Archive for May 2017

Fire Red Empress – ‘Giants’   15 comments

Formed in 2014, merged from bands from both France and the UK, Fire Red Empress have crashed onto the scene, with their loud, impassioned hard rock sound, bringing with them their new single, ‘Giants’. Having played live at Bloodstock in 2015 and Summer Breeze Fest in Germany, they soon caught the attentions of such acclaimed names as Jason Hansen, (Volbeat producer), Metal Hammer and Classic Rock mags and received consequent airplay on Planet Rock and Radio X. Work on their debut album began in 2016, with new vocalist Jen Diehl. Their huge sounds and energies were well captured and strikingly produced, revealing themselves fully in the official ‘Giants’ video.

Launching straight into life, in the rockiest way, it’s instantly impacting, catchy and memorable. All Halestorm fans will love this, as Jen’s voice is so like Lzzy Hale’s, you just can’t fail to love the raucous, unashamed, energised sound. Perfected vocal and instrumental cohesion, it’s heavy, it’s hard, it’s upbeat and one listen’ll have you hooked. Confident, brash, solid delivery and closing in an abruptly no-nonsense manner, ‘Giants’ has got it all and is aptly titled, as it’s certainly a giant of a track. Get some now.

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

For fans of Halestorm



Posted May 31, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

In My Embrace – ‘Dead To Dust Descend’   114 comments

Dead To Dust Descend – Nice gradual intro, with lots of melodic riffage and a warm, inviting feel, despite the growly vocal roars. There’s a definite catchiness inherent in this and generally, it’s a promising start.

To Forevermore – Immediate, impacting drum rolls opening, this time, moving with fluid ease into a gorgeously visual feast of metal Viking thunder. There’s something very cohesive about it and a real solid essence to it, that almost vibrates with power and fortitude.

Av Skymning Kommen, Mot Gryning Gar – (‘From dusk I came, towards dawn I go’) – Dreamily introing, with a profoundly touching acoustic section, which, combined with the blackened throaty roars, brings a novel perspective to things. Brief, yet quite moving, in an unusual way. Animalistic gore, added to gentle acoustics. Have to say, it’s a first for me and a surprisingly welcome one. Inexplicably compelling.

Diabolical Masquerade – This time, racing into life, with drum rolls taking centre stage, with their vibrant movement, precision timing and overall fun feel. WASP fans’ll hear a quick ref in there, to ‘War Cry’, intentional or not and either way, it’s a welcome insert, with plenty of rock factor.

Nattvandraren – Straight in there, with a no holds barred death vocal, setting the scene for more bloody violence and a fresh heaviness, holding you within its lair and filling you with metal pleasure and willingness to stay there. Enticing and entrapping, in the best possible way.

Remembrance – Lovingly played acoustic riff, with a certain sinister edge, also laying equal claim to the hypnotic backing vocals, creating a purity of such beauty, it does, in fact, incite you into reverent silence, with its memorial theme, as if it were actually Remembrance Day. There’s a palpable, almost permeable magic to it, infiltrating the senses, at a very deep level.

Av Stymning Kommen, Mot Gryning Gar – (Instrumental, Bonus, edited/clean V) – Opening the final chapter of this sensory storyline experience, acoustically, again, as it embeds itself in your psyche, with a fantastical, almost medieval flavour, fading out in the same simple, yet profound way. Demonstrating a sheer form of powerful mystique, it’s proof, beyond doubt, of the fluidity and ease with which I.M.E. glide from stark bravery and heaviness, to gentle beauty, in a thoroughly diverse, meaningful way.

Overall – A stunning display of range, versatility and variation, to rival a band of marching mercenaries, one minute and a band of Angels, the next. Awe-inspiring, highly gifted and truly, significantly unique.

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

For fans of Viking and pirate metal, medieval, fantasy and folk metal, pagan metal, pure, classic, heavy metal, melo-death, black metal and everything in between. (Vid of licensed Diablo 3 material).


Posted May 22, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

In My Embrace – ‘Black Waters Deep’   2 comments

Track title ‘Black Waters Deep’ is metaphorically related to struggling to keep your head above water, whilst the pressures and stresses of life drag you down, till you drown.

Formed in 2004, the initial idea behind In My Embrace was to create darker, stronger music than they were used to, influenced by old school and Viking black death metal. In 2010, IME began writing new music and reproducing older material. They recorded their EP, ‘Dead To Dust Descend’, in 2012 and the end of 2013 saw them working with Sliptrick Records, through whom ‘DTDD’ was released in spring 2014. The EP received widespread acclaim, adding a music video for its track title, with contents approved by the Blizzard Entertainment video game ‘Diablo 3’.

More band members joined for live gigs and the album, ‘Black Waters Deep’ was released, as a full-length. As a Swedish melo-death/black metal album, the music within it varies somewhat, in pace, feel, sound and style, with some structural variations aswell. Taking a unique and eclectic approach to each individual track, it could fit into multiple genres and is hoped to meet with diverse tastes.

The Coming Storm – Cautiously deep, gradual shadowy intro, just long enough to intrigue, mystify and hold your attention.

Black Waters Deep – Bringing in the noise now, ‘BWD’ intro’s the darkened, blacker aspect to their music, injecting it with a steady rhythm, a sinister feel and a mysteriously grungy backdrop, enabling the very accessibility they aim for. There’s a strong sense of a careful attempt at an interplay of different genres, which in fact, works on some level. Intricate craftsmanship is immediately apparent.

Into Oblivion – Crashing its way onto the scene, with visual imagery aplenty; it’s a really appealing blend of Viking, melodic, black and death metal, worthy of the highest level of recognition. Creative and vibrant, it’ll infiltrate your mind, with images of the four horsemen of the apocalypse, charging into battle, with full body armour and a whole battalion of metal styles and influences as their ammo. Even for the most hardened purist, this’ll open up new metallic vistas in your mind. It’s fresh, breezy and unique and it goes down very well indeed.

Of Ache And Sorrow – A banging intro, of a different kind, shifting direction, to a new perspective, tinged with slightly more blackened emphasis, yet equal parts melody, uplift and diversity. Well constructed, with winning arrangements and an overall buzz factor, making it one you’d want to return to. Even at first listen, you’re struck by its power and made aware that each consecutive listen would provide new elements and sounds to create novel storylines worth following.

Thy Abhorrence – Pure violent rage this time, leaving you in no doubt as to its strength and still, holding such creative melody. There’s definitely something for everyone here and one thing you won’t ever be by IME is bored. A challenging, yet fulfilling ride through Nordic landscapes and uplifting territories – it’s a bold statement of individuality and cross-over genres, which, together, bring a whole new and enlightening sound and structure to the metal arena.

The Road Of Hanging On – Opening with an ever so brief wobble board sound, for the shortest interval, before launching right into a harder edged tempest, every bit as fun and enjoyable. Blizzard-like, in delivery and so refreshing, it’ll keep you on your toes till the last.

Next Chapter – Hauntingly beautiful piano intro, seguing, smoothly, into a leaner, more melodic sound, still incorporating that battle hardened edge, whilst just trimming it back discreetly, to the bare bones of melody. Inspiring, evolved and edgily catchy, as the song progresses further. Ending on a return to the mesmeric piano solo, it’s a true art form and that’s not even doing it justice.

Voyage Of Thoughts – Throwing down the power and laying it out on the floor, to be played for all it’s worth, here lies a source of unbreakable defiance. Banging out the metal, with the energy of an army; it’ll leave you stretched out on the ground, sated, yet still asking for more.

Killing Spree – Mysteriously opening, with a sound akin to a heavy boulder, or possibly a tombstone, being rolled to one side, it soon moves into total melodic thrall, whilst continuing that death tinged essence and overall heaviness. Consummate professionalism, it’s a storm of hardened metal to go out and play in.

Autumn Storm Despair – Moving gently into life, with a melancholic acoustic section, reminiscent of Avenged Sevenfold’s ‘So Far Away’, accompanied by the most perfectly fitting, sorrowful, yet comforting rainfall. The ideal way to end.

Overall – A newly discovered gem of first rate, metallic cross-over combos, to challenge, enthuse and enthrall all metal devotees, regardless of favoured genres. Amalgamating complex arrangements, with intelligently crafted song structures, vivid visual imagery and highly sentient sounds, producing evocatively involving music, of a deeply memorable and striking nature.

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

For fans of new and innovative melo-death, black and death metal, old school Viking metal, thrash, melodic and combo/cross-over metal.

Out now on Sliptrick Records. (Video with licensed Diablo 3 material).

Posted May 21, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Fleshpress ‘Hulluuden Muuri’   9 comments

New offering from Finnish doomsters Fleshpress, ‘Hulluuden Muuri’ is a change of direction from their previous material, with less psychedelia and more distortion, anger and violence. Most of their albums being studio live sessions, this is the first with a long-standing band member playing synth and percussion, intended to add an extra dimension. It’s also the first of their albums to be performed entirely in Finnish, with supposedly more vocal emphasis. The artwork represents an equal aggression to the music itself. It’s available via CD or digital download.

Lunastuksen Ajan Veren Riitti  – Screechy feedback intro there, till the metal overtakes, with its doom laden, darkened essence. Very shouty, horror-esque stuff, with a noticeably obscure aspect. Though this is admittedly bolder and angrier than their previous material, the psychedelic strand is still audible. Somewhere in there, you’ll hear echoes of Jim Morrison perform one of his most tortured Doors-esque screams. So far, it feels more like a clash of ambivalent styles, being experimented with, than a form of music you can get into and enjoy, but each to their own.

Hulluuden Viiltava Lasipinta – More of a low, rumbling cacophony here, you could be forgiven for mistaking for the scratchy distortion heard on a scratched record or in between the station tunings on your radio frequencies. It holds a very sinister edge, though, even if a not entirely understandable one. Grim vocals, which are almost Grim Reaper like in delivery and certainly not something you’d want to listen to alone, late at night. Whilst there is an undoubtable heaviness, it’s not necessarily one you’d associate with more listenable heavy-metal and does emit an obvious funereal fear factor you’d struggle to lose, once it was implanted in your mind.

Oikeamieliset – Opening with what sounds like a funeral bell, with a blackened edge of terror. I’m struggling to find the music within this, since it really just seems to be noise experiments, for the sake of it. Continuing that same way throughout, it doesn’t leave room for further critique.

Siintavan Totuuden Haikaiseva Kajo – Oh! Is that some actual bass notes I hear? If so, then there may just be some redeeming feature to it, but the jury’s still out and so far, the verdict doesn’t look good. Now, the pained howls, shouts and screams take over and a few misguided attempts are made at paying lip service to instrumentals, but I fear it’s too late. Kurt Cobain’s agonised noises from the end of ‘Never Mind’ have risen and this time, they’re accompanied by deafening, dull, indecipherable dumb-bell like sounds, doing the overall painful feel no favours at all.

Voiman Taydellinen Toteutuminen – Oh here we go, more of the same. Ever get that sense of a train approaching you at speed? Well this time, it’s coming at you in slow motion. ……. but wait – now there’s some actual music playing? Where’s it been all through this EP? Why leave it till now, when most will probably have switched off and gone to take some tranquillisers by now? Shame about the poorly timed demo of something approaching musical capability, cos sadly, it’s too little, too late and it’s still overdubbed by background cacophony. More animal-esque howls, but this time, with a Latinised edge. Still, though, the overriding sense is of some poor soul, having had their drink spiked with acid, screaming, ‘get me out of here’, in the midst of a terrifying trip, to places over which a discreet veil is best drawn. Some attempt is made at drum variations, but no, the train’s about to hit and there’s no chance of it braking in time.

Overall – If you can imagine the worst nightmare of an experimental recreational drug user, who’s finally gone too far and OD’d on all the wrong stuff, you’re probably there. Think no more about it.

2/10 **

For fans of obscure noise forms and the shady outcomes of experimentation with sounds produced by those who’ve given up on metal.

Release Date – July 14th 2017

Posted May 19, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Rosco’s Riot – ‘Crazy And Wild’   8 comments

Rosco’s Riot, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, are all about the classic heavy rock sound, as loud, as catchy and as fun as possible. They achieve it well. Unbelievably, the band in its current form has only been together for just over a year, though in that time, they’ve already achieved success in their home city of Belfast and have created a notable presence throughout the city’s rock venues. On the back of this success, they’ve recently been chosen to represent Northern Ireland at Hard Rock Hell’s Highway to Hell 7 Battle of the Bands, at Sheffield’s O2 Academy. Having already made their mark on the scene, Rosco’s Riot promise to whet your appetite for more and convert you to their sound.

Done Deal – Banging intro, that means business and no mistake. This is how to do rock. Class act, for certain. It’s got all you’d want in an intro track – instant, hard-hitting catchiness, pounding drums, vibrant melodies, energised vocals and high-impact riffs. Nothing missing here – except, as yet, its presence on the latest Classic Rock mag album. I’ll expect to see it on there soon. An intro and a half.

Crazy And Wild – Nice touch of sleazy slide guitar to start and a pair of lungs to rival many. It packs the power in spades. Upbeat, catchy, unhesitant and strong. Just how I like it). Some wild, luscious riffs in there and just pure metal. If you don’t get instantly hooked by this, your vital signs are failing. Killer.

Gypsy Eyes – Those opening vocals are just immense. Mystifying lyrics, a highly appealing sound and just nothing to do but rock along. How resonant are those lyrics? So easy to forget yourself indeed. There’s nothing else to say. It just rocks hard.

Begging For More – I already am! Right in there, with a southern drawl, before the lyrics have even begun. So visually intense, it will create images of the American mid-west, with pick-up trucks, big, beefy men and erm … Roadside Diners, selling real chicken and playing top-notch metal on the jukebox. Oh and what a fantastic fade-out riff. I only have one thing to say – the title says it all.

30 Feet From Heaven – Coming in just as strong, with heaps of melody. Measured beat, sliding the pace down, slightly and oh, so capably keeping that sexy rhythm, till it closes on another fabulous fade-out sound. It just rocks you to the core.

Girl – Slowing things down here, with a beautiful, chilled out melody, it’s no less rocky and shows those vocal chops off to their best ability, with all the grit to prove it. Such vocal maturity and matched, in mellow, yet still sexy style, by the riffs, both acoustic and electric, in equal measure. Let’s not neglect those passion fuelled drums either, as the same can be said for them. The day these guys got together was a good day for rock, it has to be said. I’m getting very fond of those familiar twanging fade-out riffs too. Sublime and rockily so.

Tainted Soul – Drumming things into life, in an absolute blitz storm of sheer power. As if that wasn’t enough, the vocals just blaze into life, on top form, with such heightened power, it almost defies belief. All those fellow fans of Daniel Trigger’s work, you’ll be utterly blown away by this. It’s almost left me literally speechless, with amazement, at the vocal power alone. Full volume rock attack. Take your favourite dreams with you, as you float right up to Metal Heaven.

Lie Lie – Feel that intro’s strength, as it moves into life, with a tangible sensation of life-giving energy, maintaining it throughout. Martyr De Mona fans will also dig his voice, with its full on feeling and sound to remember. It’s just bliss, from start to finish, never losing that vital passion and life force.

Twisted Family – Boom! Right in there and straight into life, with more of that irresistible energy, to rock you right out of yourself and into the stratosphere of rock. Melodic riffage at its best, to the end. Party rock central. It’s got that vibe, that instant catchiness and that total plausibility, to go with it. Get into it and let it take you away, to a better place.

Sweet Midnight – Kicking off with a drum and riff combo of such stunning sex appeal, it goes right off the scale. Damn, just how many more pens do I have to destroy, drumming along to songs like this, that just get me in the zone?! This is the absolute apex of all that rocks about rock!

Overall – If ever an album was made to take you straight to Rockers Paradise, it’s this one. Mind blowing, brain shattering, earth imploding joy. You need this in your life now. If you’re looking for that one exclusive rock album, with everything you could want and more, to rock out to, for the rest of your days, this is it. ‘Crazy And Wild’ will send you crazy and wild, in the best possible way. It’s one big, big sound, with a lasting and unforgettable impression. Easily amongst my top five albums of the year, so far. This is a giant of an album. The X factor of rock. In fact, never mind the X factor. This has got the R factor – The Rock Factor, big time. It’ll hit the big time, too. ‘Crazy and Wild’ is the Apex of Rock.

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

For fans of Dan Trigger, Martyr De Mona, Furyon, Baleful Creed, Obey, BlackBerry Smoke, Black Stone Cherry, southern rock and big rock sounds, with powerful vocals.


Posted May 15, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Grindpad – ‘Shark Bite’   44 comments

Born in 2006, the casual, nameless band, which in 2007, became Grindpad, bonded over their love of old school metal. Having in common, their distaste for modern, samey sub-genre trends, they morphed their own music from death/grind, into true pure energetic metal. Their two EP’s and live shows won them the Dutch Metal Battle, in 2010. After this, gigs continued and they supported Boltthrower, Benediction and Tankard.

Despite the usual line-up changes, JG and Axel, the original guitarists, remained. Even in the face of losing most of the band in 2011, they still kept the metal flame alive, retaining the same eternal passion as ever. From there, they moved the music into the sound of which they’d always dreamed – classic thrash! Knowing this was a winning formula, they set out to prove it.

Joined in 2012, by new members, Olivier (vocals) and Remy (bass), the dream came together and new material was produced. Featuring a guest appearance from Paul Beltman, (River Of Souls, ex Sinister and Judgement Day), on drums, the new EP, ‘Sharkbite’, is now ready for the world to hear. Grindpad’s main focus is to maintain the traditional sound of forceful, loud, aggression, which makes metal what it is.

Not Fucking Dead – Bang! Crash! Wallop! That’s about the size and shape of this full throttle metal assault, measuring about 100 on the Richter scale. Loving the sentiment behind these lyrics and overall performances. If ever a thrash band said what they mean, it’s Grindpad. All the anger, rage and raw, powerful emotion they aim for is there, for certain. If you want proof of the continued existence of old school thrash metal, with sincerity of feeling, it’s right here. Believe it. Listen and learn.

Sharkbite – Axe attack central. Imagine all the true thrash masters of metal in a room together, with the volume turned up to 100 and this is it. Just feel those riffs. An old school thrash fan’s dream. The speed, the power, the passion and the anger. It’s all here. Slayer, Testament, Anthrax, Exodus, Pantera, eat your heart out. Along with all the thrashiest tracks to be found on The Crobar – Volume 1. Perfection incarnate.

The Lion’s Strife – Coming in with an absolute killer riff and following it up with more, the sheer force of aggression coming from those vocals hits you full in the face, while the drums beat the living shit out of you, for fun and the bass just thrums and throbs with power. All combined, provide the perfect ingredients for the exhilarating joy that is true thrash. You think they don’t make them like that anymore? Listen to this!

Come In Peace (Go In Pieces) – Full-scale metal attack fronts you up and floors you in seconds, with the sheer power it throws at you. You’d seriously be forgiven for mistaking them for Slayer, at their very best. That’s the utter magnitude of their genius. Bow down and kiss the feet of the astounding greatness that is Grindpad.

Outro – Battering your senses, with the immense forcefulness of their performance, this all too brief instrumental closer shows them in the glaringly dazzling light of their full and awesome power. With brilliantly deployed use of tremolo, wah wah pedals and all the stunning strength and unmeasurable quality you’d expect to find in a Slayer production, of their greatest works, it takes you straight to Metal Valhalla.

Overall – Fuck me, it’s almost too good for words! An absolute shining masterpiece of thrash metal Heaven I’m convinced is being channelled by the spirit of Jeff Hannemann himself. Either way, he’d still look down and smile on this, as his legend continued. For those of us who crave the old school sound and passion, with the philosophy that goes with it, in this, we’ve found The Holy Grail.

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

For fans of Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Pantera, Municipal Waste, D.R.I., Iron Monkey, you get the picture.

Posted May 14, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Gravehuffer – ‘Your Fault’   28 comments

Gravehuffer, from Joplin, Missouri, USA, formed in July 2008 as Krom and subsequently changed their name to Gravehuffer in 2011. Their debut album, ‘Chaotic Evil’, on Reality Impaired Recordings, was initially released under the name Krom, in June 2009 and then re-released, in July 2012, as a Gravehuffer production, entitled ‘Blasphemusic’, with the same record company, but with 6 extra tracks. Their new album, ‘Your Fault’, also on Reality Impaired Recordings, is available now, on CD and in cassette format.

Gravehuffer – Very intriguing forest like sound effect intro, seguing into the considerably more sinister sound of a grave being dug and a tombstone removal, from what may actually be a cemetery – apt, though, however disturbing, for the band name and title track. Moving, from there, into a deeply growly vocal section and melodic riffage, of a surprisingly uplifting quality, given the deathly theme. A blackened nature to this one and definitely one for the black/death metal enthusiasts.

Of Fish And Men – Opening this time, with more exciting, stoner riffs and a clear doom emphasis. More of a spoken format emerging from the vocals, but keeping that monster roar within them, it’s too brief to elicit much more analysis than that. Suffice to say, though, the visual imagery of the creature rising from the black lagoon strikes immediately.

Kill For Sport – Striking riff and drum intro, with a clear increase in drum emphasis. Still, the consistency of the deathy vocals remains, yet it’s the guitar riffs that really stand out, as those of an evidently accomplished nature. Again, brief track length, so any further scrutiny would be milking it.

Dead Peace – Opening with a clack of drum sticks, before making way for a sound which is more jingle than song territory and as such, is over in a flash, before you even know what’s happened. You can’t help but wonder why such competent musicians are limiting themselves in this way.

Shut Up And Skate – Launching straight in with increased energy, noticeably more passion and somehow, greater volume. Great riff work, once more and ultimately, instrumentally cohesive and though it does last slightly longer, there’s still a reluctance to showcase their full potential.

Powers That Be – Now that’s a memorably classic extreme thrash riff to intro with. Rhythmically sound and this time, an enjoyable crack at a more sung form of vocals, with immediately obvious suitability for dark thrash/Bay Area/possibly even new wave genres. More could be done with these vocals and they’re definitely developed enough to branch out into different styles and territories.

Destroyer Of Worlds – Riffs coming forward once more, providing a glimpse of their greater potential. Good to hear the drums also becoming more present and here, there’s a catchier sound, overall. This is more like the kind of focus that holds attention and memory. Starting to increase the track length here, to a fuller, richer experience, showing great progression. I’d still like to hear more of this sound.

Death Caprice – Bringing that Slayer like essence to the intro riffs and somehow, an edge of hard rock attitude to the vocals, giving an enjoyable glimpse back into the joys of 90’s rock and the Axl Rose School of vocals so beloved of many. It’s just not long enough and comes to an end just as you’re getting into it, but if there’s one thing Gravehuffer have developed well, it’s whetting the appetite for more. Quit teasing, though and lengthen the songs.

Worms Of God – The doom emphasis really comes out to play here. An interesting near diversion into more melodic realms takes centre stage here and those riffs are growing ever more exciting, but yet again, it ends before you’ve had chance to absorb it properly.

Prince With A Thousand Enemies – Slightly more noise rock aspects to this track, but it does retain that death vibe about it, permeating throughout. Yet, there’s still that edge of G’N’R’ s ‘The Spaghetti Incident’ in there somewhere. Too brief for more reflection, again, but I can’t help feel that curious sense of more, struggling to get out, yet simultaneously reluctant to emerge.

Chains Around You – In a brave change of direction here, a slow funereal piano intro makes itself known, accompanied by a performance reflecting a far greater degree of diverse potential, into which all the emotional expression of the entire album appears to have been poured. Closing on the fascinating sound of clinking glass, followed by the similarly visual sound of chains rattling – in keeping with its title. The closer seems to be where most of the energy’s gone and you wouldn’t forget this track easily.

Overall – A demonstrably fast blitz through an album which feels, for all its accomplished craftsmanship, like it’s running out of time. Incongruous, as the more you hear, the more aware you become of just how great the potential is within it, but owing to the acutely short (mainly) track lengths, you don’t get chance to hear it fulfil the full extent of its own potential. Whilst the riffs are its guiding light, those vocals are also capable of more and would benefit from further exploration. It’s ultimately skilled, able and multitalented, yet, for some reason, sells itself short. I just want to hear more.

7/10 *******

For fans of doom, stoner, extreme, death and black metal sounds and also specific melodic 90’s hard rock.

Posted May 12, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Venus Rising – ‘Happy Daze’   26 comments

Introducing ‘Happy Daze’, Venus Rising’s latest album, containing the acclaimed singles ‘Lazy Daze’, ‘Woodlight’ and ‘Waterfall’.

Lazy Daze – Upbeat, jolly acoustic intro you’ll remember instantly, if you’ve heard it before. Sheena’s gentle, happy lilting vocals are perfectly suited to the light-hearted folk rock style, as is her brief tinkling laugh in the closing section, well matched with the light tambourine ending, providing a blissful, short lived respite from the cares of the world.

RBE – An even gentler intro, with a refreshing energy about it. Flowing effortlessly, like a warm summer breeze through your mind. Some nice melodic riffs, rockily blitzing their way through the track, assisted by one of those instantly catchy choruses you find yourself being swept away by. A feel good track, if ever there was one.

Rainbow Child – Opening with a jazzy uplifting riff, always boding well. A very meaningful sense to the lyrics, capably reinforced by Sheena’s happily, energised vocals. Instant catch again. Ideal for all fey enthusiasts and though it’s very short, there’s a clear power about it, both focused and fun.

Little Girl Blue – Down-tuning slightly now, but just as uplifting. Again, there’s an emphatic message in the music and it’s delivered so gently, yet with so much strength, at the same time. Another brief, but no less profound and purposeful song.

She And He – Taking things back up again here, for a faster paced, beautifully melodic track, filled with colourful visual imagery. This one does seem to end a bit too soon, but that’s it’s only disappointment. Otherwise, it’s light, summery and cheerful.

Unity – Liking that bluesy intro riff and vocal! Bringing in a new perspective, it’s a creative attention draw and it works. Those riffs really come to life, as they rock it up and slide their way into your soul, showing what they’re made of. Stand-out track and in fact, there’s such a deep blues impression to this, that you’d expect to hear it in a trad blues club. A wildcard of jazzed up versatility.

Synchronicity – Slowing things down, just a notch now, before fluidly moving into a freer essence of folky feeling, with more catchy riffs and complete connected flow. Dreamy, pleasant and naturally whimsical.

Fire In Your Eyes – Oh, now if you listen carefully, you can hear an acoustic version of Led Zep’s ‘Your Time Is Gonna Come’ introing this and that’s a very fine way to open. Continuing with such gorgeous riffage, you’ll feel it very deeply. Such a soulful song, the sound justifies the title well.

My Muse And I – Zippy, tight riff intro now, injecting plenty more colour and passion, it’s simply unmissable. Great rapid pace and Sheena never misses a beat. Total cohesion and connection again, in that same audio-visual way, carrying uplift factor, in a big way. Well titled.

In Love’s Name – More bluesy feel, tinged with moving emphasis, in a very real sense. In a very V.R. way, you hear that olde worlde charm in it, which this world could use more of. Pleasant melody and audible escapism.

Woodlight – Warm, welcoming intro, so soothing to the soul. Catchy in that most therapeutic sense, just filling your aura with homely comfort. Those who’ve heard the single previously will remember and have retained that glorious catharsis with which it fills you, along with the visual sense of transportation to a camp site, by firelight, complete with folky sing-alongs and friendship forged in fey-like forests.

Waterfall – Opening with watery sounds and sensations and a beautifully sinister tone, imbued with meaning and truth. A very deeply visual song, exploring the water theme, to the end. Very well placed closer, ending with a magical sounding tinkling trickle of water, cascading gently, down a Fountain and leaving the rest to your imagination.

Overall – A lovingly produced and stunningly atmospheric album, laced throughout, with perfected simplicity. Its strength lies in its purity and natural elements, combining, to create such dreamlike accessible soundscapes, proving that V.R. create their music from a place of truth, love and sincerity. Reflecting a better, more complete and melodic version of guided imagery, for alt rock lovers, ‘H.D’. Is like coming home.

8/10 ********

For fans of Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Sandy Denny, Fleetwood Mac, fey, folk and alt rock.

Posted May 11, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Through The Noise – ‘Fall Of Gaia’   5 comments

Hard core melodic modern metal band Through The Noise, from Lund, Sweden, formed in 2010, quickly built up a big following,  mostly constructed in Sweden. Their first album, ‘Adorn The Silence’, was released in 2013 and their next one, ‘Fall Of Gaia’, in April 2015. This is currently being re-released and has been available again since April 17th 2017.

Lost In The Wastelands – Vivid, loud, energetic  intro, with no holds barred and plenty of aggression. Fiery performance, fast paced, furious and fulsome. Screamo/extreme genre fans will love this. Filled with brain-bursting anger and rabid emotion. Less melody, but lots of volume and definitely no shortage of passion. Electric performance, on fire with feeling. More melo-death than melodic metal, but it doesn’t half wake you up.

Instigator – A pure battering drum assault introing, tons of growl and clearly more melody. There’s a slight catchiness to the chorus and pace and a definite sense of metal weaponry to the way these instruments are wielded. Short and sweet, but loaded to the gills with rage. Good job.

Icarus – Opening with enraged expression and continuing in that same vein throughout. You could be forgiven for thinking these instrumentals were being played on a punch machine, in a state of heightened agitation. Roars abound and it fades out with much the same aggressive energy with which it began.

Fall Of Gaia – (Title Track) – Almost, but not quite, changing tack, with a brief spoken announcement, before reverting back to the typically aggro intensity. Increasing the melody, noticeably, to the point of catchiness, it’s still aflame with fire fuelled energy, but this time, in an even more enjoyable way. Well placed title track, as the chorus hooks you, before you know it. Obvious stand-out track.

The Descended – Another misleadingly momentary change, sounding initially gentler, till the familiarly heavy tones take their place again. Growing heavier all the time, the drums are beaten to death, while the raging intensity dominates, crashing through the lyrics and radiating through the riffs. Again, there’s an undeniable catchiness and an overall pleasure in the sound.

The Accursed – Bringing the bass into play, big time here, with a pleasant, doomy sound, joined and supported by an anthemic chorus and unarguably heavy verse and lightning riffs, all wrapped up in more catchiness and even some nicely timed gentle female vocals, closing. A brilliantly and thoughtfully constructed track, with all the right ingredients. Result? An immense creation.

Vergilius – Oh now that’s the kind of intro you remember! ‘Ride The Lightning’ fans, delight. That same sound’s really skilfully combined here, with deathy elements, melo-death and thrash, creating a unique twist and a surprisingly musical sound, with more uplifting qualities than you’d expect from a genre with so many deathy aspects. Well crafted song.

The Oceans Breath – Wow, really fitting ocean wave opening, aptly crashed over, by a vicious, violent riff, accompanied by equally rough, sea-like vocals, matching lyrics and the same crashing wave like drum effects. So much visual imagery, it’s a highly effective and well chosen closer.

Overall – A pleasantly surprising and well honed combo of melody, death, thrash and extreme, screamo genres, resulting in something highly listenable and unexpectedly catchy. Well worth a listen.

8/10 ********

For fans of Skreamer, Slayer, Metallica, Warpath and The More I See.

Available now.


Posted May 9, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Baleful Creed – ‘Seismic Shifter’   8 comments

Baleful Creed, from Belfast, N.I., formed in 2009, initially playing covers, during jam sessions, which soon became originals, influenced by Black Sabbath, Danzig and Fireball Ministry. At the end of that year, their debut EP, ‘Killing Time’, was released, followed by ‘Buried Beneath’, in 2011 and ‘111’, in 2012. These 2 EP’s were merged, re-mixed and re-mastered into a debut self titled album, released at the end of 2013. Within this album are the heavy guitar sounds, hard edged bluesy vocals and melodic songs, with strong bass and drum back-ups the bands’ ambitions were driving them towards. Out of this sound came the massive stoner rock emphasis which characterises B.C. From the latter part of 2014, B.C. were out touring the album, with energetic live gigs and creating new material for the next album. Throughout 2016, the guys were writing and recording, in preparation for the current album, ‘Seismic Shifter’, released this month. The new sound which has emerged is one of even heavier emphasis, guaranteed to excite and deliver.

Devil’s Side – Intriguing intro sound effects and seguing into it gradually, before the deep, grungy grooves and crunching riffs come into play. Opening up nicely, into a classic stoner sound and some ‘Tallica type stop start sections, with a tasty blues edge. Effortless rhythm, well-placed drum rolls, smooth, consistent bass back up and a pleasant fade out. Promising start, with an appetising feel.

Memento Mori – Instant, hard hitting, punchy intro. Apt title, given the immediacy of that highly memorable melody. Full of just the kind of hooks and catches you want in an album such as this. Really visual, catchy and simultaneously rock heavy and uplifting, in the most perfect way. There’s nothing to dislike here and everything to like. Ending on a confident, quick, impacting riff; job done. Got the flavour of this album now and it tastes good.

Levy – Massive crunching intro, reminding me of Trucker Diablo and the like. There’s actually a slight Clutch beat to this aswell and you’ve just got to love that harmonica section). This here is how you do blues rock. My only complaint? It ends too soon.

God’s Fear – Oh Yeah! Now that’s an intro and a half. A class act in itself. It’s got that gorgeous rolling, rumbling hard blues feel you could just climb aboard and ride along on. Again, that T.D. emphasis that just carries you away with it, on a groove edged wave of irresistible rhythm. Some well tasty bits of slide guitar in there and generally, just packed with awesome.

Grind – Another absolute ace! Devour it whole and then go back for seconds. Frankly, with a title like this, you’d expect nothing less. One of the catchiest, most memorable riffs and melodies ever. Pure pro. You’re just gonna drown in those heavenly riffs. Actually, they remind me of those on …… well, actually, I tried to hunt the track down, but couldn’t find it, so it’s something on The Crobar album. Good enough, for those in the know.

Faux Celebrity – Oh that’s one exciting riff intro. This is one meaty album and that’s a fact. Really catchily sing along track, filled with great emphatic lyrics to which we, in today’s instant celeb culture, can all relate. The riffs really come into play, big time, here and that’s cos, let me tell you, they rock hard. Unmistakeable flare for fun driven riffs. Dig into this for some straight out escapism.

Walking Wounded – Nicely down-tuned bass intro and those vocals are pure addiction. Sexy clean lines of dyed in the wool hard, heavy, blues edged rock. A real classic rock feel to this melody and you’ll hear loads of ideally chosen old school influences in there, with a fresh take you’ll want to return to again and again. The spice of life lies right here. Fans of Whitesnake’s ‘Slow and Easy’ will love this to death.

Lose Religion – Brilliant catchy riff and vocal intro. It’s got immediate appeal and it won’t be long till it’s stuck in your head forever. Such lively energy and pizzazz. It’s one of those songs that was just waiting in the wings for a band as skilled and impassioned as this to bring it to life. Just a natural rock song, brought home, at last.

Forgiven – Good to hear the drums take centre stage here, in this track, especially at the intro. They really bring out the vocals that much more and the vocals themselves are sheer effortless pro, born to rock. The track’s sung with such conviction, you’ll feel it so strongly. It just pours out of him, in spades and that’s why this guy was born to sing blues rock. A voice of true grit and feeling.

The Wolf – Gorgeously sexy start, in that smoothly delivered way that just melts out of the mic and right into your heart. Guitars and vocals are in total sync, in the most magical way. It’s an utter delight. This has so much metal purity, beauty and steaming sensuality within it, it’s almost inexpressible. You don’t need words. Just go listen.

Overall – A magnum opus of arrestingly magnificent, majestic rock treasure. This is what true rock is made of. Go get some.

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

For fans of Trucker Diablo, The Answer, Clutch, The Obsessed, Obey and every top notch, high class blues rock band with the X Factor you’ve ever heard.

Out May 2017.


Posted May 7, 2017 by jennytate in Uncategorized