Fallen Tyrant – Children of A Nuclear Dawn

Posted in Metal with tags on 18th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Fallen Tyrant
Children of a Nuclear Dawn
Released 19th November 2018
Black Metal
Released via Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions

Fallen Tyrant - Children of a Nuclear Dawn

‘Children of a Nuclear Dawn’ is the second album from the German black metal band Fallen Tyrant. The band started out as a solo project of bassist/vocalist Mithras back in 2008, then two more members joined two years later.

This is one of those cases where the cover and the song titles are a good indication of what you can expect from the music. The vocals are ultra creepy, angry shouts and the music is equally aggressive and eerie-sounding. So far so typical for raw black metal. At least that is what I thought after the first track, but then things changed… Approximately half-way through Shifting Tides Along the Rhine the song took an unexpected turn and things went a little haywire. I am somewhat accustomed to fast, thunderous guitar riffs and blast beats but the distorted bass tunes took me a while to get used to. But that is still nothing compared to what happened next. Suddenly the pace changed and they switched from fast raw black metal to some jazz-esque guitar jamming session! The only thing missing up to that point is the sound of a saxophone playing the background… Luckily it doesn’t last long and what follows is more fast paced black metal.

There are a few melodic parts on here such as the title track with its acoustic guitar intro and less vicious-sounding guitar riffs. This is one of the more consistent songs on the album. The long instrumental part towards the end is one of highlights on here thanks to the guitar work. If only the other songs were as well composed and consistent as that one. For example, what the hell is going on with the vocals in the second half of Death Code: World Manifest ?? It sounds like a completely different band and the music switches from black metal to something akin to Motörhead then to black metal again. Very strange and not in a good way either…

Overall, ‘Children of a Nuclear Dawn’ left me feeling a little confused as to what Fallen Tyrant were trying to achieve with this record. It feels disjointed, almost as though they had too many ideas to squeeze into one album. The songs seem too long and needlessly complicated.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

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Helheim unveil new album details

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , on 15th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of Viking black metal. If you are into bands such as Enslaved, Kampfar or Taake then there is a good chance that you will also like the Norwegian black metal group Helheim.

Their latest album ‘Rignir’ is scheduled to hit the shops on 26th April 2019 via Dark Essence Records. The title means “rain” in Norwegian and it is inspired by the climate in the band’s home city of Bergen.

You can see the cover and the track-listing below:

1. Rignir
2. Kaldr
3. Hagl
4. Snjóva
5. Ísuð
6. Vindarblástr
7. Stormviðri
8. Vetrarmegin

Helheim - Rignir

The album release will be followed by an European tour with record label mates Madder Mortem as support. Here is the full schedule:

Apr 12  Kvarteret , Bergen, NO
Apr 21 Dark Easter Metal Meeting , Münich, DE (Helheim only)
Apr 25 Quantic Club , Bucharest, RO
Apr 26 Flying Circus , Cluj Napoca, RO
APR 27 Vörös-Kék Yuk, Budapest, HU
APR 28 Nova Chmelnice , Prague, CZ
APR 29 Backstage, Paris, FR
MAY 01 The Underworld , London, UK
May 02: Logo, Hamburg, DE
MAY 03 Konfus, Esbjerg, DK
MAY 04 Skullcrusher, Dresden, DE

In the meantime you can watch their latest video for the new single ‘Kaldr’.

For more details go to:

http://www.helheim.com/
https://www.facebook.com/helheimnorway

God Dethroned announces European tour this spring

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , , on 12th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Dutch death metal outfit God Dethroned are coming to Europe this April in support of Suffocation. The ‘Europe Under Black Death Metal Fire’ tour also include Belphegor, Nordjevel and Dakrise and it starts on 4th April 2019 at Rockfabrik in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

You can see the full schedule below:

04.04 – “Rockfabrik”, Ludwigsburg (GER)
05.04 -“Turock”, Essen (GER)
06.04 – “Royale Metalfest” *, Aalborg (DEN)
07.04 – “Kulturpalast”, Hamburg (GER)
09.04 – “Bastard Club”, Osnabrück (GER)
10.04 – “Baroeg”, Rotterdam (NLD)
11.04 – “Victorie”, Alkmaar (NLD)
13.04 – “Metropool”,  Enschede (NLD)
16.04 – “Kulturfabrik” ***, Esch/Alzette (LUX)
17.04 – “l’Usine”, Geneve (SUI)
18.04 – “Schuur”, Luzern (SUI)
19.04 – “MS Connexion”, Mannheim (GER)
20.04 – “Seilerstrasse”, Zwickau (GER)
21.04 – “Melodka”, Brno (CZE)
23.04 – “Quantic Club”, Bucharest (ROM)
24.04 – “Form Space”, Cluj Napoca (ROM)
25.05 – “Barrack Club”, Ostrava (CZE)
26.04 – B”Durer Kert” **, Budapest (HUN)
28.04 – “Xplosiv”, Graz (AUT)

* – no Belphegor
** – no God Dethroned
*** – no Nordjevel

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/goddethronedofficial

Apocalypse – Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Posted in Metal with tags , on 10th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Apocalypse
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
Released December 2018 (original version) / January 2019 (re-press)
Epic Black Metal
Self-Released

Apocalypse - Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ is the debut album from the Italian, one-man black metal project Apocalypse. It was originally set up in 2015 as a full band playing power metal but the line-up did not last too long. After numerous line-up changes and rehearsals the founding member, multi-instrumentalist Erymanthon, made a decision to continue Apocalypse as a solo project drawing inspiration from black metal – particularly Bathory.

It’s pretty hard to miss the Bathory influence on this album. Starting with the cover art which looks remarkably similar to that of Bathory’s ‘Blood Fire Death’ album. Even the band name is written in the same font as Bathory. Also Erymanthon adapts a similar vocal style to Quorthon’s. The music itself is pretty much what I expected it to be from the description. I am not too comfortable using the term “epic black metal”; instead I would class this as atmospheric black metal with hints of thrash metal in guitars. There is an ongoing theme of war and battle scenes (as you would expect from the title) but there are no direct references to Vikings or Norse mythology. The pace varies depending on the song with the slowest being Chant of Glory Eternal which features an acoustic guitar and ballad-style clear vocals.

Soldiers of Rome has a definite thrash metal tinge to it due to the guitar work. It starts off slow with some acoustic guitar in the intro, then it gradually builds up the pace with some thrashing riffs and a few groove parts midway through the song. It reminded me of Bathory’s ‘Shores in Flames’. Erymanthon has a good vocal range and he seems to be fairly comfortable performing both the harsh black metal shouts and the clear vocals.

In summary ‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ is clearly a labour of love created in admiration and with the intention of paying homage to Bathory. In that Apocalypse has definitely succeeded. This album feels like a continuation of what Quorthon started.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Alestorm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bootyard Bandits, Skálmöld, Alestorm
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
3rd March 2019

Alestorm… It’s been a while. Nine years to be exact. The last time I saw these guys live was in 2010 when they supported Sabaton. I was also at their show at Wacken Open Air in 2008. They have always been one of those bands that I enjoy watching live but I have never actually listened to any of their albums in full. I might play the odd song or video but that is all. They are a party band that is fun to watch live while enjoying a nice cold beer. This was their first headlining show in Finland and it was sold out.

First up was a British band called Bootyard Bandits. These guys clearly like all things Wild West ranging from cowboy hats, country music to banjos. I’m not sure how to describe their style – “comedy country rock?”, hard rock…They were definitely fun to watch. I especially enjoyed the heavy metal banjo solo featuring a cover of AC DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and other hard rock classics. 4/5

Next up was an Icelandic Viking folk metal band called Skálmöld. Their show was a bit more serious but still good. They sound like a mixture of Týr and Falkenbach. All their songs are in their native Icelandic. Good vocals and some of the songs were catchy but I could have done without the Týr-style progressive guitar parts. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the headliners. When Alestorm took to the stage I found myself on the edge of a mosh-pit. The crowd really went wild during the show. There was everything from the usual head-banging, air guitar to rowing inside the mosh-pit during one of the slow songs. The Scottish pirates played some new material including ‘Mexico’ along with some old hits such as ‘‘Keelhauled’, Captain Morgan’s Revenge’, ‘Drink’ and a cover of ‘Wolves of The Sea’. 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time and I enjoyed all of the performances. Bootyard Bandits were better than I expected. Skálmöld had a few memorable moments. Alestorm were entertaining as always. Pirate metal is fun to watch, just do not take it too seriously.

Iza Raittila

Children of Bodom – Hexed

Posted in Metal with tags , , on 27th February 2019 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom
Hexed
Released 8th March 2019
Melodic Death Metal/Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records


Children of Bodom - Hexed

Mr. Laiho and the Hate Crew are back with a new album. It’s been four years since ‘I Worship Chaos’, an album which I initially liked when it came out but after more listens it got a little repetitive. I still own it of course; I have all their albums, even the not so good ones. I guess that somewhere deep down I’m still that teenage Children of Bodom fan girl who had a crush on Alexi Laiho and dreamed of going to Finland to see them live. I used to listen to ‘Follow The Reaper’ on repeat for days and that album still holds a special place in my heart. If there is one band that has contributed the most to my obsession with all things Finnish and Finland it’s these guys. Not only did I visit Finland, I ended up relocating there and learning the language. I’ve seen Children of Bodom live on numerous occasions and I have even visited the Lake Bodom murder site in Espoo.

This brings me to ‘Hexed’, album number ten in Children of Bodom’s discography and the first to feature their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyborg. It’s astonishing just how much difference a second guitarist can make. Alexi Laiho is a great frontman and an exceptionally talented guitar player but there is more to this band than just him. Freyborg has his own unique style and he has definitely left his mark on this album. For example on Under Grass And Clover, the dual guitar harmonies work very well together, creating a smooth-sounding, catchy, melodeath metal song. Want something a little faster? Then skip right over to the next track Glass Houses – a classic COB track, with their signature ultra-fast keyboards and impressive guitar work. Speaking of keyboards, the title track features some of the best keyboard passages I have heard from Mr.Wirman in years.

There are quite a few moments on here that reminded me of their mid-career albums ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ and ‘Are You Dead Yet?’. It is not all same old Bodom, though. There are parts that display the band trying new things such as the technical guitar work and melodic keyboards on Hecate’s Nightmare. It is not something that I would have expected to hear from these guys but it works surprisingly well.

In summary, ‘Hexed’ shows how much Children of Bodom have evolved over the years. Where some of their previous albums failed to leave a lasting impression, getting stale after a few listens, here the songs stand out. While it lacks the “WOW!” factor of their best work, it is a strong album that will definitely please their fans both old and new.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Stelios Gatziolis – Sphere of Resonance

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , on 24th February 2019 by mickbirchy

Stelios Gatziolis

Sphere of Resonance

Instrumental, Progressive Rock

Released: 30th September 2018

Self Released

 

 

What do I say about this one? It’s weird, I mean I grew up listening to a menagerie of different rock and metal styles. One of the records I loved was Surfing With The Alien by Joe Satriani. From there on in I always made time to instrumental records done well. So, here I am listening to the new EP by Stelios Gatziolis and I’m not getting into it. I don’t know there really feels like there is something missing from this and I can’t put my finger on it at all. The new EP, Sphere of Resonance dropped last year and it’s done well for the solo guitarist. As well as that, this EP features ex-Dream Theatre keyboardist Derek Sherinian, who put his seal of approval on Stelios’ playing by featuring on the tune “Doomgazer”. Not a bad endorsement at all.

The four-track EP is relatively impressive from a technical level. The intricate guitar skill of Stelios is really impressive. The way he weaves in and out of melodies is awesome, it really is a captivating listening experience. The backing band creates a nice backdrop for the guitar to truly shine. The heavy booming bass perfectly syncs up with the well-executed drum work. The keyboard and synths add a really nice atmosphere to the tunes. The guitar playing is slick and you soon pick up on his playing style. As each song has a slightly different variant on this style. The songs all play on the rule of tension and release. Each song builds up the tension and then has a massive payoff of guitar goodness. The song featuring Derek Sherinian, “Doomgazer” probably uses this technique the best.

Unfortunately for all of its positives I still can not get into it. For the most part, it just feels soulless. It just feels like a passion project that was meant for the artist himself and no one else. In fact, it feels like a demo to a much bigger project yet to be released. Unfortunately, I don’t know if such a project is on the way but I hope it is. You know, to justify this EP’s existence. The songs, whilst impressive on a technical level, are meandering and trite. I’m fine with ‘progressive’ music but this feels like a jam session that was recorded and released.

It’s decent enough and I stand by both parts of my review. From a technical view, it’s really good. Yet, at an entertainment level, it’s a little toothless for me.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall