Author Archive

Interview with Auger

Posted in Interview with tags , , , on 29th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Two years after discovering them at Lumous Gothic Festival, Iza caught up with Kyle J. Wilson of the British darkwave duo Auger. They discussed their band’s new album ‘Insurgence’, live streaming and other forms of lock-down entertainmnent. Check it out:

First of all, how are you doing?

We’re great thank you, well as good as you can be in a global crisis…

Congratulations on your new album ‘Insurgence’! I really enjoyed it. This is now your third studio record. Auger has come a long while since your debut album ‘The Awakening’ back in 2017. Can you tell us about the creative process and inspirations for this album? 

Thank you so much, I’m super pleased you enjoyed it. Absolutely, so like The Awakening, Insurgence was based around a story. Painting a picture of a post-apocalyptic world that doesn’t feel so far from reality given everything that’s going on.

If you were to pick a track from ‘Insurgence’ to act as an introduction to the band for new listeners, which one would it be and why?

This is a tricky one, not only because we’re so pleased with every song on the album, but because we strive to create a diverse listening experience; to put it plainly, every song is different and the album ranges from full-synthwave to out-and-out industrial tracks. I would say, however, that I’d recommend listening to ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong.’ It’s a great taster for what the album holds, it’s melodic, rocky and it features a very talented young singer, Imogen Evans, who adds an angelic female touch to it.

‘Insurgence’ features a wide range of different styles. I detected everything from electro rock, industrial metal to synth pop and darkwave. For example ‘My Death’ is very melodic and synth-pop style. What is the story behind that track?

Definitely. When I wrote My Death I was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode (can you tell?) and I wanted to try and encapsulate their sound and interpret it in a more Auger-way. In terms of lyrics, the song is about someone who feels deeply overwhelmed with the situation (that situation being the end of the world). They fantasize about what it would’ve been like to have seized more opportunities when they were still attainable; including admitting to love.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bgmRUfnC2E

The album also includes collaboration with a young musician called Imogen Evans. Who is she and what made you decide to collaborate with her?

So Imogen has come into my studio a few times over the past couple of years, mainly performing her own songs, but the second I first heard her voice I knew I needed her to sing on an Auger song; and it worked even better than I had imagined. She’s a real delight to work with and we have a laugh every time she’s here.

The global coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the music industry with thousands of events being cancelled and postponed. How has this affected Auger?

Well it has cancelled the first part of our album tour, postponing many shows into 2021. But we’ve not let this get to us! Instead we’ve hosted five live-streamed shows, each have run for three-hours and accumulated over 10,000 views. We’ve also begun to create some more YouTube specific content, run competitions and all sorts. We have really tried to think of as many ways to keep in touch with our amazing community and boost spirits where we can. We’re not going to let COVID-19 beat us!

With all tours now on hold you must have a lot of spare time on your hands. Besides live streaming and promoting the new album what else have you been up to?

Well, as I mentioned before, Kieran and I have begun to create some YouTube videos to grow our channel. We’ve been playing games, telling stories and trying some horrible food and it’s been great fun. And aside from that, a spot of gardening, lots of walks and a spot of decorating in the house.

Let’s talk about the newest trend in the music industry – live streaming. I’ve noticed that you have done some streamed acoustic sets recently. How does this compare to a real live show? What are the pros and cons of streaming vs. live from your point of view?

It’s very bizarre. Not at all in a bad way, it’s just an incredibly strange concept that you’re performing to your laptop and talking to a screen… It certainly gets some getting used to. But we love it. We were able to do a live stream together a couple of weeks back and it was great fun, the fans responded so well and it’s a great opportunity to chat, answer questions and just have a good laugh with everyone during these strange times. I don’t think you can compare it to playing a live show, it’s a completely different kettle of fish. We do miss the live shows tremendously, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop going live on Facebook.

Which festival/event are you looking forward to the most next year once the pandemic is over?

Out Of Line Weekender of course, that we’re delighted to be playing. But also, all my gig tickets have been rescheduled for next year so I’m excited to see Jimmy Eat World, Suzanne Vega and go to Amphi Festival 2021.

Finally, is there anything you would like to say to your fans and our readers?

Thank you so much for streaming, downloading and purchasing the album – don’t stop, and we’ll see you soon! Take care, #teamauger!

https://www.facebook.com/pg/AugerUK

https://darktunes.bandcamp.com/album/insurgence

Finntroll announce new album details

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , on 26th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been seven years since their last studio effort . Now the Finnish folk metal horde Finntroll are pleased to announce that their new album will be out this autumn. The long-awaited follow-up to ‘Blodsvept’ bears the title ‘Vredesvävd’ (meaning wrath woven in Swedish).

Here is an official statement from the band:

“Vredesvävd is shamelessly untrendy, fierce and a catchy album. Raising a mushroom-cladded middle finger towards lazy rock music, it whips and whacks the poor listener in a way that only Finntroll is capable of delivering. Combining something old, something new and a ton of something black.”

Check out the artwork and track-listing:

  1. Väktaren
  2. Att Döda Med En Sten
  3. Ormfolk
  4. Gränars Väg
  5. Forsen
  6. Vid Häxans Härd
  7. Myren
  8. Stjärnornas Mjöd
  9. Mask
  10. Ylaren
Finntroll - Vredesvävd

‘Vredesvävd’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide in both digital and physical formats on 18th September 2020 via Century Media Records.

For more information visit:

https://www.trollhorde.com/

https://www.facebook.com/officialfinntroll/

Carach Angren – Francksteina Strataemontanus

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 22nd June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Carach Angren
Franckensteina Strataemontanus
Released 26th June 2020
Symphonic Black Metal / Horror Metal
Released via Seasons of Mist

Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus

The Dutch symphonic horror metal masters Carach Angren are back with a new album. Their latest opus ‘Franckensteina Strataemontanus’ is a concept album focusing on the story of German occultist Johann Conrad Dippel, whose experiments allegedly inspired Mary Shelley’s novel ‘Frankenstein’. This is also the last album to feature the band’s drummer Ivo “Namtar” Wijers.

Carach Angren are a fairly new discovery for me. I only got into their music a couple of months ago. I’m surprised that it took me this long to check them out considering that I am a fan of several bands who make similar music including Cradle of Filth and Chthonic. The main things that make Carach Angren stand out are the frequent use of orchestrations in the music and Seregor’s storytelling. I wouldn’t really call what he does “singing”, it’s more like he is reading or narrating a horror story complete with all the theatrical antics and creepy voices.

The intro track ‘Here in German Woodland’ sets the scene for an eerie tale of Gothic horror. Speaking of spooky, there is something disturbing about the distorted guitar and keyboard noises in the introduction to the title track. It definitely conveys an eerie atmosphere, sending chills down the listener’s spine. Seregor does a good job playing the mad scientist in the story. Full marks for the theatrics. As far the lyrics go, Operation Compass seems a little disconnected from the rest of the album concept but the bombastic yet creepy orchestrations make you forget the confusion. Monster is one of the highlights on the album for me. The keyboards and the vocals really convey that feeling of something sinister coming towards you. They even added some cinematic style orchestrations and screams to create the right atmosphere.

Then there is the ultra-quirky Der Vampir von Nürnberg, one of those symphonic black metal songs that you’re either going to love or hate. The orchestrations sound fantastic in all their Gothic horror glory but the vocals might divide opinions. I am accustomed to Seregor’s creepy narrations but the ghastly (not in a good way) backing vocals and howling in the chorus started to get on my nerves. Dimmu Borgir did this too and I disliked it. Also is it just me or does anyone else think that the singer sounds like a bit like Till Lindemann when he is speaking in German?

Overall, ‘ Franckensteina Strataemontanus’ is a really good soundtrack to a horror movie that has yet to be made. As far symphonic black metal goes, Carach Angren are bit of an oddity, but as this album proves they are a force to be reckoned with. I would recommend this to fans of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Chthonic.

8/10
Iza Raittila

Beyond Shadows – Wolf’s Blood

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 16th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Beyond Shadows
Wolf’s Blood
Released May 2020
Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Beyond Shadows - Wolf's Blood

Wolf’s Blood’ is the new EP from the New York -based, American melodic death metal duo. The band comprises vocalist and guitarist Daniel Shepard and drummer Chris Hawkins (ex-Midian). Their music is heavily influenced by the Gothenburg melodic death metal movement and they are inspired by bands such as At The Gates and Carcass.

This EP certainly does not lack aggression. Right from the opening riff on Never An Answer you are greeted by an onslaught of shredding guitars, blast beats and abrasive shouting. Yet in addition to the aggression, they also managed to sneak in some melodic guitar parts towards the latter half of the song adding some variety to the overall structure and pacing. The title track also features melodic undertones and lots of pace changes. The transitions between the vicious death metal and the melodic guitar work are very well timed. I particularly liked the acoustic guitar part at the end.

Just when you think that you know what Beyond Shadows is all about, they surprise you again. Based on what the first two tracks sounded like, the last thing that I expected was a keyboard intro on Regret Is My Name. It’s short but long enough to give the listener a chance to get ready for the next attack of thrashing guitars and blast beats. At The Gates made songs like this back in the ‘90s. Last but not least is Screaming Eyes (Go Unheard) which features another melodic guitar intro which reminded me of old Metallica for some reason. The guitar riffs are good but I could have done without the clean vocals.

In summary, ‘Wolf’s Blood’ is a well made melodic death metal EP, which is likely to please fans of Gothenburg variety of the genre. It has a few flaws but luckily they are minor and easy to overlook.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Behemoth – A Forest

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 5th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Behemoth
A Forest
Released 29th May 2020
Blackened Death Metal
Released via New Aeon Music

Behemoth - A Forest

The ongoing worldwide pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the music industry. With thousands of shows and festival cancelled or postponed, musicians have found themselves with a lot more time their hands. Many have returned to the studio and created something new. The Polish blackened death metal trio Behemoth are one such band. They have teamed up with Niklas Kvarforth (Shining, Skitliv) to bring you a cover of The Cure’s ‘A Forest’. The EP also features to previously unreleased songs from the ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ recording sessions.

I have to admit I am not that familiar with The Cure’s music. I actually had to check out the original version of A Forest prior to this review. The Cure’s original post-punk song isn’t exactly cheerful but it’s nowhere near as creepy as Behemoth’s version. The eerie guitar work in the intro is enough to send chills down your spine. Orion really does a great job with the bass. Then there’s Mr. Kvarforth’s ghastly screams along with Nergal’s growls. This is definitely not a gentle stroll in the woods. These are the sounds of someone lost in a forest running for his/her life. The live version is faster, more energetic but it loses some of the eerie atmosphere in process.

Then we come to the two new songs. ‘Shadows Ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha’ is a brutal piece of blackened death metal with harsh guitar riffs and varied pace. It is a decent song but it feels a little unrefined. I can see why they chose not to include on the last album. ‘Evoe’ is much more dynamic, well rounded and stronger in structure. Now this is the kind of Behemoth track that I was hoping to hear.

Overall, ‘A Forest’ is a good addition to Behemoth’s discography. They did a great job with the cover and the other songs are not without merit. I think that their fans will enjoy this release. I sure did.

7/10

Iza Raittila

New Ensiferum album coming this summer

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report, Uncategorized with tags , , on 29th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been three years after their last studio effort ‘Two Paths’. Now the Finnish folk metallers are back with a new album called ‘Thalassic’. Here is an official statement from the band regarding the lyrical themes:

“The idea of it started to brew in my mind when I was doing interviews for ‘Two Paths‘ and many journalists asked if it was a theme album, and I noticed that I was answering all the time that because of the way we compose it’s almost impossible to make a theme album. This really started to piss me off and the decision was made: the next album would have a theme. At that time, we already had a few songs almost ready for the next album, and I started to listen to the demos much more from the feeling aspect instead of analyzing them musically. For some reason, all of them took me to a seashore, and the theme was found: something related to sea or water. So I started to read about history, myths and legend around the world that had something to do with the theme, but even though all of the lyrics are obviously inspired by this, I tried my best to keep Ensiferum‘s heroic mentality in them. In the end, there were too many ideas for lyrics, because I didn’t set myself any boundaries – like all stories would have to be Nordic, etc, and one of my favourite songs on the album tells about Andromeda from Greek mythology. I can’t promise that this way of lyric-writing will be the future of Ensiferum, but at least we did this once.”

You see the cover art and track-listing below:

1. Seafarer’s Dream
2. Rum, Women, Victory
3. Andromeda
4. The Defence of the Sampo
5. Run from the Crushing Tide
6. For Sirens
7. One with the Sea
8. Midsummer Magic
9. Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III)
10. Merille Lahteva (Bonus Track)
11. I’ll Stay by Your Side (Bonus Track)

‘Thalassic’ will hit the shops in both physical and digital formats on 10th July 2020 via Metal Blade Records.

In the meantime you can check out their new lyric video for ‘Rum, Women, Victory’

For further information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum

https://ensiferum.com/

Ravenscry – 100

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , on 27th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Ravenscry
100
Released 15th May 2020
Gothic Metal / Progressive metal
Self-Released

Ravenscry - 100

100’ is the latest album from the Milan-based Italian Gothic metal band Ravenscry. They were formed back in 2008. This is the first studio release to feature their new guitarist Federico Schiavoni, who joined the band in 2017.

So, based on the description, I was expecting this to be another Nightwish type, female fronted band. How wrong could I be? For starters, the vocals are melodic but their singer Giulia Stefani sounds more like Amy Lee (Evanescence) or Silje Wergeland (The Gathering, ex-Octavia Sperati) than any of the Nightwish singers. Secondly there are no symphonic elements. Instead, the guitars are low pitch, distorted and have a progressive metal feel to them. Keyboards are kept to a minimum, with the exception of the opening track ‘Maybe’, where they maintain the balance between the chugging guitars and Ms. Stefani’s angelic singing.

As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, I have never been fond of anything progressive and that is my main issue with this album. I like the vocals but the stop-start, distorted guitar work seems to disrupt the flow on the songs. I think that the symbiosis between the two is not as smooth or as efficient as it should be. They work on some tracks better than others. ‘The Entertainer’ is one of the better ones. Here the guitars take a backseat and the vocals are the main focus on the song. I really like Giulia Stefani’s vocal performance on that particular track. The melodic keyboard outro is a good addition too.

Overall, ‘100’ offers a mixture of progressive and Gothic metal. There is enough variety to keep the listener on his or her toes. Unfortunately the combination of the two might not be to everyone’s taste.

6/10

Iza Raittila

DevilDriver unveil new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 21st May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Two years after their country music covers album ‘Outlaws ‘Til The End’ was released, now the American groove metal band DevilDriver are back. They recently announced that their new studio effort will be called ‘Dealing With Demons I’.

Their front-man Dez Farara stated that this will be the first volume of a double album concept focusing on human nature, emotions and personal struggles. Here is an extract of he had to say about it:

“It’s time to lay it all out, on two records. I’m never gonna revisit these subjects again. I’ve been writing about this sort of human nature, disloyalty and dishonesty, love and loss, since the beginning of my career. I am going in a more lyrically woke direction in the future. A lot of people say my music gives them strength. But what they don’t realize is that these topics haunt me. Over the course of these last few years we fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic… so it is what it is… let’s dump it all on the table and purge. I want to go through different topics in the future, so here we are now. I’ve laid it all out on a double record for all of you to hear.”

Check out the cover art and track-listing below:

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons, Volume I

1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

‘Dealing With Demons I’ will hit the shops on 9th October 2020 via Napalm Records.

For now you can check out the lyric video for their new single ‘Keep Away From Me’

For more information visit:
https://www.facebook.com/devildriver/

DevilDriver

 

 

Raven Said – Beyond The Darkest Hour

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 13th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Raven Said
Beyond The Darkest Hour
Released 17th April 2020
Goth Rock/Post-Punk
Released via Secret Sin Records Ltd.

’Beyond The Darkest Hour’ is the debut album from the Russian Goth rock duo Raven Said. The band was founded in 2014 in Ekaterinburg by vocalist-guitarist Andrey Agapitov and Maria Agapitova (piano, synth, violin and percussion). I first discovered them after watching their performance at Lumous Gothic Festival. They cite ‘80s Goth rock, post-punk and new wave as their main influences along with an interest in the occult and spooky Gothic themes. Oh and in case the name wasn’t enough of a clue they are also fans of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Some of the songs were previously released as EPs and their entire discography is available from their Bandcamp page.

Well, if old school Goth rock is your thing, then you are in for a treat. This album has all the hallmarks of a classic Goth rock record including melancholic vocals, eerie, scything guitar work and spooky synth melodies. Lenore was part of the live set at Lumous Gothic Festival. It’s one of the songs that stood out for me and what made me check out the band’s music after the shows. Ok, it’s a little slow but I really like the spooky atmosphere. There are also some more dance-friendly tunes such as Love That Black As Coal. This one is more keyboard-oriented and a little less melancholic.

Another song that caught my attention was Fragile Hope; the most dance-friendly track on here. It’s catchy with a good keyboard intro and the guitar sounds less gloomy. The guitar riffs can even been described as….(dare I say it..?) – uplifting. Yes, that’s right, I’ve just used the term “uplifting” in a Goth rock review! Oh no… Oh the horror! What ever shall we do? I say that we just keep listening and dance along, that’s my plan at least.

To conclude, ‘Beyond The Darkest Hour’ is a very well executed Goth rock album that is bound to please fans of the style. There are only a handful of Goth rock bands that I like and I am pleased to say that Raven Said is one of them.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Battle Born debut EP coming next month

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 5th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Battle Born are a new addition to the British power metal scene. The idea of the band first came about in 2018 after an inspirational trip to Wacken Open Air Festival. Their music influences include Beast in Black, Judas Priest and the action role-playing game Skyrim.

The band’s self titled EP will be available in both physical and digital formats from their Bandcamp page on 26th June 2020. You can stream the first single right now.

For further details visit:

https://battlebornuk.bandcamp.com/album/battle-born

https://www.facebook.com/pg/battlebornuk/

Vader – Solitude in Madness

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 2nd May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Vader
Solitude In Madness
Released 1st May 2020
Death Metal/Death-Thrash Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Vader - Solitude in Madness

My favorite death metal quartet, Vader are back with a new album. It’s been four years since their last full length ’The Empire’. Last year they released a teaser EP called ’Thy Messenger’ and now the wait is finally over. ’Solitude in Madness’ has been unleashed onto the world. What a fitting title given the present circumstances which many of us find ourselves in during this turbulent time…

Right from the moment you press the play button, you are greeted by a ferocious barrage of guitar riffs, relentless drum work along with Peter’s brutal growling. The opener Shock And Awe sets the tone for the rest of the album. What we have here are eleven tight-knit tracks of brutal death-thrash metal. The songs are short, fairly simple in structure and lacking the intricate atmospheric parts and intros featured on ‘Tibi et Igni’. They were already heading this direction with ‘The Empire’. However this change of style is not a new thing for Vader. In many ways this bears a lot of similarity to their earlier works, particularly their third release ‘Black To The Blind’, a personal favorite of mine.

For those who are not familiar with the band’s history, Vader started out as a thrash metal outfit and so this is a return to their roots. The thrash metal guitar riffs have always played a key role in what makes Vader stand out and this album is not an exception. Into Oblivion is a vicious beast packed with crushing guitar work and savage drumming. Ready or not, here it comes. You have just two options: either stand and fight it or run for your life! Emptiness and Despair were featured on the ‘Thy Messenger’ EP which I reviewed last year so I will not be discussing those songs. Then there is their cover of Acid Drinkers’ Dancing In The Slaughterhouse. No death metal here, this song is essentially speed-thrash. Full speed ahead, lots of shouting and vicious riffs.

In summary, ‘Solitude In Madness’ doesn’t offer too many surprises. For better or worse it is very straightforward, “textbook” Vader. More of the same death-thrash metal blend, the formula which they have stuck with for decades. For Vader fans like myself, it ticks all the right boxes. It sounds exactly like I was hoping that it would. It is a little short, clocking in at just under thirty minutes but there is not a single weak track on here.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Overlaps – In Your Room

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags on 27th April 2020 by izaforestspirit

Overlaps
In Your Room
Released 27th March 2020
Alternative Rock/Nu Rock
Released via Time to Kill Records

’In Your Room’ is the second album from the Italian alternative rock band Overlaps. They were formed back in 2015. Their debut album saw the light of day two years later. The band have also accompanied The Rasmus on their Dark Matters tour in 2018.

Right from the very first guitar riff I can already feel that this album is going to be fun. The opener Your Eyes features some catchy guitars and powerful vocals. Their singer Gloria Piccinin has a good, dynamic voice and she puts a lot of emotion into each song. I particularly liked the chorus of In This Room. It has that uplifting feel to it which puts the listener in a good mood. One thing I didn’t like though are the rapping vocals mid-way through Spleen. What a waste of a good song. I have no issue with the poetic lyrics and references to Baudelaire but I really can’t get past the rapping. Luckily that is the only time that they do this on here and what follows is more well-executed alternative rock.

As mentioned previously, I like the vocals and I think that they are part of what makes Overlaps stand out. As far as alternative rock goes, this is fairly melodic and radio-friendly, verging on power-pop at times. But enough about the vocals, let’s talk a bit about the guitars. There is some good riff work on here too. Take Wasted for instance, it is one of the heavier tracks on here with multifaceted guitar passages and varied pace.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to ‘In Your Room’. It offers a good balance of melodic, energetic and uplifting guitar work with powerful vocals to convey their message to the masses. Gloria Piccinin is a talented singer and with her at the helm, Overlaps have a bright future ahead of them.

8/10
Iza Raittila

Alexi Laiho’s book now available in English

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2020 by izaforestspirit

So we may have to wait a while for the debut album from Alexi Laiho‘s new band Bodom After Midnight but there is some good news for his fans. The former Children of Bodom front-man’s autobiography ‘Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar’ is now available in English.

The book was ghost written by Petri Silas, a music journalist and personal friend of Mr. Laiho. The original version (in Finnish) came out last year.

Alexi Laiho - Chaos, Control & Guitar, Book - Backstage Rock Shop

The international, English edition is available from the following online stores:
Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar (Book in English)
https://www.recordshopx.com/book/laiho_alexi/kitara_kaaos_kontrolli/

For further information go to:
https://fi-fi.facebook.com/AlexiLaihoOfficial
https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial/

Kill Ritual – The Opaque And The Divine

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , on 18th April 2020 by izaforestspirit

Kill Ritual
The Opaque And The Divine
Released 27th March 2020
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal
Released via Dissonance Productions

Kill Ritual - The Opaque and the Divine

‘The Opaque And The Divine’ is the latest album from the American thrash metal band Kill Ritual. The band was set up a decade ago and they have gone through a number of line-up changes. This is their first album with new vocalist Chalice Blood a.k.a Brian Betterton (also of Dirt and Enchanter).

I was expecting this to be a straightforward old-school thrash metal album. It is that to some extent, but a little bit more complicated. It’s very guitar-driven and some of the songs have that aggressive thrash metal feel such as the opener Rest In Pain and World Gone Mad. In addition to these, there are songs which take on a more melodic tone such as Praise The Dead with acoustic guitars and ballad-style vocals in the intro. Yet do not let the intro fool you, this is very much in the thrash metal category; the guitar work bears a lot of resemblance to bands like Merciful Fate.

Veil of the Betrayer stands out as the longest, most complex and the only progressive type song on here. Personally I found it a little too ponderous at times but luckily it got better towards the end once they picked up the pace.

In summary, ‘The Opaque And The Divine’ turned out to be different than what I expected. The guitar work is good enough to please any thrash metal fan. There is enough variety to keep the listener interested until the end. I like some tracks more than others but it was a good effort overall.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Ville Valo – Gothica Fennica vol.1

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 3rd April 2020 by izaforestspirit

Ville Valo (VV)
Gothica Fennica Vol.1 EP
Released 20th March 2020
Gothic Rock/”Love Metal”
Released via Heartagram Ltd

Gothica Fennica Vol. 1

These past few weeks have been tough. All that time spent indoors has taken a toll on my mental health and it’s been a struggle at times to remain calm. I’ve always found music to be very therapeutic in times like this so I had a look at what new stuff has come out recently. I have a copy of the new My Dying Bride album, but as good as it may be, the current atmosphere of fear and uncertainty means that the last thing that I want to hear right now is doom metal. So I looked around a bit more and I came across this. My teenage idol the Gothic rock singer Ville Valo is back with a new EP. It’s been three years since HIM called it a day, so you can imagine my surprise and delight when I heard these new songs.

There are only three tracks, so I figured that I can write something about each one. Salute The Sanguine is probably the most catchy. It has a good chorus, Ville Valo’s emotional vocals work well with the keyboards and the guitar. Run Away From The Sun sounds like one of the classic HIM hits that I used to dance to as a teenager. This time the guitars fade into the background with most of the focus being on Mr. Valo’s voice. I feel like I’m sixteen again, dancing to the music while staring at HIM poster on my wall. Then last but not least we came to Saturnine Saturnalia, the slowest and most ballad-esque track on the EP. It’s a little melancholic and slow-paced but not entirely without its charms.

Overall, ‘Gothica Fennica Vol.1’ is an absolute delight to listen to and a must have for all HIM fans. This is technically a Ville Valo solo project and not HIM, but who cares? It may just be the next best thing.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Collateral – Collateral

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 27th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

Collateral
Collateral
Rock
Released 21st February 2020
Released via Roulette Media Records

‘Collateral’ is the debut album from the British rock band of the same name. They have already made a name for themselves in the rock industry last year when they won a competition to support Bon Jovi on their Runaway to Paradise Mediterranean Cruise.

Everything about this album is pretty much textbook stadium rock. There are big, bold vocals, easy to sing along choruses and uplifting guitar work. I enjoyed the opening track ‘Mr. Big Shot‘. It has definitely got that playful feel to it thanks to the rocking guitars and the catchy chorus. ‘ You also get some Bon Jovi vocals on track such as ‘Lullaby’, another highlight of this album. Similar things can be said about ‘Midnight Queen’, though that one has a slight country rock feel to it in the guitars. It’s not exactly my style but it has its moments.

Then they mellow things down for the reminder of the album, closing off with a few slow ballads. Once again the vocals work well and I cannot find any faults in the guitar work. Yet even after several listens, none of the last few songs stand out as much as the ones at the start of the album.

Overall, Collateral have created a promising debut album which will please rock fans everywhere. If they continue along this path, they have bright future ahead of them.

7/10
Iza Raittila

Metsatöll Live Stream Concert this weekend

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 20th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

The music and entertainment industry has been hit hard in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. With thousands of people stuck at home and all events being cancelled or rescheduled, musicians are trying to find other means to reach their audience. In the absence of concerts many have switched to live streaming shows online.

Estonian folk metallers Metsatöll have recently announced one such event. They have teamed up with  RGB Baltics to host live stream show “Party Time During The Plague” today (20.03.2020) and tomorrow (21.03.2020) via their official media channels.

You can tune in to the stream on the following the times:

Image may contain: 3 people, possible text that says 'Tallinn 1:00 AM SAT London 11:00 PM FRI Moscow 2:00 AM SAT Berlin 12:00 AM SAT Budapest 12:00 SAT Paris 12:00 AM SAT Rome 12:00 AM SAT Toronto 7:00 PM FRI New York 7:00PM FRI Dallas 6:00 PM FRI San Francisco FRI Seattle 4:00 PM FRI Vancouver 4:00 FRI Tokyo 8:00 AM SAT Melbourne 10:00 AM SAT Sao Paulo 8:00 PM FRI Santiago 8:00 PM FRI This Friday / Saturday Free Live Stream Concert "Party Time During The Plague"'

The stream is free to watch but if you wish to make a donation to support the band and their crew you can send it via PayPal to pood@metsatoll.ee

You can catch the live stream at:

https://www.facebook.com/Metsatoll/
https://www.facebook.com/events/656446718515539/?active_tab=about

https://www.youtube.com/user/MetsatollOfficial

Meet Alexi Laiho’s new band Bodom After Midnight

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , on 16th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

So it’s official… Children of Bodom is no more. The well renowned Finnish melodic death metal group played their last show in Helsinki, Finland in December last year. With their front-man Alexi Laiho loosing the rights to the name, a decision was made for the band to call it a day.

Luckily, there is some good news for their fans. Alexi Laiho has recently formed a new band called Bodom After Midnight. He will be joined by former CoB band-mate guitarist Daniel Freyberg, drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost) and bassist Mitja Toivonen (Santa Cruz). The band have yet to find a full time keyboard player, but for now the keyboards will be performed by a session musician called Lauri Salomaa.

Bodom After Midnight are scheduled to play their first show at Tuska Open Air Festival on 27th June 2020 with other festival dates to follow this summer including John Smith Rock Festival and Summer Breeze Festival.

For now check out their new Facebook page for more details:
https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial/#

 

Vader reveal new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 6th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Polish death metal group Vader have a long tradition of releasing an EP as a teaser to an upcoming album. So when ‘Thy Messanger’ came out last year I suspected that there was a new Vader album in works. Well, there is… Now the new opus has a name, cover art and a release date. Peter and the gang recently revealed that the follow-up to ‘The Empire’ will be entitled ‘Solitude in Madness’.

You can check out the cover art and track-listing below:

Vader - Solitude in Madness

1. Shock and Awe
2. Into Oblivion
3. Despair
4. Incineration of the Gods
5. Sanctification Denied
6. And Satan Wept
7. Emptiness
8. Final Declaration
9. Dancing in the Slaughterhouse
10. Stigma of Divinity
11. Bones

‘Solitude in Madness’ will hit the shops both in physical and digital format on 1st May 2020 via Nuclear Blast Records.

For further details visit:
https://vader-band.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/vader

Prime Creation announce UK Tour in April 2020

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 4th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Swedish power metal band Prime Creation will be coming to British shores this spring.

Here is the schedule:

April 9th – Bannermans Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland, The UK
April 10th – Alma Inn, Bolton, The UK
April 11th – Sanctuary Burnley, Burnley, The UK
April 12th – The County Music Bar, Chesterfield, The UK

The tour follows the release of the band’s second album ‘Tears of Rage’, which came out last year.

For more information go to:
https://www.facebook.com/primecreationofficial
https://primecreationband.com/