AFM Records


At Vance is yet another German power metal band formed by a singer and a guitarist from other (apparently) famous power metal bands that, I personally have never head of. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like power metal as much as any other genre in metal, but at times it can be a bit too pompous and overblown for its own good. And while At Vance is definitely pompous and overblown, they also write some damn good songs!

melodic death metal acts. According to their bio, Immersion is their first major release outside of a demo and an EP. The group is billed as progressive death metal, but are nowhere close to that category. Instead what you get is some catchy, “rock n roll” death metal a la Clayman era In Flames – and much like Clayman, most of the songs are of the fist-pumping, get a crowd worked up and have a good time style.

Just to be perfectly clear right from the beginning of this review: I am not normally a power metal fan. Generally I can’t stand the stuff and think it’s cheesy, pretentious bullshit more concerned with flash and pomp than actual songs. The only other sub-genre of metal that I hate more is Deathcore (shudders). So, if I hate power metal so much, why the hell am I giving Iron Mask’s Black As Death a 7.5? Simple: This is some fucking great music. That’s why!

From what I gather Oz are a Finnish band that did some albums in the 80s, broke up and recently reformed. I personally had never heard of these guys before, and by the name alone I was expecting some sort of power metal band singing about the yellow brick road or maybe Dorothy and her dog Toto. Basically I was prepared for something cheesy and utterly horrible.

One of Poland’s top contemporary traditional metal acts, Crystal Viper, are prepared to release Crimen Excepta on April 24th via AFM Records, their fourth full-length album to date. The follow-up to 2010’s acclaimed Legends full-length, Crimen Excepta is a concept album about holy inquisition, black magic and witches, where fiction mixes with historical facts. Recorded with producer Bart Gabriel (Jack Starr’s Burning Starr, Sacred Steel, Mortician), Crimen Excepta is inarguably the band’s darkest and most aggressive material to date. Check out the song “Witch’s Mark” now.