Archive for April, 2016

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

Posted in Uncategorized 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

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 Uncategorized 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 Uncategorized 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 Review 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 Uncategorized 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 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

 

Interview with La-Ventura

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 15th April 2016 by mickbirchy

Fresh off of their performance at Quinphonic Festival 2 our writer, Mick Birchall chatted to frontwoman Carla van Huizen and bassist Mike Saffrie from La-Ventura. Where they discuss touring, influences, the symphonic metal genre and how music has kept them going.

Mick: So we have just come off of Quinphonic Festival, how did you enjoy it?

Carla & Mike: Quinphonic Fest and The UK were a blast! We had a fantastic time there, meeting many old and new fans and enjoying some great UK metal hospitality!

Mick: How did you like the UK crowds?

Mike: The crowd was fantastic, because they showed their appreciation in many ways, which is not always the case here back home. With the crowd we encountered at Quinphonic, you could see them enjoy the music and efforts of the bands where genuine reactions, before during and after the shows, were shown – prefect!

Carla: All we can say is this: UK crowds are AWESOME!

Mick: Is there any countries that you haven’t been to that you’d like to play in?

Carla: Well, the easiest of answers would be The States or Japan for instance for our kind of music, but we are glad and appreciate to do these trips closer to home here in Europe.

If we can do trips across the Oceans than of course we will do them, but for now we have a lot more to do here in Europe first!

Mick: To you, what is the most important thing about playing live?

Mike: Connecting with the audience and work your ass off to give them a great time! Worst scenario would be, seeing people leave during your concert, because they thought it isn’t worth their time. If it came about, because you as an artist did not give your best, then right so. We artists need to understand, that having an audience is not a standard, there is so much more people can do with their free time. When they choose to go to a gig, to see you, then we have to give them our a-game – nothing more, nothing less.

Mick: Typically speaking of the genre of symphonic metal and female fronted metal. I’m a big fan of the music that is produced and I’m seeing the genre grow all the time. With festivals like Metal Female Voices Fest (in Belgium), Quinphonic Festival and Muses of Metal (in UK) just as examples. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this type of music?

Mike: Yes, we are aware of this and it can work in our favor. To be truly honest: for me it is irrelevant if a band is female or male fronted: a band is either good or bad, regardless who fronts it.

Nevertheless, Metal has always been male dominant, so it is a good thing a female fronted band can have an edge to compete with established bands in the genre.

We now are at a point, that also for female fronted bands, the market is flooded with way to many (copy-cat) bands. Now it is clear bands need to have their own identity to survive. Now many more programs and line-ups at venues or festival are with both, male and female fronted bands to give the people the best. To me this is a good thing, to make sure that only the worthy can do the things needed to setup a good career and showcase the best of music for people to enjoy regardless if it is male or female fronted.

Mick: What do you think draws people to this type of music?

Mike: Pretty faces if it concerns female fronted…..?!?!!? ;)!

Mick: What do you feel drives you to make music and who influences you?

Mike: For me music has always been part of my live Even at an early age, Metal/ Rock was the one thing that really inspired me to pick up my guitar/ bass. Of course when looking at my age, Metallica was there to give me the first basics of how to riff.

12938164_1005385862831619_2290800798376230759_nBut it went all over the place. I listened to Death (Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic), got to know Machine Head (Burn my Eyes), went to Fear Factory (Demanufacture), to the new dawn of Metal with bands like Sevendust (Home), Soilwork (well all of their earlier stuff!) to nowadays even bands like Killswitch Engage (though I really miss Howard as singer, the new album has some great moments!)and Crown the Empire with their excellent musical skills and songwriting.    

Mick: What first inspired you into playing music, singing and songwriting?

Carla: Well, my first love for music came from listening to the top 40 hits, and watching the Eurovision Song Contest 😉 Even though I grew up with classical  music and learning to play flute, I always liked the Rock scene very much. It took me a lot of courage and self esteem to climb up a stage, myself. Just by incident I was asked to help out some friends in a band, to fill in a temporary vocal position. After that it just grew on me. Took some singing lessons and learned to become more confident in the spotlights. I am now enjoying myself immensely on stage and off stage, especially putting my soul into writing lyrics and vocal lines together with my brilliant band mates.

Mike: My family, cause we all play an instrument or sing. So, it wasn’t that big of a leap to do more with it. I also did (what is more known worldwide as the Rockschool) the Rockacademy here in Holland, to give me even more tools to work with behind the scenes, to make some sort of career in making music.

Songwriting was not something I picked up, cause I was good at it (I do not consider myself as songwriter), but with all the bands I worked with it seemed at one point that the songs came from one hand primarily.

Only for La-Ventura it has now grown to a certain direction, which for me suits the bill in making new songs. With the clear path we have chosen, music wise, making songs is in this case my cup of tea. Maybe in the future this can change, but for now it is “just” me.

Mick: What’s the one song you wish you could have written and why?

Mike: That is a tough question… There are many examples of songs which are seriously gems in the genres. Because I do not consider myself in any of their leagues, picking one would almost be blasphemy 😉 What I will say is this: we all need to be grateful that in all matters in life there have been pioneers, opening up possibilities for others. I hope maybe one day, I can contribute in one of these matters in my own way.

Mick: What are your favorite things outside of music?

Carla: It is my nature to be creative, therefore I really enjoy spending my spear time on creative activities. Even my work holds a great deal of creativity, as being a hairstylist. It is also the social aspect that I like about the job: the interaction with people. I am also the one responsible for the band promotion on the social media and I really enjoy to connect with our fans and friends on FB.

Mike: MOVIES!!! I seriously enjoy movies, which is almost the only thing that can make me think about something else for the running time, instead of problems or other matters of work, the band and daily life.

Cause I am doing also the management for the band, I am faced with many many logistic problems and ways that would really make you hate music. When I am watching a movie, my brain can finally relax a bit. I just saw Batman vs Superman in the cinema, with a running time of about 150 minutes: this means 150 minutes of just pure MY time ;)!

Mick: To end with, what is the hardest thing that you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Mike: For me the death of my youngest sister, which made a lasting impression on my whole family, where many before the accident would never thought life would unfold how it did after the accident. For me the music was one of the main things that kept me going and made the pain go away. I was not blind to what was happening at the time, so I experienced it with both eyes open, but with my escapes in the music, many things on the background got a place and were solved without too much anger or pain.

When life throws you such a curve ball, you either are strong to cope with it in your own way and/ or you have such fantastic people around you that will keep you going.

For me the music was one of those things that really meant a lot, even without knowing it at that time, which kept me solid and true to myself without losing my mind in despair.

I will never forgot what happened, but it all got a good place, when either listening or playing music. Life is too short to just dwell on things, make the best of it, cause you only get one life/ one chance. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!

Interview & Words by Mick Birchall

The 69 Eyes – Universal Monsters

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 14th April 2016 by Pieni

The 69 Eyes
“Universal Monsters”
Goth’n’Rock
Release: 22nd April 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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It’s funny – in an admirable way – how The 69 Eyes keep surprising us, after all these years, while releasing albums within the same parameters. Then again, I believe it’s simply called “talent”.

If “X” was the band’s “pop album” (quoting Jyrki 69 himself), “Universal Monsters” is the rock one – hand-in-hand with that ever-present gothness, of course. You can tell that yourselves already, if you’ve listened to both singles the album has produced – the upbeat rhythm of “Dolce Vita” (those catchy piano keys and that spry guitar solo) and the fetching melody of “Jet Fighter Plane”; the pulse is stronger and yet they have The 69 Eyes seal all over them.

Then things get a bit heavier with “Blackbird Pie”. And somber when, midway, some kind of Indian rain dance beats precede a beautiful semi-acoustic solo. Then watch them “gothicise” the Arabian feel of “Jerusalem”! What an exotic song that turned out! There’s also a Spanish guitar in the background of “Never”, so I dare saying that “Universal Monsters” may not use sounds from all around the universe, but it rolls quite internationally.

“Miss Pastis” is even more cheerful than “Dolce Vita”, the piano replaced by what sounds like a blow-organ, while “Blue” is the mandatory ballad, the sadness embedded in it living up to its name. I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that the most popular ballad from the previous album was also named after a color…

“Saving the best for last” would be somewhat unfair, as the whole album is stellar, but “Rock’N’Roll Junkie” has indeed everything to become a hymn – the lyrics, that intro resembling The Rolling Stones“Start Me Up” and Jyrki’s vocal posture a tribute to David Bowie… yep, that one’s going down in the rock history.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Jartse Tuominen – Untold Stories

Posted in Review with tags , on 12th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Jartse Tuominen
Untold Stories
Released 18th March 2016
Instrumental Rock with Jazz influences/ Classic Rock
Released via M.I.G Music GmbH

‘Untold Stories’ is the new album from the Finnish rock musician and composer Jartse Tuominen. In addition to his experience as a rock guitarist, Mr. Tuominen has also produced music for movies and TV programs. This particular album was recorded with the help of a few session musicians including Pekka Siistonen on keyboards, drummer Brannen Temple (Dixie Chicks, G3) and bassist Steve Bernal.

So, what we have here are ten tracks of instrumental and predominately guitar-driven rock music with a certain jazz flare. The “jazz” element means that the overall song structure is fairly loose and a lot of the songs resemble a jamming session. The guitar melodies are somewhat unpredictable at times and there’s a sizable amount of experimentation and improvisation in both the pace and the overall style.

The rock ballad Time to Go caught my attention, being one of the slower and more melancholic-sounding songs on here. It features some impressive guitar work and it has that good old, classic rock feel to it without the jazz fusion elements. Then there’s catchy rock’n’roll track Trouble Shuffle which forms a sharp contrast to the other songs on here due to a simple, effective structure and uplifting guitar tunes which leave the listener in a good mood.

In summary, this album is bound to please fans of both classic and progressive rock. Jartse Tuominen has proven that he is a very talented, highly skilled guitar player and composer. I’d think that any decent classic rock bar or lounge would like to add his new songs to their playlist.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Quinphonic Festival 2016

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , on 11th April 2016 by mickbirchy

Wildpath, La-Ventura, Alwaid, Beneath My Sins
The Roadhouse Birmingham, Birmingham (UK)
27th March 2016
Promoted by BIP Medusa

Quinphonic Festival is one of those days that I just love.  The mere concept is great, five exceptional acts each to perform a full headline set.  It’s just great.  I attended the first one last year and had a ball of a time.  With all of the acts bringing their A game to the stage.  So imagine my surprise when I find out that the second edition of festival would take place on my birthday.  All I had was glee.  Getting to some of my favourite acts, such as Wildpath, was one hell of a way to celebrate. Leading up to the festival two acts sadly dropped out, Evenoire and Hydra were replaced with French bands Beneath My Sins and Alwaid.  Then upon arriving to the festival I find out the Dakesis sadly had to pull out as well. Leaving only four bands for the day, with extended setlists.  Luckily there were no more drop-outs or difficulties so the day began.

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Beneath My Sins, previously known as Evolvent, hit the stage. As the first band of the day they have the easiest and the hardest job. Easy, as there are no expectations to live up to yet but it’s a hard job as you are the pace setters for the day. They absolutely nailed it. Even though the live production wasn’t the best as not everything came through clear, I still feel they did a really good job.  Vocalist, Emma Elvaston really grabbed my attention and trust me she had it to the bitter end of their set.  Her vocals were pure and beautiful and there was so much power behind her it was really great to hear.  The band behind her, consisting of Clément Botz and Jonathan Connell on guitars and Boris Devon on the drums, put on a great performance as well. The melodies flowed from them and the the technical work was awesome to watch. They just gelled so well together and made the set feel massive.  The crowd warmed to them almost instantaneously and gave them a great atmosphere to work with.  Always clapping to the beat and giving them heartfelt and well deserved cheers.  The only problem I had with their set was that their live production was a little muddy and unclear here and there and that really was a black spot on what was an otherwise fantastic set. This was a great introduction to them and I look forward to hearing more from them.

https://www.facebook.com/Beneath-My-Sins-132380570453385/
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Clearly one of the big names of the day and with an upcoming UK tour it only made sense for Alwaid to get such a huge reaction.  I first discovered them at Valkyrian Festival in 2014 and I knew I was going to see them again one way or another and I knew they were going to blow minds, and they did.  The crowd was already anticipating the set, I think most of them already knew what was coming.  However no one could’ve predicted such a storm of a set. Alwaid walked on stage like they owned the place and burst into one hell of a set, despite the fact the band had been traveling from France overnight.  Playing massive tunes off of their album Lacus Somniorum such as ‘Hei! Aa-Shanta Nygh!’ and ‘In The Darkness of Daylight’.  The whole set had that it factor that just put them over the top. Every instrument and the vocals came through as clear as crystal and sounded great.  I was too busy rocking out to notice the actual stage performance but from the glimpses I caught, Marie and Max were very much the centre of the show whilst the rest of the band played around them. All of their songs got massive responses, the band had nearly finished when the crowd insisted on one more song, when in fact we got two more. Again showing their popularity. This was one hell of a set and for many the height of the day.

https://www.facebook.com/Alwaid.music/
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After what felt like a long interval, the fourth band of the day La-Ventura hit the stage.  Once again they were absolutely brilliant and their set was quite refreshing.  As they do not play your standard symphonic style metal but rather a more nu-metal/alt rock type sound. This was most welcome to my ears as the bass relentlessly pounded and the guitars roared away.  Singer, Carla Van Huizen descended from the stairs above the stage and performed a corker of a show. The whole thing felt much more casual than the previous two.  As La-Ventura’s sound doesn’t go for that epic flair that the previous sets have done. Instead their songs are much more grounded and hard hitting, just some good old fashioned rocking out was going on.  Again the crowd was into it but clearly burned out by this point it, the cheers were still coming though. However I felt like something was missing from the set, it was almost like there was no real atmosphere which was a bit of a shame.  The band marched on with the set including big songs like ‘White Crow’, ‘Falling Down’ and the big single ‘Song for an Idiot’, this got the crowd going and by the end of the set, the crowd was hooked and so was I. The crowd screamed breathing that missing life into the final songs of the set.  Which relieved me, because I really wanted them to do well. Their performance was great.  They had a great stage presence and brilliant personalities.  They just looked like they were having fun and that’s the most important thing.  I liked this but not as much as the previous two. Still well worth the watch and hope to see them back on UK shores soon.

https://www.facebook.com/La-Ventura-official-bandpage-465553533488503/
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Well, this was the set it was all building up to for me and for many of the day’s patrons. Wildpath are a music lover’s dream. They fun, they have wild and imaginative songs and they can’t be pinned to one genre. You want to know what else? They’re bloody fantastic live as well.  They’re energetic and their set flows so well. Mixing and matching all of their songs to form one glorious super playlist of metal, jazz, funk, rock and overall good music. All encapsulated in the symphonic metal sound. The band just sound and look like they’re having so much fun and I’ve said it before, if the band is having fun then the crowd is more likely to have fun with them. My eyes were glued to the stage for the whole show, there was so much to watch, from the technical skill to the dancing and jumping to the comedy of the band just being themselves on stage. Marjolaine Bernard is a fantastic front woman. Making sure the crowd is involved and happy and singing to absolute perfection. Also, she wished me a happy birthday on stage which totally made my day.  What else can i say but was a fantastic end to an awesome day.

https://www.facebook.com/Wildpath.metal.band/

In summary this was an amazing day with some exceptional performances.  The symphonic metal fans here in the UK are loyal and fun to be around.  You know it’s always going to be a good day.  With Quinphonic Festival 3 around the corner in October of this year I’m sure that will be another day to remember.

Text by Mick Birchall
Photos by Laura “Lorath” Piggford (more pics here)

Resistanz Festival 2016

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Grendel, iVardensphere, Godflesh
The Corporation, Sheffield, The United Kingdom
Saturday 26th  March 2016

 
Resistanz was one of those festivals that I’ve wanted to return to. I’ve been there once before; in 2011 which was the very first time that it was held and one of the few times that it didn’t sell out. Since then the dates have been moved to the Easter weekend, which meant that it usually clashed with a family gathering making it impossible for me to attend. This year was an exception, I just happened to be in the U.K. that weekend and within easily commutable distance of the city where it was being held.

I missed the first band, Neonsol. The next band was a local band Randolf & Mortimer, who played a mixture of EBM, techno, punk and early Ministry -style industrial rock. It was catchy at times and definitely a good way to start to the night. 3/5

Terrolokaust were one of the main bands that I was looking forward to. They’re essentially a Harsh Electro / Aggrotech band, similar to the likes of Combichrist but the vocal style is different from most of the bands of that genre. They played some tracks from their upcoming album along with older tracks plus a few covers including their take on The Prodigy’s ‘Spitfire’. I had only heard a handful of tracks by them before the gig so most of the stuff they played was unfamiliar. I enjoyed the show so much that I bought two of their albums afterwards. 4/5

Next up was the British EBM band Cyferdyne. They played some catchy and mostly dancefloor-friendly electro. It was fun to dance to and some of my friends also really enjoyed it. Personally I preferred Terrolokaust to them. 3.5/5

Grendel was the main band that I came to see. I’ve been a fan of their music for years and I’ve missed several opportunities to see them live. So, needless to say that I was really looking forward to their show. And they didn’t disappoint. They had two guitarists with them on stage along with the usual industrial synths and JD’s harsh electro vocals. They played all the hit songs including: ‘Chemicals & Circuitry’, ‘Timewave Zero’, ‘Hate This’ along with some older material including one of my favorites ‘Pax Psychosis’ and two new tracks from the upcoming EP ‘The Age of the Disposable Body’. I had a great time dancing and singing along to all the songs. This was my favorite performance of the whole night. 5/5

I had no idea what to expect from iVardensphere. I assumed them to be an experimental industrial noise band, which is the type of stuff that tends to give me a headache. I was initially reluctant to see their show. Then one of my friends convinced me to give them a try, saying that their style was more power noise mixed with some tribal music influences. I have a much better experience with power and rhythmic noise bands such as SAM, X-RX and Memmaker. This sub-genre tends to sound good live, so I decided to give iVardensphere a try. What I heard turned out to be a lot better than I expected. Their music is a fascinating mix of techno, industrial and power noise along with some tribal music. They even did a cover of Sepultura’s ‘Roots Bloody Roots’. Their performance was very energetic, great to dance to and the additional tribal elements made the songs sound all the more intriguing. 4/5

Now, I like my metal and I like my industrial music. I also like some industrial metal so in theory Godflesh should have been right up my alley. The thing is, they seemed a little out of place at Resistanz Festival being the only metal band there. They also happened to be the headlining act, playing after a very catchy power noise band whose fans packed the venue. It’s not that I hated Godflesh’s performance; it was decent-sounding industrial metal but not as memorable as some of other industrial metal bands I’ve seen in the past such as Ministry. 3/5

I spent the rest of the night dancing and hanging around with friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in years. Overall this was an intense, exhausting but also really fun way to spend Easter Saturday. I finally got to see Grendel live, Terrolokaust were really good and I discovered the delights of iVardensphere. It’s really a shame that this was the last Resistanz Festival. I’m so glad that I got to attend it, even if it was just for one day after such a long break.

Iza Raittila

 

Heavenwood w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 1st April 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood, The Temple, Blame Zeus, Gates Of Hell
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
26th March 2016
Promoted by Raising Legends

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In late February, Heavenwood released their fifth record “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” (review here) and the first release party took place about a month later, in a full-enough Hard Club. Other three top-notch bands from the national scene were on the bill, all of them so different from each other, making this a diverse event, even more interesting than “just” a release show.

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First band on stage was Gates Of Hell, delivering their thrash-death-’core like they owned the place. I guess one can still call Márlon “the new guy”, as he was introduced as the new singer only last December (report here), but to me it feels like he’s been there all along.
There was a couple of missteps but I believe it wasn’t entirely their fault – trust me, I’ve seen them over a dozen times by now; the sound was a bit messy at first, so my guess is that they were having trouble listening to each other. Whatever or whoever was to blame, they went on so passionately that no one cared about such slips.
The show had begun at nine, half an hour later than scheduled, but still Márlon thanked the crowd for getting there so early to see them (20:30 is pretty early for a gig here in Portugal). The title-track of their debut (and so far only) album “Critical Obsession” closed their set.

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www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

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Things cooled down considerably with Blame Zeus, as their more progressive approach is spirited but much less aggressive. They’re about to go through some major line-up changes – both guitarists and the bassist still played the show but have already announced their departure – which Sandra called “a new cycle”. And with the beginning of that cycle, she introduced a new song, “Queen”, about her career and what she had done to get that far and how it meant having to be mean sometimes… The new song has pretty much the same vibe, so the fans don’t need to worry about these changes, as Blame Zeus will continue the path of their usual sound.
Speaking of fans, there were plenty there that night and one in particular was celebrating his birthday. Sandra spared us from singing the happy birthday theme, dedicating him his favorite song instead, “Incarnate”.

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www.facebook.com/BlameZeus
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Then veterans The Temple brought down the house with their fiery alternative rock. Personally, it was the band I was most eager to see, since it had been eleven years (yes, eleven!) since I’d last seen them. And they didn’t let me down, nor the public in general. I believe they’ve made a lot of new fans. And spicing up their own great music with a cover of Mão Morta’s “Budapeste” (yeah, I know this won’t say anything to people outside of our country, but to us, it does a lot) and a tribal drum solo to which singer João and guitarist Marcelo gave both of their helping hands, their performance was a 5-star one.

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www.facebook.com/thetempleband

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I’m having mixed feelings about Heavenwood’s gig. Maybe I had set my expectations too high, maybe I was still in an adrenaline rush from The Temple show, but the truth is that I felt something was missing. The setlist was perfect; they’d promised to revisit their whole discography and so they did, and not just one song from each previous album, as some people had joked. However they tweaked the synths of the older ones to the point that I didn’t even recognize them at first. It seems the idea was to make them  photo _DSC0141 copy_zpsubhe4jzm.jpgsound heavier, but at least “Emotional Wound”, my all-time favorite, sounded anything but. I already didn’t like its softer version in “Diva”, as the original, while they still went by Disgorged, was way heavier; and somehow they managed to tone it down even more that night. That might have helped with my mild disappointment.
The new live musicians made an impression – drummer Eduardo is quite skillful; guitarist Victor smiled and headbanged all the time; there isn’t a spot on stage that bassist André didn’t cover. Frontman Ricardo also looked to be “feeling it” deeper than usual, but his voice went out of tune a few times. As for Ernesto, it was the other way around: his voice sounded better than ever, but his mind seemed somewhere else. Something missing, I keep saying. Me and a few others, but luckily, the majority of the fans left with a smile on their face, after the “Frithiof’s Saga” and “Suicidal Letters” encore. And I won’t let one less good gig destroy my belief in them. Plus, at some point Ricardo said that “stopping is dying”, referring to the band’s sound evolution. I’ve been keeping tabs on that evolution since the first album, I definitely won’t stop now.

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www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino