New album from Dawn of Ashes coming this spring

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , on 20th January 2022 by izaforestspirit

American industrial black metal band Dawn of Ashes have recently announced that their new album, the follow up to 2020’s ‘The Antinomian’ will be called ‘Scars of the Broken’. Here’s the cover art and track-listing:

  1. (Descending) Torn Inside
  2. Love Is Asphyxiation
  3. The Despondent Hole
  4. EMDR
  5. Bane of Your Existence
  6. (Limbo) Numb
  7. It Comes in Waves
  8. Heart Beats Cold
  9. Turn It Shallow
  10. Scars of the Broken
  11. The Antidote
  12. (Ascending) Catharsis

Dawn of Ashes - Scars of the Broken

‘Scars of the Broken’ will be released in both physical and digital formats on 18th March 2022 via Artoffact Records. In the meantime you can check out their new single ‘EMDR’.

For more information go to:

https://dawnofashesofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Dawnofashes/

Existance -Wolf Attack

Posted in Review with tags , on 9th January 2022 by izaforestspirit

Existance
Wolf Attack

Released 29th October 2021
Heavy Metal/Melodic Power Metal
Released via Black Viper Records

Existance - Wolf Attack

Wolf Attack’ is the new album from the French heavy metal band Existance. The group was formed back in 2008 and they have been the opening act for Adrian Vanderberg, Joe Lynn Turner and Skull Fist. This album was mastered by Jacob Hansen who has also worked with U.D.O, Primal Fear and Volbeat.

So what we have here is eleven tracks of very uplifting melodic power metal packed with playful guitar tunes. Highlight Vampire is particularly entertaining thanks to the high-pitched vocals and infectiously catchy guitar riffs. A great start to the album. I also enjoyed Rock n’Roll, another cheerful heavy metal track that is bound to put a smile on your face. The chorus is simple but fun to sing along to and the guitar work is just as lively.

Another track that caught my attention is Sniper Alley which has a varied pace and features some of the most catchy guitar work of the album. Then there’s You Gotta Rock It, a very enjoyable guitar-driven heavy metal song with strong AC/DC vibes.

In summary, I enjoyed listening to ‘Wolf Attack’. It’s a very well executed and highly entertaining album which I would happily recommend to fans of both melodic power metal and classic heavy metal.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Pieni’s Highlights of 2021

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2021 by Pieni

2021 was way less tough than 2020 but it was still tough enough. In November I’ve finally attended some gigs with no restrictions, but in December this new COVID-19 strain brought some new rules and I’m getting a little apprehensive regarding some plans I’ve made.. But I’ll talk about it in the “expectations for 2022”. I’m still including one live stream in my top-5 gigs because the “real” ones didn’t happen before June and that one in April (which included an unplugged section and stories about the songs they’ve performed) still meant a lot to me:

infraktoraa45
  1. Infraktor at Metalpoint (Porto)
  2. Equaleft at Hard Rock Cafe (Porto)
  3. Hollywood Undead at MixOne Sound (“Undead Unhinged” live stream)
  4. GoDark at Metalpoint (Porto)
  5. Sugiru at Metalpoint (Porto)

My favorite records:

Aeromantic II
  1.  “Aeromantic II” by The Night Flight Orchestra
  2. “Worship” by Hypocrisy
  3. “Hermitage” by Moonspell
  4. “SepulQuarta” by Sepultura
  5. “Aggression Continuum” by Fear Factory

From big movie-like productions to the simplicity of the ocean, going through animation, here are the videos whose producers I tip my hat to the most:

  1. “Burn For Me” by The Night Flight Orchestra
  2. “Funeral Derangements” by Ice Nine Kills
  3. “Treading Water” by Danny Rose
  4. “Ich hasse Kinder” by Till Lindemann
  5. “Children Of The Gray” by Hypocrisy

My expectations for 2022 are, in general, all the postponed concerts and festivals that should have taken place in the last couple of years. But then there are these specific items:

HHE2021

  1. This is the 4th time I put here the 4th Hills Have Eyes album, so let’s hope that the matching number 4 is the lucky strike…
  2. The Hollywood Undead headlining gig in Hanover (June).
  3. The W.A.S.P. 40th anniversary gig in Madrid (March).
  4. Really curious about The Halo Effect album (and gig in Lisbon).
  5. A chance to see Pitch Black live, after missing their long-awaited return due to health issues.

Enjoy 2022 as much as possible, peeps. Stay safe.

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Iza’s Highlights of 2021

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 29th December 2021 by izaforestspirit

Another year of no gigs for me but thanks to the Covid 19 vaccine I was able to travel abroad and watch a movie at the cinema. Then new strain of the virus led to new restrictions and event cancellations. It remains to be seen whether I can go to any concerts next year but for now I’m happy with watching live streams and listening to music. Here are my highlights of 2021:

1. Cradle of Filth – Resistance is Futile
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal/Extreme Gothic Metal

Cradle of Filth - Existence Is Futile

It’s been many years since Cradle of Filth have made an album this good. It reminds me of their eerie Gothic horror masterpiece ‘Midian’. Best tracks: ‘Crawling King Chaos’, ‘Suffer Our Dominium’ and ‘How Many Tears To Nurture A Rose’.

2. Therion – Leviathan
Genre: Symphonic Metal

Therion is a band I used to like but I lost interest in their releases over a decade ago. Then I saw their video for ‘Tuonela (featuring Marco Hietala) and I decided to give their new album a go. It turned out to be everything that I love about Therion – mythical themes, operatic vocals and movie soundtrack -style atmospheric symphonic metal. In addition to ‘Tuonela’, my favorite tracks are ‘Eye of Algol’ and ‘Nocturnal Light’.

3. Bodom After Midnight – Paint The Sky With Blood
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Power Metal

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

This one is technically an EP but in this case I decided to make an exception. This is Alexi Laiho’s (ex-Children of Bodom) swansong, the last three tracks he recorded with his new band before he died last year.

4. Helloween – Helloween
Genre: Power Metal

Helloween - Helloween

While it’s no match to ‘The Dark Ride’, Helloween’s self-titled is the most memorable power metal album I’ve heard this year. Very uplifting and energetic from start to finish. Best tracks: ‘Fear of The Fallen’, ‘Skyfall’ and ‘Best Time’.

5. Blue Stahli – Obsidian
Genre: Industrial Rock/Electric Rock

This album is the final part of the industrial artist Bret Autrey aka Blue Stahli’s Dead Channel Trilogy and my favorite one out of the three. Energetic industrial rock at its finest. Best tracks: ‘The Mountain’ and ‘One Last Breath’.

6. Lord of The Lost – Judas
Genre: Gothic Metal/Dark Rock/Industrial Metal

I had some serious doubts about Lord of The Lost being able to produce another good album after the masterpiece that was ‘Thornstar’. The reason why ‘Judas’ is so low down on this list is because I didn’t like the second disc as much as the first. I think that it would have been better if it was shorter. Best tracks: ‘Priest’, ‘For They Know Not What They Do’ and ‘Born With A Broken Heart’.

7. Hate – Rugia
Genre: Black Metal/ Blackened Death Metal

Hate - Rugia

Hate tend to get overlooked by many extreme metal fans and dismissed as a Behemoth clone. Whilst they also come from Poland and they play blackened death metal, the similarities end there. Their music is far less technical than Behemoth but it’s just as dark and bleak. I love the Slavic mythology themes on here. Best tracks ‘Rugia’ and ‘Resurgence’.

8. Lacrimosa – Leidenschaft
Genre: Gothic Metal

Finally a new album from one of my favorite Gothic metal bands. This one has the same melancholic ambience as their previous opus ‘Testimonium’ along with some heavier, more metal songs. Best tracks: ‘Kulturtasche’ and ‘Raubtier’.

9. Blutengel – Erlösung – The Victory of Light
Genre: Synthpop/ Darkwave

For those who don’t know I have a thing for vampires and German electronica which is what got me into Blutengel. The latest opus from the German darkwave duo features several really good dancefloor hits including: ‘The Victory of Light’, ‘Wir Sind Das Licht’ and ‘Darkness Awaits Us’.

10. Eisbrecher – Liebe Macht Monster
Genre: Industrial Metal

If you like industrial, Neue Deutsche Härte and you’re looking for some new exercise music then ‘Liebe Macht Monster’ is the album for you. Best tracks: ‘Es lohnt sich nicht ein Mensch zu sein’ and ‘Nein Danke’ and ‘Dagegen featuring Dero Goi (Oomph!, Die Kreatur).

Honorable mentions:

Ex Deo – The 13 Years of Nero
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSVkjiUxW0M
Theatres des Vampires – In Nomine Sanguinis
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XCn6mihi6s
Powerwolf – Call of The Wild
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf5SMqG-JHk

Most anticipated albums of 2022 – Sabaton – The War To End All Wars, new albums from Suicide Commando and Agathodaimon.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila


Dargor – Descent Into Abyss

Posted in Review with tags , on 19th December 2021 by izaforestspirit

Dargor
Descent into Chaos
Released 6th May 2021
Atmospheric Black Metal
Self-Released

Dargor - Descent into Chaos

Then a lot of people hear the words “black metal” and “Poland”, the first band name that usually comes to mind is Behemoth. Even if their style has shifted away from their black metal roots to create a mixture of black metal and death metal; more commonly known as blackened death metal, they remain the country’s most recognizable and successful extreme metal band. But those who are more familiar with the Polish metal scene will know that there are other black metal bands worth checking out such as Mgła, Vesania or Batushka to name but a few. This brings me to ‘Descent into Chaos’ – the second EP from the Polish black metal band Dargor. The project was launched in 2018. Both their EPs are self-released and available from their Bandcamp page.

So, what we have here are five tracks of melodic atmospheric black metal. There’s a subtle balance between the eerie yet melodic guitar work and the coarse-sounding vocals. The opening track Abysses is a good example of this contrast. The guitars create a haunting atmosphere and the vocalist really does sound like a tortured soul crying out in pain. Another song that caught my attention is Decay which features more eerie and atmospheric guitar tones, ghastly vocals ending with a surprisingly melodic and soothing keyboard outro.

In summary, ‘Descent To Chaos’ is definitely one of the more memorable black metal releases I’ve heard this year. If Dargor continue along the same path they’ll have a bright future ahead of them.

7/10 Iza Raittila

Sorg – Haf Sem Ber Tímans Og Harmanna Farg

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 28th November 2021 by Mickelrath

Sorg
Haf Sem Ber Tímans Og Harmanna Farg
Dark Metal, Black Metal
Released 9th June 2021
Self Released

It’s always interesting looking under the hood of the metal world. Sometimes you dig up gold and sometimes you find something that’s very pure in potential. So let me introduce you to Sorg a one-man metal project from Iceland. Víðir “Mýrmann” Thrastarsonand is an Icelandic painter, musician, and philosopher who put this interesting album together.  Haf sem ber tímans og harmanna farg (roughly translated: A sea that carries time and hare disposal) takes on themes of alchemy, romanticism, folklore, philosophy, and history. I have to say I was engaged and impressed all at the same time. The fact that this was all produced by one person astounds me and it clearly took a powerful vision and great persistence to make. 

Sonically the album is dark and brooding with Víðir’s vocals brewing in the background. The album chugs along at the same pace throughout. The guitar roars to life on all of the tracks and there is just such a heavy presence of bass. The drums are a bit faded in the background and I would have liked them to be a little more present in the mix to give the album a bit more impact. The whole album feels a little one-note. However, Sorg just hits that note as hard as possible. The album is really heavy, so yeah this is not for the average consumer of music. There are no hooks or earworms to be found here. But the dark poetry in this album really hit hard once the iffy production aside.

This is something that you have to be in the mood for. It’s a small project that’s been made outside of the mainstream publishing system. So it doesn’t have that clean sheen of a major label release. It’s definitely difficult to listen to because of that lack of quality production. Also, the songs seem to be missing that big punch of a good hook. However, I still feel the writing that is there is interesting enough. Like I said there’s pure potential here and I hope Sorg continues to improve. 

7/10

Mick Birchall

Theatres des Vampires – In Nomine Sanguinis

Posted in Review with tags , on 25th November 2021 by izaforestspirit

Theatres des Vampires
In Nomine Sanguinis
Released 19th November 2021
Gothic Metal
Released via Scarlet Records

Theatres des Vampires - In Nomine Sanguinis

With the notable exception of Lord of the Lost’s ‘Judas’ and the upcoming Lacrimosa album, not too many Gothic metal releases caught my attention this year. Then I discovered that Theatres Des Vampires are back with a new album so I decided to check it out. They’re a band I’ve been following for some time, but I tend to prefer their earlier stuff back when they had Lord Vampyr as their main vocalist. Since he left and Sonya Scarlet became their main singer, their albums have been hit and miss for me. I liked ‘Pleasure and Pain’ and ‘Moonlight Waltz’ but the last one they released in 2016 failed to impress me. So I’m hoping that ‘In Nomine Sanguinis’ will be better.

After a few listens I can safely say that this is a marked improvement when compared to their previous album ‘Candyland’. In many ways it reminds me of the mid-career albums, particularly ‘Moonlight Waltz’. The vampire themes are back and Sonya Scarlet’s haunting vocals have regained their mojo. The album offers a good balance of atmospheric keyboards, melodic vocals and more guitar-driven songs such as The Bride of Corinth. I really liked that eerie and atmospheric keyboard intro on that one. Other memorable tracks include ‘Christina’ thanks to its catchy melodic chorus that really makes me feel like dancing along. My personal favorite is Lady Bathory. Here the vocals take on a harsher, more eerie tone, the guitars are more prominent while the keyboards are more subtle, creeping into the background. The chorus is great too.

Overall, there’s a lot to like here if you’re into Gothic metal. While it doesn’t offer anything dramatically new , as far as Theatres des Vampires albums go this is one is definitely one of the better ones. Good to see that Scarlet and her vampire coven are back in blood.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Hypocrisy – Worship

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 21st November 2021 by Pieni

Hypocrisy
“Worship”
Death metal
Release: 26th November 2021
Via Nuclear Blast Records
worship

I was sure “End Of Disclosure” had been released in 2013 but when doing the math… I had to double-check on Google, as it seemed surreal that it took eight years for Hypocrisy to come up with something new. So the inevitable question is: was it worth the wait?

Peter Tägtgren’s growls have always had a screeching pitch underlining them, but this time he generally goes for a graver, thicker tone, and that alone gives the whole thing a more somber vibe. I understand you may think it compromises his trademark vocals, but in the end you’ll agree it simply suits with those songs. And mind that I’ve said “generally” – if you’ve checked the three videos that were released in the past couple of months, you’ll understand what I’m talking about when I say “graver and thicker” by listening to “Chemical Whore” or “Dead World”; but then in the brilliant “Children Of The Gray” (oh, how intense this one is! Made me feel exactly how I’ve felt as a teenager, when listening to “Roswell 47” for the first time!), this tone comes on only in the chorus, while Tägtgren hits the rest of the song with his dear ol’ voice. The title-track, which opens the record with a beautiful acoustic intro before merging into an electric version of it and then exploding into the fastest and most shredding song here, has also glimpses of that higher pitch – not to mention straightforward terrorizing screams in the beginning. And still regarding the singing parts, being a sucker for choirs and gang vocals, backing up a handful of choruses with these gave the album a richer and more mature sound.

Musically, well, it’s Hypocrisy. They don’t write exactly the most top-notch riffs or the most elaborate solos and beat patterns, but the way they combine them has always been the key to their creativity and popularity – and it still is. Along with “Worship” and “Dead World”, “Another Day” brings you the most aggressive side of death metal, just as “Brotherhood Of The Serpent”, “Greedy Bastards” or “Gods Of The Underground” remind you that toning down the tempo can be just as fierce. And while “They Will Arrive” bears a triumphant stride, “We’re The Walking Dead” will make you feel like you’re walking on a death row…

So I guess by now you already know my answer: oh yes, it was worth it!

8,5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Duindwaler – Landloper

Posted in Review with tags on 2nd November 2021 by izaforestspirit

Duindwaler
Landloper
10th March 2021
Raw Black Metal

Duindwaler - Landloper

‘Landloper’ is the debut EP from the Dutch black metal artist Daan Bleumink (Hellevaerder, Throne of Time, Whore of the Underworld). The project was launched earlier this year.

So, what we have here are four tracks of raw and extremely bleak-sounding black metal. The vocals resemble monstrous howling and guitars are very rough and harsh. Each song has the same violent and nihilistic feel to it. It reminded me a little of Ildjarn but this is even more crude-sounding. The track that caught my attention was Ontwaakte vlam. It’s easily the most memorable song on the EP with a varied pace and long instrumental guitar parts.

In summary, I like black metal but raw black metal isn’t really my thing. As far as the genre goes ‘Landloper’ is a decent EP which I would recommend to fans of the genre.

6/10

Cradle of Filth – Existence Is Futile

Posted in Review with tags , , on 22nd October 2021 by izaforestspirit

Cradle of Filth
Existence is Futile
Released 22nd October 2021
Symphonic Black Metal/ Extreme Gothic Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

Cradle of Filth - Existence Is Futile

The leaves have fallen, the nights are getting colder and autumn is now truly upon us. As we approach the Halloween season it seems like the perfect time to check out the latest album from the world renowned British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. This delightfully eerie-looking opus is entitled ‘Existence is Futile’ and it’s the first album to feature the band’s new keyboard player Anabelle Iranti (also of Devilment). I’ve been a fan of their music since my early teens, so I’ve been really looking forward to this.

Now let’s just take a moment to adore the marvelously nihilistic cover art and Dani Filth’s song titles of lyrical poetry. You can’t really get more Gothic horror than a title like ‘How Many Tears To Nurture A Rose’. Music-wise this album feels like a continuation of ‘Midian’ with dose of ‘Nymphetamine’ mixed in. Crawling King Chaos first caught my attention due to infectiously catchy chorus, impressive riffs and symphonic keyboards. That chorus has been stuck in my head ever since I saw the music video. The aforementioned How Many Tears To Nurture A Rose is packed with thrash metal -style guitar riffs, well placed ethereal backing vocals and Dani Filth’s screams sound as creepy as ever.

The global warming -themed Suffer Our Dominion really reminded me of ‘Midian’, partially due to Doug Bradley’s spoken word intro. In a way it feels like a continuation of where they left off with ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’. It has the same atmosphere with the eerie keyboards creeping in the background paired with Anabelle Iranti’s angelic vocals which provide the ideal contrast to Dani Filth’s abrasive shrieks. The Hellraiser actor then returns to lend his voice for one of the bonus tracks Sisters of the Mist which concludes the trilogy that began with ‘Her Ghost In The Fog’. The spooky keyboards are an absolute treat. I adored Dani Filth’s haunting whispers midway through the track. A true masterpiece of Gothic horror.

In summary, despite of the bleak concept behind it, ‘Existence Is Futile’ is a surprisingly entertaining album to tune into. As far as symphonic black metal goes it ticks all the right boxes. The songs get better with each listen. It’s impressive that even after this many years and several line-up changes Cradle of Filth are still able to create a strong record that’s worth going back to.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Spirit of Rebellion – Time for Global Refusal

Posted in Review with tags on 14th October 2021 by izaforestspirit
Spirit of Rebellion 
Time For Global Refusal
Released 28th July 2020
Death Metal
Released via PRC Music

‘Time For Global Refusal’ is the new album from the Quebec-based Canadian death metal outfit Spirit of Rebellion. They have been active since 2001.

As far as the genre goes, Spirit of Rebellion falls into the brutal and mid-paced variety with the occasional thrash metal riff thrown in. Most of the time it sounds like old school death metal and at times it reminded me of Cannibal Corpse. Having listened to the album a few times, I had some serious trouble telling the songs apart. A lot of them sound very similar. There are no real moments which would allow the listener to have a breather and relax for a while. It’s pretty much a full barrage of relentless drumming, ferocious guitar shredding and guttural growls from the moment that you hit the play button.

Collateral Damages caught my attention due to the thrash metal -style guitar work. The song itself is still very much in the old school death metal category with more brutal growls and more merciless drumming. Apart that none of the other songs really stood out.

Overall, ‘Time For Global Refusal’ is a decent old school death metal album. Sadly for me it doesn’t really offer anything dramatically new or exciting. If I wanted to listen to something similar I would probably listen to some Cannibal Corpse instead.

6/10

Iza Raittila

Sabaton reveal new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 8th October 2021 by izaforestspirit

The well renowned Swedish power metal band Sabaton have recently announced that their new album the follow up to ‘The Great War’, will be entitled ‘The War To End All Wars’. Like its predecessor this one will also be focusing on World War I.

Here’s the cover art and track-listing:

Sabaton - The War to End All Wars
  1. Sarajevo
  2. Stormtroopers
  3. Dreadnought
  4. The Unkillable Soldier
  5. Soldier of Heaven
  6. Hellfighters
  7. Race to the Sea
  8. Lady of the Dark
  9. The Valley of Death
  10. Christmas Truce
  11. Versailles

‘The War To End All Wars’ will be out in both physical and digital formats on March 4th 2022 via Nuclear Blast Records.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/sabaton

https://sabaton.bandcamp.com/

Ministry – Moral Hygiene

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 1st October 2021 by Mickelrath

Ministry
Moral Hygiene
Industrial, Nu-Metal
Released: 1st October 2021
via Nuclear Blast

Ok, this album is pretty intense. They have never been the sort to hide away from their views and thoughts on the world. On this album they really go for the jugular and hit home. Their unique blend of eletronica and metal is present and their industrial sound is very stylish and works well here. Ministry is one of those bands that I could never truly get into fully. They make music that is slightly out there music and it can be quite difficult to get into at times. I guess I just have to be in the mood for it. However, this new record Moral Hygiene is an interesting listening experience… in 2021. It really does feel that the band should’ve released this in Donald Trump’s presidency. As some of the lyrics are questionable.

As always with Al Jourgensen and his merry band of industrial insanity, the music is pretty heavy. Both in lyrical theme and in production. The production itself reminds me of all of the good things in the industrial genre. Heavy toned chords, electronica and heavy percussion that hits hard. The music is really abrasive and confronts you directly. It’s a Ministry album, to say the least. I really like how the album flows together from one song to another. Like the intro “Alert Level” goes straight into “Good Trouble”, which makes the album more bingeable, and allows the listener to go through repeat listens without too much stop, start. You can tell that Ministry has a clear influence in EDM as they integrate EDM into heavy metal quite well and pretty seamlessly. 

Lyrically, you can tell that the band wanted to put this album out during the Trump administration as quite a few lyrics seem to be directed to him and the support for the republican. It ultimately still works. Though it’s still jarring in 2021 after Trump is no longer in power. The same can be said for the previous album AmeriKKKant. It’s not bad but it makes the album pretty dated. Unlike other political rock albums they don’t really make much of an effort to make the songs timeless. An example of political albums that stood the test of time would be The Clash’s London Calling

Overall, not a bad album. Again, I’m not much of a fan of Ministry but this was a bit more listenable than a lot of their work that I’ve been exposed to. It’s a good album and for Ministry fans, it’s more to add to the back catalogue. 

6/10

Mick Birchall

Eyes – Perfect Vision 20/20

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 24th September 2021 by Pieni

Eyes
“Perfect Vision 20/20”
Melodic rock/Rock FM
Released: 4th June 2021
Via GMR Music

perfectvision2020

Remember Starship? Or the first three Bon Jovi albums? Or any other band/record with that catchy harder-than-pop-but-not-really-hard-rock eighties sound? There you go!

The tenacity of the bass in “Playing To Win” gives the song the attitude its title preaches, and that’s probably why it’s the opening track; still I think the bundle of mysterious keyboards and wailing guitars of “Turn Of Your Life” would make a bigger impact as an intro.

While the grace of the mandatory ballad, “This Is Us”, feels like a tribute to Whitesnake, the sharp gait of “Falling In Between (The Joker)” is for Eyes what “Addicted To That Rush” was for Mr. Big. Please mind that I’m mentioning all these other bands just as a reference, in order to give you context – I’m not even sure if they’re among Eyes’ influences. Yes, there’s a familiar note throughout this record but it comes from the aforementioned eighties/early nineties vibe, not from some kind of Xerox of someone else’s music.

The perky rhythm of “Never Back Down” or “Shot Down In Flames”, or the upbeat groove of “More Than Meets The Eye” and “Cry Another Day”, those are the kind of formulas used so many times before, and yet worthy of being used some more. Not exactly perfect as the title claims (although, given the band’s name, it was a brilliant choice), but good enough to be recommended to all melodic rockers out there.

7/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

New Hate album coming next month

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 17th September 2021 by izaforestspirit

Polish blackened death metal band Hate have a new album coming next month called ‘Rugia’. This will be the band’s first album to feature their new drummer Daniel Rutkowski aka Nir-Sil (Neolith, Redemptor, Virgin Snatch) who replaced Pavulon after he was forced to leave to due to serious health problems.

The title refers to an old word for a German island on the Baltic sea currently known as Rügen. Here’s what their front-man Adam the First Sinner had to say about their latest opus:

“Generally, all the songs on the album are dedicated to the ancient Slavic world – great migrations, wars, battles, and the struggle for survival. But there is also a philosophical level to it, which is very important. Slavic mythology is a collection of universal stories touching upon fundamental issues that we all encounter in our lives. Therefore it is a frame that allows me to write about contemporary problems that I encounter myself from a different perspective. Along the way, I discovered my pagan soul and I encourage people to do the same. I think everybody has this deeper, more profound identity based on understanding our unity with nature, something that goes beyond all the civilizations we have built.”

Here’s the cover art and track-listing:

Hate - Rugia
  1. Rugia
  2. The Wolf Queen
  3. Exiles of Pantheon
  4. Saturnus
  5. Awakening the Gods Within
  6. Resurgence
  7. Velesian Guard
  8. Sun of Extinction
  9. Sacred Dnieper

‘Rugia’ will be available in both digital and physical formats on October 15th 2021 via Metal Blade Records. In the meantime you can check out their new video ‘Resurgence’.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/HATEOFFICIAL

https://hate.bandcamp.com/

Iron Maiden – Senjutsu

Posted in Featured, Review with tags , , , , , , , on 7th September 2021 by Mickelrath

Iron Maiden

Senjutsu

Heavy Metal

Released: 3rd September 2021

via Parlophone

Like a lot of metalheads worldwide, my music taste was heavily shaped by Iron Maiden and the influence they’ve had on the metal world since. I feel safe in saying the majority of British metal bands were influenced by the iconic titans. Yet, like any other massive cultural media phenomena, the internet discourse seems to be rife with opinions about their output in recent years. I’ve met fans of the band that haven’t listened to them since Somewhere In Time, some stopped coming back to the band from Brave New World and others, like myself, have always stuck by the band and all their releases all the way to this latest release. Senjutsu is the seventeenth feature length album from Iron Maiden and, like all their releases of recent years, appears to have split the fanbase down the middle. Some proclaim this is a disappointing follow to 2015’s The Book Of Souls, some saying this is their best work in years and some dismissing the fact that they actually have put out a new album as they stopped coming back to Iron Maiden some time ago. So, what do I think?

I found Senjutsu to be a pretty pleasant listening experience. There’s that special quality to it that only Iron Maiden can seem to bring to an album. The lyrical themes that run through the course of the entire album. Music that complements the subject matter they’re singing about and guitar solos that still blow my mind in how they find complexity in simplicity. Obviously, the album is really well produced, at this point they have been through the album making process so much that you really can’t point to any glaring flaws. Also they brought Kevin Shirley back to produce, who has been working with them since Brave New World in 2000. So, obviously the album sounds amazing. Also, Steve Harris is behind all of the songs from a writing standpoint, and if anyone should know what Iron Maiden should sound like, Harris is really the guy. So for all things technical, this is, for lack of a better term, an Iron Maiden album. Yet, this album feels like such a different world from The Book of Souls, not bad, different.

To be honest, on first listening, not a lot feels that different. It feels like the grandiose music that they have been famous for so long. Yet, I couldn’t keep my enthusiasm going for the entire 80 or so minutes of the run time. Sure, there are a couple of standout songs. My personal favourites being “Days of Future Past”, “ Lost in a Lost World” and “Stratego”. However, I don’t think it comes together as an album that well. All of the songs run the same themes, concepts, and ideas, the songs are well written, but when put all together in an album the songs don’t feel like they naturally fall into place. That can really be blamed on the opening track, which is the title track “Senjutsu”. It’s a meandering plodding song that wears off it’s welcome pretty quick. Where I feel a song with a little bit more energy like the aforementioned “Stratego” would have worked better to hype you up for the rest of the album. And it keeps going like that for a little while. The whole album has some pacing issues and to listen to the album for the full run time, if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself dropping off it a little.

Still, I feel the song quality is there. Put some of the harder hitters into a live set mixed with some of the other Maiden standards and I think they’ll work pretty darn well. The powerful command of “The Writing on the Wall” would sound a lot better following something like “Wasted Years” and I think that’s ultimately the way I’m choosing to look at this album. More songs that they can interweave into their set lists rather than an individual listening experience unto itself. Iron Maiden has been in my life since I was a little kid and listening to them will always transport me back to being a little kid excited to discover their music. I will probably always get excited to hear new music from them because they always deliver that one special new song into my life that no other band will ever bring and for that, I will always love them. As for Senjutsu… Well, I can’t say it’s my favourite, nor can I fully dismiss it. It shows that even seventeen albums in, music is always a work in progress and no one has the formula fully nailed. Not even a band as immortal as Iron Maiden.

7/10

Mick Birchall

Ex Deo – The Thirteen Years of Nero

Posted in Review with tags , on 4th September 2021 by izaforestspirit




Ex Deo
The Thirteen Years of Nero
Released 27th August 2021
Symphonic Death Metal
Released via Napalm Records

‘The Thirteen Years of Nero’ is the new album from the Canadian symphonic metal band Ex Deo. This is the first release to feature their new drummer Jeramie Kling. For those new to the band, Ex Deo is the side project of Kataklysm’s Maurizio Iacono and their main themes are ancient Roman history.

I’ve been listening to Ex Deo ever since their first album so when it comes to their releases, I pretty much know what to expect. Each of their albums offers a symphonic death metal soundtrack to a lesson in ancient Roman history. The last one was about the Punic wars, this one is about the Emperor Nero.

Personally I think that the opening track The Fall of Claudius would have been better off without the movie sample at the start. The song itself is decent once it gets going but I was really tempted to fast forward the speech. Luckily the next track Imperator is much better. Iacono’s harsh growls and the abrasive guitar work offer a sharp contrast to the symphonic parts. Speaking of the orchestrations, as with the previous album, they were performed by Clemens Wijers, better known as Ardek from the Dutch symphonic metal band Carach Angren. I’m a fan of both bands so this is an absolute joy to hear.

Another track which got my attention was Boudicca- Queen of the Iceni feat. Brittney Slayes. The horns in the intro really sound like the start of a battle. The song is fairly melodic due to the guitar work and the orchestrations. Regarding the vocals, the duet between Maurizio Iacono and Brittney Slayes works surprisingly well, creating a balance between the harsh and melodic with some angry growls and shouts to contrast the symphonic orchestrations.

The Fiddle & The Fire deserves a mention. It’s the most melodic track on the album and the intro sounds like a start of a folk song. Yet despite the seemingly pleasant sounding intro, the song has a very eerie atmosphere and the orchestrations give it a certain melancholic feel. It’s easily one of the more memorable tracks on here.

In summary, it took me a few listens to fully appreciate ‘The Thirteen Years of Nero’. Thankfully my patience was rewarded. I discovered that it’s an enjoyable symphonic death metal album with skillfully executed orchestrations. I would recommend it to fans of Septicflesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse.

7/10

Iza Raittila

The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic II

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 29th August 2021 by Pieni

The Night Flight Orchestra
“Aeromantic II”
Rock
Release: 3rd September 2021
Via Nuclear Blast Records

Aeromantic II

I’m not sure if an “Aeromantic II” was in order when the first one came out, but it seems like the latter’s follow-up wasn’t supposed to be released so early: forced to cancel the “Aeromantic” tour due to the pandemic, all The Night Flight Orchestra could do, as a band, was write new music and record it. And voilá!

“Paying tribute to an influential decade”, revivalising the kind of music they grew up listening to… call it whatever you want, but the truth is that TNFO’s popularity simply lies on extraordinary artists who create stellar songs. They’re certainly not the only ones with this eighties vibe going on – as long as there are people enjoying a certain genre or musical formula, whether its golden age is long past or not, said music will never be so-called dead – but they’re definitely one of those doing it better. The triumphant beat of “Violent Indigo”. That groovy bass line and keyboard solo in “Midnight Marvelous”. The upbeat “How Long” (one of my favorites), worthy of a “Flashdance” kind of soundtrack, followed by the even catchier rhythm of “Burn For Me” (oh, the video they filmed for this!). The seductive main riff of “Chardonnay Nights” and the almost hypnotizing drums of “Change”. The fiery “White Jeans” contrasting against the sweetness of “Moonlit Skies”. Yes, all twelve songs will make you travel back in time to a pretty colorful era, but it’s how they make such journey possible that it’s of essence here.

As Lilith’s RevengePaula told me the other day, TNFO is the kind of band you never thought needed in your life, but when they show up, they turn you into a happier creature”. Word!

9/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Sorceress of Sin – Constantine

Posted in Review with tags , on 21st August 2021 by izaforestspirit

Sorceress of Sin
Constantine
Released 6th August 2021
Melodic Power Metal
Self-Released

Sorceress of Sin - Constantine

It’s only been a year since Sorceress of Sin released their debut album. Now the British melodic power metal quintet are back with their second studio effort ‘Constantine’. I’m always a bit apprehensive when a band releases an album within a year of the previous one as there is a big risk that it might seem rushed.

One of the great things that you sometimes get with a good power metal album is that it has the ability to take the listen away on some fantasy adventure. And this is precisely what you get here with front-woman Lisa Skinner acting as the narrator to a series of tales about mystical lands and sorcerers. As a lover of fantasy stories I’m keen to tune in. And straight away the intro ‘Necropolis’ sweeps you away to a mystical city of the dead with what sounds a series of spells before the heavy metal enchantress Ms Skinner begins her tale.

The powerful vocals might be the main focus here but the guitar work is also impressive and uplifting. Another catchy track that caught my attention is ‘Realms of Elysium’ which really shows off the singer’s stunning vocal range. ‘Pathogenic Parasite’ is the first track that really made me pay more attention to drums which dominate the intro right before the soaring vocals take centre stage. It’s great to hear the other band members getting their chance to shine as the album progresses.

Overall I loved the fantasy themes and this has been an entertaining album. I am pleased to say that there were no tracks that I had to skip. So another win for Sorceress of Sin. Keep on rocking!

8/10

Iza Raittila

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