Welcome to my new series, Chronicles of Power! Anyone who’s followed my previous work for Sentinel Daily will probably know just what to expect from this new thread; Over the coming months I hope to bring some of the best straight-up metal there is currently doing the rounds to your ears, and in the process I hope to find some favourite new bands for you all! On With the show!


FIB Chronicles

Brit metallers Forged in Black have been extant for a fair while now – it’s ten years since their debut album first saw the light of day – but there’s an almost youthful exuberance to their new album Lightning in the Ashes that’s an absolute joy to behold. The absolute abandon with which they attack tracks like closing track Detonation Ritual is hard to resist, and as they barrel their way through ten tracks of pure heaviness you’ll find yourself being driven deeper and deeper into their finely wrought web.

If I’m being honest I’d say that the new album is perhaps a little light-on in terms of full-on heavy metal thunder-styled anthems, but pound-for-pound if it’s sheer British Steel you’re interested in then this is the best yet from the band. Great stuff!

Red Cain Chronicles
Red Cain may hail from Calgary in Canada, but the first track on their excellent new record, Fisher King, has distinct – and, let’s be frank, not unwelcome – shades of German metal titans Blind Guardian.

However, this isn’t a band that lets itself get stuck into a creative rut, so the following track on Näe’bliss, Blight, mixes Pliny-style slink with chunky djentisms and a versatile vocal from Evgeniy Zayarny to create a freewheeling, no-holds-barred form of prog power that’s actually very easy on the ear,

Like Forged in Black, Red Cain have been at this game for a while and they bring all that experience to bear here, creating a wide-ranging, ever-changing sound that proves a little hard to hold on first contact but which is actually an incredibly satisfying listen id you give it time to worm it’s way into your affections – which it will, in the end!

Nova chronicles

Russian metal outfit Nova have forged a pleasant, easy-on-the-ear mixture of modern metal styles on their new, self-titled album. Essentially a colab between Crimson Cry singer Alex Strangel and vocalist Elena Volkova (who has also worked with Crimson Cry in the past), Nova explore the expected territory of female-fronted metal with no little sophistication here; And whilst it’s true to say they don’t break too much new ground, on tracks like Circle of Life they prove that they can mix it with the giants of what Father Ted Crilly might have termed ‘this kind of thing’…

Strangel handles all keys and a couple of the lead vocals, but it’s Volkova who is really the main event here and she can certainly carry a tune, and if names like Edenbridge or (naturally) Epica cause a bustle in your hedgerow then there is more than slight chance that you’ll find something to your taste on this record.

Stray Gods chronicles

‘We can’t believe they’re not Maiden!’ screamed the strapline below Sentinel Daily‘s review of Greek, erm, Gods, Stray Gods last album Storm The Walls, and I’m glad to report  – very glad, actually – that it’s absolutely business as usual on the band’s new album Olympus!

Opening track Out of Nowhere starts calmly enough with an acoustic guitar intro before crashing right in with an absolutely storming piece of Maidenesque metal pitched in the general region of Somewhere In Time and Seventh Son… If you’re a fan of the Irons but have become a little disappointed by their recent releases – and I know I’m one of those people – then the Stray Gods might just be the band you’ve been looking for…

Mainman Bob Katsionis is nothing short of a genius in the songwriting stakes whilst vocalist Artur Almeida is an absolute revelation in the ‘Dickenson’ role. This is pure, unadulterated heavy metal and, in all honestly, I can’t see why anyone calling themselves a metal fan would find anything to didlike about this band – superb stuff!

Azagthoth Chronicles

I don’t usually go a bundle on instrumental metal – especially in large doses – as I’ve always felt that, however good the guitarists are in a band, it’s usually the vocal hooks and melodies that draw the listener in (quite right – former vocalist Ed). However, there’s something about the new album from Mexican one man band Azagthoth Pendragon that I rather like, so I’m including his new shredfest of an album, Memories of a Knight, here, so that you can have a listen and make your own minds up.

Pendragon is a majorly talented lead guitarist (though his keyboard playing is pretty good too – see the third track here, Grace of Ayax, for harpsichord-fuelled proof), and once you’ve accepted that sonically this is not going to win any prizes for sophisticated production, there’s lots to enjoy.

In his bio, Pendragon promises to ‘give life to all melodies that are born from his soul and heart’ and, at the heart of all the fast-paced madness to be found here, there is something strangely soulful and uplifting to be found. Simple yet effective, tracks like Heaven Called For Roderyk are strangely moving; This isn’t for everyone, but it’s well worth a listen if you like a bit o’ neo-classical shred in your diet evry now and then.

Unmaker Chronicles
Well well, this was a surprise. I’m not afraid to say that in recent times I’ve basically turned off when the phrase ‘thrash/death metal hybrid’ is tossed into conversation… Imagine my surprise then on giving the new album from Ireland’s Unmaker a spin to find… something rather exciting indeed!

Opening track To War responds to the band’s self-set brief with dead-eyed accuracy, and guitarist Sean delivers one of the best constructed solos I’ve heard in aeons just to top things off, and if the band slip into more groovy waters after that it doesn’t really detract from that early momentum. Limb From Limb has a real whiff of Sepultura in their prime about it, which for me is about as good as it gets for this kind of music… This is seriously heavy stuff, and you owe it to yourself to get on the Unmaker bandwagon now before theo whole world gets in on the act. Tell ’em old Ferrum sent you!