Sword-III   ©2022 Massacre Records
​This came as a bit of a surprise. A third Sword album literally after decades. This will be the band's third studio album and it is a banger. I had originally got into 'Metalized' back in 1986 as many others had. That album really made its mark as many fans identify the band with that album. They did also release a second album 'Sweet Dreams' in 1988 via Aquarius Records. The band have been active for a bit, but word of this new third album is going to create some excitement. I can tell you that the band sounds great. The music is up to the band's quality and contains plenty of traditional metal tracks just the way you would expect them to sound. It looks like the band also have all original members which is always an added bonus in this day and age of member changes being much more common. I am thrilled with this album. I like the intensity, the sound and the whole approach. I always loved Sword and am more than happy to see this new album!
Release Date:  November 18, 2022
Raven-Leave 'Em Bleeding    ©2022 SPV/Steamhammer Records 
​This new album is mostly a compilation of tracks from the Steamhammer era. If you are familiar with the last few albums, you'll know that Raven has been sounding every bit as good as their earlier days. They haven't sacrificed anything. The bombastic sound that made them famous is still present and these tracks from the last decade are excellent. There is some unreleased stuff here, but it is the minority of the album as the rest of it has already been released as mentioned. A couple of live tracks including 'Stay Hard' and 'Crash Bang Wallop' have been included. Apparently the band have signed with Silver Lining Music for a new album next year. They will also be touring for their 40th anniversary and playing the entire 'Wiped Out' album as part of the set. This was a cool way to put a wrap on an era that offered some great music. Looking forward to next year!
Release Date:  September 30, 2022
Jaded Heart-Heart Attack  ©2022 Massacre Records
​I really need to listen to Jaded Heart more. So many albums to go through and you gotta keep moving. This latest record sounds really good and is very influenced by 80's hard rock and metal. The band have a nice full sound and songs are written very well. There is enough flash to be attention grabbing, but not so much to be distracting. You can always tell when a band is veteran by the confidence in the songwriting and how good the songs are. If you are familiar with Jaded Heart, this one is a no brainer. The band did have some guest musicians offer up some help with the album. Sascha Gerstner from Helloween and Rupert Keplinger of Eisbrecher were along for the ride. Also, Niklas Dahlin of Insania plays the solo on 'Right Now'. This is a pretty complete album with a great sound to it. Songs are strong and the album as a whole is cohesive. Excellent!
Release Date:  November 18, 2022
Ultima Grace-Ultima Grace   ©2022 Frontiers Records
​For those not familar as I wasn't, Ultima Grace is a Japanese melodic metal band that released an album last year and have now released it to the rest of the world via the Frontiers Records label. If you have followed keyboardist Yuhki, you will know that he is the driving force behind this band. Fronting this release is Anette Olzon. She has been quite busy recently and released another Allen/Olzon album last month. With Olzon fronting this band, fans may expect music in the typical style that she usually represents. That would be partially correct. It is a bit different in style. In ways, probably due to Yuhki's keyboard work, it sounded a bit more progressive. The songs have a lot going on and Olzon really sings her heart out on it. She really got a vocal work out with this release. It took me a spin or two to finally click, but it definitely works for me now!
Release Date:  September 9, 2022
Nothing More-Spirits   ©2022 Better Noise Music
​A few month's back I heard the band's new singles. I anxiously awaited a release date for this new album. Well, it is finally upon us and the band has offered up more modern rock bliss. There is quite a bit to digest here. The music is very easy to get into, but as always, the band have more going on than just that. Obviously, this band will have their most appeal to modern rock fans, maybe even younger fans. I am more of a traditional hard rock and metal fan from way back and I absolutely love this band. The music has depth and the different sounds and elements really keep it all interesting. The band continue to evolve with this record and in my opinion, never make the same record twice. Their core sound is always there, but thought is put into making the album as good as it can be. For me, this is a very easy recommend! Great dynamic record!
Release Date:  October 14, 2022