Formed at the onset of popularity of the retro thrash movement in 2005, Nekromantheon have largely outlasted and outperformed all of the bands that were their peers through the rise and fall of thrash revivalism. Targeting from the start the deeper underground and always avoiding the party-heavy themes and aesthetic that plagued their contemporaries, Nekromantheon built a cult following for their intense velocity, witching thrash mentality, and incredibly high quality over the years. Nearly a full decade after 2012’s Rise, Vulcan Spectre, Nekromantheon have returned for their third album. Visions of Trismegistos largely carries on exactly where the band left off nine years prior.
Just two years ago Stygian Crown released their impressive demo and now they’ve released their debut album and they’re already being enlisted for international festivals! This relative success isn’t for nothing. Although it’s still early to tell, it’s pretty clear that Stygian Crown’s self-titled debut is something special and likely to be one of the best traditional heavy metal records of 2020 with its specific brand of crushing epic doom reminiscent of Solitude Aeturnus and Capilla Ardiente. We caught up with Rhett A. Davis for an interview that you can read below!
The Road Warrior: An Interview with Denny “Denimal” Blake (Road Warrior, Cauldron Black Ram, StarGazer)
Australia’s Road Warrior blazes bright and mean. Formed by members of enduring extreme metal bands, Road Warrior represents a new foray into a different kind of sonic destruction from what the band has done before in their other projects, channeling the muscular spirit of bands like Griffin and Jag Panzer with a healthy dose of Australian spirit. Power (review here), released near the end of 2018, is already becoming a recent favorite and left me hungry for more; fortunately, frontman and main songwriter Denny “Denimal” Blake has taken the time to answer some questions about the band for me.
The ’90s were a dark time for heavy metal, especially in the United States. To remedy that, Virginia legends Twisted Tower Dire formed in 1995 to try and breath new light into true heavy metal.
Most people probably don’t think of Bulgaria in the ‘80s as a particular hub of heavy metal. If they think about epic heavy metal, they almost definitely don’t. In fact, the metal-archives only has eleven releases marked for the entire ‘80s as being Bulgarian, with several being from the same bands. In spite of this, two of those releases feature some of the ‘80s best epic metal.
Follow-ups are always a bit of a risky affair. There’s fan expectation, and if the artist doesn’t evolve at all, there’s earlier material to overcome- many bands can’t rise to the challenge, and either break up or put out a flop of a second album. Terminus, hailing from Belfast, had more of a hurdle than most due to the fact that their debut album, The Reaper’s Spiral, is one of the absolute best albums of the last decade. How does one live up to that?
The old Italian spirit of heavy metal mastery has been proved undaunted by the years, changing trends, and the often non-existent financial support for the strange and epic. Vultures Vengeance, hailing from Rome, have in their ten years of existence completely eschewed all convention to bring us their unique take on epic heavy metal.
For the last decade or so, heavy metal has had a new rising star with the prolific Brendan Radigan. He’s probably the best known in our community for singing in Magic Circle and, more recently, as Pagan Altar’s live vocalist. His singing and songwriting on the Stone Dagger demo is the talk of the underground, as is constant speculation about when there’ll be more- but none of this prowess came from nothingness, as Brendan had been a known member of Boston’s hardcore scene for years before his first foray into heavy metal.
With the release of Magic Circle’s third album and a successful tour with Pagan Altar, it seemed a good time to ask Brendan some questions about his past, what he’s been up to in recent days, and what’s coming up next.
When Substratum broke up, I mourned. Though they were only around for a few short years, they put out three full length albums, a couple of demos, and a couple of splits – not to mention that they put on a hell of a live show. Things seemed to be on the rise for the band when out of nowhere they broke up with the sudden departure of guitarist and riffwriter Max. Fortunately for fans, Substratum’s loss doesn’t mean the loss of all of the musicians involved, and both guitarist Matt Vogan and vocalist Amy Lee Carlson have carried on and started a new band – Sölicitör.
One of the most exciting things in music is getting new material from a band you’ve known and loved for years. Even more exciting is when the material actually lives up to the band’s previous albums, and to the legacy of the members’ collective musical output.