Vader – Thy Messenger

Posted in Metal with tags , , on 18th May 2019 by izaforestspirit

Vader
Thy Messenger
Released 31st May 2019
Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Vader - Thy Messenger

Polish death metal titans Vader are back with a new EP called ‘Thy Messenger’. For those who are not aware, Vader is a band that I have been following since my early teens. So needless to say as soon as I heard about this new release I simply couldn’t resist listening to it. These guys have a habit of releasing at least one EP before a new album. So just as the ‘Iron Times’ EP acted as a teaser for ‘The Empire’ I’m guessing that there will be a new Vader album coming in due course. ‘Thy Messenger’ clocks in at little over thirteen minutes and it includes one Judas Priest cover and a re-recorded version of ‘Litany’.

For those who are familiar with Vader, the band originally started out as a thrash metal act. Despite changing their style to death metal later on, they have always maintained a thrash metal tinge in the guitars. That is one of the main things that makes them unique. This EP is no exception. Kicking it off is Grand Deceiver, a short but ferocious beast of thrash guitar driven death metal. It’s full speed ahead from there until the very end. Emptiness is classic Vader doing what they do best; thrashing guitar riffs, powerful growling and relentless death metal drumming. I also enjoyed their cover of Judas Priest’s Steeler. That track is probably the closest they have come to returning to their old thrash metal style. It is also the catchiest song on here.

Overall, the only issue I have with this EP is the length. It’s way too short. I want more!! Come on Vader, when is the new album coming?

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 12th May 2019 by izaforestspirit

Eluveitie
Ategnatos
Released 5th April 2019
Folk Metal/ Melodic Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Eluveitie - Ategnatos

Swiss folk metal outfit Eluveitie are back and this time they recorded a metal album. It’s been two years since their folk record ‘Evocation II – Pantheon’, an album which I enjoyed but it was pure folk music. What I like the most about this band are the contrasts that are prominent in their music. The melodic folk instruments and beautiful clean vocals versus the harsher melodeath guitars and their front-man Chrigel Glanzmann’s aggressive growling. The previous album had some great folk melodies but it lacked the harsh elements. Luckily this time all the things that I like are present on the album.

There are a lot of different styles present on this record. Within the space of an hour they have managed to pack in everything from catchy sounds of bagpipes, whistles, hurdy gurdy as well as other folk instruments. What is more, the stylistic variety ranges from Fabienne Erni’s angelic singing on tracks such as Ambiramus to the aggressive, borderline death metal tracks like Worship to fulfill the blend. Most of the time these two contrasting styles work surprisingly well together, co-existing peacefully and the end result doesn’t sound like a complete cacophony. The title track and The Raven Hill are good examples of how they are able to successfully maintain a delicate balance between folk music and melodic death metal in a way that only Eluveitie can master. I’m particularly fond of the chanting parts of The Raven Hill chorus. Mr. Glanzmann and Ms. Erni did a great job with that one.

I cannot get enough of The Slumber, the song that caught my attention when I saw the lyric video. It’s one of the slower songs on here and it has a certain gloomy feel to it. That eerie chorus has been stuck in my head for several days now. The only song that I couldn’t get into on this record is Worship. I honestly cannot comprehend what they were trying to achieve with this song. It’s basically an attempt at blackened death metal with some folk instruments and chanting added as a background noise. The vocals do not seem to work too well with the music and at times it doesn’t really sound like Eluveitie at all.

In summary, ‘Ategnatos’ has its flaws but despite this it is easily Eluveitie’s best work since ‘Slania’. I really enjoyed listening to it and I will definitely tune into this album again soon.

4/5
Iza Raittila

King Zebra – King Zebra EP

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 6th May 2019 by mickbirchy

King Zebra

King Zebra EP

Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Released: 22 March 2019

Self Released

Right from the first notes of this EP, I knew I was going to like this one. I mean, this is the sound I grew up on, pure hard rock with lots of energy and pep. Swiss hard rockers, King Zebra have been tearing up the European rock scene as of late. Opening for awesome bands like The Dead Daisies, The New Roses and Crystal Ball just to name a few. Armed with their new lead vocalist Eric St Michaels (formally of the band China) and this new self-titled EP, they are setting out to conquer. The EP can really be divided into two pieces, firstly the three songs they released last year and the two new songs they’ve released for this EP. Putting it all together makes for an enjoyable listening experience.

The one thing I will say about this EP is that it has a lot of energy. I mean, it’s the kind of music that makes you want to get up and move. The guitar work is fast and loose and the rhythm sections are tight. The grooves are excellent and the riffs really land a hit every time they come in. The band just feel like a forceful presence at all times. Eric St Michaels is a great vocalist and he sounds amazing here. He’s mixed in really well to the tunes. His vocal performance is really impressive, with a powerful voice and a tonne of charisma he’s able to keep you invested in the songs and adds that extra punch to the hooks. The production is great and easy for any listener to get into and enjoy.

There really isn’t anything to say beyond this. I mean, if you like your 80’s glam rock then this will definitely fill a hole for new material to listen to. It’s an entertaining listen, to say the least. With songs about the general rock topics and production that’s clean enough to get a general audience but edgy enough that rock fan won’t turn it off either. I like the EP, it’s not my favourite release of the year, as good as it sounds and as fun as it is to listen to, it’s just an okay release. Not bad but not something that I have to listen to again and again. It will be one of those EP’s where if it’s on I’ll keep listening but not one I will go out of my way to listen to.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

Indestructible Noise Commando – Terrible Things

Posted in Metal with tags on 3rd May 2019 by izaforestspirit

Indestructible Noise Command
Terrible Things
Released 8th March 2019
Thrash Metal
Self-Released

I.N.C. - Terrible Things

‘Terrible Things’ is the latest album from the American thrash metal band I.N.C. as known as Indestructible Noise Command. The band was originally formed back in 1986. They released two albums in the 1980s before going on a long hiatus from 1990 to 2010. This release is the follow up to ‘Black Hearse Serenade’ which came out in 2014.

This is my first encounter of I.N.C. and I really did not know what to expect. All I knew was that their style has been described as thrash metal. With a name like “Indestructible Noise Command’ it is already pretty clear clue as to what you could expect the music to sound like. If you want melodic guitar and ballads then this is definitely not the album for you. Speed and aggression is clearly what these guys are going for here. Each song offers a barrage of fast guitar riffs, pummeling drums and ferocious shouting. Some of the tracks are so fast-paced that they actually come close to speed-thrash metal. It’s full speed ahead right from the start and these guys are not going to slow down.

Pledge of Legions follows the same pattern as most of the other tracks but it features some good guitar work midway through the song, which makes it a bit more memorable.  Identifier also has a few good guitar parts. The one thing that I wasn’t expecting was the melodic and somewhat technical-sounding instrumental intro to Nemesis. If there is one song on here that stands out, it is definitely this one mostly thanks to the intro. Oddly that intro features some of the best guitar work on the album and that is what makes it memorable. As soon as the shouting vocals begin, the atmosphere changes and it’s back to another onslaught of thrashing guitars and shouting. Don’t get me wrong though, the guitars are good, it’s the vocals that I find a little irritating at times.

Overall, the main issue I have with ‘Terrible Things’ is that a lot of the songs sound very similar. It is all about the speed and aggression with limited variety in terms of style.

3/5

Iza Raittila

More details about the new Rammstein album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Rock, Studio Report with tags , , on 26th April 2019 by izaforestspirit

The long-awaited new album from Rammstein is expected to hit the stores worldwide on 17th May 2019. No official album title has been announced but it is possible that it will be a self-titled record.

Here is what the band have confirmed – the album now has a cover and a track-listing. Here are the details:

 

1. DEUTSCHLAND

2. RADIO

3. ZEIG DICH

4. AUSLÄNDER

5. SEX

6. PUPPE

7. WAS ICH LIEBE

8. DIAMANT

9. WEIT WEG

10. TATTOO

11. HALLOMANN

The yet-to-be-titled new album will be out on 17th May 2019 via Universal Records. In the meantime you can check out their latest video for the track ‘Radio’.

For more details visit:

https://www.rammstein.de/

https://www.facebook.com/Rammstein/

Krisiun and Septicflesh live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 15th April 2019 by izaforestspirit

Dead Shape Figure, Krisiun, Septicflesh
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
14th April 2019

I’ve been really busy lately. So busy that I wasn’t sure when I would have the time for any gigs. I had some stuff planned for the summer but apart from that my gig calendar was rather empty. Then something amazing happened– Septicflesh came to town and I just happened to have the next day free. Normally I try to avoid going to a gig on a Sunday due to the implications it has on the next day but this time it was no problem.

I arrived a little late so I missed the first band W.E.B., but I was there right on time for Dead Shape Figure. They’re a Finnish band playing what is best described as a mixture of melodic death metal and thrash metal. I enjoyed their set and it seemed to go down well with the crowd. 3/5

Next up was the Brazilian death metal trio Krisiun. They played some really good, solid death metal. Fast, Furious and brutal, perfect for headbanging. Just like all good death metal should be. I wasn’t expecting a Motörhead cover but it seemed to work well. 4/5

Then it was time for the night’s headliners. Septicflesh took to the stage in what was literally a cloud of smoke. I’m not normally a massive fan of elaborate stage decorations but their snake motif and other visual displays worked well. But enough about the decorations and on to the music. Symphonic death metal is not the easiest of genres to perform live but these guys really pulled it off. It was a very energetic and passionate performance. Their frontman Spiros did a great job of agitating the crowd. They played quite a few tracks from their latest album including: ‘Portrait of A Headless Man’, ‘Enemy of Truth’ and ‘Dark Art’ along with some older classics such as ‘Anubis’ and ‘Communion’. Great show! 5/5

Overall I had a great time. Krisiun were better than I expected. Up until recently my knowledge of Greek extreme metal has been limited to Astarte and Rotting Christ. Septicflesh are a fairly new discovery for me but after that performance I will definitely be listening to them a lot more.

Iza Raittila

Uncle Paul – Dot Rotten

Posted in CD, Experimental, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 14th April 2019 by mickbirchy

Uncle Paul
Dot Rotten
Noise Rock, Stoner Rock, Psychedelic
Released 14th January 2019
via Introclusor Records

You guys know me by now. I’m usually the first in line for the weird and experimental side of rock n roll. After all, today’s experimental music is tomorrow’s mainstream. So, why not listen to everything that you can? Which leads me to this EP. Dot Rotton is the newest release from the weird and wonderful Uncle Paul and let’s just say it’s an interesting listening experience, to say the least. Sounding like a weird hybrid of Butthole Surfers, Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt, this band have really captured my imagination. Though this isn’t the best example of the genre, the North-West UK rockers certainly work as a weird noise rock psychedelia band, that incorporate elements of garage rock and stoner rock into their style. Referring to themselves as “refined musical dyslexia” is a good call, because this is what this is, a random assortment of musical ideas thrown into a melting pot and left to simmer.

Though it would take you longer to listen to “In A Gadda Da Vida” than it would this entire EP. I think there is some merit to the EP. In the sense, that you shouldn’t try to investigate it or look into it too deep. It’s more just a musical experience with a hodge-podge of ideas, riffs and distortion just blasting full force at the listener. With vocal effect layered over the sound and weird noise coming from every which way. It’s an EP to lose yourself in and not worry too much about its motivations or connotations. It’s just music for music’s sake and, you know what? That’s actually quite refreshing from time to time. The production is all over the place with nothing really meshing or coming together. Very much like the noise rock movement of the early 90’s this band just make what they feel like and run with the ideas they have.

Let me put this straight, this is not of the average consumer of music. There are no hooks or ear-worms to be found here. Yet, there is some creating bass work, some great riff ideas and guitar licks littered throughout the EP. Which makes it enjoyable enough. Also, considering that a couple of the songs don’t even reach two minutes long and the longest track here is four minutes, the music just passes by so quick that you don’t even realise that you’ve just heard something really fun and ridiculous.

By no means is this a great example of modern rock music. Yet, it serves as an interesting example of the noise rock sound and how it can still be relevant today. Then again, noise rock usually exists outside the normal boundaries of music anyway. If you like that  90’s Gen-Xer sound or watched a lot of Bevis and Butthead then I would recommend this in a strange way. It’s not a masterpiece, nor is it trying to be. It’s designed to be off-putting and weird and to be honest, that’s what I liked about it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall