ALL FOR METAL
Released on July 7, 2023 (AFM Records)
I think Gary Busey said it best in the classic ’80s Stephen King inspired film Silver Bullet, where Mr. Busey proclaimed at one climactic point in the film, “jumped up Jesus, palomino”. The statement and sentiment behind it seems to sum up the gauntlet of thoughts, and emotions that flooded me and will you too upon your visual and auditory introduction to All For Metal and their debut long play Legends. Yep, Legends — an apt descriptor.
When you recover from your initial shock and awe, get your collective wits about you and dare to have another peek at the sheer legendary appearances of Tim “Tetzel” Wagner (vocals), Antonio Calanna (vocals), Ursula Zanichelli (guitar), Jasmin Pabst (guitar), Florian Toma (bass), and Leif Jensen (drums). Press play once again, giddy with anticipation and let these 11 perfectly performed, written and produced classically inspired hard rock/power metal songs wash over you, basking you in the epic glory of Legends. To say I enjoyed this one is a legendary understatement. But let us go back a moment and learn a bit about All For Metal before we dive into Legends.
Some aficionados will be familiar with vocalists Tetzel and Antonio as they have pedigree with their previous bands Asenblut and DeVicious respectively, however the rest of the band are relatively unknown, newbies to the scene, to some degree, but DO NOT let that influence your opinion in anyway shape or form. The dual guitar virtuosity presented by Jasmin and Ursula will drop your jaw and kick it back up into place as they absolutely obliterate their guitars, brandishing a myriad of legendary ax grinders influences, yet being distinct to themselves. and they just plain shred. Equally low profile, yet again ridiculously proficient are Florian and Leif, who hold down the bottom end. Creating and maintaining that meter that is quintessential to keeping our heads bobbing, and our toes tapping, yet sneaking in enough subtle yet effective trickeries to garnish praise from even the staunchest of elitists.
All For Metal begins our journey and what a way to introduce the band and their debut than with this self-titled metaller, that draws you in with hammer on anvil sound bites, discrete keys, chugging and marching musicianship creating a metal masterpiece. We are introduced to Tetzel‘s guttural, almost spoken singing that pairs oh so well with Antonio’s more melodic, soaring vocalizing. “All For Metal” surmises the tale in a simple verse “All for metal, and metal for all!” telling us what the album is all about. What we are in store for? “All For Metal” is a literal epic metal opener. “Goddess of War” slams in with a bombastic heavy metal riff that holds true what All For Metal started and what is to come. The remainder of the band falls in and the song evolves to a catchy as all get out power metaller in the chorus. The opener was certainly no slouch in the least, but the production on “Goddess of War” still has my ears ringing, in the best possible way. Massive and I will proclaim, “Goddess of War” is my favorite cut from Legends, next to “Born In Valhalla”! Good night.
“Born In Valhalla” dances that razor’s edge of metal, power metal, hard rock and epic power metal perfectly. A full tackle box of hooks, vocal dynamics that will impress the shrewdest of listeners, double bass abounds and the guitar solo, shut the front door. The didgeridoo vocal is a nice touch and it rears its head in the next song “Raise Your Hammer”, that barrels in with said guttural warblings paired with a Celtic flared keyboard, or maybe it is wind instruments? The wonder twin vocals of Tetzel and Antonio battle back and forth, pairing perfectly and exemplifying the song’s message, one that speaks to Thor and his mighty hammer and the world pounding battles he journeys to and through. Tetzel’s inclusion of “Thor, Thor ” throughout is a stellar touch to what can only be described as a majestic metal opus.
“Here The Drum” begins with, yep, drums and again features Tetzel’s vocalizing over the top of a very “yo ho yo ho, a pirate’s life for me” themed nautical rocker. “Here The Drum” features another choral themed vocal “Strike, strike” pounding your chest like said drum and Tetzel carries this tune masterfully. The solo is tasty and proficient, continuing the theme of resplendent melodic metal. “Run” — holy shoot! OK OK. Let me get my wits about me. OK. Wow. What an absolute dinger! Tetzel’s chorus of “Run, Run, better run run” is brutal. Antonio‘s vocals are oh so powerful, both complementing each other throughout. This one is an up tempo melodic rocker, pounding driving and stunning. The solos are all over and throughout and just slay. The drumming along with the “run, runs” hits really hard, this one is now my favorite, oh heck.
Let’s take a moment and scratch at how these five melodic metal warriors sound. Well, at least how they can be compared to their peers, by me. At first glance, the comparisons are seen to the criminally underrated Manowar, which All For Metal encants their ethos among that of Thor (visually and aurally), Sabaton and I liken them musically (not the imagery) to Lordi, GWAR, and this one may come from left field, but every time I listen to the band, again musically, I can’t help but hear Beautiful Creatures. Sure, All For Metal gets a wee bit more medieval than Beautiful Creatures ever will, but the musicianship is uncanny. One would assume a compliment to DJ Ashba for sounding like Jasmine and Ursula.
We get a well deserved break in “Prophecy of Hope”, an almost movie trailer spoken word affair, detailing a grandiose tale akin to something from Conan the Barbarian, detailing an earthly child born to carry out the prophecy and the tale of those who are trying to stop him. Of course, we can assume by the phrases “mountain of power” that maybe this is Tetzel’s tale of which “Mountain of Power” begins with a similar soundscape that carried through the “Prophecy of Hope”. “Mountain of Power” is just that, a literal mountain of power, of which my assumption is accurate and we are detailing the past life incarnate of Tetzel and his apocalyptic journey through the ages and of course a not too subtle nod to his impressive physique. I absolutely adore the spoken word element Tetzel brings in. Yet another powerful mid-tempo melodic rocker, ticking each and every box for maximum enjoyment.
“Fury of The Gods” follows the relentless onslaught of staggeringly epic power metal. Commencing with drumming triplets soon to be accompanied by a marching metal rhythm, supported tastefully by soaring keys and again, the powerhouse vocal pairing of Tetzel and Antonio, Tetzel providing a more sing song verse that leads us to Antonio’s crooning pre-chorus only to slam into the blazing chorus. We are treated to kettle bells and another well written heavy metal opus. “The Day of The Hammerfall” — 0ooof! Dang it, another favorite. It slams in with a brutal metal guitar riff that grabs you like a pit bull and shakes you into the even more powerful verse led by Antonio this time, to be accompanied by Tetzel’s harmonizing. Antonio leads the soaring chorus, but Tetzel gets a poke in the second chorus and it is stupefyingly heavy. Guitars, drums and bass flirt with disaster and indubitably blaze a scorched earth path for the listener to follow. Be still my heart, what a masterpiece!
Rounding out this literal heavy metal clinic is a befitting power ballad entitled “Legends Never Die”. The grandiose themes are still present, soaring vocals from Antonio, acoustic guitars, supported by tastefully executed keyboards and a chorus that will have lighters ablaze and the audience swaying to the rhythm. The song swells to a boil at the midpoint bringing in the band’s staple of shred guitar and massive bottom end support. The sentiment in “Legends Never Die” is one of pure unadulterated prophecies for All For Metal. A prophecy that the band is fricking legends in the making and they will in fact continue to pummel us grateful metal minions with their brand of over the top epic melodic metal for years to come, eventually cementing All For Metal in the annals of the metal history books their peers wrote years prior.
In conclusion and it should be as obvious as the nose on your face, I love, love, love this release. All For Metal and their debut Legends are iconic as the day is long. All 11 songs resonated with my soul, leaving me both satisfied and yearning for more. I can hardly wait for what follows, but if All For Metal chooses to be a one and done then that is OK too, because at least I can always return to Legends. To quote the newly named, by me “Wonder Twins”, Tetzel and Antonio, “You better run , run better run run, better run” right online and buy your copy of Legends immediately if not sooner.
01. All For Metal
02. Goddess of War
03. Born In Valhalla
04. Raise Your Hammer
05. Hear The Drum
07. Prophecy of Hope
08. Mountain of Power
09. Fury of The Gods
10. The Day of Hammerfall
11. Legends Never Die
Tim “Tetzel” Wagner – vocals
Antonio Calanna – vocals
Ursula Zanichelli – guitar
Jasmin Pabst – guitar
Florian Toma – bass
Leif Jensen – drums
Produced by Hardy Krech
Reviewed by Terry Martinson for Sleaze Roxx, July 2023
All For Metal‘s “Legends Never Die” video:
All For Metal‘s “Mountain of Power” video:
All For Metal‘s “Raise Your Hammer” video:
All For Metal‘s “All For Metal” video: