Archive for June, 2015

Unleashed – Dawn Of The Nine

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 19th June 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Unleashed
Dawn Of The Nine
Death metal
Released 24th April 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

Unleashed - Dawn Of The Nine

Despite this being the 12th album from Swedes,Unleashed, it’s actually the first one I’ve stumbled across, so this is fresh territory for me. In the first few seconds of Dawn Of The Nine, I thought I was facing down a well-executed yet slightly predictable death metal release, which, to be honest, can be quite tricky to review fairly. Thankfully, I was wrong, and this actually a many-faceted affair, taking the listener on some unexpected – and sometimes very technical – twists and turns. The root of all evil herein really is traditional death metal, pasted with the remnants of early Massacre, Possessed, and even a hint of Entombed’s Clandestine or Left Hand Path. That’s not to say this isn’t a modern album, it just takes the meat from current extreme music trends without the fat.

Listening back through their back catalogue, something Unleashed seem to have been prepared to embrace from the very beginning is the texture that other metal sub-genres can bring to straight out death. They don’t shy away from a bit of bouncing doom, or a smidge of melo-death, and there are some excellent moments of epic, atmospheric blackness, merging into progressive death. The vocals are exemplary in their clarity, adding to the effect of the consistently memorable-yet-heavy chorus lines. It’s not all deathly derivations, though; there are times scattered throughout ‘Dawn…’ which seem to be more like transcribed classical movements than music originating from the metalsphere, and the technique familiar to both styles shines through with its sparing use.

For someone like myself, a newcomer to the Unleashed universe, this is a superb introduction, though I would strongly advise others to also dig into their older material. There is a wealth of enjoyment to be scoured from throughout this band’s career, and this latest opus is simply another cherry on the icing. In a perfect world, it would see them firmly planted on everyone’s radar alongside Bloodbath, but that doesn’t matter; this is a crushing artistic statement, crafted for connoisseurs of extreme metal, standing monolithic in its own right.

4.5/5

by Paul Macmillan

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New Iron Maiden album hitting worldwide stores in September

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 19th June 2015 by Pieni

“We approached this album in a different way to how we’ve recorded previously. A lot of the songs were actually written while we were there in the studio and we rehearsed and recorded them straight away while they were still fresh, and I think that immediacy really shows in the songs, they have almost a live feel to them, I think. I’m very proud of ‘The Book Of Souls’, we all are, and we can’t wait for our fans to hear it, and especially to take it out on the road next year!” is what Steve Harris has to say about “The Book Of Souls”, Iron Maiden‘s 16th studio album and first ever in double format, given its 92-minute running time. Recorded in Paris with producer Kevin “Caveman” Shirley in late 2014, the band had to delay its release to the 4th September 2015 due to Bruce Dickinson‘s illness (the singer was diagnosed with a tumour but is now totally recovered).

Bruce himself says: “We’re really excited about ‘The Book Of Souls’ and had a fantastic time creating it. We started working on the album in late summer 2014 and recorded it at Guillame Tell Studios in Paris, where we’d done the ‘Brave New World’ album back in 2000 so the studio holds special memories for all of us. We were delighted to discover the same magical vibe is still alive and very much kicking there! So we immediately felt at home and the ideas just started flowing. By the time we’d finished we all agreed that each track was such an integral part of the whole body of work that if it needed to be a double album, then double it’s going to be!”

 photo book of souls_zpsnbvadlki.jpg

Tracklist:
Disc 1
1. If Eternity Should Fail (8:28)
2. Speed Of Light (5:01)
3. The Great Unknown (6:37)
4. The Red And The Black (13:33)
5. When The River Runs Deep (5:52)
6. The Book Of Souls (10:27)

Disc 2
7. Death Or Glory (5:13)
8. Shadows Of The Valley (7:32)
9. Tears Of A Clown (4:59)
10. The Man Of Sorrows (6:28)
11. Empire Of The Clouds (18:01)

Formats:
2CD deluxe hardbound book limited edition
2CD standard edition
Triple heavyweight black vinyl
High res audio (24-bit Mastered for ITunes and non-Mastered for iTunes)
Standard res audio (16 bit/ 44.1 kHz)

More information on the band’s usual places:

https://www.ironmaiden.com/

https://www.facebook.com/ironmaiden

https://twitter.com/ironmaiden

The End Of Grace recruits Andreas Hagman as their new drummer

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 15th June 2015 by Pieni

It’s been announced today that Andreas Hagman is the new drummer in THE END OF GRACE, after Thomas Manell‘s departure in April. Andreas, who’s recently joined THROUGH THE CRACKS as a temporary replacement for Daniel Holmgren (currently studying in the USA), has found a permanent place among the metalcore band from Gothenburg.

The band has shared one of the tryout songs that convinced them Andreas was the right man for the job:

TEoG are working on their upcoming new release, which should be a 5-track EP. Now that the line-up is complete again, the process should be faster.

www.facebook.com/TheEndOfGrace

Quinphonic Festival Announces 2016 Line-Up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 14th June 2015 by mickbirchy

After the success of this year’s festival, the world’s premier Quintuple header festival returns. ‘The Quinphonic Festival 2’ will feature five outstanding international symphonic / melodic / power / prog metal bands all, playing full one-hour sets. We happily announce the bands that are performing next year:

The enigmatic Evenoire from Italy

http://www.evenoire.it/

https://www.facebook.com/evenoire

 

The wondrous Wildpath from France

http://www.wildpath-music.com/

http://www.facebook.com/Wildpath.metal.band

 

The lavish La Ventura from the Netherlands

http://la-ventura.com/

http://www.facebook.com/LaVenturaNL

 

The hypnotic Hydra from Germany

http://www.hydraofficial.com/

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialHydra

 

The dynamic Dakesis from England

http://www.dakesis.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Dakesis

The day of metal goodness will take place at The Roadhouse in Birmingham, UK on Bank Holiday Sunday, 27th March 2016 from 3pm till 11pm.

Information regarding ticket sales will follow in due course.

Helloween – My God Given Right

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 14th June 2015 by mickbirchy

Helloween
My God Given Right
Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Released 29th May 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

Returning once again with their 15th studio record, Helloween go back to their roots of making just pure heavy metal music. It also marks the first time the band have released five consecutive studio albums with the same line-up, with Andi Deris on vocals, Michael Weikath & Sascha Gerstner on guitars, Markus Grosskopf on bass guitar and Dani Löble on the drums.  Also, with Charlie Bauerfeind producing this, it is sure to be a great record from them, as Charlie has produced some of my favourite Helloween records. Including the highly praised “Gambling with the Devil”.

The album opens strong with hard hitting, power metal songs like ‘Heroes’ and the title track ‘My God Given Right’.  Almost automatically you feel that punch. The standard power metal type sounds with Andi’s vocals just soaring above the production. The guitars sound great and the bass lines play nicely at the bottom of the tracks. Helloween have such a commanding presence to them and it shows in this album, with powerful choruses that have a sense of presence to them.  I have a feeling that the band just wanted to stick to the simple concept of making good old fashioned headbanging tunes and cut out any signs of pretense. So Helloween at their strongest then.  In my opinion it’s worked, as I feel this is one of their best albums in a while.

In saying that, though, I do have some niggling problems with this album.  Whilst the production is strong and the songs are well written, some of the songs on the latter half of the album are a little bland and have no real bite to them.  As a result I found myself skipping them upon repeated listens.  Also there is a feeling that maybe they’re trying too hard to recapture their sound from the 80’s, with the tone of “it worked back then, it’ll work now”. Nothing wrong in writing in a similar style but it feels like pandering to the “retro” crowd and if there’s anything I hate is music talking down to me.  I don’t know, the album comes off as formulaic, like if they stick to a certain pattern of writing it will sell. So it doesn’t feel 100% natural. Yet, I don’t think any of this was intentional, it’s just how it comes across.

Despite my problems, which you may not even have,  I still enjoy the album.  It has a lot of strong hooks and catchy melodies  The guitar solos are fun to listen to, and air guitar to. There are certainly the standout moments of the record: ‘Living On The Edge’ feels quite epic and ‘Lost In America’ has that radio friendly feel that I think would go down well with live crowds.  ‘If God Loves Rock ‘n’ Roll’ is quite fun too.  Also, nothing is getting me more pumped lately than the album’s opener ‘Heroes’. So it is fair to say that this album has definitely caught my ears in the right way.

Is this another classic from Helloween? Have the rekindled their spark from the early days? Well… Yes and no. Whilst the album is soaked in nostalgic tones and the songs are fun.  I mean if you’re a fan of old school Helloween, then I say yes, go and buy this album, and more than likely you already have. Yet, the average person who’s only familiar with the band in passing, may find that it will rub them the wrong way, with the formulaic sound and pandering tone.  So, my final verdict. I like it. It’s fun and it’s good to hear another Helloween album. My problems with it don’t bother me so much that it ruins the listening experience. I would say it’s worth at least a listen. If you like what you hear from the tracks I suggested then I say go buy it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Melechesh – Enki

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 9th June 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Melechesh
Enki
Sumerian thrashing black metal
Released 27th February 2015
Via Nuclear Blast records

Melechesh - Enki

I may be a little slow to the party in writing up Melechesh’s sixth album Enki, which is slightly odd as I’ve already listened to it enough times since its release to batter this article together with my eyes shut. I’ve always loved the concept of this band; their story, their musical approach, and I have a slight fascination with the mythology from which they draw much of their inspiration. Be warned, this might be a slightly pre-decided outcome.

Although they term themselves as ‘Sumerian thrashing black metal’, there is a significant debate to be had as to whether they are actually equally death metal in approach. True, the Middle Eastern scale and key choices which seep organically into their sound lend an eerie, occult edge, but that does not preclude itself from DM. In the earliest of their works this is far less obvious, but it has always been there, nestling in behind elements of Assyrian folk music, and growing in prevalence over the years.

That said, this is, in song-writing terms at least, the same Melechesh who created Emissaries and The Epigenesis, but with a more titanic production. Despite black metal’s tendencies towards lower quality, or grittier, audio engineering, it really does it no end of favours when the sound quality is this high, especially in regard to the semi-indefinable heaviness of a band. The impact of every note, every scream, and every blast beat ring out, clear as a battle cry, swamping the listener in atmosphere.

Usually, I prefer to throw in a mountain of comparisons to other bands when reviewing, but that’s a little more difficult with Melechesch, as they more or less spawned an entire new genre unto themselves. However, there is a certain essence of the epic embodied on Enki, which extreme metal fans more familiar with bigger names may feel reminds them, ever so slightly, of early Strapping Young Lad. The most obvious similarity would be to Swedes, Marduk, but it seems that, at present, Melechesh are triumphantly stepping out into a league all of their own.

If you haven’t heard this yet, add it to your ‘to do’ list; there is practically no chance of disappointment. A beautifully crafted slab of brutal gold.

5/5

by Paul Macmillan

Children of Bodom reveal artwork and tracklist for ‘I Worship Chaos’

Posted in Metal, News, Studio Report on 8th June 2015 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom have just announced that their new album, the follow-up to ‘Halo of Blood’ will be entitled ‘I Worship Chaos’. The cover artwork has been designed by the Finnish artist Tuomas Korpi. You can check it out here:

Here’s a quick studio update from the band’s frontman Alexi Laiho:

We are close to putting the finishing touches on the new COB record I Worship Chaos and as much fun (but most importantly raw, literally bloody knuckled hard work) it has been making it, I’m more than happy and even more anxious to share this chaos with the rest of the world. So people, put your shades and helmets on, it will get very dark and it might hurt, in a perfect COB fashion of course!”

The tracklisting will be as follows:

01. iHurt
02. My Bodom (I Am The Only One)
03. Morrigan
04. Horns
05. Prayer For The Afflicted
06. I Worship Chaos
07. Hold Your Tongue
08. Suicide Bomber
09. All for Nothing
10. Widdershins

The album will also be available as deluxe edition with some bonus tracks.

‘I Worship Chaos’ is expected to hit the shops worldwide on 2nd October 2015 via Nuclear Blast.

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom