Archive for March 2019

Love Stallion – ‘Unforgettable Ride’   Leave a comment

Emulating the masters of old school rock ‘n’ roll, Love Stallion are a hard rock band, with all the glitz and flamboyance to prove it.

Originating as a trial experiment, via a momentary creative surge, resulting in their first track, ‘Big Rock Radio’, outside a venue in 2013, the founding members, duo Aaron Hart and Crayton Huntley (a.k.a. Rob Mclemore) performed their debut gig on May 1st, 2015, at The Walnut Room, Denver, to an intimate gathering.

Influenced by 70’s and 80’s rockers David Lee Roth, Freddie Mercury, Van Halen, Kiss and Def Leppard, the guys brought a new member (Aero X – oka Aero Marquez) on board, just as their audiences grew, with their live appearances. Soon, their energised gigs and glam look became renowned.

On June 2nd, 2018, their track, ‘Unforgettable Drive’, produced by Steve Avedis (Tony Bennett, NSYNC), at Colorado Sound Studios, was released. Their debut video single, ‘Slow Release’, came out in March 2018. It hit number 1 in the IndiMusic TV charts and number 4 on iTunes Canada Rock Charts. It’s follow-up, ‘Big Rock Radio’, has been charted on the Airplay Today rock charts, through which, it’s also had radio play. Their current single and video, ‘Valentine’, launched in January 2019, after acclaimed shows, opening for Steel Panther, LA Guns, etc.

Love Stallion are currently promoting their album, ‘Unforgettable Ride’.

Slow Release – Drumstick click intro, leading smoothly into a classic old school R&R sound. Definitely very glam, from the off. Vocals surprisingly soft, in places, but still managing to hit the mark. Something of an effortless air to it. Everything just blends and synchs, in that traditional rock ‘n’ roll way. Good start.

Ignite The Night – Similar intro, with a very slightly heavier touch on percussion. This is very resonant of Poison’s ‘Nothin’ But A Good Time’. Softer rock emphasis than there could be, but musically, it’s a decent performance. Good vocal harmony in the finale.

Big Rock Radio – Riff intro, placing a very slightly edgier spin on it, though it’s still a smaller sound than it has the potential to be. Again, the performance skills are unarguably capable. The rhythms, melodies, lyrics and delivery are all very typically classic rock. They convey the meaning well. It’s much like being transported back in time. Seamless track, ending with a well-placed drum finale and the vocal strength remains.

Lazy Summer Dream – Melodic, quiescent riff intro, carefully plucked, in combo with the poignant lyrics. The mood heightens, intermittently, as displayed in the growing strength of the accompaniments. Once more, everything fits well together. There’s a sense in which it alternates between glam rock and soft, easy listening rock. Always competently handled, it just speaks more of sounds such as The Eagles and Fleetwood Mac than the glammier bands within ‘LSD’. (Play on words, in that acronym?)

Hide Me Away – Coming straight in again, with a heavier sound, this time, much more like the glam rock of old. Quite an easy rhythm and melody here. It’s got the kind of lyrical sentiment easily accessible to most and it just glides forward, with ease. Very light-hearted vibe about ‘HMA’.

Tinker Toys – Opening with a louder drum hit and a heavier feel, but soon reverting back to the vocal gentility that sometimes seems just a little out of place within an edgier accompaniment. They do show hints of grit in places, but are generally, just inherently softer than expected in a sound attempting to be rocky. Bizarre theme for this track, too. The musical competence is still indisputable, however.

Valentine – A slower fade in, pushing the song out and into a melancholic sentiment. Oh no, this is the kind of Valentine no one wants to hear. It’s at this point that the opportunity to create a genuinely upbeat, rocky song is wasted, in place of sadness and gloom. Some forms of emotional projection within rock music are just inadvisable. This is one.

High Time – Thank rock for that! A nice uplifting intro, much more like the kind of rock that passes for listenable. While it may seem derivative, it’s still a relief, does contain some slightly bluesier aspects and features some feminine vocals, adding a much needed edge. Actually, this gets better and better and would definitely be my choice of repeat listens, amongst the rest.

Trans Am – Car wheels skidding intro. Right into a plainly rockier sound, with a much more well-defined edge, but still, those vocals are just a little lacking in natural rock authenticity. Well played riff melodies and the timing is spot on. One or two good traditional arrangements and a riff scale here and there, adding that harder flavour, but it could have done with that from the start.

Overall – ‘Unforgettable Ride’, whilst displaying some aptly glam rock sounds and clear enthusiasm for the same, comes across as much more soft rock/easy listening rock and whilst borrowing much from the classic bands of the glam rock era, just rocks a naturally softer sound. Performance wise, no issue at all. LS are strong and proficient musicians. Largely, though, the vocal style and presentation of many of the tracks just aren’t suited to the heavier sound they’re trying to convey. It doesn’t excite. The passion is there, but in terms of a hard rock sound, the authenticity isn’t.

7/10 *******

For fans of Poison, The Eagles, Rush.

Posted March 31, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Saephe – ‘Maldras, My King’   Leave a comment

Formed by Pedro Sa, in 2008, Saephe is a band which is very personal to him, centring around Portugal’s past.

There’ve been some line-up changes and in February 2019, the debut single, ‘Maldras, My King’, was launched, collaboratively with members of Sotz, Norunda, Blood Hunter, Sullen, Pinturas Negras (W.A.C.O.) and an ex WC-Noise member.

More similarly themed material is in production.

Maldras, My King – Deep, bass heavy intro. Crushing and mysterious, initially, then rapidly segueing into a speed section, with deathy roared vocals. Very rhythmic, with a slight hint of industrial influence, but the European sound’s always clear and foremost. Soaring upwards, taking off, as if in flight and moving into a grinding section, gathering pace till the end. There’s a freshness, despite the weight and definitely a sense of intrigue, adding to its appeal.

8/10 ********

For fans of Spreading The Disease, Obzidian, Dark Ocean Society, Dark Years From Now, European metal and NWOBHM.

Posted March 30, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Torment Tool – ‘Shadow Existence’   Leave a comment

A quartet from Germany, Torment Tool are a thrash metal band, who’ve been around since 2005. They’ve performed relentlessly, throughout Germany, since then. Their debut album, ‘Dawn Of War’ was launched in 2010.

Around that time, they toured, including Holland, which is where they played alongside Rezet and Headbanger PL, etc. They re-entered the studio in 2012, recording their next album, ‘Under Friendly Attack’, produced by Andreas Claassen. Numerous live appearances followed, during which, they performed with such renowned bands as Sodom, Tankard, Death Angel and Destruction.

A couple of line-up changes later, their 3rd album, ‘Shadow Existence’ is now released, via Gegentrend Records. Also available is a cover of ‘1000 Eyes’, on YouTube, on behalf of Death For The Antichrist Magazine.

Shadow Existence – Introing on a very classic Dio-esque gust of wind, encasing the following deliciously icy riffs in warmth. Brief, but to the point.

Tools Of Mass Destruction – Leading on seamlessly, from the intro, the storm’s now approaching. Getting the catchy rhythm right in there immediately, then teasing your senses with an explosion of thrash energy, conveyed with Lemmy-esque vocals. Nicely timed cymbal action, gelling well with the increasing tempo and subtle R&R feel, behind the song’s driving force. This is one of those instinctively executed combo’s of hard rock and heavy metal, making a perfect marriage. Offset by a few sublime, divine riffs.

Within The Web – Bang! Explosive intro, getting straight in there, with no hesitation). Confident, timely and again, well emulated Lemmy-esque vocals. Very aptly timed lyrics, for this point in history. Thought-provoking and deftly delivered. A good bit of wah intersecting there, with some great twiddly riffage and an enlightening tone. Awesomely performed finale, stacked with memorable grit and synchronised percussion. Hugely listenable and freshly atmospheric.

Dying Humanity – Unhesitant, Slayer-esque, electrifying intro. Quite resonant of Exodus’s ‘War Is My Shepherd’ and Slayer’s ‘War Ensemble’. Still, it’s fresh and new, though, alive with modern spins and twists. Oh yeah, some fab riffing in there! Along with some really well performed palpable sections of particularly notable extras, for want of a better word. (Listen out for it – it’s definitely worth it, to hear some truly inventive riffing that stands out). Ending on another Slayer-esque acute finale, there’s a lot of fun to be had in here.

Predator – Snoring is, it must be said, a strikingly unusual way to intro, but therein lies its strength! You won’t forget it. Fast, furious pace, looser lyrics, raw aggression, a sense of unpredictable intrigue – all that’s good about thrash metal. It’s just alive with pure, frenetic energy. Even a brief stop start section in there too, amongst those brilliantly, gravel encrusted vocals. Ending on a short, definitive drum and cymbal hit, it’s how Motorhead would have sounded, with some thrash added into the mix.

Nero Decree – Siren opening, as is now commonplace in the genre. Catchy beats follow, from the start. Even a very slight hint of Van Halen hides within the riffs. Great chasing pace of vocals, adding even more fun and energy. It’s a bag of delights all the way. Frenetic, crazed, thrash heavy speed, right to the end. Love it.

Torment Tool Tits Patrol – Another banging intro, leading right into another crazy thrash melody. So rhythmic and energised and not afraid to have a laugh! Massively catchy rhythms and an all-round feelgood sense emanating from it. Grit soaked, masculine fun. Throwing some fabulous melodies at it, raising the most ‘Baywatch’-esque imagery, till the typically manly ending. (No spoilers).

Secret Resolutions – Gorgeous, complex riff intro. Closely followed by brilliantly rhythmic drum rolls. That melody’s supreme and actually, quite Celtic, in parts. Wonderfully shouty and honest, making it even more real and plausible. Especially with the brief ‘War Pigs’ reference. Easy to imagine Lemmy resurrected, singing this in his trademark booze and drug ravaged throaty style. Incorporating some ace memorable rhythms and thrashy screams. Heightening the pace, to a frantic, lightning fast speed. A great length as well, as are all the tracks on here. Totally absorbing. Again, the Celtic flavour returns, just adding that special bit of uniqueness and it fades out on that same traditional sound.

Overall – ‘Shadow Existence’ is what the love child of Motorhead and Slayer would sound like, if they had a threesome with Exodus. Buy it now, crack open a can and raise a glass to the spirit of Lemmy, while cranking it loud.

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

For fans of Motorhead, Slayer, Exodus.

Posted March 28, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Jordan Sheffield – ‘The Spectre’   Leave a comment

Introducing ‘The Spectre’, debut EP from prog metal multi-instrumentalist Jordan Sheffield. The main aim with this project is to convey complex emotional depth, instrumentally.

Two lead singles from the EP, ‘Beginning To An End’ and ‘Mantis’ are available to stream on spotify.

Released on March 22nd 2019, ‘TS’ contains inventive performance techniques, collectively influenced by Periphery. Other powerful inspirations for Jordan’s music are Intervals, Plini, Conquering Dystopia, Animals As Leaders and Nick Johnston.

Jordan’s particular passion for instrumental music has fuelled his own styles of the same genre. An ability to visualise vocal and lyrical content has served him well in this respect. It’s planned for the next EP to flow, naturally, on from ‘TS’.

As Jordan comes from a musical background, it was only fitting that he taught himself to play various instruments, beginning at just 7 years old. Having moved from his original base in the West Midlands, to Manchester, Jordan has tirelessly honed his art, to evolve into a modern style of complex, yet easy listening metal.

Beginning To An End – Beautiful, melty riff intro, interrupted by crushing industrial type heavier riffs. The two alternating sounds interweave with each other, punctuated by metallic drums and cymbals. It’s quite an emotional, inventive track, possibly displaying early signs of a virtuoso at work.

False Moon – Heavy hitting intro. Purity plays out through the riffs, easily flowing into Vai-esque territory. Also emulating Satriani, stylistically, it’s colourful and imaginative. Very riff centred. Lots of focus on creating that sound of a guitar singing. Still employing well-positioned percussion, around the edges, though. There’s a sense of building and experimenting with multiple styles, tones and techniques. It ends on a heavier note.

Mantis – Back to that gorgeous, paradisiacal melty guitar tone. Stronger in power, volume and seemingly, conviction. Again, it’s very riff focused, but even more so. Taking it up the scales, in a very natural way, it’s a very involving track, in which it’s easy to become absorbed.

Darkest Hour – Banging heavy intro there, moving into more of a casual flow, but still centralising the riffs. Highly melodic, it’s a similarly quick paced number. A tunnel like sound infiltrates it, leading into a lower, heavier tone, placing a darker complexion on aspects of the track, but still maintaining the lighter tones, in combination. A very gifted work.

The Shift – Instant, party rock style fast-paced drums intro. Taking it in a darker direction now, the tone’s lowered a tad, yet there’s still light within it. Very Trivium-esque, in the riffs, mirroring the finale to ‘The Crusade’. Heightening the pitch again and introducing a gentle piano section, complementing the now gentler riffs. Almost like a cascade of water from a fountain, ever flowing with purity and healing. Consolidating it all now, with plucky, spacey riffs, on which, it ends.

Overall – Imaginative, verging on ethereal and transcendental, ‘TS’ reflects the early stages of a gifted virtuoso at work. Showing a significant capacity for catharsis, it’s a valuable and skilled production, with huge potential, which meets directly, the aims it set out to achieve.

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

For fans of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Trivium.

‘Beginning To An End’ and ‘Mantis’ are available to stream on spotify, here:

Posted March 27, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Wreck-Defy – ‘Remnants Of Pain’   Leave a comment

On February 1st, 2019, ‘Remnants Of Pain’, the new album from Wreck-Defy (featuring ex Annihilator, Testament, Demolition Hammer members, was released.

Keeping it in the family, so to speak, ‘ROP’ was produced by ex Testament, Heathen, Vicious Rumours, Dragonlord etc producer Juan Urteaga.

Returning to traditional 80’s thrash, with a new production sound, Matt Hanchuck cites such thematic influences as war, addiction, tyranny, e.g.

Formed in 2016, Wreck-Defy was founded by MH, who, along with Justin Steer, on vocals, included metal royalty brothers Shawn and Glen Drover – both from Megadeth, performing on and producing W-D’s debut album, ‘Fragments Of Anger’.

Presently a 3 piece, W-D is composed of Matt Hanchuck (guitar), Aaron Randall (vocals) and Greg Christian (bass). A studio session drummer, Dave O’Neal plays drums on ‘FOA’. Their future live tours and appearances will feature Alex Marquez (Demolition Hammer and Solstice).

Killing The Children – Instant metal attack! The Testament influence is immediately audible, in every note. Full throttle thrash ecstasy, alive and buzzing with high octane energy. Such power in those vocals and riffs! Lyrically, it’s beyond strong and so strikingly resonant at this time in Western socio-political culture. This is absolutely flawless, top-notch production and performances, delivered like weapons of mass destruction. Impossible to ignore, compelling beyond the norm and thoroughly fuelled by metallic conviction. Thrash presence, enormous hooks, melodic vibrancy and catch to kill. Just about the greatest intro possible.

Broken Peace – Opening on a volley of solid drum hits. Again, that almost superhuman vocal kicks in. Drenched in true feeling and righteous anger. As manically driven as you’d expect from the Testament/Annihilator guys. This is another addictive sound, passionately conveyed. It’s just got it all. The kind of melody that builds huge memorability, extreme thrash power, uniquely voiced lyrics, battlements of drumming and a generally outstanding energy. Metal to the core.

Riverview – Banging intro again. Straight in there, with full force thrash. Constructing a well composed catch immediately and constantly surrounding it with a backbeat to floor lesser mortals. Increasingly visual and absolutely tireless in its riffing. It’s obvious where this level of genius has sprung from and that Testament echo never leaves it. Violently executed, all-out thrash mania, from start to finish.

Looking Back – Gorgeous steel string and vocal intro, opening out onto a beautifully metallic landscape, paved with powerful imagery and meaning. Massively melodically driven and if this doesn’t hit you where it matters, check your vital signs for life. Truly addictive and so impassioned, it’s incredible. ‘LB’ is one of those genuinely special songs that connects on a level too profound for words. Majestic.

18 Oz Of Chrome – Brief drumstick clicks leading into another thrash fest, brought out so clearly by that incredible voice. Transporting you to another world, so effortlessly and consumingly. The melodies hit with precision timing, in a magical interplay with the thrash riffs and vicious drumming. Utterly compulsive and totally electrifying. The quality of W-D is on another level altogether. Riffing its way into the distance, no more words are needed.

The Divide – Changing down to a lighter gear here, building the rhythm on a gentler tone, with just as much melody and ease of delivery. Then the shredding gets heavier). Interacting intuitively with the lighter riffs, the heavy thrash still rules. It really is a gloriously metallic sound. Working off and in total sync with each other, with obvious chemistry, at every moment. Arranged around the catchiest thrash riffs and melodies, with astounding drum precision, enhancing the effect, it’s just faultless and completely absorbing.

Art Of Addiction – One more banging, instantaneous intro). Right in there, with sexily heavy stuff. Perfected, intricate arrangements create an absolute monster of a track. That fret work’s just immense! At this point, it’d be no surprise if sparks of electricity flew off his fingers. Slightly briefer, but still hitting the heights, at every point. Entrancing.

Angels And Demons – Another vibe moves in, fluidly now, taking it into twangy, bluesy territory, but certainly no less metal. Just making use of some more downbeat tones, echoing through the light, like an internal conflict between good and evil. It’s just beautiful and so melodically profound. Heating it up and heightening the pace now, painting a picture of an inexplicable phenomenon. Ending as profoundly as it began, this is another of those soulful tracks, that gets inside you and stays.

Blackened Cloth – A news broadcast intro’s, with some very disturbing and prominent material, leading perfectly into direct lyrical aggression. Current and timely, the title says it all. Throwing in some palpably physical riffs, to match the lyrics. Backed up by a wall of drums, its closing finale is brief, curt and to the point, carrying a well of anger. Another well-placed inspiration, for our present times, the fade-out itself is strategically positioned.

Overall – Above and beyond many, ‘ROP’ is a thrash driven extravaganza, covering pertinent moral mazes and socio-political issues, from one extreme to another. Displaying, through its sound, the inevitable fallout of these, it does so in a manner befitting the metal regality from which it’s come. Compulsively addictive, it literally thrashes these issues out, in the catchiest, most mind blowing way. Maintaining its perfectionist streak till the end, it entertains, enthralls and entrances throughout. Never settling for anything less than the ultimate in extraordinary thrash performance, it gets in your head from the start and clenches your soul till the end. ‘ROP’ is a must have and you need it now.

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

For fans of Testament, Annihilator, Warpath.

Posted March 26, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Dark Years From Now – ‘Self Titled’   Leave a comment

Dark Years From Now hail from Vancouver BC. Formed by multi-instrumentalist Dan Potter, combining thrash rhythms, with concept metal, prog elements and psychedelic aspects, articulated through screamo vocals, DYFN’s sound makes for a varied, versatile listening experience.

Created with exactly that kind of unpredictable outcome in mind, every track’s designed to be different and memorable in its own way. Taking an unconventional direction, it’s also intended to contradict and confound. As almost half the album is instrumental, it’s hoped it will have the effect of provoking deep contemplation, re: the complexity of conceptions. ‘DYFN’ was released on March 8th, 2019.

Forbidden Nexus – Introing on a surprisingly high octane, Vai-esque melody and energetic drum hit, it’s a very brief, but satisfying opening.

Heaven And Hell Collide – Cymbals quickly leading into a surreal, distorted atmosphere, with sounds of smashing glass and a slight sense of Extreme déjà vu, in the riffs. Black death growls emerge, amongst the melody and heavy drum beats. Sirens enter, in towering scale formations, leading up to a standard metal outro. A good sound, with a lot of life.

A Red Light Glares – Energised drum hits open, getting faster and more intense, while monster vocals growl and a suitably sinister melody plays. Quite gothic in its nature, there’s a lot of darkness, yet it’s still contained within light. It continues in much the same vein, with that same conflicting shade of light and dark.

Proxy Whore – Speed riffs intro, rapidly chased by drum hits and an inventive whammy section. Solid drum rolls combine oddly with those blackened, creepy vocals, as the melody grows ever darker. Forming some tech/maths metal riffs, lining up the drums to fit and moving back into another straight melody, while including some steel strings in the background. There’s a hint of genius here, as the workability of such diverse multitudes of sounds becomes audible. The conflict and contradiction’s certainly clear.

Zubaydah – A random, odd, indiscernible sound opens, followed by a notably darker atmosphere. Picking up the pace, it becomes gradually more complex, evolving through various experimental sounds. The main emphasis of this track appears to be ever-changing, ever growing dimensions and directions, which is largely how it continues.

Burial Forest – Argh! That was a bit of a shock! If you can imagine being attacked by a phalanx of Daleks, torturing you, with general weirdness and amplified, repetitive cacophonies of unidentifiable sounds, then you’ve pretty much got the measure of this song. This may be what it would sound like if your brain split in half and all the accumulated data within it spilled out before you. Edging towards painful. Sensory overload, on an epic scale.

Pyrophoric – Thank metal for that! The metallic salvation has returned. Again, the vocals are very blackened, but they’re offset by the melodic riffage and drumming. A bizarre, sleigh bell-like sound hovers in the background, briefly, just before the end, composed of the same kind of riffing and deathly vocals as previously. Not quite as impacting.

Shot Caller – Proper speed metal power ramps this up, from the start! Climbing in a different direction altogether, then, just as you think you’re saved, injecting some more randomness, just to confuse you. Never fear, though, the metal does return. (Even if it’s combined with strange electronic phenomena, causing you to wonder if you’re having a stroke). There is, undeniably, some great riffage in here, it has to be said. It’s just thrown together with sci-fi-esque arrangements, imitating an alien invasion. An unusual one!

X Or Cyst? Pt 1 – Opening on in a whirligig of sound, much like a magical spaceship, taking off. Following that with more of those darkened, Gollum-esque vocals. Diverting from there, into more of a fantasy style, it just flits through different chapters, filled with inexplicable strangeness, till the end.

Fall Away – A relief inducing metallic intro brings immeasurable comfort. Something oddly, but happily Cooper-esque floats through these vocals – that is in between the inevitable, infiltrated blacker sections. This really is much better, from a metal perspective, though and reassures that the spirit of metal’s still there. A looser flow to the accompaniments is present here and it’s an easier rhythm, generally. Depicting its title well, this is perhaps my favourite and certainly the standout track.

Riptides Of The Abyss – A bomb blast intro’s. (As is becoming ever popular in metal, these days). Only this one audibly plays out its after-shock effects, leaving much to the imagination. That’s all there is to this one. Just the ongoing echo of the bomb exploding, creating stark atmospherics, in itself. Yes, its title may indicate tidal storms, rather than exploding bombs, but the latter is what’s firmly planted in your mind, as you listen. Again, it’s an overload and whilst it’s meant to create effect, it does drag on and could have done with something more melodic, however unrealistic, to break up the brain destroying noise.

Overall – Well one thing that can be said for ‘DYFN’ is that it’s inventive, imaginative and big on experimentalism. (Okay, that’s 3 things). Much of the more abstract sections are intriguing and thought-provoking, but at times, it does go too far, almost moving away from metal completely. (Always a worrying development). It definitely needs more melody, to balance out its over-reliance on effects. Especially as when melody is audible, it’s clearly well performed. If you can filter out the extraneous noise, though, the majority is capably handled and just makes you appreciate the melody more, when it arrives. A way to go yet, with blending melody equally with alternative sounds, to bring every track up to the same standard and make them all equally listenable, but on the whole, a great capacity for variation and an effective start, for a debut album.

7/10 *******

For fans of trance, psychedelic, electronic, prog, gothic, extreme and melo-death.

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Posted March 24, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Silent Winter – ‘The Circles Of Hell’   Leave a comment

Silent Winter formed during the mid-90’s, in Volos, central Greece. A couple of demos were launched at that time – ‘Silent Winter’ and ‘War Of An Angel’. The band performed live shows and made some festival appearances too. The line-up changed in 2018 and their 5 track EP, ‘The War Is Here’ came to light. It included a new version of ‘Far Away’, their 1st video clip. 2019 will see a full length, 8 track album, via Sonic Age Records. ‘The Circles Of Hell’ is also now available as a lyric video clip.

The Circles Of Hell – Introing with crowds cheering and gradually emerging riffs. Soon breaking into thrashy vocals, slightly more extreme in places, but largely reminiscent of Rob Halford’s, including some similar screams. A good bit of whammy and vibrato and plenty of energy fuelled melody. Highly capable drumming keeps the flow, with effortless precision. Still echoing ‘The War Is Here’, but a definite evolution, with added pace and pitch alterations. It’s very much still thoroughly metal, though. A very strong hint of Priest-esque traditional, old school metal resounding through every note and big on uplift, speed and power. As with ‘The War Is Here’, you really can’t knock ‘The Circles Of Hell’, in any way. Excellent quality sound production and impassioned performance, dazzlingly reflected. A very decent length, too, providing irrefutable value for time invested. Brilliant track, with a classic vibe.

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

For fans of Judas Priest.

Official lyric video: –

Posted March 22, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Manic Outburst – ‘Violent Agitation’   Leave a comment

Manic Outburst came into being in spring 2012, in Detroit, Michigan. With one ultimate aim – creating fast-paced, classic thrash metal, with additional inspirations, including death, 80’s and 90’s hard-core and NWOBHM. Their mission proper began in summer of that year. Their first release launched in March 2014. Gathering a reputation amongst the local underground, their tour schedule also gathered pace around America. The first line-up change took place in 2016 and the current album, ‘Violent Agitation’ was launched in June 2018. Having become infamous for their lively, energised gigs, M.O. have so far played alongside such bands as DRI, Morbid Saint, Leeway, Atrophy, Vektor, Lich King etc. The thrash continues, with a new album expected in 2020.

Power Struggle – Piercing feedback riff intro, leading right into blazing fires, ridden by wild metal stallions. Definitely very thrashy, with clearly audible death edges. Throwing around some great catchy rhythms, from the start. Incorporating a well-placed whammy section and it’s just relentless fast-paced thrash. They’ve achieved their aim, from the start. The galloping hooves race on until the brilliantly melodic end.

Speed Is Your Master – Banging metal intro. Another immediate speeding sound sets the scene. It’s fresh, exciting and lively and it’s well produced, too. Changing the pace, briefly, taking it down a bit, before taking it right back up again. Full pelt thrash energy, throughout, adding death roars, then closing on another one, extended out, to vomit visual proportions).

Violent Agitation – Instant aggressive drums open. Fuelling the rest with livid energy, there’s a slight party metal aspect to this, even in its heaviest sections. Burning hot metallic fire scorches the air. Wildly thrashy, with just the right balance of melody and death to carry it well.

Self Destruct – Red hot fiery riff intro’s. Taking it straight into murderous territory, making good use of its death influences, combining them perfectly, with high-level melody and driving riffs. Quite a strong blackened vocal to this one, supported by war-like drumming, on a mission to destroy.

Bottom Feeding Scum – Heavy metal hard edged intro, with speed riffing snaking its way through. Growing angrier and rawer. Delivering visual riff scales, so convincingly. Again, the style creeps towards melo-death. Gaining speed, right to the end and closing on a more heavily structured feedback riff. Demonstrating skilled precision all the way.

Weapons Of Mass Prescription – Intense drum roll opens, with a sharp, electrified riff following. This is a real speed deal here. Powerful rage characterises it, in both style and pace. This track is probably where they reach their peak. Injecting a huge element of fun into the mix, while never compromising on heaviness, it certainly speaks volumes, leaving a strong lasting impression.

Project Annihilation – Right in there, with a very traditional riff intro, carrying echoes of hard-core punk aggression. This time, the fret work’s even more intricate and meaty, as the power angle hits, distracting you from everything, but the music, which is just how it should be. A real fun fest to dine out on, from start to finish.

Beer On The Mosh Floor – Cymbal hits intro, leading straight onto another chasing, thrashy riff fest. Huge catch makes this something special, especially as the mosh pit signal enters, just towards the end, doing that well strategised thing, beloved of all good metal bands and leaving you hungry for more).

Overall – An absolutely bullet-proof album of high quality thrash, faultlessly delivered and very enjoyably so. ‘VA’ is almost an invitation to ‘come, join the party’. Metallic fervour screams through every note, cementing its place in the collections of all self-respecting thrash enthusiasts.

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

For fans of Anthrax, Megadeth, Carcass, Taint.

Posted March 21, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts – ‘Self Titled’   1 comment

Released April 19th, 2019, via MMRecordingworks, following up the ‘Black Diamonds’ music video, ex Pride, Furyon, Colour Of Noise singer-songwriter Matt Mitchell presents the new debut self titled album, from his solo project.

‘Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts’ looks like a strong contender for the ones to watch in 2019. Covering a vast spectrum of material, within its themes, it homes in on the beauty of simplicity.

Black Diamonds – Instant rock sound. Groove, blues and huge sex appeal. That voice is instantly recognisable, as are those guitar riffs. Well placed cymbal action, solid rock ‘n’ roll drumming and high-quality melody throughout. Everything you could want in a hard rock song lives right here. Ending on a strong, definitive riff and drum hit, it couldn’t be better.

Home – Introing on a lighter country blues/soft rock riff, this takes you in a completely different direction. The mood’s changed down to a more contemplative gear, but the conviction’s still there, 100%. Sound values spot on. Audio production flawless. Imagine a rocked up version of The Eagles and you’re there.

On And On – Immediate, powerful drum hit intro and we’re back to that same old Furyon vocal style. So familiar and just as warm and entrancing. Notably rhythmic drums, edging towards Black Country Communion-esque formats. Massive catch, absolute natural ability just shines out. Scales climbing up and down at exactly the right times, in just the right pitches. Precision timing, confident delivery. Star material.

Dare You To Watch – Opening on a cooler bluesier, softer riff again, with a more thoughtful vocal and lyrical form. A real heartfelt performance here and never skips a beat. Beautifully profound and relatable. So infectious. Matt’s way of making a song so visually accessible and palpable really comes across well here.

Kings And Queens – Straight into it, with a no-nonsense intro). This has got a classic buzz about it. Highly melodic and while it does have some slightly downbeat sections, the upbeat ones soon return it to higher ground. A great combo of rhythm, melody, feeling and conviction.

Unavailable – Opening on a straight out R&R drum hit and an equally rocky riff. This is instantly uplifting, painting a picture of fun and frolics and outright sexy rock ‘n’ roll life. Massively vibrant, with wildly colourful keyboard sections and a slight Whitesnake-esque edge. Closing on a well honed feedback riff. You might say that Matt’s a younger David Coverdale.

Do You Wanna Be My God – Another ace, light-hearted trip down open country roads, on the way to memory lane. Very very bluesy, filled with high octane groove and delicious melody. Loving that easy sound and the simple groovy rhythms on which it’s based. Just a really catchy, relaxed number, to rock out to and wind down with.

Old Enough And Ugly Enough – Introing now with a mellow, thoughtful riff, moving into acoustic territory, but with the heavy drums still forming the backbone. This one’s very reminiscent of The Quireboys’ ‘Pretty Girls’. Something meaningful about those strategically placed drum hits just hits you right in the heart. Slightly slower pace, with some beautiful melodies to chew on. A heavily sentimental number, closing on a gorgeous nostalgic riff.

Wave Goodbye – A deeper, reflective intro, soon moving back into the BCC-esque groove laden hard-rock, rhythmic sound. Taking the pace right back up again, climbing up the towering riff scales. Almost dizzyingly sexy. That grit just does the biz every time. Never a dud note anywhere. This is one of those bands who were born to rock. Picking the tempo up again, with the fervent drumming, combining some great, fun slide guitar and fading out on a concerto like section, almost like it’s floating out to sea.

Everything To You – Plucky, finger-picking riffs intro, onto a landscape of memories. That audible break in Matt’s voice is truly palpable, adding raw emotion. As the guitar sings, the message of love is driven home. Closing on a few single drum hits, it needs no more.

Keep Me Safe – A melancholic tone intro’s. Such sincerity sings through the song. The melody haunts you, as do the lyrics. Just so real and even throwing in a jazzy sax section, for greater emphasis. Brief, but impacting. Performed as if it has no end…

Waiting For The Sun – Gradual, aptly sunny intro, picking things up again, to a brighter, more optimistic lens. Another Furyon reminder kicks in here, stylistically. The mood changing constantly, throughout. Generally, sunnier and more hopeful, though and very reflective of that stance. Telling a story of a journey, riven with deep emotions and purpose, it ends on a solid, driving, definitive drum hit.

Overall – A real journey of immense and complex, keenly felt highs and lows, (but mainly highs), ‘MM&TC’ charts an epic saga of emotions, clearly reflected through the music. Flawlessly performed, it’s driven on by the catchiest, groove-based, gravel-throated hard rock, heavy, finely delivered rhythms, bluesy licks and smoothly conveyed melodies, right through to the gentlest strains of softer rock and even incorporates a touch of jazz here and there. This deserves to be up there, with the best of rock’s elite and no doubt, it’ll get there. Infectiously addictive, it’s a must listen, worthy of constant replay.

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

For fans of Furyon, The Quireboys, Black Country Communion, The Eagles, Whitesnake.

‘Black Diamonds’ official music video:

Photo Credit – Marcel Grabowski

Posted March 20, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Latitudes – ‘Part Island’   Leave a comment

Launched on 5th April 2019, through Debemur Morti Productions, ‘Part Island’, the forthcoming studio album from Latitudes stems from diverse inspirations, such as Neurosis, Rush, King Crimson, Blut Aus Nord, Immolation, Converge and Mastodon.

This, their 4th album, showcases the prog metaller’s passions, through solid, ethereal melody, shot through with power metal, aiming for the core of authentic emotion. Comprising a vivid combination of melody, black metal, thought-provoking doom, alt based folk and dreamy indie, ‘PI’ breaks new ground, in that after 12 years of mainly instrumental focus, lead vocals are now contained in each track.

‘PI’ was produced by Chris Fielding (Conan), at Skyhammer Studio, mastered by Audiosiege (Converge) and cover art is by Dehn Sora (Blut Aus Nord).

Both intimate and political, ‘PI’ centres around real and metaphorical islands, the ins and outs of love and the emotional mechanics of endings, without closure.

Founded in Hertfordshire, UK, in 2006, Latitudes began with a narrower scope of influences, including cinematic rock, doom metal and much of HydraHead Records’ clientele. The debut EP, pure instrumental ‘Bleak Epiphanies In Slow Motion’ was released by Shelsmusic, during October 2007. Recorded by Mark Williams, of Oceansize. Hitting Rock Sounds‘ top 75 records of the year, it led to them being nominated to perform at Damnation Fest 2008, completing 2 UK tours, with *shels, who at that time, shared the same label and also playing alongside such bands as Baroness and This Will Destroy You.

‘Agonist’ was their 1st album, in October 2009, featuring guest vocals by Adam Symonds (Eden Maine) and newly appointed keyboardist Rich Harper. At this point, the music grew darker and more complex. ‘A’ was recorded by Chris Fielding (Napalm Death, Primordial). Another UK tour followed.

Now, their music was moving into altogether heavier territory, including 70’s prog, post-hard-core, aspects of black, death and doom. Next full length, ‘Individuation’ (July 2012), recorded by CF again, experimented with single riffs, pounding drums, ambient vocals and ethereal sounds. It reached Terrorizer‘s top 50 of the year.

By now, Latitudes were really coming into their own. Perfecting their signature, their gigs got better and stronger. Appearances included Arctangent, Desertfest, Damnation Fest’s pre-show and main support to Pallbearer, in London.

2015 saw singer/multi-instrumentalist Adam Symonds joining Latitudes. In 2016, their 3rd album, ‘Old Sunlight’, again recorded by CF, mastered by James Plotkin, of Sunn O))) and Earth, was launched, via Debemur Morti productions. It was this particular album which cemented their reputation as a one-off band, within heavy metal.

April 2018 saw a return to Skyhammer Studio, with CF once more recording the 4th album, ‘Part Island’. Bringing together a fuller, more complex sound, with a stripped back presentation, ‘PI’ is thought to be their most contemplative work yet.

Underlie – Introing with a gentle, emotional acoustic riff, equally soft vocals follow. Very profound and lyrically meaningful. Lots of melodic warmth and loaded with sentimentality. A sound of rushing waves and background noise hits, before exploding into a downbeat cacophony. Enter, metal riffs and stronger rhythms. Certainly not what you’d call uplifting and if anything, is more likely to accentuate the sadness of an already low mood, but it is unmistakably beautiful and deeply expressive.

Moorland Is The Sea – Opening on a hollow, isolated echoed synth, this is possibly, even greyer. Similarly placed explosions of sound overtake, in a rush of emotion, representing clear overwhelm. It’s definitely visually accessible, with images of being in over your head, as the water crashes over you, in waves. There’s definitely a strong sense of a sound that’s difficult to categorise, though the prog elements are well audible. It’s a track which taps into the feeling of hopelessness, above all. That sense just grows increasingly stronger, throughout, till you’re almost drowned by it.

Dovestone – Crashing intro there, returning to grim hopelessness, once more. Incorporating some slight Dream Theater-esque sections. Almost losing vocal tone completely, there’s a ghostly sense about it, which makes sense, in lyrical terms. So the sound is definitely matching the words. You can almost get lost in its depressive feeling. No, scrap almost. It entrenches you. This is probably best termed an end of the road track.

Fallowness – The hollow echo returns, only now, it’s more like a woodwind effect. Then a fresh blast of sound strikes through it. Still, the morose thread remains. Opening out, into an acoustic vocal, gently performed, wracked with feeling. Then bursting into a full accompaniment, with stronger emerging vocals. Like a picture of grief, unfolding in chapters, there’s a vivid expression inherent within it. Fading out on a powerful riff.

The Great Past – Explosive intro, echoing The Smiths’ style of morosity. Heavier riffing fights its way through, as it moves in and out of the curtain of grief. Riddled with overpowering emotions, instrumentally, much stronger and more fulsome. A little samey here, it plays out like a repetitive emotion, struggling to reboot itself, as if it’s going through the motions, in slow motion, as it were.

Past Islands – Back to gentle acoustic riffing. Like a mildly running stream. Those same matching vocals, haunting and fragile. Plinking piano notes drive the message home, before the track moves into loud, voluminous paroxysms of emotion. Gathering speed and strength, the power emerges, in shades of dark melody. Eventually building to a crescendo and then returning home, once more, to its source, of fragility. Just as you’re lulled into a false sense of security that it’s ending, the intensity begins again. Building power and blowing up, into an extraordinary volume, with which, there’s no competing. Psychologically deafening, the mass of volume closes the track, with no reprieve.

Overall – Well, there’s no doubt that ‘PI’ definitely says what it means and means what it says. You might say it’s a perfect marriage of sound and lyrics, solidified by meaning. Musically and performance wise, it’s unarguably proficient and its delivery’s sound. However, in listenability terms, to return to an earlier point, if you’re already of a sensitive nature and happen to have had a bad day, ‘PI’ simply accentuates the sadness. Whilst variety is good and eclecticism admirable, the main thing I’d be looking for in an album, to ensure another listen is catch, in an upbeat sense and there’s none of that here. Effective handling of material? Yes. Listenable material I’d want to return to? No. Points here for technicality alone.

7/10 *******

For fans of Dream Theater, The Smiths, traditional early folk.

‘PI’ can be pre-ordered via:

Posted March 17, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized