Archive for December, 2016

Devilment – II – The Mephisto Waltzes

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

Devilment
II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Released 18th November 2016
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

It’s been two years since the release of Devilment’s debut album ‘The Great and Secret Show’. I’m guessing that most people (myself included) first discovered the band after reading about it being ‘a side-project’ of the Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth. The band was formed in 2011 by the guitarist Danny Finch and a group of friends in the town of Ipswich, England. Then a little later Ipswich resident, Dani Filth joined the ranks. Fast forward five years, a few line-up changes and the so called ‘side-project’ has developed into something far more serious. Since the success of their debut album, Devilment has been touring and this year their second opus ‘II – The Mephisto Waltzes’ saw the light of day.

I think that the biggest mistake that anyone can make with Devilment is to compare them to Cradle of Filth. Whilst both of the bands feature Dani Filth on vocals and share a fascination with horror themes, the similarities end there. THIS IS NOT CRADLE OF FILTH. You won’t find too many tales of Victorian Gothic horror here or lyrics such as “Evening minuetto in a castle by the sea.” What you will find though, are several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King.  The surrealist artist Salvador Dali is also mentioned in one of the bonus tracks on the limited edition.

Hitchcock Blonde caught my attention even before the album was released thanks to the creepy video. The song itself is an entertaining piece of keyboard-heavy melodic metal with a touch of humour in the lyrics. They even went through the trouble of mentioning the names of the blonde actresses from Hitchcock’s films. Similar things can be said about somewhat Gothic-sounding Dea Della Morte; another song filled with horror film and TV show references . If you are looking for something more profound, perhaps with a touch of dark poetry then Full Dark, No Stars is the track for you. It’s a truly beautiful song which highlights the vocal talents of singer/keyboard player Lauren Francis whose angelic voice provides the perfect contrast to Dani’s harsh vocals.

Not all the songs are melodic and keyboard-driven though, for example Shine on Sophie Moone picks up the pace with the drums and the thrashing guitars glaring in the spotlight. This is by far the heaviest song on here. It is also the most complex one treating the listener to a wide range of styles ranging from the fast and furious, to the melodic via an experimental part in the middle.

In summary, Devilment have clearly had lots of fun composing and recording this album. No matter how dark and sinister the lyrical themes become, the music has a certain playful tone to it. As far as genre definitions go, it’s a total mish-mash – Gothic but not overly theatrical, symphonic but never quite reaching the orchestral let alone operatic level; with hints of groove metal and a slight experimental flavour added in just to keep you on your toes. So if you dare to dance with the devil then it’s time a for a waltz with Devilment!

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

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Damaj -The Wrath Of The Tide (EP)

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

Damaj – The Wrath Of The Tide (EP)

Released March 1st 2017

Heavy metal

Self-released

Although Greenock’s Damaj have been cutting about for some three years or more – playing with Blaze Bayley, Tygers Of Pan Tang, and headlining Spanish festivals, as you do – The Wrath Of The Tide appears to be the first physical release they’ve put their name to. It presents a somewhat personal blend of numerous classical elements, drawn from the spectrum of metal; thrash, prog, and classic British heavy metal being the order of the day.

Vocally, there is much in line with the more accessible edge of the current UK scene, comparable to the likes of Reign Of Fury or Sumer, but the music behind is telling a different story. The lead work on the guitars is quite the trip. Incredibly professional in terms of technical ability, yet without plumping for mindless shred overkill, it really feels like something great has been accomplished in this respect. There are some very nice touches and twists in many of the riffs and rhythms, too, indicating that consideration and taste have been injected throughout. If I was to be mean, I’d have to say there’s something about the production value on this release which doesn’t quite click for me. It’s like later Voivod (i.e. the eponymous 2003 album). The edges of the sound are a little too… fluffy.

However, this doesn’t stop the integral energy of the collective breaking through. In fact, it doesn’t seem too farfetched to wholeheartedly believe Damaj have an almighty live presence, based purely on this EP. Now that they’ve cut their teeth on the recording front, and nailed their song-writing style to boot, they’ve laid the groundwork to make themselves a formidable force.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

More details about the new Ex Deo album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , on 7th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of the ancient Rome -themed, symphonic death metal band Ex Deo. The  band have revealed that their new album, the long-awaited follow up to ‘Caligvla’ will be entitled ‘The Immortal Wars’. This will be a concept album about the Punic Wars fought between Rome and Carthage which took place 264 B.C. to 146 B.C including epic tales two of history’s most famous generals Hannibal and Scipio Africanus.

You can check out the cover art and the track listing below:

1. The Rise of Hannibal
2. Hispania (The Siege of Saguntum)
3. Crossing of the Alps
4. Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo)
5. Cato Major: Carthago Delenda Est!
6. Ad Victoriam (The Battle of Zama)
7. The Spoils of War
8. The Roman

‘The Immortal Wars’ is schedule to hit the shops worldwide on 24th February 2017 via Napalm Records.

In the meantime here is a short teaser video with some song previews:

 

For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/exdeo/?fref=ts

 

Tampere Black Mass III

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , on 3rd December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Ragnarok, Barathrum, Thyrane

Kuivaamo, Tampere, Finland
2nd December 2016

Kuivaamo is a brand new event venue located outside Tampere city centre in one of the nearby suburbs. It opened a couple of months ago and it has hosted only a handful of events so far. Last night it acted as the venue for Tampere Black Mass III – part of a series of black and extreme metal events happening in Finland known collectively as Black Mass Finland. The line-up featured some of the biggest bands from the local black metal scene including: Barathrum, Thyrane and Horna along with the Norwegian black metallers Ragnarok.

The night was supposed to begin with a show by the death metal band Vorum. Sadly they had to cancel their performance for personal reasons. Their replacement was a black metal band called Charnel Winds. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of their show. They started out playing some decent-sounding black metal before shifting towards a slower, more progressive style later on. Their set was a bit of a mixed bag – some good, some rather dismal-sounding music. 2/5

I’ve seen Barathrum live a few times before. Their shows tend to be “hit’n’miss”, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculously bad. It all depends on their frontman Demonos Sova’s state and his ability to perform. I’ve seen the extremes; one show during which he was too drunk to even stand let alone remember his own lyrics and one great show (at Tampere Metal Meeting Festival) where he was in top form. This one can be counted as one of their good shows. Whilst clearly no longer sober, Mr. Sova still managed to agitate the crowds and deliver a decent performance. Highlights included: ‘Black Goat’, ‘Witchmaster’, ‘Saatana’, ‘Legions of Perkele’ and ‘Angelraper’. 3/5

Next up was the symphonic black metal band Thyrane. This was easily the best performance of the night. It was a very energetic and entertaining show even if they only played old songs. They have recently reformed after a long hiatus so hopefully there will be some new material coming soon. 5/5

I’ve seen Baptism live before. They generally sound slightly better live than on the albums. This show was a little different because they had a member of Horna as a guest vocalist on some of the songs. It was a decent performance but a lot of their songs sounded similar without much variety. 3/5

Ragnarok had a late start, almost half an hour past the scheduled start time. They experienced some serious problems with the sound that was never fully fixed. There were times when you could barely hear the guitars or bass. Things improved a little towards the end but it wasn’t as good as it could have been. At least I got to hear some of the hits such as ‘Blackdoor Miracle’, ‘In Nomine Satanas’ along with several tracks from their latest album. 3/5

Sadly I did not get to see Horna because of the confusion with the timetable and the problems with the sound system.

In summary, this was my first time at Tampere Black Mass. The new venue has its quirks and it did not yet look like the finished article. It’s outside of the city centre making it somewhat more tricky to get to. As for the bands, I really enjoyed watching Thyrane, Barathrum was decent and Ragnarok turned out to be a disappointment due to the sound problems. It’s a shame because I’ve heard their albums and I know that they have the potential to put on a great show.

Iza Raittila