Friday, 30 August 2013

Hamerex - IX (CD Review)

01.IX Circles
02.The Life Of Death
04.Edge Of Madness
05.The Extremist
07.The Stranger
08.Descent Of Angels
09.The Night Of Samhain
10.Still The Wall Remains

Chris Moules (Vocals)
Steve Blower (Guitar/Vocals/Keyboards)
Andy Firth (Bass/Keyboards)
Darren Kelsall (Drums)

The Wakefield band formed in august 2004 have so far notched up 4 demos, 2 ep's and one album 'Rites Of Passage' which got a 9 out of 10 from me in september 2011 (though not actually released till feb 2012).

The new album is the bands most experimental release to date as well as their most diverse. "We are extremely proud of what we have acheived with the new album." comments guitarist Steve Blower. "There was a great feeling going in to the studio. We'd learnt a lot from 'Rites Of Passage' and we believe we've improved on every aspect of recording and had room to experiment a lot more."
Much thought and work has gone into the cd's packaging as well and will be released as a special 6 panel digipak featuring a large amount of artwork painted by James Mullet throughout the packaging.

The album opens with the instrumental 'IX Circles' with some nice keyboard and synth mixed in, this then leads straight into 'The Life Of Death' taking its inspiration from Clive Barkers short story from vol 6 of books of blood, telling the story of strange things in a church crypt.
This one has a great NWOBHM feel, sounding like one of those classic albums from 1980, a strong vocal performance as well as some maidenesque guitar work outs.

'Inferno' has a real "proto-doom' feel with a 'heaven & hell' styled bass line, sweeping doom laden chords and another superb vocal and a shout it out loud backing vocal.

Picking up the pace with some mid paced thrash, 'Edge Of Madness', about half way through the speed picks up for that "Mosh Pit" frenzy moment and ending with a riff heavy solo.

Echoes of early thrashers Virus throughout 'The Extremist' an almost crust-punk vocal gives this an interesting edge.

Now the next track 'Mortuary' has a really familiar riff in it's intro, kind of like Armoured Saints 'Can U Deliver', whatever lonely brain cell of memory it has nudged, the song is really catchy with a great chorus, the same with 'The Stranger' great, catchy, excellent guitar work and another half remembered riff from the past!

Full on Thrash assault with 'Descent Of Angels', punchy as hell with an agressive snarl from the vocalist.

And now an 11 minute epic...... 'The Night Of Samhain', starts with acoustic guitar, wind f/x and bells, when the band kicks in the sound returns to that early doom but with some great keyboards giving a darkened ambience.
The vocalist seemingly pushed to his limits pulls off a near perfect performance, though one thing its pronounced "souwain" not "Sam Hain".
Thrown in solid drumming, bass and guitar riffs in perfect harmony and this one lives up to the term "Epic".

Finally some nice orchestration on 'Still The Wall Remains', a semi-acoustic ballad, the backing vocals just seem slightly out of sync in places but all in all a great way to end a very diverse and well put together album.

This is a huge leap forward from their previous album, musically more advanced, definately more experimental, improved vocals and better production, this one is a must have for your collection.

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Amulet, Witchfinder General, Elimination, Viking Skull


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

ReVamp - Wild Card (CD Review)

01.The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown: On The Sideline
02.The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown: The Limbic System
03.Wild Card
06.The Anatomy Of A Nervous Breakdown: Neurasthenia
07.Distorted Lullabies
09.I Can Become
10.Misery's No Crime
11.Wolf and Dog

Floor Jansen (Vocals)
Arjan Rijnen (Guitar)
Jord Otto (Guitar)
Henk Vonk (Bass)
Ruben Wijga (keyboards)
Matthias Landes (Drums)

Guest Musicians:
Devin Townsend (Vocal on 'Neurasthenia)
Mark Jansen (Guitar)
Marcela Bovio (Vocals)
Johan van Stratum (Bass)
Daniel de Jongh (Vocals)

Singer Floor Jansen needs no further introduction after 12 years of loyal service with After Forever, when member Sander Gommans suffered a burnout in the beginning of 2008. Jansen posted on her website that while the band was put on hold, she was going to use the opportunity to start writing music with Jørn Viggo Lofstad for a new musical project.
In February 2009, After Forever ultimately decided to call it quits, and on June 16, 2009, Floor announced through her MySpace site that she had started a new metal band, which put her musical project with Jørn Viggo on hold. On October 17, of 2009, Jansen announced that the name of the band was going to be ReVamp.

The word revamp literally means: to renovate, redo or revise. For Floor it got the symbolic meaning that this band puts new energy into her career as a singer, a next step but at the same time a continuation of her dream. The word 'vamp' indicates, with a wink, 'woman'.

In the few years of REVAMP’s young existence the band endured many challenges and unexpected circumstances. Heavy winter storms with long periods of suffocating frost! Followed by sudden summer rains with wild streams of water that’s taking everything with it into unknown territory. A survival of the fittest! REVAMP came out stronger, more mature and with darker and more brutal music that tells the tale of this wild ride!

Singer Floor: “Never before in my career I faced a situation like the one we were in with this album. It was a huge challenge because of several reasons. My sickness caused a major break between the first album and tours plus the writing of the first ideas for the second album and the actual finalization of those songs and the album. And right at the moment we started to pick everything back up after I was sick I joined Nightwish (As replacement for Anette Olzon). Like a winter and a summer storm, they bring unexpected things, some nasty ones and some amazingly wonderful!"

So many female fronted symphonic metal bands, a very few ever live up to expectations, so it is a a nice change to hear something that is actually better than expected!

A fast and heavy start with 'On The Sideline' with a powerful vocal, but plenty of melody giving it a commercial edge as well.
Floor can hit the high notes without making you shudder and there is some evil male vocal lurking in the background.
This pace remains for the next few songs and then we come to 'Neurasthenia' an outstanding piece of music with guest vocals from Devin himself, and it sounds like Floor was pushing her vocals all the way to match his power, and together they pull off a faultless performance.

This is followed by the beautiful and melancholic, 'Distorted Lullabies' with just vocal and piano, though the distorted part later kicks in with some serious riffs!

The heavy returns on 'Amendatory' and 'I Can Become' the latter with a really neat keyboard swirl running throughout.

Then (and i had to check twice that i hadnt loaded up a Dimmu Borgir track by mistake) we come to 'Misery's No Crime' with a full on Black Metal vocal, only when Floor's voice comes in do i realise it is Revamp afterall, awesome track!

'Wolf And Dog' is a bass heavy song with classic stop start riffs and drums.

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Devin Townsend Project, Tristania, Within Temptation

Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X (CD Review)

01.As Syrians Pour In, Lebanon Grapples With Ghosts Of A Bloody Past
02.Shri Schneider
03.Glamour Box (Osbinati)
04.Son Of Man
05.Noche Oscura Del Alma
06.Mother Of Mercy

Kristoffer Garm Rygg (Programming/Vocals)
Jørn H. Sværen (Various)
Tore Ylwizaker (Keyboards/Programming)
Daniel O'Sullivan (Guitars/Keyboards/Vocals)
Tromso Chamber Orchestra
Artic Opera & Philharmonic Orchestra
Martin Romberg (Arrangements)

Ulver are a musical group from Norway formed in 1993. Since their first, folklore-influenced black metal release entitled 'Bergtatt – Et eeventyr i 5 capitler' in 1994, their musical style has been fluid and increasingly eclectic, blending genres such as rock, electronica, symphonic and chamber traditions, noise and experimental music into their oeuvre, but with a heavy reliance on electronic recording techniques.
Producing an epic 2 disc set in 1998 with 'Themes From William Blakes Marriage Of Heaven & Hell' which put them at odds with the Black Metal community but unleashed them onto a wider audience and a new fan base.

There is a danger with reviewing an album like this, having seen a few already they tend to over intellectualise like some university professor of high brow classical music, for fuck sake i really hate that, because whatever the style of music performed here we are still talking about "Rock & Roll" not writing a thesis on complexity of instrumentation!

So with that in mind (and me being me) here is my review :

Track one kicks off with a very low bass rumble with samples laid over, soon blends into some nice keyboard work and sombre classical music.

A more electronic feel for 'Shri Schneider' very reminiscent of early Tangerine Dream, this same vive continues into 'Glamour Box'.

'Son Of Man' has a great vocal delivery, again very downbeat and sombre, but such great harmony to such dark lyrics.

Darkend bass rumblings return for track five, a brooding horror soundtrack, very disturbing vocals and strange synth pulses.

Finally 'Mother Of Mercy' slightly less disturbing, but keeping that creepy ambient feel right to the very end.

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Coil, John Zorn, Tangerine Dream, Blut Aus Nord, Akira Yamaoka


Monday, 26 August 2013

Skindred & Soil Announce UK Tour

Chicago based heavy rock band SOiL will hit the UK as direct support to reggae rockers Skindred starting January 22, 2014 at The UAE in Norwich, England. This tour will be the first UK tour in support of SOiL's sixth studio release "Whole", available now through Pavement Entertainment and AFM Records.  "Whole" is the first album to feature original vocalist Ryan McCombs since 2004's "Re.De.Fine". A Russia and European tour will follow the UK dates.

"We are both excited and scared to tour the UK with Skindred" states SOiL bassist Tim King. "Excited because Skindred are great friends of ours and it's been long overdue to tour together again. Scared because Skindred are great friends of ours and we will definitely be in danger of having too much fun and getting in too much trouble together!" Nobody gets out alive!!!!!"

Skindred's drummer Arya Goggin says "We always pride ourselves on having great guests on our tours and we are really excited to have SOiL as our main special guests on our Kill the Power UK Tour especially with Ryan back in the lineup. They are great friends and absolutely slay it live so we cant wait to party with them. We are also extremely excited to have LA band Viza also join the tour and to bring some of their unique energetic gypsy punk metal madness to the proceedings  which should make for a great evening."

Skindred release their new album Kill the Power Vinyl to coincide with the tour.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Windhand - Soma (Cd Review)

03.Feral Bones

Asechiah Bogdan (Guitar)
Parker Chandler (Bass)
Dorthia Cottrell (Vocals)
Garrett Morris (Guitar)
Ryan Wolfe (Drums)

First 3 tracks are fuzzed out doom/psych workouts, sweeping guitar riffs blend with solid drum and bass patterns and a very haunting vocal style.

Then we hit 'Evergreen' a beautiful acoustic song reminiscent of late 60's acid rolk band The Trees.

Next track returns to the doom and then, wow a 31 minute monster!

'Boleskin' starts with a gentle acoustic intro over some wind fx, then those huge epic doom guitar riffs and slow drum kicks in.
Lots of echo on the vocal drive this one along like a lsd induced trance into some multi coloured hell, though i suspect the Boleskin is about 'Boleskin House' hence all the wind and rain effects as it is in scotland.

Rating 10/10
For fans of : Cathedral, Witchsorrow, Blood Ceremony, Devils Blood

2 UK Dates have just been announced :

Nov 05 Manchester UK Star & Garter
Nov 06 London UK Our Black Heart

Wolvserpent - Perigaea Antahkarana (CD Review)

01.Threshold Gateway
02.Within The Light Of Fire
03.In Mirrors Of Water
04.A Breath In The Sahde Of Time
05.Concealed Among The Roots And Soil

Blake Green (Guitar/Vocals/keyboards)
Brittany McConnell (Drums/Violin/Viola)

Three years since the first LP 'Blood Seed' saw the cruel light of day, but the Boise, Idaho duo have been hard at work on its successor. They've just completed work on their 80 minute opus entitled 'Perigaea Antahkarana'.
The album was recorded with producer/engineer Mell Dettmer (SUNN 0))), BORIS) in Seattle and in Idaho at in their home studio.

After a two year writing period, WOLVSERPENT first recorded the 'Perigaea' 2012 demo (pronounced "pear-a-guy-a") between December 2011 and January 2012, and chose to keep it under wraps until the timing was right and their doomed hymns realized their full potential. After nine months and several rewrites had come to pass, the demo was unleashed. They're now offering it as a free stream on Bandcamp and as a download or tape cassette via their official site here, but be forewarned: the upcoming full-length version 'Perigaea Antahkarana' will be an entirely different two horned beast, a completely new manifestation of the ideas heard on the demo.

WOLVSERPENT's sprawling compositions gracefully wend their way through the valleys of death, drone, black metal, doom, and chamber music and arrive triumphantly on foreign shores. Borne of the duo's 20+ years of classical training and deep appreciation for the works of composers like Arvo Part, Gyorgy Ligeti, and Krzysztof Penderecki, WOLVSERPENT's vision combines stringed amplified instruments with a 21st century approach to composition to create works that are dark, emotional, menacing, cinematic, atmospheric, and heartbreakingly beautiful.

This is quite a piece of work, epic, ambient, symphonic doom, slow and dark great use of sound fx, blended with an evil vocal, beautiful violin playing.

Rating 9/10
For fans of : Sunn 0))), Boris, Wolves In The Throne Room, Sigh, Earth

Mark Lanegan - Imitations (CD Review)

01.Flatlands (Chelsea Wolfe)
02.She's Gone (Hall & Oates)
03.Deepest Shade (The Twilight Singers)
04.You Only Live Twice (Nancy Sinatra)
05.Pretty Colors (Frank Sinatra)
06.Brompton Oratory (Nick Cave & Bad Seeds)
07.Solitare (Andy Williams)
08.Mack the Knife (Kurt Weill & Bertolt Brecht)
09.I'm Not the Loving Kind (John Cale)
10.Lonely Street (Andy Williams)
11.Elégie Funèbre (Gérard Manset)
12.Autumn Leaves (Andy Williams)

Mark Lanegan (Vocals/Guitar)

Mark Lanegan is an American alternative rock musician and singer-songwriter. Born and raised in Ellensburg, Washington, Lanegan began his musical career in 1984, forming the grunge band Screaming Trees with Gary Lee Conner, Van Conner and Mark Pickerel. During his time in the band, Lanegan also started a low-key solo career and released his first solo studio album, The Winding Sheet, in 1990.

Since 1990, he has released a further six studio albums and has received critical recognition and moderate commercial success.
Lanegan has also collaborated with various artists and bands throughout his career, including with Kurt Cobain of Nirvana prior to the group's breakout success with their album, Nevermind, recording an unreleased album of songs by the blues singer, Lead Belly. Following the dissolution of The Screaming Trees in 2000, he became a member of Queens of the Stone Age and is featured on four of the band's albums—Rated R (2000), Songs for the Deaf (2002), Lullabies to Paralyze (2005) and ...Like Clockwork (2013).

Lanegan also formed The Gutter Twins with Greg Dulli in 2003, released three collaboration albums with former Belle and Sebastian singer Isobel Campbell, and contributed to releases by Melissa Auf der Maur, Martina Topley Bird, Creature with the Atom Brain, Bomb the Bass, Soulsavers and Mad Season.

His latest solo album was recorded earlier this year and follows his early 2012 release 'Blues Funeral' and 'Black Pudding', his critically-acclaimed recent collaboration with Duke Garwood.
Mark spoke Of the latest album :
“When I was a kid in the late sixties and early seventies, my parents and their friends would play the records of Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, music with string arrangements and men singing songs that sounded sad whether they were or not. At home my folks were also listening to country music - Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, George Jones and Vern Gosdin were some of our favourites. For a long time I’ve wanted to make a record that gave me the same feeling those old records did, using some of the same tunes I loved as a kid and some that I’ve loved as I have gotten older. This record is it. Imitations.”

A somewhat ecletic mix to say the least, was surprised that there was no Johnny Cash or Woodie Guthrie or Jim Morrison.
I mean 3 Andy Williams songs? Sorry but as much as its "his" album (and a touch self indulgent to say the least) it is being sold to the public so you would expect something more.
Well okay so that said, its not a bad album, its downbeat and beautifully sung, he has the most amazing voice that was what drew me to the Screaming trees, he has one helluva voice, and the Winding Sheet still stands as nothing short of perfection for any solo album made.

So for me standout tracks are 'Solitaire' mainly cause i remember it first time round, the Nick Cave and John Cale songs work very well and 'Mack The Knife' is a great song no matter who does it.

Rating 7/10

For fans Of : Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Jim Morrison, Captain Beefheart

Sunday, 18 August 2013

SCREAMING EAGLES, ANASTASIA WALKER Live At Cask Corner 17.08.13 (Gig Review)

SCREAMING EAGLES, ANASTASIA WALKER Cask Corner, Doncaster 17.08.13

Have to say something about Cask Corner because it was an amazing venue to walk into, it was like being back in the great rock clubs in Camden and the West End, Part 'The Dev' and part 'Crobar', so to find a place with that kind of vibe in Doncaster was a real surprise.
The walls are covered in old posters, strange objects, a dummy in diving gear, a rack of ties and old vinyl records everywhere.The celing has beer mats glued to it!
Add to that friendly staff and an array of beers from all over the world, they also have a local ale from the Doncaster Brewery called "Sand House" which after one taste became our drink of the night.
Upstairs we enter a different world, called the 'Bordello Cocktail Lounge' its decked out like a private room at the Moulin Rouge with comfy chairs, chandeliers and mirrors.

ANASTASIA WALKER Anastasia is the frontwoman to the indie rock group Bang Bang Romeo, when the band are not playing she grabs her guitar and does a solo set of covers. Kicking off with 'Crazy' she belts out a huge voice, this continues through a short set that included a very clever and slow melodic take on the grease hit 'You're The One That I Want'.

Paul Johnson (Heritage/Saxon) has put together a new line up of his band and tonight they play as if they have doing it for years!

Thumping through their first set we get some cracking versions of 'Doctor Doctor' a medley that started with 'Wig Wam Bam' and a break neck speed take on the Eagles 'Get Over It'.
What was noticable was the "Fun" element, not only were the band enjoying every second but the packed venue as well, some on stage antics between Paul and drummer Stuart and plenty of crowd interaction, stage invasions and sing a longs.

After a twenty minute break they came back, this second set was the one many had come to hear as it featured many Saxon hits like 'Dallas 1 PM', '747 Strangers In The Night', 'Where Are They Now', 'Suzi Hold On' and 'Rock N Roll Gypsy', all i have to say superb versions that erupted the whole place!
Also in the set were covers of 'Panama' with some amazing guitar work from lead player Bill, a solid version of 'Enter Sandman' with an expert performance from drummer Stuart and an extended jam between lead guitar and rhythm guitar playing from Callum Johnson (Paul's son), whose confidence seemed to grow as the evening progressed, at one point joined onstage by an air guitaring fan.

Throw in a brief Blues jam, a few bars of 'The Trooper' and the evening ended with 'Whisky In The Jar' and 'Highway To Hell'.

A brilliant evenings entertainment and a band definately worth seeing live.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Ministry - From Beer To Eternity

01.Hail To His Majesty (Peasants)
02.Punch In The Face
04.Perfect Storm
05.Fairly Unbalanced
06.The Horror
07.Side Fx Include Mikey's Middle Finger (TV 4)
08.Lesson Unlearned
09.Thanx But No Thanx
10.Change Of Luck
11.Enjoy The Quiet

No one wrestles victory out of the clenched jaws of defeat quite like Ministry leader Al Jourgensen. Heading into the studio to produce Ministry’s 13th official studio album, From Beer to Eternity, he and all the members of his team were beside themselves grieving the sudden and unexpected death of their longtime guitarist Mike Scaccia on December 22nd, 2013.
Last December, Scaccia worked with Jourgensen, guitarist Sin Quirin, drummer Aaron Rossi and bassist Tony Campos on a full batch of new Ministry songs. They finished the rough tracks on December 19th, 2012. Three days later Scaccia died from a heart attack he suffered onstage while playing a live show in Dallas, TX with his other band Rigor Mortis to celebrate their vocalist Bruce Corbitt’s 50th birthday. Scaccia was 47.
Scaccia's death put a tragic end to all planned future projects: a second Buck Satan & The 666 Shooters album, a Chicago blues record and more thrash-based music. But the tracks Scaccia recorded before leaving Jourgensen’s 13th Planet Studio in El Paso, Texas were so good, so musically multifaceted and incisive, that From Beer to Eternity is destined to be the culminating audio release in the band's 30-plus year archive of industrial metal output.

“There was no choice,” Jourgensen says of the bittersweet production process. “During the sessions Mikey was smiling and going, ‘You know what, Al. This is by far and away the best Ministry album we’ve ever done together! This is awesome.’”
From the schizophrenic opening cut, the sarcasm-dripping, sound effect-laden “Hail to his Majesty” to the thrash-punk riffs and booming bass reverberations of “Punch in the Face,” From Beer to Eternity pulls no punches, sounding at once familiar, yet completely fresh and inspired.
“When Mikey, Sin and I sat down and went, ‘Well, what are we gonna do?’ we decided, ‘Let’s do what we’re good at doing instead of trying to blaze new trails or play weirdo, psychedelic vacuum cleaner noises,’” Jourgensen says. “ This album is not like a greatest hits album. It’s a greatest bits album. We took the best bits in Ministry’s career and distilled them into one release. It’s like a filet mignon with all the fat trimmed away. There are even influences in there from Revolting Cocks and Lard. It pretty much wraps up my career with a bow and ties up all the loose ends and it’s rock solid – the definitive guide to the Ministry cosmos.”

As much as Scaccia's death was a major blow to Jourgensen on many levels, it was also an incentive. Knowing that From Beer to Eternity would be the last Ministry album to feature
Scaccia’s eclectic guitar playing, which ranges from Middle-Eastern sounding and psychedelic on “Change of Luck” to unhinged hillbilly thrash on “Fairly Unbalanced,” Jourgensen was determined to record an album as diverse and breathtaking as the riffs Scaccia brought to the table, as difficult as that was both musically and emotionally.
“Stopping any album in the middle of recording to go to a funeral can’t possibly be a good sign,” Jourgensen admits . “For the next three months I had to go back and mix it and listen to his riffs every day, and think about him every day. It was pretty tough to do -- a lot harder than I thought it was gonna be. I thought I could put him out of my mind and just mix. But of course, when something as awful as that happens, it gets to you. I just had to power through it knowing I was doing Mikey proud and it was for the best.”

Jourgensen wrote “Change of Luck” directly about Scaccia’s death, but the song is hardly morose, and features a soaring melodic chorus that almost sounds like ‘80s pop: “You’re luck is gonna change/It’s gonna go from bad to strange/ ‘Cause Life is so deranged/ we’re only in a field of pain.” Another track, “Side EFX Include Mikey’s Middle Finger/TV4” is a direct tribute to Scaccia’s guitar abilities and features some of his most blazing solo work within an equally powerful framework of machine-gun beats, gang vocal chants and samples from television commercials describing the debilitating side effects that can accompany prescription medications.
“If you’re sick or depressed or whatever, you’re trying to get better, but these medications can kill you,” Jourgensen says. “The drug companies are making money hand over fist and just because they tell you on TV that their shit can be really dangerous, they’re basically off the hook. That’s just wrong and it's ultimately all about greed.”
Like much of Ministry’s catalog, From Beer To Eternity, takes on greed, hypocrisy, capitalism, and conservatism through barbed lyrics and immaculately placed samples that earned Jourgensen the title godfather of industrial metal. While many of the songs are biting and thoroughly provoking, others are sneering and sardonic. “Fairly Unbalanced" starts with the sample “That’s here on the FOX news channel, the network America trusts for fair and balanced news,” echoing over a raging s staccato rhythm. A second later, FOX political analyst Dick Morris is quoted: “There is no chance that Obama will get re-elected. Zilch. Zip. None. Nada.”

“The FOX News samples continue on the next song ‘The Horror,’ in which we hammer in this Republican message of absolute hate, ignorance and stupidity,” Jourgensen reveals. The song touches on the radical right-wing idea that rape victims who become pregnant are meant by God to bear the children growing in their wombs. “That’s the ultimate example of insensitivity and cluelessness,” Jourgensen says. “But it’s really cool because from a musical point of view, we managed to turn the almost total Motorhead metal riff of ‘Fairly Unbalanced’ into a complete rave dancehall club vibe, which I think is pretty cool. I can’t see Motorhead or Danzig doing something like that. They’re really good at what they do, but we took a few things that we’re good at and combined them in different and interesting ways to see if they work and they talk to each other.”

The first video for From Beer to Eternity is for “PermaWar” a mid-paced, metallic tune that combines guitars crunchier than fresh tortilla chips, raw, raging vocals, live drums, a catchy doom guitar hook and a quasi-melodic chorus with samples of President Obama talking about terrorism and nuclear weapons. “That song was inspired by reading Rachael Maddow book Drift,” Jourgensen says. “It’s about the permanent war machine that keeps making money, the military/industrial complex that Eisenhower warned against as he departed the White House. The US government just keeps sending young kids with families out there to be bullet stoppers so we can keep selling arms and keep this perpetual war machine going. The last time we did a song that chunky and slow was when we did ‘Crumbs’ and ‘Lava’ on Filth Pig. But then I also used a bunch of catchy background vocals, which I haven’t done since Twitch.”

One of Jourgensen’s favorite songs on the record, “Hail to His Majesty(Peasants),” might at first seem like an irreverent “fuck you” to his fans -- a declaration that, as a rock star, he’s above criticism. But as with most things Ministry, all is not what it seems. The song starts with a sample of someone declaring, “Holy Cow” and continues with dissonant, grinding, hissing and scraping noises before Jourgensen says, “I hate all you motherfuckers” and a sample replies “Hail to His Majesty.” The song, like many on From Beer to Eternity starts and stops, in this case, incorporating short-circuiting drum machines and morse code samples with warbly moog keyboards and a distorted metal riff.
“That song is actually the ultimate in self-deprecation and sarcasm,” Jourgensen says. “It’s like, ’Yeah, all right. I’m such a fucking rock star! Well fucking suck my dick because I’m Al fuckin’ Jourgensen!’ But by the same token, the very start of the song says, “Holy cow,” which to me means a sacrificial cow, like people worshipping something they shouldn’t be worshipping. It’s much like in the Bible where they’re worshipping the golden Ox and Moses comes down and he’s pissed. That’s what I’ve felt like over the last 30 years sometimes. People worshipping somebody for doing something they do naturally anyways. What the fuck’s that about? So I poke fun at that. There’s a lot of sarcasm on this album.”

After bludgeoning listeners with 31 flavors of noise, Ministry reach into the RevCo disco-inflected vault for “Another Lesson Unlearned,” which features soulful female background vocalist Patty Fox, sleazy Nile Rodgers-inspired funk guitars and whoosing headfuck production effects. From Beer to Eternity closes with the longest song on the album, the eight-minute-twenty-one second song “Thanx But No Thanx,” which starts with stoner space dub rhythm over which Jourgensen’s favorite veteran and pal Sgt Major reads William S. Burroughs’ “Thanksgiving Prayer.” Halfway through, the song morphs into a mosh-inciting number reminiscent of something by crossover legends S.O.D. before ending with the THC-saturated dub vibe and reverberations containing the lyrics “Thanks for the drugs.”

“Sgt Major was originally featured on ‘GangGreen’ from Rio Grande Blood,” Jourgensen says. “He’s this old, grizzled military man who used to be a hardcore right-wing marine sergeant, and now in his final days he’s become an ultra-lefty, liberal guy who hates government, hates republicans. And he used to be the embodiment of that kind of attitude. He had just undergone lung cancer surgery a few days before he showed up at the studio with his oxygen tank, a pack of Marlboros and a case of beer. He's a tough, old bastard and an incredible person. He did that recitation of Burroughs literally with an oxygen tank and tubes up his nose, smoking and drinking. Now that's what I call hardcore.”

The above was included as part of the press release, i dont normally re print them in my reviews but it was so well written and has all the information from Al and makes a brilliant read in itself. PR was from AFM records.

 Now to my words......

'Hail To His Majesty (Peasants)' loaded with industrial beeps and samples and the first line is "i hate all you muthafuckers" hell yeah Ministry are back!!!! This one is a weird funky electronic slow groover that gets loud, very loud!!!

Getting a little more upbeat with 'Punch In The Face' seriously bass heavy, as is 'PermaWar'.

"This is about whats going to happen" and what happens is war and hell in musicial form, 'Perfect Storm' is a doom laden monster.

You aint kidding 'Fairly Unbalanced' "fairly" ??? wow fucking hell this track is just awesome, absolutly fires in every direction and cuts a few new ones as well, this is kinda like NWO-REDUX full of political sound bites and samples and driven by break neck speed guitars and drums.

If "Death-Dance-Dub" was a real music form then i guess 'The Horror' would be the best song ever made in said genre, superb drum n bass beats and old fashioned "scratching".

The strangely 'Side Fx Include Mikey's Middle Finger (TV 4)' is just a blurr of super fast drums, screaming guitars and samples, i dunno about the line "i feel like shit" more like "i feel like i need some painkillers", Stunning!!!!

Some great female vocals in 'Lesson Unlearned' very soulful and mixed in with Al's venomous delivery, add to that a start stop style of guitars and you have yet another brilliant track.

Some quality dub/metal that KoRn couldnt get near with their Skrillex stuff, 'Thanx But No Thanx' has a bass line that reminds me of Bauhaus' She's In Parties, at 8 minutes this one is a great listen, half way through it turns to pure industrial metal.

'Change Of Luck' carrys on in the same style, but some different elements added, like a great little guitar riff that runs through it, gets heavy towards the end.

'Enjoy The Quiet' is 2 minutes of ambient noise, a weird but fitting end to a fantastic album.

Rating 10/10

For Fans Of : Rammstein, Fear Factory, RevCo, Godflesh, KMFDM, Aborym, Rob Zombie

Dark Age - A Matter Of Trust (CD Review)

03.Out Of Time
05.Don't Let The Devil Get Me
06.My Saviour
08.The Great Escape
09.The Locked In Syndrome
10.Dark Sign

Eike Freese (Vocals/Guitar)
Jörn Schubert (Guitar)
Alex Henke (Bass)
Martin Reichert (keyboards)
André Schumann (Drums)

DARK AGE present their seventh studio album. The five-piece from
Hamburg devotes themselves to Metal for 18 years now - but always seeing
the bigger picture.
In 2008 Metal Hammer Germany already approved that DARK AGE "are playing
the most modern Metal you can find these days - at least in Germany". Now
the five bandmates are taking this quote to higher level: The new record "A
Matter Of Trust" is pumping out of the speakers in the typical DARK AGE sound with hard drums, shredding guitar riffs and electronic elements. What is new, on the other hand is, that the main focus is on the song itself and its
hook line rather than on the riff - a development that started with "ACEDIA" in
"As an artist it is important for us to improve ourselves further. Music is motion
and inspiration" - states frontman Eike Freese. He continues: "After we started
working on the new album we realized that we are not able to tell
anything new to our fans with the traditional DARK AGE-ingredients anymore.
We told all the stories in the traditional Metalway." Eike explains: "In the songwriting process we realized: The more we allowed new influences, the easier it was for us to explore new avenues and to express ourselves." The long-lasting friendship, the confidence in each other and the mutual ability enabled this loophole. Furthermore: The more the band opened up to different ideas the more a central theme showed up: To focus on the song and not the technical ability.
What played into the bands hands was that there was no pressure of
time during the songwriting and recording process: The material came to
maturity and the band could try out different things over two years, as in
Freese's own "Hammer Studios" was always a gap to write and record. This is
why some of the songs just developed during the recording sessions, e.g. the
first single "Afterlife".

I can only assume that a band who quote "are playing the most modern metal" actually translates as "are playing fairly average melodic post industrial rock", yes sure its heavy in places but way too melodic and ear friendly to be what you would expect from German Metal.

Personally not much here to enthuse me, first song 'Nero' was good but after that all a bit "meh", sorry guys not for me.

Rating 5/10

For Fans Of : Rammstein, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Killing Joke

Monday, 12 August 2013

Sinner - Touch Of Sin 2 (CD Review)

01.Born To Rock
02.Comin’ Out Fighting
03.Bad Girl
04.Knife In My Heart
05.Concrete Jungle
06.Don’t Believe A Word
08.Germany Rocks
09.Danger Zone
11.Blood On The Sand
12.Lost In A Minute
14.Heat Of The City

Mat Sinner (vocals/Bass)
Alex Beyrodt (Guitar)
Christof Leim (Guitar)
Alex Scholpp (Guitar)
Andre Hilgers (Drums)

Guest Musicians

David Readman (Voodoo Circle, Pink Cream 69)
Erik Martensson (W.E.T.)
Diego Valdez (Helker)
Tom Naumann (ex-Primal Fear).

German hard rock band who formed in 1982 by future Primal Fear bassist Mat Sinner, are about to release a very special new piece of work: titled "Touch Of Sin 2" (in a nod to SINNER's 1985 album, "Touch Of Sin"), the album includes 11 re-recorded versions of the best songs from the band's early years.In addition, the 3 brand new songs “Blood On The Sand”, “Heat Of The City” and “Don’t Believe A Word” round off the album in a perfect way.
Commented Mat Sinner: "When we were younger and new to the music business, we were proud to be part of the Noise Records family and to get the chance to sign a contract with them. Reading this contract so many years later, you can't but shake your head in disbelief and wonder what must have possessed us. The exclusive rights to the recordings have since been bought and sold numerous times with the effect that none of those who owned them has ever had any relation to either the production itself or to how it was created.

"Today, the older SINNER songs still enjoy great popularity within the scene. We continue to play them live, even though the CDs aren't available any longer. It is Universal who owns the albums at the moment - but does not distribute the CDs. Therefore, they're to be held responsible that CDs from this era can only be purchased at exorbitant prices. Unfortunately, the musicians and songwriters involved have no means of dealing with the matter - our hands are tied.
"When I offered to do a remix on several songs for a best-of album, I was told that the original tapes have mysteriously disappeared and were probably burned in an 'accidental' fire. That much about the pearls of our past.

Well cd reissue problems aside, the idea of doing a 'Best Of' is often a cop out because fans already have everything, so the record company hit on the idea of getting bands to record one or two new songs for said release, these usually get released as singles, so technically you dont have to buy them.

So Sinner re-record their hits and add a few new songs, seems like a slighty better option, often gives bands a chance to correct the sound or do a better solo etc.

Certainly nice to hear a few of these tracks again, i had long forgotten about this band to be honest, seem to recall seeing them with celtic frost and helloween about 27 years ago maybe longer.

The new songs fit in well and have the bonus of being recorded with some special guests, roll on 'Touch Of Sin 3 - The Live Recordings'.

Rating 7/10

For fans Of : Primal Fear, Helloween, Wolfpakk, Accept

Wolfpakk - Cry Wolf (CD Review)

02.A Matter Of Time
03.Dark Revelation
04.Cold Winter
05.Palace Of Gold
06.The Beast In Me
08.Pressure Down
09.Run With The Wolf
10.Cry Wolf
11.Kid Raw

Mark Sweeney (Vocals)
Michael Voss (Vocals)

Guest Musicians :

Vocals: Amanda Somerville (Kiske/Somerville), Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Göran Edman (Ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Johnny Gioeli (Axel Rudi Pell, Hardline), Doogie White (Ex-Rainbow, Michael Schenker), Tony Mills (Shy, TNT), Blaze Baley (Ex-Iron Maiden), Piet Sielck (Iron Savior), Jean-Marc Viller (Callaway)

Bass: Mike Winkler (Session Musician)

Guitars: Kee Marcello (Ex-Europe), Mandy Meyer (Krokus, Ex-Gotthard), Roland Grapow (Masterplan), Martin Rauber (Top4tea)

Keyboards: Don Airey (Ozzy, Deep Purple), Tony Carey (Ex-Rainbow, Planet P)

Drums: Gereon Homann (Eat The Gun), Brian Tichy (Whitesnake /Ozzy), Hermann Rarebell (Ex-Scorpions), Roland Jahoda (Ex-Paradox, F.U.C.K.)

Voss and Sweeney wrote all the songs together (bar 1 cover version) and were responsible once again for production, mix and vocals. The process of creating “Cry Wolf” held many personal highlights for the WOLFPAKK leaders, one definitely being the participation of iconic keyboard player Tony Carey, keyboard player for none other than Rainbow. “It was just unbelievable to have the great Tony Carey on our album”, Sweeney reflects. “The man is a legend and was part of the line-up which recorded Rainbow’s “Rising”, one of the most important albums in rock history. Now, doing a cover version of a track from this very album with Tony playing keyboards, is something very special. And the fact that he likes our cover version of “Run With The Wolf” a lot, makes us extremely proud”.

All star albums rarely deliver a real quality, this one manages to retain the same sound throughout musically and the guest vocals do not detract or distract.

Essential its classic old school power metal, but without that "widdley widdley" shite guitarwork that always ruins a good tune!

Heavy drums and plenty of powerchords keep this one firing until we hit track 4 and a pretty naff ballad called 'Cold Winter' but everything gets back on track even the cover is okay (doesnt try to be the original) and then we hit 'Cry Wolf' an epic 10 minute work out from acoustic intros, background fx and vocal samples into full blown symphonic power prog metal heaven!

Rating 9/10

For Fans Of : Iced Earth, Kamelot, Epica, Primal Fear

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Soldier - Dogs Of War (CD Review)

01.Dogs Of War
02.I Can’t Breathe
03.The Eye
05.Lock N’ Load
07.The Demon In The Room
08.I Am
10.Take Me Home
11.No Mans Land
12.Sheralee (2012 Version)
13.Crash Course
14.The Hanging Tree

Ian Alan Dick (Guitars)
Miles Goodman (Guitar)
Steve Barlow (Bass)
Richard Frost (vocals)
Alex Smith (Drums)

Formed by Ian Dick in Northampton in 1979, the band soon built up a strong following, after releasing a demo early in 1982 they were signed to Heavy Metal Records and release the single 'Sheralee, a year later after a live album the abnd split.

Returning in 2003 with a new Ep titled 'Infantrycide' followed by a compilation album 'Heavy Metal Force' in 2004 and a single 'Murderess Night'.
Seemed the band were back in buisness and a new album 'Sins Of The warrior' was released in 2005 which featured the epic song 'Starhaven' amongsest others.

We then move forward to their 30th anniversary of the single 'Sheralee' and live appearences at the British Steel and Hard Rock Hell festivals, this lead to a more stable line up and a determination to return to the scene and the band set about recording a new album.

So after 34 years, numerous line up changes and releases the band now present their new album on their own label, and its time to crank the volume and hit "play".

Opening track 'Dogs Of War' pretty much blasts right through! its a fairly typical post NWOBHM sound, fortunatley its does not go down that "Thrash" route that some make the mistake of, in fact this is quite a mature sound with some great guitar work and a stong clear vocal.

There are some echos of proto-doom lurking in 'I Can’t Breathe' a bit like Quartz jamming with Diamond Head.

Now this one definatley has a Doom element to it, in fact i swear i detect some Iommi riffage in 'The Eye'.

'Fireflies' returns to a more upbeat tempo, some nice backing vocals on this one making a definate sing a long at gigs.

Wow 'Lock N’ Load' really rocks! a great track, pure old school NWOBHM, and absolute 100% headbanging masterpiece, solid vocal, awesome twin guitar attack, solid drums and punching bass.

The pace slows for 'Bedlam', a near blues structure reminicent of early Mamas Boys, about half way through the song moves up a gear for some high vocals then end with some clever timing changes leading to a great solo, simply put another great track.

Frantic drumming and guitar greets 'The Demon In The Room' then turning to a mid tempo rhythm punctuated with that occasional frantic break.

'I Am' and 'Forever' both have a Maidenesque quality but with much better vocals.

'Take Me Home' and 'No Mans Land' have a very modern british metal feel, solid and full of power.

The first of three bonus tracks included on the cd is a new version of 'Sheralee', weird hearing it with a different vocalist, still sounds good though.

'Crash Course' is not what i thought it would be (a cover of the Budgie song that was fucked up by Shitallika) but a storming little instrumental with some excellent riffing.

Finally 'The Hanging Tree', its an acoustic ballad its okay but seems to be a touch pointless and doesnt really match the tone or quality of the rest of the album.

All in all a solid british rock go grab a copy!

Rating 9/10

For fans of : Voodoo Six, Amulet, Diamond Head, Cavalar, Cauldron, White Wizard


Soil - Whole (CD Review)

01.Loaded Gun
02.The Hate Song
04.Way Gone
06.Shine On
07.Wake Up
09. My Time
10.Little Liar
11.One Love

Ryan McCombs (Vocals)
Tim King (Bass)
Adam Zadel (Guitar)

Formed in 1997 Chicago band SOiL quickly took the scene by storm along with other Nu-Metal meets New Metal bands like Drowning Pool, Mudvayne and American Head Charge.
The band achieved mainstream success with their major label debut "Scars" in 2001 and produced one classic song with 'Halo'.

The band went through brief line-up changes until reuniting with original vocalist Ryan McCombs in October 2011 for a tour commemorating the tenth anniversary of their landmark album "Scars". The band permanently rejoined with McCombs after his departure from Texas act Drowning Pool in late 2011. The line-up is currently completed with fellow original members Tim King (Bass) and Adam Zadel (Guitar). SOiL has sold over one million records worldwide with their album "Scars" hitting Silver in the United Kingdom following the anniversary tour.

This will mark the first album with original frontman Ryan McCombs since 2004's "". The new album sees SOiL returning to its classic sound that both fans and critics alike have come to admire. The band hails the new album as "an album that could have come directly after the "Scars" album". Some featured songs from "Whole" include "The Hate Song", "Loaded Gun", "Way Gone", and "Shine On" which is dedicated to the SOiL fans for standing by the band throughout the years. Another track, titled "Amalgamation" sees Ryan taking song titles from both the SOiL and Drowning Pool releases he was a part of and weaving them into verses of the song. Ryan McCombs's take on the lyrical process on "Whole": “I think lyrically speaking, those that are familiar with the work I've done are going to get the next chapter that they would expect. Words from a heart and mind that has lived them. One of the greatest things I experience as a lyricist is when people come up and share with me how a song, or a specific verse or line from a song, got them through a hard time or times in their lives. It reminds me of the times music did that for me an how powerful music and/or a lyric can be in a person's life.”

Drums and percussion on "Whole” were performed by Will Hunt who is best known for his work with Black Label Society, Evanescence, and Device. "Will added a whole new dimension to the songs" states bassist Tim King. "He added a monstrous and aggressive vibe to the album".
A guest solo on the song "Wake Up" was also performed by long time friend Mike Mushok of the band Staind.

Quite powerfull stuff, heavy guitar and agressive vocals, its not the greatest thing i have heard but then its not the worst.

Rating 7/10

For Fans Of : Drowning Pool, American Head Charge, Dry Kill Logic, Down The Sun