Archive for June, 2016

VOA 2016 final bill – Paradise Lost announced today, after Anthrax pulling out

Posted in News with tags , , , on 28th June 2016 by Pieni

Remember Vagos Open Air? We’ve been bringing you news/reports on it for the past 4 years, since Pieni joined our team. And even though the acronym has always been used, this year it’s its official name.  Why? Because Vagos is the name of the municipality where the fest used to be held in and now it has moved to Corroios (near the capital Lisbon) so it makes no sense to keep calling it “Vagos Open Air”. On the other hand, it’s still the same promoter, Prime Artists, in charge and there’s a legacy of 7 editions to carry on. So VOA (which in Portuguese means “fly away”) it is.

It’s also back to its original format of 2 days, 5th and 6th of August, with the following bands (Paradise Lost just added, after Anthrax pulling out a couple of weeks ago):

 photo 13439095_1199742250044817_1516111944252682700_n_zpse5m4pbek.jpg

Check the official site and Facebook page for more info on the festival itself and each of the performing bands:
http://voa.rocks/index_en.html
https://www.facebook.com/VOAFest/

Advertisements

Space Elevator – Space Elevator

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

Space Elevator
Space Elevator
Released 13th May 2016
Hard Rock/Classic Rock
Released via SE Productions/Cargo Records

‘Space Elevator’ is the debut album from the British classic rock band of the same name. Several of the members were involved in the famous West End musical We Will Rock You. Their music has been compared to the likes of Queen, Genesis and Fleetwood Mac.

It’s hard to know what to expect from a band whose name is Space Elevator… At a quick glance it’s clear that other than the flamboyant cover art there’s not much reference to space travel or anything science-fiction in the song titles or the lyrical themes. Instead, what we have here is some melodic and highly entertaining hard rock with the same theatrical vocal style that was present in Queen.

Right from the start my attention was drawn to their singer, The Duchess’s voice and her impressive vocal range. She seems just as comfortable with singing the slower ballad-like song such as We are the Losers as she is with the more catchy hard rock tunes like Little White Lies and Really Don’t Care. Little White Lies happens to be one of my favourite tracks on here thanks to the additional keyboards along with the cheerful and super catchy chorus.

Yet it’s not just the vocals that sound great on here. The guitar and keyboard work is really good too. Take The Loneliness of Love for instance, the guitars give the track a playful and uplifting feel. Similar things can be said about the ultra vibrant hard rock tune We Can Fly.

Overall, listening to Space Elevator has been a pleasant experience. There’s not a single song that I dislike on here. The songs are so infectiously catchy and fun that you almost want to jump into that elevator and rise up into outer space, off on your own little space adventure.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Tampere Metal Meeting 2016

Posted in Festival, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 19th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Insomnium, Moonsorrow, Tiamat, Finntroll
Ratinanniemi, Tampere, Finland
17-18th June 2016

Tampere Metal Meeting is a brand new open air festival which was held in Tampere city centre for the very first time this year. The line-up included many well-known Finnish bands such as Finntroll and Insomnium along with a few foreign bands such as Tiamat (Sweden) and Deströyer666 (Australia).

Friday 17th June
The first band I got to see was Omnium Gatherum. I’m not too familiar with their music so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them. They played some decent-sounding and fairly entertaining melodic death metal. 3/5

The next band that caught my attention was Baptism. These guys were on the smaller stage, playing in broad daylight with some bright “disco”lights flickering at them from all angles. Not really what you would expect to see from a grim black metal band but they made it work somehow. It was a good show. 4/5

The Man-Eating Tree are one of those bands who like to play beautifully dark, melancholic, melodic and atmospheric metal. It usually sounds good on the albums but their shows are not the most energetic although I did enjoy their cover of Type of Negative’ s ‘Everything Dies’. 3/5

The highlight of the night for me was a performance by Moonsorrow. These guys really know how to agitate the crowd with their super catchy and very entertaining folk metal. I’ve seen them live before but this show was much better than the one I saw a few years ago. 5/5

I’ve seen Insomnium live before so I decided to give them a miss. So the last band I saw that night was the Demilich. I only just discovered this band recently and so I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I heard was some good, old-school technical death metal. Nothing ground-breaking but it was fun to watch. 3/5

Saturday 18th June
This time I arrived at the festival area a little earlier in the afternoon, just in time to watch Ranger. I’ve seen them live before so I pretty much knew what to expect from their show. It was pure fun and energetic speed-thrash metal from one of Finland’s most promising new metal bands. They’re always good live, especially at a summer festival. 5/5

I tend to have bad luck when it comes to Barathrum gigs. The last time that I saw them live, the show was a complete disaster due to their singer being too drunk to even stand let alone remember his own song lyrics. This time was much better. He was visibly less inebriated and he actually managed to put on a good performance. They played all the hits including ‘Dark Sorceress’, ‘Legions of Perkele’ and ‘Last Day in Heaven’. Then Mr. Sova threw a bottle of cow’s blood off the stage at the end of the show. 4/5

Next up was the melodic death metal band Kalmah. Their style is fairly similar to that of their fellow countrymen Children of Bodom. These guys sure know how to entertain the home crowd with the singer cracking the odd joke before the song announcements. 4/5

Then there was Nocturnus AD who played an interesting and somewhat bizarre mixture of technical death metal with some experimental sci-fi themes and keyboard noise. It was ok at times and downright weird at others. 2.5/5

By the time that Finntroll came on stage, the weather had taken a downturn. Nonetheless this horde of merry troll-folk are always a joy to watch – even in the pouring rain. They promised “crazy madness and circus” and that’s exactly watch they delivered. The crowds loved it and so did I. It didn’t take long for me to join in the dancing and headbanging along to the happy troll tunes. They experienced some technical problems with the sound towards the end of their set. Luckily they managed to get it fixed leaving just enough time for ‘Trollhammeren’ plus one more song. 5/5

Next up was the Australians, Deströyer666 who played a tight set of fast and furious blackened thrash metal. It was a highly entertaining show in spite of the stormy weather. 4/5

 photo Destroumlyer666-guitarist_zpsodldn5xr.jpg

The final band was one of my favourites, the Swedish metal band Tiamat. They played some truly dark and beautiful Gothic metal featuring Henriette Bordvik (ex-Sirenia) as a guest vocals on some of the tracks. The highlights for me were: ‘The Wings of Heaven’, ‘Thunder & Lightning’, ‘Vote For Love’ and ‘Gaia’. 5/5

In summary Tampere Metal Meeting was a great way to spend the weekend. The weather could have been better but the music was excellent. My favorite shows were Moonsorrow, Finntroll and Tiamat. Notable mentions go to Barathrum (well done Demonos Sova!) and Deströyer666.

Iza Raittila

For further info check out: http://www.tamperemetalmeeting.fi/

 

Interview with Finntroll

Posted in Festival, Interview, Live, Metal with tags , on 19th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Iza had a little chat with Mörkö and Skrymer from Finntroll before their show at Tampere Metal Meeting yesterday.

Iza: Hi guys!

Finntroll: Hey..

Iza: How are you doing guys? How are you enjoying the festival so far?

Finntroll: We basically arrived here just like an hour ago so we’re preparing the stage and ready to rock n’ roll for the show.

Iza: Are you planning to watch any of the bands?

Finntroll: Hopefully… Hopefully we can see, for instance Kalmah because we will be on stage right after them. Then that’s our festival. After the show we’re going straight back home.

Iza: So what can we expect from your show tonight? More crazy troll music?

Finntroll: Yeah… Experience crazy madness and circus. That’s how it usually is… (laughs)

Iza: Shame about the weather. You had better weather the last time that I saw you live at a festival.

Finntroll: Yeah, it could be. It’s been raining all day. So it’s probably going to rain in the evening as well…

Iza: Well, thanks and good luck with the show! See you!

Finntroll: Thanks and see you later! It’s going to be good.

Stay tuned for the full festival report coming soon.

http://www.tamperemetalmeeting.fi/

http://www.finntroll-music.com/

Adrian Erlandsson leaves Paradise Lost

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , on 17th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Paradise Lost have parted ways with their drummer Adrian Erlandsson. The news came shortly after the band announced that they have signed a new record deal with Nuclear Blast.

Lack of time and his commitments to At The Gates and The Haunted were cited as the main reasons for this decision. Here is an extract from the statement that Erlandsson posted on his official Facebook page:

For the ones that don’t already know, I am no longer playing with Paradise Lost.
When “The Plague within” was released last year I was in the middle of gigs with At The Gates (Official) and The-Haunted.
Since I couldn’t make all the gigs for the new album,
it made sense for PL to have someone that can be there the whole time, which I couldn’t.
I want to thank everyone in the band and management.
It has been an amazing ride playing with one of my favourite bands and I feel very proud of the work we did together. “

So far there has been no news about who will replace Adrian as the band’s new drummer.

https://www.facebook.com/adrianerlandssondrummer/timeline

https://www.facebook.com/paradiselostofficial/

http://www.paradiselost.co.uk/

 

Ulcer – Heading Below

Posted in Metal with tags , , on 12th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Ulcer
Heading Below
Released 25th May 2016
Death Metal
Released via Arachnophobia Records

Heading Below’ is the third album from the Polish death metal band Ulcer. Now, I’m quite fond of death metal and some of my favourite bands happen to be from the same country as these guys. That being said however, the Polish death metal scene has its standout bands such as Vader, Behemoth and Decapitated who have inspired several clones, so hopefully this is not another one of those…

Well, for those expecting to hear some Behemoth-style blackened death metal, you won’t find anything like that here. Instead, what you get is some good old school death metal, which seems to be inspired by Swedish death metal, particularly Dismember and Entombed. One thing that’s fairly unusual about Ulcer is that they have two vocalists, a shouter named D. a.k.a Sonnelion (also in the black metal bands Oremus and Blaze of Perdition) and a growler called Angelfuck from the technical death metal band Deivos.

Most of the songs are either slow or mid-paced, not super technical but gritty, coarse-sounding, and mostly guitar-driven death metal. The slower tracks tend to drag on a bit, with the guitars and drums just plodding along, dragging the listener through a deep, dark forest of mediocrity. Luckily there’s a handful of more energetic and more brutal-sounding tunes such as Sights to See and Miscarriage’s Lullaby to keep you on your toes. The two different vocal styles seem to work surprisingly well together, almost as though they were meant to tell two sides of a story with the second voice providing the additional commentary as demonstrated by tracks such as You Called, We Came.

Overall, ‘Heading Below’ is an example of pretty good but ultimately very average death metal. I don’t hate it, in fact as a far as the genre goes it’s actually one of the better death metal albums that I’ve heard recently. It just doesn’t really offer anything new or awe-inspiring.
3/5

Iza Raittila

Narcotic Self – Cut The Chord

Posted in Metal with tags , , , , on 5th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Narcotic Self
Cut The Chord
Released 6th May 2016
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal/Groove Metal
Self-Released

‘Cut The Chord’ is the third album from the American heavy metal band Narcotic Self. They have toured with a number of renowned metal bands including Slayer, Exodus and Soulfly. Their music is a mixture of classic thrash metal with other metal genres along with some experimental elements. This album features Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork as a guest vocalist on one of the songs.

Kicking off the album is the title track, an aggressive and brutal metal song filled with thrashing guitars, pummeling drums along with abrasive and angry shouting. Then, when you least expect it, they slow down the pace towards the end of the track and treat you to a short but well executed melodic instrumental. It’s just enough for you to take a deep breath and relax before the usual onslaught of guitar, drums and shouting returns, raising hell inside your eardrums. Generation Victim (feat. Björn Strid) is a fairly straightforward piece of aggressive, thrashing groove metal which reminded me of the early works of Machine Head, DevilDriver and to a certain extent Lamb of God.

Hell in My Head caught my attention due to the deceptively melodic guitar intro at the start. There’s some experimentation in the guitar parts and briefly a change to a softer, more melodic vocal style halfway through the song. This time the melodic elements last a little longer than they did in the title track. The problem is that I’m not entirely convinced that the random changes suit the rest of the song. The transition between the two is just not as fluid as it should be. Then it seems that Narcotic Self decided to have another go at the more melodic side of metal/rock so they created Creeper, a song which is predominantly slow and melodic. At least for the most part… Then, all of a sudden, the aggressive shouting and thrashing monster re-emerges. It’s almost like the other half of the song was composed by another band. Luckily the rest of the album marks a return to good old brutal and vicious thrashing groove metal with only occasional bits of clear vocals sprinkled in to soften the blow. For example, Brainslave shows how well executed guitar work can make a song memorable for all the right reasons.

Overall, this album left me feeling a little confused. I’m not entirely sure that I understand what Narcotic Self are trying to achieve here. I would have been perfectly happy had these guys just stuck to a specific style be it thrash or groove metal but the random mid-song experimentation is very off-putting. Those bits aside ‘Cut The Chord’ should appeal to fans of Lamb of God and Machine Head.

3/5

Iza Raittila