The new wave of traditional heavy metal (NWOTHM) is all the rage for legions of nostalgic metalheads, a handful of record labels and even a new generation of under 20 fans. Its mix of NWOBHM, upbeat spinoffs of Sabbath/Pentagram paradigms, and fun-loving attitude have created a mix of serious musicianship and goof off demeanor that is very appealing (to me). Of course, just like any growing movement there is a lot of filler and it’s often difficult, almost intimidating, to know where to start. So, since I’ve been name dropping so often, I thought it would be good to provide a NWOTHM for dummies, as it were. I didn’t include Canada’s Striker on here, nor White Wizzard. Though I have nothing against either of those bands, the former plays something closer to power metal in my book and the latter has simply yet to reach their full potential. In fact, I think Nocturnal Rites was playing a better, heavier version of what Striker plays now (minus the self-referential lyrics) but doing it more than a decade ago with records like Afterlife and Shadowland. So, give those a stab. Meanwhile, here’s a quick guide that should quickly get you up to speed (and speed is fucking important) on this feel-good classic heavy metal revival.
Enforcer (Sweden) – This band seems to be the mainframe of the warmachine cyborg that is The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal. Kind of like Arny in T2 but instead sent forward in time to right humanity’s wrongs. Whereas Skull Fist is more Priest, Cauldron is more Kill Em All, Enforcer seems more akin to Motorhead and Iron Maiden. The video above is amazing but “Katana” has to be the best track off the newest album Diamonds.
Cauldron (Canada) – Now these guys sometimes fail to get the respect garnered by scenemates Enforcer, RAM and Wolf. The critics are entitled to their opinions even if they are misguided elitist asshole opinions. They are wrong and this is why; thrashy, midpaced heavy metal with a dash of stoner guitar tone is not where it ends with this band. The choruses stick in your head, the leads have oodles of sustain and, at least for now, they comically embody the fact that, yes, people sometimes suck, work sometimes (mostly) sucks, and life sometimes sucks but you gotta man up, wipe your nose and rock through it.
Evil Survives (Canada) – This band owns your fucking mother’s garage, is gonna raid your fridge and you’ll do damn near nothing about it. We recently reviewed their Metal Vengeance album and liked it very much. This is heavy metal with some unpolished edges but an undeniable spontaneity and unapologetic indulgence in guitar heroics.
Wolf (Sweden) – Though Enforcer have arguably the best packaged product and Skull Fist have the best guitarwork, Sweden’s Wolf has some of the strongest riffing of anybody in this genre resurgence. Though they aren’t as consistent from album to album as would be desired, they have a very recognizable brand. More on this band very soon.
Pt. 2 coming in a few days.
Any underground bands that you think will hit it big? Think I’m full of crap? Chime in.