Pieni’s highlights of 2019

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2019 by Pieni

2019 was a bumpy ride and despite attending fewer shows and writing less for Valkyrian Music, this past year still had plenty of memorable moments. Here’s my favorite live ones:

samaellnmf19

  1. Samael at Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão (Louro)
  2. Infraktor at Vagos Metal Fest (Vagos)
  3. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  4. D.A.D. at Hard Club (Porto)
  5. Overkill at Hard Club (Porto)

Records:

Rust

  1. “Rust” by CrashDïet
  2. “We Defy” by Equaleft
  3. “Verkligheten” by Soilwork
  4. “West End” by The 69 Eyes
  5. “I, The Mask” by In Flames

Thank you Ozzy for filming the kind of music video I like the most – with an actual story to it. In the absence of that, something amusing and/or featuring visual impact will do:

  1. “Under The Graveyard” by Ozzy Osbourne
  2. “Idiots” by CrashDïet
  3. “Deutschland” by Rammstein
  4. “Trve As Fvck” by Hills Have Eyes
  5. “Already Dead” by Hollywood Undead

I have a handful of expectations for 2020 but, at the moment, I believe these are the ones I’m most eager about:

HHE2019

  1. The Hills Have Eyes new album and its release show (no date announced yet but hopefully it won’t be postponed much longer).
  2. The Hollywood Undead new album, “New Empire, Vol. 1”, and their gig in Madrid which I’ll be attending in a couple of months.
  3. W.A.S.P. will embark on a tour where they’ll only play songs out of their first four albums. Already got my ticket for the Barcelona show.
  4. Sister posted something on their Facebook page which included a #newalbum, so I’m looking forward to that as well.
  5. Seems like Kiss are saying goodbye to the stages. Whether this is indeed their last tour or not, I won’t miss it.

Happy New Year!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Hanzel Und Gretyl – Hexennacht

Posted in Metal with tags , , , on 29th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Hanzel Und Gretyl
Hexennacht
Released 13th December 2019
Industrial Metal/Blackened Death Metal/Extreme Metal
Released via Metropolis Records

Hanzel und Gretyl - Hexennacht

The American industrial metal duo Hanzel Und Gretyl are back with a new album. It’s only been a year since their previous effort ‘Satanik Germanik’ came out and now ‘Hexennacht’ is here. Now perhaps it’s just me, but for a band to release an album this soon after the previous one seems a little bit rushed. I have had some bad experiences with bands that have done this in the past and not too many good ones. What often happens is that the new album is weaker than the previous one, resembling a collection of ideas, unfinished and unused from the recording sessions. Nonetheless I tried best to stay objective and to give ‘Hexennacht’ a go.

The good and (for fans of the older material) the bad news is that Hanzel Und Gretyl’s music is only getting heavier and metal-sounding. For better or worse, it is clear that with ‘Hexennacht’ they have essentially ditched most of the industrial / wacky space metal sound in favour of a more extreme, blackened death metal sound. The themes have not changed. The album is full of references to witches, monsters and all manner of things grim. Triple Hexx deserves a mention due to the additional chanting, the choir and the tribal style drum noises. Most of the other songs sound similar to each other. They have the same creepy tone as the ones on both the previous albums of the Grimm Shiza era – ‘Black Forest Metal’ and ‘Satanik Germanik’. Vas Kallas sounds as angry as ever and there is no shortage of angry blast beats. So why is it that even after several listens I still feel like I’m missing something…?

Well, the thing is that this is all getting a little too grim and serious for my liking. I got into Hanzel Und Gretyl via their ‘Über Alles’ album and that is still the one that I enjoy the most. The only song that has that kind of fun-sounding, wacky industrial feel to it is Der Kaiz3ern8tor. On here it is definitely an odd one out, a dancey, synth-infused industrial track among eleven songs of doom and gloom. It’s not exactly happy-sounding but it is strangely uplifting and easily one of the more memorable tracks on here.

Overall, ‘Hexennacht’ does not really offer anything dramatically new for Hanzel Und Gretyl. They are still continuing with same style that they began with ‘Black Forest Metal’. As far as the music goes, there is nothing really wrong with it. I just miss their wacky “German” space metal days. This grim stuff is nowhere near as much fun.

5/10
Iza Raittila

Helloween announce new tour dates for 2020

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , on 18th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Good news for Helloween fans… The well renowned German power metal band have recently announced that there will  be a new tour next year featuring all three Helloween vocalists performing live on stage once again. The ‘United Alive World Tour Part II’ will start in September 2020.

Here are the dates:

26.09.2020 SK 🇸🇰 Zvolen, Ice Stadium
27.09.2020 AT 🇦🇹 Vienna, Gasometer
29.09.2020 CH 🇨🇭 Zurich, Samsung Hall
30.09.2020 IT 🇮🇹 Milano, Lorenzini District
02.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Stuttgart, Schleyer-Halle
04.10.2020 UK 🇬🇧 Manchester, Manchester Academy
05.10.2020 UK 🇬🇧 London, Brixton Academy
07.10.2020 FR 🇫🇷 Paris, Olympia
08.10.2020 LU 🇱🇺 Luxemburg, Rockhal
09.10.2020 FR 🇫🇷 Lyon, Le Transbordeur
11.10.2020 ES 🇪🇸 Barcelona, St. Jordi Club
12.10.2020 ES 🇪🇸 Madrid, WiZink Center
15.10.2020 CZ 🇨🇿 Prague, 02 Arena
16.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Bochum, Ruhrcongress
17.10.2020 DE 🇩🇪 Hamburg, Sporthalle
19.10.2020 HU 🇭🇺 Budapest, Papp Laszlo Sportarena
20.10.2020 PL 🇵🇱 Katowice, MCK
23.10.2020 RU 🇷🇺 Moskau, Adrenaline – Stadium
25.10.2020 RU 🇷🇺 St. Petersburg, A2
27.10.2020 EE 🇪🇪 Tallin, Noblessneri Valukoda
29.10.2020 FI 🇫🇮 Helsinki, Black Box
31.10.2020 SE 🇸🇪 Gothenburg, Partille Arena

Michael Kiske, Kai Hansen, Andi Debris and the rest of band are currently busy working on a new album, which is expected to see the light of day in late August/early September 2020.

For more details visit:

https://www.helloween.org/

www.facebook.com/helloweenofficial/

Lacuna Coil and Eluveitie live in Tampere

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

Infected Rain, Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
14th December 2019

My last gig of 2019! Mid December; still over a week until the holidays start. This is the time of the year when most people are getting ready for the festive season. It is rare to find any decent gigs on at this point in the year. Sometimes you might get lucky though…As soon as I found out that Eluveitie were in town I decided to go. I’ve seen Eluveitie once before, oddly enough at the same venue four years ago. They have had some line-up changes since then and they released one of the best albums I have heard this year.

The show was sold out and the venue was so packed that they had opened up the next door venue, Klubi to create extra space.

First up was a Moldavian metalcore band called Infected Rain. I’m not the biggest fan of metalcore, but I have to admit that vocalist Elena Kataraga aka Lena Scissorhands did a good job of agitating the crowd. They even succeeded in getting a mosh-pit going towards the end of their show.

Then it was Lacuna Coil’s turn. I have never seen them live before. I used to listen to some Lacuna Coil when I was younger but I lost track of them over the years. I couldn’t really get into the newer material but I was happy to hear some of the older songs such as ‘Swamped’, ‘Heaven’s A Lie and their cover of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ live.

Then it was time for the headliners, Eluveitie. Once again they did not disappoint. There are not many folk metal bands out there who are capable of delivering a show this good. A flawless blend of celtic folk instruments, two very different singers with melodic death metal. They played lots of songs from their latest opus ‘Ategnatos’ including ‘Rebirth’ and one of my new favourites ‘The Slumber’ along with a Swiss language version of ‘Call of The Mountains’ and ‘Inis Mona’.

In summary I am glad that I decided to attend the show. I had a great time. I got to see Lacuna Coil live for the first time. Luckily the set included a few tracks which I recognized. Eluveitie were as good as they were the first time that I saw them live. It’s good to see that the line-up change has had a positive effect on the band and I hope that they will return to Finland soon.

Iza Raittila

Vandallus – Outbreak

Posted in Metal, Rock with tags , , on 8th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Vandallus
Outbreak
Released 12 December 2019
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Released via Mercinary Records


’Outbreak’ is the latest album from the American hard rock band Vandallus. The band has been around since 2015 and it features several members from the power metal group Eternal Legacy. This is my first encounter with Vandallus so I had no idea of what to expect. The amusing looking cover art would suggest anything from heavy metal to sleaze rock via classic rock. Well, there is only one way to find out…

If hard rock is your thing, you are in for a treat. There is a lot to like on here; from the catchy vocals, memorable choruses to the well timed and skillfully executed guitar harmonies. I particularly enjoyed the playful guitar tunes on Not Alone. It sounds very uplifting and puts the listener in a good mood. Then there is the slightly slower, melodic Bang The City Down– another enjoyable hard rock tune and Shotgun Lady with a catchy chorus and good, bluesy guitar work. Once again the guys sound like that they are having a good time in the studio.

Many of the songs sound like they been inspired by old school hard rock from the 80s. As far as the structure goes, this album is pretty straightforward and it is fairly easy to get into. Like the guy on the front cover, sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy the ride. Motorbikes are not really my thing but I do like hard rock and heavy metal.

Overall, I quite enjoyed listening to ‘Outbreak’. It is definitely one of the more memorable hard rock albums I have heard this year.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Powerwolf live at Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 6th December 2019 by mickbirchy

Artist: Powerwolf

Support Act: Gloryhammer

Venue: Poppodium 013, Tilburg, Netherlands

10 November 2019

It’s weird that I had never done a gig in the Netherlands until now. I have always wanted to go there for a metal gig as it seems that the metal scene is far more vibrant and fertile there than it is here in the UK. Well, I got my chance as I was going to the Netherlands on holiday and it just so happens that while I was over there, Powerwolf were playing Tilburg. So I got my ticket and got myself to the venue. It was a weird feeling in the queue, in the UK Powerwolf don’t play venues that are even half of this size. I had a feeling that this was going to be a very special night. The crowd was packed, the drinks were flowing and the atmosphere was abuzz with excitement.

Opening up the proceedings was the commanding and ever-entertaining sci-fi, fantasy metallers Gloryhammer. This is my fifth time watching them live and they never fail to impress. I love their music and their on-stage antics. They are just the best mixture of power, intensity, comedy and power all in one great package. They came on stage to a ravenous ovation from the crowd and they went straight into a set of power metal goodness. Their set was filled with a decent mix of their new and old material giving newcomers a good taste of what the band is all about and gives the fans exactly what they were looking form. I have to admit that I love that they come on stage to Tom Jones’ “Delilah”. The crowd sang it so loud and it was a good way to warm up the crowd before getting on stage. The live production was excellent from where I was standing, the instrumentation was excellent with Thomas Winkler’s vocals shining. Their stage antics are goofy and fun, it’s all to get the crowd involved and it worked. The audience was having a right old time with them and Gloryhammer more than did their job in getting people ready for the main event.

After a brief intermission, it was time for the mighty Powerwolf to take the stage. A massive banner cloaked the stage as the tension built to the start of the show. Once that banner came down it was time for the show to begin. And what a show it was. Pyro and heavy metal have always been a great combination. The stage was ablaze with fire for the songs “Fire and Forgive” & “Amen and Attack” and the crowd was ravenous for the music. Screaming the lyrics back to the band and just screaming in general. The music was so well performed by the band and the stage presentation was simply breathtaking. As the show progressed and the band hit their stride more and more, the crowd just got louder. The setlist comprised mostly of the newer material from the album Sacrament of Sin and it was so nice to hear these songs effortlessly blend into the rest of their material. Giving the whole set a real timeless feel and also a really nice flow to the evening. If there is one thing that is for certain, it that Falk Maria Schlegel & Attila Dorn are two of the best showmen in the industry. Their charisma and stage presence was second to none. They engaged the crowd at every opportunity and took the audience for a ride, all the way through the night.

A chorus of cheers echoed through the venue as Powerwolf was welcomed back on stage one more time for the encore. They were just as energetic at the end of the night as they were at the start. They close out the show with “Sanctified With Dynamite”, “Coleus Sanctus” & “Werewolves of Armenia”. A loud and rawkus way to end the energetic night. This was simply fantastic. An excellent night all around. The support act was awesome and a fantastic headliner to boot. I have to say not a bad night for my first gig in the Netherlands. 

Mick Birchall

 

Hellsinki Industrial Festival 2019

Posted in Alternative, Festival, Industrial, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 24th November 2019 by izaforestspirit

Cygnosic, Priest, Blutengel
Nosturi, Helsinki
22-23 November 2019

Helsinki…It’s been a while…The last time I visited the city was for the Memmaker and Zardonic concert back in 2016. Since then I really have not had much time to travel there. I hoped that I would go back someday if there was a reason to go there. Earlier this year the German synth-pop duo Blutengel were announced as the headliner for Hellsinki Industrial Festival. So that was it, my reason to go.

Saturday 23 November 2019

I decided to attend only one day of the festival, Saturday. The venue was Nosturi, which is located by the seaside in the Hietalahti district of Helsinki. I have been there many times before but sadly this festival will be my last time at Nosturi. The venue is due to close by the end of the year and the building will be knocked down to make way for residential premises in 2020.

First up was the Greek dark electro artist Cygnosic. This was one of those cases when it took a live performance for me to notice and really get into a band. I have heard the name Cygnosic before but I never really got round to checking out his music until now. Great show! The music was creepy, atmospheric and very danceable. Just how I like my dark electro. I will definitely check out more of his music.

Next was a Finnish industrial metal band called Fear of Domination – the only metal band in the whole festival line-up. Whilst their show was entertaining to watch, I struggled to get into the music. It sounded like a mish-mash of industrial metal and melodic death metal. They have two vocalists, a man doing the death metal growling and a female singer doing the clean vocals. That worked well enough for most of time but the cacophony of melodeath guitar riffs and the overuse of Pain-esque “disco” synth was a little too much for my liking.

I did like the Swedish synth-pop trio Priest though. The band was formed back in 2017 and the original line-up featured former members of Ghost. There has been some line-up changes since then but the concept remains the same. Three guys known as Sulphur, Salt and the vocalist Mercury came to the stage draped in elaborate gimp-like outfits and masks. Mercury has a multi-faceted and very unique voice. The music was entertaining and fun to dance to. They did a good cover of Radiohead’s ‘Street Spirit (Fade Out) at the end.

Then it was time for the headliners Blutengel. This was their first time in Finland. Great show. The front-man Chris may not be that used to speaking to a non-German speaking audience. Sadly the Finnish crowd were not that well versed when it came to singing along to the lyrics of ‘Engelsblut’ but that did not stop them from enjoying the show. I certainly did. It was great to hear some of the Blutengel classics such as ‘Children of The Night’ and ‘Bloody Pleasures’ along with the new hits such as ‘Black’ and ‘Morningstar’.

Overall, I am glad that I decided to travel to Helsinki for Hellsinki Industrial Festival. I finally got to see Blutengel live and I discovered Cygnosic. Priest were pretty good too. It’s a shame that Nosturi will be closing this year. Hopefully they will open a new music venue in Helsinki in the future.

Iza Raittila