Archive for Metallica

Social Stain – Social Stain

Posted in CD, Punk Rock with tags , , on 30th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Social Stain
Social Stain
Released 13th January 2017
Hard Rock
Self-Released

‘Social Stain’ is the debut album from the Finnish hard rock band of the same name. The band was formed in 2014 by bassist Toni Broman and their sound is heavily influenced by ’90s hard rock and metal bands including Alice in Chains, Guns’N’Roses and mid-career (The Black Album/Load-era) Metallica.

We’re off to a good start with the first two tracks Breakout and Dead Man Talking paving the way towards what promises to be an action-packed joyride fueled by catchy guitar tunes and “sing along with your hands in the air” hard rock vocals. The Metallica influence is fairly easy to detect – both the guitars and the vocals have that Load-era Metallica vibe. Vocalist Teemu Kokkonen also likes to add the occasional “yeah!” to some of the songs, though nowhere near as often as Mr. Hetfield does. Social Stain have a fairly relaxed, rock’n’roll/punk attitude with the emphasis being more on having a good time rather creating any complex structures or dark and profound lyrics.

Then just when you think you have figured out what Social Stain are all about, they suddenly decide to slow down the pace and deliver a slower ballad, At Peace. This song proves that if you look past the easy going, punky attitude, you will discover that these four guys are skilled musicians who are totally committed to bringing you the best hard rock album that they can offer. But don’t worry if ballads aren’t your thing, just move on to the next song for more catchy, guitar driven hard rock tunes including the title track.

In summary, Social Stain clearly like their ’90s -style hard rock – denim, leather, beer, motorbikes etc. Yet there is nothing vintage about their music. Whilst this debut album definitely has that playful feel to it, it is also very well composed and performed. What’s great about it is there are no real filler tracks on here.

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (Part 2: Metal)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Metal, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Time for the second part of my highlights of 2016, the metal edition. This part was much harder to write than the first because it took me a long time to chose my top ten metal of albums and even longer to decide on the winner. So here are my top ten favourite metal releases of 2016:

1. Vader – The Empire
Genre: Death Metal

This year, Vader strikes back with ‘The Empire’… Let’s face it, they were kind of asking for comments like this with that kind of an album title. Star Wars jokes aside, this is a really good piece of work. If you’re looking for some new death metal to check out, I would strongly recommend this album. Unlike their previous work, the masterpiece that was ‘Tibi et Igni’, ‘The Empire’ shows a back to basics approach. No complex structures or atmospheric intros, just good, old-school thrashy death metal. Best tracks: ‘Iron Reign’, ‘No Gravity’ and ‘Army-Geddon’.

2. Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
Genre: Hard Rock/Industrial Metal

This year’s runner up deserves an award for coming up with the one of the longest album titles in years. I tend to refer to it simply as ‘The Electric Warlock’… Whilst still no match for his first two albums, ‘The Electric Warlock’ is Rob Zombie’s best work in years. Favourite tracks ‘The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore’, ‘In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’ and the ultra cheesy but super catchy ‘The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God’.

3. Devilment – II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal

For those of you who read my highlights of 2015, you might remember my comments on the latest Cradle of Filth album. This year their vocalist Dani Filth has been busy working on the second album for his other band Devilment. ‘II- The Mephisto Waltzes’ is a delightful opus which happily mixes a variety of metal genres including Gothic, symphonic and groove metal. There’s even a touch of humour in the lyrics and several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Best tracks are ‘Hitchcock Blonde’, ‘Dea Della Morte’ and ‘Full, Dark No Stars’.

4. Mortiis – The Great Deceiver
Genre: Industrial Metal

Ever since the Norwegian musician Mortiis started his own band in the mid ’90s, there has been some debate as to what category their music fits into. The older works are very much dark ambient, followed by the synth-pop period of ‘Smell of Rain, turning into the latest era of industrial rock. Their latest effort, the ultra creepy -sounding ‘The Great Deceiver’ is undoubtedly their heaviest and most complex album to date which is why I chose to include it in my metal top 10. Best tracks: ‘Doppelganger’, ‘Demons are Back’ and ‘Shining Lamp of God’.

5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Moonsorrow caught my attention after I saw them live at Tampere Metal Meeting Festival in the summer. I like some of their older material and after hearing some of the new songs live I decided to check out their newest album ‘Jumalten aika’. This is one of those releases where there are no real outstanding tracks, but rather the whole album is worth listening to in full. It’s one of the best pieces of pagan black metal that I’ve heard in a long while.

6. The Vision Bleak – The Unknown
Genre: Gothic Horror Metal

German Gothic horror metal duo The Vision Bleak are back with a new album. ‘The Unknown’ struck me as being somewhat “Lovecraftian”, both in the visual concept of the cover art and the the lyrical themes. Musically it is in every bit that you can expect from a Vision Bleak album; eerie Gothic horror metal with some doom influences added creating the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Best tracks ‘The Kindred of The Sunset’ and ‘Into the Unknown’.

7. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Genre: Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal

Just in case anyone is wondering why the new Metallica is so low down on this list, the truth is that I expected it to be better than it turned out to be. After all, it’s been eight years since their last studio album. Needless to say that the expectations were high. I wasn’t expecting this to be another ‘Master of Puppets’ or ‘Ride the Lightning’ but I was hoping for something along the lines of ‘Death Magnetic’ which I really enjoyed. Luckily ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ isn’t as bad as ‘St. Anger’ but it’s hardly a masterpiece. To be honest I think that it would be have been better off as an EP with just four or five tracks instead of the 12 songs and 13 music videos. I definitely like the first disc more than the second one and my favourites include: ‘Moth To The Flame’, ‘Dream No More’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’.

8. Sabaton – The Last Stand
Genre: Power Metal

Sabaton are one of the very few power metal bands that I like. I’ve always enjoyed their live shows and I’m very fond of the concept album ‘Carolus Rex’. As with all Sabaton albums, their latest piece of work doesn’t disappoint as far as the historical themes go. This one tells the stories of eleven defensive “last stand” battles. Each song focuses on a different battle from various historical events ranging from ancient Greece, medieval Scotland, the two World Wars to Japan at the time of the samurais. That sounds awesome in principal, if only the actual music was that good. Sadly it isn’t. It’s ok but not great and most of the time Sabaton are just recycling old ideas, changing the themes but making similar music. The only tracks that I liked are: ‘Shiroyama’, ‘The Last Battalion’ and ‘Blood at Bannockburn’.

9. DevilDriver
Trust No One
Genre: Groove Metal

DevilDriver - Trust No One

The only real groove metal entry on this list, ‘Trust No One’ is DevilDriver’s best work in years. It is an aggressive beast of guitar-driven groove metal made all the more powerful thanks to Dez Fafara’s vicious growls. Best tracks: ‘Trust No One’ and ‘Daybreak’.

10. Theatres des Vampires – Candyland
Genre: Gothic Metal

It’s been a while since the Italian Gothic metal band Theatres des Vampires have released anything new. I’ve been a fan of their music for many years and so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of their latest piece of work. ‘Candyland’ is somewhat more metal-sounding than its predecessor ‘Moonlight Waltz’. There are notably less vampire themes on here compared to the previous album but other than that not much has changed. Sonya Scarlet is still the key figure in Theatres des Vampires. Whilst I still prefer their older works, back when Lord Vampyr was still a member of the band, I did enjoy this album. Best tracks ‘The Morgana Effect’ and ‘Resurrection Mary’.

 
Biggest New Discovery: Powerwolf
Best live show of 2016: Powerwolf live in Tampere
Most anticipated albums of 2017:
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
New albums from Cradle of Filth and (hopefully) Behemoth.

That’s all from me for now. Happy New Year!

Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 25th November 2016 by mickbirchy

Metallica

Hardwired… To Self-Destruct

Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal

Released: 18 November 2016

via Blackened Records

So, it’s been 8 long years of buildup and hype. For many metal fans though, some trepidation. As Metallica don’t have a sparkling reputation for album releases. In my opinion, they haven’t made a solid album since “The Black Album”. I mean they’ve had the odd decent tune here and there. They just haven’t made a solid full album. So this album, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct was met with a lot of ears. How is it?…. It’s good. I’m not going to say great but it’s good. I think the whole thing is really damn good and definitely their best work in a long time. I guess it was too much to expect them to release a full on thrash album. Then again I don’t think they needed to.

The album sounds great. The production is sharp and they sound tight. Particularly on the title track ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’ and on ‘Atlas, Rise’. The riffs are nice and they actually sound somewhat like Metallica. Weird, I know. Through both discs they’re pretty damn consistent. With a well composed and well arranged sound. It feels like someone took the time to put it together. I like the experimentation with other types of metal too. Ok, they’re not going crazy with this album, they’re playing it pretty safe, still it’s nice to hear.

Saying that though. I do feel that this album plods along at points. Never enough to get boring but it does feel a little long winded. This is way more apparent on disc two. Which feels like Metallica are overstaying their welcome. There are some nice riffs though, like the opening to ‘Confusion’ and I quite like the last song ‘Spit Out The Bone’ it was a good way to cap off the album. So hey not all bad there.

So, yeah Metallica are back. I’m not going to say this is a return to form. However, it is a solid album, and that’s all I really wanted from them. Just something that I can play and have a little fun with. Hardwired… works quite nicely. It’s got some brilliant songs, excellent guitar solos and it sounds like Metallica actually wanted to make this album. Which makes this a good album in my books.

3/5

Mick Birchall

More details about the new Metallica album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , on 12th September 2016 by izaforestspirit

Yes, it’s really happening… We’ve been hearing about Metallica working on a new album for quite some time now. Well, it turns that they really were working on some new material. The long-awaited follow up to ‘Death Magnetic’ and the ‘Beyond Magnetic’ EP will be entitled ‘Hardwired…to Self -Destruct‘. You can check out the cover below:

This will be a 2CD album featuring the following tracks:

Disc 1
1. Hardwired
2. Atlas, Rise!
3. Now That We’re Dead
4. Moth into Flame
5. Am I Savage?
6. Halo on Fire

Disc 2
1. Confusion
2. Dream No More
3. ManUNkind
4. Here Comes Revenge
5. Murder One
6. Spit Out the Bone

‘Hardwired…to Self-Destruct’ will also be available  in digital form via iTunes, on vinyl and as a 3CD deluxe edition featuring an extra disc with the demo versions of the songs plus the studio version of ‘Lords of Summer’. The official, worldwide release date is 18th November 2016 which also happens to be Kirk Hammett’s birthday.

For more details visit:

https://metallica.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Metallica

 

 

Machine Head reveal details for Killers & Kings

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 13th March 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Over twenty years combined with seven critically acclaimed albums and multiple world tours to their credit, very few can deny that Machine Head are one of THE kings of metal (Basically, eat your hearts out, Manowar).

This summer Nuclear Blast will have the enormous privilege of releasing Machine Head’s next full-length album, which is also the band’s debut for the label. In anticipation and to celebrate Record Store Day (19th April 2014), Nuclear Blast will be releasing a limited edition 10” featuring a demo version of a brand new track entitled Killers & Kings. Never heard or released before, Machine Head fans have been waiting for new music from the band for the last 3 years and Killers & Kings will not disappoint. Side B of the release will also feature Machine Head covering two tracks by the southern California hardcore outfit Ignite. Frontman Robb Flynn comments:

I remember growing up in the thrash scene and always wanting to hear the demo version of songs. You searched them out. Thankfully my buddy Jim was a big ‘tape trader,’ and through trading we had both Metallica demos, Exodus demos, bootlegs of songs sometimes ‘years’ before they came out. I knew how to play every note of Pleasure Of The Flesh by Exodus, easily two years before the record was out! My friends and I would debate the merits of each, but we all agreed, It was so much cooler to hear it BEFORE the album is out! So we’re gonna do that for you. I can’t wait for you guys to hear this stuff.

This limited edition 10” will also feature four alternate covers with two specific colours.

Killers & Kings 10” tracking listing:

Side One: “Killers & Kings” (demo version)
Side Two: “Our Darkest Days/Bleeding” (Ignite cover)

Machine Head are currently in the studio recording their eighth album for an early 2014 release, followed by a massive worldwide tour cycle.

Machine Head‘s most recent studio release, 2011’s Unto The Locust, entered The Billboard 200 chart at position No. 22 – putting them in the Top 25 for the first time in the band’s history. The album was the follow-up to the 2007 Grammy nominated metal milestone The Blackening, widely hailed as one of the finest metal albums of the last decade, which led the band to an extensive three-year tour, sharing the stage with such heavy hitters as Slipknot and Metallica.

Machine Head online:

http://machinehead1.com
http://facebook.com/MachineHead
http://youtube.com/machinehead

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Alestorm announced for Sonisphere 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 13th February 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Scottish pirates Alestorm have been announced for this year’s Sonisphere Festival, which already boasts the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Carnifex and more.

Sonisphere will be held at Knebworth Park on 4th – 6th July 2014.  Keep up to date with the very latest info on Sonisphere’s official sites at this location.

Alestorm have just arrived at Lasse Lammert’s LSD-Studio in Lübeck, Germany,  to record their 4th full-length album, which will be titled Sunset on the Golden Age.

Alestorm online:

http://facebook.com/alestormband/

 

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Sonisphere Festival announce more bands

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 6th January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Sonisphere Festival have proudly announced more bands for its return to Knebworth in July later this year. The first to be announced who will be joining the event’s headliners The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica are Australian hard rockers Airbourne, who have amassed a legion of fans over their decade-long existence, with a high-octane live show featuring lead singer and guitarist Joel O’Keefe’s outrageous showmanship. Joel O’Keefe comments:

Us four guys are seriously fired up and chomping at the bit to bring the ‘Black Dog Barking’ Tour to Knebworth. With monumental metal juggernauts Iron Maiden and Metallica coming to shake Knebworth to the core along with Bruce Dickinson also announcing it will be the last concert of the ‘Maiden England’ tour this is a rock’n’roll event in time that can’t be missed. We are deeply honored to have the green light for an Airbourne/Knebworth assault, to get out there on Knebworth’s hallowed ground in front of that sea of heavy metal maniacs and give them every ounce of blood sweat and energy we got… And afterwards we’ll grab a case of ice cold Trooper ale’s and watch the best heavy metal bands of all time! See ya there!

US rock group Alice In Chains, Swedish pop-doom act Ghost, French progressive metal lords Gojira and Australian five piece Karnivool are also amongst the list of bands to be announced for Sonisphere 2014. Alice In Chains lead vocalist and guitarist William DuVall comments:

We’re very excited to be playing once again at Sonisphere, particularly as this year has us joining our longtime friends in Metallica. It should be a fun ride for everyone – both on and off the stage.

And last but not least Mastodon are scheduled to make their first Sonisphere appearance since 2011 alongside a band that need no introductions: Slayer, as they bring their ferociously demonic live show back to Sonisphere, following their 2011 performance as part of the Big 4 line-up alongside Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax. With their 11th studio album due for release in 2014, Slayer will be delivering their brand of skull-crushing heaviness louder and heavier than ever before. As guitar-god Kerry King says:

Great to be back at Sonisphere this year!! Always a giant party!!!

As previously announced The Prodigy, Iron Maiden and Metallica headline Sonisphere 2014, in an historic bill guaranteed to make Knebworth’s 40thAnniversary one of the most memorable events ever staged in the grounds, especially as it is the first time ever that Iron Maiden and Metallica have appeared together on the same bill in the UK.

Sonisphere 2014 marks the return to Britain of the Sonisphere Festival, which for the past five years has been the biggest pan-European festival, playing to audiences of over 1.5 Million fans. Early Bird Weekend tickets for Sonisphere 2014 are on sale now priced at £170 (limited availability). The highly popular deposit scheme will also be running from now until April, meaning fans will be able to reserve their tickets for an initial payment of just £50. Check the Sonisphere website for further details.

 

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