Sunday, December 18, 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Metalheads

Holy Grail – Season’s Bleedings

Prosthetic Records - 2011

Bangers, the Holidays are upon us and Holy Grail has a cool little gift for all you good (or more likely, bad) Metalheads. Season’s Bleedings is a 7” vinyl EP containing two cover songs - “No Presents For Christmas” (originally by King Diamond) and “Kill The King” (originally by Rainbow). Both tracks are superb, with James Paul Luna effortlessly pulling off vocals from both King Diamond and Ronnie James Dio. The band sounds electrifying, with Eli Santana and Alex Lee ripping it up on guitar and Blake Mount and Tyler Meahl holding down the bottom end.

In addition to the 7” vinyl release, Season’s Bleedings is also available as a four track digital download. The two additional tracks are also covers – Judas Priest’s “Exciter” and Accept’s “Fast As A Shark.” Both of these songs were previously available only on the CD version of the Improper Burial EP. Again, the band does a fantastic job on both with the Priest cover being particularly crushing.

The band have produced a short promo sampler for the EP which you can check out below:


The Bottom Line: Season’s Bleedings is a great little collector’s item from Holy Grail, and it would really liven up the Christmas festivities with the family. You need to hurry up if you want to get the vinyl version because it’s strictly limited to only 250 red and 250 green copies worldwide. How festive! The Metal Blog Of Metal already has one of each in the vaults.


Widow's Peak

Widow – Life’s Blood

Listen up Muthas! The year 2011 will certainly be remembered as one of the strongest years for Metal. There have been many excellent releases, especially in the genre of traditional Metal. One such release is the newest album from North Carolina’s Widow. Their latest disc, Life’s Blood, is loaded to the gills with superbly crafted songs. Life’s Blood is clearly the band’s best output to date and this is due, in no small part, to the elimination of the multiple vocal styles that they employed on prior albums.
Widow had previously used three different vocalists, including a female singer, and a harsher, almost Black Metal vocalist on choruses. This really didn’t meld that well with the traditional Metal on their albums and was the one factor that held them back from having truly great releases. Thankfully, they have eschewed the harsh vocals on the current album, with John E. Wooten IV singing in a clean, mid-range style throughout. The band is also down to a three piece, instead of a 37 piece with 17 different vocalists.
Life’s Blood is composed of nothing but fantastic cuts with not one crap song to be found anywhere. This is a varied album that features fast tracks like “Lady Twilight,” “Take Hold Of The Night,” and “I Scream For The Ice Queen,” as well as mid-paced songs like “In Dreams” and even the ballad, “Another Fallen Angel.” Widow clearly understand that it’s perfectly acceptable and even desirable to vary the pace of the songs on a Metal album. They also grasp that it’s paramount to have memorable songs loaded up with hooks to hold the listener’s attention. Not once did any of these tracks just blend together into a forgettable lump as so often happens with many other albums.
Widow have produced a promo trailer for the record and it’s a sampler of the excellent Metal contained in Life’s Blood. Check it out below:
The Bottom Line: Life’s Blood is one of the best albums of 2011 and certainly the best of Widow’s career. The songs are perfectly executed and chock full of tasty riffs and memorable, anthemic lyrics. The Metal Blog Of Metal gives this album its highest recommendation. Run out and snap this up Hellions, because you will not be disappointed.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Disturbing The Priest

Reverend - Reverend

Caroline Records 1989

Bangers: back in June, The Metal Blog of Metal reviewed Heretic’s 1988 album Breaking Point, and in that review we pointed out that Heretic, Metal Church, and Reverend were all tied together by common personnel. When David Wayne left Metal Church, his replacement was Mike Howe from Heretic. Wayne decided to form his own band, and recruited three members of Heretic! In essence, Metal Church and Heretic swapped lead singers, which has to be a first in the world of Metal.

Reverend kicked off their recording career in 1989 with the superb Reverend EP. The EP consists of four tracks of excellent power-thrash with David Wayne’s gritty, powerful vocals and riffs a-plenty. This is primo, crunchy Metal of the highest order. We here at The Metal Blog Of Metal consider this EP to be the best release of Reverend’s career.

The EP roars to life with “Power of Persuasion” which chugs along like a Sherman tank with Lemmy at the wheel. Wayne’s vocals are fantastic as he hits plenty of high notes effortlessly. Lyrically, the song explores the corruption of politicians. Chris Goss of Masters of Reality appears on the song but the liner notes don’t say what he did on the track. “Dimensional Confusion” grinds along at mid-pace with staccato riffs and more of Wayne’s commanding vocals. The quirky, stop-start structure of this cut is very cool and the guitar solo is superb.

The third track, “Wretched Excess,” is a molten slab of power-thrash, featuring an absolutely ripping solo. This song is the thrashiest of the four and is very reminiscent of something that Overkill would have cranked out in the 90s. The final cut is “The Ritual” - it’s the best song on the EP, and thus is the best song that Reverend ever put out. It's five minutes and 41 seconds of Metal perfection that even the mighty Metal Church had difficulty achieving. Truly this is an epic track with Wayne really stretching his vocals when he sings “there’s nothing left sacred.” Amazing. Check it out below:

Unfortunately, Caroline Records has never reissued this disc and it’s very hard to locate. In fact, this EP is the most expensive item in The Metal Blog Of Metal's vaults with a per track cost of $12.50! However, the EP is now available for download on iTunes for a mere $3.96, which is clearly preferable to $50.


The Bottom Line: If you like Heretic and Metal Church, you will love the Reverend EP, so track it down or download it. You won’t be disappointed.