Archive for EP

Reverence – Foreverence

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 23rd January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Reverence
Foreverence
Released 22nd December 2017
Power Metal/Thrash Metal
Released via Razar Ice Records

Reverence - Foreverence

Two years have passed since I reviewed Reverence’s last full length ‘Gods of War’. A lot has happened since then. For starters, they have a new singer. Secondly, last year they suffered the loss of their guitarist Peter Rossi, who died unexpectedly in March 2017. This EP is dedicated to his memory. It also features two live songs acting as preview to their new live album.

From the musical perspective, this EP essentially picks up from where their last full length left off. You’ve got your uplifting, guitar-driven power metal hit – Firelord which, though a little cheesy in the lyrical department, is rather enjoyable. Then there’s New Order which features some old school thrash metal and even groove elements in the guitar structure. Speaking of guitars, the band’s official tribute to their recently departed guitarist Final Flight – RIP PJR is a true masterpiece in guitar work. No vocals or drums, just full on guitar solo harmony and riffs galore. I’m sure that any current or aspiring guitarist would love to have a go at playing this tune.

Then there’s the sombre, slow acoustic ballad Sleep in which you can really hear the emotion in the vocals. It’s a far more profound and bittersweet sound than what you might expect to hear from Reverence but it suits the mood. Finally, the live tracks seem like a fitting way to end this EP, acting as a means to show that the band will go on doing what they do best.

In summary ‘Foreverence’ is a great way for the band to pay tribute to their departed guitarist. They have paid their respects and now they are getting ready to move on and take the next step forward. All I can say is keep up the good work!

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Maxdmyz – Alchemical Metal (EP)

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 17th June 2017 by Paul Macmillan

Maxdmyz
“Alchemical Metal” (EP)
Released April 17th 2017
Electronic/metal
Released via Renegade Records

This swift EP from London’s Maxdmyz is an odd, and mildly confusing one. Hell, I don’t even know for sure how we’re supposed to pronounce their name! Yet it’s the audio which keeps chucking out curveballs.

Swamped in the soundscape of 1990s rock and metal, collective tastes are somewhat obvious. The electronic edge of Obsolete era Fear Factory taken to its club friendly extreme, and the odd power-pop metal of Faith No More’s The Real Thing; the classics of that era are the big player’s in the canon of influences on display. One could also put some credence behind picking out the occasional nod to Alice In Chains, One Minute Silence, Rage Against The Machine, or even early nu-metal such as Hed(pe) or System Of Down.

There is plenty play on more current trends, though, albeit far more subtle in application. It does take a bit to push the overarching style to one side to filter them out, and then another shove to allow your head the space to blend everything back into one again. It’s no wonder they opted for the title of Alchemical Metal, as this pulls on predecessors from all throughout the metal and rock kingdom. From flecks of melo-death to stoned-out sludge, old-school to futuristic, the sonic melange is openly bizarre.

Not for the first time in reviews, I have to say, this should, in theory, have ended up a bit of a mess of mismatched tropes and idioms, but has managed to come together as one solid sound. Hopefully, the prevalence of this type of free-roaming artistic success story is a sign of things to come. Slightly disjointed at times, if you really look for it, but delivered with passion and talent, accessible, yet powerful and genuinely musical.

Paul Macmillan

3.5/5

EARTHBREAKER – Voice of the Voiceless

Posted in 'Core, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 11th January 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

EARTH BREAKER
Voice of the Voiceless
Hardcore/Metal/’Ullcore
Self-Released: November 2016

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Hull – Otherwise known as the City of Culture – has a lot going on for it, especially in the music scene, which is where a promising young band known as Earthbreaker are currently making makes and lots of noise. Having only been around for just over a year, this melodic metal quintet have already made their presence felt – and heard – in North England.

Voice of the Voiceless opens straight up with the powerful and memorable track The Vipers Nest, which features an energetic and tenacious breakdown and some bestial vocal work. Family follows up almost seductively, with its overwhelming assault of guitars and differing and unique vocal sounds.

Misanthropy is a melodic track which is as catchy as the common cold but that doesn’t stop it from being heavier than an elephant’s arse. The guitars are heavy-duty, paving a path of broken bones whilst the rhythm sections lay down the gritty foundations. Whereas Deathwish brings a more emotive but just as unyielding sound to Voice of the Voiceless.

The EP finishes on Psychosis, with its enchanting dance between the guitars, bass and drums, making it a good track to finish on.

Voice of the Voiceless demonstrates Earthbreaker‘s well-founded sound in a way that leaves the listener wanting more and shows that this young quintet can go toe-to-toe in the pit with some of the heavy hitters on the scene.

4.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Iron Altar – Iron Altar [EP]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 26th September 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Iron Altar
Iron Altar [EP]
Metal
Self-released: August 22nd 2016

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There are some practiced hands at work in Iron Altar’s eponymous debut EP, the band featuring Simon Anger (King Witch) and Andrew Callis (ex Torn Face). The disparity in the related acts lends itself to a unique metal sound, which is marvelous in its open-ended creativity. While there is one solid character, those of different tastes in heavy music will likely pick out completely dissimilar comparisons. On first full spin of the release, I swear I heard the footsteps of Faith No More, Annihilator, In Flames, Skid Row, Lamb Of God, Mastodon, and American Head Charge in just the opening track!

If the above makes this sound like a confused mish-mash of styles, be assured that assumption is mistaken. Shifting seamlessly between grunting thrash, monolithic atmospherics, eye burning lead work, and something altogether more… twitchy, this is metal that plays in its own league, and doesn’t give a good god damn about what is outside of those parameters. Iron Altar know what they like, and they’re not afraid to try melding any of it into their own world. They do it with panache and professionalism, and pool it together very nicely indeed.

I could be wrong. It might have been a naturally flowing writing process, but I imagine it took some doing to bring the composite elements into one cohesive sound. That said, I’d really like to hear this band delve yet further into their influences and come out with something even more distanced from their peers. It seems like that could well be within their collective powers.

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

 

The End Of Grace – Unity

Posted in 'Core, CD with tags , , , , , on 3rd June 2016 by Pieni

The End Of Grace
“Unity” [EP]
metalcore
Released: 3rd June 2016
Via Ilumnirec

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If you know The End Of Grace and have been following their story, you may find this title a bit ironic, given the recent major line-up change in the band. I see it the other way around, a tribute to what makes us one and not what divides us (check the words on the artwork – they’re not exactly random). First of all, the departure of 3/5 of the band had nothing to do with falling outs – it’s just life and its usual way of forcing people to make hard choices; they may not partake in the songwriting and performance anymore but they’ll always be a part of TEoG. And then there’s founder Jimmy Bergman’s passion for this project, which will keep it alive no matter what – a true unity with music.

Now that you have my two pennies on the title, let’s go for what really matters. When I’ve last spoken to the boys (interview here) they told me there would be more breakdowns They weren’t fooling around! All songs are much richer in that department, making them sound heavier, thicker. Well, all except the ballad “Fighting For Another Day” (I still smile at the term “ballad” when Kriss Clark is busting up his throat to growl like that, but there’s no other thing to call such bleeding melody) – this one has its own heaviness and there’s no need for extra breakdowns for that.

There’s also more riffs/more elaborate guitar structure, more meaningful lyrics and a better complicity between the aforementioned growls of Kriss and the clean tones of Johan. I had the chance to see “The End Of Grace” (yes, they named a song after themselves) in concert (report here) and witness how such briskness works live. Well let me tell you that “If You Fall”, “Never Break” and “Trigger” will cause the same restless effect. This is what metalcore is all about.

It’s been already three years since the release of “Lost In Transition” but it seems like yesterday, as those songs keep rolling on my playlists. I’m pretty certain the same will happen with “Unity”.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Rage – My Way [EP]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 26th January 2016 by Pieni

Rage
“My Way” [EP]
Heavy metal
Released: 22nd January 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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Nowadays, EPs and singles are mistaken for one another quite often. Rage’s “My Way” is one of those cases; at least I wouldn’t call EP to a 4-track recording comprised of two versions of the same song plus two new versions of 20-year-old songs. But it’s still worth saying a few words about it, as “My Way” is an upbeat, classy piece of heavy metal. Vibrant riffs upon a sturdy rhythm, an ear-worm chorus with a defiant attitude (“it is my way or nothing at all”) and a flowing, rich solo – everything a fan of the genre appreciates.

The aforementioned “new versions” are actually just re-recordings of “Black In Mind” and “Sent By The Devil”; nothing, or almost nothing, has been changed. Sure, the recording and production have a clarity now that wasn’t possible back in 1995, making the sound of each instrument much more distinct. But on the other hand, those rough edges were part of the era these songs were born in in the first place, and taking away that rawness wasn’t exactly necessary.

As for the Spanish version of “My Way”, by the name of “Apuesto A Ganar” (determined to win)… well, unless Spanish is your native tongue or you really like this Latin language, I don’t see a reason for you to not stick with the original version…

3 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Lurid Memory – Dematerializing [EP]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 30th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Lurid Memory
Dematerializing [EP]
Released September 18th 2015
Progressive death metal
Released via Funeral Noise Records

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Although self-described as progressive death metal, there is genuinely a bit more to this band than has come to be associated with the genre tag. A blazing solo is nice, but sometimes you just don’t want to hear every member of a band try to pull one off at the same time for 45 minutes. Lurid Memory, seem to have a firm grasp of both these facts.

This release is a clear development from their chaotic debut Unclear Mental Portraits From Lives Past, in terms of song-writing, carrying much of the same character. However, they have reached a new level of maturity by embracing a slightly more blackened essence, supplementing their already diverse blend of heavy prog, thrash and classic DM. Hints of its presence seem to have been lurking from the off, but on Dematerializing it is allowed to surface with beautiful results. The atmospherics are darker than on their previous releases, and occasionally lend a folky arm to proceedings, bleeding into a more traditional prog sound.

At times, this release is very straight forward, but that in itself is refreshing, and the palette which Lurid Memory have at their disposal should more than satisfy those ravenous for intense musicology in their listening. For me, personally, they have hit the prefect stroke between technical ability and knowing when to rock the f*** out, with the final landing point somewhere between the jagged constructs of Death and the floating ephemera of Cynic.

The one significant draw back with this EP is that it reeks of restricted potential. It would be interesting to hear the results were this lot locked up in an isolated location with nothing to do but write a full album. This is hardly a major flaw, but it appears that the next step is an obvious one. Lurid Memory are already a cracking band, with much to offer the metal world, but it’s hard not to imagine them exploding into something more, given the opportunity.

4/5

Paul Macmillan