The esoteric side of heavy metal has been around since the very start. The strange, the magical, and the fantastical have driven songwriters to great heights for the genre’s history, and one of the current masters of the weird is here right now to do an interview. The Great Kaiser, aka Derek DiBella, is perhaps best known for his years with Demon Bitch, but is also the driving force behind White Magician, Isenblåst, and more.
I’m sure that there are complaints that I could find about Traveller if I fought hard enough to; I’ve seen some criticisms of the drum production, and I’ve heard that certain tracks are perceived as being a bit less good. I’m too in love to hear any of them; to me, Traveller is perfect, and my only fault with it is that it’s never been reissued and I can’t afford it on vinyl. Traveller is the triumphant attack of heavy metal in every form that I’ve ever wanted heavy metal to be, and it always will be.
Under The Spell is the perfect bulldozer of USPM, and if you have to know one thing about Hexx, that’s enough. That’s not to say it’s necessarily the best album to do it, though if someone said it was, I certainly wouldn’t argue, but it perfectly encapsulates everything you want from USPM and more. For those unfamiliar, Hexx was given birth as a fast as hell band from San Francisco that formed in 1983 and almost immediately put out a really good speed/power record, No Escape, on Shrapnel Records the following year.
Since I first came across Acerus a few years ago, it’s always baffled me that they aren’t better known. Formed as a side-project of various members of The Chasm and some related bands (though it became a solo project for guitarist Daniel Corchado on the second album), Acerus play epic barbarian heavy metal in the absolute best of ways. All of The Chasm’s death metal has been stripped away, leaving behind only the gorgeous heavy metal influences that make them so wonderful, Corchado’s layered approach to songwriting, and a driving, captivating aggression. The Unreachable Salvation is the result of death metal maniacs finally making the traditional music that’s always inspired them, and it’s one of the most spectacular achievements of the type that I’ve heard.