Archive for October, 2011

Taake – Noregs Vaapen [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 27th October 2011 by Nico Solheim-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 CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 27th October 2011 by Nico Solheim-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 Solheim-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 Solheim-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 CD, Metal 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 Solheim-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 Solheim-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