Archive for Melodic

DevilDriver – Trust No One

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 30th May 2016 by Mickelrath

Trust No One
Groove Metal, Melodic Metal
>Released: 13 May 2016
Via Napalm Records

Trust No One is the seventh release from DevilDriver. The album is certainly the same sound that they have been playing for years now, although it feels more revitalised and energetic. There is a distinct sense of power and command to the songs and the songwriting itself is great. All of the lyrics flowing really nicely and the sharp consistent riffs piercing there way into your head. They really come out swinging here with the tight production and stimulating melodies. I can’t really say it’s their best work, but there is definitely a drive behind this album, whereas the last couple felt a little tired.

Right off the bat DevilDriver hits you with a cavalcade of powerful and commanding groove based riffs, in that familiar way.  It’s all really nicely paced and creates an interesting sound in your head.  Opening on “Testimony of Truth” and “Bad Deeds” the album really starts you off with a blast to your senses. The lead guitar sounds distorted beyond belief with twisted and winding sounds mixed with the amazing bass work, which is really well laid.  All of it just pushes the songs forward with fantastic momentum and makes you want to keep listening.  Seriously the album flies by, forty minutes feels like ten and when you have fist pumping songs like “Above It All”, “Daybreak” and “Trust No One” it’s really no surprise.  I found myself wanting the next song to come on and it turns out that the album was over.  Forcing me to restart the whole thing again.

I’m a massive sucker for well done riffs and yeah, they’re simply spectacular here.  They’re completely solid and uncompromising.  They hit hard and let you just waver in the aftermath of their presence. When you add Dez Fafara’s insane vocal style on top of all of it it makes for one hell of a listening experience. Just simple heavy metal done really well no need for for any fancy gimmicks or weird stylistic choices. Pure heavy metal full on until the end. Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this album, although they haven’t much to change their style or innovate the genre.  They have created something really pure and simple. Why change up a formula that already makes sense?


Mick Birchall

Quinphonic Festival Announces 2016 Line-Up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 14th June 2015 by Mickelrath

After the success of this year’s festival, the world’s premier Quintuple header festival returns. ‘The Quinphonic Festival 2’ will feature five outstanding international symphonic / melodic / power / prog metal bands all, playing full one-hour sets. We happily announce the bands that are performing next year:

The enigmatic Evenoire from Italy


The wondrous Wildpath from France


The lavish La Ventura from the Netherlands


The hypnotic Hydra from Germany


The dynamic Dakesis from England

The day of metal goodness will take place at The Roadhouse in Birmingham, UK on Bank Holiday Sunday, 27th March 2016 from 3pm till 11pm.

Information regarding ticket sales will follow in due course.

Venial Sin – Sphere of Morality

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 23rd November 2012 by -Scorpius-

Venial Sin
Sphere of Morality
Black/Death/Melodic Metal
Infekted Records
Released: 2012

Venial Sin are a four piece extreme metal band from Villa Real in Portugal, they consist of Renato Sousa on Lead Vocals, Predo Matos on Guitar, Vocals and Synths, Paulo Padrao on Bass Guitar and Helder Guedes on Drums. The band aren’t easily categorized but have elements of Death Metal, Black Metal and some more melodic elements, blended with some very dark and atmospheric elements.
Their album, Spheres of Morality which I am reviewing here was released in 2012 via Infekted Records.

Track one is entitled, A New Rose, which starts off with a really interesting riff on the guitars and bass shortly progressed by some really intense guttural vocals and some great rhythmic parts and harmonizing guitar parts, then there’s an acoustic sounding segment with clean vocals and some cymbal work on the drums.
One thing I would like to note about this track is that the drums sound fantastic, they are really full and played flawlessly by drummer Helder. A New Rose is a really good track, it is rhythmic yet melodic which can often be a hard balance to find but the guys at Venial Sin have found it and executed that balance with some style, there are some great atmospheric background sounds on this track which caught my attention and overall this track has a nice contrast between it’s heavy and light elements.

Next up is a track called, Prepared for Battle, the title does not disappoint either! The first thing that strikes me about this track is the guitar tone, they have got that sound just right I feel, there is some great drumming with really interesting rhythms at play on this track, some brilliant blast beats and perfect double bass pedal work on the drums. This is quite a Black Metal sounding track, without sounding clichéd either! I like the use of overlapping duel vocals and the bass guitar really compliments the guitar parts, towards the end of the track softer vocals come in which are intermixed with the familiar guttural vocals and the track starts to take a on a rather ethereal quality to it, especially with its guitar solo!

Novembers Fall is the third offering on this album and it starts with acoustic sounds and some great ambiance, there’s some great guitar picking and a nice chord jangle at the end of the main riff at the beginning before it get’s into a really mournful and depressing feel, the guttural vocals are slow and droning and that’s intermixed once more with the softer vocal, giving this track a very somber feel. One thing I did notice at one point with this track is that the softer vocal does a harmony which is very reminiscent of a vocal phrase that Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant does in Stairway to Heaven, the similarities to it are striking and I don’t know if it was a conscious thought out idea to have that in there or if it was just a natural organic thing that happened. My overall thoughts on this track is that it is very mournful and depressing, great if you want to listen to such a track.

Track four is entitled, Real End and it is definitely the ballad track of this album, it starts off with some electronic keyboards in its intro which is shortly followed by the Bass Guitar, Drums and Soft Vocal and there are some really nice harmonies on this track, I found it to be very contemplative and introspective and it really makes the listener look inside of themselves, as I am sure was the intention of the band with this track, around the 3 minutes mark the heavy vocals comes in and the tempo steps up somewhat.

Vanishing Death is the penultimate track on this album, it has a very fantasy almost computer game feel to this track and I don’t mean that in a negative way, it sounds like it could be part of a soundtrack to one of the Final Fantasy games, there are some interesting guitar and drum parts and a nice overall rhythm. It has a great progression as the song goes on and almost has a battle feel to it, like your about to face a level boss on a computer game. An interesting track indeed!

The Title track of this album, Sphere of Morality is the final track on this album, which I found to be quite an odd but not unwelcome position on the album itself. This track starts with a Death Metal feel to it and has some nice choppy rhythmic parts and it is quite a technical track, I like the duel layered heavy vocals and the drumming once again is top notch, there is some very impressive double bass pedal work which really shows off the drummers skill.
There is more synth in the background of this track and at approximately 2 minutes 20 seconds into this track all the instruments stop playing and the listener is momentarily left with just synth before they kick back in again, I get a feel of finalisation and that the album has come full circle with this track and perhaps that is why the band decided to place the title track at the end of the album, the track then ends with some synth that slowly fades away and your left with the sounds of a Portuguese night, with crickets and various nightlife painting a picture of a late summers night.
On the CD there are two final tracks labelled, Part I and Part II although they share the same track as the previous song, Sphere of Morality. It’s hard to define which is Part I and Part II to be honest, the fire sounds give way to some electronic keyboard and some synth which is shortly joined by some reverbed flute sounds, which soon takes over the track, it’s a very ambient sound and I would also go further to classify it as electronic easy listening.
My personal opinion here is that the band should of left out this electronic part and ended the album with the sounds of the night and the fire, for me that would have been a far more satisfying end to the album.

To Summarise, Sphere of Morality is not that bad of an album if you want to sit and listen to something that’s going to transport you to another place or another way of thinking, if your expecting track after track of heaviness and brutality then you will be sorely disappointed, yes there are times when there is heaviness but I wouldn’t personally call it a brutal heaviness, more of a doom metal kind of heaviness to me but that however is just my opinion.
What I will say though and in no way am I being negative or derogatory here, I think this album would make a great soundtrack to a video game, a fantasy based game such as Final Fantasy X as a lot of the ideas really reminded me of the soundtrack to that game, I really think the band should approach some games developers as if they can get their album used as a soundtrack, if not in part to a game I really think they would make a lot of money with it!

I do not wish to make the entirety of my summary of this album to be a pitch to have this made into a video game soundtrack however, so here are a few more of my thoughts.

This album has the potential to span and cross various musical genres in my opinion and a great potential to win a lot of fans who may not usually listen to this type of music, I found it to be very accessible and I am sure new listeners will too. If you have never heard this album I would recommend it to you all, take a listen to it just once to see if it is your cup of tea as it may well be or it may not be but still take the time to give it a try as I did, I don’t think any listener would be sorely disappointed with it at all but I do think the listener would have to be in a certain mood or frame of mind to make this album a regular listen. For me it would be an album that I would put on now and again to perhaps lift my mood or have it playing in the background. All in all a pretty good effort by Venial Sin and I think the band will progress nicely and their next release will have a natural and well deserved progression.



Lakes – These Minutes

Posted in Review with tags , , on 19th August 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

These Minutes
Released: 2nd October, 2011
Released via The Militia Group

Lakes is one of those bands who tries to add different music styles to their songs to hopefully create a sound that is not only unique but also appealing to their fans. However, after listening to their debut album These Minutes, it sounds to me like the different uses of metal, hardcore, and melodic styles were randomly thrown about rather than executed into a consistent sound and style.

Their opening track Silence is anything from silent and starts the album off with an instrumental of keyboards, heavy guitar riffs and solos which seemed to suit the band’s claimed style. Further into this album, however, there is a pattern of one instrumental song followed by couple heavier songs with vocals. This pattern would be more fitting for an album with an abundance of tracks, but since These Minutes only has a total of nine tracks, it seemed really unnecessary to split up such a small amount of songs. The vocals also drowned out the guitars and keyboards which it made it harder to listen to the music itself.

Overall I feel like this band does in fact have a different sound that appeals to people interested in heavier, melodic music. However, I feel that this album would have been exceptionally better if they either stuck with heavier songs with some melodic parts incorporated into each song, or if they went more mellow and kept the instrumental melodic tracks instead. The way they combined both into this album made it hard for me to listen to and to see how well their musicianship really is.


Hammer Smashed Lauren

Before The Dawn Stream Rise Of The Phoenix

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 19th April 2012 by colmcasserly

Finnish melodic band Before The Dawn are currently streaming their new album here, Also included is a commentary on the tracks included written by guitarist/vocalist Tuomas Saukkonen.

Check it out and tell us what you think in the comments.

Pictures Of Pain – The Reckoning [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on 25th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Band: Pictures Of Pain
Album: The Reckoning
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Metal

Pictures Of Pain are described as a “melodic metal band with a unique sound”. They hail from grim and frostbitten lands of Norway, a country renowned for its history, mythology and black metal. Originally, forming in 2005, Pictures Of Pain have gone on to support bands such as Kamelot, Ensiferum and Leaves’ Eyes.

The introduction of “Betrayal” is certainly a unique one. Its calm, melodic and slightly progressive with sudden, short-lived sections of heaviness which are combined with black metal styled vocals. The track does turn aggressive. The vocals are different to how one would expect them to be to they sound to be a combination of both power metal and black metal styled vocals. There is a major use of clean vocals throughout the song as well, which helps keep the track interesting. The drums are precise and intelligently played. In some sections, the cleaner vocals do spoil the song a bit when they begin to scream in the old skool metal way.

”Far Beyond” begins in a similar fashion, only the introduction has more of a hypnotic yet eerie sound to it. The vocals are more clean on this track as well, whilst the guitars have lightened up a little bit but still bring that driving force of metal with them. The melodic riffs are also featured, which is a good thing for those who are fond of the more melodic sections. “Eternal Rage” is more slow paced to begin with, with a slight progressive feel to the drums. The vocals can be scarcely heard to begin with which is slightly disappointing, though they soon become more audible. They contrast brilliantly between harsh and bloodthirsty to clean and powerful-sounding. The slow, calming section towards the middle is certainly a refreshing sound from the onslaught of heavy, face-melting metal found in the majority of the first track. The guitar solo is well composed and a brilliant addition to “Eternal Rage”. The only issue as such with this one is the length, as the casual listener would possibly get bored after the first half of the track.

”Deviator” blasts its way next, with a an old skool meets modern metal sound. The vocals are reminiscent of Judas Priest and Venom. The riffs and drum work are very savage yet well composed at the same time. “Sign Of Times” is another slow-paced song yet just as epic as the tracks before it. The melodic riffs are just brilliant and the drums certainly bounce off the guitars very well. However, the clean vocals are lacking a fair bit compared to the music. The clean and eerie introductory riff of “Years Of Disgrace” which suddenly transforms into an aggressive and barbaric assault of metal upon the listener’s ear drums. Interestingly, the track switches between the soft, clean sections and the heavily aggressive sections very well.

Next is the title track, “The Reckoning”. The intro is more brutal than expected whilst keeping the smoothness of the melodic riffs. The vocals are strong and powerful, almost operatic sounding. “The Reckoning” certainly has a very power metal sound to it. The screams aren’t too bad on this track, they just don’t seem to go with the riffs. The drums are almost machine like in their precision and power. “Final State” follows after with a majestic intro. The vocals are mesmerising and epic. The riffs can only truly be described as sagaic whilst the screams are somewhat demonic sounding, mixing well with the more aggressive sections of the track.

The final two tracks of the album are demos form 2005 and 2006. “From The Ashes”, the demo from 2006, is next. It certainly is very different from the rest of the album and shows how much Pictures Of Pain’s sound has evolved. “From The Ashes” seems to have more emphasis on the harsh screaming and the rough and raw riffs as opposed to a clean and crisp sound. The final song of the album is “Guardian Of Tears”, the demo from 2005. Again, it is different to the rest of the album due to the raw, untamed sound of the guitars and drums. The sound is also more distorted as well, giving it a more underground and in-your-face sound.

There is no doubt that Pictures Of Pain have a very unique sound. Each track seems to be different from the other whilst retaining that certain sound that Pictures Of Pain are working hard to create. Even the vocals seem to be different on each track. “The Reckoning” is clearly an album for those bored of the same old generic sound that most bands seem to have these days as it is fresher and more exciting than most albums out at the moment.


Nico Davidson