Archive for the Rock Category

Wraith – Revelation

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 2nd August 2017 by izaforestspirit

Wraith
Revelation
Released 4th August 2017
Hard Rock/Melodic Heavy Metal
Released via Ice Rain Records/Cargo Records

Wraith is a British hard rock band that has been around since the late ’80s. They were most active in the ’90s, after which they had a long break between albums. It’s now been a decade since their last studio album was released and now Wraith are back with a new line-up and a new album called ‘Revelation’. This is also their first work to feature the new vocalist Ryan Coggin.

Ten years is a long time to wait for a new album. This is my first encounter with Wraith so I can’t really comment on how their style has evolved over the years. Rather than commenting on how this compares to their past albums, I will just focus on ‘Revelation’. Here we have ten tracks which range from Bon Jovi -esque melodic hard rock to NWBHM-style heavy metal. An example of the former is the slow ballad ‘Leaving Me Again‘ and the latter ‘No Respect‘ – an energetic, guitar-driven song. The vocals on it aren’t half bad either.

Then there’s the catchy, somewhat sleaze rock inspired ‘Human Hater‘ which reminded me of Mötley Crüe for some reason. This is probably one of the simplest songs in terms of lyrics, but who cares? After all, who needs profound lyrical themes when you can just enjoy a catchy chorus and headbang along to the twin guitar melodies?

In summary, ‘Revelation’ embodies the saying “..good things come to those who wait”. It’s been ten years, but now Wraith are back with a strong album that’s bound to please both classic heavy metal and hard rock fans.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Alice Cooper reveals new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Rock with tags , , , on 18th July 2017 by izaforestspirit

The legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper has announced that his new album, the first studio release in six years, will be called ‘Paranormal’. It will feature guest performances from U2’s Larry Mullen Jr., ZZ TOP’s Billy Gibbons and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover.

Here is what the singer had to say about it:

“I love that title, ‘Paranormal’, but it’s not really a scary record. There’s a couple of scary songs on it, but [it is] ‘paranormal,’ meaning ‘other than normal.’ This is not a normal Alice record. Bob [Erzin] and I decided, ‘No theme this time. We’re gonna make a record of things that just get us off, songs that we like. And it might go in a lot of different directions, but these are just songs that get us off.”

‘Paranormal’ is expected to hit the shops on 28th July 2017 via earMusic and it will be available in the following formats: 2CD digipack, limited edition box set and digital download.

You can check out the cover art below:

He has also released a lyric video for the title track.

For further information visit:

http://www.alicecooper.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AliceCooper/

 

Ward XVI – The Art of Manipulation

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , on 12th July 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson
Ward XVI
The Art Of Manipulation
Avant-Garde Rock
Released 1st July
via Rock’n’Growl
Earlier this month, northern metal outfit – though they describe themselves as “theatrical avant-garde rock” – Ward XVI released their debut album, The Art of Manipulation, which follows the story of a female psychopath locked away in a high security asylum. Having seen this band before, when the news came out that Ward were releasing this album, I immediately knew I had to listen to it.

Starting with the generically named Intro, the track starts the story written within the album, as a rather sinister and villainous psychiatrist is heard talking to his patient, who replies stating that she’s “not insane”. Take My Hand is a light trance inducing track before it changes at the flip of a coin into a pure, chaotic guitar barrage. The title track, The Art of Manipulation, stands out with its ephemeral passages that appear between the faster, hard hitting sections of the song. The vocals come across exquisitely with the ebb and flow of the track.

There are three interludes on the album, each of which serve the purpose of moving the story forward with more dialogue. As the first interlude finishes, The Flight comes bursting in like a hand grenade, as the the guitars merciless blare out their rhythmic, almost hypnotic riffs. The use of keyboards on this track comes as a welcome surprise, adding a new dynamic to it. The vocals are very much good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll as they race along side the keys and guitars. Crystal Ball  has its own little charm as the sounds of accordions blare over the driving guitars and thundering rhythm sections. A reassuring and warm piano melody leads the way in Hold Me, adding an expected emotional feel to not only the song but the album as well.

Blackened Heart is a poignant track, with memorable vocal lines and a contrasting use of guitars, the rhythm section and keys, with one section being quite nu-metalesqe in its composition while Run For Your Lives  jumps in the sound of wailing sirens before a haunting accordion melody is heard. The track being proceeds into barrage of drums flanked by raging guitars and energetic vocals. Adrenochromania is quite a misty and cimmerian track with a lot of mesmerising passages.

Cry of the Siren is an aggressively energetic track as the guitars and keys go toe-to-toe with one another between vocal lines. Toy Box however contrasts greatly, taking a slower pace verging on the edge of a traditional and folkier sound with the accordion commanding the song. Inner Demon diverges onto a different route with a unique sound that really shows the theatrics of the band. The Art of Manipulation closes its curtains with a song named after the band: Ward XVI. It is quite a solemn listening affair, as the vocals call out like a Plutonian requiem while the keys and guitars have become the musical incarnation of a somber midnight sky.

Ward XVI have done something spectacular with The Art Of Manipulation, while their on-stage theatrics don’t translate well into recorded form, their story telling and unique melting pot of different styles and influences speaks for themselves.

3.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Edguy – Monuments (A 25 Year Tribute to Edguy)

Posted in CD, Editorial/Opinionated, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 9th July 2017 by mickbirchy
Edguy
Monuments
Power Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive
Released: 14 July 2017
via Nuclear Blast

It’s been 25 years of Edguy. Yes, this band has been going as long as I’ve been alive on this earth. So, I thought that I would pay homage to one of the greatest metal bands that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. What better way to do that than going through the newest release from them. Monuments is a carefully and passionately selected collection of the band’s greatest hits from the last 25 years. Not only that, but the release has five brand new songs from the band. Along with one previously unreleased recording. Mounting up to a staggering 28 track album that will be more than enough to indulge even the biggest fan of the band.

I first discovered Edguy back in 2008 with the album Tinnitus Sanctus. I bought it after reading about them in a Magazine calling this album “the strongest of their career yet”. At this time, the metal press was buzzing around them. I listened to the album and something stirred inside of me. I instantly wanted to hear more from them. So in very quick succession I looked their history in music. I was completely blown away and I think this was the start of my obsession with power metal. As listening to them got me into fellow contemporaries: Blind Guardian, Sonata Arctica and Hammerfall. I know I was a little behind but believe I’m caught up now with them all. Yet, there was something different about Edguy and it was all in frontman, Tobias Sammet’s vocals. He sang with such power and conviction still to this day his voice gives me goosebumps. If anyone ever asks me what a metal or rock vocalist should sound like I just turn and point to Tobias. Everyone has their own favourites that they immediately associate with the genre. He’s mine.

Yet, I don’t want to do a disservice to the band that back him up. Edguy has some incredible talent in there. Unlike a lot of bands that go this long; Edguy have had a pretty consistent line up having the same lineup from 1998 onwards. Giving them a fantastic consistency. This is reflected across all their albums. Jens Ludwig and Dirk Saur have been their from the very beginning on guitars. Always producing fantastic riffs and melodies that compliment the tone of whatever album. They were going in to. Be it the more power metal centric albums or the winding twisting more progressive sound. No matter how flamboyant or heavy the song. Ludwig and Saur really deliver in getting music stuck in your head. As for the rhythm section Tobias Exxel on bass and Felix Bohnke on drums has always given Eduy that weight and power to their tunes. There’s just such a commanding presence to their music. When Edguy plays, you listen.

Monuments, includes 5 brand new songs from the band. You’d think that they may get lost amongst all of the classic songs. They sort of do, I don’t necessarily see that as a band thing. I just see it as these songs just feel as good as their iconic work. Which can only be a good thing. All five of the songs are big triumphant anthems and their played with just as much conviction as the big hits. With massive sounding production and the tight musicianship that we’ve come to expect from Edguy by now. Is it any wonder that they sound this good! They fit so nicely on this package of their hits. They feels like songs that have always been here. I guess that’s the real strength of Edguy. Making songs that fit so well into the collective consciousness, making tunes that just sound right.

As for the unreleased song “Reborn In The Waste”. Recorded back in 1995, as part of the Savage Poetry recordings. Savage Poetry being one of their demo albums in the early 90’s. I can understand why it wasn’t included. I don’t think it’s wholly representative of the band’s skill or style. In all honesty I think it’s a pretty lackluster tune. It’s got a nice hook to it and I think if they remade the song today it might be better but I don’t know. I guess I like it just for the fact it’s another piece of Edguy nostalgia more than anything else.

In all honesty. This has been a fun one to look at. Just looking back through Edguy’s back catalogue and remembering the great tunes from yesteryear. They are certainly a band that has stood the test of time with 10 albums under their belts and some of the most enthusiastic fans I’ve ever met. Going through this greatest hits compilation has really made me appreciate how good this band really is. From the heavy hard rock tunes, to their soaring ballads they make some of the finest metal music around. They may not be on the same level as the all time greats of the genre, but they always hold a special place in my music library. I will always think back to the time I first heard them roar into gear with “Ministry of Saints”. If you have never given them a chance do yourself a favour grab Monuments and get acquainted with one of the best metal bands in the world. At least according to this reviewer. Yeah, this might read as a bit of a fluff piece or it could read as a little self-indulgent. I really don’t care. I just wanted to look back on one of my favourites to celebrate 25 years of this band.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Fields of Nephilim announce exclusive winter solstice show

Posted in Misc., News, Rock with tags , , , on 28th June 2017 by izaforestspirit

The legendary British goth rock band Fields of the Nephilim have recently announced that they will be doing an exclusive show in The UK this winter. The event named ‘Saturnalia’ will take place at the O2 Forum in Kentish Town, London on the winter solstice, 21st December 2017.

The show is named after a pagan festival which also takes place on the winter solstice. Winter is one of the prominent themes of this particular performance. The audience can expect “a truly spellbinding set celebrating the band’s illustrious career.”

You can check out the poster below:

No automatic alt text available.

For more information visit:

http://www.fields-of-the-nephilim.com

https://www.facebook.com/FieldsOfTheNephilim

 

Cellar Darling – This Is The Sound

Posted in CD, Folk, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 25th June 2017 by mickbirchy

 

Cellar Darling

This Is The Sound

Folk rock, Folk metal

Released: 30 June 2017

via Nuclear Blast Records

OK, to address the elephant in the room. I was, and still am, not a fan of Eluveitie. Never got into their music like people said I should. So, I really don’t know much of the politics or behind the scenes of why Anna Murphy, Merlin Sutter and Ivo Henz decided to leave the band. Yet, that is the situation we’re in and now from those three, we now have, Cellar Darling. Their debut album is a pretty fun listen. I have to admit the sharp tones and the catchy melodies were enough to whet my appetite. Yet, when I listened more and more I found that this album has a lot to offer both in music and in the lyrics.

First off, to reiterate, This Is The Sound, sounds wonderful. The production is full of big guitars and, massive bass lines that get the blood pumping. All of the folk instrumentation sound great too. Weaving in and out so seamlessly. Everything on the album is designed to make the band seem a big a possible. So as you can imagine it’s quite an impactful album with every clash of the drums and every blast of the guitars feel larger than life.  Genuinely a good feeling to my ears when you hear a band like that. You can hear this from the first track  ‘Avalanche’. Anna Murphy’s vocals hit hard too. Her voice is powerful, but it’s not all power there are some dynamics here. The way her vocals alone manipulate the emotion, tension and intensity of the songs is a testament to her charisma as a front woman.

This album oozes with great riffs, beautiful atmosphere and infectious melodies. Yet, none of it feels overdone. It just flows very nicely and the band have great chemistry, everything just feels like it blends together really nicely. The harshness of the rock instruments provide the songs with a lot of weight. While the folk element complements the heavy sounds and really gives the music another layer. Again it never feels like it’s too much, it always has that nice balance so every element works off the other rather one. As a whole I’ve really like this album, it’s a nice pleasant listen.  I wouldn’t say it’s the most amazing thing in the world but it’s definitely been worth a listen or two.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Doll Skin – Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Posted in CD, Punk Rock, Rock on 15th June 2017 by izaforestspirit

Doll Skin

Manic Pixie Dream Girl

Released 26th June 2017

Punk Rock/Alternative Rock

Released via EMP Group

‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ is the second album from the American, all-girl punk rock band Doll Skin. This is their third release to be produced by the Megadeth bassist David Ellefson, who has been working with them since 2013. The first was an EP entitled ‘in Your Face’ which came out in 2015, then last year their highly successful debut full length album’ In Your Face Again’ saw the light of day. My knowledge of punk rock is limited but the ironic-looking cover art and funny title was just too intriguing to resist.

The first thing that occurred to me when listening to the opening track Shut Up (You Miss Me) is that the vocals remind me of the Canadian rock artist Avril Lavigne. As far as the music goes, this is essentially alternative rock with some punk influences, mostly notably the pace, the attitude and the “fun” elements with songs titled like Road Killa and Puncha Nazi. Some of the tracks such as Daughter feature some angry, teenage angst -style lyrics, cleverly masked behind the catchy ‘rocking’ guitar and sing-along chorus. Not that it’s a bad thing, but it does reflect the fact that they are a young band, full of energy and ready to conquer the world with their rock tunes.

As the album progresses you get a bit more variety, ranging from the aforementioned catchy, energetic punk rock to the slower, more ballad-like songs such as Rubi and Sweet Pea which reflect Doll Skin’s softer, more melodic side. No anger here; instead there is a certain innocence in the vocals. Miss Dolezal is a clearly a talented singer and her lyrics are packed with emotion.

In summary, however angry the lyrics may seem at times, there is something uplifting about this album. These girls clearly enjoy what they do and they are very good at it. So all I can say is, good work and rock on Doll Skin!

4/5

Iza Raittila