Archive for Melodic Metal

Bad Wolves – Disobey

Posted in Metal, Rock with tags , on 3rd October 2018 by Paul Macmillan

Bad Wolves

Disobey

Released 11th May 2018

Melodic metal/hard rock

Released via Eleven Seven

It’s been some time since I listened to a full album of music of this ilk. Falling somewhere between the ballparks of nu and 00s melodic metal, the tone really pulls me back to when I was a young un. To be honest, I didn’t even realise people were still putting out releases quite so earnestly in this style. It’s no big surprise when you find out that Bad Wolves feature among their ranks former members of Snot and In This Moment. The result is neither as urban or as soft as that might lead you to believe, however; possibly under the influence of other contributors’ previous employ in the likes of Devildriver and Divine Heresy.

The full and final effort is most assuredly accessible, mainstream heavy metal, but so much time has traveled by since that sound was originally formed, that it’s somewhat ‘retro’. If you dug into the easier metal bands of the late 1990s and early 2000s, you’ll no doubt have some familiarity with Sevendust, and, unavoidably, Killswitch Engage. Throughout Disobey, whether in emotional melody or grunting angst, these are the kind of artists who are brought to mind. It’s not as technical as the former, or as strictly structured as the latter. They would maybe have been more at home during the heyday of such trends, rather than stepping into a scene which has exploded into diversity, and away from the swansong of traditional progression paths via big labels. Perhaps the protracted release and promotion schedule (the first single came out November 2017), is aimed at finding a new way to get around this.

This is an easy listen, and a well executed album, but I do wonder if modern metal fans will be as inclined towards it as they might have been a generation ago. (Yes, it has been that long!) Their huge single in Cranberries cover track, Zombie, will no doubt keep them remembered for years to come. Could it have been bigger with different timing, though?In my own opinion, the album kicks the a*** off bands like Nightwish or Ghost, as music with a significant amount of clean singing, but I would have likely been more instantly gripped by it 15 – 20 years ago. It’s a hard call as to how far this could go with metal Joe public, now. In total, we can be a fairly unpredictable bunch.

3.5/ 5

Paul Macmillan

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Volster – Perfect Storm

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , on 20th May 2018 by izaforestspirit

Volster
Perfect Storm
Released 20th April 2018
Melodic Hard Rock
Released via ROAR Rock of Angels Records

Image result for volster perfect storm

‘Perfect Storm’ is debut album from the Swedish melodic hard rock band Volster. The band name dates back to the mid-90s when Ulf Andersson and Henrik Lundberg (former members of Masquerade) recorded a demo titled ‘Volster’. Several years later, in 2013 they decided to form a band under that name. Their style has been summed up by their bassist as “…melodic hard rock as it’s supposed to be.”

Melodic is the keyword here. This album is definitely all about melody. The title track is a good example of modern-sounding hard rock – good guitar harmonies and a skillfully executed chorus. Then other influences shine through with tracks including Heaven or Hell featuring some groove-style bass guitar structures. That particular song reminded me of Black Label Society for some reason. Speaking of groove; the slower, more ballad-like Babylon is packed with bluesy guitar riffs giving it a considerably darker tone compared to many of the other songs on here. The vocals and the overall style on Games of War made me think of Ozzy Osbourne.

I’m not going to bother going through every track even if there would be good things to say about all of them. Volster seem to happily borrow from a variety of both metal and hard rock styles. There are elements of everything from classic hard rock, glam/sleaze rock to melodic heavy metal and even groove metal. Surprisingly enough it all works well as a whole.

In summary, ‘Perfect Storm’ shows a band who wear their influences on their sleeves; acknowledging and in some ways paying homage to their past, but also moving forward and embracing a more modern style. What started as a short demo in the 1990s is now a fully fledged beast, alive and ready to rock in 2018.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Savage Machine – Abandon Earth

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 27th February 2018 by izaforestspirit

Savage Machine
Abandon Earth
Released 19th January 2018
Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Self-Released

Savage Machine - Abandon Earth

It’s been two years since I reviewed Savage Machine’s single; now here I am reviewing their debut album ‘Abandon Earth’. I’m already familiar with two of the tracks since they were on the ‘Event Horizon’ single. Based on the description, this is a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world in which humans are at war with the machines. So, it’s traditional heavy metal with a science-fiction theme. That sounds promising, let’s see what we have here…

This is actually a little more complex than I expected it to be. In addition to the predominant classic/NWOBHM-style heavy metal, there are also some elements of power metal. Take the The Hunter for example, the guitar structures made me think of the old albums by Helloween mixed with the story-telling vocal style of Iron Maiden. Then they reduce the pace with a ballad called Time Traveller,  a melodic heavy metal/thrash metal hybrid which reminded me of the early works of Iced Earth. Good guitar work!

Speaking of guitars, the “rifftasic” Event Horizon and classic heavy metal style ‘Savior’ are the undisputed highlights of the album. The former is an energetic, fast piece of thrash metal packed with killer guitar riffs. As for Savior, I already liked it two years ago and it hasn’t lost any of its appeal.

In summary, it has to be said that there’s not a single filler track on here. There’s good variety in the pace with just enough ballads to please fans of melodic metal and power along with plenty of faster songs for the thrashers amongst us.

4/5

Iza Raittila

EARTHBREAKER – Voice of the Voiceless

Posted in 'Core, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 11th January 2017 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

EARTH BREAKER
Voice of the Voiceless
Hardcore/Metal/’Ullcore
Self-Released: November 2016

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Hull – Otherwise known as the City of Culture – has a lot going on for it, especially in the music scene, which is where a promising young band known as Earthbreaker are currently making makes and lots of noise. Having only been around for just over a year, this melodic metal quintet have already made their presence felt – and heard – in North England.

Voice of the Voiceless opens straight up with the powerful and memorable track The Vipers Nest, which features an energetic and tenacious breakdown and some bestial vocal work. Family follows up almost seductively, with its overwhelming assault of guitars and differing and unique vocal sounds.

Misanthropy is a melodic track which is as catchy as the common cold but that doesn’t stop it from being heavier than an elephant’s arse. The guitars are heavy-duty, paving a path of broken bones whilst the rhythm sections lay down the gritty foundations. Whereas Deathwish brings a more emotive but just as unyielding sound to Voice of the Voiceless.

The EP finishes on Psychosis, with its enchanting dance between the guitars, bass and drums, making it a good track to finish on.

Voice of the Voiceless demonstrates Earthbreaker‘s well-founded sound in a way that leaves the listener wanting more and shows that this young quintet can go toe-to-toe in the pit with some of the heavy hitters on the scene.

4.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Interview with La-Ventura

Posted in Interview with tags , , on 15th April 2016 by mickbirchy

Fresh off of their performance at Quinphonic Festival 2 our writer, Mick Birchall chatted to frontwoman Carla van Huizen and bassist Mike Saffrie from La-Ventura. Where they discuss touring, influences, the symphonic metal genre and how music has kept them going.

Mick: So we have just come off of Quinphonic Festival, how did you enjoy it?

Carla & Mike: Quinphonic Fest and The UK were a blast! We had a fantastic time there, meeting many old and new fans and enjoying some great UK metal hospitality!

Mick: How did you like the UK crowds?

Mike: The crowd was fantastic, because they showed their appreciation in many ways, which is not always the case here back home. With the crowd we encountered at Quinphonic, you could see them enjoy the music and efforts of the bands where genuine reactions, before during and after the shows, were shown – prefect!

Carla: All we can say is this: UK crowds are AWESOME!

Mick: Is there any countries that you haven’t been to that you’d like to play in?

Carla: Well, the easiest of answers would be The States or Japan for instance for our kind of music, but we are glad and appreciate to do these trips closer to home here in Europe.

If we can do trips across the Oceans than of course we will do them, but for now we have a lot more to do here in Europe first!

Mick: To you, what is the most important thing about playing live?

Mike: Connecting with the audience and work your ass off to give them a great time! Worst scenario would be, seeing people leave during your concert, because they thought it isn’t worth their time. If it came about, because you as an artist did not give your best, then right so. We artists need to understand, that having an audience is not a standard, there is so much more people can do with their free time. When they choose to go to a gig, to see you, then we have to give them our a-game – nothing more, nothing less.

Mick: Typically speaking of the genre of symphonic metal and female fronted metal. I’m a big fan of the music that is produced and I’m seeing the genre grow all the time. With festivals like Metal Female Voices Fest (in Belgium), Quinphonic Festival and Muses of Metal (in UK) just as examples. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this type of music?

Mike: Yes, we are aware of this and it can work in our favor. To be truly honest: for me it is irrelevant if a band is female or male fronted: a band is either good or bad, regardless who fronts it.

Nevertheless, Metal has always been male dominant, so it is a good thing a female fronted band can have an edge to compete with established bands in the genre.

We now are at a point, that also for female fronted bands, the market is flooded with way to many (copy-cat) bands. Now it is clear bands need to have their own identity to survive. Now many more programs and line-ups at venues or festival are with both, male and female fronted bands to give the people the best. To me this is a good thing, to make sure that only the worthy can do the things needed to setup a good career and showcase the best of music for people to enjoy regardless if it is male or female fronted.

Mick: What do you think draws people to this type of music?

Mike: Pretty faces if it concerns female fronted…..?!?!!? ;)!

Mick: What do you feel drives you to make music and who influences you?

Mike: For me music has always been part of my live Even at an early age, Metal/ Rock was the one thing that really inspired me to pick up my guitar/ bass. Of course when looking at my age, Metallica was there to give me the first basics of how to riff.

12938164_1005385862831619_2290800798376230759_nBut it went all over the place. I listened to Death (Individual Thought Patterns and Symbolic), got to know Machine Head (Burn my Eyes), went to Fear Factory (Demanufacture), to the new dawn of Metal with bands like Sevendust (Home), Soilwork (well all of their earlier stuff!) to nowadays even bands like Killswitch Engage (though I really miss Howard as singer, the new album has some great moments!)and Crown the Empire with their excellent musical skills and songwriting.    

Mick: What first inspired you into playing music, singing and songwriting?

Carla: Well, my first love for music came from listening to the top 40 hits, and watching the Eurovision Song Contest 😉 Even though I grew up with classical  music and learning to play flute, I always liked the Rock scene very much. It took me a lot of courage and self esteem to climb up a stage, myself. Just by incident I was asked to help out some friends in a band, to fill in a temporary vocal position. After that it just grew on me. Took some singing lessons and learned to become more confident in the spotlights. I am now enjoying myself immensely on stage and off stage, especially putting my soul into writing lyrics and vocal lines together with my brilliant band mates.

Mike: My family, cause we all play an instrument or sing. So, it wasn’t that big of a leap to do more with it. I also did (what is more known worldwide as the Rockschool) the Rockacademy here in Holland, to give me even more tools to work with behind the scenes, to make some sort of career in making music.

Songwriting was not something I picked up, cause I was good at it (I do not consider myself as songwriter), but with all the bands I worked with it seemed at one point that the songs came from one hand primarily.

Only for La-Ventura it has now grown to a certain direction, which for me suits the bill in making new songs. With the clear path we have chosen, music wise, making songs is in this case my cup of tea. Maybe in the future this can change, but for now it is “just” me.

Mick: What’s the one song you wish you could have written and why?

Mike: That is a tough question… There are many examples of songs which are seriously gems in the genres. Because I do not consider myself in any of their leagues, picking one would almost be blasphemy 😉 What I will say is this: we all need to be grateful that in all matters in life there have been pioneers, opening up possibilities for others. I hope maybe one day, I can contribute in one of these matters in my own way.

Mick: What are your favorite things outside of music?

Carla: It is my nature to be creative, therefore I really enjoy spending my spear time on creative activities. Even my work holds a great deal of creativity, as being a hairstylist. It is also the social aspect that I like about the job: the interaction with people. I am also the one responsible for the band promotion on the social media and I really enjoy to connect with our fans and friends on FB.

Mike: MOVIES!!! I seriously enjoy movies, which is almost the only thing that can make me think about something else for the running time, instead of problems or other matters of work, the band and daily life.

Cause I am doing also the management for the band, I am faced with many many logistic problems and ways that would really make you hate music. When I am watching a movie, my brain can finally relax a bit. I just saw Batman vs Superman in the cinema, with a running time of about 150 minutes: this means 150 minutes of just pure MY time ;)!

Mick: To end with, what is the hardest thing that you’ve had to overcome and how did you overcome it?

Mike: For me the death of my youngest sister, which made a lasting impression on my whole family, where many before the accident would never thought life would unfold how it did after the accident. For me the music was one of the main things that kept me going and made the pain go away. I was not blind to what was happening at the time, so I experienced it with both eyes open, but with my escapes in the music, many things on the background got a place and were solved without too much anger or pain.

When life throws you such a curve ball, you either are strong to cope with it in your own way and/ or you have such fantastic people around you that will keep you going.

For me the music was one of those things that really meant a lot, even without knowing it at that time, which kept me solid and true to myself without losing my mind in despair.

I will never forgot what happened, but it all got a good place, when either listening or playing music. Life is too short to just dwell on things, make the best of it, cause you only get one life/ one chance. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST!

Interview & Words by Mick Birchall

Details and first band announced for final Valkyrian Festival

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 11th April 2015 by Nico Solheim-Davidson
Midlandic melodic metallers Winter Storm are the first (and currently only) band to be announced to play the Valhalla Stage for the 2015 edition of Valkyrian Festival, which is also set to be the last ever Valkyrian Festival.

Valkyrian Festival: The Requiem For Valhalla will take place at both The Venue and The Riverside on Ousegate in Selby, North Yorkshire with the Valhalla Main Stage being hosted in The Venue and the Danelaw Stage being hosted in The Riverside.

The event will take place from 14:00 on Saturday 21st November. Tickets are available for the price of £10 from this location. An additional 13 bands, including headliners, are still to be announced with a few other surprises as well.

Winter Storm online:

http://winter-storm.com
http://facebook.com/winterstormUK

In Flames – Siren Charms

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 4th September 2014 by Pieni

In Flames
“Siren Charms”
Melodic Metal
To be released on 5th September 2014
Via Epic Records

 photo In_Flames_-_Siren_Charms_album_cover_zpsc78625eb.jpg

A smile lit up on my face when I heard that In Flames would release a new album. That smile still glowed when the first single “Rusted Nail” was available. Not a spectacular track but good enough – the guitar licks in the intro flow pretty easily through your ears; Fridén’s vocal tone – mainly clean but harsher here and there and backed by occasional screams – sounds quite pleasant; an exquisite bridge preceding the first chorus, and the catchy melody of the latter…  There’s something standard in the riffing, though, hence the “not a spectacular track”.

Then the aforementioned smile got wider with the release of “Through Oblivion”, a melancholic song, almost depressive, that stirred something in the darkest side of me.

But then I listened to the whole album and the smile faded, almost completely. We already knew the “melodic” was growing stronger and the “death” was dimming, so it isn’t a big surprise that “Everything’s Gone” is the only true heavy song in “Siren Charms”. What disappoints me is that it’s not a very good song. The heaviness of “When The World Explodes” is better, but the softer parts are weak, not because they’re, well, soft and slow, but because they don’t seem to have any spirit in them. This one features soprano Emilia Feldt, who has a beautiful voice but doesn’t help this track at all. Weren’t sirens supposed to have an enthralling vivid chant? Feldt uses a very languid tone here.

Also “Paralyzed” and “Dead Eyes” make justice to their titles, being quite dull tracks. “With Eyes Wide Open” is a nice ballad, though, and “Filtered Truth” has a rock-ish vibe, a lively sound that’s refreshing to hear in the end.

The production is amazing, but something’s missing in “the whole musical picture”. And it’s not the more melodic approach that bothers me. It’s its lack of ability to embrace my senses and leave a positive remark.

3 / 5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino