Archive for May, 2020

New Ensiferum album coming this summer

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report, Uncategorized with tags , , on 29th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been three years after their last studio effort ‘Two Paths’. Now the Finnish folk metallers are back with a new album called ‘Thalassic’. Here is an official statement from the band regarding the lyrical themes:

“The idea of it started to brew in my mind when I was doing interviews for ‘Two Paths‘ and many journalists asked if it was a theme album, and I noticed that I was answering all the time that because of the way we compose it’s almost impossible to make a theme album. This really started to piss me off and the decision was made: the next album would have a theme. At that time, we already had a few songs almost ready for the next album, and I started to listen to the demos much more from the feeling aspect instead of analyzing them musically. For some reason, all of them took me to a seashore, and the theme was found: something related to sea or water. So I started to read about history, myths and legend around the world that had something to do with the theme, but even though all of the lyrics are obviously inspired by this, I tried my best to keep Ensiferum‘s heroic mentality in them. In the end, there were too many ideas for lyrics, because I didn’t set myself any boundaries – like all stories would have to be Nordic, etc, and one of my favourite songs on the album tells about Andromeda from Greek mythology. I can’t promise that this way of lyric-writing will be the future of Ensiferum, but at least we did this once.”

You see the cover art and track-listing below:

1. Seafarer’s Dream
2. Rum, Women, Victory
3. Andromeda
4. The Defence of the Sampo
5. Run from the Crushing Tide
6. For Sirens
7. One with the Sea
8. Midsummer Magic
9. Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III)
10. Merille Lahteva (Bonus Track)
11. I’ll Stay by Your Side (Bonus Track)

‘Thalassic’ will hit the shops in both physical and digital formats on 10th July 2020 via Metal Blade Records.

In the meantime you can check out their new lyric video for ‘Rum, Women, Victory’

For further information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum

https://ensiferum.com/

Ravenscry – 100

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , on 27th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Ravenscry
100
Released 15th May 2020
Gothic Metal / Progressive metal
Self-Released

Ravenscry - 100

100’ is the latest album from the Milan-based Italian Gothic metal band Ravenscry. They were formed back in 2008. This is the first studio release to feature their new guitarist Federico Schiavoni, who joined the band in 2017.

So, based on the description, I was expecting this to be another Nightwish type, female fronted band. How wrong could I be? For starters, the vocals are melodic but their singer Giulia Stefani sounds more like Amy Lee (Evanescence) or Silje Wergeland (The Gathering, ex-Octavia Sperati) than any of the Nightwish singers. Secondly there are no symphonic elements. Instead, the guitars are low pitch, distorted and have a progressive metal feel to them. Keyboards are kept to a minimum, with the exception of the opening track ‘Maybe’, where they maintain the balance between the chugging guitars and Ms. Stefani’s angelic singing.

As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, I have never been fond of anything progressive and that is my main issue with this album. I like the vocals but the stop-start, distorted guitar work seems to disrupt the flow on the songs. I think that the symbiosis between the two is not as smooth or as efficient as it should be. They work on some tracks better than others. ‘The Entertainer’ is one of the better ones. Here the guitars take a backseat and the vocals are the main focus on the song. I really like Giulia Stefani’s vocal performance on that particular track. The melodic keyboard outro is a good addition too.

Overall, ‘100’ offers a mixture of progressive and Gothic metal. There is enough variety to keep the listener on his or her toes. Unfortunately the combination of the two might not be to everyone’s taste.

6/10

Iza Raittila

DevilDriver unveil new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 21st May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Two years after their country music covers album ‘Outlaws ‘Til The End’ was released, now the American groove metal band DevilDriver are back. They recently announced that their new studio effort will be called ‘Dealing With Demons I’.

Their front-man Dez Farara stated that this will be the first volume of a double album concept focusing on human nature, emotions and personal struggles. Here is an extract of he had to say about it:

“It’s time to lay it all out, on two records. I’m never gonna revisit these subjects again. I’ve been writing about this sort of human nature, disloyalty and dishonesty, love and loss, since the beginning of my career. I am going in a more lyrically woke direction in the future. A lot of people say my music gives them strength. But what they don’t realize is that these topics haunt me. Over the course of these last few years we fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic… so it is what it is… let’s dump it all on the table and purge. I want to go through different topics in the future, so here we are now. I’ve laid it all out on a double record for all of you to hear.”

Check out the cover art and track-listing below:

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons, Volume I

1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

‘Dealing With Demons I’ will hit the shops on 9th October 2020 via Napalm Records.

For now you can check out the lyric video for their new single ‘Keep Away From Me’

For more information visit:
https://www.facebook.com/devildriver/

DevilDriver

 

 

Raven Said – Beyond The Darkest Hour

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 13th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Raven Said
Beyond The Darkest Hour
Released 17th April 2020
Goth Rock/Post-Punk
Released via Secret Sin Records Ltd.

’Beyond The Darkest Hour’ is the debut album from the Russian Goth rock duo Raven Said. The band was founded in 2014 in Ekaterinburg by vocalist-guitarist Andrey Agapitov and Maria Agapitova (piano, synth, violin and percussion). I first discovered them after watching their performance at Lumous Gothic Festival. They cite ‘80s Goth rock, post-punk and new wave as their main influences along with an interest in the occult and spooky Gothic themes. Oh and in case the name wasn’t enough of a clue they are also fans of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Some of the songs were previously released as EPs and their entire discography is available from their Bandcamp page.

Well, if old school Goth rock is your thing, then you are in for a treat. This album has all the hallmarks of a classic Goth rock record including melancholic vocals, eerie, scything guitar work and spooky synth melodies. Lenore was part of the live set at Lumous Gothic Festival. It’s one of the songs that stood out for me and what made me check out the band’s music after the shows. Ok, it’s a little slow but I really like the spooky atmosphere. There are also some more dance-friendly tunes such as Love That Black As Coal. This one is more keyboard-oriented and a little less melancholic.

Another song that caught my attention was Fragile Hope; the most dance-friendly track on here. It’s catchy with a good keyboard intro and the guitar sounds less gloomy. The guitar riffs can even been described as….(dare I say it..?) – uplifting. Yes, that’s right, I’ve just used the term “uplifting” in a Goth rock review! Oh no… Oh the horror! What ever shall we do? I say that we just keep listening and dance along, that’s my plan at least.

To conclude, ‘Beyond The Darkest Hour’ is a very well executed Goth rock album that is bound to please fans of the style. There are only a handful of Goth rock bands that I like and I am pleased to say that Raven Said is one of them.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Paradise Lost – Obsidian

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 10th May 2020 by Pieni

Paradise Lost
“Obsidian”
Gothic metal
Released: 15th May 2020
Via Nuclear Blast 

obsidian

I believe that in all 17 studio albums Paradise Lost have released so far, this is the one with the most accurate title – its songs are deep dark and their refinement pretty clear-cut, just like an obsidian rock. And since we use the word “rock” in a metaphorical sense to describe something strong we can rely on, and “Obsidian” is, in my humble opinion, the strongest record these guys have done in years…

Paradise Lost have always managed to write sorrowful songs that will otherwise bring you elation rather than depression, and just a few seconds into that acoustic intro of “Darker Thoughts” will prove this statement right. Nick Holmes sings in a heartfelt clean pitch here, and as the electric, heavy part kicks in, so does his harsh growl. There are orchestral arrangements in the background throughout the whole song – violins, if my ears got it right – which a sucker for details such as me must point out. And as the two following songs are the ones I already knew from YouTube – the stricken “Fall From Grace” and the homage to The Sisters Of Mercy “Ghosts – it was already clear I was facing a masterpiece. A lot of “old school PL vibe” revamped, which I admit probably helped with the impact it caused on me – but I still think “masterpiece” is the right word.

The keyboard line and guitar work of “The Devil Embraced” are particularly riveting, while “Serenity” bears a more straight-forward and rawer heaviness that turns out quite catchy. And while the melody of “Ending Days” bears the beautiful sadness that I’ve implied before, “Ravenghast”’s nature is gloomier, almost ominous.

Saying “all gothic metal fans” may sound presumptuous, so I’ll stick to “the majority of gothic metal fans” will fall in love with this record; but for those whose lives were touched by “Icon” and/or “Draconian Times”, “Obsidian” will also be a blissful revival of the past.

9/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Orange Goblin – Rough & Ready, Live & Loud… 25 Years of British Rock and Heavy Metal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 10th May 2020 by mickbirchy

Orange Goblin
Rough & Ready, Live & Loud
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Stoner Rock
Released: 1st May 2020
via Orange Goblin Music / Rise Above Records

It’s hard to put into words how much I love the band Orange Goblin and how much their music reached me. Let me take you back to 2012 and the release of their album A Eulogy For The Damned. This was an album that immediately captured my consciousness and reached me on a level that I don’t think many metal bands have done. It wasn’t an overly complex record from a musical standpoint.  It adhered to a standard, verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure with riffs to carry the general tune of the song and they used some brilliant guitar work to give their music some extra life. After listening to that album I was immediately fascinated with them, their riffs always caught me, hook line and sinker and I hunted down their previous albums to see if they gave the same feeling. Very luckily, they did. In particular Thieving from the House of God, which still to this day is one of my all-time favourite metal albums.

Once I had discovered their music I made it a mission to see them live in concert. I got my chance time and time again as Orange Goblin are touring machines, I’ve managed to watch them live at least 12 times now. Now, how do I describe their live shows? They’re one of the most charismatic and fun bands to watch live. They just have this imposing presence to their shows, it’s something you can really feel as an audience member, no matter how many times I see them perform I still get chills when they get certain parts of their sets. There are some staple tunes that the band will just play and the crowd goes nuts, like “Saruman’s Wish” and “Some You Win, Some You Lose”, when they hit those songs you can feel the crowd twist and shift and come to life. It’s such an awesome feeling. They do such a good job of making a set-list that will keep their fans happy. I mean all bands have to release new material and I think deciding what old songs to keep and what new songs to add is an art form unto itself. They always seem to get that balance of rocking the old school tunes and promoting the new material. So, it’s great to hear a set-list unfold itself over the course of a night.

Now they have been rocking for 25 solid years, Orange Goblin wanted to do something for the fans to celebrate this milestone in their career. However, with the UK being in lock-down due to the world health crisis at the time of writing this review, it wasn’t like they could just hit the road at their leisure. So, the next best thing was to give their fans a live album. Rough & Ready, Live & Loud is a collection of live recordings from their gigs. The songs were taken from their sets at Sylak Open Air Festival 2016, KOKO in London 2016 and at the Fuzz Club in Athens in 2019. It’s a well-rounded album with lots of great songs to rock out to. It also gives some love to some of their, let’s say underrated, classics like “Time Traveling Blues” and “Made of Rats”. So in that sense, it’s not a greatest hits album per se, more of a collection to give the listener the feeling of hearing the band live and enjoying the show. Which is cool and a good way to put their stamp on 25 years as a band. Also, included with the album on Bandcamp is a digital booklet filled with fan-submitted memories of the band. Which made this feel like an all-inclusive experience with their fans. In addition to this the Bandcamp edition of the album features the extra track of “Your World Will Hate This” from the album Coup de Grace. Which is a pretty damn good cap on the album. I mean it’s a short tune but it has that fierce energy and packs that little extra punch.

Although I can’t pretend that I have been a fan since the start (you know since I was only three years old when they started, so the only music I liked was the intro to Thomas the Tank Engine). I feel like they were definitely a cornerstone in developing my taste in heavy metal and hard rock. Still to this day I gravitate to music with heavy riffs and fuzzy solos more than any other styling. Their live shows have always been something to look forward to for me because I know they’re going to give it their all and they enjoy every moment of being on stage. This was a nice treat as a fan of the band and something that I’ve enjoyed listening to. So… here’s to 25 years of Orange Goblin and hopefully another 25 years of hard rock and heavy metal.

10/10

Mick Birchall

Get the album for yourself here – https://orangegoblinofficial.bandcamp.com

Battle Born debut EP coming next month

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 5th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Battle Born are a new addition to the British power metal scene. The idea of the band first came about in 2018 after an inspirational trip to Wacken Open Air Festival. Their music influences include Beast in Black, Judas Priest and the action role-playing game Skyrim.

The band’s self titled EP will be available in both physical and digital formats from their Bandcamp page on 26th June 2020. You can stream the first single right now.

For further details visit:

https://battlebornuk.bandcamp.com/album/battle-born

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

Vader – Solitude in Madness

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 2nd May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Vader
Solitude In Madness
Released 1st May 2020
Death Metal/Death-Thrash Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Vader - Solitude in Madness

My favorite death metal quartet, Vader are back with a new album. It’s been four years since their last full length ’The Empire’. Last year they released a teaser EP called ’Thy Messenger’ and now the wait is finally over. ’Solitude in Madness’ has been unleashed onto the world. What a fitting title given the present circumstances which many of us find ourselves in during this turbulent time…

Right from the moment you press the play button, you are greeted by a ferocious barrage of guitar riffs, relentless drum work along with Peter’s brutal growling. The opener Shock And Awe sets the tone for the rest of the album. What we have here are eleven tight-knit tracks of brutal death-thrash metal. The songs are short, fairly simple in structure and lacking the intricate atmospheric parts and intros featured on ‘Tibi et Igni’. They were already heading this direction with ‘The Empire’. However this change of style is not a new thing for Vader. In many ways this bears a lot of similarity to their earlier works, particularly their third release ‘Black To The Blind’, a personal favorite of mine.

For those who are not familiar with the band’s history, Vader started out as a thrash metal outfit and so this is a return to their roots. The thrash metal guitar riffs have always played a key role in what makes Vader stand out and this album is not an exception. Into Oblivion is a vicious beast packed with crushing guitar work and savage drumming. Ready or not, here it comes. You have just two options: either stand and fight it or run for your life! Emptiness and Despair were featured on the ‘Thy Messenger’ EP which I reviewed last year so I will not be discussing those songs. Then there is their cover of Acid Drinkers’ Dancing In The Slaughterhouse. No death metal here, this song is essentially speed-thrash. Full speed ahead, lots of shouting and vicious riffs.

In summary, ‘Solitude In Madness’ doesn’t offer too many surprises. For better or worse it is very straightforward, “textbook” Vader. More of the same death-thrash metal blend, the formula which they have stuck with for decades. For Vader fans like myself, it ticks all the right boxes. It sounds exactly like I was hoping that it would. It is a little short, clocking in at just under thirty minutes but there is not a single weak track on here.

8/10

Iza Raittila