Welcome along to our latest Crusade! It’s been another busy month here at Crusade HQ, and as usual we’ve been pulling out all the stops to bring you more high quality underground metal. Enjoy!
First up this month are Pennsylvanian symphonic metallers Mortanius; You may have read about them in Sentinel Daily a while back as SD editor Scott Adams’ mind was highly exercised by the fact that the band have included a cover of Last Christmas by UK boy band Wham on their new album, but thankfully there’s more – much more – than such fripperies to the band if you care to dig a bit deeper. Essentially a two piece augmented by guests as necessary, Mortanius create a fulsome, epic sound that’s lush and well produced for sure but still punchy and heavy at the same time.
Lucas Flocco is the ‘actual’ vocalist in the band – Jonas Heidgert of Dragonland and Leo Figaro of Dragon Guardian also feature – and his quasi-operatic, flamboyant vocals are a real force throughout. Standout track Disengage is where it all comes together best, with Flocco sounding like a stratospheric cross between Geddy Lee and Charlie Dominici, but there really isn’t a dull moment on Til Death Do Us Part. It’s a must-have album if you love symphonic power metal!
Milan’s Frozen Crown brought out a splendid album, The Fallen King last year which still gets a spin at Crusade HQ, but time waits for no man and, progress being what it is, the band have got another full-length album out already!
It’s a bit of a corker too, with the band, who still feature eighteen year old wonder guitarist Talia Bellazecca, firing on all cylinders on rip roaring tracks like Neverending. In all honestly the two albums are almost interchangeable in style and sound, but that needn’t be a particularly bad thing when the material is a s strong as it is here. If you liked The Fallen King, you’re going to enjoy Crowned In Frost – so go ahead!
Floridian thrashers Zergoth have released a second album, entitled Thrash Odyssey – and that is exactly what it is! Relentless programmed drums underpin the whole affair, giving the songs a cybernetic heartbeat that will find favour with fans of names like Fear Factory and Strapping Young Lad, but at the very core of Zergoth is a black, pullulating thrash heart, the bludgeoning riffage and razor sharp soloing of Carlos Enriquez leaving the listener in no doubt as to where this band’s major influences come from.
Brandon Hoover supplies some superb old school thrash vocals as an extra treat – on opening track Eve Of Odyssey he’s a dead sonic ringer for the late, lamented Paul Baloff – but this isn’t merely an exercise in reheating decades-old leftovers. The songs on Thrash Odyssey are fresh and invigorating, drawing the listener in from the word go with their old-meets-new gameplan. Hands down one of the most enjoyable new thrash releases I’ve heard in a while, Thrash Odyssey is the Crusade’s release of the month for March!
Crossing to the other side of the US we find Portland, Oregon natives Magnabolt, who have recently released a superb self-titled album – which you can find on Bandcamp as a name your price release!. The record has been mastered – very loudly – by underground icon Joel Grind. However there’s nothing grinding about the album, which finds Magnabolt dealing out some prime, fast-paced US power metal on opening track Surveillance. Elsewhere on the (slightly) slower The Thunder Breaks the band come across like a heady mix of Brocas Helm and Omen, and really, if these are the sort of names that get your listening juices flowing then you need to get hold of this album as soon as possible.
Peter Sylvia’s declamatory vocal style fits the strident music perfectly, and the dual axes of Sylvia and Alex Ponder are delivered with fabulous tone and nefarious intent. This truly is heavy metal as it meant to be played and heard. Excelsior!
Plague And The Decay
Truly thunderous. That’s all I can say about my first contact with UK outfit Plague And The Decay and their scintillating new effort Children of the Myth. Paintstrippingly raw, fantastically heavy yet highly musical, these Mancunian metallists certainly know their way around a tune, and the album features ten absolutely coruscating examples of Brit metal 2019 at it’s finest.
Pete Worrall is simply a one man guitar army (he produced the album too), and every track is a pandemonium of six string excellence. Refreshingly vocalist Raphael Gazal opts largely for a mid range growl/croon, rarely screaming or resorting to death metal grunting, the confluence of these two individuals resulting in something that carries the songwriting smarts of the Black Album with the raucous abandon of Kill ‘Em All. Splendid stuff!
Greek epic power metallists Warrior Path are essentially a one-man project, that man being guitarist Andreas Sinanoglou. However for the band’s self-titled debut he’s been joined by Beast in Black vocaliser Yannis Papadopoulos and the ubiquitous Bob Katsionis on guitar/keyboard and production duties. Between them this trio of superb musicians have come up with rather a beguiling package; the band meld the more obvious Euro power influences with little strands of Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche (especially on the track The Path of the Warrior, which could easily have been found on the ‘Ryche’s debut EP) to create a proudly traditional yet strangely fresh-sounding style.
This is exceptionally classy stuff, a joy to listen to and a real find if you long for the pompous power metal prime of the likes of Savatage, Jag Panzer et al. Well worth a listen!
That’s yer lot for another month – I very much hope we’ve found at least a little to pique your metallic tastebuds this month! As ever, if you like what you hear, please follow the links over to band camp and buy the albums from the bands there – you know it makes sense!
Until next time my friends…
hail and kill!