Archive for February, 2012

Primal Rock Rebellion – Awoken Broken

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 28th February 2012 by vmteam

Band – Primal Rock Rebellion
Album – Awoken Broken
Genre – Metal/Experimental
Release Date – 2012
Label – Spinefarm Records

Super group’s, an odd subject in the metal world, when they work, they’re great (I, Black county communion, Chickenfoot) when they fail, they crash hard (Rock star supernova). PRR consists of 2 men from totally different ends of the metal world scale.
On one side we have vocalist Mikee Goodman from experimental ‘Djent’ band SikTh along with SikTh drummer Dan ‘Loord’ Foord, and on the other we have the guitarist from one of if not THE most popular metal band of all time Iron Maiden, Adrian Smith. This combination alone is enough to make anyone scratch their heads in wonder, it’s like putting Rob Halford with Trent Reznor….oh hang on?!.

The album starts off with No Friendly Neighbour and it’s clear from the first riff Smith plays that this isn’t going to sound like Maiden in any
shape or form, an almost Nu-metal styled riff is played with Goodman doing some spoken word over the top. When the song kicks in its clear that the vocals of Goodman are what makes this band stand out, if you were a fan of his vocals in SikTh then you won’t be disappointed, if you’re looking for Bruce Dickinson, you’ll be looking for an eternity. The song is a great start to the album, while sounding new and fresh it adds some certain Smith influence on the old school side of things towards the end.

Next up is definitely where die hard fans of both bands are either going to smile or cry down to Goodman’s vocals on this maybe a little hard to stomach for some in places but i think they fit the song nicely if a little unconventional. Smith also lends his hand to some Dickinson style woooahh’s in the background and a nice Maiden-esque solo. Next up in the first single from the album ‘I See Lights‘ maybe not the most obvious choice to represent the album due to its repetitiveness of the riff, but the song does show off some nice vocal work from both men here, as we all know Smith did sing a Maiden B-Side and he is more than capable of belting out a good tune. If you listen to this song in depth you will really get a feel of how many vocal styles Goodman really has, and it is rather impressive, especially the lower toned snarls he does, really giving the songs a darker atmosphere.

Bright as a Fire is for me the track of the album, starting off in a
slow Maiden-esque way, the song at first seems like the ballad of the
album but just little over 90 seconds in the song kicks into a mid paced
beast. Probably one of the more commercial of the songs in regards to
structure and vocal deliverance, the songs really quality is the variation of riffs which Smith delivers, the chugging after the chorus really adds a nice heavy touch after the chorus. It must be said that the production of the album is of top quality too, which unfortunately can’t be said for the past few Maiden albums, but they really nailed it on this!

Savage World is definitely one for the SikTh fans, the vocals on this
are pretty crazy, but not enough for older metal fans to turn their nose
up at, which I think is another aspect of the writing they have done well, the balance between the two writing styles is pretty much spot on.

Tortured Tone is the ballad of the album and definitely one of the
better songs on the album, again without the mixed vocal styles, the song would be just your average ballad. Some nice guitar synth touches in the background too as well as Smith does some backing vocals too. The two guys compliment each other well on songs like this. The quality of songs continues throughout the rest of the album. White Sheet Robes is another mini epic song, which lodges itself in your brain once you’ve listened to it. As Tears Come Falling From the Sky is not a song, its 48 seconds of pure madness and an incite to the crazy thoughts of Goodman.

The title track Awoken Broken reminded me a little of System of a Down in the chorus parts, a little crazy, a lot of layers to the song, but
again the thing that makes the song is the basic riffs of Smith with the
craziness of the vocals, I really can’t praise the song writing formula

Search For Bliss is one of the lighter songs on the album and one where Goodman shows he really can sing in a more, shall we say ‘normal’ style, with that said the song still has its harsh moments halfway through. I can see it being the second single off of the album, not because it’s maybe one of the better of the songs, it just seems more TV and radio friendly compared to the other songs on the album, which is by no means a bad thing. Snake Ladders is a mini story in song form. The music itself reminds me of the Metallica song ‘The Outlaw Torn’ a slower, with heavier riffs which obviously were not used to hearing from Smith in Maiden. Vocally, again it could compare from anything from Metallica to Nick Cave, especially on the spoken word parts, but again delivered in such a great way.

The album ends in a lighter way with ‘Mirror on the Moon‘ a great way to end the album, a more softer side to the band which reminds me of
something off any V.A.S.T album, which is always a good thing. there’s
also a hint of David Bowie to the sing which is definitely unexpected!
All in all I think its pretty safe to say that this album kicks ass – A
lot of it at that! I really hope these 2 make more music in the future and it’s not just a one off project, if this is just the beginning then I for
one can’t wait for what could become of this band. I’m also going out on a limb here and saying this could very well be ‘Album of the Year’ Forget about comparing this to Maiden or SikTh, listen to the album for what it is, a more that excellent modern hard rock and metal album!


Paul Brady

Hellish Outcast- Your God Will Bleed

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 28th February 2012 by izaforestspirit

Band: Hellish Outcast
Album: Your God Will Bleed
Release date: April 2012
Genre: Thrash Metal/ Death Metal
Label: Self-released

‘Your God Will Bleed’ is the debut album from the Norwegian thrash metal band, Hellish Outcast which features Keep of Kalessin’s Thebon on vocals. It is the follow-up to the 2008 EP ‘Raping- Killing- Murder’.

The opening track ‘The View, So Disgusting’ features thrash metal guitars and somewhat metalcore-sounding vocals resulting in a rather uncomfortable mix of styles. The melodic parts towards the end of the song provide a welcome, albeit temporary relief to the noise. Sadly the title track ‘Your God Will Bleed’ continues in the same vein offering little to the listener apart from speed and aggression.

‘Genocide’ starts off well thanks to the death metal vocals and drums in the beginning. There are even a few well executed melodic parts here. Sadly there’s not enough of either to make up for the awful metalcore vocals. Things only get worse with the singer’s squealing ruining the aptly named ‘Muffled Screams’.

The vocals in ‘Ten Times Stronger’ bear a resemblance to those of their fellow country-men Grimfist. This song also stands out due to its memorable guitar solo along with a touch of groove metal. The last few tracks have a certain speed and ferocity to them which reminds me of Slayer. This influence is especially evident in ‘You Will Scream’ which is one of the few highlights on here.

Overall this is a very confusing debut album and I’m still not sure what they were trying to achieve with this.


Iza Raittila

God Forbid Release Part 2 of “The Making of Equilibrium” Video Series

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 28th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

The Making of Equilibrium video series gives an exclusive first look at God Forbid’s upcoming album from inside the studio. Part 2 features exclusive footage with bassist John Outcalt working on and discussing Equilibrium. “This album’s our best one yet – it’s head and shoulders above the previous records.” – Let’s hope so, John!


Pre-orders and package deals for Equilibrium, featuring brand new merch, are now available here.


Tour Dates with Overkill:

04/20/2012 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Trocadero
04/21/2012 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
04/22/2012 – Syracuse, NY @ Lost Horizon
04/23/2012 – Columbus, OH @ Screamin Willies
04/24/2012 – Detroit, MI @ Blondie’s
04/25/2012 – Chicago, IL @ BOTTOM LOUNGE
04/26/2012 – Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont Club
04/27/2012 – Denver, CO @ BLUEBIRD THEATER
04/28/2012 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
04/29/2012 – Seattle, WA @ EL CORAZON
05/01/2012 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
05/02/2012 – San Francisco, CA @ The Grand Ballroom At The Regency
05/03/2012 – Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia
05/05/2012 – Austin, TX @ Emo’s
05/06/2012 – Dallas, TX @ TREES
05/08/2012 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
05/09/2012 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ CULTURE ROOM
05/10/2012 – Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
05/11/2012 – West Springfield, VA @ Jaxx
05/12/2012 – New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater


Cornered Official Audio Clip from Equilibrium


For more information on GOD FORBID, please visit the following:

Final Woods of Ypres Available In Europe

Posted in News on 28th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

WOODS 5: GREY SKIES & ELECTRIC LIGHT, the new and final album from Canadian blackened doom metallers WOODS OF YPRES, is finally out now in Europe.
WOODS 5 was the last album recorded by the band before the tragic passing of founding member DAVID GOLD in December last year.  The album was recorded at Beach Road Studios in Ontario, Canada with producer SIEGFRIED MEIER, and was mixed by famed UK producer JOHN FRYER (NINE INCH NAILS, PARADISE LOST).

WOODS 5: GREY SKIES & ELECTRIC LIGHT is available now in Europe on CD, as well as limited edition coloured vinyl LP with an extra 7" featuring a bonus mix as a B-side.  The limited edition vinyl is available in the following quantities and colours:

100 – Silver (SOLD OUT)
200 – Blue
300 – White
400 – Black

Get WOODS 5: GREY SKIES & ELECTRIC LIGHT in Europe now on CD and vinyl here.
The album is also available on iTunes.
WOODS 5 is due to be released in North America on April 24th, and is available to pre-order here.

David Gold‘s family have announced a special tribute concert in memory of David and to celebrate the release of the new album.  The show will take place on Thursday, April 5th at the Annex WreckRoom in Toronto, Ontario, and will include a playback of WOODS 5: GREY SKIES & ELECTRIC LIGHT in its entirety, as well as special performances from NOVEMBERS DOOM, ECLIPSE ETERNAL, EMPYREAN PLAGUE, GYPSY CHIEF GOLIATH, HALLOWS DIE, KITTIE, PAGAN RITUAL, PANZERFAUST and more.

Admission to the show is solely by donation, and proceeds will be given to the Gold family to help cover the expenses of David‘s final arrangements, and to support the annual David Gold Music Scholarship made available to Sault College students.

For more information about the tribute show, click here.
Visit the David Gold Facebook tribute page, by clicking here.

Interview: Gareth Murdock and Elliot Vernon [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 26th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Valkyrian Music’s fifth favourite Scot Alasdair sits down with his two of his favourite pirates, Gareth Murdock and Elliot Vernon for a very length chat.

Interview: Ade Mulgrew [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 26th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Alastair Dunn catches up with Ade Mulgrew [Darkest Era] at the Glasgow show on the Useless Drunken Bastards tour.

The Occupier – Occupied Territory

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 25th February 2012 by Pieni

Band: The Occupier
Album: Occupied Terrirtory
Genre: Metal / Heavy Rock
Release Date: 2011
Label: Self Released


First thing I must warn you about this album: the recording is terrible! I know there’s a world-wide financial crisis, but since this is their debut album (or I think it is – any bio I’ve found on the internet doesn’t mention any recorded work, not even this one), they could have made an effort to find a more suitable studio, one that wouldn’t make you feel like you’re listening to the radio in one of those devices from the sixties. I’ve heard demos with much better quality than this.

The songs themselves aren’t bad… until Simon Whitby starts singing. Assuming that all vocals are his, he sings clean, except for a growling part on “Crime Of Passion (Rape)” and a harsher tone in parts of “Sonny Chiba”. In my opinion, that’s a big mistake. The aforementioned growls are the best vocal piece in the whole album. Whitby’s clean voice is monotone, flat, with a total lack of feeling on it. It may work live, as the strings and drums have enough energy to keep the audience headbanging and entertained, but recorded, it will hardly convince the majority of the listeners.

The band claims to play “old skool thrash metal with attitude”, but once again the voice ruins the effect, as the typical aggression of these bands is missing. ReverbNation calls it “heavy rock” and I go with it. The songs “Lizard King” and “Master Plan”, however, could be classified as thrash metal.


Renata “Pieni” Lino

Obsolete Tomorrow – The Burden Of Forever

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 24th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Band: Obsolete Tomorrow
Album: The Burden Of Forever
Genre: True Yorkshire Death Metal
Release Date: N/A
Label: eMortal Records

Obsolete Tomorrow is the solo project of Driffield-based metal overlord Lee Rule [Ravenage, Windrider, ex-Divine Sinn]. Now, I’ll be honest, the debut release from Obsolete Tomorrow, that was released back in 2010, literally made me wet myself with excitement like a pre-pubescent teenager. The second I found the newest release, The Burden of Forever, I wet myself again in excitement. Unfortunately, I have no clean underwear now… Not that your innocent minds needed to know that, eh? I think I’ve prattled on enough about my lack of bladder control, so how about some prattling about The Burden of Forever?

The raw guitars and vocals that introduce the title track, The Burden of Forever, take the listener surprise and launch them into a passage of grand and majestic sounding guitar work which progresses into a savage and terrifying onslaught of demonic vocals and barbaric guitars which scream through the speakers like a metallic choir of hard rocking angels. The drums act like a palpitating heartbeat, transitioning perfectly with each change of the track, adding that extra crunch with the bass. The keyboards are quite dramatic and sinister sounding, almost like something you’d hear in a horror flick though they bring a solemn sound toward the end of the track.

Resurrected sounds to be the love child of the thrash and death metal genres, without the nasty parts of either. The choir voices give the song an almost God of War-like epic feel. The vocals are much like the raging snarls of a beast unleashing its fury upon the unsuspecting listener. The breakdown just feels perfect with the choir voices injecting the eerie sound of grandeur. And the grand finale of the EP is none other than The Art of Catharsis. The slow intro acts as a powerful crescendo that leads into monstrous train wreck of brutality unimaginable to the average metal fan. Everything seems to fit together like a thousand piece jigsaw. The clean vocals are a shock but a good one. The keyboards seem to add a certain Epica or MaYaN sound, as does the radio voiceover. The guitars are the most impressive part of the track as they seem to change like the waves of the ocean while unrelenting in their impact on the ears. The super heavy part of the song is definitely the biggest highlight of the EP as well.

The Burden of Forever takes the brutality of Beauty Through Chaos and multiplies it ten times over while taking the musicianship to a whole new level. Obsolete Tomorrow is just what the doctor ordered for the dying metal scene that’s being replaced with bands more concerned about their hair than the music and The Burden of Forever is one hell of a heavy side effect of this mighty prescription. And on that note, all I have to say is: Use caution, one does not simply listen to this without earplugs… Unless you really want to hear the full extent of it!


Nico Davidson

Hard Riot- Living on a Fast Lane

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 23rd February 2012 by izaforestspirit

Band: Hard Riot
Album: Living On A Fast Lane
Release date: April 2012
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Pitch Black Records

“Living On A Fast Lane” is the debut album from the German hard rock band, Hard Riot. It is the follow-up to the 2009 EP “The Hidden Truth”.

Now with a title like that and the cover art, I’m guessing these guys like their motorbikes. .. Anyway on to the music…

“Get Ready” sounds exactly like what you would expect to hear from a hard rock track. The guitars bear a strong resemblance to AC/DC whilst the vocals remind me of the song played during the opening credits to the Sons of Anarchy TV series. “Hellfire Rocking” has a seriously catchy chorus and great guitar solos that make you want to air-guitar along. The same cannot be said for “Don’t Need You” which despite the promising start and good guitar riffs, sounds like the vocalist is trying too hard to add more emotion to the song, making it less catchy than the previous two.

Luckily “No Surrender” stirs the album back to the right direction with more catchy hard rock melodies and great guitar solos. Though you’ll have to look past a sudden squeaky moment in the vocals half way through the track. Other notable tracks include: the rock ballad “Tears In the Rain”, the acoustic guitar driven “Nothing But You” and the mid- paced rocking songs “Take Me Down” and “Black Widow”. The final track “Rock N’Roll Outlaw” is a catchy way of summing up the band’s message making it one of the highlights of the album.

Overall , “Living In A Fast Lane” is a promising debut which, though not perfect, is definitely a step in the right direction. Hard Riot still have some way to go but for now I hope that they “keep on rocking”.


Iza Raittila

Skarlett Riot- Villain [EP]

Posted in Review with tags , , on 23rd February 2012 by izaforestspirit

Band: Skarlett Riot
Album: Villain
Release Date: March 2012
Genre: Hard Rock
Label: Self-released

‘Villain’ is the new EP from the British rock band Skarlett Riot.

“Party Hard” offers a promising start to the EP with its well executed guitar riffs and the female vocals which cement it position as radio-friendly rock. Nothing super-heavy but at least they’re good at what they do. “Read My Lips” is a catchy track which sounds like an anthem for teenage girls who like to sing in front of the mirror. And let’s face it, the chorus is so catchy who wouldn’t want to do that!

“You’re The Enemy” features some good guitar solos whilst the title track “Villain” offers more catchy melodies and well executed female vocals. The vocal parts in “Take It Away” remind me of “Celebrity Skin”-era Hole, whilst the music is infused with a healthy dose of classic rock.

Just when I thought there’s no point paying attention to female fronted rock bands ‘cos they all sound the same’, a band like Skarlett Riot shows up to prove me wrong!


Iza Raittila

RAM – Death

Posted in Review on 23rd February 2012 by Demolithia

Artist: RAM
Album: Death  
Release Date: January 2012
Genre: Heavy Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records

Death came early this year. In all cases, in a  metalised way. The Swedish “Heavy Metal Tyranny” band RAM, which was formed in 1999,and released its third studio recorded beast at the beginning of the year. Although not usually ranges Heavy Metal as often as it might be, are of this article is definitely ONE of them to become gradually euphoric off. Intro melody – Death, is strongly reminiscent of call-up to the funeral, which later on results in a transformation when missibly swayed by the interconnected track – “… Comes From The Mouth Beyond” the fragmental ominous stanzas, all constructed in the framework of the  more or less classical heavymetal ..
The real “tyrannical”  sound is being delivered on one of the really heavy compositions, “I Am The End” and you end up permanently in a hypnosis acceptable condition after every interception of Flame Of The Tyrant, which is a hell of a brutal type jingle! Not To forget “Defiant”, which is most like a monstrous killer track.

This album is definitely a must for true Heavy Metal bastards .. I still got the shivers of pleasure, with the somewhat quieter “Frozen,” a song that leaves its mark in the form of rivulets after the creeps who softly touched the skin .. And “Under The Scythe” is also one of the fucking heavy metal beasts ever been composed today



Hung Set To Release Self-Titled Album

Posted in News on 22nd February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Hung’s debut self-titled record will be released May 8th 2012 by ReThink Records, the new label founded by Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler and The End Records.  The album will feature 10 tracks engineered and produced by Andy Abel and Lyris Hung at Abel Studios in Connecticut, with vocals tracked and produced by Ryan Kelly at MSR Studios and Nova Studios in New York City.

World-renowned violinist Lyris Hung, who has worked with the likes of Bryan Adams, Indigo Girls and Trans-Siberian Orchestra, from where the band’s namesake comes from, had known for a long time that she wanted to start a band focused on heavy music.  The tattoo clad, classically trained violinist  decided to bring this to fruition in early 2005.  A Craigslist ad and one fateful meeting later, Hung was born.

Jon Clark and Sam Roon (founder, had been playing together for many years, searching for musicians, including violinists, to play a unique style of progressive music.  Naturally when the call came in to play with Lyris, the decision was easy.

Finding a singer took less than a year when Moscow native Dmitry Kostitsyn came in to front the band. Hung went through several drummers before adding the final piece to the puzzle with renowned Jazz and World powerhouse Kenny Grohowski who has worked with Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Cassandra Wilson and Lonnie Plaxico.

Hung’s sound was developed with the intention of blending technical proficiency with innovative songwriting while not being bound by any particular genre.

Hung’s unique sound is due, in part, to their unusual and progressive writing style.  The songs are created in layers allowing each member to add their individual affect one at a time before bringing it to the rehearsal studio to be melded together. This creative process is very intensive and meticulous but invites each band member to push the limits of their own boundaries.

The lyrical content of Hung’s music often comes from religious or historical material and is heavily researched before being finalised.  Dmitry Kostitsyn will sometimes spend months becoming knowledgeable on a subject before creating a story based on it and then finally turns the story into lyrics.

Hung prides itself on being a phenomenal live band.  From the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival, to the Milwaukee Metalfest, Hung lives and breathes for the stage.

Týr w/Support @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 21st February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Bands: Týr, Ravenage and Maelstrom
Location: Fibbers, York
Date: 18th February 2012

The Jorvik Viking Festival has been a proud tradition and mighty festival in the City of York for many, many years now, so what could be a more epic way to end this year’s festival with none other than Faroese Viking metallers Týr? The show, which sold out, was organised by the nice folk over at Asgard Online (who sponsored Valkyrian Festival last year). After my interview with Týr’s frontman Heri, I waited outside with the rest of the horde that virtually filled the street. By the time I got inside, the venue must have been reaching its capacity as more and more people trooped in along with several people dressed in Viking apparel which included shirts of chainmail. The buzz of excitement could be felt in every corner of the room as the horde eagerly awaited the first wave of a metal assault.

Opening the proceedings with a brutalising onslaught  were the Glaswegian black metal warriors Maelstrom. They opened up with a little song known as At Dawn They Die, a song that featured a truly terrifyingly good use of powerful screams and clean vocals. The guitar and keyboard riffs were executed perfectly like a dagger slitting a throat with precision. The shirt-and-tie wearing quintet then blasted their way through With War We Wander, a quite Turisas sounding track, especially where the keyboards are concerned. The third song they performed, currently unnamed, was quite aggressive sounding though This Dreaded Symphony sounded to have more bite while their final song of the night, Arctica, seemed to the most tragic and cold sounding part of Maelstrom’s set though the keyboards injected a subtle hint of a sagaic sound. One band in and the night was already proving to be an epic event worthy of the Aesir themselves, especially considering Maelstrom’s overwhelming and unique sound. I certainy hope to see these guys again in the near future!

The second invasion of metal came from Hull’s very own Ravenage, who over the years have become one of East Yorkshire’s finest exports and one hell of a live act! This was the fourth time that I had seen them perform and I was sorely disappointed at the length of their set. Their keyboardist, Windrider, was absent as he was touring with Alestorm, so he had been replaced for the night by his mentor whose is known simply as Art. Ravenage made way to the stage in their trademark outfits and opened up with Viking Dream which was sounding more brutal than a mace to the face. The guitars felt like they had a bit of extra crunch as well. Following soon after was the catchy Bernard Cornwell-inspired anthem known as Northbound, which Art pulled off brilliantly and would have made Windrider proud. Ragnar recited a poem that led into the eerie introduction of Shieldwalls Collide. Ravenage finished off with a heavy rendition of Drunken Sailor which led into the final song More Beer! While the performance was grand and epic – as is to be expected with Ravenage – their set seemed lacking. I’m not sure if this was due to the shortness of their set compared to previous shows or the size of the stage that made it hard for them to be active as they have been at other shows. Either way, they were the perfect choice of main support for Týr. Sadly for the York folk, it won’t be until September for the Warhorns Festival when Ravenage return. 

And then came the fury of the Northmen in the form of Týr. I literally had to fight through the hordes of fans, including several blokes in chainmail, to get near the front. A fierce roar of cheers erupted through the venue as they tore through The Lay of Thrym followed by Shadow of the Swastika. During the performance of those two songs, the energy burst from Týr like an explosion. Straight, away, it was easy that the performance was going to be epic as Heri’s vocals were on top form and each note and drum section were played masterfully. They took a quick break to engage in banter with the crowd before playing the catchy song that is Flames of the Free. By the Light of the Northern Star and Wings of Time were certainly two of the most exciting parts of Týr’s set, along with one of my favourite song’s which was the slower-paced, more progressive sounding Hail to the Hammer. The performance of Tróndur Í Gøtu brought a very folkish sound to the set that seemed to go down very well with the sold-out venue. A few songs later came a powerful and overwhelming performance of Take Your Tyrant which almost everyone in the crowd sang along to, making it much more entertaining while others began dancing around and starting a mosh pit, including some of the blokes in Viking-styled chainmail. Sinklars Visa was introduced by Heri having a bit of banter about the Scots, which enticed a group of Scots at the front to hold up the Scottish flag in true patriotic fashion. The cover of The Wild Rover was introduced in a similar fashion, only with banter and jokes about the Irish as opposed to the Scots. Týr ended their set with Northern Gate and Hall of Freedom… Or so it seemed. Every single person in the crowd began demanding more and more. The encore began with a smashing rendition of Ramund Hin Hunge followed by Hold The Heathen Hammer High and By The Sword In My Hand, both of which just made the night complete.

I think I can safely say that Týr are the best live act I’ve seen and I don’t think their studio albums will ever compare to their performance on Saturday night. Týr are definitely a band worth seeing, hell, they’re more than worth seeing. I don’t think I’d be wrong when I say their show on Saturday night could easily compare to an Iron Maiden performance.

The support acts, Ravenage and Maelstrom, are definitely two bands worth checking out as well and they certainly helped make the end of this year’s Jorvik Viking Festival very special indeed. Also, kudos to Asgard Online for a successful first gig.

Nico Davidson

Photography by David Taylor.

Photos of the gig can be found here.

Ascension – Far Beyond the Stars

Posted in Review on 20th February 2012 by vmteam

Band: Ascension
Album: Far Beyond the Stars

Release Date: 21st March (Japan), TBC (Europe, NA)
Label: Spiritual Beast (Japan), Universal Music (rest of world)

Guest review by Zinar7 (Sinister Resistance)

It’s been an interesting rise to fame by Scottish power-metallers, Ascension. Still but youngsters in the spectrum of rock’n’roll, their first release was the Moongate EP deployed in 2009, before that was followed up by second EP Alchemy the following year. Honed, then, by continual touring and recording (most notably a UK tour with Axenstar at the end of 2011), the band retreated to Sonic Train Studios in Sweden with Grammy-nominated producer and King Diamond player, Andy La Rocque (Falconer, Dragonland, Evergrey) to record their debut full-length album, Far Beyond the Stars. Was it worth the wait? Oh, you bet.

Ascension represent a rare species: A band that have the ability to produce genre-leading music straight out of the box. Dodgy first few albums? Forget it; Far Beyond the Stars shows that perfectly-formed metal can shine through on a debut record to compete with some of the genre’s leading lights who’ve been at it for years. With an exciting, explosive and fresh perspective on a genre that (arguably) hasn’t moved on for a decade, the time is ripe for an enthusiastic young band to take it by the scruff of the neck, throw it around and demonstrate that there’s life in the old dog yet. Far Beyond the Stars harks back to some of the greats: Imagine an early DragonForce infused with Bruce Dickinson’s vocal power; Stratovarius with renewed juvenility; HammerFall without the bombast. A debut album filled with the kind of songwriting and lyricism that you’d expect from rock’n’roll stalwarts is humbly thrust forward with the sort of power that demands you sit up and take notice. Not only is the songwriting top-notch, but there’s a staggering ability to play showcased here, too – The classy guitar work from Stuart Docherty and Fraser Edwards exhibition the kind of dual-shredding silliness that Sam Totman and Herman Li manage to pull off in DragonForce, but played with such confidence and craft. These aren’t songs hastily bashed together to form a record to flog at concerts, this is a full-blown release and you can feel the craft that’s gone into moulding each and every one of the tracks: Songs have been lovingly curated until they’re almost perfect in scope, full of delicious hooks and sweet melodies that reel you in to listen again and again.

Vocalist Richard Carnie is a powerful driving force fronting the band, laying down an impressive vocal range that bolsters the impressive spectrum of themes that the intelligent lyrics portray. On galloping rockers like album opener ‘Somewhere Back in Time’ (video link here, or see the video embedded below), Ricki’s voice is infused with thunder and brimstone, plumbing high notes and low with ease and fortifying a track that is less a ‘song’ and more a charging monster. Sometimes, it acts as the rhythm itself while Messrs Docherty & Edwards explore the frets in whirligig guitar solos, while at others it’s a solo instrument in itself. ‘Heavenly’ is a truly superb song from beginning to end, linking up a ridiculously catchy chorus with a barrage of pounding rhythm guitars, melodic shredding and powerfully symphonic solos from both vocals and guitars, and comparable to some of the best melodic/power metal that’s alive today. Even when the pace wanders into slower territories, as it does on ‘The Silver Tide’, the combination of classical guitar backing, orchestral strings/keys and some impressive vocals, the quality never drops. There’s genuine emotion being poured out, too, so in between all the songs about fantasy and other-worldliness, there’s striking passion. Choruses are a high point all across the board, each managing to display an impressive level of hook while simultaneously blasting out a barrage some of the most thunderous melodic metal that’s as catchy as it is powerful: We can’t stop here, this is earworm country.

The two real treats are the instrumental rocker ‘Orb of the Moons’ (featuring guest keyboards from Elias Holmlid of Dragonland) and the ten-minute progressive epic, ‘The Avatar’, both of which show off some true writing class and will sound absolutely phenomenal in a live show setting. Here, the combination of solid writing, enthusiasm, spirit and ability align to truly make Far Beyond the Stars interstellar; and it’s wonderful to be along for the ride. There’s something that feels so ‘honed’ all over this release, topped off with some fine quality production, but at the same time so ‘fresh’; not just fresh, but thoroughly refreshing. Certainly, it marks a palate-cleanser from the hordes of churned-out, fantasy-tinged metal and a perfect antidote to the current music tastes of the masses. Ascension keep things interesting to the end, managing to build up a staggering head of steam early on that remains throughout the middle of the album, before being bolstered and escalated by ‘The Avatar’ and the final track, ‘Time for War’. And wrapping it all up is that wonderful album cover art (see top of post), by guitarist Docherty, that cocoons a wonderfully crafted debut album into a killer package. There’s some intense talent on show here, and the only qualifier to a superb debut album is that, at least on the basis of what’s to be heard on Far Beyond the Stars, one can only expect even more from the band in the future. More power (metal) to them, I say.”



Interview: Heri Joensen [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 19th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Nico catches up with Tyr frontman Heri Joensen at the sold-out show at Fibbers, York to talk about Tyr’s sound, influences and many other things.

Bonecrusher Fest @ Moho LIVE, Manchester

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 18th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Bands: Carnifex, Beneath The Massacre, Within the Ruins, Molotov Solution, Betraying the Martyrs
Location: Moho LIVE, Manchester
Date: 15th February 2012

The sparse crowd slowly trooped into Moho, bringing with them a sense of excitement. This was my second time at the Moho (the first time being when I saw Epica) and I’ll admit, I was pretty excited myself. I’d briefly listened to three of the bands (Carnifex, Within the Ruins and Betraying the Martyrs) on the bill over the weeks leading up to the show so that I’d be at least have some clue to if I’d enjoy them or not.

Betryaing the Martyrs

By the time that the Franco-Anglo sextet Betraying the Martyrs had come on stage, the crowd has increased in size. The band are described on their Facebook page as “positive metal from the City of Love” which is certainly a unique take on the modern alternative music scene. I can safely say that Betraying impressed the hell out of me. Their live show energetic and exciting, none of the members seemed to be able to stay still on stage. The vocals were overwhelming like a stampeding horde of blood thirsty Vikings with a very Forever Never-esque sound. The use of titanic riffs and destructive drumwork just seemed to blend so perfectly well with one another and with the energy that just oozed from the frontman. Betryaing the MartyrsThough Betraying’s positive sound could be heard quite clearly, some of the keyboard sections were quite doom-and-gloom sounding (which to be fair was pretty cool). Surprisingly, I only found one thing wrong with the band’s performance and that was the clean vocals – They are brilliant, just the sound system didn’t do them any justice!

Molotov Solution

Molotov Solution brought some face-ripping, brutalising riffs with driving basslines and crunchy drum work. One of the songs they performed, The Final Hour, had a very nu-metal like sound at the beginning before transforming into a song of pure lycanthropic-like aggression. There was a certain buzz of excitement radiating from the band, it was no surprise since this was apparently their first time touring the UK. Before their performance of The Harbinger, Molotov’s frontman encouraged, well, more along the lines of commanded, the crowd to stick their middle fingers in the air and scream “Fuck the police” with him. The band’s live performance did lack a fair bit compared to Betraying the Martyrs.

Within the Ruins

And then came the halfway point of the show in the form of none other than Within the Ruins. I missed the beginning of their set due to having to relocate the photographer’s car [trying to find a decent parking spot near Moho Live is an absolute pain]. I got back in time to see them perform a track from the Creature album, unfortunately I never caught the name of it. One thing that really kept me in awe was the band’s use of melodic and technical riffs along with the bonecrushing drum work [See what I did there?]. Within are one band I’d happily see again. Beneath the Massacre came next with their fast-paced tracks at an almost Dragonforce-like speed. Musically, the guys are pretty damn awesome with their punishing riffs and drum work, topped with the demonic vocals but their live performance was like being subjugated to watching the X Factor.


The main event in the form of Victory Records heavyweight death metal act Carnifex couldn’t have come any sooner. Carnifex frontman Scott Lewis brought a atmosphere of power with him while the other members brought that good ol’ death metal barrage of riffs and drums which came down on the crowd like an executioner’s blade [See what I did there as well?]. Slit-Wrist Saviour (from the first record) went down extremely well with the crowd as Scott screamed his heart out on the stage, mesmerising the audience like some sort of death metal prophet. In Coalesce with Filth and Faith and The Diseased and the Poisoned had to have been the two most exciting tracks performed by Carnifex but obviously all the tracks they performed were exciting.


The Bonecrusher Fest Tour has a reputation for bringing more brutality to Europe than an ECW match and all the bands helped Bonecrusher live up it’s reputation that night though there were only three that lived up to the Bonecrusher name. Wanna guess which three?

If you guessed Betraying the Martyrs, Within the Ruins and the all-mighty, all-fierce Carnifex then you win the grand prize (which I’ve lost) but on a serious note, the three aforementioned bands were the best bands of the night and if I could, I’d follow them around on the rest of the tour, so if they ever come near you get a ticket and rock out.

Nico Davidson

Photography by Melissa Adams.

Cerebral Bore premier new track

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 17th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

A brand new track from Scottish death metallers CEREBRAL BORE, titled “Horrendous Acts of Iniquity”, is premiering now exclusively at Infidel Amsterdam YouTube channel.
The band recorded the new song at Foel Studio in Wales with producer CHRIS FIELDING, who also produced the band’s debut album, MANIACAL MISCREATION.  The track will be released as a digital single on iTunes on Monday, February 20th.

Listen to “Horrendous Acts of Iniquity” here:

CEREBRAL BORE guitarist PAUL MCGUIRE comments:
“We are all really excited about getting some new material out and starting a new chapter for Cerebral Bore.  The song is a taste of what will be on offer on the next album, and it will hopefully get people perked up nicely for its release later this year, so be sure to listen to it a thousand times and sing along when it comes to show time!”
CEREBRAL BORE are due to kick off a North American tour on Sunday with GOATWHORE and HATE ETERNAL.  See them live at the following shows:


Feb. 19 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
Feb. 20 – El Paso, TX – House Of Rock
Feb. 21 – Tempe, AZ – Clubhouse
Feb. 22 – Hollywood, CA – Whisky A Go Go
Feb. 23 – Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst Atrium
Feb. 24 – Portland, OR – Branx
Feb. 25 – Seattle, WA – Studio Seven
Feb. 26 – Boise, ID – The Venue
Feb. 27 – Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
Feb. 28 – Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep
Feb. 29 – Kansas City, MO – Beaumont Club
Mar. 01 – St Paul, MN – Station 4
Mar. 02 – Des Moines, IA – House Of Bricks
Mar. 03 – Chicago, IL – Reggie’s Rock Club*
Mar. 05 – Toronto, ON – Hard Luck**
Mar. 06 – Ottawa, ON – Maverick’s**
Mar. 07 – Montreal, QC – Les Foufounes Electriques**
Mar. 08 – Clifton, NJ – Dingbatz**
Mar. 09 – Brooklyn, NY – Saint Vitus**


Mar. 13 – London, UK – The Underworld
Mar. 14 – Derby, UK – The Old Bell
Mar. 15 – Liverpool, UK – O2 Academy
Mar. 16 – Dublin, Ireland – The Pint
Mar. 17 – Plymouth, UK – The White Rabbit

Interview: Aaron Matts [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on 16th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Nico Davidson and Melissa Adams interview Aaron Matts of Anglo-Franco post-hardcore titans Betraying the Martyrs at Bonecrusher Festival in Manchester.

Interview: Tim Goergen [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , on 16th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Nico Davidson and Melissa Adams have a quick chat with Within the Ruins frontman Tim Goergen at Bonecrusher in Manchester.

Interview: Scott Lewis [Feb 2012]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , on 16th February 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Nico Davidson and Melissa Adams catch up with Carnifex frontman Scott Lewis at the Bonecrusher show in Manchester.