Archive for Ian Foster

Gloryhammer – Tales from the Kingdom of Fife

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 1st April 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Gloryhammer
Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife
Released 1st April (UK)
Power Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Gloryhammer, a five piece power metal band, is the side project and brainchild of Alestorm‘s Christopher Bowes who swaps his pirate outfit and dons a suit of armor to tell us the story of a battle between good and evil on the bands debut concept album Tales From The Kingdom Of Fife. The story tells of how our hero Angus McFife fights the evil wizzard Zargothrax to free the oppressed people of Dundee, Scotland in a fantasy battle with unicorns, dragons, thunderbolts and lightening galore.

The album opens with an instrumental, a symphonic orchestral piece called Anstruther’s Dark Prophecy before blasting into track The Unicorn Invasion Of Dundee , the title alone brought a smile to my face I have to say. All the usual power metal attributes are here, big chugging guitar riffs and face melting solos (Paul Templing), thunderous double kick power drumming (Ben Turk), galloping bass runs (James Cartwright) and an added symphonic edge courtesy of the keyboards supplied by Christopher Bowes. The vocals are majestic, the voice of Thomas Winkler suits this genre of metal music perfectly.

Into the fray comes Angus McFife in the next track, a similar composition to the previous song, but more mid-paced with an anthemic chorus. The pace eases a bit on track four Quest For The Hammer Of Glory, McFife’s weapon of choice, a slower song that brings the quality of Thomas Winkler’s vocals to the fore. Next up is Magic Dragon a fast paced stormer which is probably the cheesiest track on the album lyric wise, but this is pure power metal heaven with a chorus that will have you punching the air and singing along with delight. Silent Tears Of Frozen Princess is the album’s obligatory power ballad, slow paced but none the less epic before normal service is resumed with the tracks Amulet Of Justice and the Sabatonesque war cry Hail To Crail.

Another instrumental follows in the form Beneath Cowdenbeath, a track which cries out for lyrics as I would like to know what goes on down there. The last track The Epic Rage Of Furious Thunder is by far the longest on the album, at over ten minutes, and it brings the curtain down perfectly in true power metal style with time changes, the addition of female vocals in the slower passages, awesome guitar work, great vocals and thunderous voices from above. Epic stuff.

If you are a fan of power metal, you’ll love this album. If not, you’ll overlook it as the normal cheesy and over the top music that, unfortunately, this genre of metal music has been tagged with but if you give it a listen with an open mind, which I suggest you do, you’ll hear that this is a very solid Metal album both musically and lyrically, even if a bit tongue in cheek at times, with a production and mix that is first class.

Hails to Gloryhammer, a power metal album of pure quality.

5/5

Ian Foster

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Spekulus – Terroristian

Posted in CD, Industrial with tags , , , on 26th March 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Spekulus
Terroristian
Released 23rd February
Industrial Metal
Self-Released

The Terroristian album is the latest release from Leeds based band Spekulus and it see’s a dramatic change in musical style from their debut album Breathplay. Still there are the band’s electronic roots but now with a beefed up heavier sound. Terroristian features 12 tracks of Spekulus‘ own brand of Industrial Metal.

Orgasmic groans and clicking cameras open proceedings before the first track Skin & Tonic blasts from the speakers with heavy guitar riffs, chugging bass, pounding drum machine beats and keyboard wizardry. Then in come the vocals of front woman Amanda Amorphic, the lyrics are roared and screamed out at exceptional levels, a vocal style that compliments the strong lyrical content of the songs perfectly. This format sets the tone for the rest of the album. Religion seems to be a sore point for the band, none is more evident than in the tracks One Nation Under God and the title track Terroristian. Both of which feature strong lyrics that underline the fact.

My favourite track on the album is Avada Kedavra, a fast paced song with some nice guitar and drum work, a calmer more melodic vocal with a punchy shout along chorus, a class track. Another brutal track is Martyr – another faster song with a Star Trek themed style of music that hides the strong lyrical content of the song (reading the lyrics to this album is essential).

The production of the album is raw with an almost live feel which is always a plus point for me as it gives a true reflection of the Spekulus sound.

Terroristian is a credit to the band, an album of 12 well written songs that clearly shows that the band are not afraid to experiment with many musical genres and fuse them all together in their own unique style. If you are a fan of industrial or cyber-punk, I strongly recommend you give this album a listen! A solid quality second album from Spekulus.

4/5

Ian Foster

 

Storm Of Embers – I

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 14th March 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Storm Of Embers
I
Released 19th January 2013
Progressive Metal/Rock
Self-Released

Storm Of Embers are a three piece band from Glasgow in Scotland. The I EP is their debut release and features five tracks of the band’s own brand of progressive rock and metal. This band are diverse and their sound is hard to pigeon hole as they draw influences from across the spectrum of the genre. It says on their official Facebook page under genre: You Decide, and after listening to the EP it’s easy to hear why.

A piano intro opens the first track Only In Memory which soon gives way to a solid guitar riff as the band launch into a mid paced rocker of a song with some quality guitar work, bass runs, solid drum beats with heartfelt vocals. This theme carries over into the second track The Cage, for me it’s easily the best track on the EP, which shows a definite harder, faster metal edge to the band’s sound.

The next two tracks Esh and Beyond The Pyres Of Night see the band change style completely – two longer, slower paced almost ballad like songs with a far more progressive feel to them due to a few harder guitar passages and a couple of nice solos thrown in for good measure. Bringing the EP to close is the faster paced Signs Of Remorse which see’s the band return to their harder rock and metal styles of the first two tracks, a great way to bring things to an end.

The quality of the production is top notch resulting in a crystal clear sound with a perfect balance between the music and the vocals. If you are a fan of all genres of rock and metal, Storm Of Embers are certainly worth a listen. Quality songs, quality musicianship. A solid debut EP.

3.5/5

Ian Foster