Archive for progressive

Joakem – Mind Matter

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 26th January 2019 by mickbirchy

Joakem

Mind Matter

Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal

Released 7th December 2018

Self Released

It’s been a hot minute since took a listen to anything from the heavy metal community beyond the UK, so I feel it’s about time to rectify that. The Cyprus based progressive metal musician, Joakem has recently released his debut album Mind Matter and from the first moments of the album, I liked the sound. Musically the album is a blend of complex melodies and time signatures, heavy synth sounds, rough guitars, intricate and precise drum patterns and a blend of different vocal styles. It immediately leaves its impact on you and since the sound is so distinctive, you can quickly make up your own mind on whether it sticks with you or not. The album was recorded/mixed by Chris Charalambides at “Soundscape Studios” and mastered by 3x Latin Grammy-nominated, Alex Psaroudakis at “Alex Psaroudakis Mastering” in New York. So, you can bet the album packs that punch.

The album is certainly a gripping listen. The production is top-notch, with a great mix of all the instrumentation with Joakem’s vocals standing out. The complex and diverse rhythm patterns keep you hooked as you can never really guess where the song is going to go next. Also, the great balance of blasting synths and heavy guitars work well together. It comes together quite nicely and works for the range of styles that this album tries to tackle. Each song feels like a different sub-genre of rock and metal and no matter the style it still feels natural and the records keeps flowing. From all-out prog-metal to alt-rock and even some post-grunge elements work their way on to the album and it’s strange but all of the pieces work together and each song complement, as well as contrasts, with the previous.

Joakem’s vocals are indeed diverse as he manages to be competent in a variety of vocal techniques. I prefer his clean vocals over his guttural singing but that’s just me. I generally prefer clean vocals in music. It’s difficult to point at an element that lets the album down in a great way. I will say, that if you’re not into progressive music with changing time signatures and musical styles then this really isn’t the album for you. That’s sort of the let down for me, although it’s impressive, I prefer music to remain in a consistent style throughout. The high-points of the album are the more alt-rock and post-grunge style songs where he maintains more consistency, such as the opening track “A Peaceful Place” and the closing track “Departure”. However, I do think there is a happy medium for any fan of rock and metal.

Definitely an impressive and solid effort from an interesting artist. I would be more than happy to keep paying attention to him for future releases. Mind Matter is a decent record with a lot of positive aspects to it. It’s not something I would play all of the time, but if I’m in the right mood this is something I would consider putting on. If you’re interested in genre-mixing artists that break from normal convention, then Joakem might be up your alley.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Gates Of Paris – Gates Of Paris

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 28th December 2018 by mickbirchy

Gates Of Paris

Gates Of Paris

Symphonic Metal, Progressive Rock

Released: 30th November 2018

 Self Released


I have to say I’m pretty damn impressed by this French symphonic metal act, and their new self-titled record is something to shout about. I have to admit, I don’t go hunting for new symphonic metal acts, but they always seem to find me, one way or another. Gates Of Paris are a metal outfit, funnily enough, from France and they bring everything that is interesting and fun about this genre to the forefront on this record.  Their debut album is quite interesting, mixing a variety of different styles of music to create their own unique blend of what I can only call, evil-metal carnival music. It’s epic and weird all at the same time.

I was hooked from pretty much the first moments. The stylistic atmosphere is excellent and sound beautiful right out of the gate. The sound of the band is great with excellent riffs and wonderful musical progressions. I like all of the musical elements that they include on the record, in particular, the Spanish guitar which makes it on to the record on several occasions. It’s always pleasant and great to hear whenever it comes in. Every level of the production is smooth and well integrated. From the great guitar licks, the powerful bass lines to the commanding drums, it all feels so glorious. I really like the way the album flows together, it almost has a serial or concept nature it and every song flows into the next seamlessly.

The album also has interesting musical cues here and there. All of these moments really shine a light how much fun this band can be. Such as having their own version of circus music in there. There really isn’t a lot here that bugs me or annoys me. Really, the only thing that got under my skin is that I never felt the need to return to the album once I listened to it. The music doesn’t have that “re-playability” factor, at least not for me. If you really like this style of music, then maybe there’s more “re-playability” in this for you, but this is a once in a while record for me.

In summary, I do like this album. Gates Of Paris are seriously impressive, considering that this their first record. The sound is crisp and well put together. The production is excellent and overall it’s really a well put together record. It may not be overly captivating to me but I can definitely hear other people really getting into this style of music. If you like your symphonic rock and progressive grooves this is certainly a record that you sink your teeth into.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Forbidden Lore – Forbidden Lore EP

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 6th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Forbidden Lore
Forbidden Lore EP
Released 13th October 2016
Symphonic Metal
Self-Released


‘Forbidden Lore’ is the first EP from the Greek symphonic metal band of the same name. Forbidden Lore describe their style since as a mixture of symphonic metal with progressive metal and soundtrack music.

There are only three tracks on here, which is just about enough for the listener to get an idea of what this band is all about. First up is the melodic Endless Run which definitely has that fantasy soundtrack feel to it. Nightwish and Epica comparisons are pretty much inevitable due to the melodic female vocals (please note that “melodic” in this case doesn’t mean “operatic”). Luckily Georgia Mavrantza has a good voice which suits the music. There are some progressive elements audible in the guitars. Shadows on Ice is a much more straightforward piece of symphonic metal with equal emphasis on both the vocals and the orchestration. There is only a small portion of the song that features the progressive guitar parts. Last one is Grace In Our Fall, which really brings out the high notes in the vocal department demonstrating the singer’s impressive range. This is probably the most symphonic, orchestral and the most fantasy soundtrack -esque song on the EP.

In summary, it’s difficult to judge a band based on just three tracks. I now have a better understanding of what Forbidden Lore are trying to be. Their music can be described as being metal in the same vein as the more established bands Epica and Nightwish. So if you like these then there is a very good chance that you will enjoy Forbidden Lore.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Exist Immortal – Breathe

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 17th December 2016 by Pieni

Exist Immortal
“Breathe”
progressive metalcore
Released: 3rd November 2016
Via Primordial Records

v600_ei_breathearthd

So, progressive metalcore is a thing, eh? Not sure why these labels still surprise me… A more common one is “experimental metal”, but then again, “Breathe” goes beyond common, making the fancy “progressive metalcore” somewhat more fitting.

This is their second full-length record, and even if “Darkness Of An Age” shaped what they sound like now, “Breathe” exhales (pun intended) a refinement that the debut lacked. Refinement and maturity, as their eagerness in thinking outside the box took them just far enough. For instance, the fooling-around with the tempo in “Saviour” is never too daring; the weeping guitars in “In Hindsight” are never too grieving, the same way the brutality in “Invisible Lines” isn’t too callous. The songwriting was carefully laid out in order to sound exquisite but not weird. There’s also a purpose behind every breakdown of “Follow Alone” and the bluesy hints of the title-track aren’t random, so no matter how elaborate and sophisticated the melodies turn out (the ominosity of “Release” is quite stunning, by the way), they will flow easily through both the most demanding and the more straight-forward ear-drums. But it’s still a piece that I would especially recommend to those with a taste for modern aggression.

4,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Ihsahn – Arktis

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 25th March 2016 by mickbirchy

Ihsahn
Arktis
Symphonic Black Metal, Progressive Metal
Released: 8 April 2016
via Candlelight Records

I’ll admit this wouldn’t usually be my cup of tea. However I do love listening Emperor and since Ihsahn embarked on his solo journey in 2006,  I have been inclined to listen to his music in the same way. I wouldn’t call myself a fan per say, but I do listen to his music every once in awhile and I like what I hear. So when his new album Arktis fell in my lap, I was curious to hear the next chapter in his evolution. Ihsahn should need no introduction to the metal community, he is a pure force to be reckoned with.  His writing is slick, matching heavy tones with brutal melodies like it was child’s play and believe me there is no difference with this record.

Arktis, sounds really nice straight from the get go. Ihsahn wastes no time in with the opening songs Disassembled and Mass Darkness, it just has that overpowering grandeur, that we have come to expect from his music. The heavy verses bleed into the melodic choruses and the production is on top form nothing feels out of place.  The music surrounds you and you can really get lost in the sounds. Ihsahn’s vocals have a heavy impact and the guttural vocals scream with power whilst the clean vocals are a little unsettling, in a good way. I think Ihsahn want to make you feel unsettled in parts of this album, like on the track South Winds, mixing the heavy metal with that mind-melting progressive stylings. Everything about this album speaks to his talent for writing and producing great work. When I was listening to the album, I got the same feeling of listening to Emperor’s Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise, I’m not saying it sounds anything like that album but I get the feeling that I’m listening to something that will stick with me for a long time, which that album did (and still does).

The melodies a beautifully crafted and entrancing.  Designed to keep you hooked to the album, with great riff work too.  My favourite riff on the album being Until I Dissolve Too, purely for it’s catchy sound and distance from the rest of the song, so it sticks out more. The more progressive moment on this album somewhat lose me as it’s a little too jarring to my ear, however, for someone who is used to progressive metal will probably love the way the sound twists and turns around in the production.  The guitar work is superb it always sounds good when it comes in. The keys and synth are a little too overused for my liking and sometimes they don’t really fit the music at times like on Pressure, again maybe that’s just me but it’s quite distracting.  However when the keyboard parts work, they really work.

Is this a great album.  For me it’s good and certainly will be on my playlist for the majority of 2016. For the average music fan who may not be really into this sort of music I really couldn’t recommend it.  I would say start with Ihsahn’s earlier work then work their way to this or just stay away from this type of music in general.  It was definitely something different and I’m glad that I have returned to his work after a bit of a break.  If you’re a fan or someone that may like this type of sound then I would say check it out.

3/5

Mick Birchall

Toothgrinder – Nocturnal Masquerade

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 24th January 2016 by mickbirchy

Toothgrinder
Nocturnal Masquerade
Progressive Metal
Released 26 January 2016
via Spinefarm Records

The American prog-metallers hit us with their newest offering Nocturnal Masquerade and I’ll say this before anything else: this is one amazing record.  Never before have I listened to such brutality-meets-musical-brilliance like I have with this album.  At first it was a little jarring and I wasn’t too sure what to make of it, but I kept listening on and I really got into it once I knew where it was going.  

The album has a very mixed range of styles, as you would full well expect on a prog-metal album.  The opening track “The House (That Fear Built)”, like an overture, sets the mood pretty well for what is to come and the power and intensity is displayed throughout the whole album. The intricate guitar work makes for some great riffs and well crafted melodies. The broken riff patterns are great and coupled with the excellent drum work from Wills Weller; it creates a dynamic and powerful listening experience. The songs just have that hardcore and intense feel to them which is fun to listen to, being a fan of hardcore myself, at the same time the wonderful melodies just grab hold of you and the passion in Justin Matthews and Matt Arensdorff’s vocals just shine through so well.  To be honest, it’s hard to believe that there are only 4 members, there’s just so much going on.

For the more heavy of the performances on this album, Toothgrinder just really came together and created some spectacular tunes like “Blue” and “Coeur d’Alanse” which have this really relentless approach to them and I was left hooked. It really is difficult to fully grasp how interesting and diverse this album is, once you think you’ve got this band figure they go and add something into the song you just didn’t see coming.  Such as the odd quiet and unsettling moment before they kick straight back into gear, the anthemic clean vocals just cut off so suddenly by the rough guttural vocals.  This can be a little jarring and I did have a sense of tonal whiplash at times and this could throw some people off them.  

Overall, I have really enjoyed rocking out to this record and it has so many aspects that I love.  The technical mastery of the band is great and the music is so tight that it will just grab your attention and won’t let go. Fantastic work!

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

Chapters – The Imperial Skies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 24th May 2015 by mickbirchy

Chapters
“The Imperial Skies”
Progressive Metal

Released on 14th October 2013
Self Released

The Imperial Skies is brought to us by an awesome young British band called Chapters. Formed by Joe Nally and Angus Neyra of Hang The Bastard, I was already expecting top quality, as they are one of my favourite British bands that are going.  Yet, this is a far departure from the sound of HTB.  This is more of a tech/prog metal sound mixed with elements of hardcore.  It’s one of the more unique listening experiences I’ve had.

Straight from the get go, the album shows of the skill and sheer talent of the band.  The guitar skill is excellent with mind blowing licks, skill riffs and fun melodies.  The bass line are thick and compliment the songs melodies and harmonies beautifully.  The harsh tones are great, providing intensity and energy into the record.  The production of the record is awesome and mixed well. Not one element feels like it’s taking precedence over the others and it comes together really well.  Musically this album is all over the place, you can hear influence from all corners of the metal and rock globe.  In that sense this is a musicians band, as the more you understand about music the more enjoyable this album becomes. Not to say you can’t enjoy it if you’re not a musician, but it definitely helps.

As I’ve said, the album ranges but keeps within the theme of tech/prog metal. However, the hardcore elements of this record are fantastic; being a long time fan of the genre, I identified with these elements. They just have a real bite to them. It keeps you interested as a listener whilst the the more tech/prog elements take you on a journey through the songs.  I usually look for riffs on heavy albums but there aren’t any to speak of here. Yet, there are some cool riffy moments that certainly captured my imagination.

Songs I’ll recommend to you from this record are the title track “The Imperial Skies” (this one has a load of transitions and feels like the track that takes the most risks and shows off the band’s style) and “The Siren” (which is a fantastic tune with a load a heavy nail biting moments).

Overall, yeah, this is a solid record, you guys need to listen to it.  Really fun, heavy, interesting band.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Code to release new album later this month

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 10th February 2015 by Pieni

Progressive post-rockers Code will release their 4th album on the 27th February in Europe and 10th March in North America, via Agonia Records. Recorded in the Brighton Electric Studios with producer Paul ‘Win’ Winstanley, the follow-up to “Augur Nox” is called “Mut” and presents itself with the following artwork and tracklist:

 photo mut_zpssjjkr8h4.jpg

1. on blinding larks
2. undertone
3. dialogue
4. affliction
5. contours
6. inland sea
7. cocoon
8. numb, an author
9. the bloom in the blast

“The new album really sees us free ourselves from any self imposed restriction for the first time and for us is the most honest and rewarding album we have released. Although this isn’t a metal album by any stretch of the imagination, it is the most confrontational move we could have made and we hope that it’s honesty and freshness will appeal to those who like sounds out of the norm”, says the band.

They have recently released a video for “Affliction”, which they claim to be “the most foreboding track on the album”:

Make your pre-order at: https://www.agoniarecords.com/index.php?pos=shop&lang=en

https://facebook.com/codeblackmetal

Sylosis – Dormant Heart

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on 1st February 2015 by Pieni

Sylosis
“Dormant Heart”
Progressive thrash metal
Released on 23rd January 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

 photo Sylosis - Dormant Heart - Artwork_zpskanzbtgs.jpg

Whether you like Sylosis or not, you can’t accuse them of writing mellow songs. So you’ve probably figured out that this title, “Dormant Heart”, has nothing to do with the music featured in it but with the lyrical content (not to mention the catchy, poetic ring it bears). What you may not know is what inspired it. Frontman Josh Middleton has said that it’s about those people – who sadly represent a large percentage of the world population – who just go with the flow, accepting the way things are and what society tells them to be right. People who need a wake-up call to get a new perspective on life. Now, I’m pretty sure none of the members in Sylosis fit in such category, but they’ve faced that kind of wake-up call in September 2013, on a driving accident while on tour, and it’s become a major influence on the writing process of “Dormant Heart”. I’m not telling you this just as a curiosity; after all, Sylosis have always written about the human mind, inner struggles and so-on. The difference is that this time its intensity is stronger, more compelling, as it doesn’t come from what they perceive but from something they’ve experienced; it comes from something more personal.

More intense and more somber. The first track, “Where Wolves Come To Die”, is a pretty sorrowful tune that I still look at as an intro: far shorter than all other tracks, the tension builds without actually exploding, until it abruptly comes to its end. Even though the following track, “Victims And Pawns”, doesn’t take on from where the other left it – kicking off with a thrashing attitude (the “explosion” missing in its predecessor) – it meets the same vibe as “Where Wolves…” at some point in the middle of song, before resuming the thrash speed and again the doom-ish vibe with which it ends (typical prog, when you think of it). So yeah, “Where Wolves Come To Die” screams “intro” to me.

I don’t want to sound too much like the official press release for this, but the truth is that “Dormant Heart”’s distinctive features are indeed its rich riffs – both in number and composition – , solos and breakdowns. I dare saying that the best combination of those resulted in “Overthrown”, “Indoctrinated” and “Mercy”. “Leech” as well, but this one deserves an additional note: the way the guitars sound so vibrant in that beginning reminds me of how Judas Priest “Hellion” makes way to “Electric Eye”. Please note that I am NOT comparing the songs but their effect on your senses and their nature – classy and epic. Although the guitar seems to cry its strings out in the solo, very lament-wise, very eighties-heavy-metal-like. Yes, I confess – it’s my favorite.

But all in all, every song here has the potential to be someone’s favorite (hence the “I dare saying”, as you’ll probably name other songs yourself). Even the 9-minute ballad “Quiescent”, which personally I’m not very fond of, but where I recognize a great job nonetheless.

You know how most bands claim to have released their “best work so far” when they have a new album? Occasionally they’re right. And Sylosis are definitely right.

4,5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Despite announce new bass player

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 23rd January 2015 by Pieni

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After enrolling Zoran Panovic last month for the third guitar, prog/melodeath metallers Despite have now announced Anthony Cui as their new bass player, replacing Mathias “Matte D” Dagerhed, who left the band in November due to lack of time and other personal reasons. With the line-up complete, the band from Gothenburg, Sweden, is ready to hit road, while writing the follow-up to their latest EP “Epic”.

Says singer Peter Tuthill: “It feels absolutely killer to have Anthony on board! I had a gut feeling about him right from the get go, and I’m positive he will be a fresh blood injection into the veins of Despite.”

As for the man himself, he claims: Despite is a killer ride and I’m absolutely stoked to be on board. Home is where the gut tells you it is, and thanks to Despite‘s warm welcome I know where I’ll be. The future is NOW!”

“Epic” was released in January 2014 and in November the band brought to light the single “Chaos Trigger”:

http://www.despiteofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DespiteOfficial

Between The Buried And Me to release “live” CD + DVD

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 28th August 2014 by Pieni

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“Future Sequence: Live at Fidelitorium” is the title of the upcoming “live” CD and DVD by progressive act Between The Buried And Me. “Live”, in quotes, as it was recorded in the Fidelitorium Recordings studio and not during a concert. According to drummer Blake Richardson: “We’ve always been fans of dvds where it’s just the band, you don’t have any other distractions”. And vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers adds: “We wanted to give the fans something that made them feel a little closer to us, and made them almost feel like they’re at practice with us.”

The film will show the band performing their most recent album “The Parallax II: Future Sequence” in its entirety. It’s directed and edited by Justin Reich, with director of photography Ismail Abdelkhalek, and audio engineers Jamie King and Kris Hilbert. Audio mixing and mastering was completed by Jamie King. It also features guest musicians Walter Fancourt (tenor saxophone, flute), Julian Hinshaw (Tuba), Will Goodyear (marimba, glockenspiel), Taya Ricker (violin), David Parks (violin), Leigh Dixon (viola), and Socrates Razo (cello).

“Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium” will hit the stores on September 26th via Metal Blade Records. Watch the trailer and click HERE for pre-orders, including bundles.

http://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial
http://www.twitter.com/btbamofficial
https://www.youtube.com/BTBAMofficial

Equaleft – Adapt & Survive

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 12th June 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Equaleft
Adapt & Survive
Released 31st May 2014
Metal/Groove/Progressive
Released via Raising Legends/Raging Planet

Equaleft - Adapt & Survive

I thoroughly love it when a band brings together seemingly unrelated influences into a consistent amalgam of riffery. Gojira are a prime example, drifting the tremolo arm of black metal across a valley of doomy chords, all the while casting the sensibilities of modern metal hook creation around them as they go. It invariably results in something more than the average; something juicy to get your teeth into which delivers a full palette of flavour into every hungry bite.

Not that they sound much like the French overlords of all things thunderous and addictive, Portugal’s Equaleft seem to have attended some of the same seminars on genre-busting. Adapt & Survive’s intro piece, We Are, is more reminiscent of the soundtrack to a tense political sci-fi thriller movie than the kick-off of your everyday metal album – and with good reason. This is a band who genuinely likes to challenge, but not at the expense of great metal, and this is not your average metal album.

Slamming into the first track proper (…The Chameleons), the yaw of the music is meaty, but there’s a hint of old school tech hovering in the background: a whiff from the oceans of sewage continual drifting from under the running boards. The Meshuggah influence seems to be worn with pride throughout, but there is more of a natural flow to these songs. As much as I love the Shug, being one of the freaky few who can disco dance to most of their back-catalogue, it’s nice to hear this style taken in a new direction, embracing movements of pure rocking out. To put it another way, it’s great to be in possession of such a mighty array of weaponry, but sometimes you only need your knuckles to get the job done.

Without losing its unique character, Adapt & Survive, travels from the dredging doom of New False Horizons’ intro, through the Swede-esque sway and churn of Heroes Of Nothing and over the chuntering death-thrash in Invigorate (re-recorded from a previous demo version), struggling to contain a seeping energy rare in similar circles.

By looking the Devil in the eye and shunting him a middle-finger of non-compliance, Equaleft have come up with something a little special. The lift of emotional song-writing. The satisfaction of technical proficiency. A unique personality. It is 100% an album to take home and own, and digest slowly.

This will be going on the old MP4 player, the computer, and CDs being left both in the bedroom and any automobile that I can get it in, because I can see myself being in the mood for this on many, many occasions. There will no longer be a gap in the music when I’ve overplayed my Meshuggah, Agonyst and Man Must Die collections. Or is that my old In Flames, Pissing Razors and Arch Enemy CDs. I’m not sure. It’s somewhere in the wasteland between and it’s really good stuff!

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Mastodon to release audio and video versions of “Live at Brixton”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 29th October 2013 by Pieni

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On February 11th last year, Mastodon played a sold-out show at London’s legendary O2 Brixton Academy. Part of the world tour supporting their critically acclaimed album “The Hunter”, also the show had a tremendous response from the audience, from the first minute until the last.

Now, on December 10th, Warner Bros. Records will make this unforgettable concert available in digital format under the name “Mastodon Live At Brixton”. You can either choose the audio version only, or go for the video one, directed by Ryan Mackfall from Crashburn Media. Both cover the 97 minutes of the show, where the following set-list was performed:

1. Dry Bone Valley
2. Black Tongue
3. Crystal Skull
4. I Am Ahab
5. Capillarian Crest
6. Colony of Birchmen
7. Megalodon
8. Thickening
9. Blasteroid
10. Sleeping Giant
11. Ghost of Karelia
12. All The Heavy Lifting
13. Spectrelight
14. Curl of the Burl
15. Bedazzled Fingernails
16. Circle of Cysquatch
17. Aqua Dementia
18. Crack The Skye
19. Where Strides The Behemoth
20. Iron Tusk
21. March of the Fireants
22. Blood and Thunder
23. Creature Lives

Mastodon online:
http://www.mastodonrocks.com
https://www.facebook.com/Mastodon
http://www.cracktheskye.com
http://www.myspace.com/mastodon
http://www.youtube.com/user/mastodonmusic
http://www.twitter.com/mastodonmusic

Vulture Industries post new video for “Lost Among Liars”

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 11th September 2013 by Pieni

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On the verge of releasing their third album “The Tower” (on the 27th of September in Europe and the 1st October in North America), avant-garde black metal band Vulture Industries released an animated video for the track “Lost Among Liars”. It can be seen on the following locations:

Metal Hammer in the UK:
www.metalhammer.co.uk/news/exclusive-nordic-avant-metallers-vulture-industries-premier-their-stunning-new-video-with-metal-hammer/
Zillo in Germany:
http://zillo.de/template.cgi?page=news_detail&id=2456
Pyro in Norway:
http://p3.no/pyro/premiere-pa-fantastisk-ny-vulture-industries-video/#more-30293
Roadburn in The Netherlands:
www.roadburn.com/2013/09/video-premiere-vulture-industries-lost-among-liars/
Rocking.gr in Greece:
www.rocking.gr/news/Apokleistiko-To-Rockinggr-sas-parousiazei-to-neo-video-clip-twn-Vulture-Industries/17178/
This Is Rock in Spain:
http://thisisrock.net/home/?p=1305

The video was made by young Romanian artist Costin Chioreanu, who also designed the cover art for the album itself. It is a surreal critique of today’s society, showing several characters with their own duties, functions and stories of oppression, restitution, control and freedom.

“The Tower” can be pre-ordered at http://vultureindustries.bigcartel.com/, in digipack CD or gatefold double LP, the latter available in three different colours (solid white, transparent green and black). The LP versions, as well as the digital edition, will include the bonus track “Blood Don’t Eliogabalus”

Vulture Industries will be supporting the first leg of Leprous’ European tour, starting in their homecountry:

13/9: John Dee, Oslo, Norway
14/9: Tribute, Sandnes, Norway
15/9: Buddy, Drammen, Norway
16/9: Parkbiografen, Skien, Norway
17/9: Musikken Hus, Gothenburg, Sweden
18/9: Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden
20/9: Nosturi, Helsinki, Finland
21/9: A2/Sputnik, St Petersburg, Russia
22/9: Tapper Club, Tallinn, Estonia
24/9: TBC, Gdansk, Poland
25/9: Progresja, Warsaw, Poland
26/9: Kwadrat, Kracow, Poland
27/9: Alte Zuckerfabrik, Rostock, Germany
28/9: Beta, Copenhagen, Denmark

Vulture Industries online:
http://www.vulture-industries.net
https://www.facebook.com/vultureindustries

Von Hertzen Brothers: new video and UK shows

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 30th August 2013 by Pieni

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Finnish progressive rock band Von Hertzen Brothers posted a new video for “Coming Home”, which should be release as a digital single/Ep next Monday, with the following cover and track list:

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1. Coming Home (Re-mastered Radio Edit)
2. Writings On The Wall
3. Time & Summer
4. Coming Home (Re-mastered Album Version)
5. Don’t Stop Me Now (Live at Radio Nova Stage)

It’s the third single out of their fifth studio album, “Nine Lives”, released last March via Spinefarm Records – an album that’s been nominated for “Album of the Year” at the 2013 Classic Rock Awards. The band itself has also been nominated for “Breakthrough Artist” and “Anthem” at this year’s Prog Awards.

Also, the band will tour the UK in October, co-headlining six shows with British Touchstone. As for the shows in Manchester and Milton Keynes, the Von Hertzen Brothers will be headlining on their own (support bands to be announced soon).

Oct 18: Glasgow King Tut’s
Oct 19: York Duchess
Oct 20: Cardiff Globe
Oct 22: TBC, Manchester (headline show)
Oct 24: Milton Keynes Foundation (headline show)
Oct 25: London Garage
Oct 26: Liverpool Eric’s Live
Oct 27: Bilston Robin 2

http://www.vonhertzenbrothers.com
http://www.myspace.com/vonhertzenbrothers
http://twitter.com/VHBROZ

Crimson Blue – Innocence

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 25th July 2013 by Pieni

Crimson Blue
“Innocence”
Experimental Nu Metal
Self-released on 8th December 2011

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“Experimental Nu Metal” was the closest to a conventional genre that I’ve come up with. Using the band’s own words, they play “Nu Art Metal” and that basically means that they pick the nu metal basis and entwine it with progressive lines, resulting in odd experiences – hence my choice of calling it “experimental”.

The first track, “Iceland”, is a bit deceiving regarding the energy that’s about to come throughout the rest of the album. Despite being a good song, each instrument leaving its mark, the rhythm is quite melancholic, a ballad of sorts. And so, at the same time, it shows you how out of the ordinary these Russians are – how often does a metal album start with a ballad? Starts and ends, as the final title-track also unfolds at a soft melodic pace.

“L.M.A.”, which stands for “losing my angel”, gives you a clearer picture of what Crimson Blue are about, with a sharp dissonance toning up those modern riffs. Singer Dani Hellstrom’s voice goes a little higher, but fortunately doesn’t reach the soprano peak that puts her in that category. In fact, she only brushes the border of that tone for brief seconds, during the title-track. But given the strength and steadiness of her trained voice, you cannot doubt that she is in the soprano rank. And those keys you listen to are also in her charge, through the means of a keytar.

“Clouds” is quite an indie tune, while “Flax” and “H.U. Lab Experiment I – The 6th Sense” get my vote for best prog tracks in this album. And “Haesitaio” deserves kudos for its fierceness.

“Innocence” is probably a little too avant-garde for the majority of the listeners, but it’s definitely a treat to those who appreciate this kind of musical journeys.

4,5 / 5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Abercion – Depth And Perception [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 3rd October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Abercion
Album: Depth And Perception
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Progressive Hardcore

Abercion are a five-piece hardcore out from Birmingham, UK. 2011 saw the release of their EP “Depth And Perception”.

”Words Can Only Hurt From The Inside” is definitely not a song you want to be listening to via headphones on full volume when it begins, due to the sheer of aggression of the introduction. The vocals are raw, bloodthirsty and untameable, while the guitars are full of pure angst and anger, adding to that heavy hardcore sound. The vocals do sound frail in one or two small sections of the song but the drums make up for that. The acoustic section comes as a massive surprise, putting a halt to the brutality of the song.

”See You Next Tuesday” follows after, starting with a unique sound. The guitars eventually kick in properly, though this song is lacking in comparison to the opening song. The guitars just don’t seem to be as aggressive or have that certain bite and the vocals seem to be extremely strained for the most part. The drums are the more interesting aspect of the song. The EP finishes with “From dusk ‘Till Dawn” which brings the angst and energy back onto the EP fortunately. The acoustic section is probably something that should have been expected yet wasn’t, the heavy section that follows after it brings the energy back into the song and the vocals add that extra bite to the song.

”Depth And Perception” is an interesting EP, as it displays a mixture of progressive, melodic and hardcore elements and influences. Abercion show potential, at least, with this EP and with some more hardcore they’ll definitely fuse the different elements and influences together for a truly unique sound – Hopefully they’ll be less acoustic passages.

3/5

Nico Davidson

Capricia – Fooled by the Hush [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th September 2011 by corvusofmorlich

Band: Capricia
Album: Fooled by the Hush
Release year: 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal

Being somebody who’d never heard of this band, I was quite eager to jump in and have a listen:

An interesting piece of artwork for an interesting piece of music..

On my first play through, I was taken aback. There’s a lot different genres mashed into this 5 track CD; from jazz to symphonic metal and from a more progressive rock sound to one that’s driven by industrial metal sounding guitars.

The first track is “Recline in the Fire” and it starts with a sad string section, that slowly swells with horns and drum rolls being added. This is an effective intro into the CD for sure and when the guitars and double bass comes in, it all comes together well. Then comes some choir chants which remind me of some early Nightwish. The song then slows into a drifty bridge with distorted chords thickening up the piano and vocals, followed by another verse that once again fastens the song up with orchestra hits and double kicks. After this comes the solo – primarily pentatonic with a smooth taping sections and finishing with a somewhat messily ended sweep. The outro is abrupt, but in a good way, finishing on those familiar choir chants. This song, for me, started off very well but, after the mid-point, stayed at the same level, which rendered it a somewhat bland second half. It’s still very listenable, though. The solo, I feel, could have done with a couple of more takes to get it a little less noisy and a little smoother.

The next song, “Before the Storm Arrives” starts off with majory chords and male vocals, which genuinely caught me a bit off guard. It’s then followed by a short and warm toned solo, over piano. This sets the song off in a very standard kind of rock mood before switching around completely, going into a jazz sounding verse with very soulful singing and ending the section in a couple of major modulations, that really add to the progressive feel. Silence follows but is interrupted by distorted guitar that really reminds me of Static-X. Then a couple of lead runs by the guitar and then synth with distorted male vocals following after. Then, some clean female vocals that remind me in a way of a Tim Burton movie, in terms of their neatness and drama. The song’s main guitar solo kicks in over some synth lead (mixed with rock organ) sounds which then go into their own jazzy solo over those Static-X chords again. There’s then a to and fro section between the clean female vocals and the distorted male ones. The song’s outro consists of a lead guitar following the same major modulations as before. This song required me to throw away my musical preferences to truly get into and appreciate – which I definitely do – but it didn’t rid the song of some of the things I didn’t like. The mixing and changing of genres is a cool idea on paper, but it so often takes the attention away from what the song is about and that definitely happened with me. I spent more time anticipating the next change than I did listening to the music and words as a whole. This, however, is not always a bad thing as it definitely hooked me in and kept me interested in what was coming next and the tiny gaps of silence between these different styles kept me from thinking too much about how they might not have fit together.

The next song, “Melodic Scream”, starts with a drifty and melodic clean guitar with strings joining that make the song feel very melancholic – something I adore in music. With a voice whispering in your ear, too, this is easily my favourite intro from the CD. The drums and guitar enter now and the solo that follows after is pretty darn tasty. When the vocals come in, it feels stripped down for a couple of bars before the distorted guitar comes in. The drums, I feel, fit the song really well. The singing starts off soft before an opera-esque backing ‘Ah’s come in which help complete the picture. The song strips down even more with just piano and singing which helps you really appreciate the sheer talent in the vocals. A violin comes in and it really does just sound amazing. Again, the distorted guitar comes in and the slow solo that comes in under the vocals sounds so good mixed with everything. However, the rhythm guitar feels a little out of place without drums being there. The outro is very effective – just a piano chord on its own. It ends one of the best songs on the album very well.

The penultimate song, “Chaotic”, blasts out and you can really hear some Israeli influences, led by the synth. An interesting timing sequence follows before the synth leads the song into a verse that I didn’t expect – one with harsh vocals! These are raw, but awesome because of it. It then breaks once again and goes into a slow and echoey clean singing section which almost reminds me of Opeth a little bit. This goes to show just how versatile this band is. A chuggy guitar riff is layered underneath some very Eastern sounding singing which then goes into some harsh vocals which pan from left to right – this is awesome. Later in the song, you hear the harsh vocals mixed with the female ones, though it sounds more like talking, either side of your head which sounds very dramatic. It follows a lyricless heavy section into a bloody bass solo! Followed by another awesome harsh vocals section. This is an amazing song which blends so many different sounds really, really well. This is probably tied my favourite song.

The final song is called “Something’s Wrong” and it starts with some really gruff male vocals which overlap with some clean female vocals that really remind me of Bjork. These voice switch around for the first minute or so, but sound really well. Then the guitars and drums come in with a tasty as f***k rhythm and an equally tasty guitar solo. This then gets wrapped up in some really interesting, half-harsh, male vocals that get modulate up, but very effectively, with string strikes. There’s then a section with just the guitars and drums that sounds very chunky. The next vocal section is backed by some awesome piano runs that run into a guitar solo section that sounds good with the everything backing it, although these sound a lot messier in the gaps between. The some very bouncy jazz bass comes in which sweeps the song into a guitar solo that just sounds absolutely awesome. The fade out ending happens a little too quickly and is a total let down as the bouncy bass and solo are just so good.

All in all, this album blends a lot together and is very interesting and pleasing to listen to. The genre changes that knock you off guard are well executed and flow well, albeit it sometimes distracting. The metal sections are very well written to allow the focus to be on the atmosphere and the vocals, although this means the guitar riffs are a little bland. This, however, is made up by the guitar solos that, despite being a little messy and maybe a little too frequent, show you that each musician is very skilled at what they do. This is especially apparent in the last 3 songs.

The balance of influences is perfect and there’s a real sense of drama and emotion – ranging from happy down to sad. This album blew away the expectations I had and I’d recommend to metal fans that are open-minded enough to appreciate the different influences, or to fans of progressive music in general. I think the biggest, if only, main problem I have with this album is the guitar tone. Being a lead guitarist myself, I can’t help but find problems with it – it’s not crisp enough to fit well with the pounds of the bass drum and it’s not muted enough to get that real chuggy sound and it definitely affects how professional the album sounds – everything else has been very well recorded and the guitar tone definitely adds a raw, almost demo-ish, feel to it which some people might actually like. I, however, definitely feel as though it takes something away from the album.

It’s a good album, most enjoyable It just needs a little neatening up here and there. It’s a solid album and one that’s most definitely unique and original. I’ll continue to look out for this band and I urge others too, as well.

3.5/5

Reviewed by Corvus, of Morlich.

66crusher – Blackest Day [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 20th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: 66crusher
Album: Blackest Day
Release year: 2011
Genre: Progressive Thrash Metal

66crusher have been on the rise since the release of their debut album “in 2005. Since then they have been fighting their way to the top of the worldwide metal scene, gaining new fans each year. “Blackest Day” is the next step in their journey.

The title track, “Blackest Day”, is the first track of the album. It begins with a very thrash-influenced guitar riff whilst the drums are more laid back in comparison. The vocals are classic metal in their sound, standing out from the music – In an epic way. The vocals work well with the soft riff about half way through the track, giving the track a slight progressive edge. The track ends in true thrash metal style. “Recreated Destiny” has a slower, more emotional sounding introduction. Both the guitar riff and vocals are soft yet majestic, whilst touching a very deep emotional level not usually found in thrash metal. The track’s pace increases with the appearance of the drums, which again are quite laid back compared to the guitars. The vocals sound more powerful later on during in the track.

Following after is “Unsaid”. The intro is slow, heavy and dominating. The vocals, again, are soft to begin with, as is the piano medley that joins them. The drums slightly overpower the piano, which is somewhat disappointing. The track switches between light and heavy – Which is a nice emotional effect for the song. Next is “Concept of Elimination”, beginning with a choppy guitar section, which soon replaced by a more consistent, melodic guitar riff and an acute drum pattern. The vocals are strong, with a hint of a Judas Priest-sound. There is a good blend of progressive-sounding softer sections and heavier, savage thrash-styled riffs throughout the track, which makes up for it being almost ten minutes long.

”Recreated Reality” blasts next with an immense riff of violent proportions. The drums are barbaric yet precise to the beat. The vocals are still going strong, keeping the track interesting. Some of the riffs leave much to be desired though it is mostly a decent track. “Borderline” is another track that begins with a choppy riff, which can be off-putting for new listeners and just seems to drone on for the first few minutes. Another issue with the track is the length of it – Just over twelve minutes – Which again, can be off-putting for new listeners. The other riffs are well composed and sound great, as do the vocals and drums.

Nearing the end of the album comes “Shipwrecked”. Like some of the other tracks, the intro riff is soft and melodic, though it is short lived. The heavier riff certainly brings more excellence to the track though the drums are lacking in comparison. The vocals seem deeper yet more defined. They seem suitably combined with the acoustic riff. One thing that stands out the most about this track is the emphasis on the acoustic riffs, though the heavier riffs do play an important part of the track. “Shipwrecked” is certainly the best track of the album.

”Diminished Mind” starts with a mediocre sounding riff, which is a let down compared to the previous track. The vocals seem weaker as well and the drums also are lacking in power. The track does improve later on however, with some very Megadeth-styled riffs. “Us Beneath The Sea” is the final track of the album. Like some of the previous tracks, its intro is a soft riff, as are the vocals and drums. The riffs later become more wild west-sounding for a short while but they stay soft for the majority track, making for a good chill out track after eight brutalising tracks. The guitar solo towards the end does make the track slightly heavier though not by much.

”Blackest Days” features a strange yet wonderful mixture of progressive metal and thrash metal combined with some old skool sounds. 66crusher have certainly out-done themselves with this album, though there are some sections that could have done with more work.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson