Archive for Album

Uncle Paul – Dot Rotten

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 14th April 2019 by mickbirchy

Uncle Paul
Dot Rotten
Noise Rock, Stoner Rock, Psychedelic
Released 14th January 2019
via Introclusor Records

You guys know me by now. I’m usually the first in line for the weird and experimental side of rock n roll. After all, today’s experimental music is tomorrow’s mainstream. So, why not listen to everything that you can? Which leads me to this EP. Dot Rotton is the newest release from the weird and wonderful Uncle Paul and let’s just say it’s an interesting listening experience, to say the least. Sounding like a weird hybrid of Butthole Surfers, Deerhoof and Lightning Bolt, this band have really captured my imagination. Though this isn’t the best example of the genre, the North-West UK rockers certainly work as a weird noise rock psychedelia band, that incorporate elements of garage rock and stoner rock into their style. Referring to themselves as “refined musical dyslexia” is a good call, because this is what this is, a random assortment of musical ideas thrown into a melting pot and left to simmer.

Though it would take you longer to listen to “In A Gadda Da Vida” than it would this entire EP. I think there is some merit to the EP. In the sense, that you shouldn’t try to investigate it or look into it too deep. It’s more just a musical experience with a hodge-podge of ideas, riffs and distortion just blasting full force at the listener. With vocal effect layered over the sound and weird noise coming from every which way. It’s an EP to lose yourself in and not worry too much about its motivations or connotations. It’s just music for music’s sake and, you know what? That’s actually quite refreshing from time to time. The production is all over the place with nothing really meshing or coming together. Very much like the noise rock movement of the early 90’s this band just make what they feel like and run with the ideas they have.

Let me put this straight, this is not of the average consumer of music. There are no hooks or ear-worms to be found here. Yet, there is some creating bass work, some great riff ideas and guitar licks littered throughout the EP. Which makes it enjoyable enough. Also, considering that a couple of the songs don’t even reach two minutes long and the longest track here is four minutes, the music just passes by so quick that you don’t even realise that you’ve just heard something really fun and ridiculous.

By no means is this a great example of modern rock music. Yet, it serves as an interesting example of the noise rock sound and how it can still be relevant today. Then again, noise rock usually exists outside the normal boundaries of music anyway. If you like that  90’s Gen-Xer sound or watched a lot of Bevis and Butthead then I would recommend this in a strange way. It’s not a masterpiece, nor is it trying to be. It’s designed to be off-putting and weird and to be honest, that’s what I liked about it.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Siena Root – A Dream of Lasting Peace

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 22nd May 2017 by mickbirchy

Siena Root

A Dream of Lasting Peace

Rock, Folk, Psychedelic

Released 26th May 2017

via Hänsel & Gretel, MIG-Music

 

This has been a listen for me. Lately I’ve been really into my mellow music, instead of in your face heavy metal. When I first played the album I was immediately interested in the sound that was coming from the speakers. The sheer imagination these guys bring to the table is outstanding. The music is this psychedelic folk sound that’s really hard out of your head.  Their tone is just unlike anything I’ve really listened to in recent memory. The sweeping guitar tones, the excellent production and the fantastic songwriting. It all sounds so glorious. A Dream of Lasting Peace is a just a excellent listen from start to finish.

The production of this album is really damn good. The instrumentation is exquisite, with every member really making an impression on you. Samuel Björö’s vocals are just so emotional and they soar above the production and really resonates with you. He is just one of those front men that can really paint a picture with his word and draw you into the world he creates. All the while the band plays an amazing score to accompany the great lyrics. The way the music swells around the lyric is a magical experience, particularly on tracks like “The Piper Won’t Let You Stay” & “Empty Streets”. I was simply entranced the whole time. It’s just excellent from start to finish. I really can’t stop listening to it.

This feels like a band that just know how to create a great musical experience, This being their sixth studio album, the band have just gelled at this point. Everything about their sound is so natural and almost comes off as effortless. It’s such a nice album just to play and have a good time to. Just let the music entrance you into a state of euphoria. It’s seriously a great trip.  I’m so happy to have found this band. This one album is definitely worth your time.

5/5
Mick Birchall

Italian metallers Death Of All Gods sign to Wormholedeath; Debut album to be released August 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 12th July 2013 by Contra Mundi

Wormholedeath will release Death Of All Gods’ impressive debut album titled Different Ways Of feeling Pain world-wide through The Orchard via Digital Download. The album is due for release on the 7th of August via digital download and promises a showcase of accessible metal and impressive musical ability.

It is unusual for a band not to release a physical copy of their album, nevertheless in an ever increasing digital age; more labels may be heading down such an avenue.

Death Of All Gods had this to say:

We are so proud of being part of the WormHole Death roster! Those guys are extremely professional and they really trust in our work and in our potential; we’re sure it’ll be a great collaboration, which starts with Different Ways Of Feeling Pain.

A&R “Worm” stated:

Yes, it’s true! I was so excited when Luigi from DOAG contacted me in search of a digital release. It is somehow something new for Wormholedeath to release an album via digital download only since I’ve always seen this idea like a great idea! It is not better or worse than a “normal” cd release … It’s just different. I see a different potential in a digital release since everything is going to be faster. Of course many bands asked us to get this kind of deal but we were waiting for the right album to make this new idea like real. In fact Death Of All Gods are signed to our label under all effects, like all the other bands, they just decided that they didn’t care about having the hard copy cd on the market and as long as they were the right band to work with we said yes. Preview their song and you will understand why!

Death Of All Gods online:

http:// www.deathofallgods.com
http://www.facebook.com/deathofallgods
http://www.youtube.com/DeathofallGods
http://www.twitter.com/DeathOfAllGods
http://www.myspace.com/Deathofallgods

Swedish rockers Free Fall sign to Nuclear Blast and release debut album

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 24th October 2012 by Nico Davidson

Leading rock and metal label Nuclear Blast have stated their excitement at the recent signing of Swedish rockers Free Fall.

The band commented “We believe that the deal Free Fall made today with Nuclear Blast will be a significant step towards our quest to liberate people through Freedom Rock; World domination through Power and Volume!”

Free Fall features well known Swedish musicians; guitarist Mattias Bärjed  (Soundtrack Of Our Lives) and drummer Ludwig Dahlberg (International Noise Conspiracy) who set out to create their own style in rock music: Freedom rock!

The band’s debut album, Power & Volume is scheduled for an early 2013 release. A first impression of what their freedom rock is all about will be due on November 30, 2012 when the band releases the 7″ single of the album’s title track. Power & Volume. The single will be made available on black (retail version) and white vinyl (via Nuclear Blast Mailorder only) as well as digitally via iTunes. All versions will also feature the rare non-album track Stand Up For Your Rock ‘n’ Roll!

Free Fall are:

Jan Martens – Bass
Mattias Bärjed – Guitar
Kim Fransson – Lead Vocals
Ludwig Dahlberg – Drums

www.facebook.com/freefallpowerandvolume | www.nuclearblast.de/freefall | www.twitter.com/PowerAndVolume | www.youtube.com/user/freefallpowervolume

 

Cradle of Filth – Midnight in the Labyrinth

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 24th April 2012 by tobiasgray

Band: Cradle of Filth
Album: Midnight in the Labyrinth
Release date: April 21st 2012
Genre: Orchestral/Soundtrack
Label: Peaceville/Nuclear Blast

One of Britain’s most successful and controversial bands of the last twenty years return with their first full length album since 2010’s Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa.

Never a group to rest on their laurels, Cradle of Filth have meandered through various facets of metal in their long career.  From the early gothic and epic ‘black’ metal, to later thrash and conceptual themes, Cradle have never been afraid to experiment.  This time they have delivered yet another surprise with orchestral reinterpretations of tracks from their first four albums, stripped of guitars, drums, keyboards and the trademark higher register shrieks of the incomparable macabre poet – Dani Filth.

Midnight in the Labyrinth‘ is a two CD collection, with disc one containing 10 tracks, narrated by Dani (in his low, gutteral, spoken voice), and with the welcome return of Cradle of Filth operatic vocal goddess, Sarah Jezebel Deva.  Disc 2 contains the same tracks, sans vocal narration.

Cradle of Filth don’t make it easy on their fans.  Oldtimers reminisce about the earlier raw, yet highly structured works up to and including ‘Cruelty and the Beast‘.  While passionate newer followers, introduced to the band from ‘Midian‘ through to ‘Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa‘ maintain their major label, commercial success.  This bold release unfortunately fails in its ambitions however…

Epic orchestral scores have freedom throughout their creative process.  Themes can be introduced, teased, then unleashed as the music ebbs and flows. Harmonies and counter melodies are woven through the supporting instruments, and important moments can be ‘suspended’ to increase their dramatic impact.  It feels as though Mark Newby-Robson (Mark de Sade) has been constrained with just how much freedom he was allowed to change these classic tracks.  The structures are identical to the originals and so supporting sections, where the vocals should be the focal part, drag into repetitious themes.

The arbitrary ‘narrations’ serve to guide lost listeners as to where in the track they are up to, but drop in sporadically at random intervals.  The recording is excellent and familiar riffs played on strings is interesting to hear, but I was disappointed that more harmonies and counter melodies could not have been introduced, or the song structures edited to provide a more stimulating overall production (ie: ‘Funeral in Carpathia‘ at close to nine minutes!).

That being said, when the experiment works – it works well.  Opener  “A Gothic Romance (Red Roses for the Devil’s Whore)” has the variety to really engage the listener.  Memorable riff after riff is thrown at you and the note perfect accompaniments of Sarah Jezebel Deva raise the music to euphoric heights.  Other classics such as “Summer Dying Fast” and (album highlight), a blistering, energetic rendition of “Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids”  truly demonstrate what this genre is capable of.  The sublime vocal talents of SJD lead me to wonder how these tracks would sound with operatic lead vocals, though a Cradle of Filth album with Mr Filth is arguably not a Cradle of Filth album at all!

‘Midnight in the Labyrinth’ is an album Cradle fans, especially those already familiar with the first four albums, owe it to themselves to listen to.  A vastly different proposal, and more effective as background or ambient music than something that demands your full attention…but if that’s what you wanted – listen to ‘Dusk…And Her Embrace’ instead!

Ambient – 4/5

Metal – 2.5/5

Tobias Gray

HARD RIOT JOINS PITCH BLACK RECORDS

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 2nd February 2012 by Nico Davidson

Debut album by German hard rockers salutes those about to rock.

PITCH BLACK RECORDS announces the addition of German hard rock outfit HARD RIOT into its roster with the band’s debut album, “Living on a Fast Lane”, due for release on April 10th, 2012.

HARD RIOT were formed in 2006 in the city of Heilbronn, Germany and the band consists of four young friends who share the same passion – hard rockin’ music.

Their powerful stage presence and performance has landed them with numerous live shows over the past few years and many devoted fans. In 2009 HARD RIOT released a self-financed 5-track EP (“The Hidden Truth”) and in 2011 they entered Maranis Studios in Backnang, Germany, relying on the excellent skills of producer Vagelis Maranis who oversaw the entire recording and production of their debut album.

HARD RIOT is Michael Gildner on vocals, Andreas Rockrohr on guitars, Mario Kleindienst on bass and Carmine Jaucci on drums. Their influences include AC/DC, Metallica and the Scorpions among others but their influences don’t stop here. These and many more are clearly evident throughout their music. The band’s main style is hard rock but one can also find a good dose of heavy/speed metal in their music. One thing is certain when listening to HARD RIOT perform, they are enjoying every moment of their music and that’s something that is undisputedly conveyed to the listener!

“Living on a Fast Lane” will be available worldwide on April 10th, 2012, through Pitch Black Records and its distribution partners as well as through all major mp3 stores.

Subscribers to the Pitch Black Records mailing list were already treated to an exclusive preview of a track taken off the album and that track is now available as a free download at http://www.pitchblackrecords.com.

Track listing:
1. Get Ready
2. Hellfire Rock
3. Don’t Need You
4. No Surrender
5. Tears in the Rain
6. Turn on the Lights
7. Nothing but You
8. Take me Down
9. Hard Way Down
10. Black Widow
11. Rock ‘n’ Roll Outlaw

More information at http://www.pitchblackrecords.com.

Aeon Of Horus – The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light [2008]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 27th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Aeon Of Horus
Album: The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light
Release year: 2008
Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Hailing from Australia, the four piece death metal out known as Aeon Of Horus [a name also used in Themela for the portrayal of a time of self-realisation] combine technical riffs and drum work with aggressive and violent brutality. Since forming in 2006, Aeon Of Horus have gone to dominate the Australian metal scene with their debut album “The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light”.

”3C321” begins the album with a short, melodic lick in which feral vocals and rugged riffs come straight after. The guitar work is extremely technical, perhaps a bit too technical in places. The drum work is vicious and unrestrained, adding savagery and barbaric stylings to the track. Whilst the track is well composed, it feels as if they is too much going on during in the three and a half minutes. It’s a mediocre track to be beginning the album with.

”Conquering The Speed Of Light” begins with a bit more consistency and less going on in the introduction compared to the previous track. Some of the riffs seem to be more straight forward and with no thrills while there is still a use of technicality through the track. The vocals are certainly beast-like and demonic. The drum work seems to be more acute and calculated as well. “Conquering The Speed Of Light” is certainly an assault upon the listener’s ears – Though this will be no problem for any dedicated fan of death metal. “The Embodiment: Part One – Of Darkness” has a very interesting beginning, being composed only of intense drumming. The guitar section that follows doesn’t seem to favour technicality much, though that’s no problem as the keyboard sections help create an atmosphere. There are some melodic riffs here and there throughout the track which are impressive.

Following after is the track entitled “The Embodiment: Part Two – And Light”. The intro is slower paced for a short while before the face-melting aggression and speed kicks in. The drums are vigilant and acutely played, while the guitars are brutal and angry sounding – the way death metal should be! The vocals are still going strong, retaining the feral, beast-like sound to them. The piano medley during in part of the second half is enchanting, almost like the singing an angel in a world of misery. The acoustic start of “The Pillars” is next, mixed with cunningly played drums. The acoustic guitar sections are masterfully played, lulling the listener into a state of calmness which is soon disrupted by the brutalising onslaught of “Arrogantly Opposing Reality”. The riffs are clever and sharp, whilst barbaric and savage at the same time. The drums are played with great precision, keeping in touch with the rest of the track. The vocals sound slightly like the ones found on a Lamb Of God album, which is no bad thing.

“Icon” is another track with an acoustic beginning, though the track is not entirely acoustic – fortunately enough for those who favour raw, destructive riffs over softer sections. The vocals are on the verge of being black metal vocals in some sections, though still manage to keep a hold of their death metal elements. The riffs can only be described as merciless metal aggression mixed with hateful drum work – the perfect recipe for a good death metal anthem. “Heru-Ra-Ha”, which literally means “Horus sun-flesh” [Also the name of a composite deity in Themela] ruthlessly blasts its way through the album, with intelligent-yet-untamed guitar and drum work, topped with fierce and remorseless sounding vocals. The short acoustic break is unexpected and ruins the track partially, composition wise, however the guitar solo is sheer brilliance and makes one easily forget about the acoustic section.

“As The Earth Shatters (Part One)” is the second to last track of the album. The entire track is calm, solemn and somewhat soothing, composed entirely of orchestration – Which can be a let down for listeners who were expecting neck-breaking riffs and ear-busting drum work. However, “As The Earth Shatters (Part Two)” makes up the let down of the first part as it brings the neck-breaking riffs that the listener is so eager to hear. The drum work is great, sharply composed yet uncivilised at the same time – A great contrast. Listener be warned though, orchestration makes its return on this track as well during in the second half though the raspy, whispered vocals to wonders to make it more enjoyable. The track does end on a final, heavy note fortunately enough.

Australia could soon be the next internationally recognised metal scene – Especially with Aeon of Horus pioneering it. “The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light” is an interesting album indeed. Though there are a few parts which aren’t enjoyable, the album is certainly a genius piece of work and clearly shows the potential of “Aeon Of Horus”. Be you a hardcore fan of death metal or just a casual listener, “The Embodiment Of Darkness And Light” is one album that you must listen to.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Artania – Night Shall Crown Ye [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Artania
Album: Night Shall Crown Ye
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Russia is known for its cold and cruel winter and its old, bloodthirsty leader Stalin, both of which have shaped Russia into the perfect grim environment for any black metal musician looking for bleak and nihilistic inspiration for their music. The grim environment has done more than just provide inspiration however as it has been the breeding grounds for many underground black metal bands in Russia. In 2007, Artania was born from said breeding ground, with a more black-death metal sound. After several line-up changes, they soon developed a unique blend of symphonic black metal complete with Russian lyrics. “Night Shall Crown Ye” is Artania’s debut album, released originally on May 31st through Graillight Productions in the band’s native Russia but is now available for digital release exclusively through Hunter’s Moon Records.

The air raid sirens of “Alchemic Dream (Demonic Mantra)” begin the album. The symphonic orientated riffs soon follow complete with angsty drums and violent guitar sections. The vocals are a combination of beasty and scary – Probably due to the Russian lyrics they’re screaming. The drum work is very precise and technical, showing great intellectual playing from the drummer. The whispered section is somewhat eerily haunting. The only downside to “Alchemic Dream” is that it doesn’t seem as aggressive as a black metal track usually is – This could be a result of the emphasis on the orchestration or perhaps a fault on the producer’s behalf.

The title track “Night Shall Crown Ye” begins more slow paced with a slightly progressive sound echoing from the drum work. The pace slowly and ever so slightly increases, building up for the appearance of the vocals. To begin with, the vocals are more along the lines of death metal as opposed to black metal. The Russian lyrics help give the track that certain grim touch that very few black metal bands today can pull off. Another key element about the track is the lack of orchestration when compared to the guitars and drums and the use of female vocals is simply enchanting, for lack of a better word. “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is an aggressive and barbaric track at the start. The vocals have become more hateful and rage-fuelled. There is more use of symphonic elements compared to “Night Shall Crown Ye”, adding a very Gothic sound to it. A big downfall for “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is that it doesn’t seem as heavy as it’s meant to be.

The acoustic beginning of “Liturgy in Black Colors” greets the listener unexpectedly. Fortunately for those whom don’t enjoy acoustic guitars, the sound of electric guitars soon blasts through. There is more use of orchestration as well as more black metal screams, which is always a good thing for black metal fans. During the second half of the track, the acoustic guitar appears again, which puts a sudden halt to the energy of the track and the vocals seem to be more demonic, more violent and more spiteful, sounding almost like the blood curdling screams of Abaddon. “San-Grinyol (Theatre Of Death” continues from where the previous track finished, bringing in more use of acoustic instrumentation to begin with before the savagery of the electric guitars and drums breaks in. “San-Grinyol” is clearly more brutal than the previous four tracks and is possibly one of the best on the album so far. The guitar solo is well composed though slightly short.

The assaulting drum work and guitar riffs of “Fogs Of Witches Heath” tears through next, bringing raw, untamed energy and aggression with them. The vocals are more bloodthirsty and savage in their sound, which is both terrifying and awesome. The combination of female vocals and piano medleys is immense, especially when when the track turns heavy again with the female vocals working alongside the harsher vocals, in true beauty and the beast fashion. “Towards Northern Wind” brings a calmer approach to the album whilst retaining a certain element of heaviness at the same time. Disappointingly, there is a lack in the use of orchestration, save for the introduction and the middle section. During one part of the second half, the vocals sound very raspy, which is a great effect for both the album and the track. “Thirteenth Sign Of Nostradamus” can only be described as hauntingly Gothic to begin with before the melodic guitar work kicks in followed by the raw sounding vocals. The whole track seems to be more passionate and energetic than the rest of the album which says a lot considering how energetic the previous tracks are.

The album finishes with “Secrets Of The Moon”, which is another track to feature an acoustic beginning. The female voiceover in Russian adds a very creepy sound which is soon fought off by the sudden – and unexpected – increase of heaviness. The track remains consistent in its brutal aggressiveness. The drum work is intelligent and the guitar sections are immense. “Secrets Of The Moon” is possibly the most brilliant way to end the album.

It’s hard to believe that “Night Shall Crown Ye” is the debut album of Artania, as the album has such a mature sound to it, anyone would think its Artania’s third or fourth album. The sound is unique, brilliant and definitely worth a listen, even if some parts of the album are a let down. Clearly, Russia is a country filled with talented musicians and Artania’s “Night Shall Crown Ye” is evidence of this.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Pictures Of Pain – The Reckoning [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on 25th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Pictures Of Pain
Album: The Reckoning
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Metal

Pictures Of Pain are described as a “melodic metal band with a unique sound”. They hail from grim and frostbitten lands of Norway, a country renowned for its history, mythology and black metal. Originally, forming in 2005, Pictures Of Pain have gone on to support bands such as Kamelot, Ensiferum and Leaves’ Eyes.

The introduction of “Betrayal” is certainly a unique one. Its calm, melodic and slightly progressive with sudden, short-lived sections of heaviness which are combined with black metal styled vocals. The track does turn aggressive. The vocals are different to how one would expect them to be to they sound to be a combination of both power metal and black metal styled vocals. There is a major use of clean vocals throughout the song as well, which helps keep the track interesting. The drums are precise and intelligently played. In some sections, the cleaner vocals do spoil the song a bit when they begin to scream in the old skool metal way.

”Far Beyond” begins in a similar fashion, only the introduction has more of a hypnotic yet eerie sound to it. The vocals are more clean on this track as well, whilst the guitars have lightened up a little bit but still bring that driving force of metal with them. The melodic riffs are also featured, which is a good thing for those who are fond of the more melodic sections. “Eternal Rage” is more slow paced to begin with, with a slight progressive feel to the drums. The vocals can be scarcely heard to begin with which is slightly disappointing, though they soon become more audible. They contrast brilliantly between harsh and bloodthirsty to clean and powerful-sounding. The slow, calming section towards the middle is certainly a refreshing sound from the onslaught of heavy, face-melting metal found in the majority of the first track. The guitar solo is well composed and a brilliant addition to “Eternal Rage”. The only issue as such with this one is the length, as the casual listener would possibly get bored after the first half of the track.

”Deviator” blasts its way next, with a an old skool meets modern metal sound. The vocals are reminiscent of Judas Priest and Venom. The riffs and drum work are very savage yet well composed at the same time. “Sign Of Times” is another slow-paced song yet just as epic as the tracks before it. The melodic riffs are just brilliant and the drums certainly bounce off the guitars very well. However, the clean vocals are lacking a fair bit compared to the music. The clean and eerie introductory riff of “Years Of Disgrace” which suddenly transforms into an aggressive and barbaric assault of metal upon the listener’s ear drums. Interestingly, the track switches between the soft, clean sections and the heavily aggressive sections very well.

Next is the title track, “The Reckoning”. The intro is more brutal than expected whilst keeping the smoothness of the melodic riffs. The vocals are strong and powerful, almost operatic sounding. “The Reckoning” certainly has a very power metal sound to it. The screams aren’t too bad on this track, they just don’t seem to go with the riffs. The drums are almost machine like in their precision and power. “Final State” follows after with a majestic intro. The vocals are mesmerising and epic. The riffs can only truly be described as sagaic whilst the screams are somewhat demonic sounding, mixing well with the more aggressive sections of the track.

The final two tracks of the album are demos form 2005 and 2006. “From The Ashes”, the demo from 2006, is next. It certainly is very different from the rest of the album and shows how much Pictures Of Pain’s sound has evolved. “From The Ashes” seems to have more emphasis on the harsh screaming and the rough and raw riffs as opposed to a clean and crisp sound. The final song of the album is “Guardian Of Tears”, the demo from 2005. Again, it is different to the rest of the album due to the raw, untamed sound of the guitars and drums. The sound is also more distorted as well, giving it a more underground and in-your-face sound.

There is no doubt that Pictures Of Pain have a very unique sound. Each track seems to be different from the other whilst retaining that certain sound that Pictures Of Pain are working hard to create. Even the vocals seem to be different on each track. “The Reckoning” is clearly an album for those bored of the same old generic sound that most bands seem to have these days as it is fresher and more exciting than most albums out at the moment.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Adamus Exul – Death, Paint A Vision [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Adamus Exul
Album: Death Paint A Vision
Release year: 2010
Genre: Black Metal

Australia is a typical tourist destination due to it’s wonderful sights and hot weather – Too hot for frostbitten music like black metal one would think, however, this is not the case because in the shadows of Australia’s tourist destinations lies an ever brutal, ever frostbitten, ever extreme black metal scene and at the heart of that scene are Adamus Exul.

The first track of “Death, Paint A Vision” is called “Dreams Of Desolation”. Even at a low volume, the listener’s ears are savagely assaulted by a great mix of guitars and double bass pedals. The vocals are strong, raw and beasty – As is to be expected of any black metal band. Interestingly, there are some slightly melodic sections which keeps the track entertaining. The drums are precise, almost machine-like though still barbaric and face-smashingly heavy.

”Ruins Of Zion” mixes melody with sheer aggression in its introduction whilst the rest of the track seems to favour straight forward brutality over melody, though this is not a bad thing for fans of no-holds-barred black metal. The use of a speech over is certainly unexpected but fits in well with the theme of the song. The vocal section that follows sounds very much like Dimmu Borgir and a casual listener to black metal would certainly make the mistake of believing it to be Shagarth. Another interesting section of this track is the short section that sounds very much like a breakdown of some sort.

The title track, “Death, Paint A Vision” favours a melodic yet bone smashing approach at the beginning. The drums add to the savagery of the track, whilst the vocals help it sound more beastly. Whilst the title of the track is somewhat poetic and intelligent, the track itself is the complete opposite, bombarding the listener with bloodthirsty riffs and demonic-like vocals. “Death, Paint A Vision” is very much like an old-skool Gorgoroth track in sections due to the fast tempos and sheer aggressive brutality. “In Absentia” is the half way point of the album and the interlude. Shockingly, “In Absentia” is acoustic though the acoustic guitar is a welcome change for those tired of orchestrated interludes.

“Echoes Of Self Destruction” tears its way through the album next, beginning with a frightening and hellish introduction of pounding guitars and drums. The vocals are more aggressive and unholy-sounding as well, mixing well with the demonic essence of the track. Though “Echoes Of Self Destruction”, there are small sections of melodic guitar licks every now and then which do keep the track interesting. The use of acoustic guitar returns as well, adding a certain calmness to the hurricane-like force of black metal, though this calm doesn’t long before the hurricane returns. “Abhorrent Euchrist” changes the style of the album a bit, bring a more melodic use to the album, which is both weird and refreshing. Even the vocals have changed, sounding more raspy, to fit in with the melodic stylings of the track. Drums still sound good despite becoming somewhat lighter for this track and the guitars seem to have less distortion. Fortunately for those who prefer black metal screams over raspy vocals, the screams make a triumphant return towards the end of “Abohorrent Euchrist”.

The final piece of the album is the song “Ashes” which like the previous song, begins melodically. However, “Ashes” brings back the raw aggression and savagery found on the rest of the album. The sound on this track seems to be more raw and barbaric with everything sounding like they have more punch. Interestingly, the acoustic guitar, once again, returns but combined with some majorly angry growls, making for a strange yet brilliantly created sound. Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t last for long. A military styled drum roll also makes an appearance, working well alongside the raw guitar riffs.

Adamus Exul bring a new sound to black metal with “Death, Paint A Vision” whilst sticking to an old skool Norwegian black metal sound as well. Most of the tracks are reminiscent of the early black metal scene in Norway while containing a fresh feel. Adamus Exul are certainly a band to keep an ear out for because they could be dominating more than Australian metal scene soon enough.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Episode 13 – Death Reclaims The Earth [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 20th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Episode 13
Album: Death Reclaims The Earth
Release year: 2010
Genre: Black Metal

Turkey is a country known for its rich history and culture but less known for its metal scene. In 2001, Episode 13 formed, slowly building both a fan base and a name for the Turkish metal with their black metal stylings. “Death Reclaims The Earth” is their latest release.

”Ars Moriendi”, Latin for “The Art Of Dying”, begins with a dirge like guitar riff, which suits the track well considering its name. The vocals aren’t as rough or vicious as expected to begin with, though when the tempo increases the vocals become far more aggressive, fortunately. The drums are heavy, like they should be on any black metal track. the tempo switches between fast and slow, which is slightly irritating to begin with though one soon gets used to it. “Physical Comatose & Mental Overdose” starts with a slightly faster guitar section, whilst the drums are slow but precise to the beat. The vocals come in with a good start, full of aggression and angst. The blast beats are immense, bringing heaviness to the track.

The third track, “Unmensch”, which is German for either “brute” or “monster”, comes next, turning up the aggression, brutality and heaviness by a few notches. Everything sounds more violent and savage on this track, which is always a good thing. “Ignorance Is Bliss” turns things down a notch whilst staying murderous sounding. The drums sound disappointing at first though they gradually improve. The vocals, on the other hand, sound more grim and bloodthirsty. “Ultimate Sterilization” brings things back up a notch with a brilliant opening section that assaults the ear drums like a blitz over London. The riffs have a very old skool black metal sound to them, similar to a mixture of Venom and Gorgoroth. The drums are savagely intelligent whilst the bass work is immense and somewhat different in some sections.

Nearing the end of the album is the second track “Worthless”. It is lighter compared to the previous track though still heavy enough to considered metal. The tempo has slowed down as well which is a nice touch. The vocals, on this track, could be compared to the dying groans of a cow being mutilated – Which is pretty damned kvlt. A faster tempo does occur on this track, though it still stays light. The final track is “Spread His Word”. The introduction sounds like a stampede of a demonic legion due to the sheer brutality of it. The vocals sound more powerful, more aggressive and more violent while the riffs are like the hellish anthems of the underworld. This track is virtually unrelenting in its brutality, aggression and musical genius.

Episode 13 have proved themselves to be one of the best bands rising in the black metal scene. With a raw, untamed sound combined with unrestricted brutality, “Death Reclaims The Earth” is a gemstone of an album, worth every penny. Episode 13 are a band to keep an ear out for as we’ll certainly be hearing more great things from these guys!

4/5

Nico Davidson

66crusher – Blackest Day [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 20th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: 66crusher
Album: Blackest Day
Release year: 2011
Genre: Progressive Thrash Metal

66crusher have been on the rise since the release of their debut album “in 2005. Since then they have been fighting their way to the top of the worldwide metal scene, gaining new fans each year. “Blackest Day” is the next step in their journey.

The title track, “Blackest Day”, is the first track of the album. It begins with a very thrash-influenced guitar riff whilst the drums are more laid back in comparison. The vocals are classic metal in their sound, standing out from the music – In an epic way. The vocals work well with the soft riff about half way through the track, giving the track a slight progressive edge. The track ends in true thrash metal style. “Recreated Destiny” has a slower, more emotional sounding introduction. Both the guitar riff and vocals are soft yet majestic, whilst touching a very deep emotional level not usually found in thrash metal. The track’s pace increases with the appearance of the drums, which again are quite laid back compared to the guitars. The vocals sound more powerful later on during in the track.

Following after is “Unsaid”. The intro is slow, heavy and dominating. The vocals, again, are soft to begin with, as is the piano medley that joins them. The drums slightly overpower the piano, which is somewhat disappointing. The track switches between light and heavy – Which is a nice emotional effect for the song. Next is “Concept of Elimination”, beginning with a choppy guitar section, which soon replaced by a more consistent, melodic guitar riff and an acute drum pattern. The vocals are strong, with a hint of a Judas Priest-sound. There is a good blend of progressive-sounding softer sections and heavier, savage thrash-styled riffs throughout the track, which makes up for it being almost ten minutes long.

”Recreated Reality” blasts next with an immense riff of violent proportions. The drums are barbaric yet precise to the beat. The vocals are still going strong, keeping the track interesting. Some of the riffs leave much to be desired though it is mostly a decent track. “Borderline” is another track that begins with a choppy riff, which can be off-putting for new listeners and just seems to drone on for the first few minutes. Another issue with the track is the length of it – Just over twelve minutes – Which again, can be off-putting for new listeners. The other riffs are well composed and sound great, as do the vocals and drums.

Nearing the end of the album comes “Shipwrecked”. Like some of the other tracks, the intro riff is soft and melodic, though it is short lived. The heavier riff certainly brings more excellence to the track though the drums are lacking in comparison. The vocals seem deeper yet more defined. They seem suitably combined with the acoustic riff. One thing that stands out the most about this track is the emphasis on the acoustic riffs, though the heavier riffs do play an important part of the track. “Shipwrecked” is certainly the best track of the album.

”Diminished Mind” starts with a mediocre sounding riff, which is a let down compared to the previous track. The vocals seem weaker as well and the drums also are lacking in power. The track does improve later on however, with some very Megadeth-styled riffs. “Us Beneath The Sea” is the final track of the album. Like some of the previous tracks, its intro is a soft riff, as are the vocals and drums. The riffs later become more wild west-sounding for a short while but they stay soft for the majority track, making for a good chill out track after eight brutalising tracks. The guitar solo towards the end does make the track slightly heavier though not by much.

”Blackest Days” features a strange yet wonderful mixture of progressive metal and thrash metal combined with some old skool sounds. 66crusher have certainly out-done themselves with this album, though there are some sections that could have done with more work.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Sulphur – Thorns In Existence [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Sulphur
Album: Thorns in Existence
Release year: 2011
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Sulphur, who formed from the ashes of nineties black metal band “Taakeriket” and are made up of ex-members of Gorgoroth, Aeternus and Enslaved, have been a fierce, dominating force to be reckoned with in the Norwegian metal scene. Following a few years of laying dormant, Sulphur are back and fiercer than ever with “Thorns In Existence”.

”Revelations” begins with an eerie yet cheesy keyboard introduction, the kind that would be heard in a low-budget horror film. The guitars and drums, while greatly composed, are lighter and more melodic than expected. “True Father Of Lies” follows after, continuing from where “Revelations” finished. The guitars are less melodic and focus more on violent riffs, whilst the drums favour an aggressive approach as well. The vocals are ruthless and unrelenting, keeping the track beastly and heavy. A huge improvement from the first track “Revelations”, though the keyboard section on this track has a hint of cheesiness.

“The Purifying Flame” begins with a very creepy set of sound effects which are soon replaced by ferocious guitar riff and a brutalising drum pattern. The vocals, again are ruthless sounding, unrelenting in their aggression throughout most of the track. The strained whisper-like vocals combined with the slow guitar riff bring a new dynamic to the track. The guitar solo is most impressive, blending well with the stream of double bass pedal. The next track, “Hunting Sickening Seas” starts with a slow, brutalising and shockingly good intro. The vocals have more of a death element which mixes in well with the slow intro. There is a use of clean vocals on the track which gives it more a creepy sound. The acoustic section about half way through the track is a surprise yet a welcome break in between the storm of guitars, vocals and drums.

“Luna Noctiluca” follows after with a slow-paced, brutal and melodic guitar and drums section. The tempo increases with the introduction of the vocals. There is a contrast of clean vocals and screams, which works well with the music. The guitar solo is certainly a highlight of the track and perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about the album. “Into Nothingness” fades its way next. Even after the faded intro, the track seems weak and soft. In some sections, the vocals sound odd and the drums are semi-audible. in the same way it began, it fades out, making way for “Inverted Visions of Eternal Salvation”. It begins with a half-muted intro which soon turns beasty and aggressive. The drum work is intelligent, whilst the guitars are masterfully played and composed. The vocals are still going strong, working well with the synth sections. The track ends on a very creepy note.

“Ravner Beiter I Banesår”, which roughly translated means “Ravens pastures in his death-wounds”, blasts its way next, turning up the level of violence and brutality. The vocals are more slow-paced compared to the guitars and drums, though just as beastly and savage. There are some melodic riff use in one or two sections of the track, which is a pleaser for those who prefer melody over brutality. The track ends with a dramatic symphonic section. “Throne of Illusion” is the second to last track, beginning with a ghastly synth riff, similar to one found in a previous track. The guitars and drums that follow are nothing short of violent, savage and barbaric. The vocals have the bloodthirsty sound to them, as is to be expected. The breakdown towards the end is extremely unexpected however brings a whole new level to both the track and the album.

“A Crimson Line” is the final track of the album. The introductory riff is similar to one found on a Lamb of God album, only with more bite. The brutality and melody contrasts and blends brilliantly and the vocals are still going stronger, perhaps stronger than what they have been for the rest of the album. The use of keyboards and drums only on part of the track is just pure genius. “A Crimson Line” is certainly one of the best tracks on the album.

It’s easy to see why Sulphur have been a dominating force in the Norwegian metal scene. “Thorns In Existence” combines the best of black metal and death metal and mixed in a vast amount of musical genius and talent. This is certainly one of the best albums to come out of Norway since the early days of the Norwegian black metal scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Northsong – Winter’s Dominion [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 18th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Northsong
Album: Winter’s Dominion EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Viking Metal

Northsong is the solo project of American musician Cortland Runyon. “Winter’s Dominion” is the debut EP, due for release 24th June 2011.

”Prelude” begins with the sound of wind, which is eventually replaces by a symphonic section, semi-audible drums and a guitar section. The symphonic sections are grand and majestic, giving the EP a very regal feel. The track is very keyboard heavy, as the guitars only have a small part on this track, however the stream of double bass pedal throughout the majority of the track doesn’t blend well with the symphonic elements. “Mountains Of Madness” begins where “Prelude” finishes. The intro keyboard section has a very Gladiator soundtrack feel to it. The drums can be barely heard over the guitars, keyboards and vocals. The vocals are very death metal-influenced. The guitar sections are rough and aggressive whilst the vocal sections sound very distorted.

”Heathen War” begins with a fast paced and brutal guitar riff. The keyboard sections are epic and heroic-sounding, making the track somewhat sagaic. The drums are still semi-audible. The guitars remain fast paced throughout most of the track, stopping only for a symphonic break halfway through the track and one at the end. Next is “Desperation”. The intro riff is slower compared to that of the previous track. The vocals are still going strong, though still sounding distorted in some sections of the track. The keyboard riffs, however, are thing that stand out most about this track.

The title track, “Winter’s Dominion” begins with a calm, melodic intro mixed with an epic symphonic medley. A fast paced drum section joins in soon after, ruining the intro slightly due to the contrast in speed between the two. The track turns heavier with the introduction of the guitars. The drums however remain seemingly weak. The final track is a cover of Windrider’s “Let Death Be Our Pride”. The track is pretty much exactly like the original except for a slower tempo, weak drums and different vocals, though the clean vocals sound eerily similar to the ones found on the original. However, it is a surprisingly good cover.

”Winter’s Dominion” is a good EP though there is much room for improvement. The EP could have been more enjoyable if the drums were heavier and some parts of the tracks were produced better. However, it is a good debut EP and shows potential for Northsong.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Nordagust – In The Mist Of Morning [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on 18th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Nordagust
Album: In The Mist Of Morning
Release year: 2010
Genre: Progressive Rock

Musically, Norway is known for its infamous black metal scene, however there are some rising stars in the other music scenes of Norway and one of those rising stars are the progressive rock band known as “Nordagust”, whom take their name from the mythological spirit of the North wind. Their most recent release is “In The Mist Of Morning”.

The title track, “In The Mist Of Morning” is the first track of the album beginning with a gentle keyboard intro which is gradually accompanied by a slow paced guitar riff. The drums gently join in at the same time as the guitar. The vocals are soft yet powerful, blending well with the music. The keyboard sections add a very calming yet eerie atmospheric feel whilst the guitar riffs are very melodic. This track conjures up images of a mist hanging around the mountain ranges of Norway and along the coast. One couldn’t ask for a better track to begin the album.
“Expectations” is the second track, carrying on the eerie atmosphere created by the keyboard sections. Again, the vocals are soft yet powerful whilst the guitars are, again, melodic and are heavier and more rocky than the previous track in some sections. The drums seem to have more of a part on this track as well. The track is beautifully and well composed. Next is “Mysterious Ways”, beginning with a dark and terrifying keyboard section mixed with some strange sounds. The guitar riffs are slow but strong and melodic in some sections. However, the drums are the thing that stand out most about this track as they match up to the guitar riffs for strength and power. “Mysterious Ways” certainly sets a mystifying atmosphere and feeling.

”In The Woods” begins with the intelligently combined sound of running water and a slow guitar riff, setting a calm mood. The riff is masterfully composed and played. The keyboard section brings a more dramatic sound to the track, making ever more enjoyable to listen to. The only downside to this track is the lack of bass, vocals and drums. “Elegy” seems to carry on from where “In The Woods” finishes. The guitars are soft yet sorrowful, whilst the drums are too light, almost been fully overpowered by the guitar riffs in some sections though they do increase in power and strength is other sections of the track. The vocals, however, make up for the lightly played drum sections, bringing a new level of power to the track. The keyboard sections are brilliant.

“Forcing” is one of the more aggressive sounding tracks of the album. The riffs seem to have more bite than the previous tracks whilst maintaining their melodic flair. The drums and keyboards virtually match the guitar riffs for power, strength and heaviness. The lack of vocals on this track is disappointing but nevertheless it is still an immense track. The next track is “Frozen” which seems to continue on from “Forcing”. The keyboard sections seem to dominate this track for the first minute. The vocals contrast well with the guitar and keyboard sections, while the drums beautifully switch from light to heavy throughout the track, making it more interesting.

“The Tide” begins with a very synth/keyboard orientated intro which is soon accompanied by a wonderful guitar section. The vocals work well with the keyboard sections. The drums are masterfully played throughout the track. The second to last track, “Make Me Believe”, begins with a very dramatic and tense keyboard section. The guitar riff that follows adds a certain brilliance to the track. The vocals are still going strong. The track has some very powerful sections, which contrast greatly with the more lighter sections. The final track of the album is “Elegy Epilogue”. The intro is very atmospheric, whilst the piano section is very calm and soothing. It is a beautiful end to a great album.

”In The Mist Of Morning” is a testament to the talent and musical genius of “Nordagust”. The album is very atmospheric and melodic and captures the very soul of Norway while at the same time retains the progressive rock sound. This is a great addition to any progressive rock fan’s collection.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Rhapsody Of Fire – From Chaos To Eternity [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Rhapsody Of Fire
Album: From Chaos To Eternity
Release year: 2011
Genre: Power Metal/Symphonic Metal

Rhapsody Of Fire have been a dominating force in both the Italian and European metal scenes. “From Chaos To Eternity” is the last album based on the fantasy saga that started with the band’s 1997 debut album “Legendary Tales” and is the first album to feature the band’s newest member Tom Hess.

The short lived track “Ad Infinitum” , which is Latin for “Endlessly”, is the first track of “From Chaos To Eternity”. The track is mainly composed of the technical guitar work of Luca Turilli combined with the epic narration of Christopher Lee. It is a brilliant opener for the album in true Rhapsody fashion. The title track, “From Chaos To Eternity” carries on from where “Ad Infinitum” finishes.  The track is already at a good start with the acute riffs and epic sounding piano sections. Fabio’s vocals are stronger than ever, the drums are masterfully played and the bass sections are pure genius. The third track, Tempesta Di Fuoco, which roughly translated means “Firestorm” in Italian, shreds its way next with a fast paced, technical intro riff mixed with some epic symphonic sections. There is use of some acoustic sections which brings a certain calm to the track whilst the piano only section takes away something from the track.

“Ghosts Of Forgotten Worlds” like the previous tracks, starts fast paced and technical, though some of the guitar sections on this track seem to have more bite and aggression.  The vocals blend well with the acoustic sections. The symphonic sections contrast superbly with the violent sound of the track. Even the drums seem to have more punch. The synth and guitar solos make this track one of the best ones on the album. “Anima Perduta”, Italian for “Lost Soul”, begins with the sound of wind followed by a beautiful combination of piano, flute and harpsichord. The vocals are soothing, blending with the solemn atmosphere and sound of the track. The symphonic sections make the track more majestic sounding. The guitars sound as if they don’t belong on the track however. Next is “Aeons Of Raging Darkness”. The introduction is mightily played bass section followed by an epic guitar riff mixed with a sagaic symphonic section. The guitar sections have more a speed metal element to them whilst the piano medleys add a hint of neoclassical to the track. The vocals, to begin with, are raw, aggressive and brutal, blending exceedingly well with the cleaner, operatic vocals. “Aeons Of Raging Darkness” is certainly one of the most aggressive, violent tracks ever to be performed by Rhapsody Of Fire and its a sound that works well for them.

“I Belong To The Stars” begins with a calmer introduction compared to the previous track though the track does soon turn heavy and symphonic. There seems to be more emphasis on the choir and symphony on this track, mixed in with some great piano medleys and strong vocals. Some of the guitar riffs leave much to be desired, as do some of the drum sections, however, the synth solo makes up for it. “Tornado” begins with a dramatic intro and the guitar riffs that follow are great. Like “Aeons Of Raging Darkness”, this track has a very aggressive and violent sound, complete with more harsh black metal screams mixed with the cleaner, more operatic vocals. The drum and guitar sections have improved since the previous track as well.

The last of the album is the almost twenty minute long epic “Heroes Of The Waterfalls’ Kingdom”. Christopher Lee’s narration is the intro, setting a certain legendary atmosphere. The vocals bring a very medieval sound, whilst the slight use of flute works well with the acoustic guitar.  The violin sections are well composed, making the track that much more pleasant to listen to. The symphonic sections signal the approaching metal assault, which was to be expected eventually. Fabio demonstrates his full range on this track, whilst the riffs are more acute and technical than they have been on the album. The harsh vocals can be heard in parts of this track, giving it more bite. The choir sections do seem to ruin the track ever so slightly, however everything else makes up for that. Some of the other guitar sections are more aggressive and barbaric, clearly demonstrating the masterful skills of the guitarists. Christopher Lee’s narration can be heard half way through the track, making it more and more sagaic. There is a conversation between the characters of the saga, which helps bring about a very legend-like feel, especially as it works well with the guitar riffs and symphonic sections. The track ends very solemnly and grandly. A perfect end to the saga.

“From Chaos To Eternity” fully demonstrates how much Rhapsody Of Fire’s sound has changed and mature since their first album. This album is perhaps the best one they’ve written and probably will be the best for a long to come. This is certainly a jewel to have for any fan of symphonic and power metal.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Sister – Hated [2011]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 13th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Sister
Album: Hated
Release year: 2011
Genre: Punk Rock

Sweden is known, musically, for two things: Pop and death metal. However, there is a strong punk rock scene growing in the depths of Sweden and “Sister” are one of the pioneers, with their recent release “Hated”.

The short-lived “Radioactive Misery” is the first track of the album, composed of a distorted guitar section and various sound effects. “Body Blow” comes next, beginning with a violent riff. The vocals are strong and bloodthirsty, adding that hint of raw energy to the track. The drum work is acute and the riffs are sheer brilliance. The third track “Bullshit & Backstabbing”, begins in a similar to the previous track with a rough and raw riff, though the intro riff is more heavier and aggressive – The way punk rock should be. The vocals keep the track interesting, whilst the riffs are most impressive.

The title track, ”Hated”, blasts its way next with a ferocious intro. The track seems lighter compared to the previous tracks, which is a little bit disappointing, though the drums are well-played and in time. The guitar solo, however, makes up for the lightness of the track. “Motherfuckers (Like You)” begins with a merciless riff, which increases in tempo and aggression with the introduction of the drums. The vocals sound like a rough form of pop-punk vocals, which takes away the rough energy of the track slightly. Next is “Werewolves On Blackstreet”, beginning with an in-your-face, take no prisoners styled riff. The vocals have improved since the previous track and the drums seem more acute. This is certainly one of the best tracks on the album.

”Spit On Me” has a brilliant slow-paced riff to start with which transforms into something more technical and fast paced. The vocals have more of a hardcore sound to them which gives the track extra edge. “The Unlucky Minority” seems to have more an old-skool punk feel, especially in terms of the vocals and drums. The guitar sections aren’t as aggressive as they could be. The last three tracks, “Would You Love A Creature”, “Too Bad For You” and “Drag Me To The Grave” are brilliant tracks, showing the full abilities and skills of the band, though “Would You Love A Creature” would have to be the best of the last three tracks due to its emotional atmosphere and use of acoustic guitar and piano.

”Hated” is one of the best albums to be released in the punk rock scene since the glory days of bands like UK Subs and Anti-Nowhere League. The vast majority of the album contains the raw, aggressive, middle finger in the air kind of energy one expects to find in punk music. Great things are clearly on the horizon for “Sister”.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Euphoreon – Euphoreon [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Euphoreon
Album: Euphoreon
Release year: 2011
Genre: Death Metal

“Euphoreon” is the self-titled debut album of two piece German-New Zealander death metal project “Euphoreon”. The band originally started as a solo project formed by Matt Summerville from New Zealand. “Euphoreon” have been described as having influences of European and Scandinavian metal with “melodic hooks” and “harsh vocals”.

The first track of the album is the optimistically named “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining”. The intro riff is very solemn and turns melodic with the introduction of a more technical riff. Soon after, the track increases its pace as the drums join in. The guitar riff brings a more uplifting sound to the track, along with the use of synths. The vocals are harsh and aggressive. The most impressive thing about this track would have to be the intelligent composition of the guitar riffs and the the guitar solo, whilst having a power metal element to it, is mind blowing. Already, “Eurphoreon” is proving to be masterpiece.

”Before The Blackened Sky” is the second track of the album, beginning with a fast, brutal and melodic riff combined with some technical drum work. The synth sections are similar to that of a Children Of Bodom track. The guitar riffs can only be described as face melting brutality. The vocals make for some impressive sections, such as the whispered styled screams and the clean vocals. The third track, “Forever Being”, has an amazing piano medley for an introduction. The track only gets better when the guitars make their appearance. Their is another use of clean vocals on this track, which gives it more of a symphonic power metal feel, however the harsher vocals can be heard on this track as well. This track seems to be more keyboard dominated, though the guitar riffs are heavy and brutal, which is enough to keep the listener happy.

Next is “Eleventh Heaven” which begins with a calm acoustic riff combined with the light tapping of the hi-hat and a piano medley. The introduction of the electric guitar riff makes it seem like this is going to be a ballad-type of song, however the drums soon say otherwise when they turn more fast paced and brutal. A more aggressive guitar riff soon follows with a more epic synth section and brutal vocals. Just over half way through, the track soon turns slow and calm again with some clean vocals been featured. However, it is only the calm before the onslaught of a melodic solo. This is certainly one of the best tracks on the album. “Where Dead Skies Dwell” blasts its way next, sounding more darker than the previous tracks, which seems only fitting considering the song title. The riffs are more aggressive and the drums are more heavy as well. When the vocals seem to be more hostile. One of the more impressive sections of this track would certainly be the guitar solo.

A calm and soothing piano medley introduces “From The Netherworld”, setting a very solemn atmosphere. The solemn atmosphere is dispersed when a heavy but melodic riff rings out, increasing the tempo of the track. The drums are masterfully composed and played on this track and the vocals are more warlike. The second to last track is “Starnight Rider”. The intro is acoustic, which in a way is fitting for the track though the brutality and aggression of the track soon dominate. This is certainly one of the more fast paced tracks on the album, which makes it that much more enjoyable. There is a use of keyboards and orchestration in parts of the track, making for a very dramatic sound. It ends on a very solemn note. The last track, “Road To Redemption”, starts with a strange sounding organ intro, which seems to take away from the brilliance of the album so far. Thankfully the guitars soon replace it, with a military styled drum pattern. The riffs are extremely melodic and the vocals are as aggressive as they can get, it seems. The keyboard sections are beautifully composed. Cleans vocals can be heard as well, about half through alongside the organ medleys. The track comes to a brilliant and epic end.

”Euphoreon” have proved themselves to be quite the musical genius’ with their debut album “Euphoreon”. It has everything a metal fan could ask for, riffs with aggression and melody, technical and intelligent drum work, epic synth and keyboard sections and great vocals. New Zealand isn’t known for its metal scene, however, “Euphoreon” have the potential to make the New Zealand metal scene world famous if they carry on releasing masterpieces like this.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Theatres Des Vampires – Moonlight Waltz [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 9th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Theatres Des Vampires
Album: Moonlight Waltz
Release year: 2011
Genre: Gothic Metal/Vampire Metal

Italian Gothic Metal quintet “Theatres Des Vampires” are back with their newest studio release “Moonlight Waltz” which features an array of guests including Snowy Shaw [Therion], Cadaveria [Opera IX] and Marco Benevento [The Foreshadowing].

The eerie keyboard intro of “Keeper Of Secrets” begins the album, which is soon accompanied by Sonya’s vocals and a dark strings section. The track increases in pace and heaviness with the introduction of the guitars and drums. Sonya’s vocals sound very hypnotic and grim. Snowy’s vocals bring an extra touch of Gothic feeling to the track. The keyboard sections are brilliantly composed. This track certainly keeps the attention of the listener, making for an immense intro track. “Fly Away” is the second track of the album. The intro has a very symphonic metal sound, due to the combination of melodic guitar riffs and keyboards. As can be expected of any TDV track, the vocals bring a certain eeriness to the music. The keyboard sections bring a very dramatic sound to the track, whilst the guitar riffs keep the metal element of the track alive. The drums seem lighter compared to the previous track however.

The title track, “Moonlight Waltz” is next beginning with a soothing piano and strings introduction. When the vocals and drums occur, the track begins to sound like a ballad, adding a very unique touch to the album. The soft guitar riffs are beautifully composed, allowing this track to live up to it’s title. The acoustic guitar towards the end of the track brings it to a wonderful yet sorrowful finish. The fourth track, “Carmilla” takes its name from the short story of a lesbian vampire by the same name written by “Sheridan Le Fanu”. The first section of the track sounds epic and dramatic. The vocals add to the dramatic effect of the track, while the guitars keep a raw energy flowing through the track. The strings solo is unexpected but makes this track so much more enjoyable. This track has certainly added a new level of beauty to the already great story of Carmilla. Next is “Sangue”, beginning with a synth intro which is soon joined by an aggressive riff. The vocals sound very ghastly and the drums sound powerful. The male vocals add another element of aggression to the track, sounding almost like death metal grunts.

The cover of Mecano’s “Figlio della Luna”, follows after composed mainly of keyboards, strings and vocals. Sonya’s vocals sound amazing alongside the keyboards. The use of guitars and drums adds a very TDV sound to this cover. Next is “Black Madonna”, beginning with hypnotic, almost-siren like vocals and an acoustic riff. About half a minute in, the track turns heavier and more symphonic. The use of acoustic guitars is quite frequent throughout the track, making it one of the more lighter tracks of the album. The keyboard sections are outstanding. “Illusion” is next, with a simple yet beautiful keyboard intro. The keyboard medley turns more melodic when the drums begin to be played, which work well with the keyboard. The guitars soon make themselves heard, bringing a more rockier sound to the track. The guitar riff gradually becomes heavier for a while before stopping for a short break before returning with an epic solo.

“Le Grand Guignol” featuring Cadaveria is next already bring the level of heaviness up a notch. The use of screams improves the track, whilst the drum work is intelligently composed. There are some obvious industrial elements and influences which can be heard on this track, just like with some of the previous tracks. “Obsession” is next. The intro is very industrial sounding,. Like the intro, the vocals and drums have an industrial sound to them, which work strangely well with the string sections. There is a use of operatic styled vocals as well which makes the track more dramatic and intense. The only down side to this track is the lack of guitars. The second to last track, “The Gates Of Hades” is next, which like some of the previous tracks begins very eerily though the guitars soon remedy this alongside the string sections. There seems to be more emphasis on the keyboard medleys on this track, whilst not a bad thing, it may not be approved of by some. There is a slight use of Latin lyrics on this track as well, bringing a very Gothic atmosphere with them. The final track “Medousa” begins with a slight industrial sound, combined with some creepy whispered vocals. The guitars and keyboards can soon be heard. The guitars and drums are intelligently composed on this track, combining both heaviness and brilliant musicianship. There is a brutal use of double bass drums on the track, which makes it a perfect end to a brilliant album. The keyboard sections certainly bring a calm to the storm of metal that is heard on this final track, especially with the outro medley.

With a mixture of symphonic, Gothic and industrial elements, this is certainly a most enjoyable album. Everything seems to fit together so well and it’s good to see that Sonya’s vocals are still on top form. This is a must have album for old and new Theatres Des Vampires fans alike. One can only wonder how they will top this album.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Alestorm – Back Through Time [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 5th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Alestorm
Album: Back Through Time
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal/Power Metal/Pirate Metal

“Back Through Time” is the latest chapter in the legacy of Scottish pirates “Alestorm”.  It was released through Napalm Records earlier this month.

Beginning with the title track “Back Through Time”, this album already begins to sound promising. The track starts with the sound of waves followed by a pirate warning his captain of Vikings approaching. The track is then dominated by a fast paced drum section which is soon accompanied by a power metal-influenced keytar riff combined with an aggressive guitar riff. The track soon turns into a typical Alestorm track. The vocals retain their rough sound from previous Alestorm releases, giving this track a very piratey feel. The guitar solo is very hypnotic and old-skool sounding while the keytar solo brings more of a folk metal element to this track. “Back Through Time” has proven itself to be a worthy choice as he opening track of the album.

The second track is “Shipwrecked”. Its intro riff has a very raw sound to it, which is soon overpowered by the intelligent keytar riffs. The vocals are strong, keeping that pirate touch. However, the thing that stands out the most about this track are the drums as they seem to have more power than the guitar and bass and are virtually as loud as the keytar riffs. The next track is “The Sunk’n Norwegian” which begins with a very Celtic styled riff. The vocals sound more raw and aggressive, whilst the keytars have taken on more of an epic power metal sound. The guitar riffs seem more simplistic but heavier compared to the previous track. The bass work has improved since the previous track as well.

“Midget Saw” is the fourth track of the album, beginning with a more folkish keytar riff. The guitars and drums dominate this track in terms of aggression and heaviness whilst the keytar riffs bring some immense melodies. The bass sections are the most impressive thing on this track however, followed of course by the brilliantly composed guitar solo. Blasting its way next is “Buckfast Powersmash” which certainly does live up to its name with a fast paced, aggressive guitar intro. A keytar riff eventually joins it, bringing that folk sound to the track. However, the impressiveness of this track soon dies out. “Scraping The Barrel” comes next, bringing a very calm Celtic sound before the guitars and drums blast their way in. This track has a very solemn sound yet there’s a little bit of humour to found in this track as some of the lyrics have a very straight forward stab at the Alestorm haters. The guitar solo has a majestic touch to it, which pretty much completes this track.

The next track, titled “Rum”, starts with a very thrash styled riff before the keytars bring a piratey sound. This track has the potential to become a modern day drinking song, likely to be heard in pubs all around the world. “Swashbuckled”  blasts its way next with a combination of keytars and double bass pedals. The guitars bring the metal element to this track, whilst the vocals add an aggressive touch to the track. Despite been slow paced compared to some of the other tracks, this is one of the best tracks on the album, which is proven by the masterfully played guitar solo. “Rumpelkombo” speeds its way next in the space of six seconds, leading straight into the next track “Barrett’s Privateers”, which is originally performed by Stan Rogers. Alestorm have virtually made this track one of their own with their unique pirate sound.

“Death Throes of the Terrorsquid is next, featuring Ken Sorceron of Abigail Williams. The track begins with a very power metal sounding keytar intro riff which is soon accompanied by an immense and melodic guitar riff. The vocals seem to have much more power than the previous tracks. Some sections of this track seem poorly composed but overall the vast majority of it has been soulfully written for an extremely epic sound. Ken’s vocals bring a very black metal sound to the track, especially as the music turns dramatic. While this is an unusual sound for Alestorm it works brilliantly well!

The next track, a bonus track and a Wurzels cover all in one, is next in the form of “I Am A Cider Drinker”. Its intro sounds like an Irish jig while the vocals make it sound like a drinking song. This is a most suitable track for the album and one can only imagine Strongbow drinkers all around singing along to this. The last track of the album is a cover of Lazy Town’s “You Are A Pirate”. Surprisingly it sounds great. It certainly has a very piratey feel and is clearly superior to the original version. The only downside to it is that it’s too short.

Alestorm have proven themselves to still be ready to crank out the pirate metal with “Back Through Time”. Despite a few not so good parts of the album, it is a jewel in the folk metal scene. So, kick back and enjoy a shot of rum or bottle of cider with “Back Through Time”. It’s certainly worth it.

4/5

Nico Davidson