There's a special place in heaven reserved for albums who don't waste their listeners time. Skipping over intro tracks and getting right to the point, these albums want you to know exactly what they're about, no frills or special announcements necessary. This works especially well for anything extreme, as the sheer shock of an album just exploding into over the top life can be a magnificent feeling. This is very much the case with Novareign's Legends. These power metal enthusiasts hailing from California waste no time with their debut album, immediately diving into a mass of riffs, powerful vocals and galloping bass. The rest of the album rides on the momentum of these initial notes to create one of the best releases in the traditional metal revival that's been going on for the past few years (and on which we posted in length not two hours ago).
Welcome back to our Taxonomy series, where we break down umbrella genres like progressive metal, post rock and doom metal and outline all of the progressions and sub-genres that have matriculated over the past ... Read More...
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.
Crafting a great power metal album is a difficult thing. The genre is so steeped in thrills and adrenaline, it can be easy to create something too over-the-top and annoying. Writing the catchiest chorus, playing the fastest solo, and singing the highest notes aren’t going to mean anything if the music doesn’t have depth and meaning. Great power metal albums like Nightfall in Middle Earth, Land of the Free, The Metal Opera, and, more recently, Noble Beast employ subtly when necessary. They have memorable choruses and great riffs but also moments of real emotion. While less serious bands like Primal Fear, Dragonforce, and Sabaton have their proper place and legitimate enjoyment factor, they will never be remembered in the same way.
Power ballads are in and of their nature sentimental sap-a-thons. They also happen to be one of the staples of metal and hard rock that kept its faint heartbeat alive at a time when the form had gone out of style with the mass public, if it had ever well and truly been “in.” These songs also served as gateways into metal for many a budding metalhead along with the more accessible songs that weren’t quite pop but had those sensibilities of melody and catchiness. This list is by no means definitive but it’s ours spanning a few decades and variants worth of feels. A number of contributors have added their favorites but please do share yours with us in the comments!
This week we talk mainly about Woe's show in Hamburg being cancelled due to them sharing a stage with Inquisition, who organizers think is NSBM. That's a cool discussion, but for those of you who just want the news, I guess we have some stuff along those lines as well. New music and stuff from Exist, Suffocation, Dragonforce, Shadow of Intent, Jamiroquai, Artificial Brain, Tombs, Bestia Arcana. Also the mini-feud between ESP guitars and Linkin Park, and hologram Ronnie James Dio being a thing. Also the new Sikth album. Then cool people time on a bunch of TV and movie stuff. Prison Break, Ryan Reynolds, Cillian Murphy and more.
This week we have a super exciting guest! I'd try to slowroll it, but obviously from the episode title you can guess that it's Herman Li of Dragonforce. We discuss a variety of topics, including the upcoming Dragonforce album Reaching Into Infinity, success, haters, creativity, Babymetal, video games and more. Herman was a great guest! Also Eden and I discuss some news after the interview. Chuck Berry's passing and the way the coverage has handled his problematic legacy, a bunch of new music, and Earth's Hibernaculum and Machine Head's The Blackening turning 10 years old. The new music includes Somnium Vox, Bloodshot Dawn, Entheos (not that one), Witherfall, Northlane, Emmure, Gorod, Enslaved, Solstafir, Beyond Creation (kind of). We also continue last week's discussion on how the mentality focusing on new music sometimes makes us overlook albums, in this case Metallica's latest. In our cool people section we discuss Netflix's Marvel's Iron Fist and Better off Ted.