Archive for New Wave of British Heavy Metal

Listenable Records seal pact with NWOBHM legends Satan

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 4th December 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Listenable Records have signed a deal with NWOBHM legends Satan. The band are currently in the studio putting the finishing touches to an album entirely of new material written over the last 18 months. This is the culmination of a process that began when the original Court In The Act album line-up got together for an exclusive ‘one-off’ re-union show at Germany’s Keep It True Festival last year.

This line-up had not performed together in 28 years. The band were somewhat overwhelmed with the response – 10 minutes into headliners Crimson Glory’s set, the crowd could still be heard chanting “Satan! Satan!” Satan immediately booked more shows in Germany, Holland, Belgium and London, and have since kept in close contact with each other, writing songs and making demos.

The new album, to be titled Life Sentence is scheduled for release March April 2013. The full track listing is as follows:

1. Time To Die
2. Twenty Twenty Five
3. Cenotaph
4. Siege Mentality
5. Incantations
6. Testimony
7. Tears Of Blood
8. Life Sentence
9. Personal Demons
10. Another Universe

Fittingly, this will mark the 30th anniversary of their greatly acclaimed debut Court In The Act.

Satan Line-up:

Brian Ross – vocals
Steve Ramsey – Guitar
Russ Tippins – Guitar
Graeme English – Bass
Sean Taylor – Drums

 

Triaxis – Rage & Retribution

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 23rd October 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Triaxis
Rage And Retribution
Released: October 2012
Metal
Released via Rocksector

It’s been a busy year for Welsh quintet Triaxis, performing at SOS Festival and Bloodstock this year followed by the release of their second album, Rage And Retribution. While not a band I’m familiar with, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about them over at the Black Phoenix Rising forums and on several other webzines, so I have been waiting on the second album, Rage And Retribution so I can give Triaxis a proper listen.

The powerful and punchy riffs of Sand & Silver start the album with a furious frenzy of hard hittin’ metal and strong, belting vocals with some poetic licks thrown in for good measure. Black Trinity makes itself known by screaming out with its grandoise sound, that echoes majestically through the lyrically played guitars and acute drum work. The vocals float sail near perfectly on the sea of modern sounding riffs and intelligent drumming, completing the song and making it one of the most prominent tracks on the album. The Infected really did take me by surprise as the riffs come charging out like a bull that’s seen red but in a more beautiful written manner while Asunder brings a gentler approach which gradually builds into a heavier sound.

And Shadows Creep displays the more melodic stylings of the band’s music, firing out a barrage of stalwart and dulcet riffs that carry the vocals efficiently while on the other hand XGP combines a fast and furious style with an expertly played dramatic sound that later on yields a unique audio vision of melodic guitar playing before the crisp battering of Under Blood Red Skies comes into play with a dashing od Doro-esque vocals. Sker Point balances out perfectly the use of heavy and beautifully played riffs, allowing the rhythm sections to dance along with a certain grace. Reunion takes the album down a path of pure blitzkreig drumming and violent riffing, as well as a storming use of vocals that really do shine out on the track.

The Butcher beckons a certain NWOBHM sound with a heap of modern influences to create a fresh sound that could easily be a pioneering factor in today’s metal scene. The vocals boom out over the fierce roaring of guitars that offer up some truly meaty riffs for you to sink your teeth into while at the same time, keeping their crisp and clean sound. The album finishes off with the solemn sounds of Some Things Are Worth Dying For. Beginning with an alluring acoustic opening, the track soon fires out the heavy drum work and austere riffs. Gradually the song begins to develop a more uplifting sound but avoiding being overly hearty.

I’m rarely impressed these days by bands with a female vocalist but Triaxis have proven to be one of the few that can impress me with Rage And Retribution. Triaxis have displayed an ability for good songwriting as well as a talent for pulling off some seriously sweet solos, so it’s safe to say that Rage And Retribution is one of those albums that will no doubt become a classic in the years to come and that the UK has found its answer to Warlock.

5/5

Nico Davidson

 

Holy Grail sign Europe-wide deal with Nuclear Blast

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 17th October 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Formed in 2008 and hailing from Pasadena in Southern California, North American up-and-comers Holy Grail offer a unique blend of the legendary NWoBHM scene with influences of several contemporary heavy metal sub-genres.

After numerous celebrated festival appearances, including Wacken-Open-Air and the UK’s Download Festival and extensive touring with bands such as Blind GuardianExodus and Eluveitie, the time is right for this promising quintet to hit the next level. In that regard, Nuclear Blast Records are proud to announce the Europe-wide signing of Holy Grail.

Nuclear Blast A&R Jaap Wagemaker comments: “Already after we’d listened to their debut EP Improper Burial, it became pretty obvious that Holy Grail – offering a modern version of the old-school heavy metal we’ve grown up with – were the most exciting metal band to emerge from the county of L.A. within the last two decades, as renowned American Decibel magazine had put it. After Metal Hammer UK had nominated the band as best new band at the Metal Hammer Awards even before they had even released their debut album Crisis in Utopia, we knew we had to keep an eye on them. All over Europe, music magazines loved that record and celebrated it by publishing rave reviews.  And ever since we’ve seen them playing two awesome shows at Wacken:Open:Air and British Download Festival, there was no doubt whatsoever that Holy Grail were bringing the leather and steel to a new generation of metal heads. So watch out for Holy Grail’s second coming in 2013!

The band states “We in the Holy Grail camp are very proud and excited to announce that we have recently become part of the Nuclear Blast family. We feel honoured to join the ranks of metal legends and many of our favourite bands, including Accept (who we’ve covered), Blind Guardian (who we’ve toured with) and Testament (who we’d love to tour with)! Fans of Holy Grail can expect all the metallic elements we’ve built our name on taken to the next level on our forthcoming new record Ride The Void. Coupled with the unequivocal might of Nuclear Blast, European domination is inevitable for our new album. See ya on the road!

The band’s upcoming second studio album Ride The Void is set for a European release via Nuclear Blast in early 2013; in North America, the record will be released via Prosthetic Records. Stay tuned for more info coming your way soon! And if you haven’t listened to Holy Grail before, now is your chance to start listening them.

 

NWOBHM legends Salem to guest at Metieval Winterfest

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th August 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

528149_10151142549724216_1850475730_nHull-based NWOBHM Salem have been confirmed to play as special guests at the revived Metieval festival, now known as Metieval Winterfest, on 16th December in Hull. Salem will be joining the likes of Alice In Thunderland, Innersylum, Pastel Jack and Infernal Creation, who later this month played Bloodstock.

Headlining the festival are none other the UK’s own power metal titans Power Quest.

The Metieval Winterfest will take place at The Piper in Hull. Tickets will be available on the door for a mere £10 pounds with doors opening at 12pm. Full line-up to be announced.

Grave Digger – Home At Last [EP]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 3rd August 2012 by Pieni

Grave Digger
Home At Last [EP]
Released: 27th July 2012
Heavy Metal
via Napalm Records

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Just as the UK had NWOBHM, Germany had its own metal movement a few years later, even though there’s no fancy name for it. It consisted of mixing speed metal with the traditional heavy metal, making it rawer, stronger, meaner. And that’s why the new songs in this EP are quite disappointing – they’re heavy metal alright, but they lack speed!

The guitars in “Home At Last” are old school heavy metal and there’s nothing wrong with that. But one would expect a rhythm section a bit more aggressive. The chorus has a few voices backing up Chris Boltendahl’s, making it pretty catchy and a candidate to the live setlist. Still some power is missing.

With “Rage Of The Savage Beast” happens more or less the same, and despite the message of “Metal Will Never Die”, whose one of the main riffs reminds me the beginning of Iron Maiden’s “From Here To Eternity”, I believe they could have made something better.

The best part is definitely the three live tracks, recorded in Wacken 2010 – “Ballad Of A Hangman”, “Exacalibur” and “Heavy Metal Breakdown”. Three classics that show the greatness of Grave Digger on stage. They sound heavier and faster live, which is no surprise, so maybe there’s some hope for the studio tracks here, if played live. Maybe.

On the other hand, this is an EP released barely a month before the album “Clash Of The Gods”, due in late August. And only “Home At Last” made it to the album. So I believe that both “Rage Of The Savage Beast” and “Metal Will Never Die” are that kind of song that bands compose a little differently, and despite being good, they’re not good enough. So they become B-sides.

As for “Home At Last”, it will be the last track of the album – maybe that’s the reason why is not as speedy. Coming to think of it, the title has a somewhat “ending” feeling to it, the “at last” giving the notion of something that’s been complete. Good for the final track. Just not sure about making an EP after it.

3.5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Kreator – Phantom Antichrist

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 29th July 2012 by Pieni

Kreator
Phantom Antichrist
Released: 1st June 2012
Thrash Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

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Even though “Mars Mantra” may strike you as a classic heavy metal introductory track, believe me – this album is thrash metal all over.

Not pure thrash metal, as Kreator have realized long ago that a bit of technique and a handful of melody don’t make your sound less aggressive or less powerful. So you find elaborated guitar pieces with the destructive force of thrash but, simultaneously, the pleasant chords of melodic death metal. The band’s been trying this formula for about 4 albums now, but I dare to say this is the best outcome so far.

The title-track and “Death To The World” are the most straight-forward thrash metal tracks, while “United In Hate” follows that path after an acoustic guitar leaves you wondering for about 40 seconds.

“Civilization Collapse” has its massive moments, but the groundwork is clearly drawn from NWOBHM. The same with “From Flood Into Fire”, but the latter in a more melodic way.

Also “Your Heaven, My Hell” starts off slower than usual, Speesy giving an ominous tone with his bass, Mille Petrozza using his clean voice, before the music explodes along with a scream, Kreator-style.

And “The Few, The Proud, The Broken” has some… “different” tempo variations, as the ones we can find in those experimental bands, so popular nowadays.

So Kreator are trying to keep up with times. And if that didn’t work out very well for them in the nineties, I think now they’re making it. “Phantom Antichrist” is their 13th studio album – indeed a lucky number.

4.5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Kobra and the Lotus–Kobra and the Lotus

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 19th June 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Kobra and the Lotus
Kobra and the Lotus
6th August 2012
Metal
Spinefarm Records

Kobra and the Lotus have been on the rise in the Canadian metal since their formation, they’ve gone onto support the likes of Judas Priest and Slash, as well as play some of the world’s most renowned festivals including Download and Hellfest. August will see the release of the band’s self-titled album.

50 Shades of Evil opens up sounding like a sped up version of Iron Maiden and Dio. The vocals are beyond powerful, bringing back memories of the NWOBHM era. The guitar sections ring out some strong, aggressive riffs along with some great licks, enforcing the NWOBHM sound of the vocals. The song title Welcome To My Funeral really does give off the impression of some form of cheap doom metal composition however the track is far from being cheap or doom metal sounding. The guitars belt out some very exotic sounds through out the song while the vocals add a dash of sobering melody to the piece, that balances out well with the aggressiveness of the drums and the exotic riffs.

Forever One starts off sounding much like the beginning of a Rob Zombie track before it morphs into something more power metalesque. The vocals prove to be a fierce force to be reckoned with, bouncing off the Rob Zombie-like and power metal-styled riffs and drum patterns. Musically speaking, Heaven’s Veins, takes the album down the hard rock route of savage guitar riffs and raw, domineering vocal work mixed in with a callous use of drums and bass. My Life takes the album back down the path of metal, bringing in some more thrash-like elements and an extra dashing of aggression. Nayana (My Eyes) begins with a punchy riff before the track becomes a fast-paced demonic force of snarling guitars and thunderous drums. The vocal sections are solid as they have been in the previous tracks.

Sanctuary is a breath of fresh air for the album, straying partially from the vicious stylings of the songs that preceded it with a harmonic piano and vocal section. The subtle calmness of the track is chased away by the eventual roar of guitars and drums, which does lessen the sound and effect of the song. Lover of the Beloved is another track that strays from the dominating and violent sound of the album. The track revolves around a powerful, awesome bass section that rings out louder than the bells of Notre Dame. No Rest For The Wicked is an interesting track, sounding like a dark power metal anthem. The last track of the album is none other than Aria Of Karmika. The introduction is brilliant composed atmospheric passage that leads gently into an assault of well-played riffs and punchy vocal melodies. The keyboard sections add a bit of harmony to the chaotic mixture of drums and guitars, balancing the song out just right.

When it comes to female fronted metal, most people will automatically think of Nightwish, Epica or Lacuna Coil – and in some circumstances, Arch Enemy – but following the release of Kobra and the Lotus’s self-titled album in August, that soon could change. Kobra and the Lotus have proven that female fronted metal doesn’t need to be symphonic to kick some serious ass.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson