Sunday, March 22, 2020

Honorable Mentions from the Abyss #17: Pandemic/Iron Curtain/Aggressive Perfector/Savage Master

Hey brutal bangers,
in these Coronavirus times I'm working a lot for Timpani allo Spiedo 'zine. Hence, after some time from the last episode of "Honorable Mentions from the Abyss", I am going to present you today 4 bands belonging to the purest heavy metal with some speed and also thrash metal variations. Each of them deserves attention, so...


When I reviewed some months ago the debut demo of the Polish thrashers Pandemic (FB page), I thought in no ways that their monicker would have been very topical in these days because of Coronavirus pandemia. Fortunately, just before its dissemination around the world, Pandemic found some time to record two new songs for a single entitled "Where the Devil Says Goodnite".

This single sees a more classic heavy metal direction. If the titletrack is a powerful mid-tempo worthy of the Judas Priest, the second number "Exegi Monumentum", a bit faster than the previous number, shows slighty the aggression of the "old" Pandemic. Now, the songs are good without any doubts but it's a little shame that the band changed so much their music, even though only two tracks are very few to judge them properly, so I'll wait with pleasure some news from Pandemic... Coronavirus permitting!

Born in 2007, Iron Curtain (FB page) released in 2019 a 4th album named "Danger Zone" through Dying Victims Productions. Unfortunately, Iron Curtain have stopped now their activities because also their beautiful country, Spain, is under Coronavirus.

Even simply from its songtitles (like "The Running Man", whose lyrics are clearly inspired to the cult homonymous movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger), you can already understand that this album is a total anthem to the '80s, exemplifying musically this adoration through a raw but melodic combination with rockish tunes between heavy metal and speed metal à la Tank/Motörhead. The songs are linear and predictable but there are some amazing numbers such as the fast "Rough Riders" (more dynamic if compared with the other similar episodes into the album) and the closing "Lonewolf" (a 6-minute ballad closing the album). So, this is rocking heavy metal, nothing less, nothing more, and if you are into it, then don't waste time anymore and give a try to the Iron Curtain!

WOOOOW!!! This band (FB page) is a real fukken surprise for me! Apart from the fact that their debut album "Havoc at the Midnight Hour" (released by Dying Victims Productions, too) has a fantastic cover artwork (courtesy of the Italian artist Velio Josto... never heard before but he's very good!), this British trio called Aggressive Perfector (Slayer, anyone?) spewed forth a work of a rare class!

In fact, "Havoc at the Midnight Hour" is a 8-track album in which there is a lethal and creative combination between Mercyful Fate, Acid and Slayer (obviously!). This means that you have to expect complexity, pure aggression, macabre vibes also due to the occasional use of the keyboards (try to listen to a song like "Land of No Return", that starts slow and haunting), roaring speed moments and a really possessed singer known as Dan Holocausto (a nome that is a whole program!). In brief, heavy metal, speed metal and thrash metal in a single solution entirely devoted to the Evil!

Do you remember the works of Frank Frazetta? Well, Mick Hoffman has a similar style judging by the cover artwork that he made for "Myth, Magic and Steel", the third album by the US act Savage Master (FB page) since its foundation in 2013.

I think that this kind of cover artwork captures the same essence of the music of the Savage Master, a pure heavy metal full of epicness and dark tunes (also determined by evocative gang choruses here and there, like in "High Priestess") and characterized also by lyrics focused on a sword and sorcery imagery that are sung with undomable force by Stacey Savage who, in an outstanding song like "Lady of Steel", is helped by the guests Sandy Krueger and Deborah Levine (Lady Beast). The band is able to be fast ("The Devil's Ecstasy") and slow ("The Owl") but, for sure, you can find the best peak of the album in the last song "Warrior vs Dragon", an epic 8-minute tour de force full of different situations. No other words, this band is fuckin' perfect for every fan of Cirith Ungol and the likes!

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