Archive for the Rock Category

New single and video from Soldiers of Solace

Posted in Misc., News, Rock, Studio Report with tags , on 23rd February 2017 by izaforestspirit

Last month the American hard rock band Soldiers of Solace signed with the German record label Rock’N’Growl Records. Since then the group have been spending lots of time in the studio working on their debut album which is scheduled for later this year.

In the meantime you can check out their first single ‘Cold As A Stone’.

For more details visit:

http://www.soldiersofsolace.com

https://www.facebook.com/soldiersofsolace

 

 

 

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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

As Lions – Selfish Age

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 15th January 2017 by mickbirchy

Artist: As Lions

Album: Selfish Age

Genre: Rock

Released: 20 January 2017

via Eleven Seven Music

 

I’ll admit I was a fan of the past project of Austin Dickinson, Rise To Remain.  I thought they were a fun group. Austin always came across as a competent and energetic front man. Every time I saw him live he did everything keep the show moving at a good pace and kept the crowd involved. I’ll admit I’ve not taken that much notice of his new band As Lions. So, when I saw the new album was up for a review, I thought that it might be worth checking out. I’ve heard bad things here and there but I’m going to listen to this album with fresh ears and relay some thought.

Selfish Age, for the most part is a pretty average album. I wouldn’t say bad, as they’re not doing anything wrong. There are nice melodies. The singing is clear and in tune, and there are flashes of inspiration here and there. Yet, there isn’t a point that I became invested in the album or what they’re singing about. Save for a few tunes that did stick with me a little. I just feel that this album could be much better.  The guitars feel watered down a touch and all the songs have this really processed feel to them. It feels like a pop-rock album that wants to be treated like a heavy metal album and it doesn’t work like that. All the songs just meld together into one melody at times. Seriously, on certain play-throughs they do just mash up together.

I’ve been bad mouthing this album a little too much. There are good songs on the record. In fact, there are moments that I really enjoyed myself. Austin Dickinson’s vocals are absolutely brilliant. He brings so much emotion and finesse to the album. He oozes with charisma and brings a lot of energy. I like some of the tunes and some of the choruses are rather ear-wormy. It does come together at times. Although, it does come off as a little bland for my taste.

I liked it and I’m sure that they’ll have their fans. Though lyrics are powerful and deep with a strong focus on the problems of the current day. The production is a little flat and it feels washed out. It could have been so much more than what it is. If it was more full force rock, with more of a crunch to the guitar tone, it could have really work. Yet, as is it’s just an okay album. Not amazing but not terrible either. Just meh.

3/ 5

Mick Birchall

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

Sister – Stand Up, Forward, March!

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , on 26th December 2016 by Pieni

Sister
“Stand Up, Forward, March!”
sleaze rock
Released: 25th November 2016
Via Metal Blade Records

 photo Sister-StandUpForwardMarch_zps4zacwzye.jpg

Sister’s debut “Hated” is a sleaze punk treat. Then for their sophomore “Disguised Vultures” they went heavier and wilder. And now with “Stand Up, Forward, March!”, they stood somewhere in-between, glamming up the sleaze and the wild.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this happened after Martin Sweet joined the ranks – after all, he’s responsible for all those juicy guitars in Crashdïet. But I don’t want to give him all the credit as the rest of the band has proven their writing skills aren’t raw. Still, once you hear the guitar solos in songs such as “Trail Of Destruction”, “Carry On” or “Endangered Species”, you sense a refinement which you can’t help but associate with Sweet’s work.

The album kicks off with the fiery “Destination Dust” and wraps it up with the joyful “Piece Of Shame” (“I’m too perfect to die” is a hell of a chorus to be sung at any party) – pretty much Sister style. But they also took a few new things and used them in their own way, like the hints of blues they’ve twisted for “Unbeliever”, the ritualistic chants and melancholy that “Let It Bleed” features, or the somewhat old school goth outline melody – as in The Sisters Of Mercy and such – upon which “Liberation Song” was built. And in the end, it all sounded like Sister just the same.

Sister’s best album so far? Probably. Best album of 2016 on my personal list? Definitely!

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

As Lions reveal details about their new album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Rock, Studio Report with tags , on 23rd November 2016 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of the British hard rock band As Lions. This year witnessed the release of the band’s first EP ‘Aftermath’ and now they are happy to announce that their debut album will be out in early 2017. Their debut album will be entitled ‘Selfish Age’.

You can check out the artwork and the track-listing below:

1.     Aftermath
2.     The Suffering
3.     Bury My Dead
4.     Deathless 
5.     Selfish Age
6.     White Flags
7.     Pieces
8.     World On Fire
9.     One By One
10.  The Fall
11.  The Great Escape

Here is a short teaser video of what is to come:

‘Selfish Age’ is scheduled to hit the shops on 20th January via Better Noise Records.

For more information visit:

http://aslionsband.com/

Heaven Below – Good Morning Apocalypse

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , on 13th November 2016 by izaforestspirit

Heaven Below

Good Morning Apocalypse

Released 14th October 2016

Hard Rock/ Heavy Metal

Released EMP Label Group

‘Good Morning Apocalypse’ is the third album from the Los Angeles -based, American hard rock band Heaven Below. The band was formed back in 2008 by singer Patrick Kennison (Union Underground) and Marty O’Brien (Disturbed, We Are the Fallen). After two albums, various line-up changes and extensive touring, Heaven Below began to work on what has been described as the “most ambitious” album of their career – Good Morning Apocalypse. This is a concept album about a modern day Dr. Faust and his dealings with the devil. It features guest appearances from Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., Accept), Kobra Paige (Kobra and the Lotus), Jason McMaster (Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth, Watchtower) and Lita Ford.

As with any concept album, if you want to find out more about the story then I suggest that you check out the band’s website or read the song lyrics. That’s precisely what I did and I can say that the story itself is worth reading but I’m not going to talk about it here. After all, this isn’t a book review… So let’s discuss the music instead.

Now, I’ not particularly fond of the term “epic” since it’s grossly overused and it has essentially become a fancy way of describing something larger than life with very little meaning. In this case however, I can’t think of a better way to sum up the overall feel of the opening track Nefarious Angels feat. Jason McMaster — an epic and passionate heavy metal song with explosive guitar tunes and catchy choruses. A great way to start an album. Renegade Protest Movement has the atmosphere of a rebellion in the works with a simple call to action “come, join the Renegade Protest Movement!” It is like a forceful and aggressive blow that hits you right in the face. Ready or not, here it comes!

Devilina And The Damage Done (feat. Kobra Paige) caught my attention as one of the more melodic tracks on here. Kennison’s duet with Kobra Paige adds an extra dimension to the song giving it a somewhat softer feel without losing any of the power in the vocals. For those who prefer a more aggressive style then Killing The Deadman is the song for you – a straightforward yet highly effective onslaught of guitar riffs and compelling vocals with a very brief melodic interlude towards the latter half of the track. And let’s not forget Udo Dirkschneider’s appearance on Black Sunrise/War of The Gods, which transforms the song giving it a more dynamic feel.

In summary ‘Good Morning Apocalypse’ is a multi-faceted and complex album which mixes traditional heavy metal with elements of both modern and classic hard rock. Each one of the guest musicians leaves his or her own mark on the music. Heaven Below have created a winning formula of powerful vocals, catchy choruses and skillfully executed guitar melodies.

4/5
Iza Raittila