Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Huntress - I Want To Fuck You To Death

 HUNTRESS are back with the follow up to their buzzworthy debut album Spell Eater, which was released in 2012.  The album entitled Starbound Beast will be released on July 1st via Napalm Records.  The band recorded the album at Hobby Shop Studios in Los Angeles, CA, working with famed producer Zeuss (Shadows Fall, Hatebreed, Agnostic Front).  The artwork for Starbound Beast was created once again by Vance Kelly (Slayer, Ghost B.C., Mastodon).

HUNTRESS has unveiled the first song from Starbound Beast.  The track entitled “I Want to Fuck You to Death” was co-written for singer Jill Janus by legendary Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. Frontwoman Jill Janus spoke about the collaboration: "I met Lemmy through my former band Chelsea Girls. We'd play hard rock and metal covers featuring guest celebrities. Lemmy was already friends with the girls, so he played "Ace of Spades" with us and it blew my mind. We stayed in touch and would meet up at The Rainbow for drinks. So I asked him a few months back over Jack & Cokes if he'd write lyrics for a Huntress song and he said 'Sure'. A few weeks later, I met him at the studio during Motorhead recording sessions. Lemmy handed me two two pieces of notebook paper with the lyrics for 'I Want to Fuck You to Death'. I am beyond honored. To me, this is a love song. It is the most romantic song I've ever heard."

Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister also spoke of the collaboration: “The first time I heard Jill’s voice with Chelsea Girls, it was phenomenal. I wrote these lyrics from her point of view, the Huntress. ‘I Want to Fuck You to Death’ was inspired by her, written for her. I’ve always had a soft spot for her. And a hard spot too…

Paradise Lost 25th Anniversary Tour Dates

Thirteen albums into PARADISE LOST's 25 year career, namedropping is pointless. The only band they can and should be held up against for comparison and consideration is PARADISE LOST.

With a career dating back to 1988, and their official recording debut in 1990 (Lost Paradise), the band has been riding and rollercoaster of highs and lows. Guitarist Aaron Aedy remembers the early days: "I remember our first rehearsal at Studio X in the Dean Clough complex of Halifax, it was Saturday March 26th between the hours of one and four pm. We had a few ideas flying around and managed to write our first opus 'Blood-filled-eyes' and start our 2nd 'Plains of Desolation', I can only describe these songs as unique.Afterwards we all went to the pub after to celebrate. Three and a half months later we were playing live, supporting Acid Reign and Re-Animator at the legendary Frog and Toad Night Club in Bradford. We had a 30 minute slot and only 15 minutes of music so we played one song twice, attempted a Sodom cover we hadn't even learned and Nick [Holmes, vocals] did his stand up for the rest of it."

Over their following career, PARADISE LOST have not only created and defined genres and styles, but almost immediately transcended them. From the crawling, harrowing doom of their 1990 debut 'Lost Paradise', to the electronic flourishes prevalent in 1997's 'One Second', 1999's 'Host' and 2007's comeback to the heavier side of metal "In Requiem" and the latest opus "Tragic Idol" in 2012, their sound has continued to evolve vastly, but haunting melody and dark rock power has remained at the very core of their identity.

In 1991 the band released 'Gothic', not so much an album title as the definition for an entire genre, while the influence 1995's huge-selling masterpiece 'Draconian Times' - the missing link between Metallica and the Sisters of Mercy - echoes loudly in today's scene, with the likes of Cradle of Filth, Nightwish and HIM owing a huge debt to their knack for injecting heavy rock with their trademark dark sheen.

Now it's time to celebrate 25 years of glamour and gloom with a very special show at the Metal Hammer Gloden Gods Awards that will be held on June 17 at London's esteemed Indigo2 venue (headlined by that other British legend called Motorhead).

PARADISE LOST invited their friends Cristina Scabbia (Lacuna Coil) and Gus G (Firewind, Ozzy Osbourne) as special guests to present a very special set-list. Cristina: “I am so very excited to announce that my friends PARADISE LOST are performing live at this year’s annual award show of Metal Hammer UK at the Indigo2 in London on Monday 17th June… and I’m going to perform with them! SO very excited!!!! Come and join us!

There are also some very special 25th anniversary shows coming up that PARADISE LOST will play with Lacuna Coil and some very special guests TBC, the dates of which are as follows:

Oct 30th - Wolverhampton - Wulfrun Hall 
Oct 31st - Glasgow – ABC 
Nov 1st - Manchester – Ritz 
Nov 3rd - London – Roundhouse

Nick had this to say about the forthcoming anniversary shows: "25 years IS a long time, on the surface we may look ramshackled, but playing music for so many years has kept us young in our hearts and I truly believe that a youthful spirit is one of the greatest things you can’t buy in a pub.
We have written many albums, played many concerts; we are older and not really any wiser, but there is a strong possibility we may play a song you thought we never would. So please come along and join the celebrations with us, including our biggest UK headline show to date!"

Cristina (Lacuna Coil) adds: "PARADISE LOST were in between the bands that strongly influenced me as a singer, when I started my career with Lacuna Coil, so it is just awesome for me to realise we'll share the stage with them on this upcoming tour. I am sure that the dark vibe coming from the stage will totally embrace old school and new fans making it an event you absolutely CAN'T miss! Boy, I can't wait!!!"

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Stormbringer - MMXIII (CD Review)

02.Gazing At The Grave
03.Mark Antony
04.Save Me
09.Darker Days
11.Welcome To Hell

Mike Stockley (Vocals)
Ash Smith (Guitar)
Dom Wallace (Guitar)
Darren McCullagh (Bass)
Jon Paul Quantrill (Drums)

Stormbringer first came together in the summer of 2011 After a couple of Sunday afternoon beers between Dom and Ash. Both had just come away from their longterm projects, Deadeye and Nekkrosis respectively, and were looking to embark on a new journey. Dom was also a member of the Viking Skull, who were between tours at this point so it seemed like the perfect time to start on something new. Dom then made the decision to contact Jon Quantrill to see if he would be interested in becoming involved in the new project. After a bit of thought Jon joined the band, followed by Darren McCullagh.

After about a year and with the music for the album already recorded, Stormbringer added the finishing touch to their line-up. Mike Stockley (Ex Narkan, great london band had a song called "Eat Mt Ass") joined the band in the winter of 2012 after a mutual friend said “you have got to check this guy out”. Mike was exactly what the band were looking for, a classic rock voice with a contemporary edge and a lyrical ability that was perfect for the sound the band had created.

Opening with a doom laden instrumental 'MMXIII' what follows is another ten slabs of huge rock anthems, every song is just perfect, superb vocals, great music, some nice guitar solos.

This has a real mature heavy rock quality that few bands have at the moment!

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Mercy House, Voodoo Six, Viking Skull.

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/Stormbringerrock?fref=ts

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Tempestora - The Battle Begins (CD Review)

02.New Age Dawns
03.Halls Of The Slain
04.Conquering The Masses
05.Too Blind Too See
06.Wrath Of The Repentant
07.Sanity Deprived
08.A Bloodline Broken

Sam Shiers (Vocals/Bass)
Jay Deakins (Guitar)
Alex Hawes (Drums)

Hailing from Gloucestershire, Tempestora formed in 2009 taking inspiration from the classic speed/thrash genre as perfected by Slayer and Megadeath.

In 2010 they released a 4 track ep and gigged throughout the country, they won their regional heat of 'Metal For The Masses' and were rewarded by a slot at Bloodstock alongside Evile and Children Of Bodom, another noteworthy support came in Bristol alongside Gama Bomb in 2011.

Last year they played at the 'Heaven And Hell' festival sorted out a deal with Casket Records and began recording their debut album in march.

Starting with 'Relentless' a song both matched in speed and excellent musicianship and it has to be said a song title that sums up the power that produced the enxt few songs as well.
Agressive vocals are tempered with an underlying melody, yet the speed remains intense, powerful drums and screaming rifferey with solid bass work somehwre in between.

However with 'Sanity Deprived' we get a different beast, starting with some echo laden guitar we get a slow and heavy beat flowing into some full on thrash, but its when it hits the slower bits that the song takes on a more (dare i say?) mature approach.

Much can be said for the closing song 'A Bloodline Broken' where maidenesque riffery opens to a technical pattern, this is a solid piece of work and by far my favourite track.

In an age where much thrash/speed metal churns out the same old crap, it's good to hear some well put together music that is both intelligent and brutal.

Rating 8/10

For Fans Of : Sylosis, Decapitated, Virus

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tempestora/127758117278600

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Red Jester - Red Jester (CD Review)

02.She Devil
03.Dirty Lovin
04.Best Thing
05.Sweat Box
06.Punching Bag
07.By Your Side
08.Just Emotions
09.Riding The Night
10.Problem Child
11.The Rain

Jim Parkin (Vocals)
Dan Faulkner (Guitar)
Darren Dodds (Bass)
Matt Paton (Drums)

Jill Beckett (Backing Vocals)
Kate Parkin (Backing Vocals)

Hailing from the Midlands the four piece rock band first came together in 2010 and started to play music drawing on various influences from Classic Rock, Punk, Heavy Metal and even Britpop.

In February 2011 they released a six track demo which gained an 8/10 review on this very site!

Having spent a lot of time on the road and then heading to the studio they have now released their first album.

Kicking off with the bouncy groove-laden 'Nasty' with its punchy chorus and what sounds like a sample from an "Adult Movie" (Usually the drummer's private collection).

'She Devil' keeps the groove going with a Rob Zombie vibe, the songs structure has similarites to 'Welcome To The Jungle'.

Anthemic stop/start riff meets sleaze rock on 'Dirty Lovin' a song to make you smile;
"Going down pink or brown" now thats a lyric even King Lizard's Flash Roxx wouldnt write!!!! Oh wait are they playing snooker???

Sounding like a mid seventies pop rock song (Bay City Rollers meets The Sweet??) the heart felt 'Best Thing' has "Radio Play" written all over it.Some great guitar work and strong vocal delivery with nice backing vocals make this one pleasant on the ear.

Moody and sleazy sums up 'Sweat Box', song also showcases each band member with little bass and drum solo's thrown in with the guitar solo.

'Punching Bag' still has that Motorhead 'No Class' riff running through it, hell even that solo sounds like one of Eddie's, great track!

Time for the epic rock ballad with 'By Your Side' delivers exactly what i expected starts slow with nice acoustic and electric guitar and an emotive vocal, then as it goes along it builds up with some fine female backing vocals and a sweeping guitar solo!

Think of Oasis but more upbeat and with a decent vocalist duetting with a girl then that is what you get with 'Just Emotions'.

There is an old NWOBHM riff lurking within 'Riding The Night' but this is a much more up to date sounding song and again the female backing add's depth.

'Problem Child' returns to that sleaze rock sound and manages to name check Nikki Sixx, throw in a sample saying "we dont want to scare anybody" and police sirens.

Rain f/X and nice acoustic guitar introduce the albums final track 'The Rain' which starts slow then after a vocal breakdown kicks into a full on anthemic rocker.
This one has all the hallmarks of Alice In Chains, its an epic and quite stunning finale.

Wihtout any doubts at all i can say this is a fantastic album, full of hooks and riffs, blended with style and melody, it has the feel of a sleaze rock album at times, then a classic rock one.
The music does not match the bands image (much in the same way Akercocke in suits didnt match their Black Metal sound), its a style and sound that keeps you on your toes, never quite knowing what's coming next.

Not sure how the band will proceed from this point, i would suggest some promotional music videos for 'Best Thing' and 'The Rain' and aim for some radio play.

A band to look out for and see live!

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Wildside Riot, Mercy House, King Lizard, Voodoo Johnson

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Blood Ceremony - The Eldritch Dark (CD Review)

02.Goodbye Gemini
03.Lord Summerisle
04.Ballad Of The Weird Sisters
05.The Eldritch Dark
06.Drawing Down The Moon
08.The Magician

Alia O'Brien (Vocals/Flute/Organ)
Sean Kennedy (Guitar)
Lucas Gadke (Bass)
Michael Carrillo (Drums)

Canadian doom metal band formed in 2006, their "flute tinged witch rock" harking back to late 60's occult band's Coven and the early 70's british band Saturnalia, mixed with the early doom of Black Widow and the folk of Jethro Tull has made them quite unique.

Since the release of their highly acclaimed 2011 album, Living With the Ancients, Blood Ceremony has been recognised as an internationally regarded live act. Having played main support to Ghost on the majorly successful '13 Dates of Doom' US tour, they concluded their debut headline European tour with a sell-out show in London.

After these live performances, Blood Ceremony enclosed themselves within a dank, tomb-like chamber to begin preparations for their third album. After a mind-numbing spell in the analogue womb of Toronto's ProGold Studios, the band is now ready to unveil their newest, and most accomplished, musical offering: The Eldritch Dark.

Recorded and mixed by producer Ian Blurton (Cauldron, Cursed) and mastered by Canadian recording legend Nick Blagona (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Crazy World of Arthur Brown), The Eldritch Dark is a full-length paean to the darker corners of folklore and legend. Containing eight tracks of black magic rock 'n' roll, the album crackles with the excitement of a nocturnal ritual.

Tales of witch-cult gatherings in wooded glens, pacts made in torch-lit abbeys and Victorian magic are accompanied by vintage-style hard rock riffs, snaking bass lines and stirring flute melodies.

The Eldritch Dark also sees the band exploring a more folkier side of their sound; most evident in the hymn-like 'Lord Summerisle' and the murderous early Fairport Convention tinged folk-rock epic 'Ballad Of The Weird Sisters'.

'Goodbye Gemini' is almost psychedelic bringing to mind Jefferson Airplane, similar in style is 'Drawing Down The Moon' where the Doors seem to be jamming with Tony Iommi.
19th century sorcerer, Oliver Haddo, makes a return appearance in the riff-hypnotic album
closer 'The Magician' an 8 minute epic worthy of any Jethro Tull fans attention.

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Purson, Black Widow, Jethro Tull, Coven, Fuchsia

Age Of Taurus - Desperate Souls Of Tortured Times (CD Review)

01.A Rush Of Power
02.Sinking City
03.Always In The Eye
04.Walk With Me My Queen
05.Desperate Souls Of Tortured Times
06.Embrace The Stone
07.The Bull And The Bear

Toby Wright (Vocals/Guitar)
Alastair Riddell (Guitar)
Richard Bruce (Bass)
Darius Claydon (Drums)

Formed in 2009 by vocalist/guitarist Toby Wright, Age of Taurus was initially a one-man doom metal mission. Inspired by masters of the craft like Candlemass, Trouble and Revelation, the project was intended more as a studio affair rather than something more alive. However, after increasing interest in the band and a succession of glowing reviews of debut demo 'In the Days of the Taurean Empire', Toby decided that there was no turning back and duly put together a fully working line up; enter bassist Richard Bruce, lead guitarist Alastair Riddell (Ex Blood Island Raiders) and drummer Darius Claydon.

The band quickly began writing together and started to develop and define a sound that suited their combined musical direction. With their feet still firmly planted in the doom metal field, the group were able to explore other paths of influence, particularly bass-driven seventies hard rock and the oh-so-punishing twin guitar attacks that ruled the speakers during NWOBHM's golden years.

Produced by Jaime Gomez Arellano (Angel Witch, Ghost), 'Desperate Souls of Tortured Times' is a 42 minute collection of material written during their transition over the past three years.

This is the kind of doom metal that hits you square in the head, like slab after slab of concrete hitting you, its relentless and massive!!!
Stunning vocals, powerful drums, pounding bass and epic riffing!

When we get to 'Embrace The Stone' we are treated to 8 minutes of darker stuff, rhythmic drums bounce this one along till it gets to this really slow bit with atmospheric vocals and am almost symphonic chorus backing.
Stunning piece of work! The last song returns to the heavier sound.

I didnt have much to say, but then i dont need to, the music says it all, its Doom its awesome, now go buy it!!

Rating 10/10

For fans of : Cathedral, Electric Wizard, Witchsorrow, Blood Island Raiders

Friday, 10 May 2013

Purson - The Circle And The Blue Door (CD Review)

01.Wake Up Sleepy Head
02.The Contract
03.Spiderwood Farm
04.Sailor's Wife's Lament
05.Leaning On A Bear
06.Tempest And The Tide
07.Mavericks And Mystics
08.Well Spoiled Machine
09.Sapphire Ward
10.Rocking Horse
11.Tragic Catastrophe

Rosalie Cunningham (Vocals/Guitar)
George Hudson (Guitar)
Samuel Shove (Organ/Mellotron/Wurlitzer)
Barnaby Maddick (Bass)
Jack Hobbs (Drums)

Rosalie Cunningham is an English singer-songwriter who started in the band Ipso Facto in 2007 who released a number of records till they split in 2009.

Cunningham has also been working with other bands such as Magazine as a backing vocalist, appearing on stage with them on tours and the BBC Electric Proms and on Later... with Jools Holland.
She also played keyboards from January to May 2010 with These New Puritans on their tours of the album, Hidden.

In 2011 she formed the self styled "Vaudeville Carny Psych" band Purson and began working on recordings and playing gigs, though she found time in 2012 to play guitar with Willy Moon, as the support act for Jack White's UK tour.

This album has presented me with a number of problems, im not usually short of things to say, but such is the complexity and damn right brilliance of this work that im not sure what else to say!

I have seen a few other reviews of this and often seen Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple mentioned, not sure why really maybe because their is an old keyboard sound or perhaps the folk element present in some of the songs?

Sure as hell isnt for any other reason, i mean here is an album released in 2013 that sounds like it was made 40 years ago, so its not so much a new album looking back but in some weird twist of time related weirdness an album from 1973 that is looking forward.

From the opening of 'Wake Up Sleepy Head' with its haunting vocals, sweet acoustic guitar and what sounds like a flute blended with organ and wurlitzer, which then leads into a Hawkwind-ish bass line for the next song 'The Contract', its all mellow and purely in that classic acid-folk genre as bands like Tudor Lodge, Comus, The Trees etc.

Heavy freak out guitarwork and keyboards greet 'Spiderwood Farm' this one rubs shoulders with Coven, Saturnailia and Savage Rose.
Then comes the whimsical 'Sailor's Wife's Lament' very reminiscent of Sandy Denny and the kind of thing All About Eve tried to achieve with their Martha's Harbour ep many years ago.

The next song is the most commercially accessible (hence the video release) called 'Leaning On A Bear' its like Shocking Blue jamming with Curved Air.

'Tempest And The Tide' rocks a folkish vibe with a degree of etheral strangeness Pentangle meets Atomic Rooster perhaps?

For 'Mavericks And Mystics' the vocal reminds me of an old King Crimson song, whilst the music could be early Tyrannosaurus Rex.The bit at the end is weird just throwing in a touch of Fifty Foot Hose.

I recognise a Doors keyboard riff running through 'Well Spoiled Machine' and some Jefferson Airplane in the songs overall concept.

'Sapphire Ward' has a funky rock feel, definately a touch of Jill Seward (Fusion Orchestra) fronting early Judas Priest.

More haunting sounds for 'Rocking Horse', great vocals and some amazing phased instrumentation.

Ending with 'Tragic Catastrophe' that occult-psych feel returns.
Perhaps more importantly the title sums up my attempts to review this with any real clarity!?

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of (Every band i have mentioned in the review) AND : The Devils Blood, Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/pursontheband

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Deth Rok - Us And Them (CD Review)

 “Should we be saved from oblivion after what we’ve done?” asks Deth Rok vocalist Aaron Havill on “Good Question,” the first song from his brooding, despairing debut, Us & Them, an album of electronic-based music that incorporates elements of trip-hop, industrial, goth and melancholy singer/songwriter melodies as it winds its way towards the apocalypse.

Us & Them is scheduled for digital release on iTunes April 30, 2013, with European street date of May 3, 2013 and a US street date of June 18, 2013 on 13th Planet Records, with a record release party scheduled in Hollywood, CA on May 4th, 2013 at Bar Sinister.

The album was written, programmed & engineered entirely by Havill and recorded Fall 2012 at Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen’s 13th Planet Studio in El Paso, Texas. Under the production mentorship of Jourgensen and Ministry alum Sammy D'Ambruoso, Us & Them is composed of 14 original and innovative songs and features additional drum editing by another Ministry veteran, drummer Aaron Rossi. Havill handled all other instrumentation, including electronic programming, keyboards, guitars, bass and vocals.

A departure from the distortion-bathed releases that usually surface from the 13th Planet compound, Us & Them is nonetheless as dense and intense as the darkest metal. “Kill Them All” is a thudding and disconcerting track driven by the internal monologue of a killer. Inspired by American author Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, and the Hannibal Lecter character in the film Silence of the Lambs, "Kill Them All" includes some of Havill’s most grisly lyrics: “Slow death, none spared/one by one, tear apart the bodies/gouge their eyes, choke the last breath.”

 “Ghosts Everywhere” is  a multi-textured horror-film soundtrack about the gradual march we all make towards our inevitable demise and the possible afterlife that awaits us. “May Cause Deth,” the track that first caught Jourgensen's attention on the 2012 Ministry tour during a discussion with Havill regarding pharmaceutical advertisements and side effects, is an extensive collection of snippets from medication commercials that mention the dangerous and sometimes fatal side effects of the substances, layered over a soundbed of pulsing bass, shuffling samples and harrowing keyboards.  Additionally, the influence of "May Cause Deth" can be heard on the track "Side F/X" on the upcoming Ministry release, From Beer to Eternity, which accesses Havill's stockpile of side effects samples.

While Havill’s demented music is partially inspired by horror films, depression and drugs, it’s even more influenced by years of thought and experimentation and the abundance of influences Havill has taken in over past two decades, including Tricky, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Ministry, Leonard Cohen, Mark Lanegan, Dax Riggs, and Townes Van Zandt. But what Deth Rok does with electronics and barren vocals takes apocalyptic sound collage to new levels of darkness.

“These are the sounds I hear in my head when I go to sleep at night and when I wake up,” Havill says.  “ Musically, I’ve always liked sad songs. I feel like that kind of music expresses real emotion and the really bleak stuff hits me the hardest. But I really hope there is some kid out there in a really dark spot who listens to my music and feels a little better that someone else has their dark spots, two.”

While Us & Them is Deth Rok’s debut release, Havill has been involved in production and sound design for over a decade and co-engineered the upcoming Ministry album From Beer to Eternity between Deth Rok sessions.  Additionally, he has worked in the studio with Chuck D, Tony Visconti, Ric Ocasek and other music luminaries. And when he isn’t touring with Deth Rok Havill techs for various artists on the road, including Lou Reed, Ace Frehley, Faith No More, Regina Spektor and Scissor Sisters.

Havill's concluding statement on Deth Rok's Us & Them is a gruesomely haunting version of Portishead's "Wandering Star," the original of which is considered to be the musical epitome of depression and despair; and yet Havill's interpretation takes the track to an even deeper, creepier level of spiritual despondency.

Us & Them turns downtrodden beats and unsettling sounds into dread-laden pieces of art. Hold your breath, step into the black and let it consume you in a vortex of inviting sound.

Rating 8/10

For fans of : Ministry, Krautrock, Industrial, Nine Inch Nails

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Legend - The Dark Place (CD Review)

01.The Dark Place
03.Too Late The Hero
04.Halls Of The Dead
05.The Watcher
08.Burn With Your Demons
10.Taste Of Life
11.Play Your Game

Mike Lezala (Vocals)
Pete Haworth (Guitar)
Jack Pallot (Drums)
Neil Haworth (Guitar)
Gary Aubert (Bass)

Formed in 1980 in Jersey, the NWOBHM band went on to release 2 albums and an ep, always recieved great reviews, even managed to support Thin Lizzy, but never made it to the mainland uk, had they done so this band would have been huge, they split in 1983.

But the legacy of the NWOBHM is one that always attracts intrest from music fans, this lead the band to release a best of cd called 'Retroshock' in 1998.
In 2002 a better compilation CD was issued called 'Anthology' which collected all the bands precious releases and a demo tape.
In 2003 the Haworth brothers used the bands name and released 'Still Screaming'.

Then it all went quiet until last year when a limited edition vinyl of the bands debiut album was released and the band reformed in February.
Such was their enthusiasm that they decided to make this more than just a one-off and began writing and planning more gig's including finally heading to England.

On April 13th they released the album 'The Dark Place' (recorded at 70's legend Gilbert O'Sullivans Studio) to co-inside with a storming live appearence at the Keep It True festival in Germany where they played along side AngelWitch, Quartz, Holocaust and a host of other bands.

Some crunching powerchords open 'The Dark Place' this quickly gives way to a melodic vocal with suitable backing, the song soon kicks back in with some serious heavy riffing.

'Red' starts with some acoustic guitar and moves along at a nice pace, get the feeling that this one is gonna build up to something and yes at 2 minutes it blasts my speakers!
Amazing that the music can be so heavy (yet refined) and the vocals can stay so melodic yet work so well without that need to scream.
The song then breaks down into some "prog" with a childs voice speaking, gives it a creepy feel, then end on some more epic guitarwork.

I spoke to bassist Gary and he told me that this song 'Too Late The Hero' was quite possibley the very first song the band ever wrote some 33 years ago, this one never made it to their first album due to time constraints.
Funnily enough it has that old school feel, crazy because songs like this back then would have put the firmly in the Diamond Head/Limelight vein and would have been a classic.

'Halls Of The Dead' is a dark and atmospheric song, almost in early doom genre, very melodic with a simple but haunting riff running throughout, and some nice vocals again.

Track 5 is 'The Watcher' has all the elements of a neo-prog rocker, the quality of the musicianship and the way in which the song is put together makes for great listening, allowing what seems to be complex timing changes to blend with agression and melody.

'Monster' has another creepy start, when the vocals start with "Do you want to come out and play?" the answer is a definate no thanks! man this one is dark, guessing the monster of the song is not of horror movies but of reality, and that makes this nasty and uncomfortable.
Heavy as hell to boot! vocals remind me of Peter Gabriel circa 1980 when he was doing songs like 'The Intruder', wonderful guitar solo thrown in, one to crank the volume to 100 (well i did!).

'Paragon' carrys on the same vibe with that gritty dark and heavy sound, whilst the next song 'Burn With Your Demons' after its quiet intro turns into an anthemic fist in the air rocker, really powered along by the guitar and pounding basswork.

'Q&A' is a new version of the song that had been on their original demo, mainly according to Gary "because of the poor production" on the demo.
All i have to say on this track is that if Marillion were more metal in 1982 then this is what they would sound like.

All hail the cd and its ability to allow more music on it because the next song 'Taste Of Life' now gets the full treatment that they were unable to achieve when they first recorded this way back on their debut album.
The extended almost "ethereal" intro works well leading into a riff fest!

Finally 'Play Your Game' shows the mature metallers thumping out another quality mid paced rocker, full of the melody and riffery that has come to define this band.

You cant help but think when listening to this, that here is a band who have produced a world class album despite a thirty year break, wonder dear listener and imagine how big would this band have been had theykept going, would they be on album number 15 and planning their 25th world tour? i think they would!

An instant classic from a band who understand their craft and how to perfect the art of Heavy Metal without resorting to rehash old sounds and throw in a bit of thrash to make it up.

Rating 10/10

For fans of : Marillion, Opeth, Gaskin, Rush, Anathema, From Great Height, Amulet


Thursday, 2 May 2013

TesseracT - Altered State (CD Review)

01.Of Matter – Proxy
02.Of Matter – Retrospect
03.Of Matter – Resist
04.Of Mind – Nocturne
05.Of Mind – Exile
06.Of Reality – Eclipse
07.Of Reality – Palingenesis
08.Of Reality – Calabi-Yau
09.Of Energy – Singularity
10.Of Energy – Embers

Alce Kahney (Guitar)
Amos Williams (Bass)
Jamie Postones (Drums)
James Monteith (Guitar)
Ashe O'Hara (Vocals)

Formed as a studio project back in 2003 by guitarist Acle Kahney, TesseracT immediately eschewed all well-established notions of what metal should sound like and swiftly became a unique and daring entity. By 2007, Acle had recruited a line-up worthy of his groundbreaking compositions and this new band embarked upon a quest to inject some originality and excitement back into an often myopic and lazy British metal scene.

The new album is an ambitious prog/concept piece in four sections, the band said
“The concept behind Altered State is very simple. It is about change, and how life is change. We have been through a very difficult period of time over the last few years. It is a miracle that the band has survived. I feel it is the ability to step back and see everything for what it is that has allowed us to get on with life and try to enjoy it. Reality is change…”.

'Of Matter'
A very slow and melodic start kind of threw me a bit, i was expecting something heavier, that said the drum really moves 'Proxy' with a great rhythm, the second part 'Retrospective' is much of the same really, nice melodic vocals, simple guitar riffs and punchy drums.'Resist' borders on a pop/rock tune.

'Of Mind'
'Nocturne' kicks out with a KoRn like bassline, this one definatley has a bit more energy both vocally and with the guitars, of course eventually it breaks down to a very melodic piece.
Now 'Exile' comes in at over 8 minutes and starts with a heavy nu-metal vibe, this one has a lot thrown into it but seems to go nowhere.

'Of Reality'
More of the same until we get to 'Calabi-Yau' an instrumental thats in its 2 minute duration has so far proved to be my favourite piece so far, some stunning sax playing over a heavy neo prog backdrop, why couldnt all the other tracks be this good?

'Of Energy'
Well fortunatley the last 2 tracks also pick up, more rhythm a nice heavy feel and some imaginative breakdowns.

Rating 5/10

For Fans Of : Marillion, Queensryche, Devin Townsend Project.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Witchtower - Return To The Witches Castle (CD Review)

01.Don't Turn Off The Lights
02.One Way
03.Stronger Than You
04.Return To The Witches Castle

Víctor M. de la Chica (Guitar/vocals)
David C. Chinchilla (Guitars)
Jesús Villar (Bass)
Eduardo Martínez (Drums)

Witchtower began in 2012 concieved as a solo project from Víctor de la Chica, a rock musician from Spain with a love of the NWOBHM.

As with early works from Casey Chaos and Dave Grohl he wrote and plays all instruments himself.
However Witchtower is a fully functioning live band (as listed above).

'Dont Turn Off The Lights' certainly has that old school feel, some solid guitar work going on here, the various breakdowns reminicent of both Maiden and Diamond Head.
In fact if it wasnt for the accent in the vocals this could easily be london 1981.

'One Way' is a slower song, this one immediatley reminds me of Tygers Of Pan Tang, its got incredible production, i swear the snare drum is actually in my head.A solid track.

Picking up the pace again with 'Stronger Than You', again Victor is not afraid to wear his influences loud and proud, this has all the hallmarks of classic White Label era Diamond Head.A really strong vocal on this one punches through the rich production, then throw in a killer guitar solo, awesome stuff!!

The intro for 'Return To The Witches Castle' is a little horror movie pastiche which i was expecting to break into some angelwitch or witchfinder general, but no, this one has a barracuda styled riff running through it with that maidenesque guitar style, but then OH YES! some early doom creeps in with wind sound fx and what sounds like an organ to create some moody sounds, then kicks right back into metal.
A nice track but no vocals, cant help but feel that some demonic vocals would turn this one into a major piece of work.

All in all excellent stuff, it has not fallen into nwobhm styled thrash, which many bands have a bad habbit of doing, this is an authentic and well executed tribute.

Rating 10/10

For fans Of : Amulet, Cauldron, Diamond Head, Iron Maiden (DiAnno), Tygers Of Pan Tang.

FACEBOOK : https://www.facebook.com/witchtowerESP?fref=ts