Archive for April, 2020

Overlaps – In Your Room

Posted in Rock with tags on 27th April 2020 by izaforestspirit

Overlaps
In Your Room
Released 27th March 2020
Alternative Rock/Nu Rock
Released via Time to Kill Records

’In Your Room’ is the second album from the Italian alternative rock band Overlaps. They were formed back in 2015. Their debut album saw the light of day two years later. The band have also accompanied The Rasmus on their Dark Matters tour in 2018.

Right from the very first guitar riff I can already feel that this album is going to be fun. The opener Your Eyes features some catchy guitars and powerful vocals. Their singer Gloria Piccinin has a good, dynamic voice and she puts a lot of emotion into each song. I particularly liked the chorus of In This Room. It has that uplifting feel to it which puts the listener in a good mood. One thing I didn’t like though are the rapping vocals mid-way through Spleen. What a waste of a good song. I have no issue with the poetic lyrics and references to Baudelaire but I really can’t get past the rapping. Luckily that is the only time that they do this on here and what follows is more well-executed alternative rock.

As mentioned previously, I like the vocals and I think that they are part of what makes Overlaps stand out. As far as alternative rock goes, this is fairly melodic and radio-friendly, verging on power-pop at times. But enough about the vocals, let’s talk a bit about the guitars. There is some good riff work on here too. Take Wasted for instance, it is one of the heavier tracks on here with multifaceted guitar passages and varied pace.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to ‘In Your Room’. It offers a good balance of melodic, energetic and uplifting guitar work with powerful vocals to convey their message to the masses. Gloria Piccinin is a talented singer and with her at the helm, Overlaps have a bright future ahead of them.

8/10
Iza Raittila

Bloodyard – Orchard of Corpses

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 26th April 2020 by mickbirchy

Bloodyard

Orchard of Corpses

Heavy Metal, Groove Metal, Death Metal

Released: 1st May 2020

Self Released

Bloodyard is one of those bands that have always been on my radar but I have not really given much attention to. Not for any malicious reason, mind you, I just find it hard to keep up with all of the music I want to listen to and inevitably some bands fall through the cracks. So, it was nice that I could spend some time giving their music a thorough listen and where better to start than their latest album Orchard of Corpses. A twisted and heavy album that incorporates a thick tone, an in-your-face presence and tight musicianship to make a fun listening experience that I bet would sound good live. Bloodyard have a really decent album here, that I think a lot of metal fans should get behind. You can clearly hear their influences in the music and how they use those influences to manufacture their own sound.

As much as I like their music, I do have to comment on the production. Whilst, not the worst I have ever heard, it is noticeable. If there is one thing that I would say is standing out is the sound of the drums. They completely lack impact, with the other instruments overshadowing them. In fact, the production as a whole feels a little washed out and flat. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the tone or the way it was recorded. I just feel the assembly of the mix was a little off. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something holding the full impact of these songs back and it’s in the production. I think all of the musicianship itself is great though. Not a bad performance here, with solid guitar work and well-performed rhythm and bass. The vocals sound great, very commanding and direct. All in all the production is a mixed bag.

However, I do like the songs themselves and I think they would work in a live setting. I could really see myself headbanging the night away with how these songs play out. Lots of tight rhythm with not much breathing room, so the album just goes from song to song in a very fluid way which makes the album a great listen-through and makes it re-playable. The band gets in, does their thing and gets out. So, yeah I think the songs themselves are pretty damn good.

This is a decent record. Sure, it has some rough edges, but those are things that can be worked out. I like the tunes and the pure intensity of the record. The music is fine and though not the typical band that I usually listen to, I still found this album to be an enjoyable experience. I would like to hear this band live as I think that is a better context for these songs and where the band would be more in their element. It’s a good listen and I’m sure the underground metal scene here in the UK will love it. If you like like you home-brew heavy metal then this is the band for you.

6/10

Mick Birchall

Alexi Laiho’s book now available in English

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2020 by izaforestspirit

So we may have to wait a while for the debut album from Alexi Laiho‘s new band Bodom After Midnight but there is some good news for his fans. The former Children of Bodom front-man’s autobiography ‘Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar’ is now available in English.

The book was ghost written by Petri Silas, a music journalist and personal friend of Mr. Laiho. The original version (in Finnish) came out last year.

Alexi Laiho - Chaos, Control & Guitar, Book - Backstage Rock Shop

The international, English edition is available from the following online stores:
Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar (Book in English)
https://www.recordshopx.com/book/laiho_alexi/kitara_kaaos_kontrolli/

For further information go to:
https://fi-fi.facebook.com/AlexiLaihoOfficial
https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial/

Kill Ritual – The Opaque And The Divine

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 18th April 2020 by izaforestspirit

Kill Ritual
The Opaque And The Divine
Released 27th March 2020
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal
Released via Dissonance Productions

Kill Ritual - The Opaque and the Divine

‘The Opaque And The Divine’ is the latest album from the American thrash metal band Kill Ritual. The band was set up a decade ago and they have gone through a number of line-up changes. This is their first album with new vocalist Chalice Blood a.k.a Brian Betterton (also of Dirt and Enchanter).

I was expecting this to be a straightforward old-school thrash metal album. It is that to some extent, but a little bit more complicated. It’s very guitar-driven and some of the songs have that aggressive thrash metal feel such as the opener Rest In Pain and World Gone Mad. In addition to these, there are songs which take on a more melodic tone such as Praise The Dead with acoustic guitars and ballad-style vocals in the intro. Yet do not let the intro fool you, this is very much in the thrash metal category; the guitar work bears a lot of resemblance to bands like Merciful Fate.

Veil of the Betrayer stands out as the longest, most complex and the only progressive type song on here. Personally I found it a little too ponderous at times but luckily it got better towards the end once they picked up the pace.

In summary, ‘The Opaque And The Divine’ turned out to be different than what I expected. The guitar work is good enough to please any thrash metal fan. There is enough variety to keep the listener interested until the end. I like some tracks more than others but it was a good effort overall.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Bullets and Octane – Riot, Riot Rock N Roll

Posted in CD, Metal, Punk Rock, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 4th April 2020 by mickbirchy

Bullets and Octane

Riot, Riot Rock N Roll

Hard Rock, Sleaze Rock

Released 24th April 2020

via Bad MoFo Records / Cargo Records UK

It’s always cool when you get a chance to review a band you’ve been listening to casually for years. It’s a weird feeling because all I want to do is enjoy the record. Yet, I’ll have to put my reviewer cap on for this one, as much as I just want to listen to it and have fun. Bullets and Octane are one of those bands I got into as a teenager and that I gravitated to instantly. I have also seen them in concert and I have to say they are one of the wildest and fun bands out there today. So how is the new album Riot, Riot Rock N Roll?  It’s pretty darn good. It’s a lot of the same from this band. Fast-paced and aggressive tone but it has that fun party rock n roll tone that will keep you coming back for more.

The whole album has that really powerhouse feeling to it. With every instrument sounding larger than life. It feels like you’re in their jam session room and they’re coming up with the songs off the top of their heads. IT has that wild and rowdy feeling to it. The intense tone coupled with the tight musicianship is infectious and, like their other albums, extremely re-playable. As soon as you’re done with this record, you’ll put it on again and again. Or you’ll take my advice and look up their previous records and play it all. The production is good, I mean it’s not the finest production in the world, yet it suits this style of music. Everything is turned up and each piece of each song is presented in a way to get you headbanging.

There’s a good variety of rock n roll tunes here. From fast and furious punk-rock-like to the more groovy riff-based tracks. All coated in a sleaze rock style that gives the music a dirty and gritty edge. The riffs are fun, the grooves are slick, the guitar solos are over-the-top and the choruses are infectious and easy to sing along to. Perfect for a concert, lots of moments left open for crowds to sing along and other moments to allow mosh pits to develop. You can tell that Bullets and Octane know their audience as nothing really new is here. It has the same feeling as their last couple of records but who needs to reinvent the wheel still turns so well.

They’re back and it feels so good to be getting some new music from the veteran rockers. It feels like they’ve hit their stride as a band and they know how to make this style of music. They have just made it look so easy when they keep making music this consistent and this fun. This is a solid reminder of why I have been a fan of their music for so long. The grit, the intensity and the engaging fun of their music should be enough to keep any fan of rock music coming back for more.

10/10

Mick Birchall

Ville Valo – Gothica Fennica vol.1

Posted in Rock with tags , , , on 3rd April 2020 by izaforestspirit

Ville Valo (VV)
Gothica Fennica Vol.1 EP
Released 20th March 2020
Gothic Rock/”Love Metal”
Released via Heartagram Ltd

Gothica Fennica Vol. 1

These past few weeks have been tough. All that time spent indoors has taken a toll on my mental health and it’s been a struggle at times to remain calm. I’ve always found music to be very therapeutic in times like this so I had a look at what new stuff has come out recently. I have a copy of the new My Dying Bride album, but as good as it may be, the current atmosphere of fear and uncertainty means that the last thing that I want to hear right now is doom metal. So I looked around a bit more and I came across this. My teenage idol the Gothic rock singer Ville Valo is back with a new EP. It’s been three years since HIM called it a day, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I heard these new songs.

There are only three tracks, so I figured that I can write something about each one. Salute The Sanguine is probably the most catchy. It has a good chorus, Ville Valo’s emotional vocals work well with the keyboards and the guitar. Run Away From The Sun sounds like one of the classic HIM hits that I used to dance to as a teenager. This time the guitars fade into the background with most of the focus being on Mr. Valo’s voice. I feel like I’m sixteen again, dancing to the music while staring at HIM poster on my wall. Then last but not least we came to Saturnine Saturnalia, the slowest and most ballad-esque track on the EP. It’s a little melancholic and slow-paced but not entirely without its charms.

Overall, ‘Gothica Fennica Vol.1’ is an absolute delight to listen to and a must have for all HIM fans. This is technically a Ville Valo solo project and not HIM, but who cares? It may just be the next best thing.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Testament – Titans Of Creation

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 1st April 2020 by Pieni

Testament
“Titans Of Creation”
Thrash metal
Released: 3rd April 2020
Via Nuclear Blast

Testament - Titans Of Creation - Artwork copy

“Titans Of Creation” isn’t just a powerful title; it’s also the definition of its songwriters. Not that it took 13 albums to recognize their grandeur – in all honesty, none of Testament’s members has had anything else to prove to anyone for a long time – but the fact they could push the envelope just a bit further this time is impressive. From what I gathered reading the press release, it seems the writing process was more dynamic, hence the little tweaks that are making all the difference.

I’ve always admired Peterson’s and Skolnick’s classy guitar work, but now it sounds even more elaborate – check out the solos and general riffing in songs such as “Children Of The Next Level”, “WW III” or “Symptoms”… hell, check out those in ALL tracks and you’ll see what I mean. It’s more diverse, so you get a better sense of what they’re capable of doing with those strings.

Peterson shows another side of him as he voices some parts of “Night Of The Witch” and “Curse Of Osiris”, in a demon-like pitch. The contrast between his and Billy’s tone is just perfect for the songs in question.

You’ll recognize the catchy chorus of “Dream Deceiver” as pure Testament, but the ominous vibe of “City Of Angels”, enhanced by its slower tempo and somber bass line, that will be new. But then again, as the lyrics refer to serial killer Richard Ramirez, it had to be something dark…

“The Healers” also sound somewhat different, with a more intense approach rather than a feisty one, its beat prone to become an earworm as well. It talks about Billy’s personal experience with his past cancer, but given the Corona pandemic situation the world is going through at the moment, it will probably become a hymn of hope to many metalheads.

8/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino