Today we go to Brazil as TML looks at the traditional metalheads known as Nosferatu. With a couple of demos, an EP, a split and a live recording under their bullet belts, and with their debut full length, Satan's Child in the works, Nosferatu are quietly building up a reputation as a no frills, plenty of thrills type of band honing the sound of the NWOBHM and other 80s metal bands of yore. Check them out and raise the metal banners high!
Psychedelic stoner metal from Austin, TX and featuring a pair of former members of the vastly underrated Scorpion Child, Duel have a throwback 70s vibe and cite such influences as the James Gang, Thin Lizzy, BOC, Humble Pie and naturally Sabbath. Tom Frank, Shaun Avants, JD Shadowz and Jeff Henson round out this fearsome foursome and hot on the heels of the incredible debut release Fears Of The Dead, they are poised to make an impact on the scene!
GREY WOLF Glorious Death
Returning with their third album in three years, Brazil’s Grey Wolf are aiming at a very specific segment of the heavy metal marketplace with their ‘Glorious Death’ opus. Here are a few clues: The cover artwork depicts a battle scene featuring a shadowy musclebound warrior swinging a bloody battle axe as a mostly naked curvaceous female reclines behind him and barbarian hordes scream in bloodlust while wielding swords, axes and shields. Song titles include the likes of “Conan the Liberator,” “Metal Avenger,” “Cimmeria” and “The Barbarian.” Lead vocals are gruff but clear, guitar riffs are muscular and mighty, and the production has all the subtlety of a bulldozer raging through your living room. Got the picture yet? If you guessed chestbeating true metal in the vein of Ironsword, Battlerage, Hyborean Steel, Majesty and Ravensire, influenced by legends like Manowar and Grave Digger, you win the prize.
Now that it’s clear what style Grey Wolf play, all you need to know is whether they’re good at it. I can unequivocally answer that question in the affirmative. ‘Glorious Death’ ticks all the right boxes for genre fans. The band is led by Fabio “Grey Wolf” Paulinelli, who handles lead vocals, bass guitar, and all songwriting and recording engineer duties. Paulinelli’s rough, limited voice won’t ever be confused with Eric Adams or Bruce Dickinson, but if you can appreciate Tann from Ironsword or Buddy Kohlrausch from Dark at Dawn, then you won’t have any trouble with Grey Wolf’s vocals. The songs are suitably epic and powerful, with anthemic choruses and titanic riffs. Tracks like “Metal Avenger” (with its massive Maiden-ish riff), “Conan the Liberator,” and “Glorious Death” had me singing along and thrusting my fist in the air almost immediately. Paulinelli has mastered the art of capturing an epic feeling in the music without losing an iota of catchiness along the way. He also recognizes the importance of not overstaying his welcome. For example, the first proper track, “The Eyes of the Medusa,” is epic to the max, yet it clocks in at under two and a half minutes. The entire 10-song album is over in 35 minutes. Paulinelli’s philosophy seems to be “hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em fast, and then leave ‘em wanting more.” The pacing of ‘Glorious Death’ is relentlessly heavy and mighty, all the way until the last song, “Cimmeria,” downshifts to round out the proceedings on a more subdued note.
‘Glorious Death’ is easily recommended to fans of the true metal genre. Grey Wolf have improved and honed their craft since last year’s ‘We are Metalheads’ album (released in the USA via Stormspell Records), and it shows. The songs are triumphant, the performances are convincing, and the production values are much stronger than one might expect of a self-recorded album in Brazil. The only caveat that comes to mind are the programmed drums, but the booklet explains that Paulinelli sequenced them only because drummer Wessley Victor had not yet joined the band when the recording was done. I can forgive that, and don’t blame Paulinelli for pressing forward with the production of ‘Glorious Death’ as best he could even without a drummer in tow. If Grey Wolf were European, I believe they would have a die-hard cult following akin to Ironsword or Ravensire. True metal is alive and well in Brazil!
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~
ANCIENT EMPIRE Other World
This one came out a couple of months ago on Stormspell Records, but I fear it may have slipped past without garnering the attention it deserves from the underground metal community. Ancient Empire are a California-based act consisting of veterans from bands like Hellhound, Shadowkiller, Rellik, Rapid Fire and Forgotten Disciple. These three musicians (vocalist/guitarist/bassist Joe Liszt, drummer Steve Pelletier, and lyricist Rich Pelletier) all boast lengthy resumes and have contributed to other bands in recent years, predominantly for the Stormspell label. Indeed, Liszt is recognizable as the singer on Rocka Rollas’ ‘Metal Strikes Back’ album and ‘Conquer’ EP. And all three of them have been involved with Hellhound, whose ‘Nothing Left’ album also came out recently on Stormspell. At this stage, it is unclear how many of these activities are “real bands” versus studio projects. One gets the sense that Ancient Empire and some of these other “bands” are just constellations of musicians who get together to write and record a cool album, as opposed to playing live, touring or having any cohesive identity outside the studio. Perhaps some people are bothered by that. My feeling is that if the musicians are talented, the songwriting is of high quality, and the project reflects inspiration and passion, then that’s good enough. Measured by that yardstick, Ancient Empire are off the end of the charts.
‘Other World’ is Ancient Empire’s second album of traditional heavy metal characterized by mostly speedy tempos, crunchy old-school riffs, and abundant melody through both the guitars and the gritty, powerful, charismatic vocals of Liszt. Ancient Empire are very much in that revered U.S. power metal style (think Vicious Rumors, Metal Church, Meliah Rage and their ilk, with a touch of Savage Grace). To keep things interesting, Ancient Empire have tackled a sci-fi concept this time, as ‘Other World’ tells the tale of Earth being taken over by an alien race, the remnants of humanity escaping on a spaceship in search of a new home, the exiles finding a new inhospitable planet populated by hostile natives, and the exiles ultimately returning home to Earth to face their destiny and take up arms against the alien invaders. I enjoy the storytelling aspects of the album, but it’s done in a sufficiently unobtrusive way (no obnoxious narrators, cloying sound effects, or lame interludes) that those who are inclined to ignore the story and simply rock out will have no impediment in doing so. For folks who enjoy well-written lyrics, though, ‘Other World’ adds that dimension to the package via an intriguing, entertaining story.
That said, the strength in ‘Other World’ lies in the energetic, exciting songwriting. Weighing in at 8 songs and 47 minutes, this album is one that always feels much shorter than that. There’s no wasted space, no dull moments, no momentum-killing lulls. Ancient Empire just flat-out kick ass and take names from beginning to end. It’d be silly to single out particular tracks for accolades, because they’re all outstanding. ‘Other World’ is absolutely stuffed to the gills with mighty riffs, excellent vocals, well-thought arrangements, tasteful leads, and hooks galore, all wrapped in a powerful production that allows the performances to shine. This album has everything an old-school metalhead could possibly want. Hell, pound for pound, I’d put ‘Other World’ up against anything else released in the U.S. power metal style in 2016. It’s that good. Even the band seems surprised by the devastating results of their efforts. In the liner notes for the album, Liszt muses, “So few things in life come easy. Sometimes you get lucky and things just work.” I suspect he’s being overly modest here, but the basic point is well taken. ‘Other World’ just works. One shouldn’t question why or how. It just does. So, in Liszt’s words, “Throw in the disc, crank it up and bang your head!” I’m way ahead of you, pal.
~ Review by Kit Ekman ~
From Slovenia we have a four piece band that combines European Power Metal with a bit of a Swedish-like melodic metal to present a fairly mature sounding sonic assault. Silent Pray have given us their first taste with their brand new debut EP, Metropolis Of Dreams and a lyric video for their first single, The Nest! Check them out and give them some support!
Weekdays from 10 PM to Midnight CST. Each week night we play tracks from 20 of the best albums from the 70s, 80s, 90s and early 00s. Each week we add a new album to the showcase featuring some of the best and some of the most overlooked artists in metal history! This week we are happy to add The Plot Sickens by Mystik!!
Hailing from Tulsa, Oklahoma we have this do-it-yourself no-compromise thrash metal trio. They cite influences ranging from Motorhead, Sodom, Exodus, Kreator, Atheist and Death and it really shows through in their straight up speedy thrash meets proto-Death. Definitely if you like your metal on the brutal side, while still holding to some of the earlier influences, then Volition may well be right up your alley. Check 'em out!
Today we are going to check out some very solid thrash out of the UK. Unlike many thrash bands today where the songs are short and barely distinguishable from one track to the other, Merichane comes through with some meat on the bone and really stand head and shoulders above the vast majority that is plaguing the thrash scene. The band just released their debut four song ep and it serves as a nice appetizer of what to expect in the future. I will be keeping an ear out for this band going forward as they have lots of raw potential to make an impact on the underground in the foreseeable future. In the meantime, pop this on and proceed to bang thy heads!
Today we are going to take a quick look at some really underrated metal coming out of Uruguay. Spiritcraft are a classic five piece, twin guitar attack band from Montevideo that blends some traditional metal with a solid power metal base and then sprinkle some melodic death on top for a multi-layered sound which can be heard in their debut single Apparition. The band has been together for about four years under their current moniker and before that they spent a similar amount of time as Dagorlad. They are entering the studio next month to record some new music and it will be interesting to see what they come up with. In the meantime Apparition is here to hold us over until then!
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