Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died (2014)

Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died (2014)

Sanctuary - The Year The Sun Died (2014) It was the middle of the 80’s when this band blew out of blue and delivered one of the best ever heavy metal album entitled “Refuge Denied”, produced by Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and released in 1987 by Epic Records. Afterward they toured with Megadeth and Warlock.
The band consisted of Warrel Dane (vocals), Lenny Rutledge (guitar), Sean Blosl (guitar), Jim Sheppard (bass) and Dave Budbill (drums), and they were from Seattle – just like another great band of those times, Queensryche. Actually “Refuge Denied” was a deadly explosive mixture of Iron Maiden type of European heavy metal, some subtle Queensryche flavors and power, respectively speed metal grindings. And, not at least, the Warrel Dane type of blood-freezing high pitch screams. It was perfect!
Their second album, “Into the Mirror Black” was released in Europe in 1989, while the US version came out the one year later. “Mirror Black” was a darker, slower, eventually more Queensryche style of progressive metal related album. A video clip for the song “Future Tense” was made and received some airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball. During the tour – with Fates Warning, Forbidden and Death Angel – guitarist Sean Blosl left the band and he was replaced by Jeff Loomis.
Their bad luck was called grunge. That new genre made their hometown more famous then Jimi Hendrix ever did and unfortunately they had a record deal with a major label which over-night wanted to turn them into a Pearl Jam copy. The pressure form the record label and tensions inside the band lead in 1992, Sanctuary to officially disbanded.
But the story actually didn’t ended there. Warrel Dane, Jim Sheppard and Jeff Loomis formed a new band called Nevermore in the same year. Dave Budbill lives in Florida, and he is currently the drummer for Alive Inside. Sean Blosl is creating music and film through Golden Flower Media, while Lenny Rutledge became a musical producer, and has his own studio. Lenny actually helped Nevermore on the demo sessions of their 1998 third album, “Dreaming Neon Black”. Read more Sanctuary – The Year The Sun Died (2014)

Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Judas Priest - Redeemer Of Souls (2014) Judas Priest is back! This equally could be a good or a bad news. It is the 17th studio album by Priest since their formation in Birmingham, England in 1969, their first album since 2008’s “Nostradamus” and also their first without founding guitarist K.K. Downing, who left the band in 2011 and was quite successfully replaced by new guitarist Richie Faulkner. The album was released on 8 July 2014. As very first impression and generality, this is much better then “Nostradamus”, but this is still a very late 80’s flavored classic heavy metal album both as sound and style which might be a good news for their conservative old fans, but might be quite disappointing for those who always appreciated the creativity and capability of Priest to reinvent themselves and delivered always fresh and surprising albums till their quite controversial and in my humble opinion, pretty under-rated 1997’s album “Jugulator”. “Demolition” was their first alarming step-back and since then they only moved backwards.
“Halls of Valhalla” is possibly the strongest track of the album with a distinguished “Painkiller” flavor and it’s also probably the most “modern” song on this record. Read more Judas Priest – Redeemer Of Souls (2014)

Sorrows Path – The Rough Path Of Nihilism (2010)

Sorrows_Path_cov Formed in November 1993, the Greece Sorrows Path on their second album delivered powerful, complex, quality Metal merging Heavy and Progressive elements with Death flavored intensity. Think of something like Iron Maiden playing Candlemass songs. Perfect and absolute stainless steel!
Technical and brutal, the 12 songs of “The Rough Path Of Nihilism” are both flavored by symphonic and Doom elements generating a massive sound and deeply dark, gloomy and epic vibe. Their music have a dark, tragic taste – which definitively reflects their own personal tragedy filled history.
Singer Angelos Ioannidis have a theatrical approach which mainly reminds me of Bruce Dickinson and Jon Oliva (Savatage).
“The Rough Path Of Nihilism” it’s an extremely compact, complex, flawless and unfortunately not enough known, publicized release. Read more Sorrows Path – The Rough Path Of Nihilism (2010)

Doctor Midnight and The Mercy Cult – I Declare: Treason (2011)

When Hank von Helvete – vocals (Turbonegro), Tim Sköld – bass (Kingpin, Shotgun Messiah, Skold, KMFDM, MDFMK, The Newlydeads, Ohgr, Marilyn Manson), guitarist Anders Odden – guitars (Cadaver, Satyricon, Celtic Frost, Apoptygma Berzerk, Magenta) and Audun Stengel – guitars (Apoptygma Berzerk, The Kovenant) and drummer David Husvik – drums (Extol) decide it to play together in 2009, it was obvious we’ve got our self another supergroup. The band made its live debut in Helsinki, Finland on May 11th, 2011 at club DOM and released on May 9th, 2011 their debut single “(Don’t) Waste It” followed by the released of their first full-length album, “I Declare: Treason” on June 6th, 2011.
This is a very classy, old-school like, but extremely breathing heavy/speed metal product, reminds me somehow of Sanctuary and their 1988’s “Refuge Denied” and Alice Cooper’s “Brutal Planet” from 2000, but DMTMC have some catchy modern up-dates, bring some good tricks out of their magic hats, actually, it’s been a while since I didn’t heard so many taste riffs gathered together on a single album, they wrote some pretty dark themes and a few very good songs. Read more Doctor Midnight and The Mercy Cult – I Declare: Treason (2011)

Channel Zero – Feed Em With A Brick (2011)

Often referred to them as “the Belgian Metallica”, “Feed Em With A Brick”, the band’s fifth studio album comes after “Black Fuel” released 14 years ago, engineered and produced by Attie Bauw, a Dutch producer who worked previously with Fight (Rob Halford). Channel Zero split in August 1997.
Singer Franky De Smet Van Damme, drummer Phil Baheux and bassist Tino De Martino are back with full force while original guitarist Xavier Carion due to a traumatized ear will be replaced by Mikey Doling (ex-Soulfly). And “Feed Em With A Brick” is another classy, powerful and groovy metal album, fans will be delighted. Read more Channel Zero – Feed Em With A Brick (2011)

Versailles – Holy Grail (2011)

This is the third album by the Japanese visual kei metal band Versailles – also known as Versailles -Philharmonic Quintet. Pretty strange combination of classic heavy and power metal with sometimes theatrical, opera-like vocals, other times pretty typical Japanese, pop taste vocals. “Visual kei”, literally “visual style” or “visual system”, is a movement among Japanese musicians,that is characterized by the use of make-up, elaborate hair styles and flamboyant costumes, and Versailles key characteristics are their rococo-esque costumes, correlated musically with dueling guitar sounds – Iron Maiden’s trademark – and heavy but melodic arrangements.
The band was formed in 2007 by Kamijo (ex-Lareine), Hizaki (ex-Sulfuric Acid), and Jasmine You (ex-Jakura). Later, Teru (ex-Aikaryu) and Yuki (ex-Sugar Trip). Read more Versailles – Holy Grail (2011)

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HammerFall – Infected (2011)

Although Hector is missing from the cover of the eight studio album by HammerFall and the originally planed album cover was replaced after negative reception and some disputes, the fans can breath released, HammerFall delivered the same heavy/power metal album as usual. And it’s quite enough to listen their second track, “Bang Your Head” and you will know exactly what kind of metal came out from the kitchen of this Gothenburg, Sweden based band. HammerFall right from the beginning in 1993 get on this old-school, traditional heavy/power metal path marked by the work of predecessors as Helloween and mainly other German bands and they are still committed and devoted to the traditional approach delivering a same trip-back to the glorious 80s. Read more HammerFall – Infected (2011)

Debauchery – Germany’s Next Death Metal (2011)

According to the dictionary, “debauchery” means indulgence in sensual pleasures; scandalous activities involving sex, alcohol, or drugs without inhibition. So, let’s have some scandalous fun! The horror and fantasy world melt into noisy, powerful metal in the hands of these guys from Stuttgart, Germany. Honestly, I was a little bit afraid of another Running Wild or something, but hell no, Debauchery are kicking like a mule and they are heavy like the elephant shit! Try to imagine a freaky mixture of Gwar, Rob Zombie and add some traditional Thrash and Death – eventually Kreator – flavor to it and you will get the idea what’s Debauchery sounds like. But what actually I really like about this “Germany’s Next Death Metal” is the fact that they write some great songs and have a fantastic groove. Read more Debauchery – Germany’s Next Death Metal (2011)

Grendel – Corrupt to the Core (2011)

Another name, two bands use it, it’s pity and annoying. For both of them. There is one Grendel from Netherlands formed in 1997 and playing Aggrotech/Post Industrial music, and Gendel we’re talking about now, from Finland, formed in 1999 originally using the name Crimson Sky – another name used by more than one artist… Hey, what’s wrong with you people?! Seriously… Leaving aside the legal issues: be imaginative, creative, don’t drive drunk, drugs are bad and stuffs like that.
So, they shift their name into Grendel in 2000 and recorded their first EP “Broken Dream”. Vocalist Vocalist Jarno Blom leave the band one year later, they bring in 2002 Mikko Virtanen to the microphone and record another EP: “Fight Against Time”. The first album, “Lost Beyond Retrieval” was recorded in 2005 and released one year later. In 2008 they sing a record deal with Firebox Records and released their second album “A Change Through Destruction”. Last year they recorded their third album, this “Corrupt to the Core”. Read more Grendel – Corrupt to the Core (2011)