Welcome back! The Chronicle continues to grow, and this time we’re adding more names to the honour roll of metal! I hope you enjoy what we have found for you this time around, and remember, please support the bands we feature if you like what you hear!

Acid Blade Chronicles

German metal outfit Acid Blade are a rather fine outfit who deal in NWoBHM-tinged metal; Their just-released EP, Shooting Star, is full of splendid headbanging tuneage, with each song packing in a wealth of ideas. The band’s enthusiasm is infectious, and their delivery impeccable. Obviously for a band that takes it’s musical cues from a forty-year old movement originality is at a premium here, but the great thing with Shooting Star is that at no point in the EP’s duration do you find yourself thinking ‘that sounds like…’ or ‘that’s the riff from…’. Rather, the band take those influences and make them their own in confident style.

Best track Weeping Willow features some nice guitar work from Luke Lethal and Alvin Goreman, but the star of the show for me is drummer Jonny Astus, who powers the whole record forward with some very impressive drumming and forms a fine partnership with bassist Sci-Man. Vocalist Klay Mensana also acquits himself well with a confident performance. This is pretty good stuff, and I look forward to a full-length album from these guys ASAP!

Blood Lightning Chronicles

Bostonians Blood Lightning cook up a genuinely exciting sound on their new, self-titled release that emerged through Ripple Music last month. Now, Ripple is a label you might usually associate with desert rock and stoner metal, but whilst a little of that sound is here thanks to the vocals of Jim Healey, who largely stays away from traditional metal wailing, everything else here is pure, unadulterated heavy metal – just how we like it!

Opening track The Dying Starts is a thunderous introduction to the way the band goes about it’s business, employing guitars that can most accurately be described as ‘Priestesque’ and developing the sound from there; Hitting the Wall features some great basswork from Bob Maloney, who bolsters the bottom end throughout to really great effect, jockeying with the axes of Doug Sherman in entertaining style. His partnership with drummer JR Roach is great to listen to, as the pair establish a convincing bedrock for the music to flourish upon.

Did I say Healey stays away from trad metal wailing? Well, I said largely – and he employs some great screams on the band’s thunderous take on Black Sabbath‘s Disturbing The Priest that rounds out this superb little nugget of pure metal bliss. It’s a s good a Sabbath cover as I’ve heard in a long time – sonically it knocks the original into a cocked hat, if we’re being honest, and it offers a perfect entry into the band’s World if you would like something a little more familiar to judge their efforts by. Great stuff!

Morax Chronicles

To Norway now – Bergen, specifically – and one-man band Morax! Working under this monicker, Remi Andre Nygård has forged a compelling sound, reminiscent of the occult end of the NWoBHM, that really takes the listener by the scruff of the neck and doesn’t let go for the whole twenty-odd minute duration of new EP Rites and Curses!

He’s a talented so-and-so, is Nygård, playing all the instruments and singing, not to mention coming up with absolute corking examples of trad metal like opening track Face The Reaper and absolute stormer Be My Guillotine, which fuses Rainbow and Mercyful Fate in equal measure with very pleasing results!

Although Rites and Curses isn’t in any way some sort of irony-free exercise in nostalgia, it has to be said that the protagonist has so accurately captured the spirit of the age on songs like Yours Now, that you find yourself wondering whether these tracks aren’t the result of somebody in a recording studio unearthing long-lost tapes in a loft and is releasing them now ‘as new’… and actually I can’t think of a higher compliment than that! This is really high quality stuff, authentic-sounding yet fresh at the same time, and my only real complaint is that there are only five tracks here to enjoy! If you enjoy heavy metal as it used to be made, with a songwriter’s ear and an artisanal touch, then this absolutely is going to be one of your favourite releases of 2023. It certainly is one of mine!

Slowburn Chronicles
Lastly we head to Madrid and Spanish metal veterans Slowburn, who released their latest album, Fire Starter, last month. Promising a mix of ‘the artistry of Blackfoot and Van Halen and the mastery of Judas Priest and Megadeth‘, the band offers a melodic take on the heavy metal playbook on tracks like Exiled that are easy on the ear – in a good way, of course – whilst still packing in top-notch metal songwriting into the bargain.

This is no-frills, honest as the day is long heavy metal from blokes who know what it takes to forge the finest Spanish Steel – Toledo grade, in fact – and whilst they hold no surprises for the seasoned listener it’s hard to argue with dramatic romps like The Beast (which has a sleazy, almost Armored Saint-styled swing in it’s DNA) or The Price of Liberty, which rounds things out at high speed and brings to mind names like Riot (in Thundersteel mode, natch) with it’s barrelling rhythms and no-holds barred mindset. There’s a lot of good metal spilling out of Spain at the moment, and Slowburn are no exception to that rule – give your ears a treat and fill ’em up with Fire Starter now!

That’s it for this go around – there are some really strong releases doing the rounds at the moment and I could have written this piece to three times the size but I hope you enjoyed our whittling down to what we think represents the best true metal on offer at the moment – till the next time!

Hail and Kill