F U L L . R E V I E W S


Viron - NWOGHM - 2006 - Sonic Age

Track Listing
1. Sander (Intro)
2. Blow the fuse
3. Viron
4. Bound To Die
5. Winds Of Valhalla
6. For Her Majesty
7. Ride On
8. Instrumetal
9. Lucifer Arise
10. Born Out Of Light
11. Doomsday
The last release I heard from Greece's Sonic Age Records was the fantastic debut from Canadian power group Penetrator. Now the label goes one better with Germany's Viron, a young band who have released their debut in the form of "NWOGHM", an acronym for what I would assume is "New Wave Of German Heavy Metal". The band was formed when singer Alex Stahl and drummer Neudi met while playing in a Deep Purple tribute band called Child In Time. The two had played previously with the group Seduction, and after seeing each other again they decided to pursue a musical project. After recruiting Thilo Feucht (guitarist) and Ingmar Holzhauer (bass), the act changed their name to Viron and soon recorded a four song demo. The small release gained the attention of Sonic Age Records, home to fabulous bands like Overlorde, Valkija, and Euroforce. The label signed the band and now we are treated to a full length sensation.

Viron are one incredible force both musically and vocally. It has been a rather dry year in my opinion for power metal thus far and this debut couldn't have come at a better time. "NWOGHM" is an amazing feat of strength, a traditional soundscape that soaks up much of the '80s metal movement while still entertaining today's production strengths. At times the band reminds me of older sounds like Savage Grace and Omen, and on other selections the group captures the essence of today's power metal scene by bringing to mind Iron Savior and Hibria. Vocalist Alex Stahl is a cross between Iron Savior's Piet Sielck and Force Of Evil/Iron Fire frontman Martin Steene. Stahl has amazing ability with his voice, delivering fast vocal melodies that soar into falsetto range.

This band makes a killing off of driving guitar rhythms and catchy hooks. On cuts like "Ride On" it sounds as if the band has made a junction stop at the Running Wild owned "Port Royal". The group move through some ultra-fast twin guitar melody and harmony, an obvious by-product of Feucht's fascination with early Metallica and Children Of Bodom. On songs like "Viron" and "For Her Majesty" the band breaks into thunderous groove passages, almost a bone rattling backdrop for a new Dio track. My favorite parts of the album are the mid to fast tempo tracks, highlights being the roaring "Bound To Die" and the quick dash "Blow The Fuse". The Germans also do some slower experimentation with the Blind Guardian inspired "Winds Of Valhalla". Also the release provides one scorching solo in the oddly titled "Instrumental".

Bottom Line - Possibly the best power metal release of the year and arguably the best album on the Sonic Age roster OTHER than Overlorde's gem "Return Of The Snow Giant".



--EC 05.04.06

About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: VIRON
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TITLE BAND
DOR
REVIEWER DATE
NWOGHMViron
2006
Eric Compton6/2/2006


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