Sunday, 31 May 2015

Borealis - Purgatory (CD Review)

01.Past The Veil
02.From The Ashes
03.The Chosen One
05.Darkest Sin
06.My Peace
07.Place Of Darkness
08.Welcome To Eternity
10.Rest My Child

Matt Marinelli (Vocals/Guitar)
Mike Briguglio (Guitar)
Sean Werlick (keyboards)
Jamie Smith (Bass)
Sean Dowell (Drums)

Starting out in 2005, Canadian band Borealis wasn't supposed to sound as it does today. The first songs and live performances were done with a female opera singer. It was quickly realized that the possibilities were limited following that path, so they set out to find the right sound. During their search, enough songs were written to record an album, but there was no luck finding a singer, until they realised their guitarist could sing!

With their new singer and an arsenal of songs, Borealis entered the studio, and after a long and endlessly drawn out time, World of Silence was unleashed. Having played locally with Kamelot, Epica, and Sonata Arctica with nothing to sell, patient fans were elated to finally get their hands on the album, and Borealis played a packed show with Edguy to support it.

Musically Borealis leans towards the power metal sound, not too far removed from a band such as Evergrey or even Savatage in their prime, but also the more progressive bands like 'Vanden Plas' or 'Dream Theater' springs to mind here and there.

Well lets start on a positive note, the intro IS included as part of the first song, so thats a couple of rating points already, but then the first 3 songs are pretty much straight forward power metal, not quite as annoying as the european stuff but not far behind.

Track 4 'Destiny' kicks off with a solid and heavy riff, some great technical drumming and good use of keyboards, yes its symphonic, especially when the vocal and piano replace the rest of the band, but when it comes together, this one turns into a pretty solid song.

They seriously drag this down with the next song 'Darkest Sin' an acoustic ballad, this has no place anywhere in modern metal music at all.

The rest is back to the "slightly less annoying power metal" style, though they do throw another damn ballad in for some strange reason.

So bar one track this is yet another average metal by numbers album, that seems to be on the increase at the moment.

Rating 5/10
For Fans Of: Evergrey, Nickleback

Saturday, 30 May 2015

A S OErchestra - Winter Rain (2015)

01.Winter Rain

Aleksi Susi (Vocals/Programming/Guitar)

An experimental new band from the finnish musician Aleksi Susi (Alexanred, 2 Wolves, Scent of Flesh).

One track from the upcoming album, its a nice commercial sounding song with a very catchy chorus, best way to describe it is symphonic pop/rock with gothic undertones.

Will wait for the album to get a better idea of what this is about.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Nine Inch Nails, HIM, Placebo

Friday, 29 May 2015

Child Of Caesar - Love In Black (CD Review)

02.Red Sun
05.Long Live The Night
06.Lost Sacrifice
08.At Heart
09.Love In Black
10.Worlds Without Skies

Daniel Mitchell (Vocals)
André Marcussen (Guitar)
Christopher F.Kassad (Bass/Guitar)
Dino Cadavian (Drums)

Love in Black is the debut album of German Goth Metal band Child of Caesar featuring Daniel Mitchell from U.S. Metal band "Autumns Eyes" on vocals.

It lyrically deals with morbid themes about life & death whereas the musical influences reach from The Sisters of Mercy to Tiamat and Paradise Lost.

Child of Caesar is making no secret about its love for 90’s heavy music. After recording and mixing at Tones & Tunes Studios in Oberhausen, Mika Jussila from Finnvox was hired for mastering to show gratitude to the evocative sound of that time…

So first question is who's on the keyboards??? I ask because the playing on this album is very good, yet no credit???

Right so we start with 'Defector' a stunning Goth/metal hybrid, simple chords power through the frantic drumming and synth patterns whilst the vocalist remains at a calm and harmonic level.

'Red Sun' is a slow, near anthemic song, more rock than metal with a dark overtone, in fact this is the way forward, forget the "Metal" tag this is pure Gothic Rock.

I tell you the haunting keyboard on 'Long Live The Night' is pure Static X, the mood of the song, just everything about it, just brilliant.

Whole albums fantastic, stop reading this and go buy a copy now :-)

Rating 10/10
For fans of: Static X, Tiamat, Placebo, Sisters Of Mercy, Deathstars, Marilyn Manson

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Black Claw - Black Claw EP (CD Review)

02.Factual Accusations
03.Broken Hands
04.Find The End
05.Horrible Days

Reverend Black Claw (All Instruments/Vocals)

Formed in 2013 playing primitive and angry Death Roots envisioned in the desolate forests of the Canadian Wilderness.
Coming from a black metal background and now playing country music, Chris said; "I am the only member of the band. A few different people have been on the recording but 90% of it is just me.
Live performance wise there are a few people I play with some times but they are just session musicians".

Well as i was expecting C&W, i was surprised by 'Nothing' which has a simple acoustic riff, very dark and agressive vocal and some nice backing vocals, towards the end is some very gothic sounding keyboard and vocal effects.

'Factual Accusations' gives us more in the style of modern C&W, but there are hints of rockabilly and goth as well, the gruff vocal style cuts through the music to hold your attention and again some great backing vocals.

The tempo and delivery of 'Broken Hands' reminds me of Gogol Bordello, with this great ethnic/folk song.

Now we come to 'Find The End', it begs the question can dark gothic vocals and a banjo make for a a dark, moody and quite stunning song? The answer is yes, this is by far the ebst song so far, a perfect mix of styles that simply should not work.

Finally some more traditional "hillbilly" style with 'Horrible Days', but its the "Hail, Hail, Hail" backing vocals and kick ass guitar solo that turn this into something quite unique.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Buck Satan, Bourbon Crow, Hank III, Gogol Bordello

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Soldier - Defiant (CD Review)

03.Kill Or Cure
04.Concrete Wilderness
05.Fight Or Fall
06.Dead Man's Curve
07.Bullet Belt Blues
08.Six Hundred
09.A Light To See The Darkness
10.Dont Come Crying To Me Defiant

Ian Alan Dick (Guitars)
Miles Goodman (Guitar)
Steve Barlow (Bass)
Richard Frost (vocals)
Tim Churchman (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 band 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'.A year later they released a new album 'Sins Of The warrior'.

We now jump to their 30th anniversary of the single 'Sheralee' and live appearences at the British Steel and Hard Rock Hell festivals, this lead to a determination to return to the scene and the band set about recording a new album.
The result was 2013's 'Dogs Of War', following year drummer Alex Smith was replaced by ex IQ man Tim Churchman and the band released a 2-cd compilation of mainly unreleased tracks from 1980 to 2007 and a bonus disc covering more recent recordings.

Opening with a seven minute epic called 'Conquistador' this sounds like a young progressive metal band creating clever layers and throwing in timing changes to make one helluva statement, add to this the experience of the musicians and what we have here is a stunning piece of music, full of melody, controlled agression and multi instrumental passages.

Next up is 'Leaving' a solid drum driven mid paced rocker, melodic vocals soar through the riffs, the next one 'Kill Or Cure' is more of the same, good quality hard driving music and some nice bass playing coming through my speakers as well.

Now 'Concrete Wilderness', a song i have played 3 times in a row, why? well first time i wasn't sure about it, second time i started to get used to its style and third time (now) whilst i'm writing this.So starts with a simple guitar riff then suddenly gets all "Judas Priest" riff wise, just as you start to get used to that, it slows down and gets all serious, then goes even slower with just a bit of guitar and a passionate vocal, then (keep up with me here) it bursts into life again all heavy and anthemic, nice guitar solo and crashing drums, speeds up again keeps a steady pace, then slows down again, then gets all epic towards the end.Right then by far the most intresting multi layered song so far and one of the best rock songs i have heard this year!

'Fight Or Fall' and 'Dead Mans Curve' are both solid rock songs, great riffs, great drums, pounding bass and excellent vocal delivery, nuff sed.

I wonder if 'Bullet Belt Blues' will be a blues song? No its not its another anthemic rocker and its not lyrically what i expected either, i thought it may be a homage to heavy metal fans, but instead its about the politics of war.

Love the phase effect on the drum intro to 'Six Hundred' which turns into another riff lead driving rocker, yes i know i've said that before in this review, but hey this music just drives along at such a great pace, its the best way i can describe it.

Please dont let 'A Light To See The Darkness' be a ballad, coz it sure as hell sounds like one so far, slow and moody guitar riff and nice vocals, but wait the tempo increases, there is life here (and some nice acoustic sounding guitar in the mix), so yes okay its a kinda ballad but there is enough structure here to avoid the cliche.

Finally wild riffs and frantic drumming introduces us to 'Dont Come Cring To Me Defiant', the vocal is at a different pace to the music, this works really well and it all comes together during the chorus, after which it goes crazy full speed on the drums again.

This is an album by a band who have clearly moved forward from the retro sounds of many a NWOBHM band, its a modern heavy rock album, well thought out, executed and produced.

Rating 10/10
For fans of: Neon Fly, Amulet, Saxon, Judas Priest, The Deep, Weapon (UK)

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Mindful Of Pripyat - ...And Deeper I Drown In Doom (CD Review)

04.Cleansed By Fallout
05.Lone In Town
06.Deterrence 0
07.Deep Water Coffin
08.Mindful Of Pripyat
09.Oblivion Descends
10.Rusty Skin
11.40 Seconds
15.Impressions Of A Sick Mind

Gio (Drums/Vocals)
Tya (Vocals/Noise)
Giu (Guitar/Bass/Vocals)

Grindcore/Death Metal band from Italy, formed in 2014 to create a blast and scream  mixture of sickening grindcore/death noise, in vein of old school past acts like Napalm Death and Terrorizer.

14 original hi-speed smashes in the face, its incredibly fast and full of screaming and a wall of noise, in other words its a throw back to the birth of the genre without compromise.

In fact you get lulled into this false sense of security right from the start with 'Containment' which has this slow synth pulse, i wonder if they are doing something different? I asked myself before getting smashed over the head by some stunning brutality.

About the only song here that has a bit more to it is 'Mindful Of Pripyat' at 2 minutes and 12 seconds the longest track and one which has distorted doomy bits between the screams.

Add to this 2 cover versions, 'Oblivian Descends' by Unseen Terror and 'Contagion' by Defecation and we have a full and wellm executed album of Grindcore.

Rating 8/10
For fans Of : Napalm Death, Electro Hippies, Unseen Terror

Monday, 25 May 2015

Valentine Wolfe - The Nightingale- A Gothic Fairytale (CD Review)

01.Black Feathers
02.Dark Desire
03.The Place Where Evil Grows
04.Inside My Nightmare
05.Devil's Bane
06.Darkling, Listen
07.Twisted Melody
08.Precious Moments
09.Moonlight Prayer
10.Belladonna, Deadly Nightshade
11.You Could Never Have My Heart
12.Ghost Of Her Self

Sarah Black (Vocals/Piano/Harpsichord/keyboards)
Braxton Ballew (Bass/Programming/Electronics)

Hailing from South Carolina, Braxton Ballew and Sarah Black have been composing and performing music together as Valentine Wolfe since 2006.
Both coming from a classical background, with qualifications to back it up and hold graduate degrees from the University of Georgia, where they studied electronic composition, Ballew is also the Education Director of the Greenville Symphony Orchestra.

Perhaps it is no surprise that their scores have been heard in theatre productions of The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale and Twelfth Night.What may be a surprise is their love of Metal, Goth and Industrial music and the very clever way that they put all their influences and styles together.

What surprised me after the first listen was how they put their music together to sound like a full band complete with drums and guitar, when in fact neither are on the album!
As they said when i aksed them; "Just us, Sarah and Braxton, no guitars all the distortion parts are double bass and we program the drum loops ourselves."

Time now i think to hit play and listen to some of this self styled 'Victorian Chamber Metal'.

'Black Feathers' has a moody and atmospheric
 opening before turning into a solid commercial sounding symphonic rock song, really love the live sounding drum sound that drives this piece, great distortion riffs and harmonic keyboards, now over this is a
beautiful operatic soprano vocal and as the song progresses we are treated to some amazing double bass playing, sounds more like a cello to me (but what do i know?).

Now 'Dark Desire' is a hybrid of gothic rock and classical, but this one has a rock opera feel as well, reminiscent of Sarah Brightman's songs in the film Repo! The Genetic Opera, again driving drum patterns and that double bass make for a perfect mix to both move you emotionally and in a bang your head kinda way.

Moving into slightly different territory with 'The Place Where Evil Grows' as this uses more electronic samples and effects on the vocals, this time the double bass sounds like a violin as well.

Somehow on the song 'Inside My Nightmare' Braxton manages to get that double bass to sound like Simon House circa 1974, dont know how he can create so many amazing sounds from guitar to violin on it, but he does!

'Devils Bane' may have a solid rock sound but the vocal style whilst still operatic has a neo-folk feel to it, this helps create an intresting blend, the same can be said of 'Darkling, Listen' though this track has some more of that awesome drum and double bass playing set into some timing changes.

By far the heaviest song so far is 'Twisted Melody' for underneath that harmonic vocal lurks some evil heavy metal riffs.

After more of the same with 'Precious Moments' complete with some frantic drumming towards the end (yes i know its not real, but they have nailed the sound to perfection).

Heavy Metal meets Industrial on 'Moonlight Prayer' and once again it is that double bass playing that continues to astound me, so many different sounds!
This song has a lot going on it, different timing changes and lots of backing vocals and for some reason parts of this remind me of Rocket From The Crypt's 'On A Rope'.

So can Industrial influenced metal, operatic singing and Harpsicord go together?
'Belladonna, Deadly Nightshade' proves that the answer is "yes" and clearly anything is possible with these two talented and inventive musicians.

More drum driven power with 'You Could Never Have My Heart' and more outstanding double bass playing.

Finally 'Ghost Of Her Self', a slow and dark goth/opera piece, great vocal double tracking, solid as ever musical backing, more great distorted riffs and (yes i'm gonna say this again) the drum and double bass playing is just perfect.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Epica, Emilie Autumn, Rasputina, Angtoria, Mr Doctor's Devil Doll , Apocalyptica

Facebook: Valentine Wolfe

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Chainsheart - Leaving Planet Hell (CD Review)

01.Soul Kingdom
03.Flames That Rise
05.Final Destination
06.Return To The Stage
07.Points Of You
08.Never Stand Still
09.Dangerous Drop
11.The Spell

Yiannis Savva (Vocals)
Kikis Apostolou (Guitar)
Alex Chamberlain (Guitar)
Paris Lambrou (Guitar)
M.G. (Drums)

Bob Katsionis (Keyboards)
Nicholas Leptos (Vocals)

Classic hard rock/heavy metal band from Cyprus comprised of seasoned musicians, all of whom are extremely passionate rockers and this is clearly evident throughout their music and performances. The band began in 2011 as the solo project of vocalist Yiannis Savva who soon after decided to form a band, thus CHAINSHEART were born.

In late 2012 the band self released their first album “Just Another Day”, a purely hard rock album, it received positive feedback from press and media. The band however underwent several line-up changes and has finally found its true sound and style - classic heavy metal.

First three songs, really do fit that classic heavy metal style from the 1980's, full of melody and powerful vocals, nice guitar solos etc, then comes 'Mystery' which reminds me a bit of that bloody awful Scorpions ballad.

We get back on track with 'Final Destination', pounding drums, great riffs, it all moves along at a great pace, as do all the rest of the songs, see the thing here is that its all sounding nice and "Retro" but this is 2015, it doesn't seem to have any modern elements, in all fairness this is an 80's euro metal album and if you look back with fondness at those days and have everything ever released and want to add something new to the collection i suggest you rush out and grab a copy.

Rating 7/10
For Fans Of: Scorpions, Dio, Dokken

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Mare Infinitum - Alien Monolith God (CD Review)

01.The Nightmare Corpse-City Of R’lyeh
02.Prosthetic Consciousness
03.Alien Monolith God
04.Beholding The Unseen Chapter II
05.The Sun That Harasses My Solitude

Georgiy Bykov (Guitar/Bass/Programming)
Andrey Karpukhin (Vocals)
Ivan Guskov (Clean Vocals)

Russian doom band first appeared in 2011, this is their second full-length album which invites you to a new journey through the endless sea. The musical material of the album is a logical continuation of the debut release 'Sea Of Infinity' and includes 55 minutes of high-quality doom death metal.

"The crew of the Mare Infinitum ship will exalt you to the space heights, where a massive meteorite attack threatens to eliminate every living being on the surface of planet Earth, and then sank into the dark Lovecraftian depths where unknown Cthulhian creatures plunge you into the abyss of an imminent terror."

So 'The Nightmare Corpse-City Of R’lyeh' may start in a fairly basic way, but as this piece moves forward we get treated to a lot of different ideas, the clean and death metal style of vocals blend perfectly, then add to this some near symphonic elements, funeral doom to heavy almost sludge rock and faster death metal passages.

'Prosthetic Consciousness' is on the face of it a funeral doom paced song, but the way they add the keyboards, almost psychedelic guitar work and keep changing tempo it becomes a different almost progressive rock tune in its construction.

Now 'Alien Monolith God' may sound like a Monster Magnet song title but this 14 minute monster has a different method of attraction.
Its slow, brooding and atmospheric for the first half, the second half adds more melodic guitar and keyboards and a few other sound effects, the clean vocals add clarity in the darkness and again their are progressive rock hints.

If symphonic Funeral Doom were a genre then 'Beholding The Unseen Chapter II' would be a prime example of how to do it and if we add the Progressive tag to that list then 'The Sun That Harasses My Solitude' wuld do the same.

What a brilliant album, a clever and original mix of influences that creates a creative bridge between musical genres.

Rating 10/10
For Fans of:Albez Duz, Deprive, Nangilima, Novembers Doom

Friday, 22 May 2015

Bhayanak Maut - Man (CD review)

01.I Am Man
02.All Glory To The Beard
04.Stage 1 - Trema
05.Perfecting The Suture
06.It Knows
07.Bhayanak Maut
08.Stage 2 - Apophany
09.Now, Creation. Forever, Destruction.
10.Stage 3 - Anastrophy
12.For Science
14.Stage 4 - Consolidation
16.Light Shall Conquer
17.Stage 5 - Residumm

Aditya Nair (Guitar)
R. Venkatraman (Guitar/Samples/Keyboards)
Ishaan Krishna (Bass/Guitar)
Rahul Hariharan (Drums)
Sunneith Revankar (Vocals)
Vinay Venkatesh (Vocals)


Abhishek Kamdar, Kuber Sharma, Ishaan Krishna, R. Venkatraman and Rahul Hariharan (Additional Voices on ‘All Glory to the Beard’)
K. Venkatesh (Spoken Word on ‘Genosis’)
Eshwari Pandit (Spoken Word on ‘Perfecting the Suture’ & ‘Princest’)
Shalaka Pai, Eshwari Pandit & Anisha Singhi (Cheerleader shouts in ‘XOXOXO’)
Abhishek Kamdar, Kuber Sharma, Ishaan Krishna, R. Venkatraman, Rahul Hariharan, Sahil Makhija, Eshwari Pandit & Anisha Singhi (Additional Voices on ‘Iku’)

From Bombay, India "Bhayanak Maut" (Hindi for 'Terrible Death') formed in 2003.
They have produced 2 albums so far, 'Malignant' and 'Metastasis', this new album'Man' is the last piece of their "life-cycle of cancer" trilogy, with, and i quote; "Man is the biggest cancer to have ever existed."

This album comes complete with a 118 page story book.

Starting with some sound effects and samples as an intro (but forming part of the first song, hooray!!), 'I Am Man' becomes a heavy death metal influenced workout and that is the main sound you get from the majority of the songs, heavy, agressive, elements of technical guitar and drum playing and growl vocals.

So each piece titled "Stage" are short melodic instrumentals, this divides up the story into chapters as per the book.

Finally we get to 'Stage 5 - Residumm' one song and its 31 minutes long! except taht there are huge chunks of silence and then short bursts f music and finally at the end its like a song being played backwards and forwards at the same time, its weird, but intresting, if not a bit annoying when it keeps going quiet.

This is one helluva monster of a concept album, you will wait a long time to hear something this good for a long time, why? because music tends not to be made this complex with that amount of thought behind it.

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of: DevilDriver, Cradle Of Filth, Mastodon, Fragarek, Xenochord

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Oppression - Scars 1988-1990 (CD Review)

01.A Majesty, A Joker
03.For No Reason
04.Within Six Walls
05.Punishment From The Gods
06.No Day After
08.Into The Dark
09.Immortal Objector

Lare Nieminen (Guitar)
Marco Holstein (Guitar)
Janne Nuotio (Bass)
Harri Luoma (Drums)
Mika Luoma (Vocals)
Santtu Laakso (Vocals on tracks 5-10)

Re-issue of all the demos & 7”EP recorded between ‘88-’90 by the finnish thrash metal band with a technical edge inspired by bands like INFERNÄL MÄJESTY and CORONER.

Well if you want a cd of poor sound quality average, plodding thrash metal, mid paced and sludgey, by a band you have never heard of, then this is the cd for you.

Only good track here is 'Within Six Walls' and thats because some thought appears to have gone into it, from a nice acoustic start to various timing changes creating some intresting sounds and musical variation, otherwise you have to wonder why a record company would even bother with this when there are hundreds of talented bands out there who deserve a chance to get an album to the masses.

Rating 5/10
For fans of: Thrash metal demos

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Coffinfish - I Am Providence (CD Review)

01.Zadok Allen
02.The Expedition
04.Against Life
05.Staring At The Abyss

Czapla (Guitar)
Jasiek (keyboards)
Kolek (Drums)
Lobo (Vocals)
Michal (Bass)
Prymas (Guitar)

From Krakow, The band was formed back in 2011. Since then they have constantly continued evolving, developing a unique style, inspired by tales of weird fiction and the mysteries of the Ocean, Space and the human mind.
Described as a hybrid of post metal/experimental and sludge influenced by the work of H.P.Lovecraft, they released thier first EP in 2013.

Crashing waves and and we are off with 'Zadok Allen' in comes a doom guitar chord and then this most amazing keyboard sound, pure 70's British Prog, what could come next?

'The Expedition' is a different beast, a strange mix of technical metal played slowly at various tempos with numerous different vocal styles, elements of death metal and Progressive rock.

Up next is 'The Watchers' and its 12 minutes long, slow keyboard pulse and looped guitar chords create a gothic rock ambience, then the drums start to pump out this hypnotic rhythm, it starts to get into full swing when the guitar knocks out this proto thrash riff, but they somehow pull it back and bring back that old school keyboard.
Really great vocal starts nice and melodic and then gets more and more agressive as the song progresses, sorry have to mention those keyboards again because there are nice little patterns created in the mix, as this song goes on it at times sounds almost like a death/doom band.

More atmospheric sounds, almost drifting away to somewhere nice then 'Against Life' screamed through the speakers and im back in front of the laptop writing this!

'Staring At The Abyss' another epic 12 minutes, manages to somehow be everything, melody and agression, doom and prog and everything in between, stunning mix, production and musical perfection by some very talented players.

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of: Mastodon, Tool, Stone Circle, Words Of Farewell

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

We Butter The Bread With Butter - Wieder Geil (CD Review)

01.Ich Mach Mit Medien
04.Berlin Berlin
05.Bang Bang Bang
06.Mir Mehr
08.Thug Life
09.Warum Lieben Wir Nicht Mehr

Marcel Neumann (Guitar)
Maximilian Pauly (Bass)
Paul Bartzsch (Vocals)
Can Özgünsür (Drums)

"Wieder Geil!“ finally showcases the German fourpiece they way it always wanted to be perceived. Forceful and equipped with the bounce of all bounces.
So says their record company anyway, i'm slightly concerned about reviewing this one sent to me, silly name, great album cover, facebook page says they have over 298k of likes, but then i have also seen the word "metalcore" and am wondering if this is going to be a load of shouty scene kid music?

Well 'Ich Mach Mit Medien' starts off quite well a sort of techno metal sound much beloved of the old nu-metal guard, add in some punchy guitar and then, err wait euro techno dance drum n bass now its more chase and status than linkin park!

After a lot more of the same, all by the way in German, we come to one in English called 'Thug Life' which is another hi-nrg techno rave thing with samples and electronic vocals.

Yep, well then, definatley not my kind of music at all, so i wont go any further, this to me is neither one thing or the other and brings nothing new to the table that the likes of KoRn and Skrillex have not already done very well or some of the cross over music created by Rammstein.

But when it comes to metalcore and unfortunatly i get to hear a lot of it, this one is towards the top of the pile, its well produced and they execute their music with precision.

Rating 7/10
For fans of: Enter Shikari, Asking Alexandra, Finish Him, The Browning

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Oktor - Another Dimension Of Pain (CD Review)

02.Conscious Somatoform Paradise
04.Mental Paralysis
06.Hemiparesis Of The Soul

Piotr Kucharek (Vocals/Bass)
Jan Rajkow-Krzywicki (Vocals/Bass/Guitar)
Jerzy Rajkow-Krzywicki (Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Keyboards/Drums)

The Polish doom death metal band formed way back in 2003 and are now finally ready to present a full-length album after the years of artistic activity, several successful mini albums, compilations and participation in A Tribute to Skepticism! The long tracks alternate with exquisite piano preludes, as if inspired by Frederic Chopin, demonstrate the diversity of ideas: classical dense riffs and low-tempo interludes, a variety of vocals (from clean to growl), alterations of mood and rhythm … Clean sound of all instruments underlines the high quality of musicians many-years-long searching for their own style.

Well starts with a bloody piano intro as a seperate track and then gets going with the 12 minute piece 'Conscious Somatoform Paradise' and it's pretty good, nice mix of doom, melody and funeral doom like the different vocal styles from growls to clean, works well as does the beautiful slow and melancolic breakdowns with gentle classical precision.

My joy at this first proper song is knocked slightly when track 3 is another short piano filler, which as it acts as an intro to the next song, could (and should) have been at the beginning of the damn song, but anyway lets move to 'Mental Paralysis' (in more ways than one if its followed by another filler).
Now this is a  beast of a track at nearly 18 minutes, starts with this almost prog rock sound of guitar and keyboard, then the dark vocals come in and the song begins to move towards some quite epic almost symphonic doom as it goes on some stunning backing vocals are added and then it all comes to a close with some simple and atmospheric piano.

Next track, yep you guessed it: Filler, i can see a pattern here this is a four track album divided into 8 parts!
So to 'Hemiparesis Of The Soul' another slow and quite symphonic intro with great clean vocal, its when the dark vocals come in that this song gets heavy and nasty, well for a while we then gets some quite jazzy basswork and drums in the middle and a mix of styles and samples at the end.

The last 2; 'Pain' (yep filler come intro) and 'Undone' really are an odd way to end, just very very quiet piano and a near whispered vocal.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of: Sorrows Path, My Dying Bride, Anathema, De Profundis

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Lucifer - Lucifer I (CD Review)

02.Purple Pyramid
05.White Mountain
06.Morning Star
07.Total Eclipse
08.A Grave For Each One Of Us

Johanna Sadonis (Vocals)
The Wizard (Guitars)
Dino Gollnick (Bass)
Andrew Prestidge (Drums)

Following the premature demise of The Oath, Johanna Sadonis formed Lucifer.  Whilst The Oath was a much-celebrated band, she wasted no time in creating a new beast to go beyond previous limitations.That beast is Lucifer and this is their stunning debut album titled Lucifer I.
Having released their debut single, Anubis earlier in 2015, there has been a significant buzz generating around Lucifer. The anticipation for Lucifer I is high and it will not disappoint.

With the addition of Garry Jennings (ex-Cathedral/Death Penalty) as co-songwriter and studio guitarist, Lucifer have moved forward into a realm of rock music which is very rare and very special in this time. Genuine, classic, heavy, studied and passionate are just a few words that instantly spring to mind upon first listen. Lucifer's instinctive take on the very soul of early heavy metal is the electrified essence of rock’n’roll at its nascent purest. This is Magic Rock – heartfelt and holistic.

Eschewing the now well-worn clichés of the ‘occult-rock explosion’ in favour of a truthful and tempestuous re-imagining of classic 70s proto-metal and turbocharged blues, the eight songs on this band’s debut album crackle and fizz with burgeoning energy and the compelling conviction of music made for all the right reasons.

Although still firmly rooted in the fertile soil first cultivated by Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Blue Oyster Cult, Lucifer exist in a proudly liberated and limitless sonic realm, where the heaviest blues rock is a mere starting point for the band’s skyward creative trajectory.

So 'Abracadabra' is not quite the breathtaking start i was expecting, seems more like a continuation of The Oath, which was good mid seventies hard rock but pretty mainstream.

Again with 'Purple Pyramid' its just The Oath with a slightly heavier guitar sound, really not what i was expecting at all, look im not saying this is bad, far from it, this is great stuff with awesome vocals, but, ahh wait towards the end of this track im starting to get a different sound come through, more doomy, so maybe.....

'Izrael' quite a Sabbath like intro into some great bass and drum rhythms, nice harmonic vocal over it all, then it all comes together, this is more like what i was expecting, like Heart jamming with Sabbath.

And now a song called 'Sabbath', bells, slow pounding music, pure old school proto doom, stunning vocal ringing out through the speakers, oh yes this is the stuff!

This style does not last as we return with 'White Mountain' classic hard rock all the way and a killer solo at the end.

Really like the slow and slightly psychedelic/doom of 'Morning Star', half way through this one picks up the pace with a speeded up riff akin to 'Children Of The Grave' and more killer guitar work.

The doom returns with a vengeance on 'Total Eclipse', slow, pounding and pure, that vocal once again really sings through the speakers, love it when it goes all quiet and just a simple guitar riff is playing, then the drums start up and all of a sudden the pace picks up, creating happy doom sounds!!

Having finally got into this album i find myself at the last song, 'A Grave For Each One Of Us' nice acoustic start then a doom pattern appears, but just as it gathers pace they bring it down with the acoustic again, so its up and down all the way to the end.

So i may have had some doubts, writing this review as i go along, track by track for the first time, i then went back and listend to the whole thing again and it was even better.

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of: The Oath, Cathedral, Death Penalty, Bloody Hammers, Jex Thoth

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Albatross - Fear From The Skies (CD Review)

Story 1: Children Of The Cloud
01.Intro - Advance
02.The Raptorsville Fair
03.Jugglehead The Clown
04.Children Of The Cloud
05.Outro - Fold

Story 2: The Assassin's Flight
06.In The Lair Of Dr.Hex
07.A Tale Of Two Tyrants
08.The Empire Of Albatross

Dr. Hex (Bass)
Biprorshee Das (Vocals)
Vigneshkumar Venkatraman (Guitar)
Nishith Hegde (Guitar)
Varun Singh (Guitar)
Jay Thacker (Drums)

Mumbai-based traditional heavy metal quintet Albatross formed in 2009 and are a band that combines bone-chilling stories with bone-crushing metal. The band started out as the solo project of bassist Riju Dasgupta (Workshop, Old Monks) who wanted to marry his love of literature with his other love: metal.

Later on, a lineup of like-minded musicians was standardized and Albatross was born. The band released the critically acclaimed 'Dinner is You', a concept EP about cannibalism and the Kuru disease, which was mastered by Grammy nominated Swedish producer Andy LaRocque from King Diamond, in September 2010.

In 2012, Albatross released ‘The Kissing Flies’ EP as part of a split CD with American doom metal band Vestal Claret to critical acclaim. This EP features contributions from famed luminaries such as Niklas 'Viper' Stalvind (Wolf), The Demonstealer (Demonic Resurrection) and Murari Vasudevan (Rat King).

Albatross has supported legendary bands like Kreator and Wolf in the recent past and besides being a regular in the Indian live circuit did a successful three-city tour of Australia in 2013.
Since then they have been working on their debut album.

Are you sitting comfortably? then lets begin with our first story, and yes the intro starts us off with a spoken story and then 'The Raptorsville Fair' starts and it sounds like something from Nightmare Before Xmas, a very theatrical vocal over some silly fairground style rock music, then a more technical progressive metal sound kicks in, but it returns to that strange but quite awesome other style.

'Jugglehead The Clown' is more traditional heavy metal, pounding drums and maidenesque guitarwork and a more "serious" vocal, very rhythmic and catchy.

Next up is 'Children Of The Cloud' this one throws everything in from prog, death and thrash metal, lots of intresting timing changes and a fantastic vocal performance that ranges from Bruce Dickinson to Dani Filth!

The story ends on the outro with some church bells and a bit more story telling.

So from what appeared to be a light hearted first story the next one seems to be a bit darker, 'In The Lair Of Dr Hex' has this slow powerchord driven rhythm and more vocal gymnastics, the quality of the guitar solos matches anything any euro power metal player can offer, very very impressive.

The pace picks up with 'A Tale Of Two Tyrants' and once again it is the vocalist that takes centre stage here, another stunning and diverse performace from dark bass to near soprano, all over solid heavy power metal.

Opening with some beautiful acoustic guitar comes our final piece 'The Empire Of Albatross', this one is very much influenced by Iron Maiden, but this has some very good modern elements in the mix, as ever the vocalist does what he does best and also tells us a little bit of a story as well.

Rating 10/10
For fans Of: King Diamond, Dream Theater, Iron Maiden, Dream Evil, Iced Earth

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Insect Ark - Portal Well (CD Review)

02.The Collector
05.Crater Lake
07.Parallel Twin
08.Low Moon

Dana Schechter (All Instruments)

Debut album from composer/multi-instrumentalist Dana Schechter.

Schechter has a deep and unshakeable relationship with music that has seen her criss-crossing over the United States, and for a prolonged stint living in Europe as she explored creative avenues with her previous projects and passions. From being offered bass lessons by Cliff Burton at aged 15, to self teaching herself piano, guitar and drums, Schechter's talent and abilities have led her down a diverse array of artistic paths.

Having co-founded instrumental band Gifthorse with drummer Jef Whitehead and guitarist Douglas Hilsinger in her early twenties, Schechter has also lent her bass skills to Michael Gira (Swans), American Music Club, Keren Ann, and many others; in her band Bee and Flower, she's worked with artists such as J.G. Thirlwell, Thomas Wydler, Bertrand Burgalat, Martin Wenk (Calexico), and Toby Dammit.

Although the fruits of her collaborations brought artistic satisfaction, the ease of creating alone appealed to Schecter, and over the year in which Portal/Well was borne, Schechter wrote and recorded alone, at all hours of the day and night. The album was built with careful attention to immaculate detail, but also takes chances, pushing beyond personal barriers. The album is the product of a journey into composition and sonic exploration using a small but dynamic palette of instruments and a singular compositional voice.

Upon completion of Portal/Well, Schechter felt the addition of a live drummer would further push INSECT ARK  to expand sonically, both in the studio and live. In January of 2015, San Francisco Bay Area drummer Ashley Spungin (Taurus) joined as a band member. The duo performs together when possible; when apart, Schechter plays solo.

An intresting collection of Instrumental doom with some hints of electronica and some almost ambient interludes and one track 'Low Moon' so ambient you can barley hear it at all until towards the end.

Each piece creates mood, as if part of a soundtrack to some strange underground gothic horror film.

Take 'Octavia' as a prime example, starts with some synth pulses, in comes a slow drum beat, more synth adding different layers of sound and texture, to this add some guitar, simple chords full of phasing, what sounds like some whispered vocal, as the piece progresses add some weird sounds, distortion and occilation and then a few more power chords and then it ends.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Mekigah, Boris, Sunn 0))), Wolvserpent, Selim Lemouchi, Aphonic Threnody

Monday, 11 May 2015

Lockersludge - Drawing Lessons EP (CD Review)

01.Burden Of Pain
02.Guilt, Anger And Agression
03.Drawing Lessons
04.The Beard Of Doom
05.Burn In Hell

Mark Lockyer (Vocals/Drums)
Andy Lockyer (Guitar)
Brew (Bass)

3 piece doom/sludge with a hardcore edge from South Devon formed circa 2011.
Lockersludge essentially started out as a side project for Mark and Andy they have now recruited bassist Brew so they can begin rehearsals and take the project out live. Mark and A having been playing together since 1993 also enjoying slow, sludge (bands like Melvins & Eyehategod) power metal (Pantera) as well as an appreciation for the old skool hardcore scene (Madball, Biohazard) & the hardcore scene of today (Terror, Sworn Enemy) believing that there is no heavier form of music.

Maybe it's because of the punk vocal style and the lack of doom structure, i really don't get the doom/sludge tag here at all.

The first four songs are more of a grunge/sludge hybrid, nice raw sound with the instruments, but because of the shout it out/sneering vocal style this sounds more like Cockney Rejects play metal, Oi Metal???
It has a real dont care/fuck you attitude, simple punchy riffs over a basic drum beat and then short burst guitar solos.

It's not agressive enough to have a clear Hardcore tag either, really the more i listen to these songs i just get punk every time.

Now with that said the last song 'Burn In Hell' has a different feel, slow rhythmic drum pattern and obvious doom guitar, now here's the thing the lyrics are those of a certain Mr Dorain and this does "Borrow" quite a lot from Hopkins Witchfinder General, a hell of a lot, most of it actually, yet they still make this a punk rocker of a song.

Weird bunch can't quite work out what they are or what they want to achieve with the music.

Rating 8/10
For fans Of: Viking Skull, Anti Nowhere League, Warfare

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Black Pestilence - Outsiders (CD Review)

01.Cult Class
02.Silent Assassin
03.Unseen Force
04.Horns For The Devil
05.Sonic Static
07.Razing Taboo
08.Voiceless Generation

Valax (Bass/Vocals)
Viktor (Guitar)
Little V (Drums)

Canadian band formed in 2008, Black Pestilence combines grimy punk rock with electronic noise, all through the devastation of black metal. In 2009, Black Pestilence's first full­length album, "Vice" was independently released. “Vice” was originally released as a one­man solo project. However, later on Valax recruited live members in order to take the music to the live stage. Founding member, Valax simply describes the music as "black metal built on punk and noise."
In 2011, "Tradition is Obsolete" was released. This album is a representation of Black Pestilence's more experimental side with a strong emphasis placed on electronic noise and samples.
In 2013 Black Pestilence released their third full­length album, “In Defiance”. This album was by far their fastest and most fierce release, it featured intense speed from street punk, all presented through the furious lens of black metal and otherworldly samples.

Wow what an intresting mix of styles, listening to 'Cult Class' we get a sampled start, then the drums kick with some brilliant bass work, like early 80's punk bands, then as the speed picks up even more it gets this Motorhead vibe, the vocals are very rough and the backing is very "shout it out".

'Silent Assassin' begins with some electronic samples and then turns into a very punky metal song, again really ahve to pick out that bass playing, its got a great live and raw sound.

So from the punk/metal genre we now move somewhere totally different with 'Unseen Force', this is a slow an almost symphonic/goth sounding song, except its very electronic and has a vocal tubed effect on it, the heavier elements come in with death metal precision, this could almost be Fear Factory or Ministry.

The next few songs return to the punk/metal style and then finally we end with 'Voiceless Generation', a mid paced mix of samples over bass and drums then towards the end when the keyboards come in it gets symphonic.

I dont know which band member is the samples/keyboard guy but he really does this very well, this is a great an very unexpected album, electronic punk, the one thing i didnt get from any of the songs was black metal, so this is not in "Aborym" territory.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Anything from Ministry to UK Subs!!!!!