Guides, Primers, and Features

USPM Part II: Unsung Champions of the 80s

Welcome to Pt. II of my III part series on United States Power Metal! In Pt. I of my guide, “Marco’s Guide to USPM Part I: The Basics, Essentials, and Modern Heroes”, I discussed the essentials and modern champions of the genre. My goal with the previous section was to provide a solid introduction and base into USPM while also providing the best new releases to sink your teeth into. In this section of the guide, I aim to shed light on some of the 80s bands underneath the fold.

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…

New Releases

New Release Highlight: Sacral Rage – Beyond Celestial Echoes Review

Greece – the land of ancient history, deep natural beauty, delicious food, and most importantly – a heavy metal scene virtually untouched by mainstream trends. The Hellenic metal scene has always fascinated me because of its sheer intensity and passion despite not being an early hotbed for heavy metal. The Greek scene developed a bit later and has some of the biggest die-hards around with few bands following what’s popular in the scene. Even in an environment like this Sacral Rage stand out to me as a band who are very intent on doing their own damn thing. Illusions of Infinite Void brought on a barrage of top-notch, Helstar-influenced speed metal that very few bands are pursuing these days. These Greeks are back at it again with their second full length album, titled Beyond Celestial Echoes, out just last week on Cruz Del Sur Records. Read more…

New Releases

New Release Highlight: Attacker – Armor of the Gods Review

United States power metal stalwarts Attacker have seen a revitalization and revival of sorts in the last several years. With singer Bobby “Leather Lungs” Lucas on board, they put out 2013’s Giants of Canaan and 2016’s Sins of the World  – material that rivals their classic duo of albums from the 1980s. Attacker are back again with a new EP released just last month, Armor of the Gods, with the intent of keeping their tremendous momentum in motion. Read more…

New Releases

New Release Highlight: Royal Orphan – Royal Orphan Review

My friend pinged me and sent me a link to a new band that he thought I might like – Royal Orphan. Now I’m always on the look out for new and interesting bands so I eagerly opened what he sent me. It took every ounce of my self-restraint to not immediately close out of the window based on first impressions alone. From the logo and the silly album cover, it looked like something I might have done in MS Paint during my middle school years to avoid doing real work. I’m certainly glad that I did not allow my pettiness to prevail because the music was a real surprise. Read more…

Classics Appreciation

Classics Appreciation: Manilla Road – The Deluge Review

The Manilla Road is long and triumphant. It spans forty years and eighteen studio albums. It’s a glorious one, with few blemishes and high point after high point. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to and reflecting on Manilla Road’s expansive discography since Mark “The Shark” Shelton passed away. Manilla Road’s catalogue is virtually unmatched, with very few bands getting anywhere close to their level of quality, consistency, and volume. Even with a discography as mighty as it is massive, one album stands out to me amongst the rest – The Deluge. Read more…

New Releases

New Release Highlight: Ironflame – Tales of Splendor and Sorrow Review

Andrew D’Cagna is a busy guy, that much is obvious. He’s put out an insane amount of music across a number of different bands lately that include acts such as Icarus Witch, Coldfell, and Obsequiae to name a few. Among a sea of projects, Ironflame is the one that stands out to me the most. Andrew graced us with the Lightning Strikes the Crown debut album just last year and somehow he’s managed to put out a second full length that rivals and, in some cases, exceeds the first effort. Read more…