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Friday, September 30, 2016

Review: Corona Skies - Fragments Of Reality


Corona Skies from Finland, hard rocking / melodic metal is their style. These six men combine solid guitar riffs, crazy keyboards and a very nice rhythm section. Besides that they add very powerful vocals. This new album is going to be released on Nov. 18th 2016.

The first song is more of an intro, heavenly trumpets and guitar riffs. It sets an epic feeling for this album. Only the transition between the 2 songs doesn't go well, the first song suddenly stops and couple of seconds later the next one will start. The song "The Social Network" starts with a solid guitar riff and keyboard. Then it blasts open and the vocals come, it's definitely very dark. It feels like the vocals are sending you to an underground chamber, sure it is one of my favorite song on this album. The last couple of seconds are very happy, then turns back to the dark riffs/vocals. "Business Suits You" is a fast song with a lot of guitar riffs at the front. The song is also more melodic than others. The last song "Only the Gods Are Lonely" is a peaceful song that starts with some nice acoustic guitar riffs, same with the vocals; soft and slow. It’s a good way to end this album more peacefully rather than a melodic metal outro.

It’s a good album, the only remark would be to let the songs flow into each other so you have no hard ends. It's an interesting album to check out, if you like rock, melodic metal. Give them a try!

Track list:
1. Rite of passage
2. Big boys blues
3. The social network
4. Falling Sky
5. Delirium disco
6. Business suits you
7. Summer bum
8. The sea of my mediocrity
9. Only the gods are lonely

Written by Nathasja Voerman

Corona Skies Official Website
Corona Skies Facebook

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: NordWitch - Mørk Profeti


NordWitch is a five-piece melodic blackened death metal band that was formed in February 2015. Initially they were a Ukrainian/Hungarian band, but right after the recordings for their debut album called ‘Mørk Profeti’, which translates as ‘Dark Prophecy’, were completed, drummer Donets Stepan, Hungary’s sole representative in NordWitch was replaced by Eugene Hrulev, making NordWitch an all Ukrainian band. According to themselves, the members are not new to the metal scene, they all have previous experiences with other bands, but what bands that have been remains unknown. However, judging by the skills they showcase on ‘Mørk Profeti’ it’s safe to say NordWitch is not their first project.

So who is NordWitch exactly? Well, apart from Eugene, NordWitch consists of Max on solo guitar, Leo on rhythm guitar, Max Senchilo on bass guitar and last, but not least: Masha on vocals. If I hadn’t known for a fact Masha is female, I would never have guessed based on her vocal performance. Where many female grunters can easily be identified by the lack of depth and vibration in their grunts, causing them to be higher pitched than those of their male counterparts, Masha, well, grunts like a dude and that’s a compliment. NordWitch’s inspiration comes from satanism, occultism and ancient Scandinavian mythology. Having their debut album lined up for release soon, they are now planning a European tour to support it. Let’s see if their music justifies trying to get a ticket.

‘Mørk Profeti’ starts pretty straight-forward with the title song, an instrumental, atmospheric piece of music. It’s not particularly original, but that really doesn’t matter. Not even a bit. In my opinion, every intro, apart from those that are part of a conceptual release, should be meant to set the tone for the rest of the album and that is exactly what this one does. It starts with howling guitars, giving the song a sinister feel to it, where towards the end it appears to be specifically set up to give you an idea of where this album will take you music-wise. The next song, ‘Dominion’, introduces Masha’s grunts to the listener, which are an impressive addition to the overall sound. Furthermore, it proves to be a perfect example of the sound NordWitch manages to conjure up on ‘Mørk Profeti’: Versatile, skilled, often changing pace and at times brutal, but always with a melodic and sometimes evil touch.

Masha’s grunts have already been discussed, they’re right up there with the best. She is capable of deep, soul-tearing grunts as well as more possessed sounding growls without being too predominant, very well displayed in, for example, ‘Lady Evil’. The guitar tandem Max-Leo sounds as if they have been a team since their birth, a very well attuned duo. Leo’s riffs are firm and solid, guarding the pace of the song, while Max’s solo work flies loose but fierce, always kicking in at the right moment, adding to the flow of the song. Try ‘Walker from Shade’ for size or ‘The Call to the Antion Evil’. And then there’s the rhythm section. Relentless, breathtakingly fast without ever spiraling out of control, truly a performance that deserves nothing but deep respect. Try keeping up with them in ‘No Regret’ or ‘Messiah of Death’, I’m certain you’ll be seriously challenged.

All in all, ‘Mørk Profeti’ is an awesome piece of work, with some truly great tunes. Both the songs and the compositions are equally strong and played with skill. Even the more or less mandatory oddball almost every new release has, ‘Mørk Profeti’ is no exception to that rule, fits in. In this case that oddball is the majestic ‘To North Gods’, with its relatively slow pace and more friendly atmosphere a soothing touch amidst the power of the rest of the album. This too is a great song, although it fading out at the end seems out of place. And that right there is the album’s only flaw in my opinion, be it a minor one. That and the fact it has a playing time of only 38 minutes. I really wish it would have lasted at least double that time. If they can keep this up, with the new drummer and all, NordWitch is a definite asset to a genre that is tough to be an asset to. Definitely recommended, one of the best releases I have heard this year.

Written by Henric van Essen

NordWitch Facebook

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Review: Iron Curtain - Guilty As Charged


Iron Curtain’s third full-length release was one of my most anticipated albums of 2016. Their previous records, ‘’Road to Hell’’ and ‘’Jaguar Spirit’’, are among my favorite in this new generation of old school heavy metal bands, so I had a lot of high expectations for ‘’Guilty as Charged’’. The amazing artwork also played its part in getting me excited to listen to what these Spanish metalheads had in stock for us.

‘Into the Fire’ opens the album in an excellent fashion. Strong, fast and raw, yet showing the best sound quality the band presented in their career. Singer Mike Leprosy’s Spanish accent is really present in ‘Lion’s Breath’, and it adds an identity to the sound. I really like when I can tell where the band came from even though they sing in English. ‘Take it Back’ is another fast song with a chorus I think is going to work well with the audience on live shows. Relentless brings Motörhead’s influence to the album, though there’s also a hard rock feel on it. Great song!

Speed metal riffs are back with ‘Iron Price’, one of the strongest songs in the entire album. The guitar work was great so far, but Miguel Angel “El Cachorro” Lopez’s guitar solo in ‘Outlaw’ is insane. Wow! ‘Wild and Rebel’ was the first single released from ‘’Guilty as Charged’’. Good choice! A nice and catchy song, though not showing the album’s full potential. El Cachorro continues the amazing guitar work on the title track, specially its two minutes long guitar solo. ‘Turn the Hell On’ closes the record and should be a good option to close the concert as well, as it has a very festive atmosphere.

It’s difficult to tell if ‘’Guilty as Charged’’ is Iron Curtain’s best album, because all their records are equally strong. In my opinion, it is slightly better than both previous records, but only by a little margin. What is easy to say is that these Spanish guys have put their band on the market as one of essential new bands to look for if you are an old school heavy metal fan.

Tracklist:
01. Into The Fire
02. Lion's Breath
03. Take It Back
04. Relentless
05. Iron Price
06. Outlaw
07. Wild & Rebel
08. Guilty As Charged
09. Turn The Hell On

Lineup:
Mike Leprosy – vocals, guitar
Joserra – bass
Alberto – drums
Cachorro - guitar

Written by Anderson Tiago

Iron Curtain Official Website
Iron Curtain Facebook

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Review: Cradle Of Filth - Dusk...And Her Embrace The Original Sin


After twenty years, CoF comes with the original ‘’Dusk...and her Embrace’’ album, as it should have been released back in the nineties. ‘’Dusk...and her Embrace’’ was released in 1996 and was remastered in 2012. But basically, it was never the album it was meant to be. Not everything that was meant to be on the album actually made it to the disk due to label-issues back in the time, and on the other side, not everything that was on the 1996 release is on ‘’The Original Sin’’.

Of course, the album starts with a creepy, instrumental song. Not 1996' Humana Inspired To Nightmare, but Macabre, This Baquet. Well basically, the whole tracklist is ordered different and some songs on the one disc are not here, and vice versa. So..maybe we can just say I will not compare both albums anymore? Okay, maybe just one thing: Where 1996's release gives me the feeling of being in a graveyard and hearing terrible noises coming from some tomb nearby, ‘’The Original Sin’’ makes me feel like being in that same graveyard, but hearing all the massacre taking place hardly one step away! The songs are clearer and harsher and that is CoF at its best. Part ultra dark and heavy, part melodic but always with haunting vocals/screams by master vampire Dani Filth. In that sense it is easy enough to say that the album is of a brutal beauty, like we would expect from a band that has been so defining for this type of music.

One great highlight is ‘’Funeral in Carpathia,’’ combining the afore mentioned, together with female vocals, dragging you into some vampiric ritual.

‘’Carmilla's Masque’’, previously only released as an additional song to the coffin box set, is a nice instrumental chiller for haunted dreams of suffering.

As other additions, ‘’A Gothic Beauty’’ and ‘’Noctural Supremacy’’ (previously only available in the leatherbound 'digibook') appear in Demotracks. In all honesty, I am never a big fan of demotracks, because mostly they only show the rough form of a song that the band obviously liked more in the more defined shape. The same goes for these two versions, although ‘Noctural Supremacy's demo version has a nice choir as introduction, that is missed in the albumversion.

Although at first glance one might think: oh God, a reissue...this album is quite a different take and should be taken on its own, even though a lot of songs are well known to fans. The versions on this album, plus the unknown songs give a new, fresh look on an album that has been collecting dust for the past twenty years and should have seen the light in those days. The bonus songs do not add a great thing, but are nice enough. If this album should be a taster of what is to come for Cradle of Filth, it tastes good!

Written by Martijn Bakker

Cradle Of Filth Official Website
Cradle Of Filth Facebook
Cradle Of Filth Twitter

Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: Crystal Pyramid - Enter The Beyond


Very, very, veeerrry underground doom metal for my ears this time.

After I got the album in my inbox, I just went to Facebook to check out the band. I always like to look at the esthetic aspect of a band before I review them. I don’t exactly know why and it doesn’t affect my review. As I went through their Facebook page I noticed they only have 150 likes or so. I instantly thought: ‘’Wow, this is really new and underground’’ and became very excited to listen to the album.

I was kind of disappointed though, my expectations were probably a tad too high. I was hoping for some kind of change in this scene. I’ve been hoping that for a long time. Something innovating in the scene like for example Slabdragger do. Making slow riffs sounds monstrously raw and explosive.

Crystal Pyramid make doom metal like it has been done before so that’s kind of a pity. I’m not at all saying the album is bad in any way or form, because different aspects of the music are good, maybe even great.

Talking about good aspects of the music. I find the lyrics to be very creative for a doom metal band. Let’s not hide the fact that 90% of the doom bands make lyrics about death and apocalyptic visions. Crystal Pyramid really tries to tell a story in their lyrics. Very cleverly written and fitting in the music and it makes the listener feel a creative wind in their ears in the land of doom metal.

In general, their song titles fit the music and the lyrics and make me interested in the song behind it. As I already said, it is clever writing that does the trick here. The disappointment for me comes from the fact that the music itself is not very out of the box, which I expected/hoped for from this band.

A solid 7 for the effort and lyrical content.

Written by Joost van der Leij

Crystal Pyramid Facebook

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Review: Eisenhauer - Horse Of Hell


Well I would call this an interesting combination of some punk influences, hard rock and some really small parts of heavy metal. The first thing I was struck by was the sound and the volume of the drums, as it reminded me of the punk albums of the 80's, with the volume and the way the drums are played. What makes this album stand out are the vocals, as they contain some of the most interesting vocal combinations I have heard lately. They range from simple melodic singing to some full scale heavy metal singing. Other instruments in the albums follow the classic way of this kind of mixed albums, the bass can't really be heard for most of the time, and when it is heard it is at a crucial point of a song or a riff. The guitars are compressed and really good to hear in the choruses, but sometimes maybe they lack the grit for some "heavier" riffs. The album contains four songs with about 25 minutes of material, but even with this maybe short length of the album, it does not lack in quality in both songwriting and mixing departments. All in all, if you are into some more punkish sounding hard rock mixed with heavy metal, this is an album for you. I give it an 8/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Eisenhauer Facebook

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review: Andi The Wicked - Freak On Frets


Pretty ballsy to have a self titled record indicating you are ‘wicked’, but when you can play like this kid, you are fully entitled. In the wake of artists like Yngwie Malmsteen , Joe Satriani and Rik Emmett, Andi is on his way to full stardom. What a player.

I’m always amazed at virtuosos like this, starting at young ages with pianos and having a born talent for music and classical composition. ‘It Rocks’ should be the title of album. It truly does. Hammer-ons and fretwork for all abound.

Continual music like this is great for background while everyone is on your deck; provided they like good metal. 2:46 onward of ‘It Rocks’, rocks. Very nice arrangement and beats until close.

‘The Shark Song’ is just an all around smooth piece, and much like Satriani’s “Surfing with the Alien”, sounds like a frenetic encounter with a shark indeed. ‘Threat’ is anything but and is my favourite on this record. At 3:50 some smooth and rock, some soul and jazz mixed with vestiges of iron maiden and classic rock anthems, sliding in at 4:16. Outstanding.

‘Porn’. It doesn’t start off with that classic 70’s porn style guitar but with a fist-pumping ode to AC/DC, with his own original flair. From 0:00 – 00:35, I think this needs to be my ringtone! The rest does bang your ears with a nice fret-scial at the end…

The song ‘Classic’ is now starting to get to be too much. It’s fast, and all over the map and is slightly annoying to me, but what do I know; the playing is phenomenal.

The remainder of the album rocks out. ‘Heavy Funk’ plays well but gives me a little jolt of ‘Get The Funk Out’ by Extreme. (brrrr). It was surprising that came over me as I have not listened to that song in years but it played out alright at 2:32 with some nice fretwork and a great slow, power jam and fully redeemed itself from 3:20 on.

‘Damn Lick’ is just one damned long lick. Truly inspiring. I can’t say anything about this; I don’t play so what the hell do I know. I’d just sit and stare at the finger-walking in concert.

‘Bad in Bed’ is my second favourite. This immediately starts out with hammering UFO-like grind and keeps it going throughout. This song is great for the weight-room or jazz-room as it melts your head with licks at 3:46! One of the best closings I’ve ever heard. Playing this very loud now; hopefully Andi can autograph my copy of the eviction notice.

No choice. 10/10

Written by Alessandro

Andi The Wicked Official Website
Andi The Wicked Facebook

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: Deadlock - Hybris


Deadlock is surely one of the more well-known death metal bands around these days. They formed back in 1997 in Germany. After the tragic passing of their former drummer, Tobias Graf, and the baby-related exit of their former singer, Deadlock are now back with their newest record “Hybris”, which was released on the 8th of July.

Good news: the concept of their sound remains even with the new lineup. This means: mixing clear with guttural singing, double-bass drums and guitars moving somewhere between held-back and energetic. Additionally, for the first time since “The Arrival”, a Deadlock-record contains a track with a German title. Actually not one, but two. “Ein Deutsches Requiem” is an interpretation of a Johannes Brahms piece, and “Vergebung” is an instrumental piece. Former has a great, yet weird (in appositive way!), sound to it and reminds of the former Deadlock records. A further positive thing to remark on are surely the guitar soli, which do add a tad of energy and variety to the album. However, overall, there’s just too little variation and highlights to really get you hooked, like on Deadlock’s previous records.

Deadlock experienced some dark times lately and use this album as well as a platform to deal with them. However, especially compared to their great “The Arsonist”, this album is just a tad too monotonous, and even the occasional highlights here and there cannot compensate for this general tone. However, it’s a solid album and will surely satisfy die-hard fans. Give it a spin if you have the chance! 7.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Deadlock Official Website
Deadlock Facebook

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: Aleska - S/T


While I am NOT a ‘Screamo’ or ‘Emo’ fan, this band hailing from Metz, France seems an up and comer. Their full length album was like wading through a sea of jet engines being fueled by barrels of broken glass, but I made it and I didn’t even get cut. Their self titled record will make some people happy/sad.

I am enthralled by their moody instrumental pieces but was thrown off and spilled my coffee when the Screamo part scared me at about 2:29 of ‘Instaurer le vide’. Yeah. No. They should have kept that instrumental going; great soundtrack piece and very effective.

‘Du gris au noir’ actually caught me a few times but was so vocal-heavy that the music was lost on me. Perhaps it was the production but it just grated on my nerves; the hollering, the messed up chords and then suddenly, mopey-sad-ass singing at 2:40...for a second, before being hammered with, not surprisingly, more screaming. Angry bunch of lads…From 4:22 onward it just became chaotic and sounded like Keith Moon destroying the Earth. I see the value in that jam for concert levels and foresee many people enjoying the spine-snapping freebies in mosh pits.

‘Du la cime au cimitere’ instantly assaults with power vox gone mad and super fast drums. While alternating speeds are ok, this song slams like none of the others and if I have to have a favourite, it’s this one.

‘Leaves, trees and me’. This was another fave of mine due to the progressive sound and potential. Instantly ruined at 5:20 by a spacing (production or artistry?) then more of this hollering. Agh. I turned it off, even though it was near the end.

The remainders of the songs have a good enough punk feel but that’s my holler-quota for the day. Even though I heard vestiges of Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and others, it won’t make my Mixtape, but for this sector of society, this album has a place to go and make more people mad or Emo or whatever kids are doing these days.

6/10

Written by Alessandro

Aleska Facebook

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review: Inquisition - Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith


Reaching the zenith of their sound, Colombian-by-way-of-Washington black metal legions Inquisition have become one of the more impressive and consistent groups in the genre with a vast, enjoyable discography that always manages to satisfy. With the two-man project offering a slight refining and honing in on their sound, their seventh full-length album was originally released August 26, 2016 on Season of Mist.

As was introduced in their last album, this one again carries a strong celestial vibe to the material while still containing that all-powerful and devastating Inquisition attack. Tracks like “From Chaos They Came,” “Wings of Anu” and “The Flames of Infinite Blackness Before Creation” contains that deep, slow churning tremolo rhythm section with plenty of dynamic weaving through the arrangements to incorporate plenty of ravenous thrashing in the scorching up-tempo sections as well as the explosive dynamics within the tempos to go through these varied compositions with stunning and spectacular ease which creates a slew of prototypically savage tracks in their classic style. Alongside these are efforts like “A Black Aeon Shall Cleanse,” “Mystical Blood” and “Power from the Center of the Cosmic Spiral” which drop the savageness and rely more of a massive, majestic slow-tempoed sprawl throughout the rhythms which forsake the drilling speed for a more calculated, expressive approach that’s given a mood-enhancing boost with the use of the cosmic-styled melody patterns written here which drive them forward with plenty of atmosphere and power. This is simply jaw-dropping in approach and style that the album retains an epic vibe without really being an epic, overlong effort, and makes this one of the best of their discography as well as a certain contender for year-end Best-Of as well.

Frankly, this is surely one of the bands’ most masterfully-crafted and enjoyable albums on the whole with barely anything really wrong featured and the power and aggression of their usual material melded alongside the epic melodies working into their sound that this is a must-have record for anyone remotely into black metal or extreme metal in general. 10/10

Written by Don Anelli

Inquisition Facebook

Review: Hypersonic - Existentia


Hypersonic is a symphonic power metal band from Italy. This is their second full-length album called "Existentia". In January 2016 the band signed a record deal with Revalve Records for the releasing of this new album. The new album is a concept based on the existence of man and the spiritual affairs of the afterlife. This album came out May 13th 2016.

Onto this album: The first song is an epic intro, sweeping guitars and cinematics. It works well together for the first impression on this album. Then it comes to a very catchy chorus, the vocals are very clean and it represents Hypersonic well. The song "The Eyes of the Wolf" is a more high paced song, letting you see some more of the power metal side. "Living in the Light" starts off with a nice piano/guitar piece, after which the drums kicks in and speeds up the song. In the middle you keep head banging with the guitar riffs and drums, very rhythmic. The song "God's Justice" starts cinematically with the male vocals then immediately the power kicks in. The vocals go very well with this high speed song, such as the slower paced middle sections. "The Meaning of... (...Existence)" is by far the longest song on this album (9.37 min) long. It starts slow almost silent around 2.56 min the pace kicks in. It's a good ending song with the slow and high paced parts.

This is one strong album; the keyboardist is a big star along with the vocalist. If you like symphonic with power metal Existentia is an album for you, just give them a try.

Track list:
1. The first sound of life
2. The eyes of the wolf
3. As an angel
4. Blind sins
5. Living in the light
6. Embrace me
7. Love is pain
8. God's justice
9. Life'n death
10. Pilgrim's path
11. Prayer in the dark
12. The meaning of...(...existence)

Written by Nathasja Voerman

Hypersonic Facebook

Review: Warfect - Scavengers


Warfect is a band hailing from Sweden’s Uddevalla.

Starting their musical journey back in 2003 as Incoma and released 2 demos “Beyond control” and “In command” in 2006 & 2007. Changed their name in 2008 and after releasing 2 albums and one demo we’re finally served with their latest offering titled “Scavengers”.

Their style can simply be described as in your face thrash. I must admit that when I saw the cover (courtesy of mr. Andrei Buzikov who has worked with the likes of Autopsy, Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch just to mention a few) I was a little turned off since I never connected with his covers for Municipal Waste, but then again, you can’t judge a book by its cover right?

The whole thrash resurgence since the early 00s has left me with mixed emotions. At times you get some really cool bands like Havok, Hatesphere or the thrash/death masters Revocation but other times you just get boring uninspired music that just slurs around fast paced rhythms & riffs but losses all substance.

Thankfully, Warfect doesn’t fit in the 2nd category. These guys play furious and aggressive music that takes no prisoners. Musicianship is in seminar levels. Fantastic rhythm section from both Kristian Martinsson (bass) and Manne Flood (drums) and a killer performance from singer/guitarist Fredrik Wester who used to play with the blacksters Lord Belial. His vocals fall somewhere between Kreator’s Mile Petrozza and Schmier’s from Destruction (minus the high pitched singing). But as a guitarist is really when this guy shines and takes the spotlight. Great and technical paced riffing along with screaming leads give a killer performance.

Of course it wouldn’t make sense for “Scavengers” to rely only on good musical skills. Warfect knows to write headbanging tunes and this what matters when you serve this particular genre in the bottom line. Yet these guys have taken this a step further by incorporating a lot of atmosphere in their songs. That doesn’t mean they fuse various musical styles, on the contrary: they simply rely on their own skills in order to do that. This is more than evident throughout the entire album’s length since almost all songs exceed the 4 minute mark like they do in “Skin bound” or “Evil Inn”.

For some reason while listening to “Scavengers”, I got a feeling that Warfect could well be the continuation of Nuclear Assault’s after their “Game Over”, “Survive” and “Handle with Care” era. The emotions of Warfect’s music are kind of similar but let’s not forget that this is a Swedish band so naturally carries influences from bands like Kreator, Destruction and generally the European style that sets it apart from the sound of US bands.

I decided to leave my comments for the production/mixing of the album for last. Both of these are courtesy of Fredrik Wester again. The result is a fucking wall of sound that doesn’t fall in the trap of only being crisp and modern but at the same time retains the warmth and human factor of albums as they were done back in the mid ‘80s like Metallica’s “Ride the Lightning”. Truly remarkable work!

Warfect’s return is a stellar one, and thrashers should definitely open their eyes and ears and check these guys out, if you ‘re searching for a great new band this is it!

Written by Manos Xanthakis

Warfect Official Website
Warfect Facebook
Warfect Twitter

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Review: Snakewine - Serpent Kings


From the opening chords of ‘Breathtaker’ these four guys sound like there’s more than that playing. A loud, full sound, they have me hooked. I am reminded of “Rogue Male” lyric and music style. These people like to play music and have Boston, Foghat, Foreigner and UFO mixed in there. How can you not listen? Old school riffs tear it up all the way through.

‘Sonavagun’ is absolute FUN! Heavy crunchers yet melodic and followable. ChugA-ChugA-ChugA! is this song. I can hear the lyrics and it is not Rush intellect–wise but it hops all around and is well ranked in the hard rock genre. Maybe some Southern in there? Molly Hatchet? I dunno, what do you think, please write in and scream about these guys.

Love ‘Brood of Vipers’…Solid metal and reminiscent of Maiden and Loudness, actually. Great song all through. . Makes me want to throw shit off my balcony and holler like Bill Bixby undergoing a change. Some great guitar work in here that shows these people’s skills. We need more!

‘Mean Machine’ easily my fave song. Easily. Hard. Heavy. Pounding. Makes my plants vibrate at the appropriate volume.

‘Serpent King’ is…amazing. I like it so much that I’m going to listen to it eating beer and ice cream. Raven and other influences make this THE thing to listen to when the relatives are over and you need to tune out. Power chords and thunder-bass make this a must for any Power Metal collection. This has a flare of Southern rock and overall power tone; it is simply put; great to listen to.

If Southern didn’t convince you listen to ‘Double Barreled’ you need to get some background. Ultra cool vibes and will be mostly hated by all hardcore Death, etc., metallers if you actually want to hear the lyrics. How it cuts into fast-ass rock at 1:13 is the best, and the ultra-cool Southern Slide from about 2:40 onward is killer! This song belongs on your “Fast Road” mixtape.

‘The Devil You Know’ is great! A short song, it features just some old fashioned rock, heavy guitar crunch and backbeat pounds also gets this onto “Fast Road" mixtape. This is solid work from these folks all around here, and some great WAH-work in the latter part of the tune.

‘Shipwrecked’ is a solid ‘good’ for me and is well placed at the end of the record as I don’t see it being a topper but is a part of their catalogue and would serve them well in the future.

9/10

Written by Alessandro

Snakewine Official Website
Snakewine Facebook

Review: Sacred Steel - Heavy Metal Sacrifice


Continuing the charge here, German heavy metallers Sacred Steel have stayed true and steadfast in their mission and delivers another chapter of solid, uncompromising and memorable heavy metal following a three-year gap between albums. Celebrating their 20th year anniversary, the legendary group issues its ninth full-length effort October 14, 2016 to continue their fine union with Cruz del Sur Music.

As is to be expected here, there’s not a whole lot of deviation or difference here on what was present in their past works. This is a generally fast-paced assault of traditional metal that dives around frantic, fast-paced and generally explosive rhythms as in “Heavy Metal Sacrifice,” “Hail the Godz of War” and “Let There Be Steel.” As well, the mid-tempo work here plods along at a rather generous pace, such as “The Sign of the Skull” and “Vulture Priest” that’s several ticks down from the fuller, more dynamic full-throttle tracks yet still carries enough of a bouncy up-tempo gallop that it readily manages to carry the melody to a more formidable point on the album. This is generally of a majestic, epic quality here due mostly due to the overwhelming influence of epically-tinged power metal style melodies to the rhythms which give this the kind of melodic sensibility alongside the charging traditional metal riffing that powers this one for the most part. While none of this is new at all and feels like most other variants of their style, it’s still the consistency and effortless manner the band is able to generate this kind of epic, melodic music efficiently and effectively, which is where this one really works well. As usual, the vocals can tend to grate on the nerves with the high-pitched wailing prominent but it’s a part of their style by now that it’s not an issue at all.

Showing no signs of quit here, there’s plenty to absolutely like about this release which is yet another stellar showcase of their style that there’s little need to pick apart the flaws that mainly serve as individual choices anyway here that the fans of the bands’ past or general power/traditional metal aficionados won’t be disappointed with this one. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

Sacred Steel Official Website
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Review: Nothing Lies Beyond - Fragile Reality


Nothing Lies Beyond is a melodeath combo from Tel Aviv, Israel. The band formed back in 2011, and self-released their first full-length, entitled “Fragile Reality”, in June this year.

The 32 minutes play-time kick off with an instrumental intro, a mix between demonic and melodic. A great atmosphere is generated here and definitely wets the appetite for what is there to come. And then we travel back in time… not literally of course, but sound-wise. Awesome 90's Gothenburg melodic death metal is blasting through the speakers. The guys pack all the essences of the genre in very tight, short songs, what works out perfectly and keeps you on the hook for the entire 30+ minutes. The songs are very fun to listen to, “Lost” and “Fading Behind False Eyes” being my personal favorites. Latter also comes with some acoustic guitar soli. Another great part is the mixing of the album: every instrument is very clearly perceivable, and not chaos, but a great harmony emerges from it.

Conclusion: a very tight, greatly produced first album of these guys. No weaknesses, only sad part is that it’s too short! A surefire band to keep an eye on, especially if the guys keep their sound the way it is now. A must-listen too for every fan of Dark Tranquillity and the early In Flames. 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Review: Buried Souls - The Crossing


Well, a new groove metal style or what?

To start, even before I started to listen over this album, I had a set idea in mind how this album could sound like, as I did a lot of reviews of groove metal and have listened to a lot of albums of the genre.

But yet again I was surprised and astounded at the same time.

First of all, I was shocked by the albums vocals. The vocals are rough, in your face and just punching the lyrics in the songs. Still, the vocals do have some problems, they have a similar problem as a lot of modern metal albums that the vocals do tend to have a leading and sometimes in the choruses, a overwhelming role in the mix. On most choruses, the vocals overpower most other instruments except for the drums. In some occasions even the high gain guitars can't be heard clearly in the mix. And that is it.

I have no other complaints on the album and it's mixing. Instrumental wise all is great, everything can be heard, the guitars are sludgy and with a high amount of bass and compression. The bass is fat sounding and compliments the guitars in the riffs. The drums are perfect, all the individual parts of the drum set are heard, and you can hear that the drummer is a skilled musician as the performance that was recorded is masterful and not once do you feel that the drums fall out of time.

All in all, the album is great and besides the problem with the vocals it is a great album and it pushes new boundaries in the genre. Because of the vocals mixing problem, I give it a 8.5/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review: Void King - There Is Nothing


Hailing from Indianapolis, USA is the band Void King, a heavy stonerrock/doom metal band introducing their second release and first full length album "There is Nothing".

As they describe their sound and the reasoning behind the band name, "If there is nothing, as we have long suspected, then let the Void take us there. Let the volume of the oncoming storm compel us forward, into what can only be considered to be our one true calling; to praise the riff."

Starting out with some heavy, dissonant riffage, singing reminds me of a mix between Volbeat and Orange Goblin.
The bass has a nice drive to it, don't see that too much these days in modern releases,
Second track is sludgy with an heavy intro. Riffs get more driven during the first verse, and combined with the vocals it gives a nice "route 66" vibe to the song.
The chorus gives it a nice "pedal-to-the-metal" feel.
During the end it slows down a bit, as if you had a cake and it is now just kicking in (you know the kind I'm talking about).
Third song immediately wakes you up with a very fast-paced riff that slows down towards sabbath territory.
Fourth track has a nice melody line on the guitar riffs. The breakdown is HEAVY, like if there's a sack of bricks glued to your legs & a bungee cord tied to your head.
Without going too much into detail, the band has a strongly defined rock n roll/stoner vibe, would fit nice in the Nevada desert on the road towards Las Vegas a la Fear and Loathing. And clocking in at just under 50 minutes, it is perfect for speeding with an old school car on an empty road.

The tracklisting is as follows:
1. Skull Junkie 05:13
2. Raise the Flags on Fire 05:21
3. Brandy Knew 03:36
4. Canyon Hammer 06:34
5. Healing Crisis 07:04
6. Box of Knives 04:50
7. Release the Hawks 06:56
8. That Was Not an Owl (DFI) 07:03

Overall, if you're a fan of Electric Wizard, Volbeat, Kyuss or Queens of the Stone Age I'd recommend giving this record a try! 4/5

Written by Gijs de Wolff

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Review: Staìlinn Drakk - Raise Your Sword


The self-released EP made by the heroic power metal band called Staìlinn Drakk, a perfect combination of happy tunes with powerful music. The EP called ‘Raise Your Sword’ begins with the song named after the EP (or the EP after the song), Raise Your Sword. Starting with quite heavy drums combined with melodic keys (trumpets) already shows you you’ve stepped into the world of power metal. As the song progresses, you’ll be able to find yourself willing to unsheathe your own sword and charge into the battlefield, clashing against your enemies. But also you’ll notice the more serene part in the song, with symphonic sounds to ease the listening a bit, which will also turn into the more heavy stuff after a little while.

It’s not weird if you have heard this kind of music before. It’s easy to compare the music with bands such as Gloryhammer, Twilight Force, Blind Guardian and more. It’s typical power metal, but also got their own touch to the music. Lots of trumpets to be heard in the songs combined with the epic lyrics and other musical features. And just like most of the power metal albums, dragons can never be excluded. As the song Dragonriders can show, Staìlinn Drakk did not exclude them either! Again, you’ll be able to find yourself in a battle, fighting against your worst enemies in the name of your king.

Also to be mentioned, they made a power metal cover of the song Wrecking Ball, by Miley Cyrus. I personally do not like the original song, but this cover made me reconsider the fact that metal can make any pop song good.

My end conclusion about this EP is:

Good and powerful sounds combined with epic lyrics, for whenever you just want to fantasize yourself into huge battlefields against the evil opponents. Only thing is that the EP does not provide the ears a song of rest what would be good for the ears because of the continued epic sounds. I give this EP an 8/10.

Ps. Below you can hear their song Through the Sky.



Written by Jasper Bohte

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Video Premiere: Eternal Halloween - Eternal Halloween



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Review: Pay For Pleasure - Pay For Pleasure


Coming together in 2014, Italian thrash/deathcore fusionists Pay for Pleasure has always centered around multi-instrumentalist Anuar Arebi and a gaggle of other vocalists joining in which makes their music quite frantic and enjoyable. Now finally ready to release the first notes from the project, their self-titled debut is independently released June 18, 2016.

This here is quite an enjoyable and somewhat frantic effort that really relies on its death metal structure for the most part. Though interrupted by its breakdowns, the band’s best points are where it’s still focusing on the driving thrash beats while augmented nicely by straightforward death metal patterns as in “Matter of Energy,” “The Judgement” and “Burning Times of this Anxiety.” There’s a complexity to those arrangements that makes for a much more appealing time here as it whips through the charging dive-bombing riff-work while offering a solid thrashing blast to the arrangements which aids immensely in their energy. Though somewhat boosted by the chugging riffing patterns, the album’s sudden departures into choppy, breakdown-laden charges here with “Daze Suffocation” and “Everlasting Pain” simply further the deathcore patterns here provide this with some rather off-kilter arrangements here by going for the usual assortment of genre-familiar rhythms and breakdowns to apply for that genre tag, which really causes this one to stumble. The elements are just way to separate and disparaging to really gel together into a solid whole that works here, being just way to jangled to really make much of an effort to be coherent as the end result is quite maddening with everything involved here. There’s some solid work here, but it’s somewhat buried under the discordant workings.

While it’s not the most devastating first impression offered here, it’s got more than enough to like here as the elements at play here that do make this a solid, engrossing effort are present enough to make for a rather limited appeal only for deathcore fanatics or fans of the creative principals involved in the project, while others may want to heed caution approaching this one. 7/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Caffas Rain - Yersinia Pestis


From the thunderous opening of ‘Generation’, to the (dare I say) “infectious grooves” at 1:29 on of ‘Psychopath’, this Dutch Groove-Death Metal group smokes. I am not a fan of this style, but this 5 song EP stands out as a clear signal more pounding is coming.

Lead singer Kay’s vocals are amazing, especially being able to growl like that; I can’t imagine how exhausting studio recording is. To be able to suck and blow at the same time is an art form, add growling and throaty harpoons, and this is cool! The rap at throughout is again, impressive to me, especially mixing it with this genre.

The steadfast hammer-march of ‘Walking Among the Dead” makes this my favourite, even though it is always hard to see the lyrics, even when they appear as dusty pucks on my desktop. Thanks for clearing the dust off my speaker’s guys; not even my Amon Amarth collection can do that!

‘Broken World’ delves into some gritty guitars and good rhythm. Easily my second favourite here, it is perfect for a Road Trip Mixtape. I’d liked to have heard more screams like at: 59 but the subsequent harmonies/chorus are excellent. This is some fantastic playing from everyone on this song and overall. I hear vestiges of old school Macalpine’s Project Driver with the great back beats and crunching axes.

Finally, ‘In The Shadows’ – the “slow” song, finishes with a great musical intro and scares the hell out of you when it suddenly cuts into it. At loud volume, it’s nerve-wracking and causes you to spill your favourite beverage – which, in some circles is sacrilege. Some excellent speed at 2:40 and wished it would have stayed longer.

And my favourite part, according to the CDC homepage, “Plague is a disease that affects humans and other mammals. It is caused by the bacterium, Yersinia pestis. Humans usually get plague after being bitten by a rodent flea that is carrying the plague bacterium or by handling an animal infected with plague”.

I love it when this extra stuff is thrown in!

9/10 !!!

Written by Alessandro

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Review: Lordi - Monstereophonic (Theaterror vs. Demonarchy)


This is going to be Lordi their 8th studio album. In this album you have two different sides "Theaterror" that is old-school Lordi and "Demonarchy" is totally different introducing characters as the undead son, The bloodsucking count and the She wolf, it's a heavier aspect of Lordi. That sound has never been heard before.

Into this album: the first song is more of a mood setting intro, heavily breathing and talking with a low voice. The 2 songs flow perfect in each other the mind thinks it's still the first song. ‘Let's Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be The Beast-Man In The Masters Of The Universe) is the second song on this album and from the start you immediately think this is how Lordi is perfectly catching riffs and vocals. "Hug You Hardcore" was released early with the video clip with the WARNING!! This video is not bad for the kids, it's worse. This song has more rhythm in it and flows from begin to end. "Sick Flick" is a song that sounds like it's ripped out of the songbook from "Hard Rock Hallelujah". after this intro song "SCG VIII: Opening Scene" the second half of this album starts, with darker songs, riffs and they are faster. "Heaven Sent Hell On Earth" is the song that introduces the She wolf that is battling. "And The Zombie Says" in this song you have more a blacker metal feel like "Children of Bodom". The riffs are super dark with the drums and the guitars. "The Night The Monsters Died" is the last song on this beastly album, starts with Hella's piano and it is instantly recognizable Lordi, especially in the chorus "now we say goodbye for the final time".

You can't say it another way: this sure is a beast album, with two sides of Lordi. This album keeps you head banging with the catching riffs and also the slower songs. If you like Lordi, this is an album from them that you have to check out and put it as hard as your speakers can, even on repeat.

Track list:
01. SCG8: One Message Waiting
02. Let's Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be The Beast-Man In The Masters Of The Universe)
03. Hug You Hardcore
04. Down With The Devil
05. Mary Is Dead
06. Sick Flick
07. None For One
08. SCG VIII: Opening Scene
09. Demonarchy
10. The Unholy Gathering
11. Heaven Sent Hell On Earth
12. And The Zombie Says
13. Break Of Dawn
14. The Night The Monsters Died

Written by Nathasja Voerman

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Review: Running Wild - Rapid Foray


I have been a Running Wild fan since I listened to Gates to Purgatory for the first time. Although their first two albums are amazing, I still enjoyed when they changed the sound from a raw speed metal with satanic lyrics to a pirate-oriented heavy/power metal. However, likewise many 80’s metal bands, I do not really like their work from the early 2000’s, such as “The Brotherhood” and “Rogues en Vogue”. This sequence of bad albums (without mentioning the ones that came after this) is what made me so wary about reviewing “Rapid Foray”, but I could not resist a new Running Wild release.

Black Skies Red Flag opens the album with energy, showing this is going to be a journey back to that earlier 90’s sound. It reminds me of the amazing “Pile of Skulls” and “Black Hand Inn”. The riffing and the lyrics are not exactly inspired, but the general feeling is good. Warmongers follows the same line, its chorus a little too repetitive, but still a good song. Next comes Stick to Your Guns, a 70’s hard rock song with a sticky sing along chorus. The weakest track to this point of the record. The title track, though, is a different kind of monster. Everything works on here, singing, riffs, melodies, even if the song is not different from what has been done before by the band. By the Blood in Your Heart is that kind of anthemic, pounding song that works better played live, like United from Judas Priest (or Overkill’s In Union We Stand, if I am not taking things too far). The drums are poor and it gets evident in this one. Rock n’ Rolf, leader of the band, is known for using drum machines to record the last few albums and that is a shame. Get a real drummer, for f*ck's sake!

The Depth of the Sea (Nautilus) is an inspired instrumental piece that leads to Black Bart, the first released single for the album. It was an excellent choice, as Black Bart is one of the standouts songs on the entire record. Hellestrified keeps the rhythm with a good guitar work and excellent vocals in the unique Rock ‘n’ Rolf style. The next one, Blood Moon Rising, seems to come just from the old days. Those three last songs are very solid and it is undoubtedly the highlight in “Rapid Foray”. Into the West, on the other hand, is just a too happy song that only emphasizes how lame is the computer drum machine. It is nice party tune, though, but undermined by guitars and drums that should have been better. The 11-minutes epic Last of the Mohicans closes the album with great style. The songwriting and performance are very good. I did not even notice the song was that big the first time I listened to it.

“Rapid Foray” is the best Running Wild album in many, many years. Unfortunately, it is still far behind the glory years of the band. If Rock ‘n’ Rolf decides to get a real band to record the next album, maybe we can see the Jolly Roger flag waving again on the top of this heavy metal pirate ship.

“Weigh anchor, hoist the sails!”

Tracklist:
01. Black Skies, Red Flag (4:44)
02. Warmongers (4:29)
03. Stick To Your Guns (5:08)
04. Rapid Foray (4:47)
05. By The Blood In Your Heart (5:27)
06. The Depth Of The Sea - Nautilus (instrumental) (3:53)
07. Black Bart (5:06)
08. Hellestrified (4:22)
09. Blood Moon Rising (4:20)
10. Into The West (4:34)
11. Last Of The Mohicans (11:11)

Lineup:
Rock 'n' Rolf: Bass, Guitars, Vocals
Peter Jordan: Guitars
-- Ole Hempelmann– bass
-- Michael Wolpers– drums

-- Live shows only.

Written by Anderson Tiago

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Sunday, September 4, 2016

Live review: I Declare War, Black Tongue, Aegaeon, A Night In Texas, Monasteries at Hall Of Fame, Tilburg, The Netherlands, August 28th 2016

Brutal, violent and crushing are the words that pop to mind when I think back to last sunday the 28th.

Tilburg's Hall Of Fame was packed with guests that were looking for the most violent way to spend their holy sunday. Well, they found it!

First two bands of the night were the bands Monasteries and A Night In Texas, which I’ve never had the pleasure of listening to.

Not much interesting for me though.

I actually came to see the headliners and Aegaeon in particular.

Aegaeon is a band that sticks out in the deathcore scene because of their complexity. Fuse a lot of technical riffs and jazz and deathcore with each other and you get this band. Furious and precise performance on their side and a highly enjoyable show for sure. I always find myself glaring at the guitar players. I’m a guitarist myself and I can’t play all of that fretboard slingshooting. I try to pick something up from them, but it is so fast that it is impossible to comprehend what just happened.

After Aegaeon came a vastly different band. Take Aegaeons technical riffing and just forget about everything what happened. Black Tongue reigned the stage. Brutally crushing music from the very depths of hell. Their vocalist Alex Teyen knows how to summon a fuckin’ demon. His vocals are insane and are the element that drives this band. Their unique downtempo deathcore is something we’re not used to hear in a scene that is usually generic breakdown to breakdown music. Black Tongue is just one big breakdown to listen to.

Bones will be shattered, brains will be crushed.

The last band of the evening was the most disappointing for me. I Declare War just didn’t do it for me. Too generic in a scene of copycat after copycat. Not interesting enough to stay so I went home blasting some Black tongue in the car.

Great night that's for sure.

Written by Joost van der Leij

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Review: ThrOes - This Viper Womb


I was surprised to hear that Kevin Talley, known for playing drums in Suffocation and Dying Fetus, was playing drums here also. I did not know what to expect, but since I knew that Kevin was playing the drums on the record I expected something that was in his neighborhood with high tempos and brutal blast beats.

I was quite surprised that the general feel of the album was really slow paced with quite different drum patterns than usual from Mr. Talley. Now, the quality of the recording is quite high, even with large amounts of dissonant chords and slow pacing the guitar can always be heard and, even in the dissonant parts, all notes can be clearly heard. The bass is mixed in right, which can be heard through the record with a solid punch. The drums are heard with the usual quality of the sound, although I can complain about the bass drum a little, as even with triggers the sound of it does get lost sometimes in the mix when the bpm gets a bit higher than usual on this record. The vocals are performed with quite a bit of different vocal styles, and the difference in style does fit in well with the riffs and grooves on the album.

All in all, I really like this album and have listened to it quite a few times while reviewing it, and as a plus I was really excited to hear a band with Kevin Talley in which he does not play blast beats all the time and let me tell you, it is glorious. I give this album a 9/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

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Review: Everything Behind - Man From Elsewhere


Outstanding! A phenomenal effort by the Parisian quintet, dubbed ‘MetalCore’ or ‘Alternative’. The intricate arrangements, mix of gutturals and angelic vox, point to progressive for me as the 4-minute+ songs lend themselves to a ‘Dream Theatre’, ‘Into Eternity’ realm.

They are new to me, so I don’t know if the singer is ‘Chris He’ (website) or ‘Chris Killin’ (FB) – same person, I’m assuming as I’m sure there is a story there?

From the opening pling-plings of ‘Hopes Run Away’ and the amazing vox at about: 48 seconds in and later at about 2:16, this song rules in many ways. A very impressive, mature sound and excellent production where nothing sounds mismatched or outweighed.

The rest of the album is similar and more intricate. The soft beginnings of ‘Welcome to the End’ belie the power of the rest of the song; hammering drums and crunching guitars with an amazing bass line.

The ‘anguish’ song, ‘Will You Let Love’ is beautifully written and you can feel the hopelessness and hope, in it.

‘13.11.15’. I love instrumentals and this is a testament to a prog-metal band including one somewhere on the record. This is moody, atmospheric, with heavy fills and builds perfectly. I would look for this in concert to be a major jam session.

‘Reborn’ and the title track ‘Man From Elsewhere’ could easily be combined into a giant epic song, I think. I wish the entire title track song was sung in the key hit at 2:20; chills to be sure. Great guitar riffing all the way through and the necessary fare of double-tap bass pedals are heard at just the right junctures.

Now, why did they have to go and ruin my perfect rating with that crap FB imagery? A band’s impression is important with me and I do have a cat; but so do millions of others. This might be a turn off in this society of ‘image being everything and this shouldn’t affect my review, but they put it out there and so it is fair game and I will harpoon that.

I know, I know, it’s just artistry and probably doesn’t mean they hate or eat cats, but…

9.5/10

Written by Alessandro

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Review: Countless Skies - New Dawn


Countless Skies is a UK-based melodic death metal band which formed back in 2009, and changed its name to the current one in 2012. The four guys released their very first full album “New dawn” in June this year. Let’s give it a go!

The record kicks off with a fantastic intro named “Aubade”, featuring a delicate piano melody at the beginning and a more powerful riff towards the end of the piece. A great opener which also sets the tone quite nicely for the rest of the album, and which blends in smoothly at the end with the next song, “Heroes”. Guitars and also the deep growling bring in heaviness, but never fully replacing an emotional, melodic undertone. Nicely done. “Incendium” was released previously as a lyric-video. Already here the variety, a hallmark of the album, can be perceived – the song is faster than the two previous ones, especially because the drums get more involved in that one. “Solace”, the first single of the album, starts off with an acoustic guitar solo, which then blends into a highly charged song, never missing the melodic parts though. The bits and pieces which make up this song are unique, but blend together well and add a layer of complexity to the song, as do the clean, whispered vocals and growls. The next two songs, “Daybreak” and “Etherial”, are nicely balanced and quite complex as well. The clean vocals are kept and are strategically placed to add some more atmosphere to the songs. The last two tracks, “Wanderer” and “Return”, are now extending for a quite a bit. “Wanderer” is a 7+ minute piece that takes your imagination on a hike across fields, forests and creeks. Again, it’s the little pieces that add up very well and build this wonderful atmosphere. Same case for the final track, “Return”. Flutes, keys, heavy and soft parts, all of them come together nicely, while still maintaining a very clear frame in which the song develops within 10+ minutes. The verses are both gloomy and hopeful.

Overall, “New Dawn” is a great melodic death metal album, with influences from Dark Tranquillity and Insomnium. The diversity of the songs is incredible, also while still, in every song, one can appreciate the core sound of Countless Skies. There’s a willingness to experiment with different atmospheres that makes this album special, and leaves you longing for more in the future. Definitely a band to keep an eye on in the future, and the current record comes highly recommended! 10/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Review: Dexter Ward - Rendezvous With Destiny


Continuing on from their past success, Greek metallers Dexter Ward haven’t let their rather impressive debut keep them from furthering and honing their craft as they followed it up with a ravenous live-schedule with plenty of shows to keep their edge. Now five long years from their previous album, this second full-length effort was released April 29, 2016 on No Remorse Records.

Much like the band’s past works, the main focus here is on creating a heavy, epic tone with their arrangements and is quite apparent in this one. Lead by a majestic, sprawling series of rhythms in the title track, “Stone Age Warrior” and “We Are Dexter Ward” that come about through somewhat plodding tempos that are laced with huge, grand patterns and triumphant melodies intertwined together that leaves this one feeling quite large and powerful. There’s not a whole lot of speed here as the band’s fastest tracks are a steady mid-tempo gallop as in “These Metal Wings” and “Fighting for the Cross,” yet there’s a more prominent feel here in taking these hard-hitting trad elements and laying on grand power metal melodies over it all which is where this one scores nicely as those are among the best parts of the album. That atmosphere here where this takes that big approach with the galloping paces works this one quite nicely as its heavy rhythms and melody-driven riff-work generate the main elements at play here. While that’s the case, the album does have some minor problems here where it’s mostly based around such a bleary pace that the album doesn’t really get much fire or energy out of its tracks, leaving them somewhat bland and middling where it’s one long mid-tempo track after another. This here is definitely a case where the band could’ve interjected some faster paces to liven things up, though it’s altogether not that terrible.

Though it has some problems in terms of pacing and generally igniting the kind of fire and emotion typically associated with the genre, there’s enough here in terms of generally enjoyable atmospheric work that this is a solid if not entirely worthwhile choice for fans of the majestic, epic side of trad/power metal only. 7.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Blunderbuss - Resurrection


Like an old blunderbuss, you have one shot so you need to make it count. If you miss, you are done, son! If it hits with that huge lead shot, it will do earthquake-level damage. These boys don’t miss and it hit me hard!

“…a TORONTO homicide detective…” cool! My city mentioned in the mid-song dialogue of ‘Cochonnaille’ (an assortment of pork/sausages served as a main course). Ha!

Their new 6 song EP “Resurrection” is full of atmospheric guitars and some great vocals. This leads into more great riffs and concert head-bobbing fare about 2:20 into ‘Jump’. With a lovely, moody album cover, this will rapidly be in my collection.

‘Vee Stoneheart’ kicks with catchy riffing and great musicianship. That riff reminds me old school Judas Priest, skillfully mixed in with good harmonies and alternative style sound. I can listen to this easily on the deck and as the minutes go by; this is becoming my favourite….Let’s see…. (Volume Up…)…….Yep. Favourite! Much of the swearing is meh, alright but artfully placed I suppose.

No, I was wrong. ‘Rap n Roll’ is now my favourite. Respect to those that can rap. I don’t care for it, (ok, except for Ice-T who is the coolest, he also is mentioned in the list of artists spat out in this song) but its best heard here. These lads impress me with this modern style of poetry and their style.

No, wrong again, ‘Stop It Now’ is now my favourite. Rocking and a sure concert chant.

Huff. No. ‘Last Day Before Resurrection IS my favourite’. High energy punk vibe and the fastest song of the record, I foresee mosh-pit madness live.

Everything here is highly reminiscent of Linkin Park with a dash of Limp Bizkit, clearly, but a very, very good homage to this youthful genre of Nu-Metal. I would dare to call it progressive even as the frenetic drums on almost every track and rapid pacing are challenging yet they make it work well.

Easily 9/10!

Written by Alessandro

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Review: Sodom - Decision Day


Charging forward with utter impunity, German thrash legends Sodom have truly cemented their legacy as one of the ‘Big Teutonic Four’ long ago while have rarely let themselves rest off those laurels with plenty of solid albums afterward. As the three piece’s now worked together enough to form a well-oiled machine, they prepare their fourteenth album to be released on Steamhammer August 26, 2016 as a half-concept album about the landing on Normandy in WW II.

For a band of their stature, there’s almost little surprise to be found here in terms of the music, which is what’s the case here. Tried-and-tested German tinged thrash is what’s in store here, ranging from the prototypical darker thrash rhythms of “In Retribution,” “Rolling Thunder” and “Vaginal Evil Born” that carry on with the kind of majestic tremolo patterns recalling early black metal aesthetics while charging forward with the up-tempo thrash crunch, to the band’s more modern sound of a straightforward groove-influenced approach which carries somewhat more of a melodic accent to their riff-work in “Caligula” and “Strange Lost World” which manages to go for the slower, more relaxed tempos and sprawling sections that really bring about a more matured and nuanced action against the tight thrashing. As can be told from this, it’s all par for the course with the band here as they manage to once again work their classic sound to a tee, and that is pretty much the album’s greatest positive and biggest strike against it. While some would think that a band with a legacy as deep and rich as they have would think that a stylistic departure or experimental album would be a huge drawback, there’s a small section of the band’s career just before here that managed to introduce new elements to their sound and it was quite well-done, so the idea of continuing to incrementally introduce new material to play with wouldn’t be a big change for them, though as it’s the only flaw here, this isn’t all that detrimental at all.

Once again, the band offers definitive proof of their legendary status with a wholly enjoyable and solid effort that continues to be really evocative of what they’re about as long as you’re not expecting this to try anything new which makes this a wholly worthwhile choice for fans of the band, the German thrash scene in general or simply old-school thrash aficionados. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Kayser - IV: Beyond The Reef Of Sanity


First thing that I thought when I put on this album was: ‘’wow, the singer has a similarity to Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)’’, but as soon as first song was done and the next was starting, I already heard the singer is very versatile.

Kayser plays Thrash metal in a traditional 80's style comparable to the bay area Thrash genre.

But they are not weak to play also some modern style.

First song is a thrasher, from start to end it almost fully thrashes your brains out.

But during the second song, they start to mix in more modern(mostly in chorus) melody.

First thing I thought of when I heard the chorus of the second track “Asphalt and suicide” was In Flames on their modern albums. At least there is a similarity to the vocal ways and also musically. But then the rest of this song is full thrash, so it is a mix of Thrash metal with the modern chorus ways of other bands as In Flames, but also Soilwork.

For me it works.

I was very surprised with it and these more melodic parts bring some interesting and challenging song writing for the band.

Most of the times these more melodic choruses are followed by a large flashy speedy solo, or more than one solo are often played too.

This is an album that could keep me listening all the way to the end without really losing my attention, even though at the later songs my focus began to fade sometimes. Not ‘cause it is bad, not at all, play the track from last to first and it happened too.

The reason is that it all is the same.

Songs are built up same way, not with the same melody, but same musical architecture of thrashy intro, singing, chorus, singing, 2x chorus, solos, then again a chorus or 2 times.

That is traditional music writing, but this music now and then could have used a little surprise.

But overall great album, with a few highlights on it, namely the title track “beyond the reef of sanity” for its nice thrashy sound and the previous named “Asphalt and Suicide”.

These tracks represent perfectly the rest of the tracks. Well played thrash metal with some well used modern influence.

For fans of thrash metal with influence that sound like modern In Flames, I say: go get this album!

Also for fans of the modern In Flames genre this album could be interesting cause it sounds more traditional but then with these modern influence.

For me this album would be rated 80/100 ‘cause it is played great but misses a little magic, something that could bring the music into surprise now and then.

But overall a great album and a worthy addition to a 'thrash metal collectors' collection.

Written by Maurice Hermans

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Review: Buffalo Crows - Bovonic Empire


Buffalo Crows indeed! The new album Bovonic Empire by the Buffalo Crows makes you want to shit stars and stripes and have a bald eagle for a pet. It is a good mix between dirty heavy metal and American Johnny Cash-country. Two songs in I had an unexplainable urge to get me some buffalo chicken wings, or crows wings, should I say.

The first and maybe best to be said about Buffalo Crows is that they make the music they like and don’t hold back on a thing. Their music is best described as uncompromising southern rock/metal with as much kick as the vinyl can handle. Though hailing from Australia, the members from Buffalo Crows are all American clichés, and that is no derogatory term; gritty guitars and harmonicas make for an interesting sound which is unlike Volbeat or Every Time I Die or any other of the big southern rock bands that are all the scene. Bovonic Empire is dirtier, nastier, a bigger mess and a greater noise in the metal scene. To write them away as just another southern rock band is a bit too easy; the distinctive sound they make is just very nice to listen to if your in the mood for some good ol’ american metal.

The versatility with which the band comes up with every song is laudable, because especially with an antic like southern rock that is easy to overdo or make a bland eleven songs about repeating the same concept, Buffalo Crows overrides all those antics and just goes for whatever the hell they like. This also comes to light in their dedications to every song which are specifically tied to events, songs or bands they have just in their creative process to make the album. Every song has a different feel to it because of that and it makes for a solid hour of interesting yet lazy Southern-state American sun-filled listening. Crack open a beer and enjoy!

Written by Frank van Drunen

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Friday, September 2, 2016

Stream: Knocked Loose - The Rain



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Stream: Virvum - Tentacles Of The Sun



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Stream: Cardinal Wyrm - The Resonant Dead



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Album stream: Slomatics - Future Echo Returns



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Stream: Barishi - Master Crossroads, Baron Cemetery



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Stream: Akasava - The Devil's Tide



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Stream: Anciients - Serpents



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Video: Serious Black - Castor Skies



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Stream: Hundred Suns - Bedburner



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Stream: Nangilima - Shards Of Loss



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Video: Frozen Ocean - No Blizzard

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Stream: Cell - Erasing The Plane Of Existence



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Album teaser: Tactus - Bending Light



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Lyric video: Destrage - Symphony Of The Ego



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Stream: Swampcult - Chapter III - Al-Azif Necronomicon



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Video: Allegaeon - All Hail Science



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Stream: Deathcult - Barren Land



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Lyric video: Illyrian - Round 2: Fight!



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Lyric video: Red Dawn - Hate



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Stream: Sons Of Balaur - Succubus Slut



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Album teaser: Re-Armed - The Era Of Precarity



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Stream: Heavydeath - As We Foretold



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