Archive for July, 2011

Obsolete Tomorrow – Beauty Through Chaos [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 31st July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Obsolete Tomorrow
Album: Beauty Through Chaos
Release year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Death Metal/Yorkshire Metal

Obsolete Tomorrow is the solo project of Driffield based guitarist and producer Lee Rule [Ravenage, Windrider, ex-Divine Sinn]. The debut EP “Beauty Through Chaos” [A concept EP revolving around Rule’s life] was released through Rule’s label Xeroxed Records.

The generically named “Prelude” is the first track of the album. Even on a low volume the sheer aggression of the guitars and drums bursts through the speakers. “Battle Ready” comes shredding its way next with a violent combination of raw growls, guitars and drums. The guitars are acute in their composition and playing whilst the drums are masterfully played. The vocals are extremely impressive, almost demonic – Even the whispered growls are a great addition to the track and the EP. The guitar solo is brilliant, very melodic – Mixing well with the aggressive rhythm. Two songs in and the EP is already at a savagely awesome beginning.

The hard-bitten intro of “The Eternal Nightmare” blasts its way next with a ruthless combo of guitars and drums. The synths are a great part of the track, adding a calmness to the hurricane-like force of pure brutality. The drum work is precise but savagely brutal and the vocals are feral and beasty. The double bass pedal barrages are an ingenious addition to the track as well. “Let Chaos Rise” starts with a less rage-fuelled riff, being more akin to progressive metal than death metal, as can be heard in other sections of the track. The guitars and drums certainly show a progressive influence though the vocals keep the angst and aggression. The synths are amazing. There are some death metal elements in the guitars and drums – Good news for those whom aren’t a fan of progressive metal. The highlight of the song would definitely have to be the guitar solo.

”My Asylum” is one of the more lighter songs on the EP, featuring a masterful use of melodic guitar riffs. The track could be easily described as the calm before the storm, which is most true considering the bloodthirsty assault of metal that follows in the form of “The New Beginning” which mixes the aggression and heaviness of death metal with the interesting influences of progressive metal. The drum work is entertaining in its style and playing, blending well with the guitars and vocals. The vocals certainly add the brutal element to the song. The different tempos throughout the track add a new dynamic to the entire EP as well as the track.

”The Rise Of Beauty” is another softer song on the EP, being akin to a mixture of progressive and melodic metal. Surprisingly, there’s a use of female vocals that create the good ol’ “beauty and the beast” effect with the harsh growls. The riffs are very melodic and heavy in some sections. The choir voices from the synths add a very mystical and epic atmosphere to the track. The rough, aggression guitar work contrasts well with the soft, melodic riffs and the female vocals are just enchanting. The EP finishes with “The War Is Over”, another soft, progressive styled track that is the perfect end to a brilliant EP.

Both composition-wise and production-wise, Beauty Through Chaos is a masterpiece. If you didn’t know it was the debut release of Obsolete Tomorrow, you’d most certainly think it was a later release in Obsolete Tomorrow’s discography. Progressive death metal has never been so brilliantly composed! It’s probably the best release in the British metal scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Internal Harvest – Exit Signs [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 31st July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Internal Harvest
Album: Exit Signs
Release year: 2011
Genre: Dark Metal

Australia is a country with one of the most unknown metal scenes in the world which is actually a huge shame considering the quality of the metal that comes from down under. Internal Harvest are another top quality band from the Australian metal underground. “Exit Signs” is the latest full-length from these Aussie dark metallers.

The melodically slow introduction of “Quagmire” begins the album. Without any form of warning, the track turns stout and stormy, whilst lethargic at the same time. The vocals are raw and savage but the drum work needs improvement as it doesn’t seem to fit in with the guitars or vocals. The song, overall, does set a very gloomy and dark-hearted mood, something that might not be liked by all but it’s still a genius effect of the track. Towards the end of the track, the drum work improves greatly, bouncing off the guitars extremely well. “Field Of Thorns” has a faster tempo but still brings along a very melancholy atmosphere with it. The drum work is more acute and well composed and the bass riffs – clearly audible – sound simply amazing. The vocals are still raw, angsty and untamed – though in some section they do sound slightly whiney. The clean, droning vocals make the track sound slightly doom metal-ish as well – A surprisingly decent aspect of the song.

“Blinded By Heart” is different sounding in its introduction, as it mixes clean and slow riffs and soft drums with feral screams. The mood generated by this song is a sombre and sorrowful one, making the listener’s heart literally feel heavy with remorse – Very few bands these days can pull that off so kudos to Internal Harvest for that. The tempo and weight of the song increases towards the halfway point and the vocals become more savage. “Crumbling Within” starts with a synth-guitar combo introduction which is soon joined by the drums. Though a soft beginning, the atmosphere it generates is powerful. The vocals, clean and droning, add to the atmosphere and the mood set by the song. The immensity of the track escalates when it turns heavier. The riffs become rougher and the vocals more hateful, though the drum stay soft. The soft and clean guitar section makes a reappearance towards the end of the track as well.

“The Illusion Of Life” starts with strange sound effects and odd sounding guitar parts. The track turns heavy yet slow after about a minute of sound effects. The vocals sound bloodthirsty and beefy. After a while, the track begins to become uninteresting though it is clearly well composed and the sound effects do add a unique sound to it. The clean vocals keep a doom metal essence about the track as well. It does, however, become more exciting towards the end – A little too late though. The final song on the album is the title track “Exit Signs”, beginning slow like some of the previous tracks and partially muted. However, the listener need not despair as the track does get heavier. The vocals are still raw and untamed and the drums work well the guitar sections. The increase of tempo is brilliant as it gives the track more untameable energy and aggression whilst keeping a certain sombre mood as well. The clean vocals are well used on this track as well, adding to the despairing feeling of the song.

Australia may not be noted for its metal but with a band like Internal Harvest on the scene it may soon be known for its metal scene rather than its kangaroos. The album is a different one compared to most metal albums these days as it mixes black, doom and progressive metal with some very experimental ideas as well. It works mostly throughout the album though there are some parts where it just does not want to seem to work – But this is no fault of the band’s as some things just can’t work together at all. It will be interesting to see how Internal Harvest carry on this unique sound found on “Exit Signs”.

4/5

Nico Davidson

The Obscene – The Torment Of Sinners [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 30th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: The Obscene
Album: The Torment Of Sinners EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Old School Death Metal

The United Kingdom underground metal scene is home to many great extreme (death & black) metal bands such as Hecate Enthroned and Venom. However, they’re not the only bands that have they’re home in the British underground. The Obscene, who keep death metal old school, are another band on the rise in the underground and their recent EP “The Torment Of Sinners” is just another step to the top for them.

”The Storm To Come”, aptly named, is the introduction to the EP. The use of sound effects throughout it, until the guitars and drum appear, leaves the listener on the edge of their seats – In a similar fashion to an extremely terrifying horror film. The guitars and drums are certainly old school in their composition. “The Storm To Come” finishes with what sounds to be the mutilated scream of a woman being stabbed, which introduces the second track “Embrace Oblivion”. The terrifying and violent concoction of vocals, guitars and drums greets the listener brutally at the beginning. The guitars are raw and just bursting with energy and the drum work is precise to the beat, brutal and intelligent.

”Grim Discovery” is composed of a voiceover which is a man speaking of bashing in a woman’s head – Can’t get any more violent than that unless you add in some raw, untamed death metal riffage which is exactly what The Obscene do, adding to the aggression and shock-value of the track. Beginning in a similar fashion to “Embrace Oblivion” is the slow yet heavy track entitled “Beyond The Hold Of God”. Some of the guitar sections seem to be choppy and lacking consistency though the listener can certainly feel the anger of the music – Which is a great thing for the hardcore fans of death metal. The drums are most impressive, more impressive the beast-like vocals.

”Skiprat Jane” begins with a voiceover of a female asking to borrow a body. The guitar riff that follows is just savage whilst the drums are on the verge of being Wall of China falling on a skull heavy! The vocals are pretty much bloodthirsty and hateful. Incorrectly named, “The Final Silence” comes shredding next – Bringing blissful death metal styled loudness with it. The scream, before the growls, sounds a tad like the ones found on a Venom record. The riffs are ingenious, mixing well with the hard-bitten drums, which sound to be doing a lot of the work in some sections. The vocals have a more beasty and demonic sound as well.

The last five tracks of the EP are bonus tracks, which can be found on the “Destroying the Heavens” EP from when the band went under a different name. The first of these bonus tracks is “P. S. A. S”. The guitars and drums certainly sound raw and unrefined, a good trait indeed. The vocals, on the other hand, sound more akin to black metal as opposed to death metal. The softer and clean section is certainly not what the listener would expect to find on this track – Fortunately it doesn’t last long before the track turns heavy again. “Destroying The Heavens” begins slow and clean, disappointingly. Though the blood-curdling scream signals for a change in weight and tempo for the track. The riffs and drums are barbaric and the vocals sound feral.

“The Man, The Martyr” brings the anger and savagery straight from the beginning. The music seems more fiery and rage-fuelled and the vocals are frenzied, much like a berserker. “Circle Of Despair” is different sounding as it seems to be more classic rock orientated, rather than death metal – though the vocals do keep a certain death metal dynamic to the track. The EP finishes with “And The Rivers Ran Black”, a track whose intro sounds slightly Gorgoroth inspired. The vocals are still raw and feral, whilst the music is savage, barbaric and bloodthirsty – A true death metal combination. You really couldn’t ask for a better track to finish the EP with.

”The Torment Of Sinners” might sound like a line out of the bible but the EP is far from biblical. The riffs and drum work would have Satan himself leaving a brown streak in his boxers and the vocals would give any demon a run for their money. Production wise, the songs are raw and aggressive – Perfect for the old school style of The Obscene. Despite the clean and slow guitar sections, “The Torment Of Sinners” is an interesting and entertaining EP, that’s not just for Hallowe’en, a jewel in Britain’s underground metal scene.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Akkadian – Obsidian Dawn [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 30th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Akkadian
Album: Obsidian Dawn
Release year: 2011
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Britain, the very country whose music scene has given birth to metal subgenres such as black metal, Gothic rock and metal, folk metal and progressive metal and has gone as far as to influence other genres such as Power metal and Death metal, has one of the most well known metal undergrounds in Europe. Each year, new bands appear within the metal underground and one the most notable bands to have formed in the past decade within the British underground is the blackened death metal outfit known as “Akkadian”. Following the success of their EP “Tides Of Carpathia”, Akkadian have gone to release their next EP “Obsidian Dawn”.

The EP begins with the unexpected, melodic intro of “Dominus”. The riff is hypnotic and mesmerising and slightly haunting. The track turns brutal after the intro – The riffs and drum work are absolutely ruthless in their playing and the vocals are callous and gruff, certainly better than most vocals found in modern death metal. The drums are hard-bitten and adeptly played, adding a certain amount of intelligence to the barbarically savage track. The title track, “Obsidian Dawn”, has a semi-melodic, semi-rage-fuelled introductory riff. The vocals keep the death metal element flowing through the track whilst the guitars and drums bring the aggressiveness. In parts, the drums seem sluggish though this is nothing to despair about as it adds to the heaviness of the song. The vocals are probably the one thing that truly stick out about this track. ”The Slaves Shall Arise” has a slight hint of Behemoth influence by the sounds of it. The vocals are beast-like and faster paced than the last two tracks. The guitars play some amazing riffs – Both melodically and barbarically – Whilst the drums are more sophisticated yet hateful in their style. “The Slaves Shall Rise” could easily be a mosh-pit anthem as well as a fan favourite. It is clearly the best track on the EP.

”Ascension Of The Nephilim Child” has a very interesting, energetic and melodic intro that is savage and violent as well. The vocals are still going strong, keeping that death metal element flowing. The use of melodic riffs on this track is just simply mind-blowing and its amazing how the sheer brutality of the drums works so well with the melodic sections. The EP finishes with “Sargon Of Akkad”. The soft, melodic intro is unexpected and feels like a disappointing come down after the aggression and heaviness of the previous tracks. Fortunately, the track does turn angrier and more demonic sounding. The riffs sound sadistic and the drums seem to have more bite, whilst the vocals sound like demonic howling of a werewolf – Which is a brilliant addition to the song. As “Sargon Of Akkad” progresses it begins to sound more and more monstrous and slightly old skool death metal styled as well. The narration in the second half of the song is just brilliant, working well alongside the guitars and drums. The solo that follows is immense and beastly. The track ends with a soft and melodic riff.

”Obsidian Dawn” is a brutish piece of work in terms of composition, everything just seem feral and violent – Making for a brilliant piece of work. The production qualities are great on the EP as well, as one can clearly hear everything and still enjoy the aggressive brutality of the songs. Akkadian could well become the next Death, Behemoth or Mayhem.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Drygva – The Son Of The Mighty Rod [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 29th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Drygva
Album: The Son Of The Mighty Rod
Release year: 2010
Genre: Folk Metal/Pagan Metal/Slavic Metal

Drygva, a two-piece folk metal band from Belarus whom are extremely proud of their ancestral roots and heritage, bring something new to folk metal, a genre that seems to focus on Vikings and drinking. Their debut album, “The Son Of The Mighty Rod”, has been described as being able to take the listener back to age-old times of the pre-Christian Slavic peoples.

“The Prophesy” is the first track of the album, though it is more of a prelude than an actual track, being composed of the sound of horses, wind, acoustic guitars and other folk instrumentation, alongside narration in the band’s native tongue. “Path of Volkhves” calmly follows next with a flute medley introduction. The track turns savage with the introduction of the vocals. The guitars and drums are beefy and violent, whilst the lyrics, growled in Drygva’s native tongue, add a very folk element to the song. The flute and and string medleys add a harmonious yet dramatic atmosphere. The song, unexpectedly, finishes serenely.

The third song, “Mother of Enhydris” begins with a slow, melodic and wild intro, which sounds more tame when the flutes come in. Everything in the song seems to blend perfectly well from the masterfully composed flute sections to the savage yet intelligent guitar and drum work. The vocals sound raw and feral, adding to the mastery of the track. The tribal-like instrumental break half way through the track is different but brilliant and it works oddly well with the guitars before they fully take over the track again. “Son Of Mighty Rod” starts with a strange sounding guitar-flute intro. Some of the guitar sections lack consistency and don’t work too well with the other instruments in parts. The vocals are still impressive, as are the flutes. “Son Of Mighty Rod” is, at best, an average track with room for improvement in terms of the guitars.

The first interlude-styled track of the album is next in the form of “The Watchword”. The track features more narration in the band’s native tongue as well as tribal drum work and some guitar work, though the flute medleys pretty much are the best thing about “The Watchword”. “Under The Banner Of Perun” blasts its way next with a beastly drum section and face-melting guitar riffs. The folk instrumentation adds a very mythic sound to the song, keeping the grand and majestic sound of the album flowing. The carnal vocals keep the track brutal sounding as well. If there was one song that perfectly defines the sound of “Drygva”, then “Under The Banner Of Perun” is certainly is that song!

Nearing towards the end of the album is “Sigh Of War”. The flute medley that begins it is very serene and soothing whilst the guitar riff that follows is feral and ferocious. The drum work is acute, heavy and barbaric and the vocals are aggressive. Some of the flute medleys sound similar to the ones found earlier in the album, which is disappointing. The guitar solo is a genius addition to the track. The second and final interlude of the album comes next. “Thunderstorm” seems wrongly named at first due to the calm music that echoes throughout it, mixed with the whispered narration. However, a strong and powerful guitar riff follows, mixed with drums, folk instruments and the roaring sound of thunder.

”If You Shall Die In Battle” begins with the sound of men screaming in battle and the roaring sound of a melodic riff. The drum are thunderous and savage, whilst the flute sections are intelligently played. The song seems to get more fast-paced and violent as it goes on. The vocals are still strong, feral and bloodthirsty. The sound samples of men fighting in armed combat mix in well with the theme of the song, though it does give it a slight Viking Metal feel. The album finishes with “Festal Song”, a more folk orientated song sounding a little bit like the old song “Greensleeves”. The mighty sound of metal does make itself heard on this track – Fortunately enough for those who can’t stand folk music on its own. The vocals don’t seem as impressive on this track however and some of the riffs seem choppy.

As a debut album, “The Son Of The Mighty Rod” is not extremely impressive but it is better than average. Their blend of folk music and metal is certainly unique sounding and the use of lyrics in their native tongue gives the album a very folkish feel. There are some sections that need working upon and the of interludes throughout the album did take away from its musical impact but Drygva do certainly show a great deal of talent and hopefully they will be releasing more albums in the near future.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson

Jam Night @ Shades [Event Review]

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , on 28th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Event: Jam Night
Location: Shades, Queen Street, Bridlington

Jam Night, a regular event set up by Dave Allott of Red Bamboo Studio, has become a vital part of Bridlington’s underground music scene. Through the years, it has seen several changes of venues but has now found a new home at Shades, a nightclub located underneath Harbour Tavern on Queen Street.

Jam Night is certainly a most interesting event as it allows new musicians and bands, as well as more experienced ones to show off and demonstrate their talents and skills, as well as original compositions. The atmosphere of the first Jam Night at Shades was one buzzing with excitement and enjoyment. Each musician who played certainly displayed great talent and raw potential – Each one playing a different style, be it classic rock to a modern post-hardcore sound. It’s no wonder Jam Night has become a vital pulse in Bridlington’s music scene.

The £2 entry is certainly well worth it whether you’re just a fan of live music or a musician looking to jam with like-minded individuals. So, if you’re ever in Bridlington on a Thursday evening and want something to do, Jam Night at Shades is the place to go and is certainly a great place for any musician to hone their skills.

Nico Davidson

Jam Night is every Thursday at Shades between 7pm and 10pm. Entry fee is £2. Alcohol is not sold in Shades but is available in Harbour Tavern, which is located just above Shades. For more details, e-mail Dave Allott at: dave@redbamboomusic.com

Broken Mirrors – Strong Enough [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on 27th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Broken Mirrors
Album: Strong Enough
Release year: 2010
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Thrash Metal

Broken Mirrors, whom formed back in 2007, are apart of the unsung French metal scene. Combining melodic death metal with thrash metal, the band have been on a roll since forming, despite line-up changes. 2010 saw the release of their EP “Strong Enough”, which features two original tracks that are due to appear on their next full-length album and two punk covers.

The first track of the EP is the title track “Strong Enough”. The intro is completely synth orientated until the sound of eerie, melodic guitars with soft drums, which isn’t the kind of intro that is expected – Already ruining the atmosphere and EP. The track, luckily, does become heavier though staying slow-paced with the synth section reappearing which sounds like something heard on a Zelda game. The tempo does increase a fair bit later in the track though the song does keep switching between synth medleys and guitar riffs, which takes some getting used to. The vocals sound to be leaning more towards a black metal or metalcore effect as opposed to a death metal style. The guitar solo is mediocre though does show potential for the track to improve though the synth solo that follows doesn’t give the track much justice. Already, the EP is off to a, at most, mediocre start.

”Holding The Trigger” is melodic and average paced to begin with though brilliantly composed and beasty. The vocals have more bite to them and the synth sections do well to bring a different sound to the song. The drums are beefy and heavy. “Holding The Trigger” feels and sounds so much more aggressive, the way a thrash/death metal track should be. The voice overs in the middle with the sci-fi sounding synth add a very unique sound to the EP as well. The listener can certainly hear the death metal and thrash influences and elements on this track. The guitar solo is melodic and gentle yet like a raging lion at the same time. “Holding The Trigger” is certainly an improvement.

The last two songs on the EP are the previously mentioned punk covers. The first of these covers is “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, originally performed by The Offspring. It contains an old-skool punk feel to it yet bringing in a modern, beck-breaking metal sound, brilliantly mixing old and new together. The vocals are raw and full of angst, pretty much dominating the track. Broken Mirrors have certainly made this one sound like one of their own songs. The second cover and last song on the EP is “Anarchy In The UK” – A song originally performed by the infamous punk pioneers known as Sex Pistols. The synth parts don’t seem to fit in well with the other instruments. The vocals have a very punk touch to them, which would make the occasional listener to metal mistake this song for a punk version of the cover. The guitars have a lot of bite to them, whilst the drums just seem typically punk.

Despite the mediocre beginning and some dodgy synth riffs, “Strong Enough” is a decent release and a good example of what can be expected of the French metal scene. Broken Mirrors do show quite a bit of potential to be well-known on the international metal scene, they just need to work on the synth sections mainly.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson

Aeon Of Horus – The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light [2008]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 27th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Aeon Of Horus
Album: The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light
Release year: 2008
Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Hailing from Australia, the four piece death metal out known as Aeon Of Horus [a name also used in Themela for the portrayal of a time of self-realisation] combine technical riffs and drum work with aggressive and violent brutality. Since forming in 2006, Aeon Of Horus have gone to dominate the Australian metal scene with their debut album “The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light”.

”3C321” begins the album with a short, melodic lick in which feral vocals and rugged riffs come straight after. The guitar work is extremely technical, perhaps a bit too technical in places. The drum work is vicious and unrestrained, adding savagery and barbaric stylings to the track. Whilst the track is well composed, it feels as if they is too much going on during in the three and a half minutes. It’s a mediocre track to be beginning the album with.

”Conquering The Speed Of Light” begins with a bit more consistency and less going on in the introduction compared to the previous track. Some of the riffs seem to be more straight forward and with no thrills while there is still a use of technicality through the track. The vocals are certainly beast-like and demonic. The drum work seems to be more acute and calculated as well. “Conquering The Speed Of Light” is certainly an assault upon the listener’s ears – Though this will be no problem for any dedicated fan of death metal. “The Embodiment: Part One – Of Darkness” has a very interesting beginning, being composed only of intense drumming. The guitar section that follows doesn’t seem to favour technicality much, though that’s no problem as the keyboard sections help create an atmosphere. There are some melodic riffs here and there throughout the track which are impressive.

Following after is the track entitled “The Embodiment: Part Two – And Light”. The intro is slower paced for a short while before the face-melting aggression and speed kicks in. The drums are vigilant and acutely played, while the guitars are brutal and angry sounding – the way death metal should be! The vocals are still going strong, retaining the feral, beast-like sound to them. The piano medley during in part of the second half is enchanting, almost like the singing an angel in a world of misery. The acoustic start of “The Pillars” is next, mixed with cunningly played drums. The acoustic guitar sections are masterfully played, lulling the listener into a state of calmness which is soon disrupted by the brutalising onslaught of “Arrogantly Opposing Reality”. The riffs are clever and sharp, whilst barbaric and savage at the same time. The drums are played with great precision, keeping in touch with the rest of the track. The vocals sound slightly like the ones found on a Lamb Of God album, which is no bad thing.

“Icon” is another track with an acoustic beginning, though the track is not entirely acoustic – fortunately enough for those who favour raw, destructive riffs over softer sections. The vocals are on the verge of being black metal vocals in some sections, though still manage to keep a hold of their death metal elements. The riffs can only be described as merciless metal aggression mixed with hateful drum work – the perfect recipe for a good death metal anthem. “Heru-Ra-Ha”, which literally means “Horus sun-flesh” [Also the name of a composite deity in Themela] ruthlessly blasts its way through the album, with intelligent-yet-untamed guitar and drum work, topped with fierce and remorseless sounding vocals. The short acoustic break is unexpected and ruins the track partially, composition wise, however the guitar solo is sheer brilliance and makes one easily forget about the acoustic section.

“As The Earth Shatters (Part One)” is the second to last track of the album. The entire track is calm, solemn and somewhat soothing, composed entirely of orchestration – Which can be a let down for listeners who were expecting neck-breaking riffs and ear-busting drum work. However, “As The Earth Shatters (Part Two)” makes up the let down of the first part as it brings the neck-breaking riffs that the listener is so eager to hear. The drum work is great, sharply composed yet uncivilised at the same time – A great contrast. Listener be warned though, orchestration makes its return on this track as well during in the second half though the raspy, whispered vocals to wonders to make it more enjoyable. The track does end on a final, heavy note fortunately enough.

Australia could soon be the next internationally recognised metal scene – Especially with Aeon of Horus pioneering it. “The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light” is an interesting album indeed. Though there are a few parts which aren’t enjoyable, the album is certainly a genius piece of work and clearly shows the potential of “Aeon Of Horus”. Be you a hardcore fan of death metal or just a casual listener, “The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light” is one album that you must listen to.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Vinlanders [Band Review]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Vinlanders
Country: Canada
Genre: Folk Metal
Site:
Vinlanders @ Facebook

Folk Metal, originally a genre that originated in the United Kingdom, has slowly become an international genre with folk metal bands appearing in places like Finland, Argentina and Germany. In the snowy lands of Canada, folk metal is slowly on the rise and part of that rise are “Vinlanders”.

Like any decent folk metal band, Vinlanders have a brilliant use of melodic guitar riffs and folk instrumentation, as can be heard in their song “Duel Of Hundred Lights”. The folks are raspy and aggressive whilst the cleaner vocals have that hint of folk singing to them. The drum work is cleverly done, staying very consistent with the progression of the song. “Vinlanders (Defend The Land)” is a most interesting track to listen to as its introduction has a medieval-meets-Ensiferum sound and there is a use of what sounds to be lyrics in a foreign language which makes the song feel like a native folk song from the olden days. The only issue with these two tracks is that they don’t seem to be heavy enough to be folk metal, though they are brilliantly composed.

”Northern Sea Journey” is very solemn to begin with, due to the slow-paced and gentle introduction. Even the guitars are very solemn in their playing. The folk instrumentation is just brilliant and the clean vocals give the song a very majestic folk feel, though the harsher vocals don’t seem to blend well with the track. The song finishes with an immense use of acoustic guitars, flute medleys and clean vocals. “Exiled” is an odd track to begin with, as the introduction doesn’t quite seem folky though the accordion riff that follows does give the song a more folk-meets-pirate feel which is an improvement. The guitars and drums certainly play their parts well, contrasting with the accordion and harsh vocals. The biggest downfall of the track is that the clean vocals seem to overpower the music in sections, though this is no fault of the band’s.

”Vinlanders” certainly have the potential to be a great folk metal band and could easily be touring alongside the likes of Moonsorrow, Ensiferum and Tyr in the near future. Fans of folk metal should keep an eye – and ear – out for this very talented band in their quest of bringing epic Canadian folk metal to the world.

Nico Davidson

Artania – Night Shall Crown Ye [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Artania
Album: Night Shall Crown Ye
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Russia is known for its cold and cruel winter and its old, bloodthirsty leader Stalin, both of which have shaped Russia into the perfect grim environment for any black metal musician looking for bleak and nihilistic inspiration for their music. The grim environment has done more than just provide inspiration however as it has been the breeding grounds for many underground black metal bands in Russia. In 2007, Artania was born from said breeding ground, with a more black-death metal sound. After several line-up changes, they soon developed a unique blend of symphonic black metal complete with Russian lyrics. “Night Shall Crown Ye” is Artania’s debut album, released originally on May 31st through Graillight Productions in the band’s native Russia but is now available for digital release exclusively through Hunter’s Moon Records.

The air raid sirens of “Alchemic Dream (Demonic Mantra)” begin the album. The symphonic orientated riffs soon follow complete with angsty drums and violent guitar sections. The vocals are a combination of beasty and scary – Probably due to the Russian lyrics they’re screaming. The drum work is very precise and technical, showing great intellectual playing from the drummer. The whispered section is somewhat eerily haunting. The only downside to “Alchemic Dream” is that it doesn’t seem as aggressive as a black metal track usually is – This could be a result of the emphasis on the orchestration or perhaps a fault on the producer’s behalf.

The title track “Night Shall Crown Ye” begins more slow paced with a slightly progressive sound echoing from the drum work. The pace slowly and ever so slightly increases, building up for the appearance of the vocals. To begin with, the vocals are more along the lines of death metal as opposed to black metal. The Russian lyrics help give the track that certain grim touch that very few black metal bands today can pull off. Another key element about the track is the lack of orchestration when compared to the guitars and drums and the use of female vocals is simply enchanting, for lack of a better word. “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is an aggressive and barbaric track at the start. The vocals have become more hateful and rage-fuelled. There is more use of symphonic elements compared to “Night Shall Crown Ye”, adding a very Gothic sound to it. A big downfall for “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is that it doesn’t seem as heavy as it’s meant to be.

The acoustic beginning of “Liturgy in Black Colors” greets the listener unexpectedly. Fortunately for those whom don’t enjoy acoustic guitars, the sound of electric guitars soon blasts through. There is more use of orchestration as well as more black metal screams, which is always a good thing for black metal fans. During the second half of the track, the acoustic guitar appears again, which puts a sudden halt to the energy of the track and the vocals seem to be more demonic, more violent and more spiteful, sounding almost like the blood curdling screams of Abaddon. “San-Grinyol (Theatre Of Death” continues from where the previous track finished, bringing in more use of acoustic instrumentation to begin with before the savagery of the electric guitars and drums breaks in. “San-Grinyol” is clearly more brutal than the previous four tracks and is possibly one of the best on the album so far. The guitar solo is well composed though slightly short.

The assaulting drum work and guitar riffs of “Fogs Of Witches Heath” tears through next, bringing raw, untamed energy and aggression with them. The vocals are more bloodthirsty and savage in their sound, which is both terrifying and awesome. The combination of female vocals and piano medleys is immense, especially when when the track turns heavy again with the female vocals working alongside the harsher vocals, in true beauty and the beast fashion. “Towards Northern Wind” brings a calmer approach to the album whilst retaining a certain element of heaviness at the same time. Disappointingly, there is a lack in the use of orchestration, save for the introduction and the middle section. During one part of the second half, the vocals sound very raspy, which is a great effect for both the album and the track. “Thirteenth Sign Of Nostradamus” can only be described as hauntingly Gothic to begin with before the melodic guitar work kicks in followed by the raw sounding vocals. The whole track seems to be more passionate and energetic than the rest of the album which says a lot considering how energetic the previous tracks are.

The album finishes with “Secrets Of The Moon”, which is another track to feature an acoustic beginning. The female voiceover in Russian adds a very creepy sound which is soon fought off by the sudden – and unexpected – increase of heaviness. The track remains consistent in its brutal aggressiveness. The drum work is intelligent and the guitar sections are immense. “Secrets Of The Moon” is possibly the most brilliant way to end the album.

It’s hard to believe that “Night Shall Crown Ye” is the debut album of Artania, as the album has such a mature sound to it, anyone would think its Artania’s third or fourth album. The sound is unique, brilliant and definitely worth a listen, even if some parts of the album are a let down. Clearly, Russia is a country filled with talented musicians and Artania’s “Night Shall Crown Ye” is evidence of this.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Blackthorn – Gossamer Witchcraft [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Blackthorn
Album: Gossamer Witchcraft
Release year: 2010
Genre: Extreme Metal/Gothic Metal/Black Metal

It’s not often that one hears of an all-female extreme metal band from Russia, let alone any kind of metal band from Russia, as most of the exposure for metal seems to be in European nations such as Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Scandinavia along with some emerging from the US. However, Blackthorn, made up of five lovely ladies, whom hail from Russia, have been a force not to be messed with in the Russian metal scene, combining gothic and black metal into something new. Their debut album “Gossamer Witchcraft” will be the album to determine their success on the international metal scene.

”Immortelle for a Hollow Grave”, the shortest track on the album, offers up a very mystifying atmosphere with the use of whispers and a haunting piano medley. “Edenbeast” seems to carry on from where “Immortelle for a Hollow Grave” finishes, bringing with it a violent guitar riff and fast-paced orchestration. The drums are machine-like in their playing, yet more brutal and heavy than a drum machine could ever be. The vocals leave something to be desired as their operatic styling doesn’t seem to work along side the aggression of the guitars. The guitar solo is just amazing – Whoever said that a woman can’t solo is clearly wrong. The gothic orchestration of “Necromance” follows after, before the orchestration is wiped away by the guitars. The vocals are different to begin with, favouring good ol’ fashioned death metal grunts and growls but the operatically styled vocals can be heard on this track yet they seem to work with the savagery of the track this time. “Necromance”, put simply, is like a more extreme version of an Epica track.

”The Moon Emerged From Behind Clouds” begins with a faster tempo compared to the two last tracks. The brutality continues on this one as well, fortunately enough for those who enjoy the elements of extreme metal. The soprano vocals are simply memorising and enchanting. The riffs seem to have a bit more melody whilst the drums still have that machine-like precision to them. Classical meets gothic in the form of “Saturnia” during its introduction. The guitar riff that follows has a very death metal sound to it, whilst the drums appear to be lacking slightly in power. The keyboard  and vocal sections add a hint of beauty of the beasty violence of the guitars and drums.

“Blackthorn Winter” is another song with a gothic-turns-brutal introduction. Everything, except for the keyboards and vocals, seems faster, more violent and more angry. In some sections, it sounds as if the vocals are struggling to keep up with the tempo of the music. The best thing about the track would have to be energy and passion that just burst out at the listener. “The Blackness I Prowl” has an interesting beginning, being composed of dark orchestration and what could possibly be the sound of a howling wolf. The vocals are so powerful yet so haunting at the same time. The voice over about half way through adds a very horror film-like touch to the track as well. An interesting thing about “The Blackness I prowl” is the emphasis on the orchestration as opposed to the shredding guitars and pounding drums.

The title track “Gossamer Witchcraft” has a good introduction – Combining dark orchestration with narration. There is more emphasis on the orchestration throughout the song, with the guitars having a minor part in comparison though they do appear frequently through the track, fortunately enough for those who enjoy the face-melting riffs. Though the soprano vocals are featured through the track, there does seem to be more work done by the narration and voice overs which is somewhat of a let down but the guitar solo does heavily make up for the let down!

”Will-o-the-wisp” combined orchestration, acoustic guitars, soprano vocals and distorted riffs into a masterpiece of a track. Oddly enough though, it seems vaguely familiar in the eerie déjà vu kind of sense. “The Cobweb Veils Fall Down With Grace” acts as an interlude before the final two songs, bringing a terrifying essence to the album with its dark and melancholy piano medley. The final two tracks are the Russian language editions of “Necromance” and “The Moon Emerged From Behind Clouds”. They are a lot more exciting with Russian lyrics, bringing a sense of despair and horror with them.

Blackthorn certainly are different to most female fronted bands. They are more aggressive and violent in the music and more dramatic and haunting in the vocals – In fact, in terms of heaviness and brutality, they put a lot of male-dominated bands in the extreme metal scene to shame. “Gossamer Witchcraft” is a mammoth of a testament to the skill, talent and musical genius of Blackthorn. It’s a great addition to any extreme and gothic metal fan’s collection and clearly has the potential to be amongst the top metal albums of the century.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Concept Of Time – Breathe [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Concept Of Time
Album: Breathe
Release year: 2011
Genre: Dark Symphonic Metal

Scotland, a land merged in folklore, Celtic heritage and the history of the bloody politics of the clans is home to a quite varied metal scene. Scotland is probably more known, in terms of metal, for the pirate metal band “Alestorm” than any other band. However, deep in it’s metal underground likes a dark, symphonic metal band called “Concept Of Time” who have been slowly but gradually establishing a fan base in the Scottish underground, gaining interest from webzines and magazines alike. “Concept Of Time” have gone onto support the likes of former Iron Maiden vocalist Blaze Bayley, Serenity, Kamelot and have even gone as far as playing at Bloodstock, sahring the stage with well-known bands such as Nightwish, Alestorm, Opeth and Iced Earth. “Concept Of Time” returned to the studio for the making of their digital release “Breathe”.

The EP begins with “The End Is Just The Beginning” which starts with radio voiceovers and a faded air raid siren. As the radio voice overs end, the song truly begins with a symphonic-heavy section and a driving guitar riff with precise to the beat drum work. The vocals are how they usually are styled in symphonic metal – operatic sounding and powerful. The symphonic sections are certainly well-composed, giving the track extra energy.

“Breathe” the title track, makes its way next with an immense symphonic-stylised intro which makes the song feel tragic and dramatic. The drum and guitar work adds a certain element to “Breathe” as well, making it that more enjoyable. The guitar solo however feels as if it has occurred too soon, leaving the listener expecting some epic to happen straight after it. Later on, the drum work seems to be lacking a little bit in comparison to the orchestration.
The slow and haunting introduction of “Visions” can be heard next before the tempo and heaviness increases while retaining a certain softness. The lack of guitar in some sections is disappointing though the piano and bass combination make up for that, fortunately enough. The guitar solo appears later on in the song, creating a sagaic sound for the track. The EP finishes with “A Dream Of Dystopia”, a track that has more bite, aggression and darkness than the previous three tracks. The vocals sound slightly more ruthless as well but still remain operatic and calm. The orchestration certainly brings with it a very grim, intense and dramatic atmosphere whilst the guitar solo seems to add to the aggression of the song. “A Dream Of Dystopia” finishes on a very solemn note.

It’s not hard to see why Concept Of Time have become a successful and domineering force in Scotland’s (and the UK’s) underground metal scene. The band is clearly made up of talented musicians, each of whom bring something different to the songs. “Breathe” is definitely a release worth adding to any symphonic metal fan’s collection.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Pictures Of Pain – The Reckoning [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on 25th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Pictures Of Pain
Album: The Reckoning
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Metal

Pictures Of Pain are described as a “melodic metal band with a unique sound”. They hail from grim and frostbitten lands of Norway, a country renowned for its history, mythology and black metal. Originally, forming in 2005, Pictures Of Pain have gone on to support bands such as Kamelot, Ensiferum and Leaves’ Eyes.

The introduction of “Betrayal” is certainly a unique one. Its calm, melodic and slightly progressive with sudden, short-lived sections of heaviness which are combined with black metal styled vocals. The track does turn aggressive. The vocals are different to how one would expect them to be to they sound to be a combination of both power metal and black metal styled vocals. There is a major use of clean vocals throughout the song as well, which helps keep the track interesting. The drums are precise and intelligently played. In some sections, the cleaner vocals do spoil the song a bit when they begin to scream in the old skool metal way.

”Far Beyond” begins in a similar fashion, only the introduction has more of a hypnotic yet eerie sound to it. The vocals are more clean on this track as well, whilst the guitars have lightened up a little bit but still bring that driving force of metal with them. The melodic riffs are also featured, which is a good thing for those who are fond of the more melodic sections. “Eternal Rage” is more slow paced to begin with, with a slight progressive feel to the drums. The vocals can be scarcely heard to begin with which is slightly disappointing, though they soon become more audible. They contrast brilliantly between harsh and bloodthirsty to clean and powerful-sounding. The slow, calming section towards the middle is certainly a refreshing sound from the onslaught of heavy, face-melting metal found in the majority of the first track. The guitar solo is well composed and a brilliant addition to “Eternal Rage”. The only issue as such with this one is the length, as the casual listener would possibly get bored after the first half of the track.

”Deviator” blasts its way next, with a an old skool meets modern metal sound. The vocals are reminiscent of Judas Priest and Venom. The riffs and drum work are very savage yet well composed at the same time. “Sign Of Times” is another slow-paced song yet just as epic as the tracks before it. The melodic riffs are just brilliant and the drums certainly bounce off the guitars very well. However, the clean vocals are lacking a fair bit compared to the music. The clean and eerie introductory riff of “Years Of Disgrace” which suddenly transforms into an aggressive and barbaric assault of metal upon the listener’s ear drums. Interestingly, the track switches between the soft, clean sections and the heavily aggressive sections very well.

Next is the title track, “The Reckoning”. The intro is more brutal than expected whilst keeping the smoothness of the melodic riffs. The vocals are strong and powerful, almost operatic sounding. “The Reckoning” certainly has a very power metal sound to it. The screams aren’t too bad on this track, they just don’t seem to go with the riffs. The drums are almost machine like in their precision and power. “Final State” follows after with a majestic intro. The vocals are mesmerising and epic. The riffs can only truly be described as sagaic whilst the screams are somewhat demonic sounding, mixing well with the more aggressive sections of the track.

The final two tracks of the album are demos form 2005 and 2006. “From The Ashes”, the demo from 2006, is next. It certainly is very different from the rest of the album and shows how much Pictures Of Pain’s sound has evolved. “From The Ashes” seems to have more emphasis on the harsh screaming and the rough and raw riffs as opposed to a clean and crisp sound. The final song of the album is “Guardian Of Tears”, the demo from 2005. Again, it is different to the rest of the album due to the raw, untamed sound of the guitars and drums. The sound is also more distorted as well, giving it a more underground and in-your-face sound.

There is no doubt that Pictures Of Pain have a very unique sound. Each track seems to be different from the other whilst retaining that certain sound that Pictures Of Pain are working hard to create. Even the vocals seem to be different on each track. “The Reckoning” is clearly an album for those bored of the same old generic sound that most bands seem to have these days as it is fresher and more exciting than most albums out at the moment.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Iron Maiden w/Airbourne @ Motorpoint Arena [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 25th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Iron Maiden, Airbourne
Location: Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield
Date: 24th July 2011

Airbourne and Iron Maiden – a Match ‘Maiden’ Heaven

Australian heavy metallers ‘Airbourne’ and home-grown titans of metal ‘Iron Maiden’ stormed Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena last night.  The sold-out stadium thrummed with the energy of thousands of metalheads – from very young to very old, from Maiden virgins (losing their ‘maidenheads’?) to veteran fans – all eagerly anticipating what was certain to be a night of metal that would never be forgotten.

Airbourne –

I feel genuinely sorry for any band who supports Iron Maiden – such is nature of most Maiden fans that if (through dark voodoo witchcraft) a Maiden support band was created with Janis Joplin and Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Jimi Hendrix on guitar, Mozart on keyboards and Cliff Burton on bass, the crowd would still watch with politeness and mild disinterest, wandering to and from the merch table and the food stalls, killing time until Maiden started.

However, Airbourne held the crowd’s attention and more – exploding onto the stage from the outset with ‘Raise the Flag’. As driving riffs, supported by heavy, thundering bass, flew toward the heavens, Joel O’Keeffe hurdled monitors, playing ferociously. Ably supported by David Roads and Justin Street on backing vocals, the chorus instantly incited the crowd, shouting ‘Raise the flag!’ with fists pumped high into the air.  Screaming scales throughout the solo and outro reminded the audience that, while the main riffs in this song sound simple, the band is made up of talented musicians whose guitar playing will tear your face off.

Slowing the pace down with ‘Cheap Wine and Cheaper Women’, Airbourne brandish their heavy rock influences both in the almost country rock-style build up but also in their stage show, with synchronised headbanging and guitar swaying.

Ryan O’Keeffe’s drumming is clear; he drives the tempo changes and adds some unexpected syncopation at times, which suggests that, while these guys are firmly rooted in classic hard rock and heavy metal, they aren’t bound by the expectations of the genre – they are willing to experiment and create their own identity.

Justin Street’s bass playing is solid as a rock, providing a strong foundation upon which David Roads and Joel O’Keeffe can build their pyramids of power chords under spiralling riffs and complex solos. Roads’ rhythm is animated and pounds along, giving the set a feel of consistent acceleration.

Joel O’Keeffe’s voice is like a laser – precise, strong , and cutting – capable of destroying cities or performing intricate surgery. He tactically uses it, oscillating easily between a powerful, classic rock style falsetto that appears to slice through the stage fog as it drifts down from the catwalk and a lower, gravelly baritone timbre that reverberates against the stadium walls.

Throughout their set (which continued – Steel Town; Diamond in the Rough; Blackjack; No Way but the Hard Way; Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast; Stand Up for Rock & Roll; Runnin’ Wild), Airbourne continued to prove themselves as future legends of rock, ready to receive the torch from the bands who established the genre (and clearly inspire their playing) begin to retire.

Iron Maiden

As the stage crew performed their duties, shrouded behind a mysterious black curtain, the atmosphere in the venue steadily climbed, zeppelin-like, toward the sky. The scent of beer and hot dogs pervaded the air and such was the excitement that even the quick line checks on the guitars and vocals brought cheers from the enthusiastic crowd. As the opening strains of UFO’s ‘Doctor Doctor’ tantalised the ears of the waiting crowd, the sense of euphoria and anticipation reached the stratosphere.

The lights dimmed and ‘Satellite 15’ began. Frenetically flashing red lights and on-screen video melted with the surreal, progressive music, masking the removal of the black curtain and the reveal of the set. Behind the flashing red lights, all that could be seen of the set was a dark back cloth, studded with the pinprick lights of stars – a thousand points of light. This was mirrored in the crowd with the pale glow from mobile phones and digital cameras, ready to record the moment for posterity – or possibly for YouTube. (Good luck to Motorpoint with enforcing their ‘no cameras or recording devices’ policy!)

As the band crashed into ‘The Final Frontier’, the stage lights illuminated a set which can best be described as ‘retro-futuristic’ with white ‘communication’ towers either side and a grey semicircle which suggests a 2001-style satellite (labelled ‘S-15’ as a clear nod to the opening track). The starscape remained illuminated throughout tracks from The Final Frontier, though a number of dropcloths were used throughout the show to support and occasionally introduce the more classic Maiden tracks.  Throughout ‘The Final Frontier’ and the second song (‘El Dorado’) Steve Harris commanded the stage with his signature stance, using his bass like a rifle and pretending to shoot crowd members.  Janick Gers rested his heel upon the edge of the set as if he was stretching out his hamstring – and, judging by the marathon he proceeded to run on the Motorpoint stage, this is, most likely, exactly what he was doing!

The first of the old classics ‘Two Minutes to Midnight’ brought the crowd to a frenzy, desperately shouting ‘Two! Minutes! To midnight!’ as they press toward the stage. Dickenson strikes a good balance with this song, bringing the crowd in and allowing them to feel a part of the moment, while still singing most of the song himself.  It can be a temptation for bands as well established as Maiden (with a strong fan base who know their music) to allow their vocalist to become somewhat lazy and let the crowd sing most of their well-known songs – yet Dickenson remains in control the entire time.

‘The Talisman’ could easily become a muddy mess through the jangling, occasionally discordant beginning; however, Nico’s skilful drumming keeps the song moving forward and somehow the discord and non-standard timing… just works. It proves that Maiden are willing to keep changing, keep pushing themselves as musicians, keep progressing – rather than simply sticking to a tried and true formula.  ‘The Talisman’ also shows off Dickenson’s low bass range, proving that – despite being known for his screaming, soprano-like falsetto, he can provide just as much power in the bellows of the basement.

The first song introduced by Dickenson was ‘Coming Home’. He explained that whenever they go on a world tour, they always fly the same way – so that they are ‘coming home’. Dickenson again strikes a balance with the crowd – the audience feels as if it is a part of the Maiden community, with millions of people worldwide, without bordering on the cheese exhibited by other musicians who can often come across as a motivational speaker in their crowd interactions! Dickenson also assured the crowd – to wild applause – that, despite the album and tour being named The Final Frontier, Iron Maiden are not retiring.

For this reviewer, personally, the gig was really kick started as Iron Maiden revealed the dropcloth for and spoken introduction sample to ‘Dance of Death’.  The stage darkened to create a mysterious mood and Dickenson was illuminated in pink and orange dancing lights that suggested a mystical fire. The first tempo change in this song seemed to be slower than other live recordings of the song; however, this was very effective as it allowed for more time to establish the story and atmosphere. This was the first song in the set that was highly theatrical and Dickenson’s storytelling skills were ably supported by  the lighting – dramatically ending with Dickenson ‘blowing away’ the spirits, at which point the gold faded from the lighting palette and the band were bathed in blue light, throwing larger-than-life shadows against the dropcloth.

As the final strains of ‘Dance of Death’ faded, the dropcloth for ‘The Trooper’ was revealed. The audience’s raucous cheer was the entire introduction Maiden needed – the iconic, harmonised opening, perfectly synchronised, blasted throughout the arena as all four guitarists took centre stage. Dickenson’s mid-song costume change into classical British military regalia, along with triumphant waving of larger-than-life Union flags charged the atmosphere further and created a fevered air of celebration.

The dropcloth which suggests ‘The Wickerman’ was next to be revealed behind the set – and, again, the cheers of the crowd careened into the introduction. Strong, chugging guitars from Adrian Smith and Dave Murray drove the song forward, train-like, and built a bridge which brought the tempo down from ‘The Trooper’ to…

‘Blood Brothers’. Dramatically drenched in blood-red lighting and sentimentally introduced by referencing recent tragedies in Oslo and Japan, a sense of togetherness was created – without relying on references to an ‘army’ of fans, as so many other bands do. Bringing 13,500 people together in a sense of belonging and collective identity should be challenging – however, the anthemic chorus passionately delivered by all members of the band – and belted by all members of the crowd – created a sense of unity and wholeness which was reinforced by mobile phones being held high, swaying in time – the modern version of swinging a lighter in the air!

The final song of the slower portion of the programme takes the audience back to The Final Frontierwith ‘When the Wild Wind Blows’. Already feeling banded together from ‘Blood Brothers’, the band now creates a sense of intimacy during the plaintive atmosphere of the introduction, with precision harmony from the guitars and bass. So many Maiden songs are unfathomably complex, with riffs that intertwine like ivy and gallop faster and more frenetically than a racehorse. ‘When the Wild Wind Blows’ is the opposite – the simplicity of the guitars and vocals evokes a feeling of emptiness, innocence and sorrow backed by a thinly veiled passion. Inspired by the graphic novel ‘When the Wind Blows’ (which details the tragic subject of radiation poisoning from nuclear fallout), the lyrics overbrim with human emotion – sympathy, terror, pity, heartache. The circular nature of the song creates a sense of finality and though the themes fit into the futuristic ‘Final Frontier’ concept, there is a terrifying premonition that this could, one day soon, be very real. The audience becomes still, almost unmoving as the song concludes, before exploding with excitement for…

‘The Evil That Men Do’. Following the dramatically harmonised introduction, all guitarists – while energetic before – start to really come out of their shells. As I watch the musicians dashing back and forth across the stage, I can’t help but wonder if, like Michael Flatley of Lord of the Dance, the musicians in Maiden lose half a stone of body weight in each performance.

As the band ‘winds up’ to play ‘Fear of the Dark’, again, the tempo of the introduction felt more in keeping with the studio version than with live versions – however, as soon as the distortion kicked in with Dickenson’s powerful scream, the band returned to the delirious pace with which they had bombarded the rest of the set. This is the second piece which was highly theatrical and skilled camera work from the crew displayed Dickenson’s exaggerated facial expressions to the arena. Dashing back and forth upon the top of the set, he was upstaged by the appearance of the robotic ‘Eddie’ who arrived onstage to boisterous cheers. Gers took the opportunity to spend the remainder of the song repeatedly running between Eddie’s legs and around his back – to the great amusement of the crowd – which was emphasised by the display of the ‘Eddie Cam’, which gave the audience a clear point-of-view shot from Eddie’s perspective. Adrian Smith’s solo was delivered with a gargantuan grin as he leaned over the crowd, holding his guitar off to one side.  During this song in particular, it was obvious that the musicians in Iron Maiden love what they do and are genuinely thankful to their fans – who ensure that they have the best job in the world.

Ending the main set on the iconic ‘Iron Maiden’, the tumultuous pace continued. Gers, in particular, swung his guitar around his neck, played under his arm and behind his back, all while constantly dancing his way around the stage, his intricate footwork highlighted by his white trainers, aglow from the blacklights –all without missing a note.  Harris’s hands seem to positively fly around the neck of his bass, plucking the strings faster than the speed of sound. Through the lens of the onstage camera, his hands seemed like two spiders that had taken several amphetamines and then had a spider-sized cup of coffee. Eddie made another appearance here – this time as a larger-than-life animatronic creature who arose from behind the set and perused the arena, surveying the audience and band. Finishing on a legendary crash ending, McBrain shows his true skills, circling his oversized kit at a deranged pace, which was reflected by the electrical storm of lighting. As the guitarists threw their plectrums to the crowd, McBrain his drumsticks and Dickenson his sweat-covered hat (ew), the arena became a lion that roared for more.

Personally, I find the notion of encores irritating. The audience knows that the band has more songs – the band knows they have more songs – just play them! However, it has now become an expected convention of live music that headlining bands leave, wait for a shout and then come back to finish the set. Maiden judged the timing effectively, returning to stage after letting the tension build but not after so long that the audience lost momentum.
The first encore, ‘The Number of the Beast’ garnered high accolades from the crowd, complete with dramatic red lighting and an animatronic devil who crouched threateningly upon the set. Dickenson again proved his legendary lung capacity with his striking, theatrical scream that bridges the introduction and the main riff.  Straddling monitors in their symbolic poses, Maiden reaped more commendation from the crowd. From above, the sea of arms, clapping, waving, pulsating toward the stage, in time with the vigorous beat of the drums and bass, was reminiscent of the surface of an alien planet and reflected the earlier, futuristic theme of the evening.

The second encore, ‘Hallowed be Thy Name’ was simply phenomenal. The passion in Bruce’s voice belies the terror of a man about to die, questioning God’s existence and motives. Similarly passionate playing creates the atmosphere of terror, placing the audience into the perspective of the persona of the song. More behind-the-back playing, swinging, twirling in circles from all band members encouraged an already enthusiastic crowd – they must have played the song thousands of times, yet still make it seem fresh, which shows the respect they have for their fans. Though the band has repeatedly played this song, each gig is someone’s first Maiden experience and for that reason, the band keeps their performances special. (Besides, if I had written a song as epic as ‘Hallowed’, I would want to play it thousands of times too!)

Happy, bouncy positivity ends the encore with the feel-good ‘Running Free’ and it is pleasing to see that, after so many years, Dickinson still introduces the band, giving everyone a time to shine. Metronomic drums and bass keep the rhythm going as the guitars and vocals seem to almost play, child-like, over the top.  Laughter and merriment reign throughout the dancing audience as the song finishes and the band retreat offstage – genuinely, this time.
As the exiting audience is reminded to ‘Always look on the bright side of life’, I personally left with a buoyed spirit – with metal in my heart and tinnitus in my ears.

Melissa Adams

Adamus Exul – Death, Paint A Vision [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Adamus Exul
Album: Death Paint A Vision
Release year: 2010
Genre: Black Metal

Australia is a typical tourist destination due to it’s wonderful sights and hot weather – Too hot for frostbitten music like black metal one would think, however, this is not the case because in the shadows of Australia’s tourist destinations lies an ever brutal, ever frostbitten, ever extreme black metal scene and at the heart of that scene are Adamus Exul.

The first track of “Death, Paint A Vision” is called “Dreams Of Desolation”. Even at a low volume, the listener’s ears are savagely assaulted by a great mix of guitars and double bass pedals. The vocals are strong, raw and beasty – As is to be expected of any black metal band. Interestingly, there are some slightly melodic sections which keeps the track entertaining. The drums are precise, almost machine-like though still barbaric and face-smashingly heavy.

”Ruins Of Zion” mixes melody with sheer aggression in its introduction whilst the rest of the track seems to favour straight forward brutality over melody, though this is not a bad thing for fans of no-holds-barred black metal. The use of a speech over is certainly unexpected but fits in well with the theme of the song. The vocal section that follows sounds very much like Dimmu Borgir and a casual listener to black metal would certainly make the mistake of believing it to be Shagarth. Another interesting section of this track is the short section that sounds very much like a breakdown of some sort.

The title track, “Death, Paint A Vision” favours a melodic yet bone smashing approach at the beginning. The drums add to the savagery of the track, whilst the vocals help it sound more beastly. Whilst the title of the track is somewhat poetic and intelligent, the track itself is the complete opposite, bombarding the listener with bloodthirsty riffs and demonic-like vocals. “Death, Paint A Vision” is very much like an old-skool Gorgoroth track in sections due to the fast tempos and sheer aggressive brutality. “In Absentia” is the half way point of the album and the interlude. Shockingly, “In Absentia” is acoustic though the acoustic guitar is a welcome change for those tired of orchestrated interludes.

“Echoes Of Self Destruction” tears its way through the album next, beginning with a frightening and hellish introduction of pounding guitars and drums. The vocals are more aggressive and unholy-sounding as well, mixing well with the demonic essence of the track. Though “Echoes Of Self Destruction”, there are small sections of melodic guitar licks every now and then which do keep the track interesting. The use of acoustic guitar returns as well, adding a certain calmness to the hurricane-like force of black metal, though this calm doesn’t long before the hurricane returns. “Abhorrent Euchrist” changes the style of the album a bit, bring a more melodic use to the album, which is both weird and refreshing. Even the vocals have changed, sounding more raspy, to fit in with the melodic stylings of the track. Drums still sound good despite becoming somewhat lighter for this track and the guitars seem to have less distortion. Fortunately for those who prefer black metal screams over raspy vocals, the screams make a triumphant return towards the end of “Abohorrent Euchrist”.

The final piece of the album is the song “Ashes” which like the previous song, begins melodically. However, “Ashes” brings back the raw aggression and savagery found on the rest of the album. The sound on this track seems to be more raw and barbaric with everything sounding like they have more punch. Interestingly, the acoustic guitar, once again, returns but combined with some majorly angry growls, making for a strange yet brilliantly created sound. Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t last for long. A military styled drum roll also makes an appearance, working well alongside the raw guitar riffs.

Adamus Exul bring a new sound to black metal with “Death, Paint A Vision” whilst sticking to an old skool Norwegian black metal sound as well. Most of the tracks are reminiscent of the early black metal scene in Norway while containing a fresh feel. Adamus Exul are certainly a band to keep an ear out for because they could be dominating more than Australian metal scene soon enough.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Disaster Plan – Disaster Plan EP [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 21st July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Disaster Plan
Album: Disaster Plan EP
Release year: 2010
Genre: Post-Hardcore

Australia is a nation best known for it’s poisonous spiders and kangaroos. Unbeknown to most people, there is a fast-growing hardcore scene within Australia and Adelaide-based Disaster Plan have been a part of said scene since mid-2010.

”Pestilence” begins with a heavy but slightly choppy intro, which is straight away a let-down for the listener. The vocals sound like a mixture of black metal and hardcore screams whilst the cleaner, less harsh vocals sound of key. There are some good melodic licks throughout the track and the drums are precise to the beat. Some of the guitar work is great in sections but overall choppy. Clearly there is clearly a lot of work that needs to be done to improve this track.

”The Shark Didn’t Bite Me, He Raped Me” starts with a more consistent, melodic intro section combined with the spoken words of “Game over”, which is a pretty cool effect. The screams sound more hardcore-orientated though the clean vocals still sound out of key. Most of the sections have a decent flow them to them though there are a few choppy sections that could do with improvement. The solo is quite unexpected yet it certainly makes up for the not-so-impressive guitar riffs earlier in the song. The only other issue with “The Shark Didn’t Bite Me, He Raped Me” is that it’s too long and this could be quite irritating and unentertaining for a casual listener of hardcore and post-hardcore.

The third track is “Love Lost At Sea”, beginning with a bass and drums introduction. Overall, this one isn’t particularly interesting or great. It seems to lack the heaviness, brutality and passion of the previous two tracks – Even though the riffs seem more consistent and flow better. The poorly composed introduction of “The Ramifications Of Skydiving Without A Parachute” follows after. The track does gradually improve, however. Both the screams and clean vocals sound and feel stronger, while the guitars and drums become more violent and barbaric whilst retaining a hint of intelligence.

The final track, also the bonus track, “Alcoholic” is different to the rest of the EP as it begins with a very soft intro and increases only by a bit in terms of heaviness. The guitars don’t seem to really work well with the screams on this track and in parts the drums sound to be drowned out by everything else. This track really just leaves the listener thinking “So what?”.

Disaster Plan’s self-titled EP is not impressive but it isn’t terribly bad either. It lays somewhere in the middle. Whilst some sections do need a considerable about of work other sections show that Disaster Plan have potential to become a household name in the international hardcore scene.

3/5

Nico Davidson

Forever And A Day – Last Orders [2011]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Forever And A Day
Album: Last Orders
Release year: 2011
Genre: Pop-Punk/Metalcore

Bridlington-based pop-core quintet Forever And A Day have slowly become a household name within the UK’s underground metalcore and pop-punk scenes over the past few years. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Yashin, Shadows Chasing Ghosts and Vanna, as well as releasing a demo and a music video over the summer of 2010, the band recently returned to the studio for the recording and production of their newest release: “Last Orders”.

The title track “Last Orders” is the first track of the album, been composed of the sound of people drinking, chatting and the sound of a piano been played in the background whilst a bar fight takes place. “The Roads Ahead” begins with an average paced riff, which is soon accompanied by a second guitar, bass and drums. The track turns heavier, featuring some intelligent drum work and clean, pop-punk styled vocals. The song remains consistent and flows well into each different section. The screams bring about a great metalcore sound as well. The gang vocals are a great addition as well.

Following after is the aggressive and violent sound of “Heebeegeebees”. Straight away, the listener is bombarbed by an in your face metalcore anthem. The guitar riffs are masterfully composed and the drum work can only be described as immense. The breakdown is a great section, building up to the next section. The only down sound to this song is that it’s too short. “Can’t Spell Slut Without You” starts with a bass riff, leaving the listener to think “Something good is gonna happen soon”. Fortunately, something good does happen and that something is the increase of barbaric heaviness of the track. The screams are great and the guitar sections are sheer genius. The drums are certainly most impressive and the clean vocals seem stronger.

”We See Everything, So Play Nice” is the second to last track. The intro riff seems weaker compared to the previous tracks though this soon changed when the drums blast in to make themselves heard. The track has some clear pop-punk influences in terms of guitars and vocals, which blend well with the more metalcore and hardcore orientated drums. The last track is “You’re A Complicated Cat, Edward”, beginning with a very guitar-heavy intro. The track seems to lack the energy of the previous tracks though the vocals are still going strong. In parts, the drums sound more stronger than the guitars. However, the track does improve fortunately enough. The slow-paced, clean guitar section is certainly unexpected, yet weirdly is enjoyable but for those who don’t enjoy clean and soft guitar sections, the brutal-styled heaviness of the track soon returns.

Forever And A Day clearly know how to mix pop-punk and metalcore without ruining the sound. “Last Orders” is a must-have album by these young Yorkshire lads and Welsh drummer. The entire mini-album is evidence of the talent and passion that Forever And A Day have.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Forever and a Day will be touring the UK later in the year. For more information about this tour, please go to: http://www.facebook.com/foreverandadayuk

Tersivel – For One Pagan Brotherhood [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Tersivel
Album: For One Pagan Brotherhood
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal/Pagan Metal

South America is well known for its vast metal scene and community which grows day by day with new bands appearing on the scene. Argentinian pagan metallers “Tersivel” have been a dominating force within this scene since forming in 2006. “For One Pagan Brotherhood” is the third studio release by Tersivel and their first full length album.

The album begins with the synth-guitar intro of “As Brothers We Shall Fight”. An aggressive guitar-double bass pedal combined riff follows after, creating a machine gun sound effect, which is well suited to the song due to the title. The vocals switch between brutal grunts and powerful clean vocals, both of which give the track more punch. The last half of the song seems to be calmer compared to the violent sounding first half, however, this does not take anything away from the music. The synth and keyboard sections certainly bring some very interesting parts as well. “As Brothers We Shall Fight” is a very sagaic song and brilliant choice to begin the album with.

”The Heathen Sun Of Revenge” begins with a true folk sounding intro in the form of clean vocals, folk instrumentation and acoustic guitars. The track eventually turns heavy but still keeps that good ol’ folk feel about it, which contrasts strangely well with the aggression of the guitars and drums. The clean vocals add a very solemn and sorrowful sound to the track. It ends with an epic synth section.

Straight after is “Far Away in the Distant Skies” with a very synth-heavy intro, though this doesn’t ruin the composition or sound of the song, as the synth leads into a violent guitar riff. The harsh vocals, in true folk metal style, are raw and aggressive while the cleaner vocals are strong but still have that raw edge to them. The drum work is intelligent yet barbaric, bring a new dynamic of brutality to the album. The piano medley in the second half of the song is a very calming section and emotionally touching at times. The guitar solo that soon follows is masterfully played.

”High Germany – Erin’s Jig” is another song that has a folk sound at the beginning. Though the dominating force of guitars, drums and synth soon replace the majestic folk-like intro. The folk and metal sections bounce off each other exceedingly well. The flute medleys complement the clean vocals, making the listener feel as if they’re back in pre-Christian Europe. Without a doubt, this is one of the more impressive tracks of the album – Which is saying a lot considering most, if not all, of the songs are impressive. “And Fires Also Died Away” begins with a darker sound compared to the grand, sagaic and folk sounding introductions of the other songs. The tempo eventually increases but the song stays solemn and dark.

”Those Days Are Gone” carries on the heartbroken feel of the previous song. This one is mostly acoustic guitar orientated with some subtle orchestration that blends well with the clean vocals.  Beginning the second half of the album is the accordion-dominated “Tarantella Siciliana” [Which is also the name of a folk dance in Sicily]. The song contains that “get up and party until you pass out” feel that conjures up images of happy villagers dancing around in celebration.

Beginning with a synth-guitar-drum intro, “We Are The Fading Sun” blasts its way next. A dark, heavy piano medley follows the intro and is soon replaced by a vicious, face-melting guitar riff. Vocally, the track is dominated by harsh vocals to begin with, though the clean vocals do get some pretty epic sections as well. The chorus, itself, is very catchy. There is a calm section roughly half way through which suddenly turns heavy dramatic within the blink of an eye. The use of keyboards and guitars towards the end is brilliant. “We Are The Fading The Sun” leaves the listener wanting more.

Fortunately enough, the listener gets more in the form of “Aeolian Islands”. Like some of the previous pieces on the album, “Aeolian Islands” is composed of acoustic guitar, along with some use of flutes. It certainly has a very folk feel to it. “Cosa Nostra” starts with a keyboard-heavy riff, which carries on through most of the track. The vocals, to begin with, sound out of key and do sort of ruin the music, however in the chorus, they do improve massively.

The second to last track is “Pagan Nation”, beginning with the sound of swords followed by an aggressive guitar section. The keyboard sections are grand, majestic and awesome. The drums and guitars are aggressive and brutal, as they should be. The vocals are immense, contrasting well with the music. Overall, the track is very sagaic. The final song is “Cruzat Beer House” [named after a pub in Buenos Aires, Argentina]. The intro is a slow, melodic piano medley which is soon accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The song soon begins to feel like a good ol’ fashioned drinking anthem with the introduction of the accordions. Even the vocals echo the sound of a good time to be had with beer. The fast and slow tempos of the song certainly add to it’s folky jig-like feel. This will certainly become a drinking song for folk metallers around the world.

”For One Pagan Brotherhood” seems different compared to other folk metal releases – Be it the lack of Viking/Celt-based lyrics or the use of accordions with a brilliant combination of clean and harsh vocals. Of course, it’s different in the good sense. This is certainly a monumental album and will no doubt be considered one of the greatest albums of folk metal in years to come.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Raeven Irata [Band Review]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Raeven Irata [Crimson Eden]
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Electronica/Classical/Folk
Site:
http://www.crimsoncreatives.com/

Yorkshire is known amongst many for its rich and diverse music scene, in which many great bands and musicians have appeared and risen to the top. A part of this diverse music scene is the multi-talented solo artist and composer Raeven Irata who has three different musical projects: An electronica project, a classical project and a traditional folk project.

The electronica project is different to how many people would perceive it to be. While having the typical beats and synth sounds found in said genre, Raeven Irata adds a twist which features the use of both haunting male vocals and dark yet angelic soprano vocals along with some eerie sounding sections. “Not Destroyed” and “I Sow In Sorrow” are perfect examples of this, though the latter features only the female vocals. “The Zombies Are Coming”, however, has a different sound to “Not Destroyed” and “I Sow In Sorrow”. The track seems to have more of a cyber-industrial feel and sound to it, as opposed to the haunting Gothic effect of the other two tracks, though it is still a brilliant composition.

Raeven’s classical compositions are certainly not what a new listener to classical music would expect them to be. Rather than containing the stereotypical “grand and majestic” sound, they are more solemn, sorrowful and melancholy. “The Forbidden Forest” is both a testament to Raeven’s skills and talents as well as a piece of music that many can enjoy. “Waltz Of The Shadow Fae” is a brilliant strings-orientated composition combining an epic feel with a sorrowful sound and atmosphere topped off with a hint of gloom. Whilst the previous two seem sorrowful, “Vaults Of Heaven” is perhaps the more grand-sounding though it still brings that sadness with it, making it a most enjoyable track as it seems to capture real feeling and certainly brings a tear to the eyes.

The folk project is an interesting one to listen to. “My Young Love” is composed entirely of Raeven’s strong, powerful and emotional soprano vocals. The only issue with the song is that it’s too short though it does seem to last an eternity, it is a let down when it ends. “She’s Like The Swallow” is another one featuring only Raeven’s vocals. It has a very warm and welcoming sound to it, bringing a small smile to the listener’s face. “All Things Are Quite Silent” is slightly more fast than the previous two tracks, bringing the warm feeling with it. Raeven’s vocals are certainly very impressive when singing “All Things Are Quite Silent”.

Raeven Irata is clearly one of the most talented individuals in the Yorkshire music scene at the moment and perhaps one of the most talented in the UK. Each of her projects bring something new to their designated genres, containing emotion and intelligence that one won’t find in the mainstream music of today. Good things are ahead for this talented individual.

Nico Davidson

The official name of Raeven Irata’s music projects is “Crimson Eden”.

Raeven Irata is currently looking for paid composition work. Raeven is also looking for a producer and a sound engineer for her musical projects. Anyone interested in enquiring about this, e-mail Raeven at: raevenirata@crimsoncreatives.com 

Cryptic Age w/Support @ Stereo [Live Review]

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Cryptic Age, Lost Effect, Windrider
Location: Stereo, York
Date: 15th July 2011

The night was certainly a most anticipated event as it was Cryptic Age’s first gig as the headlining band. Originally four bands were booked for the night but one of them had dropped out. The doors were due to open at 7:30pm though didn’t open until nearer 8pm – Though this didn’t deter those who had already arrived for a night of metal.

Critically acclaimed folk metal quartet Windrider were the first to perform. Their usual guitarist, Lee, was absent due to injury so Windrider’s bassist Hallam filled in on guitar whilst Cryptic Age’s bassist Tom filled in as bassist for the night. At the beginning of Windrider’s set, the crowd was somewhat small though they soon filled in after the first song “In The Hall Of The Slain”. Despite playing a small stage, the band were extremely active receiving a great reaction from the crowd, especially with the performances of “A Warrior’s Tale” [The title track of the recent Windrider EP of the same name] and “Slaughter From The Shadows”. It was certainly an impressive performance.

The second band of the night were Lost Effect who describe themselves as “melodic metal”. Their set was certainly most interesting as they mixed brutalising riffs with melodic sections topped off with the clean, operatic-like vocals of the front woman and violent grunts and growls of their keyboardist. Lost Effect had a superb stage presence and clearly wowed the crowd with songs such as “Whispers” and “We Are The Damned”. The only down side to their set was that it didn’t seem long enough.

The headliners, as stated above, were York based power-folk quartet Cryptic Age. Their set began with a metal version of the theme song from “Game Of Thrones”. The vocals were strong, as is to be expected. Cryptic Age interacted brilliantly with the audience in between songs. Some of the highlights of their set include “Homeland”, “Paragons Of War”  and “On The Cold Bare Ground” [all of which can be heard on Cryptic Age’s debut EP “Homeland”]. Their performance of “Bring Down The Sky” was mystifying, almost haunting. Cryptic Age also played some new songs including “Aftermath” and “Maelstrom”. “Aftermath” sounded like a combination of Iron Maiden and Ensiferum due to the very melodic guitar riffs while “Maelstrom” had a very tribal sounding chorus, especially when the crowd sang along.

All in all, the night was certainly an energetic, metal fuelled night with immense performances from three bands. Keep an eye out for these bands as they could soon be on Scuzz or playing at Bloodstock.

Nico Davidson