Archive for the ‘cd reviews’ Category
My history with Ignitor isn’t that deep as I only picked up on them when Jason McMaster joined the band in 2009ish. That doesn’t detract from the Erika Tandy era at all, I just went backwards with their discography. Ignitor is quality metal, no matter which era you’re listening to.
Ignitor’s latest offering is a download only album of classic covers. It’s a great mix of classic metal covering some of my favorites bands.
McMaster was made to cover all of these bands giving them his unique vocal flair and Ignitor in general stayed pretty true to these songs without taking any real liberties in the music. The Stuart “Batlord” solos are all pretty incredible and the opening solo to Into the Coven gave me chills when I first heard it. He completely nailed the tone. While I admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Exodus’ Bonded By Blood or Exciter’s Violence and Force, these covers are well done. I’m especially impressed with their version of Anthrax’s Deathrider. Fistful of Metal often gets overlooked in Anthrax conversations. The cover of Highway Star has the proper intro like Deep Purple’s original and the heaviness of Metal Church’s version. I’m also a huge fan of Witching Hour. And you gotta love that album cover!
Quality metal covers from a quality metal band.
“DEATHRIDER” – Anthrax
“FAST AS A SHARK” – Accept
“VIOLENCE AND FORCE” – Exciter
“INTO THE COVEN” – Mercyful Fate
“WITCHING HOUR” – Venom
“HELL BENT FOR LEATHER” – Judas Priest
“A LESSON IN VIOLENCE” – Exodus
“HIGHWAY STAR” – Deep Purple
Arsis have returned from a short break and released a new EP entitled Lepers Caress via SCION A/V. The album returns to a little more of a brutal sound when compared to Starve For The Devil. Starve received mixed reviews from the Arsis fan base but I thought it was excellent albeit a little more lighthearted than their previous releases. This album reminds me a little more of 2008′s United in Regret. This EP is apparently a preview for the upcoming full length release called Unwelcome.
Lepers Caress is killer comes with my highest recommendation, especially if you’re already an Arsis fan. While the whole thing is killer, Six Coffins Wide, Carve My Cross and Denied are my favorites.
You can download the EP for free from here.
I had seen Venomous Maximus at least 6 or 7 times before finally putting ears to any of their studio work. They are always a treat live. Super solid, energetic and G. Lee Higgins is the right person to front this band that calls Houston, TX its home.
A few weeks back at a show I bought their latest release, Beg Upon the Light. It took me almost 2 weeks to finally get around to listening to it and now I feel like I have wasted 2 weeks! I had to drive to Houston and back this week (2.5 hours each way) and listened to this 3 times on the drive. Oh my!
This album is very well-produced. I guess they are considered “stoner/doom” metal. I hear so much more classic metal sounds that came from Metal Blade and other classic labels. I hear elements of Tyrant, Damien Thorne, Mercyful Fate, Black Sabbath and Cirith Ungol.
Higgins’ voice may take some time for folks to get used to. I, for one, think they’re perfect for the band. There’s no death growl that is so rampant in the stoner/doom genre these days. His voice is clean and clear and typically lower than most metal singers today. Think King Diamond’s low vocals with Mercyful Fate with a little more “umph” behind them or maybe even those from early Moonspell (Wolfheart). He has a really good sorrowful wail to his style.
The rest of band is spot on with their delivery. I especially like Christian’s solos (I always want more solos!). His solo intro on Path of Doom is such a beautiful nod to Mercyful Fate. Bongo and Trevi round out the rhythm section perfectly.
Favorite tracks would be Path of Doom, Battle for the Cross, Hell’s Heroes and Moonchild.
I highly recommend this album and so far I’d call it my favorite album of 2012. 10/10. Go see them live!
80s Texas metal. I love it. There was so much of it that I’m still playing catch up. Back in Virginia in the 80s, my only real knowledge of Texas metal was Watchtower and Pantera (pre-Cowboys). Since moving here in 2006 I’ve gotten an amazing education on the scene that they had here. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and become friends with guys who were in a lot of these bands. Just recently the guitarist for Karion gave me a copy of the CD/DVD set of their old demo and it’s great. Read about that here. While doing some research on Karion’s history I found a demo by a band called Talisphere which featured Karion’s singer, Chris Cronk.
This 3 song demo is so damned good and it’s unfortunate that there’s not a whole album. Chris Cronk told me a week or so ago that a new release by Talisphere is in the works. The songs on here are great American traditional metal and almost what you’d expect from San Antonio. I was pleased that this didn’t down like Pantera. So many bands tried to emulate their sound but fortunately for me, Talisphere stayed true. Chris’s vocals are powerful and soaring. For those that don’t know, he auditioned with Fates Warning to replace John Arch before they settled on Ray Alder. I think I may have enjoyed the post-Arch era stuff a bit more with Cronk.
Chris Cronk – Vocal
John Fiarro – Guitar
Sean Noone – Guitar
Henry Sanchez – Bass
Mario Sevilla – Drums
There’s no secret that Texas had a legendary metal scene in the early-to-late 80s with the likes of Watchtower, Militia, Wyzard, Syrus, SA Slayer, Juggernaut, Sentinel, Obliveon Knight, Assalant, Helstar, Pantera, Rotting Corpse, Gammacide and a ton of others.
Another band that deserves mention and praise from that era is Karion which featured Art Villarreal (SA Slayer), Chris Cronk (SA Slayer), Pete Perez (Riot, Reverend, Spastic Ink) and Frank Ferreira (Helstar).
Starting sometime last year, Art and friend Bob “Dog” Catlin (Juggernaut, SA Slayer) began the process of cleaning up some Karion demos and the result is the 2-disc set entitled Iron Shadows.
Disc 1 contains 6 tracks which I believe are compiled from their 84 and 87 demos, although not all of the songs from the 87 demos are on the CD. Karion brings that great style of progressive power thrash that was well-known in south central Texas at the time. Good clean higher ranged vocals, solid guitar riffs and killer solos, great bass work and fine power drumming made this disc a valuable addition to your collection of true 80s metal, especially for the fans of Texas metal.
Disc 2 of a live DVD of a 1986 Karion show filmed from the balcony of the Villa Fontana. The audio/video quality is much better than I expected and shows that the band had a really good fan base at the time. Their performance is solid and makes me wish even more that I had lived in the area at the time.
One interesting thing that I found while doing a little extra reading about Karion is that vocalist Chris Cronk recorded 2 different demos with Fates Warning in 86 and 87. I haven’t listened to them yet but a quick search will lead you to a download of those.
I can’t recommend this set of discs enough. It’s been kicking my ass for a week now. I recommend that you pick it up from Rockadrome Records in San Antonio. Keep it local!