Metal Storm logo
Staff picks


Mountain - Nantucket Sleighride
28.12.2020 | Heavy blues rock

I wasn't planning to do any more staff picks this year, and especially not of early protometal stuff, since I just did one in which I also linked ten other 1970 protometal songs, including Mountain's hit, "Mississippi Queen". But Leslie West, guitarist and vocalist of the band, just died. Instead of going the usual Climbing! route, I propose a different trail, with 1971's Nantucket Sleighride, whose 50th anniversary isn't that far away either. Though none of the songs here have the immediate awesomeness of the riff and cowbell of "Mississippi Queen", the blues licks and jammy tone of this one as it moves through psychedelic, progressive and heavy undertones, coupled with some fine ass drumming as well, it's one of the best showcases of why Leslie was so appreciated as a guitarist, and perhaps it's time we saw that instead of just listening to that one song. Or we could go the live route with 1974's Twin Peaks, that somehow referenced Lynch's show before it even aired.

R.I.P. Leslie West (1945-2020)
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, nikarg
Motörhead - Bad Magic
27.12.2020 | We are Motörhead and we play rock 'n' roll

Five years without Lemmy. Pour yourself some Jack and coke, and listen to this last one.

"In your life you'll be amazed at all the love you lose
You can never live that life again
The one thing you will never lose is the singing in your head
That will still be with you till the end
"


Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
nikarg
ScreamingSteelUS, RaduP
Sir Lord Baltimore - Kingdom Come
21.12.2020 | Hell hounding proto metal

With 1970 being such a landmark year zero for metal, it's easy to forget that there were other pioneers besides the likes of Black Sabbath or Deep Purple. Released roughly 50 years ago this month, Sir Lord Baltimore's Kingdom Come is an album so heavy and energetic that it really feels like the early 70s didn't have the means to properly capture all that on wax just yet. Though they toured with Black Sabbath and were one of the first bands to get coined as "heavy metal" by journalists, a combination of poor album sales, personal differences, and drug abuse led to the band's early demise, though it's also that they were just too ahead of their time. Even though two of the three members having passed away, while the other remained in obscurity, the direct or indirect influence that Kingdom Come, and its more psychedelic follow-up Sir Lord Baltimore, had on heavy guitar music is something that lives on.

Here's some more unpicked year zero stuff: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
ScreamingSteelUS, Mr. Doctor, nikarg, Daniell
Warning - Watching From A Distance
18.12.2020 | Marcel Doom

The album that got me into Doom. Still love each and every track a decade and change later. Thanks, Marcel.

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
BitterCOld
nikarg, RaduP, Daniell, ScreamingSteelUS, Troy Killjoy, Dream Taster, Mr. Doctor, Starvynth, wormdrink414
King Crimson - Lizard
11.12.2020 | Progressive Rock

Lizard is definitely one of the most underappreciated of King Crimson's albums. Being caught between the Greg Lake era and the John Wetton era, it was one of the two transitional lineups which never performed live. However not only was it the first King Crimson record to include Mel Collins, who is still a member today, but it was also the only one to have Gordon Haskell in the lineup doing vocals and bass, and whose passing this year might bring just a bit more attention to Lizard. Though there has yet to emerge a properly cropped version of the cover art, it's fantastic how Lizard shuffles between the grandiose symphonic prog and meddlings with avant-jazz and just a bit of absurd quirkiness.
Picked by:
RaduP
Killer Be Killed - Reluctant Hero
07.12.2020 | Greg, Max, Troy, Ben.

A sick line-up originating from the wettest collective dream of millions of metalheads. A supergroup doing justice to the term 'supergroup'. Riffs to break every-fucking-thing that can (or cannot) be broken. Seismic groove to test how much the neck muscles can take. Choruses that dominate the brain's functioning. Killer Be Killed took the myth of the 'difficult second album' and smashed it to little pieces with the sledgehammer that is Reluctant Hero. Crank it up to 11; it's the only way.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
nikarg
RaduP
Pothamus - Raya
07.12.2020 | Post-Metal

Fans of the recent release by Psychonaut would do well to check out this debut album from another power trio post-metal band from Mechelen; Pothamus bring atmosphere in spades on Raya.

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
musclassia
RaduP
Saxon - Strong Arm Of The Law
14.11.2020 | British heavy metal thunder

1980 is the year that was generous enough to give us the debut albums / masterpieces by Iron Maiden, Diamond Head and Angel Witch. It was also the time that Saxon released their two (!) greatest records, Wheels Of Steel and Strong Arm Of The Law, thus making 1980 the year that marked the explosion of New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Today is the 40th anniversary of "Heavy Metal Thunder", "20,000 Ft", "Dallas 1PM" and the other five heavy metal anthems of Strong Arm Of The Law, which makes it a great opportunity to blast this all-killer-no-filler album in its entirety.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
nikarg
RaduP
The Bipolar Disorder Project - Anna
09.11.2020 | Avant-garde / Progressive Metal

Yesterday I was greeted by the tragic news of Robert Cotoros' passing. I didn't personally know him, but I know a lot of people who did, and it was indeed a really great loss for the music community in my country. Though his talents would find him as a producer more often than a musician, his musical career would find him guesting on the latest E-an-na album, being a longtime member of Hteththemeth, and releasing a collaborative split with Karmic Thread (review here); but all pale in comparison with Anna, the labor of love project concept album that was 6 years in the making. Meticulous and creative beyond belief, the progressive and slightly avant-garde metal of it is something I wish would have lead to an even more matured follow-up. That will never happen now.

R.I.P. Robert Cotoros (1994-2020)

Picked by:
Thumbs up:
RaduP
nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, BitterCOld, Dream Taster
Motörhead - Ace Of Spades
28.10.2020 | Lemmy

So this turned 40 years old this week... so pour yourself a pint of Jack & Coke and crank it up. (Didn't feel any additional text to pimp or promote the album was needed. Either you have it and love it or may the Ghost of Lemmy stalk you forever.)

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
BitterCOld
RaduP, Apothecary, nikarg, Daniell, ScreamingSteelUS, Darkside Momo, Mr. Doctor
Autonoesis - Autonoesis
16.10.2020 | Prog/tech/melo/death/black thrasher

This debut album by Autonoesis from Canada is a stellar blend of technical thrash metal with progressive and melodic death/black metal, and it is one of these rare cases that the record gets better and better with every listen. Imagine Voivod, Coroner, Death and Dissection jamming together and churning out invigorating and acrobatic riffs, as well as eclectic and emotional melodies, with a strong progressive undertow. This is an independent release so the sound could be improved and the complex character and songwriting calls for a real drummer rather than a drum machine but, frankly, this is a damn great album, especially considering that it came from out of nowhere.

Name your price and get it on Bandcamp right now.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
nikarg
RaduP, Dream Taster, Starvynth, ScreamingSteelUS
Pull Down The Sun - Of Valleys And Mountains
15.10.2020 | Progressive Post-Metal

The influences from the like of Gojira and The Ocean are easy to spot, but Pull Down The Sun take those influences to produce something that stands strong by itself; Of Valleys And Mountains is a fantastic debut effort from these Kiwis.

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
musclassia
BitterCOld, RaduP, Apothecary, Ag Fox, Starvynth, nikarg, Nefarious
Van Halen - 1984
13.10.2020 | Classic Rock

Not my fave Van Halen, but my first. BMG Tape of the Month club, 2nd album I ever owned after ZZ Top Eliminator... So many great memories tied to this album, ranging from my one of my first beers while on a motorboat trip down the Colorado River to being my somewhat obvious sound track when Mrs COld and I visited Colombia's neighbor to the north two years ago. Thanks for the shred, the tapping and the tone, Eddie.
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
BitterCOld
Starvynth, nikarg, ScreamingSteelUS, RaduP, Daniell, Apothecary, Dream Taster
Electric Wizard - Dopethrone
11.10.2020 | Stoner Doom Metal

On the 9th of October I was grooving and passing out continously with this album on the background, hence the two days delay in celebrating the 20 years anniversary of this beast of an album.
This is considered by many to be the band's magnum opus and it's not difficult to see why given how songs like "Funeralopolis" have reached the status of modern classics. From catchy sludge tunes to drawn-out dirges of the drone variety, Dopethrone pummels through with dirty and distorted riffs, redefining the heavyness of stoner metal. Approach with caution, though:

When you get into one of these groups, there's only a couple of ways you can get out: one is death, the other is mental institutions...
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
Mr. Doctor
RaduP, musclassia
Van Halen - Van Halen
06.10.2020 | Songs for the Electric Guitar

For generations, ever since his explosive debut with this legendary album, Eddie Van Halen has been synonymous with the electric guitar. With the runaway success of Van Halen and the wild, high-energy rock/metal combination the band purveyed in so many hit singles, Eddie became one of the most visible and respected shredders of the '70s and '80s; his most lasting contribution to the craft may be the popularization of tapping, especially of the two-handed variety, and he expressed a familiarity with pinch harmonics, sliding, vibrato, and other techniques that had yet to be fully mined by his genre, but beyond that he wrapped the spotlight around himself and pushed the art of guitar-playing into a new plane of excess. From his distinctive tone to his knack for riff-writing to his seemingly effortless facility with his instrument, Eddie was a monumental figure, the gold standard for hard rock and glam metal in his heyday and even now one of the faces of the guitar to the world at large. We shouldn't forget how he pushed the envelope even further with his daring use of synthesizers on "Jump" and his collaboration with Michael Jackson on "Beat It," but it is this album that more than any illustrates why people have always talked about Eddie Van Halen as a revelatory force.

"Eruption" is a notorious benchmark of technical prowess, as iconic as "Smoke On The Water" or "Iron Man" but for a higher skill set, and songs like "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" and "Runnin' With The Devil" boast some of the most recognizable riffs of the decade; the name "Van Halen" itself has become an antonomasia to describe a musically skilled showman. Even the design of his trademark "Frankenstrat" has developed into an image and a brand all its own. I may not be the biggest Van Halen fan out there, but it's impossible to deny the status that Eddie enjoyed in the musical world and the sway he held over generations of players; I'm glad I was able to see him once and watch him live up to that reputation.

RIP Eddie.

Read review ››
Picked by:
Thumbs up:
ScreamingSteelUS
musclassia, D.T. Metal, RaduP, nikarg, BitterCOld, Daniell, Dream Taster, Starvynth, Pierre Tombale