Welcome to the third edition of Shrapnel! Let the metal commence!

First up we have Washington’s Heir Apparent,  who released a compilation album earlier this year, Foundations II, which was their first release since 2018’s The View From Below. Next year, Dutch label Hammerheart Records have announced that they will re-release the band’s legendary 1986 album, Graceful Inheritance!

As the Hammerheart promo for the record states, “This one is the masterwork that every power metal fan should have listened to”. They ain’t wrong, people, they ain’t wrong!

One of the most noticeable strengths of Graceful Inheritance, even listening today is Tom Hall‘s production; Very well balanced, with a clearly audible bass (which is very important because it makes the sound very characteristic), it is of it’s time but very listenable.. . Then, you have the musicianship: mostly top-notch, with Maidenesque solos all around, bass lines that would put Steve Harris to shame (are you sure? – Ed.)and a quite unique vocal work by Paul Davidson. The song writing is varied; with mid-paced, up-tempo and speed metal songs, and so is the atmosphere; with a mostly dramatic/tragic environment in the songs, but also tense moments where you can basically feel the danger coming, showing versatility both in performance and song writing. In addition, Graceful Inheritance is extremely catchy, with sing-along choruses, that will get you from the very beginning. Every song in this album is simply excellent – and I certainly hope I get the chance to review it when it comes out on January 21st!

As this edition of Shrapnel was being put together, former Black Sabbath vocalist Tony Martin released a new track from his forthcoming Thorns album, As The World Burns. You can watch the video clip put together for the track below!

Martin has teamed up with Scott McClellan (who helped write the album and plays guitar in ‘America’s number one Pantera tribute band’), Danny “Danté” Needham (Venom), Magnus Rosén (Hammerfall), Greg Smith (Alice Cooper, Rainbow, Blue Öyster Cult) and his son Joe to create Thorns, which the vocalist states is ‘the most Tony Martin-sounding Tony Martin album ever!’.

The new album is set for release through Dark Star Records/Sony on January 14th (though I believe it will be available through Battlegod Productions in Australia), but have a listen to the new track now and see what you think!

Robot metal! Human/robot hybrid Electromancy are set to unleash their full-length debut, Technopagan. This journey into technical black metal experimentalism features a dozen tracks composed by Electromancy mastermind Satyra and performed by robots of the project’s own design.

Sats Satyra: “To me this track is less about physical mortality per se and more about embracing the change that life requires of us again and again. Grief, trauma, and even moments of incredible positivity and support require us to become different people, and to step into that role we must shed the skin of who we were before, let that earlier self die. Much of my upcoming album Technopagan is about my struggles with disability and chronic illness over the last years. My battle with Lyme disease has demanded so much change from me, and despite the ongoing hardships I feel like such a bigger fuller person from the experience. If I fought the changes instead of embracing them, I’m not sure I would feel the same way. Through experiences big and small, we all have to change. The you that exists now cannot live forever.”

Metal Assault Records will release Technopagan January 14, 2022 on CD and digital formats.

Time for something a little lighter now, with a fun cover version from Swedish metal veterans Lion’s Share! The band have released their take on the Amii Stewart party staple Knock On Wood, which they feel might be an ideal edition to your New Year’s Eve party playlists!

LS singer Nils Patrik Johansson commented on the new release: “We wanted to release something cool and unexpected as a Christmas gift to our fans. This song will be perfect cranked up loud at your New Year’s Eve party. Who knows – maybe I’ll crash your party as well, like I do in our new video.”

Guitarist Lars Chriss adds: “I kept hearing the Amii Stewart version every time I turned on the radio in my car. After a while I started thinking about Children Of The Grave by Black Sabbath and how we could make this into a great hard rock version. Little by little the arrangement started to take shape in my head. The song was a huge hit worldwide when Nils Patrik and I were teenagers and even went to number one on Billboard. We hope our version will bring back a lot of great memories for people.”

Both Johansson and Chriss remark that they have always worked very well together, and at this point it feels the most natural to keep Lion’s Share as a duo, with friends helping out wherever needed.

“We are aware our fans want a new album and the plan was to release one in 2020, but we all know what happened then. We had just started playing live again with a couple of headline shows in Germany in March and were gearing up towards a new album and tour. Since we think it’s very important to tour behind a new album, we just have to wait until things go back to “normal” again. Until then, we plan to release a new single every two to three months and keep building our fan base.”

That’s it for this edition – Have a great week!