Archive for Napalm Records

More details about the new album from Lord of The Lost

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 4th May 2018 by izaforestspirit

Just one year after the release of their orchestral album ‘Swan Songs II’, the German Gothic industrial metal band Lord of the Lost are hard at work putting the finishing touches on their latest opus –  ‘Thornstar’.  This will be a concept album focusing on the myth of a doomed high civilization. Here’s what the band’s front-man Chris Harms had to say about it:

“From the beginning it has been a big vision we had with ‘Thornstar’- the concept demands a lot of responsibility. And the final result overtook us completely.”

‘Thornstar’ will be out worldwide on 3rd August 2018 via Napalm Records.

 1. On This Rock I Will Build My Church
2. Loreley
3. Black Halo
4. In Our Hands
5. Morgana
6. Haythor
7. Naxxar
8. Cut Me Out
9. The Mortarian
10. Under The Sun
11. In Darkness, In Light
12. Forevermore
13. Ruins

LORD OF THE LOST - Thornstar / CD
In the meantime you can check out their latest video from the opening track ‘On This Rock I Will Build My Church’.

For more information go to:

https://www.facebook.com/lordofthelost/

http://lordofthelost.de/

 

Moonspell – 1755

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 18th October 2017 by Pieni

Moonspell
“1755”
Dark Metal
Release: 3rd November 2017
Via Napalm Records

1755

Whether one likes it or not, Moonspell have changed the way Portugal’s metal scene is looked at. It’s been 25 successful years, so they’re not releasing now a conceptual album, in their native tongue, because they need to prove themselves; they’re doing it because they just can.

As you probably know by now, 1755 was the year when the Great Lisbon earthquake took place, on All Saints’ Day, resulting in the near-destruction of the city and a death toll of tens of thousands. That alone gives you an idea of the emotional weight of this record, which goes much beyond the lyrical content depicting such tragedy. There’s the obscure orchestral arrangements (courtesy of Jon Phipps) in the new version of “Em Nome Do Medo”, the operatic female voices throughout the album enhancing its epic imprint, the brazenness of “Desastre”, the weeping guitar solo in “Ruínas” – a song otherwise quite brisk. A similar contrast occurs in “In Tremor Dei”, between that bold melody and the riveting voice of fado singer Paulo Bragança. In case you don’t know, fado is a Portuguese classic music genre, of a sad and longing nature – after all, it literally means “fate” -, sung in heartbreaking intonations. If the idea of Moonspell featuring Bragança is somewhat shocking, the outcome is simply mind-blowing.

Marquis of Pombal, the Prime-Minister at the time of the earthquake, said something like “now we bury the dead and take care of the living”. Maybe a bit cold, but a positive vision nevertheless. And that’s also how Moonspell finish “1755”: originally performed by Brazilian rockers Paralamas do Sucesso, “Lanterna dos Afogados” is a song of hope and being there for one another, now with a much darker vibe – very Moonspell-ish. Come to think of it, there isn’t really any new trait here; it’s how the band now combines and tweaks those traits, accordingly with its bleakest theme, that makes “1755” a memorable masterpiece.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Lord of the Lost sign to Napalm Records

Posted in Misc., News with tags , on 30th August 2017 by izaforestspirit

The German dark metal band Lord of the Lost have recently signed a record deal with Napalm Records.

The Hamburg based band was formed back in 2007 by singer and guitarist Chris Harms. They have released five albums and experimented with various musical styles ranging from Gothic rock, industrial metal and dark rock. Their sound has been compared to the likes of HIM and Deathstars.

Only a year since their last album ‘Empyrean’ was released, they are now putting the final touches on their new acoustic album ‘Swan Songs II’, which will be out on 6th October 2017. This will be the band’s second acoustic album, following ‘Swan Songs’ which was released two years ago.

UK fans can also catch them live during their UK tour supporting KMFDM. Here are the dates:

05.09. Newcastle – Think Tank
06.09. Glasgow – St. Lukes
07.09. Manchester – Ruby Lounge
08.09. Birmingham – O2 Institute
09.09. London – O2 Academy Islington
10.10. Bristol – Fleece

In the meantime check out their new video:

For more information visit:

http://lordofthelost.de

http://www.napalmrecords.com

http://www.facebook.com/lordofthelost

More details about the new Ex Deo album

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 7th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of the ancient Rome -themed, symphonic death metal band Ex Deo. The  band have revealed that their new album, the long-awaited follow up to ‘Caligvla’ will be entitled ‘The Immortal Wars’. This will be a concept album about the Punic Wars fought between Rome and Carthage which took place 264 B.C. to 146 B.C including epic tales two of history’s most famous generals Hannibal and Scipio Africanus.

You can check out the cover art and the track listing below:

1. The Rise of Hannibal
2. Hispania (The Siege of Saguntum)
3. Crossing of the Alps
4. Suavetaurilia (Intermezzo)
5. Cato Major: Carthago Delenda Est!
6. Ad Victoriam (The Battle of Zama)
7. The Spoils of War
8. The Roman

‘The Immortal Wars’ is schedule to hit the shops worldwide on 24th February 2017 via Napalm Records.

In the meantime here is a short teaser video with some song previews:

 

For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/exdeo/?fref=ts

 

Civil War – The Last Full Measure

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 10th November 2016 by mickbirchy

Civil War
The Last Full Measure
Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Released: 04 November 2016
via Napalm Records

My God, this has been a great year for power metal. It’s been awhile since I’ve listened to Civil War, they’re a band that I’ve seen live and I think they’re a lot of fun. Mixing the traditional power metal formula with other musical ideas to make a new tone. So  when I heard there was a new album on the way I was quite interesting. I’ve like their previous work so hopefully the new record The Last Full Measure works.

Well I like this one. It’s definitely their sound. That heavy handed power metal with a noticeable twang that brands their signature. The grooves and riffs are fun and build to their respective choruses. These are usually pretty grandiose. The sheer presence that these guys have it great. Everything is full force, the songs don’t such worm their way in as the band beat the melodies in. Songs like A Tale That Should Never Be Told and Tombstone are brilliant tracks. They definitely hook in listeners for a fun ride. I can imagine getting pretty hyped during these songs at a concert.  

Although I have praised this album it has a few shortcomings. I will admit as much as I like some of the songs, this album was such a chore to get through. The album plateaus in intensity and there a lot of moments where I should be getting amped. Yet, I never get true satisfaction as the song has lost the luster. Gangs Of New York has this problem. I want to just love it but I get bored quite easily.

This isn’t the best album. With the slew of great power metal this year. This album just gets lost in the shuffle and in my opinion doesn’t do enough to dig itself out. There are some great songs but the album as a whole is just OK. I’d recommend it if you’re interested. If you’re looking for something massive an album experience that sticks with you. Then maybe look somewhere else. It’s OK.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

Hammerfall – Built To Last

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 5th November 2016 by mickbirchy

Hammerfall
Built To Last
Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Released 4th November 2016
via Napalm Records

Hammerfall return once again with their brand of power metal. Their tenth album Built to Last is a pretty fun romp and is another fantastic piece to their legacy. Their musicianship and chemistry shines through. They really prove why Hammerfall are Built to Last.

The album opens with the old school style tune, Bring It. A fun way to open proceedings. Quickly followed up with the anthemic Hammer High. A song that I feel should become their new anthem. Built To Last really has a immense feel to it. With big choruses and well excited music. The guitar solos are beautiful and the when the music swells for a big chorus it’s a wonderful sound. The production has this flair of old school metal, like Judas Priest or Grim Reaper. The riffs are so defined and the rhythm is so tight when it all comes in together. It makes for one hell of a listening experience. The vocals of Joacim Cans ring beautifully as the intense metal bubbles below. The infectious sound worms it’s way into your ear and definitely keeps you hooked. The soulful ballads are particularly good. As they usually are in power metal. The creativity and imagination paint epic mental pictures in your mind. You don’t want that feeling to end.

You’d think after 10 albums and two decades of writing they might be short of ideas. Well in my opinion, there are very few original ideas anymore. Yet, if a band can get.me to hear something in a new way then it’s much appreciated. Hammerfall deliver the music with a sharp and crisp tone. Nothing sounds muddy or distorted. It’s beautifully clear. Every note and every beat is felt and it’s effective. Not a second is wasted on the album at all. In all honesty I don’t have that much more to say so I’m going to end it there. Otherwise I’d just be covering ground I’d already done. It’s an excellent album and I recommend it.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Delain – Moonbathers

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 6th September 2016 by mickbirchy

Delain
“Moonbathers”
Symphonic Metal
Released 26 August 2016
via Napalm Records

Moonbathers, is the fifth offering from Dutch symphonic metallers, Delain. With big bombastic anthems and a more direct heavier sound, they seem to have progressed quite a lot since their début 10 years ago. I won’t lie I found this a slog to get through. I really did. It’s not that the album is bad per say. It just has nothing interesting or unique to offer. On a technical level this album is brilliant and on a production level, it’s excellent. However, I just can’t seem to get into it at all, none of the songs have really stuck with me, not like their older material has to this day.

It’s really hard to explain why it’s not working for me. I think it starts with the overall tone of the album. The heaviness is a problem for me. I wasn’t the biggest fan of this sound on The Human Contradiction. I find Delain are at their best when they’re making energetic rock anthems, like on We Are The Others or April Rain not these heavy songs that have a really serious atmosphere. Which “Moonbathers” is packed with. I mean, it will have a break from this like with “Suckerpunch” or “Fire with Fire”. Though, Moonbathers is bogged down and never reaches that level of energy that their older material, We Are The Others in particular, had.

Like I said on a technical level this is a really well made album. The production is gold with every member sounding as good as they can. Charlotte belts out her lyrics and this album has the band the tightest they’ve ever sounded. So I give credit where the credit is due. Merel has settled into her new post as full time guitarist really nicely, playing some super sharp riffs. Martin highlights the album with some superb synth and key work. It all sounds beautiful.

So the album is average. I like parts of it. However for me it lacks the fire and energy of the past albums. I’m quite conflicted about it, I think it’s good but I just want more from Delain and I hope they don’t become complacent. So yeah, it’s good, not great, but good.

2.5/5

Mick Birchall

DevilDriver – Trust No One

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

DevilDriver
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?

4/5

Mick Birchall

DevilDriver to support Ministry in the UK

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 20th January 2016 by Pieni

DevilDriver have finished their 7th studio album, “Trust No One”, which is set to be released on May 13th via Napalm Records. In order to promote it in the UK, the Californian groove metal band will hit the road in support of Ministry in August:

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Ministry and DevilDriver on the same bill , that’s a fucking concert worth showing up to! Al is a close and dear friend and Ministry is an iconic band for me and helped form my youth , I look forward to sharing the stage with one of the most legendary frontmen of all time! Thanks for having us aboard Al, let’s give em HELL!”, says Dez Fafara.

Pre-orders for “Trust No One” will be available shortly and tour dates announced soon.

facebook.com/devildriver

American Head Charge: new album and UK tour with Mushroomhead

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 14th December 2015 by Pieni

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American Head Charge have revealed that their upcoming fifth studio album will be called “Tango Umbrella” and is set to be released on the 25th of March next year, via Napalm Records. The artwork, created by Sam Shearon, has also been unveiled, along with the track list:

 photo tangoumbrella_zpsldhksvhw.jpg

1. Let All The World Believe
2. Drowning Under Everything
3. Perfectionist
4. Sacred
5. I Will Have My Day
6. A King Among Men
7. Suffer Elegantly
8. Antidote
9. Prolific Catastrophe
10. Down And Depraved
11. When The Time Is Never Right

But a few days before that, and quoting bassist Chad Hanks, the band is “very excited to return to our strongest territory overseas , the UK ,with our good friends in Mushroomhead… We look forward to coming back and more is soon to come!”

Dates and venues as follows:

March 2016

18th MANCHESTER – Club Academy
19th SHEFFIELD – Corporation
20th NOTTINGHAM – Rescue Rooms
22nd GLASGOW – The Classic Grand
23rd NEWCASTLE – Northumbria University
24th BIRMINGHAM – O2 Academy 2
25th CHESTER – The Live Rooms
26th BRISTOL – The Marble Factory
27th PLYMOUTH – The Hub
29th CARDIFF – The Globe
30th LONDON – Electric Ballroom
31st BRIGHTON – Concorde 2

April 2016

1st SOUTHAMPTON – Engine Rooms
2nd NORWICH – Waterfront
3rd READING – Sub89

www.headcharge.com
www.facebook.com/AmericanHeadCharge

Monster Magnet – Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 22nd November 2015 by mickbirchy

Monster Magnet
“Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)”
Heavy Rock
Released: 9th October 2015
Via Napalm Records

It’s funny, when a movie gets remade I tend to get in a twist and vent my frustrations.  However when I heard that rock ‘n’ roll legends, Monster Magnet were going to be reworking their 2010 record, Mastermind, I had nothing but curiosity as to what that was going to be like – I have absolutely nothing but respect for the man that is Dave Wyndorf.  Their last studio effort Milking The Stars gave another life to the 2013 album Last Patrol, so there’s no reason that this couldn’t do the same. This album brings a lot of themes of retrospection, isolation, drug and alcohol abuse and sexual fantasy. This is in contrast to the original record which themes were more about reality and exploitive American consumerism.

Right off of the bat the reworking begins with songs like “Dig That Hole” becoming the new song “She Digs That Hole” where Wyndorf warps the music into a brighter song with cleaner electric guitars and changing the message from drugs and reality TV to more about a sex fantasy involving a girlfriend who regularly brings other women into the bedroom. Also the new version of the title track “Mastermind” which is a sludgy and a pretty straight forward stoner rock song.  The newer version keeps the riff but adds more to it.  It’s cleans up the sound, adds in an organ and adds a false ending that fades out.  The whole thing in general feels more polished and easier to market.  The original Mastermind was very much in its niche whereas this seems more identifiable to a bigger market. Also the nine minute long Hallucination Bomb has a more experimental feel, still keeping a lot of that original haziness but there’s heavy string sounds and drudges along to a spectacle of a guitar solo.  

This is definitely not a slouch of an album.  Some people may call reworking your older albums a bit lazy but this feels like genuine effort rather than a cheap cash-in on already popular songs.  It actually feels new and interesting. Being a fan of this band for a lot time has certainly added context but I don’t think that it’s 100% necessary to fully enjoy this record.  This could be the first Monster Magnet album you’ve heard and it will still lead you into loving this band.  Dave Wyndorf is a wonderful songwriter who takes his work seriously and the rest of the guys Phil Caivano, Bob Pantella, Garrett Sweeny and Chris Kosnik are fantastic musicians who always perform the music excellently.

All I can say is this is one quality record, I always look forward to hearing new stuff from them and this was no different. The best tunes for me personally are “Watch Me Fade”, a bonus track on the original Mastermind and yes it’s still awesome. The breathtaking “Hallucination Bomb” just for being so epic sounding.  Also “Gods and Punks” for being far more downplayed than it’s original counterpart, it’s far more trippy and fun to listen to.  Superb album, I highly recommend this to any fan of rock or metal, especially if you have an interest in songwriting and composition.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

Skindred – Volume

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 21st November 2015 by mickbirchy

Skindred
“Volume”
Fusion
Released 30th October 2015
Via Napalm Records

So, Skindred return with another fantastic addition to their increasingly interesting repertoire.  After the extremely popular “Kill The Power” and “Union Black”, it really shouldn’t have been possible to create a piece of work that could top them. Yet, I think they’ve done it.  “Volume” is a stunning piece of work, mixing in just the right amount of elements from reggae, metal, punk and electronica; it feels so familiar to their previous work and at the same time it manages to have it’s own identity.

The album opens with some funky riffs and tight lyrical flow that grabs you straight off of the bat. “Under Attack” and “Volume” are catchy lead-in singles and do well to show off the album’s best moment and the best thing is Skindred almost make it look effortless. They’re just one of these supremely consistent bands that make it look easy. The full time addition of the electronica sound, provided by Dan Sturgess, just creates more avenues for Skindred to go down. As the album progresses Skindred continue to mix it up. The album goes in every direction the band can afford, making it so catchy, heavy, funky and fun, you really don’t have a choice but to groove to the sounds that float around.

Not every song hits an absolute bullseye, mind you. The album can wear on you a little. These are not bad songs, far from it, but I feel towards the latter half of the album the music loses something. Maybe I have just become too accustomed to their sound and the later part of the album becomes a little too familiar. However, a lot of their songs do have a habit of growing on me over the years, so I can’t really mark it as a strike against the record.  Ask me about this in 2017 and this maybe my favourite album. Skindred try everything to make this album impactful and it does work, they mix all of their sounds and influences into their songs and make them consistently interesting.  

“Volume” is just awesome, honestly some of the best stuff Skindred have written in years. It has those mixed styles of “Kill the Power” whilst still having that fire and intensity of Babylon. I definitely recommend this album to anyone.  It’s fun, interesting and has a wide enough mix of styles to appeal to any fan of rock and metal. Songs like the title track “Volume”, “Sound The Siren” and “Shut Ya Mouth” are my personal favourite tracks so far and the songs you should check out. For their sixth effort, Skindred show no sign of slowing down anytime soon.  They’re still interesting and they still sound like they’re having fun. Definitely one to check out.

4/5

Mick Birchallnull

Gloryhammer – Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 27th September 2015 by mickbirchy

Gloryhammer
Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards
Power Metal / Space Metal
Released: 25th September 2015
via Napalm Records

The Scottish-Swiss metallers Gloryhammer return with their follow up to 2013’s immensely successful Tales From The Kingdom of Fife with this newest offering Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards; yes that is the full title. It just wouldn’t be power metal without being over the top. I have to say though, this album is a massive improvement over the first. Gloryhammer have taken every good aspect of the first record and capitalised on it ten fold. The production is more grandiose and the plotline of the music is more outrageous.  I have been absolutely overwhelmed by this album and just as some fair advice, I would recommend going out and buying this album.

The album opens with some very ominous sounds as the narrator tells you of what you’re about to hear. What’s better than sword and sorcery fantasy stories? Sword and sorcery fantasy stories… in space! Right from the get go, I became intrigued with this concept and the band pull it off with style and flair, everything about this album from the sound design to the lyrics is created with the intention of sucking you into this fantasy world and keep you entertained. There is just so much good about this album that I truly do not know where I should begin.  The first single to come off this record ‘Rise of the Chaos Wizards’ is quite epic with a heavenly choir and a heavy riff, it almost feels like an Epica song. However, their music is engineered with a plotline, it’s near impossible to follow but it’s really cool just listening to something this complex and ridiculous at the same time.

Highlights of the album for me have to be songs like ‘Questlords of Inverness Ride to the Galactic Fortress!’ yes that is a stupidly long name for a song, yet it has a big sounding production that really gets you pumped.  Also songs like ‘Heroes (of Dundee)’ and ‘Goblin King of the Darkstorm Galaxy’ have the cheese factor turned up and are just genuinely fun songs. The only problem I have with this album is that sometimes it can get a bit repetitive, I mean I know they’re not going to write a hit with every song. However, some melodies and choruses get a tad too overplayed with in the short runtime of the songs and it can get a bit boring when that happens, such as in the song ‘Universe on Fire’. Nevertheless, the music is so over the top silly that you really can’t be mad at their music.

I can’t recommend this to everyone. However, if you’re like me and have a tolerance for silly gimmicky metal then this album shouldn’t give you too much trouble.  The band’s performance on this is completely stellar and they do everything in their power to make this album entertaining and it is. I was completely sold and I’ve been having a bunch of fun with this album. Go have a listen and enjoy the fun that is Gloryhammer.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

W.A.S.P. – Golgotha

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 24th September 2015 by Pieni

W.A.S.P.
“Golgotha”
Hard Rock
Release: 2nd October 2015
Via Napalm Records

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Over the 33 years of W.A.S.P.’s existence, mastermind Blackie Lawless has managed to forge a very characteristic sound – although his unique voice is quite the trademark already. Sure, he often cheats, by recycling some riffs and licks (if you’re familiar with the band’s discography, you’ve surely experienced some déjà vu moments), which means that’s what’s built around those “recovered pieces” that ultimately determine how good the album is. And the general outcome of “Golgotha” is pretty satisfactory.

So when “Shotgun” and “Slaves Of The New World Order” bring back memories from past songs, there will always be a refreshing tweak reinventing them. I must highlight the guitar solo on “Slaves…”, as it’s one of the most spirited in “Golgotha”. In fact, the guitar work is still the band’s strongest asset, the sound of those strings so enthralling that you won’t even realize how long the songs are – never shorter than five minutes, and three of them pretty close to eight! One of the latter is the beautiful “Miss You”; it’s quite uncommon for a ballad to be so lengthy, but then again, Blackie came up with the idea for this one when he was composing the legendary “The Crimson Idol”, so it’s only natural that “Miss You” has some uniqueness to it…

The darker, seductive rhythm of “Eyes Of My Maker” also stands out, but still my personal favorite is “Last Runaway”, for its spunky rock vibe. It also features a top-notch guitar solo, and the bass line is pretty much alive, but it’s overall more straight-forward and catchier than the other tracks.

There have been a few low-points in W.A.S.P.’s career, no doubt about it, but right now, 33 years and 15 albums later, yeah, they still got it.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Details on W.A.S.P.’s upcoming studio album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 14th July 2015 by Pieni

“There are times in any band’s career that somehow all things mesh together. Their experiences, influences, and personal timing bring them into a common space. This has happened with this record.  Four years in the making has provided direction, but even greater reflection. Golgotha, where Christ was crucified – Hebrew for “the place of the skull”.”  These are the words of Blackie Lawless himself about W.A.S.P.‘s new studio album – their 15th, first under the Napalm Records label. And since its predecessor “Babylon” was released six years ago already, this statement only increases the anticipation.

“Golgotha” is scheduled to hit the stores on October 2nd, with the following artwork and tracklisting:

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1. Scream
2. Last Runaway
3. Shotgun
4. Miss You
5. Fallen Under
6. Slaves of the New World Order
7. Eyes of My Maker
8. Hero of the World
9. Golgotha

Special deluxe metal box, exclusive ltd vinyl, CD and merch available for pre-order on Napalm Records webstores (North America here and Europe here).

For more info visit:
http://www.waspnation.com
https://www.facebook.com/W.A.S.P.Nation
https://twitter.com/WASPOfficial
https://www.napalmrecords.com
https://www.facebook.com/napalmrecords

Sirenia–The Seventh Life Path

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2015 by Nico Davidson

Sirenia
The Seventh Life Path
Released 8th May 2015
Symphonic/Gothic Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Norway is the perfect setting for the dusk-coloured symphonies written by Sirenia. Following on from jump to Napalm Records, the band announced the release of The Seventh Life Path, the follow-up to their previous album which was released via Nuclear Blast.

The Seventh Life Path begins slow with the track Seti, painting a crepuscular image in the mind of the listener with a tragic choir and a solemn orchestration. Serpent has a chilling introduction with what sounds to be the twisted speech of children before waves of guitars and symphonic sounds come crashing down with Ailyn’s haunting voice sailing atop them. Morten’s harsher demonstration of vocals adds the final piece to the twilit essence of the song. Once My Light sees an interesting use of synths in work, melding with the howls of Morten’s and Jan’s guitars. The song has it calmer passages that allow for smooth sailing between the raging flurries of guitars and drums.

The guitars on Elixir sound dignified and imposing, giving the track a far more august atmosphere. The use of clean vocals as well as choirs and the occasional bestial snarls deliver a fresh course of unrelenting misty notes. Sons of the North stands out prominently, like a peacock in shades of Gothic colours seeking a new mate. The first verse, growled by Morten, describe a cold, unforgiving setting which is perfect for the song. The symphonies that are placed ever so masterfully in this track are sharp, and biting, as if they were shards of ice falling from the darkening skies during a wintry storm.

Earendel explodes with fierce lashes from the guitars and powerful, lyrical orchestral notes. Ailyn’s and Morten’s vocals are virtually poetic throughout this track, displaying why they make such dynamic partners on the microphone. Consealed Disdain frequents the use of technical compositions that chart the way for the rest of the track, especially the venom-laced screams and the calculated riffs. Insania – which fortunately isn’t a cover of that awful Peter Andre song – isn’t as heavy as other tracks on the album but it still bludgeons the listener with raging guitars that would put even the Hulk to shame and intricate orchestration. Contemptuous Quitus is a melodic track, summoning forth a tactful placement of notes and harmonies, to create a shroud of thick darkness that only Sirenia can pull off. The piano medleys blend in an awe-inspiring manner between the other instruments, sealing the track together into one magnificent musical portrait.

The Silver Eye sails the album towards its end with an introductory of a cluster of everything, ranging from the vicious execution of the guitars to the dual vocals. After that storm, the song eases into smoother sailing, allowing each element its chance to be heard. Sirenia make port with the final track of the album, Tragedienne, a song that weeps with heartbreaking sounds as the chilling vocals of Ailyn are heard within. The piano medley that floats throughout the track offers up a bleak sense of emotion as each note gently steps away.

Sirenia have been on the scene for a number of years now and The Seventh Life Path is possibly one of the greatest albums to be have been recorded within symphonic metal. It offers up a range of elements from the gothic to the mysterious as well as a number of Cimmerian emotions. The musicianship is flawless and the vocals are mesmerising. Forget this being the album of the year, this deserves to be album of the decade.

5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Sirenia online:

http://sirenia.no

Moonspell – Extinct

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 24th February 2015 by Pieni

Moonspell
“Extinct”
Gothic metal
Release: 6th March 2015
Via Napalm Records

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I’ve never liked labelling Moonspell as gothic metal as I’ve always felt they were much more than that. Until now. Well, actually, until “Omega White”, but since its counterpart “Alpha Noir” had that much-more in it, I still went for the vague “dark metal” at the time. Three years later, “Extinct” follows the path of “Omega White” and it leaves no room for vague descriptions – it’s gothic metal.

Reading what I’ve just written and listening to the first single – a very pop-ish first single – “The Last Of Us” might give you a false impression of mainstream, so please read this until the end. Because “Extinct” is quite a masterpiece. Me being able to pinpoint what genre of music they’re playing doesn’t mean they’ve lost that little je ne sais quoi that makes them unique.

There aren’t best songs here. Sure, everyone will have their favorites, but all tracks have been carefully crafted to a prime state. So despite the epic orchestral arrangements of “Extinct” and the fact that it’s the heaviest track, I believe the album was named after it due to the fatality ring such title bears and which echoes through others – “Breathe (Until We Are No More)”, “The Last Of Us”, “Funeral Bloom”, “A Dying Breed”, “The Future Is Dark”… See the pattern? And let me tell you that “La Baphomette” is macabre enough for your mind to associate it with the end of days. The short final track sung in French seems like it came straight from one of those horror-themed fairgrounds.

“Medusalem” will bring you vivid memories of The Sisters Of Mercy but only for a short while. It soon starts making new memories of Moonspell alone, with the richness of its guitars and some Arabian sounds. In fact, the whole guitar work is to be praised. Turning to a more gothic direction gave them the chance of putting the roughness aside and producing elaborate but fluid pieces. A special highlight on the solo of the enthralling “The Future Is Dark”, where, as I like to say, the guitar weeps its strings out. In “Domina”, they cry with a bit more vigor.

“Malignia” will seduce you with its dreamy nature, even if an ominous nightmare lurks around the chorus. This song comes right after “The Last Of Us”, which I’ve previously referred as pop-ish, so it’s quite the contrast. And mind that I’m not complaining about “The Last Of Us”, as its easy-going vibrancy is catchy and very pleasant. I was just concerned at the time of its release as a single that the whole album would be like that. After 10 albums – a double one included – I guess I should’ve known better, eh?

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Interview with Tuomas Seppälä of Amberian Dawn

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 23rd July 2014 by mickbirchy

With Amberian Dawn’s new Release, Magic Forest, out now,  Mick talked with their keyboard/guitar player Tuomas Seppälä about the writing and production of Amberian Dawn’s music, as well as his musical taste. Capri stepped up to say a few words on the lyrical themes of the new album. This is how it went:

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Mick: Firstly, I’d like to say what a good job you have done with Magic Forest, I personally have been enjoying it. So this your third record in 3 years, having Circus Black (2012) and Re-Evolution (2013). Where do all these ideas for songs come from?
Tuomas: Before those albums, we also released End of Eden (2010), The Clouds of Northland Thunder (2009) and River of Tuoni (2008).  I don’t have any specific way to compose music.  Sometimes I just start to improvise with guitar or keyboard and sometimes I hear a tune or an idea inside my head. Usually,  I will make a demo of all songs in my home studio. At that point, I use computer to play/programme the drum and bass parts. The keyboards and guitars I’ll play live in the studio. For the vocals, the first ideas are played on guitar.  As for the solo slots, I either play a demo solo with the guitar/keyboard, or, I’ll just leave the solo parts as an instrumental background track and that’s how the chosen solo player (Emppu, Kimmo, me or some guesting solo player like Jens Johansson for example) has more freedom to work with his solo part.  On Magic Forest, Capri took part in making the final adjustments on the vocal lines, just like our co-producer Mikko P. Mustonen. So this was the first time when we had an actual “team” working on final vocal parts. Both Mikko & Capri helped me a lot with final vocal arrangements.

Mick: Listening to Magic Forest was my first experience of hearing Amberian Dawn. I was taken off guard with just how different your sound is to a lot of other bands within the same genre, this album just felt softer in tone and all the layers of the production felt smooth and easy to listen to. Whereas most band keep a gritty harsh guitar tone. Is this how you wanted this album, and your music as a whole, to sound? photo Tuomas-NET-2_zps2a1fd253.jpg
Tuomas: Our new sound didn’t happen by accident. We made a decision with our production team that we’ll try a new, more keyboard driven sound and also will give more room for the vocals too. Before, we had a more metal kind of tone on rhythm guitars. Our music has changed a lot after our debut album and it’s just not the songs alone, as much as compositions, arrangements etc. are made differently now.  We also have a different kind of singer which is one of the key elements of our bands new sound. The general sounding of an album is always a result of dozens minor factors and decisions that go into it.  It’s important that an album’s production has a strong producer(s), otherwise the ideas, hopes & dreams of different musicians might be very hard to put together.  It’s not just about compromising. It’s always better to have a producer who has a clear understanding of what sound needs to be achieved.

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 (in Belgium) and Dames of Darkness (in UK) just as examples. Have you noticed the increase in interest for this type of music?
Tuomas: No I haven’t.  Melodic metal is kind of ”marginal genre” nowadays, at least according to what I’ve seen/heard. Most of the new metal bands are death metal or black metal and most of the metal labels are signing bands just from that genre. Also most of the metal festivals are having either death & black metal or some nostalgic old bands. There’s less and less room for melodic metal bands nowadays in my opinion.

Mick: So, do you take the time to listen to any new bands coming up through the woodwork?
Tuomas: I don’t listen to music so much nowadays. Often I still have radio on when I’m driving my car.  Recently I’ve been having stuff like old Black Sabbath albums spinning in my CD-player. I also listen to Rammstein, although I don’t have any of their albums, Rammstein is often on air on Finnish radio stations (the ones which are playing metal & rock anyway).

Mick: Personally my favourite track off the new album is “Warning”, It just has so much energy and the lyrics are so well written. What is your favourite tune from this new record? photo Capri-NET1_zps4d2c4eac.jpg
Tuomas: Warning is one of my favourites too. When I was doing the first demos of that song at my home studio, the song sounded like videogame music when it was just the instrumental version.  It was funny.  I also find the opening track “Cherish The Memory” one of the best songs on the album. I still like them all naturally, otherwise I wouldn’t have included those all on album at all.
Capri: When I wrote Warning’s lyrics, the first version of text was much longer.  We needed to make those lyrics shorter otherwise the song would have lasted 20 minutes.  I find Green-Eyed most emotional to me.  The feeling that I have when I sing it is incredible.  I really loved the song right away when I heard it, the melody was perfect and I think I heard someone said “I’m sorry”. So it had to be the last line of the song.

Mick: Which tunes are most likely to hear from this new album live in concert?
Tuomas: I’m sure that the title track will be in there somewhere. Otherwise, we haven’t thought so much about our setlist for gigs yet.  Probably we’ll pick most of the songs from 2 of our previous albums, Magic Forest and Re-Evolution because we have already tested those with Capri on vocals.

Mick: I love all of the brilliantly composed melodies that went in to this record, Do you feel like mad scientists sometimes? Throwing all these wonderful sounds together and experimenting, or, is writing music to you more regimented?
Tuomas: Composing and playing music is very natural for me, since I started to play classical piano at the age of 4 and learned to read notes before I learned to read text.  I can’t imagine myself in a situation that I wouldn’t have music in my life at all.  Music is something that’s been in me since my childhood and I’ve grown up while playing and composing music.

Magic Forest is out now on Napalm Records.

Mick Birchall

Amberian Dawn – Magic Forest

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 6th July 2014 by mickbirchy

Amberian Dawn
Magic Forest
symphonic / melodic power metal
Released on 30th June 2014
Via Napalm Records

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I have to admit, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the newest album from the Finnish symphonic metallers Amberian Dawn.  I have to admit though, Magic Forest doesn’t play to the average conventions of what I have to expect from this type of band.  This marks the band’s sixth studio album and they have kept a consistent presence over the years – this is the third album in three years, adding to an already impressive back catalogue. However, how does this new album truly hold up?

The album is actually quite subtle in all the elements that comprise it;  everything feels really well composed and the production is tight, everything just blends together from the synth to the vocals. Each layer of the production is working in harmony making this album very pleasant to listen to. Capri’s vocal work is smooth and hauntingly beautiful, and matched with Tuomas Seppälä’s beautiful synth compositions – you can truly feel like you are transported to a magical and enthralling world.  Also the metal elements are quite nice too, the guitar riffs and guitar solos are heavy and grounded, giving this album a heavier darker side.

From opening to closing, the album is tightly packed with beautiful melodies, interesting and creative lyrics and an imaginative atmosphere that keeps your interest.  Songs like Warning, Memorial and the title track Magic Forest keep a great momentum flowing and are really fun to listen to.  I don’t really have any issues with this album, it’s everything it needs to be –  heavy, fun, upbeat, creative, full of imagination.  However it’s also dark, atmospheric and the lyrics are open to some very creative imagery.  If I were to have any problems with this album it would be in the production.  The “metal” elements are not as pronounced as I would like, they only come to life in the instrumental parts.  I feel the vocals just need that bit more of a backing; obviously in the slow songs this is inappropriate, but with the heavy songs I would have liked to hear more power in the guitars and bass giving the vocals that bit extra boost.

Overall, however, this is a very pleasant album to listen to.  I have enjoyed listening to this record.  Is it one of the best of 2014? No. But I still recommend you to pick this record up: it’s one of those albums you may not “get” right away, but it’s well written and quite beautiful.

3.5/5

Mick Birchall

Vintersong premiere 1st video ever

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 20th May 2014 by Pieni

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Vintersorg and Metal Hammer proudly present the first video ever in the career of the Swedish folk black metal band (see it here). According to Mr. V: “We’re actually doing a video for the new Vintersorg album ”Naturbål” and the track chosen is called ”Lågornas rov”. It’s our first professional video ever and I feel it has a great potential to show what the song and the album is all about. The album is the “Fire” album in our four-element-cycle and there are some things that I think can be nice for you to learn about, regarding this important step in the Vintersorg history.”

“Naturbål” will be released on June 30th 2014 via Napalm Records, as well as the re-release of their very first album “Till Fjälls” on vinyl.

“Naturbål” track list:

1. Ur aska och sot
2. Överallt och ingenstans
3. En blixt från klar himmel
4. Lågornas rov
5. Rymdens brinnande öar
6. Natten visste vad skymningen såg
7. Elddraken
8. Urdarmåne
9. Själ i flamma

https://www.facebook.com/vintersorganic