Archive for October, 2011

Sea Of Giants – To The Deepest Depths [2011]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 31st October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Sea Of Giants
Album: To The Deepest Depths EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore/Deathcore

Sea Of Giants are fairly new to the British metalcore scene but have already proven their worth by supporting Shadows Chasing Ghosts at Home From Home Fest back in August as well as playing a number of other gig as well. “To The Deepest Depths” is their first release which was recorded and produced by Lee Rule [Windrider, Ravenage, Obsolete Tomorrow] who also produced the recent release by Collisions.

”See You In Court” starts off with a surprisingly catchy and melodic riff. The track progresses into a more in-your-face brutal styled piece. The vocals show quite the range, going from death metal grunts to hardcore screams and everything in between. The drums fit their part pretty well, adding to the energy of the music. “This Is To Death” takes no prisoners as it ravages its way on next like a bull that’s just seen red. The vocals are on top form though its the guitars that are the most entertaining aspect of the song.

Coming into the second half of the EP is “Filthy Animal”. The intro is a sound sample which sounds to be taken from a movie. The section that follows after feels weak in comparison to the previous two songs though the vocals keep the track going enough to keep the attention of the listener. The break down is an interesting part of the song as well as it leads into a more powerful part. The one thing that is truly a shock is the melodic guitar section about half way through which probably would sound more solid with a second guitar. Fortunately the drums and vocals save it.

The EP finishes with “Bloodshot Eyes” – Otherwise known as the most violent and aggressive part of the EP. The vocals literally border on the line of being black metal styled screams and the guitars are like the bloodthirsty howls of the damned. The drums are barbaric and savage but intelligently played at the same time. The section towards the end that features no guitars, leaving only the drums, vocals and bass is definitely one of the highlights of the EP.

For a debut release, “To The Deepest Depths” is good. There’s clear signs of hardcore, metalcore and deathcore influences in the music but the band keep their own sound. The EP has a strong start and a strong finish. The sound is clean and polished without ruining the raw aggression of the music or the vocals. The only negative thing about the EP is the third track which is mediocre at best.

4/5

Nico Davidson

The Nightmare Returns

Posted in News with tags , on 31st October 2011 by Izzy Woods

Metalheads wouldn’t suggest that Alice Cooper is part of the genre, but you probably have a download or two from the Cooperman in your collection.

Now backed that he’s backed by two of the world’s top guitarists, Steve Hunter and Orianthi, an Alice Cooper gig is the closest you’ll ever get to melodic metal without admitting to liking hard rock.

The legend, as he’s known these days, has been performing for 47 years, 43 with the name and band, Alice Cooper. While the original band didn’t quite last ten years, they had their biggest hits during that time. When did you last air guitar to ‘School’s Out?’ Alice took the name as his own and hasn’t looked back since.

Welcome to My Nightmare

His 1975 Welcome to My Nightmare album and tours established the elaborate bloodthirsty theatre style his shows are known for and 17 studio albums later he’s back with Welcome to My Nightmare 2.

He’s returned with a mixture of musicians from the Alice Cooper Band days along with many of those that played on the first Nightmare album. Bob Ezrin produces as he did on the original. Despite using 29 musicians on the updated version, it feels like one tight unit pumping out the volume.

Of course, this is a band that should be seen live and the current world tour helps that. The albums have always been closer to rock, but on stage they take on a different persona and you know you’re closer to heavy metal.

The Quality Is In The Guitarists

Steve Hunter played on the final two albums by the Alice Cooper band, although he wasn’t a band member at the time. After Alice went solo Hunter became a permanent band member through the seventies. Previously he’d been on Lou Reed’s roster and then assisting Peter Gabriel.

With Dick Wagner, Hunter formed the ‘great guitar battle’ seen on the Alice Cooper DVDs and tours of that period. Some still wonder how they could play the metal while fighting (for fun) on stage.

Orianthi Panagaris is a 26 year old Australian and the first ever girl in an Alice Cooper band. While her history may be short, it’s certainly packed. At 18 she was invited to jam with Santana on stage at a gig. Afterwards Santana told those present that he knew who would take over his mantle as the world’s number one guitarist.

While surfing the internet Michael Jackson found her on YouTube. He invited her to audition for his This Is It world tour. She can be seen rocking up his act in the film of the same name, just before Jackson’s untimely death.

She’s persisted with a solo career, but it’s her collaborations that see her hit the headlines most. It’s odd seeing this young good looking woman on stage with the two aging 63 year old rockers, but she fits in perfectly with the chemistry between singer and guitar players.

Welcome to My Nightmare 2

The second Nightmare mixes a few elements from the first version to link the two themed albums, although no song from the first album sounds like anything from the second. This is good to see as you wouldn’t want to hear the original album played with new names and some different lyrics.

The 14 tracks are a mixed collection of rock and garage punk with a sprinkling of pop and one song that sounds exactly as though the Rolling Stones played on it. You’d be better off waiting to catch most of the album on the next Alice Cooper live DVD where mediocre CD songs will fill the air as heavy metal at its best.

The bonus for metal fans is either Rob Zombie performing backing vocals on The Congregation or telling your friends that Ke$ha sings lead vocal with Alice on What Baby Wants.

The bonus song is the Animals’ We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place although you might never have heard it played this way before. Any metalhead would enjoy sitting back in their palliser couches with full guitars, drums and bass thumping away.

If chart positions are your obsession, which would be wildly amusing to other metalheads, Nightmare 2 became Alice’s biggest hit for more than 20 years. In the US it reached number 22 early in its lifecycle while in the UK it reached number 7 in the rock charts.

Airbag – All Rights Removed [2011]

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

Band: Airbag
Album: All Rights Removed
Release year: 2011
Genre: Atmospheric Progressive Rock

“All Rights Removed” is the second album by Norwegian atmospheric progressive rockers Airbag. The band all ready have a strong following in their native country Norway as well as a large following in Poland, which is proven by the fact their song “Colours” was featured – for four months – in the top ten list of Polish national radios. The new album is described to be much darker and more atmospheric than their debut album.

”All Rights Removed”, the title track, is the first part of the album. Beginning with a typical rock sound which progresses as the vocals are introduced, which are a reminder of U2. The guitars have a hint of an older Pink Floyd and the percussion fits in perfectly with the guitars. The guitar solo has a cool sounding spaced out tone to it, giving it that extra edge compared to the rest of the guitar work. “White Walls” brings about a new atmosphere with it, feeling like a Pink Floyd meets A-Ha composition. The vocals are strong, full of emotion and conviction. The percussion elements helps keep that laid back feel to the music as well. The one thing that makes this song truly complete is the soulfully performed solo.

The third song of the album comes about in the form of the light yet haunting sounds of “The Bridge”. Some sections of the song make the listener feel as if they’re listening to Anathema though the song does retain its own unique sound as well and the vocals keep the emotion flowing throughout the song. “Never Coming Home” has a dark and solemn sound and atmosphere, sort of like My Dying Bride and Anathema. The vocals don’t fit in well with the dark sound, causing unintentional disharmony. The introduction of the guitars brings back some form of harmony to the track, fortunately enough. the use of acoustic guitars adds a subtle and almost hidden dynamic to the song, keeping it versatile and fresh. The solo leads the track is a powerful yet saddening finish.

”Light Them All Up” is definitely the most interesting song on the album. There’s a beautiful use of a violin that creates a haunting and mystifying atmosphere that entrances the listener’s ears and captivates the soul. The album finishes with “Homesick”, beginning with an acoustic section mixed with vocals that feel as if they’re overpowering the guitar. As the song progresses, new elements are introduced like more melodic guitar sections played on electric guitars mixing with the acoustic sections. The percussion instrumentation adds some excitement to the music, as do the vocals.

Though the album contains only six tracks, it’s one of the most impressive pieces of musical craftsmanship to come out of Norway since the days of Edvard Grieg. Each track is so masterfully composed and played, that Airbag have shown that it’s the quality of the tracks – not the quantity – that matters.

4.8/5

Changes To Band Of The Month Voting

Posted in News on 31st October 2011 by Nico Davidson

During in the early hours of this morning, it came to attention that there was cheating going on regarding the Band of the Month voting. At first we were skeptical about it until we saw a band – who hadn’t even announced they were in the voting – go from one vote to just over three hundred votes.

We are deeply saddened by the cheating that has gone on as we are trying to help bands gain exposure and fans – Something we can’t do if people are going to ruin it for others. Rather than cancel the Band of the Month segment, the team will randomly select a band for the time being, until we find a rig-proof voting system which on the world wide web will be extremely difficult.

We do thank everyone who has participated in the voting and we are sorry that your hard work has gone to waste like this. The randomly selected Band of the Month will be announced November 1st.

DJ 501- The Journey to Tranquility [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 30th October 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: DJ 501
Album: The Journey to Tranquility
Release year: 2011
Genre: Electronica

‘The Journey to Tranquility’ is the second full length album by a Vampire Freaks user of the same name. DJ 501 started life as small project with a handful of song samples distributed for free via the Vampire Freaks site and promoted via the Industrial music forum. As with most of DJ 501 releases this album is mostly instrumental with the occasional film samples thrown in for good measure. There are also two memorable re-mixes by Atomik Tanz and Pigswill.

Musically, the album features an unusual mixture of ambient tracks akin to the start of a video game like ‘The Journey Begins’ and ‘Hope Remains’, catchy synth tunes enhanced by samples like ‘Electronic Alien’ and ultra cheesy dance music like ‘Das Pretzl (DJ 501 Redoux). This frequent change in style has certain drawbacks however as not all the tracks are in sync with one another. Highlights include the atmospheric, ambient ‘Tranquility’ which lives up to its name taking the listener on a journey to inner peace; the dance track ‘Vengance’ and DJ 501’s first real dance-floor hit, the ultra catchy ‘Captain Gasmask’ which is easily the best song on here.

Overall this is DJ 501’s most mature album to date and although the ‘Journey to Tranquility’ may be over, the long journey to dance-floor domination has just began.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

Hamerex – Rites of Passage [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 29th October 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: Hamerex
Album: Rites of Passage
Release year: 2011
Genre: Thrash/Heavy Metal

‘Rites of Passage’ is the debut album from British heavy metal band Hamerex. Some of the tracks have been released previously as EPs and demos.

There is an evident Slayer influence here, particularly in the vocals and the guitar riffs on tracks such as ‘The Headless Horseman’ and the guitar solo in ‘Hypnotise’. Luckily for Hamerex, they actually make this work. The highlights include ‘The Lycan’, which features a catchy guitar intro, great solos and an equally catchy chorus making it destined to become a mosh-pit favorite and ‘The Gates of Hades’ with its catchy guitar riffs.

The only disappointments are the title track and ‘Waste Away’ which both suffer from a case of mismatched backing and lead vocals which resemble howling at times. Good news is that the rest of the music is so good you can actually look past this.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Skelator – Time of the Sword Rulers [2008]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 28th October 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: Skelator
Album: Time of the Sword Rulers
Release year: 2008
Genre: Power/ Heavy Metal/Thrash

‘Time of the Sword Rulers’ is a compilation album from the American Power metal band ‘Skelator’. It features tracks from their early demos along with some previously unreleased material.

Now what would you expect from a band whose name is derived from the evil character in the He-man comics, album cover featuring a knight and a reference to swords?
Power metal? Check. Squeaky vocals? Check? Ridiculously cheesy lyrics? Check.

Yes, you guessed it, this is exactly what it says on the tin. ‘Time of the Sword Rulers’ is a quintessential Power metal album which is likely to appeal to fans of Gamma Ray and Helloween. The only surprise here is ‘Heavy Metal Sacrifice’ which sounds like a tribute to Motorhead. Fans of Iron Maiden are likely to enjoy the epic ballad ‘The Wrath of Odin’s Sons’ which bears similarity to ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’. Other highlights include: the instrumental ‘In Metal We Trust’ along with ‘The Dark Tower’ and ‘You Traveled Many Miles (For a Heavy Metal Show)’ which feature the characteristic catchy guitar riffs, solos and squeaky vocals that sound best on a sunny day at an outdoor metal festival when you’ve had one beer too many!

Hopefully they will come to metal festival near me one day!

4/5

Iza Raittila

Taake – Noregs Vaapen [2011]

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

Band: Taake
Album: Noregs Vaapen
Release year: 2011
Genre: Black Metal

Noregs Vaapen is the fifth studio by Norway’s legendary Taake. The album is said to refine the band’s True Norwegian Black Metal sound and incorporate some new elements as well including black’n’roll grooves. Hoest, the mastermind of Taake, has invited his live line-up [Thurzur, V’gandr, Aindiachai and Gjermund] to contribute on some of the tracks and it was been stated that there is guest appearances from the likes of Demonaz [Immortal], Attila Csihar [Mayhem] and Nocturno Culto [Darkthrone] as well as others.

The first track of the album is “Fra Vadested til Vaandesmed”, which has Nocturno Culto accompanying Hoest on vocals and Bjoernar Nilsen [Vulture Industries] on the mellotron. The intro starts with a face ripping guitar section that only gets heavier when the drums soon come in. Hoest’s vocals are on top form, which is obviously to be expected. His trademark melodies can be heard clearly, incorporated in his riffs, making the track more interesting. Culto’s vocals are devilishly grim and guttural sounding, though they don’t hold a candle to Hoest’s vocal work on the track. The mellotron section towards the end is soul piercing and icy. A great addition to the song though very unpredictable.

”Orkan”, which only features Hoest on all instruments, starts with a grim yet mid-paced intro, a sort of crescendo to building up for the entry of the vocals. The drum work is astounding, adding a very edgy and violent sound to the song. Like the previous track, Hoest’s vocals are on top form – and it’s certainly good to just hear his vocals. The guitar work, however, is the most entertaining aspect of this track as it features Hoest’s trademark work and some black’n’roll grooves as well, enough to keep the listener hooked.

The third song of the album is “Nordbundet”, features Attila [Mayhem] doing vocal work alongside Hoest and Lava [ex-Taake] doing some guitar work. The guitar riffs are raw and somewhat terrifying while the drums tight and well played. The vocal work is impressive and entices the listener to keep the track playing. The guitar solo provided by Lava is brilliant though it is definitely not what you’d expect to hear on this album. “Du Ville Ville Vesteland”, which features vocal work from Demonaz and V’gandr as well as guitar solos from Aindiachai and Gjermund, begins with a sinister guitar and drums section which progresses into something just as violent as sounding with a hint of melody before reverting back to the original riff. The three differing vocals add a truly unique sound to the track and they add emphasis to the aggressiveness of the music. The softer guitar medley towards the end sounds somewhat like an old western medley but yet it works well with the track which is the really odd part. The two guitar solos are brilliantly delivered as well.

”Myr”, featuring Thurzur and Gjermund, as well as Nilsen and Skagg [Deathcult], takes a break-neck speed approach to the music in the beginning, sending out a vicious guitar riff mixed with barbaric drums. There is a slower section further in as the music progresses which allows for a voiceover which adds a different sound to the music. The song reverts back to its fast tempo as the vocals burst in. There’s a use of white trash styled banjo that’s provided by Gjermund. It takes the listener by surprise as it blends well with the rest of the track and the vocals – Kind of like a hillbilly rendition of black metal.

“Helvetesmakt” takes a slower approach compared to “Myr”, featuring vocal work from Nilsen and some mandolin work from Gjermund. The vocals are top notch, being the most brutal aspect of the song. The guitars are grim and bloodthirsty sounding whilst also cold and unmerciful in their sound. The mandolin brings about a strange and mystifying atmosphere that few bands – let alone black metal bands – ever successfully create. This is certainly the greatest piece on the album. The final track, which is also the longest, comes in the form of “Dei Vil Alltid Klaga Og Kyta”. It features vocal work from Skagg and guitar solos from Thurzur and Gjermund. The intro begins in true black metal style but not as generic sounding. The vocals near enough destroy the guitars in terms of loudness and aggressiveness. As the track progresses on it becomes more ingeniously composed and played. The change of tempos throughout the song keep the interest of the listener and Skagg’s vocals keep the track sounding fresh, as do the guitar solos.

”Noregs Vaapen” has been described as one of the most anticipated black metal releases of this year and no wonder why. Taake have done more than just refine their True Norwegian Black Metal sound, they’re refined the entire genre. Each track is so masterfully composed, you’d think it was crafted by the gods. “Noregs Vaapen” is a testament to the fact that black metal isn’t dead and it will no doubt be near enough impossible for Taake to top this release.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Ancestral Legacy – Nightmare Diaries [2010]

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

Band: Ancestral Legacy
Album: Nightmare Diaries
Release year: 2010
Genre: Gothic Metal/Symphonic Metal

Ancestral Legacy, originally known as Permafrost, are a Norwegian Gothic metal band currently signed to Femme Metal Record. While not receiving massive commercial success, the band have enjoy much success in the international metal underground. “Nightmare Diaries” is the latest chapter in their long lasting saga.

The first track, “Out Of The Dark And Into The Light”, begins with a clean, melodic intro which is soon joined by an aggressive fast-paced onslaught of guitars and drums. The vocals, which are calm and soothing, don’t work well with the fast pace of the drums causing a certain amount of discontent in the music. The harsher vocals work better with the fast tempo. The riffs are well written for the most part though in sections they don’t agree, musically, with the drums. There is only one section where the female vocals sound right and that’s towards the end when the drums have slowed down.

“Separate Worlds” blasts its way next with a heavy mixture of growls, drums and guitars as the intro. The female vocals are quite weak on this one though that might be due to the music and other vocals overpowering them. The drums are precise and tight, as to be expected. This track would be more akin to death metal as opposed to any form of Gothic or symphonic metal due to the heavy lack of soft parts and lack of keyboards. “Chosen Destiny” has an interesting introduction, being composed of acoustic and electric guitars. The female vocals are much more powerful on this track, adding a sense of mystique to the music whilst enchanting the listener like sweet aroma. Even the death metalesque growls don’t break the spell cast by the female vocals. Musically, the track is solid, especially in terms of the acoustic sections.

”Perhaps In Death” has a beautiful mix of guitars, drums and piano at the beginning that only becomes more tantalising to the ears with the introduction of the female vocals. As the song progresses, the guitars turn slightly melodic adding a mysterious touch to the song. The slow, light introduction of “Trapped Within The Wind” lulls the listener into a calm, relaxed state as the female vocals conjure you soothing images. One key thing about this song is the lack of harsh vocals, which adds to its calming atmosphere. “Done” has a more sinister yet majestic sound introduction. The first form of vocal work is the low guttural growl which is soon followed by the female vocals. For the most part, the guitars are barely audible compared to the vocals, which is a crying shame. The voice over towards the end adds a certain feel to the music as well.

”Still” is another track to start with a calm introductory section mixed with the soothing element of the female vocals. For the most part, the song retains its serene feeling. The guitars do add a violent element to the music in certain parts as does the harsher vocal work. The sound samples of a baby crying add a very dark and eerie sound to the song, the kind that sends chills up the listener’s spine. “Tomorrow’s Chance” starts with an intro that is more attune to hard rock rather than metal – Until the rough vocal work comes into action. The guitar work is tight and well composed though the drums and keyboard sections seem to be lacking the same energy as the guitars. the female vocals have some good parts as well.

”…My Departed” could easily be described as melodic death metal – though the riffs aren’t quite heavy enough to be death metal. The vocal work switches beautifully between harsh and soft, in true beauty and the beast fashion. The voice overs in the second part of the song add some emotion to the song and the album. The album comes to a finale with “The Shadow Of The Cross”, which is perhaps the only thing that has come close to Gothic sounding on the whole album. The growls are the first vocals to make themselves heard, barely blending with the music. The female vocals do a better job of blending in with the music fortunately. Musically, the song sounds great with the keyboard sections adding that extra dark sound to the song.

”Nightmare Diaries” is hardly a Gothic metal album or a symphonic metal album for that matter. It’s more along the lines of being melodic metal, however, this doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable album for the most part. The sound quality isn’t perfect but if the listener can get past that, then they’ll really enjoy this album.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson

Band Of The Month [November – Voting]

Posted in Band Of The Month with tags , , , , , , , on 25th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

It’s that time of the month, where you get to vote for the next Band Of The Month!

Voting will last for one week [25th October – 31st October].

The nominees are:

XIII
Cryptic Age
Windrider
Northern Oak
Her Dark Embrace
Sea Of Giants
Infernal Creation 
Aonia 

Leaves’ Eyes @ Manchester Academy [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 24th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Leaves’ Eyes, Stream Of Passion, Awake By Design
Location: Manchester Academy, Manchester
Date: 20th October 2011

I have no idea why Awake by Design were touring with Leaves’ Eyes and Stream of Passion I think the tour would have been better, but not only that they didn’t have any of the same elements that the other two bands offered. With low communication between the band and the audience it was probably good that they had a short set (only a couple of songs) though to be fair the amount of space that they were given – which was next to none – they just had enough to fit the band on and off, which maybe they could of done better with a bit more space.

In 2007 Stream of Passion had to cancel part of their European tour, one part of this tour was in the UK when immigration denied Stream of Passion from entering the UK on suspicions that they were coming here to actually settle in the UK illegally, each member was separated and questioned but despite providing the legal documents they were unable to come over to the UK, that was 4 years ago and Stream of Passion hadn’t even announced a UK yet they talked about returning until the original support act Visions of Atlantis had to cancel their shows in the UK, Czech and France because of Mario Plank voice problems but seemed to be able to make it for their MFVF where they will be shooting there live DVD.

Stream of Passion opened with a song from the new album Darker Days (released June 2011) entitled Lost. They continued to play a lot of songs from their latest album, so if your an old fan there wouldn’t be a lot of songs that you would know, though they did perform Passion and Out of The Real World – Passion is from their first album Embrace The Storm, where the Marcela told the crowd that  it’s a really old song and told everyone to raise their hands and clap within time. They also had one from their second The Flame Within, my favourite song of the night was Collide (there new single), I was happy to see lead singer Marcela Bovio using her violin for the show and did on a numerous of songs through the show but also how she was okay at head banging on the stage I have only every seen that on Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil and Floor Jansen (ReVamp), and how the whole band seemed to be on their music and great hopefully Stream of Passion will get more recognition for what they do as they are great to see live and musically talented. I think that the band enjoyed there time in the UK, more so in London and will be returning (according to their official site and also Marcela mentioned) that you can see Stream of Passion at Fused Festival 2012. 4.5/5

Its been 5 years since Leaves’ Eyes last visited the north of England, so by performing in Manchester they definitely made up for lost time, despite Academy 3 only being a small venue the gig did not sell out but they did have a heavy and respectful crowd which Liv Kristine Espenaes Krull did mention. They kicked off their set with Spirits’ Masquerade, Liv being the last one to come onto the stage in a pure black medieval styled dress with corset around her middle, the sleeves edges of the dress and designed in a gold pattern, where she wore fish nets and high heeled shoes (which she later used to put holes in the set list) as the song progressed she held her hand out and touched everyone that she can reach in the audience.

The next song was from their first album Lovelorn, and is the first song I heard of Leaves’ Eyes, this is Ocean’s Way during the introduction Alexander Krull walks on with his desirable waist length, who encourages the audience to be a bit more brutal referring to his wife as ‘too nice’ and demands that the audience throw their fists in the air. The pair make a great duo Liv’s soft vocal with Alex’s definitely make Leaves’ Eyes unique.

I thought that My Destiny would be the last song or one of the last songs on the set list if not the last song but was pleasantly surprised when it appeared to be the third song in the list, this maybe because Alexandra was already on the stage? Who Knows. The audience is silent and Liv begins to sing the beginning vocals gently taking a quick break to tell the audience she loves them before the guitar riffs start off, Alex’s still encouraging the audience especially to call back at him often holding his ear to crowd in response to get more noise out of us.

From there I don’t know the order of the songs that they played, though the set list was cut short with songs like In To Your Light not being played because of lack of time, the band did continue to play songs from all 4 of their albums, one I didn’t think that they would play was Farewell Proud Men this is probably the songs that Liv came close to head banging and often raising her arm up in the arm to create the rock on symbol \m/

Not long after these songs they began to be slower songs with them playing Krakevisa which was dedicate to the horrible tragedy that happened in Norway this year with a man killing loads of teenagers, the song was sang in Norwegian and has the element of folk in it, the song i think is on about the hunting and killing of something.

After another song the perform Elegy probably one of the mans most famous and icon songs that appears in their second album Vinland Saga, the crowd is encouraged to clap along with the rhythm of the song and to call out the lyrics making sure that the crowd are were on the rising vocal range begin the song ‘Are you ready to sing really high? Are you?”. From this song there o into some musical difficulty with the intro of To France beginning, the crowd than edges them to carry on singing along to To France’s chorus, the next song is obviously To France.

The Last Leaves’ Eyes song is one that I didn’t think would even be on the set list and is off third album Njord Frøya’s Theme, Alex joins his wife on stage to perform their last song.

Leaves Eyes are great performers and the next time that they are in the UK you should totally go, a Security memeber after the show and told Liv that he had never heard of them before but totally enjoyed it. Definitely 5/5.

Danielle Eley

Wereworld – Wereworld

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 23rd October 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: Wereworld
Album: Wereworld
Release year: 2011
Genre: Gothic/ Symphonic Metal

This is the self-titled debut album from Spanish Gothic metallers Wereworld. Although they originally formed back in 1999, several line-up changes have meant it has taken them a while to release their first full length.

Most of the tracks start off well with promising atmospheric intros, such as those present in the title track and ‘Land of the Fading Sun’ which reminds me of early Nightwish or Tristania. Yet unlike these aforementioned bands, one element that’s clearly missing here is decent female vocals that work in harmony with a male singer. It would appear as though the female singer is struggling with the operatic vocals which really don’t suit her vocal range.

The music itself has good elements such as the catchy guitar solos in ‘Requiem for World’ and the synth solo in ‘IF.L.Y’ but it is ruined by the mismatched vocals with both singers working against each other rather than in harmony with one another. The use of Spanish horns in ‘Origin of Hate’ makes it stand out for all the wrong reasons as it doesn’t seem to fit the rest of the album.

The only notable exception is the slow, melodic ballad ‘Children of War’ where both singers produce a duet that is pleasing to the listener and when combined with the guitars, the piano and the children’s choir it bears similarity to Theatres des Vampires. My personal view is that the female singer should really draw inspiration from singers like Sonya Scarlet (Theatres des Vampires) for vocal styles as opposed to trying to sound like Tarja Turunen!

2/5
Iza Raittila

Black Veil Brides W/Support @ Manchester Academy [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 23rd October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Black Veil Brides, My Passion, Yashin
Location: Manchester Academy, Manchester
Date: 11th October

After hearing about a lot about this new band from Hollywood, California called Black Veil Brides making a big statement about being the indifferent and with  countless articles in Kerrang Magazine I thought I would go check them out for myself. Before going to the gig I can say that I had heard Knives and Pens and Perfect Weapon which were average songs and didn’t seem all the rush to me.

Touring with Black Veil Brides was My Passion (solo tours and will be touring with Madina Lake soon!) and Yashin (toured with the likes of KoRn). The first act would be My Passion which had had mix reports and views on while I was waiting outside of the venue,they seemed to be pretty much in the middle this band with a lot of people liking them and a lot not, I was pretty excited to see this band again from the last time when I saw them in Liverpool on the Red Bull tour just before they got famous so to see now far and what they were like now would be very interesting. When making their entrance on the stage there was a lot of booing which does seem pointless as they are the ones walking away with a little bit of your money so might as well endure it, the stage was blacked out and lit up again with a bright florescence blue colour each one making their way onto the stage. the lead singer Simon Rowlands coming on last with a white coat and glow in the dark shades. the band kicked off with a song I didn’t recognise but that is probably because they had a new album set to come out so I think that they were playing new songs to promote it.. The performance as a whole would definitely 4 out of 5, they kept the crowd entertained (despite the booing) and of course all of them had a lot of energy for the stage. My opinion were very good and would definitely suggest that you go and see them. They finished with their signature song The Girl Who Lost there smile.

I didn’t not get to see Yashin due to complication, leaving the next to come on was Black Veil Brides. After waiting 30 minutes for the band to come on the stage blacked out and the up roar of fans (who had to mimic his make-up) and opening with a song from there new album which was average, they played a couple of songs and a drummer solo one that they did do was a cover of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell which was very good but unfortunately that strike didn’t last long with only completing 8 songs on the list (INCLUDING THE DRUMMER SOLO) I was disappointed and would say that Black Veil Brides are nothing really specially but to the people that they do touch the BVB Army, then it good for them I totally support what they are promoting with the indifference theme but I think to get the most out of this gig you have to adore the band otherwise it was not a very entertaining show. The front man Andy Sixx also seemed not on form and something was missing, due to this fact I would go and see them again as I think that they could perform better and possible do a good show. I would award BVB a 2 out of 5 for this show.

Danielle Eley

I would like thank My Passion for helping my sister get through her panic attack after their performance. – Definitely go and check these out with Madina Lake.

Sarah Jezebel Deva W/Support @ Ringside, Hull [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 23rd October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Sarah Jezebel Deva, Pastel Jack, XIII, Our Innocence Lost & Heartless Angels
Location: The Ringside, Kingston Upon Hull
Date: 22nd October

The Hull show for SJD’s UK tour was left in turmoil due to unprofessionalism from the original promoter. Fortunately enough, The Ringside’s manager, Music HQ and the tour manager were able to sort things out, allowing for the show to go ahead as originally planned. The first band of the night were none other than Hull’s newest band “Heartless Angels”. A lot in the crowd were wondering how they got onto the bill as they didn’t seem to be the type of band that would usually open up for SJD. Heartless Angels set was very alternative-meets-punk sounding but two things made their set disappointing. The first was the lack of energy from the band, none of them seemed to move around on stage or seemed to be enjoying themselves – Aside from the guitarist. The second thing was the generic sound of the music, as it sounded like the band have taken too much of a sound from their influences to the point where there isn’t any uniqueness to their music. Aside from that, they were a good opening band.

XIII were the second band on the bill and as to be expected they entertained the crowd with their thrash-like riffs, aggressive drumming and charismatic stage presence. After XIII, alternative-hardcore quartet Our Innocence Lost took to the stage keeping the energy flowing from XIII’s set. OIL put on one hell of a show, keeping everyone entertained with their brilliantly composed music and strong vocals. They were the best act of the night – Aside from SJD. The main support for the gig was, oddly enough, Sarah Jezebel Deva which did confuse a lot of people as it was originally planned for her to be the headliner. Sarah stated that it was for the best and earlier in the night she had said she was ill, but hearing her sing her heart on stage, no one would have even know she was ill. Some of the highlights of her set included “God Has A Plan For Us All” [From the Angtoria album of the same name], “The World Won’t Hold Your Hand” and “I’m Calling”. SJD’s bassist looked to be enjoying himself as well on stage as he helped keep the crowd entertained and the two guitarists helped out with entertaining the crowd as well. Sarah and the band lived well up the expectations of the crowd and then some. Hopefully, SJD will consider hitting Hull again on the next tour!

The headliner for the night were Hull-based Pastel Jack though by the time they got to the stage, the crowd has seriously thinned out as a lot of the audience had come just to see SJD. However, Pastel Jack still put on a great performance with the frontman keeping constant interaction with the crowd during and in between songs. For the most part, it was a seriously enjoyable night though some were disappointed that SJD wasn’t the headliner. The highlights of the night were definitely SJD’s and OIL’s performance.

Nico Davidson

Cruadalach – Lead – Not Follow [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 22nd October 2011 by Pieni

Band: Cruadalach
Album: Lead – Not Follow
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal

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Since their formation in 2008, Cruadalach have been busy guys (and gals): a tour through their home country Czech Republic and neighbour Slovakia; a demo in 2010 (“V Rytmu Staré Krve”); an EP early this year (“Agni – Unveil What’s Burning Inside”); and now the debut album “Lead – Not Follow”.

Most folk metal bands I know have this “happy feeling” to them: they pick up medieval instruments and recreate the melodies which the Celts used to play around bonfires, adding some fast and heavy electric guitars to make it sound metal. Cruadalach use those same instruments but the result is quite opposite, as they sound pretty obscure instead of party-like. “Nezlomi” and “Cruadalach” are two perfect examples of that, while “The Promise” over-steps the boundaries of doom metal.

“Living With Pride” and “For My Bleeding Friends” are more aggressive, but it’s “Rage Starts Here” that, living to its title, show us just how raw and shredding this band can be. Also the vocals are rougher, pure death metal style.

Besides the instrumental intro, “Dubh”, “Blejanje Na Mjesec” is also a reminder of the original folk that inspired Cruadalach in the first place. The music makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a magic Pagan ritual, and the lyrics (in Czech) are either spoken or chanted, rather than sung.

Speaking about lyrics, Cruadalach’s are more than the usual stories about ancient gods, bloody battles and/or fallen heroes (except for “Morrigan”, maybe). In general, they put into songs their personal experiences, and “Lead – Not Follow” focus on their struggles against society’s preconceptions. Hence the cover art, where you see a sheep in a typical wolf pose, as if howling at the moon. Interesting, don’t you think?

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

GWAR Set To Rock York

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 22nd October 2011 by Nico Davidson
GWAR Concert - Disemboweling Paris Hilton

Image via Wikipedia

The city of York is certainly one of the most cultural and historic cities within Yorkshire, as well as the north of England. Being home to several different invaders and a long legacy of history, York is slowly becoming a hot spot for the British metal scene with bands such as Sylosis, Soulfly and Uriah Heep already having played gigs there.

Now thrash metal outfit GWAR are set to play The Duchess in York as part of their UK tour. Joining them will be British metallers Viking Skull and Swedish punk rockers Sister! Several residents of York and the surrounding areas have already expressed their excitement about this. Tickets are only a mere £13 in advance or £15 on the door. The event is due to take place 19th January 2012.

More info on the event (and other shows happening at The Duchess) can be found on The Duchess’ website: http://theduchessyork.co.uk/

Behemoth – Demonica [2006/2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 21st October 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: Behemoth
Album: Demonica
Release year: 2006/2011
Genre: Black Metal

Before I begin I’d like to say that this album doesn’t actually contain new Behemoth material. It is a limited edition 2CD box-set, compilation consisting of old demos, covers and some previously unreleased tracks from Behemoth’s early days as a Black Metal band. These songs, like many of their demos, have been influenced by the bands from Second Wave of Norwegian Black Metal, notably Mayhem, Hellhammer and Darkthrone.

The result is 2CDs worth of wonderfully haunting, atmospheric Black Metal to reminiscent to that of early Emperor. Also present in the mix is a handful of fast-paced re-recorded tracks such as ‘Transylvanian Forest’ which are bound to attract the attention of fans of Marduk or Ragnarok; along with covers of Hellhammer’s ‘Aggressor’ and Mayhem’s ‘Deathcrush’.

The highlights include: the instrumental ‘Goat with a Thousand Young’, the relentless ‘Marduk-esque’ pummelling of ‘Transylvanian Forest’ , the eerily atmospheric ‘From Hornedlands to Lindisfarne’ and the melodic ‘Thy Winter Kingdom’. The two cover tracks reveal the lengths to which the band was prepared to go to sound like their idols. So whilst their version of ‘Deathcrush’ may have persuaded me to see Mayhem in a different light, the cover of ‘Aggressor’ has done little to make me consider listening to Hellhammer.

4.9/5

Iza Raittila

As I Lay Dying – Decas [2011]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 21st October 2011 by corvusofmorlich

Band: As I Lay Dying
Album: Decas
Release year: 2011
Genre: Metalcore

Not a fan of the artwork? Same here!

Disclaimer: Now, I’m definitely not a fan of metalcore. I was closer to being one back when I was about 14 and I can kinda hear how it might be appealing, but it’s definitely not for me any more. However, seeing as most of this album is filled with cover songs and dance remixes, it should be okay.

Decas is the new compilation album from American metalcore band As I Lay Dying. The album starts without taking a breath. The first song is suitably called ‘Paralyzed’. There’s no slow intro, it’s just straight in there with heavy chugs beneath a drifty melody, before launching into some screams! This album sounds very good, in terms of the mix and how it all sits together. Not long after, the typical clean vocals come in, instantly reminding me of bands like Bullet for my Valentine and the like. The song switches between the cleans and screams up until a solo. The song lacked a lead melody, aside from the clean vocals, so the solo was very welcome and it was actually really good, despite being not especially technical, but that’s not the important thing when it comes to solos.

The next song (‘From Shapeless to Breakable’) is a lot more fast pace and starts very well – reminding me of bands like Chimaira, mixed with some more thrashy death metal bands. I was pleasantly surprised and it worked really well. Layered vocals and heavy as hell guitars  throughout, accompanied by chunky breakdowns and a dark solo render this song one of the best songs on the album.

The next song, ‘Moving Forward’, starts very typically, not just for the genre, but it actually sounds really bland for the album itself. The clean vocals and screams all sound very much like typical metalcore and it ruins it a little, because some of the riffs aren’t unbearable, with some of those reminding me a little of modern Children of Bodom. The clichés here really knock this song, and therefore the album, down. The song, like those before it, is essentially saved by the solo, which – like the rest – might not be technically impressive, but fits the song well and is welcome after a wall of bland riffage.

This finishes the original songs that are present on the album.

The next track is ‘War Ensemble’, a cover of Slayer. The song genuinely sounds a lot like the original, but what with it being recorded more recently, the song is a fuckload heavier and this really does it justice. The vocals are screamed, as opposed to Tom Araya’d (shouting) and again, this works perfectly. The solos sound a bit better, too, if I’m honest. I genuinely prefer this to the original song, so kudos to AILD.

The next cover up is ‘Hellion’/’Electric Eye’ (originally by Judas Preist). The first song starts slowly, with pounding drums and harmonised guitars. When the next song actually starts, it knocks you down. The drums smash in and it, again, sounds really good due to being a modern recording. The vocals come in harsh before layering up cleans with high pitched screams, which really doesn’t sound good to my ears and the cleans remind me of My Chemical Romance far too much. The solo is, again, tasty and the highlight of the song.

The next song is a 40 second cover of an American punk band called Descendents called ‘Coffee Mug’. Not much to say other than it sounds really punk rocky, but with screams!

‘Beneath the Encasing’ is up next and is apparently a re-recorded medley. The song sounds very much like the first 3 – a blend of groove, death, thrash and metalcore, steering more towards the latter. It’s not a bad song necessarily, but it’s very boring and could do with a little more variation – something a medley really shouldn’t need.

Next up are 4 songs that have been remixed to become dance tracks! Not only am I up against metalcore, but dance versions, too! I actually prefer a lot of dance music to metalcore and I’m a regular listener of electronic music. Also, due to studying sound production and engineering, I was very keen to hear these.

The first is titled ‘The Blinding of False Light’ and is a dubstep remix. There’s a slow build before harsh vocals come in, leading to the drop and the start of the standard dubstep sound. They clear up eventually and head to a break, where clean vocals echoe through. Another build follows and leads to a dance beat, with altered harsh vocals. The dubstep side returns and plays us towards a piano strike and a slow drumbeat out. The song was a refreshing change and wasn’t especially bad, just a little bland (as most dubstep is).

‘Wrath Upon Ourselves’ is next. The song is just noise. They’ve clearly taken the vocal track and just fuzzed the hell out of it, and stuck it under some fuzzed drums. A drifty and synthy part comes in for a split second before more mashed up noise! Being a fan of strange and industrial music/sound, I actually really like it. The fuzz breaks for clean vocals to come in and choir ‘aah’s then follow, under more fuzz and drums. I don’t think this song would be one for most to just listen to as part of recreation. I think this is more suited to those who understand and appreciate this kind of mashed up music.

‘Confined’ is next and has a fade in snare patter, under a synth and distant clean vocals, which fade into focus for some distorted riffs and some tasty artificial drums. The clean vocals are so very metalcorey and I couldn’t get into this song at all, despite it just repeating the same section all the way through it. Harsh vocals come and go underneath, but it doesn’t change a thing.

The final song is ‘Elegy’ and it starts with some torn up and distorted vocals before going into a very good Drum ‘n’ Bass drum rhythm. The song uses the cut up voice as an instrument at this point and it sounds very good. Harsh vocals come next and on top of synths. There’s then a breakdown section, which throws itself towards dubstep, but the bass section is so different to normal dubstep, that it doesn’t sound bland or typical in any way. Again, using the cut up vocals, which I actually adore in this song. At nearly 3 minutes in, the song jumps right down dubstep lane. The heavy bass sections still don’t sound typical, but they’re a lot closer than the ones before. The drums abruptly slow and then stop just as abruptly – a perfect ending in my opinion. This is the best song on the album, for me.

All in all, this album was a big blend of genres. The remixed tracks added a refreshing breeze to the otherwise standard album. It was interesting and fun to listen to the covers and how they’d been changed, but the music ended up being so similar to As I Lay Dying’s original work that it never really felt like a change. As for the 3 songs written by the band, only one was genuinely good, in my opinion (From Shapeless to Breakable). I know that the band will want to play the genre they love and appeal to their demographic, but surely there’s enough room for some experimentation? I think overall this album held some surprises and some good music, too. It’s just a shame that the highlights came from simple solos or work which had a sound that wasn’t even achieved by them.

In terms of the album and it’s music, there’s enough change and variety in there to outweigh any bad traits that it may have, but it’s a shame that the band can’t claim much to do with this variety, as a third of the album wasn’t written by them and another was built from past songs edited (by somebody else) beyond recognition. I respect their sound and originality, in terms of releasing an album like this, though, and it’s perhaps something more bands should think about, as fans deserve a change and a treat every now and then.

3/5

Reviewed by Jobe Robin

(Corvus of Morlich)

Blackthorn Album Complete

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 20th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Blackthorn

All-female symphonic extreme metal band BLACKTHORN proudly announces that their second album entitled “CODEX ARCHAOS” is ready!

Mixing and mastering for the album were done again by Igor Korolyov at KIV Records. Bloody conceptual artwork by W.Smerdulak.
Tracklisting for Codex Archaos is as follows:

1. ‘Divination In Blood’
2. ‘Vehemence Came As Anodyne’
3. ‘Nemesis Incarnation’
4. ‘Gorgon The Ascendant’
5. ‘Emptysis Kiss’
6. ‘Arria Marcella’
7. ‘Posthumous Passion Ephemera’
8. ‘Dismalediction and the Remedy’
9. ‘Серебряный Ключ’ (Silver Key)
10. ‘Hexshadow Turned To Flesh’
11. ‘Bestial Satan Of Grotesque Beauty’
12. ‘The Fading Ceremony’

The album will be released in Russia this winter via MSR Productions. The band are also looking for a label to release Codex Archaos through in the US and Europe.

Metal Heaven For Mexico

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 19th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

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The line-up for Mexico’s biggest metal festival “Heaven And Hell” is now complete. Legendary thrash metallers Megadeth will be headlining the event on 19th November in Guadalajara, Mexico. Other acts confirmed for the event include Moonspell, Fear Factory, Overkill and Tristania. This is the second edition of the festival – the first one being back in October, 2010.

MaYaN have also been booked for the festival as part of their South American tour. Henning Basse [MaYaN, Sons Of Seasons] had the following to say regarding both the festival and the MaYaN tour: “Well, it’s definitely a killer thing to me – it’s just awesome and honouring! You know this whole tour will be an huge release of pure energy to me. I will show my skills every night and kick ass!”

For more details on the festival, go to: http://www.hellandheavenfest.com/

For more details regarding MaYaN’s South American tour, visit either their official Facebook page or their official website.

MaYaN_South_America_Tourflyer_2011_HI_RESO