Blog Archives

Album Review: The Book of Souls by Iron Maiden

IronMaiden_TheBookOfSoulsIf there’s a single band that personifies heavy metal more than Iron Maiden, fill me in.  Metallica? Lars is a dweeb who sues his fans… and Lulu and angry saints.  Slayer?  They have become caricatures of themselves.  Black Sabbath?  Sharon Osborne and 1984-1990 happened.  Judas Priest?  Close, but lack that little something special.  No, there isn’t a band out there that can out metal Iron Maiden and after 30 years of inhabiting the embodiment of heavy metal they still continue to be metal as fuck.  For example, while recording The Book of Souls, the bands 16th studio album, Bruce Dickinson was suffering from a cancer on his tongue he reportedly got from kissing his wife in an Australian manner one too many times.  He went on to record his parts on the record with golf ball sized tumors in his tongue and throat.  He then kicked that cancer’s ass.  Metal as fuck?  I think so.

Because he wasn’t singing when he was at 100%, while still excellent, you can hear that Bruce is really pushing himself.  That imperfection is what makes Iron Maiden so perfect and so metal.  What is at the core of ‘having a metal state of mind’ more so than determination?  Even when lambasted for records like No Prayer for the Dying and Virtual XI Steve Harris and Co. kept their cool, improved themselves, and kept on delivering countless amazing shows and a stack of great songs and albums.  With a string of albums that were pretty damn good but not up to the exceedingly high Iron Maiden standards, the English gents, determined as ever, rise to the challenge and attempt to deliver their biggest album to date.

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Tales from Bandcamp: Severance by Darkest Era

a3304813980_10One thing I love about metal music is the seemingly infinite things that can be done within the genre.  From Eco-Terrorist Dulcimer Black Metal to Transcendental Progressive Whale Metal, you think of it, you can do it.  Metal is boundless and there’s no restrictions on what can be done.  I fucking love it.  And I also love digging around through our promos, Bandcamp, and suggestions from you guys and friends to find the next unique thing going on in the genre.  However, sometimes I like to take a step back from the strange and unusual going on and give a listen to something more conventional.  In my wake of being utterly obsessed with ‘nature metal’ (Agalloch, Saor, Panopticon) the past few months (and well into the future) I decided to seek out something traditional.  And that’s when I came across this little gem on Bandcamp.

Playing big and powerful traditional metal with a hint of Celtic and NWOBHM influence, Darkest Era flat-out slay.  Huge choruses, soaring solos, galloping rhythms, all that stuff you want from a traditional metal release.  They’re not reinventing the wheel nor blazing trails, just simply creating straight-up awesome metal to throw your fist up to the sky and bang your head to.  Each track is tight and packed with fun and engaging moments as well as stellar performances by each member.  Particularly I enjoyed the vocals as they have a nice American Power Metal feel to them (none of that Mickey Mouse on helium stuff going on here, lol.  Just kidding, y’all know I like my super-cheese Euro Power Metal 😉 ).  They’re super manly and I think my barren man-chest grew a few hairs and my beard got a few millimeters thicker.  And for how traditional the style is, I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the freshest traditional metal releases I’ve heard in some time.

If you’re in the mood for some simply great metal give Darkest Era’s latest release, Severance, a spin or 10.  As always, if you like what you hear do the right thing and toss the band some beer money and grab a download of the record.  Let me know what you thought of Darkest Era below and share with your metal minded friends.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Album Review: Kobra and the Lotus – Kobra and the Lotus

Kobra-And-The-Lotus-Kobra-And-The-Lotus-Front-Cover-by-Eneas-300x300Named in part after lead singer Kobra Paige, Kobra and the Lotus create a classic style of metal in the vein of Dio and Iron Maiden with a slight touch of power metal thrown into the mix. I also hear influences from other Canadian bands such as Into Eternity and Annihilator.  Her unique vocal style is powerful and after having seen them at Download 2012, she definitely has the chops both in the recording booth and on stage.  After their short lead-off performance that year on the second stage I was anxious to pick the album up, but it did not surface on iTunes until now.  And sorry to say, I was just too lazy to actually find a place that sells CDs that would probably carry Kobra and the Lotus.  Oh shit, there’s this thing called the Internet.  I have no excuse!  So, without further delay, here are my thoughts on their self-titled sophomore effort…finally.

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Song of the Week: Sky Chariots

One band I feel that is criminally underrated is this sludgy, nwobhm-ish, prog metal band called The Lord Weird Slough Feg.  Maybe it was lack of publicity or their name that made people not take notice, cause I’m sure that if one would take a couple minutes to listen to them, the music certainly isn’t anything that would turn any metal fan sour.  Anywho, someone over at Metal Blade Records has finally given this long-running, storied band a shot to gain some more fans by signing them to their label.  One of the best parts other than even more people will be able to enjoy Slough Feg, is that Metal Blade is re-releasing 3 of the bands earlier albums all done up with some cool packaging and a shiny new coat of remastering.  A 3 CD boxset will be released on Feb. 5, 2013 and will contain Twilight of the Idols (1999), Down Among The Deadmen (2000) and Traveller (2003).  Of the 3 I have Traveller, and can attest that is a damn fine record.  The other 2 I am looking forward to hearing, especially after hearing the single track that Metal Blade has released.  “Sky Chariots” is simply damn fine heavy metal and should appease nearly all metal fans of all colors.  Check the tune out, get excited for this neat box set re-release, and get even more excited for the fact that a new Slough Feg record is most likely coming out pretty soon.  You can do some backtracking into the bands ginormous back catalog while you wait.  Enjoy!!!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Tales From Bandcamp: Possession by Christian Mistress

Damn is this album one hell of a rocker.  Filled to the brim with a doom laden style of NWOBHM mixed with a nice grungy production and a non-over-dramatic female vocalist, Christian Mistress hits all my buttons in the rights spots for what I love to hear out of a modern-retro band.  And in case you’re wondering, I don’t think Christian Mistress is a Christian band as their lyrics revolve around mysticism and all that other fun cult-ish stuff.  But who really cares, they could be singing ‘Jesus Loves the Little Children’ and I’d still be rocking out as long as they did it with that sexy guitar tone, sultry vocals, and driving rhythms.

Possession is Christian Mistress’ major label debut and I think Relapse Records made an excellent choice when signing this band (they style of production they use probably saved the label a couple of bucks too.  And bravo to Relapse for being one of the first major labels to fully embrace Bandcamp).  Front to back I totally dig this album and of all the ‘vest metal‘ (AKA Doom Metal) out there, these guys stick out to me with their high energy and presence.  So check out  Possession, the video for “Pentagram and Crucifix”, and let us know what you think.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Band Links: Facebook Bandcamp Official Site

Label: Relapse Records

EP Review: Monument – Rock The Night

Whenever a new band is unleashed on the scene I feel I have to take out a pad of paper and count how many different influences and genres I hear.  Though it’s great way to mix things up; I am a fan of that old-school rock/metal vibe that drives nothing more than catchy hooks, clean guitar solos, and that high-pitched Rob Halford-like scream.  This is where Monument’s debut EP, Rock The Night, stands out among the new generation of metal bands.  Their EP is exactly what I just described and better yet, a cool throw back to Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and the rest of the NWOBHM.  Metal is doing great and thriving again as a genre, but we need bands like Monument to remind us of where part of the foundation of today’s metal came from.

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Full Album Stream: The Crystal Eye by Sinister Realm

Need a dose of some great traditional metal, well here you go.  Taking a lot of inspiration from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Man-O-War, Sinister Realm‘s 2nd full length album, The Crystal Eye, completely rocks.  It’s chock full of huge riffs, superfluous solos, fist pumping choruses, manly chest hair, and war horse galloping rhythms.  There are more hooks in every song than in a salt crusted fisherman’s tackle box and plenty of opportunities to sing along with the “whooooo oooo oooooooooo”s to trick you neighbors into thinking that you have transformed into a werewolf.  Probably the thing that I like the most about this record is that it does have that 80’s old school sound to it, but at the same time it carries its own personality and feels quite modern with some neat prog tendencies mixed in.  So go break out your leather or denim vest (your choice), crack open a Tab, then ball up your fist and raise it high, and rock out to some Sinister Realm.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Album Review: Evil Nightmares by Ruler

When people talk about Iron Maiden they often are always referring to the Bruce Dickinson line-ups which started at the release of their third album, The Number of the Beast.  Rarely when there is mention of someone saying that a band sounds like Iron Maiden does the person making the comparison mean the Blaze Bayley years (and that’s for good reason) or the Paul DiAnno early works.  To avoid any confusion in this review, whenever I make mention of the great Iron Maiden I will be solely referring to the Paul DiAnno albums.  And just to run my mouth about Iron Maiden for a second more, Iron Maiden during the early years was absolutely great, and even though Bruce Dickinson is the superior vocalist, the albums with Paul DiAnno were great and I’ve always wished I could hear a couple more Maiden records from that era.  Now that that’s out of the way, the new debut album, Evil Nightmares, by the Italian metal band Ruler sounds like it could very well be the lost early Iron Maiden record, from the sound and style right down to the packaging and photographic aesthetic.  There is a bit of influence from bands like Saxon and Thin Lizzy tossed in, but man, is this an Iron f’n Maiden album, yet it really stands on its own.

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Album Review: Spell Eater by Huntress

To get the gorilla out of the room right off the bat, Huntress frontwoman Jill Janus is a very outspoken person that also is quite the looker who loves to flaunt her scantily clad body around.  She is also a Wiccan and has her own jewelry line which she has no qualms about hawking at any possible opportunity.  Even before the Huntress debut album hit many were saying that she was just eye candy and is a fake.  Well, imo, if she wants to plaster her sultry self all over the world and run her mouth about Wicca and sell her jewelery, let her, she seems quite happy doing so.  And if her wild child behavior leads to her contributing to an awesome debut record like Spell Eater, well girl, don’t f’n stop.  OK, that’s out of the way, now let’s talk about what’s really important, how out-of-control-awesome this album is.

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Full Album Stream: In Somniphobia by Sigh

So, since I browse around Bandcamp quite a bit, I feel restricted to just limiting myself to sharing just one album a week with you all.  So as promised I will still bring you at least one killer full album stream every Tuesday in addition to random days when I find a cool album for you to listen to.  And if any of you awesome readers ever stumble upon a band or artist that you think I should check out don’t hesitate to tell me about it (drop a shout in the comments, on the Facebook page, or via e-mail Metalstate[at]yahoo[dot]com).

Today I discovered that the album that is leading the run for my album of the year right now is available to listen to all the way through on Bandcamp.  Sigh‘s In Somniphobia is bound to be one of the most insane and unique albums you are bound to hear this year.  To keep the post short and the drooling to a minimum I’ll just link my review of it here if you are curious.  To sum this band up in short is difficult, but I’ll try.  They take a base of NWOBHM and black metal, toss in generous servings of jazz, classical, and progressive music and sprinkle with a mixture of various other musical genres.  It’s like listening to your best nightmares.  Top recommended songs are “The Transfiguration Fear” and the whiskey soaked jazz noir metal “Amnesia” .  Check it out.

And with more than enough high quality music Sigh‘s label Candlelight Records also has a ton of great release available for streaming and purchase (at very reasonable prices) on Bandcamp.  This list includes Opeth‘s earlier works, Isahn, Anaal Nathrakh, Orange Goblin, and Havok, just to name a few.  That should keep you busy for a while.  You can check all of that out here.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Sigh - In Somniphobia