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Friday, December 30, 2016

Interview: Precipitation


German metallers Precipitation just released their latest album The Power Of… . DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen asks them some questions. Read it below.

Hi Precipitation! How did you choose your name and what’s the story behind it?

Hi Tim! Finding a name was a long term discussion when we started. We wanted it to represent what we want to be as well as what we are doing.

The name Precipitation slowly took over our thoughts about what a name should be like.

When you research it you’ll find plenty of meanings and translations depending on which topic you refer but for us it’s more “esoterically” a state of mind. If you want to create something, do it - that’s how we want to make our music and how we did everything so far.

In your music there are a lot of different styles to discover. When someone asks you to describe your music, how would you describe it?

That pretty much depends on which song you’re looking at. The songs are mostly independent pieces of art for us, even if we refer some of them musically and lyrically to other ones, but the base elements definitely come from melodic death.

What are the influences of Precipitation, in music ways and non-music ways?

There are many different genres we listened to over the years and some of them are influencing our songwriting for sure. This is a cool thing and pretty much what music should be like for us.

When we started there was a lot of blues music present for us and you’ll probably hear it if you listen to some of the guitar solos so far. In the future there will be other or rather more influences coming into our songs to be recognized.

Lyrically the songs are about human abysses and philosophical questions but never supporting political or religious intentions. Time will tell what the future of our music and lyrics will be like we’ll stay open minded for new ways, styles and feelings.

Your new album is called The Power Of…, and in your booklet you also mention the power of precipitation. The album is very powerful, but I think you meant it another way. What do you mean with the power of precipitation?

The power of.. stands vicariously for the will-power and effort everyone should invest in his goals as well as to raise awareness that there are powerful things surrounding us all the time we should think about.

In early November you had your release party of The Power Of…, how did the audience respond?

The release show was a really memorable night for us. There have been lots of friends and cool new people we met, nice bands and staff. Everyone was in a good mood and the feedback we got was all good! Shows like that really keep us on track and motivated for more.

What is the response thus far of The Power Of…, besides the audience at the release party?

We had a couple of good reviews so far from magazines and no one so far told us that they don’t like our music at all. We’re happy it’s very positive until now.

You already announced some gigs in the future, can we expect more of them?

Yeah, if you ask us, it’s like that we want to play at least 2 shows every weekend.
We’re putting a lot of effort into the booking and since we played more than 50 shows over the last 2 years and released “the power of..” we’re more and more recognized.
As mentioned before we are motivated as never before to play shows. We hope to go touring as soon as possible, that’s pretty much the next big step we’re looking at besides writing our second album.

Any other future plans for Precipitation?

The plan is to keep on doing whatever we can do. Playing instruments and writing songs besides studying and having a social life can be hard but we keep on doing music together for sure as long as possible!

What do you want to say to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?

Thanks for everyone who’s been reading that interview up to this point. We’re grateful for everyone who gives our music a try and want to thank everyone supporting us. If you like our music help us to spread the word. Karma’s going to pay it back one day.

Precipitation Official Website
Precipitation Facebook

Review: Mortal Peril - The Legacy Of War


Coming right on the heels of their last release, German thrashers Mortal Peril have quickly crafted a new album released slightly over a year from their debut effort and carries the same high-quality retro-fueled thrash vibe as what they delivered previously. Being the last recorded output of guitarist Bjornsson Greene with the band operating as a trio now, the groups’ second full-length was originally self-released May 21, 2016.

It becomes immediately evident from the onset that the band is clearly indebted to the old-school thrash scene as there’s plenty of elements at play from that scene. There are tracks like “Generation Hate,” “Psychotic” and “Creeping Apocalypse” which works through the same generally one-note approach of tight, crunchy thrash patterns galloping along at a steady mid-tempo charge while filtering in swirling melodic leads to counterbalance those rhythms, and for the most part that constitutes the majority of the album. It does drop the straightforward crunch for a series of slower, sprawling chugging riffs as in “Gladiator,” “Air Attack” and “War is Hell” which becomes the main sense of stylistic variation within the tracks which makes this one quite simplistic and straightforward as without any kind of technical showcase here, that’s really all that deviates the tracks from each other. Although this is aided into the old-school vibe quite nicely by the overall thick, fuzzy production tone which is much more in line with the guitar tone and feel that was present in those days, it highlights the first minor setback in the album coming together to the point of being pretty difficult to determine tracks apart from each other. That production does seem to give this a more uniformed appearance to the tracks and causes this to lose a lot of individuality in here, making this appear as yet another revivalist thrash metal band without doing much else with the music beyond displaying a nice sense of fire for their rhythms and tempos. It is a minor deficit in this one and does harm it somewhat.

Although it does have some solid work to be found at times here, the fact that this one does suffer from the same problematic issues so commonly found in the ever-expanding and crowded retro-thrash scene that they’re a part of makes this one really only recommended to the most devout enthusiasts of that genre. 7.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Mortal Peril Official Website
Mortal Peril Facebook
Mortal Peril Twitter

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: Devast - Apocalyptic Human Extinction


Devast is (at the moment) a three-man brutal death metal outfit founded by guitarist Idir and drummer Hellspawnblaster in 2006 in Algiers, Algeria and they later moved their home base to Argentina. They went off on a flying start with a demo, a five-way split and a full-length under their belt within two years. Despite several personnel changes, among which the departure of Hellspawnblaster in 2007, the band kept making name for themselves by touring extensively until it came to a grinding halt in 2012 due to reasons within the members’ personal lives, causing a split-up. Founder Idir moved to South America where he tried to resurrect Devast in which he succeeded, resulting in the release of a single at the end of 2013. In 2014 the line-up was completed, clearing the way for a restart. Again a substantial amount of personnel changes riddled Devast’s existence, but in between those they still managed to come up with new material, the latest of which is now up for release. It’s their third full-length called ‘Apocalyptic Human Extinction’. The term full-length has to be used loosely here, since the 10 songs only span 22 minutes.

Let’s start off with a word of warning: If the title hadn’t pointed you into the right direction already then a short look at the tracklist should delicately help you figuring out what ‘Apocalyptic…’ is about. With titles like ‘Triumphal Colossal Devastation’ and ‘Mass Pandemic Of Corpses’ it’s pretty obvious the demise of the human race is the subject here, something that perfectly fits the focal points of Devast’s music and lyrics which are rooted in the apocalyptic, destructive concept of the human world and, as they state themselves, its members’ omnipresent hatred and madness. What better way to soundscape such horror than converting it into a brutal death metal symphony, which is exactly what Devast must have thought and therefore did. ‘Apocalyptic…’ is a 22-minute massive wall of aggressive, raging yet at times melodic music with some progressive touches that will smack you in the face. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

Anyway, I have heard thousands of releases and, since they are inevitable in a lot of releases, thousands of intros and I still fail to see the use of the vast majority of them. Most of the intros are undefined or meaningless and seem to serve no other purpose than prolonging the total playing time. Here too we start with such an undefined intro which, I am merely assuming here, is the sound of an apocalypse rising. Anyway, you might as well enjoy it, since it’s about the only rest your ears will get throughout the album, because after it died out all hell breaks loose when ‘Chaotic Proliferation’ unleashes its power on the hopefully due to the title and track list alarmed listener. And hell is here to stay. At 2:45 it’s the second longest (!) song on the album and it’s an excellent indication of what lies ahead. Aggressive riffs alternated with at times seemingly flailing guitar work that nevertheless somehow fits the bill, relentless high-speed drum work, ditto bass lines that have their flailing moments as well and a grunt that could easily crack a concrete wall. How much more massive and angry can it get and, probably more important, how much more massive and angry does it need to be? The boys seem to be ok with it, considering the fact they keep this up for almost the entire album, and so am I to be honest. Any rougher and it would be chaos.

The main cause for concern when it comes to extreme music like this is that it either sounds all alike or sounds like a pointless wall of random sounds. Neither is the case here. Devast’s undoubtedly skilled musicians manage to keep the differences between both the songs and the respective instrument lines clearly audible, something the production is credit to as well of course. The progressive touches provide the, in my opinion, in this genre highly necessary variation in both rhythm and sound, making ‘Apocalyptic…’ a musical adventure that positively surprised me. There is not one song on this release that caught my attention in a negative fashion, they all pass the quality test with flying colors, but especially the title song triptych is noteworthy. Try playing the three songs separately in sequence, it’ll give you a great insight of who and what Devast is and stands for.

Extreme music like this is tough to digest for many and therefore difficult to judge. I personally have to be in the right mood to enjoy it which I not always am. However, when I look at this objectively there’s only one logical and right conclusion: If you’re not into the brutally extreme or extremely brutal types of metal I advise you to run while you can and to never look back, because you will not enjoy this. However, if you do like either of those styles, you should definitely give this release an honest try. Chances are you’ll thoroughly enjoy yourself. These guys know what they want and what they do and they’re good at it too.

Written by Henric van Essen

Devast Facebook

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Review: Putrisect/Scorched - Final State Of Existence


As I understood, this is a collaborative split album between two bands(half of the album is done by one band and the other half by the other band), and might I add this album is badass.

This album represents all styles of early death metal combined in one album, there is Cannibal Corpse influences, Death influences, Obituary influences etc. And it seems like every song is a sort of a tribute to one of the early bands of death metal, or that can be just my imagination. The two halves of the album have it all, all the aspects of death metal all of us love in one place. There is atmospheric parts, there is fast blast beats, blazing solos and slow almost slam sounding riffs. In general the quality of the recording is great and all of the instruments can be heard clearly.

The issue I have with this release is the sometimes low level of the vocals, while most modern bands have a problem of having the vocals too high in the mix here it is the reverse. Especially in the first part of the album the vocals are a little bit too low most of the time, but for me it did not ruin the experience of the album as a whole. I truly am waiting for the full releases of the two bands and hope it will be as great as this split album is. I give it 9/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Putrisect Facebook
Scorched Facebook

Monday, December 26, 2016

Review: Yugal - Chaos And Harmony


Coming together in 2009, French thrash/groove metallers Yugal spent several years honing their skilled mix between death metal, thrash and hardcore twisted with electric and traditional Middle-Eastern acoustic sounds over several years before finding their current voice. Furthering the lyrical connection between the duality of the universe, the bands’ debut album was originally self-released October 28, 2016.

Once this one gets going, it becomes quite a lively and violent mixture that brings about the bands’ rather strong stylistic choices at the forefront. Tracks like “Once Upon a Lie,” “From This Day I Will Rise” and “Dogma” give this a strong element of swirling, mid-tempo thrash executed nicely here into a straightforward, simplistic manner that employs the chugging groove rhythms in conjunction with the thrash-based patterns to fully explore the bands’ chosen set-up quite well. Given that these are the more lengthy, involved tracks they give this one the kind of set-up which makes for quite a violent, hard-hitting attack here that goes quite nicely with the albums’ shorter, more traditional groove-minded efforts like “Heavy Mental,” “Illusion of Time” and “Silence is Golden” which instead drop a lot of the thrash elements for the inclusion of violent hardcore-styled beatings which are wrapped together with the groove-based chugging riffing for a nice dynamic affair. While these elements here are just so overly familiar and blandly recreated that not a whole lot of interest is really derived from this attack, the fact that the band manages to enhance these with the infusion of Middle Eastern-styled swirling acoustic rhythms makes a big difference in the overall attack here which gives this one some rather intriguing elements at times by offering a distinct and rather intriguing melodic flair alongside the repetitive-yet-still-competent riffing elsewhere throughout here, and it helps to hold this one up somewhat.

Given that the bands’ attack is derived from quite a few bands which makes for a violent if routine offering overall, the fact that enough interesting and intriguing elements are present here makes for enough to make this one intriguing enough for fans of the more violent, intense thrash-based groups to give this one a chance. 7.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Yugal Facebook

Saturday, December 24, 2016

DutchMetalManiac's end of the year lists! \m/


This year is coming to an end, so it's time for lists!

But, before I post the lists of top albums released in 2016 chosen by our writers, I want to thank some people.

I want to thank the readers of DutchMetalManiac for reading and sharing our stuff, our writers Julia, Joost, Glenn, Alessandro, Martijn, Henric, Nikola, Don and all former writers for contributing to DutchMetalManiac, and the metalscene for keeping the metal alive, because without metal there wouldn't be DutchMetalManiac.

Below are our lists! \m/

Have a great last week of 2016 and have a heavy New Year's Eve!

\m/

Tim van Velthuysen

Our lists:

Julia Obenauer:
  1. Be’Lakor – Vessels
  2. Omnium Gatherum – Grey Heavens
  3. Amon Amarth – Jomsviking
  4. Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
  5. Across the burning Sky – The end is near
  6. Dark Tranquillity – Atoma
  7. Gojira – Magma
  8. Nothing lies beyond – Fragile reality
  9. Aborted - Retrogore
  10. Destruction – Under Attack

Joost van der Leij:
  1. Black Mountain - IV
  2. Car Bomb - Meta
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway
  4. Inter Arma – Paradise Gallows
  5. Periphery – The Price Is Wrong
  6. Gojira - Magma
  7. Lost Society - Braindead
  8. devin Townsend Project - Transcendance
  9. death Angel – The Evil divide
  10. Alcest - Kodama

Glenn van der Heijden:
  1. Delain - Moonbathers
  2. Nightwish – Vehicle of spirit
  3. Ayreon – The Theater Equation
  4. The Gathering - TG25: Live In Doornroosje
  5. Epica - The Holographic Principle
  6. Delain – Lucidity 10th anniversary edition
Non Metal From Metallers:
  1. Marcela Bovio - Unprecedented
  2. Anneke van Giersbergen & Árstíðir - Verloren verleden 

Alessandro:
  1. Primal Fear: Rulebreaker
  2. Pretty Maids: Kingmaker
  3. The Curse Within: Seeking Vengeance
  4. Megadeth: Dystopia
  5. Metallica: Hardwired…To Self Destruct
  6. Andi the Wicked: Freak on Frets
  7. Pikes Edge: All Of Our beauty
  8. Anvil: Anvil is Anvil
  9. Rob Zombie – The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser
  10. Dog n Style: Pubs Calling

Martijn Bakker:
  1. Sig Ar Tyr – Northern
  2. Madder Mortem – Red in toot hand claw
  3. Whelm – A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun
  4. Ayreon – the theatre equinox
  5. Textures – Phenotype
  6. Epica – The holographic principle
  7. Nine Inch Nails – Not the actual events (EP)

Henric van Essen:
  1. Grotesque Orchestra - Delusions of grandeur
  2. Abbath - Abbath
  3. Sirenia - Dim days of dolor
  4. Totenmond - Der letzte Mond vor dem Beil
  5. Christian Epidemic - Destiny search
  6. Wolfhorde - Towards the gate of north
  7. Neoheresy - Potop
  8. Yeti On Horseback - The great dying
  9. Reliquiae - Winter
  10. Mourning Beloveth - Rust & bone
Special mention:
  1. Ghost Of Mary - Oblivaeon

Nikola Milošević:
  1. Brain Drill-Boundless Obscenety
  2. Aborted-Retrogore
  3. Obscura-Akroasis
  4. Rotting Christ-Rituals
  5. Amon Amarth-Jomsviking
  6. Vektor-Termination Redux
  7. Darkthrone-Arctic Thunder
  8. Fleshgod Apocalypse-KIng
  9. Rotten Sound-Abuse to Suffer
  10. Abbath-Abbath

Don Anelli:
  1. Inquisition - Bloodshed Across the Empyrean Altar Beyond the Celestial Zenith
  2. Wormed - Krighsu
  3. Maze of Terror - Ready to Kill
  4. Untimely Demise - Black Widow
  5. Decimated Humans - Dismantling the Decomposed Entities
  6. Surgikill - Sanguinary Revelations
  7. Blood Red Throne - Union of Flesh and Machine
  8. Elderblood - Messiah
  9. Paradox - Pangea
  10. Demon Bitch - Hellfriends

Tim van Velthuysen:
  1. Varg – Das Ende aller Lügen
  2. Lody Kong – Dreams And Visions
  3. Chiral – Gazing Light Eternity
  4. In Extremo – Quid Pro Quo
  5. Trap Them – Crown Feral
  6. Delain - Moonbathers
  7. Korn – The Serenity Of Suffering
  8. Izegrim – The Ferryman’s End
  9. Vulvodynia – Psychosadistic Design
  10. Sirenia – Dim Days Of Dolor

Interview: Thunder And Lightning


On December 9, German heavy metal band Thunder And Lightning released their new album The Ages Will Turn. DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen interviewed guitarist/producer Marc Wüstenhagen, read it below!

Hey guys, how’s life?

Life is good, 2016 seemed shorter than expected to me, wish there was a little more left in the old year.

Your music sounds like a really nice mix of different metal-styles. How would you describe your music?

First and foremost we are a heavy metal band. But with some modern influences. We are also a little bit thrash influenced.

Which musicians do you see as your influences?

Angus Young from AC/DC, Kai Hansen from Gamma Ray or Helloween earlier, Jon Schaffer from Iced Earth.

You recently released your fifth full-length album, The Ages Will Turn, what are the reactions so far?

They have been very positive. We are glad that many people like our new songs. Gives you kind of a validation you made the right decisions when writing the songs. We wanted to keep it as hookline focused as possible. The vocals are the thing even a non-metal listener would recognize first.

What is the story behind the album title?

The album title has two origins, on one had the song by the same name, which is about the never changing atrocity that is war on this earth. Kind of a theme I picked up when playing the videogames Fallout 3 and 4. “War never changes” even when many ages are passing by. Also there were always some kind of myths and stories that people would come up with, which evolve in some kind of urban fairytale in some way. Stories that are too far out there to be true, but thousands of people claimed really are true. Many songs are about these urban myths, so the title seemed kind of fitting.

The artwork for The Ages Will Turn is made by Luis Figueiredo. What made you decide he was the right one for this job? And are you happy with his creation?

Very happy. I was very impressed even by his sketches he has on his facebook page. I purposefully looked for someone who doesn't do metal album artworks mostly. Because many artists try to imitate the likes of Derek Riggs and people like that. It all starts to look too similar, we wanted something fresh.

On The Ages Will Turn you have two guest musicians, Máté Bodor (of Alestorm and Wisdom) with an guitar solo on One Blood and Der Schulz (of Unzucht) doing guest vocals on Mary Celeste. How was working with them?

I met both of them when working with them in the studio I run with a colleague of mine. I co-produced the last Unzucht album and when Schulz was in the studio to record for his band I just asked if he would sing a couple of lines for our song, which he loved to do. I met Máté when we were recording drums for his new project All But One with Heaven Shall Burn Drummer Christian Bass in our studio in Berlin. I was talking to him on facebook months later when we were doing our album and send him the song and asked if he would be up for a solo. He recorded the whole thing himself in Hungary, and sent it back. I didn't change anything. Just put it in, checked the volume, done. He is a very talented guitarplayer. Much better than myself, super easy to work with.

Can you tell us something about your inspiration for lyrics?

Like I said, mostly urban myths like the Slender Man in Silent Watcher, Darkside of the moon on Welcome To The Darkside.

You also just had the releaseparty of The Ages Will Turn in Cassiopeia, Berlin, how did it go?

Very well, we will release a live clip this week from the show actually.

Speaking of gigs, any chance for a tour supporting The Ages Will Turn?

It's always a financial struggle. We cannot do a buy-on for a big tour, we don't have ten grand lying around to do that. And sadly that is how most tours work these days, when you are not the headliner. We will do shows in 2017 in Germany, but spread out in smaller bursts.

Any other plans for the future of Thunder And Lightning?

We are working on more songs, and plan to do more shows now that the album is out. We are also working on some special things for the diehard fans to sink their teeth in, so stay tuned.

Thanks for the interview! Is there something you want to say to our readers?

If you want to help small bands like us, the best thing you can do is tell everybody and their mother about them. It's the best way to spread the word.

Thunder And Lightning Official Website
Thunder And Lightning Facebook
Thunder And Lightning Twitter

Interview: Enemy Of Reality


In October, Greek symphonic metallers Enemy Of Reality released their latest effort called Arakhne. Early December, DutchMetalManiac’s Don Anelli already reviewed Arakhne (here) and now he did an interview with Enemy Of Reality. Read the interview, with answers from guitarist Steelianos, below.

Well, first off, let’s talk about the new album. Are you pleased with its reaction so far?

Hello, and thank you for this interview. Yes, I can say that personally it's exceeded my expectations, both with the fans' and the reviewers' reactions.

Do you have a favorite track off the album? What makes it special for you?

To be honest, I love every song equally, like I would if they were children. And I equally enjoy performing them with the band. But while composing, I was mostly pleased with “Afraid No More”, and the reason is mainly musical. I enjoyed how it turned out, equally aggressive and melodic, with some twists in the music. And I was also extremely happy when I heard the melodic lines Iliana sang over it.

This utilizes the lyrical theme from the ancient Greek myth of Arakhne. Could you offer a little more about the history of the character and the story’s relevance?

Arakhne's myth, essentially shows the psychological contrasts and similarities of gods and men, as they were perceived in ancient Greece. On one side, we have the mortal weaver Arakhne that thought she could compete with the goddess and creator of the loom and the art of weaving itself, overcoming and defying her own human nature, and on the other side we have Athena's side, with her human characteristics despite the fact she's a goddess, that can feel envious of a mortal's skills. The ending is tragically ironic, when Athena “mercifully” forgives Arakhne, and spares her life, while at the same time she punishes her in a most cruel way, turning her into the well known insect (the spider). She punishes her not only for her arrogance, but for her own talent as well.

Why did you choose that particular myth? Is utilizing your heritage important in your lyrics?

At first, on our previous record we didn't think too much about it, although we had a four track sequence based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. But on the process, utilizing themes from our mythology became a stable element of inspiration. Hellas has an enormously rich mythology, there are so many themes that's easy to capture your attention and inspire you.

You were joined by several prominent guests on the album, Jeff Waters, Fabio Lione and Chiara Malvestiti. Were they able to record their parts in the studio with you or did they record their parts elsewhere?

No that would be extremely hard to achieve, although it'd surely be fun. Every artist has a tight schedule, it wouldn't be fair to ask them to join us and record in the studio with us. Everyone recorded their parts in their own country. But that fact did in no way affect the result.

How did you decide on them guesting on your album? Did you approach them or did they offer to do this in the past?

We 're huge fans of them, it's been a great pleasure and honor that they thought our music and concept were working well. I'm sure you can imagine that no artist with such a career and “heavy” name would sign up for a result he wouldn't believe in, or if they thought it would be harmful to their name. Now since we were already acquainted in the past, when we needed someone for a specific role, we immediately thought of them, we asked and they said yes.

How has your work changed since you began?

Well, as everyone, we grow, and evolve as we grow, and the more we create the better it gets. Experience changes you for the best, in every section in life. It 's the same with music, I suppose. We tried some new stuff, we tried composing the music in order to match with the lyrics and overall story of each song, and used several new elements in the process to achieve the emotional effect we wanted for the listener.

This was recorded at Pentagram Studios. Why did you decide it was right to record there?

To be exact, the guitars and bass were recorded at Pentagram Studios, the keyboards and orchestrations were done by Leonidas, and the overall mix took place at Pentagram Studios as well. The drums were recorded at Bree studios. All of the above were done by George Emmanuel. The vocals were recorded at 133 Studios by Mark Adrian and the mastering was done by Nasos Nomikos (VU Productions), who brought a lot clarity to the whole project. We did what we thought was best to achieve the sound we were looking for.

Why did you decide to work with George Emmanuel? Did he bring out anything special to the material while you were recording?

George is already known for his production and mixing skills, especially in heavier and/or darker productions over the past years. He was very cooperative, and brought us homogeneity and a heavier as well as majestic sound that we were looking for on this album.

What plans do you have to promote the album as far as tours or videos?

There are plenty plans, both for live shows-tours and videos, but we can't reveal anything specific at the moment. Please stay tuned for updates on our website and social media!

What’s your all-time favorite track to play live?

Personally, I 'm somewhere between “Needle Bites” and “Afraid No More” as a player, but people respond greatly to many other tracks as well, like “Weakness Lies Within” or “Time Immemorial” and “Showdown” for instance. So that often changes my choice for the favorite-one. The reaction of the people is the most important factor, otherwise we enjoy all songs equally!

Do you want to say something to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?

Thank you very much for reading this, hope you'll get your hands on the album, or ears as a matter of fact. We can't wait to perform to Netherlands, we know the audience is great from what other bands have told us, and we already know many of you from live shows in other countries! So, hope to see y'all soon!

Enemy Of Reality Official Website
Enemy Of Reality Facebook
Enemy Of Reality Twitter

Review: Skullwinx - The Relic


Continuing to mature with each release, German epic speed metallers Skullwinx continue to further their traditionally-minded sound that makes the band faster, stronger and more epic than ever before. Once again doing a concept album about historic tales and legends from mid-Europe as well as describing the bands’ name, the second full-length album was originally released September 24, 2016 on Metalizer Records.

Finally bringing their full sound-scape to bear here, this one offers a great chance to fully deliver the kind of raging old-school style approach and attack they’ve been capable of from the start. Ranging from furious, intertwined melodic harmonies in “Siegfried,” “Attila the Hun” and “Tryst of Destiny” that run from simplistic gallops charging along at impressive mid-tempo paces gathering the slow, sprawling lurches that generate the feeling of epic melodies rather nicely here. That also gives this the chance to offer explosive outbursts of furious speed-drenched rhythms in “A Tale of Unity (Animus),” “For Heorot (Beowulf)” and “Carved in Stone (Princess in the Tower)” that drop most of the pretenses of the sprawling epic-flavored rhythms in favor of raucous, blistering speed which goes nicely with the enhanced sprawling atmospheres by creating the kind of vicious, full-throttle atmosphere that gives this one a highly impressive and enjoyable counterpoint that comes off rather nicely throughout here as these two sections are given quite a nice even mixture throughout here which is where this one really manages to get some interesting elements present and scores the most enjoyable facet of the album. The biggest factor against this one, though, is the album’s rather troubling frontman who is clearly ill-at-ease with the grandiose, bombastic nature required for this type of material and to clearly hear him straining to hit the higher notes takes away considerably from the rest of the material. The gruff mid-tone register is fine for the speed-drenched efforts, but going for the lighter notes takes away from this one somewhat. It’s really the biggest issue against this one, though and holds it back when this really could’ve been much better.

Though it doesn’t really completely capture the epic atmosphere and feeling consistently throughout here by the rather troubling and detrimental vocals throughout here, the rest of the music is engaging and powerful enough to raise it up to higher levels here for those that love charging, epic heavy/speed metal. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

Skullwinx Official Website
Skullwinx Facebook
Skullwinx Twitter

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: Metal Witch - Tales From The Underground


One of the country’s original pioneers, German metallers Metal Witch continue to enjoy their newfound exposure after reuniting as the long-time proponents of pure Teutonic heavy metal continue to lead the way with their enjoyable style. As the eight-year gap has seen original member Dietmar Hanke quit the band and new guitarist Lorenz Hoppe join up, the group releases its sophomore album October 7, 2016 on Iron Shield Records.

Almost immediately, it’s clear that the band is adept at displaying fiery, raucous old-school metal style with a traditional flair for the rhythms and melodies. Tracks like “Cheers to the Underground,” “Standing In My Way” and “Stay True” are mostly about energetic riffing full of crunchy, NWOBHM-influenced melodies which run the gamut of tempos from wild, raucous up-tempo patterns to a more controlled mid-tempo style that opts for a sing-a-long style series of works as in “Flute of Shame,” “Heavy and Roll” and “Still Going Strong” which are still incredibly fun throughout here. Featuring this stylistic type of attack here works nicely in generating a varied type of approach which is quite the impressive throwback to the traditional sounds of the genre yet still opts for a modern vitality that gives this the kind of overall appeal needed for such an otherwise one-note performance here. While on the surface it’s nicely balanced and enjoyable enough with this type of ferocious blast of an attack, there’s little else about this one that really makes it stick out here being based on overly familiar tropes of the type of ferocious one-note performances here or the simplistic anthemic track that slows down the tempos into a mid-range charge. Though that might be enjoyable for some out there, there’s little else on offer here for those that don’t like that particular style, even with the rather impressive professionalism displayed on the tracks.

Though there’s a slight issue of identity crisis here which comes from this one note really doing much else beyond its core approach of admittedly-enjoyable and competently-played tracks, that’s not nearly enough to hold back those enjoyable elements for fans of traditional German-flavored heavy metal or classic metal in general. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

Metal Witch Official Website
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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Review: Inire - Cauchemar


Giving my countrymen from Quebec a perfect score is completely self serving so I can’t, as much as I want to. This is a completely punch-driven record, filled with great vox and extensive writing. The music is superb and very inspiring. This is a sit around the apartment and eat pizza or clean the apartment completely record. Selected tracks like ‘Endless’ (my favourite track!), and the hyper-frantic ‘Crash’ (...the intro scream from 00:10 on is OFF the hook) are amazing for working out and lifting big weights.

The slow down with ‘Hell Is Us’ is completely misleading and cuts into a ripper that is making it to my SpeedTrap mixtape. Killer tune complete with gut hook riffs and concert chorus beauties. The vox are always on the edge of ultra-rasp, but remain in that perfect realm. “Hell….is…..Usssssssss!!!” Simply great!

‘Far from Anything’ seems like a soulful slow’un but on par lyrically with anything rock-driven out there. Harmonies are perfect and these guys can sing. This is still a solid rocker.

The intro to ‘Wide Awake’ is amazing and brings you into that state if you weren’t already. A ringtone also! The riffing and strumming at 3:28 is gripping and powerful.

The midpoint ‘Lord of the Flies’ en francais, is a smart slow break cutting into the smouldering ‘Burn’. The song title says enough and it has made the SpeedTrap mixtape. You can’t go wrong with ‘Burn! Burn!’ as a concert sing along. The guitar attacks are reminiscent of UFO and Accept and I love them for it.

‘Into the Labyrinth’. Very, very cool.

The title track is immediate Godsmack, Headstones, Creed, Killswitch Engage, Kreator, Testament all rolled into one blistering emotional turn up of the stereo to 11.

Written by Alessandro

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Review: Dog'N'Style - Pub's Calling


From the opening riffs of ‘The Best Of Me’ to the closing rocker of ’10 Couple of Beers’, (10 Couple of Beers…lmao; can relate to that can’t we?) this album kept me hammering the desk, stomping my feet much to my neighbors chagrin and throwing shit in between. This is an outstanding rocker, full of fun and party tones, a definite mixtape maker.

Title track. Simply a pleasure to listen to. Reminds me, gotta hit the pub and tell the DJ to play this.

Before I go on, that break in “10 Couple of Beers” at 2:29…wow; a shaker! Love it!

These guys, hailing from Epinal, France, (c’est tres bon!) classed as heavy Rock n Roll (finally, something accurate and existent!) make my new favourites with my personal fave ‘I Did Something Bad’, with to-the-point-playing and great harmonies. This song makes it a loud one, every time, no matter who’s sleeping in the house. I will get kicked about for doing that but this level of great Heavy Rock n Roll can’t be played low.

‘Mad Motorcycle’ takes over with high powered beats and amazing licks all through. The vox, production and concert entertainment value of this song, nay, album makes it a definite Christmas buy and then on Boxing Day too.

‘Night Losers’ has an amazing hook and the end scream and finale at 2:47 onwards, makes that a ringtone worthy pounder. ‘Running Out’, the ‘slow song’, is good but you can hear them bursting at the seams to get faster. The chorus is nice and shows exciting promise for more ballads. After all, rockers make the best slow songs, n’est pas?

To take 4:48 to clarify to ‘Never Trust An Asshole’ is absolutely awesome. It is done in a truly melodically surprising way and this song will make me a sensation when I introduce it to some of the lame-O so called modern ‘metal’ events I see. The muffled break intro and the riffing at 2:20 is another ringtone; this is just cool stuff; the rhythm and speed changes make this my 2nd favourite and so it should be your first. Great stuff boys!

This is the best rock I’ve heard in a long while that doesn’t go over to prog and slide into death-goth-depressive-metal. Straightforward intent here and can easily dress for any occasion requiring a pair of jeans or a suit and tie. The music is superb and well-engineered and the name brand of this band is ultra-cool.

Coming to Canada anytime soon?

10/10…easy!

Written by Alessandro

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Interview: Anneke van Giersbergen


Many people will recognize her name: for a long time she fronted The Gathering, she has her own solo-career, worked with many people (for example Anathema, Devin Townsend and Within Temptation), recently worked with Arjen Lucassen (of Ayreon) for The Gentle Storm and just announced her new band Vuur. Of course, it’s about Anneke van Giersbergen. DutchMetalManiac’s Glenn van der Heijden (who also is a big fan of her music) asks Anneke some questions. You can read the interview below.

Hey Anneke, for The Gentle Storm you worked intensively with Arjen Lucassen, how do you look back on working with him?

I love working with Arjen, the combination of creativity and a strong work ethic is pretty rare amongst musicians, but Arjen has both. The collaboration was effortless and we had a great time writing and recording. We even did a short acoustic tour together, which was pretty unique of course, since Arjen rarely leaves his house / studio. All in all: I look back on working with Arjen with great pleasure.

You have worked with a lot of people in the metal scene. Are there any artists whom you would love to work with?
 
I’m super happy that I have already worked with a lot of musicians that I admire a lot, like Devin Townsend for instance, but I still have a little wish list, haha! I would love to sing with Maynard James Keenan, Mike Patton, or Chino Moreno. Unfortunately, the best rock vocalist of all time has already left us: Freddie Mercury. I would also love to work with Gojira, Mastodon or Opeth one day!

Did working with Arjen inspire you to create your new band “Vuur”?
 
Not necessarily working with Arjen, but touring with The Gentle Storm showed me that a new name can catch on quickly if the music is good and the right people are involved. It also showed me that a lot of people have been waiting for me to be involved again with a progressive metal style and I loved singing the heavy stuff as well, so that’s why I wanted to continue with the TGS live band under a new name.

Can you tell me something about your newest adventure? How did you come up with the name?
 
I wanted a name that was short and direct, but most “one word band names” in English are already taken, but the Dutch word VUUR is a lot easier to pronounce for non-Dutch speakers than my own name and I also believe the meaning (fire, passion, drive) fits really well with the new music. Most members of the TGS live band are members of VUUR as well, but their involvement in the writing and recording of our album will be much bigger. Besides myself the band consists of: Ferry Duijsens (gtr), Johan Van Stratum (bass), Marcela Bovio (vocals), Jord Otto (gtr) and drummer Ed Warby. I am really happy with them and since we already toured together, I already know we have a good chemistry together.

In what way is the music of Vuur going to be different from The Gentle Storm or perhaps The Gathering?
 
Well, I will sing, write the lyrics & vocal melodies, and there will be distorted guitars, but other than that things will be quite different. I would say it will be less folky and a bit darker than The Gentle Storm. Compared to The Gathering the arrangements and instrumental parts will be much more complex.

The trailer from Vuur said you want to make a more obvious distinction between acoustic and heavy, what were the biggest reasons behind this?
 
I love doing the acoustic shows, but if I would do another album under my own name with heavy music, everything could become a bit unclear, as the acoustic theatre shows under my own name are doing really well in The Netherlands. With the creation of a band name for my heavy music, people will know exactly what to expect when they get a ticket that either says Anneke van Giersbergen, or VUUR.

In Vuur you again work with the talented Marcela Bovio, any ideas on how her voice is going to be used in the music?
 
I love Marcela a lot, both as a person and as a singer. VUUR is my band, but if you have somebody as talented as Marcela in your ranks, you shouldn’t just let her sing backing vocals, so she definitely will be able to showcase her wonderful voice.

Anything you would like to add for this interview?
 
Thank you and I hope we’ll talk again when the VUUR album is finished (end of summer 2017). I’d love to hear your opinion, the songs that are already finished make me really, really excited! Thanks, Anneke.

Anneke van Giersbergen Official Website
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Anneke van Giersbergen Twitter
The Gentle Storm Facebook
Vuur Official Website
Vuur Facebook

Review: Marianas Rest - Horror Vacui


Out of the seemingly nothing, a great debut album saw the light. Horror Vacui, the first full album of Marianas Rest, after they released a mini album in 2014.
First of all: congratulations for combining different styles in one ambient/metal/doom trip! The first sounds of opener The Millenialist reminds me of bands like A Silver Mount Zion and God is an Astronaut. Yet MR is heavier and with more groove in the first two songs.
For The Heartless shows a more contemplative sound, more melodic, slower, but with the same harsh vocals. All in all recognisable doom.
In Hurts Like Hell the melodic, dreamlike parts are flowing into deathstyle metal, making them hit in quite heavy. Looking at the album cover while listening to it, I can feel the choking idea of being on a vast ocean, with nothing around me but water…both peaceful and hauntingly frightening.
Chokehold is a song that is a great advocate for the band. Both spun out build ups, harsh vocals, emotions of loss and anger, a great song to look up to the stars and feel very small indeed…
Closing act Vestigial gives us some more insight in what the band can do in change of melody, slow guitar parts, and basically can be seen as a question mark: Do you want to know what we still have in store in the next years? Follow us! I would be very happy to hear their answer.

Written by Martijn Bakker

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Review: Burning Point - The Blaze


Burning Point is a melodic power metal band from Finland. Founded in 1997 and this will be their 7th album. This album "The Blaze" is released on 27 November 2016. The last album was the first album with female singer Nitte Valo (ex Battle Beast).

Onto this album: The album starts with the powerful song "Master Them All". It starts with guitar riffs that pace up with drums, a perfect opening song. The rhythmic parts keeps you listening. The second song is "Time Has Come" this has every element in it that screams Burning Point. The vocals from Valo are again spot on powerful, ruff and high. "My Spirit" is a song that drags you along, more calmer with epic vocals. Then they blast of with the intro of "The Lie", this song makes me think of a live festival crowd side to side singing a long and head banging. "Chaos Rising" is indeed chaos, but then an organized chaos. With more ruff vocals and up paced rhythmic parts. The last song on this album is "Metal Queen" also the longest song 4:57 min. . It's a cover from the classic Lee Aaron song. That ends this album strong.

If you like melodic power/heavy metal this is a band that you want to check out, they don't disappoint you. The powerful album is full of head banging and melodic riffs that you don't want to miss.

Track list:
1. Master Them All
2. Time Has Come
3. Incarnation
4. My Spirit
5. The Lie
6. Dark Winged Angel
7. Chaos Rising
8. Lost in Your Thoughts
9. Things That Drag Me Down
10. The King Is Dead, Long Live the King
11. Metal Queen (Lee Aaron cover)

Written by Nathasja Voerman

Burning Point Official Website
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Monday, December 12, 2016

Review: Incarceration - Catharsis


Formed in early 2012, Brazilian death metallers Incarceration have quickly built a reputation as one of the fastest, most extreme acts in the country which has continued as the group is now relocated to Germany. Following up the promise showed by their early works, the group finally prepares its full-length debut released October 28th. 2016 on F.D.A. Rekotz.

From the start here, it’s quite obvious about not only the bands’ influences and intentions but also the type of material to be expected throughout here. Tracks like “Devouring Darkness,” “Infernal Suffering” and “Obsessed by Death” showcase a prominent attitude of tight, evocative churning riffing and controlled rhythms that demonstrate plenty of furious blasts spiced into the proceedings to make for a more dynamic affair as this one manages to whip up the energy into frantic driving tracks. These are nicely augmented by the tight riff-work and carries the blistering, intense rhythms as well as the more traditional sprawling, mid-tempo efforts like “Evoking the Possession” and “Chaos and Blasphemy” along into a cohesive whole. This varied approach of controlled, restrained rhythms alongside the reckless, chaotic energy derived here gives this one so much to really like as a whole that it really holds up quite well alongside some rather detrimental flaws. The biggest issue here is the rather challenging vocals which are more in the hoarse screaming variety than any kind of true death growl which makes for quite a hard listen here and takes some getting used to. Likewise, the fact that the album is filled with such brief and mostly useless minute-long interludes which don’t make any sense to find their use here as they just eat up the time and really require the near eight-minute finale to bump this one up to a respectable length. While these efforts can be somewhat problematic for this one, some of it can be excused for being a debut but it’s still not enough to lift it up much more than that.

With some minor problems that are somewhat forgivable due to its debut status but more being pretty detrimental overall, there’s a mixed bag throughout here that it does have some appeal for some who enjoy that kind of ravenous, ferocious old-school death metal while those that can’t forgive the flaws should heed caution. 7/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: End My Sorrow - Of Ghostly Echoes


Melodic death metallers End My Sorrow hail over from Denmark on their debut album, called “Of Ghostly Echoes”, which was released on 25th of November.

The album starts rather catchy with “Wither away”, where growls meet the clear chant of female singer Anne-Mette Nielsen. This already is a prelude to the general tone of the album - what is striking there is that it’s not pure melodic death metal as we are used to, but rather a mix of different genres. Death, doom, symphonic, up-tempo, down-tempo… they have it all, but with a preponderance of melodic death metal tunes. Also the general tone of the album varies quite a bit throughout the songs, from catchy and energetic to melancholic and back. You’ll find doom influences for instance on “Past horizons”, while “Because of you” almost has a commercial touch to it. So, in the end, you don’t really have a grasp on what you are in for from one song to another. Production-wise the Danes did well, just the mixing could have been improved at times, as the growls unfortunately sometimes just drift too far in the back.

What’s left is a ride throughout a lot of genres and moods. While there is a bit of lack of a trademark sound in my opinion, the experimentation itself is quite nice to listen to. So if you love your metal varied, make sure to give this record a go! 7/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Review: Car Bomb - Meta


If I were to make a list of heaviest, most mind blowing albums of the year, this one would most likely ice the cake. This is heavy music man. Definitely not for the in-experienced listener. In-depth thoughts below!

As I was saying. “Meta” is the third output of the band Car Bomb from Long Island, New York. This release is their second time putting their music out independently. Their first effort was released by record label Relapse Records.

To be really honest, before “Meta” I did not even know the band before I saw on Facebook that Gojira frontman, Joe Duplantier, was working with Car Bomb to produce their new record in the self-made, New York based studio called Silver Cord Studio. Soon after, I began following the progression between the two because I thought it was interesting. In a statement by the band it was said that Joe from Gojira would feature guest vocals on the album. That really got my attention because I am a huge Gojira fan. Along with the album details came a new single by Car Bomb and I wasn’t ready for it. I listened to it on YouTube and I just wasn’t ready. My mind was shredded to pieces.

The first thing that came to mind was, did they really just up the Meshuggah game? After hearing The Violent Sleep Of Reason, the latest effort by Meshuggah, it just sounds like Car Bomb made this album in response to Meshuggah. Like, look at us. We make music with even less logic in it than your band. Don’t get me wrong, I mean this in the best way possible. The Violent Sleep Of Reason was a great album but “Meta” upped the prog/math a notch. The rhythmic sections in the music don’t even make sense! I takes a couple of listens to the full album to really get into the vibe and still you can’t predict anything. Car Bomb made a terrific effort to write songs that are bone crushingly heavy all the while bringing in a very atmospheric vibe to it. Almost Deftones-ish.

My personal favorites on the album after countless listens are ‘Secrets Within’ and ‘The Oppressor’ Both of them have a really jumpy vibe on them and to me, these songs are the easiest to listen to. There is a sort of way to find a rhythm in these two songs.

Credits and mad respect to Car Bomb for writing music like this. It’s fresh, it’s new. It takes metal yet another step further and I applaud it very much. I will definitely be on the lookout for future shows in my country. One of the best albums in a long time and will be on repeat for a while!

For the sheer brutality, technicality and production (credits for Joe Duplantier) I rate it 9.5/10.

Written by Joost van der Leij

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Saturday, December 3, 2016

Review: Evil Invaders - In For The Kill


Today, I’m back with a new release by Belgian speed metallers Evil Invaders. So far, these guys have produced 2 EP’s and their first full-length effort ‘’Pulses of Pleasures’’, which in my opinion became an instant classic after listening to it. ‘’In for the Kill’’ includes 2 entirely new tracks, which I will elaborate on in a moment, and live recordings of ‘’Pulses of Pleasure’’ and ‘’Victim of Sacrifice’’!

If you’re new to Evil Invaders, let me introduce you to them. They are a goddamn time machine, with their sharp sound blasting straight from the 80’s heavy metal scene. High paced riffing with vocals ranging from a thrashy style to high pitched screams the likes of King Diamond. This is some mighty shit, and as if their debut hasn’t made that very clear, the first new track ‘’As Life Slowly Fades’’ is like a suckerpunch to the face. Fast, loud and fuckin’ rude, this one is a song that builds up really quick with some reaaaaaaally nice divebombs (if you don’t know the term, don’t bother looking it up and just listen to the song already!) and aggressive chord patterns, just before they go out, all guns blazin’. The entire sound is a really pleasant blast from the past, without becoming one of those cliché bands that are getting to nostalgic and bland. Amaaaazing work on the guitar solo, but this is hardly surprising if you’re already familiar with the band. ‘’Raising Hell’’ is the second new title, and it’s quite different to the first in some ways. The speed doesn’t slack, but there’s a different build up in this song. It’s a little heavier on the vocals, with a relentless onslaught of lyrics speeding like a bullet trains. In between all the heavy pounding and chord striking, this song rewards you with a little more state of the art shredding. Their live tracks sound very promising and should be kept unspoiled. Check this EP out!

All in all, great effort by a young promising band. I’m hoping this is but a glimpse of what we can expect from their next full-length! 9/10

Written by Nino Milillo

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Review: Grodek - Downfall Of Time


Grodek is a death/doom metal band hailing from Vasto, Italy formed in 2014, consisting of four musicians: Tiziano de Cristofaro on guitar, Matteo "Grind" Colantonio as vocalist and also on guitar,
Matteo Sputore on bass and Alessandro Leone on drums. The name Grodek refers to the poem written by Georg Trakl, which is about the bloody battle between the Austrian and Russian armies in the early stages of the first world war. Trakl, a medic in the Austrian army, witnessed the carnage first hand inspiring him to compose this sinister, dark piece of poetry. Trakl’s belief that continuing war will ultimately end in the demise of human kind more or less corresponds with how the band Grodek sees the world today. They see the world decay at every level, and the in their eyes only possible reaction is to convert that disaster into art, in this case music. The band is active since 2014, although the first signs of life date back from a year before. Shortly after being founded they released a demo called ‘Demon’ and now they’re back with a brand new EP titled ‘Downfall of time’, perfectly fitting the band’s view on the world.

Spanning only four songs it still has a total playing time of over 25 minutes, at least giving you plenty of bang for your buck. Opener ‘From the fog I rose’ is a typical doom metal song, a slow, lingering piece with some heavy riffage and strong, cumbersome grunting in it. Solid, but not very inventive or exciting. ‘Naiade’, the next song, brings more excitement in Grodek’s music with a bit more speed, much more predominate guitar work and a variable, at times surprising tune. The strong rhythm section gets more exposure in this one as well, which definitely adds to the intensity of the song. In ‘The pale dame’ Grodek’s death metal influences surface, with an even stronger rhythm section and characteristic grunt work. And then, just like that, it’s time for the concluding piece called ‘Time and black tides’ in which all doom metal influences have disappeared. It’s a song that keeps a pleasant pace with prog nuances here and there and which has guitar-countering drum lines. The vocals have a touch of black metal at times with the screams, the higher pitch and the whispered parts. Already being the most surprising song on this release by far, it yet has another surprise up its sleeve. Some four minutes into the song it suddenly breaks into a proggish intermezzo with a sweet bass line only to re-ignite the blackened death metal from the start into a peculiar mix towards the end of the song. An end that leaves a lot of questions.

All in all Grodek delivered a solid piece of work with ‘Downfall of time’, but it does not particularly stand out when it comes to ingenuity or originality. It’s not that you get the feeling you have heard it all before, not at all even, but I didn’t find a lot of ‘eureka’-moments either, save for ‘Time and black tides’. That one is something special with prog, black, death and more metal influences. Grodek is good at what they’re doing and it definitely is worth your attention, as long as you don’t expect a ground breaking, never-heard-before type of music, although the finale comes pretty damn’ close to just that. Fans of the genre don’t need to hesitate to get their claws on this, and if you want to get acquainted with death/doom metal Grodek is a great band to start with.

For those interested, here’s the translated poem Grodek was named after:

At evening the autumn woodlands ring
With deadly weapons. Over the golden plains
And lakes of blue, the sun
More darkly rolls. The night surrounds
Warriors dying and the wild lament
Of their fragmented mouths.
Yet silently there gather in the willow combe
Red clouds inhabited by an angry god,
Shed blood, and the chill of the moon.
All roads lead to black decay.
Under golden branching of the night and stars
A sister's shadow sways through the still grove
To greet the heroes' spirits, the bloodied heads.
And softly in the reeds Autumn's dark flutes resound.
O prouder mourning! - You brazen altars,
The spirit's hot flame is fed now by a tremendous pain:
The grandsons, unborn.

Written by Henric van Essen

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Review: Lucifer's Hammer - Beyond The Omens


Lucifer’s Hammer is a Chilean band that was created in 2013. On the same year they released a demo called “Night Sacrifice Demo MMXIII”. Their style is definitely classic heavy metal straight from the glorious 80s. Influences from Iron Maiden (Di’ Anno’s era), Dio, Black Sabbath and with tons of NWOBHM. For some unexplained reason I got a strong feeling of Cloven Hoof (another great but unfortunately underrated band from the same era). A Helloween vibe from when they were fronted by Kai Hansen was also apparent however Lucifer’s Hammer do not utilize the same uptempo as Helloween did in the so called speed metal days.

Musicianship is adequate without surprises. Various riffs color the songs and give that long lost 80s scent that’s missing from today’s bands. A good example is the instrumental track “Lucifer’s Hammer”.

Hades and Hypnos (funny nickname that means sleep in Greek language!) do a good job with their riffs and solos while drumming from Titan is on acceptable level but sadly leaves a lot to be desired since their plenty of moments where a more ferocious attack would be much appreciated.

The vocals are one of the biggest weaknesses of this band. It’s more than obvious that Hades is not a capable singer. Poor phrasing and lots of sour notes that fly all over the place. However what his voice lacks in technique he certainly makes up for pure passion. At times he brought in mind the golden days of Kai Hansen when he was singing on the absolutely phenomenal albums “Helloween” and the superb “Walls of Jericho”. However produced and mixed this album definitely had this in mind and as a result his vocals aren’t dominating the sound leaving more room for the other instruments.

Production suffers from quite a few flaws. While each instrument has its own place can be easily heard the result is poor and lacks punch. Having guitars this obscure you’d expect from unknown bands back in the mid 80s.

In conclusion I was unimpressed by “Beyond the Omens”, yes Lucifer’s Hammer got some interesting but undeveloped ideas leaving hope for a future release. But for now this album is just a result of passion and inexperience on all levels. I think that this album will appeal to people who like obscure under produced stuff like many unknown bands released 30 plus years ago.

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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Review: Eternal Champion - The Armor Of Ire


Formed just in 2012, Texas-based epic heavy metallers Eternal Champion quickly took on the tone and feel of the classic heavy metal sound from the 80s which helps to tie in their connection to Michael Moorcock's high fantasy series of the same name. With the album being the first recorded output of third guitarist Nujon Powers, the group finally prepares its debut full-length September 27, 2016 on No Remorse Records.

There’s not a whole lot about this one as immediately from the start, the band is clearly well-suited for their brand of old-school worshipping of traditionally-minded epic heavy metal. This is headed by the title track, “I Am the Hammer” and “The Cold Sword” which feature plenty of beefy, sturdy trad-influenced riff-work at play here with the swirling melodic rhythms that gallop along at quite a steady pace here with the album’s preference for the bouncy mid-tempo race. This has the effective quality of leaving it feeling warm and quite luscious which is quite a usual ploy in this genre that manages to effectively evoke the melodic aesthetics from that style as it’s so familiar for the most part that there’s little doubt about it’s influences being derived wholeheartedly along the way. That leads into the main feature problem about this one as the wholly simplistic manner of the rhythms that it makes for way too close a tie-in to the old-school scene without really giving it an identity of its own. Even stuff like “The Last King of Pictdom” and “Invoker” comes off with way too much of a close-minded feel of the 80s which is so based on this style that there’s not a whole lot of room for this to go, and while it may have quite an effective touch here this does become an issue.

Being quite a simplistic and rather one-note style of old-school attack does get this one into trouble at times, but there’s little denying the energy and enthusiasm that’s present in here which does quite a lot to overcome these flaws and makes for quite a worthwhile effort for those that aren’t hung up on these issues who are aficionados of this epic-tinged traditional metal. 8/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Enemy Of Reality - Arakhne


After the success of their previous works, Greek symphonic metallers Enemy of Reality have taken the style and musings of their Greek heritage to present yet another concept album about the titular spider’s creation and carries on from what occurred in the debut. With keyboardist Marianthie being replaced by Leonidas, the groups’ second full-length effort was originally released October 23, 2016 on F.Y.B. Records.

Once again fueled by the bands’ leanings, the main focus here is once again dwelling mainly in bombastic and grandiose rhythms and melodies as befits their symphonic leanings. Efforts like “Reflected,” “Time Immemorial” and “Nouthetisis” come loaded with swirling operatic rhythms at the forefront of the music here with the main use of cinematic keyboards offering the dramatic and wholly soaring material present here which cuts through the album as a whole nicely, and fits alongside the remaining parts of the album. Featuring plenty of progressively-tinged gothic riff-work, dripping with atmospheric touches and a rather strong beefy tone it creates quite an impactful connection here which makes for a much nicer and cohesive whole here that’s given quite a wide berth over the album with the remaining sections like “Weakness Lies Within” and “Afraid No More” instead going for a more plodding operatic style that keeps this one much more in line with the simplistic side of the gothic spectrum. Combined into a cohesive whole there’s quite a lot to really like here as this one gets quite a complete sound together, though it does stand as a bit out-of-place at times when it goes for the raspy male shrieks here as the vast majority of the album is quite competent with the dual vocalists together while those other parts just stick out quite badly. It’s not nearly enough to ruin the experience but it’s distracting at times.

Despite a few minor elements where it’s not nearly as impressive as it really could’ve been, for the most part, this here is a highly enjoyable and impressive slice of gothic-infused symphonic metal that really comes off quite nicely here for hardcore fans of this style or those looking for impressive female-fronted metal acts. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Krupskaya/Foible Instinct - split


The Krupskaya/Foible Instinct split album is perhaps the worst thing I’ve heard this entire year, except for that sound of gunfire and screeching tires down the block from my place. Or was that someone’s Xbox?

KRUPSKAYA:

I’m sure the lads of Krupskaya of Stoke-on-Trent will tell me to sod off, as I don’t have a record, but the welcome attention from my sordid review will help sell records for this Tabasco-in-the-Ear opus. That a UK band naming itself after a Russian revolutionary is kind of ….cool, the music, for me, is a turn off. Named as ‘Grindcore’, (I will rename it as Crap-Core) these 3 tracks suck in the most ultimate way.

A hodgepodge of sci fi sounding FX, recorded radio edits and lowstrung guitars makes this a fab opus for the Crap-Core genre. How can you dance to this? Where’s the melody, the riffs, the 12 minute lyrical exchanges? Oh wait, sorry…

‘In Silent Waters There Is No Light’ is a plodding piss-piece until the disjointed ‘music’ that appears at 1:40 whereupon I shat myself at the sheer ferocity of it; I should have turned the stereo down for this. Horrible.

‘Stormtroopers for Christ.’ Really? Stormtroopers For Every Soul That Has Been Taken To Hell; please re-name. This one heated my beer.

‘Order of the New Templars’ takes off where the Order of the Old Templars left off; non-existent. I made something like this in high school on tape recorders with my “band”, and it was shit too.

3/10: Only because they have a record and the stones to leave something like this in a time capsule for the aliens.

FOIBLE INSTINCT:

Not much better than its partner on this disc, this has some promise I suppose as I heard some vestiges of old VoiVod in there, which, I didn’t like back then anyway. Their FB says they are from Kyiv and playing grindcore since 2006 but, isn’t that just being…slave to the grind? Maybe try some folk or soul and THEN go back to playing metal.

Do you guys know what a foible is? Small eccentricity indeed…

I have ignored most of ‘Dead Children’. I hate titles and images like this, so I don’t give a toss about the music. I’m sure the rest of it sucked.

‘In Line’ OK. Moderate shit.

‘On The Other Side’ showed a smidge of promise with some actual strumming from 00:47, but again, shit.

Oh a vestige of a listenable guitar solo on ‘I Don’t Need Your World’ at 00:32! But, yes shit yet again.

The rest is barely tolerable and makes me want to take a cheese grater to my nose (it could use some shaving down, actually) and isn’t a clear representation to what grindcore is supposed to be. It’s an assault on the senses in the worst sense and horrible production work in my shatty view. Although this is possibly what this genre hoots for, it’s not proper music to me and leaves a marginal impression on the sands of time.

3/10 for no apparent reason.

Written by Alessandro

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Live review: Meshuggah and High On Fire at 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands, November 24th, 2016

After looking forward to this show for a couple of months, the 24th of November the day was there. I was going to see Meshuggah for the first time in my life. I was told seeing Meshuggah was not just a concert. It’s an experience.

When I go to a concert it usually is just a night out with some friends and we go to have a good time. Not mainly for the band on the main stage. This time was definitely different. We are all great fans of Meshuggah and only one of us had seen them live before and that was not an indoor concert with the light show and everything. We were all a bit anxious and nervous and it was such a great feeling.

When we stepped into the concert hall and heard that High on Fire already started their “Motorhead on drugs” campaign. One of my friends and me have high respect for Matt Pike, the front man for High on Fire and the stoner band Sleep which we are fans of.

I must say I didn’t have high hopes for this band at all but they unexpectedly blew my mind. Heavy grooves with powerful vocal lines were all over the place. I am mainly a fan of Matt Pike for his work with Sleep but I never expected him to endure the speed and intensity of High on Fire, he rips solos with a deadly precision as well!

After High on Fire we just needed to wait for half an hour until Meshuggah came up.

They already got me the moment the lights went out and this eerie noise started to appear. It was getting me uncomfortable and I think that was the intention of the noise.

Starting with the hit single “Clockworks” as a starting for a whole set full of blistering, pounding madness. Soon it became clear that it really was an experience to behold. It’s a mighty force to see. Meshuggah are the five guys from Sweden who are over 2 meters in height and are really imposing on that stage. They take their music seriously and outdone their selves the whole evening. I can honestly say that I have never seen a band play flawless. I’ve seen quite a few bands play live but never this tight. The only band that comes close to Meshuggah is Gojira. To be honest I have seen the light show for half of the show. The other half I was in a trance just bobbing my head to the complex time rhythms. I have to give credits to the guy that programmed the light show. AMAZING JOB man. Every beat was right on time with the strobes.

I can only say this was by far the most perfect live show I have seen in my life so far. Meshuggah are a well-oiled machine that just keeps on riffing and outdoing themselves.

When they come around again I will be first in line to get tickets. No doubt.

There is only one rating for a show like this.

10/10.

Written by Joost van der Leij

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Live review: Orphaned Land at Baroeg, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, November 18th 2016

So, Orphaned Land played in Baroeg on Friday November 18th, and it was lucky for me since there's a bus stop near my house that goes straight to that venue.

The band themselves hail from Israel, and play a mixture between metal and middle eastern music with a strong pacifist message. They even have fans from Palestina!

Unfortunately I worked overtime that day so I had to miss the opening bands, but I was on time to find a good spot for Orphaned Land.

They immediately opened with the title track from their latest album, "All is One",

a song that has a message of unity between religions instead of letting it divide us. They played as tight as on the album, which I find a big plus. Some bands are sloppy sometimes.

As the third song they played "Let the truce be known" that's about children in war zones playing together on the streets. I will admit, I cried a bit both because of the lyrics and the beauty of the music.

They also played one of my other favorites, "Brother", which is about the fight between Isaac and Ishmael as known from the Bible, Torah and Quran.

Deep lyrics, such as "You did nothing wrong, yet took all the shame, I suffered myself, yet I am to blame".

Makes you stop and think.

Unfortunately I didn't have time after the show to hang with the band because I had a bus to catch (try to find a net big enough to fit a bus in).

Some things I noticed during the show:
- the left guitarist was flirting with some girls in the audience during the show, didn't affect his playing fortunately.
- the band seemed to enjoy the show as much as I did.
- the singer made some fun of the fact that he's getting fatter.
- the audience was really tame, not something I expect during a metal show.
- the same guitarist also had a blue PRS Custom 24 with an animal print strap, almost the same guitar as my favorite guitar.

All in all, if you ever have the chance to see this band, do it. You won't regret it!

Written by Gijs de Wolff

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