Theandric, Flight Among The Tombs (2022)

Back with the first new music since 2014, Detroit’s Theandric present the four-song EP Flight Among The Tombs.

The band had early beginnings about ten years ago in Detroit. Releasing an EP called Up The Irons in 2011, and then a long-player two years later, The Door Of Faith, the band went quiet shortly thereafter. In its most recent formulation, the players are Paul Tiseo (vocals, bass, keys, and guitar), Bill Bogue (guitar), Aaron Wienczak (guitar), and Matt Voss (drums). Tiseo had the original idea for the group, and it continues now along similar paths with expanded perspectives.

The music is filled with big notions in both the narrative and the musical composition itself. It has a renaissance feel to it more than a medieval one. More Robin Hood than Lord of the Rings, you might say. Fixed in fantastic ideas and melodies, the guitars sometimes play in homage to Randy Rhoads and the vocals might be mistaken for a merry take on Ronnie James Dio.

The first pairing is “Flight Among The Tombs” and “The Battle Of Sherramuir.” “Flight” has a notably prog orientation in the keys and strings; a challenging composition. “Battle,” on the other hand, has a lighter tone, even though it is ostensibly about a violent conflict. It is rather like listening to a mage sing about a storied battle in the most entertaining way possible.

“Condemned To Death” is heavy and dark, with serious, doomy riffs and sorrowful vocals. “Ozymandias” has a more mysterious vibe to it, mystical and maybe even sinister. Big riffs and soaring vocals line the halls of both songs, expressed along somewhat divergent lines. It is good to hear the solid production in these songs and the artful execution of the musicians’ vision. If you are in the mood for traditional metal with an epic flair, Theandric is worth a look. Recommended.

Flight Among The Tombs hits the streets on Friday, February 11th. The quick grab is Bandcamp. Links below.

Links.

Theandric website, https://www.theandric.com/

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

Bandcamp, https://theandric.bandcamp.com/

Theandric, Flight Among The Tombs (2022)

Dark Meditation, Polluted Temples (Satanik Royalty Records 2022)

Polluted Temples is the perfect title for the new Dark Meditation album as it takes no prisoners and preserves no icons.

Seattle metal mongers Dark Meditation started their band in 2019. They released a demo that year and a second the following year. Polluted Temples is their first full-length album. The band is J. W. Mullett (bass), Will Klintberg (drums), Rane (guitar), Ian (guitar, Synth), and A. D. Vick (vocals).

There is an intro piece and nine tracks on the new album. “Babalon.Money.Magick” gets the show going with a catchy rolling riff and medium-coarse vocals walking together on a city street that seems to be changing into something else as the song goes along. The twin guitar leads has superb punches and nice overlaps. This is a mid-tempo warm-up. “Haunt Of Fear” follows and it is more severe, more pressing.

“Strange Caress (Of The Night)” takes a different chop at heavy – the opening salvo reminded me a touch of Thin Lizzy but departed after that toward a pseudo-melodic Misfits-inspired pugilism. And then “Masters Coil” is off in a slightly different direction, more solemn and darkly yearning.

There are flat-out dashes like “The Howling Wild,” and more measured and reflective tracks such as “Nocturnal Forever.” It all comes to a close with the title track, a brooding tale of woe that casts doubt on our understanding of ourselves. Surprisingly sentimental, the final song unerringly delivers the needful metal. The expansive lead work is as credibly thoughtful as it is headbanging. I got the feeling listening to this album that the band has a lot more to say and other landscapes to explore. I am looking forward to the journey. Recommended.

Polluted Temples is out on Friday, January 28th from Satanik Royalty Records. Make your offerings and take your blessings.

Band photo by Sarah Hammel.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://darkmeditation.bandcamp.com/

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

Satanik Royalty Records, https://www.satanikroyaltyrecords.com/

Dark Meditation, Polluted Temples (Satanik Royalty Records 2022)

Mantic Ritual, Crusader (M-Theory Audio 2022)

Mantic Ritual release a new 7-inch with hints of more music to come later this year.

The history of Mantic Ritual is incomplete. We know they formed under a different name around 2005 and that they released a full-length album through Nuclear Blast in 2009 called Executioner. They did a good deal of notable touring and then the original lineup split up around 2010.

Reforming in just last year or so, the new group includes originals Dan Wetmore (vocals, guitar), Jeff Potts (guitar), and Ben Mottsman (bass), with now Carlos Cruz (drums) joining the mix. It looks like they are planning to put out more music later this year, and right now we have a new song and a classic cover.

“Crusader” is the new one and it flat out rips. The charging primary riff is an elemental force of nature. Traditional heavy metal frameworks get a new hammering here, and the lead work is a treat. The vocals are clear and strong – this is everything a heavy metal song should be.

The other song is a cover of the Mercyful Fate classic “Black Funeral.” The music is faithful to the original (with some modern enhancements) and the vocals track King Diamond’s style. It is a welcome homage.

If this single is any indication of the future music to come from Mantic Ritual, then we are all in for a great ride. Recommended.

Crusader is out through M-Theory Audio on Friday, January 28th. Hit the links below for more info and for ordering options.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://manticritual.bandcamp.com/

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

M-Theory Audio, https://www.m-theoryaudio.com/

Mantic Ritual, Crusader (M-Theory Audio 2022)

Aeonblack, The Time Will Come (MDD Records 2021)

German power metal band Aeonblack circle back around to deliver another dose of heavy music that is loud and speedy.

The origins of the band go back to the late 1980s when they were known as Groggy Elks, releasing one demo in 1999. With a name change in 2003, the group moved ahead with its brand of straight-forward metal, calibrated to a mid-quick tempo and taking a page from the book of bands like Judas Priest. Under the present moniker, there has been an EP in 2007 to go along with the Metal Bound long-player from 2015. The band for the new album is (according to the Metal Archives) Holger Berger (vocals), Ferdinand Panknin (guitar and bass), Peter Steinbach (drums), Michael Maunze (guitar, Keys, and bass).

The compositions are firmly rooted in an earlier day, and they are extremely solid and loyal to that era. They stretch some into newer forms while always keeping true to the starting point. The musicianship is top-notch and the band is firing on all cylinders. Berger’s voice does sound a bit like Rob Halford, and here again you can think of that as a starting point from which he reaches out in his own directions.

The songs are mostly in the four-to-five minute range, and are typically set at a driving gallop. The title track is a longer adventure, with the obligatory quieter elements to create a space for the sense of epic presentation, and there is even a short instrumental lead-on track to set it up. The riffs are steady and the lead work is crisp and reliable. The drumming has received more of a modern infusion than most of the other moving parts, and that helps the music glisten.

Songs like “Warrior’s Call” are roaring drag race, and “Nightwalker” has a more gothic feel to it. There are enough melodic passages to label the music that way, even going nearly full ballad at one point. Overall the music is more peppy than it is insurgent, but it is clearly a metal album. I liked it all the way through, and the album gets especially high marks for the drumming and lead guitar work. Recommended.

The Time Will Come is out now. Look it over at the Bandcamp page, or at the label’s website. You can get the back catalogue at the former, including the Groggy Elks demo from way back when.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://aeonblack1.bandcamp.com/album/the-time-will-come

Website, https://www.aeonblack.de/?lang=en

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AEONBLACK-140787565995220/

Label, https://mdd-shop.de/en/search/query?desc=on&sdesc=on&keywords=aeonblack

Aeonblack, The Time Will Come (MDD Records 2021)