Archive for the Metal Category

Rock Goddess – It’s More Than Rock and Roll EP

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 25th April 2017 by izaforestspirit

Rock Goddess
It’s More Than Rock And Roll EP
Released 19th May 2017
Heavy Metal/ Hard Rock
Released via Bite You to Death Records

‘It’s More Than Rock And Roll’ is the new EP from the London-based hard rock trio Rock Goddess. The band originally started out in the 1980s during the NWOBHM movement in The U.K. They were on a long hiatus in the mid-90s before reforming again with the original line-up in 2013.

This is a short EP, just three songs but it is enough to give an idea of what Rock Goddess is all about. The title track is an anthem, or manifesto if you like, stating what these ladies trying to achieve with their music. Their message is simple: they play good, old-school hard rock full of catchy guitar melodies and sing-along choruses. This is what they have always done and what they do best. Back Off is all about the guitar riffs while the closing track We’re All Metal sounds like a homage to the band’s roots with some honorable mentions of the famous bands from within both the hard rock and heavy metal scene.

In summary, ‘It’s More Than Rock And Roll’ serves as an (re-)introduction to Rock Goddess. It’s bound to please their old fans as well attracting some new ones, myself included. I can’t wait to hear more. Rock on, ladies!

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Quinphonic Festival 4 – Birmingham, UK

Posted in Festival, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2017 by mickbirchy

Quinphonic Festival
Bands: Temperance, Serpentyne, Metaprim, Dead of Night, Fourth Circle
Venue: The Roadhouse, Birmingham, UK
Date: 16-APR-2017

 

Another year, another pilgrimage to Birmingham for Quinphonic Festival. I wasn’t able to attend the third edition of the festival in the October of last year. Yet, I was more than ready for the fourth one. This one had a stacked line-up with too. Including Italian hard-hitters, Temperance. The UK debut of, Fourth Circle. Along with three of the best live bands that the UK have to offer in Dead of Night, Serpentyne and Metaprism. A spectacular day of music lay ahead and I was pumped for the day to come. Quinphoinc Festival is all about quality over quantity. Five band all given a headline sets worth of time to show off what they can do. This allows the bands to breathe on stage and the crowd can experience what they’re actually like.

Before I talk about the actual day itself. Let me take you back to the night before, at the Barge and Barrel is Tipton for the Pre-Festival showcase night. A night that I won’t soon be forgetting. It was a great night of music featuring three fantastic UK up-and-comers. Darkest Obsidian, A Clockwork Opera and The Loved and Lost. All three bands were on top form and delivered a great performance. That really showed off their styles well. As a night it really came together with a great crowd. I really enjoyed all three acts, from the pageantry of A Clockwork Opera. To the soaring choruses of Darkest Obsidian with the finesse and energy of The Loved and Lost. It was a great night had by all and I hope to see more from all these bands sooner rather than later.
Now on to the festival itself. I got to the venue early to soak in the atmosphere. It was going to be a great day. All the bands have their own respective niche so there should have been something for every type of fan. As for myself I was looking forward to hearing something new. The only band I was really aware before going to the venue was, Temperance. So no matter the result of the day. I was going to hear something different and new for certain. Now, onto the review!

Fourth Circle

What a firecracker of an opener. This was exactly what was needed to start the day. The French band, Fourth Circle were debuting in the UK and let me say, what a way to make and entrance. The band were energetic and and fun. Their presence was in your face and and bold. Their live production great with every element of the band working outstandingly well. I have to say I was taken completely off guard by their performance. With pomp and pageantry, their music sounded huge with bombast. The music was filled with excellent hooks sinking into your head and this made their songs easy to remember. The band’s on stage chemistry really made these songs larger than life. They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there and this made it easier to enjoy their set. I only had a couple of problems with their set. Firstly, their set felt a little repetitive and it got a little tedious at times. Although those hooks constantly drew me back in. The only other thing that let their set down a bit was that the crowd started to thin out throughout the set, which ruined the atmosphere a little bit. Overall I had a fantastic time watching them. I would say their UK debut was successful and I for would welcome them back anytime!

Dead of Night

Next up was British newcomers Dead of Night. This was a really good set. Even if the songs were a little bland in composition, they more than made up for it in their theatrical stage presentation. Their sound was nice and I enjoyed some of the songs. Their stage presence was exciting and their chemistry was excellent. Really giving a complete package of a show. The vocals were clear and frontwoman, Briony Featon was an exciting presence on the stage. With light up black angel wings she truly gave the band that little bit of an edge. Their music had a decent atmosphere to it and the songs felt well put together. Their music had this really slick vibe to it. More of an old school rock ’n’ roll format to the songs rather than your typical symphonic metal or power metal sound. The centrepiece of the set for me was a gorgeous ballad that invited imagination and let the band really breathe. In all honesty they really won the crowd over. I did feel that their songs were just bland on a compositional level and that let them down a bit for me. However, I will concede that they were incredibly likeable and they presented themselves really well. I thought they were pretty good and I hope they evolve and grow in the future.

Metaprism

Now for the best band of the day and no, I do not make that statement lightly. Metaprism burst on to the stage with life and excitement. They were probably the “heaviest” band of the day and I feel they were the band with the best set. Their songs were high energy and filled with awesome riffs and well executed solos. Their presence had a sense of command to them. When they were performing, the audience were definitely paying attention. Their set was really an intense atmosphere upon the venue and the contrasting duel vocals of the band really gave them that little bit of an edge. It’s like they took the European standards of this style of music and added the British elements to it to make this sound. They came across a really likable people, they were very genuine and humble on the stage as they tried to get the crowd involved more and more into the set. Their set built up and got slowly better and I was completely enthralled with their set and I immediately rushed to the merch table right after their set was over. Which I guess was a good sign. Yes, this was definitely my favourite band of the day. Everything about them was excellent, from their songs to their personalities. They were an exciting and dynamic band, and I can say for certain that I became a fan.

Serpentyne

British folk-rockers Serpentyne took to the stage with finesse and and grace. This had to be one the most interesting sets of the day. On a pure technical level they were incredible but I really couldn’t get into it. Maybe it just wasn’t my sort of music but there was just certain aspects to their performance that turned me off. However, I did like parts and ideas used in the set. The musicianship was excellent and every instrument was played to an expert level. I also really enjoyed the dancer that was in the crowd it added to the enticement of the band. The music had these really good rock n roll elements mixed with the fantastical folk music to make something truly inventive. All of the songs were character piece with stories of vikings, medieval society and fantasy characters which were rich and engrossing. This really peaked my interest. However after the energetic, high pace set from Metaprism, this set felt a little deflating. Also I felt the vocals were a bit overdone. The singing could have been toned down a little. The set ended on a over of the Game of Thrones theme tune which was really well done for what it was. I like this band but I didn’t love it. They are all incredible musicians and the performance was well done, it just may have not been my type of music.

Temperance

Now for the main event of the evening and the only band that I came to this show with any familiarity. Temperance, are one of those band that just use everything at their disposal to entertain a crowd. Their songs are catchy and their energy are infectious. Other than some tech issues with the microphone they set went down without a hitch. The band blasted through their set with great songs. Coming hot off their third album “The Earth Embraces Us All” the set was a great mixture of all three albums. The crowd was really into it as was I. I mean I put down my notepad and just watched the show. The live production was really good, although the drums were a little loud at times. Also the backing tracks they were using didn’t come through the best at times. Frontwoman, Chiara Tricarico was an engaging presence on stage as was guitarist, Marco Pastorino. You really couldn’t keep your eyes off of them. Also with the sheer technical ability of them they made an impressive show as the final band of the day. They really were the cherry on top of an excellent day.

Words by Mick Birchall
Photos by David Sarah

Former Ghost members start lawsuit against singer Papa Emeritus

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Rock with tags , on 9th April 2017 by izaforestspirit

Dark times ahead for fans of the world-renowned Swedish heavy metal band Ghost… Four former members of the band, known previously solely by the stage name “The Nameless Ghoul” have recently decided to sue the band’s frontman and singer Tobias Forge aka Papa Emeritus III  for failure to disclose the band’s income and expenses from the years 2011 to 2016.

Here is an extract from an official statement made by one of the former Nameless Ghouls, previously known as Nameless Ghoul (Alpha) now revealed to be guitarist Simon Söderberg:

As of yesterday we, four signatories from the band Ghost, have filed a lawsuit with the Linköping District Court. We are suing Tobias Forge (”Papa Emeritus”) – the band’s lead singer who has also been responsible for the finances of the band since its founding.

As of the filing of this lawsuit we are requesting that the court, under penalty, oblige Tobias Forge to declare the incomes as well as expenses of the band concerning the years between 2011 and 2016.

Throughout all the years we have been on tour with Ghost (between 2011-2016 some of us have performed something like 500 shows with the band) and throughout the band’s album recordings, we have neither been allowed to share in the profits of the band, nor have we seen any of the incomes accounted for.

The only thing we have received have been minimal advance payments to allow the band to keep going. This despite the fact that we had an agreement that any profits should be shared fairly between the members of the band…”

You can read the rest of the statement here: https://www.facebook.com/simon.soderberg.52/posts/10154419061836127

 

The other former members involved in the legal dispute against Tobias Forge include: Mauro Rubino (Air) – member of Ghost since 2011.
Henrik Palm (Eather) – member of Ghost since 2015
Martin Hjertstedt (Earth) – member of Ghost since 2014

https://www.facebook.com/thebandghost/

http://ghost-official.com/

 

More details about the new Vallenfyre album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Studio Report on 7th April 2017 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of the British death-doom metal band Vallenfyre. The group are currently hard at work on their third album. The long awaited follow-up to ‘Spilters’ will be entitled ‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’.

You can check out the cover art below:

‘Fear Those Who Fear Him’ will be out worldwide on 2nd June 2017 via Century Media Records in the following formats: CD, Special Edition Digipak , digital, streaming as well as Gatefold LP+CD on limited coloured and regular black 180 gram vinyl.

In the meantime you can enjoy their new video ‘Kill All Your Masters’ here:

For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Vallenfyre/

 

Jupiter Falls – Faces In The Sand Part One

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , on 3rd April 2017 by izaforestspirit

Jupiter Falls
Faces In The Sand Part One
Released 24th March 2017
Melodic Hard Rock
Released via Broken Road Records

Faces In The Sand Part One’ is the third album from the British hard rock band Jupiter Falls. The band was formed in 2013 and they have released two albums and one EP prior to this.

I’m not entirely sure what the tag ‘melodic hard rock’ actually means. For me hard rock has always referred to music that is heavier than classic rock but not quite “heavy” or aggressive enough to be considered metal. On the whole it tends to be more radio-friendly and tends to appeal to a larger audience. As far as the genre classifications go, there is a very wide spectrum of bands that have been labeled “hard rock”. Jupiter Falls’s influences range from Guns’N’Roses and Metallica to Bullet For My Valentine so that doesn’t really narrow it down to any specific category.

After the first few songs it soon becomes apparent that these guys don’t really stick to just one specific style. Their music is very guitar-orientated and relies heavily on the use of twin-guitar harmonies. But as far as genre goes, what we have here is an amalgamation of various styles within both rock and metal. On the heavier, more metal end, we get tracks like Its Your Problem Now and Sickened in which you can hear the groove-metal tones in the guitars and particularly the bass. Then we have the classic rock -style, power ballads Call Me and Follow You representing the band’s more melodic side. The vocals on these two reminded me of the early works of an American post-grunge/hard rock band Creed. If there is one track that really shows off the skill of the guitarists and proves just how well the twin-guitar harmonies can work, it’s Voices. That song is by far the most guitar-centered as well as being one of the heaviest tracks on the album.

In summary, ‘Faces In The Sand Part One’ is a fine example of modern hard rock. I’m not a guitarist so I can’t comment too much on the intricacies of the riff work, but I can tell that these guys are really skilled musicians. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock power ballads, modern metal or hard rock there will be something on this album that appeals to you.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 24th March 2017 by izaforestspirit

Ex Deo
The Immortal Wars
Released 27th February 2017
Symphonic Death Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Ex Deo is a side-project band of Maurizio Iacono from Kataklysm. Since their formation in 2008, the band has released two albums before going on a short hiatus in 2014. They returned again the following year to embark on their third venture – a concept album about the Punic Wars. They were fought between Rome and Carthage and took place between 264 B.C. and 146 B.C. This album is entitled ‘The Immortal Wars’ and include epic tales of two history’s most famous generals, Hannibal and Scipio.

I must admit that I’m not that well versed on ancient Roman history so this album gave me an excuse to do a little background research about the Punic Wars and general Hannibal. Thanks for the history lesson guys! Impressive battle scenes featuring armed war elephants and a clash between two generals renowned for their strategies and tactics of warfare sounds like a pretty good topic doesn’t it? Well let’s find out… Ex Deo are known for their grandiose, symphonic intros and the opener The Rise of Hannibal doesn’t disappoint. It’s a skilfully executed mixture of melodic death metal not too dissimilar to Iacono’s main band Kataklysm only with a certain cinematic atmosphere due to the additional orchestration provided by Clemens Wijers.

Each track tells a story ranging from the faster, more energetic yet still symphonically-enhanced Hispania (Siege Of Saguntum), the aggressive tale of destruction Crossing the Alps to primarily orchestral intermission Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo) all the way through to the end. The aforementioned Crossing the Alps is probably the most brutal-sounding song on here mostly due to Iacono’s growls and war cries which seem all the more ferocious thanks to the powerful guitar riffs and the drums mimicking “sounds of battle”. Speaking of war cries and chanting, that’s one of the things that ‘The Immortal Wars’ has in abundance. The tale of Hannibal’s defeat in Ad Victorian (The Battle of Zama) is a good example of this. You can almost picture the armies marching on to the battlefield and the noise as the battle commences.

Overall, ‘The Immortal Wars’ is without a doubt Ex Deo’s most ambitious and impressive album to date. I honestly couldn’t find any weak tracks on here and as with any good action-adventure movie, this album is best enjoyed as a whole. As long as Ex Deo maintain the balance between melodic death metal and historical themes without overdoing it on the orchestral elements, they have a long and bright future ahead of them.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

Interview with Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom)

Posted in Gig, Interview, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 19th March 2017 by mickbirchy

Before their set in Manchester, our writer, Mick Birchall sits with Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom to talk about 20 years of the band and how they kept up in the music industry. Also, touring and the music scene in general.

This year marks 20 years of Children of Bodom. How does it feel to be able to say that you have actually been going that long?

Yes, it’s crazy it really is.  We weren’t really expecting that when we started. Back then we were just kids and we played heavy metal metal. Yeah it’s great it really is. Just the though that we’ve made it this far.

You guys have played all around the world.  Would you say there a difference in audience, depending on where you go?

You be surprised on how little the differences are really. Metal heads are metal heads no matter where you go.  If there are differences then they’d be small things. Such as in Japan, the crowd will probably go completely silent between the songs, it feels a little awkward. However, it is a show of respect. So it’s things like that but when the music is on, it’s on!

Going for 20 years now and with 9 albums.  How do you feel you keep your music sounding new without wearing out the same sound, but also without compromising the core of the band?

That’s becoming a challenge after releasing so many albums and we definitely don’t want to be stuck to a formula or get stuck the mindset of “this worked well, let’s just do that again”. As a band you have to keep creating something new and you have to take a risk with something eventually. I mean there’s only so many bands that can release the same album over and over.

Over the years what is the one song you wish you had written as a band?

I would say Redneck by Lamb of God.

What would be the best band that you have opened for and what’s the best band that’s opened for you?

I’d say the best we’ve opened for is Slayer. We did a couple tour with them and it was just great.  Their level of production and how well the opening bands were treated it was just amazing.

On the other hand we’ve had the pleasure of having so many killer band open the show for us. We had this band recently play with us.  Havok they were really great, we’ve heard them play and every audience they’ve played for people have just loved them.  Also we have Oni with us on this tour. They’re really cool, with a xylophone player. If you’re into the weird stuff then Oni is for you.

What’s your impression of the more gimmicky bands out there.  The ones who will dress up and get into character for a show?

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just don’t paste it over your image, if your band sound sounds fine without gimmicks then don’t paste it over the top of it.  Only do it if it’s natural to the kind of music that you’re trying to create. Also, if you’re going to do it, make it your own thing.  Don’t take another band idea and slap it over your band, try to be original with a concept.

So to end on. What was the hardest thing you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

We’ve had some obstacles in band. Obviously letting Roope (Latvala) go was a tough decision. We were struggling without him for sometime. When you’ve been in the industry for this long you’ve had up and and downs. At the end of the day, everyone in the band has to believe in the same thing, then between all of you you get through rough times. As long as you have you bandmates there’s very little that they’ll let you do wrong.

 

Interview and words by Mick Birchall