Album Review: Air Raid- Across The Line

 

Air Riad are a band I have to admit I have not been all to familiar with. I always saw their name come up when people would mention New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal bands so I figured when they dropped their third album “Across The Line” I thought it was a perfect time to give the band a listen. I was hoping the band although having multiple line up changes would still sound great and overall I think they hit a good mark with this album as it stands.

The album opens with “Hold The Flame” quickly showing that Air Raid are a band that hearken back to traditional metal acts specifically like Dio, mid eighties Scorpions and even a touch of bands like Dokken with a lot of that flashy fast as a blade guitar soloing. However the biggest aspect about the album that stands out is new vocalist Fredrik Werner’s not over the top vocal style. His vocals are very much like early eighties Rainbow with a Joe Lynn Turner like grit to them or even a bit of Graham Bonnet at times especially in tracks like “Line of Danger” which has one of the most memorable choruses of every song here. “Hell and Back” is another great song with some heavy catchy riffing and a strong chorus that almost reminds me of Europe at times as well. Air Raid succeed I think the most at having that classic metal sound down to a staple but having that hard rock type melody mix very well which is also notable in “Northern Light” balancing the intense melody and heaviness perfectly. Perhaps the biggest pay off this album has is the final track “Black Dawn” which has some of the best mid tempo fist pounding riffing on the album. The production i really admire as well as this is possibly one of the best produced albums I have heard this year with a very full sound with every instrument coming in very clear and the vocals although more laid back still punch just as hard as the instrumentals.

Overall, this album receives an 8.5 out of 10. While the album has some moments like “Entering the Zone Zero” which is sort of dull and basic, the majority is well done catchy melodic 80’s heavy metal. It is also like I mentioned before, one of the best sounding albums I have heard this year as well and deserves at least a full listen with the album clocking in just under a comfortable forty minutes. Whether you are a die hard heavy metal fan or a casual listener, I feel there is something here for all as it is just a fun album altogether which is, in the end, what Heavy Metal music is all about.

 

“British Steel- The Rising Force of British Heavy Metal” compilation to be released in September

 

As a heavy metal fan, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal will always be one of the most important movements in the genre’s history. However in the modern day we see yet another legion of young and hungry bands coming from Britain and that is exactly what this compilation is all about. Featuring some of the best up and coming acts such as Seven Sisters, Amulet, Wytch Hazel and many many more, this album will be an amazing representation of the return of British Traditional Heavy Metal in all it’s glory. I am excited for this release personally as the NWOBHM gave me some of my favorite artists of all time and this feels like my generations answer to that. The album will be released September 22nd, 2017 through Dissonance Productions and Back On Black records.

Track listing

01. Amulet – Highwayman

02. Aggressive Perfector – Harlot’s Spell

03. Eliminator – Lost To The Void

04. Dungeon – Queen Of Sin

05. Dark Forest – Where The Arrow Falls

06. Toledo Steel – Rock Nights

07. Vuil – Iron Witch

08. Seven Sisters – The Witch’s Eye

09. Insurgency – Destined For Death

10. Neuronspoiler – Slay The Beast

11. Wytch Hazel – Freedom Battle

 

Album Review: Stallion- From The Dead

STALLION-From-the-Dead-LP-BLACK

“From The Dead” is the second full length album from Traditional Heavy Metal group Stallion and is to be released June 30th, 2017. Stallion have been slowly on the rise since their mini album “Mounting The World” released in 2013. Since then, they played Keep It True, released their first full length entitled “Rise and Ride” and are gearing up fpr their most ambitious release yet. Personally I have not been extremely familiar with the band but I know from a lot of others that they definitely are a band to check out. So does this band pass with flying colors or do they get mixed with the hundreds of other Traditional Metal bands out today?

 

Track Rundown

 

1.Underground Society- The opening track on the album and wow, this is honestly one of the openers I have heard all year. The band absolutely rips into this number in absolute classic speed metal fashion with a very echoed production akin to how alot of bands sounded back in the day, and it is done faithfully here. It really captures the raw sound of the band. The vocals are something I have always loved from Stallion as they really have a grit to them but have that classic 80’s traditional metal style which I really like. Overall this opener packs that classic speed metal such as bands like Exciter and done in a faithful and strong way.

2.Down And Out- This song packs more of a mid tempo to it with a really infectious riff and vocals that you can’t help but sing to. It really is a catchy and heavy tune that has become one of my favorites on the album. This is a tune that shows Stallion are bound to get bigger and bigger. The middle of the solo goes more into a frantic tempo showing the capabilities of the band and just how tight they play as well.

3.Hold The Line- This sounds exactly like a tune that Priest never released around 83-84. This is 1005 pure fist pumping heavy metal that could have put Stallion on the top back in the day. These guys would have been huge in the 80’s especially with the power they pack in their songs and their abilities to create big powerful hooks. Overall, this is a simple fun heavy metal tune executed brilliantly.

4.Waiting For A Sign-This tune has a very Dokken “Dream Warriors” feel to it I mean can’t you see this tune in the credits to a Night On Elm Street movie? I can especially with the keyboards that really are an awesome touch, they add more power to the song and are used sparingly during the chorus to give it a bigger sound. This tune even though it has a more 80’s ballad feel packs a lot of power and is one I could listen to over and over. However, around the three minute mark it speeds up into a full speed metal assault. It really catches you off guard but adds a lot more substance to an already fine written song but it just adds an extra layer which I really dig. It does flow back into the more mid paced section of the song and works quite well.

5.From The Dead-I love the acoustic guitar opening to this track it just has a very shimmery and emotional feel to it. The song goes immediately into a break neck speed pace with some cool starts and stops and a lot of different riffs but the  main riff against the verses is just so lethal. The chorus on this track is also one of the best on the album as well. This song has more of a classic thrash feel to it in some areas as well especially in the bridge to the chorus. Easily one of the most epic tracks on the album, definitely worth repeat listens.

6.Kill Fascists-Stallion pulled an SOD here, with a very short song with a tasty riff…all that needs to be said

7.Lord Of The Trenches- The band are yet again on fire with this one and once again proves how these guys would have been huge during the golden age of 1980’s heavy metal with powerful soaring vocals all over the place that could easily get a crowd to sing along to them. In fact Pauly’s vocals honestly are some of the strongest I have heard in years and really push the band over the top.

8.Blackbox-This song has a very NWOBHM sounding riff to it and with the tempo as well. The bridge almost has a frantic hard rock pace to it as well. Overall, this is another strong heavy hitter that is definitely worth multiple listens!

9.Step Aside-This track keeps the album flowing along with the classic speed metal formula in hand however this is definitely one of the fastest tunes on the album with a very Jaguar (i.e speed for speeds sake) feel to it and I really like it, the band just goes as hard as they can here. Another favorite of mine(hell I cant diss one song on this album honestly).

10.Awake The Night-Opening with a more bruding heavy riff going more into a classic mid to fast tempo traditional heavy metal riff, this song possibly is where the band puts most of their progressive tendencies on the album. Their are some more interesting riffs on this tune like in the chorus and some cool melodic moments all throughout as well with the drums doing a lot of different tempo’s. I also like the Manowar ish mid section with the guitars slowing down and the low epic vocals, it just screams epic metal. I also really like how in one section the guitar goes faster and faster with some palm muted strumming like a clock before going into one of the wildest solo’s on the album. This is one hell of a closer on definitely one of the most quality heavy metal albums I have heard all year.

 

Overall, From The Dead gets a strong, very strong 9 out 10. Like I mentioned how Night Demon got their sound absolutely as close to the vintage NWOBHM sound, Stallion did that with the classic 80’s speed metal sound but adding small influences here and there to make this record entirely faithful and shows a band that is really hungry and definitely knows how to handle the sound they have created. Stallion definitely are one of the top bands on my list especially from this year and are one that proves the future of metal is in the right hands.

Headbanging Highlight of the Week: Pounding Metal-A Tribute to Exciter

ExciterPoundingMetal

This weeks Headbanging Highlight on Glistening Metal comes from the awesome Skol records label entitled Pounding Metal: A Tribute to Exciter. Being an Exciter fan, I was excited for this release for quite a long time. Now when it comes to tribute albums, they can be either really good or really bad. Knowing producer Bart Gabriel’s history with tributes (He did a RIOT and Anvil disc for both groups) I knew this was in good hands. He got some of the best in the scene including Attacker, Ram, Crystal Viper, Savage Master, October 31 and plenty more. all of these bands do very faithful covers with not too many changes to the songs other than perhaps production values. If you are an Exciter fan this is a great disc to hear some very faithful tributes done by a lot of bands you may not know about, which will introduce you to some great new music as well. This is also a  great disc to introduce new Exciter fans as well and all around is a fun time. Some of my favorite tracks are Attacker’s “Cry of The Banshee”, Savage Master’s “Saxons Of The Fire”, Ironsword’s “Death Revenge” and plenty more it is hard to pick as every band does every song justice. Highly recommend any fan of heavy metal to pick this up. Hear some great new and older acts tear up some great immortal speed metal tunes. Long live Exciter!!!

Album Review: Night Demon- Darkness Remains

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“Darkness Remains” is the second full length album from traditional Heavy Metal trio Night Demon and was released on April 21st, 2017. Finally at long last Night Demon have graced us with another healthy serving of Heavy Metal after touring nearly endlessly on their 2015 album “Curse Of The Damned” and building up a reputation other bands wish they could have. This band has become one of if not my all time favorite heavy metal group in recent years so I have been quite curious as to how they would follow up their magnificent debut. Well let us enter the darkness and begin this epic heavy metal journey.

Track Rundown

1.Welcome To The Night- Opening with some very atmospheric double layered guitars and heavy background synths, the song really kicks into high gear right away with that classic sound the band is known by. However they seem to have homed in on their playing skills especially as they sound tighter than ever before here. New guitarist Armand John Anthony has a more heavy tone than Brent did in my opinion his tone just seems to cut through solos more. I really dig the vocal harmonies as well and Jarvis Leatherby’s voice has gotten stronger and stronger with each release as well. Overall this is how you do a fucking opening song, no bullshit just straight forward Metal.

2.Hallowed Ground- This song has some really heavy thrashy tempos to it and I really dig it with the more bass heavy production. The vocal harmonies dominate half of the verses and chorus lines and work very well creating some amazing hooks and a great song overall with one of my favorite solo’s on the album!

3.Maiden Hell- The band pay their tributes to Iron Maiden right up front with this tune having Maiden song titles in the lyrics and it is done very well with this fast and aggressive tune. This is a song that shows how good Night Demon are at writing catchy heavy metal tunes and why they deserve to run with the big dogs. Im telling you these guys will be legends one day and this tune proves that statement strongly!

4.Stranger In The Room- This tune has a more mid pace to it with the more doomy side of the band showing soaring vocals and the slower pace giving Armand more of a chance to get some tasty guitar bends in here and there. The chorus is very melodic and has a more modern presence to it but it works really well. The pace picks up during the last half of the song and shows how well the band can groove with what I believe yo be some organ in the background, definitely another highlight on the album!

5.Life On The Run- This tune has more of that classic NWOBHM influence to it and one thing I havent mentioned yet is how much I love the raw yet polished production on the album as a whole. The lack of double tracked guitars for solo’s etc. with the bass being front and center is done amazingly and doesn’t make the album feel empty at all, something a lot of bands cant accomplish. This song is a good example of that with the bass being very up front but not too overpowering or underwhelming. This song has a more frantic pace toward the end with some awesome solid galloping drum work from Dusty Squires who is a damn good drummer in his own right. This song has some cool suprises throughout and shows that the bands songwriting skills just get better and better.

6.Dawn Rider- Opening with some “Overkill” style oldschool double bass drums into a more chugging tune with epic verses spread into a hook filled chorus. This tune definitely has that mid 80’s Maiden feel to it akin to something off of Piece of Mind. This is definitely is going to be a fan favorite live(but up to this point so is every tune on the album).

7.Black Widow- This tune has a really epic feel right from the get go with an oldschool power metal vibe and goes right for the throat and has to be one the most aggressive and precise songs Night Demon have written up to this point. The chorus is one of the best on the album with the gang vocals that beg for audience participation. And I love how the pace just get faster when the solo kicks in it really gets you going like holy shit they just…keep…going…and its amazing.

8.On Your Own- I swear if I closed my eyes I would think this was an old Dio track that was cut from Last In Line or something like that. Things like that show how well Night Demon are at bringing that sound into the modern age. They show that Heavy Metal is still exciting and fun. I like the kind of interlude in the middle it shows that the band are adding little flairs and things like that to add to their songs progression. Even if they are minor they still show that band having their own distinctive sound.

9.Flight Of The Manticore- The very first Night Demon instrumental and holy shit it really shows off the bands talents and is a total jam. It definitely has a more progressive metal feel to it like Maiden mixed with Raven. The band are extremely tight here and I mean very tight. I also love the abundance of double bass drums as well more than ever before. The mid slower section where it becomes more atmospheric is great and again shows the more progressive side of the band. Every member gets a chance to showcase their talents in this song as well which is pretty badass as well.

10.Darkness Remains- This is the surprise track on the album and the reason being is that it is the softest and most atmospheric song on the album. With a soft guitar and Jarvis’ very foggy voice ominously in the background, it works very well as the more ballad-like song on the album with the band coming in fully soon after. This tune would be amazing live and is just a perfect song to end the album on as it is a complete surprise from the band with a lot of emotion and a very emotional solo from Armand as well. And with the synthesizers filling the speakers, the journey comes to a close….

Overall, I give this album a 9.5 out of 10. Honestly, Night Demon has managed to capture lightning in a bottle not once, but twice and this album is at this point their holy grail. With what the band managed to capture on their first album, they managed to capture here in a new darker and progressive way. They took the hooks, the riffs and the production and made it bigger but in a way that just shows how they do it live. “Darkness Remains” is without a doubt my album of the year and it wont be leaving my speakers for a long long time. If you ever have a chance check out the digital version of the album with a killer cover of Black Sabbath’s “Turn Up The Night” and a speed metal version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”. May Night Demon forever reign and Jarvis, I owe you the next beer!

Album Review: Satans Hallow-Satans Hallow

Satans Hallow

“Satan’s Hallow” is the debut album by Chicago traditional Heavy Metal band Satan’s Hallow and was released on April 1st, 2017. The first time I had heard anything from this band was actually in a trailer for the dvd of last years Keep It True festival. From what I heard I was very intrigued as the sound was very powerful and the vocals were extremely on point as well. So I was curious: can this band carry a whole record? Lets find out.

Track Rundown

1.Reaching For The Night- The album opens roaring with this epic vintage Maiden-esque tune. Right away you can tell especially that vocalist Mandy Martillo isn’t messing around. Her voice has a very comfortable and strong range that isn’t too high but is just right. The whole song is just pure old school epic metal and for an opener it kickass all over the place.

2.Choir of The Cursed- This song has a heavy more mid paced feel throughout it and is one of the tunes on the album that shows the more technical capabilities of the band with a lot of guitar melodies throughout. I almost get a Dio vibe here as well and Im digging it. The production I might add is very old school as well with a very raw and not too polished feeling.

3.Hot Passion- This song is a lot like “2 minutes to midnight” but with female vocals. It honestly is pretty badass the chorus is very big and its one of those tunes you just blast down the highway going 150 miles an hour…and thats what it’s all about. This is definitely one of the hookiest tunes on the album.

4.Black Angel- I almost get a Gillan-era sabbath vibe from this tune for some reason, it just has that darkness to it for me. The core sound is still denim and leather clad heavy metal to the fullest though. Just another ass kicking old school metal tune, nothing more nothing less.

5.Satan’s Hallow- This tune definitely has that more bumpy and bluesy guitar riff going for it and definitely shifts the pace a bit to having more groove. It works and has a more 70’s Rainbow vibe to it with the early 80’s metal sound heavily heard through the chorus. It is a really catchy tune that definitely is one of mmy favorites on the album as well!

6.The Horror- This tune has a similar style to the opening track with more of a speed metal influence to it. I really dig that the guitars you can easily pick out in the production it is weird to explain but it is one of those things where every instrument can be heard and this band does that to a T in that sense. The soloing all over this album I have yet to mention is quite fantastic as well, with a very crisp sound to it.

7.Moving On- Another full on epic metal tune that is again done very well. This band would have been huge in 1984 with the amount of hooks they have and not to mention how tight the band plays. I really like the more frantic pace of the drums here as well it really gets you head banging.

8.Still Alive- This song is probably the most mid paced on the album with a more ballad-ish feeling to it but never really goes to any quiet moments except briefly in the middle with some cool pitch harmonics but it keeps that epic fist pumping tempo going all the way through. It is a great tune especially this far into the album, you definitely want to keep hearing more! The melodies, the hooks and the overall musicianship displayed are very faithful to this style of music.

9.Beyond The Bells- This song is the first I heard from this band and is what the core of Heavy Metal is about. Pure fist pumping, catchy strong as steel metal I mean from the guitar harmonies to the vocals in general I mean it is just one of those songs that begs to be played live to get a crowd going. Literally one of those songs I cant express through words just go check it out!

Overall, this album gets a solid 8 out of 10. This band is another one that is definitely going to become of my favorites in the Chicago scene and this album featuring epic and very faithful heavy metal with dark themes done by a very tight band is sure to show that this band is one to be reckoned with. The album is out now on the bands bandcamp but it will be out at the end of this month on Cd and Vinyl over at Underground Power records so when that hits go grab it and blast this piece of modern(vintage) Chicago epic metal!

The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal

The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal:  The underground sensation today

When most people in 2017 hear the words heavy metal, they usually think of either Metallica, the bands in the mid 1980’s that wore way too much make up or the bands of this generation such as Disturbed, Lamb of God or Five Finger Death Punch. Some even say that the original sounds from heavy metal that really helped it become a genre are gone. I mean the styles that the early speed metal, thrash metal and of course traditional heavy metal bands played. The denim and leather “true” heavy metal style seems to be absent in the world to at least most heavy metal fans today. However, in the past roughly ten to fifteen years, the underground has been literally exploding with bands that play this style and very faithfully as well. This scene has been known as “The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal”.Now what exactly did this movement consist of? Well exactly what it sounds like. It is essentially a bunch of bands that play a style of heavy metal that was originally popular in the late 70’s/early 80’s. Within this article I hope to show everyone that the underground is very much alive showing some of the bands that essentially were here when it began to kick back off as well as groups emerging today that I will spotlight.

       One of the first NWOTHM bands I had ever heard of was Canada’s Cauldron. Their 2009 debut album “Chained to the Nite” really showed the 80’s power trio sound similar to groups like Raven and the nasally vocal works akin to groups such as legends Angel Witch. This album was released in the early development of the movement but was a good debut for the Canadian group who have been on an upswing and released “In Ruin” in 2016.

 

Another group that came out around the same time was Swedish speed metallers Enforcer who released their debut “Into The Night” in 2008. Enforcers style belongs more along the lines of Judas Priest or even the brash style of Exciter. Their most recent studio album “From Beyond” was released in 2015 and could be considered one of their best albums since forming

 

Possibly one of the most prominent NWOTHM groups that have surfaced in more recent years is California’s Night Demon. Their sound really sits at the core of the New Wave of British Heavy with bands like Jaguar and Diamond Head. Specifically their lead singer and bass player Jarvis Leatherby has made himself a prominent figure in this movement as a big promoter of traditional heavy metal bands new and old. He has also played bass with Cirith Ungol and provided vocals for Jaguar in some circumstances as well. Night Demon’s debut album “Curse of The Damned” released in 2015 I consider to be one of the finest albums and possibly most popular out of this underground movement and has seen them on tour with some high profile groups such as Raven and even opening for Anvil this spring as well. The band is also set to release their second album entitled “Darkness Remains” in April 2017.

 

 

Another one that popped onto my radar was Chicago’s very own Shokker. Although they never personally identified with the NWOTHM label, I can’t nail their sound to anything other than fist pumping heavy metal. They could have easily come out in 1984 and would have been a hit. Led by powerful vocalist Rachl Quinn, The band plays a mix of NWOBHM based heavy metal and a very powerful hard rock sound popularized by groups such as Y&T and Krokus. They released their self titled EP back in 2015 and a debut album is soon to follow, keep em on your radar they kick ass. The group is also currently working on a full length album as well.

Another group that popped up on my radar this year is Carriage out of Portsmouth, Virginia. Carriage have a mix of Horror film themes and early cult speed metal sounds from the likes of King Diamond/Mercyful Fate and Exciter.Their vocalist Robbie Rainey told Glistening Metal  “There is something about it that speaks to me at the core of who I am and I enjoy writing this kind of music more because it feels just like it sounds, like there are no boundaries and it’s somehow more honest. It’s not a genre that feels restricting yet it’s still distinct enough to stand apart.” The band are currently out on the Divebomb records “Masters of Metal Vol. 2” compilation and are working toward some bigger plans later this year. They are definitely one to watch out for. You can hear their music in the link below.

https://carriagemetal.bandcamp.com/track/drink-the-blood

 

 

So overall we have only a slight incite of this massive movement known as the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal and is only going to grow from here. Other groups that I would like to recommend include Detroit’s Demon Bitch, Seven Sisters from the UK and even another Chicago group entitled High Spirits. These groups are the real future to Heavy Metal and even though they are shy of the public eye, they prove that the underground will never die and will thrive on. So go out and support the NWOTHM!