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April 8, 2020, 12:22 am

 

COLOSSUS

Band:FER DE LANCE
Album:COLOSSUS
Label:CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC
Format:MCD
Genre:EPIC METAL

A Hammerheart-era Bathory-meets-atmospheric epic metal tour-de-force! Featuring members of Professor Emeritus, Moros Nyx and Smoulder, Fer De Lance combines darkness and atmosphere into a four-song epic heavy metal triumph. As bandmates in Chicago metal outfits Professor Emeritus and Moros Nyx, guitarist/vocalist MP and drummer Rusty often found themselves in the downtime of these bands consuming music that had nothing to do with the projects they were working on. The two men would do more than just listen to music they discussed it, examined it and lived it, taking in the sounds of metal bands such as Bathory, Amorphis, Atlantean Kodex and Rotting Christ, as well as more acoustic-driven music such as Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, and unsung Canadian folk artist Stan Rogers. Change loomed on the horizon once the songwriting for the follow-up to Moros Nyx s 2016 Revolution Street debut began. The songs started to take on a darker and more aggressive form, thereby capturing the atmosphere of its creators lives. The decision was then made to shelve Moros Nyx s second album and start a brand-new band, Fer De Lance. After asking Smoulder guitarist Collin Wolf to join, the group embarked on the recording process for what would become their debut EP, Colossus. Recorded in July and October 2019 at Altered States Studio in Chicago with producer/engineer Matt Russell (Satan s Hollow, Moros Nyx, Midnight Dice), Colossus is a rare-sounding American-meets-European metal meld that virtually defies description while bringing something to the table for any and all metal fan. Inspired in part by MP s living and wintering in Newfoundland, Canada, the four songs on Colossus, while simple on the surface, are stocked with acoustic guitars, searing guitar licks, the rumble of drums, and the impassioned vocal delivery of MP. Each of the four songs on Colossus represent one form, or aspect of death: violence, cataclysm, futility and resistance. The inspiration behind Colossus came from Ozymandias, written by English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) and the hubris of great men in the creation of monuments. Even though the Colossus is made of metal or stone and seems indestructible, the people around it burn and it is slowly turned to dust through both time and the smallest of elements, rain. Ultimately, no matter the strength of the Colossus, his strength and life are temporary, and his memory brief. The members of Fer De Lance are currently spread out between the United States and Canada, but the band will spend 2020 writing more material for recording later in the year, as well as scheduling live appearances in support of Colossus. Epic metal of this breadth and heroics is deserving of a live audience the world over. TRACKLIST 1. City In the Sea 2. Colossus 3. Fer De Lance 4. Triumph and Tragedy

 

 

OAK ASH & THORN

Band:DARK FOREST
Album:OAK ASH & THORN
Label:CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC
Format:LP
Genre:HEAVY/FOLK METAL

Venerable British true metallers return with nine songs of epic metal heroics and monumental storytelling! With their first studio offering in four years, Dark Forest marries traditional metal glory with tales from the heart of England’s long and storied past. Dark Forest founding member, guitarist and songwriter Christian Horton was halfway through the creation of the band’s fifth studio album when he came across a copy of Rudyard Kipling’s 1906 fantasy, Puck of Pook’s Hill. The book is a powerful depiction of England’s history, told through the lens of the people who have helped shape the country through the ages. The book’s crucial element of magic and folklore made an instant connection with Horton — Dark Forest has long delved into such topics, and the leaves of the three sacred trees of England, Oak, Ash & Thorn, made it the ideal choice for the album’s title. The album, perhaps more so than any other Dark Forest studio effort, properly expresses the band’s deep connection to the past, as well as the theme of the perpetual outsider, reflecting the course the band has charted since their 2002 formation. Recorded in August 2019 at Hellfire Studios near Burton Upon Trent, Oak, Ash & Thorn is Dark Forest’s most concise and solid offering to date, all without sacrificing the inherently epic nature of their songs. The band’s trademark flank of guitar melodies carries forth with renewed spirit and vigor, while vocalist Josh Winnard confidently sings emotive, passionate choruses capable of rousing the hearts of all who listen. The album’s creation was labor-intensive — the members of Dark Forest (who is rounded out by second guitarist Patrick Jenkins and drummer Adam Sidaway) tackled the recording between two separate sessions, sometimes working 14-hour days where it wasn’t uncommon for the band to burn the creative midnight oil, only to start all over again the next day. And for the second consecutive album, Dark Forest teamed with legendary artist Duncan Storr for the album’s cover. The original idea for Oak, Ash & Thorn’s cover was to be focused on the idea of the hollow hill and the traditional dwelling places of the fairies, but after Horton shared the themes of Puck of Pook’s Hill with Storr, the cover reflected three main spirits reflecting three distinct eras of England’s history. While this is the longest stretch between studio albums for Dark Forest, the amount of time and effort put into Oak, Ash & Thorn is undeniable — it is an undoubtedly robust and captivating listen from beginning to end, filled with tales from the heart of England’s long and storied history.

 

 

SUBTERRANEAN EXILE

Band:WIZARD, THE
Album:SUBTERRANEAN EXILE
Label:CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC
Format:LP
Genre:OCCULT HEAVY METAL

Vintage, mystical doom for fans of Sabbath, Pagan Altar and Trouble! Australia’s The Wizar’d have long been one of doom’s best-kept secrets. On Subterranean Exile, the band casts a diabolic spell of arcane metal magick sure to please fans of classic doom metal. For the creation of their fourth studio album, Subterranean Exile, Australian occult doom metallers The Wizar’d employed an audio alchemical process called “Arcane Metal Magick.” It’s where sinister energy is converted by transmutation to a frequency form that can be held in a lower plane. For Subterranean Exile, The Wizar’d captured approximately 35 minutes and 25 seconds of music — a number that holds significance to not only the members of the band but also for those who understand its power. For the greater audience metal as a whole, it is the gateway to doom metal that is equally mystical as it is vintage, recalling the likes of Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Pagan Altar, Saint Vitus and Trouble. Originally formed in 2004 by guitarist/vocalist ‘Ol Rusty, The Wizar’d released a series of demos, singles and EPs before their first studio album, 2008’s Infernal Wizardry. Pathways into Darkness would follow two years later, while Ancient Tome of Arcane Knowledge would see the light of day in 2013. The original plan was to release the songs “Subterranean Exile” and “Master of the Night” as part of an EP shortly after the release of Ancient Tome, but, ‘Ol Rusty was greeted by a spectral voice who instructed him to go in a different direction. He then spent the next eight years writing the rest of the album under the realization that true doom metal moves at a glacial pace. The tracking for Subterranean Exile started in January 2018 at The Green Room in Hobart, while the rest of the album was recorded at Heavy Chains HQ and completed in May 2019. This time, The Wizar’d (who are completed by second guitarist Master of the Night, bassist Blackie and drummer Maniac Frodsham) sharpened their knives and strengthened their spells — the album is perhaps the most direct and refined in the band’s history, casting a diabolical web of spiraling guitar harmonies, thunderous drums, lurching riffs and the vocal sorcery of ‘Ol Rusty. Accordingly, the compositions found on Subterranean Exile not only resonate on the same current as the doom gods of yore but reach for arcane horrors only found in spectral dimensions. It is now up to you, brave listener, to decide whether you are up for the task of partaking in this arcane metal masterwork. The choice is yours.

 

 

COLOSSUS

Band:FER DE LANCE
Album:COLOSSUS
Label:CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC
Format:MLP
Genre:EPIC METAL

A Hammerheart-era Bathory-meets-atmospheric epic metal tour-de-force! Featuring members of Professor Emeritus, Moros Nyx and Smoulder, Fer De Lance combines darkness and atmosphere into a four-song epic heavy metal triumph. As bandmates in Chicago metal outfits Professor Emeritus and Moros Nyx, guitarist/vocalist MP and drummer Rusty often found themselves in the downtime of these bands consuming music that had nothing to do with the projects they were working on. The two men would do more than just listen to music — they discussed it, examined it and lived it, taking in the sounds of metal bands such as Bathory, Amorphis, Atlantean Kodex and Rotting Christ, as well as more acoustic-driven music such as Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, and unsung Canadian folk artist Stan Rogers. Change loomed on the horizon once the songwriting for the follow-up to Moros Nyx’s 2016 Revolution Street debut began. The songs started to take on a darker and more aggressive form, thereby capturing the atmosphere of its creators’ lives. The decision was then made to shelve Moros Nyx’s second album and start a brand-new band, Fer De Lance. After asking Smoulder guitarist Collin Wolf to join, the group embarked on the recording process for what would become their debut EP, Colossus. Recorded in July and October 2019 at Altered States Studio in Chicago with producer/engineer Matt Russell (Satan’s Hollow, Moros Nyx, Midnight Dice), Colossus is a rare-sounding American-meets-European metal meld that virtually defies description while bringing something to the table for any and all metal fan. Inspired in part by MP’s living and wintering in Newfoundland, Canada, the four songs on Colossus, while simple on the surface, are stocked with acoustic guitars, searing guitar licks, the rumble of drums, and the impassioned vocal delivery of MP.

 

 

TERMINATION SHOCK

Band:TRAVELER
Album:TERMINATION SHOCK
Label:GATES OF HELL RECORDS
Format:CD
Genre:HEAVY METAL

Highly anticipated second album from Canadian true metal merchants! Just over a year after the release of their successful debut self-titled album, Calgary s Traveler has returned with the high-voltage Termination Shock! The buzz on Calgary s Traveler reverberated throughout the international metal community in 2019. Their self-titled debut album quickly caught fire upon its release, with fans mesmerized by the band s patented blend of old-school riffing, rafter-reaching vocals and dueling lead guitars. Traveler also proved their worth in the live arena, actively playing dates in their native Canada, the United States and also delivering the goods to rapturous European audiences, in particular, a well-received spot on Germany s Keep It True festival. Realizing that now was the right time to strike for the ever-important album number two, Traveler has returned in 2020 with Termination Shock. Tracked during the latter months of 2019 and early 2020 by producer Jan Loncick, Termination Shock captures Traveler in full stride, their indomitable blend of early speed metal theatrics and classic metal know-how fleshed out even more thanks to the bevy of ideas from founding member and primary songwriter Matt Ries. Ries admits he approached Termination Shock the same way he did for Traveler s first demo with no expectations, simply writing for the pure sake of enjoyment. Ries spent the better part of 2019 assembling the tracks for Termination Shock, fine-tuning the songs right up until Traveler hit the studio. However, Ries had some additional help this time vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud wrote lyrics to every song but one, bassist Dave Arnold contributed a song from his previous band, Striker, and JP Fortin of Deaf Dealer gifted Traveler with a composition of his own. Termination Shock benefits from more variety in Traveler s arsenal the album features some of the band s fastest songs to date, complemented by an array of mid-tempo juggernauts and even some more progressive-leaning arrangements. The album title provided by Arnold laid the foundation for Abboud s elaborate science-fiction storytelling, while cover artist Dylan Barstad once again perfectly illustrated Traveler s world. An album that will meet the demand in every way: more speed, more solos, more harmonies and more blistering vocals, Termination Shock shows that Traveler has no intention of succumbing to the sophomore slump. TRACKLIST 1. Shaded Mirror 2. Termination Shock 3. Foreverman 4. Diary of a Maiden 5. STK 6. After the Future 7. Deepspace 8. Terra Exodus

 

 

TERMINATION SHOCK

Band:TRAVELER
Album:TERMINATION SHOCK
Label:GATES OF HELL RECORDS
Format:LP
Genre:HEAVY METAL

Highly anticipated second album from Canadian true metal merchants! Just over a year after the release of their successful debut self-titled album, Calgary’s Traveler has returned with the high-voltage Termination Shock! The buzz on Calgary’s Traveler reverberated throughout the international metal community in 2019. Their self-titled debut album quickly caught fire upon its release, with fans mesmerized by the band’s patented blend of old-school riffing, rafter-reaching vocals and dueling lead guitars. Traveler also proved their worth in the live arena, actively playing dates in their native Canada, the United States and also delivering the goods to rapturous European audiences, in particular, a well-received spot on Germany’s Keep It True festival. Realizing that now was the right time to strike for the ever-important album number two, Traveler has returned in 2020 with Termination Shock. Tracked during the latter months of 2019 and early 2020 by producer Jan Loncick, Termination Shock captures Traveler in full stride, their indomitable blend of early speed metal theatrics and classic metal know-how fleshed out even more thanks to the bevy of ideas from founding member and primary songwriter Matt Ries. Ries admits he approached Termination Shock the same way he did for Traveler’s first demo — with no expectations, simply writing for the pure sake of enjoyment. Ries spent the better part of 2019 assembling the tracks for Termination Shock, fine-tuning the songs right up until Traveler hit the studio. However, Ries had some additional help this time — vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud wrote lyrics to every song but one, bassist Dave Arnold contributed a song from his previous band, Striker, and JP Fortin of Deaf Dealer gifted Traveler with a composition of his own. Termination Shock benefits from more variety in Traveler’s arsenal — the album features some of the band’s fastest songs to date, complemented by an array of mid-tempo juggernauts and even some more progressive-leaning arrangements. The album title — provided by Arnold — laid the foundation for Abboud’s elaborate science-fiction storytelling, while cover artist Dylan Barstad once again perfectly illustrated Traveler’s world. An album that will meet the demand in every way: more speed, more solos, more harmonies and more blistering vocals, Termination Shock shows that Traveler has no intention of succumbing to the sophomore slump.

 

 

Mach Ii

Band:ROAD WARRIOR
Album:Mach Ii
Label:GATES OF HELL
Format:CD
Genre:HEAVY METAL

Uncompromising traditional metal from the rough Australian terrain! On their second studio album Mach II, Australian metal tyrants push traditional metal forward with fist-clenching manliness while remaining true to the past. Road Warrior bassist/vocalist Denimal Blake is a songwriter by trade, metalhead at heart and proud purveyor of metaphor. When discussing his manner of collecting songwriting ideas for the band s second album, Mach II, he envisioned himself as a massive, ancient dragon, perched atop a giant stockpile of precious riffs, jealously guarding each and every one, no matter how tarnished and old. Through the age-old process of riff elimination and songwriting maturation, Mach II was born, an album that brings forth more of everything from Road Warrior s sonic arsenal in comparison to their 2018 Power debut: More melodies, more guitar harmonies, more solos and more vocals. In fact, the word more was thrown about so much that Blake joked the album should have been called More II instead of Mach II. Mach II, though, is fitting since it is a more sophisticated offering than its predecessor. Recorded at Against the Grain Studios in Adelaide, South Australia with producer Andy Kite, Mach II is the sound of a band maturing while remaining true to its traditional heavy metal roots, walking the proverbial tightrope in trying to preserve the past while attempting to push forward into less-chartered territory. The album with the exception of Fox Devils Wild rests largely in swaggering, barrel-chested mid-tempo, fist-banging terrain, a space previously occupied by greats such as Crimson Glory and Savatage, benefitting from the classic metal-tinged guitar playing of Ben Overdryve Newsome and rock-solid timekeeping of drummer Dillon Villon. On Mach II, Blake and company tackle themes such as ancient gods, freemasons, the collapse of civility, warrior castes and regicide, all with the notion of balancing content with sing-ability, one of the album s defining traits thanks to Blake s street-tough, but melodious vocals. ( Trying to sing a pre-written piece of poetry over a song can often be like trying to push a marshmallow into a coin slot, he jokes.) Even with such a balancing act, Road Warrior transcends 1980s retro metal mongering with a firm, stout degree of attitude and defiance, rarely heard in the traditional metal scene. Ultimately, there is an underlying element of tongue-in-cheek within Road Warrior s music. In the mind of Blake and his bandmates, everything serious and even threatening should be discounted as a product of the grand jest of life. After all, humor weakens the enemy and girds the will of free men. TRACKLIST 1. Tonight s the Night 2. Fox Devils Wild 3. Fiends Behind The Scenes 4. Thunder n Fighting 5. The Diamond Forge 6. Nocturnal Arrest 7. Wired 8. Rest for the Wicked

 

 

Mach Ii

Band:ROAD WARRIOR
Album:Mach Ii
Label:GATES OF HELL
Format:LP
Genre:HEAVY METAL

Uncompromising traditional metal from the rough Australian terrain! On their second studio album Mach II, Australian metal tyrants push traditional metal forward with fist-clenching manliness while remaining true to the past. Road Warrior bassist/vocalist Denimal Blake is a songwriter by trade, metalhead at heart and proud purveyor of metaphor. When discussing his manner of collecting songwriting ideas for the band’s second album, Mach II, he envisioned himself as a massive, ancient dragon, perched atop a giant stockpile of precious riffs, jealously guarding each and every one, no matter how tarnished and old. Through the age-old process of riff elimination and songwriting maturation, Mach II was born, an album that brings forth “more” of everything from Road Warrior’s sonic arsenal in comparison to their 2018 Power debut: More melodies, more guitar harmonies, more solos and more vocals. In fact, the word “more” was thrown about so much that Blake joked the album should have been called More II instead of Mach II. Mach II, though, is fitting since it is a more sophisticated offering than its predecessor. Recorded at Against the Grain Studios in Adelaide, South Australia with producer Andy Kite, Mach II is the sound of a band maturing while remaining true to its traditional heavy metal roots, walking the proverbial tightrope in trying to preserve the past while attempting to push forward into less-chartered territory. The album — with the exception of “Fox Devils Wild” — rests largely in swaggering, barrel-chested mid-tempo, fist-banging terrain, a space previously occupied by greats such as Crimson Glory and Savatage, benefitting from the classic metal-tinged guitar playing of Ben “Overdryve” Newsome and rock-solid timekeeping of drummer Dillon “Villon.”

 

 

SPECTRAL DEVASTATION

Band:SOLICITOR
Album:SPECTRAL DEVASTATION
Label:GATES OF HELL
Format:CD
Genre:HEAVY METAL

Breakneck, uncompromising speed metal from the Pacific Northwest! On their first studio album, Spectral Devastation, Sölicitör takes a no-holds-barred approach to create several future speed metal anthems! The future is fast. Keep it nasty, keep it mean. Such are the words from Sölicitör frontwoman Amy Lee Carlson, encapsulating the fireball that is their first full-length studio album, Spectral Devastation. Since their 2018 formation, the Seattle-based band has been honing their speed/thrash hybrid to be dynamic and unpredictable. As such, their take-no-prisoners, almost ruthless approach pays dividends across Spectral Devastation, an album that builds upon their well-received debut EP 2019 and casts them as one of America s most exciting new speedsters. Recorded in late 2019 and early 2020 at Hangar 12 Studios with Cody J. Brumlow, Sölicitör found themselves under the gun to complete the album. By virtue of regular show/tour obligations, travel time between Portland and Seattle, as well as a snowstorm that locked the band out of the studio for several days, the members of Sölicitör (completed by the guitar tandem of Matthew Vogan and Patrick Fry, bassist Damon Cleary-Erickson and drummer Johann Waymire) threw the proverbial caution to the wind when completing the tracking for Spectral Devastation instead of spending countless hours overthinking arrangements, they trusted their gut instincts. This condensed timeframe allowed Sölicitör to emerge with an album that goes in several different directions while remaining true to the band s speed metal foundation. Spectral Devastation catches Sölicitör sharpening some of the elements that were developed on EP 2019: dual guitar harmonies, double-tracked vocal melodies, gang vocals and dynamic drum beats, while further incorporating darker, more melodic guitars while maintaining their trademark speed and technicality. But rather than immediately be put into a box with their sound, Sölicitör took the early opportunity to spread its sonic wings by utilizing cleaner guitars that are found on what could be the closest thing to a ballad the band will ever write. Out front is Carlson, who, throughout Spectral Devastation, pushes the limit of her upper-register, bringing forth call-and-response harmonies in Betrayer as well as the album s undisputed anthem, Terminal Force. The album s lyrical scope is best represented in Spectres of War, where gang vocals shout War, famine, pestilence, death empire's fall, now draw your last breath! It is a lasting reminder that Sölicitör is capable of delivering metal with great hooks and catchy choruses that will elicit whip-lashing and headbanging. And, one last thing: Speed kills. TRACKLIST 1. Blood Revelations 2. Betrayer 3. The Red Queen 4. Leathür Streets 5. Night Vision 6. Terminal Race 7. Spectres of War 8. Grip of the Fist

 

 

SPECTRAL DEVASTATION

Band:SOLICITOR
Album:SPECTRAL DEVASTATION
Label:GATES OF HELL
Format:LP
Genre:HEAVY METAL

Breakneck, uncompromising speed metal from the Pacific Northwest! On their first studio album, Spectral Devastation, Sölicitör takes a no-holds-barred approach to create several future speed metal anthems! “The future is fast. Keep it nasty, keep it mean.” Such are the words from Sölicitör frontwoman Amy Lee Carlson, encapsulating the fireball that is their first full-length studio album, Spectral Devastation. Since their 2018 formation, the Seattle-based band has been honing their speed/thrash hybrid to be dynamic and unpredictable. As such, their take-no-prisoners, almost ruthless approach pays dividends across Spectral Devastation, an album that builds upon their wellreceived debut EP 2019 and casts them as one of America’s most exciting new speedsters. Recorded in late 2019 and early 2020 at Hangar 12 Studios with Cody J. Brumlow, Sölicitör found themselves under the gun to complete the album. By virtue of regular show/tour obligations, travel time between Portland and Seattle, as well as a snowstorm that locked the band out of the studio for several days, the members of Sölicitör (completed by the guitar tandem of Matthew Vogan and Patrick Fry, bassist Damon Cleary-Erickson and drummer Johann Waymire) threw the proverbial caution to the wind when completing the tracking for Spectral Devastation — instead of spending countless hours overthinking arrangements, they trusted their gut instincts. This condensed timeframe allowed Sölicitör to emerge with an album that goes in several different directions while remaining true to the band’s speed metal foundation. Spectral Devastation catches Sölicitör sharpening some of the elements that were developed on EP 2019: dual guitar harmonies, double-tracked vocal melodies, gang vocals and dynamic drum beats, while further incorporating darker, more melodic guitars while maintaining their trademark speed and technicality. But rather than immediately be put into a box with their sound, Sölicitör took the early opportunity to spread its sonic wings by utilizing cleaner guitars that are found on what could be the closest thing to a ballad the band will ever write. Out front is Carlson, who, throughout Spectral Devastation, pushes the limit of her upper-register, bringing forth call-and-response harmonies in “Betrayer” as well as the album’s undisputed anthem, “Terminal Force.” The album’s lyrical scope is best represented in “Spectres of War,” where gang vocals shout “War, famine, pestilence, death — empire's fall, now draw your last breath!” It is a lasting reminder that Sölicitör is capable of delivering metal with great hooks and catchy choruses that will elicit whip-lashing and headbanging. And, one last thing: Speed kills.

 

 


 
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