Archive for self release

Blame Zeus – Theory Of Perception

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , , on 4th March 2017 by Pieni

Blame Zeus
“Theory Of Perception”
Alternative Rock
Self-released on 4th March 2017

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Blame Zeus started out as progressive rock but have now engaged in a more straight-forward direction – less technicalities, same elegance. Maybe that’s why “Queen” wasn’t included in this new album (either that or they totally revamped it and renamed it, but I honestly doubt it). “Queen” was a song they introduced live almost a year ago, at the last gig with the line-up they had at the time, and I remember saying that whatever changes were on the way, that song sounded pretty much like the Blame Zeus we all knew. I’m glad I was wrong. Not that I didn’t like their original sound, don’t get me wrong! I just find it more interesting when a band has more than one side (if you’ve read my reviews before, you’ve probably seen me using the expression “diversity is the spice of life” more than once). And “Theory Of Perception” offers some heavy, feisty stuff (“Slaughter House”, “Miles”) contrasting with gracious melancholy (“More Or Less”, “Entertainment Clown”); the rough seduction of “All Inside Your Head” and the loose rock of “Redemption”; the weepy electric solo in “The Moth” and the seventies acoustic heartache of “Signs”. Twelve new songs with distinct traits but one in common – the strong but very feminine voice of Sandra Oliveira.
Tonight I’ll see how this works live. In the studio it works peachy.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Assassinner – Another Sucker Subscribes To The Norm [single]

Posted in CD, Metal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on 30th September 2016 by Pieni

Assassinner
“Another Sucker Subscribes To The Norm” [single]
thrash/crossover
Self-released in May 2016

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Assassinner’s “aggressive music for aggressive people” seems to have toned down a little bit in this 2-track single; either that or producer Carlos Barbosa made each instrument sound so sharp that I’m mistaking classy, high definition for less raw music. Whichever the case, the outcome is what I want to hear in the next full-length record.

I remind you that I said “less aggressive than usual”, not that the aggression was gone, so don’t be fooled by the A-Side title “Sweet Lullaby”. Unless you use “sweet” as “cool/great/peachy” when expressing your appreciation for that ominous mantra-like guitar piece towards the end, which can turn this song into an ear-worm.
Still my favorite is the B-Side, “Hate Over Grown”, as I’m a sucker (no pun intended…) for a vibrant bass line and there’s also something about the main riff. In a time when singles are somewhat underrated, Assassinner came up with something worthy.

4/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Aktaion – The Parade Of Nature

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 29th August 2016 by Pieni

Aktaion
“The Parade Of Nature”
melodic death metal
Self-released on 29th July 2016

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“The Parade Of Nature”, Aktaion’s sophomore album, is said to be for “fans of Soilwork, Killswitch Engage, Gojira – which I find quite misleading. “Candid Flow Of The Shrapnel Dust” has indeed a whiff of Gojira but it soon vanishes away; it’s mostly the melodic part in “melodic death metal” that’s far too gloomy – almost depressive – that make the aforementioned recommendation unfit. It doesn’t mean fans of those bands won’t like this, of course, but they wouldn’t be the first, or even the second target audience to come to my mind.

I’m having really mixed feelings about this. The technical guitar structure (like in “Gold Coloured Dreams”), with Christopher Amott throwing in some killer solos in a few songs (listen to the title track), all the experiments with the vocals – both clean and rough (“Walrus March”) – plus the occasional almost-prog shifts in tempo and the long duration of the tracks, all these features scream originality, which I always praise. But somehow the final outcome is messy. Maybe that’s Aktaion’s goal, as these songs are meant to reflect “a time with no hope nor a bright future” – and that they surely do.

3/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

The End Of Grace – Unity

Posted in 'Core, CD with tags , , , , , on 3rd June 2016 by Pieni

The End Of Grace
“Unity” [EP]
metalcore
Released: 3rd June 2016
Via Ilumnirec

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If you know The End Of Grace and have been following their story, you may find this title a bit ironic, given the recent major line-up change in the band. I see it the other way around, a tribute to what makes us one and not what divides us (check the words on the artwork – they’re not exactly random). First of all, the departure of 3/5 of the band had nothing to do with falling outs – it’s just life and its usual way of forcing people to make hard choices; they may not partake in the songwriting and performance anymore but they’ll always be a part of TEoG. And then there’s founder Jimmy Bergman’s passion for this project, which will keep it alive no matter what – a true unity with music.

Now that you have my two pennies on the title, let’s go for what really matters. When I’ve last spoken to the boys (interview here) they told me there would be more breakdowns They weren’t fooling around! All songs are much richer in that department, making them sound heavier, thicker. Well, all except the ballad “Fighting For Another Day” (I still smile at the term “ballad” when Kriss Clark is busting up his throat to growl like that, but there’s no other thing to call such bleeding melody) – this one has its own heaviness and there’s no need for extra breakdowns for that.

There’s also more riffs/more elaborate guitar structure, more meaningful lyrics and a better complicity between the aforementioned growls of Kriss and the clean tones of Johan. I had the chance to see “The End Of Grace” (yes, they named a song after themselves) in concert (report here) and witness how such briskness works live. Well let me tell you that “If You Fall”, “Never Break” and “Trigger” will cause the same restless effect. This is what metalcore is all about.

It’s been already three years since the release of “Lost In Transition” but it seems like yesterday, as those songs keep rolling on my playlists. I’m pretty certain the same will happen with “Unity”.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Dog Tired – It Came From The Sun

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 22nd April 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Dog Tired
It Came From The Sun
Released April 30th 2016
Heavy metal
Self-released

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Dog Tired have been a solid metal staple of the Scottish scene for many years, now. Elements of Pantera, Machine Head, and Lamb Of God have always been part of their well-rounded character, smeared over with a bit of tongue-in-cheek swagger. Their first two albums, Dead Head Rebel and Titan were both very well received by those who experienced them, and you should really hear them first for a full background, but It Came From The Sun is somewhat of a new beast.

The whole package on this latest release has taken on a more professional veneer. While there’s still a fair ol’ whack of high tempo shenanigans, it is delivered within the bounds of a more laid back, comfortable feel; DT have certainly heaped on the sludge attitude for this one. I wouldn’t out-and-out say that they have re-invented themselves. They have redefined with a sense of maturity which, while not previously absent, has massively developed.

The step-up in production has certainly helped them to achieve this, bringing a more streamlined sound – epic vocals and huge guitars – giving much needed breathing space to the new material. The lyrical content seems to have taken on a more serious bent as well. On first quick spin, I honestly wasn’t sure if I liked missing out on the ‘Mad Jack’s and the ‘Booze Hound’s of old, but that fear was quickly annihilated by the roars of ‘history repeats itself’ and ‘Dominus victorious’. It’s blatant that effort has been lavished on this aspect of the creative process, in order to match up to the advances in the instrumental aesthetics.

In total, it’s become a lot harder, if not irrelevant to compare them to the bands above, and it seems that this is now the sound they always aimed for; part ‘90s, part swedeath, part sludge, part hardcore, all fresh, driven metal. At any rate, this is pretty exciting, for DT, for their existing fans, and for those yet to discover them. Hopefully they will turn out more material of a similar ilk. This album is one (slightly unexpectedly) grim monster, and will hunt you down in your metal dreams. Earmark it as a future classic!

5/5

Paul Macmillan

Cairo Son – Storm Clouds

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 26th February 2016 by mickbirchy

Cairo Son
Storm Clouds
Rock, Grunge, Stoner, Blues
Released: 18th March 2016
Self released

The British rockers have been growing in popularity for some time and with their new album Storm Clouds on the horizon, pun totally intended, the trio look to expand.  Cairo Son, from London, mix together the hypnotic rhythm of blues and stoner rock and the heaviness and intensity of heavy metal and grunge to create a really fascinating listen. Their riffs are precise and sharp, with heavy bass that thunders in the background of the production. With their debut “Heart Against The Feather” backing them up, the band look to capitalise on that with this upcoming album in 2016.

The album opens with that riff styling I’ve mentioned already. It captivates you and makes you want to hear more. “Lost in the Shadow” is dark and twisted and uses the bluesy tone to its advantage.  Letting the music do its job of creating a dark and twisted sound, as the vocals are entrancing over the top. The harmonies on this album are simply lovely and really invoke that early 90’s grunge/stoner sound that they’re clearly aiming for.  The strong and powerful vocals really counter the music perfectly as it’s quite subdued. The two singles from this album “Lion in a Cage” and “Devil’s Tongue” are well performed, with anthemic choruses and hard-hitting riffs.  It brings to mind the early 2000’s nu-metal scene.  At the same time though it’s not as petty or whiny as that.  There genuinely seems to be a great sense of command and power to their performance here.

Although there aren’t many tracks, it still reaches a substantial length thanks to the near 11 minute epic that is the album’s title track “Storm Clouds” which drudges along at that bluesy pace. However, the song never feels like it’s dragging you by the nose to get through it.  The run time is justified as a lot of emotion comes out in this song and it feels very grandiose, like the band were aiming for something big. It hits all of the points you’d want a song like this to hit. I love Magdy’s voice on this song, he just matches the tone to the words and to the music so well.  It really does feel epic.

As you can probably tell I’m loving this album.  I can’t really name any drawbacks, it just works for me.  Is it for everyone?  Honestly, no but I feel that there is an audience for it.  A big audience. People who like well crafted riffs and emotional melodies will love this. However if you’re not into music that takes its time with bluesy sounds and heavy riffs then you’re probably not going to have a good time with this. Overall, I loved it and I would recommend giving it a listen.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Eradikator – Edge Of Humanity

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 9th December 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Eradikator
Edge Of Humanity
Released July 17th 2015
Thrash metal
Self-released

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Having been a fan of Eradikator before the release of Edge Of Humanity, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect; full on Bay Area style thrash, and that is exactly what has been delivered. When all is said and done, thrash really was over played and rehashed for a long time of late, but every so often one stumbles across an absolute gem of a band. Eradikator are definitely one such discovery.

Even the casual listener will definitely be able to pick out some big influences. Megadeth, Metallica, and Testament are emblazoned shamelessly on the denim vest of Eradikator’s cannon, so much so that you could firmly believe they were spawned in the same era. In spite of this, every blast from this record is the band’s own, and the similarities, strong as they may be, are blended throughout as tribute rather than replication.

This is a cumulative effect, as each member brings their own slice of genius to the table. Pat Cox’s vocals, while holding a Hetfield-esque timbre, are also reminiscent of Chuck Billy before illness gave him that demonic growl. Matched with incredibly well-crafted lyrics, they nestle comfortably between Andy MacNevin and Liam Priest’s wide array of progressive thrash, and the Nick Menza backbone provided by drummer Jon MacNevin (yes, they are related). If only those artists were still putting out albums of this calibre.

Capturing the intensity and excitement of the original movers and shakers of the scene, particularly late 80s releases, Edge Of Humanity is a prime example of what many have tried to do and failed. Eradikator totally own this sound, with creative riffs and structures, and have well and truly raised the bar for future classic thrash bands to reach.

5/5

Paul Macmillan