Archive for September, 2016

Raw Ensemble – ‘Suffer Well’

September 27, 2016

Enemy – Very snazzy blitzkrieg of an intro.  In fact, it’s on fire.  Raw, angry, piercing, extreme vocals and tons of thrashy riffs and drums, of a truly relentless nature.

Bad Religion – Banging drum intro, speeding straight into the mood, with killer endurance, right out of mosh pit fever.  Whether you like your metal thrashy, deathy, extreme or melodic, there’s something in here for you.  A real effortless professionalism seeps through every pore of this track.  Explosive to the end.  Dump the coffee and play this instead, if you’re aiming to stay awake.

5th Dimension – It’s one of those high-speed car chase visuals I’m so fond of.  There’s no slowing down for anything with this one.  Except, of course, the obligatory, affecting mid-section, driving into you with focused precision, like a rusty nail through your spleen.  Those entrenched speed riffs soon pick up the pace again, though, refusing to let you rest till it’s over.

Apocalypse – Now that’s an unusual intro!  Not your typical time signature and much greater cymbal emphasis; a feature becoming entrenched in the whole song, as it inveigles its way into your senses and violates your being.  Forceful lyrics and a slight ‘Tallica type drum fill, 3/4 of the way in, before the manic cymbal involvement takes hold again.  That’s a really unique spin on things, it has to be said.  It probably constitutes the tracks’ USP.  Rarely will you hear the cymbals take centre stage in that way.  Distracting as it may be, it’s certainly novel and one thing they can’t be accused of is ‘copycat syndrome’.

Beneath The Ashes – thrudding heaviness incarnate.  It’s quickly becoming clear that open-minded metallers, with mixed tastes will get the most out of this.  It’s got a bit of everything – growly, blackened slime, screamo extremity, thrashy riffs, melo-death, speed and … oh!  It’s over.  Clean cut, precise ending.

Bleeding Out – You can chill out, very briefly, for the merest hint of a moment, before it charges into life, with a spoken/screamed appeal to let it enter your soul and take you, screaming, to your execution.  Highly charged sprint of a section, till the end.

Weakness And Fear – Blood-drenched demand to pay attention to its message, this is what you call remorseless.  Menacing, wildly aggressive and uncompromising, the lyrics are arresting, chilling and almost nauseating, in their graphic depictions.  Wow, WTF’s going on now?  It’s the intro to AC/DC’s ‘Back In Black’!  Well that’s one striking way to end a track!

Neither Nor – Throwing the venom straight down your throat, there’s a powerful element of clear, unvarnished truth of the unpalatable variety.  Whatever it may be, these guys are gonna force you to swallow it.  Engage all your senses, cos you’re gonna need them for this and let’s face it – they’re gonna come into play anyway, as far as this track’s concerned, so you may as well surrender to it.

Outlaw Killers – Ooh!  Very anthemic group intro there!  A positive hammering into your senses and through your very self.  These drums definitely mean business and will not relent.  Cold-blooded, merciless terror.

Overall – If ever an album broke through your senses, battered down your psyche and destroyed your defences, it’s ‘Suffer Well’.  Aptly titled.  It makes you do exactly that.

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

For fans of Skreamer, Amon Amarth, Children Of Bodom and all crossover metal genres, with a deathy, sludgy emphasis.

http://www.metal-archives.com/ 

 

Euphoria – ‘Operation: Genesis’

September 26, 2016

Formed in January 2016, Euphoria are influenced by Death, Vektor, Slayer, Megadeth, Pantera, amongst others, including punk.  Their first gig was in March, to a sold-out crowd of 200.  ‘Operation: Genesis’ was recorded following that.  ‘OG’ is a concept album, about experiments with evolution, involving various life forms and conspiracies to destroy humanity.  Released in June, at another sold-out launch show, after which, they received radio play from 101.1 WRF – Detroit’s commercial hard rock/heavy metal station.  Their first US tour (self co-ordinated), began in August.  It will continue into 2017, when they plan to tour Europe aswell.

Intro – Rather cool whammy bar intro, complete with Sabbath like funereal church bells and rain; followed up by simply gorgeous melodic power riffs.  Fading out nicely, it’s a good start to the album.

Theoretical Conception – Liking that snappy melodic speed intro and the way the same trad speed rhythm’s maintained.  Classic power metal fayre, with riffage aplenty and a tasty power scream thrown in, too.  Hugely fun and easy to listen to.  Goes down well in the Rock Queen camp.

Primordial Dominance – Single cymbal hit intro, rapidly joined by classically heavy riffs, vocals edging into growly territory, creating an element of melo-death, combined with the thrashy arrangements.  It’s very comfortable to hear and for some reason, makes me want to play pinball to it.

Cyberschizophrenia – Now that’s what you call a proper full on speed riff intro, cleverly followed up by one with more of those deathy vocals, moving it out of clear thrash and into death realms, whilst still retaining plenty of melody.  This fluid motion between different metal genres is what makes this versatile and the passion is plain to hear.  As is the musical demo of aspects of the songs’ themes.

Watchtower – Slightly gentler intro, soon seguing into extreme thrash vocals and some tasty and slightly anthemic riffs, before playing around with a bit more melo-death style stuff and flowing back again into some nice, cosy riffage, with which, it ends.

Aftershock: The Act Of War – That’s a very smooth, slick intro, with plenty in common with many of the classic styles.  Lots of deathy growly stuff, yet still carrying a catchy hook or two in those riffs.  I tell you what, though.  It’s that rumbling, building drum roll that really hits home in this track, towards the end.  I will say one thing.  These guys know how to create an effective ending.

Parasite – Well paced, with more drum focus.  The more extreme influences are becoming increasingly apparent, which leads me to wonder whether this was perhaps initially intended as more of a death project than a thrash one.  This track’s over fairly quickly, before you’ve had much chance to take it in.  A bit like a lightning flash of changing movement.

Black Dawn – Ah, now that’s more of a ‘Tallica type intro.  Don’t be fooled, though.  The blackened thread returns and this time, it really goes for it, giving it everything it’s got within its gory, dark, grimy soul.  Some real melo-death emphasis, but still, that vaguely anthemic sense returns, intermittently.  Liking those yummy riffs, just before the end.

The Andromeda Effect – One off cymbal hit intro again, with accompaniment from a markedly heavy guitar and drum section.  More cymbal action in here, for sure.  There’s no mistaking the enthusiasm in here and the timing’s spot-on, but it’s going to appeal more to those of the death/black metal persuasion.  Convincing volcanic rumble at the end.

Outro – Intrigue abounds here, in this fire like sound, crackling away, like a bonfire, on Guy Fawkes night.  Quite a nice touch, in fact.

Overall – In contrast with most metal albums, this one’s left a confusing impression, since it’s technically, a thrash album, but definitely contains far more death/melo- death/extreme metal leanings.  Very passionate ones, at that.  One thing it does have, in buckets, is enthusiasm.  Ultimately, it’s one for the black metal fans.

7/10 *******

For fans of Skreamer, Slayer, Amon Amarth, Eluvitie, black metal, death metal and melo-death.

http://www.facebook.com/euphoriadetroit 

http://www.euphoriadetroit.bandcamp.com/ 

http://www.metal-archives.com/ 

 

Hamerex – ‘Traitor’

September 25, 2016

Traitor – Lovely bit of doomy slide guitar intro, with a noticeably heavy, stoner essence, yet still uplifting, in its own way.  Catchy, with a slight, very welcome, Disturbed echo, towards the mid-section.  It’s instantly obvious how much the bands’ material has progressed since the last release.  Moving ever upwards, in all the right places.  Plenty of sexy riffage and still, I hear that gorgeous hark back to Disturbed, in that magical way that takes nothing away from Hamerex’s fresh individualism.  An outstanding start, which hooks you in, immediately.

The Dark Tower – Pure beauty to that velvet smooth intro and a positive, undefeatable drum section.  A clear band signature lives within the vocals now.  Easily recognisable and good to hear the confidence which has grown through them.  They’ve got the tones, pace and timing just right and it’s audibly cohesive.  More catchy beats and incredibly intense and unquestionably classic ending.  One with faint reminiscences to ‘Tallica’s ‘Creeping Death’.  Brilliant.

Dead Mountain – That’s quite an intro – drum focused, clear and perfected.  Majestically metal song, just brimming with all the right ingredients.  Audio quality is stunning, as is the musicianship that’s gone into this.  Almost tribal in its sound and rhythm.  A clear candidate for anthemic rock right there.

The Nameless One – Think Maiden’s ‘Virus’ and you’re there.  Pure sensual metalgasm.  It’ll get into your heart, run through your veins and infect your blood in the way that only true metal does.  Thoroughly pro and exciting vocals, showing the full range of consummate metal vocals, which’ll release all the pent-up emotion, as you hypnotically sing and scream along.  Absolute catharsis.

Eyes Of Deceit – Fab, catchy as hell intro, sexily rapid pace and rhythm, to reel you in in no time.  You’re gonna want more.  Like a raging battalion, riding into battle, on galloping stallions.  Takes you away from it all.  Immensely strong performance, transporting you right to the places where all your metal dreams reside.  Addictive and utterly breathtaking.

The Abyss – Gorgeous echoey riff intro, supported, in perfect time and rhythm, by those no-nonsense, hard as hell drum beats.  Amazing how much value, magic and power you can get from one simple arrangement and how it can build in power and momentum.  This really is a sheer mystical instrumental, of such massive proportions, it’ll literally take your breath away.

The Evil Within – Crash bang and right into the fray, with loud and joyful abandon.  I can honestly say they’ve mastered the art of masterful metal.  There’s something extremely mesmeric and powerful about this album.  It was meant for front line, centre stage presence.  It’s unstoppable.  Some very clearly Slayeresque riffs in there and blazing, rather than fading out in fiery furious flames.

Journey’s End – Opening up like a gaping, ravenous hole, in the most volcanic sense; filling that hungry, empty space, with delicious riffs and a general feel of classic influenced compositions, straight from the heart of all your favourite old school bands combined and morphed into an exceptionally good NWOBHM sound.  Beautiful fade out riff, of astounding quality.  Aptly titled, energetic finale.

Overall – There aren’t words to describe the sheer magnitude of power, craftsmanship and absolute conviction in this album.  It’s just an epic delight of anthemic metal, featuring the best and most addictive sounds you’ll hear this year.  Add ‘Traitor’ to your top 10 metal albums now.

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

For fans of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Anthrax, AC/DC, Slayer, Testament, Exodus, Disturbed, you get the picture.  All that’s good about metal.

www.hamerex.com 

www.facebook.com/hamerex 

http://hamerex.bandcamp.com/album/traitor 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/BO1LOFGJAY 

 

 

Crimson Slaughter – ‘Cycle Of Decay’

September 21, 2016

Crimson Slaughter are a Spanish thrash metal band, formed in 2015, from members of bands from South Madrid.  Their debut album was released in July 2016.  New material is now prepared for a follow-up album.  Record label support is now being sought.

Combat Formations – A positive battering ram of drums, riffs and bass, coming straight at you, in a fiercely ‘Tallicaesque way, with clear nods to ‘Battery’.  In fact, that would be a good term for this particular brand of metal attack, since that’s how it leaves you feeling.  Battered.  An epic battle metal extravaganza, to shred your eardrums into strips.

Endless War – Turning up the attack some more, this time, adding some furious vocals and angry melodies into the mix.  All the while, a resoundingly classic thrash essence permeates.  Pure raw aggression.

Buried Beneath The State – There’s no let up at all from the absolute crazed fury with which this comes at you.  Loud, impassioned, mosh pit territory.  Bang your head if you dare, but I warn you, it might fall off.

Dead Walk Away – Great racy fast pace and a bit of random drumstick biz going on there.  Some very nice slide guitar work too and a truly unique fade out, like the sound of an eardrum perforating.

Bred To Obey – Oh yeah!  Now there’s something very sexy about this intro.  That delicious combo of rapid pace, testosterone fuelled vocals and viciously energised riffs and drum beats get right to the core, immediately.  Slight echo of D.R.I.’s ‘Beneath The Wheel’, around 3/4 of the way in, building momentum, to an insane level, as it rages on, towards the close, with affecting finality.  Deeply and profoundly metal.

Wretch God – Wow!  Mesmeric intro, of mixed acoustic electric sections, powered by creepy, sinister tones.  A darkly horroresque style runs throughout it.  Fabulous riff scales just before the close.  Smooth and seamless fade out.

Battlefields – Frenzied drum intro, closely followed on its heels by similar sounding riffs and a clear, lyrical 9/11 emphasis.  It’s not entirely clear where they’re going with that theme, but it seems like an attempt to depict the media portrayal, which could perhaps be a comment on the dangers and scourge of terrorist disasters, their social and political effects and how they’re portrayed, or even a note on alarmist tactics.  Whatever its lyrical message, one thing’s clear – it’s angry and determined to show it.

Kill Or Be Killed – Tasty bit of speed riffing in that intro, straight from planet mosh itself.  In fact, the power riffs continue consistently and you’ll even hear a bit of growly stuff in there, amidst the chaos of unrelenting terror.  Be ready to pick up the pieces from the debris it leaves strewn all around it, in it’s violent and destructive wake.

My Fist, Your Face – No, not the Aerosmith cover.  Even better slide speed guitar riff intro.  Slayer, eat your heart out.  Some may be offended by the language in here.  “They can fuck off and buy something from the new age section”.  Fun, incensed aggression just rules throughout.

Punisher – Really going for the big 4 thrash element here, in a perfect finale.  They’ve obviously challenged themselves to a race to play faster and faster, till they reach the peak of true thrash speed and intensity and finally explode.  At least they’ll go out with a bang.

Overall – An intense, loaded cacophony of anger infused, energy charged, thrash metal madness, to release the demons within.

8/10

http://www.metal-archives.com/

For fans of Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Testament, Exodus and thrash metal, speed and power metal, generally.

 

Petrol Girls – ‘Phallocentric’

September 4, 2016

Wow!  Blasting hard intro, getting straight in there, with a piercingly heavy torrent of aggression, with no hesitation and utter conviction.  It’s rare to hear such angry, unhesitant screams from a female vocalist, but that level of rawness and violence could well become another Lzzy Hale, a few years down the line.  Pure, straightforward aggression like that is what legends are made of.  Very short song, but perhaps that’s its beauty.  Direct and powerful, straight from the heart.  Very comfortable instrumentals too.

8/10 ********

Taken from the ‘Phallocentric’ single.

For fans of Skunk Anansie, Halestorm, punk rock and all forms of metal, with extreme vocals.

https://www.facebook.com/Petrolgirls 

https://www.twitter.com/Petrol_girls 

https://www.instagram.com/Petrol_girls/ 

 

 

 

Blackgate – ‘Ronin’

September 3, 2016

Power/thrash metal band Blackgate formed in late 2013, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA.  Live shows and recording began in spring 2014, including festivals such as West Michigan’s annual ‘Carnival of Chaos’ and 2014 ‘Mosh Pit Bootcamp’.  Their debut self titled EP was released in the autumn of that year.  Met with widespread critical acclaim, amongst the underground metal scene; it led to them opening for Battlecross, on the opening date of their 2014 ‘Winter Warriors’ national tour.

Following a 2015 multiple date tour, which saw them opening for metal legends Symphony X and Overkill, Blackgate launched their first album, ‘Ronin’, in July 2016.  As with the EP, this was also well received, particularly, on sites such as www.Hollywoodmetal.com and www.Truemetallives.com.

BPS – Nice refreshingly low bass opening, then crackling and fizzing into life, with so much vibrant, life affirming energy and passion, you can’t fail to be impressed.  Rapid, lively, upbeat instrumental, creating the perfect intro.  Slowing the pace, to focus in on storming heavy drums, towards the close; it breathes life into the atmosphere, showing encouraging signs for what follows.

Ronin – Title track.  Bang!  Flaming intro beat there, soon breaking into a pleasingly melodic, catchy verse and chorus, interspersed with a grindingly heavy volley of drums and riffs, to crunch your neck to.  The pace, rhythm and track duration are just right – allowing you to get right into it, enjoy it and remember it.  You’ll get addicted to this.  It’ll pull you in and hold you prisoner, right to the end.

Dying Age – Nice, high-pitched melodic intro riff.  These guys are masters of catchy choruses, pumping up the volume and riding straight into the song, with absolute joyful, effortless abandon.  This is going to get inside your skin, in a big way.  Pure, unadulterated metal addiction.  Racy, orgasmic and exciting.  Finishing on a ‘Trooper’ like riff and drum hit, this is pure heaven.

Horizon’s Fall – Oh yeah!  Got to love that stoner heavy, thrudding intro.  I’m into it already.  Filled with fabulous, fire filled riffs, steel loaded drums and high octane, masterful power vocals.  It all fits together perfectly.  An intriguingly sinister section towards the end, top-quality production and performance.

Caesar – Yes!  Fast, driving riffs, of immediate power and focus.  A really classy feel, with that delightful sound of classic, old school influences, combined with NWOHM, you just can’t go wrong with.  Raging and rolling onto the mid-section, it’s like a pack of rampant stallions, galloping towards their target.

The Soldier – Great, flashy, stop start ‘Tallicaesque intro, with so many blazing beats, it’s prime headbanging territory.  Enthrallingly paced, audio production of the highest calibre, even including some Slayeresque riffs in there, this really is power incarnate..  It just blasts its way through your senses.

You Better Run – Raging, and racing, intense riff intro, seguing immediately into prime power metal depths.  A positive battallion of drum beats and riffs, eventually giving way to a sophisticated, brief pace and tone alternation, before moving, just as easily and fluidly, back into that tight, fast, focused, mood altering melody.  Climbing up the riff scales, towards metal heaven.  Complete with vocals of such stunning quality, there just aren’t words to do it justice.

Beneath – A slower, ballad like instrumental of sheer beauty and awesome magic.

The Veil – Opening with a slow, melancholic, low tone, filled with depth and meaning; there’s a definite darker feel to this beginning, but the darkness doesn’t last long, before opening itself up to the light once more, with a breakthrough of intense, colourful melody.  A fittingly longer track, of such fulsome durability and creativity, as to widen, stretch and enlighten your senses, opening them up to new depths.  Kaleidoscopic experience, fading out beautifully.

Last Son – Doomy, rhythmic, bluesy intro, just filled with steel and rapidly giving way to a perfectly paced, power trip.  Such consummate professionalism lives within this, it just speeds along, with absolute ease of performance.  It’s gone beyond impressive, to the point which places it rightfully within the higher echelons of the metal world.  Pure, unbridled feeling of the deepest depths imaginable.  Magical fade out.  I’m in heaven. 

I Am The Night – Visuals of a raging, stampeding bull, stomping its way through its territory and demolishing all in its path.  A fearsome, brain crushing drum section and epic riffage, to give the fiercest lightning storm a run for its money.  Sirens blaring throughout and just a positive, sustained attack of metallic glory.

Iron Legion – Opening with some glorious paradiddles, a blast of drums and a river of those gorgeous vocals, running smoothly towards its destination, till it crashes against the mountains, as the river bursts its banks, from the sheer magnitude of the full pelt of its power.  Ratcheting up the power and volume to the max, to ear-splitting proportions, this song lives totally in the moment.

Hollow Man – Blazing riff intro, followed up by a brain bursting performance.  This band are on fire.  Every classic metallic sound and feel you can imagine is alive and well within this track.  These guys do the world of speed power thrash metal enormous justice.  Strong is too small a word to describe it.

BPS (Reprise) – Lovely, penetrating riff, which goes right through to your soul.  A clear thread of contemplation here.  Smooth, flawless, closing instrumental and ending with a tinkling cymbal, of deep effect.

Overall – One of the strongest, most affecting sounds I’ve heard all year.  Blackgate belong with the greats and titans of metal.  Giants in the making.  Here’s one to watch for this year.  They’ve left a resounding impression of power and awe.  No words can truly do this album justice.  It’s actually stronger than words.

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

For fans of Testament, Slayer, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Dragonforce, Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest and power/speed/thrash metal, generally.