Author Archive

Moonspell – Extinct

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th February 2015 by Pieni

Moonspell
“Extinct”
Gothic metal
Release: 6th March 2015
Via Napalm Records

 photo 581_Moonspell_CMYK_zpsajtjlxtd.jpg

I’ve never liked labelling Moonspell as gothic metal as I’ve always felt they were much more than that. Until now. Well, actually, until “Omega White”, but since its counterpart “Alpha Noir” had that much-more in it, I still went for the vague “dark metal” at the time. Three years later, “Extinct” follows the path of “Omega White” and it leaves no room for vague descriptions – it’s gothic metal.

Reading what I’ve just written and listening to the first single – a very pop-ish first single – “The Last Of Us” might give you a false impression of mainstream, so please read this until the end. Because “Extinct” is quite a masterpiece. Me being able to pinpoint what genre of music they’re playing doesn’t mean they’ve lost that little je ne sais quoi that makes them unique.

There aren’t best songs here. Sure, everyone will have their favorites, but all tracks have been carefully crafted to a prime state. So despite the epic orchestral arrangements of “Extinct” and the fact that it’s the heaviest track, I believe the album was named after it due to the fatality ring such title bears and which echoes through others – “Breathe (Until We Are No More)”, “The Last Of Us”, “Funeral Bloom”, “A Dying Breed”, “The Future Is Dark”… See the pattern? And let me tell you that “La Baphomette” is macabre enough for your mind to associate it with the end of days. The short final track sung in French seems like it came straight from one of those horror-themed fairgrounds.

“Medusalem” will bring you vivid memories of The Sisters Of Mercy but only for a short while. It soon starts making new memories of Moonspell alone, with the richness of its guitars and some Arabian sounds. In fact, the whole guitar work is to be praised. Turning to a more gothic direction gave them the chance of putting the roughness aside and producing elaborate but fluid pieces. A special highlight on the solo of the enthralling “The Future Is Dark”, where, as I like to say, the guitar weeps its strings out. In “Domina”, they cry with a bit more vigor.

“Malignia” will seduce you with its dreamy nature, even if an ominous nightmare lurks around the chorus. This song comes right after “The Last Of Us”, which I’ve previously referred as pop-ish, so it’s quite the contrast. And mind that I’m not complaining about “The Last Of Us”, as its easy-going vibrancy is catchy and very pleasant. I was just concerned at the time of its release as a single that the whole album would be like that. After 10 albums – a double one included – I guess I should’ve known better, eh?

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

European headlining tour for Of Mice & Men

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 19th February 2015 by Pieni

 photo ofmiceandmen_zpsc4j1mg0r.jpg

In promotion of the reissue (or deluxe edition, if you prefer) of “Restoring Force”, now “Restoring Force: Full Circle”, Of Mice & Men will embark on an European headlining tour in March:

March 11 – Machine Moulin Rouge/Paris, FR
March 12 – Live Music Hall/Cologne, DE
March 13 – Melkweg/Amsterdam, NL
March 14 – Gruenspan/Hamburg, DE
March 16 – Tyrol/Stockholme, SE
March 17 – Tradgarn/Gothenburg, SE
March 19 – C Club/Berlin, DE
March 20 – Backstage Halle/Munich, DE
March 21 – Kofmehl/Solothurn, CH
March 23 – Substage/Karlsruhe, DE
March 24 – AB/Brussels, BE
March 26 – O2 Guildhall/Southampton, UK
March 27 – O2 Academy/Bristol, UK
March 28 – O2 Brixton Academy/London, UK
March 30 – Barrowlands/Glasgow, UK
March 31 – O2 Academy/Newcastle, UK
April 2 – Rock City/Nottingham, UK
April 3 – O2 Academy/Birmingham, UK
April 4 – Academy/Manchester, UK

The 2015 version of the album will hit the stores next Monday (23rd February) and includes three new songs and an acoustic version of “Feels Like Forever”, the full tracklist as follows:

 photo x7y3py34_zpstr1szmny.jpg01. Public Service Announcement
02. Feels Like Forever
03. Bones Exposed
04. Would You Still Be There
05. Glass Hearts
06. Another You
07. Break Free
08. You Make Me Sick
09. Identity Disorder
10. You’re Not Alone
11. Space Enough to Grow
12. Broken Generation
13. Something To Hide
14. Never Giving Up
15. Feels Like Forever (Acoustic Version)

Under the direction of Max Moore, the Orange County band has also filmed a video for one of the new songs, “Broken Generation”:

www.ofmiceandmenofficial.com/

www.facebook.com/ofmice/

European tour dates for Hirax

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 16th February 2015 by Pieni

 photo HIRAX 1 web_zpsfgkokjde.jpg

Californian thrashers Hirax will hit Europe next month, still promoting the latest album “Immortal Legacy”, which has been released one year ago:

13.03. UK-Gwynedd – Hammerfest Festival
14.03. UK-Glasgow – Ivory Blacks
15.03. UK-Birmingham – Asylum 2
16.03. UK-Manchester – Sound Control
17.03. UK-Winchester – Railway Inn
18.03. UK-London – Black Heart Camden
19.03. B-Deinze – Elpee
20.03. NL-Tilburg – Little Devil
21.03. NL-Katwijk – Scum
24.03. E-Zaragoza – Sala Utopia
26.03. E-Madrid – Sala Lemon
27.03. E-Palencia – At Mosh Phera Zero
28.03. E-Granada – La Petite
30.03. F-Toulouse – Les Pavillions Sauvages
03.04. I-Milan – Blue Rose Saloon
04.04. SVK-Bratislava – Randal Club
05.04. D-Hamburg – Bambi Galore

09.07. CZ-Trutnov – Obscene Extreme Festival
10.07. PL-Zori – Ozi Pub
11.07. PL-Gdynia – Atlantic Club
12.07. PL-Szczecin – Slowianin Club
13.07. PL-Warsaw – Progressja
14.07. D-Berlin – SO36
16.07. SVK-Kosice – Colliseum Club
17.07. CZ-Pohori – Agressive Fest
18.07. D-Balingen – Bang Your Head Festival
19.07. D-Egelsee – Schwarzer Adler
20.07. CH-Olton – Coq d`Or
21.07. SLO-Tolmin – Metal Days Festival
22.07. A-Dornbirn – Conrad Sohm
23.07. D-Kassel – K19
24.07. D-Brande/Hörnerkirchen – Headbangers Open Air
25.07. NL-Steenwijk – Stonehenge Festival
26.07. B-Ostend – JH Ohk

The band has recently filmed a new video for the track “Hellion Rising”, for which singer Katon W. De Pena said the following: “The new HIRAX video ‘Hellion Rising’ is a visual thrash metal experience. We filmed on location in the historic Battery Bunkers built in 1942 hidden in the hills of San Pedro, California. This is our second video directed and produced by Donovan Vim Crony. The scenery is the perfect backdrop for HIRAX‘s brand of intense thrash metal. No green scenes, fake production or props were used in the making of this high definition video / film. The release will coincide with the announcement of our upcoming European tour / concert dates 2015. We are very excited to hit the road again and play our music for all the die hard, European, thrash metal maniacs!”

www.hirax.org
https://www.facebook.com/hiraxthrashmetal

Amon Amarth w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 13th February 2015 by Pieni

Savage Messiah, Huntress, Amon Amarth
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
11th February 2015
Promoted by Prime Artits

 photo _DSC0496_zpsbooyzrby.jpg

Amon Amarth are very dear in my country, but it still positively surprised me that the show in Lisbon sold out a couple of weeks before the event. It didn’t sell out in Porto but it was close enough. And considering that both venues hold 1.000 people each, we’re talking about almost 2.000 metalheads “deceiving the gods” in this little corner of Europe. Not bad, huh?

 photo _DSC0110_zpsv9f8aanv.jpgEven though they could have pulled that off totally on their own, they obviously didn’t, bringing along two other bands. First one was Savage Messiah, who were playing in Porto for the first time. I don’t know how popular they were around here, but Portugal has a fair share of thrashers. And since Savage Messiah were formed in 2007 and last year were awarded as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme by the British Government, I’m pretty sure that many had at least heard of them. Still I didn’t notice the lyrics being sung along, hence my doubt. But I did listen to how loud they screamed their “Hey! Hey!” and how high they raised their fists, so if they didn’t know them before, they certainly do now, and in a very good way. Really a shame that they’ve played for such a short time – so short that photographers were rushed out of the photopit after just two songs instead of the usual three, as three would have literally meant half of the show. So it’s understandable that they’ve only played songs from their latest album, “The Fateful Dark”, even though they have two more in their baggage. The half-an-hour setlist included the opener “Iconocaust”, the “inspired by Satan” song “Hellblazer”, the title-track and “Minority Of One”, which was the last one. (5 / 5)

 photo _DSC0159_zpstgw2n5kp.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/SavageMessiahMetal

 photo _DSC0343_zpsblrxhhrr.jpgI wasn’t so stoked about Huntress and remained that way when the show was over. No, wait, I was stoked at the end BECAUSE it was over. At the time of their debut album, I wrote a review for another webzine and rated it 4/10. I’m looking at it right now and the first paragraph reads: « Huntress is a Californian heavy metal band highly overrated. Napalm Records took them in as “the undisputed newcomer of 2012” and I’m still wondering why. But then again, heavy metal always works on stage, and if you have a hot blonde with a very exposed cleavage screaming her lungs out, well, that surely calls a lot of attention. My question is – in the end of the show, do you remember any song? Did any solo, chorus or even a simple riff stick to your brain? Probably not. At least that’s what happened to me after listening to their debut “Spell Eater”. » What would you know? I was so right! Except for “I Want To Fuck You To Death”, that is, as the chorus is not just explicit but really catchy. But then again, as Jill Janus was so happy to inform, the song was co-written by Lemmy from Motörhead – so maybe the reason why it sounds distinctive.
Anyway, Jill was very energetic (as an aerobics instructor, as a friend would point out) but sadly her high pitch was far from steady. And the long screams were supported by the microphone effects. Then the guitar-hero poses of both guitarists were way too much for my personal taste. Mine and about a dozen friends who I’ve exchanged ideas with afterwards. But I guess we were a minority as the crowd gave a fiery response to Huntress (“We’re from California and we smoke a lot of weed”). So I can’t say that it was a bad concert, just that I didn’t like it.
Jill said “obrigada”, very pleased with herself by knowing the difference between “obrigada” and “obrigado” (it’s a gender thing – as a woman, she had to say the first, the latter is for men). She failed later, however, when she dedicated a song (“Zenith”, I think) to the girls, whom she called “muchachas”. That’s Spanish, Jill. But the crowd was hyped, and a crowdsurfing girl was praised by the singer: “that’s right, sister!”.
A new song, “Flesh”, was also introduced, and the set ended when “it was time to call the witches”“Eight Of Swords”. They left the stage with Jill saying “stay high”. Quite the advice… (3,5 / 5)

 photo _DSC0302_zpszn4xkvro.jpg

www.facebook.com/HuntressKills

 photo _DSC0497_zpsvsxejzdr.jpgWe always associate Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” to Indians and cowboys because of the music video. But if we look into the lyrics – “one man came across the sea…” – it could be any invader. So given the Vikings’ history, it was only suitable that this song served as intro for Amon Amarth.
Whatever I say about this show, it won’t do it any justice – regarding both the band and the crowd. It was the fifth time I was seeing these Swedes and I’ll make sure it wasn’t the last – they’re THAT kind of band. Right on the first song, “Father Of The Wolf”, I felt a boot on my head, as the crowdsurfers got into action practically in sync with the first riff.
It also didn’t take long for Johan Hegg to say good evening and welcome us to their party – in perfect Portuguese! Trust me, it’s not easy to catch our accent. That he took the time to practice meant a lot to everyone in that room. photo _DSC0458_zpsqxdwuax7.jpg
For one hour and a half, the frenzy only slowed down when Hegg introduced the songs, drank to us from his horn, and the few moments that followed “Victorious March”, marking the encore. Notice that I said “slowed down”, not “quieted”, because the crowd kept screaming and applauding, such was the frenzy. And even despite the heat, that spiked to sauna-levels.
The aforementioned encore started with the sound of thunder, the lights still dim. Then the band returned, with Hegg holding a Mjölnir in the air. Then he hammered the ground with it, Thor-like, before starting to sing “Twilight Of The Thunder God”. In the end he said it had been the last song, getting a desolated roar as response. To get one more, we had to scream our lungs out loud enough. I think it was the first time I saw a singer satisfied with our loudness on the first take. “Of course we have one more song for you!”, Hegg said, asking bassist Ted Lundström to take the lead. As expected, “The Pursuit Of Vikings” echoed, and in the last chorus, Hegg wasn’t as easily pleased with our vocal performance, pushing us further… and managing it, of course.
The whole band had a smile of their faces when they left the stage, with Hegg claiming we were “fantastic” and promising to come back. The next day, they posted a thank-you little video, with the caption “Oporto should now be called Oparty”. For this kind of pun, I didn’t mind the stupid “O” that, for some reason, the English language added to the original name of my hometown. (5 / 5)

 photo _DSC0596_zpst4sardbl.jpg

www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Details on new Unleashed album revealed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 10th February 2015 by Pieni

Swedish death metalheads – and founders of Viking death metal – Unleashed have revealed details of their upcoming 12th studio album. “Dawn Of The Nine” is its title and the cover looks like this:

 photo unleashed_zpsyfcltxfv.jpg

Recorded by producer and guitar player Fredrik Folkare in his own Chrome Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, “Dawn Of The Nine” features ten tracks with “riffs that are pure shrapnel” and “epic choruses”:

1. A New Day Will Rise
2. They Came To Die
3. Defenders Of Midgard
4. Where Is Your God Now?
5. The Bolt Thrower
6. Let The Hammer Fly
7. Where Churches Once Burned
8. Land Of The Thousand Lakes
9. Dawn Of The Nine
10. Welcome The Son Of Thor!

“The artwork represents the continuation of our previous album, which ended with ‘The Great Battle of Odalheim’. The battle took place at Uppsala fields in Sweden, and you can clearly see the ‘kings graves’ at the cover art work which is present at Uppsala also in the future. You can also see the bombed out Church in the far distance.
Then of course, you see the place of Blot in the front and the rune stone with the runic symbol of courage of the new dawn”, comments frontman Johnny Hedlund.

Set for release on the 27th April via Nuclear Blast, pre-orders are now available in the following formats:

Limited White Vinyl from NB UK store: http://www.nuclearblaststore.co.uk/shop/nuclearblast/proddetail.php?prod=NBL_unleashed_dawnLP

Limited Black Vinyl from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/gp/product/B00T63YHX8

Limited Digipack CD from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/gp/product/B00T63YBPM

unleashed.se 

facebook.com/unleashed

nuclearblast.de/unleashed

Code to release new album later this month

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 10th February 2015 by Pieni

Progressive post-rockers Code will release their 4th album on the 27th February in Europe and 10th March in North America, via Agonia Records. Recorded in the Brighton Electric Studios with producer Paul ‘Win’ Winstanley, the follow-up to “Augur Nox” is called “Mut” and presents itself with the following artwork and tracklist:

 photo mut_zpssjjkr8h4.jpg

1. on blinding larks
2. undertone
3. dialogue
4. affliction
5. contours
6. inland sea
7. cocoon
8. numb, an author
9. the bloom in the blast

“The new album really sees us free ourselves from any self imposed restriction for the first time and for us is the most honest and rewarding album we have released. Although this isn’t a metal album by any stretch of the imagination, it is the most confrontational move we could have made and we hope that it’s honesty and freshness will appeal to those who like sounds out of the norm”, says the band.

They have recently released a video for “Affliction”, which they claim to be “the most foreboding track on the album”:

Make your pre-order at: https://www.agoniarecords.com/index.php?pos=shop&lang=en

https://facebook.com/codeblackmetal

Vallenfyre w/ Foscor – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 9th February 2015 by Pieni

Foscor, Vallenfyre
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
7th February 2015
Promoter: Prime Artists

 photo _DSC0450_zpsovmmfsxf.jpg

Last autumn, Vallenfyre played a few shows across central Europe and England, in support of their second and most recent album “Splinters”. They left the Iberian Peninsula for the winter, in a total of eight shows in Spain and two in Portugal, under the suitable name “Splinters Over Iberia Tour”. The last one was in my hometown, Porto – courtesy of Prime Artists.

 photo foscor3_zpsrobyqpnh.jpgThey also decided to choose an Iberian band to support them and the lucky ones were Barcelona-based Foscor. Not that it was just luck – they actually deserve it. Formed in 1997 and having released four albums – the latest, “Those Horrors Wither”, last November, so it’s quite fresh – Foscor play a mix of black and death metal, with some melody in-between. Plus, singing in both growling and clean tones, in English and Catalan, the outcome is exquisitely good! And Foscor means “darkness” in Catalan, by the way.

They focused mostly on “Those Horrors Wither”, of course, but played a couple from the previous “Groans To The Guilty” and the title-track of their second album “The Smile Of The Sad Ones”. Singer/bass player Fiar addressed the audience often, in Spanish, which was totally fine since Spanish and Portuguese are very similar; but still he apologized for not being able to speak Portuguese. How nice of him! He did say “obrigado” (thank you), and then spoke in English when it was time to thank the crew and their Vallenfyre “brothers”.

Too bad there wasn’t that many people to welcome them, and the few who were present were a little cautious at first. Eventually the applauses became more vigorous and genuine, but still too far from what it should have been, given the quality of the show. (5/5)

 photo foscor2_zpsve7vkl97.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/foscor.official

 photo _DSC0393_zps8sfgisr1.jpgI’ve seen Paradise Lost almost as many times as they’ve played in Portugal (having only missed the first one), so I knew how expressive Gregor Mackintosh could be. Or I thought I knew. As much as I’d imagined he would have more liberty to move around without the guitar in his hands, I confess I’ve never expected THAT! The man is restless! And funny too! Among the quotes that made me laugh the most, there’s the one where he claimed to love God with all his semen running down His back; that he believed we were all born equal – except for their bass player Scoot; Obrigado! See? I can speak Portuguese. Took me twenty years to learn how to say ‘thank you’. Give me another twenty and I’ll learn how to say ‘please’.”; how the following song (“Bereft”) was a calm one so “there’s the bar. Go have a drink and come back in eight minutes”; how he asked some (supposedly) upper middle-class guy in the crowd for some borrowed money, adding right away that he was joking, as he had more money than any of us could possibly imagine, “that’s why I’m wearing these pants”; or how another guy could buy him a pint at the end of the show for knowing the name of their first single (“Desecration”) – something Mackintosh was certain no one knew. Oh, and how they would play a song about beef (“Cattle”). Having such humorous moments mixed with the abrasiveness of Vallenfyre’s death metal and the heavy sorrow of their doom was just priceless. Amazing performance in all fronts!

 photo _DSC0447_zpsrmckeydi.jpg

On a less-of-a-joke note, he said Porto was his favorite city in Europe; that he’d been here for gigs, on vacation… although he had a drinking problem (this because we have very good wine – not just our trademark Port – and beer). Now I don’t know if he really meant that – the favorite part – but it obviously put a smile on my face and brought out a roaring ovation from the crowd.

Despite promoting “Splinters”, as they only have one other full-length album (“A Fragile King”), the one-hour-and-a-half setlist was equally divided between the two, but starting and finishing with the opening and final tracks from “Splinters”“Scabs” and the title-track, respectively, the latter “a video you might have seen. It has demons.”

Everyone hoped for an encore, especially when the lights took so long to be turned on, but it didn’t happen – either because they hadn’t rehearsed any other song or because of the “Techno Lovers” night that was taking place at Hard Club afterwards. Anyway, no one can complain – the show was perfect as it was (except for the low number of people, that is, but at least we made it count). (5/5)

 photo _DSC0807_zpsednb1ulk.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/Vallenfyre

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 770 other followers