Album Review – Böllverk / Heading For The Crown (2022)

Get ready to bang your heads nonstop to the debut album by this Bavarian act, offering powerful Teutonic material forged in the gloriously timeless style of early Accept, Warlock and Running Wild.

Formed in 2018 in Aschaffenburg, a city in Bavaria, Germany, and after a few lineup changes, the talented Heavy Metal squad Böllverk has finally unleashed their debut effort, entitled Heading For The Crown, offering pithy, refreshing and powerful Teutonic material forged in the gloriously timeless style of early Accept, Warlock and Running Wild for the old school-addicted battlevest banger fraction. Currently comprised of Svenja on vocals, Zahn and Raphi on the guitars, Tim on bass and Angelo on drums, Böllverk are on absolute fire in Heading For The Crown, with the classic artwork by Bastian Kraus and the sharp recording, mixing and mastering by Rolf Munkes at Empire Studios giving an even stronger vibe to the entire album, inspiring us all to head into the battlefield together with the band in the name of our beloved old school Heavy Metal.

The incendiary guitars by Zahn and Raphi kick off the pure, unfiltered Heavy Metal tune Ask The Angel, Listen To The Devil, an awesome way to start the album with the galloping drums by Angelo walking hand in hand with the 80’s-inspired vocals by Svenja, and more of their fusion of the classic music played by Iron Maiden, Accept, Judas Priest and Warlock is offered to us all in Let’s Ride Till Dawn, with the band’s guitar duo dictating the rhythm with their spot-on riffs and solos. Good Morning Rock’n’Roll is one of those “breakfast songs” highly recommended for all metalheads worldwide, bringing forward a beautiful hybrid of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock where Svenja’s piercing vocals are complemented by the raspy, Motörhead-infused roars by Zahn; whereas the title-track Heading For The Crown is an in-your-face, straightforward metal extravaganza led by the crushing drums by Angelo, supported by the rumbling bass by Tim.

Zahn’s evil roars boost the high-pitched screams by Svenja in The 7th No (IS A KO), another Hard Rock feast where the sound of the guitars will slash your ears mercilessly, and it’s time to bang our heads nonstop together with Böllverk in Master Of Thunder, another sharp, no shenanigans creation by the quintet showcasing a heavy and melodic kitchen by Tim and Angelo. Then venturing through the realms of Southern and Stoner Metal the band offers us all Live Fast, with Zahn taking the lead on vocals. It’s a good song, but it lacks the epicness of the rest of the album, though. Zahn keeps screaming in Next Level Of Service while Svenja fires her trademark Doro-inspired vocals lines, all spiced up by another round of their flammable riffs and thunderous bass lines, and last but not least, we’re treated to more of their rumbling Heavy Metal in the form of Someday We Will Die, clearly inspired by the classics from the NWOBHM and, therefore, ending the album on a thrilling note.

You can get to know more about Böllverk by following those Teutonic metallers on Facebook and on Instagram, staying up to date with all of their news, tour dates, plans for the future and so on, and you can also send them your feedback about their music as I’m sure the entire band would love to hear from you. In addition, in order to show your support and appreciation for ass-kicking underground German metal you should definitely purchase a copy of Heading For The Crown from the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as stream the album in its entirety on Spotify. Böllverk didn’t need to reinvent the wheel with Heading For The Crown to sound awesome, showing how powerful Heavy Metal still is and, of course, not only pointing to a bright future ahead of the band, but also providing us metalheads with one more excellent reason for keep banging our heads until the very end.

Best moments of the album: Ask The Angel, Listen To The Devil, Good Morning Rock’n’Roll and Someday We Will Die.

Worst moments of the album: Live Fast.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Ask The Angel, Listen To The Devil 6:05
2. Let’s Ride Till Dawn 3:27
3. Good Morning Rock’n’Roll 4:25
4. Heading For The Crown 4:49
5. The 7th No (IS A KO) 4:37
6. Master Of Thunder 6:26
7. Live Fast 4:20
8. Next Level Of Service 3:56
9. Someday We Will Die 5:50

Band members
Svenja – vocals
Zahn – guitars, vocals
Raphi – guitars
Tim – bass
Angelo – drums

Album Review – Emerald Rage / High King (2021)

Raise your horns to this triumphant and epic album of pure Heavy Metal crafted by three young American musicians, paying homage to the glorious medieval times, King Arthur and tales of pagan folklore.

After four intense years releasing a bunch of demos, EP’s and singles, Akron, Ohio-based Heavy/Power Metal unity Emerald Rage has finally unleashed upon humanity their debut full-length album, entitled High King, a fun and admirable sonic rollercoaster as the band successfully explores the melodic sense of the NWOBHM and all the explosive leads that come with the baggage, being highly recommended for admirers of the music by Skyclad, Falconer, Iron Maiden, and so on. Paying homage to the glorious medieval times, King Arthur and tales of pagan folklore, the album sounds and feels absolutely triumphant and epic, showcasing all the talent and passion for old school metal music by Jacob Wherley on vocals and guitars, Patrick Kern also on the guitars, and Erik Curry on bass, supported by session drummer David Hardesty.

Frantic riffs and beats ignite the metal extravaganza titled Into the Sky, a beautiful and electrifying tribute to the golden years of Heavy Metal with Jacob kicking ass on vocals accompanied by the galloping bass by Erik. In Wrathful Eyes the rumbling bass by Erik offers exactly what Jacob needs to declaim the song’s wicked lyrics (“You think the morning fog hides all the lies you’ve told / But I see through the dismal gloom straight to your blackened soul / Your forces they stand line by line grumbling to themselves / They know their leader is a thief, a craven and a fool”) in another high-octane display of classic metal music, whereas a more epic, thunderous vibe permeates the air in High King, spearheaded by the tribal beats by David while Jacob and Patrick extract sheer electricity from their guitars in the best Manowar style. Then telling a story of a pagan warrior, the band blasts the traditional Heavy and Power Metal tune Heart of a Pagan, showcasing an excellent guitar attack together with the unstoppable bass jabs by Erik.

In Dire Wolves the band delivers a solid hybrid of classic Heavy Metal with 80’s Hard Rock that reminds me of some of the most thrilling creations by Axel Rudi Pell, with their striking guitar riffs and solos penetrating deep inside your mind; and adding elements from Thrash Metal to their core sonority, Erik and David bring the groove to the music in White Stag while Jacob and Patrick keep slashing their stringed axes with tons of feeling and dexterity. Then inspired by the badass Rock N’ Roll by the unparalleled Motörhead, those young metallers will put you to bang your head and slam into the pit in Empress, with even Jacob’s voice displaying hints of the grumpy vocals by Lemmy, followed by Goddess Freya, which albeit not as exciting as the rest of the album still has its good moments, with Jacob doing another great job on vocals supported by his bandmates’ backing vocals. Last but not least, Emerald Rage bring forth the rumbling tune Wings of Solitude, sounding very stylish with its strident riffs in paradox with the low-tuned, metallic bass by Erik, also full of breaks, variations and endless stamina for our total delight.

You can join Emerald Rage in their metal voyage through the glory of the medieval times by streaming High King in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, by following the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and above all that, by grabbing your copy of their thrilling debut installment from their own BandCamp page, from the Stormspell Records’ Big Cartel, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs. Now that those young rockers have finally released their first full-length album, let’s wait and see what’s next in their career and to what period in time they’ll take us with their refined Heavy Metal, sounding like true veterans and, consequently, keeping the fires of old school heavy music burning bright wherever they go.

Best moments of the album: Into the Sky, Dire Wolves and Empress.

Worst moments of the album: Goddess Freya.

Released in 2021 Stormspell Records

Track listing
1. Into the Sky 5:30
2. Wrathful Eyes 4:26
3. High King 5:37
4. Heart of a Pagan 3:25
5. Dire Wolves 3:29
6. White Stag 3:54
7. Empress 3:21
8. Goddess Freya 3:56
9. Wings of Solitude 5:35

Band members
Jacob Wherley – lead vocals, guitars
Patrick Kern – guitar, backing vocals
Erik Curry – bass, backing vocals

Guest musician
David Hardesty – drums (session)

Album Review – Lutharo / Hiraeth (2021)

Behold the first full-length album by this fantastic Canadian Melodic Death Metal band, balancing hauntingly beautiful atmospheres with raw power and aggression.

Following the success of their 2020 EP Wings of Agony, Hamilton, Canada-based Melodic Death Metal outfit Lutharo (or Lutharö, if you prefer) is back into the battlefield with their first full-length opus, entitled Hiraeth, a Welsh word that has no direct English translation but that means an intense form of longing or nostalgia for a place long gone, or even an unaccountable homesickness for a place you have never visited. Recorded and mixed by Tyler Williams at Monolithic Productions, mastered by Lasse Lammert at LSD Studios, and displaying a classy artwork by Gogo Melone, Hiraeth launches into an epic exploration of the technical, musical and compositional abilities of frontwoman Krista Shipperbottom, guitarists Victor Bucur and John Raposo, bassist Chris Pacey and drummer Duval Gabraiel, balancing hauntingly beautiful atmospheres with raw power and aggression, and therefore, representing a huge step in the right direction for such talented Canadian band.

The sound of a beating heart ignites Lutharo’s metal machine in the intro Introspection, setting the stage for Victor and John to kick some ass with their riffs in the high-octane To Kill or to Crave, where Krista already showcases all her talent and fury through her sick, demented roars, sounding like a modern-day version of Angela Gossow during her unforgettable Arch Enemy years. Duval keeps hammering his drums frantically in What Sleeps in Your Mind, accompanied by the rumbling bass by Chris and the always sharp axes by the band’s guitar duo in a flawless display of contemporary Melodic Death Metal, followed by Phantom, slightly more symphonic than its predecessors but still venomous and heavy-as-hell, bringing forward another round of the band’s unrelenting music spearheaded by the she-wolf screams by Krista, and Worship Your Path, where the band’s stringed trio generates a massive atmosphere for their unstoppable frontwoman to shine once again, not to mention it’s epic NWOBHM vibe.

Lutharo Hiraeth Box Set

In Hopeless Abandonment the skillful Krista and the boys show no sign of slowing down, with Duval being on absolute fire with his crushing beats and fills, not to mention the always incendiary riffage and solos by Victor and John. Are you tired already? Because Krista is ready to slash your damned soul with her wicked roars in Valley of the Cursed, displaying a brutal performance by Duval on drums and, consequently, adding an extra touch of aggression to the band’s first-class musicality; whereas In Silence We Reign sounds and feels more epic than the rest of the album, a pounding tune that will work perfectly if played live with Duval making sure we break our necks headbanging nonstop while Krista gives a vocal lesson from start to finish. Their second to last explosion of Melodic Death Metal comes in the form of the breathtaking Eclipse, very intricate and progressive at times, with the guitars by Victor and John exhaling electricity and harmony, and last but not least, the band invests into a darker sonority in Lost in a Soul, putting a climatic ending to the album to the blast beats by Duval and the crisp riffage by Victor and John, until everything fades into an enfolding darkness.

As I like to say, it’s an absolute pleasure seeing bands like Lutharo taking their music to a whole new level and showing the entire world the quality, strength and diversity of the current Canadian metal scene, and with Hiraeth they not only more than succeeded in that, but they also placed themselves as one of the driving forces of the Canadian scene. Hence, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel (like I’ve already done) for more of their awesome music and beautiful videos, to stream all of their creations on Spotify, and of course to grab your copy of Hiraeth from their own BandCamp page or from their Big Cartel (where you can find a fantastic box set containing the Hiraeth digipack CD, a logo patch, a Hiraeth flag, a logo keychain and a signed photo), as well as from Apple Music. It will be interesting to see if Lutharo will be capable of delivering something more powerful and dynamic than Hiraeth in their future releases, but based on the talent of all musicians involved I wouldn’t be surprised if next year Krista and the boys stun us all once again with their undisputed metal music.

Best moments of the album: To Kill or to Crave, What Sleeps in Your Mind, Valley of the Cursed and Eclipse.

Worst moments of the album: Phantom.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. Introspection 1:42
2. To Kill or to Crave 4:51
3. What Sleeps in Your Mind 5:19
4. Phantom 5:01
5. Worship Your Path 5:03
6. Hopeless Abandonment 4:23
7. Valley of the Cursed 4:31
8. In Silence We Reign 4:50
9. Eclipse 4:07
10. Lost in a Soul 7:03

Band members
Krista Shipperbottom – vocals
Victor Bucur – guitars, backing vocals
John Raposo – guitars
Chris Pacey – bass
Duval Gabraiel – drums

Guest musician
Elliot Vernon – orchestral arrangements

Album Review – Lucifuge / Infernal Power (2021)

The full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance to the infernal fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal crafted by an unrelenting beast hailing from Germany.

3.5rating

lucifuge-infernal-power-2021For the past five years, Bremen, Germany-based Black/Thrash Metal beast Lucifuge has been perfecting an addicting fusion of NWOBHM, Punk Rock and early Thrash Metal, all guided by the iron fist of mainman Equinox. Starting in 2018 as a one-man wrecking crew inspired by Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer, Lucifuge have expanded to a full-bodied quartet comprised of the aforementioned Equinox on vocals and guitars, Berenjenix also on the guitars, Matorralix on bass and Dominatrix on drums, taking the band’s signature greasy n’ galloping riffs, locomotive rhythmic (dis)charge and twisted n’ pissed vocals, and spit-shining them with the dirtiest motor oil known to man, resulting now in 2021 in their brand new and fulminating opus Infernal Power, a breathtaking album of unrelenting metal music highly recommended for fans of bands the likes of Exciter, Warfare, Running Wild and Onslaught, embraced by the old school warlike artwork by Italian painter Paolo Girardi.

Rev up your engines as their feast of frantic and dirty sounds is about to begin in Infernal Power, blending old school Heavy Metal the likes of early Running Wild with Punk Rock, with Equinox and Berenjenix being on fire with their lancinating riffs. Put differently, what a bestial way to kick off the album, and they keep slashing their stringed weapons mercilessly accompanied by the furious blast beats by Dominatrix and the in-your-face bass punches by Matorralix in Leviathan Arise; followed by Black Battalions, where its lyrics reek of violence and rebelliousness (“Destruction, Disorder and Desire / They cling to him who braves the gale of high / They rush upon him like a wave and break / in fiery foam against him and they shake / They Open Hell”) while the music is a beautiful, galloping fusion of Heavy, Black and Speed Metal. And putting the pedal to the metal the quartet sounds like a demonic version of the early days of Megadeth in Temples Of Madness, with Equinox delivering his trademark raspy roars nonstop.

Let’s keep slamming into the pit and raising our horns and beers high in the name of metal to the sound of Heresy Shall Remain, with Equinox and Berenjenix once again sounding hellish on the gutiars, whereas in Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame we face another round of their wicked lyrics (“Solemn dusk descending from the East / Demons rise around us in the mist / Deep beneath the Eyes of The Black Flame / Rise the One whose name shall not be named”) amidst a hurricane of metallic and sulfurous sounds. Then investing in a more melodic sound while maintaining their core essence intact the band offers us Black Light of The Evening Star, not as demented as its predecessors but still extremely enjoyable; and they’ll make your head tremble to the sound of the Speed Metal and Punk Rock hybrid entitled The Doors of Hell May Shake, where Dominatrix is once again insane behind his drums. After such pulverizing tune, it’s time for their own rendition of Good as It Is, from the legendary Japanese Hardcore Punk band G.I.S.M.’s cult second album M.A.N., released in 1987 (and you can check the original version HERE), with Lucifuge’s tribute sounding and feeling beyond stunning and vibrant. And lastly, sounding more epic than usual, Equinox and his henchmen fire the neck-breaking Midnight Sun, with the bass jabs by Matorralix making the earth tremble while the music remains utterly venomous until the very last second.

lucifuge-2021After all is said and done, it’s quite easy to join Equinox and his henchmen in their quest for metal music. All you have to do is stream Infernal Power as many times as you want in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about such talented horde, and above all that, purchase your copy of their scorching new album from their own BandCamp page, or from the Dying Victims Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore (in CD or LP format). As the band itself likes to say, the full moon is nigh, and all the witches are about to dance. Prepare to feel Lucifuge’s Infernal Power!

Best moments of the album: Infernal Power, Black Battalions and Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame.

Worst moments of the album: Black Light of The Evening Star.

Released in 2021 Dying Victims Productions

Track listing  
1. Infernal Power 2:52
2. Leviathan Arise 2:55
3. Black Battalions 3:36
4. Temples Of Madness 2:54
5. Heresy Shall Remain 3:05
6. Beneath the Eyes of the Black Flame 2:55
7. Black Light of The Evening Star 3:08
8. The Doors of Hell May Shake 3:48
9. Good as It Is (G.I.S.M. cover) 5:20
10. Midnight Sun 3:59

Band members
Equinox – vocals, guitars
Berenjenix – guitars
Matorralix – bass
Dominatrix – drums

Album Review – Blaze Bayley / War Within Me (2021)

The man who will live for a thousand years returns with the 11th studio album in his undisputed career, inspiring us all to fight the war within us and to take our future in our own hands.

In celebration of our 1000th review here at The Headbanging Moose, there’s nothing more appropriate than reviewing the brand new opus by the man who will live for a thousand years, the indomitable Heavy Metal fighter Blaze Bayley. Moving forward from the success of his Infinite Entanglement trilogy released in three consecutive years (Infinite Entanglement in 2016, Endure And Survive in 2017, and The Redemption of William Black  in 2018), Blaze and his loyal Absolva henchmen Chris Appleton on the guitars, Karl Schramm on bass and Martin McNee on drums are unleashing upon humanity the awesome War Within Me, the 11th studio album in his extensive solo career which started with his legendary Silicon Messiah album in the year 2000. Mastered by Ade Emsley at Table of Tone Mastering Ltd., and featuring another striking artwork by Spanish artist Alberto Quirantes of Akirant Illustration, War Within Me is not a concept album but does include a positive thread throughout. In Blaze’s own words, “This is an album that I want to put on and feel very positive about. Whatever song you choose there’s some good feeling about it. As fans of metal music we tend to be damaged, strange and different in some way and this album is (as I say in my live intro to the song ‘Futureal’) about taking your future in your own hand. It’s one of the things that really connects with people at my live shows.”

The slashing riffage by Chris ignites the high-octane, pure Heavy Metal anthem War Within Me, with Blaze powerfully declaiming the song’s meaningful and inspirational words as usual, resulting in a sensational option for singing it along with Blaze & Co. while hitting the highway. Following such powerful tune, we have the also breathtaking 303, inspired by the No. 303 Squadron RAF, one of two Polish squadrons to fight during the Battle of Britain along with squadron 302, of 16 total Polish squadrons in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Musically speaking, it’s another metallic feast where Karl and Martin kick some serious ass with their rumbling kitchen, not to mention the trademark guitar lines by Chris. And more of Blaze’s incendiary and energetic metal music comes in the form of Warrior, where Chris and Karl make a dynamic duo with their stringed weapons in a straightforward Heavy Metal extravaganza with some welcome Power Metal elements; followed by Pull Yourself Up, a rhythmic and stunning metal hymn from the bottom of Blaze’s heart to all metalheads out there, inviting everyone to walk and sing with him, accompanied by the sharp riffs by Chris and the marching beats by Martin. Then the entire band is on fire in another classic display of old school NWOBHM entitled Witches Night, where it’s impossible not to raise our fists together with Blaze during the song’s chorus, also showcasing a slashing performance by Chris on the guitars.

18 flights, 15 shows, 6 countries, 1 earthquake. That’s the story Blaze masterfully tells us in 18 Flights, narrating his adventures in January 2019 when there was an earthquake while the band was on stage at a very special gig organized by fans in Coquimbo, Chile called Blaze Fest. What a fun and thrilling way to tell that story through his undisputed Heavy Metal, I might say, whereas in The Dream of Alan Turing the unstoppable Blaze pays homage to the famous English scientist highly influential in the development of theoretical computer science and, of course, the music couldn’t have sounded more exciting, with Chris piercing our ears with his sick solos. Then it’s time to pay another tribute, this time to Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla, best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current electricity supply system, with The Power of Nikola Tesla, a kick-ass tune where Blaze and his bandmates generate an electrifying ambience that matches perfectly with the song’s theme. And how about one more tribute to a great personality the likes of English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking? That’s what Blaze has to offer in The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking, investing in a more epic, galloping rhythm, with the pounding drums by Martin dictating the pace while Blaze delivers his trademark vocals in great fashion. And last but not least, a final message of hope and positivity from the band is provided to us all in the closing tune Every Storm Ends, starting in a melancholic, acoustic way before evolving into a dark and metallic feast that flows smoothly until its delicate finale.

There’s no excuse not to follow the man who would not die Blaze Bayley and his talented bandmates on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course to stream all of his vast catalogue on Spotify (like I enjoy doing a lot on my free time). However, War Within Me is such a great album of classic Heavy Metal that it truly deserves to be part of the collection of anyone who considers him or herself a true headbanging bastard, and you can add it to your personal pile of ass-kicking albums by purchasing it from Blaze’s own webstore, as well as from an array of locations including Napalm Records, Season of Mist, HHV, Record Shop X, EMP, Apple Music and Amazon. Having said that, what are you waiting for to fight the never-ending war within you alongside Mr. Blaze Bayley? The time is now to fight for what’s yours and to take your future in your own hands, as Blaze himself likes to say, always to the sound of our beloved Heavy Metal.

Best moments of the album: War Within Me, 303, Pull Yourself Up and 18 Flights.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Blaze Bayley Recordings

Track listing
1. War Within Me 4:12
2. 303 3:19
3. Warrior 3:45
4. Pull Yourself Up 4:45
5. Witches Night 4:57
6. 18 Flights 3:45
7. The Dream of Alan Turing 2:47
8. The Power of Nikola Tesla 3:11
9. The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking 6:00
10. Every Storm Ends 5:08

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals
Chris Appleton – guitars, backing vocals
Karl Schramm – bass, backing vocals
Martin McNee – drums

Album Review – Tantivy / Eyes in the Night EP (2021)

Rousing guitar lines, pummeling drums, clever compositions and gritty vocals, all in one short and sweet EP recommended for anyone who thinks life is a disease, and the only cure is Rock N’ Roll.

With the drive of Motörhead, the hooks of Judas Priest and the thrash acrobatics of Toxic Holocaust, Wausau, Wisconsin-based duo Tantivy is chomping at the bit of traditional Heavy Metal. Named for an archaic word meaning a rapid gallop or ride, Tantivy are formed by vocalist, guitarist and bassist Adam Geurink (from crust-influenced outfit Wardehns) and drummer Jon Zimick in a musical match made in hell, culminating now in 2021 with the release of their debut EP titled Eyes in the Night. Recorded by Elliot Lozier, mixed and mastered by Trevor William Church at Church Recordings, and featuring a dark and rabid artwork by The Pit Forge, Eyes in the Night is everything a fan of the music by NWOBHM and Thrash Metal titans like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Dio, Toxic Holocaust, Motörhead and Anthrax, among others, can ask for, with its rousing guitar lines, pummeling drums, clever compositions and gritty vocals inspiring us all to raise our fists high in the sky in the name of our beloved heavy music.

Jon’s crushing beats and Adam’s Motörhead-inspired, dirty bass lines ignite the frantic Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal feast titled I Am The Wolf, an amazing option for banging your head nonstop while enjoying a cold beer, with Adam’s raspy vocals adding an extra touch of rebelliousness to such vibrant sound. Then the 70’s and 80’s are united in the form of classic Hard Rock in Cut ‘Em Loose, exploding into a visceral and raw sonority led by Adam’s razor-edged riffs while Jon makes sure the level of adrenaline goes through the roof with his sick drumming, and the duo keeps smashing their instruments like there’s no tomorrow in Daggers, bringing forward a great fusion of classic Rock N’ Roll with Punk Rock. Moreover, Adam continues to vociferate manically while slashing his stringed axes mercilessly, driving the song’s fury through the roof. Then it’s time for guest Mason Kurth to kick some ass with his bass punches in Houndin’ Ya, another fast and electrifying display of Tantivy’s passion for Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll where Adam’s guitar roars like a true beast, always accompanied by Jon’s solid beats and fills; and the tribal drumming by Jon kicks off the 80’s-inspired extravaganza titled Nowhere, with Adam and Jon being in absolute sync during the entire song, therefore setting fire to the atmosphere and putting a beyond thrilling conclusion to the EP. Put differently, the one and only Lemmy Kilmister (R.I.P.) would certainly be very proud of those talented rockers.

It’s extremely easy to join Adam and Jon on their frantic quest for Heavy Metal. All you need to do is follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and more of their insane music, and even more important than that, purchase your copy of their amazing debut EP from their own BandCamp page to prove those unrelenting rockers you’re a worthy metalhead. Eyes in the Night is the perfect example of everything Heavy Metal has always been and will forever be, never slowing down, never giving up and never selling out, always remaining loyal to the roots of the genre and, above all, loyal to diehard fans of old school rock and heavy music. The EP might be short in duration, with only 19 minutes of music, but it’s so intense and well-crafted it sounds like a full-bodied album in the end, pointing to a very promising future for the duo in the American scene and anywhere else in the world where, as many people like to say, life is a disease and the only cure is Rock N’ Roll.

Best moments of the album: I Am The Wolf and Daggers.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Independent

Track listing
1. I Am The Wolf 3:08
2. Cut ‘Em Loose 4:36
3. Daggers 4:19
4. Houndin’ Ya 3:29
5. Nowhere 4:02

Band members
Adam Geurink – vocals, guitars, bass
Jon Zimick – drums

Guest musician
Mason Kurth – bass on “Houndin’ Ya”

Album Review – Stormzone / Ignite The Machine (2020)

One of the most important names of the underground UK scene ignites their metal machine once again, offering us all another round of their undisputed Heavy Metal.

A name evoking images of power and strength, Belfast, Northern Ireland-based Heavy Metal/Hard Rock outfit Stormzone is set to release their seventh full-length album, entitled Ignite The Machine, featuring 12 original compositions of blistering Heavy Metal that have already been hailed as their strongest collection of tracks to date. A melting pot of Power Metal and traditional Heavy Metal, Ignite The Machine has all Stormzone trademarks, but more melodies and bigger, catchier choruses than ever before, raising the bar even higher than what the band currently comprised of John “Harv” Harbinson on lead vocals, Steve Moore and newcomer Dave Shields on the guitars, Graham McNulty on bass and backing vocals, and newcomer Davy Bates on drums did in their previous album, the 2018 high-octane metal party titled Lucifer’s Factory. From the very first notes in the opening track “Tolling Of The Bell” to the electrifying tribute to all bands we learned to love through the years in the closing tune “This Is Heavy Metal”, Stormzone kick some serious ass in Ignite The Machine, inviting us all to join those UK metallers in their exciting quest for heavy music.

Steve and Dave kick off the band’s metallic feast with their melodious riffs in Tolling Of The Bell, generating a beautiful base for Harv to shine on vocals in a classic Heavy Metal atmosphere inspired by the golden years of the NWOBHM, and speeding things up the band fires the electrifying title-track Ignite The Machine, where Harv’s piercing vocals are effectively supported by the band’s backing vocals and the unstoppable beats by Davy, bringing to our avid ears elements from the music by Judas Priest, Helloween and Gamma Ray, among other metal giants. After such insane start to the album, we face more of their strident riffs and solos in the also old school My Disease, where Graham and Davy bring forth a thunderous atmosphere with their respective weapons while Harv leads his metal crew with his high-pitched vocal lines, before Davy hammers his drums in the also fast and vibrant Each Setting Sun, with the band’s guitar duo showcasing all their passion for heavy music through their headbanging riffs, therefore maintaining the album at a high level of adrenaline.

Melodic guitar lines ignite another Heavy Metal extravaganza titled Dragon Cartel, heavier and groovier than its predecessors, with Stormzone investing into their darkest side, reminding me of some of their creations from Lucifer’s Factory, whereas in Nothing To Fear, which begins in a Dream Theater’s “Pull Me Under” style blended with 80’s Hard Rock, the sound of the guitars is absolutely heavy, sharp and piercing, resulting in a classic power ballad by the band where Harv puts his heart and soul into declaiming its inspiring lyrics. Then it’s time to venture through the realms of old school Heavy and Power Metal in Revolution, a dancing metal hymn led by Davy’s precise beats and the always powerful vocals by Harv, while Steve and Dave deliver sheer electricity from their awesome shredding and solos. And New Age Necromancer couldn’t have been more traditional and straightforward than this, with the galloping bass by Graham being accompanied by a razor-edged riffage and pounding drums, being highly recommended for having a cold beer while watching Stormzone playing it live on stage.

Bringing forward melodic guitar lines and rumbling bass punches the band delivers the heavy-as-hell Dealer’s Reign infused with modern-day Hard Rock nuances, with the entire band being in total sync (not to mention another passionate performance by Harv on vocals), whereas we’re treated to an 80’s metal feast in Flame That Never Dies, where Harv’s vocals are beautifully supported by smooth acoustic guitars and delicate beats before the band brings pure thunder to the music, resulting in another classic creation showcasing more of their incendiary guitar solos for our total delight. Slightly less creative and exciting than its predecessors, albeit still very enjoyable, Under Her Spell offers the listeners Stormzone’s classic sonority, but without truly taking off (nothing that could harm the album, though), and back to a more ferocious and rebellious sound we have a fantastic ode to all things metal entitled This Is Heavy Metal, where Harv sings about our passion for Heavy Metal and all of our heroes the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Manowar and Black Sabbath, while his bandmates generate a headbanging, groovy and thrilling ambience form start to finish. Moreover, have fun with the song’s last part, trying to identify all classic bands, albums and songs mentioned by Harv in the lyrics.

As mentioned in our review for their 2018 album Lucifer’s Factory, the guys from Stormzone live and breathe Heavy Metal, which is the main reason why they keep delivering exciting music album after album, with Ignite The Machine being no exception to that. Hence, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to listen to more of their music on Spotify and on YouTube, and of course don’t forget to support Harv and his bandmates by purchasing Ignite The Machine from the Metalapolis Records webstore  as a CD + LP bundle or as an LP + digital download bundle, as well as from Apple Music or from Amazon. Stormzone definitely re-ignited their metal machine in their new album, proving once again that they’ll never sell out and that they will always be loyal to their foundations. Because this, my friends, is Heavy Metal.

Best moments of the album: Ignite The Machine, Revolution, Flame That Never Dies and This Is Heavy Metal.

Worst moments of the album: Under Her Spell.

Released in 2020 Metalapolis Records

Track listing
1. Tolling Of The Bell 5:45
2. Ignite The Machine 4:26
3. My Disease 4:54
4. Each Setting Sun 4:58
5. Dragon Cartel 5:12
6. Nothing To Fear 4:00
7. Revolution 3:49
8. New Age Necromancer 6:21
9. Dealer’s Reign 5:57
10. Flame That Never Dies 5:08
11. Under Her Spell 5:32
12. This Is Heavy Metal 5:31

Band members
John “Harv” Harbinson – vocals
Steve Moore – guitars
Dave Shields – guitars
Graham McNulty – bass, backing vocals
Davy Bates – drums

Album Review – Bakken / This Means War (2020)

Are you ready for a fast and epic fusion of Thrash and Power Metal? That’s exactly what those UK-based headbangers have to offer us all in their brand new album.

Formed in 2011 in the city of Belfast, Northern Ireland, the unstoppable Thrash/Power Metal quintet known as Bakken has quickly amassed a loyal following thanks to the incredibly positive press attention gained worldwide since the release of their 2012 debut album Death Of A Hero, describing their sound as “combining the visceral edge, gruff vocals and choppy riffing of early Thrash Metal with melodic sensibilities and complex song structures of German Power Metal and NWOBHM”, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the incendiary music by renowned acts like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Dio, Helloween, Gamma Ray and so on. Now in 2020 the band comprised of Frank Levi on lead vocals, Simon Pickett and Shaun Nelson on the guitars, Thomas Alford on bass and Niall McGrotty on drums returns with the follow-up to Death Of A Hero and to their 2014 EP Worldwide Genocide, the full-length metal extravaganza titled This Means War, featuring eight powerful original tracks enfolded by an old school artwork by UK artist Isaac Levi, aiming at cementing Bakken as one of the driving forces of the new Northern Irish metal scene.

Imposing, cinematic sounds kick off the opening track This Means War, exploding into first-class classic Power Metal led by Niall’s crushing beats while Frank delivers his trademark high-pitched screams supported by his bandmates’ spot-on backing vocals, resulting in the best possible start to such fun album. Then drinking from the same metallic fountain as classic German acts such as Helloween, Primal Fear and Gamma Ray the band offers us all Cold Blooded Murder, where Simon and Shaun are on fire with their pure Heavy Metal riffs and solos; whereas Star Machine brings to our ears a galloping rhythm spearheaded by Niall and Thomas with their rumbling beats and bass jabs, respectively. It’s indeed a great option for banging your head nonstop, also presenting a high dosage of Thrash Metal in its flammable riffs, and putting the pedal to the metal it’s time for a high-octane Power and Thrash Metal attack titled Evil Walks This Way, a groovy and vibrant composition where Thomas is ruthless with his thunderous bass, providing Frank a strong base for his piercing vocal lines.

Sinister sounds and notes ignite the Dio/Queensrÿche-inspired semi-ballad In Requiem, where Frank displays a potent vocal performance while Simon and Shaun keep the atmosphere utterly dark with their classic riffs, despite the fact that the song goes on for a little too long, though. Back to a more aggressive and thrilling sonority the band blasts the epic Two-Edged Blade, another tune showcasing pounding and rhythmic beats, incendiary guitars and the always soaring vocal lines by Frank, all spiced up by their razor-edged guitar solos, making it impossible to stand still to their personal “tribute” to all things NWOBHM. After such breathtaking tune it’s time for We Fight, a rebellious anthem by Bakken exhaling pure Melodic Metal, as fast and electrifying as it can be with Niall obviously sounding like a machine gun on drums accompanied by the band’s inspired stringed trio. It will surely put you to heabang like a maniac and raise your horns in the name of metal, before an 80’s Hard Rock-inspired intro ignites the closing tune Storm Angels, with its smashing drums and crisp riffs generating a captivating ambience during its almost six minutes of potent and dense sounds masterfully delivered by the quintet, flowing smoothly until its climatic finale.

In a nutshell, if fast and classic Heavy Metal is your cup of tea, don’t waste a single second and go take a good and detailed listen at This Means War in its entirety on Spotify, and of course grab your copy of the album from the band’s own BandCamp page or from Apple Music. Also, don’t forget to follow those Northern Irish metallers on Facebook to keep informed about their news, releases and tour dates, and to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their traditional metal music. Bakken might not be reinventing Heavy Metal with This Means War, and that has never been their goal anyway, but they’re indeed providing us metalheads a very enjoyable option for hitting the road with your loved ones, working out at the gym or simply for staying home and savoring our beloved Heavy Metal, showing all your admiration and respect for one of the most important (and most captivating) genres in the history of music.

Best moments of the album: Cold Blooded Murder, Two-Edged Blade and We Fight.

Worst moments of the album: In Requiem.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. This Means War 5:09
2. Cold Blooded Murder 5:10
3. Star Machine 3:34
4. Evil Walks This Way 4:10
5. In Requiem 6:09
6. Two-Edged Blade 5:54
7. We Fight 5:30
8. Storm Angels 5:57

Band members
Frank Levi – lead vocals
Simon Pickett – guitar, vocals
Shaun Nelson – guitar
Thomas Alford – bass
Niall McGrotty – drums

Album Review – Lady Beast / The Vulture’s Amulet (2020)

The Heavy Metal beasts from Pittsburgh return with another sensational round of soaring vocals, incendiary riffs and classic drums in their fourth full-length opus.

After hundreds of concerts, festivals, tours, three full-length albums, one EP and one compilation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Heavy Metal machine Lady Beast is more than ready to celebrate over 10 years kicking ass and spreading their fulminating music all over the world with their fourth full-length opus entitled The Vulture’s Amulet, an ode to all things metal highly inspired by behemoths the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, Mercyful Fate and Motörhead. Featuring a beyond stylish and sexy artwork by American artist Adam Burke (Nightjar Illustration), The Vulture’s Amulet has everything it takes to conquer the hearts of any diehard metalhead, from soaring vocals to breathtaking riffs and blast beats, showcasing all the talent, energy and passion flowing from frontwoman Deborah Levine, guitarists Andy Ramage and Chris Tritschler, bassist Greg Colaizzi (who has just left the band, being replaced by Amy Bianco) and drummer Adam Ramage and, above all, proving once again heavy music is still alive and kicking inside our hearts forever and ever.

Classic, razor-edged riffs ignite the frantic and electrifying ode to heavy music titled Metal Machine, filling every single space in the air with electricity and rage before Deborah comes ripping with her powerful and piercing vocals, or in other words, an 80’s classic metal hymn released a few decades later, in 2020. And get ready for another metal storm led by Andy and Chris with their incendiary riffage in Runes of Rust, a Judas Priest-inspired hymn where Adam smashes his drums with tons of precision and groove, sounding as old school as it can be; while the sick bass lines by Greg generate a thunderous atmosphere perfect for the band’s guitar duo to pierce our ears with their riffs in The Gift, a beautiful fusion of the music by renowned Teutonic bands like Grave Digger, Running Wild and Accept, giving you all you need to bang your head like there’s no tomorrow.

Then phantasmagorical guitars à la Mercyful Fate are one of the main ingredients in Sacrifice to the Unseen, while Deborah continues to kick us in the head with her feminine and ferocious vocal lines, also bringing the most electrifying elements from classic Hard Rock to the overall result, followed by the even more metallic and inspiring Betrayer, reminding me of some of the best songs from Judas Priest’s 1978 classic album Killing Machine (or Hell Bent For Leather), with Deborah being simply fantastic on vocals accompanied by the NWOBHM-like riffs by Andy and Chris. And drinking from the same fountain as Iron Maiden in their instrumental classics “Losfer Words (Big ‘Orra)” and “Transylvania”, but of course with Deborah’s ass-kicking vocals embellishing the airwaves, we have The Champion, an epic Heavy Metal anthem filling our hearts with hope, fire and, of course, Heavy Metal.

It’s time to put the pedal to the (heavy) metal in the absolutely furious, high-octane tune entitled Transcend the Blade, this time a fully instrumental track with Andy and Chris spearheading their sonic onrush, firing beautiful riffs and solos for our total delight, whereas slowing things down a bit (while at the same time getting darker) the band offers us all the title-track The Vulture’s Amulet, a mid-tempo tune where Greg and Adam are ruthless with their thunderous bass and drums, respectively, with Deborah returning in full force declaiming the song’s stylish lyrics. and last but not least, the closing tune Vow of the Valkyrie is an exciting and flammable feast of old school riffs and solos, blast beats and the always killer vocals by Deborah, resulting in a true born-to-be-an-underground-metal-classic bringing forward an amazing guitar “duel” by Andy and Chris tailored for lovers of the seven-stringed ax.

In a nutshell, as already mentioned, The Vulture’s Amulet has everything one might ask for in traditional Heavy Metal, plus of course the mesmerizing touch added by Deborah with her she-wolf vocals, and if you want to show Lady Beast your true support you can buy the album directly from their BandCamp page, from the Reaper Metal Productions webstore (in both vinyl and cassette formats), from Apple Music or from Amazon, as well as stream it in full on YouTube and on Spotify. Also, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram and to subscribe to their YouTube channel, proving to Deborah and her henchmen you’re worth joining their metal den and with The Vulture’s Amulet being the perfect soundtrack for enjoying a cold beer deep down there together with those heavy music beasts.

Best moments of the album: Metal Machine, The Gift, Betrayer and Vow of the Valkyrie.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Reaper Metal Productions

Track listing
1. Metal Machine 3:15
2. Runes of Rust 4:26
3. The Gift 5:09
4. Sacrifice to the Unseen 5:09
5. Betrayer 3:29
6. The Champion 5:24
7. Transcend the Blade 3:42
8. The Vulture’s Amulet 5:14
9. Vow of the Valkyrie 5:03

Band members
Deborah Levine – vocals
Andy Ramage – lead guitar
Chris Tritschler – rhythm guitar
Greg Colaizzi – bass
Adam Ramage – drums

Album Review – Night Screamer / Dead of Night (2019)

Mixing 80’s horror movies, political lyrics and fast cars into their old school Heavy Metal blender, this London, UK-based unity will rock you like there’s no tomorrow with their debut full-length album.

Formed in 2013 in London, England, the birthplace of classic Heavy Metal, the unstoppable five-piece metal unity known as Night Screamer is ready to rock you like there’s no tomorrow with their mix of 80’s Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Thrash Metal in their debut full-length album Dead of Night. Comprised of lead singer Gadd, guitarists Calvin Lever and Jamie Carter, bassist Julia B Cadau (who’s by the way also part of an excellent Symphonic Metal band named Angel Nation) and drummer Kilian Noise, Night Screamer offer in Dead of Night all elements that made their debut EP’s Hit n’ Run (2014) and Vigilante (2015) so entertaining and a lot more, with every song painting a different picture while staying truthful to the household formula, mixing 80’s horror movies, political lyrics and fast cars into the band’s traditional metal blender. In other words, if you’re a diehard fan of the powerful and epic 80’s sound from the NWOBHM, Night Screamer are here, almost 40 years years later, to keep the flame of classic metal alive with Dead of Night.

An enfolding intro quickly becomes a feast of razor-edged riffs, rumbling bass lines and nonstop beats in the opening track Sacrifice, a traditional 80’s metal hymn tailored for lovers of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon led by Gadd’s piercing vocals, whereas the song that carries the name of the band, Night Screamer, is just as electrifying as its predecessor, with both Calvin and Jamie spitting fire from their guitars while Gadd powerfully screams the song’s catchy chorus and Kilian dictates the rhythm with his classic, steady beats. And there’s still a lot more, as in Blood On The Wall (F***ed It Up), a true headbanger perfect for cracking your neck in half, Julia and Kilian make the earth tremble with their bass punches and pounding drums, respectively, not to mention the straightforward, flammable solos by the band’s sharp guitar duo.

Then blazing guitars ignite the rockin’ tune Hit n’ Run, showcasing Hard Rock-inspired lyrics declaimed by Gadd (“Your love is speed / Your love is fire / Your love is more / Than I could ever desire / With black hair / And dagger eyes / You got your kicks / From bloody cries / HIT RUN! HIT RUN!”) and feeling like a hybrid of the early days of Judas Priest with the debauchery of Mötley Crüe. In March Of The Dead we’re treated to an epic instrumental intro with Julia bringing thunder to the music with her metallic bass, morphing into a mid-tempo song that leans towards the most classic form of Heavy Metal you can think of while also presenting faster and more melodic moments the likes of Helloween; and it’s time to dance together with Night Screamer in Party With The Devil, a fun and vibrant composition where the whole band adds tons of groove to the musicality as well as spot-on backing vocals, allowing Gadd to thrive with his high-pitches, raspy screams one more time.

Then in Paradise Lost, featuring an ominous intro with spoken words by Gadd, we face lyrics about a world that doesn’t exist (“When I was just a boy / I swore I’d run away / To find the paradise / We lost along the way / A place with no conditions / And free from binds that tie / You’d call this boy a dreamer / I’d call it all a big lie”), complemented by beautiful guitar solos and a dark aura that together enhance the song’s impact considerably. Rise Above is another rip-roaring, in-your-face metal attack by the quintet where Calvin and Jamie are on absolute fire, supported by Julia’s dense bass lines and once again mixing NWOBHM with classic German Power Metal, before Out Of My Mind ends the album on an utterly high note. Clearly inspired by the music blasted by their countrymen Judas Priest, this excellent metal hymn will leave you eager for more of the music by Night Screamer, with Gadd’s vocals being in perfect sync with the song’s slashing riffs for the total delight of admirers of the genre.

In case you’re ready to scream in the night together with Gadd, Calvin, Jamie, Julia and Kilian, all you have to do is follow them on their official Facebook page, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and of course purchase their debut full-length opus Dead of Night from their own BandCamp page and keep banging your head and raising your horns in the name of traditional Heavy Metal. In Dead of Night, Night Screamer do not try to be progressive, alternative, symphonic, atmospheric, nor any other of those shenanigans. All they want to do is play our good old Heavy Metal, and they do it extremely well throughout the over 43 minutes of first-class music found in their newborn spawn. This is what good old rock and metal is all about, with bands like Night Screamer proving once and for all that no matter how much the rest of the world tries to kill Heavy Metal, our most beloved type of music will never go away.

Best moments of the album: Night Screamer, Hit n’ Run and Rise Above.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Sacrifice 6:08
2. Night Screamer 3:59
3. Blood On The Wall (F***ed It Up) 4:24
4. Hit n’ Run 4:23
5. March Of The Dead 6:13
6. Party With The Devil 5:18
7. Paradise Lost 5:19
8. Rise Above 3:52
9. Out Of My Mind 4:13

Band members
Gadd – vocals
Calvin Lever – guitars
Jamie Carter – guitars
Julia B Cadau – bass
Kilian Noise – drums