Archive for Manowar

Blood Times – On A Mission

Posted in Metal with tags , , , on 26th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bloody Times
On A Mission
Released 11th January 2019
Heavy Metal
Self-Released

Bloody Times - On a Mission

‘On A Mission’ is the second album from the German heavy metal band Bloody Times. The band started as a solo project of bassist Simon Pfundstein back in 2014. He was later joined by two former members of Iced Earth, drummer Raphael Saini and vocalist John Greedy. This album also features guest performances from various heavy metal musicians including Ross Friedman aka Ross the Boss (ex-Manowar).

The first thing that struck me when listening to this album was how much it reminded me of old Iced Earth. Luckily I happen to like old Iced Earth, so it’s good to hear John Greedy behind the mike again. The mid-paced opening track Alliance is one of the more melodic songs on here. I guess that this was meant to be some sort of classic metal ballad and as such it works reasonably well. I just wish that they would have omitted the progressive, ponderous and slow guitar parts mid-way through the song. It’s not the best start to the album but luckily what follows is the energetic, thrash metal style Fort Sumter– easily my favourite song on here due to excellent guitar work and powerful vocals. Now that’s more like it! If only this track was the first one….

Die In A Hole also has that thrash metal vibe to it; it is more varied in pace, not quite as fast ‘Fort Sumter’ but not too slow either. There is a good range of guitar riffs and Mr. Greedy manages to find the right balance between low pitched shouting and clean vocals to match the tone of the music. I also like the reworked version of Curse of Genevieve. What lets this album down is a short track called The Warning (Until Blood Boils pt.1) which falls under the category of what I commonly refer to as “filler”. I honestly do not know what I found more irritating, the strange vocal effects or the ultra dull-sounding, doom metal style guitar riffs plodding along in the background. Time to skip this. Next! Luckily the part 2 marks a return to the fast and aggressive heavy metal.

Overall, despite its flaws, ‘On A Mission’ is a good heavy metal album which I would recommend to fans of old Iced Earth.

3.5/5
Iza Raittila

Dio, Lemmy and others to be inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , , , , on 16th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

The very first Hall of Heavy Metal History awards gala and induction ceremony will be held at the Anaheim Expo Center in Anaheim, California, USA on this Wednesday (January 18th 2017).

The following artists have been nominated for the induction:

Ronnie James Dio, (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio)


Lemmy Kilmister, (Motörhead)

Randy Rhoads, (Ozzy Osbourne)

Vinny Appice ( ex-Black Sabbath and Dio)

Ross “The Boss” Friedman, (ex- Manowar)

Scorpions

Don Airey  (Deep Purple)

Metal Blade Records (With Brian Slagel accepting the induction)

Rudy Sarzo (ex-Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake)

and others.

There will also be some live music during the ceremony with a variety of bands including Dio Disciples, Ross “The Boss” and Mike LePond.

The money raised by the event will be donated to Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.

For more details about this event visit:

https://www.thehallofheavymetalhistory.org/

 

 

Witches Mark – Witching Metal Ritual

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 20th August 2013 by izaforestspirit

Witches Mark
Witching Metal Ritual
Released 15th July 2013
Speed Metal/Power Metal/Thrash Metal
Released via Heaven and Hell Records

 photo witchingcover_zps6cc12be8.jpg

‘Witching Metal Ritual’ is the debut album from the Texas-based, American speed/power metal band Witches Mark. It is the follow up to their 2009 EP ‘A Grim Apparition’.

Straight from the start, we’re in for a joyride with the ultra fast and amusingly titled Bringers of Heavy Metal Death taking you on a journey filled with speedy guitar riffage, solos and old-school thrash metal style vocals. Yep, they don’t call the genre “speed metal” for nothing. This music will give you quite the adrenaline rush…

With Swarm we are treated to some of the power metal influences such as the vocals, which change to a more high-pitched, story-telling style akin to the likes of their fellow countrymen Iced Earth. Even the guitar sound more melodic on here compared to the previous tracks. Similar things can be said about the next track Slaves to Their Own Sin though this one has a slightly faster pace and reminds me a little of Mystic Prophecy and..dare I say it… Manowar?

Other noteworthy tracks include: Cauldron Born, which marks a return to thrash metal with the fast and furious guitar riffs and solos giving the track the energy that was absent from some of the slower songs and the short but extremely catchy title track.

Overall this album offers a bit of a mixed bag, full of highs and lows. It’s almost as though the band was still experimenting with which style suits them best. My advice to them would be: stick to the fast and energetic speed thrash metal and leave the power metal ballads to someone else!

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

 

Lonewolf – The Fourth and Final Horseman

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 1st July 2013 by Hannah

Lonewolf
The Fourth and Final Horseman
Released: July 2013
Power Metal
Released via Napalm Records


The Fourth and Final Horseman is a valiant effort from French power metal powerhouses Lonewolf. At times reminiscent of other fully fledged champions of the genre like Sabaton, or indeed legends such as Manowar or Blind Guardian, they also promise variety and versatility with tinges of Children of Bodom, Wintersun and even the late, great Bathory. However, this variety never fully manifests, and it’s something that lets the band down here.

Don’t get me wrong, in the long run, I think TFAFH is a cracker of an album. Jens Börner’s often criticised vocal style actually works in their favour, in my opinion; his voice is intensely gravelly, very throaty and I can understand why it puts people off, but I think it elevates their sound beyond the normally ultra-slick and squeaky clean production of most power metal bands and adds a heavy, gritty edge to their music. Of course there is a major Running Wild influence throughout but Lonewolf get too much flack for this and I think it’s time we accepted that, and moved on!

There are some fantastic tracks on offer here. Opener and title track ‘The Fourth and Final Horseman’ is a strong start, with a simple, repetitive and infernally catchy chorus that will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day- a formula Lonewolf tend to stick to throughout the rest of the album! Here, Börner and guitarist Alex Hilbert definitely show off their virtuoso capabilities with spiralling guitar harmonies; again, a formula they will stick to. Most of the time, this faithful adherence to this tried-and-tested method of song writing doesn’t detract from their sound, and I am tempted to say if something works, then by all means go for it! It works well in tracks ‘Hellride’ and ‘Time for War’, for example, but leaves ‘Throne of Skulls’, ‘The Brotherhood of Wolves’ and ‘Guardian Angel’ quite uninspiring.

Where TFAFH reaches its most impressive heights for me is in the tracks that promise echoes of something more; those hints of variety that I mentioned previously. ‘The Poison of Mankind’, for example, starts very strong with an almost cinematic, choral tinged opener that slowly builds into a stomping tune that eventually reverts to the usual Lonewolf formula, but still maintains that atmosphere created by the start of the track. A similar effect is achieved in ‘Dragonriders’, with its almost Celtic, folk-tinged melodies and in album closer ‘Destiny’, in which a slow, almost acoustic feeling promises a brooding and atmospheric closer before it once again falls into simply another stomping, energetic power metal track.

Don’t get me wrong; their formula works, and I don’t think any of the songs on this album are bad; on the contrary, they are impressively energetic, and good all-round metal songs with more than a tinge of the retro. I just wish they had the balls to stick with the slower, more melodic and quieter elements sometimes! This is why the standout track for me, by far, is the only one in which they manage to maintain that epic, melodic atmosphere throughout, and that is in the Bathory-esque ‘Another Star Means Another Death’. Change the vocals and it wouldn’t sound that out of place on Hammerheart or Blood Fire Death. It begins with a beautiful, brooding, slow burning melody that quickly builds into heaviness but manages to keep that brooding atmosphere bubbling throughout.

Overall, there is some fantastic guitar work going on throughout this album, and I enjoyed most of it. However, I can’t help but think that Lonewolf would silence their critics if they only managed to shake things up a bit, and show off the versatility that is so blatantly hiding under the surface. Having said that, I do think that this is a good album and a must for any fan of power metal, and I even think that this would be a good choice for those that don’t usually dabble in the genre. A good effort; I just want to see more variety on the next album.

3/5

Hannah O’Flanagan

 

Sacred Blood – Alexandros

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 12th June 2012 by izaforestspirit

Sacred Blood
Alexandros
Released: May 2012
Epic Power Metal
Released via: Pitch Black Records

‘Alexandros’ is the second album from the Greek epic power metal band Sacred Blood. It is a concept album based on the life and legend of Alexander the Great.

So aside from the rather cheesy intro which comes complete with battle sounds and an epic story-telling voice, this is pretty much what it is says on the tin. ‘Alexandros’ treats the listener to some epic power metal akin to the likes of Manowar with hints of Iced Earth. Take ‘The Bold Prince of Macedonia’ for instance: the vocals bear a strong similarity to Manowar, then there’s the choir-like, warrior-style backing vocals all of which add to the overall ‘epic’ effect.

Luckily they have managed to throw in some catchy guitar riffs and solos as well; on tracks such as ‘Death Behind The Walls’ and ‘Ride Through the Achaemenid Empire’ which remind me of Iron Maiden for some reason. Then there’s the soundtrack-esque, symphonic instrumentals like ‘Golden Shields in the Sky’ which, in true story-telling fashion, features more of the vocalized commentary similar to that of the intro. In addition to these the album also features some slower tracks such as the acoustic guitar driven, keyboard-infused ballad ‘New God Rising (At the Oracle of Siwa)’ or ‘Heart of the Ocean (Nearchus Advancing)’ which features some melodic, soft-sounding female vocals.

Overall this is a very good example of epic power metal which I would recommend to fans of Manowar and Iron Maiden.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Corretja – ‘American Ragnarok’

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 30th April 2012 by tobiasgray

Band: Corretja
Album: American Ragnarok
Release date: October 2011
Genre: Metal
Label: Unsigned   –  http://corretja.net

 

 

Melodic death metal, with viking imagery and titles such as ‘A Battle For Lundene’; deathly vocals and blastbeats…this isn’t the new Amon Amarth album, but it’s a worthy addition to the (battle)field.  From Virginia USA, igniting the fires of European pagan metal – electronics included – on their home shores, Corretja have produced an album celebrating both American history and Norse mythology.  The tracks are concise (the longest clocking in at 3.55), and relentless in their energy.

From the American civil war to London’s bloodstained streets, ‘American Ragnarok’ is constantly throwing surprises and new ideas forward.  The opening tracks set the tone with pounding blasts, epic twin leads and atmospheric keyboards, then ‘Bull Run II’ introduces clean, electronically harmonised vocals intermittently – and the sample of a bull!

After 5 tracks of similarly powerful melodic DM (with thrash elements), ‘Throne of Bebbenberg’ appears with a minute long blast of old school, no frills death metal, minus keyboards.  It provides a quick detour from the established sound and nicely sets up the closing numbers ‘Enjoy the Violence’ and ‘Thrashowar’ – a drastically reimagined cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Photographic’ and a fitting tribute to Manowar’s drummer Scott Columbus respectively.

Corretja have an admirable DIY ethic, and while the programmed drums and prominent keyboards lack the ‘polish’ of major label releases, this does not detract from the charm, energy and aggression of the album.  The songs are well written, the instruments played well and the delivery is consistent.  The band want to pay tribute to metal and they have totally succeeded.

With eight tracks in 20 minutes, there’s no danger of getting bored, the variety of riffs on display and the catchy melodies keep you enthralled until the end.

4.5/5

Tobias Gray.

Emerald Sun – Regeneration [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th March 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Emerald Sun
Album: Regeneration
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Power Metal

Emerald Sun have been a part of the Greek power metal for thirteen years now, with a surprisingly small discography. “Regeneration” is the newest addition to said discography.

The album begins with the track “We Won’t Fall”, which begins with a rhythmic drum intro which is soon accompanied by a rock sounding riff. The guitar goes slightly more metal when the synths make themselves heard. The vocals have a very Judas Priest-meets-Iced Earth sound to them. The synth riff gets irritatingly repetitive throughout the track. There is a technical use of guitar work which improves the track a fair bit. However, the highlight of the track is the guitar solo. “Theater of Pain” follows after. It begins with the sound of clapping followed by a drum intro. The guitar riff that follows has a slight Dragonforce sound to it. There is a great use of double bass pedal throughout the track and the synth riffs work well with the guitars. The guitar solo sounds choppy to begin with but soon improves. There is a line of narration towards the end of the track, which gives the track a little bit of a Gothic novella sound.

Next is “Where Angels Fly” which begins with a heavier riff than the past two tracks. The vocals sound a tad lower as well and the synths work extremely well with the guitars. The drums on the other hand do sound quiet compared to the synths, guitars, bass and vocals. Some of the guitar sections on this track aren’t exactly impressive, as they lack technicality and musicianship. The solo, however, is good. The title track “Regeneration” comes after, being composed entirely of eerie and epic sounding synths. “Starchild” comes blasting in next with a fierce combination of guitars, drums and keyboards. The vocals, again, sound slightly lower. The keyboard riffs are more impressive on this track than they have been on the previous ones.

“Speak of the Devil” is next, beginning with a synth-and-drums intro. The guitars soon make themselves heard. The vocals sound like a harsher version of those found on a Manowar album to begin with and go back to sounding like a Judas Priest-Iced Earth combination. The synth sections sound great, especially when combined with the vocals and drums. Next is “Planet Metal” which begins with a heavy intro which is soon accompanied by synths and vocals. There is a slight use of squeaky vocals as well which kind of ruins the song. Aside from that, it is an okay track.

“Chasing The Wind” is next, which begins with a mixture of guitar, drums and synth. It isn’t exactly a heavy track, as it sounds more like a hard rock track rather than a metal track. The guitar solo, however, does add an element of metal to the track. Next is “Fantasmagoria” which begins with a slow synth intro, which is soon accompanied by a slow guitar riff and female vocals. The male vocals come in when the track turns heavier. There is also a use of harsher vocals, which sound eerily familiar to that of Marco from Nightwish. The guitar solo is similar to that of something that Megadeth would perform. After the guitar solo, there is another vocal section in which a new set of vocals come in, which sound a tad bit like those of the late, great Dio. The only problem with this album is that it’s far too long.

The last track of the album is the bonus track, which is a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero”. It begins with a few chords played on the keyboard and a few quick blast-beats. After that the main keyboard riff begins. The guitars soon come in, bringing the metal element to the track. The vocals soon follow, sounding very much like Bonnie Tyler, almost to the point where the the vocals sound like female vocals. The guitar solo, however, is absolutely immense. If anything, this cover is probably more of a comical cover than a serious tribute to Bonnie Tyler.

Most bands normally get their sound perfect by their third album. Emerald Sun however have failed to do so. “Regeneration” is a great album but it sounds as if it is lacking in parts. Hopefully, Emerald Sun will have their sound perfected by the next album release.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson