Archive for August, 2011

Pastel Jack – Trojan Horse [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 9th August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Pastel Jack
Album: Trojan horse
Release year: 2011
Genre: Yorkshire Metal

Pastel Jack, since forming, have been tearing up their local music scene with their blend of aggressive music and catchy hooks. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Sworn Amongst and XIII. Their newest release is “Trojan Horse”.

The thrash sounding riffs of the title track “Trojan Horse” comes first. At first, the drums don’t seem to mix well with the guitars. The vocals are powerful, full of strength and melody, contrasting well with the aggression of the guitars. As the track progresses on the drums improve vastly, adding to the fire of the music. The guitar solo has a slightly Iron Maiden meets Dream Theatre sound to it – A strange yet awesome sound for a solo. “Cold Light Of Day” comes next, with an angry introduction. The vocals come in with strength and force again. The drums are well played, perhaps being the highlight of the song.

”The Gentle Art Of Combustion” has a more approach in its introduction before it turns slightly more brutal. The vocals are soft yet powerful at the same time. The soft section, about half way through, that places a lot of emphasis on the bass is just spectacular. Though this track is slower paced, it still provides a health dose of vitamin metal. “The Sacred Self” begins with an immense drum sections. The guitar riffs that follow have a slight Trivium sound to them, the vocals however are far from Trivium-sounding. The drums play some good parts as well. The guitar solo is melodic and technical, adding to the unique sound of the song. “Condemned From The Start” starts with a great vocal-guitars-drums combo introduction. The use of double bass pedal through out the song is genius and the riffs, though seeming simplistic, are great, keeping that angry thrash metal feel to the album. The vocals are forceful and unyielding.

”Day Like You” has a very laid-back intro compared to the previous tracks though this changes when the tempo increases. The riffs and drum work are solid, tight and efficient. The vocals steadfast and somewhat zealous sounding, whilst being raw at the same time. The bass work makes the solo sound even more amazing. “Part One (The Ghost Within)” is very different sounding to the tracks due to its emphasis on slow, soft riffs and soothing vocals. While it takes some adjusting to get used to the calmness after several tracks of face melting aggression, the track shows the great talent of Pastel Jack as well as their musical diversity. “Part Two (Your Sick Machine)” blasts its way next a thunderous strike on the listener, something that those who love untamed, bone smashing brutality will enjoy. The vocals sound very heroic and epic in parts and the music is simply greatly composed and played.

”Flatline” is another forceful track, with almost black metal sounding riffs and drum work. The vocals are quite calm in comparison to the riffs and drum sections, which is a very intriguing sound for the song. “Methematic” has a very stimulating introduction, with most of the emphasis being on the drums before the guitars begin doing more work. The vocals are rather stalwart whilst the guitars and drums are wrathful and vehement sounding. Nearing the end of the album is “Synergy”. The riffs are very rage-fuelled and the vocals are quite hypnotic and malevolent. The bass work is brilliant and adds a little extra flare to the song.

”Swan Dive” begins with a soulful acoustic introduction with some gentle vocals. Even the drums are calm and mellow. The track builds up straight to the heavy section, which is when it becomes beefy and immense. The vocals stay slightly gentle though much stronger and powerful than at the beginning of the track. The album finishes with the bonus track “Down To A Sunless Sea”. The guitars seem very progressive yet thrash orientated in their playing and the vocals seem different as well. The drums are superbly played, as is the bass. The guitars are composed well, adding a very metal edge to the song.

From beginning to end, the album contains Yorkshire-styled thrash metal goodness – Recommended by any good doctor to be apart of your daily diet of metal. Pastel Jack show some amazing talent on this album and it’s clearly just a taster of what is to come from these Yorkshire musicians. This is an album worth getting, even if you are only a casual listener to metal.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Pastel Jack are one of thirteen bands playing at this year’s Valkyrian Festival.

Interview: Thomas Vikstrom [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 9th August 2011 by Nico Davidson


Nico has a chat [via e-mail] with Thomas Vikstrom, frontman of Therion and Enlighted about his time in Therion, music and other things.

Nico: Hi Thomas, thanks for taking the time to talk with us today. Now, obviously you’ve been apart of Therion for a short while – excluding the two years you were the live vocalist – Do you feel that in that time you’ve bonded well with the other members?

Thomas: Hi Nico! I have been a part of the band in soon 5 years. And I think I have bonded well with everybody in the band. Even though we are all very different personalities. But that is only something positive I think. Right now there is a very good vibe in the band!

N: Therion use a lot of occult symbols and ideologies in both the lyrics and on the album covers, is there any reason for this? And how do you feel about the use of occult symbology and references?

T: Yes, we do! Exactly like Lord of the rings, Omen, Nosferatu, etc, etc. I have always been into mysticism and horror. But for me its entertainment and fantasies.

N: While we’re on the topic of the symbology, have you or anyone else in Therion received negative response due to the symbology? Have any of you been accused of “devil worship” or something along those lines?

T: I can only response from my point of view. I did a TV program for Japanese television a while ago. The show was called Amazing Voice. And we wanted to film a song in a church. The church did not allow me to film in there because I played in Therion. I asked them why? Because Therion means The beast they said! I think that’s the only time!

N: That must have been disappointing then – That you couldn’t record in the church. Aside from being the frontman for Therion, you’re also the frontman for Argentinian metal band “Enlighted” – Are there any plans for an Enlighted album in the near future?

T: Nah. The Japs found some other great places! Yeah, I really like Enlighted. Its fun to do something that is different then Therion. There are plans for a full album. But I don’t know when that will happen yet

N: That’s a shame then – for your fans. Therion will be playing at Bloodstock, in the UK, in a few weeks, are you excited about that?

T: YES! I’m very exited about that! I can’t wait! It was a while now since we played, so it’s gonna be a lot of fun!

N: I bet it is. Speaking of playing live shows, it was recently announced on the Therion website that your daughter, Linnea, will be the replacement for Kat. Are you looking forward to touring with your daughter?

T: True. I’m very exited over that! And I bet she is too! She started to count the days! It’s something I have never done before so it’s gonna be interesting! And on tour we will try to be more like colleagues and not only father and daughter!

N: Well, it will be interesting to see what you both bring to the stage. This is next question is a random one, asked by one of our readers [Peter Talbot]: Why did Christopher cut his hair?

T: The answer to that is simply that he got tired of it. Plus his hair was in very bad condition!

N: That’s not good then. What are your post-festival plans? Will you be going into the studio with Therion or Enlighted or will you be taking some to relax?

T: Our plans is to start to work on a new Therion album. Hopefully spring nest year! But I can not reveal anything about that right now. Enlighted hopefully before that! But nothing is decided yet! I will record an album with a project I’m in called “Covered Call”. Its a melodic thingy!

Brid Rocks 2011 [Live Review]

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , on 8th August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Ravenage, Alice In Thunderland, Soulflame, Abbie Lammas, Leanne Burton, Blaming Eddie and many more.
Location: Bridlington Sports and Community Centre, Bridlington
Date: 6th – 7th August

Saturday

The gate opened at 6pm and few people began entering the open grounds of the Sports and Community Centre. The first band to take the stage were Remix. Their performance wasn’t impressive. They relied on sheet music, which seems like they weren’t putting much effort into the music. The vocals were louder than everything else and the female vocals were somewhat mediocre. The only redeeming thing about their set was the saxophone part in the performance of “The Love Motion”. The response from the crowd seemed half-hearted, as they seemed to be paying more attention to the cricket game that happening on the far end of the grounds.

The second band to take the stage were young pop-punk band “Blaming Eddie”. Their set was far more energetic and entertaining than the opening band. They performed a brilliant cover of Enter Shikari’s “Sorry, You’re Not A Winner” as well as some of their own stuff. The original songs they played had a very mixed sound between rock, metalcore and pop-punk – But it was a good sounding mix. Blaming Eddie are certainly a band to see if you like your music raw and energetic.

The third act of the night was none other than Bridlington’s own Leanne Burton! Her performance was simply amazing. She had a strong stage presence and a powerful voice. Her acoustic versions of “Price Tag” [Originally by Jessie J] and “Sex On Fire” [Originally by Kings Of Leon] went down well with the crowd as well. Following Leanne’s act were the mighty Cryptic Age. Their set began with a metal version of the “Game Of Thrones” theme into “Homeland”. The rest of Cryptic Age’s set consisted of songs such as “On The Cold, Bare Ground”. The crowd certainly enjoyed Cryptic Age’s set – Even the kids were dancing to the music, with some of them imitating the bassist’s every move.

Soulflame took the stage afterwards, performing a great set which included songs such as “You’re Safe”, “Last Cowboy” and “Get a Grip”. Their music certainly had a very Black Stone Cherry sound and feel to it, which certainly entertained the crowd. Epic Yorkshire Viking metallers “Ravenage” ascended to the stage afterwards. They performed a great set, which included songs from their upcoming album “Fresh From Fields Of Victory”. One of the most entertaining songs of the set was “Northbound”, a song inspired by Bernard Cornwell’s “Lords Of The North”.


The last band of the Saturday night were Led-Zep/DC, a Led Zeplin and AC/DC tribute band. They were probably the band that the crowd loved the most on the Saturday night and it’s no surprise since they performed each song, such as “The Immigrant Song” and “High Voltage” flawlessly.

Sunday

The first artist to begin the Sunday was Bridlington’s own folk-pop punk singer-guitarist Ben Parcell. He performed mostly his own material, except for one cover. The highlight of his set was “Imaginary Girl”. Ben Parcell demonstrated strong vocals and brilliant guitar playing skills, though it must have been somewhat disheartening for him due to the small size of the crowd. Loose Coverz followed after, performing songs such as “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Mama Mia”. Tom Burgundy performed soon after with Frank Sinatra styled songs.

The acoustic trio known as “Crush” took to the stage with a mixture of calm acoustic riffs and strong and raw vocals. They performed original songs such as “Slow Boat To China”. Bridlington-based cover band “Castles Made Of Sand” impressed the slowly growing crowd with their energetic performance and brilliant covers of old classics such as “Black Magic Woman”. Coz Commando joined them for a few songs on the keyboard as well. Rat pack styled material was performed by the powerful-voiced Frank Martin. East American country music was performed by the likes of Whiskey Dogs, who brought a very country and blues feel to the stage when they performed.

Stranglers tribute band “96 Tears” impressed the crowd with their impressive renditions of old Stranglers classics. After their performance, the frontman of 96 Tears performed a couple of songs with his son, including a Green Day cover. Three piece mod band “The Sonnet” brought an interesting sound to the event. They performed a very tight set and the vocals were outstanding. More covers were brought to the stage by Go Kommando who performed some brilliant versions of songs such as “Rebel Yell” [Originally performed by Billy Idol] and “Enter Sandman” [Originally performed by Metallica]. The crowd certain enjoyed their set.

Bad Panda brought a lot of interest to their set as they performed in panda-styled make up and some of the crowd were even donning the panda faces. They brought with them a very positive stage presence and a brilliant sound. They did a great cover of “White Wedding” and their original song “The Monkey Song” went down well with the crowd. Young band “First Principle” followed after, shocking the crowd musically with a mixture of soft and hard rock riffs. The frontman sang with a very distinctive voice and performed some amazing solos. The bass and drum work were very tight as well – Which is amazing, considering that the musicians are young. Songs they performed include “Not Coming Home”, “Possession” and “Astronaut”.

Classic rockers Alive In Thunderland dominated the stage with their strong, melodic vocals and thundering riffs. The solos were awesome and the drum work was great. They performed three songs from their third album which included “Into The Darkest Night” and “Hush Now” as well as two new songs which will be on their next album. Edge Of 13 were the second to last performance of the night, performing a very energetic set. The night was finished with the majestic performance from “Children Of The Mist” who performed songs such as Amazing Grace and Scotland The Brave on the bagpipes and they never did an immense cover of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”.

Brid Rocks was certainly an interesting event, though the turn out was slightly disappointing due to the weather constantly changing from cloudy and rainy to warm and sunny and vice versa. Some of the acts weren’t as impressive as expected but most of the acts were brilliant. Hopefully, Brid Rocks will be on again next year.

Nico Davidson

Old Corpse Road – The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 4th August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Old Corpse Road
Album: The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless
Release year: 2010
Genre: Black Metal/Folk Metal


Old Corpse Road are a blackened folk metal band hailing from Darlington located in the north-east of England. Throughout the years they’ve been together, they’ve shared the stage with the likes of Windrider, Skyclad and Hecate Enthroned as well as creating musical history by being one of the first British black metal bands to do produce a spilt with another black metal band [The Meads of Asphodel]. Their most recent release, “The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless”, is the first part of the previously mentioned spilt.

The eerie and dramatic piano medley of “Hob Headless Rises” comes first which is slowly replaced by the shredding guitars. The vocals are strong and raw, with a hint of a Cradle of Filth sound in them. The keyboard sections are beautifully played and add a very tense atmosphere to the music. The drums are masterfully and intelligently played but retain a certain ruthless aggression at the same time. The guitars are impressive, being both shredding and heavy. The acoustic sections brings a very folk-like element to the track which works well with the rest of the track. The clean vocals also help bring about a folk-like element.

“The Devil’s Footprints”, named after an incident in 1855, begins with sound of fast-faced guitars fading in before the introduction of the drums. The spoken vocals add a very archaic and epic feel to the song whilst the screams and grunts bring the aggressive element to the track. The keyboards, blending well with the guitars, bring a certain mystique to the track whilst the drums slowly become more rage-fuelled in their playing. The keyboard sections are both enchantingly and beautifully played, add a dash of calm of the furious metal storm within the song. The softer played guitar and drum sections also bring a touch of calm to the song as well.

The final track is “The Witch Of Wookey Hole”, named after the infamous witch. The song begins with a dark, haunting synth intro which is gradually accompanied by the sound of acoustic guitars and drums. The track turns brutal with the introduction of the feral guitar riffs and the beast-like vocals. The drums are almost machine-like in their playing, very precise yet savage at the same time. The synth sections bring an immense eerie sound to the track as well, helping the music fit in with the lyrical theme of the song. The vocal-keyboard-drum section is simply brilliant, adding a fresh sound to the sound. The narration, which quotes the words spoken by the priest who confronted the Witch of Wookey Hole, adds a very epic and sagaic sound and feel to the song. the choir-like vocals that follow place emphasis on the epic feel.

“The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless” may only be three tracks but it lasts long enough to make it feel more like an EP. The way that Old Corpse Road mix narration with screams and grunts is amazing and the music is masterfully composed. “The Bones Of This Land Are Not Speechless” greatly demonstrates the talent and ability of Old Corpse Road. the production values are astounding as well. It’s certainly a release that fans of folk and black metal should get their hands on.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Band Of The Month [August, 2011]: Pastel Jack

Posted in Band Of The Month with tags , , , , , , on 3rd August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Pastel Jack are the Band of the Month for August 2011, following the results of the poll we did on the official Valkyrian Music Facebook page.
Pastel Jack are a four-piece metal band that hail from Kingston Upon Hull, East Yorkshire. They bring in a lot from their influences, which include Trivium, Alterbridge and Queen. Pastel Jack are well known for their aggressive and catchy hooks, technical drum work and powerful vocals.

They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Sworn Amongst, XIII, Clown Corpse, Skyclad and Violent Deception. They will also be playing at Valkyrian Festival and they have their first full-length album [Trojan Horse] due for release soon.

Band History

Pastel Jack was officially formed in 2007 when Neil Bailey took the place as the bands singer. They spent the next two years working on their sound, honing their skills live and writing.
In 2009 they entered the studio at ‘Silent City Studios’ in Leeds to record their first EP “Ghost in the Machine”
2011 Pastel Jack re-enter the studio to record their debut album “Trojan Horse”.

Pastel Jack – Synergy (Official Video)

Rating: 4/5

Website: http://www.pastel-jack.co.uk/
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/pasteljackvids
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/pasteljack
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Pastel-Jack/7625915799

Six Stories Unknown [Band Review]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 2nd August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Six Stories Unknown
Country: Sweden
Genre: Pop-Punk
Site:
http://www.facebook.com/SixStoriesUnknown

Sweden, musically, is known for bands such as Abba and Arch Enemy, though the country is fast becoming home to an ever growing pop-punk scene with bands such as Almost Today and IKE. Apart of this growing scene are Six Stories Unknown, a five-piece pop-punk outfit from Eskilstuna, Sweden. Though the members are young, they have shared the stage with the likes of Tantrum To Blind and Aim For The Sunrise.

“She Said Happily Ever After” begins with a semi-violent riff, which sounds more like a rock-styled riff than a pop-punk medley. The vocals have a strong element of pop-punk. Like some of the guitar sections, the drums are more akin to rock. The guitars bring out some powerful melodic licks in parts of the song as well. “Still Carry On” has a very strong pop-punk sound all the way through it, but not quite as generic sounding as a lot of pop-punk bands. The guitar riffs are well composed and brilliantly played, as are the drums and the bass. The vocals are powerful as well.

”Fly” sounds to be more alternative rock meets punk in terms of its musical composition. The vocals are strongly pop-punk sounding however which does get a little tiring after a while for the casual listener to pop-punk or for someone new to the pop-punk genre, though there are a few short harsh vocal sections which are more akin to hardcore. The breakdown is an unexpected part of the song but it gives it a fresher and crisper sound. “We’ll Take Over The World” has a strange introduction as it’s composed of synths followed by a very soft, melodic guitar riff. The song is more hardcore dominated at the end. The only major issue with the song is that it’s too short.

Six Stories Unknown are certainly an interesting and exciting band to listen to, though their sound is typically pop-punk the hardcore and alt. rock elements are a great addition to their music, helping keep everything fresh. Six Stories Unknown are a band that pop-punk fans should be keeping an ear out for as they could soon become a domineering force in the international pop-punk scene.

Nico Davidson

Almost Today [Band Review]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 1st August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Almost Today
Country: Sweden
Genre: Pop-punk/Rock
Site:
http://www.facebook.com/Almosttoday

Sweden, the country who gave birth to one of the first black metal bands, Bathory, who then went onto create “Viking Metal” has always been known for Vikings, death metal and pop music, however, it seems that Sweden is now becoming the home for pop-punk as well as can be seen by rise of “Almost Today”.

”My Best Is What You Get” has a very Paramore-sound to it in terms of the intro guitar riff. The vocals are how pop-punk vocals usually are. The drums seem generic in their playing, though fans of pop-punk music would have no problem with this. The guitar parts play some melodic and catchy hooks. The chorus is plain, somewhat of a let-down considering that most of the song is pretty decent. “The Door Is Locked” has a more rock-orientated approach to its sound, which would be considered an improvement for those who dislike pop-punk. The vocals are strong and the guitar parts are still pulling off some catchy and energetic hooks and riffs. The drum work seems more intelligent as well – An improvement compared to “My Best Is What You Get”.

”There’s No Love In A Lapdance” is another rock-orientated song in its beginning though it does soon adopt the pop-punk sound with the introduction of the vocals. The vocals have a slight Blink 182 sound to them – Just not as irritatingly whiney. The guitar sections aren’t too impressive, though they’re not exactly boring or dull either. The bass & drum part of the song is probably the most interesting aspect of the track. The sound of drums soon followed by a masterfully played guitar riff introduces the song known as “Scene Chicks”. The song sounds like a typical pop-punk song about girls – Though if this is a good thing or a bad thing remains yet to be seen. The riffs get pretty hypnotic in sections, though the drums don’t seem to fit in with the guitar riffs. The bass riffs are pretty good however. “The Life We Knew” takes a laid back approach, bringing a slightly solemn mood. The vocals are strong – For pop-punk. The guitars are nicely played and the drums work better with them during in this song – Always a plus. Though the song isn’t as energetic as the other songs, it seems to have more life in it. The surprising use of a guitar solo is mind-blowing – Even if it is ruined slightly by vocals being sung over it towards the end.

Almost Today are a talented bunch of lads and do show promise. They could even go as far a putting Swedish pop-punk on the map. These are a must-hear band for fans of Paramore, All Time Low and We Die Tonight. Almost Today’s mixture of pop-punk and rock is certainly a refreshing change from the usual generic sounding pop-punk found on the bigger music scenes.

Nico Davidson