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CD review LEATHER "II"

Veröffentlicht am 1. April 2018 von Markus W. in Leather, Leather Leone, Power Metal, Heavy Metal, US Metal, CD Review, High Roller Records, News, Chastain

CD review LEATHER "II"

(8/10) American metal queen Leather Leone is one of the most iconic female metal singers from the US. She has an extremely powerful voice that fits very well to metal music and it was guitar wizard David T. Chastain who saw the potential coming with Leone. She did some longplayers with Chastain and her harsher way of singing was an excellent counterpart to Chastain's filigree guitar play.

It was in 1989 when Leather revealed her first solo album and almost 30 years later a next strike hits the record shops. Simply entitled "II" the album brings back a late 80's metal vibe. The eleven new songs on "II" are well-done traditional metal tracks that benefit from Leather's vocals. She's as good as she was in the earlier days and neither power nor dynamic have got lost over time.

Power metal and heavy metal fans will be highly pleased by this longplayer. Songs like the Priest-reminding "The Outsider" and the uptempo tracks like "The One" and "Juggernaut" are terrific ones and even the calmer moments are very well-done. "Annabelle" is a half-ballad, which shows that Leone can easily handle this kind of tracks without any problem.

All in all "II" became a strong metal release that I haven't expected to be that good.  This longplayer is a positive surprise that you should have heard. Thumbs up Mrs. Leone.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Juggernaut
  2. The Outsider
  3. Lost at Midnite
  4. Black Smoke
  5. The One
  6. Annabelle
  7. Hidden in the Dark
  8. Sleep Deep
  9. Let Me Kneel
  10. American Woman
  11. Give me Reason

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: April 13th, 2018

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CD review VOJD "The Outer Ocean"

Veröffentlicht am 6. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Vojd, The Outer Ocean, High Roller Records, News, Hardrock, Classic Rock

CD review VOJD "The Outer Ocean"

(8/10) What feels like something new isn't necessarily what it seems to be. Now, Vojd is definitely a new rock outfit with a line-up that's very well known. Vojd is no less than 1/2 of Swedish metal outfit Black Trip. The guys released two excellent records with songs very much inspired by the NWoBHM before a specific circumstance led to a change.

When drummer Jonas Wikstrand decided to leave Black Trip the thought came up that this might be a good moment for a fresh start. The idea became reality and Vojd is prepared to ship their debut to the record shops. 

The quartet didn't merely change their name. The guys also made a shift when it comes to their music. Not that things are entirly different from what you know from Black Trip. It's more move towards classic rock and a wider range of sounds, which is the main difference with Black Trip.

"The Outer Ocean" includes excellent songs. "On an Endless Day of Everlasting Winter" definitely belongs to those. It's a rock song that reminds of bands like ZZ Top while the balladic "Dream Machine" emphasis the passion for blues even more. "Delusions in the Sky" is a typical vintage rocker a la Thin Lizzy and it's the moderate paced "To the Light" that ends a cool album, done by four talented musicians. 

The Stockholm-based quartet added more variety and layers to their sound and going for a new moniker was a smart decision. However, if you where/are a fan of Black Trip you also should listen to Vojd. It's still great music, in this case with some new spices. Thumbs up.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Break Out
  2. Delusion in the Sky
  3. Secular Wire
  4. The Outer Ocean
  5. Vindicated Blues
  6. On an Endless Day of Everlasting Winter
  7. Heavy Skies
  8. On the Run
  9. Dream Machine
  10. Walked Me Under
  11. To the Light

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Classic Rock

Release Date EU: February 23th, 2018

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CD review DEADHEADS "This One Goes to 11"

Veröffentlicht am 21. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in Deadheads, This One Goes to 11, Hardrock, Classic Rock, Vintage, Rock, High Roller Records, CD Review, News

CD review DEADHEADS "This One Goes to 11"

(8/10) Deadheads, hailing from Gothenburg, worked on their crucial third longplayer entitled “This One Goes to 11”. The result of all this work and effort can be listened to end of January.

After the highly acclaimed first two records ,Deadheads pick it up where they ended with “Loaded”. Inspired by bands like The Hellacopters and Gluecifer the quartet celebrates the beauty of hardrock on their newest accomplishment.

The entry point to this longplayer is fast and dirty. “Black out” is an uptempo rock’n’roller without any frills. It’s a song that doesn’t take any prisoners and is spot-on.

Deadheads reduce their pace slightly with “Don’t Mind the Ghost” before the grooving “Somebody Along the Way” fires again on all cylinders.

In case you don’t like Mondays you should check-out “Manic Mondays”. This song is a true wake-up call that shakes you up. After all these powerful tunes it’s time for some recovery. “Too Lost to be Found” is the soundtrack for chilling out. Kept in a moderate pace the tune is a classic rock corner piece on the album that fits very well into the flow and it’s with 5 minutes also the longest track on the album.

The second half of the disc starts with the unpolished “The Plan” before Deadheads go ahead with a raw rocker entitled “Instant Control”. One of the best tunes on this record is “2 Steps Before the Fall”. The melody, the riff and the pushing rhythm section of this vintage rocker adds a lot of excitement to the song and the record.

“This One Goes to 11” means eleven song and we reach the last quarter of this crispy release. “Lucifer” and “My Time” keep up the high level of quality before “Status Low” acts as a strong bouncer.

This longplayer is a pleasure for fans of dirty rock’n’roll. Deadheads don’t care that much about trends. These guys solely follow their heart and passion for excellent music done with a down-to-earth approach and a kick-ass attitude.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Black Out
  2. Don’t Mind the Ghost
  3. Somebody Along the Way
  4. Manic Monday
  5. Too Lost to be Found
  6. The Plan
  7. Instant Control
  8. 2 Steps Before the Fall
  9. Lucifer
  10. My Time
  11. Status Low

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: January 26th, 2018

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CD review PROCESSION "Doom Decimation"

Veröffentlicht am 16. Oktober 2017 von Markus W. in Procession, NWoBHM, Heavy Metal, Classic Metal, News, CD Review, High Roller Records, Doom Metal, Oldschool, Power Metal, US Metal

CD review PROCESSION "Doom Decimation"

(9/10) It was in 2010 when a band, I haven’t heard of before, all of a sudden appeared on the scene with an album that was jaw-dropping good. Procession was the name of this quartet that came from Chile, sending a strong metal message to the world. “Destroyers of the Faith” was the longplayer with which the band debut, followed by the sophomore “To Reap Heavens Apart”, which was at least as good as the debut.

In the meantime Procession, or better said their main man Felipe Plaza, relocated to Sweden, a country with a big and vital metal scene – from mainstream to underground. In such an environment inspiration is everywhere and still Plaza decided to work on recording the new longplayer in Chile. Doing this allowed the band to fully focus on the new album as well as it underlines the South America roots of Procession rather tah being seen as a 'European metal band'.

“Doom Decimation” is an album that perfectly fits into the bands discography. In total nine new songs will be a delight for traditional metal fans as well as it should be checked by worshipers of doom metal.

After the short and intense “The Warning” it’s the metal smasher “When Doomsday Has Come” that marks a first highlight on this release. The tune is a moderate paced traditional metal track that’s done in a perfect fashion. Powerful and with full engagement the quartet celebrates metal in perfection.

After such a start Procession puts a foot on the break with “Lonely are the Ways of the Stranger”. Doom metal is what you get with this exciting song before “Amidst the Bowles of Earth” leaves you slack-jawed again. Pace is still rather low, but compared with the earlier song I hear more melodic metal and US metal that’s embedded in this long but not lengthy number.

After a calm intro, “Democide” reveals again the mighty riffs in slo-mo before Procession shifts gears. “All Descending Suns” is an uptempo number that acts as a refreshing counterpart to the before mentioned tracks. And just to keep the arc of suspense high two more songs with finest quality follows of which the epical “One by One They Die” ends the album in a perfect manner. Eight minutes of old-fashioned but not dusted metal stand for the last chapter on this album that guarantees a continuation of Procession’s great work up-to-date. Heavy metal fans will love this album that proves that you get great music if passion rules the game. You wonder why it's not these kind of acts that get the support slots for bands like e.g. Iron Maiden and Co.. They would have deserved it.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Warning
  2. When Doomsday has Come
  3. Lonely are the Ways of the Stranger
  4. Amidst the Bowels of Earth
  5. Democide
  6. All Descending Suns
  7. As They Reached the Womb
  8. One by One They Died

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Doom Metal

Release Date EU: October 31st, 2017

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CD review HIGH SPIRIT "Escape!" EP

Veröffentlicht am 21. August 2017 von Markus W. in High Spirits, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Hardrock, Classic Rock, High Roller Records, News, CD Review

CD review HIGH SPIRIT "Escape!" EP

(9/10) Chris Black and High Spirits are back with a new four-track release entitled "Escape!". This EP is a special thanks for fans of the band and continues a tradition. High Spirit had already in 2013 and 2015 special tour releases and "Escape!" is the 2017 equivalent. Songs are mainly from the "Motivator" session but are far more than leftovers. These songs are well-produced dynamic rock songs, performed with much blood, sweat and tears. 

This four track EP is pure fun and it's a pleasure to listen to these melodic metal anthems. Being rooted in classic metal from the eighties High Spirits ignites again a fireworks of superb riff, excellent guitar harmonies, a powerful beat and melodic vocal lines. As with the earlier releases the NWoBHM is very present in these four tracks. However, the band and their music doesn't sound dusted or outdated; not at all. It's the joy of playing this kind of music that gives songs like "Feels Like Rock'n'Roll" the ease needed. 

High Spirit doesn't get lost in complexity. The guys nail things down with a straight forward approach. "Stagefright" reflects this very well and also the closer "Lonely Nights" comes without any unnecessary frills. This moderate paced song is convincing with a strong groove that I haven't heard in such a great fashion since the end of the 80's. 

High Spirits released good longplayers in the past and the new EP is another proof of why these guys get so much attention and positive reaction. Thumbs up for a great four-tracker.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Escape
  2. Stagefright
  3. Feels Like Rock'n'Roll
  4. Lonely Nights

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: September 8th, 2017

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CD review HEXX "Wrath of the Reaper"

Veröffentlicht am 17. August 2017 von Markus W. in Hexx, Power Metal, US Metal, Heavy Metal, News, CD Review, High Roller Records

CD review HEXX "Wrath of the Reaper"

(9/10) One of my most favorite underground metal bands is Hexx from California. “No Escape” and especially “Under the Spell” are terrific longplayers, featuring an exciting mix of power metal with some thrash references too. To my disappointment the band moved their sound towards death metal with their third album “Morbid Reality”. This shift was the beginning of the end of a band that showed so much potential. last but not least Hexx disbanded and radio-silence took over.

It was in 2013 when a first new Hexx demo came out of leftfield, feeding hope for a new longplayer of the Bay-Area powerhouse. Four years later we can hold the new album in our hands. “Wrath of the Reaper” is title of the forth Hexx record, featuring eleven new songs. Guitarist and founding member Dan Watson re-vitalized the underground legend by adding new band members to the ‘Hexx-family’ and it feels like the five guys building a strong unit in metal. John Shafer and Mike Horn stand for the new rhythm section, providing a powerful punch for each of the tracks and also second guitarist Bobbie Wright fits perfect into this line-up. But the biggest asset of the renewed band is singer Eddy Vega. This guy brings back the power metal to Hexx. His range covers everything from edgy vocals to high-pitch screams and listening to him singing is pure pleasure.

All this would be sample without value if the songwriting don’t bring some quality too. But no worries – “Wrath of the Reaper” is the legitimate successor of “Under the Spell”. Songs like the uptempo opener “Screaming Sacrifice” and the slower “Slave in Hell” are thrilling power metal songs and also the multi-variant “Dark Void of Evil” is a delight for each headbanger. And even the good old speed metal influences are present on “Wrath of the Reaper”. The grand finale, “Exhumed for the Reaping”, is a fast paced anthem with furious leads and well-placed breaks.

“Wrath of the Reaper” is the anticipated big return of Hexx, a band that gained a lot of fans in the underground and hopefully will add new and younger supporters with this brilliant new record. Power metal is gaining momentum again and Hexx is underlining why this is the case. Hopefully the guys will be on tour rather soon and how cool would a package Hexx/Metal Church be.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Macabre Procession Of Specters 
  2. Screaming Sacrifice 
  3. Slave In Hell 
  4. Swimming The Witch 
  5. Dark Void Of Evil 
  6. Unraveled 
  7. Voices 
  8. Exhumed For The Reaping 
  9. Circle The Drain 
  10. Wrath Of The Reaper 
  11. Certificate Of Death (CD-Bonustrack)

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Power Metal

Release Date EU: September 15th, 2017

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CD review JACK STARR'S BURNING STAR "Stand Your Ground"

Veröffentlicht am 14. August 2017 von Markus W. in Jack Starr's Burning Star, Jack Starr, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, US Metal, News, CD Review, High Roller Records

CD review JACK STARR'S BURNING STAR "Stand Your Ground"

(8/10) The older ones of you are familiar with Jack Starr's Burning Star while some younger readersmight not heard of the New York City-based guitar wizard so far. Starr formed, together with singer David DeFeis, the iconic metal outfit Virgin Steele and was part of the band till 1984. He can be heard on the first two longplayers before the guitarist decided to leave the band. The end of this era also meant the beginning of something new. Jack Starr's Burning Star was born.

During the metallic 80's the band released four records. All of them received excellent feedback also leading to a growing fan base. However, Jack Starr and his 'Burning Star' never reached the real big break-through. 

After a hiatus during the 90's and early 2000's the iconic guitarist returned with his band in 2009, releasing a new longplayer entitled "Defiance". August this year is the moment of Jack Starr's Burning Star's seventh album. Again it's Todd Michael Hall, Ned Meloni and Kenny "Rhino" Earl supporting the guitarist on an album that belongs to the best ones Starr released to date. 

"Stand Your Ground" is the name of this longplayer that features twelve songs. Fans get a lot of metal with this release; not only because it's a quite fair amount of tunes, it's also  the length of each of them leading to a solid portion of power metal. 

The masterpiece of this longplayer is the title track. With more then ten minutes of lngth, the track includes everything you expect from a guy like Starr with filigree guitar solos being one of the main incredients. However, those aren't dominating since Starr is a teamplayer. There is enough space for singer Todd Michael Hall to shine and it's the dynamic rhythm section that acts as the turbine for this powerhouse. Next to the centerpiece there are songs like the powerful "Secrets We Hide", the galloping "The Sky is Falling" and the soulful "Worlds Apart" which are highlights on a longplayer that comes without fillers.

"Stand Your Ground" became a brilliant metal album that transfers 80's power metal into the here and now. Horns up.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Secrets We Hide
  2. The Enemy 
  3. Stand Your Ground 
  4. Hero 
  5. Destiny 
  6. The Sky Is Falling 
  7. Worlds Apart 
  8. Escape From The Night  
  9. We Are One 
  10. Stronger Than Steel  
  11. False Gods 
  12. To The Ends 

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: August 25th, 2017

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CD review SCHAFOTT "The Black Flame"

Veröffentlicht am 31. Juli 2017 von Markus W. in Schafott, Death Metal, Black Metal, Thrash Metal, News, CD Review, High Roller Records, Heavy Metal

CD review SCHAFOTT "The Black Flame"

(8/10) 'Schafott' is the German word for 'scaffold'. Schafott is also the name of a fairly 'new' player in metal. The four guys from Desden, Germany started their metal journey some years ago with a demo named "Satan's Throne". This happened in 2014 and three years later the fourpiece will release their anticipated debut "The Black Flame", an album that will take metal fans' heart by storm. 

The album contains eight brutal thrash/death songs (and an evil intro) reminding of bands like Watain. The dark joy of this release is the uncompromising intensity. Schafott manufactured a longplayer that sounds as it would come right out of hell. 

The creepy intro gives the listener a first shiver before thrash metal comes to forefront with the following "Ostara". Rooted somewhere between Slayer and Possessed the song fires on all cylinders. It's a nasty thrasher, being a smash right into your face.

The title tack belongs with more than six minutes to the longer ones on the album. Well-placed breaks leads to excitement throughout this raging metal beast before "Azazeal's Dream" takes over. Schafott created a seven minutes monster that grabs your attention from the first note played. The quartet spiced up this longer tune with a lot of twists and breaks. Some faster parts are followed by almost doomy sections, all accompanied by great leads and a hard working rhythm section.

"Eucharistic Birth" unveils the entire beauty of extreme metal. The bass is heavy throughout and the way ... vomits out lyrics is just great. 

"Total Cleansing" follows the same pattern  as "Ostara". It's a galloping harsh track that comes with some melodic guitar lines and a pumping bassline in the middle section.

 Another highlight on a record charged with good songs is "By the Lust of the Witch". The number starts calmer before a sinister lead marks the start of shifting gears towards a fast and brutal metal anthem.

"Sow the Salt" and "Satan's Throne" rounds off an album that belongs to the most powerful debuts over the last years. The demo of Desden-based Schafott was promising and the debut marks a next step on a vicious journey through metal that just started. "The Black Flame" is exciting and the future of this band isn't nearly as black as their music. It's easy to predict that this band will enjoy the metal community with much more sinister beauty in the coming years. Horns up.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Conflagration
  2. Ostara
  3. The Black Flame
  4. Azazael's Dream
  5. Eucharistic Birth
  6. Total Cleansing
  7. By the Lust of the Witch
  8. Sow the Salt
  9. Satan's Throne

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Death/Thrash

Release Date EU: August 25th, 2017

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CD review CLOVEN HOOF "Who Mourns for the Morning Star"

Veröffentlicht am 14. April 2017 von Markus W. in Cloven Hoof, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Power Metal, US Metal, News, CD Review, High Roller Records, Rock

(8/10) British metal outfit Cloven Hoof can look back on a long history in metal.The band belongs to the veterans of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, starting in the late 70's. 1984 was the year of Cloven Hoof's debut, an album that was very well-received. Unfortunately the band couldn't really build on this solid foundation, also standing in the shadow of icons like Iron Maiden, Saxon,... So Cloven Hoof disbanded in the beginning  90's before they returned 10 years later with a new line-up.

Since then the band releases studio albums on a more or less regular base with the newest one getting out of the gate in April. In the meantime the only remaining founding member is bass player Lee Payne who was confronted with several line-up changes over the years. These changes included an opportunity for Payne to add some new blood to the band. George Call on vocals and drummer Danny White joined in 2015 and it feels like they brought some extra vitality into the band.

Cloven Hoof's newest strike answers to the name of "Who Mourns for the Morning Star". The band recorded nine songs for this longplayer and all of them sound really good. Payne and his gang delivers some metal hymns that are belonging to the best the band ever wrote. Cloven Hoof kept this old school spirit and vitalized it with a more modern production. What also adds the experience is the very well done vocals of Call, being the new kid on the block. He has a wide vocal range that allows him to run the entire spectrum - from high-pitch screams to darker vocals. Things go even that far that I had the feeling of listening to the earlier Queensryche while "Song of Orpheus" blew out of my speakers.

"Neon Angels" brought all of a sudden Lizzy Borden to my mind while, without any doubt, the biggest focus sits with traditional heavy metal that brings back a time when heavy rock music became more and more popular.

Maybe you missed Cloven Hoof in their first phase but it's not too late. "Who Mourns for the Morning Star" includes all the band's trademarks that are weaved into good songs and a proper production. This album is a well-done entry point into Cloven Hoof's discography. Check it out.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Star Rider
  2. Song of Orpheus
  3. I Talk to the Dead
  4. Neon Angel
  5. Morning Star
  6. Time to Burn
  7. Mindmaster
  8. Go Tell the Spartans
  9. Bannockburn

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: April 21st, 2017

CD review CLOVEN HOOF "Who Mourns for the Morning Star"
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CD review INFERNÄL MÄJESTY "No God"

Veröffentlicht am 12. April 2017 von Markus W. in Infernäl Mäjesty, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal, Power Metal, Speed Metal, News, High Roller Records, CD Review

(9/10) Now, Infernäl Mäjesty isn’t one of these bands overloading the scene with new releases. Even though the band started back in 1986, the guys from Toronto, Ontario didn’t manage to release more than three longplayer up till now. However, the band and the earlier releases created a hype in the underground and especially the debut “None Shall Defy” is one of these underestimated classics in metal that you should have as a part of your serious metal collection. However, Infernäl Mäjesty never made it to the top and that’s maybe one factor for the energy the thrash metal veterans spread on their newest album, which is their fourth studio-release.

“No God” is the title of an album that is furious and wild. The five-piece band from Ontario celebrates with this album their 30th anniversary but even though the guys got older they are still very hungry for raw metal.

The quintet spend one year on working on “No God” and every minute was well spend time. The eleven songs belong to the highlights of 2017. On the one hand Infernäl Mäjesty has this old school vibe while not only referring to the old days. They added a modern touch to their music, which makes “No God” to a dynamic and powerful thrash metal release.

The longplayer doesn’t come with any filler. Infernäl Mäjesty ignites a thrash metal firework of which songs like “Sign of Evil” are real rockets that unveils their beauty with a blast.

Another song that’s worth to be mentioned is “Another Day in Hell”. Starting quiet with some acoustic guitars, it’s a mighty riff that smashes the silence into pieces and marks the starting point of a racing thrash anthem. Also the vicious “No God” belongs to the shining pearls on this longplayer, followed by the short interlude “False Flag”, with some sequences of the 9/11 news reports, that is spot-on and fits perfectly into the context of this album.

Infernäl Mäjesty releases with “No God’ an album that I haven’t expected to be so strong and energetic. This longplayer is at least as good as the band’s debut, if not even better. “No God” has for sure a ‘wow’-factor – actually it has eleven ‘wow’-factors. Horns up.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Enter The World Of The Undead
  2. In God You Trust
  3. Signs Of Evil
  4. Another Day In Hell
  5. Kingdom Of Heaven
  6. No God
  7. False Flag
  8. Nation Of Assassins
  9. House Of War
  10. Systematical Extermination
  11. Extinction Level Event

 

Label: High Roller Records

Genre: Thrash Metal

Release Date EU: April 14th, 2017

CD review INFERNÄL MÄJESTY "No God"
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