A Spark Of Deity
(Sleaszy Rider Records)
Writing about fantasy is the easiest and yet the most difficult task... You can put in your lyrics all the fantasy creatures and stories the human mind has invented and yet you won’t achieve anything. You see fantasy metal is a kind of magic too and a kind of rare magic. It requires the artist to give all of his/her heart in it in order to achieve the right atmosphere. Here is where SOLAR FRAGMENT succeed, where many other bands have failed. No it is not the clever way they use the riffs and melodies. Not even that they have absorbed their influences in a very creative way. It is that they like fantasy stories and want to make music that bring them forth. Yes, my friends SOLAR FRAGMENT use the same craft that BLIND GUARDIAN used in the past (without copying them) in order to create music that will make your mind travel into magic kingdoms and distant words. A debut that is worth to be mentioned and deserves the attention of people that need to listen to good power metal music with heart and not just catchy melodies and guitar show – offs in the solo department. A very noticeable first step for a band that seems very promising…
The Enemy Within
(Sleaszy Rider Records)
This is the second release for the Swedish DEDICATION and it finds them in a new label. Their debut “Reflections Of Time” was released from the Italian Underground Symphony. I haven’t listened to their debut release, so I can’t say if they have changed something in their sound or if they have added any new elements. The fact is that “The Enemy Within” is a decent melodic heavy metal album played by the heart. So, don’t seek here any innovations or progressive things. Here you will listen to good and well performed metal with interesting melodies that guarantee you an enjoyable listening. I think that the band draws inspiration from all the works of DIO mainly and secondly their songs have an IRON MAIDEN touch. All in all they are moving in the same way as bands like HAMMERFALL and mostly BLOODBOUND and they don’t have anything to envy from the above mentioned groups. I enjoyed the listening and I think that the album will visit my CD player quite often, cause songs like “Walk Into The Fire”, “Waiting” and “Evil Eyes” are simply awesome. The only thing I didn’t like is the cover of the album which without being bad it surely gives the wrong impressions. You see the cover would be more proper to gothic or melodic death metal bands and not to a heavy metal band. Check them out…
Father Of Victory
FOLKEARTH is mainly a project of members from bands all over the world making a hyper band that plays traditional folk Viking metal. "Father Of Time" is their fourth album and believe me when I say that it is a record that shouldn't be missed. There are twenty people involved from countries all over the world (including Greece, Portugal, Italy, Canada, U.S.A, Norway and other) and they all perform in the best possible way. With heavy guitars, drum tempos varying from fast to mid tempo, female and male vocals both brutal and clear ones and amazing melodies from instruments such as the celtic harps, cellos, flutes, violins, mandolins bodran, tin whistles and others you will really think you are in a folk fairytale among traditions and myths of the Northern history. But what disappointed me was the production which I believe should be better for an album like this so that every listener can hear the amazing composistions in it. Nothing more to say here other than the fact that I recommend it not only to the fans of this genre, but to all metallers as it is an album which can be heard by many fans. Enjoy!
The Circle Shuts
New album for the German power metallers, the seventh to be more specific and prepare for a kick in your face. "The Circle Shuts" is the name and heavy/power metal is the game. Aggression as long as it can get with heavy harsh guitars, riffs that reach to the bone, powerful fast as hell drums and brutal vocals with some clear parts which was something that I really paid attention to as it sounded somewhat different but really cool. Eleven compositions with both heavy and melodic tracks as the Germans only know how to play that will keep good company to everyone who dares listen to them. There will also be a limited edition with a bonus CD including the first EP of the band "Human Traces". Make sure that when the circle shuts you will already be right in it.
ALMAH is the band of the well known singer from ANGRA Edu Falaschi and this is their second attempt in the heavy metal discography. "Fragile Equality" moves in the same way as its predecessor and with many resemblances to ANGRA, but with a heavier sound Edu and his gang have produced yet another very good power metal album. Heavy guitars with killer riffs and solos coming from beyond, melodies filling the whole album and fast changing to mid-tempo drums are some elements that every listener will meet on this album. Ten compositions with power, aggressiveness but also including heavy ballads comprise an album that shouldn’t be missed by anyone. Just make sure you won’t break it. Enjoy!
Perverting The Nazarene Cult
These Belgian blacksters are here to offer us some top notch compositions of anti-Christian, Satanic black metal as their debut's title so eloquently indicates. Musically they are close to the sound of IMPALED NAZARENE, only they have infused their songs with more melodic moments and a great deal of guitar solos and riffs that reveal the band members' skills and excellent technique! The songs' tempos are mainly fast and aggressive though every now and then some more melodic or atmospheric parts make their appearance and offer more depth and variety to the end result. The vocals are also great, sounding really tormented and demonic and suit like a glove to the compositions, which are also accompanied by a very good production that elevates the end result even more! If you dig intense, unholy, epic black metal, then "Perverting The Nazarene Cult" is here to satisfy your needs!
Third release from the Polish epic metal band
and things have not changed much, except for the fact that their compositions
show that the band has progressed even more whe it comes to the songwriting
process. This mini-CD includes 4 compositions and one cover of MANOWAR’s
“Thor (The Powerhead)” and as you can understand all the songs are inspired
by the hammer bearer god of the Vikings. One other thing is that the MANOWAR
elements in their sound are more intense in this release, but no one can
blame them, cause after all MANOWAR are killers (especially in their first
4 albums). Also, I insist that the way they use the keyboards reminds me
of ANCIENT RITES (just listen to the sweet melodies of the song “Slain
Will Rise From The Dead”, they have something nostalgic and mind travelling).
As for the cover to the song “Thor” is decent and proves the love of the
band for MANOWAR, but they hardly can reproduce the glory of the original
song. Although, the EP is very good I have to admit that I like a bit more
their “Wandering The Lands” CD. So for that reason I give them a…
MISBEGOTTEN is a band hailing us from Austria and this is their fourth album. "Keeping Promises" is the name and if that is its purpose then they serve it pretty well. Their sound is that of thrash metal with hardcore elements meaning heavy harsh guitars with twin solos, fast alternating to mid tempo drums and brutal vocals which sometimes lower their pain giving the songs just what they need. Moreover the production is very good with all the instruments being heard as they should, which is LOUDLY. Now as to the songs well for that I have to say that after one or two listenings some cruel head banging and air guitar riffing the listener will be bored and will put it aside as it will have nothing more to give. Nothing more to say than the fact that MISBEGOTTEN should really try to find a way to keep the listener's attention intact.
Wandering The Lands
I didn’t expect to listen to another good epic metal work after CROM. I have said it before and I will say it once again, many can claim that they play epic metal, but few succeed in having the right atmosphere. DRAGONSCALE are one of these bands. Although, young of age they seem to have absorbed their influences and are capable of composing songs that even bands with more experience would envy. Their sound is a mixture of the European heavy metal as it was played in the 80’s by bands like RUNNING WILD and HEAVY LOAD with many touches of U.S. metal steel and more specifically they brought to my mind OMEN and some bits of MANOWAR. However, the band doesn’t simply copy ideas from the above mentioned groups, but they try to embody their influences into their own way of playing. Anyway, “Wandering The Lands” is an album that the fans of 80’s metal will appreciate and must support it. By the way I want to say that I also liked a lot the intro that brought to my mind the latest releases of ANCIENT RITES. For a first full length release DRAGONSALE sound very promising and capable of many things in the future…Contact them here: email@example.com
JOHN B. (I can’t understand why he doesn’t
put his full name) is a Greek guitar player and having already shown his
abilities in two bands WOLFCRY and HYBRID is here with a solo project album.
As it says in the booklet JOHN B. has performed and produced the whole
record and I have to say that this is a difficult task to do. Now as to
the album "Row" is an instrumental album with eleven songs where one can
fully understand the guitar abilities of JOHN B. and I have to say that
some songs are pretty cool! What I didn’t like is that although his playing
is good, he emphasizes only in virtuosic guitarism and not in creating
melodies or beautiful images something which I think will displease the
listener. The whole work is good and I hope that in his future plans JOHN
B. will offer us a more sufficient and mature album. Till Then…
|CROWN OF THORNS
CROWN OF THORNS is a band that dates back in the 90’s and after a very good career and six years from their latest release they are back.... Back to give us great rock tunes and melodic sounds. "Faith" is an album standing tall in the melodic rock genre and the quartet from America can well pride themselves in making a very good comeback. Melodic guitar riffs and solos, groovy sounds, catchy tunes and A.O.R moments are some elements that you will find on this album which will offer great pleasure to every listener. So have faith in this record as it surely won’t let you down... not a single minute. Enjoy!
Hatred, Failure, And The Extinction Of Mankind
Hmm...I might actually get into this CD. This is the type of death metal that I gravitate towards. There's plenty of tempo changes...jagged guitar riffs interlaced with some "standard" pedaling... the vocals aren't too annoying... though, they aren't THAT "great", either, but I usually focus more on the guitars, anyway, when listening to metal. However, the drums sound pretty good, overall, too... the production of the music is really good for this style of death metal... you can hear what's going on with all the instruments, except for the bass, maybe. But getting back to the drums...the tom-toms really stand out in the mix, which is cool for a change. They are pretty "bright" sounding... not a dull barrel-like heavy bass sound, that gets a bit annoying sometimes (think HATE ETERNAL... I LOVE that band, but the production IS NOT very good, in my opinion... in terms of a "clear" distinction between instruments), though I think Nailed should use a variety of toms, not just the "high end" ones... 'cause now that I notice how "cool" hearing the toms in such a way is, it's getting annoying... 'cause it's the same sound... over and over... they need some "lower tuned" toms, as well, to mix it up a bit... if they could combine what they have with the way HATE ETERNAL uses them... it might be "gold"?! While, the overall music of Nailed isn't doing THAT much for me, as I listen to the entire disc (there's nothing all that original to it)... it's still a "worthy" effort and I respect what they're doing, here. It's pretty angry... energizing, to an extent... "groovin'" in some areas... has some power behind it and shows skill. Pretty good!
Rockin’ Shibuya 2007
NIGHT RANGER is a band of the 80’s, a band that has made history in the melodic rock scene and with many albums in their discography. The American rockers are back with a live album. "Rockin Shibuya" is the band’s live performance in the previously mentioned city of Japan for the Hole In The Sun tour and believe me they truly kick ass. Having as a track list songs mostly from their older albums, NIGHT RANGER give a very good performance with all members giving their best (especially Reb Beach who does an excellent work on the guitars) with twin guitars cooperating harmonically, keys offering us great melodies and vocals which will be loved by anyone. The whole production is very good and I believe that it is a live that will displease very few people. Get ready to rock and dance!
(Rotten To The Core)
IN CHAINS is a newcoming 5 piece combo hailing us from Belgium and "Demolition Business" is their debut full length work and as their album indicates we're talking about some seriously heavy and powerful music! The band's songs dwell somewhere between death and thrash metal with the latter being more obvious and their compositions having an old school, classic touch! Their structures are really concrete and their riffs are heavy accompanied by a stable and voluminous rhythm section, nice solos and raspy, hoarse vocals that enrich the songs with passion and even more rhythm! The production is also very good and I really enjoyed the fact that I was able to listen to and discern all the instruments and I loved hearing the bass clearly, something that most bands don't do. If you are thrash maniacs, then I think "Demolition Business" is your thing!
(Dynamic Art Records)
I didn't know what to expect from this band so I can surely say this album was beyond any expectations! The Swedish ANGEL BALKE have been around since 2004 but it's only been recently that I came across them and I'm definitely gonna stick around and follow their steps from now on! "The Descended" isn't overly innovative or pioneering, yet it's so fresh and characteristic that once you listen to it there's no chance you might confuse ANGEL BLAKE with any other band out there. Their sound is modern and dynamic, yet it's very atmospheric and melodic, elements that classify this band under the broad category of dark heavy metal close to the sound of SENTENCED and DEBASE. I really don't have much more to add here... I'm really enthralled with "The Descended" and the more I listen to it the more elements I find that magnetize and enchant me... the melodies and the vocal lines are simply breath-taking! The singer has a really passionate and emotive voice and he just elevates the end result. As for the compositions they have dark, melancholic melodies and yet they are full of passion, power and volume! To wrap it all up "The Descended" has all those things I'm looking for and want to listen to in a dark metal release, so these guys can definirely count me in as a fan!
Call Of The Broken Souls
(Det Germanske Folket)
The term atmospheric black metal usually leads us to think of gothic keyboard based sounds and mellow parts being mixed with growling vocals. The Spaniards DANTALION, although they belong to this genre, have managed to release a work that has non of the above elements and yet it still is atmospheric. Their atmosphere lies within the dark and blackened themes that are mainly created by the guitars along with the help of the very good tormented demonic growls of the singer and supported by a concrete rhythm section and some really nice drum parts! The tempos are mainly slow, but some blast beats or faster paced moments are there as well to create more variety and enrich the end result. Thoughts on death, depression and suicide pass through your mind whilst listening to this songs, which means that the band has done an excellent work music-wise, managing to transubstantiate their lyrics into notes and riffs... If you like dark, gloomy atmospheres and frozen black metal sounds, then DANTALION might have something to offer you here...
Face Your Underground 6
(Rotten To The Core)
The Belgian underground scene is definitely thriving, so more and more bands pop out from that country and offer us quality works. These samplers, with this one being the sixth in a row, are compiled by deathmetal.be with different criteria each time... this time the guys looked for some quality groups that stand out on myspace and therefore selected the 20 best, according to them, bands that appear here. I'd like to note and underline here that all bands come from Belgium or at least one of their band members is of Belgian origin and that's the linchpin among all these acts... This along with the fact that they all belong to the extreme metal genre with death metal being the prevailing branch, though there are also some hardcore, metalcore, black and grind bands making their appearance here. I really liked this compilation cause it's a good "compass" inside this maelstorm of releases and it allows you to come across some really promising newcomers! So the bands that appear here are: 1. BATTALION (http://www.myspace.com/battalionsquadcamp), 2. EMETH (http://www.myspace.com/emethbe), 3. THEY:SWARM (http://www.myspace.com/theyswarm), 4. NASTY (http://www.myspace.com/getnasty), 5. DEDICTED (http://www.myspace.com/dedicted), 6. FATAL RECOIL (http://www.myspace.com/fatalrecoil), 7. CALDERA (http://www.myspace.com/calderahc), 8. ORB OF TORTURE (http://www.myspace.com/orboftorture), 9. PSALM (http://www.myspace.com/psalm), 10. LEPTOTRICHIA (http://www.myspace.com/leptotrichia), 11. FUNGUS INC. (http://www.myspace.com/fungusinc), 12. IN CHAINS (http://www.myspace.com/inchainswesuffer), 13. TRENCHFOOT (http://www.myspace.com/trenchfoot), 14. ASSUR (http://www.myspace.com/gastronomicdestruction), 15. SOLDERED POON (http://www.myspace.com/solderedpoon), 16. NARTHEX (http://www.myspace.com/narthexband), 17. BLOOD DRIFT (http://www.myspace.com/blooddrift), 18. OMERTA (http://www.myspace.com/omertametal), 19. HELLDOZER (http://www.myspace.com/helldozer) and 20. BURIAL GROUND (http://www.myspace.com/burialground666).
(Northern Silence Productions)
Sophomore release from this melodic black metal band from Sweden and this one too contains lyrics that are entirely written in the band's mother tongue and dealing, as they kindly inform us, with topics like darkness, death, nature and war. Suitable lyrics for such dark, minimalistic and melancholic music that is surrounded by a frozen atmosphere and contains some really epic riffs that bring to mind battlefields and winter landscapes filled with snow and desolation... So, in that aspect I think MORKER have recorded a very good album with all the right elements and a very good production, however there were some songs on "Hostmakter" that tired me a bit and sounded to me quite similar with one another... they were quite typical to put it more simply. The more epic songs stood out more for me and I truly believe they were really something! So if you are fans of melodic epic black metal, "Hostmakter" is an album that deserves your attention and has a lot to offer you!
Cold Cold Bodies
My goodness!!!! Why? Why did I have to get through this pain and suffering? I promise I'll be good and drink all my milk from now on, only please don't make me listen to anything like that ever again... I really don't know what to say here... This CD is just plainly annoying to me from its beginning till its end... ARCADIA are trying to incorporating everything possible in their sound which is mainly hardcore and modern metal and upon it add whatever they think is either trendy or catchy... It just doesn't sound right... It sounds false and manneristic... Let's think for a moment... What's trendy and in fashion lately? Hmm hardcore... check! Rap... check! Some progressive touches to make the songs sound more sophisticated... check! Are SYSTEM OF A DOWN and psycho sounding music still in fashion? Check! Anyway the bottom line is that this is annoying and pretentious and sometimes the vocals, not the aggressive ones, but the clean sound cheesy and ludicrous. I really can't go through this release a second time... I'll keep a safe distance!
Breeding A Divinity
FIGHTCAST is a newcoming band from Italy and "Breeding A Divinity" is their debut... only wait... I've listened to those riffs and melodies before! Yeah I'm pretty sure about it! I've listened to the exact same melodic lines and themes before... how can it be? Is it deja vu? I guess not... it's the fact that their ideas and style are almost identical to SOILWORK's... some IN FLAMES and THE HAUNTED influences are also present here, but SOILWORK is the most important and prominent one... FIGHTCAST's skills are obvious and they offer us some great performances of catchy songs that are definitely ideal for headbanging. The thing, though, is that there's not an ounce of originality or a personal element here... everything reeks of SOILWORK and I can't hear a single composition in which the band tries to set themselves apart from their influences. It's like this album was created to pay tribute to their favourite bands. The songs are nice, but still they file this band under the copy cat category... This album can only be appreciated by the die hard metalcore fans who'd listen to anything from this genre. Personally I'm gonna pass this time and I'll wait for the band's next release to see whether they managed to cast out those elements and set their personal stamp or not.
FIERCE ATMOSPHERES might have just now released their first sampler, but it is not a new band and its members are definitely experienced musicians and veterans in the heavy metal scene. So, I have to admit that they didn’t surprise me when it comes to skillful playing and the maturity of their sound. I have to admit that I have big expectations from such veterans and I have high standards for what I want to listen and FIERCE ATMOSPHERES didn’t disappoint me at all. Musically they are moving in the vague genre that we used to call U.S. power metal, but they also have elements from the progressive and classic metal sound with some bits of 70’s hard rock also thrown in. The 3 compositions that they offer us here (2 songs and 1 instrumental) are characterized by the maturity on the songwriting part and by their rich sound that each time you listen to you discover something new. The only thing that needs improvement is the sound (not that it is bad and especially the 80’s metal fans will enjoy it), but if you want to attract the interest of a label in our days you surely must have a clear and polished sound. I have no doubt that FIERCE ATMOSPHERES is a band that can succeed in the demanding metal scene of our days and above all they have all these elements that a power/progressive metal fan needs to listen to from a band. You can check them out and contact the band here: http://www.myspace.com/fierceatmospheres or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick "Verkaim" Parastatidis
Inde Deus Abest
Now that's a name that should be imprinted in everyone's mind... well better make that etched! I listen to lots of CDs every month and though I have to admit that most of them are decent and well executed, they lack in other important fields like energy, passion and catchiness just to name a few. Contrary to all that, NATTAS are here to take you by surprise and stun you with their top notch songs that dwell somewhere between thrash and black metal with retro sounds and riffs going hand in hand with more modern elements. What do all these mean? That this might not be a new groundbreaking genre, but it's definitely fresh and innovative! NATTAS will definitely bring to your mind various colossal bands, but they manage to filter all their influences through their personal perspective and taste and give their songs a personal touch. It's been a long time since I've been so excited about a release and I'm actually at a loss for words, cause I know what I'm saying here is inadequate to convey the passion, relentless energy and dynamics of these mind blowing headbangers! I could, if I wanted, name here some of the band's main influences and resemblances, but I really don't see the point... I think I'd ruin the whole essence, aesthetics and personal hue of "Inde Deus Abest" whose songs I adore equally by the way! So if you feel ready for this black/thrash metal holocaust and are crazy for beautiful solos, catchy riffs, concrete rhythms and some passionate kick ass vocals, here's your chance to go absolutely crazy!!!! Don't miss it!!!
COG is a new band coming to us from Australia and this is their second effort. "Sharing Space" is a big album and with that I mean that it consists of thirteen songs with a long duration each. I would describe the three guys from Australia as people who love their music and put a lot of effort in order to produce something good. Having as main influnece TOOL and suchlike bands, COG offer us heavy guitar riffs combined with very good vocals changing from clear to real dark and gloomy ones and hard pounding drums with lots of changes throughout every song, giving them a progressive touch. Moreover the melodies in each song are truly amazing and of course we shouldn't forget to mention the very good big solos making the album unique. I believe it is an album that is worth your listening as it will offer you heaviness, melodies and progressive tunes. Make sure to check it out!
MISERY SIGNALS signals misery, indeed...my misery...from listening to MISERY SIGNALS. I had hoped I could use that sentence for this review before I heard the music and - lo and behold, I GET to! How exciting! Unlike the music MISERY SIGNALS have put out. This is insipid "emo-hardcore", maybe? Very slight "prog" elements, as well. Boring. Makes me wanna gag. Why has "metal" become so wimpy??? This stuff is fit for whatever "commercialized" summer festivals happen still, maybe...Ozzfest and the like...lame bands...spewing out drivel for mass consumption...for people who don't know what "real" metal is, etc. This is overproduced but not quite slick. Really mellow...tame...if this is "misery", then gum drops and lollipops are the most sour items in this band's world. Though, I guess one of those sticks to one's teeth and could possibly cause "misery" from painful cavities and the other could get lodged in one's throat if one's not careful and they might choke for a brief moment...oh, the suffering! Oh, the tears streaming down the face as one coughs from the misplaced lollipop! Shouldn't a band named "Misery Signals" make people want to slit their wrists from such a powerful conveyance attributed to their musical creations? Oh, wait...they do...and have...me...but from the LACK of that powerful conveyance...too bad I don't have a razor blade handy...wait, I do...let me go shave my face to this "early morning dew on the grass" stylized "yawn and stretch" accompaniment, instead... and give the music a "proper use". Speaking of bathrooms, by the way...there's a toilet there, of course...hmm...*flush, flush* comes to mind as I finish listening to this crap.
Von Inneren Welten
(Sleaszy Rider Records)
Frozen black metal of an old school origin and with the atmosphere and smells of a forest covering the whole album, GRIEFENSTEIN present as a pure and honest album that addresses to all true black metal fans. From what I gather this is actually a one man band!! Pagan melodies, that freeze your blood, accompany the elves of the forest in their eternal dance... this is the main atmosphere and essence you get out of this CD. The vocals are pure black metal screams in their most extreme form and they exist on their own without the addition of female or other clean male vocals. There are lots of fast parts, but there are also quite enough mid tempo moments that won't tire you because the guitar melodies are very interesting throughout the songs, bringing to mind bands like DRAGONBRATH. The true black metal fans should support GRIEFENSTEIN, because it's an honest band with faith in this scene and with inspiration and imagination in the way they build their melodies!
(Sleazy Rider Records)
New album for the Greek guitar virtuoso Theodore Ziras and after having heard his previous work I have to say that he is getting better and better. Heavier, more melodic and with many progressive elements Theodore Ziras is a man who doesn’t have to play hard to be heard. Together one more time with Derek Sherinian (DREAM THEATER, PLANET X, BILLY IDOL, etc) creating with his keys amazing melodies and battle solos and Brian Tichy (ZAKK WYLDE, OZZY OSBOURNE) on the drums, Ziras can pride himself of having produced yet another very good and interesting instrumental album. "Such And Such", "Salvation", "Seven Courses", "Child Of Scotland" (Wish I was there) and "Rapid Eye Movement" are some songs that will make you understand what I mean. Nothing more to say than get ready to feel ill and fever frenzy, cause your listening thermometer will show you a high temperature!
IMPIETY is a pretty old band with numerous releases since their formation in 1990 and one of the few metal bands I'm aware of that originate from Singapore. Their sound is classified somewhere among death, black and thrash metal, but the main characteristic of their music is that it is old fashioned to the bone and obviously the band members have a true passion for this kind of music. Their songs are extremely fast, filled with blast beats and they are really ferocious and aggressive with sharp riffs and chaotic rhythm sections. The vocals are a big advantage for this band, cause they are really dark and extreme with a demonic hue and the production is ideal with an old school touch that makes the end result sound more brutal and relentless. All in all, this is an EP that will satisfy both the death/thrash and black metallers who enjoy the retro sound!
The time has come my dear friends to talk about the ultimate and most probably best Viking war death metal album of the year!! UNLEASHED these last few years were at a loss releasing insipid, boring and generally bad quality albums, miles away from their first 3 masterpieces! Their cycle of crappy albums has closed and since 2006 with their incredible "Thunderbolt" they have passed into another phase of an extremely inspired mood, the continuance of which is the magnificent "Hammer Battalion"! Energy, dynamics, aggressiveness with superb riffs in the vein of their old style, with their characteristic soundscape, relentless ultra fast drums and their classic death metal vocals with Johnny's clean pronunciation comprise one of the best death metal albums for this year! Although some MORBID ANGEL melodies make their appearance here and there, the masters of the Swedish Viking war death metal have managed to place among and perfectly embody in their musical bulldozer that levels EVERYTHING in its way!! If you still have the balls for pure death metal and you hate this shitty world we live in, honour this super group by purchasing this album, cause it's perfect and it's also accompanied by a kick ass production!! I was the first man in Greece who found and bought an UNLEASHED T-shirt back in 1989... I'm into them a lot and this is why I was a bit harsh on them concerning their bad period, but now that they found their identity again, I can only given them the full marks cause they totally deserve them! Hails to the warriors of Midgard!!!
The Black Curse
The Swedish LORD BELIAL have been around since 1992 releasing numerous albums and been considered one of the best and most respected bands in the black metal genre. So this year they strike back with their "The Black Curse" album that dwells in their usual and characteristic style of frozen black metal that is being enriched with some death metal tinges here and there and with quite many melodic parts that enhance the extremity and frozen atmosphere of this album. The tempos are mainly ultra fast with lots of blastbeats, but some rhythm changes to more mid tempo forms are also present. The vocals are the typical and yet very imposing black metal demonic screams and make the songs sound even harsher and more aggressive whilst the guitars offer us some very catchy riffs and some really great and technical solos! The production is also very good, elevating the end result and the cover artwork completes LORD BELIAL's latest endeavour which I highly recommend to all the black metallers out there!!
This very good Portuguese band tries with its new album to make a turn or I'd better say to re-remember their magnificent dark black/death metal elements that were present and obvious in their first releases which they now place in their wider melancholic, nostalgic and dark style. The vocals are quite death metal compared to their previous works without of course some simple, clean vocals missing. The drums are quite voluminous with lots of double bass parts that enhance the power and energy within the band's sound, whilst the guitars often create beautiful melodies that are supported by imposing keyboards and thus creating a great end result. Generally this is a comeback to the band's roots, something that is more than welcome and is perfectly bound together with their current style.
|JENNIE TEBLER’S OUT OF OBLIVION
Till Death Tear Us Part
Jennie Tebler is Quorthon’s little sister and this is her first work in the metal scene after two singles. Well of course don’t expect that her music will sound like her brother’s although there are some moments in some songs that remind me of it. Out Of Oblivion play gothic metal, but with a heavier sound meaning guitars creating riffs with a more harsh attitude, hard pounding drums and Jennie’s vocals coming to mingle and complete this puzzle of sounds. In addition to that I have to say that the production could be much better and hope to be improved in the future as well as Jennie’s voice which definitely needs a lot of work. I have to say that this album will please every listener and I hope that their next work will be more melodic. Till then….
Of Legends And Allegiance
Superb majestic death metal is what we get from INNERFIRE with many heavy metal additions in their guitar themes that match perfectly with their sound. The vocals in the beginning seem to have a black metal orientation, but later on they become exclusively death in the style of the first-era CREMATORY. The tempos are mainly extremely fast in various parts throughout the songs and are mixed with calmer and more mid tempo moments. The keyboards accompany the melodies in a very imposing way, rendering that majestic element to this band. The riffs have some marvelous melodic lines and they are very inspired and original combining the death metal volume with the heavy metal melodies. There are also some atmospheric parts that complete the great jigsaw of INNERFIRE. All in all, this is a band that is worth to be heard by all of you, because they are incredible musicians with a great technique and inspiration and also because they are offering us an album that the more you listen to, the more it grows in you, like good old wine... you enjoy it and you never get bored of it!!! This is extremely rare in the contemporary metal scene... we shouldn't forget that!
The Germans AGRYPNIE is a relatively new band and "Exit" is their sophomore work that moves on the avant garde black metal path. Actually this band is the continuation of NOCTE OBDUCTA, I'm letting you know just in case you are already aware of that band, so they continue from right where that band stopped. "Exit" consists of 11 compositions with a total running time that exceeds the hour and it's filled with eerie, dark atmospheres, a frozen aura surrounding the tracks, nice solos, some dispersed progressive touches and tempos that are mainly fast without this meaning that some slower parts are missing. So to cut a long story short AGRYPNIE have all the elements that can help them become known and create a strong fan base, but on the other hand their sound was too plain and ordinary... lacking in imagination, something that made the listening of this album a really tiring experience for me.
Left For Dead
Oh my ears still ache, my head is still turning and my neck is hurting. LAAZ ROCKIT are back to offer every listener a fist straight in their face. "Left For Dead" is the new fifth album for these American thrashers and believe me when I tell you that there isn't much to be said about this work. From the first track of the album you will all understand what it's about to follow. Pain Pain and only Pain! Thrashy smashing twin guitar riffs, fast as hell bombastic double bass drums, raging to the limits vocals and you won't be able to stop your head from banging up and down! Ten compositions of deadly rhythms and heavy sounds that will please everyone who dares to listen to them. Nothing more to say than get ready to meet your maker and listen to your requiem! Don't say I didn't warn you!
|TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED
TRIGGER THE BLOODSHED is a new 4 piece combo hailing us from the UK and with their debut album "Purgation" they are unleashing a really extreme and powerful album filled with dynamics, but lacking in the originality section... They are here offering us brutal death metal with many grindcore touches on this album that consists of 17 tracks, most of which have a really short duration. So this album walks the path paved by such great acts like VADER and MORBID ANGEL with the sheer force and brutality of those bands, but without their originality and pioneering force. What I mean is that this album is full of relentless rhythms, ultra fast tempos and extremely brutal and aggressive compositions, but they follow a recipe we've already listened to a thousand times already and although they are obviously skillful musicians, they didn't manage to create catchy compositions that could stick into my mind and make me want to listen to this album again...
Saudades De Rock
This CD starts out with an energized tune filled with hooks and vocal harmonies that catch my attention, in a pleasant way, right away. A nice surprise. The vocals, on track two, sort of remind me of KING'S X, for some reason... a particular phrasing and maybe the harmonies, etc. There's definite VAN HALEN sounding riffs/melody lines on some of the tracks (akin to "Van Halen III"), as well. Track three sort of has a Lenny Kravitz style to it...also BLACK CROWES without the overly bluesy twang...there's a tinge of blues but not QUITE to the point of annoying, to me... Jimi Hendrix comes to mind, as well, on this track. All the songs, in general, seem to have a life of their own, really... and a sort of "passion" exuded from each band member's heightened musical prowess, from their many years of experience, most likely. It's, also, as if they really put their hearts, souls, and minds into this album, to the fullest, after staying away from the band for so many years... like they "needed" to record and release this album... seems "driven". Most tunes, here, are completely "radio friendly"...as well as, familiar sounding song structures (not as in "familiar EXTREME" sounding structures but sort of "archetypical hooks", if that makes sense?). But they've also added some "sophistication" to this familiarity, to keep it interesting and fresh enough to sound "new". Really... the music is more of a combination of past decades. It's like it has the "organic" aspect of '70's hard rock mixed with the "have a good time" mentality of the '80's - but with a '90's "awareness" and "maturity" to balance things out. However, there's also a bit of a "throw back" to the '50's and '60's type of vibe, though, I can't quite identify those particular "musical zeitgeists". It's just a certain energy the songs have captured, that seem to "encompass" the "whole of rock 'n' roll" - a fitting display for the album title - "Saudades De Rock". I looked up "saudades" and came up with this definition: "a Galician and Portuguese word for a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return." So, the "tone" of this album, represented by the music seems to portray this either by accident or intentionally... or a little of both? Overall, I'd call THIS "dynamic" music. There's a "pushing/pulling" type of rhythm to it. The production doesn't sound compressed. It breathes... in and out... the music is full of vigor and depth... and showcases various moods... feelings... emotion... from all out rockin' jams to somewhat melancholic/somber, mellow, and smooth motifs... really, sort of a "hard rock extravaganza". Though, it does lose its momentum here and there, this album is the type of album that really SHOULD be a "commercial success" but probably won't be in this day and age, in my opinion.
(Orkestral Promenade Productions)
The black metallers from Athens, Greece strike back a year after their debut full length with this EP that consists of 5 compositions of ultra fast, extreme black metal, the first two of which are taken from their forthcoming sophomore album "The Abominate Shadows". Actually this is the first time I listen to this band so I can't really evaluate their progress, if there's been any, but I can only talk about what I hear on "Qvorum" which is like I said earlier extreme black metal with chaotic compositions, a powerful and quite noisy orchestration, some ominous choirs at the background and a great deal of keyboards that enhance the symphonic hue of this EP. Actually the only band that comes to mind every time I listen to "Qvorum" is DIMMU BORGIR, cause these guys have the same structures, extremity and approach with that Norwegian colossal band. There were some parts and riffs I really enjoyed here, but the end result didn't manage to magnetize me... it's as if there's something missing, an ingredient that would make this album a dynamite, but still can't point my finger at anything in particular. These guys have the skills and potential to do miracles in the future I think... I guess I'd like it if the compositions had more of a structure and were less chaotic... However "Qvorum" is an album that the fans of DIMMU BORGIR should check out and I suppose this is all that really matters!
AITHER is a new band hailing us from Italy
and this is their second demo work. The four guys from Italy mainly members
from the band AETERNAL are trying to mix and fuse things a bit as in this
four track demo you will find progressive elements, gothic parts with a
very good atmosphere, nice heavy guitar riffs, vocals turning from clear
to harsh ones and generally a very good job from AITHER. Moreover I must
say that the sound for a demo is good although I hope that on their first
album the result will be even better! Nothing more to say than I will surely
be waiting for their full length work. Enjoy!
(Garazel Productions / Flagellum Haereticoru)
One of the oldest Greek extreme metal bands that was originally formed in 1989 strikes back with a new album which is actually their debut full length. Pretty amazing eh? Having waited all this long to release a debut full length can only show the band's determination, patience and passion for this music. So NORDOR is a death metal act with a Satanic philosophy and lyrics surrounding them. This is why some of the lyrics are in Sanskrit, others in Greek and some even use the apocryphal incantations of Necronomicon. As for the songs themselves they are death metal in the vein of CRYPTOPSY and INCANTATION with tempos that vary from slow to fast, really nice themes on the guitars that are quite technical in general and drums that follow them and enhance the end result. All in all "Honoris Causa" is a really promising work and if you ask me I think it's a lot better compared to their demo works, showing that the band has the skills to do an even better job in the future!
This CD opens with a brief acoustic interlude...then, the riffs and high pitched vocal "crescendo" reminds me of an EMPEROR song, actually... though, that same opening vocal passage rises and drops in a Tom Araya fashion, as well..."Reign In Blood" era..."Necrophobic". The entire song doesn't sound like EMPEROR, though...just reminiscent. In "fact"...each song seems to remind me of different bands, for some reason. The second song opens like a DARK ANGEL song... kind of like "Never To Rise Again"? Oh, and to get it out of the way, this promo has that annoying "voice protection" feature, where people talk over the music, to prevent illegal copying and distribution, etc. It makes sense to do such a thing, I guess, but how can one give it a "proper listen" and "critique" when you're interrupted by a lowering of the music volume and having to hear "you are listening to this particular album...blah, blah, blah". Oh well...whatever. And with this release, at least, it has one of the guys from Destruction doing the "voice protected overdub"...sounds like he's saying, "Hello headbangers, this is Schmear from Destruction...blah, blah..." (whatever his name is, I have no idea), so, I guess this might make it "better", for those who know who that guy is...at least it seems "hands on" by the band and not just some "executive" ruining the listening experience, in the attempt to line their pockets with cash. So, the third song sort of has an OVERKILL/TESTAMENT flavour to it...and maybe FLOTSAM AND JETSAM? Anyway, it seems they've tried to make each song have a character of its own. I find the structures pretty interesting, actually. I think if I listened to this album a number of times, it could grow on me and become somewhat memorable. Though, I really think it lacks "dynamics", once again...like many "new albums". I don't know whether to blame that on the band or the producers/engineers. Okay...so, this song is another OVERKILL type song... the "bouncy" riffs etc. and reminds me slightly of WHITE ZOMBIE, as well...a song off "La Sexorcisto: Devil Music Vol. 1", or whatever it is. There'll be another song later on that has a newer TESTAMENT vibe, as well. Not saying they are ripping these bands off. Just saying this album has some "variety" to its overall theme and they've taken steps to keep their music "fresh". But, again, it just doesn't quite have the "energy" to "move me". The songs are interesting and keep my attention, but this CD doesn't quite "ROCK!!!!", like it should.
Cornerstone Of The Macabre
This is a weird case of a band and I don't think this comes as a surprise since France is their country of origin, a country that gives birth to some of the weirdest and most unconventional bands there are out there! Their sound is quite special and innovative since they play a mixture labeled as death 'n' roll with some old fashioned death metal grunts that aren't so extreme, but are mainly hoarse and imposing. Add to the above sound a great deal of doom metal as it was carved and shaped by the great masters BLACK SABBATH, some nice solos and a beautiful rhythm section that varies from the mid tempos of doom to the fast outbreaks of death metal and you pretty much have a good description of PHAZM's sound. The album also contains a pretty good and interesting cover of METALLICA's "Damage Inc" so all in all "Cornerstone Of The Macabre" consists of all the right elements to make it successful... However I have mixed feelings, cause there were songs I really enjoyed and thought they were killers and then there were other songs that sounded too repetitive, poor and mediocre to be listed here along the other tracks... So the quality of the album was lessened by those tracks which according to me were quite a few and spoiled and ruined my original enthusiasm...
|TRUE SYMPHONIC ROCKESTRA
Concerto In True Minor
(Brainrox Records / Marinsound Records)
TRUE SYMPHONIC ROCKESTRA or T.S.R if you prefer is a project by guitarist Dirk Urich including two well known tenors Vladimir Grishko and Thomas Dewald together with James Labrie from DREAM THEATER. The main purpose is to give classic pieces a metallic sound and believe me the result is amazing! The combination of the three singers together with the rest of the members who play the instruments is something really worth your listening. Imagine songs such as “Singing In The Rain”, “Memories”, “Tonight(West Side Story)”, “O Sole Mio” and many others played in a heavy metal style. Well what is there to say other than be sure not to miss it? It is really something different!
13 Years Of Celtic Wartunes
SUIDAKRA is one of the most quality and best bands in the genre of melodic death/black metal with quite a few medieval/folk influences. Actually they are one of those bands that every release of theirs can work as a reference point to their potential, dynamics and skills. Thirteen years have passed since their formation so these Germans decided it was a good time for them to release a best of compilation to celebrate all these years and although 13 is considered to be an unlucky number by the superstitious people, I can only say it worked pretty fine and in favour of these guys! This best of compilation comprises actually of two parts, one is the DVD, a review for which you can find in the corresponding section of our zine, and the other one is this CD with over an hour of music consisting of 17 songs, the first 4 of which have been re-recorded in August 2007, the tracks 5-17 have been remastered and also the remastered version of "Darkane Times" has a different intro from the original version, now including an intro-speech. Why I'm I telling you all this? Just because I want you to understand that this is a hard working band which always strives for the best possible result and so they wouldn't celebrate their 13 year anniversary by just re-releasing some old material. To cut a long story short, SUIDAKRA is a kick ass band which has released a quality best of compilation that deserves your attention!
(Sleaszy Rider Records)
I knew that Sweden was famous in the heavy metal scene for its power, progressive and death metal bands, but POWERTRIP has come to change things with their debut album. “Coldblacklie” is an album which will offer the listener a combination of metal, alternative rock (especially if you like acts such as NICKELBACK) and a bluesy tune with nice riffing, good vocals by the female singer and generally a mid tempo compilation of songs. Moreover there seems to be a very good work in the whole production and this is a very important thing for a debut album. But despite that it seems that all the songs sound somewhat the same so after a few listens you will know every move and note by heart. I really thing that some fresh ideas could be engaged and the future result will be better. Till then…
Nothing! Nothing absolutely nothing! Tell me why did these guys even consider or think of making an album like this and not only this, but also to put it out for sale. My ears still ache from what I heard and to be more specific a constant slow sound with vocals that couldn’t be heard, instruments that were heard as if they were played from million of light years away and conclusively four songs that could as well be one with 74 minutes of pure emptiness. Nothing more to say other than I’m hoping that these guys won’t do anything else in the music genre.
MENNEN is a well known band as it dates back in 1996 when they first released their first album. Now after twelve years of success and very good albums MENNEN are back with a brand new work. “Planet Black” is the name and melodic metal is the game. With guitar riffs that will keep you on your chair, vocals that will please everyone and tunes with catchy attitude changing from melodic to fast and slow the guys from the Netherlands can show you a way where melody comes first and pure heavy metal follows close up. The album consists of thirteen compositions with a variety of styles (meaning fast tracks, mid tempo tracks and of course ballads) plus there will also be a limited edition with a bonus DVD where we have the makings of “Planet Black” with studio documentary and the whole album mixed in 5.1 surround sound. I believe it is worth your listening as it will offer you many great moments. Enjoy!!!
A new band comes to us from Florida Orlando and DEVIL’S GIFT are here to make your ears hurt. The female fronted band has nothing to be afraid of from other similar sounding bands meaning bands that play hardcore metal with some alternative rock tunes as it lacks neither in playing nor in hard work. The five members have done a very good job both in production and performance giving us thirteen compositions with heavy, aggressive guitars, fast drums and vocals by Lennon Murphy both clean and harsh which is really something different. Now what disappointed me is the fact that after some songs the result is the same, the sound is not renewed and it’s like hearing the same and the same stuff all over. I hope that in the future the ideas will be refreshed and the result will be different. Till Then…
MNEMONIC is a band from U.S.A and to be more specific from Nevada. “Pandora” is their new work, their second after their debut titled “Device” and to be honest it has something to give to you... The three guys have put a lot of effort in this record with many samples, nice guitars, vocals that reminded me of OPETH and an atmosphere of pure melancholy, depression and bad feelings with pain being the dominant one. Moreover it seems that they are quite influenced by TOOL as their sound has many resemblances to them. But all this melancholy and bad mood I don’t know… it just doesn’t fit. Definitely a must for fans of NINE INCH NAILS and TOOL as I previously mentioned and even NIRVANA fans, but I will surely pass as I am a happy person.
|FUCK THE FACTS
All right...so, I've been "familiar" with this band's name for a number of years. I'm not sure I've actually ever checked out their music before now...and I must say...that I surely haven't missed out on anything special, through the years I've known of this band being in existence. This "music" is highly annoying, to my ears. If the "facts" they are so blatantly showing disregard for - stated in the band's name, in general, are ones of conformity, they may know what they are talking about by NOT knowing what they are talking about? I don't believe in "facts", myself...so, if the statement they are trying to make is "facts are meaningless", then I support them and their philosophy. However, I don't support their "creative efforts", as in the "music" they've generated. So, I agree...there are no "facts" in my particular paradigm...there are individual opinions and consensus reality. So, my individual opinion is that this band has nothing to offer me. It doesn't resonate with me. And I believe music SHOULD resonate in an enjoyable way...NOT aggravate. To me, this "music" is formless. It's not even chaotic... it's like they write songs based on a "how to NOT write a song" approach, for the most part. It has the rhythm of someone who doesn't know how to drive and operate a dump truck, but still tries...speeding up...jerking to a halt...speeding up...dropping and pouring a bunch of gravel onto the pavement...grinding of the gears...speeding up...jerking to a halt...etc. The vocals are REALLY annoying, as well...it sounds like she's a screeching banshee IN the audience, instead of in the band, itself. They are not very powerful and are lost in the mix, for the most part. The whole affair just seems like random torment in squalor.
Now what can I say for a man who needs no introduction, a professional singer with the emphasis on the word professional, a magnificent voice with a wide range? “Immortal” is the new job from Bob Catley and the man can still produce great sounds. More epic and heavier, but with melodies, guitars and keys creating amazing atmospheres Bob Catley can surely be proud of himself in producing yet another great album. Together with Dirk Bruinberg, Denis Ward and others we have twelve compositions of pure melodic hard rock and heavy metal ready to conquer any questioning ears. Rest assured that “Immortal” is an album that won’t leave any listener disappointed and everyone can share the great performance of Bob Catley. Be sure not to miss it!