Archive for March 2018

Chemicaust – ‘Unleashed Upon This World’   8 comments

A thrash/death combo, originating from Dallas, Texas, founded in 2013, the concept of Chemicaust was to emulate the 80’s style pre-death metal thrash bands. Inspired by such bands as Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth, Destruction, Kreator and Death, Chemicaust injected a newer twist on those styles.

Chemicaust’s debut 5 track EP was released in 2015, entitled, ‘As Empires Fall’, via Sound Of White Noise Records. Following that, their debut album launched in 2018, through Dark Rituals LLC, entitled, ‘Unleashed Upon This World’. It comprises 9 tracks – 5 re-mastered from ‘A.E.F.’, 3 new tracks and 1 cover of Exodus’, ‘A Lesson In Violence’, containing artwork from renowned artist Ed Repica.

As Empires Fall – Brief public oration intro, before the raging death style thrash crashes onto the scene. Lots of sharp, Slayer-esque riffs, a powerful scattering of vibrato and some decent melodies mutate the song’s flexibility into a sound approaching melo-death. Here’s a band who know how to play with potential.

Vanished – Instant speed riffs take the stage, joined by blackened death vocals and another slice of acute vibrato. Power’s the maxim behind these riffs and the careful placing of the vibrato sections. ‘Vanished’ is really an exercise in the emphasis of power and the arrangement of such, in relation to death/thrash styles.

Human Sacrifice – A sickeningly graphic description of the human sacrifice opens this, as the speaker expresses shock and disbelief at man’s capacity to perpetuate such deeds. Relief hits you, as the pointedly angled music replaces the speech. Not for long, though, as the lyrics continue to repeatedly reinforce the track title, till the pictures are clear in your mind. You could almost say that ‘H.S’. is a rather blatant form of social experiment, into the inducement of shock tactics and their resultant effects.

The Absurd Beautiful Lie – Wild, yet controlled tribal drum beats intro, letting loose the bestial vocals, of primal, animalistic intent. The visual evocations set the scene of the lion’s den and the undoubtedly associated fear and terror, as you visualise, through the vicious vocals and lethal accompaniments, the lions going in for the kill. One thing that can be said for this is that it’s very graphic, violent and bloody, in its aural portrayals.

Incarcerated – Full on, mega watt riff and drum hit intro, leaving no room for doubt. Very gory lyrics again, depicting a strong sense of doom. Mortal terror isn’t too strong a term, taking into account the overall depiction, formed by the terrifying, blood-soaked vocals, dripping with poison, the unrelenting speed and the ominous dark tone of the accompanying instrumentals, crackling with tension and venom. Not for late, dark nights, alone.

Serenity – A blast of blazing drums opens, onto a scene of carnage, with an oddly Anthrax-esque rhythm. Serenity is obviously an irony here. Good speed riff section adds a blitzkrieg of energy, in a Megadeth style. There’s no let-up in the fear mongering lyrics and coupled with the tightly focused closing accompaniments, at lightning speed, there’s a distinctly blackened aura permeating it, insidiously infiltrating the depths of your terror.

Unleashed Upon This World – Massive, battle-esque drum fills intro and the vocals take up the mantle, drenching the track with blood spattered evil. Close to Venom, in the sheer drastic dread and horror of the verbal and visual depictions, it’s a class above many, in its ability to reflect that level of aggression alone. That point is proved, by the stark gothic imaginings displayed and fed by the closing spoken lyrics.

Genocide – Changing tack, to a still dark, but more melodic slant, for a temporary breather, before launching straight back into death focused content. Pure raging terror dominates, as it’s razor edged lyrical reality tears and shreds at your brain. ‘Nightmare On Elm Street”s got nothing on this. It’s a walk in the park, in comparison. Fear instilling trauma territory.

A Lesson In Violence – A blizzard of racing speed riffs intro’s, blazing their way through the fray, as satanic lyrics tease your brain tissue with red hot pokers. Loads of whammy bar involvement creates the final flurry of speeding intensity and theatrical effects, as it hurries to a close. This is definitely a performance example of squeezing every last drop from the kiln.

Overall – It’s safe to say that Chemicaust are on the extreme end of the extreme spectrum! Regardless of whether such extremity is your thing, ‘Unleashed Upon This World’ has to win points for sheer dramatic edge and acuity that would give Venom a run for their money. It’s arguably blacker in sound than most thrash/death combos, but one thing it proves Chemicaust to excel at is making full use of creative licence and then some. Spectacular, scary fright night material, whose deathly echoes would ring in your head indefinitely, ever after.

8/10 ********

For fans of Venom, Slayer, Exodus, Megadeth, Carcass, Satarial, Sacral Night, Votov, Vantablack Warship, Anthrax, Pantera.


Posted March 30, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

WRATHBLADE – ‘God Of The Deep Unleashed’   10 comments

From Athens, capital of Hellas, WRATHBLADE formed in the latter half of 2003. Founded by Chris Mosalos (formerly of Panix, Depression, Raging Storm), the usual line-up changes followed, till the current line-up completed the band. It consists of members of Litany, Battleroar, Arpyian, Horde and Foredoomed. As a live act, WRATHBLADE has so far played alongside Domine, RAM, Powervice, Battleroar, Old Season, Marauder, Powercrue, Litany and Strikelight, etc. ‘God Of The Deep Unleashed’ is their 5th release and was launched in 2017. It follows previous titles, ‘War Of The Titans’ (2006), ‘Reigns Of Doom’ (2011), ‘Into The Netherworlds Realm’ (2012) and ‘Alive Aftershock’ (2015). ‘G.O.T.D.U’. is 9 tracks of pure heavy-metal!

Sheer Vengeance Will Out Upon Thee – Wow! Massively powerful Celtic intro, throwing out some highly memorable solo vocals, before the racing speed metal takes over, rolling on to the end, with gigantic metal intent. Furiously fast-paced, hugely atmospheric, lively Viking type stuff, through which, you can even see the ship’s mast in your mind’s eye. Whilst this kind of traditional Celtic emphasis is unusual for a band of Greek origin, I can’t deny it’s amazingly accurate and I want to hear more.

Enter The Warriors Guild – More delicious piratical material, building incredible imagery around itself. Enormously catchy and I genuinely love the sound! An inexplicable strength saturates this, with a force that lies beyond description. Suffice to say, if you get off on heavy speed riffs, Celtic lyrics and Viking and Pirate metal, then this is for you.

Castration Of Uranus – Slight slowing of pace and darkening of tone intro’s, yet despite the visuals evoked by the title, there’s still a celebratory lightness in its theme. Insistent purpose screams through it, as the pace increases and the tone brightens, with it. Racing on, with intense imaginative focus and Celtic flair, till the end, this is pure killer.

No Dole For The Blest – Opening on a sexy riff, paving the way for more of the same sensual mood, there’s actually a kingly flavour to this, drenching it with outstanding quality and not just likeability, but loveability. Smoking riffs scorch their way through it, as the pounding rhythm and infinitely powerful vocals singe the rest of the track with unique catchy charisma.

Vaunted Pride – Even more Celtic feeling intro’s, launching straight into a stunning combo of limerick style lyricism and heavy Pirate metal. One word. Unforgettable. As you visualise the flag flying high, it’s individuality continues to floor you, with its disarming scenic evocation. Those drums come into their own, as they beat their way to the end, with absolute conviction and life.

Valiancy, Virtue, Victory – Beautiful acoustic section opens, before bursting into an explosive accompaniment, thrilling and filling your senses, so there’s no room left for anything but joy. The pace grows faster and faster, assisted by warrior type vocals. Ending on a harmonised anthem, depicting old school Celtic legend of battle lore and all that goes with it.

Cthonian Echoes Devour Then Wane – Instant, humongously metallic riffs and drum hits intro and the following vocals soon burn themselves into your psyche. Quickened pace, melody and razor edged metal floods and enlivens it, with atmosphere, till it ends on reverberating masculine shouts.

Transcendent Essence – Straight in there again, with hammering metal force. Vocal emphasis drives the melody on, in a style reflecting metal worship. Filling the song with meaning, it ends on a cleverly workable understated feedback fadeout riff – strikingly powerful in itself and resonating through your spirit.

Submersion – Gorgeous acoustic riffs open, onto hauntingly strong vocals, imbuing the track with profundity and creating an aural landscape of warrior Vikings and Pirates, on a mission, to avenge the honour of their ancestors, through battle and valour, ending in celebratory cider swilling, to mark their defeat.

Overall – This is the sound of true metal warriors in action. ‘God Of The Deep Unleashed’ is exactly what it sounds like. As such, it’s aptly titled. It stands out a mile, not just for its original and unexpected themes, but for the breath-taking power and conviction with which it’s performed. Every now and then, an album comes along, which knocks you off your feet, communes with your soul and tells you you need it in your life. Now. This is it. ‘G.O.T.D.U.’ has broken through every barrier and its unrivalled quality resonates deeply. It’s the Valhalla of metal and WRATHBLADE are the Gods.

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

For fans of Alestorm, Tyr, Turisas, In My Embrace, North Hammer, Frost Giant, Sabaton.

Posted March 27, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

North Hammer – ‘Stormcaller’   14 comments

One-man brainchild of Andrew James (Eye Of Horus and Shotgunner), heavily influenced by Quorthon, Wintersun, Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, Aether Realm and Blind Guardian, North Hammer is an exciting combo of melo-death and folk metal. ‘Stormcaller’, self-released on March 16th, 2018, is a modern day replica of traditional Norse mythology. The ‘North’ segment of the band name symbolises winter and also refers to Canada, Andrew’s homeland. The ‘Hammer’ section is a direct reference to Thor’s Hammer, known as ‘Mjolnir’. Andrew aims to excite and enliven fans, with ‘Stormcaller’, with which he hopes they connect. Whilst it’s currently a solo studio pursuit, Andrew has plans to create a full band line-up, in due course. ‘Stormcaller’ is available digitally.

Avatar – The perfect soundtrack intro’s, creating instant imagery of ‘Braveheart’ film scores, before moving, seamlessly, from gentle Celtic folk, to Viking-esque heavy melo-death. The Norsemen are there in your head immediately, as is the mediaeval, Baroque era, on hearing the string section. A veritable feast of collective ground-swelling accompaniments paints the rest of the picture, as it marches on, to its final invasion. Astonishing, fresh, life affirming melodies breathe through stunningly visual, heavy instrumentals, marking a path for emerging heavyweight historical nostalgia.

Wanderer – Instant vocal harmonies intro, bursting into deafeningly delightful warmongering Viking men, marching into battle. The hammer comes into play, in the sound of the drums, bringing it to life. The ideal sliding door split between light and dark, genteel and heavy.

Written In The Stars – Palpable intrigue opens, with the vibrant cohesive combo of accompaniments. A flare of colour, motion and sounds flies through the air, enveloping the atmosphere, in a cloak of light and hope, as the powerful sounds resonate, leaving distant echoes of possibility and longing, for the faraway shores of home.

Magic Mead – Crushing drums and ground-breaking riffs intro, joined by all consuming death vocals, through which, meaningful lyrics are still audible. A determinedly insistent rhythm pulsates through this, as colourful melodies steer the ship forward. A hammering beat propels it further on, to the end, with no mercy and a plausible purpose. True melo-death, with a clear Viking angle.

Tip Of The Spear – A waterborne Viking battle ensues, driven and filled with masculine intent. Melody vies with rage, as hot-blooded roars and growls litter its strength. An exuberant air of victory prevails, depicting sensory landscapes of bloodthirsty battles, with sensual masculinity soaking through them.

A Soldier’s Song – Gradual rising tide intro, onto an acutely performed section, saturated with machismo and bravery. Heavily rhythmic and riff centred, the catchiness continues throughout, even to the steadily timed closing acoustic. There’s just a life enhancing magic encapsulating this album, which beats a powerful life force throughout.

Black Forest Rain – Inevitable rain introing, working well, to paint a picture of bleak, dark surroundings, reinforced by the downbeat, yet still catchily mid-paced acoustic guitar. A short, but profound track, thrumming with atmospheric imagination.

Spellbinder – Dramatic riff opening, with a massive Celtic edge to it. Rushing straight back into battle, from there, it forces its point home, through vivid imagery and patently powerful riffs and strategically intelligent vocal arrangements. Just a delightful escapist experience, from start to finish.

North Hammer – Banging heavy intro, alive with energy and bursting with life. A glorious ecstasy permeates it, with joy, as the ever-increasing melody takes over and storms its way through, like a giant, gargantuan, creative intent. Pure thrill, from beginning to end.

Lion’s Winter – Huge sound introing, going for the throat, with sheer irrepressible will. Huntsman like heaviness floods these instrumentals, as the battle hungry purpose exerts its intent and intensity. A strong, energy fuelled track, packed with iron willed determination.

Overall – An explosively powerful and meaningful album, stacked with personality and vivid colour, imaginatively driven, ‘Stormcaller’ rises above the rest. With North Hammer, Andrew James has created his own North Star.

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

For fans of In My Embrace, Alestorm, Tyr, Turisas, Frost Giant, Celtic Legacy, Farseer.

Posted March 26, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

VOTOV – Debut (Self Titled)   Leave a comment

A 3 piece death thrash metal band from Winnipeg, Canada, VOTOV is composed of ex-members of Immortal Possession, The Grim Meat Hook Experience, Serrated Scalpel, Psychotic Gardening, Eyam and Broken Hope.

VOTOV was born in 2015, from the will to write the kind of music the then trio from Psychotic Gardening were influenced by. Taking a basic formula, VOTOV is built around the precept of old school traditional death and thrash metal combos.

This 1st self titled debut album comes after 2 years of intense focus. It’s a lively, darkly energetic album, of strong and relentless physicality and back to basics traditional metal, old school to its core.

‘VOTOV’ is now being distributed to labels and a European tour is planned for 2018.

The Smear – Brutal intro! Majorly heavy, like being weighed down with concrete boots and dunked in a black river, by demonic entities, performing a satanic mass, with all the dark vocal possession, to prove it. It actually shook the vibrations of my home, triggering a domino effect of falling furniture. A soul’s already been sacrificed and it’s only the beginning.

Organic Incarceration – Pummelling drums open, followed by ritualistic riffs and throaty growls, in a monster like edifice. A bit samey and repetitive, but consistent, all the same. Short, but beastly track.

Absinuance – Straight in there, laying down some heavy riffs and resentful, angry roary vocals, dripping with contempt. A more lyrically intense track, though you have to gain the emphasis from the vocal delivery, as the death style kills the clarity.

Indoctrination – Much thrashier intro! Riffs are central, with the drums hammering the message home. Very slight melody here, building momentum and mainly composed of darkness. Brief bursts of blackened intent are what this album’s all about.

Massing Link – Instant, frenetic, furious speed riffs intro, lifting it very briefly, out of the darkness and almost into the light. The evil emanations persist through the vocals, but this time, the riff emergence brings a chink of light.

By The Disgrace Of God – More riff emphasis intro’s, but the vocal soon joins the fray, with an ingrained determination to roar and growl its way onto the scene. Slightly longer, with more instrumental accompaniment, though just as dark and definitely more death than thrash.

Reviled Deliverance – A single solid drum hit intro’s, before raining down a barrage of blows. The monster vocals return, with a stomping rhythm, as the drums take centre stage for this one. A bone rattling feel permeates it, adding visual imagery of bone shaking vehicles of doom, driving you to your death.

Dethroned Emperor – Volume going up, through the roof, as a strikingly heavy riff sensation sends your guts dropping through the floor. That’s what you call ‘bowel shaking’. Now the kind of melody which would have served the rest of the album well enters the equation, adding much greater and livelier explosions of character and shades of colour. The enormity of the heaviness remains, though and that’s what ends the album.

Overall – A dark and notably heavy album, which, although consistent, would benefit from increasing the thrash elements and redirecting them, from undertones, to overtones. The death aspects, while impacting and plausible, overshadow the thrash, to the point of black metal styles, obscuring the thrash altogether. Still, faultless performance, through which, the enthusiasm’s evident. The thrash just needs to breathe.

6/10 ******

For fans of Satarial, Venom, Vantablack Warship, Sacral Night.

Posted March 25, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Gent – ‘Warning Sign’   1 comment

‘Warning Sign’ is the debut single from Gent, the inspiration of solo artist Andy Martin. It’s been around for 2 years and was featured on BBC Introducing in January 2018. The ‘Gent’ is a mystery figure, of intrigue value, with a secret identity and multiple facets to his personality. Being the muse for the project, his character changes and adapts to each track and its theme.

So far, the ‘Gent’ has taken Andy to Berlin, in addition to a multitude of UK-based shows. A video accompanies the track ‘Warning Sign’, officially released on December 14th, 2017. Currently, the bio of Gent is still in the makings and is proving to be a lot of fun.

‘Warning Sign’ – Opening with a classy mysteriously slidey bass centred intro, with triangle involvement. Unusual magical sounding lyrics, emanating a distinctly ‘Abracadabra’ style vocal. A warm feeling to it, with a natural drum accompaniment and lots of melody. There’s a compact sense to the overall sound and a definite difference to its whole presentation and performance. The elusiveness and mystique of the Gent’s character is audible and does come across well. It’s definitely more indie/alt based than heavy rock, as such, but it’s unique and unpredictable edge sets it apart from standard material, adding an aura of mystery, leaving behind a random wonder and with it, a taste for more. Catchy choruses complete its otherworldliness, as in keeping with the sense of the Gent, it infiltrates your mind. Bravely other, conscientiously crafted and composed, ‘Warning Sign’ will stay in your memory.

8/10 ********

For fans of rare, mystical indie/alt rock.

Posted March 24, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

The Rocket Dolls – ‘DeaDHeaD’   3 comments

New independent release ‘DeaDHeaD’, by The Rocket Dolls, from Brighton, is brought to you via their new music video. The video comes ahead of the forthcoming album and UK tour of the same name, including Wildfire Fest and Ramblin’ Man Fair. ‘DeaDHeaD’ portrays a symbolic fantasy scenario, revolving around the use and misuse of chosen figures, by perceived superiors, to deliver crime, punishment and consequent death, on their behalf. It then reveals a significant twist.

Directed by Dave Neale and James Eldridge, of Wild Stag Studios, ‘DeaDHeaD’ actually symbolises vocalist/guitarist Nicki Smash’s own struggles with mental illness, self-medication and prescribed drugs. Released on 6th April 2018, the album ‘DeaDHeaD’  is already available, to pre-order, digitally.

DeaDHeaD – Very Nirvana-esque, ‘Bleach’ type grungy acoustic intro, moving instantly, into a typically A.I.C. sound, with touches of Soundgarden, as the feeling hits and the heaviness makes its mark. There’s a real groove about it, as it ups the grunge factor even more, interspersing it with a bit of straight melodic rock. Good hits of defined hard edged heavy rock at the end, giving it a certain presence. A decent listen, with a shade of mellowness, contained within the grunge. An obvious darkness envelops the video, visually portrayed, through the background colours and the scenes themselves. The inner conflicts are also evident, from the fire in the eyes, the physical vibrations of the surroundings and the inter-and intra-personal turmoil displayed. Overall, it marries the audio-visual aspects well, in its expression of socio-emotional distress. Clear, cohesive and concise. It hits home.

7/10 *******

For fans of A.I.C., Nirvana, Soundgarden, Velvet Revolver, Sebastian Bach.

Photo Credit: Tina-K Photography at

Album pre-order links available now at:

Posted March 23, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Mind Patrol – ‘Against All Predictions’   7 comments

From Lucerne, Switzerland, Mind Patrol now introduce their debut album, ‘Against All Predictions’. A thrash metal band, with ‘in your face’ melodies, vocals and catchy choruses, Mind Patrol have been performing in numerous cities for 3 years and are well known in their local scene, in Switzerland. Having so far played over 50 shows nationally, they’re now ready to unleash their debut, ‘A.A.P.’, to the world.

Recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by V.O. Pulver, in January 2018, at Little Creek Studio, the site of production of newest releases for Destruction, Pro-Pain and Nervosa. Cover art by Blackdotx and live pics by Plekvetica. Released 20th April 2018.

Intro – ‘Welcome To Hell’ – Thoughtful, carefully constructed intro, very percussion heavy, with a gradual guitar fade in. Soon getting into its stride, the riffs fly fast and free, before alternating their pace, in rhythm with the graduated vocals and throwing in a well-placed ghost train like high-pitched tone, as it fades out on a sinister whisper of ‘welcome to hell’. Good job.

Till We Die – Instant, classically hard-hitting, impacting riffs intro, prior to anthemic vocals, huge catch and a big drum presence. Immediately likeable. Loaded with fun, melodic riffage and a slight Metallica-esque sense, in there too. Strong metallic hymn style vocals, reminding of Taberah, towards the end. Very lovable sound altogether.

Warfare – Perfectly apt intro, of immediate, truly in your face stuff. Quick paced, powerful, consistently catchy cohesion. Lots of riff action and plenty of group action too. Good variation in tempo, at the end.

Drinking Song – Another slice of hard-hitting sounds opens onto a fun, playful mood, setting the scene well. Slightly reminiscent of Municipal Waste, in places. Injecting a few lifelike sounds of modern day life, going on in the background, it’s plain to see the effort that’s gone into this. Especially during the experimental sections of alternating pace, rhythm and tempo, all of which work well. Just don’t listen to that bit of vomiting, closing it, if you’re feeling sick).

Schizophrenia – A brave metallic interpretation of the chaos inside, inflicted by the entitled illness. Lots of apt peaks and troughs of mood, well depicted, instrumentally. Same applies to those rollercoasters displayed in the ever alternating riffs and random, unpredictable light percussion sections. Excellent performance.

Doomsday – A lighter, freer, gentler intro, before giving way to a faster riff fest, seguing into drum rolls and angry, impassioned, shouted vocals. Physically falling, into a scaled descent of notes and then climbing right back up again, in a towering ascent, pouring more melody in, heightening the pace and building it into a truly classic section, it ends on a perfected, decisive hit.

Generation Penetration – Darker and slightly doomier intro, but the cymbal action lightens it. Frantic pace, percussively focused, those beats fit brilliantly. A cleverly active sense resonates throughout, increasing its rhythm, till the strategically placed fadeout, leading into another darker section, yet again, competently managing to lighten the atmosphere, with uplifting riffs. Finally and carefully fading out, like the end of a story or the end result of an action movie, it’s told its own story and it rocks hard.

Overall – An intelligently constructed and artfully designed album, of pure and classic, yet intriguingly original thrash metal, featuring twists, turns and directional changes, keeping it fresh and interesting. For a debut album, it’s incredibly impressive, playing out like the work of a long established band at work. Mind Patrol have already secured a level of accomplishment which speaks volumes. ‘Against All Predictions’ indeed.

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

For fans of Metallica, Trivium, Taberah, Testament, Reign Of Fury, Dark Forest and Anthrax.

Released 20th April 2018.

Posted March 22, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Candle – ‘The Keeper’s Curse’   1 comment

Old school, energised, dramatic metal summarises Candle. Founded by Markus Janis (guitars), Corrosive Carcass drummer, in Sweden, with Christian Kanto (guitars), out of their mutual love of traditional metal, rehearsals began in 2015. Pihlajainen brothers Jorma (drums) and Johani (bass) and Erik Nordkvist (vocals) soon followed, completing the line-up. Live performances to date include opening for Blaze Bayley, to positive reception.

Autumn 2016 saw them recording their debut demo (‘Demo 2016’), with 50 limited copies distributed to friends, resulting in interest from Xtreem Music. Candle signed to a division of Xtreem Music – Fighter Records – in January 2017, leading to the official release of ‘Demo 2016’. Candle are now promoting their current album, ‘The Keeper’s Curse’.

Intro – Storm intro, with a wolf howling, an owl hooting and the sound of laboured breathing of someone walking in the snow. All accompanied by a dark, Beethoven style classical organ piece, immediately marking it out as hugely memorable and heavily atmospheric.

The Secret – Instant, massively hard-hitting riffs and strikingly powerful vocal intro. Furiously fast-pace, edgy lyrics and lots of cymbal work, with a wolf-like vocal inflection characterise this, bringing out the notable heaviness of the drums and ending on a smoking riff section. A huge sound, with impressive personality.

Light At The End – Low, rumbling bass intro, joined by similarly pensive riffs and drum rolls. The wolf intonation to the vocal has made its name and is here to stay. Rising up in a highbrow melody, the pace quickens, as the accompaniments move into a Blaze Bayley-esque furied pace. Those wolf-like howls add the visual imagery, imbuing the whole thing with magical qualities.

Frozen With Fear – Dark heaviness intro’s, infusing the track with sinister atmosphere. Guitars lead the way, emphasising the melody and momentous pace. Packed to the rafters with riffage and driving upbeat rhythm. Ending on another wolfish howl, uniqueness is written all over it.

Betrayal – Hardened, hugely heavy intro, running straight into a focused, driven section, so uplifting in its sound. Here, the vocals take centre stage, bringing the atmosphere with them, injecting a significant visual sense to the whole track. It’s almost like a series of snow scenes, from a story of old school myth and legend.

Dancing Lights – Gradual, upwards sliding movement opening, with instant catch. Edgy flavour and a higher pitch creates the picture and lifts the mood. Some Devilfire-esque riff breakdowns in there too. Precise, perfected tones, grounding, heavy riffs, darkening, at the close and a pervasive air of spirited enthusiasm combine, to make this a standout, crowd-pleaser.

Embraced By Darkness – Quick drum hits intro, before seguing, smoothly, straight into a mega fast-paced rhythm. Fiery power lifts it higher and drives it forward. Ending on a fading riff, echoing through you, this is just a really strong, melodic, vocally led, driven track. Like a high-speed sleigh ride, through the snow. Highly visual.

No Peace For My Soul – Coming in on a forward movement of visual energy, the powerful instrumentals lead the flow. Great extended power scream adds magic in spades. Catchiness abounds in those edgy riffs. A very theatrical atmosphere enters here, permeating through the track. It’s immensely strong and filled with high energy.

Vengeance – Electric riff and heavy drums intro. A darker vocal follows. This is perhaps the catchiest track, melodically, rhythmically and energetically. More impressive power screams, including an extended one and a noticeably heavy instrumental emphasis make the atmosphere that saturates this with life. Keeping that momentum, the ending’s as consistent as the rest. Enlivening and fulsome, it’s just a huge sound.

Overall – A highly visual soundscape, of energetic performances, both flawless and unique. Its USP is its wolflike characterisation and its depiction of snowy, wintry landscapes, in an uplifting way. The power screams alone are worth a listen. Generally, powerful and hugely enjoyable.

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

For fans of Frost Giant, Blaze Bayley, Within Temptation, Nightwish and Devilfire.

Posted March 18, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Porcelain Helmet – Debut (‘Self-Titled’)   4 comments

Thrash metal, from Woodstock, New York, formed in summer 2015, having met at the Paul Green Rock Academy, Porcelain Helmet were mentored by Scott Ian, of Anthrax. He’s also been on stage with them and sat in on their tracks. Scott is notoriously cited as describing their first single from the debut album as ‘killer’ and says he’s proud to be part of Porcelain Helmet’s history. P.H. have already amassed a great deal of live performance experience, amongst which, the renowned Chance Theatre, Poughkeepsie, New York, featured. Glowing reviews have been received from fans and bands alike (including Van Williams of Nevermore and Andy Eichhorn of Prime Evil). P.H.’s brand of thrash is winning praise from all generations. Metallica, Anthrax and Exodus are amongst the influences, to whom, they pay tribute, whilst remaining unique.

The self titled debut was recorded at Jerry Marotta’s Dreamland Studios, in February 2017, with engineer producer Albert Di Fiore, (Lenny Kravitz, Beck). Released on January 26th, 2018, it’s available both digitally and on CD. It can be accessed digitally at A guitarist from a Rock And Roll Hall of Fame nominated band is currently interested in producing their next album, for which, new music is already being written. Their immediate priority at present is discovering a tour manager/agent, to help get their debut album out there in the public eye.

Porcelain Helmet – After a very brief spoken intro, they launch straight into a very classic Metallica-esque hard-hitting section, with more bass than is usual in a debut and it marks it out as high potential straight away. There’s a sense that they’re rushing the accompaniments somewhat, but otherwise, it’s a good, enthused intro to an early work and I’d go as far as to say it’s another Exodus in the making.

Purple Crayon – Instant impact with this one. Real Metallica-esque stuff in the riffs and for such a young band, that’s impressive. Okay, so there’s audible immaturity in the vocals, but their passion more than makes up for it, as does their clear instrumental skill, obviously born of genuine talent and dedication.

Slaughterhouse V – Well timed cymbal and drum hits introing and some good vocal experimentation in there too. Massively catchy sound and decent efforts on the backing vocals. A brief, but definitely memorable track, through which, ‘Tallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ era is audible, but it is clear that they’ve brought their own sound to it. If anything, their shared backing vocals bring strength to the track.

Goliath And Goliath – Great title, suggesting a fight with ones’ self. The blistering riffs kick in immediately, getting well into their rhythmic stride. Well paced, with a fresh and lively take on a classic old school sound. There’s a vibrancy to it, especially during that brave Hetfield-esque vocal turn, somersaulting into a sound resembling Alice Cooper territory. Those riffs go wild towards the end and it really shows the level of skilled musicianship evident within. A very pleasing standout feature is the obvious gradual increase in confidence and assertion, which’ll serve them well, within their sound.

Trapped Under Utah – Heavier, thrashier intro, picking up the pace and breaking into a sophisticated guitar breakdown and an impassioned vocal. Real vocal gymnastics displayed there and they work well. The song just flies, from this point on and it’s exactly what you’d hope to hear at this stage. Building into a true thrash track, that evil closing cackle perfects the finish.

Shark Song – Waves of water introing, in a much more realistic way than most, it has to be said. It’s just way too brief for my liking. It’s actually an impressive depiction of a Jaws type scenario, in the makings. Just too short for real focus.

NSTS – Brilliant intense riff intro! Noticeably able performance and the bass input’s perfectly timed. As is its slightly quieter expression, allowing the lead guitars and vocals to come forward, as is necessary for this style of track. That gothic note creeps back into the vocals again and it’s just flat-out metal, from start to finish. Concisely timed outro, there’s chemistry in this band and it’s clear for all to hear.

F.A.C.E. – Drumming intro shocks, with its precision and ability, comprising the entire track, as a solo, in, dare I say it, a style akin to that of the late, incomparable, unparalleled John Bonham. The genius here is literally breath-taking. Words fail me at this point, but the music does the talking.

Roadkiller – Drums introing once more, this time, joined by hard edged vocals and speed riffs just made for this song. Great fast rhythm, the melody takes centre stage and drives the song forward, along with the cohesive, combined effort on the vocals and the way in which the title’s repeated. Generally speaking, there’s a sound in here common only to those who were truly born to rock, with metal in their blood and it’s one which can’t be replicated outside of that scenario.

Overall – It’s always such a pleasure and a privilege, to hear young bands just starting out, with as much talent as these guys, but Porcelain Helmet really do have something special. Apart from the complete lack of pretence and the genuine talent and enthusiasm, there’s an unashamed (rightly so) rawness and individuality characterising this, which, given the tender age of P.H., just brings out the true potential within. Considering this is a debut, there’s no telling what they could achieve, in time. ‘Porcelain Helmet’ is the sound of a uniquely skilled, adept young band, going places, in record time.

8/10 ********

For fans of Metallica, Exodus, Anthrax, Slayer, Testament, WASP, Megadeth.

Posted March 16, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized

The Insane Slave – ‘Self-Titled Debut’   6 comments

A rock band from Portugal, born in 2008, The Insane Slave sport an original sound and a character they describe as ‘rockipolar’. Influenced by a world of music, their main emphasis is on rock ‘n’ roll.

Their touring life began in 2010, securing them several appearances and winning them numerous garage band contests. Their debut EP, ‘The Night Rider’ was launched in 2011, to positive international acclaim. Another outcome was a tour combining their home country and abroad, to the UK.

The Insane Slave are celebrating their comeback, since January 2018, with the release of their self titled debut album. Recorded at Raising Legends Studios, produced by Andre Matos, the 10 track concept album unfurls the story of Jack, ‘the insane slave’ on who the band name is based.

T. I. S. consists of four members: Freddie (drums), Andre (bass), Alex (guitar) and Cesar (guitar and vocals).

The Insane Slave – Intriguing intro, emulating the sound of a heavy breathing blacksmith, before moving fluidly, into a blues-based guitar break and initially laid-back accompanying vocals. It then rocks up briefly, before returning to that Doors-esque relaxed tone, almost lounge like, with as much atmosphere to match. The rockier, faster sections continue to intersperse with the looser ones and it’s a great sound, both fresh and chilled out, making for an exciting, anticipatory, yet toned down listen. Ending on a vocal solo, through which wracked pain and strength are simultaneously audible. As an intro, it creates a strong impression.

Memories Of A Future – Pained, yet insistent intro vocals, seemingly dredged from the depths of his soul. The pace hots up, as the riffs kick in and then separate, into a softer and harder section, consistently interweaving between the two. Vocal harmonies join in, as the volume grows, building into a testosterone fuelled fire of charisma and originality, leaving you wanting more, in the style of what can safely be called a rocky cliffhanger.

Secret Files – Sharp, clip like unexplained intro sounds, breaking into a lively, active upbeat rock section, with a defiant edge. Gritty, gravelly, blues infused rock vocals add a deliciously overpowering masculinity. A really strong sense of sincerity fills the vocals with an echo of the blues greats of generations and it ends, abruptly and powerfully, on those same unfakeable vocals. A modern day male counterpart to Janis Joplin.

Winds Of Anarchy – Hurricane train sound introing, with some other mysteriously unidentifiable noises, before melting, into a bluesy section again. A lot’s made of playing around with the pace and tempo, in really workable ways, adding even more to the atmospheric intrigue angle. A massively catchy catharsis enters those vocals and fills you, to the depths of your soul, with longing for more. The incredible crazed riffs playing out at that point are absolute gold dust and so well placed. The drums take centre stage, before the end, emphasising the beat, just prior to some oddly placed harmonised feminine vocals, which seem to kill the effect for me, but still, taking the track as a whole, outpourings like that don’t appear in many performances and it creates a highly memorable edge.

The Bandit Song – Quick-fire paced riff intro, bringing it right back up to rock territory again. Here, there’s a looser, freestyle vocal technique, ultimately well-suited to this track, proving indisputable versatility. Liking that heavy drum and riff section around the midpoint). Power just encapsulates this, especially at the point at which the vocals become siren like, in a perfect ascent and descent, opening the way for the accompaniments to shine, as they duly do. Pouring heartfelt expression into the closing riffs, this time, it ends perfectly.

Gypsy Moonlight – Gorgeous opening riff, sliding straight in there, with a slightly eastern sense. Giving it his all on the vocals, Cesar throws every ounce of emotion he’s got into this. Drums coming forward and growing heavier, like a rumble of thunder, before introing some cymbal work, as the momentum builds, generally and the song becomes like a plea, from one soul, to another. A clear space is created within the strategically timed instrumentals, through which the track breathes. A looser style characterises the end, as it makes its closing connection.

Sands Of Time – Strong, harmonious guitar intro, echoing Cheryl Crow’s opening to ‘If It Makes You Happy’. This time, a slight melancholy tone enters, as you hear it resonate through your heart. At this juncture, there’s a big, grungy note, in a very close approximation of Pearl Jam and P.O.D. Even a touch of early Oasis is audible in there, as it experiments with a true wealth of influences, making it genuinely unique. It soars upwards, in flight like mood, as that uplifting sense permeates it and carries it along. A hugely catchy quality embodies the closing vocals, which’ll stay with you afterwards.

Soul Tattoos – Drumming intro’s, lively and rhythmic, giving way to the vocals, not missing a beat and coming in, with perfected precision timing and a world of enthusiasm. Injecting massive catch into the instrumentals, matching the vocals, mood for mood. Moving downwards, in a perfect arc of doom, the mood fluctuations are real and unafraid. Such effortless ease just sings and flows through this, closing with an accomplished vocal movement, hard to match.

Desert Ride – Introing on an echoic, darker tone, but still keeping the pace up. Vocal gymnastics reappear, swooping up and down, like a bird in flight. A noticeable darker thread characterises the lyrics and even the accompaniments, in places, yet they’re still brought back up again, for most of the song. The Oriental note ends it, ensuring the intrigue accompanies it.

The Exodus Of A Born Man – Straight in there, with a heavy riff introing and instantly, you can hear it’s the last track, as the fast flowing pace dictates the track’s structure and arrangements. High-energy, action packed, upbeat rock summarises this and you won’t be able to get enough. Drums take up their place, with aplomb, as they lay down the heavy beats which form the backbone and basis of the song. A perfect parting shot. This is one band and album you’re going to want to hear more of.

Overall – ‘The Insane Slave’ is a rare gem of such exceptional quality and skill, it’s almost left me speechless. (A rare event, in itself). If you thought the likes of the early blues legends were lost to the world, then think again. Now combine that kind of vocal dexterity (think male Janis Joplin) with new wave, hard edged, blues rock instrumentals and you have T.I.S. If this is their debut, you can only imagine the heights to which they’ve yet to soar. A gold level accomplishment.

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

For fans of everything from early Janis Joplin blues, to modern grunge, such as Pearl Jam, P.O.D. and Nirvana and later soft rock, eg Cheryl Crow and Oasis.


Posted March 12, 2018 by jennytate in Uncategorized