Album Review: Walpyrgus- Walpyrgus Nights

“Walpyrgus Nights” is the debut album from American Heavy Metal band Walpyrgus and was released June 6th, 2017. This album was definitely on my most anticipated list this year because ever since I heard the first Walpyrgus e.p. I was hooked with how these guys didn’t just have that traditional metal staple to them, but just how they also had this almost horror punk aspect to them it almost seemed like especially in the vocal work. They are definitely one of the most melodic bands out there and after seeing them crush Legions of Metal, I was so excited to finally get my hands on this album. So is it work the hype?

 

Track Rundown

1.The Dead Of Night-Opening with some heavy melodic guitar lines and those soaring melodic vocals that are a trade mark of the band. The song has a relatively simple melody and chord progression but it is done in a very tight way and I also have to admire the production with how clicky and up front the bass is but still lets the guitars shine. The melody of this song is extremely strong and works very well as an opener it really gets you singing along. The keyboards are also a nice addition giving the song some added atmosphere.

2.Somewhere Under Summerwind- The overall progression of this song has a very Michael Graves era Misfits style to it yet played in a more metal style. It is a very easy melodic song to sing to with a very strong solo with a lot of feeling to it as well. Definitely one of the strongest songs on the album.

3.Dead Girls- This song has the punk feeling right up front with the standard punk chord progression going on but it works with the melodic guitar lines that are as infectious as a lot of Iron Maiden guitar lines are. The lyrics are straight up Misfits meets King Diamond and it works very well and gives the album this feeling that makes me want it to be October. Avery simple but very infectious metal tune with an awesome organ solo that comes out of nowhere.

4.Lauralone-Opening with the toll of a bell against hanging guitars going into a bouncy metal riff, this song has more melody like the last songs but has almost a progressive feel to the riff with it bouncing up and down but changing up a lot. The chorus is quite infectious as well and I think at this point this album has that going as the biggest thing for it. The band know how to make a song get stuck in your head. The guitar solo on this song is also my favorite on the album as it is very intricate and fast when the song take a more mid tempo feel.

5.Palmystry-Thus song opens similarly like Iron Maidens “Running Free” but with a lot more melody to the guitars going into a more simplistic approach in the main progression of the song. It has a very similar feel to “Dead Girls” but the more chugging chorus saves it from sounding like a repeat of another song. The quick slower parts are nice but at first listen, they feel a bit disjointed like they just happen but you soon forget about that as you hear it more and more.

6.She Lives- The opening riff has a very Mercyful Fate feel to it with with this being one of the more slow songs (at first) on the album but still having that mid point between heavy and melodic. The chorus feels like it should be a slight faster tempo as well possibly because the song ends up at a more galloping tempo but kind of abruptly ends.

7.Light Of A Torch-The opening on this song i think drags a bit but damn the riff it leads into pays off. This is overall probably my favorite on the album as the band really homes in on their craft and creates a very high energy melodic classic metal song with an enormous chorus as well. Overall this is an amazing tune that has its melodic edge but still has this dark tone about it.

8.Walpyrgus Nights- I love the synths on this song and how they just engulf your speakers as they give just a great even heavier atmosphere to the song. Thus us essentially the bands magnum opus on their debut. This is definitely one that is  meant for a live crowd as it has so many parts that beg for an audience to sing along to. As the song stay in the slower tempo, it really works as an atmospheric closer to the album akin to bands like Night Demon and the like. However, at the end it really picks up with some intense catchy vocal work and soloing. It really ends the record on a high note.

 

Overall, I give the album a solid 7.5 out if 10. I am overall happy with how Walpyrgus’ debut has come out. It has the dark atmosphere with the more horror punk mixed with mercyful fate type song writing but with the band really making it their own. From going from more simplistic riffs to more intricate twin guitars, the album is very solid with giving the listener what they came for. Besides a couple of parts that felt a bit disjointed, this was a good debut from a band that I would definitely recommend!

Headbanging Highlight of The Week: Night Flight Orchestra- Amber Galactic

Amber Galactic

This weeks highlight is the third album from classic rock throwback group Night Flight Orchestra entitled “Amber Galactic” and was released May 19th, 2017 via Nuclear Blast. This group harks back to the days of classic AOR and FM radio rock but with a few touches. The most interesting thing to me as well when I first heard this band was that they feature members of both Arch Enemy and Soilwork. I thought “How could these guys write classic rock just as good as modern day metal?”. Well after hearing this album I was pleasantly surprised.

The album opens with “Midnight Flyer” and right off the bat the production really catches you with very lush keyboards into a very high energy riff with lead singer Bjorn Strid who hits high soaring notes with ease. The more rocking songs such as this one and “Space Whisperer” have a very oldschool Graham Bonnet/ Alcatrazz feel to them and I even get a hint of Gillan as well. However, the album holds so much more with tracks like “Gemini” featuring a very catchy shimmering chorus soaked guitar riff, the funky disco-like “Domino”, and my favorite song being “Something Mysterious” which is so 80’s and so authentic it will be a song that sticks with me for a long long time. The album isn’t very heavy in terms of most of the artists I mention on here but every single song has monumental hooks. Even the more ballad songs with a more Journey feel such as “Josephine” or even the cheesy but catchy “Jennie” are just so fun and fresh to listen to. The album is really a feel good summer album that you have playing very loud driving through the hot summer heat and like I said before every song is a swing hit and this is easily going to make it not only on my top list of the year but way into the top 10’s as well. The band really nails that early 80’s/late 70’s sound here and if you are a fan of classic rock with big hooks , you are in for a very fun and powerful album. I also recommend looking up the bands previous two releases as well, they are definitely worth a listen!

Album Review: DOYLE- Doyle II:As We Die

“Doyle II: As We Die” is the sophomore album from Horror Punk/Metal supergroup DOYLE composed of most notably legendary Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein and Cancerslugs Alex Story and was released in May 2017. So finally another Doyle album is out. After falling in love with the first album “Abominator” and having it be one of the first albums I ever reviewed,  I was hoping the band would do another record. Finally I have my hands on it so lets delve into this album and see if it stacks up against the first.

Track Rundown

 

1.Kiss Me As We Die- Opening with a very doomy sounding riff but soon the song goes into a bouncy heavy riff with Alex Storys very angry vocals coming in to complete the bands sound. His cleaner vocals work well on this track as an opener having the chorus be less in your face and more hauntingly melodic which works. The song has a really good chugging pace that DOYLE used on the first album but the production here also feels like a slight step up although i feel like Alex’s more melodic vocal parts he seems a bit buried in the mix. Overall this is a good  opener and shows what the band is all about. Horror punked out metal and the solo was a nice addition as it feels more like an actual guitar solo. Alissa from Arch Enemy is a nice little surprise on there as well.

 

2.Beast Like Me- This song has more of a straight punk vibe to it with Doyle doing more pitch harmonics adding a pantera flair to the songs. The band has a lot of big riffs that get stuck in your head and I feel like this song isn’t bad but the main riff kind of falls flat for some reason. However, the chorus is alot more powerful and I feel makes the song. Overall, not a bad tune with some cool solo interludes as well.

 

3.God Of Flies- I love the more Pentagram feel of the riff in this song, Doyle just pulls of the slow doom riff so well. The song goes right into a more mid pace and its pretty catchy as it has some more melodic hints in the verses. This is one of my favorites on the album as it is a very heavy song yet it has an accessible sound in mainstream heavy metal music today.

 

4.Run For Your Life- The pace of this song is quite interesting as the drums are doing alot of different tempos and starts and stops. The new drummer the band has really works hard to keep the songs sounding heavy as hell. This tune also has one of the biggest and catchiest chorus’ on the album as well its just so good. This is another song i turn to a lot on the album as it has the heaviness yet the really catchiness in the chorus.

 

5.Darkside- The opening single string playing sounds like it could be on a Danzig album as it almost has a goth feeling to it. In fact the whole song has this Gothic undertone to it. Possibly due to the chord progression combined with Story’s more haunting vocals on this one. Not a bad tune at all.

 

6.Witchcraft- This one has a real bounce to it with the riff being very infectious and easy to headbang to with Story giving more of  a Michale Graves sounding performance in his vocal style. The song has a metal tone but the melody feels very much like a classic horror punk song with those hints of 50’s rock n roll. I really like it because both styles mesh pretty well.

 

7.King Of The Undead- There is almost a more thrash feeling in the riff if this song but still retains a mid paced kind of tempo with plenty of pitch harmonics. The song really is one you have to play multiple times as the tempo is kinda all over the place. It isn’t a bad tune but I feel like the vocals are still a bit too quiet on this song and arent out there as much as I feel they should be.

 

8.Virgin Sacrifice- I really like the more swinging pace of this song especially in the drums very much like “Cemetery Sexxx” did on the first sing. The rhythm with the more swaying vocals I feel makes the song really hit as hard as it does. The chorus has a lot of viciousness to it especially in the vocals as well. Overall, this is another one of my favorites on the album as well.

 

9.We Belong Dead- This is one of the slowest songs on the album with a started and stop chugging riff making up most of it and having more of a doom pace as well. I tis also one of the most simple on the album not offering a lot of changes but that chorus is a total classic 90’s misfits chorus. I could almost see this song appearing on “Famous Monsters” if not for the way heavier sound of the band overall. I really have to say that I am happy that Doyle is adding more of his horror punk roots into his music more.

 

10.Show No Mercy-Thus song has more of that chunky groove that Doyle utilizes heavily throughout this album and the first one as well. The song is very heavy although very basic. It does exactly what its suppose to. The band plays very tight on this one and is another where i can praise the drum work with a lot of starting and stopping throughout. A good tune with a good groove.

 

11.Dark Gods Arise- The overall feel of this song is between a mid tempo and a more punk beat. I really like the lower almost whispering vocals and how Story utilizes them as well. The chorus is also one of the best on the album as well with a big part that you cant help but sing along to.

 

12.Blood On The Axe-  This is definitely one of the fastest songs on the album with a lot of very tight jagged riffing from Doyle and blood thirsty vocal work as well. The song does have some slower grooving segments as well that make it one of the best on the album. Overall, this is a major highlight as it shows the band at full throttle.

 

13.Night Of Sin- The album definitely ends with a faster tune that definitely has more of a punk mentality to it but also has some melodic moments throughout the chorus as well that I really dig. It is definitely one of the most frantic songs as well with a lot of galloping drum work that is done very well. This is a fantastic and high energy closer to the album.

Overall, I give the album a fair 8 out of 10. With their second release, Doyle continues to do more of what they did on the first record but with subtle improvements. With guitar solo’s being more present and the uses of some of the horror punk formula, the album manages to have songs that surpass some on the first album. However, some of the songs are not as memorable and seem too simplified here especially in the middle where it suffers from what a lot of punk music suffers from with monotony. But overall, the record as a whole is a good second album from the band and still is a fun time all around. Definitely if you are a horror punk fan or even just a more metal fan, I am sure their is something both sides of the spectrum could find to their liking with this release.

Album Review: DUEL- Witchbanger

 

“Witchbanger” is the second full length album from Texas Heavy/Stoner Rock band DUEL and was released on April 28th, 2017. After last years stellar “Fears Of The Dead” this Texas quartet returns to offer up another slab of 70’s inspired heavy metal. I can’t believe it has taken this long to get to talking about this album, but finally here we are. So lets see if DUEL were able to expand on the first album or if they fall into the dreaded sophomore slump.

 

Track Rundown

1.Devil-Opening with the sound a guitar plugging right into a simplisitic dirty blues based riff and Tom Franks’ heavy and very powerful vocals, the song has this almost “power-doom” vibe to it that makes it heavy but singable to with a catchy and very rock solid chorus. I really like the production it is very much like their first album but the vocalist seem to pop a bit more and have a bit more grain to them. The soling is smooth and faithful to the genre with a lot of groove being the main focal point. This is a great opener and shows the band being even more up front than they were on the first album.

2.Witchbanger-This is one of the most grooving tunes on the album with the  main riff in the verses following the melody of the vocals. One thing that Duel manages to capture is their ability to sound really tight but be really loose in their style at the same time where it feels like they are jamming in a garage somewhere. The chorus riff always gets stuck in my head but the weird vocal melody before that riff hits is a little weird, it just feels a bit out of place. The song is definitely a good number and one that would work very well live if I had a chance to catch these guys.

3.The Snake Queen- This tune has this almost classic rock aka early KISS feel until the hazy vocals come in which do work very well. The vocal melodies I think help the band establish more of a signified sound for themselves and gives the song more of it’s doom vibe as well. The song is a bit more laid back but the chorus really hits hard as it comes more up front with a more straightforward riff sludging all the way through. The song does eventually hit that more grooving tempo DUEL like to use in a lot of their songs and even though it is a shorter part, it works quite well and gives the track some extra flavor.

4.Astro Gypsy- One of my favorites on the album for sure. It has that Sabbathy Jazzy feel to it with some wah’ed out guitar riffing going on the slower bits. This is a tune that shows the more creative feeling of the band and has a very ZZ Top vibe as well. Definitely a highlight on the album.

5.Heart Of The Sun- I almost get a Witchfinder General feeling from this tune, it has a very melodic presence especially in its composure and it really works against the heavier songs on the album. It also shows bits of the progression within the bands songwriting capabilities also. Thus song also has one of the best solos on the album as well.

6.Bed Of Nails-This tune has an interesting riff to it as you think the melody is going to go one way, but the band tweaks it a bit and it works. However, as this song does have some of those melodic moments as the last track did, I don’t feel like it is as strong as “Heart Of The Sun” but still has some good qualities about it with some tasty solo guitar work throughout.

7.Cat’s Eye- This is another tune that has a mores simplistic approach to it with a heavy chugging riff through the verses and the chorus as well. As far as a straight forward heavy doom/rock song it works quite well. The solo is one of the heaviest on the album as well as it kicks in right after a break on the song. It is pretty short but it works for what it is.

8.Tigers and Rainbows- This song has a groove that works very well and sports one of the strongest choruses throughout as well. This song takes alot more turns than the last few do similar to the last track on their debut with the softer mid section in the song. The song does end with this more psychedelic heavy jam which works but also feels like the half of two songs combined into one it just feels a bit disjointed but isn’t a bad closer either.

Overall, I give the album a fair 7 out of 10. While this album does have a few problems with some of the songs being a but too simple or disjointed, the songs that are good are really freakin good. DUEL have definitely expanded their songwriting with added melody and more intricate sections within their songs. While their are things that this album do better than their first , the first does some things better than this one does. However, this album I still would give a spin as it definitely has sustainability in any collection of the lovers of heavy rock or doom metal.

Headbanging Highlight of the week: Evo-Warfare

 

This weeks headbanging highlight is the newest album from legendary Warfare drummer/vocalist Paul Evo entitled “Warfare” and was released May 26th, 2017 via High Roller Records. While this is a solo album , it definitely shares the punk attitude that made up the original sound Warfare had. However, there are some interesting spoken word parts on the album most notably with opener “Screaming At The Sea” being a very calm spoken word section. I remember the first time i put this album on I was almost like “is the whole album going to be like this?” I mean it really caught me off guard. However, the album really takes off once “Cemetery Dirt”and the real meat of the album comes at you full force. The TANK-like playing hits hard throughout the album with Evo coming out full force with his Lemmy-like vocals keeping the album at the punk/metal crossroads. The production is also pretty damn raw but in a good way. Unfortunately some of the guitar solo’s I wish would pop more as they feel a bit buried in the mix. Although Evo does play most of the instruments, there are some cool guest spots on the album. Lips from Anvil makes an appearance on the highlight track “This Man Bleeds Hate” and plays one of his dirtiest sounding solo’s i’ve heard in awhile. One of my all time favorite guitarists “Fast” Eddie Clarke also plays on the track “Misanthropy” and it sounds just like it was ripped off the “bomber” album and is one of my favorite moments on the album.

Overall, the album sees a great return from Evo. While it isn’t a mind blowing record or anything of that nature and has some issues with the production being a bit muddy at points, it is definitely a fun heavy album that is great to listen to blaring down the highway.

 

Album Review: Shokker-III

Shokker

“III” is the debut album by Chicago traditional Heavy Metal group Shokker and was released on May 9th, 2017. Now Shokker have been on a list of newer Chicago bands such as Spillage, Scars Of Armageddon and others that are definitely have chops when it comes to their original sound retrospectively. Finally Shokker have released their full length and it’s time to delve into hopefully a great start for these Chicago mainstays.

Track Rundown

1.III-Opening with some really raw sounding chugging guitars into a more old school Heavy Metal beat with some more hard rock feeling , this tune has a really cool groove with Rachl Quinn’s vocals punching through super hard. She is definitely a powerhouse of a vocalist and it shows with this tune. Overall, this is a good opener with a good groove to it all around.

2.Hammerhead- This song has a very Y&T feel to it and is definitely one that I imagine works very well live. This tune also sports one of my favorite choruses on the album as well it really hits you hard and has a good hook to it. Casey Tremont really lets loose on his solo on this song and is a very solid guitarist, I just wish his solo’s were a tad higher in the mix. One of the heaviest tunes on the album.

3.Snake Eyes- This is another good tune in the vein of that early 80’s american metal vibe. It has a good simple straight forward beat to it that almost has a Dio-esque feel to it. The evil sounding background vocals are definitely a nice touch and the chorus is pretty strong as well and retains a more hard rock feel to it. A very straight forward but very fun song.

4.Life & Despair-The vocals on this song are some of my favorite on the album as they really seem very up front and with the infectious and simple hard driving riff it makes for a good song with a timeless sound. The chorus is one of my favorites as well with the shouting backup vocals. However, I do wish they were a bit higher in the mix so they could pop more. Overall, it is a good oldschool heavy metal tune done faithfully.

5.Adrenaline-This tune is probably the fastest on the album and is definitely my favorite for the power it packs. From the very strong vocal deliveries to the very on point guitar soloing, this is a tune that I would show everyone when being introduced to this band. This is definitely a prime example of a song that is made to be played live.

6.Blessed Be-This tune opens with some very shimmery flanged guitars and even though it is a more somber opening than the last few songs, it still has a catch to it that sets it apart from being a ballad. It soon enough kicks into a more Priest-esque riff and is done quite well. Shokker I think would have faired well in the 80’s with the very big hooks that their songs I could just see them turning up on MTV in 82-83. The chorus for this tune is possibly the strongest on the album for me and really hits hard. Overall, this is another song that has a solid structure to it that doesn’t feel monotonous especially this far into the album.

7.Turn Around And Run-That fucking scream that opens this song always gets me going even on my eighth listen, it still catches me by surprise. The song is yet another offering of that Heavy Metal/Hard Rock feel and at this point in the album I’d like to see these guys get to the size of Halestorm or bands like that because I honestly think they pack as much power for that size of an audience, possibly even better. Especially with how solid of an album this is seven songs in, this band is definitely one of the most solid I’ve heard from the Chicago area in recent times.

8.Midnight Sun-This tune has a major Thin Lizzy “Thunder and Lightning” era feel to it from the Sykes feeling riff to the very melodic backup vocals in the chorus that are a very nice touch as well. This is one of those songs that you play over and over just to hear the chorus again and again the band just hits the nail on the head really well with this one.

9.Hello-This song is definitely the most ballad-like track on the album and has a lot more of a melodic tone to it than any other song and is definitely the highlight of the the album vocally as Quinn really gives it all she has. It isn’t a bad tune at all as it does break up the pace a bit and the more raw production does tend to help this song as the guitars seem to pop a bit more during the clean parts. Overall, not a bad tune but it is kind of short for my liking

10.Justified-This is a decent closer as it is one of the more straightforward tunes on the album but does feel a bit lacking as every time I hear it, it just kind of ends. I feel like a bit more time would have made this song just be an epic raging closer. It does end on a weaker note compared to the quality of songs earlier on the album.

Overall, I give the album a good 7.5 out of 10. Shokker definitely managed to create a raw good heavy metal record with some hard rock ideas mix about and it shows in the songs. While the production can be a bit muddy and the band are definitely not reinventing the wheel, the charisma in how these songs are performed on record are more than enough to show that this band has good things to come. Hopefully this record gets around enough for them to branch out further and get people interested. Definitely if you are into that Y&T/Krokus sound or early American metal kind of sound, Pick this one up for sure it is a good time.

E.P Review: Rock Goddess- It’s More Than Rock N Roll

rock_goddess_imtrar

“It’s More Than Rock N Roll” is the brand new E.P by classic Heavy Metal trio Rock Goddess and was released May 19th, 2017. This marks a long comeback for the band since it is their first time releasing new music since their 1987 album “Young and Free”. So after all this time, is the e.p worth the wait? Or do we see a band unfortunately fall flat on the pavement all these years later?

 

Track Rundown

1.It’s More Than Rock N Roll-Opening with some heavy slow drumming with a suspended guitar riff with Jody Turners heavy hitting vocals which are my favorite thing about this ep and the band in general. The vocal work has always been quite strong. Unfortunately this song seems stale to me. It just lacks a lot of creativity mainly in the verses it just lacks a lot of power. The production feels really flat too with he drums sounding too hmm up front I suppose? They sound too shimmery to me. Overall the song has a good chorus and fun solo, but unfortunately it drags too much and lacks a lot of power that you hear on those early records.

2.Back Off- this song has more of a simplistic NWOBHM feel to it mainly in the riffing and I feel the production works a bit more in this songs favor. I do feel the bass could be a bit higher in the mix but this is definitely an improvement over the first song. It isn’t anything mind blowing, but its an alright tune.

3.We’re All Metal- Now this song has those lyrics that I am always a sucker for, no matter how cheesy they are. Those “Metal lives forever” kind of lyrics are always great but the song unfortunately suffers from the same shortcomings as the title track. Although I like where the band were heading with this song, I feel it again lacks a bit of power which mainly is because of the production. It’s another track that is okay but feels somewhat uninspired.

Overall, I give this e.p a 2.5 out of 5. Rock Goddess’s return to the metal world is one that leaves a bit to be desired. The songs although not terrible, lack a lot of staying power and are hindered by a production that seems way too shimmery sounding on the drums and just doesn’t sound as organic as they could. I still hope that the band puts out a full length again at some point but for right now, I feel this e.p is mainly if you are looking to complete a collection or something to put on once in a great while.