Category: Heavy Metal

Zatyr – Ornament Of Proposition

Zatyr. The best new band out of Sweden? Possibly. No, the Gothenburg-quartet aren’t a throwback to Nihilist (or Carnage). They aren’t trying to re-do Septic Broiler’s demo days. And they aren’t a Bathory (pre-Viking) clone. No, fellow fiends and maligned metalheads, Zatyr are visiting the super-early ’80s, when the spark of heavy metal was bright (and dangerous). When bands played their music, and didn’t rely on hamonizers or tone auto-corrects. This is the real deal forged out of denim, leather, and polished chrome. I mean, if you don’t like Running Wild, Silver Mountain, Omen, or Death SS, then you’re probably going to stick your Tampa- or Stockholm- death metal nose up at the newly-born Swedes, but what if I “Sweden” the sonic deal by including In Solitude, RAM, or Portrait? Now, do I heave your attention? Hope so. – Decibel

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Tyrant – Hereafter

SHADOW KINGDOM RECORDS is proud to present the long-awaited comeback album of America’s TYRANT, Hereafter, on CD, vinyl LP, and cassette tape formats. Hailing from Pasadena, California, TYRANT formed in 1978 and put out their first demo in ’82. However, it was with their pair of albums for Metal Blade – 1985’s Legions of the Dead and 1987’s Too Late to Pray – where they’d etch their name into cult heavy metal legendry. Proud and powerful, theirs was steel tempered in the purest and proudest tradition: neither NWOBHM nor speed metal nor doom nor hair metal by any strict definitions, but uniquely dipping that blade into all at any given moment, and given an almost medieval atmosphere considering the ever-changing stylistic landscape during those years, which would be deemed “old-fashioned” as the 1980s came to a close. It took nearly a decade for TYRANT’s next album to arrive, 1996’s King of Kings, and indeed were the band even more out of place in that landscape; despite staunchly sticking to their guns, this would be their otherwise-final album. Just like TYRANT were when they originally formed so long ago, there existed true believers across the pond who were keeping the traditional metal faith alive as the ’90s came to a close, as well as a quietly growing renaissance in the States as the 2000s began. TYRANT’s catalog subsequently received a long-overdue reappraisal, and a new, younger generation of metalheads investigated their mysteries of steel. Although never “broken up” officially, the sleeping beast awoke, with the original TYRANT lineup reuniting for 2009’s esteemed Keep It True festival in Germany. SHADOW KINGDOM, who’ve indeed kept it true since the beginning, reissued TYRANT’s first two albums in 2018, furthering that reappraisal and bringing the band’s name to an even younger, hungrier generation. The stage was thus set for a grand return… At last, it arrives with Hereafter, courtesy of truest believers SHADOW KINGDOM. With founding member Greg May on bass along with longtime guitarist Rocky Rockwell and powerhouse drummer Ronnie Wallace, who’s been with the band since 2010, TYRANT now feature a significant new addition on vocals: the one and only Rob Lowe, he of Solitude Aeternus and ex-Candlemass fame. His addition proves especially significant given TYRANT’s doomier direction on Hereafter. While no doubt sounding like the same band who delivered those two classics on Metal Blade so long ago, the TYRANT of Hereafter conjures forth a classy, ominously melodic style of doom METAL – or at least traditional heavy metal steeped in doom, much like Black Sabbath in the early ’80s with Dio and then Ian Gillan on the mic – with each of these 11 mini-epics headbanging forward with power, poise, and a stately sort of grace. Aiding that granite-thick surge is the production of one Bill Metoyer, the legendary producer who’s recorded all of TYRANT’s albums to date. Evading any sort of “retro” moves, Metoyer keeps the sound on Hereafter rich, robust, and above all timeless, just like TYRANT’s ever-unyielding style of metal. Truly, this is the homecoming the legions have been waiting for!

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Ash Return – The Sharp Blade Of Integrity

After the sudden end of HC legend MIOZÄN, it become obvious very quickly for 4/5 of the band members: giving up was not an option, but to continue under the same name wasn’t even up for debate. Although the main influence was to remain in the classic hardcore style of the late ’80s, the new sound would be combined with classic metal influences à la IRON MAIDEN for example. As luck would have it, Tank, Kniffel, Gerrit and Outso quickly found Johnny from true metalheads GLORYFUL, the right man for the job at the mic, invent their own brand new genre “Swordcore” and now are ready to escape the ashes, rising like a phoenix as ASH RETURN (yes, just like the song of IGNITE). Even the cover of the debut ‘The Sharp Blade Of Integrity’, where Archangel Michael turns his sword against the demon, illustrates that the recordings were not an easy task. ASH RETURN spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears, alongside just as much passion, and this fact is demonstrated by every single one of the album’s stylistically wide-ranging songs. Consistent heaviness with catchy melodies, hardcore and metal easily form a symbiosis, blitzing guitar solos with fist raising singalongs, diverse vocals extending from deep growls and hardcore shouting to virtuoso Bruce Dickinson heights doing the rest. Hardcore will be Hardcore!

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Song Premiere: May 11, 2020

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