Savage Machine – Abandon Earth

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 27th February 2018 by izaforestspirit

Savage Machine
Abandon Earth
Released 19th January 2018
Heavy Metal/Power Metal

Savage Machine - Abandon Earth

It’s been two years since I reviewed Savage Machine’s single; now here I am reviewing their debut album ‘Abandon Earth’. I’m already familiar with two of the tracks since they were on the ‘Event Horizon’ single. Based on the description, this is a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world in which humans are at war with the machines. So, it’s traditional heavy metal with a science-fiction theme. That sounds promising, let’s see what we have here…

This is actually a little more complex than I expected it to be. In addition to the predominant classic/NWOBHM-style heavy metal, there are also some elements of power metal. Take the The Hunter for example, the guitar structures made me think of the old albums by Helloween mixed with the story-telling vocal style of Iron Maiden. Then they reduce the pace with a ballad called Time Traveller,  a melodic heavy metal/thrash metal hybrid which reminded me of the early works of Iced Earth. Good guitar work!

Speaking of guitars, the “rifftasic” Event Horizon and classic heavy metal style ‘Savior’ are the undisputed highlights of the album. The former is an energetic, fast piece of thrash metal packed with killer guitar riffs. As for Savior, I already liked it two years ago and it hasn’t lost any of its appeal.

In summary, it has to be said that there’s not a single filler track on here. There’s good variety in the pace with just enough ballads to please fans of melodic metal and power along with plenty of faster songs for the thrashers amongst us.


Iza Raittila


Bill for Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão 2018 almost complete

Posted in News with tags , , , on 25th February 2018 by Pieni

Ever since its first edition, back in 2015 we’ve been supporting and covering the “metal day” of Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicão, in Portugal. Last year saw the growth of the bill, by adding a secondary stage, and this year we see the “growth of weight”, as all three days will be heavy ones. Needless to say, we’ll be covering the full festival this time.

There are still two bands to announce, but so far it features some of the Portuguese finest. As for the international headlining acts, we’ll have Dark Tranquillity and Septicflesh:


We’ll get back to you with the full schedule as soon as the two last bands are revealed.

Primordial reveal new album title

Posted in Metal, News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 23rd February 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Irish pagan metal band Primordial have announced that their new album will be entitled ‘Exile Amongst The Ruin’.  You can see the cover-art and the track-listing below:

1. Nail Their Tongues
2. To Hell or the Hangman
3. Where Lie the Gods
4. Exile Amongst the Ruins
5. Upon Our Spiritual Deathbed
6. Stolen Years
7. Sunken Lungs
8. Last Call

‘Exile Amongst The Ruins’ will be out on 30th March 2018 via Metal Blade Records. There will also be a special treat in store for German fans of the band – two special album release shows on Cassiopeia, Berlin (30/03/18) and Jungle Club, Köln (31/03/18).

In addition to this the band will also be embarking on a European tour with Moonsorrow in April 2018. Here is the full schedule:

12/04/18 NL – Leeuwarden – Neushoorn
13/04/18 NL – Tilburg – 013
14/04/18 FR – Paris – Trabendo
15/04/18 BE – Brugge – Entrepot
16/04/18 UK – London – Islington Assembly Hall
17/04/18 LU – Esch-sur-Alzette – Kulturfabrik
18/04/18 CH – Pratteln – Z7
19/04/18 DE – Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik
20/04/18 DE – Leipzig – Hellraiser
21/04/18 CZ – Prague – Akropolis
22/04/18 SK – Kosice – Colloseum
23/04/18 HU – Budapest – Barba Negra
24/04/18 AT – Wien – Szene
25/04/18 DE – München – Backstage
26/04/18 DE – Aschaffenburg – Colos-Saal
27/04/18 DE – Bochum – Matrix
28/04/18 DE – Hamburg – Markthalle

In the meantime enjoy their latest video:


For more information visit:

Turbowolf – The Free Life

Posted in CD, Experimental, Punk Rock, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th February 2018 by mickbirchy

Artist: Turbowolf

Album: The Free Life

Genre, Psychedelic, Punk, Electronic

Released: 09 March 2018

via So Recordings

The Bristol based psychedelic punk rockers, Turbowolf, are back with their third album, The Free Life. They’re definitely one of those bands that are so different and distinct that you either love the sound or hate it. I personally, love what they produce. I like bands that really challenge their listeners and do something different and Turbowolf have that spark, something that their fans can connect with which leaves casual fans with intrigue (and I’m sure some confusion). I loved their 2011 self-titled debut so much. It was a burst of creativity and really delivered a full package of excitement, not bad for a first outing. Their 2015 album, Two Hands, left me a little disappointed, maybe it was just the victim of over-hype, but it just wasn’t as good. Some great songs individually but the album wasn’t as well put together for my liking. However, early demos and singles from this album sounded interesting enough for me to want to get the whole album and a proper spin.

The album sparks with energy straight off of the bat, with the infectious No, No, No. The synth, guitars and bass all meld together to create this delicious soup of electronic noise. Exactly how you want a record to open, with a punch of punk right in the senses. Across the board Turbowolf seem to have more of a toned sound on this album. Guitarist Andy Ghosh and bassist Lianna Lee Davies bring the heavy riffs that feel heavier. When they kick into full punk mode you feel this rush of psychedelic electronic sounds. The riffs are tight and the basslines are highly enjoyable. Every second of this album hits hard and fast with all of the verbose and intricate sounds that Turbowolf have become known for. Chris Georgiadis’s vocals fit well. He delivers the lyrics in such a way that you have to pay attention to what he’s saying. Then when the vocal harmonies come in, it leaves an impact. On a sound design level The Free Life impresses and on writing level it’s excellent. Turbowolf do everything in their power to bend the very concept of music to their whims.

Also, with this album comes a slew of featured musicians to collaborate on this project. Joe Talbot of fellow Bristol band Idles, lends his vocal talents to Capital X. Sebastian Grainger of Death From Above adds his musical mind to the track Cheap Magic. Mike Kerr of Royal Blood trades lines with Chris in the mind melter of a tune Domino. Finally, Chantal Brown of acclaimed psyche-metallers Vodun adds her flair to the song Very Bad. Usually I would say having this many featured guests cheapens a record. However every single one adds something unique to their respective song and makes the album all the more varied and diverse. One thing is for sure, you will not be bored with this album in a hurry. There is so much to appreciate and the talent on display is immense.

Now like I said Turbowolf are a very distinct band, so this will not be to everyone’s taste. If you’re not into this type of music then this album will do very little to change that mindset. They have definitely chosen their direction. Whereby they push the medium further with every release. I mean they do have some crossover appeal and casual audiences will probably take to the singles, as they do get radio play. However, the albums go full on weird mode and it can be a little much for the average listener. They’ve always had that effect though, so nothing new there. I’m very much into the sound on display here. There’s a creativity and splendor to the album that makes it sound so interesting. From its most intense punk moments to the mind-bending distortion and synths that gives them their signature sound. You will not mistake Turbowolf for anyone else, they hit the mark perfectly here.


Mick Birchall

Infraktor – Exhaust

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 9th February 2018 by Pieni

Thrash metal
Released: 2nd March 2018
Via Rastilho Records


Gourmet is a word very popular nowadays – so popular that we even use it outside its food context, just for fun. As an adjective, it’s synonym of high quality; as a noun, it’s someone who’s quite the expert on both producing and consuming high quality stuff. I started using the expression “gourmet thrash” as a joke, but in light of these definitions, when applying them to thrash metal, they couldn’t be more accurate when it comes to Infraktor – classy, top-notch tunes, performed by who knows damn well what they’re doing. I’ve known – and admired, I confess – most of them for over a decade, with their previous bands, but even if I could vouch in advance for their talented experience, the level of maturity in “Exhaust” is the sweetest icing on my expectation’s cake.

Preceded by a menacing intro and succeeded by a dark outro, the eight tracks Infraktor bring to you also offer the tough choice of choosing a favorite (I often go for “Son Of A Butcher” but only because it was the first getting stuck in my head). The riffing of “Blood Of The Weak”, the overwhelming title-track, the shredding of “Inevitability Of Reason” (a.k.a. “I.O.R.”), the solo of “Ferocious Intent”… Speaking of, I was a tad apprehensive when I was told it would feature Revolution WithinRaça. Hugo’s voice has a deeper resonance, but I was afraid it wouldn’t be enough to contrast with Raça’s sharper tone. Indeed it isn’t, but the combination of both in the chorus has such a powerful effect, living up to the song’s title – and the band’s motto – that it just makes sense. Plus, these are men who value their friendships so the “just makes sense” expression assumes a double play.

The outro features an excerpt of an Edmund Kemper interview and so I take the liberty to finish this review with a straightforward pun: “Exhaust” is a killer album.


Renata “Pieni” Lino

Grimner – Vanadrottning

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 4th February 2018 by izaforestspirit

Released 9th February 2018
Folk Metal/ Viking Metal
Released via Despotz Records

Grimner - Vanadrottning

Swedish Viking metal band Grimner are celebrating their 1Oth anniversary this year. They have decided to mark the occasion with the release of the new album ‘Vanadrottning’. The album title is a reference to the Vanir goddess Gullveig who was reborn after being burned alive three times by the Aesir gods during the war between the Aesir and the Vanir.

I don’t really listen to much folk metal these days. Not because I dislike the genre; there was a time when I loved it. That’s starting to be quite a a few years ago now. Since then most of the bands that I used to like have either gone stale, repetitive or just downright bad. Very few have actually stood the test of time and continued to make memorable music. Finntroll and Eluveitie come to mind though the latter occasionally overdoes it on the folk, omitting the metal. So where does Grimner stand in all this? Let’s find out shall we…?

In many ways this sounds pretty much like you would expect any good folk metal album to sound. No surprises, just your usual blend of folk instruments such as flutes and bagpipes mixed with traditional heavy metal guitars and drums. The use of their native tongue works to their advantage since Swedish is one of those languages that is melodic by nature and easy to sing. Also the dual vocal configuration, mixing the harsh with the melodic seems to work pretty well. The title track’s chorus is likely to stick in your head for a while and you will be tempted to to sing along even if your Swedish is as non-existent as mine is. The guitar work ain’t half bad either.

The flutes and bagpipes have a prominent role as the album progresses. Take ‘En Fallen Jätte’ for example, it’s easily one of the record’s finest moments; packed with “bouncing” flute tunes and equally playful guitar riffs. If this isn’t enough to make you want to get up and dance then there must be something wrong with you! Some of the songs actually reminded me of Finntroll but that could be just due to the language of the lyrics and the sound of bagpipes. Like I said, I don’t understand Swedish but luckily you don’t need to in order to enjoy Grimner’s music.
At least I don’t think there’s too many mentions of evil trolls in the lyrics…

What they do have however, is Erik Grawsiö (Månegarm) as a guest vocalist on Fafnersbane, one of the more melodic songs. The inclusion of Mr. Grawsiö suits the song well though it seems a bit like they are playing it safe by considering how similar the two bands are to each other. Sången Om Grimner also caught my attention as one of the slower, calmer songs on here and probably the closest thing this album has to a ballad.

Overall, I have enjoyed listening to ‘Vanadrottning’. It’s been a highly entertaining ride. As far as folk and viking metal go, this album doesn’t really offer anything new. I could produce a whole list of bands that sound similar but what’s the point? These guys aren’t new to the scene, they have been around for a decade. Luckily for them they happen to be good and what they do.


Iza Raittila

MAKS – 3ft No Diving

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 2nd February 2018 by mickbirchy


3ft No Diving

Rock, Southern Rock, Adult Alternative

Released: 23 June 2017

Self Released

This is definitely an interesting release to listen to. MAKS is a Dutch multi-instrumentalist singer songwriter with a very distinct sound. It’s a big old mixture of rock, new wave, country and adult alternative. His new album 3ft No Diving is certainly something very unique, I guarantee you haven’t heard anything like this. It’s an album that really stretches the length of what you’d call “rock music”. The type of album you get here is an interesting musical soup of different instrumental styles and genres which when combined make for something really interesting to listen to. All of the songs are written by him, barring the two covers which I’ll mention later, so there’s some real personal ideas here which I feel are executed well. OK, this album is not going to be to everyone’s taste, I’ll tell you now but there’s some fantastic songwriting here.

The album opens with the foreboding tone of “Portal”. However this is quickly moved into the first song on the album “Lay Down Low” and automatically you learn what type of album you’re getting. A nice fusion of electronic new wave and folky southern rock and it actually works quite well. Obviously he’s not the first to make this odd pairing but he definitely has his own vision of how it should work. The guitar being very prominent and most of the other instruments falling into the background somewhere. MAKS voice is really good, a very soothing tone for the melodies and every so often he has that blues scratchiness to his voice which is great. In particularly for his cover of “Stones in my Passway” a blues classic by Robert Johnson. The other cover “Waiting for the Man” by Lou Reed is nicely performed as well, although I’m not the biggest Lou Reed fan, I can appreciate this. It’s very clear from the sound on the album that this was a passion project and the passion definitely shines through.

However, the production is not all there, at least not for me. Everything is quite tinny and there sounds like there’s a lot of audio filters. Hey, if this is your thing then fine but for me, I like a little bass and more of a bottom to the production. The acoustic guitar sounds lovely, however everything else is quite muted and feels synthesised to a degree and that gets annoying after a while. If the drums had a little more impact to them and the bass filled the bottom of the sound, then this maybe a little easier to listen to. Other than that, I have very little problems, the songwriting is great and I love how the melodies flow, it sounds well put together on a writing level, also the riffs are well executed.  

For me I like it. I didn’t love it, but I look forward to hearing him create more music. He obviously has an ear for lyrics, melody, harmony and rhythm and with that comes something that truly sticks with you. Again, the production may not be to everyone’s taste but I think with a little bit more of a punch and a thicker tone this could be something I could say I love.  Definitely worth checking out anyway. Hope you listen and enjoy.


Mick Birchall