Features

Chronicle of the Black Sword: Rock and Metal Inspired by Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse

Heroic fantasy has always been a popular lyrical subject for heavy metal bands, and it’s not hard to see why. Heavy metal simply isn’t normal. You just can’t write powerful, dynamic compositions and have the vocalist sing about mundane things such as walking the dog or taking out the trash (unless by “trash” you mean “posers”). There are many different approaches a band can take to penning lyrics of the fantastic. Some are inspired by mythology or films, while others create their own stories. Some look to literature for inspiration. Those that do usually find it in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Cimmerian, or Michael Moorcock’s Elric of Melniboné.

Guides and Primers

El Volumen Brutal: A Guide to Spanish Traditional Metal in the 80s

In the context of the larger metal scene, Spanish metal never caught on in a significant manner. There are many reasons for this, starting with the fact nearly all the bands sang in Spanish to the fact many bands lacked the musical infrastructure to gain wide distribution and tour internationally – unlike the UK, Germany or Sweden. There was also a sense of self-deprecation, with many “heavys” disliking their national scene and opting to just listen to bands from abroad. But to metal diehards, Spain’s 80s scene is still worth checking out. Whatever the scene may have lacked in originality, it made up for it in charm and passion in the face of zero commercial support.

Guides and Primers

Gladius & Goēteia: A Guide to Classical Mythology & History in Traditional Heavy Metal (Pt. I: 80’s Origins)

The gladius was the standard-issue sword of the Roman legions, whence the word gladiator gets its name. Goēteia is the ancient Greek word for sorcery. While much of traditional heavy metal old and new has been inspired by “sword and sorcery” literature, as well as by the legends and history of medieval Europe, several bands have peered further into the past to the classical world of Greece and Rome. From sorceresses enthroned on remote Aegean isles to swords dancing in the imperial arena, our heavy metal gods and heroes have time and again put the Classics in classics.

Features

Keep it True 2019 – The Survival Guide

Keep it True is a German metal festival focused on the traditional side of things. Started in 2003, they have been keeping the flame alive for over 15 years now and during one of the lowest points in the genre. Over the years, Keep it True has grown to become the leading festival in the world for traditional heavy metal. The festival has been directly responsible for reuniting legions of older bands as well as highlighting and kickstarting the career for many of the new generation. This year’s Keep it True is no different in this regards and may be the very best iteration of the festival yet. The line up for Keep it True 2019 features highlights such as: a reunion of French legends Sortilège, Japanese band Anthem’s first European show, a tribute to the legendary Mark Shelton, and a big show by the originators of epic doom metal themselves, Candlemass.

Features

The Best of Traditional Metal in 2019: Jan. – Mar.

It’s pretty widely agreed upon that traditional metal was in its prime during the 80s, with relatively massive, mainstream appeal. While traditional metal is most certainly no longer in its heyday, there has been a recent revival of the sound in the past decade that has led some to call it the “New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal”. There has been a huge influx of bands in this style and it seems like each year this is only growing. With the sheer density of high quality releases, 2019 is well on track to be perhaps the best year for traditional heavy metal since the 80s. Let’s hit pause and take a look at the best releases of the first 3 months!

Features

Women in Traditional Metal: The Old School, the New School, and the Girlschool

It’s no secret that as a whole, heavy metal is a genre dominated by men. At the time of publication, it’s International Women’s Day – a day meant to highlight and celebrate women. What better way to celebrate than with quality heavy metal with women at the reins?

I want to take the time today to talk about some of our favorite bands – both new and old. Below you will find the earliest pioneers and trailblazers who helped carve the way, followed by 15 old school, classic bands, and we close by talking about 15 of our favorite, currently active new bands!