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Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (Part 2: Metal)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Metal, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Time for the second part of my highlights of 2016, the metal edition. This part was much harder to write than the first because it took me a long time to chose my top ten metal of albums and even longer to decide on the winner. So here are my top ten favourite metal releases of 2016:

1. Vader – The Empire
Genre: Death Metal

This year, Vader strikes back with ‘The Empire’… Let’s face it, they were kind of asking for comments like this with that kind of an album title. Star Wars jokes aside, this is a really good piece of work. If you’re looking for some new death metal to check out, I would strongly recommend this album. Unlike their previous work, the masterpiece that was ‘Tibi et Igni’, ‘The Empire’ shows a back to basics approach. No complex structures or atmospheric intros, just good, old-school thrashy death metal. Best tracks: ‘Iron Reign’, ‘No Gravity’ and ‘Army-Geddon’.

2. Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
Genre: Hard Rock/Industrial Metal

This year’s runner up deserves an award for coming up with the one of the longest album titles in years. I tend to refer to it simply as ‘The Electric Warlock’… Whilst still no match for his first two albums, ‘The Electric Warlock’ is Rob Zombie’s best work in years. Favourite tracks ‘The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore’, ‘In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’ and the ultra cheesy but super catchy ‘The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God’.

3. Devilment – II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal

For those of you who read my highlights of 2015, you might remember my comments on the latest Cradle of Filth album. This year their vocalist Dani Filth has been busy working on the second album for his other band Devilment. ‘II- The Mephisto Waltzes’ is a delightful opus which happily mixes a variety of metal genres including Gothic, symphonic and groove metal. There’s even a touch of humour in the lyrics and several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Best tracks are ‘Hitchcock Blonde’, ‘Dea Della Morte’ and ‘Full, Dark No Stars’.

4. Mortiis – The Great Deceiver
Genre: Industrial Metal

Ever since the Norwegian musician Mortiis started his own band in the mid ’90s, there has been some debate as to what category their music fits into. The older works are very much dark ambient, followed by the synth-pop period of ‘Smell of Rain, turning into the latest era of industrial rock. Their latest effort, the ultra creepy -sounding ‘The Great Deceiver’ is undoubtedly their heaviest and most complex album to date which is why I chose to include it in my metal top 10. Best tracks: ‘Doppelganger’, ‘Demons are Back’ and ‘Shining Lamp of God’.

5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Moonsorrow caught my attention after I saw them live at Tampere Metal Meeting Festival in the summer. I like some of their older material and after hearing some of the new songs live I decided to check out their newest album ‘Jumalten aika’. This is one of those releases where there are no real outstanding tracks, but rather the whole album is worth listening to in full. It’s one of the best pieces of pagan black metal that I’ve heard in a long while.

6. The Vision Bleak – The Unknown
Genre: Gothic Horror Metal

German Gothic horror metal duo The Vision Bleak are back with a new album. ‘The Unknown’ struck me as being somewhat “Lovecraftian”, both in the visual concept of the cover art and the the lyrical themes. Musically it is in every bit that you can expect from a Vision Bleak album; eerie Gothic horror metal with some doom influences added creating the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Best tracks ‘The Kindred of The Sunset’ and ‘Into the Unknown’.

7. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Genre: Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal

Just in case anyone is wondering why the new Metallica is so low down on this list, the truth is that I expected it to be better than it turned out to be. After all, it’s been eight years since their last studio album. Needless to say that the expectations were high. I wasn’t expecting this to be another ‘Master of Puppets’ or ‘Ride the Lightning’ but I was hoping for something along the lines of ‘Death Magnetic’ which I really enjoyed. Luckily ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ isn’t as bad as ‘St. Anger’ but it’s hardly a masterpiece. To be honest I think that it would be have been better off as an EP with just four or five tracks instead of the 12 songs and 13 music videos. I definitely like the first disc more than the second one and my favourites include: ‘Moth To The Flame’, ‘Dream No More’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’.

8. Sabaton – The Last Stand
Genre: Power Metal

Sabaton are one of the very few power metal bands that I like. I’ve always enjoyed their live shows and I’m very fond of the concept album ‘Carolus Rex’. As with all Sabaton albums, their latest piece of work doesn’t disappoint as far as the historical themes go. This one tells the stories of eleven defensive “last stand” battles. Each song focuses on a different battle from various historical events ranging from ancient Greece, medieval Scotland, the two World Wars to Japan at the time of the samurais. That sounds awesome in principal, if only the actual music was that good. Sadly it isn’t. It’s ok but not great and most of the time Sabaton are just recycling old ideas, changing the themes but making similar music. The only tracks that I liked are: ‘Shiroyama’, ‘The Last Battalion’ and ‘Blood at Bannockburn’.

9. DevilDriver
Trust No One
Genre: Groove Metal

DevilDriver - Trust No One

The only real groove metal entry on this list, ‘Trust No One’ is DevilDriver’s best work in years. It is an aggressive beast of guitar-driven groove metal made all the more powerful thanks to Dez Fafara’s vicious growls. Best tracks: ‘Trust No One’ and ‘Daybreak’.

10. Theatres des Vampires – Candyland
Genre: Gothic Metal

It’s been a while since the Italian Gothic metal band Theatres des Vampires have released anything new. I’ve been a fan of their music for many years and so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of their latest piece of work. ‘Candyland’ is somewhat more metal-sounding than its predecessor ‘Moonlight Waltz’. There are notably less vampire themes on here compared to the previous album but other than that not much has changed. Sonya Scarlet is still the key figure in Theatres des Vampires. Whilst I still prefer their older works, back when Lord Vampyr was still a member of the band, I did enjoy this album. Best tracks ‘The Morgana Effect’ and ‘Resurrection Mary’.

 
Biggest New Discovery: Powerwolf
Best live show of 2016: Powerwolf live in Tampere
Most anticipated albums of 2017:
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
New albums from Cradle of Filth and (hopefully) Behemoth.

That’s all from me for now. Happy New Year!

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Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (part 1: Industrial/EBM/darkwave)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Industrial, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 30th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

2016 is almost over which means that it’s now time for my annual “Best of” or “Highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year’s edition will be in two parts – industrial and metal. I’m still working on my list of top ten metal albums so I’ve decided to list the industrial ones first. So here are my favorite industrial/EBM and electro releases of 2016:

1. Lord of the Lost – Empyrean
Genre: Industrial Rock/Dark Rock

Lord of the Lost is a new discovery for me. I’ve been ignoring them for years, thinking that they were some sort of glam rock band. Then this year I had the pleasure of seeing them live when they supported Combichrist and I was totally blown away by their performance. I ended up buying all their albums. They sound like a mixture of HIM and Deathstars. ‘Empyrean’ is their heaviest and most complex album to date. Stand-out tracks: ‘Drag Me to Hell’ and ‘In Silence’

2. Heimataerde – Aerdenbrand
Genre: Medieval Industrial/Aggrotech

The German brotherhood of dark electro Templar knights are back with a new album. Fans of their work will know what to expect from this one; atmospheric dark electro with a medieval tinge. It’s a delightful mix of creepy and catchy Aggrotech with both ballads and dancefloor hits. Favourite tracks: ‘Fühl die Zeit (featuring Joachim Witt)’ and the kids’ nursery rhyme -inspired ‘Hick Hack Hackelbeil’.

3. Combichrist – This is Where Death Begins
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech

This album was not the easiest one to get into. Fans of Combichrist’s older songs will be shocked to discover just how guitar-driven this band has become. The previous album ‘We Love You’ was just a taster of what’s to come. The industrial and harsh electro elements are still present, but guitars are making inroads and they are here to stay. Combichrist is now an industrial rock band. As soon as you accept that you might actually start to enjoy this album. I did. Favourite songs: ‘Exit Eternity’, ‘My Life My Rules and ‘Skullcrusher’.

4. Memmaker – Let There Be Lasers
Genre – Power Noise/Rhythmic Noise

Eight years is a long time to wait for an album and that’s how long it’s been since Memmaker released their debut ‘How to Enlist a Robot Uprising’. Luckily the follow-up ‘Let The Be Lasers’ was worth the wait. The Canadian power noise band have essentially picked up from where they left off. So if you like power noise and songs about space travel and robots is your thing, then this is the album for you. Best tracks: ‘Doom Ray’, ‘Manipulate’ and ‘Race to Space (feat. Detroit Diesel)’.

5. Nachtmahr – Kampfbereit
Genre: Techno Industrial/Aggrotech

Nachtmahr are a bit controversial band within the industrial scene. Their music has always had a militaristic theme which has led to allegations of fascism. They sure like to harbour a fetish for women in uniform but I never quite got the fascist or misogynistic connections. I personally I like their music and I try not to think too much about their imagery. This year was the first time that I chose not to buy a physical copy of their new album. I have enough coffee-table books and these days I mostly listen to their music at the gym. So I bought the digital version instead. It’s great treadmill/cross trainer music. Best tracks: ‘Kampbereit’, ‘Tempus Fugit’ and ‘Burning Bridges’.

6. Scandroid – Scandroid
Genre: Synthwave

Scandroid is a side-project of the American musician Klayton (Celldweller, Circle of Dust). It was originally a two-man project featuring Klayton and Nick Pittsinger (Varien) who took on the identities of “Red” and “Raven” in the futuristic cyberpunk world of Neo-Tokyo, where the Scandroid story takes place. “Raven” left the project in 2014 which means Scandroid is now a solo project with “Red” as the main character. The music is a mixture of ’80s -style synth-pop/synthwave with a sci-fi tinge. The album tells a story so it’s difficult to pick out any specific individual tracks, but personally I’m very fond of ‘Aphelion’, ‘Empty Streets’ and ‘Neo-Tokyo’.

7. Terrolokaust – Dissensions
Genre: Industrial Rock/Aggrotech/Dark Electro

This year I finally got to see this Spanish harsh electro duo live at Resistanz Festival. That was a good show which served as my introduction to the band. They are similar to Combichrist in a sense as their style has changed from Aggrotech towards a more industrial rock sound. Their latest opus ‘Dissensions’ contains a mixture of both styles. There is something here for fans of either genre – whether it’s dance tracks like ‘Pursuit of Ruin’ or guitar driven industrial rock song such as ‘A Masochist’s Tale’.

8.Ost+Front
Genre: Neue-Deutsche-Härte

I have to be honest here in that I have mixed feelings about this album and Ost+Front in general. They give the impression of being essentially a Rammstein-clone, adapting not only the music and vocal style but also the themes and the imagery of their world-famous countrymen. Despite this I decided to include their new album on this list because of a few tracks that stood out – the sombre and profound ballad ‘Sternenkinder’ and ‘Bruderherz’. ‘Fiesta de sexo’ also deserves a mention due to guest appearance of Erk Aicrag (Hocico).

9. My Own Sorrow – The Entity
Genre: Dark Electro/Occult Ambient

‘The Entity’ is the latest album from the Swedish dark electro artist My Own Sorrow. His music is primarily instrumental, atmospheric dark electro with strong themes of horror and occultism. All the songs have an eerie feel to them. It’s like listening soundtrack to a horror movie. Best tracks ‘Succubus’ and ‘Rats In The Walls’.

10. Blutzukker – The Ultimate Collection
Genre: Dark Electro

Blutzukker is the dark electro project of the German artist Ben Blutzukker. He is currently involved in two projects; a heavy metal band under the name of Ben Blutzukker, who released an EP last year and the aforementioned dark electro act Blutzukker. What we have here isn’t really a new release but rather a collection of all Blutzukker’s works including some rarities and unreleased demos. So if you like dark electro, horror themes with a touch of humour then I would strongly recommend this. Best tracks ‘Fright Club’, ‘Queen of the Nite’, ‘The Vampire Strikes Back’.

Biggest new discovery: Lord of the Lost
Best live show: it’s a tie between Combichrist live in Tampere and Memmaker at Club Infektio, Helsinki
Most Anticipated albums of 2016:
Marilyn Manson – Say10
Blutengel – Leitbild
New albums by Suicide Commando and Grendel

Stay tuned for the metal edition, coming soon!

My Silent Wake – An Unbroken Threnody

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th February 2016 by Paul Macmillan

My Silent Wake
An Unbroken Threnody
Released 08th February 2016
Doom metal
Released via Stone Groove Records

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‘Best of’ compilations can be a great way to introduce new listeners to a band, and in An Unbroken Threnody, My Silent Wake have properly grabbed my attention. This collection of music is drawn from the first ten years of their fairly prolific career, and therefore encompasses a fairly wide spread of style, ranging from more or less pure doom, through a touch of death metal, and what might even be a hint of psychedelic doom, a la The Blood Divine’s Mystica.

As the press release states, this is ‘for fans of’ Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Indiscience. The influences of these bands are plain as day, out there for all to see – and it’s glorious! PL and MDB are clearly a massive part of the mix, and, for someone who remembers the soul shaking gothic riffs of the  1990s, it is a welcome return to a sensation long resigned to the ‘meh’ pile of life. If I’d been aware of this band throughout their existence, I would have devoured their releases one after the other. However, I’m almost glad I didn’t, as this is a real pleasure to delve into without prior warning.

There are naturally parts which are stronger than others. It’s a good sign that two of the crowning moments, Highwire & And So It Comes To An End, are taken from 2015’s Damnatio Memoriae, and show a band who have matured rather than grown flaccid with age. Older material still stands up perfectly well, such as the diabolically hefty Tunnels – the opener from 2008’s  A Garland Of Tears -and the almost folk-infused Shadow Of Sorrow from their debut of the same name.

It’s inspiring to hear a band who have delivered such consistently high-calibre output, even more so when a decade’s worth of their music hits you square in the chops in one sitting. If you were a fan of any of the acts mentioned in this review, but haven’t yet checked out MSW, I highly recommend you do. Although the comparisons are spot on, this is no imitation. This is the real deal.

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Mick’s Highlights of 2015

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , on 31st December 2015 by mickbirchy

This year has been really awkward.  Last year I managed to make a full top 50 list, this year I struggled to find 10! Well, when everything around is quite mediocre the really good stuff rises to the top and that makes for a more definite list.  Same rule as I always have for these lists and yes I only have one rule.  It’s all dependant on how much I enjoyed the album… No other criteria just that. If I really enjoyed it then it’s on this list!  So let’s not waste any more time here are my top 10 albums of 2015.

  1. Artist: Kadavar   Album: Berlin

Released: 21st August 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records

I will admit that I’m a sucker for some good old fashioned riff-rock and Kadavar certainly scratched my itch with Berlin. It has some great riffs and weird lyrics that don’t really make any sense upon first listen but have a deep meaning once you really open your mind and feel the music. I was really impressed with the overall sound of the album, all 70’s style groove with a modern twist, just a shining example of their really inventive writing. Also some praise for Simon Bouteloup, being that this was his first time recording a full length Kadavar album, he really does a splendid job in making some interesting and fun bass grooves. From start to finish, the album just feels right to listen to. I really would recommend this to anyone in seek of some great riff-rock and I look forward to whatever comes next from them. It’s not a bad number 10 for this list I suppose.

  1. Artist: Lancer   Album: Second Storm

Released: 10th April 2015 via Despotz Records

I didn’t actually realise how much I really enjoyed this album.  After about 90 or so playthroughs this has just ended up being a real comfort to me this year.  This is a really well crafted album with some astonishingly good solos and a really familiar yet invigorating sound. Lancer have shot up in my estimation.  Really, Second Storm is something that you may want to to check out.

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/05/25/lancer-second-storm/   

  1. Artist: Monster Magnet   Album: Cobras and Fire (The Mastermind Redux)

Released: 2nd October 2015 via Napalm Records

If you read my review of this album you will know that I was initially intrigued by the very concept. However, this album has only gone up in my opinion the more I’ve listened to it.  I haven’t had this much fun analysing an album since Sonata Arctica, with all of the fantastic lyrical skills of Dave Wyndorf. I just want to spend a day inside his mind, just to see how it works because this album is just one weird concept.  Firstly they “reimagine” Last Patrol, and now they have remade Mastermind with Cobras and Fire. How did Monster Magnet take an album that sounds like that and turn it into this?  I said this in my review and I’ll say it again.  If you’re interested in songwriting then get yourself a copy of Cobras and Fire and while you’re at it get the original Mastermind as well! Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/11/22/monster-magnet-cobras-and-fire-the-mastermind-redux/

  1. Artist: The Gentle Storm   Album: The Diary

Released: 23rd March 2015 via Inside Out Music

What do you get when you take two of the most talented songwriters in metal stick them together and get the to make an album.  Well, it sounds like The Diary by The Gentle Storm. Anneke Van Giersbergen and Arjen Lucassen have produced, what I believe to be, one of the very best progressive metal albums ever (coming from someone who’s not that into prog-metal, and knows very little about the genre). I love the concept in itself of having two versions of the album, one in folk arrangements and one with metal. It sounds great either way you listen to it. The whole thing is very grandiose and captivating.  Also I found the central story of the album quite emotional and impactful. Anneke’s voice perfectly complements the musical arrangements that Arjen provides and every song is a delight to listen to.  If you missed this one, do yourself a favour and buy it now.

  1. Artist: Gloryhammer   Album: Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

Released: 25th September 2015 via Napalm Records

Well, you definitely couldn’t get any sillier in the world of metal this year.  Well there may have been something that I just didn’t get around to. Anyway, in all honesty my opinion hasn’t changed much since my review so go read that.  This is just a fun record with some fun concepts and themes and the band go all the way with it!  Very enjoyable.

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/09/27/gloryhammer-space-1992-rise-of-the-chaos-wizards/

  1. Artist: Zebrahead   Album: Walk The Plank

Released: 8th October 2015 via Rude Records

In a year that has been honestly quite depressing in this country. With the UK government strangling the country itself, the rise of terrorism paranoia that came with the infamous Paris attacks and all of the flooding in the north of England. Wasn’t it really nice that we had one of the best party rock albums since Andrew WK’s – I Get Wet (at least in my opinion).  Zebrahead really shocked me this year as I wasn’t expecting the album to be so good.  I haven’t listened to Zebrahead in a long time but found my way back to them this year with Walk The Plank. This is a fantastic album that is just bursting with energy and fun.  As soon as I bought it I must have listened to it about 20 times in one day and every day since I find a reason to play at least one song off of it.  Something I haven’t done with any album in quite a while. Songs such as “Who Brings a Knife to a Gunfight?”, “Headrush”, “Keep It to Myself” and “Freak Show” are all great songs that I couldn’t get enough of and tunes I kept singing long after I turned off the album.  This was just the fun of 2015.

  1. Artist: Black Star Riders   Album: The Killer Instinct

Released: 20th February via Nuclear Blast

This is an album that has just got better and better as the year has gone by.  This was the first album that I reviewed for Valkyrian this year and I still hold the opinion that I had at the time. However, I also feel that my point of view has matured as well.  At the time of writing my review I was very much writing a first impression of the album more than an actual “review”. Now that the album has had some time to sit and I’ve had opportunities to return to it at will, rather than the pressure of writing a review, I can honestly say that this is fantastic.  I really seems like BSR have gelled and really created an album album the feels timeless.  The riffs and solos are well crafted and the music as a whole is well composed. This has really been another comfort album for me in 2015, something that I could go back back to again and again and never really get tired of it.

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/03/08/black-star-riders-the-killer-instinct-deluxe-edition/

  1. Artist: Gus G  Album: Brand New Revolution

Released: 24th July via Century Media

Yup… Pretend like you didn’t see this one coming from a mile off.  I think I’ve already said everything I wanted to say about this album in my review so just go and read that.  However, I’ll say this, Brand New Revolution is one awesome album that rewards repeated listens and it put a big smile on my face this year!

Link to the review: https://valkyrianmusic.com/2015/06/21/gus-g-brand-new-revolution/

  1. Artist: Tremonti  Album: Cauterize

Released: 4th June 2015 via Fret12 Records

If you know me on any sort of level you’ll have probably know that Mark Tremonti is one of my icons of music.  In my opinion there is not a single song-writer in the industry today that is more consistent when it comes to the quality of their releases.  Anytime this man puts his name to a record it’s almost a seal of quality (in my eyes at least), and Cauterize is no exception. The album hits you right away with stunning guitar work and amazing songwriting. Tremonti delves deep into emotional and dark issues and moves between them seamlessly with ease with songs like “Flying Monkeys”, “Tie The Noose”, “Another Heart” and “Dark Trip”. After listening to this album a hundred times and seeing the songs played live in concert, in Manchester. I can safely say that Cauterize defined my 2015 in terms of heavy rock.

  1. Artist; LiSA  Album: Launcher

Released: 4th March 2015 via Aniplex Inc.

This really has been the year of of discovery for me and by far the best discovery that I could have made this year is the Japanese singer-songwriter known as LiSA. From the moment I heard her music this year I was instantly hooked by the upbeat catchy nature and the album Launcher is really one that grabbed my imagination.  So I watch a lot of anime, and I have always been fascinated with the music that accompanies the shows. So rather than becoming a fan of the shows themselves, I hunt the music down with a passion. LiSA, has created many theme songs for many shows that I’ve enjoyed and when I heard the song “Crossing Field” for the show Sword Art Online, I wanted to know who made the song. That’s where I discovered LiSA. I found her music online and instantly bought her entire discography, there and then, and I discovered a whirlwind of interesting sounds and magical atmosphere that I have never heard before in my regular music taste.  Launcher, her most recent full length album is a delight, with songs like “Raising Hope”, “Fragile Vampire” and “L.Miranic” it all just instantly jumped out and made me smile.  Anytime I’ve been feeling down this year, I have turned to LiSA’s music. Also not to mention her three separate single releases this year would be a crime… “Rally Go Round”, “Empty Mermaid” and “ID” are all pumping tunes that get me going and just inspire me to do new things with my time.  This was not only my album of 2015 but my favourite discovery.  

I hope you enjoyed the list and I hope you keep well and have a happy 2016.  A plethora of new music is coming out this year that I’m more than excited for.  Artist like Tantric, Sick Puppies, Hatebreed, Flogging Molly, Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Avantasia and Volbeat have all confirmed new releases for next year and I simply can not wait!.

All the best

Mick Birchall

Pieni’s Highlights of 2015

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , on 30th December 2015 by Pieni

Following the tradition of the last couple of years, here’s my top 5 gigs of 2015:
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  1. Hills Have Eyes at Hard Club (Porto)
  2. Mötley Crüe at Mediolanum Forum (Milan)
  3. The End Of Grace at Sticky Fingers (Gothenburg)
  4. Equaleft at Hard Club (Porto)
  5. Alice Cooper at Mediolanum Forum (Milan)

The albums (to which I must add how happy I am to notice that 4/5 come from my homecountry):
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  1. “Antebellum” by Hills Have Eyes
  2. “That’s The Spirit” by Bring Me The Horizon
  3. “Extinct” by Moonspell
  4. “Everything Ends” by Web
  5. “Soul Rebel” by Devil In Me

My choice for videos was pretty somber – two focusing on child abuse, one on bullying and another one just being creepy. The last one is funny, but in an aggressive way:

  1. “Don’t You Worry Child” by We Are The Catalyst
  2. “Omotenashi” by The Year
  3. “Diabolical Work Of Art” by Sonic Syndicate
  4. “Yara’s Song” by Mustasch
  5. “Jekyll And Hyde” by Five Finger Death Punch

Anticipations for 2016? Yeah, I have a few:
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  1. Equaleft – a new chapter is being written, with a new guitarist. Not sure if the new album will be released already in 2016, but something new will certainly be introduced to us.
  2. The End Of Grace – it was postponed, again, but I believe it was for the last time.
  3. Hashtag Yolo – they’re getting serious about this, so let’s see how that goes.
  4. The 69 Eyes – new album from the Helsinki Vampires!
  5. Sister – with their 10th anniversary, the sleazy punks announced “something huge” for 2016…

Happy New Year, folks!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Pieni’s Highlights of 2014

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , on 31st December 2014 by Pieni

I’ve been to a lot, but really A LOT of amazing shows this year. But the top-5 wasn’t that hard to choose:

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  1. Sonic Syndicate at Zakk (Düsseldorf)
  2. The End Of Grace at Valand (Gothenburg)
  3. Skid Row at The Underworld (London)
  4. R.A.M.P. at Canecas (Paços de Ferreira)
  5. Equaleft at Metalpoint (Porto)

The downside of attending so many shows is that I lack the time to pay attention to all new releases. Here are the five to which I did pay loads of attention:

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  1. “Sonic Syndicate” by Sonic Syndicate
  2. “Ghost Empire” by Caliban
  3. “Adapt & Survive” by Equaleft
  4. “Vol. 5 – Lost At Home” by More Than A Thousand
  5. “Circle” by Sparzanza

Believe it or not, it was the top videos that gave me a hard time. Despite the lyric video trend, which has also improved graphically (next year I might even come up with a top 5 of those), it’s nice to see that there are still so many videos with such visual impact:

  1. “House Of The Rising Sun” by Five Finger Death Punch
  2. “All The Devil’s Toys” by Deathstars
  3. “Riskbreaker” by BatAAr
  4. “Five Minutes” by The Defiled
  5. “To Hell And Back” by Sabaton

Now the anticipations for this new year that starts tomorrow:

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  1. The End Of Grace – we all know how plans fail, especially when it comes to a new band, so the debut album that they were hoping to release this year was postponed to 2015. So here they are again, topping my expectations.
  2. Through The Cracks – definitely waiting eagerly for this one! And now that singer Tillie Grundel has left, the curiosity is even bigger.
  3. Web – despite my close relationship with this band, it’s all been hush-hushed and I have no idea what’s coming out of there. But I’m sure it will be great.
  4. Hills Have Eyes – it shouldn’t be long until “Antebellum” hits the stores!
  5. Hardcore Superstar – anything that comes from these sleazy bastards is worth it, 10th album or not.

Happy 2015 people!

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Buckcherry – The Best Of

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 8th October 2013 by Pieni

Buckcherry
“The Best Of”
Rock
To be released on 28th October 2013
Via Eleven Seven Records

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In the 15 years they’ve been active (they were formed in 1995 but split between 2002 and 2005), Buckcherry released six studio albums and sold over three million records just in their home country USA, where they were also certified gold and platinum several times and nominated for a “best hard rock performance“ Grammy (sadly, they they lost it to Wolfmother). A best-of compilation was mandatory.

The problem was probably which songs to choose. “Crazy Bitch”, “Lit Up” and “Sorry” are included in the aforementioned gold and platinum certifications, so one could say these made the choice by themselves. And the others… well, when a band (or label) thinks a certain song is single-material it’s because the song has potential to make it big among the fans = it’s one of the best songs in the current album. So Buckcherry didn’t complicate and trusted their original choices. Or almost. The first single out of “Black Butterfly”, “Too Drunk”, wasn’t very fortunate. Sure, it hit huge levels of popularity, but among a more mainstream crowd. Mid-tempo beat, shallow groove… no wonder they replaced it with a cover of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star” on the re-release of the album. Then the second single was “Don’t Go Away”, which is an okay ballad, but still… “Rose” is easy-going anc catchier than those two, so personally I think it would have been a better choice. And meanwhile Buckcherry must have thought the same, as it’s “Rose” that made it to this best-of – the only track here that was never released as a single.

Some bands like to include a brand new track and/or remixes, so that even the hardcore fans who own all their discography will feel compelled to get the compilation, for the featured novelty. Not Buckcherry. These are (some of) the tracks that put them where they are now, so this is what people must get as their best-of: the dirty rock of “Lit Up”, “Crazy Bitch”, “Next To You” and “Gluttony”, the more sleazy vibe in “Rescue Me”, “Ridin’”, “All Night Long” and “Nothing Left But Tears”, and the melodic thrill of “Sorry”, “Everything”, “Rose” and “For The Movies”. Rock’n’roll at its best – no pun intended.

5 / 5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino