New single from Yesterday I Lived

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , on 6th August 2020 by izaforestspirit

Here is something for fans of doom metal. The Moscow based, Russian atmospheric doom metal artist Yesterday I Lived has just released his latest single ‘Theatre of Sorrow’.

The project was created last year. The new single and his self-titled debut album are available exclusively from his bandcamp page.

For more information visit:

https://yesterday-i-lived.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/yesterday.i.lived/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCs-i5806YMghIcLtNo9OllA/

Battle Born – Battle Born

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 20th July 2020 by Nico Davidson

Battle Born
Battle Born
Released 26th June 2020
Power Metal/Skyrim Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Windhelm (Apparently), Battle Born are a new power metal act on the scene. Described as “true Skyrim Metal” by some, I have to admit my curiosity was piqued. The self-titled EP is said to take the listener on an adventure through the rolling mountains of the frozen land of Skyrim.

The EP charges straight in with the gallant title track, Battle Born. It’s a strong enough opening for the EP, featuring the standard trademarks of European power metal. Bring The Metal Back is a catchy track with memorable riffs and an overall grandiose chorus, though some of the lyrics do sound quite cheesey. Man Of War takes on a more classic metal sound, with a styling that would be closer to early Manowar, or Judas Priest, than modern power metal. The chorus is poignant enough to have you singing it for days. For Our Home is a far gentler song, making use of more emotional keyboard passages and moving vocal lines. The guitars add to the uplifting sound of the track. The EP ends on Sovngarde Awaits, which despite the name, isn’t as mournful as one would assume. Instead, it thunders in with encouraging guitar riffs, exhilarating keyboards, and boisterous vocals. Such an enlivening song makes you want the EP to carry on.

For a Skyrim Metal band, the lack of Thu’um usage and sweetrolls which is disappointing, however the EP shows promise these sons of Skyrim. With an arsenal of fun choruses, and uplifting songs, Battle Born is a mighty release and just the soundtrack you need when taking the fight to the Imperials!

9/10

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Battle Born online:

http://www.facebook.com/battlebornuk

Interview with Sami Hinkka [Ensiferum]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 20th July 2020 by Nico Davidson

Ensiferum, are perhaps one Finland’s greatest musicial exports, with an ever evolving sound. With the new album out, Nico sat down and had an email-based chat with the band’s bassist, Sami.

Nico: Thalassic is an interesting name for the new album. Given the definition of the word, and based on the track listing, it’s obvious that there is a sea or oceanic theme in the album.  How did it come about to have this theme as opposed to other themes?

Sami: Hi! I’m actually very happy with the album title because as a word it sounds like it’s matching well with the bands name and it sums up the theme of the album. Sea or water felt like a good and “wide” enough because every culture have mythologies and legends that are linked to sea so I knew that there would be more than enough good stories to draw inspiration from.

N: How does the new album differ from previous releases?

S: The composing process went as it usually goes with this band: slowly. Of course the new member Pekka Montin gave a totally new ”tool” for us with his incredible voice and naturally we arranged songs that we made the most of it. Obviously the lyrical theme makes this different kind of album compared to old albums.

For the production team we had one new and one old member: we had the honor to get Janne Joutsenniemi to produce and record and Jens Bogren to mix the album and we are very happy with the result.

N: What was the writing process for the new album like? Did you have an idea of what you wanted to the new album to sound like before writing it?

S: Usually we have raw idea how a new album should sound like but it always depends how the songs are progressing because we always have lots of songs under work and naturally we can’t finish them all so once we have enough songs to record an album, then it’s time to book a studio. This is very cool way because then we always have raw material to work with.

N: Some fans have commented that the singles you’ve released from the album so far, especially Rum, Women, Victory, have a pirate metal sound to them. Would you describe the new album as such?

S: Heh, to be honest I never thought that someone would think this song as a pirate song! It tells about the brave men of Royal Navy and the daily rum dose they used to get. I have no idea what ”a pirate metal” -sound is, I guess Alestorm’ish? And I find our sound to be completely different but of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

N: In your own opinion, which song would you say defines Ensiferum?

S: We have such a wide musical horizon so this is really hard. Maybe “Victory Song” has many Ensiferum’s main elements so if I would need to represent the band with one song, I might choose that one.

N: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film, which one would it be and why?

S: Hmmm, I’m sorry I can’t come up with any movie that has such a terrible soundtrack that it would need to be changed.

N: Thalassic is obviously out now. Have you made a start on new music or are you taking a break from writing before you start thinking about the next album?

S: Because of COVID-19 chaos there are no tours coming up in a long time so we will start working with some new material soon.

N: Do you think you’ll follow any other themes in the future with upcoming albums?

S: We haven’t talked about this yet so it’s too early to say. I like working this way with my power metal band Metal De Facto, our every album has a different theme. I don’t know will we continue doing this with Ensiferum but at least we did it once.

Ensiferum’s new album, Thallasic is out now!

Damnation Angels – Fiber of Our Being

Posted in Review with tags , , on 17th July 2020 by izaforestspirit

Damnation Angels
Fiber of Our Being
Released 31st July 2020
Symphonic Power Metal
Self-Released

Damnation Angels - Fiber of Our Being




So here we were in the heat of the summer… Ok, so there is still a pandemic going on and many of us may not be in a “happy place” at the moment. But it’s still summer and I’m in the mood for some power metal. I’m in need of some escapism. I want to hear some uplifting tunes and to listen tales of epic battles or fantasy adventures. Helloween, Sabaton and Powerwolf are my favorite choices for the genre. This time though, I decided to take a break from those and to check out something new – the new album from the British symphonic power metal act Damnation Angels. These guys have been around since 2006 and their music has been compared to the likes of Avantasia and Blind Guardian. So far all their albums have been well received by the metal community both the fans and the critics alike, including Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson. Let’s see how the third full length ‘Fiber of Our Being’ measures up to its predecessors.

Well if it’s uplifting and epic power metal you are after, then you have come to the right place. Railrunner definitely has a positive feel to it thanks to the melodic guitar work, symphonic undertones and Iggy Rodriguez’s powerful vocals. Great chorus too. They managed to achieve the right balance between the the guitars and the orchestrations without overdoing it on the symphonic parts. The title track is by far the catchiest song on here. I’ve listened to the album a few times now and this is one of the tracks that I keep going back. It has the best chorus and the most memorable orchestrations as well as guitar riffs. In fact, come to think of it, there isn’t really anything that I dislike about this track. I also enjoyed Rewrite The Future – another energetic, uplifting and catchy power metal track. The guys probably had lots of fun recording this.

They occasionally slow things down too, as demonstrated in the slower tracks like the closing ballad ‘A Sum of Our Parts’. Here the vocals have a somewhat softer tone and the keyboards are more prominent than the guitars. It’s probably my least favorite track on here but it works well as a closing song, the final chapter of the story.

Overall, there is a lot to like on here and I enjoyed listening to ‘Fiber of Our Being’. I would recommend it to fans of symphonic power metal, particularly if you are into bands like Kamelot and Avantasia.

8/10

Iza Raittila

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

Interview with Auger

Posted in Interview with tags , , , on 29th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Two years after discovering them at Lumous Gothic Festival, Iza caught up with Kyle J. Wilson of the British darkwave duo Auger. They discussed their band’s new album ‘Insurgence’, live streaming and other forms of lock-down entertainmnent. Check it out:

First of all, how are you doing?

We’re great thank you, well as good as you can be in a global crisis…

Congratulations on your new album ‘Insurgence’! I really enjoyed it. This is now your third studio record. Auger has come a long while since your debut album ‘The Awakening’ back in 2017. Can you tell us about the creative process and inspirations for this album? 

Thank you so much, I’m super pleased you enjoyed it. Absolutely, so like The Awakening, Insurgence was based around a story. Painting a picture of a post-apocalyptic world that doesn’t feel so far from reality given everything that’s going on.

If you were to pick a track from ‘Insurgence’ to act as an introduction to the band for new listeners, which one would it be and why?

This is a tricky one, not only because we’re so pleased with every song on the album, but because we strive to create a diverse listening experience; to put it plainly, every song is different and the album ranges from full-synthwave to out-and-out industrial tracks. I would say, however, that I’d recommend listening to ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong.’ It’s a great taster for what the album holds, it’s melodic, rocky and it features a very talented young singer, Imogen Evans, who adds an angelic female touch to it.

‘Insurgence’ features a wide range of different styles. I detected everything from electro rock, industrial metal to synth pop and darkwave. For example ‘My Death’ is very melodic and synth-pop style. What is the story behind that track?

Definitely. When I wrote My Death I was listening to a lot of Depeche Mode (can you tell?) and I wanted to try and encapsulate their sound and interpret it in a more Auger-way. In terms of lyrics, the song is about someone who feels deeply overwhelmed with the situation (that situation being the end of the world). They fantasize about what it would’ve been like to have seized more opportunities when they were still attainable; including admitting to love.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bgmRUfnC2E

The album also includes collaboration with a young musician called Imogen Evans. Who is she and what made you decide to collaborate with her?

So Imogen has come into my studio a few times over the past couple of years, mainly performing her own songs, but the second I first heard her voice I knew I needed her to sing on an Auger song; and it worked even better than I had imagined. She’s a real delight to work with and we have a laugh every time she’s here.

The global coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the music industry with thousands of events being cancelled and postponed. How has this affected Auger?

Well it has cancelled the first part of our album tour, postponing many shows into 2021. But we’ve not let this get to us! Instead we’ve hosted five live-streamed shows, each have run for three-hours and accumulated over 10,000 views. We’ve also begun to create some more YouTube specific content, run competitions and all sorts. We have really tried to think of as many ways to keep in touch with our amazing community and boost spirits where we can. We’re not going to let COVID-19 beat us!

With all tours now on hold you must have a lot of spare time on your hands. Besides live streaming and promoting the new album what else have you been up to?

Well, as I mentioned before, Kieran and I have begun to create some YouTube videos to grow our channel. We’ve been playing games, telling stories and trying some horrible food and it’s been great fun. And aside from that, a spot of gardening, lots of walks and a spot of decorating in the house.

Let’s talk about the newest trend in the music industry – live streaming. I’ve noticed that you have done some streamed acoustic sets recently. How does this compare to a real live show? What are the pros and cons of streaming vs. live from your point of view?

It’s very bizarre. Not at all in a bad way, it’s just an incredibly strange concept that you’re performing to your laptop and talking to a screen… It certainly gets some getting used to. But we love it. We were able to do a live stream together a couple of weeks back and it was great fun, the fans responded so well and it’s a great opportunity to chat, answer questions and just have a good laugh with everyone during these strange times. I don’t think you can compare it to playing a live show, it’s a completely different kettle of fish. We do miss the live shows tremendously, but that doesn’t mean we’ll stop going live on Facebook.

Which festival/event are you looking forward to the most next year once the pandemic is over?

Out Of Line Weekender of course, that we’re delighted to be playing. But also, all my gig tickets have been rescheduled for next year so I’m excited to see Jimmy Eat World, Suzanne Vega and go to Amphi Festival 2021.

Finally, is there anything you would like to say to your fans and our readers?

Thank you so much for streaming, downloading and purchasing the album – don’t stop, and we’ll see you soon! Take care, #teamauger!

https://www.facebook.com/pg/AugerUK

https://darktunes.bandcamp.com/album/insurgence

Red Moon Architect premier new video for Rise

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 26th June 2020 by Nico Davidson

Finnish doom metal outfit Red Moon Architect are set to release their highly anticipated fifth, Emptiness Weighs The Most, studio album in October through Noble Demon. The album will take listeners on an intense and emotional ride through harrowing doom landscapes. To give an idea of what the new album will entail, Red Moon Architect have released a video for Rise, taken from the album, which can be viewed down below. The album will feature nine tracks in total.

The Lotts announce debut EP

Posted in News with tags , , , on 26th June 2020 by Nico Davidson

Warrington based garage punks The Lotts announced their debut EP earlier today. Produced and mixed by Thighpaulsandra at Monmouth’s Rockfield Studios, the five track EP, titled We Are The Lotts, will be released on 24th July and is also available on 12” vinyl via Liverpool based label Whispering Pines. The tracklisting for the upcoming release is as follows:

1. We Are The Lotts
2. I Don’t
3. Dumb
4. Preacher Man
5. Mouth

Mystic Prophecy release lyric video for Hail To The King

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 26th June 2020 by Nico Davidson

German metal outfit Mystic Prophecy unveiled the lyric video for their new single, Hail To The King, today. The track is taken from the band’s 11th studio album, Metal Division, which was released in January this year. You can view the lyric video down below.

Mystic Prophecy have also released a new vinyl containing the single. The special edition 7” vinyl includes the metal hymn Hail To The King, which is dedicated to Alexander the Great, on side A and the ballad-like mid-tempo hymn Here Comes The Winter. You can order the vinyl here.

Finntroll announce new album details

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , on 26th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been seven years since their last studio effort . Now the Finnish folk metal horde Finntroll are pleased to announce that their new album will be out this autumn. The long-awaited follow-up to ‘Blodsvept’ bears the title ‘Vredesvävd’ (meaning wrath woven in Swedish).

Here is an official statement from the band:

“Vredesvävd is shamelessly untrendy, fierce and a catchy album. Raising a mushroom-cladded middle finger towards lazy rock music, it whips and whacks the poor listener in a way that only Finntroll is capable of delivering. Combining something old, something new and a ton of something black.”

Check out the artwork and track-listing:

  1. Väktaren
  2. Att Döda Med En Sten
  3. Ormfolk
  4. Gränars Väg
  5. Forsen
  6. Vid Häxans Härd
  7. Myren
  8. Stjärnornas Mjöd
  9. Mask
  10. Ylaren
Finntroll - Vredesvävd

‘Vredesvävd’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide in both digital and physical formats on 18th September 2020 via Century Media Records.

For more information visit:

https://www.trollhorde.com/

https://www.facebook.com/officialfinntroll/

Carach Angren – Francksteina Strataemontanus

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 22nd June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Carach Angren
Franckensteina Strataemontanus
Released 26th June 2020
Symphonic Black Metal / Horror Metal
Released via Seasons of Mist

Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus

The Dutch symphonic horror metal masters Carach Angren are back with a new album. Their latest opus ‘Franckensteina Strataemontanus’ is a concept album focusing on the story of German occultist Johann Conrad Dippel, whose experiments allegedly inspired Mary Shelley’s novel ‘Frankenstein’. This is also the last album to feature the band’s drummer Ivo “Namtar” Wijers.

Carach Angren are a fairly new discovery for me. I only got into their music a couple of months ago. I’m surprised that it took me this long to check them out considering that I am a fan of several bands who make similar music including Cradle of Filth and Chthonic. The main things that make Carach Angren stand out are the frequent use of orchestrations in the music and Seregor’s storytelling. I wouldn’t really call what he does “singing”, it’s more like he is reading or narrating a horror story complete with all the theatrical antics and creepy voices.

The intro track ‘Here in German Woodland’ sets the scene for an eerie tale of Gothic horror. Speaking of spooky, there is something disturbing about the distorted guitar and keyboard noises in the introduction to the title track. It definitely conveys an eerie atmosphere, sending chills down the listener’s spine. Seregor does a good job playing the mad scientist in the story. Full marks for the theatrics. As far the lyrics go, Operation Compass seems a little disconnected from the rest of the album concept but the bombastic yet creepy orchestrations make you forget the confusion. Monster is one of the highlights on the album for me. The keyboards and the vocals really convey that feeling of something sinister coming towards you. They even added some cinematic style orchestrations and screams to create the right atmosphere.

Then there is the ultra-quirky Der Vampir von Nürnberg, one of those symphonic black metal songs that you’re either going to love or hate. The orchestrations sound fantastic in all their Gothic horror glory but the vocals might divide opinions. I am accustomed to Seregor’s creepy narrations but the ghastly (not in a good way) backing vocals and howling in the chorus started to get on my nerves. Dimmu Borgir did this too and I disliked it. Also is it just me or does anyone else think that the singer sounds like a bit like Till Lindemann when he is speaking in German?

Overall, ‘ Franckensteina Strataemontanus’ is a really good soundtrack to a horror movie that has yet to be made. As far symphonic black metal goes, Carach Angren are bit of an oddity, but as this album proves they are a force to be reckoned with. I would recommend this to fans of Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir and Chthonic.

8/10
Iza Raittila

Beyond Shadows – Wolf’s Blood

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 16th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Beyond Shadows
Wolf’s Blood
Released May 2020
Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Beyond Shadows - Wolf's Blood

Wolf’s Blood’ is the new EP from the New York -based, American melodic death metal duo. The band comprises vocalist and guitarist Daniel Shepard and drummer Chris Hawkins (ex-Midian). Their music is heavily influenced by the Gothenburg melodic death metal movement and they are inspired by bands such as At The Gates and Carcass.

This EP certainly does not lack aggression. Right from the opening riff on Never An Answer you are greeted by an onslaught of shredding guitars, blast beats and abrasive shouting. Yet in addition to the aggression, they also managed to sneak in some melodic guitar parts towards the latter half of the song adding some variety to the overall structure and pacing. The title track also features melodic undertones and lots of pace changes. The transitions between the vicious death metal and the melodic guitar work are very well timed. I particularly liked the acoustic guitar part at the end.

Just when you think that you know what Beyond Shadows is all about, they surprise you again. Based on what the first two tracks sounded like, the last thing that I expected was a keyboard intro on Regret Is My Name. It’s short but long enough to give the listener a chance to get ready for the next attack of thrashing guitars and blast beats. At The Gates made songs like this back in the ‘90s. Last but not least is Screaming Eyes (Go Unheard) which features another melodic guitar intro which reminded me of old Metallica for some reason. The guitar riffs are good but I could have done without the clean vocals.

In summary, ‘Wolf’s Blood’ is a well made melodic death metal EP, which is likely to please fans of Gothenburg variety of the genre. It has a few flaws but luckily they are minor and easy to overlook.

7/10

Iza Raittila

American Jetset – Saloon Rock Whiskey Pop

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 15th June 2020 by Pieni

American Jetset
“Saloon Rock Whiskey Pop”
Rock
Self-released on 8th April 2020

saloon

“Saloon Rock Whiskey Pop” is said to be American Jetset’s first full length album, but as it features only six songs, I’d call it an EP instead… Whatever the term, its contents live up pretty much to its title, delivering that kind of rock which isn’t exactly hard but it’s harder than pop and that you expect to hear in a bar, while having a few drinks with a bunch of friends.
Personally, I’d like the voice to sound a bit more… passionate, but then it would probably make it feistier and closer to hard rock, and that’s probably not American Jetset’s goal. They play rock – period. And the whole guitar work – meaning solos, riffs, licks… – it’s already spicy enough to ignite a sparkle in your ear and then the rest just follows naturally. I must highlight the bass line in “Walking Contradiction”, as it’s very bold, but sadly it stays in the background in the other songs. Still plays an important role in the whole outcome, but it doesn’t stand out as in that first song. “1000 Ghosts” shows a more upbeat side of the band and “Never Be Goodbye” is the mandatory ballad, all acoustic, clapping hands on the chorus – which features the album title – and on the non-clapping parts you easily imagine the hands of the crowd holding a lighter (yeah, a lit cellphone will probably be more accurate, but a lighter gives out a more traditional vibe, fitting better in the mood). Meaning they cover all key bases of rock in about half an hour of juicy music.

7/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Behemoth – A Forest

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 5th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Behemoth
A Forest
Released 29th May 2020
Blackened Death Metal
Released via New Aeon Music

Behemoth - A Forest

The ongoing worldwide pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the music industry. With thousands of shows and festival cancelled or postponed, musicians have found themselves with a lot more time their hands. Many have returned to the studio and created something new. The Polish blackened death metal trio Behemoth are one such band. They have teamed up with Niklas Kvarforth (Shining, Skitliv) to bring you a cover of The Cure’s ‘A Forest’. The EP also features to previously unreleased songs from the ‘I Loved You At Your Darkest’ recording sessions.

I have to admit I am not that familiar with The Cure’s music. I actually had to check out the original version of A Forest prior to this review. The Cure’s original post-punk song isn’t exactly cheerful but it’s nowhere near as creepy as Behemoth’s version. The eerie guitar work in the intro is enough to send chills down your spine. Orion really does a great job with the bass. Then there’s Mr. Kvarforth’s ghastly screams along with Nergal’s growls. This is definitely not a gentle stroll in the woods. These are the sounds of someone lost in a forest running for his/her life. The live version is faster, more energetic but it loses some of the eerie atmosphere in process.

Then we come to the two new songs. ‘Shadows Ov Ea Cast Upon Golgotha’ is a brutal piece of blackened death metal with harsh guitar riffs and varied pace. It is a decent song but it feels a little unrefined. I can see why they chose not to include on the last album. ‘Evoe’ is much more dynamic, well rounded and stronger in structure. Now this is the kind of Behemoth track that I was hoping to hear.

Overall, ‘A Forest’ is a good addition to Behemoth’s discography. They did a great job with the cover and the other songs are not without merit. I think that their fans will enjoy this release. I sure did.

7/10

Iza Raittila

New Ensiferum album coming this summer

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report, Uncategorized with tags , , on 29th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

It’s been three years after their last studio effort ‘Two Paths’. Now the Finnish folk metallers are back with a new album called ‘Thalassic’. Here is an official statement from the band regarding the lyrical themes:

“The idea of it started to brew in my mind when I was doing interviews for ‘Two Paths‘ and many journalists asked if it was a theme album, and I noticed that I was answering all the time that because of the way we compose it’s almost impossible to make a theme album. This really started to piss me off and the decision was made: the next album would have a theme. At that time, we already had a few songs almost ready for the next album, and I started to listen to the demos much more from the feeling aspect instead of analyzing them musically. For some reason, all of them took me to a seashore, and the theme was found: something related to sea or water. So I started to read about history, myths and legend around the world that had something to do with the theme, but even though all of the lyrics are obviously inspired by this, I tried my best to keep Ensiferum‘s heroic mentality in them. In the end, there were too many ideas for lyrics, because I didn’t set myself any boundaries – like all stories would have to be Nordic, etc, and one of my favourite songs on the album tells about Andromeda from Greek mythology. I can’t promise that this way of lyric-writing will be the future of Ensiferum, but at least we did this once.”

You see the cover art and track-listing below:

1. Seafarer’s Dream
2. Rum, Women, Victory
3. Andromeda
4. The Defence of the Sampo
5. Run from the Crushing Tide
6. For Sirens
7. One with the Sea
8. Midsummer Magic
9. Cold Northland (Väinämöinen Part III)
10. Merille Lahteva (Bonus Track)
11. I’ll Stay by Your Side (Bonus Track)

‘Thalassic’ will hit the shops in both physical and digital formats on 10th July 2020 via Metal Blade Records.

In the meantime you can check out their new lyric video for ‘Rum, Women, Victory’

For further information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum

https://ensiferum.com/

Ravenscry – 100

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , on 27th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Ravenscry
100
Released 15th May 2020
Gothic Metal / Progressive metal
Self-Released

Ravenscry - 100

100’ is the latest album from the Milan-based Italian Gothic metal band Ravenscry. They were formed back in 2008. This is the first studio release to feature their new guitarist Federico Schiavoni, who joined the band in 2017.

So, based on the description, I was expecting this to be another Nightwish type, female fronted band. How wrong could I be? For starters, the vocals are melodic but their singer Giulia Stefani sounds more like Amy Lee (Evanescence) or Silje Wergeland (The Gathering, ex-Octavia Sperati) than any of the Nightwish singers. Secondly there are no symphonic elements. Instead, the guitars are low pitch, distorted and have a progressive metal feel to them. Keyboards are kept to a minimum, with the exception of the opening track ‘Maybe’, where they maintain the balance between the chugging guitars and Ms. Stefani’s angelic singing.

As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, I have never been fond of anything progressive and that is my main issue with this album. I like the vocals but the stop-start, distorted guitar work seems to disrupt the flow on the songs. I think that the symbiosis between the two is not as smooth or as efficient as it should be. They work on some tracks better than others. ‘The Entertainer’ is one of the better ones. Here the guitars take a backseat and the vocals are the main focus on the song. I really like Giulia Stefani’s vocal performance on that particular track. The melodic keyboard outro is a good addition too.

Overall, ‘100’ offers a mixture of progressive and Gothic metal. There is enough variety to keep the listener on his or her toes. Unfortunately the combination of the two might not be to everyone’s taste.

6/10

Iza Raittila

DevilDriver unveil new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 21st May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Two years after their country music covers album ‘Outlaws ‘Til The End’ was released, now the American groove metal band DevilDriver are back. They recently announced that their new studio effort will be called ‘Dealing With Demons I’.

Their front-man Dez Farara stated that this will be the first volume of a double album concept focusing on human nature, emotions and personal struggles. Here is an extract of he had to say about it:

“It’s time to lay it all out, on two records. I’m never gonna revisit these subjects again. I’ve been writing about this sort of human nature, disloyalty and dishonesty, love and loss, since the beginning of my career. I am going in a more lyrically woke direction in the future. A lot of people say my music gives them strength. But what they don’t realize is that these topics haunt me. Over the course of these last few years we fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic… so it is what it is… let’s dump it all on the table and purge. I want to go through different topics in the future, so here we are now. I’ve laid it all out on a double record for all of you to hear.”

Check out the cover art and track-listing below:

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons, Volume I

1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

‘Dealing With Demons I’ will hit the shops on 9th October 2020 via Napalm Records.

For now you can check out the lyric video for their new single ‘Keep Away From Me’

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

DevilDriver

 

 

Raven Said – Beyond The Darkest Hour

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 13th May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Raven Said
Beyond The Darkest Hour
Released 17th April 2020
Goth Rock/Post-Punk
Released via Secret Sin Records Ltd.

’Beyond The Darkest Hour’ is the debut album from the Russian Goth rock duo Raven Said. The band was founded in 2014 in Ekaterinburg by vocalist-guitarist Andrey Agapitov and Maria Agapitova (piano, synth, violin and percussion). I first discovered them after watching their performance at Lumous Gothic Festival. They cite ‘80s Goth rock, post-punk and new wave as their main influences along with an interest in the occult and spooky Gothic themes. Oh and in case the name wasn’t enough of a clue they are also fans of the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Some of the songs were previously released as EPs and their entire discography is available from their Bandcamp page.

Well, if old school Goth rock is your thing, then you are in for a treat. This album has all the hallmarks of a classic Goth rock record including melancholic vocals, eerie, scything guitar work and spooky synth melodies. Lenore was part of the live set at Lumous Gothic Festival. It’s one of the songs that stood out for me and what made me check out the band’s music after the shows. Ok, it’s a little slow but I really like the spooky atmosphere. There are also some more dance-friendly tunes such as Love That Black As Coal. This one is more keyboard-oriented and a little less melancholic.

Another song that caught my attention was Fragile Hope; the most dance-friendly track on here. It’s catchy with a good keyboard intro and the guitar sounds less gloomy. The guitar riffs can even been described as….(dare I say it..?) – uplifting. Yes, that’s right, I’ve just used the term “uplifting” in a Goth rock review! Oh no… Oh the horror! What ever shall we do? I say that we just keep listening and dance along, that’s my plan at least.

To conclude, ‘Beyond The Darkest Hour’ is a very well executed Goth rock album that is bound to please fans of the style. There are only a handful of Goth rock bands that I like and I am pleased to say that Raven Said is one of them.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Paradise Lost – Obsidian

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 10th May 2020 by Pieni

Paradise Lost
“Obsidian”
Gothic metal
Released: 15th May 2020
Via Nuclear Blast 

obsidian

I believe that in all 17 studio albums Paradise Lost have released so far, this is the one with the most accurate title – its songs are deep dark and their refinement pretty clear-cut, just like an obsidian rock. And since we use the word “rock” in a metaphorical sense to describe something strong we can rely on, and “Obsidian” is, in my humble opinion, the strongest record these guys have done in years…

Paradise Lost have always managed to write sorrowful songs that will otherwise bring you elation rather than depression, and just a few seconds into that acoustic intro of “Darker Thoughts” will prove this statement right. Nick Holmes sings in a heartfelt clean pitch here, and as the electric, heavy part kicks in, so does his harsh growl. There are orchestral arrangements in the background throughout the whole song – violins, if my ears got it right – which a sucker for details such as me must point out. And as the two following songs are the ones I already knew from YouTube – the stricken “Fall From Grace” and the homage to The Sisters Of Mercy “Ghosts – it was already clear I was facing a masterpiece. A lot of “old school PL vibe” revamped, which I admit probably helped with the impact it caused on me – but I still think “masterpiece” is the right word.

The keyboard line and guitar work of “The Devil Embraced” are particularly riveting, while “Serenity” bears a more straight-forward and rawer heaviness that turns out quite catchy. And while the melody of “Ending Days” bears the beautiful sadness that I’ve implied before, “Ravenghast”’s nature is gloomier, almost ominous.

Saying “all gothic metal fans” may sound presumptuous, so I’ll stick to “the majority of gothic metal fans” will fall in love with this record; but for those whose lives were touched by “Icon” and/or “Draconian Times”, “Obsidian” will also be a blissful revival of the past.

9/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Orange Goblin – Rough & Ready, Live & Loud… 25 Years of British Rock and Heavy Metal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 10th May 2020 by mickbirchy

Orange Goblin
Rough & Ready, Live & Loud
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Stoner Rock
Released: 1st May 2020
via Orange Goblin Music / Rise Above Records

It’s hard to put into words how much I love the band Orange Goblin and how much their music reached me. Let me take you back to 2012 and the release of their album A Eulogy For The Damned. This was an album that immediately captured my consciousness and reached me on a level that I don’t think many metal bands have done. It wasn’t an overly complex record from a musical standpoint.  It adhered to a standard, verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure with riffs to carry the general tune of the song and they used some brilliant guitar work to give their music some extra life. After listening to that album I was immediately fascinated with them, their riffs always caught me, hook line and sinker and I hunted down their previous albums to see if they gave the same feeling. Very luckily, they did. In particular Thieving from the House of God, which still to this day is one of my all-time favourite metal albums.

Once I had discovered their music I made it a mission to see them live in concert. I got my chance time and time again as Orange Goblin are touring machines, I’ve managed to watch them live at least 12 times now. Now, how do I describe their live shows? They’re one of the most charismatic and fun bands to watch live. They just have this imposing presence to their shows, it’s something you can really feel as an audience member, no matter how many times I see them perform I still get chills when they get certain parts of their sets. There are some staple tunes that the band will just play and the crowd goes nuts, like “Saruman’s Wish” and “Some You Win, Some You Lose”, when they hit those songs you can feel the crowd twist and shift and come to life. It’s such an awesome feeling. They do such a good job of making a set-list that will keep their fans happy. I mean all bands have to release new material and I think deciding what old songs to keep and what new songs to add is an art form unto itself. They always seem to get that balance of rocking the old school tunes and promoting the new material. So, it’s great to hear a set-list unfold itself over the course of a night.

Now they have been rocking for 25 solid years, Orange Goblin wanted to do something for the fans to celebrate this milestone in their career. However, with the UK being in lock-down due to the world health crisis at the time of writing this review, it wasn’t like they could just hit the road at their leisure. So, the next best thing was to give their fans a live album. Rough & Ready, Live & Loud is a collection of live recordings from their gigs. The songs were taken from their sets at Sylak Open Air Festival 2016, KOKO in London 2016 and at the Fuzz Club in Athens in 2019. It’s a well-rounded album with lots of great songs to rock out to. It also gives some love to some of their, let’s say underrated, classics like “Time Traveling Blues” and “Made of Rats”. So in that sense, it’s not a greatest hits album per se, more of a collection to give the listener the feeling of hearing the band live and enjoying the show. Which is cool and a good way to put their stamp on 25 years as a band. Also, included with the album on Bandcamp is a digital booklet filled with fan-submitted memories of the band. Which made this feel like an all-inclusive experience with their fans. In addition to this the Bandcamp edition of the album features the extra track of “Your World Will Hate This” from the album Coup de Grace. Which is a pretty damn good cap on the album. I mean it’s a short tune but it has that fierce energy and packs that little extra punch.

Although I can’t pretend that I have been a fan since the start (you know since I was only three years old when they started, so the only music I liked was the intro to Thomas the Tank Engine). I feel like they were definitely a cornerstone in developing my taste in heavy metal and hard rock. Still to this day I gravitate to music with heavy riffs and fuzzy solos more than any other styling. Their live shows have always been something to look forward to for me because I know they’re going to give it their all and they enjoy every moment of being on stage. This was a nice treat as a fan of the band and something that I’ve enjoyed listening to. So… here’s to 25 years of Orange Goblin and hopefully another 25 years of hard rock and heavy metal.

10/10

Mick Birchall

Get the album for yourself here – https://orangegoblinofficial.bandcamp.com