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Wyrd Ways Rock Show CCCXXIX – The Albums of 2015 Final Verdict

Here we are, then. This is it. This is the big one (to coin a phrase). In this edition of The Wyrd Ways Rock Show, you will finally find out which band produced our favourite album of 2015.

Here’s the playlist…

Metal Church – Killing Your Time
Devil You Know – Stay Of Execution
Butcher Babies – Never Go Back
Ensiferum – Warrior Without A War
Ghost – Mummy Dust
Nightwish – Shudder Before The Beautiful
Powerwolf – Armata Strigoi
Motörhead – Victory Or Die
Clutch – Behold The Colossus
Iron Maiden – Shadows Of The Valley
Slayer – Repentless
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Northern Oak – Ellan Vannin
Ensiferum – One Man Army
Symphony X – Underworld
Faith No More – Superhero
Motörhead – Thunder & Lightning
Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful
Clutch – X-Ray Visions
Iron Maiden – The Book Of Souls

If you want to know who won what, the only real way you can do that is to listen to the show!

Cage – Supremacy of Steel

Pure Steel Records

Review: Rick Ossian

Evident on first glance is that these chaps do NOT mess around.  Though the titles of the tracks on offer here do seem a bit tongue in cheek at times, they alone should peak the interesting of most passing metal fans.  Song titles such as Metal Empire, Hell Destroyer vs. Metal Devil, and Braindead Woman definitely peaked my interest.  As it happens, I was not disappointed.  Supremacy of Steel comes on in the shape of one no-holds-barred juggernaut after another.  Vocalist Sean Peck is clearly a disciple of the Priest school of thought, emulating Mr. Halford at several turns here during the onslaught.   Not that this is a bad thing.  Not at all.  I wouldn’t go as far as to say that he is heir to the throne, but he does have one solid set of pipes.

Take opener Bloodsteel, for instance – a screaming slab of pounding, wailing metal.  There’s plenty here on offer for the heavy music fan: lots of powerful vocals, plenty of double-bass thump, and, my favorite staple, searing lead guitar runs.  It’s all here, particularly on The Beast of Bray Road, which features all of the above.  King of the Wasteland, however, is an eerie mover with a slow, creepy intro and some brief growling here and there. Our subject dons a ‘crown of thorns’, telling us ‘All hail/(He’ll) never fail/with this nail”.  Perhaps he has a Messianic complex of some sort.   My fave track thus far is Metal Empire, featuring plenty of screaming and an absolute fist-pumper of a chorus line (true metal will never die!). It also features staccato riffing and a wickedly good guitar solo about half way in.

The opening salvo scream on War of the Undead, while admirable, should herald the oncoming of an all-out assault, which it does, for the most part. However, the limited/repetitive nature of the vocals does disappoint somewhat.  Flying Fortress features more of the same, especially that ever-present double-bass thump. Is it me or do most metal drummers abuse the privilege of having two or more bass drums?  Doctor Doom, as one might suspect, is an ode to the Fantastic Four’s Latverian arch-nemesis.  What, not a comic book geek?  Don’t worry, the music is still good. Anyone familiar with Victor will recognize the song as one that truly does his story justice – if, indeed, that is what he desires.  The Victor Von Doom I know and love is a master of vengeance.  Good tune.

Up next are two of the inevitable tunes about women, Annaliese Michel and Braindead Woman.  All I can say for the former is hang on to your hats, because it’s one hell of a ride!  The latter is short and sweet and powerful, again lacking a bit in the vocal department, but nobody’s perfect.  The Monitor features a spoken word introduction, which seems to be a bit of a trend in metal nowadays.  More of the same in the paean to Doctor DoomHell Destroyer vs. Metal Devil is all that and more, the ultimate heavy showdown.  Trust me when I say that this tune is one that lives up to its title!  Skinned alive features more screaming/emulating of Monsieur Halford, and also some creepy church-like metal chanting (Tibetan Metal Monks, anyone?).  If you like metal, you will probably adore this CD.  Go out and buy now!

Rating: ****