Uncle Righteous – ‘Self Titled’

December 12, 2017

From Cape Town, South Africa, Uncle Righteous have been gigging in and around Cape Town for a year now. Their debut self titled EP has just been released, on all platforms, free on soundcloud.

Uncle Righteous – Intro – Clunky intro, immediately striking as very Clutch like. Over more or less before it starts. A solo effort, comprising literal foot-stomping vocals, re: a book, of some intrigue, which will no doubt, become apparent.

Old Time Bones – Nice bit of slide guitar and bluesy vocals opening, both of which go down well. Motown references and lots of rhythm, very catchy vibe about this and just easy to listen to and chill out to. Short, but packs a punch, with plenty of manly grit.

Lean On Me – Open chords introing, getting right into the bluesy feel and it’s got a great beat and a really confident style. Something of The Stones’ ‘Little Red Rooster’ emanates from this and it’s just thoroughly blues. Cheerful, uplifting and laid-back. It works.

Slow Down Your Drink – Instant, hard-hitting bluesy intro, with loads of bass and a rough and ready feel to the production. A simple message, which needs no more elaboration.

Fire – Drum and riff intro this time, with a good time beat and a crunchy expression and it’s a tad repetitive, but somehow, the catchy rhythm seems to compensate. Another brief track, but still plenty of upbeat atmosphere.

Smoking And Drinking – Liking that slide intro a lot! That’s the way to open a blues track. Well timed percussion elements and the fun aspect resonates through the lyrics. The bass may be a simple line within here, but it fits. Good drum roll build-up in there, around 3/4 in. Still catchy and a big sense of early blues influences, lending it the simple enjoyability with which, it succeeds.

Prison Blues – Opening with a simple drum hit, the pace is faster and the lyrics stronger, at least in their vocal expression. More of that yummy slide guitar and I’m actually disappointed when it ends. Does seem a tad sudden, but given the consistent style of timing in the track lengths, generally, it actually fits.

Overall – A brief, but satisfying fore into blues terrain, with fittingly early influences apparent. For those in need of simple relaxation, in the company of the blues.

8/10 ********



Frost Giant – ‘The Harlot Star’

December 11, 2017

Released 19th January 2018, on Transcending Records, ‘The Harlot Star’ is Frost Giant’s 3rd album to date. It’s 11 tracks of folk metal, inspired by epic metal, So-Cal punk, European folk metal, American hard-core, Norse mythology, history references, etc. Pre-album release, the animated video of ‘Prisoner Of The Past’ is available on YouTube. (Link below).

TRULY genre defying material, combining everything from choral music, to melo-death and anything in between, Frost Giant time travels through the myths, legends and stories of old, within ‘The Harlot Star’, bringing them up to date, with their own unique interpretation of folk metal. Whatever the contents, these songs are bound to strike a note with all.

The Harlot Star – Very apt intro for the band name. Very wintry, visually evocative and frost like, in its sound effects. Tunnel like outro, with a blast of palpably cold air closing. Thoughtful composition.

Forgive Me Not – Instant metallic drum intro, fast-paced and quite deathy vocals, with a slight anthemic backing section. Nice riffs entering at that point. Melodic and picking the whole thing up and breathing life into it. Reminiscent of Taberah’s ‘The Light Of Which I Dream’ album. Warrior-esque feel to those group vocals and it may end rather suddenly, but it packs enough power into the whole.

Apostasis – Really tasteful acoustic intro – ambient, yet bluesy and folky too. You could listen to those kind of beauteous notes endlessly, which works well, given it’s a pure instrumental). Just a very sentient, soothing track, with power still entwined within it.

Curse Of Doubt – Crashing metal rapid fire drum intro, aptly leaving no room for doubt. Growly death vocals come into play again, throwing a monster-sized passion into it. Ending on a rumble of thunder, it’s doing a great job with those sound effects.

An Exile In Storm – Chant-based intro, much like a Gregorian monk format. Rhythmic, consistent and notes held well throughout. It’s basically a sung chant and it does feel aptly like a Christmas Carol).

Prisoner Of The Past – Faster paced drum and low toned piano intro, yet performed within a high-speed chase format and oddly enough, it’s fun! Utilising this form is, it turns out, an effective way to inject some melody into those growls. Round the edges, at least. There’s actually a great audible sense of fun being had by the whole band here – a factor which always works, to enhance audience listening pleasure. More catchy riffage and again, that anthemic sound comes forward, as the band unites, to add to the vocals. Just a great sense of light-hearted cohesion and camaraderie in here and it really enlivens the whole track.

Ashes Amongst The Earth – Wow. Powerful solitary drum beat, followed by a pathos filled acoustic intro, with a light touch on the piano and a hugely emotional atmosphere. Very sudden, crash like ending there, which didn’t really fit and though I’m unsure what that was about, it just killed a potentially meaningful ending.

The Forgotten Graves – Much more powerful, intense intro, fuelled by an audibly strong energy. The anger in the vocals is well conveyed and yet, in true human fashion, the light still breaks through. The wall of rage may be evident, but the chinks of relief and colour play out just as volubly, in the instrumentals. What’s obvious here is the well blended match of collective and solo efforts. Together, they create a really powerful mix of sounds, giving this the strength it displays, as an example of a dynamic, vibrant folk metal track.

Of Clarity And Regret – Sudden blast of drums and melodic vocals introing and this is just filled with hugely catchy riffs, with a decent Celtic twist. Long enough to enjoy, take in and make the most of it. Ending on a tinkling, Christmassy winter-esque sound, fading out on a cold breeze. Gorgeous.

Monuments To Nothing – Banging tasty intro, packed with feeling and teeming with rhythm. Great joyful pace, strong Celtic flavour and an edge of Viking mood. Rapid pace, high-energy, barrels of fun, throughout and massively atmospheric. Loving those riffs! The most cohesive track yet and there’s so much light within the heaviness, that it just seems to rock ‘n’ roll along, so effortlessly, as if on exuberance alone.

Perpetuum et Aeternum – Opening on a shadowy, gradually formed female vocal, moving forward cautiously and tentatively, as the string section joins it, very briefly, before the fade-out, on the intrigue of the slowly burning embers of the fire, going out, with a barely audible crackle, on a possible sea shore. Beautiful and profound.

Overall – A well composed and thoughtfully arranged album, of collective moods, emotions and formations of music, which genuinely defy the perceived boundaries of Celtic folk metal. Well worth a listen.

8/10 ********

For fans of Farseer, Celtic Legacy, Taberah, Voltax, In My Embrace, RAM, Crowning Glory, Portrait, Altheniko, Grand Magus.


Pre-album release animated video of ‘Prisoner Of The Past’: https://youtu.be/TBeOGMINaqq

Henry Metal – ‘Henry Metal V’

December 10, 2017

‘Henry Metal V’ – 5th studio album from Henry Metal, is a uniquely structured take on classic old school metal. Independent release, via Henry Metal Records. Technical ability, married with old school riffs and freedom of expression. Every track gives a view of an aspect of trad metal material. Released on December 1st 2017.
The project was born in March 2017. Solo artist Henry Metal launched 2 singles, ‘Butthead Maven’ and ‘Boss Of Me’, both appearing on the debut album, ‘So It Hath Begun’. The 9 track full-length was the product of an unusually clear and truthful style, resulting in 3 more subsequent releases, in quick succession. ‘S.I.H.B.’ comprised a lot of moods, whilst flipping the bird to the establishment.

‘Wizard Vs Demon’, the 2nd album, continued the same thread as the debut, expanding its distaste for the whole of mainstream society, with humour forming a significant contribution. The style Henry employed incorporated trad baroque, combining it with American blues rock pentatonic riffs and basing the whole around complex prog metal.

A continuous theme of contempt for business formats and industry in general, was becoming established, in Henry’s work, exemplified through the music videos. Serving as a warning of approaching life in too sombre a way, this particular element of Henry’s music has attracted a fair amount of negative feedback. Henry allegedly takes these responses as a positive sign.

The 3rd album, ‘The Maestro Abides’, contradictorily, took a more serious approach, despite its general upbeat nature, including some fairly bizarre contents, making it his harshest production yet.

‘Metal O’ Clock’, 4th album, is a much more involving, uplifting and catchier release, of a more anthemic nature, verging on becoming the very thing he rails against. Only its lyrical material saves it from this fate. If one thing’s for certain, though, it’s that the variety of subject matter ensures and sustains interest. The cover of ‘Fire’ (The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown), pays homage to that specific influence, harking back to the 1968 heyday of rock’s beginnings.

Consecrate – Gentle acoustic intro, with soft vocals and amped up riffs gradually joining in. A hint of Beatles-esque melancholia in here. Contemplative tone, with a wintry feel. Changing up a gear, at the mid-section, to faster, heavier, more upbeat riffs, yet still, there’s an overhang of poignancy, continuing on, till the end.

Where The Dumbasses Roam – Opening with a livelier riff and a vocal sense of something combining The Human League and The Wonder Stuff. Mid-paced rhythm and again, that melancholic feel encroaches, but it’s combined with a lighter tempo and a comedic edge. For me, though, that sadness seems to dominate, driving it to a discouraging ending.

2 Chicks – Faster paced intro, with a hopeful sign of a cheerier track. A definite harder note to this, with a busier sound, in general, bringing it up, to a clearly catchier realm. More melody. More involved lyrics. Just a slight abruptness to the closing section.

Bad Mother – Borrowing from Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ intro here, scattered with a repetitive theme, of insistence on telling the world what a ‘bad mother fucker’ he is and not much else. TBF, the overarching sound and associated mood is a definite improvement, with a clearly catchier refrain; it’s just a bit singular and devoid of much substance, otherwise.

Baby – Bass heavy intro, returning to the Beatles sound and prevailing feel. A slight greyness to the mood and beat, unfortunately, increasing, in places, but it does contain some happier elements. They’re just disproportionate to the misery and it’s missing something, leaving a feeling that lengthening the tracks might enable more to be done with them.

Turbo Stang – Now this is better! Rapid fire riff intro, complete with fun and melody. Okay, so that insistent greyness may still fight to make itself heard, but at least here, it’s well tempered with the lighter-hearted stuff, which now composes more of the song, pushing it into the light).

Love Song – Okay, it sounds a tad repetitive, with some understandable poignancy, given its title, but there’s light aswell. It’s definitely more melodic than technical, yet it does inject a bit of riffage here and there. Piano section and a Queen-esque breakdown in there bring great strength to the track, as a whole, which is very positive. It just ends a bit abruptly again. That’s what’s emerging most – that need to work on making more of the song endings.

Vampyre – Adding in a greater drum emphasis here, improving on the rhythm, introing an introspective angle, a slight Suede-esque sound detectable there, but less so than the overall early 60’s theme. There is a slight playful element thrown in and some intriguing riff melodies incorporated. It’s got a generally steady beat and that driving physicality towards the close, but yet again, it just ends too abruptly.

Rock Like A Bard – Opening with more metallic riffs, an unarguably catchy sound and a  generically much more metal atmosphere altogether. Oh yeah, now those riffs are hitting the mark! That’s what it’s been missing and it’s a relief to hear it in the closing track. This has got all the rocky rhythm, catch, melody and metal mood I’m looking for and I just wish there was more of it.

Overall – So it gets off to a slow start and struggles audibly, to find that initial catch, overdoes the misery and comes up way too close to the driver in front, at the end of tracks. However, after all that, the final song grants it a last-minute reprieve. Work on the closing sections, modernise it a bit more and throw in some more fun elements, but take inspiration from and continue in the same vein as closing track, ‘R.L.A.B.’. That’s where the gold lies.

7/10 *******

For fans of The Beatles, Suede, The Human League, The Smiths, The Clash, The Cure, Queen, The Stones.

Artwork absent, due to technical issues.

Ward XVI – ‘The Art Of Manipulation’

December 10, 2017

Formed summer 2013, in Preston, North West Lancs, with ambitions to create a unique concept, Ward XVI’s influences include: Alice Cooper, Lordi, The Skintz, Stolen Babies, Scar Symmetry, Diabolo Swing Orchestra, Iron Maiden, Alter Bridge, Jason Becker and Aratarium.

Following the launch of their debut EP, in January 2015, the band’s profile has risen relentlessly, with local gigs, gaining them an increasingly big fan base. Their career-high points thus far include playing the main stage at O2 Academy Leeds, in the Soundwaves Music comp final and support slots for William Control and The Men that will not be Blamed for Nothing. They’ve now achieved a forthcoming gig at Bloodstock Open Air Fest, since winning Metal To The Masses and are also performing at the Unholy Messtival, Lostock Fest, A Splendid Day Out Steampunk Fest and are now on the line-up at Breaking Bands 2018.

Since the positive reception to their self titled debut EP, they’ve now released a 16 track concept album, titled, ‘The Art Of Manipulation’ (released 1st July 2017). ‘TAOM’ narrates the bio of a female psychopath, incarcerated in a high secure forensic mental health unit, as she divulges how she manipulated and incited a man to murder, on her behalf, with feminine wiles alone. The 16 track concept album exemplifies the background story of this deception and mind manipulation, told through a unique combo of heavy metal riffs, soaring guitars, quirky ska beats, melancholic piano, accordion, female vocals and a hint of electro.

Intro – A deeply sinister taped recording of a psychiatrist interview with the patient the album concerns. No spoiler alerts, other than to say it’s fittingly creepy and adequately disturbing. As a precursor to the nature of the following tracks, it’s well-placed.

Take My Hand – That Nightwish-esque intro’s quite beautiful. The seductive element’s immediately obvious. Lyrically, it’s rather like a metal episode of ‘Cracker’. Brief, but strikingly powerful.

The Art Of Manipulation – Taking the tone down, now, to a more noticeably sinister edge, lots of building anticipation, much like an aural depiction of ‘Gothika’. Plenty of dark feeling and charisma injected into those vocals. The shaded intent’s audible. Again, a fairly short, but stark representation of the characteristics of psychopathy.

The Flight – Ripping guitar intro, tearing it up and throwing in some action. Interspersed with those colourful techno beats, it’s quite a marked separation from the ‘norms’ of the genre, but it works well for this album. Really strong vocals, once more, portraying the insidious seduction and practised plausibility of the psychopath. Gorgeous glockenspiel section, adding the perfect ice-cold touch, laced with sugary sweetness, just before the powerful boom-box closing beats. Darkly effective, affecting and entrancing. Again, telling the story well.

Interlude 1 – Another psychological assessment, this time, portraying the progression in the easy, unprompted admission of crimes and the reality of what the central character is. Short, simple, to the point. Especially in the gleeful recollections described.

Crystal Ball – Sharp, cutting intro, with an oriental flavour, moving into another darkly metallic sound, with a clear warning re: the song’s muse. Something of a playful fairground element enters, perfect description of the tricks of the trade of such psychopaths, always delivered with that same clear warning from the fortune teller. Artistically depicted and crystal clear.

Hold Me – Softer, emotional piano intro, joined by similarly emotive riffs and extraordinarily powerful vocals, of such lyrical depths and beauty. Very catchy and so plausibly performed. A haunting beauty pervades here and those riffs just grow more and more seductive. Fantastic melodies and such intensity conveyed through them. Stand-out track, so far.

Interlude 2 – Next recording, admitting the mind tricks, leading to the killing, so powerfully sinister.

Blackened Heart – Instantly hard-hitting vocal intro. Classic victim stance employed by the psychopath, yet the cold hardness is still evident, through the wordplay and strength with which the lyrics are sung. Assisted by a strong bass, riff and back beat. Just a really powerful instrumental and vocal portrayal of the story.

Run For Your Lives – Sirens introing, with a sound of surrounding chaos. Very apt for the title. Musically, the tension builds throughout, yet it’s interwoven with a closing accordion section, which depicts, starkly, the unpredictable chaos and volatility of the changeable moods and behaviours inherent within psychopathy, designed to confuse and wrong-foot people, essentially, throwing them off course and diverting from the truth.

Adrenochromania – Heart beat intro, moving, seamlessly, into a slower, more introspective sound. Changing, from there, into a less melancholic, darker, more ominous sound. Moving again, from that, into a faster, catchy rhythm, building incessantly, till the ominous vocals return. It can only be described as mind searing.

Cry Of The Siren – Immediate poppy, techno intro, alight with colour, combined with heaviness. Such passion and vivacity in those vocals). Growing darker, in tone and implied lyrical meaning, as it continues, matching that huge energy, with riffs filled with life and action. A bit more techno stuff, interwoven and ending with real strength of conviction.

Toy Box – More fairground type sounds introing, this time, with a Wurlitzer and an equally playful rhythm. Dizzying impressions and still a hint of underlying intrigue and suspense. There’s a real mystery about this. Again, for those schooled in detecting the ways of psychopathy, that sense of game-playing runs right through it.

Interlude 3 – Final recording of the chilled admission of the actual killings.

Inner Demon – Rapid paced, lighter-hearted riff intro, atmospherically soaked lyrics and massively involving guitar solos. A sung admission now and a racing rhythm, towards the close. Massive.

Ward XVI – Piano introing, with a haunting, ethereal sound, of true beauty and intelligently skilled, matching vocals, crafted to fit right in with that sound. Heaviness increasing, with the pace, all the way to the end, in a volcanic eruption, eventually calming, till it culminates in a fading, desolate riff.

Overall – A massively complex, artfully crafted and intricately created slab of genius. A great and involving listen, with so many twists and turns, it keeps you intrigued and catches so many moods. Rare, well formed and truly unique.

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

For fans of Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation, The Jokers, prog epics and fantasy metal.

Toy Box video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OS3d3j3hsew



Artwork absent, due to technical difficulties.

Wreck – Defy – ‘Fragments Of Anger’

December 8, 2017

Formed in Thunder Bay, Ontario, in 2016, Wreck Defy’s current album, ‘Fragments Of Anger’, was recorded and produced at two separate locations – Glenn Drover’s home studio, in Windsor, Ontario and Justin’s (vocals and bass) basement, in Winnipeg. Released on Alone Records, (Greece), new material is already prepped and ready for recording. Aiming for a main promo tour, in the not too distant future, they’re currently playing specific festival gigs, the first of which is the Manitoba Metal Fest, in March 2018. The band are opening for the acclaimed Demolition Hammer. Drums will be played by Derrick Kroll, from Alphakill, formerly of Evil Survives. Bass guitar duties will be handled by Jordan Gosselin, of Dyrewolf, in Winnipeg, known for his extraordinary ability to emulate Steve Harris’s performances. The Manitoba gig is primed for filming and release, via Alone Records, as a bonus DVD, on a forthcoming release. January/February 2018 will see the release of 250 hand numbered copies of the band’s debut performance, on limited 180 g vinyl.

Industrial Lies – Brief, oratory intro, reassuringly drowned out by mega riffs, of epic stature and great power vocals, teaming with them. There’s an instant Maiden-esque format to this, bringing that same sense of joy and uplifting vibrancy. Everything just fits here. Cohesive is in fact, an understatement, as there’s much more to it than that. It’s 100% natural, accomplished, meant to be, effortless flow, consistently upbeat and loaded with melodic energy.

Justify The Unjust – Opening with that same open energy fuelled, life affirming vibrancy, it rocks immediately. In comes the catch and there it stays. That fabulously energised drum fill just says it all and it’s a real team effort, to pull everything together and make it rock hard. And then some. Megalithic drum rolls, major class riffs and God-like vocals. I don’t mind saying Wreck Defy could well be another Iron Maiden. Thoroughly metal, combining lightness with heaviness, in that way that only true metal greats can. Immense.

Sentenced – Intrigue down instantly, with a highly unusual film excerpt introing and it’s one that’ll have you on tenterhooks to find out what’s coming next. Rightly so, given the deity like vocals coming at you, following it. Even managing a dramatic action edge to the sound, rumbling on and thundering hard, this truly will shake you to your foundations. Paying homage to greats such as Bruce Dickinson and the late great Dio, there’s a true streak of pure talent and absolute conviction and commitment to the metal cause running right through this.

The Eternal Lie – Cutting right through the fray, with those mighty intro riffs and massive vocals, it’s high octane, all the way. Scissor sharp precision drumming, a slight Testament-esque riff sound and a wholly, even holy, metallic feel to the entire vibe. Just stunning.

Under My Skin – Right in there, with immediate, fast-paced melodic riffs of enormous quality. Drumming joining in and hitting exactly the same mark and it really is pure heaven. Again, that Testament sound returns, with the classic NWOBHM power/speed metal edge and its’ sensational life-giving energy. That just about sums it up. If this band were known by any other name, it would be life bringer. Or failing that, light bringer. Those are the precise forms of energy pulsating right through this.

Karmic Wheel – Banging explosive intro here, getting harder and just adding a slightly darker element, showcasing their versatile emotional expression. Still heavy as hell, though, the sheer energy’s irrepressible. As it should be, in such a band. It’s a pure delight. Climbing and descending riff scales enter the equation, adding an almost Viking-esque strength to the sound and bringing the atmosphere with it. Very slightly shorter track, but packing so much fuel into it that nothing is lost.

The Human Waste – Bold, powerful drum intro, riffs following soon after, another excitement laden adventure into the world of metal Paradise. Injection of catchy vocals throws bowling balls of melody into the fire. The structure and sound of the incredible talent and skills demonstrated throughout is comparable to a metallic version of expert fire throwers and pyrotechnic performers, at the height of their game.

Casualties Of War – More drumming extravaganzas introing, opening the way for some old school Slash style riffing, perfected anthemic vocal harmonies and a bit of glorious reverb. Intensely catchy beat, heavy and bass emphatic, picking up the pace of the rhythm and intensifying it, with thunderous emphasis, as it does. Increasing the tension, to the end, fading out on a highly adept riff. That’s the business.

Overall – A seriously solid, modern day Maiden. Wreck Defy are one of those increasingly rare examples of a sound so phenomenally accomplished, as to emulate such ordinarily incomparable greats as Iron Maiden, Testament and the late Ronnie James Dio. ‘Fragments Of Anger’ is, in a nutshell, simply a clear-cut testimony to this.

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

For fans of Iron Maiden, Testament, Slash, old school G’ N’ R’, classic rock, NWOBHM, speed, power and melodic metal.


The Lost Days – ‘Feed My Fire’

December 6, 2017

The Lost Days are a hard rock band from Worksop, UK, formed in 2015, since when, they’ve released a 4 track EP, ‘Where We Began’, (April 2016) and this, their current single, ‘Feed My Fire’, launched on New Year’s Eve, 2016. Approximately 200 shows have been played since then, cementing their well earned reputation as one of the best and hardest working bands in the country. Known for their fiery live gigs and smooth, racy original songs, T.L.D. are endorsed by  Vintage Guitars, Xvive and Regal Tip.

Feed My Fire – Drum heavy intro – immediate, upbeat and lively, with catchy, expressive riffs and vocals to match. Old school lyrics, performed with eager enthusiasm. Packed with melody, great memorable chorus and a high energy vibe. Top notch production quality, turned right up to the max. Hugely enjoyable flavour, conveyed in a classic format, with a modern twist. Scorching impression, from the off.

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

For fans of WASP, Powervice and Zak Wylde, Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Bob Daisley eras of Ozzy Osbourne.



I-DEF-I – ‘Bloodlust Casualty’

December 5, 2017

Introducing new album, ‘Bloodlust Casualty’ from I-DEF-I.

Devil In The Vein – Fuck me, that’s one hard line, aggressive intro, very much in the Trivium vein. Majorly explosive thrash, death and melody combo, with a shed load of energy thrown in, creating a face-ripping style, extreme as hell and frankly, unforgettable.

The Hourglass Turns – Bang! Right in there, with another killer sound and it’s not for the faint-hearted. Giving as much energy as it demands, a pure rage fills this with blatant reality and some noticeably skilled shredding. Here is a form of raw, uncensored metal, which simply insists you pay attention. No fakery here.

Bloodlust Casualty – Intro riffs so sharp, they could cut your face open. Slightly more melodic vocals, but certainly no let-up in the heaviness and aggro edge. Plenty of great impassioned riffing, drumming to beat you down to the ground, gigantically energised vocals and a gargantuan mood of persistent, lethal rage. It’s actually quite some feat, to pull off melody, with this level of aggression, yet they succeed. Like a retribution seeking killer, the degree of controlled acuity is striking, to an almost frightening point. Affecting.

Sorrow Reigns This Day – Darker angle to the riffs this time, moving into an even heavier gear. Increased extremity in the vocals, but still, the groove remains. Awesomely heavy rhythm, displaying a rare talent for interweaving mosh pit material, with murderous intent. A real edge to the vocals, ably assisted by the crashingly heavy instrumentals, it means business.

The Last Element Of Doubt – Cymbal opening, into increasingly extreme territory, the rage is palpable. A massive element of angry passion shines through, capably interspersed with gentler passion. Moving, with natural ease, from blood-soaked, gory extremity, to softer, melodic focus, a clearly accomplished sound runs through this and it’s one that’s born, not made.

Red Light On The Murder – Creepy, sinister heartbeat, with stalker-ish heavy breathing and blackened, dark background imagery intro’s. Breaking, unexpectedly, from there, to gentle melody, it then alternates between that softer aspect and death drenched, blackened sounds. Loads of bass contribution in this heavier than doom section and a war-like, marching drum beat, with a scarily realistic crowd chant, suggestive of dangerous intent. It’s a sound so darkly cacophonous, as to tear through your brain tissue. To say it’s impacting is an understatement.

Overall – A humungously heavy and darkened example of nightmare inducing extremity, with some relievingly gentler directions thrown in. ‘B.C’. showcases a band of multiple talents, genuine passion and natural ability, with a noticeable edge and a feel for darkness.

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

For fans of Trivium, thrash, death and extreme metal, with versatile, groove laced melodies.


Corexit – ‘Sundown Metropolis’

December 3, 2017

Corexit’s sound is one of pure 80’s atmospheric, melodic power thrash. Influences are widespread, including thrash, death and NWOBHM. Their song-writing is direct, with catchy hooks, speed elements and hard groove. Building unique signature vibes into each track, the music’s always varied and unpredictable. Sporadically anthemic, with a reverential style occasionally apparent, there’s a significant emphasis on the catch and the melodies. Corexit’s brand of metal is real, likeable and loyal to the basis of thrash metal. Lyrically, it’s about the need for more independent thinking in current society, where it’s heading, in leadership terms and how this impacts on society, as a whole.

Founded in 2013, by Heiko and some friends, a self titled EP was recorded in 2014, following some live gigs. The usual creative differences led to a split, but luckily, the band was rebuilt, with Heiko as original founding member remaining. The line-up was completed in 2016 and rehearsals and live performances resumed. Their debut album, ‘Sundown Metropolis’, was produced the same year and released in October 2017.

The Dawn – Great storm intro, complete with thunder and rain and resonant riffs to match, piercing your soul, with a familiar warmth, sending shivers down your spine. It’s a sound that seems to say, ‘welcome home’.

Against All Rules – Exploding into life, with the most cohesively packaged instrumentals, the mood shifts, without warning, to a heavier, thrashier focus and evident passion. There’s no time to acclimatise to any one sound here, since it changes so frequently, yet it does so with such fluidity, it becomes exhilarating. Anticipating each subsequent section, you’re never disappointed, as within all the changes in structure and style, the main thrash element is always there and never lost.

Give A Damn – Heating things up now, the speed increases, as does the heaviness and there’s that anthemic sound you’re always waiting for. The power takes over, with the aggression following, although not for long, before the ‘Tallica-esque melody rears its head – though these guys actually incorporate several eras into one track. That’s a skill so tough to nail, it’s almost unheard of. It speaks volumes about their skill level and you won’t forget that obligatory laugh, at the end).

Feeding The Demons – That’s one unusual intro sound and it’s quite striking, as the sound of what resembles a match being struck, or possibly, a knife being sharpened. Intrigue level ratcheted up and things get heavier, after the initial Berdoo-esque style riffing, both considered and free. It’s not long before the speed picks up again, with a looser, but hard-lined section, showcasing an aptly demonic sound to the riffs, edging towards a fast forwarded version of the Devil’s tri-tone, of which Tony Iommi would be proud. Bottom line? It’s got it all.

Mankind – Banging, insistent, heavy drum and riff intro! Wasting no time, holding nothing back and going for it, hell for leather, with a full-scale demo of their metal conviction, you’ll feel that riff at the 3/4 point, pierce your soul and run through your veins, before the tribal-esque upscale in the closing drum section. This stuff is lively, versatile and pleasantly surprising, with unique twists at every turn.

Trapped In Monotony – Wow! Beautiful steel strung acoustic intro, nicely accompanied by the bass, creating just the right effect, before the guitar starts to sing. At that point, it’s pure heaven and I could stay there forever. The vocals come in next and it’s already got my heart. That melody is just inexplicably beautiful and the sound and feel surrounding it creates such a plausible song, riven with true feeling. It doesn’t let you wallow any longer in that moment, though, before bringing in an overpoweringly fulsome riff fest, in itself, equally entrancing. Then comes the ‘Tallica-esque ending, in ‘Creeping Death’ style, to top it off. Is there any better closing sound than that? I doubt it.

Mindcage – Electrocuting you with that riff intro, from the highest point possible. Those thunderous drums join in, bringing it up to the apex of thrash. Faster and faster it gets, throwing in some gorgeously complimentary Slayer-esque riffs and bringing the roof down, with the immensity of the sound. There’s audible passion in those vocals and again, it finishes on a ‘Tallica-esque, ‘Ride The Lightning’ era section, with so much power, it’s almost beyond words.

Policy Of Lies – Returning once more, to that Berdoo-esque riff sound, there’s such a measured, yet knowing approach to that intro, but it just flies, from steel effect heaviness, to speed, power focused thrash, in a heartbeat. Here, the melody’s catchier than hell and it races on, through the fray, interspersed with the angry vocals and metallically edged drums. Just feel the truth, power and beauty in those final chords! That says it all. Just immense metal overload. Or should that be ‘metal overlords’? As that’s what Corexit sound like, to my ears.

Delusion – Back that delicious steel stringed sound comes again and it’s one I could listen to on endless repeat. Power riffs come in next, followed by even louder, even more thunderous drums and together, they create absolute cohesion. This is more along the lines of ‘Master Of Puppets’ era ‘Tallica and it’s overlaid by massively riff heavy presence. There’s a kind of metallic enchantment to it, which’ll have it still ringing in your ears, for a long time after.

Sundown Metropolis – Carefully, precise drum hits introing, tumbling down, into the basement of metal, before the speed aspect takes over. Vocal aggression matching the energy perfectly, it’s that rare, beloved combo of energetically in tune members, who, together, create the most magical forms metal has to offer. Speaking of which, the Slayer-esque theme returns, as the drums batter you down and the vocals take you back to ‘Skeletons Of Society’. Great, ideally placed firework ending, joined by the closing elements, which aren’t even necessary at this point, as the point’s already been made – Corexit know how to do metal.

Overall – Metallic dexterity, beyond description. ‘Sundown Metropolis’ is a glowing example of the metal mastery Corexit have already reached. Given this is a debut album, the heights of ability showcased within it defy description. After hearing ‘S.M’., the term ‘metal overlords’ is still ringing in my ears.

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

For fans of Metallica, Slayer, Testament, Reign Of Fury, Berdoo and other high-class, old school melodic, thrash and speed/power metal.


Available now.

Hedra – ‘Mind Dimension’

December 2, 2017

Based in Norwich, UK, formed in April 2014, Hedra introduce their new EP, ‘Mind Dimension’. They’ve so far received airplay from HRH Radio, Rock On The Rise, Cambridge 101 etc. Their aim – simply to get their music known and connect with fellow muso’s, nationally and beyond.

Mind Dimension – Battery of drums introing, carefully constructed, thought-provoking key and very deathy vocals, yet the anguished growls combined with the sung sections create a melo-death style, fitting for the sharp riffs and the whole thing’s just very noticeably dark.

Unspoken – Now that child, chanting those creepy death threats, in such an innocent, childlike way is what you call a sinister intro! Breaking into a heavily dark sound, with a racing pace and a very angry overtone. It’s a track in which nothing is left to the imagination. Clear in its meaning, it rages on to the end, with unrelenting darkness, verging on claustrophobia. A tough skill to nail.

War Child – Opening in an ambient way, with a Middle Eastern female vocal, humming chants, quietly, injecting intrigue, before cracking back into life again, with another intensely performed round of darkened instrumentals and masculine vocals, screaming out their pain, convincingly and almost physically palpably.

The System – Hotting up the pace again, now and chucking in some electrifying riffs, with the tortured screams and deliberated hard edged drum sections. A higher pitch squeezes its way through the mid-section, purposefully and you’re left with an overall sense of pervasive anger and hate.

Lost I Am Hate – Increasing the extremity here, pouring all that’s left of their considerable energy into the sound, it’s almost like a physical demonstration of hate itself. More deathy, hard-line extremity than anything else, it really just depicts the title.

Overall – ‘Mind Dimension’ is aptly titled, as it’s what you might call a lesson in the abject terror, rage and hatred experienced in some dimensions of the mind, in specific circumstances and how one’s provoked to express this. Dark, plausible and passionately performed.

8/10 ********

For fans of Eternal Fear, Gravil, Krysthla, XVII, Skreamer.


Click for spotify.


Available via The Snakes On Fire Records.

One For Sorrow – ‘Blood Songs’

November 30, 2017

Introducing ‘Blood Songs’, captivating new album from One For Sorrow. Engineered, mixed and produced by Dan Abela at Rock of London Studios, mastered by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street Studios. Artwork by Beaye Malphas.

Underfoot – Drum heavy intro, with nifty riffs and a catchy rhythm, with equally hooky vocals. Grit, energy and plenty of mosh potential. Loaded with melody, a grungy edge and a little bit of growl makes this a high octane track, that says ‘metal’, loud and clear.

Return To Dust – Groove laden intro, steady beat and an uplifting tone. It works. Audible new wave influence, slight cross-over stance, into a hard-core sound, in places and well constructed arrangements. Always retaining the melody, varying the volume and tempo, here and there, yet never detracting from the generally catchy pace that stands out, above everything. Just upping the growl factor, at the end, before the fade-out riff; great job.

Headstrong – Instantly, it sounds like the title, in a plausible, immediate way. Bringing the catchiness, once again, in the upbeat rhythmic melody, it’s immensely rocky and hugely enjoyable. Injecting more of those vibrant riffs, throwing all the passion he can muster into those gravel laced vocals, carrying it along, on a bed of steel edged drums, it’s an ace.

Said And Done – Steadier beat, with a slight Pearl Jam feel. Just an edge of contemplation, fuelled by high energy and gravitas, this is where the breathing space enters and opens up the harmonies, filling up the space, with creative intuition. Lots of heavy duty instrumentals, closing the track, in just the right way.

420 – Increasing the beat now, taking the pace up a bit, with a groovy sound, loaded with feeling and performed with effortless ease and obvious relish. This just sails along, till the end. Its brevity’s of no consequence, as it packs so much into one short song.

Bigot – A slightly sinister, telling edge to this intro, capturing the essence of its title easily. Coming in, with a heavy drum section, then and a matching darker sense to the vocals. Rocking it up, with a growing rhythmic emphasis, from which, greater melody emerges. The catchy angle’s down pat and the enthusiasm’s clear to hear. Always, the outstanding factor is that voice, into which, so much passion is thrown. The riff melodies really are gorgeous, though and the cohesive timing and feel of everything is what makes it.

Fools And Liars – Faster paced intro, injecting a slightly more acute energy and a sense of anger, still performed in a catchy package. More grit and gravel, with a rougher edge, this time. Darkening the track, with a deathy, extreme angle, at the end and it’s done.

Merciless – Changing up the pace again and now, introing a ticker tape like sound effect, briefly, before moving, fluidly, back into those still gritty, but slightly softer vocals, yet they showcase the odd intermittent growly sound. Take nothing for granted here. It’s unpredictable and excitingly so.

The Mass Aversion – Introing a bit of reverb and some wah wah effects here, that Pearl Jam sound returns, along with a P.O.D. thing in there, too. Now, there are collective vocal harmonies, in addition to the solos and it’s an effective angle. Heavier emphasis in the choruses and those drum sections are just consummate and effortlessly conveyed. Closing on a final fade-out vocal; another winner.

First To The Fight – Another exemplary melodically descriptive example of its title. The immediacy’s impressive, as is the obvious stamina in this performance. Catchiness in spades and rhythmic melody in shovelfuls. Something of a bluesy aspect to this, but the groove is what does it best. True hard rock, heavy metal territory.

Spook – Bringing in a gentler, softer acoustic sound now, creating the perfect window of opportunity for the lighter side of the vocals to be demonstrated. There’s a beauty within that sound, which just flows, enhancing the album all the more for it. You can’t help but find yourself getting caught up in the feel of the melody. Just so affecting. Yet again, it exemplifies the title so accurately and so beautifully.

Into The Woods – Startlingly good follow-up, with such an immediate excitement, it’s ideal, as the closer. A classic beat, reminiscent of an old school flavour, with true mosh pit construction. Positively filled with head-banging, massively involving, catch and metal fuelled energy.

Overall – A fabulously heavy, hook laden album, of groove-based, grit filled, moshing metal. Epically rocky and worthy of a place amongst your top 10 albums.

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

For fans of Pearl Jam, P.O.D., Nirvana, Soundgarden, Zocalo, Stiltskin, Nickelback, Kickin’ Valentina, Soil, A.I.C. and other groove and blues-based hard edged grunge.

Artwork and links TBC.

Available now.