Archive for Arts and Entertainment

Karisma Records sign jazz rockers Ossicles

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 19th March 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Karisma Records, the Norwegian label that focuses on the more progressive side of music, have recently signed jazz rockers Ossicles and will be releasing the duo’s follow-up album to their 2012 release Mantlepiece. The band will be entering the studio in the summer to begin recording and it is expected that the new, as yet untitled album, will hit the streets towards the end of the year.

Formed in 2011 by cousins Sondre Veland on drums, percussion, vocals and keyboards, and Bastian Veland on guitars, vocals, bass, upright bass and keyboards, Ossicles is, according to the band, a constantly evolving project that is influenced by genres as varied as jazz, rock, avent-garde, ambient, noise and minimalism.  Mantlepiece, which was a double album released on Ossicles‘ own label, No Weather Records,  was largely written when the two cousins were around the ages of 16 and 17, but also includes later material, as well as tracks written during the recording process itself.  On the strength of this release Ossicles was invited by Mike Portnoy to appear at the Progressive Nation at Sea Festival in 2014, an opportunity the band sadly had to turn down due to the high cost of travelling to the USA to join the ship in Miami.

Ossicles online:

http://ossiclesband.wix.com/ossicles
http://www.facebook.com/Ossicles

 

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Heretic unveil new song and album art for new album

Posted in News with tags , , , on 8th July 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

A Time Of Crisis, the come-back album of the US power/thrash metal legends Heretic, will be released on July 26th through Metal On Metal Records. The band stayed true to their roots and created a really solid album in the best US metal tradition: heavy, melodic and aggressive.
Metal On Metal Records revealed the third song from this album, “Child Of War”. It can be streamed together with two previously posted songs, “Remains” and “Police State”, from the Heretic page on label’s website.

The cover art for “A Time Of Crisis” was created by a tattoo artist Tom Berg:

The complete track listing of the album is as follows:

1. The Divine Inquisition
2. Tomorrow’s Plague
3. Betrayed
4. Remains
5. A Time Of Crisis
6. For Your Faith
7. Raise Your Fist
8. Heretic
9. Child Of War
10. Police State
11. The End Of The World
12. Let Me Begin Again

More details about the release can be checked here.

New Visions Of Atlantis Album To Be Recorded

Posted in News with tags , , on 20th January 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Visions Of Atlantis had the following to say on Facebook recently:

Visions Of Atlantis is proud and excited to notify all of you: We will enter the Artesonika Studios in Pordenone/near Venice (Italy) tomorrow to start the recordings for our next album! The main producer for this most ambitious VoA-output so far will be a good friend and his name is Fabio D`Amore from our dear label-mates of SERENITY! For this reason we can also announce that two of the leading Austrian metal bands join their forces as Fabio will also be our guest bass player for this record! We can also announce that Austria’s leading metal-webzine Stormbringer.at will present the official studio diary which will be updated with reports, pictures and videos and we`re glad to have such a strong media partner once again with us! Spread the word and stay tuned! First pictures and more to come in Week one, starting now! Get ready to rumble!

More news to follow this later in the year, we imagine.

Also, in December, VoA keyboardist Martin Harb reviewed the new Nightwish album “Imaginaerum”, which can be read here.

Concept Of Time – Breathe [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Concept Of Time
Album: Breathe
Release year: 2011
Genre: Dark Symphonic Metal

Scotland, a land merged in folklore, Celtic heritage and the history of the bloody politics of the clans is home to a quite varied metal scene. Scotland is probably more known, in terms of metal, for the pirate metal band “Alestorm” than any other band. However, deep in it’s metal underground likes a dark, symphonic metal band called “Concept Of Time” who have been slowly but gradually establishing a fan base in the Scottish underground, gaining interest from webzines and magazines alike. “Concept Of Time” have gone onto support the likes of former Iron Maiden vocalist Blaze Bayley, Serenity, Kamelot and have even gone as far as playing at Bloodstock, sahring the stage with well-known bands such as Nightwish, Alestorm, Opeth and Iced Earth. “Concept Of Time” returned to the studio for the making of their digital release “Breathe”.

The EP begins with “The End Is Just The Beginning” which starts with radio voiceovers and a faded air raid siren. As the radio voice overs end, the song truly begins with a symphonic-heavy section and a driving guitar riff with precise to the beat drum work. The vocals are how they usually are styled in symphonic metal – operatic sounding and powerful. The symphonic sections are certainly well-composed, giving the track extra energy.

“Breathe” the title track, makes its way next with an immense symphonic-stylised intro which makes the song feel tragic and dramatic. The drum and guitar work adds a certain element to “Breathe” as well, making it that more enjoyable. The guitar solo however feels as if it has occurred too soon, leaving the listener expecting some epic to happen straight after it. Later on, the drum work seems to be lacking a little bit in comparison to the orchestration.
The slow and haunting introduction of “Visions” can be heard next before the tempo and heaviness increases while retaining a certain softness. The lack of guitar in some sections is disappointing though the piano and bass combination make up for that, fortunately enough. The guitar solo appears later on in the song, creating a sagaic sound for the track. The EP finishes with “A Dream Of Dystopia”, a track that has more bite, aggression and darkness than the previous three tracks. The vocals sound slightly more ruthless as well but still remain operatic and calm. The orchestration certainly brings with it a very grim, intense and dramatic atmosphere whilst the guitar solo seems to add to the aggression of the song. “A Dream Of Dystopia” finishes on a very solemn note.

It’s not hard to see why Concept Of Time have become a successful and domineering force in Scotland’s (and the UK’s) underground metal scene. The band is clearly made up of talented musicians, each of whom bring something different to the songs. “Breathe” is definitely a release worth adding to any symphonic metal fan’s collection.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Adamus Exul – Death, Paint A Vision [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-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

Rhapsody Of Fire – From Chaos To Eternity [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-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

Erutan – Raindancer [2011]

Posted in Folk with tags , , , , , on 18th March 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Erutan
Album: Raindancer
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Celtic/Medieval/Folk

“Raindancer” is the debut album medieval folk singer-songwriter “Erutan”.

The first track of the album is “The Willow Maid” which begins with a calm flute intro mixed with what sounds to be lute or acoustic guitar. The vocals are powerful and  very Celtic-sounding. The flute makes more appearances through the track, adding a certain mystique to the album. The track finishes slowly, making way for the next track “Song Of Joy”, which begins with folk styled percussion and some very cheery sounding vocals. The use of a lute adds a very Celtic atmosphere to the track. “No One But You” comes next, beginning with a slow, depressed sounding piano medley which is soon accompanied by some very strong but slow vocals. This track is certainly one of the best on the album, due to it’s brilliant composition and emotional level.

“Round and Round” comes next beginning with a beautiful Celtic-Medieval sounding intro. The vocals  are still going strong and bring an emotional atmosphere to the track. Next is “Butterfly’s Dream”, which begins with a melancholy sounding intro mixed with very strong vocals. The title track “Raindancer” comes after, beginning with the sound of rain, thunder and birds singer. The instrumentation is absolutely astounding on this track, especially as it’s mixed with the sound of rain and thunder, giving it a more natural sound. Again, the vocals are very strong.

“Temple of the Sky” follows, beginning with a lute and piano intro. This track isn’t as good as the previous tracks. Next is “Birds of a Feather” which is somewhat of a medieval sounding love song. The vocals seem softer and the instrumentation also seems to be lacking as well. The next two tracks “Will o’ the Wisp” and “Winter Moon” aren’t exactly impressive tracks, nor are they exactly bad ones. The album finishes on “So Far Away and So Near” which begins with a beautiful intro mixed with powerful yet soft vocals. The instrumentation is brilliant on this track. The flute sections add a certain beauty to the track and the piano add a very classical mystique to the track as well. “So Far Away and So Near” is a brilliant finish to the album.

For a debut album, this is pretty impressive despite a few not so impressive tracks. The album, mostly, is well composed and overall has great production values. Hopefully, “Erutan” will be releasing more albums in the near future.

4/5

Nico Davidson