Archive for June, 2021

Fear Factory – Aggression Continuum

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 12th June 2021 by Pieni

Fear Factory
“Aggression Continuum”
Industrial Metal
Release: 18th June 2021
Via Nuclear Blast Records

Fear Factory - Aggression Continuum

Sometimes reading the news sideways – or just the headlines, I admit – results in bittersweet surprises. Last autumn, almost at the same time, Dino Cazares announced the 10th Fear Factory album would be released the following year and then Burton C. Bell quit the band. So when Nuclear Blast sent us the “Aggression Continuum” promo for reviewing, I was eager to listen to the new chapter… only to find out that Bell still sings all tracks. My curiosity will have to wait – but the reason for the waiting was worthy.

Some bands have such a characteristic sound/nature that if they try and deviate a notch in order to stop repeating themselves, they risk losing the aforementioned character. The opening track, “Recode”, is brilliant in pushing the balance envelope: it’s definitely a Fear Factory song, taking you back to the “Demanufacture” era, but along the familiar riffing you have synthesized orchestral arrangements adding a classy refined touch. Still brutal as hell, but also refined. And Bell’s voice has a rougher edge here, enhancing the whole same-but-different vibe.

Of course that “Disruptor”, having these arrangements only in the chorus – and even there their presence is subtle – and being overall a much more aggressive song, was the one chosen to promote the album on YouTube. Yes, it’s probably the heaviest – and hence single-material – song, but so many others here offer a better notion of the industrial metal FF are about. The title-track, for instance, with its sci-fi ambiance, or the slamming “Cognitive Dissonance”, just to name a few.

Then there’s a certain groove in “Collapse” and catchiness in “Purity” that feels somewhat refreshing and yet is not exactly new in their writing process. And the guitar solo in “Monolith”? What a treat, but it’s probably the dark-ish ensemble of the song that made it my personal favorite.

So whatever the future holds for Fear Factory, I hope it’s similar to this.

8/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Steignyr – The Legacy Of Wyrd

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 7th June 2021 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Steignyr
The Legacy of Wyrd
Releases 23rd July 2021
Celtic Death Metal/Folk Metal
Art Gates Records

Hailing from Spain come Steignyr, a Celtic Death Metal warband, formed by vocalist and lead guitar Jon Thorgrimr Fjonir. With a handful of releases to their name already, and tours that have happened as far away as China, Steignyr have renewed their lineup and are set to return with The Legacy Of Wyrd, which already promises to be an interesting album.

The album opens with Prologue, a series of sounds setting the mood, before a solemn and mournful narration by Sarah Owen becomes the main focus of the track, accompanied by the sound of a quill scratching ink on parchment, and the sombre sound of ravens weaved within the haunting medleys. Mendo has a more up-beat sound, combining beauty and the beast vocals, with driving guitar medleys and jig-worthy folk instrumentation.

The Coming Of Aland sounds almost power metalesque in its delivery, presenting a grandiose, inspiring sound that is reinforced with darker lyrics and the bestial vocals of Fjonir. The orchestrated sections, with the folk elements, really shine through on this track. The dialogue between Kit Harington and Peter Dinklage with ethereal choir voices in the background are what really give this track its atmosphere. The title track, The Legacy of Wyrd, invokes a mystical sounding, focusing on the enchanting vocal work of Kathonya, as it dances with gentle yet staunch folk melodies and discreetly powerful orchestration. The track is essentially the eye of the storm within the album.

The Rise Of Death is a vigorous track, making use of Celtic-influenced passages, conjuring an urgency that can be heard through the vocal lines, whilst Edevane has the sounds of a slowed down sea shanty. Travellers comes across as quite chaotic sounding, as though there’s too much happening at once. Immortal Family begins with the alluring notes born of Celtic inspiration before bursting into a majestic onslaught of Fjonir’s guitars, with the staunch dual vocal workings that have been prominent throughout the album.

Rhythm of Time is a ravishing assault on the listener, mixing together beguiling vocals, and relentless guitar passages. The dual vocals work especially well on this track, like an enthralling chant. The Well Of Ice channels an inner primal energy throughout each note, resonating with the rhythm work of drummer Zelther. The Giant Pillar Of Rock really demonstrates a melodic aspect to Fjonir’s guitar playing, highlighting his skills especially well. The soaring folk elements help create a fascinating, dynamic sound on this track, complementing the vocals, and the bass work of Kilau, fully.

The forlorn soundings echo loudly throughout Everything Silent, seeping into every aspect of the song. Though it is a fast-paced and energetic track, the sorrow can be heard especially within the instrumentation, giving it a very powerful emotional feel. Coming towards the end of the album is Aftermath, another track that shows displays the more melodic side of Fjonir’s guitar playing, creating memorable passages throughout. The other instrumentation also comes across as robust, filling parts of different parts with fresh,and almost hypnotic sounds.

The Legacy of Wyrd finishes with Epilogue, a closing track similar to that of the opening one. It is filled with emotive sounds and the steely voice of Sir Ian McKellen, as he monologues about the end of the story throughout the album. His words are especially powerful, speaking of waiting in another life, as though his character is full of regret and mourning. Epilogue is truly the best way for the album to finish.

The guest appearances by the likes of Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, and Sir Ian McKellen help add to the narrative of the story, and though the album could have worked without those appearances, they are a welcome sound. The Legacy of Wyrd is a noble offering of folk metal, though it does feel lacklustre in some parts but it still has the potential to be on the best folk metal albums to be released this year.

8/10

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Steignyr online:

https://www.facebook.com/Steignyr
https://www.instagram.com/steignyr/
https://twitter.com/steignyr

Ledfoot – Black Valley

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 6th June 2021 by Pieni

Ledfoot
“Black Valley”
Gothic blues
Release: 12th March 2021
Via TBC Records

ledfoot

Gothic blues… yeah, that’s a new one for me too – even if Ledfoot’s first release is dated 2007. It is the solo project of artist Tim Scott McConnell, who has been performing for about 40 years now, and it was he himself who came up with the name for this musical genre. True, he’s an old school goth, but I’d like to think the term “gothic blues” is more based in his darker approach to blues rock than in his apparel. Just like his own skilled fingers take more credit for the richness of his songs than the heavy 12-strings of the guitars he uses to create them.  

The melodies are obviously sad and McConnell’s voice brings such sadness alive, with strong and charming tones – whether it’s seductive, singing about a broken heart like in “Take Away The Hurt”, overwhelmed when singing about hopelessness like in “Poor Man’s Lullaby” or just candid like in the story lines of “Crossed My Heart” and “Falling Down”.

In a nutshell, Ledfoot is a more refined version of Johnny Cash and “Black Valley” a ride you don’t want to miss if you’re into these bluesy paths.

8/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Posted in Review with tags , on 4th June 2021 by izaforestspirit

Silver TalonDecadence And Decay

Silver Talon
Decadence and Decay
Released 28th May 2021
Power Metal
Released via M-Theory Audio


Silver Talon - Decadence and Decay

‘Decadence and Decay’ is the debut album from the American power metal band Silver Talon. The group was launched back in 2017. The line-up includes: vocalist Wyatt Howell (Sanctifyre,ex-Toxic Witch), two former Spellcaster guitarists Sebastian Silva and Bryce Adams Vanhoosen, bassist Walter Hartzell (Mordant Rapture), drummer Michael Thompson and guitarist Devon Miller (ex-Sabateur).

There’s nothing quite like some good old power metal on a hot summer’s day. The thing with this particular album is that it starts off rather slow. The first few tracks actually made me think that I was listening to some progressive groove metal. Then half way through the record something changed and they decided to speed things up a little. Divine Fury delivers the cheerful and bombastic guitar melodies that I was craving for. It’s about time. Next up is the ultra-catchy, riff- extravaganza Kill All Kings – easily the fastest song on here and my personal favorite. Now this is what I call power metal.

And no power metal album is complete without a ballad track, in this case that is the rather melancholic-sounding What Will Be. Whilst I cannot fault the guitar work or the melodic vocals on here; the majority of the song is a little too lullaby-esque for my liking.

In summary, ‘Decadence And Decay’ is a promising power metal debut. Sadly only handful of the tracks caught my attention so I doubt that I will listen to it again. If Silver Talon produce more songs like ‘Kill All Kings’ then I might consider giving them another go.

6/10

Iza Raittila