For this Colorado based band, there’s more to progressive metal than shamelessly aping the leather trousered tedium of Dream Theater and the hundreds of copyists that have sprung up since the 90s. On this trio of tunes that make up their second release, you’ll find the obvious speedy soloing and obvious posturing, but you’ll also find influences from a post-grunge dirtiness, traces of gothic metal and eventually a love of groove and even melodic death metal. When you glue all of those together, you end up with something that at least half feels progressive, even if it wouldn’t appeal to those who love “prog”.
What would happen if you took passages from The Bible and applied them to some of the slowest and heaviest sludge metal riffs ever? Chances are, you’d end up with something so sacriligious, it’d stir up entire American States, amuse teenagers supposedly “going through a phase” and confound a lot of other people…
Back in the early 90s, Mordred attracted a loyal following with their crossover brand of thrash metal. Their second full length album, 1991’s ‘In This Life’ gained very positive reviews and the single ‘Falling Away’ is still guaranteed to awaken some very nostalgic feelings for anyone who happened to be in their late teens or early twenties at the time of its original release. For reasons that still don’t make entire sense, Mordred never became genuinely massive. Sure, they got all the press and worked hard on a string of support slots on great metal bills, but they never became truly major players. Perhaps their prominent use of scratching and DJ turntables was something that didn’t sit well with the metal purists, or perhaps it was their injection of funk, but that kind of mixing things up didn’t upset thrash fans when Anthrax dabbled with rap – sometimes very badly. Mordred deserved to at least be as big as Anthrax, but it wasn’t to be, and after the release of a third album in 1994, they split.
An unexpected reunion in 2013 gave the world a couple of successful tours and a digital single, ‘The Baroness’, but it didn’t seem like quite enough and as the years passed, any hopes of more new material felt as if they were fading.
A collaboration between members of Dutch punk bands The Windowsill and Accelerators, Giant Eagles takes both groups’ pop-punk roots, applies slabs of synthesiser and massive power pop choruses to create sounds that show off an almost equal love of Ramonescore and early 80s new wave. Seven years on from their debut, the Eagles’ comeback disc ‘Second Landing’ presents thirty two minutes of near perfection, where catchy as hell choruses mesh with some brilliantly constructed and shamelessly retro tunes.
A prolific musician, Magnus Karlsson has worked with many legends from the hard rock and melodic metal scene. You’ll find his name attached to works by Magnum’s Bob Catley, TNT’s Tony Harnell, Russell Allen, Bobby Kimball and Phenomena. He’s also been a member of Euro metallers Primal Fear. Perhaps most importantly, the Swedish multi-instrumentalist has received great press for his own project Free Fall, designed to showcase his melodic metal prowess behind an impressive roll call of guest vocalists. An enjoyable self-titled release set a high musical benchmark in 2013 with a collection of very European sounding bangers. A follow up, 2015’s ‘Kingdom of Rock‘ (not to be confused with an identically titled project from the legendary Michael Schenker), sometimes showed a lighter side with contributions from Joe Lynn Turner and Harem Scarem man Harry Hess and although a more hit and miss disc, it still provided a decent collection filler for anyone enamoured with the style.