One of the most exciting, invigorating slabs of true metal to make its way into my grubby hands this past year has been Overlords of Chaos, the third album overall by Portuguese power trio Ironsword. After two previous releases through Solstice guitarist Rich Walker’s Miskatonic Foundation, the band has found a new home on Pittsburgh’s Shadow Kingdom Records. The label has quickly been making a name for itself by releasing some of the best underground classic heavy metal to see the light of day in 2008, and this leads the pack as their best release yet.
It’s a good time to be a traditional doom metal fan. After years of inactivity from some of the genre’s most beloved acts, the past year or so has seen a glut of new and archival material made available. From the Pentagram and Bedemon rarities collections through Trouble’s reissues and new studio effort to the solid new Candlemass album – not to mention excellent new efforts by young bands such as Isole and The Gates Of Slumber – we’ve seen a wealth of riches unleashed.
There are few clean-throated metal vocalists as naturally talented as Robert Lowe. Through six albums with Solitude Aeturnus, plus the highly underrated Last Chapter record on Brainticket, Lowe’s soaring, clean vocal style have made every album he has participated in magical. And now, thanks to his new additional undertaking as lead vocalist in Candlemass, there is even more cause for celebration.
Judas Priest is quintessential British heavy metal. One of the first groups to truly embrace the heavy metal tag, over the past 35 years the Birmingham, England-based quintet have remained one of the genre’s most important bands and have the bruises to show for it.