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Author Andy Barker

I guess I got into Metal by accident at 7 years old when I was given my brother's old record player with ONE record. His mates had told him that Black Sabbath sounded just like Status Quo...he didn't agree so Black Sabbath's debut was that one record. I never looked back. Got a battered old 4 piece drumkit when I was Ten years old and by 14 I had vowed to make my fortune as a Rock Star.
The next fifteen years included a few years as the drummer in Holosade, plus stints in Company Of Wolves, Dominion, Diamond Dogs and Intense, eventually dispelling that ambition, so I ended up running a specialist Metal CD/Record/T-Shirt shop in York for 7 years. £40 grand a year in rent for a shop in York means I am now solely an online trader...
I still turn up every now and again playing drums, bass or guitar in the odd band, be it live or in the studio, because once you have been a musician...or a drummer...it's difficult to stop that creative urge.
When I write a review I remember what it was like to read a review of something I had been a creative part of. My opinion is just my opinion, and I try to be constructive. I believe that if a musician has taken the time to record his or her ideas then it has merit to someone and deserves respect. Music is all about personal taste, and if someone has taken the time to create it, the least I can do is take the time to listen.

Mystic Prophecy – Metal Division (Rock Of Angels Records)

It’s taken a year or so, but up and coming Greek Metal label Rock Of Angels finally get to wheel out their big guns with a new album by German Metal powerhouse Mystic Prophecy. Having already shone in Steel Prophet… Continue Reading →

Rage – Wings Of Rage (Steamhammer/SPV)

Veteran German Power Metal band Rage (because I reckon even Rage main-man Peavy will be OK with the ‘veteran’ term after 37 years in the business delivering 23 studio albums, not to mention all the EPs and live stuff) return… Continue Reading →

Vintersea – Illuminated (M-Theory Audio)

Even though this super-talented American band are new to me, this is actually their second release, which I am assured follows on perfectly from their previous album released in 2017. To be fair, there is so much variation and melded… Continue Reading →

Tenebra – Gen Nero (S/R)

A new addition to the retro doom/psych movement are Italian quartet Tenebra, launching a 6 tracker under their own steam this year. It’s actually 6 tracks of a similar vibe that the band like to be viewed as a single… Continue Reading →

KingCrown – A Perfect World (Rock Of Angels Records)

KingCrown (as they seem to favour their name being written rather than Kingcrown or King Crown) are a French Heavy/Power Metal band with plenty of experience, talent and maturity in their ranks. They released an album as Öblivïon a couple… Continue Reading →

Magic Kingdom – MetAlmighty (AFM)

I was pleasantly surprised by 2015’s “Savage Requiem”, an album where Magic Kingdom nicely moved themselves up a division in the Symphonic Power Metal rankings, mixing some good song-writing with a fine production and great musicianship – everything came together… Continue Reading →

Avatarium – The Fire I Long For (Nuclear Blast)

Late 2019 finds guitarist Marcus Jidell and vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith continuing to forge ahead with their doom-sprinkled retro rock/metal outfit Avatarium. Initially the band was pretty much touted as another Leif Edling (Candlemass etc. etc.) project with Jidell and Smith… Continue Reading →

Nocturnalia – III: Winter (The Sign)

I’d sort of given up on hearing anything new by Nocturnalia. This unique Swedish heavy/psyche band presented me with one of my favourite albums of 2015 – I knew nothing about them, took a punt on something I wouldn’t normally,… Continue Reading →

Blind Guardian Twilight Orchestra – Legacy Of The Dark Lands (Nuclear Blast)

Let’s face it – it had to happen! I’m just amazed it took so long. From the moment I heard the orchestral version of ‘Theatre Of Pain’ as a bonus track on Blind Guardian’s fantastic “Somewhere Far Beyond” album way… Continue Reading →

Angel Witch – Angel Of Light (Metal Blade)

Can it really be almost 40 years ago that we were all unceremoniously informed “You’re an Angel Witch…You’re an Angel Witch”? First by way of a 7” with ‘Gorgon’ on the flip-side, then on the ground-breaking genre-defining NWOBHM classic LP… Continue Reading →

Nevaria – Finally Free (Dr. Music)

Nevaria from Bavaria (!) are a relatively new addition to the Symphonic Metal fold. Formed in 2017 they have already shared billing with the likes of Xandria, Axxis and Sabaton and with this their debut studio offering look set to… Continue Reading →

Borknagar – True North (Century Media)

Borknagar are ever-evolving. Never static, never predictable, defying labels and genres, a constantly morphing force of Progressive Extreme Metal that show no signs of stagnation. Previous album “Winter Thrice” was an absolute masterpiece that just gets better with time, but… Continue Reading →

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