Archive for March, 2019

The Raven Age – Conspiracy

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , on 27th March 2019 by Paul Macmillan

The Raven Age

Conspiracy

Hard rock/metal

Released March 8th 2019

Self-released

This is an interesting release for one major reason; it doesn’t fit neatly into a specific sub-genre of either rock or metal. Kicking off with an orchestral piece, which comes across like a meandering fantasy adventure film soundtrack, could easily give you a false impression of what follows on Conspiracy. This is, however, the second long-player from Londoners, The Raven Age, so if you’re familiar with predecessor, Darkness Will Rise, you might be more prepared than others. Regardless, they are still a difficult prospect to pigeonhole.

Whatever they are, it seems to be working for them. Their mass-appeal, melodic metal has already received rave reviews from Kerrang, Metal Hammer, and Powerplay magazines, to name a few of the bigger hitters. It’s easy to see why. These accessible tunes come from the shared house of Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, and, maybe at the rough edges, In Flames. There’s certainly a large, existing market for that.

While there are immediate metal tinges, this release leans more to the classic end of that spectrum much of the time, overlapping into old-school hard rock, despite the overall contemporary feel. The clean, powerful singing throughout is one of the stand-out features to represent that. Heck, I think they might have even half-borrowed a vocal melody from Phil Collins’ Land Of Confusion at one point. It’s catchy and effective, and one of the most memorable parts of their sound.

Perhaps one of the reasons this band are currently picking up so much speed, and in just a few years a few years of existence, is that not many others are currently taking this approach. If you like your heavy not so heavy, this might just tickle your fancy. However, if something more extreme is your go-to, it ain’t gonna tick your boxes. Either way, it’s worth a spin, just to find out.

3.5/5

Paul Macmillan

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Cellar Darling – The Spell

Posted in Alternative, CD, Folk, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 24th March 2019 by mickbirchy

Cellar Darling

The Spell

Progressive Metal , Folk-Metal, Symphonic

Released: 22nd March 2019

via Nuclear Blast Records

After being really impressed with their 2017 debut album, This Is The Sound, Cellar Darling have returned with their new record, The Spell. After that debut, I was hoping for another record and I was hoping that they would attempt something a little different. Well, they must have heard my wishes because their second record is a very different beast from the first album. The Spell is a much heavier and more progressive album than This Is The Sound. It feels like a lot more care and attention to detail was put into this album. I mean they improve on their sound in every way conceivable here. There is also an audiobook of the album, which offers more context for all of the songs and where the lead vocalist Anna Murphy adds another layer to this album’s meaning.

This album is just a tonne of fun from the first few notes. Immediately hitting you with those sharp tones and sweet melodies that were present on the last release. The production on this album real super slick and everything feels really tight with all of the instrumentation standing out and playing its part. When it all comes in together, it just sounds so grandiose. This sound can only be described as progressive rock with enchanted whimsy thrown in. The beautiful compositions with excellent sound mixing give the album an other-worldly vibe to, what would be, just another progressive folk-metal album. Then you have the immense vocals of Anna Murphy. She just has an amazing presence on this album, it really is a star-making performance. It baffles me how she isn’t usually brought up in the discussion of the best female rock-vocalists by the fan community. She has so much range both, in vocal technique and in, emotional presentation.

There is a really nice variety of musical styles presented here. From eerie and atmospheric to heavy and “in-your-face”. The Spell will captivate and entrance listeners. I immediately wanted to put it on again and again as this album rewards repeated listens as there is a lot you can miss on your first play-through. There are just so many subtle little things in the music that you only catch on repeated listens. I would say the songs that are really worth your time on this album are “Burn” with its excellent riffs and exciting chorus, “Love” & “Love Pt II” also “Death” & Death Pt II” both of these two-part songs make for excellent companion pieces and really show the strength of Cellar Darling’s songwriting abilities. Also, my personal favourite on the record is the haunting ballad “Sleep” which reminds me of those old progressive tunes where the music sounds like random instrumentation but it really perfectly calculated musicianship.

Yep, I would definitely say this is worth your time. I really didn’t know how they were going to follow up that first album but I truly wasn’t expecting this. The Spell is one of those perfect records to accompany your imagination. It’s enjoyable and enriched with wonderful lyrical content. This one gets a big thumbs up from me.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Darkthrone reveal new album details

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , on 22nd March 2019 by izaforestspirit

The Norwegian black metal duo Darkthrone have announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘Arctic Thunder’ will called ‘Old Star’. Here is what  their drummer Fenriz had to say about it:

“All in all it is our most 80s album so far and our most metal one to date with drum sound typical for the 80s USA/German market and damned lyrics, which are all written by me. We feel that OLD STAR is the big brother of ARCTIC THUNDER. More solid and with even better riffs.”

Check out the cover art below:

Darkthrone - Old Star

‘Old Star’ will be out on 31st May 2019 via Peaceville Records.

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Darkthrone-101075189934422/

https://darkthrone.lnk.to/OldStarFA

Fallen Tyrant – Children of A Nuclear Dawn

Posted in Metal with tags on 18th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Fallen Tyrant
Children of a Nuclear Dawn
Released 19th November 2018
Black Metal
Released via Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions

Fallen Tyrant - Children of a Nuclear Dawn

‘Children of a Nuclear Dawn’ is the second album from the German black metal band Fallen Tyrant. The band started out as a solo project of bassist/vocalist Mithras back in 2008, then two more members joined two years later.

This is one of those cases where the cover and the song titles are a good indication of what you can expect from the music. The vocals are ultra creepy, angry shouts and the music is equally aggressive and eerie-sounding. So far so typical for raw black metal. At least that is what I thought after the first track, but then things changed… Approximately half-way through Shifting Tides Along the Rhine the song took an unexpected turn and things went a little haywire. I am somewhat accustomed to fast, thunderous guitar riffs and blast beats but the distorted bass tunes took me a while to get used to. But that is still nothing compared to what happened next. Suddenly the pace changed and they switched from fast raw black metal to some jazz-esque guitar jamming session! The only thing missing up to that point is the sound of a saxophone playing the background… Luckily it doesn’t last long and what follows is more fast paced black metal.

There are a few melodic parts on here such as the title track with its acoustic guitar intro and less vicious-sounding guitar riffs. This is one of the more consistent songs on the album. The long instrumental part towards the end is one of highlights on here thanks to the guitar work. If only the other songs were as well composed and consistent as that one. For example, what the hell is going on with the vocals in the second half of Death Code: World Manifest ?? It sounds like a completely different band and the music switches from black metal to something akin to Motörhead then to black metal again. Very strange and not in a good way either…

Overall, ‘Children of a Nuclear Dawn’ left me feeling a little confused as to what Fallen Tyrant were trying to achieve with this record. It feels disjointed, almost as though they had too many ideas to squeeze into one album. The songs seem too long and needlessly complicated.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

Helheim unveil new album details

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , on 15th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of Viking black metal. If you are into bands such as Enslaved, Kampfar or Taake then there is a good chance that you will also like the Norwegian black metal group Helheim.

Their latest album ‘Rignir’ is scheduled to hit the shops on 26th April 2019 via Dark Essence Records. The title means “rain” in Norwegian and it is inspired by the climate in the band’s home city of Bergen.

You can see the cover and the track-listing below:

1. Rignir
2. Kaldr
3. Hagl
4. Snjóva
5. Ísuð
6. Vindarblástr
7. Stormviðri
8. Vetrarmegin

Helheim - Rignir

The album release will be followed by an European tour with record label mates Madder Mortem as support. Here is the full schedule:

Apr 12  Kvarteret , Bergen, NO
Apr 21 Dark Easter Metal Meeting , Münich, DE (Helheim only)
Apr 25 Quantic Club , Bucharest, RO
Apr 26 Flying Circus , Cluj Napoca, RO
APR 27 Vörös-Kék Yuk, Budapest, HU
APR 28 Nova Chmelnice , Prague, CZ
APR 29 Backstage, Paris, FR
MAY 01 The Underworld , London, UK
May 02: Logo, Hamburg, DE
MAY 03 Konfus, Esbjerg, DK
MAY 04 Skullcrusher, Dresden, DE

In the meantime you can watch their latest video for the new single ‘Kaldr’.

For more details go to:

http://www.helheim.com/
https://www.facebook.com/helheimnorway

God Dethroned announces European tour this spring

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , , on 12th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Dutch death metal outfit God Dethroned are coming to Europe this April in support of Suffocation. The ‘Europe Under Black Death Metal Fire’ tour also include Belphegor, Nordjevel and Dakrise and it starts on 4th April 2019 at Rockfabrik in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

You can see the full schedule below:

04.04 – “Rockfabrik”, Ludwigsburg (GER)
05.04 -“Turock”, Essen (GER)
06.04 – “Royale Metalfest” *, Aalborg (DEN)
07.04 – “Kulturpalast”, Hamburg (GER)
09.04 – “Bastard Club”, Osnabrück (GER)
10.04 – “Baroeg”, Rotterdam (NLD)
11.04 – “Victorie”, Alkmaar (NLD)
13.04 – “Metropool”,  Enschede (NLD)
16.04 – “Kulturfabrik” ***, Esch/Alzette (LUX)
17.04 – “l’Usine”, Geneve (SUI)
18.04 – “Schuur”, Luzern (SUI)
19.04 – “MS Connexion”, Mannheim (GER)
20.04 – “Seilerstrasse”, Zwickau (GER)
21.04 – “Melodka”, Brno (CZE)
23.04 – “Quantic Club”, Bucharest (ROM)
24.04 – “Form Space”, Cluj Napoca (ROM)
25.05 – “Barrack Club”, Ostrava (CZE)
26.04 – B”Durer Kert” **, Budapest (HUN)
28.04 – “Xplosiv”, Graz (AUT)

* – no Belphegor
** – no God Dethroned
*** – no Nordjevel

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/goddethronedofficial

Apocalypse – Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Posted in Metal with tags , on 10th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Apocalypse
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
Released December 2018 (original version) / January 2019 (re-press)
Epic Black Metal
Self-Released

Apocalypse - Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ is the debut album from the Italian, one-man black metal project Apocalypse. It was originally set up in 2015 as a full band playing power metal but the line-up did not last too long. After numerous line-up changes and rehearsals the founding member, multi-instrumentalist Erymanthon, made a decision to continue Apocalypse as a solo project drawing inspiration from black metal – particularly Bathory.

It’s pretty hard to miss the Bathory influence on this album. Starting with the cover art which looks remarkably similar to that of Bathory’s ‘Blood Fire Death’ album. Even the band name is written in the same font as Bathory. Also Erymanthon adapts a similar vocal style to Quorthon’s. The music itself is pretty much what I expected it to be from the description. I am not too comfortable using the term “epic black metal”; instead I would class this as atmospheric black metal with hints of thrash metal in guitars. There is an ongoing theme of war and battle scenes (as you would expect from the title) but there are no direct references to Vikings or Norse mythology. The pace varies depending on the song with the slowest being Chant of Glory Eternal which features an acoustic guitar and ballad-style clear vocals.

Soldiers of Rome has a definite thrash metal tinge to it due to the guitar work. It starts off slow with some acoustic guitar in the intro, then it gradually builds up the pace with some thrashing riffs and a few groove parts midway through the song. It reminded me of Bathory’s ‘Shores in Flames’. Erymanthon has a good vocal range and he seems to be fairly comfortable performing both the harsh black metal shouts and the clear vocals.

In summary ‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ is clearly a labour of love created in admiration and with the intention of paying homage to Bathory. In that Apocalypse has definitely succeeded. This album feels like a continuation of what Quorthon started.

4/5

Iza Raittila