Accept-Humanoid   ©2024 Napalm Records
​Something really hit me when listening to this latest album from Accept. I have been listening to the band for decades. Wolf Hoffman's guitar tone and playing defines the Accept sound.  Plenty of members have come and gone, but that unmistakable guitar sound is always there. 'Humanoid' is no exception. Another great collection of songs written with the band's typical formula. Good traditional metal with the gang vocals just like the band have done for a huge chunk of their career. While the band doesn't try to reinvent their sound or approach, Accept fans should be plenty happy with these songs. Mark has been with the band for a decade and a half now and provides the band with more consistency as a vocalist and lyricist. Most of the music is consistent in terms of tempo with a slowdown on 'Ravages Of Time.  It's a really good metal record overall. Recommended!
Release Date:  April 26, 2024
Vanden Plas-The Empyrean Equation Of The Long Lost Things    ©2024 Frontiers Records 
​Vanden Plas have become one of the more legendary progressive metal bands out there. They have been very impressive for a long time now. The band did have a bit of a shakeup last year when Günter Werno left the band. He had been their keyboardist for a long time and was replaced by Alessandro Del Vecchio who many will know with the many things he worked on with the Frontiers Records label. Big shoes to feel, but I think he did a great job on this album. The music is typical Vanden Plas. Good technical musicianship throughout with a fair amount of atmosphere and some of the music has an elegance to it. The album has 6 tracks total with the average length being around 9 minutes or so. I always take quite a few listens with Vanden Plas. There is a lot to digest, but it is so rewarding every time. A very disciplined form of progressive. Excellent once again!
Release Date:  April 19. 2024
Emil Bulls-Love Will Fix It  ©2024 Arising Empire Records
​I have really grown to love this band. I actually missed this album as I watched my normal channels and didn't realize they were with a new label. It had been some time since they released the excellent 'Kill Your Demons' studio album back in 2017. They did release a covers album with 'Mix Tape' in between, but this is the first new studio album in around 7 years. As always, the band offers plenty of variety. Obviously, this will have the most appeal to more modern fans and does showcase both harsh and clean vocal work. Some of the tunes are really heavy, but have a catchy vibe mixed into it. There is also some of the music that has a melodic tone to it, then quite a bit of things going on in between the two intensities. 'Love Will Fix It' is another diverse yet cohesive album at the same time. You expect this and that's what makes these guys so fun to listen to! 
Release Date:  January 12, 2024
Bruce Dickinson-The Mandrake Project   ©2024 BMG Rights Management 
​One thing you take away from this project in general is that there is a lot going on here. From a conceptual tone to comic books, Bruce really put some effort into this. I am a huge Iron Maiden fan, but also a big fan of Dickinson's solo work. As always, this is not Iron Maiden. This is a different metal vibe altogether. 'The Mandrake Project' feels deep and shows some decent atmosphere. It was also nice to see Roy Z working again with Bruce. He was a big part of a lot of the previous albums and brings quite a bit musically and from a production standpoint. Some of this album felt familiar and some of it felt different than the previous albums. I felt like there was a slight 'Balls To Picasso' sound with 'Face In The Mirror', but this album just has a different depth to it. In ways it has a visual feel to it. A very good solo outing once again that goes deeper!
Release Date: March 1, 2024
Praying Mantis-Defiance   ©2024 Frontiers Records
​When talking about bands from the NWOBHM era, you absolutely cannot forget about Praying Mantis. This band has been releasing very good albums especially in the last decade or so. Music is very accessible. It's a more melodic style of music that offers up some cool vibe including some pretty catchy stuff.  For example, if you go back to the 'Gravity' album, the title track had this super catchy and fun feel to it. The song that does that on this album is 'Standing Tall'. Kind of a synth metal vibe going on. There is a YouTube video for that song although I found it to be a bit depressing. The song is excellent though. The rest of the album is quite uniform in terms of quality and intensity. The band have an ear friendly sound and there music is instantly memorable, at least in my opinion. Another veteran band showing great things in 2024!
Release Date:  April 19, 2024