Category Archives: Song Reviews

Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen: Live (Song Review)

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“And all you did was count the dead”

Here’s a rousing track from Primordial’s new live album Gods to the Godless (Live at Bang Your Head Festival Germany 2015). I always feel like live shows are defined by the inclusion of new tracks. My memories of live performances usually revolve around the new songs that were played. For better or worse, bands seem to put extra welly into the new stuff: meaning that brilliant new songs make for an unforgettable show but weak ones will likely mar my recollections, no matter how classics-laden the show might have been. The former is definitely the case with Primordial. Four of the eleven songs here are taken from their last album Where Greater Men Have Fallen and here’s an amazing version of the title track: a burly and martial take that surpasses the studio version. Alan Nemtheanga proves himself, once again, the consummate metal frontman, and the band’s chemistry and the skill of their arrangements are even more evident in the live setting: every instrument occupying a unique space to create a massive wall of sound. Primordial, over twenty years into their career, sound like they’re determined to remain impassioned and vital until the bitter end.

HMO Rating: 5 Out Of 5

[To hear the Song of the Week, click track three on the YouTube screen below. And then listen to the whole thing, you won’t regret it]

 

I – Warriors (Song Review)

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“Head to the battlefields”

You’d expect a black metal supergroup featuring members of Immortal, Enslaved and Gorgoroth to be an all-out blaster. But, instead, their 2006 album Between Two Worlds was a more traditional affair: the band using the new project to celebrate their pre-2nd Wave influences and indulge in a bit of hero worship. Pre-2nd Wave heroes don’t get much bigger than Bathory and their mastermind Quorthon had died just two years earlier so many of the tracks here have a Bathory influence all over them. Of those, this is my favourite. It’s an epic lament which finds the world-weary Vikings riding their tired horses out “from the mountainous regions” to “where great warriors sleep”. Pillaging can be such a grind. But Warriors’ mix of bold defiance (“It’s a great day for fire”) and raging sadness is always stirring.

HMO Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5

Iron Maiden – Heaven Can Wait: Live (Song Review)

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“I’ll go when I’m good and ready”

It’s been a dark and frosty week here in Glasgow. Perfect conditions for enjoying some black metal but I decided I needed some sunshine in my listening. Time for some synth-era 80s Maiden then! I opted for the excellent live album Maiden England ’88 and this song always stands out for me. The real magic happens 3mins in though, as the “take my hand…” bridge ratchets up the tension and the song’s tone shifts from jaunty to totally epic. Then the song cruises into the famous, roadie-enhanced “woah-oh-oh”s. This singalong section always seemed like it was devised for live performance so it’s no surprise that it works so much better here than on the Somewhere in Time studio version. The building urgency, shimmery guitar fills and Bruce’s added exhortations to the audience make it breathlessly exciting. It’s brilliant stuff that turns one of the potentially weaker songs of the set into an outright showstopper.

HMO Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5

Virgin Steele – Lion in Winter (Song Review)

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Virgin Steele – Age of Consent (1988)

“Never set the sun on me”

Welcome to a new feature: The HMO Song of the Week! Each Sunday I’ll be posting up the song that’s been lighting up my life the most in the past week: could be a new song or an old classic.

So let’s get this series off to the best possible start with one of the best possible songs: Virgin Steele’s Lion in Winter from their terrific album Age of Consent. It’s a fine example of their patented and thrilling barbaric romanticism. The Manowarring and galloping guitars provide the barbarism while the instrumental flourishes, melodic pomp and David DeFies’ impassioned vocals provide the romanticism. Here’s a man that can sing a line like “And I’ll rage against this wind” and sound like he really means it. Wonderful.

HMO Rating: 5 Out Of 5

[Virgin Steele – Lion in Winter]