Archive for October, 2011

Sea Of Giants – To The Deepest Depths [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , , , , , on 31st October 2011 by Nico Solheim-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

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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 CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 31st October 2011 by Nico Solheim-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 Solheim-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 CD, Industrial 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 CD, Metal 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 CD, Metal 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