Love Letter – Iron Maiden’s Powerslave

The year is 1984 and Iron Maiden are in an interesting position. Hot off the tails of two great releases and their first major tour, the band are starting to feel the pressures and joys of success at the same time. This is a crucible in which many bands have faltered, unable to reproduce the original sound which garnered them their first modicums of recognition. Line-ups shake, creative differences being to tear at the structure of the sound, as each member brings forth their own vision as to what the future should contain. In this situation, there were many divergent paths down which Iron Maiden’s story could have gone; they had already faced several major line-up changes and their future was anything but secure. They could have easily broken up or lost track of what made their first albums work.

But, instead, they made Powerslave.

Hey! Listen to Triple Kill!

Earlier in the week Eden introduced us to fun-loving Canadian weirdos Bird Problems, and I couldn’t help but think that Australia must have something of the sort. Enter Triple Kill, relative newcomers to the heavy metal scene in Melbourne. The quintet play straight up heavy metal, with drummer Connor O’Keane listing some of their key influences as “Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian, Lamb of God and Pantera”. Add to this mixture of power metal and groove some distinct characteristics from both thrash and melodic death metal and you have yourself Triple Kill’s core sound. However, things don’t just stop at the music. Triple Kill have quickly made a name for themselves for producing some fantastic, hilarious videos. But hey, don’t take my word for it, check out the band’s introductory video below:

The Metal Explosion: 1985 – 1987

If the story of 1980 to 1984 was how NWOBHM (and more specifically, Iron Maiden) awoke metal from its dormancy to tear the boundaries of popular music, then 1985 – 1987 is about the coronation of thrash metal atop the metal throne, and the subsequent underground rumblings of a closely linked cousin, a blood brother faster, more brutal, and more astonishing — death metal.

Heavy Rewind – The Rise and Fall and Rise of Cirith Ungol

Luckily, sometimes, in rare cases, lost bands can return. Whether this return involves an actual, physical reappearance of the band members or a renewed interest in the music and recognition of the importance of it to the history of metal, it is something to be cherished and celebrated. One such case is Cirith Ungol, one of the first metal bands. Formed in 1972, Cirith Ungol was one of the bands to first play what will later be recognized as doom metal but also contributed much to progressive metal and power metal, the latter mostly through their lyrics, cover art and track names. And yet, five or so years ago, no one outside of very dedicated circles was even aware these guys existed; what happened?

Cradle of Filth – The Seductiveness of Decay

Despite having made a fairly triumphant return to form with their last album, 2015’s Hammer of the Witches, Cradle of Filth seemed to be doing everything in their power to quash that momentum in the lead up to to their twelfth full-length offering, Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay. The album’s hokey artwork only added to the off-putting nature brought on by its clunky title, and the two uninspiring singles and the seemingly rushed and seemingly un-selfawarely camp videos that accompanied them did little to drum up confidence in the forthcoming record. Add to that the release of Carach Angren’s similarly-themed Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten—released earlier in the year to widespread acclaim and popularity—and it really looked like the Brits had painted themselves into a corner from which there was little hope of return. Fans of the band needn’t have worried, however, for Cryptoriana is yet another surprisingly solid entry into one of the most consistent catalogues in the history of extreme metal.

Portrait – Burn the World

While death and black metal are seeing amazing leaps forward in talent, production, and ability for the denizens of the traditional metal world what we’re seeing from bands such as Enforcer, dawnbringer, Sumerlands, Eternal Champion, and Striker must seem like manna from heaven… or hell, depending upon your preference. One band that has been plugging away at this style, beginning as a bit of a Mercyful Fate worship act and evolving with each new release is Sweden’s Portrait (the band name derives from Diamond’s first solo album, Fatal Portrait). On their latest offering, Burn the World, we see a band who is getting comfortable with their own take on the venerable speed riffs, blazing solos, and soaring vocals of trad metal creating an addictive blend for fans.

Half-Life – Cradle of Filth, Part 1

Cradle of Filth have become one of the most recognisable and quickly dismissed names in extreme metal. Yet, although the band are widely regarded as populist, entry level rendition of the black metal formula, a closer look at their extensive catalogue reveals a far more innovative and surprisingly consistent act than their reputation suggests. Since their discography is so extensive—the band have released eleven full-length studio efforts to date, with one in the pipeline as we speak, and numerous and often notable tidbits here and there—this survey has been broken up into two sections. This first offering examines what many would consider to be the band’s classic period: moving through their early, formative years, up until their commercial breakthrough and (only) major label release in 2003; while part two will pick up from 2004’s Nymphetamine and carry through to the present day.