Gloryhammer – Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex

Founded by Alestorm frontman Christopher Bowes in 2009 Gloryhammer is based on a fantasy concept with an anthemic power metal approach that on the latest album “Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex” takes you on a galactic journey with the glorious hero Angus McFife XIII. 

“The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust)” begins with fancy symphonic arrangements and sumptuous choirs clearly reminiscent of many successful symphonic metal bands and certainly the whole song maintains a majestic flair with galloping guitar riffs and the consequent groovy energy necessary to face an important battle.  

On “Masters of the Galaxy” the fight against the evil sorcerer continues with plenty of crunchy guitar riffs following a classic power metal style mid-tempo rhythm and this whole catchy ensemble ultimately leads to a playful sing-along chorus.  

Celebrating the band’s name “Gloryhammer” is particularly pompous but that’s exactly what the fans would expect plus is full of 80’s style keyboards and steady guitar riffs creating a quite catchy rhythm spiced up by additional electro layers and smooth guitar soloing. 

The mood of “Battle For Eternity” definitely matches the title as the band is ready to defend the kingdom with the ardent energy expressed by the groovy instrumental segments and the fierce vocal delivery while the opulent keyboards and the polished melodic guitars add dramatic depth. 

On the grand finale “The Fires of Ancient Cosmic Destiny” Gloryhammer use all their tricks and talents to deliver a bombastic epic opus so get ready for another round of majestic symphonic arrangements enriched by some elegant classical accents, dazzling guitar melodies and massive power metal grooves obviously adorned by solemn choirs and theatrical narratives because this is a heroic tale. 

It cannot be denied that “Legends From Beyond The Galactic Terrorvortex” is an entertaining album carefully crafted by Gloryhammer with evident skills but it might be truly appreciated almost exclusively by devoted lovers of cheesy power metal. 

Monkey3 – Sphere

Swiss instrumental rockers Monkey3 embark on a new interstellar journey with the massive heavy psychedelic rock jams of the latest studio effort “Sphere”.

There are no boundaries on the lengthy album opener “Spirals” which is a truly trippy sonic experience that will take you far away as majestic spacey atmospheric arrangements introduce a groovy rhythmic ensemble that relies on the precise drumming and the excellent guitar work shifting from intense stoner rock riffs to delightful luminous melodic leads.

The astral trip continues with “Axis” offering exceptional and utterly eclectic guitar progressions with acidic rock tonalities and gorgeous crispy melodies that naturally create the perfect balance between the spacey contemplative moments and the heavier rhythmic dynamics.

“Mass” can sound like a soothing dream with tranquil atmospheric nuances and melancholic harmonies or a wild hallucinogenic experience due to the monumental guitar riffs plus this track features a tremendous shredding galore courtesy of renowned guitarist Bumblefoot.

“Ellipsis” is a striking mini opus that could belong to an unknown parallel universe and has the ability to channel cathartic feelings through the elaborate cosmic atmospheric layers that surround impeccable guitar progressions & groovy riffage spiced up by loads of psychedelic accents and embellished by intriguing abstract melodic passages that lead to a dense instrumental crescendo in the song’s glorious finale.

Undoubtedly “Sphere” has the necessary hypnotic power to make you instantly space out and also features fascinating cinematic soundscapes and memorable melodic tapestries meticulously composed by Monkey3 with outstanding musicianship throughout the whole album.  

Wolfheart Live in Chicago

The release of “Constellation Of The Black Light” marked a successful year for Finnish winter metal band Wolfheart and to celebrate the album they return to North America for the second time. Check out the live action from Wolfheart show at House Of Blues in Chicago!

Candlemass – The Door To Doom

The doom legacy of Swedish stalwarts Candlemass is as strong as ever and the long awaited new album “The Door To Doom” showcases the band’s ominous signature elements featuring the surprising return of their first singer Johan Langquist which definitely brings a sense of nostalgia to all these songs.   

On “Splendor Demon Majesty” there is in fact plenty of pure doom splendor as Candlemass confidently channel their obscure roots with the impressive guitar work that fluently delivers bold riffage and intricate solos around Johan’s charismatic vocal performance.

The melancholic melodies of “Under The Ocean” guide us through a realm of gloom and sorrow filled with mighty guitar riffs and tasteful slower progressions that effortlessly build a series of mid paced darkened grooves amplified by captivating vocals and epic atmospheres.

With its majestic darkness “Astorolus – The Great Octopus” is the song that will conquer all the doom lovers featuring the guest appearance by legendary Tony Iommi. The classic doom momentum feels extremely dominant as the exquisite cold tonalities of guitars evoke mournful feelings through the monumental riffs and the alluring grandeur of the soloing.  

“Black Trinity” rightfully belongs to the same sinister doom realm with the tremendous weight of the guitar riffs leading to the expected obscure grooves that will evolve into a hypnotizing breakdown and once again Johan’s voice naturally matches such bewitching darkened vibes.

“The Omega Circle” immediately feels rather dramatic beginning with slow contemplative arpeggios and passionate vocals but soon the monumental doom quintessence will take over with the perfect dose of extra heavy guitar riffs roaring through groovy rhythmic segments and the grave melodic tonalities of the compelling guitar solo generating diabolical vibes.

It’s truly a pleasure to see how Candlemass still maintain their exceptional doom mastery today as “The Door To Doom” has the necessary strength and creative force to show to the world what true doom metal sounds like.

Oomph! – Ritual

Renowned pioneers of the Neue Deutsche Härte, Oomph! triumphantly reach another milestone with the darkened nuances and über-catchy grooves of the thirteenth full length “Ritual”.

The intense groove laden nature of “Tausend Mann und ein Befehl” is evident since the very beginning as guitars are ready to deliver massive rock riffage yet the song will morph into a more atmospheric & melodic entity with the irresistible chorus and the smooth guitar soloing.  

“Achtung! Achtung!” doesn’t waste any time as guitars focus on fiery rounds of heavy riffs with a distinct industrial influence but there is also a somber melodic streak expressed by the refined atmospheric arrangements and solemn chorus.

The darker tonalities of “Kein Liebeslied” are naturally emphasized by the mysterious vibes of the atmospheric layers and the melodic guitar leads while the electro accents enrich the monumental guitar driven grooves.

Featuring Chris Harms of Lord Of The Lost “Europa” is destined to become a hit blending profoundly darkened guitar melodies and stomping riffs while the majestic atmospheric arrangements constantly evoke a rather mystical aura.

“TRRR – FCKN – HTLR” is probably the most aggressive track on the album clearly fueled by a raw industrial energy, consequently guitars acquire extra crunchy tonalities to create loads of relentless stomping grooves amplified by savage vocals and frenetic nightmarish electro layers.

Solemn orchestrations create a suspenseful mood on “Phönix aus der Asche” which can be drenched in darkness as guitars unleash some heavy stomping grooves but tend to focus more on dramatic melodies that are intensified by the emotive vocal delivery of the chorus and the contemplative breakdown.

The sonic approach of “Seine Seele” is definitely softer and introspective allowing melancholic guitar melodies and heartfelt vocals to become essential elements while the chorus relies on super groovy rhythmic dynamics.

Undoubtedly “Ritual” reconfirms the influential status of Oomph! as the strength of this album emerges from a genuine passion and an intense creative force that lead to a captivating blend of harsh German rock and vibrant melodies.  

Dust Bolt – Trapped In Chaos

Even if they are from Germany Dust Bolt are absolutely devoted to Bay Area style thrash metal so it won’t be surprising to find retro flavors within the massive sonic assault of the fourth album “Trapped In Chaos”.

“The Fourth Strike” diligently stays true to the traditional thrash metal legacy so throughout the song you can expect monumental grooves generated by a merciless rhythmic section and savage guitars but sometimes Dust Bolt adds a fair dosage of somber feelings with tasteful guitar melodies.

Darkened vibes and contemplative moments on “Dead Inside” deeply influence the whole guitar work leading to a mix of grim melodies and groovy riffage that certainly showcases consistent thrash dynamics without necessarily maintaining a constant breakneck speed.

There are loads of galloping heavy guitar riffs and wicked vocals on “Bloody Rain” so the anthemic groovy thrash aspects are still present but this track actually stands out for the exquisite dark mood of the slower ominous rhythmic segments.

A raw energy and an old school thrash momentum are the essential elements of “Shed My Skin” which will call for headbanging as it’s naturally filled with frenetic guitar riffs, extra wild shredding and fierce drumming.  

With a dramatically slower tempo “Another Day In Hell” is a moody track that tends to leave behind all the rage to convey gloomy emotions through sorrowful melodic guitar progressions and calmer pensive vocal delivery.  

“Chaos Possession” returns to a properly loud unrestrained thrash assault delivering cohesive monstrous grooves with the expected ravenous guitar riffs and thrilling leads well supported by a precise rhythmic ensemble.

If you’re in the mood for solid no frills thrash metal rest assured that “Trapped In Chaos” has plenty of fiery grooves to offer even if there are not exceptional innovations here as Dust Bolt prove to be truly passionate acolytes of such timeless genre.

Legion Of The Damned – Slaves Of The Shadow Realm

Veteran Dutch extreme metal outfit Legion Of The Damned is proud to unleash an overload of raw energy and undiluted darkness with the colossal seventh studio album “Slaves Of The Shadow Realm”.  

“The Widows Breed” can sound truly aggressive channeling an old school thrash intensity that will trigger instant headbanging with its fast belligerent rhythmic section and the sharp neckbreaker guitar riffs while the lead guitar work is characterized by utterly somber tonalities.

The merciless force behind “Nocturnal Commando” becomes immediately evident with loads of harsh guitar riffs, hellish vocals and ferocious drumming that build a furious heavy rhythmic core interrupted only by scattered dismal guitar leads.

“Slaves Of The Southern Cross” continues to effortlessly showcase a thunderous rhythmic core yet the whole instrumentation often follows a slower tempo to emphasize the ominous vibes generated by blackened guitar tonalities and diabolical vocals.

“Shadow Realm Of The Demonic Mind” begins with a melancholic piano piece but never really leaves behind the extreme metal approach as guitars gallop relentlessly offering all kinds of vicious riffs.

“Priest Hunt” surprises with a eerie & triumphant symphonic intro that will be followed by a solid round of groovy guitar riffs but when the rhythm slows down the dramatic guitar leads and darkly melodic accents definitely steal the spotlight.

“Dark Coronation” is full of tight fierce riffs as guitars still hold a dominant role through the punishing rhythmic progressions which are spiced up by some intensely grave leads while the profoundly dark finale features elegant & mysterious atmospheric arrangements.

Full speed and heaviness are essential throughout the entire sonic assault offered by “Slaves Of The Shadow Realm” yet Legion Of The Damned is also interested in the creation of monumental darkened melodic & atmospheric moments that certainly match and enhance the general obscure mood.

Jinjer – Micro

Following massive touring cycles Ukrainian band Jinjer has managed to conquer a wider fanbase therefore this is the perfect time to release new music and while waiting for the next full length the EP “Micro” will satisfy your need for groovy prog metal.

“Ape” was the first acclaimed single released from this EP and certainly stands out for the massive fury generated by an intense & intricate rhythmic core full of harsh guitar riffs and groovy bass lines while Tatiana’s growls can sound absolutely brutal and her enchanting melodic cleans perfectly match the song’s contemplative moments.

“Dreadful Moments” is definitely the darkest song on the EP with the profound melancholy expressed by bittersweet clean vocals but is also characterized by impressive prog elements as all instruments effortlessly shift from wilder aggressive rhythmic segments to emotionally charged harmonies.

With an evident intricate songwriting approach “Teacher, Teacher!” shines for the eclectic nature as unusual tempo variations can even lead to breakneck speed and loads of crazy & groovy rhythmic progressions certainly showcase a solid prog inspiration while guitars can also deliver smooth darkened melodies embellished by heartfelt clean vocals.

Since the very beginning “Perennial” can feel utterly dramatic as the rhythm is often significantly slowed down to enhance the lovely introspective textures and fascinating guitar melodies enriched by Tatiana’s charismatic clean vocal delivery but this track will offer also some monumental harsh grooves and wicked growls.

Considered to be a breakthrough band in the current metal scene, the future looks bright for Jinjer and they definitely worked hard to achieve the unique sonic identity that naturally leads to the complex and compelling dynamics of “Micro”.

John Garcia – John Garcia And The Band Of Gold

You all know John Garcia as vocalist of legendary Kyuss and founder of desert rock institutions such as Unida, Slo-Burn, Hermano and Vista Chino, now with The Band Of Gold John is ready to deliver an explosive new album that definitely represents his music legacy.

From beginning to end John delivers a memorable vocal performance on “Jim’s Whiskers” which is literally full of those irresistible desert rock vibes as gritty guitar riffs and raw energy naturally lead to entertaining solos and plenty of stoner grooves that could go on forever.

The groovy galore continues relentlessly with “Kentucky II” and the guitar work inevitably  stands out for the dirty rock soul and the slow burning melodic phrases as we are still jamming in the middle of the desert accompanied by John’s unique vocals.

While “My Everything” certainly focuses on another remarkable series of guitar driven grooves fueled by a charismatic stoner rock approach and John’s passionate vocals often steal the spotlight there is also a hypnotizing melodic momentum featuring dreamy guitar tonalities.  

It’s so easy to love the vibrant desertfest groovy core of “Popcorn (Hit Me When You Can)” which is obviously packed with gritty guitars supported by an impeccable wild rhythmic section and extra energetic vocals.

Following the album’s natural dusty rock mood “Cheyletiella” offers an overdose of killer hooks courtesy of galloping guitar riffs and a major addictive chorus while later a soulful melodic breakdown will generate an intensely hypnotic mood emphasized by the trippy guitar soloing and the mellow vocals.

Everything slows down significantly on “Softer Side” which closes the album with an authentic psychedelic sonic trip that relies mainly on hazy tonalities, lovely warm melodic guitars and a laid back vocal delivery which will make you space out for good.

With this new incarnation the return of John Garcia feels like the fascinating desert rock journey we’ve been longing for, hopefully this is not a swansong and we will hear more music from John and The Band Of Gold in the future meanwhile you should play this record loud preferably on vinyl.

Skálmöld – Sorgir

Icelandic vikings Skálmöld triumphantly return with the sixth studio album “Sorgir” which takes you on an epic Nordic music adventure celebrating the traditions and the beauty of their motherland.

The bold rhythmic core of the album opener “Ljósið” naturally dictates a wintry mood further amplified by majestic chants and powerful growls and it’s like warriors are in position for the next bloody battle surrounded by the somber tonalities of soaring guitar riffs.  

“Brúnin” revolves around groovy rhythmic sections with a fiery round of extra heavy guitar riffs that fluently maintain an enraged mood yet solemn chants are still present to enhance the viking spirit while the charismatic guitar solo is all about wild shredding and melodic vibes.

“Gangári” can be faster and even vicious with incessant guitar driven grooves and primordial growls until lead guitars shift the focus to soothing melancholic melodies and entertaining crispy soloing.  

The nostalgic guitar phrases at the beginning of “Móri” foreshadows the gloomy melodic ensemble that will hold a crucial role throughout the song and become especially prominent during the atmospheric breakdown nevertheless the band still delivers a proper viking metal framework with aggressive rhythmic segments and belligerent growls.  

With a heavy structure “Mara” showcases many solemn moments featuring folk inspired acoustic guitar passages that naturally channel mystical vibes while the guitar solo here is particularly memorable with plenty of shredding as well as a shimmering melodic approach.

Listening to “Sorgir” you might need to be ready for a battle on snowy mountains as this is a full blown viking metal album and Skálmöld share their chosen music pathway with genuine passion and devotion.