I interrupted Inquisition’s Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm to revisit the four albums sent to be by fledgling promo company Metal Revelation. True, the air was blackened at this point in my night, but when struck by inspiration, it’s wise to channel the energy. Partially driven by Phil Anselmo’s 4/20 post on MetalSucks, I didn’t want to be wasteful.
Pegazus seemed like the best place to start, as it was the only one with a proper slipcase. The cover art was also the most striking—goofy though it may be—with a jaundiced hero straddling a shiny motorcyclic steed, soaring through space, as some leather-clad tattooed chick throws the horns. And it’s called In Metal We Trust? I bet, given a few minutes and minimal prompts, I could’ve guessed that. The album feels as sterile and toothless as an octogenarian in an oxygen tent, offering nothing new to fans of power metal and traditional song structures. Reviews I’ve read keep pointing to Priest parallels, and I can see that—the Australian’s sophomore set was titled Wings of Destiny, former frontman was also named Rob, “Metal Gods” is even covered here! But more often, I hear the timbre of Queensryche’s Geoff Tate invoked, though rarely does Pegazus come close to approaching the ability (or memorability) of either those bands. And no, it’s not worth the extra 90 seconds in the extended “Old Skool Metal Dayz” to hear solos from Ross the Boss, David Shankle, and Jeff Watson. Rating: 2/5
Zerozonic. More fucking ‘Z’s… seriously?! Alright, fine, I’ll let that slide and just focus on the music. Hooboy, so there are Norwegians who fancy the NWoAHM? I was actually unaware—they always strike me as more progressively-minded. Opener “Positivenegative” is innocuous enough to slide by without major criticism, but “Symptoms” is just… wow. I don’t know what vocalist Leo Moracchioli was thinking when he decided to throw in strange “bah-woop” nonsense sounds and a multitude of other schizophrenic sidebars, but it does not help the music one bit. Otherwise, his rough side sounds like a half-baked Blythe or a dimestore Dez, and otherwise comes across as failed Corey Taylor experiments. I don’t feel solid harmonization between the music either, as if they were separate entities working against each other. A maniacal leader will either bolster or undermine your attack, and Leo falls in the latter. Maybe that’s why they had him sit out for “Instrumentalcase” …and not gonna lie, I dig that title! Rating: 1/5
So who’s next?
Oh for crying out loud: Guardians of Time‽ Can we please take a minute to think about this? How can one defend, protect, or contain something like fucking TIME? That is one of the most pretentious and preposterous notions I’ve ever heard. Maybe there is just something lost in translation, because these guys are also Norwegian. And honestly, they’re more interesting than both of the last two bands combined. Given their expected grandiosity, it should come as no surprise that this is a concept album, or so it seems. I have no lyrics, but there is some narrative centering around some dude on death row before “The Beginning of the End” (har har har… contrast… just like A Beautiful Atrocity). I find out later—between “Sleep Eternal” and “Dreamworld Messiah”—that there is some perpetual sleep epidemic sweeping the globe. That’s delightful and all, but my eyes keep flashing back to the one-sheet on my table, then memories of albums from Mercenary. Wait a minute, THEY are the ones who sound most similar to Guardians of Time, plus this artwork is a veritable mashup of motifs from past albums by the Danes: floating faces from 11 Dreams, the clock from The Hours that Remain, and a bird (though a way different species) from Metamorphosis. Abstract thoughts, yay! Rating: 3/5
Well that was okay, but nothing wicked heavy from Metal Rev…hello there, what’s this?
Kromlek. Finis Terræ. Holy shit. Blackened melodic progressive folk metal? Yes fucking please! I like to believe that I’m objective enough to not be completely pendulum swung after hours of bad-to-marginally-impressive metal, so I just kept playing this album over and over to be sure, and dudes, listen to this. Whether you’re weary on the pagan metal movement or simply appreciate innovative heavy music, Kromlek satisfies. The Bavarian sextet’s third release was produced, mixed and mastered by Equilibrium mainman René Berthaiaume, who also sings for the first time, just as Mark and Joris of Heidevolk test their throats on German vocals. The album name roughly translates from Latin to “the end of the remaining” and if this is the sound of the apocalypse, sign me up. Rating: 4/5
So a hit-and-miss initial outing, but I can take a 1:3 ratio when it means unearthing real gems. Thanks Marjo, we’ll definitely be in touch, and send more BLACK!