Pale Horseman – ‘The Fourth Seal’

September 18, 2017

Welcome to sludge doom metal band Pale Horseman’s forthcoming release, ‘The Fourth Seal’. A self release, recorded, mixed and mastered at Comatose Studio, in Bradley, Illinois, USA, by Dennis Pleckham, of Bongripper. The band feel that since new drummer Jason Shryver  joined the line-up, the overall sound, quality and production of their work has improved immeasurably. It’s this positive influence to which they attribute increased pride and confidence in their music, in particular, this release.

Pale Horseman hail from Chicago, utilising twin guitar and vocals and a pounding drum section. With acclaimed live performances, their studio albums are produced by some of their own favoured influences, for instance, Dennis Pleckham, Noah Landis of Neurosis and Justin Broadrick of Godflesh.

Final War – Instant impacting, attention grabbing, heavy riff intro. The sludge comes into play immediately, with obvious elements of death and doom metal, vocally audible. Whilst it’s not what you could call exciting, it’s not too downbeat to listen to either. Slightly samey, for most of the track, but there’s enough melodic and rhythmic alternation, to make it an okay listen.

Witches Will Gather – Again, fairly riff focused, with a large sludge/doom aspect. TBF, nothing from this genre is likely to win prizes for upbeat sounds, but that’s not it’s aim. Having said that, there is definite catch in this track and its hooks, from the mid-section on, are undeniable. Slowing the pace down, increasingly, from there, it fades out on a reverb sound. Passable.

Aokigahara – Classic doom/sludge intro, with some more deathy stuff included, it’s just more of a standard filler, than being inspiring in any way. However, there’s also variation in sound, style and technique, after the mid-point. It seems it’s a trend, with Pale Horseman, to incorporate the changes and diversity from the central point of tracks. Still, there’s not much change, after that. Slight ominous sense to the outro, but given it’s a sludge/doom album, that’s to be expected.

Bereavement – Slowing and seemingly toning things down even further now. Interestingly, early Sabbath-esque. Deeply ominous now, exuding sinister force. Gaining in strength, there’s a wilful energy infecting this track here. Blatantly battle-esque and severe, in tone, till the merest chink of light manifests, in the slightest loosening of the instrumentals, through which, that minimally higher key is performed. By the closing section, you’re aware of the impressive aural portrayal of ‘bereavement’, itself.

Gnashing Of Teeth – Alarmingly affecting, physically palpable intro. Enough in itself, to distract you, with its sudden, unexpected impact. Much like how you might imagine being slammed and sandwiched between two cars and then thrown from bumper-to-bumper incessantly. P.H. are certainly skilled at immortalising the sense of physicality, inherent within their track titles.

Forlorn Extinction – Coming into the intro, in a manner so smooth, it better befits a mid-way point, like one long, continuous stream of consciousness. A noticeably more aggressive edge to the lyrics, creeping into the accompaniments, till it becomes the song’s general essence. Unusual choice of sentiment for this particular title, but well delivered.

Pale Rider – Lots of slide in the opening riffs and not discounting that now ubiquitous darkness, embodying and enshrouding the vocals. A bit morose, but it is doom/sludge, after all. Just a concerted doom fest. An overshadowing sense of encroaching, impending doom, expected of a track so entitled. In that respect, it does its job well.

Tyrant – Livening things up now, with a marked uplift in pitch and a breathier rhythm, it exudes a powerful angry force. Becoming angrier, in deference to the title, it’s just a forceful energy, overpowering, in its strength.

Phantasmal Voice – Highly catchy drum rhythm intro, that’s the prime focus now, with the prideful, tribal vocals, primal in their delivery. Some snazzier, jazzier riffs and a more concentrated rhythm. Very classic heavy Dio-esque vocal section in there; fans of the Dio, Iommi, Sazzo version of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ won’t forget this closing section). Clever way to end, on a sound resembling such a memorable version of such a well-known carol).

Overall – On the whole, a passable background filler, but with enough experimental variation and clear emotional energy to make it memorable. So it’s never gonna win any prizes for its uplifting quality, but no one expects that in sludge/doom productions anyway. Not unless you happen to be Down. Or Electric Wizard. Or Kyuss. You get the gist. Anyway, a largely reasonable listen, with a few hints of intrigue thrown in.

7/10 *******

Self-Released 24th November 2017.

For fans of generic doom, sludge and early Sabbath.


Moonlight Prophecy – ‘Vanquished’

September 17, 2017

Introducing ‘Vanquished’, Moonlight Prophecy’s debut album, only months after their ‘Eternal Oblivion’ EP was launched. A 10 track album, filled with catchy songs and heavy riffs, ideal for Dragonforce and Nevermore fans.
A thrash power metal band, Moonlight Prophecy was founded in (unbelievably) March 2017, by Lawrence Wallace, as a natural progression from his instrumental riff band, ‘Lawrence’s Creation’, with the aim of producing material with more vocal focus. The other permanent band member playing on ‘Vanquished’ is Mika Mage, Lawrence’s long-time co-performer, from various bands. Session musicians Raphael Gazal, Persou M. and Dustin Hughes all guested on the album. Due to the international geographical distance between members, M.P. is largely a studio band. Though its main aspects are thrash and power, M.P. also incorporates prog, together with a whole raft of other styles. It’s a highly melodic venture, with a large element of speed metal within it.

Abandoned – Introing gradually and eerily, with a fantasy action film soundtrack essence, complete with rain and thunder sound effects, it certainly does an effective job of whetting the appetite for more, injecting intrigue, to open your mind and keep you guessing.

Escape The Ruins – Blasting into life, with a punch machine style drum attack and a blazing riff fest, matching the strength of the power vocals. On it continues, in that same light, treating you to a metallic feast, of total consummate professionalism, from start to finish. Accomplished ground, throughout.

The End Times – A battle force intro, this time, emulating the greats of speed metal vocals, with effortless flow and equal riff magnitude. Again, a smooth, familiar and comforting ride through classic metal terrain. Soulforge fans will be in their element.

Spellbound  – Riffs growing ever more ecstatic and exuberant, the life force is palpable, as it races on, through colourful scales of life affirming soundscapes. Faultlessly performed, with ease of delivery, a great escapist track.

Fading Away – Lovely chords introing, with a new sense of contemplative pathos. An immediate sense of beautiful melancholy permeates it, with complete lyrical and instrumental synchronicity. So precisely harmonised, the brief track length’s of no consequence, as it’s said all it needs to, encapsulating the title, with perfect precision.

Fury M – Slamming into your energy field, with sheer energised, determined will; instant hit material. Summarising its title perfectly, with total conviction, this track’s gonna take them far. Its immediacy, drive and outright imagination, in themselves, make it a standout, unforgettable track. Bound for greatness, with all the right ingredients.

Never Forgotten – A slower, mellower track, returning again, to that unmistakable sense of melancholy, yet deeper, this time and palpably darker. As an instrumental, it’s still very beautiful, in its own way and solemnly, speaks its wordless message. A world of purity’s contained within.

Eternal Oblivion – Slowly, bringing the mood back up again, with thoughtful, life enhancing vibes, well constructed lyrics and intelligent rhythm. A short, but again, concise and meaningfully arranged song.

Witch Hunt – Clear, rapid transition, into uplifting, upward motion, sensual riffs, more instrumental focus, but this time, conveying absolute exhilaration and joyful expressive release. It needs no more.

Omen Under The Stars – Aurally depicting the title’s nature, with effective totality, once more, the instrumental emphasis comes to the fore. Now, bringing in an element of ominous mystique. As with the rest, it may be short, but it’s certainly not lacking or inadequate, in any way. Quite the reverse, as the inherent skill, sensitivity and musical intuition builds the ideal sensory framework, for each section of the track, conveying the truth and sincerity of the passions behind it.

Overall – A real, impacting representation of the influences at play, throughout the album. Demonstrating a very real sense of feeling, on a multi-sensory level, ‘Vanquished’ deserves to succeed. It’s unusual proliferation of pure instrumentals serves it well, further reinforcing the depth of skill and accomplished craftsmanship at work within it. Holding a purity of sound, increasingly rare these days, ‘Vanquished’ is a one-off gem of metallic musicality, warranting your full attention and metal devotion.

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

Self released 10th November 2017.

For fans of Soulforge, Dragonforce, Taberah, White Wizzard, Chris Rea.

Krysthla – ‘Yawm Al Qimayah’

September 12, 2017

Krysthla’s new lyric video, ‘Yawm Al Qimayah’, comes on the back of drummer Wayne Minney’s sad departure from the band, due to serious health issues. It follows Krysthla’s 2015 debut album, ‘A War Of Souls And Desires’ and their current release, ‘Peace In Our Time’ (2017). ‘P.I.O.T.’ hit number 2 in Amazon’s charts, besides Mastodon and While She Sleeps. Krysthla has solidified its name, as a benchmark for British metal, having gained a notorious reputation, headlining and supporting such bands as Decapitated, playing acclaimed festival sets, at Bloodstock, Mammothfest, etc.
As new drummer, Nick Plews joins the band, on Wayne’s departure, after his final show with Krysthla, on November 25th, 2017, at Firebug, Leicester, the band would like to offer ‘Y.A.Q.’, as a tribute to Wayne’s valuable, significant contributions to Krysthla.

Blasting into life, with a raw, primal energy, unleashed in the darkness of the lightning infused background, it screams and fights its way onto the scene, with no mercy. A positive battleground rifle assault on the senses, waking the life force and proving its mettle, with a solid, got punching, ferocious metal attack, it says it’s piece, leaving no room for doubt. Dramatic, impacting and affecting.

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

For fans of extreme metal, death and black metal.

Released September 7th, 2017. Artwork by Andy Pilkington, of Very Metal Art.

Death Blooms – ‘Sick’

September 11, 2017

Emerging metal band Death Blooms have now released their new video, ‘Sick’, ahead of their upcoming UK tour, in November, as guests of renowned horrorcore combo, Insane Clown Posse, along with fellow guests Mushroomhead. Fans will recall Death Blooms’ self titled debut EP, last May, acclaimed for its melodic hard-core style, influenced by the band’s drive to promote the need for greater awareness of mental health issues, within the metal community and the community, at large. So ‘Sick’ pertains to the dichotomy of craving release from limitations, whilst needing to acknowledge, accept and come to terms with their very real impact and express these truths, both to others and to ourselves.

Exploding into aggressive life, in an almost scarily angry intro. That’s what you call power! Carefully conceived grey/black background, with thoughtfully blended lyrical validation of the individuals feelings re: their illness and verbal portrayal of the counter-productive terminology routinely used, to describe those with mental health issues. A brief, but effective and plausible expression and release, incorporating a strong combo of visual auditory elements, conveying the subject matter, forcefully and observantly. Verging on nu metal/rap techniques, but always retaining the hard-core aspect, impressively performed.

8/10 ********

For fans of nu/rap metal, such as Linkin Park, hard-core metal and and metal core.

Upcoming tour dates –

13th November – Leeds O2 Academy
14th November – Newcastle O2 Academy
15th November – Glasgow O2 ABC
16th November – Bristol O2 Academy
17th November – Manchester O2 Ritz
18th November – Birmingham O2 Institute
19th November – London O2 Forum Kentish Town

71 TonMan – ‘Earthwreck’

September 10, 2017

Lifeless – Depicting the title well, a downbeat, deadened set of chords intro, prior to the accompanying ogre-like growls and heavy, earthy sound, eroding its way through the rest of the song. Aptly dulled down, in deference to the track’s title, there’s a corrosive quality to the overwhelming dulling of the senses. Party animals can safely opt out of this one. I know it’s aiming to demonstrate the concept and feel of lifelessness, but you can go too far, with such ambitions. Almost painfully repetitive and there are more cheerful dirges. Not for fragile, depressive mind frames.

Negative – Not sure quite what to make of that screechy, overbearing intro, but for me, it was tantamount to hearing fingers scraping down a blackboard, at full volume. On the positive side of ‘Negative’, they’ve got the heaviness factor down. Unquestionably so. However, there’s doom and there’s ….’ARGH, get me out, I’m being buried alive’! Please, guys, please, have some pity and throw some mercy onto the open grave, with something resembling even the merest possibility of hope. Dark. Very dark. Too dark. Frighteningly so. I think it’s too late. I’m being led to my doom. Those looking for a chink of light are advised to try Maiden’s ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’ or even ‘Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter’. Okay, now there are some more melodic riffs towards the end, so maybe there’s still hope, but it just seems the axe has been buried too deep. Oh and there are the sirens and a distant funeral bell, closing, just in case you were in any doubt. Kudos to them, for having the strength of mind to continue the funereal theme, for so long, but nope, doesn’t do it for me.

Phobia – Opening with sirens this time and finally, the riffs are beginning to lift the mood higher… Until the devilish darkened doom takes over again. Monster-ish roars, slowed down pace, murky riffs and mud encrusted drum beats, it’s all a bit much. One thing in its favour is that it certainly covers the dread and despair factor of phobia well. Not to mention the aspect of time dragging on and on and on…..

Zero – Introing with much the same continuation of doom and despond, with which track 3 finished. For some, this level of doom works, but the chink in its armour is actually the loss of focus and stamina triggered by its tendency to overdo the doom and darkness, to the exclusion of anything else. Really, it’s time the creature from the black lagoon returned to the depths of the blackened trench now. There is power and passion audible in there, but it just comes too late and is always killed, by the over emphatic doom. Doom of which there’s too much. Just too much.

Torment – Marginally livelier intro, but only marginally. A continuing sense of impending doom and an even louder version of it, it seems. Increasingly evil entrenched vocals and really, just an overriding sense of evil. Much more than that is difficult to establish, due to the over insistence of the darker than dark ethos, saturating the track.

Spiral – Oh, now they’ve increased the speed, to begin with, at least, but oh no, it’s just more of the same. I think it’s time to search for the light and climb out of the grave now, before it’s too late. Lyrically risky for those of a delicate disposition and generally, it’s just monotonous, hopeless misery. Reinforced at every point. I surrender. Please just end it all now.

Overall – Doom overload, beyond measure. There’s doom, incorporating other elements and reasons to listen, then there’s doom, which is nothing but doom, to a morbid degree. This falls into the latter camp. To a soul destroying extent. Doom can be creative, soothing and even enjoyable, if crafted around other aspects of composition, but it shouldn’t be painful to listen to. Listening to this hurt me and metal’s not supposed to hurt. Sensory overload, on an immeasurable scale. Yes, the album summarises its title well and the tracks certainly define the mood, but that’s just the problem, in this case and I can’t find anything to like about it. Please, just kill me now.

3/10 ***

For fans of morbid, mind destroying doom.

Bullet-Proof – ‘Forsaken One’

September 9, 2017

Thrash metal, with members from Italy and Slovakia, founded in 2014, Bullet-Proof was birthed from an original idea from Richard Hupka (vocals and guitars). The line-up includes his son, Lucas Hupka, on drums, Max Pinkle – guitars and Federico Fontanan – bass. (Original bassist – Diego Polli). ‘Forsaken One’ is available now on Sleaszy Rider Records, both physically and digitally.

Influenced by old school American thrash, such as Megadeth and Testament, they’ve created their own music, in much the same vein – combining heavy sounds, with powerful melodies. Their debut album, ‘De-Generation’, launched in 2015, following the standard line-up changes. ‘De-Generation’ was an effective base, from which to launch their career, which brought success, on the live scene, throughout Italy and Europe. High profile festivals, for example ‘Rock Im Ring’ (Renon, IT), were also played, alongside a tour of Greece, performing with the renowned band Holocaust and gigs with Testament, Raven, Graveworm, In Flames and more.
‘Forsaken One’ was produced in January 2017, overseen by Federico Pennazzato. It’s a 9 track album, currently being promoted throughout Europe.

Might Makes Right – Unusual intro! Voice-over beginning, briefly, before the full-scale thrash hits the mark, without missing a second. Reign Of Fury fans will get off on this, as will all old school thrash enthusiasts. A very classic vibe about it and instant reassurance that you’re in safe metallic hands. Bay Area/new wave fans will get it too. Plenty of identifiable Testament, Slayer, Anthrax hooks in there and just a great, encouraging start, with passion shining through.

Forsaken One – Opening with a well conceived sound effect, of clanking chains and sinister mystery, evoking action thriller soundtrack imagery. Aggressive vocals follow, conveying very real physicality, equalling that of the instrumentals, delivered as if stakes are being forced into the ground. That’s about as metal as it gets.

Portrait Of The Faceless King – Drums taking centre stage here, real melodic riff action and initially gentler, but gradually hardening vocals combine, to make this ideal thrash metal territory. A steady rainstorm of hammer blows of steel just characterise the track, justifying the band name, perfectly. Arresting artwork too, distracting, even, adding to the impact.

No One Ever – Bang crash intro there, if ever there was one. A solid riff and drum fest, to compel the most dedicated mosher and somehow, miraculously moving, from vicious, annihilating thrash, to gorgeously serene, meaningful melodies and back to thrash again. Combining the two, in an all-out metal attack, to kill them all, (pun intended), a full on aural assault, from which you’d never want to recover. Bad day at the office? Throw this on and kill it stone dead, in an instant.

I Was Wrong – Beautifully harmonised chords and drums introing, moving straight into a classic high octane delight. So melodic, you can pour all your secret desires and dreams into this and more. Just melt into it and let it consume you, cos it’s one of those and if you’re looking for pure, metallic joy, you’ll find it here. Stand-out track.

Abandon – Scary angry voices introing this! I think the message is clear and it’s one with which Skid Row would concur. If their rendition of ‘Get The Fuck Out’, on Slave To The Grind, wasn’t enough to convince that unwanted houseguest of the preferred course of action, these guys’ll soon get rid of them, with an even braver, louder and downright murderous command. The rest’s a sheer thrash extravaganza, to rival any and Taberah fans’ll relate to the wild, demonic pace and intent. Fading out on a stampede of beast driven riffs and drum rolls to match, the aggro voices return, for one last finale. Stunning momentum and sheer metal violence.

Lust – Opening this time, with a mysteriously sinister sound, potentially indicating any number of possibilities, before descending down the sheer drop of the cliff face, with a truly old school vibe, resonant of early Sabbath. Fellow fans of ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ era should find plenty to connect with in here. Injecting the flavoursome catch at just the right point, they’ve clinched the memorability factor, hands down here. Another ace.

Revolution – That’s one angry drum intro! Laying the atmosphere down instantly, with the air raid sirens and magazine of live rounds, being fired from those guns, along with the tasty melody, never neglected and always brought back to the arena, for more. Racing its way through the fray, at breakneck pace, it’s impacting, affecting and downright sexy. Thrilling, from beginning to end.

Little Boy – Gorgeously appealing acoustic intro, for a brief interval, before once more, bringing back the full flavour of the metal. All thrash purists will just rejoice at this riff fest of heavenly metal. The beat, in itself, is so sensual, you’ll escape into it, completely. Fading out on more hauntingly mind melting riffs, so smooth, they’ll slide down easily and accompanying them with a crashing, thunderous wave-like boulder, gathering pace, as it rolls. Faultless, epic delivery of perfection.

Overall – A passionate display of hardwired, honest, thrash metal, delivered with truth, heart and conviction, by absolute naturals, who’ve given it their all. Flawless, melodic and beautifully metallic, it’s a must have, for the collections of all old school thrash metal enthusiasts.

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

For fans of Reign Of Fury, Testament, Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth, Metallica, Fury, Tesseract, Taberah and early Sabbath.

Available now, on Sleaszy Rider Records.

Shahyd Legacy – ‘Gateways’

September 7, 2017

Recorded at Legacy Studios, ‘Gateways’ was released on 26th June, 2017, at the Habeys Eid Show, at the Carnival Stage in Male’ city. From one of the Maldives’ most successful guitarists, ‘Gateways’, Shahyd’s 4th solo release, is a 9 track album, entirely self produced by Shahyd. Most commonly known as lead guitarist of Sacred Legacy, of The Maldives, Shahyd entered the music industry in late 2004, with his debut band, SYN. Sacred Legacy was then formed, in 2006. His debut solo album, The Sacred Legacy, launched in September of that year. It made an instant impact, for its heavy thrash riffs and melodic sound. In fact, Shahyd’s music attracted so much attention, that he then formed a solo career. ‘Gateways’, however, varies from his previous work, being more melodic and experimental, including more mood responsive twists and turns within its’ sounds. Shahyd believes ‘Gateways’ to be his best work to date and claims it to contain his trademark signature technique.

Dominion – Brilliantly intricate riff intro, boding well immediately. Evident, accomplished song-craft, much along the Yngwie Malmsteen/Steve Vai/Joe Satriani vein. Always a great thing, IMHO. A positive melodic riff fest of epically masterful proportions. Faultless, flawless, impeccable.

Event Horizon – A gentler, sweeping ambient lapping wave acoustic intro. The ideal late-night chill-out, but don’t be misled into expecting the quieter tones to stay. It soon evolves into a beautiful bold melody, so smooth, it’s entrancing, as it melts your senses, with sheer charisma. Stunning.

Between Worlds – Seguing straight into a heartfelt, warm tone, carrying you away, in a dream. Continuing with that same Steve Vai sound, it’s the ultimate escapist instrumental. So inspired and maxed out to the limit of beauty. It’s just gloriously metallic and equally melodic. Amazing musicianship and thoroughly lovable.

The Imitation Game – Finding its way into your heart and mind again, with immediate effect, it’s musical beauty, personified. Guitar wizardry of such immensity, it wouldn’t be going too far to call it genius. Riff-Meister extraordinaire doesn’t even cut it. Liking those paradiddles there and the gently, yet powerfully intent bass work. Drumming of that rare quality that knows when to stand back and when to shine. Either way, it’s a striking performance, filled with creative magic.

Duels Of Fate – Heavier fayre now, of the Disturbed school of metal. Something which always gives this reviewer a thrill). Still, though, it retains that gentle strength and consistency of tone and method so beloved of we riff magnets. Something so fresh and invigorating lives within this playing and the energy just infects you. Contagiously upbeat, professionally paced and never missing a beat. Sublime.

Warriors Dawn – Strong riff intro, injecting flavour, passion and colourful vibrancy into the track, there’s a world of vivid energy in here. Uplifting, perfected performance and indescribably luscious. Imagine a feast sized fruit salad, of your own making, with no creative limits and this is a musical equivalent. A high-class Sanatogen pill, with all the taste and none of the side-effects. Delicious.

Stardust – Quietly anthemic intro, gradually increasing the volume, keeping the immeasurably good intensity, throughout, it’s aptly named, as a feast for the senses, through which, you can feel the magical Stardust falling and enveloping you in its spell. Enchanting in a big way and even that doesn’t do it full justice. Those riff solos are simply extraordinary.

Lunar – Opening softly, now continuing that way and maintaining the gentler stance, in a noticeably emotional performance, it’s the living embodiment of that much adored phrase, ‘where words fail, music speaks’. So inexplicably, significantly expressive, I could happily have this on endless repeat. One listen and this’ll filter into your soul. It’s just magnificent.

Kingdom Of Eden – A ballady sound, initially, for the briefest time, before coming to life, with dramatic drum rolls, aflame with life and colour. Like a musical rainbow, being thrown to you, with fireworks following, as a bonus and lighting up the sky, with aural passion. Hitting a faster pace, from the mid-section, bringing everything together, so cohesively, it’s electric, right to the end.

Overall – Imagine a world of magical make-believe, where metal ruled and played forever, bringing your dreams to life, with the eternal sound of metallic love itself. That’s the sound of ‘Gateways’ and I can pay it no greater compliment. It’s literally divine and undoubtedly, one of the greatest, most happily memorable albums I’ve heard this year. Or at all, in fact. Ever wanted to hear a rainbow? Listen to ‘Gateways’ and you’ll hear it. One of the purest forms of metal devotion ever.

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

Out now, as a self release.

For fans of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dragonforce.

Album teaser link available.

Twingiant – ‘Blood Feud’

September 6, 2017

Introducing Twingiant’s 3rd album, released October 13th, 2017, on Argonauta Records. The band have taken their time with ‘B.F.’, to make it their best work yet. Guitarist Nikos Mixas has been quoted as saying that Twingiant have now transcended the specific stoner/sludge genres they’ve previously been categorised as and that even with some of those elements still remaining, they’re now demonstrably, a mainstream metal band.

Throttled – Solid, banging drum intro, fairly growly, yet still melodic vocals, powerful bass work and monster-ish, robotic, Dalek-like drone going on in there, too. Riffage basic, but adequate. An average opener, but plenty more time to show a few more chops yet.

Poison Control Party Line – Now that’s definitely more like it! Really bluesy, rocky intro there and the grooves have arrived. Vocally, it could do with much more clarity, but the pace is picking up and with it, the catchiness. Drums gathering pace at the end, again, it’s adequate, but let’s see what the rest has to offer.

Ride The Gun – Very doomy intro here, clearly bass-led and its sense of rhythm is probably its best USP. Just unsure about that bizarre automaton vocal, but I’m sure it has a purpose somewhere. Certainly plenty of heaviness. You can see where the sludge references have come from and that’s no bad thing, IMHO, though so far, I’m yet to find anything particularly dazzling about it.

Re-fossilized – Again, another noticeably doomy intro, led by the bass. One thing they can’t be accused of is lacking heaviosity. For me, it’s just a bit too samey. You can have too much of one ingredient, when others are conspicuous by their absence. This just needs more. Interesting attempt to inject a slight sense of intrigue into the ending, with the sound of electrics powering down, but still not enough.

Shadow Of South Mountain – Better! More of this kind of intro riffage! Still dunno quite what’s going on with those curious robotic vocals, though. A bit more melody happening here, in places, though I’d still class it as doom/stoner/sludge metal, given its sound. On a positive note, it works well in a darkened room, which is apt for this writer today, so it has its plus points).

Formerly Known As – Ooh, a bit shrill for my liking, there, with that sound, reminiscent of a disconnected phone, so I’m pleased to say it then moves down, into a low-slung key, characterising the rest of the track, while the rhythm and pace does what it does. It’s much the same, with a largely, unchanging aural landscape, which doesn’t leave much scope to extend the write up any further than that. Just much of a muchness, really.

Last Man Standing – Now this is a far more listenable intro sound, easier on the ears, as an acoustic opening, with more carefully timed drum rolls and the bass taking a side-step, to give the rest chance to breathe. A slower paced number, with more going for it, in terms of manoeuvrability of arrangements and the way in which this spreads the sound out more. There’s emerging potential to utilise variety here. Slightly abrupt ending, but it’s getting somewhere now.

Kaishakunin – Feedback intro, with a slower pace and a doomy, downbeat feel, yet again. Based around a straightforward, dark and down-tuned riff, it’s really just a laid-back, relaxing sound, centring itself on an almost mantra-like beat. That’s all there is to this one and it fades out on the same premise.

Overall – In general sound terms, objectively, it still represents and can’t be said to have moved away from the former tag of stoner/sludge/doom genres, as even without having heard the previous material, that’s it’s overriding sound, permeating throughout. Though not a criticism, in itself, since no genre can or should be slated, for its own sake and such genres, IMHO, have much to offer, it’s proved hard to find anything to write home about, in this album and whilst it’s evidently rhythmic and sporadically melodic, it ultimately leaves a sense of absence of much else and as such, it can only really be said to be adequate.

5/10 *****

For fans of doom, stoner and sludge metal genres.

To pre-order ‘Blood Feud’, digitally, go to:

CD pre-orders will be available closer to release date.

Twingiant are also on bandcamp and facebook.

Released October 13th, 2017, on Argonauta Records.

Thera Roya – ‘Masterful Universe’

September 4, 2017

Released on September 8th, 2017, ‘Masterful Universe ‘ is a 2 track EP, objectively observing and expressing the negative fall-out of global reality. The tracks aim to demonstrate the sensory experience of the metaphorically burning world and its inevitable, associated musical catharsis, with ethereal elements. ‘M.U’. Will be Thera Roya’s 9th release, since 2011 and is a planned self release, which will be launched at a dedicated show, in their home city of Brooklyn, USA, on September 7th, at The Well. Forever expanding their repertoire, T.R. determinedly continue exploring unconventional areas, styles and moods, utilising an entire spectrum within their music.

Confused Population – Ever wondered what action, war and black comedy movie soundtrack genres would sound like, combined in 1 film? Well that’s what this intro sounds like, so far. Now, it’s moving into gothic horror territory, lightening up, slightly, in a ghost train like, humourist format. There’s so much incorporated within it, that it makes it difficult to focus on any specific aspects, but there’s an undeniable skill involved in the production techniques. Past that point, it’s really a case of suck it and see. As subjective as all music ultimately is, a style such as this, composed of so many elements, simultaneously, is even more so and no doubt, everyone will get something different from it. A highly unusual and indefinable listening experience.

Static Transmission – Okay, now we’re almost – note almost, on safer ground. There’s at least more of a definable mood here, within the doomy-stoner-ish, heavy bass, riffs and accompanying drums. Still, vocally, there’s more a sense of insanity, being conveyed, in terms of the themes and subject material, but it’s overriding message seems to be that nothing is clear, logical or definitive. Fair enough, if that’s your aim, but just injecting some solid lyricism might just make it more listenable and easier to get behind its driving message. Largely, cacophonous, but artistically arranged. Imagine The Hulk, appearing from nowhere and coming to get you, as the song closes? Yep, you’re there.

Overall – Intriguing construction, but one requiring effort, to listen to, which ultimately, robs the joy and enjoyment from the listening experience. Undoubtedly artful, intelligent and thoughtful, but losing appeal, in the process. You can have too much chaotic exploration, at the cost of recognisable melody and identifiable hooks and that’s what ‘M.U’. says to me. Too much contemplation, not enough fun.

6/10 ******

For fans of Fleshpress

Night – ‘Raft Of The World’

September 2, 2017

On 1st September 2017, Night released ‘Raft Of The World’, their 3rd album, through The Sign Records, a 9 track album, produced in autumn 2016. ‘ROTW’ symbolises the forward movement of their music, to a rockier sound, whilst retaining their signature hardened approach. Utilising a new interpretation of old school R&R, it incorporates a more complex journey than in their previous work.

Recorded, produced and mixed by Ola Ersfjord, (Tribulation, Dead Lord, Lizzies, Honeymoon Disease), with extra recordings on drums and bass by Linus Lundgren, at studio Ganymeden, Linkoping. The overall production and sound was overseen by Ola, including organ, acoustic guitar and percussion. Mastered by Chris Common (The Mars Volta, Chelsea Wolfe, Mastodon) and artwork created by Mattias Frisk (Ghost, Vanhelgd, Vampire, Trap Them).

Night are a 4 piece band, from Ostergotland, Sweden, formed in 2011. To date, 2 albums and 2 singles have been released. Having gained a reputation for ferocious live gigs, they’re now considered a dependable force. Oskar (lead vocals), sharing his vision for ‘ROTW’, states that it’s a highly expressive album, representing the feelings triggered by the attitudes brought about by and inherent within the music industry. The main perceived outcome, i.e. prioritising the significant things in life and the subsequent thought flow of the artistic process is something he’s confident is evident within the album.

Fire Across The Sky – Delicious, tight, zingy riff intro! Backed up, with perfect timing, with thoughtful drumming and vocals which convey so much, without trying too hard to do so. Great melody, carefully paced and throwing in a snatch of Metallica-esque stop- start style, the rhythm’s got it all here. That one powerful drum blast holds so much strength, at the mid-section and that contemplative finger-picking just adds to the atmosphere. Pure art, with a beautifully definitive ending and I love it.

Surrender – Frenetic drum opening, yet still so controlled. There’s no way to escape loving those throaty vocals, filled with powerful pathos. Catchy rhythm, absolute naturals. Night are evidently one of those few born to rock bands, in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time. Riffage taking the lead here, the passion’s plain to hear and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. A whole raft of melody, intense emotion and you really, hand on heart, feel the meaning and the feeling of the song, through the performance. There’s no better compliment. In rock terms, it’s already up there, with the best.

Under The Gallows – More intentful drumming and a heavier edge now. Almost Viking -like, in its style, this injects another world of meaning. Artful cohesion, pouring a ton of love and intensity into those riffs, strong, clear bass support, real gravel in that voice, it’s just incredible.

Omberg – Gorgeous acoustic treatment, with a sea like sound effect, supporting it. A pure, short, but adorable instrumental.

Time – Riffs introing, vividly and vibrantly, we know immediately, where this song’s going). An all-out melody driven, classic rock track, to escape into, in whichever way the mood takes you. It’s a special one and that’s without doubt. Oh, got to love that guitar break, midway through and the whole intensely catchy pace that just drives it on. Again, the feelings engendered by the song’s inspirations are infectious and even addictive, in their own way. Fading out gradually, on that catchy chorus, it just rocks and then rocks some more.

Strike Of Lightning – Wow. Beautiful chord intro. Opening it up to a whole world of vocal passion and intent, somehow, there’s a sense of a masculine equivalent of Bonnie Tyler’s vocal sound, on ‘Hero’ and the same sense of the mood behind it. Simply gorgeous riffage and so much life and breath within this song. It’s just divine.

Winds – That’s another wow intro, which can only be described as a great driving song I can already hear on Top Gear’s ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ lap section! The main emphasis here is drive and that’s what comes across, throughout. Catchy as hell, melodic and inspired. Just filled to the brim with rocky flavour and all that makes it. Brilliantly fast pace, ending on 3 delightful chords and a sexy as hell fade-out sound, it’s the perfect rock track.

Coin In A Fountain – Nice, tasteful, stormy intro, actually conveyed musically, making it 100% the real deal. Atmospherically charged, inspirational and riven with shades of darkness and light. A skill, in itself, hard to conquer. They’ve achieved it and there’s a very real sense to this. Ending on a thunderous rumbling sound, adding intrigue to the other already nailed elements of mystique; it’s really just pure beauty, musically defined.

Where Silence Awaits – Heavy, hard edged, rocked up intro, contagious and spirited, with a life of its own. Now that voice is really coming into its own, with a truly classic rock vibe, resonant of all the greats of yesteryear and it’s not to be ignored! Special quality presides over this geniusly placed closer. The power within it just reverberates off the walls and the riffs just make it whole. Like only the finest quality chocolate, melting in your mouth and sliding down your throat, with an unforgettable, yet inexplicably good taste.

Overall – Sometimes, there are occasions when a band comes along and just nails the true, original sound of rock to the wall. This is one of them. There’s little could be said, to convey the depth and extent of the talent and 100% natural ability and knack for the rock genre that lives within this album. If you want to feel it and I mean truly feel it, you need to hear ‘ROTW’. The real deal. Accept no imitations.

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

For fans of The Scorpions, Blue Oyster Cult, Europe, Gary Moore.

Available now, via The Sign Records.

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