Relisten: Briton Rites – For Mircalla Review

Cauldron Born – Born of the Cauldron is perhaps the best 90s US power metal release there is. It’s a truly harmonious blend between Fates Warning and Helstar with incredible riffs, vocals, and a fine mix of the aggressive and progressive styles of USPM. So what happens when Howie Bentley, the mastermind behind this standout USPM release, decides to try his hand at what is essentially the polar opposite – old school traditional doom metal. Very few musicians are able to traverse multiple genres, but what we have here is quite honestly my favourite modern Traditional Doom album and a release that not only pays respect to the masters of Doom and Old School Heavy Metal but truly stands alongside them as an equal.

New Releases

New Release Highlight: Ice Sword – Dragon Magic Review

December and January are typically quiet months where few bands and labels put out any releases. It’s a time to decompress from the end of the previous year and ramp up for starting a whole new one. I use this opportunity to revisit both favorites from the past year and albums that I wasn’t quite so keen on. Typically my opinion doesn’t change very much, but in some cases I’ve found myself drastically changing it once I’ve given a release another try and proper time to sink in – either for better or for worse. In the case of Ice Sword’s debut album Dragon Magic, it’s the former.

Guides, Primers, and Features

USPM Part II: Unsung Champions of the 80s

Welcome to Pt. II of my III part series on United States Power Metal! In Pt. I of my guide, “Marco’s Guide to USPM Part I: The Basics, Essentials, and Modern Heroes”, I discussed the essentials and modern champions of the genre. My goal with the previous section was to provide a solid introduction and base into USPM while also providing the best new releases to sink your teeth into. In this section of the guide, I aim to shed light on some of the 80s bands underneath the fold.

Classics Appreciation

Classics Appreciation: Manilla Road – The Deluge Review

The Manilla Road is long and triumphant. It spans forty years and eighteen studio albums. It’s a glorious one, with few blemishes and high point after high point. I’ve spent a lot of time listening to and reflecting on Manilla Road’s expansive discography since Mark “The Shark” Shelton passed away. Manilla Road’s catalogue is virtually unmatched, with very few bands getting anywhere close to their level of quality, consistency, and volume. Even with a discography as mighty as it is massive, one album stands out to me amongst the rest – The Deluge. Read more…

New Releases

New Release Highlight: Ironflame – Tales of Splendor and Sorrow Review

Andrew D’Cagna is a busy guy, that much is obvious. He’s put out an insane amount of music across a number of different bands lately that include acts such as Icarus Witch, Coldfell, and Obsequiae to name a few. Among a sea of projects, Ironflame is the one that stands out to me the most. Andrew graced us with the Lightning Strikes the Crown debut album just last year and somehow he’s managed to put out a second full length that rivals and, in some cases, exceeds the first effort. Read more…