and edited by Mehdi Khadouj.

01. The Flame Of My Soul
02. Qumrân Caves
03. In The Sky Of Athens
04. The Human Tide
05. Over The Moon
06. The End Is Near
07. Golden Knights
08. Sad Song For A Dead Child
09. Soundtrack Of My Existence
10. A Perfect World
11. Over The Moon Acoustic (Bonus Track)

A Perfect World will hit the scene on 1 November via Rock of Angels Records.

Follow KingCrown on Facebook!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

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.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Heavy Metal: HammerFall Announce 2020 North American Tour

With a few dates left in their current North American tour as special guests for Sabaton, heavy metal legends HammerFall have announced a headline tour for North America. The tour will be in September and October, with support coming from Finland’s Beast in Black and California’s Edge of Paradise.

Vocalist Joacim Cans on the tour:
“After the amazing times and reception we have gotten and are still experiencing on tour with Sabaton, we can’t wait to return to North America in 2020. For the past three years we have toured the continent frequently and every time, you showed us that heavy metal is still alive and kicking. So, polish your studs and get ready for the hammer to fall harder than it ever did before.”

Guitarist Oscar Dronjak adds:
“The last three tours have proven to us that North America is ready and willing to once again wield the hammers of Heavy Metal, and it is with great pleasure we announce that we will return to the continent for the fourth time in as many years.”

This will also be Beast in Black’s first tour across North America. Tickets go on sale tomorrow, 26 October!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Heavy Metal: Brothers Of Metal Release First Single From Emblas Saga

True metal warriors Brothers of Metal have unleashed the first single from their sophomore album in all its furious glory.

If the anthemic praise of ‘Njord’ gets your blood pumping, you’ll want to mark your calendar for the release of Emblas Saga, which will arrive on 10 January 2020 via AFM Records.

01. Brood of the Trickster
02. Powersnake
03. Hel
04. Chain Breaker
05. Kaunaz Dagaz
06. Theft of the Hammer
07. Weaver of Fate
08. Njord
09. Emblas Saga
10. Brothers Unite
11. One
12. Ride of the Valkyries
13. To the Skies and Beyond

Follow Brothers of Metal on Facebook!

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/

Heavy Metal: Running Wild To Release EP In December

Three years after seventeenth album, Rapid Foray, pirate metallers Running Wild will issue their next release in the form of a new EP. Entitled Crossing the Blades, this four-track should tide fans over until the next full album comes out next summer.

01. Crossing The Blades
02. Stargazed
03. Strutter
04. Ride On The Wild Side

According to the band, the first track, ‘Crossing the Blades’, will be a harbinger for the Summer 2020 album; the song (although as a completely different version) will also be present on the new album.

Also included on the EP’s tracklist is ‘Stargazed’, which the band has played live at Wacken, as well as the KISS cover ‘Strutter’.

Crossing the Blades will be released on 6 December, which also falls on Saint Nicholas Day, via SPV/Steamhammer.

If you want to be notified every time PowerThorn publishes a review or article, you can subscribe to the blog or go like the >>Facebook Page<<!
For all the same (but mostly memes), >>@PowerThorn<< on Instagram is exactly what you need.

Stay Metal \m/