Issue 13 - August 29, 2001


Not blessed, or merciful
Apr 11, 2001
Sarf Lundin, Innit

Greetings, devoted readers! In this, my last installment before resuming my studies in business and computers, I will treat you to a bit of just about everything I have covered this summer. As the title suggests, there are quite a few new releases I have heard songs from and will cover. There will also be some rarities, some extreme metal, some prog, and some new opinions on recent developments and issues:

Helloween’s lineup changes: I was quite surprised to hear that Roland Grapow and Uli Kusch would leave the band, as they had become integral to the sound of recent albums and had written some of their best songs. I hope that they find suitable replacements, and overcome rumours of further dissolution.

Mainstream coverage of metal: Several prominent nu-metal “artists” (also known as no-metal or regressive rock, at least to me) are scheduled to release new albums that idiot critics will hail as the next generation of metal… but you won’t hear it about here, or anywhere else on this site. One of this column’s key principles: Always new, never nu. And now, the songs:

Gamma Ray – Dethrone Tyranny, New World Order: This year’s most anticipated power metal release (at least until Blind Guardian previews their long-delayed opus) hits stores next month. The latter title track is the best song I’ve heard from it so far, a potential classic with a concert-ready chorus, slashing riffs, great solos, and an effective quiet part. Unfortunately, the former leadoff track isn’t as good, but judge for yourself at

Anathema – Temporary Peace, A Fine Day To Exit: Beginning as a doom metal act, this highly emotional and atmospheric British band has developed a huge cult following, and their latest release, already being hailed as a major triumph, will only increase awareness. The latter title track is one of their best songs to date, with a great melodic undercurrent, while the former is a beautiful ballad with excellent acoustic guitar.

Bruce Dickinson – Broken: The long-awaited compilation of both familiar and rare material from the legendary frontman’s solo career with be released next month. This is one of two new songs written for the best of, and is a heavy track similar to the material on his “comeback” Accident Of Birth. Available at

Edguy – Tears Of A Mandrake: New album due in September, with a single having been released this week. Often dismissed as Helloween imitators, this song should help them break that stigma, as aside from the chorus it is a midtempo track with little power metal trappings. Guitarist Jens Ludwig makes some great contributions to the song.

Therion – Clavicula Nox, The Rise Of Sodom And Gomorrah: The symphonic occult metalists return with a new album, Secret Of The Runes, in October, rumoured to be heavier than recent offerings. In the meantime, treat yourself to these great songs from 1998’s Vovin opus, the former being a nine-minute piece.

Borknagar – Nocturnal Vision, The Witching Hour: Another upcoming release I am looking forward to covering here is Empiricism, the band’s first since Vintersorg was hired as their new vocalist. These songs from earlier releases represent why they are among extreme metal’s more innovative acts, with great vocals from former frontman Simen.

Nostradamus –The King Will Die, The End Of The World: Highly acclaimed rock opera about the life of the legendary prophet featuring numerous hard rock veterans, as well as a great appearance from Ark’s Jorn Lande. The former track is among the more metallic from it that I’ve heard, while the latter features great vocal arrangements.

Pain Of Salvation – Home, Beyond The Mirror: Highly innovative progressive act that has received great amounts of recognition among fans and critics. The former song from One Hour By The Concrete Lake is a great example of how they can be highly emotional and technical at the same time. The latter song is a superb bonus track from the Japanese edition of the same album, among the best 8:30 of their career so far…

Sigh – Slaughter Garden Suite, Dreamsphere (Return To The Chaos): Imaginary Sonicscape is one of the most innovative extreme metal albums I’ve ever heard. The former song is an 11-minute multipart composition with a horror movie atmosphere, perfect for listening to at night. The latter has some eerie synths (of the vintage variety) and vocals as well, before launching into an energetic section midway through

Royal Hunt – The Mission, Surrender: Danish act who incorporates elements of prog, power metal, and AOR, with mixed but impressive results. Their latest album is a concept based on Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles. Former song available at, latter track available at

Angra – Freedom Call, Silence And Distance: They are currently writing their first album since their split with vocalist and key songwriter Andre Matos, who is working on several projects as well. These are two of their best and progressive leaning songs, the former from the EP of the same name and the latter being an overlooked track on 1996’s excellent Holy Land.

Mullmuzzler - Save Me, Shores Of Avalon: Side project led by Dream Theater’s James LaBrie releases a second album, featuring assists from a few noted musicians, and songwriting assists from members of Shadow Gallery on two tracks. The latter track is an excellent composition from the earlier Keep It To Yourself. More information available at

Hollenthon – Fire Upon The Blade, Woe To The Defeated: Reader suggested symphonic extreme metal act. I am quite impressed with these songs from this year’s Vilest Of Worms, the former featuring excellent orchestral arrangements, while the latter borders on black metal territory with its savage riffs.

Maudlin Of The Well – Heaven And Weak, Stones Of October’s Sobbing: One of my most pleasant discoveries is this eccentric and surreal atmospheric metal act, which has just released two albums simultaneously. The former song from Bath is a progressive composition with some great shifts, while the latter from the heavier Leaving Your Body Map features a chaotic, dissonant arrangement with unusual instrumentation.

Digital Ruin – Letting Go, Living For Yesterday: Heavy progressive act that features some excellent dark sounding keyboards and powerful lyrics. The latter song features a great chorus and some excellent slashing riffs, and an excerpt is available at New album coming soon.

Agalloch – As Embers Dress The Sky, The Melancholy Spirit: Another reader suggestion has resulted in a great discovery, as Pale Folklore is an excellent album of epic melodic death with some Opeth-like qualities. The latter song is a good introduction to their sound, while the latter is an awesome 12-minute epic with a great extended instrumental opening. New EP already out, with work scheduled to begin on a proper followup soon.

Dali’s Dilemma – Within A Stare, Miracles Of Yesteryear: Progressive metal act I got interested in partially because of a review on this site. Both songs contain great instrumental sections, the former having some Symphony X-like heavy parts while the longer latter song has some effective layered vocals on its chorus.

Thy Majestie – Under Siege, The Sword Of Justice: Reader suggested Italian power metal act. While they are often compared to the cheese merchants in Rhapsody, their songs (both of these being fairly epic) are less overly bombastic and some of their arrangements remind me more of Blind Guardian. New album coming soon.

Cathedral – Melancholy Emperor, Stained Glass Horizon: Pioneering British doom metal act that has often been compared to Black Sabbath, for obvious reasons displayed on the latter song from the underrated Supernatural Birth Machine. The former song from this year’s Endtyme features a much heavier sound.

Tiles – Ambition, Bastille Day: A pair of rare tracks from the excellent progressive rock band. The former is a strong bonus track from the accomplished Presents Of Mind opus, available at The latter cover of the Rush classic can be found on a limited edition live recording. New album coming soon.

So ends this chapter. I look forward to all the new releases mentioned in this installment, and have high expectations for this fall culminating what has been an excellent year for nearly all subgenres of metal. Until then, keep exploring the best new music out there.