Archive for May, 2017

Epitaph – A Night At The Old Station

Posted in CD, Gig, Live, Rock with tags , , on 23rd May 2017 by izaforestspirit

Epitaph
A Night at The Old Station
Released 28th April 2017
Hard Rock/Prog-rock with jazz elements
Released via M.I.G Music GmbH

A Night At The Old Station’ is an acoustic live album from the German hard rock band Epitaph. It was recorded at the Old Station in Anderten, near Hanover, Germany. The set features a mixture of old and new material played using mostly acoustic instruments. Although full concert recording is available as a 2CD &DVD box-set, this review will focus of the promo CD version which features six tracks plus two enhanced live videos.

Two keys words – “live” and “acoustic”, are a good indication of the what you can expect from this release. I’ve never been to an Epitaph show but the live videos offer the next best thing. The use of acoustic instruments gives the songs a relaxed, more melodic feel which is only enhanced by the additional cellos, piano, keyboards and violin on some of the tracks. Take Looking For A Friend for example, it has that chilled out vibe to it. Then they speed things up a notch with One of These Days, a catchy hard rock ballad with a memorable chorus .

I recognized Love Child, having previously heard it as a bonus track on their most recent studio album ‘Fire From The Soul’. The acoustic version is far more laid back but it definitely has its charms. Then if you’re looking for a good tune to dance to then look no further than Ain’t No Liar, the longest but also the most catchy song on the CD.

Overall, this is clearly more for the die-hard Epitaph fans who wish to add this release to their existing collection. As with any live album, it’s no match for the real live show experience but it gives the offers the listener/viewer the next best thing.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

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Siena Root – A Dream of Lasting Peace

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , on 22nd May 2017 by mickbirchy

Siena Root

A Dream of Lasting Peace

Rock, Folk, Psychedelic

Released 26th May 2017

via Hänsel & Gretel, MIG-Music

 

This has been a listen for me. Lately I’ve been really into my mellow music, instead of in your face heavy metal. When I first played the album I was immediately interested in the sound that was coming from the speakers. The sheer imagination these guys bring to the table is outstanding. The music is this psychedelic folk sound that’s really hard out of your head.  Their tone is just unlike anything I’ve really listened to in recent memory. The sweeping guitar tones, the excellent production and the fantastic songwriting. It all sounds so glorious. A Dream of Lasting Peace is a just a excellent listen from start to finish.

The production of this album is really damn good. The instrumentation is exquisite, with every member really making an impression on you. Samuel Björö’s vocals are just so emotional and they soar above the production and really resonates with you. He is just one of those front men that can really paint a picture with his word and draw you into the world he creates. All the while the band plays an amazing score to accompany the great lyrics. The way the music swells around the lyric is a magical experience, particularly on tracks like “The Piper Won’t Let You Stay” & “Empty Streets”. I was simply entranced the whole time. It’s just excellent from start to finish. I really can’t stop listening to it.

This feels like a band that just know how to create a great musical experience, This being their sixth studio album, the band have just gelled at this point. Everything about their sound is so natural and almost comes off as effortless. It’s such a nice album just to play and have a good time to. Just let the music entrance you into a state of euphoria. It’s seriously a great trip.  I’m so happy to have found this band. This one album is definitely worth your time.

5/5
Mick Birchall

The End Of Grace – Infinite Shadows Of Memories

Posted in 'Core, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 9th May 2017 by Pieni

The End Of Grace
“Infinite Shadows Of Memories”
metalcore
Released: 10th May 2017
by Illumnirec

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Where I come from there’s a saying that goes something like “who awaits always achieves”. And then someone twisted it, creating a new and pretty negative version, that says “who awaits gets desperate”. The latter translated my state of mind in the recent past regarding a full-length record by The End Of Grace, which I’ve been waiting for since the band got together. But it’s finally here and I’m living the original version of the saying, as waiting for “Infinite Shadows Of Memories” totally paid off. Between the two EPs “Lost In Transition” and “Unity”, there had already been an evolution in the songwriting, its features emboldened; but “Infinite…” is more than an upgrade of said features, it’s a new path straying away from the traditional metalcore they’ve begun with.

The crystal-clear clean tones have been replaced by somber, deep ones, still contrasting perfectly with Kriss’ growls; the focus on breakdowns is water under the bridge, the main priority now based on the musicality and not on sounding tougher than leather – even if they do sound relentless nevertheless. It’s just a whole new level of melody, more mature.

The ominous catchiness of “Life On The Line”, the yearning of the title-track, the collision of opposites of “Breathe”, the daring “Ride The Dark”… This record is a rollercoaster of emotions and shows TEoG pushing the proverbial envelope with their music. Hell, a whole stack of envelopes! It’s not even clear what it should be called anymore, but whether you go for “blues-core, deathcore or metalcore” (quoting the upbeat “We Really Don’t Know Yo”), this is The End Of Grace.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Blindagem Metal Fest – Ponte de Vagos, Portugal

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 7th May 2017 by Pieni

Chaos Synopsis, Aneurose, Nuclear Warfare, Infraktor
Origens Caffé, Ponte de Vagos (PT)
29th April 2017
Promoted by Paulo Perdiz & Blindagem Metal Show

DSC_0470 copy

Blindagem is Paulo Perdiz’s baby, a radio show that’s been promoting metal since 1990. At some point the spreading of news wasn’t enough and concerts were added to the bill, giving birth to these Blindagem Metal Fests. Last weekend, Origens Caffé witnessed another one of these events with a quite packed house.

www.facebook.com/blindagem

DSC_0091 copyFirst band getting on stage was Infraktor, “ferocious thrash” straight out of Escapães. It was the only national band on the bill and made it right by their country – I used the quote marks in “ferocious” because that’s the band’s own tag line, but they lived up to it and there’s no better word to describe the show.
Their debut “Exhaust” has no release date yet but the recordings are done. In a perfect world, that should mean the album would soon be blasting off your listening devices, but I’ve been engaged in this biz for way too long to know that there are no accurate predictions until all processes are complete. What I can assure you is that I will let you know as soon as it’s announced.
They were asked to play 45 minutes instead of the usual 30, so “Unleash The Pigs” was back on the set (it had previously been replaced by “Son Of A Butcher”) and “Confront” got its riff sequence altered in order to extend it a little bit. Infraktor topped my expectations-for-2017 list (see here) and they’ve been meeting said expectations so far.

www.facebook.com/infraktor.metal

DSC_0349 copyThere’s a reason for German thrash to be so popular and Nuclear Warfare reminded us why, inflaming mosh circles practically from the first minute. Singer/bassist Fritz knew a few words in Portuguese – after all, the band has a Brazilian drummer, Xandão – but we were happy to teach him some more. Cursing words, obviously, in good ol’ cheerfulness.
The hymn “Just Fucking Thrash” and The Ramones’ cover of “Rockaway Bitch” were probably the catchiest moments of a fierce and beer-drenched gig.

www.facebook.com/ThrashMetalTank

DSC_0443 copyBrazilian thrashers Aneurose released their sophomore album, “Juggernaut”, last July and Blindagem was one of the Portuguese dates in its promotional tour. I don’t know if they already had fans here, as the reaction of the crowd was so fulsome; but then again, it was my first time watching them and the adrenaline rush I’ve felt was simply overwhelming. Straight-forward, in-your-face metal music, headbanging and mosher friendly, lots of rebellious gang backing vocals to sing along… And speaking of “along”, singer Wallace joined the circle pit at some point. Songs such as “Butcher” or “Drunk As Skunk” got such a crazy feedback that all of a sudden it seemed that we were in a sold-out show, people pushing everywhere to stand up front. To the point that when Wallace called Infraktor-Popas on stage to help him sing Sepultura’s “Roots Bloody Roots” I couldn’t even see them – just listening to them. And what a duet that was.

www.facebook.com/aneurose

DSC_0490 copyLast but not least, also hailing from Brazil and also playing thrash metal – although with a bit more death to it -, Chaos Synopsis. “Gods Of Chaos” is their most recent work, released a little over a month ago, but three others have come before it and therefore they had a rich set for us. “Burn Like Hell”, “Storm Of Chaos” or “Gods Upon Mankind” are just some of the songs that you should look into if you’re in this genre. The crowd that night surrendered to them.

www.facebook.com/chaossynopsis

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Perfect Blue Sky – The Eye of Tilos

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 6th May 2017 by mickbirchy

 

Perfect Blue Sky

The Eye of Tilos

Soft Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Released: 19th May 2017

via Scarecrow Music Group (SE) Right Recordings (UK)

Perfect Blue Sky, is the highly anticipated collaboration between one of the founding members of the Swedish metal act Netherbird Pontus, Pna Andersson and Australian solo rock vocalist, Jane Kitto. Together they formed the band in 2014 based out of Stockholm, Sweden. I have to say going into this album, The Eye of Tilos, I knew little to nothing about them. With that, I had absolutely no expectations when first playing this. On first listen I had no idea what I was in for.  Just vague non-descriptors from a PR statement. With a clear mind I listened on and found that this is one of the most pleasant sounding albums I’ve listened to in a while.

I was hit with tight songwriting and smooth production.  The music was this 70’s style soft rock, you know the kind of stuff that we don’t usually cover here on Valkyrian Music. This really beautiful soft acoustic soft rock, with light elements of psychedelic indie rock music. The sounds are so fluent and cerebral.  It has this way of getting lodged in your brain. It’s not catchy as such, there are no real ear worms here. More just beautiful tones that sink into your memory without you even realising it.  There’s some creative riffs and superbly simplistic, but effective, writing ideas. The harmonies really grab your attention in a way that you wouldn’t think.  All of the songs are designed so that you pay attention to them as a whole, instead of nitpicking the individual aspects. It’s the same joy I feel from listening to stoner metal or outlaw country music.  Just music that switches off my overthinking capacity and switches on my pure enjoyment.

I don’t want you to think that this production is small scale or under planned.  There’s a lot of work that goes into making music that sounds like this.  To achieve this the duo have recruited a pretty nice backing band that really bring all of the elements of this album together. Names like, Frank Bessard (Joe Satriani, Stanley Clarke) and Dave Getz (Big Brother Holding Co.) on Drums. Danny Oakhill on Keyboards (Queen Tribute, Turk Tresize).  Jerry Donahue on Guitar (Fairport Convention, Hellecasters). All of them bring their energy to the album, yet like I’ve said the production never lets any one member really over shine the others.  There is is this really nice balance to it all. So the listener never feels overwhelmed by any one part of the production.

Genuinely, I have loved this album. It’s a beautiful sounding record with a lot to offer in its production and in its songwriting. With songs of passion, abstract concepts and social commentary. The Eye of Tilos is such a nice sounding album.  It mixes old school hippie jams with classic rock and adds some modern style production to really keep it in today’s market. I am really liking this band.  Hopefully this won’t be the last I hear from them. Also, it makes for awesome driving music.

5/5

Mick Birchall