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Pure Steel Metal With A Meaning
The Waymaker - Waymaker

Christian Liljegren and Jani Stefanovic have launched a new, very promising project in terms of Melodic Metal. The collaboration of the charismatic voice of NARNIA with the guitarist of MISERATION is already known from DIVINEFIRE. Here, they are enhanced with Jani's wife Katja, where the lead vocals are shared and a very varied production with three different voices is served. Most of the singing remains with Christian as expected.

The whole thing sounds like a mixture of GOLDEN RESURRECTION (also a project by Christian) and DIVINEFIRE, but THE WAYMAKER completely doing without growls. Everything comes across as extremely catchy and yet you move on a technically very demanding high level. In addition to the strong vocal performance, the ingenious guitar work also stands out. In addition, there is a modern and crystal-clear production that leaves nothing to be desired, for which Thomas Plec Johansson (Gathering of Kings, Soilwork, Nocturnal Rites, Divinefire) in collaboration with Jani Stefanovic are responsible.

With hymns like "Marching On" or "The Waymaker" they show that they don't have to hide from anyone and should also cause a stir in the secular scene. Another highlight can be found in the form of the cover version of STRYPER's "Soldiers Under Command", which was perfectly adapted to the WAYMAKER-sound, but still does not distort the original effect. They prove that they can also quieter and slower with "The Rain Of Your Love", with Katja taking over the majority of the vocals. Carried and melancholy the song ends in a powerful refrain.

Unfortunately after the last number "The New Generation" with a total of eight tracks and a playing time of around 35 minutes in total, it is over again. You don't have to say much about the lyrics, they are so clear and obvious in their statement that titles like "The Name Above All Names" speak for themselves, this is also known from Christian Liljegren. Just incredible, how he always manages to knock out albums like this. A live implementation could be interesting, however, as there is already a lot of sound-technical bombast on board. If you want to get an idea in advance, you can do so online, because videos of both "The Waymaker" and "Soldiers Under Command" are already available.

Let's all join in the hymn of praise and buy this firework of melodic metal.

IG

Perpetual Paranoia - Between The Altar And The Cross

What can you expect from a band when the guitarist of this band sends a series of mp3 files six months after the album was released and asks for a review? If you expect a straight sound, a clear line, some guys who know what they're doing... Then you're wrong.

Perpetual Paranoia's second album, "Between the Altar and the Cross" looks like the band is putting their favorite musicians in a blender, mixing everything well and hoping that something good will come out. The style and sound changes several times during the songs, it is difficult to find a common thread, nor a specific style. It doesn't behave like in certain progressive directions, where the rhythm and the tempo simply change, here we come from hammering rhythmic American Thrash Metal to kind of Speed or Power Metal with pseudo-psychedelic interludes. In addition, relatively uninspired guitar solos with terrifying regularity. Then again elements from Metalcore...

All in all, a big mess that even the texts inspired by various Bible passages do not save. If you are into it, such an album can be fun, personally I won't become a fan of the band.

LB

Three Days in Hell - A Bloody Retelling

"A Bloody Retelling" is the debut album of Three Days in Hell, comprised by Samuel Reeves on Vocals and Chris Besonen on Guitars and Drums.

As expected from The Bearded Dragon Productions, it is a very raw release with demo-tape quality, even if this time the music is a bit more intelligible than normally.

Same thing can't be said about the vocals. Even though they're very in-your-face on the mix, they aren't understandable, which is a pity considering that this should be a concept album about themes of the Old Testament (according to the band). If you actually want to know what the lyrics say, at least you can find them on the band's facebook page.

Several riffs are good, even if chaotic, like on "A Midnight Parable", "Brimstone" (kind of hard rock), "Crushed Beneath Debris" (aggressive), "The Lion's Jaw" and "Rain Down Fire" (speedy).

Again this is an example of good song ideas that could benefit from a proper production in order to make them more hearable.

Recommended only for fans of raw, unintelligible sounds.

HC/KB

Norma Jean - All Hail

Metalcore is a very popular style in the scene. Many fans of the classic metal sound can't get into it, but luckily there are bands like Norma Jean, who can convince the skeptics.

Their new album "All Hail"in 45 minutes exactly delivers what one expects from a metal album: powerful sound, good riffs and pure variations.

The album starts with the short opener "Orphan Twin", which drives the listener headbang with its low-tuned guitars.

Highlights of the album are the single "[Mind Over Mind]" as well as the groovy song "Trace Levels of Dystopia", the varied "Careen" and the acoustic instrumental song "The Mirror and the Second Veil".

Vocalist Cory Brandan not only can scream very powerful but also is able to sing clean and melodic without being so much of an extreme contrast, like usually most other metalcore bands.

An album highly recommended to all fans of that style as well as for those who still want to get into it.

HC/KB

Goatscorge - Marching Against The Evil One

One-man-projects in the black metal genre seem to be hot these days. The label The Bearded Dragon Productions delivers us one more of them.

This time it's Goatscorge, a relatively new project of the musician "Nocturnal Servant".

Just like with other similar projects, the focus here is not on musicality or proper production. The eleven songs sound all similar to one another and they are characterized by a low sound quality that makes listening no fun at all. The instruments are hard to set apart and the vocals are so hidden behind the programmed drums, that you need to read their lyrics on Bandcamp in order to understand anything.

From my view, this album can only be recommended to the real hardcore fans of this music style.

HC

Signum Regis - The Seal Of A New World

After five albums and two EPs, the Slovakian power metal band Signum Regis returns with "The Seal of a New World".

With their new singer Jota Fortinho and thanks to a good accomplished production, the band sounds solid and energetic. The twelve songs contain all classic elements of power metal, especially the chorusses with glorious singing.

However, Signum Regis also have some surprises at hand with tempo changes and influences of progressive rock, even though no song lasts longer than 6 minutes.

The sound allows all instruments and vocals to sound gut balanced. Flip Koluš's guitar shines through with energy and melody, especially on tracks like "I Always Go All-In", "The Seal of a New World" and the final song "Scheme of Lies".

All in all, an album that hits the taste of the worldwide Power Metal fans.

HC

A very good and highly recommendable album especially if you see that only a short while ago a new singer joined the band.

I didn't expect it that grrreat but Jota's voice really fits like he´s always been all in SR.

KB

White Fog - Temple Of Sorrow

The Black Metal Project White Fog exists since early 2019 and has been signed already by The Bearded Dragon Productions. After the self-produced demo "Vampyric Sacrament" (March 2019), in August this year they released their debut album "Temple of Sorrow".

The project is described as "haunted black metal" and their general style is mostly atmospheric, which is evident on tracks like "Into The Vampyric Forest" and "Ravenous Creature In The Fog", among others.

The vocals sound high-pitched and more narrative than the classic black metal kind of screaming. There are no guitar solos (which is no rule), but instead too many dissonant chords.

The aforementioned dissonance is highlighted by a very low sound quality and chaotic drums (you can barely hear any cymbals) what makes listening to the album very difficult.

One could argue very much about artistic decisions when it comes to this style of music, but black metal can also sound different and more professional. Every style has its fans and this album can appeal to friends of the "raw sound".

The project of the musician "Phantom", who now is also accompanied by the "Queen of Shadows" on Drums, doesn't seem to be mature enough for an album and a record contract.

A better production surely would help White Fog to transport their good ideas in our ways.

HC

Leah - Ancient Winter

After a successful crowdfunding campaign the Canadian singer Leah releases with "Ancient Winter", her fifth album.

Even if Leah usually is playing symphonic celtic metal, there are no metal elements to be found on "Ancient Winter".

But if the listeners engages with it, they will discover eight songs of an epic nature.

The classical instruments and keyboards, together with Leah's caressing voice evoke a reflective atmosphere that marks the whole album.

Such tracks as "Upon Your Destiny", "Redemption" or "Puer Natus" (sung in Latin) convince with their strong choruses.

A highlight is built by Leah's interpretation of the traditional French song "Noël Nouvelet" (New Christmas).

The album in any case is an absolutely must have and worth being listened by fans of celtic sounds and of symphonic rock music.

HC

Song recommendation by the OberMetalzinalrat is the opener "The whole world summons".

Lucifer Impaled - Blood. War. Supremacy.

"Blood. War. Supremacy." is the first EP by one-man-project Lucifer Impaled, released by The Bearded Dragon Productions.

According to "Goat Desecrator", creator of the project, the sound of the EP should be understood as "anti-luciferic war metal".

The five tracks on this record, one of them is a short intro made up of sound-effects, have a kind of back-to-the-roots vibe. They recreate the original death-black metal sound with its demo-tape quality: raw, muffled and often unintelligible. The songs are highly aggressive, but the overuse of echo effects on the vocals and the very similar structures make the EP sound repetitious.

In any case, it's a good effort for fans of this particular style of music and probably not for the regular metal fan.

HC/KB

Diviner - Realms Of Time

Almost four years after their debut album "Fallen Empires" the Greek power-metal band Diviner releases the long awaited follow-up "Realms of Time". The result are ten powerful tracks which will surely please old and new fans.

Opening track "Against The Grain" starts things off with a riff that will get your attention right away. The pace speeds up a bit for the next two songs "Heaven Falls" and "Set Me Free". Before the next tracks "The Earth, The Moon, The Sun" and "Cast Down In Fire" change the pace with more classic heavy-metal influences and very melodic choruses.

The following tracks "Beyond The Border", "King of Masquerade", "Time" and "The Voice From Within" sound very convincing with their varying pace and powerful drums.

The attack ends with the power ballad "Stargate", giving the listener a good feeling of release.

Judging from the very tight sound of the band you can tell that they spent time getting everything right. The riffs, the guitar solos and the rhythm section have developed one step further since the already excellent debut, and even though Yiannis Papanikolaou can't hide the similarities of his voice and singing style comparing to the great late Ronnie James Dio, he's developing his very own nuances that will surely set him apart as a great metal vocalist in his own right.

All in all a highly recommendable album for all fans of classic and power metal.

HC

Armor Of God - Warrior Of Light

"Warrior of Light" is the second release by American band Armor of God after their debut album "Dark Face of Greed" from 2015.

This EP contains six tracks (29 minutes of music) which reflect the different sounds of the band, characterized by the presence of two lead female singers with male vocal support, all rounded by heavy-melodic guitars and a pounding rhythmic base. The title track "Warrior of Light" showcases right away what the band is about, with its melodic and catchy style and a solid work by all band members. "In The Night" follows in a bit of a darker mood with more support by the male vocals, growling included. "The Crusader" and "Joan of Arc" carry on in the same vein of melodic power metal with all vocalists carrying the tunes and flashing, melodic guitar solos.

A special mention goes to the last two tracks "Hazme un instrumento de tu paz" (Make me an instrument of thy peace) and "Pescador de hombres" (Fisher of men). These two tracks are sung in the native language of the singers (Spanish). The first one is a musical version of the prayer attributed to Francis of Assisi, probably one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, whilst the second one is a popular song from the Catholic Holy Masses in Spanish-speaking countries. These two tracks sound pretty much like chants at the church, but with electric guitars accompanying, which means a partial departure from the overall power metal sound of the band.

The solid musical effort by the band gets overshadowed by the sound, which gives the impression of having been recorded at rehearsal and not mastered. The mix makes it sound more like a demo than an EP. In any case, it's a good achievement by a young band paving their way in the Christian Metal scene.

HC

Vision Of God - The Thrashing Singles

"The Thrashing Singles" contains 13 tracks recorded by four South American bands and another one from Eastern Europe, resp. Three of them will serve you healthy portions of largely unadulterated thrash metal - however, I.N.R.I. offer some midtempo death metal riffs interwoven with a dollop of black metal vocals and hardcore punk guitars; Angel 7 have delivered four melodic death metal songs mingled with thrash metal and spiced with simple single-note riffing as well as a touch of folk/female vocals.

In a nutshell:

No fillers (esp. "Rotten Inside" by Hating Evil makes for a really nice Slayer soundalike), not everything's a killer. All things considered it's mostly certainly ok to check this sampler out.

Come To Pass - Amongst Plagues

Founded by brothers Colan, Zach and Nick Wiser from Virginia/US. Due to creative differences Colan and Zack departed from the band, leaving Nick the only remaining member. He inked a record deal with The Bearded Dragon Productions who released his debut EP on May 3rd, 2019.

"Brutal Biblical Slam." Brainchild Nick Wiser states, "The lyrical content behind the EP is primarily about upholding the word amongst the rising fallen world."

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Although Come To Pass's songs are not exactly "crap", they're far away from "sophisticated".

Not worth a second listen maybe even no first one.

One song - in various parts - closely resembles like someone's "very first death metal guitar lesson". Another track simply involves a not-so-simple version of that "training session". The remaining songs can't really impress.

KB, DD

Implement - Bleeding Alone

17 years, one demo, and several videos after its formation in 2002, Brazilian band "Implement" has finally released its first full-length album: old-school death metal ranging from groovy to in-your-face riffs, seasoned with guitar squeals, grunting, and growling as befitting the genre. "Bleeding Alone" isn't likely to join the ranks of legendary death metal albums, however, it's totally worth a listen.
DD

Hilastherion - Psalm 59

Hilastherion is a Finnish band which has released a single (2003) and two full-length albums (2007/2014). On April 19th, 2019, they put out their latest product which is an EP issued via Rottweiler Records.

"Psalm 59" contains three tracks that will capture your attention for all of its nearly 18 minutes. You will find elements such as balladic symphonic/folk metal, doom metal, melodic death metal, and traditional power metal. On the whole, it's a very melodic, powerful piece of excellent workmanship.

DD

The Bearded Dragon Productions - Sampler

The musical variety of this collection of bands and songs includes goregrind, (old-school) death metal and black metal.

1) Brainkrusher delivers 2 minutes of brutal rapid drum fire, guitars which couldn't be more death metal, teamed with vocals with couldn't be less human-sounding (and annoying, imho): Goregrind which probably couldn't get more goregrind-y. However, it's an acquired taste.

2) Though Come To Pass's songs are not exactly "crap", they are far from "sophisticated". Not really worth a second listen. Maybe not even a first one. One song closely resembles -  in various parts - someone's "very first death metal guitar lesson". Another track simply involves a not-so-simple version of that "training session". The remaining songs - well, they're unimpressive.

3) Canadian one-man band Exalted Saviour have come up with the most interesting, ear-friendly contribution to this sampler: Happy lively epic/melodic black metal seasoned with organ sounds and doomy/sludgy melodic black metal make for nicely composed chill-out black metal.

4) Indiana-based outfit Mystic Winter offers a mix of noisy black metal, symphonic/ambient music, and heavy/death/black metal riffs. The tracks probably won't wow you, however, the music is listenable - provided you like music to be noisy.

5) Finally, Proven Existence (Arkanas) have created some decent, yet nothing too fancy run-of-the-mill (traditional) black metal. The drum sound could have been more clearly audible, imo.

DD

Ancient Prophecy - Testimony

Ancient Prophecy already founded back in 1996 and three years later released their not high rated debut demo. After a nine years break which resulted out of some lineup changes especially in the position behind the microphone they released a further 3 song demo whose songs seven years later completely flew into their finally released debut album.

This has been a very solid release but not more because all songs were written for the old singer but because of the many changes at the mic position finally intonate by Jackie K.

Jackie has been the missing brick into the framework of AP helping to provide more stability.
Since seven years now a fix part of the band they now were able to write new songs according to J's voice what is bearing audible fruit on their new album. Soulful melodic metal sung very emotional as well as straight power metal supported by the growls of Tobi Buß who as one of their guitarists also is mainly responsible for the songwriting.

What we are finding here is a matured album without any musically flops so that without hesitating we're able to speak about the best Ancient Prophecy ever and warmly can recommend it to your heart ah ear.

KB