Archive for October, 2015

Reverence – Gods of War

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 29th October 2015 by izaforestspirit

Reverence
Gods of War
Released 4th November 2015
Power Metal/ Thrash Metal 
Released via Razor Ice Records (Europe and U.S.A.), Avalon/Marquee (Japan and the rest of Asia

‘Gods of War’ is the second album from the American power metal band Reverence. The band was formed back in 2010 and since then they have released one EP and their debut album ‘When Darkness Falls’ in 2012 prior to this.

Before starting the review I would first of all like to say that I have limited knowledge of the American power metal scene. The United States always makes me think of thrash metal and The “Big Four” (Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica). The only American power metal bands that I’m really familiar with are the ultra cheesy, “macho” Manowar and the highly entertaining, power-thrash metal hybrid that is Iced Earth. So I pressed the play button on my device, and hoped for this to be more about power-thrash guitar riffs than tales of swords, steel and glory.

Luckily for me, this album turned out be more of the former. Reverence’s signature sound is a mixture of styles. They use power metal as a base whilst incorporating elements of both traditional heavy metal and some of the guitar patterns from thrash metal. Take Angel in Black for instance, the playful, catchy guitar riffs remind me of the Black album and ‘Load’ -era of Metallica and to some extent Mercyful Fate. As for the vocals, they’re nowhere near as high-pitched as some of the ultra cheesy (read cringeworthy) variety that is common within this genre. Their singer’s chosen vocal style falls somewhere between the epic, story-telling Iron Maiden -esque type (as audible on tracks such as ‘Blood of Heroes‘ and ‘Angel in Black‘) and the dominating, slightly higher-pitched style of mid-career Iced Earth.

Battle Cry‘ is by far the catchiest track and definitely one of the highlights of the album. It’s very guitar-driven with vocals merely acting as a means to encourage you start headbanging along to relentless, “full-speed ahead” barrage of thrash metal riffs and solos.

Overall I am happy with this new discovery. Whilst ‘Gods Of War’ doesn’t offer anything ground-breakingly different, it succeeds in delivering eleven well-composed, guitar-driven songs which are bound to please power-, thrash- and heavy metal fans alike.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Hills Have Eyes’ “Antebellum” release party – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 28th October 2015 by Pieni

Hills Have Eyes, Ash Is A Robot, The Year, Dimension
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
23rd October 2015
Promoted by Hell Xis Agency www.facebook.com/hellxis/

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Hills Have Eyes released their third album “Antebellum” early this month (review here) but gave their fans a couple of weeks to learn the lyrics before presenting it live in two shows – one in Porto and another in Lisboa (Oporto and Lisbon, as you like to call them).

 photo _DSC0023_zps55cl8mfw.jpgAlong with that enthusiastic crowd of 200 people, give or take (I’m terrible with numerical estimations, sorry), three other bands joined the party. First one on stage was Dimension. I’d seen them back in August, at Casainhos Fest, but this was the first time they were playing in Porto, promoting their own debut album “Life Is A Mystery”. The latter has been getting a very positive feedback and their shows are a match, but it took a little while for the crowd to engage completely in their groovy hardcore. Singer Poli himself said he wasn’t “recognizing the people of Porto” (he has played there several times before with his other band Devil In Me). He was also a little disappointed when no one seemed to know about Luaty Beirão, the Portuguese Angolan musician and activist who had been on a hunger strike after being arrested for speaking his mind (the Angolan authorities saw that as an overthrow attempt…). But after Poli enlightened them and dedicated a song to Beirão (“Times Of Grace”, if I’m not mistaken), everybody applauded. Meanwhile the mosh circles had gained strength and the overall response to Dimension had grown intense, so when they finished their set with the title-track of “Life Is A Mystery”, Poli had a big smile on his face.

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www.facebook.com/dimensionptband/

 photo _DSC0288_zpsomgsdkq8.jpgI confess The Year was a novelty to me, but many in the audience were happily singing along most of the songs, so I’m guessing they have a fair share of popularity. Deserved, for what I could see in this show – not only for the music but for the posture on stage. And the professionalism when facing sudden setbacks – Jaca’s guitar was silent for a while (I saw him fumbling with the wire, maybe it got disconnected, but I’m not sure) and the rest of the band went on playing, singer Johnny jumping around, while waiting for the problem to get solved. Improvisation is always a plus.
They’re working on a new album – two days prior to this show they even released a teaser for an upcoming video/song, “Omotenashi” – but they’ve only played “oldies” that night, like “Karma Farmer” or “Death By Media”.

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www.facebook.com/theyearofficial/

 photo _DSC0654 copy_zpshncibefg.jpgAsh Is A Robot’s exquisite sound – a kind of progressive post-hardcore, seasoned with synths – may not agree with everybody’s ear, but Hard Club’s audience that night was pretty open-minded and overjoyed with those Hills Have Eyes neighbors (Setúbal, a little south of Lisboa, is turning out a big talent breeder). And even if the music was taking a bit to sink in, singer /keyboard player Cláudio surely got the moves to catch your attention: that guy’s restless! And funny. Like when no one reacted to his mention of supporting the underground national bands and so he repeated it, slowly, with a cursing word in the end. Or when he said they were going to play a new song (don’t think he introduced the title – if he did, I missed it) and so it would be shit. Or when he asked for a wall of death as soon as “the following relaxing moment” was over – the latter being no other than Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Impossible to stay indifferent.
Like in their self-titled album (the follow-up it’s in the making, by the way), Dado Nunes from Ella Palmer joined on stage to sing “Philophobia Part 1”. And it’s also worth saying that Cláudio joined the mosh pit twice and, unlike last time I’ve seen them, managed to come out of it without bleeding (it seems he needed to go to the hospital after the Lisboa show the next day, though, so I wish him a full recovery soon).

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www.facebook.com/AshIsARobot/

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To the sound of a snippet of The Weeknd’s “The Hills” (yes, you’ve got it – the part where Mr. Tesfaye sings “the hills have eyes, the hills have eyes”), the party hosts got on stage and… well, singer Fábio said something about starting a fire before the last song “Strangers”, as that’s precisely its first verse, but the arson lit up right on the first moment of their show. The sound was a bit messy at first (eventually it got straightened out), but the crowd was singing along so loud –  photo _DSC0961_zps9fb6bbda.jpgmyself included – that I believe only a few of us noticed it. And no one cared. The passion HHE put in their performance makes up for any technical detail. After all, as said in the aforementioned album review, I call them “probably the best Portuguese metalcore band” – that includes the live aspect of the thing as well.
“A new phase in HHE’s life”, using Fábio’s own words, so they went through all the previous ones – even the one that included a split album with My Ocean and Last Reunion, in the form of the song “Ending The Cliché”. And because a party needs its special guests, this was the first song of the set featuring one – Ricardo “Congas”  photo _DSC0984 copy_zpsnubriidl.jpgDias, from For The Glory. Then Vasco Ramos from More Than A Thousand – a good friend and producer of the band – joined in to his usual “Anyway, It’s Gone”, and also Di Noise gave her beautiful voice to “The Bringer Of Rain”, just as she does in the studio version.
I’ve lost count of how many times we were told “thank you”, not just during the show but afterwards, on social media. But I think I speak for everyone who was there that we’re even on gratitude grounds – we all had a blast of a night. When the time comes to write an overview about 2015, “Antebellum” will be listed as number 1 in my album chart. And this gig of Hills Have Eyes will surely top the live performances.

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www.facebook.com/hillshaveeyes/

Full gallery here.

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

All Consumed – No World Order

Posted in 'Core, CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 24th October 2015 by Paul Macmillan

All Consumed
“No World Order”
Released October 31st 2015
Death metal, hardcore
Self-released

All Consumed - No World Order

It’s been quite a while since the world churned out a truly engaging ‘hardcore’ metal album. Decent hardcore albums, yes. Decent metalcore albums, also kicking about (indeed, it’s true that such things do exist, I assure you!). However, a fully functioning metal album that is also hardcore, and not sugared down, ‘McAudio’ for wannabe cage fighters..? Let’s just say, I haven’t been holding my breath of late. Listening to All Consumed’s No World Order has been an utterly satisfying rebuttal.

Much of the ‘core’ side of things here has been derived from the harder edge of the mid-to-late 1990s scene. Hewn from the memorable foundations of acts such as Hatebreed and Biohazard, the bottom floor of this hateful tenement is populated with urban aggression, yet there is more here than tribute or replication. In the same way that Pissing Razors brought a new angle to this form, All Consumed have broken down the gates and let the metal flow freely.

With the added layer of Rob Thomas’ Jason Netherton style vocal – although delivered in a slightly heavier manner than in Misery Index – there is further reinforcement to the feeling that this is, in its purest essence, a death metal album, albeit one with head-bouncing hook riffs leading the way. Producer, Samuel Turbitt, has also performed excellently in capturing live energy here, ultimately allowing All Consumed to truly indulge in their innate heaviness, something which, it could be said, limited their previous recording efforts. The blending of genres feels entirely natural, though, and rather than a disjointed amalgam of two distinct sounds, it hammers home a brutality that will appeal to followers of both real hardcore and old school death metal.

This record is a dark and menacing piece of work, with no pretensions to virtuosity, and is, consequently, a highly listenable record.  Repeat spins do it no harm, either, making it a cacophonous pleasure, and an essential keeper for all curators of eclectic, heavy, audio libraries. All hail the No World Order!

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Interview with Huntress-Jill Janus

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , on 22nd October 2015 by mickbirchy

Huntress recently dropped their new album “Static” and Mick Birchall had a few questions for the vocalist, Jill Janus. Read on as they discuss the new album and production process, heavy metal fans and women in heavy metal.

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Mick: With the release of your new album “Static”, what do you think sets this apart from the previous Huntress albums?
Jill: Static is the heaviest and catchiest Huntress album, it’s also the most personal, lyrically.

Mick: Could you tell us a bit about the production and creative process of “Static”?
Jill: I wanted to write and record one album a year for the first three years since signing with Napalm Records. We keep getting amazing tour opportunities, and this can be difficult with scheduling. We chose to record the album between touring with Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth, and we chose producers Paul Fig and Jim Rota because we wanted a more accessible sound.

Mick: Why was “Flesh” chosen as the single to advertise the album?  Personally I felt that “Noble Savage” was the more effective song on the album.
Jill: “Flesh” was chosen as the first single by every band member, our producers, manager and record label. Everyone agreed this was the first single. It really represents Huntress with dark imagery and sexually driven lyrics. I love “Noble Savage” yet feel “Flesh” makes more sense as a single.

Mick: What do you enjoy most about writing songs?
Jill: It’s cathartic and healing for me. Writing music keeps me out of trouble!

Mick: Why do you think the Huntress fan base, or heavy metal fans in general, are so loyal?
Jill: Heavy metal fans are loyal because we all possess a sadness and darkness that average human beings can’t comprehend. Together we aren’t so lonely.

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Mick: What do you feel is the biggest difference between American/Canadian audiences and the crowds in the UK and Europe?
Jill: Not much is different. I find that people who love metal are very much alike.

Mick: What is your opinion on the rise of women in heavy metal, and not just as vocalists?
Jill: Most women aren’t brutal and they just don’t belong in metal. Many women take the easy route by wearing corsets and singing “easy listening metal” in symphonic metal bands. I’m not a fan of female fronted bands and I feel embarrassed to be a woman in metal sometimes. I do self-loath and I can be very annoying. I understand that women can change the perception of heavy metal, but telling us to stop will only make us want to destroy your world more. That’s the nature of a woman. Just ignore us, you’ll have more luck.

Mick: Do you enjoy any music outside of heavy metal?
Jill: I love ABBA!!!

Mick: What do you personally enjoy outside of playing music and touring, during your downtime?
Jill: Nature and animals bring me so much joy. I like make crystal jewellery on long drives in the tour van. But I really don’t have downtime. Huntress takes all my focus.

Mick: Finally, what is the hardest thing personally you have had to overcome and how did you overcome it?
Jill: I recently had a hysterectomy to remove cancer from my uterus, I’m still recovering from surgery but I’m now cancer-free. That was brutal. Probably the hardest thing I’ve overcome.
Mick: We at Valkyrian wish you a fast and 100% recovery! Thanks for your time and keep it up!

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http://huntresskills.com/

Kampfar reveal the title and cover art for new album ‘Profan’

Posted in Metal, News, Studio Report with tags , on 22nd October 2015 by izaforestspirit

It’s only been a year since their previous opus ‘Djevelmakt’ hit the shops and the Norwegian pagan metal band Kampfar have already finished working on the follow up. Their new album will be entitled ‘Profan’ and it is scheduled to be released on 13th November 2015 via Indie Recordings. Here is the cover:

The band has also released one new song ‘Icons’ on their Soundcloud page. You can listen to it here:

For more information check out:

http://www.kampfar.com/index_front.php

https://www.facebook.com/kampfarofficial

Gaahl launches new project – Gaahl’s Wyrd

Posted in Metal, News with tags , , , on 21st October 2015 by izaforestspirit

The Norwegian black metal vocalist Kristian Eivind Espedal a.k.a. Gaahl (ex- Gorgoroth, God Seed, Wardruna) has recently announced that he has started a new project called Gaahl’s Wyrd.

The project now has its own logo, Facebook page and they are scheduled to play their first show at Blekkmetal Festival at USF Verftet in Bergen, Norway on 13-15th November 2015. Since the band hasn’t released anything yet, their set-list will comprise tracks by some of the bands that Gaahl has played with in the past including Trelldom and Gorgoroth. Here’s what  Gaahl had to say about it:

“This festival is a tribute to the old days, so therefore the focus will be on tracks that are from the past. I will bring along some Trelldom songs that have never been played before in a live setting, and I will bring in some Gorgoroth elements, but most likely I don’t think the setting for new songs is the correct one.”

There hasn’t been any updates about the band’s line-up but their frontman stated that they are currently working on some  new songs.

https://www.facebook.com/gaahlswyrd?fref=ts

For more information about the festival check out:

https://www.facebook.com/BlekkMetal-443353372479615

The Defiled to enter Guiness Book Of World Records 2016

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

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It’s been a year since The Defiled faced arctic conditions to be the first band playing a gig on an iceberg. We are proud to announce that such debut has been recognized by the Guiness Book Of World Records and it will be featured on the latter’s 2016 edition.

“Breaking Records certainly makes an interesting change from making them”says Keyboard player The AvD. “As a child this was a book of wonder and excitement, so it’s pretty mindblowing to open this book and see myself and my bandmates looking back at me.“

The show, which was part of Jägermeister’s Ice Cold Gig series, was documented here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0BUVYnZvX8. The band also took the time to get footage for the video of the intense song “Five Minutes”:

www.facebook.com/thedefiled