Crooked Shapes – ‘Fire’

Available now , ‘Fire’ is the debut single, from alt rock band, Crooked Shapes, taken from their upcoming debut self-titled album.

This aptly titled track is all about the expression of anger, the provocation of it and the entanglement of both of those things, till the cause and effect are equally damaging.

The sound that results is hard, heavy, melodic and booming with atmosphere. Inspired by blues-based classic rock, such as Free and Bad Company, along with grunge bands, like Soundgarden and A.I.C., CS grow their sound, into one worthy of bands with greater numbers than this humble trio.

‘Crooked Shapes ‘ follows 2019’s ‘Fallout’ EP. This album shows the band in poignant mood, just coming into their own trademark sound.

The Reading, UK-based band will announce more videos, tour dates, etc, in due course.

‘CS’, a DIY release, is launched on November 19th.

Fire – Great rocky intro, sharing the moment with that Molotov being lit. Loving the facial expressions. Some very traditional rock riffage going on there. Feelgood melody, with considerable catch. Vocals, mainly smooth, injecting a little bit of grit, here and there. Switching between scenes, with plenty of very apt fire. Equally good collective accompaniments and he’s very much a front man. Some great twiddly para-diddles, just past the mid-section and he really feels those riffs. Effortlessly passionate drumming. Good visual contrast, between the fire scenes and the burned-out performance space. Good, solid track, likely to go all the way. Ending sooner than I’d have liked, but there’s a lot of passion in there and it’s just a very rocky song. A sound worthy of fronting the next Classic Rock magazine cover compilation.

8/10 ********

For fans of Alter Bridge, Slash, Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, Black Country Communion, Joe Bonamassa, Foo Fighters.

Pre-order ‘CS’ here:

Official ‘Fire’ video:

Posted October 13, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Morgarten – ‘Die Or Fight’

Swiss folk/black metallers Morgarten have released a new video for the track ‘Die Or Fight’, from their latest album, ‘Cry Of The Lost’. Morgarten have long touring experience behind them, including Europe. They’ve also played global festivals, such as Occult Fest (NL), Brainstorm Fest (NL), Devils Rock For An Angel (BE), Mannried O.A. (CH), Winter Armageddon (DE) and Rise Of Trolls (BE). Morgarten also opened for Finntroll, in Switzerland (2018).

Fast becoming hailed as the leading folk and black metal band in the French-speaking region of Switzerland, Morgarten also released a video of their track, ‘To Victory’, also available on YouTube.

‘COTL’ was mixed by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Dimmu Borgir, Amon Amarth), mastered by Tony Lindgren (Opeth, Eluveitie, Sepultura) and drum recordings were by David Castillo (Carcass, Opeth, Leprous), at Fascination Street Studios.

‘COTL’ is now available, in digital and physical formats, including limited edition vinyl, through Inner Wound Recordings.

Die Or Fight – Classic moshing intro, executed with a single sharp riff. Suitably dark, with powerfully fast rhythms and blackened vocals. A standard live visual, with extra oomph and aggression. Very much a traditional format, very well performed. Keys adding an extra touch of layering. It’s intensely heavy, with a fantasy feel to the melody. Quite a physical delivery. Lots of percussive emphasis, well synced with the riffs. A strong Viking element characterises this. Everything flows, cohesively. Ending with that same collective spirit. In and of itself, it doesn’t really stand out much from the crowd, as black folk metal goes. However, that heartfelt passion’s clearly visible and the musical craftsmanship’s first rate. You do feel the power rising, but as a track, it just needs a USP, to give it an extra memorable edge.

8/10 ********

For fans of Amon Amarth, Wrathblade, North Hammer, Alestorm.

Posted October 11, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Ignea And Ersedu – ‘Bestia’

‘Bestia’ is a concept EP, split with Ignea and Ersedu, 2 Ukrainian metal bands; the former, a melodic band, combining heavy metal with folk, symphonic, electronic and extreme aspects, with strong narratives; the latter, sharing some of those features, adding darkness and light, noir theatricality and huge orchestral elements.

Ignea was awarded Best Ukrainian metal band of 2020, with their album ‘The Realms Of Fire And Death’ selected as metal album of the year. They also launched the first ever original track, by a Ukrainian band. ‘Alga’ hit more than 6 million YouTube views. Ignea have a significant global fan base and have played various European tours and festivals. ‘TROFAD’ was financed entirely by their patrons. They’ve now signed to Napalm Records and their 3rd album is slated for 2022.

Ersedu are influenced by Septicflesh, Devin Townsend, Alan Silvestri, Gustav Holst and Jerry Goldsmith. Their ‘NC-17’ album was launched in 2011, prior to a 9 year hiatus, during which, they continued producing different music, with other artists.

This split, 5 track EP is a new journey for both bands. Available from 21st October, in physical and digital formats, the tracks include a bonus 6th track, ‘The Symphony Of Bestia’, a combination of the orchestral sections played within the rest of the production. It’s now available for pre-order.

Bosorkun – A shrill tone intro’s, with huge cinematic power behind it. An explosion of dramatic light vocals follows, before aggressive death vocals drown them out. Strong female vocals enter next, featuring classic film soundtrack qualities. Sophisticated arrangements, with intriguingly thin background sound effects. The drums and heavy riffs bring the whole melody to life. Fading out just a bit too soon.

Magura’s Last Kiss – Good follow-up opening, upping the intrigue factor, with mysterious, whispering vocals, then moving into death growls, but still with an orchestra behind them. Gentler, but still powerful feminine vocals deliver that same soundtrack strength. Quite Delain and Axxis-esque. A chanted rhythmic vocal line interweaves with the returning death vocals. Very strong accompaniments really boost that power, till the last.

Mermaids – Curious banjo-like intro, segueing straight into racing rhythms and insistent troll vocals. Again, those tangy feminine vocals return, now with added folky elements. Moving into Arch Enemy-esque territory, briefly. Gorgeously glassy vocals just underline the enigma. Heavy drum hits pound into the next section, of whirling effects and building tension, before the volume and pace heightens. A big, dramatic ending.

Black Garden – A background cacophony opens. Heavy metal sounds follow, in a doom arrangement, verging on sludge. Then a machine-gun round of drums attacks, with troll vocals, stomping through the backdrop. Soft feminine vocals bring a beautifully symphonic style to the track. Growls fading, into an emerging oceanic sound, like whale song. The gentle vocals fill in the atmospheric surrounds. Gradually growing stronger and louder, enhancing the melody. Still accessibly catchy rhythms. Death roars returning even stronger, before mysterious sound effects fade it out.

The Eaters Of The Sun – Powerful intro hit! Very much led by extremity. Beautifully melodic vocals break into the ogre shouts, providing a window to the light. Once again, the tension builds, gradually, with the volume and power. Both ends of the vocal spectrum meet, before the enigmatic, spoken lines play out, towards the final hit of vocal aggression.

The Symphony Of Bestia – Returning to the opening shrillness of symphony. Building it up, to a full on orchestral structure. Very resonant of ‘The Shape Of Water’s soundtrack. Now moving into a very Fey accompaniment, similar to that of ‘ORCumentary’, till the combo sounds overtake. Then becoming notably action movie theme-esque. A beautiful portrayal of the whole. Experimenting with pace and tempo, alternating sounds and styles. Effective marriage of seemingly disparate techniques. Once more, it grows increasingly dramatic and powerfully cinematic. Blending fantasy with thriller, action, parable and folk strands, it’s a highly visual track, evoking a lot of combined imagery. The whole track grows, in its entirety. It misses nothing, in its cluster of sounds. A great wildcard, in that sense. Tension and wonder build, throughout, in the most versatile way. Borrowing segments from each track, affording a glimpse into a different, colourful reality. Operatic forms create the finale.

Overall – Excelling itself, in each track, ‘Bestia’ is a superbly delivered, exquisite production, exemplifying the powerful possibilities inherent in such vast and versatile sound combo’s as these. It’s rich with intrigue and melody, offering a fascinating new listening experience, throughout. Dramatically captivating.

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

For fans of Gaia Epicus, Aonia, ORCumentary, Giants, Dwarves And Black Holes, Dark Forest, Epica, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Axxis, Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Delain, Misticia, Ilucia, Askvader, Winter Eve, Viking Queen, Marius Danielsen, Silent Winter.

Merch and CD pre-order link:

Vinyl and pre-order link:

Posted October 10, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Hand Of Kalliach – ‘Samhainn’

Consisting of husband and wife John and Sophie, Hand Of Kalliach is a Celtic metal duo, based around traditional Scottish folk, woven into heavy metallic sounds.

‘Samhainn’ is their debut album. Titled after the old Celtic Winterfest, ‘Sah-win’ (phonetic pronunciation), it symbolises the evolution of HOK’s music, to its current melo-death and folk metal combo.

The inspiration for the band title originates from the Scottish ‘Cailleach’ legend, about the witch God of winter, who is said to sleep at the base of a Corryvreckan whirlpool, off the Western Isles of Scotland, where John’s family originate from, surfacing, to welcome the winter.

Thematically, HOK’s songs revolve around good and evil, in the context of Scotland’s past and its legends, in relation to its islands. Creating a hard-hitting impact, combining otherworldly vocals, coarse, gritty accompaniments and palpably heavy instrumentals, its atmospheric signature melodies seal the deal.

Beneath Starlit Waters – A deep, ambience intro’s, complete with light, ethereal vocal tones and waves of sound. Softly played accompaniments join in, with the rhythmic flow. A sudden extremity bursts forth, with blackened roars and then the light returns. Both forms merge, in a eddying spin of reel-like rhythms. Vocals dipping down, to a slight melancholic hint. Verging on a call and response, between the visceral roars and the timid vocals. Ending with that same blend of sounds.

Each Uisge – A gentle, tinkling intro, with a growing intensity, surrounding it. Classic death vocals enter, as the beat speeds up. Quite Amon Amarth-esque, with a ‘Twilight Of The Thunder Gods’ echo. It’s a very fresh approach, combining such fragile ethereality with those black metal vocals. Smooth woodwind sounds accompany, as the volume and pace increases. Those haunting, feminine vocals return, ending on that tinkling fragility.

Solas Neonach – Piercing riffage opens, onto more death vocals, with sonic atmospherics. The siren calls, through the air, in seductive tones of near whispers. It’s a rapid pace, from the start. Very much an ethereal track, featuring seductive elements. Heavier instrumentals gather strength, as group vocals add a chaotic cacophony. Still, the softness of those paper thin, ghostly vocals remains. Fading out on the same consistent thread.

Cinders – Opening with the siren call and rapidly segueing into masculine death growls, as the ethereal shadows stay in the background. A mesmeric pace and tone build. A powerful Celtic melody infuses it with higher vibes. Very visually evocative of Celtic reels. The traditional aspect really comes to the fore, here.

Roil – Mysteriously submerged sounds intro, followed by a blackened growl, as from a creature emerging from the Black Lagoon. There, the softening feminine vocal wiles take over, before the growls return and both voices sing and roar, together. A mid-paced number, with a neutral melody. Abrupt, but well timed ending.

The Lull Of Loch Uigeadail – A deep bass woodwind intro creates instant atmosphere, as soft harp-like melodies join it. More distant, but approaching siren-like calls enter, fluidly, gradually growing louder. Very recognisably Celtic sounds emerge. A very fluid sound, in general, gathering volume and strength, till the end.

Ascendant – Powerful blast of an intro! Explosive death/black metal merges with fragile vocals, creating a lively, unique sound. Celtic accompaniments make for an intriguing background. Picking up speed, with another fast-paced reel-like rhythm. Lots of melody, growing stronger, right to the end.

Oran na Tein Eigin – Very energised, rapid intro, featuring fragile, yet powerful vocals. Blackened growls join them. Performed at quite a dizzying pace. Now, more pointed Celtic instrumentals enter the equation. Again, it sustains that reeling rhythm, all the way. This is a very hypnotic track, throughout.

Return To Stone – A piercing melodic riff tone opens, with mysterious atmosphere, before trollish vocals appear. This time, the soft, siren vocals accompany, a little later. Both blend, into a seductive trance. Electrified riffs enter next, with plenty of bass. Then comes the dizzying reel of melody. Merging into blackness, as one.

Trial Of The Beithir-Nimh – Ocean waves intro, with storms raging, alongside. Now, cuttingly sharp death roars come to life. The volume grows and the ghostly siren calls, in the background. Percussive rhythms build the sound, to a fuller, more complex structure. Hauntingly atmospheric track, ending with the sound of thunder.

Overall – HOK has really captured the essence of the themes of ‘Samhainn’, here. A multi-layered album, with vibrant, lively atmospherics, it manages to combine two essentially opposing vocal styles and make them work, within a genre-straddling sound, whilst staying true to its Celtic roots. Marrying melody with rhythm, throughout, it makes for an evocatively haunting listen.

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

For fans of Emerald Shine, Feskarn, Adamantis, Aythis, Autumn Tears, Gaia Epicus, Helene Aleksandre, ARDDUC, Paganism, Carnal Agony, Amon Amarth, Venus Rising, Falagar.

‘Samhainn’ is released on October 22nd and will be available physically and digitally. It’s released on Trepanation Recordings.

Independent recording. Mixing and mastering – Wynter Prior, at Sphynx Studios.

Past Press – Metal Message

Posted October 9, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Abdoujaparov – ‘Race Home Grow Love’

This curiously titled band is the brainchild of Les Carter (oka Fruitbat, from Carter USM). Tagged as much more creatively driven than anything else, his publicity machine drives the rest.

Abdoujaparov was founded in 1998 and ‘Race Home Grow Love’ is the 6th album, available now. Composed within a year, it followed a 4 year tour with Ferocious Dog. Intermingling punk, with other worldly and more eclectic influences, ‘RHGL’ is the best production, to date.

Limited edition CD’s are available online, exclusively. The album’s also available to stream and download, on all main sites.

Released on Spinach Records, ‘RHGL’ follows a combo of EP’s, 4 singles and 5 albums, including ‘Air Odeon Disco Pub’, ‘Djamolidine’ ‘Cycle Riot History Gang’, ‘Seaside Arcade Bingo Patrol’ and ‘Live Action Planet Noise’.

The line-up is an ever revolving door of members, differing according to venues and gig dates. They’ve previously toured under the alias iDou, featuring the duo of Les and Richy, plus, very bizarrely, an iPod Shuffle!

Their past tours included the UK, Germany, Australia and USA. The band’s 20th anniversary was marked, in 2018, by a sold-out show, at London’s 100 Club. Performing 2 sets, they covered most of their back catalogue.

Other projects of Les’s include guesting with Nick Park and playing bass, in Keith Top Of The Pops And His All-Star Indie Backing Band.

The current Abdou line-up is: Les Carter, Richy, Bomber, Jon, plus special guests, John Hare (False Alarms), Pete Allinson III (Jim’s Super Stereoworld), Charley Stone (Gay Dad, Keith TOTP, etc) and Dan Booth (Ferocious Dog).

Tough Times – Powerful hit of a riff intro. Very bizarre lyrics. The punk influence is audible. The riffage is definitely the biggest asset here. A sound portraying a strange hybrid of The Wonder Stuff, Steve Harley and The Smiths. Brief, but more resonant of party pop than anything else. The performance is actually quite decent, as is the production. Just an acquired sound, with some curious references.

If You Want To Save The World – Good heavy drum hit and bass intro. Well measured. Again, lyrically, very odd, harking back to 50’s/60’s punk. The rhythm works well. A little more sonic, with synths entering. Moving into 80’s style sounds. Kind of dreamy, with carefully spaced drum hits closing.

You Don’t Have To Be Alone – Light-hearted intro, featuring piano and gentle acoustic riffs. Equally soft lead and backing vocals. Melodic chorus, but somehow, the winsome nature of the lyrics makes me want to drown it out, with some very loud, raucous metal. TBF, you can’t actually knock the delivery at all, other than the content itself. Seeming very ill-fitting, in rock circles. It’s just the sort of sound that belongs in an acoustic lounge, or a flower-power replay.

You’re Breaking Up – Country time now! Just WTH? This is now converting to beachfront entertainment. The melody works, but lyrically, it really is dire. It just belongs in another era and another scene, altogether. Whatever it is, it isn’t rock.

George – Travelling in another direction now, reverting back to that 50’s/60’s soft rock feel. The narrative’s once again, completely bizarre. What is consistently good is the sound quality and execution, especially in that brief whammy section, just prior to the close. It’s just that atmospherically, it’s more akin to promenade walks, in a bygone era than anything that can feasibly be called rock.

Valentine’s Picnic – Accordion features at the outset, before flowing, fluidly, into a similar olde-worlde adventure. Not one resembling anything approaching rock, however. It has to be said, the vocals are consistently decent, as with the audio values. The overall sound, though, is now entering the gentler end of Blur-esque arenas. The accordion returns, at the end.

Where Was The Love When You Stitched Me Up – A bouncy synth intro, with a Pet Shop Boys-esque vocal. Marginally, more tolerable. The anthemic style of the backing vocals actually works quite well. This has got a little bit more about it. Especially with the group chorus. The surrounding vocal cacophony’s the USP here. Closing on a keyboard fade-out. It’s a tad more melodically upbeat.

Brixton Flippin Riots – A funfair intro. Picking up the pace, taking it back to early punk, evocative lyrics, building the scene well, now. This is moving towards passable. A decent bit of climbing riff screech, just before the surprisingly bluesy riff ending. More of that blues twang’s definitely what’s needed.

The Town Where I Grew Up – Oh dear. Now, we’re back in floral territory, with added melancholia. Essentially, it’s a Dear John letter, in miserable musical form. There’s an air of attempted punk, which hasn’t quite got the hang of it yet. That has to be amongst the weirdest endings ever, yet it’s lyrically incongruent with the rest of the track.

Goodbye Sweet Bread – A quicker pace opens, with a slightly happier sound. Again, it’s morphing into Blur’s ‘Parklife’. Some quite nifty, flamenco riff tones. It’s a bit bouncier, with a well sustained rhythmic beat. Once more, it’s still melodic, with accurate vocal reach. Not much more in its favour, though. Especially given the inexplicably quirky ‘Rod Jane and Freddy’-esque closing lyrics!

The Battle’s Won – Now we’re getting somewhere, with the darker, heavier intro riffs, but still, it’s very melancholy. Lighter accompaniments surround it, but the main melodic emphasis darkens, further. It’s almost verging on a requiem, with its haunting regret and poignant string section. Now, it drags out the misery, till the end.

Bigger Better – Gentle acoustic riffs intro. Again, it’s similarly contemplative and downbeat. An echoed vocal, thankfully raising the tone, from its initial depressive focus. The volume climbs, then drops back down, at the end. Haunting, but for all the wrong reasons.

Overall – ‘RHGL’ doesn’t do itself many favours. Firstly, whilst eclecticism can be a good thing, it’s all over the place, with no set focus. In many places, it’s confusing rock with pop. Lyrically, it’s not selling itself, though the melody’s there and is well performed, with decent sound values, it’s often too light, or too downbeat, at the extreme ends of the spectrum and ultimately, as an album with no clear direction and disproportionately poppy emphasis, it just doesn’t fit into rock arenas.

3/10 ***

For fans of The Wonder Stuff, The Stranglers, The Clash, The Cure, The Faces, The Pet Shop Boys, Blur, The Smiths, Steve Harley.

Cover Art TBC

Posted October 8, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Muddibrooke – ‘Liverpool Guy’

Ascending alt rock/grunge trio Muddibrooke have launched a video for their newest single, ‘Liverpool Guy’. Available on YouTube now, ‘LG’ is taken from their soon-to-be-released debut EP, ‘Lunacy’. (Out on 22nd October, now available for pre-order). A tour’s planned, to promote ‘Lunacy’.

The track’s meant as a celebration of the end of Covid lockdown and all it entailed. It’s visual emphasis is on animated reproductions of early love, in teenage years and everything accompanying that whole experience.

The single tries to convey hope and a sense of freedom to look forward to the future. Similarly, the ‘Lunacy’ EP delivers a message of a different kind of freedom, in the sense of accepting ourselves and our histories, fully inhabiting our true selves and honouring them.

Co-produced by the band, Robin Newman and Richard Collins, at Snug Recording Co, Nottingham.

‘LG’ music video credits:

All Video Productions – AVP

Animation – Shawn Duffy (

Photo Credit – Jason Bridges

Liverpool Guy – Instant impact! Huge soul rock vocals, well complemented by the accompaniments. Lounge singer potential in those gritty, powerful pipes. Just a very catchy sound, with a lot of melody, plus that rare feel for where and how to build and release tension. A big classic rock feel to this and it throws out so much passion. Accompaniments sensing where to raise the power and where to blend into the background. The biggest central feature is that hook in the vocal sound and melody, which says it all. That energy just rocks it, every time. A modern day Janis Joplin, with the chops to prove it.

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

For fans of Janis Joplin (late), St Jude, Texas, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Duffy, Bastette, Skunk Anansie, White Crone, 4Bitten, Annie Lennox.

‘Lunacy’ can now be pre-ordered at:

Posted October 5, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Seizure – ‘Born In The Dark’

L.A.-based fantasy metal band Seizure bring you their new album, ‘Born In The Dark’, released this year. The band were formed in 2017, by vocalist and lead guitarist Joey Love. Combining melodic, thrash and fantasy themes, Seizure are inspired by several European metal bands.

High demand for Seizure’s shows, amongst the underground scene has been helped, in no small part, by their popular presence, at such infamous venues as The Whisky A Go-Go, The Viper Room and The Rainbow Bar And Grill. Added to this, they have also shared the stage with numerous high-profile musicians, including Megadeth drummer, Dirk Verbeuren and ex-Heathen guitarist Ira Black. Known by fans as ‘wizards’, their shows have so far covered the whole of America, parts of Europe and South America.

Their debut 2018 EP, ‘The Grandmaster Wizard’ preceded 2021’s ‘Born In The Dark’ album. Seizure continue to pour every ounce of energy into delivering their unique brand of fantasy thrash metal.

Judgement – The gaping mouth of a cavern-like jaw opens, at the outset, injecting immediate intrigue.

Phantasm – Tight riff intro, heavily metallic, tasteful and deliciously Megadeth-esque. Very apt dialogue, well sustained rhythms and just a really cohesive sound, stacked with sinister, spooky tones, high-level melody and precision delivery. Very Halloween-esque track. Enthusiasm screams from it, all the way. Impressively flawless execution.

Born In The Dark – Automatic drum rolls intro, joined by matching rhythmic riffage. Again, lots of colour, with a dark emphasis and precisely performed scales. Relentlessly speeding pace and a thoughtfully placed wah section. A pure instrumental, showcasing the height of riff mastery, right to the high peaked end.

Crystal Ball – Laying down a slab of concrete steel, at the intro. Very notably Megadeth-esque vocals. Same can be said for that insanely impressive riffage. It’s clear why they’re known as ‘wizards’. Great percussive delivery, keeping perfect time with the riffs. Lots of low-end focus. Throwing in some heightened peaks and utilising the effects pedal well. Bringing it to an end, with a shadowy, darkened riff, speeding into the abyss.

The Message – A Vortex opens, onto a carefully timed atmospheric darkness. Then into another crazed Megadeth-esque riff section. Equalling it, with the lyrics, carrying the same Mustaine-esque vocal tone. Everything just slots together, with precise connection. Some true guitar genius going on here, beautifully delivered. Especially on those riff heights. Excellent echo, just before that definitive drum hit end.

Dear Boss From Hell – A gorgeously inviting omen intro’s, with that creepy bass line and physically crawling riff tone. Now we’ve hit Sabbath-esque arenas! Very ‘Symptom Of The Universe’-esque! Then moving it back into speeding riffage and horror lyrics. Again, it’s a perfect Halloween track. Flying along the fretboard, with lightning fast precision and laser-like focus. So inventive, with that riff work, delivered at dizzying pace. Ending with a final scream.

Holy Relics – Climbing down, onto a deeper intro tone. Giving it every inch of steel. Very evocative lyrics, performed with such immediacy, the imagery’s there, before you’ve even considered it. This has a strong anthemic flavour and an equally strong classic feel to it. Powerful hit territory here, especially with that incredible riffage flowing, so naturally and rhythmically. Moving into Exodus-esque arenas, towards the end, with the audible gaping of the Dragon’s mouth, as it roars.

Hunting Season – Cymbal hits open, with ensuing white noise, followed by heavy accompaniments. Once more, those Mustaine-esque vocals kick in, with electrifying riffage accompanying. Very tight sound, again. Centred around the rhythm. Fun lyrics). Great showcasing of the whole package and especially, the cohesion. Sustaining that fabulously moshing rhythm, right till the machine gun round, at the end.

Lowlife – Opening on a fabulous tumbling riff descent, with some well worked stop-start stuff. The Megadeth echoes return. Slightly more laid-back emphasis to the vocals, but perfect control and timing, yet again. Slight anthemic touches, enhanced by the group vocals. The enthusiasm just never ends. Riffs speeding up again, in that ‘Flight Of The Bumblebee’-esque style and hitting every aspect, at full tilt perfection. Sharp, definitive, drum hit end.

Djinn’s Curse – A drumming volley intro’s, with a bit of background cacophony, then taking over, getting back into its stride. Once more, very Megadeth-esque, with a vague Cobain-esque vocal note. So well compressed and connected, yet again. The drumming here’s a consistently hard-hitting assault round. Segueing, unexpectedly, towards the mid-section, into a beautifully performed quiescence, featuring gentle steel strings, with velvet riff tones, before moving it, seamlessly, back into the incessant, hard-lined, electric shredding, speeding towards the vocal finale).

Overall – A pin-point precision, eagle-eyed, heartfelt delivery, throughout, ‘BITD’ is an immensely impressive, electrifying shred-fest of an album. Its lightning fast reflexes, exactitude and consistently rhythmic hooks and melodies draw you in and keep you there, like seductive enchantment. Metallic enough to match the sound of ‘The Big 4’ Metal Kings and every bit as catchy.

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

For fans of Megadeth, Metallica, Exodus, Savatage, Mind Patrol, Warpath, Testament, Slayer, Unknown Refuge, Elimination.

Posted October 4, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Veritas – ‘Threads Of Fatality’

Translated as ‘truth’, Veritas is the brainchild of guitarist Greg Wenk, founded in 2012. The band logo is the awen (druidic) symbol for creativity. The line-up’s completed by Denny Anthony (vocals), Mark Zonder (drums) and Geno Alberico (bass).

Likened to early Queensryche, Fates Warning and Dream Theater, the debut 2019 EP received widespread positive acclaim, with fans and rock music media, garnering global airplay. Public demand was so high that a topic page was opened up, for fans to keep up with developments.

In March 2020, Veritas signed with Amplified Distribution, securing the release of ‘Threads Of Fatality’, their debut 14 track album, in both physical and digital formats. It was officially launched in August 2020, internationally and has already received rave reviews, globally.

Mixed by Daryl Bolicek, at Wild Horse Recording, Minnesota. Mastered by Thomas Juth, at Svenska Grammofonstudion, Sweden.

Prelude To The Sacrament – Very sci-fi-esque intro, with bleeping sound effects, then moving into a gentle background chant, followed by sonic heavy group vocals. A unique, curious sound, with accompaniments almost seeming secondary to the rest. Brief, but noticeably quirky.

Frail – Straight in there, with classic metal riffs and background echoes, joining the lead vocals. Fast pace, with a tangy sound to the vocals. Impressive riffage, featuring a typical ascent and descent. Cymbal action standing out, in its solo delivery. Reaching a decent riff ending.

Love And Burn – Steady drum roll intro, moving straight into an active refrain. Again, there’s that tangy vocal edge and here, the melody takes centre stage, with that catchy, classic sound). Well executed screams, working well in unison with the riffage. It’s the traditional emphasis that’s most prominent here and that’s this track’s USP. Well delivered groove. Ending on a pitch perfect vocal. Most engaging track yet.

Far Away – Frantic rhythms intro, onto a notably evocative action movie-esque soundtrack. Handling the vocals, with precision. Lots of cohesion. Those backing vocals 1/4 in just work well for this track. More impressive power screams, enthusiastically conveyed. A lot of melody, slotting right in with the groove emphasis. It’s a vivid, colourful track, with plenty of catch, throughout.

Morbid Stale – Energetic drum hits open, rapidly followed by equally energised, frenetic riffs. Impassioned vocals join the fray. Well sustained screams, marrying well with the riffs. Always enthused and note perfect, from start to finish, as tricky as that last vocal section clearly was.

Fates Warning – Steady drum hits intro, again and right into an awkward, but well handled section. It’s consistently cohesive, with some more tricksy tones, well handled, once more. Good bit of tremolo, at the mid-section bridge. This is neatly compressed, with some subtle, but well fitting cymbal hits, joined by the creeping bass, at the end.

Say Goodbye – Gentle vocals open, with a softly delivered melody, building, flawlessly and seamlessly, into a heavy section, supported, very capably, by equally heavy accompaniments. Very neat, tasty riff scream, towards the mid-point. The more those vocals sing, the more power screams from them. Well timed, definitive end.

Moments Of The Day – Brief bass tone opening, onto a deeper, darker atmosphere. Slightly Sabbath-esque. An echoic, backing cacophony adds another layer. Definitely a murkier thread to this, implanting a darkly atmospheric effect. Still containing light, though. Building riff, intensifying the tension. The background voices enter, again, before that slightly stronger drum roll. Ending definitively and cleanly, once again.

Starlight – Energised, bouncy drum hits intro. The vocals here are just slightly darker. Dread tones enter, moving towards a dramatic narrative turn. The beat works well, as does that impressively hit power scream. There’s a curdling edge to the vocals, in places. A curious scratch effect, too, towards the end, which doesn’t necessarily work, but it picks up again, at the end.

Eyes Of The Blind – Active drum hits intro, once more and the entering vocal nails it, especially with the power scream. This is much more metallic, reflecting an Ozzy-esque echo, always guaranteed to work and what with the similarly Ozzy-esque melody, it knocks it out of the ballpark. A lot of powerful cohesion and energy here and it screams fun and enthusiasm). Hitting higher peaks, with the power screams, it drives on, to the end. Standout track.

Dying To Live – Bass dripping darkness and doom. Suddenly getting quite sci-fi, in tonal emphasis, again, but still enough heavy melody to keep it metal. Clear Sabbath influence in the title and style, but retaining their own unique signature. Sustaining that strength, from the doom-soaked bass, till the end.

Sludge – Brief, but sophisticated drum hits open, again, with a dark, underlying riff and bass line, serving the style well. More challenging vocal tones, carefully handled. Building the power, where it needs to. Riffs eating into the feelings, around the mid-section and flying on, through the atmosphere, before fading and yielding to the vocal solos, intermittently. Ending on a pained and affecting vocal.

Masquerade – Frantic, possessed drumming intro’s. Instant energy and drive. Lyrics warning imminent danger, combined with the speeding accompaniments. Retaining a catchy melody, well enhanced by that pitch peak, at the bridge). Great riff scales and screams. Sustaining the solidly fast rhythm. Those melodic peaks are just right for this track, characterising its sound, to the end.

If It’s Over – Another drumming intro, this time, slightly more chaotic. A slanted, vocal flat, accompanied by well worked backing vocals. Still, that slightly gory edge continues. Some more excellent riff scales, adding the perfect bridge. A big emphasis on that flat tonal factor, always tackled precisely. Skidding to an end.

Overall – ‘Threads Of Fatality’ may take a little while to warm up, but 3rd track in onwards, it flies all the way. The unusual vocal tang and the well perfected pitch peaks are its USP’s, along with the increasingly traditional feel. Still quite unique, in melodic structure, its consistently high level performance stands out well and there’s lots of fun and energy to be had with this.

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

For fans of Black Sabbath’s ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ era, Ozzy Osbourne, Herzel, IDDQD, Chaos Over Cosmos, Dark Ocean Society, Van Halen, H.O.D.

‘Starlight’ lyric video:

Posted October 2, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Tales Of The Old – ‘The Book Of Chaos’

Formed in 2010, in Athens, Greece, Tales Of The Old is a dark, symphonic, ambient power metal band, now reformed and ‘The Book Of Chaos’ is their current album.

Founder Mike Tzanakis wrote most of the material. Inspired by such classic symphonic metal bands as Rhapsody, Nightwish, Therion, Haggard, etc, he wanted to emulate those sounds, whilst adding a darker element. ‘TBOC’ also borrows from the mediaeval and dark ages, within the orchestral sections, intended to represent the ultimate war between good and evil.

TOTO’s debut DIY 2010 demo, ‘Beware’ led to the 2012 EP, ‘The Passageway From Hell To Earth’ being co-produced by Mike and ex-Firewind’s Bob Katsionis.

8 long, inexplicably challenging years later, during which, TOTO had disbanded, Mike reformed it, with a new line-up and a new concept.

Bringing BK back into the equation, for ‘TBOC’, it eventually transpired, after yet more relentless stumbling blocks. 11 tracks of blood, sweat and tears, the album symbolises that struggle and the light that emerged from it.

Aside from co-producing, BK also features amongst the guest contributors, on guitar. ‘TBOC’ was produced at Sound Symmetry Studio, Athens and mastered by Nasos Nomikos, at VU Productions, Athens.

The cover art and design is by George Zacharoglou. The cover concept, by Mike Tzanakis. All music, lyrics, vocals and keys by MT.

Heavens In War – A fresh organ sound intro’s, onto a soft bed of vocals, growing stronger, into Dickinson-esque style, with angelic background choirs. It’s a little lacking in audio impact, but very energetic efforts. A darker, more gothic narrative enters. Those Maiden-esque vocals continue. Ending neatly, leaving a lingering trace of intrigue.

Fallen Angels – A funeral bell opens, onto lightning fast speed riffs. Definitely more of an electric basis to this, with earlier witchy, ghoulish vocal features. Slowing the pace, accordingly, introing a theatrical flourish. Again, strong, on the narrative front. Well placed riff speed increase. Spooky, yet entertaining sound effects, with lighter emphasis. Ending on a gentler tolling of the funeral bell.

Beware – Shrill, wintry, glassy, glockenspiel intro, before gravelly, harsh vocals overtake. Child choirs sit in the background of the male and female vocals. Pace picking up, with drums keeping up well. Good rhythm sustain. The obligatory classic storm sound enters, at the door. The power element’s audibly strong, ending on vocal lines.

Dark Witch – Affecting piano intro! Sharp tones, before the heavy storm sounds and energised power riffs hit. Gritty vocals come into play, before the choir sing, then the stereotypical witchy laughter, leading to the choir deepening the melody, an octave. A tangy male vocal exhorts you to pay attention, before the closing thunderstorm.

Let Your Hatred Be – A solid, sombre intro, riven with poignancy. Marked effect within that choral sound. Another call and response segment, between masculine and feminine vocals, aided, notably, by the choir. Definitely an icy air to this. Solo vocals intertwine with the choirs. A Celtic tone enters the vocals, just before that impressively fast riff section, just before the mid-point. Quite clear power metal territory, well balanced with orchestral segments. Once again, it’s very dramatic, with a clear electrifying edge. Fine cymbal hit, closing, making a strong impact.

Tortured Soul – Gradual, cave-like imagery opens, with wolf howls, funeral bells, raven calls and haunting, Monk-like chants. A coarsened, black growl joins in, before the creaking of the trapdoor and it fades away, into the distance.

The Book Of Chaos – A melancholy acoustic riff intro’s, onto another wintry landscape. Dramatic, heavy sound effects play with the softer sounds, then sharp feminine warning vocals enter, joined by equally ominous masculine voices. Growing lighter and stronger, with the quickening pace. The riffage takes over, till the drum beats hit. It’s a powerful combo of effective sounds. It’s quite a beautiful sound. Fading out on the vocal marriage of male and female, with a hopeful tinge of light.

Contract Of Blood – Swirling, sinister sounding intro, before a crashing riff and drum section follows. Zesty vocals here, working well with that electrifying pace. It’s fast and frenetic, from the start. A clear symphonic sound to this and a pressured sense to the timing. Quite bold sound effects, serving this track well, emphasising the symphonic aspects. Good vocal/choral progression. Fitting pacing. Rushing on, till the end.

Broken Heart – A heavy slab of metal opens. A stronger percussive emphasis, from the start. Very emphatically vocalised lyrics. Pleasant mix of accompaniments adding softer accents, alongside the heavier ones. Very gritty, metallic vocals here. A certain zing to those riffs and a very clear orchestral background atmosphere. Marrying darkness and light, throughout.

The Invocation – Heavy drum beats intro, revealing a looser structure, but with no less emphasis. Death vocal sections add to the mix. Again, those plinky-plunky light percussion accompaniments add a lighter, gentler sense to the atmosphere. Screaming riffs, barrelling drums and keys tumbling down, to the darkness of those growls. Creating the impression of a physical journey, on horseback, riding, at racing speed, into the ominous fade-out.

The First Exorcism – A notably symbolic drum gong’s banged, at the outset. Pointed, blackened vocals mingle with softer, but warning melodic voices. Very clear narrative, once more, with the coarse, black vocals intensifying, equalled by the deepening, strengthening choirs. Speeding bullets of riffage accompany. Hitting full tilt, at the end.

Overall – A heavily and carefully reinforced sound, ‘The Book Of Chaos’ begins with a slightly weaker production sound than expected, but it grows stronger, as it gains ground. Many well utilised features lie within it and it certainly drives its message home. It does, however, still lack the full impact of the punchy sound it has the potential for. It’s well constructed, though, balancing and equalising all aspects well, via a sophisticated and nuanced delivery. A complex and adventurous album.

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

For fans of Nightwish, Epica, Sonata Arctica, Aonia, Within Temptation, Zeit, Carcass.

‘TBOC’ official album teaser:

Posted October 1, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Elkapath – ‘Black Spiders’

New symphonic goth metal band, Elkapath, from Gloucester, UK now offer up their 10 track album, ‘Black Spiders’. Elkapath have been together for 2 years, but between them, they’ve amassed 10 years experience, in other previous bands, including a lot of live experience.

Inspired by such bands as The Prodigy, The Birthday Massacre, Nine Inch Nails and Korn, ‘Black Spiders’ will be released on Halloween, via Symmetric Records. An accompanying music video for the title track comes to you via Loki Films. ‘BS’ was recorded by Bob Katsionis (ex Firewind and Outloud).

The band aim to focus on live appearances, from the end of this year to next year, whilst producing more music videos, in association with other new releases.

Elkapath are: Carla Elkapath, Trevor England, Marios Karaisaridis, Chris Jones.

Creepy Little Dolls – Very aptly sinister intro! Quickly moving from the spooky voice of the ‘creepy little doll’, into a rapidly paced melody, expressed through the sleek feminine vocals. More cymbal action than standard. It all fits well, especially with the occasional return of the doll’s voice. Ending with a quirky, shimmery sound effect. A decent performance, though the production’s a bit weak and tinny.

Twisted Issues – Electronic intro, utilising synth and similarly styled vocals, incorporating subtle backing vocals. Segueing into a slightly stronger section. Still carrying the sinister tone and atmosphere. Very interesting lyrical themes. Raising the vocal pitch, just after the mid-section, to a more symphonic sound. Mostly a clear delivery, but the percussion’s slightly muffled, again.

Black Spiders – Good intro, pushing the volume up, steadily, before the crashing drums. Shrill vocals follow. Picking up the pace, adding in a death vocal section, yielding to creepy chanting lyrics. Keys injecting a bit more tumbling physicality. Screams fade away, into the background and the vocals hit the pitches well. Melodically dark, taking the rhythm down, to meet the gothic nature of the sound. Strong narrative focus. Echoed vocals fade it out.

Synthetic Ecstasy – An electronic opening, building, rapidly, into a much louder sound. Effective thriller atmosphere. One to avoid after dark). Very action based sounds. More fluidity to some of the vocal sections. Retaining that intensely creepy synth, all the way, as the drumming intensifies. Very much a visual gore fest, of action movie proportions. Drums gaining greater force, again, before yielding to the synth and vocal outro. It’s certainly strongly atmospheric.

Dirty Whore Mouth – Carefully plucked tones intro, onto a bigger sound. Here, the vocals grow stronger, clearer and more melodically focused. An ominous undertone fits well with the style of track. Well supported by the vocals and backing accompaniments. Quite a good rhythm. Sleeker, in places and a sharper vocal emphasis. Apt backing shouts add another edge. Slightly hypnotic vocal qualities. Ending on a strong cymbal hit.

Shields Of Protection – Opening on a looser, more freestyle sound. More relaxed vocal style. A swinging rhythm. Sharp points, effortlessly hit. Powerful drums. Again, there are mesmeric aspects. Riffs equally as sharp as the vocals. Handling those electrifying tones just as easily. It’s generally, very gothic, in sound and form.

Work Sucks – An electronic intro, moving into a slanted form. Quick pace, befitting the melody and lyrics well. Combining blackened growls with fragile, melodic vocals. Injecting a great bit of vocal duetting, threaded between those increasingly blackened shouts, on which, it ends. Definitely an affecting one.

Underworld – Powerful vocal intro! A suitably electrifying riff follows. Deftly handling the directions of those arrangements. Very noticeably gothic, with a strong emphasis and a lot of chemistry. Very decent riff effect. Lyrically creepy, with an equally ominous melody. The cymbals become a bit tinny, again. Luckily, the drum hits compensate. Lots of intensity to the riffage. Vocals continuing on, in that same, well sustained sinister style, till the end.

Zombie Girl – Smooth, heavy, dark riff opening. Vocals infused with omen. Balancing fragility and terror. Always very clear, in lyrical terms. Notably catchy. Great bit of wah and tremolo, at the mid-section, providing the ideal bridge. Consistently dark undertones serve this track well, continuing right to the vocal fade out.

The Bigger The Better – Kick drum intro, surprisingly ‘Living After Midnight’-esque, then moving, rapidly, into a markedly creepy arrangement, with more of those acutely electrifying riffs, marrying well with the constantly sharp vocals. Definitely a more rhythmic style. Taking it up and down, at all the right points. Clear, strong emphasis throughout and those vocal cutting growls enter, ending on a catchy chorus.

Overall – A mainly effectively delivered album, ‘Black Spiders’ is as gothic and as creepy as billed. It’s best assets are undoubtedly, the vocals and the obvious band chemistry and synchronisation. The main slight weakness is the production, which could do with lifting, a bit. Especially in the cymbal sections, which need more volume and clarity. Otherwise, it’s an entertainingly dark album, ideal for a Halloween release.

8/10 ********

For fans of Vanity Ink, Space Parasites, Haxan, Arapacis, Ward XVI.

Posted September 30, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized