Sacramento-based power metal band HELION PRIME will release their sophomore album ‘Terror Of The Cybernetic Space Monster‘ on August 31st. Their second single & music video for ‘Spectrum is out now.

HELION PRIME‘s upcoming new album consists of nine brand new tracks – with the seventeen minute monster title song marking a stunning finale. The band’s new piece of work was mixed and mastered at LSD studio by Lasse Lammert (known for his work with bands like Alestorm and Gloryhammer). HELION PRIME continues their theme of blending science fiction with science fact.

Founder Jason Ashcraft comments: “I wasn’t sure where I was going when writing this album. As fans who follow us closely know, it’s been a bumping two years for us since the release of our debut. We are back and fully inspired. This album focuses more on human nature and our battle with the good and evil within ourselves. I did not plan this when starting the album but that is where it naturally evolved. I am very pleased with the result and hope you are all as equally excited.”

This album will mark the first time the full band line up is joined together on a release. This also marks the debut of Sozos Michael on vocals. Sozos remarks on the subject: “Working on this album has been an incredibly rewarding experience. While Jason had a clear vision as to what this album would shape up to be as the principal songwriter, he was always open to my ideas on vocal lines and lyrics. Our collaboration went very smoothly and it definitely shows on the final product.”

Jason also comments on the audition of Sozos: “He is the kind of singer I have always dreamed of working with. Not only are his vocal skills top notch but he understands and knows what the music needs. Writing together for this album was a breeze and I hardly had to ask for any rewrites. Often he would send me ideas that was exactly what I was thinking. I am thrilled to work with someone like that and can’t wait to see what we accomplish together.”
The cover art was once again done by Marc Whisnant, who was already responsible for the artwork of the band’s self-titled debut album, which was released via Divebomb Records in early 2016 before AFM Records signed the band to a worldwide deal and re-issued ‘Helion Prime‘ almost exactly a year after its initial release. Press hailed the album as a breath of fresh air in the power metal scene and called it one of the most innovative power metal records in a long time.

Line up:
Stig Gamborg (vocals)

Mathias Smidt (drums)

Kristian Sloth (guitars)

Boris Tandrup (guitars)

Jens Lunde (bass)

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LORDI release their first single and lyric video for ‘Your Tongue’s Got The Cat‘, taken from their new album ‘Sexorcism‘.

LORDI release their new album ‘Sexorcism‘ on 25th May on AFM Records.

Lordi is a Finnish hard rock and melodic heavy metal band, originally formed in 1992 by the band’s lead singer, songwriter, visual art designer and costume maker, Mr Lordi. Lordi took part in the Eurovision song contest and won the whole competition as the first and only winner from Finland, with all-time record breaking points at the time in Eurovision history.
Their third album ‘The Arockalypse‘ was released within the same time frame, with the band´s own idols Udo Dirkschneider (Accept, U.D.O.), Bruce Kulick (ex-KISS), Dee Snider and Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) appearing as guest stars. The success of the victorious single ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah‘ launched Lordi to new heights of media exposure, fan recognition and success, that opened new doors for the band. Mr. Lordi´s hometown Rovaniemi named a market place area in the city center the “Lordi Square”. The Lordi brand was hot in the area of merchandising as well, with items such as Lordi postage stamps, Lordi candies and Lordi Cola coming out in the market.
The band has been touring actively since 2002 and it´s known for the monstrous look and the horror elements in the stage performance and music videos. With catchy songs and screaming riffs, the horrific lyrics will stick in your mind whether you like it or not.

Entering a new era, Lordi is releasing their 9th studio album ‘Sexorcism‘, which is said to be their most controversial album to date, on May 25th 2018 – being an uncensored shot with a full on in-your-face attitude that is Lordi’s brand. ‘Sexorcism‘ was recorded and mixed at the legendary Finnvox studios by Mikko Karmila, who is no stranger to the band being the producer of the band’s 2014 release ‘Scare Force One‘.

Tracklisting:
Sexorcism
Your Tongue’s Got The Cat
Romeo Ate Juliet
Naked In My Cellar
The Beast Is Yet To Cum
Polterchrist
SCG9: The Documented Phenomenon
Slashion Model Girls
Rimskin Assassin
Hell Has Room
Hot & Satanned
Sodomesticated Animal
Haunting Season
Line up:

Mr. Lordi (vocals)

Mr. Amen (guitars)

Mr. Ox (bass)

Mr. Mana (drums)

Ms. Hella (keyboards)

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Ross The Boss has released his new music video for ‘By Blood Sworn‘ .
The album is due for release on 20th April on AFM Records.

Guitarist Ross the Boss‘ stature in the history of hard rock and heavy metal has been well-solidified for decades by this point – with a resume including some of the most influential and hardest-hitting bands of all-time, particularly both the Dictators and Manowar. And he continues to rock – as a member of the group DeathDealer, and also, as the leader of his own solo outfit, which has issued such stellar releases as ‘Hailstorm,’ ‘New Metal Leader,’ and his latest offering, ‘By Blood Sworn.’ Joined by Marc Lopes on vocals and keys, Mike LePond on bass, and Lance Barnewold on drums for the sessions (Steve Bolognese will beat the skins on the album’s tour)

“The main thing is that my band all live nearby me instead of in Germany,” explains Ross. “So, we were able to really work the tunes up. Mike LePond and I started going thru riffs and tunes in July, worked up the tunes, and started forming them. It was a very satisfying process.”

And as evidenced by such standout tracks as title track, ‘Among the Bones‘, ‘Devil’s Day‘, and a re-do of Manowar‘s ‘Hail and Kill‘, ‘By Blood Sworn‘ is certainly as hard-hitting and heavy as Ross’ previous classics. “Actually, I know what direction the songwriting should go, and we go. As for my guitar playing, whatever the song needs, the songs get! The record is more old school, but with a fresh attack – the songs are not repetitive, and this record is also not a ‘drum machine recording’ like most these days.” Also featured is extremely eye-catching album cover artwork. “Marc and I had this concept for the cover art by Stan W. Decker. It was a knight kneeling after battle – holding his mighty sword and my eagle behind him.

As previously stated, Ross the Boss was one of the pioneers of both punk rock and heavy metal. First crashing on the scene with the Dictators and with such classic albums as 1975’s ‘Go Girl Crazy!‘, 1977’s ‘Manifest Destiny,’ and 1978’s ‘Bloodbrothers,’ Ross helped trailblaze punk rock (just to put it all in perspective, ‘Go Girl Crazy!‘ arrived a full year before the Ramones‘ debut, and two years before the Clash‘s and Sex Pistols‘ debuts). After exiting the band, Ross then co-formed one of heavy metal’s all-time great bands, Manowar, which showcased exceptional six-string work on such classic albums as 1982’s ‘Battle Hymns,’ 1983’s ‘Into Glory Ride,’ and 1984’s ‘Hail to England,’ among countless other titles.

By the end of the ’80s, Ross had reconnected with his Dictators band mates in Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom, which served as a bridge between his love of punk and metal, as heard on the group’s popular 1990 debut, ‘…And You?’ Throughout the remainder of the decade, Ross also played with such groups as the Hellacopters and the Spinatras, before the Dictators reunited, which resulted in several new releases starting from the late ’90s, all the way through the early 21st century. Also around this time, Ross joined forces with former of Blue Öyster Cult drummer Albert Bouchard, in the band Brain Surgeons.

With Ross’ main focus turning to metal music at this time, two additional projects were launched – DeathDealer and his solo outfit, Ross the Boss. Thus far, DeathDealer (which is comprised of vocalist Sean Peck, guitarists Stu Marshall, bassist Mike Davis, and drummer Steve Bolognese, in addition to Ross) have issued a pair of releases, ‘Warmaster’ and ‘Hallowed Ground.’ And with his aforementioned solo releases – and especially, ‘By Blood Sworn’ – it is confirmed once and for all…few guitarists have “the gift of the riff” as much as Ross the Boss does.

Pre-order the new album here: https://shop.afm-records.de/ross-the-boss/

Line up:
Marc Lopez (Vocals)

Ross Friedman (Guitars)

Mike LePond (Bass)

Lance Barnewold (Drums)

Tracklisting:
By Blood Sworn
Among The Bones
This Is Vengeance
We Are The Night
Faith Of The Fallen
Devil’s Day
Lilith
Play Among The Gods
Circle Of Damnation
Fistful Of Hate

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Review: Armored Dawn – Barbarians In Black

AFM Records (23 February 2018)

Reviewer: Simone – The Metal Mistress

Until I reviewed their second album, I was unfamiliar with the Brazilian power metal band, Armored Dawn.  I so hate labeling music instead of letting it stand on its own, but must I say this was a first for me -South American Viking metal – I found it engaging and solid.  Viking Metal, while enjoyable, has become a parody unto itself.  Therefore, I hate to pigeonhole a band as such, especially since there are so many Amon Amarth wanna-be’s popping up in recent years. I do not get that from Armored Dawn.

To educate myself on Armored Dawn, I watched their YouTube videos. Yes my first view of the band lead me to believe I was going to be listening to old style heavy metal. Never judge a band by its album cover! Armored Dawn gave me a good solid, modern power metal album. Not an earth shattering one but one you would put on and rock out to feeling good.

While they are heavily influenced by Nordic mythology (just watch some of their videos on YouTube), their music is strong, well orchestrated and catchy.

The initial track ‘Dragons‘ feels like a call to arms. Arm yourselves, as we are about to go into battle. The opening with the piano lulls you into thinking this will be a calm, hard rock song but then the guitars join in with a speed riff and off we go to war. While listening to ‘Bloodstone‘ and ‘Chance‘ I caught myself toe tapping and head bobbing.  ‘Chance‘ really brings Rafael’s drums to the forefront and grabs your attention. There is a tribal element that gets your blood pumped for a fight.

Odin‘ showcases the instruments over the vocals with a wonderful guitar solo. It is a good solid song but doesn’t rip my heart out.  The romantic song ‘Sail Away‘ shows Eduardo’s vocal range. Here he provides us with a great baritone. This song is another one I truly enjoyed. If you are one who grew up with each metal album having at least one ballad, this will fill that need in you.

Eduardo continues to show his vocal prowess going from his smooth baritone to a deep guttural growl on ‘Behind‘.  ‘Behind‘” feels like a pause in the battle. The soldiers are regrouping while the monks bless them and the next wave of the battle. With the chanting, I can even smell the myrrh burning! [or is that just a memory from my high school pothead days enjoying the music?] 🙂

Gods of Metal‘ is the one song I had an issue with, most likely due to the title being a bit pretentious. The lyrics read like a high school football team fight song. While a very testosterone laden song, it does have good crunch. ‘Barbarians‘ is the final skirmish in the battle. The fight is drawing to a close but it still must go on. This track sums up all the others combining power, speed and symphonic into one final clash.

Some have said that there is nothing new or innovative about this album.  At times, metalheads can dissect the music we love far too much. ‘Barbarians in Black‘ is a good second album for Armored Dawn. It may not be cutting edge. I wouldn’t call it innovative. To me, it rehashes some old tricks and stays middle of the road metal. That said, I still enjoyed this album very much. The keyboardist, Rafael, provides us with an intense style and unusual methods. It is a fun album with loads of heart and energy behind it. The musicians are very skilled even if you do not feel they take many chances with their riffs and chords. Yes, it is riff heavy, but it is balanced out with excellent drums and keys. While Eduardo’s vocals will not make you weep with emotion, they are effective for good power metal. Armored Dawn successfully combines power metal with an element of speed and symphonic.

In a nutshell, the whole album is presented as a war cry to metalheads!

Take it as such, rock out and screw the analyzing!

Few German rock acts can look back at as long and successful a career as Bonfire. Counting their predecessor – a group called Cacumen, which was also founded by Hans Ziller and featured more or less the same line-up – the band has been around since 1972, has operated under its current moniker since 1986 and released more than two dozen albums.
During the most successful phase of their career, Bonfire counted – alongside the Scorpions and Accept – among Germany’s three internationally most acclaimed acts, celebrating major success all over Europe and worldwide. Bonfire‘s trademarks are and have always been deeply melodic hard rock songs, driven by captivating guitars, grooving rhythms and haunting vocal melodies. All the features that came together so perfectly on their most popular releases ‘Fireworks‘ (1987), ‘Point Blank‘ (1989) and ‘Branded‘ (2011) are present on their current release ‘Temple Of Lies‘. Thanks to their new vocalist Alexx Stahl, who joined the fold two years ago, and a first-rate line-up on all instruments, the band’s creativity explodes on Temple Of Lies and is bound to wow a younger generation of rock music fans, too.
We were extremely lucky to find Alexx,” offers guitarist Hans Ziller in explanation of the group’s current creative and musical high. “He’s a team player who looks after his voice in a totally professional way and treats it like the important tool that it is. He doesn’t smoke and prepares optimally for every show. In addition, Alexx is a really nice guy. Being at the helm of the band, I couldn’t be happier to have him in the band.” Ziller is just as enthusiastic about his rhythm section consisting of bassist Ronnie Parkes and drummer Tim Breideband (“they seem to have reinvented the groove”), and of course guitarist Frank Pané (“one of the most awesome musicians I’ve ever worked with”). Ziller: “With this line-up, we’ll be able to increase the hardness level of our material whenever we feel like it. Numbers such as ‘Temple Of Lies‘ and ‘Stand Or Fall‘ wouldn’t have been possible with previous line-ups.”
It’s not only the occasionally tougher pace that impresses on ‘Temple Of Lies‘ (produced by Hans Ziller at the Flatliners Recording Studios in Ingolstadt) from the first to the very last note, but also the album’s diverse high-quality songwriting in general. Driving midtempo tracks (‘Feed The Fire‘, ‘On The Wings Of An Angel‘, ‘Fly Away‘, ‘Crazy Over You‘) support the afore-mentioned uptempo rock numbers and are expertly broken up by the ballad ‘Comin` Home‘ and ‘Love The Way You Hate Me‘, which surprises with a reggae groove verse. ‘Temple Of Lies‘ kicks off with the intro ‘In The Beginning‘, featuring American voice actor David Michael Williamson.
Line up:
Alexx Stahl (Vocals)
Hans Ziller (Guitar)
Frank Pané (Guitar)
Ronnie Parkes (Bass)
Tim Breideband (Drums)

Armored Dawn release their new album ‘Barbarians In Black‘ on 23rd February on AFM Records.

After the release of their new video ‘Chance To Live Again‘, the band are now gearing up first to play the Heathen Rock Fest in Germany on 24th Feb, then heading out on several support shows to Saxon and Diamondhead around Germany & the Netherlands before heading home to play festivals in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

It was only a question of time until Armored Dawn from Brazil would take the rest of the (metal) world by storm. Their debut album ‘Power Of Warrior‘ (2016) already caused a major stir in South America, their shows with Megadeth, Symphony X, Rhapsody, Fates Warning and Sabaton proving to an enthusiastic audience that something big was in the offing.

The international press praised the group’s homogeneous stylistic mix composed of epic grandness along the lines of Iron Maiden, virtuoso technique and a close affinity to Brazilian metal culture in the tradition of Angra and Shaman. All this and much more are the ingredients of their new album ‘Barbarians In Black‘, which reveals the sextet’s amazing evolvement and is scheduled for release on AFM on 23 February 2018.

It’s first and foremost their boundless musical enthusiasm and the awesome power of their performance which enthral their listeners on ‘Barbarians In Black‘ from the very first note. As soon as the rhythm section consisting of Fernando Giovannetti (bass) and Rodrigo Oliveira (drums) puts the pedal to the metal and guitarists Timo Kaarkoski and Tiago de Moura and keyboardist Rafael Agostino’s fingers begin to fly over fretboard and keys in breathtaking style, the perfect basis for frontman Eduardo Parras has been created. Parras lends the songs their characteristic profile, enhancing them with haunting lyrics. “Although we often sing about war and battles, our messages are always positive,” says Parras about Armored Dawn’s lyrical concept which frequently features lyrics about Nordic mythology.
He is referring to the anthemnic ‘Men Of Odin‘, among others, with its strong hookline, contemporary arrangements and haunting chorus. The group’s greatest strengths, however, come into effect in particular on the driving ‘Bloodstone‘ and on ‘Beware Of The Dragon‘ with its combination of heavy riffs and atmospheric subject matter. Equally recommendable: ‘Sail Away‘, the first single to be released from the album, supported by a brilliant video clip which Armored Dawn shot in the area around Sao Paulo. Says Parras tongue-in-cheek: “Every band member had to play a small part, which was a major challenge for us despite the fun we had. But the best performance was delivered by the eagle Darwin who stars in the video.” The most unusual number on the new album is called ´Survivor’ and according to Parras is pure “hard rock in true Sunset Strip-style“.

Tracklisting:
Beware Of The Dragon
Bloodstone
Men Of Odin
Chance To Live Again
Unbreakable
Eyes Behind The Crow
Sail Away
Gods Of Metal
Survivor
Barbarians In Black

Barbarians In Black‘ was mixed and mastered by Seeb Levermann (Orden Ogan, Rhapsody Of Fire, Almanac), who was Armored Dawn‘s favoured candidate for the job. Parras: “Our target was a strong sound that’s heavy, tender and melodic in one. We’re all heavily into Seeb’s band Orden Ogan and knew that we would get the sound we had in mind. The result really is fantastic.” The same can be said of the amazing cover artwork courtesy of Brazilian artist Joao Duarte (Circle II Circle, Angra), which reflects some of the song titles (‘Eyes Behind The Crow’, ‘Beware Of The Dragon’, ‘Barbarians In Black’) as well as the band name.

And so their second album ‘Barbarians In Black‘ sees Armored Dawn make a major step forward. Following their European tour with Saxon, they will take every opportunity to impress their fans with their great musical potential. In other words: it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on these ‘barbarians in black’!
Line up:
Eduardo Parras – Vocals
Timo Kaarkoski – Guitars
Tiago de Moura – Guitars
Fernando Giovannetti – Bass
Rafael Agostino – Keyboards
Rodrigo Oliveira – Drums

Voodoo Circle have just released an Official video for the track ‘Higher Love’, which is taken from their new album ‘Raised On Rock‘ (review available here)

Raised On Rock‘ will be released February 9th, 2018 on AFM Records.

Pre order now and choose your store! DE: http://promo.afm-records.de/de/voodoo... EN: http://promo.afm-records.de/en/voodoo…

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Review: Voodoo Circle – Raised On Rock

AFM Records (Feb 2018)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

Voodoo Circle are back with a brand new album ‘Raised On Rock‘ but with one significant difference. That difference is a change in vocalist. Welcome Herbie Langhans (Avantasia) to the role.

Now this has certainly caused some muttering within certain circles (dunno if they’re voodoo ones) regarding the departure of David Readman, most of those mutterings being negative ones. However, I for one am someone who prefers to wait and actually listen to the end product before releasing a plague of locusts!

So from the outset the album follows in the vein of previous releases, first track ‘Running Away From Love‘ starts in pure Whitesnake mode and then Herbie launches head first, and launch he certainly does. His voice lends a much more out and out hard rock slant to the track, less of the slightly bluesy rock traits of previous albums.

As the album progresses we’re taken from the Whitesnake influence to late 80’s Uriah Heep to the Scorpions, all of which is absolutely fine by me. There is a slight veering off that direction on ‘Dreamchaser‘, the clue is in the track title, at just over six and a half minutes this is a great piece of Rainbow influenced music.

No the band aren’t trying to invent the wheel, to me they’re treading the path taken by The Dead Daisies in that they are unashamedly playing late 80’s/early 90’s hard rock and good on them for doing it. Yes it’s nice to hear bands trying new directions or laying down their own stamp but it’s also great just to be taken back to those heady days and reminisce as it were.

With eleven tracks (thirteen on the digipak) it’s an album that I’ve already played numerous times and rather a high volume!

Highly recommended.


If you consider the songs on Voodoo Circle’s new album ‘Raised On Rock‘ to be an indicator of the current emotional condition their most important protagonists find themselves in, there seems to be no reason to worry about band founder, guitarist and main composer Alex Beyrodt in particular.

Thanks to Beyrodt’s excellent songwriting – as usual inspired by renowned sources such as Whitesnake, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix – and his outstanding guitar performance which brings to mind icons from Ritchie Blackmore through Jimmy Page to John Sykes, this recording oozes pure, unadulterated fervour. This exuberant energy, however, isn’t the merit of Beyrodt alone but, without doubt, also that of his colleagues Mat Sinner (bass), Francesco Jovino (drums) and – last but not least – new vocalist Herbie Langhans (Avantasia). Beyrodt and Langhans met in 2015 at the Wacken Open Air, when they belted out the Wacken anthem together from the gigantic Black Stage.

Beyrodt: “The amazing thing about this story is that Herbie and I had never met before but talked to each other in person for the very first time after we’d rocked only minutes earlier the 100,000 people in front of the stage and around four million viewers in front of their TV sets.
With Langhans as the group’s new frontman, the stylistic direction of the Voodoo Circle compositions hasn’t significantly changed – unlike the general flair of the material: “I feel that the band sounds even more autonomous, a little less bluesy and much meatier with Herbie at the mic,” Beyrodt enthuses. “This allowed me to work on ideas which would probably not really have suited his predecessor David Readman but are absolutely perfect for Herbie’s powerful voice.” The Voodoo Circle boss is referring to numbers such as ´Running Away From Love` with its anthemnic vocal melody and the subsequent midtempo rock track ´Higher Love`, which went down a treat with the audience at its official live debut.

Beyrodt: “In the beginning, the song caused me a number of sleepless nights because I felt that there was still one small, all-important element missing. Then I came up with the idea of the talk box, which lends it a different, very interesting note. To me, ´Higher Love` in its current form is one of the best Voodoo Circle numbers of all time.” The almost six-and-a-half-minute ´Dreamchaser` with its Blackmore references dates back to the very early days of the group. Beyrodt had originally composed it for the 2008 Voodoo Circle debut album but wasn’t entirely satisfied with the result at the time. “The arrangement of the number was changed and overhauled repeatedly over the years, now it’s matured to the point where it was ready for recording.” ´You Promised Me Heaven` sees Beyrodt delve deep into the Page/Sykes bag of tricks, a veritable guitar festival featuring Telecaster, Strat and Les Paul sounds which support the bluesy feel of the track, adding even greater depth.

Talking of the sound: ‘Raised On Rock‘ was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, U.D.O.), whose unerring instinct for dynamics and frequencies lends the recording its modern touch. And another musician contributed significantly to the tight overall impression of ‘Raised On Rock‘: the keyboards were manned by Corvin Bahn (Saxon, Uli Jon Roth). So all in all, we can say that the new Voodoo Circle album truly lives up to its programmatic title.

Raised On Rock‘ will be available on February 9th as CD, Digipak and ltd. colored Vinyl, available for pre-order here

Tracklisting:

01. Running Away From Love
02. Higher Love
03. Walk On The Line
04. You Promised Me Heaven
05. Just Take My Heart
06. Where Is The World We Love
07. Ultimate Sin
08. Chase Me Away
09. Unknown Stranger
10. Dreamchaser
11. Love Is An Ocean
12. Time For The Innocent (Bonus track on Digipak)
13. There’s More To See (Bonus track on Digipak)

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