Archive for March, 2013

As They Burn – Will, Love, Life

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 19th March 2013 by Paul

As They Burn
Will, Love, Life
Released February 19th 2013
Deathcore/Death Metal
Released via Victory Records

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Deathcore has undergone a noticeable evolution in recent years. Gone are the “BREE BREE” pig squeals, needlessly misogynistic imagery inherited from gore metal and the pseudo thug attitude from hardcore, at least for the most part – as is evidenced in this latest effort from French band As They Burn. In its place has come more of an emphasis on groove riffs and quirky song structures that are more inspired by Meshuggah and Between the Buried and Me than the original Death Metal meets Hardcore and Screamo style, moving more towards the progressive metalcore and djent sounds.

Will, Love Life is an example of this more mature breed of death core, with the harsh vocals and groovy riffs leading the way and a strange amount of atmosphere incorporated in this style. The fate of this album may be that it is too much of a transition between styles, being neither fast or aggressive enough to be in the purely hardcore camp (and too well polished in production values perhaps); not musically complex or “Lovecraftian” enough to be considered straight up Death Metal and the guitar work here is also not start-stop-meshuggah-style-palm-muted enough to be in the Djent genre. As a result, this album occupies a grey area between genres that makes it sound more like the logical conclusion of the so-called “New Wave of American Heavy Metal” genre that dominated the early 2000s. I imagine this would appeal to those who want something that treads the line between Death Metal influenced Lamb of God style Groove Metal and the Progressive Metalcore bands that have come to prominence in recent years such as the previously mentioned Between the Buried and Me.

The band is clearly aiming at something new and progressive but get a little stuck trying to incorporate all that makes the modern Death/Metalcore scene interesting and end up sounding generic. The album manages to be more avant-garde in a way than the average Deathcore release most have come to expect in elements such as its interesting song titles but does not seem to have to have a unifying theme or message that more developed genres easily incorporate. This album is interesting because it is a bridge between the current state of Metal along the “core” spectrum and wherever it may be evolving and maturing to in the future. It very nearly manages to get itself written off as being a product of its time, but I think there is enough here for this to be popular among fans of this particular style.

3/5

Paul Gibbins

 

Filth Wizard announced for Metieval Winterfest 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , on 19th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Infamous sleaze metallers Filth Wizard are the first band to be confirmed for this year’s Metieval Winterfest. The band, who are known for their songs such as Accidental Anal and Potty Mouth, returned to the live stage on 22nd December, last year and Metieval Winterfest will be one of their biggest shows since returning.

Metieval Winterfest will take place on 7th December at The Piper Club in Hull. Further announcements are still to follow, including ticket info. Further details can be found at this location.

 

Gates Of Hell release “Critical Obsession” single on YouTube

Posted in News on 19th March 2013 by Pieni

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Portuguese thrash/death/metalcore Gates Of Hell have just released on YouTube the title-track of their upcoming debut full-length, “Critical Obsession”. The album will be released on April 15th via Rastilho Records and a release party will take place at Hard Club (Porto) on April 13th.

Official Facebook

Vagos Open Air – three more names revealed

Posted in News on 19th March 2013 by Pieni

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The Portuguese metal festival has announced at midnight three more bands of this year’s edition (first news on this subject here). Some rumours had been flying around regarding Moonsorrow and they turned out to be true. Iced Earth were also welcomed by VoA’s Facebook community, but Secret Lie has been causing some controversy, given its alternative rock nature and therefore being somewhat misplaced among such heavier bands.

Vagos Open Air official website (in English)

Stoffe Andersson to replace Jimmie Strimmel in Dead By April

Posted in News on 18th March 2013 by Pieni

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After something that Jimmie Strimmel might have posted in his Instagram account and long days of cryptic writings on Dead By April‘s official website, the pop-metal band from Göteborg has just confirmed the singer’s departure. Apparently, Strimmel has been struggling with some personal problems for quite a while, affecting the stability of the band, whose other members have finally reached the limit of their patience (read the full statement here).

But they have already found a replacement in Christoffer “Stoffe” Andersson, who sings in both By Night and What Tomorrow Brings, and plays guitar in the latter too. A couple of years ago, he also gave a hand, or should we say, a voice to Sonic Syndicate when their original growler left, so he has more than proved his skills. An EP and European tour are on the way to convince the more skeptical fans.

Heidevolk w/Support @ Fibbers, York

Posted in Featured, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 18th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Heidevolk, Celtachor, Cryptic Age
Fibbers, York
23rd February 2013

Let’s start at the very beginning (as I have heard tales that it is a very good place to start). The venue. The City of York is a fantastic backdrop; its rich heritage makes it an ideal location for a gig of this nature. (Also, the people in York are fantastic. Twice, in York, I have lost my cell phone [Editor’s note: She means mobile phone] – and twice, in York, it has been returned to me.) ‘Niche-y’ evenings such as tonight tend to draw crowds from far afield: during the course of the evening, I met people who travelled from as far away as Whitby, Newcastle and Luton, to name a few. Therefore, the relatively central location of the venue proved ideal. The venue itself is ideal as well – large enough to hold the ample crowd but small enough to still feel intimate, even when standing at the bar. The sound was top-notch – all the instruments evenly balanced and all three (very different) vocalists cut through like a sword through leather. The line-up was an unusual but well-chosen blend – all three bands had similar lyrical themes of mythology and a folk feeling in their music. All three bands were, however, very different in their approaches to this, which was refreshing – the audience was treated to three very different styles so didn’t become too bored of the same genre by the end of the night. So basically, it was folkin’ well organised! (Okay, that’s the last ‘folkin’ pun…for awhile. Editor’s note: Thank the gods for that!)

Local progressive folk metallers Cryptic Age kicked off the evening in a suitably epic fashion, mixing brand-new songs with tracks from their CD and EP. Their (new) opening track Ad Astra et Ultra brings vocalist Jenny Green out of her normally stratospheric heights at times and proves her vocal versatility with warm, mid-range tones. Tracks like this show that she is more than capable of range as well as clarity in her vocal performance. Her trademark high notes are still dominant – sharp as a razor and clear as glass – and she gives an engaging performance as a frontwoman (not as easy job, when behind a keyboard as well)! Green’s keyboard performance is flawless; well-chosen effects created an ethereal feeling and she shifts effortlessly between using the keys atmospherically and as a lead instrument.Hallam Smith’s lead guitar sings beautifully and his expertise with the instrument is clear – Smith’s solos are technical and complex, yet appear effortless as he grins his way through the gig. He trades and harmonises lead parts with Green’s keys as nimbly as a leprechaun sorts through gold. Well-constructed and never ‘over the top’, Smith’s guitar performance definitely stays on the right side of the line between ‘enjoyable and impressive’ and ‘showing off’ – everything is done to suit the music.

Bassist Tom Keeley has an impressive stage presence – at one point, certainly, his windmilling knocks some dust off of the ceiling. Beyond this, though, he is a masterful musician, ably ‘gluing’ together the drums and the lead sections. In a four-piece band, there is sometimes a temptation for a bassist to simplify; however, Keeley’s riffs are complex and are as interesting to listen to as the lead instruments. Drummer Alex Brandsen drums adeptly, acting as the gears that keep the machine moving forward. He drives numerous time and tempo changes smoothly and his solo and fills are engaging. Brandsen is clearly a drummer who is an artist, rather than a machine; his metronome-like precision is carefully balanced with enough artistry and flair to give the set interest and spontaneity. Overall, Cryptic Age’s performance was tight, creative and delivered with just the right mixture of passion and fun. It was also thoroughly enjoyable – an opinion shared by the crowd, many of whom were Irish jigging to No Folkin’ Way, the final, instrumental track of the set. [5/5]

Few bands would dare to create music that oscillates between brutal, eyeball-popping, balls-out growling and soft, melodic, lilting sweetness. Even fewer can make it work. Celtachor does. Frontman – vocalist and whistle player – Stephen Roche pulls off both faces of the two-headed monster that is Celtachor with style… and just a little bit of scary. With a stage presence that makes him seem like a Klingon transported into medieval times, Roche has a fantastic and mesmerising effect on the crowd. An intensity in his facial expression gives a slightly psychotic impression and when he instructs the crowd to clap, headbang, chant, etc. they do so. For me, this was 75% because I was enjoying the music and 25% because I was a little bit afraid that if I didn’t do as he said, he… might eat my skin while I was still wearing it. (Note – we spoke with him briefly after the show and he was very lovely, gracious and non-psychotic – but the stage act is very convincing.)

Roche shifts instantaneously between vitriolic vocals – with a scream that would melt the lead out of pencils – to a soft-spoken, honeyed baritone enrobed in a hypnotising Irish accent. His (and guitarist Fionn Stafford’s) skill with a small whistle adds an artistic touch that helps to set Celtachor apart from other pagan black metal bands and secures them in a class of their own. Guitarists Fionn Stafford and David Quinn show versatility in their double-barrelled performance. Bold, brash riffs that border at times on thrash are expertly executed and are always precise and controlled. Similarly, softer sections are performed artfully and with elegance, with complex intertwining melodies graciously taking a backseat to allow other instruments to come to the forefront. Solos are shredded like silk curtains through a tiger’s claws and the rhythm parts are a cavalry of riffs that gallop on apace and flatten the room. Both musicians have a remarkable stage presence and are engaging to watch as they own the stage.

The guitar melodies are complex and add interest to the pieces, providing the heart of the band. The melodies are reminiscent of old Celtic folk music – without relying too heavily on this style, proving that they are more than a one-trick pony. The complexity of the guitars also firmly plants the band in the black metal genre, as well as proving that if you’ve got two talented guitarists – you don’t need keyboards to put the ‘melody’ in ‘melodic black metal’!  Bassist  Oliver Deegan is the belly of the beast, with growling riffs that add a sense of darkness and danger to the mixture. His hammering riffs and compelling countermelodies surprise and intrigue the audience – and bring him out of the rhythm section – without distracting from the lead instruments. Quigley’s hand moves up and down the neck of his bass like a hummingbird from flower to flower, darting quickly back and forth.  The warm tone of Deegan’s bass contrasts pleasantly against the icier guitar tones, hinting at green fields and Irish sunshine.

Drummer Anaïs Chareyre proves a savvy timekeeper – and if we’re going to labour the metaphor, her drums are the powerful legs of the monster that is Celtachor. Chareyre adroitly swaps between styles several times throughout the gig. She masters off-time sections with a progressive flair; drives the common time portions with machine-gun-like precision and adds in components of tribal drumming that keep reminding the audience of the Celtic roots of the music. The drums in Celtachor’s music do more than simply keep the time – they are an instrument themselves, driving the songs forward but occasionally pausing to have a spotlighted moment themselves.

Altogether, Celtachor is a force to be reckoned with. With a powerful mix of brutal black metal, haunting pagan influences and serene Celtic accents, Celtachor is definitely a band in a class of its own. [4.5/5]

Heidevolk’s first headline show on UK soil had garnered a lot of support and as the crowd anxiously awaited the band’s entrance, the area near to the stage became a crush of black T-shirts, long hair, drinking horns and pagan relics. The anticipation was a palpable bubble being blown, threatening to burst even as a blue balloon was tied to the drumkit. When the band’s suitably atmospheric introductory music began, the stage was awash in moody blues, setting the ambience.  An eerie hush fell over the crowd, exploding into rapturous cheering as the band took the stage.

Vocalists Joris Boghtdrincker and Mark Splintervuyscht burst onstage like fireworks, each working alternate halves of the crowd and engaging the audience in a singalong straightaway. The crowd reacts enthusiastically – more hardcore fans picking up the call even before being asked, joined later by more reluctant fans and others who weren’t familiar with the melody at the start.  Boghtdrincker and Splintervuyscht are fantastic frontmen, expertly coaxing the crowd (who, to be fair, don’t need much encouragement – they’ve been waiting a long time for this) to shout, pump their fists, show the horns – all fairly standard metal gig interactions – and then to bounce. That was more unexpected. Like rabbits on Red Bull, the vocalists led the way, followed by a more than decent proportion of the crowd. Partially due to alcoholic consumption (but mostly due to the zeal of the frontmen), the crowd eagerly participated and became a teeming, roiling mass threatening to boil over. By the third song, a reasonably sized pit had opened up toward the front in the middle. The crowd had this part of the club heaving: it felt as if it were about a hundred degrees despite the freezing outdoor temperatures – and there were approximately five oxygen molecules left. The crowd response generated by Heidevolk – and led by the two frontmen – was in a world of its own.

In addition to being engaging frontmen, Boghtdrincker and Splintervuyscht are talented vocalists. In a pleasing contrast to many metal bands, neither vocalist is a soaring, Bruce Dickinson-like belting countertenor, nor a growling ball of anger. Boghtdrincker  borders on the rare voice type of contrabass, at times touching an E1. (For non-music types, that’s an extremely low note – when it is written in operas, often all other music stops to allow that note to be heard – because, to produce it at all, it tends to be very quiet. It takes a special talent and years of training to sing this low – and to do so and maintain tone is actually harder than singing up high). Splintervuyscht is a higher, more lyric baritone with a voice reminiscent of Galaxy chocolate. (Can we get a sponsor?) He tends to carry the melodies clearly and strongly, while Boghtdrincker stays down in the dungeons, providing a rumbling presence, like a dragon that is starting to awake.  The harmonies created by the dual vocals are interesting and unusual – they haven’t stuck to the easy (or expected) thirds, fifths or octaves. Rather, they’ve chosen intervals which feel tribal – coinciding with their image and the ancient Germanic mythology that inspires their music. At times, their chosen harmonies evoke a semblance of Gregorian chants – and on occasion, the melodies don’t go quite where you might expect them to, adding interest and surprise. Both men are skilled musicians, alternating between shared harmonised vocals and trading countermelodies. This unusual shared frontmanship is one of several elements that sets Heidevolk apart from other metal bands.

Guitarists Reamon Bomenbreker and Kevin Vruchtbaard have a majestic stage presence that is, at times, theatrical without being over-the-top or distracting from the frontmen. Both men are comfortably at ease onstage and their enjoyment of playing comes over to the audience, encouraging the already frenetic moshing, headbanging and fist-pumping that was happening down front.  Lightning-fast rhythm sections are expertly executed and include a complexity that sits the music perhaps across the street and up the road from power metal. Dagger-sharp tremolo picking and cantering rhythms that bolt forward juxtapose with short, melodic runs that keep pushing the songs forward and break up longer riffs. Longer lead sections often include intricate and technical compositions, occasionally twinned and harmonised with more synchronisation than the 2012 Olympic Synchronised Swimming team. Slower solos melt more faces than a homicidal, telekinetic pyromaniac and soar above the rest of the music. Throughout the set, there is a sense that the guitars are creating their own story – separate to but in conjunction with the stories being told by the vocals and the lyrics.

Bassist Rowan Roodbaert could easily get lost between the complexity of the dual vocals and dual guitars. However – he makes sure this doesn’t happen. Roodbaert’s bass does more than keep the root notes – or keep the time. At times it walks up the guitars’ tremolo-picked chords, giving a melodic focal point for the audience – and interest. At other times, it provides a counterpoint, responding to the guitarists’ riffs. Still at other times, Roodbaert’s bass has its own melody – and indeed during several points in the gig, it is clear that the guitars have taken over the rhythm duties and Roodbaert moves to take a leading role. This particularly works with the composition of the band – since the vocals are so low, having the bass as a lead instrument is effective: it is in the same aural range and doesn’t have as much to cut through as it might in a band made up with a different balance. He capably harmonises with the guitars at some points and consistently keeps the songs driving forward. Roodbaert is the quintessential, flexible bassist – able to master all trades. Drummer Joost den Vellenknotscher seems like he must be a fun guy – possibly the joker of the band, simply judging by his facial expressions and antics onstage (e.g. stick spinning – and the inexplicable blue balloon tied to his kit). However, the theatrics don’t detract from his performance, which was impeccable. He manages time changes and extra bars that – well, if the tremolo picked rhythm guitar sections are across the street from power metal, this drumming is sitting on prog’s front porch. Occasional spurts of almost thrash-quick pounding show that Vellenknotscher isn’t above ‘hitting things’ (to quote Terry Pratchett). Meanwhile, his finesse with other, more intricate sections prove his pendulum-like  (the clock part, not the band) sense of timing, which keeps the whole performance on track, on tempo and on time.

Overall, judging by the crowd reaction – and the cries for more encores – Heidevolk was well and truly overdue for a headline slot in the UK. They more than lived up to the hype they generated. Graciously thanking the support bands, organiser, backstage crew and the crowd, they also proved themselves to be gracious and modest. As the lights came back up after their set and dazed metalheads started to find their ways resignedly to the doors, it was clear that tonight the crowd had witnessed something pretty folkin’ special [Ed – NO MORE PUNS! PLEASE!]. [5/5]

Melissa Adams

Photography by James David Brough.

Sakrileg – Sakrileg

Posted in Review with tags on 17th March 2013 by izaforestspirit

Sakrileg
Sakrileg
Released 2nd October 2013
Raw Black Metal
Released via Cursed Records

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Sakrileg is the debut album from the Austrian black metal band of the same name. Sakrileg was formed back in 2009 and after the release of their demo ‘Demonen’ they became the first band to sign with Cursed Records in 2011.

First up is Propaganda which features what appears to be an air-raid alarm instead of an intro. What follows is some Burzum/Xasthur -style raw black metal. There’s no mistaking the howl-like vocals and the unrefined guitar riffs, Sakrileg offers the same eerie feel as the forefathers of the genre. Ein Feldpostbrief is the ultimate grim anthem of despair, the vocals mimic cries of anguish and possibly pain whilst the guitars offer no chance of salvation.

This pretty much sets the tone for this rest of the album. If it’s melody and ambiance you’re after then I’d advise you to stay clear of Sakrileg, it will give you a headache. Luckily I don’t mind being subjected to the occasional dose of raw black metal though it’s not something I listen to on a regular basis. Anyway back to the music… In Abschiedsbrief (meiner toten russischen Freundin) the guitars have a drony tinge to their sound and the howling is as prominent as ever. Oddly enough, there’s one part of the song when the howling is dropped, albeit temporarily, in favor of something resembling a semi-growl. Other noteworthy tracks include Verloren, which sees the emphasis shift towards the monotonous guitar riffs giving the song a certain haunting feel, and the eerie instrumental Outroduktion.

Overall this is a decent raw black metal album. I’m sure that fans of bands such as Burzum and Xasthur will enjoy it.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Belgium’s MFVF announce Dalriada for 2013 line-up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 16th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Following overwhelming popular demand, Hungary’s melodic folk metallers Dalriada have been announced for this year’s MFVF (Metal Female Voices Festival) in Belgium, later this year. This will be the band’s first MFVF appearance. Further info about MFVF and tickets for the event can be found at this location.

 

Interview with Fabio D’Amore [Serenity]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Fabio D’Amore has been the bassist for Serenity for three years now and has featured on their last album, Death & Legacy as well as their upcoming masterpiece: War of Ages. Nico catches Fabio for a quick chat about the upcoming album and the recent addition of Clémentine Delauney to the band.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name?

Fabio: Serenity is a sci-fi movie, based on the fanta-western TV series called Firefly. It’s an awesome movie, and the also the TV series is incredible.  When the band was put together, the influence of “Firefly” on our artistic work was huge, so the the logical result was taking the name of the spacecraft as the band’s name.

Nico: What are the main themes and concepts of War of Ages?

Fabio: On War of Ages we developed once again our historical themes, as we did on Death and Legacy, our previous record, but this time we focused on different points of view, and different stages. We talked about characters such as Elizabeth Bathory, Henry VIII, Napoleon, Nero, Beethoven, and so on. The lyrics are telling the stories of these people, that for good and bad influenced our past, the past of the whole humanity.

Nico: How do you feel War of Ages differs from the previous album, Death & Legacy?

Fabio: Musically the two albums are different, especially concerning their structures: Death and Legacy was a long album, with many long songs, and lots of interludes, kind of like opera you have to concentrate on each single detail. War of Ages is a direct album, shorter and effective songs, no interludes and passages in here, somehow catchier and yet fluent.

Nico: Clémentine Delauney joined Serenity earlier this year. In the past, the band have used guest female vocalists, is there a specific reason for recruiting Clémentine Delauney as a permanent member of the band?

Fabio: Clémentine started touring with us during the Out of the Dark tour 2011. We’ve been touring with previous female singers in the past, and all of them have been great and we’re still thankful for the jobs they offered Serenity. Clémentine just fit perfectly when we played a trial show earlier in September, before starting that upcoming tour, and we were all really satisfied. We all improved together and she continued performing for us for
all other shows we had, and we found natural to start discussing about her joining the band permanently. It came naturally, from both sides.

Nico: How do you feel the band’s overall sound will change now with the addition of Clémentine?

Fabio: I wouldn’t talk about changement, I’d better talk about improvement. As stated before, our sound and our shows together got better and better, and we definitely found the right formula with her in the band, where the new songs find incredible improvement and the old ones got a new life and a stronger sound.

Nico: What song do you feel defines the new album, War of Ages?

Fabio: That’s a difficult question… But perhaps I’d say the brand new single Wings of Madness. It has everything of the band’s skills : heavy riffs, great vocal melodies, bombastic sound and groovy parts.

Nico: Are there plans for a UK tour later this year?

Fabio: First we’ll have a show in London in some weeks, and we are really looking forward to this, since the UK has always been great for us. Just think about last year’s headlining tour, where we were able to play in London and Cardiff. We’ll for sure have some other shows in the UK later this year.

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Fabio: Mmm… That’s again difficult…I think each member of the band would have a different opinion and answer! Come and ask us directly after our show!

Nico: Serenity have been on the scene for a decade, how do you feel the metal scene has changed since Serenity formed?

Fabio: There’s definitely a saturation of offer in the market, and it’s still increasing. I think there’s too much and less quality lately… That’s also a reason of the whole industry’s decay and I am not completely sure this will ever get better again.

Nico: All the members of Serenity live in different parts of Europe, does this make it more of a challenge when it comes to song writing and studio work?

Fabio: It’s definitely challenging! Organising rehearsals and scheduling song writing and studio sessions have been more difficult lately. For three years, we now have to organise our activity, basing also on transportation issues, and gathering everyone’s plans. But it’s working fine, although it’s still difficult to handle, from time to time.

Nico: On the note of the members coming from varying parts of Europe, have the language and cultural barriers ever been an issue for the band?

Fabio: Austria, Italy and France are of course countries with many differences. In the beginning it may be difficult, but you have to give it time to get used to each other, and I can now say it’s not a problem at all. Sometimes you learn from each difference and you can enrich our own background, so I think it’s an added value.

Nico: Which musician, living or dead, do you hold the most respect for and why?

Fabio: Freddy Mercury – he’s still the artist and frontman that changed the life of many other musicians… His voice, his artistic soul, his performances have been lessons to learn for everyone of us!

Nico: What song do you feel defines Serentiy as a band?

Fabio: I don’t think there’s only one song that can tell what Serenity is. I’d say each album we released is very different and there’s something that makes our sound.

Nico: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Fabio: I’d like to thank everyone is reading now this interview and I’d like to invite you all to our upcoming tour: we’ll bring along the best show possible and you’ll get to know this new and fresh album War of
Ages
. You’ll love it!

Serenity’s new album, War of Ages, is due for release on 22nd March via Napalm Records.

Equaleft enter the studio today

Posted in News on 15th March 2013 by Pieni

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Portuguese groove metal band Equaleft have been making quite a stand in the underground scene of their country given the adrenaline rush of their live shows. After the very acclaimed EP “The Truth Unravels” (read review here), the band enters the studio today to start recording their long-awaited debut full-length. The recordings will take place at Soundvision studios, in Vila do Conde, with producer Paulo Lopes (Crushing Sun).

Equaleft’s MySpace
Equaleft’s Facebook

XIII, Spekulus, Innersylum and more confirmed for Valk-Fest 2013

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Following last month’s announcement, today’s Valk-Fest announcements confirm the addition of several more bands to the three day charity festival, which this year is in aid of RapeCrisis.

Confirmed to join bands like Narcotic Death and Old Corpse Road, as well as Aonia and Nya, Hull’s premier alternative thrash unit XIII (13 for those not familiar with Roman numerals) have been added to the second day of the festival (Saturday 30th November). Whilst joining Dakesis on the final day of the festival, Innersylum from Hull have been confirmed to play, along with Gothic metal band Terra Omnia and the atmospheric gothic outfit Edenfall. Bridlington’s classic thrash band Alice In Thunderland have also been announced to play the final day of the festival, as well as industrial trio Spekulus and symphonic metallers Powercake – Yes, really, that’s their name!

Valkyrian Festival will take place at Shades Nightclub in Bridlington from 29th November to 1st December. Weekend tickets are available for pre-order from this location at the low price of £5.  All proceeds will be donated to RapeCrisis. The event is all ages. Stage times are still to be announced and additional line-up announcements will commence on 13th May. Further Valk-Fest updates can be found at the official Valkyrian Festival Facebook page.

 

Delain announce US tour dates with Kamelot

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

The good news just keep on coming for Delain fans around the globe. After announcing their Japanese tour, and their South American dates, Delain, who are proving to be the hottest band on the symphonic metal scene, have announced that they’ll be joining Kamelot on a full-blown North American tour. The band comments: “It has been way too long since our last tour with our friends from KAMELOT! We’re hugely looking forward to joining them on tour this fall and we’re hugely looking forward to meet YOU on our first ever full-blown US Tour. See you there, you don’t want to miss this!

Tour dates for both Japan and North America and other countries are as follows:
18.03.13 JP – Tokyo / Club Quattro
19.03.13 JP – Osaka / Akaso
13.04.13 NL – Hilversum / Vorstin
20.04.13 SU – Paramaribo / Unkies Open Air
23.04.13 AR – Buenos Aires/ Salon Reducci
24.04.13 BR – Sao Paolo / Carioca Club
05.05.13 NL – Zwolle / Bevrijdingsfestival Overijssel
11.05.13 UK – Wolverhampton / Dames of Darkness Festival
18.05.13 NL – Uden / De Pul
01.06.13 NL – Nijmegen / Fortarock
22.06.13 NL – Dokkum / Dokk’em Open Air
12.07.13 DE – Ballenstedt / Rockharz Festival

Delain on tour with Kamelot in North America:
02.09.13 US – Columbus, OH / Alrosa Villa
03.09.13 US – Baltimore, MD / Soundstage
05.09.13 US – Philadelphia, PA / The Trocadero Theatre
06.09.13 US – New York, NY / Stage 48
07.09.13 US – Worcester, MA / The Palladium
08.09.13 CA – Montreal, QUE / Club Soda
10.09.13 CA – Toronto, ON / The Opera House
12.09.13 US – Chicago, IL / Mojoe’s
13.09.13 US – Kansas City, KS / The Granada
14.09.13 US – Denver, CO / Bluebird Theater
15.09.13 US – Salt Lake City, UT / In The Venue
17.09.13 US – Seattle, WA / El Corazón
18.09.13 US – Portland, OR / Hawthorne Theater
20.09.13 US – San Francisco, CA / Slim’s
21.09.13 US – Anaheim, CA / The Grove
22.09.13 US – Phoenix, AZ / Joe’s Grotto
24.09.13 US – Dallas, TX / Trees
25.09.13 US – San Antonio, TX / Backstage Live
27.09.13 US – Louisville, KY / Diamonds
28.09.13 US – Atlanta, GA / The Masquerade
29.09.13 US – Orlando, FL / House Of Blues

 

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei to release Heavy Metal album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Paul

Surprising news this week as controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whom Salon.com calls “the most influential artist in the world” has announced plans to release a Heavy Metal album. The BBC reports that the album will be entitled Divina Commedia – which is the epic poem Divine Comedy by Dante, a typically heavy metal concept, and is written by musician Zuoxiao Zuzhou. The content however, is said to be political with at least two songs being about Chen Guangcheng, a Chinese activist and friend of Weiwei who recently took refuge in the USA, causing concerns over human rights in China. Weiwei also stated that some of the songs would be “more punkish” and “more pop” so I suppose a blackened funeral doom album is out of the question.

This news follows other strange happenings in the world of Metal in recent years, such as Metal album releases by Christopher Lee, Friar Brother Cesare Bonizzi, as well as the humorous news reports about the granddad who listens to Heavy Metal. This also has implications for Metal on the international stage, with the genre becoming popular in such far-flung and politically turbulent areas as Israel and Baghdad. Is Heavy Metal a useful political tool for activism in countries with oppressive regimes and political strife?

With Heavy Metal now in its fourth decade of existence, showing no signs of slowing down, and having attained a dedicated international cult following; perhaps the time has come in which the genre will be accepted as less of a passing trend but a fully-fledged musical style such as Jazz, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll (all of which were derided as the Devil’s music in their time). After all the founders and innovators of the original Heavy Metal genre – Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and so on are now well into the third or fourth decades of their careers, or split-up/retired; with the majority of their fans being of older generations and much of their musical style being categorised as “Classic Rock” despite being extremely dissonant, heavy and largely rejected by the mainstream in their prime.

With Heavy Metal occupying an increasing awareness in the public consciousness, is Heavy Metal – at least in its broadest sense and it’s more mainstream, arena-rock style being more accepted by the world at large? And should it be? Perhaps only time will tell, but this announcement certainly adds to the ever increasing recognition of Metal in the world today.

 

Neaera – Ours is the Storm

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 15th March 2013 by Freya

Neaera
Ours is the Storm
Released 5th March 2013
Melodic Death Metal
Released via Metal Blade

After three years of silence Neaera strikes again with Ours is the Storm. The German band has been busy touring throughout 2012, and if this album truly is a hurricane, 2013 won’t be a quiet year either.

After a short intro the album kicks into a higher gear with Ours is the Storm, which is also the title song. With this song the band proves that melodic death metal can be quite catchy. I caught myself humming the tune a few times during the day. After this powerful opener, the album rages on and the band carries on the legacy they established with earlier records: songs filled with raw energy and heartfelt lyrics.

Walk with Fire and Guardian of Ashes are two examples of songs who have a powerful and unique intros. They show of the harmony between guitars and drums and their ability to paint a picture ready to be completed by powerful vocals.  Slaying the Wolf Within turns out to be the eye of the storm thanks to guest vocalist Nathan Gray from Boy Sets Fire. His clear, almost pained voice contrasts against the pounding drums and diverse guitar lines. This song about people on the verge of giving up and slaying their inner wolf is something many people will relate to.

And yet it seems like something is missing. It all sounds like a well-oiled machine, which subdues the elements of surprise, the few treasures buried in this melodic monsoon.

In the end, this album is a worthy successor for Forging the Eclipse, and Benjamin Hilleke proves yet again that he can master his voice like no other. Ours is the Storm is raw and almost hypnotizing with powerful guitar work and crashing drums. The entire time music and vocals clash into each other and it’s difficult to pick a side because the combination of these two elements sounds spot on.

4/5

Freya Cherlet

 

Cryptic Age stream new demo on SoundCloud

Posted in News on 14th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

York-based Celtic progressive metallers Cryptic Age have began streaming a new demo  on SoundCloud from their next release, which the band are currently in the process of recording. The demo, entitled, Shenn Do Boaldyn, can be streamed at this location or below. Cryptic Age’s debut album, Sounds of Infinity, was self-released last year and is available from the band’s official website.

Storm Of Embers – I

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 14th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Storm Of Embers
I
Released 19th January 2013
Progressive Metal/Rock
Self-Released

Storm Of Embers are a three piece band from Glasgow in Scotland. The I EP is their debut release and features five tracks of the band’s own brand of progressive rock and metal. This band are diverse and their sound is hard to pigeon hole as they draw influences from across the spectrum of the genre. It says on their official Facebook page under genre: You Decide, and after listening to the EP it’s easy to hear why.

A piano intro opens the first track Only In Memory which soon gives way to a solid guitar riff as the band launch into a mid paced rocker of a song with some quality guitar work, bass runs, solid drum beats with heartfelt vocals. This theme carries over into the second track The Cage, for me it’s easily the best track on the EP, which shows a definite harder, faster metal edge to the band’s sound.

The next two tracks Esh and Beyond The Pyres Of Night see the band change style completely – two longer, slower paced almost ballad like songs with a far more progressive feel to them due to a few harder guitar passages and a couple of nice solos thrown in for good measure. Bringing the EP to close is the faster paced Signs Of Remorse which see’s the band return to their harder rock and metal styles of the first two tracks, a great way to bring things to an end.

The quality of the production is top notch resulting in a crystal clear sound with a perfect balance between the music and the vocals. If you are a fan of all genres of rock and metal, Storm Of Embers are certainly worth a listen. Quality songs, quality musicianship. A solid debut EP.

3.5/5

Ian Foster

Delain confirmed for MFVF in Belgium

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , on 14th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Symphonic rockers Delain have been announced for the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium, which is regarded by many fans as one of the world’s best festivals for “female-fronted” metal acts. Delain will be joining the likes of ReVamp and Stream of Passion, amongst others in October. The Metal Female Voices Festival will take palce from 18th – 20th October later this year at Oktoberhallen, Wieze in Belgium.

Delain recently signed to Napalm Records and will be releasing a special album, titled Interlude, that will feature brand new material, DVD footage and remixes and special versions of other Delain tracks. UK fans will also have the chance to see Delain at this year’s Dames of Darkness Festival at The Robin 2, in Bilston, near Wolverhampton.

Details of The Dames of Darkness Festival and be found here. Information and tickets for the Metal Female Voices Festival can be located here.

 

Avven announce East European Tour

Posted in Misc., News with tags , on 14th March 2013 by izaforestspirit

The Slovenian folk metallers Avven will embark on a tour of Eastern Europe this April.

The tour dates will be as follows:

2.4.2013 Tuesday SI-Ljubljana Orto Bar

12.4.2013 Friday SI-Maribor MC Pekarna

13.4.2013 Saturday SK-Bratislava Randal

14.4.2013 Sunday PL-Warszawa Fono Bar

15.4.2013 Monday PL-Warszawa DAY OFF

16.4.2013 Tuesday PL-Bielsko- Biala DAY OFF

17.4.2013 Wednesday PL-Bielsko-Biala Rude Boy

18.4.2013 Thursday PL-Chorzów Lesniczowka

19.4.2013 Friday CZ-Brno Melodka

20.4.2013 Saturday CZ-Prague Klub Nova Chmelnice

21.4.2013 Sunday PL-Wroclaw Madness

Cradle of Filth frontman joins Devilment

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , on 13th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Dani Filth, the infamous frontman for the UK’s extreme gothic act Cradle of Filth, has joined British band Devilment. Originally formed in 2011 by Daniel J Finch, in what is described as a “bout of religious delirium”, the band’s line-up consisted of Simon Dawson on drums (Steve Harris, ex-Dearly Beheaded), Justin Walker (13 Candles) handling bass duties and Kieron De-Courci (ex-The Voice) on keyboards with the band experiencing a number of problems holding down a permanent vocalist.

Dani Filth originally entered and agreed to help out on a couple tracks which then turned into a studio demo. With the departure of Dawson, Walker and De-Courci, Devilment collected Nick Johnson on bass, Dan Jackson on guitar alongside Aaron Boast on drums.

Sister Sin release video for new single; Fight Song

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 11th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Swedish hard rockers, Sister Sin, have released the video for their latest single Fight Song, which can be viewed down below. The track is taken from the band’s latest release, Now And Forever, which is available for purchase from the Victory Records store at this location.