Join Ferry Templeton on the latest leg of his campaign into the metal underground...
From the sophisticated tones of Coffeinne to the bloodthirsty roar of Tannhäuser Krieg, the Crusade of Power has all your metallic bases covered this month – enjoy!
We kick off this month with Yekaterinburg natives Concordea, who deliver a spirited pomp/prog/power mashup that, if it hasn’t had all it’s rough edges smoothed out yet, is certainly good enough to point to an exciting future for the band.
The production on their album Over Wide Spaces is only a little better than demo quality, but the songwriting prowess and potential of these lads (and lass) shines through on the evidence of the superb track Wing’s Motion. Elements of Stratovarius lurk wherever you care to look, though not overbearingly so, and the powerful vocals of Filippo Tezza (who is Italian and, as far as I can work out, singing on a session basis only) carry the melodies written by the band in excellent fashion. Certainly worth a listen.
Much heavier are Londoners Tannhäuser Krieg, a power trio who deliver sludgy, death-tinged doom dredged from the very pits of hell, coated in tar and spat out all over your pristine speakers in belligerent style. Luckily, it’s not all about heaviness for heaviness’ sake; the band know their way around their respective weapons of choice, and consequently the material on their new six track EP Demonic Acquisitions In The Kingdom Of The Cursed is eminently listenable.
The two minute long Road Master is a particular highlight, squeezing Metallica, Motörhead and Orange Goblin into a blender with spectacular results, but everything featured on this record is geared to your ultimate listening pleasure. Nice work!
It wouldn’t be a Crusade of Power without some prime American steel, and that’s certainly provided this month by Pennsylvania’s Ironflame, who released a new album, Lightning Strikes the Crown, late last month. Power/speed metal that’s high on both melody and muscle and superbly sung by Andrew D’Cagna, Ironflame are quite reminiscent of US metal veterans Steel Prophet in places though they definitely carry their own personality.
Marching On is a superb mid-paced cruncher with fabulous six string work delivered by Aaron Carey, whilst the speedy Heavy Metal Warriors is an archetypal US speed metal assault in the greatest of American metal traditions.
Nothing new, then, but every track is shot through with classy performance and die-hard loyalty to the cause – what more do you need?
Canadian/US conglomerate Insatia release their second album, Phoenix Aflame, later this month on the Pitch Black label, and mighty fine it is too. Insatia have got some famous mates, with onetime Arch Enemy axepert Christopher Amott and former Firewind man Apollo Papathanesio guesting on the record amongst others, but that shouldn’t detract from the fact that the band themselves are no slouches and have created an exciting album with Phoenix…
Vocalist Zoë Federoff has an interesting voice, being neither out-and-out operatic soprano or straight-up metal throat, but as ever there’s not much point being able to sing if you haven’t got the songs to back it up – and Insatia have those in spades.
Uk metallers Dream Tröll have their tongues positioned at least partially in their cheeks, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that they do what they do very well indeed. They may admit to trading in ‘metal cliches’ but there are very few who purvey a similar style of traditional heavy metal these days who don’t, serious or not. Whether you enjoy this sort of post-modern metal is therefore very much a matter of personal taste.
Everything on the band’s The Knight of Rebellion album is superbly performed, whether it be cowbell-driven hard rock a la The Darkness (the end of Mons Ominosus is pure Hawkins) or eighties-styled hard rock that somehow brings to mind Ghost and The Alan Parsons Project (Lost in the Pages); Indeed whatever style Dream Tröll turn their hands to they master, and if at times this sounds a little too knowing for its own good then at least there are some top tunes to enjoy along the way.
There’s an awful lot of good metal coming out of the Iberian peninsula at the moment – of all types – and not least amongst this new pack of Mediterranean metallers are Coffeinne. Already featured in the pages of Sentinel Daily, I still thought it was worthwhile bringing the band to your attention again. Their debut album, Circle of Time, comes out later this month and it’s an absolute riot of controlled metallic mayhem.
Modern in construction but with a definite ‘classic’ edge, Coffeinne’s music is an AOR-tinged delight to the ears; Tracks like Take This Life are sublimely powerful yet melodic in equal measure, featuring the mesmeric vocal stylings of Iñaki Lazcano (last seen with Spanish hard rock icons Airless), whose performance here puts him at the forefront of emerging Euro hard rock vocalists. There’s something about this album that will appeal to fans of the heaviest metal and the classiest of rock – and it’s our release of the month!
Each month here at the Crusade we like to feature at least one act that doesn’t fit the power metal template but which we feel you’ll get some enjoyment out of, and this month is no exception as we offer up Mexico’s Electric Mountain for your delectation. Fuzzed out stoner doom is the order of the day here, with EM mixing up the Brant Bjork, Kyuss and Sabbath influences with just enough of their own personality to make things interesting opening track Free Woman is a tsunamic behemoth of a song that will utterly swamp your senses should you be game enough to turn your speakers up to eleven, and the rest of the album isn’t far behind. Top stuff!
That’s it for this month – as ever, thanks for coming along for the ride – and if there are any bands you think we should be featuring in The Crusade of Power, don’t hesitate to let us know!
Hail and Kill