Archive for Nuclear Blast

Pain – Coming Home

Posted in Review 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

Twilight Force – Heroes of Mighty Magic

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 26th August 2016 by Mickelrath

Twilight Force
Heroes of Mighty Magic
Power Metal
Released 26 August 2016
via Nuclear Blast

This is one spectacular album to try and sum up, but I’ll try my best. Twilight Force bring us their second offering in the form of, Heroes of Mighty Magic. With shades of Tobias Sammet’s Avantasia, Sonata Arctica and DragonForce, Twilight Force have crafted an epic and bold album that completely plays to their strengths. It’s ultimately a fun record that has the right balance of dignified quality and having that sense of fun. I’m not a fan of when power metal bands take themselves too seriously.

The album covers the usual topics that you would expect – mythical warfare, questing and just your usual dungeons and dragons template lyrics. You know, all that good stuff. So not a tonne different in this department. It still works though, without getting tiring. Vocalist, Chrileon just sells what he’s singing with such conviction that it’s hard to think he’s from another dimension.  The production does everything to make him sound awesome and when the choir comes in on the choral parts it really gets you going.

The music is really good as well, don’t think that I’d forgotten. Not only is the metal instrumentation excellent with belting guitar solos and well incorporated synths. When the orchestral instruments swell around the songs it just makes them so much more epic. Seriously there isn’t a dead spot on the entire record. Everything in the production truly comes together to make an entertaining epic. I also have to briefly mention how good the album art is. The design is amazing and the colours just leap out at you. The artist Kerem Beyit has really crafted something beautiful and imaginative

Overall. Wow, just simply wow. This album took (and is continuing to take) my breath away. It’s entertaining in all the right ways. I’ve not wanted to put this album down since the first listen.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Equilibrium – Armageddon

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 24th August 2016 by Mickelrath

Equilibrium
Armageddon
Folk Metal, Symphonic Black Metal
Released 12 August 2016
via Nuclear Blast

Equilibrium’s fifth album, Armageddon is everything that you want out of them. It’s big and bold. It hit’s really hard and gets you going. You will have to understand, going into this album, that I’m relatively new to their work and have only looked up them quite recently. Coming into this review I was completely blown away by the sheer scale of the album. Every part of the production is massive in delivery and even manages to have its fun jaunty moments. All of the songs are good and the writing really shines, even if I did have to look up some of the lyrics online.

The part of this album that I feel lets it down slightly is where is mushes the sounds together to get this muddied sound that’s a little too reliant on the guitars’ distortion. I feel this bogs the sound down somewhat and the guttural vocals aren’t helping. So what you get is this heavy mess of distorted noise. What saves it is the symphonic elements. The big orchestra sound really pulls the album together and gives the songs context. Along with the folk instrumentation, it highlights how fun and exciting Equilibrium are. In fact my favourite parts of the album are just the instrumental parts where there are no vocals.

For me personally Equilibrium’s Armageddon is a mixed goody bag. There are odd thing in it that’s just disappointing and I just don’t really like. Then you have the good moments that I find really impressive and interesting. I do feel the good outweighs the bad, as there is a lot of instrumental sections that have that epic quality to them. Overall I do enjoy this album and it definitely made me curious to check out their older material, so I can recommend it as a jumping on point for their music. It’s intricate enough and has a strong enough sound that you’ll want to listen to it a few times.

3.5/5

Mick Bichall

Sabaton – The Last Stand

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 8th August 2016 by izaforestspirit

Sabaton
The Last Stand
Released 19th August 2016
Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

Sabaton doesn’t need much of an introduction. Since the turn of the millennium, the Swedish group have been entertaining us with their historically themed, highly catchy power metal and energetic live shows. Their concerts are always great to watch; however the same cannot be said about their albums. Whilst they haven’t produced any complete garbage thus far, some of the albums are less memorable than others. As for which is their best effort, that varies depending on who you ask… Personally I’m a huge fan of the concept album ‘Carolus Rex’, which I believe is an absolute masterpiece and their best work to date. The follow-up ‘Heroes’ had its moments but it never matched the same level of excellence. This brings us to their latest effort ‘The Last Stand’, a concept album which tells 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. So that’s the themes explained, now let’s talk about the actual music… The bombastic and “epic”-sounding Sparta has all the features you would have hoped to hear from an opening track. The ultra-catchy keyboard tunes, epic chanting and cries of “Sparta!” and “Hellas!” in the chorus is enough to make you want put on some armour and run down the nearest hill to attack. Oh wait, hold your horses! Before you start your charge you might want to stick around and listen to what else is on here…

Is that bagpipes I hear? Oh yes!! Bagpipes, a hammond organ, heavy metal and cries of “rally all the clans” along with references to The Scottish Revolution. These are all the things that make Blood of Bannockburn one of the best tracks on the album. Another song that caught my attention was Shiroyama mostly due to the chorus and references to the “the last stand of the Samurai”. I don’t know much about the Japanese history, but I’ve always found the samurai culture intriguing and after hearing this song actually decided to do some research about this battle. Arigatō Sabaton!

So those were my choice cuts, now about the rest of the album… Well, sadly there’s a few tracks on here that sound oddly familiar. Take Winged Hussars for instance, the entire structure, everything from the sing-along-narrative, the keyboards, the guitar riffs to the chorus, is very similar to another song with reference to Polish history – Uprising from the ‘Coat of Arms’ album. Then there’s The Lost Battalion which sounds like an leftover from the ‘Heroes’ album.

Overall it’s a decent effort but there’s quite a bit of recycled ideas here. The stories are all unique but some of the music is a case of Sabaton playing it safe and creating something that’s very similar to what they have done before. It’s as if someone took the best tracks from ‘The Art of War’, ‘Coat of Arms’ and ‘Heroes’, stuck them all in a blender and poured the results into new frames. I’ve been there, done that, I won’t be buying the t-shirt but I’ll probably get the album for Sparta, Blood of Bannockburn and Shiroyama.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Wolf Hoffmann – Headbanger’s Symphony

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 11th July 2016 by Mickelrath

Wolf Hoffmann
Headbanger’s Symphony
Heavy metal, Neoclassical metal
Released: 1st July 2016via Nuclear Blast Records

After nearly twenty years Accept guitarist, Wolf Hoffmann has finally returned to his solo project work. Headbanger’s Symphony is an album that Wolf has been working on for a few years now, while on a break from Accept. This is a really beautiful record, whilst much heavier than 1997’s Classical, it still has a calm dignity to it and the simple beauty of the music is worth the price alone.

The sheer scale of the production on this album is absolutely massive. Everything feels big and you really can get swept away in the beautiful sounds.  Wolf’s guitaring is simply amazing as well.  The subtle little tonal shift and the quick quivers are simple yet really effective. There is absolutely no space wasted on this record. The Czech National Orchestra sounds simply divine with every passing second creating a near-perfect framework for Hoffmann to play with and he utilizes the time well.  I had to compare to anything it’s like the instrumental prog-rock of the the early 70’s, just in it’s imagination and the wandering spirit of the music. The whole album just feels epic.  Headbanger’s Symphony takes classic works of art and plays around with the ideas and the end result is a feast for your ears.

At the same time, the album will appeal to metal heads just fine as well.  Don’t think that this is some high brow art form.  At the end of the day it’s a musician playing around with ideas and with the music. There is plenty of energy and intensity to keep you hungry for more long after this is over.  It’s an album that will take your imagination to some strange and wonderful places. With great use of familiar classical pieces and blends that with contemporary metal for a greater experience than either could provide on their own. If you’re at all into symphonic metal music, you owe it to yourself to check this out. If you just want to hear what Wolf from Accept get’s upto away from the band, this is worth checking out.  Me… I’m just a music nerd so this was kinda up my alley from the get go.  

4/5

Mick Birchall

Death Angel – The Evil Divide

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 1st June 2016 by Pieni

Death Angel
“The Evil Divide”
thrash metal
Released: 27th May 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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It’s been almost three decades since the release of “The Ultra-Violence”, and even though none of Death Angel’s later albums achieved the same success, the Bay Area band has always stood way above the average thrash metal acts. No, I won’t say that “The Evil Divide” is a turning point in their career or that it’s their best album since the aforementioned “The Ultra-Violence”; but I will say that it’s a hell of record. Osegueda says he and Cavestany have grown as songwriters and as much cliche as that may sound, once you hear the classy riffing of “The Moth”, the riveting darkness of “Lost”, the rampage of “Father Of Lies” and its silky solo, the boldness of “It Can’t Be This”… Well, once you hear the whole thing, you’ll realize that “mature songwriting” is indeed the best choice of words.

Without playing “sophisticated” thrash, Cavestany’s strings have always sounded somewhat technical, but this time he’s clearly stepped up his game. The whole band has and “The Evil Divide” manages a balance between old school and modern, between raw and refined aggression. Osegueda wanted this album to please both “casual” and die-hard fans. I think his wish will be granted.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Hatebreed – The Concrete Confessional

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 31st May 2016 by Mickelrath

Hatebreed
The Concrete Confessional
Hardcore Punk
Released: 13 May 2016
via Nuclear Blast Records

No matter how far away I get from heavy metal I always find that there are a few bands that drag me right back to headbanging and shouting until I have no voice.  Hatebreed are one of those bands.  No matter how long it is since I last listed to the genre, they always give me the one thing that I always look for in music in general.  Passion, integrity and kick ass music. The music of Hatebreed and I go way back now, I think their music is so ingrained into my psyche that I can’t actually turn my head when they bring out new material.  However, there is only one question to answer in this review.  Is this album, The Concrete Confessional better than their previous album The Divinity of Purpose.  The last album was so good and really cemented me as a true Hatebreed fan.

Well I’ll give it this…. There is certainly a more intense, almost overly aggressive, vibe to this. I mean all of Hatebreed’s albums are intense and in your face.  The Concrete Confessional however, is sharper and feels more direct. For the most part Jamey Jasta is quite creative with his wordplay and the language used in his albums.  Here there is more of a direct approach as if Hatebreed are directing their aggression right at the listener.  Some may think that this is antagonising and abrupt.  I think it’s a pretty bold way to get your point across.  Being that this is a very opinionated band, why hold back your though with metaphor and imagery when you can just say how you’re feeling right there and then. The album deals with heavy issues like social injustice, police brutality and drug abuse, so why hold back?

The music is just as direct.  With sharp consistent note changes and tight production the music stands as a way to punctuate the heavy subjects of the lyrics. Though I do feel that something is lost with this album.  I’m not finding it nearly as catchy or musically interesting as the previous records.  Nothing really sticks in your head at all, as if Hatebreed are laying it on a little too thick.  Think of the Hatebreed songs that you know, “Everybody Bleeds Now”, “Destroy Everything”, “In Ashes They Shall Reap” or even newer songs like “Honor Never Dies”, “Indivisible” or “Dead Man Breathing”.  They sticks in your mind because the music was creative and the lyrics catchy.  This album seems to be void of that, barring say a couple of songs “Looking Down the Barrel of Today” being a great example.  Even that only has one phrase though.  What I’m saying is I don’t think there’s a good compromise between the message they’re trying to deliver and the creativity needed to make compelling music.

Is this a good album? Yes absolutely, without question.  Is it Hatebreed? Yes, again it’s exactly what they wanted to give us.  Is it as good as The Divinity of Purpose, Perseverance or The Rise Of Brutality? No, I don’t think so.  The album is too far removed from what made those albums great. However, I’ll pose another question.  Was The Concrete Confessional meant to be a fun heavy metal album or was it meant to make you feel uncomfortable with the way you’re living?… Sure the band may say something in a press statement, but what a band says in interview and what they say on the record itself aren’t always the same thing.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Surgical Meth Machine – Surgical Meth Machine

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 19th May 2016 by Pieni

Surgical Meth Machine
“Surgical Meth Machine”
Industrial Metal
Release: 15th April 2016
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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When Nuclear Blast sent over this album I volunteered to review it simple because a) my musical taste has a fair share of industrial metal in it and b) I thought the name was cool. My first thought when I started listening to it was “what a Ministry rip-off!”. So you can imagine how hard I laughed when I realized this was an Al Jourgensen’s project. It also gives you an idea of the difference between Surgical Meth Machine and Ministry – pretty much none.

There’s a bigger sense of humor though. Starting right off with the opening track “I’m Sensitive”, where that sensitivity regards opinions posted on social media and therefore the title bears a huge amount of sarcasm. “Unlistenable” lives up to its name, sounding extremely annoying, but the lyrics save the day: Jourgensen is asked about some “really cool” bands like Iron Maiden and then bands that “everyone loves to hate” like Nickelback and his verdict is always the same – they all suck. Even Ministry, who the frontman claims to “hate fucking industrial bands”. Devo, on the other hand, rule! And a heavier version – not exactly industrialized – of Devo’s “Gates Of Steel” kicks in. In the same vein, the fun goes on with “Spudnik”, which sounds like an ‘80s arcade video game soundtrack. “I’m Invisible”, the second song made public prior to the album release, if I’m not mistaken, has an unexpected funky vibe, but the rest of the album has that grinding industrial beats that Ministry got us used to. My favorite song is “Rich People Problems”, but “I Want More”, the aforementioned “I’m Sensitive”, “Tragic Alert” or “Smash And Grab” are just as hammer-forged. So yeah, it may lack innovation, but this album surely dwells in high-caliber ground.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Equilibrium reveal new album title and artwork

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 14th May 2016 by izaforestspirit

The German “epic” power folk metal band Equilibrium are back in the studio putting the finishing touches on their latest album. They have recently announced that the new album, follow up to ‘Erdentempel’ will be entitled ‘Armageddon’.

The artwork was designed by Skadi Rosehurst, the same artist who also did the artwork for their previous album. You can check out the cover art below:

‘Armageddon’ is due to hit the shops worldwide on 12th August 2016 via Nuclear Blast Records.

https://equilibrium-metal.net/en/

https://www.facebook.com/equilibrium/

Grand Magus – Sword Songs

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 12th May 2016 by Mickelrath

Grand Magus
“Sword Songs”
Heavy Metal
Released: 13 May 2016

via Nuclear Blast Records

The Swedish power trio return with their newest collection of anthemic Viking anthems, Sword Songs.  After their last release Triumph and Power, Grand Magus have done more than enough to get me listening. As that’s when I was first introduced to them.  I have obviously gone back over their discography since then and it’s fair to say that they’re one of my favourites when it come to this music.

The album opens with the roaring “Freja’s Choice” and the expert instrumentation at takes over your senses. The pure intensity doesn’t let go until the final moment of the album. Janne “JB” Christoffersson’s energy is awesome and every lyric is clear. Everything on this album sound huge. This is standard for Grand Magus but their ability to make everything sound epic is outstanding, if not second nature to them at this point.  Sword Songs is a barrage of non stop anthems. One of the bigger one being the lead in single “Varangian”, which is so damn catchy you’ll be humming it for hours after you’ve heard it. This is a testament to the super tight production of the album. Every moment has impact and weight and the album is filled to the brim with imagination and poetry.

It’s definitely an album that rewards repeat listens. I know once I was done with the first play through I wanted it one again. The tight musicianship, the excellent riffs, the thundering bass and beat and the anthemic choruses. It all comes together here and it just hits you like a tonne of bricks.  All of the songs are brilliant but a few personal favourites “Forged in Iron – Crowned in Steel”, “Frost and Fire” and “Stormbringer”. These songs have grabbed my imagination and really keeps pumped.  

The Viking themes are grounded and interesting.  Although this sub-sub-genre is starting to develop very obvious clichés it doesn’t stop it from being very entertaining. The references to battle and Norse mythology always sound fresh and original coming from Grand Magus (as well as bands like Leaves’ Eyes and Amon Amarth). There’s just such a feeling of command and power in these songs, they’re simply too fun to not enjoy.

I love this record. Grand Magus have pulled off another great record and I know this one was short but I don’t have anything bad to say and the music really speaks for itself.  This one get’s a firm recommendation from me.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

The 69 Eyes – Universal Monsters

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 14th April 2016 by Pieni

The 69 Eyes
“Universal Monsters”
Goth’n’Rock
Release: 22nd April 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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It’s funny – in an admirable way – how The 69 Eyes keep surprising us, after all these years, while releasing albums within the same parameters. Then again, I believe it’s simply called “talent”.

If “X” was the band’s “pop album” (quoting Jyrki 69 himself), “Universal Monsters” is the rock one – hand-in-hand with that ever-present gothness, of course. You can tell that yourselves already, if you’ve listened to both singles the album has produced – the upbeat rhythm of “Dolce Vita” (those catchy piano keys and that spry guitar solo) and the fetching melody of “Jet Fighter Plane”; the pulse is stronger and yet they have The 69 Eyes seal all over them.

Then things get a bit heavier with “Blackbird Pie”. And somber when, midway, some kind of Indian rain dance beats precede a beautiful semi-acoustic solo. Then watch them “gothicise” the Arabian feel of “Jerusalem”! What an exotic song that turned out! There’s also a Spanish guitar in the background of “Never”, so I dare saying that “Universal Monsters” may not use sounds from all around the universe, but it rolls quite internationally.

“Miss Pastis” is even more cheerful than “Dolce Vita”, the piano replaced by what sounds like a blow-organ, while “Blue” is the mandatory ballad, the sadness embedded in it living up to its name. I wonder if it’s just a coincidence that the most popular ballad from the previous album was also named after a color…

“Saving the best for last” would be somewhat unfair, as the whole album is stellar, but “Rock’N’Roll Junkie” has indeed everything to become a hymn – the lyrics, that intro resembling The Rolling Stones“Start Me Up” and Jyrki’s vocal posture a tribute to David Bowie… yep, that one’s going down in the rock history.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Rage’s “The Devil Strikes Again” to include bonus live CD

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 29th February 2016 by Pieni

As you’ve probably suspected, RAGE‘s EP “My Way” (review here) precedes the release of the band’s 22nd studio album (23rd if you count with the one in collaboration with LINGUA MORTIS ORCHESTRA). “The Devil Strikes Again” will see the light of day on June 10th, via Nuclear Blast. Artwork and tracklist as follows:

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01. The Devil Strikes Again
02. My Way
03. Back On Track
04. The Final Curtain
05. War
06. Ocean Full Of Tears
07. Deaf, Dumb And Blind
08. Spirits Of The Night
09. Times Of Darkness
10. The Dark Side Of The Sun

Bonus CD:
01. Bring Me Down
02. Requiem
03. Into The Fire
04. Slave To The Grind (SKID ROW Cover)
05. Bravado (RUSH Cover)
06. Open Fire (Y&T Cover)

Today, RAGE announced that there will also be a limited edition (1.000 copies) of a 3CD DIGI, the third disc recorded live during the latest European tour with HELLOWEEN. Here’s the tracklist of said disc:

Bonus Live CD
01. Black In Mind
02. Sent By The Devil
03. End Of All Days
04. Back In Time
05. Down
06. My Way
07. Until I Die
08. Don’t Fear The Winter
09. Higher Than The Sky

“The Devil Strikes Again” was recorded in September/October 2015 at Megafon Studios (Burscheid, Germany) and at Soundchaser Studios (Zandhoven, Belgium). Its production was handled by Marcos Rodriguez and Peavy Wagner, whilst renowned the Dan Swanö (MARDUK, OPETH, DISSECTION, KATATONIA) took care of the mix and mastering at Unisound Studios (Grefrath, Germany). The stunning cover artwork was created by Karim König (photo credit: Ivan K. Maras, director of the “My Way” music video).

You can pre-order the Limited Edition 3CD Digibook here.

www.rage-official.com
www.facebook.com/rageofficialband
www.nuclearblast.de/rage

Ricky Warwick – When Patsy Cline Was Crazy…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by Pieni

Ricky Warwick
“When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” / “Hearts On Trees”
Hard Rock
Released: 26th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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I’ve been listening to this album on a daily basis for the past two weeks, trying to come up with the right words to describe it, but always ended up losing myself in the melodies and Warwick’s voice. As the album is out today, I decided I couldn’t postpone this review any longer and it was better to write it by heart – by now I definitely can do that – as pressing “play” would distract me again.

That’s what you must be prepared for when listening to this double album – to have your senses enthralled and be taken away to that place in your mind where everything will be fine. Even if you’re listening to “Psycho”, a song depicting a troubled mind reaching out to his mom.

The first CD “When Patsy Cline Was Crazy (And Guy Mitchell Sang The Blues)” comprises the electric songs, while “Hearts On Trees” offers the acoustic ones. Which doesn’t mean that the latter is less fiery than the former. Born in Northern Island, Warwick brought the high spirited Irish music in the form of the title track and “Schwaben Redoubt” (although the story here ends with death). “Disasters” is pretty upbeat too.

Living up to its title, “Presbyterian Homesick Blues” is a blues song, but not exactly sad – it’s one of those that touches your feelings. And “Way Too Cold To Snow”, despite the somewhat melancholy, is just too beautiful to stir anything but life inside of you.

In “When Patsy Cline…” you’ll find that pure, classic rock that Warwick’s gotten us used to for years. The heavy opener “The Road To Damascus Street”, the catchy “Celebrating Sinking”, the sharp “Toffee Town”, the horn section in “That’s Where The Story Ends”… Twenty songs (plus eight bonuses!) to love.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

To The Rats And Wolves – Neverland

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 23rd February 2016 by Pieni

To The Rats And Wolves
“Neverland”
Trancecore
Release: 19th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast Records

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I’m not surprised that trancecore is a thing, as anything goes nowadays. What I’m surprised is that To The Rats And Wolves is included in that category as electro-pop-core is way more accurate. Their homeland Germany is a country where you have a rave in one corner of the block and a metal gig in the other (yes, kids, it’s a hyperbole) and it is said that many go to the former after the latter is finished. Nothing against it, open-mindedness is something to be treasured. I’m just not sure if it’s a good idea to merge both, no matter how out-of-the-box the concept might be.

Especially when only the trance is shaping the songs, while the hardcore is pretty much repeating itself in every track – similar cranking riffs, predictable breakdowns… It’s in the electronics that you’ll hear different patterns defining different melodies (and not exactly outstanding ones). When it comes to vocals, even though the growls and screams assume a big role, it’s the pop-ish clean tones that always take lead in the choruses. So eventually you feel like this is not a real fusion but just the addition of some elements of one genre into the basic structure of another. The opener “Suburban Romance” is the most balanced track, followed by “Schoolyard Warfare”, but the majority of the album heads towards the dancefloor – especially “Wild At Heart” and “Kill The DJ”. And then there’s the ballad “Ghosts” which… Well, it’s a ballad. ‘Nuff said.

On the other hand, the nature of “Neverland” is so mainstream that it may actually cause some fuss. I still think it lacks substance.

2/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Al Jourgensen’s new project Surgical Meth Machine

Posted in News, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 14th February 2016 by izaforestspirit

Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen has recently launched a new project called Surgical Meth Machine. The band’s music has been described as ‘industrial speed metal’ and Mr. Jourgensen stated that their songs have an average speed of 220bpm and “are not for the faint of heart”. The self-titled debut album is due to hit the shops on 15th April 2016 via Nuclear Blast Records.

The track-listing will be as follows:

1. I’m Sensitive
2. Tragic Alert
3. I Want More
4. Rich People Problems
5. I Don’t Wanna
6. Smash And Grab
7. Unlistenable
8. Gates Of Steel
9. Spudnik
10. Just Go Home
11. Just Keep Going
12. I’m Invisible

Check out the cover art below:

http://www.nuclearblast.de/en/label/music/band/about/4199926.surgical-meth-machine.html

https://www.facebook.com/surgicalmethmachine/

Fleshgod Apocalypse – King

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 5th February 2016 by Pieni

Fleshgod Apocalypse
“King”
Symphonic/technical death metal
Released: 5th February 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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The more I listen to Fleshgod Apocalypse, the more I realize that those who say that mixing classical music with death metal is a bad idea, they’re just speaking based on their personal musical taste; in truth, whether you like the outcome or not, such mix is brilliant. The splendor of the former contrasting with the brutality of the latter, but the intensity and overwork that both share? What’s there not to love?

Now that we’re clear on where I stand regarding the genre, it really comes as no surprise how high I’ll praise this “King”. Fleshgod Apocalypse just nailed every aspect of the so-called symphonic/technical death metal. In case you missed the promotional single “The Fool”, go and listen to how those medieval piano keys interweave so fittingly with the shredding rhythm of the rest of the instruments. And then check out the sinister tone of “Cold As Perfection” and “Gravity”. And also the epic symphony of “And The Vulture Beholds” or “A Million Deaths”. Sure, we could live without the operatic “Paramour (Die Leidenshaft Bringt Leiden)”, where Veronica Bordacchini takes the lead, and the instrumental title-track. But both add an exotic touch to the whole package. Saying “King” is Fleshgod Apocalypse’s best album might be debatable, so I’ll settle with “the most consistent”.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Rage – My Way [EP]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 26th January 2016 by Pieni

Rage
“My Way” [EP]
Heavy metal
Released: 22nd January 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

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Nowadays, EPs and singles are mistaken for one another quite often. Rage’s “My Way” is one of those cases; at least I wouldn’t call EP to a 4-track recording comprised of two versions of the same song plus two new versions of 20-year-old songs. But it’s still worth saying a few words about it, as “My Way” is an upbeat, classy piece of heavy metal. Vibrant riffs upon a sturdy rhythm, an ear-worm chorus with a defiant attitude (“it is my way or nothing at all”) and a flowing, rich solo – everything a fan of the genre appreciates.

The aforementioned “new versions” are actually just re-recordings of “Black In Mind” and “Sent By The Devil”; nothing, or almost nothing, has been changed. Sure, the recording and production have a clarity now that wasn’t possible back in 1995, making the sound of each instrument much more distinct. But on the other hand, those rough edges were part of the era these songs were born in in the first place, and taking away that rawness wasn’t exactly necessary.

As for the Spanish version of “My Way”, by the name of “Apuesto A Ganar” (determined to win)… well, unless Spanish is your native tongue or you really like this Latin language, I don’t see a reason for you to not stick with the original version…

3 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Devilment begin work on new album

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , on 15th January 2016 by izaforestspirit

The British “Gothic” groove metal band Devilment, which features Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth) on vocals, has began working on a new album the follow up to their critically acclaimed debut ‘The Great and Secret Show’. The album title hasn’t been revealed yet but here are some of the song titles:

‘Shine On Sophie Moone’
‘Life (Is What You Keep From The Reaper)’
‘Hitchcock Blonde’ ‘
JudasStein’
‘Hell at My Back’
‘Plot Spoiler: There Will Be Monsters’

Here’s a studio update from their lead guitarist Colin Parks:

“The pre-production songs from the new album are all but done and dusted.

This new album is heavier than anything we have done before, yet with it more melodic, passionate and mature.

We have all worked very hard, both in the band and those directly working with the band on a different level.

I am so happy with how things are sounding at this early stage.
I truly believe this album will be the one to make all of our fans happy.

It brings massive brutality contrasted with progressive beauty.

Lyrically and musically it’s an album that will take you on a journey of emotions.

Devilheads prepare!” 

 

The new album will be release via Nuclear Blast Records and is expected to hit the shops later this year.

https://www.facebook.com/devilmentcorps/

http://www.nuclearblast.de/devilment

 

 

Cradle of Filth live in Helsinki

Posted in Gig, Live, Uncategorized with tags , , on 22nd November 2015 by izaforestspirit

Frosttide, Ne Obliviscaris, Cradle of Filth
Nosturi, Helsinki, Finland
21st November 2015

Cradle of Filth are one of the bands that I grew up listening to. I’ve seen them live three times before, in three different countries (the U.K., France and Finland). The last time I saw them was in Tampere back in 2013. This time they announced that they will only be playing one show in Finland – Helsinki.

The venue was a club called Nosturi (“the crane”) located near the shipyard, just outside of the city centre. I haven’t been there in years… Yesterday was the first day of winter which meant that I stood in the snow and rain waiting to get in. The place was packed by the time I entered the building.

First up was a Finnish band called Frosttide who won the competition to open up for the main band on the Finnish leg of the tour. Their style is a essentially a mixture of melodic death metal and folk metal. I enjoyed the show but I couldn’t help thinking about just how much they reminded me of Ensiferum. 3.5/5

The next act was the Australian metal band Ne Obliviscaris. These guys have a really unique style which is difficult to classify. They have two singers, one doing clean vocals whilst the other does the harsh, melodeath-style growling. The music itself features elements of death metal, prog-metal and folk. Think Opeth with a violin player and you will have a pretty good idea of the kind of style I’m referring to. Whilst I liked some parts of their songs, the mish-mash of styles was a bit too confusing for my liking. 3/5

The good thing about seeing Cradle of Filth live more than once is that no two of set-lists are ever the same. So whilst it’s guaranteed that you will hear some stuff from their latest album, you never know what else they decide to play… The new tracks played included : ‘The Right Wing of The Garden Triptych’, ‘Blackest Magick in Practice’ and many more. In addition to this there were some classics such as ‘Her Ghost in the Fog’, ‘Lord Abortion’, ‘Malice Through the Looking Glass’, ‘Nymphetamine’ and ‘Thirteen Autumns and a Widow’. I was also really happy to hear some of the old songs from the band’s early days such as ‘Queen of Winter, Throned’ and ‘The Forest Whispers My Name’.  5/5

Overall it was a really good night. It was well worth the trip. Whilst  I still prefer to attend local gigs, I’m willing to travel further so for bands like this.

Iza Raittila

Suicide Silence – Sacred Words (EP)

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 7th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Suicide Silence – Sacred Words (EP)
Released October 23rd 2015
Deathcore
Released via Nuclear Blast

Suicide Silence - Sacred Words (EP)

Although this is billed as an EP, I certainly feel more like I’m listening to an old school single. The release comprises of the title track, plus its instrumental version, remix version, and live version, accompanied by live recordings of a further two tracks – Cease To Exist and Inherit The Crown. It’s a minor detail, but I think most people have come to expect more new material from musical output in this format. I also feel that four renditions of the same work is total overkill.

The focus track itself (taken from 2014’s You Can’t Stop Me) is a good display of ‘Eddie’ Hermida’s more core oriented vocal style, which has naturally divided opinion amongst fans since the untimely demise of original frontman Mitch Lucker. The music, however, lacks some of the vehemence of their previous recordings, and, for me, it’s the live takes which lift this platter to its peak. The energy they are delivered with is akin to that on some of extreme metal’s brightest moments in concert audio recordings. The immediate comparison which springs to mind is Pantera’s Live 101. The song-writing is a different pot of spuds, but the essence and tangible energy is very similar.

As someone who was never a fully-fledged admirer of Suicide Silence, or, indeed, deathcore in general, I am quite prepared for my opinion to be called into question on this, but to a certain degree, I find the new vocalisation more fitting to their current sound. That doesn’t mean better, and it could well be the case that the music has changed subtly in order to make this happen. The truth is we may never know, but in all honesty, it has turned me on a little to a band who I never really gave much thought to in the past, and I’m not really sure where many of their old school fans have found the ammunition for hate.

If you were a die-hard fan of You Can’t Stop Me, this will most likely please you as a behind-the-scenes collector’s piece, but I would personally hold out for the next full-length to effectively sate any death-core cravings.

3.5/5

 Paul Macmillan