Author Archive

Ex Deo return with ‘The Philosopher King’

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

It’s been three years since their last studio album ‘The Immortal Wars’. Now the Canadian  symphonic metal band Ex Deo are back with a new single called ‘The Philosopher King’. The song tells the story of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius and it features additional orchestrations by Francesco Ferrini from Fleshgod Apocalypse.

You can check out the cover art below.

Ex Deo - The Philosopher King

‘The Philosopher King’ digital single will be out on 13th March 2020 via Napalm Records. Keep an eye out for the video coming soon.

In the meantime, for more information go to:
https://www.facebook.com/exdeo/
https://exdeo.bandcamp.com/

Hate, Belphegor and Suffocation live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , on 24th February 2020 by izaforestspirit

Hate, Belphegor, Suffocation
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
23rd February 2020

I usually tend to avoid attending gigs on a Sunday as it makes the next day difficult. This time however, I was lucky enough to have the next day free which made it possible for me to go. My husband decided to tag along to see Belphegor hoping that they would play some of the old material. I was mainly interested in the Polish blackened death metal act Hate. I like their old stuff and I recently managed to check out the newest release prior to going to the show.

The event started rather early and sadly we missed the first band, a Swedish death-thrash metal group called Carnosus. We arrived just in time to see the German death metal band Betrayal. They played a good, albeit somewhat short set of solid death metal with a thrash metal tinge. One of their songs featured a short melodic part guitar instrumental which was somewhat unexpected but it worked surprisingly well. So not a bad start to the night.

Next up was the main band that I came to see. The Polish blackened death metal outfit Hate put on a hell of a show. These guys hail from the same country as Behemoth and they often get compared to their Gdansk-based brethren due to the similarities in the music style. This show proved though they have developed their own style and they have earned their place in the extreme metal scene on their own merit. This is definitely my kind of metal and I am looking forward to hearing more from these guys. The only issue I had with the performance was that it was too short. They were only on for half an hour. I would have wanted to hear more from Adam the First Sinner and the gang.

The Austrian blackened death metal act Belphegor sure do like their props. The stage was decorated with animal skull motifs and burning incense. They seem to have quite the following too, they actually attracted a bigger crowd than the night’s headliners. Sadly they mostly played newer material which neither me nor my husband were familiar with. The only song I recognized was ‘Lucifer Incestus’. Some of the new tracks sounded decent such as ‘Baphomet’ but a lot of them seemed a little slow and not super memorable.

Suffocation were pretty much what I expected them to be. They played some very solid brutal death metal. That is the main problem that I have with American death metal in general, most of the bands sound the same. There is only a handful of American death metal bands that I like. Most of them do their best to make their music sound as brutal, fast and ferocious. Ultimately though, after minutes of head-banging along to a few of the tracks, you realize that they all sound very similar to each other. It was like listening to one very long song throughout the show. I have to admit that they did a good job of agitating the crowd and getting the mosh-pit going.

Overall, it was a fun way to spend Sunday night. Betrayal were pretty good. Hate were my favorite performance of the night and it’s shame that their set was so short. Belphegor have changed their style quite considerably over the years and I do not like their new stuff as much as the older albums. As for Suffocation, they were decent live but I do not think that I will be checking out their music anytime soon.

Iza Raittila

 

 

Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

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

Ozzy Osbourne
Ordinary Man
Released 21st February 2020
Heavy Metal
Released via Sony Music

Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man

The past few years have not been easy for the legendary heavy metal front-man Ozzy Osbourne. He has suffered from various health problems and injuries forcing him to postpone and cancel tours but he has managed to vent all that frustration and anguish into his latest studio effort – ‘Ordinary Man’. It is his first full-length album since 2010’s ‘Scream’. I have to admit that I had a little bit of catching up to do prior to listening to this. I’m a big fan of the old Ozzy albums, especially ‘No More Tears’, but the last album of his that I remember was ‘Down To Earth’. Luckily I managed to get hold of the ‘Memoirs of A Madman’ compilation to check out the stuff I missed.

So now that I’ve caught up on the past releases, it’s time to tune in to his latest opus… Straight to Hell marks a good start to the album, treating the listeners to an energetic and catchy heavy metal song. The guitars have playful, rocking feel to them, and Ozzy’s vocals work well with the music. So far so good. Then we get to the title track, which even after several listens, I still have mixed feelings about. It’s not so much that it’s a ballad. I have no issue with ballads. Ozzy has done a few good ones in the past including ‘Mama, I’m Coming Home’ and ‘Dreamer’. But this? I mean, the song itself is decent. I like the Beatles-style melody and Ozzy’s emotional vocals. But what the hell possessed him to to sink as low as to do a duet with Elton John? Seriously this is almost as bad as when Metallica decided to collaborate with Lou Reed. No! Just no.

Luckily the next track Under The Graveyard works much better. Now that’s the type of Ozzy song that I was hoping to hear. It reminds me of his earlier works and it is easily my favorite track on here. I also enjoyed It’s A Raid featuring Post Malone – another energetic and uplifting heavy metal song. Then the high descends into the low with the album drawing to a close with Take What I Want (feat. Post Malone & Travi$ Scott). Did I ever mention how much I hate rap and hip-hop? There is not a single good thing I can say about that song and vocals sound atrocious. Must skip. Oh wait! That was the final track!!

In summary I am a little disappointed with how this album turned out. There are a handful good tracks on here, about three of which I would happily play again. The rest range from the mediocre to the downright awful. I think that it would have been better without some of the collaborations. I really hope that this will not be his last album because Ozzy can do better.

5/10

Iza Raittila

3Teeth live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 16th February 2020 by izaforestspirit

Khroma, 3Teeth
Olympia, Tampere, Finland
15th February 2020

My first gig of 2020! The American industrial metal group is a recent discovery of mine. I only got into their music at the end of last year after a few of my friends recommended it to me. They have been around since since 2013 and their music has been compared to the likes of Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and Nine Inch Nails. I found out that they were playing in Tampere so naturally I decided to go and see them.

The show took place at Olympia, a.k.a. Olympia-kortteli, a restaurant and gig venue in Tampere city centre. It was not super busy when I arrived but the main act drew in a sizable crowd.

First up was a Finnish alternative/electro metal band called Khroma. I normally like various forms of electronica and electro metal, but something about this band just did not work for me. The keyboards sounded decent and some of the guitar work was ok at times. Sadly the vocal style and the weird mish-mash of trip-hop and metal-core got on my nerves. The parts I liked were the instrumentals.

Then it was time for the headliners 3Teeth. They started a little later than scheduled and they encountered some technical issues during the performance. Luckily that did not stop them from putting on a good show. The singer Alexis admitted that he has never heard of Tampere before but he was glad to see a large crowd gathered to watch his band. They put on a good show. My kind of industrial metal. I particularly enjoyed hearing the older tracks such as ‘Master of Decay’ and ‘Atrophy’.

In summary, I am glad that I got to see 3Teeth live. It’s rare for new, up-and-coming bands from foreign countries to come to Finland, especially those from as far away as the USA. I hope that there will be more bands like this in the future.

Iza Raittila

Game Zero – WAR – We Are Right

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 4th February 2020 by izaforestspirit

Game Zero
W.A.R. – We Are Right
Released 28th February 2020
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Released via Art Gates Records
GAME ZERO - W.A.R. - We Are Right

’W.A.R. – We Are Right’ is the second album from the Italian hard rock band Game Zero. The group was founded in 2013 by vocalist Mark Right and guitarist Alexincubus (ex- Theatres des Vampires). Their debut album ‘Rise’ came out in 2015. Since then they have had some successful tours, supporting bands such as Sabaton, Amorphis and Equilibrium.

First up is the title track, an energetic rock anthem packed with powerful vocals and lively-sounding, uplifting guitar riffs. So far so good… One thing that I’m not so keen on here are the stop-start, nu-metal-styled guitar parts. In certain songs such as Goodbye they seem to disrupt the flow of the music. The same track also features an acoustic guitar part towards the end, which also seems a little out of place. Luckily the chorus is good enough for the listener to forget about the chaotic structure. Is it just me or does anyone else think that Mark Right sounds a bit like Dave Mustaine from Megadeth on here? I mean that as a compliment.

I wasn’t expecting a Simple Minds cover but I have to admit that Game Zero’s take on Don’t You Forget About Me works pretty well. I also liked the groove guitar style guitar work on You Choke Me, one of the heavier, more metal-sounding tracks on here. I was quite surprised by the changes in pace on the closing song Full of Nothing. After an aggressive start, they really mellow things down midway through the track, only to pick up the pace later on.

Overall, ‘W.A.R. -We Are Right’ takes a few listens to get into. Even after a few listens, I have mixed feelings about it. There are a few catchy hard rock songs on here but the overall structure seems a little disjointed at times. It’s almost like they had a bit too many ideas and tried to squeeze them all into one album.

6/10

Iza Raittila

Apocalyptica – Cell-0

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

Apocalytica
Cell-0
Released 10th January 2020
Neoclassical Metal/Symphonic Heavy Metal/Instrumental
Released via Silver Lining Music
Apocalyptica - Cell-0

Apocalyptica don’t need much of an introduction. There are very few bands who have achieved what these guys have – bridging the gap between classical music and heavy metal with their unique mixture of the two styles. I’ve been following their career from the very start, the humble beginnings when the quartet played cello covers of Metallica classics. There has been some line-up changes, a few collaborations with guest rock and metal vocalists… But the real surprise came in 2015 when an American singer called Franky Perez joined the ranks for the album ‘Shadowmaker’. In many ways the ‘Shadowmaker’, however good it might be, seems like the odd one out in Apocalyptica’s discography – like an experiment that worked though it may never be repeated. With the exception of a handful of successful collaborations with guest singers, the band’s best work is predominantly instrumental. This brings me to their latest effort- ‘Cell-0’, an instrumental album with the old line-up sans Franky Perez.

And we’re off to a good start with Ashes of The Modern World, delivering everything that I was hoping hear from the Finnish quartet. It’s a beautiful song with lots of variety in terms of style and pace. It starts off slow with a sombre sounding melody, then picks up the pace half way through the track. As soon as the drums kick in the music takes on a more aggressive, “heavy metal” sound, with the cellos crushing through at full speed. Then they mellow things down again towards the end. I also really liked Fire & Ice. True to its title, it comprises two contrasting styles: the melodic part with mostly cellos and a keyboard at the forefront and the more aggressive part with faster paced cello and drums. So the latter was the fire I guess… Then it’s back to the “icy” sombre cello work at the end. The title track also deserves a mention being the longest and the most complex song on the album. Again, there are lots of changes in pace, mixing the melodic classical cello sounds with a touch of metal. The chorus is easily one of my favorite parts of the whole album.

I’m not going to discuss all the songs in detail but generally speaking I am pleased that Apocalyptica chose to go back to basics with this album. They are sticking to what they do best. No need for singers or guest appearances. It encompasses all the aspects that make this band special. There is not a single track on here that I do not like. Some, such as the title track require a bit of patience to fully appreciate.

Overall, I really like this album. Unlike ‘Shadowmaker’, which took me a few listens to get into, ‘Cell-0’ immediately drew me in and kept me interested throughout. It’s the best album Apocalyptica has made in years.

9/10

Iza Raittila

 

New Nightwish album coming this spring

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 17th January 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been five years since their last studio album ‘ Endless Forms Most Beautiful’. Now the the world renowned Finnish symphonic power metal band Nightwish have announced that their new opus will be called ‘Hvman. :II: Natvre.’

Here’s the cover art and track-listing:

Nightwish - Hvman. :II: Natvre.

Disc 1
1. Music
2. Noise
3. Shoemaker
4. Harvest
5. Pan
6. How’s the Heart?
7. Procession
8. Tribal
9. Endlessness

Disc 2
1. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Vista
2. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – The Blue
3. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – The Green
4. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Moors
5. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Aurorae
6. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Quiet as the Snow
7. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Anthropocene (incl. “Hurrian Hymn to Nikkal”)
8. All the Works of Nature Which Adorn the World – Ad Astra

‘Hvman. :II: Natvre.’  will be out worldwide on 10th April 2020 via Nuclear Blast Records.

For more information go to:
http://nightwish.com/en
https://www.facebook.com/nightwish

My Dying Bride return with ‘The Ghost of Orion’

Posted in Misc., Studio Report with tags , , on 7th January 2020 by izaforestspirit

Good news for My Dying Bride fans. It’s been five years since the British doom metal group’s last studio effort ‘Feel The Misery’. Now the wait will finally be over soon. The band have recently announced that their long-awaited new album will be called ‘The Ghost of Orion’. This is will be My Dying Bride’s first studio release with Nuclear Blast Records.

Here is an official statement from the band:

A new album for a new era of MY DYING BRIDE with fresh faces and a more accessible style compared to some of their past, highly technical releases. ‘The Ghost of Orion’ features compositions not only of epic proportions but of intimate quality too, from death metal vocals to the pained cries of a vocalist in longing, the L.P. will raise and fall like the beautiful landscape of Yorkshire in which it was recorded. With layer upon layer of guitars both heavy and harmonic, Andrew Craighan has created a rich soundscape that is beautifully epic, enhanced with violins and keys from Shaun MacGowan along with the ominous murmur of cello from acclaimed cellist Jo Quail. And speaking of guest artists, the wondrous voice of Lindy-Fay Hella (WARDRUNA) adds an ethereal beauty to the album. Adding his particular style of drumming this time round is Jeff Singer whose percussion exploits have elevated the bands’ rhythm section to another level aided by the effortlessly stylish Lena Abe on bass guitar. Aaron Stainthorpe delivers a compelling and often disturbing performance with his own particular style of vocals offering sincere eulogies along with the visceral carnage of a soul in pain, with poetic lyrics of a quality not often seen in this genre. This collection of songs is the bands most brilliant yet, honing 30 years of experience into the well crafted offering that is ‘The Ghost of Orion’.”

You can check out the cover art below:

My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion

‘The Ghost of Orion’ will be out worldwide on 6th March 2020. There will also be a music video for the first single ‘Our Broken Shore’ coming later this week.

For more details visit:
http://www.mydyingbride.net/
https://www.facebook.com/MyDyingBrideOfficial/

 

 

Iza’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again. Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. 2019 was a eventful year for alternative music. There was a lot of new material that caught my attention which made selecting a top 10 much more difficult than last year. After much deliberation I have narrowed it down to the following albums:

1. Eluveitie – Antegnatos
Genre: Folk Metal
Eluveitie - Ategnatos
2. Children of Bodom – Hexed
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/ Power Metal
Children of Bodom - Hexed

3. The 69 Eyes – West End
Genre: Goth n’Roll/ Gothic Rock
The 69 Eyes - West End

4. Mgła – Age of Excuse
Genre: Black Metal
Mgła - Age of Excuse
5. Combichrist – One Fire
Genre: Industrial Metal/Electro-Industrial
Combichrist - One Fire - CD

6. Hocico – Artificial Extiction
Genre: Electro- Industrial/ Aggrotech
Hocico - Artificial Extinction - CD

7. Blutengel – Un:Gott
Genre: Synth-pop/Darkwave

8. Darkthrone – Old Star
Genre: Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Darkthrone - Old Star

9. Sabaton – The Great War
Genre: Power Metal
Sabaton - The Great War
10. Ad Inferna – Des Diables et Des Dieux
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Honorable mentions:
Aurelio Voltaire – She’s Glowing
Taken from the album What Are The Oddz?

God Module – Cross My Heart
Taken from the album The Unsound

Scandroid – The Writing’s On The Wall
Taken from the album The Light

The long-awaited new Rammstein album also came out this year. Sadly, despite a having handful of great songs including ‘Deutschland’, it was a little disappointing. I expected more from them after a decade of waiting.

Best live show of 2019
Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Runners up, honorable mentions go to: Behemoth live in Tampere and Blutengel live at Hellsinki Industrial.

New discoveries for 2019
Raven Said, Priest and Cygnosic

Most anticipated releases for 2020
a new albums from Helloween and Vader
Mono Inc- The Book of Fire
Celldweller – Satellites

That’s all from me. Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Hanzel Und Gretyl – Hexennacht

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 29th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Hanzel Und Gretyl
Hexennacht
Released 13th December 2019
Industrial Metal/Blackened Death Metal/Extreme Metal
Released via Metropolis Records

Hanzel und Gretyl - Hexennacht

The American industrial metal duo Hanzel Und Gretyl are back with a new album. It’s only been a year since their previous effort ‘Satanik Germanik’ came out and now ‘Hexennacht’ is here. Now perhaps it’s just me, but for a band to release an album this soon after the previous one seems a little bit rushed. I have had some bad experiences with bands that have done this in the past and not too many good ones. What often happens is that the new album is weaker than the previous one, resembling a collection of ideas, unfinished and unused from the recording sessions. Nonetheless I tried best to stay objective and to give ‘Hexennacht’ a go.

The good and (for fans of the older material) the bad news is that Hanzel Und Gretyl’s music is only getting heavier and metal-sounding. For better or worse, it is clear that with ‘Hexennacht’ they have essentially ditched most of the industrial / wacky space metal sound in favour of a more extreme, blackened death metal sound. The themes have not changed. The album is full of references to witches, monsters and all manner of things grim. Triple Hexx deserves a mention due to the additional chanting, the choir and the tribal style drum noises. Most of the other songs sound similar to each other. They have the same creepy tone as the ones on both the previous albums of the Grimm Shiza era – ‘Black Forest Metal’ and ‘Satanik Germanik’. Vas Kallas sounds as angry as ever and there is no shortage of angry blast beats. So why is it that even after several listens I still feel like I’m missing something…?

Well, the thing is that this is all getting a little too grim and serious for my liking. I got into Hanzel Und Gretyl via their ‘Über Alles’ album and that is still the one that I enjoy the most. The only song that has that kind of fun-sounding, wacky industrial feel to it is Der Kaiz3ern8tor. On here it is definitely an odd one out, a dancey, synth-infused industrial track among eleven songs of doom and gloom. It’s not exactly happy-sounding but it is strangely uplifting and easily one of the more memorable tracks on here.

Overall, ‘Hexennacht’ does not really offer anything dramatically new for Hanzel Und Gretyl. They are still continuing with same style that they began with ‘Black Forest Metal’. As far as the music goes, there is nothing really wrong with it. I just miss their wacky “German” space metal days. This grim stuff is nowhere near as much fun.

5/10
Iza Raittila

Helloween announce new tour dates for 2020

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 18th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Good news for Helloween fans… The well renowned German power metal band have recently announced that there will  be a new tour next year featuring all three Helloween vocalists performing live on stage once again. The ‘United Alive World Tour Part II’ will start in September 2020.

Here are the dates:

26.09.2020 SK 🇸🇰 Zvolen, Ice Stadium
27.09.2020 AT 🇦🇹 Vienna, Gasometer
29.09.2020 CH 🇨🇭 Zurich, Samsung Hall
30.09.2020 IT 🇮🇹 Milano, Lorenzini District
02.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Stuttgart, Schleyer-Halle
04.10.2020 UK 🇬🇧 Manchester, Manchester Academy
05.10.2020 UK 🇬🇧 London, Brixton Academy
07.10.2020 FR 🇫🇷 Paris, Olympia
08.10.2020 LU 🇱🇺 Luxemburg, Rockhal
09.10.2020 FR 🇫🇷 Lyon, Le Transbordeur
11.10.2020 ES 🇪🇸 Barcelona, St. Jordi Club
12.10.2020 ES 🇪🇸 Madrid, WiZink Center
15.10.2020 CZ 🇨🇿 Prague, 02 Arena
16.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Bochum, Ruhrcongress
17.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Hamburg, Sporthalle
19.10.2020 HU 🇭🇺 Budapest, Papp Laszlo Sportarena
20.10.2020 PL 🇵🇱 Katowice, MCK
23.10.2020 RU 🇷🇺 Moskau, Adrenaline – Stadium
25.10.2020 RU 🇷🇺 St. Petersburg, A2
27.10.2020 EE 🇪🇪 Tallin, Noblessneri Valukoda
29.10.2020 FI 🇫🇮 Helsinki, Black Box
31.10.2020 SE 🇸🇪 Gothenburg, Partille Arena

Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, Andi Debris and the rest of band are currently busy working on a new album, which is expected to see the light of day in late August/early September 2020.

For more details visit:

https://www.helloween.org/

www.facebook.com/helloweenofficial/

Lacuna Coil and Eluveitie live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 15th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Infected Rain, Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
14th December 2019

My last gig of 2019! Mid December; still over a week until the holidays start. This is the time of the year when most people are getting ready for the festive season. It is rare to find any decent gigs on at this point in the year. Sometimes you might get lucky though…As soon as I found out that Eluveitie were in town I decided to go. I’ve seen Eluveitie once before, oddly enough at the same venue four years ago. They have had some line-up changes since then and they released one of the best albums I have heard this year.

The show was sold out and the venue was so packed that they had opened up the next door venue, Klubi to create extra space.

First up was a Moldavian metalcore band called Infected Rain. I’m not the biggest fan of metalcore, but I have to admit that vocalist Elena Kataraga aka Lena Scissorhands did a good job of agitating the crowd. They even succeeded in getting a mosh-pit going towards the end of their show.

Then it was Lacuna Coil’s turn. I have never seen them live before. I used to listen to some Lacuna Coil when I was younger but I lost track of them over the years. I couldn’t really get into the newer material but I was happy to hear some of the older songs such as ‘Swamped’, ‘Heaven’s A Lie and their cover of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ live.

Then it was time for the headliners, Eluveitie. Once again they did not disappoint. There are not many folk metal bands out there who are capable of delivering a show this good. A flawless blend of celtic folk instruments, two very different singers with melodic death metal. They played lots of songs from their latest opus ‘Ategnatos’ including ‘Rebirth’ and one of my new favourites ‘The Slumber’ along with a Swiss language version of ‘Call of The Mountains’ and ‘Inis Mona’.

In summary I am glad that I decided to attend the show. I had a great time. I got to see Lacuna Coil live for the first time. Luckily the set included a few tracks which I recognized. Eluveitie were as good as they were the first time that I saw them live. It’s good to see that the line-up change has had a positive effect on the band and I hope that they will return to Finland soon.

Iza Raittila

Vandallus – Outbreak

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 8th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Vandallus
Outbreak
Released 12 December 2019
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Released via Mercinary Records


’Outbreak’ is the latest album from the American hard rock band Vandallus. The band has been around since 2015 and it features several members from the power metal group Eternal Legacy. This is my first encounter with Vandallus so I had no idea of what to expect. The amusing looking cover art would suggest anything from heavy metal to sleaze rock via classic rock. Well, there is only one way to find out…

If hard rock is your thing, you are in for a treat. There is a lot to like on here; from the catchy vocals, memorable choruses to the well timed and skillfully executed guitar harmonies. I particularly enjoyed the playful guitar tunes on Not Alone. It sounds very uplifting and puts the listener in a good mood. Then there is the slightly slower, melodic Bang The City Down– another enjoyable hard rock tune and Shotgun Lady with a catchy chorus and good, bluesy guitar work. Once again the guys sound like that they are having a good time in the studio.

Many of the songs sound like they been inspired by old school hard rock from the 80s. As far as the structure goes, this album is pretty straightforward and it is fairly easy to get into. Like the guy on the front cover, sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy the ride. Motorbikes are not really my thing but I do like hard rock and heavy metal.

Overall, I quite enjoyed listening to ‘Outbreak’. It is definitely one of the more memorable hard rock albums I have heard this year.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Hellsinki Industrial Festival 2019

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 24th November 2019 by izaforestspirit

Cygnosic, Priest, Blutengel
Nosturi, Helsinki
22-23 November 2019

Helsinki…It’s been a while…The last time I visited the city was for the Memmaker and Zardonic concert back in 2016. Since then I really have not had much time to travel there. I hoped that I would go back someday if there was a reason to go there. Earlier this year the German synth-pop duo Blutengel were announced as the headliner for Hellsinki Industrial Festival. So that was it, my reason to go.

Saturday 23 November 2019

I decided to attend only one day of the festival, Saturday. The venue was Nosturi, which is located by the seaside in the Hietalahti district of Helsinki. I have been there many times before but sadly this festival will be my last time at Nosturi. The venue is due to close by the end of the year and the building will be knocked down to make way for residential premises in 2020.

First up was the Greek dark electro artist Cygnosic. This was one of those cases when it took a live performance for me to notice and really get into a band. I have heard the name Cygnosic before but I never really got round to checking out his music until now. Great show! The music was creepy, atmospheric and very danceable. Just how I like my dark electro. I will definitely check out more of his music.

Next was a Finnish industrial metal band called Fear of Domination – the only metal band in the whole festival line-up. Whilst their show was entertaining to watch, I struggled to get into the music. It sounded like a mish-mash of industrial metal and melodic death metal. They have two vocalists, a man doing the death metal growling and a female singer doing the clean vocals. That worked well enough for most of time but the cacophony of melodeath guitar riffs and the overuse of Pain-esque “disco” synth was a little too much for my liking.

I did like the Swedish synth-pop trio Priest though. The band was formed back in 2017 and the original line-up featured former members of Ghost. There has been some line-up changes since then but the concept remains the same. Three guys known as Sulphur, Salt and the vocalist Mercury came to the stage draped in elaborate gimp-like outfits and masks. Mercury has a multi-faceted and very unique voice. The music was entertaining and fun to dance to. They did a good cover of Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out) at the end.

Then it was time for the headliners Blutengel. This was their first time in Finland. Great show. The front-man Chris may not be that used to speaking to a non-German speaking audience. Sadly the Finnish crowd were not that well versed when it came to singing along to the lyrics of ‘Engelsblut’ but that did not stop them from enjoying the show. I certainly did. It was great to hear some of the Blutengel classics such as ‘Children of The Night’ and ‘Bloody Pleasures’ along with the new hits such as ‘Black’ and ‘Morningstar’.

Overall, I am glad that I decided to travel to Helsinki for Hellsinki Industrial Festival. I finally got to see Blutengel live and I discovered Cygnosic. Priest were pretty good too. It’s a shame that Nosturi will be closing this year. Hopefully they will open a new music venue in Helsinki in the future.

Iza Raittila

Hanzel und Gretyl reveal new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 16th November 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s only been a year since their last effort ‘Satanik Germanik’… Now the American industrial metal duo Hanzel und Gretyl are ready to unleash their latest creation onto the world next month. The new opus will be entitled ‘Hexennacht’ and it is expected to hit the shops on 13th December 2019 via Metropolis Records.

Here is the cover and the track-listing:

Hanzel und Gretyl - Hexennacht

1. Hexennacht
2. Draconia Teutonik
3. Nüll
4. Vultures ov Death
5.Wolves + Witches
6. Jägermond
7.Der kaiz3rn8tor
8. Hellmeister
9. Triple Hexxx
10. Cursed Be
11. O Great Hekate
12. Ein kleine Hexennacht Muzik

For more details visit:

https://www.hanzelundgretyl.com/

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

Three founding members leave Children of Bodom

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 3rd November 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s been over twenty years, thousands of live shows, world wide tours and ten albums. Now it looks as though this might be the final chapter for Children of Bodom. A few days ago Henkka, Janne and Jaska (three of the band’s founding members), made a shocking announcement that they will be leaving the band before the end of the year. Here is an extract from the official statement:

”It is with heavy hearts that we announce that 2019 will be the last for Children Of Bodom with this line-up.

After almost 25 years with Bodom, thousands of shows & 10 albums it is time for Henkka, Janne and Jaska to step back and change direction within their lives. All three will miss the fans and supporters in every city in every country the band ever played.

The last show of this line-up will be on the 15th of December at Helsinki Ice Hall. Tickets still remain for some of the Finnish shows in December.

Alexi and Daniel will have further announcements about their plans to keep creating new music in the future.

Thanks again for everything – Children Of Bodom”

The band’s front-man, Alexi Laiho has yet to comment on what will happen next. The band’s latest album ‘Hexed’ was released earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Records.

Finnish fans can still catch the band live with the current line-up on the following dates:

5.12.2019 Seinäjoki, Rytmikorjaamo
6.12.2019 Oulu, Teatria
7.12.2019 Tornio, Teatria
10.12.2019 Helsinki, Tavastia (Sold Out)
11.12.2019 Tampere, Pakkahuone
12.12.2019 Turku, Logomo
13.12.2019 Jyväskylä, Lutakko (Sold Out)
14.12.2019 Jyväskylä, Lutakko (Sold Out)
15.12.2019 Helsinki, Black Box

Children of Bodom - Photo

For more information visit:

https://www.cobhc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom/

Nile – Vile Nilotic Rites

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 29th October 2019 by izaforestspirit

Nile
Vile Nilotic Rites
Released 1st November 2019
Technical Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Nile - Vile Nilotic Rites

Regardless of whether you love or hate them, there is no denying that Nile have left their mark on death metal music. For over two decades now, Karl Sanders and the gang have treated the metal community to their signature sound – their own unique blend of technical death metal and ancient Egyptian themes or “Ithyphallic metal” as they call it. Personally I have a somewhat complicated relationship with their music. As far as death metal goes, I like them but they have never been a favorite of mine and I like some of their albums more than others. My favorite album by them is ‘In Their Darkened Shrines’ and ‘Ithyphallic’ is the one that I like least. I quite liked their previous effort though, so I decided to give this new album ago.

Well, the good news is that Nile have managed to successfully replicate the same level of brutality and technical guitar work as they have done in the past. Sanders’s growling sounds just as vicious as ever and shredding guitars are just as savage. Yet that is not what makes Nile stand out. If all I wanted was to hear some growling and shredding guitars, there is no shortage of brutal death metal bands that do the same thing. What makes Nile so memorable is the atmospheric instrumentals and the prominent Egyptian themes. For that you have to skip to the fourth track Seven Horns of War. The intro really sounds like an ancient army on the march, complete with war horns and battle drums . Then mid-way through, they slow the pace down and the song adapts to an atmospheric tone with keyboards, eerie whispers, choirs and chanting audible in the background. For a brief period you can still hear the battle horns just as the death metal guitars and growling re-emerge.

Seven Horns of War isn’t the only track to feature atmospheric instrumental parts. There are many others on here. For example, the short ambient instrumental Thus Sayeth the Parasites of the Mind deserves a mention. Nice work Mr. Sanders! The melodic sounds of the bağlama and ethereal voices almost made me forget that I’m listening to a death metal album. On the opposite end of the spectrum there are tracks such as Snake Pit Mating Frenzy which is just pure, brutal death metal.

In summary, ‘Vile Nilotic Rites’ is a multi-faceted and complex technical death metal album that might take a few listens to get into. I cannot say that I enjoyed all the songs but I would be happy to play most of them again. As far as Nile albums go, this is one of their better releases.

7/10
Iza Raittila

Rytmihäiriö live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 19th October 2019 by izaforestspirit

I Revolt, Rytmihäiriö
Jack The Rooster, Tampere, Finland
18th October 2019

Autumn is here. The leaves are falling, the nights are getting longer and Halloween is only weeks away… I haven’t been to a live show since the Rammstein performance back in the summer. There have been a few gigs that caught my attention but I simply did not have the time. Last night I decided to take a gamble and try something new. This was one of those occasions when I knew very little about either of the bands. Rytmihäiriö is a band that I have heard of but I am not too familiar with their music. Someone claimed that they are similar to Turmion Kätilöt, whom I like, so I decided to check them out.

The event took place at rock pub called Jack The Rooster. The pub serves food in the day time then it is transformed into a small live show venue at night.

First up was I Revolt. This is an up and coming Finnish band which was established two years ago. Their style is pretty difficult to classify. It sounded like an amalgamation of thrash metal, metalcore and Entombed-esque melodic death metal. I wasn’t super keen on their cover of a Slipknot song but the show had its good moments.

Someone told me once that there is a thin line between what is hardcore punk and what is thrash metal. Well, Rytmihäiriö is somewhere around the boundary zone. The guitar riff patterns bear some resemblance to thrash metal but the vocals and the overall attitude is decisively more hardcore punk. Perhaps a little too punk for my liking. They have their fans and they drew in a sizable crowd. Sadly the music was not something that I enjoy.

Overall, it was a decent night out. Now I know what Rytmihäiriö are all about. I like thrash metal but hardcore punk has never really been my thing. I Revolt put on a good show and it would be interesting to see how their sound develops.

Iza Raittila

Mgła – Age of Excuse

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 18th October 2019 by izaforestspirit

Mgła
Age of Excuse
Released 2nd September 2019
Black Metal
Released via Northern Heritage Records

Mgła - Age of Excuse

The Polish black metal outfit, Mgła have come a long way since I first discovered them back in 2006 when the two Eps ‘Presence’ and ‘Mdłości’ were released. The line-up has not changed, Mgła is still a two-man team comprising multi-instrumentalist singer M. and drummer Darkside. They have additional live musicians for the live performances.

So this brings me to the duo’s latest work – ‘Age of Excuse’. There are six tracks, all labelled as Age of Excuse I – VI. A key part of what makes a good black metal song is the atmosphere, the creepier and the more bleak it sounds the better it gets usually. Everything about this album conveys eerie and nihilistic vibes. First there is the ultra-grim looking front cover. Then the first things you hear as soon as you press the play button, are the disturbing sounds of vocalist M. gnashing his teeth just before the guitars kick in. When the guitars enter the frame, they only add to the overall bleak atmosphere as do the vocals. It must be pointed out that this sounds a lot like their other project Kriegsmaschine.

It’s pretty pointless to discuss the tracks individually as the are essentially just six parts of the same concept. These guys have managed to maintain a good balance between the coarse guitar riffs, the drum work and the melodic tones without compromising the overall atmosphere. Even with the odd melodic guitar part, the music still sounds very bleak. It’s like walking through a forest at night, in deep fog. You can get accustomed to it but definitely is not pleasant.

In summary, ‘Age of Excuse’ is easily one of the best black metal albums that I have heard this year. It is great to see just how far Mgła have come and how much their sound has developed over the years. I would happily recommend this to any black metal fan.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Ozzy Osbourne postpones European Tour again

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 10th October 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bad news for Ozzy Osbourne fans… If you were planning to catch him live in Europe next year, sadly you will now have to wait even longer. The legendary heavy metal frontman recently announced that he has been forced to postpone the European part of the ‘No More Tours’ tour until 2021 due to a neck injury.

Here is an official statement from Ozzy:

The new dates have yet to be announced. Ticket holders have been advised to wait for further information.

We wish Ozzy a speedy recovery! For more details go to:

https://www.facebook.com/ozzyosbourne/

Ozzy Osbourne official