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Bring Me The Horizon – amo

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 22nd January 2019 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Bring Me The Horizon
amo
Released January 2019
Hard Rock/ Electro-rock
Released via Sony Music/RCA Records

01-343969

Hailing from God’s Own County of Yorkshire, Bring Me The Horizon return to the forefront with their latest album, amo. With an ever changing sound, Bring Me The Horizon have become one of the biggest acts to come from South Yorkshire, gaining themselves admirers and haters from all across the globe.

I Apologise If You Feel Something starts up the album with a hypnotic electronic medley and soft, almost-choir like vocals that build up to the electro-rock vibes of Mantra. Mantra has plenty of hooks to keep the listener engaged, as well as energetic riffs and some very memorable vocal lines. Nihilist comes in strong with a dark pulsing rhythm, and catchy melodies. The softer vocal duet between Sykes and Grimes suit the track well, dancing elegantly with the lashing synths and shadowy beats.

In The Dark stands out with its laid back pace and notably fetching riffs. Wonderful Life is one of the singles from the album. The track itself is interesting but doesn’t sound as strong as the rest of the album. Sykes’ are admirable throughout the track and stand out more than the guest vocals of Dani Filth. Ouch acts as interlude between the last track and the next one, appearing more as a chaotic whirlpool of differing beats with the odd vocal section thrown in.

Medicine bounces back from the previous two tracks, with medleys and riffs that one can quite easily dance to. Sugar is a track that employs satisfying hooks and active vocals that meld almost perfectly with the rhythm section. Why You Gotta Kick me When I’m Down sounds almost like a hip hop track due to the mesmerising beats and whippings of electronic sections but the vocals show that it is very  much a Bring Me The Horizon track.

Fresh Bruises has an emotive atmosphere radiating from its introduction before the spellbinding electro-like percussion kicks in, carrying the otherworldly vocal sections. The keyboard passages in Mother Tongue stand out valiantly, weaving all other parts of the song together into a majestic composition. Heavy Metal is an interesting song all on its own, turning heavy with synth-laden movements and vocal duets from Sykes and Rahzel.

amo finishes on a very orchestral orientated note with I Don’t Know What To Say, contrasting the grandoise sound of classical instruments with soothing vocals, acoustic guitar, and hints of electronic influences.

amo makes it clear that Bring Me The Horizon are still on top of their game, blending different styles into their music. While it might be as heavy or as aggressive as their older albums, it shows how far the band have come since their early days, and it clearly demonstrates the band’s versatility and talent.

4.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

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Headliners announced for Northern Symphony 2018

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd September 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Coming up to its fourth year, Northern Symphony – the UK’s premier symphonic metal event – is set to take place on Saturday 21st April at its home The Venue in Selby North Yorkshire. Having featured the likes of Winter In Eden, Alwaid, Old Corpse Road and more on its line-up in the past, Northern Symphony is already looking to have another great line-up following the announcement of French philharmonic metallers Whyzdom as the headliners for the 2018 edition.

Whyzdom was founded by guitarist and orchestrator Vynce Leff in early 2007, already well known in the progressive sphere having produced several successful albums for the British label Cyclops Records. After recruiting the band members, a first EP Daughter Of The Night was recorded less than 6 months from the band’s inception. It got instant acclaim from reviewers and music fans around the world.

Although still a young band, Whyzdom were invited to play in several festivals in France – most of the time as headliner – and won the Metal Female Voices Fest Contest in Belgium in October 2008. They played in the 7th edition of this great Festival and also played as official support to Delain to launch their début album in 2009, released by the British label Ascendance Records.

In June 2010, Telya Melane, lead vocalist left the band. Lisa Middelhauve, former Xandria singer, accepted to be “guest lead vocalist” for performances at the Raismes Festival in 2010 and for their concert in Paris as support for Tarja.

While touring in France, Belgium, UK, Switzerland, the band composed their new album BLIND?. Elvyne Lorient joined Whyzdom in February 2012 and recorded all the songs as lead vocalist. The album was released late October, by one of the most important European metal label: Scarlet Records.

The band are now fronted by the talented Marie Rouyer, who joined in 2013, starting with the “Blind?” European tour. Since then, Whyzdom have gone onto play various festivals around Europe including The Dames of Darkness.

Tickets for Northern Symphony 2018 can be found at this location for £15.

Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th September 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Cradle of Filth
Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay
Released 22nd September 2017
Extreme Gothic Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

If you’ve never heard of Cradle of Filth, you’ve most likely been living under a rock for God knows how long. Once hailed as the “most successful British metal band since Iron Maiden“, Dani Filth and and the band have proved their worth, despite various line-up changes throughout the years. Now the band are set to release their twelfth studio album: Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay. A bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?

The atmospheric invoking Exquisite Torments Await opens up the album with its sinister beginning, followed closely by the demoncially possessed guitars and banshee-like wails and guttural growls of Filth himself. Heartbreak and Seance glides in with the graceful sound of tragedy before the remorseless storm of guitars and symphonic sections come raging in as though a hurricane. Achingly Beautiful is a grandiose display of Dani Filth‘s vocals, charging through the tempest of unforgiving musicianship, while Schoolcraft’s narrative vocals bring a whole new dynamic to the track. The choirs and orchestration, however, truly make the song what it is – a dismal, ominous anthem.

Wester Vespertine is a furious blitz upon the ears, weaving Filth‘s, and occasionally Schoolcraft’s, refined vocals with cimmerian melodies and stout riffs. The title track, The Seductiveness of Decay, is a gloomy composition, weaving slow and fast riffs with dispiriting keyboard melodies and Gothic lyricism. Vengeful Spirit creates more of an atmosphere in its beginning, as the prophetic sound of guitar notes ring out, accompanied by Filth‘s voice. When the song comes into its prime, it is essentially a standard day in the office for Cradle Of Filth – agile, cumbersome and melodic. The part of the song that really stands out however is the guest vocal appearance from Liv Kristine, as her vocals soar majestically through the track.

You Will Know The Lion By His Claw is a swift, threatening and unwieldy track, leaving little room for prisoners as it bludgeons its way through, like a hunter chasing his prey. If you had to sum up Cradle‘s current sound with just one song, this would be it. Cryptoriana comes to its closing with Death and The Maiden, a track that is as weighty as it is shadowy, really embodying the sense of dread and darkness that one would expect to find within Victorian Gothic horror.

Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay is at the same level that Cradle‘s classic albums, such as Midian and Dusk… And Her Embrace, stand. It is a demonstration of the band’s current sound and displays their potential to keep writing awe-inspiring music.

4.8/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Havamal – Call Of The North

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 15th August 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Havamal
Call of the North
Released June 2017
Viking Metal/Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Sweden come Viking-themed death metallers Havamal. It’s kind of fitting that a band that has Viking themes would name themselves after one of the books in the Poetic Edda but now is not the time to be discussing Old Nordic literature. Formed in 2016, in the city of Stockholm, Call of the North is Havamal‘s first release.

The grandoise opening of the track Havamal sets the pace for the EP with its majestic and powerful orchestration coupled up with the spoken word. The other five tracks on the EP have a very Ensiferum-inspired sound, especially in the feral vocals that come screaming out like an enraged berserker. Dread Age stands out immediately with its savage assault of guitars and furious orchestral elements whereas Jotun War follows up with as a standard Viking metal anthem with hints of power metal thrown in for good measure.

Ragnarok is quite the dark composition, with the odd headbanging moment here and there and some Dimmu Borgir-esque moments. Call For Revenge gets the blood pumping with the Ensiferum influenced sound and powerful use of orchestration in the background. Call of the North ends with the memorable track Force of Judgement, which is a melting pot of sounds with catchy riffs and melodic verses.

Havamal show a lot of potential with this first release, though the band have still yet to find their sound. With their guitar driven sound combined with their orchestral moments and bestial vocals, Havamal could easily become a stand out band in the metal community.

4/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Call of the North can be purchased at this location.

Ward XVI – The Art of Manipulation

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , on 12th July 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson
Ward XVI
The Art Of Manipulation
Avant-Garde Rock
Released 1st July
via Rock’n’Growl
Earlier this month, northern metal outfit – though they describe themselves as “theatrical avant-garde rock” – Ward XVI released their debut album, The Art of Manipulation, which follows the story of a female psychopath locked away in a high security asylum. Having seen this band before, when the news came out that Ward were releasing this album, I immediately knew I had to listen to it.

Starting with the generically named Intro, the track starts the story written within the album, as a rather sinister and villainous psychiatrist is heard talking to his patient, who replies stating that she’s “not insane”. Take My Hand is a light trance inducing track before it changes at the flip of a coin into a pure, chaotic guitar barrage. The title track, The Art of Manipulation, stands out with its ephemeral passages that appear between the faster, hard hitting sections of the song. The vocals come across exquisitely with the ebb and flow of the track.

There are three interludes on the album, each of which serve the purpose of moving the story forward with more dialogue. As the first interlude finishes, The Flight comes bursting in like a hand grenade, as the the guitars merciless blare out their rhythmic, almost hypnotic riffs. The use of keyboards on this track comes as a welcome surprise, adding a new dynamic to it. The vocals are very much good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll as they race along side the keys and guitars. Crystal Ball  has its own little charm as the sounds of accordions blare over the driving guitars and thundering rhythm sections. A reassuring and warm piano melody leads the way in Hold Me, adding an expected emotional feel to not only the song but the album as well.

Blackened Heart is a poignant track, with memorable vocal lines and a contrasting use of guitars, the rhythm section and keys, with one section being quite nu-metalesqe in its composition while Run For Your Lives  jumps in the sound of wailing sirens before a haunting accordion melody is heard. The track being proceeds into barrage of drums flanked by raging guitars and energetic vocals. Adrenochromania is quite a misty and cimmerian track with a lot of mesmerising passages.

Cry of the Siren is an aggressively energetic track as the guitars and keys go toe-to-toe with one another between vocal lines. Toy Box however contrasts greatly, taking a slower pace verging on the edge of a traditional and folkier sound with the accordion commanding the song. Inner Demon diverges onto a different route with a unique sound that really shows the theatrics of the band. The Art of Manipulation closes its curtains with a song named after the band: Ward XVI. It is quite a solemn listening affair, as the vocals call out like a Plutonian requiem while the keys and guitars have become the musical incarnation of a somber midnight sky.

Ward XVI have done something spectacular with The Art Of Manipulation, while their on-stage theatrics don’t translate well into recorded form, their story telling and unique melting pot of different styles and influences speaks for themselves.

3.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Semblant – Lunar Mainifesto

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 27th April 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Semblant
Lunar Manifesto
Released on 28th April 2017
Gothic Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

Formed in 2006, Semblant hail from the South American nation of Brazil. After a few line-up changes, they are now considered one of the country’s most important Gothic metal outfits, even going as far as being classified as Brazil’s first vampiric metal act. Lunar Manifesto is the latest in their string of releases.

Incinerate  opens up the album with a demonic assault of fast, heavy and unforgiving riffs that lay siege to the ears. The screamed vocals capitalise on the demonic sound of the track, while the cleaner vocals add a melodic, almost angelic touch to the song. Dark of the Day keeps the vicious heavy riffing of the preceding track while marching at a slower tempo. The contrasting use of vocals entwine themselves almost lyrically with the fury of the music.

What Lies Ahead has a more melodic sound, the guitars and keyboards dancing beautifully together, allowing for more focus on the clean vocals whereas The Shrine sounds very power metalesque in its introduction, before the bestial screams make themselves heard. Bursting Open has a very dramatic opening, focusing on an eerie orchestration and clean vocals that border on spoken word. The rest of the track appears to have lost the momentum found in the previous tracks, sounding less passionate.

Mist Over The Future makes a strong use of stormy guitar riffs and gentler keyboard sections, and the screams and growls are as vehement sounding as can be. Though the drums are cold and calculating, a noticeable difference from the rest of the track. Keyboards are more prominent in  The Hand That Bleeds, creating a cryptic atmosphere whereas the guitars and vocals are more esoteric in their sound. Selfish Liar is the perfect combination of savage, destructive riffs and sorrowful yet creepy keyboards. The vocals on this track are near magical, fitting in well with the song’s composition.

Ode To Rejection mixes ominous keyboards with hypnotic riffs, creating a sombre sound that is reflected in the lyrics., while The Blind Eye bursts in with a near-majestic sound built up by the heavy-hitting guitars and commanding use of vocals. Scarlet Heritage is the album’s ending, finishing the 11 track release with a blistering onslaught of cumbersome guitars and bold vocals. The keyboards weave into the track beautifully, adding beauty to the beast-like nature of the song.

Lunar Manifesto has its good moments and its bad ones. For the avid Gothic metal fan, it is a release that would fit in well into their collection.

3.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

 

EARTHBREAKER – Voice of the Voiceless

Posted in 'Core, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 11th January 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

EARTH BREAKER
Voice of the Voiceless
Hardcore/Metal/’Ullcore
Self-Released: November 2016

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Hull – Otherwise known as the City of Culture – has a lot going on for it, especially in the music scene, which is where a promising young band known as Earthbreaker are currently making makes and lots of noise. Having only been around for just over a year, this melodic metal quintet have already made their presence felt – and heard – in North England.

Voice of the Voiceless opens straight up with the powerful and memorable track The Vipers Nest, which features an energetic and tenacious breakdown and some bestial vocal work. Family follows up almost seductively, with its overwhelming assault of guitars and differing and unique vocal sounds.

Misanthropy is a melodic track which is as catchy as the common cold but that doesn’t stop it from being heavier than an elephant’s arse. The guitars are heavy-duty, paving a path of broken bones whilst the rhythm sections lay down the gritty foundations. Whereas Deathwish brings a more emotive but just as unyielding sound to Voice of the Voiceless.

The EP finishes on Psychosis, with its enchanting dance between the guitars, bass and drums, making it a good track to finish on.

Voice of the Voiceless demonstrates Earthbreaker‘s well-founded sound in a way that leaves the listener wanting more and shows that this young quintet can go toe-to-toe in the pit with some of the heavy hitters on the scene.

4.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson