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.

The Anatomy Of: Tengger Cavalry

There’s no shortage of folk influence in the world of metal, but the vast majority of it is undeniably Eurocentric, which is to be expected, given England’s (and later Scandinavia’s) claim to its birth and subsequent rise. In the past decade however, we have been fortunate enough to see a…

Riffs from the Crypt – Dark Age

Today I’ll be shining some light on riffs long forgotten in the Dark Age of 1984. Much of the 1980’s was an embarrassment of riches for metal. Seemingly every year saw albums catapult bands, and even entire genres, to the leading edge of the metal phenomenon. In the rush and tumble of so much groundbreaking music, it was easy for stellar albums to get pushed to the wayside by albums considered legendary almost as soon as they were released. 1984 was no exception; Metallica continued to Ride the Lightning, bringing the thunder to the thrash metal storm, while Iron Maiden, already the World’s Best Band (in my humble opinion) somehow elevated their position with Powerslave. And all the while, smaller bands oozing talent nipped at their heels, discovering riffs and vocal styles and production techniques never before conceived.

The Devil’s Roots: The Satanic Summary

When I started The Devil’s Roots, it was with the intention of exploring the myriad of Satanic belief systems metal encompasses in order to distinguish their differences and find out if there is anything that unifies them. Since then, I’ve discovered that even though each school does contain a specific set of individual ideas, most do share the common theme of valuing free thinking. Like the multiple branches of Satanism itself, for the most part the Dark Lord is a metaphor for autonomy and the rejection of religious establishment having any impact or influence on our lives. A few extreme right-wing interpretations aside, I think the Devil’s influence in metal has been a positive one; His name is used to inspire individuality and symbolic poetry which has made for some pretty stellar music. And the fact that artists have used it to rifle a few feathers has only added to metal’s irresistible rebellious allure.

The Devil’s Roots: LaVeyan Satanism In Metal

In America during the 1960s, times they were o’ changing. Rock n’ roll was huge, Beatlemania was runnin’ wild, the Civil Rights Movement was changing the world, hippies were doing drugs and having sex all over the place, and other countercultures that opposed televangelism and conservatism in favour of individualism and free thinking were suddenly more popular than ever. Times like these also afforded men like the Church of Satan’s founder Anton LaVey to become mainstream celebrities, both feared and adorned, and if there’s one man that was essential in the emergence of Satanic philosophy becoming known in the public consciousness, it’s Lavey.

Harsh Vocals: A History

Perhaps the most definitive element of metal is the growling, shrieking, rasping, inhuman snarls we call harsh vocals. Certainly, there are genres of metal that don’t use harsh vocals, and they’re no less “metal” for it. But a full-throated death growl, rumbling and ominous, erupting from a cranked pair of…