Archive for October, 2012

Holy Dragon-Zerstorer

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 30th October 2012 by gothicspike88

Holy Dragons
6th November
Power Metal
Released via Pitch Black Records

Holy Dragons are a power metal band from Kazakhstan. Founded in 1992, since their beginning to the present day, the main musical direction for the group is that the band sticks to the style of the eighties. The band has done 12 albums including their most recent one, Zerstorer.

After a somewhat quite and subdued first track, Voices of Lie, the album comes at you full force in the second track Dooms Day Angels at a very fast pace. When the vocals came in I can’t help but listen closely to the singer’s voice as he sounds very familiar – a bit  like Oscar Donjack from Hammerfall. It’s a very nice song to have opening the album has a few very nice guitar solos in the middle that will just want to make you do some air guitar to this track.

Man Who Saved the World picks up right where the second track ended, beginning with a somewhat subdued start on an acoustic guitar then kicking in with a fast paced tempo of drums and guitar and those Hammerfallesque vocals that I still can’t get that out of my mind. Again it’s a nice, catchy track with some very nice solos in the middle of the track. There’s a little bit where it sounds like the songs being played backwards before it comes at you again loud and fast for the final two minutes.

Project A119 is track has all the things I’ve already talked about and the added use of backing vocals add to the slickness of the vocals on this track. The guitar solo on this track is my personal favourite part of the track with just the way it sounds, making me try to tap my finger in time with its truly amazing sound.

Mutual Assured Destruction starts in a similar fashion to one of the previous track. I get the feeling this album could of been written and recorded by DragonForce  if I hadn’t already known it was Holy Dragon. Somewhat quiet backing vocals say the words “nuclear fire” on each chorus. The vocals again are good however I struggled on this track to understand what the lyrics were.

After a staggered introduction using the play pause play pause technique, Cuband Crisis begins to build up before finally getting going with a solo on both guitar and drums before the vocals finally come in properly. This is one track I actually enjoy. In the middle where the song changes to Insomnia, there’s a use of an organ which gives it a creepy haunting feel as though people could be coming to where a bomb has just gone off and there looking at the devastation it has left in this wake. This in turn brings in the acoustic guitar and some very haunting vocals before the song come round full circle and repeats its introduction.

F.R.A.G.I.L.E is a somewhat shorter track than has been used up to this point, a nice calm relaxing song with the acoustic guitar and the use of a keyboard combine well to give the listener just a little time to let their ears recover before coming back in again loud hard and fast for NORAD Alert. NORAD Alert is another fast paced opening with a very powerful guitar solo at the start, which leads into the vocals. Mainly on the chorus rather than the verses which I think it should always sound better. More catchy solos in the middle of the track before the vocals come back in for the chorus for the final three times before fading out to the sound of what I assume to be an alarm sounding an incoming nuclear attack.

 The Day After is the shortest track on the album making use of the acoustic guitar, giving the listener a chance to let their ears have a break.

HL 7442 begins very heavy on the drums which is a nice change – it’s good to finally be able to hear some more of the vocals on this track compared to other tracks on this album. The way the lyrics in this song talk about war and how some soldiers were not coming home again with a chorus is poetically done. I really like how this sounds within the context of the song its self.  Yet again. amazing solo work by Jurgen Thunderson. I really like this guy’s work and the sound he produces in terms of the vocals on this track – As I said before, it’s nice that you can hear what is being sang and that only helps add to how good this song really is. DEFCON 1 is the final track on this album, beginning with a very nice slow opening with use of keyboards. As the song builds up before it kicks in with the fast pace drums and wailing guitar riffs that have been present throughout the entire album. Again, you can hear the lyrics on this on which is a nice change.

I think personally for me this album Zerstorer isn’t that great while I love the guitar and drum work on this album. It’s the vocals on a lot of the tracks let it down massively, the fact you can’t understand them a lot of the time. Furthermore, I find the fact the first five to six songs sound almost exactly alike just how DragonForce sound on  their albums doesn’t help in any way at all.


Luke “GothicSpike” Smith


Pentagram Bristol show postponed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 30th October 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Due to Hurricane Sandy, all transatlantic flights from Washington DC were cancelled at 9am yesterday morning – The same day Pentagram were due to fly out. Pentagram have rebooked their flights and are set to arrive early Thursday morning which means that their show at The Fleece in Bristol has been postponed til 3rd November and will now take place at The Exchange in Bristol.

The promoter has stated that he’s aware this will cause problems for those with tickets to Damnation and also went onto state that this was a measure of last resort to ensure that people in the South West get a chance to see Pentagram in the region, as opposed to cancelling the show all together. The other tour dates which are London, Manchester and Glasgow are still going ahead as planned.


Huldre – debut album “Intet Menneskebarn” out now

Posted in News, Studio Report on 30th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

The Nordic folk metallers HULDRE meet highest of demands with their brilliant debut album “Intet Menneskebarn”! The new album is a bright feast for every lover of folk metal.

Huldre is a Danish folk metal act with a strong emphasis on the folk elements of this genre. Drawing inspiration from the varied backgrounds of its seasoned and experienced musicians, Huldre creates heavy and melodic folk metal based on the legacy of medieval Danish and Nordic folk music. Huldre is dedicated to delivering a unique form of folk metal, where both folk and metal are equals and interwoven into an audio tapestry of heavy frolicking and headbanging delight.

Huldre has been compared to bands like early Lumsk and Gåte while their live performances have been described as “[…]this could easily have been a dance-moshpit which could rival the best of Korpiklaani” (

Huldre’s first full-length album “Intet Menneskebarn” was released at summer solstice 2012 (21th of June). It was largely self-financed and self-released although with distribution aid and consulting from Dansk Musiker Forbund (Danish Musicians Union) label “Gateway”. It was recorded at LSD-studios in Lübeck, Germany and engineered, mixed and mastered by Lasse Lammert. The album is available physically from Gateway Music: and digitally from places like Spotify and iTunes.

Huldre began back in 2006 with Bjarne Kristiansen (Bass), Laura Beck (Violin) and Nanna Barslev (Vocals) but it wasn’t until early 2009 that it became as you know it today. The band really started to take shape with the addition of Lasse Olufson (Guitar) and Mikael Skou (Drums).

In late 2009 Mikael left the band to pursue other goals and his replacement was found in drummer Jacob Lund. During the following year Huldre recorded a low-budget, self-titled 5-track demo and made it available to the public for free. The demo served as a sort of business card and landed the band a lot of gigs as well as fans.

In 2010 the band was joined by Aarhus based flute and hurdy-gurdy player Troels Nørgaard and thus the lineup of today was complete.

The 6 members of Huldre have backgrounds in genres such as: traditional acoustic medieval music, death & black metal, reggae, trad. Danish folk music, classical music and from bands such as Gny, Lurpakket, Asynje, Virelai, Submission, Eldjudnir, Roskilde Symphony Orchestra and Voodoom.

Aretic Intestine “As My Body Rots” Music Video

Posted in Misc., News on 30th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

The Finnish death metal quintet Atretic Intestine has released its first music video “As My Body Rots”. The video is filled with legendary inner beauty spiced with blood, hangover, decay and anxiety.

The video for the final track of the album “Encased” released in May was made in cooperation with the Petri Vilén.

The video is on display in two versions: censored & uncensored.
Warning: contains material that is not suitable for the most sensitive viewers / listeners (even in the censored version).

Links to the videos:



Official teaser videos for new albums by Skygge and Dispersed Ashes

Posted in Misc., News with tags , on 29th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

The Norwegian black metal band Skygge have just released an official teaser video for their new album. The album is called “Knokkelkraft” and will be released on December 6, 2012 by Naturmacht Productions.

Official teaser video:

Also released is the new teaser video for the upcoming funeral doom project Dispersed Ashes. The album is called “The Nature of Things” and will also be released on the same day as the new Skygge by Naturmacht Productions.

Official teaser video:

Skálmöld – Börn Loka

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 28th October 2012 by underthenorthernstar

Börn Loka
Released: October 26th
Folk Metal
Napalm Records

Skálmöld, the Icelandic folk metal band, have just released their second album, Börn Loka, following the critically acclaimed Baldur of 2010. They’re an interesting band; instead of dressing up in furs and kilts, like a huge margin of the Folk/Viking/Pagan metal scene do, they play in the guise of unassuming, smartly-dressed guys, who just happen to be playing songs about Vikings. They are unique, especially in this particular scene.

Well, this album. It’s pretty impressive how different Skálmöld manage to sound without actually differing too much from the archetypical Viking Metal sound; they sound somewhat… bigger. The album doesn’t often branch out into the realms of the 9 or 10 minute song (Only the epic closer, Loki, does this), nor does it feature huge orchestration. It does, however, feature 3 guitarists and 4 members who regularly do vocals, with (the fantastically named) Björgvin Sigurðsson being the main vocalist – not to mention a keyboard player, who often uses choir or even Hammond organ (such as on Gleipnir) to boost the sound’s vastness.  It’s really immersive without being pretentious, or, indeed, very slow.

As for musicianship, the band members are absolutely splendid musicians. It was a joy to listen to these songs, it made think about what was going on, while carrying me through the story of the album effortlessly. A folk melody here, a vast choral passage there, a thrash riff thrown in for good measure… there are many twists and turns on this album, which, instead of making the album inconsistent, seems entirely appropriate.  Another thing that the listener should be acutely aware of is the flawless production; the album sounds clean, but also organic, in the sense that there feels like the album has not been meddled with using technical studio wizardry. The mix is good too, nothing feels lacking, nor anything overbearing.

Overall, damn good. It’s just a shame that the album came out at the same time as the colossally hyped new Wintersun album (admittedly a fantastic album, but nonetheless), as it is unlikely to get the attention it very much deserves. I’d advocate the listening of this album very highly; Folk Metal done seriously, done without cheese, done (dare I say it) right.

Alasdair “Scotch Egg” Dunn


Incantation – Vanquish in Vengeance

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 27th October 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

Vanquish in Vengeance
Released: 26th November 2012
Death metal
Released via Listenable Records

Being around for more than 20 years, Incantation has proven that they can still create death metal that’s original, fresh, and heavy. Their newest album Vanquish in Vengeance goes beyond that expected heaviness but rather has more of a doomy feeling to it making this album seem a little more personal than their previous ones. It’ll definitely keep you headbanging the whole time, whether fast or slow.

The album starts off with Invoke Infinity, and it hits you right away without any kind of buildup. It instantly made me want to windmill in my chair with its memorable riffs and intense drum patterns. This song, as well as a majority of the songs on the album, follows this kind of a style. I was very pleasantly surprised how consistent and varied the songs were on this album and because of that, it was easier to really enjoy the album.

The only fault I have with this album is that a couple songs, Profound Loathing and Legion of Dis, seemed to be dragged out longer than they should be. While the musical composition of both songs was astounding, both songs could have easily taken a good 2-3 minutes out and still would have sounded great. Lengthening the songs is a good concept if there is some kind of buildup involved, but both of these songs lacked any kind of buildup which made it harder to listen to.

Other than that, this album was simply amazing. Even after all this time, Incantation can still crank out quality albums that are extraordinary in sound and musicianship. I definitely recommend this to any old and new school death metal fans, you will not be disappointed!


Hammer Smashed Lauren

Masachist – Scorned

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 27th October 2012 by -Scorpius-

Released: 2011
Death Metal
Released via Selfmadegod Records

Masachist are a 5 piece death metal band from Poland and have an impressive array of members from some very notable bands, On vocals they have Pig a.k.a Wojciech Wąsowicz from Decapitated, on bass is Heinrich from Polish Black Metal band Vesania, On drums Daray who is an ex Vader drummer, Aro can be found on Rhythm guitar and founding member Thrufel is the Lead Guitarist.

All in all an impressive line up and expectations of a quality album is high. The Album itself is entitled Scorned and it’s promised to be, “40 minutes of your agony, 9 songs about your demise”.

The first track, Drilling Your Nerves powers in with a nice rhythmic piece on guitars and drums which is quickly followed by a thundering vocal that screams brutality through and through. Various influences are immediately evident and I would like to desist from comparisons with other notable polish bands, Behemoth being the main one as the similarities are stark which is to be somewhat expected with the close links to the band. The track itself is an exciting mix of death metal pounding and a surprising almost black metal feel to it, which is a nice blend of influence and musicianship, the rhythm of this track is by far its defining quality and it pounds you into musical submission!

The Second offering is entitled, The Process of Elimination and straight away I am caught by the blast beats and double bass pedal work on the drums, the guitar playing is blisteringly fast and choppy and the vocals lend an almost ethereal quality to the music, if you like a mosh and a head-bang then this track is most definitely for you. I am struck by the interesting contrasts throughout the track with rhythm and melodic brutality, if such a term exists! It does now!

Straight and Narrow Path is the third track on the album and it has a dredging, guttural feel to it. Which is then intersected by a middle 8 which gives way to a chorus effect on the guitar, this track is one that you can turn loud and annoy the neighbours with as the bass is punishing and the drums only increase the intensity that is equally matched by the guitars and vocals, an interesting track indeed.

Track 4, Manifesto starts off incredibly brutal and then has a brief melodic guitar part which quickly gives way to yet more unrelenting brutality, this track would induce a brain aneurism if you turned it up loud enough! That’s how unrelenting and punishing it is, if you like your music to punish your senses then this track certainly does that.

Next up is a track called, Higher Authority which to me is a blend of old school death metal and sliding guitar chords, the vocals really chop this track up and the blast beats on the drums really give an added element. There are some very interesting chords in this track and this track really gives you an idea of how good these musicians really are, the skill level is incredibly high and the track really gives the listener a taste of what these guys are all about.

Opposing Normality is track 5 and it starts off with a distorted organ sound and some interesting distorted/reverbed vocal effects, this soon ends and the guitars, bass and drums usher in a very old school style riff. Mid way through the song the brutality relents for a moment and then it smacks its way back in.

Track 7 is entitled Liberation and wow, this track is by far the fastest on the album, the double bass pedal and blast beats are nothing short of incredible, quarter way through the track is slows down marginally and gives the listener a mix of rhythm and interesting chord progressions, the track then speeds up to 1000mph again and the listener is left absolutely dazed!

Liberation II is the eighth track it is entirely with distorted sounds although this time it’s a mix of distorted vox/choral, it’s a momentary departure from the overall theme of the album, call it a auditory break.

Finally we have track 9, Inner Void. Which starts off with a very slow droning old school death metal feel to it, very cool! This track at the beginning almost reminds me of Celtic Frost but that is soon replaced by yet more old school idea’s, there are clearly many influences in this track and I feel this may well be a nice jumping point to where Masachist can launch their next album.

My overall thoughts on this album is that it is a very well thought out album, there are many influences and ideas going on within it and each member clearly brings aspects from their other bands to this one. If you think Masachist is merely a side project or plaything for these musicians then you would be sorely mistaken, it is very much it’s own entity and creation and the quality of musicianship is clear.

The production of this album is perfect, I cannot fault it, every sound is as I believe it should be and the overall mix is just right.

If I were to sum this album up in one word, which is incredibly easy to do in fact that word would be, unrelenting.

Each track pummels the listener into an auditory submission of sorts and they are perfectly placed lending an added quality to the next.

I am incredibly impressed by this album and the name of the band says it all, Masachist You have to have some masochistic tendencies to allow yourself such an assault on your senses, and I love it!




2 Wolves – Men of Honour

Posted in Review on 27th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

2 Wolves
Men of Honour
Due for release/Released: November 2012
Melodic Death Metal/ Symphonic Industrial Metal
Released via Label: Inverse Records

‘Men of Honour’ is the second album from the Finnish industrial metal band 2 Wolves. It is the follow up to last year’s debut ‘Gentlemen, Please’.

After the symphonic intro, the opening track ‘Bygones’ shows its true nature offering some average sounding melodic death metal with a mixture of clean vocals and semi-growls performed by two different singers. So far I can’t detect even a hint of industrial metal in their sound. Oh, and by industrial metal I’m referring to bands like Ministry, early Fear Factory, Godflesh and so on.

Ah! There it is… About halfway through the intro to ‘Unreal Conversations’ there’s this electronic programmed noise beeping its way between the guitars just before the vocals kick in. Then there’s an alarm call part midway through the track. Though you really have to listen out for the so called ‘industrial elements’ as most of the time all you hear is melancholic, melodic death metal. Then there’s tracks like the Opeth-style ‘Warm Touch of Forthcoming Tragedy’ which is about as industrial as Nightwish is black metal!

With ‘Stars’ you get to hear more of the programming; though once again it drifts into the background. The predominant focus is on the Katatonia-style clean vocals and the sombre guitars. The album also includes a fair share of symphonic/melodic death metal tracks like ‘The Path of Misery’ which, oddly enough, prove that the semi-growly vocals are a much better fit for this type of music. ‘Same Different Burden’ has some pleasant sounding guitar melodies making it one of the more decent parts of the album. It’s not until the final track ‘Enemy Inside’ that the electronic distortion starts to make an audible difference to the guitar and vocal patterns. Better late then never I guess, but it’s not enough.

Overall this is a very confusing album and it’s not just due the mix of genres. Industrial metal this certainly isn’t. There some faint hints of it here and there but take the programming parts out and all you would be left with is some very average sounding melo-death.


Iza Raittila

Dames Of Darkness Festival set for 2013 after five years

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th October 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Dutch symphonic metal outfit Delain have been confirmed as headliners of the 2013 edition of The Dames of Darkness Festival, which will take place at The Robin 2 in Bilston, near Birmingham. The event which returns by popular demand after five years is set to take place on Saturday 11th May and features 8 female fronted metal bands from the UK and Europe.

Delain who released their album in June on Roadrunner Records entitled We Are The Others are looking forward to playing to their UK fans again having last played in the UK before the album was released due to label politics. A much publicised campaign by their fans to get it released was successful and now they will get their chance to see the band perform songs now familiar to them.

Also on the bill are Visions of Atlantis, a band which formed in 2000 and are currently signed to Napalm records. Visions of Atlantis are well known in the genre and have toured the world supporting acts such as Nightwish and Epica. They have not however played in the UK before so the festival will be their UK debut, much to the pleasure of their UK fans.

Highly rated French ‘philharmonic metal’ band Whyzdom have just released their second album Blind and will be playing the UK for only their second time but first with new singer Elvyne Lorient. Festival creators and hosts Apparition are amongst the bands and they have also invited Azylya from Belgium and Ex-Libris from The Netherlands.

Kicking things off will be Incarna, followed by Chemikill both from the UK.

For information on tickets, etc visit the following links:


Nya–Driving The Nails In

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 27th October 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Driving The Nails In
Released: 5th November

Bursting back onto the scene with their all-new line-up,  Nya are set to release their second EP Driving The Nails In. Already building up a busy schedule, the band are setting themselves to go beyond their horizons in the coming months.

The EP begins with the violent churning of guitars on Back To You that helps the vocals boom out like a metallic explosion. The riffs have their melodic and catchy moments as well, creating some memorable hooks through the song. You Are belts out with an uplifting riff that really hook’s your ears and keeps your attention when the vocals gently but powerfully echo out. The drums prove to be a driving force throughout the song, co-operating well with the bass sections and completing the track with a certain grace.

The third track, Open Your Eyes, is an interesting one. Taking a softer approach but still proving to be a hard rocking number with some catchy hooks and acute rhythm sections, the song drives into your ears with a poignant amount of majesty and strength. The poetically titled Choir Invisible displays a use of punchy riffs blended with divine sounding vocals. The EP ends with the title track, Driving The Nails In, which provides a completely new and somewhat alternative sound on the EP. Throwing heavy riffs and domineering drums into the fray with Olympian vocals and the band’s brilliant use of catchy hooks, Driving The Nails In is certainly the track that stands out the most on the EP.

I think it’s safe to say that Nya have pulled another great release out of the bag – Possibly better than their debut EP. Each track wails out with the band’s own sound that will no doubt hook the listener and keep them playing the EP on repeat for hours on end. No doubt 2013 will have a number of great things in store for Nya.


Nico Davidson


GODYVA: new album postponed to February

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report on 26th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

Following a revision of post-production of their new album “Alien Heart”, the Italian gothic metal band GODYVA decided, in accordance with their own label “Southern Brigade Records”, to postpone the release until February 28, 2013.

In this regard, the guitarist G.G.Gohm says: “We realize that it is already the third time that we postpone the release of this album, however we are all convinced that this is our most mature composition ever and we’d rather have a little more patience and focus on a post production which gives full justice to the final sound of the disc”.

Note that the album will be distributed worldwide via Scarlet Records and will consist of 12 tracks including a very original cover version of Matia Bazar’s song “I Feel You”.

OPM release ‘Runaway’ video

Posted in Misc., News on 26th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

The ska punk band OPM have just released a brand new action packed video for ‘Runaway’.

The track is taken from the recently released ‘Heaven Can Wait’ EP which also features new recordings of classic OPM tracks such as ‘Stash Up’ and ‘Heaven Is A Halfpipe’. The Southern California based genre blenders have just completed a successful UK club tour and will return to these shores in 2013.

Out of Decay debut album ‘Arising Of Lost Souls’ out now

Posted in News on 26th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

Get ready for some kick-ass melodic metalcore from Germany!
With their promising debut album “Arising Of Lost Souls” German troupe OUT OF DECAY will show that Metalcore can be different!

The powerful guitars, brutal shouts and fierce drums mixed with soulful vocals & excellent melodies has a special place in their skillfully crafted songwriting.

OUT OF DECAY – short bio:
A dedicated band from Rhineland – Palatinate. The six guys really know how to set the fans’ pulses racing. After many shows with famous bands of the scene (such as Agnostic Front, Stick To Your Guns, We Butter The Bread With Butter, etc…) and an EP, OUT OF DECAY unleashed their debut album “Arising Of Lost Souls” in March 2012.

This combination works wonders at the live shows. The music is more than just a hobby for the band members. At every show the fans feel the passion and the emotions over and over again. In addition to the impressive sound, this is one of the reasons why the people are completely swept away at every performance. With these performances the band creates unique and epic moments with their friends and fans.


Random Hand w/Support @ Stereo, York

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 26th October 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Random Hand, The Talks, Beacon Street
Stereo, York
23rd October

In a dark dark town, with a dark dark street, there was a dark dark club… Where for tonight punk and ska lived!

Yes, punk and ska were the theme of tonight’s gig at the Stereo in York, and the packed back room proved there was a thirst for it; as well as for the cask ales and specialist ciders that were in ready supply. Having missed Lyon Estates (aptly named after the future site in back to the future) due to a mix up of venue, we were eager to discover what was on offer, and we were definitely not disappointed.

Beacon Street, a six piece band from York, played an eclectic mix of punk, folk and rock; which strangely worked! The band themselves joked about how they were impossible to find online, as they shared their name with a No Doubt fan club, a girl’s school and a 1960’s psychedelic rock band – but all of this was in hand due to the building of a new website. Violinist Jo Wherry and acoustic guitarist and vocalist Elliot Partridge played a stunning rendition of their song Moonpie and Pennywhistles, which switched from a mellow acoustic sound, to one very reminiscent of a Flogging Mollyesque vibe including the rest of the band; and the effect, was instant! After playing a select number of songs, which Elliot pronounced as having names that were too long to remember, it was apparent that the crowd were won over. Their unique sound ensures that these are a band to watch out for in future.

Suzyska Photos

Next up were Hull’s very own, The Talks.  Formed in 2006, they’ve had a hard road – Suzyska Photos.travelling the UK and Europe tirelessly, as well as playing Leeds/Reading Festival, and Glastonbury in the not so distant past. They also possess a number of celebrity fans on the circuit; and it is easy to see why as soon as they begin to play.

After borrowing Suzy from ska band Copasetics to play trumpet for them, they launched into a set of bouncing ska beats, and the room descended into a skank fest.  Tracks such as Can’t Stand The Rain and Killer Sinner ensured that the dancing kept coming, and the cheers got louder and louder as the set went on. It’s  really unclear as to why this band aren’t massive on a wider scale – their tight playing style hardened by long touring, flows with apparent ease and each song was brilliant. They rounded off their set with a cover of The Specials’ song Skinhead Moonstomp inviting the crowd to join in; to which they gladly obliged. They left the stage after rapturous applause, leaving a hyped up crowd to meet the arrival of the next act.

Not long after, the boys from Random Hand took to the stage. Formed in Keighley in 2002, the band has embarked on relentless tours of the UK, Europe, Russia, The USA and Canada and they show no signs of slowing down. Following the departure of guitarist and a founding member Matt Crosher in April this year, many wondered if the band would still have the same stage presence as before. Any suggestion they wouldn’t was quickly quashed.

Suzyska Photos.

Launching into a blistering set of hits including Play Some Ska, Bones, Anthropology, Anger Management and many more, it’s very clear that the band still have the magic formula that other bands lack. Throwing in a hefty amount of Yorkshire humour along the way from Robin and Joe, including a request for “one of them circle pits that Kerrang are always on about”, the crowd loved every second, and the room kept moving. Having played Leeds Suzyska Photos.and Reading Festival before, it’s obvious that playing to small intimate crowds is what they relish – and because of this, it’s easy to see why these guys are so popular with a huge mix of followers.  The end of the gig culminated in a miniature crowd surf, where the very sweaty Robin Leitch was held aloft by the crowd for all to see.

So how do I sum up this gig? In this very sweaty dark corner of York, I can confirm that punk and ska are very much alive. Hopefully one day it will make a comeback, with the bands described here leading the way.

Charlotte Taylor

Photos by Suzyska Photos.

Pentagram begin auditioning guitarists

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

Legendary pioneers of doom metal Pentagram are auditioning new guitar players. As previously announced, the revered guitarist Victor Griffin is performing his farewell shows during the Oct/Nov European Relentless Tour. He’ll be focusing on his solo career from this point on and the band and fans wish him all the best. Victor will forever be an important part of the “Ram Family.”

Pentagram is now searching for the perfect player who can easily play the blazing, early blues-based, hard rock, proto-metal of the late Vincent McAllister as well as the doom metal mastery of the one and only Victor Griffin. Tone, chops, appearance, tour experience and availability (US and abroad so a passport is required), song writing skills, and sobriety are all important factors. The band will be writing/recording their follow up to the acclaimed Metal Blade release, Last Rites this coming December and January.

Someone who is close to the Washington, DC area is preferred but exceptions will be made for the perfect player.

For songs and video of the band, visit:
Please submit a short bio, a photo, and audio or video of you playing. PENTAGRAM song covers are preferred and the following songs are suggested:
“Wolf’s Blood”
“All Your Sins”
“Treat Me Right”
“When the Screams Come”
“Forever My Queen”
“20 Buck Spin”

Please send submissions to:

In other news, Pentagram is gearing up to tour Europe and the dates will commence with the band’s first ever UK tour. In a celebration of Victor Griffin’s time with the band, Pentagram will be playing the Decibel Magazine Hall of Fame album, Relentless, in its entirety. After the doom pioneers first-ever UK show in London in 2011, Bobby Leibling and the boys return for four shows with Gentlemans Pistols as support, kicking off in Bristol at The Fleece.

Tour w/ Gentlemans Pistols
10/31 Bristol, UK The Fleece
11/01 London, UK Garage
11/02 Manchester, UK Academy 3
11/04 Glasgow, UK Ivory Black


Enslaved – RIITIIR

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

Released: 28th September 2012
Progressive Black Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast


It’s been more than a decade since Enslaved engaged in a progressive journey, but I dare saying that “RIITIIR” is the closest to that final destination. Yes, you can still call it “progressive black metal”, but the black metal part is a ghost – present, but not very solid.

This is not a conceptual album in its most common sense – the lyrics don’t tell you a story – but the songs are linked musically, as if these eight songs could be a single one-hour-and-seven-minute-long track.

And if you did the math with the numbers I’ve just given you, you’ve realised that most of the songs are even longer than before. But since their composition is very well structured, you don’t get that boredom feeling that sometimes long songs can cause.

Not even the last “Forsaken”, which exceeds the 11-minute mark. An ominous piano piece, punctuated by several lightning sounds, suddenly changes into a chain of progressive riffs under Grutle Kjellson’s grunts. Then the grunts become a spoken chant, prophecy- or curse-like, with the drums speeding up the rhythm. That also stops abruptly, being replaced by an electronic loop with some synthetizers on top of it, and eventually it fades out into a doom ambience. The piano returns in the end, this time playing a melancholic tune.

I wasn’t exactly counting, but I had the feeling that the clean vocals of keyboard player Herbrand Larsen have more airplay in this album. At least in “Thoughts Like Hammers” and “Veilburner” they have, enhancing the harmony of the songs’ melodies.

The guitar work is very methodical, whether it’s shredding away as in “Storm Of Memories” or wailing as in “Death In The Eyes Of Dawn”.

More than progressive, there’s hint of atmospheric music and a whole sense of emotion entwined with “RIITIIR”’s global sound, and it results in a beautiful, dramatic and yet pungent album.


by Renata “Pieni” Lino


Ruins – Place of No Pity

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 24th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

Place of No Pity
Released: November 2012
Black Metal/ Blackened Thrash Metal
Released via Listenable Records

‘Place of No Pity’ is the fourth album from the Australian black metal band Ruins.

After the melodic intro, ‘Inhabit The Twilight’ reveals its true colors as an interesting mix of black metal guitar rhythms, death metal-style drumming and clean Celtic Frost -esque vocals. There’s even hint of thrash metal added making for a complex mixture of styles. ‘A Lesson In Ruthlessness’ features guitar structures and muted sound atmospheres similar to current Satyricon.

‘Death Lends The Ultimate Touch’ is slower and more melodic in nature. The vocals have this haunting feel to them which works well with the melodic guitars and steady drumming. Yet it’s the atmospheric, dark ambient style part towards the end of the track which cements its position as one of highlights of the album. Similar things can be said about the next track ‘Winters Will’; though this time the guitars are more droning and the vocals sound even more creepy. Speaking of the vocals, one thing that’s unusual about most of the tracks on here is that there’s actually have very few vocalized parts on them. It’s almost as though the band were striving towards creating an instrumental album but then they changed their minds and decided to add some limited vocals during the first few minutes of each track.

Other noteworthy songs include: the title melodic track ‘Place of No Pity’ which places the band firmly in the blackened thrash metal category and the eerie and melancholic ‘Desolation’ which is one of the few tracks on here that features vocals throughout. Then there’s ‘Oath’ which picks up the pace towards the latter half of the track mostly as a result of the drums.

Overall Ruins have a very unique sound and this album takes some getting used to. However if you’re not afraid to try something a bit different and you like any of the current works of Satyricon then I would recommend giving ‘Place of No Pity’ a spin.


Iza Raittila


Crown The Empire announce The Fallout–Debut LP to be released via Rise Records

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

Dallas-based electronicacore sextet Crown The Empire have announced a November 19th release for their Rise Records debut LP, The Fallout. The band will support the release by touring as direct support for Motionless In White throughout the USA this Autumn.

Starting in 2010, the band set out with a goal to separate themselves in a genre often cluttered with copy-cat bands. They combined their love for the hardcore genre with infectious, loud, and powerful choruses of generations before their own, and ultimately created a fresh new approach to heavier music. Combined with an equal drive to connect with every last one of their fans, they hope to use whatever notoriety they receive to spread a simple message of belief in yourself, and hope in others. Their debut EP Limitless self-released in November of 2011 furthered this idea of zero boundaries on what you’re capable of, and has even spawned the name for their fans: The Limitless. Through touring and a fantastic web presence, the band has built an incredible foundation of fans that eagerly await their first commercially released record and first full length.

Armed with an incredible record, The Fallout produced by Joey Sturgis (Of Mice & Men, The Devil Wears Prada, Attack Attack!), an intense touring schedule, and an unrivalled work ethic, Crown The Empire hopes to take over the music scene in 2012 and beyond, and eventually become one of the major players in rock and roll. Never forgetting that they too are Limitless, Crown The Empire is a force that shows no signs of stopping.



Crown The Empire is:

Andy Leo: Vocals
Brandon Hoover: Guitar
Bennett Vogelman: Guitar
Hayden Tree: Bass
Austin Duncan: Keys
Brent Taddie: Drums

Swedish rockers Free Fall sign to Nuclear Blast and release debut album

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

Leading rock and metal label Nuclear Blast have stated their excitement at the recent signing of Swedish rockers Free Fall.

The band commented “We believe that the deal Free Fall made today with Nuclear Blast will be a significant step towards our quest to liberate people through Freedom Rock; World domination through Power and Volume!”

Free Fall features well known Swedish musicians; guitarist Mattias Bärjed  (Soundtrack Of Our Lives) and drummer Ludwig Dahlberg (International Noise Conspiracy) who set out to create their own style in rock music: Freedom rock!

The band’s debut album, Power & Volume is scheduled for an early 2013 release. A first impression of what their freedom rock is all about will be due on November 30, 2012 when the band releases the 7″ single of the album’s title track. Power & Volume. The single will be made available on black (retail version) and white vinyl (via Nuclear Blast Mailorder only) as well as digitally via iTunes. All versions will also feature the rare non-album track Stand Up For Your Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Free Fall are:

Jan Martens – Bass
Mattias Bärjed – Guitar
Kim Fransson – Lead Vocals
Ludwig Dahlberg – Drums | | |