Archive for July, 2014

Capture The Crown unleash new track

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

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Nightwish unveil second album trailer titled The Lake

Posted in News with tags , , , on 31st July 2014 by Nico Solheim-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 CD, Metal 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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