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!
Smoulder Feature: Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring Album Review and Interview with Vocalist Sarah Ann
Smoulder took the metal underground by storm with 2018’s The Sword Woman demo, so much so that it landed them a well deserved spot on our women in traditional metal feature. This epic doom metal band is poised to make a big splash with their debut album next month titled Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring. In this feature, we’ll walk you through the themes that make this album so compelling. We’ve also included an interview with vocalist, lyricist, and professional sword woman – Sarah Ann.
The time period we call a year, that is entirely based on our small planet and our star, probably has no significance whatsoever in the grand scheme of the universe. However, it is a great interval to use as containers and compare the art that is crafted in one within itself and the popularity of end-of-the-year lists seems to support this approach. This helps human brain to catalogue and categorize experiences when people think back about the past. Sometimes schedules of the artists align and we end up with good release after good release in the span of a year. It is the reason we hear from people things such as “1984 was a great year for traditional heavy metal”, or “do you think 2016 was a better year than 2011 for heavy metal releases?”. I strongly believe that when looking back in ten years, 2019 similarly will be remembered as one of the strongest years of contemporary heavy metal history.
You are the drummer of a band taking its cues from the early heavy metal sound and from several 70s rock inspired NWOBHM bands. What do you do in your own free time between working on the albums of your band? The answer for Oskari Räsänen, Mausoleum Gate drummer, is apparently to write some melodic heavy/proto metal for his side project. That side project which initially began as a solo act, Iron Griffin, has been where he channels his creative output lately. Taking the reins all by himself this time around, Räsänen would still aim for a very old school, mature sound like his main band but this time it is more melodic, calm, epic, and grandiose than ever before.
Canada’s traditional metal scene has been burgeoning as of late and epic heavy metal band Gatekeeper are right at the forefront of it all. Looking to keep their momentum from last year’s debut album, East of Sun, they’ve just put out a killer EP titled Grey Maiden. I caught up with founding member Jeff Black to discuss the band’s recent success and the new EP.
Hailing from Canada, Traveler have just debuted their self-titled album on Gates of Hell Records. They started as the solo project of Matt Ries (Hrom, Gatekrashör) and after a kick-ass, well-received demo last year, a full line-up was put together to record the album. Their 2018 demo was stuck on repeat for me and I haven’t been this excited by a debut in years! I connected with founding member Matt Ries to talk about the new album and what his journey has been like since forming the band.
One of the best feelings as a music enthusiast is seeing a band you really enjoy finally make the leap from a demo to a debut album. Sometimes the result is as astounding as Eternal Champion and other times it’s not such a smooth transition. There have been many demos to capture my attention in recent years, but few have completely enthralled me like Traveler’s 2018 demo. Barely half a year later and they’ve already pulled together a full length debut set to drop on Gates of Hell Records. This begs the big question – does the debut live up to the hype of the demo? The short answer to that is YES. ABSOLUTELY YES.
Determined to ride the high from last year’s long awaited debut album East of Sun, Canada’s Gatekeeper are already set to release a new EP later this month titled Grey Maiden. It’s been well under a year since we last got material from the band and given the historically long droughts between releases, this is certainly a welcome surprise!
Some bands just can’t let go of the past. The wistful yearning for sounds and styles long out of the mainstream is simply too strong. Convent Guilt are one such band who are hellbent on transporting us straight back to 1980 and for that I am thankful.
Lethean was formed in 2012 by musician James Ashbey, but they have existed beneath the fold for quite some time now. Ashbey created Lethean with the goal to combine his love of various traditional metal genres: doom, the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and epic metal, with a world of mythical & magical themes. Read more…