Top Ten Metal Albums Of March

While last month certainly had more to offer, there were still enough great metal albums to have a lot of competition for the top ten metal albums of March.

Below are albums that range the elements: the fluid, the rock-hard, the furiously hot, and the frigid cold. Brace yourself, because these records don’t fuck around!

10. Iron Savior – Kill or Get Killed

There’s nothing new in Iron Savior’s eleventh installment, Kill or Get Killed. It’s the same old song and dance, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still great. The bass is cranked, the hooks are catchy, and the guitar solos are fucking phenomenal.

At this stage of their career, nobody expects anything new or different, but it’s clear that Iron Savior are veterans of the German power metal scene and they’re damn good at what they do: heavy, loud, and intense power metal.

Iron Savior – Stand Up and Fight (AFM)

9. Battle Beast – No More Hollywood Endings

Battle Beast has all but completely reinvented its sound this time around, abandoning its unique brand of melodic heavy/power metal for a shinier, late 90s/early 00s pop sound. If Bringer of Painwas a step in a new direction, No More Hollywood Endings is a trip to the next city over. If it weren’t for a couple individual tracks and Noora Louhimo’s iconic, raspy vocals, it’d be unrecognizable as a Beast album.

In all honesty, when it lost Anton Kabanen, the Beast lost its bite. No More Hollywood Endings is widely dynamic, but a lot of the songs are very one-dimensional. Although many of the tracks feature epic orchestras and plentiful keyboards, more parts doesn’t always mean better songs.

I have very mixed feelings about this album mainly because of how hit-and-miss the tracks are. That being said, it’s far from being bad, and it’s good enough to make it as number nine!

(Also, the following track is incredible.)

Battle Beast – The Golden Horde (Nuclear Blast)

8. Darkwater – Human

Swedish power proggers Darkwater have created a fluid and intense experience in their comeback record. Human is their third record to date and is their first release in eight years. Fortunately, it was well worth the wait, because this record is one of the best prog albums I’ve heard in a long time.

The musicianship is excellent, but, by prog standards, it’s nothing special. That being said, Darkwater quickly proves that you don’t need to be a legendary musician who shreds with the utmost fucking insanity for minutes on end to make a great progressive album. The whole record feels natural and smooth.

Darkwater – Alive (Pt. II) (Ulterium)

7. Queensrÿche – The Verdict

I was as relieved as everybody else when Queensryche released their self-titled record in 2013 after the long line of bullshit they produced. So, it should come as no surprise that I absolutely love The Verdict, as it’s the third decent album in a row that Queensryche has made since the drama of the late 90s.

The Verdict is a dynamic piece of work, with the bulk of its sound being closer to their older material. There are clear grunge influences in parts and the synth is sprinkled throughout, adding a bit more detail and variety. Vocalist Todd La Torre also does an exceptional job manning the drums in Scott Rockenfield’s absence.

Queensryche – Man the Machine (Century Media)

6. Warrior Path – Warrior Path

This album is insanely good. Being forged under Greek guitarist/composer Andreas Sinanoglou, it also features vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (ex Wardrum, Beast In Black) and guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis (Firewind), making for quite the lineup. Now, I’m pretty biased to all things Yannis, so I’ll try to avoid talking too much about how his already-impressive vocal versatility is demonstrated in yet another new way or how he absolutely fucking masters old school heavy metal singing too much.

Well, shit. I tried.

Ok, I didn’t try at all.

Besides the vocals, the songs are very well written (a trait that is often missing from traditional metal bands), the solos and riffs are heavy and the slow parts are beautiful. You’ll come back to this record a few times; I guarantee it.

Warrior Path – Sinnersworld (Symmetric)

5. Bloodbound – Rise of the Dragon Empire

Bloodbound has taken all of the glorious, dragonslaying exuberance from War of Dragons and crammed it all into Rise of the Dragon Empire. Along with more dynamic and variable songwriting, it’s altogether better than its predecessor and, in my opinion, the best Bloodbound record to date. The soaring choruses are thunderous, the guitar solos are grand, and the synth is heavy in this power metal monster.

In all honesty, I didn’t expect it to be nearly as good as it is.

Bloodbound – The Warlock’s Trail (AFM)

4. Stonecast – I Earther

Stonecast rock seriously fucking hard in I Earther. Their strong energy will draw you in and their anthemic hooks will make you stay. This earthy metal is sturdy and its sound is nothing short of mountainous.

The vocal delivery ranges from powerful war cries to low, rough vocals. The guitar solos are awesome and the drums create exciting grooves. However, the highlight for me lies in ‘Cherokee’, which contains a staggering amount of variety in its eight minutes as well as an end section that is unmatched by most of the endings I’ve heard in metal.

Stonecast – Goddess of Rain (Pitch Black)

3. Iron Fire – Beyond the Void

Let it be known that Iron Fire is king in the land of heavy metal. After twenty years in the studio, not a single one of their records has lost any heat, and they’ve perhaps hit the pinnacle of their career in their ninth: Beyond the Void. These heavy metal veterans show absolutely no sign of slowing down, and it’s greatly reassuring to see them continuously produce nothing but excellence.

Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say the songwriting is fantastic. No song sets into one feel, and the molten-hot solo sections, especially in the titular track, have some serious underlying grooves. Honestly, while Kirk Backarach’s soloing is awesome, the rhythm section underneath is just as good.

Iron Fire – Beyond the Void (Cime)

2. 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. I’m not complaining by any stretch, that’s just the way it is.

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.

Its combination of heavy synth tracks, blasting drums, and facemelting guitars is nothing short of deadly. Don’t listen to this one on an empty stomach because you’ll probably pass out.

Brymir – Wings of Fire (Ranka Kustannus)

1. Frozen Crown – Crowned in Frost

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “That’s a lot of praise to give an album. How can there be an even better one on this list?” Never fear, your question will be answered.

While Frozen Crown’s sophomore album isn’t quite as epic as Wings of Fire, every other aspect lifts it higher and into my top album spot for March. 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 is better in every way than its impressive predecessor. Now, we can’t give all of the credit to the ladies, because the men are just as good. Drummer Alberto Mezzanotte pounds out some excellent grooves and lead guitarist/songwriter/keyboardist Federico Mondelli slams his amazing solos and riffs into the forefront. Filippo Zavattari completes the sound with his big, beefy bass.

Crowned in Frost has a ton of variety and it builds upon their heavier, grittier brand of power metal that was created in The Fallen King. Complete with top-tier musicians, this is my obvious favourite of March and will certainly be a contender at the end of the year!

Frozen Crown – Neverending (Scarlet)

Think I forgot a worthy album on this list? Leave a comment!

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News This Week (March Week 2)

I’m a little late with this one (as it’s already Monday. Jesus, I’m not on the ball this week.) but I’m not about to leave a week’s worth of information out! There wasn’t too much in the way of worthwhile releases, especially compared to last week, but I did find a handful or so of gems. So, as usual, here’re the updates for the week!

Singles

Suncrown – Come Alive

It’s been four years since international symphonic outfit Suncrown released its last single (and five years since their last album). They’ve sure come back with their strongest foot forward, though, because ‘Come Alive’ is killer! The choirs are prominent throughout, and the guitars retain a steady energy throughout.

Suncrown – Come Alive

Delfinia – Without You

Delfinia just released their latest album, Deep Elevation, in January of this year, but they’re already hard at work! This week gave rise to a new single and features guitarist Stas Red, who also performed on a few of the tracks in Deep Elevation.

The song is a commentary on the captivity of dolphins. Which, quite honestly, is a heavy and worthy topic of a song, but ‘Without You’ fails to deliver an accurate impact. That being said, this track isn’t too bad.

Delfinia – Without You (Moon)

Black Sweet – We Are One

Japanese classic metal outfit Black Sweet have released ‘We Are One’: the first single since their debut album, Time to Depart, in 2017. It’s a pretty standard tune as far as heavy metal goes, but it’s still worth checking out for that sick fucking guitar solo.

Black Sweet – We Are One (Push Out)

Albums

Iron Savior – Kill or Get Killed

Since their inception in the mid-90s, Iron Savior have been an iconic name in German power metal. With more than twenty years behind them and a new record about every two years, these guys are still going as strong as ever.

Kill or Get Killed is business as usual: cranked bass, hooky hooks, and gloriously-heavy guitars. With a method and style that have remained all but unchanged for almost their entire career, Iron Savior are great at doing what they know and executing it masterfully. The rhythm section is about as beefed up as Ronnie Coleman in his heyday (but has aged way fucking better) and the choruses retain their familiar, catchy melodies.

Check out my full review here!

Iron Savior – Kill or Get Killed (AFM)

Haeredium – Ascension

As the French outfit’s second LP, Ascension is an interesting take on folk metal. Among its light, chanting chanting choruses are interesting piano grooves and colourful instrumentals.

The album as a whole is pretty laid back for a metal group. The choruses aren’t really highlighted with any sort of inflection, vocal or otherwise, which gives it a fairly one-dimensional feel. Other than the lack of oomph, this album is still worth checking out!

Haeredium – Ascension (Art Gates)

Twisted Tower Dire – Wars in the Unknown

American power veterans Twisted Tower Dire’s have come back with a vengeance. As their first record in eight years, Wars in the Unknown features the same thunderous choruses and dual guitar riffs that we’ve come to expect of them.

These guys are one of the few still doing the classic 90s style of power metal well. With not a single bad record under their name, Twisted Tower Dire has proven once again that classic metal is alive, well, and in good hands.

Twisted Tower Dire – Light the Swords on Fire (No Remorse)

Bonus!

As usual, here’s the new Sabaton History!

Sabaton HIstory 006 – Talvisota

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Iron Savior – Kill Or Get Killed Review

Score7/10
GenreHeavy/Power Metal
CountryGermany
Runtime53:56
Release Date15 Mar 2019
Record LabelAFM

Since their inception in the mid-90s, Iron Savior have been an iconic name in German power metal. With more than twenty years behind them and a new record about every two years, these guys are still going as strong as ever.

Kill or Get Killed is business as usual: cranked bass, hooky hooks, and gloriously-heavy guitars. With a method and style that have remained all but unchanged for almost their entire career, Iron Savior are great at doing what they know and executing it masterfully. The rhythm section is about as beefed up as Ronnie Coleman in his heyday (but has aged way fucking better) and the choruses retain their familiar, catchy melodies.

The band continues to play with the same vitality and vigour that it always has; there is no limit to the power behind Piet Sielck’s mountainous bellows, which, for a guy who’s half a decade from sixty, is quite the feat. Conversely, Joachim Küstner’s exquisite shredding has only grown finer with time. There are no real highlights on this record because most of the songs have the same formula and structure. Despite the blatant and intentional lack of variety, this metal is hard as Hell, which is all I really care about at the end of the day.

In the originality department, Kill or Get Killed gets a zero-and-a-half. However, nobody expects anything new from these guys. They have their shtick and it works really fucking well, so why bother trying to break new ground? It’s evident that these guys are in it for their undying love for metal and their passion is in the forefront of every song.

This album is great, plain and simple.

Iron Savior – Stand Up and Fight (AFM)

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News This Week (March Week 1)

While tons of singles came out this week, ninety-five percent of them were absolute bullshit. However, there were plenty of album releases (with a couple that are sure to be contenders in March’s Top Ten) that make it all worthwhile, and even a couple singles which were good enough to be mentioned here.

There wasn’t much in the way of news or announcements, but if I missed anything noteworthy, call me out!

Singles

Atlas Pain – Kia Kaha

Epic folk metal group Atlas Pain released ‘Kia Kaha’, from their upcoming record, Tales of a Pathfinder, which will be available on 19 April. The first minute or two are just ambient sounds and samples, but once the light and uplifting instrumentals begin, you’ll be glad you waited. This track contains a fair amount of pirate energy and will be a hit with any fan of the genre.

Atlas Pain – Kia Kaha (Scarlet Records)

Voyager – Brightstar

Voyager is a prog band from Australia which I had never even heard of before this week. I’m not really upset about that, though, because it’s pretty indie rock/underground electronic for my taste. It’s not bad, but it lacks any sort of oomph or energy. If you want to hear something different for a change, though, check out ‘Brightstar’.

Voyager – Brightstar (Season of Mist)

Iron Savior – Stand Up and Fight

This just might be the most expensive music video made ever in the history of anything.

As Kill or Get Killed draws nearer (next week, in fact), Iron Savior has released another colossal single. ‘Stand Up and Fight’ is my favourite so far, largely because of that nasty fucking guitar solo.

Iron Savior – Stand Up and Fight (AFM)

Albums

Stonecast – I Earther

Stonecast rocks seriously fucking hard. Their strong energy will draw you in and their anthemic hooks will make you stay. Their third album, I Earther, is no exception. This earthy metal is sturdy and its sound is nothing short of mountainous. It’s got great musicians, excellent songwriting, and has massive replayability. This album is rock-solid and will pound its way into your heart. (These rock puns doing anything for you?)

Catch the full review here!

Stonecast – Goddess of Rain (Pitch Black)

Queensrÿche – The Verdict

While The Verdict is Queensryche’s worst album in recent years, it’s still pretty good. No new ground has been broken; it’s pretty similar to their 90s material, but many of the songs have a grunge underbelly. In all honesty, though, I’m just glad that all of the legal bullshit and drama has stayed at bay and allowed Queensryche to keep producing records.

Queensryche – Blood of the Levant (Century Media)

Warrior Path – Warrior Path

This album is insanely fucking good. Being forged under Greek guitarist/composer Andreas Sinanoglou, it also features vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos (ex Wardrum, Beast In Black) and guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis (Firewind), making for quite the lineup. Now, I’m pretty biased to all things Yannis, so I’ll try to avoid talking too much about how his already-impressive vocal versatility is demonstrated in yet another new way or how he absolutely fucking masters old school heavy metal singing too much.

Well, shit. I tried.

Ok, I didn’t try at all.

Besides the vocals, the songs are very well written (a trait that is often missing from traditional metal bands), the solos and riffs are heavy, and the slow parts are beautiful. You’ll come back to this record a few times; I guarantee it.

Warrior Path – Warrior Path [Full Album] (Symmetric Records)

Iron Fire – Beyond the Void

Let it be known that Iron Fire is king in the land of heavy metal. After twenty years in the studio, not a single one of their records has lost any heat, and they’ve perhaps hit the pinnacle of their career in their ninth: Beyond the Void. These heavy metal veterans show absolutely no sign of slowing down, and it’s greatly reassuring to see them continuously produce nothing but excellence.

Now, I’m not exaggerating when I say the songwriting is fantastic. No song sets into one feel, and the molten-hot solo sections, especially in titular track, have some serious underlying grooves. Honestly, while Kirk Backarach’s soloing is awesome, the rhythm section underneath is just as good.

Read more about it here.

Iron Fire – Beyond the Void (Crime)

Týr – Hel

I’ve never really been a fan or Tyr, largely because the vocal style and effects remind me so much of Volbeat that I can’t even stand it. Volbeat needs to retreat far, far into the shadows and never plague us with its bootlegged ‘metal’ again.

Anyway, I do know that Tyr is hugely popular in both progressive and folk metal, and I also know that these songs are really good (even though I can’t enjoy them). So, check out the track below. If you like it, you’ll love the album. If you can’t stand it, know that you’re not alone.

TÝR – Ragnars Kvæði (Metal Blade)

Darkwater – Human

Darkwater’s Human is very late-Dream-Theatery at its core (but not anything like Distance over Time, which is something entirely different) , but the hooks are catchy and the numerous symphonic, choir, and keyboard tracks that are consistently scattered throughout the album add a lot of depth. The solos and grooves are pretty tame by prog standards but these guys do an excellent job at proving that you don’t need to be shredding like a fucking madman for an entire ten minute song in order to be a successful prog musician.

All things considered, this album is great.

You can read my review here!

Darkwater – In Front of You (Ulterium)

The Raven Age – Conspiracy

I usually don’t listen to groove metal, but I find myself enjoying this album very much. It has an almost emo metal sound with a metalcore rhythm section and melodic choruses. It’s nothing new by any stretch, but edgy 13-year-old me definitely approves.

The Raven Age – The Day the World Stood Still

Bonus!

Oh, I almost forgot! Here’s this week’s Sabaton History episode.

Sabaton History 005 – Last Dying Breath

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Stay Metal \m/