Thursday, February 15, 2018

Greystone Canyon-While The Wheels Still Turn

Rockshots Records
2018

Australia's hard & heavy/classic metal band Greystone Canyon will release the Western-themed "While The Wheels Still Turn" on March, 9th, 2018. Starting things off with the (ever so brief, but nonetheless enjoyable) intro "Keeping Company With The Dead", the nine-track "While The Wheels Still Turn" serves as the debut album for Greystone Canyon...even if it feels more like an expanded-EP. It clocks in at just over 33 minutes and features three numbers that fall under the two minute mark. Influences included Alice Cooper, Led Zeppelin, (early) Ozzy Osbourne, King Diamond, and Megadeth. Lead by vocalist/guitarist Darren Cherry, Greystone Canyon might be a new act on paper, but it is actually comprised of veteran musicians with ties to countless other Australian metal bands.  Such proof can be found on the Metal Archives. Said musicians include: Rich Vella (guitars), Dave Poulter (bass), and drummer Luke Wilson. With four well-seasoned musicians in charge of it's construction, "While The Wheels Still Turn" features a Western style of heavy metal that is easy on the ears and quite capable of invoking positive memories of the classic hard rock & heavy metal scene of the late seventies and early to mid eighties. May God and the members of Greystone Canyon forgive me for the following words, but in all the best ways possible (including sincere love and appreciation for something completely new to these ears of mine!), "While The Whiles Still Turn" comes across as Megadeth (or a more traditional metal version of Dave's band) mixed with the Western music of Jon Bon Jovi! I fully expect to be crucified for such a comment, but in this case that is a compliment to talent of Greystone Canyon. To that end, "While The Wheels Still Turns" features some material that carries the same vibe as heard on Metallica's cover of "Whiskey in a Jar" and "Turn the Page". There again it might sound like a odd comment, but it is meant as praise to the album's atmosphere. In closing, Greystone Canyon's debut is a solid listening experience that should appeal to both fans of Western rock/heavy metal and classic hard rock/heavy metal.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mortalus-Heart So Black

Independent/Self-Release
2018

Mortalus is a heavy/thrash metal band from Little Rock, Arkansas that is lead by vocalist/guitarist Michelle Gann. Influences range from Judas Priest & Iron Maiden to bands like Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth, Overkill, Testament, Anthrax, and Death Angel. On the band's full-length debut, the aptly-titled titled "Heart So Black", it's groups like Crowbar and Pantera that bridge the gap between those different metal genres. Not surprisingly, the Arkansas-based group has hit on a sound that is bad ass to the core! With a run-time of just over 45 minutes, "Heart So Black" is chock full of heavy riffs and skull crushing leads. All at once hard-hitting and heavier than hell's bells, Mortalus' first full-length album is a monster recording that has mean motherf**ker written all over it!! It would be well-worth the price of admission for the music alone. What's really cool about the album though is how it mixes this sick music with well-thought out lyrics. With themes that cover everything from the politics of the music business to my favorite topic, zombies(!), "Heart So Black" is a heavy metal thrasher that actually makes you think about the subjects at hand. I'm not sure about everyone else, but I cannot remember the last time that I really thought about subjects like the sacrifice of soldiers while I was making a mosh pit out of my living room! As such, I've got to give mad props to the members of Mortalus for covering the hard stuff, some of which was obviously very personal to the band. It couldn't have been easy opening up so much on your first album, but it most certainly made the album that much more real and vibrant. Having formed in 2014, Mortalus (guitarist/lead vocalist Michelle Gann, guitarist/backing vocalist Donald Holland, bassist/backing vocalist Bryan Bedgood, and drummer Patrick Mahoney) suffered multiple medical issues and personal hardships in the pursuit of their debut album. In a very real way you can feel the pain and heartache that went into the making of this album. Maybe that is the reason this album works so well? Whatever the case might be, "Heart So Black" is the sound of one band that struck it rich in style and substance the first time out. Here's to the hope that this is just one of many good things to come from this exciting new metal band! For more information on this buzz-worthy band be sure to check out the group's Facebook page.




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Interview with Emerald Rage's Jacob Wherley


Emerald Rage is a heavy/power metal band from Akron, Ohio. Not that long ago I covered the band's latest single, "Wrathful Eyes". You can check out my review of the song by heading here. Now it is my pleasure to present this interview that I recently conducted with band member Jacob Wherley (vocals/guitars). Enjoy!

Andy- Could you please introduce your band and give us a brief history of how you came together.

Jacob- Emerald Rage actually started out as a strictly viking/folk metal band around summer of 2016. You know your bands like Tyr, Ensiferum, and Bathory. We had almost a complete lineup as we were missing another guitarist. I figured I might as well put out an ad online thinking I'd get nothing due to the lack of attention those bands get here in the United States. Patrick responded to it sending material he had made already and I was just astonished that someone else in the area actually listened to that stuff. Tyson and Josh were not in the band yet either. Patrick knew Josh from some classes the two both took at Kent State and he soon fit in perfectly. I met Tyson through a website for finding band members. He initially joined on bass before Josh came into Emerald Rage, but with complications with our former drummer, we found he had a great talent behind the kit and was enthusiastic to play drums. We finally stabilized our current lineup around October of 2017 and have been making lots of progress since.

Andy-What made you decide to call your band Emerald Rage?

Jacob-My dad actually played in a band called Emerald Rage in college. It was a cover band that only played two shows for fun and a little beer money haha. I tried coming up with names although I didn't have much luck. I thought the name gave a good representation of us as if you were to say 'Emerald Rage' you could either envision a power metal band from Germany, a traditional metal band from England, or a classic foot-stomping heavy rock band like Thin Lizzy. Of course, all these types of sounds are huge inspirations you hear and will hear in material to come.

Andy-Your sound pulls from a few different genres of metal. Is that the result of individual tastes or just one person's vision?

Jacob-It's a collective sound. We have plenty of different styles from hard rock to black metal and everything in between. What's great about our band members is that we all have a common ground, and also our own tastes that we contribute. For instance, our bassist Josh is a HUGE punk rock fan, I myself am the reason for the power metal sound, Tyson, for the thrash, and Patrick for the black/folk metal style. On top of that, we each have a large variety of sounds we share like Metallica, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, etc. it's just a great combination because we always have more ideas. In fact, the next demo you'll be hearing soon draws more influences from bands such as Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, and UFO.

Andy-As a follow-up to the previous question, what are some of your influences?

Jacob-If you had to narrow it down to five bands, I'd say Sabaton, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Rainbow, and Helloween. You of course hear the classic metal sound of bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Saxon there. But there's tons of scenes over the years that grabbed our attention. Aside from the NWOBHM and Bay Area scene that's a common feature in many American metal bands, we have a huge inspiration from the German speed metal scene with bands such as Running Wild, Blind Guardian, Kreator, Sodom, and as I mentioned earlier, Helloween. The Swedish melodic metal scene has also played a crucial role in our sound as well. HammerFall, Sabaton, Amon Amarth, just to name a few have been of influence at some point.

Andy-Who is responsible for writing song lyrics?

Jacob-Our guitarist Patrick is usually the one who creates the lyrics. Every now and then I contribute a few lines.

Andy-You mentioned another demo. What can your fans expect from it?

Jacob-Well our envision as a band has always been to expect anything from Led Zeppelin to Slayer. This will be a bit more on the bluesy side of Emerald Rage. Our fans should anticipate a bit of a reference to Thin Lizzy, Deep Purple, and Motorhead, with a kick of melody.

Andy- In the past few months Emerald Rage has released two singles and a demo. That is an impressive body of work for such a short stretch. Do you guys have easy access to a studio?

Jacob-Our guitarist Patrick has a quite impressive rig when it comes to his recording equipment. We've actually never been to a professional studio as a band and we use his equipment to record all of our work. He has access to quite a bit which gives a really solid sound!

Andy-Who are some of the bands that you’ve shared the stage with?

Jacob-Aeraco, hard rock/heavy metal band out of Chicago. Definitely one of our favorites so far. Great group of guys and amazing tunes! Radiatrix is another one, M102, Half Raised Heathens, and Stone Wicked Souls.

Andy-Prior to our conversation here we talked about you performing covers and then how you planned to play all original material moving forward. What are some of the bands that you’ve covered and then how many original songs have you guys written so far?

Jacob-We have covered Metallica, Judas Priest, Sabaton, and surprisingly to most, The Misfits! We have around 20-25 originals written but not fully complete. As of now, we can perform around 5 to 6 originals and that number will likely move up in the up and coming weeks.

Andy-You have some local shows booked for the next couple of months. Care to share that information with our readers?

Jacob-Absolutely. We have a show March 17th, in Akron, Ohio at the Empire Concert Club. April 14th at Bullshooters in Ashland, Ohio. April 17th at the Outpost in Kent, Ohio, and a Cleveland show on May 26th is likely but I cannot say for sure as of now.

Andy- How can our readers reach you?

Jacob-We are on Facebook, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and we also have an email at emeraldrageband@gmail.com. Fans and readers can reach out any time they'd like!

Andy-Excellent! I just want to thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. As we close things out is there anything that we didn't talk about that you would like to mention? Any final thoughts or comments? The microphone is all yours...

Jacob-Thank you for asking us for the interview! As for closing out, I hope your readers take time to listen to our music and even better come out to see us live! We always love to put on a great show... If you're looking for your next talented big name band, I hope you see it in us!

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Fringe Candidate-Fringe Candidate

Self-Release/Independent
2017

Fringe Candidate is a hardcore punk band from Akron, Ohio. The group is fronted by Karl Vorndran and this self-titled release looks to be the band's studio debut. It came out in late December of 2017. Recorded by the band's own bassist (Jamie Stillman) at Historic EarthQuaker Devices, "Fringe Candidate" is a vicious collection of (street-legit) hardcore punk with great song titles like "The Boy Who Cried Hitler", "Buy Your Way To The Top", and "At Each Other's Throats". Joe Dennis (guitar) and Josh Leskanic (drums) round things out for this loud & lethal (and decidedly snotty like all great punk acts) group that is like a caged animal just waiting to attack it's prey!At a mere five dollars, Fringe Candidate's self-titled album is a must-have for fans of down & dirty/bloody-knuckle hardcore punk!!

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Aerodyne-Breaking Free

Street Symphonies Records/Burning Minds Music Group
2017

Aerodyne is a hard & heavy/sleaze rock/glam metal band from Sweden that was formed in the summer of 2016. Lead by vocalist/guitarist Daniel Almqvist, Aerodyne is primarily influenced by the likes of AC/DC, Def Leppard, Kiss, Cinderella, Whitesnake,  and Led Zeppelin. Other influences include Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath, but based on the sound of their first full-length album, "Breaking Free", those two classic bands take a back seat to all things easy & sleazy! Johan Bergman (lead guitar), Timmy Kan (bass), and Christoffer Almqvist (drums) round out the line-up for this enthusiastic Swedish outfit that should appeal to fans of Crashdïet. Released in mid-December of 2017, "Breaking Free" is a grade A release from this young rock band that has more than enough attitude to match their undeniable charm. With catchy material and stand out performances from everyone involved with it's creation, Aerodyne's full-length debut leaves me with the impression that there is nowhere to go for this fantastic foursome other than up! You can find "Breaking Free" at places like Amazon, iTunes, and CDbaby.

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Free Metal Monday: Räzerhex-Räzerhex


Self-Release/Independent
2018

Sporting one of the coolest names out there(!), Räzerhex is a rock/metal trio that hails from Gothenburg, Sweden and is lead by guitarist/vocalist Rallylalla. Bassist T-hex and drummer Sigbang round out the line-up for this (damn cool!) band that really knows a thing or two about rocking the hell out of a joint! This self-titled EP appears to be the group's official debut and what a debut it is!! It is a five-track recording that combines elements of garage rock, punk, 70's hard rock, and 70's/early 80's heavy metal. Filled with passion, fire, and a healthy amount of spunk, this highly-recommended EP can be downloaded for free by clicking here. That's a steal of a deal for a feisty and tough as nails release like this!

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Free Metal Monday: Iron Blood-At an Impasse

Brutal Future
2018

Iron Blood is a black metal/punk hardcore band from Canada. Back on January 6th the group released this four-track demo. It is a rather raw recording that mixes primitive black metal with the kind of punk rock that you'd find in the pages of Maximum Rocknroll. Available to download for free by heading here, "At an Impasse" was also released on cassette tape.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Weekly Playlist


It's been awhile since I posted a weekly playlist, but I am going to try to be better about it. As always please feel free to share your lists with us.

Here is a list of what I have been listening to over the last week:

Mercyful Fate-Melisa
Desolation Angels-Desolation Angels
Kiss-Creatures of the Night
Mercyful Fate-Don’t Break The Oath
Saxon-Thunderbolt (review coming next week)
Corrosion of Conformity-Technocracy
Nitro-Lethal Dose

Watch list:

Hannibal-Season One
The Shape of Water
Shawn of the Dead

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Sunday Morning Single: Emerald Rage-Wrathful Eyes

Self-release/Independent
2018

Emerald Rage is hard & heavy/power metal band from Akron, Ohio that is comprised of Jacob Wherley (lead vocals/lead guitars), Patrick Kern (lead guitar/harsh vocals), Josh Sumerauer (bass guitar/backing vocals), and Tyson McCauley (drums). Released on February 2nd, the four minute plus "Wrathful Eyes" is Emerald Rage's latest single and the third overall release for this young metal band since December 18th, 2017. The sword & sorcery-themed number is highly-enjoyable and it offers hope that we could be looking at Ohio's next big thing in the realm of epic metal! Free to download at the link above, "Wrathful Eyes" is geared towards fans of traditional heavy metal, U.S. power metal and epic metal. Our readers would be well-advised to keep an eye out for this up-and-coming metal band.

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Friday, February 09, 2018

Significant Point-Attacker 7" EP


Infernö Records
2018

Formed in early 2011 by guitarists Kazuki Kuwagaki and Gou Takeuchi (ex-Chainsoul Blood), Japanese heavy metal/speed metal band Significant Point will release it's first 7" EP, "Attacker", on March 15th. It is a two-track recording ("Attacker" and "Danger Zone") that effectively combines elements of traditional heavy metal, shred guitar, N.W.O.B.H.M. (Judas Priest and Iron Maiden influences), and 80's speed metal into a style that is highly-contagious! Preceded in life by a 2014 demo ("Attacker!") and last year's "Live In Tokyo" album, "Attacker" features the services of drummer Itormentor (Evil, Lurking Fear) while lead vocals come courtesy of Fumiya Abe. With truly sick twin guitar solos, smashing drumming, and some awesome (if also semi-aggressive!) lead vocals, Significant Point has all of the tools necessary to be the next big thing in N.W.O.T.H.M. Let's just hope that this slick single leads to a full-length album.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2018

N.W.O.B.H.M. Wednesday: Desolation Angels-King

Dissonance Productions
2018

Desolation Angels is a N.W.O.B.H.M./power metal band that was initially active from 1981 until 1994. During that time frame the group put out four demos, one single, one EP, and two full-length albums. Released in 1986, it was band's self-titled debut that would make Desolation Angels cult heroes of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement! In preparation for this review I listened to "Desolation Angels" again. While it had been a longtime since I pulled the CD out, "Desolation Angels" still had that old metal magic that had cast a spell on me so many years ago. Here we are some 32 years and I had to wonder whether or not this U.K. metal band still had that special spark. Having re-formed in 2012, modern day Desolation Angels were a bit of a mysterious to me. I know the band released a EP in 2014 entitled "Sweeter the Meat", but beyond that I had no idea of what I was in for when it came to "King". Before playing the album I did see that the band is now fronted by Paul Taylor (Midnight Messiah, ex-Elixir, ex-Midas). In actuality the only original members left of this British metal band are the guitarists, Keith Sharp and Robin Brancher. Otherwise we have bassist Clive Pearson (ex-B-Side, ex-First Hand, ex-Lip service, ex-Lynx, ex-Pink Metal Kitchen, ex-The Mochines, ex-Thee Unknowns, and ex-Winter (London, UK)) and drummer Chris Takka (Gallow God, ex-De Marica). That was the line-up that I saw before diving straight into this new album. Hitting play, "Doomsday" opened this album and right away, I knew that it was a case of love at first sight sound!  I look back on this group now (with "King" once again blaring away in the background!) and I realize that this was the perfect crew to cut a killer LP like this! All five of these musicians are hotter than hell on this 9-track release, lead vocalist Paul Taylor giving a performance that is straight out the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene of yesterday! Stacked to the max with lethal numbers like "Another Turn of the Screw" and "Rotten to the Core", "King" is also a tale of two ageless guitarist in Keith Sharp and Robin Brancher. Early on in "King" it was abundantly clear that Desolation Angel's classic metal sound not only alive and well, but all set up to kick ass and take no shit! Songs like "Devil Sent", "Your Blackened Heart", and "Hellfire" offer further proof that Desolation Angels are back and that they are armed to the teeth for the upcoming metal attack. Mixing their classic sound with crunchy hard rock and straight-up power metal, "King" features strong material than is sure to please old and new metalheads alike. For those looking for something besides beefed up hard & heavy metal, "Find Your Life" is a slow burner with both power and passion. At six minutes and thirty seconds it takes a few emotional twists and turns, but ultimately it is a rewarding ride. Then there is the song "Sky of Pain". Falling somewhere between classic heavy metal and melodic power metal, "Sky of Pain" is a majestic number that has the heart of a AOR number and the soul of radio rocker. Sitting right next to the album's closer, "My Demon Inside", "Sky of Pain" is a song that hooks you in with it's message and then keeps you there with it's sound. The same thing can be said of the moody rocker "My Demon Inside". Here in the closing moments of "King" the members of Desolation Angles show us that there is more to the picture than just heart-stopping metal blazers. The songs "Find Your Life", "Sky of Pain", and "My Demon Inside" show off a different side of Desolation Angels, but they are just as slick as "Another Turn of the Screw", "Rotten to the Core", and "Hellfire". In closing, "King" would be worth it just for the amazing metallic moments and/or the well-written softer moments. With all of this versatility, "King" becomes a must-have for not only fans of Desolation Angels and N.W.O.B.H.M., but anyway that likes energetic, guitar-driven heavy/power metal. To the members of Desolation Angels I say "Welcome back" and "Congregations" for what I consider to to be the comeback album of 2018!


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Monday, February 05, 2018

Stälker-Shadow of the Sword

Napalm Records
2017

Stälker is a (raw) speed metal band from New Zealand that is lead by bassist/vocalist Daif king (Blood Knight) and features two former members of Razorwyre within it's ranks: guitarist Chris Calavrias and drummer Nick Oates (Numbskull). The 10-track "Shadow of the Sword" serves as Stälker's full-length debut. It was released back in November of 2017 and has a run-time of over 38 minutes. In addition to nine original compositions (most of which completely shred!), "Shadow of the Sword" includes a sick cover of Death's "Evil Dead". Primarily influenced by the eighties speed metal scene (think early Slayer crossed with early Exciter!), this New Zealand trio is not for the fate of heart or anyone who might be looking for clean, crisp, and crystal-clear metal. Instead this is rough & raw speed metal that leaves no prisoners and offers no apologies for the damage that it has done! In a very cool way, Stälker brought back fond memories of the underground speed/thrash scene of the late eighties as well as the tape-trading days of old. For those of you who might not be old enough to remember such things, fear not! This album might be geared towards fans of retro speed metal, but it has more than enough muscle to wreck the competition!!

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