Monday, November 20, 2017

Stunner-Nightfighter EP


Stunner is a damn cool name for a heavy metal band. When it comes to the wicked fury of this four-piece group from Gainesville, Florida (which rather surprising has only been active for about a year now), Stunner is also the perfect choice as far as moniker go! That's especially true when we're talking about a up-and-coming band that lives and breaths all things heavy metal. On the group's stone cold-killer debut release, "Nightfighter EP", that translates over to a kick ass mixture of old school heavy metal (everything from Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath all the way to Gotham City and Heavy Load!) and
the modern movement that is N.W.O.T.H.M. Comprised of vocalist/drummer Daniel, guitarists Eric and Pete, and bassist Mitch, Stunner draws it's inspiration from a lot of different places and yet it all comes blazing at you with an air of originality. For a band that is still technically young, "Nightfighter EP" has the vibe  and the flow of a veteran outfit that is on fire once again! Stunner's three-track debut (which you can find by heading here) is a guitar-heavy release that hits all of the right notes and makes you want to hear what else this band is capable of. It should feel right at home next to your Avenger's music collection and your Cauldron one. Hopefully this three-track EP is just the start of better things to come. For more information on this righteous metal act be sure to check out the band's Facebook page.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Emerald-Voice for the Silent

Metal On Metal Records

Dutch heavy metal band Emerald, originally known as Warrior (under which name a four-song demo was released) and not to be confused with the handful of other Emeralds out there (both active and defunct), is a four-piece group that was initially active between 1984 and 1989. During their first run the group released one LP. That album is entitled "Down Town" and it came out in 1985. It's taken the band some thirty plus years to offer up a follow-up, but as they say, it's better late than never! Having reformed in 2002 and with all four of the original musicians responsible for "Down Town" appearing on this epic comeback (vocalist Bert Kivits, guitarist Allard Ekkel, bassist Essie Zagers*, and drummer Rudy Marissen), "Voice for the Silent" is Emerald's long-anticipated sophomore release. With the additional help of co-lead guitarist Paul van Rijswijk, "Voice for the Silent" is also a nod and a wink to the old school. For anyone that loves eighties heavy metal and the better aspects of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene, "Voice of the Silent" is a real testament to the glory and power of traditional heavy metal!! Since much of the material was actually written back in the eighties, "Voice of the Silent" has the feel of a long lost classic of yesterday. Of course the analogue production goes a long ways towards making this album sound like a lost gem of the eighties. To that end, "Voice of the Silent" makes for a must-have CD if you are into heavy metal's glory days. It is a nice blend of melodic material and raise your fists in the air METAL! Lead vocalist Bert Kivits sounds as energetic and enthusiastic as he did in 1985 and (musically) Emerald is just so smooth and rock-steady when it comes to delivering the metallic goods. Available on CD and as a digital download (click here for more info), "Voice for the Silent" is geared towards anyone that just loves real, honest to goodness heavy metal. Mad thanks to Emerald** for keeping that flag waving!

*Sadly Essie Zagers passed away in 2016. This album is dedicated to his memory.

**As of this writing the group is rounded out by bassist André Wullems.

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Thursday, November 16, 2017


Tribunal/Divebomb Records

Formed in 1989 and sadly no longer active, Visitör was a five-piece thrash metal band from Orange County that was comprised of Kurt Schultz (vocals), Joey Brown and Rob Skyler (guitars), E.K. Wright (bass), and Tony Stanley (drums). In 1993 the group released it's only studio album to date, "Visitör". Sandwiched in between a pair of demos, Visitör's self-titled debut was a killer example of Grade A thrash. Seeing as it was 1993 when it originally dropped (with grunge having all but destroyed the metal scene), "Visitör" had almost no chance of attaining proper recognition. Thankfully the good folks over at Tribunal/Divebomb Records saw what a travesty of justice that was. With originally copies of the CD not fetching upwards of $100.00, "Visitör" is now getting a proper re-release and that is great news for fans of bands like Annihilator, Heathen, Vio-lence, Sanctuary, Kreator, Slayer, and Realm! The 2017 version of "Visitör" has been re-mastered and it includes an unreleased bonus track from 2010 called "Masters of Nations". The CD comes with a great booklet and it makes for the perfect addition to any thrash metal fan’s collection. As a lifelong fan of all things thrash metal it is so cool to see underground albums like this one get the proper respect that they deserve.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Speedclaw-Iron Speed

Shadow Kingdom

Hailing from Croatia, Speedclaw have knocked a six song tape with five originals and a cover of Exciter's Heavy Metal Maniac. Let's get to the positives- they have tried to travel back in time to 82-83 and play a style of metal that draws on both NWOBHM such as Saxon, Maiden, Raven and they draw from early speed metal like Exciter and Slayer. I'm all for drawing from that period and those type of bands. The vocals are pretty good and manage to compliment the music well enough. Normally if a band does an EP I hate to see a cover because it means less originals, but their Exciter cover does the  original justice. Now to the negatives. While what is  here is mostly good I just couldn't get past how basic it was at some spots. They are certainly better than other bands playing this style, but if I compare to debuts from other band s playing this style in the last decade like say Enforcer or Cauldron I'd say Speedclaw come up short. They have to potential to really be something, but just have to work on fleshing out their songs a bit more. I wish them luck in future and look forward to seeing what they do next.

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Haunt-Luminous Eyes

Shadow Kingdom Records

Haunt is a one-man heavy metal project from Trevor William Church (guitarist/vocalist of the California doom metal band Beastmaster). The four-song "Luminous Eyes", which was originally a self-release and is already available to download at the highlighted link, is the first studio recording from Haunt and it is a total blast from the past. It resides in the small void between 80’s classic metal and the underground part of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene and is a must-have for fans of (darkly-tinted) traditional metal. Shadow Kingdom Records plans of releasing this well-crafted EP on CD, 12" vinyl, and cassette tape at some point in the near future and a full-length album is reportedly in the works.

Current playlist


Saw Virginia's LNT play to a sparse crowd in DIY place which was a cold attic the other day, but they put on a great show.

Current listening to-
LNT-Socially Dysfunctional (their latest, but a new one is supposed to come out soon)
Darkness-Defenders of justice (had not heard this one in ages)
Saxon- Power and the glory (playing in anticipation of seeing them with Priest in a few months)
Alice Cooper- The last temptation (had not heard this since it first came out in '94)
Argus-several (one of the best doom bands going today)
Conan-Man is myth (review maybe coming soon)
Speedclaw-Iron speed (review hopefully coming soon)

Reading-various cookbooks mostly

Castle season five
Twilight Zone the complete series
Football and hockey

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Draghkar-World Unraveled

draghkar - cover


This is a three track demo from California's Draghkar. This is old style death metal with a definite early-mid 90's influences all stamped all over it. Wings over Malkier is a riff-driven slugfest that smashes away with a brief, but well down slow bit in the middle. Cowering in the town of blinded eyes roars on next with more pace changes then the opener, but maintains the high intensity level. Towards the end of this one they toss some controlled bursts before the end and they were great and I almost wished they had put in the song at an earlier point. World Unraveled closes out the tape and it's likely my favorite of the three just because it's equally as heavy as the other two, but has a bit more direction. This is raw cavernous style death metal with a lot to recommend about it. The biggest downside may have been the sound quality was decent, but not great which can be expected from a demo at times. I would definitely like to hear what they can do on a  full length album.

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Pale Horseman-The Fourth Seal

Black Bow Records

Falling somewhere between aggressive doom metal with a death metal kick(!) and extreme (riff-heavy and twisted!) sludge, Pale Horseman is a four-piece band from Chicago, Illinois that has been tearing up the scene since 2012. As of this writing the group is comprised of Eric Ondo (guitars & vocals), Andre Almaraz (guitars & vocals), Rich Cygan (bass), and Jason Schryver (drums). Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Comatose Studio by Dennis Pleckham (Bongripper), "The Fourth Seal" serves as the latest must-have release from this band that takes it's name (and a lot of it's lyrical content) from the Book of Revelation. All told that means Pale Horseman has four full-length albums to it's name as well as a 2016 split with The Mound Builders. For some strange reason Pale Horseman had been unsigned up until the official release of this monstrous album, but once "The Fourth Seal" drops on December 8th we should be looking at one of the next big names in all of metal! In addition to the dual guitar attack of co-vocalists Eric Ondo and Andre Almaraz, Jason Schryver's drumming sticks out as he mercilessly pounds away on his kit! A little more emphasis on Rich Cygan's bass playing would have been appreciated, but it does nothing to kill the buzz that one ends up getting from this ruthless recording. This album was my first taste of Pale Horseman and now I can't wait to see what else this Chicago outfit is capable of. You can pre-order "The Fourth Seal" by clicking here.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

War Gods Of The Deep-Robots, Rockets & Rampage


Chicago's War Gods Of The Deep are back with EP number two. Having reviewed the group's 2016 debut
EP, "Robots, Rockets & Rampage" was a pleasant surprise when it made it's way into my email. Named after the Vincent Price movie and previously sporting a hard rock/heavy metal sound that relied a little too much on post-Black album Metallica, 2017's version of War Gods Of The Deep now comes with a healthy dose of progressive rock/metal. The (Black-era) Metallica vibe is still present, but it's not as obvious as it was before. As far as improvements go, EP number two has a better production job and the material is more focused. There is a lot to be said about the atmosphere of the War Gods Of The Deep's latest release (all of which is extremely positive!) and the overall sound of "Robots, Rockets & Rampage" could best be described as "HUGE!". In one year this hard/heavy metal band has shown a lot of growth. Let's all hope that 2018 will bring forth a full-length album from War Gods Of The Deep. With the leap in talent between EP number one and this bad ass recording, War Gods Of The Deep's first album should be absolutely epic!

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Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Current playlist


Priest concert isn't until March, but that doesn't mean I can't start getting excited about it now so ...

Listening to...
Judas Priest-Stained Class, Hell bent for leather
The Xiles-No comply
The Obsessed-Several
Celtic Frost-several
Sleep- Dopesmoker (2011 re-issue)
The Ventures-Several collections
Hendrix-Axis:bold as love
Speedclaw-Iron speed

Meat is for pussies by John Joseph

Supergirl season one
A bunch of Twilight Zone episodes
The Broncos suck worse than they have since 2010. They need a real QB, right side of the offensive line and at least a new offensive coordinator.

***What are you listening to, reading and watching?

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