Archive for December, 2015

Echelon – Indulgence Over Abstinence Behind The Obsidian Veil

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 18th December 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Echelon
Indulgence Over Abstinence Behind The Obsidian Veil
Released October 17th 2015
Blackened death metal
Released via Metal Inquisition Records

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At first listen I wasn’t dragged into this one, but it’s really starting to grow on me. This is surely standard, old school death metal on introduction, but there are some nice touches of ‘other’ brought into play as well. From opener Adversary you get the feeling that there is a Satanic angle at work, as the title may suggest. The album name including the phrase ‘indulgence over abstinence’ only adds to this supposition. It’s enough to set the curiosity burning, and, sure enough, right there in their logo stands proud the symbol of the Satanic cross.

The digging further revealed that, interestingly, this is a two man project, featuring none other than Dave Ingram (ex-Bolt Thrower), with all music created by Rogga Johansson (Down Among The Dead Men – with Ingram – and far too many other bands to mention!). With that in mind, it’s easy to see why the classic DM vibe inhabits such a vast part of of their world. Don’t be misled, though. Aside from the vocals, Indulgence… bears only some resemblance to BT, or DATDM. Less choppy than the latter, and heavier than the former were during Ingram’s tenure, it’s still in the same ballpark, but is also identifiable as a distinct entity.

It is the darker experimentation brought about by the ‘black’ edge that fattens out this release, allowing Echelon to expand into areas which may be avoided by other DM bands. However, there’s one point at which I’m not sure they shouldn’t have reined in the divergence a little. The closer, Regenerative Genesis, begins by sweeping through with an ethereal narrative, backed by creaking soundscape, yet somehow, it’s the comical finale of the last few seconds that really stick out in the mind. The ‘no spoilers’ rule dictates that I can’t spill the beans on what that is, so you’ll just have to listen and find out for yourselves!

Chips down, this is a quality spin, sure to appeal to followers of traditional death metal who want a little something extra.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

American Head Charge: new album and UK tour with Mushroomhead

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

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American Head Charge have revealed that their upcoming fifth studio album will be called “Tango Umbrella” and is set to be released on the 25th of March next year, via Napalm Records. The artwork, created by Sam Shearon, has also been unveiled, along with the track list:

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1. Let All The World Believe
2. Drowning Under Everything
3. Perfectionist
4. Sacred
5. I Will Have My Day
6. A King Among Men
7. Suffer Elegantly
8. Antidote
9. Prolific Catastrophe
10. Down And Depraved
11. When The Time Is Never Right

But a few days before that, and quoting bassist Chad Hanks, the band is “very excited to return to our strongest territory overseas , the UK ,with our good friends in Mushroomhead… We look forward to coming back and more is soon to come!”

Dates and venues as follows:

March 2016

18th MANCHESTER – Club Academy
19th SHEFFIELD – Corporation
20th NOTTINGHAM – Rescue Rooms
22nd GLASGOW – The Classic Grand
23rd NEWCASTLE – Northumbria University
24th BIRMINGHAM – O2 Academy 2
25th CHESTER – The Live Rooms
26th BRISTOL – The Marble Factory
27th PLYMOUTH – The Hub
29th CARDIFF – The Globe
30th LONDON – Electric Ballroom
31st BRIGHTON – Concorde 2

April 2016

1st SOUTHAMPTON – Engine Rooms
2nd NORWICH – Waterfront
3rd READING – Sub89

www.headcharge.com
www.facebook.com/AmericanHeadCharge

Tó Pica – Is This The Best You Can Do?

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 10th December 2015 by Pieni

Tó Pica
“Is This The Best You Can Do?”
Metal/Rock
Released 30th September 2015
Via Premiere Music

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Tó Pica is such a veteran Portuguese guitar player that I’m surprised it took him so long to come up with a solo album. But then again, his involvement with other artists/bands is so extensive that the surprise may lay in how he found the time to do it…

First thing you need to know is that this isn’t a “guitarist’s album”, meaning you won’t hear intricate, overdone guitar pieces disguised as songs. Even “The Urge”, where the lack of vocals emphasizes the guitar, has a thick rhythm section and could belong to any top-notch metal band. And in the other instrumental song here, “And… Just Breathe”, the piano plays a bigger role than the guitar. So no, “Is This The Best You Can Do?” isn’t the reflection of a guitarist’s ego but a full band’s work; the solos have just the right measure of artfulness to show how skilled and talented Pica is.

Also, despite his experience dating back to I-don’t-know-how-many-ages-ago, this isn’t an old school album. Pica is a versatile and open-minded musician and so is the outcome of his work. From the more traditional “My Time Has Come” to the more alternative “The Tempest”, going though the whiff of prog in “Suspended Metamorphosis”, the inclusion of string arrangements in the acoustic “Taste My Blame” and the heartfelt emotion in the modern rock piece “Espelho” (mirror – my favorite), Pica and his friends bring you a dynamic mix of dashing songs. I can assure you the album title represents the sarcastic nature of the artist, not the traits of his work.

4,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Rotting Christ reveal title and track-listing for new album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Uncategorized with tags , , on 10th December 2015 by izaforestspirit

The Greek black metal band Rotting Christ have recently announced that their new album, the long awaited follow up to ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ will be entitled ‘Rituals’. You can check out the cover art below:

 

This new opus is scheduled to be released on 12th February 2016 via Season of the Mist Records. The track-listing will be as follows:

1. In Nomine Dei Nostri
2. Ze Nigmar
3. Elthe Kyrie
4. Apage Satana
5. Les Litanies De Satan (Fleurs du mal)
6. For A Voice Like Thunder
7. Komx Om Pax
8. Devadevam
9. Thou Thanatou
10. The Four Horsemen

Check out the link below to stream one of the new songs ‘Elthe Kyrie’ on Soundcloud:

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/236646120%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-rXRJB&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true

https://www.facebook.com/Rotting-Christ-290468585669/

http://www.rotting-christ.com/

Frozen Ocean – The Prowess Of Dormition

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 10th December 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Frozen Ocean
The Prowess Of Dormition
Released February 26th 2016
Atmospheric black metal
Released via Apocalyptic Witchcraft Records

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I don’t think this band could have picked a more fitting name, judging by the unveiling of The Prowess Of Dormition’s first track. This is like sailing face first into a blizzard of ice, albeit in an eerily pleasant way. When discussing black metal, the term ‘atmospheric’ tends to feed me a pre-emptive expectation of slow, meandering ponderings, but this leans far more heavily on the BM side of things. ‘Atmospheric’ in Frozen Ocean’s universe might be better replaced by other words. Not that I’m keen on expanding the list of sub-sub-sub-genre tags already available, unless through descriptive necessity, titanic black metal does have a certain ring to it.

I’m not sure whereabouts in Russia they hail from, but they seem to have taken influence from the folk music of The Steppes which stretch out into Northern Asia. However, it is in a far more extreme direction than, say, Mongolia’s Nine Treasures. The import of the folk element would be better compared Melechesh’s inclusion of Persian sonic idioms, or the metalised Celticisms of Cnoc An Tursa. Blending this with the depth of Moonsorrow, and the pace of Enslaved, TPOD is delivered with a certain charisma which makes it stand out from its contemporaries.

The ability to capture such a distinct essence is all the more impressive, considering this all created by the individual known as Vaarwel, the single contributor to Frozen Ocean’s output. It’s a shame, as it would be easy to imagine this music performed by a full line-up in an open air environment, under the likes of Primordial or Satyricon. However, if you’re not big on society’s take on the coldest season, yet still have an affinity for winter, TPOD is the perfect partner to isolated ambulations and frostbitten retrospect. Definitely worth putting on your mp3 player and letting yourself become immersed for a while.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

Eradikator – Edge Of Humanity

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

Eradikator
Edge Of Humanity
Released July 17th 2015
Thrash metal
Self-released

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Having been a fan of Eradikator before the release of Edge Of Humanity, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect; full on Bay Area style thrash, and that is exactly what has been delivered. When all is said and done, thrash really was over played and rehashed for a long time of late, but every so often one stumbles across an absolute gem of a band. Eradikator are definitely one such discovery.

Even the casual listener will definitely be able to pick out some big influences. Megadeth, Metallica, and Testament are emblazoned shamelessly on the denim vest of Eradikator’s cannon, so much so that you could firmly believe they were spawned in the same era. In spite of this, every blast from this record is the band’s own, and the similarities, strong as they may be, are blended throughout as tribute rather than replication.

This is a cumulative effect, as each member brings their own slice of genius to the table. Pat Cox’s vocals, while holding a Hetfield-esque timbre, are also reminiscent of Chuck Billy before illness gave him that demonic growl. Matched with incredibly well-crafted lyrics, they nestle comfortably between Andy MacNevin and Liam Priest’s wide array of progressive thrash, and the Nick Menza backbone provided by drummer Jon MacNevin (yes, they are related). If only those artists were still putting out albums of this calibre.

Capturing the intensity and excitement of the original movers and shakers of the scene, particularly late 80s releases, Edge Of Humanity is a prime example of what many have tried to do and failed. Eradikator totally own this sound, with creative riffs and structures, and have well and truly raised the bar for future classic thrash bands to reach.

5/5

Paul Macmillan

Eluveitie and Turisas live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 6th December 2015 by izaforestspirit

Barren Earth, Eluveitie, Turisas
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
5th December 

A stormy winter’s night in Tampere. It had been raining all day and there was some strong wind blowing as I headed down to the venue. I haven’t been to Pakkahuone for years… Last night was good occasion to venture out into the stormy weather for a chance to see some folk metal.

Ok… So the first band on wasn’t actually folk metal. The Icelanders Skálmöld had their show cancelled for some reason.  This meant that the first act was the Finnish progressive melodeath band Barren Earth. These guys reminded me of Opeth and just as with Opeth I couldn’t really get into their music. There was just too much of the experimental, progressive elements and not enough melodic death metal for my liking. 2/5

I’ve been meaning to check out Eluveitie for a long time. Turisas may have been the headliner but this was actually the show that I was looking forward to the most. Luckily for me, they didn’t disappoint. There’s something about folk metal that makes it sound great live. The combination of folk instruments such as flutes, hurdy gurdy, bag-pipes and fiddles with metal is so incredibly catchy that I reckon that even fans of mainstream music styles would enjoy it. Eluveitie also have a good stage presence and they really know how to agitate a crowd. The highlights for me were ‘Call of The Mountains’ and my personal favourite ‘Inis Mona’. 5/5

Folk metal, “battle metal” and even “party metal” or whatever you wish to call them, Turisas are a bit of a gimmick these days. I’ve seen them live once before, many years ago when they toured with Alestorm. Back then they were all about the warrior costumes, war-paint and they had an accordion player. Fast forward a few years and they still wear their war-paint; only now their singer has swapped his armour for a leather jacket and the accordion player is gone. Apart from that not much else has changed, their music is just as catchy and cheesy as it was the first time that I saw them. It’s the kind of stuff that sounds best once you’ve had a few drinks. Then you can truly start to enjoy their hit tracks such as ‘To Holmgard and Beyond’, ‘Battle Metal’ and the cover of ‘Rasputin’. 4/5

 

Overall it was a really enjoyable evening. I’m so glad that I finally got to see Eluveitie. Turisas were everything that I expected them to be. I’ve never been a massive fan but they always put on a great show. As for Skálmöld, hopefully I will get another opportunity to see them live at some point.

Iza Raittila