Archive for July, 2014

Capture The Crown unleash new track

Posted in News with tags , , , on 31st July 2014 by Nico Davidson

Aussie metalcore thugs Capture The Crown are set to release their new album Reign of Terror via Artery Recordings on 5th August. In celebration of the upcoming album’s release, the band have unleashed their new track Make Love, Not War online. The new song can be heard below:

Capture The Crown online:

http://facebook.com/capturethecrown

Nightwish unveil second album trailer titled The Lake

Posted in News with tags , , , on 31st July 2014 by Nico Davidson

Finnish titans of symphonic metal, who now feature Floor Jansen (ReVamp, MaYaN, ex-After Forever) as their vocalist, recently banded together to begin work on the bands next album, which will also be the band’s first studio album to feature Floor. The album is scheduled for a Spring 2015 release via Nuclear Blast. Nightwish recently posted the second trailer for the new album. The trailer can be viewed below:

Nightwish online:

http://facebook.com/nightwish

Göteborg Metal Fest – Gothenburg, Sweden

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 28th July 2014 by Pieni

Lost Seconds + Chasing Neverland + BatAAr + The End Of Grace
Valand, Gothenburg
25th July 2014

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Göteborg Metal Fest was this really cool event that took place last Friday. Well, cool in the sense of “awesome”, because the literal meaning, regarding temperature… dear Lord! As The End Of Grace-Kriss would later say, “it was like playing in a sauna”.

The original line-up included A Silent Escape and pointed BatAAr as the headliners. But about a week prior to the show, The End Of Grace were announced as the headliners and A Silent Escape’s name erased, just like that. No one gave an explanation for these changes and I didn’t ask for any either – I don’t know A Silent Escape well enough to be bummed by their cancellation, and as you probably know by now, TEoG is one of my favorite bands and so I was stoked to see them topping the bill. Even if just for “prestige” sake, as every band played exactly the same time (half an hour).

I got delayed and almost missed the first band, Lost Seconds (sorry guys). So I’m not very comfortable in saying that I wasn’t impressed with them, as I’ve only seen the two last songs. Especially because I was now listening to them on Spotify and they sound good enough (“Broken” and “Forgotten” particularly standing out). It just seemed they needed a little bit more of attitude – the passion’s there, they just have to let it flow outwards. (3,5 / 5)

Lost Seconds on Facebook

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Chasing Neverland, on the other hand, got on stage like they owned it. A solid discharge of anger, with a handful of fans backing it up loudly. Their debut album “Dissonance In Harmony” was released early this year, I think, and songs such as “Hollow Eyes” (for which there’s a video), “Two Birds One Stone” and “Treat Her Right” seem to be quite popular. The latter is barely one minute and a half long but in this show it lasted a lot more than that, the chorus being sung over and over again by the crowd – let’s face it, “treat her like a princess, fuck her like a porn star” has a catchy ring to it… (5 / 5)

Chasing Neverland on Facebook

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Last year, at Rockbitch Boat, I was advised to see BatAAr’s show. I ended up not following that advice and when I checked them out later on, I was really pissed at myself. So I was more than happy for this chance to make up for that mistake. Needless to say that both the music lover and the photographer in me were enthralled by their show – despite the aforementioned heat, the bad lights and the smoke machine. They’re playing Rockbitch Boat this year once again and this time I’ll make sure to watch it and bring you a detailed report. They have a new single/video out, “Riskbreaker”, but I invite you to take a look at all their YouTube channel and listen to everything that’s up on Spotify, so you can grasp the full talent and diversity of this band. (5 / 5)

BatAAr on Facebook

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Now, what’s there to say about The End Of Grace that I haven’t said before? Oh, wait, there is something – this was their best show! And the funny thing is that the heat affected the band’s computer and some of the backtracks simply didn’t play; that Thomas wasn’t playing on his drumkit and, according to him, “some things were missing” so he wasn’t totally satisfied with his performance at the end; that, again because of the heat, Kriss’ voice was somewhat broken near the end; that they skipped one chorus in “Metal Mulisha”… But a great show doesn’t need to be technically perfect – for that, you stay home and listen to the studio recordings. A great show is all about the band’s commitment to their music and the empathy they establish with the crowd. Who, by the way, was just as amazing – there’d been lots of headbanging and a small mosh pit in Chasing Neverland, and BatAAr had some devoted fans screaming along the lyrics, but The End Of Grace got the most vigorous circles and fists in the air. Kriss covered every inch of that stage, and during “Fist Face Bleed” (that BatAAr-Seb helped singing) Jimmy jumped into the front rows, playing his guitar side-by-side a fan in a TEoG t-shirt. And since they improvised well enough to make up for the little slips I pointed out, which also takes skill, I say it again without second thoughts – best TEoG show I’ve seen so far. (5 / 5)

The End Of Grace on Facebook

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Aonia – Sunchaser [EP]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 28th July 2014 by mickbirchy

Aonia
Sunchaser [EP]
Operatic metal
Self-released on 25th July 2014

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I’ll start with this, this is a good EP, the writing is solid, the band sounds tight and the overall tone is excellent.  For fans of the genre of symphonic/melodic metal this is well worth picking up.  This is not to say that it’s without flaw, but it’s pretty entertaining in it’s own right.  Aonia are a group from Worksop, England and have had some buzz on the under the radar scene for a bit, I have heard of them before but have not had the chance to listen to the until now.  With their new EP Sunchaser in towe, hopefully this will give them some sort of traction.

This EP is packed with good riffs, melodies harmonies and solos.  I was particularly impressed with the quality of the music straight off the bat with the title track Sunchaser, with an intense yet enchanting atmosphere that is kept although the EP, this tune is an excellent starter to become acquainted with Aonia.  The production overall is nice, a little rough around the edges but gives a generally good vibe.  The use of the synth and keys is also executed very well in terms of the music, Aonia, gets a thumbs up from me.

There is one part of the EP that I haven’t really talked about, the vocals.  Not that they’re bad, just a little underwhelming.  When I looked up the band before hearing this EP, I thought “two vocalists, I wonder how they use this in their music”.  The short answer is they don’t really use it to any sort of advantage, either both vocalists sound very similar and they using a layered vocal effect in production or they’re singing in unison because I couldn’t make out the two singer structure that is supposed to be here.  Also they aren’t very well produced and on some moments of this EP, the vocals get lost in the music and it’s hard hear them.  However, the singing is executed really well, I just feel it could have been a bit more dynamic and added  something a little more interesting to the already enjoyable.

Overall, this is a pretty decent EP.  Aonia really come out of the gates swinging with an interesting and atmospheric sound that I’m sure is translated well in to live performances.  I think with a bit of fine tuning to the production and maybe some tweaks to the vocals, they could be a name to look out for in the symphonic/melodic metal genre.

3/5

Mick Birchall

Interview with Tuomas Seppälä of Amberian Dawn

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 23rd July 2014 by mickbirchy

With Amberian Dawn’s new Release, Magic Forest, out now,  Mick talked with their keyboard/guitar player Tuomas Seppälä about the writing and production of Amberian Dawn’s music, as well as his musical taste. Capri stepped up to say a few words on the lyrical themes of the new album. This is how it went:

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Mick: Firstly, I’d like to say what a good job you have done with Magic Forest, I personally have been enjoying it. So this your third record in 3 years, having Circus Black (2012) and Re-Evolution (2013). Where do all these ideas for songs come from?
Tuomas: Before those albums, we also released End of Eden (2010), The Clouds of Northland Thunder (2009) and River of Tuoni (2008).  I don’t have any specific way to compose music.  Sometimes I just start to improvise with guitar or keyboard and sometimes I hear a tune or an idea inside my head. Usually,  I will make a demo of all songs in my home studio. At that point, I use computer to play/programme the drum and bass parts. The keyboards and guitars I’ll play live in the studio. For the vocals, the first ideas are played on guitar.  As for the solo slots, I either play a demo solo with the guitar/keyboard, or, I’ll just leave the solo parts as an instrumental background track and that’s how the chosen solo player (Emppu, Kimmo, me or some guesting solo player like Jens Johansson for example) has more freedom to work with his solo part.  On Magic Forest, Capri took part in making the final adjustments on the vocal lines, just like our co-producer Mikko P. Mustonen. So this was the first time when we had an actual “team” working on final vocal parts. Both Mikko & Capri helped me a lot with final vocal arrangements.

Mick: Listening to Magic Forest was my first experience of hearing Amberian Dawn. I was taken off guard with just how different your sound is to a lot of other bands within the same genre, this album just felt softer in tone and all the layers of the production felt smooth and easy to listen to. Whereas most band keep a gritty harsh guitar tone. Is this how you wanted this album, and your music as a whole, to sound? photo Tuomas-NET-2_zps2a1fd253.jpg
Tuomas: Our new sound didn’t happen by accident. We made a decision with our production team that we’ll try a new, more keyboard driven sound and also will give more room for the vocals too. Before, we had a more metal kind of tone on rhythm guitars. Our music has changed a lot after our debut album and it’s just not the songs alone, as much as compositions, arrangements etc. are made differently now.  We also have a different kind of singer which is one of the key elements of our bands new sound. The general sounding of an album is always a result of dozens minor factors and decisions that go into it.  It’s important that an album’s production has a strong producer(s), otherwise the ideas, hopes & dreams of different musicians might be very hard to put together.  It’s not just about compromising. It’s always better to have a producer who has a clear understanding of what sound needs to be achieved.

Mick: Typically speaking of the genre of symphonic metal and female fronted metal. I’m a big fan of the music that is produced and I’m seeing the genre grow all the time. With festivals like Metal Female Voices (in Belgium) and Dames of Darkness (in UK) just as examples. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this type of music?
Tuomas: No I haven’t.  Melodic metal is kind of ”marginal genre” nowadays, at least according to what I’ve seen/heard. Most of the new metal bands are death metal or black metal and most of the metal labels are signing bands just from that genre. Also most of the metal festivals are having either death & black metal or some nostalgic old bands. There’s less and less room for melodic metal bands nowadays in my opinion.

Mick: So, do you take the time to listen to any new bands coming up through the woodwork?
Tuomas: I don’t listen to music so much nowadays. Often I still have radio on when I’m driving my car.  Recently I’ve been having stuff like old Black Sabbath albums spinning in my CD-player. I also listen to Rammstein, although I don’t have any of their albums, Rammstein is often on air on Finnish radio stations (the ones which are playing metal & rock anyway).

Mick: Personally my favourite track off the new album is “Warning”, It just has so much energy and the lyrics are so well written. What is your favourite tune from this new record? photo Capri-NET1_zps4d2c4eac.jpg
Tuomas: Warning is one of my favourites too. When I was doing the first demos of that song at my home studio, the song sounded like videogame music when it was just the instrumental version.  It was funny.  I also find the opening track “Cherish The Memory” one of the best songs on the album. I still like them all naturally, otherwise I wouldn’t have included those all on album at all.
Capri: When I wrote Warning’s lyrics, the first version of text was much longer.  We needed to make those lyrics shorter otherwise the song would have lasted 20 minutes.  I find Green-Eyed most emotional to me.  The feeling that I have when I sing it is incredible.  I really loved the song right away when I heard it, the melody was perfect and I think I heard someone said “I’m sorry”. So it had to be the last line of the song.

Mick: Which tunes are most likely to hear from this new album live in concert?
Tuomas: I’m sure that the title track will be in there somewhere. Otherwise, we haven’t thought so much about our setlist for gigs yet.  Probably we’ll pick most of the songs from 2 of our previous albums, Magic Forest and Re-Evolution because we have already tested those with Capri on vocals.

Mick: I love all of the brilliantly composed melodies that went in to this record, Do you feel like mad scientists sometimes? Throwing all these wonderful sounds together and experimenting, or, is writing music to you more regimented?
Tuomas: Composing and playing music is very natural for me, since I started to play classical piano at the age of 4 and learned to read notes before I learned to read text.  I can’t imagine myself in a situation that I wouldn’t have music in my life at all.  Music is something that’s been in me since my childhood and I’ve grown up while playing and composing music.

Magic Forest is out now on Napalm Records.

Mick Birchall

Sonic Syndicate w/ Any Given Day – Düsseldorf, Germany

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 22nd July 2014 by Pieni

Any Given Day + Sonic Syndicate
Zakk, Düsseldorf
18th July 2014

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The first leg of The Diabolical Tour of Art isn’t really to promote Sonic Syndicate’s new album, as they’ve only played the two singles recently released (“Before You Finally Break” and “Black Hole Halo”). That promotion will happen in the fall; now they’re just celebrating their return to the stages, in the country they feel most welcome. Fine by me – as much as I want to hear the new songs live, a SoSy show is always a SoSy show, meaning it’s always worth it.

Gelsenkirchen act Any Given Day took care of the first 45 minutes of the night. Even though I hadn’t had the time to check them out properly – in fact, I just saw the video for “Home Is Where The Heart Is” – I’ve heard about them quite a lot from friends and it was kind of a shock to learn that their debut album is yet to be released! The date is set for the 5th of September, its title “My Longest Way Home”, and I’ll make sure I won’t miss that, as their gig was quite intense and they deserve more of my attention from now on. The stage wasn’t exactly big, and John Bengtsson’s drumkit was already set in the middle – Ralph Altmann playing on his own – and still the boys in Any Given Day were restless. Guitarists Dennis Ter Schmitten and Andy Posdziech escaped once or twice to the top of the amps, so I guess that if I have the chance someday of seeing them in a wider stage, the visual effect of their adrenaline discharge will have a bigger impact. But as far as the music itself goes, and how much they give themselves to it, that’s a thumbs-up all the way to the sky. And please don’t let the several live videos of “Diamonds” on YouTube make you believe that’s their best effort – they make a wonderful version of it, I had the chance to confirm that, but there’s a lot more to Any Given Day than a Rihanna metal cover. (5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/AnyxGivenxDay

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Just because they weren’t promoting the new album fully yet, as aforementioned, it doesn’t mean that Sonic Syndicate didn’t come up with something fresh. Kicking off with “Hellgate: Worcester”? Cooling down with “My Escape”? I think I froze for a few seconds when Nathan Biggs announced the latter. This was actually the song that made me surrender to them, six years ago, and as far as I know, it had only been played once, in some kind of special show in Stockholm back then. Don’t know if they’re playing it in all shows of The Diabolical Tour of Art now, but whatever the case, it was a delightful surprise.
A not so great surprise was learning that Karin Axelsson, referred to by Nathan as “our beautiful bass player”, had to step out of the tour due a strain in her wrist (krya på dig, söta Karin). But SoSy “never cancel tours” and so they found in Miche from their friends Degradead a top-class replacement.
Staying in the front row has the downside of not getting the best sound, but since I heard all vocals in Any Given Day, I guess someone screwed up something with SoSy’s sound – I could barely hear Robin Sjunnesson’s voice. Of course that had no absolute impact on the attitude of the band or response of the crowd, but this was my first time seeing them as a 4-piece and I wanted to know for sure if Robin was up to his new role as backup singer. So I focused just on his voice for a couple of songs – years of practice searching for the bass sound that so many bands seem to dismiss allows me to manage that – and yes, I’m happy to say that the current line-up excels.
Besides the choruses in all songs, key-verses like “don’t close your eyes” in “Flashback” or “… out of control” in “Denied” echoed like thunders inside Zakk. Too bad that this is just a metaphor, as we could have used the rain to wash away the sticky sweat – the venue felt like a sauna! Still no one seemed to care that much about melting away, finding yet the strength for the vocal competition (left side vs. right side of the crowd) in “Burn This City” and the wall of death (no musicians involved this time) in the beginning of the last song “Jack Of Diamonds”.
When I interviewed Robin four years ago, one of the questions was where would he like to record a live album and he replied Germany, as they had the most hardcore fans there. They all still feel that way and Nathan said so a few times, thanking them for their eternal support, for “still being here” after all this time the band’s been away. Not that it’s been THAT long, but we got used to see them around, playing and recording non-stop, and then all the drama one of the former members tried to suck them into… under these circumstances, three years seem like a lifetime. But I was sure this break would make them stronger, and both the new album and this show proved me right. (5 / 5)

www.facebook.com/SonicSyndicateBand

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Through The Cracks release first single

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 20th July 2014 by Pieni

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The talented songwriter Mr. Jimmy Bergman (THE END OF GRACE) and the beautiful voice of Ms. Tillie Grundel (former KARMIC LINK) put together THROUGH THE CRACKS, a project of rock music full of feeling. The first single, “Breathless”, was released digitally last Friday, on iTunes and Spotify.

Follow them on Facebook, where you can also see the lyrics for this beautiful song (click here) .
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In Solitude + Beastmilk + Obnoxious Youth to tour Europe in October

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 14th July 2014 by Pieni

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In Solitude will embark on a headlining European tour in October, for which they’re much enthusiastic about: » We’re very glad to announce this headlining tour, and we can’t wait to steer and spill death’s lights in Europe again. And in such splendid company. We’re sure this will be something particularly steep and special for all of us! «

Dates are as follows, with 5 dates in the UK and Ireland:

02/10/14 SE – Malmö – Babel
03/10/14 SE – Gothenburg – Truckstop Alaska
04/10/14 SE – Stockholm – Kägelbanan
05/10/14 DK – Copenhagen – Pumpehuset
06/10/14 DE – Hamburg – Hafenklang
07/10/14 PL – Wroclaw – Firlej
08/10/14 DE – Berlin – Cassiopeia
09/10/14 DE – Leipzig- Hellraiser
10/10/14 AT – Wien – Arena
11/10/14 FR – Colmar – Grillen
12/10/14 FR – Marseille – Portrail Coucou
13/10/14 FR – Nantes – Ferralieur
14/10/14 FR – Paris – Glazart
15/10/14 UK – London – Underworld
16/10/14 UK – Glasgow – Underworld
17/10/14 IE – Dublin – Voodoo Lounge
18/10/14 UK – Manchester – Sound Control
19/10/14 UK – Bristol – Exchange
20/10/14 DE – Köln – MTC
21/10/14 DE – München – Feierwerk
22/10/14 AT – Innsbruck – Weekender Club
23/10/14 DE – Trier – Exhaus
24/10/14 DE – Essen – Turock
25/10/14 BE – Antwerpen – Kavka
26/10/14 NL – Arnhem – Willemeen

Beastmilk and Obnoxious Youth will be the supporting acts, so we take the chance to share the former’s latest video, “The Wind Blows Through Their Skulls”:

www.facebook.com/insolitudeofficial

www.facebook.com/Beastmilk

www.facebook.com/obnoxiousyouth

Terror present new video for Shot Of Reality

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 14th July 2014 by Nico Davidson

LA’s hardcore heroes Terror have recently presented their new video for the song Shot Of Reality. The track is taken from their current album Live by the Code, which was released in April 2013 via Century Media Records. The video can be seen below.

 

Terror online:

http://terrorlahc.com/
http://facebook.com/terrorhardcore
http://twitter.com/terrorhardcore

Ensiferum announce plans to record sixth studio album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 10th July 2014 by Nico Davidson

Finland’s heroes of folk metal, Ensiferum will be returning to the studio later this year to record the sixth album in their ongoing saga. Whilst touring Europe recently, the band have been crafting new battle hymns for the sixth album which will be acting as their debut on Metal Blade Records.

Ensiferum plan to record the new album in September and October of this year with producer Anssi Kippo at Astia Studio in Finland. The release date is tentatively scheduled for early 2015. Bassist Sami Hinkka has offered the following update:

Hi folks! They say that time flies when you are having a good time and we couldn’t agree more. We have been quite busy touring around the world since our previous album came out few years ago. Between tours we have worked hard with new songs and now we are very proud to announce that Ensiferum will hit studio again right after summer festival season.

On the new album we will take everything to eleven, it’s going to be fast, furious, epic and full of surprises but of course there will be classic Ensiferum elements included.

We will do the album with the one and only Mr. Anssi Kippo. Pre-production is already going really well and in few weeks we will record another demo of all new songs. Then it’s time to continue twisting and turning all the details so that in early 2015 our fans on every continent can be sure to get in their hands the best folk metal album ever made. Stay tuned for more info!

Ensiferum online:

http://ensiferum.com
http://twitter.com/EnsiferumMetal
http://facebook.com/Ensiferum

Eluveitie post new song to YouTube titled The Call Of The Mountains

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 10th July 2014 by Nico Davidson

Switzerland’s pioneering folk metallers Eluveitie will be releasing their next album Origins next month – 4th August to be exact – via Nuclear Blast. In anticipation of the band’s sixth studio album, they have posted a new track online, which can be heard below.

Origins was recorded at the New Sound Studios in Switzerland with producer Tommy Vetterli (Kreator, Coroner)andfeatures artwork by the band’s frontman, Glanzmann.

The track list for Origins reads as follows:

01.  Origins
02.  The Nameless
03.  From Darkness
04.  Celtos
05.  Virunus
06.  Nothing
07.  The Call Of The Mountains
08.  Sucellos
09.  Inception
10.  Vianna
11.  The Silver Sister
12.  King
13.  The Day Of Strife
14.  Ogmios
15.  Carry The Torch
16.  Eternity

Eluveitie online:

http://eluveitie.ch
http://facebook.com/eluveitie
http://twitter.com/eluveitie
http://youtube.com/eluveitieofficial

Lumous Gothic Festival 2014

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 6th July 2014 by izaforestspirit

Lumous Gothic Festival 2014 @ Tampere, Finland

Two Witches, Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio, Leaether Strip
Klubi, Tampere
4-5th July

Lumous Gothic Festival is Finland’s largest goth event. It was established back in 2001 and has become an annual event held in central Tampere. The music on offer is strictly non-metal, ranging from goth rock, darkwave, industrial and EBM to neofolk. The actual festival is a four day event but the main shows take place on the Friday and Saturday.

Friday
The opening act was meant to be the Russian Harsh EBM band Steelgrout. Sadly they were unable to make it due to some problems with their Visas. Their replacement was the Jyväskylä-based Finnish EBM act Unzyme. Before their substitutes started, they actually played a message from Steelgrout to the audience in which the Russian band apologizes for not being able to make it. Unzyme describe their sound as “biomechanical pop” which is essentially synthpop with lab experiments as a their main theme. Their set was entertaining and it was a good start to the night. 3.5/5
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Next up was the Swedish goth rock band Malaise. I’m not a massive fan of goth rock, but these guys were better than I expected. They combined the classic goth rock sound of bands like The Sisters of Mercy and Fields of The Nephilim with EBM for a sound that is truly unique and memorable. I really enjoyed their set and this was my favourite performance of the night. 4/5
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The final act of the night was another Swedish band – Ordo Rosarius Equilibrio. Their sound is not an easy one to classify; it’s a mixture of dark ambient, neofolk and industrial. They are a returning act to Lumous having played their before back in 2002. Their music has this eerie, soundtrack feel to it and the pace is mostly slow. The problem I had with them is that they were playing dark ambient in the early hours of the morning, by which time my energy was running out. I was too exhausted to stick around until the end of their set. 3/5
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Saturday
The night started with a performance by the Latvian industrial band Autogen. Their style is a mixture of industrial noize and rhythmic/powernoize with an experimental flare akin to the likes of The Klinik. Some tracks were more danceable than others. They also had an interesting range of stage props ranging from fake blood, a fire extinguisher and a contraption that looked like a defibrillator. Their set was definitely entertaining as a result, but I wasn’t super keen on the music itself. 2/5
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Next up was the Finnish rock band Two Witches. Their lead singer Jyrki Witch is one of the organizers of the festival. I like their old songs but I’m not too familiar with their new work. Luckily they played a mixture of old and new material including “Zombie Walk” (from the latest album) along with some old classics such as “Vampire Empire” and “Burn The Witch”. They are one of the best and the most energetic goth rock bands that I’ve seen in a while. 4/5
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The night ended with a performance from the main band I came to see, the Danish harsh EBM duo Leaether Strip. I’ve seen them live last year and it was great to see them again. These guys really give it their all, playing all their hit tracks including “Evil Speaks”, “Strap Me Down” and “Don’t Tame Your Soul”. It didn’t take long before I joined in, dancing along with the rest of the audience. 5/5
Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

So there you have it. Another summer, another Lumous Festival. It’s always great to see that the goth and industrial scene in Finland is alive and well. I just wish that they would organize more events like this in the future.

Iza Raittila

Amberian Dawn – Magic Forest

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 6th July 2014 by mickbirchy

Amberian Dawn
Magic Forest
symphonic / melodic power metal
Released on 30th June 2014
Via Napalm Records

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I have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the newest album from the Finnish symphonic metallers Amberian Dawn.  I have to admit though, Magic Forest doesn’t play to the average conventions of what I have to expect from this type of band.  This marks the band’s sixth studio album and they have kept a consistent presence over the years – this is the third album in three years, adding to an already impressive back catalogue. However, how does this new album truly hold up?

The album is actually quite subtle in all the elements that comprise it;  everything feels really well composed and the production is tight, everything just blends together from the synth to the vocals. Each layer of the production is working in harmony making this album very pleasant to listen to. Capri’s vocal work is smooth and hauntingly beautiful, and matched with Tuomas Seppälä’s beautiful synth compositions – you can truly feel like you are transported to a magical and enthralling world.  Also the metal elements are quite nice too, the guitar riffs and guitar solos are heavy and grounded, giving this album a heavier darker side.

From opening to closing, the album is tightly packed with beautiful melodies, interesting and creative lyrics and an imaginative atmosphere that keeps your interest.  Songs like Warning, Memorial and the title track Magic Forest keep a great momentum flowing and are really fun to listen to.  I don’t really have any issues with this album, it’s everything it needs to be –  heavy, fun, upbeat, creative, full of imagination.  However it’s also dark, atmospheric and the lyrics are open to some very creative imagery.  If I were to have any problems with this album it would be in the production.  The “metal” elements are not as pronounced as I would like, they only come to life in the instrumental parts.  I feel the vocals just need that bit more of a backing; obviously in the slow songs this is inappropriate, but with the heavy songs I would have liked to hear more power in the guitars and bass giving the vocals that bit extra boost.

Overall, however, this is a very pleasant album to listen to.  I have enjoyed listening to this record.  Is it one of the best of 2014? No. But I still recommend you to pick this record up: it’s one of those albums you may not “get” right away, but it’s well written and quite beautiful.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Cognitive – Cognitive

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 4th July 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Cognitive
Cognitive
Released April 2014
Death metal
Released via Pathologically Explicit Recordings

Cognitive Cognitive

Ah, death metal! It’s been a bit since I reviewed something from your hallowed legions! We didn’t seem like the perfect match when we first met, but I was only a child then. In later years, while I still see your flaws, ours is a relationship to be cherished for all time. Well, mostly. When the collision between DM and pop rears its putrid, candy-coated visage, my finger starts twitching instantly, drawn inexorably towards the button labelled ‘rage quit’. It’s not a genre which was ever intended for conformity, and when it’s treated as such, it really gets my goat. And puts it in a Hot Topic shirt.

The first few seconds of Cognitive’s self-titled album momentarily fill me with the fear that this is just going to be another cookie-cutter, death-by-numbers botch job, but it doesn’t take them long to smash that preconception square in the face. There’s much referencing to the DM riff library of old, true, but it is done with such a casual flick of the wrist, that it translates as a successful exercise in tribute, and not a mere rip-off as is unfortunately common these days. They truly embody a confident and individual character in a genre that can, at times, be stale and lack the fangs and claws of the generation before.

From the shades of No Tolerance… era Man Must Die, to the hints of Spires smeared throughout, this is utterly compelling. There is always something to grab the attention, albeit it to throttle it violently before dumping it, sprawled on the deck, only to march onto the next willing victim. Broken up by the mid-point acoustic track Oceanic Erosion, which would sound equally at home on a folk record, the pasting begins anew with the epic introduction to Willingness Of The Weak, before returning to the bludgeoning death-thrash of Imbuing Of Wrath.

I’m falling for this album more with each consecutive listen. This is the sound of a band who are completely unafraid to push boundaries, which shunts them right to the top end of my list; heavy on the one hand, but with sensibilities of how to really write music on the other. The guitar solo in Regurgitated Existence is a particularly effective display of the potential for emotional beauty in extreme noise.

Shifting shape, texture and drive at various points, this album is well written, expertly performed and effectively arranged; a prime example of how it should be done! By rights, Cognitive could be standing shoulder to shoulder with some of the greats of death metal in the not too distant future. If you pine for the days when brutality relied on writing a riff rather than avoiding them at all costs, you are going to love this!!!

4/5

Paul Macmillan

Sonic Syndicate – Sonic Syndicate

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 3rd July 2014 by Pieni

 Sonic Syndicate
“Sonic Syndicate”
Modern metal
To be released on 7th July 2014
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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Being a die-hard fan of Sonic Syndicate, to say I was eager for this album is quite an understatement. But precisely due that “die-hardness”, I knew how this 4-year hiatus was necessary, after the new challenges the boys and girl had to face in their lives, both as musicians and human beings. Now if you ask “was the wait worth it?”, I’ll ask back “is that a trick question?!”.

Generally speaking, it’s heavier, brisker and more intense and daring than anything they’ve ever done. On detail: “Day Of The Dead” kicks off with a dark and ominous instrumental work that lasts 33 seconds before exploding into something massive – a pounding drum pattern, defiant guitar riffs that the bass line, as subtle as it is, still strengthens, the deep and angry vocals and the electronics popping up here and there, just for seasoning. The synths become more solid, although playing in the background, during the chorus, where there’s also more melody and the clean vocals kick in, aiming for (and scoring) catchiness.

In “Black Hole Halo”, on the other hand, the synths are very much alive, which doesn’t cut the heaviness down at all – not even in that break around minute 3:20, where for brief seconds you’ll feel like you’re in a rave.

“Long Road Home” is probably the most sharp-edged song here, followed by “It Takes Me”, in contrast to the ballad “Unbreakable”. Although “ballad” doesn’t quite cover it. Sure, it’s the most sweet-sounding track, but there are a few little outbursts of energy that don’t comply with your average definition of “ballad”.

Suiting its title, “My Revenge” is darkly menacing (even if Nathan Biggs sings that “this is not a threat”). Speaking of whom, I take the chance to highly praise his vocal skills, a wide range of pitches and styles that are finally revealed in full.

Still he called on Björn “Speed” Strid, from Soilwork, to help him singing in “Before You Finally Break” and the outcome is stunning, one voice completing the other. The song itself is already brilliant, that twist the chorus takes in its rhythm a true breath of fresh air within the modern metal/metalcore songwriting. Way to go, Mr. Robin Sjunnesson!

“Catching Fire” has a rock seduction to it and a quite classy guitar solo (yes, you read it well – a solo. It’s rare, but it does happen once in a while).

“See What I See” is straight-forward riot act with one of the most melodic choruses in the album. But “So Addicted” has one of the most enthralling, probably given the level of emotion the song pours out. And there’s something victorious about “The Flame That Changed The World”.

There’s also three bonus tracks that my promotional copy didn’t include, but given everything I’ve already told you about “Sonic Syndicate”, it’s safe to assume they meet the same quality standards of the rest of the track list.

For the talent I know they have, I was sure they wouldn’t let me down. But I can’t help smiling like a child on Christmas morning when I listen to this album and see that faith totally rewarded.

5 / 5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

Skid Row to tour the UK once again

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 1st July 2014 by Pieni

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Rock legends Skid Row will tour the UK again, after the successful visit last year, co-headlining with Ugly Kid Joe (read our report on the sold-out gig in London HERE). This time they’re single-headlining, but bring along The Last Vegas and Sister. Dates and locations as follows:

Fri 17 Oct – Bristol, Bierkeller
Sat 18 Oct – Cambridge, The Junction
Sun 19 Oct – Hull, The Well
Mon 20 Oct – Edinburgh, Liquid Room
Wed 22 Oct – Bournemouth, Old Fire Station
Thu 23 Oct – Stourbridge, River Rooms
Fri 24 Oct – Wakefield, Warehouse 23
Sat 25 Oct – Buckley, Tivoli
Sun 26 Oct – Nuneaton, Queens Hall
Tue 28 Oct – London, Underworld

Skid Row

Sister

The Last Vegas

Mutilated Veterans to release debut EP with Hells Headbangers Records

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 1st July 2014 by Pieni

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Mutilated Veterans will release their debut EP “Necro Crust Warhead” on the 5th August via Hells Headbangers Records. The Spanish act combines death metal with crust and brutalizes the mix with a D-beat topping. The tracks of their first recording ever are as follows:

1. March of the Mutilated (intro)
2. War Funeral
3. Blood Militia
4. A Tank Full of Corpses
5. Triumph of Torture
6. Carnage Warfare

www.hellsheadbangers.com
www.facebook.com/hellsheadbangers

Dark Fortress announce seventh studio album plus Euro tour dates

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 1st July 2014 by Nico Davidson

Dark Fortress frontman and lyricist Morean asks:

What happens to life on earth if the fragile laws of nature are altered even by a little bit? How can the human psyche deal with the perspective of inevitable extinction? How far can the human soul be stripped before its essence vanishes completely? Can we contain the implications of forced and radical evolution and the insanity it brings?

These questions are raised by the band’s seventh studio alum Venereal Dawn, which like most previous Dark Fortress albums will be a concept album, focusing on the themes of survival, betrayal and sacrifice in an extremely hostile environment. The tracklisting is as follows:

1. Venereal Dawn
2. Lloigor
3. Betrayal And Vengeance
4. Chrysalis
5. I Am The Jigsaw Of A Mad God
6. The Deep
7. Odem
8. Luciform
9. On Fever’s Wings

Venereal Dawn is scheduled for a release on the following dates:

Europe, Australia / NZ: 1st September 2014
USA, Canada: 2nd September 2014

To spill the coming vicious blackness that is Venereal Dawn, an album which has been three years in the making, Dark Fortress have also announced their unholy campaign across Europe with Secrets of the Moon and Schammasch in October. The dates of this unholy campaign across the European continent are as follow:

16.10.14 (DE) Munich – Feierwerk
17.10.14 (CH) Vevey – Rocking Chair
18.10.14 (DE) Trier – Exhaus
19.10.14 (FR) Paris – Point Ephemere
20.10.14 (UK) London – Underworld
21.10.14 (NL) Nijmegen – Doornroosje
22.10.14 (DE) Essen – Turock
23.10.14 (DE) Berlin – Magnet
24.10.14 (AT) Vienna – Viper Room
25.10.14 (CH) Winterthur –  Gaswerk
26.10.14 (DE) Nürnberg – Rockfabrik

Dark Fortress online:

http://www.darkfortress.org/
http://www.facebook.com/officialdarkfortress