Archive for July, 2015

Horna – Hengen Tulet

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 31st July 2015 by izaforestspirit

Horna
Hengen Tulet
Released 22nd September 2015
Black Metal
Released via W.T.C.Productions

‘Hengen Tulet’ (Finnish for “Spirit Fires”), is the new album from the Finnish black metal band Horna. It is the follow up to ‘Askel lähempänä Saatanaa’ which was released in 2013. It’s a while since I’ve listened to Horna, the last time was when I saw them live at Tuska festival in 2012…

Those who are familiar with Horna’s history will know that the band has gone through numerous line-up changes over the years and Spellgoth is their third singer having replaced Corvus in 2009. Apart from that not much has changed; for example, most of their lyrics are in their native Finnish and they still play raw black metal. The first track Amadriada blasts its way through the speakers offering an angry barrage of guitar riffs and relentless pummeling drums along with singer Spellgoth’s guttural shouts which are well suited to the music.

The next track that caught my attention is Puhdas due to the atmospheric “church organ” -style keyboard intro which gives way to more aggressive drumming, raw guitars complete with Spellgoth’s ghastly vocals creeping through the background. By contrast to this, we have Sodan Roihu, which sounds almost catchy at times as a result of the “rocking” guitar riffs which make you want to start headbanging along to the tune. Then it’s back to good old raw and eerie black metal for the remainder of the album.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed this album. It’s just good old, raw black metal. It shows that Horna have stayed true to their roots. They aren’t really doing anything new here so if you’re a fan of their music then you will know what to expect. For those who are new to the band, this album serves as a good introduction.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Laurus Nobilis Música Famalicão 2015 – metal day

Posted in Festival, Gig with tags , , , , , , , , , on 28th July 2015 by Pieni

Mão Morta, R.A.M.P., More Than A Thousand, Éden
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
24th July 2015

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Laurus Nobilis is a new 3-day festival in the north of Portugal. Each day is dedicated to a different genre of music – in fact, the alternative name of the fest is “Festa da Música” (Music Party) – the first being “heavy metal”, so off I went last Friday.

“Heavy Metal” in its general meaning, that is, as none of the four bands had such a traditional sound.

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The first band, Éden, was supposed to get on stage at 19:30 but the show was delayed for about an hour. It wasn’t the band’s fault, not even the promoter’s. It’s just that it was a week-day, and despite being summer, a lot of people are still at work. Even at 20:30 there was only a fraction of the big crowd that would later pack nicely the area in front of the stage.

Éden is local band that’s been around for 20 years – although I confess it was the first time I’ve heard of them. Metal sung in Portuguese, with an alternative vibe and a very expressive singer. Despite the long career, it seems they only have two albums out – “Kaos” (1999) and “Ciclo Fechado” (2012) – but they’ve always been active, either playing live or working in other musical projects, so there wasn’t any hint of rustiness in their  photo _DSC0540_zpsqecnubjo.jpgperformance. Some people in the audience engaged in their sound right away but others – especially the kids who were already at the front row waiting for More Than A Thousand – were a little harder to convince. But in the song “Voa” (which means “fly”), frontman AguiarS smiled and said “you’re not flying… but we are!”. And that was amusing enough to make the more skeptical let themselves go to Éden’s sound.
For the last song, AguiarS left the stage while a couch was placed in front of the drumkit. He’d soon return wearing a white tunic and holding a staff, which automatically made me think of St. Peter. But since they have a song named “S.º Sinfrónio”, I believe that was the song that closed the gig.

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Then More Than A Thousand stormed the stage with “Feed The Caskets”. Like I’ve said before, they had a legion of fans eager to see them – including me. MTAT announced early this month that they’re going into a hiatus, one with no foreseen expiration date, so I tip my hat to Laurus Nobilis promoters for recognizing the band’s talent (trust me – that’s not always the case around here, in their own home country) and giving them one more chance to say goodbye to their fans – some of them who were seeing MTAT for the first time and whom singer Vasco Ramos “welcomed to the family”.  photo _DSC0091 copy_zpspnkefaho.jpgI’ve seen MTAT a couple of times before (a lot less than I’d like to, sadly) and the interaction between the band and the crowd feels indeed as if you’re among good friends. Vasco keeps the spirits up constantly, asking for screams, jumps, fists in the air and mosh pits, and the other members, even without a microphone, encourage the crowd just the same by clapping their hands or simply with their lively posture. So what if Vasco went out of tune once or twice? Their music is top-notch metalcore and the way they give themselves to it is a match. I was just hoping for a somewhat longer gig, but that understandable delay messed with every band’s schedule (except for the headliners, that is). Still we heard a fair share of their mandatory songs, the last being the usual “No Bad Blood”.

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I’m not sure how famous R.A.M.P. are outside of Portugal, but here they’re close to legends – after all, they were the first metal band to enter the Portuguese music charts, back in 1998. And more than 25 years after their formation, and despite their latest album (“Visions”) being six years old already, they still stir crowds – because they’re one of those bands that always deliver a tremendous show, new material or not.
Also, they’re proof that metal can be as aggressive as amusing – that flood of heavy riffs and sharp beats always hand-in-hand with funny faces and teasing one another (bass player Sales, being the youngest and the shortest, is their favorite target…). Let’s not forget singer Rui Duarte’s remarks. I believe my favorite from this show was when there was a little misunderstanding  photo ricardo_zpszmwjojjh.jpgregarding the next song to play. As I’ve said before, the schedules suffered some changes and it seems that Rui thought they’d be playing even less than they actually would. So he started introducing the ballad “Alone”, which he always dedicates to his mother, but drummer Paulinho called him, telling him there was still one song before that. “Okay, so this one is not for my mother, is for an ex-girlfriend”, was how he amended the introduction to “Clear”.
There were a lot of classics missing from this setlist, but since their last tour was a best-of one, to celebrate their 25th anniversary, it was refreshing listening to songs that I hadn’t heard live in a while. And by the crowd’s response, they were happy too.

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I’m pretty sure that headliners Mão Morta (dead hand) are unknown to non-Portuguese natives. Here, they are huge. They’re considered avant-garde/death rock, but personally, I think they’re too unique to fit any label. The songwriting is dark, in a creepy kind of way, and then the lyrics address capitalism and politics in general, as well as human rights and basic instincts – sung in Portuguese, in Adolfo Luxúria Canibal’s overly-deep voice, it was almost impossible not being a success around here.
 photo _DSC0690 copy_zpssmo5njlv.jpgWith 16 albums out – the latest, “Pelo Meu Relógio São Horas De Matar” (according to my watch it’s time to kill), released last year – the band delighted the audience with recent tracks just as “Os Ossos De Marcelo Caetano” (Marcelo Caetano’s bones) and “Pássaros A Esvoaçar” (birds flying), and old ones like “Tu Disseste” (you said) or “Anarquista Duval” (Duval the anarchist). It’s not exactly my cup of tea, but one look at all those people swaying to that sound and it was clear that the headlining role had been deserved.

I wasn’t at the other days of the festival, but this first one was convincing enough – a great place, with very welcoming people, diverse food spots and, of course, some of the finest names in our musical scene. See you next year!

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Gallery in our Facebook page here.

Blasphmachine – Salvation (demo)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 26th July 2015 by izaforestspirit

Blasphmachine
Slavation (demo)
Released 10th August 2015
Death Metal/ Black Metal
Released via Dunkelheit Produktionen

‘Salvation’ is the latest demo from the Malaysian death metal band Blasphmachine. Like all their previous releases, it is strictly limited to 300 copies of the CD version, fifty hand numbered cassettes and digital downloads.

Temple of Desolation starts off with a deceptively slow ambient intro before the guitars and drums blast their way through. The pace of the music and the guttural growls makes me think of Cannibal Corpse, however Blasphmachine’s signature sound has that raw brutality which is a rarity in death metal these days.

Whilst most of the tracks on here tend to be rather short and fast, Commandments caught my attention due to the variations in both pace and the vocal style. Unlike its predecessors, this song is a bit slower at times and the guttural vocals have been replaced by rasping snarls akin that of early Morbid Angel. The same death metal style is present in ‘Leviathan’, only this time the drums sound even more aggressive and brutal. Last but not least is the most primitive and ferocious track on here, a cover of Black Witchery’s ‘Into Damnation Eternal‘ which comes complete with ultra-fast blast beat drums and raw guitar riffs.

In summary this is a decent-sounding death metal demo. I need to emphasize the term “demo” here, because the production quality is not the greatest. Whilst I appreciate the raw brutality of the music, there were times when I actually struggled to hear the guitars amidst the incessant barrage of pummeling drums and growling.

3/5
Iza Raittila

Hills Have Eyes launch new video

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 26th July 2015 by Pieni

In anticipation to their third full-length “Antebellum”, Portuguese metalcore act Hills Have Eyes have just released a video for the song “The Bringer Of Rain”. The track is already known to some of the fans, as the band’s been playing it live for some time now, and it’s now available for purchase on iTunes (click here).

Regarding the upcoming album, which was financed by a crowdfunding campaign, HHE say:

“A brand new chapter is coming for Hills Have Eyes.

After a couple of years, we’re back with a new record that will be released in September. A record without the support of any radio or media, in a country where our music style is often ignored & forgotten – even if several times these bands have a lot more followers than the hipster bands that are cool to support and to be related with. But no worries, ’cause we got the most important support of all: YOU that listen to our music; YOU that come to our shows; YOU that buy our merch and YOU that keep pushing us forward. On the 26th July the first single for ‘Antebellum’, ‘The Bringer of Rain’, will be online and it’s all because of you. THANK YOU.”

And here it is:

www.facebook.com/hillshaveeyes/

Lifer – Black Mountain Rising

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 25th July 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Lifer
Black Mountain Rising
Released September 5th 2015
Metal
Released via House Of Doom Records

Lifer - Black Mountain Rising

Well, some of us have been waiting quite a while for the follow up to Lifer’s 2011 debut full-length, Cursing Them Out, and the Welsh lads have answered that call with a flaming uppercut straight out of Streetfighter. If you hadn’t heard of them before, their name, shared with that of a track by a certain New Orleans super-group, could well have you expecting riffed-up, heavy blues metal. And you’d be absolutely right!

There’s definitely more than a hint of NOLA involved here, with pummelling, addictive riffs, Sabbath worship, and wah-wah solos pouring out of every sweaty gland. Black Mountain Rising, however, has the added character of a rock and roll vibe, possibly hinted at in the title’s similarity to a line in Clutch’s The Swollen Goat. As is often the case with UK metal bands, though, Lifer churn out at slightly grittier, dirtier sound than their predecessors.

Where this release differs most from Cursing… is the way in which the above mentioned R’N’R’ has replaced much of the original hard-core element of their sound. That really is just another way of infusing a bit of punk ethic to the massive, overarching metal components. Naturally, this second opus enjoys a bigger production, making it easier for the hard edge of their non-metal influences to come through, so nothing is lost in terms aggression at all.

Hugely enjoyable, and stacked with groove and attitude, this is set to be yet another icon of UK sludge oriented music in 2015. Stood next to Diesel King’s Concrete Burial, there’s currently some formidable output in that particular corner of the metal scene. To think it started off looking like the year of British thrash. Maybe it can be both. One thing’s for sure; Lifer have unleashed a beast in Black Mountain Rising. If you like to party loud and heavy, you need this in your life!

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Mindshift – Horizon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 23rd July 2015 by Pieni

Mindshift
“Horizon”
Melodic death metal
Self-released on 15th May 2015

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If I got this right, “Horizon” is Mindshift’s third album. You’ll only find this and the previous one, “Evilution, In Time” on Spotify, but there’s reference to a certain “No Regrets”, from 2012. Not that it really matters, as I won’t make any comparisons; “Horizon” has a merit of its own, without the need of saying if it’s better, worse, or simply different from what Mindshift has done so far.

There’s melodic death metal all around the world, but we know damn well that the one that comes from Sweden has a certain… “something”. When you hear songs such as “Arise” or “Drowning”, when you hear that dynamic-heaviness-meets-sad-melody, you know exactly what I mean.

The title-track, on the other hand, has a more upbeat vibrancy embedded on an even stronger composition. It’s pretty understandable why the album was named after this one, and why there’s also a promotional video for it, although there are a lot of treats in “Horizon”. Like the menacing “Eye For An Eye”, the hints of prog halfway through “Suffer In Silence”, the groove and gloominess of “A Thousand Scars”, or the acoustic intro in “Reflections”, that yet isn’t as sentimental as the electric solo later on. And then you have Soilwork’s Björn “Speed” Strid adding an extra vocal power to the straightforward “My Revenge”, although, in that same right-on line of sound, I admit I prefer “Decay”.

These 13 songs (plus the intro “Origin” and the spoken interlude “Light”) embody a rich songwriting, full of details prone to become earworms. The old-school and the modern melodeath walk naturally hand-in-hand here, resulting in a very complete album within the genre. Complete and remarkable.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 19th July 2015 by mickbirchy

Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody
Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus
Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Released: 22 June 2015
via Nuclear Blast Records

Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus is the second studio album by Italian symphonic power metal band Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody. It is the first album with Alex Landenburg on drums, following Alex Holzwarth’s departure shortly after the recording of the previous album Ascending to Infinity (2012).

The album opens on the intensely atmospheric and interesting intro track, “Nova Genesis (Ad Splendorem Angeli Triumphantis)”, it’s one of those intros that lets you know you’re in for something truly special.  The mix of electronic and classical music really is inviting and I was interested to hear where the album was going to go from there. From there into “Il Cigno Nero” which plays out as a typical symphonic metal track. Turilli’s compositions are gorgeous and the arrangements work beautifully.  The piano parts are lovely and the ever so slight power metal touch to this song is nicely executed. Also, Turilli’s guitar skill is amazing, he just packs so much content into every track. I feel that the lead in the single was quite well chosen, the song “Rosenkreuz (The Rose And The Cross)” has a very nice melody and feels big.  In fact, the whole album feels immense and impressive.  Just the sheer size, scope and ambition to this album feels really impressive.

This is an album that rewards repeated listens.  Everytime I go back to it, there just feels like there was something I missed. There is just so much going on in the background.  Nearly every time I’ve come back to it, it feels like a different record.  Similar to movies, I enjoy music that challenges the audience and gives them something worth coming back to, time and time again. It’s always something small, like the background choir or some subtle synth but it’s just rewarding to listen to at the end of the day.  One song I’ve particularly experienced this with is “Il Tempo Degli Dei”. This song so good and every time feels different, depending on what I’m doing or how I’m listening to it. It just has a lot of interesting moments, the structure is solid and hits every point I want it to, when I feel the song needs to hit it.  It’s very hard to describe in words, this is an album needs to be experienced in full.

I can’t think of any real downside to the album, other than nothing is really that catchy, there are no songs that get stuck in your head.  Then again I don’t think it’s really meant to.  It’s meant to be a musical journey through Turilli’s imagination.  It was reported that it took seven months of composition, three months of production, over 50 days of mixing, working with two choirs and several special guests and let me tell you it really shows. I absolutely adore it.  It sounds and feels huge.

This is really a fantastic piece of work, I can’t stress that enough. All  really have is praise for it.  This isn’t just an album.  It’s art that needs to be listened to in full.  So scratch 70 minutes out of your day, get a drink, put your feet up and enjoy.  Take my word for it, you will not regret it. My third 5/5 this year!

5/5

Mick Birchall

Blackened Ritual – Blackened Ritual

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 19th July 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Blackened Ritual
“Blackened Ritual”
Released July 16th 2015
Thrash/metal
Self-released

 Blackened Ritual - Blackened Ritual

It might just be because this a local band who I have watched build up from their very beginnings, but by Cthulhu this album has been an incredibly long time coming! Having just won the Scottish Metal To The Masses, there’s some pressure on Blackened Ritual for this to be solid gold, too. Cool cover? Check! Sound production above ‘demo level’? Check! Riffs? Oh yes indeed!

If you were ever stuck wishing that Lamb Of God would just go back to their early aggressiveness, this could be just the ticket. Added to this, the Testament-infused thrash ethic of the group, combined with the ever pervading southern US bounce that sticks to many Scottish bands, and choruses to die for, delivers something which, while not genre-destroying, is definitely unique enough to be undeniably Blackened Ritual, and Blackened Ritual alone. In years to come, other bands may well be imitating them.

Remembering these guys from the extensive period during which they struggled to find a vocalist, it’s fantastic to see that, not only have they sourced an absolute gem in front-man Tom Simpson, but the musicians at the core of the band’s sound have leapt forward immensely in terms of song-writing and playing finesse. There’s a thoroughly professional swagger to this debut, fuming with attitude and atmosphere that many further along in the game would struggle to compete with.

As a guitarist, there are already a good few riffs on here that I would love to get my teeth stuck into, and that is arguably a quality that could take a band to the next level; the feeling of wanting to engage in their world in more than just the capacity of listening to the record. It wouldn’t be the furthest stretch of the imagination to think that others may feel the same, and I can vividly picture swathes of metal crazed gig-goers shouting along to each track. I’m already itching to hear the next one.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

Web – Everything Ends

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 19th July 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Web
Everything Ends
Released 23rd May 2015
Thrash metal
Released via Raising Legends Records

 Web - Everything Ends

Within the first note of Web’s Everything Ends I’m dragged back to my teenage years of the late 90s. There’s an immediate vibe of The Haunted’s first two albums, mixed with Face Down, but there’s more to it than the sneaking suspicion that Marco Aro may have had a hand in the proceedings. If anyone else remembers one certain disbanded UK metal group going by the name Dearly Beheaded as fondly as I do, there’s plenty contained herein to tickle your fancy. There’s even a hint of the creepy, musically narrative atmospherics of Rage’s Black In Mind.

Where this release excels in comparison to those mentioned above, is in production values. It doesn’t suffer from the testing ground that was late 20th century mixing and mastering experimentation, but has stepped beyond the bounds of the early stages of studio digitisation. The result is that it has both the chops from an era when individuality was celebrated rather than scorned, and the vibrancy of modern refinement in extreme music sound engineering. And it’s a rather pleasant result indeed.

Web have actually been around since the mid-80s, so this is no contrived attempt to instigate a new phase of looking backwards in metal. These guys are the genuine article. They just happen to have not received the global recognition that some of their contemporaries have enjoyed. Unafraid to move through various changes of tempo,- including, but not limited to, mid-paced, double-pedal stomping – Web have a pretty wide palette to choose from within a tightly defined character.

Comparisons are pretty easy in listening to this, but they are all good ones; influences worn with pride, perhaps, rather than stale carbon copying. This album is a human one, and shuns the pull and sway of current trends. Dark and energising at the same time, it is exactly the sort of music I couldn’t get enough of when I first got into anything heavier than Iron Maiden, but pumped up and turbo charged for the modern age.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

1st edition of Laurus Nobilis Music (Famalicão, Portugal) to kick off next week

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

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Laurus Nobilis is the name of a new Portuguese project whose goal is to celebrate music in general, in the form of a festival suitably called ‘Festa da Música’ (Music Party). So not only the genre of the artists will be diverse – from classic music to heavy metal – but also the level of fame will go from underground newbies to acclaimed international acts. In fact, the headliners are the legendary The Waterboys.

Promoters Ecos Culturais do Louro (which translates to ‘cultural echoes from Louro’) also aim to cement an association, together with Casa do Artista Amador (‘home of the amateur artist’), that will support all kinds of art. Noble indeed.

This first fest will take place in Louro, Famalicão, from 24th to 26th of July, with the following bill:

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We will bring you a full report on the first day, the one dedicated to metal and alternative music (Mão Morta, R.A.M.P., More Than A Thousand and Éden).

www.laurusnobilis.pt/

Details on W.A.S.P.’s upcoming studio album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 14th July 2015 by Pieni

“There are times in any band’s career that somehow all things mesh together. Their experiences, influences, and personal timing bring them into a common space. This has happened with this record.  Four years in the making has provided direction, but even greater reflection. Golgotha, where Christ was crucified – Hebrew for “the place of the skull”.”  These are the words of Blackie Lawless himself about W.A.S.P.‘s new studio album – their 15th, first under the Napalm Records label. And since its predecessor “Babylon” was released six years ago already, this statement only increases the anticipation.

“Golgotha” is scheduled to hit the stores on October 2nd, with the following artwork and tracklisting:

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1. Scream
2. Last Runaway
3. Shotgun
4. Miss You
5. Fallen Under
6. Slaves of the New World Order
7. Eyes of My Maker
8. Hero of the World
9. Golgotha

Special deluxe metal box, exclusive ltd vinyl, CD and merch available for pre-order on Napalm Records webstores (North America here and Europe here).

For more info visit:
http://www.waspnation.com
https://www.facebook.com/W.A.S.P.Nation
https://twitter.com/WASPOfficial
https://www.napalmrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

Flotsam and Jetsam w/ support – Glasgow, Scotland

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 12th July 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Circle Of Tyrants, Black Talon, Bliksem, Flotsam And Jetsam
Stereo, Glasgow (UK)
20th May 2015

Flotsam And Jetsam

It’s been over a month since Flotsam and Jetsam returned to Scotland – the first time in a couple of decades, none-the-less – and yet, their performance at Glasgow’s Stereo venue is still stuck in my mind, firmly holding one of the top spots in the list of memorable events. It seems only justified to put pen to paper, or text to internet in this case, to spread the good word.

Holding only a capacity of 300, the venue’s main gig room provided a very much up-close-and-personal atmosphere, aided in no small part by the fact that there are no crowd barriers for the three foot high stage, and members of Flotsam were quite happily mingling with the rest of the crowd. It’s testament to their down to earth nature that a band who have featured former members who went on to join the likes of Metallica and Prong, and who have played to massive audiences all over the world, still clearly see themselves as ‘one of us’.

Bliksem live - Stereo, Glasgow

The supports for the night are all very apt; Circle Of Tyrants step up first, receiving a warm response for their Testament-meets-Beholder stylings, followed closely by technical street-thrashers, Black Talon, promoting their fresh debut Endless Realities. There’s a constant stream of stage diving on the go, with enthusiastic thrashers repeatedly braving the possibility of cranial damage from the support pillars on the dance floor. When Bliksem take the stage, it’s much to the surprise of those few in the audience who have checked them out in advance. They blast out a sterling performance, which, according to the opinions of those in the know, surpasses the recorded works available from them online.

Of course, the crown absolutely and positively goes to Flotsam and Jetsam themselves. They know their audience well, and don’t try to push newer material on them as hard as some others may do in a similar position. In fact, it only seems to be Gitty Up which makes an appearance from 2012’s Ugly Noise. The initial focus is firmly on the early classics, and it’s a decision that sets necks a-snapping; No Place For Disgrace, She Took An Axe, Desecrator – even Der Fuhrer makes an appearance later in the set. Surprisingly, the crowd erupts even further when mid-nineties number, Smoked Out, comes powering in with its iconic opening riff.

 Flotsam And Jetsam live - Stereo, Glasgow

While it is a little sad that Jason B Ward and Kelly Smith (formerly bass and drums respectively) couldn’t make this outing, but the lack of their presence is more than made up for by the sheer enthusiasm of Michael Spencer and Shadows Fall’s Jason Bittner (again, bass and drums respectively). Throughout the performance, there’s no slacking. No making do. When it’s full force thrash, it’s full force thrash, no quarter asked or given. Where frontman Eric A K maybe can’t quite hit some of the high notes he could in his youth, he has developed equally as effective means of delivering the same power. The riffing is as fast, tight and furious as ever on all fronts, and younger bands could learn a thing or two here about dedication and determination. Flotsam and Jetsam may be a band that’s getting grey, but this ain’t no placid dinosaur! It’s a sabre-toothed cat the size of a school bus!

by Paul Macmillan

Lumous Gothic Festival 2015

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , on 5th July 2015 by izaforestspirit

Lumous Gothic Festival 2015

Red Sun Revival, Los Carniceros del Norte, Das Ich

Klubi, Tampere, Finland

3-4th July

Lumous Gothic Festival, Finland’s main goth event is now in its fifteenth year. While it may not be as well renowned as the larger goth festivals such as Wave Gothik Treffen, it has a strong following within the goth and industrial scene. I’ve been attending this festival for the past three years now, and this year there was an exceptionally good line-up.

Friday

First up was the Berlin-based, minimal electro band Afghan Dance. They played some rhythmic and fairly catchy synth tunes with darkwave-style vocals. It was definitely a good start to the night. 3.5/5

There’s not an awful lot that I can say about German goth rockers Golden Apes. They basically played some decent and standard goth rock, which is great for those who like that genre. Personally I’ve never been a massive fan of this style and there’s only a handful of goth bands out there that I enjoy. However, their performance was good but not exceptional and none of the songs stuck in my head afterwards. 3/5

The Russian harsh electro band Sleetgrout were the main band that I came to see and by far the best performance of the evening. They were meant to play at Lumous last year but they had to cancel due to problems with their visas. Their show was very energetic, full of adrenalin-fueled harsh electro with trance elements. I couldn’t stop dancing, especially when they played two of my favourite club tracks ‘Coffin With Two Suicides’ and ‘The Strings’. 5/5

Now, when I say that I’m not the biggest fan of goth rock, that’ doesn’t mean that I’m completely adverse to genre. There’s certain goth bands whose music I adore and occasionally there’s the odd goth rock band that captures my attention. Red Sun Revival was one such band. I’m not sure if it was the singer Rob Leydon’s mesmerizing vocals and the beautiful sound of the electric violin. Whatever it was, it worked because I enjoyed their show and even ended up buying one of their albums afterwards. 4/5

Saturday

In the three years that I’ve been attending this festival, there has always been at least one dark ambient or noise band present in the lineup. This year that was the Estonian electro duo Forgotten Sunrise. Their sound comprises a variety of electronic styles ranging from dark ambient, industrial experimental to noise and synth pop vocals. It was rather slow paced and too ponderous for my liking. 2/5

The Spanish punk band Los Carniceros del Norte clearly like their horror movies and theatrics. I’m not normally into punk or post-punk but that did not stop me from enjoying their show. They were very energetic on stage and the singer’s over the top theatrics were fun to watch. Two other factors that helped me get the most out of their performance were that I understand Spanish and I happen to like horror movies. These guys played some clips of my favourite movies on the backdrop including The Shining, Nosferatu, The Exorcist and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 4/5

Speaking of theatrics, that’s one thing that the German dark electro duo Das Ich have in abundance. Now, for those who don’t know, I have a bit of a soft spot when it comes to German electronica. I like most styles; whether it’s the industrial rock of Eisbrecher and Rammstein, the creepy harsh EBM of Wumpscut and X-Fusion or the catchy darkwave Gothic sound of Blutengel. And as of yesterday I also like Das Ich. These two freakish and creepy Germans put on one hell of a show. I really enjoyed the whole performance and it didn’t take long for me to start dancing along. 5/5

So there you have it. Another great edition of Lumous Gothic Festival. I’ve finally been to see Sleegrout live and I discovered Das Ich and Red Sun Revival. It is performances like these that make me want to come back year after year.

Iza Raittila

Powerwolf – Blessed & Possessed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 3rd July 2015 by Nico Davidson

Powerwolf
Hammer of The Witches
Released July 2015
Werewolf Metal/Power Metal
Released via Napalm Records

586_Powerwolf_CMYK

Powerwolf have rose to fame over the last few years due to their lyrics and imagery, both of which aren’t usually found within the power metal genre. Blessed & Possessed is the band’s first album to be released through Metal Blade (Providing you don’t include the History of Heresy releases) and the band’s sixth studio album.

The album is opened up immediately by the title track, Blessed & Possessed, which begins with a rather tragic introduction that would put even Shakespeare to shame. This introduction is followed by a flurry of riffs and organs with soaring vocals. The chorus is easily memorable, hooking itself into your memory. Dead Until Dark contains the typical Powerwolf lyrics but greets you with an onslaught of guitar melodies and poignant vocals.

The guitars and organs make for perfect dance partners in Army of the Night, with some very NWOBHM sounding passages. Armata Strigoi focuses on vampires and allegedly is Romanian for “Undead Army”. The intro comes across as very grandoise and majestic as the instruments parallel one another throughout the song. We Are The Wild has some similarities to Sacred & Wild, but it also has its differences. The vocals appear to march at a different pace to the instrumentation but this works out in the favour of Powerwolf.

Higher Than Heaven is a fast-paced, action-packed song that refuses to take prisoners as guitars are unsheathed and lay proverbial waste with their jumping riffs. Combat & Christ is a well coordinated attack between the guitars and organs, with reinforcements from the drums. The vocals have a commanding element to them, as a story is sung of the First Crusade. Sanctus Dominus (Latin for Holy Lord) is very much like a hymn during in the chorus but there is a dynamic use of vocals that echo throughout the track.

Sacramental Sister sounds like it was influenced by Iron Maiden‘s Hallowed Be Thy Name as the opening riff shares a common sound with that song. The track is composed of a masterful combination of instrumentation and vocals,  with some energetic moments here and there. All You Can Bleed displays a very poetic use of the band’s talents, release short but sweet fumes of darkness in preparation of the final song. The album closes with Let There Be Night. The song’s atmosphere is laid out by the orchestration and vocals, painting a dusky image with a sombre sound.

Powerwolf are still at the top of their game and Blessed & Possessed will show the world that the wolves of metal are still the alphas of the pack with no sign of slowing down. With elements borrowed from their previous releases and new sounds brought in, Blessed & Possessed is a highlight in Powerwolf‘s discography.

4.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Powerwolf online:

http://powerwolf.net 
http://facebook.com/powermetal