Archive for February, 2016

Rage’s “The Devil Strikes Again” to include bonus live CD

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 29th February 2016 by Pieni

As you’ve probably suspected, RAGE‘s EP “My Way” (review here) precedes the release of the band’s 22nd studio album (23rd if you count with the one in collaboration with LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA). “The Devil Strikes Again” will see the light of day on June 10th, via Nuclear Blast. Artwork and tracklist as follows:

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01. The Devil Strikes Again
02. My Way
03. Back On Track
04. The Final Curtain
05. War
06. Ocean Full Of Tears
07. Deaf, Dumb And Blind
08. Spirits Of The Night
09. Times Of Darkness
10. The Dark Side Of The Sun

Bonus CD:
01. Bring Me Down
02. Requiem
03. Into The Fire
04. Slave To The Grind (SKID ROW Cover)
05. Bravado (RUSH Cover)
06. Open Fire (Y&T Cover)

Today, RAGE announced that there will also be a limited edition (1.000 copies) of a 3CD DIGI, the third disc recorded live during the latest European tour with HELLOWEEN. Here’s the tracklist of said disc:

Bonus Live CD
01. Black In Mind
02. Sent By The Devil
03. End Of All Days
04. Back In Time
05. Down
06. My Way
07. Until I Die
08. Don’t Fear The Winter
09. Higher Than The Sky

“The Devil Strikes Again” was recorded in September/October 2015 at Megafon Studios (Burscheid, Germany) and at Soundchaser Studios (Zandhoven, Belgium). Its production was handled by Marcos Rodriguez and Peavy Wagner, whilst renowned the Dan Swanö (MARDUK, OPETH, DISSECTION, KATATONIA) took care of the mix and mastering at Unisound Studios (Grefrath, Germany). The stunning cover artwork was created by Karim König (photo credit: Ivan K. Maras, director of the “My Way” music video).

You can pre-order the Limited Edition 3CD Digibook here.

www.rage-official.com
www.facebook.com/rageofficialband
www.nuclearblast.de/rage

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Section A – Wall of Silence

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 26th February 2016 by izaforestspirit

Section A
Wall of Silence
Released 12th February (North America) 26th February 2016 (Europe and Asia)
Melodic Heavy Metal/Progressive Power Metal
Released via Mausoleum Records

‘Wall of Silence’ is the new album from the Danish heavy metal band Section A. It is the long awaited follow-up to their previous release ‘Sacrifice’, which was released back in 2010. This is the first album to feature their new singer Nicklas Sonne (Wasted, Defecto). The band was formed back in 2001 by guitarist and keyboard player Torben Enevoldsen (Fatal Force).

This is my first encounter of Section A, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them. The album’s futuristic cover art made me think of science fiction themes and ‘outer space’, which in metal tends to be linked to bands such as Fear Factory or The Kovenant. In this case, though, it couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no techno drums, electronics or space metal here. Instead, what you get is some melodic, mostly guitar-driven power metal with melodic keyboards and the odd hint of progressive tunes.

Some of the songs are faster and heavier than others, for instance No Tomorrow picks up the pace and really highlights Enevoldsen’s skills as a guitarist. Speaking of guitar tunes, the ones on that song owe more to power metal than progressive metal which is good for me since I’m not a massive fan of the overly technical prog-metal guitar work. It’s got the right balance of a decent pace, catchy and slick guitar riffs and a sing-along chorus. I also enjoyed the dynamic guitar tunes and highly energetic keyboards in the first half of When All is Falling. However, if more complex structures and progressive guitar riffs are your thing, then Bleeding Chains is the song for you.

Overall this album requires a bit of patience and it took me a few listens to get into it. While I’m not super keen on the progressive elements, I did enjoy the catchier, more power metal -style tracks like ‘No Tomorrow’. Also the guitar work is top notch and that’s what counts the most for me.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Cairo Son – Storm Clouds

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by mickbirchy

Cairo Son
Storm Clouds
Rock, Grunge, Stoner, Blues
Released: 18th March 2016
Self released

The British rockers have been growing in popularity for some time and with their new album Storm Clouds on the horizon, pun totally intended, the trio look to expand.  Cairo Son, from London, mix together the hypnotic rhythm of blues and stoner rock and the heaviness and intensity of heavy metal and grunge to create a really fascinating listen. Their riffs are precise and sharp, with heavy bass that thunders in the background of the production. With their debut “Heart Against The Feather” backing them up, the band look to capitalise on that with this upcoming album in 2016.

The album opens with that riff styling I’ve mentioned already. It captivates you and makes you want to hear more. “Lost in the Shadow” is dark and twisted and uses the bluesy tone to its advantage.  Letting the music do its job of creating a dark and twisted sound, as the vocals are entrancing over the top. The harmonies on this album are simply lovely and really invoke that early 90’s grunge/stoner sound that they’re clearly aiming for.  The strong and powerful vocals really counter the music perfectly as it’s quite subdued. The two singles from this album “Lion in a Cage” and “Devil’s Tongue” are well performed, with anthemic choruses and hard-hitting riffs.  It brings to mind the early 2000’s nu-metal scene.  At the same time though it’s not as petty or whiny as that.  There genuinely seems to be a great sense of command and power to their performance here.

Although there aren’t many tracks, it still reaches a substantial length thanks to the near 11 minute epic that is the album’s title track “Storm Clouds” which drudges along at that bluesy pace. However, the song never feels like it’s dragging you by the nose to get through it.  The run time is justified as a lot of emotion comes out in this song and it feels very grandiose, like the band were aiming for something big. It hits all of the points you’d want a song like this to hit. I love Magdy’s voice on this song, he just matches the tone to the words and to the music so well.  It really does feel epic.

As you can probably tell I’m loving this album.  I can’t really name any drawbacks, it just works for me.  Is it for everyone?  Honestly, no but I feel that there is an audience for it.  A big audience. People who like well crafted riffs and emotional melodies will love this. However if you’re not into music that takes its time with bluesy sounds and heavy riffs then you’re probably not going to have a good time with this. Overall, I loved it and I would recommend giving it a listen.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Ricky Warwick – When Patsy Cline Was Crazy…

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by Pieni

Ricky Warwick
“When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” / “Hearts On Trees”
Hard Rock
Released: 26th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

 photo rickywarwick-patsycline_zps181lmmnd.jpg

I’ve been listening to this album on a daily basis for the past two weeks, trying to come up with the right words to describe it, but always ended up losing myself in the melodies and Warwick’s voice. As the album is out today, I decided I couldn’t postpone this review any longer and it was better to write it by heart – by now I definitely can do that – as pressing “play” would distract me again.

That’s what you must be prepared for when listening to this double album – to have your senses enthralled and be taken away to that place in your mind where everything will be fine. Even if you’re listening to “Psycho”, a song depicting a troubled mind reaching out to his mom.

The first CD “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” comprises the electric songs, while “Hearts On Trees” offers the acoustic ones. Which doesn’t mean that the latter is less fiery than the former. Born in Northern Island, Warwick brought the high spirited Irish music in the form of the title track and “Schwaben Redoubt” (although the story here ends with death). “Disasters” is pretty upbeat too.

Living up to its title, “Presbyterian Homesick Blues” is a blues song, but not exactly sad – it’s one of those that touches your feelings. And “Way Too Cold To Snow”, despite the somewhat melancholy, is just too beautiful to stir anything but life inside of you.

In “When Patsy Cline…” you’ll find that pure, classic rock that Warwick’s gotten us used to for years. The heavy opener “The Road To Damascus Street”, the catchy “Celebrating Sinking”, the sharp “Toffee Town”, the horn section in “That’s Where The Story Ends”… Twenty songs (plus eight bonuses!) to love.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

The Vision Bleak release new EP

Posted in Metal, News, Studio Report with tags , on 25th February 2016 by izaforestspirit

The German gothic “horror” metal duo The Vision Bleak have just announced that they will be releasing a new, limited edition EP entitled ‘The Kindred Of The Sunset’. The new EP will feature two new songs from their upcoming album ‘Into The Unknown. This will be a limited edition will available for purchase at the band’s shows and from their online shop at http://en.prophecy.de/shop/.

You can check out the artwork and the tracklisting here:

The Kindred Of The Sunset
The Whine Of The Cemetery Hound
The Sleeping Beauty (Tiamat Cover)
Purification Afterglow

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

http://www.the-vision-bleak.de/

My Silent Wake – An Unbroken Threnody

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th February 2016 by Paul Macmillan

My Silent Wake
An Unbroken Threnody
Released 08th February 2016
Doom metal
Released via Stone Groove Records

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‘Best of’ compilations can be a great way to introduce new listeners to a band, and in An Unbroken Threnody, My Silent Wake have properly grabbed my attention. This collection of music is drawn from the first ten years of their fairly prolific career, and therefore encompasses a fairly wide spread of style, ranging from more or less pure doom, through a touch of death metal, and what might even be a hint of psychedelic doom, a la The Blood Divine’s Mystica.

As the press release states, this is ‘for fans of’ Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Indiscience. The influences of these bands are plain as day, out there for all to see – and it’s glorious! PL and MDB are clearly a massive part of the mix, and, for someone who remembers the soul shaking gothic riffs of the  1990s, it is a welcome return to a sensation long resigned to the ‘meh’ pile of life. If I’d been aware of this band throughout their existence, I would have devoured their releases one after the other. However, I’m almost glad I didn’t, as this is a real pleasure to delve into without prior warning.

There are naturally parts which are stronger than others. It’s a good sign that two of the crowning moments, Highwire & And So It Comes To An End, are taken from 2015’s Damnatio Memoriae, and show a band who have matured rather than grown flaccid with age. Older material still stands up perfectly well, such as the diabolically hefty Tunnels – the opener from 2008’s  A Garland Of Tears -and the almost folk-infused Shadow Of Sorrow from their debut of the same name.

It’s inspiring to hear a band who have delivered such consistently high-calibre output, even more so when a decade’s worth of their music hits you square in the chops in one sitting. If you were a fan of any of the acts mentioned in this review, but haven’t yet checked out MSW, I highly recommend you do. Although the comparisons are spot on, this is no imitation. This is the real deal.

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

To The Rats And Wolves – Neverland

Posted in 'Core, Alternative, CD with tags , , , , , on 23rd February 2016 by Pieni

To The Rats And Wolves
“Neverland”
Trancecore
Release: 19th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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I’m not surprised that trancecore is a thing, as anything goes nowadays. What I’m surprised is that To The Rats And Wolves is included in that category as electro-pop-core is way more accurate. Their homeland Germany is a country where you have a rave in one corner of the block and a metal gig in the other (yes, kids, it’s a hyperbole) and it is said that many go to the former after the latter is finished. Nothing against it, open-mindedness is something to be treasured. I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea to merge both, no matter how out-of-the-box the concept might be.

Especially when only the trance is shaping the songs, while the hardcore is pretty much repeating itself in every track – similar cranking riffs, predictable breakdowns… It’s in the electronics that you’ll hear different patterns defining different melodies (and not exactly outstanding ones). When it comes to vocals, even though the growls and screams assume a big role, it’s the pop-ish clean tones that always take lead in the choruses. So eventually you feel like this is not a real fusion but just the addition of some elements of one genre into the basic structure of another. The opener “Suburban Romance” is the most balanced track, followed by “Schoolyard Warfare”, but the majority of the album heads towards the dancefloor – especially “Wild At Heart” and “Kill The DJ”. And then there’s the ballad “Ghosts” which… Well, it’s a ballad. ‘Nuff said.

On the other hand, the nature of “Neverland” is so mainstream that it may actually cause some fuss. I still think it lacks substance.

2/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino