Album of the Day: Cirith Ungol – King of the Dead

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Label: Enigma / Metal Blade Records (reissues)

For the longest time, Cirith Ungol were a band that didn’t so much do nothing for me, as actively pushed me away. The reason is simple: Tim Baker’s vocals are very much a “love them or hate them” proposition, and for years, I hated them. But recently, something clicked, and I now feel that they make total sense within the context of Cirith Ungol’s doomy heavy metal. The result is that I’ve spent most of the past week listening to almost nothing except King of the Dead, which is surely their best album.

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Album of the Day: Ophicvs – Machine Gun Reaper

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Label: Austenized Records

Look at that cover. Look at it! A black horned goat! The non-more-80’s font of the album title! A dude in a leather jacket and gasmask, holding a scythe and a machine gun! If the cover to Machine Gun Reaper isn’t the best/worst cover you’ve ever seen, well, I want to know what is. Even better, the third album by Ophicvs sounds exactly how you’d hope from the cover; blackened heavy metal that’s stuck somewhere in the late 80’s, full of trashy heavy metal tropes that somehow, in the hands of the sole member of Ophicvs, come to sound so very vital and thrilling.

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Album of the Day: Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath

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Label: Metal Blade Records

In power metal, as in many areas of life, one rule reigns supreme: go big, or go home. And by Gandalf’s beard, do Visigoth go big on Conqueror’s Oath. This is power metal of the most triumphant kind, full of epic battle hymns, designed to have you approaching your day at the office as if you were striding in to battle, with a muscular confidence and real power. As reminiscent of old Iron Maiden and Dio as it is more modern bands like Grand Magus, Conqueror’s Oath is an album of such quality and talent that it’s sure to win over even the more cynical and grim of metal fans.

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Review: Lechery – We Are All Born Evil

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Label: Bleeding Music Records

I don’t know about you, but when I see a record with an album cover like that, my expectations aren’t too high. And yet, I’m glad I gave We Are All Born Evil a go, as the third album by Swedish band Lechery is an excellent 45 minutes of classic heavy metal. Comparisons to the likes of Manowar, Blind Guardian, and later-day Judas Priest are all warranted, and We Are All Born Evil stands up strongly against such big names. It’s not looking to reinvent heavy metal in the slightest – instead, it’s an album that reminds you just how great the genre can be when the core sound is done well; and We Are All Born Evil does it very well.

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Album of the Day: Bulletbelt – Rise of the Banshee

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Label: Headless Horseman / Hallways Of The Always Records

Given that new album Nine Centuries is due for release at the end of January, now is an excellent time to go back and remind ourselves of just how excellent the previous album from BulletbeltRise of the Banshee, is (full review from 2015 can be read here). This is a black-thrash album that perfectly captures how invigorating and enjoyable metal can be, and is so much fun that it is practically impossible not to be won over by it, still sounding fresh and exciting years on from release.

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Album of the Day: Judas Priest – Screaming for Vengeance

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Label: CBS (Sony Music)

Judas Priest are the best heavy metal band in the world. There’s few bands who have released so many practically-perfect albums, and their importance to metal cannot be overstated. Everyone with have their favourite Priest album, and Screaming for Vengeance is the one I usually turn to. The opening one-two of ‘The Hellion’ and ‘Electric Eye’ opens the album excellently, and each track that follows feels like it would be the highlight on almost any other record. ‘You’ve Got Another Thing Coming’! ‘Riding on the Wind’! ‘Pain and Pleasure’! The title track! Fucking hell. What an album.

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Album of the Day: Lizzies – Good Luck

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Label: The Sign Records

Whilst my tastes in modern metal tend to fall on the extreme side of the spectrum, every now and then there will come along a record that perfectly captures the sound and feel of those classics of old, and I can’t help but be won over by it. Good Luck is one such record, and Lizzies are one of the best bands playing classic metal today.

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