Archive for December, 2017

The Dead Centuries – ‘Race Against Time’

December 30, 2017

The Dead Centuries are a 3 piece Ottawa-based instrumental prog metal band. ‘Race Against Time’ follows their debut single ‘Overdrive’, featuring special guest guitar solo by Mandroid Echostar’s James Krul.  ‘R.A.T.’ is loosely based on the creative song-writing process. A catalogue of challenges have beset the band, during this process, which have just made them even stronger and more determined, as a unit, to create a work of high standards, reflecting the contributions of each band member.

Inspired by the words of respected author and visionary Michael Moorcock, of Hawkwind and Blue Oyster Cult fame, (in a collaborative sense), ‘it is the business of the future to be dangerous’, T.D.C. have carried this theme into their music. Influences include Protest The Hero, Periphery, Paul Gilbert, Sithu Aye and Intervals.
Writing and playing complex and intricate instrumental prog metal, T.D.C. are as skilled and accomplished as they set out to be. Their music is testament to that. There are no egos involved here. It’s about the passion, creation and love for the music. Their cohesion and chemistry as a band is in perfect sync. ‘R.A.T.’ offers 10 tracks of spirited, compelling metal, through which, escapism can be found.

Freddy Lounds – Fresh sounding intro, with plenty of riff-based melody and a breathy sense to it. Good rapid pace and quick-fire timing. Heavy edgy drumming and a high vibe, making for a fun listen. Unusual to have a pure instrumental introing, but it makes a nice change. Likeable and upbeat.

Gotham – Straight in there, with a real NWOBHM feel, not missing a beat. It’s got something really uplifting about it and that always wins out. Again, it’s pure instrumental sound provides space for a free-form style. Hard edged, but with a light atmosphere. Ending on an unexpected piano outro, like melodic rainfall, in an attractive pattern. That lends a certain uniqueness to the track.

Reboot – Hard-hitting, fast-paced drum intro, setting the scene for a lively song, segmented into versatile sections, providing glimpses into high-energy, exciting sounds. Well structured, driven and loaded with simply gorgeous riffage I could listen to endlessly. Slick fade-out. Just a great song altogether.

Tree Fort – Banging intro, offering more of that lively melody and a more considered drum section, with a spacious zone within it, creating a steadily timed riff section, following it. So rhythmic, passionate and fulsome. Characterised by periodic spaces in which the song has chance to breathe. Carefully and thoughtfully timed, stimulating, yet contemplative. It’s exuberant and at the same time, complex. Another hit.

Blood Dragon – Heavier intro, with a more marked edge to the riffage. Still tons of awesome melody, with a harder foundation surrounding it. Growing more thunderous, but still intersecting that with more sentimental guitar solos. Bringing more meaning to the lighter sections, always keeping the catchy flavour, it ends more fittingly abruptly, this time, with a clearly defined edge to the final riff.

Attack Of The Mutant – A darker intro now, with plenty of steel and oodles of aggressive intent. Still, though, it never loses that emotional streak, running right through it. The liveliness returns, within the spaces in between light and dark. Filling your being with metallicised feeling, it’s pure, honest metal.

Venus Gospel – Opening on a softer, shadier sound, before then giving way to a harder attack, it’s intelligently composed. There’s a quieter audible background to the sound, creating room for contemplation. Even within that sense, the heaviness still remains. Hammering its way through the silence, sporadically, it just seems to make each feature that much more meaningful.

Overdrive – A gentler, but firmly handled intro, the faster, harder stuff soon follows. Melody heavy, rapid and driven rhythm, filling the drum sections with excitement and loading the rest with energy fuelled riffage and catchy pace and sound. A racing track, with high-speed power and stacks of likeability.

Attack Of The Mutants – Is this ‘Attack Of The Mutants 2’? Either way, it’s still filled with the same high-class, top-level stuff. Big melodies, soaring riffs, confident, intense drum rolls and a general feel-good sense. So what if it is a repeat? It’s all good music, worth listening to twice and in fact, repeatedly, forever more.

Souvenir – Right in there, with furious, loaded steel. Riffs with thrashy feel and hard, heavy intent. Bull Riff Stampede fans will get off on them, as will Blaze Bayley fans and all fans of quality speed/power metal riffs and NWOBHM styles. A definite harder edge to this track, but still packed with great melody and another piano section thrown in there, for good measure. Ending on a tasteful fade-out, it’s a class act, without doubt.

Overall – A pure instrumental album, of racing speed/power metal, packed with light, energy, life and melody. Showcasing hard and heavy, played within a lighter backdrop, with a lively, but thoughtful atmosphere. ‘Race Against Time’ is aptly named, as it defines the sound, perfectly.

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

For fans of Bull Riff Stampede, Blaze Bayley, Signify, Reign Of Fury, Trivium.

https://www.facebook.com/thedeadcenturies/
https://thedeadcenturies.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/thedeadcenturies

https://www.instagram.com/thedeadcenturiesband/
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/race-against-time/1321687310
https://play.google.com/store/music/album/The_Dead_Centuries_Race_Against_Time? id=Biemkneljmnb7oktkan53jca4si&hl=en

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Tragul – ‘The Tree Of Life’

December 29, 2017

Symphonic power metal band Tragul, (the name being a dream inspiration of founder, keyboardist and songwriter Adrian Benegas), features ex-members of Blind Guardian, Rhapsody of Fire and Tarja, aswell as members of Pergana, Diabulus In Musica and Flotsam and Jetsam. ‘The Tree Of Life’, a self release, is their 4th single so far. It aims to empower people, through hope, via its sounds and the light, joyful feelings these release.

Influenced by Nightwish, Rhapsody, Sonata Arctica, Stratovarius and Dionysus, the word ‘tragul’ defines the marriage of spirituality and humanity, through music. This term was chosen for its personal significance to Adrian, its uniqueness and relevance to his spirituality.

Tragul are open to alternative means of musical exposure and their music can be heard on all digital platforms.

Bennu – Wow! Instant hit. Very lively, thrashy, Blaze Bayley-esque instrumental sound, with powerful melodic feminine vocals, much in the vein of Leaves Eyes, Lacuna Coil, Delain etc. Strong drum presence, fresh, vibrant sound and sense, with a mystical flavour, which given the EP’s title, isn’t surprising. Great fast pace, frenetic riffs and momentous flow. Hugely atmospheric, this’ll win over any fans of operatic metal, such as Nightwish, Within Temptation or Aonia. Fabulous start.

Into The Heart Of The Sun – Another wow. Even stronger intro, stacked with power and ethereal mystique. Really striking vocals, increasing volume and tension in the instrumentals, raising the stakes, with every note. Noticeable catch and drive in the choruses. Over too soon, but it’s an affecting demo of Tragul’s capabilities.

The Message – Opening with a synth led intro, quickly followed by an extraordinary riff section, filled with energy and fuelling the accompaniments with maximum strength passion. Haunting vocals come into play again, urged on, by those magnificent riffs, like a sleigh, being driven, at top speed, through a challenging winter landscape. Ending just very slightly abruptly again, but otherwise, it’s pretty much perfection.

The Tree Of Life – (Radio version). Again, startlingly energised riff and drum intro, soon followed by more of those magical vocals. A very catchy vibe and a well-placed use of glockenspiel, adding that extra touch. It’s just a gorgeous sound, from start to finish. All it really needs is a longer track length. In itself, beautiful.

Overall – A short, but powerful blast of magic, with a wintry feel and a deeply and pleasantly haunting sense. Naturally ethereal, proving that metal and wonder go together, when handled with competent, accomplished precision. Atmospherically charged and abundantly enchanting.

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

For fans of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Leaves Eyes, Lacuna Coil, Delain, Aonia, Apparition.

http://www.Tragul.com

‘The Tree Of Life’ video link: https:// http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tYmg_peSQTU

Also on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby.

Released 12th December 2017.

Jon Tessier – ‘A Minute Or Two’

December 28, 2017

Jon Tessier is a solo artist, of Brazilian French origin, currently based in Ibiza, Spain. His sound is termed as ‘guitar driven pop, with an alt rock edge’. Having previously been in numerous rock bands, as a teen, his music has now evolved into a solo project. Influenced by Motley Crue, Depeche Mode, The Doors, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Brazilian ‘Bossa Nova’ artist Joao Gilberto etc, Jon’s music is now accessible on all Internet wide, music streaming platforms.

A Minute Or Two – Smooth, gentle acoustic intro, in a Kooks-esque, Britpop, alt rock style. Mid-paced, strong feeling, with an echoic sound, a clear rhythm and decent melody. Fairly short track, but enough catch to make it memorable. Works potentially well as easy listening territory. There’s a cosy 90’s feel to it, with plenty of relaxed, laid-back strumming and similarly styled vocals. A warm nostalgia pervades this sound and it’s effective as mood music, to kick back and chill out to. Or even as a steady soundtrack, to match the pace of life, in its more contemplative rhythms. Cleverly focused, yet calm. It captures the essence of human moods.

7/10 *******

For fans of The Kooks, Kasabian, Embrace, The Luka State.

http://www.jontessier.com
https://www.facebook.com/jontessiermusic/
https://jontessier.bandcamp.com/
http://spoti.fi/2niUsAK
http://apple.co/2wNROeF

https://www.instagram.com/jon_tessier/
http://bit.ly/2bQWSSp
http://bit.ly/2xQzpOQ – YouTube clip of ‘A Minute Or Two’.

Final Coil – ‘Persistence Of Memory’

December 22, 2017

Mixing decimating riffs, with dreamy, post-rock atmospherics, Final Coil are a Leicester-based band, playing what might be called traditional alt rock. Having come a long way from their humble beginnings, F.C. have developed their sound, from its early American underground influences, to a finer, more traditional English, prog like style, though A.I.C. and Anathema still form part of their inspirations.

2014 saw them release an acoustic EP, including flute, synth and piano sections. Entitled ‘Somnambulism’, this recording showcased the evolution of their sound, with F.C. saving their energised demos of all-out rock aggression for their live performances. F.C.’s independent release, ‘Closed To The Light’ (2015), received rapturous acclaim, bringing the band to the attention of WormHoleDeath. (Their current label). 2016 was focused on the production of ‘Persistence Of Memory’. ‘P.O.M’. Is a versatile, accessible album, depicting transparent, yet stark images of new-age disconnection, displacement and lamentation.

Recorded by Wahoomi Corvi (Way Of Purity, Cre Tura), at Real Sound Studio, Italy. Mastered by Cult Of Luna’s Magnus Lindenberg. Artwork by Andy Pilkington, of Very Metal Art.

Corruption – Introing with a low bass and grinding guitars, in a very A.I.C.-esque style, with much the same kind of melody, that works instantly. There’s an unmistakable, immediate catch to that sound, which’ll get you unawares. Be warned, it’ll hold you in its thrall. This is real accomplishment and pure born for rock stuff. Genuinely spine tingling, these guys are masters of the alt and grunge rock combo.

Dying – Cautious, gradual, controlled deep noted bass intro, again, it’s classic A.I.C. Smooth, dreamy, yet solid. Your soul will feel at home and at peace here. Great rhythms, which just slide right into place. There’s comfort to be had in this song.

Alone – Picking up the pace now, with an unusual key, no doubt hard to nail, but they succeed. Staying with that A.I.C. sound, F.C. really make it their own, with visual imagery, evoked by the sounds. Subtle, fitting slide sections add to the thrill. Well harmonised, precisely timed and making that guitar sing in just the right places. Some rarely heard cymbal techniques create extra effect. That fretwork’s an absolute dream, as is the descending fade-out. Just magic, of the purest kind.

You Waste My Time – Dreamy, intriguing intro, hinting towards ambient realms, but quickly and competently moving into heavier, grungy territory. Softer edged vocals, yet they never detract from the hardness of that grunge flavour. Hearing this is like someone opening a door and admitting you into rock lovers paradise. Truly, truly beautiful. You’ll just want to climb inside that feeling and savour it forever. Ending on a shimmering cymbal hit, it’s absolute perfection.

Myopic – Hitting the harder line now, with that intro, of grinding bass and heavy drums, a slightly sinister edged vocal, lyrically astute and catchy. Soaring riffs, a tasty bit of wah wah and intuitively blended vocal, so well able to flit from one effect to another. Closing on a watery sound effect, adding perfect emphasis.

Failed Light – Opening with a blues-based riff and a looser, space giving feel, slower paced and in no hurry, it gets into its stride gradually and creates a guitar-based fluidity, almost haunting, in its way. Instrumentally showcasing purity of movement, through sound ranges, enhanced by the vocals, when eventually coming in and making their mark. Catchiness pervades again. The intensity builds momentum all the time, as those riffs rain down on you, so addictively. Catching you in an echo chamber of eternal grunge rock heaven, the volume and intensity eventually climbs back down again, till the end. Immense.

Spider Feet – Plucky riffs introing, with a darker edge now and a sinister, creeping sense in their tone, added to by the still soft, yet demonstratively unnerving vocals. A definite ghostly feel to this, lifting, intermittently, but still instilling that insistently haunting note. A practice in conveying disquiet. Ending on a definitive chord.

Lost Hope – Eerie, piercing sound introing here, broken up by the mood guitar, so instantly effective. Moving, in an instant, from disconcerting, to comforting, in perfect harmony. Something very early Oasis-esque resonates through this, but just harder, heavier and more pronounced. A warm, inviting quality lives within these vocals. So tuneful and melodic. The piano just makes it. Ideal finishing touch. Like musical raindrops, hitting you, from above.

Moths To The Flame – Cracking intro there! Fiery, crunching riffs, heavy bass and effortless ease in the vocals. Again, that cymbal work adds an extra something, fitting right in and just giving it that edge. Blending soft and heavy, light and dark and all the imaginable shades in between. Gorgeous twanging guitar solos, you can breathe in and feel, to the depths of your soul. Ending on some falling riff scales, just creating perfection.

In Silent Reproach – Explosive intro, coming to life instantly, firing off riffs that mean business. A classic touch within them soon becomes audible. That disturbing edge creeps back into the vocals next. A clear and simple, but defining message permeates the lyrics. Lending the track a palpable sense, by injecting it into the fretwork, that really defines the emotional impact.

Alienation – Arresting guitar and piano intro, joined by desolate lyrics and vocals, creating immediate impact, in a literal sense. Very profound, stark representation conveyed as devastatingly damaging experiences. Thoroughly plausible and equally palpable. Strangely catchy, despite its darkness and it moves, in such a fluidly competent way, from conveying that darkness, to a faster, lighter sound and back again, bringing real physicality to the sound. Really deeply affecting.

Overall – ‘Persistence Of Memory’ is exactly the right title for this album, since it sums up it’s lasting impression, perfectly. It’s hugely impacting, deeply powerful and haunting, in a positive sense. Going way beyond expectations, it’s a cultured sound, from which the love and passion that’s gone into it positively screams. ‘P.O.M’. Holds every bit as much accomplishment as a highly polished, well produced A.I.C. release. Some people are born with music in their souls and F.C. are amongst them. Make ‘P.O.M’. Your Christmas/end of year must have album. The magic inside it will never let you go.

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

For fans of A.I.C., Nirvana, Oasis, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, P.O.D., Nickelback, Duff Mckagan.

Released 22nd September 2017, via WormHoleDeath.

http://www.finalcoil.com
http://www.facebook.com/finalcoil
http://www.imperativepr.co.uk

Arapacis – ‘Obsolete Continuum’

December 21, 2017

Introducing ‘Obsolete Continuum’, current album from Arapacis. Produced, recorded, mixed and mastered at Arapacis Studios, by Jerry Fielden, in 2016-2017. Featuring Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath and DIO), on Drums, on ‘Translucidity’.

Syndrome – Measured drum intro, with instant proggy atmosphere. Mid-paced vocals kick in, with a slight gothic edge, softened round the edges, by a melting sound, like a physical sensation, cushioning the track, like a dream pillow. Beautifully melodious riffs surround it, taking it further into dreamy territory. Incredible scream, hitting the heights, towards the end, before the drums bring it all together and wrap it up in a final roll. Clearly prog, in nature, an inexplicable sense of being cosseted in a warm blanket remains.

Deceptionist – Banging, fresh drum intro, taking it up into a higher mood. Quality vocal harmonies, well supported by the cohesive accompaniments, but still strong enough to stand on their own. A definite catchy thread to that chorus, it’s one of those whose magic lies in its simplicity. This track’s main standout factor is that it’s intricate, without being overcomplicated. A difficult skill to nail, but it’s clearly audible in here, as is the generally accomplished air.

The Grey Procession – Opening with an intriguing ambient sound, resembling being in a wind tunnel, surrounded by swirling autumn leaves. Whispered vocals initially, gaining more volume, as the drumming intensifies. Some complex fretwork in there and a gradual tribal-esque drumbeat rhythm. Joined by sinister toned vocals, with equally sinister lyrics. Continuing in that vein, in an almost hypnotically ritualistic chant, it ends on that same meditative mood.

Kicking Around Blues – Much faster, more upbeat drum and riff intro, with a very early blues style and feel to it. Very pleasing to the ear. While those vocals could be seen as challenging, in places, they’re generally in fitting with the bluesy angle of the song and they’re undeniably skilled and entertaining. Much more riff involvement in here, of a very bluesy nature, happily, including some Hendrix-type riffs and the whole thing creates an air of old school blues and jazz clubs, with ‘Old Slow Hand’ Eric Clapton doing his thing. Easily the standout track so far and it’s over too soon.

The Brute – Bass introing, deep down low-slung ‘Wild Thing’ type licks and a stronger light percussion emphasis, from the cymbals. Those vocals have suddenly become very creepy and Gollum-esque! An odd, though intriguing combo of masculine, evil goblin sounds, with gentle, yet powerful high-pitched feminine melody. It’d certainly draw you in and keep you on the edge of your seat. A sudden end, but hey ho. Strong impressions were made. Say no more.

Obsolete Continuum – A darker mix of low bass notes and strategic cymbal hits introing; the feminine vocals return, showing their wares, with a black treacle-like edge to them. Merging, in places, with masculine vocals, which seem to retreat into the background, as the others come forward. A pleasant bit of sax work at the 3/4 point. Unusual alliance in rock, so good to hear it included. Some nice riff work at the end, consolidating everything, with perfected skill and precision.

Translucidity – Feat. Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath and DIO) on Drums – Strong drum intro and a creepily gothic vocal making its presence known. Moving into a more melodic sound, with an early rock and blues edge to it, but never quite losing that gothic sense. Riffs more prominent now, growing faster and then fading, into the background, intermittently, before returning, stronger and bolder. Comfortable, easy rhythm, becoming the backbone of the show. Ending on a strangely surreal fey-like vocal, it’s an effective way to close.

Watcher – Computer noises intro, very briefly, before opening the way for a classic darkened rhythm, growing lighter, enhanced by the fresh, open cymbal sounds. An undercurrent of early Sab’s ‘Children Of The Grave’ permeates. There’s a fitting sinister edge to the sounds – in keeping with the title, reinforced by the chasing style and sense of the following rhythm. Very visual, especially as the bass notes grow more prominent, at the end, just prior to the returning computer console closing sounds.

Overall – An intriguing concoction of sounds, blending prog, gothic, blues, jazz, early rock and the roots of metal. Freer in style than many concept albums and more effective to zone out to than most. Eclectic and unpredictable, utilising a broad spectrum of instrumental techniques and combinations, it’ll work best for the open-minded enquirer, as much as for the ingrained prog and concept enthusiast. Abstract is probably it’s most fitting and relevant description.

8/10 ********

For fans of prog, psychedelic, experimental, blues, jazz, concept rock, gothic rock and everything in between. Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’ fans’ll enjoy this too.

http://www.arapacis.com

I-Def-I – ‘In The Light Of A New Day’

December 21, 2017

Introducing I-Def-I’s latest album, ‘In The Light Of A New Day’.

The Horror – Opening with the sound of eerie static, combined with an icy tactile sense. Flowing into a light and dark combo, with melody injected into it, perfect vocal cohesion and a hammering drum roll, easily moving into a freer style and back again, with such accomplishment. Short, but satisfactory.

Incite The Sunrise – Heavier drums introing, with a darkened edge. Stronger thrash sound to the vocals, but still interchangeably melodic. Some undeniably extreme screams in there, too. A shorter one, again, but loads of power, regardless.

Truth Or Dare – Immediate catchy riffs and drum hits introing now, joined by melodic and aggression tinged vocals. Harder drum beats, harder edge creeping into both riffs and vocals and harder altogether. Heavier essence, to the end. Another brief one.

Static And Signals – (Speaking Without Words) – Gentler melody, with a distinctly NWOBHM sound and more of those static filled riffs. Lots more drum presence and again, it’s light and heavy, at once and just demonstrates yet again, the effortless ease with which one style flows into another. Brief, but loaded.

Kinetic – Tasty fingerpicking intro’s this and a sense of deep and meaningful pathos. Again, that fluid nature resounds through it. Still, they manage to alternate it with notable aggression and swing between the two, in a heartbeat. It’s a rare ability and it’s so marked within this album. Closing on a pleasant, subtly performed fade-out riff, leaving a sense of serenity in its wake, there’s a fragile strength inherent within it.

966 – Crushing intro! Instantly impacting, hard-hitting aggression. Interestingly interweaving vicious death style vocals with gentler melodic ones. Throwing heaps of passion into the show, there’s a wildness in here, both edgy and natural, within a raging expression.

Tunnel Rat – Fluid sense to the sound, instantly. Looser in feel, catchier element to it, more vocally focused and a much bigger riff involvement now. Some nice strumming in there aswell. This may not be a long track, but it’s very soothing and very pleasantly listenable.

Prosthetiquette – Back up the mood goes, in an instant, to fresher, freer, more open, freestyle territory. All conveyed within those first few bars. Electrifying riffs, even incorporating a bit of electric slide – a rare thing indeed. Really catchy vocals, much more melodically inclined, yet still throwing in the odd passionate power scream, topping it off with the same. This is likely to be a crowd-pleaser.

Mano Destra Mano Sinistre – Returning to solemnity once more, this is just a simple, but deeply haunting guitar instrumental, of one line, into which, a world of emotion is thrown. Moving, on a big scale.

Asyla – (She Of The Flames) – Blazing into life, with a very classic sound, which is noticeably more melodic, with a slight power element. Edging towards death territory, at times, it’s more NWOBHM than anything else. Gaining in catchiness, an abrupt end, but it makes an impression, which is largely positive.

Army Of The Locust – Banging, electrifying intro, with lightning riffs and a steady calmness to the vocals, fluidly and melodically presented. An increasing drum presence and greater vocal range experimentation. Catchy in places, even if some tones are an acquired sound.

Closing Season – Moving into unquestionable heavy territory now, there’s an immediate ease in the performance, taking it exactly where it needs to go, never missing a beat. Versatility is the name of the game, easily exemplified by the ability to segue, so effortlessly, from styles of one extreme to another. Slightly more could possibly have been made of this, but it’s effective enough to make a strong impact.

Beauty Into Devastation – Speeding up the pace now, a heavier feel to this, from the start. A clearer rhythm, too and more deathy aspects. Great focus here, especially as every section’s so competently handled and frequent rhythmic changes and tempo alternations are no object. In each case, the vocals rise easily, to the challenge, in sync with the well able instrumentals. Ending on a gory shout, it’s a capable and well performed song.

What Keeps You Safe – A sinister note’s crept in now and a much bigger sound, altogether. Racing riffs and drum hits catch up, vocals becoming even catchier, with some great harmonies. You just have to join in with this. Catchy all the way and that’s the greatest draw of this one).

Broken Glass – Instantly and affectingly taking the whole tone down now, to one of melancholic, contemplative space. An obvious profundity to the lyrics lends them absolute plausibility. The acoustic guitar leading this is truly beautiful. The only criticism I’d have of this is that the sound quality would benefit from a pop shield. Though the background popping is possibly deliberate, in order to add an aural backdrop to the title, it’s distracting and detracts from the beauty and salience of the track.

Overall – A capably performed production, with cohesive quality, lots of catch and versatility, in spades. Proof of I-Def-I’s considerable range of ability and natural talent and passion for metal.

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

For fans of NWOBHM, melo-death, thrash and speed/power metal.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/idefiband/

Artwork absent, due to temporary technical issues.

 

Flesh Eating Foundation – ‘We Are Fucked’

December 19, 2017

Released November 17th, via Sonic Entrails Records, this winter has seen a new release from Flesh Eating Foundation, entitled, ‘We Are Fucked’. Expected to challenge boundaries and social norms and enlighten, in the process, this release is being done in two stages – the first of which consists of 10 new studio tracks and an inclusive set of bonus remixes, by Inertia, Paresis, XSRY, Alien Nation and Mr Strange. A vinyl compilation of the album, with a lengthier online release, comprising alternative versions and more remixes will follow. It will total more than 30 tracks.

True to form, John E. Smoke, The Juddaman and co will be flouting conventions, pushing instrumental usage to its limits and beyond and displaying general aggression to everything within reach. Included in this release, are two updated versions of renowned tracks, ‘Scumbags And Spent Slags’ and ‘Slick Prick Dick Lick’; that latter, from the original version, on Armalyte Industries compilation ‘Defcon Three’. Added to these are: ‘Having Fun’, ‘We Are Fucked’, ‘Stand Up And Be Discounted’, ‘Futurelast’, featuring punk poet Adam Probert, ‘Shame’ and ‘Punch Drunk’ and finally, ‘The End’.

We Are Fucked – Lively electronic intro, with a poppy beat, to protest punk lyrics. The virtual megaphone’s easy to visualise. Actually, quite a catchy rhythmic ‘chorus’, with slight hints of classic influences. Anti-establishment theme, plausibly expressed.

Having Fun – Deeper key introing here, more sound effect emphasis evident, in the surrounding backdrop to the similarly protest themed lyrics, this time, railing at the patronising attitudes displayed towards those with disabilities, by ‘authority figures’.

Scumbags And Spent Slags – Cheerier, faster, more impacting intro, with greater synthesiser use, amongst the electronica. Same consistent beat, with a brighter tone and more vibrancy, eventually bringing in more active drum emphasis. Closing on a synth, this is more instrumentally, than lyrically focused.

Shame – Spacey sense to this, it’s a definite step up from the last production, with a tighter feel, improved sound quality and general listenability. Slight sci-fi-esque sense to it, with Dalek-like connotations. Vague relation to the physical sensations and vibrations of an imagined rubber ball or more fittingly, space hopper, bouncing along the floor. Faintly atmospheric, with a tinge of darkness.

Futurelast, featuring Adam Probert – Darkened piano intro, joined by doom focused lyrics. The mood soon lifts, via the synth, but only marginally. It’s a bit doom mongering, but then, that’s it’s point. Again, the visual aspect comes into play, depicting imagery of protest marches and there’s a hint of ‘I Can’t Get No Sleep’, within the sound. A little bit 90’s in that sense, but the emotion of the moment’s clearly audible.

Punch Drunk – Imagine what a busy scrapyard might sound like. You’re there. Only played out to an electronic soundtrack. Clearer strains of violence in the vocals and yet, that’s interspersed with a combo of ambience and slithering, snakelike, ‘Use Your Illusion’ lyrical styles. The beat gets gradually heavier, towards the close, when it winds up, in an almost physical sense, on a different note, like a yo-yo, being retracted.

Sick Prick Dick Lick – (For The Throat) – Opening on a static interference echo, experimental focus enters, showcasing a range of formats and touch sensory instruments. A bit repetitive, but there’s a certain lightness and freedom in the club like sound and atmosphere evoked. It’s certainly deftly applied, with justified confidence and audible skill and enjoyment. Given its title, it’s fair to say that pleasure’s expected to be conveyed, through it.

Stand Up And Be Discounted – Machine-gun fire like ammo round introing, joined by passionately performed vocals. An interplay of various styles comes in, faintly reminiscent, in places, of The Pet Shop Boys. (Intentional or not). Short track, but aptly emphatic and fitting, in that sense too. It makes its point well.

The End – Entering an ambient realm now, this is more impressionistic of being in a tunnel, surrounded by the voice of a particularly cruel version of your conscience, or perhaps the taunting of some other watchful party, with sinister motives. Morphing into monster-ish echoes, as if in a haunted cave, from which you’re desperate to escape. Effective increase in vocal volume and power of the tormentor. A sense of hopelessness pervades.

We Are Fucked – (Fucked Up Remix, by Alien Nation) – Picking the pace back up again and lifting the mood, with it, there’s still an angry sense to this, but it’s somehow, more contained and singularly channelled. A prominent beat, like being stuck with your back against a wall, with a hard ball being bounced, relentlessly, on the walls, either side of you. That probably says it all, regarding its attempt to exemplify the real impact of the title’s inspirations.

Having Fun (Mr. Strange Remix) – Bouncier, flashier intro beat, with a sense of external projection. Lyrically, that pretty much summarises it, as it’s really just the endless repetition of what the song’s muse is projecting into the perceived ‘subjects’. You can hear the justifiable annoyance this provokes, in the incessant repetition itself and the obvious irritation in the tone. It’s basically just emphasising that point throughout.

We Are Fucked – (XSRY Remix) – A lighter hearted affair altogether, with a clearly more prominent keyboard section.

Having Fun (Paresis Lulz Remix) – Strongly synthesised intro, with a dance-like breakdown of sounds you might hear in house/rave music. That’s its whole display. An interpretation of experience.

We Are Fucked – (Inertia Remix) – Hard as nails being hammered into a wall. Piercing, in its own way. Some quite jarring electronic sounds in there. Over-stimulating, on a sensory level. Like zig-zags racing through your ears. That sense just overtakes it really, but ultimately, it’s down to interpretation.

Overall – The main (10 track) album is generally, a noticeable improvement from F.E.F.’s previous release. It’s sharper, more clear-cut, focused and well-rounded, with perfected areas, making for a better listen and a greater sense of its aims and purposes. As for the remixes, they’re overkill it could do without. So all in all, ‘W.A.F.’ is a step up from before, which sounds best in isolation, without unnecessary filler, to spoil the effects.

6/10 ******

For fans of trance, punk, pop, protest, rap, dance, house, rave and electronic noise.

http://www.sonicentrails.bandcamp.com
http://www.facebook.com/sonicentrails
http://www.facebook.com/flesheatingfoundation
http://www.flesheatingfoundation.co.uk

Shadow Realm – ‘War Of The Archons’

December 18, 2017

Born late 2012, Shadow Realm is largely a classic metal band, influenced by thrash, prog, power and neo-classical metal. Their material features high operatic vocals and shredding solos. They’re a 5 piece, from Adelaide, South Australia. Their main influences are Dio, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Forbidden, Dream Theater, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Ozzy Osbourne, Samael, Dimmu Borgir, Yngwie Malmsteen, Metallica, Kreator, Tool, Death, Symphony X, Queensryche, Rush, Megadeth, etc.

Frequently termed, ‘powerful, energetic, amazing crowd-pleasers’. Live appearances – in 2015, Shadow Realm’s debut gig, ‘Black Conjuration V’, took place, at which, their debut EP, ‘Into The Shadow Realm’, was also launched. So far, they’ve toured with bands such as, Lord, Taberah, Elm Street and played some high-profile fests, throughout Australia, eg, Legions of Steel Fest, SA Metal Heavy Fest, Churches of Steel Fest, Stormrider Heavy Metal Fest, Scorching Steel Fest and they’ve played support for ANVIL. Their Legions of Steel Fest performance in June 2016, in Melbourne, was played to a sold-out audience (their first ever interstate gig).

Prelude – The Arrival – Unexpected darkened, doom laden piano intro, displaying the kind of physicality, through the descending scales and raindrop like, storm riven keys you can usually only hope to feel from truly accomplished masters of their art. Quite spine tingling, in effect.

Satanic Twin – Dumbfounding, Dio-esque intro screams rend at your flesh and literally, leave you in shock. This really is something else! The stunning piano sections are enough, in themselves, to silence any doubters, as are those metallically possessed vocals, but once those megalithic riffs join in, you’re just lost for words. Magnificent power, of extraordinary volume and class just about summarises it.

Dead Space – Blowing your mind in two, the otherworldly strength emanating from that battle-esque sound is just exceptional. This tops the lot, especially when those God-like vocals kick in. The sounds audible in here are of the highest calibre. Savatage, Malmsteen, Judas Priest, Dio, modern sounds are relatable to Farseer, (fans of their ‘Chthonic Visions’ single will hear snatches in here), etc. Those riffs are heavenly. It’s got enormous drum power and deep down bass, a collective sound of something already elevated to a skyward, deity level and it never veers from that.

Scream Of Darkness – Banging that intro right into your skull, the soaring sound has entered. These vocals are the kind that smash through all the levels on the mixer, in their quest to be heard and absorbed. War themed lyrics, in keeping with the album title and its inspiration, a catchiness you just can’t help but be carried along by and a strength of spirit not of this world. This stuff is gargantuan.

The Awakening – Down to a deep, dark, low key, with a hauntingly sinister edge. Instantly, it’s vocally reminiscent of the sound of sacrificial rituals. Again, those vocals soar, heavenward. Very visually evocative, it’s a huge power fest, of epic proportions. Twanging guitar solos, coming forth, out of the darkness, as the atmosphere builds. With it, the drums also gain increasing momentum, as the fire of sound gains power and height. Throughout this track, there’s an overpowering sense of a pyre, to which more and more fuel is added and the result’s a rising power and exultant emotion, like nothing else.

Moloch’s Domain – Drumming battalion intro’s, raging into battle, with a fierce intent, defying anything that’s gone before. A blackened sound enters here, yet the vocals are still so gloriously melodic and those riffs are designed to override anything in their path. That’s where the Dream Theater influence comes in. Continuously, consistently increasing the pace, to an almost violent pitch, there’s a war-like element to it, resonating throughout.

Shadows From Within – Insistent, forceful, hammering at your brain, till you accept defeat. Well you best had, cos this band certainly won’t. Building this track around that same hammering rhythm, you can actually visualise the theme and progression of the storyline (through the sound). Like the battle of 1000 armies, using the thunderous, lightning tinged voice of God, as a weapon. The drumming intensity never lets up, showcasing unstoppable stamina and those Malmsteen-esque riffs are exactly the momentous magic needed, finished off with the edgily placed piano sections, creating their own breed of magic. Closing on that final scream, like a power filled entreaty to the heavens. This is pure, once-in-a-lifetime metallically majestic magic.

Overall – Wow-inducing, speech-stealing, jaw-dropping, gold standard metal magic.

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

For fans of Savatage, Yngwie Malmsteen, Dio, Judas Priest, Farseer, Dream Theater, RAM.

http://www.facebook.com/shadowrealmmetal
http://www.shadowrealm1.bandcamp.com
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGEROI-WiL3T6Dlog3EpDSQ

Austral- ‘Patagonia’

December 17, 2017

Austral formed in Santiago, Chile, in 2011. Their ‘Emerge’ EP was launched in 2012. This was where the roots of their original metal ethnicity came to light. Now, their style has progressed, to a more intricate form, demoed in ‘Patagonia’, a concept album, exploring the Selknam culture, specifically, amongst other southern world cultures. Geared to a format combining visual and musical origins, it aims to identify their own cultural backgrounds. It’s hoped that this will enhance Chile’s musical identity.

Kiloketen – Solid hard and heavy intro, fast-paced, energised, grit filled vocals and a hammering beat. High-powered drums, infectious melody and a freshness of sound, with unique cultural enhancements, creating positive atmospherics. Closing on a manly roar, edging towards gore, yet too melodic to make it so. This is firmly in hard edged, experimental metal territory.

Caceria – Oh yeah liking that chasing, up-tempo paced intro! That’s how to create contagion. Catchy, fast, rhythmic, tuneful and vibrant, with a soaring sense, but staying true to the hard and heavy angle. Audible cultural injections, combined with the kind of sound evoking visions of high-speed car chases, to loud metal, played hard and fast). One or two classic towering and descending riff scales in there, too. Exciting, exuberant and uplifting.

Mestizaje – Heavy drum beat intro, followed by a Slayer-esque riff, instantly electrifying it, then bringing in some very culturally stronger lyrical emphasis and interspersing it with more catchy speed riffs. It’s an enlightening combo and it may be short, but it packs in heaps of atmosphere.

Newen – Intrigue opens the show, with some oddly timely tinkling bells, which should come with a sleigh attached. Never fear, though, the metal’s close behind. Increasingly strong vocals, performed with a definite masculine edge – always very welcome. That accompanying drum beat’s hard as hell and very metallically soothing. Providing an exemplary driving back beat, it knows how to pack intense feeling into a performance. Same can be said of those rhythmic, powered vocals, never missing a beat. A very plausible energy emanates from Austral.

Yague – Gorgeous gentle slower acoustic, flute and heavily strummed chords open. Lightly performed vocals, still coursing with passionate emotion. Introing a truly lovely melody in the next bar. This holds an entrancing, special power of its own and much like pan-pipes, it evokes a similar freeing atmosphere. A deep healing sound permeates, provoking much visual imagery of native rituals and landscapes. Just beautiful. Like finding treasure.

Almas En Castigo – Didgeridoo intro! Now that’s not something you’ll hear often! Discreetly accompanied by another round of tinkling bells and this time, a sound more eastern in form than southern, but soon overtaken by intensely strong vocals. Battering drum rolls again, pounding riffs and it all comes together fabulously. Such enormous passion in there and some great upward soaring notes. Pace increasing, adding in a Rammstein flavour, soaring melodies and an all-powerful beat, ending on a giant roar and a lightly played steel strung guitar – it’s the business.

Ignorancia – Opening now with a woodwind and light percussion section, seguing, so smoothly, into a raining, fittingly exact melodic rhythm. Vocals lighter in emphasis, but certainly no less passion. A heavily folk influenced section comes in next, interwoven with straight heavy vocals and a higher pitched woodwind performance, followed up by the most striking blues guitar riffs, as smooth as beauty itself. Harsher edged vocals coming into play, towards the end, with that gorgeously gravel encrusted sound, a bird takes flight, in song, just as it closes. Perfection.

Naturaleza – Birdsong intro’s, with an acoustic guitar, floating along on a cloud, gradually accompanied, with precision timing, by colourful vocals and a cheerful backing melody. A slight ambient tone enters, before returning to the accompanied rainbow of melody. Again, the birdsong ends it. Gorgeous.

Exterminio – Rapid fire thrash style intro! Still deeply cultural, vocally, but very much cross-over Bay Area/NWOBHM, instrumentally. Though interspersed with lighter segments, the vocals always come back to that gloriously overpowering quality and it ends on a quiet, low hummed heartbeat.

Patagonia – Opening with that heartbeat with which ‘Exterminio’ closed, but bringing in a much stronger bass emphasis. An intriguingly religious note enters the equation, in what may be interpreted as a chanted prayer, performed in unison, between two people, in a duet style. The keyboard also makes itself known here and the riffs move into a more liquid format, performed with complete fluidity. A gentle background sound of a church organ closes and the mysterious atmosphere remains.

Overall – An incredibly inventive, adventurous, almost escapist album, fitting the ‘concept’ theme well. An abstract sense is present throughout, colouring it with intrigue and bringing the passion to the fore. Flawless performance and production quality. The mysterious flavour it leaves behind can almost be physically tasted and in that sense, too, it achieves its aims. Real, profound and meaningful.

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

For fans of Gypsy Pistoleros, Rammstein, Xerosun and Acrania.

http://www.facebook.com/australbanda
https://australband.bandcamp.com/releases

http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCulrfuo3lpi46wb2j9AVbVw

Euphoria – ‘The Omega Void’

December 16, 2017

Euphoria hail from Detroit, Michigan, USA. A thrash metal band, formed in January 2016, though the concept for the band has been alive since 2012, inspired by vocalist Justin Kelter. Other members: Bubba Colonna IV and Eric Lemmon (guitars), Louie Badalement, (drums), ex Axe Ripper and former member George Ford (bassist). Influenced by Death, Vektor, Slayer, Megadeth, Pantera, etc.

Since forming, Euphoria have rehearsed continually. In mid-March 2016, their debut gig took place, at New Dodge Lounge, in Hamtramck, Michigan. (Louie’s workplace, as bartender and entertainment manager). Playing on stage, with Witchaven, Steel Bearing Hand and Nuke, to a sold-out crowd of 200, the band then began recording their debut, ‘Operation Genesis’, at Mount Doom Studios, in Warren, Michigan. ‘O.G’. Is a 50 minute concept album, about the beginnings and destruction of the earth, by beings from other worlds. It was launched on 10th June 2016, at its own release show.

Proceeding from there, to another sold-out show, at that same venue, Euphoria then received airplay from 101.1 WRIF – Detroit’s commercial hard rock/heavy metal radio station, went on a self promoted tour of America in August 2016, continuing on into spring 2017. Autumn 2017 brought a successful European tour, with the loss of Eric Lemmon from the band. At this time, ‘The Omega Void’ was produced on silver disc, via EvilEye Records, in Deluxe Digipak format, with a bonus disc, with now sold out debut album.

The Omega Void – Tunnel like echo chamber intro. Intriguing, in itself. Slight wobble board effect. Brief, but hauntingly ethereal.

The Divine Embrace – Bang! Straight down to business). True metal territory here. Proper thrash speed riffs, melody, power aplenty and highly unique extreme vocals, with a demonic edge and a sense of possession, via glass swallowing goblin. Extremely entertaining, with a few death style monster growls thrown in. Like Gollum, from ‘Lord Of The Rings’, on speed.

Senescence – Right to the opposite extreme, opening with ominous acoustic and string sections, proving unquestionable versatility. Especially in the quality of performance. A pure instrumental, continuing in that same consistently considered and contemplative vein. Absolute beauty, conveyed in an entrancing style.

Dimension Zeroth – More of that heavenly thrash led riffage intro’s. Bigger drum presence here and a powerful one, at that. Here comes the melody, in the next section and you could just get high off that. Those Gollum-esque vocals return and they really do fit this sound perfectly. That’s quite some vocal skill and that beat reminds of Blaze Bayley’s ‘Voices From The Past’. Now they bring in the most beautiful involved guitar breakdown and those ensuing paradiddles are truly orgasmic. Real songcraft resides in here and the cohesive quality is absolute. So many classic levels of ability and sound are alive within this and you just can’t fail to be affected by it. Ending on an almost sci-fi-esque notational trio, given the entire performance, this is the cream of the crop.

Overall – A truly special, unique and highly entertainingly unusual EP, showcasing a combo of bravely accomplished sounds, unlikely to be heard often. Every feature stands out, both in isolation and in unison with the rest. An enthralling listen, of high-quality production.

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

For fans of modern thrash and speed metal, with old school classic roots, extreme, death and melodic metal, melo-death and NWOBHM.

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