Friday, September 17, 2010

Hyborian Steel - An Age Undreamt Of...

Genre: Epic Heavy Metal
Country: U.S.A.
Year: 2009
Label: My Graveyard Productions

Alright, alright, I know I'm a total sucker for this kind of thing. Robert E. Howard references everywhere, hand-drawn fantasy cover art, Manilla Road, Omen, Heavy Load, and Pagan Altar listed as influences by the band... yeah, I was bound to love this. Basically, this is along the lines of the epic heavy metal style first pioneered by the 'Road, and Hyborian Steel have provided us with a disc that seems to get better with each listen. There's a lot to enjoy here, but the highlights for me are the riffs (of course) and the production, which couldn't be more perfect for this album. It's difficult for me to describe exactly what it is about the atmosphere created by the music, but it is really something special. An Age Undreamt Of... truly takes you away to the Hyborian age with fantastic songwriting, great riffwork, tasteful, epic guitar solos, and a production that gives it all that authentic underground touch. If these guys keep up the good work, I think they have a pretty decent shot at becoming a go-to name as heroes of underground epic heavy metal. Mighty, true, and completely fucking worthy.

For fans of Manilla Road, Ironsword, Omen, and Atlantean Kodex.

Old - Down With the Nails

Genre: Black/Thrash Metal
Country: Germany
Year: 2006
Label: Tyrant Syndicate

Awww yeeaahhhh, that's the stuff! I'm sure many of you are already familiar with this gem, but for those of you who aren't, prepare to have your face ripped off by this filthy, delicious, stripped-down slice of German black/thrash slayage. This is a zero bullshit album brimming with awesome riffs and vitriol-drenched vocals all wrapped in a savage, visceral production that couldn't be more perfect for this style of music. Down With the Nails truly captures that old-school feeling, and pulls it off with every ounce of genuine honesty one could hope for. As is the case with many albums in this vein, there's not much to be said beyond the fact that it rules. Old certainly didn't reinvent the wheel with this one, but they did a damn good job of paying homage to the music they obviously have a lot of love for - which is absolutely fantastic, because that's the point. Be sure to check this out if you in the mood for some good old-school beer-swilling face-shredding black-thrashing mayhem. Awesome.

For fans of Celtic Frost, Sodom, Darkthrone, and Destruction.