Archive for October, 2013

Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 31st October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Leaves’ Eyes
Symphonies of the Night
Released 18th November
Symphonic Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Leaves’ Eyes are virtually a household name on the symphonic metal scene. Made up of former Theatre of Tragedy vocalist Liv Kristine and the gentlemen of Atrocity (excluding Joris), Leaves’ Eyes have made themselves a lasting career built upon their combination of symphonic elements, use of multiple languages, folk influences and finely tuned musicianship. The latest milestone in Leaves’ Eyes‘s longstanding legacy is Symphonies of the Night, the follow up to their 2012 release Meredead.

Hell to The Heavens starts the album with a powerful use of Liv‘s vocals and gentle symphonic passages underlying her distinctive voice before the fierce roar of guitars make themselves heard, alongside Alex‘s snarling voices. The track is heavily tragic, like one of Shakespeare‘s plays put to music. There are softer sections though they are few and between but focus on the strong use of keyboards.

Fading Earth is a complete change of direction, paying more attention to the finer details of the melody, allowing Liv‘s voice to still soar higher than an eagle while Sander‘s and Thorsten‘s paint an image of feeling. Maid Of Lorraine rings with a typical Celtic atmosphere, the kind that any Leaves’ Eyes fan will be familiar with. Again, there is attention paid to the details of the guitars and Alex‘s vocals come booming out like a volley of cannonballs thundering over the battlefield, dripping with vehemence, contrasting with Liv‘s celestial voice that floats ever so majestically above the enchanting symphonic passages.

The hypnotic and poignant medievalesque instrumentation opens up the folktastic track Galswintha, a track based on the daughter of the Visigothic king of Hispania, Athanagild.  Liv‘s vocals adjust perfectly to the change of style in the music, her voice almost jigging alongside the music, while the Celtic and medieval medleys fly overheard like a murder of ravens in the night sky. The title track, Symphony of the Night, has a touch of Edgar Allen Poe-tinted darkness flowing through its proverbial veins, spilling forth waves of tainted keyboards and virulent guitars with a strong flow of somber vocals. Felix‘s use of drumming helps support the growing Plutonian sound of the song, as well as the ghastly atmosphere.

With a name like Saint Cecelia you’d expect the song to be lighter in its sound but you couldn’t be more wrong. Stygian shades of dusk whisper from the symphonic passages and echo form Liv‘s voice throughout the duration of the song, The use of choir vocals adds their own touch of shade to the dusk that surrounds the song. Hymn To the Lone Sands radiantly whispers out a gentle, soothing medley that is very soul filling until the storm of guitars and drums comes blowing a gale, accompanied by the hurricane of Alex‘s and Liv‘s vocals. Angel And The Ghost is the most tender track of the album, even with the heavy strike of guitars – Though it’s not the music that makes it tender, but the lyrical content. The guitars and the drums keep the backbone of the song going strong, with the lyrics and vocals making up the compassionate flesh – Save for the speech that Liv speaks of death and ghosts and leaving a head at someone’s feet.

Éléonore De Provence tells the story of the Queen consort of England, Eleanor, in the uniquely poetic fashion that Leaves’ Eyes have become masters of. The chorus is memorable, epical and lyrical, while the verses ring out with a touch of romanticism. Nightshade is a velvety piece of workings, allows the vocals to gently glide across the calm ocean of symphonies before the waxing and waning storm of Ophelia makes its presence known in a charming and alluring manner of symphonic lines and mountainous riffs, with a bulwark use of drums and silky vocals.

Leaves’ Eyes have again painted a masterpiece of music and lyrics, combining all their strongest elements and sailing their ship into unknown waters to create Symphonies of the Night. Taking female figures from both history and literature, they have portrayed them in a romantic way that will immortalise them and allow their stories to be heard through a diverse pallet of musical colours, whilst allowing the evolution of Leaves’ Eyes‘s sound at the same time. 

5/5

Nico Davidson

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://www.leaveseyes.de/
http://www.facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

 

Advertisements

Mastodon to release audio and video versions of “Live at Brixton”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Pieni

 photo mastodon-press_zps5415663e.png

On February 11th last year, Mastodon played a sold-out show at London’s legendary O2 Brixton Academy. Part of the world tour supporting their critically acclaimed album “The Hunter”, also the show had a tremendous response from the audience, from the first minute until the last.

Now, on December 10th, Warner Bros. Records will make this unforgettable concert available in digital format under the name “Mastodon Live At Brixton”. You can either choose the audio version only, or go for the video one, directed by Ryan Mackfall from Crashburn Media. Both cover the 97 minutes of the show, where the following set-list was performed:

1. Dry Bone Valley
2. Black Tongue
3. Crystal Skull
4. I Am Ahab
5. Capillarian Crest
6. Colony of Birchmen
7. Megalodon
8. Thickening
9. Blasteroid
10. Sleeping Giant
11. Ghost of Karelia
12. All The Heavy Lifting
13. Spectrelight
14. Curl of the Burl
15. Bedazzled Fingernails
16. Circle of Cysquatch
17. Aqua Dementia
18. Crack The Skye
19. Where Strides The Behemoth
20. Iron Tusk
21. March of the Fireants
22. Blood and Thunder
23. Creature Lives

Mastodon online:
http://www.mastodonrocks.com
https://www.facebook.com/Mastodon
http://www.cracktheskye.com
http://www.myspace.com/mastodon
http://www.youtube.com/user/mastodonmusic
http://www.twitter.com/mastodonmusic

Sorronia announced as support on Spanish leg of Xandria tour

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Hungarian symphonic metallers Sorronia have been announced as support on the Spanish leg of Xandria‘s Neverworld’s End tour next month. Sorronia will also be introducing their new album Words Of Silence, which was released 28th October via Bakerteam Records, to the live scene, making the Spanish tour the first European shows where songs from the new album can be heard live for the first time.

Sorronia online:

http://www.facebook.com/SorroniaOfficial
http://twitter.com/SorroniaBand

PAGES OF THE PAST: Annihilator – Alice In Hell

Posted in Pages of the Past with tags , , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Who would’ve thought Canada could produce one of the best thrash bands on the planet. Annihilator is the brain-child of Jeff Waters, and the band are recognised the world over for two albums in particular, Alice in Hell and Never, Neverland.

Alice in Hell is one of the most technical thrash albums of its generation, with dynamic guitar work, intense drumming, groovy bass-lines and banshee like vocals. While the original release of the album featured the nine tracks listed, the 1998 re-release featured three bonus tracks, two of which were demos of songs from this album, and the other being a demo of a song to be heard on Never, Neverland. But that is a tale for another time, let us now visit Alice in Hell.

The opening instrumental, Crystal Ann, is a classical guitarist’s nightmare of intricate passages. Its twin guitar harmony performed by Waters has given many players chills at its technical prowess. It has also opened every Annihilator show since the album’s release. As soon as that intro hits, the hairs on the back of your neck will stand to attention, and salute the metal you are about to graciously receive within the confines of this 38 minutes of thrash metal mastery from Mr Waters and company.

From an amazing classical intro, to the second track, opening with the chilling bass intro, Alison Hell takes you on a musical journey through the torn mind the character of Alison. The guitars weave a tapestry of torment with their harmonies and relentless rhythmic chug. Vocalist Randy Rampage adds a menace to the song with his dark lyrical content, and Water’s piercing shriek and proto-death-grunt of Alison Hell make the title track an aural assault.

Welcome to Your Death takes the technical approach, and reins it in slightly. This is by no means a detriment to the song, it is in fact quite refreshing. The addition of the clean passage allows the listener a short break from pounding rhythms. The harmony part that Waters leads over sounds much more technical than it actually is, and leads into a good old fashioned thrash attack. For these reasons, fans have considered it an anthem, and it has been featured heavily in the set-list for many years.

The same can be said of Wicked Mystic which takes a more straightforward approach to thrash. Rampage’s vocals are the perfect ally for the guitar work. The un-ending battering of this song shows great stamina from all the players, and shows what thrash metal should be made of.

Burns like a Buzzsaw Blade is the real dark horse track on the album, lyrically it sounds like it shouldn’t work, but fits perfectly within the albums track-list. Water’s goes for an all out divebomb attack for his lead, like the whammy bar is going out of fashion, but still sounds good to this day. To cap it all off, the end of the song is heralded by Rampage emulating a Buzzsaw with his scream. I bet his voice burned like a Buzzsaw blade after that one, ey?

The misleading intro to Word Salad is quite dark for a clean passage. It works at distracting you while the main chug theme sneaks up on you to deliver an injection of distortion. The riffs are intricate, and have been a big influence on a lot of guitar player’s song writing styles. Yet another example of a straightforward thrash tune that would fit in with any set-list that comes out of Jeff Water’s brain.

They say that Schizos (Are Never Alone), and to an extent this is true. Is it? Yes it is, now can I please get on with the song review? Oh sorry, yes, please continue. Thank you, now where was I? This song is brutally fast and relentless in its barrage of speed metal riffs. Most thrash bands have fast songs, or fast sections to songs, but these riffs break boundaries between speed and all out thrash. As the song weaves in two parts, it is in its own way schizophrenic, with its slow parts being almost doom-like compared to its faster, more aggressive side.

Ligeia is one of the other darker horse songs on the album, with constant tempo and feeling changes, featuring nods to AC/DC in the riff ideas. The insane fast solo is a brilliant example of Jeff Waters as a young guitarist with a mis-spent childhood, which just proves that practice makes perfect, or very fast guitar solos. You thought I was being rude didn’t you?

In total contrast Human Insecticide shows more thrash potential. Though the riffs are meaty, the speed is the defining factor of how to make a thrash metal album sound completely awesome. The middle section takes a tempo dive and adds a total groove section, with yet another divebomb fest, that returns us to the true thrash speed. As an album closer, it leaves you satisfied, yet wanting tonnes more material.

There are few bands that can write material that stands the test of time as well as this album. The material is ageless, and still manages to scare even the most hardcore guitarists into wanting to improve their abilities, or just give it up altogether, and they would be right in doing so. This is an outstanding piece of thrash history.

4/5

Dan Eastwood

Battlecross announce UK invasion; supporting Killswitch Engage and Trivium

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Blue collar thrash soliders Battlecross have announced that they’ll be invading the UK in February, next year, with Miss May IKillswitch Engage and Trivium. The UK and Ireland invasion will start on 29th January in Dublin, before proceeding to the UK on 1st February. This will be the band’s first UK and Ireland outing and they’re pleased to be playing both countries. Guitarist Hiran Deraniyagala comments:

Battlecross is so stoked to hit the UK with Killswitch Engage, Trivium  & Miss May I as our first overseas tour ever and thank them for having us on this awesome tour! What an honor it is to share our first UK experience with these bands and we’re ready to thrash with you, our new friends!  Thank you all who have been waiting so patiently for Battlecross to come overseas, and we promise that it will be worth the wait!

Expect nothing less than swift hard kick in the arse from our live show and hope you like us enough to have us back very soon. Can’t wait to rage and have a pint or four with our UK fans! Until then, please hit up our website and send us a message with your email address so we can stay in touch and meet up before, during and after the show AND We’ll write you back! Please keep checking the Metal Blade UK page for updates and giveaways until then!!

Tour dates are as follow:

January 2014

29th         DUBLIN – The Academy
30th         BELFAST – The Limelight

February 2013

1st         MANCHESTER – Academy
2nd         LONDON – Brixton O2 Academy
3rd         NEWCASTLE – O2 Academy
4th         GLASGOW – O2 Academy
6th         BIRMINGHAM – O2 Academy
7th         SOUTHAMPTON – Guildhall

Battlecross triumphantly returned as one of the true champions of American Heavy Metal with their devastating release, War of Will. Co-produced at Audio Hammer Studios by famed producers Mark Lewis and Eyal Levi, the sophomore effort from Detroit’s newest soldiers of steel has proved to be one of the most impressive follow-up releases, destined to become a heavy metal classic for fans of all sub-genres.

Battlecross online:

http://www.battlecrossmetal.com
http://www.facebook.com/battlecrossmetal
http://twitter.com/battlecross
http://www.youtube.com/battlecrossmetal

Virulent Rapture available for limited edition pre-order

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 28th October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Virulent Rpature, the new long awaited album from unsung black metal legends Hecate Enthroned, is now available for pre-order but is limited to 100 hand numbered copies that will include an A3 poster and the Hecate Enthroned flag. Pre-orders can be made at this locationVirulent Rapture will be released on 25th November via Crank Music Group.

Virulent Rapture tracklisting:

Thrones Of Shadow
Unchained
Abyssal March
Plagued By Black Death
Euphoria
Virulent Rapture (feat. Sarah Jezebel Deva)
Life
To Wield The Hand Of Perdition
Of Witchery And The Blood Moon
Immateria
Paths Of Silence

Hecate Enthroned online:

http://facebook.com/HecateEnthroned

 

Valk-Fest line-up changes; Old Corpse Road replace Gone Til Winter as headliner

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 28th October 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Both Gone Til Winter and Shades of Avalon have withdrawn from this year’s Valkyrian Festival. Gone Til Winter withdrew from the festival and postponed their entire UK tour, which was to take place next month, due to ill-health whereas Shades of Avalon withdrew form the line-up due to their recent parting with their drummer. Glaswegian black metal suits Maelstrom have also withdrawn from the line-up due to work commitments.

Old Corpse Road will now replace Gone Til Winter as the headlining band on Saturday 30th November and Leeds metallers Bludger have replaced Maelstrom. This will also be Bludger‘s last UK show before they tour Europe’s holy land of metal: Finland. Tour dates can be found here. Newly formed metal band Bharghest will also be opening up the first night of Valkyrian Festival on Friday 29th November, making it their second show – their debut show will be at Shades Nightclub on Friday 22nd November, supporting Finnish death metal lords Re-Armed. And last but not least, Twilight’s Embrace have been confirmed as main support on the final night of Valkyrian Festival 2013, supporting the co-headliners Severed Heaven and Andraste.

There are still two slots spare on the second day of Valk-Fest. The bands to be booked for these two slots will be picked by public vote. The poll can be found at this location.

The bar will also be open throughout the festival but valid ID will be required for the purchase of alcohol. There will also be a raffle hosted on the second day to help raise funds. Prizes will include a limited edition Valk-Fest 2013 mug, items donated by Victory Records, Napalm Records and Meta

Valkyrian Festival will take place at Shades Nightclub in Bridlington from Friday 29th November through to Sunday 1st December. The festival is in aid of Rape Crisis and weekend tickets are available for £5 from this location.