Some bands, such as Oblivion or Enchanter, make me scratch my head at the fact that they’re completely unknown, as they rule extremely hard and are similar to some more well-known bands (Sanctuary and Fates Warning, respectively). Clearly some metalheads just aren’t willing to go the extra mile and find the hidden gems – because plenty of people would go apeshit over those two acts, I’m pretty confident. A band like MaelstroM though – their obscurity is no surprise whatsoever – in fact I’d be surprised if they were well-known. Not because they suck, but because they’re so absurdly esoteric; neoclassical power/speed/thrash with extremely progressive song structures, random acoustic segments, and proto-death metallish yells alternated with really, really fucking strange and off-putting cleans. Add in songs that average around 7 minutes in length, and you have an inaccessible demo by some no-name power/thrash band.
Keep it True is a German metal festival focused on the traditional side of things. Started in 2003, they have been keeping the flame alive for over 15 years now and during one of the lowest points in the genre. Over the years, Keep it True has grown to become the leading festival in the world for traditional heavy metal. The festival has been directly responsible for reuniting legions of older bands as well as highlighting and kickstarting the career for many of the new generation. This year’s Keep it True is no different in this regards and may be the very best iteration of the festival yet. The line up for Keep it True 2019 features highlights such as: a reunion of French legends Sortilège, Japanese band Anthem’s first European show, a tribute to the legendary Mark Shelton, and a big show by the originators of epic doom metal themselves, Candlemass.
Under The Spell is the perfect bulldozer of USPM, and if you have to know one thing about Hexx, that’s enough. That’s not to say it’s necessarily the best album to do it, though if someone said it was, I certainly wouldn’t argue, but it perfectly encapsulates everything you want from USPM and more. For those unfamiliar, Hexx was given birth as a fast as hell band from San Francisco that formed in 1983 and almost immediately put out a really good speed/power record, No Escape, on Shrapnel Records the following year.
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…