Sirion – Self-Titled EP

By Andrew Bansal

Los Angeles-based heavy metal band Sirion have rapidly developed a reputation for themselves as a hugely impressive live band and their journey through the local gig scene has been well-documented on Metal Assault. But finally, in late 2013 the band managed to enter a studio to put together a four-track self-titled debut EP, and the onus was firmly on them to deliver the same kind of intensity they’re known to bring in the live setting and attempt to encapsulate the strength and impact of their on-stage sound into these studio recordings. Continue reading

Grand Magus – Triumph And Power

By Andrew Bansal

Swedish heavy metal trio Grand Magus have been on a righteous musical path ever since they began their journey as a band in 1996, and building upon the success of their highly acclaimed sixth studio album, the 2012 release ‘The Hunt’, they have just come out with the follow-up album ‘Triumph And Power’. Their second album on the Nuclear Blast label, this one truly takes the band to a higher pedestal, creatively and in all other aspects. In the eyes of many, posting a review two weeks after release date might be redundant, but the world needs to be aware of the greatness that is this Grand Magus album, and hence here is Metal Assault’s review of it. Continue reading

The Vintage Caravan – Voyage

By Andrew Bansal

Based out of Reykjavik, Iceland, psychedelic/bluesy hard rock band The Vintage Caravan was formed in 2006 by two 12 year-old kids Óskar Logi and Guðjón Reynisson on vocals/guitar and drums respectively. Upon recruiting Alex Örn on bass, the trio started writing music and playing shows in Iceland, releasing their self-titled debut album in 2011. The follow-up effort ‘Voyage’ was released in Iceland in 2012 but after Nuclear Blast got their hands on it in 2013, it achieved a proper release on January 10th 2014 all across Europe and on January 21st in North America. There’s a plethora of young ‘revivalist’ old-school rock bands in existence nowadays and in the year of 2013 in particular, many of them came out with new albums, some great and others not so much. So, when it comes to The Vintage Caravan’s ‘Voyage’, one would approach it with a sense of excitement born out of the curiosity which automatically rises when the ages of the band members and the name of their home country is mentioned, but at the same time, a degree of caution and skepticism would be justified. Continue reading

Sister – Disguised Vultures

By Andrew Bansal

Swedish sleaze/punk rock band Sister, not to be confused with the 70s’ LA hard rock band of the same name, have been around since 2006. The quartet toured Europe heavily throughout their first few years and after signing to Metal Blade Records, they released their debut album ‘Hated’ in 2011. Today, on January 21st 2014, they’ve put out their sophomore effort ‘Disguised Vultures’ and musically it builds upon what the band has done in the past, along with attempting to capture the energy and attitude that they bring forth in their live performances. This style of hard rock has largely disappeared during the last two decades due to the manner in which the genre evolved. So whenever a band like Sister puts out a new album of original material, for fans of that era, it’s a call to arms. Continue reading

Iced Earth – Plagues Of Babylon

By Andrew Bansal

American heavy metal stalwarts Iced Earth are ready to release their eleventh studio album ‘Plagues Of Babylon’ in North America via Century Media Records next Tuesday January 21. The previous album ‘Dystopia’ opened up a new chapter in Iced Earth’s career with the Stu Block-fronted lineup, and this new album is a much-awaited follow up for the band’s fan base, a large majority of whom gave a positive response to Stu Block as the new singer on the previous album as well as in the live setting. The Dystopia world tour certainly consolidated his position in the band, and it was going to be interesting to see how he developed on this new album. Also joining the band is new bassist Luke Appleton who’s replacing Freddie Vidales, and drummer Raphael Saini, who filled in after the band parted ways with Brent Smedley. Was a lot expected from this album? Following the success of Dystopia, most definitely yes. Did it live up to those expectations? Perhaps not. Continue reading

Altitudes & Attitude – Self-Titled EP

By Andrew Bansal

David Ellefson and Frank Bello, world-renowned as bass players for Megadeth and Anthrax respectively, came together recently to form a collaborative project called Altitudes & Attitude. In his latest interview with Metal Assault conducted around the time of his book release, he was questioned about his future plans and he clearly hinted at making more music outside of Megadeth. “Because we’re all songwriters we often write things that don’t work in Megadeth, and I’m enjoying finding some other partnerships where I can do something with those songs and that music …  that’s a season of my life that I’m exploring right now, and having some fun with it”, he said. And sure enough, at the Bass Player Live event last November where he held a joint clinic with Frank Bello, the duo officially announced this project and performed an instrumental version of one of the tracks. Today, on January 14 2014, they are ready for the digital release of a self-titled 3-track EP via Megaforce Records. Continue reading