Archive for Heavy Metal

Madam X – Monstrocity

Posted in Metal, Rock, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 15th November 2017 by izaforestspirit

Madam X
Monstrocity
Released 31st October (The USA), 3rd November 2017 (Europe)
Heavy Metal/Glam Metal / Hard Rock
Released via EMP Label Group/ SVP Europe

Madam X - Monstrocity

The American heavy metal band Madam X are back after a long hiatus with a new album called ‘Monstrocity’, their first full length release since their debut album which came out in 1984. The band was originally formed back in 1981 by sisters Roxy and Maxine Petrucci. They remained active throughout the ‘80s before their drummer Roxy Petrucci joined the hard rock band Vixen. This album features the original line-up including the Petrucci sisters and vocalist Bret Kaiser.

Resurrection seems like a fitting title for an opening track for a band returning from a long break. They are back and ready to rock your world with a brand new, energetic heavy metal tunes filled with shredding guitars and powerful vocals. Similar things can be said for the title track which really puts the emphasis on the guitars.

While first few songs sound more modern, Freak Parade’sounds like it was originally written in the ‘80s. The chorus has that distinctive, cheesy 1980s style ‘glam rock’ feel to it. The glam rock influence might have something to do with the addition of Vixen’s Janet Gardner on guest vocals. Then there’s the oddly titled but highly catchy ‘Big Rock Rolls Heavy’, one of the more metal-sounding, fast tracks on the album. This would be the song to play at the start of their show to really get the crowd going. The guitar work is superb, drumming is great and the chorus is one of the most memorable ones on here. “Give me metal or give me death!” The icing on the cake is a re-recording of the band’s biggest hit High in High School which really puts a new spin on the song.

In summary, I’ve had lots of fun reviewing Madam X’s latest opus. It is much heavier and more metal than I expected it to be. I like that the band is able to stay true to their roots while creating something new and exciting. Glam metal isn’t normally my thing but I really enjoyed ‘Monstrocity’.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Chronus – Chronus

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 28th October 2017 by izaforestspirit

Chronus
Chronus
Heavy Metal/ Progressive Metal
Released 27th October 2017

via EMP Label Group/SPV

Chronus - Chronus

‘Chronus’ is the debut album from the Swedish heavy metal band of the same name. They were formed in 2012 and their music has been compared to the likes of Mastodon, Goijra and Ozzy Osbourne.

There is something about the cover art that reminds me of the Swedish metal band Ghost. And it’s not just the artwork. Just like their fellow countrymen Ghost, Chronus seem to have taken inspiration from classic heavy metal and to some extent 70s prog-rock. Some of their songs feature distinctive prog-rock style guitar riffs. Take City of Light for instance, the melodic guitar tunes definitely have that Ghost/Opeth-esque, progressive rock feel while the vocals made me think of Ozzy Osbourne.

Then you get the more energetic, slightly aggressive yet still proggy-sounding songs such as Baron along with the guitar-centered, melodic tracks such as Avarice. “Progressive” is the key word here, so if you’re not into technically complex guitar melodies then you ought to stay clear of this album.

Overall, Chronus’ debut is likely to appeal to fans of Ghost and progressive metal bands such as Mastodon and Opeth. Personally, it’s just a little too proggy for my liking.

3.5/5
Iza Raittila

Shadowside – Shades of Humanity

Posted in CD, Metal with tags on 3rd September 2017 by izaforestspirit

Shadowside
Shades of Humanity
Released 26th July 2017
Heavy Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

Shadowside - Shades of Humanity

 

‘Shades of Humanity’ is the latest album from the Brazilian heavy metal band Shadowside. The band has been around since 2001 and kept active by front-woman Dani Nolden. Since then they have released a few albums and there has been a few line-up changes. The most recent addition to the band is the Swedish bassist Magnus Rosén (ex-Hammerfall). This album was recorded at the Fredman Studio in Gothenburg, Sweden with Fredrik Nordström (Arch Enemy, Hammerfall, In Flames) and Henrik Udd (Dimmu Borgir, Dream Evil) in charge of mixing and production.

The first thing that struck me when I heard the opening track was Dani Nolden’s powerful vocals. She is a talented singer with an impressive vocal range. As for the music, it fits most comfortably under the “heavy metal” bracket, although the guitars occasionally drift into thrash metal and even metalcore territory. The thing that it certainly ain’t, most of the time, is melodic or pleasant-sounding. Take Beast Inside for instance, it’s packed with aggressive guitar riffs and abrasive vocals filled with range. Parts of the song made me think of melodic death metal acts like Arch Enemy for some reason. Make My Fate contains some rather annoying sounding metalcore-style guitar patterns at the start, but luckily they do not last long and the rest of the guitar work on that song is pretty decent.

Drifter is a bit of an oddity on here due to the catchy and strangely uplifting keyboard as well as a guitar intro which makes it feel like a power metal track. The vocals are also far less aggressive-sounding on here than on most of the other songs. The song is very guitar-driven with large chunks of it being predominantly instrumental. Lastly we have Alive, which sees the band entering symphonic metal territory with the longest and the most melodic track on the album.

Overall, ‘Shades of Humanity’ is not an easy album to get into. It took me several listens. Even now that I’m more accustomed to Shadowside’s chosen sound, I still enjoy some of the tracks far more than others. I think that the lack of consistency is part of the problem. It is a bit of mixed bag with too much experimentation with different styles and not enough focus.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

Wraith – Revelation

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 2nd August 2017 by izaforestspirit

Wraith
Revelation
Released 4th August 2017
Hard Rock/Melodic Heavy Metal
Released via Ice Rain Records/Cargo Records

Wraith is a British hard rock band that has been around since the late ’80s. They were most active in the ’90s, after which they had a long break between albums. It’s now been a decade since their last studio album was released and now Wraith are back with a new line-up and a new album called ‘Revelation’. This is also their first work to feature the new vocalist Ryan Coggin.

Ten years is a long time to wait for a new album. This is my first encounter with Wraith so I can’t really comment on how their style has evolved over the years. Rather than commenting on how this compares to their past albums, I will just focus on ‘Revelation’. Here we have ten tracks which range from Bon Jovi -esque melodic hard rock to NWBHM-style heavy metal. An example of the former is the slow ballad ‘Leaving Me Again‘ and the latter ‘No Respect‘ – an energetic, guitar-driven song. The vocals on it aren’t half bad either.

Then there’s the catchy, somewhat sleaze rock inspired ‘Human Hater‘ which reminded me of Mötley Crüe for some reason. This is probably one of the simplest songs in terms of lyrics, but who cares? After all, who needs profound lyrical themes when you can just enjoy a catchy chorus and headbang along to the twin guitar melodies?

In summary, ‘Revelation’ embodies the saying “..good things come to those who wait”. It’s been ten years, but now Wraith are back with a strong album that’s bound to please both classic heavy metal and hard rock fans.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Mean Streak – Blind Faith

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 5th July 2017 by izaforestspirit

Mean Streak
Blind Faith
Released: 31st May (Japan), 2nd June (Europe),
16th June 2017 (USA)
Heavy Metal / Power Metal
Released via ROAR Rock of Angels (Europe),
Marquee /Avalon (Japan), High Vol Music (USA)

‘Blind Faith’ is the latest album from the Swedish heavy metal band Mean Streak. The band was created in 2008 by the bassist Peter Andersson. Right from the start their main objective has always been to “write classic metal straight from the heart”. This album was mixed by Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Armored Saint, Y&T) and mastered by Thomas ”Plec” Johansson (Soilwork, Onslaught, Armageddon).

The first thing that came to my mind after hearing the opening track Blood Red Sky is that in addition to classic heavy metal and NWOBHM, these guys have also been influenced by some old school 80s power metal bands like Helloween. Mean Streak’s music is essentially a hybrid of all three of the aforementioned styles. There is also the odd progressive element such as the guitar patterns midway through Settle the Score’. You get your classic heavy metal tracks such as Tear Down the Walls – an uplifting song centered primarily around the sing-along chorus and the guitar riffs.

The Helloween influence is evident on tracks like Love is a Killer, which is also one of the fastest and most energetic songs on here. Unlike a lot of power metal songs, this one lacks the ultra cheesy lyrics but has the right pace, the melodic, Helloween-esque vocal style and the catchy guitar tunes. Speaking of guitars, if you’re a fan of twin guitar harmonies, then you will definitely enjoy Fire at Will as well as most of the fast songs on this album.

Overall, listening to ‘Blind Faith’ has been a positive experience. What Mean Streak have created here may not be pure, classic heavy metal but it is thoroughly entertaining. It’s a guitar-driven heavy metal album with a modern twist.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Rock Goddess – It’s More Than Rock and Roll EP

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , on 25th April 2017 by izaforestspirit

Rock Goddess
It’s More Than Rock And Roll EP
Released 19th May 2017
Heavy Metal/ Hard Rock
Released via Bite You to Death Records

‘It’s More Than Rock And Roll’ is the new EP from the London-based hard rock trio Rock Goddess. The band originally started out in the 1980s during the NWOBHM movement in The U.K. They were on a long hiatus in the mid-90s before reforming again with the original line-up in 2013.

This is a short EP, just three songs but it is enough to give an idea of what Rock Goddess is all about. The title track is an anthem, or manifesto if you like, stating what these ladies trying to achieve with their music. Their message is simple: they play good, old-school hard rock full of catchy guitar melodies and sing-along choruses. This is what they have always done and what they do best. Back Off is all about the guitar riffs while the closing track We’re All Metal sounds like a homage to the band’s roots with some honorable mentions of the famous bands from within both the hard rock and heavy metal scene.

In summary, ‘It’s More Than Rock And Roll’ serves as an (re-)introduction to Rock Goddess. It’s bound to please their old fans as well attracting some new ones, myself included. I can’t wait to hear more. Rock on, ladies!

4/5

Iza Raittila

Damaj -The Wrath Of The Tide (EP)

Posted in CD, Metal with tags on 12th December 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Damaj – The Wrath Of The Tide (EP)

Released March 1st 2017

Heavy metal

Self-released

Although Greenock’s Damaj have been cutting about for some three years or more – playing with Blaze Bayley, Tygers Of Pan Tang, and headlining Spanish festivals, as you do – The Wrath Of The Tide appears to be the first physical release they’ve put their name to. It presents a somewhat personal blend of numerous classical elements, drawn from the spectrum of metal; thrash, prog, and classic British heavy metal being the order of the day.

Vocally, there is much in line with the more accessible edge of the current UK scene, comparable to the likes of Reign Of Fury or Sumer, but the music behind is telling a different story. The lead work on the guitars is quite the trip. Incredibly professional in terms of technical ability, yet without plumping for mindless shred overkill, it really feels like something great has been accomplished in this respect. There are some very nice touches and twists in many of the riffs and rhythms, too, indicating that consideration and taste have been injected throughout. If I was to be mean, I’d have to say there’s something about the production value on this release which doesn’t quite click for me. It’s like later Voivod (i.e. the eponymous 2003 album). The edges of the sound are a little too… fluffy.

However, this doesn’t stop the integral energy of the collective breaking through. In fact, it doesn’t seem too farfetched to wholeheartedly believe Damaj have an almighty live presence, based purely on this EP. Now that they’ve cut their teeth on the recording front, and nailed their song-writing style to boot, they’ve laid the groundwork to make themselves a formidable force.

4/5

Paul Macmillan