It is not easy to follow up a release like II: Sojourn and Wytch Hazel did it with grace.
Ultimately, the greatest NWOBHM album of the movement always deserves to be noted, and as far as I’m concerned, that album is Court in the Act.
The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) is one of metal’s most iconic and influential scenes with bands like Iron Maiden and Venom forever shaping the future of heavy metal. With the recent revival of interest in the traditional branch of heavy metal over the last 10 years, there’s been more than a fair share of bands taking heavy influence from their NWOBHM heroes and many of them fall flat. It’s tough to match the quality and spirit from that time, but every once in a while a band gets it right – Coltre are one such band.
Named after the iconic Slayer song, Great Britain’s Aggressive Perfector channel the same carnal energy found on Slayer’s early material. Aggressive Perfector originally formed back in 2014 and put out an aptly titled demo called Satan’s Heavy Metal just a couple of years later. Now the stage is finally set for their debut album – Havoc at the Midnight Hour.
Pagan Altar’s debut has an odd history all its own. It was originally recorded in 1982 and circulated around the underground as demo tapes for the better part of the 80’s and 90’s, only finally seeing the light of day officially as Volume 1 in 1998, along several other reissues in the years since.
There are masterpieces, and then there are masterpieces. What I mean to say is, an album I might describe as a “masterpiece” usually tends to become so in my perception in one of two ways: the first is the type in which it’s immediately, or at least quickly, obvious that it’s a challenging, cerebral album, one that has the potential to be a “masterpiece” in some way, but which takes a lot of time to fully digest and understand. Albums I would put in this category include Fates Warning’s Awaken the Guardian, Psychotic Waltz’s A Social Grace, and Holocaust’s Covenant. The other kind, though, doesn’t necessarily immediately (or ever) strike me as overly cerebral or complex or challenging; it might not even seem especially interesting or ambitious upon the first few listens. This sort of masterpiece is more subtle in a way; its brilliance creeps up on you gradually, and at some point you suddenly realize everything works together perfectly, or the juxtaposition of melodies just strikes you in a way that you never noticed before. Albums I’d put in this category would include Screamer’s Target Earth, The Mist of Avalon’s Here and After, and, getting more to the point of the review, the self-titled debut from British post-NWOBHM act Full Moon.