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METAL TO INFINITY CD REVIEWS

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DREAM OR NIGHTMARE - 4 track EP US 2002

Dream Or Nightmare is a project that combines several styles of Metal to create an original and unique sound. Influences include not only modern, traditional, and progressive Metal, but several other musical genres as well; thus allowing for much creativity in writing and performance (reaching far beyond what is displayed on their current recordings). Along with founder and lead guitarist Joe Sims ( who has received international acclaim for his work with other groups Axemaster, The Awakening and Reign), D.O.N. has grown into a strong unit through the vocal tandem of Dave Rhynard and Jim Arnold, the heavy yet complex guitar work and tonal keyboards of Jim Arnold, the solid progressive bass of Dave Rhynard, and the enery of drummer Russ Kirk. As a unit, this band has proven to be one that has the ability, talent and creativity to produce a style that will appeal to fans of all varieties of Metal. The EP contains 4 tracks entitled: R.I.P. / Is It Lost / Fearing / Begone. Mention that the lead vocalist on this EP named Javier Colon left the band, so the new material the guys working at is with Jim Arnold behind the microphone.This are only the beginnings of bigger and better things to come from DREAM OR NIGHTMARE; a project that is definitely breaking through on the international Metal scene!Check out his website at: www.dreamornightmare.com

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AGENT STEEL - ORDER OF THE ILLUMINATI

Four years after the highly unsuccessful Omega Conspiracy the band is back with their fourth album. An album much closer to their roots and much better than their previous one. The music can be described as a mix between Thrash Metal and speed metal and it is very aggressive and very intense. I dont know if they have changed vocalist since their previous album but the vocals sound much better on the new one. Maybe its because thats a real Agent Steel record, with the band presenting the qualities that made them known in the first place. Although there are many elements from their first albums in the music the production of the album is edgy and modern and it certainly helps their sound be heavier, while it is also crystal clear. Excellent work. Its a worthy come back and a release that will help put the band back on the map. If you are into Speed Thrash then youll find a lot to like in the album. Must for every Thrash Metal maniac out there!!

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ZANDELLE - TWILIGHT ON HUMANITY
Yeah i know, i'm late to review this brilliant CD but as they say..it's better late than never!
Shame on me because this is one of the better US Metal releases from last year definitely.
If you're into bands like HELSTAR or WARLORD, than you're on the right track and don't hesitate to buy this excellent album. Now with George Tsalikis (ex-Gothic Knights) as new singer and he did really a wonderfull job, yes he does! Zandelle has laid immediate claim to the true Metal throne in Europe with this Twilight On Humanity CD release.
Worth to mention is also the perfect combination of both guitarists T.W. Durfy and Anthony Maglio .These guys create a tremendous wall of sonic violence and so do the rest of the band. Really like this kinda Metal!!!
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DOUBLE DIAMOND - IN DANGER / CONQUER WITH STEEL

Debut album from  Belgian die-hard Heavy Metal band DOUBLE DIAMOND is a real killer one and overloades with tremendous Metal tunes.The band plays solid Heavy Metal, very loud and and real hard.So prepare yourself for a real Metal assault!
They're able to combine sparkling technicallty with chord progressions that support their vocalist's wide range voice. IN DANGER is produced by (Ex - Scorpions drummer) Rudy Lenners and in fact, you should have to know what that means. Yeah right, he delivers the goods with this result. So, the album included 12 tracks
of full force Heavy Metal pure. Twin guitars, vocalist reminds me of old Priest eras, pounding drums and riddlin' bass lines. The guys makes this all possible by them selves, but keep hoping on a deal with a record company. So to all record companies, get in touch with Double Dimaond and lets CONQUER WITH STEEL. That's the title of a 2 track promo EP the guys made. The tracks "Conquer With Steel" and "Metal Rules" are my favorite Double Diamond tracks so far. Solid Heavy Metal is what you can get when you grab this album.So let's turn on the volume and play it loud as well. BELGIAN METAL STILL LIVES ON!!! Check their website at :
www.doublediamondmetal.cjb.net
 
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SEVEN WITCHES - PASSAGE TO THE OTHER SIDE

Jack Frost and his friends are constantly releasing albums better than their previous one and this is not something many bands can do. Their new album can simply be described as every metalheads wet dream. It combines elements from 80s Metal (with influences from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest), but it is also heavier, while their singer has a few things in common with Rob Halford. For example he can deliver both heavy and high pitched vocals with an amazing ease that make it sound like a piece of cake, when it takes a lot of talent and hard work. On the other hand Jack delivers some killer riffs and the rhythm section delivers a solid and heavy background for the songs, with Joey Vera on bass guitar leading the way. The line up changes doesnt seem to affect the band and I am willing to bet a lot of money that this will not be the last we heard from them. A Classic Metal album thats highly recommended and many will remember in the years to come.

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ETERNAL BREATH - SYMPHONY OF AGONY EP Belgium '02
 
Five piece Belgian Melodic Death Thrash Metal band with former members of Death Anos, Gardens Of Grief and Chalice. The guys from Eternal Breath were able to put some cash together for making this EP release possible. 4 tracks included with titles as : Witchcraft, Curse Of The Damned, Artic Queen, Symphony Of Agony . Fact is that  the band delivers straight - in - your - face aggressive  Metal with melodic parts. They made a perfect combination of aggression and melody and the results are greatful. A unique band with a very special vocalist. A mixture of Schmier (Destruction) and Blitz  (Overkill) are not far away when you hear this guy scream. If you want to know some more from Eternal Breath, go visit their own website at : http://listen.to/eternalbreath 
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VYNDYKATOR - HEAVEN SENT FROM HELL

New band by ex-Attacker/Sleepy Hollow singer Bob Mitchell! He's back in business, also with another US Prog Metal band named Alchemy X. This Heaven Sent From Hell is a Classic Metal sounded album that equal parts Thrash and Power definitely.
Old school Judas Priest, Maiden  and Accept and even some progression are all aboard of this masterpiece. After a little instrumental intro, everything explodes with the track Blood Stained Gallows which is a real blast and a warming up for the next 5 tracks. Rot In The Chamber, Tapping The Vein, Flight Of The Wombat(instrumental) and a Priest cover entitled  Deceiver.There is one last track more on the CD and that's Mr.Murder. My personal favorite track definitely. A perfect combination of Power,Speed and Thrash Metal anyway.
One golden advice to all Classic Metal maniacs..make sure to catch this piece of Metal as soon as you can and crank it up real loud !!
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ALCHEMY X - 11:59:59

First of all a special word of appreciating to Steve Ratchen who send me both Vyndykator, Alchemy X promo CD's!
This is the second album for this US based Progressive Metal band.
Their first CD entitled "A Delicate Balance" was released in 2001 and there is something changed in the line-up. Legendary vocalist Bob Mitchell enjoy the AX ranks and took place behind the microphone as well. His voice is difference from his usual form, but be sure, he is doing it very very well indeed and that shows once again what kinda great singer he really is. Worth to mention is that the rest of the band are great musicians too. Six string bass and guitar lines....so watch out for their technical parts!
Deep Purple, Fates Warning and even Savatage are the most relevants to compare ALCHEMY X.
If you're into great Progressive Metal, please don't hesitate and move your ass to the local CD store to grab this 11:59:59 (they're maybe closed at twelve, if U know what i mean!)
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UNIT 53 - POWER AND PRESENCE

This US based Metal band was formed in october 2001 and is a quadrupilation of many of Metal styles that are strongly European flavored. Steve Lewis, Rodney Pitts, Rob Stephenson and Carlton Kelly uses each individual experience and talent to create an explosive fusion of neckbreaking Power Metal. Hard pounding drums
and hydrolic bass intertwined with symphonic guitars and high soaring vocals makes UNIT 53 the thunder and lightning of the Richmond, Virginia music scene. 16 tracks on the CD ans a must for every Metal maniac who likes the US underground scene very well. For me it was a great opportunity to get in touch with the band and doing an interview with Rob Stephenson( drums, percusion and vocals). You can check that at the INTERVIEWS section. For further information about the band, go visit their website : www.geocities.com/unit53band
 
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OVERDRIVE 20 YEARS - Tribute To Patrick De Sloover 
Belgian Metal Compilation

First of all , this is not about the Swedish eighties band Overdrive but about a Belgian Radio show presented by Patrick De Sloover.
He's a real knight in Metal services and he is doing the show since 1981.Well, this is a tribute to him and his fantastic radio show, a sort of an award he really deserves at all! This compilation features 18 tracks and a playing time of 70 minutes. Different styles of Metal. We've got Death, Thrash, Atmospheric and of course Heavy Metal aboard of this CD!
Mention the CD features only Belgian Metal bands such as: Artrach, Archai, Essatic, Bellator, Mouse Analyse, Mindstab, Mortifer, Ackros, Double Diamond, Urzamoth, Everglow, Welkin, Black Snow, Fleshmould, Contr-X, Dedicted, Crusader, Existence Denied. Pruduction works was in hands of Tony De Block who delivered an outstanding duty. If you're a Metal maniac, into different styles...you better hurrt up and buy this great compilation CD for low budget price of 7.50 euro. Interesting persons, just write to Patrick De Sloover, Engelenhof 12, B-9940 ERTVELDE - BELGIUM. Otherwise, you can the OVERDRIVE website at following URL: www.overdrive666.tk

The program goes on every wednesday from 08 to 10 PM, so check it out if you got an ear for real Metal music!!
 
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BRAZEN ABBOT - GUILTY AS SIN

After six years of silence and the release of a rock opera in between Nicolo is back to his roots and his own band with the release of their fourth album. Brazen Abbot used to be a Hard Rock and Heavy Metal band and thats exactly what they still are. More simple than Nostradamus, more groovy and straight forward and always as good. Once again he has managed to gather an amazing band including Joe Lynn Turner, Goran Edman and Jorn Lande on vocals. The songs are highly melodic and are dominated by the excellent guitars of Nicolo and of course the vocals of the three singers. The album is good make no mistake about it. It features a few amazing songs and the whole album is never below average and it never becomes boring or something. It is perfectly produced and the sound is truly excellent while the songs will appeal to all Brazen Abbot fans. It looks like the man cant stop releasing good albums and of course we are not the ones to complain about it.

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RAVAGE - CURSE OF HEAVEN
American band RAVAGE formed as far back as 1995 when 2 young brothers,inspired and driven by the glory and achievement of their Heavy Metal idols such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Danzig and Judas.Priest. Dedicated to embark an a quest form a Metal band that would bring back the compelling of American Metal, which has been
watered down by the grunge influences of the 90's. By late 2000,the band had begun to forge a name in the local scene,and with the addition of some other musicians, the band's creative core was completed. With the awesome energy of their brand of Classic Heavy Metal, they played several opening shows for international acts as: Lizzy Borden, The Alex Skolnick Trio and the local Ozzy tribute band Believer. A first demo release came at the beginning of 2003 and is produced by Jack Fenstermaker and Ravage. Title of that demo is ''CURSE OF HEAVEN'' which contains 6 tracks of solid Classic Heavy Metal with genius melodic parts, breaks and a vocalist that fits very well in this concept. The tracks are:Curse of heaven,Terror's head, The wasteland, Reign fall, The wicked way, The king forgotten. I'm sure to hear more from this young Metal band in the near future. You can visit their website at the following URL:
www.665.org/ravage
  ...... HAIL TO HEAVY METAL!!
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IMP - ASHES IN THE HOURGLASS

Five piece Power/Thrash Metal band from Holland who started back in 1996. After a rehearsal tape in' 97, a demo release in 1988, a CD called ''Stillborn'' and  a  Live recording in Februari 2003, the band IMP is back for a next Metal assault. A brandnew MCD called '' shes In The Hourglass '' recorded at  STUDIO HARROW in Losser, olland is on the way and will be released somewhere in June 2003 and is produced
by Harrow's Marc Ter Braak. The artwork is made by Monica! I heard the advanced tracks and was really positive surprised with the results, honestly! Very well produced Power/Thrash Metal influenced of Heavy Metal and other music. Throbbing  guitar riffs, six string  bass lines, variable way of drummin and clean Metal vocals and sometimes deep grunts by their female singer Monica. After an intro , 5 more tracks on the MCD and you can expect some influences from bands like: Slayer, Death, Mystic (early 90's US band) Nevermore and Iced Earth. Titles of the tunes re...Successors, Demise Of Man, The Great Arrival, The Last Descendant, Onslaught. All great build up songs with a lot of variations and a tremendous production. Don't hesitate to grab this one if you got the opportunity,  because THIS IS METAL!!!
For more details about the band, go visit their website at : www.imp-web.tk
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ASKA - AVENGER

This is a 2000 release but still worth to make a review of this fantastic album. AVENGER is the band's fourth CD and it's an 80's styled Metal combining the best of Britisch Metal with so a lot of magnificent US Power Metal touches. This album strips away any Hard Rock influences the band had in previous releases and simply sticks to Metal this time around. Bands to remind while listening are Jag Panzer, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Queensryche,...Great sounded twin guitars and distinctive vocals makes the band so graceful to me. From the galloping riffs of "Imperial Rome" to the aggressive pinning of "Leather" you can't but help to like ASKA's approach to Heavy Metal. Let me tell you one golden advice: If you're in the mood for a great portion old-styled Metal with class, you can't go wrong with this album. They follow the traditional US Power Metal of the sacred 100 procent and that's what i like, you better believe it. So to everyone who haven't this great album, run as fast as you can to your local record store and buy it very, i mean very quickly and crank it up!!
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CIRCLE  II CIRCLE - WATCHING IN SILENCE

What could happens when you get Zak Stevens(ex Savatage) behind a microphone, put Jon Oliva on the production and songwriting and current Savatage guitar player Chris Caffery helping on the ongwriting process, well in fact you have a brandnew band by the name of Circle II Circle. Zak's new band creates a sound with influences that compares with his old band Savatage. Highly melodic and rather symphonic in nature and features some of the catchiŽst songs you'll even hear. Zak's voice definitely dominates the songs, but on the other hand it also leaves enough room to the instruments to expand on the basic melodies of the songs and build upon them to create an excellent result. Made by and for Savatage  and other symphonic Rock 'n' Metal maniacs worldwide!
 
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BLACK LABEL SOCIETY - THE BLESSED HELLRIDE

This is the fourth studio ainstallment in the continuing evolution of Black Label Society. The fans already know what they can expect here. More bottom heavy riffs and pinch harmonics, more beer-soaked vocals and some sup^ort from Zakk's good friend Ozzy Osbourne himself. This is pure American Metal that doesn't require a lot of thought. For me this album is better than his previous one called''1919'' and for two reasons especially. First reason is that the production is much rougher and the guitar parts are more wilder. A second reason for me is that the overall performances are better. The track''Stillborn'' is a potential radio hit, especially since the legend Ozzy, guest stars on vocals. Some other gracefull tune is ''The Blessed Hellride''which is more Southern-Rockish than anything Zakk has done recently. Now that's the way BLS are, a band that can play several styles of music on one single album. Maybe one golden advice...if you just want to fill that Black Sabbath void in your life, go to your local CD store and  pick this one up. BLS really rocks your brains out with their memorable powerfull music the way it was meant to be played!.
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GUDGEN - EXMORTA

Three headed Portland based Metal band that has been kickin' ass for many years.The band members are Andy on drums, Shawn as vocalist and Tim on bass. Gudgen's  is influenced by bands as Mudvayne, Sepultura and Machine Head. It all tarted with a first release entitled ''Gudgen Live 2001" included nine tunes and a follow up to that CD  was a three track EP  called ''I Cannot Breath". The new one ''Exmorta is a 5 track EP  included 3 studio  and  2 live tracks .Tracklisting: Intro, Breathe, Dirtnap, Black Hat(Live), Art Of Failing(Live). Production is very heavy, but very good! To be honest , this is not my favorite kinda Metal but have many respect for what they do. This is what Gudgen want to  do and what they do is good.
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CAGE - DARKER THAN BLACK

Third album of the US based Metal band CAGE and a real masterpiece, no doubt! All i can say is that this band  belongs in my favorite  traditional Heavy  Metal list of all time. Their  music has  influences  from Judas priest and  it's more heaviŽr  than classic eighties Metal while they have a charismatic singer who can
add his own signature to the songs. Not only him  but  also  the rest of the band members are  doing fantastic jobs.This is METAL, believe  it  or  not! Catchy choruses, heavy riffs, tremendous  solos  and a pounding  backbone are the ingrediŽnts of their music. They just create their best work so far.  Looking for some good traditional US Metal? Well, this is definitely the answer to that question. After the Seven Witches release entitled ''Passage To The Other Side'' my absolute fave at the moment !!
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BEYOND THERAPY - DEMO US 2001/2002

A band straight from - THE LEAGUE OF ROCKERS - department! Stemming from Januari of 2000, Beyond Therapy has abandoned two drummers and a guitarist along the way to finally settle on its perma - nent power laced quarted in April 2001. Steadily clawing their way to the top in popularity amongst ma - niacal fans. They has appeared on numerous television and radio spots and is cuurently undertaking a blistereing regime of shows and events that will keep them busy until later in the year when they plan to release their second full CD which contains of ten original songs. On this demo with three tracks aboard, Beyond Therapy prooves they still got the power and the energy to break through. It's not a true Metal band but a mixtures of Tool, The Happily Rejected, Primus, Soundgarden, Melvins and others. Not my favorite style, but i show my respect to this band. Be sure that they have the balls and energy within the band to kick some ass!
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OVERKILL - KILLBOX 13

Considering the health problems OVERKILL frontman Bobby ''BLITZ'' Ellsworth's dealing with the last couple years, the band are back with the follow-up of their live 2 DVD set from last year. Killer album anyway and listen to tracks as 'Devil By The Tail' or 'The One' reminds me on older Testament tunes. Guitars are still tuned up and the ability to solo is not a lost art throughout Killbox 13. Prepare yourself for 'The Sounding Of Dying' i call it a speed assault mixed with some slower part weaved into it.Well, believe it or not but the track entitled Until I Die takes me back to the very beginning of German Accept.Check out Bobby's voice on this song.It shows that he's still a great singer after 20 years.This CD remains true to the OVERKILL legend as the purveyors of old school Thrash Metal and have all the class aboard to make the songs memorable in the first place.
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SILENT FORCE - INFATUATOR

Kinda unusual to make a review of an album which is released in 2001. Well, i don't care anyway because ''Infatuator''from Silent Force is double worth to review, even almost two years later! This second album  is a real masterpiece. Greatful Power Metal at it's best and  more  aggressive and  faster than  their first album entiltled ''The Empire Of Future'' Lots
of Judas Priest  influences ,all  because of  the fabulous voice  from  DC Cooper ,who  is  definitely  close with  Rob Halford. His  natural  voice  is  really rather pleasant. Six  string master  Alex Beyrodt's  way of  playing is  amazing. That fast, but  still  clean solo's. He's  one  of  my  favourite  guitarists  anyway. Well,  the CD  opens  with  the  title track and  is a pretty fast and Priest alike song. The second''The fall into oblivion''is in the same direction. Next''Hear me calling'' is a more epic song with symphonic keys and a  powerful chorus. The next two songs on the album aren't that great to me, but never mind,  because after that you can expect a Priest cover named All guns blazing... no further information needed! Now it's time for a three part trilogy , started with a carnival intro called''Cena libera'' but prepare yourself for next part of the trilogy with the song called ''Gladiator''a rather standard Priest looking tune with fast riffs and tremendous bass drums. We shut the trilogy with ''The Blade'' and to be honest, not my fave at all. ''Last time'' is a song about DC's dead brother, a mid tempo track with less intrusive guitars and a very strong chorus. After ''World aflame'' it's time for a ballad with guest vocals by the Finish Inka Auhagen. Great melodies makes this an emotional ballad with style. Last song is a short instrumental called''Northern  lights'' that features fabulous classical guitar lines by Alex Beyrodt. Hope the next SILENT FORCE release is not far away!
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THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG - TRAVELLER

Fourth album of the San Francisco based True Metal band and probably one of their best so far. They've changed  their  Metal  sound  to  be much more original. The music has influences from true metal and there  are  also some elements of Classic and Doom Metal listenable on this album. Let me say that the band  creates  a sound  of their  own. There's an epic feeling throughout the album that makes it sound much more majestic than what they used to be. The science fiction concept is very fitting with the music and i was impressed by both the voice of the singer and the riffing parts. Lots of changes in the tracks to keep  you  interested through this album and i have to comment that there are no fillers. Every second song ''Traveller'' is  worth  to  lay an  ear on. That's means 44 minutes of graceful Heavy Metal will bash your ears if you catch the album which is very good produced.
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METHARIA - PROMO CD  

Metharia was born in 1999 with the purpose to express deep feelings and beliefs and to show a different face of  the Italian  Metal scene. The artistic production is really various and spaces from melodic harmonies to raw energy and powerfull songs. Their  strong  human and musical feeling easy emerges from the way they perform live and the energy they put in their songs. Metharia releases two demos in 2000 and 2001 and got many good reviews on many mags and  webzines world-wide. They also got lots of airplay in Belgium, USA, France, Peru, Italy and UK. well, this new promo, released in January 2003, shows a more mature  band, a deeper  personality and a new particular mix of infectious grooves,  powerful songs and soften atmospheres. A better production, due to Enzo "Soulfingers" Rizzo and Bob Fix' mastering, makes this promo a clear mirror of the band's potentialities. Worth to mention is that the band have a fantastic singer by the name of Luca Volani.
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AMERICAN DOG - RED, WHITE, BLACK AND BLUE

American Dog are the epitome of hard living back breaking, working class rock and roll! This is the way this threesome band is discribed in the ''Outlaw Recordings'' artist roster and believe me, it's full 100% the truth. This is the foloow-up of ''Last Of A Dying Breed''which was release in 2000 and their live EP entitled''6 Pack: Songs About Drinkin' & Fuckin', released almost one year later. Michael Hannon(ex- Salty Dog and Dangerous Toys), guitarist Steve Theado and drummer Keith Pickens delivers us 12 songs that really kick ass!! Check out some titles: Shitkicker, Blame It On The Booze, I Keep on Drinkin' (You're Stay Ugly), Hear Me Howlin', Dog Will Hunt,...do i have to say more, i don't think so. If you're ready for some rough Southern & Hard Rock that sounds really greazy and dirty, well this band will surely deliver the goods as well.
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MAGUS BEAST - SAY YOUR PRAYERS

MAGUS BEAST is the former  AGRESSOR, a  classic Metal band from America, who just recently  changed their name so there won't be any confusion with other bands having the same name. This  album in fact  was recorded  back  in 1997 . Be ready for some full force Classic Heavy Metal that reminds me on bands like the early OVERKILL and  METAL CHURCH , great vocals and lots of power into their music makes this album really great to me! It's a self financed CD and don't worry about the production at all, just because everything's sounds very good. The track called ''Death before Dishonor'' is one  helluvah fantastic  US Metal  song  and  definitely my personal fave of the entire album. And that's just only one, also check out the other tunes which are absolutely worth to listen at. Must for US Metal maniacs!!
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TYRANT EYES - THE DARKEST HOUR

German Power Metallers Tyrant Eyes return with their new CD entiltled "The Darkes Hour" three years later after their stunning debut album "Book Of Souls" which was a fantastic album anyway. For me it's Power Metal at it's best and even some Thrash influences are markable in their music. The Darkest hour is an album which became without doubt harder and straighter than their debut, though it doesn't lach neither progressive parts nor catchy melodies. From the merciless, almost Thrashy opening track called "Night Of The Defender" to the mystic, partly experimental mid tempo tracks like,"The Darkest Hour" or "Command To Destroy" and the epic "The Last Light", this album offers everything that suits the demanding Metalhead everywhere in the world. Absolutely one of the best Power Metal albums of 2003!
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TWISTED TOWER DIRE - CREST OF THE MARTYRS
 
Third album by the outstanding US Power Metal gods, produced by Piet Sieck ( Iron savior, Blind Guardian) and the fantastic artwork was in hands of Derek Riggs ( Iron Maiden, Gamma Ray). This is absolutely their very best so far. Ten tracks on the CD plus one bonus track for all those who buy the limited digipack. That bonus track called "The Witch' Eyes 2003", in a re-recorded version because this is an older TTD song. Anyway, i likes this new CD all because it's a real Metal blast !! Every maniac who loves the classic US Metal and also bands like Hammerfall can't go wrong with Crest Of The Martyrs. All the tracks are double worth to listen at and be sure that TWISTED TOWER DIRE delivers the best there is in the world of US Power Metal. Just go and get it, you won't regret it !!
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GAIA EPICUS - SATRAP
 
This Norwegian band started back in 1992 as a Punk Rock band but through the years, there is a lot changed. From Punk to Thrash and later on they went to the Hard Rock direction and finally and nowadays the band  plays truely Melodic Power Metal at highest form. Gaia Epicus has every the characteristics of a true Metal band. Soaring clear melodic vocals, thundering double drum kicks, melodic fast lead guitar and heavy bass lines . All the tracks are pretty fast and old Helloween, Stratovarius and Gamma Ray inspired. Great album which features 11 songs and a running time of almost 70 minutes ."Satrap" is food for all Melodic Power Metal fanatics!
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MYSTERY BLUE - DEMO 2002
 
After an evenful start in the eighties with tours in France, Germany and Belgium and playing as support acts for MotŲrhead, Def leppard and Saxon, MYSTERY BLUE succumbs to internal problems. They released 3 albums named "Mystery Blue", "Circle Of Shame", "Spirit Of Your Song". Probably due to the fast rise of the band and the young age of its members. After several years of silence , this French band is back for a next metal attack. The new line-up features the female singer Nathalie, the mighty drummer Vince (ex- Altar), the crazy bassist Dany (ex Time Riders) and of course Frenzy, the guitarist who founded the band back in 1982. With a perfect musical technique and an intact joy of playing, Mystery Blue recorded this three track demo which features the tracks: Dark Visions, Roller Coaster Ride, Angel. Great Classic Heavy Metal at its best. Great voice anyway by Nathalie and the way she shouts reminds me on Lee Aaron, Doro and Ann Boleyn( Hellion). Hope these band get the opportunity to ink a deal with some record label real soon. They really deserve it! You can contact the band at: Hmysteryblue@aol.com or www.mysteryblue.com
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MONUMENT - THE MILLENNIAL DEATH OF GOD
 
Oklahoma City's MONUMENT was formed in 1993 by Chad Callaway on bass, Sean Kelly on guitars and Kevin Courtney on drums. The band recorded their first demo in 1995 entitled "Dust" with vocalist Jim Davis and guitarist Parker Brown. Six tracks on that demo and continues to receive good reviews and coamments. Some guys were leaving the band and some other musicians step into the Monument camp. In 1998 they recorded a first full length album named "Resting Place" which contains 10 tracks + 1 hidden. Once again they receives great response from all over the world. Almost two years later, the guys went back in the studio for a new album called "The Millennial Death Of God". Great album anyway fullfilled with 10 tracks of original Power/Thrash Metal with eighties influences. Last track on the CD is a cover from Overkill entitled "Spiritual Voice" and it sounds definitely very well. Great band, great album, so stay tuned for this band because they're working on new material for a next release. Check them out at : www.monumetal.com
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FALCON - DEMO 2003
 
Ex-DESTINY'S END and current ARTISAN guitar player Perry Grayson has been planning a '70s style Heavy Rock project for several years, and he finally found the time to start working on it recently. The project called FALCON and the sound is a throwback to what was heavy in 1971. So, as for the falcon influences, you can go back to bands like: Mountain, Thin Lizzy, Budgie, BOC, Pentagram and stuff like that. Joining Perry in this band is former Cirith Ungol multi-instrumentalist GREG LINDSTROM. He handles the bass thunder and also play some keyboard and guitar lines as well. behind the drumkit, you will find DARIN McCLOSKEY from Pennsylvania. He's also  the skin basher for Doom Metal merchants Pale Divine. The four tracks on the demo are: Shelob's Lair, Downer, The Crying Of Lot 246, On The Slab(To the Memory Of Philip Paris Lynott). It's old school influenced Heavy Rock and these guys doing it with a lot of passion and overloaded energy. Great work anyway !! The FALCON website: www.thevine.net/~fortress/falcon.htm
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POWER OF OMENS - ROOMS OF ANGUISH
 
New album released on Metalages Records from the US band Power Of Omens, so be prepared for 75 minutes of highly complex Progressive Metal delivers with a very unique style . No need to compare "Rooms Of Anguish" with their previous album named "Eyes Of The Oracle" because this new one is so brilliant that you will forget all the rest. From the opening tunes of "With These Words" you will be taken back at how they play off the lead guitars. Really technical, the way these guitar players handles their six strings. Listen carefully to the fantastic combination of classic and flamenco guitars within their music. If you wanna know some more about the vocalist, i can tell you that's it's one of the greatest singers i've heard within the new generation of Metal bands. He sounds like Geoff Tate, same style. Even the spoken words and tonal inflections durings the chorus are Tate-alike! Check out the track "In The End" which is a 20 minute cut of Prog Metal heaven. Really breathtaking stuff and so are the rest of tunes. Great album made by great musicians and to all the Progressive Metal fans i definitely wanna say to put this album in you private CD collection, you won't regret it ! www.metalages.com
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PHANTOMS OPERA - ACT IV
 
Another New Jersey product are Melodic Metallers Phantoms Opera. They've been around for a while, browsing at the same trough as bands such as Symphony X and Savatage . Their operatic or 'theatrical' style of Metal as they've described it, takes a wee bit of getting used to, as does the vocal work of melodic rock hero Terry Brock - who is heard for the first time in a different light. Not that the album is a write-off - far from it. Superb tracks like 'Shadows On The Wall' and the gothic sounding 'Lost' ensure the band rocks out with the best of them. Even the 9.15 'In The Morning' is an extended epic, which brings back memories of SAXON's 'Cruasder' - what with all those solider's voice overs etc. It's just that a handful of tracks cannot sustain the overall album, which to these ears, sounds ordinary by comparison. Not their fault, but the playing field has definitely shifted in the melodic metal genre - while Phantoms Opera it seems, have been operating in isolation.   Dynamicism is the key to the melodic metal genre these days. Until Phantoms Opera discover that secret little trapdoor, they will remain behind the curtain, while others take the spotlight.
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PAGAN ALTAR - PAGAN ALTAR

This album was originally recorded back in 1985 and has just been re-mastered and re-released in CD. Judging it by the standards of that time it would be a good doom metal album in the veins of Candlemass with some more Classic Metal influences. It still is an interesting album but it's age is clear. Of course this is not always bad. It depends on how you like your music. The songs are mostly slow and quite simple. The arrangements are not complex or too technical and they have some interesting riffs and passages. It can be considered as a cult album for friends of doom and probably be considered as one of the best underground albums. The sound is not polished at all and though the album has been re-mastered the production is not very good. The sound of the drums is almost awful, but through all these drawbacks the band manages to present us some good songs. It's a good but for historical reasons and for people interested in how Metal sound 15 years ago. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

HALLOWEEN - NO ONE GETS OUT

US Horror Metal masters Halloween released a limited number of these CDs in 1991, but the independent CD quickly became virtually impossible to find. Now, thanks to small U.S. label Molten Metal Records (the same label that released the band's "lost" 1986 album "Victims of the Night"), No One Gets Out is available again, with brand-new packaging and five bonus tracks from the band's excellent VICIOUS demo. The overall style of this album is somewhat different from the band's previous albums, probably because the band had recruited a new guitarist and drummer at the time the album was recorded. Songs like "Crawl To The Altar" and the title track have a kind of thrashy edge, while the crunchy gallop of "Kings" offers a slower pace that is just as effective. The production is very clean, letting the power of the songs shine through crisply. Plus, the band pays tribute to one of their major influences by offering their metallic version of KISS' "Detroit Rock City." The bonus tracks from the Vicious demo are truly a bonus, and it is almost worth buying the CD just for those five songs. Demo tracks like "I Confess" and "Evil Nation" are Classic UD 80's Metal, and the inclusion of these previously unreleased tunes makes this excellent CD a sure bet for metal fans. Halloween is preparing to release their new CD, but hungry fans can pick up this reissue to keep them happy while they're waiting for the band's latest offering.
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RECKLESS TIDE - INSANITY OR REALITY + MINUTES OF THRASH
 
Old school Thrash Metal maniacs beware! Reckless Tide is a German Thrash Metal band with traditional and modern elements, combining neck-breaking riff and melodic hooklines weaved within their music. If you wanna know the history briefing about the band, check out the interviews section. In fact, Insanity Or Reality is a 5 track EP professionally recorded in the Absurd Studio in Hamburg at the end of October 2002. It sounds really good to me. All is worked out in a state of perfection. As for the muscic, it's hundred procent Thrash Metal with lots of eighties influences from bands like Testament and early Metallica. Raw vocals in combination with some cleaner voice parts is what you can expect from this Bay Area styled thrashers.
MINUTES OF THRASH is a two track promotion work i suppose, realeased in 2003. Well, the title explane a lot. Pure solid Thrash Metal that sounds even better than their previous one, but that's my personal view of it, you know. Go to the band's website, purchase an order and make your own conclusion about Reckless Tide. Death Train, Repent Or Seal Your Fate will definitely make your heads gonna bang like hell. THRASH ON! www.recklesstide.de
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MAGISTRAL - I AM
 
Santiago, Chile Metal band Magistral got their first break when they were discovered in Santiago and given an advance for a demo. Their first single called "Awake", was well recieved and obtained significant local airplay. At this point, Lucho(vocals), who already lived in Houston convinced the other members to pursue their dream in the U.S.. One by one they migrated to Texas and began the next chapter in the development of the band. I AM is a 5 track demo CD and proudly delivers for all those who are into Progressive Power Metal, with a speedy touch! Vocals like Fabio Lione, Andre Matos...guitar virtuosity by Danillio who has a technical ability and inspired by Vinnie Moore or Jason Becker... Moises hit the drums and find inspiration by Ian Paice...bass guitarist Francisco's  face readily reveals the passion that feels for his music. The tracks are I Am, How, Strike Of The Angels, Infinite Void, Magistral. Last mentioned track is my personal fave because everything sounds so perfect in this song. I'm sure to hear more from these guys in the future and hope they will receive all the attention they deserve from many world-wide Metal maniacs. Well done brothers! www.magistralweb.com
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GRAVE DIGGER - RHEINGOLD

The new album of the German band is inspired by the Wagner's The Ring Of The Nibelungs, and continues the saga of the band with the release of concept albums. The first thing that I have noticed in the new album, is that the band is using a much more epic atmosphere into the songs, something that gives a very interesting perspective into their music. There are various elements used to achieve the medieval atmosphere that the band wanted to create, something that makes their album one of the most diverse albums they have ever created. Of course the "traditional" Grave Digger sound, and the unique vocals of Chris are also the dominating elements here, so the fans of their previous works will also be pleased with the new one. The majority of the arrangements are very good, with many interesting parts and ideas that are well developed through the song structures. The music is catchy enough and easy to get into, but on the other hand there are things hidden, things that are not revealed to the listener from the first listening. The guest vocals of Das Letzte Einhorn from In Extremo, are making the songs even more interesting, and enrich the medieval feeling in the album. An album that can proudly bear the name of the band, and an album that will surprisingly please the fans of the band.

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KICKHUNTER - HEARTS & BONES

I am not familiar with the history of the band, or their previous works and experience. What I know is that they are coming from Germany, and Markus Grosskopf of Helloween is also participating on this album. While trying to predict the sound, I was pretty amazed because the band didn't play any kind of Power Metal, but their sound was closer to Hard Rock, with plenty of 80's feeling into it, and some blues elements to make things even more juicy. Hard Rock, the way that was played in USA in the mid 80's, with plenty of melodies, enough keyboards, pianos, male and female choirs, and a street feeling that I found very interesting. The music is catchy, and the band is talented, so the result might sound a bit retro but never out of place, or even close to boring. Maybe not for the ears of the most extreme of our readers, since the album sometimes is not even close to Metal at all. On the other hand, the band has wrote some killer music, ideal for listening while driving long distances, or in parties. The production is also another great thing here, and helps the music very much. Simple and straight to the point, with very talented musicians, this album is an album that will please all fans of the 80's.  

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HELLOWEEN - RABBIT DON'T COME EASY

The new album of the band is something that many expected, and finds the band in top shape although there are two new members in the line up. Continuing the saga, the band has created an album that is perfect in almost every aspect of it, and it's an album that will certainly gain them some more fans. The style of the band is more varied than their previous one, and is more like a continuation in the vein of Better Than Raw. The songs are well written, and there is not the same dark atmosphere that existed in their previous album, although a couple of songs are close. The songs are moving in the well known Helloween style, with an up tempo feeling, with nice and interesting ideas, and well arranged song structures. The new members fit perfectly with the sound of the band, and Sascha Gerstner is also contributing in a couple of songs as well. The good thing here is the fact that the album also holds a few surprises for the fans, and is proving that the band is in a very creative period. The production of the album is also another very good thing, and helps the music of the band very much. The Pumpkins have returned with a diverse album that can proudly bear the name of the band and become another classic. If you are into Power Metal, then this album is a necessity.

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ANTHENORA - THE GENERAL'S AWAKENING PROMO 2002
 
Anthenora was born back in 1990 and their main goal was to play Classic Heavy Metal influenced by bands such as : Judas Priest, Black Sabbath and Saxon. The guys get what they deserve and released 2 demo's entitled: "Bring Me To Hell" in 1992 and "Heretical Symphonies" in 1993. Both recorded at the Dracma Studios of Turin. From 1995 the band played many live gigs in the form as a original Heavy Metal band but also as one of the best Italian Iron Maiden tribute bands. In the last years Anthenora has played all around Italy from north to south and received great reaction from the Metal maniacs out there! They keep pointing the sign up high and entered the studio again to record a brand new EP called "The General's Daughter" in 2002. Don't expect a typical sounded Iron Maiden minded tribute band, but nothing else than a true Classic Heavy Metal band with an emphasis on the word "HEAVY", hell yeah! Ofcourse, there are some Maiden or Priest influences aboard, but the originality insie the band stands tall anyway. This promo CD contains 4 tracks and these great own created compositions makes from Anthenora a formation that can claim its place as a worthy Heavy Metal representative and i'm sure they will be back for more in the near future. Hope the general will rise again very soon!_____________________________________________________________________________________________
 

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MERENDINE ATOMICHE - WALK ACROSS FIRE
 
Italian Thrash Metal band which released their very first demo back in 1998 entitled "Demo 1997". Soon after there were some internal line-up probs and they want to go further als a Metallica tribute band at the end of 1999 . This experience brought the band on national attention and selling CDS all over Europe, USA and even Japan seems to be interested. But after all, the band wants to create their own style of Metal and that goal were reached in September 2000 when they came out with a brand new MCD called "The Holy Metal" with five, 80's Bay Area styled Thrash Metal tunes, in the vein of Testament, Sacred Reich, Overkill aboard! Once again great responses from all over the world and the band's success lingers on and on. After participating on many Metal compilation albums , the band went back into the studio in August 2002 at Famous One SUNLIGHT STUDIOS in Stockholm Sweden where born the first full length album entitles "Walk Across Fire" and i can guarantee you, it's one helluvah fantastic album anyway with special guests as guitar god Jeff Waters who played solo's on the track "Game Over" and Anders Lundemark from Konkhra who sing in the song "Revenge". The music on this CD brings me back to bands as Testament, Annihilator, RDP, Imagika and even some Megadeth influences will torture your neck while listening.Very well produced by Tomas Skogsberg who worked in the past with: Dismember, Entombed, Katatonia, Amorphis and many others. A new Melodic Power Thrashin' Metal band is born!! www.merendineatomiche.com
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FACELESS - THE FITH SYNDROME
 
This is a four headed alternative nu-metal act from Australia and my friend James II from the League Of Rockers department in America wants me to  review it, which is absolutely no problem to me. The band worked hard for their first six months together and released a self funded E.P. called "Stare Inside My Mind". There was a limited press of only 500 copies made and within 3 single months, all copies sold out. They did many live shows, in early 2001 they were part of the Queensland Rock Awards where they stranded in the top 10 over 100 other acts. Faceless were also included on the UK compilation CD entitled "Visibility - A Visible Noise Sampler" alongside 15 other bands from UK and Europe, take part on the Surf And Travel Australia Video and also recorded a new track for the Krankit 2001 compilation vol.2 CD with the song called "Teeth". Finally it was time for another 6 track EP in 2002 with the title "The Fith Syndrome" included 6 tracks . The album is currently unreleased as the band are seeking support to gain distribution and promotion for its release.The songs on this EP are very well played and produced with a lot of energy and power, but as many people well knows,  this is not my favourite style of Metal. Nu-metal freaks will loves this band a lot, so watch out for Faceless.  www.faceless.com.au
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DRIVEN - CRUSH
 
DRIVEN is well known for the hard hitting, aggressive in your face character sketches that strike at the heart of the human soul! They come from Utah and my first impression was very positive. I call Driven some kinda modern Hard Rock / Metal band, including some stoner influences with a heavy and powerfull sound.The man behind the microphone, named Jack Eastmen delivers all the best with his strongfull voice and Chuck Billy( Testament) remains from time to time. Also, lay an ear on their six string raper Jim Felt. He's got the feeling in his fingertips and i dare to compare him with guitar god Zakk Wylde. The sound of Tom Browning's bass guitar is heavy as hell, better believe it and last but not least we've got skinbasher Ken Sims and he will surely shake your ground while listening. 4 tracks on this EP entitled "Kill The Killer", "Crush", Goodbye", Fool" and i'm sure that it's just a sample of what they have in store for us in the future. Watch them closely if you dig some old school stuff played by very talented musicianswww.allthingsdriven.com   or  www.theleagueofrockers.com
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ELVENPATH - 2002
 
German long haired Metal band who still believe in the power of true Metal at all! The band is really hooked up with with Metal and listening to Iron Maiden and Blind Guardian, so the style Elvenpath delivers is similar with mentioned groups. They finally set up this formation to express their musical passion. As their name they choose ELVENPATH which is a name filled with fantasy, hope and magic . These elements discribes the positive power of their music as well. They've got the intention not to follow a narrow line neither musically nor lyrically. Influnces inside the band range from old Helloween to Judas Priest with everything aboard to be a great sounded Metal band. This demo contains three tracks called: "Kingdom Of The Weird", "Eternal Quest" and "Thunderode". This is the band's first release and arouses the interest of quite some magazines and fans so far. My opinion is that the guys are ready for a full length album to release in the near future. Meanwhile, they keep on playing their lungs out on several stages . Till now, they've shared the stage with bands like : Accuser, Majesty, Sacred Sin and Wizard. Keep up the great works guys, METAL IS ALL WE NEED! www.elvenpath.com   or   www.theleagueofrockers.com
 
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FORCES @ WORK - COLDHEARTED CANYON
 
Progressive Power Metal band from Germany formed by guitarists Adrian Weiss and Mischa Blum as well as bassist Armin Alic and drummer Salkic back in 2000. All the members played in previous bands such as Thought Sphere, Done By dawn, Point Of No Return, Niobes Ivory Dream. in June 2002 they recorded 8 instrumental songs and did many live performances as an instrumental band late in 2002. Mention that the band name at that period was Fushed Confashion. At the beginning of 2003 they completed their line-up and former Lost Century-Thoughsphere vocalist Andreas Lohse enjoy the ranks. The existing tracks so far was overdubbed with vocals, mixed and mastered. Any time later, they've changed their name into Forces @ Work. After two and a half years of work, a 6 track demo CD see the light entitled " Coldhearted Canyon". More than 26 minutes of Progressive Power Metal played by some great talented musicians! I put all my intention on the music and besides the progressive touch, i heard some flameable riffs from 80's Thrash bands as Violence and Megadeth. Every single musician are really fantastic except the vocalist, sorry, but i can't get used to his way of singing. He's midraned talented and has some work to do  in the future. Besides that little critical point of view, the band surely gonna make it in the future! My personal faves on this demo CD are the tracks "Fushed Confashion" which is a fabulous instrumental and " Pre-Mortem Autopsy", so fantastic and amazing structures inside this song that makes my final conclusion as follows: Some work to do for the singer and all the rest sounded almost perfect to me guys! The recordings of a first full lenght  and debut album is planned at the end of 20003. You can order the demo via thier website at: www.forcesatwork.de
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SUNDAZEFIX - 11 SONG PROMO CD
 
American heavy loaded Metal group Sundazefix started their first band in 1987 and played together for about two years begore going seperate ways...having known each other since 1982. It just semmed right to reunite in 1994 and create music together again. They plays music with dark grooves, it's all about the riff or hook that draws you in and won't let you go. A mix of very heavy rythm with melodies all over the top. Currently playing around the Puget Sound Area, they are from Kitsap County and play gigs in Kitsap, Pierce and King counties.They enjoy playing at many as possible venues, and do so as often as they can.Also won Best Heavy Metal Band in Kitsap at the 2000 Kitsap Community Music Awards! They recorded their first album at Clear Water Productions Studio back in 1997 with Terry B. Shelton as producer. So now Sundazed are currently working on a self produced,  brandnew album recorded at The Swamp! I don't know exactly what's the title, but the eleven songs on the advance CD are really heavy loaded stuff anyway! Doom Metal maniacs,  beware and try to pick this CD up for sure. If you ask me to mention some similar artists, well in that way i can say..." Re-Opening The Gates"  from Omen reminds me a lot while listening this 11 track promo CD. In the band's own words they are influenced by Soundgarden, Alice In Chains, Metallica and Tool! You can check it all out at : www.theleagueofrockers.com   or   www.angelfire.com/sd/sundazefix/
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PARAGON - THE DARK LEGACY
 
New album released on Remedy Records from German Power Metal gods Paragon hits me right in the face! I really do like their previous album entitled "Law Of The Blade", but the new record sounds even better to me. It seems like everything on the album is even more basic than on the last few records. More power and aggression is at hand! It reminds me of another album from Paragon called "World Of Sin". So the die-hard fans knows what that means. Fullforce and no looking back Power Metal at its best! Besides a remake of an early Paragon track entitled "Into The Black", this album contains eight other pounding songs and the digi pack catchers have a bonus track more to enjoy.  Maybe if you have enough cash in your pocket, check out the Japan version just because of another bonus track is included. Producing is in hands of Mr. Piet Sielck (Iron Savior, Blind Guardian) and the magnificent artwork made by Dirk Illing(Wizard, Twisted Tower Dire). With tracks such as "Eye Of The Storm", Blood Of My Enemies" and the opener "The Legacy", it definitely can't go wrong. Just pick it up and you won't regret at all!!
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METAL TO INFINITY CD REVIEWS - 2

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