Archive for April, 2016

Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 30th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Rob Zombie
The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
Released 29th April 2016
Hard Rock/Industrial Rock
Released via Universal Music

The American hard rock artist and filmmaker Rob Zombie doesn’t need much of an introduction. He’s been a household name in the alternative music industry for decades. His fans fall into one or more of the following categories: a) fans of the his first music venture – metal band White Zombie, b) fans of his hard rock/industrial rock solo project Rob Zombie, or c) fans of his horror movies. Personally I fit best into the second category, even though I like the last White Zombie album and some of Rob Zombie’s movies. My first encounter with Rob Zombie’s music was hearing his song ‘Dragula’ in the film ‘The Matrix’. I now own a sizable collection of Rob Zombie albums; some are good, some not so great but so far the first two ‘Hellbilly Deluxe’ and ‘The Sinister Urge’ have been my firm favourites. Which brings me to his latest effort…(….deep breath…wait for it…):

THE ELECTRIC WARLOCK ACID WITCH SATANIC ORGY CELEBRATION DISPENSER

Yes…That’s quite a mouthful. Hmmm… I think that I will just refer to it as “The Electric Warlock…” from now on. The first track The Last The Demons Defeated is essentially an intro, creating that familiar-sounding, horror movie -style creepy atmosphere that the band is known for. The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God has some of the cheesiest lyrics I’ve heard in a long while but it’s a catchy hard rock track that reminded me of Rob Zombie’s early works. Then there’s the funky, bat-shit crazy oddball that it is ‘Well, Everybody’s Fucking in a U.F.O – the song that had left me feeling puzzled ever since I saw the video for it on Youtube. I can’t really comprehend as to what the hell is going on on this track. As amusing and catchy as it might be, for some strange reason it doesn’t really sound like something you would expect to hear from Rob Zombie.

The two tracks that stood out the most for me were The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore and In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High. The first one has practically everything going for it, from the catchy chorus, to the playful rocking guitar and the eerie, horror soundtrack -style keyboards. The latter sports another ridiculously long title, which was shortened to ‘We Get High’ or simply ‘Get High’ for the video released. ‘Get High‘ is without a doubt my favourite song on here. Zombie’s vocals sound better than ever and the guitar work is fantastic. It’s also super catchy and has all the markings of a future Rob Zombie classic just like Dragula and Living Dead Girl. The rest of the album continues along the same path, offering more of the same cocktail of dark humour-filled lyrics, catchy groove metal, hard rock, industrial rock and of course horror themes. The final track, the slow and eerie-sounding Wurdalak is an exception, being not only the longest but also the most gloomy song on here due the grim sounds of the piano and ghastly vocals.

Overall, ‘The Electric Warlock…’ is a serious improvement compared to its predecessor ‘Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor’. Not only is the music much heavier but also the individual songs are far more distinctive and memorable. The ‘…U.F.O’ song takes some getting used to but other than that this album is everything that any Rob Zombie fan like me would have hoped for.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Beholder – Reflections

Posted in Uncategorized on 26th April 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Beholder – Reflections

Released April 12th 2016

Progressive power metal

Released via Razorline Music

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Throughout the whole of their career, one of the most noticeable, stand-out features of the Beholder sound has been the vocal style of frontman, Simon Hall. Falling somewhere between Ronnie James Dio and Blayze Bayley (although with significantly more bite and snarl), his is a voice most certainly soaked and aged in classic metal. He actually has a beautiful set of pipes for such a great mountain of a man, but plays out on the rougher end of the field a lot of the time.

On Reflections, however, the musical backdrop has altered noticeably from that on previous releases. If you’ve followed Beholder from their earthly beginnings, you’ll most likely have picked up on the djent/prog leanings which supplemented their original power/thrash sound on sophomore album The Order Of Chaos. Well, that edge has been ploughed up and lathered on with a spade for 2016. Think that sounds like a bad thing? You’re wrong. Throw any negative associations you have (involuntarily?) cultivated surrounding djent and prog in recent times clean out the window.

What Beholder have done here is create a machine out of organic parts; a kind of ironclad Frankenstein’s monster of sorts. No carbon copy from the sub-genre factory, this is cutting edge experimentation. No doubt this is informed by their old school roots, and where Hall’s vocal seem like they should clash on paper, they actually do more to make this a unique and flawless article. It could potentially see them held aloft as a contender for ‘the big leagues’, pulling up behind the Gojiras and Mastodons who have climbed the ranks on their own terms.

With a cold and angry attitude, Reflections is defiant upstart, calling the world to rights. The raised fist. The death-stare. It’s a new phase in the band’s development, and I don’t think they’ve ever sounded better.

5/5

Paul Macmillan

Patricia Vonne – Rattle My Cage

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , on 26th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Patricia Vonne
Rattle my Cage
Released 22nd April 2016
Texas “Tejano” Rock
Released via String Commander, a division of M.I.G.-Music GmbH

Rattle my Cage’ is the new album from the Texan American singer and songwriter Patricia Vonne. In addition to being a musician, Vonne is also an actress and the sister of renowned film maker Robert Rodriguez. Her style is a mixture of rock with Latino music and jazz as well as other genres popular in her native Texas.

I’m not exactly sure what Texas rock is. Texas makes me think of Westerns, ranches, cowboys, country music, Tex-mex food and so on. Based on the description offered in the press release, I knew that this wasn’t going to be country music nor was it a soundtrack to some Western movie. So, let’s see what we have here…

The title track, co-written with the blues artist Johnny Reno, is a pleasant and fairly catchy rock song which demonstrates Vonne’s skill as a singer. Her melodic and passionate vocals are a perfect match to the guitars. The Latino style, Spanish song Que Maravilla slows the pace down a little with the guitar tunes and the sound of the violin giving it a slightly sombre tone. Also Patricia Vonne’s Spanish sounds all the more profound and it’s impossible not to feel the emotions that must have gone into writing the lyrics.

This Cat’s in the Doghouse has that catchy and light-hearted rock’n’roll style which makes you want to get up and dance. Dulce Refugio sounds like that would easily be played in any club or bar specializing in Latino music be it salsa, tango or even flamenco. You can almost picture yourself at a bar by the beach, wearing a sombrero hat and drinking an ice-cold Corona beer.

In summary, listening to ‘Rattle My Cage’ this has been an interesting and educational experience for me. It’s taught me a few things about the various music styles of Texas. I happen to speak Spanish and I’m familiar with Latino music so Patricia Vonne’s Spanish songs on here struck a cord with me.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Green Death – Manufacturing Evil

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 22nd April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Green Death
Manufacturing Evil
Released 15th July 2016
Thrash Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

 

Manufacturing Evil’ is the second album from the American thrash metal band Green Death. It is a follow up to two EPs and their 2013 debut release ‘The Deathening’. This album features David Vicent (ex- Morbid Angel) as a guest vocalist on one of the tracks.

We’re off to a good start with the melodic intro, easing you in to the title track which is a full on barrage of thrashing guitars and vocals that remind me of Testament and Iced Earth. Gates of Hell is an interesting blend of thrash and death metal which gives the song an aggressive feel. Luckily for these guys I just happen to like both of those genres, so this combination works very well for me.

Soulless came as a bit of surprise being the only slow song on here with melodic guitar and radio-friendly clear vocals entering the frame. Not that it’s a bad thing, after all several of the legendary thrash metal bands have a few ballads. Devil’s Night marks a return to the same vocal style but the guitar work is much more refined and complex. There’s also elements of groove metal in the guitars akin to the likes of Pantera.

Overall, this album is predominantly in the thrash metal category but it also offers a good mix of other metal styles . Luckily the mix is just right so the songs don’t sound like a horrible cacophony of experimental noise. Fans of traditional thrash may have some issues with the death metal elements on some of the tracks. Personally I think that they have a very unique style and a bright future ahead of them.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Dog Tired – It Came From The Sun

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 22nd April 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Dog Tired
It Came From The Sun
Released April 30th 2016
Heavy metal
Self-released

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Dog Tired have been a solid metal staple of the Scottish scene for many years, now. Elements of Pantera, Machine Head, and Lamb Of God have always been part of their well-rounded character, smeared over with a bit of tongue-in-cheek swagger. Their first two albums, Dead Head Rebel and Titan were both very well received by those who experienced them, and you should really hear them first for a full background, but It Came From The Sun is somewhat of a new beast.

The whole package on this latest release has taken on a more professional veneer. While there’s still a fair ol’ whack of high tempo shenanigans, it is delivered within the bounds of a more laid back, comfortable feel; DT have certainly heaped on the sludge attitude for this one. I wouldn’t out-and-out say that they have re-invented themselves. They have redefined with a sense of maturity which, while not previously absent, has massively developed.

The step-up in production has certainly helped them to achieve this, bringing a more streamlined sound – epic vocals and huge guitars – giving much needed breathing space to the new material. The lyrical content seems to have taken on a more serious bent as well. On first quick spin, I honestly wasn’t sure if I liked missing out on the ‘Mad Jack’s and the ‘Booze Hound’s of old, but that fear was quickly annihilated by the roars of ‘history repeats itself’ and ‘Dominus victorious’. It’s blatant that effort has been lavished on this aspect of the creative process, in order to match up to the advances in the instrumental aesthetics.

In total, it’s become a lot harder, if not irrelevant to compare them to the bands above, and it seems that this is now the sound they always aimed for; part ‘90s, part swedeath, part sludge, part hardcore, all fresh, driven metal. At any rate, this is pretty exciting, for DT, for their existing fans, and for those yet to discover them. Hopefully they will turn out more material of a similar ilk. This album is one (slightly unexpectedly) grim monster, and will hunt you down in your metal dreams. Earmark it as a future classic!

5/5

Paul Macmillan

Satan’s Fall – Seven Nights (demo)

Posted in Metal with tags , , on 20th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Satan’s Fall
Seven Nights
Released 19th January 2016
Heavy Metal with elements of Speed Metal and Power Metal
Released via Underground Power Records

 

‘Seven Nights’ is the first demo from the Helsinki-based, Finnish heavy metal band Satan’s Fall. This release is available in digital format from the band’s Bandcamp page as well as a very limited edition CD via Stormspell Records, USA. I enjoyed their show in Tampere last weekend so I decided to check them out.

There’s only three songs on here, so I’ve decided to say a little bit about each one. First up is Poisonhead which features some fast, speed metal -style guitar riffs at the start. Then it switches to a slower, 80s classic heavy metal style with vocals. Oh, did I say 80s heavy metal…? What I meant more precisely was the early works of Ozzy Osbourne. Steel Highway has some impressive guitar melodies and it reminded me of Mercyful Fate for some reason. I can’t quite explain why, perhaps it’s the guitar patterns or the slightly high pitched vocal style. The final song Seven Nights is very guitar-driven and contains a catchy mix of fast speed metal and the more melodic power metal guitar patterns.

Overall, as tends to be the case with demos, it’s difficult to judge a band based on just three songs. As for as demos go, this is a promising piece of work. Satan’s Fall clearly wear their influences on their sleeves. You will find elements of classic heavy metal, speed metal and power metal in their music. So far I’ve enjoyed all their songs and I’m looking forward to their debut album.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Ranger live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 16th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Steel Machine, Satan’s Fall, Ranger
Dog’s Home, Tampere, Finland
15th April 2016

The Dog’s Home is a pub located in Tampere’s city centre. I haven’t been there since the Two Witches’ show last spring. This time it was a little different because it was a metal gig, heavy and speed metal to be precise… Ultra, fast, adrenalin-fuelled metal music that is really fun to listen to and tends to sound great live.

First up was Steel Machine who are clearly big fans of Motörhead. Not only did their singer wear a Motörhead t-shirt during their performance, they also covered a Motörhead song at the end of their show. They also happen to sound like a raw, demo-esque version of the aforementioned, world-renowned British heavy metal band. 3.5/5

The Helsinki-based, heavy metal act Satan’s Fall are a new entrant to the Finnish metal scene. They were entertaining to watch even if they were not on stage for as long as the previous band. Their style is a mixture of 80s heavy metal with some power metal and speed metal elements. What I heard was only a handful of songs but I enjoyed all of them. 4/5

I’ve seen Ranger live twice before so I pretty much knew what to expect. They’re an energetic young band who play ultra fast speed metal. I liked their debut album so much that I listed it as one of my favourite metal releases of 2015. But enough of that and on to the show… They were just as good if not even better than the first time that I saw them live. The only issue I had with their show was the venue that they played in. They are perfectly suited for an open air festival and a slightly bigger concert venue. Dog’s Home however, is none of these things. It’s a pub with a very small stage that’s so low down that it puts the band practically at the same level as the audience. So as much as I enjoyed their show, it was actually really difficult to see them at times. 4/5

 

Overall, it was a good night and I enjoyed all three performances. It’s always nice to see some new bands appearing in the Finnish metal scene and it’s even better when they decide to visit my city.
Iza Raittila