Archive for February, 2015

Apocalyptica release new song and tracklist for ‘Shadowmaker’

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , on 14th February 2015 by izaforestspirit

Apocalyptica have released a lyric video for the second song from the upcoming album ‘Shadowmaker’. The track is entitled ‘Cold Blood’ and features Franky Perez on vocals. Check it out here:

The tracklist for the new album will be as follows:

1. “I-III-V-Seed of Chaos”
2. “Cold Blood”
3. “Shadowmaker”
4. “Slowburn”
5. “Reign of Fear” (bonus track)
6. “Hole in My Soul”
7. “House of Chains”
8. “Riot Lights”
9. “Come Back Down” (bonus track)
10. “Sea Song (You Waded Out)”
11. “Till Death Do Us Part”
12. “Dead Man’s Eyes”

‘Shadowmaker’ will be out April 21st 2015 through the band’s label with Eleven Seven Music imprint, Better Noise.

https://www.facebook.com/Apocalyptica?ref=ts&fref=ts
http://www.apocalyptica.com/en/

Amon Amarth w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 13th February 2015 by Pieni

Savage Messiah, Huntress, Amon Amarth
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
11th February 2015
Promoted by Prime Artits

 photo _DSC0496_zpsbooyzrby.jpg

Amon Amarth are very dear in my country, but it still positively surprised me that the show in Lisbon sold out a couple of weeks before the event. It didn’t sell out in Porto but it was close enough. And considering that both venues hold 1.000 people each, we’re talking about almost 2.000 metalheads “deceiving the gods” in this little corner of Europe. Not bad, huh?

 photo _DSC0110_zpsv9f8aanv.jpgEven though they could have pulled that off totally on their own, they obviously didn’t, bringing along two other bands. First one was Savage Messiah, who were playing in Porto for the first time. I don’t know how popular they were around here, but Portugal has a fair share of thrashers. And since Savage Messiah were formed in 2007 and last year were awarded as part of the Music Export Growth Scheme by the British Government, I’m pretty sure that many had at least heard of them. Still I didn’t notice the lyrics being sung along, hence my doubt. But I did listen to how loud they screamed their “Hey! Hey!” and how high they raised their fists, so if they didn’t know them before, they certainly do now, and in a very good way. Really a shame that they’ve played for such a short time – so short that photographers were rushed out of the photopit after just two songs instead of the usual three, as three would have literally meant half of the show. So it’s understandable that they’ve only played songs from their latest album, “The Fateful Dark”, even though they have two more in their baggage. The half-an-hour setlist included the opener “Iconocaust”, the “inspired by Satan” song “Hellblazer”, the title-track and “Minority Of One”, which was the last one. (5 / 5)

 photo _DSC0159_zpstgw2n5kp.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/SavageMessiahMetal

 photo _DSC0343_zpsblrxhhrr.jpgI wasn’t so stoked about Huntress and remained that way when the show was over. No, wait, I was stoked at the end BECAUSE it was over. At the time of their debut album, I wrote a review for another webzine and rated it 4/10. I’m looking at it right now and the first paragraph reads: « Huntress is a Californian heavy metal band highly overrated. Napalm Records took them in as “the undisputed newcomer of 2012” and I’m still wondering why. But then again, heavy metal always works on stage, and if you have a hot blonde with a very exposed cleavage screaming her lungs out, well, that surely calls a lot of attention. My question is – in the end of the show, do you remember any song? Did any solo, chorus or even a simple riff stick to your brain? Probably not. At least that’s what happened to me after listening to their debut “Spell Eater”. » What would you know? I was so right! Except for “I Want To Fuck You To Death”, that is, as the chorus is not just explicit but really catchy. But then again, as Jill Janus was so happy to inform, the song was co-written by Lemmy from Motörhead – so maybe the reason why it sounds distinctive.
Anyway, Jill was very energetic (as an aerobics instructor, as a friend would point out) but sadly her high pitch was far from steady. And the long screams were supported by the microphone effects. Then the guitar-hero poses of both guitarists were way too much for my personal taste. Mine and about a dozen friends who I’ve exchanged ideas with afterwards. But I guess we were a minority as the crowd gave a fiery response to Huntress (“We’re from California and we smoke a lot of weed”). So I can’t say that it was a bad concert, just that I didn’t like it.
Jill said “obrigada”, very pleased with herself by knowing the difference between “obrigada” and “obrigado” (it’s a gender thing – as a woman, she had to say the first, the latter is for men). She failed later, however, when she dedicated a song (“Zenith”, I think) to the girls, whom she called “muchachas”. That’s Spanish, Jill. But the crowd was hyped, and a crowdsurfing girl was praised by the singer: “that’s right, sister!”.
A new song, “Flesh”, was also introduced, and the set ended when “it was time to call the witches”“Eight Of Swords”. They left the stage with Jill saying “stay high”. Quite the advice… (3,5 / 5)

 photo _DSC0302_zpszn4xkvro.jpg

www.facebook.com/HuntressKills

 photo _DSC0497_zpsvsxejzdr.jpgWe always associate Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” to Indians and cowboys because of the music video. But if we look into the lyrics – “one man came across the sea…” – it could be any invader. So given the Vikings’ history, it was only suitable that this song served as intro for Amon Amarth.
Whatever I say about this show, it won’t do it any justice – regarding both the band and the crowd. It was the fifth time I was seeing these Swedes and I’ll make sure it wasn’t the last – they’re THAT kind of band. Right on the first song, “Father Of The Wolf”, I felt a boot on my head, as the crowdsurfers got into action practically in sync with the first riff.
It also didn’t take long for Johan Hegg to say good evening and welcome us to their party – in perfect Portuguese! Trust me, it’s not easy to catch our accent. That he took the time to practice meant a lot to everyone in that room. photo _DSC0458_zpsqxdwuax7.jpg
For one hour and a half, the frenzy only slowed down when Hegg introduced the songs, drank to us from his horn, and the few moments that followed “Victorious March”, marking the encore. Notice that I said “slowed down”, not “quieted”, because the crowd kept screaming and applauding, such was the frenzy. And even despite the heat, that spiked to sauna-levels.
The aforementioned encore started with the sound of thunder, the lights still dim. Then the band returned, with Hegg holding a Mjölnir in the air. Then he hammered the ground with it, Thor-like, before starting to sing “Twilight Of The Thunder God”. In the end he said it had been the last song, getting a desolated roar as response. To get one more, we had to scream our lungs out loud enough. I think it was the first time I saw a singer satisfied with our loudness on the first take. “Of course we have one more song for you!”, Hegg said, asking bassist Ted Lundström to take the lead. As expected, “The Pursuit Of Vikings” echoed, and in the last chorus, Hegg wasn’t as easily pleased with our vocal performance, pushing us further… and achieving his goal, of course.
The whole band had a smile of their faces when they left the stage, with Hegg claiming we were “fantastic” and promising to come back. The next day, they posted a thank-you little video, with the caption “Oporto should now be called Oparty”. For this kind of pun, I didn’t mind the stupid “O” that, for some reason, the English language added to the original name of my hometown. (5 / 5)

 photo _DSC0596_zpst4sardbl.jpg

www.facebook.com/OfficialAmonAmarth

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Details on new Unleashed album revealed

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 10th February 2015 by Pieni

Swedish death metalheads – and founders of Viking death metal – Unleashed have revealed details of their upcoming 12th studio album. “Dawn Of The Nine” is its title and the cover looks like this:

 photo unleashed_zpsyfcltxfv.jpg

Recorded by producer and guitar player Fredrik Folkare in his own Chrome Studios in Stockholm, Sweden, “Dawn Of The Nine” features ten tracks with “riffs that are pure shrapnel” and “epic choruses”:

1. A New Day Will Rise
2. They Came To Die
3. Defenders Of Midgard
4. Where Is Your God Now?
5. The Bolt Thrower
6. Let The Hammer Fly
7. Where Churches Once Burned
8. Land Of The Thousand Lakes
9. Dawn Of The Nine
10. Welcome The Son Of Thor!

“The artwork represents the continuation of our previous album, which ended with ‘The Great Battle of Odalheim’. The battle took place at Uppsala fields in Sweden, and you can clearly see the ‘kings graves’ at the cover art work which is present at Uppsala also in the future. You can also see the bombed out Church in the far distance.
Then of course, you see the place of Blot in the front and the rune stone with the runic symbol of courage of the new dawn”, comments frontman Johnny Hedlund.

Set for release on the 27th April via Nuclear Blast, pre-orders are now available in the following formats:

Limited White Vinyl from NB UK store: http://www.nuclearblaststore.co.uk/shop/nuclearblast/proddetail.php?prod=NBL_unleashed_dawnLP

Limited Black Vinyl from Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/gp/product/B00T63YHX8

Limited Digipack CD from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/gp/product/B00T63YBPM

unleashed.se 

facebook.com/unleashed

nuclearblast.de/unleashed

Code to release new album later this month

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 10th February 2015 by Pieni

Progressive post-rockers Code will release their 4th album on the 27th February in Europe and 10th March in North America, via Agonia Records. Recorded in the Brighton Electric Studios with producer Paul ‘Win’ Winstanley, the follow-up to “Augur Nox” is called “Mut” and presents itself with the following artwork and tracklist:

 photo mut_zpssjjkr8h4.jpg

1. on blinding larks
2. undertone
3. dialogue
4. affliction
5. contours
6. inland sea
7. cocoon
8. numb, an author
9. the bloom in the blast

“The new album really sees us free ourselves from any self imposed restriction for the first time and for us is the most honest and rewarding album we have released. Although this isn’t a metal album by any stretch of the imagination, it is the most confrontational move we could have made and we hope that it’s honesty and freshness will appeal to those who like sounds out of the norm”, says the band.

They have recently released a video for “Affliction”, which they claim to be “the most foreboding track on the album”:

Make your pre-order at: https://www.agoniarecords.com/index.php?pos=shop&lang=en

https://facebook.com/codeblackmetal

Vallenfyre w/ Foscor – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 9th February 2015 by Pieni

Foscor, Vallenfyre
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
7th February 2015
Promoter: Prime Artists

 photo _DSC0450_zpsovmmfsxf.jpg

Last autumn, Vallenfyre played a few shows across central Europe and England, in support of their second and most recent album “Splinters”. They left the Iberian Peninsula for the winter, in a total of eight shows in Spain and two in Portugal, under the suitable name “Splinters Over Iberia Tour”. The last one was in my hometown, Porto – courtesy of Prime Artists.

 photo foscor3_zpsrobyqpnh.jpgThey also decided to choose an Iberian band to support them and the lucky ones were Barcelona-based Foscor. Not that it was just luck – they actually deserve it. Formed in 1997 and having released four albums – the latest, “Those Horrors Wither”, last November, so it’s quite fresh – Foscor play a mix of black and death metal, with some melody in-between. Plus, singing in both growling and clean tones, in English and Catalan, the outcome is exquisitely good! And Foscor means “darkness” in Catalan, by the way.

They focused mostly on “Those Horrors Wither”, of course, but played a couple from the previous “Groans To The Guilty” and the title-track of their second album “The Smile Of The Sad Ones”. Singer/bass player Fiar addressed the audience often, in Spanish, which was totally fine since Spanish and Portuguese are very similar; but still he apologized for not being able to speak Portuguese. How nice of him! He did say “obrigado” (thank you), and then spoke in English when it was time to thank the crew and their Vallenfyre “brothers”.

Too bad there wasn’t that many people to welcome them, and the few who were present were a little cautious at first. Eventually the applauses became more vigorous and genuine, but still too far from what it should have been, given the quality of the show. (5/5)

 photo foscor2_zpsve7vkl97.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/foscor.official

 photo _DSC0393_zps8sfgisr1.jpgI’ve seen Paradise Lost almost as many times as they’ve played in Portugal (having only missed the first one), so I knew how expressive Gregor Mackintosh could be. Or I thought I knew. As much as I’d imagined he would have more liberty to move around without the guitar in his hands, I confess I’ve never expected THAT! The man is restless! And funny too! Among the quotes that made me laugh the most, there’s the one where he claimed to love God with all his semen running down His back; that he believed we were all born equal – except for their bass player Scoot; Obrigado! See? I can speak Portuguese. Took me twenty years to learn how to say ‘thank you’. Give me another twenty and I’ll learn how to say ‘please’.”; how the following song (“Bereft”) was a calm one so “there’s the bar. Go have a drink and come back in eight minutes”; how he asked some (supposedly) upper middle-class guy in the crowd for some borrowed money, adding right away that he was joking, as he had more money than any of us could possibly imagine, “that’s why I’m wearing these pants”; or how another guy could buy him a pint at the end of the show for knowing the name of their first single (“Desecration”) – something Mackintosh was certain no one knew. Oh, and how they would play a song about beef (“Cattle”). Having such humorous moments mixed with the abrasiveness of Vallenfyre’s death metal and the heavy sorrow of their doom was just priceless. Amazing performance in all fronts!

 photo _DSC0447_zpsrmckeydi.jpg

On a less-of-a-joke note, he said Porto was his favorite city in Europe; that he’d been here for gigs, on vacation… although he had a drinking problem (this because we have very good wine – not just our trademark Port – and beer). Now I don’t know if he really meant that – the favorite part – but it obviously put a smile on my face and brought out a roaring ovation from the crowd.

Despite promoting “Splinters”, as they only have one other full-length album (“A Fragile King”), the one-hour-and-a-half setlist was equally divided between the two, but starting and finishing with the opening and final tracks from “Splinters”“Scabs” and the title-track, respectively, the latter “a video you might have seen. It has demons.”

Everyone hoped for an encore, especially when the lights took so long to be turned on, but it didn’t happen – either because they hadn’t rehearsed any other song or because of the “Techno Lovers” night that was taking place at Hard Club afterwards. Anyway, no one can complain – the show was perfect as it was (except for the low number of people, that is, but at least we made it count). (5/5)

 photo _DSC0807_zpsednb1ulk.jpg

https://www.facebook.com/Vallenfyre

Text & photos: Renata “Pieni” Lino

Reign Of Fury – Death Be Thy Shepherd

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 8th February 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Reign Of Fury
Death Be Thy Shepherd
Release: 27th February 2015
Thrash metal
Self released

Reign Of Fury - Death Be Thy Shepherd

I love thrash! Always have, always will! However, the resurgence of its popularity in the last decade or so has seen an ocean of filler unleashed on the world. It was a disappointing end result to say the least: song writing was ditched by the wayside in favour of constant imitation of the genre’s founding bands, sometimes note for note. The whole scene seemed to have been hi-jacked by a strange breed of hipsters who sneered at any hint of originality, swamping the web with derogatory nonsense, should a thrash band stray from the path in any way.

I’m thankful to say that, on their second album, Death Be Thy Shepherd, Midlands mob Reign Of Fury continue to turn their backs and raise a firm middle-finger to such unfounded buffoonery. From the very first track, Faustian Mastery, you can almost smell the words ‘Don’t give a f***!’ wafting through the air. While ROF comfortably incorporate the essence of the original thrash movement, they deftly side-step the ‘re-thrash’ tag, indulging the influence of both its roots and its later development.

Snatches reminiscent of Megadeth’s Countdown To Extinction twist into Maiden like guitar harmonies. For those of you who stuck with Anthrax throughout their discography, this release will feel like a new home for your ears, although I’m also sensing the air of personal favourite and underrated Arizonans Flotsam & Jetsam sneaking into the axe work. There is plenty of diversity herein, the vocals even venturing into extremely well executed death metal vocals in Gates Of Sanity, which batters its way through an ultimately addictive chorus and musical flavours only found in the Testament cookbook.

It’s a unique musical personality for sure, but one that wears its influences with unashamed pride. If Jeff Waters, Nick Menza, Alex Skolnick, Peavy Wagner and John Bush stepped out of the past together to show the young uns how to write an album, it might not sound too different to this.

It must be a challenge to go against the grain when putting out music which is to any degree retro. As I mentioned to begin with, there will be a certain number of detractors if it isn’t a carbon copy of the original style. However, if you’re having as much fun and care as little about those opinions as this lot seem to, it doesn’t seem like something that would be a chore. Without losing track of their roots, Reign Of Fury have managed to seal the deal on a fresh sounding long player which is absolutely thrash, absolutely relevant, and an absolute neck-snapper! Top drawer stuff!

5/5

Paul Macmillan

Shadowquest – Armoured IV Pain

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 8th February 2015 by mickbirchy

Shadowquest
Armoured IV Pain
Power metal
Release date: 20th February 2015
Self-release

Shadowquest is the the new power metal band started by former Dionysus members Ronny Milianowicz & Kaspar Dahlqvist. The band also features Patrik Johansson (Bloodbound and Dawn Of Silence), Peter Huss (Sinergy & Issa), Jari Kainulainen (Stratovarius, Symfonia, Evergrey & Masterplan) & Ragnar Widerberg (Witherscape).  With all those names on your side you’d expect the album to sound great!  Well let’s take a look.

The album itself is a very strong release. “Armoured IV Pain”, carries a lot of great attributes that make for a power metal record such as: soaring vocals, great guitar work, atmospheric keyboard and much more goes into making this one enjoyable album.  Right from the opening track “Blood of the Pure”  I was injected with amazing use of lyrical imagery and a great sense of presence and tone.  Not a second of time is wasted on the record, and I don’t mean they just play and they allow time for the atmosphere to set in and for the listener to fully grasp the themes and concepts being presented.  At times this album feels like an old school Judas Priest or Dio album, it like they mixed all the best part of old and new metal and just blended them together.

Speaking of old school there is a really well handled cover of Judas Priest’s iconic classic “Freewheel Burning” but really they don’t change enough from the original to make it stand out on it’s own, and if you’re not going to cover a classic song in your own way way then why should I, the listener, care about your version? I might as well listen to Judas Priest.  That’s actually a major problem with this record, there may be great lyrical imagery, and cool guitar solos but it’s nothing I can’t get from someone else.  What separates them from the like of Sonata Arctica or Edguy or Firewind?  What can I get from Shadowquest that I can’t from other power metal bands?  The answer is very little.  In this genre you have to have your own independant voice otherwise you’ll lose out to the competition.

Overall, if you like power metal you’ll probably like this record just fine. Don’t get me wrong I had fun with the album but it’s quite easy to get bored with it.  It has some rather impressive moments but not enough in its execution for people who aren’t familiar with this music, or even the ones who are, to say “hey, this band sounds like nothing else”.  It’s great, well polished and very fun. I recommend it, but, with a disclaimer, if you’re expecting something brand new, you won’t find it here.  However, if you’re just looking for something else to throw in to your power metal play list then I say go check it out.

3/5

Mick Birchall