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Archive for the ‘album reviews’ Category

Venomous Maximus – Beg Upon The Light (2012) Review

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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!

You can stream the whole album here.  Find them on Facebook, too.

Written by The Metal Files

November 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

Talisphere 1996 Demo Review

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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 sound 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

Download the demo here.

Written by The Metal Files

July 15, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Karion – Iron Shadows CD/DVD Review

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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 (Jag Panzer, Fates Waring, Talisphere, 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!

Written by The Metal Files

July 5, 2012 at 8:20 am

Graven Rite – The Summoner’s Pit (2012 demo) Review

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From the ashes of Iron Age, Integrity and featuring current members of Ancient VVisdom comes Graven Rite from Austin, TX.  I was handed cassette and CD demos a week or so ago by the singer at a St Vitus show .  I know all the guys in the band and have been told several times that I’d like it.  “Like” is a poor choice of words, really.  I love this demo.  This is good ol’ American traditional metal that sounds like it could have been on one of the old Metal Massacre compilations.  I understand this is a demo, but it really is too short.  I really like Jason’s vocals on this much more than what he did with Iron Age, which wasn’t bad either.  I just prefer cleaner vocals in general and that’s what you get with this demo.  It’s primarily mid-paced, but flows well.

I believe the 2-song cassette demo will be available in July 2012, not sure about the full 5-track CD.  If you’re into that classic Metal Blade sound, you’ll want to pick this up when it’s released.  A bit derivative?  Probably, but what isn’t these days?  It’s worth the listen for sure.

You can listen to 2 of the tracks here.

Tracks:

  1. Preface
  2. The New Faith (Wulfhere’s Prayer)
  3. The Summoner’s Pit
  4. A Slave To The Night
  5. Bloodstone Ring

cassette cover

Written by The Metal Files

June 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

Ignitor – Year of the Metal Tiger (2012) Review

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Ignitor is a traditional US metal band fronted by the legendary Jason McMaster and has Stuart “Batlord” Laurence from Agony Column as its main songwriter and guitarist.  They’ve been around since 2003 and Jason’s been with them since about 2008 and recorded their Spider Queen album.

Just recently they’ve released Year of the Metal Tiger (YOTMT).  I like this album far better than Spider Queen which was a little too dramatic for my tastes, even though the music fit the storyline perfectly.  YOTMT is heavy, the way it should be.  Other than the track We Are Ignitor, I think the album is quite enjoyable, especially the tracks Shadow of the Needle, The Kaiser and Island of the Damned.

McMaster is using a lot of his mid-range vocal style and it sounds great, really makes the album for me.

I can easily give this album 7.5/10.  The production is crisp and the bass is very prominent.  You’ll likely have to adjust the EQ to accommodate it.

Recommended.

Written by The Metal Files

April 4, 2012 at 6:27 pm