The esoteric side of heavy metal has been around since the very start. The strange, the magical, and the fantastical have driven songwriters to great heights for the genre’s history, and one of the current masters of the weird is here right now to do an interview. The Great Kaiser, aka Derek DiBella, is perhaps best known for his years with Demon Bitch, but is also the driving force behind White Magician, Isenblåst, and more.
Not long ago I was having dinner with a very good friend of mine discussing about all those demos that we wished to be reissued but we both knew that was only wishful thinking. And then he mentioned Candle Opera, an extremely obscure heavy/ power band from Canada that somehow he managed to get one track from their long lost 1992 demo to upload in his Youtube Channel. Little we both knew then that at the same time Cult Metal Classics was working on a release of their long lost demo titled Dream Theatre.
One year ago today (July 27th) metal lost one of its most ardent and valiant warriors in Mark “The Shark” Shelton. Mark’s impact on the metal underground cannot be understated. He was a passionate musician who cared deeply for both the music and the people. His career with Manilla Road spanned four decades and nearly twenty remarkable records. Like many, I’ve taken the year since his tragic death to more deeply reflect on Manilla Road’s career. In doing so, I’ve found a much deeper appreciation for eras of the band that I had mostly ignored in favor of their classics. In particular, Mark of the Beast has resonated with me, leaving me wondering why I didn’t appreciate it as much before.
The Secret of Steel: A Guide to Epic Heavy Metal Pt. 1 – Introducing and Defining the Genre (Ft. An Interview with Manilla Road)
Part 1 of a 4 piece series on Epic Heavy Metal. This segment defines the sound and explores the beginnings of the genre. This part also features an interview with Randy “Thrasher” Foxe of Manilla Road.
If you’ve browsed Ride Into Glory before, then it’s no secret that I am a huge fan of US Power Metal. In fact, six years ago I wrote rudimentary versions of the USPM primers you can find here. One of the big reasons I started Ride Into Glory in the first place is because I wanted to revamp those guides and bring them to a bigger audience. In order to celebrate the first July 4th that RIG has been in existence, I joined my friends over at powerful.a power metal podcast to discuss US Power metal as a whole.
With the release of 2018’s Conqueror’s Oath, American metal stalwarts Visigoth were as white-hot as ever. Intending to keep that heat, they released a two track EP titled Bells of Awakening just last month. Everything you’ve come to know and love Visigoth for – the tremendous vocals, catchy riffs, and singalong choruses – is out in full force here. The band has stamped out their own style of traditional heavy metal and Bells of Awakening further solidifies that.
The Spectre Within is a peculiar album, both out of context and within the one of Fates Warning’s career to that point. Night on Brocken, their debut, was an album that was frankly, very derivative Iron Maiden worship. It isn’t really a terrible album so much as one that shows a young band very unsure of their direction and what they’d actually want to do (Jim Matheos, the main songwriter of the band, reputedly never liked it very much). I submit that The Spectre Within, its immediate successor, represented one of the biggest leaps of maturity and quality in metal history, at least up to that point. And, for a vanishingly small window, it helped position Fates Warning as one of the unquestioned masters of metal genre, both of their era and of all time.
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.
Gladius & Goēteia: A Guide to Classical Mythology & History in Traditional Heavy Metal (80’s Origins)
The gladius was the standard-issue sword of the Roman legions, whence the word gladiator gets its name. Goēteia is the ancient Greek word for sorcery. While much of traditional heavy metal old and new has been inspired by “sword and sorcery” literature, as well as by the legends and history of medieval Europe, several bands have peered further into the past to the classical world of Greece and Rome. From sorceresses enthroned on remote Aegean isles to swords dancing in the imperial arena, our heavy metal gods and heroes have time and again put the Classics in classics.
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.