Archive for July, 2020

Battle Born – Battle Born

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 20th July 2020 by Nico Davidson

Battle Born
Battle Born
Released 26th June 2020
Power Metal/Skyrim Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Windhelm (Apparently), Battle Born are a new power metal act on the scene. Described as “true Skyrim Metal” by some, I have to admit my curiosity was piqued. The self-titled EP is said to take the listener on an adventure through the rolling mountains of the frozen land of Skyrim.

The EP charges straight in with the gallant title track, Battle Born. It’s a strong enough opening for the EP, featuring the standard trademarks of European power metal. Bring The Metal Back is a catchy track with memorable riffs and an overall grandiose chorus, though some of the lyrics do sound quite cheesey. Man Of War takes on a more classic metal sound, with a styling that would be closer to early Manowar, or Judas Priest, than modern power metal. The chorus is poignant enough to have you singing it for days. For Our Home is a far gentler song, making use of more emotional keyboard passages and moving vocal lines. The guitars add to the uplifting sound of the track. The EP ends on Sovngarde Awaits, which despite the name, isn’t as mournful as one would assume. Instead, it thunders in with encouraging guitar riffs, exhilarating keyboards, and boisterous vocals. Such an enlivening song makes you want the EP to carry on.

For a Skyrim Metal band, the lack of Thu’um usage and sweetrolls which is disappointing, however the EP shows promise these sons of Skyrim. With an arsenal of fun choruses, and uplifting songs, Battle Born is a mighty release and just the soundtrack you need when taking the fight to the Imperials!

9/10

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Battle Born online:

http://www.facebook.com/battlebornuk

Interview with Sami Hinkka [Ensiferum]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 20th July 2020 by Nico Davidson

Ensiferum, are perhaps one Finland’s greatest musicial exports, with an ever evolving sound. With the new album out, Nico sat down and had an email-based chat with the band’s bassist, Sami.

Nico: Thalassic is an interesting name for the new album. Given the definition of the word, and based on the track listing, it’s obvious that there is a sea or oceanic theme in the album.  How did it come about to have this theme as opposed to other themes?

Sami: Hi! I’m actually very happy with the album title because as a word it sounds like it’s matching well with the bands name and it sums up the theme of the album. Sea or water felt like a good and “wide” enough because every culture have mythologies and legends that are linked to sea so I knew that there would be more than enough good stories to draw inspiration from.

N: How does the new album differ from previous releases?

S: The composing process went as it usually goes with this band: slowly. Of course the new member Pekka Montin gave a totally new ”tool” for us with his incredible voice and naturally we arranged songs that we made the most of it. Obviously the lyrical theme makes this different kind of album compared to old albums.

For the production team we had one new and one old member: we had the honor to get Janne Joutsenniemi to produce and record and Jens Bogren to mix the album and we are very happy with the result.

N: What was the writing process for the new album like? Did you have an idea of what you wanted to the new album to sound like before writing it?

S: Usually we have raw idea how a new album should sound like but it always depends how the songs are progressing because we always have lots of songs under work and naturally we can’t finish them all so once we have enough songs to record an album, then it’s time to book a studio. This is very cool way because then we always have raw material to work with.

N: Some fans have commented that the singles you’ve released from the album so far, especially Rum, Women, Victory, have a pirate metal sound to them. Would you describe the new album as such?

S: Heh, to be honest I never thought that someone would think this song as a pirate song! It tells about the brave men of Royal Navy and the daily rum dose they used to get. I have no idea what ”a pirate metal” -sound is, I guess Alestorm’ish? And I find our sound to be completely different but of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

N: In your own opinion, which song would you say defines Ensiferum?

S: We have such a wide musical horizon so this is really hard. Maybe “Victory Song” has many Ensiferum’s main elements so if I would need to represent the band with one song, I might choose that one.

N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film, which one would it be and why?

S: Hmmm, I’m sorry I can’t come up with any movie that has such a terrible soundtrack that it would need to be changed.

N: Thalassic is obviously out now. Have you made a start on new music or are you taking a break from writing before you start thinking about the next album?

S: Because of COVID-19 chaos there are no tours coming up in a long time so we will start working with some new material soon.

N: Do you think you’ll follow any other themes in the future with upcoming albums?

S: We haven’t talked about this yet so it’s too early to say. I like working this way with my power metal band Metal De Facto, our every album has a different theme. I don’t know will we continue doing this with Ensiferum but at least we did it once.

Ensiferum’s new album, Thallasic is out now!

Damnation Angels – Fiber of Our Being

Posted in Review with tags , , on 17th July 2020 by izaforestspirit

Damnation Angels
Fiber of Our Being
Released 31st July 2020
Symphonic Power Metal
Self-Released

Damnation Angels - Fiber of Our Being




So here we were in the heat of the summer… Ok, so there is still a pandemic going on and many of us may not be in a “happy place” at the moment. But it’s still summer and I’m in the mood for some power metal. I’m in need of some escapism. I want to hear some uplifting tunes and to listen tales of epic battles or fantasy adventures. Helloween, Sabaton and Powerwolf are my favorite choices for the genre. This time though, I decided to take a break from those and to check out something new – the new album from the British symphonic power metal act Damnation Angels. These guys have been around since 2006 and their music has been compared to the likes of Avantasia and Blind Guardian. So far all their albums have been well received by the metal community both the fans and the critics alike, including Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. Let’s see how the third full length ‘Fiber of Our Being’ measures up to its predecessors.

Well if it’s uplifting and epic power metal you are after, then you have come to the right place. Railrunner definitely has a positive feel to it thanks to the melodic guitar work, symphonic undertones and Iggy Rodriguez’s powerful vocals. Great chorus too. They managed to achieve the right balance between the the guitars and the orchestrations without overdoing it on the symphonic parts. The title track is by far the catchiest song on here. I’ve listened to the album a few times now and this is one of the tracks that I keep going back. It has the best chorus and the most memorable orchestrations as well as guitar riffs. In fact, come to think of it, there isn’t really anything that I dislike about this track. I also enjoyed Rewrite The Future – another energetic, uplifting and catchy power metal track. The guys probably had lots of fun recording this.

They occasionally slow things down too, as demonstrated in the slower tracks like the closing ballad ‘A Sum of Our Parts’. Here the vocals have a somewhat softer tone and the keyboards are more prominent than the guitars. It’s probably my least favorite track on here but it works well as a closing song, the final chapter of the story.

Overall, there is a lot to like on here and I enjoyed listening to ‘Fiber of Our Being’. I would recommend it to fans of symphonic power metal, particularly if you are into bands like Kamelot and Avantasia.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Lumous Gothic Festival XX – Final Episode

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Festival, Gig with tags , , , , , , , , , on 13th July 2020 by izaforestspirit

Finland’s biggest Gothic music event Lumous Gothic Festival celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year. The original plan was for this year to be the last Lumous with the final edition of the festival taking place in July 2020. The on-going worldwide coronavirus pandemic meant that the plans had to be drastically altered. There was a very realistic possibility that the event would have to be canceled like many others have been. Luckily, thanks to the low infection rates within Finland and successful preventative measures, small scale events were permitted with restricted access based on the capacity of the venue. Due to the international travel restrictions, only a handful of local bands were able to perform and the only venue available to host the event was a small pub in the city centre called Dog’s Home. In addition to the live performances, the event was also streamed live via the festival’s Facebook page.

Now before I go into more detail about this year’s event, I would like to tell you a bit about my own personal experience of Lumous Gothic Festival. 2020 marks the eighth year of my participation in the festival. My first Lumous was in 2012. Since then I have not missed a single Lumous Gothic Festival. It has become one of the highlights of my summer. I have met some really nice people there and I discovered several new bands including: Das Ich, Shiv-R, Auger, Raven Said, Sleetgrout and Sekret Teknik.

Shiv-R, archive photo from their show at Lumous Gothic Festival 2016
DAS ICH
Das Ich, archive photo taken from their performance at Lumous Gothic Festival 2019

Sadly this year I was unable to attend it due to the restricted access and the limited capacity of the venue but I still managed to stream the event online from their Facebook page.

This time line up comprised four Finnish bands: Chaos Research (neo-classical/darkwave/ambient), Old School Union (EBM with punk influences), Sekret Teknik (synth-wave) and Gothic rock legends Two Witches.

Friday 10th July 2020 (live stream)

I have actually seen Chaos Research live at the same venue two years ago so I pretty much knew what to expect from the live stream. They managed to create a chilled-out atmosphere thanks to the operatic vocals combined with the electric cello and drums. Not my kind of music but if you are into neo-folk or dark ambient then you will probably enjoy this.

Archive photo, taken from the performance at Lumous Gothic Festival 2018

https://chaosresearch.bandcamp.com/

Oldschool Union were highly entertaining to watch. I like some some old school EBM but I’m not the biggest fan of punk. The performance was fun and amusing to see. I particularly liked the song ‘Vartalovasara’.

Image may contain: one or more people

https://www.facebook.com/Oldschool-Union-

Saturday 11th July 2020 (live stream)

I have only just discovered Sekret Teknik a few days ago. I liked their performance and their take on the synthwave genre. My personal favorite part of the show was the song ‘Nightsky’.

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and sunglasses

https://sekretteknik.bandcamp.com/

Then it was time for the band that has been involved with the festival right from the start. Two Witches front-man Jyrki Witch is one of the organizers of the event. Two Witches were the first band at the very first Lumous Gothic Festival back in 2001 so it was only fitting for them to be the closing act the final chapter of Lumous. It was an acoustic show. They played some of my favorites including ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’ along with some newer tracks such as ‘Spirit Sacrifice’. Unfortunately I missed some of the live steam due to a connection problem.

Archive photo taken from their performance at Lumous Gothic Festival 2016

https://www.facebook.com/Two-Witches-Official-

Jyrki Witch also announced the winners of the Lumous 2020 Award – Club Gothic Night.

So that was it. After twenty years Lumous Gothic Festival has come to end. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the event for the past eight years. Hopefully there will be something new emerging from the Finnish Gothic scene to fill its place. Kiitos Lumous Gothic Festival! You will be missed.

Iza Raittila