Lunar Shadow – The Smokeless Fires

The anxiety of waiting for a sophomore album from a band that put out a great debut is unlike anything else on the planet. There is no other cocktail that blends excitement and trepidation in quite the same measures, and the more one loves that first taste, the more potent…

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Paladin – Ascension

Power metal! Love it or hate it, it’s easy to agree that there are very few bands who can justify its sound in 2019 without adding some sort of embellishment to it. For some, this addition comes in the form of progressive ideas and flourishes, making the music more complex.…

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Gatekeeper – Grey Maiden

The more music I listen to, the more I appreciate EPs. It used to be that I didn’t have the patience to listen to EPs, as much as that sound counter-intuitive. Something about their shorter run-time just annoyed me; I felt like I couldn’t sink my teeth into the music…

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Into the Pit – Riffs vs. Melodies: A Conversation

This month, I thought I’d do something a little different. Eight months ago, I met the most wonderful woman. We’ll call her Hilldawg. She’s the best thing ever in so many ways. One of those myriad ways is not only does she support my work with Heavy Blog, but she’s also a metalhead herself. We’ve had great times just introducing each other to music we love. Some of it is slammin’ (like when she told me Roots Bloody Roots is her favorite record and I remembered Sepultura was a band), some of it is less so (I’ll never get her into Municipal Waste). But we appreciate each other’s particular tastes.

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Heavy Rewind – Blind Guardian’s Nightfall in Middle Earth

What qualifies an album for this feature? Its name hints that it has something to do with chronology, with old albums to which we return. And that’s definitely a part of it but, for me at least, it’s more about the grandeur of an album and its importance for the genre in which it was released. In that regard at least, there are few albums more deserving of the feature than Nightfall In Middle Earth. While the Blind Guardian albums which preceded it had already established a lot of the modern power metal sound, Nightfall in Middle Earth still represents one of the peaks of the band’s style. It is one of their most complete albums, blending the heavier, thrash influenced sounds of their earlier career with the polish and dexterity of their latter career. It was also the first Blind Guardian album distributed in the US, leading to Blind Guardian’s subsequent international success and massive career. It’s also just a damn fine album, filled with memorable moments.

Khemmis – Desolation

Success, the cliché insists, is a double-edged sword. History (and the Encyclopedia Metallum archives) is littered with now-defunct bands who toiled away for years in storage units and near-empty basements, yearning for record deals and the elusive larger acclaim that remained just beyond their grasp. But what of the bands…

Hey! Listen to Galactic Empire!

As another Star Wars movie release is upon us, I would like to offer up Galactic Empire to your music rotation today. As you’re standing in line waiting for Solo tickets and you need a boost, the John Williams shredders should lift your spirits and reduce your anxiety. The YouTube cover band sensations are more than just a couple of dudes who plucked away until they had “Imperial March” nailed. These guys are legitimate talents in their own right, and everyone should take a listen just to hear it.