This article is the first in a trilogy of guides chronicling the United States power metal (USPM) scene. This first section focuses on defining the sound and providing listening essentials. It also includes excerpts from interviews with Mike Sabatini of Attacker and Howie Bentley of Cauldron Born.
In Solitude is one of those bands from the 00s that managed to tap into the musical DNA of Mercyful Fate. To understand why they deserve this title, it is important to carry a cross-comparison between their beginnings on their debut and their shift with 2011’s The World, The Flesh and the Devil.
Making the transition from demo or introductory EP to a full fledged debut album isn’t easy. We see it time and time again – bands put out a rough around the edges release with promise and then for one reason or another don’t quite live up to that promise. Luckily for us, that isn’t the case here. Herzel’s Unis dans la gloire demo is one of the precious few modern era traditional metal demos that has stayed in my regular rotation for years and their recently released debut album Le dernier rempart is everything I hoped for in a follow-up.
Mythology and metal have never been an odd match, there is a long-storied tradition of musicians from every subgenre exploring the folklore of many cultures – Norse, Egyptian, Greek to name a few. In this respect, Phaëthon is not treading new ground. However, what does make them distinct is their background. While we are accustomed to seeing delineation between traditional and extreme metal, it’s no secret that most death and black metal musicians are deeply reverent of early heavy metal pioneers and their offshoots. Phaëthon fits precisely this mold as two of the main musicians are seasoned veterans of the UK extreme underground.
Musically, Borrowed Time broadly falls into the “epic metal” spectrum – there are obvious odes to heavy metal like the bands from early the NWOBHM (Iron Maiden, Angel Witch), but also Manilla Road and Brocas Helm. What would separate Borrowed Time from other similar acts is the strong emphasis of melody and purposefully lo-fi production in the mix.
Sword-and-sorcery fiction is heavily related with epic heavy metal. Robert E. Howard and Michael Moorcock are two of the first names a heavy metal fan might have in mind mainly because of characters like Conan the Barbarian and Elric of Melniboné.
When DMR Books started, they had this crazy idea of releasing an anthology of fantasy fiction including stories written by heavy metal musicians. Soon enough, more books followed and now we have the chance to talk with Dave Ritzlin of DMR Books about this story.