Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Nokemono – From the Black World Review

From the Black World is a massive landmark in Japanese metal history. Nokemono were a band that appeared out of nowhere in 1977, participated in and dominated a major Yamaha band-battle tournament in 1978, and by 1979 released arguably the first Japanese album that was predominantly heavy metal, nearly a full decade after the Flower Travellin’ Band helped influence the genre.

Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Hexx – Under the Spell Review

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.

Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Existence – Reign in Violence Review

Existence doesn’t sound much like anyone else; they sounded even less like anyone else in 1990. It seems that they may have been influenced by early Italian heavy/power metal like Adramelch or Dark Quarterer, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Certainly Manilla Road is something that doesn’t sound too far off, especially their more atmospheric songs like “Into the Courts of Chaos,” “Helicon,” or “Dragon Star.” Really, though, this might all be coincidence, especially considering Existence’s first demo came out in 1989, not very long after Adramelch’s Irae Melanox, and before the most similar Manilla Road album, 1990’s The Courts of Chaos. Another thing is that even calling it Adramelch + Manilla Road doesn’t really get to the heart of the music. Stylistically it’s pretty much entirely different from anything else I’ve heard in metal. The band name should probably be some indication of this; it has a very mellow atmosphere and a very odd tempo, often speeding up for a little while just to slow down again a few seconds later. It’s clearly power metal, but it very rarely reaches anything I’d consider “aggressive,” or even really triumphant or bombastic, for the most part.

Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Heavy Metal Army – Heavy Metal Army 1 Review

Heavy Metal Army were a very short lived supergroup featuring a totally unique cast of musicians from various decently popular projects from the 70s Japanese rock scene. One of roughly the first five metal acts signed to a large Japanese record label, in 1981 the quintet released their debut, and what turned out to be their only album under this name, Heavy Metal Army 1. While this is an album that had a few minor flaws, in the grand scheme it was something extremely important, I would even say vital to the fledgling Japanese metal scene.

Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Longings Past – Meadows of Maseilya Review

Epic heavy metal is one of those few musical genres that still remains largely unexplored, and even more so in 1992. In fact, in 1992 a metal band of any sort had to be fairly bold to release an album and expect it to gain them a profit of any sort, as metal was quickly on the decline and the Seattle-based monstrosity called grunge was quickly on the rise. However, James Shellberg and his cohorts seemed to have no concern with popularity and success at all throughout their career, as is evident through their very esoteric musical style as much as the date of their releases. Despite the lack of commercial success with his previous band, Enchanter, Shellberg would not be deterred, quickly putting together a new mishmash of individuals and giving them the moniker “Longings Past”.

Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Full Moon – Full Moon Review

There are masterpieces, and then there are masterpieces. What I mean to say is, an album I might describe as a “masterpiece” usually tends to become so in my perception in one of two ways: the first is the type in which it’s immediately, or at least quickly, obvious that it’s a challenging, cerebral album, one that has the potential to be a “masterpiece” in some way, but which takes a lot of time to fully digest and understand. Albums I would put in this category include Fates Warning’s Awaken the Guardian, Psychotic Waltz’s A Social Grace, and Holocaust’s Covenant. The other kind, though, doesn’t necessarily immediately (or ever) strike me as overly cerebral or complex or challenging; it might not even seem especially interesting or ambitious upon the first few listens. This sort of masterpiece is more subtle in a way; its brilliance creeps up on you gradually, and at some point you suddenly realize everything works together perfectly, or the juxtaposition of melodies just strikes you in a way that you never noticed before. Albums I’d put in this category would include Screamer’s Target Earth, The Mist of Avalon’s Here and After, and, getting more to the point of the review, the self-titled debut from British post-NWOBHM act Full Moon.

Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Skullview – Legends of Valor Review

Lost in time – albums that were forgotten in the shuffle of time for one reason or another. Sometimes bands are far too late for their respective style and are dead on arrival while others are a little too early and don’t catch the tailwind that they needed to succeed. In the case of Skullview’s 1998 debut, Legends of Valor, it’s a little bit of both.

Lost in Time

Lost in Time: Shelton Chastain – Edge of Sanity (88 Demos) Review

It’s been three months since the legendary Mark Shelton of the epic metal titans Manilla Road passed to the other side. His sudden death made shock waves across the metal world. Mark was one of the kindest and most dedicated individuals out there – over four years of writing kick ass metal music without a hint of wavering. His never-ending devotion to music led him to a number of projects over the years in addition to his mainstay of Manilla Road – The Riddle Master and Hellwell to name a couple among a legion of others. One such project, buried long ago, was a collaboration with fellow US metal powerhouse David T. Chastain. Read more…