New Impaled Nazarene album coming later this month

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 3rd May 2021 by izaforestspirit

Good news for black metal fans. Seven years since their last studio effort ‘Vigorous and Liberating Death’, now the Finnish group Impaled Nazarene are finally ready to unleash their latest opus on the world. Their long-awaited new album will be entitled ‘Eight Headed Serpent’.

Here’s the cover art and track-listing:

  1. Goat of Mendes
  2. Eight Headed Serpent
  3. The Nonconformists
  4. Octagon Order
  5. Metastasizing and Changing Threat
  6. Debauchery and Decay
  7. Human Cesspool
  8. Apocalypse Pervertor
  9. Triumphant Return of the Antichrist
  10. Mutilation of the Nazarene Whore
  11. Foucault Pendulum

Impaled Nazarene - Eight Headed Serpent

‘Eight Headed Serpent’ will be out in all formats on 28th May 2021 via Osmose Productions.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/ImpaledNazareneOfficial
https://twitter.com/campnazarene

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

Vengeant release second single

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 24th April 2021 by izaforestspirit

Here’s something for fans of symphonic metal. Swedish symphonic metal group Vengeant have just released their latest single called ‘The Unreal’. This is the second single following ‘Angel’s Battle Cry’ which came out back in February 2021.

The band was formed at the start of this year and their line-up includes: Danae Komodromou (vocals), Alfred Fridhagen (drums) and Dennis Eriksson (rhythm guitar). Despite the limited number of new music releases, they have already gained a massive following on a variety of social media.

May be an image of text

‘The Unreal’ is available for streaming on all major digital platforms. You can listen to it on Spotify here:

For more info visit:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vengeantofficial
Instagram: https://bit.ly/38qguw0


Bodom After Midnight – Paint The Sky With Blood

Posted in Review with tags , , on 23rd April 2021 by izaforestspirit

Bodom After Midnight
Released 23rd April 2021
Melodic Death Metal/Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

Bodom After Midnight, Paint the Sky with Blood, 10" Vinyl - Backstage Rock  Shop

The tragic death of Alexi Laiho late last year meant that his new band’s album was never finished. He did however manage to record a few tracks with Bodom After Midnight. His bandmates decided to release these as an EP dedicated to his memory. So here we have Alexi Laiho’s swan song – ‘Paint The Sky With Blood’.

The title track is by far the highlight on here. Laiho’s vocals sounds as sharp as ever and the guitar work is simply flawless. The keyboards work well in the background. Next up is Payback’s a Bitch, another solid melodic death metal track which reminded me of Children of Bodom’s mid-career work. Once again the guitar work is the prime focus. Last but not least is a cover of ‘Dissection’s Where Dead Angels Lie. This is not the easiest of songs to cover but they did a pretty good job of it. They successfully managed to capture the original atmosphere of the track.

In summary, as a long time Children of Bodom fan I am very happy that Mr. Laiho left his fans with one final parting gift. RIP Alexi Laiho. One wild child gone far too soon…

9/10

Iza Raittila

Sadistic Demise – Your Chosen Way of Sadistic

Posted in Review with tags , on 17th April 2021 by izaforestspirit

Sadistic Demise
Your Chosen Way of Sadistic
Released 21st February 2021
Death Metal
Self-Released

Sadistic Demise - Your Chosen Way of Sadistic

‘ Your Chosen Way of Sadistic’ is the first EP from the Russian death metal band Sadistic Demise. The group was formed last year. Three of the band members are also in the thrash metal crossover band Impress.

After a couple of listens I can safely say that this sounds pretty much exactly like I expected it to. Brutal, mid-paced death metal packed with gore themes. The growling style is fairly typical of the genre as is the guitar style. The main issue I have with this is that with the notable exception of the intro, all the songs sound very similar to each other. There is some decent riff work on songs such as Violent Autopsy but other than that, unless you have the track-listing in front of you, it’s difficult to tell when one song ends and another begins.

Overall, there is not much else that I can say about this EP. It is very much your standard brutal death metal. While this in itself is not a bad thing, if you like the genre, that doesn’t change the fact that bands like this are a dime in a dozen. In all honesty if I want death metal, I would rather listen to Cannibal Corpse or old Morbid Angel.

5/10

Iza Raittila

Mind Driller – InBolution

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 2nd April 2021 by Pieni

Mind Driller
“InBolution” [EP]
Electronic/industrial rock
Released: 21st January 2021
Via Art Gates Records

InBolution

Despite featuring nine tracks, which is an acceptable number for a full-length album, only three of them are new, hence the EP tag on “InBolution”.

“The Prophecy” is such a vibrant song that it’s totally understandable why they couldn’t wait to release it. The chorus is catchy as usual, but its overall rhythm is something more than that.

“Overthrow”, on the other hand, bears that dark wave seduction Mind Driller’s already shown us in songs like “Deadworld”, for instance, reaching out to your deepest senses rather than make you want to dance.

And then “Denken” offers a heavier beat, sounding more industrial.

The rest of the tracks are remixes (“Calling At The Stars” got a more dance-able one, while “The Game” went more somber) and instrumental versions (which made me go back to my childhood, when the B-sides of singles were often their instrumental tracks).

All in all, “InBolution” isn’t just a treat for the band’s fans but for everyone who appreciates the genre, given its diversity (and excellence) of features.

7,5/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino


New Helloween album coming this summer

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 29th March 2021 by izaforestspirit

Good news for Helloween fans. The band have been hinting at a new album featuring all three Helloween singers for quite some time. Now they finally issued a release date for the new opus. The long anticipated. self-titled album will be out this spring on 18th June 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records in both physical and digital formats.

Here’s the covert art and track-listing:

Helloween - Helloween



  1. Out for the Glory
  2. Fear of the Fallen
  3. Best Time
  4. Mass Pollution
  5. Angels
  6. Rise Without Chains
  7. Indestructible
  8. Robot King
  9. Cyanide
  10. Down in the Dumps
  11. Orbit
  12. Skyfall

There will also be a new single called ‘Skyfall’ out this week on Friday 2nd April 2021.


For more details go to: https://www.helloween.org/

https://www.facebook.com/helloweenofficial

Rob Zombie – The Lunar Infection Kool Aid Conspiracy

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 17th March 2021 by izaforestspirit

Rob Zombie
The Lunar Infection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
Released 12th March 2021
Hard Rock /Heavy Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

You got to hand it to Rob Zombie when it comes to coming up with bizarre-sounding album titles. Five years ago the hard rock musician released an album with the one of the longest titles ever ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’. Luckily this new one has a slightly shorter title but it is no less crazy – ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’.

Sadly this is one of those cases where even after several listens I cannot get my head around this album. I really tried to like it and I hope that it would grow on me after a while. There are a few good heavy metal songs such as The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt Of Preservation & Superstition) and The Eternal Struggles Of The Howling Man and Shadow of The Cemetery Man. Then there’s the ultimate evil hellbilly circus track called 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks & A One-Way Ticket On The Ghost Train delivering a highly amusing mishmash of country music and heavy metal.

So that was the good part. Now for the bad parts. There are way too many filler tracks. The instrumentals such as ‘The Much Talked of Metamorphosis’ seem a little out of place on here. I fail to see the point of having several interlude tracks lasting less than a minute. The style is a total mishmash of genres too. Oh and don’t even get me started on the lyrics. Seriously, I know that Rob Zombie is hardly a lyrical genius but even he can come up with better than “smoke your grass and shake your ass” and “the witch is sliding up the broom.”

In all honesty I expected better after a five year wait. There are a handful of good tracks on here but not enough to make this album worthwhile. If you were expecting another solid Rob Zombie album like ‘Sinister Urge’ or ‘Hellbilly Deluxe’ then prepare to be disappointed.

5/10
Iza Raittila

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

Leprosys – Obnoxious Futuristic Vision

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 11th March 2021 by izaforestspirit

Leprosys
Obnoxious Futuristic Vision
Released 1st February 2021
Death Metal with thrash metal influences
Self-Released

Leprosys - Obnoxious Futuristic Vision
‘Obnoxious Futuristic Vision’ is the debut album from the Canadian death metal band Leprosys. The band has been active since 2015 and they cite bands such as Obituary, Death and Pestilence as influences. All their releases are available for purchase via their Bandcamp page.

So, after a couple of listens I can safely state that this pretty much what I expected it to be. Leprosys play guitar-driven old-school death metal with a thrash metal tinge. So if ferocious guitar riffs are your thing, then you are in for a treat here. The tracks are fast-paced and fairly simple in structure.

Virtual Life caught my attention due to the cello part at the end. Similar things can be said about Transplanting The Brain which features a mouth harp noise towards the end. Other than that this is fairly standard death metal similar to the likes of Obituary and Death as could be expected.

Overall, as far death metal goes Leprosys have done a good job. It was difficult to come up with something unique to say about this album though that doesn’t mean it’s in any way bad. So if you are a fan of Obituary and Death then you should give Leprosys a go.

6/10

Iza Raittila

Bloody News Online Festival streaming this month

Posted in Festival, Live, News with tags , , , , , on 9th March 2021 by izaforestspirit

Bloody News Metal Magazine have once again teamed up with GlobMetal Promotions to bring you the second edition of Bloody News Online Fest – Spring Madness. This will be a live stream taking place on 26th March 2021 and it will be available for free from their website.

Here is the line-up:
Running Bot
Arhat
Termination Central
ANGER DOSE
Steel Velvet
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Avoid Humanity
Gwendydd
Horror Dance Squad
Devine Defilement
Beyond Frequencies

No photo description available.



For more details go to: https://bloodynews.ro/en/

https://www.facebook.com/events/760054691299835/



The Straddlerz – The Straddlerz

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 1st March 2021 by Pieni

The Straddlerz
“The Straddlerz”
Dirty rock’n’roll
Self-released
On 29th January 2021

thestraddlerz copy

When two strains of Latin blood – Italian and Argentinian – come together to produce rock music, the outcome must be passionate. And that’s what The Straddlerz self-titled debut album is.

The recording is way too raw, so I’m guessing the producer wanted to preserve the original intensity of both Linda Filippin’s yelling and Michael Reynal’s shredding. I understand that, but a little more polish would make the sound less messy without hurting their edge.

Not all songs roll out like a freight train, or not entirely. “Circle Of Insanity” has a less-than-a-minute seductive intro before all hell breaks loose; that same seduction lasts for half of the song “Addiction” but then Michael doesn’t help himself (did I mention there are two solos in “No Changes”?) and there go the guitars at full speed again, with everybody else following suit. Only “Don’t Go Away” has this bluesy seventies vibe and matching tempo, proving that the “pure and dirty” rockers know a thing or two about melody. “Junkie Bastards” has a groovy beat that’s quite catchy, but since it deviates a bit from their general stance it was “Streets Of Love” – a harder catchiness – that made it to a promotional video.

Someone called them “rock and roll with attitude”. I agree, but personally, I need more than that to fully appreciate a band.

6/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Bodom After Midnight EP coming this spring

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , , on 22nd February 2021 by izaforestspirit

Good news for Children of Bodom fans. Before his death last year, front-man and guitarist Alexi Laiho managed to record three songs with his new band Bodom After Midnight. Now his band-mates have announced that they will be releasing these tracks on an EP called ‘Paint The Sky With Blood’.

Here’s the cover art and tracklisting:

May be an image of text

01. Paint The Sky With Blood
02. Payback’s A Bitch
03. Where Dead Angels Lie (Dissection Cover)

‘Paint The Sky With Blood’ will be out in both physical and digital formats on 23rd April 2021 via Napalm Records.

For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial

Epica – Omega

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 19th February 2021 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Epica
Omega
Symphonic Metal
Release date: 26th February 2021
Released via Nuclear Blast

Epica is a name that many fans of symphonic metal will already be familiar. The band, formed by vocalist and guitarist Mark Jansen, have been a driving force in the symphonic metal scene for almost 20 years. Omega is the eighth studio album from Epica, and one I have been looking forward to greatly.

The album opens strong with the hypnotic medley of Alpha – Anteludium before Abyss Of Time – Countdown To Singularity blasts through the speakers with a driving combination of orchestral elements and roaring guitars. The vocal lines are gracefully performed, whilst the guitars and bass lend the track a more traditionally Epica sound. The Skeleton Key differs, marching in with a two-fold sound that comes across as violent and massive in some parts, and dramatic and shadowy in other parts. The haunting piano notes stepping elegantly throughout the track definitely aid in building up the latter sound, whilst the devastating guitar passages, combined with the drums and bass build up the former sound. Key Of Solomon carries a very Oriental sounding medley, which is furthered emphasised by the vocals.

Gaia has a bright, almost optimistic, and inspiring sound, leading this track to quite easily be an anthem sung by Epica fans across the globe. Code Of Life takes on a Middle Eastern aspect to its sound, combining a variety of different elements into a mesmerising, trance-inducing composition. Freedom – The Wolves Within blares out with everything you would expect from an Epica single: an awe-inspiring vocal duet, staunch symphonic elements, calculated drum strikes, compelling passages from the guitars and bass. Kingdom of Heaven Part III – The Antediluvian Universe eases in with a gentle, alluring flute medley that gradually builds into majestic orchestral and choir piece, which in turn opens the way for the rest of the track. Fusing driving sound of the guitars, bass, and drums, with the staunch power of the orchestral segments and Epica’s signature beauty and the beast vocals, Kingdom Of Heaven is probably one of the best parts of the album – which really says something given the magnificence of the entire album.

Continuing on with the album comes Rivers, a track that has a rather mystical resonance to its sound which is fortified by the emotive voice of Simone gliding alongside the eerie notes of the piano. The real strength of the track is found when the instrumentation from the rest of the band makes itself heard, reinforcing that emotive aspect to the vocals, whilst also making the track sound larger and more fulfilled. Synergize – Manic Manifest bursts in with a straight to the point, guitar-driven passage whilst the orchestration makes its own way, standing out noticeably. The choir vocals sound vibrant whilst adding emphasis to the main vocals of Simone and Mark. Twilight Reverie – The Hypnagogic State is a catchy track, making use of orchestration that could easily rival that of Nightwish due to the almost flamboyant sound it comes across with. The guitars and rhythm section also stand out considerably on this track, making Twilight Reverie another of the best parts of the whole album. Vicky Psarakis’ (The Agonist) spoken word section is what really helps the song feel complete. The album finishes with the grandiose sounds of Omega – Sovereign of the Sun Spheres, which is a poignant track to finish with. The track is a fusion of august medleys, sharp sounding passages, and fierce vocals that feels like a new experience which each listen, making it a powerful song to finish with.

Omega shows how capable Epica are of creating with a variety of elements and merging them into a distinct sound that stays so fresh. Omega is yet another album in Epica’s discography that can be easily summed up with one word: Epic but to do so doesn’t give enough credit to what an aural masterpiece the album is or how it demonstrates this band’s ability to break the mold of their own sound whilst staying true to their more traditional compositions.

10/10

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Nihilum – Call of The Void

Posted in Review with tags , on 18th February 2021 by izaforestspirit

Nihilum
Call of the Void
Black Metal
11th June 2020
Self-Released

Nihilum - Call of the Void

‘Call of The Void’ is the first of two EPs self-released last year by the North Carolina -based American black metal artist Nihilum. Both of his releases are available from his Bandcamp page.

As far as black metal goes, this is fairly fast-paced with Marduk-style pummeling being a key feature. The only notable exception is the ambient intro track The Overseer. Pestilence also caught my attention as one of the slower songs on here with a more varied pace. Here the guitars take on a more layered approach and the vocals are actually fairly easy to follow. Then the pace picks up for the rest of the album. The guitars have a certain bleak feel to them which is very fitting for this style of black metal. There is no shortage of blast beats on here but most of the drum work does really offer much variety to the overall sound.

Overall, ‘Call of The Void’ is a rather decent sounding black metal EP and a good introduction to Nihilum. I would be interested to see how this project progresses.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Ricky Warwick – When Life Was Hard & Fast

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 16th February 2021 by Pieni

Ricky Warwick
“When Life Was Hard & Fast”
Rock
Release: 19th February 2021
Via Nuclear Blast Records

wlwhnf

Ricky Warwick’s solo career has been a straightforward rock ride and this “When Life Was Hard & Fast” is probably the most genuine in such essence. He invited some friends over, some well-known names in the scene, but the fact that you don’t see “feat. Rockstar X” in any of the titles proves how those invitations weren’t a marketing stunt; just a bunch of buddies celebrating good ol’ rock ‘n’roll. The opening and title-track, for instance. A catchy, spirited tune where Def LeppardJoe Elliott’s crystal voice contrasts perfectly with Warwick’s raspy pitch in the chorus. Or how Andy Taylor (yes, that legend who used to play in Duran Duran) produces a mean guitar solo in the political vent “I’d Rather Be Hit”. Thunder’s Luke Morley also plays a sharp solo on “You Don’t Love Me”, but I’m personally more hooked on the groovy, smooth rhythm provided by the bass on this song.

The Mink Deville cover of “Gunslinger” is pretty loyal to the original but with all the perks of a nowadays recording, meaning it sounds more refined but keeps all the rock’n’roll attitude of the seventies. So it’s kinda funny to talk about “Clown Of Misery” now, as in order to preserve its candid acoustic nature they stuck to the demo version and it sounds like you’re listening to it on an old radio transistor. But it’s “Time Don’t Seem To Matter” that really shows you the graceful side of rock – also acoustic, with some delicate samples in the background and then an electric solo mirrors the chorus modulation sung by Warwick and his youngest daughter Pepper (whom the song was written for).

All the brisk and snappy traits on this record prove how honest Warwick is when he says “rock’n’roll ain’t dead – it’s just lost in its mystery”.

7,5/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

New single from Vengeant out now

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 14th February 2021 by izaforestspirit

Something for fans of symphonic metal. The Swedish symphonic metal band Vengeant have recently released their first ever single entitled ‘Angel’s Battle Cry’.

The band was formed in 2019 by bassist, lead guitarist and composer Christoffer Holm. They cite Magic: the Gathering as a influence on their music.

May be an anime-style image of text

The track is available for streaming on Spotify now.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/vengeantofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/vengeantofficial/

Cannibal Corpse announce new album

Posted in News, Studio Report on 7th February 2021 by izaforestspirit

Three years since ‘Red Before Black’ now American death metallers Cannibal Corpse are back with a new album called ‘Violence Umimagined’. Check out the cover art here:

Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined
  1. Murderous Rampage 04:07
  2. Necrogenic Resurrection 03:06
  3. Inhumane Harvest 04:32 Show lyrics
  4. Condemnation Contagion 04:17
  5. Surround, Kill, Devour 04:10
  6. Ritual Annihilation 03:48
  7. Follow the Blood 04:39
  8. Bound and Burned 04:04
  9. Slowly Sawn 03:30
  10. Overtorture 02:28
  11. Cerements of the Flayed

This will also be the first album to feature their new guitarist Erik Rutan who joined the band in last year.

‘Violence Umimagined’ will be out in April 2021 via Metal Blade Records.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/cannibalcorpse
http://www.cannibalcorpse.net/

Onus Baal – Onus Baal

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 3rd February 2021 by Mickelrath

Onus Baal
Onus Baal
Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Released: 15th April 2020
Self Released

So, let’s go back to 2020, I know it was a year from hell. However, there was a lot of great music released and I think it’s important to give credit to the bands that managed to put out something in the turbulent shitshow that was 2020. Rolling across the desks of Valkyrian Music is the Spanish power metal outfit Onus Baal. Started in 2018 out of Huelva. They have ground their way through the Spanish metal scene to deliver their debut, self-titled album. The band consists of Tomás Díaz (vocals/rhythm guitar), Javier Fraile (lead guitar), Fermín Cansino (drums) and Gabriel García (bass). Their style of music feels very much on the cusp of NWOBHM and the more traditional European power metal. The two styles blend quite nicely together. Giving them a polished and clear sound that packs that punch.

The production delivers a pleasant listening experience. Nothing feels muddy, each piece of the instrumentation works in harmony with each other. It hits that mark of great balance. Meaning, when the guitar solos kick in, or when the band hits those epic chorus lines, you get the full power of the band blasting at you. Which is what you want from music like this. You want that sense of attack and scale in the music. I just wanted to get up and headbang throughout. There wasn’t a point of the album where I wanted to skip or turn away to something else. Which speaks to how well the album is constructed. In fact, the only thing that was rather annoying was the mandatory Spotify adverts getting in the way. I think the true stand out moments of the album where the songs “Vientos de Ayre” (Winds of Ayre). Where the vocal performance is at it’s strongest on the record. Also, I really liked the song “Cárcel de Cristal” which has a really nice heavy tone that by far exemplified the strengths of Onus Baal.

A really strong record that has clearly been influenced by the likes of Dio, Judas Priest, Sonata Arctica and Hammerfall. It’s a wonderful soup of ideas and as a first album, it’s a great first impression to the metal community. I didn’t even let the fact that the album is in Spanish throw me off. Also, as someone who doesn’t speak the language, I still feel that it’s worth listening to. You can hear the drive, the passion and the enthusiasm for making music in these guys and that’s what I like about them. I stellar record that I think I’ll be revisiting again.

8/10

Mick Birchall

Moonspell – Hermitage

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 31st January 2021 by Pieni

Moonspell
“Hermitage”
Dark metal
Released: 26th February 2021
Via Napalm Records

hermitage

I’ve never been quite comfortable in calling Moonspell “gothic metal” as that’s too much of a specific term to grasp all aspects of their music; “dark metal”, covering a broader range of said aspects, sounds more fitting. Especially now, given that “Hermitage” is probably the most somber album the Portuguese band has ever released.

They claim to be aware they’re approaching their final years as musicians and I remember Fernando Ribeiro saying, at Vagos Metal Fest 2016, how he hoped Moonspell would play like Helloween (headliners of that edition of the festival) when reaching their age. The Germans were in their early fifties at the time, so either that’s what Moonspell consider “final years”, or something has shortened the expiration date of their careers. Something like this pandemic, I believe. This whole situation has changed everybody’s perspective on life and “Hermitage” is supposed to be an album where Moonspell put their hearts out and bring them closer to the fans “in these times of distancing”.

Their bass lines have always been intense – more so since Aires Pereira joined back in 2004 – and the groove of “The Greater Good” is quite a highlight among those lines, enhancing the whole omen vibe of its lyrics.

Ricardo Amorim has long proven his ability to make his strings weep (“The Future Is Dark”, out of “Extinct”, pops to mind, but there are others) but the bluesy foundation upon “All Or Nothing” was built simply excels. “Solitarian”, an instrumental track, follows suit in terms of emotional guitar work, but the drums and keys set up a more jazzy rhythm. Now the gloominess of “Entitlement” is endorsed – not solely but mainly – by Pedro Paixão’s piano, in such a seductive way that I found myself in some film noir scenario listening to it…

I hope “The Hermit Saints” is chosen to be played live: the choir of voices in the chorus will certainly give goosebumps when sung along by the audience. But in all honesty, this record is so rich that pretty much everything will work out live – and I promise it’s not my longing for concerts talking…

9/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino