Archive for July, 2016

Laurus Nobilis Música Famalicão 2016 – metal day

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 29th July 2016 by Pieni

Moonspell, Bizarra Locomotiva, Quinteto Explosivo, Via Sacra
Louro, Famalicão (PT)
22nd July 2016

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The second edition of Laurus Nobilis Music took place this past weekend and, like last year (report here), the first day was dedicated to the “heavier sounds” – the alternative rock of Via Sacra, the “progressive punk” (you’ll soon understand the quotes) of Quinteto Explosivo, the industrial metal of Bizarra Locomotiva and the dark metal of Moonspell.

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It was a little past seven when Via Sacra got on stage with a long and somewhat mystic intro – that sadly everyone heard from the outside. This is probably the only complaint I have about this year’s festival: how misinformed the security staff was regarding when they should let the people in… Anyway, there they were, in their 16th century clothes (maybe later – I’m not really good in ancient fashion), joyfully rocking out. The first act of every day was chosen after a national contest but the fest promoters must have felt a little proud of Via Sacra since they are a local band. Still I didn’t see many fans of them – people singing along and such – which doesn’t mean they weren’t welcomed by the crowd; songs like “Baby, Baby” and “Secret Garden” seemed to please everyone, even those who were listening to them for the first time. Via Sacra thanked them all, of course, but also their friends, family and even their parish.

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www.facebook.com/viasacraband

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Quinteto Explosivo is Portuguese for “explosive quintet”. If that doesn’t hint you about their goofiness, check out the Deadpool and Captain America outfits… The lyrics are also mischievous, full of offensive slang, and while some are pure nonsense, others have some raw truths beneath… When you live in a country with so much corruption and hypocrisy, laughing is one way of dealing with it. But don’t think that such shocking posture hides lack of talent, which doesn’t. On the other hand, call it “progressive punk” is quite a stretch; it misses the sophistication for it, but it surely is a hell of a well written irreverent punk. With only one album out, “Hinos Politicamente Incorrectos”, they went back to their previous bands Comme Restus and Kalashnikov, with toilet paper flying around. Muffy from Karbonsoul joined them for the song “Queres Caralho Vai Ao Talho”.

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www.facebook.com/QuintetoExplosivo

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I’ve been to a fair share of Bizarra Locomotiva gigs (the first one in 1999) but had never seen them with a bass player before – apparently the majority of their fan club was just as surprised, so I believe it’s a recent acquisition; don’t even know if it’s just a live one or if Carlos joined the band for good. I recognized him from Assemblent so I knew right away he was the right guy for the job – not just for his musical skills but also for his attitude on stage.
The sound was good, but something sent the power down right on the middle of the first song (“A Febre De Ícaro”) and while they were fixing the problem, singer Rui Sidónio jumped into the crowd, saying he would resume the gig from there when the power came back on. And so he did, with the next song on the set, “Gatos Do Asfalto”. After that, no more bumps stopped the massive adrenaline the guys in Bizarra Locomotiva always deliver – and the crowd returns.
Towards the end, Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell) joined for “O Anjo Exilado” and once again Muffy got on stage – and on Sidónio’s shoulders, like their former keyboard player BJ used to do – to help out with “O Escaravelho”. Another “surprise” was Sidónio singing “Hecatombe” without a cheat sheet – it seems he finally learned the lyrics…

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www.facebook.com/bizarralocomotiva

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Still promoting “Extinct”, Moonspell’s setlist was mostly focused on it. And then on “Irreligious”, which turns 20 precisely today. Not the whole albums, no – that is reserved for a special concert in December, in Guimarães, where both and also “Wolfheart” will be played in full; sounds promising, uh? But for this night in Famalicão, they offered just a bit of each, plus a few other hits off their discography, like “Night Eternal” or “Everything Invaded”.
Rui Sidónio repaid the previous “featuring favor” by doing the same on “Em Nome Do Medo”, dressed in something similar to a hazard suit. Since he usually starts his own shows wrapped in black plastic, that gradually unwraps itself and the man ends up in his boxers, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so… covered up on stage.
At some point, talk of football came up and Fernando said that it felt good to finally be able to celebrate the UEFA championship with the crowd – he said he had introduced the band in a previous show in Spain as “European champions” and they didn’t like it that much… So for a moment the music was different, with everybody singing some football chants, and eventually demanding that Fernando would jump. He complained about his hernias but he did jump a bit – and those hernias didn’t seem to bother him much when dancing to the sound of “Ataegina” with guitarist Ricardo Amorim. On a more serious note, the shooting in Munich that happened that very same day was mentioned with sadness and how Moonspell would still be heading to Germany soon, as they – all of us – shouldn’t stop living our lives out of fear.

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www.facebook.com/moonspellband

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Gallery at our Facebook page here.

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Lumous Gothic Festival 2016

Posted in Festival, Folk, Industrial, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 17th July 2016 by izaforestspirit

Shiv-R, Two Witches, Aesthetic Perfection

Klubi, Tampere, Finland

1516th July

For the past few years, Finland’s biggest Gothic event – Lumous Gothic Festival – has been one of the highlights of my summer. There was some rumours going around that last year’s 15th anniversary edition was going to be the last one. Luckily that was not the case. Not only is Lumous still running, they actually sold out the Saturday’s show. This year the music on offer was a mixture of EBM, Harsh Electro/Aggrotech, Goth Rock and neo-folk.

Friday

First up was the futuristic-styled EBM duo Blastromen. These two really looked like extras from one of the Tron movies, thanks to their luminous “space robot” suits. They played some catchy EBM enhanced with robotic vocals and plenty of flashing lights. The flashing lights were a bit too much for my little camera to handle but I enjoyed the performance. 3/5

Goth rock is one of the most popular genres at the festival. I’ve seen a number of good Goth rock bands at Lumous and Canis Lupus was no exception. Unlike some goth bands who tend to overdo the melancholic and gloomy atmosphere, these guys actually looked like they were enjoying themselves. Their vocals and overall style reminded me of Sisters of Mercy. 4/5

The night’s headlining act, the Australian Harsh Electro band Shiv-R was the main band that I came to see. I’ve only discovered them recently so I was keen to see what they are like live. Their show was very energetic, filled with lots of creepy imagery projected from the screens and lots of very catchy dark electro tunes. I was dancing pretty much throughout the show. 5/5

 

Saturday

Every year Lumous Gothic Festival features at least one “wild card” – a band or solo artist who sounds or sometimes looks dramatically different from all the others. This year that “wild card” was the British neo-folk artist Naevus. This was a special “solo set” featuring just the band’s singer on acoustic guitar. Whilst I can fully acknowledge that Mr. Lloyd James has a good voice and he is a talented guitar player, this type of music is simply not my style. 3.5/5

Local favourites, the renowned Finnish goth rock band Two Witches are big part of the local Goth scene and they are heavily involved with the festival. Last night was the official release party for the brand new live album ‘Voodoo Wytches -Live. I’ve seen them live before but each show is a little different… This time they played at a venue packed full of cheering fans at a sold.out show. Their set consisted primarily of old songs including several classics such as ‘Vampire Empire’, ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’, ‘The Omen’ and ‘Burn The Witch’. It was really good to see them live again. There’s not that many Goth rock bands that I enjoy but Two Witches is definitely one of them. 5/5

 

Whilst I’m not a massive of their latest work, I have to admit that American electro- industrial Aggrotech band Aesthetic Perfection are always entertaining to watch live. I’m a big fan of the first three albums so I was really happy when they played most of the hits from that era including: ‘Spit It Out’, The Great Depression’, ‘Inhuman’ and ‘The Ones’. ‘Antibody’ wasn’t bad either but I’m not super keen on their mellow ballads. 4.5/5

 

So there you have it. Another great weekend at Lumous Gothic Festival. Two Witches is always fun to watch live, Aesthetic Perfection put on another great show, Shiv-R was a new discovery and my favourite performance of the festival.

Iza Raittila

 

Cancerous Womb – It Came To This

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 14th July 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Cancerous Womb
It Came To This
Released July 5th 2016
Death metal
Released via Rising Nemesis Records

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So, the third of my three death metal reviews this week, and in my opinion, the best has been saved for last. Cancerous Womb have recently been through a bit of a shake-up, parting ways with original vocalist Chris Lewis, but this doesn’t seem to have slowed them down. They have been very active both at home in the UK and across the rest of the world, and returned to the land of recorded works with an absolute beast of a new sound.

As was subtly hinted at on their debut long-player, Born Of A Cancerous Womb, this is a band with a will to deconstruct, then reassemble, the tropes of modern DM. The difference here is that they have fully flung open the floodgates of restraint and just gone for it. Welcoming in the memorable hooks of thrash, alongside some mind-boggling grind, they have ditched any concept of genre defined song structure, and it has resulted in a collection of attention grabbing numbers, which crash through the headphones all too quickly.

There is a sense of the tongue-in-cheek to some of the passages, which makes them stick in the mind even more, but that may not be as apparent to non-musicians. Regardless, they are highly enjoyable purely as musical moments. Some are simple and powerful. Some are furious and intricate. Every second is gold.

If you are intrigued by the concept of Suffocation/Nile DM riffs meeting the jangle of Mastodon, the chaos of Pig Destroyer, and a scattering of evil thrash – handed out with complete disregard for expectations, and a little indefinable something else – this is an EP you really need to cram into your lugholes. Short and sweet. And sour. Bring on the album!

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Defiled – Towards Inevitable Ruin

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 12th July 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Defiled
Towards Inevitable Ruin
Released July 8th 2016
Death metal
Released via Season Of Mist

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The second of a triple hit of death metal reviews for this writer this week, and for the second time, I am not really a fan of the production values. Towards Inevitable RuinDefiled’s fifth full-length – states flat out, from the beginning, that this is an album which is ‘not pretty, nor pretending and reduced to the bare bones. DEFILED are definitely making a statement of naked brutality.’  I understand that minimalist sound can be a characteristic with charms and appeal, but on this occasion, I really feel it has missed the mark.  It takes a bit of perseverance to see through it to the album underneath. That said, it is possible to get used to it after a couple of spins, once the initial impact has dissipated, and you know what to expect.

Musically speaking, it’s insane! Sporadic drums and twisted riffs, blasted out in an aural labyrinth bizarre. What more could you ask? In terms of technical listening challenges, TIR tramples In Crisis, delivers a sneaky uppercut to Ugliness Revealed in passing, and leaves Erupted Wrath’s crippled body in a road-side ditch. Divination is likely the closest song-writing match from their back-catalogue. Naturally, this turn-on-a-dime complexity comes, to some degree, at the expense of coherence, but to different listeners, this will have different pros and cons. Considering the band in question, you would expect more pros, but the mix/master is still a little distracting, which may harm the delivery on first contact.

Defiled have well and truly invaded grind territory on this one, steaming headlong into crust-punk influenced lunacy, and who knows, maybe it will pay off in the long run. The riffs are there, as is the indefatigable, essential energy. These are ingredients which have seen other albums rise above uncomfortable mixes to classic status in the past. After all, people still love …And Justice For All, right?

3.5/5

Paul Macmillan

 

Cradle of Filth – Dusk…And Her Embrace – The Original Sin

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 11th July 2016 by izaforestspirit

Cradle of Filth
Dusk…And Her Embrace – The Original Sin
Released 8th July 2016
Symphonic Black Metal/Extreme Gothic Metal
Released via Cacophonous Records

Ever since discovering it as a teenager, Cradle of Filth’s ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ has been one of my favourite albums. A couple of months ago I was surprised to find out that this beautiful piece of Gothic horror/symphonic black metal is not in fact the original version. An earlier edition was recorded in 1995 but due to problems with both the line-up and the record label, the album never saw the light of day. Not until now that is… This year the newly re-animated Cacophonous Records decided to finally release a remastered version under the name of ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace – The Original Sin’.

Given how much I love ‘Dusk And Her Embrace’ (the “later” version, released in 1996) I was keen to see what this remastered, older edition sounds like and how it compares to the 1996 version. Well…Let’s start with stating some basic facts that make this version different from the previously released version: 1. the line-up for this album is the same as the one for ‘Principle of Evil Made Flesh’. It should be noted that the only band members who were present during both recordings were Dani Filth and Nicholas Barker; 2. the artwork, 3. the track-listing – this edition features more songs including two instrumentals and some demos and Nocturnal Supremacy (originally released on the ‘V Empire’ EP).

Now on to the actual music… As with all the Cradle of Filth albums, this one starts off with an atmospheric instrumental track which is this version is titled Macabre, This Banquet. It has got an eerie and atmospheric keyboard intro that is not too far removed from Humana Inspired to Nightmare (the opening track on the 1996 version). Nocturnal Supremacy comes as a bit of a surprise on here, possibly because I’m so used to the older, more abrasive black metal version of the song as featured on ‘V Empire’ EP.

Then we enter more familiar territory as the album progresses, revealing the original versions of the songs. As with any good quality gem, the unpolished version shows some potential but it can feel a little rough around the edges. This definitely the case here. One of my favourites, Funeral In Carpathia is a good example. It’s fairly similar to the later version of the song, but there’s a few subtle differences. The most prominent are Dani’s vocals; instead of the high pitched shrieks featured on the 1996 version, he adopts the more traditional black metal vocal style, more akin to the vocals on the band’s debut album. There’s also considerably less of the eloquent Gothic horror overtones than in the 1996 version. Yet some things remain the same; for example A Gothic Romance still has the same eerie horror story feel to it and the title track, even in this more primitive form it is still the undisputed highlight of the album

In summary, ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace – The Original Sin’ is definitely a collector’s item for the avid Cradle of Filth fan looking to expand his/her collection. The name is a big clue – “original sin” which on here implies raw, more aggressive and generally more black metal bearing more similarities to ‘Principle of Evil…’ and ‘V Empire’ than the previously released version.

4.5/5
Iza Raittila

Gorgosaur – Lurking Among Corpses

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 11th July 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Gorgosaur
Lurking Among Corpses
Death metal
Released April 25th 2016
Released via Memento Mori records

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There isn’t a heck of a lot of information available about this Swedish, DM two piece. Lurking Among Corpses is only their second release, the first being the Gashes And Demise demo from 2014 (of which new versions of all tracks seem to be included herein). It opens up with what seems to be a tribute to 1980s horror movie theme tunes, with Basement Funeral Hymn, but what follows is, for the most part, fairly standard fare d-beat DM, broken up by the occasional groove-heavy riff section.

I have to admit, I’m not a massive fan of the production, but there is a certain aspect to its lo-fi character which may be a bonus to some. There’s a kind of Atari Teenage Riot frantic messiness to the mix. It seems to work better with the more blackened vocals of Åsa Hagström than Martin Schönherr’s full-on, guttural DM approach. While they list bands such as Celtic Frost and Venom among their influences, and these can be he heard to a degree, a better comparison would possibly be early works of fellow Swedes, Entombed, or even more so the previous band featuring many of the same members, Nihilist. Very old school and very dirty.

As a first full-length, LAC is absolutely a solid release in a field which has seen a lot of travel, but it would be nice to see this band develop a little, and grow a more unique identity. There are glints of that coming through already; they’ve got the passion, and a really good grip of what makes a classic death metal riff. It’s the spaces between which seem to need to be brought to the fore a little bit more. If that can be nailed, this could be a truly formidable sound.

3.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Wolf Hoffmann – Headbanger’s Symphony

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 11th July 2016 by mickbirchy

Wolf Hoffmann
Headbanger’s Symphony
Heavy metal, Neoclassical metal
Released: 1st July 2016via Nuclear Blast Records

After nearly twenty years Accept guitarist, Wolf Hoffmann has finally returned to his solo project work. Headbanger’s Symphony is an album that Wolf has been working on for a few years now, while on a break from Accept. This is a really beautiful record, whilst much heavier than 1997’s Classical, it still has a calm dignity to it and the simple beauty of the music is worth the price alone.

The sheer scale of the production on this album is absolutely massive. Everything feels big and you really can get swept away in the beautiful sounds.  Wolf’s guitaring is simply amazing as well.  The subtle little tonal shift and the quick quivers are simple yet really effective. There is absolutely no space wasted on this record. The Czech National Orchestra sounds simply divine with every passing second creating a near-perfect framework for Hoffmann to play with and he utilizes the time well.  I had to compare to anything it’s like the instrumental prog-rock of the the early 70’s, just in it’s imagination and the wandering spirit of the music. The whole album just feels epic.  Headbanger’s Symphony takes classic works of art and plays around with the ideas and the end result is a feast for your ears.

At the same time, the album will appeal to metal heads just fine as well.  Don’t think that this is some high brow art form.  At the end of the day it’s a musician playing around with ideas and with the music. There is plenty of energy and intensity to keep you hungry for more long after this is over.  It’s an album that will take your imagination to some strange and wonderful places. With great use of familiar classical pieces and blends that with contemporary metal for a greater experience than either could provide on their own. If you’re at all into symphonic metal music, you owe it to yourself to check this out. If you just want to hear what Wolf from Accept get’s upto away from the band, this is worth checking out.  Me… I’m just a music nerd so this was kinda up my alley from the get go.  

4/5

Mick Birchall