Archive for Melodic death metal

Kataklysm – Unconquered

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 21st September 2020 by Pieni

 

Kataklysm
“Unconquered”
Melodic death metal
Release: 25th September 2020
Via Nuclear Blast Records

 

unconquered

Kataklysm’s studio discography has grown more or less every two years and, despite the pandemic, 2020 didn’t miss the mark. In fact, “Unconquered” was written based on the current struggles the world is facing and the band describes this album as “a rebirth of aggression”, as a response to said struggles. In all honesty, I don’t think this is THAT much more violent than before, but it’s pretty clear we’re listening to a more elaborate work, richer in features – both modern and old-school – that enhance the melodic part in their melodic death metal nature. Also Jean-François Dagenais gave 7-string guitars a shot, and that alone offers new textures.

“The Killshot” lives up to its title, such brutality embedded in that riffing and double bass drumming – and yet its musical pattern lingers in your ear. That’s probably why it was released as first single, but for similar reasons, so could have been “Defiant” – the latter somewhat fiercer and more straightforward.

It’s funny how Kataklysm consider “Cut Me Down” a “haunting and melodic” song (featuring WolfheartTuomas Saukkonen, by the way), when I think those words best describe “The Way Back Home” (one of my favorites). But it’s the doomsday vibe of “When It’s Over” that makes it the most ominous track (and therefore another favorite of mine).

I won’t say this is their best record so far, but I can assure you the Canadian quartet is right to feel proud of it.

8/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Crushing Force – Remnants of Devastation

Posted in Review with tags , , on 21st September 2020 by izaforestspirit

Crushing Force
Remnants of Devastation
Released 25th July 2020
Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Crushing Force - Remnants of Devastation

’Remnants of Devastation’ is the debut EP from the New York based melodic death metal band Crushing Force. The band was originally a one man project of Bill Rotach (Desekrator, ex-Nazgül) created in 2016 with the aim of making instrumental music for video games. One of the tracks, ‘Inferior Humans’ features a sound clip of Fawkes from the video game Fallout 3.

Now I have never played Fallout 3 and I am not really into video games, so I cannot comment on how well this would work as a soundtrack. What I can say, is a few things about is the music itself. The EP is full of shredding guitar riffs along with a few well constructed melodic guitar parts. Mr. Rotach is clearly a skilled guitarist and guitars are definitely the main focus of the EP. The aforementioned Inferior Humans is the most aggressive song in here with crushing guitars and savage drums hammering away. At the other end of the spectrum, we have songs like the title track which is more thrash metal -esque and melodic in nature.

Overall, this is a well made EP from a promising melodic death metal artist. The lyrical themes and the overall tone of the music would not be out of place in a post-apocalyptic landscape. As to how well it works as a soundtrack, I guess that’s up to the gamers to decide.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Beyond Shadows – Wolf’s Blood

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , on 16th June 2020 by izaforestspirit

Beyond Shadows
Wolf’s Blood
Released May 2020
Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Beyond Shadows - Wolf's Blood

Wolf’s Blood’ is the new EP from the New York -based, American melodic death metal duo. The band comprises vocalist and guitarist Daniel Shepard and drummer Chris Hawkins (ex-Midian). Their music is heavily influenced by the Gothenburg melodic death metal movement and they are inspired by bands such as At The Gates and Carcass.

This EP certainly does not lack aggression. Right from the opening riff on Never An Answer you are greeted by an onslaught of shredding guitars, blast beats and abrasive shouting. Yet in addition to the aggression, they also managed to sneak in some melodic guitar parts towards the latter half of the song adding some variety to the overall structure and pacing. The title track also features melodic undertones and lots of pace changes. The transitions between the vicious death metal and the melodic guitar work are very well timed. I particularly liked the acoustic guitar part at the end.

Just when you think that you know what Beyond Shadows is all about, they surprise you again. Based on what the first two tracks sounded like, the last thing that I expected was a keyboard intro on Regret Is My Name. It’s short but long enough to give the listener a chance to get ready for the next attack of thrashing guitars and blast beats. At The Gates made songs like this back in the ‘90s. Last but not least is Screaming Eyes (Go Unheard) which features another melodic guitar intro which reminded me of old Metallica for some reason. The guitar riffs are good but I could have done without the clean vocals.

In summary, ‘Wolf’s Blood’ is a well made melodic death metal EP, which is likely to please fans of Gothenburg variety of the genre. It has a few flaws but luckily they are minor and easy to overlook.

7/10

Iza Raittila

DevilDriver unveil new album details

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

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

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

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

Check out the cover art and track-listing below:

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons, Volume I

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

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

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

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

DevilDriver

 

 

Alexi Laiho’s book now available in English

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2020 by izaforestspirit

So we may have to wait a while for the debut album from Alexi Laiho‘s new band Bodom After Midnight but there is some good news for his fans. The former Children of Bodom front-man’s autobiography ‘Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar’ is now available in English.

The book was ghost written by Petri Silas, a music journalist and personal friend of Mr. Laiho. The original version (in Finnish) came out last year.

Alexi Laiho - Chaos, Control & Guitar, Book - Backstage Rock Shop

The international, English edition is available from the following online stores:
Alexi Laiho – Chaos, Control & Guitar (Book in English)
https://www.recordshopx.com/book/laiho_alexi/kitara_kaaos_kontrolli/

For further information go to:
https://fi-fi.facebook.com/AlexiLaihoOfficial
https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial/

Meet Alexi Laiho’s new band Bodom After Midnight

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , on 16th March 2020 by izaforestspirit

So it’s official… Children of Bodom is no more. The well renowned Finnish melodic death metal group played their last show in Helsinki, Finland in December last year. With their front-man Alexi Laiho loosing the rights to the name, a decision was made for the band to call it a day.

Luckily, there is some good news for their fans. Alexi Laiho has recently formed a new band called Bodom After Midnight. He will be joined by former CoB band-mate guitarist Daniel Freyberg, drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost) and bassist Mitja Toivonen (Santa Cruz). The band have yet to find a full time keyboard player, but for now the keyboards will be performed by a session musician called Lauri Salomaa.

Bodom After Midnight are scheduled to play their first show at Tuska Open Air Festival on 27th June 2020 with other festival dates to follow this summer including John Smith Rock Festival and Summer Breeze Festival.

For now check out their new Facebook page for more details:
https://www.facebook.com/bodomaftermidnightofficial/#

 

Lacuna Coil and Eluveitie live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 15th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Infected Rain, Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
14th December 2019

My last gig of 2019! Mid December; still over a week until the holidays start. This is the time of the year when most people are getting ready for the festive season. It is rare to find any decent gigs on at this point in the year. Sometimes you might get lucky though…As soon as I found out that Eluveitie were in town I decided to go. I’ve seen Eluveitie once before, oddly enough at the same venue four years ago. They have had some line-up changes since then and they released one of the best albums I have heard this year.

The show was sold out and the venue was so packed that they had opened up the next door venue, Klubi to create extra space.

First up was a Moldavian metalcore band called Infected Rain. I’m not the biggest fan of metalcore, but I have to admit that vocalist Elena Kataraga aka Lena Scissorhands did a good job of agitating the crowd. They even succeeded in getting a mosh-pit going towards the end of their show.

Then it was Lacuna Coil’s turn. I have never seen them live before. I used to listen to some Lacuna Coil when I was younger but I lost track of them over the years. I couldn’t really get into the newer material but I was happy to hear some of the older songs such as ‘Swamped’, ‘Heaven’s A Lie and their cover of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ live.

Then it was time for the headliners, Eluveitie. Once again they did not disappoint. There are not many folk metal bands out there who are capable of delivering a show this good. A flawless blend of celtic folk instruments, two very different singers with melodic death metal. They played lots of songs from their latest opus ‘Ategnatos’ including ‘Rebirth’ and one of my new favourites ‘The Slumber’ along with a Swiss language version of ‘Call of The Mountains’ and ‘Inis Mona’.

In summary I am glad that I decided to attend the show. I had a great time. I got to see Lacuna Coil live for the first time. Luckily the set included a few tracks which I recognized. Eluveitie were as good as they were the first time that I saw them live. It’s good to see that the line-up change has had a positive effect on the band and I hope that they will return to Finland soon.

Iza Raittila

Three founding members leave Children of Bodom

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 3rd November 2019 by izaforestspirit

It’s been over twenty years, thousands of live shows, world wide tours and ten albums. Now it looks as though this might be the final chapter for Children of Bodom. A few days ago Henkka, Janne and Jaska (three of the band’s founding members), made a shocking announcement that they will be leaving the band before the end of the year. Here is an extract from the official statement:

”It is with heavy hearts that we announce that 2019 will be the last for Children Of Bodom with this line-up.

After almost 25 years with Bodom, thousands of shows & 10 albums it is time for Henkka, Janne and Jaska to step back and change direction within their lives. All three will miss the fans and supporters in every city in every country the band ever played.

The last show of this line-up will be on the 15th of December at Helsinki Ice Hall. Tickets still remain for some of the Finnish shows in December.

Alexi and Daniel will have further announcements about their plans to keep creating new music in the future.

Thanks again for everything – Children Of Bodom”

The band’s front-man, Alexi Laiho has yet to comment on what will happen next. The band’s latest album ‘Hexed’ was released earlier this year via Nuclear Blast Records.

Finnish fans can still catch the band live with the current line-up on the following dates:

5.12.2019 Seinäjoki, Rytmikorjaamo
6.12.2019 Oulu, Teatria
7.12.2019 Tornio, Teatria
10.12.2019 Helsinki, Tavastia (Sold Out)
11.12.2019 Tampere, Pakkahuone
12.12.2019 Turku, Logomo
13.12.2019 Jyväskylä, Lutakko (Sold Out)
14.12.2019 Jyväskylä, Lutakko (Sold Out)
15.12.2019 Helsinki, Black Box

Children of Bodom - Photo

For more information visit:

https://www.cobhc.com/

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom/

Eluveitie – Ategnatos

Posted in Review with tags , , on 12th May 2019 by izaforestspirit

Eluveitie
Ategnatos
Released 5th April 2019
Folk Metal/ Melodic Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Eluveitie - Ategnatos

Swiss folk metal outfit Eluveitie are back and this time they recorded a metal album. It’s been two years since their folk record ‘Evocation II – Pantheon’, an album which I enjoyed but it was pure folk music. What I like the most about this band are the contrasts that are prominent in their music. The melodic folk instruments and beautiful clean vocals versus the harsher melodeath guitars and their front-man Chrigel Glanzmann’s aggressive growling. The previous album had some great folk melodies but it lacked the harsh elements. Luckily this time all the things that I like are present on the album.

There are a lot of different styles present on this record. Within the space of an hour they have managed to pack in everything from catchy sounds of bagpipes, whistles, hurdy gurdy as well as other folk instruments. What is more, the stylistic variety ranges from Fabienne Erni’s angelic singing on tracks such as Ambiramus to the aggressive, borderline death metal tracks like Worship to fulfill the blend. Most of the time these two contrasting styles work surprisingly well together, co-existing peacefully and the end result doesn’t sound like a complete cacophony. The title track and The Raven Hill are good examples of how they are able to successfully maintain a delicate balance between folk music and melodic death metal in a way that only Eluveitie can master. I’m particularly fond of the chanting parts of The Raven Hill chorus. Mr. Glanzmann and Ms. Erni did a great job with that one.

I cannot get enough of The Slumber, the song that caught my attention when I saw the lyric video. It’s one of the slower songs on here and it has a certain gloomy feel to it. That eerie chorus has been stuck in my head for several days now. The only song that I couldn’t get into on this record is Worship. I honestly cannot comprehend what they were trying to achieve with this song. It’s basically an attempt at blackened death metal with some folk instruments and chanting added as a background noise. The vocals do not seem to work too well with the music and at times it doesn’t really sound like Eluveitie at all.

In summary, ‘Ategnatos’ has its flaws but despite this it is easily Eluveitie’s best work since ‘Slania’. I really enjoyed listening to it and I will definitely tune into this album again soon.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Krisiun and Septicflesh live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 15th April 2019 by izaforestspirit

Dead Shape Figure, Krisiun, Septicflesh
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
14th April 2019

I’ve been really busy lately. So busy that I wasn’t sure when I would have the time for any gigs. I had some stuff planned for the summer but apart from that my gig calendar was rather empty. Then something amazing happened– Septicflesh came to town and I just happened to have the next day free. Normally I try to avoid going to a gig on a Sunday due to the implications it has on the next day but this time it was no problem.

I arrived a little late so I missed the first band W.E.B., but I was there right on time for Dead Shape Figure. They’re a Finnish band playing what is best described as a mixture of melodic death metal and thrash metal. I enjoyed their set and it seemed to go down well with the crowd. 3/5

Next up was the Brazilian death metal trio Krisiun. They played some really good, solid death metal. Fast, Furious and brutal, perfect for headbanging. Just like all good death metal should be. I wasn’t expecting a Motörhead cover but it seemed to work well. 4/5

Then it was time for the night’s headliners. Septicflesh took to the stage in what was literally a cloud of smoke. I’m not normally a massive fan of elaborate stage decorations but their snake motif and other visual displays worked well. But enough about the decorations and on to the music. Symphonic death metal is not the easiest of genres to perform live but these guys really pulled it off. It was a very energetic and passionate performance. Their frontman Spiros did a great job of agitating the crowd. They played quite a few tracks from their latest album including: ‘Portrait of A Headless Man’, ‘Enemy of Truth’ and ‘Dark Art’ along with some older classics such as ‘Anubis’ and ‘Communion’. Great show! 5/5

Overall I had a great time. Krisiun were better than I expected. Up until recently my knowledge of Greek extreme metal has been limited to Astarte and Rotting Christ. Septicflesh are a fairly new discovery for me but after that performance I will definitely be listening to them a lot more.

Iza Raittila

Children of Bodom – Hexed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 27th February 2019 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom
Hexed
Released 8th March 2019
Melodic Death Metal/Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records


Children of Bodom - Hexed

Mr. Laiho and the Hate Crew are back with a new album. It’s been four years since ‘I Worship Chaos’, an album which I initially liked when it came out but after more listens it got a little repetitive. I still own it of course; I have all their albums, even the not so good ones. I guess that somewhere deep down I’m still that teenage Children of Bodom fan girl who had a crush on Alexi Laiho and dreamed of going to Finland to see them live. I used to listen to ‘Follow The Reaper’ on repeat for days and that album still holds a special place in my heart. If there is one band that has contributed the most to my obsession with all things Finnish and Finland it’s these guys. Not only did I visit Finland, I ended up relocating there and learning the language. I’ve seen Children of Bodom live on numerous occasions and I have even visited the Lake Bodom murder site in Espoo.

This brings me to ‘Hexed’, album number ten in Children of Bodom’s discography and the first to feature their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyborg. It’s astonishing just how much difference a second guitarist can make. Alexi Laiho is a great frontman and an exceptionally talented guitar player but there is more to this band than just him. Freyborg has his own unique style and he has definitely left his mark on this album. For example on Under Grass And Clover, the dual guitar harmonies work very well together, creating a smooth-sounding, catchy, melodeath metal song. Want something a little faster? Then skip right over to the next track Glass Houses – a classic COB track, with their signature ultra-fast keyboards and impressive guitar work. Speaking of keyboards, the title track features some of the best keyboard passages I have heard from Mr.Wirman in years.

There are quite a few moments on here that reminded me of their mid-career albums ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ and ‘Are You Dead Yet?’. It is not all same old Bodom, though. There are parts that display the band trying new things such as the technical guitar work and melodic keyboards on Hecate’s Nightmare. It is not something that I would have expected to hear from these guys but it works surprisingly well.

In summary, ‘Hexed’ shows how much Children of Bodom have evolved over the years. Where some of their previous albums failed to leave a lasting impression, getting stale after a few listens, here the songs stand out. While it lacks the “WOW!” factor of their best work, it is a strong album that will definitely please their fans both old and new.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

At The Gates and Behemoth live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates, Behemoth
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
30th January 2019

My first gig of 2019! I have been waiting for a long time for a chance to see Behemoth again. The last time I saw them live was Tuska Open Air 2012 on their first tour shortly after their front-man Nergal’s recovery from leukemia. I have kept up to date with all their releases and news and last year I could not believe my luck when I discovered that they are coming to my home town.

The venue was sold out on the night and the there was already a sizable crowd right from the start. I could not really get into the first band – Wolves In The Throne Room. Their sound can be described as a mixture of atmospheric black metal and dark ambient. Some of the songs they played were incredibly slow and more ambient than black metal. While this kind of music might be fine to listen to at home, it’s not really something that I want to hear live 2.5/5

I guess that most people who are into melodic death metal are familiar with At The Gates. They are after all one of the forefathers of the genre with some genre-defining releases to boot. This was not the first time that I have seen them live and I hope that it will not be my last. They had a few issues with their performances. First, their vocalist Tomas got the name of the city wrong, a minor mistake which he spent the rest of the night apologizing for. The other issue they had turned out to be more serious – a broken drum set.


It took some time to fix the problem but luckily they managed to sort it out in time to play a few more songs. A very good show overall despite the setbacks. 4/5

Finally came the moment I have been waiting seven years for. Behemoth started their set a little later than planned but it was definitely worth the extra time. They had an impressive amount of visuals and various props all contributing to a wonderful performance. They played some of the hits such as ‘Decade of Therion’(my personal favourite), ‘Chant For Eschaton 2000’, ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, ‘Lucifer’ along with lots of songs from the new album including ‘Bartzabel’ and ‘Wolves of Siberia. What a fantastic show! It was even better than the last time that I saw them live. 5/5

In summary, the only band I did not enjoy watching live was Wolves In The Throne Room. It was a little too slow for my liking. At The Gates managed to overcome their technical problem and put on a great show. Behemoth were everything that I hoped for and more. I absolutely loved their show. This was their first time in Tampere and I really hope that they came back again in the future.

Iza Raittila

 

Soilwork – Verkligheten

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 8th January 2019 by Pieni

Soilwork
“Verkligheten”
Melodic death metal
Released: 11th January 2019
Via Nuclear Blast Records

soilwork - verkligheten - artwork

When I reviewed “The Ride Majestic”, about three and a half years ago (damn, feels like yesterday!), I said something about being surprised with how Soilwork could still impress me. Well this time they didn’t catch me off guard: I’m still impressed but I was counting on it.

A fellow reviewer said they’ve gone more melodic but I don’t think that’s quite it; I mean, sure, “Verkligheten” is a more melodic record, but I don’t think it was intentional. I believe they’ve just focused more on being intense than actually heavy, and such deeper sound enhanced the melodies which have always been a part of Soilwork. Take the latest single, “Stålfågel”, for instance; those initial synths bearing an Alan Parsons whiff, the growls of someone who Wikipedia claims to be Alissa White-Gluz (but it’s not) a mere shadow in the background of the chorus and the so straightforward solo result in an enthralling combination that’s way more than just “melodic”. it’s still my favorite song, by the way, even if I stood a bit disappointed when the lyrics didn’t match the title’s tongue. In fact, despite the Swedish album title, all songs are sung in English. Shame. At least one should be pretty interesting.

Tomi Joutsen was also invited to snarl over “Needles And Kin” but his presence is much more highlighted – the own nature of the song enabling it. I dare saying this is the heaviest song (“Arrival” right behind it), the riffing and drumming even reminding some black metal refined act, but the chorus always featuring some harmony to go along with the rest of the album.

I really hope “The Ageless Whisper” makes it to the live shows as it’s a very anthem-like track which I already imagine everybody clapping their hands to, in sync with the drums in its intro and later on, right before the solo. But several others, and for several reasons, are prone to turn the crowd into a bunch of happy campers ‘cause I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one loving “Verkligheten” as a whole.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Corrosive Sweden release new single

Posted in Misc., News with tags , on 12th December 2018 by izaforestspirit

Here is something for fans of melodic death metal. Introducing Corrosive Sweden, a melodic death metal band from Iggesund, Sweden. They are currently working on their latest album which is scheduled to released in March 2019 via BMP Records.

For now you can check out their latest single ‘Angry Me’.

Or the original version of the song:

The single is available on itunes, Spotify as well as other digital platforms.

For more details visit:
https://corrosivesweden.se/

https://www.facebook.com/CorrosiveSweden/

Children of Bodom reveal new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 30th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom have recently announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘I Worship Chaos’, will be called ‘Hexed’.

Check out the track-listing and cover art below:

1. The Road
2. Under Grass and Clover
3. Glass Houses
4. Hecate’s Nightmare
5. Kick in the Spleen
6. Platitudes and Barren Words
7. Hexed
8. Relapse (The Nature of My Crime)
9. Say Never Look Back
10. Soon Departed
11. Knuckleduster
12. I Worship Chaos (live)
13. Morrigan (live)
14. Knuckleduster (remix)

Children of Bodom - Hexed

‘Hexed’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide on 8th March 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records. This will be the band’s first album with their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyberg who joined the band in 2016 replacing Roope Latvala.

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom

http://www.cobhc.com/site/

Hypocrisy and Kataklysm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , on 11th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Spirit, Hypocrisy, Kataklysm
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
10th November 2018

This time I opted for an evening of melodic death metal. My exposure to Hypocrisy’s music is limited a handful of songs from their old albums but I am fan of Peter Tägtgren’s other side projects so I figured it was about time that I checked out his main band. Similar things apply to Kataklysm – I discovered them via their singer Maurizio Iacono’s side project Ex Deo. Out of the two bands I am more familiar with Kataklysm, particularly their mid-career works such as ‘Epic (The Poetry of War)’ and ‘Shadows & Dust’.

First up was a German melodic black metal band called The Spirit. I have never heard of them before but I really enjoyed their show. Their music reminded me of Dissection and Taake. 4/5

Hypocrisy drew in a sizable crowd and rightfully so because they put on one hell of a show. They started off slow with the first song but then they really got going. Mr Tägtgren is quite the show-man and these guys did a good job of entertaining the audience. I stayed clear of the mosh-pit but I did do a fair amount of head-banging. The only thing that could have made their show better is if they had played ‘Osculum Obscenum’ but I guess you can’t have everything. 4/5

This was Kataklysm’s first time in Finland and I guess that if you like their current style you probably would have enjoyed their show. They played a lot of tracks from their recent albums which I am not particularly fond of. I actually prefer their older material. Luckily they played ‘Shadows & Dust’ which was the only highlight of the performance for me. This was not what I expected and I was left feeling a little disappointed. 2.5/5

Overall, it was a fun night out but I did not enjoy all the performances as much as I thought I would. The Spirit were surprisingly good and probably the best show of the night. Hypocrisy also put on a good show. As for Kataklysm, I do not like their latest album and I was really hoping to hear more old stuff. Maybe the next time I will check out Ex Deo live instead.

Iza Raittila

Green Death – Hallowmass

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

Green Death
Hallowmass
Released 19th October 2018
Thrash Metal
Released via Combat Records

Green Death - Hallowmass

It’s been two years since I reviewed Green Death’s last album. Now the Iowa-based American thrash metal band is back with a new album called ‘Hallowmass’. I like the title, very well timed for this year’s Halloween…

The horror themes are difficult to miss as evidenced not only from the cover art but also from the song titles. Oh yes, Halloween is upon us. Get ready for your annual onslaught of werewolves, ghosts, witches and other spooky things. As far as the music goes, this is not far from where they left off with the previous album. They still remind me of mid-career Iced Earth. The predominant style is thrash metal but some tracks have a droning doom metal feel to them such as the slow and eerie-sounding She Couldn’t Live. The guitar work on that song actually made me think of Black Sabbath. They also occasionally incorporate elements of melodic death metal like the semi-growling vocals and the shredding guitars on The Betrayed – one of the more aggressive tracks on here.

The short instrumental Messis Diaboli is a beautiful, melodic piece which highlights the skill of the guitarists. Then it’s back to an unholy brew of thrash, doom and melodic death metal for the remainder of the album. It is not an easy mix for the listener to process. The vocals vary from howling to semi-growling. Personally I prefer the latter.

In summary, I had a hard time getting into ‘Hallowmass’. I was really hoping that this would be like Iced Earth’s ‘Horror Show’ album. Instead what we have here is an amalgamation of various styles which do not really work so well together. Some of the songs sound as though they were performed by a completely different band.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

DevilDriver – Outlaws ‘Till The End

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

DevilDriver

Outlaws ‘Till The End, Vol 1.

Groove Metal, Melodic Death Metal

Released: 6th July 2018

via Napalm Records



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

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

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

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

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

Caelestia – Thanatopsis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 4th January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Caelestia
Thanatopsis
Released 8th December 2017
Symphonic Gothic Metal /Melodic Death Metal
Released via EMP Group/SPV Europe

Caelestia - Τhanatopsis

Thanatopsis’ is the second album from the Greek symphonic metal band Caelestia. They have been around since 2012 and they have toured with bands such as The Vision Bleak, Arch Enemy and Draconian. This latest opus was mixed and mastered at Fredman Studio, Gothenburg Sweden by Fredrik Nordström.

My knowledge of the Greek metal scene is limited to just two bands: Astarte and Rotting Christ. I’m particularly fond of the latter…This however doesn’t really sound like either of these. What we have here is an interesting fusion of female-fronted Gothic metal with hints of melodic death metal and symphonic elements. Depending on the song, their music can sound very melodic and pleasant e.g. Dancing With The Demons or harsh and aggressive with elements like death metal growls, abrasive drumming and guitars mid-way through Devil’s Game and the opening of  Travel to Eternity.

If it wasn’t for the melodic death metal elements, I would have probably dismissed this as yet another Nightwish clone. Admittedly their female singer Dimitra Talamamtes Vintsou has a similar voice to that of Tarja Turunen but that’s where the similarities end. Their unusual blend of styles is what makes Caelestia stand out. The mixture of symphonic Gothic metal with melodic death metal maybe a little too much for your average Gothic metal fan. Luckily my taste in metal is more diverse than that. I actually like the contrast between the harsh and the melodic sounds and the dual vocal configuration works surprisingly well. The closest thing I can compare this to would be mid-career Therion; melo-death with symphonic elements but without the choir.

In summary Caelestia’s album turned out to be a lot different from what I expected. Their music doesn’t really fit one specific genre but they do a good job of taking the best elements of various styles to create something memorable. So if you’re bored to listening to Nightwish wannabe Gothic metal or melo-death bands still trying to replicate the “Gothenburg”-sound, then I suggest you give ‘Thanatopsis’ a go.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Ex Deo announce 2018 European tour with Ensiferum

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , on 23rd December 2017 by izaforestspirit

The Canadian symphonic death metal band Ex Deo are due to hit the European shores again next year. This time they have teamed up with the Finnish folk metallers Ensiferum for their ‘Path To Glory’ tour starting in April 2018.

For the full schedule see the poster below:

No automatic alt text available.

For further information visit:

http://www.ensiferum.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Ensiferum/

https://www.facebook.com/exdeo/