Archive for December, 2014

Released in 1988 by Epic Records
Best Songs: Thundersteel, Flight of the Warrior, On Wings of Eagles

Interesting Facts: Riot (now known as Riot V) was founded in 1975 by guitarist Mark Reale. Reaching a peak in popularity in the early 80s, the band has continued a long-running successful career. Riot has toured with AC/DC, Molly Hatchet, Sammy Hagar, Kiss, Vandenberg, Black Sabbath and Rush among others. Riot’s sound initially started out as straightforward heavy metal, but since Thundersteel their musical direction has been power metal.

After several lineup changes, in 2008 it was announced that the classic Thundersteel-era line-up would reunite for a tour, starting in June 2009 with high profile shows at the Sweden Rock and Metalway festivals, followed by a tour of Japan in the fall. Founding band member Mark Reale died of complications resulting from Crohn’s Disease on January 25, 2012 before he could appear at a few East Coast shows and the 70,000 Tons of Steel Metal cruise ship with his band Riot featuring the Thundersteel lineup, who performed the shows without him. Mark Reale was 56.

Mark Reale’s father requested the name Riot rest with Mark Reale but his legacy and his music will remain forever, so the band re-launched as Riot V, which have released this year (2014) a power metal masterpiece of an album titled ‘Unleash the Fire’.

Riot - Thundersteel - Front


Released in 1995 by Virgin Records
Best Songs: The Script for My Requiem, Bright Eyes, And the Story Ends

Interesting Facts: Blind Guardian was initially inspired by their fellow countrymen Helloween, and in its early releases also showed some influence from Iron Maiden and Metallica. With Imaginations from the Other Side, Blind Guardian gradually incorporated more influences from progressive and classical music. Queen became a huge impact, in particular concerning the choir arrangements and harmonies.

Imaginations from the Other Side was produced by Flemming Rasmussen, former Metallica producer. This album also marks the first since their debut in which Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray) did not guest on vocals or guitar, and the last album to feature vocalist-bassist Hansi Kürsch as bassist. It was also their first album to spawn off any singles, in form of “A Past and Future Secret” and “Bright Eyes”.


Released in 1991 by Century Media
Best Songs: Stormrider, Desert Rain, Pure Evil

Interesting Facts: Night of the Stormrider is the only Iced Earth album featuring lead singer John Greely (who was later fired) and drummer Rick Secchiari. The album’s concept is about a man who is betrayed by religion and turns away from it in anger. The dark forces of nature reach out to this enraged man and use him as their vessel to bring death and destruction to Earth. He is commanded to travel to a desert, where he is given visions that reveal the truth of humanity, and warp his mind further to make him the “Stormrider.” After the destruction of the world, he is then damned forever into the depths of Hell, also referenced as the River Styx. After being forever damned and taunted by evil spirits, he eventually sees what he has done, and realizes that it is too late to repent.


Released in 1995 by Noise Records
Best Songs: Rebellion in Dreamland, Abyss of the Void

Interesting Facts: Land of the Free was the first Gamma Ray album to be released since the departure ofRalf Scheepers, leaving Kai Hansen to take up lead vocals. While not his first stint as a vocalist (Hansen had sung lead for Helloween until 1987 and had also recorded lead vocals on “Heal Me” from Insanity and Genius), it would be the first time he had performed lead vocals exclusively in 8 years. Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) and Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian) were featured on the album as guest vocalists. The track “Afterlife” was written as a tribute to Ingo Schwichtenberg, Kai Hansen’s former bandmate in Helloween, who committed suicide prior to the album’s release.


Released in 2013 by Edel Records
Best Songs: Nemesis, Halcyon Days

Read our review here:


Released in 2001/2002 by AFM/Century Media
Best Songs: Reach Out for the Light, Chalice Of Agony

Interesting Facts: The Metal Opera is the first full-length album by Tobias Sammet’s supergroup project, Avantasia. It is a concept album and a metal opera. It is written in the format of a play and the songs are the characters’ dialogues and inner thoughts. The story was split into two parts, The Metal Opera and The Metal Opera Part II. The albums feature many artists from various power metal bands, such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, Stratovarius, Rhapsody of Fire and many more. “Avantasia” is a portmanteau of the words “avalon” and “fantasia” (“fantasy”) and describes a world beyond human imagination. Much like other power metal albums, the compositions draw aesthetics and lyrical influences from early fantasy literature such as The Lord of The Rings and the Red Sonja series.


Released in 1997 by Limb Music
Recommended Songs: Lord of the Thunder , Flames of Revenge”

Interesting Facts: In 1993, Luca Turilli decided to create a symphonic metal band with the vision of integrating classical music elements with metal. The first to join him were Alex Staropoli and Daniele Carbonera. These three formed a band that became known as Thundercross. Turilli has said in interviews that both Thundercross and the early Rhapsody material were heavily influenced by Manowar’s style of heavy metal, and that Yngwie Malmsteen was a big influence from a guitar playing perspective. When the band signed a record deal they changed their name to Rhapsody so as to highlight their connection with classical music and poetry. In July 2006 the band changed their name once again to Rhapsody of Fire due to trademark issues, as an Australian girl group with the name Rhapsody already existed.