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Album Review: DragonForce – Maximum Overload


df-maximum-overload-cover600-300x300Label:  Metal Blade (North America)

Songs:  15 on the special edition

Length – 71 minutes on the special edition

Albums:  This is their sixth studio album

Release Date:  19 Aug 2014 (North America), 18 Aug 2014 (Europe)

Nationality – United Kingdom

If there is one thing you can count on with DragonForce, it’s their speed and enthusiasm blended into fantasy-based power metal with a hint of geeky gamer musical references.  Is that one thing or multiple things?  Anyway, what does that mean for the new album?  In short, more of the same, but there are some subtle differences on “Maximum Overload” that might reel you back in if you thought their previous album, “The Power Within (2012),” signaled the beginning of the end due to the introduction of a new vocalist and extreme consistency. Read the rest of this entry

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Retro Round Table Review: Imaginations from the Other Side by Blind Guardian


imaginations_from_the_other_sideAlbum Review: Blind Guardian – Imaginations From The Other Side

Label: Virgin

Release Date: April 5th, 1995

Songs: 12

Length: 1 hour 8 minutes

Genre: Power Metal

Studio Albums: 9 plus 1 compilation album

Location: Krefeld, Germany

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Album Review: Volition by Protest the Hero


PTH_VLTN_72Trying to really nail down the unique sound of Canadian metal band Protest the Hero is quite a difficult task.  In the past I would have called it ‘prog metal’ played with a lovin’ spoonful of methamphetamine and cocaine and called it a day.  Sure, their brand of speedy prog metal was unlike anything out there and I’ve purchased every album from the band and enjoyed the spins I’ve given them.  However, more often than not, I found it difficult to listen to entire records without reaching sensory overload or boredom.  They had their stand-out songs and the stuff in between seem to just serve to keep the break-neck pace of the records up and showed minimal dynamics.  Fast-forward a few years and a hugely successful Indie Go-Go campaign (Kickstarter for the non-Americans) later, Protest the Hero have unleashed unto the world an album that shows more improvements than I can shake a stick at.  Needless to say, Volition is the realization from a band overflowing with potential and is brimming with dynamic, variety, and passion while not even for a split-second dismissing an iota of PtH’s core sound.

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Album Review: Memories of a Time to Come by Blind Guardian


Often with ‘best of’ compilations, fans of the band releasing the set usually have little to no reason to purchase the record.  With stuff like digital media players and their playlist feature, a fan can easily recreate the ‘best of’ album with ease from all the albums they already own.  And while some bands will toss an unreleased song onto the compilation, more often than not, there was a reason that the song was never released, so it’s a throw-away.  When it comes down to it, ‘best of’ albums are good for those just getting into an established band and those who just want to dabble in a certain band but don’t want to make a full monetary and time commitment to listening to the whole catalog a group has to offer.  But sometimes a ‘best of’ collection comes along that is able to appeal to newbies, casuals, and the hardcore fan offering something of quality for all.  Blind Guardian’s Memory of a Time to Come is one of those albums.  And I write this from the perspective of the hardcore Blind Guardian fan that I am.

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Planning A Metal Pilgrimage


This article was inspired by a brief weekend trip that I took to Helsinki while living in Russia, and while there I paid a visit to PRKL, one of the many metal bars in the city. While in there, I got thinking about which other places in the world would be required visiting were someone to make a “Metal Pilgrimage” to the important sites that saw the creation of various subgenres over the decades. Here is the result of this pondering, embellished with a bit of investigative journalism. Places ordered however I felt like it.

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Song of the Week: Terror Train by Demons & Wizards


OK, set to random, let’s see what comes up.  And the winner is……. “Terror Train” by supergroup Demons & Wizards (Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kürch and Iced Earth‘s Jon Schafer).

MY UNDERSTANDING OF TRUTH

By Jake Chambers

“I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

— T. S. “BUTCH” ELIOT

“My first thought was, he lied in every word.”

— ROBERT “SUNDANCE” BROWNING

The gunslinger is the truth.

Roland is the truth.

The Prisoner is the truth.

The Lady of Shadows is the truth.

The Prisoner and the Lady are married. That is the truth.

The way station is the truth.

The Speaking Demon is the truth.

We went under the mountains and that is the truth.

There were monsters under the mountain. That is the truth.

One of them had an Amoco gas pump between his legs and pretending it was his penis. That is the truth.

Roland let me die. That is the truth.

I still love him.

That is the truth.

When is a door not a door? When it’s a jar, and that is the truth.

Blaine is the truth.

Blaine is the truth.

What has four wheels and flies? A garbage truck, and that is the truth.

Blaine is the truth.

You have to watch Blaine all the time, Blaine is a pain, and that is the truth.

I’m pretty sure that Blaine is dangerous, and that is the truth.

What is black and white and red all over? A blushing zebra, and that is the truth.

I can’t go home again unless I find a stone a rose a door and that is the truth.

Choo-choo, and that is the truth.

Choo-choo. Choo-choo.

Choo-choo. Choo-choo. Choo-choo.

Choo-choo. Choo-choo. Choo-choo. Choo-choo.

I am afraid. That is the truth.

Choo-choo.

If you know where that quote is from, then you sai, are awesome.  You truly remember the face of your father.  Long days and pleasant nights to you.

For the rest of you who are not familiar with Stephan King’s epic fantasy Western adventure series The Dark Tower, this song deals with a key moment in the story.  The protagonists escape from danger only to face more danger as they must take a ride on Blaine the Monorail.  Blaine isn’t your typical train, he can travel faster than the speed of sound and love riddles.  He adores riddles so much he puts the lives of the heroes at stake in a riddling contest.  Yes, Blaine is a pain, but he is also the way.

The album “Terror Train” comes off of is Touched By the Crimson King and the vast majority of the song on it revolves around different characters and plot points of Roland of Gilead’s quest to find The Dark Tower.  Fans of the series should definitely get their hands on this record as it does Mr. King’s work much justice with songs ranging from ballads to driving head banging metal.  Even if you have never read the series (which I highly recommend you do, it’s some of Stephan King’s best work and a bit of a departure from his horror roots) you can still get plenty enjoyment out of this album.  All the songs are well written and catchy as all hell.  An official video was released for “Terror Train” so this week you get an added bonus of a video to accompany the Song of the Week.  Enjoy-sai!  Peace Love and Metal!!