Line Of Fire – ‘Nothing In My Way’

July 15, 2018

Calling all bikers, groovers, bluesers and stoner’s (in the metal sense)! You need this album in your life, NOW!

Gonna Get You – Strong catchy beat introing. Hooks you in straight away. Gravelly vocals, southern rock groove, bluesy edge and the sound really suits the cover art. A true biker track. Nice down tuned, stoner edge, as the pace slows slightly, but that rocky groove never leaves it. Great slide blues riffage. Keeps it suitably heavy and a deliciously Down-esque echo enters, just before that well-defined outro.

Fallen From Grace – Another definitive intro, marking the tone and setting the scene for more. Heaviness central. Delicious gritty tone and the sound’s a tasty blend of old school, classic rock, blues and southern groove, evoking metal biker imagery. Intelligently arranged, sophisticated composition, stacked full of melodic listenability and a hardened streak coursing right through it. Belligerence fans’ll dig this and so will all old school blues rock aficionados. Ending on a great closing riff.

The Road Ahead – Pushing on ahead, with that same visual evocation and determination. Catchy as ever, truly rocky lyrics, delivered with absolute watertight conviction. Something about that gravel throated vocal just takes you in and leads you astray, in the most delicious way. This is proper blokey metal and the finale just melts away, into the distance.

Something Ain’t Right – Yummily bass heavy intro line, opening up another gritty metal landscape. Filled with instant hooks and hard edged melody. So sexily masculine, it’s just an ace. Nice quiescent riff section, strategically placed, just briefly bridging the dividing heavier sections and making way for a bigger drum presence. Incorporating some glorious twiddly paradiddles and stretchy, magically sensual fret bending riffs, this’ll have you hooked for certain. Brilliant sharp ending.

Fuck Me – Lower toned stoner intro, with a very slight Pearl Jam reflection. Only heavier and much more aggressive. Playing around, very briefly, with a freer performance style, before sliding right back into that tight signature sound again. Slowing down and down and down, till a lighter intersection appears, momentarily, but you know (and you’re right) it ain’t gonna last long, before that deliciously manly hard line returns. Blasting out one final hurrah and it’s over.

One War – Throwing out a machine-gun like blast of a metal attack, launching at you, like a cannon of steel. Massively catchy vocals, with a pinball-like chase of metallic assaults, in pursuit of their target, like a red hot blooded male. Memorable lyrics and I keep being reminded of the old Yorkie bar ad). Over too soon!

Purple Sky – Opening carefully and stealthily, creeping in there, like a silent assassin. All heavy-metal and no mistake. Those lyrics are so sexy, exciting and enthralling and they just make me want to dive right in and let them take me there, with them. Real down and dirty, primal stoner rock territory, for sure. Let you take me for a ride? Sure. Any time.

Wrong Side Of The Tracks – Classic southern rock groove intro. Gorgeous finger plucking stuff, just drowning you in its aura. The pool of soul drenching blues melody keeps you there, preventing you from ever leaving. Just glorious entrapment. Filled to the brim with stunning hooks and gigantically catchy choruses. Made for metal dynamics and utterly, consistently feel-good sounds. Unmistakably bluesy ending.

Overall – Heavy groove laden, stoner, blues metal therapy, at its finest. Sensationally good, from start to finish, the sheer dedication to classy, exceptional performance will astound and delight you, at every turn. Not a single fault to be found anywhere, this is the ultimate cream of the crop. Absolutely no filler, every track’s a killer. Humming with life force and packed full of groove, ‘NIMW’ is a must buy metal sensation.

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

For fans of Down, Baleful Creed, Corrosion Of Conformity, Trucker Diablo, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Stone Cherry, Buck Cherry, Rosco’s Riot, Muddy Moonshine.

Artwork by Andy Pilkington at


Traitor’s Gate – ‘Fallen’

July 13, 2018

Born during the early 1980’s, Traitor’s Gate are renowned for their exemplary classic NWOBHM EP, ‘Devil Takes The High Road’, now a collector’s item.

Some line-up changes took place, just before its release, in approximately ’85. That new line-up toured live till ’89 and as they’re the only one to have done so under the TG name, are widely thought of as the original line-up.

Lately, they had reformed, during the latter half of 2016, for a ‘one-off’ reunion gig, at Bro Fest 2017. Invites to play gigs around Europe rapidly succeeded that. Vocalist Dave Mclean left in early 2007. He was replaced by ex-Mayhem Messiah singer Siy Davies, whose vocal style and performance technique slotted right into TG’s unique form of power metal.

Three decades after their initial formation, TG return to the live arena once more. As their comeback album, ‘Fallen’ is the definitive proof they’re still as metal as ever!

Retribution – Perfect guitar break intro, instant sound of experience). A great classic, melodic track, immediately catchy, effortlessly rhythmic and highly listenable. Very Priest-esque and particularly Halford-esque vocals. Ideal for fellow fans of the old school metal sound). It flows easily and it’s performed with seasoned accomplishment written all over it. Couldn’t have been a better intro.

Homeland – Faster pace now, with that same ease and immediate vocal dexterity. Very much an example to all younger initiates, to the rock and metal community. Well honed and perfected delivery, everything in sync and even throwing in a few strategically placed impressive paradiddles. Ending on a pitch perfect power scream, this is what trad power metal’s made of.

Deceiver – Steaming in there with a nicely timed riff and drum intro. Slightly more ballady, with echoes of Whitesnake’s ‘Is This Love’, in places, whilst still rocking it back up again, with that sexy hardened edge. Those lighter notes are beautiful and the beat drives it on. Lots of ace riffage and a tasty gravel throated essence to those vocals. Catchy chorus, plenty of hooks and again, that Priest-esque sound rears its head. Delightfully metal.

Mean Streets – Heavy, chugging riff and drum intro. The drumming’s light and heavy in all the right places, with a good instinct for where to create and fill space. Great rhythm and melody, reminiscent of 90’s metal, as are the lyrics. Decent harmonies, impressive arrangements, accessible and always catchy. Enthusiasm never dropping, this could be the standout track. Absolutely faultless.

Edge Of Destruction – Slowing the pace down slightly, in a breathier track, with more of a laid-back vibe, till of course, it speeds back up again, taking it back in a very Priest-esque direction again, echoing ‘Screaming For Vengeance.’ Just a real classic touch throughout and some wizard riffs always adding more heat. Good vocal range and note holding capacity. Complete cohesion and the old school influence has served it well.

Solar Plains – Great active drum hit intro. Cracking straight into life, the vocals really come into their own here. Those riff melodies shine so bright aswell. This is just a fest of heart-warming, soul touching power metal and it rocks!

Fall From Grace – Back into heightened mode, for full on power). Loving the whole sound and feel. It just pulls you in and touches that place only metallers know. The energy just pours out. A slightly similar sound to Agincourt, in places. That Halford-esque voice really is quite astonishing. Injecting so much feeling into the atmosphere, all accompaniments are impeccably timed and the lyrics are so powerfully resonant, it just blitzes through the song, in complete ease. Sliding into the outro, this is pure intuitive metallic emotion. Love it.

Sign Of The Cross – Nice heavy touch to this intro, yet lightening and softening it in places, whilst never losing the metal edge. Real sincerity in that vocal lyrical expression. Such strength and passion in the entire collective delivery. Some bands really show their belief and conviction in their music, in their expression of it and TG are one of them. Coming to an end with a wonderful group harmony, there’s a special quality in TG’s music and it’s an honour and a privilege to hear it.

Only The Strong – Moving in a more vibrant direction, with that vocal harmony intro, something just lifted that sound and brought it even higher. There’s the magic of angelic references, though. A recommended track for anyone in need of strength and comfort. Just focus in on the lyrics, as there’s a power in them. Just let the lyrics carry you along. Beautiful track.

Fallen – Heavy steel intro, pounding with a determined, assertive energy. One more feast of that glorious voice. Riffing from metal heaven and powerful drumming, supporting and carrying it well. You might say that ‘Fallen’s almost an aural metallic trust exercise – one which actually works. Brilliantly. A great, powerful finale.

Overall – ‘Fallen’ is truly stunning and very real. It’s blend of old school influence, long experience and true passion lends it a power, imbuing the lyrics and performance with a special significance, easy to grasp and impossible to forget. A work of art, from genuinely dedicated genius.

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

For fans of Judas Priest, 90’s metal, Agincourt, Whitesnake, classic rock.

Available now on No Remorse Records.


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July 11, 2018

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Intent – ‘Vox Populi’

July 10, 2018

A thrash metal band, from Mesa, Arizona, Intent was founded in 2016, by ex-Varkan members Jeremy Lambert (vocals, guitar) and Ricardo Hall (guitar) and also Garret Loper (drums). Guitarist Jimmy Nelson and bassist Alex Zucker would follow later. The debut album ‘Vox Populi’ was produced in 2018.

Number 12 Looks Just Like You – Careful fade in bass action,, followed by an explosive thrash assault. Harsh, aggressive vocals, fiery riffs and thunderous drums, all wrapped up in a punchy pace and melody. Driven, hard as hell and relentlessly heavy. Ending on a decent vibrato and an impassioned shout – that’s what you call thrash.

Vox Populi – Immediate hard-hitting riff intro, delivered alongside a pounding storm of percussion. Great fast pace, razor sharp rhythm and devilish rage in those vocals. Well fitting riff melodies, electrified movement, at times and a palpably scary warning in the lyrics. Picking up speed, faster and faster, heavier and heavier, it’s almost ritualistic in its physicality and darkness. Those riffs are so intense and highly impressive. A furious blast fest of fire and flames, both merciless and enthralling. Stunning.

Insight – Bang! Right in there, with a booming intro, steel entrenched, lead lined and majorly metallic. So thrashy, the melodies are orgasmic and the pace never lets up. Loving those anthemic heavy harmonies. A lot of varied sounds and influences in here, from old school Pantera, to raging hot Slayer and Exodus tones and modern Municipal Waste. A real melting pot of molten metal, with an extraordinary thrash result.

In My Blood – Another banging intro, of unstoppable, forceful, in-your-face thrash. An amazing amount of passion and conviction drives this forward and there’s just no surrender. Uncompromising, targeted, insistent fest of skull shattering metal.

Network Failure – Instant energy fuelled drum intro, rhythmic and determined. Almost a riff and drum harmony, it’s so in sync. Smoking hot riffs enflame the atmosphere, in an unrelenting drive towards hell. Liking the use of vibrato, 3/4 in. Really well-placed and the whole track’s just a strategic metallic rhythm of pure stamina.

Empty Graves – Exploding into life once more, in an all consuming pyre, of driven thrash rage, it sprints ever onwards. The drumming and riff intensity’s as sheer and as sharp as it gets and it just never ever lets up, for a moment. A blitzkrieg of massively enraged thrash.

Veinburster – Highly electrified, buzzing riff intro. Energised to the max and very Pantera-esque lyrics. A raging fire of thrash, borrowing from the school of Anthrax, in parts, but again, a great mixture of influential styles and techniques, bursting at the seams, with metal madness.

Tyrranicide – Moving down a few gears now, into sombre, gentler reflective mood, at least until the giant heaviness takes over again, riding roughshod over the rest, engaging and energising your senses, with an incredibly strong and passionate demonstration of unremitting fury. Blazing guitar work, fabulously melodic and sparking with life and anger. A speed feast of demonic and gloriously hellish metallic thrash extravaganza.

Overall – A brilliantly arranged work of heightened passion and unstoppable, driven, thrash metal genius. Unparalleled aggression, seething rage and conviction combine, to make this a thing of greatness. Every aspect works and its synchronicity’s flawless. Outstanding performance. Back to the roots of old school thrash, with Bay Area crossovers and a new wave twist. Get a slice of the extravagance that is ‘V.P.’ now.

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

For fans of Pantera, Megadeth, Anthrax, Municipal Waste, Exodus, Slayer, Venom.


Angelfall – ‘Target Souls’

July 9, 2018

An up-and-coming band out of Québec, Canada, Angelfall came into being in 2014. A thrash metal sound, forged from the usual traditional and new wave inspirations, ex-Phosphorus member Stanislav Stefanovski came on board, as 2nd guitarist, bringing with him, a sharp and ferocious metal attack.

Angelfall’s individuality lies in its prominent percussions, abrupt tempo deviations, traditional vocals and signature bass sound, evolved from a completely natural playing style, without any picks/plectrums or other devices. Lyrically and thematically, it’s centred around the continual self-analysis which goes together with unavoidable issues.

Collectively, inspired by bands like Megadeth, Kreator, Sodom, Iron Maiden, Death, Dark Angel and Voivod, those latter 3 were included later, as tastes and interests grew.

Launching their debut lyric video, ‘Time Is A Disease’, on April 30th, 2018, the emerging debut album, ‘Target Souls’, followed shortly after, on May 5th, coinciding with the international ‘Metal United World Wide’ event.

Slavic – Whirlwind intro, giving way to a typically metal guitar break, with a darkened edge and deathy thrash vocals. Good bit of vibrato/whammy bar, mid-paced rhythm and a darkly satanic sound to those vocals. A decent start.

Angelfall – Nice riff intro!) Technically melodic. Just what was needed. A clear, heavy sound and weight to this arrangement and an ease of performance, audibly proving accomplished know-how. Slayer-esque ‘Angel Of Death’ reference and very Slayer-esque playing style altogether. This is going in an impressive direction already.

Blood Designer – Interesting clipping noises intro, opening onto a laid-back riff and evil lyrics. Strongly sensory atmosphere, creating a dark backdrop and some tasteful speed riffing. There’s an early Venom-esque resolve to darken the surrounding background, which works well and does add that necessary element of intrigue.

Target Souls – Very effective guitar combo intro, almost verging on mediaeval and moving straight on into speed riffs. Impressive. There’s an audible signature style present here and it also revolves through several experimental, yet massively technically proficient guitar methods. Ending on a controlled, yet wild fret bending riff, filled with mystery and consistent darkness.

Time Is A Disease – Great drum intro, very much in the vein of the intro to Motley Crue’s ‘Without You’, only edgier. That sleight of hand makes itself known once more, in those effortless riffs, always varied and unpredictable, in all the right places. Well combined with the evil satanic vocals, always ensuring both light and dark, but never any compromise on the metal. Vague similarity to Hammerstroke’s ‘Kali Yuga’. Ending on a dramatic, cymbal heavy drum section. Freshness, vitality and versatility abound here.

Angel Of Death – Great involving riff intro! Lively, engaging and fast-paced territory. Always, those blackened vocals sustain the stamina, while the speed and riff scales complement and accompany them. Awesome, Slayer-esque riffs in there, bringing an electrified edge and an exciting thrill to the sound. Very much a riff-based track and increasingly so, towards the end. Rightly so. That sting in the tail speaks volumes.

Walking The Road To Hell – Bass rich intro, laying down a heavy vibe instantly. Supported by the insistently solid drum hits and ghost train-esque screams! Imagery central. Followed by more blackened vocal sounds and a theatrical sense. Intense pace and rhythm and a colourful demonstration of riffability. Racing on till the end, closing with a suitably unexplained imagery evoking finale, of a multi-sensory nature, via which, various fine glass and water like shards of sound seem to merge. A memorable synaesthetic closing effect.

Overall – ‘Target Souls’ is a great debut album and an impressive demonstration of the metallic capacity possible from skilled musicians uniting with the right spirit. The proficiency’s astounding and especially so for a first album. A signature sound is clearly audible and ‘T.S’. has an edge like few others. Very listenable and highly recommended.

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

For fans of Hammerstroke, Slayer, Testament, Venom.


Manes – ‘Slow Motion Death Sequence’

July 6, 2018

Released August 24th, via Debemur Morti Productions, Manes are an experimental electronic prog rock/metal band. ‘Slow Motion Death Sequence’ is touted as a versatile album, aiming to defy the boundaries of prog, via exploration of multiple genres and combinations of moods, with occasional cinema potential. Bringing this collection of styles all the way from Norway, Manes have been around since 1992. In that time, they’ve developed a taste for routine collaborative work. Thriving on ambitions to move beyond standard band and genre stereotypes, all members are or were involved in other bands, eg, Atrox, The Third And The Mortal, Lethe, Drontheim, Chton, Calmcorder.

Choosing their appearances carefully, studio work forms the basis of their work. Bands they’ve shared a stage with include Isis, Katatonia and Theater Of Tragedy. To date, their festival shows include, Brutal Assault, Inferno, Quart, Dark Bombastic Evening, Blastfest and Pstereo. Alt events and semi-acoustic performances at an art vernissage, are also amongst their live work, as is a live collaboration with noise artists B Revolution.

Endetidstegn – Electronic intro, followed by bass and poppy vocals, with a drab tone and trance effects. Definitely much more poppy than rocky. It does become more uplifting at times, but it’s very samey, repetitive and though there are some stronger, rockier riffs right at the end, just before the final cymbal hits, it’s just too little, too late. Not an encouraging start, but there’s scope for surprises yet.

Scion – Synth and dreary pop vocal intro. I’m not moved yet. Depressing sound and very obscure vocals, difficult to identify as one thing or another, but it has to be said that to say they’re unlistenable is something of an understatement. Hard to add any more, so far.

Chemical Heritage – More synth and keyboard sounds, adding a bit of low toned bass. Placing some grey riffs over the top, with something smaller, but unidentifiable. Vocals are stronger here, with more boost and volume, but frankly, it’s just too late. The overall tone’s just so unpleasantly dull that I’m losing the will. The drum beats are well timed, but it badly needs some colour.

Therapism – Okay, a slightly cheerier, boingy intro, resembling a slinky on a bouncy castle, controlled by emo angst. There’s definitely not much light to it, though and it just seems determined to depress everyone in the vicinity. Giant sized helping of Radiohead, anyone?

Last Resort – Somewhat unbelievably, it gets worse! Opening with an increasingly depressive version of what could have been a much heavier, but brighter, more melodic steel string section. Yes, there are some good riffs in here, along with evidence of adequate musicianship, but they’re just wasted on a horribly emo downbeat wail, which really does feel like the last resort. Bleak echoes end it, mercifully.

Poison Enough For Everyone – Dire, funereal single noted intro, interspersed with the creepiest spoken word vocal. Check behind the curtains for stalkers, as it closes in on you. Vocal effects create impressions of megaphones and protests in black and white. It’s just doom, but without the doom. You’ll be grasping at the poison now.

Building The Ship Of Theseus – Ooh it finally sounds like it might be brightening up a bit! A lighter melody here and a faster pace provides brief respite, though it’s let down by the lyrics. It tries to jazz things up a bit, but now those lyrics need to catch up.

Night Vision – Intro resembling the serrated edge of a razor blade and some migraine aura audio-visual disturbance. Waves of trancey vocals and synthetic instrumentals. It just sounds so artificial and contrived. Where is the rock? Just where is the rock?

Ater – Opening with a submersive sound, like a submarine, detecting tracks. Now those vocals are doing something else, as the pitch increases, but the tone and lyrical contents are no less maudlin or macabre. It’s like being lost in a cacophonous drone of endless tedium.

Overall – The best way to summarise this is just to dispense with frills altogether and say that ‘Slow Motion Death Sequence’ is exactly what it sounds like. Alone, in a cold, dark room, with no means of stopping the music. Or possibly, in a torture chamber, with endless holographic doppelgängers of your worst enemy. It’s very rare I say this, but I can’t find anything to like about it. In a word, dire.

2/10 **

For fans of obscure, misfit trance.

Silent Winter – ‘The War Is Here’

July 4, 2018

Founded during the mid-90s, in Volos, central Greece, Silent Winter are a 5 piece power/speed metal band, now presenting their current EP, ‘The War Is Here’. Earlier in their careers, they produced 2 demo tapes, which were ‘Silent Winter’ and ‘War Of An Angel’. They performed locally to them at that time, including some festivals. 2018 saw the new line-up and this current EP. ‘Far Away’ is a reworked version of the original and was their initial video. (Still accessible via YouTube).

Intro – Big orchestral, operatic metal intro. Short, but memorable.

War Is Here – Static electricity intro’s, through those jet-esque riffs! Huge sound in those vocals, soaring high, in that instantly recognisable way, which screams passionate, long perfected accomplishment. That voice could only be the voice of one meant for metal. Complete with glorious power screams, the collective sound is one of true power metal. Unstoppable rhythm, immediate catch, lightning fast speed and massive driven melodies, delivered with ice sharp focus. It’s got it all. Stunning.

Far Away – Hard edged drum intro, not missing a single beat. Very Dragonforce-esque material and those power screams are divine. Just filled with ecstatic vibes, incredible speed riffs, driving, relentless beat and everything you’d want in an unstoppable force such as this. Heightened moods and immense performances from all. Just a genius of screaming life force.

Sea Of Wonder – Gigantic opening, alive with magnetic power. Imaginative lyrics, tight, yet free-form performance, shining with spirit and gold standard metal. Great hooks laced throughout those choruses. Barrelling on, till the end, with vibrant determination and solid heart, this is a classic example of how to do true speed metal.

Eyes Of The World – Another electrified, banging intro, taking it up into the territory of metallic heaven. So sensuous and powerful, it’s unbeatable. Audible warmth and sincerity within those vocals and such strong accompaniments really do give it their all. These guys have to have been influenced by the best and born with metal coursing through their veins, cos they are as good as it gets. The best of metal lives right here.

Remember Me – Moving down into sombre, reflective mood now, here’s the versatility card and it’s simply beautiful. Very fantastical, imagery evoking, in a ‘Lord Of The Rings’ sense. Even adding a glockenspiel, for extra effect, the piano creates such poignancy, as do the deepened, thoughtful vocals and the brilliantly placed orchestral finale. This is pure magic in action.

Overall – Every now and then, a band or album comes along, which tears at your heartstrings. Well, this is the one. Silent Winter are magnificent, true gods of melodic speed power metal and ‘TWIH’ is metallic magic, of the highest order.

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

For fans of Dragonforce, Farseer, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Yngwie Malmsteen, Aonia, Apparition, Turisas, Tragul, Shadowpath, Shadow Realm. (Video Clip – ‘Far Away’).


DOAN – ‘Stupidity Kills’

July 3, 2018

Prog alt metal, from Québec, Canada, DOAN was formed in 2011, originally as a covers band, then known as ‘Ghettoblaster’. Adopting a new moniker in 2017, they then began focusing on original material. Blending heaviness with melody, they’re inspired by Tool, AIC, Mastodon, A Perfect Circle, Deftones, Godsmack, etc. ‘Stupidity Kills’ is their self produced debut album.

Some Kind Of – Instant, explosive intro. Spoken word section embroiled in the instrumentals, in an Axl Rose/Alice Cooper style. Lots of heavy bass involvement. Very melodic, with a thought-provoking angle and a well polished production and performance. Slight sci-fi sound, enhanced by the black background and images within the cover art. It’s certainly fresh and edgy, if more concept than catchy. Undeniably unique and very proggy.

Wrong Number – Tribal drum beats intro, followed closely by a heavy, thrumming bass and a rumbling drum sound, like a warning of impending mystery. The vocals kick in then, with an ominous tone, followed by edgy acute riffage. A space rock feeling encapsulates this and it continues on with more drumming and high-end riffs, till it ends on another screechy, sharpened riff.

Stepback – Earthy drumming intro’s, blended with riffs, stepping forward and becoming more prominent, joined by the vocal passion. Now a psychedelic element enters the equation, bringing a dreamy feel to the track. A floaty sense creeps in and the sudden energy appearing briefly within that riffage is actually quite BERDOO-esque. Reverting back to a patchy stop start formula, the rest is slightly samey, but always melodic and its sound production never lets it down.

The Sheeps – Creepy, sinister riff and bass intro, adding a powerful immediacy. This is where it really gets into its stride. A more natural flow. Easily audible, this new confidence lends it strength. Again, a few BERDOO-esque riffs return, adding an ease and accomplished quality. More melodic rhythm and plenty of cohesion, as the vocals blend into the accompaniments.

Madness Of Reason – Good, confident drum intro and a faster rhythm, with a heavier riff. The vocals echo and the pace increases, as instrumental chaos ensues, with a cacophony of sound. The natural flow resumes and again, it’s a bit repetitive, however well conveyed. A bit of variation would serve it well.

We Belong To – Nice neat riffage opening, quite charming, in its own way, making the most of its smaller, more intently focused sound. In places, there’s a slight 4 Non-Blondes sound to those vocals. Becoming more electrified, sporadically, once more, those BERDOO-esque riffs enter the track, lifting it up and creating a higher energy to the song’s atmosphere. Ending the track with those same riffs, a whole new essence floods the outro. A pure instrumental of those riffs alone would do the album a lot of justice.

False Reality – Introing on a nifty click of the drum sticks and a few cymbal hits, this time, an ease enters the vocals, bringing a whole different style and flavour to the accompaniments. It all just flows easier here. It’s one of those moments when the site of genuine passion and belief becomes clear. A quicker pace and rhythm infiltrates this, serving it well, throughout. There’s just a jazzier, livelier beat to this altogether.

Happy Sobriety – Bass introing, carefully and tentatively and the cymbals are hit in the same cautious way, before it opens up and blasts into life. An effective touch. That slight psychedelic tone enters again, adding colour and light. Once more, it ends on one of those shiny, BERDOO-esque riffs, making it instantly more memorable. Good sound values and a lighter feel to this one.

The Sames – Opening far more ominously, with a stretched elasticity to the riffs, bringing it into a completely new territory. Injecting an old school bluesy, lounge tone to those vocals, it works, evoking Woodstock-esque imagery. Yet again, there’s just something so BERDOO-esque about those closing riffs, that the mood becomes so much more vibrant, as soon as you hear them. Still, the song itself is very trippy and colour vision inducing, combining psych with alt, prog, space and early blues. A good combo, creating imaginative capacity.

Overall – ‘Stupidity Kills’ is an unusual sound, creating space for your imagination to fill in the blanks. Well produced and well performed, all it needs is a moderate injection of variety, to fulfil its greater potential. The guitar riffs are its standout feature and therefore, its USP.

8/10 ********

For fans of Purson, Hawkwind, Dread and Defeater.

Coldbound – ‘The Gale’

July 1, 2018

Recorded at Moonlight Sound Studios, Sweden and throughout Helsinki and Finland, from April 2017-May 2018, ‘The Gale’, by Coldbound, is a deeply intimate concept album, based on and around awareness of mental health issues and isolation. The album’s motto, ‘living is an act of courage’, is designed to support this ethos. Lyrically, it’s aimed at encouraging positivity during difficulties and is influenced by individual challenges.

Due for release this summer, ‘TG’ is available direct from the band, in digipak form and will also be accessible, digitally, both to buy and stream.
Commencing Coldbound in 2012, formed in Helsinki, ‘TG’ is their 4th album, but the first melo-death work they’ve produced – deviating from their previous black metal emphasis.

Intro – Opening with a sombre keyboard intro, as rain falls and thunder breaks in the background. A doom toned guitar riff follows, quickly paced, conveying the light, through the darkness, accompanied by a vibrant Celtic string and woodwind section. Its effective demonstration of the album’s motto and themes is impressive.

The Invocation – A crushingly dark riff and drum section intro’s. The light still shines out of it, though, displaying a consistent message that light always follows dark. Very blackened vocals combine with intelligently crafted arrangements, keeping a light Celtic vibe throughout. Scars Of Sense fans will relate to this.

Endurance Through Infinity – Heavier intro, throwing down the metal gauntlet, but again, it’s immediately tempered with that gorgeous Celtic section. An impacting blend of death vocals, upbeat riffs and heavy drums, with colourful melody creates a very listenable, hopeful sound. Verging on Viking metal, all elements are cleverly interwoven here. It’s fittingly uplifting.

My Solace – Smooth riff intro, melting into your mind. Joined by a strong drum section and then the melody folds in on itself, as it quietens and then unfolds, again, into a stronger, louder volume. It’s just a great combo of instrumentals and vocals, reflecting the mood variations inherent within the mindsets it conveys. There’s a warmth within this sound and it seems to embrace you. Quite apt for the title, it’s almost building up a forcefield of support. A very intuitive track, with lots of engaging features.

The Gale – Hammering heavy intro, growing lighter in volume, before reintroducing that Celtic angle, whereupon it gets louder again, but now, the blackness is encased in light. Always, there’s strength, fighting to get out. The Celtic aspect increases and while the drums effect is such that ‘the gale’ is audible, through them, the cold effects are somehow negated by the ever encroaching warmth.

The Eminent Light – A tunnel effect intro’s, with a steady rhythm and a continuously melodic tone. Guest featuring Paulina Medepona on vocals, her light vocal touch brings out the strength in the accompaniments. A very cohesive feel permeates this and a sense of consolidation creates a fulsome atmosphere.

Winters Unfold – A laid-back riff intro is followed by a crash of drums and a brighter rhythm, balancing out the returning blackened death vocals well. A powerful sound characterises the interchangeably bleak and lightened atmosphere. Ending on the palpable vibrations of a rumble of thunder like stone, the depth of struggles are well condensed into the outro.

Shades Of Myself – Immediate, unhesitant riff intro, there’s a freer feel to this. That Viking-esque element returns, fitting perfectly with the overall mood and style of sound. Picking up the pace around 3/4 in, the whole atmosphere lightens and lifts, taking it back into easier territory. A comfier zone.

Towards The Weeping Skies – Gorgeous, melting velvet riff intro’s, bringing a chilled out temperature to the track. Whispered vocals add an element of mystery, before seguing back into death growls. As the accompaniments seem to blend into each other, the whispers return and with them, a softer tone. At that point, the melody takes on a catchy timbre and pace, continuing in that same vein. Reflective and thought inducing, the timing of the closing rumble of thunder almost ruins it, but it’s caught just in time, by the accompanying light instrumentals and rain.

Overall – A deeply contemplative album, it could have been melancholic and grey, given its themes, but as it is, it’s been saved by the careful arrangement of Celtic melodies and thought-provoking movement of instrumentals. A highly skilled demonstration of the potential within melo-death, to create something unique and unexpected. ‘The Gale’ is far above and beyond the general standard. The level of work and focus involved in producing it is audible and the result is profoundly impressive.

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

For fans of Scars Of Sense, Skreamer and NorthHammer.


Not My Master – ‘Disobey’

June 29, 2018

Based in Texas, extreme groove metal band Not My Master have just signed an international deal with Extreme Metal Music/Rockshots Records. Founded in 2016, the 4 piece rapidly progressed within their local El Paso scene. A violent combo of thrash, groove, extreme metal and a hint of southern rock, ‘NMM’ is very much a local initiative. Inspired by classic greats such as Pantera, Nirvana, Eyehategod, etc, they’ve so far played alongside the likes of Death Angel, Soulfly, Nile, Rotting Christ, LA Guns, Kyng, Lord Dying, Odin, Vince Neil (Motley Crue), Forevermore, Kingdom Of Giants, Darkness Divided, Master and Childbite. Their US tours to date include renowned venues, The Whisky a Go-Go and Viper Room, L.A.

Released on 6th July 2018, the 7 track EP, produced, at CMC21 Productions, Santa Clarita, CA, by Chris Collier (Korn, Prong, Fear Factory), includes a cover of Danzig’s ‘How The Gods Kill’, performed with guest guitarist Matt Xero, from Murder FM. Original writer – Glenn Danzig.

Recorded at Dicodec Music Studio and Sound Stage 9, El Paso, TX.

Acadence – Drumming assault intro’s, opening the way for a primal battlefield metal attack. Crunching riffs, steel as fuck, vicious vocals and hellishly heavy rhythms sear your skin. Verging on noise territory, throwing in some blacksmith noises, intensifying the metal some more, this is not for the fainthearted. It’s raucous sound and almost blackened violent aggression will leave their mark, heavily. I think my brain’s bleeding.

Revenge – Banging, dense, leadened intro. I’m picturing a fight in a scrapyard, in the dead of night. Here, the vocals are actually mellower, in places, but that’s only a background impression, around the chunky heavyweight stony thud of danger. Short, but arresting.

Where’s God Now – Steel string riff intro, taking it in a more melodic direction, at least. Now, the violence takes on a slimier, sleazier edge. Those drums continue to lay down a hardened baton of pure steel, while the lyrics grow frenzied and this time, the beat displays a catchy rhythm, surrounding the steady hands of doom. Slide riff closing, it’s definitely memorable and does at least, provide a brief window of respite from the ceaseless mortar attack of the previous tracks.

Morning Star – Ooh, enigmatic intro, conveying a gradually enveloping darkness, shrouded in the mystery of quiescence, till the full reality of darkness hits you. A slow, steady beat maintains the ominous intrigue, sporadically shattered, by the disturbing rage revealing itself through the vocals. Even an intelligently placed triangle performs its duty, alongside the cymbals, adding that extra mystery, upon which, it ends, like an unanswered question.

Lies – Coruscating intro, replicating the sense of acoustic echoes along an iron fence. The roar of enraged, monster growls rips your face off, rampaging through the dark night, on its evil mission to destroy. Drumming duties are well performed, as they batter their metal stakes into the ground. Uncompromising aggression fuels this tank of hate.

How The Gods Kill – Nirvana-esque riff intro, bringing light and patience to the fore. Quite lovely, as its’ blues slide tone is deployed, with equally calming blues vocals. Moving suddenly, into a full-scale guitar breakdown, serving it’s classic zone well. Becoming an electric, orgasmic, full on groove laced number, with the searing sound effect of a match scraping along its striking edge, before eventually, but still too soon for me, finishing on a beautifully sexy climb-down riff outro, making for an epic finale. Standout track, for certain.

Consume – A freer, lighter, percussion-based intro, working well as a follow-up to ‘HTGK’ and then, … unexpectedly, blasting back into life, like a speed train, racing angrily, along the track. The coarse blackened growls return, as the pace quickens, in time with them. The rhythm’s maintained throughout and it ends on another set of darkened growls.

Overall – You might say that ‘Disobey’ is an aptly titled EP for an equally aptly titled band. The sound within certainly reflects this. In performance terms, it’s good, as is its sound quality and the expression definitely follows suit. It is, however, quite jarring in its conveyance of the material and becomes so harsh in places, as to be almost unlistenable, due to that grating edge. A smoother polish to the production and a little more rounding at the edges might enhance this feature, as may a slightly mellower touch, generally, with a bit more melody. The best thing it can do is to take its cue from ‘HTGK’, which as a stand-alone track, takes its overall score up from a 7, to a firm 8.

8/10 ********

For fans of black and death metal and melo-death.

Pre-order link:

Lyric Video – ‘Where’s God Now’ –