FISSURE OF RIDDLES – The Marble Realm

Four years on from their ‘Nemea’ album, UK progressive sludge merchants Fissure of Riddles make a particularly intensive noise on their 2022 release ‘The Marble Realm’. Four of its six songs take a very long time to sometimes do very little, but for fans of such a slow and oppressive style, that moody and methodical approach to a riff results in the kind of album that’s almost guaranteed to make an impression.

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PAUL DI’ANNO’S BATTLEZONE – Killers In The Battlezone (1986-2000)

Paul Di’Anno’s contributions to the first two Iron Maiden albums would be enough alone to secure him a legendary status. His rough edged, almost punky style did so much to give those now classic recordings a real energy, and both ‘Iron Maiden’ and ‘Killers’ have continued to receive a massive amount of love, even decades after fans heard them for the very first time.

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REBEL PRIEST – Lesson In Love EP

Canadian rockers Rebel Priest made their first breakthrough in 2015 with a self titled album that introduced listeners to their world of sleazy riffs, combining elements of old school metal, bluesy rock and no-nonsense grubbiness. The following years saw the band sharing stages with Lordi and Diamond Head, and their work likened to AC/DC, Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue, despite not always sounding too obviously like some of those legendary acts.

Their 2022 release ‘Lesson In Love’ continues their unashamed voyage through a world of dirty riffs, sleazy lyrics and – as you might suspect from a release with an arse on the cover, painted blue or otherwise – old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll attitudes. For those who loved them previously, the short four song assault will bring plenty to love; for those not enamoured with the retro rock sound and attitude, obviously, the chances of being won over are slim to none.

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TURN COLD – 2022 EP

In September 2021, Turn Cold’s debut EP ‘Break Your Faith’ introduced a band with a lot of spirit and a very old school approach to almost everything. Their combination of a riff heavy sound and no-frills production style had much in common with many second division thrash bands from the late 80s, and for many, that was enough to suggest this was a band with a lot of potential.

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VYPERA – Eat Your Heart Out

Vypera, a melodic metal band from Sweden, began life in 2016 as Madhouse, a covers band working the local circuit. On the basis of their debut release under the new name – their first to feature all new, self penned material – you might find yourself wondering if they were better when hammering through other peoples’ hits, since the bulk of ‘Eat Your Heart Out’ is…fairly bad, to put it mildly.

Sweden have a great track record for rock and metal exports, and the Scandinavians have more than shown an easy knack for great riffs and choruses over the years, very much providing a strong backbone for the melodic rock and metal scene. On on the basis of this debut, though, as much as some people would like to purport such a notion that the Swedes are infallible, such talents aren’t guaranteed. Although the bulk of this debut rehashes some old style riffs fairly solidly, Vypera’s song writing isn’t amazing; the record’s production values are decidedly average, and vocally, seventy five percent of the time, an ugly voice derails most of the good elements there might have been. Faced with something that sounds like polished demo with half of the guitars sounding really trebly, as if they’re bleeding in from another room, it’s immediately hard on the ears.

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