Archive for Groove metal

DevilDriver unveil new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , on 21st May 2020 by izaforestspirit

Two years after their country music covers album ‘Outlaws ‘Til The End’ was released, now the American groove metal band DevilDriver are back. They recently announced that their new studio effort will be called ‘Dealing With Demons I’.

Their front-man Dez Farara stated that this will be the first volume of a double album concept focusing on human nature, emotions and personal struggles. Here is an extract of he had to say about it:

“It’s time to lay it all out, on two records. I’m never gonna revisit these subjects again. I’ve been writing about this sort of human nature, disloyalty and dishonesty, love and loss, since the beginning of my career. I am going in a more lyrically woke direction in the future. A lot of people say my music gives them strength. But what they don’t realize is that these topics haunt me. Over the course of these last few years we fled from wildfires, my wife battled cancer and now we are going through a pandemic… so it is what it is… let’s dump it all on the table and purge. I want to go through different topics in the future, so here we are now. I’ve laid it all out on a double record for all of you to hear.”

Check out the cover art and track-listing below:

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons, Volume I

1. Keep Away From Me
2. Vengeance Is Clear
3. Nest Of Vipers
4. Iona
5. Wishing
6. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara)
7. Witches
8. Dealing With Demons
9. The Damned Don’t Cry
10. Scars Me Forever

‘Dealing With Demons I’ will hit the shops on 9th October 2020 via Napalm Records.

For now you can check out the lyric video for their new single ‘Keep Away From Me’

For more information visit:
https://www.facebook.com/devildriver/

DevilDriver

 

 

Bloodyard – Orchard of Corpses

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 26th April 2020 by mickbirchy

Bloodyard

Orchard of Corpses

Heavy Metal, Groove Metal, Death Metal

Released: 1st May 2020

Self Released

Bloodyard is one of those bands that have always been on my radar but I have not really given much attention to. Not for any malicious reason, mind you, I just find it hard to keep up with all of the music I want to listen to and inevitably some bands fall through the cracks. So, it was nice that I could spend some time giving their music a thorough listen and where better to start than their latest album Orchard of Corpses. A twisted and heavy album that incorporates a thick tone, an in-your-face presence and tight musicianship to make a fun listening experience that I bet would sound good live. Bloodyard have a really decent album here, that I think a lot of metal fans should get behind. You can clearly hear their influences in the music and how they use those influences to manufacture their own sound.

As much as I like their music, I do have to comment on the production. Whilst, not the worst I have ever heard, it is noticeable. If there is one thing that I would say is standing out is the sound of the drums. They completely lack impact, with the other instruments overshadowing them. In fact, the production as a whole feels a little washed out and flat. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the tone or the way it was recorded. I just feel the assembly of the mix was a little off. I can’t put my finger on it, but there is something holding the full impact of these songs back and it’s in the production. I think all of the musicianship itself is great though. Not a bad performance here, with solid guitar work and well-performed rhythm and bass. The vocals sound great, very commanding and direct. All in all the production is a mixed bag.

However, I do like the songs themselves and I think they would work in a live setting. I could really see myself headbanging the night away with how these songs play out. Lots of tight rhythm with not much breathing room, so the album just goes from song to song in a very fluid way which makes the album a great listen-through and makes it re-playable. The band gets in, does their thing and gets out. So, yeah I think the songs themselves are pretty damn good.

This is a decent record. Sure, it has some rough edges, but those are things that can be worked out. I like the tunes and the pure intensity of the record. The music is fine and though not the typical band that I usually listen to, I still found this album to be an enjoyable experience. I would like to hear this band live as I think that is a better context for these songs and where the band would be more in their element. It’s a good listen and I’m sure the underground metal scene here in the UK will love it. If you like like you home-brew heavy metal then this is the band for you.

6/10

Mick Birchall

Equaleft’s “We Defy” release party – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , on 3rd February 2019 by Pieni

Equaleft, Analepsy, Web, Sotz’
Hard Club (Sala 2), Porto (PT)
1st February 2019
Promoted by Raising Legends

equalwedefy0

Despite the ticket presale going on a steady run, Equaleft singer Miguel Inglês never believed he’d have a sold out venue. Now, he has this pet hate of sorts for Manowar and he promised to buy a Manowar album in case the tickets did sell out. Guess who’s adding “Sign Of The Hammer” to their CD collection?

sotzwedefyAs I’ve mentioned before (read here), Sotz’ have been evolving so much and playing in so many events that I didn’t realize this was their first Hard Club show until singer Dan mentioned it. The room still wasn’t at its full capacity – Friday traffic was even more chaotic due to the storm and a couple of other events in the neighborhood – but it was crowded and supportive enough to leave no doubt about the genuineness of Dan’s “thank you for being here”. That gratitude also produced a new song, “The Return Of Kukulcan”, right before the last one “Tzak’ Sotz’”.

https://www.facebook.com/sotzband/

webwedefyFrom a national popularity point of view, it didn’t make much sense to see the legendary Web get on stage next, but Analepsy had to drive about 200 miles to get to the venue – and Web just don’t care about that playing-first BS. Singer/bassist Nando was mourning a relative, who had passed just two days before, but no one could tell – he was his usual self, giving it all, and joking about Filipe’s white guitar and how the cookies Equaleft had brought were all gone by now, eaten in the backstage, so if that was why we were there, then we could go home. He also didn’t flinch when introducing the new song, ironically called “A Grave To Be Dug”. An awesome new song, by the way, bearing a sound you easily recognize as theirs. The chorus to “Mortal Sound” and “(In)Sanity” were sung along by pretty much everybody in the room.

https://www.facebook.com/web.bandofficial/

analepsywedefyBrutal death metal Analepsy, living up to the “brutal” part. Hair running in all directions on stage, while bodies did more or less the same on the floor. And that’s pretty much all I can say about it – as usual – and trust me, it is NOT a derogative report on their performance. I hate writing something as basic as “it was a great show” but in this case it will have to do. At some point there was a kind of a joke involving a rock band who was actually playing next door but it’s a Portuguese thing that even I can’t explain the fun in it, so… nope, nothing more to add.

https://www.facebook.com/analepsyofficial/

equalwedefy1Equaleft’s second full length album was featured in my expectations for 2018 but its release was held for a couple of months more and here it is, in the beginning of 2019. It’s okay, as the waiting was more than worthy (read the review here). And its live presentation…. well, their gigs are always mind-blowing, I can assure you that didn’t change a bit now! “We Defy” was played in full, but with… is 5-year-old songs too young to be considered “classics”? Anyway, “New False Horizons”, “Tremble” and “Maniac” were performed among the new ones, while “Invigorate” wrapped it all up with a golden key – without the Star Wars lightsaber but with two special guests: Sotz’-Dan and Tales For The Unspoken-Marco. Gonçalinho came on stage to play the sax on the new version of “Uncover The Masks”, and while there are no guest singers on the album, Web-Nando was called to sing along “Endless”. By the way, he lied about the cookies, obviously – a few boxes of them were offered to those who survived the violent mosh circles up front. Also, guitarist Miguel had his birthday that night and Inglês got us all singing him the “Happy Birthday” song, but the candles he blew were sitting on a symbolic kind of cupcake, so no cake for us – we deserved the other traditional cookies!

equalwedefy2

The release of “We Defy” was a deserved tremendous success. Don’t know what’s next, but I really hope is something even bigger – maybe selling out Hard Club’s main room? -, worthy not of buying a Manowar album but playing a cover of said band…

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Corroded – Bitter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 12th January 2019 by mickbirchy

Corroded

Bitter

Heavy Metal, Groove Metal

Released: 25th January 2019

via Despotz Records

After reforming in 2017 for the album Defcon Zero, an album that was created due to their frustrations with label executives. Swedish heavy-metallers, Corroded decided to keep the music coming out of this revitalised passion. Which leads us to this years album, Bitter. I have to say, I’m really liking this band ever since they’ve come back from hiatus. There’s really something so honest in their music since the 5-year break. Bitter continues this with everything here being presented with passion whilst also being really accessible to new listeners. I always say “every new album is a new chance to inspire new fans” and yeah it seems Corroded are going out of their way to entice a new following without betraying the older fans. It’s a delicate balance but I think they’ve nailed it.

This album starts with an atmospheric intro piece before kicking right into the riffs, which are awesome. The riffs are filled with bass and feel so weighty. The grooves they create on this record are fresh and you can tell how much time and effort went into the writing and recording. Every song just leaps out of the speakers and keeps you listening sense intoxicated until the very end. The precision guitar and excellent drum work are awesome on their own but coupled with the vocal performance it really is a treat for the ears. Vocalist, Jens Westin sings everything with such conviction you can’t help but try to relate to the lyrics and sing along with him.

There are just some excellent tunes that stick in your head long after the record is over. One of my favourite songs here is “Testament”. With its excellent groove, the anthemic chorus, blistering guitar solo and just overall fun appeal. It’s a song that really stuck with me. Another song that I really like is “Black” a wonderfully sombre tune but still injected with life thanks in part to the wonderfully arranged production. This album does just really run the gambit of emotional tone and all of it well paced. Seriously, I still think there is an art to putting an album together, this album is so well paced that 12 songs and 52 minutes long, it flies by like a breeze. Making you want to listen to it all over again, immediately.

Corroded are quickly becoming one of my favourite metal bands and I am so happy they came back off of that hiatus. Even better they came back stronger and filled with ideas. This album is such a blast and now a frequent companion on my car journeys. If you like your pure heavy metal, do yourself a favour and get this one as soon as you can!

5/5

Mick Birchall

The Raven Age announce new album and European tour

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 11th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

2019 will be a busy year for the British groove metal band The Raven Age. They are currently putting the finishing touches on their second album ‘The Conspiracy’ which is scheduled hit the shops on 8th March 2019 via their own record label Corvid Records.

You can check out the cover art and track-listing below:

The Raven Age - Conspiracy

1. Bloom of the Poison Seed
2. Betrayal of the Mind
3. Fleur De Lis
4. The Day the World Stood Still
5. Stigmata
6. Surrogate
7. Seventh Heaven
8. Forgotten World
9. The Face that Launched a Thousand Ships
10. Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
11. Scimitar
12. Grave of the Fireflies

The album release will be followed by a European and UK tour this spring starting in Bristol on 20th March.

Here is the full schedule:

MARCH
Wed 20th – Bristol, The Fleece
Thu 21st – Manchester, Rebellion
Sat 23rd – Newcastle, Think Tank
Sun 24th – Glasgow, Attic
Tue 26th – Leeds, Key Club
Wed 27th – Stoke, Sugarmill
Thu 28th – London, Underworld
Fri 29th – Southampton, Joiners
Sun 31st – Biebob, Vosselaar, BELGIUM

APRIL
Mon 1st – La Boule Noire, Paris, FRANCE
Wed 3rd – Backstage Halle, Munich, GERMANY
Thu 4th – Colossaal, Aschaffenburg, GERMANY
Sat 6th – Luxor, Cologne, GERMANY
Sun 7th – Cassiopeia, Berlin, GERMANY
Tue 9th – Headcrash, Hamburg, GERMANY
Wed 10th – Poppodium W2, Den Bosch, HOLLAND

In the meantime you listen to one of the new songs here:
For more details visit:
https://www.theravenage.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheRavenAge

 

Full House Brew Crew – Me Against You

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 17th December 2018 by izaforestspirit

Full House Brew Crew
Me Against You
Released 16th November 2018
Groove Metal / Heavy Metal
Released via ROAR! Rock of Angels Records

Image result for full house brew crew me against you

We Against You’ is the second album from the Greek groove metal band Full House Brew Crew. The band was formed back in 2009 by guitarist and vocalist Vagelis “Van” Karzis who currently plays bass for Rotting Christ. Their music has been compared to the Black album -era Metallica, Godsmack and Black Label Society.

Groove metal is not a genre that I listen to that much. In fact, the only groove metal band I occasionally tune into is DevilDriver. I never really got into Black Label Society and Godsmack has always been a little too grunge / nu-metal for my liking. So hopefully this album has a least a hint of Metallica in the guitars, otherwise it will be a complete waste of my time…

Well aside from some of the guitar patterns there is not much similarity to Metallica on here. What is fairly easy to detect though is the Southern metal, bluesy groove metal akin to the likes of Black Label Society. Even the vocal style is similar. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. This record has its moments such as the catchy, groovy guitar harmonies in the chorus of No One’s Safe or heavier, more aggressive, metal-sounding Hollow God. Once again the guitar work is pretty good and the vocals work well with the music.

Those are the positives, now for the negatives… Some of the slower, ballad-type tracks on here reminded me of bands such as Nickelback and Disturbed. Take When I Crossed That Door! for example, it’s your typical hard rock ballad that you might hear on the radio. It falls in the category of melodic, radio-friendly rock that works ok as a background noise but ultimately doesn’t fill me with any kind of excitement. It is songs like this one that make the album seem a bit too long and lacking in energy.

In summary, ‘We Against You’ features a mixture of styles ranging from groove metal, Southern rock/metal through to heavy metal and hard rock. I wish that there was more of the groove metal and less of the slow hard rock ballads which drag the album down.

2.5/5
Iza Raittila

Planet of Zeus – Live in Athens

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 13th November 2018 by mickbirchy

Planet of Zeus

Live in Athens

Stoner Rock, Groove Metal, Southern Rock

Released: 30th October 2018

via ihaveadrum Records

There are two peaks in a bands career. Two heights of artistic achievement that they can wear like a badge of honour. One is the concept album, the other… The “live” album. Nothing really says “We’ve made it” like selling out a venue, recording the show and selling that show for all to hear. For me, one of the best live acts I have ever seen would have to be, Planet of Zeus. They are a force to be reckoned with on the stage. Their music is so anthemic and powerful, it can connect with pretty much any audience member at any show. All I can say is if you haven’t taken yourself to a show from them. Treat yourself the next time they’re in town. After their most recent record Loyal To The Pack, the band played their home countries capital city, Athens, to a ravenous crowd, giving birth to the bands first ever live album: Live In Athens (I know, such an original title).

I will say that this record sounds excellent all the way through. It captures that feeling of a Planet of Zeus show to an extent. From the heavy riffs to the excellent and gut-busting solos this album sounds so damn good. When Stelios Provis busts out the solos, the rest of the band create a tight foundation from which he’ll just let loose and create magic with the guitar. The set-list for this show was a solid one as it’s completely filled with energy, good vibes and their unique atmosphere that they bring to the show. You even hear those little echoes and refrains that you only hear in a live setting. When Babis Papanikolaou roars out the lyrics to songs like “A Girl Named Greed”, “Loyal To The Pack” or “Macho Libre” I can feel it right down in my gut. It’s the kind of voice that you take notice of. The production as a whole is wonderful.

The record is beautifully balanced and well mixed, I can only imagine what some of these songs felt like in the gig itself. If there’s anything that Planet of Zeus is known for it’s their riffs and they packed this setlist with their finest. Songs like “Leftovers”, “Devil Calls My Name” and “Little Deceiver” are definitely the moments that grab your attention. As their riffs just have that way of getting in your head and sticking around. It’s that great balance of groove, rock n roll and balls-to-the-wall heavy that makes Planet of Zeus such a compelling band to listen to.

However, I think there’s something that can be lost on a live record. Some things from the gig itself don’t always translate quite as well to the album version. This is the only downside I can think of to this record, yet, it’s more of a failure of the medium. Some bands can really transcend it and make you feel like you’re at the gig from the live album alone. Here, I don’t think Planet of Zeus has quite pulled that off. Although, it’s a great recording and there’s all of the unfiltered crowd banter, as well as the audience chanting for the band. The recording of the crowd is great too. You hear their chants as clear as a bell and their interaction with the band is great. It must’ve been quite the crowd to be a part of night itself. Yet, there’s just something missing from it that stops it being an amazing live album. Don’t get me wrong it’s still a great listening experience but it’s not a great “live album”.

This is a fun record to listen to. A must buy if you’re any sort of stoner rock or groove metal fan. If you’ve never listened to Planet of Zeus I would say that this is a great album to get you started. Not only did they provide some of their best material but you get a small sample of what it would be like to listen to them live. Which is a treat! I adore Planet of Zeus (if I haven’t made that obvious) and having missed the Loyal To The Pack Tour, this was awesome for me to listen to. They are simply one of the best bands going today in my opinion and this live record should be more than proof to anyone who denies that sentiment.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

The Raven Age release new single and donate sales to mental health charity

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 13th October 2018 by izaforestspirit

The British groove metal band The Raven Age have recently released a new single called ‘Betrayal of The Mind’. The central theme for the song is mental health.  Here what their vocalist Matt James had to say about:

” In an age where mental health problems are becoming a pandemic, it serves as a reminder how far we have come as a species but how unaccustomed we are to this new world in which we currently live. We are connected to each other through technology but yet are feeling more alone than ever. We need to spread awareness and act on these issues, and speak out when we are feeling alone. One way to do this is through music…”

The song acts the first preview of their yet to be titled new album, the follow up to their debut ‘Darkness Will Rise’ which came out last year.The band have also announced that they will be donating all the money made during the first month of sales to The Blurt Foundation – a charity helping those affected by depression.

You can listen to the track here:

 

For more information about the charity visit:

https://www.blurtitout.org/

You can also make a separate donation at: https://localgiving.org/charity/blurtitout/

The Raven Age

https://www.theravenage.com/

https://www.facebook.com/TheRavenAge

Hanzel und Gretyl – Satanik Germanik

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 31st July 2018 by izaforestspirit

Hanzel Und Gretyl
Satanik Germanik
Released 6th July 2018
Industrial Metal / Groove Metal / Extreme Metal
Released via Metropolis Records

Hanzel und Gretyl - Satanik Germanik

The New York -based industrial metal duo Hanzel und Gretyl have been around since the mid-90s. They’re often hailed as the only non-German band in the Neue Deutsche Härte scene. Their music has evolved a great deal since the beginning, ranging from experimental-industrial to industrial metal, groove with even hints of black metal and melodic death metal. Their latest opus ‘Satanik Germanik’ promises to be their darkest and most metal-sounding album.

This is essentially picking up from where Hanzel und Gretyl left off with ‘Black Forest Metal’ – the first part of the so called ‘Grimm Shiza’ era. As the title suggests there are some satanic themes plus references to stories by the brothers Grimm. So if you enjoyed that album, there is a good likelihood that you will like this one too. However, if you were hoping for the more wacky German space metal from their ‘Fukken Über’ -era, then I would suggest you skip straight to the party track Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell). Good to see that these two haven’t lost their sense of humor.

As far as the style goes, most of the songs have a dark, gritty black metal tinge that is particularly audible in the guitars while the industrial elements are not as prominent as they were in their previous works. Singer Vas Kallas’s voice makes this eerie, croaking sound, like the old witch from the Grimm stories, which combined with the coarse guitar riffs gives the music a creepy feel. They also occasionally slow down the pace like on the groove metal styled track I Am Bad Luck, which puts the emphasis on the bass guitar. Speaking of the bass, it also comes into the fore on 13 Moons; a track that is probably the closest they have ever come to producing a black metal song.

In summary, ‘Satanik Germanik’ can easily be classed as Hanzel und Gretyl’s heaviest album to date. In many ways it sounds exactly like I expected it to. It is not another ‘Über Alles’, in fact it is very similar to ‘Black Forest Metal’. And yet it’s darker, haunting and more serious than the earlier works; even moreso than their previous album. Luckily there’s still the odd party track to please fans of their older material.

4/5
Iza Raittila

DevilDriver – Outlaws ‘Till The End

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 18th July 2018 by mickbirchy

DevilDriver

Outlaws ‘Till The End, Vol 1.

Groove Metal, Melodic Death Metal

Released: 6th July 2018

via Napalm Records



This album is an amazing concept and something I kind of want more of. Judging by the title, we might just get it. DevilDriver, have created an album full of metal covers of classic outlaw country songs. Outlaws ‘Till The End Vol. 1. I’m a huge fan of country and metal music, so this works perfectly for me. Also, this doesn’t feel like a cheap cash-grab. There does seem to be a real effort and passion put into the album. It’s clear from listening to it that DevilDriver has a lot of respect and love for the artists that they’re covering. All of the songs pack a punch straight to the gut and give new life to these songs for a new generation, who may have never encountered them otherwise.

Covering artists like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and The Eagles. They manage to capture the soul of the original songs whilst, at the same time, putting their own mark on the tunes. Giving every song that signature DevilDriver edge that sounds really brutal. Production-wise, the album sounds great. With chugging guitars, well-executed drum work and Dez Fafara screaming his heart out. Producer, Steve Evetts, did a great job putting this project together. Every instrument sounds brilliant and Fafara roars over the top of it all, creating an energetic and fierce sound. Joining DevilDriver on the project is an all-star cast of metal artists: Wednesday 13, Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe and Mark Morton, Lee Ving from FEAR, Glenn Danzig, Brock Lindow of 36 Crazyfists, Testament’s Chuck Billy, and John 5. Who all add that little bit of flavour to an already delicious sound. As well as the metal star power, there’s a cool appearance from country heavyweight, Hank Williams III. Who performs his song “Country Heroes” with DevilDriver.

The songs are already tried, tested and beloved outlaw country songs like “Ghost Riders in the Sky” by Johnny Cash, “Outlaw Man” by The Eagles and “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” by Dwight Yoakam. So as far as the songwriting is concerned, it’s great. It really is the way DevilDriver have re-imagined these songs and made something truly original out of them. Almost turning them into their own songs. The way they take the familiar elements and put their own spin on things is mesmerising and is still enjoyable on the other side.

No doubt this album might be little divisive to some. Fans who might have just wanted more original content from the band may be annoyed by a cover album. Also, country fans may not like the idea of these metal versions, “destroying the original sound”. Yet, I really like the idea here. More importantly, I like the execution and delivery. DevilDriver has made a fun, compelling record that I think people will really enjoy. The existence of the covers doesn’t ruin the originals but continues their legacy by getting new listeners on board. Be that with songs they’ve never heard, in the case of metal fans. Or a genre they’ve never considered, in the case of country fans. Since the title is “Volume 1”  all I can say is when is “Volume 2” coming?

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

Urne – The Mountain of Gold

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 30th June 2018 by mickbirchy

Urne

The Mountain of Gold

Groove metal, stoner metal

Released: 27 July 2018

Self-Released

Image may contain: night and outdoor

It always sucks when a band with so much potential, doesn’t go the distance. Hang The Bastard are a prime example of this. An excellent groove metal band that always brought the extra something to their live performances and it really sucked when they split in 2016. Well hopefully, this will go some way to easing that loss for the fans. As a new band formed by two former members of, Hang The Bastard emerges. Bassist, Joe Nally and guitarist, Angus Neyra have come together once again to make something new and special within the same vein of music, with their new group, Urne. Armed with their new drummer, Rich Wiltshire they’re ready to unleash their new EP – The Mountain of Gold. I’ve had the chance to listen to it prior to its release and I have simply loved what I’m hearing.

The album kicks off with this atmospheric build up to the debut single “Dust Atlas”, which then kicks into a powerful bombastic riff. Already establishing a commanding presence, they manage a great balance between heavy and melodic as Joe’s vocals come in. The music’s production sounds simply phenomenal, with the guitar roaring away, the bass pulsating and the drums sound as sharp as a tack. The riffs are groovy as hell and the whole EP packs one big punch. The bands also add that groove flavour to the riffs to keep the songs fluent and easy to listen to. In all honesty, I like the simplicity of the sound. It’s definitely bare bones metal but it’s really effective.

The only thing that I am not a fan of is the vocal effect that comes in from time to time. It’s I find the echo distraction and makes the production cluttered. However, I think that’s just my personal bias, toward vocal effects. On the other hand, I did like Joe’s screamed vocals. Although it sounds like he is straining himself at times, there’s real emotion to connect with when it comes in. I can’t think of much else that I didn’t like here. Urne really presents a great EP, it has a dynamic sound that keeps you entertained from start to finish.

It’s really good to hear new and fresh music from musicians that have already proven themselves in the arena. The Mountain of Gold is a well made first step into this new venture for the groove metal trio and I’m excited for what comes next.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Check out their new video!

The Charm The Fury – The Sick, Dumb & Happy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 15th March 2017 by mickbirchy

The Charm The Fury

The Sick, Dumb & Happy

Metalcore, Groove Metal

Released: 17 March 2017

via Nuclear Blast

This is an album that I have been particularly excited for. I first caught wind of The Charm The Fury a few years ago via an article in Metal Hammer magazine.  I looked them up and I was really blown away by them.  I hadn’t heard anything like them before.  I would go on to discover a lot of bands in with this sound and I do have The Charm The Fury to thank for that. Their first album A Shade of My Former Self was an exciting bold record with a lot of passion and intensity. It was genuine smash of an album. So, I’ve really been getting into their new album The Sick, Dumb and Happy. They have made some interesting stylistic choices with this album to keep things fresh without losing their core appeal.

This album is more of a groove metal album then metalcore.  The gritty riffs the, groovy bass lines and more of an appealing tone. It fits them it really does. I think every member of the band carries their weight very well on this album. The sound is massive and all of the songs have the potential to be crowd pleasers.  From the old school sound of “Down on the Ropes” to the more modern sounding, “Weaponized”. They hit the mark nearly perfectly.  The production is bold and really gives a firm punch when the tunes get going. On this album the band feel way more palatable. These are songs more likely to get airplay in more mainstream and that’s really not a problem. They sound great doing it and I would say that these songs deserve the attention.

This is a major step in the right direction for The Charm The Fury. It’s really nice to see a band evolve like this.  It proves you can make your songs appealing to a wider audience without selling out.  They have just made a natural step forward with their music. There’s really not much else to say if you want a great album with a fun sound with some truly pump-up choruses, the look no further that this album.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Devilment – II – The Mephisto Waltzes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 12th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Devilment
II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Released 18th November 2016
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

It’s been two years since the release of Devilment’s debut album ‘The Great and Secret Show’. I’m guessing that most people (myself included) first discovered the band after reading about it being ‘a side-project’ of the Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth. The band was formed in 2011 by the guitarist Danny Finch and a group of friends in the town of Ipswich, England. Then a little later Ipswich resident, Dani Filth joined the ranks. Fast forward five years, a few line-up changes and the so called ‘side-project’ has developed into something far more serious. Since the success of their debut album, Devilment has been touring and this year their second opus ‘II – The Mephisto Waltzes’ saw the light of day.

I think that the biggest mistake that anyone can make with Devilment is to compare them to Cradle of Filth. Whilst both of the bands feature Dani Filth on vocals and share a fascination with horror themes, the similarities end there. THIS IS NOT CRADLE OF FILTH. You won’t find too many tales of Victorian Gothic horror here or lyrics such as “Evening minuetto in a castle by the sea.” What you will find though, are several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King.  The surrealist artist Salvador Dali is also mentioned in one of the bonus tracks on the limited edition.

Hitchcock Blonde caught my attention even before the album was released thanks to the creepy video. The song itself is an entertaining piece of keyboard-heavy melodic metal with a touch of humour in the lyrics. They even went through the trouble of mentioning the names of the blonde actresses from Hitchcock’s films. Similar things can be said about somewhat Gothic-sounding Dea Della Morte; another song filled with horror film and TV show references . If you are looking for something more profound, perhaps with a touch of dark poetry then Full Dark, No Stars is the track for you. It’s a truly beautiful song which highlights the vocal talents of singer/keyboard player Lauren Francis whose angelic voice provides the perfect contrast to Dani’s harsh vocals.

Not all the songs are melodic and keyboard-driven though, for example Shine on Sophie Moone picks up the pace with the drums and the thrashing guitars glaring in the spotlight. This is by far the heaviest song on here. It is also the most complex one treating the listener to a wide range of styles ranging from the fast and furious, to the melodic via an experimental part in the middle.

In summary, Devilment have clearly had lots of fun composing and recording this album. No matter how dark and sinister the lyrical themes become, the music has a certain playful tone to it. As far as genre definitions go, it’s a total mish-mash – Gothic but not overly theatrical, symphonic but never quite reaching the orchestral let alone operatic level; with hints of groove metal and a slight experimental flavour added in just to keep you on your toes. So if you dare to dance with the devil then it’s time a for a waltz with Devilment!

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Blaakyum – Line of Fear

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 2nd July 2016 by izaforestspirit

Blaakyum
Line of Fear
Released 25th June 2016
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal with Middle Eastern folk music influences
Self-Released

Line of Fear’ is the second album from the Lebanese thrash metal band Blaakyum. Originally formed back in the mid 1990s, Blaakyum haven’t had an easy start. Some of the band members have experienced social oppression first hand, for example their singer was arrested twice just for being a fan of heavy metal. They have recently gained more international recognition, winning third place in the Wacken Metal Battle finals in 2015 and playing Tuska Open Air in Finland in June 2016. The hostile and turbulent situation in their home country has had a major influence on the band’s lyrical themes. This particular album is centered around the subject of freedom of thought and artistic expression.

After the initial background research, a question immediately sprung to my mind: Is it actually possible to successfully mix Middle Eastern folk music with thrash metal? Let’s see… In this case the Middle Eastern folk feel is created using a Middle Eastern drum called tabla. So that’s where the “folk” sounds originates from. Apart from that, Blaakyum’s signature sound combines influences of old school thrash metal acts like Slayer and Destruction with groove-thrash metal vibes and even the odd power metal element in one song.

Baal-Adon features an interesting mix of groove metal guitars with squeaky, power metal -style vocals with the profoundly melodic sounds of the tabla. Other standout tracks include the Freedom Denied thanks to the beautifully melodic intro created with just one guitar and the tabla, and the title song which serves as the perfect introduction to Blaakyum demonstrating everything that the band has to offer. Oh, and let’s not forget the angry-sounding, bonus track ‘Riot Against Riot‘ in which the guitars and drums mimic the start and the violent aftermath of a protest – the music matches the story.

Overall, Blaakyum definitely leaves a lasting impression on its listeners. Their chosen style is not an easy one to grasp and this album may take a few listens to get into. Thrash/groove/heavy metal influences aside, what really makes these guys special is their history, lyrical themes and combination of Middle Eastern folk music and metal. So, to answer the opening question; yes, it is possible to mix these two styles successfully.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Narcotic Self – Cut The Chord

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 5th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Narcotic Self
Cut The Chord
Released 6th May 2016
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal/Groove Metal
Self-Released

‘Cut The Chord’ is the third album from the American heavy metal band Narcotic Self. They have toured with a number of renowned metal bands including Slayer, Exodus and Soulfly. Their music is a mixture of classic thrash metal with other metal genres along with some experimental elements. This album features Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork as a guest vocalist on one of the songs.

Kicking off the album is the title track, an aggressive and brutal metal song filled with thrashing guitars, pummeling drums along with abrasive and angry shouting. Then, when you least expect it, they slow down the pace towards the end of the track and treat you to a short but well executed melodic instrumental. It’s just enough for you to take a deep breath and relax before the usual onslaught of guitar, drums and shouting returns, raising hell inside your eardrums. Generation Victim (feat. Björn Strid) is a fairly straightforward piece of aggressive, thrashing groove metal which reminded me of the early works of Machine Head, DevilDriver and to a certain extent Lamb of God.

Hell in My Head caught my attention due to the deceptively melodic guitar intro at the start. There’s some experimentation in the guitar parts and briefly a change to a softer, more melodic vocal style halfway through the song. This time the melodic elements last a little longer than they did in the title track. The problem is that I’m not entirely convinced that the random changes suit the rest of the song. The transition between the two is just not as fluid as it should be. Then it seems that Narcotic Self decided to have another go at the more melodic side of metal/rock so they created Creeper, a song which is predominantly slow and melodic. At least for the most part… Then, all of a sudden, the aggressive shouting and thrashing monster re-emerges. It’s almost like the other half of the song was composed by another band. Luckily the rest of the album marks a return to good old brutal and vicious thrashing groove metal with only occasional bits of clear vocals sprinkled in to soften the blow. For example, Brainslave shows how well executed guitar work can make a song memorable for all the right reasons.

Overall, this album left me feeling a little confused. I’m not entirely sure that I understand what Narcotic Self are trying to achieve here. I would have been perfectly happy had these guys just stuck to a specific style be it thrash or groove metal but the random mid-song experimentation is very off-putting. Those bits aside ‘Cut The Chord’ should appeal to fans of Lamb of God and Machine Head.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Arise in Chaos – Terminal Cognition

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 11th May 2016 by izaforestspirit

Arise in Chaos
Terminal Cognition
Released 15th July 2016
Groove Metal/American Heavy Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

‘Terminal Cognition’ is the second album from American groove metal band Arise in Chaos. The band was formed back in 2010 and they released their debut album ‘Civilization Decay’ two years later. This latest piece of work was co-produced by David Ellefson (Megadeth) and Ahrue Luster (ex-Machine Head, Ill Nino).

As soon as the opening track Nero starts blasting it’s way through the speakers, it’s clear that this is all about brutality and aggression. Everything from the thrashing guitars to the relentless pounding of the drums has that violent and hostile feel to them. The vocals, or more accurately growls, are fairly similar to the likes of DevilDriver and Lamb of God. Come to think of it, so is the overall style and structure of the music.

The Divine – the first single, acts as a good show-piece demonstrating all the things that you can expect to hear from these guys. It’s a ferocious beast of a song that reminded me of early Machine Head, only with more thrash and melodic death metal tones in the guitars. And the barrage of guitar riffs, shouting and pummeling drums doesn’t stop there. Oh no… It’s full steam ahead all the way for the rest of the album. Even the occasional melodic intro, such as the instrumental part at the start of Violent Colors, is barely enough for the listener to take a few deep breaths before aggressive growling and thrashing guitars. Reflections caught my attention due to the slightly slower pace and the toned-down thrash metal guitar parts towards the end of the song.

Overall, ‘Terminal Cognition’ is an album that I would happily recommend to fans of DevilDriver and Lamb of God. As far as the style and genre classifications go, it’s essentially a mixture of groove metal with the brutality and aggression of thrash metal and some melodic death metal. My only problem with it is that there’s lots of similar sounding bands out there and Arise In Chaos doesn’t really offer anything dramatically new.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

New chapter for Equaleft

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 4th August 2015 by Pieni
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the last rehearsal with Veggy

Portuguese groove metal act Equaleft has parted ways with Nuno “Veggy” Cramês, as the guitarist and founding member is about to move to Brazil. Last night was his last rehearsal with the band, which ended up in a private concert/surprise farewell party with some of Equaleft’s friends and fans. Afterwards, Veggy posted on Facebook:

“Tonight was my last rehearsal with Equaleft. Soon I’ll be moving to the other side of the Atlantic, but I’ll always be connected to Inglês (singer), Mark (drummer), Malone (guitarist) & Mike (bassist), especially by the strong friendship we’ve built over the years. Together with these four people, and recently one more – André Matos (producer) – I’ve lived my best moments as a musician and accomplished many teenage dreams. In the future, I’ll keep track of the band and help them achieve all their goals. Thank you all!”

Equaleft are currently writing material for the successor of “Adapt & Survive” (read review here) as a 4-piece, but will start looking for a new 8-string guitarist soon.

www.facebook.com/equaleft

Bloodyard – Darker Rage EP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 8th June 2015 by mickbirchy

Bloodyard
Darker Rage
Black metal / groove metal
Release date: 27th June 2015
Self-release

Bloodyard are a death/groove metal band based in the North-West of England. The band consists of Donna Hurd on vocals, Nick Adamson on guitar, Dave Cowley on bass and Matty Lee on drums.  After the release of the their 2013 EP, Set To Fall they found reasonable success across the UK. Now, with their follow up EP “Darker Rage” they look to continue in their future and further their potential.  Their sound is this cool combination of groove tones, thrash rhythms and black metal style vocals.  It make for very interesting concoction. I find myself weirdly compelled by the stylistic choices of this EP. They have some great riffs and interesting ideas for songs. I’ve heard comparisons to Arch Enemy and I think that fits well enough.

The EP opens with “Epitaph” which has this really well worked riff and the whole song fits around it.  Along with a good bass groove, this song is fun and drives you to keep listening.  The vocals are well projected and powerful. I can’t say the drum work is spectacular but it does its job. This song, however, would be nothing without that excellent groove. Up next is “Sacred To None”.  Once again a solid riff and great groove.  This one clearly takes some influence from thrash metal.  The drums are well worked and frame the song nicely, and the vocals are still pretty good.  It’s around here, though, that I noticed a problem with this EP: the songs go by too quick.  Maybe that’s just me but just as I’m getting into the song, it ends.  Just as it gets interesting, I’m cut off and left wanting a little more.

Next up we have the title track “Darker Rage” This is just awesome.  Really enjoy this track.  The riff is solid and the whole song just feels rounded. One of those tracks that make you wanna just get up and headbang.  Throughout the EP, the writing is just consistent, everything is solid and it shows as the riffs and grooves are very enjoyable. The solos aren’t anything too special, but they serve the purpose fine, I have nothing against it.  Finally the last track is “Dead Relics” and it’s more of the same.  I don’t think I can add much else talking in a track-by-track sense.

So yeah, this is a pretty decent EP.  Yet, it does have its problems. The first thing you’ll probably notice is the production quality. It’s not great, everything sounds muffled and if it is mixed you couldn’t tell.  I get that not everyone has a big production budget, but yet, I’ve heard self-releases that sounds bloody amazing. So I don’t quite understand that.  Also every song on the EP follows pretty much the same structure.  Slow intro, speed into the song, have a solo, close out the song.  There’s just barely enough tweaks to make each track sound like a different song. Which to me is a little lazy and makes everything sound samey.  With an EP you should try to show off variety, I get the feeling this is a one trick pony.

To summerise, is this good? Well, yes and no.  If you’ve spent a lot of time around under the radar metal bands and you particularly like the sound of cheaper production on a metal record, then I say go get this.  That’s not to say there isn’t anything there, there’s so much potential in this band and I genuinely like the grooves and riff.  Those were the fun moments of the EP.  However, I know not everyone gets excited by a decently composed riff.  I like this EP, I think the band has a long way to go but I also think they have enough to get there.  They just need to be a bit more creative and think of a new structure for the songs.

2,5/5

Mick Birchall

New interview with Nya online

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 4th January 2014 by Nico Davidson

The UK’s upcoming melodic groove metal outfit Nya have been in the studio with Romesh Dodangoda (Funeral For A Friend, Motorhead, Kids In Glass Houses). Ed James, who is part of the Nya Street Team recently interviewed vocalist Nesh and guitarist Dan about their upcoming EP. The interview is as follows:

Ed: Since the release of the last Ep “Driving The Nails In” what’s changed?

Dan: The line-up and sound has matured a lot since the last release. Our new rhythm section featuring drummer Lars Wickett and Bassist ‘Woody‘ has created a dynamic that is like a breath of fresh air to our new material.
Nesh: Since the last EP we have spent time on our sound, the tones and textures that blend well with the music we are writing- which means our fans can expect to hear a wider sound with more layers but keeping the grit that grounds our sound.

Ed: What is it like working with Romesh and what has he brought to your Sound?

Nesh: Romesh adds insight like a 6th member of the Band, it’s a non-bias ear which works wonders for the final layers of the Recording process.

Ed: What has been your favourite part of the recording process so far?

Dan: It was extremely refreshing to be able to ‘feel’ the tone rather than have to wait for it to be re-amped and it was great to see first-hand what Romesh was able to add to the songs creatively through sounds and textures. I’d like to be able to always track this way!

Ed: What can people expect from the New EP?

Nesh: The new EP blends grit and dirty riffs with a melodic undertone and a powerful set of lungs on top to round it off.
Dan: It’s a bigger production with more dynamics and a sound that we feel represents where our head space is at right now.

Nya are due to head back into the Studio to finish work on the EP in March but in the mean time they have released the Longwave Sessions Sampler which has been mastered by Robin Schmidt at 2496 Mastering (Mumford & Sons, Don Broco, Heaven’s Basement). The sampler is available for streaming below and download.

Nya are still yet to announce the release date of the new, currently untitled,  EP but the new release is set to have the band exploding back onto the scene.

Nya online:

http://nyaofficial.com
http://facebook.com/nyaofficial

Equaleft reveal title for upcoming debut album

Posted in News with tags , , , on 25th December 2013 by Pieni

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In a 33-second teaser, Equaleft have revealed on this Christmas day the title of their upcoming debutl album (a “kind of” studio report can be seen here). “Adapt & Survive” will be released through Raising Legends and Raging Planet in the Spring of 2014.

Equaleft’s MySpace
Equaleft’s Facebook