Archive for November, 2015

Lurid Memory – Dematerializing [EP]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 30th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Lurid Memory
Dematerializing [EP]
Released September 18th 2015
Progressive death metal
Released via Funeral Noise Records

 photo Lurid Memory - Dematerializing.jpg

Although self-described as progressive death metal, there is genuinely a bit more to this band than has come to be associated with the genre tag. A blazing solo is nice, but sometimes you just don’t want to hear every member of a band try to pull one off at the same time for 45 minutes. Lurid Memory, seem to have a firm grasp of both these facts.

This release is a clear development from their chaotic debut Unclear Mental Portraits From Lives Past, in terms of song-writing, carrying much of the same character. However, they have reached a new level of maturity by embracing a slightly more blackened essence, supplementing their already diverse blend of heavy prog, thrash and classic DM. Hints of its presence seem to have been lurking from the off, but on Dematerializing it is allowed to surface with beautiful results. The atmospherics are darker than on their previous releases, and occasionally lend a folky arm to proceedings, bleeding into a more traditional prog sound.

At times, this release is very straight forward, but that in itself is refreshing, and the palette which Lurid Memory have at their disposal should more than satisfy those ravenous for intense musicology in their listening. For me, personally, they have hit the prefect stroke between technical ability and knowing when to rock the f*** out, with the final landing point somewhere between the jagged constructs of Death and the floating ephemera of Cynic.

The one significant draw back with this EP is that it reeks of restricted potential. It would be interesting to hear the results were this lot locked up in an isolated location with nothing to do but write a full album. This is hardly a major flaw, but it appears that the next step is an obvious one. Lurid Memory are already a cracking band, with much to offer the metal world, but it’s hard not to imagine them exploding into something more, given the opportunity.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

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Ensiferum announce tour dates for 2016

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Uncategorized with tags , on 27th November 2015 by izaforestspirit

The Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum are due to hit the road again next year. They will be visiting The UK and Ireland in February with the Estonian folk metal band Metsatöll as support. Check the poster below for the dates:

They have also announced their European tour dates for April 2016.

Here is a statement from the band:

Greetings from Ensiferum camp! One Man Army -world tour has already visited many cities but there is still lot more to come. We shall not rest before every metalhead has partied with us like there is no tomorrow! Now we are very proud to announce European tour in April 2016 with brilliant lineup! More info later, so please be patient, we promise that it will be worth it. Folk on!”

There hasn’t been any details about who their support acts will be but you can check the dates below:

01/04/16 DE – Lichtenfels – Ragnarök Festival
02/04/16 NL – Rotterdam – Maasilo
03/04/16 BE – Antwerp – Trix
04/04/16 DE – Frankfurt – Batschkapp
05/04/16 LU – Esch/Alzette – Kulturfabrik
06/04/16 DE – Hannover – Capitol
07/04/16 DK – Copenhagen – Amager Bio
08/04/16 DE – Leipzig – Hellraiser
09/04/16 AT – Wien – Szene
10/04/16 HU – Budapest – Barba Negra Club
12/04/16 RO – Bucharest – Arenele Romane
13/04/16 BG – Sofia – Mixtape 5 Club
14/04/16 SR – Belgrade – Dom Omladine
15/04/16 HR – Zagreb – Vintage
16/04/16 DE – Burglengenfeld – VAZ Pfarrheim
17/04/16 CH – Solothurn – Kulturfabrik Kofmehl
18/04/16 IT – Milan – Fabrique
19/04/16 DE – Karlsruhe – Substage
20/04/16 IT – Köln – Live Music Hall
21/04/16 DE – Berlin – Columbia Theater

Finnish fans have an opportunity to see them live this year during their Finland tour in support of Children of Bodom on these dates:

09/12/15 FI – Tampere / Tähtiareena
10/12/15 FI – Seinäjoki / Rytmikorjaamo
11/12/15 FI – Jyväskylä / Paviljonk
12/12/15 FI – Oulu / Super Park

https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum

http://www.ensiferum.com/

http://www.metalblade.com/ensiferum

Cradle of Filth live in Helsinki

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal, Uncategorized with tags , , on 22nd November 2015 by izaforestspirit

Frosttide, Ne Obliviscaris, Cradle of Filth
Nosturi, Helsinki, Finland
21st November 2015

Cradle of Filth are one of the bands that I grew up listening to. I’ve seen them live three times before, in three different countries (the U.K., France and Finland). The last time I saw them was in Tampere back in 2013. This time they announced that they will only be playing one show in Finland – Helsinki.

The venue was a club called Nosturi (“the crane”) located near the shipyard, just outside of the city centre. I haven’t been there in years… Yesterday was the first day of winter which meant that I stood in the snow and rain waiting to get in. The place was packed by the time I entered the building.

First up was a Finnish band called Frosttide who won the competition to open up for the main band on the Finnish leg of the tour. Their style is a essentially a mixture of melodic death metal and folk metal. I enjoyed the show but I couldn’t help thinking about just how much they reminded me of Ensiferum. 3.5/5

The next act was the Australian metal band Ne Obliviscaris. These guys have a really unique style which is difficult to classify. They have two singers, one doing clean vocals whilst the other does the harsh, melodeath-style growling. The music itself features elements of death metal, prog-metal and folk. Think Opeth with a violin player and you will have a pretty good idea of the kind of style I’m referring to. Whilst I liked some parts of their songs, the mish-mash of styles was a bit too confusing for my liking. 3/5

The good thing about seeing Cradle of Filth live more than once is that no two of set-lists are ever the same. So whilst it’s guaranteed that you will hear some stuff from their latest album, you never know what else they decide to play… The new tracks played included : ‘The Right Wing of The Garden Triptych’, ‘Blackest Magick in Practice’ and many more. In addition to this there were some classics such as ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’, ‘Lord Abortion’, ‘Malice Through the Looking Glass’, ‘Nymphetamine’ and ‘Thirteen Autumns and a Widow’. I was also really happy to hear some of the old songs from the band’s early days such as ‘Queen of Winter, Throned’ and ‘The Forest Whispers My Name’.  5/5

Overall it was a really good night. It was well worth the trip. Whilst  I still prefer to attend local gigs, I’m willing to travel further so for bands like this.

Iza Raittila

Monster Magnet – Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)

Posted in CD, Experimental, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 22nd November 2015 by mickbirchy

Monster Magnet
“Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)”
Heavy Rock
Released: 9th October 2015
Via Napalm Records

It’s funny, when a movie gets remade I tend to get in a twist and vent my frustrations.  However when I heard that rock ‘n’ roll legends, Monster Magnet were going to be reworking their 2010 record, Mastermind, I had nothing but curiosity as to what that was going to be like – I have absolutely nothing but respect for the man that is Dave Wyndorf.  Their last studio effort Milking The Stars gave another life to the 2013 album Last Patrol, so there’s no reason that this couldn’t do the same. This album brings a lot of themes of retrospection, isolation, drug and alcohol abuse and sexual fantasy. This is in contrast to the original record which themes were more about reality and exploitive American consumerism.

Right off of the bat the reworking begins with songs like “Dig That Hole” becoming the new song “She Digs That Hole” where Wyndorf warps the music into a brighter song with cleaner electric guitars and changing the message from drugs and reality TV to more about a sex fantasy involving a girlfriend who regularly brings other women into the bedroom. Also the new version of the title track “Mastermind” which is a sludgy and a pretty straight forward stoner rock song.  The newer version keeps the riff but adds more to it.  It’s cleans up the sound, adds in an organ and adds a false ending that fades out.  The whole thing in general feels more polished and easier to market.  The original Mastermind was very much in its niche whereas this seems more identifiable to a bigger market. Also the nine minute long Hallucination Bomb has a more experimental feel, still keeping a lot of that original haziness but there’s heavy string sounds and drudges along to a spectacle of a guitar solo.  

This is definitely not a slouch of an album.  Some people may call reworking your older albums a bit lazy but this feels like genuine effort rather than a cheap cash-in on already popular songs.  It actually feels new and interesting. Being a fan of this band for a lot time has certainly added context but I don’t think that it’s 100% necessary to fully enjoy this record.  This could be the first Monster Magnet album you’ve heard and it will still lead you into loving this band.  Dave Wyndorf is a wonderful songwriter who takes his work seriously and the rest of the guys Phil Caivano, Bob Pantella, Garrett Sweeny and Chris Kosnik are fantastic musicians who always perform the music excellently.

All I can say is this is one quality record, I always look forward to hearing new stuff from them and this was no different. The best tunes for me personally are “Watch Me Fade”, a bonus track on the original Mastermind and yes it’s still awesome. The breathtaking “Hallucination Bomb” just for being so epic sounding.  Also “Gods and Punks” for being far more downplayed than it’s original counterpart, it’s far more trippy and fun to listen to.  Superb album, I highly recommend this to any fan of rock or metal, especially if you have an interest in songwriting and composition.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

Skindred – Volume

Posted in Alternative, CD, Experimental, Metal, Punk Rock, Rock with tags , , , on 21st November 2015 by mickbirchy

Skindred
“Volume”
Fusion
Released 30th October 2015
Via Napalm Records

So, Skindred return with another fantastic addition to their increasingly interesting repertoire.  After the extremely popular “Kill The Power” and “Union Black”, it really shouldn’t have been possible to create a piece of work that could top them. Yet, I think they’ve done it.  “Volume” is a stunning piece of work, mixing in just the right amount of elements from reggae, metal, punk and electronica; it feels so familiar to their previous work and at the same time it manages to have it’s own identity.

The album opens with some funky riffs and tight lyrical flow that grabs you straight off of the bat. “Under Attack” and “Volume” are catchy lead-in singles and do well to show off the album’s best moment and the best thing is Skindred almost make it look effortless. They’re just one of these supremely consistent bands that make it look easy. The full time addition of the electronica sound, provided by Dan Sturgess, just creates more avenues for Skindred to go down. As the album progresses Skindred continue to mix it up. The album goes in every direction the band can afford, making it so catchy, heavy, funky and fun, you really don’t have a choice but to groove to the sounds that float around.

Not every song hits an absolute bullseye, mind you. The album can wear on you a little. These are not bad songs, far from it, but I feel towards the latter half of the album the music loses something. Maybe I have just become too accustomed to their sound and the later part of the album becomes a little too familiar. However, a lot of their songs do have a habit of growing on me over the years, so I can’t really mark it as a strike against the record.  Ask me about this in 2017 and this maybe my favourite album. Skindred try everything to make this album impactful and it does work, they mix all of their sounds and influences into their songs and make them consistently interesting.  

“Volume” is just awesome, honestly some of the best stuff Skindred have written in years. It has those mixed styles of “Kill the Power” whilst still having that fire and intensity of Babylon. I definitely recommend this album to anyone.  It’s fun, interesting and has a wide enough mix of styles to appeal to any fan of rock and metal. Songs like the title track “Volume”, “Sound The Siren” and “Shut Ya Mouth” are my personal favourite tracks so far and the songs you should check out. For their sixth effort, Skindred show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.  They’re still interesting and they still sound like they’re having fun. Definitely one to check out.

4/5

Mick Birchallnull

Hatebreed to headline Impericon Festivals 2016

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 21st November 2015 by mickbirchy

For those about to mosh we salute you!

Metalcore giants HATEBREED have been confirmed as the headliners for the 2016 Impericon Festivals. Other names on the bill include Caliban Emmure, Northlane, Bury Tomorrow, Blessthefall, Chelsea Grin, Hundredth, Any Given Day and Devil In Me.

The festival will take place across nine cities and six countries. Info and ticket information head over to www.impericon.com

IMPERICON FESTIVALS 2016: 

4.22.16            Oberhausen, Germany – Turbinenhalle
4.23.16            Leipzig, Germany – Agra
5.01.16            Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg
5.02.16            Manchester, UK – Academy
5.03.16            London, UK – 02 Forum Kentish Town
5.04.16            Paris, France – Les Docks De Paris
5.05.16            Zurich, Switzerland – X-Tra
5.06.16            Vienna, Austria – Arena
5.07.16            Munich, Germany – Zenith

King Witch – Shoulders Of Giants

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

King Witch
Shoulders Of Giants [EP]
Released November 09th 2015
Doom / classic metal
Self-released

King Witch - Shoulders Of Giants

Kicking off with an eerie intro to the title track, the real fun with King Witch’s debut EP, Shoulders Of Giants, starts when they cut to the chase with their strange concoction of slightly black, doomed-up, sludgy trad metal. Although this may leave you expecting a drawling beast of a record, lumbering on at tectonic velocity, there’s actually quite the rapid flow at times, and in shying from self-indulgence, King Witch make every shot count, never lingering in one territory for too long.

They also seem to have access to bottomless pockets of metal-ology into which to delve in the quest to keep things engaging. While Black Sabbath are riding high in the Shoulders… world, there is equally a shadow of Death looming ominous on the barren horizon, casting a prog-metal tone over the landscape. When you have three tracks of doom to state your case to the world, set to diverge at several musical tangents, it should be self-apparent why KW have seemingly made efforts to keep things moving along fairly swiftly.

The warlock on top of the mountain, however, we have still to address here. As some may already know, King Witch included the talents of long-term partners in crime, Laura Donnelly and Jamie Gilchrist, formerly operating in the much lauded Firebrand Super Rock. Where Gilchrist’s guitar work shines through as part of the musical character described above, Donnelly provides what is quite simply ultimate power, full blast, metal vocals; a classic delivery in the realms of Tony ‘The Cat’ Martin or Brittney Slayes, with the slightly cheesy undertones switched out for something altogether darker.

Although this is their first release, and they only formed in 2015, this is something special, and King Witch could well make a significant dent in the scene in 2016 if they keep up this level of work. There’s nothing quite like this kicking about at present, and it’s likely that any who tried to emulate it would fall far short of the mark. Powerful, professional and unique.

4/5

Paul Macmillan