Archive for June, 2015

Hidden ‘True Mercian Metal’ EP

June 29, 2015

False Ones Must Die – Intriguing rain sounds, with a very Halloweenesque vocal and a rather nice clean riff to go along with it, opening this.  Very short, but impacts well.

Hidden – Liking this thunderbolt style intro, consisting of very powery thrashy instrumentals and screamy vocals.  Something quite uplifting about this.  Great riffs in there, with a crashing volley of thunderous drums and ending on a sudden high-pitched scream.  Memorable, if nothing else.

Clash of Steel – Opening much more gently, with some lovely acoustic riffing, moving into a heavier more electric sound.  A mid-paced song, with a fairly catchy chorus and all the right ingredients for metallic fun and enjoyment.  Speeding up after the mid-section, with plenty of very noticeable standout riffing.  The vocals can be a tad melancholy in places, but generally, it definitely has potential and is clearly moving in the right direction.

Timeless Death – Some interesting riffing opening this.  Intrigue factor down well. Ooh creepy vocals, returning to the Halloween theme.  The screams are done well.  The doomy metallic feel of this is very fitting for the title.  The drumming stands out here, being quite powerful.  Liking the fast-paced riffs towards the end.  Much more instrumental than vocal, but that seems to have been the intention and I quite like the wind noise and vocal sounds right at the end, creating a decent visual image befitting the dark nature of the title.

Overall, a decent effort, musically depicting the title well.  Whilst there is room for some improvement in the excitement stakes, it’s a fair production, with all the right stuff for future growth and it does hold attention.  The standout aspect is probably its intriguing lyrical theme, which could possibly be developed further and would go down well in gothic circles.

7/10 *******

For fans of doom, gothic, horror, fantasy, stoner/sludge metal.

Driven Under ‘Hands in Chains’ EP

June 28, 2015

New 2015 release, from Swiss heavy thrashers Driven Under, ‘Hands in Chains’ EP.

First Aid Trash – Oh yes!  Lovely melodic speed power riff intro, with some very nice prominent bass and gorgeously heavy drumming.  Very angry shouty lyrics, combined with sung ones, which makes for an interesting change in sound.  This has something of the nu-metal, rap rock combo about it and I have to say it works, especially since it’s filled with so much sexy riffage.  Exciting fresh flavour and full marks for originality.  Catchy chorus and great fast-pace, with an upbeat feel.  Has to be heard.  Very 90s, in a good way.

Alright – A slightly heavier opening, with a hint of gritty grunge type vocals.  Again, well played versatility factor.  An unexpected volley of drumbeats, followed by more of those gritty soulful vocals.  It’s got melody, with a slight stonerish vibe, alongside true heavy-metal drumming and a grungy vocal style, with lots of power riffs, all of which makes for a really varied and eclectic sound.  Inspiring and uplifting and long enough to be enjoyed and savoured in its’ entirety.

Redemption – Gentler intro, providing room to breathe, inside the beautiful guitar riffs and powerful vocals, which within this track, alternate between heavy and slightly gentler, but still retaining that manly gritty sound.  This guy really feels the words he sings.  That much is obvious.  Plenty more melody in these vocals, joined by the same in an instrumental sense.  Some simply gorgeous hooks and catches in here.  Very very full and flavoursome.  I couldn’t help singing and smiling along.  Love it.

See You in Hell – Blistering drum intro.  Liking the varied opening techniques in each song.  Back to that strong gritty vocal sound.  Loads of neatly played fiery furious riffs.  The whole thing is just played so competently and has a very clear feel of accomplished performance throughout.  Growing increasingly catchy and increasing in speed towards the end.  An instant headbanger.  Loving that closing section of impassioned singing and screaming and raging riffs and drum beats.  Tops it off perfectly.

Hands in Chains – More of a kick drum start to this, with a slight tribal feel, before moving fluidly into a much gentler riff and vocal tone and style.  This band certainly aren’t short on variety, that’s for sure.  Some nice harmonies in there, growing heavier, accompanied by the faster, harder riffing and drumming.  You just have to join in, as the pace increases.  This is one of those in which you hear and feel true heartfelt passion and love for the music being performed.  It’s simply unmistakable.  A nice deep voiced section in there, reminiscent of a metalled up Crash Test Dummies, jamming along with Linkin Park and Skindred and just having the time of their lives.

True Life – Yes! Metalling it back up with a true thrash metal intro, with suitably thrashy power screams and riffs, followed and then accompanied throughout by equally thrash fuelled heavy as hell drumming.  This track’s far more reminiscent of classic power metal bands, old and current.  Once more, displaying their sheer vitality and versatile ability to segue effortlessly from one style to another and pull off each one just as well.  Yes, this track is where it’s at and is undoubtedly my favourite and as such, is well placed as the closer – leaving you quite literally desperate for more.  Sexy in spades and in a way you’re unlikely to hear in quite the same way in any other release this year.  Truly, if this is what metal heaven’s composed of, then I can’t wait to join these guys there.

Overall, a sensual, fun filled, powerful blast of sheer, thrilling, exhilarating thrash metal heaven.  I particularly like their method of fusing so many different styles and sounds, but ultimately, keeping that great thrashy vibe throughout.  Oh and those screams at the end are to die for.  Every track rocks, but the standout one has to be, undeniably, ‘True Life’.  Give it a whirl, whilst doing it standing up behind a Marshall amp, cranked up to the highest possible volume.

10/10  **********

For fans of power/speed/thrash metal, nu-metal (Linkin Park), rap rock, (Skindred) and other combo/crossover styles, grunge metal, European metal, specifically and for anyone wanting something new and original in the thrashy stakes. More open minded metallers will love this.

Torous ‘Dried Bones’ EP

June 23, 2015

Occam’s Razor – Ooh very very Reef like intro!  A distinctive Celtic sound to this.  A gradual and very competent and uplifting buildup to a harder sound, with a light-hearted feel.  The progressive folky elements in it are very intriguing and show a clear change of direction for Marc Malone, to a more open ended style of music with definite Celtic rock overtones.  There’s an unmistakable new confidence to the instrumentals aswell as the vocals, particularly audible as the song progresses and it’s just a great blend of techniques, creating a completely original sound of alternative Celtic rock, with folk and progressive aspects.  A very welcome breath of fresh air.

Dried Bones – Seguing smoothly into this follow-up track, the bass is very prominent here and forms a strong basis for the style and sound of this track.  The vocals flit easily from dark to light and bring an air of excitement, joined by the noticeably powerful beat and rhythm, both evoking visual imagery of Celtic landscapes and I have to say it would go down very well at Glastonbury Festival.

Hide In Sides – Opening more slowly and gently, this could well be the wild card, proving the versatility is well and truly present.  Continuing with the Celtic atmosphere, demonstrating its possibilities, as the vocals take a different turn, lyrically.  An absolutely stunning guitar section around the middle, before the bass takes centre stage again, accompanied by fierce drum rolls and more striking riffs, playing the songs’ potential for all it’s worth.  A veritable blitzkrieg of closing guitar riffs.  Strong and courageous.

Roll The Tide – A gorgeous opening riff, with some softer vocals following.  Definitely catchy and definitely inspiring.  Once again, Torous prove their adeptness at moving smoothly from soft and gentle to hard and strong.  Positively beating the drums to the death, as the vocals perform the lyrical equivalent.  Slowing things down in the midsection, completing the growth from soft and quiet to louder and heavier, towards the impassioned drum section and almost possessed raw vocals that end the song.  Sincere and true emotion in musical form.

Don’t Slip – Lively, fast-paced, furious drum opening with some nice heavy bass lines and pure smoothly performed riffs.  This one follows a different vocal path, with greater experimentation inherent.  The drums really stand out here, as does the change in vocal style, pace and technique.  It’s a good variation to incorporate; demonstrating the capabilities of the band and the interesting nature of their sounds.  More twang to the guitar riffs and slightly greater emphasis on the instrumentals as a whole.  Ending on a truly heartwarming riff; this is what the world of alternative Celtic folk rock has been waiting for.

Overall, a magical, life affirming piece of work, with mystical qualities and many unique twists and turns.  Transports you up to Glastonbury Tor in an instant.  A revelatory feast of brand new alternative Celtic folk rock, which stands up on its own, as a shining example of what Torous bring to the scene and what we’ve all been missing for years.  Like I said at the start, a very welcome breath of fresh air.

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

www.torous.co.uk

www.maximumvolumepr.co.uk 

For fans of alternative Celtic folk and prog rock.  Specifically, for anyone in search of something new and obscure.  Will also appeal to fans of mystical, Fey, Pagan and other speciality rock genres.

 

Terrifier ‘Metal or Death’

June 19, 2015

Formed in 2003 in Kelowna, B.C., playing alongside the likes of 3 Inches of Blood, Holy Grail, Dismembered, Augury etc, following up their album ‘Destroyers of the Faith’, Terrifier now offer their new, brilliantly titled EP ‘Metal or Death’.

Metal or Death – Bang!  Straight in there with some classically thrash sounds.  Going for it full throttle with the vocals and accompaniments.  A definite Pantereaesque flavour here.  Barrelling drums, effortless riffs that just flow easily and generally, a great new sound, which clearly put its own stamp on the music, whilst taking the good stuff from influences from the old school metal days.  Testament also springs to mind within this track and it’s a good start.

Infernal Overdrive – Continuing on in a smoothly perfected flow, with plenty more thrash filled fun.  These vocals are actually quite distinctive in their own way.  You can hear the work that’s gone into perfecting that uniquely thrash sound, whilst simultaneously making it seem effortless.  Same can be said of those gorgeous riffs and energised drum rolls.  Very typically thrash definition to the closing section.  Vibrant and alive.

Wretched Damnation – An even more powerful intro, it doesn’t mess about.  Banging song, with a determined nature. Ah, here come the catchy drumbeats).  (Someone’s going to have to buy me a new pen one of these days).  Some beautiful accomplished riffing there and it just batters you insistently, in a very pleasant sense.  Pure metal.

Overall, a well honed, enjoyable and uplifting piece of thrash metal, that definitely leaves you wanting more.  Terrifier have walked that line between paying homage to the influential old school greats and creating an audibly unique and individual sound and balanced it just right.

8/10 ********

For fans of Pantera and Testament.

 

Deadly Sins ‘Anticlockwise’

June 16, 2015

In Praise of Haemorrhage – Opening with a mighty scream, and rapidly chased by some very thrashy guitar riffs, it’s quite screamo/growly in nature.  Lots of blistering guitar work and a positive drumming crescendo.  Similar in sound to Bullriff Stampede.  Crazed, frenetic pace throughout.  Consistent quality and ending with a nice loud cymbal hit.

Thrashing Metal Anticlockwise – Starting as it means to go on, it does exactly what it says in the title.  Slight melodic style to this one, some good vocal ‘shouty’ harmonies.  A combo of growly vocals and melodic accompaniments.  Over before you know it.  The title sums it up well.

Bloodstorm – Crashing instrumental intro.  Raging drum pace, matched by the riffs and bass line.  Angry expressive vocals, well-suited to the track title.  Combining the growls again with more melodic guitar and drum work.  Insistent, aggressive and focused.  A determined piece of work.

Brainless Playground – Fabulously lively high-pitched opening riffs.  Seasoned drum rolls, good use of backing vocals to fit the main vocals.  Some storming riffs and increasing in heaviness, from the midsection on, another hard lined, impassioned, well crafted track.  Closing on a final growly shout and an insistent drum hit.  Good job.

Left for Dead – Loud, hard-hitting intro, just as it should be.  Those vocals come up from the very depths of the soul.  Hammering pace, with some nice riffs.  Sinister and dark.  Finishing on a heavy riff and drum beat, it does the job.  Aptly titled, given the general sound and feel of the track.

Weekend Boreless Children – A different style to the intro of this track, demonstrating a more gradual heavy pace.  Retaining the same anger, but just altering the expression slightly.  Experimenting with a mix of instrumental styles, paces and generally, showing a little bit more versatility.  Like the ‘echoey’ fade out sound.

Stabbed in Black – Even heavier intro here, holding that feel of artillery fire imagery.  Pure growly guttural lyrics this time.  Fast-paced and unrepentant in its dark macabre tone.  Something of a battering ram about this one.

Shake off the Gloom – Immediate, eviscerating and sharp.  Offering lots in the way of thrash, but always in that deathy black way.  The thrashy element does stand out, though.  Not much more to be said.  A clear slice of angry, incensed malevolence.

Beauty Slept In…. – A nice change of direction here…. or so we’re led to believe at the outset, before it segues into more of the same.  Having said that, there is a definite change of tone, tempo and pace, which works well in the sense of diversifying from the known, familiar path.  The vocals do seem to take on a slightly different air of …. something curious in this track.  Some great new riffs thrown in there and I’m liking that.  Cool closing touch on the guitar.

Bleeding Moon – Intriguing title.  Another crashing intro, making good use of its place as closing track.  Just heavy and thrashy throughout.  A bit more use of background vocals there, retaining that main guttural vocal emphasis and accompanying it with lots of metallic fire on the guitars and drums.  Solid angry closing shout.

Overall – A standard piece of aggressive death metal, with thrashy overtones.  Offering a few unique twists and turns here and there.  Competent, loud and very vocal.

7/10 *******

For fans of Bullriff Stampede and generic death/black metal, thrash and thrash/death crossover styles.

 

 

Copper Garden ‘News Just In’ EP

June 10, 2015

Contraband – Great intro!  Lots of nice confident heavy riffage and gravelly vocals.  Plenty of effortless drum rolls.  The timing is slightly skewed in places, but it’s got a good vibe and it’s a very light and easy listen.  A fun melody.  Could just do with more attention to the rhythm, but otherwise, it’s a very enjoyable track.

War Paint – More of that bar room type riffage and skilful drumming opening.  The vocals just need a bit more focus on tone, but I like the gritty sound.  It’s definitely imagery evoking and would make good jukebox material.  Some doomy and stonerish elements are audible and a slight percussive variation is present towards the end.  Perhaps a tad repetitive, lyrically, but again, there’s something quite catchy and fun about it.

One Way – Slight change in guitar technique opening this and a somehow cooler vibe.  Sounds more confident and assured, with a smoother vocal quality.  The drums are consistently creative and their timing is spot on.  Some very nice riffage in here.  Bit of an abrupt end, but generally, an adequate and fairly enthused track.

Simply Badass – Heavier riff opening this one, followed by a more accomplished rhythm.  An aural concoction of influences, specifically, blues, rock and roll, stoner and doom seem to have found their way into this track.  A nice touch for the closing track and whilst the vocals are slightly flat and off key occasionally, overall, they’re hitting the right notes and if anything, the enthusiasm seems to have increased in here.  The sound of the melding of various influences works well for this track and seems to make things gel even more.

Overall, a comfortable slice of rock band material, carrying warmth and potential, in which the personal touch is definitely there.  Just a very slight improvement to the key and tone aspects of the vocals needed, here and there, to reflect its true potential, but generally, it’s got a homely feel to it and exudes good growth potential.  I liked it.

6/10 ******

 

Regicide, ‘Fall of an Empire’

June 7, 2015

Introducing Regicide, formed in 2006 in Albuquerque, USA.  Crossover old school Bay Area thrash with New Wave of American Metal.  (NWAM).  Opening for bands such as Warbringer and Hemlock, their debut album, ‘Fall of an Empire’, was released on May 19th, 2015.

Injustice – Nice drum intro, with some very Slayeresque riffs and a spoken word section, combined with some sung sections.  Cohesive, enthused and intriguing.  Liking the scales used and it’s a mid-paced, short but sweet track, with an aura of mystery.

Fallen – Quite a doomy feel to this guitar intro, with some very mystical sounding percussion elements.  Seguing into a heavier section, with some aggressive vocal harmonies and a faster pace; it’s definitely a darker sounding track.

Brainwashed – Continuing with the doomy feel, adding some natural sounds of water and smoothly moving through various sections incorporating a variety of techniques, displaying a wide selection of influences.  There’s a very definite sense of attempting to include an intriguing blend of styles and sounds.  Very unusual in that context and it does actually work well.  Becoming progressively heavier towards the end and closing on an abrupt drum and riff combo.

Fester – Slightly more melodic, with some slight echoes of Metallica, it’s an easier listen, with a deeper feel.  A pure instrumental, which works very well and just for comparison’s sake, it comes very close to the sound of Metallica’s ‘Blackened’.  A good example of the typical Bay Area thrash sound.  Like it.

John the Baptist – Opening with some very nice riffs, this one’s a fast-paced track, with some very Hetfieldesque vocals and a very catchy feel to it.  The pen drumming has begun!  A decent mix of melody, speed and aggression.  Simply, the catchiness in itself will sell this song.  Lots of hooks, pace and tempo increases and generally, just very enjoyable.  A nice gentle percussive touch in the closing section.  Got to wonder about the origins of the title.

Spill – A darker intro again, with that unmistakable element of influences taken from various cultures.  More of a spoken vocal, with a bit of growly/deathy stuff.  Maintaining the downbeat, yet still lively essence, injecting a complex set of riffs, methodically performed and ending suddenly, it’s mysterious and accomplished.

Life or Death – Lovely opening riff).  Returning to a more melodic sound, with an uplifting feel, it’s got some great drumbeats and more of those Hetfieldesque spoken, shouted and sung vocals.  A nice combo of gentle and heavier instrumentals and raw, angry vocals.  Lots of great riffage.  You definitely feel the anger behind this one.

Again – Liking the exciting and very Slayeresque opening riffs.  Nice fast-paced rhythmic drumming.  Catchy lyrics, in places.  Mixing up the pace, here and there, utilising a great blend of guitar riffs and battering the drums harder at the end, closing with the sound of smashing glass, it’s vivid and memorable.

Overall, an inventive and original album, with unique qualities, which is not afraid to experiment.  Some very winning Slayer and Tallicaesque sections, combined with the right kind of individual touches.  Spinning off on multi-influential tangents, yet still keeping each song together;  conveying purpose and meaning.  Mystical, yet familiar.  Yin and Yang.  For sheer inventiveness, it wins lots of points.

8/10 ********

Available digitally on itunes, google music, Amazon, CD Baby or www.regicidemusic.com .

For fans of Slayer and Metallica. Also contains a tiny hint of a certain song on ‘Heavy Metal Killers’ towards the end.  Find it if you can!

 

Heavylution ‘Children of Hate’

June 2, 2015

Heavylution, formed in France, in 2007, influenced by the likes of Kreator, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Pantera, Maiden, Edguy, Iced Earth etc, having opened for Lordi, Paul Dianno, Lonewolf and Wizard, now offer you their debut album, ‘Children of Hate’, released in February 2015.

The Call – Opening with one of the most beautiful melodic solos I’ve ever heard and then crashing into life with a full on instrumental, it’s hard-hitting, evocative and life affirming.  That’s got to be one of the most accomplished and eloquent intros I’ve ever heard.  Stunning.

Children of Hate – The title track just hits you in the face, with the most aggressive Maidenesque melody; you’d be forgiven for thinking this was Bruce himself!  This truly is an incredible vocal, lyrical and musical talent, beyond belief.  Imagine some of your favourite Maiden tracks and you’re there.  It’s got catchy in bucket loads.  Oh and that closing riff is the bomb!  If you wanted charisma, then this is it.

Obsession – Right in there with tuneage and hooks aplenty.  It’s got me singing along already and here, the Priest and Megadeth influences are definitely audible.  Really going for it with a vocal performance of such utter strength and conviction.  Same can be said for the fire fuelled instrumentals, throwing every shred of energy into it.  Impressive and plausible to the nth degree.

Spirit Never Dies – Taking it from the top with a gorgeously moving riff that gets right into you, soon joined by an equally sensuous drum section and vocal accompaniment.  It goes deep.  Another performance fit for a well-established classic metal band.  These guys deserve to hit the big-time, for certain.  Pulsating, insistent rhythm, that takes you right in, with the blisteringly hot drum rolls and that voice!  Oh, that voice!  Pure heaven.

Burn Out – Fizzing, frenetic speed riffage, accompanied by equally powerfully furious drum rolls and of course, those inexplicably glorious vocals.  I can’t believe I’m about to destroy yet another pen, drumming along.  Just a total buzz-filled epic metal fest.  The business.

Mind Avulsion – Crash!  We have liftoff!  Ooh, nice heavy, loaded, steel fuelled riff and bassline there.  Catchy doesn’t even do it justice.  Only the dead inside would fail to get into this.  Carrying off a beautiful riff just past the midsection, followed by a genuine Dickinsonesque pitch perfect scream.  More of those drum based war proclamations and indescribably sensual riffs that just make you want to get inside the song and ….. well, you know.

The Eye Will Control – Banging drum and riff intro, now I’ve dropped my pen.  Smoothly moving in with those Godlike vocals.  Great fast-paced rhythm, coherent and fluid, striking all the right notes with such consummate ease, this is a 100% professional band.  Filled with the stuff of awesomely memorable metal.

The Exodus – You know the score by now, just more of the same pro soul haunting stuff.  Some cool vocal harmonies and brief spoken sections there, like a racing car, chasing its track target with unstoppable force.  Focused, well paced, filled with sexy melodies, it lacks nothing.  If it was even possible, it actually gets stronger throughout.  Definitely some Priestesque influences towards the end, oh and how he holds that note there is anyone’s guess.  These guys know what’s required.

Balls of Steel – Heavy intro, demonstrating nothing but determination to rock.  Even some Van Halen/Vai type riffs, with a slight Rammsteinesque spoken sound, till the sound of Bruce Dickinson the 2nd takes over again, in hot pursuit from those incensed riffs and drum hits.  Great lyrics and very apt title.  Yes guys, I’ve no doubt your balls are made of steel.  Here, you’ll hear that they’ve also nailed that near impossible task of creating truly penetrating singalong riffs.  Can’t fail to uplift.  A positive hailstorm of drums and metal riffs, just prior to that closing and highly fitting orgasmic moan.

Future Is On Your Side – Ah, now this one intros a gorgeous acoustic guitar and vocal solo and the lyrics are absolutely beautiful, as is the voice itself.  Perfectly placed wild card, further accentuating the full potential and very genuine skill base of these guys.  Some people are born musicians and these guys definitely are!  This is yet another of those tracks that gets right inside your heart and soul, flows through your veins and you just know that your mind and spirit will never ever forget it.  If ever there was a metal band born to create music together, it’s this one.  It’s got everything you could want.  Fading out magically on that final riff, this is the true heart and soul of metal.

Fight for Changes – Fabulously exciting barrelling intro, with an audibly enthused amalgamation of musical and vocal powers, creating complete metal magic.  Driving forwards with those extraordinary riffs, drum fills and pure and effortless soaring vocals.  Ending on a perfectly cohesive vocal and instrumental section straight from metal paradise.  Totally and utterly flawless.

Overall, no words would do this album the justice it deserves, except to say that these guys deserve to go right to the top and stay there forever.  Metal Royalty in the makings.

10/10 obviously **********

For fans of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Megadeth, Metallica, Saxon, Whitesnake and every other great you can imagine.

 

Torous ‘Dried Bones’

June 1, 2015

Storming in there, with a dark and reflective intro, flowing into a cohesive, hard edged Celtic rock sound, infused with folky elements.  Tinged with catchy hooks, it’s a fresh and intriguing combo of influences, morphing into a possible crossover genre all of its own.  Fusing alternative aspects with mainstream rock, it’s a unique and enlightening blend of music, which should go down well amongst broadminded rock enthusiasts.

8/10 ********

www.torous.co.uk

www.maximumvolumepr.co.uk 

For fans of all Celtic, alternative, folk rock and mainstream hard rock.