Marc Vanderberg – ‘Highway Demon’

October 20, 2017

German hard rock singer-songwriter Marc Vanderberg released his 2nd album, ‘Highway Demon’, on September 7th, 2017, following the 1st album, ‘Devil May Care’. ‘Highway Demon’ is a more rock oriented and back to roots 10 track album, including 1 instrumental. Brazilian vocalist Raphael Gazal sings on every song, all music is by Oliver Deleker and Marc V., all lyrics and instruments by Marc and it was mixed and mastered by Thorsten Eligehausen, CEO of German label, darkSIGN Records, with whom Marc had worked previously. ‘H.D.’ is released via darkSIGN. The album title was O.D. and M.V.’s choice and as a pure rock title track, is a re-recorded version of a 25-year-old live number, modelled on old school 70s rock. Album Artwork by Klaus Schwartz, at Art-Works Media D-Sign. A wide variety of musical equipment was used to create the album, including instruments from different eras of rock.

Highway Demon – Nice motorbike engine roar intro! Rapidly followed by a classic metal riff and vocal, making the whole track what it is – a true metal warrior’s anthem. Added to which, the lyrics are a perfect partner, completing the feel of old school, with a modern twist, providing joyful sounds and energy, keeping it going, with a fast, fun pace and screaming metal. Instant hit.

Blue Eyes – Cool rocky intro, with all the genuine feel to add to it. Immediate, honest and drenched in passion. This is a must for all those ardent fans of old school rock and metal. Catchy as hell, there’s everything to love within it and it ends on the smoothest riff, topping it off coolly and tastefully. Awesome.

Bad Paradise – Moving smoothly, once more, into more made for metal stuff, it’s just packed with all that true metal’s made of. Noticeably succeeding in creating an upliftingly joyous sound, regardless of the more serious nature of the lyrics, it closes on an equally smooth outro, of perfected speed.

The Last Battle – Gloriously involved intro riff, engaging, warm and hugely melodic. Sustaining that same welcoming metallic feel throughout, throwing in some luscious paradiddles and twiddly riffs for good measure, it’s got pace, rhythm, melody, sound and feel nailed. Deserving of compliments on every level, it proves that fact in its careful, perfectly timed fade-out.

How Do You Feel – Soft, beautifully haunting piano intro, with clearly felt lyrics. One listen and the accompanying melancholy will penetrate through you, threatening to drown you, as the message of the words continues on. The following riff entrenches that message in such a rarely performed way, spreading poignancy through the rest of the song and hitting you so hard, it almost overwhelms you. If any track’s destined to give you goose pimples of empathy, sending shivers down your spine, it’s this one. Verging on heart stopping, ‘HDYF’ is so literal in the performance of its question, it’s likely to answer its own question. Beyond powerful.

Indispensable – Straight in there, with a seemingly effortless flow, already, it’s a crystal clear demonstration of its lyrics in action. Those riffs are just incredible. Conveying so much emotion, in all its glory, ‘Indispensable’ is a storehouse of sincerity and such a privilege to hear. Outstanding.

You’re Like Poison – Taking the mood back up again now and rocking it up, big time, this is a real night driving song). Audible Alice Cooper influence in that ‘poison running through my veins’ line and it works so well for this track. Lots more delicious riffage and yummy melody, creating so much catch, along with those effortless, seamless vocals. Another hit and that’s it.

When I Turn The Key – More metal aceness runs through this, including some tasty power screams too. Oh there’s the inevitable ‘666’ reference and it works). Growing catchier by the second, it’s a cavalcade of melody, enlivening your senses and it just makes you want to go with its flow. Stunning.

The Final Chapter – Opening with thunder and more biker stuff, inexorably following it with more metal glory. The whole thing is just a massive feast of all that makes metal great. Ending as it began, flawless and fun, that’s all there is to it.

Total Eclipse – Drumming intro, an epic feast of all things metal). Get that creative gift of a riff, it’s got that sound of melting chocolate, sliding down your throat and filtering through your soul. Finishing on another drumming fest, it’s over before you know it and by now, you know the ‘Highway Demon’ has possessed your spirit.

Overall – An immense and inexplicably good pleasure ride through a land of metal dreams and fantasies, leading to positive outcomes and wish fulfilment. ‘Highway Demon’ is a rare gem of cohesion of all the best ingredients, composing great, enjoyable and memorable metal you love, with a passion. Truly outstanding.

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

For fans of old school metal, such as Judas Priest, new wave, speed and power metal, including Taberah and Soulforge and of course, masters of neo-classical metal, such as Yngwie Malmsteen.


Ben Blutzukker – ‘Riptide’

October 17, 2017

Welcome to ‘Riptide’, Ben Blutzukker’s 2nd EP. Classic heavy metal, with thrash, death and black elements. Formed in 2015, Ben is a solo artist, influenced by bands such as Satyricon, etc. This 5 track, 21 minute EP includes a title track accompanied by a video, Bram Stoker influence for the 2nd track and a cover song for the 3rd track, initially performed by Mercyful Fate, King Diamond and Mementum Mori. The lyrics generally deal with standard problems facing most musicians. ‘Riptide’ was released on 6th October 2017. It’s available to download, stream or on CD.

Riptide – That’s 1 strong intro! Heavy as lead bars, being thrown down on the ground and run over by a road roller, driven by a crazed killer. For a solo effort, it’s a damn good production, with equally proportioned vocals and instrumentals, plenty of thrash and just enough death influence to make the vocals clearly audible. There’s a slight horror themed edge to it, but generally speaking, it’s more Dave Mustaine than Frankenstein, in vocal sound terms. Dark, solid and accomplished, it makes a great impression.

Stab By Stab – Even harder and heavier, like a slab of concrete landing on your feet, whilst the echoes of the sound perforate your eardrums, as some nearby sadist repeatedly drops the same slab on your feet, till they break and you fall through the ground, whilst still being deafened by the reverberations. That’s the level of intensity of these instrumentals. So intense, in fact, that you lose focus on the vocals. Somehow, it seems not to matter that there’s no real variation in rhythm, pace or chorus, as it’s just so incredibly heavy, as to leave indelible imprints on your skull.

Six Second Sex – Another booming intro, but this time, changing the pace and incorporating more sharp, snazzy guitar riffs. Throwing in a brief gentler section, with female vocal contributions, not leaving much to the imagination, it soon hardens back up again, with more horror-esque lyrics, which definitely don’t hold back…. It has to be said. It’s a monster of a track, that’s for sure. Almost scarily intense, you wouldn’t want to meet this song on a dark night.

Bloodlust – Bang! Straight in there, with unquestionably heavy metal and even scarier lyrics. Akin to a vampire film dialogue, fear inducing enough to force you to run for your life, it’s confident, unhesitant and equally concrete-heavy, both vocally and instrumentally. Ending on a dramatic, acute riff and drum hit, that’s what you call a killer track.

Loose Ends – Fucking hell! There’s no other term to describe, accurately, the astonishing power of that electric riff intro. Except imagine Slayer, in full creative flow, turned up to the max and throwing all their aggression in and you’re there. Still, that Megadeth sound returns, though, in places and it’s actually really well-suited to this style. Lifting the atmosphere, with a lighter, more upbeat section, briefly, it still never loses the shocking heaviness. Ending on a gradually lightening percussive sound and a slight reverb riff, the cymbal hits finish it and it’s a stark metallic imprint.

Overall – Shockingly sharpened, acutely heavy production, almost frightening in its degree of intensity. Stunningly polished, given it’s only the 2nd EP from Ben and leaves such an astonishing impression, it can only promise even better material, to come. Certainly living up to its thrash, death and black metal influences, within the stark heavy-metal, it surpasses all expectations. Perfect fright night/Halloween material.

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

For fans of Megadeth, Alice Cooper, Slayer, Trivax, Satarial, Carcass, gothic metal, generally.

Scars Of Sense – ‘Horizons’

October 15, 2017

Introducing ‘Horizons’, debut album from Kent-based alt folk rock band Scars Of Sense.

My Muse – Energised drum hit intro, joined by equally lively riffs, violins and surprisingly gritty vocals – a combo creating a sound both unusual and more resonant of cross-over genres than one individual style. Intriguingly spiritual lyrics, which will work well for all those of an alternative mind-set. Lots of unmistakable passion in there.

Stuck – Slower in places, but still rhythmically folky, with that consistently gritty vocal form. This is what might happen if The Levellers and Kyrbgrinder combined their talents and styles. Interesting lyrical 90’s focus.

Crash – A sound cleverly resembling the title, lyrically and structurally. Maintaining rhythmic ease, it’s a fairly simple thread, into which a lot of feeling has been thrown. It’s evidently been a very cathartic process.

Crystals – An energy increase is felt at the intro, with an airy, catchy sound following. There’s a real appeal held in the violin parts, which really makes the song. This is much like an aural breath of fresh air, consisting of both darkness and light.

Energy In Noise – Slight edge of protest, punk sounds in here, carrying a harder feel. You can’t help feeling the title, as the angry energy releases itself. Some very pleasant wah wah effects in there and generally, plenty of truth.

Into Clouds – A more guitar-based track, showcasing an interchangeable theme of trading smooth riffs for complex fretwork. Still, demonstrating the same consistent folk sound, though and always bringing in that now familiar grit. That’s the main emphasis of this track, really. Gritty sound and lots of it.

Eternity – Re-introducing the drum emphasis, upping the heaviness in the riffs, but never losing the hauntingly gentle atmosphere of the violin sections. There’s a very strong thread of heavy and light, throughout.

The Struggle – Based around a simpler vocal theme, with an obvious catch, the whole song just lifts itself up, through the sound, which lets it breathe and releases the emotions of the moment. Very effective and more light than dark.

Back On The Ground – More of a downbeat flavour to this, though filled with emotional honesty, which is always, ultimately, trustworthy. Basic and very brief, but connecting, which is what counts. A highly transparent song.

Tune For Action – Zipping the positive energy back up again now, you can’t help getting carried away with this one. Much like being carried downstream, in a flowing river. Apt, in its own way, for a closing track. A very positive lyrical message in this, it’s quite visually evocative of carefree, long, light summer days, spent outdoors, enjoying the elements. A pleasant and fitting way to end.

Overall – A generally light-hearted, upbeat listen, to the sounds of summer, from a grit-edged, alt folk rock perspective.

7/10 *******

Scars Of Sense – ‘Self Titled’

October 14, 2017

Introducing the debut self titled EP from Kent-based folk rock band Scars Of Sense.

Forgotten – Uplifting, fresh, lilting intro, exploding into a gravelly heavy folk rock sound, not often heard and pleasingly novel. An unexpected treat, vibrantly offset by the use of woodwind instruments, showcasing the musical possibilities available in the folk rock genre, for instrumental eclecticism.

Fresh – Well titled, given its unique and unusual nature. Imagine The Levellers, with a grittier edge. Now you’re close. Liking the variations of instruments used and the overall positive energy and alternative atmosphere emanating from it. Adding a beautifully rare melodic touch on the recorder, clarinet and violins. Ends a tad abruptly, but certainly makes an impression.

Space – Great buzz to the fun, quirky pace and it’s much more memorable than most folk rock material – an aspect much improved by the use of such a great mix of instruments, so often neglected in rock genres. Intelligent rhythmic alternations and a noticeably cohesive performance.

Awake – Hauntingly lovely and very visually evocative. A huge strength lies in its move away from conventional methods and it will work well for all fans of gypsy, celtic, folk alt rock. Refreshingly tuneful, workable combo of instruments, proving what can be done with a little ingenuity.

Overall – A vibrant, life affirming sound, drenched in positivity and still grounded in reality and truth. It makes a very pleasant change to hear something moving in its own direction, for once and willing to push past rigid, standard boundaries. This demonstrates a highly flexible, yet workable mix of sounds, adding another dimension to the world of alt, folk rock and proving there are real opportunities within it for unlimited musical resources.

8/10 ********

For fans of The Levellers, The Corrs, Venus Rising, Maydaze, Turisas, Tyr.

Motherslug – ‘The Electric Dunes Of Titan’

October 12, 2017

The Electric Dunes Of Titan Downriver – Reverb intro, melting fluidly, into a smooth, almost ambient riff section, at once, slow bluesy stoner sludge and heavily melodic. Pleasantly positive energy characterises this and vocals are kept to a minimum, background concern, giving the instrumentals space to take centre stage. Corrosion Of Conformity fans will savour the ‘Albatross’ reference. Generally, this is a refreshingly pleasing diversion from much of the generic stoner sludge out there and takes its time building a noticeably uplifting sound, with plenty of creative breathing space.

Followers Of The Sun – A more doom based approach here, but still carrying an uplifting overtone. Gradually moving through initially slower, duller tones, to higher, more exultant pitches, already it’s versatile and even catchy, in its latter, higher end pitches. A cleverly constructed arrangement of unpredictable varied tones and techniques. Eventually returning to a slower closing rhythm, fading out on a touch of reverb, it’s an enlivening listen.

Stoned By The Light – Drumming intro, with slide guitar and a real blues emphasis. Melody coming to the fore, bringing the catchiness with it. Vocals taking a more significant role here, increasing the liveliness, overall, there’s a clear higher energy at play here. It’s just unusually light, for a stoner/sludge track, yet still doesn’t lose its doomy foundations. An intriguing multiplicity of styles, making for a memorably energising experience.

Serpents – Suitably creeping, serpent-like intro, injecting mystery and curiosity. Lots of percussion focus and a seemingly effortless darkness added to the vocals, growing steadily heavier. A slight, controlled lightness to the instrumentals, whilst always retaining that thudding, solid, lead like heaviness. A general Doors-esque theme, throughout, adding to the general mystique and vague familiarity.

Staring At The Sun – Taking a gentler line now, with an acoustic opening, moving, into an electric, yet softer performance. Spoken word format, this time, with an easily detectable Turisas type lyrical form. From there, changing up, to a passionately voiced sung section, wrapped up within an ecstatic riff section. Ending on a heavier, bass focused section, it’s a well combined mix of forms and textures.

Tied To The Mast – Booming intro, with tribal-esque undertones. Moving straight into a classic stoner blues rock section, loaded with catch, it’s a brief one this time, but no matter, since it’s perfectly formed and sounds immense. It’s the accomplished confident ease of the vocals that really stand out.

Cave Of The Last God – Slow, still, slithering bass opens, leading into an explosive instrumental, seguing, so easily, into an incredibly delicate, light section, for the briefest time, before the stable strength of the reliable heaviness takes over once more. Giving those consummate vocals the chance to shine, as the energy emanates from them again, the accompaniments constantly weave between solidly heavy and careful gentility. Eventually, moving outwards, in a perfect ripple of pleasure, after emulating the sense of a fairground revolution, constantly gaining in speed, till it’s features blur, along with your senses, this is one effective demo of a highly functional band, with proven, solid capabilities of marrying theory with practice, walking the talk and doing so with genuine passion.

Overall – A highly enjoyable and deeply refreshing listening experience. Motherslug are a band with rare ability to move beyond expectations and genre limitations and ‘TEDOT’ shows their lack of inhibitions in doing so. As an album, it’s unafraid, versatile and positively fun, with new treats and twists around every corner. An outstanding example of stoner sludge doom metal, with heart, soul and unique individuality. Highly recommended listen.

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

For fans of Corrosion Of Conformity, Down, Orange Goblin, Electric Wizard, psychedelic Doors-esque rock and heavy folk influenced rock, such as Turisas and Tyr.

Devilspeak – ‘Unearth Hell’

October 10, 2017

Devilspeak is a 5 piece thrash death metal band, from Cape Town, South Africa. Formed August 2014, from unique and genuine chemistry. The band name originates from wordplay on the Devil’s Peak Mountain, in Cape Town and therefore, identifies their roots. Their live debut was performed on March 20th, 2015, after 7 months practice, to perfect their 6 track album. The debut single, ‘Violently Leading The Blind’, was produced by engineer Jethro Harris, on 18th and 19th April 2015, at Milestone Studios. This recording was done live, in order to capture their individuality. It was released on September 1st, 2015 and aired globally, soon after.

2016 saw Devilspeak chosen for and awarded ‘Best Newcomer’, at the South African Metal Music Awards. Devilspeak have played a significant number of high-profile shows, including opening for Rotting Christ, in their home town, in July 2016. They also won ‘Best Thrash Metal Band’, at the South African Music Awards. A 3 track EP was produced in September 2016, mastered by Kelsey Mastering. The single ‘Unearth Hell’, from the EP, was launched on September 12th 2017. The EP’s, entitled ‘See Evil Hear Evil Speak Evil’, for which the planned release is towards the end of 2017.

Unearth Hell – Solid heavy intro, hard as steel). Sharp edged instrumentals, evil vocals and an underlying darkness. Exactly what’s expected from the thrash death genre; the consistency’s maintained throughout and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. An acute feel, with a generous helping of gory sludge – it may be brief, but a lot of power resides within it. Equal parts thrash and death, it’s a successful track, oozing atmosphere.

8/10 ********

For fans of high-quality death/thrash metal.

Artwork by Writhe Creations.

‘Unearth Hell’ streaming sites:-

Samarkind – ‘Fire And Blood’

October 9, 2017

Introducing ‘Fire And Blood’, premiere track from Samarkind’s debut self titled album, released on November 24th 2017. Coming after their successful debut single, ‘Sunstroke Heart’, ‘Samarkind’ features 8 songs and is expected to win fans over, with its direct, sincere and diligent approach.
Preceding the album launch was Samarkind’s Dublin Academy gig, on October 4th, as guest support to INGLORIOUS.
Samarkind comprises the smooth vocals of David Paul Byrne (ex-Assassin), extraordinary guitarist Michal Kalbaky, bassist Mark Dempsey and Marius Appelgryn, on drums. David Paul Byrne’s Assassin days included tours with Def Leppard, Status Quo, WASP, Manowar and his vocals also featured on 80’s cult film, ‘Trick Or Treat’, with Ozzy Osbourne and Gene Simmons.
Produced at Westland Studio, Dublin, by Alwyn Walker, ‘Samarkind’ is a high octane production, complete with memorable audio and striking catchiness.
The guys have aimed to produce an album with plenty of visually evocative material, interweaving a variety of accessible feelings, on a multi-sensory level, with the energy of true rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a thorough, intricate and comprehensive album, for which, a multitude of guitars were used, in an attempt to engage and enthrall.

Fire And Blood – True class intro, with instant bluesy catch and evident passion shining through, exploding into a thoughtfully constructed hard rock blues chorus. Delivering on all levels, it’s an immediate stunner. Gorgeous riffs, melting into your veins and just filled with heart, embodying and depicting the track title perfectly. Here is a song you could listen to endlessly and still find enjoyment, every time. This really is fire and blood and you will love it.

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

For fans of all classic, high-level blues rock, with old school twang and feel. Specifically, Joe Bonnamassa, Black Country Communion, BlackBerry Smoke, Black Crowes, Black Stone Cherry, John 5 and Heaven’s Basement. (‘Fire And Blood’ official stream). (Sunstroke Heart).

Art Block – ‘Angel’

October 8, 2017

Introducing ‘Angel’, the latest release from Art Block, London based alt folk rock singer/songwriter. His debut EP, ‘Los Feliz’, was influenced by L.A. It features Ed Seed, of La Roux, Dua Lipa and has now been re-mastered by Mike Hillier. Subsequent releases: ‘Borderline’ EP, (Produced by Ben Walker) and ‘Warzone’ EP – a piano based sound. All music available on bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify.

Angel – Unusual light percussive bongo type gentle intro, with lots of rhythm and a very memorable vocal, Smiths-esque sound. More alt rock than anything else, with a slight folky edge, its’ biggest draw is its’ consistent rhythm and visual evocations. As a solo effort, ‘Angel”s a decent tune, carrying a hint of haunting reassurance about it. There’s a sense of time-warp about this song, perhaps stemming from those early alt-rock vocals, transporting you back to that era of social struggle and Smiths-esque atmosphere. Ultimately, it’s a brief, but pleasantly comforting way to pass the time.

6/10 ******


Bulletback – ‘The Quest For New Horizons’

October 3, 2017

Bulletback are a 3-piece Brazilian heavy-metal band, formed in 2013, by former members of Pastore. Since this time, they’ve been prepping and producing new material, for this, their debut album. Released independently, it’s available to buy now. The band is composed of Raphael Gazal, on vocals and guitars, Alexis Galluci, on bass and Fabio Buitvidas on drums. The album was produced and written by Raphael, drums recorded by Fabio, at Studio 82, bass, guitars and vocals recorded by Alexis and Raphael, at Stage Dive Studio.

Down And Out – Great, powerful, rumbling intro, taken over by a full force mega explosion of metal, stronger than hell. Surges of massively energy fuelled riffs, with drum hits to match and enormous vocals. Exciting, energising and uplifting. There’s no escape from the sheer metallic love this’ll drive into you.

The Quest For New Horizons – Thunderous intro, with lightning effects and a fortress-like powerhouse of strength. You know these guys mean business and it’s everything you’d expect to hear on a new wave, power based, classic metal production, for the likes of CR/MH. Enough force to kill a rhino.

Battlefield – Fuck me, it’s so hard, it almost hurts! These drums’ll break down your door, while the riffs shatter your windows and the vocals penetrate your soul. Then throw you on the floor and keep you there, while the magnitude of the song’s extraordinary power hits you and refuses to stop.

Holy Words – No sign of any let-up; if anything, it’s getting even stronger and heavier, every minute. A cataclysmic impact of energy, these arrangements just astound your senses and knock you down, with their ultra-magnified effects. Pull up your drawbridge now, before your protective castle is shaken, to its foundations. Or alternatively, open it out and let the metal insurgents decimate it. (I’d choose the latter).

Scream It Out – Expressive, loud and delightful. Loads of very fitting catchiness to this and melody galore. It’s a dream. Epically metal guitar fests, a truly affecting, solidly integrated bass line, hugely tuneful drum rhythms and vocals which scream passion. An exceedingly vibrant example of a band who genuinely love what they do. Just a joy to hear.

Faking – Hitting you full in the chest, with absolute truth and insistent maximum power. That’s how it continues. The perfect track title, since everything within the track embodies it, fully. Right here is the sound of truth and it’s catchy as hell and there’s no alternative, but to love it. ‘Faking’ is a precise demo of what it means to have the courage of your convictions. Need to find the impetus to make your next move? To quash any residing doubts? Listen to ‘Faking’.

Rust – Drumming heaven intro’s, transporting you straight to mosher’s paradise. Total steel immensity and loaded, throughout, with all the melody, catch and heavy, cathartic vibrations that make true metal great. There’s so much to love here and love it, you will.

Running Away – Yummy bass intro there, setting the smooth, hard-line tone for the rest of the song. You’re gonna be singing along in no time. This track’s great strength is its’ ability to pull you in instantly and addictively. Oh and constantly, till the end. Another humongous tasty, involving slice of truly passionate metal.

Fire In The Hole – Thoroughly powerful speed metal is alive and well. Filled to the rafters with hugely colourful riffs and a general sense and sound of top-level, high octane metal, of the classiest and most pleasurable calibre. A feast of enjoyment, from start to finish.

Where Are The Angels – I’d suggest they’re right here, in this music. A rolling, power infused boulder of metal therapy. Electrically charged anthemic catharsis, which rips out all the bad stuff, blows away the cobwebs and lifts you higher. An aural tattoo.

Here I Stand – Ploughing right into your solar plexus, with palpable physicality, the whole thing’s the biggest power fest imaginable and it just rocks damn hard. Impossible not to love.

Overall – Rarely do I hear anything so immensely powerful as this. ‘TQFNH’ is like a ray of honest, outright strength, straight from metal heaven. A sheer joy, from start to finish and 1 which has etched itself on my brain, for eternity. Every track’s a thrilling ride of endless pleasure and metallic gold. Literally gold star material.

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

For fans of all top tier power, speed, hard, heavy metal.

Terror Empire – ‘Obscurity Rising’

September 28, 2017

Thrash metal from Coimbra, Portugal, Terror Empire formed in 2009. Influences – 80’s and 90’s thrash and old school death metal. Consistent performance, at home and abroad, since their debut EP, ‘Face The Terror’ was launched in 2012, has stood them in good stead to build a solid reputation amongst the metal community. ‘The Empire Strikes Black’, released in 2015, via Nordavind Records, earned global acclaim. Their constant club and fest gigs, alongside numerous high profile bands have enabled them to develop the memorable signature sound for which they’ve become known. Turning up the heat on their ubiquitous political content, ‘Obscurity Rising’ combines thrash hooks and death metal vocals and rhythms, lasting nearly 40 minutes. Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by drummer Joao Dourado, in his Golden Jack Studios, in Coimbra. The finished album characterises the sound of modern metal.

Obscurity Rising – Clever rumbling intro. Very fitting, given the title. Great powerful blend of maximum volume riffs and drums, in a decimating rhythm. Over way too fast.

You’ll Never See Us Coming – Launching straight into life, with a killing pace, blistering instrumentals and mind-crushing vocals. Rhythm increasing continuously, throwing in plenty of ace, trad metal, face melting riffs and finishing on a seriously crushing note. Heavy stuff.

Burn The Flags – Drumming epic introing, laying down a tone of indisputably skull-wrecking proportions. Here we have an almost traumatically heavy track, with deathy growly vocals, incessant speed and aggression so severe, it’s edging on scary! You won’t hear the likes of this often. Hard impact.

Times Of War – Propulsive, shocking and raw is where this is at. Bearing striking similarities to Exodus’s ‘War Is My Shepherd’, it’s about as hard and as heavy as it gets. A fierce concoction of stuff, for certain. No rest for the wicked here.

Meaning In Darkness – Evening it out a bit now, with a thoughtfully gradual guitar solo intro, growing into another all-out intense metal attack, though just unfairly short, which is cruel.

Holy Greed – Blasting into your skull, with another bangingly vicious track. D.R.I. style, with a ‘Beneath The Wheel’ sound-alike, only much heavier. Cutting edges, falling and splintering into shards of sharpened glass. That just about summarises this track. Some well integrated classic riffage accompanies a sense of physical rising – echoing the album title well.

Lust – Bang! Nowhere else to go with this. Racing pace, loads of fantastically placed directional changes in rhythm, speeding on through the fray, like the embodiment of a speed freak. Combining old school, with modern twists, it’s the essence of a great metal song.

Death Wish – Voice-over addiction related intro, rapidly followed by intense, ragingly angry thrash. Vocally adept and passion strewn lyrics drench it with feeling, encasing their message succinctly. A violent performance, all round.

Feast Of The Wretched – Intelligently placed intro, conveying curiosity inducing mystique. Melting right into a mysterious metallic output – just a notch less volume, with an intriguing edge to the sound, implying possible eastern connections, but certainly no less power. Closing on the finality of a heavy-metal doorway closing and clanging shut, you’ll still be beset by the pneumatic drill, boring into your brain tissue. Again, it’s loudly affecting.

Soldiers Of Nothing – One more curious intro, yet briefer, much briefer, this time. Moving over, immediately, for the brain-blasting steel fury that so characterises this entire album. Chucking in a relentless, remorseless round of attacking rhythm, it’s that machine-gun fire like sound that dominates the track, firing into your brain, to stay.

New Dictators – No remorse and it’s Metallica’s ‘No Remorse’ that springs to mind, in the sound echoes here. Only, with a whole battalion of soldiers on horseback added to it, in the midst of battle. An epic slaughter of all that isn’t metal. A ceaseless, lethal round of exquisitely targeted live ammunition, from start to finish. Demolition be thy name.

Overall – Wow factor, in spades. It’s rare for the sense of an album to hit you with quite so much violent impact, but ‘Obscurity Rising’ has hit the spot. Well and truly living up to the ‘crushing’ term used by its PR to describe it. ‘O.R.’ delivers, in abundance. For forceful, notably vicious, mind-infiltrating metal, look no further than ‘O.R.’

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

For fans of Exodus, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Testament, Warpath, Grand Magus, Viking metal and death metal.

Available now, via Mosher Records

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