The End Of Grace – Infinite Shadows Of Memories

Posted in 'Core, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 9th May 2017 by Pieni

The End Of Grace
“Infinite Shadows Of Memories”
metalcore
Released: 10th May 2017
by Illumnirec

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Where I come from there’s a saying that goes something like “who awaits always achieves”. And then someone twisted it, creating a new and pretty negative version, that says “who awaits gets desperate”. The latter translated my state of mind in the recent past regarding a full-length record by The End Of Grace, which I’ve been waiting for since the band got together. But it’s finally here and I’m living the original version of the saying, as waiting for “Infinite Shadows Of Memories” totally paid off. Between the two EPs “Lost In Transition” and “Unity”, there had already been an evolution in the songwriting, its features emboldened; but “Infinite…” is more than an upgrade of said features, it’s a new path straying away from the traditional metalcore they’ve begun with.

The crystal-clear clean tones have been replaced by somber, deep ones, still contrasting perfectly with Kriss’ growls; the focus on breakdowns is water under the bridge, the main priority now based on the musicality and not on sounding tougher than leather – even if they do sound relentless nevertheless. It’s just a whole new level of melody, more mature.

The ominous catchiness of “Life On The Line”, the yearning of the title-track, the collision of opposites of “Breathe”, the daring “Ride The Dark”… This record is a rollercoaster of emotions and shows TEoG pushing the proverbial envelope with their music. Hell, a whole stack of envelopes! It’s not even clear what it should be called anymore, but whether you go for “blues-core, deathcore or metalcore” (quoting the upbeat “We Really Don’t Know Yo”), this is The End Of Grace.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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Blindagem Metal Fest – Ponte de Vagos, Portugal

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 7th May 2017 by Pieni

Chaos Synopsis, Aneurose, Nuclear Warfare, Infraktor
Origens Caffé, Ponte de Vagos (PT)
29th April 2017
Promoted by Paulo Perdiz & Blindagem Metal Show

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Blindagem is Paulo Perdiz’s baby, a radio show that’s been promoting metal since 1990. At some point the spreading of news wasn’t enough and concerts were added to the bill, giving birth to these Blindagem Metal Fests. Last weekend, Origens Caffé witnessed another one of these events with a quite packed house.

www.facebook.com/blindagem

DSC_0091 copyFirst band getting on stage was Infraktor, “ferocious thrash” straight out of Escapães. It was the only national band on the bill and made it right by their country – I used the quote marks in “ferocious” because that’s the band’s own tag line, but they lived up to it and there’s no better word to describe the show.
Their debut “Exhaust” has no release date yet but the recordings are done. In a perfect world, that should mean the album would soon be blasting off your listening devices, but I’ve been engaged in this biz for way too long to know that there are no accurate predictions until all processes are complete. What I can assure you is that I will let you know as soon as it’s announced.
They were asked to play 45 minutes instead of the usual 30, so “Unleash The Pigs” was back on the set (it had previously been replaced by “Son Of A Butcher”) and “Confront” got its riff sequence altered in order to extend it a little bit. Infraktor topped my expectations-for-2017 list (see here) and they’ve been meeting said expectations so far.

www.facebook.com/infraktor.metal

DSC_0349 copyThere’s a reason for German thrash to be so popular and Nuclear Warfare reminded us why, inflaming mosh circles practically from the first minute. Singer/bassist Fritz knew a few words in Portuguese – after all, the band has a Brazilian drummer, Xandão – but we were happy to teach him some more. Cursing words, obviously, in good ol’ cheerfulness.
The hymn “Just Fucking Thrash” and The Ramones’ cover of “Rockaway Bitch” were probably the catchiest moments of a fierce and beer-drenched gig.

www.facebook.com/ThrashMetalTank

DSC_0443 copyBrazilian thrashers Aneurose released their sophomore album, “Juggernaut”, last July and Blindagem was one of the Portuguese dates in its promotional tour. I don’t know if they already had fans here, as the reaction of the crowd was so fulsome; but then again, it was my first time watching them and the adrenaline rush I’ve felt was simply overwhelming. Straight-forward, in-your-face metal music, headbanging and mosher friendly, lots of rebellious gang backing vocals to sing along… And speaking of “along”, singer Wallace joined the circle pit at some point. Songs such as “Butcher” or “Drunk As Skunk” got such a crazy feedback that all of a sudden it seemed that we were in a sold-out show, people pushing everywhere to stand up front. To the point that when Wallace called Infraktor-Popas on stage to help him sing Sepultura’s “Roots Bloody Roots” I couldn’t even see them – just listening to them. And what a duet that was.

www.facebook.com/aneurose

DSC_0490 copyLast but not least, also hailing from Brazil and also playing thrash metal – although with a bit more death to it -, Chaos Synopsis. “Gods Of Chaos” is their most recent work, released a little over a month ago, but three others have come before it and therefore they had a rich set for us. “Burn Like Hell”, “Storm Of Chaos” or “Gods Upon Mankind” are just some of the songs that you should look into if you’re in this genre. The crowd that night surrendered to them.

www.facebook.com/chaossynopsis

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Perfect Blue Sky – The Eye of Tilos

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 6th May 2017 by mickbirchy

 

Perfect Blue Sky

The Eye of Tilos

Soft Rock, Psychedelic Rock

Released: 19th May 2017

via Scarecrow Music Group (SE) Right Recordings (UK)

Perfect Blue Sky, is the highly anticipated collaboration between one of the founding members of the Swedish metal act Netherbird Pontus, Pna Andersson and Australian solo rock vocalist, Jane Kitto. Together they formed the band in 2014 based out of Stockholm, Sweden. I have to say going into this album, The Eye of Tilos, I knew little to nothing about them. With that, I had absolutely no expectations when first playing this. On first listen I had no idea what I was in for.  Just vague non-descriptors from a PR statement. With a clear mind I listened on and found that this is one of the most pleasant sounding albums I’ve listened to in a while.

I was hit with tight songwriting and smooth production.  The music was this 70’s style soft rock, you know the kind of stuff that we don’t usually cover here on Valkyrian Music. This really beautiful soft acoustic soft rock, with light elements of psychedelic indie rock music. The sounds are so fluent and cerebral.  It has this way of getting lodged in your brain. It’s not catchy as such, there are no real ear worms here. More just beautiful tones that sink into your memory without you even realising it.  There’s some creative riffs and superbly simplistic, but effective, writing ideas. The harmonies really grab your attention in a way that you wouldn’t think.  All of the songs are designed so that you pay attention to them as a whole, instead of nitpicking the individual aspects. It’s the same joy I feel from listening to stoner metal or outlaw country music.  Just music that switches off my overthinking capacity and switches on my pure enjoyment.

I don’t want you to think that this production is small scale or under planned.  There’s a lot of work that goes into making music that sounds like this.  To achieve this the duo have recruited a pretty nice backing band that really bring all of the elements of this album together. Names like, Frank Bessard (Joe Satriani, Stanley Clarke) and Dave Getz (Big Brother Holding Co.) on Drums. Danny Oakhill on Keyboards (Queen Tribute, Turk Tresize).  Jerry Donahue on Guitar (Fairport Convention, Hellecasters). All of them bring their energy to the album, yet like I’ve said the production never lets any one member really over shine the others.  There is is this really nice balance to it all. So the listener never feels overwhelmed by any one part of the production.

Genuinely, I have loved this album. It’s a beautiful sounding record with a lot to offer in its production and in its songwriting. With songs of passion, abstract concepts and social commentary. The Eye of Tilos is such a nice sounding album.  It mixes old school hippie jams with classic rock and adds some modern style production to really keep it in today’s market. I am really liking this band.  Hopefully this won’t be the last I hear from them. Also, it makes for awesome driving music.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Semblant – Lunar Mainifesto

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 27th April 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Semblant
Lunar Manifesto
Released on 28th April 2017
Gothic Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

Formed in 2006, Semblant hail from the South American nation of Brazil. After a few line-up changes, they are now considered one of the country’s most important Gothic metal outfits, even going as far as being classified as Brazil’s first vampiric metal act. Lunar Manifesto is the latest in their string of releases.

Incinerate  opens up the album with a demonic assault of fast, heavy and unforgiving riffs that lay siege to the ears. The screamed vocals capitalise on the demonic sound of the track, while the cleaner vocals add a melodic, almost angelic touch to the song. Dark of the Day keeps the vicious heavy riffing of the preceding track while marching at a slower tempo. The contrasting use of vocals entwine themselves almost lyrically with the fury of the music.

What Lies Ahead has a more melodic sound, the guitars and keyboards dancing beautifully together, allowing for more focus on the clean vocals whereas The Shrine sounds very power metalesque in its introduction, before the bestial screams make themselves heard. Bursting Open has a very dramatic opening, focusing on an eerie orchestration and clean vocals that border on spoken word. The rest of the track appears to have lost the momentum found in the previous tracks, sounding less passionate.

Mist Over The Future makes a strong use of stormy guitar riffs and gentler keyboard sections, and the screams and growls are as vehement sounding as can be. Though the drums are cold and calculating, a noticeable difference from the rest of the track. Keyboards are more prominent in  The Hand That Bleeds, creating a cryptic atmosphere whereas the guitars and vocals are more esoteric in their sound. Selfish Liar is the perfect combination of savage, destructive riffs and sorrowful yet creepy keyboards. The vocals on this track are near magical, fitting in well with the song’s composition.

Ode To Rejection mixes ominous keyboards with hypnotic riffs, creating a sombre sound that is reflected in the lyrics., while The Blind Eye bursts in with a near-majestic sound built up by the heavy-hitting guitars and commanding use of vocals. Scarlet Heritage is the album’s ending, finishing the 11 track release with a blistering onslaught of cumbersome guitars and bold vocals. The keyboards weave into the track beautifully, adding beauty to the beast-like nature of the song.

Lunar Manifesto has its good moments and its bad ones. For the avid Gothic metal fan, it is a release that would fit in well into their collection.

3.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

 

Rock Goddess – It’s More Than Rock and Roll EP

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 25th April 2017 by izaforestspirit

Rock Goddess
It’s More Than Rock And Roll EP
Released 19th May 2017
Heavy Metal/ Hard Rock
Released via Bite You to Death Records

‘It’s More Than Rock And Roll’ is the new EP from the London-based hard rock trio Rock Goddess. The band originally started out in the 1980s during the NWOBHM movement in The U.K. They were on a long hiatus in the mid-90s before reforming again with the original line-up in 2013.

This is a short EP, just three songs but it is enough to give an idea of what Rock Goddess is all about. The title track is an anthem, or manifesto if you like, stating what these ladies trying to achieve with their music. Their message is simple: they play good, old-school hard rock full of catchy guitar melodies and sing-along choruses. This is what they have always done and what they do best. Back Off is all about the guitar riffs while the closing track We’re All Metal sounds like a homage to the band’s roots with some honorable mentions of the famous bands from within both the hard rock and heavy metal scene.

In summary, ‘It’s More Than Rock And Roll’ serves as an (re-)introduction to Rock Goddess. It’s bound to please their old fans as well attracting some new ones, myself included. I can’t wait to hear more. Rock on, ladies!

4/5

Iza Raittila

Projecto Sem Nome – Bulas Para Dedos E Coração

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd April 2017 by Pieni

Projecto Sem Nome
“Bulas Para Dedos E Coração”
alternative rock
Released: 8th October 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

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Projecto Sem Nome is Portuguese for “nameless project”, and while some of you may see it as a tacky lack of imagination, I think it’s quite ingenious and liberating – “nameless” but it’s still the name they go by, so it’s a clever pun, and at the same time, having such an empty meaning, it’s up to you to give it one. Just like with their lyrical content, which is so full of metaphors that even if Portuguese is your mother tongue, you’ll be left wondering about what singer/lyricist Cristovão Siano really means with those words.

Musically, it’s not so hard to label them as “alternative rock” is probably the most comprehensive and vague genre ever. “Até Amanhã” (see you tomorrow), for instance, is a rough post-grunge piece seasoned with delicate acoustic guitar fragments. “Detalhes” (details) has a more upbeat and catchy main riff but eventually sounds somewhat heavier, and then the guitar solo is pretty dire, as if out of one of those eighties hard rock hits. The ballad “Identidade XXX” (identity XXX) features a xylophone and an intense vocalization, while “Havia Lá” (there was) is probably the fiercest track, a double bass drum backing up Cristóvão’s high-pitch lament towards the end. And the duet with Blame ZeusSandra in “Marcha Gole” (sip march) gives the song an extra refinement.

Is therefore safe to say that “Bulas Para Dedos E Coração” (leaflets for fingers and heart) offers a batch of rock songs written and performed on a basis of a myriad of styles and influences. One word: classy.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Quinphonic Festival 4 – Birmingham, UK

Posted in Festival, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2017 by mickbirchy

Quinphonic Festival
Bands: Temperance, Serpentyne, Metaprim, Dead of Night, Fourth Circle
Venue: The Roadhouse, Birmingham, UK
Date: 16-APR-2017

 

Another year, another pilgrimage to Birmingham for Quinphonic Festival. I wasn’t able to attend the third edition of the festival in the October of last year. Yet, I was more than ready for the fourth one. This one had a stacked line-up with too. Including Italian hard-hitters, Temperance. The UK debut of, Fourth Circle. Along with three of the best live bands that the UK have to offer in Dead of Night, Serpentyne and Metaprism. A spectacular day of music lay ahead and I was pumped for the day to come. Quinphoinc Festival is all about quality over quantity. Five band all given a headline sets worth of time to show off what they can do. This allows the bands to breathe on stage and the crowd can experience what they’re actually like.

Before I talk about the actual day itself. Let me take you back to the night before, at the Barge and Barrel is Tipton for the Pre-Festival showcase night. A night that I won’t soon be forgetting. It was a great night of music featuring three fantastic UK up-and-comers. Darkest Obsidian, A Clockwork Opera and The Loved and Lost. All three bands were on top form and delivered a great performance. That really showed off their styles well. As a night it really came together with a great crowd. I really enjoyed all three acts, from the pageantry of A Clockwork Opera. To the soaring choruses of Darkest Obsidian with the finesse and energy of The Loved and Lost. It was a great night had by all and I hope to see more from all these bands sooner rather than later.
Now on to the festival itself. I got to the venue early to soak in the atmosphere. It was going to be a great day. All the bands have their own respective niche so there should have been something for every type of fan. As for myself I was looking forward to hearing something new. The only band I was really aware before going to the venue was, Temperance. So no matter the result of the day. I was going to hear something different and new for certain. Now, onto the review!

Fourth Circle

What a firecracker of an opener. This was exactly what was needed to start the day. The French band, Fourth Circle were debuting in the UK and let me say, what a way to make and entrance. The band were energetic and and fun. Their presence was in your face and and bold. Their live production great with every element of the band working outstandingly well. I have to say I was taken completely off guard by their performance. With pomp and pageantry, their music sounded huge with bombast. The music was filled with excellent hooks sinking into your head and this made their songs easy to remember. The band’s on stage chemistry really made these songs larger than life. They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there and this made it easier to enjoy their set. I only had a couple of problems with their set. Firstly, their set felt a little repetitive and it got a little tedious at times. Although those hooks constantly drew me back in. The only other thing that let their set down a bit was that the crowd started to thin out throughout the set, which ruined the atmosphere a little bit. Overall I had a fantastic time watching them. I would say their UK debut was successful and I for would welcome them back anytime!

Dead of Night

Next up was British newcomers Dead of Night. This was a really good set. Even if the songs were a little bland in composition, they more than made up for it in their theatrical stage presentation. Their sound was nice and I enjoyed some of the songs. Their stage presence was exciting and their chemistry was excellent. Really giving a complete package of a show. The vocals were clear and frontwoman, Briony Featon was an exciting presence on the stage. With light up black angel wings she truly gave the band that little bit of an edge. Their music had a decent atmosphere to it and the songs felt well put together. Their music had this really slick vibe to it. More of an old school rock ’n’ roll format to the songs rather than your typical symphonic metal or power metal sound. The centrepiece of the set for me was a gorgeous ballad that invited imagination and let the band really breathe. In all honesty they really won the crowd over. I did feel that their songs were just bland on a compositional level and that let them down a bit for me. However, I will concede that they were incredibly likeable and they presented themselves really well. I thought they were pretty good and I hope they evolve and grow in the future.

Metaprism

Now for the best band of the day and no, I do not make that statement lightly. Metaprism burst on to the stage with life and excitement. They were probably the “heaviest” band of the day and I feel they were the band with the best set. Their songs were high energy and filled with awesome riffs and well executed solos. Their presence had a sense of command to them. When they were performing, the audience were definitely paying attention. Their set was really an intense atmosphere upon the venue and the contrasting duel vocals of the band really gave them that little bit of an edge. It’s like they took the European standards of this style of music and added the British elements to it to make this sound. They came across a really likable people, they were very genuine and humble on the stage as they tried to get the crowd involved more and more into the set. Their set built up and got slowly better and I was completely enthralled with their set and I immediately rushed to the merch table right after their set was over. Which I guess was a good sign. Yes, this was definitely my favourite band of the day. Everything about them was excellent, from their songs to their personalities. They were an exciting and dynamic band, and I can say for certain that I became a fan.

Serpentyne

British folk-rockers Serpentyne took to the stage with finesse and and grace. This had to be one the most interesting sets of the day. On a pure technical level they were incredible but I really couldn’t get into it. Maybe it just wasn’t my sort of music but there was just certain aspects to their performance that turned me off. However, I did like parts and ideas used in the set. The musicianship was excellent and every instrument was played to an expert level. I also really enjoyed the dancer that was in the crowd it added to the enticement of the band. The music had these really good rock n roll elements mixed with the fantastical folk music to make something truly inventive. All of the songs were character piece with stories of vikings, medieval society and fantasy characters which were rich and engrossing. This really peaked my interest. However after the energetic, high pace set from Metaprism, this set felt a little deflating. Also I felt the vocals were a bit overdone. The singing could have been toned down a little. The set ended on a over of the Game of Thrones theme tune which was really well done for what it was. I like this band but I didn’t love it. They are all incredible musicians and the performance was well done, it just may have not been my type of music.

Temperance

Now for the main event of the evening and the only band that I came to this show with any familiarity. Temperance, are one of those band that just use everything at their disposal to entertain a crowd. Their songs are catchy and their energy are infectious. Other than some tech issues with the microphone they set went down without a hitch. The band blasted through their set with great songs. Coming hot off their third album “The Earth Embraces Us All” the set was a great mixture of all three albums. The crowd was really into it as was I. I mean I put down my notepad and just watched the show. The live production was really good, although the drums were a little loud at times. Also the backing tracks they were using didn’t come through the best at times. Frontwoman, Chiara Tricarico was an engaging presence on stage as was guitarist, Marco Pastorino. You really couldn’t keep your eyes off of them. Also with the sheer technical ability of them they made an impressive show as the final band of the day. They really were the cherry on top of an excellent day.

Words by Mick Birchall
Photos by David Sarah