Archive for April, 2015

COMANIAC ‘Return to the Wasteland’

April 27, 2015

Rage 1, 2 – Punchy, raw, aggressive intro.  Plenty of expertly delivered fast riffs and hard-hitting drum beats, well suited to the song’s lyrical contents.  Very direct, intense vocals, perfectly embodying the title.  Nice powerful scream at the end.  Well delivered outro.  Faultless.  A great start to the album.

Secret Seed – Another no holds barred intro, maintaining the momentum of angry, sheer electric performance.  Engaging, leaves no room for doubt.  Some ace guitar melodies in the mid-section.  High-level, power filled, energetic, almost crazed delivery.  Confident, assured, full frontal assault.  Would go down well on a battlefield!

Cut Throat – Ah, … here comes a nice, soothing acoustic opening, with a gradual heavy sound emerging.  Good variation.  More melodic vocals, yet still retaining that hard edge.  Liking those melodious riffs there and those power driven drum rolls raining down pure metal energy.  They’ve nailed that hard won skill of equally combining and conveying professionalism with enjoyment.  Like a barrage of machine-gun fire!

Fist of Friends – No hesitation.  Yet another powerful welcome assault on the senses.  I think we’ve got the idea by now that these guys don’t hold back and know how to pack the punches.  Just a brilliant performance from start to finish.  Vocally, instrumentally, atmospherically and aurally gold standard.

Killing Tendency – Oh yes!  Liking the guitar intro here!  Even heard a Slayeresque riff in there too!  Full throttle riffage of the highest order.  I’m actually visualising a ritual sacrifice taking place.  Proof positive that this track works.  Recommended for that kind of anger for which only angry loud metal will suffice.

And There Is No Job – Ooh a more sombre down tuned bass lick opening, rapidly followed by a volley of fast-moving purposeful riffs.  Catchy and smooth.  Slight variation in the vocal styles in places.  Never letting up on the furious passion and aggression for one minute.  Pounding, grinding, hardcore metal all the way.  Relentless metallic joy.  Ending on a final volley of drum beats to end it all.

Solitude – Great energised opening riffs!  If it’s even possible, the vocals actually grow in volume and energy.  All the winning tricks of the trade can be found here.  Every opportunity for using killer metallic strategies has been well employed.  If ever there was a blueprint for successful metal ventures, it’s this album.  The best and most catchy riffs are all here in this track.  Attention grabbing and it’s certain never to waver.  Brutal, dangerous, murderous metal at its best.  Very fine fade out edgy riffs.

The Rake – A new direction in the lone acoustic opening, with background sound of somewhere evoking imagery of a mysterious location.  Straight in there again with the furious drum rolls, riffage and vocals, continuing in that vein for the rest of the song.  Growing increasingly hard, fast and pressured till the end.

Monster’s Final Creation – Taking a different turn, opening with a natural sound effect and following it with a siren like quality in the ensuing instrumentals.  Really going for it on the vocals, for all it’s worth.  Like being verbally terrorised in the most intriguing and compelling way!  Fabulous harmonies.  Ending with a sound reminiscent of subtle artillery, it definitely wins in the visual imagery stakes.

Flakhead – A pure no-nonsense fiery start!  Just filled with awesome powered riffs, drums and vocals to end all metal.  Beating and pulsating with life force, determined speed and impatient, demanding riffs that scream for attention.  Has to be heard and won’t be forgotten.

Overall, well… I think it’s all been said.  A full on ferocious blast of balls to the wall metal attack.  If ever an album deserved a star rating of 11 or above, this is it.  I may invent a new starring system to accommodate it, but otherwise it gets a 10 out of 10.  I challenge any full-blooded metalhead to disagree.  As unforgettable heavy-metal goes, this is up there at the top.  One of the best I’ve ever had the pleasure to review.

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Dendera ‘Pillars of Creation’

April 26, 2015

Claim our Throne – Steady intro, eventually seguing into the melody, with a classic power/speed metal feel and sound.  Combining upbeat and sombre tones, with some nice harmonies.  It works well as an opener.

Bloodlust – A heavier essence, befitting its title.  Sung with obvious feeling, a well driven and competent performance with a catchy aspect.  A good standard metal track.

In High Tide – Pretty average filler, but likeable all the same, containing some good hooks and very easy on the ear.  Nice melody.  Liking the riffage and the vocals do grow in effort, tone and delivery towards the end, where a slightly encouraging Maidenesque quality can be heard.  More of this would enhance the track.

Disillusioned – Missing that X factor, but still has some great, enjoyable riffs.  For me, this is a bit of a mediocre track, creating an impression that there was more to give, somehow, but given the title, perhaps it was meant to reflect that in its essence.

The Daylight Ending – A well-placed background track, which would go down well in any metal haunt.  Definite jukebox potential.  To give it credit, the vocal style and lyrics do reflect the title well.

The Chosen One – A higher vibe in some respects, with a slight variation in the midsection, tonally and stylistically, alternating in pace, which serves the song well.  In this sense, ‘The Chosen One’ utilises the opportunity for experimentation and variety well.

Unholy – Ah, now I’m liking this one more!  A far more exciting, faster and harder intro, maintaining its momentum and showing the bands’ potential for greater creativity.  This has got to be the standout track in terms of creative output.  The drum rolls also stand out more on this track.  Encouraging.

Edge of Tomorrow – A well placed closer, which continues to reflect the potential for increasing the heaviness factor.  Definite efforts to bring a slightly harder edge to the album.  In fact, this harder emphasis actually brings out the skill and beauty within the gentle come down following it and I’d go as far as to say it’s this section that really shows the true flavour and sweetness of the bands essence; a clever, highly marketable and well-placed strategy, right at the end of the closing track.  This is where the focus would do well to stay.

Generally, slightly underwhelming in places, with a decidedly average feel to it.  However, definitely growing in stature, quality and mystique, as the album progresses.  The standout point here is what most of the album lacks in originality, it makes up for in spontaneity towards the end.  This band have more to give and their potential is evident.  Given time and a big dose of individuality, they could be so much more.  Encouraging potential for future endeavours.

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www.dendera.co.uk 

www.metalboxrecordings.com 

 

I.C.O.N. ‘The Blacklist’

April 26, 2015

A Room in Hell – A very sinister, dark opening, positively oozing atmosphere, with some great heavy drum rolls, providing a perfect backdrop to the album, befitting especially its lyrical and thematic focus of negative social and political forces.

Feeding the Negative – Coming straight in with some fast-paced riffs and purposeful vocals, gradually warming up into the characteristic I.C.O.N.esque sound familiar to fans of ‘New Born Lie’.  Already, though, ‘Feeding the Negative’ demonstrates a progressively heavier element, within ‘The Blacklist’, audible even to less finely metallically tuned ears.  Assertive, heavy, drum filled ending.

Grindin’ Wheel – Short, with a little less substance, but good filler.  It has to be said that for me, this track picks up more towards the middle, which is when it makes its impact and then it’s over, but still, it holds a heavy flavour.

I’m the Venom – Upping the heaviness factor again, gritty and passionate, yet effortlessly delivered, it rolls along well, with great contributions throughout, holding that steel feel nicely and building in heaviness, right to the end.

Welcome to my War – A more laid-back, catchy melody to this one, with some simpler compositions and more memorable riffs.  Liking the drum rolls here.  Stands out as a simple yet effective track.

Speak to your God – Picking up the pace with a faster rhythm, well suited to the vocals, this one’s got some great melodies and riffs and definitely sounds like fun was had producing it.  Nice solid, well paced ending.  Works well.

Devil’s Blacklist – More instrumental emphasis on here.  Another one appearing to carry a simple message, effectively and cleanly delivered.  Sharp, hard-hitting, to the point! Good job.

Wrong Way Back – Some very nice riffs and melodies in here and a lot of great hooks.  Incredibly catchy and memorable for its fabulous riffs, of which there are plenty for we riffage fans.  In fact, it’s so riff filled that I’m just going to call it ‘the riffmeister’, because I can’t focus on anything but the fabulous riffs.  Smooth, confident ending.  Bang!

Man of the North – Instrumental opening with a resonant Dioesque wind effect, followed by lots more melodic riffage, incorporating a greater variety of styles and techniques.  Some very nice percussion elements, which particularly add to the experimental effect with styles and sounds.  Enjoyable and diverse song.  Versatility card played well.

Deconverted – Very reminiscent of the ‘New Born Lie’ album, in its sound, ‘Deconverted’ does, however, carry different themes and offer some new and faster riffs, with slightly more cymbal affects at the end.

Drowning in their Screams – Interesting title.  Liking the chorus.  Stronger lyrical emphasis, apparently themed around the corruption in and of society, via political means.  Very passionately conveyed.  A point well made.

Again, some of the lyrics briefly return to the focus/emphasis of ‘New Born Lie’, but it’s clear that ‘The Blacklist’ builds on and moves forward from that point, with more complex ideas, lyrics and general inspirations, reflected in each of the new songs.

A fresh, heavier, more polished and accomplished and well produced piece of work, worth waiting for.

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www.iconukonline.com 

www.metalboxrecordings.com