Dark Heart – Dark Heart

New Wave of British Heavy Metal band Dark Heart originally formed in 1983, out of the ashes of Tokyo Rose, releasing a very good debut album “Shadows Of The Night” in 1984 on Roadrunner Records. Unfortunately, as happened with so many bands back then, it somewhat flew under the radar and the band eventually fizzled out in 1987. However, if you are a collector of such albums, it’s well worth getting hold of.

Fast forward to 2017 when original guitarist, and sole remaining member of the line-up Alan Clark, revived the name and at the end of 2021 Dark Heart released their second, self-titled album. Alan recently, and very kindly, sent me a copy of the album and after many listens I’m here to tell you it is a damn good piece of Classic Heavy Metal/NWOBHM with modern production.

Alan Clark now handles lead vocals/keyboards and I have to say, WHY hasn’t this man been fronting bands for years? He has an excellent voice and it is perfect for this style of melodic but thumping Metal. He is joined here by extremely good guitarist Nick Catterick, who lets fly with some impressive solos and riffs throughout, ex Eden’s Curse drummer Pete Newdeck (who has also done a fine job producing and mixing) and, the always good, Josh Williams on bass.

Kicking off with ‘Darkest Eyes’ is a fine move as it’s an up-tempo stomper of a track, showcases everyone’s ability, got me air drumming and nodding my head immediately and ends with a blistering solo that I wanted to go on for at least another two minutes as I was enjoying it so much. ‘Cast In Stone’ begins with an almost Pink Floyd guitar vibe before kicking into a crunching mid-tempo track that screams Tony Martin era Black Sabbath, which is a fine thing as far as I’m concerned as I always think the albums Tony Martin did with Sabbath are unfairly overlooked. ‘Edge Of Dreams’ continues that feel but other influences creep in. ‘Degrees Of Separation’ is up next and is another good track, even if the main riff sounds a little too close to Dio, but they aren’t the first band to do that and won’t be the last. It still contains an awesome guitar solo. ‘Wings Of The Night’ brings the tempo down and it’s the nearest thing there is to a ballad on the album. “Dark Heart” the album, continues in this vein across the eleven tracks. It mixes up the tempos, every song, fast or slow, is catchy and the, nearly one hour running time goes by pretty damn quickly.

I’m predominantly picking up the 80’s Sabbath/Dio influences the most and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are others and I’m sure you’ll hear your own, but, Dark Heart have managed to release a great album that sounds like Dark Heart! It’s not saying anything new but this is the type of stuff I was brought up on and I think they’ve done a bloody good job

‘Alan, can you not wait another 38 years until we get album number three please?’ Thanks!!

Track List

01. Darkest Eyes

02. Cast To Stone

03. Edge Of Dreams

04. Degrees Of Separation

05. Wings Of The Night

06. House Of Usurer

07. Break The Chains

08. Time To Fly

09. K.O.T.D.

10. Night Won’t Let Me Go

11. Shadows Of The Night

Band Members

Alan Clark – Vocals, Keyboards

Nick Catterick – Guitars, Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Pete Newdeck – Drums, Backing Vocals

Josh Williams – Bass

This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and The Metal Asylum

Black Lakes– For All We’ve Left Behind

Welsh band Black Lakes recently released their debut album “For All We’ve Left Behind” and for a band that, musically speaking, ply their trade in a Modern/Post/Nu Metal & Rock way, a style I listen to less, they have really made me sit up and listen because this album is loaded with twelve hard hitting but hugely melodic tracks of high quality.

What you notice immediately, when pressing play, is how well produced this is for a debut. Yes, I know it’s easier to get a more decent sound these days but you still need someone good behind the scenes to give the music that final professional sheen and to help project the message. Believe me, I’ve heard some good music this year that has been let down with shoddy production but that is certainly not the case with Black Lakes. This sounds huge and that bodes well for a young band.

As you might expect from this style of music it is, lyrically, on the depressing side but we’ve all been through a pretty tough time over the last 2 ½ years so it’s not unusual for bands to be in that mind-set when writing material. Black Lakes themselves say “For All We’ve Left Behind represents the bands shared experiences of loss, depression, suicide, deception, and deceit. There are also moments of light to counterpoint these strong negative emotions. The culmination of our work over the last three years is 12 songs that we feel speak of the struggles of the human condition disarmingly honestly, but with hope for a different future for all”. That is a very honest assessment of the music presented here and, perhaps, it is something I have been able to connect with more than I usually would, due to my own personal struggles recently.

Even though there is no theme or connection this is another body of music that feels well put together and thought out rather than just a selection of standalone songs. After a number of years where bands seemed to throw everything including the kitchen sink on an album and in an age when many just download 1 or 2 favourites off a release, there now seems to be a rediscovering of the essence of flow. There isn’t any padding or filler here, every song is where it should be and it feels complete.

There is much to discover here and repeated listens opened up facets that I initially missed. Even though I very much liked this on the first spin, there are some really great riffs and groove laden songs here, the album keeps giving, meaning it’s a grower and a mature one. I’ll say again that this doesn’t sound like a debut.

I suspect many ‘traditional’ Metal/Rock ‘fans’ will pass this by without giving Black Lakes a chance and that is why I dislike genre tags. “For All We’ve Left Behind” is a fine album and one that should be experienced fully by actually listening to it before passing judgement! I shall be following them with interest!

Track List

01. Exordium

02. Avarice

03. Dissident

04. Fragments

05. Verity In Flames

06. The Divide

07. Landslide

08. Ghosts (Of Our Memories)

09. Deathrone

10. Break The Silence

11. For All We’ve Left Behind

12. Black Days Come

Band Members

Will Preston – Vocals

Scott Brashaw – Guitars

James Rowlands – Guitars

Dylan Burris – Guitars

Lee Harris – Bass

Dafydd Fuller – Drums

This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and The Metal Asylum

Counting The Killers – Hidden In The Open (2020) Review

Cliff, my partner in crime at The Metal Asylum, has been friends with David Pankhurst on Facebook for a while and it was through their friendship that I approached David to do a review of their new EP “Hidden In The Open.”

Counting The Killers started as a conversation between Ben Robbins (vocals) and David Pankhurst (guitars and vocals) in August 2019 and very soon the project became something very special, with the band wanting to produce rock songs that would appeal to as wide an audience as possible.

The two were joined by AD Walshingham (guitar), Steve Card (bass) and Luke Smith (drums) with previous bands of the five of them including Micrafish, Scarred By Name, Gravil, Minerva Falls and High/Low.

Based in and around the Southend-On-Sea area of Essex, the EP was recorded during the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic and, as yet, they have still to perform a single gig as a band. But that by no means takes away from the professionalism and musicianship of this band.

The first track from the EP, ‘Winter’ was originally released on 18th April 2020 but, being unable to get to the studio due to Covid restrictions, the track was not mixed. The final version was eventually released in August 2020.

September brought the release of the self-titled track ‘Counting The Killers’, a rocky little number with killer riffs and pounding drums but it was the October release that really brought them to my attention.

‘Head Above Water’ was released on 25th October and it is a haunting, emotional track that I think a lot of people can relate to. You see, ‘Head Above Water’ was written from a first hand experience of dealing with anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings, and mental health issues, especially in men, is a topic that is very prevalent and important in today’s society. To be able to say “I am not ok” should, I think, be normalised and the band are using this track to help raise money for mental health charities in the UK.

Says writer of the track David, “This song is something that I am really proud of. It’s a bit of a departure from what people expect me to write but I felt that I needed to put this down and share it. It deals with all aspects of depression from the thoughts to the situations and ways out. Ways to end it all but knowing it’s not the right thing to do. Asking for help is hard but at the end of the day it is always the right road to recovery. I brought it to the band and they instantly knew it had to be a very simplistic track and it hasn’t really changed that much from the initial idea I had.”

To help the guys raise money for mental health, all they ask you to do is visit their website, http://www.countingthekillers.com and download the track ‘Head Above Water.’ The band will then automatically donate the proceeds.

For the video to the track, the band also invited friends and family who have suffered in the past or still suffering from depression, anxiety and suicide thoughts to take part, resulting in an emotional video that shows that the “black dog” really can affect anyone in any walk of life.

The rest of the EP has a hard rock / alternative / metal feel, mixing riffs and drums with some more chilled out tracks and the band hopes there is something in their songs that will appeal to everyone.

Please check these guys out. Recording a debut EP during a worldwide lockdown couldn’t have been easy and I think they deserve all the credit, support, and encouragement that they get. Let’s hope that when this god-awful year is eventually over and gigs are allowed to take place again, these guys get the opportunity to finally perform together. I will certainly be there when they do!


Another Shore

Royal Ten

Whispered Torment

Head Above Water


Counting The Killers






Stormchild – Lightning Never Strikes Twice (2020)

Here is The Metal Asylum’s review of Stormchild’s latest album “Lightning Never Strikes Twice”

Chris Mitchell, from Bolton band Stormchild, first approached me after I had made a Facebook page about links to band’s merchandise and kindly sent me one of the band’s t-shirts, which I promised I would take a photo of me wearing which I have, as yet, still not done. Chris, that’s next on my list!!!

The conversation got round to the band’s new album and I promised them a review, which, after a bit of time (again, sorry Chris!) is finally here.

But let us start at the beginning!

Stormchild was born in Bolton, Lancashire in 1979 when a group of talented teenagers decided to form a hard rock band and after winning a national rock talent competition against 1800 other competitors, they should have been well on their way. The prize was a record deal with Kilo Records, managed by Paradise Promotions, an all-paid for flat in the West End, musical equipment, a press launch and a support slot in America with Bob Seger!! However, the night before they were due to leave for London, the promotion company went into liquidation!

Kilo Records released a demo single ‘Rockin Steady’ and the late, great Chris Tsangarides (Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Yngwie Malmsteen) agreed to produce them but the band split up in 1982 before they had the chance to work with him.

Fast forward to 2015 and, after discovering the band actually had quite a large following despite splitting up so early, the original members of the band met up again in Bolton and plans were made to record a new album with songs from 1979 – 1981, with Chris Tsangarides as producer!

And “Lightning Never Strikes Twice” which is title of one of the band’s early tracks, was born.

So, what sort of sound do Stormchild have? Originating in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal era, they don’t really have the typical NWOBHM sound. As many of you might remember from previous reviews from me, I am not the biggest fan of NWOBHM, but Stormchild has a totally unique sound that could fit well in a number of different genres. The band’s promo material states, “these songs are over 30 years old, but still sound so fresh and different” and I couldn’t agree more!

This album has a bit of everything, rocky little numbers that make you bop away in your chair (or around the living room if you are feeling a little bit more energetic!) and slower tracks that almost border on ballads (and who doesn’t love a good rock ballad?), all brought together with great musicianship.

They got together in 1979 as talented teenagers and they have brought that talent together in this album, with fantastic guitar solos, a tight rhythm section and vocals which are ideally suited to the type of music being played.

Maybe if this band had carried on in the 80’s I might have been a bigger fan of NWOBHM (although retrospectively as I am FAR too young to have lived through the original NWOBHM era!!) The more I listen to this album the more I like it and coming from a thrash girl that really is a good thing!

I hope when the world gets back to normal, or as close to it as we can, I will catch these guys at a gig somewhere. I want to see that great live show with all the pyrotechnics that they have a gained a reputation for.

Great job Stormchild, keep up the good work and looking forward to the next offering!

Track Listing

No Chances

Riders On The Rain

Lights, Camera, Action

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

When The Lights Go Down


Rockin Steady

Can’t Stand The Heat

Stay With Me

Sands Of Time

What To Try


Social Media


The Metal Asylum – Halloween Special – 01/11/2020

This week we had three hours of the spookiest metal tunes from over the years, with even a surprise few thrown in. Did we play your favourite one?

  • John Carpenter – Theme from Hallween
  • Bobby “Boris” Pickett – The Monster Mash
  • Alice Cooper – Feed My Frankenstein (Hey Stoopid! – 1991)
  • Rob Zombie – Dragula (Hellbilly Deluxe – 1998)
  • Acid Witch – Sabbath of The Undead (Stoned – 2010)
  • Dokken – Dream Warriors (Back For The Attack – 1987)
  • Fastway – Trick or Treat (Trick or Treat – 1986)
  • Stormchild – Halloween (Lightning Never Strikes Twice – 2020)
  • Angel Witch – White Witch (Give It Some Tickle – 1981)
  • Arch Enemy – Tears of The Dead (Stigmata – 1998)
  • Mercyful Fate – Into The Coven (Melissa – 1983)
  • Motley Crue – Shout At The Devil (Shout At The Devil – 1983)
  • Iced Earth – Dracula (Horror Show – 2001)
  • Cradle Of Filth – Her Ghost In The Fog (Midian – 2000)
  • Blue Oyster Cult – Nosferatu (Spectres – 1977)
  • Avantasia – Ghostlights (Ghostlights – 2016)
  • Bronx Casket Company – Little Dead Girl (Hellectric – 2016)
  • Iron Maiden – The Number of The Beast (The Number of The Beast – 1982)
  • Metallica – Of Wolf And Man (Metallica – 1991)
  • Sonata Artica – Full Moon (Ecliptica – 1999)
  • Candlemass – Witches (Essential Doom – 2004)
  • Hot Blood – Soul Dracula
  • Savatage – Ghost In The Ruins (Streets – A Rock Opera – 1991)
  • Lordi – Night of The Loving Dead (Arockalypse – 2006)
  • Demon – Night of The Demon (Night of The Demon – 1981)
  • St Madness – Vampire In The Church (Vampires In The Church – 2006)
  • Entombed – Night of The Vampire (Entombed – 1997)
  • Ghost – Ritual (Opus Eponymous – 2010)
  • Kiss – Unholy (Revenge – 1992)
  • Slayer – Dead Skin Mask (Seasons In The Abyss – 1990)
  • AC/DC – Nightprowler (Highway To Hell – 1979)
  • Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (Black Sabbath – 1970)
  • Avenged Sevenfold – Bat County (City of Evil – 2005)
  • Dimmu Borgir – Spellbound (By The Devil) (All For Tid – 1994)
  • Xentrix – Ghostbusters

Aired on Metal Devastation Radio

The Metal Asylum – 90’s Special – 25/10/2020

Deciding to put together a 90’s special show meant we had a TON of music to choose from. Here is what we put together!

  • Seven Witches – Metal Asylum
  • Pantera – I’m Broken (For Beyond Driven – 1994)
  • Guns n Roses – Civil War (Use Your Illusion II – 1991)
  • Strapping Young Lad – Detox (City – 1997)
  • Monster Magnet – Space Lord (Powertrip – 1998)
  • Slayer – Dittohead (Seasons In The Abyss – 1990)
  • Metallica – Sad But True (Metallica – 1991)
  • Soundgarden – Jesus Christ Pose (Bad Motor Finger – 1991)
  • Mr Bungle – Carousel (Mr Bungle – 1991)
  • Pearl Jam – Jeremy (Ten – 1991)
  • Faith No More – Midlife Crisis (Angel Dust – 1992)
  • The Offspring – Self Esteem (S.M.A.S.H – 1994)
  • Queensryche – Empire (Empire – 1990)
  • Type O Negative – Be My Druidess (October Rust – 1996)
  • Megadeth – Symphony Of Destruction (Countdown To Extinction – 1992)
  • Paradise Lost – Embers Fire (Ocon – 1993)
  • Mountain – Mississippi Queen (NOT 1990’s but for Leslie West who was 75 on 22/10/20)
  • Judas Priest – Metal Meltdown (Painkiller – 1990) Glenn Tipton’s birthday was 25/10/20
  • Cannibal Corpse – Stripped, Raped and Strangled (The Bleeding – 1994) Alex Webster was 51 on 25/10/20
  • Skid Row – Slave To The Grind (Slave To The Grind – 1991)
  • Annihilator – Phantasmogoria (Never, Never Land – 1990)
  • Carcass – Carnal Forge (Heartwork – 1993)
  • Machine Head – Davidian (Burn My Eyes – 1994)
  • Nevermore – Beyond Within (Dreaming Neon Black – 1990)
  • Rush – Stick It Out (Counterparts – 1993)
  • Testament – Riding The Snake (The Gathering – 1999)
  • Vicious Rumors – On The Edge (Vicious Rumors – 1990)
  • Black Sabbath – Immaculate Deception (Cross Purposes – 1994)
  • Helloween – We Burn (Time Of The Oath – 1996)
  • Death – Trapped In A Corner (Individual Thought Patterns – 1993)
  • Ministry – Jesus Built My Hotrod (Psalm 69 – The Way To Succeed and The Way To Suck Eggs – 1992)
  • Korn – Blind (Korn – 1994)
  • Entombed – Wolverine Blues (Wolverine Blues – 1993)
  • Iron Maiden – Fear Of The Dark (Fear Of The Dark – 1992)
  • Sepultura – Arise (Arise – 1991)
  • The Prodigy – Firestarter (something a bit different for us but we feel The Prodigy were a great contributor to 90’s music!)

Aired on Metal Devastation Radio on 18/10/2020

The Metal Asylum – 90’s Special – 25/10/2020

For this week we decided to do a 90’s special. Many people think the 90’s was a rubbish decade for metal music but we found, while compiling the playlist for this show, that this is NOT the case. There was so much music and such diversity too, there was literally something for everyone. Hope you enjoy listening to this as much as we enjoyed doing it

Aired on Metal Devastation radio on Sunday 25th October 2020

The Metal Asylum – 18/10/2020

I should have posted this WAAAAAY before now but here is the playlist for the show that was aired on Sunday 18th October 2020! Hopefully there is something here for everyone!

  • Seven Witches – Metal Asylum
  • Savatage – Gutter Ballet (Gutter Ballet – 1989) In memory of Criss Oliva who passed away in car crash on 17th October 1993
  • 44 Fires – Corporate Lies (The False Flag Agenda – 2013)
  • WASP – Who Slayed Baby Jane (Unholy Terror – 2001)
  • Ancient Empire – Prophecy Revealed (When Empires Fall – 2013)
  • Iced Earth – Curse The Sky (Iced Earth – 1990)
  • Fateful Finality – Misfits (Battery – 2015)
  • Paul Stanley – It’s Alright (Paul Stanley – 1978)
  • Slipknot – Snuff (All Hope Is Gone – 2008)
  • Fozzy – Grail (Chasing The Grail – 2010)
  • Odin – Modern Day King (Odin: The Metal Years – 1983)
  • Raven – Mind Over Metal (All For One – 1983)
  • Anthrax – Among The Living (Among The Living – 1987)
  • Agent Steel – Agents Of Steel (Skeptics Apocalypse – 1985)
  • Stormchild – Lights, Camera, Action (Lightning Never Strikes Twice – 2020)
  • Molly Hatchet – Bounty Hunter (Molly Hatchet – 1978)
  • Saxon – Conquistador (Metalhead – 1999)
  • Hellyeah – Live Or Die (Undeniable – 2016)
  • Syr Daria – Slaves (Voices – 2015)
  • Attic – Satan’s Bride (The Invocation – 2012)
  • Rage Against The Machine – Know Your Enemy (Rage Against The Machine – 1992)
  • Corrosion Of Conformity – Painted Smiling Face (Blind – 1991)
  • Incinery – Falling Into The Sky (Hollow Earth Theory – 2020)
  • Nightmare – Downfall Of A Tyrant (Aeternam – 2020)
  • Mortal Sin – Wasted Days (Every Dog Has Its Day – 1991)
  • Bad Company – Rock Of America (Dangerous Age – 1988)
  • Alice Cooper – Gail (Raise Your Fist And Yell – 1987)
  • Angelus Apatrida – At The Gates Of Hell (The Call – 2012)
  • Fear Factory – Virus Of Faith (The Industrialist – 2012)
  • Nazareth – All The Kings Horses (Expect No Mercy – 1977)
  • Judas Priest – Hellrider (Angel Of Retribution – 2005)
  • Toxic Ruin – mental Atrophy (Mortal Insolence – 2018)
  • Onslaught – Pain (Killing Peace – 2007)
  • Faith No More – Ashes To Ashes (Album Of The Year – 1997)
  • Dragonforce – Land Of Shattered Dreams (Reaching Into Infinity – 2017)
  • Primal Fear – Angel In Black (Nuclear Fire – 2001)
  • Tygers Of Pan Tang – Suzie Smiled (Wild Cat – 1980)
  • Slayer – Skeletons Of Society (Seasons In The Abyss – 1990)

Aired on Metal Devastation Radio on 18th October 2020