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Ben

Ben, please add NWOBHM band Mythra's four-song "The Death & Destiny" E.P. from 1979.

181
Daniel

Mythra - "The Death & Destiny E.P." (1979)

I first came across this underground gem of the NWOBHM scene while conducting research for the Metal Academy podcast many years ago but I didn't give it anywhere near enough time because this is a damn fine example of what the movement was all about. It's heavy, it's raucous, it's energetic & it's as fun as a drunken bar fight between bikers. These four short songs have a punky edge to them that would have Lemmy spillin' his Jack down his leather vest. In fact, I have to say that the chorus to "U.F.O." sounds uncannily similar to Motorhead's "Iron Fist" only it was released three years prior. Coincidence? Hmmm.... I'm not sure as it's so fucking obvious. Anyway... if you dig ol' NWOBHM records from lesser known bands then you owe it to yourself to check this out. In fact, I'm gonna go so far as to say that this is one of the top ten NWOBHM releases I've heard & I've researched pretty much every noteworthy release in detail so that's gotta be worth somethin'.

For fans of Motorhead, Holocaust & early Tygers of Pan Tang.

4/5

0
Daniel

Bow Wow - "Signal Fire" (1977)

A seminal record in the Japanese metal scene. It's just not very good though & it certainly shouldn't qualify as metal either in my opinion. Of the ten tracks there's only two that I'd consider as being metal. The occasional Black Sabbath or Judas Priest style riff pops up here & there & the vocals do try for their best Rob Halford impersonation at times too but the rest is a fairly light-weight take on 70's hard rock. The musicianship is very good but the vocals & song-writing aren't really up to it to be honest.

For fans of Deep Purple, Budgie & Loudness.

3/5

90
Xephyr

Here's my review:


I wasn’t familiar with Brooklyn-based retro four-piece Tanith prior to investigating this month’s The Guardians feature release but they’re hardly a household name in metal circles. A quick look at the band photos left me wondering what I was in store for as they look a little more seasoned than most bands releasing their debut albums these days while the presence on Satan guitarist Russ Tippins intrigued me as I’ve always admired his work on an album like 1983’s “Court In The Act”. Could I expect another metal-as-fuck shred-fest like that one? Well, the reality is anything but.

Tanith place their cards down on the table right from the offset with a warm & organic production job that’s much more in line with 70’s rock than it is with the modern metal model. I really like the way they’ve left plenty of room for the guitars & bass to interact with each other. It’s light-years from the dense metal production we’ve come to expect in more recent times. The dual vocal approach of Tippins & bassist Cindy Maynard is interesting too with both opting for a clean & fairly light-weight delivery that never heads into overly aggressive territory, instead sticking to melodic tones that draw to mind the greats of 1970’s progressive rock. The lead guitar work amplifies that feel further through the consistent execution of simple yet emotive guitar harmonies that showcase a strong Thin Lizzy influence. It’s not the heaviest sound you’ll find but there’s a certain magic about it nonetheless.

It’s interesting that “In Another Time” has been embraced by the metal audience as I’m not really sure it should qualify as metal to be honest. Opening track “Citadel (Galantia Pt. 1)” & “Dionysus” are close enough to metal as they certainly draw upon familiar tools but the rest of the album sits predominantly in hard rock & progressive rock territory. In fact, I’m baffled as to why most metal websites have this record tagged as a hard rock/heavy metal hybrid because the predominant subgenre is comfortably prog rock in my opinion with bands like Yes & Rush being the source of inspiration for much of the content. There’s a magical atmosphere to some of this material that’s seeped in fantasy & wonder & I can see this being a major drawcard for some metalheads. As the album title indicates, this is music from another time only it’s presented with a modern professionalism that showcases the skills of some experienced campaigners who possess a deep understanding of tone & texture.

The thing with “In Another Time” though is that I’m not sure I’m ever completely comfortable with its unintimidating & whispy nature. Apart from the clear album highlight in the gorgeous “Book Of Changes”, I’m not sure I ever find myself engaging with the album on a deeply emotional level. Despite being very well executed, the song-writing is more pleasant than it is enthralling. I very much enjoy those lovely guitar harmonies but the vocals are a little too clean-cut for my taste while the basslines conduct themselves predominantly in fairly unintimidating spaces too. The folky acoustic sections sound sweet enough but I’m not sure that I can say that they pull on my heart-strings. It probably doesn’t help that the album loses its way through the middle of the tracklisting either with both “Cassini's Deadly Plunge” & “Under The Stars” being a bit flat. I’m glad that Tanith could recover for the remainder of the album but I don’t think I ever found myself in a space where I could say that I loved most of the material.

“In Another Time” certainly sounds pretty fresh & there’s a lot to like about the guitar tone but it’s just missing a bit of danger for mine. I appreciate the sentiment but I crave a little more in the way of intensity as the musicians seem to stay very much within themselves for the most part. Give it some more dynamic vocals & this could have been another story. Perhaps even go a little further with the psychedelia. As it is though I find this to be an entertaining little record that should bring Tanith quite a bit of crossover appeal, perhaps not always from the metal market though.

For fans of Wytch Hazel, Thin Lizzy & Night.

3.5/5

1
Daniel

Pretty excited about this one, but they've got a lot to live up to now that Blind Guardian, Fellowship, and even Helloween have released more than solid albums in the past year or so. I can only hope that they expand on what they started with Dawn of the Dragonstar as the overly symphonic leanings of their second album didn't do much for me.

I could have sworn there was a Wintervale alluded to in Dawn of the Dragonstar, but it turns out I mashed up "Valley of the Vale" and "Night of Winterlight", so not exactly expecting any sort of continuity here. Kind of a shame, it feels like a lot of these high-fantasy Power Metal bands are made for that sort of thing. 

And yeah, that cover is pretty incredible, they even went the extra mile and put a graphic behind the album text! Don't see that too much for...some reason!

15
Daniel

November 2022

1. Avantasia – “Arabesque” (from “A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society”, 2022)

2. Diamond Head – “The Prince” (from “Lighting To The Nations - 2020 Remaster”, 2020)

3. Judas Priest – “Saints in Hell” (from “Stained Class”, 1978)

4. Crystal Viper – “Ulitsa Roz” (from “The Last Axemen”, 2022)

5. Majesty – “Epic War" (from "Sword & Sorcery”, 2002)

6. Cross Borns – “The Hill Of Destiny” (from “Tales Of A Winter Night", 2000) [Submitted by Daniel]

7. Xandria – “Reborn” (from “Reborn”, 2022)

8. Brothers of Metal – “Gods of War” (from “Prophecy of Ragnarok", 2017)

9. Manowar – “Hail and Kill” (from “Kings of Metal", 1988)

10. Helix – "When The Hammer Falls” (from “Walkin' The Razor's Edge”, 1984)

11. King Diamond – “Into the Covenant" (from “The Eye", 1990)

12. Savatage – “Back to a Reason” (from “Poets & Madmen", 2001) [Submitted by Andi]

13. Heavens Gate – “We Got the Time" (from “Livin' in Hysteria”, 2003)

14. Firewind – “Angels Forgive Me” (from “The Premonition", 2008)

15. Stratovarius – “Frozen in Time” (from “Survive" 2022)

16. Slough Feg – “Insomnia” (from “Hardworlder", 2007)

17. Iron Savior – “Watcher In the Sky” (from “Iron Savior", 1997)

18. Dexter Ward – “Evil Nightmares" (from “Neon Lights”, 2011)

19. Katana - "The Wisdom of Emond's Field" (from "Storms of War", 2012)

20. Edguy - "Navigator" (from "Hellfire Club", 2004)

15
Xephyr

The Guardians - November Spotify Playlist Link

1. Avantasia – “Arabesque” (from “A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society”, 2022)

2. Diamond Head – “The Prince” (from “Lighting To The Nations - 2020 Remaster”, 2020) 

3. Judas Priest – “Saints in Hell” (from “Stained Class”, 1978)

4. Crystal Viper – “Ulitsa Roz” (from “The Last Axemen”, 2022)

5. Majesty – “Epic War" (from "Sword & Sorcery”, 2002)

6. Cross Borns – “The Hill Of Destiny” (from “Tales Of A Winter Night", 2000) [Submitted by Daniel]

7. Xandria – “Reborn” (from “Reborn”, 2022) 

8. Brothers of Metal – “Gods of War” (from “Prophecy of Ragnarok", 2017)

9. Manowar – “Hail and Kill” (from “Kings of Metal", 1988)

10. Helix – "When The Hammer Falls” (from “Walkin' The Razor's Edge”, 1984)

11. King Diamond – “Into the Covenant" (from “The Eye", 1990)

12. Savatage – “Back to a Reason” (from “Poets & Madmen", 2001) [Submitted by Andi]

13. Heavens Gate – “We Got the Time" (from “Livin' in Hysteria”, 2003)

14. Firewind – “Angels Forgive Me” (from “The Premonition", 2008)

15. Stratovarius – “Frozen in Time” (from “Survive" 2022)

16. Slough Feg – “Insomnia” (from “Hardworlder", 2007)

17. Iron Savior – “Watcher In the Sky” (from “Iron Savior", 1997)

18. Dexter Ward – “Evil Nightmares" (from “Neon Lights”, 2011)

19. Katana - "The Wisdom of Emond's Field" (from "Storms of War", 2012)

20. Edguy - "Navigator" (from "Hellfire Club", 2004)

0
Daniel

Here's my submission for the December playlist Saxy:


King Diamond - "Behind These Walls" (from "The Eye", 1990)

108
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)
Ironically, your announcement shares a lot of common traits with European power metal Andi as both are consciously epic & overly melodramatic.
6
Daniel

King Diamond is certainly a one-of-a-kind and equally certainly isn't to everyone's taste. Me, I've never had much trouble with him beyond an initial exposure to Mercyful Fate that caught me off-guard. Once I'd come to terms with his unique vocal style I became quite the fan. Now, by far the biggest reason for this is that King writes awesome heavy metal songs and so consequently I have been able to accomodate his vocal idiosyncrasies, to the point where I now find them quite endearing. He is also one never to shy away from a horror story concept album, a bit like a combination of Alice Cooper and Andrew Lloyd-Webber. Now I like a good concept album as much as the next person, but only as long as the songs are first and foremost and aren't sacrificed to the concept. This is something King Diamond generally tends to avoid, but on The Eye I felt a couple of the tracks (such as The Trial (Chambre Ardente) and Two Little Girls) were compromised in order to put across the narrative of the story. This is only a minor gripe however as generally the riffs rule the roost and, compromised though it is, The Trial (Chambre Ardente) has some of the album highlights, particularly the thrashy riff that breaks out a couple of times - I would just like to have heard more of it rather than the forced perspective of the storytelling element being crowbarred in. The real major draw of The Eye for me is the absolutely sterling lead work of guitarists Andy La Rocque and Pete Blakk who are on devastating form with some brilliant soaring and searing solos that are up there with Priest and Maiden as dual lead masters.

Let's face it, King Diamond often walks the line between metal glory and cheesiness and bless him for it. His horror tales are more in keeping with Roger Corman than Rob Zombie and Hammer Studios rather than Itallian Giallo with tongue often in cheek and more than a nod to the inherent theatricality of his music. What The Eye serves up is some damn fine heavy metal songs with riffs, solos and theatrical imagery aplenty and you know what, that's kind of what a lot of metalheads grew up on, we weren't always super-intense and serious like we seem to be nowadays. Sometimes we even had fun listening to heavy metal and that is what King Diamond provides - and that's fine by me. It's not as good as Abigail or "Them", but it has plenty to recommend it all the same.

3.5/5

2
Rexorcist

I just posted a bout how two Metallica albums should also have the heavy metal tag and nobody bugs me about it.  I might've committed the worst sin possible here, so don't worry about looking like a fool 

However, the fact that it has 9 votes and is still active says I'm not alone.

20
Morpheus Kitami

I'm afraid this one simply falls into the "none of my business" category. I'm gonna abstain from pulling it to pieces as it was never gonna finish any other way given my general aversion to folky symphonic power metal. I'm more interested to see what people like Rex & Xephyr think of it as their opinions are far more relevant than my own with a release like this one.

2/5

1
Xephyr

Here are my thoughts on some tracks:

Persuader – “Twisted Eyes” (from “When Eden Burns”, 2006)

5/5. Honestly, I don't get how pop stars with computer-made music such as Lady Gaga are nearly a million times more popular than this killer band. But I guess that's how the world is... I enjoy the instrumentation and vocals, though the latter is criticized is for sounding too similar to Hansi Kürsch from Blind Guardian.

Blind Guardian – “Violent Shadows” (from “Violent Shadows”, 2022)

4.5/5. ...And speaking of that band! To paraphrase a line from this song, you need a rebel heart, you need a pure soul. My rebel heart is in a different rebellion, though this is quite an amazing song as part of the Bards' metal comeback.

Freedom Call – “Metal Is For Everyone” (from “Master of Light", 2016)

5/5. My brother stumbled upon this song when I was still listening to this band a lot more, and he was pleased with the ability to cross over into a few other metal genres while staying in their usual power metal. This is a metal song for everyone!

The Sword – "Arrows in the Dark” (from “Warp Riders”, 2010)

4.5/5. I'm not really into the stoner-ish heavy metal, but this is a great track to rock hard and high. Kick-A!

Avantasia – “The Moonflower Society" (from “The Moonflower Society", 2022)

4/5. Another great song, this one with a beautiful video clip. I'm slightly disappointed by how poppy it sounds at times, but it's still d*mn inspiring and promising for what the new album might bring, especially after the worst of the pandemic. It's quite a Toto-infused power metal dream...

Running Wild – “Black Hand Inn” (from “Black Hand Inn", 1994)

4.5/5. This was one of my favorite Running Wild songs, with some quintessential guitar. Right from the start, you get very good speedy pirate power metal, though I've proven that a pirate power metal life is not for me.

Kamelot – “The Spell” (from “Karma”, 2001)

5/5. I was actually gonna submit a song from that album for next month's playlist, but never mind, I'm glad to see one of the songs here. Enjoyable with spooky keyboards.

1
Rexorcist

Well, I'll keep trying to raise awareness of the site.  I told a coworker about this place, and he was a little curious.  Thankfully he's a metalcore fan.  In the meantime, let's simply discuss current list progress.

33
Daniel
I have heard it, but I must admit its been so long since I've heard a Kamelot album I barely remember any of them.
41
Daniel

Power/Prog/Avant-Garde from Hokkaido, Japan. The band's poor grasp of English creates some very interesting vocal lines.

139
Daniel

So , new album next month for a quintessential Guardians band, and nobody posts it?  This forum is a cemetery...




This has got to be one of their best songs since A Night at the Opera.

67
Xephyr

Gave this one last listen today and I gotta agree, was expecting a bit more out of Solider of Fortune. The album starts out with the killer "Soldier of Fortune", the passable "You Shook Me" which I honestly can't take too seriously since my brain's wires get insanely crossed with the AC/DC song, and the song that inspired this Feature choice "Danger of Love". The album then quickly derails with the run between "Twenty-Five Days" and "Long After Midnight"; "Demon Disease" is a pretty great closer as it goes back to what made the opener "Soldier of Fortune" great, but the rest of the album is a weirdly middling affair of Hard Rock influences and chorus structures that doesn't offer any standout tracks compared to the beginning of the album. It's not like "Faces in the Fire" or "Long After Midnight" are below average songs, but they also don't do anything spectacular either. I'm not a big fan of "Red Light Shooter" and the two ballads don't really hold up for repeated listens, so Soldier of Fortune is basically a singles album for me. I wasn't aware of the vocalist change before posting this, so maybe the earlier vocalist and style would be more interesting to me, like Morpheus said? Guess I'll have to check that out someday but for now, this is very passable Heavy Metal with a few notable tunes. 

3/5

5
Xephyr

Yeah, no worries, I'm not really familiar with how these things work on you guys end.

6
Daniel

A Narrative Soundscape can be considered Jon Schaffer's own attempt in an orchestral/spoken-word album like the equally poor Legacy of the Dark Lands by Blind Guardian, while in an almost similar situation to Varg Vikernes with his late 90s ambient Burzum albums. Most of the Iced Earth classic songs were botched up by that "narrative" style, including that track, "Dracula". While the original song is a strong classic in its original album Horror Show, this is the only cliche weakness from that Show:


49
Daniel

I came to London's Pagan Altar relatively late in their career while putting together the Metal Academy podcast several years ago & immediately found them to be an interesting prospect. They were generally labelled as one the early exponents of the doom metal sound & I found their 1982 self-titled release to offer a fair bit of enjoyment even if there were a few flaws in their sound that I struggled with. They definitely weren't a pure doom outfit either as there was also a lot of traditional heavy metal in their sound as well as a touch of psychedelia. I later experimented with Pagan Altar's re-release of their early demos (entitled "The Time Lord" which was released in 2004) & found it's combination of doom metal & 70's hard/psychedelic rock to be just as entertaining. In fact, at that point I started to label Pagan Altar as the first true exponent of the traditional doom metal sound given that those recordings dated way back to 1978/79. And this brings us to "Mythical & Magical" (Pagan Altar's third full-length album released in 2006) which is a record that seems to receive universal praise from somewhat of a cult following within the underground metal scene & I was very keen to find out why.

The first thing I noticed about "Mythical & Magical" is the raw production which doesn't sound anything like the clinical modern-day metal production jobs we're so used to hearing these days. This one is thinner, dirtier & sounds very much like it could have surfaced from the early 80's NWOBHM scene which I would guess was something the band were likely aiming for. Much like Pagan Altar's earlier material, "Mythical & Magical" offers an interesting mix of styles & influences although it's well worth noting that there's very little doom metal on offer here. This time the band have opted for a sound that seems to draw upon the hard rock-driven NWOBHM sound of early Iron Maiden & Judas Priest, the more epic US power metal of Cirith Ungol & Manilla Road & the more organic & bluesy American hard rock of the 1970's with dashes of progressive rock, folk & even country tossed in for good measure. The high-pitched vocals of Terry Jones are instantly recognizable & are still just as repetitive as they ever were so if you've struggled with him previously then you shouldn't expect much respite here while the emotive & creative lead guitar work of his son Alan is as impressive as I remember it being & is the obvious highlight of the album with most of the tracklisting's peaks appearing at the crescendos of his lengthy solos. Things do get a bit cheesy at times, particularly during the guitar harmonies & the more epic sounding sections. I actually find the more expansive & progressive tracks to be the most consistently interesting (see "The Sorcerer" & "The Erl King") with the simpler hard rock numbers sounding pretty tame & boring in comparison. When Pagan Altar focus purely on a heavy metal sound they're generally very successful, particularly on opener "Samhein" which utilizes a dark Sabbath/Dio/Maiden gallop (there are several across the tracklisting actually) & builds in intensity gradually over time. I could definitely do without the country rock number "The Crowman" as it sounds like it's been torn straight off US country radio while the short & fairly lightweight folk instrumental "Sharnie" doesn't add much to the album either in all honesty.

In the end I found "Mythical & Magical" to be a bit of a mixed bag with the tracklisting struggling for consistency. In fact, I'd suggest that I really only got enjoyment out of half the album. Thankfully the stronger material is classy enough to carry the dull moments which has resulted in the experience feeling fairly positive overall. I still can't say that I see what the big deal is with Pagan Altar though as this is once again a release that I've enjoyed while I listened to it but are unlikely to return to very often in the future. In terms of the band's discography, I'd suggest that this is probably the least appealing of the three Pagan Altar releases I've checked out to date & I suspect that's got a fair bit to do with the lack of doom metal on offer but there's not all that much between the three really. "Mythical & Magical" is a nostalgic ride through a period in rock/metal history that I was too young to fully take in & it serves that purpose quite well but I can't say that I see it as being in any way essential.

For fans of Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road & early Cauchemar.

3.5/5

1
Xephyr

It is good to occasionally add in tracks from different genres and/or eras that don't get much of the spotlight. That's kind of what I've done with the 90s/early 2000s metalcore eras in this month's Revolution playlist. Anyway, once again I'm going to comment on a few tracks here that I still like, for memories' sake. Here are my thoughts:

HammerFall – “Steel Meets Steel” (from “Glory to the Brave”, 1997)

4.5/5. I loved HammerFall a lot when I was still heavily into power metal, though not as much, despite great classic songs like this. The lyrics in the bridge explain the song's concept, "In July in '99, the Holy City was stormed and won, Jerusalem was freed, we thanked the lord for our glory."

Within Temptation – “Iron” (from “The Unforgiving”, 2011)

5/5. This epic expressive song still touches my heart to this day with the angelic voice of Sharon den Adel. This is awesome music for symphonic metal lovers like I was. Such godly spectacular power! Sharon is very much one of the symphonic metal queens out there. An awesome song to play at full blast when driving an abandoned highway, and it reminds me of DragonForce's "Cry Thunder".

Nightwish – “Nemo” (from “Once", 2004)

5/5. Another brilliant symphonic metal classic piece! I loved this album back in my high-school-age teens. The sound is so amazing and lovable, with Tarja's beautiful voice. Those were my earlier days of orchestral metal magic. I feel like g****mn crying from the lyrics about loss and longing. And this album Once was the band's last with Tarja...

Stratovarius – “Infinity" (from “Infinite”, 2010)

4.5/5. I've heard of Stratovarius for a very long time, though not at long as the previous bands I've commented on, and this is still an excellent melodic progressive epic from that band. Any metalhead would enjoy this even with better songs in those listeners' arsenal! This could've really helped well with spreading awareness of the possible end of the world when the virus was on the rise. This song is so popular, though a few points are off due to the song and others from this album being plagiarized into Dragon Ball game soundtracks. That's OK if you wanna unleash your SUPER SAIYAN!!!

Iced Earth - "The Hunter" (from "The Dark Saga", 1996)

4.5/5. This one continues the classic streak with killer riffing and a soaring chorus, almost perfect for this playlist and its original album. There's more of this awesome glory to come in other songs, but that's all for now, good Guardians!

1
Xephyr

Mercyful Fate, despite being held in high regard by many heavy metal fans are an inordinately divisive band. Or, to be more accurate, singer King Diamond with his falsetto histrionics is able to elicit singularly strong negative reactions in some. Personally I don't have a problem with him, sure sometimes I wish he would reign it in, but generally I don't have a problem with his vocal style, but I can definitely hear why others might. One thing we will never know is whether the band would have had as much success as they have without Diamond's unique vocal approach to set them apart. Personally I believe the songs and riffs are strong enough to have ensured a considerable following, but you just never know do you - the music business is a notoriously capricious beast.

Anyway, the good news for both the King Diamond pro and con camps is that on this first reunion release KD seems to have toned down his more outlandish vocal tendencies and utilises them more effectively by confining them to passages to which they seem to be more suited (of course, alternatively, this may just annoy both camps equally). Personally I think In the Shadows (ironically) allows the rest of the band to emerge from King's shadow and to shine on their own terms with the lead guitar work especially benefitting from this curtailing of vocal excess. As on their early releases there are plenty of memorable riffs present, the opening brace of Egypt and Bell Witch in particular having brilliant main riffs, as does the following track, The Old Oak, but this track does give in to some songwriting excess and becomes a bit cheesy in the middle section despite some excellent soloing. Room of Golden Air even features a riff that sounds a lot like Dave Mustaine on Hangar 18. For me the riffs and the solos are the real strength of this album and I found that it succeeded in spades where both these aspects are concerned, axemen Shermann and Denner deserving great praise for their work here. Lyrically it's a bit silly at times and KD will always present a problem for some listeners, but as I mentioned earlier he has reined it in a bit, although he does try to break free occasionally - Thirteen Invitations for example - and I found these to be the less enjoyable parts.

I had not listened to In the Shadows before this month's feature, although I was familiar with a couple of tracks and whilst it isn't quite up there with the band's earlier material it is still a strong heavy metal release and certainly shouldn't disappointed anyone who is already a Mercyful Fate fan.

4/5


3
Xephyr


It definitely requires some experimentation because it obviously doesn't work the same for each of the Clan's playlists. 

I absolutely wouldn't use the same methodology if I was doing the playlists for The North or The Infinite; there's something about cheesy and bombastic Power/Symphonic Metal that feels more corny than usual if it's slotted in-between some Judas Priest or Iron Maiden.

Quoted Xephyr

I agree that it is very much dependent on the clan. I regularly listen to the North playlist which is compiled by Ben and the Pit compiled by Vinny and they both work very well indeed with a mix of tracks. I don't think I would enjoy the North playlist as much if it kicked off with a bunch of blackgaze and folk metal tracks, becoming more raw as it proceeds or the Pit if I suddenly hit a groove metal iceberg in the middle of the playlist, whereas one track is ok because you know something good is just around the corner.

Just out of interest, members of the Fallen (or anyone else who may listen to the Fallen playlists), do you think my current approach works for the Fallen or would it be better with the extreme stuff more evenly spaced out?


8
Vinny

Ambush are not a band I have come across before and so I went in without too many expectations. It is true that the band do owe a massive debt to eighties' Judas Priest and while they do turn in a couple of decent Priest-ish tracks in opener Firestorm and Don't Shoot (Let 'em Burn) too many of the rest are quite ordinary and lack the hooks and memorable lines of classic Priest and even those two have horrible whoa-oh moments in them that were one of the worst things about 80's metal in my opinion. Then there's a track like Close My Eyes that sounds far too close to Don't Stop Believing or some such shit. Personally I enjoyed the soloing, but then again I like more restrained solos rather than extravagant and excessive shredding. I think it's fair to say that my favourite Guardians-related material resides quite far back in time and although this does hark back to the eighties even Judas Priest were left wanting in that decade (it was all downhill after Killing Machine) and this references The Scorpions as much as Priest. Overall, a couple of decent tracks and some unremarkable stuff that refers back to an era I was never that enamoured with in the first place. Sorry, but this is not really for me.

2.5/5

2
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Guys, I just thought it would be helpful to Xephyr and Saxy for me to create their respective playlist threads. They wouldn't have to spend any extra time making those threads, while I can do the commenting as soon as possible. I have a life outside the internet as well. But if there's a rule that only the creator of a playlist can create a thread for that playlist, and I know about it earlier, then I would've let go of the matter. Now I understand that not everyone needs to be helped.

Another issue, regarding this specific clan playlist, is my evidential dwindling passion for The Guardians. I was kind of over-rushing on creating this thread and commenting on half the songs in this playlist, and wanted to get them all done because, like I said, I have a life outside the internet and might be away for some events this week. So some of those comments I've made may not be accurate to how I truly feel, especially since I've announced moving away from half of those bands within the past couple months or so, and the power metal bands I liked more at least 5 years ago than now. So with that, I think, as of now, I'm gonna take a hiatus from The Guardians and any Guardians-related activities, then later see if I'm up to continuing my time in the clan or switching to a different clan I'm more comfortable in. Sorry for any trouble I've caused, all....

4
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

This one definitely took a couple of listens for me to get into as I was initially taken off-guard by how European it sounds. I mean there's a lot of melodic/symphonic stuff going on here, much more than on "The Black Halo" which offers a more mature sound than this. It's interesting that you see "Epica" as the darker album Andi because I see it very much the other way around. Thankfully repeat listens saw the quality in some of the chorus hooks starting to dig their teeth in & I eventually found myself enjoying "Epica", just nowhere near as much as I'd hoped I would given that "The Black Halo" is my all-time favourite power metal release. "Epica" on the other hand is a bit of a mixed bag for me personally with some really strong material being brought back to earth by some cheesier stuff. I struggled with the most popular track on the album "Center of the Universe" as well as "A Feast for the Vain" & "Lost & Damned" while the many short interludes were pretty hit & miss too. The stronger material was really very solid though, particularly my album highlight "Wander" (one of two ballads included), the muscular "Farewell" & the well-composed "The Mourning After (Carry On)". There's an absolute crap-tonne of Dream Theater worship going on on this record & frontman Roy Khan very clearly wants to be James LaBrie. Little does he know that he's actually the more talented vocalist of the two though & his power & control are one of the keys to the success of this album. I would have toned down the symphonics a bit but the rest of the instrumentation is splendidly executed. It's just that I could really do without some of the more European sounding power metal moments like the guitar melodies that kick off "Center of the Universe". Overall, "Epica" is not a bad power metal record. It just doesn't come close to reaching the dizzying heights of the anthems found on its follow-up. Awful cover artwork apart from the hotty with the wings too.

3.5/5

2
Xephyr

Even though my suggestions did not make it to this playlist, I'm still gonna comment on a few of the tracks here:

Crimson Glory – “Dance On Fire” (from “Strange and Beautiful", 1991)

4/5. This song is from the album where Crimson Glory switched into a sound closer to hard rock while keeping the metal, but it's a groovy song to dance to. Midnight's vocals shine in his last album with the band. RIP

Battle Beast – “Eye of the Storm” (from “Circus of Doom”, 2022)

4.5/5. This one has an insane amount of Malmsteen-style guitar, the anthemic vocals of Judas Priest and Dio, and the background symphonics of Nightwish.

Opera Magna – “La Herida” (from “Del Amor Y Otros Demonios - Acto 1”, 2014)

3.5/5. A good work of power metal art, though a little too operatic for what I prefer nowadays and with Spanish lyrics. The operatic part comes in when a mysterious female singer enters with her beautiful vocals.

Eternity's End – “Call of the Valkyries” (from “Embers of War”, 2021)

4/5. This one attacks as a stomping anthem. Enough said!

Iced Earth – “Dante's Inferno” (from “Burnt Offerings”, 1995)

5/5. Ending this playlist is the finest part of Iced Earth's career, the band's longest track at over 16 minutes of relentless metal fury! The two-minute intro gets you ready for a f***ing skull-bashing great time. The moments range from quiet to heavy quite a few times. Seriously you gotta enjoy this if you wish to be worthy in this site! I'm happy that I can finally see the appeal of such an epic that would please me and others for generations.

1
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Just to clarify, I would never attempt to apply pressure on someone to change their view or opinion on something as subjective as music. My intent was to clarify what we were aiming to achieve in my own mind, as I thought the point was to pick ten tracks that we personally liked, but that gave an overall sense of the clan in question to someone who was unfamiliar with it. Hence my own list included tracks by Manowar, Helloween and Nightwish that, though I do actually enjoy those tracks, would never get near a "My Top Ten Guardians Tracks" list, but do cover the whole Guardians spectrum at least to some extent.

In addition, if anyone does feel pressured by anything I post please feel free to tell me to fuck off.

9
Daniel

I cannot get into this either. I must admit that my knowledge of metal acts incorporating classical instrumentation like this is quite limited. I know Folk and Neoclassical Metal, but this specifically is reserved basically for Haggard and Obesquiae. But even I can tell from a general knowledge of metal that this record does not sound very good. There is a severe lacking of bass presence on this record, making the heavier portions quite lackluster. It has so many of the same production issues that early 90s death metal, but with this being more doom metal, it comes across really flat since the kick drum is not double bass blistering.

The vocals are....there. The harsh vocals sound phoned in and lazy. The clean vocals sound cool and provide much needed substance that is missing in the low end. As for the symphonic elements, they are the best part of the album. Haggard may have been better off just making an album of Renaissance music; without the guitar and drums, the instrumentals can be fully appreciated with an independent bass line. They still aren't very good though, as the keyboards constantly eclipse the winds and strings.

I feel like I should credit Haggard for bringing attention to a different style of symphonic metal that I never cared to search out before. The use of classical songwriting techniques over a style that is not power metal is a nice change of pace, but the way in which it is executed leaves a lot to be desired.

5/10

3
Xephyr

It's good that I didn't move away from submitting track suggestions to The Guardians, but I'm already moving away from a few of the bands in this playlist (more info here: https://metal.academy/forum/9/thread/1158). Don't worry, I might a few occasional throwback suggestions to those bands in later playlists. Anyway, here are my thoughts on some tracks:

Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell (from Heaven and Hell, 2008 Remaster)

4/5. A decently great track to begin this playlist, but my attempts to get into 70s/early 80s are still far from my range. However, long live the voice of another passed hero of metal, Ronnie James Dio! RIP

Running Wild - Riding the Storm (from Death Or Glory, 2017 Remaster)

4.5/5. Personally, I think this highlight should've opened the playlist. After the two-minute intro that sounds like it could've inspired the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack in the compositional sense, the vocals by Rolf Kasparek come in to shine, especially in the chorus filled with emotion. The riffs cross through like a violent thunderous typhoon into your head, as the charged-up verses and powerful choruses are brought together by the drums all in this unforgettable song. That's the pirate metal "Thundersteel"!

Sabaton - Seven Pillars of Wisdom (from The Great War, 2019)

4.5/5. An amazing catchy song from this band that I started listening to 8 years ago. Sabaton was once one of my favorite power metal bands, but after taking them out of my playlist 4 years ago, it is now time for a proper farewell to this band. I salute them and their "Winged Hussars" and other tracks! (do I get a medal?)

Savatage - Not What You See (from Dead Winter Dead, 1995)

5/5. One of the best songs from one of the best Savatage albums! At least I'm still keeping this band's music with me while saying farewell to the bands I'm moving away from. A flawless song for ice skating, with excellent lyrics and amazing music. Even though Savatage is in the inactive void, TSO is doing their best to keep the music alive. An epic uplifting classic so nicely done! A better metal future is all that I see...

Nightwish - The Siren (from Once, 2004)

5/5. One of my favorites from Tarja-era Nightwish! Though I enjoy their material with Floor Jansen as well. I hope Marko Hietala is doing OK...

LORD - Set In Stone (from Set In Stone, 2009)

4.5/5. A band in a more modern age that prefer to stick to their classic heavy/power metal guns. Set in Stone was a spectacular album, and this song I still think is d*mn amazing with great solos. Their legacy shall be set in stone!

Dream Evil - Children Of The Night (from Evilized, 2003)

5/5. Another awesome underrated band! The intro starts things off perfectly. Listen to that sweet music, like Scorpions but heavier! This is probably my favorite song from this band, it's very awesome! It's been nearly 5 years since I last listened to this band, and this still hits hard.

Elvenking - Warden of the Bane (from Reader of the Runes - Divination, 2019)

4.5/5. This track has some of the fanciest guitar work by the band. Enough said!

The Night Eternal - Elysion (Take Me Over) (from Moonlit Cross, 2021)

4/5. Once again, classic heavy metal continues to rise for future generations. However, the gothic twist makes this band sound too much like Danzig. With that said though, it's truly worth playing air guitar to this one. It is quite great with nicely improved singing. Occult-ish metal prevails!

Grand Magus - Valhalla Rising (from The Hunt, 2012)

4.5/5. Yet another underrated band! This probably would've worked better for my earlier epic metal taste, but it still kicks a**. The crushing guitar and heavenly soloing is far better than the pop sh*t outsiders like too much. Hail this cool band, despite moving away from them during my doom metal departure. It's amazing how they use the same tuning as modern Katatonia (C tuning) for a low yet epic guitar tone.

The Lord Weird Slough Feg - Walls of Shame (from Down Among the Deadmen, 2013)

4.5/5. A good song to listen to from this band one more time before farewell. Praise the Lord Weird Slough Feg!

ANGRA - The Voice Commanding You (from Aurora Consurgens, 2006)

5/5. Aurora Consurgens and Aqua are less superior than the rest of Edu Falaschi era of Angra, but they still rock hard. Rafael Bittencourt does unbelievable riffing, especially at over the 4-minute mark that leads us to a happy powerful ending to this glorious speedy song.

1
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

I've enjoyed all those bands/genres I've listened to, but there are some times when I've realized they might not be for me because of my interest for those bands fading and my moral compass pointing at which genres I might not feel comfortable with listening to more based on my mood. For death metal, doom/gothic metal, and black metal, I've left those genres because of my concerns about how those lyrical themes of violent gore, dark depression, and irreligious Satanism (respectively) would affect my outside-world rep, as I'm still this young dude in my early 20s living with my parents and expected to spread positive vibes to other outside-world people I know, and a couple bad experiences triggered that realization. Then there are some bands like those heavy/power metal bands mentioned above that I'm moving away from because after 6 months or more, I've noticed that my interest for those bands went from "some of the best bands ever!" to just "meh, not going anywhere". Part of that problem is, I was way more interested in heavy/power metal at least 5 years ago, then when I was losing steam in those genres, my YouTube pen pal introduced me to listening to Trivium, which got me into revamping my metal interest into heavier genres like metalcore and modern progressive metal, and formerly melodeath and gothic/doom metal. Then a couple years later, here in Metal Academy, when some of you like my earlier epic power metal taste enough to motivate me to revive it, I appreciate it, but the strength of power metal passion just isn't as much as it used to be. Another thing that triggers me is the copyright troubles I might face when, say, sharing on YouTube.

Also here are two more bands that I'm moving away from as well:

Lord

Mastodon (actually a progressive/sludge metal band, no heavy/power metal at all)

I definitely will try to improve my interest in heavy/power metal and progressive metal despite moving away from some bands (with occasional throwbacks to those bands in playlist track submissions), but will I fully return to those bands and the genres I'm straying from in the future? Though that would be great, only time will tell....

3
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Let's extend both lists to 30 and look out for more albums.

Heavy metal:

#26 Judas Priest - Sad Wings of Destiny (7903 / 3.89)

#27 Iron Maiden - Brave New World (7885 / 3.72)

#28 Iron Maiden - Fear of the Dark (7581 / 3.21)

#29 Ozzy Osbourne - Blizzard of Ozz (7033 / 3.75)

#30 Metallica - Garage Inc. (7005 / 3.15)

WITHOUT heavy metal:

#26 Iced Earth - Something Wicked This Way Comes (2253 / 3.65)

#27 Blind Guardian - Battalions of Fear (2167 / 3.38)

#28 Iced Earth - Burnt Offerings (2110 / 3.72)

#29 Blind Guardian - Follow the Blind (2102 / 3.33)

#30 Nightwish - Angels Fall First (2037 / 3.06)

11
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Wow. Sabbath are AOR!! Let's move this one to the "unpopular metal opinions" thread.

Quoted Sonny

I didn't say Sabbath as a whole are or sound like AOR, just that one song. C'mon, you can't tell me you don't hear it, that song is super light compared to their usual fare.


Quoted PrincetteScarecrow

I agree. This might've been a hint for the band's heaviness decreasing in their next 3 albums.

9
Daniel

It seems to be increasingly obvious to me, as we get into the third year of clan featured releases, that my own metal tastes are possibly not as broad as a number of other Academy regulars. A case in point is power metal, or more specifically European power metal. By and large I can't stand it - it literally makes my ears hurt. I guess my preference is rawer when it comes to metal - funeral doom, conventional black metal, OSDM and thrash being favourites, so I tend to struggle with the more bombastic styles such as power and symphonic metal. Hammer King most definitely fall under the european power metal umbrella and while I could stomach a track or two, by the album's midpoint I had had enough and come the end I felt like puking from excess cheese consumption. Too much... too much of everything. I just could not stand another harmonised chorus or neoclassical lead break. I'm not even sure how many songs are on the album as they all just blurred into one coagulated fucking mess. Power metal must be one of the great misnomers in metal because to me it is the musical equivalent of WWE wrestling when all I really want to see is bare-knuckle pit fighting!

I'm feeling generous so I'll give it 2/5.

5
Xephyr

I am afraid we went too power metal here again for my tastes.  I am not even happy with my own choices this month on reflection, although I note my Helstar choice got swapped out for something else?

Sorry Andi, but that Dragonforce track is awful.  I mean the original is contrived enough but they somehow manage to heap more cheese on it.

Absolute winner putting that Judas Priest track in though, and Pagan Altar are always a great choice.

2
Daniel

Running Wild - "Port Royal" (1988)

Another Running Wild album, another fairly flat & dull heavy metal record with poor vocals in my opinion. The production job is very 80's with a thin guitar sound but the bass is unusually loud in the mix & subsequently plays a more significant part than it might otherwise have. The guitar solos are entertaining & there are some cool heavy metal riffs included but (as usual) axe-slinging front man Rock 'n' Rolf is simply not capable of filling the shoes of a tier two heavy metal act. In fact, he spends a fair amount of the run time drifting in & out of key if you wanna get technical about it & the excessive reverb he's been drenched in doesn't help much either.

The tracklisting starts off with four of the weaker tracks on the album & doesn't really get going until the middle of the record with catchy heavy metal songs "Uaschitschun" & "Blown To Kingdom Come" offering me a lot more appeal than the earlier material while speed metal anthem "Warchild" has some really good energy about it. But it's (perhaps unsurprisingly) the instrumental piece "Final Gates" that represents the highlight of the album for me personally, despite really being more of a showcase for Jens Becker's bass guitar skills. You'll notice that I'm still yet to mention power metal anywhere here & there's a reason for that because (as with some of Running Wild's other material) I once again find myself struggling to pick up where people are finding the link. Of the ten proper songs included here seven of them sit firmly in the traditional heavy metal camp while "Into The Arena", "Warchild" & lengthy closer "Calico Jack" veer over towards a faster, more energetic speed metal sound but there are only ever hints at genuine power metal & not enough for a primary tag in my opinion. As usual the pirate references are purely to do with the lyrics, cover art & intro track & you can easily overlook them if you choose to (which I clearly do).

The long & short of it is that I just don't think Running Wild will ever be for me & I really struggle to see the appeal that people find in them. They just sound a bit flat to my ears rather than being genuinely bad so I always find myself reaching for a disappointing 3/5 rating with "Port Royal" being no exception. If I look at Running Wild's back catalogue, I'd suggest that I prefer it to the band's 1985 sophomore album "Branded & Exiled" & noticeably weaker "Wild Animal" E.P. from 1990 but I'd probably take 1994's "Black Hand Inn", 1989's "Death Or Glory" & their 1984 debut album "Gates To Purgatory" over this one even though I have pretty similar feelings about all of them. Perhaps I'm destined never to find a Running Wild record that I enjoy & I'm at peace with that as I've certainly given them a good Aussie crack.

3/5

4
Daniel


Nah... Epica won out by sending me a 1349 COVID mask & a set of limited edition Devourment condoms. I dunno why my wife freaks out so much when I wear them simultaneously though. It's a mystery.

Quoted Daniel

Now you've ruined it for next year telling everybody what the going price is!

(Just so any bands know, if you need a hand in earning a prestigious award like Metal Academy Clan Release of the Year, my star ratings are available at very reasonable rates)


10
Daniel

Progressive-influenced technical neo-classical power metal for a wild epic blast! Cheers for the rec, Daniel! 4.5/5

5
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

Strongest list yet for me Xephs!  Strong trad / heavy metal vein running through this month's list I thought. The first ten songs (barring Pharaoh) all got added to my "liked" tracks.  Angel Witch, Smoulder, Saxon, Cirith Ungol and Enforcer are all great inclusions also.  I did skip most of the power/symphonic power metal tracks as they got going and had very little time for any of Angra who to me just sound whiny but I didn't mind that Rhapsody of Fire track in all honesty.  Hell, I even got on with that Christian Muenzner track.

I got a real Angel Witch vibe from The Night Eternal and this was what caught my attention to nominate them for inclusion this month.  Tower are a band seeing lots of praise at present on various blogs and sites and I am somewhat enamored with their strong female vocal delivery giving me lots of Chastain and Warlock vibes, especially with that retro sound they have got going on.

Thanks for putting together Xeph.

3
Daniel

Rhapsody (of Fire) is a band that has suffered a lot in recent years due to oversaturation. And unfortunately it has affected some of the older music as well. Having never been a very big fan of theirs before in comparison to other prominent power/symphonic metal acts, at least I can say that I mostly enjoyed Dawn of Victory. It's pretty basic, but "Holy Thunderforce", "Triumph for My Magic Steel" and "Dragor, Shadowlord of the Black Mountain" are fun, high energy power metal songs. "The Village of Dwarves" has a pretty awful synth lead, the guitar and keys solos are unmemorable as they mostly resort to noodling instead of building on the original melodic motifs. The symphonic elements are bombastic and enjoyable, but sometimes they can get in the way of the purely metal foundation such as "The Last Winged Unicorn" and it just becomes overwhelming. Still, a decent power metal album that goes over the top with the symphonic stylings, making it memorable, but even the hooks that we do get are nowhere near as poignant as similar timeframe Blind Guardian or Kamelot.

7/10

4
Shadowdoom9 (Andi)

In 1997, 5 bands began to bring symphonic metal into prominent ground, and many of those bands have done so by adding symphonic elements to an existing metal subgenre including the debut albums of Nightwish, Rhapsody of Fire (symphonic power metal), and Within Temptation (symphonic gothic metal), the second album of Emperor (symphonic black metal), and the third album of Septicflesh (symphonic death metal)

Quoted shadowdoom9 (Andi)

I've been testing my memory over the Septicflesh album you mentioned overnight Andi. It's certainly been a long time since I've heard these releases but I don't remember "The Obsidian Wheel" being the record where they completely converted to a totally symphonic approach. Wasn't it 1998's "A Fallen Temple" album where they did that?

Quoted Daniel

When I was listening to Septicflesh, I remember their earlier albums, including The Ophidian Wheel and A Fallen Temple, having this odd frustrating thing where the songs are straight-up gothic-ish death metal and then they have a few symphonic stage play tracks, and each of those two categories are separated from each other with barely any combination. That's why A Fallen Temple was a bit of a struggle for me at the time, especially the "Underworld" series of symphonic tracks. With that said, those two albums have a few songs that combined the two stylistic categories smoothly, such as the song I've selected for my 1997 symphonic metal Spotify playlist, "On the Topmost Step of the Earth", and "The Eldest Cosmonaut" from the latter album that I submitted to one of The Guardians monthly playlists because of the Therion-like symphonic metal sound. Then after a case of industrial-goth identity crisis in Revolution DNA, the band took their usual death metal and symphonic sounds even further in Sumerian Daemons, with both sounds combined into one, the way it was meant to be. Their comeback album Communion really sealed the deal for that sound that they've maintained ever since.

4
Xephyr

This month I went for The Guardians for a playlist outside of my three clans and I'm not going to lie, this one was a real struggle for me. My distaste for power metal didn't serve me at all well here and the first 45 minutes were painful. In fact the only tracks I really enjoyed were Rime of the Ancient Mariner (obviously) and the Shadowland track. There was another two or three that were OK - Accept, Metal Church and Kryptos.

I think I may reconsider going for The Guardians for my fourth clan as I don't think I'll fit in at all well.

6
Daniel

I'm sure you are all waiting for me to pour bile and vitriol all over Majestica's A Christmas Carol, but even if it is nearly christmas, I'm going to disappoint you. In fact I'm going to do something much worse and that is to damn it with faint praise. Firstly, it is no worse than any other European Power Metal album I've ever heard as it's cheesy, overblown and pompous-sounding, which is pretty much par for the course for EUPM in my experience. Secondly, this pomposity and excess seems actually very suited to a christmas-themed concept album as nothing says over-indulgence quite like christmas. In fact the two are so well-suited I can't believe no one has done it before (unless they have, in which case I apologise for my ignorance). Furthermore, at least the subject matter is based on classic literature and not some half-baked, sub-Tolkienesque fantasy bollocks so you get a decent story too. I'm also surprised Andrew Lloyd-Webber isn't knocking Majestica's door down to get a West End stage production on as it doesn't seem a million miles away from Phantom of the Opera or one of his other overpriced stage productions. 

Anyway, I've listened to it once and will never play it ever again, so in that respect at least, it is the perfect summation of the christmas spirit!

7
Daniel

It's funny growing up around Classic Rock / popular 80's Hair Metal since it was the only thing on the radio around where I lived, but having these massive-at-the-time bands slip through the cracks after all these years. I want to say that I knew who W.A.S.P. was before listening to this, but that might have just been from glancing at a list of 80's Hair Metal bands. It's immediately apparent that they were shifting from that background as most of these tracks have that classic 80's riff and song structure, but dipping their toes in a more grounded Heavy Metal sound definitely elevated this album past a classic radio rerun. 

I can't say I'm blown away by The Headless Children but I agree with its consistency. Apart from the obligatory, sappy power ballad and the awkward "The Real Me" every song has something going for it, even if some are more forgettable than others. I can't say this is my favorite style of Heavy Metal though, despite me enjoying the cheesier sides of Power Metal very liberally. Still a very solid album though, and songs like "Thunderhead" are just fun listens through and through.

3.5/5

5
Daniel


Devastated that this ol' favourite has finally packed it in after the material under armpits gave way due to overuse. It's likely my most used piece of clothing ever I would think. On the plus side, I have a one in/one out policy so I wasted no time whatsoever in securing myself a super-cool replacement band shirt.

1
Daniel

For this weekend's top ten list I've decided to go with the niche subgenre of Neoclassical Metal which was probably always going to be dominated by one titan of that particular sound as well as a single well-defined era:


01. Vinnie Moore – “Mind’s Eye” (1986)

02. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Marching Out” (1985)

03. Jason Becker – “Perpetual Burn” (1988)

04. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Rising Force” (1984)

05. Marty Friedman – “Dragon’s Kiss” (1988)

06. Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s Rising Force – “Odyssey” (1988)

07. Yngwie Malmsteen – “Trial By Fire: Live In Leningrad” (1989)

08. Yngwie J. Malmsteen – “Trilogy” (1986)

09. Cacophony – “Speed Metal Symphony” (1987)

10. Yngwie Malmsteen – “The Seventh Sign” (1994)


https://metal.academy/lists/single/141

0
Daniel

Good work on this playlist, Xephyr! Here are my thoughts on some tracks:

Unto Others – “Heroin” (from “Strength", 2021)

4/5. A great emotional start to this playlist, though not really the best because of the gothic metal-ish sound I've departed from. Still f***ing bad-a** killer though! The singer has quite a creepy laugh during one of the headbanging parts that makes you think of Tom G. Warrior. This is not even close to DragonForce at all, but a fast heavy tune nonetheless. The sweet harmonies and solo throughout the last minute can remind some of Slayer. Basically this is the faster Type O Negative gone classic heavy metal!

Crimson Glory – “Red Sharks” (from “Transcendence”, 1988)

4.5/5. This frantic track shows a more abrasive side while still mostly melodic.

Angra – "The Course of Nature" (from “Aurora Consurgens”, 2006)

5/5. This album continues Edu Falaschi-era Angra's grand album streak since the mighty Rebirth and the conceptual Temple of Shadows. This is my favorite song Aurora Consurgens, an album I loved so much that has celebrated its 15th anniversary a couple days before writing this comment. So good! Apparently, the intro is absent in some versions. The album has massive high-quality details in majority. Aurora is, in my opinion, superior to their next couple albums, Aqua and Secret Garden. Angra has made some of the best progressive-ish power metal fresh out of Brazil.

Battlelore – “Doombound” (from “Doombound”, 2011)

5/5. Now here's a song that's one of the doomiest-sounding symphonic metal tracks I've heard, as one more farewell to The Fallen without engaging in the clan I've already severed ties from, and it's the last full song of the last album before Battlelore's hiatus (except for a reunion show a few years later). The second half of this song is one of the most touching and saddest moments of metal for me 6 years ago shortly before starting my venture into gothic metal, with the amazing angelic voice of Kaisa Jouhki, especially in the 5 and a half minute mark. That part, along with the main riff, is epic! Holy sh*t, this is pure poetry that only the true fans of Battlelore would expect. Seriously, where is that band?!? Please come back!!

Edguy – “Nailed to the Wheel” (from “Mandrake”, 2001)

4.5/5. Another song to love with sublime soloing, one of the best from this band! Edguy was more relevant back then before they started joking around in albums after this one. The soft intro might've inspired some songs by Civil War. F***ing heavy power metal that shall sweep the nation!

Running Wild – “Little Big Horn” (from “Blazon Stone - Remastered”, 2017)

4.5/5. What is with these "Little Big" titles? They don't really make sense! Is it little or big?! JUST PICK ONE!!! Anyway, all jokes set aside, this great song lets out a glimpse of hope. The band's bassist during this pirate metal starter trilogy, Jens Becker can really master his fantastic 5-string bass blasts, which was uncommon in metal but starting to catch on. A f***ing neat classic! The refrain guitar makes you thirsty for rum, or if you're a non-alcoholic like me, mountain dew as a victory drink. At some points, Rolf Kasparek can remind some of Blaze Bayley.

Gamma Ray – “Land of the Free” (from “Land of the Free - Anniversary Edition”, 2017)

5/5. Another true highlight, a real power metal anthem with guest vocals by former Helloween member Michael Kiske.

Twilight Force – “Gates of Glory” (from “Tales of Ancient Prophecies”, 2014)

4.5/5. Summon the tanks to fight against dragons in the fantasy land of power metal! Twilight Force has brought in Sabaton's Joakim Brodén for some heavy power in the vocals. I can understand the lyrics quite well. Satan would very well be in a battle against Sauron for supreme evil elsewhere. Twilight Force's lead vocalist Christian Eriksson (Chrileon) does amazing falsettos, but sadly he's out of the band.

Trivium - "Silence In The Snow" (from "Silence In The Snow", 2015)

4/5. This song is from an album by a band that would normally be thrashy metalcore, but ended up in a one-time heavy metal style due to temporary growling loss. It was also a last-minute entry to replace a different song not internationally available on Spotify. This one casts a great surge of immediacy and riffing.

Atlantean Kodex - "A Secret Byzantium - Numbered as Sand and the Stars" (from "The Course Of Empire", 2019)

3.5/5. Again I would've liked the gothic/doom-influenced heavy metal style better if I didn't lose most interest in gothic/doom metal, but there's still good beauty in melodic force, and it's quite cool ending the playlist in nearly the same style as the beginning.

1
Daniel

Well this one came and hit me straight out of left field. I am unable to put Night on Brocken into any kind of context within Fates Warning's discography as this is the first album of their's I have listened to, but I derived a huge amount of enjoyment out of it in it's own right and I think if I had heard it upon it's release back in '84 I would have been a massive fan. Sure, it's quite derivative, drawing heavily on Iron Maiden and particularly Judas Priest for influence, but it is an album so chock full of infectious riffs and sheer exuberance that it would be churlish to dismiss it. Sure the production isn't the most accomplished, but I kind of like the effect, particularly on the rhythm section. What with it's triumphant heavy metal and truly bonkers cover art, I have got to admit to being won over by it's charms and would count this as a great example of early eighties US metal.

4/5

6

The Guardians / Last Replied

Daniel in The NWOBHM Thread at 23.11.2022 08:36 PM: Mythra - "The Death & Destiny E....
Daniel in Requests for The Guardians Releases / Bands to be added to Metal Academy at 23.11.2022 07:10 PM: Ben, please add NWOBHM band Mythra's...
Daniel in What are you listening to now? : The Guardians Edition at 16.11.2022 08:31 PM: Bow Wow - "Signal Fire" (1977)A semi...
Daniel in What are you listening to now? : The Guardians Edition at 13.11.2022 08:06 AM: Cool Feet - "Burning Desire" (1976)I...
Daniel in November 2022 Feature Release - The Guardians Edition at 12.11.2022 07:13 PM: Here's my review:I wasn’t familiar...
Xephyr in The European Power Metal Thread at 07.11.2022 06:12 PM: Pretty excited about this one, but t...
Rexorcist in The European Power Metal Thread at 06.11.2022 04:39 PM: January 20, 2023...So now we got a w...
Xephyr in Past The Guardians playlist tracklistings at 02.11.2022 01:33 AM: November 20221. Avantasia – “Ara...
Xephyr in November 2022 "The Guardians" Playlist - Metal Academy Radio at 01.11.2022 05:41 PM: The Guardians - November Spotify Pla...
Xephyr in November 2022 Feature Release - The Guardians Edition at 01.11.2022 01:16 AM: The more I do these Feature Releases...