Archive for Thrash metal

Speed Metal Party

Posted in Festival, Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 11th August 2018 by izaforestspirit

Dethrone, Prestige, Razor
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
10th August 2018

Speed Metal Party is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. It was originally held in Tampere back in 1988 with local thrash metal legends Dethrone and Prestige. Now thirty years on, they decided to re-create the same line-up as it was back then with some new additions in the form of death-thrashers Dead Samaritan and Canadian speed-metal band Razor. For the Canadians, this was their very first show in Finland.

First up was Dead Samaritan, a female-fronted death-thrash metal band. They reminded me of mid-career Arch Enemy, a good mix of melodic death metal and thrash metal. It was good performance even if it started out a bit slow. 3.5/5

Next up was a local thrash metal band Menticide who haven’t played a live show since 1992. They were brought in from retirement specially for this occasion. I couldn’t really get into their show. The music sounded a bit demo-esque at times. The vocalist didn’t have much of a stage presence. 2/5

Dethrone have been around since the late 1980s. They keen to share some stories from the past and pay to their fallen brother, bassist Jouni Rinta. I really enjoyed their show, especially their cover of The Misfits ‘Last Caress’.5/5

Prestige was originally formed about the same time as Dethrone, then had a long-ish break but they are nowadays very much active again. They are one of the more established bands in the local thrash metal scene. By the time they came on stage the venue was packed and there was a mosh-pit forming. These guys don’t take themselves too seriously.They clearly like to add humour to their lyrics and crack a few jokes during the show. Maybe a bit too many jokes at times. I can’t fault the music though. It was a good show. 4/5

Then it was time for the night’s main headliners – Razor. As mentioned earlier, this was their very first time in Finland and I sincerely hope that it will not be their last. This was my favorite performance of the night. Top class speed metal. The highlight for me was when they played ‘Evil Invaders’. 5/5

 

 

In summary I had a great time at Speed Metal Party. I’m not that well versed in Finnish thrash metal but that didn’t stop me from enjoying Prestige and Dead Samaritan. Razor were excellent live. Happy Anniversary Speedy Metal Party! 30 years and still going strong…

Iza Raittila

 

Hatchet – Dying to Exist

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 24th June 2018 by izaforestspirit

Hatchet
Dying to Exist
Released 22nd June (USA) / 29th June 2018 (Europe)
Thrash Metal
Released via Combat Records/EMP Label Group (SPV)

Hatchet - Dying to Exist

‘Dying to Exist’ is the latest album from the American thrash metal band Hatchet. These guys have been around since 2006 and they are from The Bay Area, California – the same place where many world-renowned thrash metal bands started out back in the ‘80s.

It’s pretty clear that these guys like their ‘80s thrash metal. The influences are hard to miss; with Testament being the most prominent influence, combined with the speed and aggression of Slayer. Oh yes, speed and aggression rules the day here. Throw in some Testament-style guitar harmonies to the mix and you will have a fairly good idea of what Hatchet sounds like.

At their fastest, their music is bordering on speed metal, with songs such as the Desire For Oppression offering more than enough energy and aggression to get a mosh-pit going. On the other end of the spectrum you get the more technical tracks like Where Futures Regress, which starts fast before mellowing down towards a more melodic, yet still very guitar-centric part mid-way through the song. Illusions of Hope reminded me of Kreator mostly due to the similarities in both the vocal style and the twin guitar harmonies.

In summary, ‘Dying to Exist’ is proof that old school thrash metal is having a revival. Had I not known that Hatchet have only been around since 2006 I would have assumed that they were from the ‘80s themselves. They are continuing the tradition introducing a new generation of metal fans to the Bay Area Thrash Metal.

4/5
Iza Raittila

South Park Festival 2018

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , on 10th June 2018 by izaforestspirit

Helloween, Accept, Amorphis
Eteläpuisto, Tampere, Finland
8th-9th June 2018

Tampere’s prime metal festival South Park was back on this year after a brief hiatus in 2017. It’s a two day event but I only attended the Saturday. This year marked the return of the band that I discovered at the same festival three years ago – the one and only German power metal legend Helloween.

I arrived a little later so I missed the first two bands but just in time to see some of Amorphis. They’re one of the most recognizable bands within the Finnish metal scene and they seem to feature in most of the country’s festivals. I’ve seen them live a bunch of times before so I pretty much knew what to expect. I like their old albums though I lost track of them after ‘Silent Waters’. This was another solid performance, well executed melodic death metal. It’s always good to hear ‘House of Sleep’ and other favourites. So a good start to the night. 4/5

Next up was the Finnish thrash metal quartet Lost Society. They played some fairly decent-sounding thrash metal; sadly I’m not too familiar with their music so I could not appreciate it fully. 3/5

I did enjoy watching the Swedish heavy metal outfit Mustasch though. Their music is a mixture of Motörhead-style heavy metal with some elements of stoner metal. It’s probably not the kind of thing that I would listen to at home but it was fun to watch at a summer festival. 3.5/5

This was the second time that I’ve seen S-Tool live. For those who haven’t heard of them before, it’s a new band from Ville Laihiala (ex-Sentenced, Poisonblack). As a big a fan Mr. Laihiala’s other bands, particularly Sentenced, I was looking forward to seeing S-Tool. Music-wise, it’s essentially picking up from where Poisonblack left off only without the Gothic elements. Good show! I enjoyed it a bit more than the last time. 4/5

German heavy metal legends Accept were one of the day’s headliners and one of the main bands that I wanted to see. They put on one hell of a show. I’m not familiar with their recent material but it was great to hear some of the old classics such as ‘Balls to The Wall’, ‘Fast as a Shark’ and my personal favourite ‘Metal Heart’. 5/5

There’s not an awful lot I can say about Mokoma. They have a sizeable following here in their home country. Their performance was good but I’m not familiar with their music. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the night’s main headlining act Helloween. This show was special because it featured all three of the band’s vocalists from past to present together on stage. That’s right, all of them – Kai Hansen (the original founder of the band), Michael Kiske and their current vocalist Andi Deris performed together as part of the Pumpkins United tour. It was really good to hear some of the old classics such as ‘Heavy Metal (Is the Law) and ‘Halloween’ along with some of the more recent hits such as ‘Are You Metal?’ They also played one of my personal favorites ‘If I Could Fly’ from ‘The Dark Ride’ album. Fantastic show! 5/5

 

In summary I had a great time at South Park even if it was just for one day. It was worth it especially for Accept and Helloween. Amorphis and S-Tool were pretty good too. If the line-up is this good next year I will definitely come back again.
Iza Raittila

Dew-Scented call it a day

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 22nd May 2018 by izaforestspirit

Sad news for fans of Dew-Scented. The German thrash metal quintet have announced that they will be splitting up this autumn. Here’s an extract from an official statement from the band:

DEW-SCENTED are no more!

A message from the band themselves…

DEW-SCENTED are no more!

All good things must come to an end…

And it’s now been 26 (!) intense years of sacrifices for the thrash metal cause for us. Despite numerous setbacks, DEW-SCENTED never split up or even stopped for any significant amount of time. We were always blessed with great opportunities and a strong will to soldier onwards.

All in all, we have had an amazing ride with this music we love and not only played countless great shows across the globe, but released ten (!) albums and most importantly, we made tons of life-long friendships along the way because of the band.

But it’s time to realize that we won’t be able to forge ahead much further because DEW-SCENTED just won’t work without complete and constant dedication. And giving such a full-time commitment simply isn’t possible anymore because of how life otherwise evolved throughout the years.”

 

Before they call it a day they will complete one final tour in Germany. This will include the last show in their hometown of Walsrode.

Here is the schedule:
SA 23.06.2018 Protzen (Germany) – Protzen Open Air / Sold Out!
FR 24.08.2018 Nucknitz/Bautzen (Germany) – Nukstock Open Air
SA 25.08.2018 Wiernsheim (Germany) – Riedler Open Air
FR 05.10.2018 Paderborn (Germany) – Metal Inferno Festival
SA 06.10.2018 Walsrode (Germany) – JZ Mittendrin / Final Show!

 

For more details visit:

http://www.dew-scented.de/

https://www.facebook.com/dewscented

Straight Terror – Between The Lies

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on 7th April 2018 by izaforestspirit

Straight Terror
Between The Lies
Released 16th February 2018 (Europe)
Thrash Metal
Self-Released

Straight Terror - Between the Lies

‘Between the Lies’ is the debut album from the Chilean thrash metal band Straight Terror. They have been around since 2012 and they have toured with bands such as Kreator.

Thrash metal is having a revival and there’s been lots of new bands appearing especially from Latin American countries. Last year I discovered the Brazilian all-female thrash metal trio Nervosa when the supported Destruction. Now it’s Straight Terror’s turn…

I’m guessing that these guys are big fans of Slayer since some of their songs sound a lot like old Slayer. That’s by no means a bad thing though. If you are looking for Slayer-esque shouting vocals and aggressive guitar riffs, then you have come to the right place. These guys aren’t quite as fast but they sure know how to deliver the punches, hitting where it hurts. Take Metal Madness for instance, it’s one big shout fest with the guitars and the drums adding to the aggressive stance. It’s angry and a little chaotic at times, in other words the ideal track to play to get a mosh-pit going.

This album does contain one wild card, though, As I Claim For Resurrection. It is the longest track on the record as well as one of the most complex. Not only are there changes in pace but also in general style and structure. This song is more melodic than the others and it features some progressive style guitar riffs which reminded me of mid-career Megadeth. Great for those who enjoy that type of thrash metal; personally I prefer the faster songs such as the aforementioned Metal Madness and the Slayer-style aggressive thrash metal of Hallowed Destruction.

In summary, ‘Between The Lies’ isn’t flawless but it is a good effort for a debut album. If you’re into thrash metal then there is a good chance that you will enjoy it. What Straight Terror still need is something distinctive that will make that them stand out within the scene but that will hopefully come with time.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

 

 

 

Vader, Annihilator and Testament live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 22nd March 2018 by izaforestspirit

Vader, Annihilator, Testament

Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland

21st March 2018

It’s very rare that I go to a concert where I’m actually more interested in the opening act than the actual headliner. American thrashers Testament were the headlining act but for me it was all about Vader. I’ve been a fan of their music since my early teens and the last time I saw them live was at Hellfest in France back in 2009.

Vader were on first and they put on a hell of a show. They are celebrating the 25th anniversary of their debut ‘The Ultimate Incantation’ so their set included some songs from that album along with some new stuff such as ‘Send Me Back to Hell’ from the latest record. The venue wasn’t quite full yet at this point since they were the opening act but there was more than enough people to get a mosh-pit going. I really enjoyed it. Sadly their show was rather short, only half an hour. I would have loved to hear more. 5/5

I’ve never seen Annihilator live before but I recognized a few of their hit tracks including ‘Welcome to Your Death’, ‘Alison Hell’ and ‘Phantasmagoria’. This time the audience was much larger as was the mosh-pit. It was a highly entertaining show. Annihilator play exactly the kind of thrash metal that I like and I’m now tempted to check out some of their music. 4/5

Then the main headliners Testament took to the stage. Their music can be best summed up as optimized thrash metal, big riffs, complex harmonies and good vocals. I am just not too familiar with their music and didn’t recognize any of the songs so I didn’t really enjoy the show as much as the others. That guitar solo midway through their set was impressive though. Good stuff. 4/5

In summary, it was a really good night of thrash metal. Well mostly thrash metal that is, I tend to class Vader as more of a death metal/death thrash metal act these days. I loved Vader, they were the number one show for me, Annihilator were really good. As for Testament, they have a massive following and they put on a good show but I’m not that much into their music. 4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Savage Machine – Abandon Earth

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 27th February 2018 by izaforestspirit

Savage Machine
Abandon Earth
Released 19th January 2018
Heavy Metal/Power Metal
Self-Released

Savage Machine - Abandon Earth

It’s been two years since I reviewed Savage Machine’s single; now here I am reviewing their debut album ‘Abandon Earth’. I’m already familiar with two of the tracks since they were on the ‘Event Horizon’ single. Based on the description, this is a concept album about a post-apocalyptic world in which humans are at war with the machines. So, it’s traditional heavy metal with a science-fiction theme. That sounds promising, let’s see what we have here…

This is actually a little more complex than I expected it to be. In addition to the predominant classic/NWOBHM-style heavy metal, there are also some elements of power metal. Take the The Hunter for example, the guitar structures made me think of the old albums by Helloween mixed with the story-telling vocal style of Iron Maiden. Then they reduce the pace with a ballad called Time Traveller,  a melodic heavy metal/thrash metal hybrid which reminded me of the early works of Iced Earth. Good guitar work!

Speaking of guitars, the “rifftasic” Event Horizon and classic heavy metal style ‘Savior’ are the undisputed highlights of the album. The former is an energetic, fast piece of thrash metal packed with killer guitar riffs. As for Savior, I already liked it two years ago and it hasn’t lost any of its appeal.

In summary, it has to be said that there’s not a single filler track on here. There’s good variety in the pace with just enough ballads to please fans of melodic metal and power along with plenty of faster songs for the thrashers amongst us.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Reverence – Foreverence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on 23rd January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Reverence
Foreverence
Released 22nd December 2017
Power Metal/Thrash Metal
Released via Razar Ice Records

Reverence - Foreverence

Two years have passed since I reviewed Reverence’s last full length ‘Gods of War’. A lot has happened since then. For starters, they have a new singer. Secondly, last year they suffered the loss of their guitarist Peter Rossi, who died unexpectedly in March 2017. This EP is dedicated to his memory. It also features two live songs acting as preview to their new live album.

From the musical perspective, this EP essentially picks up from where their last full length left off. You’ve got your uplifting, guitar-driven power metal hit – Firelord which, though a little cheesy in the lyrical department, is rather enjoyable. Then there’s New Order which features some old school thrash metal and even groove elements in the guitar structure. Speaking of guitars, the band’s official tribute to their recently departed guitarist Final Flight – RIP PJR is a true masterpiece in guitar work. No vocals or drums, just full on guitar solo harmony and riffs galore. I’m sure that any current or aspiring guitarist would love to have a go at playing this tune.

Then there’s the sombre, slow acoustic ballad Sleep in which you can really hear the emotion in the vocals. It’s a far more profound and bittersweet sound than what you might expect to hear from Reverence but it suits the mood. Finally, the live tracks seem like a fitting way to end this EP, acting as a means to show that the band will go on doing what they do best.

In summary ‘Foreverence’ is a great way for the band to pay tribute to their departed guitarist. They have paid their respects and now they are getting ready to move on and take the next step forward. All I can say is keep up the good work!

4/5

Iza Raittila

Solitary – The Diseased Heart Of Society

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 18th June 2017 by Paul Macmillan

Solitary
“The Diseased Heart Of Society”
Thrash metal
Released March 03rd 2017
via UKEM

If you pretty much live for the full Baskin Robbins, 31 flavours of thrash, Solitary’s latest release is an absolute must for your collection! No messing about with too much unnecessary cross-over into other genres, The Diseased Heart Of Society just gets straight to the point. It’s doubtful this would be a surprise to those aware of the band’s 2014 live opus I Promise To Thrash Forever. While this might put certain restraints on musical endeavours, Solitary pull it off with such flair you wouldn’t ever care.

This could be down to them being an expert hand at cherry-picking the essence of some utterly classic albums, without simply replicating them. There are definitely some shades of Master Of Puppets, as well as the hugely underrated …And Justice For All. I think I pick up a hint of The New Order era Testament (in fact I Promise… features an excellent cover of Into The Pit), as well as incredible lead-work nods to Rust in Peace and/or Countdown To Extinction. While these are artists who play in the same park, if not by the same rules, Solitary have created their own hybrid game. I think they might have pinched all the newer equipment, too.

Sharp, crisp guitars, thundering drums, driven bass make the production on this release a bit of a gold standard for me, and highly enjoyable to listen to for that aspect alone. This musical backdrop makes the perfect nest to carry what is possibly my personal favourite element of TDHOS; the vocals. Now, there is certainly an undeniably English accent, but the delivery fully puts me in mind of German band Rage’s frontman Peavy Wagner! That might not work for everyone, but right here, that is God status!

As much as I would normally lean towards it, I’m not sure if diversification would help in this case, or end up being a bit of a downer. The thrash energy is high, the solos are on fire, and the hooks are plentiful. One thing I do know is this is a solid keeper, and a prime example of the UK metal, and thrash, scene.

Paul Macmillan

4.5/5

Overkill – The Grinding Wheel

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 7th February 2017 by Pieni

Overkill
“The Grinding Wheel”
Thrash metal
Release: 10th February 2017
Via Nuclear Blast

overkill-the-grinding-wheel

I’m having mixed feelings about Overkill’s new album. Maybe my expectations were too high after Testament’s “Brotherhood Of The Snake” and Kreator’s “Gods Of Violence”, and also an underground project called Infraktor that I’ve been keeping close tabs on; my thrash metal flame’s been rekindled and was eager for “The Grinding Wheel” to keep fueling it. But…

The length of the songs is an automatic downer for me. Yes, it’s not exactly new that Overkill like to shred away longer than the rest of their fellow thrash bands, but I believe it’s the first time they’re pulling an average of six minutes per song (literally, kids – it’s ten songs in one hour; do the math). That’s just too much.

At least they diversify the structure and it’s not the same riff over and over plus a 3-minute solo; it doesn’t get boring out of repetition and here lie my mixed feelings. Crafted compositions are clear, rich with groovy patterns, but some kind of binding agent is amiss. The opening track, “Mean Green Killing Machine”, for instance. The introductory drum beats are promising but soon reveal they’re not getting anywhere; a Judas-Priest-like melody and the rock’n’roll piece that it leads to are both pretty catchy, but fall somewhat adrift among the main riffing.

One of the features I’ve always loved the most in Overkill was their bass line, but D.D. Verni’s presence here is shallower than usual – needless to say, another downer. And as if that wasn’t enough, in “Shine On”, one of the songs where the bass stands out a little, Bobby Blitz sounds like a chicken when singing “come on” in the chorus, ruining the moment.

Curiously enough, one of my favorite tracks is less thrash, as the aforementioned rock’n’roll comes at full force in “Come Heavy”. But the rebellious “Red White And Blue” follows suit in terms of preferences and that one is as thrashy as it goes. The rest of the album… well, let’s just say that it lives up to its title: it… grinds.

3,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Kreator – Gods Of Violence

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 24th January 2017 by Pieni

Kreator
“Gods Of Violence”
thrash metal
Released: 27th January 2017
Via Nuclear Blast Records

godsofviolence_zps28ifmxs8

“Gods Of Violence” or how to make the same thing and still sound fabulous.

When “Phantom Antichrist” was released, I used keywords such as technique, melody and elaborate guitars; now, almost five years later, the same words pop up in my mind. Yet it doesn’t leave a taste of repetitiveness but of… familiarity.

Living up to its name, “Apocalypticon” is an epic promise of war, a promise that starts being fulfilled right afterwards, with the fierceness of “World War Now”. Some sharp melody in-between makes it both classic and classy.

“Satan Is Real” is the other side of the coin – still belligerent, still menacing, but the rhythm is more grinding than shredding. There’s even some symphonic elements here and there to emphasize the throbs.

“Totalitarian Terror” is something I’ll love to hear live, a thrash hymn, with a catchy, sing-along chorus.

Okay, I admit some of the acoustic chords of the title-track are a subtle reminder of Metallica’s “Fade To Black”, but the rest of the song is very Kreator-like and another strong candidate to a live favorite.

The spunky spirit of “Army Of Storms”, the force of “Hail To The Hordes”, the mischief of “Lion With Eagle Wings”, the militant “Fallen Brother”, that weeping solo of “Side By Side”, “Death Becomes My Light” brings over a little more semi-acoustic moments – these not similar to any other band’s – before galloping away at full speed… Kreator are able of pulling out sophisticated tweaks off their sleeves, delivering exactly what is expected of them, both as a thrash metal band and as a veteran, professional act.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Destruction live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 18th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Gonoreas, Nervosa, Destruction
Klubi, Tampere, Finland
17th January 2017

My first gig of 2017! I opted for some thrash metal this time. Old school German thrash metal to be precise…I have technically seen Destruction live before, a long time ago at a festival in a small town in Spain during my year abroad as a student. Now, a decade later I got the opportunity to see them live again this time in Tampere.

First up was a Swiss heavy/power metal band called Gonoreas. The crowd was still gathering when these guys started their set but it didn’t take them long to agitate the audience and even get a small mosh-pit going. At one point their singer came off the stage and he started wreaking all sorts of havoc, encouraging people to move. It was a good way to start the night. 4/5



I had no idea what to expect from the Brazilian thrash metal trio Nervosa. They are an all-girl band and they really know how to rock. Their style is essentially old-school thrash metal, similar to the headlining act. Brutal, fast and highly entertaining. So brutal it actually reminded me of death metal at times. I definitely need to check out some of their music. 5/5

Thrash metal is one of the best metal sub-genres to see live. Destruction are veterans of the thrash metal scene and they sure know how to put on a great show. I’m not too familiar with their latest album ‘Under Attack’ and so I was glad that they also played some of their older material such as ‘The Butcher Strikes Back’, ‘Nailed to the Cross’ along with a few classics from the start of their career. It was a great performance, even better than the first time that I saw them live. 5/5

In summary this was a great way to spend what would have otherwise been an uneventful Tuesday night. I really enjoyed Nervosa and Destruction are always entertaining to watch. What a great start to the year!

Iza Raittila

Metallica – Hardwired… to Self-Destruct

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 25th November 2016 by Mickelrath

Metallica

Hardwired… To Self-Destruct

Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal

Released: 18 November 2016

via Blackened Records

So, it’s been 8 long years of buildup and hype. For many metal fans though, some trepidation. As Metallica don’t have a sparkling reputation for album releases. In my opinion, they haven’t made a solid album since “The Black Album”. I mean they’ve had the odd decent tune here and there. They just haven’t made a solid full album. So this album, Hardwired… To Self-Destruct was met with a lot of ears. How is it?…. It’s good. I’m not going to say great but it’s good. I think the whole thing is really damn good and definitely their best work in a long time. I guess it was too much to expect them to release a full on thrash album. Then again I don’t think they needed to.

The album sounds great. The production is sharp and they sound tight. Particularly on the title track ‘Hardwired… To Self-Destruct’ and on ‘Atlas, Rise’. The riffs are nice and they actually sound somewhat like Metallica. Weird, I know. Through both discs they’re pretty damn consistent. With a well composed and well arranged sound. It feels like someone took the time to put it together. I like the experimentation with other types of metal too. Ok, they’re not going crazy with this album, they’re playing it pretty safe, still it’s nice to hear.

Saying that though. I do feel that this album plods along at points. Never enough to get boring but it does feel a little long winded. This is way more apparent on disc two. Which feels like Metallica are overstaying their welcome. There are some nice riffs though, like the opening to ‘Confusion’ and I quite like the last song ‘Spit Out The Bone’ it was a good way to cap off the album. So hey not all bad there.

So, yeah Metallica are back. I’m not going to say this is a return to form. However, it is a solid album, and that’s all I really wanted from them. Just something that I can play and have a little fun with. Hardwired… works quite nicely. It’s got some brilliant songs, excellent guitar solos and it sounds like Metallica actually wanted to make this album. Which makes this a good album in my books.

3/5

Mick Birchall

Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 27th October 2016 by Pieni

Testament
“Brotherhood Of The Snake”
thrash metal
Release: 28th October 2016
Via Nuclear Blast

brotherhood-of-the-snake

Formed in 1983 as Legacy, Testament were forced to change their name – the usual there’s-already-a-band-with-that-name thing – and that change happened three years later. So even if their whole history is a bit older, Testament turn 30 this year. What better way to celebrate than releasing a pure thrash metal record, probably the best they’ve done in years?

‘Cause that’s what “Brotherhood Of The Snake” is – a thrash metal bliss. We use the expression “breath of fresh air” whenever a band adds something new to the genre, but it’s just as refreshing when a band manages to stay in character and makes it sound like a novelty.

The fierceness and excellence of their songwriting is surely well known, but you still won’t be expecting the blow that your ears will take with the title-track or “The Number Game”.

The machine-gun speed with which Chuck Billy sings “Stronghold” will remind you of songs such as “Over The Wall” and the gang chorus has the same power as the one in “Into The Pit”; similar formula, including the hit-potential, but you won’t feel like you’ve heard it all before. “Refreshing”, remember?

Same with “Seven Seals”, where they go for something less aggressive but still heavy, like they did with “Souls Of Black”, or the headbang-friendly “Neptune’s Spear” that’s as catchy as “Electric Crown”, but it’s just the nature that’s comparable – “The Brotherhood Of The Snake” offers ten distinctive, killer songs which will renew your faith in thrash metal.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 16th October 2016 by izaforestspirit

Darkthrone
Arctic Thunder
Released 14th October 2016
Blackened Heavy Metal
Released via Peaceville Records

The Norwegian metal duo Darkthrone doesn’t need much of an introduction. Their early albums such as ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ are regarded as classics of the black metal genre. Also, let’s not forget their drummer Fenriz’s witty comments and his passion of underground music. They’re one of those bands who isn’t afraid to alter their style and experiment with something new. Since the start of their career they have gone through various transformations ranging from death metal to black metal followed by experimentation with punk and heavy metal music. Personally I lost track of them after ‘The Cult is Alive’ album back in 2006. Then recently I heard their new song ‘Tundra Leech’ on Youtube and I decided to give them another go.

First up is the familiar, eerie sounding Tundra Leech – the track which convinced me to obtain a copy of this album. It’s great to hear Nocturno Culto’s haunting voice again, sounding just as grim as he did in the band’s early days of black metal. Nocturno Culto is singing on all the tracks on here which is really good in my opinion. I’ve always preferred his harsh and creepy vocal style to Fenriz’s hooting clear vocals. As for the music, the guitars have this old school feel to them as if they were trying to replicate similar riff patterns as they used in the 90s. By ‘old school’ I mean a mixture of old school black metal with a slight thrash metal tinge audible in the guitars.

In other words it’s still very grim-sounding but it’s way too fast and too catchy to be considered “true” and “kvlt” black metal any more. Boreal Fiends stands out due the melodic instrumental intro at the start; slowly drawing you closer into the deep dark forest with the grim guitars, drums and Nocturno Culto’s haunting howls as your only guides. Then there’s Inbred Vermin, a bit of an oddity, which sees the band play around with some heavy metal and (dare-I-say-it?)…Motörhead-esque guitar patterns mid-track, neatly sandwiched between frostbitten, ultra-haunting howls and black metal guitar riffs. These guys clearly enjoy both these styles, so why not combine those two? And why not? Who says that Motörhead doesn’t go well with Hellhammer or Celtic Frost? Also why stop there when you can also add some thrash metal into the mix? That pretty much sums up what the managed to achieve rather successfully with the title track.

Overall this ‘Arctic Thunder’ sees Darkthrone revisiting their roots – the sounds that have influenced them in the early days and putting a new spin on it. It’s got the same eerie and cold atmosphere as their highly regarded black metal albums, but it’s not restricted to one specific metal genre. The closest thing I can think of to describe their current sound would be something like ‘blackened heavy metal’. Luckily I’m not any kind black metal purist, so grim and frostbitten ‘blackened heavy metal’ sounds just as good to me.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Blaakyum – Line of Fear

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 2nd July 2016 by izaforestspirit

Blaakyum
Line of Fear
Released 25th June 2016
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal with Middle Eastern folk music influences
Self-Released

Line of Fear’ is the second album from the Lebanese thrash metal band Blaakyum. Originally formed back in the mid 1990s, Blaakyum haven’t had an easy start. Some of the band members have experienced social oppression first hand, for example their singer was arrested twice just for being a fan of heavy metal. They have recently gained more international recognition, winning third place in the Wacken Metal Battle finals in 2015 and playing Tuska Open Air in Finland in June 2016. The hostile and turbulent situation in their home country has had a major influence on the band’s lyrical themes. This particular album is centered around the subject of freedom of thought and artistic expression.

After the initial background research, a question immediately sprung to my mind: Is it actually possible to successfully mix Middle Eastern folk music with thrash metal? Let’s see… In this case the Middle Eastern folk feel is created using a Middle Eastern drum called tabla. So that’s where the “folk” sounds originates from. Apart from that, Blaakyum’s signature sound combines influences of old school thrash metal acts like Slayer and Destruction with groove-thrash metal vibes and even the odd power metal element in one song.

Baal-Adon features an interesting mix of groove metal guitars with squeaky, power metal -style vocals with the profoundly melodic sounds of the tabla. Other standout tracks include the Freedom Denied thanks to the beautifully melodic intro created with just one guitar and the tabla, and the title song which serves as the perfect introduction to Blaakyum demonstrating everything that the band has to offer. Oh, and let’s not forget the angry-sounding, bonus track ‘Riot Against Riot‘ in which the guitars and drums mimic the start and the violent aftermath of a protest – the music matches the story.

Overall, Blaakyum definitely leaves a lasting impression on its listeners. Their chosen style is not an easy one to grasp and this album may take a few listens to get into. Thrash/groove/heavy metal influences aside, what really makes these guys special is their history, lyrical themes and combination of Middle Eastern folk music and metal. So, to answer the opening question; yes, it is possible to mix these two styles successfully.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Narcotic Self – Cut The Chord

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 5th June 2016 by izaforestspirit

Narcotic Self
Cut The Chord
Released 6th May 2016
Thrash Metal/Heavy Metal/Groove Metal
Self-Released

‘Cut The Chord’ is the third album from the American heavy metal band Narcotic Self. They have toured with a number of renowned metal bands including Slayer, Exodus and Soulfly. Their music is a mixture of classic thrash metal with other metal genres along with some experimental elements. This album features Björn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork as a guest vocalist on one of the songs.

Kicking off the album is the title track, an aggressive and brutal metal song filled with thrashing guitars, pummeling drums along with abrasive and angry shouting. Then, when you least expect it, they slow down the pace towards the end of the track and treat you to a short but well executed melodic instrumental. It’s just enough for you to take a deep breath and relax before the usual onslaught of guitar, drums and shouting returns, raising hell inside your eardrums. Generation Victim (feat. Björn Strid) is a fairly straightforward piece of aggressive, thrashing groove metal which reminded me of the early works of Machine Head, DevilDriver and to a certain extent Lamb of God.

Hell in My Head caught my attention due to the deceptively melodic guitar intro at the start. There’s some experimentation in the guitar parts and briefly a change to a softer, more melodic vocal style halfway through the song. This time the melodic elements last a little longer than they did in the title track. The problem is that I’m not entirely convinced that the random changes suit the rest of the song. The transition between the two is just not as fluid as it should be. Then it seems that Narcotic Self decided to have another go at the more melodic side of metal/rock so they created Creeper, a song which is predominantly slow and melodic. At least for the most part… Then, all of a sudden, the aggressive shouting and thrashing monster re-emerges. It’s almost like the other half of the song was composed by another band. Luckily the rest of the album marks a return to good old brutal and vicious thrashing groove metal with only occasional bits of clear vocals sprinkled in to soften the blow. For example, Brainslave shows how well executed guitar work can make a song memorable for all the right reasons.

Overall, this album left me feeling a little confused. I’m not entirely sure that I understand what Narcotic Self are trying to achieve here. I would have been perfectly happy had these guys just stuck to a specific style be it thrash or groove metal but the random mid-song experimentation is very off-putting. Those bits aside ‘Cut The Chord’ should appeal to fans of Lamb of God and Machine Head.

3/5

Iza Raittila

Green Death – Manufacturing Evil

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 22nd April 2016 by izaforestspirit

Green Death
Manufacturing Evil
Released 15th July 2016
Thrash Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

 

Manufacturing Evil’ is the second album from the American thrash metal band Green Death. It is a follow up to two EPs and their 2013 debut release ‘The Deathening’. This album features David Vicent (ex- Morbid Angel) as a guest vocalist on one of the tracks.

We’re off to a good start with the melodic intro, easing you in to the title track which is a full on barrage of thrashing guitars and vocals that remind me of Testament and Iced Earth. Gates of Hell is an interesting blend of thrash and death metal which gives the song an aggressive feel. Luckily for these guys I just happen to like both of those genres, so this combination works very well for me.

Soulless came as a bit of surprise being the only slow song on here with melodic guitar and radio-friendly clear vocals entering the frame. Not that it’s a bad thing, after all several of the legendary thrash metal bands have a few ballads. Devil’s Night marks a return to the same vocal style but the guitar work is much more refined and complex. There’s also elements of groove metal in the guitars akin to the likes of Pantera.

Overall, this album is predominantly in the thrash metal category but it also offers a good mix of other metal styles . Luckily the mix is just right so the songs don’t sound like a horrible cacophony of experimental noise. Fans of traditional thrash may have some issues with the death metal elements on some of the tracks. Personally I think that they have a very unique style and a bright future ahead of them.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Scarlet Anger – Freakshow

Posted in Review with tags , on 18th March 2016 by izaforestspirit

Scarlet Anger
Freakshow
Released 18th March 2016
Thrash Metal
Released via Hänsel & Gretel Records/M.I.G Music GmbH


The Luxembourgish thrash metal band Scarlet Anger are back with the second album ‘Freakshow’. This release comes four years after their successful debut album ‘Dark Reign’. The band cites classic ’80s and 90s comics and horror stories as the main inspiration for this new piece.

Horror stories and thrash metal tends to be a good combination. The best examples I can think of are classic, old Metallica songs such as ‘The Thing That Should Not Be’, inspired by the tales of H.P. Lovecraft or Iced Earth’s ‘Horror Show’ album. Speaking of H.P. Lovecraft… It seems that Scarlet Anger are also fans of his work, or at least the comics that his stories inspired, since the opening track on here is titled Awakening of The Elder God.

The horror themes continue with the suitably eerie-sounding The Haunted Place – House of Lost Souls which lives up to its namesake. Yet whilst the coarse vocals and the overall tone of this track have that dark and creepy atmosphere, some of the guitar parts are actually fairly melodic. The title track Welcome to the Freakshow is a completely different animal however, reflecting the band’s more aggressive style with ferociously fast guitar riffs and abrasive, shouting style vocals being the key features. Luckily there’s a good mixture of both the harsh, raw and the melodic thrash metal styles which gives the album enough variety to keep the listener interested. After all, it’s not easy to tune in to nearly fifty minutes worth of non-stop thrashing guitar riff barrage and shouting. Therefore it is good that you get the occasional slower, ballad-esque and melodic track such as An Unbelievable Story of A Stupid Boy to provide some relief to sore ears.

Overall, ‘Freakshow’ is a testament to how Scarlet Anger have developed and grown as a thrash metal band. Horror themes aside, the album essentially continues along the same path of modern thrash metal that was audible in Scarlet Anger’s debut.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Wrath Sins – Contempt Over The Stormfall

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 6th January 2016 by Pieni

Wrath Sins
“Contempt Over The Stormfall”
Thrash metal
Released: 26th September 2015
Via Raising Legends Records

 photo WRATH SINS Cover copy_zpslzztzkrm.jpg

Wrath Sins picked up the classic thrash metal, filtered the edginess with some prog and “Contempt Over The Stormfall” was born. It’s not exactly modern thrash metal; it’s thrash metal with a polished twist.

In the mix there’s also a graver tone of vocals, unlike the high pitches this genre has gotten us used to. It’s still clean and aggressive, like Bobby Blitz or Chuck Billy’s, but a notch lower than theirs. And then there’s the growling backing vocals, functioning as a spicy seasoning. Still they invited some “legends” of their hometown underground to enrich the outcome – Fernando Martins of Web sings in the straightforward “Textured Vengeance” while Miguel Inglês of Equaleft helps out in the groovy (what else?) “Solipsism”.

Musically/instrumentally speaking, “Contempt Over The Stormfall” is a pretty consistent, solid album, featuring beefy riffs (the title-track, ”To Where The Waves Break”) and classy guitar pieces (my favorite “Watching Time Collapse”, or “Paradox”). Well done, boys.

3,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino