ARCTIC FLAME - SHAKE THE EARTH

SKULL CROWN RECORDS

 

Metal To Infinity

With great joy I welcome Arctic Flame, a Heavy Metal band from Boyonne, NJ – USA. Great news: these guys just released their new album “Shake The Earth”! Back in 2005, Arctic Flame got me by the throat with a debut, 5 song EP – until that moment I was totally unfamiliar with their style of Metal. When I played this EP for the very first time, I was blown away! Original, clean vocals and awesome song structures – AF’s way of Metal appealed me right on… US Classic Metal reigned all over! Yeah, and I still remember very well my review for the effort which ended with a very positive rating of 96 / 100.  

It was a great start for the band, the self financed EP convinced me and I knew for sure to keep in touch with these guys, no doubt at all – the follow up had to come one day. One year after the release of its five track EP, Arctic Flame was ready to offer the world of US Metal its first full length effort called “Primeval Aggressor through Battlecry & Pure Steel Records (produced by Jack Frost). Fulfilled with excellent True Heavy/Power Metal songs – a debut full length album made for US Metal maniacs definitely! Afterwards, Arctic Flame signed a deal with Pure Steel Records to finish its second full album entitled “Guardian At The Gate”. I noticed a new line-up, most remarkable pawn was the new singer named Michael Clayton Moore, an ex Rock singer who was also active as tenor in the Palm Beach Opera – yes, you read it very well!  

Michael entered the AF ranks to offer the band a new vocal sound plus a new guitar player entered as well in hope to lift up the band’s musical level. New album, new players on board – did they hold on to their early days of existence sound? Well, in some ways they didn’t, I mean Arctic Flame still played Traditional Heavy Metal as it should be but there was a renewed sound audible including more varied compositions. The album came in style with better and more unique vocal duties and also the guitar sound seem more sophisticated to me… they even added some minor progressive touches to the entire pack. Conclusion: Arctic Flame took a big step forward and I wondered what was next to come! 

Meanwhile, Arctic Flame released its brand new, third full length album entitled “Shake The Earth” that’ll see daylight in the US through their own label Skull Crown Records and we, Europeans, have to wait a bit longer until the product has been distributed by Hellion and Pure Steel Records. I’m a lucky bastard because drummer Mike Paradine sent me a nice looking promopack, actually the US edition of Arctic Flame’s “Shake The Earth” output. Well, it’s the first time since started with Metal To Infinity webzine I received such a unique promo CD! The envelope was too big for a regular CD format and what I found inside seemed like a double LP but it wasn’t . The US edition (limited to 500 copies) of Arctic Flame’s new album is available as a 12 inch, high gloss gatefold album cover. The pocket on the left hold the CD and the other, right side includes a full coloured poster reflecting the awesome CD cover artwork… lyrics and nice pictures are also offered! You should think to have a double live album on vinyl in your hands and get a CD instead – nice work guys, outstanding idea! US Metal maniacs on the hunt for collector items, take your chances and order this rare product right on at: http://www.arcticflamemetal.com/home.asp  

Produced by Dave Manheimer for Rubber Room Productions, Arctic Flame’s new “Shake The Earth” album has surprised me several times. As long as I’m listening to their music, they always knew how to impress me due to each time an album came out, there was something new to enjoy. Each album, a different character nut mainly AF means nothing but US Traditional Heavy Metal to me. And yes, the new album knows how to surprise me again! It’s no secret that the band members are inspired by Classic Rock/Hard Rock, Metal and stuff which you will feel right on while checking out the entire “Shake The Earth” CD. I’m a fan of Uriah Heep myself and Arctic Flame comes on with the cover song ‘Rain’ (from the album: “The Magician’s Birthday” 1972). For me a bold attempt but nevertheless, Arctic Flame delivered a worthy version of this subdued, catchy Classic One… first surprise to me but there is more… 

Last track ‘Seasons In The Cemetery (Gardens Of Stone)’ can be described as a second, unexpected moment due to the character this song has offer. It feels dark, wildly integrity and melancholic – some kinda Rock/Metal piece with partial progressive influences. Beside the Uriah Heep cover ‘Rain’, Arctic Flame got surprised me once again. A bit unexpected for these guys to hear them acting like this but in the end I need to say that the structure of the song reflects a band which are capable of much apparent/talent… listen to the song right here . Always loaded with unexpected ideas, they keep on impressing me but honestly spoken, Arctic Flame deliver the best of the best while playing their stuff in a pure, in-your-face US Heavy Metal style.  

No worries, “Shake The Earth” has a few US Heavy Metal highlights on board as well! By the grace of US Metal, I’d like you to present awesome works like: ‘Man Made Man’, ‘Ride Of The Headless Horseman’, ‘Hangman’s Prayer’, ‘Slave To The Alchemist’ and ‘Run To Beat The Devil’. Amazing vocals, awesome guitar delivery and a perfect match between bass and drum duties – that’s all about what makes US Metal such a fantastic gem! ‘Two Sides Of The Bullet’ and its Classic Heavy Metal feels works contagious – ‘Last Chance’ comes along and its’ time to start bang you head as Arctic Flame plays the right up-tempo rhythms.  

“Shake The Earth” is an album for US Traditional Heavy Metal maniacs, that’s for sure. I’m satisfied with the album because of my faithful dignity for US Metal music supporting this fantastic gem for many, many years so far, and definitely plenty of years to come! Arctic Flame did a great job - all the inspirational influences and skills built up since day one of existence can be heard on this new beast of thunder entitled “Shake The Earth”. Defenders of US Metal, make sure you can catch your own copy at: http://www.arcticflamemetal.com/home.asp  

My Points: 90 / 100 (Review by Stefan)