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Thursday, June 30, 2011

REVIEW: Battleaxe (UK) - Burn This Town (1983)

battleaxe burn this town


Battleaxe are a NWOBHM band coming from England, Wearside area. Their sound combines rougher edge of NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal) music and rock'n'roll attitude together rather splendidly on "Burn This Town" album. They remind me a bit of bands such as Motörhead, TANK and Rogue Male, perhaps also Spartan Warrior, especially with bass lines. Dave King's vocal delivery is raspy rock'n'roll-ish hitting mostly the mid-range (but not as deep and raspy as Lemmy or Algy Ward), which fits atmosphere of their music perfectly, as "Burn This Town" lyrics focus mainly on rebellious anthems and rock'n'roll life. Riffs in general are quite simple, straightforward, flashy and upbeat - perhaps without exceptional frills, but bursting with energetic attitude and vibes. Guitar sound has that nice 80's crunch and overdrive, not sounding so bottom-heavy, but tasty as hell, although lacking perhaps few additional interesting lead-melodies. Otherwise everything is almost perfect. Drum work on the album by Ian Thompson is notably good, as well. Pounding bass lines are rather audible in the mix, adding the final flavor to the in-your-face songs on "Burn This Town". Production is slightly on a thin side having a lot of treble (but very clear, nevertheless), but considering it was released way back in 1983 it's definitely on the better side.

"Burn This Town" is certainly something you would want to crank up while driving on highway. The album just does have that feel to it. Sort of a great biker style heavy metal, that borders the definition of "classic", being almost up there, depending of do you seek for something truly exceptional, or just is "just" a damn good but straight-forward NWOBHM-record enough for you to define something as "a classic". The album's presentation is strong throughout. Upbeat and rebellious "Overdrive" and rock'n'roll-flavored "Dirty Rocker" belong to among the best tracks on the album. Mid-fast raise-your-fist-anthems "Ready To Deliver" and "Burn This Town" also leave strong foot mark on anyone who's into some NWOBHM. Then there are more laid-back moments with mid-paced drifter "Her Mama Told Her" with that pounding (bass) rhythm. My favorite, however, has to be carefree and upbeat rocker "Running Out Of Time", with few flashy guitar leads, strong driving rock'n'roll-influenced rhythm-section, and pounding bass lines, not forgetting vocal delivery by Dave King which, in my opinion, is strongest on this track, with the great sing-along chorus. Guitar solo is also fine on "Running Out of Time".

All the rest of the songs not mentioned previously hold up, as well. The first six songs on the album just raise above the rest, but the four last ones stand their ground, dropping quality just very slightly. Same good attitude runs through whole album, being straightforward, rebellious, NWOBHM/Rock'n'roll that does indeed deliver! In my opinion, as an overall record this beats TANK's debut "Filth Hounds Of Hades" (being bit more stable through-out) as well as Rogue Male's "First Visit", which both are great records. Majority of praise on "Burn This Town" album comes just from it's awesome overall attitude and highly energetic performance, which the band successfully projects into their musical presentation. NWOBHM-era albums very rarely were full of exceptional technical guitar shredding, and they didn't contain high quality production values, but what made many of them memorable was their catchy, rebellious, and raw musical presentation - whereas "Burn This Town" presents a prime example of that. A few more interesting lead guitar melodies is all it would take to make this album a full blooded classic, but I rate "Burn This Town" so high in my books anyway, that I'll give borderline classic score of


90


Check to see if available at Amazon.com

  • Dave King - Vocals
  • Steve Hardy - Guitars
  • Brian Smith - Bass
  • Ian Thompson - Drums

  • 1. Ready To Deliver 03:02
  • 2. Her Mama Told Her 03:44
  • 3. Burn This Town 03:31
  • 4. Dirty Rocker 03:28
  • 5. Overdrive 04:23
  • 6. Runnin' Outta Time 03:29
  • 7. Battleaxe 03:40
  • 8. Starmaker 02:55
  • 9. Thor Thunder angel 03:44
  • 10. Hands Off 04:36
    • Total running time: 36:32






For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – MFM/MFM8 & Roadrunner/RR9906
Type – LP/UK/83
Near Mint – $14
Very Good+ - $8









Wednesday, June 29, 2011

REVIEW: Striker (CAN) - Eyes In The Night (2010)

striker eyes in the night


Striker is a canadian speed metal band formed in 2007. The band released their first demo in 2008 and first EP in 2009 called Road Warrior. This is a young band with fresh guys in heavy metal field. I was quite unfamiliar with this band too, but their sound caught my attention immeatedly (which doesn't happen too often in case of new bands). Striker plays tight sounding speed metal with powerfull speedy palm-muted riffs and melodic leads thrown in to the mix. Guitars practically slaughter with the chainsaw-rhythms and screaming guitar squeals (pick harmonics) used very often. The drumming is also quite thunderous on this album. Vocals on Dan Cleary remind a bit of Sean Peck of Cage or perhaps Halford at higher pitched screams. He uses his range from mid-high to high pitched well and sounds quite powerfull. Cleary has very slightly rough edge in his melodic voice meaning he's not totally clean but almost. Expect alot of high notes on this album but they fit well and aren't done so overly or out of key that it would annoy the listener. Also backup vocals are used at places to make vocals more strong.

Music sounds very much rooted 80's speed metal and overall athmosphere is really flashy yet melodic. Along the strong chainsaw riffs - lead melodies, very good solos and pick harmonics create multidimensional sound that doesn't sound too flat and boring but instead creates strong wall-of-sound. Everything is pretty much in your face headbanging material. This can be also slightly minus since when closing at the end of B-side of the album theres a bit of repetition. Still whole album is made with style and is enjoyable throughout.

My favourites here are: opening track Full Speed Or No Speed, which is furious headbanger and soaring vocal delivery from Cleary and some backup vocals done well. Solo doesn't let down either. More athmospheric Never Ending Nights with it's half-acoustic parts, slowdown parts mixed with faster headbanging ones and some melodic leads screaming. This is propably most moody and rocking song on the album yet manages not to sound overly pu*sy. The White Knight with ultra-speedy chainsaw rhythms and great lead guitar work and high pitched screams from Cleary and once again well used backup vocals from the band. Slightly laid back but still heavy Ice Cold that has slightly Maiden'ish feel in its chorus part practically at it's soaring vocal delivery and great pick harmonics along with some shredding. But my number one favourite has to be Eyes Of The Night. Just damn awesome guitar harmonics at the intro which leads to great lead guitar riffing which continues through whole song with double bass drums setting the rhythm. Melodies just stick to your head.

Overall a speed metal album from a young band done by great style. One can hear they certainly have talent. Very slightly repetitive but it doesn't really matter as all the songs are good-very good. Promising at least to say. I think they got their countrymates Cauldron's newest album beat with this record. Recommended to anyone who likes straightforward in-your-face speed metal rooted to 80's with high pitched strong screams and melodic lead guitar work added to the mix. 80/100 (Great)




  • Dan Cleary - Vocals
  • Ian Sandercock - Guitars
  • Chris Segger - Guitars
  • Dave Arnold - Bass
  • Magnus Burdeniuk - Drums

  • 1. Full Speed or No Speed 03:09
  • 2. Eyes in the Night 04:13
  • 3. We Don't Play by the Rules 03:42
  • 4. Never Ending Nights 04:37
  • 5. The White Knight 03:55
  • 6. Voice of Rock 04:09
  • 7. Ice Cold 04:54
  • 8. Terrorizer 04:22
  • 9. Believe in Me 05:48
  • 10. Hang on (To Your Life) 04:16
    • Total running time: 43:05









    

Monday, June 27, 2011

NEWS: doom metallers Cardinals Folly releasing first full-lenght in August

cardinals folly such power is dangerous


Finnish doom metal band Cardinals Folly is releasing their first full-lenght album in August. They were formerly known as The Coven (formed in 2004 - releasing two EP's and one live under that name) but changed name to Cardinals Folly in 2007. They have two EP's under their belt so far (Heretic's Hangover EP 2008 and
Orthodox Faces EP 2009).

The album is coming out on 2nd of August 2011 released by Shadow Kingdom Records label by title "Such Power Is Dangerous!". The tracklist is following:

1. The Hammer Speaks
2. Such Power Is Dangerous!
3. Valkyries I Avenge
4. The Spear of Destiny
5. Antediluvian Dreams
6. Uncharted Seas
7. The Secret War

Pre-order CD through Amazon:



Listen their song BLOOD AXIS RAIDERS from 2009.







    

Weekly metal videos - week 26





Walpurgis Night is now behind.
It's time for a week 26 and new music videos to be found
on WEEKLY METAL VIDEOS page.

From now on you can also cast your vote, I'll archive previous rankings.
This week we'll have Running Wild, Vendetta, Holy Moses, Witch Cross and Warlock.
Check out weekly metal videos from week 26 here.

    

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NEWS: Manilla Road to release new album within two months

Long line epic heavy metallers from Wichita, United States, will be releasing a new album this year which will be their 15th full lenght. The album is called Playground Of The Damned and exact release date has been set to August 12th, 2011. Recording have already been finished and took place at Midgard Sound Labs, Wichita. It won't be a concept album this time. Mark and Hellroadie are singing 50% of the songs each.

This will be long awaited album since last one called Voyager came out three years ago being very solid album.
Manilla Road have been recording a great album after another for over three decades now (were on break 1992-2000) and don't show sign slowing down. They are propably one of the most consistant performers out there. The band has also always stayed to their roots of honest epic heavy metal. Two more months and waiting will be over!

In the meantime here's the cover art (which is damn incredible) and tracklist:

manilla road playground of the damned

1. Jackhammer
2. Into the Maelstrom
3. Playground of the Damned
4. Grindhouse
5. Abattoir de la Mort
6. Fire of Ashurbanipal
7. Brethren of the Hammer
8. Art of War






    

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

REVIEW: Charger (UK) - Desperadoes (1987, Single)

charger desperadoes

Charger is an obscure heavy metal / late-NWOBHM band from UK, North Yorkshire, who only released one single, so not much is known about the band, nor they didn't left much trails behind. Even the release date of this single is debate, but reasoning with the facts, such as that singer Colin Bell was active with his earlier band Dark Heart until mid-1985 and Holosade until, perhaps 1987, would suggest, that it indeed was released as late as in 1987, despite sounding like something from 1983. However, this single is really good! 'Desperadoes'-single features strong sounding, rather speedy pure heavy metal in veins of NWOBHM, with some rock n' roll attitude (especially featured in the title track). Short-lived Charger was given a warm-up slot for Tygers of Pan Tang in Durnham, Spring 1987, which should had increased their reputation. However, interest towards their music commercially was minimal and the band disbanded at some point in late eighties, with their last copies of the single given out for free for promotion, or sold at local fish n' chip shop. Talking about "happy ending". (The n.w.o.b.h.m. encyclopedia 3rd Ed. Malc Macmillan, p.106-107).

Lets finally take a look into the single. I cannot but give little praise for vocals. Singer Colin Bell (ex-Dark Heart, Holosade) has nice clean, rather deep, just slightly soaring mid-range voice, with occasional tad rough screams. He has pure heavy metal voice with quite a bit of emotion, and while not perhaps the most complex voice around, still much more skillful and interesting than your average NWOBHM band features. Bell's vocals fits the heavy but melodic atmosphere well, reminding a bit of Russ North on Cloven Hoof's 'Dominator' album, for example, but with less range, and bit more rebellious attitude.

Guitars by Barry "Baz" Cummins on the single feature tight rhythm sections driving songs forward, with melodic leads, fine shredding and solos. 'Desperadoes'-single features two tracks of honest pure heavy metal, or very late NWOBHM, with tight playing and surprisingly fine instrumental skills from this unknown band, who sound like professionals on the record. Sound could be described such as 'Dark Heart' meets 'Cloven Hoof' (Dominator-Sultan's Ransom era), wandering somewhere in-between the both, for not being quite as power-metal flavored and melody driven as Cloven Hoof's later work, nor as laid back Dark Heart. It also has more fury and aggression, than either of the previously mentioned does. Desperadoes-single also features rather good sound production, in comparison to many other bands of NWOBHM genre, who were releasing singles of EP's mainly.

The single is energetic, speedy, and quite melodic effort. Both of the songs here are definite headbanging material. Title track 'Desperadoes' contains tons of rebellious attitude with vivid lead guitars and abrasive rhythm guitars, while it draws influences from rock n' roll / punk rock, too. Punchy bass-lines and shout-along chorus add the final touch -- "Desperadoes! Desperadoes after me!". This track's a true winner that would fit into any a-tier NWOBHM band's top album! It's a speedy melodic delight, with some of that TANK / Jaguar-like roughness. While title track is my definite favorite of the two, 'Are You Out There' isn't too bad song either, taking approach towards more mellow and melodic field. Bell tones down roughness of his vocals a bit, featuring more melodic and soaring side, than on rebellious title track. The band turns on Cloven-Hoof-Dominator-gear on this one, and it's got much more flashy shredding, very melodic chorus, and some group shouted backing vocals featured. A fine song too.

This all leaves me wonder why the band never released any more material. The band was hugely talented, and could had competed with both NWOBHM "power-houses", TANK or Jaguar on their best days. Charger had good guitarist, good catchy compositions, very pure and honest heavy metal vocalist, and overall very good approach towards the heavy metal sound on it's core, with fair amount of power. This single should had predicted good things to come for them, but NWOBHM was already pretty much over, so did they come too late, for a record deal I mean? If you ever bump into this single (which I doubt), and it's not totally insanely priced, get it immediately! Highly recommended and one of the best British eighties heavy metal singles I've ever heard! (Awesome)


92

-www.kultmetal.com | reviewer: dungeoncrawler


  • Colin Bell - Bass, Vocals
    • See also: ex-Holosade, ex-Dark Heart
  • Steve Hall - Drums
  • Barry "Baz" Cummins - Guitars

  • 1. Desperadoes 02:54
  • 2. Are You Out There 03:51
    • Total running time: 06:45









    

Associate music store opened

I've opened a music and merchandise store for the site.
Its Amazon affiliate store so I cannot affect the prices but I'm trying to find all worthy stuff in their catalogue to add them in DungeonsAreCalling affiliate store. I'm using categories quite hard there so you can browse the records way you like. The store can be found in top bar of this site.

Catalogue is still in its processing-state. So far NWOBHM catalogue is pretty much ready, then theres some 70's and HARD ROCK records. T-shirts for cool bands propably also incoming. First I was thinking to add only obscure releases, but decided to also add more known stuff from the 80's there like Maiden. Give some feedback when you check it out.

This site will stay otherwise ad-free - buying through my affiliate Amazon store or donating will be the ways to support the blog. Despite the store I will keep uploading obscure releases fully here also. The store is an option if you liked what you downloaded, you can try finding it from the store (it has no all albums that this site reviews - Amazon's selection is limited).

I will keep building this up, enjoy!
DungeonsAreCalling store

    

Monday, June 20, 2011

Album ratings are archived

For a quick overview you can check the album ratings from here.

I have started out with my favourites so obviously there is nothing below "Good" yet ;-)

Review ratings

90-100 awesome stuff - major obscure classics, GET THEM NOW!
80-89 great stuff - minor classics and overall kickass albums, highly recommended!
70-79 good stuff - recommended for the fans of a genre, has its highpoints
60-69 average stuff - recommended for the fans of a band only, unmemorable
50-59 poor stuff - you can listen if you insist
30-49 stuff.. brown of a kind
0-29 classified below any stuff, even a brown one - highly propably braindamage material

REVIEW: Overdrive (SWE) - Angelmaker (2011)

overdrive angelmaker


Overdrive was formed in Sweden, Karlsham, at the year 1980.
They released couple of demos before debuting with full-lenght album Metal Attack at 1983. They released one more full-lenght at 1984 before disappearing from the scene (at least in form of releases). Overdrive returned to scene with singles at 2001 and 2006 before releasing NWOBHM'ish Let The Metal Do The Talking at 2008.

Angelmaker is their fourth full-lenght album release.
I happened to see Overdrive about a year back live in Finland which was pretty good gig. Although propably overshadowed by their countrymates Torch at the gig (just in my opinion) and were up to par with RAM, it looked like their comeback certainly was not a failure. Many of the 80's reunions after a decade of two inactivity lack energy and aggression the bands once had.

This album offers nicely back to the roots classic heavy metal with slight sound of power-metal perhaps, yes I think this is a twist towards traditional heavy/power from NWOBHM sound of previous album. Bit like Cage (US) meets Iron Maiden though still drifting more into euro category side..sounding quite like their countrymates RAM (SWE). Production of course sounds slightly modernized compared to the 80's sound but not in the bad meaning. Its just pure heavy metal with quite strong-palm muted riffing and nice melody passages. Singer doesn't really stand out in a good or bad way. He's just very stable mid-range - slightly high range singer with enought power in his voice not to sound whiny. Angelmaker may lack slightly innovation and surprises, but stands its ground being enjoyable 80's roots euro heavy metal with its headbanging moments along melodic guitar passages and nice solos. Still at the end of the day you're left with feeling you just listened very enjoyable album where nothing is wrong to begin with, but might not remember what really stood out.

The standout tracks include: I Know There's Something going on, slightly rock'ish and more modern power-metallish track. Something I could see Helloween doing with slightly more experimental song (I'm not a big Helloween fan but this song somehow works), speedy kicking Iron Maiden'ish Under The Influence, speedy in-your-face riffage-fests the title track and Sings All Over, more jam-along headbanger In Gut We Trust and melodic speedblast To Grow with its cool shredding. B-side doesn't come on quite as strong though is not really letdown either.

Overall I could recommend this to anyone who likes 80's roots melodic euro heavy metal with strong riffage as well as anyone who likes "newer" heavy/power metal bands like Helloween, Gamma Ray, Cage, RAM and so on. My taste is slightly more drifted into rough 80's german heavy metal and NWOBHM than melodic heavy/power but I do like this kind of stuff also. Not standout album, but enjoyable and traditional. More material in future is more appreciated than not appreciated from Overdrive. Quite solid album from talented band. 74/100 (good)


  • Kenth Ericsson - Bass
  • Kenta Svensson - Drums
  • Janne Stark - Guitars
  • Kjell Jacobsson - Guitars
  • Per Lengstedt - Vocals

  • 1. Signs All Over 03:48
  • 2. In Gut We Trust 03:48
  • 3. Angelmaker 03:54
  • 4. I Know There's Something Going On 04:39
  • 5. Under The Influence 03:41
  • 6. On With The Action 05:50
  • 7. See The Light 03:46
  • 8. To Grow 05:00
  • 9. Mother Earth 05:26
  • 10. It’s A Thriller 04:31
  • 11. Cold Blood Chaser 03:34
  • 12. The Wavebreaker 10:01
    • Total Running time: 57:58









    

Saturday, June 18, 2011

REVIEW: Prowler (UK) - Alcatraz (1985, single)



This is a short two-track 7" single from unknown UK band Prowler, from Leicestershire, named either by coincidence or by purpose similarly to the early hit track by Iron Maiden. Prowler, who were active during 1981-1987, but never got to release a full-length album or EP (not to be confused with Prowler from Essex, who were featured on 'Brute Force' compilation and released 'Heartbreaker' single). They have couple of demos and two singles in their discography, of which 'Alcatraz' is the latter second single. Shortly after the release of Alcatraz single, the band were lured into more commercial waters, drifting towards 'melodic rock' genre with a new demo and few more band name changes, losing their initial heaviness. That never really took off, and they disbanded few years later in 1987. (The n.w.o.b.h.m. Encyclopedia 3rd Ed. Malc Macmillan, p. 455-456).

Coming out in 1985, Alcatraz-single places in the late-era of NWOBHM wave. In the single, the band plays quite nice NWOBHM style heavy metal with very melodic mid-range vocals by Ian Morrison (who had just previously taken over vocal duties from Rob Philpotts, and replaced Dave Challis on bass, as well), accompanied with occasional very high-pitched screams, which he pulls out well enough without sounding awkward. Vocals remind me of Angel Witch's Dave Tattum at times, being equally melodic with mid-range focus, although Morrison doesn't sound quite as gloomy. Morrison does have sort of a deep soaring middle-range vocals that are well more powerful, than what an average singer of unknown band would have. Morrison sounds actually highlight of this single proving that he can sound very professional when he tries his best.

This record is very bass-heavy, in typical style of many NWOBHM bands, with pounding bass-lines (also by Morrison) and tasty crisp lead guitars showing some promising quality by the band members. Overall sound mix yet isn't very heavy, but rather bit more bluesy and mellow (in a melodic way), but also containing enough of that NWOBHM-style sharpness to be labeled as pure heavy metal. Chris Vye and Rob Philpotts seem to be playing quite enthusiastic on the single, probably stretching their skills to the max, with surprisingly shiny vivid guitar solos and very melodic leads. Guitars on the single feature some very tasty shredding/solos here and there by, which bring the songs more alive, accompanying more generic rhythm guitar riffs, with rather bluesy guitar tone. Actually, melody and lead guitars are more dominant part of the record, while rhythm guitars are bit more on the supporting role, although, lead guitars do focus hugely on shredding and hooks, rather than supporting core melody of the songs. Don't expect to find quite Iron Maiden style melodic twin lead-guitar attack on this single. The two songs themselves as compositions are quite standard material from what you would expect from lesser known NWOBHM band, but with more flavor added on top of rather generic core song structure, thanks to the guitarists.

Especially, the slower jam-along "title track" Alcatraz is very good song, with rather generic rhythm section, but featuring flashy melodic lead guitar, dominating pounding bass-line, and very strong melodic vocal delivery by Morrison. It features some damn fine tasty shredding, showing that this band did have talent for greater things, too, just if they would had chance to compose, record, and release a full-length album, with slightly more varying and fleshed out songs. Playing skills were definitely there. I really do like Steve Philpotts accurate and powerful drumming, as well, but sadly production values do not let instruments shine on their fullest. The title track is very enjoyable, and a small surprise from an unknown band. "So Lonely" is not as memorable effort, but rather mediocre rock'n'roll flavored middle-paced NWOBHM track, featuring once again melodic chorus by Morrison, who at the places don't as focused as on the title track, and his higher pitched "yeah! yeah! yeah!" screams sound a bit filler, and aren't quite working. Guitar shredding and solo parts are, however once again, professional sounding, with some speedy tremolo picking. I have feeling that the band put most of their effort and creativity in the title track, and then thought, "well, lets just make something easily approachable out of the second one with more radio friendly lyrics". Well, So Lonely is rather generic and average, but with some highlights.

Metal-archives.com has only one user-review given for Prowler's Alcatraz single, where reviewer gives the single a score of 52/100, and claims its average in every possible way. I must totally disagree that statement. "Title track" itself is quite memorable and definitely above average eighties material, quite surprisingly good from a obscure band with only single and demo releases under their belt. "So Lonely" is average but enjoyable, though, not as strong as the title track, a one to forget quickly. This small single shows off some definite talent and promise, though, but it's too bad Prowler didn't survive long enough to record a full length album with better production and more material. While composing skills of the band seemed to be rather average, their playing skills were professional at best. They had technically quite skillful guitarists, fine drummer, and a solid frontman capable of playing bass, yet being even memorable as a powerful melodic NWOBHM singer when trying his best, though Morrison is a bit of unstable between the two songs. Alcatraz is a nice little single out there, worth checking out for NWOBHM fanatics who seek for new bands. It has two songs lacking some creativity but showing fine playing skills. Fans of Virtue's 'We Stand To Fight,' 'Frontal-era' Angel Witch, 'Dominator-era' Cloven Hoof... and yes, why not early Iron Maiden, too, should check this one out. Just don't expect quite similar amount of heaviness and level of creativity in terms of song construction.


75

-www.kultmetal.com | reviewer: dungeoncrawler


  • Steve Philpotts - Drums
  • Chris Vye - Guitars
  • Rob Philpotts - Guitars
  • Ian Morrison - Vocals, bass

  • 1. Alcatraz 04:22
  • 2. So Lonely 03:47
    • Total running time: 08:09








    

NEWS: Finnish former 80's band OZ is back

Thats right, OZ is back (one more to the recent former 80's reunions) with a new single called Dominator. I myself will be left waiting for a full-lenght 'cause i've always liked OZ's 80's stuff and this new single doesn't sound too bad. Not all original members are in this reunion though. But go listen here and judge yourselves:



Just for comparison here's OZ's song called Third Warning from 1984:

    

REVIEW: Angel Witch (UK) - Frontal Assault (1986)

angel witch frontal assault

Many of you know Angel Witch from their quite legendary self-titled debut album. It was classic early NWOBHM at it's best, and more complex record than most of the genre's releases.  Also, many who think debut album's style is the only real one, may have overlooked the latter two eighties releases (Screamin' N' Bleedin' and Frontal Assault) because of the style change. Changes in musical direction are surely noticeable between Self Titled release and Frontal Assault, being more than just "natural progression" or "getting more matured sound". Angel Witch still plays pure heavy metal honest to eighties roots on Frontal Assault, but instead of pure NWOBHM in it's rawest form, what we have on the record is almost equally melodic, but more heavy and straight-forward, less seventies-flavored and less dry sound. Initial early NWOBHM sound has shifted more towards regular heavy metal sound with tighter rhythm guitar section, and generally tighter riffing. To sum it up Frontal Assault wins in heaviness and is perhaps easier album to get into, than the debut, but it loses original unique epic feel and more complex melodies, which made the debut a true classic. On Frontal Assault, Angel Witch do almost sound like a band that could well be pure late eighties heavy metal band from United States (Omen, anyone?). Perhaps they were trying to reach new audience from over-seas?

So is Frontal Assault a waste, for it's not epic and adventurous, mind expanding journey, like the self-titled debut? No. Calling it "sell-out" would be simply degrading. In my opinion Frontal Assault is a fine album, a different kind, but fine, and it surely has it's place in history. It's pure powerful heavy metal. Dave Tattum's gloomy and overly dramatic mid-range vocals are well likable. They are melodic, featuring opera-like soaring. Tattum's vocals are very powerful and it's the driving force of the album almost dominating the songs. Frontal Assault sounds dramatic and a bit moody by it's melodies. Heybourne's guitar playing is another powerful driving force on Frontal Assault. His rhythm guitar lines use high-end distortion with much treble. Needless to say rhythm guitars are truly ripping your guts. Rhythm section is the dominating force, but it's complemented with flashy lead guitar melodies, which don't quite take place so often than in the debut. There's fair amount of shredding and flying guitar solos featured in Frontal Assault, too.

As much as I respect the Angel Witch's classic debut album's down to the early roots of NWOBHM style, I have to admit that I do like this more straight-forward less epic style by the band very much. A slight complaint could be pressed on the general tempo of the album, which never really hits most rapid speeds, as well as the drumming, which core sound is fine, but patterns are bit too simple, never really shining at any point. I would even use word "dragging" on the drums, if it didn't give out too negative image of the situation, as the drummer does his work decently filling up his spot. Part of the blame could be sound mix, which doesn't let drummers work to be heard properly (especially hi-hats, fills), while the sound is definitely good on the part of other instruments.

Frontal Assault is quite strong album through and through, though the first half is noticeably better than the latter. Dramatic and melodic, rather anxious and evil title track Frontal Assault is top notch heavy metal on it's own right. It's followed by more moody and dream-like Dream World, which features keyboards lightly added to the background at times to spice things up, and it works. This song is a mind-invader, especially magical chorus! Rendezvous With The Blade has more thrashy main-riffs which are truly ripping, while slower Religion (Born Again) is more laid back song, that once again drifts more moody and anxious ride. Second half tracks are not turn-off either, while they don't stand up against the first half of the album. Straight To Hell best of the rest of songs, featuring dramatic melodies and evil imaginery, bit like the title track, but isn't quite as memorable. Something Wrong is half-ballad and has quite catchy melodic chorus part. She Don't Lie and Take To The Wing both stand their ground. Underdogs is a bit filler but not bad.

There's maybe slight repetition between the tracks on Frontal Assault, but there's not even one single bad song included. Rock solid performance and very enjoyable album throughout in my opinion, that doesn't deserve to be overshadowed forever by the classic self titled debut album. Do you like pure heavy metal with dramatic vocals, ripping rhythm guitars and fair share of melody? Then get Frontal Assault. This may not be NWOBHM anymore, but it is great heavy metal!


86

-www.kultmetal.com | reviewer: dungeoncrawler


  • Dave Tattum - Vocals
  • Kevin Heybourne - Guitars, Vocals (backing)
  • Pete Gordelier - Bass, Vocals (backing)
  • Spencer Holman - Drums

  • 1. Frontal Assault 04:05
  • 2. Dreamworld 03:52
  • 3. Rendezvous With the Blade 06:28
  • 4. Religion (Born Again) 04:08
  • 5. Straight From Hell 04:21
  • 6. She Don't Lie 05:56
  • 7. Take to the Wing 03:48
  • 8. Something Wrong 04:40
  • 9. Undergods 03:41
    • Total playing time: 40:59






For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – Killerwatt/KILP4003
Type – LP/UK/86
Near Mint – $13
Very Good+ - $7








Friday, June 17, 2011

REVIEW: Armored Saint - A Trip Thru Red Times 1982-1990 DVD

a trip thru red times


Armored Saint is a heavy metal band from US Los Angeles. They were created under name Armored Saint at 1982 and remained pretty much semi-known band that never made it to real fame (many of the best metal bands never did, because in most cases fame means mainstream in style). Armored Saint played classic US heavy metal and you could perhaps hear slight glam influences in their sound also. When things looked allright for them, their guitarist (may he rest in peace) Dave Prichard died of leukemia in 1990 with Saint having 3 full-lenghts under their belt at that time. Their fourth studio album was just on the way to be recorded and released before Dave died. He took part on composing songs to the 4th full lenght called Symbol of Salvation, but never recorded the songs to the album except demo-versions. Instead Jeff Duncan from Odin took the 2nd guitarist job to the album. As I understand this DVD is dedication for Saint's early years and Dave. A Trip Thru Red Times was originally released in 1991 on VHS, but was later re-released on DVD with more extras added in 2003. This review is about DVD version.

So, enought about history.
A Trip Thru Red Times is pretty much value for money. I haven't seen that many history-style dvd's from different bands but this one is definetely my favourite so far along with Story of Anvil (Anvil UK). Ok, so menus might not look the best but they are ok and have certain theme that fits to Armored Saint. But who cares really, material is quite gold.

First of all, theres loads of extras that are quite worthy. Extra videos have two official music videos (Reign of Fire and Last Train Home from '91) and four extra live clips. Then theres a "Interview + slide show" clip which is over an hour long interview with band from early 2000's where they talk about how it all started and about their friendship, development of the band from early times to nowadays. Interview is enchanted with slide shows. Pretty damn interesting interview at least in the eyes of a fan. Almost as worthy as the actual main video itself. Theres also actual slideshow photo-gallery which is always plus. Last but not least theres a small bonus CD with five songs recorded live in 1984. Pretty much moneys worth of bonus material I'd say!

Now to the actual main video which is the original '91 release from A Trip Thru Red Times VHS. It runs slightly less than hour. Its nicely compiled from live-clips in chronological order consisting of 11 songs played live. They are taken from different shows but it doesn't really matter cause the way the video is compiled. After each clip there's an interview or other video with the band members hosting the video and leading watcher to the next live clip. This kinda compiles band's live performances and short interviews with humorous commentary of the band members. It works really well and whole 52minutes manages to keep at least a fan interested. Main video is not only live pieces set together, with band members commentary it succeeds to be a more like documentary about band's history.

The quality in live pieces vary but its mostly fine considering the time of the recording. Video quality is slighly on worse side on live songs and I can see how someone could complain about it a bit. The sound quality manages to be pretty good in my opinion. Nothing so bad in quality that it would had bothered myself.

So what we have here is nice history documentary about Armored Saint with humorous commentary by the band, alongside with quite nice bonus material. Have to give the points especially for the long interesting interview with the band spiced up with slideshow picture material. If you find this somewhere and don't mind slightly dated video quality and are interested about history documentary-style DVD then get this. Highly recommended! 88/100 (Great)


A Trip Thru Red Times VHS:
-Main video running time 52min
Extras:
-Interview running time 1h 5min
-Extra videos - Two music videos + four live clips
-Four songs extra live-cd '84
-Photo gallery






  • John Bush - Vocals
  • Jeff Duncan - Guitars
  • Dave Prichard (R.I.P. 1990) - Guitars
  • Phil Sandoval - Guitars
  • Joey Vera - Bass
  • Gonzo Sandoval - Drums





    

Weekly metal videos

I will be holding weekly-metal-videos-page which will be updated on weekly basis having my weekly favourites out of official and unofficial music videos as well as a few live shots.

You can find WEEKLY METAL VIDEOS under the "pages" on right side of the webpage
or you can directly go to weekly metal videos by clicking here

Feel free to comment which was cool and which sucked :)

    

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

VIDEO: The History of Heavy Metal (pt1.)

Not by any means perfect history lesson especially not in obscure metal. This movie handles mostly known bands from the pre-heavy metal times - who influenced bands of actual heavy metal later on - to actual heavy metal bands of 80's-90's. Well anyway I think its a fun movie to watch. Well made but the actual band content lacks a bit.



    

REVIEW: Sinner (GER) - Touch of Sin (1985)

sinner ger touch of sin 1985

Sinner are formerly rather traditional heavy metal band from Germany. Many of you metalheads probably recognize them from Touch Of Sin's predecessor album "Danger Zone" (probably their best known album from the eighties), released in 1984, but less may be aware that Sinner debuted already in 1982 with "Wild 'N Evil". Compared to Danger Zone, with Touch Of Sin album Sinner evolved into slightly more commercial and rocking (yet still hard beating and heavy) sound. This is the period in Sinners early career, where they succeeded mixing commercial hard rock with heavy metal, without sucking! Comin' Out Fightning, which followed soon after, was still a decent record, although there were already signs of Sinner losing their early heaviness. After that album, Dangerous Charm was released and the band switched the main gear to wards AOR (losing their early rawness and heavier edge totally). That led to some of the most embarrassing Sinner material released this far, but that's an another story right there (and luckily they returned into the right tracks later on)..

Touch Of Sin contains slightly more melodic lead guitar work than Danger Zone, and throws pretty fine and bombastic hard rock into the mixture, but loses some of that heavy-as-shit in-your-face-attitude featured in previous album (Danger Zone). The result is still quite hard beating heavy metal, but with a bit more commercial rocking edge on the sound combined. Touch Of Sin is not quite as raw as Danger Zone, but still heavy. Most of Touch Of Sin album is definite headbanging material with rather easily approachable rocking tone, but in a good meaning. The album is surprisingly well made and entertaining. Sinner does not "sell out" with Touch Of Sin, despite the album having slightly more "mainstream" appeal than it's predecessor. This testosterone-filled record screams for fumes of whiskey and sound of motorcycles to accompany it's tunes.

Touch Of Sin is not very speedy album overall. What the album lacks in terms of overall speed, it catches up in bottom heavy, thick, and evil rocking German sound. No wonder, as Herman Frank from Accept plays second guitar in the record along with SG Stoner after being departed from Accept since Balls To The Wall album! Mat Sinner's rough and gritty medium pitched thick vocals with slight German accent, and occasional higher pitched shrieks, fits like fist to face. Touch Of Sin is slight step backwards in overall heaviness compared to totally in-your-face and frank Danger Zone, but it's still heavy, and wins in more memorable lead melodies and is more catchy. So, if the guitar riffs are mostly hard rock influenced, then how can the album sound rather heavy? Well, along with Mat Sinner's dirty vocal delivery, the guitar tone is also rather thick and riffs by SG Stoner and Herman Frank are crunchy, the bass playing of Mat is loud and audible, and rather generic but thundering and bombastic drumming by Bernie van der Graaf (ex-Victory) stacks up the heaviness. Sound would be somewhat comparable to Accept's "Balls To The Wall" in terms of heaviness, if not slightly above.

Slower and churning rockers here include my two favorites Born to Rock and Out of Control, which both kicks ass in similar fashion than Accept's "Balls To The Wall", perhaps with slightly more hard rocking tone. Tempo speeds up with melodic headbangers which include Bad Girl, Masquerade and Emerald, of which especially the later two kick ass, and do feature some fine catchy and simple lead melodies. Shout is just mid-fast in-your-face track with nice guitar solo parts and may well be the best track of the album despite its kinda goofy lyrics:

"we are no fools for girls
and we have money
there are enough hot chicks
who wanna taste our honey"

Cheesy? Yes. You can't really those lyrics seriously, but combined with dirty and uplifting musical atmosphere the lyrics work like charm, in sort of non-serious, fun way. The most unmemorable tracks in my opinion are faster paced Too Late To Runaway which is just average, and Open Arms which fails with the it's disastrously cheesy AOR-like chorus. Also, pop-rock influenced Fast Decision and half-arsed ballad The Storm Broke Loose don't do much.

Touch Of Sin is overall very strong record, despite not being quite as heavy and metallic as it's predecessor Danger Zone. Here's an old good and easily approachable record which succeeds to mix all that eighties hard rock -cheese with catchy tunes and heavy metal, sounding slightly commercial and heavy like Balls To The Wall at the same time. It's not hard to see guitarist Herman Frank's (ex-Accept) influence to Sinner's sound on the album. Touch Of Sin is one of those mellow and evil mixtures which do work. Simple and very effective, rocking, and very thick rhythm guitar riffs, and Mat Sinner's rough vocals are the trademark on the album. Lead guitar melodies are well timed and are to be found occasionally on key-spots and more commonly in the few most melodic songs. This is a definite record for summer time or heavy metal parties, and it demands some beer or whiskey! Somehow, several German eighties heavy metal bands just so often succeeded mixing that less serious and fun attitude with sounding heavy, dirty, and evil, and creating something massively entertaining of it. Take a look at the bigger bands like Accept, or minors Vampyr, Tyrant, Railway, and Noisehunter for example. You can add Sinner's Touch Of Sin to that list and rank it quite close to the top positions. Touch Of Sin is one damn entertaining and cheesy record to listen to, with rock solid professional performance and excellent production values.


86

-www.kultmetal.com | reviewer: dungeoncrawler


  • Mat Sinner - Vocals, Bass
  • SG Stoner - Guitars
  • Herman Frank - Guitars
  • Bernie van der Graaf - Drums

  • 1. Born To Rock 04:01
  • 2. Emerald 03:54
  • 3. Bad Girl 03:52
  • 4. Shout! 03:42
  • 5. The Storm Broke Loose 04:16
  • 6. Out Of Control 03:44
  • 7. Too Late To Run Away 03:45
  • 8. Hand Of Fate 03:49
  • 9. Masquerade 03:18
  • 10. Open Arms 04:10
    • Total running time: 38:31





For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – Noise/N0026
Type – LP/G/85
Near Mint – $13
Very Good+ - $7








REVIEW: Witchfynde (UK) - Stagefright (1980)

witchfynde stagefright

Witchfynde hail from United Kingdom. With their second album Stagefright they set strong mark in NWOBHM fields, that raises above an average album of the genre for sure. Guitar and bass sound here are kind of warm and very dry, reminding me of the late 70s crispy tone, making the overall sound fresh and different than one would usually expect from a band with rather evil lyrical approach and image. Instead of that deep, thick, and heavy 80s sound, Witchfynde delivers rather more 70s progressive rock influenced early / pre-heavy metal vibe with Stagefright. Bare in mind that Stagefright was released at the times of a turning point of heavy metal, in 1980, when New Wave of British Heavy Metal was very fresh thing and Venom still hadn't released their crushingly dark debut Welcome To Hell, which would later on influence several extreme metal bands. Vocals of Steve Bridges fit into music well, with typical "neutral" sounding mid-range for NWOBHM and some more haunting occasional high pitched wails. I do actually prefer Bridges over Luther Beltz, who would join for the next album to handle vocal duties, because I feel Beltz is way more sloppy and at times out of key while singing.

Stagefright reminds me a lot about early British band Demon's material: bluesy rock, with 70s progressive rock tone and some vibes of doomy sounding early heavy metal, with an occasional evil twist and influence surrounding the atmosphere, lurking behind the uplifting melodies. What we have here is mix of happier melodies and more haunting heavier guitar riffs mixed together, depending a bit about a song. I feel Stagefright is unique by it's sound, because it's a weird crossing of the 70s doom and progressive sound with early 80s heavier metallic approach, falling somewhere in between all the styles, with some mind-expanding melodies every now and then. Result is very enjoyable its best. Stagefright is not your ultimate headbanging album, but it offers very enjoyable mix of happier bluesy rock tunes with doomy and occult vibes that keeps haunting. Stagefright is quite settled down offering, yet it has it's unsettling moments on the heavier songs of the album.

Song content on the album is quite varying, perhaps even little bit too much. Talking about inconsistency, the little bit over-the-top happy-songs here are Doing The Right Thing, Would Not Be Seen Dead In Heaven, alongside the ballad Madeleine, which all decrease the album's satisfactory value a bit, since there's just too many of these "lacklusters" in the album. While enjoyable in certain mood, they fill up too much of the album's length making one think how good Stagefright could had been, "just if...". Mellowest songs slows Stagefright down a bit too much. In The Stars somewhat manages to be a good happier track, though. The most occult, heaviest, and haunting tracks include Merciful Fate-esque Stagefright and Wake Up Screaming, which I consider best of the bunch in the album. Quite memorable songs actually, and rather heavy too, for 1980. Moody Moon Magic can also hold it's own.

Overall, there's few too many happier lackluster songs (over a half of content) in Stagefright, while the best material (heavier & haunting songs) don't cover enough of total-lenght of the album. Not to say that happier ones are totally bad (except for the ballad perhaps), but ratio should be definitely in favor of heavier occult tracks, since I feel that Witchfynde are at their best when they crank out those haunting and heavy melodies. Still, Stagefright is overall a good album, with varying song quality. The album is definitely worth of getting for the sake of the best songs in here. It's sort of an album you either understand or don't.. I did.


77

-www.kultmetal.com | reviewer: dungeoncrawler


  • Steve Bridges - Vocals
  • Montalo - Guitars
  • Pete Surgey - Bass
  • Gra Scoresby - Drums

  • 1. Stagefright 04:40
  • 2. Doing the Right Thing 04:59
  • 3. Would Not Be Seen Dead in Heaven 04:43
  • 4. Wake Up Screaming 04:28
  • 5. Big Deal 03:47
  • 6. Moon Magic 03:40
  • 7. In the Stars 03:38
  • 8. Trick or Treat 04:36
  • 9. Madeline 04:32
    • Total running time: 39:03





For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label – Rondelet/ABOUT2
Type – LP/UK/81 (photo/lyric-sleeve, textured cover)
Near Mint – $35
Very Good+ - $20








REVIEW: Wolf (UK) - Edge of The World (1984)

Wolf Edge of The World 1984

Wolf are a band from UK, originally started as Leviathan in 1977, then swapping name to Black Axe briefly, until once again changing name to Wolf in 1981. The band plays purely honest NWOBHM with rocking edge, very memorable metallic leads, and rather unique melodies. Edge Of The World suffers from rather weak mix. A good thing is that sound mix has all instruments being quite well audible, but it's weak in terms of lacking punch. The sharp riffs exist, but are let down a bit by the below average sound quality, which is a shame. However, despite not-so-heavy sound-mix, this album manages to sound interesting and quite fresh. Sound quality is not so bad that I would want to be a nitpick about it, though. Afterall, great sound quality and production never was trademark of NWOBHM bands, but many of them are still fully enjoyable today. Chris English for starters is interesting singer. He does that regular mid-pitched vocal duty that we could expect from an NWOBHM band, with a slight twist of unique throaty rawness to his voice, while at the same time sounding more melodic than your average singer of the genre. Slightly throaty raspy soar is something I can't recall hearing too often these days.

The guitar tone itself is interesting, with some light reverb and flanger (I think) pedals used, just enough to make it sound sort of epic and mind-expanding, combined with sharp rhythm guitar riffs and dry guitar tone, very memorable melodic leads and certain amount of groove. On top of that lightly used occasional keyboard-notes expand some songs into another level, like the title track for example. Magical stuff. The slower keyboard backed songs sound rather "emotional" in a good way without being wimpy, but they sure are moody and will freeze your mind. Songs like these are aforementioned title track, A Soul For The Devil and Medicine Man. They just force your mind to go through different gloomy emotions with uplifting moments occasionally. They represent the more melodic side on Edge Of The World. It's hard to explain, but you truly should check this album out! It's got sort of a "mellow" side, but it's not happy most of the time. Drifting in quite opposite fields along with mysterious tone. Should I call this epic and mind-expanding NWOBHM? Perhaps, perhaps.. at least on some part of the material.

Rest In Peace is more upbeat rocker, playing with your mind evolving between uplifting and sad back and forth, and probably steals the pot for being best one in the album, although it's got quite a bit competition. Highway RiderHeaven Will Rock'n'Roll and Head Contact are more straightforward NWOBHM tracks without featuring depth-adding keyboards. But even the most straight-forward trio has something special in their feeling and sound. Not much fillers are included in Edge of The World.

Edge Of The World is a damn interesting album from it's era and especially out of it's style, which quite often used to be rather straight-forward in terms of riffs and musical approach. For those seeking the ultimate heaviness from the era, or even from NWOBHM, may well be slightly disappointed with Edge Of The World, as it features quite light (but audible) sound mix with instruments, while the composition and music-wise the heaviness would be about average in NWOBHM -genre. Edge Of The World is not heavy as Venom's Black Metal, or even Tank's Honour & Blood, or furious as Jaguar's Power Games, but sure is true heavy metal to the roots, and not some mellowed-down stuff, like several bands belonging to NWOBHM genre used to release at those days, while getting confused whether they should be playing heavy metal or AOR. Edge Of The World, however, has got it's share of the sharp and mean attitude too, despite it wasn't one of the heaviest offerings around back then!

Edge Of The World reminds me a bit of late seventies - early eighties Saxon mixed with some more melodic and little bit more complex keyboard backed material, with maybe even touch of Demon's The Unexpected Guest. Best feature of the album is very memorable and fresh sounding material, with unique musical tone, featuring very good vocals by Chris English, and rich memorable guitar-work by Bill Keir & Simon Sparkes duo, especially on the standout tracks that are not quite as straight-forward as some of the rest. At some point you can hear influences from Saxon's Motorcycle Man, while at the next five minutes you'll be taken into more complex and mind-expanding trip, still featuring that trademark sound of NWOBHM, but with something unique combined to it like in the title track. The album is also "mood-switcher", playing tricks switching between sad and uplifting melodies. Only the fact that there are several more straight-forward rockers, while the more complex songs are obviously the most memorable and unique on the album, limits me giving this album a score over 90, but I will grant 90 even!

This album was great when I first time heard it, and it has grown to be even more unique. Very strong release, featuring few of the most epic moments of NWOBHM genre I've heard. An album that can well top a few more well known releases by some of the major bands, and remaining sadly the only release by the band. (Review enhanced, corrected, and re-evaluated in 22.7.2013)


90

-www.kultmetal.com | reviewer: dungeoncrawler


  • Stewart Richardson - Bass
  • John Shearer - Drums
  • Bill Keir - Guitars
  • Simon Sparkes - Guitars
  • Chris English - Vocals

  • 1. Edge Of The World 03:47
  • 2. Highway Rider 02:42
  • 3. Heaven Will Rock'n'Roll 03:27
  • 4. Shock Treatment 04:08
  • 5. A Soul For The Devil 05:49
  • 6. Head Contact (Rock'n'Roll) 03:18
  • 7. Rest In Peace 04:04
  • 8. Too Close For Comfort 03:05
  • 9. Red Lights 02:59
  • 10. Medicine Man 04:36
    • Total running time: 37:55






For Collectors:
(Following prices have raised since ’99 but will give you direction)
Used album price @ Martin Popoff’s Heavy Metal Record Price Guide (1999):

Label –Mausoleum/8323
Type – LP/B/84
Near Mint – $35
Very Good+ - $20