Archive for Hard rock

Skarlett Riot – Invicta

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , , , on 6th May 2021 by Mickelrath

Skarlett Riot

Invicta

Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Metalcore

Released 7 May 2021

Via Despotz Records

It’s a special feeling when you see one of your favourite bands rise up and release an album this good. Yes, this will probably be somewhat of a biased review as I really do like this band and I can confidently say that I’m almost proud of Skarlett Riot for making this album. Invicta is their third album and it’s been quite the journey listening to them grow and develop into the band they are today. They have always had a way with lyrical themes intertwined with heavy dark tones with a good measure of catchy melodies and this record is no exception with songs that will no doubt be taking centre stage of their setlists when the world goes back to normal and gigs are once again attendable. It could have been really easy for the band to not do anything during the lockdown, however they were laser-focussed on this new project and, armed with this new album, they’ll be ready to take over the hard rock scene.

The album opens with “Breaking the Habit” and it sets the tone for what to expect throughout. Dark and heavy melodies with impactful hard-hitting lyrics. It goes full-force and doesn’t really slow down except for the magnificent crescendo that is the ballad “Into Pieces”, which for my money, is really the centre piece of the album. A soft acoustic intro that builds into a solid hard rock ballad that really caught me off guard but I really enjoy listening to it. While listening to this, I found myself relating to a lot of the lyrics on here. Skarlett Riot work their magic with the lyrics. I especially like the dark lyrics in “Black Cloud” which perfectly sums up how depression and anxiety feels, it really hit me hard and the vocal performance really sells it to you with a lot of conviction and passion. 

The production absolutely packs that extra punch. The big difference on this record is the addition of guttural vocal work, which has never really been in Skarlett Riot’s previous work. Thanks to new bassist, Tim Chambers. He really works off of Chloe’s vocal work and complements it with big bassy sounding guttural vocals that really gives this album so much more of an edge. The guitar riffs are excellent and create a solid framework for the songs. Then you have the drums which feel so punchy on this release. The drum-fills are well worked and they add so much depth to the overall sound.

Okay, this was an outright advertisement for the album rather than a review. Yeah, it goes without saying that I recommend this album. It’s more Skarlett Riot with more of a punch and the new addition of the vocal work is so welcome in the band’s sound. Just an excellent listen and one already in my top ten albums for 2021

10/10

Mick Birchall

Rob Zombie – The Lunar Infection Kool Aid Conspiracy

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 17th March 2021 by izaforestspirit

Rob Zombie
The Lunar Infection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy
Released 12th March 2021
Hard Rock /Heavy Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

You got to hand it to Rob Zombie when it comes to coming up with bizarre-sounding album titles. Five years ago the hard rock musician released an album with the one of the longest titles ever ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’. Luckily this new one has a slightly shorter title but it is no less crazy – ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’.

Sadly this is one of those cases where even after several listens I cannot get my head around this album. I really tried to like it and I hope that it would grow on me after a while. There are a few good heavy metal songs such as The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt Of Preservation & Superstition) and The Eternal Struggles Of The Howling Man and Shadow of The Cemetery Man. Then there’s the ultimate evil hellbilly circus track called 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks & A One-Way Ticket On The Ghost Train delivering a highly amusing mishmash of country music and heavy metal.

So that was the good part. Now for the bad parts. There are way too many filler tracks. The instrumentals such as ‘The Much Talked of Metamorphosis’ seem a little out of place on here. I fail to see the point of having several interlude tracks lasting less than a minute. The style is a total mishmash of genres too. Oh and don’t even get me started on the lyrics. Seriously, I know that Rob Zombie is hardly a lyrical genius but even he can come up with better than “smoke your grass and shake your ass” and “the witch is sliding up the broom.”

In all honesty I expected better after a five year wait. There are a handful of good tracks on here but not enough to make this album worthwhile. If you were expecting another solid Rob Zombie album like ‘Sinister Urge’ or ‘Hellbilly Deluxe’ then prepare to be disappointed.

5/10
Iza Raittila

Bloody News Online Festival streaming this month

Posted in Festival, Live, News with tags , , , , , on 9th March 2021 by izaforestspirit

Bloody News Metal Magazine have once again teamed up with GlobMetal Promotions to bring you the second edition of Bloody News Online Fest – Spring Madness. This will be a live stream taking place on 26th March 2021 and it will be available for free from their website.

Here is the line-up:
Running Bot
Arhat
Termination Central
ANGER DOSE
Steel Velvet
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Avoid Humanity
Gwendydd
Horror Dance Squad
Devine Defilement
Beyond Frequencies

No photo description available.



For more details go to: https://bloodynews.ro/en/

https://www.facebook.com/events/760054691299835/



Ricky Warwick – When Life Was Hard & Fast

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 16th February 2021 by Pieni

Ricky Warwick
“When Life Was Hard & Fast”
Rock
Release: 19th February 2021
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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Ricky Warwick’s solo career has been a straightforward rock ride and this “When Life Was Hard & Fast” is probably the most genuine in such essence. He invited some friends over, some well-known names in the scene, but the fact that you don’t see “feat. Rockstar X” in any of the titles proves how those invitations weren’t a marketing stunt; just a bunch of buddies celebrating good ol’ rock ‘n’roll. The opening and title-track, for instance. A catchy, spirited tune where Def LeppardJoe Elliott’s crystal voice contrasts perfectly with Warwick’s raspy pitch in the chorus. Or how Andy Taylor (yes, that legend who used to play in Duran Duran) produces a mean guitar solo in the political vent “I’d Rather Be Hit”. Thunder’s Luke Morley also plays a sharp solo on “You Don’t Love Me”, but I’m personally more hooked on the groovy, smooth rhythm provided by the bass on this song.

The Mink Deville cover of “Gunslinger” is pretty loyal to the original but with all the perks of a nowadays recording, meaning it sounds more refined but keeps all the rock’n’roll attitude of the seventies. So it’s kinda funny to talk about “Clown Of Misery” now, as in order to preserve its candid acoustic nature they stuck to the demo version and it sounds like you’re listening to it on an old radio transistor. But it’s “Time Don’t Seem To Matter” that really shows you the graceful side of rock – also acoustic, with some delicate samples in the background and then an electric solo mirrors the chorus modulation sung by Warwick and his youngest daughter Pepper (whom the song was written for).

All the brisk and snappy traits on this record prove how honest Warwick is when he says “rock’n’roll ain’t dead – it’s just lost in its mystery”.

7,5/10

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Battering Ram release new single

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 19th January 2021 by izaforestspirit

It’s been almost a year since their debut Ep came out. Now Swedish hard rock band Battering Ram are ready to present some new music. The new single is called ‘Down’ and it is out on Spotify.

Image may contain: text that says "BATTERING RAM BR-21 DOWN"

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

http://battering-ram.com/

Nox Rocks II Lucia Metal Party livestream this weekend

Posted in Gig, Misc., News with tags , , , , , , , , on 8th December 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Swedish broadcasting media & production company Nox Rocks Live Events have teamed up with Stagedip, King2Music Records and Kingart Music Management to bring you a unique live stream experience called Nox Rocks II Lucia Metal Party. The event will be streamed worldwide live via the Nox Rocks website on 12th December – 13th December 2020 (Lucia Night) and it is scheduled to run for a grand total of 6 hours, 6 minutes and six seconds.

The line-up features a number of well renowned Swedish hard rock and metal artists including Europe, Hammerfall, Therion along with international artists such as King Diamond, Pretty Maids, Rainbow, Manowar and many others.

Italian Trulli

For tickets and more information visit: http://www.noxrocks.nu/
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/495643994747327

Battering Ram release new single

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 8th November 2020 by izaforestspirit

Swedish hard rockers Battering Ram have recently released their new single ‘Pieces’ on Spotify. ‘Pieces’ is the second single from their self titled debut album which came out back in January this year. Here is the cover:

The band are relatively new to the hard rock and metal scene and yet they have already made a name for themselves, growing in popularity thanks to streaming platforms. Their sound has been likened to that of Mustasch and Corroded.

Check out ‘Pisces’ on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5ZE8smCT2oR50Kq9yLZ3GW?si=vJjXVibATMGmucX9qNtcwQ

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/BatteringRamOfficial/

Joe Bouchard – Strange Legends

Posted in Review with tags , on 8th September 2020 by izaforestspirit

Joe Bouchard
Strange Legends
Released 31st July 2020
Hard Rock
Released via Deko Entertainment

‘Strange Legends’ is the latest solo album from the American hard rock artist Joe Bouchard. He is best known as one of the founding members of Blue Öyster Cult. This record features drummer Mickey Curry (Alice Cooper, Bryan Adams) along with lyrical contributions from the the sci-fi writer John Shirley, co-screenwriter for the movie ‘The Crow’.

I have to admit that I’m not too well versed when it comes to Blue Öyster Cult. I am mostly familiar with just two of their songs – ‘Don’t Feat The Reaper’ and ‘Astronomy’ thanks to the Metallica cover. Despite this I decided to give the album a go… So, what we have here are eleven tracks of melodic and uplifting hard rock. The pace is varied but generally speaking the more energetic tracks are mostly in the first half of the record, then Mr. Bouchard mellows things down with a few ballads towards the end.

I enjoyed the guitar parts on African Queen and the chorus is pretty good too. It’s catchy, almost to the point where you are tempted to swing along to the guitar tunes. Speaking of guitars, if you like like jazz style guitar work then you should definitely check out the instrumental Racing Thru The Desert. The guitar riffs are very well done, but personally I’m not so keen on the trumpet noise on the background. Perhaps a little too much like a jazz jamming session for my liking. She’s a Legend is another standout track with a memorable chorus. The overall tone is a little darker thanks to the creepy synthesizer sound in the background. That the doesn’t make the track any less catchy than the others on the album, though. In many ways that song reminded me of some of Blue Öyster Cult’s best known hits.

In summary, ‘Strange Legends’ is a catchy, guitar-driven hard rock album. I enjoyed it despite my limited knowledge of Blue Öyster Cult and Joe Bouchard’s solo work. If you are a fan of Blue Öyster Cult, the chances are that you already have this record. I reckon that most hard rock fans will like it too.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Valkyrian Music

Orange Goblin – Rough & Ready, Live & Loud… 25 Years of British Rock and Heavy Metal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 10th May 2020 by Mickelrath

Orange Goblin
Rough & Ready, Live & Loud
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Stoner Rock
Released: 1st May 2020
via Orange Goblin Music / Rise Above Records

It’s hard to put into words how much I love the band Orange Goblin and how much their music reached me. Let me take you back to 2012 and the release of their album A Eulogy For The Damned. This was an album that immediately captured my consciousness and reached me on a level that I don’t think many metal bands have done. It wasn’t an overly complex record from a musical standpoint.  It adhered to a standard, verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure with riffs to carry the general tune of the song and they used some brilliant guitar work to give their music some extra life. After listening to that album I was immediately fascinated with them, their riffs always caught me, hook line and sinker and I hunted down their previous albums to see if they gave the same feeling. Very luckily, they did. In particular Thieving from the House of God, which still to this day is one of my all-time favourite metal albums.

Once I had discovered their music I made it a mission to see them live in concert. I got my chance time and time again as Orange Goblin are touring machines, I’ve managed to watch them live at least 12 times now. Now, how do I describe their live shows? They’re one of the most charismatic and fun bands to watch live. They just have this imposing presence to their shows, it’s something you can really feel as an audience member, no matter how many times I see them perform I still get chills when they get certain parts of their sets. There are some staple tunes that the band will just play and the crowd goes nuts, like “Saruman’s Wish” and “Some You Win, Some You Lose”, when they hit those songs you can feel the crowd twist and shift and come to life. It’s such an awesome feeling. They do such a good job of making a set-list that will keep their fans happy. I mean all bands have to release new material and I think deciding what old songs to keep and what new songs to add is an art form unto itself. They always seem to get that balance of rocking the old school tunes and promoting the new material. So, it’s great to hear a set-list unfold itself over the course of a night.

Now they have been rocking for 25 solid years, Orange Goblin wanted to do something for the fans to celebrate this milestone in their career. However, with the UK being in lock-down due to the world health crisis at the time of writing this review, it wasn’t like they could just hit the road at their leisure. So, the next best thing was to give their fans a live album. Rough & Ready, Live & Loud is a collection of live recordings from their gigs. The songs were taken from their sets at Sylak Open Air Festival 2016, KOKO in London 2016 and at the Fuzz Club in Athens in 2019. It’s a well-rounded album with lots of great songs to rock out to. It also gives some love to some of their, let’s say underrated, classics like “Time Traveling Blues” and “Made of Rats”. So in that sense, it’s not a greatest hits album per se, more of a collection to give the listener the feeling of hearing the band live and enjoying the show. Which is cool and a good way to put their stamp on 25 years as a band. Also, included with the album on Bandcamp is a digital booklet filled with fan-submitted memories of the band. Which made this feel like an all-inclusive experience with their fans. In addition to this the Bandcamp edition of the album features the extra track of “Your World Will Hate This” from the album Coup de Grace. Which is a pretty damn good cap on the album. I mean it’s a short tune but it has that fierce energy and packs that little extra punch.

Although I can’t pretend that I have been a fan since the start (you know since I was only three years old when they started, so the only music I liked was the intro to Thomas the Tank Engine). I feel like they were definitely a cornerstone in developing my taste in heavy metal and hard rock. Still to this day I gravitate to music with heavy riffs and fuzzy solos more than any other styling. Their live shows have always been something to look forward to for me because I know they’re going to give it their all and they enjoy every moment of being on stage. This was a nice treat as a fan of the band and something that I’ve enjoyed listening to. So… here’s to 25 years of Orange Goblin and hopefully another 25 years of hard rock and heavy metal.

10/10

Mick Birchall

Get the album for yourself here – https://orangegoblinofficial.bandcamp.com

Gorilla Riot – Peach

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 14th February 2020 by Mickelrath

Gorilla Riot

Peach

Southern Rock, Groove Rock

Released 31st January 2020

via Off Yer Rocka Recordings

I have been following this band for a while now. If you are from Manchester then you should know who these guys are. Gorilla Riot are the premier southern rock band of the northwest. They have been tearing up the underground rock scene in the UK for a while playing some of the biggest festivals and headlining venues around the country. I have been interested in their music for a while and was intrigued to get this album. Peach is the first full-length album from the band. I have to say I am pretty pleased with the outcome and if you have never heard of these guys before, then this is the time to get into their music.

The album is filled with all sorts of riff-rock goodness including tight grooves and a real old-school feel. They have the groovy rhythms of the ’70s infused with the style, flair and production of modern hard rock. If you’re into the likes of Sturgill Simpson or Steve Earle then this is something right up your alley. There’s that real down ‘n’ dirty hard rock with burning passion and soul.  The production just feels massive with a lot of depth to the music. You can really feel the impact of the three guitars in the band with sharp and concise riffs, blistering solos and co-ordinated harmonies. The bass adds this massive bottom to the songs and the drum work packs a punch as it forms the framework of each song.

Saying all of that, I could definitely understand how this kind of music is not everyone’s cup of tea. The twangy blues rhythm is really slow-paced and when listening to the album all the way through. It never really feels like it picks up with every song hitting the same groove, or at least it feels like it. It could have done with an acoustic country-style ballad or a high octane super-charged track. Just something to break up the album and give it some more flavour. It’s not that any of the songs are bad, I just think it needed some other style of rock to give the band some more character and to show they can be more versatile.

I quite liked this album. I think it does more than enough to entertain. It’s not going to be to everyone’s liking and that’s fine. I think the band knows their audience and they’re not out to please everybody. They’ll keep right on trucking and I think that’s fair. They’re a really fun band to watch live and their music pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a solid album and definitely worth a listen.

7/10

Mick Birchall

Game Zero – WAR – We Are Right

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 4th February 2020 by izaforestspirit

Game Zero
W.A.R. – We Are Right
Released 28th February 2020
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Released via Art Gates Records
GAME ZERO - W.A.R. - We Are Right

’W.A.R. – We Are Right’ is the second album from the Italian hard rock band Game Zero. The group was founded in 2013 by vocalist Mark Right and guitarist Alexincubus (ex- Theatres des Vampires). Their debut album ‘Rise’ came out in 2015. Since then they have had some successful tours, supporting bands such as Sabaton, Amorphis and Equilibrium.

First up is the title track, an energetic rock anthem packed with powerful vocals and lively-sounding, uplifting guitar riffs. So far so good… One thing that I’m not so keen on here are the stop-start, nu-metal-styled guitar parts. In certain songs such as Goodbye they seem to disrupt the flow of the music. The same track also features an acoustic guitar part towards the end, which also seems a little out of place. Luckily the chorus is good enough for the listener to forget about the chaotic structure. Is it just me or does anyone else think that Mark Right sounds a bit like Dave Mustaine from Megadeth on here? I mean that as a compliment.

I wasn’t expecting a Simple Minds cover but I have to admit that Game Zero’s take on Don’t You Forget About Me works pretty well. I also liked the groove guitar style guitar work on You Choke Me, one of the heavier, more metal-sounding tracks on here. I was quite surprised by the changes in pace on the closing song Full of Nothing. After an aggressive start, they really mellow things down midway through the track, only to pick up the pace later on.

Overall, ‘W.A.R. -We Are Right’ takes a few listens to get into. Even after a few listens, I have mixed feelings about it. There are a few catchy hard rock songs on here but the overall structure seems a little disjointed at times. It’s almost like they had a bit too many ideas and tried to squeeze them all into one album.

6/10

Iza Raittila

Battering Ram – Battering Ram

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 26th January 2020 by Mickelrath

Battering Ram
Battering Ram
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Released: 24 January 2020
 Self Released

It’s always fun when a band immediately catches your attention. The Swedish rockers, Battering Ram have been building some momentum since 2017 and now are ready to strike with their debut self-titled album. The band consists of Johan Hallström on vocals, Jonas Edmark on guitar, Tony Trust on drums and Jocke Ståhl on bass. I have been really enjoying listening to this album, it gives me vibes of early 90’s hard rock or early 2000’s riff-rock. I think their sound is heavy enough to get the purist-headbangers listening but broad sounding enough that they could reach a much larger audience of casual rock listeners.

The tight delivery and commanding energy hits hard with well crafted and memorable riffs. Jonas on vocals gives a great performance and sings with passion as the instruments really support him. The electrifying guitar solos and the great rhythm work are a simple joy to listen to. They’re not reinventing the wheel, a lot of what their doing is pretty standard fare for hard rock. Yet, their music just gets you pumped in the right way with booming bass and drums, well-performed melodies and well-executed harmonies. The best thing about their music is its simplicity. Standard song-writing structures, a focus on big hooks and keeping the whole record feeling well-paced. It kept my attention all the way through and never had any real down moments.

There isn’t much more to really say about this record. It’s good and I think that Battering Ram would make a great addition to any gig or festival lineup. These are songs that will get a crowd moving and singing. Songs like “Chase The Fire”, “Stronger Forever” and “Scared For My Life” are definite hits in my eyes. Their focus on tight musicianship and a bold sound suit them well. They are able to craft some big sounds with great writing. They have a great sense of groove and rhythm that makes then very enjoyable to listen to. It’s the kind of band you see on a Friday night with a beer in hand and headbang all the way through their set. Great album and I look forward to more from them.

8/10

Mick Birchall

Vandallus – Outbreak

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 8th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Vandallus
Outbreak
Released 12 December 2019
Hard Rock/Heavy Metal
Released via Mercinary Records


’Outbreak’ is the latest album from the American hard rock band Vandallus. The band has been around since 2015 and it features several members from the power metal group Eternal Legacy. This is my first encounter with Vandallus so I had no idea of what to expect. The amusing looking cover art would suggest anything from heavy metal to sleaze rock via classic rock. Well, there is only one way to find out…

If hard rock is your thing, you are in for a treat. There is a lot to like on here; from the catchy vocals, memorable choruses to the well timed and skillfully executed guitar harmonies. I particularly enjoyed the playful guitar tunes on Not Alone. It sounds very uplifting and puts the listener in a good mood. Then there is the slightly slower, melodic Bang The City Down– another enjoyable hard rock tune and Shotgun Lady with a catchy chorus and good, bluesy guitar work. Once again the guys sound like that they are having a good time in the studio.

Many of the songs sound like they been inspired by old school hard rock from the 80s. As far as the structure goes, this album is pretty straightforward and it is fairly easy to get into. Like the guy on the front cover, sometimes you just need to sit back and enjoy the ride. Motorbikes are not really my thing but I do like hard rock and heavy metal.

Overall, I quite enjoyed listening to ‘Outbreak’. It is definitely one of the more memorable hard rock albums I have heard this year.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Metallica live in Hämeenlinna

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 17th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bokassa, Ghost, Metallica
Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto, Hämeenlinna, Finland
16th July 2019

Metallica, it’s been a while… The last time I was at a Metallica show was back in 2007 when I still lived in The U.K. They were and, in many ways, still are one of my favourite bands. I have always hoped that some day I will get to see them live again and this year I finally got that opportunity. This was one of the main events that I was looking forward to. This time the venue was Kantolan Tapahtumapuisto (Kantola Event Park) near the city centre of Hämeenlinna. I do not normally travel to Hämeenlinna and this was my very first time at the venue so I planned my trip well in advance.

Everything went as planned. The one thing that I cannot predict too well however is the weather. It was sunny when I arrived, then there was some heavy rain and thunder just I approached to the entrance. Luckily it did not last long and it had mostly cleared up by the time Bokassa took to the stage. I’m not really into stoner-punk but I have to admit that they were entertaining to watch. It was far more energetic than your average stoner rock, so not a bad start to the night. 3/5

I never really understood the hype surrounding the Swedish hard rock band Ghost. I keep hearing their songs on the radio and seeing their videos on Youtube. Yet I find it hard to fathom why they are so well regarded. I mean if you ignore the elaborate outfits and the imagery, the music itself is good but nothing ground-breaking. This was the first time that I have seen them live and I actually liked the performance. Their singer, Cardinal Copia, as he now calls himself, has a very charismatic stage presence. 4/5

Then it was time for the main event. The Metallica show was absolutely spectacular. They played most of the classic hits including: ‘Master of Puppets’, ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘One’, For Whom The Bell Tolls’, ‘Nothing Else Matters’, ‘Seek and Destroy’. The set also featured some songs from the mid-career period and several from the latest release ‘Hardwired to Self-Destruct’. There was pyrotechnics, lots of visual displays and even fireworks at the end. One of my favourite moments was the Rob and Kirk guitar medley when the performed a cover a Finnish rock classic – Popeda’s ‘Kuuma Kesä’. I could have done without ‘Frantic’ from the dreaded ‘St. Anger’ album and perhaps played more songs from ‘Death Magnetic’ instead, but that is the only extremely minor fault with what was otherwise a flawless performance. 6/5

Overall, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to see Metallica live again. Twelve years is a very long time to wait but it was totally worth it. The show was an experience that I will cherish for many years to come.

Iza Raittila

King Zebra – King Zebra EP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 6th May 2019 by Mickelrath

King Zebra

King Zebra EP

Hard Rock, Glam Rock

Released: 22 March 2019

Self Released

Right from the first notes of this EP, I knew I was going to like this one. I mean, this is the sound I grew up on, pure hard rock with lots of energy and pep. Swiss hard rockers, King Zebra have been tearing up the European rock scene as of late. Opening for awesome bands like The Dead Daisies, The New Roses and Crystal Ball just to name a few. Armed with their new lead vocalist Eric St Michaels (formally of the band China) and this new self-titled EP, they are setting out to conquer. The EP can really be divided into two pieces, firstly the three songs they released last year and the two new songs they’ve released for this EP. Putting it all together makes for an enjoyable listening experience.

The one thing I will say about this EP is that it has a lot of energy. I mean, it’s the kind of music that makes you want to get up and move. The guitar work is fast and loose and the rhythm sections are tight. The grooves are excellent and the riffs really land a hit every time they come in. The band just feel like a forceful presence at all times. Eric St Michaels is a great vocalist and he sounds amazing here. He’s mixed in really well to the tunes. His vocal performance is really impressive, with a powerful voice and a tonne of charisma he’s able to keep you invested in the songs and adds that extra punch to the hooks. The production is great and easy for any listener to get into and enjoy.

There really isn’t anything to say beyond this. I mean, if you like your 80’s glam rock then this will definitely fill a hole for new material to listen to. It’s an entertaining listen, to say the least. With songs about the general rock topics and production that’s clean enough to get a general audience but edgy enough that rock fan won’t turn it off either. I like the EP, it’s not my favourite release of the year, as good as it sounds and as fun as it is to listen to, it’s just an okay release. Not bad but not something that I have to listen to again and again. It will be one of those EP’s where if it’s on I’ll keep listening but not one I will go out of my way to listen to.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

Tara Lynch – Evil Enough

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 10th April 2019 by izaforestspirit

Tara Lynch
Evil Enough
Released 1st March 2019
Heavy Metal/Hard Rock
Released via Cargo Records

Image result for tara lynch evil enough

Evil Enough’ is the debut album from the American heavy metal singer and multi-instrumentalist Tara Lynch. The album features several guest performances from a wide variety of metal and rock musicians including the following: Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath), Phil Soussan (Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol), Glen Sobel (Alice Cooper) and many others.

This is a very guitar-focused album. As far as the genres go, I would call this classic heavy metal with hints of hard rock. Most of the songs feature great guitar work and each of the guest musicians is given a chance to shine. Yet the real star here is of course Tara Lynch herself. I can see how she earned the nickname “Gui-Tara!”. Her guitar skills are nothing short of impressive and she has a good voice too. Her vocal style reminded me a little of Doro Pesch.

Antidote caught my attention due to powerful vocals and excellent guitar work. It also acts as a means to showcase Tara Lynch’s vocal range. There is a lot of emotion audible in her vocal performance which is great to hear. It’s pretty clear why this song was chosen as the first single from the album. Kringeworthy, one of the more melodic songs on here, also deserves a mention. It starts off slow, melodic and ballad-like before picking up the pace towards the end. Once again the guitar work is impeccable and the vocals work well with the music. Then there are the instrumental Gui-Tara Rises and Enigmatic being the most guitar-centered tracks on here with no shortage of memorable riffs and solos.

Overall, there is a lot to like on ‘Evil Enough’ especially if you are a fan of guitar-focused heavy metal. I think that hard rock fans will enjoy it too.

4/5

Iza Raittila



The Raven Age – Conspiracy

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 27th March 2019 by Paul Macmillan

The Raven Age

Conspiracy

Hard rock/metal

Released March 8th 2019

Self-released

This is an interesting release for one major reason; it doesn’t fit neatly into a specific sub-genre of either rock or metal. Kicking off with an orchestral piece, which comes across like a meandering fantasy adventure film soundtrack, could easily give you a false impression of what follows on Conspiracy. This is, however, the second long-player from Londoners, The Raven Age, so if you’re familiar with predecessor, Darkness Will Rise, you might be more prepared than others. Regardless, they are still a difficult prospect to pigeonhole.

Whatever they are, it seems to be working for them. Their mass-appeal, melodic metal has already received rave reviews from Kerrang, Metal Hammer, and Powerplay magazines, to name a few of the bigger hitters. It’s easy to see why. These accessible tunes come from the shared house of Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, and, maybe at the rough edges, In Flames. There’s certainly a large, existing market for that.

While there are immediate metal tinges, this release leans more to the classic end of that spectrum much of the time, overlapping into old-school hard rock, despite the overall contemporary feel. The clean, powerful singing throughout is one of the stand-out features to represent that. Heck, I think they might have even half-borrowed a vocal melody from Phil Collins’ Land Of Confusion at one point. It’s catchy and effective, and one of the most memorable parts of their sound.

Perhaps one of the reasons this band are currently picking up so much speed, and in just a few years a few years of existence, is that not many others are currently taking this approach. If you like your heavy not so heavy, this might just tickle your fancy. However, if something more extreme is your go-to, it ain’t gonna tick your boxes. Either way, it’s worth a spin, just to find out.

3.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Alestorm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bootyard Bandits, Skálmöld, Alestorm
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
3rd March 2019

Alestorm… It’s been a while. Nine years to be exact. The last time I saw these guys live was in 2010 when they supported Sabaton. I was also at their show at Wacken Open Air in 2008. They have always been one of those bands that I enjoy watching live but I have never actually listened to any of their albums in full. I might play the odd song or video but that is all. They are a party band that is fun to watch live while enjoying a nice cold beer. This was their first headlining show in Finland and it was sold out.

First up was a British band called Bootyard Bandits. These guys clearly like all things Wild West ranging from cowboy hats, country music to banjos. I’m not sure how to describe their style – “comedy country rock?”, hard rock…They were definitely fun to watch. I especially enjoyed the heavy metal banjo solo featuring a cover of AC DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and other hard rock classics. 4/5

Next up was an Icelandic Viking folk metal band called Skálmöld. Their show was a bit more serious but still good. They sound like a mixture of Týr and Falkenbach. All their songs are in their native Icelandic. Good vocals and some of the songs were catchy but I could have done without the Týr-style progressive guitar parts. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the headliners. When Alestorm took to the stage I found myself on the edge of a mosh-pit. The crowd really went wild during the show. There was everything from the usual head-banging, air guitar to rowing inside the mosh-pit during one of the slow songs. The Scottish pirates played some new material including ‘Mexico’ along with some old hits such as ‘‘Keelhauled’, Captain Morgan’s Revenge’, ‘Drink’ and a cover of ‘Wolves of The Sea’. 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time and I enjoyed all of the performances. Bootyard Bandits were better than I expected. Skálmöld had a few memorable moments. Alestorm were entertaining as always. Pirate metal is fun to watch, just do not take it too seriously.

Iza Raittila

Corroded – Bitter

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

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

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