Archive for Napalm Records

DevilDriver – Trust No One

Posted in CD, Metal 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

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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:

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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 CD, Experimental, Metal, Rock 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 Alternative, CD, Experimental, Metal, Punk Rock, Rock 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 CD, Metal 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 CD, Metal, Rock 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