Archive for Nuclear Blast

Kreator – Gods Of Violence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 24th January 2017 by Pieni

Kreator
“Gods Of Violence”
thrash metal
Released: 27th January 2017
Via Nuclear Blast Records
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“Gods Of Violence” or how to make the same thing and still sound fabulous.

When “Phantom Antichrist” was released, I used keywords such as technique, melody and elaborate guitars; now, almost five years later, the same words pop up in my mind. Yet it doesn’t leave a taste of repetitiveness but of… familiarity.

Living up to its name, “Apocalypticon” is an epic promise of war, a promise that starts being fulfilled right afterwards, with the fierceness of “World War Now”. Some sharp melody in-between makes it both classic and classy.

“Satan Is Real” is the other side of the coin – still belligerent, still menacing, but the rhythm is more grinding than shredding. There’s even some symphonic elements here and there to emphasize the throbs.

“Totalitarian Terror” is something I’ll love to hear live, a thrash hymn, with a catchy, sing-along chorus.

Okay, I admit some of the acoustic chords of the title-track are a subtle reminder of Metallica’s “Fade To Black”, but the rest of the song is very Kreator-like and another strong candidate to a live favorite.

The spunky spirit of “Army Of Storms”, the force of “Hail To The Hordes”, the mischief of “Lion With Eagle Wings”, the militant “Fallen Brother”, that weeping solo of “Side By Side”, “Death Becomes My Light” brings over a little more semi-acoustic moments – these not similar to any other band’s – before galloping away at full speed… Kreator are able of pulling out sophisticated tweaks off their sleeves, delivering exactly what is expected of them, both as a thrash metal band and as a veteran, professional act.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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In Flames – Battles

Posted in Metal with tags , , , , , on 10th November 2016 by Pieni

In Flames
“Battles”
Melodic death metal
Released: 11th November 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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When “Siren Charms” was released a couple of years ago, I complained about “its lack of ability to embrace my senses and leave a positive remark” (review here). Well I’m happy to say that ability has returned. Not that “Battles” is a masterpiece, but it features some memorable tweaks, in both ear-worm and impressive meanings of the word.

I remember a lot of people complaining when Anders Fridén gave up on growling. I wasn’t one of them not only because I appreciate Fridén’s current tone but also because I don’t think that measures a band’s level of heaviness – listen to all those pop-metal acts with a growler and you’ll know what I mean. Plus, the desperate inflection his voice carries is just as brutal; the opener “Drained” will prove me right.

Still on a vocal analysis, but the teen choir’s in “The End” and the ballad “Here Until Forever”. I’m a sucker for gang backing vocals, but the cheer of this 2.0 version of it has been growing on me; it’s just as catchy and it will have a hell of an effect live, as I doubt anyone will be able not to sing along. That and the march-wise clapping hands in “The Truth”.

There’s a loud guitar work in here as well, but that has never been an issue for In Flames, so it’s really no surprise. Still I’d like to mention “Underneath My Skin” and the 2-minute dark, almost experimental instrumental piece featured in “Wallflower”. Oh, and the seduction of “In My Room” – no sexual pun intended. It just gives away this enthralling vibe.

So again, no, this isn’t In Flames best work, but it definitely has its moments – lots of them.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 27th October 2016 by Pieni

Testament
“Brotherhood Of The Snake”
thrash metal
Release: 28th October 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

brotherhood-of-the-snake

Formed in 1983 as Legacy, Testament were forced to change their name – the usual there’s-already-a-band-with-that-name thing – and that change happened three years later. So even if their whole history is a bit older, Testament turn 30 this year. What better way to celebrate than releasing a pure thrash metal record, probably the best they’ve done in years?

‘Cause that’s what “Brotherhood Of The Snake” is – a thrash metal bliss. We use the expression “breath of fresh air” whenever a band adds something new to the genre, but it’s just as refreshing when a band manages to stay in character and makes it sound like a novelty.

The fierceness and excellence of their songwriting is surely well known, but you still won’t be expecting the blow that your ears will take with the title-track or “The Number Game”.

The machine-gun speed with which Chuck Billy sings “Stronghold” will remind you of songs such as “Over The Wall” and the gang chorus has the same power as the one in “Into The Pit”; similar formula, including the hit-potential, but you won’t feel like you’ve heard it all before. “Refreshing”, remember?

Same with “Seven Seals”, where they go for something less aggressive but still heavy, like they did with “Souls Of Black”, or the headbang-friendly “Neptune’s Spear” that’s as catchy as “Electric Crown”, but it’s just the nature that’s comparable – “The Brotherhood Of The Snake” offers ten distinctive, killer songs which will renew your faith in thrash metal.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 14th October 2016 by mickbirchy

Sonata Arctica
The Ninth Hour
Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Released: 7th October 2016
via Nuclear Blast

The last time I talked about Sonata Arctica on this site I gave them a relatively positive review. I enjoyed “Pariah’s Child”, it was a fun record with a lot of good tunes. It got me into the band and I’ve considered myself a fan ever since. So I snapped up the opportunity to take a listen to the new record, “The Ninth Hour”.

Straight from the first song, “Closer To An Animal”, I knew I was listening to a bolder product with more focus and solid songwriting.  Every element of the album is alive and energized. The synth is just uplifting and makes for a nice atmosphere with its diversity. The songwriting is beautiful and is filled with emotion and passion. From slow and somber songs to the heavy and faced paced straight up metal songs. They just make an impression on every song.

The lyrical content is pretty simple when you think about it. The message of the album is life a good life, be kind to people and stop killing the planet. It sounds simplistic and something you’d sing to your kids. Yet, just because you learned it when you were young it does make these morals false. Sometimes you need simple things just said to you and Sonata Arctica really sell it. Tony Kakko’s voice sounds absolutely amazing on this album. He always seems to manage to match his voice to the emotion of the song and it sounds so sweet every time.

This is an excellent album. In my opinion, Sonata Arctica are the undisputed kings of power metal. If I were to recommend songs from the album, firstly “Life”. This is a belting track with a genuinely inspiring and cheerful chorus that sounds glorious. The other song I’d recommend is “We Are What We Are”, which sound sorrowful and passionate.  It’s a beautiful album that really live up to their reputation as one of the best. I love it

4/5

Mick Birchall

Crobot – Welcome To Fat City

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 27th September 2016 by mickbirchy

Crobot
Welcome To Fat City
Hard Rock, Glam Rock
Released: 23rd September
via Nuclear Blast Records

The third album from the hard rockers Crobot brings us more well-constructed riffs, thick funky bass lines, and just a feel-good feeling all around. The American foursome made some absolute belters over the years and the new album Welcome To Fat City, is just more of what they’re so good at, if not a more focused and refined version of it. The album shifts gears from blues, funk to hard rock and beyond without so much a batting an eye. I first heard Crobot in the run-up to this year’s Graspop Metal Meeting when I was listening to all of the band playing the festival.  Then I watched them perform and I was truly blown away by the musician and skill. When they announced that they were bringing out a new album I knew I had to have it.

Welcome To Fat City, is a really well-made album the production is fantastic.  It really is a great sounding album, everything sounds crisp and powerful. From the booming basslines to the shrieking guitars, the groove of every song is so well controlled and has an energy to them that sounds wonderful and keeps you in high spirits. The riffs are enjoyable and engaging and with lyrics that keep you entertained.  For me, I found this to be the most accessible album from Crobot, not that they haven’t been in the past but this album just feels easier on the ear and the production is spot on. It’s just all really likable.

The hazy funk sound is a lot of fun matched by the intense powerful vocal performance that sounds excellent but I felt at times gets lost in the music, not in a big way but just enough to be noticeable. The best songs on this album, in my opinion, are “Temple In The Sky” for it big noisy chorus and it’s grooved up riff.  Also, I’ve really enjoyed “Easy Money” for the weird guitar effects and maddening smooth bass. In fact, the guitar weirdness is something that crops up a lot in Crobot’s music, sound like the guitar has broken mid-riff. It actually a nice technique that gives their music a unique little stamp and separates them out from the plethora of riff-rock out there today.

Overall, this is an insanely catchy and fun record that has all the right ingredients to not only please their core fan base but does enough to bring in newcomers. It’s unique, intense and above all… fun.  Something you’ll want in your record collection.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Brujeria – Pocho Aztlan

Posted in CD, Grindcore, Metal with tags , , , on 17th September 2016 by izaforestspirit

Brujeria
Pocho Aztlan
Released 16th September 2016
Grindcore/Death Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast


The Mexican-American death-grind band Brujeria are back with a new album ‘Pocho Aztlan’, their first full length release in sixteen years. ‘Pocho Aztlan’ follows ‘Brujerizmo’ which was released back in 2000. The band was originally formed in 1989 but they have been on hiatus various times due to line-up changes and the members being involved in other bands.

Now, before I start the review, I would like to clarify what exactly is death-grind metal. Well, the biggest clue is in the name “death-grind” combines the brutality of death metal with the ferociously fast speed of grindcore. So it’s loud, brutal, aggressive and fast; and about as melodic as a chainsaw… In Brujeria’s case, the grindcore elements come from Juan Brujo’s shouting and the overall feel and the speed of the music. There’s not a hell of a lot in the way of death metal on here, with the possible exception of drumming style and the odd guitar riff. These guys clearly just have a habit of bashing their instruments as hard as they can. The closest comparison I can think of would be Napalm Death – only in Spanish and with a slightly irritating vocal style.

As with their previous albums, the lyrical themes are pretty much the same: crime, drug use and smuggling all laced with a sizable amount of (possibly Mexican) slang, swear words and insults. For example Plata o Plomo is a clear reference to drug trafficking originally used by the infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. Bruja stands out as one of the very few tracks to feature a slight groove metal tinge in the guitars which makes it more tolerable than the majority of the album. Oh, and by tolerable I mean listenable – it is not great or even good by any means. The only decent song on here is their cover of The Dead Kennedys’ California Uber Aztlan which suits their style remarkably well.

In summary, to call this a death metal album would be a gross misunderstanding of the term. Brujeria’s chosen sound is primarily grindcore with the very occasional death metal tinge. As far as grindcore goes, it’s no match for bands like Napalm Death nor is it as fast or technical as The Berzerker nor as dark and creepy as Anaal Nathrakh.

2/5

Iza Raittila

Pain – Coming Home

Posted in CD, Industrial with tags , , , , on 8th September 2016 by Pieni

Pain
“Coming Home”
Industrial metal
Released: 9th September 2016
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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After Peter Tägtgren’s adventure with Till Lindemann last year, I thought he would focus on his “metal side” and release something with Hypocrisy. He didn’t. He stayed on the industrial track and Pain’s 8th studio album, “Coming Home”, came to life. Not that I’m complaining – I’m not included in the “you” that the opener “Designed To Piss You Off” targets – as this record is quite something. With big emphasis on orchestral arrangements, the melodies achieve a new level of dynamics; not enough to come up with a term like “symphonic industrial metal”, but its presence is strongly embedded – from the background of the grinding beat of “Pain In The Ass” to the highlights in the chorus of the acoustic, title-track ballad.

“A Wannabe” is also a ballad that starts up acoustic but has more spirit to it, very Pain-ish; and “Starseed”’s slow tempo sounds… haunting, like the soundtrack of old horror movies.

“Call Me” and “Final Crusade” are the heaviness prime ambassadors here, the former featuring Sabaton-Joakim Brodén to enhance the metal vibe – which doesn’t affect the catchiness of the chorus -, the latter literally marching down our ear canal. The aforementioned “Designed To Piss You Off” follows suit, although a great part of it is more rocky than heavy, with a whiff of American Old West. “Absinthe Phoenix Rising” is a nice rock tune as well.

And then “Black Knight Satellite” (ha, Peter and his alien conspiracy theories…) and “Natural Born Idiot” deliver some fetching electronic pieces, with that infectious rhythm your body just can’t resist to.

But despite all this diversity, all tracks blend together and fit naturally as “a part of the whole” that is “Coming Home”. Tägtgren and friends – including his own son Sebastian on the drums – took Pain one more step forward, introducing new elements without compromising the original identity of the project. Go Pain!

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino