Power Metal – Silver Talon Announce Debut Album For Fall

Heavy metal warriors Silver Talon took the torch in 2017 from the remnants of the traditional metal band Spellcaster. Their brand of metal is a classic-minded blend of speed, power, thrash and progressive metal, and is more over-the-top than its precursor.

The band have confirmed the title for their upcoming full-length album as Decadence and Decay, which is set for release this Fall.

Guitarist Bryce VanHoosen on the upcoming album:

The songs are more complicated, more progressive, more aggressive, and there’s more guitar solos and crazier vocal harmonies [than Spellcaster].

Silver Talon released an EP, Becoming a Demon, in 2018. It was highly acclaimed by critics, landing them shows with the likes of Evergrey, Warbringer, Enforcer, Exmortus, Unleash The Archers, Striker, The Absence, Powerglove, Savage Master, Vital Remains and Hatchet.

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Dark Forest – Oak, Ash, & Thorn Review

Score9/10
GenreEpic Heavy Metal
CountryBritain
Runtime52:45
Release Date24 April 2020
Record LabelCruz del Sur

Oak, Ash, & Thorn is the fifth offering of medieval power metal from England’s Dark Forest. These veteran warriors have lost none of their lustre with time and, even though they’ve been around nearly twenty years, this is one of their best albums to date.

As far as the overall sound goes, you can expect epic metal with aspects of Skyclad, Iron Maiden, and a tiny bit of classic Rhapsody thrown in. The mixing is a bit more lo-fi, which is perfect for creating that nostalgic, traditional feel. On a sidenote, Oak, Ash, & Thorn plays like the opposite of albums from Grendel’s Syster; where Grendel’s Syster plays a slow, steady, doomy epic metal, Dark Forest drives on with a questing spirit that’s worthy of any power metal band.

Needless to say, this album is killer. I can’t even pick favourite songs, because each one offers something completely different. Whether it’s in the gallop of ‘The Midnight Folk’, the dynamism of the eleven-minute title track, or the bombast of the instrumental finisher, ‘Heart of the Rose’, the vocals are strong, the drums are expressive, and the guitarwork is incredible.

Oak, Ash, & Thorn is excellent from start to finish. There’re plenty of highs, lows, and details (be it fills, countermelodies, or harmonies) so you can expect to get a hell of a lot out of it with consecutive listens. Showing nothing but endless variety and skill, Dark Forest continue to prove they’re worthy of knighthood.

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Heavy Metal: Grave Digger Announce ‘Fields Of Blood’

After 40 years of ferocity, German heavy metal pioneers Grave Digger are soon to unleash their twentieth album.

Fields of Blood is the third and final installment of the band’s epic Highland story through Scottish history and promises driving riffs and epic choruses of traditional heavy metal.

Frontman Chris Boltendahl on the album:
“We did it again and put on the kilts… as we always have been fascinated by Scotland and its history. For a long time, we considered when the right time would be to return to the Highlands and delve into their legends and myths. Our 40th band anniversary seems to be the right occasion for this and so we take you on a trip for the third time… put on the kilts and pull out your swords and axes, follows us to Stirling and Culloden and experience Scottish history, up close, authentic and emotional. As William Wallace / Braveheart said: Yes, they may take our lives. But they never take away our freedom!”

01. The Clansman’s Journey
02. All for the Kingdom
03. Lions of the Sea
04. Freedom
05. The Heart of Scotland
06. Thousand Tears
07. Union of the Crown
08. My Final Fight
09. Gathering of the Clans
10. Barbarian
11. Fields of Blood
12. Requiem for the Fallen

Fields of Blood will be released on 29 May via Napalm Records. Keep your eyes open for the upcoming singles!

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Ironflame – Blood Red Victory Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountryUSA (Ohio)
Runtime39:47
Release Date7 February 2020
Record LabelDivebomb

US power metal warriors Ironflame have thundered forth with their third album in four years, Blood Red Victory. Within, you will find eight testosterone-fueled metal hymns of epic aggression. The album is grittier than their previous two works, but it retains that same centurion spirit which Ironflame command so easily.

On a side note, I think I’m throwing around the word “them” a bit too much, because Ironflame’s studio lineup is a one-man show. It’s the product of the mutitalented Andrew D’Cagna, who has proven himself to be a true metal man, through-and-through. Personally, I’m not usually a fan of one-man albums because they just seem to be lacking something (Devin Townsend would be a perfect example of this), but Blood Red Victory is such a fucking banger that I don’t even care. As far as I’m considered, D’Cagna is actually just a dude playing a dude disguised as another dude. (Tropic Thunder anyone?)

Anyway, back to the album. This is exactly what I picture when I hear the term “US power metal”. It’s got that classic metal aesthetic combined with modern power metal energy and, well, it’s fucking powerful. There’s a great mix of tracks, from fast drivers to slower, more foreboding tracks like ‘Blood Red Cross’. One of the best things about Blood Red Victory, though, if the fact that you could start with literally any track and get hooked on the album right away. Each song is fucking sick. Simple as that.

And then we get to those fucking guitars. Every track goes from sick riff to sick riff. Seriously. From the first seconds of the opener to the album’s demise, it’s a shitshow of a riffshow. And I barely need to mention how killer the solos are.

On top of the relentless shredding of the guitars, the melodies are simplistic yet memorable, which gives a bit of that Iron Maiden treatment to the songs, where you know full well the isn’t much to the melody yet you’ll happily find yourself wanting to belt them out (in my own not-so-humble opinion, these are the best types of melody). While some of my favourites are in ‘Seekers of the Blade’ and ‘On Ashen Wings’, every song is irresistibly catchy. And, the vocal layering only adds to this.

So, yeah. If you want a lion’s share of traditional metal and power metal all in one, this is as close as you’re gonna get. D’Cagna is a fucking metal genius and I pray to the gods that he won’t be finished any time soon.

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Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga Review

Score10/10
GenrePower Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime55:06
Release Date10 January 2020
Record LabelAFM Records

Brothers of Metal are one of power metal’s most promising up-and-comers. The charismatic Norsemen achieved instant fame with their 2017 debut, Prophecy of Ragnarok, which was a catchy, epic, bass-cranked extravaganza. It was true warrior music for the true warrior (or, you know, us wannabe warriors). Obviously, this album was easily one of my favourites of the year, and while most of its songs follow a fairly simple structure, the band more than made up for it with their relentless viking energy, beefy riffage, and unique vocal approach.

So, it should come as no surprise that their sophomore album, Emblas Saga, is my first perfect score of 2020. It takes everything that Prophecy of Ragnarok did well, crams it into more dynamic, advanced arrangements, and injects obscene amounts of steroids into the mix. There’re also more orchestral elements thrown in for good measure. If Prophecy of Ragnarok got your blood flowing, Emblas Saga will make your veins burst.

Its biggest difference from its predecessor is that the folk influences are way more prominent here. Enough so that I would personally call it folk power metal, like I would call Elvenking or Wind Rose, but the band doesn’t, so whatever. Anyway, the instrumentation and melodies delve further into folk influence, enriching a sound that was already full.

The album begins with a short introductory track before the real album commences in ‘Powersnake’, kicking the album off with a fucking banger. Immediately after, the atmosphere quickly gets dark as it enters ‘Hel’, and the feel consistently changes throughout the entire rest of the album. Within Emblas Saga‘s hour-long runtime there are a happy songs, epic songs, dark songs, colossal songs, and a couple ballads, so you can be sure you’ll be satisfied by the time it ends.

Among the anthemic choruses and thundering guitars, I have a few favourites to pick. First and foremost, the contrast of the throaty warcries and soft female vocals have an incredible effect. They both play different roles and add an extra dimension to every song. As far as songs go, ‘Theft of the Hammer’ tops it for me; there aren’t a lot of songs that deliver this kind of sheer, pump-up intensity, and that shit is right up my alley. The epic, ‘Emblas Saga’, is a close second, and packs a hell of a lot into its seven minutes. It’s expressive, jarring, and is also an excellent way of remembering some of your Norse mythology genealogy.

2020 has just started and it’s already off with a fucking bang. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if Emblas Saga is still my favourite album of the year by December because it’s going to take an impossibly-great album to dethrone this one. Brothers of Metal have fought their way to the top, and I don’t think they’re going anywhere any time soon.

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Power Theory – Force Of Will Review

Score8/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountryUSA (Pennsylvania)
Runtime56:52
Release Date6 December 2019
Record LabelPure Steel

Brace for impact because US powerforce Power Theory have returned with their massive Force of Will. With backbreaking riffs and mighty vocals, this is the perfect album to piss off your neighbours with. Force of Will is the band’s fourth album, but it welcomes the destructive axemanship of Carlos Alvarez and Jim Rutherford‘s titanium pipes to the show for the first time.

The general tone here is darker than your usual US power metal, and the beefy, bass-heavy mixing is largely responsible. However, the energy level is consistent and high throughout most of the album, so it’s more of an aggressive darkness that fills the atmosphere rather than a dooming darkness. For reference, think along the lines of Iron Fire or a more refined Saxon. Most of the choruses are fairly victorious, though, and a lot of the solos are uplifting, so there’s a pretty good amount of contrast.

The album tends to lag a bit due to lack of variety after the absolutely killer ballad that is ‘Albion’, but if you’re listening more for the sick riffs and heaviness and less for the whole “album experience”, that isn’t a huge issue. The biggest single issue is in the closer, ‘The Hill I Die On’, which doesn’t really offer anything worthwhile, despite having a runtime of seven minutes. Regardless, Force of Will pulls no punches.

For straight, true, colossal heavy metal, Power Theory have your back. Force of Will lives up to the band’s already-high standards and is best listened to on your most thunderous speakers. If bands like Iron Fire and Accept are to your liking, you’ll love this.

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Rhodium – Sea Of The Dead Review

Score9/10
GenreHeavy/Power Metal
CountryGreece
Runtime44:08
Release Date3 December 2019
Record LabelSliptrick

Greek heavy/power warriors Rhodium released their debut just last year, but they’ve already thundered down with a new album. Fueled with all-new members (with the exception of guitarist/founder Loukas Antoniou) and a new record deal with Sliptrick Records, Sea of the Dead unleashes nine energetic, riff-heavy tracks that hide a few progressive surprises.

Sea of the Dead aligns stylistically with other Greek power metal bands such as Firewind and Diviner. It’s grittier, rawer, and more heavy metal-influenced than your usual Euro-power and it packs some seriously ferocious solos. However, one of the forces behind Rhodium’s individuality is the piercing and charismatic vocals of Mike Lee, who can fire everything from relentless power to careful emotion from his mighty pipes (peak performances coming in ‘Sisters of Fate’ and ‘Tapestry of Time’). In fact, the vocals are so versatile that they could be compared to bands like Running Wild and Iron Maiden at times.

As for the album itself, everything is fucking fantastic. It starts with a hard drive and sees its first change of pace in the third song, ‘First Light of Day’. After this, the album continues to diversify, delivering some more badass heavy metal hymns and dark moments, as well as two dynamic tracks that sit above the six-minute mark, and a ballad. However, the most unusual track by far is ‘Sisters of Fate’. It utilizes a lot of female choral vocals, which are unheard of in the rest of the album, and its chorus is like a mid-80s pump up anthem. It’s weird, it’s shrill, and it’s the best god damn song Sea of the Dead has to offer.

As far as favourites go, I covered some of it already. But, aside from the powerful vocals, elite guitarwork, and being blindsided by ‘Sisters of Fate’, I really enjoy the drum groves in ‘Tapestry in Time’, as well as the entirety of ‘Fight Back’, which is a no-bullshit banger with the single best solo on the album.

Front to back, Sea of the Dead is a killer ride. It’s always a gamble to release an album with a lineup that hasn’t made music together before, but Rhodium have defied the odds by releasing a record that’s fun, fresh, and ferociously addicting.

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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

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Rexoria – Ice Breaker Review

Score5.5/10
GenreHeavy Power Metal
CountrySweden
Runtime49:36
Release Date18 October 2019
Record LabelPride & Joy

Sweden’s female-fronted Rexoria have hardly taken a breath since their debut, with their second album, Ice Breaker, coming out just over a year since. Unfortunately, this rush might be the reason behind the album’s lack of quality; it has about as many ups as it has downs, giving it a really inconsistent overall feel. That being said, Ice Breaker does have a coherent, defining sound. It’s your usual melodic heavy metal with power metal tendencies, but with really wonky melodies and vocals.

I always hate when a capable vocalist performs as inconsistently as this. The band’s Frida Ohlin has moments, such as in ‘Var Verkilghet’, the album’s only Swedish song, where she delivers a great performance. One might draw the conclusion that she just can’t sing well in English, but, as heard in ‘Brothers of Asgaard’ and ‘Roaring’, she does that just fine, which begs the question: what the fuck? Why is she awesome and full of attitude one minute and then, well, bad the next? No matter the answer, Rexoria would be much better off with a bit of solidifying.

Another issue I have with Ice Breaker is that a lot of it is really basic. The drums, guitars, and bass all carry on fairly one-dimensionally, rarely offering anything that stands out. A lot of the songs have great intros but they quickly wane off into monotony. And then there are tracks like ‘Fight the Demons’, ‘The Rise of the Phoenix’ (except for the solo, which is great), and ‘Ice Breaker’, which are especially bad.

But that isn’t to say that there aren’t some good songs. The aforementioned ‘Roaring’, Brothers of Asgaard’, and ‘Var Verkilghet’ are pretty solid tracks overall. ‘Velvet Heroes’ also packs a decent punch, except for the vocals, so it’s not like these guys aren’t capable of making good songs. Like so many amateur bands, I think a bit more time and musical growth is what Rexoria need the most, but I’m sure we’ll get a great record from them in the future.

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KingCrown Announce New Album

The French heavy/power metal band KingCrown (formerly Öblivïon) have announced that a new album will be released this winter. A Perfect World will hit the scene on 1 November via Rock of Angels Records.

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)

As mentioned above, the band changed their name from Öblivïon to KingCrown, having released only one album under their old moniker. This was a smart move, because I can think of at least five other bands named “Oblivion”, and there are probably leagues more.

A Perfect World was recorded in October/November of 2018. Mixing and mastering was taken care of by Roland Grapow in Grapow Studios, Slovakia (Helloween, Masterplan, Serious Black, Lords Of Black) and the artwork was created by Steff Rabilloud.

If you’re anxious to see the first singles of KingCrown’s upcoming record, follow them on Facebook!

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