Dizastra – ‘Vae Victus’   Leave a comment

Ahead of their forthcoming album, ‘Elder Sun’, expected later this year, Dizastra have independently released their new video single, ‘Vae Victus’. Following on from 2015 EP ‘Hell’s Gate’, ‘VV’ is the first single on ‘ES’.

Hailing from Montréal, Canada, Dizastra combine black, thrash and melodic metal, to create a sound at once evil and malevolent.

The theme of ‘VV’ is an image of riding a dragon through Hades and as such, it attempts a concoction of screamo vocals, thunderous drums, earthshaking bass and lively solos.

As heavy as it sounds, ‘VV’ actually illuminates the tiny budget they were working within, to bring to light the Tolkien-esque narrative, of time travel and fantastical adventure. It conveys an internationally popular and accessible mixture of wizards, warriors, battle and friendship.

A quartet, boasting Wacken Metal Battle Canada finalist and long-standing participant of Québec’s Heavy Montréal Music Fest, Matt Conti, Dentis Stoisin, Nathan Afilalo (Dissension) and Petey Giampa (Venomenon) complete the line-up. Dizastra have been identified as an emerging strength in Québec’s heavy metal underground and also throughout Canada. ‘ES’ looks set to solidify their place in the collective memory of fans and bands alike, as heavy metal titans.

‘VV’ was mixed, mastered and recorded by Carl Roberge and co-produced with Carl Roberge and Dizastra. It’s available to stream and download, on all main digital platforms.

Vae Victus – Unusual orchestral intro. From wurlitzer to instant speed metal, with fantasy images, the death thrash vocals add the evil maleficence. Much like an action fantasy superhero movie, it’s definitely got the intrigue element down. Great power riffs, clear passion and good striking contrasts between scenes. This’ll keep you interested and on your toes. Lots of changing scenes and a strong thrash emphasis throughout. Still more power and speed than thrash, though.

9/10 *********

For fans of RAM, Enforcer, Portrait, Altheniko, In Solitude, Cast Iron, Pantera, Trivium.



Posted August 17, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Strike Master – ‘Strong As Hell’   Leave a comment

Mexican thrash band Strike Master have now launched their debut single and video, ‘Strong As Hell’, taken from the forthcoming EP, ‘Death Based Illusions’. Due for release in November 2019. Three singles and associated videos will be released, ahead of the full EP, planned to be physically and digitally available.

Strong As Hell – Rapid intro, with jungle drum beats joining the thrash riffs. Pantera-esque thrash vocals, echoing the track ‘Domination’, in places. Lots of percussive emphasis. Sound values could definitely do with being boosted. Timing well kept. Slightly rough production, somewhat rushed, but the overall quality is good.

Strong As Hell video – Much better audio production on here. Some classic clips of rehearsals and live shows. A shot of the Golden Gate Bridge and some random scenes of various other places. Flash photography intermittently. Plenty of enthusiasm there and a traditional thrash metal feel. Just nothing memorable and it’s missing the excitement and verve. All in all, an average track.

5/10 *****

For fans of Pantera, Testament.




Posted August 13, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Steve Blower – ‘Back In Hell’   1 comment

11 tracks long, ‘Back In Hell’ is the debut solo release by Steve Blower (Hamerex).

Following the announcement of Hamerex going on hiatus, in June 2018, work on ‘BIH’ began. Initially a 6 track, originally titled ‘Facilis Descensus Averno’, it later grew into a full-length album, updated and improved. Funded with assistance from fans, post announcement, during August 2018, via pre-orders, its planned release was delayed, by 5 months, due to Steve suffering serious drumming related wrist injuries.

All music is written and performed by Steve, who also created the cover art. It was co-mixed and mastered by Andy Firth.

Scheduled release is TBC, but fans can still purchase a special edition ‘BIH’ album, featuring an ‘FDA’ disc, through Bandcamp.

Back In Hell – Instant hit of metal power! Very classic sounding riff and Priest-esque vocals. Highly melodic, from the start. Palpable passion and plenty of speed. An involving listen. Slightly flat in places, but some tricky notes in there and generally, he hits them well.

The Whisperer – Straight in there, with melodic riffage and rhythm). Faster paced, but not by much. A little flat here and there, again, but as before, he achieves some awkward tones and the passion’s still present and audible. The accompaniments fit well, the rhythm’s always precise and there’s an easy warmth about it.

What’s Left Of Me – Drums introing, right in there, with some well handled vocals. It’s very much a traditional metal sound, with a strong power/speed emphasis. Stacked with melody. Very well emoted. Good placing of accompaniments. Timing spot on. It just gets stronger and stronger, as it goes on. Loads of conviction there. Closing on a very powerful riff melody.

The Prophet – Darker, bass intro, with a slower drum beat in the background. Merging together, in sync, the mood’s laid out clearly. Immediately atmospheric, the vocals sound increasingly comfortable now. Memorable beat. Great riff solo. Cleverly structured, in a more instrumental fashion, every aspect has its day. Definitely catchy and ending on a rhythmic riff and drum hit.

Arabian Nights – Bang! That intro plainly echoes W.A.S.P.’s ‘War Cry’ and it works extremely well. Adding that well established chasing pace, so beloved of many a metal legend, it proves its melodic chops, in every capacity. Keeping that momentum, with complete seamlessness). The riffs really come into their own here and close the track, with a single cymbal hit.

Out Of This World – Sudden leap into Celtic sounding riffs, but it’s fresh and it works! Massively melodic emphasis here. A real standout track. More so for being fully instrumental. Energised and filled with pizzazz).

The Midas Touch – Heaviness opens with thunderous drumming and matching riffage. Steady rhythm, great pitches working their way in there, suffusing it with tension and elation. Really well arranged track, giving the riffs the full opportunity to shine. Alternating between that thunder heavy sound and the lighter soaring quality. Again, it’s another instrumental and this time, the drums are carefully interspersed. Steadily gravitating to the finish, it leaves a positive impression.

Twisted Evolution – Low down bass intro, with some precision riff shrieking. Moving into the flow, with that darkened heaviness, so addictive to metallers). Guaranteed crowd involvement, as a live track. Engaging and accessible, easy to follow. It just flows). Vocals skilfully matched with the tone and timbre of the accompaniments. Gorgeous melodic riffage. Good spaces between the drum beats. A very natural feel about this. Artfully conveyed dark mood and atmosphere. Fading out on a mid-paced riff.

The Slain/Ties That Bind – Opening with a sinister heartbeat and a similarly poignant riff. Vocals painting a clear picture. Very visual. Almost alarmingly so. Moving into faster, heavier territory now. Effective lyrics. Sound values just as impressive as the rest. Slightly Dickinson-esque vocals here. Very open, courageous lyrical themes. Racing riffing speeds it up, with absolute precision. That timing’s just an ace. Real power in this track. Ending on a very Maiden-esque vocal and gentle riff, followed by a return to the ominous heartbeat.

Haunting Misery – Instantaneous riff power and melody intro’s. Great involving pace. You’ll recognise a line in here from Skid Row’s ‘Psycho Love’, with just a brief alteration). Speeding up again, the riffs take centre stage once more, galloping along, in pursuit, like Horseman Vikings. Running on into the distance, that’s how it ends.

The World Is Ablaze – Drumming intro, much in the vein of Priest’s ‘Judas Rising’ and ‘Ram It Down’. Continuing in the same way, it’s an impressive demo of Steve’s abilities and his vocals really come forward here, in all their glory. Holding those notes so well, it closes on a similarly Priest-esque section, combining vocals and accompaniments, including some cymbal action, to top it off.

Overall – Stunningly good performance, ‘BIH’ is an impressive solo and its audio production is flawless. Consistent delivery throughout, enabling listeners to access the mood of the tracks, through catchy melodies and carefully crafted arrangements. Resonant, as a classic, old school sound, with passion and conviction burning throughout it, ‘BIH’ should definitely whet the appetites of all true heavy metal fans.

9/10 *********

For fans of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P., Skid Row.


Posted August 10, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

HellgardeN – ‘Learned To Play Dirty’   Leave a comment

Founded in 2015,  HellgardeN  is a Brazilian metal quartet, which became an active band in 2017. They were born out of not just a love of metal, but also a desire to strengthen the core of the Brazilian metal scene. They’ve been playing music together since they were pre-teens.

It took till 2017 to complete the line-up and their first gig was opening for Krisiun. Many more gigs and prestigious festival appearances followed. During these shows, HellgardeN shared the stage with some internationally renowned bands. They produced their album, at the same time. So far, fan response to the live performances of the album material has been exceptional.

The album was eventually recorded in the latter half of 2018, in Petropolis city, Rio de Janeiro, by producer Lisciel Franco, at Forest Lab Studios. Entitled ‘Making Noise, Living Fast’, it went straight to tape.

Prior to its still awaited release, the band resumed live shows, including a slot at another fest in their home city, where they performed with Aquiles Priester and Clawn (a successful local death metal band).

On 12th July 2019, HellgardeN launched their first official video, for the track ‘Learned To Play Dirty’, from the ‘MNLF’ album.

Learned To Play Dirty – Straight in there, with a crushingly heavy intro. Good rhythm, from the start. Very Pantera-esque! Almost a Phil Anselmo carbon copy, in fact! All the killing aggression and song structure to go with it. Some very decent shredding in there and a faint vibrato, but never letting go of that raging hostility, for a moment. A fairly Grand Magus-esque riff descent in there, too. Noticeably riff-centred. Fading out on the same metallic screech). That’s a track with real memorability.

9/10 *********

For fans of Pantera, Grand Magus, Obey.


Posted August 5, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Arapacis – ‘Paradox Of Denial’   Leave a comment

Founded 2003, by guitarist Jerry Fielden, Arapacis is a female fronted metal band, from Montréal, Canada. Scots vocalist Shelle Macpherson fronts. Jerry also features on bass, drums, drum programming, synths and mandolin. The ethos of the band is to emulate certain elements of 1970’s hard rock and prog rock and combine it with 21st-century prog, doom and metal, creating an intriguing hybrid. They succeed in doing just this. Especially with this new release.

They’ve previously played alongside the likes of Blaze Bayley, Uli John Roth, Anvil, Raven, The Agonist, Doro and more. 2006 saw the 1st of their many releases, ‘So Many Leapers’. The next album, ‘Consequences Of Dreams’, launched in 2009 and their 3rd, ‘Netherworld’, came out digitally, in 2011 and on CD in 2012. ‘Déjà-vu’, a remix EP of older material, appeared in 2013, followed by 4th album, ‘A Disturbing Awakening’ (2014), ‘System Deceiver’ (2016), ‘Obsolete Continuum’ (2018) and the most recent production, is their other EP collection of older tracks, entitled ‘Deja Doom’, also in 2018, on Blackhouse Records.

To date, a selection of guest contributors have featured on their albums, including: Guy Leblanc (RIP) of Carmel and Nathan Mahl, Steph Honde of Di’ Anno and Hollywood Monsters, Don Airey, of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Jethro Tull etc, Vinnie Appice, of Black Sabbath, Dio, David Stone, of Rainbow and Max Webster and John Gallagher, of Raven, etc. This, their 7 track 7th album, ‘Paradox Of Denial’, is released August 2019.

Order Of The Ember Queen – Introing with a very bluesy groove, with a strong folky element, conveyed in a heavy vocal. Straight away, there’s a powerful catch to it and a slight early psychedelia echo, playing around with a hint of sci-fi. Loving those sharp feminine vocals! A clear edge of punk attitude shows through them and 3/4 in, you’ll hear some inventive riffs. It’s a very fulsome track, with plenty of percussion elements. Breathing through the space, before the end, there’s a very refreshing tinge to this.

Pressure Cooker – Opening on a gorgeously sexy deep heavy blues riff, it’s addictive, from the off. Vocals combining lilting Kate Bush styles, with strong punk and groove. Tons of character to this. Again, some great riffage and a strong southern rock beat. It’s a brilliant combo of vocal acuity and solid instrumentals, almost sludgy, in their tone and emphasis. Just a fresh, vibrant track.

Propaganda Messiah – Starting off on a slight slide riff, now the vocals move into death growl territory. Suddenly alternating that with more sharpened tones again, further emphasising the depth of the accompaniments. Shifting up the scales now, taking it into lighter arenas, showcasing the riff mastery. Definitely a notable edge to those blackened sections, on which, it closes.

Dirty Soap – Drums opening, with a solid, inherently sensuous blues riff. Honestly, you could just climb inside that riff. Those fabulously high-pitched vocals return, complemented perfectly by the beautifully melodic riffage, with which, they’re in sync. This here is some heavy duty chemistry and a rare type, at that. Still, injecting a few more ragged edges, just adding magic and ending on a gloriously indulgent laugh, while the riff slides out, beside it).

The Devil’s Prince – Heavy combo of drums and riffs intro’s, getting right into its stride and showcasing the blues, in traditional fashion. The Whitesnake influence is well audible here. This time, the vocals fade into the background, in places, displaying a softer side. Next, a descending tower of riff scales does its thing, before returning to more of a slide emphasis. Lots of clear cymbal action, too. The timing’s exquisitely good, showing natural flow. Vocals emitting a final darkened shriek, before the sound takes us elsewhere, to a looser, more laid-back arrangement, altogether, yet still reflecting a few tighter riffs, as it fades out.

Spearhead – Solid riff and drum beat opens. Instantly catchy melody, this time, with a second female vocalist joining the first. More of a vocal emphasis here, with a slightly simpler accompaniment, but still exploding into colourful flashes of light, here and there. It’s just so plausibly performed, with almost palpable conviction. Razor-tipped vocals give it so much flavour and it ends on a lightly sinister riff.

Paradox Of Denial – Wow! Fabulously exotic intro! Real instrumental quality. Whispered vocals adding to the intrigue, before segueing into singing, in those incredibly heightened tones. The blacker aspect interweaves them again, as the deep, down tuned, stoner-type accompaniments do their thing. Gradually moving into much softer landscapes, with a mystical edge, before taking it back up to solid, floor dropping stuff, once more. It’s a real interplay of conflicting styles. Coming together, in a show of multicoloured sounds, at the end.

Overall – Impressive stuff. ‘POD’ is Arapacis’s best album yet. It’s solid, with an intuitive grasp of expression and it’s altogether heavier than before, yet still leaves room for lighter sections, where necessary. Vocally, there’s a real standout quality and generally, a great blend of depth and light. The feel for the groove is immense and the blues aspect shines out. A remarkable album, both unique and classic, in delivery.

10/10 **********

For fans of Whitesnake, Voodoo Blood, Kate Bush, Muddy Moonshine, Electric Wizard.

Recorded and mixed by Jerry Fielden.
Mastered by BandLab
Produced by Jerry Fielden and Shelle Macpherson
Production Assistance – Jenny Haan (Spearhead)

Cover art – Michael Lee Jackson
Background Pics – courtesy of NASA
Layout – Jerry Fielden

Featured guests:
David Stone (Rainbow)/Max Webster – track 1 – keyboards, Lorrie Snyder (Montréal blues/jazz singer) – track 3 – scat jazz vocals, Dwane Dixon (Montréal Blues man) – track 4 – lead guitar, Gillan Macpherson-Briggs (JF and SM’s 8 year old son) – track 6 – backing vocals, Kayla Dixon (Witch Mountain/Dress The Dead) – track 6 – lead vocals, 1st verse and backing vocals, on rest, Steph Honde (Di’ Anno/Hollywood Monsters) – track 7 – lead guitar, Mark Focarile (Mile Marker Zero) – track 7 – synth lead, Philippe Mius D’ Entremont (Montréal cellist) – track 7 – cello, Gwendolyne Krasnicki (Montréal violinist) – track 7 – viola.


Posted August 2, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Baleful Creed – ‘Killing Time’   Leave a comment

Returning to an older production of Baleful Creed’s, ‘Killing Time’ (2009) is their recently reprinted 5 track EP, preceding the debut full-length self titled album from 2016 and 2017’s ‘Seismic Shifter’. A lesser-known, bluesier based EP, ‘KT’ gives a glimpse into the early days of BC.

Forgiven – Heavy bass intro. Classic stoner territory. Very bluesy lyrics. Steady beat, with plenty of melodic riffs. Equal solo and backing vocals give it the edge and whilst it’s got an obvious roughness to its production, that’s actually part of its charm, as its heartfelt nature is all the more noticeable for it. It’s built around a basic riff, enhancing the simplicity of the groove.

Hitch A Ride – Plucky riff intro, with a stronger drum presence and an echo of Free’s ‘All Right Now’. A catchy sound to this, with towering scales, matching the lyrics. Again, there’s a purity about the joy emanating from its simple basis. A briefer length, it ends on a single drum hit and riff.

Fortune Seeker – Opening on a more poignant tone, this is immediately more profound and that’s vocally audible. A real warmth just flies off it and the atmosphere’s so strong. Very visual, it’s a track that really does pull you into it. Something very engaging about that twangy riff. Closing on a thoughtful hit of the drums and an equally contemplative, moody riff. It transports you there.

Throne Of Thorns – Strong heavy riff introing, with an instantly catchy rhythm. Fading into the louder volume gradually. Definitely a singalong track. Picking up the pace, it just taps into your feelings. Great beat to this one and it’s so melodic and bluesy. Fading out on a solid riff, with a minimal, barely audible few string plucks, at the end.

Needing Heaven – Drum hits opening, the riffs come straight in. Clear, expressive vocals. The chorus just gets you. Very poignant lyrics. The group sections add to the feeling. Almost edging towards anthemic, that vocal finale, performed without accompaniments just makes it and brings the whole thing together, neatly.

Overall – ‘Killing Time’, as an early work, shows the potential which has stood BC in excellent stead, for their subsequent releases, which have so far, showed them in their strongest light. Whilst it may just lack the polish and excitement of ‘BC’ and ‘SS’, it still holds a lot of charm and a solid blues and stoner rock footing. As that beautiful simplicity is the springboard from which increasingly impressive albums have sprung, it’s got a lot going for it and it certainly holds a worthy place in the collections of all BC fans.

9/10 *********

For fans of Down, Kyuss, Witchcraft, Diamond Lil, Electric Wizard, Shoctopus, Free.


Recorded at Blue Room Studios, by Pete Pratt. Additional decomposition by John.

All songs written by Fin Finlay, with the exception of ‘Forgiven’, by Fin and John Allen.

Front cover by John Allen. Live photos and reprint artwork by Davy Greer.

Baleful Creed can be found on all digital platforms.

Posted August 1, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Swamp Coffin – ‘Flatcap Bastard Features’   Leave a comment

Swamp Coffin, a sludge trio from Rotherham, are now launching their debut EP, ‘Flatcap Bastard Features’. It’s due for release on August 23rd. It can currently be pre-ordered through Bandcamp, as one track is already available. From 1st September, it will be widely accessible.

Swamp Coffin’s sound is based on 90’s NOLA sludge, incorporating death metal and Sabbath-esque groove. Although the inspiration for the EP title itself is not revealed, it was created at a time of personal tragedy and loss, for vocalist/guitarist Jon Rhodes. The consequent crisis resulted in a little under 34 minutes of concrete heavy tracks, mixing resonant lyrics with thudding riffs and rhythmic grooves.

‘FBF’ follows their 2017 2 track production and only 2 years after forming, SC have played alongside the likes of OHHMS, Secret Cutter (USA) and King Witch (Edinburgh). This year, they open on the main stage, at Sheffield’s Doomline Festival, where they’ll share the stage with The Body, Bast, Cattle, etc. They’ll also play support for Japanese doom-death legends, Coffins, on one of their only 2 UK dates, in September.

Blood In The Water – Smooth, gradual feedback intro, moving into a grittier thudding beat, hard as stone. While the cymbals add the lightness, it’s a typical stoner rock track, throwing down concrete slabs, with a muddy sludge emphasis. Very death laced lyrics growl through the track. Quite a classic down tuned guitar sound. Vocals growing bloodier, towards the end, emphasised more strongly by the collective voices, at that point. Certainly very gory.

Annihulus – Solid, heavy riff and drum hits intro. More of an instrumental angle to this, but the vocals are just as blood-soaked, when they enter. There’s perhaps a little more depth to the tones, but in places, they do lift, in a sound resembling Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf. It’s mainly an exercise in heavy treads. Similarities can be drawn with much of the material on the recent collective ‘Doombanomicon’, as well as with Bludy Gyres and Mourning Glory. Coming to a sharp end, the riffs and percussion finish it.

Black Shirt, Blacker Sabbath – Opening with a wah sound and a light, cymbal effect. Graduating to a heavier, drum and riff-based section. Some pleasant melody there. Keeping a decent steady rhythm going, the melody lifts it a tad. Fairly Clutch-esque material here. Monsterish vocals, with a clear death focus. Slightly repetitive, but a good strong guitar sound. Breaking the sameness, 3/4 in, with a bit more variety and a faster pace. There’s colour, amongst the mud and sludge. Not much change in those blackened vocals, but it is consistently thudding.

Last Of The Summer Slime – Introing gradually, onto a dulled, heavy landscape. Much like a giant’s footsteps, trampling everything in its path. This one’s a bit heavy going and could definitely do with more vocal variation and some tone changes, here and there. Again, though, it does incorporate melody, sporadically. It’s clear that the extremity’s intertwined with the doom. Doom is, in large part, what it’s about – a fact becoming more deeply entrenched towards the end. Again, the group vocals appear, at that point, solidifying the doom. This goes on a bit too long, losing more listenability, by the moment. It also needs to lose that piercing feedback screech, at the end, rapidly moving it into painful territory. An unfortunate point to close on, but a fair amount of positives, collectively.

Overall – Largely speaking, ‘FBF’ is very much a generic sludge/stoner/doom production. It has its lighter points, in particular, where the melody heightens and it is easily comparable, in those areas, to some fairly well-known bands in the same genre. However, it does overdo the darker elements of sludge and it also becomes quite samey and repetitive, especially at the closing sections. Whilst ‘FBF’ is unarguably heavy, it would definitely benefit from lighter aspects, here and there.

7/10 *******

For fans of Tommy Stewart’s Dyerwulf, Doombanomicon, Bludy Gyres, Mourning Glory, Clutch, Carcass, Taint, Iron Monkey.


Posted July 24, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized