Fates Warning - Awaken the Guardian
The gateway is a fair representation of the Fates Warning sound on 'AtG'. That era's lineup was vocalist John Arch, guitarists Frank Aresti and Jim Matheos, and rounded out by bassist Joe DiBiase and drummer Steve Zimmerman. Speed and Euro-power metal had been galloping along for years prior and progressive metal was heading toward greater commercial achievement. Sitting between those styles, Fates Warning's 'Awaken' is a riff salad amalgam of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Rush.
Written by: Frank Hill . 1/12/2018
HammerFall - Glory to the Brave
A new Swedish talent that promised to turn back the clock and capture the 80s magic again. 'Glory to the Brave' was released in June of 1997, 20-years ago, for powerhouse label Nuclear Blast. It was the debut of this brand new young band and Hammerfall had the metal community talking.
Written by: Eric Compton . 10/20/2017
Moonspell - Wolfheart
'Wolfheart', Moonspell's magnus-opus, was recorded from January 29th to February 12th, 1995 at Studio 2 in Germany. It was released on April 1st, 1995 and featured eight total tracks that collectively weighs in at 43:52. It's short-lived...but what a dark and mysterious journey it is.
Written by: Eric Compton . 7/7/2017
Venom - Black Metal
'Black Metal' is considered an early proto-type of extreme metal. It's frantic energy, over the top lyrical imagery and dark presence is easily seen years later in genres like thrash, black, and death.
Written by: Eric Compton . 4/25/2017
Crimson Glory - Transcendence
Certainly, many go into their sophomore effort with the intent of outshining their debut, yet fall flat. In Crimson Glory's case though, its immediately perceptible the painstaking care which they used to contrive each tune, for the entire album reeks of a maturity and professionalism not often achieved.
Written by: Raising Iron . 12/1/2007
Savage - Loose 'N Lethal
Loose 'n' Lethal was actually a bit of a hit at the time, and punters were lapping up the mammoth guitar sounds of the release, which really came by happy accident, as the young band and producer had limited knowledge of proper recording techniques, unwittingly letting loose a torrential barrage of guitar tones, though the release remained overall clear, vocals up front, drums and bass separate, yet present and full of punch.
Written by: Raising Iron . 11/1/2007
Voivod - Dimension Hatross
The eight songs presented on Dimension Hatross were crafted with intelligence, precision, and innovative guitar tones and riffs, to create the ultimate cosmic ride through time and space. Although not as heavy as some of the aforementioned bands, it equals or surpasses in the aggression category and defies any metal sub-genre.
Written by: David Loveless . 10/3/2007
Omen - Battle Cry
Honestly, anyone who is into the sounds of Helloween and Running Wild will find Omen's first three albums respectable and enjoyable. However, this debut is really the only album from the band that had this much speed and "raw" guitar sound. It certainly doesn't go as far underground as Exciter or Anvil…
Written by: Eric Compton . 6/5/2006
Accept - Eat The Heat
With cuts like "Prisoner", "Love Sensation", and "Mistreated", Accept showed off a bit more "pomp" than "push". Their songwriting was geared more towards relationships and life more so than battlefields and angst. The band still had the metallic drive, evident on strong ripper "Helltrain", but for the most part this was more of a commercial venture…
Written by: Eric Compton . 12/5/2005
Flotsam & Jetsam - No Place For Disgrace
This was THE record for Flotsam & Jetsam and should have been the album to at least propel them further than the likes of Metal Church, Vicious Rumors, etc. It didn't quite work out that well but at least this record carried enough steam to allow the band to sign another major label contract.
Written by: Eric Compton . 9/20/2005
Cannon - Thunder & Lightning
Germany's Cannon laced up their high tops in '86, releasing their debut album in 1988 under the title of 'Thunder & Lightning'. It was an interesting choice of title as Cannon's material featured hard, thunderous chomps as well as the German speedy, lightning fast anthems made famous by restless and wild groups like Accept and Scorpions.
Written by: Eric Compton . 9/16/2005
Overkill - Taking Over
Overkill were about hell-raising and sinful affairs, never quite raising a ruckus like Europe's dark castles. With the crime and grime of New Jersey as the perfect backdrop, "Wrecking Crew" is exactly that. A streetsweeper of chaos that does more than just entertain, it proved to be a way of life for an entire generation.
Written by: Eric Compton . 8/5/2005
Fifth Angel - Fifth Angel
Shrapnel Records knew melodic power when they heard it...the same label that brought us legends like Chastain, Racer X, and Apocrypha. How fitting for Fifth Angel to land here, with their sound almost absorbing those types of sounds and polishing it with a smooth hard rock delivery?
Written by: Eric Compton . 7/8/2005
Manowar - Fighting The World
Manowar plays epic power metal with big-ass choruses like a bunch of Vikings in heat. Most of their stuff has to do with fighting, bloodshed, warriors, Fate, violence, metal, etc. and although it may be corny and pretentious, it's fun if you don't take it too seriously like those Star Trek fans that live by the prime directive. "Fighting The World" is pure metal and it's one Manowar better cds.
Written by: Frank Hill . 7/1/2005
Stryper - To Hell With The Devil
Stryper were the embodiment of one of the unlikeliest marriages in Rock music–-glam image, metal music and pro-Christian lyrics. Out of the 5 studio-albums Stryper released I have no hesitation in saying that 'To Hell With The Devil', first released in 1986, is their best one.
Written by: Chris Galea . 6/24/2005
Fastway - Fastway
All in all, though, the whole album upholds the aforementioned ‘70’s rock traditions beautifully, and aside from a couple of songs being slightly sub-par compositionally, this album is damn close to bell-bottomed, riff-rocking perfection; tasteful, well-executed, but never flashy, and exuding more emotional depth than many other acts in the same genre even bother with.
Written by: Vinaya Saksena . 4/10/2005
Sampson - Shock Tactics
The historical importance of this jewel is not as much its revolutionary value as the fact that it celebrates an important era in the evolution of Metal. In fact, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) was then at its peak although a handful few bands were already ahead of the rest.
Written by: Chris Galea . 2/1/2005
Nasty Savage - Nasty Savage
Sure it borrows some wicked stomps from Sabbath and Priest, but for the most part this is one dangerously powerful record that refuses to display even the smallest hint of weakness. It is balls to the wall from start to finish, with huge crunchy chops, soaring leads, a ballistic battery, and Nasty Ronnie's insane wails.
Written by: Eric Compton & Mojo . 1/12/2005
X-Mas Project I - Various
All of these songs are done in much the same fashion as Germany's established big three of that era, Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction. These songs aren't quite as extreme as that material, but I emphasize that this is raw, gritty, and completely unpolished. Fans of German speed, power, and thrash have to own this record simply because it features band members performing with other bands.
Written by: Eric Compton . 12/6/2004
Chastain - Ruler Of The Wasteland
Of the seven Chastain releases, "Ruler Of The Wasteland" is by far the best album from this Cincinatti shredding machine. It has all the main ingredients needed to make a great metal record-- superb vocals, excellent songwriting, catchy hooks. This is simply a masterpiece of classic, traditional 80s metal that is sure to please fans of this particular genre.
Written by: Eric Compton . 10/10/2004
Sacred Rite - Sacred Rite
With the lethal combination of Jimmy Caterine and Mark Kaleiwahea in charge of the six strings, Sacred Rite found themselves charged-up with European gallops and Maiden styled melody. With Pete Crane's visions of Steve Harris basslines, and Kaleiwahea's soaring vocal stance, the band found themselves in the midst of a stellar debut record.
Written by: Eric Compton . 9/15/2004
Sanctuary - Refuge Denied
Sanctuary was a great metal band that didn't need the help of any genre to make their mark on the metal world. Sheer talent, aggression and love of metal are the trademarks that will forever embrace Sanctuary as one of the most underrated band in metal history.
Written by: David Loveless . 8/14/2004
Anthrax - Fistful of Metal
With 'Fistful Of Metal', Anthrax created the perfect stomping ground, laying down ten tracks of thunder sure to raise the dead themselves, roaring through the rotation in 35 minutes. Like "death from above", Anthrax sweep in, shellshocked and left the town a bloody spectacle.
Written by: Eric Compton . 7/26/2004
Riot - Fire Down Under
Riot proved that they were worthy contenders in US metal market with 'Fire Down Under', with this album being mentioned in the same sentence with the likes of Maiden, Priest, Def Leppard, and Saxon. This album is considered by many to be mandatory for any collection, and in my opinion this one ranks in the top-ten all-time for US Metal.
Written by: Eric Compton . 7/14/2004
Ruthless - Discipline of Steel
Ruthless are exactly what they say they are, choosing the perfect band monicker to describe their "fight fire with fire" sound, a prevailing onslaught of sonic destruction and mayhem that crushed the metal masses and proved that American thrash was the only way of life.
Written by: Mojo . 7/1/2004
Whitesnake - Slide It In
You gotta have some guilty pleasures in your music collection--a CD or two that makes people and even yourself wonder what it is that you see in it. 'Slide It In' is lyrically set in Middle School, but is nontheless great, British, chick-fueled rock and roll.
Written by: Frank Hill . 6/20/2004
Savatage - Sirens
With some influences from Dio, Maiden, and Priest to name a few, the heaviness, speed, skill, and all around melodies is highly noted on this album. It is just truly hard to believe this was done in 1983. This is an album that had everything I was looking for then and it is still a masterpiece.
Written by: Mojo . 5/20/2004
Jag Panzer - Ample Destruction
Put out on indy label Iron Works Records, 'Ample Destruction' took the sounds of early Exciter and Anthrax to another level of power and intensity. The result is just astonishing. Nine tracks of heavy metal mayhem played precise and accurate through blood, swear, and tears.
Written by: Eric Compton . 5/7/2004
Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys: Part 1
'Keeper of the Seven Keys--Part 1' still stands as one of the top records of the Euro-power metal style long before it became cliché to make fun of all those triumphant, dungeons and dragons, sword-bearing, warrior songs. If you like this style, this Helloween release is a must.
Written by: Frank Hill . 4/22/2004
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
Mob Rules has always been one of my favorite Black Sabbath records; really one of my favorite metal CDs of all time. The starkness of its production belies the artistry that comes from this record and it succeeds due to the sheer talent that each individual brings to the table.
Written by: Frank Hill . 4/12/2004
Shok Paris - Steel & Starlight
Ohio natives Shok Paris took the best elements of Savatage, Vicious Rumors, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Dio, and created a winning combination that will go down in the metal history books as a vital part of any headbanger's metal collection.
Written by: Eric Compton . 3/27/2004
TNT - Knights Of The New Thunder
'Knights Of The New Thunder' is a metal masterpiece, sure to please fans of hard rock, power metal, and even thrash. This is one great record and a sought after gem still to this day. This record just screams out a metal assault, with the glorious artwork showing TNT's huge blue logo, surrounded by lightning and a viking battle axe and helmet.
Written by: Eric Compton . 3/15/2004
Liege Lord - Freedom's Rise
Overall, what makes Liege Lord so effective is the contrast they develop in their music as bass, drum, guitar and vocal lines grapple with each-other like a musical counterpart of war. The resulting sound is wild and violent, majestic and immense, a perfect complement to their brilliant and ambitious lyrical explorations of epic themes.
Written by: Metal Rob . 3/1/2004
Nazareth - Hair of the Dog
Nazareth released a good many records in the 70's and had a million+ selling album back in 1975 called 'Hair of the Dog' that was a fantastic hard rock disc with some big, monster hooks and a variety of songs that were popular then and I think still hold up today because of its blues-based core sound.
Written by: Frank Hill . 2/15/2004
Q5 - Steel The Light
The album starts with a polished, crisp, refreshing sound, with bombastic drumming and heavy twin guitar riffing, taking the great sounds of Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden and mixing in the great hard rock vibes of Van Halen and Boston. The result is nothing short of brilliant.
Written by: Eric Compton . 1/14/2004