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.
Following the success of the last year, Hell’s Heroes is back and ready to raise some hell! Texas’s biggest traditional metal festival features the cream of crop of The Lone Star State’s bands along with some of the most prominent names of the North American metal scene.
It doesn’t matter how closely you pay attention to labels, hot new bands, the NWOTHM Full YouTube channel, or whatever your method of keeping up with new music is – there will always be surprises each year and it’s one of my favorite things about the experience. No demo, no promotion, a wonky name, some poorly photoshopped artwork (honestly it’s probably Microsoft paint) that looks like it belongs on an early 2000s power metal album cover, just a few years of playing small live shows in the hipster paradise of Portland, and a self-released “pay your price” demo on bandcamp – that’s it. That’s all we have to go off of for Magnabolt’s self titled debut. In reality, none of this matters at the end of the day. What ultimately matters is the quality of the music, and in Magnabolt’s case they certainly bring quality.
It’s no secret that as a whole, heavy metal is a genre dominated by men. At the time of publication, it’s International Women’s Day – a day meant to highlight and celebrate women. What better way to celebrate than with quality heavy metal with women at the reins?
I want to take the time today to talk about some of our favorite bands – both new and old. Below you will find the earliest pioneers and trailblazers who helped carve the way, followed by 15 old school, classic bands, and we close by talking about 15 of our favorite, currently active new bands!
For over 14 years, Athens has been hosting one of the most important Traditional Metal Festivals in the world, the prestigious Up The Hammers! This guide will provide you with information about the festival, the bands, and the city itself, hoping to make your visit more pleasant and get you ready for the Greek Heavy Metal marathon.
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.
Starting with the late 60’s and early 70’s, the Japanese were absorbing the hard rock and folk rock happening in the West and releasing their unique takes on it. This continued through the rest of the 70’s until Japan become a common Asian fixture among big world tours towards the end of the decade. Scorpions, Judas Priest, and Van Halen played there to sold out crowds, and you can only bet there was an entire scene full of metal bands inspired by these that developed soon after.
Music can mean drastically different things to different people, but in general it’s safe to say that we tend to attach an emotional connection to the music we listen to. For me, there’s a handful of albums that I find myself leaning on over and over again throughout the years. Whether I’m in a rough patch of life or whether I’m just mindlessly staring at my collection unable to determine what I should listen to, it’s these handful of releases that I rely on for their sense of familiarity, and above all, for their unwavering quality. Over the years I’ve increasingly found myself turning to Riot’s Thundersteel to fill this vital role in my listening.
Let’s take a trip back in time – Germany, mid to late 80s to be specific. The metal scene was burgeoning globally and Germany was no exception. The Germans played it fast and loud with thrash and speed metal being the flagship scenes at the time. Read more…
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…