We are now half way through the year and what an incredible six months it has been. The bar has been raised for 2019 and there has been high quality album after high quality album. This quarter alone we to nearly 40 different releases across all types of traditional metal to highlight the best ones for you all. The winter 2019 wrap up was our first iteration of this, but we’ve changed things up this time around and involved all of RIG’s regular contributors!
Mirror’s Pyramid of Terror is a standout release among what feels like a year of standout releases. Their style is a very refreshing take on a classic sound that we can all connect with and it takes talent to make it as fresh and enjoyable as Mirror have. Their self-titled debut already found its way into a regular listening pattern for me and Pyramid of Terror will surely follow suit. I cannot recommend this album enough.
An unexpected wealth of rock bands formed all around Latin America during the 70s, laying potential blueprints for Heavy Metal in the early 80s. Nowadays, every country has seen an explosion of bands, but back then things were a lot harder to come by. These early Metal artists pioneered not only a sound in their respective countries, but a true counterculture as well.
In Another Time when demons and wizards ruled supreme, of black roses and rock legends, of secret treaties and fires of unknown origin, and where Grecian giants roamed under endless skies. In Another Time, to which Tanith’s music transports us.
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.
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.
Since I first came across Acerus a few years ago, it’s always baffled me that they aren’t better known. Formed as a side-project of various members of The Chasm and some related bands (though it became a solo project for guitarist Daniel Corchado on the second album), Acerus play epic barbarian heavy metal in the absolute best of ways. All of The Chasm’s death metal has been stripped away, leaving behind only the gorgeous heavy metal influences that make them so wonderful, Corchado’s layered approach to songwriting, and a driving, captivating aggression. The Unreachable Salvation is the result of death metal maniacs finally making the traditional music that’s always inspired them, and it’s one of the most spectacular achievements of the type that I’ve heard.
Ah, Sweden! Land of the Northern Lights, insanely beautiful people, and delicious meatballs. But wait! – there is more: insanely catchy pop music and powerful metal, two things god forbid should they ever combine.