Archive for the Editorial/Opinionated Category

Age of Rage – Wind Of The Wasteland

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Featured with tags , , , on 16th August 2021 by Mickelrath

Age of Rage

Wind Of The Wasteland Part I & II

Power Metal, Progressive Metal

Released: 29th March/ 30th June 2021

Self-Released

It’s been a weird year. I have been dipping my toes into the metal world but I’ve not fully been paying attention. So no wonder this album sneaked below my radar. I’m quite happy I got a chance to check this band out. Age of Rage has been around for some time now. Putting out a few releases every year since 2014 which is when the band really got going. I can definitely see how they’ve garnered a fan base of the years. The core line up is Nikita Piskov on bass, Anton Gruzinsky on vocals, Sergey Bunakov on drums and Ivan Nikolaenko on guitar. 

This year they put out their two-part mega album Wind of the Wasteland and I am super impressed. For self-released music, they don’t skimp on the production quality. This album sounds so impressive with bold and impactful choices that make every instrument sound crystal clear. The heavy metal elements roar to life with each and every track with Anton’s vocals sounding as clean as a whistle. I love the sheer force and passion that the band performs these songs with is stunning. It left me with my jaw on the floor. I mean I don’t speak Russian, so I’m relying on a lot of third party resources to translate it, yet I kept finding myself consistently invested in themes and ideas that were being presented. The albums are interesting listening experiences for sure. 

Both albums are fantastic companion pieces with the songs from part one flowing perfectly into part two. I loved the way the two albums connected. It feels like one continuous arc of themes, poetry and concepts. The music has a sharp and crisp tone. Nothing sounds muddy or distorted. It’s beautifully clear. Every note and every beat is felt and it’s effective. Not a second is wasted on the album at all. Overall. Wow, just simply wow. These albums took my breath away. It’s entertaining in all the right ways. I’ve not wanted to put this album down since the first listen.

8/10

Mick Birchall

Bridear – Bloody Bride

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , , , on 21st June 2021 by Mickelrath

Bridear

Bloody Bride

Heavy Metal

Released: 7th May 2021

via Avex Trax

Hello Bridear! This album is a real treat to listen to. Every song is steller and sounds so damn good. First up though… Who is Bridear? Formed in Fukuoka, Japan in 2012, they are one of Japan’s premier heavy metal bands and now they are setting their sights on the global stage. After releasing the album in Japan on April 14th, they released it internationally on May 7th which is when I got a chance to listen to it. I was immediately blown away by this record. I’ve had a somewhat fascination with music from Japan for a long time. As part of the generation that was hit by the anime boom of the late 90’s, Japanese culture is always something I’ve loved and I, in particular, love the music that comes out of Japan. Bridear definitely feels more like a band that would feel at home in the European Power Metal scene. I got serious vibes of Dragonforce and Sonata Arctica while listening to this album.

The production is crystal clear on this record with every part of the production glistening. You truly feel the impact. The sound of the drums alone is so hard hitting, you really feel the impact of each drum kick and hit. The guitars glisten in the production and the riffs are so well performed. The music is instantly likeable and definitely accessible. If you’re into this sort of thing already then, then I would highly recommend giving them a chance. With sweeping melodies and excellent musicianship Bridear brings their A game to this record. Songs like “Daybreak” and the title track “Bloody Bride” are captivating with catchy hooks and insanely fun riffs that get stuck in your head. Then you have the vocal performance which is so stellar and sits right on top of the already impressive music. It’s power metal done right.

I have honestly been blown away by the presentation of this record. The women of Bridear are talented and clearly have a passion for their music. The sound is clean and clear. My favourite track from the album so far is “Ashes” with its slow build and then the song hits you with a straight up metal tune. It feels like a page ripped from the Iron Maiden guide to songwriting. This album just feels like the complete package. For me, this is one to check out this year and one I need to see live sooner rather than later…. When covid goes away and allows for live shows again!

9/10

Mick Birchall

Skarlett Riot – Invicta

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , , , on 6th May 2021 by Mickelrath

Skarlett Riot

Invicta

Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Metalcore

Released 7 May 2021

Via Despotz Records

It’s a special feeling when you see one of your favourite bands rise up and release an album this good. Yes, this will probably be somewhat of a biased review as I really do like this band and I can confidently say that I’m almost proud of Skarlett Riot for making this album. Invicta is their third album and it’s been quite the journey listening to them grow and develop into the band they are today. They have always had a way with lyrical themes intertwined with heavy dark tones with a good measure of catchy melodies and this record is no exception with songs that will no doubt be taking centre stage of their setlists when the world goes back to normal and gigs are once again attendable. It could have been really easy for the band to not do anything during the lockdown, however they were laser-focussed on this new project and, armed with this new album, they’ll be ready to take over the hard rock scene.

The album opens with “Breaking the Habit” and it sets the tone for what to expect throughout. Dark and heavy melodies with impactful hard-hitting lyrics. It goes full-force and doesn’t really slow down except for the magnificent crescendo that is the ballad “Into Pieces”, which for my money, is really the centre piece of the album. A soft acoustic intro that builds into a solid hard rock ballad that really caught me off guard but I really enjoy listening to it. While listening to this, I found myself relating to a lot of the lyrics on here. Skarlett Riot work their magic with the lyrics. I especially like the dark lyrics in “Black Cloud” which perfectly sums up how depression and anxiety feels, it really hit me hard and the vocal performance really sells it to you with a lot of conviction and passion. 

The production absolutely packs that extra punch. The big difference on this record is the addition of guttural vocal work, which has never really been in Skarlett Riot’s previous work. Thanks to new bassist, Tim Chambers. He really works off of Chloe’s vocal work and complements it with big bassy sounding guttural vocals that really gives this album so much more of an edge. The guitar riffs are excellent and create a solid framework for the songs. Then you have the drums which feel so punchy on this release. The drum-fills are well worked and they add so much depth to the overall sound.

Okay, this was an outright advertisement for the album rather than a review. Yeah, it goes without saying that I recommend this album. It’s more Skarlett Riot with more of a punch and the new addition of the vocal work is so welcome in the band’s sound. Just an excellent listen and one already in my top ten albums for 2021

10/10

Mick Birchall

Indus Valley Kings – Indus Valley Kings

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , on 28th April 2021 by Mickelrath

Indus Valley Kings
Indus Valley Kings
Stoner Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Released: 22 January 2021
Self-Released

This was a neat little surprise of a record. I love looking up weird and interesting stoner rock music. It’s a sub-culture that I really adore ever since I discovered Kyuss and Orange Goblin. So I always take the opportunity to listen to new bands in the genre. So let me introduce you to Indus Valley Kings. They advertise themselves as “heavy, down-tuned music” and that is something that I kind of agree with. The band consists of Billy Fridrich on guitar & vocals, Dan Lofaro on drums and Jonathan Lesley Habers on bass and vocals. It’s definitely heavy but it has a laid back attitude like a band in a jam session. Sure, jamming out for a whole album might be off-putting to some. However, if you’re willing to chill out, it’s a fun ride of a record. 

The first thing you’ll notice about this album is… The bass! My god the bass is oozing and powerful. It encompasses all elements of the record and creates the framework for all of the songs and keeps the energy chugging throughout. It’s just so in your face that I couldn’t help but point it out. I listened to this on several pairs of headphones and it was just the most powerful part of the album. There’s something very primal and hard-hitting about the tunes. I love the vocal performance on this record, especially the hook to the song “Scapegoat”, it packs such a punch with Billy’s forceful voice kicking ass. Then you have the guitar solos. They are so good. Carrying on from the heavy and down-tuned music, the solos have that vibe at heart. 

It might be a little hard to listen to for people not used to this sort of music. The production isn’t amazing. I do understand the tone they were going for but I don’t think the execution was necessarily the best as the production feels a little stodgy and the bass swallows up all of the other instruments. There are times where the drums aren’t audible because the bass is too in your face. I like bass but there is such a thing as too much. 

It’s still a very enjoyable album as it is. I have the songs playing in my shuffle playlist for the last few weeks in the mix with the likes of Black Sabbath, Brant Bjork, Planet of Zeus and Black Moth and I feel like it fits in quite nicely with that sort of sound. It’s a free-flowing jam session condensed into their best moments for an album. Well worth the listen if you like your bass-heavy stoner rock.

7/10

Mick Birchall

Fortress Under Siege – Atlantis

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , , , on 15th March 2021 by Mickelrath

Fortress Under Siege
Atlantis

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal
Released: 9th October 2020
via  ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records

Well, it seems my love affair with the metal scene in Greece continues with the discovery of this band, Fortress Under Siege. From the first moments of this record, I was hooked. Their presentation is clean and their music packs a big punch. I had to take a deeper dive to get a better idea of the evolution of this band. The band have released two previous albums and their new album Atlantis is probably my favourite upon listening to them all. It’s big and bold with a lot to offer. The album was produced and mixed by Fotis Benardo (Septicflesh, Rotting Christ, Innerwish). Mastered by George Nerantzis (Pain Of Salvation, Abbath, Dark Funeral, Gus G). It was recorded at Devasoundz Studios in Athens Greece. The biggest hurdle to overcome was replacing lead vocalist, Mike Livas with Tasos Lazaris, however, I feel he stepped to the plate perfectly here. 

The album is big and bold. Loud guitar and intricate keyboard works give this album power and depth with the bass and drums giving each song structure. Then the vocal performance just hits so hard and whenever it comes in. The bombastic production is just great and the sound of the band is that of excellent riffs and wonderful musical progressions. I like the way the album flows together, it almost has a serial or concept nature and every song flows into the next seamlessly. Every song has this big-sounding chorus that gets stuck in your head and feels uplifting when listening to it. It all feels rich with beautiful and carefully crafted melodies. Not a second of time is wasted on the record. Right from the opening track “Love Enforcer”  I was presented with amazing use of lyrical imagery and a great sense of presence and tone. 

Overall, I would say that this was a rather impressive listening experience. The songs are superb and the band just have the charisma of megastars. If you like your power metal bands then, Fortress Under Siege is well worth your time and Atlantis is an amazing epic of a record. The album touches on themes of ancient Hellenic mythology and Trojan royalty. They even give social commentary on helicopter parenting and bullying. The lyrics are multilayered but also you can get a lot just from the surface level too. If you want some good power metal in your life that you may have never considered before, this is the band for you.

8/10

Mick Birchall

Iza’s Highlights of 2020

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , on 31st December 2020 by izaforestspirit

What a strange year… One of the worst in recent history. 2020 will go down in history as the year of the Covid 19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. A year of lockdowns, cancellations, quarantines, sickness and death. Yet despite all this hardship, 2020 was also a year during which some great music was created. So as we look to a better and healthier 2021, let’s look back at some of the good stuff that came out this year. Here are my highlights of 2020:

1. Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos
Genre: Alternative Rock

MARILYN MANSON | We are chaos - Nuclear Blast
  • Just when I think that Marilyn Manson’s well of creativity has run dry after the last two studio efforts, he returned with what is quite possibly his strongest album in decades. As written in my review ‘We Are Chaos’ “sounds like the spiritual little brother of Mechanical Animals”. Favorite tracks: ‘Half-Way & One Step Forward’, ‘Don’t Chase The Dead’ and the title track.

    2. Vader – Solitude in Madness
    Genre: Death Metal
Vader - Solitude in Madness
  • If you are planning to check out some death metal this year I would strongly recommend giving ‘Solitude In Madness’ a listen. Classic Vader doing what they do best. If you like death metal with thrash metal tinge (aka death-thrash metal) then this is the album for you. Favorite tracks: ‘Shock And Awe’, ‘Emptiness’ and ‘Into Oblivion’.

    3. Carach Angren – Frackensteina Strataemontanus
    Genre:Symphonic Black Metal

Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus
  • A new discovery for me. A friend of mine recommended this band to me and after watching some of their videos I was hooked. I’m surprised that it took me this long to find out about them. They are similar to bands such as Dimmu Borgir (old stuff), Cradle of Filth and Chthonic. This symphonic horror masterpiece is my favorite symphonic black metal album of 2020. Favorite tracks: ‘Monster’, ‘Operation Compass’ and ‘Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam’.

    4. Apocalyptica – Cell 0
    Genre: Symphonic Heavy Metal
Apocalyptica - Cell-0
  • Apocalyptica have gone back to basics with this album. ‘Cello 0’ is predominantly instrumental except for the final track. Heavy metal cellos and drum work never sounded so good. Favorite tracks: ‘Ashes of The Modern World’ and ‘Fire & Ice’.

    5. Mono Inc. – The Book of Fire
    Genre: Gothic Rock / Gothic Metal

Mono Inc. - The Book Of Fire (2020, CD) | Discogs
  • I cannot get enough of Mono Inc and their ultra catchy Gothic Metal. ‘The Book of Fire’ came out at the start of the year and I still haven’t got bored of it. I would recommend it to fans of Gothic metal and dark rock. Favorite tracks: ‘Louder Than Hell’, ‘Warriors’ and ‘Shining Light’ (feat. Tilo Wolff from Lacrimosa).

    6. Heimataerde – Eigengrab
    Genre: Aggrotech / Medieval Folk-electronica / Industrial Metal

Out of Line Shop Heimataerde - Eigengrab - 2CD Out of Line Shop
  • Not too many industrial or electronica releases caught my attention this year. There were some good EPs and Suicide Commando’s reworked version of ‘Mindstrip’ known as ‘Mindstrip Redux’. One album that did earn a spot in my top 10 however, is the latest work from the German medieval folk electronica band Heimataerde. The physical version comes with an audio book of a Gothic horror story called ‘Krak Megalon’ on which the songs are based on. If you’re a non-German speaker you will be pleased to know that there is an English version read by Candia McKormack (Inkubus Sukkubus’ available for download and on Youtube. Favorite tracks ‘Kind Der Nacht’, ‘Bei meiner Ehr’’ and ‘Tanz’.

    7. Fjøsnisse – Unleashed Hymns
    Genre: Black Metal

    It’s been a surprisingly good year for black metal. Carach Angren wasn’t my only new discovery. Another band I go into this year was the Norwegian black metal artist Fjøsnisse. Imagine a keyboardless old Dimmu Borgir mixed with Kampfar and you will have a pretty good idea of what ‘Unleashed Hymns’ sounds like. Favorite tracks: ‘The Nine Lords’ and ‘The Wanderer’.

    8. Amduscia – Existe
    Genre: Aggrotech / Electro-Industrial

Amduscia - Existe (2020, CD) | Discogs
  • More electronica. This time it is the Mexican Aggrotech trio Amduscia. Even during the lockdown I had lots of fun dancing to this trance-infused electro-industrial opus. Favorite tracks: ‘Existe’, ‘Muerte Sin Control’.

    9. Lord of The Lost – Swan Songs III
    Genre: Dark Rock, Gothic metal / Symphonic Metal
Swan Songs III | Lord Of The Lost
  • Another successful classic ensemble album from the German dark rockers Lord of The Lost. The only reason why this is so low down on my list is that to me this one was not as memorable as ‘Swan Songs II’. Having said that it’s still a very good album. Favorite tracks ‘Dying on The Moon (feat. Joy Frost)’ and ‘One Ton Heart’.

    10. Auger – Insurgence
    Genre: Darkwave / Industrial Rock

INSURGENCE | Auger | darkTunes
  • The only darkwave entry on my list. The British duo Auger sound like a mixture of Gothminister, Blutengel and Depeche Mode. This album came out during the first lockdown in the United Kingdom. That did not stop these guys from promoting it from the comfort of their homes. Favorite tracks: ‘Insurgence’, ‘November Angel’ and ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong (ft. Imogen Evans)’. If you are interested, check out my interview with Auger https://valkyrianmusic.com/2020/06/29/interview-with-auger/

Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony – S&M2 also came out this year. I really enjoyed it but I decided not include it in my top 10 list as I do not feature live albums. If you are a longtime fan of Metallica and you liked the first S&M album, then I would strongly recommend it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m6smR-M2qg&list=OLAK5uy_kk8e2nZ8vPfY6sYvVAQByjHit_3QdoJQw
Other honorable mentions: Behemoth – A Forest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYZdaYobCSU
VV (Ville Valo) – Gothica Fennica vol.1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kTHdAgxLCg&list=RD5JprzAIKzoc&index=3
and Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuzyA5gDa4E

Concerts were a rarity this year. I am very glad that I got to attend the ones that were not cancelled. So instead of gigs I have decided to include my favorite live streams of 2020:

  1. Behemoth – In Absentia Dei
  2. Metallica – All Within My Hands Helping Hands Charity live stream
  3. Lacrimosa – World Wide livestream
  4. Two Witches – Lockdown Live
  5. Auger – Christmas Live stream

Most anticipated albums of 2021:
New albums from Cradle of Filth, Bodom After Midnight, Suicide Commando and Blutengel plus hopefully many more.

Happy New Year Everyone! Here’s to a better, healthier 2021!

Iza Raittila

Pieni’s Highlights of 2020

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2020 by Pieni

Usually, my gig highlights are my favorite concerts among dozens I’ve seen during the year. As COVID-19 didn’t allow me to go to more than 4 live events in 2020, they ended up being all highlights just because they’ve happened… To complete the usual top-5, I’ve added a live stream – not my favorite, to be honest, but the no. 1 live stream was by the band already taking the 1st place of this ranking, plus CrashDïet was one of my first cancelled shows due to the pandemic, so being able to see a streamed one meant a lot:

humadrid

  1. Hollywood Undead at La Riviera (Madrid)
  2. Infraktor at Mangualde HardMaetal Fest (Mangualde)
  3. Revolution Within at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. Moonspell at Super Bock Arena (Porto)
  5. CrashDïet at Twenty Studios (live stream)

Records:

HUNewEmpireVol1cover

  1. “New Empire – Vol. 1” by Hollywood Undead
  2. “Obsidian” by Paradise Lost
  3. “Moment” by Dark Tranquillity
  4. “A Whisp Of The Atlantic” by Soilwork
  5. “Titans Of Creation” by Testament

Videos:

  1. “Death Diviner” by Soilwork
  2. “Nightmare” by Hollywood Undead
  3. “The Promise” by Vëlla
  4. “Obey” by Bring Me The Horizon
  5. “Divynils” by The Night Flight Orchestra

Expectations for 2021? CONCERTS! That’s pretty much what I’m waiting/hoping for! Also, the new Hills Have Eyes album, which have been featured in my expectations for the past two years, but this time there’s a title and an artwork, so I guess this time’s for real…

Happy New Year folks!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Dio – The Studio Collection 1996 – 2004

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , , , , , , on 12th November 2020 by Mickelrath

Dio
Angry Machines / Magica / Killing The Dragon / Master of the Moon
Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Heavy Metal
Originally Release Year: 1996/2000/2002/2004
Release Date:  February 21, 2020 via BMG and Niji Entertainment Group Inc

If there is one band that I can safely say shaped how I hear music to this day I would definitely say Ronnie James Dio and his hard rock/heavy metal collective. Dio are up there as one of the many bands I would sit and listen to for hours on end. I remember my Dad playing me songs like Holy Diver, Rock ‘n’ Roll Children and many others which captivated my attention and informed my music taste. Ronnie James Dio, is an icon to the world of heavy metal. His distinct vocals and descriptive poetry are just the stuff of dreams for the genre. His heavy metal stories are still looked fondly upon today for any and all musicians. Simply put, if you listen, play or even pay the slightest attention to the genre then Dio is a famous and influential name. I remember sitting at my Dad’s computer desk listening to song after song from him and unknowingly learning how his influence is seen everywhere in the genre then and still to this day. 

As much as I would love to spend all day looking over the entire career of Ronnie, and maybe one day I will. Here, I will only be discussing 4 albums. The last four albums of the band Dio. 1996’s Angry Machines, 2000’s Magica, 2002’s Killing The Dragon and 2004’s Master of the Moon. Now, in 2020 we have been given remasters of these four albums and I have to say they sound really good. I mean, get yourself an up-to-date sound system and enjoy heavy metal in its purest form. Those last two albums are both albums that I got on their original release and listened to with my Dad but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’ll get to those.  Just as an opening statement about these remasters before we get properly started. They’re pretty good. If you like classic heavy metal done well and sounding nice and crisp, I would highly recommend picking up the new remasters.

Firstly, let’s cover the 1996 album Angry Machines. This would be the last studio album with the original drummer Vinnie Appice. It would also serve as the last studio album appearance from guitarist Tracy Grijalva. The main remaster of the original songs is really good. You get this fresh crisp sound to the songs and it sounds a lot better. The bass booms and the drumwork sounds commanding. The overall tone of the album feels bigger and some of my favourite tunes from the record like “Hunter of the Heart” and “Big Sister” sound so good in a whole new way. The opening song “Institutional Man” is a cold mechanical song that leads into the heart of the album’s themes really nicely. Themes of the de-humanisation of mankind and the really oppressive overtone. It’s one of the heavier albums from Dio. A mix of doom and stoner rock that thud along. The riffs coming through loud and powerful with the commanding vocals of Dio captivate and enthrall. This would probably be the album that most general hard rock fans might miss in the Dio repertoire and is certainly not the album that I would say best represents his finest work. However, I feel like as part of the 90’s metal scene it was a good fit. Metal being in that period of crossover between old school and new school. That battle rages on this record as you can hear glimpses of Dio’s old-school ways mixed with a smattering of different metal styling. It feels very much like a band that was throwing everything at the wall to see what stuck. Unless you’re a hardcore fan of Ronnie, this might be one to skip. 

5/10

Moving forward a few years let’s cover Ronnie’s record from 2000, Magica. This album marked the return of guitarist Craig Goldy, who also had performed on Dio‘s 1987 album Dream Evil and in the 2004’s Master of the Moon. Magica also features Jimmy Bain on bass and Simon Wright on drums. Ronnie produced this album and originally planned for it to be the first as part of a trilogy of concept albums and was planning to release them after touring with Heaven and Hell. Sadly, Dio passed away on May 16, 2010 and the only song released from this potential project was titled “Electra”, which is included on this remastered edition. This album feels like a Dio album of old with themes and stories of mysticism, swords and sorcery, tales of otherworldly places and pure fantasy. This is Dio’s bread and butter. The album contains a much brighter and more hopeful sounding band than Angry Machines with lighter guitar and tighter production. It feels so much more consistent and, for lack of a better term, like a Dio album. The guitar solos that Goldy provides are hard-hitting and powerful and coupled with the strong rhythm section played by Bain and Wright and you get music that has more of a beating heart. The opening selection of tunes really set a great tone and get you captivated in this concept album and get you invested in the story that Ronnie is trying to convey. The album just allows you to become lost in its aura, making the story moments intriguing and the pure rock ‘n’ roll moments a real treat. I could personally do without the small interludes breaking up the album, I suppose it’s to flesh out the concept but they don’t add much to the overall listening experience. It feels like it’s more there to pad out the run time. Which isn’t really necessary as the album is pretty lengthy as is. It’s weird listening to “Electra” today. A hint as to what was to come from this icon before his demise. Although the audio quality is not great from a musical perspective, Dio’s vocals are sublime and I feel robbed from the potential project that never was. I would love to hear what Magica II and III would have been. However, Magica itself was a pleasant listen and one worth revisiting to this day.

8/10

Jumping right along now to 2002 and what was my personal introduction to the master himself. It’s definitely up there as one of my favourite albums from Dio, Killing The Dragon. I was a 10 year old kid when this was initially released and I can remember spending time at my dad’s computer playing video games and listening to this record. This album introduced guitarist Doug Aldrich (of Whitesnake fame) to the band. Goldy co-wrote some of the songs before leaving the band and you can hear his fingerprints in places here. This would be their final album with bassist Jimmy Bain. I love this album so much. Like everything about it. This album was such a huge part of my heavy metal christening. It led me to so many bands and informed so much of my personal music taste that I couldn’t really put it into words. Hearing this remaster is quite nice, the songs are just as powerful today as they were back in the day. Aldrich’s solos are very different from previous guitarists. Much more flash and flair to them, more effect pedals were used and they feel much more freeform. It’s like Aldrich was improvising on the day of recording. Though, if you listen carefully, each part is so well constructed and he uses the songs to just build and build. Songs like “Better in the Dark” and “Along Comes a Spider” just evoke that classic Dio sound that old fans, no doub, would love. Dio, sounds so lively here. His vocals are as excellent as ever and you are reminded of why he is the legend he is. The titular “dragon” of the album title refers to modern technology. Dio has expressed his concerns with it possibly threatening society in the future and felt like we needed to rebel against it. I think that in 2020 and the world now revolving around smart technology and peoples reliance on it, this album is more prevalent than ever. The album has some dark themes amongst the bright hopeful rock n roll. Songs like “Throw Away The Children”, “Guilty” and the title track “Killing The Dragon” have very foreboding lyrics. Yet, the heavily charged rock music keeps the pace of the album going and at no point does it linger. Dio gets in, makes his points and gets out. Leaving you with heavy moral questions and entertaining you at the same time. There’s just so much to ponder and enjoy with this album and it’s why I love it so much!

10/10

Finally on this review-rollercoaster, our last section will take us to 2004 and the final ever Dio album, Master of the Moon. If Ronnie has to leave his name-saken band with any sort of legacy, Master of the Moon is not a bad one to leave it on. For this album we see the return of Craig Goldy on guitars, Simon Wright on the drums and long time collaborator Scott Warren  on the keyboard. On bass guitar for this record Dio had Jeff Pilson, from Dokken. A commanding line up and one that delivered a damn fine album. Though, for me personally I don’t enjoy it as much as Killing The Dragon, objectively this is a good record. Deep themes interlaced with well constructed hard rock music with well performed instrumentals and Dio singing his heart out. The production is well put together with every piece of instrumentation doing their work and it all comes together really nicely. Yet, ultimately there feels like there’s something missing. There’s no standout songs, the album just blends together. If we’re comparing all of the remasters in this review, this lacks the aggression of Angry Machines, the imagination of Magica and the passion and persistent drive of Killing The Dragon. It mostly serves its purpose of more Dio music. It’s decently written and competently performed however it lacks that real power that would capture your attention. It’s not even hitting that nostalgia vibe as it doesn’t really capture the 80’s Dio sound that made him famous. It’s not bad by any means however, revisiting this albumin this remaster it just hits the middle of the road. Which is not what you want from the larger than life metal icon. 

6/10

This remaster adventure has been really fun and made me really think about what I look for in a Dio record which makes me think about my taste in heavy metal in general. The man was a legend, no doubt. His star will never fade and my love for his music will never die. He had one of the most complete and commanding careers in the genre. He worked with so many musicians and was a complete product of his era, which informed the genres of rock and heavy metal to a great extent. For me, he was an eye opener. Someone I truly looked up to and it pains me to this day that I never got the opportunity to see him in concert. A true master of his craft and a respective icon for generations to come.

Mick Birchall

Lumous Gothic Festival XX – Final Episode

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Festival, Gig with tags , , , , , , , , , on 13th July 2020 by izaforestspirit

Finland’s biggest Gothic music event Lumous Gothic Festival celebrated its twentieth anniversary this year. The original plan was for this year to be the last Lumous with the final edition of the festival taking place in July 2020. The on-going worldwide coronavirus pandemic meant that the plans had to be drastically altered. There was a very realistic possibility that the event would have to be canceled like many others have been. Luckily, thanks to the low infection rates within Finland and successful preventative measures, small scale events were permitted with restricted access based on the capacity of the venue. Due to the international travel restrictions, only a handful of local bands were able to perform and the only venue available to host the event was a small pub in the city centre called Dog’s Home. In addition to the live performances, the event was also streamed live via the festival’s Facebook page.

Now before I go into more detail about this year’s event, I would like to tell you a bit about my own personal experience of Lumous Gothic Festival. 2020 marks the eighth year of my participation in the festival. My first Lumous was in 2012. Since then I have not missed a single Lumous Gothic Festival. It has become one of the highlights of my summer. I have met some really nice people there and I discovered several new bands including: Das Ich, Shiv-R, Auger, Raven Said, Sleetgrout and Sekret Teknik.

Shiv-R, archive photo from their show at Lumous Gothic Festival 2016
DAS ICH
Das Ich, archive photo taken from their performance at Lumous Gothic Festival 2019

Sadly this year I was unable to attend it due to the restricted access and the limited capacity of the venue but I still managed to stream the event online from their Facebook page.

This time line up comprised four Finnish bands: Chaos Research (neo-classical/darkwave/ambient), Old School Union (EBM with punk influences), Sekret Teknik (synth-wave) and Gothic rock legends Two Witches.

Friday 10th July 2020 (live stream)

I have actually seen Chaos Research live at the same venue two years ago so I pretty much knew what to expect from the live stream. They managed to create a chilled-out atmosphere thanks to the operatic vocals combined with the electric cello and drums. Not my kind of music but if you are into neo-folk or dark ambient then you will probably enjoy this.

Archive photo, taken from the performance at Lumous Gothic Festival 2018

https://chaosresearch.bandcamp.com/

Oldschool Union were highly entertaining to watch. I like some some old school EBM but I’m not the biggest fan of punk. The performance was fun and amusing to see. I particularly liked the song ‘Vartalovasara’.

Image may contain: one or more people

https://www.facebook.com/Oldschool-Union-

Saturday 11th July 2020 (live stream)

I have only just discovered Sekret Teknik a few days ago. I liked their performance and their take on the synthwave genre. My personal favorite part of the show was the song ‘Nightsky’.

Image may contain: 3 people, people sitting and sunglasses

https://sekretteknik.bandcamp.com/

Then it was time for the band that has been involved with the festival right from the start. Two Witches front-man Jyrki Witch is one of the organizers of the event. Two Witches were the first band at the very first Lumous Gothic Festival back in 2001 so it was only fitting for them to be the closing act the final chapter of Lumous. It was an acoustic show. They played some of my favorites including ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’ along with some newer tracks such as ‘Spirit Sacrifice’. Unfortunately I missed some of the live steam due to a connection problem.

Archive photo taken from their performance at Lumous Gothic Festival 2016

https://www.facebook.com/Two-Witches-Official-

Jyrki Witch also announced the winners of the Lumous 2020 Award – Club Gothic Night.

So that was it. After twenty years Lumous Gothic Festival has come to end. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the event for the past eight years. Hopefully there will be something new emerging from the Finnish Gothic scene to fill its place. Kiitos Lumous Gothic Festival! You will be missed.

Iza Raittila

Mick’s Gig Highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Gig, Live, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , on 5th January 2020 by Mickelrath

2019 was a great year for going to gigs and an even better one for seeing band I never thought I would have the opportunity to see. Great discoveries and fun bands that I wouldn’t have had the chance to see if I didn’t take a risk and just get to the shows. So I thought to round off the year and to relive some memories. This is not a complete list of everything I went to see, just some really great highlights.

February

Godsmack w/ Like A Storm @ The Ritz, Manchester

Starting of 2019 was a real dream come true. I finally got to see a metal band that I have long admired. It had been over 14 years since the last time, Godsmack had actually toured in the UK. So with the release of their latest album, When Legends Rise they finally made the time to get out to the UK. I got my ticket and got to this show. Yeah, it blew me away. Opening the show was another band that I had always wanted to see, Like A Storm. So overall, this looked like it was going to a gig that was handcrafted for me.  Both bands freaking nailed their set! As for me, finally getting to see Godsmack live in concert, was such a treat. Getting to hear some of my favourite songs like, “Voodoo”, “I Stand Alone”, “Awake”, “Cryin’ Like A Bitch” was great and it’s so nice to report that Godsmack is an incredible live band. I had heard mixed things for so long about their live sets but on the night, the band, the crowd and the atmosphere was truly excellent.

March

Skarlett Riot w/ Sister Shotgun and Fahran @ The Flapper Birmingham

What a birthday treat. Getting to see one of my favourite bands with some excellent support acts to boot. It was my first time checking out Sister Shotgun and I have to say that I was really impressed, their mix of glam rock and heavy metal reached me and I ended up picking up their albums after the show. Fahran is always a treat when they play live and by this point, in the night the crowd was building up a little so there was a little bit of an atmosphere. Then you Skarlett Riot… Well, there’s a reason they’re one of my favourite bands. They really bring their A-game to every show. They’re one of those bands that love being on stage and entertaining the fans. With every song, the crowd was singing along with the band and at times the crowd was louder. They continue to be one of my favourite bands and with the announcement that they will be getting around making some new music, you know I’ll be front and centre whenever they return to the stage.

 

 

May

Mutant Monster w/ The Innocent Bystanders and The Papashangos @ Jimmy’s, Manchester

This is the result of deciding to go to a gig at the last minute. I heard about this gig on a Monday, bought the ticket on a Wednesday, went to the show on Friday and wrote and uploaded the review on Saturday. This was a crazy experience. Before going to the show I didn’t know any of the bands playing and yet, when I got to the show, I felt right at home in the crowd. The drinks were flowing, the music was loud and the atmosphere felt just right. The opening bands were enough to get the energy flowing in the venue, with the rough sounds of The Innocent Bystanders was a great welcome for punk fans. The Papashangos injected the venue with a lot of life and energy. Then you have Mutant Monster, oh what to say about them? They were excellent. The Japanese punk-rock trio lifted the spirits of the Manchester crowd and got them moving and shouting. They were truly something else, playing right through an hour and forty-five minute set with little to no breaks or even slowing down. I was impressed by the mere stamina of them. Trust me, you’ll want to see all three of these bands if you get the chance.

 

June

Muse w/ Tom Morello and Pale Waves @ Etihad Stadium, Manchester

So this was the centre-piece of the year. Also the most expensive show of the year, with a £75 price tag. Let me say this right now, it was definitely worth it. This wasn’t just a concert, it was a spectacle. Opening up the show was Manchester-based rockers, Pale Waves. Who were decent though I feel their set was dampened by the rain. That being one of the pitfalls of playing an open-top stadium. However, the night dried up and Rage Against The Machine legend Tom Morello took the stage by storm. His guitar skill is something to be envied. Also, he brought a charity group on stage to sing the anthem “Killing In The Name”. Then you have, Muse, another band that I have always wanted to see, so finally getting to see this show was an amazing experience. They are just such an enigmatic act to watch. Their stage show in itself was amazing with a giant catwalk going to the middle of the crowd, backing musicians and a giant cyborg mutant creature. The set was a great mix of new and old material with the main part of the set dedicated to the latest album Simulation Theory. It was one night that I will never forget.

 

November

Anneke Van Giersbergen @ Effenaar, Eindhoven

I bought the tickets for this show as soon as it was announced and I made an entire holiday around this concert. For the longest of time Anneke Van Giersbergen has been one of my favourite singers, songwriters and performers. So, flying to the Netherlands for her 25th Anniversary show was a pleasure. Getting to see the great city of Eindhoven was a really nice part of my holiday and then there’s this show. The show was broken down into four parts. The classical part, where Anneke performed with a string orchestra and Within Temptation singer Sharon den Adel came on to play “Somewhere”. That honestly brought a tear to my eye. Then the rock part with Agua de Annique and playing some of her songs from her solo career and The Gathering. Next was the acoustic segment with Danny Cavanagh from Anathema, a beautiful moment of the set. Then ending on the metal set with Vuur. The variety of the show and Anneke’s genuine and soulful performance made this a night for the ages.

 

December

Tantric w/ Scarcasm and Attic Theory @ Fac251, Manchester

Finally, the show that I had waited for pretty much all my life. My all-time favourite band finally toured the UK and I got to see them play! The openers Scarcasm and Attic Theory rocked the night and set the crowd up well. However, actually seeing Tantric was such an experience. I still can’t believe this happened. Getting to hear the classic hits like “Breakdown” and “Mourning” and mixed with a great set that represented their whole career, for me this was the ultimate experience. The only sad thing is that there wasn’t much of a crowd to speak of. Maybe playing on a Sunday at the start of December in Manchester wasn’t the best time to get people out to a venue. So that was kinda bad, but I didn’t care and I don’t think the band did either. They were just happy to be playing to new people in a different country and I was happy for them. This was their first time in the UK and hopefully not their last!

Mick Birchall

Iza’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again. Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. 2019 was a eventful year for alternative music. There was a lot of new material that caught my attention which made selecting a top 10 much more difficult than last year. After much deliberation I have narrowed it down to the following albums:

1. Eluveitie – Antegnatos
Genre: Folk Metal
Eluveitie - Ategnatos
2. Children of Bodom – Hexed
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/ Power Metal
Children of Bodom - Hexed

3. The 69 Eyes – West End
Genre: Goth n’Roll/ Gothic Rock
The 69 Eyes - West End

4. Mgła – Age of Excuse
Genre: Black Metal
Mgła - Age of Excuse
5. Combichrist – One Fire
Genre: Industrial Metal/Electro-Industrial
Combichrist - One Fire - CD

6. Hocico – Artificial Extiction
Genre: Electro- Industrial/ Aggrotech
Hocico - Artificial Extinction - CD

7. Blutengel – Un:Gott
Genre: Synth-pop/Darkwave

8. Darkthrone – Old Star
Genre: Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Darkthrone - Old Star

9. Sabaton – The Great War
Genre: Power Metal
Sabaton - The Great War
10. Ad Inferna – Des Diables et Des Dieux
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Honorable mentions:
Aurelio Voltaire – She’s Glowing
Taken from the album What Are The Oddz?

God Module – Cross My Heart
Taken from the album The Unsound

Scandroid – The Writing’s On The Wall
Taken from the album The Light

The long-awaited new Rammstein album also came out this year. Sadly, despite a having handful of great songs including ‘Deutschland’, it was a little disappointing. I expected more from them after a decade of waiting.

Best live show of 2019
Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Runners up, honorable mentions go to: Behemoth live in Tampere and Blutengel live at Hellsinki Industrial.

New discoveries for 2019
Raven Said, Priest and Cygnosic

Most anticipated releases for 2020
a new albums from Helloween and Vader
Mono Inc- The Book of Fire
Celldweller – Satellites

That’s all from me. Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Pieni’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by Pieni

2019 was a bumpy ride and despite attending fewer shows and writing less for Valkyrian Music, this past year still had plenty of memorable moments. Here’s my favorite live ones:

samaellnmf19

  1. Samael at Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão (Louro)
  2. Infraktor at Vagos Metal Fest (Vagos)
  3. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. D.A.D. at Hard Club (Porto)
  5. Overkill at Hard Club (Porto)

Records:

Rust

  1. “Rust” by CrashDïet
  2. “We Defy” by Equaleft
  3. “Verkligheten” by Soilwork
  4. “West End” by The 69 Eyes
  5. “I, The Mask” by In Flames

Thank you Ozzy for filming the kind of music video I like the most – with an actual story to it. In the absence of that, something amusing and/or featuring visual impact will do:

  1. “Under The Graveyard” by Ozzy Osbourne
  2. “Idiots” by CrashDïet
  3. “Deutschland” by Rammstein
  4. “Trve As Fvck” by Hills Have Eyes
  5. “Already Dead” by Hollywood Undead

I have a handful of expectations for 2020 but, at the moment, I believe these are the ones I’m most eager about:

HHE2019

  1. The Hills Have Eyes new album and its release show (no date announced yet but hopefully it won’t be postponed much longer).
  2. The Hollywood Undead new album, “New Empire, Vol. 1”, and their gig in Madrid which I’ll be attending in a couple of months.
  3. W.A.S.P. will embark on a tour where they’ll only play songs out of their first four albums. Already got my ticket for the Barcelona show.
  4. Sister posted something on their Facebook page which included a #newalbum, so I’m looking forward to that as well.
  5. Seems like Kiss are saying goodbye to the stages. Whether this is indeed their last tour or not, I won’t miss it.

Happy New Year!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Pieni’s highlights of 2018

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , on 1st January 2019 by Pieni

And here’s that time of the year again. It was tricky to choose among so many great gigs I’ve attended in 2018 but here they are:

infraktorcorrosc3a3o48

  1. Infraktor at Origens Caffé (Ponte de Vagos)
  2. Dark Tranquillity at Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão (Louro)
  3. Primordial at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. Web at Hard Club (Porto)
  5. Helloween at Pavillón Multiusos Fontes do Sar (Santiago de Compostela)

Out of the recording studios come these:

exhaustinf

  1. “Exhaust” by Infraktor
  2. “I Loved You At Your Darkest” by Behemoth
  3. “You Can’t Kill My Rock’N’Roll” by Hardcore Superstar
  4. “Eonian” by Dimmu Borgir
  5. “Decadence” by The Ransack

Most bands go for lyric videos nowadays, or just film themselves performing somewhere. I really appreciate when there’s more than that: like these:

  1. “Bring The House Down” by Hardcore Superstar
  2. “Stålfågel” by Soilwork
  3. “When The Seasons Change” by Five Finger Death Punch
  4. “Burn” by Corroded
  5. “Give Me Leather” by Gama Bomb

As for my expectations for this new year, here’s what I’m most eager about right now:

wedefyticket

  1. Equaleft‘s “We Defy” is going to be released in 2019 after all; already have my ticket – number one! – to the release party.
  2. Hills Have Eyes new album should see the light of day as well. Stoked like you can’t imagine (or maybe you can, ha ha).
  3. Have Soilwork’s “Verkligheten” to review – can already advance that I loved it! Looking forward to see them live with this.
  4. The Godiva have been announced to play at Vagos Metal Fest… with an orchestra! Pretty sure it’s going to be mind-blowing!
  5. I’m still waiting for news from the Breaking Today camp, but since half of the band plays in Hills Have Eyes as well, I guess they won’t find the time to do both… So I’ll replace them with In Flames on this list, as their new album is set to be released in February.

Happy New Year peeps!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Pieni’s highlights of 2017

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 1st January 2018 by Pieni

2017 was quite the roller-coaster, hence my somewhat absence. But that doesn’t mean I’ve paid less attention. My live highlights this past year were:

22780426_1730510013649117_7952868535505070749_n

  1. W.A.S.P. at O2 Forum Kentish Town (London)
  2. Infraktor at Metalpoint (Porto)
  3. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. Ugly Kid Joe at AgitÁgueda (Águeda)
  5. Hills Have Eyes at River Stone (Penafiel)

In terms of records I might have been a bit careless, but these titles are awesome nevertheless:

heartlessoppressor

  1. “Heartless Oppressor” by Primal Attack
  2. “1755” by Moonspell
  3. “Infinite Shadows Of Memories” by The End Of Grace
  4. “Hegemony” by Samael
  5. “Medusa” by Paradise Lost

Top-5 videos:

  1. “In Tremor Dei” by Moonspell
  2. “Never Quit” by Hills Have Eyes
  3. “Like Orpheus” by Orphaned Land
  4. “Blood And Chaos” by Paradise Lost
  5. “Black Flag” by Iced Earth

And expectations/anticipations for 2018:

infexhaust

  1. The release of “Exhaust”, Infraktor‘s debut album!
  2. After the single “Never Quit” blowing my mind away, can’t wait to see what Hills Have Eyes will deliver next.
  3. The release of “Dropout”, Breaking Today’s debut EP, and how it will turn out live (pretty dynamic, I’m sure).
  4. Crashdïet have a new singer, Gabriel Keyes, and judging by the first single featuring him, “We Are The Legion”, I foresee a bright future for the Swedes.
  5. Just a few days ago, in what I’ve considered one of their best live shows ever, Equaleft played two new songs, two powerful new songs. Hoping to listen to the rest of this upcoming second full-length album in 2018.

Happy New Year folks!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Edguy – Monuments (A 25 Year Tribute to Edguy)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , , , , , on 9th July 2017 by Mickelrath
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

Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (Part 2: Metal)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Time for the second part of my highlights of 2016, the metal edition. This part was much harder to write than the first because it took me a long time to chose my top ten metal of albums and even longer to decide on the winner. So here are my top ten favourite metal releases of 2016:

1. Vader – The Empire
Genre: Death Metal

This year, Vader strikes back with ‘The Empire’… Let’s face it, they were kind of asking for comments like this with that kind of an album title. Star Wars jokes aside, this is a really good piece of work. If you’re looking for some new death metal to check out, I would strongly recommend this album. Unlike their previous work, the masterpiece that was ‘Tibi et Igni’, ‘The Empire’ shows a back to basics approach. No complex structures or atmospheric intros, just good, old-school thrashy death metal. Best tracks: ‘Iron Reign’, ‘No Gravity’ and ‘Army-Geddon’.

2. Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
Genre: Hard Rock/Industrial Metal

This year’s runner up deserves an award for coming up with the one of the longest album titles in years. I tend to refer to it simply as ‘The Electric Warlock’… Whilst still no match for his first two albums, ‘The Electric Warlock’ is Rob Zombie’s best work in years. Favourite tracks ‘The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore’, ‘In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’ and the ultra cheesy but super catchy ‘The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God’.

3. Devilment – II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal

For those of you who read my highlights of 2015, you might remember my comments on the latest Cradle of Filth album. This year their vocalist Dani Filth has been busy working on the second album for his other band Devilment. ‘II- The Mephisto Waltzes’ is a delightful opus which happily mixes a variety of metal genres including Gothic, symphonic and groove metal. There’s even a touch of humour in the lyrics and several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Best tracks are ‘Hitchcock Blonde’, ‘Dea Della Morte’ and ‘Full, Dark No Stars’.

4. Mortiis – The Great Deceiver
Genre: Industrial Metal

Ever since the Norwegian musician Mortiis started his own band in the mid ’90s, there has been some debate as to what category their music fits into. The older works are very much dark ambient, followed by the synth-pop period of ‘Smell of Rain, turning into the latest era of industrial rock. Their latest effort, the ultra creepy -sounding ‘The Great Deceiver’ is undoubtedly their heaviest and most complex album to date which is why I chose to include it in my metal top 10. Best tracks: ‘Doppelganger’, ‘Demons are Back’ and ‘Shining Lamp of God’.

5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Moonsorrow caught my attention after I saw them live at Tampere Metal Meeting Festival in the summer. I like some of their older material and after hearing some of the new songs live I decided to check out their newest album ‘Jumalten aika’. This is one of those releases where there are no real outstanding tracks, but rather the whole album is worth listening to in full. It’s one of the best pieces of pagan black metal that I’ve heard in a long while.

6. The Vision Bleak – The Unknown
Genre: Gothic Horror Metal

German Gothic horror metal duo The Vision Bleak are back with a new album. ‘The Unknown’ struck me as being somewhat “Lovecraftian”, both in the visual concept of the cover art and the the lyrical themes. Musically it is in every bit that you can expect from a Vision Bleak album; eerie Gothic horror metal with some doom influences added creating the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Best tracks ‘The Kindred of The Sunset’ and ‘Into the Unknown’.

7. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Genre: Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal

Just in case anyone is wondering why the new Metallica is so low down on this list, the truth is that I expected it to be better than it turned out to be. After all, it’s been eight years since their last studio album. Needless to say that the expectations were high. I wasn’t expecting this to be another ‘Master of Puppets’ or ‘Ride the Lightning’ but I was hoping for something along the lines of ‘Death Magnetic’ which I really enjoyed. Luckily ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ isn’t as bad as ‘St. Anger’ but it’s hardly a masterpiece. To be honest I think that it would be have been better off as an EP with just four or five tracks instead of the 12 songs and 13 music videos. I definitely like the first disc more than the second one and my favourites include: ‘Moth To The Flame’, ‘Dream No More’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’.

8. Sabaton – The Last Stand
Genre: Power Metal

Sabaton are one of the very few power metal bands that I like. I’ve always enjoyed their live shows and I’m very fond of the concept album ‘Carolus Rex’. As with all Sabaton albums, their latest piece of work doesn’t disappoint as far as the historical themes go. This one tells the stories of eleven defensive “last stand” battles. Each song focuses on a different battle from various historical events ranging from ancient Greece, medieval Scotland, the two World Wars to Japan at the time of the samurais. That sounds awesome in principal, if only the actual music was that good. Sadly it isn’t. It’s ok but not great and most of the time Sabaton are just recycling old ideas, changing the themes but making similar music. The only tracks that I liked are: ‘Shiroyama’, ‘The Last Battalion’ and ‘Blood at Bannockburn’.

9. DevilDriver
Trust No One
Genre: Groove Metal

DevilDriver - Trust No One

The only real groove metal entry on this list, ‘Trust No One’ is DevilDriver’s best work in years. It is an aggressive beast of guitar-driven groove metal made all the more powerful thanks to Dez Fafara’s vicious growls. Best tracks: ‘Trust No One’ and ‘Daybreak’.

10. Theatres des Vampires – Candyland
Genre: Gothic Metal

It’s been a while since the Italian Gothic metal band Theatres des Vampires have released anything new. I’ve been a fan of their music for many years and so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of their latest piece of work. ‘Candyland’ is somewhat more metal-sounding than its predecessor ‘Moonlight Waltz’. There are notably less vampire themes on here compared to the previous album but other than that not much has changed. Sonya Scarlet is still the key figure in Theatres des Vampires. Whilst I still prefer their older works, back when Lord Vampyr was still a member of the band, I did enjoy this album. Best tracks ‘The Morgana Effect’ and ‘Resurrection Mary’.

 
Biggest New Discovery: Powerwolf
Best live show of 2016: Powerwolf live in Tampere
Most anticipated albums of 2017:
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
New albums from Cradle of Filth and (hopefully) Behemoth.

That’s all from me for now. Happy New Year!

Pieni’s highlights of 2016

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2016 by Pieni

This year it was really REALLY tough to choose just 5 shows (Sam Alone, The Mission and Heavenwood should also be there somewhere):
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  1. Hills Have Eyes at Canecas Bar (Paços de Ferreira)
  2. Sonic Syndicate at Göta Källare (Stockholm)
  3. Moonspell at Pavilhão Multiusos (Guimarães)
  4. More Than A Thousand at Time Out Market (Lisboa)
  5. Testament at Coliseu (Porto)

The albums were easier:
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  1. “Stand Up, Forward, March!” by Sister
  2. “Confessions” by Sonic Syndicate
  3. “Atoma” by Dark Tranquillity
  4. “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy…” by Ricky Warwick
  5. “Brotherhood Of The Snake” by Testament

My video top-5 is “lighter” than last year’s: two emotional, one a kind of tribute, and two funny as hell:

  1. “The Beat” by Satan Takes A Holiday
  2. “Make It Right” by Hills Have Eyes
  3. “I Apologize” by Five Finger Death Punch
  4. “The Great Disillusion” by Betraying The Martyrs
  5. “Call Me” by Pain

Anticipations/expectations for 2017:
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  1. Infraktor – a “gourmet thrash metal” all-star project who I’m proud of being close to, hence keeping tabs on. Let’s see how others will receive them.
  2. Hills Have Eyes – saw some new pictures of the boys in the studio. Needless to say I’m thrilled.
  3. Equaleft – yep, something’s still brewing…
  4. Five Finger Death Punch – “Got Your Six” isn’t my favorite 5FDP album but it’s still good enough. Let’s see if what they’re up to now pleases me more.
  5. Guns N’ Roses – this is a live expectation. I’m having totally mixed feelings about this reunion. Not even sure if I’ll go to the Portugal show, so I’m also expectant on what my final decision will be…

Happy New Year peeps!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (part 1: Industrial/EBM/darkwave)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

2016 is almost over which means that it’s now time for my annual “Best of” or “Highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year’s edition will be in two parts – industrial and metal. I’m still working on my list of top ten metal albums so I’ve decided to list the industrial ones first. So here are my favorite industrial/EBM and electro releases of 2016:

1. Lord of the Lost – Empyrean
Genre: Industrial Rock/Dark Rock

Lord of the Lost is a new discovery for me. I’ve been ignoring them for years, thinking that they were some sort of glam rock band. Then this year I had the pleasure of seeing them live when they supported Combichrist and I was totally blown away by their performance. I ended up buying all their albums. They sound like a mixture of HIM and Deathstars. ‘Empyrean’ is their heaviest and most complex album to date. Stand-out tracks: ‘Drag Me to Hell’ and ‘In Silence’

2. Heimataerde – Aerdenbrand
Genre: Medieval Industrial/Aggrotech

The German brotherhood of dark electro Templar knights are back with a new album. Fans of their work will know what to expect from this one; atmospheric dark electro with a medieval tinge. It’s a delightful mix of creepy and catchy Aggrotech with both ballads and dancefloor hits. Favourite tracks: ‘Fühl die Zeit (featuring Joachim Witt)’ and the kids’ nursery rhyme -inspired ‘Hick Hack Hackelbeil’.

3. Combichrist – This is Where Death Begins
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech

This album was not the easiest one to get into. Fans of Combichrist’s older songs will be shocked to discover just how guitar-driven this band has become. The previous album ‘We Love You’ was just a taster of what’s to come. The industrial and harsh electro elements are still present, but guitars are making inroads and they are here to stay. Combichrist is now an industrial rock band. As soon as you accept that you might actually start to enjoy this album. I did. Favourite songs: ‘Exit Eternity’, ‘My Life My Rules and ‘Skullcrusher’.

4. Memmaker – Let There Be Lasers
Genre – Power Noise/Rhythmic Noise

Eight years is a long time to wait for an album and that’s how long it’s been since Memmaker released their debut ‘How to Enlist a Robot Uprising’. Luckily the follow-up ‘Let The Be Lasers’ was worth the wait. The Canadian power noise band have essentially picked up from where they left off. So if you like power noise and songs about space travel and robots is your thing, then this is the album for you. Best tracks: ‘Doom Ray’, ‘Manipulate’ and ‘Race to Space (feat. Detroit Diesel)’.

5. Nachtmahr – Kampfbereit
Genre: Techno Industrial/Aggrotech

Nachtmahr are a bit controversial band within the industrial scene. Their music has always had a militaristic theme which has led to allegations of fascism. They sure like to harbour a fetish for women in uniform but I never quite got the fascist or misogynistic connections. I personally I like their music and I try not to think too much about their imagery. This year was the first time that I chose not to buy a physical copy of their new album. I have enough coffee-table books and these days I mostly listen to their music at the gym. So I bought the digital version instead. It’s great treadmill/cross trainer music. Best tracks: ‘Kampbereit’, ‘Tempus Fugit’ and ‘Burning Bridges’.

6. Scandroid – Scandroid
Genre: Synthwave

Scandroid is a side-project of the American musician Klayton (Celldweller, Circle of Dust). It was originally a two-man project featuring Klayton and Nick Pittsinger (Varien) who took on the identities of “Red” and “Raven” in the futuristic cyberpunk world of Neo-Tokyo, where the Scandroid story takes place. “Raven” left the project in 2014 which means Scandroid is now a solo project with “Red” as the main character. The music is a mixture of ’80s -style synth-pop/synthwave with a sci-fi tinge. The album tells a story so it’s difficult to pick out any specific individual tracks, but personally I’m very fond of ‘Aphelion’, ‘Empty Streets’ and ‘Neo-Tokyo’.

7. Terrolokaust – Dissensions
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech/Dark Electro

This year I finally got to see this Spanish harsh electro duo live at Resistanz Festival. That was a good show which served as my introduction to the band. They are similar to Combichrist in a sense as their style has changed from Aggrotech towards a more industrial rock sound. Their latest opus ‘Dissensions’ contains a mixture of both styles. There is something here for fans of either genre – whether it’s dance tracks like ‘Pursuit of Ruin’ or guitar driven industrial rock song such as ‘A Masochist’s Tale’.

8.Ost+Front
Genre: Neue-Deutsche-Härte

I have to be honest here in that I have mixed feelings about this album and Ost+Front in general. They give the impression of being essentially a Rammstein-clone, adapting not only the music and vocal style but also the themes and the imagery of their world-famous countrymen. Despite this I decided to include their new album on this list because of a few tracks that stood out – the sombre and profound ballad ‘Sternenkinder’ and ‘Bruderherz’. ‘Fiesta de sexo’ also deserves a mention due to guest appearance of Erk Aicrag (Hocico).

9. My Own Sorrow – The Entity
Genre: Dark Electro/Occult Ambient

‘The Entity’ is the latest album from the Swedish dark electro artist My Own Sorrow. His music is primarily instrumental, atmospheric dark electro with strong themes of horror and occultism. All the songs have an eerie feel to them. It’s like listening soundtrack to a horror movie. Best tracks ‘Succubus’ and ‘Rats In The Walls’.

10. Blutzukker – The Ultimate Collection
Genre: Dark Electro

Blutzukker is the dark electro project of the German artist Ben Blutzukker. He is currently involved in two projects; a heavy metal band under the name of Ben Blutzukker, who released an EP last year and the aforementioned dark electro act Blutzukker. What we have here isn’t really a new release but rather a collection of all Blutzukker’s works including some rarities and unreleased demos. So if you like dark electro, horror themes with a touch of humour then I would strongly recommend this. Best tracks ‘Fright Club’, ‘Queen of the Nite’, ‘The Vampire Strikes Back’.

Biggest new discovery: Lord of the Lost
Best live show: it’s a tie between Combichrist live in Tampere and Memmaker at Club Infektio, Helsinki
Most Anticipated albums of 2016:
Marilyn Manson – Say10
Blutengel – Leitbild
New albums by Suicide Commando and Grendel

Stay tuned for the metal edition, coming soon!

Mick’s Highlights of 2015

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , on 31st December 2015 by Mickelrath

This year has been really awkward.  Last year I managed to make a full top 50 list, this year I struggled to find 10! Well, when everything around is quite mediocre the really good stuff rises to the top and that makes for a more definite list.  Same rule as I always have for these lists and yes I only have one rule.  It’s all dependant on how much I enjoyed the album… No other criteria just that. If I really enjoyed it then it’s on this list!  So let’s not waste any more time here are my top 10 albums of 2015.

  1. Artist: Kadavar   Album: Berlin

Released: 21st August 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records

I will admit that I’m a sucker for some good old fashioned riff-rock and Kadavar certainly scratched my itch with Berlin. It has some great riffs and weird lyrics that don’t really make any sense upon first listen but have a deep meaning once you really open your mind and feel the music. I was really impressed with the overall sound of the album, all 70’s style groove with a modern twist, just a shining example of their really inventive writing. Also some praise for Simon Bouteloup, being that this was his first time recording a full length Kadavar album, he really does a splendid job in making some interesting and fun bass grooves. From start to finish, the album just feels right to listen to. I really would recommend this to anyone in seek of some great riff-rock and I look forward to whatever comes next from them. It’s not a bad number 10 for this list I suppose.

  1. Artist: Lancer   Album: Second Storm

Released: 10th April 2015 via Despotz Records

I didn’t actually realise how much I really enjoyed this album.  After about 90 or so playthroughs this has just ended up being a real comfort to me this year.  This is a really well crafted album with some astonishingly good solos and a really familiar yet invigorating sound. Lancer have shot up in my estimation.  Really, Second Storm is something that you may want to to check out.

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/05/25/lancer-second-storm/   

  1. Artist: Monster Magnet   Album: Cobras and Fire (The Mastermind Redux)

Released: 2nd October 2015 via Napalm Records

If you read my review of this album you will know that I was initially intrigued by the very concept. However, this album has only gone up in my opinion the more I’ve listened to it.  I haven’t had this much fun analysing an album since Sonata Arctica, with all of the fantastic lyrical skills of Dave Wyndorf. I just want to spend a day inside his mind, just to see how it works because this album is just one weird concept.  Firstly they “reimagine” Last Patrol, and now they have remade Mastermind with Cobras and Fire. How did Monster Magnet take an album that sounds like that and turn it into this?  I said this in my review and I’ll say it again.  If you’re interested in songwriting then get yourself a copy of Cobras and Fire and while you’re at it get the original Mastermind as well! Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/11/22/monster-magnet-cobras-and-fire-the-mastermind-redux/

  1. Artist: The Gentle Storm   Album: The Diary

Released: 23rd March 2015 via Inside Out Music

What do you get when you take two of the most talented songwriters in metal stick them together and get the to make an album.  Well, it sounds like The Diary by The Gentle Storm. Anneke Van Giersbergen and Arjen Lucassen have produced, what I believe to be, one of the very best progressive metal albums ever (coming from someone who’s not that into prog-metal, and knows very little about the genre). I love the concept in itself of having two versions of the album, one in folk arrangements and one with metal. It sounds great either way you listen to it. The whole thing is very grandiose and captivating.  Also I found the central story of the album quite emotional and impactful. Anneke’s voice perfectly complements the musical arrangements that Arjen provides and every song is a delight to listen to.  If you missed this one, do yourself a favour and buy it now.

  1. Artist: Gloryhammer   Album: Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

Released: 25th September 2015 via Napalm Records

Well, you definitely couldn’t get any sillier in the world of metal this year.  Well there may have been something that I just didn’t get around to. Anyway, in all honesty my opinion hasn’t changed much since my review so go read that.  This is just a fun record with some fun concepts and themes and the band go all the way with it!  Very enjoyable.

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/09/27/gloryhammer-space-1992-rise-of-the-chaos-wizards/

  1. Artist: Zebrahead   Album: Walk The Plank

Released: 8th October 2015 via Rude Records

In a year that has been honestly quite depressing in this country. With the UK government strangling the country itself, the rise of terrorism paranoia that came with the infamous Paris attacks and all of the flooding in the north of England. Wasn’t it really nice that we had one of the best party rock albums since Andrew WK’s – I Get Wet (at least in my opinion).  Zebrahead really shocked me this year as I wasn’t expecting the album to be so good.  I haven’t listened to Zebrahead in a long time but found my way back to them this year with Walk The Plank. This is a fantastic album that is just bursting with energy and fun.  As soon as I bought it I must have listened to it about 20 times in one day and every day since I find a reason to play at least one song off of it.  Something I haven’t done with any album in quite a while. Songs such as “Who Brings a Knife to a Gunfight?”, “Headrush”, “Keep It to Myself” and “Freak Show” are all great songs that I couldn’t get enough of and tunes I kept singing long after I turned off the album.  This was just the fun of 2015.

  1. Artist: Black Star Riders   Album: The Killer Instinct

Released: 20th February via Nuclear Blast

This is an album that has just got better and better as the year has gone by.  This was the first album that I reviewed for Valkyrian this year and I still hold the opinion that I had at the time. However, I also feel that my point of view has matured as well.  At the time of writing my review I was very much writing a first impression of the album more than an actual “review”. Now that the album has had some time to sit and I’ve had opportunities to return to it at will, rather than the pressure of writing a review, I can honestly say that this is fantastic.  I really seems like BSR have gelled and really created an album album the feels timeless.  The riffs and solos are well crafted and the music as a whole is well composed. This has really been another comfort album for me in 2015, something that I could go back back to again and again and never really get tired of it.

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/03/08/black-star-riders-the-killer-instinct-deluxe-edition/

  1. Artist: Gus G  Album: Brand New Revolution

Released: 24th July via Century Media

Yup… Pretend like you didn’t see this one coming from a mile off.  I think I’ve already said everything I wanted to say about this album in my review so just go and read that.  However, I’ll say this, Brand New Revolution is one awesome album that rewards repeated listens and it put a big smile on my face this year!

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/06/21/gus-g-brand-new-revolution/

  1. Artist: Tremonti  Album: Cauterize

Released: 4th June 2015 via Fret12 Records

If you know me on any sort of level you’ll have probably know that Mark Tremonti is one of my icons of music.  In my opinion there is not a single song-writer in the industry today that is more consistent when it comes to the quality of their releases.  Anytime this man puts his name to a record it’s almost a seal of quality (in my eyes at least), and Cauterize is no exception. The album hits you right away with stunning guitar work and amazing songwriting. Tremonti delves deep into emotional and dark issues and moves between them seamlessly with ease with songs like “Flying Monkeys”, “Tie The Noose”, “Another Heart” and “Dark Trip”. After listening to this album a hundred times and seeing the songs played live in concert, in Manchester. I can safely say that Cauterize defined my 2015 in terms of heavy rock.

  1. Artist; LiSA  Album: Launcher

Released: 4th March 2015 via Aniplex Inc.

This really has been the year of of discovery for me and by far the best discovery that I could have made this year is the Japanese singer-songwriter known as LiSA. From the moment I heard her music this year I was instantly hooked by the upbeat catchy nature and the album Launcher is really one that grabbed my imagination.  So I watch a lot of anime, and I have always been fascinated with the music that accompanies the shows. So rather than becoming a fan of the shows themselves, I hunt the music down with a passion. LiSA, has created many theme songs for many shows that I’ve enjoyed and when I heard the song “Crossing Field” for the show Sword Art Online, I wanted to know who made the song. That’s where I discovered LiSA. I found her music online and instantly bought her entire discography, there and then, and I discovered a whirlwind of interesting sounds and magical atmosphere that I have never heard before in my regular music taste.  Launcher, her most recent full length album is a delight, with songs like “Raising Hope”, “Fragile Vampire” and “L.Miranic” it all just instantly jumped out and made me smile.  Anytime I’ve been feeling down this year, I have turned to LiSA’s music. Also not to mention her three separate single releases this year would be a crime… “Rally Go Round”, “Empty Mermaid” and “ID” are all pumping tunes that get me going and just inspire me to do new things with my time.  This was not only my album of 2015 but my favourite discovery.  

I hope you enjoyed the list and I hope you keep well and have a happy 2016.  A plethora of new music is coming out this year that I’m more than excited for.  Artist like Tantric, Sick Puppies, Hatebreed, Flogging Molly, Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Avantasia and Volbeat have all confirmed new releases for next year and I simply can not wait!.

All the best

Mick Birchall

Pieni’s Highlights of 2015

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , on 30th December 2015 by Pieni

Following the tradition of the last couple of years, here’s my top 5 gigs of 2015:
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  1. Hills Have Eyes at Hard Club (Porto)
  2. Mötley Crüe at Mediolanum Forum (Milan)
  3. The End Of Grace at Sticky Fingers (Gothenburg)
  4. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  5. Alice Cooper at Mediolanum Forum (Milan)

The albums (to which I must add how happy I am to notice that 4/5 come from my homecountry):
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  1. “Antebellum” by Hills Have Eyes
  2. “That’s The Spirit” by Bring Me The Horizon
  3. “Extinct” by Moonspell
  4. “Everything Ends” by Web
  5. “Soul Rebel” by Devil In Me

My choice for videos was pretty somber – two focusing on child abuse, one on bullying and another one just being creepy. The last one is funny, but in an aggressive way:

  1. “Don’t You Worry Child” by We Are The Catalyst
  2. “Omotenashi” by The Year
  3. “Diabolical Work Of Art” by Sonic Syndicate
  4. “Yara’s Song” by Mustasch
  5. “Jekyll And Hyde” by Five Finger Death Punch

Anticipations for 2016? Yeah, I have a few:
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  1. Equaleft – a new chapter is being written, with a new guitarist. Not sure if the new album will be released already in 2016, but something new will certainly be introduced to us.
  2. The End Of Grace – it was postponed, again, but I believe it was for the last time.
  3. Hashtag Yolo – they’re getting serious about this, so let’s see how that goes.
  4. The 69 Eyes – new album from the Helsinki Vampires!
  5. Sister – with their 10th anniversary, the sleazy punks announced “something huge” for 2016…

Happy New Year, folks!

Renata “Pieni” Lino