Archive for self released

Battering Ram – Battering Ram

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 26th January 2020 by Mickelrath

Battering Ram
Battering Ram
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Released: 24 January 2020
 Self Released

It’s always fun when a band immediately catches your attention. The Swedish rockers, Battering Ram have been building some momentum since 2017 and now are ready to strike with their debut self-titled album. The band consists of Johan Hallström on vocals, Jonas Edmark on guitar, Tony Trust on drums and Jocke Ståhl on bass. I have been really enjoying listening to this album, it gives me vibes of early 90’s hard rock or early 2000’s riff-rock. I think their sound is heavy enough to get the purist-headbangers listening but broad sounding enough that they could reach a much larger audience of casual rock listeners.

The tight delivery and commanding energy hits hard with well crafted and memorable riffs. Jonas on vocals gives a great performance and sings with passion as the instruments really support him. The electrifying guitar solos and the great rhythm work are a simple joy to listen to. They’re not reinventing the wheel, a lot of what their doing is pretty standard fare for hard rock. Yet, their music just gets you pumped in the right way with booming bass and drums, well-performed melodies and well-executed harmonies. The best thing about their music is its simplicity. Standard song-writing structures, a focus on big hooks and keeping the whole record feeling well-paced. It kept my attention all the way through and never had any real down moments.

There isn’t much more to really say about this record. It’s good and I think that Battering Ram would make a great addition to any gig or festival lineup. These are songs that will get a crowd moving and singing. Songs like “Chase The Fire”, “Stronger Forever” and “Scared For My Life” are definite hits in my eyes. Their focus on tight musicianship and a bold sound suit them well. They are able to craft some big sounds with great writing. They have a great sense of groove and rhythm that makes then very enjoyable to listen to. It’s the kind of band you see on a Friday night with a beer in hand and headbang all the way through their set. Great album and I look forward to more from them.


Mick Birchall

All Consumed – No World Order

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 24th October 2015 by Paul Macmillan

All Consumed
“No World Order”
Released October 31st 2015
Death metal, hardcore

All Consumed - No World Order

It’s been quite a while since the world churned out a truly engaging ‘hardcore’ metal album. Decent hardcore albums, yes. Decent metalcore albums, also kicking about (indeed, it’s true that such things do exist, I assure you!). However, a fully functioning metal album that is also hardcore, and not sugared down, ‘McAudio’ for wannabe cage fighters..? Let’s just say, I haven’t been holding my breath of late. Listening to All Consumed’s No World Order has been an utterly satisfying rebuttal.

Much of the ‘core’ side of things here has been derived from the harder edge of the mid-to-late 1990s scene. Hewn from the memorable foundations of acts such as Hatebreed and Biohazard, the bottom floor of this hateful tenement is populated with urban aggression, yet there is more here than tribute or replication. In the same way that Pissing Razors brought a new angle to this form, All Consumed have broken down the gates and let the metal flow freely.

With the added layer of Rob Thomas’ Jason Netherton style vocal – although delivered in a slightly heavier manner than in Misery Index – there is further reinforcement to the feeling that this is, in its purest essence, a death metal album, albeit one with head-bouncing hook riffs leading the way. Producer, Samuel Turbitt, has also performed excellently in capturing live energy here, ultimately allowing All Consumed to truly indulge in their innate heaviness, something which, it could be said, limited their previous recording efforts. The blending of genres feels entirely natural, though, and rather than a disjointed amalgam of two distinct sounds, it hammers home a brutality that will appeal to followers of both real hardcore and old school death metal.

This record is a dark and menacing piece of work, with no pretensions to virtuosity, and is, consequently, a highly listenable record.  Repeat spins do it no harm, either, making it a cacophonous pleasure, and an essential keeper for all curators of eclectic, heavy, audio libraries. All hail the No World Order!


Paul Macmillan

Blackened Ritual – Blackened Ritual

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 19th July 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Blackened Ritual
“Blackened Ritual”
Released July 16th 2015

 Blackened Ritual - Blackened Ritual

It might just be because this a local band who I have watched build up from their very beginnings, but by Cthulhu this album has been an incredibly long time coming! Having just won the Scottish Metal To The Masses, there’s some pressure on Blackened Ritual for this to be solid gold, too. Cool cover? Check! Sound production above ‘demo level’? Check! Riffs? Oh yes indeed!

If you were ever stuck wishing that Lamb Of God would just go back to their early aggressiveness, this could be just the ticket. Added to this, the Testament-infused thrash ethic of the group, combined with the ever pervading southern US bounce that sticks to many Scottish bands, and choruses to die for, delivers something which, while not genre-destroying, is definitely unique enough to be undeniably Blackened Ritual, and Blackened Ritual alone. In years to come, other bands may well be imitating them.

Remembering these guys from the extensive period during which they struggled to find a vocalist, it’s fantastic to see that, not only have they sourced an absolute gem in front-man Tom Simpson, but the musicians at the core of the band’s sound have leapt forward immensely in terms of song-writing and playing finesse. There’s a thoroughly professional swagger to this debut, fuming with attitude and atmosphere that many further along in the game would struggle to compete with.

As a guitarist, there are already a good few riffs on here that I would love to get my teeth stuck into, and that is arguably a quality that could take a band to the next level; the feeling of wanting to engage in their world in more than just the capacity of listening to the record. It wouldn’t be the furthest stretch of the imagination to think that others may feel the same, and I can vividly picture swathes of metal crazed gig-goers shouting along to each track. I’m already itching to hear the next one.


Paul Macmillan

Aonia – Sunchaser [EP]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 28th July 2014 by Mickelrath

Sunchaser [EP]
Operatic metal
Self-released on 25th July 2014

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I’ll start with this, this is a good EP, the writing is solid, the band sounds tight and the overall tone is excellent.  For fans of the genre of symphonic/melodic metal this is well worth picking up.  This is not to say that it’s without flaw, but it’s pretty entertaining in it’s own right.  Aonia are a group from Worksop, England and have had some buzz on the under the radar scene for a bit, I have heard of them before but have not had the chance to listen to the until now.  With their new EP Sunchaser in towe, hopefully this will give them some sort of traction.

This EP is packed with good riffs, melodies harmonies and solos.  I was particularly impressed with the quality of the music straight off the bat with the title track Sunchaser, with an intense yet enchanting atmosphere that is kept although the EP, this tune is an excellent starter to become acquainted with Aonia.  The production overall is nice, a little rough around the edges but gives a generally good vibe.  The use of the synth and keys is also executed very well in terms of the music, Aonia, gets a thumbs up from me.

There is one part of the EP that I haven’t really talked about, the vocals.  Not that they’re bad, just a little underwhelming.  When I looked up the band before hearing this EP, I thought “two vocalists, I wonder how they use this in their music”.  The short answer is they don’t really use it to any sort of advantage, either both vocalists sound very similar and they using a layered vocal effect in production or they’re singing in unison because I couldn’t make out the two singer structure that is supposed to be here.  Also they aren’t very well produced and on some moments of this EP, the vocals get lost in the music and it’s hard hear them.  However, the singing is executed really well, I just feel it could have been a bit more dynamic and added  something a little more interesting to the already enjoyable.

Overall, this is a pretty decent EP.  Aonia really come out of the gates swinging with an interesting and atmospheric sound that I’m sure is translated well in to live performances.  I think with a bit of fine tuning to the production and maybe some tweaks to the vocals, they could be a name to look out for in the symphonic/melodic metal genre.


Mick Birchall

Depraved Plague – Systemic

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 25th August 2012 by -Scorpius-

Depraved Plague
Death Metal
Released: 2012
Self Released

Depraved Plague are a four piece death metal band who formed in January of 2010 and they hail from Cambridge. Fronted by Mark Taylor on Vocals, Chris on guitar, Emma on the bass and Michael on drums. Their influences are bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Morbid Angel and Goretted and it clearly shows in their new debut album, Systemic.

The first track on the album is entitled Chokehold, which starts with a nice two chord guitar part and a military march like drum rhythm which then gives way to an incredibly brutal blast beat and ferocious vocals and ripping guitars. This track really does hit you full force in the face and in a way lets you know who’s the boss. The track then slows down a bit towards the middle but by no means does the brutality let up, straight away it is clear this track is very Cannibal Corpse inspired and Depraved Plague would fit very well as a supporting band on one of their tours.

Asphyxiate is the second track and straight away it comes in with pounding blast beats and a very meaty sounding guitar, the vocals follow shortly after with an intensely guttural feel to them. This track is very old school death metal in its feel and I see it partly as a homage to what has gone before but in an updated sense, a very clever and well put together track indeed! In the middle of the track at approximately one minute and forty seconds there a nice little break which I can imagine would get people doing a circle of death mosh or something. This track is incredibly brutal and barely lets up its unrelenting pace, if you want to get some anger out of your system then this track is ideal to do that with, perfect headbanging material.

Next up is a track called, Endless Torment, which starts off quite sedately and almost has a black metal feel to it. There are some interesting harmonies here and it really paints a picture in the mind, however this does not last for long as the brutally smashes its way onto the track, yet again this has a bit of a Cannibal Corpse feel to it but not in so much of a way where it feels like it’s trying to copy it; ideas are certainly borrowed such as the rhythm and some similar chords progressions but that’s where the similarity ends.

If the last track was inspired by Cannibal Corpse the undoubtedly this next track, Degradation, is inspired by Deicide and old school Morbid Angel. The track itself feels old school yet with a modern and exciting twist, its a short and sharp shock to the system and leaves the listener wanting more.

Your Final Execution is the fifth track and it is quite a different track to all the others and yet it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. It’s more of a momentary departure. The rhythmic patterns are completely different and a whole host of other ideas are going on, it works really well and is perfect for a nice slow head bang in places. This track really does show off the skill of the musicians in Depraved Plague, it is clear they have honed their skills and they use them like a sharpened samurai sword or a sniper riffle to assassinate all that opposes it, it is unrelenting yet in a way melodic, a very interesting mix indeed!

The sixth track is entitled Human Revulsion and unfortunately I think this is the weakest track on the album, that’s not to say it’s not a good track because it is, I just feel it is not as strong in its conviction and purpose as the other tracks. Having said that there are some interesting rhythmic progressions and some really choppy guitar riffs.

Track seven, Decayed From Birth… This track is absolutely immense and I wish there was an accurate word to use to describe it, brutal and unrelenting barely even scratches the surface in trying to convey how this track sounds, there is a really interesting meatiness to the guitars that would make many a guitarist proud to even come close to attaining a guitar tone that thick and meaty. There’s also a nice little bass break on this track that adds a little something extra without compromising the overall integrity.

Carnal Rage is the eighth track and it really is a hard one to describe, imagine if you were to get a rabid pit bull and merge it with a dragon, then you can begin to understand the mix of brutality, heaviness and an epicness that this track has. This track could easily be used for a post apocalyptic or zombie like movie to give it that added edge.

The final track is entitled Rapture in Death and yet again it is quite an epic track, I do feel this can be a starting point for Depraved Plague‘s next album. I would advise them to carry on with this idea and to keep the epic almost movie soundtrack kind of style they have going on with the riffs in this track. It is a nice mix of brutality and clarity at the same time, a very impressive track indeed!

My final thoughts on this album are very positive, there is a nice progression that goes on with this album and that can often be a hard thing to do, to go from point A all the way to point Z and giving a well defined idea and picture of what the album is all about. There are many, many brutal elements in this album as well as a creeping epicness on the last two tracks, if Depraved Plague continue this progression and sense of epic wonder in their next album then I can easily guarantee they will have a very popular record on their hands which I feel will cross over the usually musical boundaries and sense of genre. Yes it is Death Metal but it can attract fans from other genres and truly bring a united sense of being, brotherhood and downright brutality to all who listen to it!

Depraved Plague are definitely a band to watch out for!