Archive for October, 2016

Porto Best Of – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Festival, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 31st October 2016 by Pieni

Tarantula, Equaleft, Redemptus
Rivoli Theatre, Porto (PT)
19th October 2016
Promoted by Miguel Guedes and Porto City Hall

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In a country with deep roots in metal but where such music is still much frowned at, having the City Hall backing up a metal event is a big thing. Even if we had to watch the concerts sitting down… I confess I was expecting the audience would eventually stand up, but that didn’t happen. Guess we wanted to prove the City Hall and the classy Rivoli theatre staff that we were all civilized, law-abiding citizens.
Calling it “Porto Best Of” is probably a tad pretentious, especially when there was only three bands on the bill, but then again, it showed respect for who was performing.

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The first of those bands was Redemptus, a sludge/post-metal act that was formed two years ago in S. João da Madeira (yeah, the “Porto” part is also misleading). Why them and not some other with a longer career? Well, first, they’re good, and that’s reason enough; but there’s a second, which lies in their members having been around way longer and built quite a career in several different projects. Surrounded by smoke and dim-lit by red lights, the trio performed pieces featured in their debut “We All Die The Same”, released by Raging Planet Records early last year.

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For Equaleft the darkness remained but now in shades of blue. At least now we had permission to shoot the first two songs in front of the stage (thanks for that, André). This was the second to last show promoting “Adapt & Survive” (review here) and, sadly, also the next-to-farewell performance of drummer Marcos – his personal life got to a point where playing in such an active band as Equaleft wasn’t possible anymore.
It was really weird watching Equaleft sitting down. While it’s easily manageable to headbang in that position to Redemptus’ sound, Equaleft’s groove makes your whole body pulse and the urge for movement is harder to control. But we did it, somehow. As for the band themselves, they didn’t stop and the floor literally throbbed to songs like “New False Horizons”, “Invigorate” (the light-saber song) or “When Ruin Becomes A Bliss”.

 photo JORGEMARQUES_zps265pomke.jpgTarantula is one of the biggest names in our heavy metal history so even though they haven’t been playing much and their latest record dates from 2010, it made sense to have them headlining this event. Their career hits the 35-year mark, if we count the four years going by Mac Zac. In 1990 they would release what’s considered their most significant album, “Kingdom Of Lusitania”, and that’s the album they celebrated that night. Among the big hits of the rest of their discography, that is, such as “You Can Always Touch The Sky”, “Freedom’s Call” or “Face The Mirror”. No “Power Tower”, though a few fans asked for it… Still, in the end, I didn’t see any disappointment in the almost sold out theatre except for that – that it had ended. After more than three decades, Tarantula still know how to pull a great heavy metal show and make you sing along and raise your fists like there’s no tomorrow.
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I believe bands and audience proved that metal is something worth supporting and that more events like this will follow. I just hope they reconsider the chairs…

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 27th October 2016 by Pieni

Testament
“Brotherhood Of The Snake”
thrash metal
Release: 28th October 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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Formed in 1983 as Legacy, Testament were forced to change their name – the usual there’s-already-a-band-with-that-name thing – and that change happened three years later. So even if their whole history is a bit older, Testament turn 30 this year. What better way to celebrate than releasing a pure thrash metal record, probably the best they’ve done in years?

‘Cause that’s what “Brotherhood Of The Snake” is – a thrash metal bliss. We use the expression “breath of fresh air” whenever a band adds something new to the genre, but it’s just as refreshing when a band manages to stay in character and makes it sound like a novelty.

The fierceness and excellence of their songwriting is surely well known, but you still won’t be expecting the blow that your ears will take with the title-track or “The Number Game”.

The machine-gun speed with which Chuck Billy sings “Stronghold” will remind you of songs such as “Over The Wall” and the gang chorus has the same power as the one in “Into The Pit”; similar formula, including the hit-potential, but you won’t feel like you’ve heard it all before. “Refreshing”, remember?

Same with “Seven Seals”, where they go for something less aggressive but still heavy, like they did with “Souls Of Black”, or the headbang-friendly “Neptune’s Spear” that’s as catchy as “Electric Crown”, but it’s just the nature that’s comparable – “The Brotherhood Of The Snake” offers ten distinctive, killer songs which will renew your faith in thrash metal.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Iron Maiden continue The Book of Souls tour in 2017

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Uncategorized with tags , , on 27th October 2016 by izaforestspirit

Iron Maiden will be continuing the European leg of The Book of Souls World Tour in the spring of next year. The support for all the dates will be the American hard rock band Shinedown. The first show will be in Antwerp, Belgium on 22nd April 2017 followed by a few shows in Germany before moving on to The UK and Ireland.

Here’s an official statement from their bassist and founding member Steve Harris:

“As it’s been so long since our last full UK arena tour, we really wanted to get to our fans in as many cities as possible. We’re really looking forward to it, especially visiting places we haven’t been to for a very long time like Leeds where we haven’t played since 2005 and Liverpool where we haven’t played since 1990. The whole band is really enjoying this tour and although we love playing festivals and stadiums, it is terrific to return to the intimacy and atmosphere of arenas. The songs from The Book Of Souls album and the new Maya-themed Eddies and stage sets have gone down really well and fan reaction has been amazing. And of course we know our fans appreciate us playing a lot of the older songs too, which we will continue to do.”

Here is the full tour schedule for 2017 along with a poster for the UK Tour:

Apr 22              Belgium                        Antwerp, Sportpaleis
Apr 24              Germany                      Oberhausen, König-Pilsener-Arena
Apr 28              Germany                      Frankfurt, Festhalle
May 02             Germany                      Hamburg, Barclaycard Arena
May 04             England                       Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
May 06             Ireland                         Dublin, 3arena
May 08             England                       Manchester, Arena
May 10             England                       Sheffield, Arena
May 11             England                       Leeds, First Direct Arena
May 14             England                       Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
May 16             Scotland                      Glasgow SSE Hydro Arena
May 17             Scotland                      Aberdeen, AECC GE Oil & Gas Arena
May 20             England                       Liverpool, Echo Arena
May 21             England                       Birmingham, Barclaycard Arena
May 24             Wales                           Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
May 27             England                       London, O2 Arena

For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/ironmaiden/

http://ironmaiden.com/

 

Existance – Breaking the Rock

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

Existance
Breaking the Rock
Released 15th October 2016
Heavy Metal
Released via Black Viper Records


‘Breaking the Rock’ is the second album from the French heavy metal band Existance. The band was formed back in 2008 by Julian Izard (son of Didier Izard from the speed metal band H-Bomb). Existance expressed their aim to “keep the spirit of the 1980s heavy metal alive”. Their music has been compared to the likes of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Saxon.

First off is Heavy Metal Fury with a deceptively slow and melodic guitar intro paving the way to some classic heavy metal in which most of the emphasis is on the guitar riffs and Izard’s melodic vocals. The 80s heavy metal influences are fairly easy to detect; the guitar patterns, riffs and vocal style reminds me of the more prominent bands from the NWOBHM movement such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. If it’s retro-style, heavy metal guitar riffs you’re after, you will find them in abundance on tracks such as All Is On Fire, Pain In Paradise.

As with most classic heavy metal albums, there’s usually at least one slow ballad to show the band’s ‘softer’, more melodic side and (hopefully) underline the skills and vocal range of their singer. On here we get Sinner of Love in which it’s definitely the vocals that enter the spotlight. Izard’s vocals are a good match to the guitar melodies giving the song a pleasant vibe. By contrast there’s the adrenaline-packed title track which really speeds things up in the riff department.

Overall, ‘Breaking the Rock’ is more than just a homage to 80s heavy metal. Existance did a great job of replicating the sounds of that era in metal music and their influences are fairly evident. It’s practically a genre-defining album. This is classic heavy metal in its purest form.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Powerwolf live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 19th October 2016 by izaforestspirit

Civil War, Powerwolf
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
18th October 2016

It’s a while since I’ve been to a metal concert. The last time I saw some metal bands live was at Tampere Metal Meeting festival a few months ago. Now summer is over, it’s getting darker and colder and the leaves have all but fallen… I’ve never really suffered from the autumn blues as each season has its good points. Autumn means that Halloween is soon upon us and what better way to celebrate it then with some über-theatrical and ultra cheesy, horror-themed power metal brought to Finland by the German extravaganza that is Powerwolf.

First up was the Swedish power metal band Civil War which features former members of Sabaton. I was intrigued by them precisely due to the connection to Sabaton. Yet what I heard turned out to be different to what I was hoping to hear. Like their world-renowned countrymen, Civil War’s lyrical themes revolve around various historical events and they play heavy metal. But that’s where the similarities end; their music is slower with an emphasis on ballads and story-telling rather than catchy battle tunes for the mosh-pit. 2.5/5

Luckily Powerwolf were worth the wait. I’m not too familiar with their music but after that show I can safely say that I’m a Powerwolf convert. Their show was exactly what I like to hear from a power/heavy metal band – full of theatrics, ‘pomp and circumstance’ , songs about priests, religion, werewolves, vampires and chanting in Latin. Yes, just like most bands of this genre, their music is cheesy as hell but damn entertaining. The highlights included: ‘We Drink Your Blood’, ‘Dead Boys Don’t Cry’, ‘Army of the Damned’ and ‘Blessed & Possessed’ (the title track of their new album). 5/5

 

In summary I wasn’t too impressed with Civil War’s performance but I really enjoyed Powerwolf. It’s rare that a band impresses me this much during a performance, turning me into a fan of their music practically overnight. It happened last year with Helloween and now in 2016 with Powerwolf.

Iza Raittila

Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

Posted in CD, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 16th October 2016 by izaforestspirit

Darkthrone
Arctic Thunder
Released 14th October 2016
Blackened Heavy Metal
Released via Peaceville Records

The Norwegian metal duo Darkthrone doesn’t need much of an introduction. Their early albums such as ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ are regarded as classics of the black metal genre. Also, let’s not forget their drummer Fenriz’s witty comments and his passion of underground music. They’re one of those bands who isn’t afraid to alter their style and experiment with something new. Since the start of their career they have gone through various transformations ranging from death metal to black metal followed by experimentation with punk and heavy metal music. Personally I lost track of them after ‘The Cult is Alive’ album back in 2006. Then recently I heard their new song ‘Tundra Leech’ on Youtube and I decided to give them another go.

First up is the familiar, eerie sounding Tundra Leech – the track which convinced me to obtain a copy of this album. It’s great to hear Nocturno Culto’s haunting voice again, sounding just as grim as he did in the band’s early days of black metal. Nocturno Culto is singing on all the tracks on here which is really good in my opinion. I’ve always preferred his harsh and creepy vocal style to Fenriz’s hooting clear vocals. As for the music, the guitars have this old school feel to them as if they were trying to replicate similar riff patterns as they used in the 90s. By ‘old school’ I mean a mixture of old school black metal with a slight thrash metal tinge audible in the guitars.

In other words it’s still very grim-sounding but it’s way too fast and too catchy to be considered “true” and “kvlt” black metal any more. Boreal Fiends stands out due the melodic instrumental intro at the start; slowly drawing you closer into the deep dark forest with the grim guitars, drums and Nocturno Culto’s haunting howls as your only guides. Then there’s Inbred Vermin, a bit of an oddity, which sees the band play around with some heavy metal and (dare-I-say-it?)…Motörhead-esque guitar patterns mid-track, neatly sandwiched between frostbitten, ultra-haunting howls and black metal guitar riffs. These guys clearly enjoy both these styles, so why not combine those two? And why not? Who says that Motörhead doesn’t go well with Hellhammer or Celtic Frost? Also why stop there when you can also add some thrash metal into the mix? That pretty much sums up what the managed to achieve rather successfully with the title track.

Overall this ‘Arctic Thunder’ sees Darkthrone revisiting their roots – the sounds that have influenced them in the early days and putting a new spin on it. It’s got the same eerie and cold atmosphere as their highly regarded black metal albums, but it’s not restricted to one specific metal genre. The closest thing I can think of to describe their current sound would be something like ‘blackened heavy metal’. Luckily I’m not any kind black metal purist, so grim and frostbitten ‘blackened heavy metal’ sounds just as good to me.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Acid Reign announce UK tour!

Posted in News with tags , , on 14th October 2016 by mickbirchy

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Coming off the back of their now already legendary headlining set on the Sophie Lancaster Stage at this year’s Bloodstock festival, it is with great pleasure that rebooted UK thrash legends Acid Reign announce their first headline UK tour for 26 years!

Dubbed the “April Fools Tour”, Acid Reign, led by enigmatic frontman Howard ‘H’ Smith, will be playing six dates across the UK in March/April 2017 bringing old/young friends Shrapnel with them as special guests.

 In their own words:

“We didn’t have any intention of touring next year just writing a new album but when this came up it was too good to turn down. Since Bloodstock we have had so much interest it made total sense to do this and we are all really pleased we can get back out on the road. See you there”

31/03/2017   SOUND CONTROL MANCHESTER

01/04/2017   LORDS OF THE LAND GLASGOW (*no Shrapnel)

02/04/2017 THE CLUNY NEWCASTLE

07/04/2017   TALKING HEADS SOUTHAMPTON

08/04/2017   UNDERWORLD LONDON

09/04/2017   EXCHANGE BRISTOL

Tickets on sale Friday October 14th @ 11am!

http://www.seetickets.com/event/acid-reign/the-underworld/1034363

http://www.seetickets.com/event/acid-reign/the-cluny/1034563

http://www.seetickets.com/event/acid-reign/exchange/1034536

http://www.seetickets.com/event/acid-reign/talking-heads/1034639