Archive for Heavy Metal

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

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/

Garagedays – Something Black

Posted in Review with tags , , on 17th December 2020 by izaforestspirit

Garagedays
Something Black
Released 13th November 2020
Heavy Metal
Released via El Puerto Records

Garagedays - Something Black

‘Something Black’ is the new album from the Austrian heavy metal band Garagedays. The band was created back in 2005 by vocalist and rhythm guitarist Marco Kern. In the past they have supported bands such as Exodus, Grave Digger, Rotting Christ and U.D.O. This release was mixed and mastered by Andy Laroque who is known from his work with King Diamond. The music style is similar to that of Metallica and Motörhead.

We’re off to a good start with Back In Line, a guitar-centric and energetic heavy metal song filled with catchy riff work. I can understand why this has been compared to Metallica. Both the guitar styles and to a lesser extent the vocals are similar to Metallica’s mid-career work, particularly the black album and ‘Reload’. Then there is thrash metal -style title track with the most memorable chorus and some of the most lively, thunderous guitar passages on the album. This one is definitely for headbanging. Some of the songs have a hint of groove in the guitar tones, especially audible on tracks such as And Again.

They maintain the same tone and style for the majority of the record with the notable exceptions of the ballads My Own Way and To My Soul. In these two the pace slows down and there is a greater emphasis on the melodic vocals. While these are not my favorite tracks on here, they are not out of place and I can see why they deserve a spot on the album.

In summary, ‘Something Black’ is an enjoyable heavy metal album. The style is nothing groundbreaking or new but it demonstrates that Garagedays are skilled musicians who know how to produce memorable songs.

7/10

Iza Raittila

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/

The Lightbringer of Sweden – Rise of The Beast

Posted in Review with tags , , on 18th August 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Lightbringer of Sweden
Rise of The Beast
Released 15th July 2020
Power Metal
Self-Released

The Lightbringer of Sweden - Rise of the Beast

’Rise of The Beast’ is the debut album from the power metal band The Lightbringer of Sweden. As the band name suggests, the group hail from Sweden and they have been around since 2017. The line-up includes the German vocalist Herbie Langhans (also of Firewind, Beyond The Bridge and Avantasia live).

Now, when it comes to Swedish power metal the first name that always pops into my head is Sabaton. I can honestly say that I would struggle to name any others, except for Civil War which comprises several former Sabaton members. It’s good to know that there is more to the Swedish power metal scene than just these two bands. For starters The Lightbringer of Sweden sound nothing like their Falun-based brethren. There are no keyboards and Langhans’s vocal style reminds me of Andi Deris of Helloween.

I’m not sure what to make of the intro track ‘The Moon’… Church bells, something burning in background and the narrator’s voice informing you that the beast known as The Lightbringer is here to stay. Good to know, moving swiftly on. What follows is some fairly enjoyable melodic power metal complete with crunchy guitar, good drum work and powerful vocals. What’s not to like? The tempo varies from the mid-paced catchy songs such as Fallen Angels to the slower, ballad-esque title track. One of the highlights for me is ‘Skeletor’, probably my favorite track on here despite the somewhat cheesy lyrics. The chorus is super catchy, the raspy vocals are full of emotion and very well executed and the guitar work is top notch. I also enjoyed Into The Night, another catchy power metal tune. I’m not going to do a track-by-track review, I like some tracks more than others but, generally speaking there are not too many filler songs on here.

Overall, I enjoyed ‘Rise of The Beast’. This is one of the better power metal albums I’ve heard this year. As far as the genre goes, The Lightbringer of Sweden aren’t exactly re-inventing the wheel, but they are good at what they do. If they continue along the same path they will have a bright future ahead of them.

8/10

Iza Raittila

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

Bloodyard – Orchard of Corpses

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

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

Kill Ritual – The Opaque And The Divine

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , on 18th April 2020 by izaforestspirit

Kill Ritual
The Opaque And The Divine
Released 27th March 2020
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal
Released via Dissonance Productions

Kill Ritual - The Opaque and the Divine

‘The Opaque And The Divine’ is the latest album from the American thrash metal band Kill Ritual. The band was set up a decade ago and they have gone through a number of line-up changes. This is their first album with new vocalist Chalice Blood a.k.a Brian Betterton (also of Dirt and Enchanter).

I was expecting this to be a straightforward old-school thrash metal album. It is that to some extent, but a little bit more complicated. It’s very guitar-driven and some of the songs have that aggressive thrash metal feel such as the opener Rest In Pain and World Gone Mad. In addition to these, there are songs which take on a more melodic tone such as Praise The Dead with acoustic guitars and ballad-style vocals in the intro. Yet do not let the intro fool you, this is very much in the thrash metal category; the guitar work bears a lot of resemblance to bands like Merciful Fate.

Veil of the Betrayer stands out as the longest, most complex and the only progressive type song on here. Personally I found it a little too ponderous at times but luckily it got better towards the end once they picked up the pace.

In summary, ‘The Opaque And The Divine’ turned out to be different than what I expected. The guitar work is good enough to please any thrash metal fan. There is enough variety to keep the listener interested until the end. I like some tracks more than others but it was a good effort overall.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Prime Creation announce UK Tour in April 2020

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 4th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Swedish power metal band Prime Creation will be coming to British shores this spring.

Here is the schedule:

April 9th – Bannermans Bar, Edinburgh, Scotland, The UK
April 10th – Alma Inn, Bolton, The UK
April 11th – Sanctuary Burnley, Burnley, The UK
April 12th – The County Music Bar, Chesterfield, The UK

The tour follows the release of the band’s second album ‘Tears of Rage’, which came out last year.

For more information go to:
https://www.facebook.com/primecreationofficial
https://primecreationband.com/

 

Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , on 22nd February 2020 by izaforestspirit

Ozzy Osbourne
Ordinary Man
Released 21st February 2020
Heavy Metal
Released via Sony Music

Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man

The past few years have not been easy for the legendary heavy metal front-man Ozzy Osbourne. He has suffered from various health problems and injuries forcing him to postpone and cancel tours but he has managed to vent all that frustration and anguish into his latest studio effort – ‘Ordinary Man’. It is his first full-length album since 2010’s ‘Scream’. I have to admit that I had a little bit of catching up to do prior to listening to this. I’m a big fan of the old Ozzy albums, especially ‘No More Tears’, but the last album of his that I remember was ‘Down To Earth’. Luckily I managed to get hold of the ‘Memoirs of A Madman’ compilation to check out the stuff I missed.

So now that I’ve caught up on the past releases, it’s time to tune in to his latest opus… Straight to Hell marks a good start to the album, treating the listeners to an energetic and catchy heavy metal song. The guitars have playful, rocking feel to them, and Ozzy’s vocals work well with the music. So far so good. Then we get to the title track, which even after several listens, I still have mixed feelings about. It’s not so much that it’s a ballad. I have no issue with ballads. Ozzy has done a few good ones in the past including ‘Mama, I’m Coming Home’ and ‘Dreamer’. But this? I mean, the song itself is decent. I like the Beatles-style melody and Ozzy’s emotional vocals. But what the hell possessed him to to sink as low as to do a duet with Elton John? Seriously this is almost as bad as when Metallica decided to collaborate with Lou Reed. No! Just no.

Luckily the next track Under The Graveyard works much better. Now that’s the type of Ozzy song that I was hoping to hear. It reminds me of his earlier works and it is easily my favorite track on here. I also enjoyed It’s A Raid featuring Post Malone – another energetic and uplifting heavy metal song. Then the high descends into the low with the album drawing to a close with Take What I Want (feat. Post Malone & Travi$ Scott). Did I ever mention how much I hate rap and hip-hop? There is not a single good thing I can say about that song and vocals sound atrocious. Must skip. Oh wait! That was the final track!!

In summary I am a little disappointed with how this album turned out. There are a handful good tracks on here, about three of which I would happily play again. The rest range from the mediocre to the downright awful. I think that it would have been better without some of the collaborations. I really hope that this will not be his last album because Ozzy can do better.

5/10

Iza Raittila

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

Sepultura – Quadra

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 3rd February 2020 by Mickelrath

Sepultura

Quadra

Thrash Metal, Groove Metal

Released: 7th February 2020

via Nuclear Blast Records

The Brazillian purveyors of heavy-ass thrash metal return to the limelight in 2020. I’ve been excited for this album for quite some time now. I have always appreciated Sepultura. They are by far my favourite thrash metal band. Their unique blend of groovy riffs and sharp, hard-hitting rhythms make them a true powerhouse of a band. The way they inject their music with interesting ideas and concepts always makes them an enjoyable act to listen to. They are now back with their fifteenth record, Quadra, their follow up to 2017’s Machine Messiah. I have to say that this album is quite good.

Once again, this album was produced in Sweden with Jens Bogren at the helm. As with the previous record, there’s some really great production here. Especially considering the concept of the album. The album itself is based on numerology, the number four and its significance as depicted on Quadrivium (the four subjects, or arts namely arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy). So, as you could probably tell this is quite a heavy-handed record. The album is broken into different pieces and each part is a representation of the different teachings of Quadrivium. Making this an album that you can listen to one so many different levels. It’s an album that I have been playing all week and I am still hearing it in new ways.

I love the way this album grooves. The bass and rhythm work is outstanding with lots of great moments throughout the album that just caught me and I was engrossed for a while just listening to certain parts of the record. From the clever acoustic moments to the slower ballads type moments and, of course, the all-out brutal heavy moments. Sepultura just knows how to keep a listener’s interest for hours on end.  Also, you have to appreciate the amazing guitar work of Andreas Kisser. He is simply incredible on the album bringing the energy where needed but also giving moments of the atmosphere. All of that is backing the powerful performance of Derrick Green, who really brings it on this record and sounds like he’s having fun with the record.

An absolute powerhouse of an album. A well-thought-out concept, excellent performances and great production… It all adds up to something powerful that can keep hardcore fans and casual listeners interested for a while. I genuinely enjoyed this album and I know it’s early but this is one of the best records of the year so far.

10/10

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

Ozzy Osbourne postpones European Tour again

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 10th October 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bad news for Ozzy Osbourne fans… If you were planning to catch him live in Europe next year, sadly you will now have to wait even longer. The legendary heavy metal frontman recently announced that he has been forced to postpone the European part of the ‘No More Tours’ tour until 2021 due to a neck injury.

Here is an official statement from Ozzy:

The new dates have yet to be announced. Ticket holders have been advised to wait for further information.

We wish Ozzy a speedy recovery! For more details go to:

https://www.facebook.com/ozzyosbourne/

Ozzy Osbourne official

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

Darkthrone – Old Star

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 5th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Darkthrone
Old Star
Released 31st May 2019
Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Released via Peaceville Records
Darkthrone - Old Star

My favorite Norwegian black metal duo are back with a new album. It is hard to keep track of all their releases. The one thing that I have always admired about them is that they do not follow any specific trend unlike many other bands in the extreme metal scene. Like where other black metal bands aim to shock, pile on more corpse-paint and act all grim and satanic; Darkthrone just do what they have always done. They play the style that suits them and they do not do live shows. If they release a music video, it might be a cartoon or just clips of Nocturno Culto or Fenriz hanging around in the woods or jamming the studio. Oh and they haven’t worn corpse-paint since the mid-1990s.

I enjoyed their previous studio effort ‘Arctic Thunder’, so I have high hopes for this one. These guys are no strangers when it comes to experimenting with other music genres. Even though Darkthrone are best known for the early black metal works, if you re-visit their discography you will find everything ranging from death metal, black metal to Motörhead-style heavy metal, speed metal to crust punk. Their latest piece of work bears some similarity to its predecessor ‘Arctic Thunder’, only this time there are some doom metal parts added to the mix.

Take the Alp Man for instance. It’s probably my least favorite track on here and one of the slower ones. It is a little too doom metal -inspired for my liking. While I have no problem with the odd droning guitar riff and slow drumming, this one just doesn’t seem to get going at all. It might have worked for bands like Tiamat or even Entombed in the past, it’s a little too slow for Darkthrone. Luckily the rest of the songs are much more to my liking. Overall, my favourite song is the opener I Muffle Your Inner Choir. I really like Nocturno Culto’s rocking guitar riffs on Duke of Gloat. The drum work on it is pretty good too. Then there is The Hardship of The Scots with its unique blend of doom metal, heavy metal and black-thrash metal to illustrate the other end of the spectrum. It took a while to get going, and I particularly enjoyed the rhythm guitar passage towards the latter half of the song.

In summary, ‘Old Star’ is another solid album from the Norwegian black metal duo. It has its flaws but overall I am pleased to say that it was worth the wait. I’m not sure what to call this style… “Blackened heavy, death metal with hints of doom metal…” To hell with genre categorization! It’s Darkthrone, doing what they do best. Rock on!

4/5

Iza Raittila

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



Darkthrone reveal new album details

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 22nd March 2019 by izaforestspirit

The Norwegian black metal duo Darkthrone have announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘Arctic Thunder’ will called ‘Old Star’. Here is what  their drummer Fenriz had to say about it:

“All in all it is our most 80s album so far and our most metal one to date with drum sound typical for the 80s USA/German market and damned lyrics, which are all written by me. We feel that OLD STAR is the big brother of ARCTIC THUNDER. More solid and with even better riffs.”

Check out the cover art below:

Darkthrone - Old Star

‘Old Star’ will be out on 31st May 2019 via Peaceville Records.

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Darkthrone-101075189934422/

https://darkthrone.lnk.to/OldStarFA

Blood Times – On A Mission

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 26th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bloody Times
On A Mission
Released 11th January 2019
Heavy Metal
Self-Released

Bloody Times - On a Mission

‘On A Mission’ is the second album from the German heavy metal band Bloody Times. The band started as a solo project of bassist Simon Pfundstein back in 2014. He was later joined by two former members of Iced Earth, drummer Raphael Saini and vocalist John Greedy. This album also features guest performances from various heavy metal musicians including Ross Friedman aka Ross the Boss (ex-Manowar).

The first thing that struck me when listening to this album was how much it reminded me of old Iced Earth. Luckily I happen to like old Iced Earth, so it’s good to hear John Greedy behind the mike again. The mid-paced opening track Alliance is one of the more melodic songs on here. I guess that this was meant to be some sort of classic metal ballad and as such it works reasonably well. I just wish that they would have omitted the progressive, ponderous and slow guitar parts mid-way through the song. It’s not the best start to the album but luckily what follows is the energetic, thrash metal style Fort Sumter– easily my favourite song on here due to excellent guitar work and powerful vocals. Now that’s more like it! If only this track was the first one….

Die In A Hole also has that thrash metal vibe to it; it is more varied in pace, not quite as fast ‘Fort Sumter’ but not too slow either. There is a good range of guitar riffs and Mr. Greedy manages to find the right balance between low pitched shouting and clean vocals to match the tone of the music. I also like the reworked version of Curse of Genevieve. What lets this album down is a short track called The Warning (Until Blood Boils pt.1) which falls under the category of what I commonly refer to as “filler”. I honestly do not know what I found more irritating, the strange vocal effects or the ultra dull-sounding, doom metal style guitar riffs plodding along in the background. Time to skip this. Next! Luckily the part 2 marks a return to the fast and aggressive heavy metal.

Overall, despite its flaws, ‘On A Mission’ is a good heavy metal album which I would recommend to fans of old Iced Earth.

3.5/5
Iza Raittila