metal Archive

Mindshapefist: Plenty of Reasons

Holding a band together for more than a short time is a real challenge, as most musicians will readily admit. But Asheville-based four-piece group Mindshapefist has remained together harmoniously for more than fifteen years. The hard rocking band is currently celebrating the release of Road to Hell, its 7th full length album. Like guitarists David

Ghost Keeps the Spirit of Theatrical Rock Alive

Swedish rock band Ghost cuts a striking image, with masked musicians and a lead singer, Tobias Forge, who used to dress like a demonic pope (today he wears slightly more conventional garb onstage). The theatrically-focused band is in the midst of a world tour in support of its fourth album, Prequelle. I saw Ghost live

The Paradox of Ghost

Arising out of Sweden’s vibrant metal scene in 2006, Ghost has carved out a unique place in the rock landscape. Fronted by songwriter and vocalist Tobias Forge, the band is populated by musicians known only as Nameless Ghouls (Forge’s identity was only revealed in 2017). Wedding showmanship in the tradition of Alice Cooper to a

“Descent” is Metal and Darkwave Coexisting

In creative and entertainment media, the “alternative” label is tossed around so freely that it risks losing its meaning. Hidden away in the basement of a building on West Asheville’s main thoroughfare, a bar called The Black Cloud aims to restore that meaning. With a heavy metal/goth vibe that sets it apart from most bars

Carry That Weight: The Heavy Mountain Festival

For many years, Asheville, N.C. has been an important part of the thriving folk/roots music scene. But in recent years the city has also become an incubator for many other musical styles. With a goal of supporting and spotlighting the regional scene for a particularly thunderous brand of rock, Asheville musician and nascent promoter Ray

Album Review: The League of One – Dispatch

Drawing from ‘70s sludge metal (Black Sabbath) ‘80’s hair bands (pick any one; they’re pretty well interchangeable) and modern-day speed metal, The League of one makes the kind of hard rock that – whether you like it or not – has largely gone out of fashion these days. And that shift in popular taste is

Michael Schenker Takes it to the Next Level

Michael Schenker is quite likely the most famous and acclaimed German-born guitarist in the history of rock. Picking up the guitar early, by his teens Schenker joined older brother Rudolf in Scorpions, playing on that band’s debut album. His long and winding career subsequently found him handling lead guitar duties for UFO, and then as

Michael Schenker Fest: Four Singers, Full Potential

Guitarist Michael Schenker rose to fame in the 1970s as the lead guitarist in his older brother’s band, Scorpions. German-born Schenker soon set off on a path of his own, making a string of popular hard rock albums with UFO, and later with his own Michael Schenker Group. His bands would be characterized as much

A Look Back at Black Sabbath’s Debut Album

This essay first appeared in Best Classic Bands. Steppenwolf may lay claim to the first use of the phrase in a song, but a strong case can be made that Black Sabbath was the undisputed progenitor of “heavy metal thunder.” Every defining characteristic of the Birmingham, England band’s self-titled debut would become a hallmark of

Album Review: Henry Metal – War in Heaven

Heavy metal is perhaps the easiest of all rock forms to parody. Its often over-the top brutal riffage, growled vocals and martial tempos are ripe for ridicule. And that might be what the (one assumes) pseudonymous Henry Metal is doing. The gruesome, sub-Frazetta cover art – replete with clichéd typeface – suggests as much. Or