Rock ‘N’ Roll Army – ‘Don’t Ya Treat Me Bad’

A new, totally DIY release from Captain Marco Mendess (ex S.E.X. Department), of Rock ‘N’ Roll Army, entitled ‘Don’t Ya Treat Me Bad’ is out now.

‘DYTMB’ is the 2nd single from R’N’RA and is a brand-new, personalised style, CMM has termed, ‘black boogie’. It’s essentially, a meeting point between classic R&R and heavy metal, morphing into ‘Rockabilly for Vampires’.

The track’s lyrical contents are a request for the musician at the heart of it to be left alone and allowed to lead and control his own life, creating music.

RNRA’s mission statement says: ‘we are not a band, we are The Army Of Rock ‘N’ Roll, always operating for your favourite music.’

Don’t Ya Treat Me Bad – Very snazzy, electrifying intro, with lots of buzz. Drums merge neatly with the riffs and the boogie woogie piano’s very fitting for this style of track. Surprisingly high-pitched vocals. Very ‘Spirit Of Radio’-esque. A great melody and an altogether fun and upbeat track. Well arranged structures, featuring anthemic backing sections and a very hair/sleaze rock feel. Minimal synth effects and mainly, traditionally based, with a modern finish. It’s a catchy number, blending classic 90’s sounds, with newer flourishes. Ending on a very G’N’R’, ‘U’Y’I’ era piano tone. Production and sound quality, 100%. A lot of fans’ll latch onto this and it’s a cross-over genre sound, likely to prove highly popular.

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

For fans of The Wonder Stuff, GNR’s ‘UYI’ era, Motley Crue, Warrant, Rush, Lyrnyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith.

Posted July 28, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Switch ‘N’ Whisky – ‘Keep It In The Red’

Forming in autumn 2016, Switch ‘N’ Whisky are a hard rocking band, with a traditional sound and an attitude to match). Delivering 110%, whether touring or in the studio, these guys are in it for the long haul.

Building a reputation around Florida, where they’re based, their huge, genuine passion comes across in their performance and their style of execution leaves no room for doubt.

S’N’W are prepping to release their debut single and EP, ‘Keep It In The Red’, by the end of this year.

Keep It In The Red – Seamless, timeless, blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll intro. Effortlessly held vocal tones, classic lyrics and smoothly delivered accompaniments. The cymbals do just need to come forward, a bit more, but those tangy riffs and solid drum hits go together, to create such a catchy melody, driving the whole song on. This is how true rock ‘n’ roll’s done and for a debut, this is absolute mint! Great, faster-paced drum hits and creeping rhythms drive it on, to the end, well assisted by that final, right on point riff screech). The stuff rock legend’s made of.

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

For fans of Thirteen Stars, Blackberry Smoke, Heaven’s Basement, Black Stone Cherry, Trucker Diablo, Gasoline Guns, Live, Black Road Home, Boston, Free.


Posted July 27, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Force It – ‘It’s Crazy’

Introducing hard rock/metal band Force It, from Texas. Born in 2018, after founders Charlie Slocomb and David Lara got back together, with a plan to create an energetic hard-rock band. Succeeding in this aim, their sound is as strong and energised as intended. It’s a typical classic old school sound, with a heavy edge. Out now, on Curtain Call Records, their new track, ‘It’s Crazy’, epitomises this sound.

It’s Crazy – Automatic power! Heavy classic rock intro, with relatable modern lyrics. Clear passion audible. Straight out rock riffs and a fiery edge to the arrangements. Quite Pantheon-esque, stylistically. Impressive sound quality. Very melodic, with a couple of twiddly paradiddles, around the mid-section. Staying upbeat, all the way. Ending on a strong riff and drum section. Ablaze with flames, throughout. No real criticisms at all. As derivative as it may appear, this is a great track, powerfully and passionately performed, if just a tad abruptly ended.

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

For fans of Pantheon, Savatage, Hear ‘N ‘ Aid, Def Leppard.

Posted July 26, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Heavy Broken Machines – ‘Disruption’

Announcing new single and lyric video, from Heavy Broken Machines, Glasgow-based alt rockers. ‘Disruption’ is taken from their soon-to-be-released 4 track EP, ‘The Future Doesn’t Need You’. The single’s already available.

Intended as a cathartic, pro-active response to current global issues, ‘Disruption’ summarises both the problem and the perceived solution. The new single follows on from their last track, ‘We Are Here’, back in April. ‘Disruption’s associated video has already hit more than 2K YouTube hits and received much media acclaim, including frequent airplay.

Disruption – Very rave-esque intro! It’s instantly clear that HBM have progressed, from the groove inherent in here. Melodic, with a modern alt rock vibe, ‘Disruption’ is a big step forward, for the guys. Very guitar-based, with mid-range vocals, good standard of sound production and here, the brief electronic effects are placed at exactly the right point. Freer form accompaniments, with greater rhythm section input, from 3/4 in. Good vocal accuracy and this has got a punky, Brit rock feel. Whilst it’s more of a mellow sound than a hard-hitting one, it’s definitely much better and rockier than previous material and as such, it’s a step up. Here, the riffage blends well with the rest and it’s generally a much enhanced structure, with clearer cohesion and catchy beats. Generic, still, but a very capably arranged performance, with a certain memorability.

6/10 ******

For fans of Elastica, Garbage, Placebo, The Eurythmics.


Posted July 25, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Steignyr – ‘The Legacy Of Wyrd’

Introducing Steignyr, an epic Celtic death metal quintet, founded in Barcelona, in 2012. Following a Spanish tour and 2 EP’s, 2013’s ‘The Voice From The Forest’ and 2014’s ‘The Legend’, a debut LP, entitled ‘Tales Of A Forgotten Hero’ (2014) was released, globally, via Art Gates Records.

A popular well acclaimed European tour preceded ‘The Prophecy Of The Highlands’, equally revered, leading to a tour of China, known as ‘The Prophecy Of The Asian Lands’. Their next album, ‘Through The Shadows Of Freedom’ followed. Steignyr now return, with a new line-up and this, their latest album, ‘The Legacy Of Wyrd’, featuring contributions from Kit Harrington and Peter Dinklage (Game Of Thrones) and Sir Ian McKellen (Lord Of The Rings). Out now, on AGR, ‘TLOW’ aims to be one of the most memorable folk metal albums of 2021.

Prologue – Opening with the sound of a trap door opening, along with intentful footsteps, a fire being lit, while a storm rages outside and ominous raven calls ring out. A gentle narrative takes over, recounting a legendary family history, explaining the meaning of what’s to follow. A very Braveheart-esque melody follows, beautifully performed. A huge fantasy strand lives within this. Ending with more Celtic melodies, the unique form of intro marks this out as something special.

Mendo – A sweeping Celtic melody intro’s, with gentle, feminine vocals, initially, then strong, masculine death vocals join in, interlacing with the others. This is a really sharp, fresh, powerful sound, so unusual and rarely heard within death metal. It’s very welcome originality. Continuing on, with jigs and reels, combined with speed metal riffs, zesty woodwind and string accompaniments. Such a gloriously accessible sound. Hugely visually evocative of forests and olde worlde ritual celebrations. Speeding up, 3/4 in, bringing in vocal harmonies, drums and just a really eclectic instrumental combo. This is a truly goose bump-inducing sound.

The Coming Of Aland – A slightly deeper intro, with a heavier vocal combo, entering early on, with a death and melodic duet. It’s a very strong performance, with powerful, dense drums. This is more vocally based. Still incorporating soprano recorder/piccolo, strategically placed. A fabulously fantasy-esque spoken script follows, before the epic sound builds, to a heavy timbre. Feminine and masculine vocals interlace, again, then it fades out, smoothly.

The Legacy Of Wyrd – Soft Baroque style lutes intro, with gentle acoustic tones. Celtic bagpipes return, with beautiful feminine vocals, hauntingly melodic. Very fitting background effects help to build the picture. A wonderfully folky track, with a whole host of power behind it. Again, those deliciously Celtic accompaniments strengthen it so well. Fading out, on the same.

The Rising Of Death – Acutely, zesty intro, featuring Ceilidh-esque sounds, followed by a racing vocal duet. Building into a gothic sounding narrative, moving, effortlessly, from the height of power, to softened, ethereal vocals. Every time change is so deftly handled and always, the Celtic basis remains. Swift outro.

Edevane – Hugely explosive intro. Straight into death/melody duet. Smooth, seamless flow. Such an intriguing combo. Recounting a story, before the harp enters, at the mid-section. This is a very strong structure, showcasing the unique possibilities of blending Celtic accompaniments with death and melodic vocals, simultaneously.

Travellers – Drums open, with a fresh, exciting delivery. The breath within this track adds space and light. Troll death vocals march on, in combo with those airy melodic ones. Other vocal styles join them. A very theatrical track, with underlying Celtic melodies. So creatively combined, with good drum segments. A gaggle of voices sings, in unison, till the end.

Immortal Family – Velvet smooth pan pipes intro, with clear Celtic melodies. A low drum rumble plays, almost inaudibly, in the background, till a collective vocal overtakes and some impressively high woodwind tones are hit. Drums gaining power and growing heavier. Death vocals share the space, once more, with those hauntingly shrill melodic lyrics. Becoming chant-like, in places. The Celtic element’s always the strongest. It builds, in volume, to the end.

Rhythm Of Time – Instant power, almost orchestral, in effect. Shrill sopranos accompany the medium vocals, with Ogreish death vocals doing their thing, once more. Such vibrant melodies. Great tumbling drum rolls, handling pace and tempo changes well. Woodwind accompaniments hit the heights, as the masculine death/feminine melodies overtake, with more haunting ethereality, in the background. Generally strong, with a continuing Celtic basis. Growing stronger, right to the end.

The Well Of Ice – Heavy, hard-hitting drum intro. This is much denser and deeper, in its emphasis. Still retaining the light and mysticism. Equal power, in the depths and heights. Very dramatic. The drums lend intensity to the percussive aspects, here. Building the lyrics, to a saga. Everything has its place and plays it to perfection. Shrill tones ending.

The Giant Pillar Of Rock – A curious, but powerful vortex of male choirs open. Then into a fast-paced Celtic melody, with vocals to match. Heavy drum hits join. Very ritualistic arrangements. Very physical, like a dance reel formation. Quite cinematic, instrumentally. Briefer than the rest.

Everything Silent – A solemn tone intro’s. Orchestral and moving, quickly, into another fast-paced Celtic metal arrangement. Here, the vocal duets blend, so naturally. That glorious, rare combo of light and dark, heavy and soft works brilliantly, within the vocal set-up. Some very snazzy wizard riffs, around the mid-section. Those feminine vocals rise, to the heights, with rhythmic drum rolls supporting. So much goes on in here. It’s such an impressive sound combo. Ending on some tangy riffs.

Aftermath – A single drum hit opens, onto a landscape of melancholy sounding riffs, rapidly growing, into upbeat speed riffs. This is where the guitar gets its day. More jig-like woodwind accompaniments and breathy drum hits. A beautiful pure instrumental, which, though it does contain some vaguely melancholic tones, clearly balances them out, with mostly uplifting melodies. Drums picking up speed, around the mid-section. Everything joins together, in a complex melodic structure, with so much energy and that Celtic tone always stays at the heart of the sound. Brief, but rhythmic cymbal hits end.

Epilogue – The mysterious aura returns. A dark, sinister narration foretells the future. Very affecting content. The familiarity of the voice assists in heightening the gravitas. A haunting Celtic accompaniment surrounds it, leading into birdsong and daylight, with just the tiniest knock on the door. Very Merlin-esque territory.

Overall – ‘The Legacy Of Wyrd’ is quite simply, incredible. Never having heard this done with death metal before, this sound has astounded me. The epic narrative backdrops, from beginning to end, combined with the strikingly unique sound and style combos featured, throughout bring a new and wonderfully vibrant thread to Celtic death metal, adding a level of melody so rarely attempted, within this genre. Hauntingly beautiful delivery, conveyed with deeply affecting craftsmanship and musicality, ‘TLOW’ is a one-off gem, of extreme rarity.

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

For fans of Gaia Epicus, Silent Winter, Farseer, Emerald Shine, Feskarn, ARDDUC, Carnal Agony, Pagandom, Adamantis, Celtic Legacy, Dark Forest.

Posted July 24, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Bellhead – ‘Dead Lights’

Announcing new 5 track EP release, ‘Dead Lights’, from Chicago-based post-punk duo, Bellhead. Available now, online. A support tour is currently in preparation.

Bellhead are Ivan Russia (vocals/high bass), ex-Ahab Rex, Mr Russia, Pigface and Sheriff Scabs and Karen Righeimer (low bass/vocals), Fashion Bomb, Team Cybergeist, W.O.R.M., Now I’m Nothing, Mindflux Funeral and Bethany Thomas.

Inspired by bands such as One Can Hear The Killed, Bauhaus, Blood Red Shoes, Sleigh Bells, Death From Above, The Raveonettes, The White Stripes, She Wants Revenge, Helmet and The Jesus And Mary Chain, all these sounds are audible within their music.

Sensational live gigs incorporate multi-sensory effects, for greater atmospheric emphasis.

2019 saw Bellhead feature on Side Line Magazine’s Face The Beat Compilation, hitting Bandcamp’s top 10 downloads, WKQX Local 101 Radio Show and doing a tour, to support their ‘Runaway’ single release.

In order to support a local music venue, Bellhead performed a live streamed show, in 2020, gathering more than 2000 hits, in under 24 hours.

‘Sanity Assassin’, at fan request, was performed live, in 2019, in homage to one of Bellhead’s major inspirations and then launched, as a limited edition non-album, fan club release.

The band commenced 2021 with ‘Remix With Guns’, with Part 2 as bonus material. This track is free, exclusive to the band’s new mailing list. ‘RWG’ also features members of teams associated with Chemlab, Sister Machine Gun, Pigface, 13MG, Hip Deep Trilogy, Mnpltr, The Final Cut, Bounte, I: Scintilla, Atomica Project, Missing In Stars and Emulsion.

‘DL’ follows previous release, ‘Unicorn Bones’. Produced by audio engineer Neil Strauch (Iron and Wine, Counting Crows, Owls, Joan Of Arc, Walking Bicycles,) and mastered by Carl Staff (Acid Mothers Temple, Smoking Popes, Red Fang, Guided By Voices and more), Ivan and Karen are managed by David Schock (Wtii Records).

‘DL’ progresses Bellhead’s sound, creatively, whilst staying true to their now renowned down tuned bass. Referencing both Type O Negative and Neil Young, in their tracks, the basis of their industrial sound is reflected in the tale of Frankenstein, with an Alice Cooper and White Zombie edge.

Bellhead have recently supported Powerman 5000 and Stoneburner, on tour, which commenced at Hattrix, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Their debut 2020 EP, ‘UB’ straddled various genres, including post-punk, gothic, industrial, alternative and metal, catapulting them to stardom, via print in a variety of online and printed publications. These include, the Deli Magazine (September band of the month), Divide And Conquer, Bass Magazine, Whitelight/Whiteheat, on which fan favourite ‘Sanity Assassin’ debuted, Breathing The Core, Chicago Music Guide and Music Eternal’s band of the month.

Having collaborated with directors John Weaver and Scott Fedor (multiple MCU films), on their music videos, the ‘UB’ video rapidly hit 1000+ views, within a fortnight.

Material from ‘UB’ continues to receive global airplay.

Mercy – Low bass rumble intro’s, onto a murky sound, with ominously whispered vocals. Light cymbal tinkles interact with gentle feminine vocals, yielding to the masculine ones. Lots of heavy atmosphere and an intriguing blend of 90’s Brit-rock, punk and gothic sounds play out, as the vocals combine, intensifying the dark emphasis. Ending with the same pulsing bass.

Nothing As It Seems – Curious physical sound effects, embodying the title’s ethos. Quirky, with a lot of synth-pop emphasis and kick drums, in the background. A lot of electronic stuff going on here. It’s a bit Human League-esque. Difficult to perceive it as a rock track, really, but it’s certainly experimental, with a consistent beat.

The River – Dull melody opens, with a strong sense of The Smiths. Very morbid lyrics. The beat works well and the percussive element grows, taking the mood up, slightly. Very centralised around the drum and bass aspects. A bit of a mish-mash of sounds, with a balance between cacophony and quiescence. Quite emo, in essence. Ending on a maudlin lyric. Very Cocker-esque vocals.

Frankenstein – Surprisingly upbeat intro, with more drum and bass focus. More of a narrative theme, with more tinkling cymbals. Combining the male and female vocals again, adding in some riff screeches and low toned melodies. The whispering continues, with gothic accompaniments and intensifying drums, returning to the creepiness of the slow beats. Fading out, on a minor vortex effect.

Dead Letter – A lot of darkness opening. Like the gaping jaws of a man eating sea creature. (Though perhaps the cover art just entered my psyche, at that point). Doom-based emo vocals, supported by equally downbeat piano tones. The beat continues, in much the same miserable tone. Building, into a full-on cloak of smothering darkness. A merging of funereal vocals, backed by a matching beat closes.

Overall – Darker than expected, ‘Dead Lights’ is very heavily entrenched in doom, macabre atmosphere and funereal tones. Performatively, well handled, if very reliant on sound effects. From a popularity point of view, it’s not going to win many prizes and the same goes for the general listening experience. No real issues with the production quality, but on the whole, it’s just very mood-lowering, which although it befits the title well, results in a very dismal, bleak, gloomy listen. Ultimately, ‘Dead Lights’ feels like a doomed, sinking ship.

4/10 ****

For fans of The Smiths, The Cure, The Human League, Garbage, Nick Cave, Pulp’s more downbeat tracks.

Pre-order ‘DL’ at:

Posted July 23, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Morphium – ‘The Fall’

Around since 2005, Morphium formed in Gerona, Spain. A metal quintet, straddling various genres, along the spectrum. ‘The Fall’ is their 4th album, following 2008’s ‘La Era de la Decadencia’, 2013’s Cronicas de una muerte anunciada’ and 2016’s ‘The Blackout’. It’s out now, via Art Gates Records.

Morphium have toured several countries, to date, headlining shows, where they’ve played alongside such bands as Anthrax, Motorhead, Suicidal Tendencies and In Flames. ‘TF’ is modern dark metal, for dark metal souls.

Dance Of Flies – A gradual gothic intro, complete with building omen and death vocals, combining with melodic lyrics. The darkness hits you, at once. It’s a good mix of sounds, with some great riffage. Not quite as hard-hitting as might be expected, but there’s a lot of good musicianship. Well timed accompaniments. Ending on vocal echoes.

The Truth – Opening on a skilful paradiddle, then moving into a contemplative narrative. Decent balance of moods. Technical and melodic, in equal measure. Even some vaguely Disturbed-esque riffs in there. It’s mainly dark, but it traverses into light, aswell. Quite typical alt death metal, in some respects, but there’s enough variety to be deemed melo-death.

Parasite – Creepy intro vocals, building into another melo-death combo. Very convincing lyrics. Decent delivery. It might be termed derivative, in certain ways, but it’s still solidly executed. Quite a lot of crunchy riff compression and a consistent drum beat supports the melody well. Creative, in its own way, with fitting intensity.

Everybody Is Dead In This House – Vortex of sound opening. Funky grooves to the riffs and again, a lot of gothic darkness. Verging on horror metal, but still working in enough higher melodies to convey more complexity. Relatable lyrics, plausibly vocalised. Death roars enter, before the drum pace picks up. The melodies here are strategically positioned and the roars and sung vocals blend into each other, at the end.

Burn My Skin – Good solid drum beat intro. A sinister sense enters the vocals. Melodic sections well timed and the accompaniments flow beautifully. Some harsher, blackened vocals work their way in, but still, the riffs remain smooth and velvety. Very decent vocal choruses. The musicality’s spot-on. Ending on a rhythmic drum roll.

Insorcism – Carefully timed intro, suddenly growing, into heavy sounds. Throwing out raw death vocals, before bringing in the melodic ones, performing that same dance of extremity versus light. Good flow, again. Coarse lyrics combine with vividly melodic riffage. A quiescent section hits, 3/4 in, drawing out the light. Intensifying the drum hits, towards the end.

Blacksoul – Brief radio frequencies open, before the melancholy vibe overtakes. Moving into lighter territory, conveyed via heavy accompaniments. More melodic vocals shine brighter, through the strong rhythm section. Upping the vocal intensity, right to the end.

My Apocalypse – Intriguing crunchy intro. It’s instantly strong and solid, in emphasis. The vibe suits this track well. Again, that atmosphere takes it back into Disturbed-esque territory. Powerful and breathy, this is where the modern vibe comes to the fore more prominently. It’s possibly this track that’ll prove the strongest hit. Ending on an airy drum and cymbal hit, you might say this is a track that breathes.

Something Dead Inside – Coming in, gradually, with a horror movie-esque lyric, backed by a strong percussive hook. The melody hits in time to keep attention. Lyrically accessible, with strongly supportive drum backdrops. Still, a well-placed twiddly riff, 3/4 in, emphasising the melody more. Again, it throws out that sonic, pop metal vibe, ending on an affecting screech of riffage.

Past – Opening on scratchy radio interference, then tinkling cymbals and a morose, downbeat melody. Sounds like submarines precede cacophonous voices. A brief and sensory focused track, with one continuous beat keeping it alive, through the scratchy atmosphere. The wild card of the pack.

Tired – Solid heavy drum hits intro, straight onto a vicious death vocal. Ominous whispers lead to a deeper melody. As ever, the rhythm’s central. More of a free-form groove to this, loosely performed, but with just as much emphasis. A more intense, cleverly placed riff, at the mid-section, heightening the melody. There’s still depth, but it’s just a little lighter, in structural terms. It does gain power, at the end.

The Fall – Another gradual opening. Mysterious effects move into an artificial intelligence sound, very resonant of that on Def Leppard’s ‘Armageddon It’. This is quite sci-fi-esque. Doctor Who fans’ll enjoy this. Very Dalek-like. It does add intrigue, but at the expense of melody and any degree of relatability.

Overall – Generally speaking, ‘The Fall’ is a well delivered sound, with many interesting features. There are, though, a couple of oddities, namely ‘Past’ and ‘The Fall’, (unfortunate, given the latter’s the title track), both of which divert from the mainly consistent sound emphasis. While these do mar the effect, somewhat, it’s largely, a very decent, eclectic execution, featuring a fair helping of accessibly modern melodic hooks.

8/10 ********

For fans of KITA, Nick Cave, DARK, Death Blooms, Deified, Disturbed, IDDQD, Dark Years From Now.

Posted July 20, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Ankhara – ‘Premonicion’

Forming in 1995, Spanish heavy metal band Ankhara have just released their new album, ‘Premonicion’.

Having other releases to their names, Ankhara have spent many years building a solid reputation, within the scene. They’ve performed alongside numerous global bands. Going on long term hiatus, in 2004, then regrouping, in 2013, the band is now as tight and solid as ever. That continuing chemistry contributed to the power of ‘Premonicion’, now available, in Europe, through Art Gates Records.

Runaway – Solid heavy metal riff intro! Hard edged powered drum hits and very classic 80’s/90’s hair metal vocals. Battering rams of metal in your face). Instant rhythms and a gigantic stack of power. Great riff melodies and just a sheer rock face of steel, from start to end).

Slowly – Banging opening and straight into a fab whammy section, rapidly chased by hugely heavy drum rolls, edgy vocals, with anthemic backing sections and a humongously new wave traditional feel. This sound is everything you want in metal. Incredible musicianship, immense riffage and ultimate power. It’ll floor you, at first listen. If you like your metal heavily melodic and equally orgasmic, with light pouring through it, then this is the one for you.

Waiting For The Eternity – Solid, pumping drum hits intro, followed up with more sexy riffage and now grit-edged vocals. Automatic rhythmic momentum. Classic power metal, turned up, to the max. This just blasts out the sounds. Such a confident, impassioned delivery. Mercilessly metallic, showcasing speed, throughout. That finger work’s just to die for! Seriously insanely good. The beats match the darkly sensual melodies, to the hilt. All topped off with a solid drum hit outro.

Awake My Soul – Straight into immediate speed metal, with power screaming right through it. Drums just rule. So sleek and sexy. Changing up and down, through the different rhythms, with seamless ease. So much joy and exuberance just sings through it. A massively fun track, with relentless drum rhythms surging through it, all the way. This is just immense. A huge beast of epic proportions, both in performance and production. Speed riffs sliding out.

Your Revolution – The same intensely crazed drumming and madly melodic riffage opens. Never a single beat missed. Manna from metal heaven. A brilliant drum roll twirls around, just before the mid-section. Just absolutely relentless, in speed, intensity and melody. This here sound is one it’s simply impossible not to be moved by. Absolute power. Wizard shred fests, colossal drumming, naturally rhythmic vocals and blinding melodies, with some highly colourful pedal effects adding to the excitement. Banging drum outro.

Again – Yet another fab heavy drum and riff intro, this time, with gloriously screaming riffage. Just as remorseless, in intensity, strength and passion, it’s just a sheer metallic delight. Throwing in some gloriously classic old school touches and never ever letting go of that beat. The whole sound just sings to your senses. So melodic, it hits you, like a flood of metal rain. Catchy doesn’t even begin to cover this. The ending covers you in a metal blanket of drums.

With No Pleading – Automatic mechanical metal hits you, with full force. Another banger of a track. Thrillingly fast-paced, racetrack stuff, with bells on. Classic vocals scream metal, through and through. A blizzard of shredding flies through this, at the height of metallic melody. More of that delicious rainstorm effect. Ending on a gigantic drum crash.

Trails Of Thorns – Drum attack intro, immediately followed by vocal rhythms to match. More of an anthemic streak to this one. Stacks of molten hot melody, again. Just so light-hearted and uplifting. It’s just consistently exemplary and fun. Even some riff virtuoso stuff in there. This rings with melody, from beginning to end. Riff skidding into the ending steer.

Face This – Opening with that same strong-willed metal spirit, again, with another blast of drums. Powerful edge to the vocals. So heavily rhythmic, once more. Some great power screams in here and a ton of relentless verve. Everything in perfect unison and a well fitting call and response thread. More magnificent riffing, showcasing such fine dexterity and craftsmanship. Thrill-filled, each note held, precisely and just a huge rollercoaster ride, to the end.

The Hunter – More banging drums intro, with that same tireless energy. Once again, chucking in a call and response segment, reinforcing that anthemic flavour and upbeat, all the way. More aptly placed effects, only adding to the thrills. Melody is king, here and is very much at the heart of this band. Dizzyingly driven riffage plays out, as the drums pile on the pressure and the vocals really drive that enthralling message home. Just perfection and so inviting. A sneaky stop-start section reveals itself, just before the bomb blast drum finale.

Overall – Bow down and worship at the altar of these megalithic metal masters. ‘Premonicion’ is one insanely enthralling, energy stacked thrill ride, from start to finish. Ankhara is a band you’ll never forget. Delivered with absolute gold standard, pinpoint precision, produced with maximum quality, screaming with fun driven, mood-lifting melodies and musicianship to die for, this is an album which’ll never leave your player. Sheer metal gold.

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

For fans of Powervice, Reign Of Fury, Skid Row, Steve Vai, Extreme, White Wizzard, Motley Crue, Kickin’ Valentina, Gypsy Pistoleros, AC/DC.

Posted July 19, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Havamal – ‘The Shadow Chapter’

Swedish metallers Havamal return, with new 9 track album, ‘The Shadow Chapter’. Following their 2019 debut, this is another progression for the band, since forming, in 2016.

Delivering a potent mix of orchestral melodic metal, Viking, power, death and black metal, Havamal’s live shows are a big hit with audiences, for their dramatic liveliness and their sound’s already becoming renowned for its originality.

‘TSC’ is out now, on Art Gates Records.

The North Awakens – A deep, atmospheric intro gradually leads into a fantasy-esque sound, with powerful drumming behind it. This is very much film soundtrack territory, with a lot of promise.

Fenris – Instant power. Very theatrical, Epica-esque stuff here. Again, the drums form the backbone. Death vocals unite with backing choirs and frenetic drumming and riffage. It’s a very strong sound, with clear visual imagery. Well structured arrangements and a stack of building melody. Classic orchestral metal, creative and light, amidst the heaviness. Given Havamal are still relatively new to the scene, this is a highly impressive sound, boding well for the future.

Nidhoggr – Pounding heavy drum intro. Riffs leading straight on from there, with seamless ease. Again, it’s very much in the vein of bands such as Epica, Nightwish and Within Temptation, with strong hints of Turisas. The combo of light accompaniments and dark death vocals is well worked, pitched just right and perfectly paced. The riffs come alive, evoking powerful visuals and creating high-energy melody. You’d think these guys were well seasoned in the industry, from the absolute precision and strength of this performance.

Kraken – Deep opening, combining instrumentals and meaningful timing. Once again, it’s exquisitely theatrical. The rhythm’s relentless, adapting to the moment, with confident professionalism. Blackened vocals combine so well with the lighter accompaniments, keeping the visual momentum going. Beautiful melodies sing from the guitar, as bestial vocals roar. Tempo pitched at just the right level, again. So picturesque. Everything’s completely cohesive. Keyboard fade out.

Empire Of The Ashen Sun – Strong, echoic drum beats intro, with a slight Eastern tinge to the melody. Moving into a well blended arrangement. The troll vocals continue. Audibly stomping through the scene. An easy rolling rhythm embodies this, with sections of deliciously screaming riffage. The light enters, like the opening of a forest clearing and vocal echoes sing, in the background. Drums just rolling along, easily. Vocals growing stronger and more guttural, as it moves to an end.

Nornirs Call – A sonic opening, then straight back into another fantastical, theatrical sound. Just effortless. Fast-paced rhythms really bring out that melody. Keys strategically positioned. The joyful passion’s audible, in here. Slightly stronger narrative. More keyboard involvement, strengthening and supporting the drums, creating a powerful atmosphere. Moving into clear power metal territory, delivering some stunning riffage and a lot of light filled colour. A sharpened edge to the blackened vocals adds a pointed signature to the end.

Jormungandr – Strong orchestral intro, very Turisas-esque. Dramatic qualities lend it so much emphasis. Speeding up, in unison and complete cohesion, it’s a good balance of lighter and heavier sounds. Vocals and accompaniments work so intuitively, together and Celtic sounds become more prominent here. Naturally driven drum close.

Hel – Mysterious twinkly keyboard tones intro, onto a bed of heavy drumming, from which, more blackened death vocals fly. Fast-paced, with lots of melody and a lot of drive. Tighter riffage plays with exuberant vocals. Great timing, incorporating lively riff solos and rattling drumming, with breathier sections, amongst the tightness. Keys get a better chance to shine, in here, with that shadowy accompaniment, fading out.

The Curse Of Grendel – Huge orchestral intro, with drums beating, powerfully and confidently. Segueing, into a well fitting looser riff section. Death growls follow. Good narrative lyrical strand. Everything fits together, again. Intensifying the growls, a Celtic synth enters, as the orchestral element builds. Drums beating harder, with that melody in the background. The whole sound grows, collectively, till the closing drum finale.

Overall – Faultless metallic aesthetics shine from ‘TSC’, all the way. An amazing talent for orchestral metal shows, throughout. Considering this is only Havamal’s 2nd album, it could stand alongside any highly rated famous album, of that genre, easily. Precise, colourful and creatively complex, ‘TSC’ is an outstanding album, of exquisitely intricate quality.

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

For fans of Epica, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Evanescence, Aonia, Lacuna Coil, Adamantis, Herzel, Carnal Agony, Pagandom, AYTHIS, ARDDUC, Viking Queen, Wintereve.

Posted July 18, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Tragedy And Triumph – ‘Where Mountains Rise And Hearts Fall’

Available now, ‘Where Mountains Rise And Hearts Fall’ is the debut album from Viking melo-death band Tragedy And Triumph. A self-production, by founder Marius Berendsen (Mallevs Maleficarvm, Antares, Ex-Thyrgrim), a teaser clip is available on YouTube. Live shows will happen, as soon as COVID regulations permit.

Heldengrab – Beautifully gentle acoustic chords intro. Evoking the natural backdrop, so easily. Joined by a second acoustic, playing in magically interwoven strands. Light background chants enter and the chords fade out, majestically.

I, Triumphant – Instant power)! That’s how to create strong atmosphere. Death roars precede classic Viking riff melodies. Long, powerful roars meld with melodic riffage. Sharp, electrifying tones bridge the track. Lots more death growls continue on, as does the gorgeous melody. Ending on a solitary piano note, equalling a deep bass line.

Five Arrows – Sleek riffage opens. Straight into speed metal territory. More death roars, combining with the blazing riffs. There’s certainly a lot of strength behind this. Banging drums add another rhythmic dimension. It just works. Great musical chemistry here. Really catchy melodies and sensuality in the steadier pace, before it picks up again. Very ‘Twilight Of The Thunder Gods’. Fading out coolly.

Where Fires March Victorious – Fading in steadily, with well compressed riffs. Taking it up, gradually and adeptly. The troll vocals return, with powerful, carefully spaced drum hits behind them. Very traditional Viking metal stuff. Just well blended sounds, with consistent strength. Cymbal tinkles add a lighter edge, beating in time with the vocals, creating greater atmosphere. The roars reappear and the pace speeds up. It’s very visually evocative. Steady fade out.

Beneath The Howling Gate – Heavy drum hits intro, leading into equally heavy riffage. Lots more roary vocals. Speeding up, in a very thrilling, chase like way. The riffs roll just as well as the drums. Complete synchronisation. Just a very invigorating track. This is one sexy track. Speeding up, once more, it races along. Unrelenting vocal blackness is well-balanced, by the light and melody of the accompaniments. Pounding drum beats add that all-important power surge.

Of Mountains And War Drums – Clanging heavy mediaeval sounds and atmosphere intro, then right into a lightning fast riff. A lot of heavy emphasis. The faster pace suits this track well. Vocals still as deathy and still offset, by the surrounding accompaniments. It’s just a very vibrant sound, with all the heaviness required, to build that atmosphere. Like a light explosion of metal. Ending on a huge drum roll.

In Pride And Sorrow – Sharp, slanted riff opening. Slower, but no less powerful rhythm. Pounding drums, with a slight doom emphasis. Once more, that Viking atmosphere’s evoked, so clearly. Moving, seamlessly, into a steel string solo, before speeding back up again, into racing riffs, flying along the frets. Heavily rhythmic drums speed up, some more. It just glides into another light filled heavy outro.

Ride For Revenge – Pounding drums intro. An even heavier note to this. Even sharper riffs and more growly vocals. Moving down, into a steady, but gradually heightening rhythm. The drums really own this track. Great anthemic group shouts, fuelling the Viking theme, further. Well spaced drum hits and every pitch and pace alternation’s handled so deftly and dexterously. Very fitting electrifying close.

Hymn For A Newborn Star – A howling gale intro’s, onto a more contemplative melody. Audibly portraying a swirling storm, surrounding it and still such sensual riff sounds, eventually overtaking, before exploding, into life. Speed riffs accompany visceral vocals, yielding to solos and steadier drum rhythms. Building and levelling out the sounds and melodies. Drums moving between lightning fast battering rolls and lighter, spacier tones. Gradually fading, on a return to the storm.

Where Mountains Rise And Hearts Fall – Clear, neat bass line intro, picking out each individually plucked note, before feeling its way into the track, with coolly seductive tones. Suddenly filling the space with explosive, frantic metal riffs, with drums to match. Bringing in some reverb and sonic blasts of sound, intensifying and climbing down again, with consummate ease. Moving down, into a silky smooth sensuality, then firing it back up, with shards of metallic light energy. Taking it up, to electric territory, as sparks fly, into the atmosphere, then bringing it to an abrupt, but definitive end.

Lost War – Poignant piano intro, performed with such solemnity. Beautifully heartfelt sounds, conveying sincere emotion. Fading out on the same.

Overall – Flawlessly and passionately performed, from start to finish, ‘WMRAHF’ is a fabulous portrayal of Viking metal, balancing every aspect, perfectly and delivering atmosphere, with a capital A. Excitement and energy feature enthrallingly and the Viking sound’s brought out, so convincingly. An album to stand alongside those of any Viking metal giants.

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

For fans of Morgarten, Wrathblade, North Hammer, Celtic Frost, Farseer, Grand Magus, Amon Amarth.

Posted July 17, 2021 by jennytate in Uncategorized