Hell Fire – ‘Free Again’

November 19, 2017

Formed in San Francisco, California, founded by bassist Herman Bandala and guitarist Tony Campos joined soon after. Influences: Angel Witch, Iron Maiden, Rainbow, Exodus, Metallica, Riot. The full line-up was created from former members of Hysteria, (another early well-known metal band who’d played alongside Hell Fire, many times), Jake Nunn (vocals and guitars) and Mike Smith (drums).
In spring 2016, their debut album, ‘Metal Masses’ was released. Recorded at District Studios, San Jose, California, after which, work on new material began, in earnest. The follow-up album, ‘Free Again’, was produced in 5 days, at Louder Studios, in Grassland Valley, by Tim Green, in spring 2017. Currently touring both albums, Hell Fire are now renowned, as amongst the best emerging new bands of the NWOTHM.

Free Again – Instant hit, with that sharp electrifying intro, moving, with total seamless ease, into a comfortingly old school drum and high-energy riff and vocal section, with that immediate recognition that only ever comes from the best. Grab yourself some of those orgasmic power screams and ride all the way to Valhalla. Catchy as hell, packed with metal rhythm, uplifting, vibrant energy and every sound connected to true metal warriors). As a title track, it’s tough to beat.

City Ablaze – Battle-esque drum intro, soon joined and supported by the rest, this has already won the war and unarguably so. Hugely energetic, fiery production, crackling with metal sparks, power screams to die for and just blazing with fire. Such an apt title, as it does exactly what it says. The strength in those vocals is heightened to the max and it’s a storehouse of metallic gold. Finishing off on an intensely power fuelled speed riff, it’s just the height of the metal ascendancy. Savatage fans’ll love it.

Live Forever – Opening with a descending riff, then weaving between climbing and descent, with rapid fire drumming, more of that glorious energised singing and an atmosphere of sheer exalted joy. This here is one of those rare examples of a guitarist making a guitar sing. Filled to the brim with melody and feel good factor, in spades. Worship at the altar of Hell Fire, as it burns through your veins. Better than any medication, this is true 100% metal therapy, at its finest.

Wheels Of Fate – Moving acoustic intro, with an understated voice-over, then drowned out by the joyful metal again). Hints of Savatage’s ‘White Witch’ and a positive feast of metallic goodness. Blitzing their way through the fire and flames, they feed your ears, with medicinal sounds, to the end.

Beyond Nightmares – Heavy as steel, loaded intro, with massive drum emphasis and crazily skilled speed riffs, high octane vocals and an overriding elation, it’s driven, in a big way. So much quality, diligence and love is contained within these arrangements and it just stacks up the power and then some. It’s truly extraordinary and has to be heard to be believed.

The Dealer – Beautifully intricate fretwork intro, with the same consistent unbelievably strong vocals and riffs that could break down any wall or door. Same goes for the drumming. The whole thing’s just powered x 1000, with classic vibes, relentless energy and warmth, born of real passion. Ace fiddly drum and riff combo ending). Infectious, to the max.

Destroyers – Great energised 4 hit cymbal intro, backed up by the following riff fest, high-class drum rolls and Dio-esque vocals. That’s no exaggeration either. This level of vocal strength is rare and doesn’t go unnoticed. Incredibly catchy, with reminders of Yngwie Malmsteen, there’s a treasure chest of truth in this born for metal sound and if you only listen to one more album this year, make sure it’s ‘Free Again’.

End Of Days – Gorgeous acoustic intro, utilising the gentler end of the vocal range now, injecting a dose of contemplation, before bursting into life again, with an up-tempo, upbeat electric section, through which, the level of feeling is audible. You can almost see those studio levels climbing up a ladder of passion). Really going for it, with everything they’ve got, at the end and closing on a palpable feedback riff, this is the true culmination of genius.

Overall – There are times when I’m almost speechless with awe and this is one of them. Sometimes, it really is impossible to articulate the true greatness of a band or their music. Again, this is one of those times. The best I can offer up, in relation to ‘Free Again’? It truly is Hell Fire.

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

For fans of Savatage, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio, classic old school metal, generally and Grand Magus, specifically, in NWOTHM terms.


In memory of Pagan Tordengrav – friend and fellow metal reviewer, who would have loved this album. Now she truly is ‘Free Again’.


Grate – ‘You Should Be’

November 16, 2017

Mincemind – Strange sci-fi-esque oration intro, thankfully followed by loud, aggressive metal, but having said that, there’s something a bit OTT about this, in sound terms, as it’s quite tinny and jarring to the ear. It seems they’ve misguidedly overdone the drums, to the point of drowning everything else out and to say it’s not exactly tuneful is an understatement. Poor production lets it down, so not a great start, but 8 tracks left, in which to redeem themselves.

Daddy Is Here – Better opening, fairly instantaneous drumming, more cohesive riffs and some melody appears, but it lacks catch and actually becomes difficult to focus on. Hard to say much else, except it’s quite downbeat and uninspiring.

Ingrates – More guitar-based intro here, upping the melody a notch. That’s encouraging. It still seems largely absent of hooks, though. Definitely one to plod through. Samey, doom entrenched tedium. Not sure what the lecturey speech is about either, but it’s like wading through mud.

Losing Streak – Slightly more melodic intro riff, quickly joined by a ‘Black Sabbath’-esque accompaniment, initially, but it then moves into an A.I.C. type arrangement, reminiscent of ‘Lesson Learned’, specifically and ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ era, generally. The main thing that comes across here is the lack of identity in this music. There’s just no soul to it and it feels empty and lifeless.

Legalize Everything – More of the same, yet this time, there is an attempt at lyrical melody, in places. The murder references are actually quite apt for this album, given it creates the impression of murdering metal. Again, not much more to say.

Shoulder Launched – Creeping, tinkling background sound, overtaken by riffs, drums and repetitive lyrics. Again, there’s an underlying A.I.C.-esque grunge emphasis, upon which it ends. There’s just no substance at all.

Mothcan – Unexplained random sounds and spoken word intro, moving into the next section, till the instruments weave in and out of the mysterious words. An abrupt, but welcome ending. Lifeless and dull.

Wrench – Beginning to throw a smidgen of lighter melody in, though it may be too little, too late, especially given the lyrical threats of smashing teeth in, 1000 times etc. It’s just relentlessly grey. Devoid of anything meaningful.

A Perfect Picture – Now the opening riffs hold a tad more appeal, as does the sudden gritty Lemmy-esque vocal style, but it’s way too late and still retains that depressing overtone. A bit more voice-over stuff and a slightly more interesting riff following it, but nothing of note. The same droning note tries to drill through your brain tissue, remorselessly.

Overall – An empty grey shell of nothingness. Torture. Avoid.

1/10 *

For fans of drone, doom, melancholic metal.

Goya – ‘Kathmandu’

November 15, 2017

The point of ‘Kathmandu’ is originality of sound, utilising their favoured elements of trad rock, whilst keeping a unique flavour to it and thereby, creating a form of rock music which exists solely for its own sake, unconfined and unrestricted by the attachment of meaning or concepts.

‘Collider’ is based on 2 central riffs, performed with feeling. ‘Venenatus’ is a lengthy 12 minute combo of neo-classical, Sab-esque doom, upbeat melody, reverb and acoustic styles, recorded live, from pure improvisation. ‘Ashoka’, a track which began life as a notion of rhythm, based around the evolution of a triple note riff. The song’s process is varied and intuitive, becoming a simpler noise performance. The band have experimented with other versions of this concept. ‘Kathmandu’, originally centred around a melodically surrounded bass line, was selected as the best of 3 live takes and is a live favourite of the band, specifically for its closing groove.

Collider – Screeching feedback intro, moving easily, into a relaxed style, with a loose tempo and a free and easy sound, with a bluesy tone. Lots of groove and a laid-back feel, conveyed through the mid-range key and the natural expression in the fretwork. Closing on a much lighter, shorter feedback section, it’s just a warm, easy listen, ideal for winding down and chilling out, after a long day.

Venenatus – Opening acoustically, with a mellow, downbeat tone, carrying a fair amount of ambience and no shortage of melancholia. It’s not long before that’s overtaken, by the crash of unexpected all-out rock, but it then alternates back-and-forth, between the lower, introspective sections and the noise rock. In 1 sense, it showcases perfectly their aim of meaningless sound, free from any associations, yet the very fact that it creates the kind of musical space you could get lost in seems to contradict that. Ultimately, it’s a colourful experience, which could mean anything or nothing and which is simply designed to be enjoyed on its own merits. There are some tighter notes at the end and it has to be said that the 12 minutes goes exceptionally quickly, which, in itself is testament to the fact of its enjoyability and the extent to which you can get lost inside it. There’s also a classic old school quality to those quietly thoughtful closing riffs, which, if you’re anything like me, will have you rifling through your CDs, to try and identify it.

Ashoka – A gradual feedback intro, with a darkly rocky element to it, morphing into more of that ambient, atmospheric sound. A lighter feel to this, carried by a more uplifting tone and a faster paced rhythm. Quite an experimental, proggy edge to it, there’s also quite a strong visual, psychedelic aspect, freeing it up, to be enjoyed for itself or for the listener to attach their own meanings and associations.

Kathmandu – Introing with a thought-provoking sound, reminiscent of water and seascapes, again, with a large dose of ambience. Injecting some heavier sounds, based around a low central key, still, the visual, imaginative thread remains. There’s a faint hint of ‘Tubular Bells’ type eclecticism here and it seems to cross all the perceived boundaries. A determinism to the end becomes apparent in the final drum hits and the overriding message seems to be, ‘make what you want of this – there are no rules’.

Overall – A rare example of eclectic, limitless experimentalism, in action. ‘Kathmandu’ is an EP through which you can see the world, or just 1 small part of it. Creative freedom is its watchword and on that basis, music can travel anywhere. ‘Kathmandu’ could easily be called a psychedelic experience, without the side-effects. It’s basically an alternative mind trip, experienced entirely, through music.

8/10 ********

For fans of psychedelic, alt, prog, experimental, eclectic rock.

XVII – ‘Bow To Me’

November 13, 2017

XVII are a 5 piece metal band from Kidderminster, formed in 2012. Fast-paced heavy-metal, influences – In Flames, Lamb of God, Devildriver and Caliban. They’ve built their sound to one of in-your-face, full on live performance. Since their 2015 launch of ‘From The Ashes’, XVII have worked towards the new release, showcasing their heavier profile. Based on feedback from their gigs at Bloodstock 2015 and Hard Rock Hell Metal 2017, they’ve created a 3 track production, with scorching riffs, storm driven drum hits and ferocious powered screamy vocals.

‘Shatter The Waves’, (the EP’s single) is a relentless vocally driven, high speed metal track. ‘Bow To Me’ – a fast and melodic track, showing a darker aspect of the band, based around living with trauma and how it affects life. ‘Scorned’ is a popular live favourite, bringing closure and consolidation to the rest of the EP.

Shatter The Waves – Introing with 4 focused cymbal hits, giving way to an intensely aggressive powered section, with both screamo and melodic styles. Consistent fast-paced sound, with heavy feel and drum work to prove it. Good strong sense about it and an overruling air of remorseless rage. It just shouts metal energy.

Bow To Me – Great insistent intro riff! Instant memorability. Moving into a gentler vocal tone, whilst still retaining that angry edge, compounded by the blackened roars, persisting in combo with the more melodic vocals and accompaniments. Lyrically intriguing and showcasing that lighter side, yet continuing to temper it with equal extremity. Some fairly vibrant riffs and generally, an effective, easily listenable track.

Scorned – Not missing a beat, introing as if the song’s already started, that quality born of long experience comes across instantly in that intro drumming. A lot of catch to the rhythm and melody, making it a pleasant listen. Liking that drum attack at the mid-section, immediately before the gory roar. They pack a lot of power into this. It’s extreme, yet melodic and the energy is its driving factor.

Overall – Energy, extremity and melody, with catch. That’s the carefully cultivated combo that makes ‘BTM’ what it is. Those three things will ensure it stays current and memorable. It may not be mind blowing or gargantuan, but it’s still powerful, with a lot in its favour. If nothing else, ‘BTM’ is accomplished, multi-dimensional and able to carry off the rarely successful combo of melody and extremity, which is likely to become XVII’s hallmark.

7/10 *******

For fans of Skreamer.


Available digitally and physically.

Fister and CHRCH – ‘Split’

November 12, 2017

Due for release on November 17th, on limited edition vinyl, through Crown and Throne Ltd and Battleground Records, ‘Split’ is a collaboration between Fister and CHRCH.

CHRCH formed in 2013 and are all about the basic aspects of their combo genres of metal and honouring the roots of such. Their debut, ‘Unanswered Hymns’ is a comprehensive work, which soars and dips, with the emotions of the moment. Produced by Patrick Hills, at Earthtone studios, in Rocklin, California, it expresses a natural catch and hook, based on trad doom, psych rock, drone and ambience. CHRCH sports an intelligent blend of songcraft, lyricism and bold strength, to tell their story, combining light and dark, narrated through the shaded nature of the riffs and melodies. Summarily, CHRCH’s music is ‘whatever the listener wants it to be’.

Fister are a 3 piece band. Following their latest vinyl edition of ‘Gemini’, (Encapsulated Records), their collaboration 7 ” with TEETH (Broken Limbs Recordings) and their most recent 12 “, ‘IV’ (Crown and Throne Ltd), Fister still include heavy black and death metal genre influences in their heavy breed of sludge, attained by few.

Temples – Very dark intro, exuding a feel of space and alienation, resonant of Radiohead’s ‘Paranoid Android’. Slow and ambient, very bass led and showcasing much down tuned riffage. Strikingly slow, spaced out drumming, with echoes of ‘Black Sabbath’. Then suddenly exploding into shards of light and dark, expressed through edgy, tortured vocals and crashing loud accompaniments. Quite a marked gore sound enters the equation here, with a lot of blackened emphasis. Still, some light does shine through it, though the atmosphere’s decidedly dark and doomy, by now. It’s fair to say the doom overtakes here and becomes the prime focus, so entrenched as to make it difficult to retain focus on any other aspect. It’s drowning in sludge and whilst the bass is strong, the dark element’s possibly overdone, slightly. Some small tonal variations are brought in, but it’s rather like dredging the bottom of a lake, for corpses. Ultimately, it does get dragged out a bit, to an almost proggy point and whether it sinks or swims at this point is going to be down to its target audience and just how dedicated their allegiance to doom sludge is. For me, it’s a bit heavy going.

The Ditch – Livening things up, with this intro, revolving around drums and screamy, roary vocals, it might be at the other extreme, tonally, but honestly, you have to question how much tortured screaming and funereal drumming you can take; especially when it’s all based around a noticeable atmosphere of imminent, impending doom. Black isn’t a black enough word to describe it. Overwhelmingly torturously painful. Now, approximately 3/4 in, they do attempt to alternate the mood and tones a bit, but it’s too little, too late. Just too samey and forcefully dark. Lifting it up towards the close, slightly, with some lighter riff solos, that helps to take the edge off, but that’s all. There’s a feel and sound of running water and encroaching relief, before the close, but still, it’s overshadowed by morose misery. Drums becoming stronger again, the heavy doom takes over once more, building in volume and vibration, as it tries to destroy your brain. On and on it continues, pouring forced depression into your mind, adding in a bit more pained roaring, for good measure. When will it ever end? That’s what you’ll be asking yourself. Oh thank the gods of metal for that. When you hear the intolerable screech, you’ll know it’s finally over.

Overall – Massively overdone, overplayed, enforced helpings of misery, with dirge-like emphasis thrown in, to entrench the depression, further. My ears need some melody and my brain needs to escape. You’ll probably feel the same.

2/10 **

For fans of Radiohead, Fleshpress, Iron Monkey and other mood destroying morosity.

Pre-orders available at: http://crownandthroneltd.bigcartel.com/product/fister-chrch-split-12

Or at: http://www.battlegroundmr.com/product/chrch-fister-split-album

Zero Fire – ‘Ghosts’

November 10, 2017

Zero Fire is a Canadian hard rock/metal band, who attempt to conjure a marriage of impacting riffs with uplifting vocals, groove and intuitive sense and flow. It pays homage to the 90’s and 2000’s eras, whilst retaining an individual style. Founded from the brainchild of vocalist Graham King and drummer Eric Thorkildsen. The self titled, 5 track EP was nominated for a Hamilton Music Award, for Loud/Metal Recording of the Year, 2016 and showcases their signature sound. Taylor Lucas, at Wood Street Studios, London, worked with them on and contributed to the production. Mainly, the tracks represent the heavy catchiness for which the band are aiming. ‘Ghosts’, the self release, is now available digitally, including on spotify and iTunes.

Ghosts – Gorgeous bluesy slide intro, instantly and unexpectedly moving into a crushingly loud, explosive sound. Massively melodic, pop rock style, with a crushing metallic edge. The drumming reinforcement’s particularly noticeable, providing the perfect structural surround. Lively upbeat vocal tones, which stand out, by themselves. Effective harmonies, with plenty of catch. A highly expressive song, with a lot of energy within it. This is what Skin from Skunk Anansie would sound like if she was a bloke. That’s a good thing. The world needs more of this.

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

For fans of Skunk Anansie.

Self released, October 27th. Available now, on all digital platforms.

The Courtesans – ‘Feel The Same’

November 9, 2017

London based doom pop rock band The Courtesans’ new pre-tour video release, ‘Feel The Same’, is the 2nd video from their current launch, after ‘Mesmerise’, prior to their support gig for Wednesday 13, which took place in October and their headlining UK tour, from late November.

‘Feel The Same’ relates to the disappointment and devastation inherent in discovering the truth of others, their treatment of us and the inevitable harrowing process that follows, as we struggle to make sense of it.

‘Feel The Same’ – Introing on a contemplative, edging on mournful spoken word section, before exploding into a plainly felt accompaniment. Very rap rock in much of its sound, but it’s combined with melancholy sung vocals, carrying a slight sense of 90’s pop rock. Very abrupt ending, leaving you with an anguished scream, saying much about the theme of the track. Throughout most of the song, the same question, reflected in the title, is asked, in a plausibly delivered, hopeless, need to know tone. So much wrapped up in 1 track. It’s definitely one which’ll likely appeal more to the Brit rock, Emo, pop rock fans, than those of straight out rock, but it’s real, honest and unashamedly raw, in an emotional sense. Its ability to hit emotions is phenomenal and for that alone, it deserves huge credit.

8/10 ********

For fans of Dido, Embrace, The Smiths, The Clash, Razorlight, The Kooks, Placebo, Elastica.

Released 26th October 2017.

The Courtesans will play various dates from 23rd November-10th December, on their Subspecies UK tour, with special guests Bullet Height.

Dustland Express – ‘The Question, Sir, Is Why?’

November 6, 2017

From Cape Town, formed in 2008, Dustland Express is a highly energised combo of rock, pop and punk, with meaningful lyrics, pertaining to socio-political issues. Having been playing live locally for several years, including a slot at the 2016 ‘Rocking The Daisies’ Fest, their debut EP is available digitally, for free. Their music video for ‘The Poetic Injustice Of Rats’ in August 2017, led to this, their debut album, ‘The Question, Sir, Is Why? ‘TPIOR’ is the first single from the album.

The songs for ‘TQSIW’ emerged naturally, out of a home studio, with the usual recreational influences, fulsome emotive experiences and discussions behind them. The outcome is a unique, resolved and affecting album, of deep personal meaning to the band.

Voyage Of Men – Very unexpected vocal intro there, with more of a musical theatre atmosphere than a metal one, but there’s something very Queen-esque about it and the metal grit and aggression does find its way in there, as it goes on, showing extraordinary strength and volume. There may still be a significant thread of stage and film production infiltrating this, but it’s categorically unique and true to say that you won’t forget its’ style.

The Poetic Injustice Of Rats – Again, you’ll feel that theatrical sense about it, but its power is undeniable. Slight rap theme creeping in, but it moves through a range of emotions in its short duration and one thing’s for sure – there’s an unpredictable quality, which will leave you wondering where it’s going next, but you’ll be willing to stay for the ride.

Flight Of The Meek – Now this is heading into a more metallic arena, with a touch of operatic metal about it. An intelligently crafted and well-placed technique. Consistently powerful, alternating between volumes, styles and pace, via some fairly complex arrangements. By now, the vocalist’s range is becoming apparent and it’s definitely impressive. It’s also well supported, instrumentally and there’s an unarguable strength in the performance.

The Question, Sir, Is Why? – The title track opens on a drum and bass type intro, followed by another operatic metal vocal style, gradually growing into a grittier sound, but not quite losing that classical edge. Nightwish fans will dig this. The strength in that vocal seems to be increasing all the time. An unusual and creative track.

Empire Of Dreams/ = Heisenberg – A gentler song now, very ballady. Quite lovely, in its own way, again, there’s incredible vocal power at play. More repetition in here, but that’s forgivable, given the loveliness of its sound. Ending on a piano outro, it’s haunting, in the way of most ballads.

The Solution – Very Lacuna Coil-esque intro there! Drumming central focus initially, along with a bit of piano work, till the vocals take over again, accompanied by the riffs and a general air of passion. The strength of feeling just grows throughout and it ends on that vocal power.

Nemesis – Piano intro, very visually evocative of winter scenes, before that film score sound overtakes again. Quickening pace, almost like a chase in action. Clever alternation of rhythms and tones. Ultimately, the main thing is it’s building strength and momentum, to the end, which genuinely would make a great film soundtrack, with all the heightened atmosphere to match.

Take The Devil For A Spin – Bloody hell! That’s some intro! Incredible feeling and passion’s gone into that. The full impact of this alone could knock you down and make it difficult to get back up again. The flute section’s a markedly well-placed part, making it stand out all the more.

Don’t Say Goodbye, Scott – Lots of emotion here, profoundly felt and conveyed. It may repeat slightly, but it doesn’t seem to need to say much more than it does. Short, but meaningful and possibly cathartically resonant for some.

Apocalypse – Opening with a slowly gathering sense of meaning and impact, it’s a curious melding of sounds and styles, but always demonstrates quality of sound and production.

Overall – A well produced and startlingly vocally powerful album, with a great deal of obvious passion and strength of feeling thrown into it. Unusual in style and atmosphere, but that’s why it stands out. It may be more theatrically/operatically based than straight out heavy-metal, but one thing it has in spades is strength of conviction and that stands out a mile.

8/10 ********

For fans of Queen, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil.

https:// http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwsyqMb6qn5W3DtpHMTToFg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyT6BVaYRUY (‘The Poetic Injustice Of Rats’ video).

Trucker Diablo – ‘Fighting For Everything’

November 2, 2017

Introducing Irish rockers Trucker Diablo’s new album, ‘Fighting For Everything’.

Born Trucker – Crash bang intro, exploding into life, with full on passion and no holds barred. Vocally and instrumentally characterised by true Trucker style all-out rock). Catchy as hell and instantly lovable. Absolutely packed to the rafters with 100% hard rock, with full on flavour. Love it.

We Will Conquer All – Opening up with more of that true Trucker stuff and injecting a harder edge now, hooking you in, with that memorable chorus, as strong as concrete and making a massive sound, with undeniable plausibility and top-class audio values. It’s a stunner and it rocks damn hard!

Drown In The Fire – Very tasty banjo intro, rapidly drowned by the mega watt volume of heavy rock, with attitude. True passion lies at the heart of this and it’s got plenty of heart and then some. Throwing in some divine riffage, making the most of its space, you could easily drown in this song. Solid, defiant and unshakeable. Hugely expressive performance.

Voodoo II – Sliding in there, with a bluesy road type track, filled to the brim with true heart and passion and hitting the apex of rock rhythm, this is immense. A perfected class follow-up to ‘Voodoo’, which all true Trucker followers will know well. Rockin’ all the way, with that special blend of rock, unique to T.D. An ace and no mistake.

Let’s Just Ride – Starting with a gorgeous piece of riffage, a real rock ‘n’ roll flavour and a taste of sentiment thrown into the lyrics, this one’s a classic anthem, Journey style. Much in the vein of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’, only with a heavier edge. Just an enormously big sound, with a whole humongous heap of feeling thrown in. Spectacular.

Fighting For Everything – Right in there, with rock, rock and more rock. Plenty of high octane material here. Extraordinarily powerful track, with gigantic riffs, ginormous vocal strength and drumming sensation. You couldn’t fail to be moved, caught and sucked in by this. Passion so great, no words could describe it. Just hugely, hugely powerful.

Over The Wall – Drumming inferno intro’s and much in that same way, the rest of the track continues, like a towering fire of heartfelt passion. Mounting riffs, building momentum and showcasing sheer unbreakable conviction. Lyrically explicable, clear and relatable, for anyone who’s experienced the same scenario. It’s a song with which it’s easy to identify and it shakes the world to its foundations.

Detroit Steel – Banging intro again, as the drums declare war and the riffs follow suit. Vocals kicking in with just the same intention, as headstrong, justifiable anger and determination pours out of them. Harking back to earlier Trucker material, in arrangement and sound, the magic shines on in this, blowing your mind, to the end. Magnificent.

Die For You – Tribal like drumming style here, with a warlike command inherent in the entire performance, the hardened edge takes over once more, with gloriously involving sounds, it’s just catch all the way, till the gorgeously well-placed reverb closing riff. Divine.

Pocket Full Of Changes – Bang! No hesitation at all, lyrically focused and so, so strong. Just get that delicious high-pitched riff! You could die for that alone. A briefer, but certainly no less lively, enthused track, with such heavy drumming closing, it’ll get you at first listen.

When The Waters Rise – Changing tack now, to a poignant string and vocal solo and acoustic intro. Thoroughly believable and thoroughly beautiful. If this doesn’t get you, you ain’t got a heart. An entirely touching and truly sincere performance, utilising thoughtfully placed electric sections to maximum effect, proving just how moving electric guitars can be, in the right hands. It leaves you at a loss for words, except to say how deeply affecting and meaningful it is.

Overall – Showing Trucker Diablo at their best, ‘Fighting For Everything’ is an earth-moving demonstration of the real and profound emotion that lies at the heart of the best that rock has to offer. T.D. never give any less than their best and few bands rock as hard, as ‘F.F.E.’ attests.

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

For fans of high-powered, anthemic rock, with a classic feel, a harder edge and a heavy base.


Pilsen Drinkers – ‘Join The Brotherhood’

November 1, 2017

Formed in summer of 2004, Pilsen Drinkers’ debut EP, ‘Contralado Por El Odio’, was independently recorded for release. In 2013, the line-up was completed and their debut album, ‘Join The Brotherhood’, recorded, in 2015, released via Australis Records, in March 2017. It was launched in CD and cassette format and distributed worldwide. Having already earned themselves a reputation locally to their home, P.D. have played in La Serena, Coquimbo, Ovalle, Santiago and Valparaiso. They’ve also supported Suicidal Tendencies, at Coquimbo Rock Fest 1, in May 2017.

Digital Human Control – Unusual intro, with a sci-fi-esque sound about it initially, but rapidly overtaken by the delicious loudness of face shredding metal. It’s just filled with lots of that throughout. A bit of reverb and some short lived wah wah effects here and there, but really, just standard pleasing metal, with a crunch.

Slaughter By Order – In-your-face, striking drum attack intro. Followed and joined by equally violent riffs and vocals, it throws in a pretty vivid visual, with the echoic section, performed with great acoustics, as if in a great hall of some significance. From there, it grows more ferocious, with shouted vocal expressions, rolling drums, gaining in volume and increasingly frenetic riffs. A good performance. Awesome track title aswell).

Join The Brotherhood – Heating it up now, with a markedly more ferocious intro, this sound does the title track justice. They’ve just stepped it up a few notches and the pace has picked up aswell. Impressive general sound quality and here, the passion becomes audible. It’s almost like a fretboard chase, so catchy in itself, you’re disappointed when it ends. A tough thing to nail, but it’s been nailed.

One Last Time – Crash bang intro there and it certainly makes a cracking impression. More melody in here and more cohesive sound, approaching anthemic style, suiting the track well. This time, the upbeat nature of the tones becomes the central focus. Piercingly shrill closing note, but still holding plenty of vibrancy and ultimate enjoyability.

Pyrokinesis – Instant, punchy, riff and drum attack combo and the heavy’s increased again. Vocally intense and throwing in all they’ve got, this is the hardest track yet and it’s probably the standout track. Vicious, aggressive, meaningful intent just pours off it. It may be short, but it leaves its mark.

Prophets Of Chaos – Strikingly unique echo intro, with enough feeling for the entire track. Soon followed up by another aggressively pitched performance, but this time, interspersed with more melodic sections, shadowed with more light. Growing ever more Slayer-esque in the riff tones and techniques and overall sound, it’s now displaying a rumbling effect, with a classy edge. Great closing fadeout riff, with definite echoes of ‘Seasons In The Abyss’. It’s getting better all the time.

Asesinato En El Pit – Bang! Right in there, with an increasingly Slayer-esque sound, the extremity’s gaining ground all the time. There’s a European flavour, combined with the extreme emphasis and though this is the shortest track yet, it’s undoubtedly the most feral, angry and driven.

Perros De Bataua – Killer opening riff! Ace way to intro and it gathers rage and murderous intent. A deliciously dangerous, destructive thread to this, it’s forceful as hell and again, delightfully Slayer-esque. On the raging angry raw intensity continues, right to the end and it’s just majorly fun and should just continue forever.

Undestino Bajo Tierra – More of the same passionate fury, it’s a fabulous choice of closing track. Filled with energy fuelled drumming, electrifying riffs, tasty melodies and vocal power, stepped up to the max. If there’s such a thing as indelible metallic ink, these guys have just showcased it, magnificently.

Overall – ‘J.T.B.’ may take a short while to get into its stride, but given what emerges, it’s well worth the wait. From the title track onwards, the metal fest reveals itself, getting better and better all the time. From the moment you hear those Slayer-esque sounds, you’ll be hooked and glad you persisted with the metal magic that is ‘J.T.B’.

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

For fans of Slayer.