Heavy Metal Gems: Forgotten Metal Albums

Heavy Metal Gems: Forgotten Metal Albums

Rare and forgotten heavy metal albums of the 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s from a wide range of genres, such as NWOBHM, Speed Metal, Power Metal, Traditional Metal and even Epic Metal. Listen to the metal albums online, read the reviews and download what you want! Do what you can to support all of the bands showcased on the blog. Stay heavy and Keep it True!

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Millennium (UK) - Millennium + All Demos (1984-1987)

Millennium (UK) - Millennium (1984) NWOBHM
Band: Millennium (UK)
Release: Millennium (Full-Length), 1985-1987 Demos
Genre: NWOBHM/Power Metal/Speed Metal
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 1984 -1987
Label: Guardian Records n' Tapes
Buy from: No Remorse (Includes 8 bonus tracks)
Review
What a monster of an album this one is!  Had Millennium properly caught the NWOBHM wave early on, they would've most likely gotten picked up by numerous record companies.  This, along with the dissolution of their record label at the time, Guardian Records n' Tapes, prevented Millennium from moving forward.  Nevertheless, what we have here is one of the finest examples of the NWOBHM classic sound being intricately fused with power metal and, eventually, speed metal.  Throughout the entirety of their self-titled album released in 1984, I felt as though I was listening to the British version of Sweden's own Heavy Load, mainly because both bands' vocalists sound extremely alike.  Give "Magic Mirror" or even "Gang War" a listen and you'll know exactly what I mean.  Millennium were just a few years short from NWOBHM stardom, and so their placement within the growing heavy/speed metal scene in 1984 urged the band to adopt a new sound.

For the following three or so years, Millennium played in the style of many heavy/speed metal bands during that time, such as Exciter and, more similarly, Satan.  This killer new sound to the band's repertoire was showcased on three fantastic demos released and recorded from 1985 to 1987.  The vocals are soaring, the drumming is hypnotizing, and the guitars are blazing with thunderous speed and infectious melodies.  It's almost impossible to find a bad track on any one of these four releases; 29 tracks and over two hours of pure heavy/speed metal, nothing less, nothing more.

Be sure to purchase the re-release through No Remorse Records, which includes 8 bonus tracks to indulge yourselves in!

Tracklist (1984 Album)

Rating: 95%

Millennium UK
Lineup
Mark Duffy: Vocals
Mike Muskett: Guitars
Pete McArdle: Guitars
Steve Mennel: Drums
Dave Price: Bass

Sabre (US) - Keepers of the Sword (1985)

Sabre (US) - Keepers of the Sword (1985)
Band: Sabre (US)
Release: Keepers of the Sword (Full-Length)
Genre: Traditional Heavy Metal
Country: United States
Year: 1985
Label: Palace Records
Download (Mega)
Buy from: GEMM | eBay
Note
The origins of Sabre began through the formation of four guys serving in the U.S. Army stationed in Karlsruhe, Germany. From 1983-1986 they played in and around the Karlsruhe area drawing crowds wherever they played. In 1985 they recorded "Keepers of the Sword" at Katapulton Studios, where only 500 copies were pressed by Palace Records. It has since become one of the most sought-after underground heavy metal releases, often being purchased for 300-500$! 

Tracklist

Rating: 83%

Sabre US Heavy Metal
Lineup
Kenny Browder: Vocals
Pat Murphy: Guitars
"Snoop" Tyler: Drums
Kevin Marshall: Bass

Landslide (Swe) - Demo #2 (1985)

Landslide - Demo #2 1985 Sweden
Band: Landslide (Swe)
Release: Demo #2
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: Sweden
Year: 1985
Label: Self-Released
Note
One of the most incredible obscure Swedish metal demos I have ever come across.  According to a few sources, the band had released up to five demos from 1985 to 1989, all without resulting in a record deal.  What a shame it is that Landslide never got the recognition they deserved, as their hard hitting melodic sound easily gives similar acts like early Europe a run for their money.

Tracklist

Rating: 95%

Landslide Sweden Heavy Metal
Lineup
Lars Hägglund: Vocals 
Jörgen Lantto: Guitars
Göran Hult: Bass 
Bo "Bosse" Åström: Drums

Satanic Rites - Live to Ride/Hit and Run (1981)

Satanic Rites - Live to Ride/Hit and Run (1981) NWOBHM
Band: Satanic Rites
Release: Live to Ride/Hit and Run (Single)
Genre: NWOBHM
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 1981
Label: Heavy Metal Records
Buy from: GEMM | eBay
Note
The very first single by UK legends Satanic Rites, recorded and released before they acquired Deborah Webster as lead vocalist.  The b-side "Hit and Run" is the sure winner here, as it features one hell of a tasty riff and a chorus that absolutely compels you to chant along, making it one of the most memorable anthems of the NWOBHM era.

Tracklist

Rating: 90%

Lineup
Daz Bingham: Vocals
Stuart Page: Guitars
Dave Kershaw: Drums
David Ingham: Bass
Kevin Doyle: Keyboards

BAT - Primitive Age (2013)

BAT - Primitive Age 2013
Band: BAT
Release: Primitive Age (Demo)
Genre: Speed/Thrash Metal
Country: United States
Year: 2013
Label: Tankcrimes Records
Ryan Waste's Heavy Metal Web Series: Living Fast
Review
Risen from the undying influence of the early 80s speed/black/thrash wave, the primitive metal powerhouse that is BAT is here deliver nothing more than a downright neck-breaking experience with the release of their very first demo "Primitive Age".  The origins of BAT began in 2013 through the formation of three already-established musicians within the heavy metal scene: bassist/vocalist Ryan Waste and guitarist Nick Poulos are most notably known for their work with the mighty Volture, whereas drummer Felix Griffin grew to fame through his time with the legendary D.R.I from 1984 to 1990.  It's important to be aware of Griffin's innovative drumming style; this guy is honestly one of the greatest drummers in metal history, especially in the crossover scene, and still perfectly upholds that very status to this day with BAT

Interestingly enough, all members have also performed in various bands and are no strangers to experiment with different genres of heavy metal, whether it's traditional, thrash, death or even crossover, in an attempt to fuel their musical creativity.  With BAT and "Primitive Age", however, I felt as though their abrasive style of playing here just seemed so natural for each of them, and therefore made the experience all that more enjoyable.  Whether it was the drive to pay homage to similar-sounding bands like Venom or Bulldozer, coupled with Waste's love for 80s horror flicks, or not, the end result of this incredible demo is one to take note of.

If I had to sum up my experience in a sentence, "Primitive Age" delivers nothing but a complete onslaught of raw, fast and gritty metal; no melodies, no fillers, just pure energy and aggressiveness...that's all that's needed.  From the thrashing "Total Wreckage", whose chorus reminds us of Venom's "Countess Bathory", to the hauntingly compelling "Rule of the Beast", BAT's music is as in-your-face and as straightforward as possible, and that's exactly what I love about these guys.  However, clocking in at just under 13 minutes, I would have wished for a more lengthy experience, but then again, "Primitive Age" merely acts as a teaser for what's to come in the near future.  Until then, supporting BAT is a must: buy the demo on cassette (only 5$!), rock that BAT merch and be sure to come down and see them break some necks at one of their upcoming live shows (US & Canada).  Can't wait until I see them for myself at the Wings of Metal festival at the end of the month!

Check out Ryan Waste's excellent Heavy Metal web series "Living Fast"!

Tracklist

Rating: 85%

BAT Heavy Metal
Lineup
Ryan Waste: Vocals, Bass
Nick Poulos: Guitars
Felix Griffin: Drums

Titan Force - Titan Force (1989)

Band: Titan Force
Release: Titan Force (Full-Length)
Genre: Power/Progressive Metal
Country: United States
Year: 1989
Label: US Metal Records
Buy from: GEMM | eBay
Note
Incredible showcase of technical power metal from the guys at Titan Force with their first ever full-length release.  Although starting off as a traditional heavy metal band in 1983, it wasn't until Titan Force recruited vocalist Harry Conklin that they truly discovered their unique sound.  If you guys haven't heard of Harry Conklin before the release of this LP, maybe a little known band named Jag Panzer might jog your memory.  That's right, Conklin, who went by the stage name "The Tyrant", was the one who performed on the legendary "Ample Destruction" record back in 1984, as well as 7 later releases for the mighty Jag Panzer.  With respect to all of this, we can only expect quality stuff from every person behind Titan Force, and this very release accentuates their sheer musical creativity, be it through face-melting solos, scorching screams or intricate drum patterns.  All in all, this is one album you never want to stray away from.

Tracklist

Rating: 92%

Lineup
Harry Conklin: Vocals
Bill Richardson (R.I.P): Guitars
Mario Flores: Guitars
Stefan Flores: Drums
John Flores: Bass

Spartan Warrior - Spartan Warrior (1984)

Spartan Warrior 1984
Band: Spartan Warrior
Release: Spartan Warrior (Full-Length)
Genre: NWOBHM
Country: United Kingdom
Year: 1984
Label: Roadrunner Records
Buy from: Blackscaped | Amazon | GEMM | eBay
Note
The follow-up to Spartan Warrior's 1983 classic "Steel n' Chains", which propelled the band into being signed by the legendary Roadrunner Records before disbanding in 1985.   Killer and straightforward traditional heavy metal to be heard all around on this one!

Tracklist

Rating: 83%

Spartan Warrior NWOBHM
Lineup
Dave Wilkinson: Vocals
Neil Wilkinson: Guitars
Paul Swaddle: Guitars
Tom Spencer: Bass
Gordon Webster: Drums

Talisphere - Talisphere (1996)

Talisphere 1996
Band: Talisphere
Release: Talisphere (Demo)
Genre: Power/Progressive Metal
Country: United States
Year: 1996
Label: Self-Released
Note
Talisphere were among the handful of bands that released some of the most amazing US progressive metal throughout the early to mid 90s, bearing this very demo as their sole release.  From the fist-pounding drums to the soaring vocals, to the ever-so-technical guitar riffs, it is almost impossible not to get a kick out of this one!

Tracklist

Rating: 95%

Lineup
Chris Cronk: Vocals
John Piarro: Guitars
Sean Noone: Guitars
Mario Sevilla: Drums
Henry Sanchez: Bass

Chyld (Can) - Lite the Nite/Tell Me a Lie (1986)

Band: Chyld
Release: Lite the Nite/Ye Morlok/Tell Me a Lie (Single)
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: Canada
Year: 1986
Label: Chyldish Records
Note
Spawned within the depths of Toronto, Canada, Chyld sadly only released three songs on two separate singles in 1986 that would eventually cement their place in Canadian metal history.  After a growing demand for their material to be released, both singles were re-pressed and the band reformed with the hopes of releasing a new album.  Until now, we can only expect nothing but classic stuff from the guys at Chyld!

Tracklist

Rating: 90%

Lineup
Rob Villemaire: Vocals
Glen Cunningham: Guitars
Neal Busby: Drums
Pete Dove: Bass

Mad Parish - Procession (2014)

Mad Parish - Procession Canada
Cover art by Mike Dubisch
Band: Mad Parish
Release: Procession (Full-Length)
Genre: Heavy/Power Metal
Country: Canada
Year: 2014
Contact: madparishmetal@gmail.com
Buy and listen to the album
FacebookTwitter | Band Website
Review
There comes a time when you discover such an extraordinary band that you become almost completely baffled by their lack of popularity.  This statement can surely be recycled a thousand times over for thousands of overlooked bands out there, especially within the heavy metal genre.  No matter how extensive heavy metal has become over the last 35 years, there will always be amazingly talented bands that will unfortunately get thrown under the radar.  This is indeed one of the many reasons why I created Heavy Metal Gems: to give those bands a voice and the recognition they deserve.

To relate this with one of my most recent discoveries, I bring you guys Canadian power metallers Mad Parish to indulge in.  Formed in 2006 by drummer Bobby Girard and vocalist Josh McConnell, Mad Parish  has been a growing force within the Montreal heavy metal scene since their inception, having opened for notable acts such as Skull Fist, Holy Grail and, more recently, the mighty Grim Reaper.  Interestingly enough, it was at that very Grim Reaper show where I first heard of them, and man did they immediately leave a huge impression on me.  I seriously did not expect what graced my ears throughout the entirety of their set that night.  The guys at Mad Parish seriously know how to deliver one hell of a live experience, due in part to their unique inclusion of a triple-threat guitar lineup, as well as the obvious chemistry that holds the band together.  In short, they are nothing more than a class act when it comes to live performances, and surely that energy translates extremely well on Mad Parish's soon-to-be-released first full-length album entitled "Procession".

Jumping straight into the album with the monstrous "Darkness Befalls this Cursed Land", listeners can straight away identify certain elements of Mad Parish's songwriting process that will carry them throughout the entirety of the album.  Whether it is the engrossing harmonious leads that have been masterfully constructed by Bob Eaglesham, or the powerful delivery of Josh McConnell's dynamic vocals, there will never be a reason to be let down by any one of the tracks.  Not to mention all of this could have never come to light if it weren't for Bobby Girard's incredibly precise drumming style and Max Canuel's rhythmic bass lines to keep the band in check.  In terms of recording, the overall quality of the production does its best to emulate the band's live performances, but, then again, it doesn't do them much justice.  You're just going to have to see them perform live to really understand what I mean (keep you eyes peeled for future dates, especially for those in the Montreal area).

Although I can go on and on detailing the diversity behind every single track, I don't want to bore the hell out of you guys with my babbling, so ill just keep the rest short.  For those wanting to jump right in and experience one of the most memorable tracks on "Procession", do yourselves a huge favour and give "Mad Parish" a listen; I can't even fathom how a riff as compelling as that can be written.  If that track doesn't get you hooked right from the start, then I have no idea what will.

Brewing a sound that only metal gods can replicate, Montreal-based metallers Mad Parish are easily one of the most promising bands you have never heard of.  It would therefore mean a lot for the band and for me if you would support them in any way you can.

Rating: 90%

Highlights: "Mad Parish", "Darkness Befalls this Cursed Land", "Doppleganger", "Red Baron", " A Stitch in Crime", "Dawn of the Unforgiven"

Mad Parish Heavy Metal Canada
Lineup
Josh McConnell: Vocals
Bob Eaglesham: Guitars, Vocals
Bobby Girard: Drums
Max Canuel: Bass

Aragorn (UK) - Noonday (1980-1983)

Aragorn (UK) - Noonday 2003
Band: Aragorn
Release: Noonday - The Aragorn Anthology
Genre: NWOBHM
Country: United Kingdom
Year: Tracks recorded from 1980-1983/Released as a compilation in 2003
Label: Sanctuary Records
Buy from: Bandcamp | eBay
Note
The full discography of UK legends Aragorn, featuring the highly requested unreleased album "The Night is Burning"!  Man were these guys ever under-appreciated, as they have got to be one of the heaviest and most gritty NWOBHM bands out there.  Help support the band by purchasing the album on their bandcamp page!

Tracklist

Tracks 1-2: Taken from debut single Black Ice
Tracks 3-14: From the unreleased album "The Night Is Burning".
Track 8: Cover of Golden Earring's "Radar Love".
Tracks 15-17: Single demos Tracks 18-19: Taken from album demos
Tracks 20-22: From unreleased single "Hungry for Love".
Track 15 flows over in a short cover of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water".

Rating: 85%

Aragorn (UK) NWOBHM
Lineup
Chris Dunne: Vocals
John Hull: Guitars
Mike Ellis: Drums
Dale Lee: Bass
Chris White: Bass (Tracks 20-22)
Andy Halliwell: Guitars (Tracks 20-22)

Spellcaster - Spellcaster (2014)

Spellcaster - Spellcaster 2014
Band: Spellcaster
Release: Spellcaster
Genre: Heavy/Power/Speed Metal
Country: United States
Year: 2014
Label: Self-Released
Facebook | Bandcamp | Website | YouTube
Buy the Album and Band Merch
Review
It has been three excruciatingly long years since the release of US speed metallers Spellcaster's seminal debut album "Under the Spell". The abrasive yet melodious fierceness in the guitar and vocal work on "Under the Spell" immediately cemented the band's position in underground heavy metal stardom, so much so that many people, including myself, proclaimed the album as being one of 2011's best.  It would therefore be a challenging task for any band to uphold that kind of praise with the release of a new album, especially when new material hasn't been publicly released in a few years.

In 2014, Spellcaster have surely come a long way to reintroduce themselves to the heavy metal world.  Complications with record labels and lineup changes have unfortunately delayed the band's true recording and performing potential, even though they consistently remained active and fairly popular within the Oregon heavy metal scene.  Speaking of lineup changes, the most noticeable change on the new record would definitely have to be former guitarist Tyler Loney's decision to take on the role of lead vocalist; a decision that inevitably led to the revision and expansion of Spellcaster's already impressive repertoire.  With that being said, this very modification was actually able to take advantage of each members' talent, as Loney's mid-ranged and melodious vocal style enabled Spellcaster to forge a more mature and definitive sound than what we might have been used to before.  As growing musicians, this is a step in the right direction, mainly because it allows for variety to be established within the band's songwriting processes. All of these characteristics are exactly what Spellcaster have brought forward in their latest album. 

In comparison with "Under the Spell", "Spellcaster" is a completely different experience, and a far more meaningful one at that and I can't stress that enough.  From the dark and mystically-driven lyrics to the intricately harmonious solos featured in almost every track, the guys at Spellcaster have surely outdone themselves in every little detailed speck that comes with playing music.  And this is all coming from someone who absolutely praised the work done on "Under the Spell", so that right there definitely speaks for itself. Take the masterfully written "Voyage" for example: each note is meant to accentuate the melancholic atmosphere of the song, whether it be through the slow (and almost crescendo-based) progression of the intro to the main riff, or the vocal-centered chorus.  Not only is it one of the album's highlights, but it perfectly defines the band's newly found sound.  Other notable tracks include the anthemic "Run Away", the speed metal powerhouse "Ghost of My Memory", the overly dark "Clockwork", and the lead-oriented "Eyes of Black".

All in all, "Spellcaster" is a breath a fresh air for the underground heavy metal scene, as it almost entirely focuses on creating a profound experience for the listener through original and technically robust material, rather than recycling traditional-based riffs that are commonly heard throughout the scene. It goes without question that this is without a doubt one of the best albums in recent years. The men behind Spellcaster deserve every last bit of praise that will surely come their way; they've given us an album for the ages!  

Tracklist

Rating: 93%

Spellcaster Heavy Metal USA
Lineup
Tyler Loney: Vocals, Guitars
Cory Boyd: Guitars
Bryce Adams Vanhoosen: Guitars
Coplin Vranizan: Drums
Gabe Franco: Bass

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