Jupiter Falls – Faces In The Sand Part One

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

Jupiter Falls
Faces In The Sand Part One
Released 24th March 2017
Melodic Hard Rock
Released via Broken Road Records

Faces In The Sand Part One’ is the third album from the British hard rock band Jupiter Falls. The band was formed in 2013 and they have released two albums and one EP prior to this.

I’m not entirely sure what the tag ‘melodic hard rock’ actually means. For me hard rock has always referred to music that is heavier than classic rock but not quite “heavy” or aggressive enough to be considered metal. On the whole it tends to be more radio-friendly and tends to appeal to a larger audience. As far as the genre classifications go, there is a very wide spectrum of bands that have been labeled “hard rock”. Jupiter Falls’s influences range from Guns’N’Roses and Metallica to Bullet For My Valentine so that doesn’t really narrow it down to any specific category.

After the first few songs it soon becomes apparent that these guys don’t really stick to just one specific style. Their music is very guitar-orientated and relies heavily on the use of twin-guitar harmonies. But as far as genre goes, what we have here is an amalgamation of various styles within both rock and metal. On the heavier, more metal end, we get tracks like Its Your Problem Now and Sickened in which you can hear the groove-metal tones in the guitars and particularly the bass. Then we have the classic rock -style, power ballads Call Me and Follow You representing the band’s more melodic side. The vocals on these two reminded me of the early works of an American post-grunge/hard rock band Creed. If there is one track that really shows off the skill of the guitarists and proves just how well the twin-guitar harmonies can work, it’s Voices. That song is by far the most guitar-centered as well as being one of the heaviest tracks on the album.

In summary, ‘Faces In The Sand Part One’ is a fine example of modern hard rock. I’m not a guitarist so I can’t comment too much on the intricacies of the riff work, but I can tell that these guys are really skilled musicians. Whether you’re a fan of classic rock power ballads, modern metal or hard rock there will be something on this album that appeals to you.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 24th March 2017 by izaforestspirit

Ex Deo
The Immortal Wars
Released 27th February 2017
Symphonic Death Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Ex Deo is a side-project band of Maurizio Iacono from Kataklysm. Since their formation in 2008, the band has released two albums before going on a short hiatus in 2014. They returned again the following year to embark on their third venture – a concept album about the Punic Wars. They were fought between Rome and Carthage and took place between 264 B.C. and 146 B.C. This album is entitled ‘The Immortal Wars’ and include epic tales of two history’s most famous generals, Hannibal and Scipio.

I must admit that I’m not that well versed on ancient Roman history so this album gave me an excuse to do a little background research about the Punic Wars and general Hannibal. Thanks for the history lesson guys! Impressive battle scenes featuring armed war elephants and a clash between two generals renowned for their strategies and tactics of warfare sounds like a pretty good topic doesn’t it? Well let’s find out… Ex Deo are known for their grandiose, symphonic intros and the opener The Rise of Hannibal doesn’t disappoint. It’s a skilfully executed mixture of melodic death metal not too dissimilar to Iacono’s main band Kataklysm only with a certain cinematic atmosphere due to the additional orchestration provided by Clemens Wijers.

Each track tells a story ranging from the faster, more energetic yet still symphonically-enhanced Hispania (Siege Of Saguntum), the aggressive tale of destruction Crossing the Alps to primarily orchestral intermission Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo) all the way through to the end. The aforementioned Crossing the Alps is probably the most brutal-sounding song on here mostly due to Iacono’s growls and war cries which seem all the more ferocious thanks to the powerful guitar riffs and the drums mimicking “sounds of battle”. Speaking of war cries and chanting, that’s one of the things that ‘The Immortal Wars’ has in abundance. The tale of Hannibal’s defeat in Ad Victorian (The Battle of Zama) is a good example of this. You can almost picture the armies marching on to the battlefield and the noise as the battle commences.

Overall, ‘The Immortal Wars’ is without a doubt Ex Deo’s most ambitious and impressive album to date. I honestly couldn’t find any weak tracks on here and as with any good action-adventure movie, this album is best enjoyed as a whole. As long as Ex Deo maintain the balance between melodic death metal and historical themes without overdoing it on the orchestral elements, they have a long and bright future ahead of them.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

Interview with Janne Wirman (Children of Bodom)

Posted in Gig, Interview, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 19th March 2017 by mickbirchy

Before their set in Manchester, our writer, Mick Birchall sits with Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom to talk about 20 years of the band and how they kept up in the music industry. Also, touring and the music scene in general.

This year marks 20 years of Children of Bodom. How does it feel to be able to say that you have actually been going that long?

Yes, it’s crazy it really is.  We weren’t really expecting that when we started. Back then we were just kids and we played heavy metal metal. Yeah it’s great it really is. Just the though that we’ve made it this far.

You guys have played all around the world.  Would you say there a difference in audience, depending on where you go?

You be surprised on how little the differences are really. Metal heads are metal heads no matter where you go.  If there are differences then they’d be small things. Such as in Japan, the crowd will probably go completely silent between the songs, it feels a little awkward. However, it is a show of respect. So it’s things like that but when the music is on, it’s on!

Going for 20 years now and with 9 albums.  How do you feel you keep your music sounding new without wearing out the same sound, but also without compromising the core of the band?

That’s becoming a challenge after releasing so many albums and we definitely don’t want to be stuck to a formula or get stuck the mindset of “this worked well, let’s just do that again”. As a band you have to keep creating something new and you have to take a risk with something eventually. I mean there’s only so many bands that can release the same album over and over.

Over the years what is the one song you wish you had written as a band?

I would say Redneck by Lamb of God.

What would be the best band that you have opened for and what’s the best band that’s opened for you?

I’d say the best we’ve opened for is Slayer. We did a couple tour with them and it was just great.  Their level of production and how well the opening bands were treated it was just amazing.

On the other hand we’ve had the pleasure of having so many killer band open the show for us. We had this band recently play with us.  Havok they were really great, we’ve heard them play and every audience they’ve played for people have just loved them.  Also we have Oni with us on this tour. They’re really cool, with a xylophone player. If you’re into the weird stuff then Oni is for you.

What’s your impression of the more gimmicky bands out there.  The ones who will dress up and get into character for a show?

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Just don’t paste it over your image, if your band sound sounds fine without gimmicks then don’t paste it over the top of it.  Only do it if it’s natural to the kind of music that you’re trying to create. Also, if you’re going to do it, make it your own thing.  Don’t take another band idea and slap it over your band, try to be original with a concept.

So to end on. What was the hardest thing you had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

We’ve had some obstacles in band. Obviously letting Roope (Latvala) go was a tough decision. We were struggling without him for sometime. When you’ve been in the industry for this long you’ve had up and and downs. At the end of the day, everyone in the band has to believe in the same thing, then between all of you you get through rough times. As long as you have you bandmates there’s very little that they’ll let you do wrong.

 

Interview and words by Mick Birchall

Children of Bodom w/ Supports – Manchester, UK

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags on 19th March 2017 by mickbirchy

Bands: Oni, Forever Still, Children of Bodom

Location: Manchester Academy, Manchester

Date: 11th March 2017

A rainy night in Manchester and I was off to see Finnish metallers, Children Of Bodom. The last time I saw them was a few years ago in the same venue (The Academy 2). This year marks 20 years of the band, and they were going to celebrate in style with the Manchester crowd with a retro inspired setlist and a fearsome attitude. They also brought along Canadian progressive metal band, Oni and Danish hard rock collective, Forever Still.

I sadly missed Oni’s set as I was interviewing, Janne Wirman from Children of Bodom. It’s a shame as they seemed like a really interesting band with a unique set up. With a Xylosyth player up front. Everyone I spoke to about them after their set was truly buzzing. So I hope to see them quite soon.

Forever Still

I’ve liked this band for a while and I had never seen them live. However, I left this set a little  a underwhelmed. The Danish rockers hit the stage and they were OK. There wasn’t much of a flow to the set. Between the songs it didn’t really feel like they were engaging the audience. Their songs were performed decently enough with a sharp, crisp and polished sound. Front-woman, Maja’s vocals were particularly impressive and there were moments when it felt like they hit their stride. Yet it was only when they got into the songs that I liked off of the album that I started to like the set as a whole. I hope it was just tonight and not a Monica of their standard live performances.

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Children Of Bodom

Now for the reason everyone was there. Children of Bodom fans are a rabid bunch and really enjoy their set. For me, it was pretty good. Maybe I just don’t understand their music. After all my favourite album from them is the one that fans of band don’t like (Relentless, Reckless, Forever). So maybe I wasn’t the best person to talk about this show.

Sayin that though I did enjoy the show for what it was. The live sound was really good, you could hear everyone the of the show and every members sound was coming in clear. Alexi’s voice was pretty good, much better than the last time I saw them. The band was tight and felt completely in sync. The on-stage on chemistry was brilliant and you really get that feeling that they just know how the others are thinking on stage.

The key word to their set was presence. You just feel them on stage. They really don’t hold back. Their energy and intensity is a powerful feeling and makes the night feel that much better for the fans. When you feel the guitar and drums in your gut with the synth twinkling and providing that atmosphere. It’s truly a great feeling. Alexi Laiho is an excellent frontman, he really just get his audience and plays to them and it comes back to his presence. He really owns the stage, even though he doesn’t move around a whole lot, you can can just feel him on that stage. Overall it was a good night of music. I had fun and that’s point at the end of the day.

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Words by Mick Birchall

Photos by Charlotte Wellings

www.charlottewellings.com

The Charm The Fury – The Sick, Dumb & Happy

Posted in 'Core, Alternative, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 15th March 2017 by mickbirchy

The Charm The Fury

The Sick, Dumb & Happy

Metalcore, Groove Metal

Released: 17 March 2017

via Nuclear Blast

This is an album that I have been particularly excited for. I first caught wind of The Charm The Fury a few years ago via an article in Metal Hammer magazine.  I looked them up and I was really blown away by them.  I hadn’t heard anything like them before.  I would go on to discover a lot of bands in with this sound and I do have The Charm The Fury to thank for that. Their first album A Shade of My Former Self was an exciting bold record with a lot of passion and intensity. It was genuine smash of an album. So, I’ve really been getting into their new album The Sick, Dumb and Happy. They have made some interesting stylistic choices with this album to keep things fresh without losing their core appeal.

This album is more of a groove metal album then metalcore.  The gritty riffs the, groovy bass lines and more of an appealing tone. It fits them it really does. I think every member of the band carries their weight very well on this album. The sound is massive and all of the songs have the potential to be crowd pleasers.  From the old school sound of “Down on the Ropes” to the more modern sounding, “Weaponized”. They hit the mark nearly perfectly.  The production is bold and really gives a firm punch when the tunes get going. On this album the band feel way more palatable. These are songs more likely to get airplay in more mainstream and that’s really not a problem. They sound great doing it and I would say that these songs deserve the attention.

This is a major step in the right direction for The Charm The Fury. It’s really nice to see a band evolve like this.  It proves you can make your songs appealing to a wider audience without selling out.  They have just made a natural step forward with their music. There’s really not much else to say if you want a great album with a fun sound with some truly pump-up choruses, the look no further that this album.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow announces UK tour

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Rock with tags , , on 12th March 2017 by izaforestspirit

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow will return to the UK shores in June 2017. The critically acclaimed guitarist and frontman will be playing a mixture of Rainbow and Deep Purple classics. This time he will be joined on stage by Meister Bob on bass, Blackmore Nights’ drummer David Keith, Stratovarius’s keyboardist Jens Johansson and singer, Ronnie Romero.

You can check out the tour schedule below:

For further details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/ritchieblackmore/

http://www.blackmoresnight.com/

 

Letters From The Fire – Worth The Pain

Posted in CD, Rock with tags on 6th March 2017 by izaforestspirit

Letters From The Fire
Worth The Pain
Released 17th March 2017
Hard Rock
Released via Sand Hill Records/ Cargo Records

‘Worth The Pain’ is the debut album from the American hard rock band Letters From The Fire. The band originally started out under a different name before changing it to Letters From The Fire in 2012. Since then they have released two EPs and gone through various line-up changes. This new release was produced by Kile Odell (Motionless in White, Failure Anthem).

I have to admit that I had some alarm bells ringing in my head at the mention of anything connected to Motionless in White. ‘Oh no,no… please don’t let this be metalcore!!’. Luckily, right from the first guitar of the opening track it soon became evident that I had nothing to fear. The opener Perfect Life is a good way to start the album with a mixture of melodic hard rock with some groove metal tinges in the guitars combined with Alexa Kabazie’s powerful vocals. So far so good… Mother Misery gives the listener a good indication of the singer’s vocal range as well as demonstrating just how well she is able to match her singing to the speed of the guitars.

Whether the song is melodic or aggressive, Kabazie is able to pour all emotion into her vocals, adding more emphasis to the lyrics. The slower-paced ballad Bruised is a good example of the band’s softer, more melodic side. In that particular track, the vocals have a certain sombre tone to them. Similar things can be said about At War, in which the guitars are shoved to a backseat replaced by a piano in the foreground accompanying the vocals. Then it’s back to the harsher, heavier and guitar-dominated hard rock from Control until the end of the album.

Overall, despite what the title might suggest, there is nothing painful about listening to this album. In fact I actually enjoyed it. At first, Letters from The Fire reminded me of Evanescence minus the Gothic elements. It’s primarily hard rock with little hints of groove metal and even pop music. 4/5

Iza Raittila