Trivium, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

Trivium was on the road in 2021 promoting their new album, In The Court Of The Dragon. There is no greater endorsement for their music than seeing them live.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://www.trivium.org/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Trivium

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/278ZYwGhdK6QTzE3MFePnP

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/trivium

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazinehttps://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

© Wayne Edwards.

Trivium, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

Megadeth, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

Megadeth – and Dave Mustaine – are metal legends. New music is on the way with the band’s 16th album in Spring 2022. While we’re waiting, here are some photos from their Blue Ridge Rock Festival performance.

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://megadeth.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Megadeth

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/1Yox196W7bzVNZI7RBaPnf

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/Megadeth

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazinehttps://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

© Wayne Edwards.

Megadeth, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, Danville, Virginia, September 11, 2021

Age Of Wolves, Age Of Wolves (Pitch Black Records 2021)

Veteran metallers come together on a new band and release their debut album: Age Of Wolves.

Canadian musicians Michael Edwards (vocals), Al “Yeti” Bones (guitar), Ray Solomon (bass), and Dwayne LaFramboise (drums) established Age of Wolves two short years ago. Focusing on traditional metal starting points, their music expands and circulates to fold in contemporary insights into formidable established frameworks. The result is slamming rock and roll that will get your head banging.

There are eight cracking tracks on the self-titled record. “Lil’ Burner” starts the fire with a Thin Lizzy lick, a heavy bass line, and an engagingly gravely vocal. The lead break pushes the edge of tone and the rhythm holds firm the place in time. “Avernus” comes next and hits at a darting clip then soon down shifts into a relaxed bluesy posture. Whiskey drinking music. “Grease Monkey and the Monkey Wrench” has a Clutch feel to it in my ears, and that is always a good thing. It is a strange little story with a spritely vamp that pushes the narrative along. Side one ends on “Temple Bar,” a beautifully executed, soulful-sounding song that resonates with rich guitar renderings.

The back half almost sounds like a different album at first. “Overlord” presents an epic face while “We Rise” has a much more street-level approach to its maneuvering. The guitar is still there in each case, and it is clearly revealed as the through-line. “My Love Ends All” has a power-balladesque structure at the beginning and also has a ripping lead break that challenges your idea of what this song is all about. The closer is “Endless Tides,” and it is a delightfully heavy rambler with an esoteric outro. It is a great choice for the set closer. The album was not what I expected but, after hearing it all the way through, I’m definitely on board with Age of Wolves. Recommended.

Age Of Wolves is out now through Pitch Black Records on CD and digital.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://pitchblackrecords.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-wolves

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AgeOfWolves

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb-7a39qy_Qw532NCP6DRgA

Pitch Black Records, https://www.pitchblackrecords.com/

Age Of Wolves, Age Of Wolves (Pitch Black Records 2021)

AC/DC Back In Black Redux ~ The Best Of AC/DC Redux (Magnetic Eye 2021)

Two new AC/DC tribute albums are out from the venerable Magnetic Eye Records.

Magnetic Eye Records continues its Redux series with a couple of tribute albums celebrating the iconic Australian band AC/DC. I grew up listening to AC/DC, and their albums were drinking music for me. I love them front to back, all the way through Back In Black, and I have continuing abiding affection for the ones after that, too. A tribute album (or two) makes sense because of the legions of fans.

We all know the songs from Back In Black, right? OK. So, with that as a baseline, how are things different on the tribute album? First up: Red Fang has a completely shifted take on “Hells Bells.” It is a sour twist and very different. It would take you a minute to recognize it if you just heard it playing the in the background. It shook me a little. Howling Giant is a bit more linear with “Shoot To Thrill,” rubbing a little stank on it while circling the goal posts. Supersuckers wag a bluesy rendition of “What Do You Do For Money Honey” and Smoking Lightning doom down “Giving The Dog A Bone.” AC/DC’s beautiful ballad “Let Me Put My Love Into You” is given a tender treatment by Heavy Temple.

Side 2. Besvärjelsen gets the title track. Their version made me want to listen to the original. Jakethehawk offers up a psilocybin take on “You Shook Me All Night Long.” Unexpected. “Have A Drink On Me” is slowed down to a crawl by Whores. My favorite track from the album is Early Man’s “Shake A Leg.” This one slaps. The closer was never my favorite song from the original Back In Black, but I do really like the Earthride version of “Rock And Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution.” With this tribute, well, you’ll like it more if you weren’t counting on faithful reproductions. All the bands infused a good deal of themselves into these classic metal tunes, and a tribute was offered by all.

The set list was fixed for Back In Black, but for The Best of AC/DC Redux, the producers could have picked anything from the catalogue. Most of the songs come from the Bon Scott era with just a couple later entries, and a few of them are real surprises. Here is the list. “Sin City,” Witchskull; “It’s A Long Way To The Top,” Kal-El; “What’s Next To The Moon,” Bob Balch & Tony Reed; “Bad Boy Boogie,” Kryptograf; “Walk All Over You,” Blue Heron; “Overdose,” Supersuckers; “For Those About To Rock,” Riff Lord; “Whole Lotta Rosie,” Solace; “If You Want Blood,” Red Mesa; “The Razor’s Edge,” Ghost Ship Ritual; “Dog Eat Dog,” Caustic Casanova; “High Voltage,” Electric Frankenstein; and “Night Prowler,” Domkraft.

I’ll just mention a couple of the new renditions of my favorite originals. Witchskull absolutely kills it on “Sin City.” I have always loved this song and the new version smokes. One of my all-time favorite AC/DC songs is “Whole Lotta Rosie.” I only saw AC/DC play this song live once, and I’ll never forget it. God damn. The new Solace version does right by the legend. Electric Frankenstein tears down the house with “High Voltage” and Domkraft walks “Night Prowler” into the doomlands, but it was right next door, anyway – an exceptional interpretation.

I am a big AC/DC fan and I like both these tribute albums. If I had to pick only one, The Best of AC/DC Redux has the edge. Recommended.

Links.

Magnetic Eye Records, https://us.merhq.spkr.media/

Bandcamp, https://reduxrecords.bandcamp.com/album/the-best-of-ac-dc-redux

AC/DC Back In Black Redux ~ The Best Of AC/DC Redux (Magnetic Eye 2021)

Wolftooth, Blood and Iron (Napalm Records 2021)

The third album from Wolftooth is their best yet: Blood and Iron.

Wolftooth is from Indiana. In 2018 they released their first album independently, Wolftooth. The band’s second album came out two years later from Ripple Music, Valhalla. That is when I first heard them, and I was greatly impressed. That album was one of the best I heard last year. The new one is a continuation of epic-scale heavy metal with colossal riffs and melodic vocals embracing lush lead guitar work. It is their best album yet. The band is Jeff Cole (guitars), Johnny Harrod (vocals, drums), Terry McDaniel (bass), and Chris Sullivan (vocals, guitar).

Blood and Iron has nine tracks. A quick look at the cover art and a browse through the song titles will tell you right away that the lyrical themes tilt toward fantasy and epic legend territory. The band has this to say about their new album – “Blood & Iron is the culmination of all the work that we as a band have put into forging our sound over the last four years. Musically, we feel that we’ve honed what works well for us while expanding on what was already there. This album represents a more mature direction, relying on classic heavy metal influence with a strong nod to our proto-metal roots. Lyrically, the album focuses on kings, battle, conquest and myth. These elements together coalesce into a riff-laden slab of heavy metal that we are all proud of.”

What I like especially about this music is the solid layering, the meaty length given to each song, and the lead guitar work which has an urgent quality to go along with is melodic essence. The title track is the perfect example of all this. As much as I liked last year’s Valhalla, I have to say I like the new one even better. The bluesy elements and fuzzy stoner presence is a winning combination with the fantastical lyrical ideas and the epic scale of the compositions. Top marks all around. Highly recommended.

Blood and Iron is out now through Napalm Records. Check out the label’s Wolftooth page, the band’s own site, or Bandcamp to see the available varieties.

Links.

Website, https://wolftoothmetal.com/

Bandcamp, https://wolftooth.bandcamp.com/album/blood-iron

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/wolftoothmetal/

Napalm Records, https://napalmrecords.com/english/wolftooth

Wolftooth, Blood and Iron (Napalm Records 2021)

Butcher Babies, Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky, September 25, 2021

I love seeing the Butcher Babies live – caught them three times in 2021. Here are some snapshots from Louder Than Life festival. They aren’t very good clicks – I was enjoying the show in the crowd and grabbed a couple moments with my phone. I am putting them up anyway because it was a great show and I love this band. Butcher Babies!

All photos by Wayne Edwards.

Links.

Website, https://butcherbabies.com/

Spotify, https://open.spotify.com/artist/6FcvjJzvxgybo7Ywsj0hRj

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/ButcherBabiesMusic

© Wayne Edwards.

Butcher Babies, Louder Than Life Festival, Louisville, Kentucky, September 25, 2021

Unzane, Test Of Time (Too Loud Records 2021)

Classic-style metal band Unzane crack out a new album, Test Of Time.

The band started out in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2000 and relocated to the mainland in 2009. They have released four previous albums, including Unzane (2005), Justice Is Our Cradle (2006), Tampering With Evidence (2011), and Nation Attack (2017). On the new one, the musicians show their experience while continuing to hone their metal muscles. The band is Ricky Leon (guitars), Alfredo Vargas (bass), Alex Hernández (drums), and David Carrión (vocals).

The musical style of the band is classic heavy metal, leaning on grooves the crowd can bang their collective head to and solidifying the effect with forceful, melodic vocals. The guitars are heavy, the rhythm is thunderous, and the road is straight ahead.

There are ten tracks in all on Test Of Time, each landing in the radio length of two-to-three minutes. “Emotional Coaster” has a feisty drum lead-in and a cooking melody. It is the perfect curtain-up rocker to get your blood going. “Brave Heart Warriors” has a taller presence and it is more vocally ambitious. The lead work goes front and center with an early tingle that pushes the song to the next level.

The song that really got my attention was “Boogeyman” because it has such an all-out charging approach that draws you in. Following immediately is the high-temperature track “Extreme Ferocity,” and the pairing works a nimble implacability. “Life Cruiser” is another favorite – the chopping opening riff gets you through the door and the party starts on the other side. And “Life Expectancy” joins the list of songs that stick because of its memorable chorus and peppery rhythm. There is a lot here to admire.

Test Of Time is available now. The quickest catch is at the Bandcamp link below.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://unzane.bandcamp.com/music

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/UNZANE-Fan-club-122870541074885/

Too Loud Records, https://www.tooloudrecords.com/unzane/

Unzane, Test Of Time (Too Loud Records 2021)

We Came As Romans, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, September 12, 2021

Michigan metalcore powerhouse We Came As Romans toured in 2021 with an eye toward the future.

All photos by Wayne Edwards

Links.

Website, https://iamdarkbloom.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/wecameasromans

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/user/WeCameAsRomans

Sharptone Records, https://sharptonerecords.co/

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazinehttps://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

© Wayne Edwards.

We Came As Romans, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, September 12, 2021

Gods Of Decay, Collective Psychosis (Sliptrick Records 2021)

Tokyo-based metal band Gods of Decay release their first full-length album, Collective Psychosis.

The musicians in the band are listed as Anna (vocals), Frost (guitar), and Yorke (bass). Regarding the new album, Anna remarks: “On this album we scattered a myriad of shards of meaningfulness lost in the abyss of absurdity of our day and age. We hid them with metaphors and double entendre and we hope that our listeners enjoy the ‘treasure hunt’ on their journey through the mesmerizingly sinister spaces that make up the world of Gods Of Decay. Seek, and ye shall find.” That tells you a little something about the band, too. The music is a modern metal amalgam.

Listening to these songs in order is like walking down the aisles of a flea market in an aging armory – there are all sorts here. “Self-Castigation” is a club music intro. In “Collective Psychosis” you can really feel the mental state fray as the song progresses. The vocal harmony, which gets regular use on the album, is a deep enhancement. “Metamorphosis” has a great groovy riff and a somewhat squealy vocal. There’s that harmony again in there, too. “Plague” starts on a rolly-polly riff with a sting plus a shock vocal. After the bracer, clean vocals propel the story on. And then the very next track is something else entirely, and on and on.

Different looks; different takes. According to the band, that is the conscious intention. Some of the music reminds me of a smoother version of the Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black but with considerably more polish and far greater detail in its assertions. There is a center to all of this that the galactic material orbits. You can hear it in every song. No matter how different one is to the next, you can feel that gravitational pull towards the essence of the band. That is where the cohesion comes from and why I recommend this album. It is heavy and delightfully variegated throughout.

Collective Psychosis is out now from Sliptrick Records. Give it a spin.

Links.

Website, https://www.godsofdecay.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/godsofdecay

Sliptrick Records, https://sliptrickrecords.com/gods-of-decay/

Gods Of Decay, Collective Psychosis (Sliptrick Records 2021)

Splintered Reality, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, September 12, 2021

This band is a high-energy amalgam of rock, thrash, groove, and a whole lot more. Jump in with them and shake it up.

All photos by Wayne Edwards

Links.

Website, http://splinteredrealitymusic.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/splinteredreality

YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZs23_O7VwG3ZyOyCy-V6_A

Blue Ridge Rock Festival coverage at Ryze-Up magazinehttps://www.ryze-up.com/music-2/blue-ridge-rock-festival-2021/

© Wayne Edwards.

Splintered Reality, Blue Ridge Rock Festival, September 12, 2021