Traditional heavy metal. New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal. Epic Metal. Call it what you want. Just call it good ol’ fashioned HEAVY METAL….and play it loud!
Why 6? Because 5 was too few and we heard Starlight Ritual rather late in the day – so suck it!
Crystal Viper – The Cult [Poland]
Released: January 29th, 2021 via Listenable Records
The most well-rounded of Crystal Viper’s output to date, The Cult found Marta Gabriel and co. adding a little more of the grit missing from 2019’s Tales From Fire and Ice while still remaining staunchly indebted to European power metal’s bombastic nature.
The key to The Cult’s success was simple. Quality songs. Catchy as fuck in fact. While hardly setting the world alight in the ingenuity stakes, tracks such as exhilarating opener “Providence” and the achingly 80’s semi-ballad “Sleeping Giants” stayed with you, long after most albums have been jettisoned to the dark recesses of your brain.
With The Cult, Crystal Viper’s steady ascent marched on unabated!
Portrait – At One With None [Sweden]
Released: September 23rd, 2021 via Metal Blade Records
Production woes aside – At One With None is compressed to fuck – Portrait‘s latest batch of Mercyful Fate meets Iced Earth-lovin’ heavy metal hymns were as histrionic and as powerful as ever.
2017’s Burn The World was always going to be a hard album to follow. However, we’d wager that fans of that particular modern classic will admit that At One With None stood toe-toe with its illustrious predecessor. Decidedly retro without once sounding passe, At One With None‘s hit rate was, ironically, second to none. That being said, the likes of the pulse-raising “A Murder Of Crows” and the sprawling grandiosity of epic centrepiece “Ashen” stood out from the pack.
Classic sounding 80’s metal for a modern audience!
Blazon Stone – Damnation [Sweden]
Released: Independently on September 15th, 2021
As jaunty as a particularly horny, rum-deprived Sailor-person on his/her first shore leave in a decade, the Running Wild-esque nature of Blazon Stone‘s 7th album defiantly stayed the heavy/speed/power metal course…. while offering plenty of tasty weevil-infused snacks for trve metallers to chow down on!
Metal can be fun – should be fun? – and Blazon Stone‘s Damnation was simply a blast from start to finish. Feeling like scurvy is going to ruin your winter? Give “Raiders of Jolly Roger” a spin and gasp in awe as your Vitamin C levels immediately rise to levels even COVID would be afraid of.
That’s right you salty sea-dog’s, Blazon Stone is good for your immune system. And that’s a fact!