Bodom After Midnight EP coming this spring

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

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

Here’s the cover art and tracklisting:

May be an image of text

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

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

For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial

Epica – Omega

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10/10

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Nihilum – Call of The Void

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

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

Nihilum - Call of the Void

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

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

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

7/10

Iza Raittila

Ricky Warwick – When Life Was Hard & Fast

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

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

wlwhnf

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

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

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

7,5/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

New single from Vengeant out now

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

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

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

May be an anime-style image of text

The track is available for streaming on Spotify now.

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

Cannibal Corpse announce new album

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onus Baal – Onus Baal

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

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

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

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

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

8/10

Mick Birchall

Moonspell – Hermitage

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

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

hermitage

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

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

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

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

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

9/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Echelon – Поехали

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 30th January 2021 by Pieni

Echelon
“Поехали”
Industrial
Released: 10th December 2020
Via Patriot

echelonletsgo

Rammstein have made such a mark that it’s almost impossible not to think of them when the term “industrial” comes up. And when the title-track of Echelon’s “Поехали” (let’s go) reminds you of “Feuer Frei” and the same album features a Russian cover of “Asche zu Asche”, you realize how much Rammstein still inspire younger bands of the genre.

Even if singer… I’m sorry, I don’t have a name for you – I can’t find any info regarding the band’s line-up! I did manage to identify the girl on the promo pic as Alena Meta, but since there’s a couple of songs with the note “feat. Alena Meta, I’m not even sure if she’s just a guest or a glorified band member… Now, as I was saying: even if the singer’s grave pitch and aggressive tone also resembles Till Lindemann’s, Echelon have managed to imprint their own stamp and create a sound of their own. The musical structure is more melodic, and the female voices here and there give it a classy touch: besides the aforementioned Alena Meta on the ballads “Особенный Путь” (special way) and the acoustic version of “Ничего нет дороже любви”(nothing more precious than love), they also have Valentina’s shrills spicing up “Действуй” (take action) and the more rock-oriented “Я Астероид” (I’m an asteroid). Another guest – male this time – is Freng, singing the English version of one of my favorites, “Течение Времени” (the flow of time), with a somewhat punk-ish attitude that, strangely enough, fits!

All in all, they combine the typical electronics with cranky guitar riffs, add occasional beautiful piano pieces and victorious vibes, and the outcome is quite charming.

7/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Immortal Guardian – Psychosomatic

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 24th January 2021 by Mickelrath

Immortal Guardian
Psychosomatic
Power Metal, Progressive Metal
Released: 21st February
Via M-Theory

Oh man, I needed something like this right about now. This is the long awaiting second album from the epic power metallers, Immortal Guardian. I was genuinely blown away from the very first moments of this album. It’s certainly a really positive way to kick off my 2021. The band started the recording in early 2020 and would continue to update and add to it over the year, eventually scrapping the original theme and creating something completely new. This album truly is a product of 2020. At least that blasted year gave us something as powerful and as entertaining as this record. Psychosomatic has this real infectious energy to it and you can truly feel the passion, time and effort that went into this. Let me say this right now, I really appreciate this band and everything they put into this record. 

From a production standpoint, it sounds awesome. The music has this real polished tone to it. Everything feels clean and stands out. With each piece of instrumentation shining on its own but also it comes together to become something much bigger and bolder. The glistening guitar work is complemented by the twinkling keyboard and it’s all made bold by the strong bass and drum combination which gives the music that booming presence. Then you have the vocal performance which is so stellar and site right on top of the already impressive music. It’s power metal done right. If you want a powerful listening experience that grabs you and keeps you hooked in then I don’t think you can go far wrong here. It reminds me of Tobias Sammet albums, epic but also consistently engaging. 

Like I said earlier the band threw away the original concept they had planned for this record and started again. Well, you can tell that this was written in a worldwide pandemic. Not only do you have the song “Lockdown”, which is literally about the global lockdown but other lyrical moments of this record give you a real gut punch. Songs like “Read Between The Lines”, “Self Isolation” and “Phobia” have a surreal quality to them that really capture that feeling of dread, despair and the harsh reality we found ourselves in. At the same time, they manage to balance that out with themes of hope and optimism with “Find a Reason” and “New Day Rising”. 

This is an enigmatic and engaging album that really kept my attention. Immortal Guardian definitely has my attention. I even looked up their previous album Age of Revolution and I will admit that they are legitimately impressive. They craft songs that get stuck in your head and make you want to get up and move. This was quite a nice surprise to start 2021 with.

8/10

Mick Birchall

Therion – Leviathan

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 23rd January 2021 by Pieni

Therion
“Leviathan”
Symphonic metal
Released: 22nd January 2021
Via Nuclear Blast

Therion - Leviathan

Not sure what Christofer Johnsson meant with “giving the people what they kept asking for”, but it worked. Rumor has it they’ve analysed their most played songs on Spotify and inspired the new ones on those, but I honestly can’t see a direct connection between any except that they all sound like Therion. For instance, has the spunky rock rhythm of “The Leaf On The Oak Of Far”, mingled with symphonic choirs, the band’s old school vibe? Sure it has, but it’s not like you can say it’s a “To Mega Therion 2.0”.

There are a couple of songs that could be featured in a soundtrack of some Tolkien-style movie given the enchantment their melodies carry: the ballad “Die Wellen der Zeit” and the not-quite-a-ballad-but-just-as-graceful “Nocturnal Light”. Despite the German title of the first, only the chorus is sung in that language, just like you won’t hear that much Spanish in the catchy “El Primer Sol”. On the other hand, the only Finnish traits on the striking “Tuonela” besides the title are Marko Hietala on vocals and the “feeling” in the guitar solo. Add the Arabic hints in “Marquis Of Hell” and the Asian ones in “Ten Courts Of Diyu” and this record isn’t simply diverse – it’s multicultural.

As for the title-track, it is indeed the most powerful song of the album, its four minutes proving wrong the idea that a piece must last twice as much to be “epic”. Like I’ve said before, all songs sound like Therion, but this is the one with their name all over it. Is it “deliberately packed with hit songs”, like Johnsson assured? I wouldn’t go that far, but I bet the fans will be pretty pleased with the outcome.

8/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Smerdead – Во Тьме Лесов

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 22nd January 2021 by Paul Macmillan

Smerdead
Во Тьме Лесов
Released 12th December 2020
Melodic death metal
Released via Sound Age Productions

Maybe something is lost in translation from the Russian, but I was not 100% sure what to expect from “zombie metal”. The nomenclature alone, however, was enough to pique curiosity. As it turns out, I doubt could have successfully predicted the sound.

What Smerdead offer is surprisingly melodic, given the brutal sounding, self-applied genre tag. Yes, it is heavy. However, it is most definitely not the knuckle-dragging, caveman variety of metal I imagined would greet me. Given my Russian language skills are absolute zero, I have no idea what frontman, Kozlodyor, is on about. One might assume the undead..? He is, though, a superb death metal vocalist, and his timbre is very easy on the heavy music ear.

The rest of the crew counter this with a highly accessible extreme metal backdrop. As a relatively new band, formed only in 2018, they are a completely fresh discovery for me. Во тьме лесов is, though, the second album of their short career, and it seems they have hit on a trademark “gallop and grunt” from day one. It’s well written, nicely produced, and deserves some widespread attention.

There is something of their sound which is particular to colder regions of the world. As much as they draw on traditional British metal, one can also feel a tundra-esque sway, and, at times, it can be a little like the music of the Steppes. It is, though, always metal, never drifting too far into the twee.

This is maybe what Skámöld would sound like, if their folk elements were to be extracted. Or if Týr ditched their clean singing in favour of a deadite snarl. Their slightly alien aspect allows for a little more escapism than the norm in metal, but doesn’t get too outlandish. This is a band who already know exactly who they are, and show great potential at a very early stage. Keep an eye on them.

7/10

Paul Macmillan

Avenger Kills – The End Has Come

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

Avenger Kills
The End Has Come
Released 10th December 2020
Thrash Metal/Power Metal/
Self-Released

The End Has Come’ is the third album from the Russian power metal band Avenger Kills. The group was formed in 2011 by guitarist Alexander Krasilnikov. All their releases are available from their Bandcamp page.

After just a couple of tracks I can state that this is a guitar-centric album within the thrash metal genre. The vocalist reminded me of Dave Mustaine of Megadeth while the guitar style made me think of the Finnish thrash metal band Stone with elements of old Iced Earth thrown in. Metal Child caught my attention due to the well-timed and reasonably well executed guitar passages. I’m not not sure what is happening on Hangover but it sounds like a completely different band! From thrash metal to hard rock…

Then it is back to thrash metal again for the remainder of the record. The songs maintain a good balance of aggression, speed and melody but mostly they sound very similar to each other. Notable exceptions include the cheerful-sounding power metal style on The Savior and the ballad-like closing track Time of Sins. The latter is also the slowest and most sombre-sounding track on the album. It works well as a closer, mellowing things down towards the end but I’m glad that it is the only track of this type on here.

Overall, what we have here is a fairly decent thrash metal album which I reckon would please fans of early Megadeth and Iced Earth. I emphasize the word ‘decent’ here as this style is not unique in a way but it is a pretty good effort.

6/10

Iza Raittila

Battering Ram release new single

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 19th January 2021 by izaforestspirit

It’s been almost a year since their debut Ep came out. Now Swedish hard rock band Battering Ram are ready to present some new music. The new single is called ‘Down’ and it is out on Spotify.

Image may contain: text that says "BATTERING RAM BR-21 DOWN"

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

http://battering-ram.com/

Marko Hietala leaves Nightwish

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 13th January 2021 by izaforestspirit

Marko Hietala, the bassist and backing vocalist of the world renowned symphonic power metal band Nightwish has recently announced his decision to leave the group. Here’s an extract from his official statement as posted yesterday (12th January 2021) on the band’s Facebook and other social media pages:

Dear people. I am leaving Nightwish and my public life.
For a quite a few years now I haven’t been able to feel validated by this life. We have streaming company big guns demanding 9/5 work from artists of inspiration while unfairly sharing the profits. Even among the artists. We’re the banana republic of the music industry. Biggest tour promoters squeeze percentages even from our own merchandise while paying dividends to Middle East. Apparently some theocrasies can take the money from the music that would get you beheaded or jailed there without appearing as hypocrites. Just a couple of examples here.
This past year forced me to stay home and think. And I found myself very disillusioned about these and a lot of things. I found out that I am in need of that validation. For me to write, sing and play, I need to find some new reasons and inspirations. ”My Walden” so to speak. And it’s even in my book that I’m a chronic depressive. It’s dangerous for me and the people around me, if I continue. Some of the thoughts a while back were dark. Don’t worry, I’m fine. I have my two sons, a wife, the rest of the family, friends, a dog and lots of love.
And I don’t think that I’ll be gone for good.

Conspiracy is the word of the day. For the people who like them I need to say that my 55th birthday is now on 14th of Jan and I’ve certainly done my time for now. Blaming for instance Tuomas is an insult to both him and my free thinking. This is a very sad thing to all of us too. Have a care please.

But of course now we’ll know, if some go there on purpose.
There are a couple of things agreed on that I will do on 2021. Otherwise I kindly and with respect ask the media, bands, artists projects etc. to not ask me for anything within the next year. I have some reinventing to do. I hope to tell you about it on 2022. It’s not a promise though.
I am so sorry about this. “
Marko Hietala

Marco Hietala

Marko Hietala has been involved with Nightwish since 2002 and his departure marks a big change for the band. Nightwish have issued a statement stating that they respect Mr. Hietala’s decision. They will be continuing with their up-coming ‘Human. :II: Nature’ world tour with a session bass player. The full live line-up will be revealed later this year.

For more details go to: https://www.facebook.com/nightwish

https://nightwish.com

https://www.facebook.com/markohietalaofficial/

First single from Vengeant coming next month

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 11th January 2021 by izaforestspirit

Here is something for fans of symphonic power metal. Introducing the Swedish symphonic metal group Vengeant. It was created in November 2019 and the line-up includes Greek singer Danae Komodromou (Scarlet Desire), lead guitarist and bassist Christoffer Holm, rhythm guitarist Dennis Eriksson (Mad Hatter, Darkest Void) and drummer Alfred Fridhagen (Saint Deamon, Mad Hatter and Darkest Void). They cite Magic: the Gathering as an influence on their music.

They are currently working on their debut EP due later this year. Their first single ‘Angel’s Battle Cry’ will be released on 12th February 2021. Check out the cover art:

Image may contain: text

For more details check out: https://www.facebook.com/vengeantofficial/

https://www.instagram.com/vengeantofficial/

Hadal – December

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 9th January 2021 by izaforestspirit

Hadal
December
Released: 5th December 2020
Doom Metal / Death Metal
Released via Planet K Records

Hadal - December

My first review of 2021. I do not normally review doom metal for the simple reason it has never been my favorite metal genre. Not even close. In fact the only doom metal band I listen to occasionally is My Dying Bride. Despite this I decided to give Hadal’s new album a go based on the description of it being a mixture of doom, Gothic and death metal. The Trieste-based, Italian doom metal quintet have been active since 2009 and this is their second album.

So, what we have here is primarily a doom metal album. All the classic hallmarks of the genre are present: a slower, bass-heavy, low-tuned guitar work, melancholic vocals and depressive lyrics. No violins but the music and vocal style bears some similarity to My Dying Bride. If only their singer had the same vocal range as Aaron Stainthorpe… Not quite, but he is doing a pretty good job. There is a hint of death metal audible in the growling vocals at the start of Dark Water, one of the more varied songs on here. I like the contrast between the two vocal styles and the gradual shift between the harsh to the melodic. The low-tuned guitar riffs are still present but at least this is not as ponderous as some of the other tracks on here. Similar things can be said about Without A Word, another song with a hint of death metal in the vocals and some of the guitar riffs.

The rest of the album offers a more varied pace. It’s still slow but the occasional death metal parts are a welcome addition. Speaking of variety, the closing track Stormcrow has some of the most diverse guitar work on the record, happily merging doom, death, Gothic and even thrash metal elements.

Overall, Hadal are not re-inventing the wheel here. Their style does not offer anything dramatically new to the genre. Having said that I reckon that fans of My Dying Bride and early Paradise Lost might enjoy it.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Iza’s Highlights of 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    7. Fjøsnisse – Unleashed Hymns
    Genre: Black Metal

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

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

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

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

    10. Auger – Insurgence
    Genre: Darkwave / Industrial Rock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iza Raittila

Pieni’s Highlights of 2020

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

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

humadrid

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

Records:

HUNewEmpireVol1cover

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

Videos:

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

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

Happy New Year folks!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD House Party – livestream

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 28th December 2020 by Pieni

HUhouseparty

Live streams are far – waaaaaay far – from “the same thing” as live on-site’s, but it helps filling the void left by the lack of the latter. So when one of your favorite bands announces one of those shows, you buy the ticket without blinking – not even checking if you can actually make it… After all, 7 p.m. in Los Angeles is 3 a.m. where I live and I’d probably be tired af from another week at that madhouse I call office. Yeah, I know the stream would be active (“raging on“, to use their own words) all weekend – extended till yesterday, as a matter of fact -, but when you love music as much as I do, waiting for the next day is not an option.

HUhouseparty03

The trailer and several promotional photos indicated the stream would be a prerecorded performance, so I don’t understand why so many people were pissed about it. Besides, you’re watching it on a screen, just like any other video. What’s the freaking difference?

Teaming up with Danny Wimmer, they’ve put up quite a scenario to host this event. Well, two scenarios, actually, as “Idol” is quite the must-be-played song but Tech N9ne couldn’t be there and they had to use the original footage of the video featuring the rapper; the cozy rehearsal-room-like background wouldn’t fit in such footage, so they came up with something more stage-ish.

HUhouseparty08

Dead Bite was “controlling the door”, his “no mask, no entry” directive such a rich pun. Then just like the tour Corona virus forced them to interrupt, the gig kicked off with “Time Bomb”. They didn’t play “Enemy” on the Madrid date of said tour but I remember Danny saying on his “Ask Me Anything” video it was one of his new live favorites; it came next and it sounded great indeed.

HUhouseparty24

We knew there would be guests, so when Danny asked 3 Tears if he’d heard anyone banging and then “Heart Of A Champion” came on, it was easy to guess ICE NINE KILLSSpencer Charnas and PAPA ROACHJacoby Shaddix were the ones knocking. But they didn’t come through any door… Not sure what material they had the walls made of (cardboard, maybe?) but both Spencer and Shaddix blasted through them. Afterwards, Dead Bite threw some party crashers through those same holes while HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD cheered from the couch…

HUhouseparty39

After “Another Way Out”, they’ve changed to the aforementioned “more professional” scenario to perform “Idol”. Of course it would be a waste to use that awesome light display on one song only, so three more followed suit – including “Comin’ Thru The Stereo”, with Hyro The Hero joining the party.

HUhouseparty63

Back in the room for the encore (“Bullet” and “Undead”) but not before implying we had drunk/smoked to the point of passing out and dreaming about masked HOLLYWOOD UNDEAD. While J-Dog sang his “Undead” verses, Danny started ripping apart the walls, the show ending with J-Dog picking the “Welcome to Hollywood” graffitied piece and driving a punch through it.

HUhouseparty80

They say they had an “absolute blast getting the entire Undead Army together on a global level and we can’t wait to do it again soon”; I’ve felt the same watching it, so I assure you I’ll be in front of my screen when that “again soon” takes place. It’s a shame that it was a pandemic and the impossibility of playing live that made this happen in the first place.

HUhouseparty90

www.facebook.com/hollywoodundead

by Renata “Pieni” Lino