Author Archive

Death Angel – The Evil Divide

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 1st June 2016 by Pieni

Death Angel
“The Evil Divide”
thrash metal
Released: 27th May 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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It’s been almost three decades since the release of “The Ultra-Violence”, and even though none of Death Angel’s later albums achieved the same success, the Bay Area band has always stood way above the average thrash metal acts. No, I won’t say that “The Evil Divide” is a turning point in their career or that it’s their best album since the aforementioned “The Ultra-Violence”; but I will say that it’s a hell of record. Osegueda says he and Cavestany have grown as songwriters and as much cliche as that may sound, once you hear the classy riffing of “The Moth”, the riveting darkness of “Lost”, the rampage of “Father Of Lies” and its silky solo, the boldness of “It Can’t Be This”… Well, once you hear the whole thing, you’ll realize that “mature songwriting” is indeed the best choice of words.

Without playing “sophisticated” thrash, Cavestany’s strings have always sounded somewhat technical, but this time he’s clearly stepped up his game. The whole band has and “The Evil Divide” manages a balance between old school and modern, between raw and refined aggression. Osegueda wanted this album to please both “casual” and die-hard fans. I think his wish will be granted.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Surgical Meth Machine – Surgical Meth Machine

Posted in CD, Industrial, Metal with tags , , , , on 19th May 2016 by Pieni

Surgical Meth Machine
“Surgical Meth Machine”
Industrial Metal
Release: 15th April 2016
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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When Nuclear Blast sent over this album I volunteered to review it simple because a) my musical taste has a fair share of industrial metal in it and b) I thought the name was cool. My first thought when I started listening to it was “what a Ministry rip-off!”. So you can imagine how hard I laughed when I realized this was an Al Jourgensen’s project. It also gives you an idea of the difference between Surgical Meth Machine and Ministry – pretty much none.

There’s a bigger sense of humor though. Starting right off with the opening track “I’m Sensitive”, where that sensitivity regards opinions posted on social media and therefore the title bears a huge amount of sarcasm. “Unlistenable” lives up to its name, sounding extremely annoying, but the lyrics save the day: Jourgensen is asked about some “really cool” bands like Iron Maiden and then bands that “everyone loves to hate” like Nickelback and his verdict is always the same – they all suck. Even Ministry, who the frontman claims to “hate fucking industrial bands”. Devo, on the other hand, rule! And a heavier version – not exactly industrialized – of Devo’s “Gates Of Steel” kicks in. In the same vein, the fun goes on with “Spudnik”, which sounds like an ‘80s arcade video game soundtrack. “I’m Invisible”, the second song made public prior to the album release, if I’m not mistaken, has an unexpected funky vibe, but the rest of the album has that grinding industrial beats that Ministry got us used to. My favorite song is “Rich People Problems”, but “I Want More”, the aforementioned “I’m Sensitive”, “Tragic Alert” or “Smash And Grab” are just as hammer-forged. So yeah, it may lack innovation, but this album surely dwells in high-caliber ground.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

The 69 Eyes – Universal Monsters

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 14th April 2016 by Pieni

The 69 Eyes
“Universal Monsters”
Goth’n’Rock
Release: 22nd April 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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It’s funny – in an admirable way – how The 69 Eyes keep surprising us, after all these years, while releasing albums within the same parameters. Then again, I believe it’s simply called “talent”.

If “X” was the band’s “pop album” (quoting Jyrki 69 himself), “Universal Monsters” is the rock one – hand-in-hand with that ever-present gothness, of course. You can tell that yourselves already, if you’ve listened to both singles the album has produced – the upbeat rhythm of “Dolce Vita” (those catchy piano keys and that spry guitar solo) and the fetching melody of “Jet Fighter Plane”; the pulse is stronger and yet they have The 69 Eyes seal all over them.

Then things get a bit heavier with “Blackbird Pie”. And somber when, midway, some kind of Indian rain dance beats precede a beautiful semi-acoustic solo. Then watch them “gothicise” the Arabian feel of “Jerusalem”! What an exotic song that turned out! There’s also a Spanish guitar in the background of “Never”, so I dare saying that “Universal Monsters” may not use sounds from all around the universe, but it rolls quite internationally.

“Miss Pastis” is even more cheerful than “Dolce Vita”, the piano replaced by what sounds like a blow-organ, while “Blue” is the mandatory ballad, the sadness embedded in it living up to its name. I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that the most popular ballad from the previous album was also named after a color…

“Saving the best for last” would be somewhat unfair, as the whole album is stellar, but “Rock’N’Roll Junkie” has indeed everything to become a hymn – the lyrics, that intro resembling The Rolling Stones“Start Me Up” and Jyrki’s vocal posture a tribute to David Bowie… yep, that one’s going down in the rock history.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Heavenwood w/ support – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 1st April 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood, The Temple, Blame Zeus, Gates Of Hell
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
26th March 2016
Promoted by Raising Legends

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In late February, Heavenwood released their fifth record “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” (review here) and the first release party took place about a month later, in a full-enough Hard Club. Other three top-notch bands from the national scene were on the bill, all of them so different from each other, making this a diverse event, even more interesting than “just” a release show.

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First band on stage was Gates Of Hell, delivering their thrash-death-’core like they owned the place. I guess one can still call Márlon “the new guy”, as he was introduced as the new singer only last December (report here), but to me it feels like he’s been there all along.
There was a couple of missteps but I believe it wasn’t entirely their fault – trust me, I’ve seen them over a dozen times by now; the sound was a bit messy at first, so my guess is that they were having trouble listening to each other. Whatever or whoever was to blame, they went on so passionately that no one cared about such slips.
The show had begun at nine, half an hour later than scheduled, but still Márlon thanked the crowd for getting there so early to see them (20:30 is pretty early for a gig here in Portugal). The title-track of their debut (and so far only) album “Critical Obsession” closed their set.

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www.facebook.com/gatesofhellband

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Things cooled down considerably with Blame Zeus, as their more progressive approach is spirited but much less aggressive. They’re about to go through some major line-up changes – both guitarists and the bassist still played the show but have already announced their departure – which Sandra called “a new cycle”. And with the beginning of that cycle, she introduced a new song, “Queen”, about her career and what she had done to get that far and how it meant having to be mean sometimes… The new song has pretty much the same vibe, so the fans don’t need to worry about these changes, as Blame Zeus will continue the path of their usual sound.
Speaking of fans, there were plenty there that night and one in particular was celebrating his birthday. Sandra spared us from singing the happy birthday theme, dedicating him his favorite song instead, “Incarnate”.

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www.facebook.com/BlameZeus
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Then veterans The Temple brought down the house with their fiery alternative rock. Personally, it was the band I was most eager to see, since it had been eleven years (yes, eleven!) since I’d last seen them. And they didn’t let me down, nor the public in general. I believe they’ve made a lot of new fans. And spicing up their own great music with a cover of Mão Morta’s “Budapeste” (yeah, I know this won’t say anything to people outside of our country, but to us, it does a lot) and a tribal drum solo to which singer João and guitarist Marcelo gave both of their helping hands, their performance was a 5-star one.

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www.facebook.com/thetempleband

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I’m having mixed feelings about Heavenwood’s gig. Maybe I had set my expectations too high, maybe I was still in an adrenaline rush from The Temple show, but the truth is that I felt something was missing. The setlist was perfect; they’d promised to revisit their whole discography and so they did, and not just one song from each previous album, as some people had joked. However they tweaked the synths of the older ones to the point that I didn’t even recognize them at first. It seems the idea was to make them  photo _DSC0141 copy_zpsubhe4jzm.jpgsound heavier, but at least “Emotional Wound”, my all-time favorite, sounded anything but. I already didn’t like its softer version in “Diva”, as the original, while they still went by Disgorged, was way heavier; and somehow they managed to tone it down even more that night. That might have helped with my mild disappointment.
The new live musicians made an impression – drummer Eduardo is quite skillful; guitarist Victor smiled and headbanged all the time; there isn’t a spot on stage that bassist André didn’t cover. Frontman Ricardo also looked to be “feeling it” deeper than usual, but his voice went out of tune a few times. As for Ernesto, it was the other way around: his voice sounded better than ever, but his mind seemed somewhere else. Something missing, I keep saying. Me and a few others, but luckily, the majority of the fans left with a smile on their face, after the “Frithiof’s Saga” and “Suicidal Letters” encore. And I won’t let one less good gig destroy my belief in them. Plus, at some point Ricardo said that “stopping is dying”, referring to the band’s sound evolution. I’ve been keeping tabs on that evolution since the first album, I definitely won’t stop now.

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www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

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Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Man.Machine.Industry – Box Of Horrors

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 16th March 2016 by Pieni

Man.Machine.Industry
“Box Of Horrors”
Metal
Release: 4th March 2016
Via KMP

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Man.Machine.Industry’s new album “Box Of Horrors” gives you a little of everything the band stands for – all strains of metal.

Even though their sound has always been braided with an industrial thread, frontman Jhonny Bergman is a pretty old-school soul. I believe “Trend Killer” is the one song – not only in this album but in all M.M.I.’s discography – that mirrors it, thrashing away like there’s no tomorrow.

Now “Let It Burn” has the aforementioned industrial twist to it, not compromising the aggression at all. It just adds some texture, that’s all. It’s go the same vibe of the previous (and my favorite) LP, “Lean Back, Relax And Watch The World Burn” and the chorus is catchy, not in a melodic way but in the sense that will make you want to scream along with it. Powerful!

“20.000 Horns At The Sky” may not be as speedy, but its marching beat and groovy bass line make it quite belligerent just the same. As for the exquisite melodies that M.M.I. have gotten us used to, in songs like “Vivete et Sinete Mori” or “Colours”, take a listen to “Rise Above”. Plenty of melodic exquisiteness there.

Living up to its name, the title-track is a creepy ballad, heavy on guitars. Some string arrangements, acoustic notes and somber choirs make a hell of a combination.

I was surprised to hear another ballad right after this one, but “Destroyers Of Gods And Man” carries such a sadness and despair that you’ll put aside the slow pace and will keep in mind just its weight.

The rhythm is spicy again in “Too Close To The Sun”, with hints of Arabian cadences. “Rise Of The Fallen” is one of those in-your-face kind of songs and the album closes up with yet another ballad, “Heading For Nowhere”, with some keys that somehow remind me of R.E.M. “Everybody Hurts”, so yeah, a ballad in the full sense of the word.

So now you know what I meant by “all strains of metal”. “Box Of Horrors”, like its predecessor “Lean Back…”, is a diverse and solid album, better appreciated if listened to at a high volume.

4,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Heavenwood – The Tarot Of The Bohemians

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 6th March 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood
“The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1”
Gothic metal
Released: 22nd February 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

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For the first time, Heavenwood venture into the land of conceptual albums. That’s not, however, what makes “The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1” their boldest record so far. Heavenwood is one of those bands that manages to reinvent themselves with each release but keep their essence intact, and this time frontman Ricardo Dias enhanced every treat and entwined them with orchestral arrangements, in an exuberant outcome.

Ricardo has always taken care of the clean vocals, but the role of his strong pitch is now as leading as Ernesto Guerra’s growls’. Such balance between them bears a refreshing dynamic. And while featuring female guests is nothing new to them, one song – “The Hanged Man” – solely sung by Blame Zeus-Sandra Oliveira (well, almost solely – there are a few male backing vocals) was quite a surprise. Her deep, firm voice couldn’t fit better in such fused melody.

Speaking of melodies, these are overall heavier. The guitars are somewhat more elaborate – hence the lengthy tracks – and a tad less somber. Still within what can be considered as “gothic metal”, but there’s such a vibrancy to the more melodic parts and such a rage to the most aggressive ones that once again the adjective “bold” comes to mind.

It was the previous record that featured “masterpiece” in its title, but it’s “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” that’s living up to that name.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Rage’s “The Devil Strikes Again” to include bonus live CD

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 29th February 2016 by Pieni

As you’ve probably suspected, RAGE‘s EP “My Way” (review here) precedes the release of the band’s 22nd studio album (23rd if you count with the one in collaboration with LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA). “The Devil Strikes Again” will see the light of day on June 10th, via Nuclear Blast. Artwork and tracklist as follows:

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01. The Devil Strikes Again
02. My Way
03. Back On Track
04. The Final Curtain
05. War
06. Ocean Full Of Tears
07. Deaf, Dumb And Blind
08. Spirits Of The Night
09. Times Of Darkness
10. The Dark Side Of The Sun

Bonus CD:
01. Bring Me Down
02. Requiem
03. Into The Fire
04. Slave To The Grind (SKID ROW Cover)
05. Bravado (RUSH Cover)
06. Open Fire (Y&T Cover)

Today, RAGE announced that there will also be a limited edition (1.000 copies) of a 3CD DIGI, the third disc recorded live during the latest European tour with HELLOWEEN. Here’s the tracklist of said disc:

Bonus Live CD
01. Black In Mind
02. Sent By The Devil
03. End Of All Days
04. Back In Time
05. Down
06. My Way
07. Until I Die
08. Don’t Fear The Winter
09. Higher Than The Sky

“The Devil Strikes Again” was recorded in September/October 2015 at Megafon Studios (Burscheid, Germany) and at Soundchaser Studios (Zandhoven, Belgium). Its production was handled by Marcos Rodriguez and Peavy Wagner, whilst renowned the Dan Swanö (MARDUK, OPETH, DISSECTION, KATATONIA) took care of the mix and mastering at Unisound Studios (Grefrath, Germany). The stunning cover artwork was created by Karim König (photo credit: Ivan K. Maras, director of the “My Way” music video).

You can pre-order the Limited Edition 3CD Digibook here.

www.rage-official.com
www.facebook.com/rageofficialband
www.nuclearblast.de/rage

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