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Roundtable Review: Lancer – Second Storm

Lancer-CoverArt-DimitarNikolov.psdLabel: Despotz Records

Release Date:  April 10th, 2015

Songs:  9

Length: 51 minutes

Genre:  Power/Speed metal

Studio Albums: Purple Sky EP 2012, Lancer 2013

Location:  Arvika, Sweden

Recommended for fans of: Iron Maiden, Avantasia, Helloween, Edguy

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Roundtable Review: Run with the Wolf by Drakkar

Drakkar coverLabel: My Kingdom Music

Release Date: March 16th, 2015

Songs: 10 + 5 Bonus Tracks

Genre: Power Metal

Studio Albums: Quest for Glory, Razorblade God, When Lightning Strikes

Location: Milan, Italy

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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!!!!

Roundtable Reviews: Death’s Crown is Victory by Solstice

Solstice DCIV HIGH RESArtist/Album: Solstice – Death’s Crown is Victory

Label:  White Horse

Release Date:  Oct. 18th 2013

Songs:   4

Length:  26:03

Genre:  Manly Man Bearded Viking Man Metal

Studio Albums:   2 previous full length albums

Location:  England

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Musings of the Heavy Metal Hippie: The Evangelist by Memory Garden

MG_band_newI really need to tip my to Metal Blade Records. For like forever they have been delivering some of the best metal albums throughout my career as a metalhead. Lately they’ve been taking a nice interest in doom metal and have been signing some pretty interesting bands (more on those in the coming days). So, thank you Metal Blade for pandering my demographic. Today’s band under the thumb was once signed to Metal Blade when they first started out, parted ways, and now they are back under the Metal Blade umbrella as they gear up to release a new collection of songs.
Memory Garden are a really hip and interesting band as they combine elements of doom metal with straight metal and power metal. It leads to quite the engaging listen as you get the fat grooves and riffing of doom, the melodic end of power metal, and vocals that bring both Ronnie James Dio and Messiah Marcolin to mind.
“The Evangelist” is off of the bands new 4th album Doomain and it is out now, and I must get my hands on a copy.  What say you?  Do you dig this track as much as me?  Interested in hearing more?  Sound off in the comments.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Tales From Bandcamp: Belmont by Mega Beardo

1295937177-1Castlevania, glorious glorious Castlevania.  By far one of my loved gaming series of all time.  I’ve been playing them since I got my hands on that sexy little grey box back in 1988 and haven’t missed a beat on a single one.  And besides the awesome gameplay and constant homage to everything monsters and evil, the Castlevania series has always excelled in the music department with its always consistently kick ass game soundtracks.  I’m not the only person who feels that the music of Castlevania is amazing as there have been countless covers of the game’s music.  And to be honest, it’s gotten to the point of over-saturation.  If I hear one more cover of “Bloody Tears” I think I might literally cry tears of blood while I puke my exhausted guts out.

Which brings me to the album in question featured here today.  While doing my usual browse of the Bandcamp catalog something about the cover nabbed my attention to peek a closer look at Belmont by Mega Beardo (AKA. Ryan Postlethwait of Descension Rate).  And a band name of Mega Beardo, how could I not give a few seconds of my time to give a quick ear to a kick ass band name like that (pro-tip: I’m a fan of beards, everyone should grow one, even chicks 😉 And Birdo is cool too).  Without reading anything about the record I started it up while I did other things and started wondering what Castlevania game the music was coming from, and more importantly, what Castlevania game ever had vocals in the music.  Upon inspection and to my delight, Belmont is not a cover album, but an album of original music based on the concept of Simon Belmont’s perilous journey through Castle Dracula.  Each song is inspired by different levels and monsters of the first Castlevania game and the lyrics build upon the lore of the series and flesh out the character of Simon Belmont better than any of the games did.  Needless to say I instantly fell in love with the concept and even more so when I realized that the music rocked to hell and the lyrics were actually pretty great given the subject matter of a rather narrative-shallow video game.

The music is mainly your classic metal variety with great bouts of heavy thrown in to give it bite when needed and some progressive tendencies such as changing moods and tempos and longer song structures to keep it constantly engaging.  By the time I reached the end of the record I was surprised at the depth contained within.  The contrasts were always great, the songs catchy or moody when needed, the guitar work was excellent with some killer riffing and blazing solos and the rest of the instrumentation excelled as well.  I also liked how Mr. Beardo really captured the feel of the game and the music within without resorting to copycatting and going full on Gothic and cheesy.  So, enough of me rambling, give the record a listen, and as always, if you dig it tell your nerdy and metal loving friends about it and download a copy for yourself (it’s pay what you want, so free if you choose).  Let us know what you thought of the record down in the comments.  Peace Love and Metal!!!!

P.S. Mega Beardo is currently in the process of finishing up a Legend of Zelda tribute album called Ledjent of Zelda.  You have my attention sir (not the biggest djent fan, but Zelda….. and some new twist on the music, hell yeah).  I’ll keep you all updated when that lands.  He also has a Mega Man (my other ultimate favorite in video game music)tribute album I’m listening to at the moment and would suggest checking out (you’ll find it on his Bandcamp page).

Band Links: Facebook Bandcamp Official Site Twitter

Tales From Bandcamp: Another Night by High Spirits

Here’s a treat for those you that are into the hard rocking, classic metal bands of the 70’s and 80’s.  On Another Night, High Spirits channel the spirits of greats like Def Leppard, Journey, KISS, Krokus, Quiet Riot, and the Scorpions.  There are also hints of NWOBHM by way of Iron Maiden and Saxon in there too.  The songs on this record are all no frill traditional metal and pull no punches.  From the moment you start up Another Night you will be transported back in time complete with a shiny new pair of zebra print spandex pants, white T-shirt with a ‘pink splatter’ print, a well primped mullet, and possessed by the urge to raise you fist and sing along with the anthemic tunes like “I’ll Be Back”, “Full Power”, and “Demons at the Door”.  Seriously, every track on this album rocks and is a complete blast to listen to.  It’s great to know that there are bands out there putting passion into this style of music keeping the classic metal spirits alive.  Go grab a can of Slice and have a good time rockin’ out to Another Night.  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Band Links: Facebook Bandcamp

Thanks to Metal Bandcamp for the find!

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!!!