Archive for Spinefarm Records

Turbowolf – The Free Life

Posted in CD, Experimental, Punk Rock, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th February 2018 by mickbirchy

Artist: Turbowolf

Album: The Free Life

Genre, Psychedelic, Punk, Electronic

Released: 09 March 2018

via So Recordings

The Bristol based psychedelic punk rockers, Turbowolf, are back with their third album, The Free Life. They’re definitely one of those bands that are so different and distinct that you either love the sound or hate it. I personally, love what they produce. I like bands that really challenge their listeners and do something different and Turbowolf have that spark, something that their fans can connect with which leaves casual fans with intrigue (and I’m sure some confusion). I loved their 2011 self-titled debut so much. It was a burst of creativity and really delivered a full package of excitement, not bad for a first outing. Their 2015 album, Two Hands, left me a little disappointed, maybe it was just the victim of over-hype, but it just wasn’t as good. Some great songs individually but the album wasn’t as well put together for my liking. However, early demos and singles from this album sounded interesting enough for me to want to get the whole album and a proper spin.

The album sparks with energy straight off of the bat, with the infectious No, No, No. The synth, guitars and bass all meld together to create this delicious soup of electronic noise. Exactly how you want a record to open, with a punch of punk right in the senses. Across the board Turbowolf seem to have more of a toned sound on this album. Guitarist Andy Ghosh and bassist Lianna Lee Davies bring the heavy riffs that feel heavier. When they kick into full punk mode you feel this rush of psychedelic electronic sounds. The riffs are tight and the basslines are highly enjoyable. Every second of this album hits hard and fast with all of the verbose and intricate sounds that Turbowolf have become known for. Chris Georgiadis’s vocals fit well. He delivers the lyrics in such a way that you have to pay attention to what he’s saying. Then when the vocal harmonies come in, it leaves an impact. On a sound design level The Free Life impresses and on writing level it’s excellent. Turbowolf do everything in their power to bend the very concept of music to their whims.

Also, with this album comes a slew of featured musicians to collaborate on this project. Joe Talbot of fellow Bristol band Idles, lends his vocal talents to Capital X. Sebastian Grainger of Death From Above adds his musical mind to the track Cheap Magic. Mike Kerr of Royal Blood trades lines with Chris in the mind melter of a tune Domino. Finally, Chantal Brown of acclaimed psyche-metallers Vodun adds her flair to the song Very Bad. Usually I would say having this many featured guests cheapens a record. However every single one adds something unique to their respective song and makes the album all the more varied and diverse. One thing is for sure, you will not be bored with this album in a hurry. There is so much to appreciate and the talent on display is immense.

Now like I said Turbowolf are a very distinct band, so this will not be to everyone’s taste. If you’re not into this type of music then this album will do very little to change that mindset. They have definitely chosen their direction. Whereby they push the medium further with every release. I mean they do have some crossover appeal and casual audiences will probably take to the singles, as they do get radio play. However, the albums go full on weird mode and it can be a little much for the average listener. They’ve always had that effect though, so nothing new there. I’m very much into the sound on display here. There’s a creativity and splendor to the album that makes it sound so interesting. From its most intense punk moments to the mind-bending distortion and synths that gives them their signature sound. You will not mistake Turbowolf for anyone else, they hit the mark perfectly here.

5/5

Mick Birchall

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Royal Republic – Weekend Man

Posted in Alternative, CD, Rock with tags , , , , , , , on 25th January 2016 by mickbirchy

Royal Republic
Weekend Man
Garage Rock, Alt. Rock
Released: 26 February 2016
via Spinefarm Records

The Swedish rockers, Royal Republic return with a new powerhouse of an album in the form of “Weekend Man”.  Such an appropriate title as I haven’t listened to an alt. rock album in quite some time that makes me want to just get up and dance as much as this one does. The energy is just contagious, the band sounds like they’re having the time of their lives while making this album and it really shows because I’m having so much fun just listening to it.  “Weekend Man” is for people who want to switch off and just have fun, with the crazy lyrics and the light production work so the music isn’t really in your face.  Also, the simple but incredibly catchy hooks will have you singing and dancing all night.

It feels like a Britpop album, in the way that the sound is very cerebral and impactful but at the same time it has that thumping beat that Euro-pop seems to favour.  All wrapped up in a rock’n’roll style sound.  So there are lots of layers here. With all that mix of styles it’s nice that the songwriting is so simple, standard verse-chorus structure with catchy hooks and a hefty amount of repetition, it all makes for an album that will stick in your head for a while.  Songs like “Walk!” and “My Way” bring that heavy garage-rock style that made them popular to start with. Yet, tunes such as “Kung Fu Lovin” and “ When I See You Dance With Another” have that pop style that makes them such a versatile band. “Kung Fu Lovin” in particular is an interesting specimen with its rock sound very much downplayed for an upbeat tone.  Come to think of it, there isn’t a somber moment in the album, it’s all very much get up and go.

My own personal favourite tracks and the songs I would recommend checking out are the title track “Weekend Man” and “Baby”.  Both of these songs are tunes that would give you a good insight into what this album, and indeed the band, is all about.  Upbeat fun tunes that you can bop and groove along to.  Thinking of these songs makes me realise how much the funk genre must have influenced their sound, as they have that mid-80’s disco funk sound to them as well. Really, I can’t sing this album praises enough.  In a time where most hard and alternative rock music is deep and brooding, Royal Republic have made a fun party album. Only a few songs really deviate from this on this album. “American Dream”, “Follow The Sun” and “On Any Given Sunday” all have a more serious tone to them.  It’s definitely not unwelcome, in fact it’s really where my Britpop comparison stems from.  These are the songs that carry that cerebral sound.  It also has a jangly college rock sound that’s pretty endearing.

This is a cracking album and something that I think may brighten up your day no matter what mood you’re in.  Superb music and something I would be comfortable recommending to anyone.

5/5

Mick Birchall

Venom to release new album later this month

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 12th January 2015 by Pieni

 photo venomfromthedepthscd_zpse3caf0d9.jpg

Black metal veterans Venom are back, with their 14th studio album. The follow-up to “Fallen Angels” will be called “From The Very Depths” and it’s schedule to be released on 26th January, via Spinefarm Records, and will feature the following powerful tracks:

1. Eruptus
2. From The Very Depths
3. The Death Of Rock N Roll
4. Smoke
5. Temptation
6. Long Haired Punks
7. Stigmata Satanas
8. Crucified
9. Evil Law
10 .Grinding Teeth
11. Ouverture
12. Mephistopheles
13. Wings Of Valkyrie
14. Rise

Frontman Cronos says: “This album is perfect, all three members are totally over-the-top confident with the new songs and the production. We had a great atmosphere in the studio while we were recording, Dante created pure thunder from his drums, while Rage tears the flesh off your face with his riffs, making everything fall into place so well… it’s a strong release and really shows the band maturing into an unstoppable force of pure Black Metal. We can’t wait to play the new songs live for the Legions… Hell Yeah!”

A double vinyl will be also available afterwards.

www.venomslegions.com

www.spinefarmrecords.com

Amaranthe – Massive Addictive

Posted in CD, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , on 2nd November 2014 by mickbirchy

Artist: Amaranthe
Album: Massive Addictive
Genre: Melodic Metal/Power Metal
Released on 20th October 2014
Via Spinefarm Records / Universal Music

Amaranthe Massive addictive

So after The Nexus did really well for them, Amaranthe comes back with their new record “Massive Addictive” and I’m not going to lie, this is not the best of follow ups.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent album but I feel they could have delivered so much more.  However, there is still a fair share of absolute belters. There are some well some well constructed riffs and melodies that keep this album interesting and fun.

The album opens on the track “Dynamite” which is a big sounding tune with a very pretty decent chorus, but it’s not really impressive, it’s  just an OK tune.  In fact I feel that’s the biggest compliment and the biggest insult I could give this album, it’s just OK.  With the exception of a few tunes it’s just mediocre with no surprises.  The next couple of songs are the two that served as the lead in, to this album, and both a catchy, fun tunes.  “Drop Dead Cynical” & “Trinity” just simply glorify everything that Amaranthe strive to be.  Solid riffs and a catchy chorus with alot of synth sound-fx that just elevate these song to great songs.  There some other really great tunes like “Digital World” and “Danger Zone”, which again capture that fun essence that Amaranthe is all about.

However with the good comes the average, and to be honest there’s a lot of that on this album.  I don’t hate any of these songs, hell, I don’t even dislike them.  Nevertheless, when you know what a band is capable of you want them to get better, and so many of these songs don’t really work all that well.  The two ballads of this record “True” and “Over and Done” just drudge along and don’t really give you anything interesting to keep you in the song.  Other tracks on this record just feel like generic power metal and offer little else.

All in all, this is an OK album. I enjoy it fine, but after The Nexus, I feel the band could have done more.  The songs that are good are really good and fun.  I look forward to anything this band puts out, and I look forward to seeing them live. This album however will tide me over, I would recommend this to fans of the band and the genre only, I don’t think this album could reach anyone else.

3/5

Mick Birchall

Sparzanza – Circle

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 20th September 2014 by Pieni

Sparzanza
“Circle”
Heavy rock
To be released on 26th September 2014
Via Spinefarm Records / Black Cult Records

 photo sparzanza-circle-cover2014_zps895cce4d.jpg

Sparzanza are back. Well, have been back since March, when this 7th album of theirs, “Circle”, was released in the Northern countries. Now the stores in the rest of the world will have the pleasure of delivering it as well.

They’ve been gradually hardening their sound in the last albums, so seeing them pushing the envelope and releasing their heaviest album so far, that wasn’t a real surprise to me. Yet “Circle” has Sparzanza’s typical dark groove embroidered all over it.

Right from the start you get that impression with the opening track “Pine Barrens”. Heavier riffs, sharper beats, faster rhythm, rougher vocals… and then the chorus comes out in such a dark melody – not melancholic but rather ominous, menacing. After all, they’re singing about the “devil being back every century”

With all that but featuring a more easy-going melody comes the next track “Underneath My Skin”, which was the rightful choice for first single, precisely due to the melodic part – it gives a more accurate idea of the album as a whole, which I believe is the main goal of a promotional single. “Black” would have been great for that purpose as well, its stronger bass making it somewhat heavier and the “church choir” hinting some spiritual sense to the melody.

As for speedy songs, I must mention “Death Don’t Spare No Lives”. A very lively but groovy song, meaning the rhythm will hit your eardrums and embrace it at the same time.

“Breathe” could have been featured in the soundtrack of a thriller, as the words I find to describe it are the same – exciting and suspenseful. And taking “suspenseful” as cue, let me tell you about the second single “Into The Unknown”. Now this is quite a piece of melancholic darkness! The double tracking of Fredrik Weileby voice, in a grave pitch and a higher one, is one of my favorite details, giving such richness to the sound. Especially when it’s not a through and through event, it only happens in some carefully chosen parts, enhancing the beauty of this song.

The sadness in “As I Go Away” is a lot stronger, though, the piano and strings making sure to produce a melody as heartbroken as Weileby’s voice. Powerful ballad, this one.

“A circle is not something that has one specific meaning – it has several, so let the interpretation of this be in the eyes of the beholder”, say Sparzanza regarding the title of this album. Well I choose the meaning of “completion” as this is what “Circle” is – a successful achievement by this great band.

5/5

By Renata “Pieni” Lino

 

 

 

Interview with Johan Carlsson of Sparzanza

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , on 14th September 2014 by Pieni

 photo 10558040-origpic-fe62b6_zps3b638754.jpgI’ve been a Sparzanza fan for some five years, since I’ve first heard “My World Of Sin”. That song was featured in their 4th album “In Voodoo Veritas” and they’ve released three more after that, none of them ever disappointing me. So I was more than thrilled for this chance to interview bassist Johan Carlsson and get to know a little bit more about their latest “Circle”, among other things.

RL: Since this is the first time Valkyrian Music is talking to Sparzanza, I’d like to go back in time a bit. So my first question is… what does Sparzanza mean?
JC: Well, it comes from some old Blaxploitation movie from the 70’s. I believe it was the name of a very unpleasant pimp. Although, it was a long time ago. It was the first singer (Peter Eriksson) who came up with the name for a song first, and then the band used it as a band name. Do not ask me what movie it was, ‘cause I have absolutely no idea!

RL: You’ve been hardening your sound for some time now, but “Circle” is definitely your heaviest album so far. Was that intentional, at the beginning of the songwriting process, or it just turned out that way?
JC: This time it was really not intentional. It has been intentional on some of the albums, but not this time. This time we wanted to make a great record and have absolutely no boundaries. We have experimented a bit more this time, different guitar sounds, tunings, double bass drums and stuff, but in the end the song is what is in focus. And has always been.
We also wanted to have a more honest production, without too much overdubs and drum triggers and so on. More natural. photo sparzanzapress2011fotorobertrundberget2_zpscf09b13c.jpg

RL: Still, you manage to always keep that “something” that identifies it as a Sparzanza song. How would you describe the Sparzanza sound to someone who has never heard you before? What would you say it’s your best quality in order to convince that person to go and listen to it?
JC: I would say that it lies within the melancholy of the melodies. We have very strong melodies, which are very dark most of the times. Especially on the former album “Death Is Certain, Life Is Not” when we really dug us down into darkness. Still it’s not goth- or depressing music. It is really heavy hard rock/metal with great melodies. And with one of the best and most various rock and metal singers available (Fredrik Weileby).

RL: That “trademark” sound is also heard in covers – five years ago, you’ve released your own version of Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”. How did that idea come about, to release it at that particular time and why that song?
JC: We did it because we needed some attention at that time, actually. I don’t remember why we chose that particular song, but it might have to do with us thinking Mr. Idol is pretty cool. Also, since we wanted to do a cover a lot different than the original (otherwise don’t do it) and the production of that song is a bit lame, we thought we had something to work on. Our cover version, unlike other cover versions of that song, is very dynamic and has a cool Sparzanza feeling over it.

RL: And if Sparzanza would ever do something like that again, what song would you like to cover?
JC: Oh, that is a hard question. We actually talked about it the other day but never decided anything. Personally, I would like us to try a cover we did about 15 years ago – “Skirtlifter” by a band called Buffalo.

 photo sparzanza-circle-cover2014_zps895cce4d.jpgRL: Like it’s said on the website, “a circle is not something that has one specific meaning”. Is that why it was chosen as title for the album? For its diversity?
JC: Our street team, called The Black Cult was actually an inspiration. We wanted something on the cover that could be interpreted as a cult, something that is boiling underground without the public really knowing about it. The title is chosen out of that, and it’s a good title since it can be interpreted in several different ways.

RL: Of all the meanings it can have, which one is your personal favorite?
JC: The occult thing – a circle unknown to all!

RL: And still speaking of favorites… which song of “Circle” do you like to listen to the most and which one do you like to play live the most?
JC: Personally I think “Black” is a great song. It turned out one of the heaviest songs we have ever written. “Pine Barrens” is the coolest song to play live I think. The riffs are cool to play and it’s a great… no, it’s an amazing show opener!

RL: Why did it take so long for “Circle” to be released worldwide? (Note: “Circle” was released in the Northern countries in March and is set to be released worldwide on the 26th September)
JC: There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week! We concentrated on the Scandinavian countries first and needed some more time to plan the release outside of Scandinavia. We are doing a lot of work ourselves. We have our own label who releases the albums outside of Scandinavia and with all the touring and stuff we did not have the time to release it properly until now. I hope it was worth the wait!

RL: And can we expect live shows outside the Northern countries?
JC: Hell yeah! Right now there are plans for shows in Germany, Spain and UK in 2014. Then we will do the Benelux countries as well as China in 2015. That is the plan now, but there might be additions to that tour schedule.

 photo Sparzanza-Promo-3-1024x936_zps3a586ac6.jpg

RL: You’ve mentioned on Facebook that there’s a new song already, “Plainfield”. Was it born spontaneoulsy or are you already working hard on the next release? Is it too early to ask if you’ll keep on the heavy path of “Circle” or keep moving into something else?
JC: We’re always writing songs. This time, though, it was a spontaneous thing. We have not started to write a lot for the next record, but there are always plenty of ideas to be worked on. I think it might be a little premature to talk about how the next record will sound, but it won’t be less heavy than “Circle”, I can guarantee you that!

RL: In the band’s bio the drums are mentioned as being “in your face” in this album, and that the sound is different due to the “use of alternate tunings of the guitars”. Does this include the bass guitar or would you like to add something else about the input of your bass in “Circle”?
JC: Well, since the guitars are tuned different I had to tune the bass different too sometimes. But I have been trying to keep the low tuning that I always use on my basses. It sometimes makes it harder to play the songs but the sound stays heavy. Otherwise than that I really like to keep both the playing and the gear pretty simple. Just the amps I always use, my Sandberg basses and a pre-amp, that’s it. Me and Anders (the drummer) also rehearsed by ourselves a lot this time before recording, to make it even heavier.

RL: Well it’s been a pleasure talking to you! All the best with those plans!
JC: Thanks!

www.sparzanza.com

Interview by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Electric Wizard unveil title of forthcoming album

Posted in News with tags , , on 10th September 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Doom legends Electric Wizard have announced that Time To Die will be the title of their forthcoming album which is set to be released internationally through Spinefarm Records. The band’s eighth studio album will also be their first release since signing a worldwide deal with Spinefarm Records. Electric Wizard founding member Jus Oborn comments:

All of our albums in the past have had a theme – revenge, drugs, black magick – and the theme of this one is death. Of course, death to us really means rebirth, so this album is a manifestation of a very primal occult belief in the final sacrifice. We have gone full circle – it was inevitable, but we had to do it. We had to kill the band so we could be reborn. It was the only way to ensure we could come back even stronger.

Electric Wizard online:

http://facebook.com/electricwizarddorsetdoom