Archive for Synthesizer

Broken Links – Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene

Posted in Alternative, CD, Industrial, Rock with tags , , on 18th November 2012 by izaforestspirit

Broken Links
Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene
Released: November2012
Industrial Rock / Goth/ Alternative Rock
Released via Devil Theory Records

Disasters: Ways To Leave A Scene is the debut album from the British industrial rock band Broken Links.

Electrik seems like a fitting name for the opening track which features a good mix of synths, heavy guitar riffs and standard rock style vocals. There’s something very uplifting about this band’s take on industrial rock, I can’t quite put my finger on what it is. Somehow the combination of the energetic guitar riffs and the singer’s passionate, melancholic vocals creates this happy vibe making you want to wave your hands around and sing along. The synth-laden intro to What Are You Waiting For? gives the track a certain darkwave/gothic feel to it. For a while you think this is going to be a slow and sombre ballad, then melodic guitars kick in picking up the pace and with them the vocals breathe new life to the song.

Then there’s the atmospheric, ambient-style, synth-driven Choice/Decay (Part I) and its melodic guitar infused twin Choice/Decay (Part II)’; the combination of which is the closest thing the band has to a rock ballad. There’s some really odd stuff happening during the intro to Therapy Sessions In The Dark; experimental guitar riffage and synth…hmm…I’m not sure if that was really necessary – then again neither was the industrial noise part in the intermission track. The weirdness doesn’t stop there though, as the bizarre synth noise makes a brief comeback in the later stages of the track. Luckily next up is Cherno which is a far less complicated beast, marking a return to the energetic industrial rock style of its predecessors.

Another noteworthy track is the melodic and atmospheric instrumental A Memory of Home which has this tranquil feel to it setting it apart from the rest of the album.

Overall this is one of the most unique rock albums I have ever reviewed. Broken Links is not an easy band to categorise and their debut is full of surprises. It may not be flawless but it’s definitely worth checking out in my opinion.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

 

Advertisements

Cyb3rnator – Line Of Fire EP

Posted in CD, Dubstep with tags , , , , , , on 21st April 2012 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Cyb3rnator
Album: Line of Fire EP
Release Date: 7th April 2012
Label: Unsigned/Self-Released
Genre: Dubstep

Cyb3rnator was originally thought up by gameboy fanatic Tyla-Joe back in 2008. It wasn’t until 2011 that vocalist Katie joined, adding catchy melodic hooks to the 8-bit and gameboy dominated dubstep soundings of Cyb3rnator. Earlier this month, Cyb3rnator released their Line Of Fire EP via their BandCamp page. Before I carry on with this review, I’d like to state I know nothing about dubstep.

The EP starts off with Hello Roy Ritcher. The percussion sections of the track certainly do get the feet tapping away rhythmically, while the vocals have a slight Ayria sound to them. The gameboy sounds give the sound a bit of a funky Mario sound. The synth sounds have a very industrial feel to them, almost like a mash up of Zombiegirl and VNV Nation. The title track, Line Of Fire, follows next, beginning with a hypnotic piano medley before the first wave of danceable synth riffs march on the ear drums. The changes between synths and piano makes for an interesting combination, especially with the use of vocals and percussion.

The halfway point of the EP, Sunsets To No Regrets, starts with a well composed use of synths and 8-bit sounds, creating a very retro gaming atmosphere. The vocals sound stronger than the last two tracks, which is really saying something considering how powerful they are on the previous tracks. Sunsets To No Regrets would definitely have to be my favourite track. Nearing the end of the EP comes Lungs which begins with a semi-epic sound before the mesmerising 8-bit sounds come in topped with the catchy, melodic and staunch vocals. The final track, Burn, which features Robbie Burton, comes to choppy start but the track redeems itself later on when everything flows almost perfectly. Overall, the track feels like an 8-bit version of an industrial track. The vocals need some tweaking though as they feel like the most lacking part of the track, which is a shame considering how great they sound on the rest of the EP.

Considering the bad rep that dubstep, as a genre, has got and the way dubstep acts are dismissed as being “awful music” and “not real musicians”, I do believe that Cyb3rnator have got a bright future as a band. The EP is a near-masterpiece that fuses 8-bit with electro influences and very strong vocal work, and to be honest, I’m quite surprised I never discovered the band sooner. Hopefully, we’ll be hearing more from these guys soon.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Don’t forget, Cyb3rnator, are opening up Severed Heaven on 29th April at Shades Nightclub in Bridlington.

Rhapsody Of Fire – From Chaos To Eternity [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Rhapsody Of Fire
Album: From Chaos To Eternity
Release year: 2011
Genre: Power Metal/Symphonic Metal

Rhapsody Of Fire have been a dominating force in both the Italian and European metal scenes. “From Chaos To Eternity” is the last album based on the fantasy saga that started with the band’s 1997 debut album “Legendary Tales” and is the first album to feature the band’s newest member Tom Hess.

The short lived track “Ad Infinitum” , which is Latin for “Endlessly”, is the first track of “From Chaos To Eternity”. The track is mainly composed of the technical guitar work of Luca Turilli combined with the epic narration of Christopher Lee. It is a brilliant opener for the album in true Rhapsody fashion. The title track, “From Chaos To Eternity” carries on from where “Ad Infinitum” finishes.  The track is already at a good start with the acute riffs and epic sounding piano sections. Fabio’s vocals are stronger than ever, the drums are masterfully played and the bass sections are pure genius. The third track, Tempesta Di Fuoco, which roughly translated means “Firestorm” in Italian, shreds its way next with a fast paced, technical intro riff mixed with some epic symphonic sections. There is use of some acoustic sections which brings a certain calm to the track whilst the piano only section takes away something from the track.

“Ghosts Of Forgotten Worlds” like the previous tracks, starts fast paced and technical, though some of the guitar sections on this track seem to have more bite and aggression.  The vocals blend well with the acoustic sections. The symphonic sections contrast superbly with the violent sound of the track. Even the drums seem to have more punch. The synth and guitar solos make this track one of the best ones on the album. “Anima Perduta”, Italian for “Lost Soul”, begins with the sound of wind followed by a beautiful combination of piano, flute and harpsichord. The vocals are soothing, blending with the solemn atmosphere and sound of the track. The symphonic sections make the track more majestic sounding. The guitars sound as if they don’t belong on the track however. Next is “Aeons Of Raging Darkness”. The introduction is mightily played bass section followed by an epic guitar riff mixed with a sagaic symphonic section. The guitar sections have more a speed metal element to them whilst the piano medleys add a hint of neoclassical to the track. The vocals, to begin with, are raw, aggressive and brutal, blending exceedingly well with the cleaner, operatic vocals. “Aeons Of Raging Darkness” is certainly one of the most aggressive, violent tracks ever to be performed by Rhapsody Of Fire and its a sound that works well for them.

“I Belong To The Stars” begins with a calmer introduction compared to the previous track though the track does soon turn heavy and symphonic. There seems to be more emphasis on the choir and symphony on this track, mixed in with some great piano medleys and strong vocals. Some of the guitar riffs leave much to be desired, as do some of the drum sections, however, the synth solo makes up for it. “Tornado” begins with a dramatic intro and the guitar riffs that follow are great. Like “Aeons Of Raging Darkness”, this track has a very aggressive and violent sound, complete with more harsh black metal screams mixed with the cleaner, more operatic vocals. The drum and guitar sections have improved since the previous track as well.

The last of the album is the almost twenty minute long epic “Heroes Of The Waterfalls’ Kingdom”. Christopher Lee’s narration is the intro, setting a certain legendary atmosphere. The vocals bring a very medieval sound, whilst the slight use of flute works well with the acoustic guitar.  The violin sections are well composed, making the track that much more pleasant to listen to. The symphonic sections signal the approaching metal assault, which was to be expected eventually. Fabio demonstrates his full range on this track, whilst the riffs are more acute and technical than they have been on the album. The harsh vocals can be heard in parts of this track, giving it more bite. The choir sections do seem to ruin the track ever so slightly, however everything else makes up for that. Some of the other guitar sections are more aggressive and barbaric, clearly demonstrating the masterful skills of the guitarists. Christopher Lee’s narration can be heard half way through the track, making it more and more sagaic. There is a conversation between the characters of the saga, which helps bring about a very legend-like feel, especially as it works well with the guitar riffs and symphonic sections. The track ends very solemnly and grandly. A perfect end to the saga.

“From Chaos To Eternity” fully demonstrates how much Rhapsody Of Fire’s sound has changed and mature since their first album. This album is perhaps the best one they’ve written and probably will be the best for a long to come. This is certainly a jewel to have for any fan of symphonic and power metal.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Emerald Sun – Regeneration [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th March 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Emerald Sun
Album: Regeneration
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Power Metal

Emerald Sun have been a part of the Greek power metal for thirteen years now, with a surprisingly small discography. “Regeneration” is the newest addition to said discography.

The album begins with the track “We Won’t Fall”, which begins with a rhythmic drum intro which is soon accompanied by a rock sounding riff. The guitar goes slightly more metal when the synths make themselves heard. The vocals have a very Judas Priest-meets-Iced Earth sound to them. The synth riff gets irritatingly repetitive throughout the track. There is a technical use of guitar work which improves the track a fair bit. However, the highlight of the track is the guitar solo. “Theater of Pain” follows after. It begins with the sound of clapping followed by a drum intro. The guitar riff that follows has a slight Dragonforce sound to it. There is a great use of double bass pedal throughout the track and the synth riffs work well with the guitars. The guitar solo sounds choppy to begin with but soon improves. There is a line of narration towards the end of the track, which gives the track a little bit of a Gothic novella sound.

Next is “Where Angels Fly” which begins with a heavier riff than the past two tracks. The vocals sound a tad lower as well and the synths work extremely well with the guitars. The drums on the other hand do sound quiet compared to the synths, guitars, bass and vocals. Some of the guitar sections on this track aren’t exactly impressive, as they lack technicality and musicianship. The solo, however, is good. The title track “Regeneration” comes after, being composed entirely of eerie and epic sounding synths. “Starchild” comes blasting in next with a fierce combination of guitars, drums and keyboards. The vocals, again, sound slightly lower. The keyboard riffs are more impressive on this track than they have been on the previous ones.

“Speak of the Devil” is next, beginning with a synth-and-drums intro. The guitars soon make themselves heard. The vocals sound like a harsher version of those found on a Manowar album to begin with and go back to sounding like a Judas Priest-Iced Earth combination. The synth sections sound great, especially when combined with the vocals and drums. Next is “Planet Metal” which begins with a heavy intro which is soon accompanied by synths and vocals. There is a slight use of squeaky vocals as well which kind of ruins the song. Aside from that, it is an okay track.

“Chasing The Wind” is next, which begins with a mixture of guitar, drums and synth. It isn’t exactly a heavy track, as it sounds more like a hard rock track rather than a metal track. The guitar solo, however, does add an element of metal to the track. Next is “Fantasmagoria” which begins with a slow synth intro, which is soon accompanied by a slow guitar riff and female vocals. The male vocals come in when the track turns heavier. There is also a use of harsher vocals, which sound eerily familiar to that of Marco from Nightwish. The guitar solo is similar to that of something that Megadeth would perform. After the guitar solo, there is another vocal section in which a new set of vocals come in, which sound a tad bit like those of the late, great Dio. The only problem with this album is that it’s far too long.

The last track of the album is the bonus track, which is a cover of Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out For A Hero”. It begins with a few chords played on the keyboard and a few quick blast-beats. After that the main keyboard riff begins. The guitars soon come in, bringing the metal element to the track. The vocals soon follow, sounding very much like Bonnie Tyler, almost to the point where the the vocals sound like female vocals. The guitar solo, however, is absolutely immense. If anything, this cover is probably more of a comical cover than a serious tribute to Bonnie Tyler.

Most bands normally get their sound perfect by their third album. Emerald Sun however have failed to do so. “Regeneration” is a great album but it sounds as if it is lacking in parts. Hopefully, Emerald Sun will have their sound perfected by the next album release.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson

Avatar – Millennia [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 27th February 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Avatar
Album: Millennia
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

“Millennia” is the latest and last release by now disbanded Belgian black metal quintet “Avatar”.

The album begins with the track “Mirrors”, which begins with a slow piano intro. The slow picking of a guitar soon follows. Surprisingly,  the combination works really well. Almost two minutes in the track turns heavy but retains it’s slow pace. The sound of synthetic organs from a cheap keyboard join in the rest of the music when the track turns heavy and the steady beating of a double bass pedal follows after that. The keyboard generated sound of flutes brings the track to a calming end, which is unusually good for a black metal track.

“The Unbodied Serpent” is next. It begins with a folkish and medieval sounding guitar intro, which is soon accompanied by keyboards and some very rough and raw vocals. The drums sound somewhat soft compared to the rest of the music. The use of female vocals along side the harsher male vocals is very reminiscent of “Ethereal”. The keyboards have a very eerie sound to them throughout part of the track and the drums seem to get heavier. The guitars get heavier as well with some nice tremolo picking in sections. The only problem with this track is that it’s too long, though the use of a guitar solo, despite being unusual for this genre, is very nice.

Following after is “The Ancient King”. It begins with an “Iron Maiden” sounding riff, which is soon followed by heavily beaten drums, synth sounds and pure black metal-styled brutality. The vocals, again, are rough and raw. The keyboards perform some nice eerie riffs again, which work very well with the vocals and drums. The use of a guitar solo, just like in the previous track, is brilliant. The bass performs some good riffs in sections of this track as well. “Smoky Mountain” comes next and it begins with an eerie sounding keyboard intro, which sets a dark and grim mood which is soon ruined by clean guitars making an appearance. The track does turn partially heavy and female vocals make an appearance. The keyboards can be heard all the way through the track which is a good thing. The male vocals finally make an appearance over half way through the track, bringing a bit more heaviness to it.

The title track “Millennia” begins with a combination of clean and distorted guitars, which are soon accompanied by keyboards and drums. The vocals seem to over power the track. The track itself seems to have a grand and epic sound to it, something which is rare in black metal, though it doesn’t ruin the track. After a line of clean vocals about two minutes in, the track turns heavy and a great solo finds its way on to the track as well. There is also a brilliant eerie keyboard section towards the end, which eventually is accompanied by a slow, hypnotic bass riff and a clean guitar riff.

“Le Secret Du Soleil”, which is French for “The Secret of the Sun”, is next. It begins with a sample sound of running water, mixed with a keyboard section and an acoustic guitar riff.  The keyboard sounds of flute soon dominate the track, with the distant sound of water in the background along the acoustic guitar. Following after is “Ultra Mare” that brings back the symphonic brutality with a keyboard and guitar intro, followed by pounding drums. The bass line is very rhythmic and works very well with the vocals when they make an appearance. The vocals sound more rough and raw than they have been on the previous tracks. The guitar riffs seem to switch between slightly melodic and brutal. The female vocals make an appearance towards the end and they work brilliantly well with the harsher vocals, which is always a good thing.

“The Summergate” comes next. it begins with a trumpet sound generated by the boards, followed by drums and a sinister sounding guitar riff.  The vocals sound like they’re overpowering the track. The drums keep a nice and constant fast pace throughout parts of the track. The keyboards help give this track a certain atmosphere. The final track “Weltschmerz” which is German for “World-weariness” comes next. it has a somewhat odd intro for a black metal track, as the drums sound very techno and there’s a use of samples from what would seem to be speeches by world leaders. When the keyboards come in, they add more of a techno sound to the track. Samples of other speeches and radio transmissions make appearances throughout the track. There is a slight use of harsh vocals over halfway through the track, which works oddly well.

The sound quality and production of “Millennia” isn’t great, which adds to the sheer brilliance of the album. The use of female vocals on some of the tracks gave the album a bit of a Gothic metal sound as well. However, the techno-sounding track at the end came as a surprise and did ruin the black metal element of the album slightly, despite the slight use of harsh vocals on that track.

4/5

Nico Davidson