One of the things I find quite cool about Japan is the friendly rivalry between the Kanto (Tokyo area) and Kansai (Osaka area) regions of the country that spans everything from sports rivalries to whose food is better to, of course, who plays the better music.
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.
At some point between their debut full-length and today, Slovenian heavy metal band Vigilance had two ideas for their future career: get a new logo and add black metal into their sound. As much as I like their NWOBHM-worshipping, cleaner traditional metal debut; looking back now I can say that both those decisions are proven to be steps in the right direction.
Stingray were a band that was rather mysterious, they appeared essentially out of nowhere, were signed almost immediately by a large label in King records and dropped a debut album right away. They had seemingly no demos leading up to this, no known previous member experience in popular bands or anything. Not quite the typical start to a career for an 80s metal band to say the least, especially uncommon for Japan where metal bands being signed by big labels in the early to mid 1980s was a rare occurrence.
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.
A normal album review process for me usually goes like either of these: (a) it is an album I like and I know others with somewhat similar taste will also like it, or (b) it is an album that didn’t really work for me and I know others with similar interests in music won’t be impressed by it, either. So far for this website I’ve only written about albums I love and I know readers with similar taste would like. Then came Mana.
In 1984, riding off the high of their recent albums Disillusion and The Law of Devil’s Land with subsequent successful tours in Europe and America, it was with good reason that Loudness thought they had a shot at a breakthrough in the States. Under the management of Joe Gerber, Loudness’ dream was set in motion when the band landed a deal with Atco records after which the quattro began work on their fifth full-length record and in January 1985, Loudness unleashed Thunder in the East, an album that quite simply revolutionized Japanese heavy metal.
There is a buzz in the streets of Athens’s underground metal scene for the last couple of weeks about a new epic metal band called Darklon and their debut album Rise from Death. So after investigating further and contacting the band, we got our hands on their unreleased album and Read more…
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.
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.