Posts Tagged ‘AFM Records’

Orden Ogan – Gunmen

One of the coolest and lesser known (at least in the US) power metal acts I have discovered recently is Germany’s Orden Ogan. A long running band with 5 albums under their belt since 2004 (with 2015s Ravenhead and 2012s To the End being the ones that got me hooked), these guys add a little oomph to power […]

Helker – Somewhere in the Circle

Hey, even the most jaded among traditional/power metal fans would be just a little curious when the album sticker includes text like “the leading heavy metal band from South America” and “featuring Tim ‘Ripper’ owns & Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear). And then there is that whole thing about being “for fans of Primal Fear, Dio, […]

Black Messiah – The Final Journey

The Final Journey is a definite continuation of the First War of the World. The band obviously was quite happy with how that turned out. Finland’s Ensiferum have moved pretty fully toward the power end of metal though the black part of their name still resonates deep down with their black viking metal origins, and […]

Lyriel – Leverage

The first impression that Lyriel’s Leverage makes on the listener is a little deceiving. After listening to the title track, which is the first real song on the record, I thought they were a pretty good Lacuna Coil knock-off with some traditional metal leanings. Heard it before, I thought, but I’m glad I pushed forward. […]

Iron Mask – Black as Death

There’s something about album art drawn in the Marvel Comics style that goes really well with neo-classical power metal. Is it because this particular American comic drawing style is reminiscent of the ‘80s, which reminds one of the group vocals so commonly heard in power metal from that same decade (and for every ‘80s power […]

Made of Hate – Pathogen

It’s been a while since I heard a quality, old school, pure modern melodic death metal album  — and no, In Flames does not count. Here is Poland’s Made of Hate attempting to solve just that with their sophomore effort and they meet with a measure of success. Though glossed with a little thrash and a little, dare […]

Helstar – Glory of Chaos

More than a quarter century after releasing their debut record, the current lineup of Helstar has released the band’s heaviest record to date in Glory of Chaos. Like its predecessor, 2008’s The King of Hell, this record leans more on thrash influences than the band’s earlier power/speed metal tendencies, but it’s a more potent recipe […]

Athorn – Phobia

Phobia, the debut album from Germany’s Athorn, seems to be right up my alley. In the vein of a band like Kiuas, one of my favorite discoveries of the last 10 years or so, Athorn blends power metal melodics with thrash and groove and maybe just a little hint of death here and there. I […]

Circle II Circle – Consequence of Power

I’ll preface this review, as I usually do, by admitting to my fanboy admiration for Savatage and the projects of the various members. That said, Zakk Stevens’ Circle II Circle has never completely connected with me since the band’s best effort, their debut record Watching in Silence in 2003. Their last outing, 2008’s Delusions of Grandeur, […]

Symphorce – Unrestricted

Fans of Symphorce are likely to be split on their latest record, Unrestricted. The album moves the band farther away from the progressive and symphonic elements of their earlier work and puts more of a straight-ahead hard rock spin on their sound. Album opener “The Eternal” gives us a dark piano intro that sounds promising, […]

Masterplan – Time to Be King

Jorn Lande makes his return to Masterplan on their latest effort, Time to Be King, and it makes all the difference. The band’s 2007 outing, MKII, without Lande at the helm, was an OK effort, but he was definitely missed. This record makes the absence obvious. With Lande on the mic, they’re a much more […]

Solution .45 – For Aeons Past

So, Christian Älvestam delved into a few projects after departing from Scar Symmetry. The standard melo-death of Miseration, the more aggressive The Few Against Many, and now the Swede is involved in (restrained and commercial) supergroup Solution .45. The presence of Älvestam’s Miseration and The Few Against Many cohorts (guitarists Patrik Gardberg and Tom Gardiner, […]

Jon Oliva’s Pain – Festival

I’ve been a fan of Jon Oliva since the first time I heard Savatage, and I honestly don’t think that anything he’s ever touched has turned out remotely bad. (OK, I do try to block out Fight for the Rock). In my mind, he’s one of only a handful of creative geniuses in metal, and […]

Brainstorm – Memorial Roots

I’ve been a big fan of Germany’s Brainstorm since I discovered them with 2003’s Soul Temptation, and their last outing Downburst remains a favorite from 2008. When it comes to power metal with traditional leanings, the band is about as consistent as they come. Their latest effort, Memorial Roots, which came out last year overseas […]

Nostradameus – Illusion’s Parade

Sometimes you run into bands that have elements that you really like, but those elements never quite come together completely. That’s the case for me with Nostradameus’ Illusion’s Parade. There’s quite a bit to like, but not enough to raise it above other power metal contenders. For the most part, the music packs more of […]

Mob Rules – Radical Peace

Germany’s Mob Rules fits in that large category of European power metal bands that have just never connected with me personally. Generally, I prefer the mid-tempo style the band employs more than the speedsters, but, despite a few bright moments here and there, I’ve largely been unmoved by their work. After draggy album opener, “Children […]

At Vance – Ride the Sky

If you’ve heard any of At Vance’s past offerings, you won’t be surprised by anything you find on Ride the Sky. The 11 tracks here are competently done but not very exciting pieces of fairly generic melodic/power metal. It’s not their best work. It’s not completely awful. It’s just kind of there. There are moments […]

Paradox – Riot Squad

Being the thrash fan that I am, I’m almost ashamed to admit that Riot Squad is my introduction to Germany’s Paradox. It’s their fifth release, and they’ve been kicking around in various incarnations since the late 1980s. Admittedly, I was a little America-centric in my thrash listening during that time period and discovered most of […]

Manimal – The Darkest Room

As much as I’d like for every record I hear to bring something new to the table, I know it’s just not possible. And in some genres, innovation just simply isn’t part of the game, so you look at how well the bands use the conventions. When it comes to European prog/power, Sweden’s Manimal use […]

Axxis – Utopia

Well known to European fans of Melodic Metal, Axxis are still somewhat obscure in American metal circles, even though the guys have been keeping their vessel afloat for more than two decades now. Having gone through ups and downs, the band has stood the test of time and remained loyal to its musical credo, which […]

U.D.O – Dominator

Every new release from Germany’s pride and joy U.D.O. is a grand occasion for the fans of the band. Picking up the baton from the great Accept as far back as the mid 80’s, U.D.O. is none other than the very incarnation of everything those Teutonic ironsmiths used to be famous for. The rasping diamond-cutting […]

Exilia – My Own Army

I’ve been trying to get on AFM Records’ mailing list for a while because they do carry several bands that I like. So I finally get three AFM releases in my hands, and after these reviews, I’m afraid my chances may be shot. First there was Elvenking’s latest, then Magica, now Exilia, and unfortunately, it’s […]

Ektomorf – What Doesn’t Kill Me…

Credit where credit is due, Hungary’s Ektomorf have been playing their version of Soulfly’s 1998 self titled album for nearly a decade now with little sign of letting up of changing style five albums in, even with a label change from Nuclear Blast to AFM Records. At least you know exactly what you are getting […]

Elvenking – Two Tragedy Poets … And a Caravan of Weird Figures

I can’t honestly recall having heard Elvenking before, and as I understand it, this isn’t a record I should judge the band by as it’s an attempt to do something different from their normal sound. This record, however, sounds like a band in need of an identity. Is it folk? Is it power metal? Is it 1980s pop rock? […]

Magica – Wolves & Witches

I’ve been on a roll of good female-fronted records lately — Luna Mortis, The Agonist, Lacuna Coil (yes, I know it’s poppy and commercial, but I still like it) — so I suppose it was just a matter of time before I got another one of these. Wolves & Witches has a few things going […]