Witch Cross – Angel Of Death

Angel Of Death Album Cover Art
Angel Of Death Cover

Witch Cross – Angel Of Death
High Roller Records
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 44.06
Review by Simon Black

Denmark’s Witch Cross are one of those veteran bands that have been treading the boards for a long time without ever achieving the same kind of reputation as country contemporaries like, most noticeably, Merciful Fate. Given that NWOBHM Retro is definitely in at the moment I was curious to see how these guys would play this out. This record screams early 80’s from every pore, managing to both musically feel and production-wise sound like it was of that era, so much so that I had to check that this was not a remaster of earlier material. In terms of capturing an ethos and sound, it’s absolutely spot on and full of NWOBHM twin guitars, with lots of early Priest style structures that really does feel like it’s from that period.

The title song opens well, with a good punch and classic Metal groove, with arrangements that sound like they fell straight out of the period. Lyrically too this is very classic NWOBHM fare of swords and/or sorcery. The second song ‘Marauders’ is a slower rocker and, unfortunately, rather plods along for its five minutes of run time. ‘Evil Eye’ is way shorter and much the stronger for it, with a more epic and expansive sound that takes it to the verge of Power Metal with the subtle keyboard overlays and its anthemic chorus – it’s one of the strongest tracks on here.

The trouble is the light buzzy guitar sound of the early 80’s that runs throughout this record was a symptom of the limits of that period’s recording technology or the experience of whoever was on the desk, with bands at the time always sounding fatter and heavier live, frequently sharing their frustration that the recording tech couldn’t capture that live sound when asked. That retro sound starts to wear very quickly in 2021 however and by the time I get to the mid-point ‘The Chosen One’ I was rather done with it. The Maidenesque ‘Phoenix Fire’ helps, as it brings the pace up again, proving, not for the first time, that the shorter songs work better. The one longer song that does work is ‘Siren’s Song’, which has one of the catchiest riffs I’ve heard in ages. I can see that one being a real crowd pleaser with its moody gotta-bang-along feel but with enough epic layering and some sparingly used choral vocal lines tucked away in the instrumental section.

Overall, this is a tricky one though, as there’s a fine line between bands trying to sound like the old analogue days and failing to show that they’ve moved on in the intervening years. I guess the challenge is that you can spend too long on the look and feel of a bygone age rather than on focusing on writing material that’s going to sound good after the next thirty years have passed. Newer bands seem better at balancing this, because more Modern Metal sounds are as much a part of their DNA as the ones, they’ve found in their parents’ vinyl shelves, but older bands sometimes struggle. With my 90’s amp and mixer plugged into my computer, I have the luxury of easily being able to turn the treble settings right down, fatten up the EQ and crank the volume and this immediately starts to sound so very much better, (it also sounds good in my headphones – Rick) but anyone listening on stream on a phone or through a smart speaker may not have that luxury. It really does spoil what would otherwise be a really strong album because the song-writing and performances are absolutely great. I’m sure I will probably love this live, but on the turntables, this feels like it’s been a little lost with an experiment in recreation of analogue in a digital world, rather than trying to build for the future.

‘Phoenix Fire’ (Official Video)

01. Tempus Mori Est
02. Angel Of Death
03. Marauders
04. Evil Eye
05. The Chosen One
06. Phoenix Fire
07. Siren’s Song
08. Eye Of The Storm
09. Last Rites
10. Warrior

Kevin Moore – Vocals
Paul Martin – Guitars
Mike Wlad – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Little John Field – Bass
Jesper Haugaard – Drums


Witch Cross Promo Pic
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Deadheads – This One Goes to 11

The One Goes To 11 Cover Art

Deadheads – This One Goes to 11
High Roller Records
Release Date: 26/01/2018
Running Time: 38:00
Review by Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond

I confess to having never heard of Swedish four-piece, Deadheads, although “This One Goes to 11” is their third album. Labelling themselves as ‘energetic rock and roll’, this band are all that and more; this album is eleven tracks of frenetically paced, good time rock which was fairly infectious to listen to.

The first track, ‘Black Out’ gallops along with brattish guitars and a thumping pace and although it was light on lyrics with a repetitive chorus, it certainly stuck in my brain for a while after listening.

I found a punkish element to next song, ‘Don’t Mind The Ghost’, which featured a simple hook and echoing vocals; in fact, pretty much all of the songs had a punk feel to them, with some nice keyboard/piano work showing on ‘Manic Mondays’.

The pace slowed a little with ‘Too Lost To Be Found’, which had a real vintage flavour to it and was one of my more favoured tracks on the album. I particularly liked the last track, ‘Status Low’; it wasn’t vastly different to the other songs, but I enjoyed the lyrics and the key changes made it feel a little less mad and ever so slightly more laid back.

I think if you take the time to listen to this album five or six times in a row, you will probably find nuances and changes from song to song; just listening to it twice through, it sounded kind of samey in places.

Quality and production-wise, the sound is a little muffled on some tracks – whether that was intentional, I’m not sure, but it was a bit irritating in places. Deadheads have been touring on and off in Europe, so perhaps they will be popping up on the UK festival circuit next year. I’d make a point of catching them live if I can; the songs are infectious and carry a certain amount of punk groove, so it would be interesting to see how that translates onto a live stage.

01. Black Out
02. Don’t Mind The Ghost
03. Somebody Along The Way
04. Manic Mondays
05. Too Lost To Be Found
06. The Plan
07. Instant Control
08. 2 Steps Before The Fall
09. Lucifer
10. My Time
11. Status Low


Deadheads Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Gaskin – Edge of Madness

Gaskin - Edge of MAdness

Gaskin – Edge Of Madness
High Roller Records
Release Date: 24/08/2012
Running Time: 41:27
Review By Rick Tilley


If you read my recent review of Gaskin’s gig at The Rock Den last month, then you’ll know how impressed I was with them and how much of a pleasure it was to finally see them live after so many years. Meeting with Paul Gaskin after the gig, he was kind enough to give me a copy of Gaskin’s most recently released studio album ‘Edge Of Madness’ (2012) and here is my review!

Gaskin arrived on the UK Metal scene in 1980 and were squarely lumped in with the NWOBHM movement at that time. They released two very good albums ‘End Of The World’ (1981) and ‘No Way Out’ (1982) and then, as so many bands did, faded away! I didn’t get into Rock & Metal until very late in 1982 so, even then, I was already a little late for the Gaskin party but I got hold of both albums in 1983 and still cherish them. I always felt, as many people did, that there was more to Gaskin then pure NWOBHM. They could certainly thump out the metal when they wanted to but Paul’s influences in Blues & Heavy Rock meant they were always a more melodic prospect than many of their peers and I personally thought they were very underrated! They returned in 2000 with third album ‘Stand Or Fall’ and after many ups and downs have thankfully been a more regular band on the circuit again since 2010!

And now we come almost up to date with fourth album ‘Edge Of Madness’ which is the best sounding Gaskin release to date, thanks to a fine production from drummer David John Norman, and an album that sees the band do what they do best which is give us eight full and two short instrumental tracks full of the trademark Gaskin sound! They know exactly what works for them and write the songs they love playing so there is no point expecting anything modern or original. This is a good hard rock album and if you have an ear for melody, some great guitar playing and fairly dark lyrics then you’ll really enjoy this. I certainly do!

What I am going to say is that one track doesn’t work so well for me and that’s ‘Wake Up Dead’ Now lyrically it’s a very personal, emotional and dark song, dealing with Paul’s descent into depression and drugs at a low point in his life and they are an engaging listen, but musically I find the track pedestrian and plodding, especially at over six minutes. However, Gaskin more than make up for it with opener ‘Damnation’, which has a very mid-paced sounding Saxon riff and is a good way to start the album, ‘Heart Like Thunder’, ‘Bedlam’, The title track and the barn storming and brilliant ‘The Contract’.

Apart from Saxon, there are elements of Diamond Head, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow and even a couple of instances that reminded me of classic UK Melodic Rock greats FM! Paul’s voice has stayed intact over the years, although he comes across more powerfully live and his guitar work is lovely, with a certain Ritchie Blackmore feel in places. Fellow guitarist Andrew Solomon is an excellent soloist and the aforementioned Norman on drums and bassist Mick Cross make a very solid rhythmic team. We also get a couple of guest appearances from Emma Hudson on backing vocals and Hawkwind’s Nik Turner who turns in a nice saxophone solo on the track ‘Mans’ World’

I’m not going to suggest that Gaskin have released an album of the year contender, but you also know what else I’m going to say if you are a regular reader. If it’s played with passion and emotion and nearly all the songs rock your boat then it doesn’t matter. Edge Of Madness is a good album and it’s by Gaskin. That I’m still saying that band name in the year 2014 means a lot because they, along with Saxon, Motorhead, Priest, Rush, Magnum, Demon and UFO were one of the bands that set me off on my long rock journey over thirty years ago and they deserve their moment in the spotlight! Come on Paul, I want album number five!!

Gaskin band pic

01. Just Before Dawn
02. Damnation 04:36
03. Heart Like Thunder
04. Man’s World
05. Wake Up Dead
06. Lost & Lonely
07. The Contract
08. Bedlam
09. Te Amavi
10. Edge of Madness


Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce and part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr – Stand Your Ground

Stand Your Ground Cover

Jack Starr’s Burning Starr – Stand Your Ground
High Roller Records
Release Date: 25/08/2017
Running Time:  1.15:43
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

When it was first put to me that I did a review of the new Jack Starr’s Burning Starr album “Stand Your Ground” (as well as conduct an interview with Jack Starr) I must admit I didn’t really know what I was dealing with. I was told that I should recognise the name (which I am sorry to say I didn’t at first) and I nearly fell off my chair when I did do a bit of background research!

One of the founding members of Virgin Steele, Jack Starr has built this reincarnation of Burning Starr with three other very high-profile musicians, Todd Michael Hall (singer with Riot V), Ned Meloni (ex-Pentagram, ex-Reverence) on bass and Kenny ‘Rhino’ Earl (formerly of Manowar) on the drums, a line-up that has been in existence since 2008.

Founded in 1984, in New York City, the band released their first album “Rock the American Way” in 1985 and they achieved success in the USA during the hair metal explosion of the late 1980’s. After recording four albums the band split but were rescued in 2008 by Jack, often described as one of the unsung heroes of heavy metal, with the current line-up.

“Stand Your Ground” is the 7th album from Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, released on 28th August 2017 by High Roller Records, and it straddles the fine line between power metal and traditional metal. US power metal always sounds slightly different to me than European power metal and with the calibre of musicians in this band, they are one of the best US power metal bands I have ever listened to.

Says Starr, himself, of the new album, “It’s an old school type metal album, with modern production and great songs. In my opinion, it is one of the best metal albums in the last twenty years.”

The album was produced by Bart Gabriel, recorded and mixed by Kevin Burnes and mixed also by Patrick W Engel at Temple of Disharmony Studios, and has a very retro, yet modern feel. Says Starr: “I think if we could go back in a time machine and put this album out in 1988, it would sell millions of copies.” And I personally can’t see why it couldn’t do that now.

Bassist Ned Meloni and drummer Rhino make up as potent and powerful a rhythm section as you could hope to get and vocalist Todd Michael Hall is one of the best singers around. I may be slightly biased in that view being the huge Riot fan that I am, but he has an ability to stretch his vocal range with ease, hitting the higher notes when he needs to and sounding aggressive without having to resort to growls and dirty vocals as so many other vocalists do.

The album is full of well written and crafted songs, each standing out on its own merits. Every track is a winner and there are no fillers on this album. The album may be over an hour and a quarter long but it is an hour and a quarter of full-on US power metal! What more could you want?

Stand out tracks (and I had to think long and hard about this as each track is just as good as the next!) are Stronger Than Steel, False Gods, Hero and The Sky is Falling, and title track also needs a special mention. At just over 11 minutes in length, this song has just about everything you could want from an awesome power metal song, fantastic riffs, tempo changes and that excellent voice of Todd’s. I always think a sign of a good ‘long song’ is how long is appears to last. Although I thought the song was ending a few times before it launched me back into the throes again, it never seemed like it lasted for 11 minutes, almost as if two or three songs had been sewn together so intricately that the seams just couldn’t be seen.

The other sign of a good power metal album is the album artwork and, again, this does not let you down. Painted by Ken, a legendary artist known for his iconic work for bands such as Rainbow, Kiss and Manowar, the artwork has more muscles, swords and blood than you can shake Thor’s hammer at! Some people might think this a little cheesy but I personally love it and it befits the album perfectly.

Ok, this album doesn’t have any genre pushing revelations or tread on any new ground but nonetheless it is a mighty fine album (nigh on three weeks in my car is testimony to that!) and one that I personally won’t tire off.

So, if you have 75 minutes spare go and grab yourself a copy of “Stand Your Ground” and be transported back to the cheesy world of US power metal, and if you don’t have 75 minutes to spare go and grab a copy anyway!

Its 75 minutes you’ll be glad you gave up!

Bring on the Power! Bring on the Cheese! Bring on “Stand Your Ground” and raise your fists and yell!

01. Secrets We Hide
02. The Enemy
03. Stand Your Ground
04. Hero
05. Destiny
06. The Sky Is Falling
07. Worlds Apart
08. Escape from The Night
09. We Are One
10. Stronger Than Steel
11. False Gods
12. To the Ends

Jack Starr -Guitars
Ned Meloni – Bass
Todd Michael Hall – Vocals
Rhino – Drums


Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities

High Spirits – Motivator

HIGH SPIRITS_lp-sleeve_4mm.indd

High Spirits – Motivator
High Roller Records
Release Date 16/09/2016
Running Time 29:10
Review by Rick Tilley

Just take a look at the logo and artwork of High Spirits third album ‘Motivator’! Does it give you very nostalgic memories of late 70’s and early 80’s Metal and Rock releases? Well it certainly does to me and as Chicago based High Spirits are a new name on my radar it gave me hope that the music contained on the album instilled the same feeling! I’m very pleased to be able to tell you that it does indeed. ‘Motivator’ is a great, up-tempo, uplifting and feel good selection of tunes that skirt the NWOBHM / Hard Rock sound of that era. It may not be the most essential album you’ll hear but if you want a trip down memory lane, whilst listening to a band that manage to make the style feel fresh and fun then you won’t go wrong getting hold of ‘Motivator’!

High Spirits, formed in 2009, is the brainchild and solo project (at least in the studio) of multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Chris Black. Chris has been involved in many projects over the years, most notably Pharaoh and Dawnbringer. Yes, everything on this album is done by one man but you certainly wouldn’t believe it from listening, it really does sound like five or six people playing. Of course whilst gigging, which High Spirits seem to do quite a bit of, Chris is joined by other musicians hence the promo picture below! Considering everything Chris does it’s difficult to know where he finds the time but this appears to be a man that can combine quantity with quality.

Musically ‘Motivator’ is a little gem and, at just shy of thirty minutes, is an album that leaves you wanting more. In an era where some bands are releasing EP’s longer than this and albums that barely fit on a CD, it’s tremendously refreshing to have a short and sharp selection of tracks that do exactly what they say on the tin! There are plenty of references to Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Nightwing and Foghat throughout. In fact, if you are old enough to remember the two ‘Metal For Muthas’ albums that DJ Neal Kaye compiled in the early 1980’s comprising of up and coming or underground bands then you’ll love High Spirits because they really do have that authentic feel to them!

Chris may not have the best voice you’ve ever heard but he is more than adequate, in fact it’s quite frustrating, in a nice way, to realise how good he is at every instrument. Some people are so damn talented! Production is also pretty good. Once again it gives the listener an authentic experience but still manages to sound up to date as well. Tracks such as opener ‘Flying High’, ‘Do You Wanna Be Famous’, ‘This Is The Night’ and ‘Thank You’ put a huge, cheesy grin on my face for all the right reasons and I nearly attempted to get back in my skinny jeans until I came to my 49 year old senses and avoided a hernia!

If you are fan of any of the above named bands or just fancy listening to an album that’s pure, unadulterated fun and obviously made with a lot of respect then ‘Motivator’ could be right up your street. I’m certainly going to check out High Spirits back catalogue

1. Up And Overture
2. Flying High
3. This Is The Night
4. Reach For The Glory
5. Do You Wanna Be Face
6. Haunted By love
7. Down The Endless Road
8. Take Me Home
9. Thank You


35c Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Reproduced here with kind permission from Metal Gods TV

Quartz – Fear No Evil

Quartz – Fear No Evil
High Roller Records
Release Date: 28/10/2016
Running Time: 48:52
Review by Dawn King

Having never really been a fan of The New Way of British Heavy Metal era of metal music, what better test of my abilities as a reviewer, than to review a NWOBHM album?

Released on High Roller Records in October 2016, “Fear No Evil” is the latest album from Quartz, their first since 1983’s “Against All Odds.”

Originally classed as one of the forerunners of the NWOBHM movement, the band were actually formed in 1974 under the name of Bandy Legs. They changed their name to Quartz in 1977 for the release of their self-titled debut, an album that was produced by Tony Iommi, featured Queen guitarist Brian May on one of the tracks and had backing vocals supplied by Ozzy Osbourne himself. Criticised in the past as being a Sabbath clone, the band played Reading festival three times, supporting the likes of Black Sabbath and AC/DC, and released three albums before disbanding in 1983.

But, now a great name from the past are back. Featuring four out the five original members, after the recent death of singer Mike Taylor, the band have reformed with new singer David Garner and what a fantastic comeback album!

The band are obviously influenced by bands of the seventies, such as Black Sabbath as previously mentioned, but this does nothing to take away from the bands own talents. Singer, David Garner, has a strong voice, almost Ozzy-esque in places, but this is by no means a bad thing.

The album as a whole is traditional NWOBHM. It has a solid sound and the production is great, unlike a lot of previous NWOBHM albums, which I think is why I never liked the genre. Most of it sounded like it was being played inside a bucket, and although this was probably the charm for a lot of people, it wasn’t for me. This album, however, has an “old-school” vibe and feels like it could have come straight from the early 1980’s but in no way feels out-dated. That, in itself, is a contradictory of terms but this is a sign of how well the authenticity of the album has been produced.

The album is dotted with heavy, infectious riffs, fine melodies and kick-arse solos. The guitars are dirty, the drumming is tight and the keyboards add an atmospheric tone to the whole record. The vocals and song writing is melodic and, together with catchy choruses, will have you humming for the rest of the day.

The band seem to work better on the faster songs but, apart from “Rock Bottom”, a catchy heavy metal song with great bass and drum work, my other favourites on the album are “The Stalker” and “Zombie Resurrection”, two of the slower-paced tracks often criticised by other reviewers.

But I guess that’s the whole point of reviewing. No one person’s opinion of an album is the right one.

What I suggest you do, is go get yourself a copy and judge for yourself. This won’t be breaking any new ground or setting the metal music scene alight BUT it is a great album by a great band and will easily keep you entertained for nearly fifty minutes.

Quartz are BACK!

01. Fear No Evil
02. Rock Bottom
03. The Stalker
04. Rapture
05. Zombie Resurrection
06. Barren Land
07. Walking on Holy Water
08. Dangerous Game
09. Born to Rock the Nation
10. Riot in the City
11. Dead Man’s World
12. Scream at the Devil

Derek Arnold – Bass
Malcolm Cope – Drums
Mick Hopkins – Guitars
Geoff Nicholls – Guitars, Keyboards, Vocals
David Garner – Vocals



Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Metal Gods TV. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Reproduced here with kind permission from Metal Gods TV