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MadMaze – Frames of Alienation

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 10th August 2012 by mariadodarmata

MadMaze
Frames of Alienation
Thrash Metal
Released: Feb 2012
Punishment 18

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I’ve always prided myself of not liking one subgenre of metal in specific, but bits from every branch of the genre I can get music from.  Frames of Alienation has definitely tipped the balance towards the thrash side.

Unlike most newer thrash bands that rely in stupidly fast drums and senseless “I wanna sound violent” riffs or use lyrics that talk exclusively about booze (We see here the influence of Tankard), MadMaze made an amazing album without abusing the typical thrash characteristics. As soon as the album starts playing I get that Sleyerish / Megadethish feeling. These guys have bay area thrash written all over them.

Walls of Lies starts what promises to be a great album. Fast beats and fun melodies invite you to start a circle pit at a random location. This is an album I’d gladly show to a 40 year old Big Four fanboy and be confident he’d like. There is only one problem with it: At one point you forget you are listening to it. The music is really good and somehow catchy but it becomes sort of flat and fails to keep me 100% interested on whe is coming out of the speakers.

All and all, this is a band thrashers should keep an eye on, and non-thrashers should listen to anyways. MadMaze promises to be huge if they keep going the way they are.

4.5/5

María Mata

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MadMaze – No Time Left…

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 2nd August 2012 by mariadodarmata

MadMaze
No Time Left… (EP)
Released
 February 2011
Thrash Metal
Self-Released

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When it comes to metal, if you said Italy, my mind went directly to power metal. But that changed recently when I first listened to MadMaze.

The Italian quintet started in 2002 as Absence of Light, a project that never came to anything concrete. They wondered away into other projects only to get back together in 2010.

The Not Time Left EP starts with Lord of All that Remains and Mad Maze, catchy songs with not too fast rhythms that I can easily picture being played in the local bar while I drink some beer.  The transition between the two songs is perfect and goes almost unnoticed. These two are a perfect introduction to the band.

Mad Maze ends with the soothing sound of rain to give place to the 1.42 minute instrumental ballad Memories. Beautiful melody with a splash of Spanish guitar in there, prepare you for the last song of the EP, Retribution. It gets your heart pumping with catchy rhythms and pleasant drums that kick start your headband reflex. The solos fit the album perfectly, not too long, not too flashy. This band has a Megadeth feeling to it.

This EP makes you want to listen to more from MadMaze, and believe me, you won’t regret it if you do.

5/5

María Mata

Hammers of Misfortune – 17th Street

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 24th July 2012 by mariadodarmata

Hammers of Misfortune
17th Street
Heavy/Progressive Metal
Released: October, 2011
Released via Metal Blade Records.

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You know that incredibly frustrating feeling you get when you hear something you know but you can’t quite tell what it is? After the initial perplexity that was caused because of my mind was being misled by the band’s name towards other genres, I spent a good couple of hours trying to figure out where I had heard that sound before.

I came to the conclusion it sounds like if you had thrown Dio, Helloween, Merciful Fate, Blind Guardian and the musical “REPO! The Genetic Opera” in a blender to then add 70’s Rock sprinkles. I have never been so unsure of under which genre should I classify a band! And to be completely honest, it feels a bit unfair to put under one classification music with such a rich selection of sounds.

Some songs are worthy of standing besides the mighty Power Metal marches while others could be included in Heavy Metal compilations. Some could easily be in one of those romantic rock ballad mix tapes and some others I would have definitely come from one of those modern Rock-Opera musical things. This album’s variety makes it exiting to listen to every time. You pick up on new sounds every time.

This is a band I can see both my 17 year old sister and my 50 year old mother enjoying. Although at first I was a bit confused by the sound of it, after several plays you understand it and the more you listen to it, the more you like it.

4.5/5

María Mata

Psychema – The Entry Point

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 10th July 2012 by mariadodarmata

Psychema
The entry Point
Released on 25th April 2012
Prog. Metal
Released via Inverse Records

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It starts with a smooth, instrumental song. The soft melody gets to your head and relaxes you in a way that when the second song starts your senses jump in surprise. The vocals start up harsh, but they soften up as the song progresses. You gives you an idea of what to expect from the album. By song number three and four, the heavy melodies get softer with hints of Symphonic/Neo-classical metal, Industrial and somehow Pop-rock.

My head had wondered off the music when song number six, The Past, started. With a slow rhythm, the acoustic song came in the precise moment to pull back the attention. Clean vocals beautiful melody, all ends to give space to the next song that goes direct to the point. It brings back all the heavy elements and keeps them throughout the rest of the album. It finishes with a beautiful outro song.

I have mixed feelings about the vocals that go from reminding me to Sepultura on the Cavalera era, to reminding me of Therion. They are right in the middle, too harsh to be clean, too clean to be harsh. But in spite of that the album is good, fun to listen to. It might be Prog. Metal but the influences of other genres are clear, giving the music a somehow Powermetalish sound that is surprisingly heavy.

4.5/5

María Mata

Fadeout – To Protect our Way of Living

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 25th June 2012 by mariadodarmata

Fadeout

To Protect our Way of Living

Grunge / Experimental Rock

Released: 22nd of February 2012-06-25

Via: Secret Entertainment

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From the northern lands of Seinäjoki (Finland), comes Fadeout, and oh! Actual surprise! It is not a melodic Death Metal band!

The album starts with Solar Lights. A pretty good song if you don’t take into account the cheesy ballroom dancing music reference, that in my opinion is a hundred percent unnecessary. The “grunge” part of this album is hidden in track number three and by this point all I can think while listening to these guys is those late 90’s teenage movies mixed with Nickelback (Eww!!) and a subtle touch of The Cure. By the end of the album comes a song that I liked a lot, Palestine. But the slow acoustic songs seems a bit out of place, like if it came a bit too late in the album, yet it makes a lot of contrast with the next and last song, which brings the speed that this whole album is craving. I am not asking for them to pull out the double bass and rape the blast beats, but the drummer’s job on this album is borderline unnoticeable.

Overall the album is sort of good, even though half of the songs sound like the others (something I like to call “The Late Iron Maiden Syndrome”). To Protect our Way of Living sounds like good mainstream material, even if I have the feeling the band would slap me if they could for saying that.  They say their sound is *Actual Quote* Indescribable, but funny enough I find a huge resemblance with the band Armour For Sleep

3.5/5

 

María Mata

 

The Chant – A Healing Place

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 18th June 2012 by mariadodarmata

The Chant.
A Healing Place.
Due for release:  August 20th (Europe)
Post Rock/Prog. Rock.
Released via Lifeforce Records

The most poetical common day life situations are probably going on a bus/train staring out the window or walking in the fog. They might sound like huge clichés but you are a liar if you say that you have never dived into introspection when these situations present themselves.

The kick-off song acts like a soft intro which sets the mood for the smooth melodies that, thanked be the gods, do not fall into the typical cheesiness  that a lot of progressive rock songs fall into. Instead of being tedious and exhausting, they keep your interest and are easy to listen to. When song number five begins playing I am already in love with this album. The songs are not ridiculously long, staying between 6 and 8 minutes each and there are none of those exhausting half of the song’s length guitar solos

A Healing Place is an atmospheric rock masterpiece with hints of goth and metal music. The voice of Ilpo Paasela can be compared (and pardon my daring) to Mikael Åkerfeldt’s melodic vocals and the ambient created by the mix of his voice and the calming melodies creates is cozzy and submerges you into your thoughts. If you love Opeth’s Damnation, you are going to love this album.

5/5

María Mata