Archive for February 2018

OVERHUNG – ‘Moving Ahead’   6 comments

OVERHUNG, from Mumbai, India, re-released their debut album, ‘Moving Ahead’, on Friday, February 16th, 2018, via Canadian label Test Your Metal Records. 10 tracks of blistering Glam and blues rock, about sexual excess, the album and the band itself are symbols of determination in the face of significant obstacles to success and how these have been overcome.

The band moniker came about from a wordplay, when vocalist Sujit Kumar swapped the name ‘hungover’ to ‘overhung’. Enough said.
Set to be the most debauched band since G’N’R’, OVERHUNG are unique in bringing such modern, enlightened sounds from India. They plan a follow-up single, ‘King Of Dreams’ and are promoting their exciting brand of rock through live gigs.

Influences include Poison, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. They’re hailing a return to the good old days of 80’s and 90’s rock. Their main driving force is and always has been fun and chemistry, as a band, out of which comes a stadium rock sound, enjoyed by many. OVERHUNG’s live performances are quite a spectacle, especially Sujit’s outlandish routines, designed to involve and invite audience participation, which never fail to entertain.

Sex Machine – Insistent cymbal hits introing open onto an instantly recognisable Led Zep rhythm and melody. High quality sound and a touch of Crue influence in there too. Classic R’N’R’ track, featuring typical content. Audible energy, decent performance and even if it does get slightly repetitive, towards the end, it’s of no consequence, given the level of enthusiasm conveyed throughout and the pro musicianship involved. Old school lyrics and faultless delivery.

Insane – Bass opening, with a bluesy twang and a more Black Country Communion type feel. Effortless performance, stacked with true blues expression. Catchy, warm and notably vocally adept. Liking that laughter and the persistent hooks resonating through it. Light-hearted, impressively melodic and plausibly bluesy. Okay, so the closing laughter does get a bit sinister, but only in a humorous way.

Waiting – Very contemplative, Avenged Sevenfold type intro, with more vocal focus, but without losing that blues thread. The mood’s just more melancholy, in places, but it’s saved by the chorus, keeping it upbeat, to a decent degree. Loads of catch injected into the lyrics and riffs, ensuring it stays melodically centred. It’s almost verging on ‘super-group’ material. Ending on a tightly positioned volcanic eruption/storm sound, it’s a good finishing touch.

I Don’t Believe Her – Gentler acoustic riff and cymbal intro, moving, fluidly, into an easy rhythm. Rocking things up, with an intelligently arranged section, centring around the lyrics, in this case, utilising repetition in a hugely catchy way, based on the title’s repetitive expression. This time, there’s an early Beatles-esque basic beat characterising the track and showcasing its strength, through the simplicity. It’ll appeal to fans of early blues and 60’s era rock, as it’s the basis of that early influence which powers the entire song.

Through The Slime – Bass intro, throwing a fun element into it now. Cheerful beat, with vocal harmonies, lifting it up and keeping it up. A slight party sound to it takes it into a new arena of such territory as The Wonder Stuff and Green Jelly’s satirical era. Building, rolling rumble of tension closing it does the trick well, bringing it to a natural end.

Waste – Careful fingerpicking fretwork intro’s, as it moves into a far more sentimental sound. Demonstrating their softer side, this shows their true versatility, even if it does lower the mood, slightly, as it becomes the ballad which proves their capability of flowing from one style to another. There’s still undeniable strength and beauty within it, which won’t fail to move you, with its audible emotion.

I Am I – Rocking things back up again now, with a typically classic intro, setting the scene for more. Instant catch, volume and mood lifting quality. This time, it transports you to The Old Grey Whistle Test’, as it emulates all the old school greats whose early music formed the basis for so many to follow. It’s got a quality of a testosterone fuelled equivalent of the unfortunately titled, but enormously talented Fanny. Intricate drumming just makes it, as it makes its mark on your mind.

Must Drink – Heavy metal intro, much like Led Zep’s 75 and 76 eras. ‘Physical Graffiti’ and ‘Presence’ are both audible in there. Even some well-placed wah wah adds massively to the catch, as you hear and almost see the riffs shimmer with power and passion. The heaviness in those vocals just astounds, right to the end.

Casual Bitch – Solid, heavy, steel laden intro, of incredible magnitude and power! Intriguing and very entertaining lyrics and very sexy riffs create a huge atmosphere, alive with intense feeling. Here, there’s a sound combining both new wave and old school, which serves the song well. Ending on a sudden Axl Rose-esque vocal, which delights and titillates in a ‘Use Your Illusion’ way, it’s finally swallowed by a carefully precise, sharply acute closing riff. Winning the day, in the dramatic effect stakes, you’ll remember this till the day you die.

You Think You’re Soo Cool – Why don’t you just – …. Fuck Off?! Sorry, flashback to G’N’R”s ‘It’s So Easy’, from their ‘Appetite For Destruction’ era, then. Opening with an oddly fairground-esque sound and lyric, luckily, morphing into more of a G’N’R’ ‘U.Y.I’. niche. Going for it in a typically last track sense, it’s as if Axl Rose really has taken over the reins and is back in his heyday of old. You can even get a sense of the old band tensions rising to the surface, through it). So I’ll just end by saying it’s not long enough and I wanted more!

Overall – A hugely colourful album, packed with character and classic throwbacks, with some new wave aspects thrown in. It’s got blues, classic rock, soft ballads and heavy-metal and as such, it’ll appeal to fans right across the board. Core hard rock territory, with all the twists and turns to prove it. Highly recommended.

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

For fans of Led Zeppelin, Black Country Communion, Motley Crue, G’N’R’, The Beatles, The Stones and Blue Oyster Cult.

Available now.


Posted February 26, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Piss River – ‘Self-Titled’   2 comments

Piss River’s forthcoming debut self titled album is released on April 27th, via The Sign Records. Its sound comes from numerous influences, producing something resembling a combo of Girlschool, L7, The Gits and Annihilation Time. Sparks is actually in tribute to Donita Spark (L7) and as with the other tracks, showcases their NWOBHM basis. Also incorporating punk rock, the tracks collectively represent the wide variation of influences within them.

Desolation – Single drum hit intro, seguing into a heavy punk sound, exemplified well, by the rebellious female vocals. Enthusiasm positively screams out of it and the riffs add a slightly harder edge, whilst the melody and rhythm stays upbeat and light. Good start.

Speed Machine – Banging intro, of great sound proportions. Quick pace, catchy hooks and precision timing wraps it up into a well honed, entertaining track. Fairly short, but that’s what’s expected of punk and it’s still long enough to grasp its rhythms and tone.

Police Car – Well measured drum beats intro, opening onto a cool, relaxed old school rocky section, with an early twang to it. Visually evocative, quickly catchy and easy to get into. Some great riffs carry it along, ably assisted by that highly memorable, unfakeable vocal drawl, making it what it is and adding the visual and aural atmosphere. Finishing on a well-placed, screechy feedback riff, it makes a positive impression and above all, it’s fun.

Ascona – Instantaneous party rock spontaneity to this upbeat intro drumming and closely following riffs. Those vocals bring a really big sound to things and it’s exuberant, active thrill-seeking edge lends it total likeability. Sound production’s tiptop stuff and it’s absolutely plausible. Ending on an extravagant drum hit, it certainly makes its mark.

Creepy Swine – Bass led intro, creating a fabulous basis for the rocked up melodic rhythms which characterise the song. Plenty of energised riff action, including some strategically placed solos and a world of expression is conveyed through those vocals and it’s simply faultless.

Take Me To Rusk – Great active drum intro, fast-paced rhythm, perfected sound values and total consistency of quality. Her voice was made for this album. Taking the tone up, with frenetic riffs to match, it’s just so easy to love. Racing on, till it ends on a brilliantly placed wah wah accompanied riff. Just the bomb.

This Is Your Doom – Opening now onto a soundscape of ambient wilderness adventure, with the driving rain to accompany it, before moving, unpredictably, but seamlessly, into a hard rock punky track, filled with crazed attitude and sheer exuberance. Briefer than the rest, but compensating, with that tight, assertive drum fill closing. Charismatic and downright addictive.

Thor Is Strong – Crashing onto the scene with sharp, acute drum beats and identically driven vocals. Same goes for the riffs. An edgy song, full of pointed aggression and lively antics, creating a fun filled song, to the end.

You Bleed – Another precise, notably driven and massively atmospheric track, with a larger-than-life presence, earmarking its place in rock history, as an extraordinarily outstanding sound, too involving to spend too much time analysing, rather than enjoying it.

Back Off – A crash of drums and it’s off to a flying start, as it soars into life. Liking those electrifying riffs scattered throughout. Vocal magnificence rules, while the drums and riff sections carry it, to another pinpoint sharp ending. Filled with life and packed with energy.

Sparks – Riffs introing now, heavily impressing themselves onto the track, as the drums do their thing once more and the tension builds, perfectly accentuated by those enormous vocals, powering the whole thing. Tremendously catchy and bringing that tension back, for a final bow, at the end, closing with a definitive drum hit. Vocal catharsis in action.

Bad Reputation – Climbing up the scales, to intro with a frisson of tension, again. Filling out the song with sheer vibrant, looser, freestyle improvisation, giving all sections a chance to shine. Major riff presence produces an ascending atmospheric vision, while the vocals go all out to astound, as they close on a reverb echo, imprinting itself onto your memory.

Overall – A fabulous, flawless creation, of hard-lined punk rock, with party attitude and enormous catch. Consistently impressive, with perfected audio values and a life affirming edge, creating a light-hearted power punk metal feel. A winning sound, that takes you over at first listen. Set for stardom.

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

For fans of L7, Metallica’s ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ era and elusive old school riffs.

Links unavailable.

Posted February 25, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Saintorment – ‘Defective Mind’   2 comments

Founded in Daugavpils, Latvia, in spring 2013, by Romans (guitarist) and Ed (drummer), Saintorment is a labour of love, based on old school metal. Originally nameless, the band began with cover versions, practised in the studio and were eventually joined by Dan (bassist). Covering tracks by Metallica, Kreator, Exodus and Pantera, they then began working on originals. (‘Move In Time Of Groove’ and ‘Witch’s Promise’).

They debuted live, but without vocals, in autumn 2013. After some time, Romans became the vocalist. By 2014’s end, Max (Balaguri, Begotten, Asthma and currently founding Varang Nord), joined as 2nd rhythm/lead guitarist. By mid-2015, Saintorment had performed frequent live shows throughout Latvia and Lithuania.

Their debut album, ‘Well Of Sins’ was launched on December 20th, 2015 and the band photography was done by Andrey Desolation. He and Romans then commenced some music based projects together. Max departed in July 2016, to focus on solo endeavours, followed by Dan. Short-term replacements were found.

Saintorment’s debut music video, ‘Freaks’, from ‘Well Of Sins’, was filmed, with the line-up of that time. Gigs were played mostly in Latvia, including a slot at Klang Fest and a stage set with Belgian thrash band Evil Invaders. Between late summer 2016 and early winter 2017, a humorous video was also filmed for ‘Move In Time Of Groove’. Romans produced a New Year’s tribute to Frank Sinatra’s ‘Let It Snow’ at the end of 2016.

March 2017 saw the departure of all members except Romans, as creative differences sent them all their separate ways. December 2016 and May 2017 was spent producing Romans and Andrey’s co-written 2nd Saintorment album, ‘Defective Mind’. Launched on December 30th, 2017, supported by ‘More Hate Productions’ publisher. The band are currently writing new material and creatively experimenting with lower tunings.

Saintorment are the only active thrash band from Latvia. Their music centres around trad old school hooks and riffs. Their best work to date, these tracks are more focused, acute and precise, showcasing their energetic connection with their fans. All except the bonus track were written and produced by Romans and Andrey. The tracks on ‘Defective Mind’ revolve around numerous themes re: the human condition, social struggles and the interplay between social and interpersonal crises. The cover art represents a self-destructive, self obsessed self saboteur, with the opportunity, but not the motivation, to improve his situation.

Physical Force – Darth Vader-esque action sci-fi movie soundtrack intro, quickly chased by a typically angry thrash, power section of speed riffs, pounding drums and just enough melody to emulate the old school greats, making it listenably catchy, fast-paced and energised. Ending on an aptly definitive shout.

Defective Mind – Immediate, massively catchy power intro, throwing in a skilful touch of whammy bar, for good measure, racing ahead in a blaze of fury, at full tilt, with pure metal aggression throughout. Again, it’s as melodic as it is thrashy, adding a completing feature of versatile style, making it workable both in and out of the mosh pit, whether going for a laid-back drive or going all out, full on head-banging. Bliss.

We Are – Opening on a few cymbal hits, some light drumming and a blistering, searing riff, before upping the heaviness, with a major metal attack. The hugely rhythmic beat kicks in approximately midway through, closely followed by an intensely sensual, exciting riff section. A racing pace flows on steadily, carrying it forward, as the melody increases, taking the volume with it. Memorable, high octane metal.

Strong Enough – Banging drum and riff intro, battling its way on, with raging speed and maximum volume. Relentless frenetic fire. Alternating the tempo and cadence 3/4 in, bringing in a gorgeously Testament-esque sound and adding in a voluminous vibrato edge, carefully controlling that momentum till the end. Hugely melodic and immensely powerful, this’ll appeal to all fans of classic old school metal and new wave of speed and power metal, with thrashy sounds.

Never – Coming in with carefully paced, gradual volume, this has got a great action car chase movie feel about it. It’s where the vocal harmonies appear aswell, bringing extra melody with them. Extreme growls show themselves, in sporadic, skilful arrangements and those beautiful riff melodies add the perfect touch, lifting the song even higher and bringing it to life, to its full potential. The soaring sense just makes it and completes it. As does that thrilling shrill edge to the final closing riff.

Zerofy – Right in there, with instant catchy hooks and feelgood, thrashing pace. You can’t help but get involved in this. So effective and just magnificently catchy. Full throttle mosh pit territory, from start to finish. This’ll blow the cobwebs away and give your metal energy a good workout aswell.

Dies At The Black Night – Great steel infused, edgy riff intro, bringing those enthralling scales to the fore, as it climbs up and down the tower of riffdom! Really thrashy section follows, steeped in hard edged melody and searing sounds, with massively addictive rhythms and speed freak paradisical territory, gaining in volume, speed and catch, till it’s ultimately orgasmic end. The cream of the crop so far and set to be a firm Rock Queen favourite. Love it. LOVE IT!

Mood Pyrexia – Crashing drum intro, opening onto a pyre of metal ascent, with full-scale vibrato and climbing metallic mania. Crazy, creative, energetic freedom reigns, rocking your soul to the core. A truly heavy section embeds itself into the track, ruling its direction, from then onwards. Generous and plentiful use of the whammy bar injects a whole new level of excitement and feel-good factor, raising the tone and lifting it high.

Final Hour – Fading in gradually, in measured tones of steadily increasing volume, yet again, that whammy bar activity really ups the ante, creating an atmosphere of breath-taking lightness and exuberance, pouring through the track. Here, the riffs really take centre stage, bringing melody of astounding colour and vibrancy, retained throughout. The tones are like jewels of metal royalty, hooking you in, in an instant. Massively addictive.

Ai, Ka Man Patik (Bonus Track) – Faster, more metallic fade in, going for it, with an immediacy that hits you full in the face and drags you along the ground, in its wake. Heavier, in the accompanying rhythms, but lighter hearted, vocally and riff wise. Performing a seeming sound-alike of Pulp Fiction’s soundtrack and narrative, towards the end and finally closing with a Latvian spoken word section, intriguing, as it is amusing, in its hilarity. Clever touch.

Overall – Highly appealing, hugely entertaining, delicious thrash fest, with enthralling speed and power sections and a delightful amount of melody, well aided by the whammy bar saturation and the light-hearted intrigue evoked by the spoken word and soundtrack sections. A diamond find. One to return to again and again. ‘Defective Mind’ is a keeper.

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

For fans of Testament, New Wave Of Speed And Power Metal and metallic action movie soundtracks.

Posted February 25, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Axemaster – ‘Crawling Chaos’   8 comments

Lead guitarist Joe Sims formed Axemaster in 1985. Their initial 4 releases, ‘Slave To The Blade’, ‘Blessing In The Skies’, ‘The Vision’ and ‘Crusades’ were produced with the original line-up and the latter 3 launched by Azra International Records, who also featured them on their own ‘Metalgon’ compilation, as did comedy horror film, ‘Killer Nerd’, in that release.

Following the standard line-up changes, the band’s creative ideas changed and they became ‘The Awakening’. However, Joe Sims remains the only original member to perform on each release. Future re-issues and re-releases of both original and new material, by Unisound Records, showed, by its popularity, that Axemaster was still very much in public demand. After the success of the re-launches, the original line-up reunited, in 2007, re-releasing ‘Blessing In The Skies’, via Burning Star Records. This re-union did not last long, as the band members all went on to form a new band and commenced another project.

Fast forward to 2010 and Joe Sims re-launched the original Axemaster, with a line-up consisting of current and new members, a new album was begun and in 2014, a deal was signed with Pure Steel Records (Germany). Their full-length album, ‘Overture To Madness’, was launched in 2015. The band toured the album for a year, added a new guitarist, making a first for 2 lead guitarists in Axemaster. That time was also spent prepping and producing new songs, recorded in 2016, as ‘Crawling Chaos’, released in 2017, by Pure Steel Records. ‘C.C.’ is 10 tracks of traditional Axemaster, combining doom and thrash, with traditional heavy-metal, showcasing Axemaster’s growth, whilst continuing to pay homage to their beginnings. ‘C.C.’ is  highly internationally acclaimed, within the music press, cementing its reputation as Axemaster’s most successful, memorable album so far.

Just before this release, Pure Steel issued some re-releases of Axemaster’s older material, as a collector’s edition, on vinyl, with enhanced re-mastered sound. The combo of Axemaster’s signature sounds and the wide-scale media exposure they’ve always received has greatly enhanced their multi-generational popularity. This fact, added to their continued consistent perseverance and positive, forward-thinking approach is anticipated to guarantee them even more success in future.

10,000 Pound Hammer – Instant, mind blowing, explosive intro, with some cool relaxed touches on the riffs. Loud as hell and metal as fuck. Crushing sound, loaded with steel reinforcements, a huge metallic atmosphere, confidently performed, ending on a harder than hell drum section and a fabulously timed, electric fade-out riff. That’s what you call a powerful intro!

Crawling Chaos – Opening gradually, on a much more meditative, enigmatic tone. A healthy dose of mystery enshrouds this, without losing any of the heaviness. An adventurous, fantastical theme develops within this, artistically depicted, through an increasingly dramatic aural soundscape. Visually evocative, with the gathering pace to match.

Axes Of Evil – Unusual start, even more visual, in its scene setting of national emergency and terror. Particularly skilled in the tension building stakes and the strategic placing of sirens, helicopter rotors and especially that gorgeously arranged whammy and vibrato section. All the time, it gathers strength, maintaining that powerful volume and world-class production level. A carefully, but boldly constructed track, with enough strength for an army.

Flowers For The Dead – A gentler, but still profound intro, utilising a triangle and a short, delicate section, before quickly seguing into the heavier aspect, where the vocals come into their own. You’ll hear them lift off a few bars in, showcasing their vibrant strength, before the guitars do the same. There’s a real versatility to this track, showing the interplay between light, profundity and heavy, uplifting elements.

Mystify The Dream Hypnotic – Heart beat introing this time, moving, seamlessly, into a flamenco-esque acoustic section, of surprising power. As the guitars join together, in literally, perfect harmony, the ethereal mood captivates. A brief, but incredibly affecting instrumental.

Aldar Rof – Banging drum intro now, joined by intensely heavy Slayer-esque riffs. Soaring vocals, with striking lyrics add to the massive atmosphere, fitting expertly, between warlike battle scenes and gently sporadic mystery. Always, though, that hard-line signature sound remains, bringing a strength of inexplicable magnitude to the fore.

Shallow Grave – A classic, Dio-esque breeze of wind intro’s, in true ‘Holy Diver’ style. From this point on, the vocals show their gentler side, before gaining in volume and strength once more, in sync with the equally heavy accompaniments. The pace heats up, increasing the momentum again, as those riffs entrench their mark, with a real physicality, matched by the closing drums. That’s what stands out most within this track – that natural momentum and tension. Axemaster are aces at creating and building that sense.

Death Before Dishonour – Wow, now that’s a proper heavy-metal drum blast intro! Rolling forward, like a heavy-metal steamroller, there’s true passion shining through this song. In fact, the vocal strength is huge, as is the plausibility coming through in the riffs and generally everywhere else. They’ve really gone for it here, throwing every ounce of aggression and feeling into it, ending on a classic trad metal closing drum and riff section, enhancing the realness of the whole thing.

Bravado – Another all-time true heavy metal intro, with the timing to match. Heavily rhythmic, the flow’s absolutely seamless and so involving. There’s a playful, yet sincere sense to the riffs, growing heavier towards the end, synching so well with the drum rhythms, as it rocks along, till the end. This has got to be one of the catchier ones, holding immediate crowd-pleasing appeal.

Knight Of Pain – Great steel string intro! Mightily heavy and loaded with metal intent. Again, there’s audible band chemistry, leading the charge. It’s just fuelled with energy and vigour, exuded by the riff melodies and metallic beats throughout. Effective and engaging, from start to finish, true metal warriors are alive and well.

Overall – The definitive proof that metal is still very much alive and thriving. Rest assured, if ‘Crawling Chaos’ is anything to go by, then the future of metal is safe in the capable and passionate hands of Axemaster.

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

For fans of trad, classic heavy metal, with new spins and twists. sub_confirmation=1
(featuring lengthy clips of each track on ‘Overture To Madness’).

Posted February 23, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Blackning – ‘Eyes In The Mirror’   2 comments

Formed January 2014 in Santo Andre, Brazil, Blackning are a thrash band, with power elements, from São Paulo, Brazil. Coming from the perspective of classic old school influences, they still retain their own uniqueness. Combining hard-core, heavy metal and death aspects, this creates a sound expressing speed and trad metal, with all the hooks to prove it.

A 4 piece, with experience of touring, live shows and recorded releases, launched throughout Brazil, America, Europe and Russia, international tours and more power in their performances, since recruiting Zozi Fernando, their second guitarist, last year.
Now having 3 physical releases under their belts, the debut ‘Order Of Chaos’ secured them number 34 in the Headbangers Latino America’s Best Album Releases in 2014, competing against bands throughout the continent. They won the same award last year, for their most recent release at that time, ALieNation. 2016 saw them achieve Premio Dynamite De Musica Independente’s best releases slot for best heavy metal albums – a highly respected and coveted award.

Following opening for Onslaught and Krisiun the year prior to that, Blackning have been invited to play alongside the legendary Sacred Reich (USA), on their debut Brazilian tour and also the renowned Canadian trad speed metal band Exciter, during their South American tour.

Blackning are endorsed by a wealth of companies. To date, this, ‘Eyes In The Mirror’, is their current 3 track EP, released October 30th, 2017, independently, on physical and digital formats.

Crowd Control – Oration intro, slightly like that on Leppard’s ‘Armageddon’. Swiftly followed by a crash of solid, heavy, unrepentant metal. A barrage of drums, thrash filled vocals and doom edged riffs and bass force their way through, to the end, adding in some melody and speed rhythm, while introing a deathy element, on which, it closes. Mega heavy fayre.

Eyes In The Mirror – Right in there, with a forcefield of metallic fury, edgy Slayer-esque speed riffs, determined drumming aggression and vocal rage, a decent helping of vibrato and snazzy paradiddles. Just an action packed feast of metal strength and endurance, from start to finish, all wrapped up at the end, by a definitive drum roll, defying any debate. Not for the fainthearted or those with mellow tastes).

Mean Machine – Crazy, Ozzy-esque riffs introing, along with deep throated, more melodic vocals and an exhilarating upbeat pitch). This, for me, is where the catch lies and that speed/power overtake is just sublime. Something very ‘Iron Fist’-esque about the pace and rhythm and even the feel of the whole thing and it’s over way too soon. A great sneaky way to close – leaving you in thrall to the sound and desperate for more.

Overall – An epic thrill fest showcase of heavy-metal speed and agility, from start to finish. ‘Crowd Control’ and Eyes In The Mirror’ will titillate those of a deathier persuasion, whilst ‘Mean Machine’ holds the gold and the power, for the melodic speed metal freaks, like myself. In other words, it’s got something for everyone. Crank it up loud, till the walls vibrate.

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

For fans of Motorhead, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Judas Priest, Slayer, Ozzy Osbourne and death/thrash combo bands.

Posted February 13, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Sotz – ‘Tzak Sotz’   34 comments

Sotz was formed in 2008, by Joao Jisus Rocha, inspired by ancient Mayan history. The word ‘sotz’ translates as ‘bat’ in the native language of the ancient Mayans.
2009 onwards was dedicated to completing the line-up. Their debut took place in 2014, with 5 original tracks and their debut EP was recorded in 2015 and released via Raising Legends Records. Produced, mixed and mastered by Andre Matos (Heavenwood, Equaleft, Tales For The Unspoken, Wrath Sins). A line-up change took place during the production process, resulting in a new drummer.
October 2017 saw the launch of the EP, ‘Tzak Sotz’ and more line-up changes, by the year’s end, resulting in the inclusion of Miguel Silva (Wrath Sins) on bass and Afonso Ribeiro as session drummer. Following the launch event for ‘Tzak Sotz’, the band signed with Laurus Nobilis Music Famalicao 2018 and are currently touring Portugal.

Apocalyptic Machine – Banging hard and heavy as all hell exciting intro! Drum explosion like metal fireworks, with riffs of fire and monster death growls, combining to form the biggest, most furious metal storm. Ever been in the front row of the cinema, when the action sound effects commence and you’re suddenly blasted by immensely shocking noise levels, making you want to run, screaming, from the cinema, before your eardrums implode? Replace that sound with metal of the same proportions. Now you’re enthralled, right? That’s the experience delivered by ‘A.M’. It’s well titled, cos it’s true.

Within The Evil Empire – Crashing intro once more, this time, giving the riffs greater scope to run the show. Everything’s just turned up to the max, as the drums hammer at your brain, in rhythm and sync with the riffs, the growls turn to screams and thrash becomes the master. Pitch perfect, top-notch production, audio values to kill, as the battering ram of sound gatecrashes the wall and strips your brain tissue clean, like a pneumatic drill. Artistically performed outro, changed down in an instant, from pure metallic chaos, to quiet, slowed, controlled contemplation, for the briefest of minutes, as that memorable riff fades out. Nailed it.

The End Of Civilization – Another wild blast of drums opens, followed by a roar and a thrash fest of riffs. A very classic vibe to this, very reminiscent of Blaze Bayley’s ‘Crack In The System.’ Just pure mosh material, performed with monster wall-to-wall sound that’d shake the room to its foundations. Great stuff altogether.

Reborn – Opening with a sinister creeping acoustic note, cymbal hits and careful bass work, all finished off with a tribal-esque drumbeat, to create the perfect horror thriller gothic intro. Blazing fast riffs take up the slack next, seguing right into the growly vocals, as the rhythm reveals itself, reminding of Intense’s ‘Fear Is Not Enough’. That same ancient Mayan theme encapsulates their debut album, from which it’s taken. A continuation of high-quality metal just obliterates anything in its path, till the end. Mightily impressive.

Tzak Sotz – A veritable mosh fest of epically thunderous proportions right from the start’s already characterised the well-placed title track. That creature from the black lagoon arises once more, to take its place, as it’s blackened, blood-soaked vocal emissions roar their way through the track, for all they’re worth. Fiery riffs take centre stage next, as they throw enough notable melody into the show, to be remembered. Ending on a classically eastern section, evoking visions of pyramids and Turkish Delight, the full percussive potential is reached, as those riffs and darkly subtle bass form the backbone of the startling pace. Just immense. Voluble, smooth and intense, all at once. Fire, aggression, excitement and melody, all in one song. Unforgettable.

Overall – Well, this heightened level of skill and intensity was definitely worth waiting for. It’s a positive raging inferno, with an undercurrent of cool, calm, collected contemplation. Including blackened vocal expression and made for moshing riffs; drumming fury, gentle light percussion and background steady bass – it lacks nothing and emphasises everything. Well produced and skilfully performed. Delivering the heavier end of thrash, it works well as a death/thrash combo genre, or as a stand-alone thrash project and will appeal to fans of all elements. Brilliantly composed and artfully arranged and structured.

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

For fans of heavy thrash, death, black, screamo and melo-death.

Posted February 12, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Spice Breather – ‘Crawling Planetary Being’   Leave a comment

Spice Breather’s main aim is to produce a sound balancing its chosen genre, of movie/soundtrack music, with extreme metal previously performed by Matthew Schott (the sole artist, producer, performer). The 80’s films with which he’s grown-up form the influences – TRON, Dune, Terminator, The Thing, Escape From New York, Road Warrior/Mad Max, Alien, Robocop, etc.

The music inspirations include NAMANAX, Robert Rich, Bill Laswell, Scorn/Lull, Trial Of The Bow, James Plotkin, Aphex Twin, orb, Tangerine Dream and more. He was also lyrically inspired by the following: Ender’s Game (Card), Eon (Bear), A World Out Of Time (Niven), Inferno (Niven, Pournelle), Ringworld (Niven), etc.

Projectile 1 – Pre-Ignition – Old school sci-fi soundtrack intro, consisting of mainly strange swirly sounds, distortion and blizzard effects. Little else is audible through it and if I’m honest, it’s overdone and barely tolerable. If you ever wondered what it might be like to be transported back in time to a 70’s sci-fi show set, in which you’re trapped on a doomed spaceship, complete with monotonous cacophonous white noise torture, you’re about to find out. Fading out on a brief electro section, I’m just grateful for the blessed release of the long-awaited ending.

Projectile 2- Ignition – Part 1- Part 2 – Wobble board effects open here, onto what now seems to have moved on to some sort of acid house party nightmare. Trance music enters next, with a sound like a fairground revolution, from which there’s no escape. Laser gun effects just add to the weirdness and random misplaced irritations, of which there are many. Repetitive mindless electronica, with no end in sight. Just noise and nothing else.

Projectile 3 – After Effect – Ambient intro, which taken in isolation, may hold some value in the listenability stakes. If the aggravating gloom interspersing it was cut. Unfortunately, though, the potential opportunity for creating a worthwhile soundscape is lost to the incessant, repetitive bleakness. Seriously, I’m losing the will.

Projectile 4 – Deep Sleep – Already, it seems, the point’s been lost. Deep sleep doesn’t have to mean death. Though in this case, it might be a blessed relief. Again, there’s an ambient thread, which, if used correctly, might possibly be a route to creating something meaningful, but it just feels like overbearing gloom.

Re-Entry – That ambience intro’s again, followed by a drum and bass section, more reminiscent of an action movie shoot-out than anything else. It just continues with more intractable unlistenable dreariness. The fact is, there’s only so much of this a human brain can take, before it switches off and redirects its energies, out of sheer necessity.

Overall – In the grand scheme of things, some instrumentals just aren’t meant to be.

1/10 *

For fans of dull, soulless electronica, trance and vague sci-fi.

Released 20th January 2018 on Bloody Mountain Records.

Posted February 11, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Devilspeak – ‘See Evil, Hear Evil, Speak Evil’   2 comments

On Saturday 10th February 2018, Devilspeak release a debut 3 track EP, entitled, ‘See Evil, Hear Evil, Speak Evil’, via a live streamed gig on Facebook and YouTube. They’re a 5 piece death/thrash metal band, from Cape Town, South Africa. Formed August 2014. The band name was chosen the day after the first audition. It represents a wordplay, re: the Devil’s Peak Mountain, in Cape Town.

They debuted live on March 20th, 2015. The debut single, ‘Violently Leading The Blind’, was recorded on 18th and 19th April 2015, at Milestone Studios, by Jethro Harris and launched on 1st September 2015, to international acclaim. During 2016, they were awarded the Best Newcomer at the South African Metal Music Awards. They’ve played a number of high-profile shows, including Metal 4 Africa’s Winterfest 2015 and Summerfest 2017, Wacken Metal Battle South Africa, April 2016, opening for Rotting Christ, Cape Town, July 2016, opening Witchfest 2017 Cape Town, with Devildriver and Mantar headlining and support for South Africa’s Terminatryx, at their 15 year anniversary show, August 2017. Last year also saw them win the Best Thrash Metal Band Award, at the South African Metal Music Awards.

‘See Evil, Hear Evil, Speak Evil’ follows their 3 track EP, released in September 2016 and the single ‘Unearth Hell’, from the EP, launched on 12th September 2017, which was lauded, throughout the world’s media. The same positive reception and airplay is currently greeting ‘Internal Shrapnel’. (Track 3 on the new EP).

Recorded, mixed and produced at Milestone Studios, Cape Town, by Jethro Harris, mastered by Kelsey Mastering, South Africa, the EP is representative of Devilspeak’s preference for home-grown products and collaborations, so to speak. In keeping with this ethos, the live stream will be broadcast from Milestone Studios, by Jethro Harris. Live editing will be handled by 2C Productions, based in Cape Town, known for their wide experience of such work.

A small select number of people will attend the live feed. It’s scheduled to run for 30 minutes, including the entire EP and 2 additional tracks, i.e., the debut single, ‘Violently Leading The Blind’ and another previously unreleased track, only ever played live, in ‘Embrace Decay’.

Prep has been going on behind the scenes for this event, for over a year and it’s set to be a big occasion. All interested parties can hear the next promo interviews for this big occasion on Thursday 8th February, on The Breakfast Zone, on Zone Radio, Cape Town, from 10:30am CAT, live, on: and also on: TBD with the Killogic Effect in the USA, on . The FB event can be found at

It’s also being screened live at Gandalf’s, in Cape Town, on the day, with early opening for the event. That can be viewed at Click on the global broadcast live stream: and also at .

The EP will also be released in physical CD format, with intricately detailed artwork, including separate artwork for each track. The finished product is planned to be a visual spectacle! Art and design by Sepulchral Visions and TVS Graphic Design. Merch is also available in the form of Devilspeak’s Skellie mascot on a launch shirt, with a possibility of more varied designs in future.

Don’t miss the live launch of ‘SE,HE,SE’ , on 10th February 2018, accessible on Facebook and YouTube. 5pm CAT/3pm GMT/10am EST/9am CST.

EP Track Listing:

1. Honoured By The Bleeding
2. Unearth Hell
3. Internal Shrapnel

Violently Leading The Blind – Crushing hard as steel intro, blasting its way through the wall! Ferocious fast-paced riffs and visceral blackened growls tear holes in your face, as the tension builds and the massive drum sound fills the crevices in the earth. Shattering climax of burning guitar sections, more vicious vocals, controlled rhythm, red hot riffs, with a vibrato element, climbing scales of intensity, before the light percussion cymbal effect ends the show. Mind blowing fire to end all fires.

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

The stream for ‘Unearth Hell’ can be found at:


Posted February 7, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Trigon – ‘Rock It’   Leave a comment

Beginning life as a covers band, Ottawa-based Trigon have always tried to rock things up, placing their own unique signature on them. After an uninspiring attempt to do the same with The Pointer Sisters’ ‘I’m So Excited’, they were instead inspired to create an original new track of their own. Hence, ‘Rock It’ was born. Following on from their debut 2017 album, ‘Fed Up’ and their debut single, ‘The Night Is Young’, ‘Rock It’ is an independent release, launched on January 24th, 2018.

Trigon’s influences include: Volbeat, Crobot, David Wilcox, System Of A Down, Nirvana, Megadeth, Black Sabbath and Slayer. In addition to the recent release of ‘Rock It’, Trigon are also prepping and producing their forthcoming album, due for release this year. Already, Trigon’s uniqueness stands out and this is thought to be due, in part, to the fact of them being a trio, given the esoteric significance of the number 3. Having honed a signature sound, their band name also revolves around the significance of 3, as does their symbol. They claim to be the living proof that rock ‘n’ roll isn’t dead – a fact of which Lemmy himself would be proud.

‘Rock It’ was mixed and mastered by Glen Robinson (Gwar, Voivod). The previous ‘Fed Up’ album, concerns modern life and its many socio-political and practical stumbling blocks. Written to be accessible to all, it’s hoped that fans will identify with it. Trigon’s main aim is to give as much commitment and loyalty to their fans as they receive from them. This is just the beginning. ‘Fed Up’ was launched on March 24th, 2017 and is available digitally and through all main Internet outlets.

Rock It – Kicking drum intro, chased by lightning fast riffs and a great easy rhythm. Fun melody, grabbing your attention and keeping it there, throughout. Whizzing through the track, with an impressive individual spin on a classic vibe, maintaining an upbeat feel, in a catchy, crowd-pleaser style. The production could just do with a little more work, to eradicate the very slight tinniness in the background, but it certainly doesn’t spoil the track and generally, it’s lively, uplifting rock fayre.

8/10 ********

For fans of The Offspring, Terrorvision, modern Glam rock, such as The Darkness. (video for ‘Rock It’).

Posted February 6, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

The Raz – ‘Self-Titled’   9 comments

From Colombia, SC, USA, The Raz is a 4 piece rock band, inspired by 4 decades worth of influences. Their drive and passion are clear and they bring their own brand of music to the table, in the form of their self-created ‘Raz-N-Roll’. Coming from bassist Dale Raszewski’s nickname, The Raz comprises Dale, Adam Shealy, (drums), David Scott McBee (vocals) and Nick ‘Kuma’ Meehan (guitar).

The 9 track debut is a self titled album, based on melody and groove, teeming with rock and blues sounds and inspirations including Led Zeppelin, Badlands, Joe  Bonamassa and Rival Sons.

Formed in spring 2016, by Raz and Nick, the duo wrote two songs, the very first night they jammed together. The band began life as a power trio, after recruiting Andrew Bowers, the then drummer. David Scott McBee then joined as vocalist and the drummer was replaced by Adam Shealy – the next one to audition. The Raz became the force of rock ‘n’ roll they are now.

Black Garden – Opening on a very classic Joe Bonamassa type groove and cymbal hit, the vocals do it perfect justice, with that same high octane level of expertise and blues rock sound that hooks you instantly. A great rock centred feel just permeates the whole thing, characterised by that swing. Absolutely crammed full of irresistible catch, born to rock swagger and real blues flavour. Even a slight Dio-esque slant towards the end, in that ‘Gypsy’-like section. For an intro track, it’s a killer.

No-one To Blame – Immediate bass led intro, with more blues within it then you’re ever likely to hear elsewhere. Easing you in, with mid-paced rhythm, of inherent sensuality and well-placed aggressive vocal hits. Again, the sound of Dio echoes through it, combined with that truly accomplished blues man overtone. Riffage to die for, lyrical paradise and humongously catchy melody, all topped off with the kind of drumming which aces it totally, with a mind blowing blend of traditional and new wave, creating the perfect, richest finish. Divine.

Different Coloured Leaves – Gorgeously smooth acoustic intro, matched mood for mood, with heartfelt lyrics, powerfully and passionately sung. As it ramps up the electricity, the power builds to the max, in a Zep-esque sound rarely heard or captured. Playing through it, with the smoothest, sexiest riffs, hitting every ounce of melody and shaking the bottle dry. Growing to a cleverly designed orgasmic climax, creating just the right effect, it’s very rare I say these words, but this truly is The Holy Grail.

Since I Lost You – Full volume, full strength bluesy riff intro, with a fun vocal element; again, that classic Zep-esque emphasis returns. Grooving along, with a high-level slide section, enabling visual imagery of a bottleneck, working those fret-boards so hard, it almost shatters on impact. Just rocking and rolling, in the most fabulously old school way, there’s nothing to dislike and everything to love.

13 Years – Getting straight in there, with a true blues sound, that was just born to play, showcasing the dexterity and versatility born of genuine love and talent inspired by nature itself. So, so easy to love and get carried away by the flow, the range of blues rock moods and emotions displayed here are endless and fascinating and the song moves as fluidly as the seasons. Pure genius and thoroughly addictive.

My Woman – Rocking things up to the height of animalistic intensity, this is pure high vibration pleasure. Sexy as hell and taking it higher and higher, it’s a melting pot of racy, red hot sensuality. One listen and your desires will be assuaged, like the siren call of a mermaid, hypnotically entrancing and enchanting you, to your watery doom.

Mystery – Bass introing, with a change of tack, in a G’N’R’-esque twist, but soon revealing the blues factor still in evidence. Vocals taking an easier slant now, with some laid-back choruses, retaining the intrigue in the verses and bringing the guitars forward now, to display their looser, free-flowing blues wares even more, the mood turns funky and continues like that till the end. Finishing on another classic drum hit, the strength of passion driving the engine never fades, till the final hit.

No Surprise – Cymbals opening now, groove-based riffs taking up the slack, with equally groovy vocals, lyrically demonstrative of the same groove. Great easy beat, rolling the whole thing forward, in a relaxed frame of mind, a slightly looser, but no less powerful or evocative thread holds it together and brings it to a neat end. Effortless and hugely rhythmic.

What’s Real – Slowing the mood and pace down to a chilled out jazzy beat, now the contemplative aspect enters. Lyrically inviting and thoughtful, injecting emotion into the riffs at just the right point, it carries you away, as if floating on a river, travelling downstream, as the music floods your being. Heavily charged sections follow, like a dream of intense colours of varying shades. Interlacing with gentler riffs, it’s a perfect combo of textural sounds. Closing on an affecting tone, which seems to infiltrate your soul, the lyrics hit you, as they come full circle, reminding you of their message, like a strongly chanted mantra.

Overall – There are rare occasions when reviewing music, when no words will seem to do justice to an album. This is one of them. So I’m just going to follow this up with a phrase I only use very rarely. The Holy Grail Of Rock/Metal. Only a complete musical Philistine would fail to appreciate this album or those words in relation to it. Nothing else will suffice, to do it justice, other than to say the level of accomplished musicianship within it is truly out of this world.

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

For fans of Joe Bonamassa, John 5, Led Zeppelin, Heaven’s Basement, DIO, Black Country Communion, Blue Oyster Cult, Focus.

Released 9th February 2018 via Rockshots Records.
1st Single – ‘No-one To Blame’ –
Album Pre-order link –
Or on Amazon –

Posted February 5, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized