Retrospective: Septic Flesh – Ophidian Wheel

In the modern metal lexicon, European metal has often been used to denote bands that relied extensively on Iron Maiden harmonies, keyboards, pseudo-classical melodies, female vocalists, tremolo picked riffs and overall less influence from Pantera and Metallica. Septic Flesh have come to epitomize this style despite adding a lot more Metalcore elements to keep with the times. Before the name change, the band were once an overlooked force and presented many ideas that metal as a whole was never fully able to capitalize on. Ophidian Wheel is the summit of the band’s creativity and pushes the romantic qualities of metal even further.

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Cirith Ungol Release New Song

Cirth Ungol have awoken from a twenty nine year slumber to preview the song “Legions Arise” from their new album Forever Black set to be released on Metal Blade on the 24th of April. The band ended on a sour note with Paradise Lost and the revival is sounding even worse. The vocals have been toned and layered to sound more conventional. Guitars stick to a few simple riffs and some arpeggios. The song is lackluster and has none of the passion or energy that the band once had. Metal Blade have been very good at killing old bands recently. It’s incredible how well Angel Witch survived this. If this is what the band have to offer, the album is set to be a very dull affair.

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Witch-Hunt – Darkened Anthology 1992-2002

Witch-Hunt hail from Virginia and were formed by brothers Brian and Ben Straight at a young age. The band would go through multiple periods and lineup changes that resulted in only one full length and a band trying to find its identity through various styles and constant lineup changes. On Darkened Anthology 1992-2002 the band showcase the best songs of each period in a “best of” style and such each section will be reviewed separately.

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Original Mercyful Fate Bassist Timi Hansen Dead At Age 61

Timi Hansen who played on the classic Mercyful Fate records and the first few King Diamond albums has been confirmed dead by King Diamond himself. Timi had gone public with his diagnosis on early August while announcing that he would not be able to play on the Mercyful Fate reunion tour and that Armored saint bassist Joey Vera would be taking over. He passed on the 4th of November barely a week after his 61st birthday. King Diamond left the following message.

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Blitzkrieg – Demo Tape

Blitzkrieg’s three song demo, released during the height of the NWOBHM era and showing a harder side to the genre slowly edging towards full on Speed metal. Though known mainly due to Metallica’s cover and its influence on the American Speed metal bands. Blitzkrieg offer a combination of the triumphant riffing found on Stained Class and the theatrics of Focus’ Moving Waves.

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Angel Witch – Angel of Light (Metal Blade, 2019)

Mighty influential NWOBHM’ers Angel Witch is about to unleash their greatly anticipated follow-up to 2012’s As Above, So Below. The album, entitled Angel of Light, will hit the market on November 1 and will be available in a plethora of formats. Together with countrymen Satan, Angel Witch count as one of few returning old school metal acts who’ve managed to modernize their sound without having it reflect negatively on their past efforts. However, since As Above, So Below consisted primarily of re-recorded material from the golden days, this new effort could be seen as the true testing ground for the band.

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OPHTHALAMIA – A Journey in Darkness (Avantgarde Music, 1994)

While primarily known for his work with black metal/noise-pioneers Abruptum and assorted non-musical activities in the – at least locally – infamous “True Satanist Horde”, it is the strange entity of Ophthalamia that remains as Tony “IT” Särkkä’s (RIP 1972-2017) greatest artistic achievement. Ophthalamia’s debut album A Journey in Darkness stood out in the early 1990s black metal-environment with its anachronistic and all-around peculiar mode of expression. In rough terms, the music can be described as a blend of black-, doom-, and heavy metal with the conceptual and structural trappings of 1970s progressive rock.

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Atlantean Kodex The Course of Empire

Bavarian Heavy metal band Atlantean Kodex return with their third opus The Course of Empire after a long six year wait following the excellent The White Goddess. This band is known for their penchant for the grandiose and is deeply rooted within strong Bathory and early Manowar influences played in the style of Solstice, but this time round the band add influences from Dio while maintaining the bardic tradition at the heart of this band. This record seeks to add a much grander cinematic scope to the music and the band do so with a much more maximalist approach to aesthetics in this sparse style of composition.

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