Archive for Power Metal

Sabaton – The Great War

Posted in Review with tags , on 26th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Sabaton
The Great War
Released 19th July 2019
Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

Sabaton - The Great War
Swedish power metal brigade are back with yet another historically themed album. As the title suggests it is The First World War, also known as The Great War. According to their official website they have been planning to make an album on this topic for quite some time. I wasn’t too impressed with their previous work but I decided to give this a go. After all it’s Sabaton, even their so-called bad albums have a least a few good tracks on them…

Well, after a few listens I can happily say that this album is a bit better thought-out and structured than their previous effort ‘The Last Stand’. While that album felt more like a collection of various ideas crammed into one full length, the songs on this one all sound like they belong together. Many of the tracks also feature a choir in the chorus making the music sound more dynamic. I quite enjoyed the opening song The Future of Warfare. It reminds me a little of ‘Night Witches’ from the ‘Heroes’ album. As far as the music goes, it’s classic Sabaton, with most of the emphasis being on Mr. Brodén’s powerful vocals and the catchy guitar riffs. Luckily they did not overdo it on the keyboards. Seven Pillars of Wisdom is one of the tracks that stood out the most for me. It’s very guitar-centric and the guitar work is pretty good as are the vocals. Also the lyrics are very well though-out and a serious improvement compared to some of their previous songs. As much as I enjoy Sabaton’s music, some of their lyrics are a little too cheesy for my liking. The title track is easily the best song on the album. Lots of energy, catchy guitar work, good use of a choir and powerful vocals. Nice work there, Sabaton!

If only the rest of the album were as good as those three tracks. Sadly that is not the case. There are several moments on here where I had this odd sense of déjà vu. Many of the songs sound like something that Sabaton has done before, albeit slightly modified and with different lyrics. I’m not going to list which tracks sound similar to older Sabaton songs because that would make this review into an essay. Let’s just say that there are many and if you have been listening to Sabaton for as long as I have, they are pretty hard to miss. There are also two songs that I simply couldn’t get into – the ultra cheesy -sounding The Red Baron and disco-metal of The Attack of The Dead Men. The latter really overdoes it with the keyboards and that chorus is just so irritating… I’m not sure why if find it so annoying, maybe it’s the frequent repetition of “again” and “hundred men”.

Overall, ‘The Great War’ is an improvement compared to Sabaton’s previous album but it’s still a far cry from the best work. It is a good album but not brilliant one. I wasn’t expecting them to make another ‘Carolus Rex’ but this is really the best that they can do?

4/5
Iza Raittila

Alestorm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Bootyard Bandits, Skálmöld, Alestorm
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
3rd March 2019

Alestorm… It’s been a while. Nine years to be exact. The last time I saw these guys live was in 2010 when they supported Sabaton. I was also at their show at Wacken Open Air in 2008. They have always been one of those bands that I enjoy watching live but I have never actually listened to any of their albums in full. I might play the odd song or video but that is all. They are a party band that is fun to watch live while enjoying a nice cold beer. This was their first headlining show in Finland and it was sold out.

First up was a British band called Bootyard Bandits. These guys clearly like all things Wild West ranging from cowboy hats, country music to banjos. I’m not sure how to describe their style – “comedy country rock?”, hard rock…They were definitely fun to watch. I especially enjoyed the heavy metal banjo solo featuring a cover of AC DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’ and other hard rock classics. 4/5

Next up was an Icelandic Viking folk metal band called Skálmöld. Their show was a bit more serious but still good. They sound like a mixture of Týr and Falkenbach. All their songs are in their native Icelandic. Good vocals and some of the songs were catchy but I could have done without the Týr-style progressive guitar parts. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the headliners. When Alestorm took to the stage I found myself on the edge of a mosh-pit. The crowd really went wild during the show. There was everything from the usual head-banging, air guitar to rowing inside the mosh-pit during one of the slow songs. The Scottish pirates played some new material including ‘Mexico’ along with some old hits such as ‘‘Keelhauled’, Captain Morgan’s Revenge’, ‘Drink’ and a cover of ‘Wolves of The Sea’. 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time and I enjoyed all of the performances. Bootyard Bandits were better than I expected. Skálmöld had a few memorable moments. Alestorm were entertaining as always. Pirate metal is fun to watch, just do not take it too seriously.

Iza Raittila

Children of Bodom – Hexed

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 27th February 2019 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom
Hexed
Released 8th March 2019
Melodic Death Metal/Power Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records


Children of Bodom - Hexed

Mr. Laiho and the Hate Crew are back with a new album. It’s been four years since ‘I Worship Chaos’, an album which I initially liked when it came out but after more listens it got a little repetitive. I still own it of course; I have all their albums, even the not so good ones. I guess that somewhere deep down I’m still that teenage Children of Bodom fan girl who had a crush on Alexi Laiho and dreamed of going to Finland to see them live. I used to listen to ‘Follow The Reaper’ on repeat for days and that album still holds a special place in my heart. If there is one band that has contributed the most to my obsession with all things Finnish and Finland it’s these guys. Not only did I visit Finland, I ended up relocating there and learning the language. I’ve seen Children of Bodom live on numerous occasions and I have even visited the Lake Bodom murder site in Espoo.

This brings me to ‘Hexed’, album number ten in Children of Bodom’s discography and the first to feature their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyborg. It’s astonishing just how much difference a second guitarist can make. Alexi Laiho is a great frontman and an exceptionally talented guitar player but there is more to this band than just him. Freyborg has his own unique style and he has definitely left his mark on this album. For example on Under Grass And Clover, the dual guitar harmonies work very well together, creating a smooth-sounding, catchy, melodeath metal song. Want something a little faster? Then skip right over to the next track Glass Houses – a classic COB track, with their signature ultra-fast keyboards and impressive guitar work. Speaking of keyboards, the title track features some of the best keyboard passages I have heard from Mr.Wirman in years.

There are quite a few moments on here that reminded me of their mid-career albums ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’ and ‘Are You Dead Yet?’. It is not all same old Bodom, though. There are parts that display the band trying new things such as the technical guitar work and melodic keyboards on Hecate’s Nightmare. It is not something that I would have expected to hear from these guys but it works surprisingly well.

In summary, ‘Hexed’ shows how much Children of Bodom have evolved over the years. Where some of their previous albums failed to leave a lasting impression, getting stale after a few listens, here the songs stand out. While it lacks the “WOW!” factor of their best work, it is a strong album that will definitely please their fans both old and new.

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Сандарния – К оружию!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on 23rd February 2019 by Mickelrath

Сандарния (Sandarnia)
К оружию! (To Arms!)
Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Released: 9th December 2018
Self Released


This has been a really interesting album to get into. Mainly because it’s the first album I’ve ever reviewed that is not in English. So, before we start, I just want to say that I don’t speak Russian so somethings will be lost on me. Yet, I still think this is a solid record. I think it’s important to discover as much of the world as possible and music bridges that gap much easier. When I first took a listen to the new album from Sandarnia I was immediately drawn into their passion, presence and their overall tone. This band is the brainchild of Russian musician Alexander Kuznetsov and it contains some incredible performances by a variety of awesome musicians.

To Arms! is an awesome record and it feels massive. The production is so bold on every song. It just flows so well from one track to the next, with heavy guitar, a bold bass tone and terrific drum work. If there’s one thing that this project has, it’s a great sense of tone. Every tune is dramatic and it sounds big. It’s like a heavy metal orchestra. One thing I do like about this record is the variety in vocal performances. Different tunes have different singers and each one brings something brilliant to the table. One performance that I did enjoy was Daria Mikolaevskaya’s on the song “Та, что встретит с тобой смерть”. I found this song to be impressive, with its sweeping melodies and excellent musicianship.

Now, there does lie the potential to alienate a wider audience by not making it in English. I will say that and that can put some people off. Yet, I think it’s something they overcome quite well. The music is largely accessible and if you’re into this sort of this already then, then I would highly recommend giving them a chance. Also, the production, whilst impressive, can be lacking at times, with the guitars and bass sometimes mixed over the top of the vocals and that can be a little distracting at times.

Overall, I would say that this was a rather impressive listening experience. The songs are epic and the band just have the charisma of megastars. If you like your power metal bands then, Sandarnia is well worth your time. To Arms! Is an amazing epic of a record that ends on a couple of excellent covers with “Warcraft 2 Theme – Tides of Darkness” and the “Game of Thrones Theme”. If you want some good power metal in your life that you may have never considered before, this is the band for you.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Iza’s Highlights of 2018

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2018 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again! Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year I have decided to do just one list rather than two separate ones for metal and non-metal. The main reason for this is that there have not been too many industrial/EBM releases that caught my attention this year. So without further ado, here are my top ten albums of 2018:

1. Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin
Genre: Power Metal
Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin

The German power metal wolves are back with a new album. And what an album it is!! I honestly cannot get enough of it. It may not be very profound as far as the themes go but it is hell of a lot of fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘Fire & Forgive’, ‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ and ‘Nightside of Siberia’.

2. Lord of The Lost – Thornstar
Genre: Dark Rock/Gothic Industrial Metal
Image result for lord of the lost thornstar
I absolutely adore this band. They combine the best of dark rock with Gothic metal and Deathstars-like industrial metal. ‘Thornstar’ has to be their greatest and most complex album to date. In order to fully understand the concept, I would recommend that you download the 21 paged ‘Thornstar backstory’ from the band’s website. It’s a fascinating read that offers some insight into Pangaean history and culture. Alternatively you can simply enjoy music. Stand-out tracks are ‘On This Rock I Will Build My Church’, ‘Haythor’ and ‘Black Halo’.

3. Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Behemoth are back with their long-awaited new album. As I mentioned in my review, this is not ‘The Satanist part 2’ but rather a mixture of both old and new Behemoth styles. It takes a few listens but once you get into it your patience will be rewarded. Stand-out tracks are ‘Wolves ov Siberia’ and ‘Bartzabel’.

4. Chthonic – Battlefields of Asura
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/Oriental Metal
閃靈 - 政治 / Battlefields of Asura
My favourite oriental metal band are back. Their latest album might not be a memorable as ‘Bú Tik’ but it has its moments. Music-wise it offers more of Chthonic’s unique blend of melodic black metal, death metal and oriental folk music with the addition of some choirs and guest vocals from the Cantopop singer Denise Ho. Stand-out tracks are ‘A Crimson Sky’s Command’ and ‘Millennia’s Faith Undone’.

5. MONO Inc. – Welcome to Hell
Genre: Gothic Rock/Dark Rock
Image result for MONO INC WELCOME TO HELL cover
More Gothic rock…’ Welcome to Hell’ is my favourite MONO Inc. album to date. Their music is essentially melodic hard rock but it also has this wonderful, eerie Gothic feel. Stand-out tracks are ‘Long Live Death’, A Vagabond’s Life’ and Reign of Rats’.

6. Grimner – Vanadrottning
Genre: Folk Metal/Viking Metal
Grimner - Vanadrottning

I had the pleasure of reviewing this album earlier this year. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard any folk metal that was this good. I would recommend this to fans of Finntroll, Ensiferum and Månegarm. Stand-out tracks are ‘Vanadrottning’ and ‘En Fallen Jätte’.

7. Monstrosity – The Passage Of Existence
Genre – Death Metal
Monstrosity - The Passage of Existence
My kind of death metal and my favourite death metal album of 2018. It is hard to pick out a stand-out track since in all honestly I like them all but ‘Kingdom of Fire’ and ‘Maelstrom’ are the ones that stuck in my head the most.

8. Hanzel und Gretyl – Satanik Germanik
Genre: Industrial Metal/Groove Metal/Extreme Metal
Hanzel und Gretyl - Satanik Germanik
‘Satanik Germanik’ is Hanzel und Gretyl’s heaviest and most metal album. As mentioned in my review it is darker and more serious than the material from the “Fukken Über’ era, much like its predecessor ‘Black Forest Metal’. Luckily that does not make it any less fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘I Am Bad Luck’ and the party song ‘Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell)’

9. Scandroid – The Darkness
Genre: Synthwave
Image result for scandroid the darkness
One of the few electronic releases that made it to my top 10. ‘The Darkness’ is the third album from Klayton (Celldweller/Circle of Dust)’s synthwave project Scandroid. Delightful retro synthesizer tunes, a little guitar and melodic vocals all with a futuristic feel. Stand-out tracks ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Red Planet’.

10. Auger – The Awakening
Genre: Darkwave
Image result for auger the awakening
A new discovery for me. I really enjoyed Auger’s show at Lumous Gothic Festival 2018. This British dark wave duo combine the best of darkwave and Gothic rock. I would recommend their debut album to fans of Blutengel, Gothminister and The Vision Bleak. Stand-out tracks are ‘Monster’ and ‘My Guardian’.

Honourable mentions:

Xentrifuge – Desensitized Parallels, Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods, Psyclon Nine – Icon of The Adversary. All good albums but with only a few outstanding tracks they missed out on a space in my top ten list.
IAMX’s latest album ‘Alive in The New Light’ also came out of the start of this year. While it didn’t make my top ten I did enjoy it, especially the track ‘Mile Deep Hollow’.
Check out the video here:

Best live show of 2018: Helloween live at South Park Festival in Tampere.
Biggest New Discovery: Auger
Most anticipated albums in 2019:
Blutengel – Un:Gott
Blue Stahli – Obsidian
Also hopefully new albums by Helloween and Rammstein.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Guardians of Time – Tearing Up The World

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 22nd December 2018 by izaforestspirit

Guardians of Time
Tearing Up The World
Released 19th October 2018
Power Metal
Released via ROAR! Rock of Angels Records

Guardians of Time - Tearing Up the World

‘Tearing Up The World’ is the new album from the Norwegian power metal band Guardians of Time. The band has been around since the late 1990s and their line-up includes the current vocalist of Suspiria as well as guitarist Paul Olsen (ex-Trail of Tears). This release features guest performances from Abbath and Tim “Ripper” Owens (ex-Judas Priest/ ex-Iced Earth).

Power metal is one of those genres that I prefer enjoy in small doses. There are a few notable exceptions; power metal bands that I happily tune into all year around including Sabaton, Powerwolf and Helloween. Generally speaking though, this is the type of music that sounds best on a sunny, summer day at a festival when enjoying a cold beer. I have the beverage part sorted but it does not change the fact that I am listening to this on a cold, snowy, December night in Finland with maximum of 5 hours of daylight in this season… What does fit this setting though are Abbath’s backing vocals in the title track. After all, Abbath is best known for his work with the black metal band Immortal who are all about the grim and the frostbitten. Then there are the references to snow, ice and Norse mythology in Valhalla Awaits. Now that’s more like it…

Yet there is no getting away from the predominant style of slightly cheesy but ultimately very traditional power metal. Luckily there are no overblown keyboard tunes and the vocals are not overly squeaky and the guitar work is pretty good. I could list a whole bunch of power metal bands that sound similar but I honestly do not see the point. Even for those who are not familiar with the band, the band name and the album cover should be a big clue of what kind of music you can expect to hear. Oh yes, what we have here are twelve tracks of energetic, fast and catchy power metal with the focus being principally on the guitars. It is full steam ahead from start to finish with not a single slow track or ballad in sight. Take the aforementioned Valhalla Awaits for example – it is probably the fastest track on the album, with guitar riffs galore and powerful vocals, all of which combined make the song just perfect for headbanging. So what if the lyrics are a little cheesy… As I Burn also deserves a mention with Tim “Ripper” Owens doing guest vocals. His vocal style is a touch more aggressive than Mr. Fjellestad’s and the dual vocals work well with the crunchy guitars and the pounding drums to create a powerful song.

In summary, the season might be wrong but I’ve had lots of fun reviewing ‘Tearing Up The World’ and it definitely put me in a good mood. If power metal is your thing then there is a lot to like on here especially if you are a fan of bands such as Three Inches of Blood and Helloween.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Children of Bodom reveal new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 30th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom have recently announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘I Worship Chaos’, will be called ‘Hexed’.

Check out the track-listing and cover art below:

1. The Road
2. Under Grass and Clover
3. Glass Houses
4. Hecate’s Nightmare
5. Kick in the Spleen
6. Platitudes and Barren Words
7. Hexed
8. Relapse (The Nature of My Crime)
9. Say Never Look Back
10. Soon Departed
11. Knuckleduster
12. I Worship Chaos (live)
13. Morrigan (live)
14. Knuckleduster (remix)

Children of Bodom - Hexed

‘Hexed’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide on 8th March 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records. This will be the band’s first album with their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyberg who joined the band in 2016 replacing Roope Latvala.

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom

http://www.cobhc.com/site/

Thorium – Thorium

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 17th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Thorium
Thorium
Released 9th November 2018
Heavy Metal/Melodic Power Metal
Released via Rock N’ Growl Records

Thorium - Thorium

‘Thorium’ is the debut album from the Belgian heavy metal band of the same name. Thorium was formed two years ago and their line-up includes former members of Ostrogoth.

Just in case the connection to the band Ostrogoth was not obvious, this album includes a song called Ostrogoth. It’s an entertaining, albeit a little cheesy, piece of melodic power metal with powerful vocals and good guitar work. I like how they managed to get the guitars to mimic the sound of galloping horses towards the latter half of the track. Watch out, the Ostrogoths are coming!! Some of the songs reminded me of early works of Helloween, mostly due to the pace and the similarities in the vocal style.

There are also elements of traditional heavy metal and thrash metal on here. This is evident in tracks such as Godspeed with its catchy chorus as well as more varied but no less cheerful-sounding guitar melodies. They continue with the same mixture of heavy metal and power metal for the rest of the album. The final track Four by Number, Four by Fate is one of those that listeners are either going to love or hate. It definitely stands out on here for numerous reasons. Let’s start with the length – it’s just short of sixteen minutes which is very long even for a ballad. The style is a mish-mash of everything ranging from acoustic guitar instrument parts, progressive guitar riffs, power metal, heavy metal to some thrash metal thrown in just to keep you on your toes. Personally I think this might have worked better if it was broken up into two separate tracks.

Overall, Thorium’s debut album has a lot of things going for it. They have created a good balance of catchy and melodic heavy metal with enough variety to keep the listener entertained. I think that fans of power metal and heavy metal will enjoy it, especially those who are into Helloween and Iron Maiden.

3.5/5
Iza Raittila

Kilmara – Across The Realm of Time

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 9th September 2018 by izaforestspirit

Kilmara
Across The Realm of Time
Released 31st August 2018
Heavy Metal / Power Metal
Released via Rock of Angels Records

Kilmara - Across the Realm of Time

‘Across The Realm of Time’ is the new album from the Spanish heavy metal band Kilmara. They have been around since 2003 and have undergone various line-up changes. This is the first album to feature their new singer Dani Ponce who joined the band in 2015.

My knowledge of the Spanish metal scene is very limited. Most of the bands I am familiar with are no longer active so it’s about time that I checked out something new… The description for this album was fairly vague – “melodic metal” could potentially mean anything from heavy metal, power metal, atmospheric metal ,progressive metal or even Gothic metal. Power metal on the other hand, is one of those genres that ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous. At it’s best it will entertain you and fill your mind with wonderful stories of fantasy adventures or epic historic battles. At its worst, it’s just cheesy, and so badly over-the-top that it becomes irritating after a few listens. That is why there are only a few power metal bands I regularly listen to.

So let’s see what category Kilmara fit into…. Well, for one thing it’s not cheesy so that is a good thing. The vocals are melodic and powerful but not high pitched, which is another plus. The use of keyboards is minimal and very sporadic and most of the emphasis is on the guitars. Fantasy adventure is a highly plausible theme based on the track tiles, the cover art and the cinematic style intro. So far so good… Some tracks have a hard rock feel to them – such as the mid-paced I Shall Rise Again, which is one of the more melodic songs on here. It’s one of those moments when the vocals are in harmony with the guitars, complementing each other. Mr. Ponce’s duet with guest vocalist Viktorie Surmøva works well and I can’t fault the guitar work either.

Principle of Hatred initially caught my attention due to the middle-eastern style acoustic guitar intro. A nice touch which I didn’t see coming. The rest of the song is essentially pure power metal, not too far removed from the likes of Helloween. Once again the vocals work a treat and the guitar work is top notch. Similar things can be said about The Forge except that song has a more aggressive stance when it comes to the guitars.

In summary, ‘Across The Realm of Time’ features a mixture of various styles ranging from heavy metal via hard rock to power metal. All the songs are well executed, not overly cheesy, melodic but not progressive. There is a lot to like on here if you’re a fan of these genres, especially power metal.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 24th July 2018 by izaforestspirit

Powerwolf
The Sacrament of Sin
Released 20th July 2018
Power Metal
Released via Napalm Records

Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin

The German wolfpack have returned. Even before hearing the music I had to take a few minutes just to admire the album title – ‘The Sacrament of Sin’. How ironic, ludicrous, perhaps even blasphemous, yet so very typical of Powerwolf. Ever since discovering this band I’ve always liked their song titles. Unlike their Swedish brethren Sabaton, these guys like to add some humor to their lyrics. You won’t find too many epic tales inspired by historical events in their songs but there will be werewolves, other horror themes, references to religion, theatrical and grandiose vocals that occasionally mimic a church choir.

Let’s start with my favorites, the songs that have been in my head for weeks even before the album was released thanks to the videos. My personal favorite Fire & Forgive is just classic Powerwolf doing what they do best. Catchy chorus, check. Bombastic orchestration, powerful vocals and ultra catchy guitar riffs, check. Latin chants and church music in the background, hell yes! Fire away guys! Then there’s the fabulously titled Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend. To call the lyrics cheesy would be a gross understatement. They’re not even cheesy, they are syrupy, dripping with ultra sweet, sticky ‘wickedness’. As with anything sweet it would probably be better in small doses but who can resist the temptation? Oh, and the video; I haven’t seen anything as ridiculously funny since Blutengel’s ‘Reich Mir Dir Hand’. Yet laugh as I may, every time I hear it or watch the video it doesn’t change the fact that I still find myself singing along and playing it repeatedly.

There were a few moments on here where the music reminded me of Sabaton. Incense & Iron is an example of this, not just because of the lyrics such as “Stand, Follow the fight..”
It’s also war-themed and keyboard driven and features a touch of folk metal due to the bagpipe sounds. The only surprise comes in the form of a piano ballad called Where The Wild Wolves Have Gone. This not unusual for Powerwolf; they have made songs like this before, but on this album it definitely stands out due to the slower pace and overall style.

Overall, I have really enjoyed ‘The Sacrament of Sin’. There isn’t a song on here that I dislike though some are more memorable than others. It’s more consistent than their previous album and it is up there with their best works. Powerwolf fans will be pleased and if you’re new to the band this works as a good introduction.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

South Park Festival 2018

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , on 10th June 2018 by izaforestspirit

Helloween, Accept, Amorphis
Eteläpuisto, Tampere, Finland
8th-9th June 2018

Tampere’s prime metal festival South Park was back on this year after a brief hiatus in 2017. It’s a two day event but I only attended the Saturday. This year marked the return of the band that I discovered at the same festival three years ago – the one and only German power metal legend Helloween.

I arrived a little later so I missed the first two bands but just in time to see some of Amorphis. They’re one of the most recognizable bands within the Finnish metal scene and they seem to feature in most of the country’s festivals. I’ve seen them live a bunch of times before so I pretty much knew what to expect. I like their old albums though I lost track of them after ‘Silent Waters’. This was another solid performance, well executed melodic death metal. It’s always good to hear ‘House of Sleep’ and other favourites. So a good start to the night. 4/5

Next up was the Finnish thrash metal quartet Lost Society. They played some fairly decent-sounding thrash metal; sadly I’m not too familiar with their music so I could not appreciate it fully. 3/5

I did enjoy watching the Swedish heavy metal outfit Mustasch though. Their music is a mixture of Motörhead-style heavy metal with some elements of stoner metal. It’s probably not the kind of thing that I would listen to at home but it was fun to watch at a summer festival. 3.5/5

This was the second time that I’ve seen S-Tool live. For those who haven’t heard of them before, it’s a new band from Ville Laihiala (ex-Sentenced, Poisonblack). As a big a fan Mr. Laihiala’s other bands, particularly Sentenced, I was looking forward to seeing S-Tool. Music-wise, it’s essentially picking up from where Poisonblack left off only without the Gothic elements. Good show! I enjoyed it a bit more than the last time. 4/5

German heavy metal legends Accept were one of the day’s headliners and one of the main bands that I wanted to see. They put on one hell of a show. I’m not familiar with their recent material but it was great to hear some of the old classics such as ‘Balls to The Wall’, ‘Fast as a Shark’ and my personal favourite ‘Metal Heart’. 5/5

There’s not an awful lot I can say about Mokoma. They have a sizeable following here in their home country. Their performance was good but I’m not familiar with their music. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the night’s main headlining act Helloween. This show was special because it featured all three of the band’s vocalists from past to present together on stage. That’s right, all of them – Kai Hansen (the original founder of the band), Michael Kiske and their current vocalist Andi Deris performed together as part of the Pumpkins United tour. It was really good to hear some of the old classics such as ‘Heavy Metal (Is the Law) and ‘Halloween’ along with some of the more recent hits such as ‘Are You Metal?’ They also played one of my personal favorites ‘If I Could Fly’ from ‘The Dark Ride’ album. Fantastic show! 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time at South Park even if it was just for one day. It was worth it especially for Accept and Helloween. Amorphis and S-Tool were pretty good too. If the line-up is this good next year I will definitely come back again.
Iza Raittila

Powerwolf announce new album title

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 12th April 2018 by izaforestspirit

The German wolfpack have returned…

Powerwolf have just announced that their new album, the follow-up to ‘Blessed & Possessed’ will be called ‘The Sacrament of Sin’. The release date has been set for 13th July 2018 via Napalm Records.

You can check out the cover art below:

No automatic alt text available.

For more details go to:

http://www.powerwolf.net/

https://www.facebook.com/powerwolfmetal/

Savage Machine – Abandon Earth

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 27th February 2018 by izaforestspirit

Savage Machine
Abandon Earth
Released 19th January 2018
Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Self-Released

Savage Machine - Abandon Earth

It’s been two years since I reviewed Savage Machine’s single; now here I am reviewing their debut album ‘Abandon Earth’. I’m already familiar with two of the tracks since they were on the ‘Event Horizon’ single. Based on the description, this is a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world in which humans are at war with the machines. So, it’s traditional heavy metal with a science-fiction theme. That sounds promising, let’s see what we have here…

This is actually a little more complex than I expected it to be. In addition to the predominant classic/NWOBHM-style heavy metal, there are also some elements of power metal. Take the The Hunter for example, the guitar structures made me think of the old albums by Helloween mixed with the story-telling vocal style of Iron Maiden. Then they reduce the pace with a ballad called Time Traveller,  a melodic heavy metal/thrash metal hybrid which reminded me of the early works of Iced Earth. Good guitar work!

Speaking of guitars, the “rifftasic” Event Horizon and classic heavy metal style ‘Savior’ are the undisputed highlights of the album. The former is an energetic, fast piece of thrash metal packed with killer guitar riffs. As for Savior, I already liked it two years ago and it hasn’t lost any of its appeal.

In summary, it has to be said that there’s not a single filler track on here. There’s good variety in the pace with just enough ballads to please fans of melodic metal and power along with plenty of faster songs for the thrashers amongst us.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Reverence – Foreverence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 23rd January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Reverence
Foreverence
Released 22nd December 2017
Power Metal/Thrash Metal
Released via Razar Ice Records

Reverence - Foreverence

Two years have passed since I reviewed Reverence’s last full length ‘Gods of War’. A lot has happened since then. For starters, they have a new singer. Secondly, last year they suffered the loss of their guitarist Peter Rossi, who died unexpectedly in March 2017. This EP is dedicated to his memory. It also features two live songs acting as preview to their new live album.

From the musical perspective, this EP essentially picks up from where their last full length left off. You’ve got your uplifting, guitar-driven power metal hit – Firelord which, though a little cheesy in the lyrical department, is rather enjoyable. Then there’s New Order which features some old school thrash metal and even groove elements in the guitar structure. Speaking of guitars, the band’s official tribute to their recently departed guitarist Final Flight – RIP PJR is a true masterpiece in guitar work. No vocals or drums, just full on guitar solo harmony and riffs galore. I’m sure that any current or aspiring guitarist would love to have a go at playing this tune.

Then there’s the sombre, slow acoustic ballad Sleep in which you can really hear the emotion in the vocals. It’s a far more profound and bittersweet sound than what you might expect to hear from Reverence but it suits the mood. Finally, the live tracks seem like a fitting way to end this EP, acting as a means to show that the band will go on doing what they do best.

In summary ‘Foreverence’ is a great way for the band to pay tribute to their departed guitarist. They have paid their respects and now they are getting ready to move on and take the next step forward. All I can say is keep up the good work!

4/5

Iza Raittila

Powerwolf announce tour dates for 2018

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 16th December 2017 by izaforestspirit

The German power metal band Powerwolf are currently working on their next album, the follow up to ‘Blessed & Possessed’. The title hasn’t been announced yet but their fans will be pleased to know that they are embarking on a European tour in  2018.

Starting with a few festival performances in the summer including Graspop and Sabaton Open Air.

Live

Then the “WOLFSNÄCHTE TOUR” will start in Wiesbaden, Germany on 26th October 2018. They will be supported by Amaranthe and Kissin’ Dynamite. For the full schedule see the poster below:

No automatic alt text available.

More dates coming soon. For more information visit:

https://www.facebook.com/powerwolfmetal/

http://www.powerwolf.net/

 

Edguy – Monuments (A 25 Year Tribute to Edguy)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Review with tags , , , , , , , on 9th July 2017 by Mickelrath
Edguy
Monuments
Power Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive
Released: 14 July 2017
via Nuclear Blast

It’s been 25 years of Edguy. Yes, this band has been going as long as I’ve been alive on this earth. So, I thought that I would pay homage to one of the greatest metal bands that I have ever had the pleasure of listening to. What better way to do that than going through the newest release from them. Monuments is a carefully and passionately selected collection of the band’s greatest hits from the last 25 years. Not only that, but the release has five brand new songs from the band. Along with one previously unreleased recording. Mounting up to a staggering 28 track album that will be more than enough to indulge even the biggest fan of the band.

I first discovered Edguy back in 2008 with the album Tinnitus Sanctus. I bought it after reading about them in a Magazine calling this album “the strongest of their career yet”. At this time, the metal press was buzzing around them. I listened to the album and something stirred inside of me. I instantly wanted to hear more from them. So in very quick succession I looked their history in music. I was completely blown away and I think this was the start of my obsession with power metal. As listening to them got me into fellow contemporaries: Blind Guardian, Sonata Arctica and Hammerfall. I know I was a little behind but believe I’m caught up now with them all. Yet, there was something different about Edguy and it was all in frontman, Tobias Sammet’s vocals. He sang with such power and conviction still to this day his voice gives me goosebumps. If anyone ever asks me what a metal or rock vocalist should sound like I just turn and point to Tobias. Everyone has their own favourites that they immediately associate with the genre. He’s mine.

Yet, I don’t want to do a disservice to the band that back him up. Edguy has some incredible talent in there. Unlike a lot of bands that go this long; Edguy have had a pretty consistent line up having the same lineup from 1998 onwards. Giving them a fantastic consistency. This is reflected across all their albums. Jens Ludwig and Dirk Saur have been their from the very beginning on guitars. Always producing fantastic riffs and melodies that compliment the tone of whatever album. They were going in to. Be it the more power metal centric albums or the winding twisting more progressive sound. No matter how flamboyant or heavy the song. Ludwig and Saur really deliver in getting music stuck in your head. As for the rhythm section Tobias Exxel on bass and Felix Bohnke on drums has always given Eduy that weight and power to their tunes. There’s just such a commanding presence to their music. When Edguy plays, you listen.

Monuments, includes 5 brand new songs from the band. You’d think that they may get lost amongst all of the classic songs. They sort of do, I don’t necessarily see that as a band thing. I just see it as these songs just feel as good as their iconic work. Which can only be a good thing. All five of the songs are big triumphant anthems and their played with just as much conviction as the big hits. With massive sounding production and the tight musicianship that we’ve come to expect from Edguy by now. Is it any wonder that they sound this good! They fit so nicely on this package of their hits. They feels like songs that have always been here. I guess that’s the real strength of Edguy. Making songs that fit so well into the collective consciousness, making tunes that just sound right.

As for the unreleased song “Reborn In The Waste”. Recorded back in 1995, as part of the Savage Poetry recordings. Savage Poetry being one of their demo albums in the early 90’s. I can understand why it wasn’t included. I don’t think it’s wholly representative of the band’s skill or style. In all honesty I think it’s a pretty lackluster tune. It’s got a nice hook to it and I think if they remade the song today it might be better but I don’t know. I guess I like it just for the fact it’s another piece of Edguy nostalgia more than anything else.

In all honesty. This has been a fun one to look at. Just looking back through Edguy’s back catalogue and remembering the great tunes from yesteryear. They are certainly a band that has stood the test of time with 10 albums under their belts and some of the most enthusiastic fans I’ve ever met. Going through this greatest hits compilation has really made me appreciate how good this band really is. From the heavy hard rock tunes, to their soaring ballads they make some of the finest metal music around. They may not be on the same level as the all time greats of the genre, but they always hold a special place in my music library. I will always think back to the time I first heard them roar into gear with “Ministry of Saints”. If you have never given them a chance do yourself a favour grab Monuments and get acquainted with one of the best metal bands in the world. At least according to this reviewer. Yeah, this might read as a bit of a fluff piece or it could read as a little self-indulgent. I really don’t care. I just wanted to look back on one of my favourites to celebrate 25 years of this band.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Mean Streak – Blind Faith

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 5th July 2017 by izaforestspirit

Mean Streak
Blind Faith
Released: 31st May (Japan), 2nd June (Europe),
16th June 2017 (USA)
Heavy Metal / Power Metal
Released via ROAR Rock of Angels (Europe),
Marquee /Avalon (Japan), High Vol Music (USA)

‘Blind Faith’ is the latest album from the Swedish heavy metal band Mean Streak. The band was created in 2008 by the bassist Peter Andersson. Right from the start their main objective has always been to “write classic metal straight from the heart”. This album was mixed by Max Norman (Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Armored Saint, Y&T) and mastered by Thomas ”Plec” Johansson (Soilwork, Onslaught, Armageddon).

The first thing that came to my mind after hearing the opening track Blood Red Sky is that in addition to classic heavy metal and NWOBHM, these guys have also been influenced by some old school 80s power metal bands like Helloween. Mean Streak’s music is essentially a hybrid of all three of the aforementioned styles. There is also the odd progressive element such as the guitar patterns midway through Settle the Score’. You get your classic heavy metal tracks such as Tear Down the Walls – an uplifting song centered primarily around the sing-along chorus and the guitar riffs.

The Helloween influence is evident on tracks like Love is a Killer, which is also one of the fastest and most energetic songs on here. Unlike a lot of power metal songs, this one lacks the ultra cheesy lyrics but has the right pace, the melodic, Helloween-esque vocal style and the catchy guitar tunes. Speaking of guitars, if you’re a fan of twin guitar harmonies, then you will definitely enjoy Fire at Will as well as most of the fast songs on this album.

Overall, listening to ‘Blind Faith’ has been a positive experience. What Mean Streak have created here may not be pure, classic heavy metal but it is thoroughly entertaining. It’s a guitar-driven heavy metal album with a modern twist.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Quinphonic Festival 4 – Birmingham, UK

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , on 22nd April 2017 by Mickelrath

Quinphonic Festival
Bands: Temperance, Serpentyne, Metaprim, Dead of Night, Fourth Circle
Venue: The Roadhouse, Birmingham, UK
Date: 16-APR-2017

 

Another year, another pilgrimage to Birmingham for Quinphonic Festival. I wasn’t able to attend the third edition of the festival in the October of last year. Yet, I was more than ready for the fourth one. This one had a stacked line-up with too. Including Italian hard-hitters, Temperance. The UK debut of, Fourth Circle. Along with three of the best live bands that the UK have to offer in Dead of Night, Serpentyne and Metaprism. A spectacular day of music lay ahead and I was pumped for the day to come. Quinphoinc Festival is all about quality over quantity. Five band all given a headline sets worth of time to show off what they can do. This allows the bands to breathe on stage and the crowd can experience what they’re actually like.

Before I talk about the actual day itself. Let me take you back to the night before, at the Barge and Barrel is Tipton for the Pre-Festival showcase night. A night that I won’t soon be forgetting. It was a great night of music featuring three fantastic UK up-and-comers. Darkest Obsidian, A Clockwork Opera and The Loved and Lost. All three bands were on top form and delivered a great performance. That really showed off their styles well. As a night it really came together with a great crowd. I really enjoyed all three acts, from the pageantry of A Clockwork Opera. To the soaring choruses of Darkest Obsidian with the finesse and energy of The Loved and Lost. It was a great night had by all and I hope to see more from all these bands sooner rather than later.
Now on to the festival itself. I got to the venue early to soak in the atmosphere. It was going to be a great day. All the bands have their own respective niche so there should have been something for every type of fan. As for myself I was looking forward to hearing something new. The only band I was really aware before going to the venue was, Temperance. So no matter the result of the day. I was going to hear something different and new for certain. Now, onto the review!

Fourth Circle

What a firecracker of an opener. This was exactly what was needed to start the day. The French band, Fourth Circle were debuting in the UK and let me say, what a way to make and entrance. The band were energetic and and fun. Their presence was in your face and and bold. Their live production great with every element of the band working outstandingly well. I have to say I was taken completely off guard by their performance. With pomp and pageantry, their music sounded huge with bombast. The music was filled with excellent hooks sinking into your head and this made their songs easy to remember. The band’s on stage chemistry really made these songs larger than life. They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there and this made it easier to enjoy their set. I only had a couple of problems with their set. Firstly, their set felt a little repetitive and it got a little tedious at times. Although those hooks constantly drew me back in. The only other thing that let their set down a bit was that the crowd started to thin out throughout the set, which ruined the atmosphere a little bit. Overall I had a fantastic time watching them. I would say their UK debut was successful and I for would welcome them back anytime!

Dead of Night

Next up was British newcomers Dead of Night. This was a really good set. Even if the songs were a little bland in composition, they more than made up for it in their theatrical stage presentation. Their sound was nice and I enjoyed some of the songs. Their stage presence was exciting and their chemistry was excellent. Really giving a complete package of a show. The vocals were clear and frontwoman, Briony Featon was an exciting presence on the stage. With light up black angel wings she truly gave the band that little bit of an edge. Their music had a decent atmosphere to it and the songs felt well put together. Their music had this really slick vibe to it. More of an old school rock ’n’ roll format to the songs rather than your typical symphonic metal or power metal sound. The centrepiece of the set for me was a gorgeous ballad that invited imagination and let the band really breathe. In all honesty they really won the crowd over. I did feel that their songs were just bland on a compositional level and that let them down a bit for me. However, I will concede that they were incredibly likeable and they presented themselves really well. I thought they were pretty good and I hope they evolve and grow in the future.

Metaprism

Now for the best band of the day and no, I do not make that statement lightly. Metaprism burst on to the stage with life and excitement. They were probably the “heaviest” band of the day and I feel they were the band with the best set. Their songs were high energy and filled with awesome riffs and well executed solos. Their presence had a sense of command to them. When they were performing, the audience were definitely paying attention. Their set was really an intense atmosphere upon the venue and the contrasting duel vocals of the band really gave them that little bit of an edge. It’s like they took the European standards of this style of music and added the British elements to it to make this sound. They came across a really likable people, they were very genuine and humble on the stage as they tried to get the crowd involved more and more into the set. Their set built up and got slowly better and I was completely enthralled with their set and I immediately rushed to the merch table right after their set was over. Which I guess was a good sign. Yes, this was definitely my favourite band of the day. Everything about them was excellent, from their songs to their personalities. They were an exciting and dynamic band, and I can say for certain that I became a fan.

Serpentyne

British folk-rockers Serpentyne took to the stage with finesse and and grace. This had to be one the most interesting sets of the day. On a pure technical level they were incredible but I really couldn’t get into it. Maybe it just wasn’t my sort of music but there was just certain aspects to their performance that turned me off. However, I did like parts and ideas used in the set. The musicianship was excellent and every instrument was played to an expert level. I also really enjoyed the dancer that was in the crowd it added to the enticement of the band. The music had these really good rock n roll elements mixed with the fantastical folk music to make something truly inventive. All of the songs were character piece with stories of vikings, medieval society and fantasy characters which were rich and engrossing. This really peaked my interest. However after the energetic, high pace set from Metaprism, this set felt a little deflating. Also I felt the vocals were a bit overdone. The singing could have been toned down a little. The set ended on a over of the Game of Thrones theme tune which was really well done for what it was. I like this band but I didn’t love it. They are all incredible musicians and the performance was well done, it just may have not been my type of music.

Temperance

Now for the main event of the evening and the only band that I came to this show with any familiarity. Temperance, are one of those band that just use everything at their disposal to entertain a crowd. Their songs are catchy and their energy are infectious. Other than some tech issues with the microphone they set went down without a hitch. The band blasted through their set with great songs. Coming hot off their third album “The Earth Embraces Us All” the set was a great mixture of all three albums. The crowd was really into it as was I. I mean I put down my notepad and just watched the show. The live production was really good, although the drums were a little loud at times. Also the backing tracks they were using didn’t come through the best at times. Frontwoman, Chiara Tricarico was an engaging presence on stage as was guitarist, Marco Pastorino. You really couldn’t keep your eyes off of them. Also with the sheer technical ability of them they made an impressive show as the final band of the day. They really were the cherry on top of an excellent day.

Words by Mick Birchall
Photos by David Sarah

Iza’s Highlights of 2016 (Part 2: Metal)

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Time for the second part of my highlights of 2016, the metal edition. This part was much harder to write than the first because it took me a long time to chose my top ten metal of albums and even longer to decide on the winner. So here are my top ten favourite metal releases of 2016:

1. Vader – The Empire
Genre: Death Metal

This year, Vader strikes back with ‘The Empire’… Let’s face it, they were kind of asking for comments like this with that kind of an album title. Star Wars jokes aside, this is a really good piece of work. If you’re looking for some new death metal to check out, I would strongly recommend this album. Unlike their previous work, the masterpiece that was ‘Tibi et Igni’, ‘The Empire’ shows a back to basics approach. No complex structures or atmospheric intros, just good, old-school thrashy death metal. Best tracks: ‘Iron Reign’, ‘No Gravity’ and ‘Army-Geddon’.

2. Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
Genre: Hard Rock/Industrial Metal

This year’s runner up deserves an award for coming up with the one of the longest album titles in years. I tend to refer to it simply as ‘The Electric Warlock’… Whilst still no match for his first two albums, ‘The Electric Warlock’ is Rob Zombie’s best work in years. Favourite tracks ‘The Hideous Exhibitions of a Dedicated Gore Whore’, ‘In the Age of the Consecrated Vampire We All Get High’ and the ultra cheesy but super catchy ‘The Life and Times of a Teenage Rock God’.

3. Devilment – II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal

For those of you who read my highlights of 2015, you might remember my comments on the latest Cradle of Filth album. This year their vocalist Dani Filth has been busy working on the second album for his other band Devilment. ‘II- The Mephisto Waltzes’ is a delightful opus which happily mixes a variety of metal genres including Gothic, symphonic and groove metal. There’s even a touch of humour in the lyrics and several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King. Best tracks are ‘Hitchcock Blonde’, ‘Dea Della Morte’ and ‘Full, Dark No Stars’.

4. Mortiis – The Great Deceiver
Genre: Industrial Metal

Ever since the Norwegian musician Mortiis started his own band in the mid ’90s, there has been some debate as to what category their music fits into. The older works are very much dark ambient, followed by the synth-pop period of ‘Smell of Rain, turning into the latest era of industrial rock. Their latest effort, the ultra creepy -sounding ‘The Great Deceiver’ is undoubtedly their heaviest and most complex album to date which is why I chose to include it in my metal top 10. Best tracks: ‘Doppelganger’, ‘Demons are Back’ and ‘Shining Lamp of God’.

5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika
Genre: Pagan Black Metal

Moonsorrow caught my attention after I saw them live at Tampere Metal Meeting Festival in the summer. I like some of their older material and after hearing some of the new songs live I decided to check out their newest album ‘Jumalten aika’. This is one of those releases where there are no real outstanding tracks, but rather the whole album is worth listening to in full. It’s one of the best pieces of pagan black metal that I’ve heard in a long while.

6. The Vision Bleak – The Unknown
Genre: Gothic Horror Metal

German Gothic horror metal duo The Vision Bleak are back with a new album. ‘The Unknown’ struck me as being somewhat “Lovecraftian”, both in the visual concept of the cover art and the the lyrical themes. Musically it is in every bit that you can expect from a Vision Bleak album; eerie Gothic horror metal with some doom influences added creating the soundtrack to your worst nightmare. Best tracks ‘The Kindred of The Sunset’ and ‘Into the Unknown’.

7. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct
Genre: Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal

Just in case anyone is wondering why the new Metallica is so low down on this list, the truth is that I expected it to be better than it turned out to be. After all, it’s been eight years since their last studio album. Needless to say that the expectations were high. I wasn’t expecting this to be another ‘Master of Puppets’ or ‘Ride the Lightning’ but I was hoping for something along the lines of ‘Death Magnetic’ which I really enjoyed. Luckily ‘Hardwired…To Self-Destruct’ isn’t as bad as ‘St. Anger’ but it’s hardly a masterpiece. To be honest I think that it would be have been better off as an EP with just four or five tracks instead of the 12 songs and 13 music videos. I definitely like the first disc more than the second one and my favourites include: ‘Moth To The Flame’, ‘Dream No More’ and ‘Spit Out The Bone’.

8. Sabaton – The Last Stand
Genre: Power Metal

Sabaton are one of the very few power metal bands that I like. I’ve always enjoyed their live shows and I’m very fond of the concept album ‘Carolus Rex’. As with all Sabaton albums, their latest piece of work doesn’t disappoint as far as the historical themes go. This one tells the 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. That sounds awesome in principal, if only the actual music was that good. Sadly it isn’t. It’s ok but not great and most of the time Sabaton are just recycling old ideas, changing the themes but making similar music. The only tracks that I liked are: ‘Shiroyama’, ‘The Last Battalion’ and ‘Blood at Bannockburn’.

9. DevilDriver
Trust No One
Genre: Groove Metal

DevilDriver - Trust No One

The only real groove metal entry on this list, ‘Trust No One’ is DevilDriver’s best work in years. It is an aggressive beast of guitar-driven groove metal made all the more powerful thanks to Dez Fafara’s vicious growls. Best tracks: ‘Trust No One’ and ‘Daybreak’.

10. Theatres des Vampires – Candyland
Genre: Gothic Metal

It’s been a while since the Italian Gothic metal band Theatres des Vampires have released anything new. I’ve been a fan of their music for many years and so I was keen to get my hands on a copy of their latest piece of work. ‘Candyland’ is somewhat more metal-sounding than its predecessor ‘Moonlight Waltz’. There are notably less vampire themes on here compared to the previous album but other than that not much has changed. Sonya Scarlet is still the key figure in Theatres des Vampires. Whilst I still prefer their older works, back when Lord Vampyr was still a member of the band, I did enjoy this album. Best tracks ‘The Morgana Effect’ and ‘Resurrection Mary’.

 
Biggest New Discovery: Powerwolf
Best live show of 2016: Powerwolf live in Tampere
Most anticipated albums of 2017:
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
New albums from Cradle of Filth and (hopefully) Behemoth.

That’s all from me for now. Happy New Year!

Civil War – The Last Full Measure

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

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