Archive for November, 2015

Lurid Memory – Dematerializing [EP]

Posted in Uncategorized 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

Ensiferum announce tour dates for 2016

Posted in 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, 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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

Interview with Mike LePond

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 18th November 2015 by izaforestspirit

Mike LePond, the legendary bass player of Symphony X released his first solo album ‘Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins‘ last year. Iza caught up with him to discuss the new project and his passion for epic tales and heavy metal.

Iza: Hi Mike. Could you tell me a bit more about your new solo album Mike LePond’s Silent Assasins? What’s the concept behind it?

Mike: There is no specific concept behind the album but every song has its own individual concept.

Iza: Who are the “silent assassins” and what is their purpose?

Mike: In this band the Silent Assassins have 2 meanings. In the actual title track, they are the Greeks hiding inside the Trojan horse. They are also meant to signify the guys I hired to play on the record.

 

Iza: This album has been described as a tribute to classic heavy metal, combining”all influences” of your favorite bands. Which bands have influenced you the most during the writing process and why?

Mike: For this particular CD, the bands that most influenced my writing were Judas Priest, Manowar, Metallica and Blackmore’s Night. I have so many more influences but these bands always dominate my writing.

Iza: You’re a busy man. In addition to this project and Symphony X, you’re also a member of several other bands including Waken Eyes, Elegacy and many more. How do you find the time for all of these? Have you encountered any problems or restrictions as a result of being involved in so many projects?

Mike: Yes it’s a tremendous amount of work but it’s a labor of love so I can always figure out a way to get these projects done. I have never run into problems in this area.

Iza: The line-up includes Alan Tecchio (Hades, Watchtower, Seven Witches) as the lead vocalist. What lead you to decide to work with him?

Mike: I met Alan in 2010 when we played together in a band called 7 Witches. His voice had so much power and yet he could sing very well. It was exactly what I was looking for.

Iza: One thing that occurred to me when I read some of the lyrics is that a lot of the themes are similar to those of Symphony X. For example there’s several references to mythology, especially Greek and Norse myths. Which came first, the lyrics or the music? Also, what made you choose these stories in particular?

Mike: I love history, mythology and literature and I believe these epic tales go perfect with heavy metal. I had a bunch of lyrics and also some musical pieces laying around. Basically I just matched the musical piece that fit the emotion of the lyric.

Iza: There’s been some discussion as to which genre Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins falls into. The album features elements of classic heavy metal, thrash metal and power metal. How would you describe this style?

Mike: I would just call this album heavy metal. It certainly does have traditional, thrash, Celtic, and doom in there.

Iza: Are you planning to go on tour with Silent Assassins or is this going to be a studio only project?

Mike: My goal is to do some high profile shows with this project. I am trying to coordinate that with Symphony X’s 2016 tour schedule

Iza: Do you have any plans for the future of Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins?

Mike: I have already begun working on a second album. I want this to be a real working band.

Iza: Is there anything else that you would like to say to your fans and our readers?

Mike: I would like to say thank you to all The Symphony X and Silent Assassins fans out there. I appreciate your loyalty and support. I will see you all on tour soon!

 photo MikwLePond_zpst5nzyjs2.jpg

Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins album is out now via Moonlight Productions.

https://www.facebook.com/mikelepondssilentassassins

 

Thurisaz bring avant-garde, Belgian doom to Perth for Scottish exclusive

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 16th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Having just completed a run of Irish dates in October of this year, Thurisaz have now set their sights on the rest of Europe, with their Pulse Of The Mourning tour taking in live appearances in England, Belgium, France, Malta, The Netherlands, and now Scotland.

Thurisaz - Hordes Hexmas Bash 3

Topping the bill at the 3rd Hordes Hexmas Bash on December 05th, their latest album – Pulse Of The Mourning – was described by Metal Observer as “an all-encompassing atmosphere that transcends a mere sum of the single parts” (8.5/10), while Metal Underground dubbed their 2004 debut full-length – Scent Of A Dream – “a spectacular piece of work” (4.5/5).

Their main touring support comes in the form of Cheltenham’s Edenfall, who’s dual-vocal, goth-drenched, doom metal is the perfect warm-up for the Belgian’s icy, winter raid. Reminiscent of the likes of My Dying Bride, this tour is the latest addition to Edenfall’s growing catalogue of credible live work, which includes supports with Blaze Bayley, Leaves Eyes, and Hecate Enthroned.

The Perth date will also see these bands joined by a clutch of Scottish supports. East Kilbride’s Not The Messiah, finalists in 2015’s Metal To The Masses in Scotland, bring some brilliant stomping grooves to the table, while Blood Thread from Glasgow delve deep into technical death metal territory.

Event details:

Hordes Hexmas Bash 3: The Dead Of Winter

Venue: The Corrina, 44 Atholl St. Perth

Date: Saturday December 05th 2015

Doors: 6:30

Entry: £5

Artists: Thurisaz, Edenfall, Blood Thread, Not The Messiah

Advance tickets: www.wegottickets.com

Interview with My Own Sorrow

Posted in Interview with tags , on 11th November 2015 by izaforestspirit

My Own Sorrow is a relatively new dark electro artist from Sweden. His second album ‘Infernal Odyssey’ was released a few months ago. Iza caught up with the guy behind the project, Patrik, to discuss the occult, horror films and industrial music.

Iza: Hi Patrik! Could you tell me a little bit more about My Own Sorrow for those who haven’t heard your music before? How did you come up with the name?

Patrik: My Own Sorrow is a Swedish dark clad electronic solo act that formed in late 2013. I am Sorrow and also a sanguine demonic entity. Originally the music had a focus of slow cinematic darkwave with female vocalists but due to a lack of interest I took the role as vocalist.

The name is inspired by 19th century love for melancholy and horror authors such as Edgar Allan Poe or HP Lovecraft.

Iza: You have listed the occult as one of the inspirations for your music, what role does the occult play in your life and is this something that you believe in and practice?

Patrik: I have a wide range of spiritual beliefs including Tibetan Buddhism, necromancy, shamanism and demonology. I combine these with practice in obscure long forgotten rituals.

Iza: Horror is another key theme in your music. Based on some of the song titles such as ‘Crawling Chaos (Nyarlahotep)’, I’m guessing that you’re a H.P. Lovecraft fan. Which one of his stories is your favorite and why?

Patrik: A hard question but I find everything surrounding the mythos of the Necronomicon which Lovecraft created intriguing as it creates an urban legend of its existence.

Iza: Continuing with the horror themes, I’ve noticed some references to movies such as The Mist and Carnival of Souls in your songs. Are there any other films or TV shows which have inspired you? If so, which ones?

Patrik: I love old horror movies featuring Bela Lugosi and such classic actors but I am also a huge fan of horror in general. I say that I prefer mysterious movies such as the works of David Lynch but a good splatter zombie movie can also be very entertaining.

Iza: Most of your music, is available for download in mp3 format via your Bandcamp page and other sites but I struggled to find any physical releases? Have you considered releasing one of albums on CD in the future or are you going to stick to the digital formats?

Patrik:  I have had the idea of creating a very limited edition CD but due to a lack of funds and currently poor CD sales in general they may never be made. Digital releases and most importantly streaming has become the future.

Iza: I have a limited knowledge of the Swedish industrial and electro scene. Apart from My Own Sorrow, the only other Swedish electro band I’ve heard of is Telemark. Can you tell me a little bit about the scene in Sweden (e.g. other bands, events etc.)?

Patrik:  There are many alternative acts in Sweden but very few promoters and also they are often limited to synthpop, postpunk or old school EBM and not allowing much in the way of new sounds..

Iza: Your music is very atmospheric and eerie. The creepy atmosphere and use of samples, reminds me a little of bands like X-Fusion and Unter Null. What are your thoughts on those artists or are there any other industrial bands who you see as an inspiration for your music?

Patrik: Inspirations for my music include God Module and acts such as Suicide Commando. Unter Null and such acts are a minor influence but I often play their music when I DJ. I also draw inspiration from Sopor Aeternus and soundtracks such as the ones in Silent Hill.

Iza: There’s an ongoing debate about how industrial music is becoming too club-friendly; more like the mainstream styles such as techno or trance and that the “industrial” element is no longer there. What are your thoughts on this?

Patrik: Music must evolve but it is a fine line. It must have distinct, alternative elements of darkness or else it loses its original purpose and just falls into something mainstream or pop like.

Iza: You are a solo artist playing electronic music, does this pose any difficulties or restrictions for you when you do a live show? If you had the resources, is there anything that you would like to incorporate into your live shows such as dancers, guest musicians or props?

Patrik: It can be an incredible freedom and it allows me to follow the given vision. I want all live shows to have visual elements as it is an important part of creating an eerie atmosphere. It would be great to have guest female vocalists, cultists on stage or more props. Perhaps even a guest guitarist for such sections.

Iza: Some of more renowned industrial bands such as Combichrist and Celldweller, have contributed their music to film and video game soundtracks. Is this something that you would be interested in given the opportunity?

Patrik: It would be a dream to be able to contribute or create music for any horror movie or video game.

Iza: What’s the next step for My Own Sorrow? Any plans for the future?

Patrik: I plan on releasing a new album or an EP in 2016 and I am currently working on dozens of tracks. I also plan on following this up with more shows and perhaps a mini tour.

Iza: Do you have anything else that you would like to say to your fans and our readers?

Patrik: Open your hearts open your minds be creative follow your Dreams.

For more information about My Own Sorrow check out:

https://www.facebook.com/myownsorrowband/

https://myownsorrow.bandcamp.com/

http://www.vampirefreaks.com/myownsorrow

 

Tales For The Unspoken – CO2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 11th November 2015 by Pieni

Tales For The Unspoken
“CO2”
Thrash / Death Metal
Release: 11th April 2015
Via Raising Legends Records

 photo cpL6RqZGSbij-MwrRdCj3od-aqaemZLhnMwGIRrCyi0_zpsmuwkzndz.jpg

“CO2” is one of those albums you need to listen to more than once before you form a solid opinion about it. Not in the way that it will take a couple of times for the music to sink in, no; it’s just that there’s so much to it that you won’t be able to grasp it all at first. Tales For The Unspoken are not reinventing the wheel either, or even merging several opposite genres into a new one. They do draw influences from other styles – hence the creativity and richness of their sound – but the outcome is that dear ol’ mixture of thrash and death metal. And there lies the beauty of it: they stay within the boundaries of their genre and yet manage to stay original. Saying that the opening track, “Burned Alive”, has its aggression shaved off by the melody of its chorus may not appear that much of an originality nowadays, but once you hear how exquisitely refined it sounds, with guitarist Nuno Khan’s clean vocals, without compromising the aforementioned aggression, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Or the fluid guitar solo in “Soul For A Soul”. The groovy bass line of “World’s Biggest Lie” (which features Equaleft-Malone on lead guitar). And speaking of guests, there’s the stout participation of Miguel Inglês, also from Equaleft, in “I, Claudius”; the sharpness of Terror Empire-Ricardo Martins’ contribution to “Crossroads”; and the seduction of Joana Vieira in “Resilient Winter”. All of it immersed under an avalanche of riffs, spiced up with meticulous breakdowns. Never a dull moment with this “CO2”.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Salem’s Pot launch pre-orders for The Vampire Strikes Back vinyl EP

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 11th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Suzzed out Swedes Salem’s Pot have opened up orders for the 2-track vinyl release of their most recent EP, released in digital format this Halloween.

Salem's Pot - The Vampire Strikes Back

The record is available in a number of physical versions; test pressing, black vinyl, and clear vinyl. To order one up, head over to their label, Riding Easy’s online shop. The Vampire Strikes Back will see its hard copy release on Christmas Day.

You can listen to and share the EP at their Soundcloud page here

The Paradigm Complex – Amygdalopolis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 8th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

The Paradigm Complex
Amygdalopolis
Released November 1st 2015
Progressive rock
Self-released

The Paradigm Complex - Amygdalopolis

This is quite simply one of the most bizarre things I think I’ve ever had the pleasure to analyse in the process of reviewing music. Really weird. Really, really weird. The Paradigm Complex are the genuine stuff of twisted fever dreams, and have elevated themselves beyond the state of yet-another-prog-band, to actually using their instruments (including frontwoman Alexandra Pawlitka’s voice) to tell a story.

Drafted in from classic Hammer Horror films, themes from lycanthropy to extra-terrestrial abduction are used to break up the main track of almost an hour into mini-stories, each with their own, highly characterised musical backdrop, and engaging storytelling. It is powerfully tangible how much thought, effort and ingenuity has gone into the creation of what is not just a music release, but essentially a piece of art. A certain Mr Zombie would quite possibly be a little jealous (as a director) of the effectiveness of The Paradigm Complex’s cultural appropriation.

As the recording spirals through various atmospheres, it’s difficult to pin down any continuous comparison to other artists, but they are there. There is a film score flavour akin to John Carpenter colliding with Goblin, liberally splattered with classic prog and acid rock, while the vocals meld from Bjork into Lacuna Coil, into Angelspit, and back again. There is also a thread of metal sewn into the fabric, but this is not a metal album, per se; it simply encompasses some of that spirit.

The project in its entirety is held together very aptly with bleak interludes, which serve to complement the neighbouring movements, and amalgamate this as one fluid piece, an apocalyptic infection creeping up the listener’s spine. It’s one wild trip, and White Rabbit is going to have to try mighty hard to survive this audio conflict between War Of The Worlds and The Walking Dead.

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Darkyra Black – Fool

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 7th November 2015 by izaforestspirit

Darkyra Black 
Fool
Released 18th September 2015
Symphonic Metal
Released via Darkyra Black/ Cargo Records

‘Fool’ is the second album from the Australian symphonic metal artist Darkyra Black. It is the follow-up to her debut ‘Dragon Tears’, which released last year. The band is primarily a solo project of the singer and songwriter Gina Bafile, who has worked with various European rock and metal musicians in order to create this album. This release is a concept album about “the people seen come and go at the fountain of wishes, the fountain built for kings and queens of the past”. It is composed of two sections entitled ‘Fools of the Past’ and ‘Faces by the Fountain’.

Female-fronted symphonic or Gothic metal bands are a dime in a dozen these days. Ever since the birth of Nightwish in the mid 90s there has been more and more of these popping up hoping to become the next big thing. The problem is that for every Amberian Dawn or Leaves Eyes, there’s a least ten other similar bands out there fighting for their chance for fame. Nonetheless, I tried my best to stay objective and give Darkyra Black a go…

After a quick listen to the first few tracks it’s fairly easy to detect some similarities between these guys and Nightwish. For example, there’s the use of additional classical instruments and choirs to create that symphonic movie soundtrack feel, audible on tracks such as Of Fools and Gold and Bleed. Yet unlike Nightwish, which is very much centered around the the keyboards and vocals, this seems to be more guitar-driven with the keyboards acting as means to create the ambience while the vocals are at the forefront. Gina Bafile’s voice is powerful enough to be the dominant feature on most of the tracks. Who are They to Judge You? is a good example of just how well her vocal range fits to music. Her voice can be both soft akin to the likes of Within Temptation and compelling like the operatic style of After Forever.

Then we come to the second part of the album ‘Faces by the Fountain’, which continues along the same path as part one; offering six more songs to complete the perfect symphonic metal opera soundtrack to a fantasy adventure. For those who love operatic vocals, Flawless is the key track. If I had to pick out one song on here which highlights Ms Bafile’s skills as a singer, it would be this one. Another track which caught my attention was the beautifully crafted symphonic ballad that is It Takes 2 Kinds of Fools thanks to the enchanting orchestral intro and the delightful, skilfully executed story-telling vocals.

Overall this album turned out to be a pleasant surprise. It’s very easy to dismiss Darkyra as just another wannabe Nightwish clone. However, if you take your time to fully appreciate their music, you will discover that what Gina Bafile has created is something far more complex and unique.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Suicide Silence – Sacred Words (EP)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 7th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Suicide Silence – Sacred Words (EP)
Released October 23rd 2015
Deathcore
Released via Nuclear Blast

Suicide Silence - Sacred Words (EP)

Although this is billed as an EP, I certainly feel more like I’m listening to an old school single. The release comprises of the title track, plus its instrumental version, remix version, and live version, accompanied by live recordings of a further two tracks – Cease To Exist and Inherit The Crown. It’s a minor detail, but I think most people have come to expect more new material from musical output in this format. I also feel that four renditions of the same work is total overkill.

The focus track itself (taken from 2014’s You Can’t Stop Me) is a good display of ‘Eddie’ Hermida’s more core oriented vocal style, which has naturally divided opinion amongst fans since the untimely demise of original frontman Mitch Lucker. The music, however, lacks some of the vehemence of their previous recordings, and, for me, it’s the live takes which lift this platter to its peak. The energy they are delivered with is akin to that on some of extreme metal’s brightest moments in concert audio recordings. The immediate comparison which springs to mind is Pantera’s Live 101. The song-writing is a different pot of spuds, but the essence and tangible energy is very similar.

As someone who was never a fully-fledged admirer of Suicide Silence, or, indeed, deathcore in general, I am quite prepared for my opinion to be called into question on this, but to a certain degree, I find the new vocalisation more fitting to their current sound. That doesn’t mean better, and it could well be the case that the music has changed subtly in order to make this happen. The truth is we may never know, but in all honesty, it has turned me on a little to a band who I never really gave much thought to in the past, and I’m not really sure where many of their old school fans have found the ammunition for hate.

If you were a die-hard fan of You Can’t Stop Me, this will most likely please you as a behind-the-scenes collector’s piece, but I would personally hold out for the next full-length to effectively sate any death-core cravings.

3.5/5

 Paul Macmillan

The Vision Bleak reveal the title and the cover art for new album

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , on 3rd November 2015 by izaforestspirit

The German Gothic horror metal duo The Vision Bleak have recently announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘Witching Hour’, will be entitled ‘Into the Unknown’. You can check out the cover art here:

Here’s some comments about it from the band:

“The title pretty much sums up what we have been working on the last couple of months. When we started composing for this we didn’t know where we will be led to and our goal was to be truly honest and don’t think about nor care about anything we’ve done before. We were led into ourselves. The great ambivalence of our true beings. It will be an emotional record.” 

https://www.facebook.com/thevisionbleak.official/timeline