THEM Manor of the Se7en Gables SPV/Steamhammer [Release date 26.10.18]
US/German thrash/power metal band return with their second album, a horror story featuring witchcraft, murder and they use a series of spoken word parts to keep the story moving along. In addition to the band, they have ‘seventh member’ Symphony X’s Mike Lepond on bass and Paul Sabu, more likely to be seen on his own albums or melodic rock ones, on backing vocals.
Vocalist KK Fossor certainly has a powerful vocal range, one minute full on metal screaming on ‘Circuitous’, then to more brooding, menacing tone on ‘Ravna’. This one is a classic slow burner, like Savatage and one with plenty going on musically. ‘Punishment By Fire’ ends the album in a suitably OTT and theatrical style, with plenty of soloing from Markus Ullrich and Markus Johansson.
Those that enjoy the theatrical/horror based metal of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond will like this one. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
SODOM Partisan SPV/Steamhammer [Release date 23.11.18]
Sodom are currently working on their new album – their 16th – and release this three song EP as a stop gap for their fans. It also marks a new era for the band, as sole original member vocalist/bassist Tom Angelripper, is joined by returning guitarist Frank Blackfire, plus two new members guitarist Yorck Segatz and drummer Husky.
Two new songs then in the shape of the relentless pounding that is ‘Partisan’, the riffs keep on coming on this one and ‘Conflagration’ written by new boy Segatz, fair rips the skin off your ears. The other song is a live version of ‘Tired And Read’ recorded at the Rock Hard festival earlier this year.
I will be honest I loved thrash metal in my younger years, not really keeping up with it much since then, however this three song aural assault by Sodom doesn’t half get the old headbanging urges back. This new dawn for Sodom shows much promise and the upcoming studio album will be eagerly anticipated by their fans, more so after hearing the two new songs on here. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
BROTHERS OF METAL Prophecy Of Ragnarok AFM Records [Release date 02.11.18]
Debut album from this Swedish power metal band, with a pagan touch and concepts based on Nordic legends. Ragnarok itself, for example, is a future event where the earth is cleansed (think Noah’s Ark), with some gods including Thor and Odin coming to an end.
And the confusion is the release date of November 2018 when the album’s been available on Amazon for a year. Rerelease I don’t know but the first striking thing is the magnificent packaging. The cover art, along with the sheen / finish, really add a lot to the very meaty digipack.
Opening track Death Of The God Of Light is a big number, massive and solid production, heavy drums, big vocals. Son Of Odin adds two layers to the vocals, the solid (a hint of operatic) and the gruff. The male and female touches may be cliché in the power metal fraternity but it does work well. And there’s some softer folk touches in this number too.
The title track features some intricate guitar and keyboards, a hint of Rhapsody at their heavier end.
As you’d expect within this genre, there’s a good and well balanced mix of heavy, very heavy, and more balladic. Concerning Norms has a gentle piano intro and the lyrics spoken, as if narrating the backstory at the start of a legend. Powerful oration, think a Nordic Orson Welles. And yes Manowar are a band you can reference, alongside the likes of Sabaton and Powerwolf.
On occasion there’s a touch of big vocal harmonies a la Freedom Call, and there’s a fine melody or two amongst the heaviness.
A good, solid album that power metal fans will love – it has a bit of something for everyone and sounds so professional for a debut. ****
Review by Joe Geesin
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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