Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th September 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Cradle of Filth
Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay
Released 22nd September 2017
Extreme Gothic Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

If you’ve never heard of Cradle of Filth, you’ve most likely been living under a rock for God knows how long. Once hailed as the “most successful British metal band since Iron Maiden“, Dani Filth and and the band have proved their worth, despite various line-up changes throughout the years. Now the band are set to release their twelfth studio album: Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay. A bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?

The atmospheric invoking Exquisite Torments Await opens up the album with its sinister beginning, followed closely by the demoncially possessed guitars and banshee-like wails and guttural growls of Filth himself. Heartbreak and Seance glides in with the graceful sound of tragedy before the remorseless storm of guitars and symphonic sections come raging in as though a hurricane. Achingly Beautiful is a grandiose display of Dani Filth‘s vocals, charging through the tempest of unforgiving musicianship, while Schoolcraft’s narrative vocals bring a whole new dynamic to the track. The choirs and orchestration, however, truly make the song what it is – a dismal, ominous anthem.

Wester Vespertine is a furious blitz upon the ears, weaving Filth‘s, and occasionally Schoolcraft’s, refined vocals with cimmerian melodies and stout riffs. The title track, The Seductiveness of Decay, is a gloomy composition, weaving slow and fast riffs with dispiriting keyboard melodies and Gothic lyricism. Vengeful Spirit creates more of an atmosphere in its beginning, as the prophetic sound of guitar notes ring out, accompanied by Filth‘s voice. When the song comes into its prime, it is essentially a standard day in the office for Cradle Of Filth – agile, cumbersome and melodic. The part of the song that really stands out however is the guest vocal appearance from Liv Kristine, as her vocals soar majestically through the track.

You Will Know The Lion By His Claw is a swift, threatening and unwieldy track, leaving little room for prisoners as it bludgeons its way through, like a hunter chasing his prey. If you had to sum up Cradle‘s current sound with just one song, this would be it. Cryptoriana comes to its closing with Death and The Maiden, a track that is as weighty as it is shadowy, really embodying the sense of dread and darkness that one would expect to find within Victorian Gothic horror.

Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay is at the same level that Cradle‘s classic albums, such as Midian and Dusk… And Her Embrace, stand. It is a demonstration of the band’s current sound and displays their potential to keep writing awe-inspiring music.

4.8/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

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Two Witches 30th anniversary show

Posted in Dubstep, Gig, Live, Rock with tags , , , , , on 9th September 2017 by izaforestspirit

Dark Side Cowboys, Freaknagel, Harmony Garden
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
8th September 2017

The Finnish Goth rock band Two Witches celebrated their 30th anniversary last night. And what would be a better place to celebrate it than one of my favorite venues in their home city – at Klubi. I’ve seen them live before, but their anniversary show promised to be something special. Support bands including the Swedish alternative rock band Dark Side Cowboys, Estonian industrial band Freakangel and others.

I arrived too late to catch the first band Harmony Garden, who apparently played an acoustic set. The first band I saw was Dark Side Cowboys. I’ve seen these guys live before when they played Lumous Gothic Festival a few years ago, so I pretty much knew what to expect. Their style is difficult to categorize, it’s a mixture of old school, Fields of the Nephilim -style Goth rock with hints of darkwave and even some industrial. One thing is for sure, they know how to put on a great show. 4/5

Freakangel is a band that I used to like a lot when they first came out; I really like their first album. Sadly I’m not that keen on their newer releases and I don’t particularly like the direction that they are heading with their latest album. Their show was better than the first time that I saw them live, but it’s a shame that they only played one track from ‘The Faults of Humanity’. Other songs I recognized included ‘Parasite’, ‘The Used’ and ‘Book of Violence’. 3/5

Then the time came for the heroes of the day, Two Witches. These guys are usually very good live. This show was special in the sense that it gave the audience an insight into the band’s history. Singer Jyrki Witch was keen to share some anecdotes about the band’s early days. They also had some surprise guests with two former members of the band, Nauko and Toby joining them on stage for a few songs. As usual, they played an mixture of old and new songs including fan favorites such as ‘The Dark Angels of Sin’, ‘Dead Dog’s Howl’, ‘Inner Circle Outside’ and ‘Burn The Witch’. One surprise addition to the setlist was an old darkwave track called ‘Cat’s Eyes’ sung by Jyrki alone as an encore. 5/5

In summary I had a good time. Good music and it was a fun night out in town. Dark Side Cowboys were great live, Freakangel had its moments. As for the night’s heroes…Thirty years and still going strong. Happy anniversary to the Two Witches!

Iza Raittila

Blue Cheer – Live At Rockpalast – Bonn 2008

Posted in Gig, Live, Rock with tags , , , on 9th September 2017 by Paul Macmillan

Blue Cheer

Live At Rockpalast – Bonn 2008 (double live CD & DVD)

Hard rock/Blues

Released 31st March 2017 via M.I.G.

 

Blue Cheer might ring a bell, but I’d be lying if I said I thought they were a household name. This is certainly the first time I’ve actively sat down and listened to them, or rather, watched, as is the case here. Not for the first time, I wish I’d paid more attention. This is some badass old-school riffing, with an incredible level of energy for doomy blues/metal, especially doomy blues/metal churned out by three fairly haggard looking old dudes.

The video itself is a little odd. The footage is great; nice angles, every member gets some screen time, and the quality is nice. It’s more a case of the setting. It’s a little like a cross between a music college theatre and The Old Grey Whistle Test stage. From the start, you can spot bar maids carrying crates (not trays) of empty glasses, and punters making their way to and from the toilet. It is nice, up close, and personal, but there’s something about it which seems at odds with the massive sound coming from the stage.

And it is massive! This shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though. If my German is correct, the announcer tells us at the start that they once claimed the title of ‘loudest band in the world’. Sharing that part of rock and roll which saw the likes of Cream, Sabbath, and Motorhead at their most basically visceral, this is absolutely a band who were part of the melange which gave birth to what we now know as heavy metal. There are all the best characteristics of what made that movement in the beginning. Suzzed out, aggressive blues. Post-Vietnam punk energy. UK power trio riffs. It’s all there.

Sadly, founder and frontman, Dickie Peterson, is no longer with us, otherwise this band may still be giving the young ones a run for their money. If you, like me, hadn’t given Blue Cheer a proper day in court, and you want to dig deeper into the (pre-) history of stoner doom, give this a spin. It’s a great performance, featuring some surprisingly recognisable musical moments which may or may not have been pinched by a number of our heroes down the line. I’m looking at you, Clutch and Alice In Chains.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

Epica – The Solace System

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 4th September 2017 by mickbirchy

Epica
The Solace System
Symphonic Metal, Progressive Metal
Released 1st September 2017
via Nuclear Blast Records

Epica have been on a roll as of late. Last year they came out with one of their most commercially accessible, biggest sounding and most fun album to date. They have followed this up with another little taste of this sound. The Solace System is the new EP that continues the big bombastic sound that they created on The Quantum Enigma and The Holographic Principle. When Epica are truly behind something they put their damnedest into making it sound its best.

They manage to effortlessly weave together beautifully poetic lyrics with brutally harsh and excellently composed and layered musical production. The production is simply phenomenal and every track really hits home. The tight chemistry of the band really shines through on the production, creating some really memorable tunes that feel more complex and interesting. The duel vocal stylings that they are known for sound great once again impress me as they seamlessly dart between the two. Although the EP sounds great, it does come across as a little formulaic.  The more I think about it, the more it feels like they’re treading the same water again. At times it just feels a little too… Expected of them. They really haven’t thrown much into this EP to give it it’s own identity. Maybe if they experimented with a few new ideas but there’s nothing here which isn’t territory they have covered before.

In all honesty, I keep flipping back and forth on this album. As much as it feels passe and ineffective, I’m still enjoying the work. It sounds really pretty. Simone’s vocal work is gorgeous, it sounds really clear and is filled with emotion. That is something that she can always do, she jsut throws herself into her lyrics. The music is tight and well written so I can’t complain. However, I wish they would have tried something a little different rather than give us the scraps of what probably didn’t make the cut on The Quantum Enigma or The Holographic Principle. As most of the songs sound like they could have been ripped straight off of one of them. None of the songs are bad by any stretch of the imagination and maybe these songs are different in theme. So yeah giving their own EP makes sense on that front but they could have used this as a platform to try something new.

I’m trying so hard not to make it sound like I don’t like this EP, I do. I really do. There’s some fantastic tunes and well written songs here. However, I’m one of these people that like artists to at least try something different on every release. Yet, after 15 years maybe they just know their market and know how to make the most out of their audience. As for my final thoughts on this EP… It’s good and let’s face it, if you’re an Epica fan… you’ve already bought it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Shadowside – Shades of Humanity

Posted in CD, Metal with tags on 3rd September 2017 by izaforestspirit

Shadowside
Shades of Humanity
Released 26th July 2017
Heavy Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

Shadowside - Shades of Humanity

 

‘Shades of Humanity’ is the latest album from the Brazilian heavy metal band Shadowside. The band has been around since 2001 and kept active by front-woman Dani Nolden. Since then they have released a few albums and there has been a few line-up changes. The most recent addition to the band is the Swedish bassist Magnus Rosén (ex-Hammerfall). This album was recorded at the Fredman Studio in Gothenburg, Sweden with Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy, Hammerfall, In Flames) and Henrik Udd (Dimmu Borgir, Dream Evil) in charge of mixing and production.

The first thing that struck me when I heard the opening track was Dani Nolden’s powerful vocals. She is a talented singer with an impressive vocal range. As for the music, it fits most comfortably under the “heavy metal” bracket, although the guitars occasionally drift into thrash metal and even metalcore territory. The thing that it certainly ain’t, most of the time, is melodic or pleasant-sounding. Take Beast Inside for instance, it’s packed with aggressive guitar riffs and abrasive vocals filled with range. Parts of the song made me think of melodic death metal acts like Arch Enemy for some reason. Make My Fate contains some rather annoying sounding metalcore-style guitar patterns at the start, but luckily they do not last long and the rest of the guitar work on that song is pretty decent.

Drifter is a bit of an oddity on here due to the catchy and strangely uplifting keyboard as well as a guitar intro which makes it feel like a power metal track. The vocals are also far less aggressive-sounding on here than on most of the other songs. The song is very guitar-driven with large chunks of it being predominantly instrumental. Lastly we have Alive, which sees the band entering symphonic metal territory with the longest and the most melodic track on the album.

Overall, ‘Shades of Humanity’ is not an easy album to get into. It took me several listens. Even now that I’m more accustomed to Shadowside’s chosen sound, I still enjoy some of the tracks far more than others. I think that the lack of consistency is part of the problem. It is a bit of mixed bag with too much experimentation with different styles and not enough focus.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

Lord of the Lost sign to Napalm Records

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Punk Rock with tags , on 30th August 2017 by izaforestspirit

The German dark metal band Lord of the Lost have recently signed a record deal with Napalm Records.

The Hamburg based band was formed back in 2007 by singer and guitarist Chris Harms. They have released five albums and experimented with various musical styles ranging from Gothic rock, industrial metal and dark rock. Their sound has been compared to the likes of HIM and Deathstars.

Only a year since their last album ‘Empyrean’ was released, they are now putting the final touches on their new acoustic album ‘Swan Songs II’, which will be out on 6th October 2017. This will be the band’s second acoustic album, following ‘Swan Songs’ which was released two years ago.

UK fans can also catch them live during their UK tour supporting KMFDM. Here are the dates:

05.09. Newcastle – Think Tank
06.09. Glasgow – St. Lukes
07.09. Manchester – Ruby Lounge
08.09. Birmingham – O2 Institute
09.09. London – O2 Academy Islington
10.10. Bristol – Fleece

In the meantime check out their new video:

For more information visit:

http://lordofthelost.de

http://www.napalmrecords.com

http://www.facebook.com/lordofthelost

Havamal – Call Of The North

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 15th August 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Havamal
Call of the North
Released June 2017
Viking Metal/Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Sweden come Viking-themed death metallers Havamal. It’s kind of fitting that a band that has Viking themes would name themselves after one of the books in the Poetic Edda but now is not the time to be discussing Old Nordic literature. Formed in 2016, in the city of Stockholm, Call of the North is Havamal‘s first release.

The grandoise opening of the track Havamal sets the pace for the EP with its majestic and powerful orchestration coupled up with the spoken word. The other five tracks on the EP have a very Ensiferum-inspired sound, especially in the feral vocals that come screaming out like an enraged berserker. Dread Age stands out immediately with its savage assault of guitars and furious orchestral elements whereas Jotun War follows up with as a standard Viking metal anthem with hints of power metal thrown in for good measure.

Ragnarok is quite the dark composition, with the odd headbanging moment here and there and some Dimmu Borgir-esque moments. Call For Revenge gets the blood pumping with the Ensiferum influenced sound and powerful use of orchestration in the background. Call of the North ends with the memorable track Force of Judgement, which is a melting pot of sounds with catchy riffs and melodic verses.

Havamal show a lot of potential with this first release, though the band have still yet to find their sound. With their guitar driven sound combined with their orchestral moments and bestial vocals, Havamal could easily become a stand out band in the metal community.

4/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Call of the North can be purchased at this location.