Archive for Singing

Former Seduce The Heaven vocalist confirmed to front Apparition on upcoming UK shows next month

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 23rd July 2013 by Nico Davidson

Former Seduce The Heaven vocalist Elina Laivera has been confirmed to replace Sakara, who recently left Apparition to continue with her solo project, on the band’s upcoming UK shows next month. The dates are as follow:

23rd August – The Asylum, Birmingham (Pre-SCARFest show with Azylya)
24th August – SCARFest, Stoke-On-Trent
25th August – The Bird In Hand, Stafford

Commenting on the upcoming shows, Elina said:

It is great joy to announce that I will be fronting the UK band, Apparition for their upcoming shows next month! This is going to be my first time in the UK so I am extremely happy and cannot wait to hit the stage in August and meet my UK friends! BE THERE! \m/

Elina provided vocals for Seduce The Heaven’s debut album Field Of Dreams which is out now.

Apparition online:

https://www.facebook.com/apparitionband

Triaxis – Rage & Retribution

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 23rd October 2012 by Nico Davidson

Triaxis
Rage And Retribution
Released: October 2012
Metal
Released via Rocksector

It’s been a busy year for Welsh quintet Triaxis, performing at SOS Festival and Bloodstock this year followed by the release of their second album, Rage And Retribution. While not a band I’m familiar with, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about them over at the Black Phoenix Rising forums and on several other webzines, so I have been waiting on the second album, Rage And Retribution so I can give Triaxis a proper listen.

The powerful and punchy riffs of Sand & Silver start the album with a furious frenzy of hard hittin’ metal and strong, belting vocals with some poetic licks thrown in for good measure. Black Trinity makes itself known by screaming out with its grandoise sound, that echoes majestically through the lyrically played guitars and acute drum work. The vocals float sail near perfectly on the sea of modern sounding riffs and intelligent drumming, completing the song and making it one of the most prominent tracks on the album. The Infected really did take me by surprise as the riffs come charging out like a bull that’s seen red but in a more beautiful written manner while Asunder brings a gentler approach which gradually builds into a heavier sound.

And Shadows Creep displays the more melodic stylings of the band’s music, firing out a barrage of stalwart and dulcet riffs that carry the vocals efficiently while on the other hand XGP combines a fast and furious style with an expertly played dramatic sound that later on yields a unique audio vision of melodic guitar playing before the crisp battering of Under Blood Red Skies comes into play with a dashing od Doro-esque vocals. Sker Point balances out perfectly the use of heavy and beautifully played riffs, allowing the rhythm sections to dance along with a certain grace. Reunion takes the album down a path of pure blitzkreig drumming and violent riffing, as well as a storming use of vocals that really do shine out on the track.

The Butcher beckons a certain NWOBHM sound with a heap of modern influences to create a fresh sound that could easily be a pioneering factor in today’s metal scene. The vocals boom out over the fierce roaring of guitars that offer up some truly meaty riffs for you to sink your teeth into while at the same time, keeping their crisp and clean sound. The album finishes off with the solemn sounds of Some Things Are Worth Dying For. Beginning with an alluring acoustic opening, the track soon fires out the heavy drum work and austere riffs. Gradually the song begins to develop a more uplifting sound but avoiding being overly hearty.

I’m rarely impressed these days by bands with a female vocalist but Triaxis have proven to be one of the few that can impress me with Rage And Retribution. Triaxis have displayed an ability for good songwriting as well as a talent for pulling off some seriously sweet solos, so it’s safe to say that Rage And Retribution is one of those albums that will no doubt become a classic in the years to come and that the UK has found its answer to Warlock.

5/5

Nico Davidson

 

Versus The World–Drink. Sing. Live. Love.

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 27th July 2012 by Nico Davidson

Versus The World
Drink. Sing. Live. Love.
Released: 31st July 2012
Alt. Rock
Released via Viking Funeral Records

Versus The World rung a bell the second I received their new album Drink. Sing. Live. Love. however at first I wasn’t sure where I had heard the name (aside from the Amon Amarth album of the same name) but it wasn’t until recently I realised I’d first discovered these Santa Barbara rockers through one of the WWE games that one of their songs were featured on.

The album is taken on a wild ride at the beginning of She Sang The Blues. While the riffs display a furious raw sound which I’m somewhat familiar with, the vocals are more tame compared to the music. Mason Grace changes completely from the previous track, becoming more of a heavy pop punk track that does match the vocals very well but can be a bit of a come down for anyone expecting driving force of angry riffs.

A Fond Farewell is another pop punk based track where the riffs, again, work well with the vocals, emphasising their unique sound. Following the short dialogue at the beginning, The Kids Are Fucked offers up a lovely serving of aggressive, in your face and melodic guitar playing and violent drum work. The vocals have a callous touch to them as well, adding emphasis to the song. Fortunately Lullaby allows the fierce guitar stylings to continue for a short while before coming more tame and laid back.

These Bones sounds very much like a Paramore track but with male vocals instead, which can be somewhat entertaining. A Love Song For Amsterdam keeps the pop punk sound flowing from the last track, minus the Paramore sound. The following track Crooks & Liars takes on a different sound to everything else on the album, featuring more emphasis on the bass, which rings out powerfully like church bells in the morning. Oh Brother Where Art Thou doesn’t particularly stand out though some of the riffs are well composed and played.

The next two tracks, In The Fear Of The Finale and Donner Pass, travel down the same road, musically, displaying angsty riffs and callous drum work. Angry February is a very sombre affair, mixing a range of different, solemn emotions together in the form of staunch vocals and slow guitars and rhythm. We Were Alive finishes the album in a melodic, pop punk fashion.

Drink. Sing. Live. Love. is a hard one to judge due to its diverse sound though this might cause it to not be everyone’s cuppa tea. However, the album is enjoyable though there are some parts that need polishing.

4/5

Nico Davidson

WeCameFromWolves – Cope

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on 21st July 2012 by Nico Davidson

WeCameFromWolves
Cope
Released: September 2012
Post-Rock
Released via Engineer Records

WeCameFromWolves are one of many bands lurking in the unspoken-of-Scottish music scene. The band are described as being all about harmonic, melodic soundscapes and euphoric choruses. It was only recently that the band signed to Engineer Records with their debut EP due for release in September.

The melodic opening of Cope, the title track, begins the EP is truly memorable fashion as the riff is one of those that will stay in your head for a long time, for better or for worse. The vocals are typically Biffy Clyro sounding (or maybe I’m just being ignorant because of the strong Scottish accent that rings out from the vocals, yet the accent really does go well with the music). Like the opening riff, the vocal melodies are memorable. Crosses has a different intro to what I was expecting, being composed of sounds I don’t quite recognise mixed in with some rocker-like riffs and other influences giving the song a fresh taste. The vocals sound ever more energetic and lively (and less like Biffy Clyro!). The riffs have a strange, lively jig to them – the kind that gets your foot tapping along to the rhythm.

The middle point of the EP is Blood, which is another track booming with life, hypnotic riffs and enchanting vocals. Tidals strays away from the overall sound of the EP, taking a slower approach to the music but it still contains some amount of energy that prevents the track from becoming too dull and boring. The gloomy sounding intro of For All Our Sins, We’re Golden begins the end of the EP before turning more upbeat but retaining that solemn essence that is carried well by the lyrics.

I’ll be honest, this was the first first I’ve listened to any form of post-rock and I am impressed. WeCameFromWolves are clearly a talented band and they bring their own distinct sound to the table in a world where music is becoming too generic sounding.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Spires–Lucid Abstractions

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 21st July 2012 by Nico Davidson

Spires
Lucid Abstrctions
Released: July 2012
Acoustic
Self-Released

Hailing from the rich and diverse metal scene of Manchester, come the progressive metal quarter Spires, a band who have received critical acclaim from radio, printed and online media since their debut release of Spiral Of Ascension, back in 2010. Following their recent tour of Ireland and a busy 2011, where they toured with Incassum and two slots at the UK’s biggest metal festival Bloodstock, Spires have released their highly anticipated acoustic EP.

The grimly titled Under Bloodstained Skies opens the EP under with calm riff and intense set of vocals that add that eerie touch to the lyrics. The title track Lucid Abstractions follows next, in three parts. The track begins rather mystically with almost jazz-like musicianship that leads into the more progressive styling of the band. The main vocals are soothing, whilst the guest vocals, provided by Talena Cuthbert, add a certain warmth to the song.

Perception takes a subtle approach to the music but keeping true to the progressive spirit of the band’s sound. The vocals really stand out yet blend in well at the same time. The cello sections, provided by Jacqueline Wilson, adds a unique touch to the song. The melodic riffs of Inevitability bring a very enchanting aspect to the EP. The final track is none other than Sprial Of Ascension, which does take some getting used to when listening to this version if you’ve already heard the original version on the album of the same name. However, the acoustic version does really capture the essence of the song and project across quite brilliantly, though when I listen to it, I can’t help but epect to start hearing some major extreme metal styled riffs.

Acoustic music isn’t really my thing, save for a few artists, but Spires really have proven to be a band with a diverse and unique style. Each track contains its own unique sound and spirit without betraying the band’s sound.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Artania – Night Shall Crown Ye [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Artania
Album: Night Shall Crown Ye
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Russia is known for its cold and cruel winter and its old, bloodthirsty leader Stalin, both of which have shaped Russia into the perfect grim environment for any black metal musician looking for bleak and nihilistic inspiration for their music. The grim environment has done more than just provide inspiration however as it has been the breeding grounds for many underground black metal bands in Russia. In 2007, Artania was born from said breeding ground, with a more black-death metal sound. After several line-up changes, they soon developed a unique blend of symphonic black metal complete with Russian lyrics. “Night Shall Crown Ye” is Artania’s debut album, released originally on May 31st through Graillight Productions in the band’s native Russia but is now available for digital release exclusively through Hunter’s Moon Records.

The air raid sirens of “Alchemic Dream (Demonic Mantra)” begin the album. The symphonic orientated riffs soon follow complete with angsty drums and violent guitar sections. The vocals are a combination of beasty and scary – Probably due to the Russian lyrics they’re screaming. The drum work is very precise and technical, showing great intellectual playing from the drummer. The whispered section is somewhat eerily haunting. The only downside to “Alchemic Dream” is that it doesn’t seem as aggressive as a black metal track usually is – This could be a result of the emphasis on the orchestration or perhaps a fault on the producer’s behalf.

The title track “Night Shall Crown Ye” begins more slow paced with a slightly progressive sound echoing from the drum work. The pace slowly and ever so slightly increases, building up for the appearance of the vocals. To begin with, the vocals are more along the lines of death metal as opposed to black metal. The Russian lyrics help give the track that certain grim touch that very few black metal bands today can pull off. Another key element about the track is the lack of orchestration when compared to the guitars and drums and the use of female vocals is simply enchanting, for lack of a better word. “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is an aggressive and barbaric track at the start. The vocals have become more hateful and rage-fuelled. There is more use of symphonic elements compared to “Night Shall Crown Ye”, adding a very Gothic sound to it. A big downfall for “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is that it doesn’t seem as heavy as it’s meant to be.

The acoustic beginning of “Liturgy in Black Colors” greets the listener unexpectedly. Fortunately for those whom don’t enjoy acoustic guitars, the sound of electric guitars soon blasts through. There is more use of orchestration as well as more black metal screams, which is always a good thing for black metal fans. During the second half of the track, the acoustic guitar appears again, which puts a sudden halt to the energy of the track and the vocals seem to be more demonic, more violent and more spiteful, sounding almost like the blood curdling screams of Abaddon. “San-Grinyol (Theatre Of Death” continues from where the previous track finished, bringing in more use of acoustic instrumentation to begin with before the savagery of the electric guitars and drums breaks in. “San-Grinyol” is clearly more brutal than the previous four tracks and is possibly one of the best on the album so far. The guitar solo is well composed though slightly short.

The assaulting drum work and guitar riffs of “Fogs Of Witches Heath” tears through next, bringing raw, untamed energy and aggression with them. The vocals are more bloodthirsty and savage in their sound, which is both terrifying and awesome. The combination of female vocals and piano medleys is immense, especially when when the track turns heavy again with the female vocals working alongside the harsher vocals, in true beauty and the beast fashion. “Towards Northern Wind” brings a calmer approach to the album whilst retaining a certain element of heaviness at the same time. Disappointingly, there is a lack in the use of orchestration, save for the introduction and the middle section. During one part of the second half, the vocals sound very raspy, which is a great effect for both the album and the track. “Thirteenth Sign Of Nostradamus” can only be described as hauntingly Gothic to begin with before the melodic guitar work kicks in followed by the raw sounding vocals. The whole track seems to be more passionate and energetic than the rest of the album which says a lot considering how energetic the previous tracks are.

The album finishes with “Secrets Of The Moon”, which is another track to feature an acoustic beginning. The female voiceover in Russian adds a very creepy sound which is soon fought off by the sudden – and unexpected – increase of heaviness. The track remains consistent in its brutal aggressiveness. The drum work is intelligent and the guitar sections are immense. “Secrets Of The Moon” is possibly the most brilliant way to end the album.

It’s hard to believe that “Night Shall Crown Ye” is the debut album of Artania, as the album has such a mature sound to it, anyone would think its Artania’s third or fourth album. The sound is unique, brilliant and definitely worth a listen, even if some parts of the album are a let down. Clearly, Russia is a country filled with talented musicians and Artania’s “Night Shall Crown Ye” is evidence of this.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Disaster Plan – Disaster Plan EP [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 21st July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Disaster Plan
Album: Disaster Plan EP
Release year: 2010
Genre: Post-Hardcore

Australia is a nation best known for it’s poisonous spiders and kangaroos. Unbeknown to most people, there is a fast-growing hardcore scene within Australia and Adelaide-based Disaster Plan have been a part of said scene since mid-2010.

”Pestilence” begins with a heavy but slightly choppy intro, which is straight away a let-down for the listener. The vocals sound like a mixture of black metal and hardcore screams whilst the cleaner, less harsh vocals sound of key. There are some good melodic licks throughout the track and the drums are precise to the beat. Some of the guitar work is great in sections but overall choppy. Clearly there is clearly a lot of work that needs to be done to improve this track.

”The Shark Didn’t Bite Me, He Raped Me” starts with a more consistent, melodic intro section combined with the spoken words of “Game over”, which is a pretty cool effect. The screams sound more hardcore-orientated though the clean vocals still sound out of key. Most of the sections have a decent flow them to them though there are a few choppy sections that could do with improvement. The solo is quite unexpected yet it certainly makes up for the not-so-impressive guitar riffs earlier in the song. The only other issue with “The Shark Didn’t Bite Me, He Raped Me” is that it’s too long and this could be quite irritating and unentertaining for a casual listener of hardcore and post-hardcore.

The third track is “Love Lost At Sea”, beginning with a bass and drums introduction. Overall, this one isn’t particularly interesting or great. It seems to lack the heaviness, brutality and passion of the previous two tracks – Even though the riffs seem more consistent and flow better. The poorly composed introduction of “The Ramifications Of Skydiving Without A Parachute” follows after. The track does gradually improve, however. Both the screams and clean vocals sound and feel stronger, while the guitars and drums become more violent and barbaric whilst retaining a hint of intelligence.

The final track, also the bonus track, “Alcoholic” is different to the rest of the EP as it begins with a very soft intro and increases only by a bit in terms of heaviness. The guitars don’t seem to really work well with the screams on this track and in parts the drums sound to be drowned out by everything else. This track really just leaves the listener thinking “So what?”.

Disaster Plan’s self-titled EP is not impressive but it isn’t terribly bad either. It lays somewhere in the middle. Whilst some sections do need a considerable about of work other sections show that Disaster Plan have potential to become a household name in the international hardcore scene.

3/5

Nico Davidson

Forever And A Day – Last Orders [2011]

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Forever And A Day
Album: Last Orders
Release year: 2011
Genre: Pop-Punk/Metalcore

Bridlington-based pop-core quintet Forever And A Day have slowly become a household name within the UK’s underground metalcore and pop-punk scenes over the past few years. They’ve shared the stage with the likes of Yashin, Shadows Chasing Ghosts and Vanna, as well as releasing a demo and a music video over the summer of 2010, the band recently returned to the studio for the recording and production of their newest release: “Last Orders”.

The title track “Last Orders” is the first track of the album, been composed of the sound of people drinking, chatting and the sound of a piano been played in the background whilst a bar fight takes place. “The Roads Ahead” begins with an average paced riff, which is soon accompanied by a second guitar, bass and drums. The track turns heavier, featuring some intelligent drum work and clean, pop-punk styled vocals. The song remains consistent and flows well into each different section. The screams bring about a great metalcore sound as well. The gang vocals are a great addition as well.

Following after is the aggressive and violent sound of “Heebeegeebees”. Straight away, the listener is bombarbed by an in your face metalcore anthem. The guitar riffs are masterfully composed and the drum work can only be described as immense. The breakdown is a great section, building up to the next section. The only down sound to this song is that it’s too short. “Can’t Spell Slut Without You” starts with a bass riff, leaving the listener to think “Something good is gonna happen soon”. Fortunately, something good does happen and that something is the increase of barbaric heaviness of the track. The screams are great and the guitar sections are sheer genius. The drums are certainly most impressive and the clean vocals seem stronger.

”We See Everything, So Play Nice” is the second to last track. The intro riff seems weaker compared to the previous tracks though this soon changed when the drums blast in to make themselves heard. The track has some clear pop-punk influences in terms of guitars and vocals, which blend well with the more metalcore and hardcore orientated drums. The last track is “You’re A Complicated Cat, Edward”, beginning with a very guitar-heavy intro. The track seems to lack the energy of the previous tracks though the vocals are still going strong. In parts, the drums sound more stronger than the guitars. However, the track does improve fortunately enough. The slow-paced, clean guitar section is certainly unexpected, yet weirdly is enjoyable but for those who don’t enjoy clean and soft guitar sections, the brutal-styled heaviness of the track soon returns.

Forever And A Day clearly know how to mix pop-punk and metalcore without ruining the sound. “Last Orders” is a must-have album by these young Yorkshire lads and Welsh drummer. The entire mini-album is evidence of the talent and passion that Forever And A Day have.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Forever and a Day will be touring the UK later in the year. For more information about this tour, please go to: http://www.facebook.com/foreverandadayuk

Tersivel – For One Pagan Brotherhood [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Tersivel
Album: For One Pagan Brotherhood
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal/Pagan Metal

South America is well known for its vast metal scene and community which grows day by day with new bands appearing on the scene. Argentinian pagan metallers “Tersivel” have been a dominating force within this scene since forming in 2006. “For One Pagan Brotherhood” is the third studio release by Tersivel and their first full length album.

The album begins with the synth-guitar intro of “As Brothers We Shall Fight”. An aggressive guitar-double bass pedal combined riff follows after, creating a machine gun sound effect, which is well suited to the song due to the title. The vocals switch between brutal grunts and powerful clean vocals, both of which give the track more punch. The last half of the song seems to be calmer compared to the violent sounding first half, however, this does not take anything away from the music. The synth and keyboard sections certainly bring some very interesting parts as well. “As Brothers We Shall Fight” is a very sagaic song and brilliant choice to begin the album with.

”The Heathen Sun Of Revenge” begins with a true folk sounding intro in the form of clean vocals, folk instrumentation and acoustic guitars. The track eventually turns heavy but still keeps that good ol’ folk feel about it, which contrasts strangely well with the aggression of the guitars and drums. The clean vocals add a very solemn and sorrowful sound to the track. It ends with an epic synth section.

Straight after is “Far Away in the Distant Skies” with a very synth-heavy intro, though this doesn’t ruin the composition or sound of the song, as the synth leads into a violent guitar riff. The harsh vocals, in true folk metal style, are raw and aggressive while the cleaner vocals are strong but still have that raw edge to them. The drum work is intelligent yet barbaric, bring a new dynamic of brutality to the album. The piano medley in the second half of the song is a very calming section and emotionally touching at times. The guitar solo that soon follows is masterfully played.

”High Germany – Erin’s Jig” is another song that has a folk sound at the beginning. Though the dominating force of guitars, drums and synth soon replace the majestic folk-like intro. The folk and metal sections bounce off each other exceedingly well. The flute medleys complement the clean vocals, making the listener feel as if they’re back in pre-Christian Europe. Without a doubt, this is one of the more impressive tracks of the album – Which is saying a lot considering most, if not all, of the songs are impressive. “And Fires Also Died Away” begins with a darker sound compared to the grand, sagaic and folk sounding introductions of the other songs. The tempo eventually increases but the song stays solemn and dark.

”Those Days Are Gone” carries on the heartbroken feel of the previous song. This one is mostly acoustic guitar orientated with some subtle orchestration that blends well with the clean vocals.  Beginning the second half of the album is the accordion-dominated “Tarantella Siciliana” [Which is also the name of a folk dance in Sicily]. The song contains that “get up and party until you pass out” feel that conjures up images of happy villagers dancing around in celebration.

Beginning with a synth-guitar-drum intro, “We Are The Fading Sun” blasts its way next. A dark, heavy piano medley follows the intro and is soon replaced by a vicious, face-melting guitar riff. Vocally, the track is dominated by harsh vocals to begin with, though the clean vocals do get some pretty epic sections as well. The chorus, itself, is very catchy. There is a calm section roughly half way through which suddenly turns heavy dramatic within the blink of an eye. The use of keyboards and guitars towards the end is brilliant. “We Are The Fading The Sun” leaves the listener wanting more.

Fortunately enough, the listener gets more in the form of “Aeolian Islands”. Like some of the previous pieces on the album, “Aeolian Islands” is composed of acoustic guitar, along with some use of flutes. It certainly has a very folk feel to it. “Cosa Nostra” starts with a keyboard-heavy riff, which carries on through most of the track. The vocals, to begin with, sound out of key and do sort of ruin the music, however in the chorus, they do improve massively.

The second to last track is “Pagan Nation”, beginning with the sound of swords followed by an aggressive guitar section. The keyboard sections are grand, majestic and awesome. The drums and guitars are aggressive and brutal, as they should be. The vocals are immense, contrasting well with the music. Overall, the track is very sagaic. The final song is “Cruzat Beer House” [named after a pub in Buenos Aires, Argentina]. The intro is a slow, melodic piano medley which is soon accompanied by an acoustic guitar. The song soon begins to feel like a good ol’ fashioned drinking anthem with the introduction of the accordions. Even the vocals echo the sound of a good time to be had with beer. The fast and slow tempos of the song certainly add to it’s folky jig-like feel. This will certainly become a drinking song for folk metallers around the world.

”For One Pagan Brotherhood” seems different compared to other folk metal releases – Be it the lack of Viking/Celt-based lyrics or the use of accordions with a brilliant combination of clean and harsh vocals. Of course, it’s different in the good sense. This is certainly a monumental album and will no doubt be considered one of the greatest albums of folk metal in years to come.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

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

Aonia – City Of Shadows EP [2009]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 12th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Aonia
Album: City of Shadows EP
Release year: 2009
Genre: Symphonic Metal/Power Metal

Aonia, named after the land held sacred to the Muses in Greek mythology, are a six piece female-fronted symphonic/power metal band from Worksop, United Kingdom.

The title track “City Of Shadows” is the first track of the EP. The introduction is very dark sounding, with a combination of a dark symphonic section and a light guitar riff. The track only gets better when the guitars turn aggressive. The drums give the track that extra edge as well. The vocals have are greatly contrasted from high-pitched operatic vocals to more hard rock-styled vocals. The guitar solo keeps the track interesting as well. “Gift of the Curse” comes next with a melodic intro riff. A second guitar, keyboards and drums soon join in leading into the onslaught of metal that is due to come. The drums are extremely intelligently played on this track. The guitar solo is masterfully performed on this track. It’s good to see that the epic sound from the first track has carried on.

The next is ”Prophecy of the Fallen Kingdom”. The intro, straight away, sounds sagaic. The riffs are powerful and astounding. This track, in terms of vocals, has more emphasis on the operatic vocals, which is a pleaser for anyone who is a fan of operatic vocals in metal. The fourth track of the EP is “Rabbit Hole”, which begins with a different sound to the previous three tracks. The riffs sound slightly more violent. Piano medleys can be heard through out the track, which contrast well alongside the cutthroat riffs and aggressive drums. The piano medley just over half way through is perhaps the best section of the track, bringing a certain calm before the storm that is the guitar solo shreds its way in.

“Liberate Mei” is the second to last track of the EP. The guitars domineer their way in straight from the start, along side the drums. The vocals contrast beautifully from an aggressive styled vocal section to the angelic operatic vocals. The guitar solo is expertly performed, making the track more fast paced and brutal. The final track of the EP is “The Song”, which starts with a heavy, slow-paced melodic intro. The track eventually turns fast paced, with some technical sections from the guitars. The keyboards bring a very symphonic sound to the track, working well with the brutal onslaught on the guitars and drums. The vocals are still going strong as well, thankfully.

It would be a mistake to describe Aonia as a band similar to Nightwish, as Aonia clearly have their own defined sound. With masterfully composed riffs and powerful vocals, City Of Shadows is a must have EP for any fan of female-fronted metal.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Euphoreon – Euphoreon [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 10th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Euphoreon
Album: Euphoreon
Release year: 2011
Genre: Death Metal

“Euphoreon” is the self-titled debut album of two piece German-New Zealander death metal project “Euphoreon”. The band originally started as a solo project formed by Matt Summerville from New Zealand. “Euphoreon” have been described as having influences of European and Scandinavian metal with “melodic hooks” and “harsh vocals”.

The first track of the album is the optimistically named “Every Cloud Has A Silver Lining”. The intro riff is very solemn and turns melodic with the introduction of a more technical riff. Soon after, the track increases its pace as the drums join in. The guitar riff brings a more uplifting sound to the track, along with the use of synths. The vocals are harsh and aggressive. The most impressive thing about this track would have to be the intelligent composition of the guitar riffs and the the guitar solo, whilst having a power metal element to it, is mind blowing. Already, “Eurphoreon” is proving to be masterpiece.

”Before The Blackened Sky” is the second track of the album, beginning with a fast, brutal and melodic riff combined with some technical drum work. The synth sections are similar to that of a Children Of Bodom track. The guitar riffs can only be described as face melting brutality. The vocals make for some impressive sections, such as the whispered styled screams and the clean vocals. The third track, “Forever Being”, has an amazing piano medley for an introduction. The track only gets better when the guitars make their appearance. Their is another use of clean vocals on this track, which gives it more of a symphonic power metal feel, however the harsher vocals can be heard on this track as well. This track seems to be more keyboard dominated, though the guitar riffs are heavy and brutal, which is enough to keep the listener happy.

Next is “Eleventh Heaven” which begins with a calm acoustic riff combined with the light tapping of the hi-hat and a piano medley. The introduction of the electric guitar riff makes it seem like this is going to be a ballad-type of song, however the drums soon say otherwise when they turn more fast paced and brutal. A more aggressive guitar riff soon follows with a more epic synth section and brutal vocals. Just over half way through, the track soon turns slow and calm again with some clean vocals been featured. However, it is only the calm before the onslaught of a melodic solo. This is certainly one of the best tracks on the album. “Where Dead Skies Dwell” blasts its way next, sounding more darker than the previous tracks, which seems only fitting considering the song title. The riffs are more aggressive and the drums are more heavy as well. When the vocals seem to be more hostile. One of the more impressive sections of this track would certainly be the guitar solo.

A calm and soothing piano medley introduces “From The Netherworld”, setting a very solemn atmosphere. The solemn atmosphere is dispersed when a heavy but melodic riff rings out, increasing the tempo of the track. The drums are masterfully composed and played on this track and the vocals are more warlike. The second to last track is “Starnight Rider”. The intro is acoustic, which in a way is fitting for the track though the brutality and aggression of the track soon dominate. This is certainly one of the more fast paced tracks on the album, which makes it that much more enjoyable. There is a use of keyboards and orchestration in parts of the track, making for a very dramatic sound. It ends on a very solemn note. The last track, “Road To Redemption”, starts with a strange sounding organ intro, which seems to take away from the brilliance of the album so far. Thankfully the guitars soon replace it, with a military styled drum pattern. The riffs are extremely melodic and the vocals are as aggressive as they can get, it seems. The keyboard sections are beautifully composed. Cleans vocals can be heard as well, about half through alongside the organ medleys. The track comes to a brilliant and epic end.

”Euphoreon” have proved themselves to be quite the musical genius’ with their debut album “Euphoreon”. It has everything a metal fan could ask for, riffs with aggression and melody, technical and intelligent drum work, epic synth and keyboard sections and great vocals. New Zealand isn’t known for its metal scene, however, “Euphoreon” have the potential to make the New Zealand metal scene world famous if they carry on releasing masterpieces like this.

5/5

Nico Davidson