Hailing from Lyon, France, Meurtrières delivers a compact package of hard-rocking medieval themed heavy metal that, personally, checks every box there is to check.
Even though they’re definitely not exploring untamed musical areas, the Brampton, Ontario quartet are able to distinguish themselves from the pack by their picks of influences. Not a lot of twenty-something dudes are ready to show their love for Thin Lizzy, Blue Öyster Cult or Budgie…
Rkinis Raindi were a heavy metal/hard rock act formed in Gori (Stalin’s hometown) that had a short-lived career from 1991 until roughly 1994. Like other Soviet acts, they likely managed to obtain foreign rock music through the black market or buying Melodiya (the official state owned record company of the USSR) pressings of famous international acts.
One of the most perplexing and hotly debated topics in history (particularly economic) is the tragic descent of Argentina from one of the pillars of the world economy as late as the 1950s to just another South American country fraught with economic and political turmoil. To dive into the history of this country is a tiring task – one that would take multiple books just to cover certain epochs. Yet one period of time continues to scar the national collective – the military dictatorship of 1976 until 1983.
An unexpected wealth of rock bands formed all around Latin America during the 70s, laying potential blueprints for Heavy Metal in the early 80s. Nowadays, every country has seen an explosion of bands, but back then things were a lot harder to come by. These early Metal artists pioneered not only a sound in their respective countries, but a true counterculture as well.
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.
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.
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.
Earthshaker’s self-titled debut marked a strong beginning for a band in a brand new metal scene who didn’t yet know how to construct a proper heavy metal album, as evidenced by them enlisting the help of Adrian Smith who even contributed a song to said album. While there were a few undeniably great tracks, I could still see that this was still a young and largely inexperienced band. Fast forward just over half a year, a very busy one at that where the band released two EPs, Earthshaker had fine-tuned their sound and were ready to put forth their second full-length, Fugitive, an album which I feel is easily one of the best albums in Japanese metal’s first wave. Fugitive was the checkpoint in Earthshaker’s career where absolutely everything clicked. The band’s chemistry had never been tighter, nor would it ever be quite as tight again following this release.