Archive for the Metal Category

Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

Posted in Metal 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, Industrial, Live, Metal, Rock 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 CD, Metal, Rock 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

Sepultura – Quadra

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 3rd February 2020 by mickbirchy

Sepultura

Quadra

Thrash Metal, Groove Metal

Released: 7th February 2020

via Nuclear Blast Records

The Brazillian purveyors of heavy-ass thrash metal return to the limelight in 2020. I’ve been excited for this album for quite some time now. I have always appreciated Sepultura. They are by far my favourite thrash metal band. Their unique blend of groovy riffs and sharp, hard-hitting rhythms make them a true powerhouse of a band. The way they inject their music with interesting ideas and concepts always makes them an enjoyable act to listen to. They are now back with their fifteenth record, Quadra, their follow up to 2017’s Machine Messiah. I have to say that this album is quite good.

Once again, this album was produced in Sweden with Jens Bogren at the helm. As with the previous record, there’s some really great production here. Especially considering the concept of the album. The album itself is based on numerology, the number four and its significance as depicted on Quadrivium (the four subjects, or arts namely arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy). So, as you could probably tell this is quite a heavy-handed record. The album is broken into different pieces and each part is a representation of the different teachings of Quadrivium. Making this an album that you can listen to one so many different levels. It’s an album that I have been playing all week and I am still hearing it in new ways.

I love the way this album grooves. The bass and rhythm work is outstanding with lots of great moments throughout the album that just caught me and I was engrossed for a while just listening to certain parts of the record. From the clever acoustic moments to the slower ballads type moments and, of course, the all-out brutal heavy moments. Sepultura just knows how to keep a listener’s interest for hours on end.  Also, you have to appreciate the amazing guitar work of Andreas Kisser. He is simply incredible on the album bringing the energy where needed but also giving moments of the atmosphere. All of that is backing the powerful performance of Derrick Green, who really brings it on this record and sounds like he’s having fun with the record.

An absolute powerhouse of an album. A well-thought-out concept, excellent performances and great production… It all adds up to something powerful that can keep hardcore fans and casual listeners interested for a while. I genuinely enjoyed this album and I know it’s early but this is one of the best records of the year so far.

10/10

Mick Birchall

Apocalyptica – Cell-0

Posted in CD, Instrumental, Metal, Rock 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

 

Marko Hietala – Pyre of the Black Heart

Posted in Alternative, CD, Folk, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 19th January 2020 by mickbirchy

Marko Hietala

Pyre of the Black Heart

Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock

Released: 24th January 2020

via Nuclear Blast Records

I have never claimed to be the biggest fan of Nightwish. However, I have always appreciated the vocal talents of Marko Hietala. He’s a spectacular singer and musician. So, imagine my surprise to find out that he’s releasing his debut solo album this year. Pyre of the Black Heart is a pretty mixed bag of material. I guess he wanted to throw a bunch of different styles at the wall to see what stuck. The album is a mix of prog-rock, heavy metal and some clear folk inspiration here and there. It feels quite personal and hits pretty hard.

Right from the opening track “Stones” Marko shows everything that he’s trying to do on the album. You can really feel that forceful presence that has made him such a fantastic performer over the years. The tone of his vocals is damn-near perfect and really hit you in the gut. Songs like “The Voice of My Father” and “I Dream” grab your attention and the emotion just took hold of me when I was listening. The production is simply outstanding with every part of the arrangement shining. The bombastic bass and drums, with the heavy electric guitar, is really gut-busting and coupled with Marko’s pure intense vocal performance really made this a larger than life album. Even the quieter, acoustic sections hit hard due to the purity and richness of the production.

His use of poetic license suits this music well. The weary and emotional language used kept me engaged throughout. It’s almost like dark-twisted lullabies in the quieter sections. The heavier moments it feels like dark prog-rock epics of the past. The passion and conviction that this album presents certainly delivers, with Marko giving his all with his commanding and forceful voice. It gives the words a great sense of urgency and left me speechless at times.

I think if you like rock or metal music of any sort you’ll like something here. It’s progressive rock without the fluff, folk-rock without going overboard, heavy metal with more complexity and almost has a stoner rock vibe to the riff. I think the only thing that most people wouldn’t like about the album is that it moves a little slow. There aren’t many songs with a lot of vibrant energy, the one exception being “Runner of the Railways” which definitely rocks. It’s definitely an album that takes some time to digest. I mean, it’s not a power metal or thrash metal record. So, if you’re looking for something with a lot of fast-paced, in your face metal, then this isn’t for you. However, I think there’s enough energy and heaviness that most rock and metal fans will be impressed.

Overall, a solid album from a man that has earned his place in the annals of heavy metal history. If you’re in the mood for something powerful and captivating, then this might be right up your ally.

8/10

Mick Birchall

New Nightwish album coming this spring

Posted in Metal, 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