Archive for the Metal Category

Immolation – Atonement

Posted in CD, Metal with tags on 20th February 2017 by izaforestspirit

Immolation
Atonement
Released 24th February 2017
Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records


My first death metal review of 2017! The last death metal release that caught my attention was the latest Vader album, which was mentioned in my top ten metal releases of 2016. I have to admit that when it comes to death metal I’m more familiar with the European death metal than the North American variety. My knowledge of the American death metal scene is mostly based on my experience of a handful of bands, primarily old Morbid Angel and Cannibal Corpse. Immolation started out around the same time as Morbid Angel and that’s why they caught my attention. So I decided to check out their latest album.

The pace is fairly varied, ranging from mid-paced to slow depending on the track. It’s clearly not meant to be all about the blast beats or the ultra fast shredding of guitar riffs. That’s not to say that all the tracks are slower and ponderous but rather that the overall style, particularly the guitar and drum patterns have a more complex and ‘layered’ approach. For example there is the groove-laden Throw into the Fire, which comprises a mixture of low-tempo, sludgy death metal at the start leading towards some faster, more death-thrash style midway through before slowing down again at end.

For those who want something more aggressive and brutal, then Lower and the title track will not disappoint. These two are structurally simpler and less technical than some of the other songs on here, with the emphasis being on the thrashing guitar riffs and pummeling drums. ‘Lower’ caught my attention due to the thrash metal tinges in guitar riffs half way through the song.

In summary, what we have here is a very consistent, old-school death metal album. For those who are familiar with Immolation’s earlier work, ‘Atonement’ doesn’t offer anything dramatically new. There’s a good balance of aggression and brutality with melody and precision. It might take a few listens to get into, but once you do you will be rewarded for your patience.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 7th February 2017 by Pieni

Overkill
“The Grinding Wheel”
Thrash metal
Release: 10th February 2017
Via Nuclear Blast

overkill-the-grinding-wheel

I’m having mixed feelings about Overkill’s new album. Maybe my expectations were too high after Testament’s “Brotherhood Of The Snake” and Kreator’s “Gods Of Violence”, and also an underground project called Infraktor that I’ve been keeping close tabs on; my thrash metal flame’s been rekindled and was eager for “The Grinding Wheel” to keep fueling it. But…

The length of the songs is an automatic downer for me. Yes, it’s not exactly new that Overkill like to shred away longer than the rest of their fellow thrash bands, but I believe it’s the first time they’re pulling an average of six minutes per song (literally, kids – it’s ten songs in one hour; do the math). That’s just too much.

At least they diversify the structure and it’s not the same riff over and over plus a 3-minute solo; it doesn’t get boring out of repetition and here lie my mixed feelings. Crafted compositions are clear, rich with groovy patterns, but some kind of binding agent is amiss. The opening track, “Mean Green Killing Machine”, for instance. The introductory drum beats are promising but soon reveal they’re not getting anywhere; a Judas-Priest-like melody and the rock’n’roll piece that it leads to are both pretty catchy, but fall somewhat adrift among the main riffing.

One of the features I’ve always loved the most in Overkill was their bass line, but D.D. Verni’s presence here is shallower than usual – needless to say, another downer. And as if that wasn’t enough, in “Shine On”, one of the songs where the bass stands out a little, Bobby Blitz sounds like a chicken when singing “come on” in the chorus, ruining the moment.

Curiously enough, one of my favorite tracks is less thrash, as the aforementioned rock’n’roll comes at full force in “Come Heavy”. But the rebellious “Red White And Blue” follows suit in terms of preferences and that one is as thrashy as it goes. The rest of the album… well, let’s just say that it lives up to its title: it… grinds.

3,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Need – Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 5th February 2017 by mickbirchy

Need

Hegaiamas: A Song for Freedom

Progressive Metal, Hard Rock

Released 17th January 2017

 Self-Released

What is it with Greek metal music and me.  Every single band/artist I lock my ears on to from Greece, I absolutely love them. I must make an effort to get to Greece one day for a gig or a festival. Need, are a progressive metal band from Athens, they’ve been around since 2004. Hegaiamas: A Song for Freedom is the fourth album from them and it’s good. Like, really good!

I have to say I’m really impressed with this album. There are some absolute powerhouse tunes with solid production. Everything is clear and balanced, with right amount of emotion drawn out of every song. The musicianship on display is pretty damn superb. The band gel together so well and deliver and amazing performance here. They manage to produce a decent amount of atmosphere that lingers across the record. It sounds simply wonderful. The spoken word parts also add to this, in fact the track ‘Iota’ really does make the album feel more of an experience than just a record. They way the performance and production move me on this album is staggering. The vocal performance is excellent had it really draws you in.

Seriously not a bad thing to say about this one other that it’s a damn great record with and amazing atmosphere.  The band have clearly grown to a point where they can make great tunes consistently and they really sound great. The melodies are enchanting and the lyrics, captivating.  This is really a record you need in your life. I’ve already gone back through their discography and picked up their previous albums. They have a maturity not found in other bands of their ilk.  The smooth musicianship coupled with amazing writing makes this record an experience you have to immerse yourself in.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Evil Scarecrow w/ Supports – Manchester, UK

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal, Rock on 31st January 2017 by mickbirchy

Evil Scarecrow, Dog Tired, The Empty Page
The Ruby Lounge, Manchester (UK)
27th January 2017

img_1009

God, it’s been awhile since I’ve had this much fun.  I’ve woken up with a sore neck and a ringing in my ear.  Yup, it must have been a good one! Evil Scarecrow are one of those bands that just pull in great crowds, regardless of where they are. However, the Manchester audience were on fire.  The Ruby Lounge was packed to the brim with mad hatter metal heads ready for a great show.  

img_0796The Empty Page

img_0808The rock n roll trio hit the stage with booming bass and a grungy, garage band style sound.  For the most part they were really enjoyable with an “all guns blazing” attitude they certainly caught my attention. The guitar roared into life as the drum work framed everything out really nicely. The band were really at their best when they were unruly and wild. They had this old style college rock sound that suited me very well and I really enjoyed.  Although the singer did hit some bum notes here and there.  Not enough to make the set weak or anything, but very noticeable with the quieter moments of the set. The simplicity of their songs was their biggest strength.  Nothing overly complicated just all-out rock and roll. I really liked it, Definitely worth checking out.

img_0890Dog Tired

The Scottish metallers were up next and boy did I enjoy them.  There’s something to be said for a band that near-deafens you, yet the first thing you do after the set is over is head to the merchandise stand and buy their music. Right from the start the energy and intensity emanating from them was so infectious you couldn’t help but love them. The riffs were consistent, the bass filled out the sound wonderfully, the drums were like gunshots. Just leave it to front-man, Chris Thomson to completely sell the performance, he was immediately captivating and interesting to watch. The band came across as so humble to the Manchester crowd, the glee in their faces when the crowd was screaming on through the performance and asking for more. Dog Tired, looked like they were having a blast which just made the performance so much more enjoyable. I was completely blown away and as I sit here writing this review, their album “It Came From The Sea” is on full blast. Genuinely, one to check out.img_0902

img_0975Evil Scarecrow

img_0971Now, one to the reason everyone came out on a dismal Manchester Friday night. The modern masters of performance metal. In support of the new single “Hurricanado”, the band comes on to The Scorpions classic “Rock You Like A Hurricane (nado)”, pretty sure that’s how it goes…  The Nottingham five piece launch into a mind-meltingly good set with their theatrics integrated to make for, yet another, great set. I think the blend of heavy metal, sci-fi and horror tropes mix really nicely.  Like any popular act they have the familiar staples to chew threw and they did so with expertise and obviously the crowd went into a frenzy for them.  The sold-out crowd created an amazing atmosphere and the participation was wonderful.  The sound was well balanced with every member sounding brilliant.  Truly, nothing compares to an Evil Scarecrow set. The connection they have with their fans is excellent.  Every time you see them you’re guaranteed a great stage show and a great set full of dancing, laughing and fun. One super fun night.

Text by Mick Birchall
Photos by Laura Piggford

Destruction live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , on 18th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Gonoreas, Nervosa, Destruction
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
17th January 2017

My first gig of 2017! I opted for some thrash metal this time. Old school German thrash metal to be precise…I have technically seen Destruction live before, a long time ago at a festival in a small town in Spain during my year abroad as a student. Now, a decade later I got the opportunity to see them live again this time in Tampere.

First up was a Swiss heavy/power metal band called Gonoreas. The crowd was still gathering when these guys started their set but it didn’t take them long to agitate the audience and even get a small mosh-pit going. At one point their singer came off the stage and he started wreaking all sorts of havoc, encouraging people to move. It was a good way to start the night. 4/5



I had no idea what to expect from the Brazilian thrash metal trio Nervosa. They are an all-girl band and they really know how to rock. Their style is essentially old-school thrash metal, similar to the headlining act. Brutal, fast and highly entertaining. So brutal it actually reminded me of death metal at times. I definitely need to check out some of their music. 5/5

Thrash metal is one of the best metal sub-genres to see live. Destruction are veterans of the thrash metal scene and they sure know how to put on a great show. I’m not too familiar with their latest album ‘Under Attack’ and so I was glad that they also played some of their older material such as ‘The Butcher Strikes Back’, ‘Nailed to the Cross’ along with a few classics from the start of their career. It was a great performance, even better than the first time that I saw them live. 5/5

In summary this was a great way to spend what would have otherwise been an uneventful Tuesday night. I really enjoyed Nervosa and Destruction are always entertaining to watch. What a great start to the year! Iza Raittila

Dio, Lemmy and others to be inducted into the Hall of Heavy Metal History

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , , , , on 16th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

The very first Hall of Heavy Metal History awards gala and induction ceremony will be held at the Anaheim Expo Center in Anaheim, California, USA on this Wednesday (January 18th 2017).

The following artists have been nominated for the induction:

Ronnie James Dio, (Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio)


Lemmy Kilmister, (Motörhead)

Randy Rhoads, (Ozzy Osbourne)

Vinny Appice ( ex-Black Sabbath and Dio)

Ross “The Boss” Friedman, (ex- Manowar)

Scorpions

Don Airey  (Deep Purple)

Metal Blade Records (With Brian Slagel accepting the induction)

Rudy Sarzo (ex-Ozzy Osbourne, Whitesnake)

and others.

There will also be some live music during the ceremony with a variety of bands including Dio Disciples, Ross “The Boss” and Mike LePond.

The money raised by the event will be donated to Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund.

For more details about this event visit:

https://www.thehallofheavymetalhistory.org/

 

 

Ann My Guard – Ourania

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , on 14th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Ann My Guard
Ourania
Released 13th January 2017
Melodic Metal/ Alternative Rock
Released via Rock’N’Growl Records

‘Ourania’ is the second album from the Hungarian metal band Ann My Guard. The band was formed in 2007 by singer-bassist Eszter Anna Baumann-Toth. The singer has described their new album as “mixing the ethereal feminine vocals with heavy guitar riffs and dark melodies”. I am not very fond the term “female-fronted metal” so I’ve decided to classify this as melodic metal for the purpose of this review.

Based on the album titles, there seems to be a fair few references to mythology, most notably Greek in songs such as ‘Callisto’ and ‘Hekate’. Let’s talk about Callisto first, shall we? It’s a very melodic track that really highlights Eszter Anna Baumann’s vocal skills. Now I have a better understanding what she meant by the “ethereal” vocals, for her voice has a certain celestial or dare I say it nymph/siren-like quality to it. I’ll probably just stick with the nymph analogy as references to “heaven” or “angels” do not seem to fit here. The vocals and the playful guitar riffs make this track one of the most catchy on the album. You could definitely picture yourself dancing along to this tune. Obsidian Tears caught my attention as one of the more ‘metal-sounding’, guitar-driven tracks on here. The guitars seem to act as a contrast, representing Ann My Guard’s harsher, heavier side while the vocals symbolize the melodic, more ‘innocent’ side. Then there is Hekate – a really well executed mix of heavy metal guitars, the aforementioned ethereal vocals with the sombre sounds of a string quartet.

Overall, listening to ‘Ourania’ has been a pleasant and somewhat uplifting experience. It’s refreshing to hear a new band with a female singer who isn’t trying to join the already rather full club of Nightwish-wannabes playing the same symphonic/Gothic metal with their best attempt at operatic vocals. Ann My Guard actually reminded me more of the early works of Evanescence and to some extent folk metal bands such as Dalriada.

4/5

Iza Raittila