[Click on band name for samples and more info]
Mausoleum Gate - Mausoleum Gate (Cruz del Sur)
Very strong debut album from this Finnish quintet, harkening back to the glory days of NWOBHM. This release is full of that classic late 70’s/early 80’s heavy metal sound with doom tendencies and soaring vocals. It’s a fairly upbeat affair, but the addition of the organ adds an ominous tone to some of the more epic tracks. Do yourself a favor and check out the outstanding title track. Keep an eye on this band. They’re going to be huge if they can keep this up.
Solitary Sabred - Redemption Through Force (Pitch Black)
Every week I scoff at the new Power Metal releases, yet it seems like more and more I’m finding something that I really like. I don’t think I’m going to buy a sword and a Hammerfall shirt anytime soon, but I’m ready to admit that Power Metal is a viable subgenre. This Cyprus quintet returns from a five year absence with an album that is equal parts Manowar and Iced Earth with some absolutely stunning high-pitched vocals and riffs everywhere.
Winterfylleth - The Divination of Antiquity (Candlelight)
Another fantastic record from one of the top black metal bands around. These guys from Manchester, UK have been on a roll lately and their 4th album continues the hot streak. From frosty, thrashing black metal to folky interludes, Winterfylleth run the gamut of pagan metal. They've added some slower doom-like parts to the mix this time around, making for an incredible listening experience. If the rumors of a 2015 US Tour come true, I won't hesitate to drop everything to see this band. This is exactly what Pagan Black Metal should sound like.