Archive for October, 2018

Green Death – Hallowmass

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 31st October 2018 by izaforestspirit

Green Death
Hallowmass
Released 19th October 2018
Thrash Metal
Released via Combat Records

Green Death - Hallowmass

It’s been two years since I reviewed Green Death’s last album. Now the Iowa-based American thrash metal band is back with a new album called ‘Hallowmass’. I like the title, very well timed for this year’s Halloween…

The horror themes are difficult to miss as evidenced not only from the cover art but also from the song titles. Oh yes, Halloween is upon us. Get ready for your annual onslaught of werewolves, ghosts, witches and other spooky things. As far as the music goes, this is not far from where they left off with the previous album. They still remind me of mid-career Iced Earth. The predominant style is thrash metal but some tracks have a droning doom metal feel to them such as the slow and eerie-sounding She Couldn’t Live. The guitar work on that song actually made me think of Black Sabbath. They also occasionally incorporate elements of melodic death metal like the semi-growling vocals and the shredding guitars on The Betrayed – one of the more aggressive tracks on here.

The short instrumental Messis Diaboli is a beautiful, melodic piece which highlights the skill of the guitarists. Then it’s back to an unholy brew of thrash, doom and melodic death metal for the remainder of the album. It is not an easy mix for the listener to process. The vocals vary from howling to semi-growling. Personally I prefer the latter.

In summary, I had a hard time getting into ‘Hallowmass’. I was really hoping that this would be like Iced Earth’s ‘Horror Show’ album. Instead what we have here is an amalgamation of various styles which do not really work so well together. Some of the songs sound as though they were performed by a completely different band.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

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DC4 – Atomic Highway

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 22nd October 2018 by mickbirchy

DC4

Atomic Highway

Hard Rock, Classic Rock

Released: 21 September 2018

via Highvol Music

With over 40 releases under their belts combined, it’s really easy to expect a lot from these bonified legends of the industry. DC4 are a supergroup formed by brothers, Jeff, Shawn & Matt Duncan with their brother-in-metal Rowen Robertson, who between them have appeared in such bands as Armored Saint, Odin, Killer Bee & the legendary Dio. So their rock n roll pedigree is far from in question. We know they can do the job. The question is this, are they any good? My answer, in a word, yes. It’s all the great aspects of classic hard rock and none of the fluff. Their new record, Atomic Highway is an enjoyable experience that will get any rocker’s mojo going. If the talent on display didn’t impress you, then know that Bill Metoyer produced and mastered the record. With bands like Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Corrosion of Conformity and the aforementioned Armored Saint under his belt. You can bet the album is going to sound as good as it can possibly be.

This album gives you everything you expect. Powerful riffs, gut-busting solos, commanding vocals and grooves for days. The band sounds so good, with strong songwriting and well-executed performances all around. It’s amazing how this automatically feels like a classic record with those familiar guitar sounds that you could swear you’ve heard before. The band just rides the groovy riffs and then go wild during the solos, whilst still maintaining that great control of the rhythm. No one member feels more important than the other, everyone plays their part beautifully. Sure, the rock style may be formulaic, but at this point, it’s a tried and tested formula of rock n roll and it guarantees that people keep listening and enjoy the songs. The impressive guitar solos are what sell this record for me. When the guitar is let loose, I can feel goosebumps shiver through my body. The precision and skill, blended with a wonderful rhythm section make the solos pop and really stand out.

Jeff Duncan’s vocal performance is great as well. He has a dynamic singing voice that ranges from powerful with a rough edge, to tender and well toned. When he sings, his voice sores above the production. The music matching the lyrical subjects really well and the squealing guitar contracts well against his vocal style. I really don’t think there is a dull moment of the album. A real shock for me came with their unique cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Reily”. Although it’s not a flawless cover version, this song is a beloved favourite of mine. So anytime I get to hear it, a smile comes to my face. It also comes with cameo appearances from Guns ‘N’ Roses’ Dizzy Reed on the keyboard and John Bush (Anthrax, Armored Saint) on guest vocals. So that was pleasant and made the song more whole then if the band just tried to do it outright.

In all honesty, you get what you pay for with this record. It’s meat and potatoes rock n roll. If you love your classic rock and that old school flair, then this is for you. As a kid who grew up thumbing through his dad’s old albums, this album is right up my alley. It’s familiar and new in all the right ways. It doesn’t beat you over the head with nostalgia. It simply feels like a record right out of the past with newer production. Atomic Highway is a solid album that will please people who love unapologetic rock music. Let me tell you, I’m having a ball listening to this record.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Primordial w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd October 2018 by Pieni

Primordial, Basalto, Aura
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
21st September 2018
Promoted by Notredame Productions

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One month yesterday and the memories still send shivers down my spine. Primordial’s songs already have that effect on their fans, but something about that night’s performance made them more enthralling. I always thank the promoters for allowing me the chance of shooting these gigs but this time my heartfelt reverence towards Carlos Freitas and Notredame Productions goes deeper, for bringing such show to us.

DSC_0067 copyBut first things first. Post black metal Aura, promoting their debut EP “Hamartia”, which had been released in July. Aggressive, but bearing the somberness of a doom band, the mix works out extremely well, the four musicians really “into it” when on stage. For what I could gather, “Your Eyes Can Sweat My Desire For Catharsis” is their strongest track. An extra note on the bass player’s professionalism, as the piece on the bass that holds the strap broke but he didn’t stop playing; he just put his foot up on one monitor and held the instrument on his knee. I can only imagine the strain on his back and arms while doing it. In the end of the song he fixed it with duct tape, but since their songs are over 6 minutes long, consider my hat tipped.
https://www.facebook.com/oficialauraband/

Then came the 99%-instrumental Basalto. In fact, the first I’d seen them, a few months prior, I’d say they were an instrumental act. But this time, on the first and last track, guitarist António Baptista growled something indecipherable.
The final product is labelled as stoner/doom metal, but it’s achieved with a variety of other elements, such as jazz and blues, making it a lot spicier, more spirited. “Doença (“disease” in Portuguese) is their second album, released in February, and according to them, it represents everything black or dark in Humanity’s intellectuality. Interesting concept.
https://www.facebook.com/basaltostoner/

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In +25 years of attending concerts, I can only remember three concerts that went on for two hours: Iced Earth (the “Horror Show” tour, which coincided with the release of the boxset “Dark Genesis” and so the band decided to play a little bit of their full discography so far, with three different stage sets); Queensrÿche (the “Operation: Mindcrime” 20th anniversary tour where they performed both the album and its sequel in full) and Moonspell (the 20th anniversary of “Irreligious”, where they also played the whole DSC_0272 copy“Wolfheart” and “Extinct” albuns). Primordial was now the fourth, but the first without any special reason for it, apart from “not being like one of these new bands who play for an hour and go home” (quoting Nemtheanga himself). You’ve probably done the math by now: more time to play, less key-songs left out of the set, even if they have to insert new ones out of the latest “Exile Amongst The Ruins”. Plus, if you know how charismatic Nemtheanga is, you know how intense every minute of a Primordial show can be; 120 of them is something just beyond words.
Nemtheanga recalled several times their first show in Portugal, 20 years ago, praising “his friend” José Costa for it, and also mentioned the last time they’ve played at Hard Club (although that gig happened in the original venue, on the other side of the river, but that he didn’t seem to remember). Such sweet nostalgia, brought on not just by the older songs…
From “Nail Their Tongues” to “Empire Falls”, going through “To Hell Or The Hangman” or – my all-time favorite – “The Coffin Ships”, this concert was a roller-coaster ride of emotions that will hardly be forgotten by any of the presents.
https://www.facebook.com/primordialofficial/

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Ensiferum’s Acoustic tour comes to Europe this December

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , on 22nd October 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Finnish folk metal band Ensiferum have announced that they will be playing a series of acoustic shows in Europe this December. Here is more details about this special tour from their bassist Sami Hinkka:

“Just to tell you guys a bit more about the whole idea of these acoustic gigs. Ensiferum has always had acoustic elements and also whole acoustic songs on the albums but those have been impossible to add to traditional metal gigs. So we decided to create a setlist that would include songs that haven’t ever been played outside of Finland. Not just acoustic songs but also some very rare songs that we rearranged a bit to fit the acoustic atmosphere. Most of the setlist will be songs that haven’t been heard ever outside of Finland so even if you saw Ensiferum within the last years, this show will blow your mind! Partying, beer, moshpits, singalong, crowd surfing has always been a big part of Ensiferum’s metal gigs, how about this time? Fear not, it’s not going to be a ballads-only-evening, because we also include some old hit songs that went through an acoustic metamorphosis to keep the party spirit high! So see you all in the acoustic moshpit!

They will be joined by a Finnish acoustic rock band called TRIO DE FACTO.

To give you an idea of what kind of show you can expect, here is a video of one of their acoustic performances in Helsinki back in 2016:

For the full schedule check out the poster below:

For more information visit:

http://www.ensiferum.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pg/Ensiferum/

 

Browsing Collection – Don’t Want To Dance (EP)

Posted in CD, Metal, Punk Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 18th October 2018 by mickbirchy

Browsing Collection

Don’t Want To Dance (EP)

Hard Rock, Alternative Metal

Released 26 October 2018

via Record Union

Sweden is such a hotbed for great rock and metal music. There just seems to be no end to the great bands I get to talk about from there. A new band for me, hailing from Skövde, are Browsing Collection. A punk rock band that hits you with the force of a heavy metal outfit. These four ladies are out to claim the world of hard rock for their own. Their new EP, Don’t Want To Dance, is certainly an attention-getter. Their metal influenced punk rock immediately grabs you and leaves you breathless. It all sounds so glorious. It’s honestly been a while since a band has grabbed my attention so immediately.

The EP opens on the tune “One Time A Year” an energetic song with lots of hype and an emphatic chorus that get the hard juices flowing. That energy flows through this EP like a surge of power. It’s the kind of song that gives that kick to get you up and moving. The next single from the band is “Something To Hold On To”. This is more of a party rock anthem and keeps that sense of intensity with its well-executed guitar lines and invigorating chorus. The EP just has a great sound and the band keep up an amazing energy throughout. Other songs I lie would be “Thank God It’s Friday” for it big sound and hard-hitting guitar, also, “Hi but No” is a great tune that shows the bands charisma and personality.

The production is outstanding with every instrument coming through loud and clear. These girls know how to make rock music sound so good, with an impactful and commanding presence that demands your attention. Their music has a big anthemic quality that’s great to sing along to. If I was getting ready for a night out this would be the music that would be blasting to get me hyped. Their riffs are kickass, their sound is tight and consistent with loads of energy and creativity. I have been listening to all of their releases on Spotify as well, let me tell you now, you need this band in your life a.s.a.p.

5/5

Mick Birchall

God’s Army – Demoncracy

Posted in Metal with tags , on 16th October 2018 by izaforestspirit

God’s Army
Demoncracy
Released 12h October 2018
Heavy Metal
Released via Rock of Angels Records

God's Army - Demoncracy

‘Demoncracy’ is the second album from God’s Army, a heavy metal band featuring Mark Cross (ex- Helloween, Firewind and many others). They were originally formed in 2004 and their line-up hasn’t changed much since the beginning. The only new addition to the band is the German guitarist Eddie van Dahl.

The band stated on their Facebook page that despite the name they have “absolutely nothing to do with religion and everything to do with music.” So religion is not one of the themes, but based on the album title and the samples from political speeches it looks as though politics and current affairs are among the topics covered in the lyrics. The first track is an intro which you may wish to skip unless of course you like listening to crowd noises and politicians talking. Moving on… Right from the opening riff Free Your Mind sounds much more promising. It’s a guitar-driven, classic catchy heavy metal song with all the right elements to make you want to start headbanging. Final Destination takes on more melodic stance with some progressive undertones in the guitars. The vocals reminded me of mid-career Helloween.

There are more samples from political speeches further into the album, but that shouldn’t be a deterrent. I quite enjoyed the chorus and the guitar parts on Games Without Frontiers – another catchy heavy metal song. What I could have done without are the so-called filler tracks such as the whispers and ambient track The All Seeing Eye. Seriously, what the hell is the point of that song? Luckily it is short and what follows is more guitar-driven, melodic but very catchy heavy metal. They saved the best for last – closing the album is an entertaining heavy metal cover on Frank Sinatra’s My Way. Not the most obvious choice for a cover but it works very well.

Overall, ‘Demoncracy’ is a good example of modern heavy metal. The songs are catchy and well executed but not too progressive or over-complicated in structure. There’s a few tracks which I had to skip but those are the only minor flaws on this album.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

The Raven Age release new single and donate sales to mental health charity

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 13th October 2018 by izaforestspirit

The British groove metal band The Raven Age have recently released a new single called ‘Betrayal of The Mind’. The central theme for the song is mental health.  Here what their vocalist Matt James had to say about:

” In an age where mental health problems are becoming a pandemic, it serves as a reminder how far we have come as a species but how unaccustomed we are to this new world in which we currently live. We are connected to each other through technology but yet are feeling more alone than ever. We need to spread awareness and act on these issues, and speak out when we are feeling alone. One way to do this is through music…”

The song acts the first preview of their yet to be titled new album, the follow up to their debut ‘Darkness Will Rise’ which came out last year.The band have also announced that they will be donating all the money made during the first month of sales to The Blurt Foundation – a charity helping those affected by depression.

You can listen to the track here:

 

For more information about the charity visit:

https://www.blurtitout.org/

You can also make a separate donation at: https://localgiving.org/charity/blurtitout/

The Raven Age

https://www.theravenage.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheRavenAge