Personal bias is a bitch, and it can be difficult to be objective when a band changes membership. For anyone new to this blog or its associated podcast, I absolutely love Liv Kristine’s voice and am completely unapologetic about it. When she and Alexander Krull divorced, she left (or was ousted, depending on who you ask) Leaves’ Eyes. Couple that with some less-than-stellar recent releases, and I wasn’t sure if I would even check this album out or not. After seeing the band live on their recent U.S. tour with Sabaton and Battle Beast, I figured it was in my best interest to try and give Sign of the Dragonhead an objective listen.
By this point in the year, you’re being inundated with Christmas songs playing in the grocery stores, malls, and wherever else you frequent. So yes, I’m going to throw some more of these tunes at you, but thanks to ex-Nightwish singer Tarja Turunen, these have a bit of a twist.
You’re probably asking yourself if we need another female-fronted doom metal/occult rock act. I get that. This blend of 1970s-influenced rock/metal has been flooding the scene for a while now, although it finally seems to be tapering off a bit. Even so, I think it’s worth discussing the better entries, which brings us to the self-titled debut of Australia’s Devil Electric.
Regardless of how you feel about Myrkur’s music, Amalie Bruun is an interesting figure. Starting her career as a singer/songwriter and occasional model, she went on to perform in the pop/rock group Ex Cops before deciding her true love was black metal and created the Myrkur identity. While the secret didn’t last very long, the music caught everyone’s attention.
Autumn is here and Halloween is quickly approaching, so my thoughts are beginning their seasonal migration into the darker side of metal. Detroit, Michigan-based death/doom act Temple of Void is back with their sophomore album, Lords of Death. Although this album released in the middle of summer, it slipped through the cracks and I hadn’t thought about it until a friend mentioned it recently.
I’ve been a huge fan of folk metal, Scando-Germanic mythology, and related themes for many years, but there has been a tendency for this type of metal to get stale over the years. Can the Swedes in From North show me something new on their self-titled debut, or will it be another trip across familiar oceans?
No lie — this album might have been my highest anticipated album for 2017. Avatarium’s prior album, The Girl With the Raven Mask caught me by surprise, and I fell completely in love with this band. For anyone not familiar with Avatarium, I’ve often described them as Jefferson Starship passed through a Candlemass filter and fronted by Dreamboat Annie-era Ann Wilson.
Despite what you may be thinking about the hentai-esque cover, Norway’s From Below aren’t a generic pornogrind band. Rather, they are a unique mix of melodic death and groove metal, with shades of hardcore thrown in for good measure, and Undying shows the band is in strong form.
At the risk of ruining any "metal cred" I have with you readers, one of my guilty pleasures is female-fronted Japanese power metal. I’ve covered more than a few of these in the past, but one band I keep coming back to is Aldious. Seventeen months after their last album, the quintet is back with Unlimited Diffusion.
It seems like I’ve been covering various takes on doom metal all year, so how about some good, old-fashioned California thrash for a change of pace? Trio Blessed Curse just dropped their second album, an EP entitled Beware of the Night, and we definitely pick up the pace with this one.