Archive for April 2019

Zephyra – ‘Fall, Rise, Conquer’   Leave a comment

Released on April 17th, 2019, ‘Fall, Rise, Conquer’, from Sweden’s Zephyra is available to buy on all digital platforms. ‘FRC’ is their 3rd album, recorded and produced by Mikael Anderson, at SOUNDPORT, mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson and the cover art’s by Make North. A quartet from Sweden’s Boras region, Zephyra are a metal band, mainly based on thrash and melo-death, but utilising many strands of metal.

Forming in 2011, their background consists of gigs throughout Sweden and Europe, live radio sets and global airplay. So far, they’ve also played support for The Agonist and The Raven Age.

Their 1st album, ‘Mental Absolution’ launched in 2014, by Wormhole Death Records. The next one, ‘As The World Collapses’, was launched on Inverse Records, in 2016 (mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson, at The Grid, Montréal, Canada. This was when their sound and technique started to grow.

September 2017 saw Zephyra make a new track, ‘The Darkest Black’, on Inverse Records again, connecting their 2nd album with the creation of the 3rd.

Since March 1st, 2019, Zephyra has been touring, to promote the 3rd album, ‘Fall, Rise, Conquer’. They’ve become known for their stage presence and professional delivery.

Dreams Denied – Very unique intro there, opening with synths/keyboards, before exploding into metallic life. Powerful feminine vocals, surprisingly deathy, in places. Great heavy melody, well delivered, with a vocal edge to match any male vocalist. Keeping an impressive momentum, with a darkened feel throughout, the atmosphere’s just right. Generally, well balanced and very rhythmic.

Fange i Frihet – Drums intro now, beating a path to a wilderness forest in your mind. It’s highly visual and extremely competently handled. A good blend of melody, dark lyrics and atmospheric accompaniments. Slightly shorter track, but definitely no less powerful.

Waiting For Nothing – Opening on an electronic section, soon getting into an arresting vocal, evocative of the likes of Nightwish, Within Temptation and Lacuna Coil. Even replicating Arch Enemy’s vocal ways, at times. Really easy to get involved with, there’s a big catch to this. A real battery of instrumental force. Fading out onto another electronic section, surprisingly apt for the track.

Nothing Else Matters – Crackling forest fire intro’s this instantly mesmerically beautiful Metallica tribute). A refreshingly vivid portrayal and dare I say it? They’ve well and truly pulled off what I’d ordinarily class as the impossible. Spine-tingling. Nothing more to say.

Paper Crown – A hauntingly melodic sense of déjà vu intro’s, moving seamlessly into a Delain-esque sound, interspersed with more Arch Enemy echoes. It’s a very big sound, filled with visual imagery and stagecraft of high theatrical calibre. This would make a very fitting Halloween track, but would be equally at home as a fantasy film soundtrack. Immersive and enchanting.

After The Meltdown – Mysterious percussive opening, setting the scene for another vision fest. She reaches down to the depths of her diaphragm, for those notes, flitting easily between blackened and softer sections and always keeping that melody uppermost. Stunning power emanates from those vocals, more than ably assisted by the strong accompaniments. Hitting a sharp, yet thudding conclusion, it ends on a clear, assertive outro.

Svart Smarta – Highly electronic intro here, unexpected within metal, yet it leads really well into a notably strong, blackened metal section. Again, it screams power, with more of an industrial, techno sound, this time. It does all gel well, though. A gorgeous guitar riff breaks up the darkness, bridging the earlier and latter sections, adding the chink of light it needs to blast it further into the stratosphere. The rhythm’s always central and a brief spoken section forms the outro.

A Letter For You – Now the tone drops, to match the more intense lyrics. Still, it’s beautiful, though and the melody hits you. Artistically timed, there’s a slightly more relaxed sense to this. Especially prevalent in the chorus, on which, it ends. Just another very beautiful track.

My Pain – Organ intro, albeit very brief, segueing immediately into a thunderously heavy sound. Very satisfying, the quality’s stunning. It’s a much briefer track, but it’s strength certainly makes a statement. It’s almost like a stamp of recognition.

Man Chooses, Slaves Obey – Opening quietly, on an acoustic riff and a slight ticker-tape like background echo, bringing in a twin guitar, creating a beguiling effect. Instantly, the blackened vocals enter. Becoming melodic once more and taking the tone up, soaring with the heightened mood. Again, the vocals play with an interplay of darkness and light. Growing catchier, leading into a sinister riff, matching the prophetic lyrics. A very involved track, with a good mix of techniques and styles. Getting heavier, towards the end, before returning to the poignantly quiescent thread again. Quite magical.

Overall – ‘Fall, Rise, Conquer’ does just what its title says. It’s an astonishingly adept and beautiful album, filled with the audio equivalent of a visual light show, of conceptual brilliance and outstanding artistry. If this is the future of metal, then it’s heading in the right direction. Spectacular.

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

For fans of Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain, Lacuna Coil, Arch Enemy, Aonia, Liholesie, Shahyd Legacy.

Merch Store –

Posted April 28, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Black Thorn Halo – ‘The Horde’   2 comments

Formed in 2010, Black Thorn Halo hail from Austin, Texas. (With the exception of Rafa, bassist, from Costa Rica). Two albums in, the line-up changed, adding a second guitarist, as well as Rafa replacing Jack, making them a 5 piece.

From the latter end of 2017, BTH’s sound evolved into one similar to Priest or Kreator. Several live gigs ensued. Following this, their current album, ‘The Horde’, was produced. The band feels that this reflects their aimed destination, far more effectively. They summarise it as being simultaneously heavy, thrashy and melodic, with nods to Testament and Slayer, yet containing their own up-to-date signature.

The Rising – Slightly unusual build-up to the intro, but then getting straight into a classically new wave melodic thrash sound and it’s very listenable. Enlivening from the start, with a clearly catchy thread. I’d say they’ve achieved their aim of combining thrash, heaviness and melody, equally. It’s a good sound. Quite a big speed element to it, this is the sound of a capable, well-placed band, with stacks of passion. Great sharp, definitive ending.

Kill The Pain – Awesome drum roll intro and it’s very Testament-esque. ‘Days Of Darkness’ fans will dig this. Right into the flow. All the right ingredients. A real mosh fest number. Well handled riffs, practiced vocals, just the right side of heavy thrash. Some proper riffage going on there, with heaps of melody and even a hint of Vai-esque territory, amongst the thrash. Liking the catchy ‘KTP’ chorus and its rhythm. Not a note out of place or a beat missed anywhere.

The Horde – Banging, acute intro, setting the scene immediately. Some strategically arranged higher riff pitches, adding an extra edge, enhanced even further by the gorgeously performed vibrato. There’s a notable emphasis on space here, which just adds to their signature, showing real awareness of how, when and where to let a song breathe. Again, it’s very Testament-esque and very likeable.

Into The Unknown (On The Razor’s Edge) – Another banging intro, going straight to town. It’s got a really comforting heaviness and capability to it, just chilling you out instantly. Great riff delivery, again, utilising the vibrato just sparsely enough to make it stand out. Even throwing in a hint of wah, with the same approach. Cleverly structured and coming to a well integrated end. It’s the sound of safe metallic hands.

The Swarming – Crushing, theatrical intro, sparking visions of Valhalla. Right down to business, with the speed and power angles, whilst keeping it heavy and never losing the thrash edge. Very metal lyrics, plausibly conveyed. Always retaining the hardened side of the thrash vibe, but still not neglecting the melody. Effectively vocalised, it’s liable to stay with you.

Wargasm – Bang! Thunder and lightning intro, covering the earth in darkness. Carefully arranged, particularly in terms of pitch. Slight ‘Twilight Of The Thunder Gods’ essence to this. It’s strong, it’s a decent length and the ending’s aptly mysterious and memorable.

Cenote Sacred – Once more, it blasts into life, throwing down a Kyrbgrinder-esque tone. Real heaviness, emphasising the steel. They really go to town on this one. Immense riffing centres and grounds the song, feeding its heavy thrumming feel, further. Yet again, it’s a mosh fest, bringing everything colliding to a rock hard halt at the close, impressing the addictive quality, more.

Dare You To Live – Wow! That’s some electrifying intro! Loving this unmistakable metal fest, right from the off. Bowling along, on the thrashiest vibe. You can’t help but love it. A good closer, the catchiness is ratcheted up, as the riffs and the rhythm bring it to life. Slowing things down for that beautifully melodic mid-section, before heating things up and picking up the pace again, with sheer metallic force. Coming to a crackling crescendo, with a concrete slab of an ending.

Overall – Magnificent. No two ways about it. ‘TH’ has gone down a storm and it’s sure to rock your metal senses to the ground. Faultless, driven and perfected throughout. This is one mightily metallic album and it’s hugely impressive.

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

For fans of Testament, Wreck-Defy, Steve Vai, Kyrbgrinder, Boltthrower, Amon Amarth, Sabaton.

Posted April 27, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Euphoria – ‘Nanotech’   Leave a comment

Thrash metal from Detroit, MI, Euphoria have existed since January 2016. However, the material was in the planning since 2012. Founding member and vocalist Justin Kelter began forming Euphoria in 2015. Drummer Louie Badalament and bassist George Ford joined from the ashes of crust/thrash band Axe Ripper. Inspired by numerous bands, including Death, Vektor, Slayer, Megadeth, Pantera, etc, a multitude of genres, such as thrash, heavy metal and punk also went into the notion of Euphoria.

Their debut appearance in March 2016 was at New Dodge Lounge, Hamtramck, MI, Louie’s place of work. Performing alongside Witchaven, Steel Bearing Hand and Nuke, to an audience of 200, it was a sold-out show. Following that gig, Euphoria recorded their debut production, ‘Operation: Genesis’, at Mount Doom Studios, Warren, MI. (See

‘Operation: Genesis’, a 50 minute concept EP, is themed around a superior race of otherworldly entities, constructing Earth, as an experiment to develop an elite race. (Yes, it does sound a tad Nazi-esque). As the human race is observed to go backwards, the elite beings deploy robots known as ‘nano-bots’ to destroy it. (More Nazi-esque by the minute). In an ultimate bid to prevent the human world from continuing, they then overheat the centre of the earth, in an attempt to implode it. (A combination of World War II and current ozone layer destruction reflected there).

The ‘OG’ EP was launched at a release show, on June 10th 2016. After that, they played another sold-out show, at that same venue, in Hamtramck, MI, sharing the Stage with Lich King, Goblet, SNAFU and Straight Six. Their track, ‘Cyberschizophrenia’ was aired on Detroit’s hard rock heavy metal radio station 101.1 WRIF, securing more album sales.

August 2016 saw Euphoria commence their first US tour, independently arranged. That tour continued right through to spring 2017.

In autumn 2017, they became a 4 piece, touring Europe, playing support for Italian thrash crew Game Over. Their next EP, ‘The Omega Void’, was also launched then, via EvilEye Records, in silver disc, deluxe digipak format, with a bonus disc of the now sold-out debut album. (See

Electro Hypnosis – Introing on a very sci-fi-esque, alien sound, spewing out weird otherworldly commands, it then thankfully merges into thrash metal territory. Raw, aggressive lyrics form a physicality, ably assisted by beating drums and crazed riffing, throwing in carefully placed melodies. It’s a very technical track, displaying intense focus and edging on proggy formats.

ReSpawn – Wobble board sounds and a mysterious alien voice opening. The thrash hits earlier, seeming to reach its stride quickly. Very riff-based, heavier and a bigger drum presence here. The melody heats up, hitting shrieking pitches, followed by a power section closing. Well honed material.

Labyrinth Online – Intense heavy drum hits intro. Straight away, it’s a big sound, with a faster pace, centring around the speed. Again, the vocals are very raw and edgy. Great riffing creates and builds a winning melody around the techy aspects and solid drums. Fading out on a lively combo of energised sounds, it’s certainly capable and alive.

Mechanical Carnivore – Sinister oration introing, reflective of today’s political climate. Speeding up the thrash element, throwing out looser, freer vocals, with a message. Slowing the pace, to an accessible rhythm, before speeding it back up again. The anger’s definitely audible. Again, it’s a large sound, building in lots of heavy, intricate thrash riffing. Closing on a fading vocal echo, its technical focus is clear.

Neon Dreams – Opening slowly, on a more contemplative, downbeat tone. Still such gorgeous melody. Moving into a soaring section, with a teasing stop start bit, before exploding back into life again. This is where the vocals really come out, as the riffs open up, onto a world of colour. Some fabulous rhythms in there. Making the most out of the vibrant melodies. Ending on a collective riff crescendo, of mounting power and life. Just a great feel.

Brainstorm – Scientific sound introing. Quickly moving into a real speed section of raging thrash. Here, the vocals really go for it, giving it all they’ve got. Drums coming down into a rhythm echoing a very slight reflection of Radiohead’s ‘Okay Computer’. Happily for this, though, the other accompaniments keep it much more upbeat and interesting than where the dangerous territory of Radiohead might otherwise have taken it. Bringing it up to a steadily climbing finale, it’s intense, complex and precise.

Overall – ‘Nanotech’ is an accurately precise album, with a flair for technical intricacy and complex concepts. Considerately arranged, its structure displays a perfectionist streak, demonstrated through the intensity of techniques delivered throughout. As a thrash album, it does lose out, in terms of catch, memorable hooks and general accessibility, so not the most relaxing listen, but what it loses in relatability, it compensates for with polished craftsmanship. An impressively produced, intelligent piece of work.

8/10 ********

For fans of Zeit, Bullriff Stampede, Devilspeak, Ben Blutzukker, Sotz, prog, sci-fi and psychedelia.

Posted April 21, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Necrofilia – ‘rHELLigion’   Leave a comment

San Marino’s only remaining active metal band, Necrofilia have 20 years experience behind them, having formed in February 1996. As ever, there’ve been line-up changes, throughout this time. Their debut demo was aired in 1998. The 1st album, ‘Lost In Chaos’, (2000) was well received by music press, including Metal Shock and Metal Hammer.
Following their win at Italian music contest, ‘Suona con il Mito’, they opened for Paul Di ‘anno, in Rome, in October 2001. More local gigs followed. A crucial event was opening for Crackdown and Behemoth.
Their 2nd independent production was the album release, ‘Crush Test’ (2006). Numerous shows in Italy preceded the recording of the 3rd album, ‘rHELLigion’, in 2016, released in March 2019.

Till Die – Straight in there, with a smoking hot, steel laden intro! Creating an instantly powerful impression, the lyrics are curious, but it’s heavy stuff, with a hardened industrial edge. Lots of acute, electrifying riffage and a very involved sound, experimenting with variable pace. It’s got that crushing steamroller effect, throughout. Very auspicious start.

Path – Just as intense and overwhelmingly metallic. Speeding things up slightly, injecting a grinding aspect. Imagine a rougher, younger Anthrax. You’re there. Getting stronger and faster, it’s entertaining and comes to a confident, unhesitant ending. Lots of life and loaded with energy and pizzazz.

Ballad Of Death – Good strong drum intro. Getting right down to intense riffing and heavily metallic sounds. A lot of aggression and discernible passion. Very heavy stuff here. Evoking images of super-sized industrial machinery, warring in a scrapyard, in the dead of night. Raging on till the end, with consistent demolition imagery. It works.

Welcome To The Show – Another banging explosive intro, with a party metal atmosphere, sounding more like Anthrax with every moment. Affective and deliciously heavy, with thrash and melody, in equal measure. Definitely an infectious angle to this. Riff scales audible at just the right point, approximately 3/4 in and clearly a stand out track, destined for repeated replays around music venues, internationally. Coming to a sexily shuddering halt, it’s a beast of a track and again, it does it for me.

Dead Sun – Opening with a strong, powerful drum roll, like the jaws of a mammoth opening up, to eat its prey. A hint of roaring, but happily, more melody and audibly fun lyrics. Always great to pick up the passion of a band and that’s what this is about. Very catchy and the rhythms do it every time. A very easy number to get into and never losing the heaviness, for a single moment. Closing on a very Metallica-esque crescendo, it’s an impressive and steamy track.

rHELLigion – Wow! That’s some drum intro! A drum solo worthy of being allied with the greats of rock and metal history. Really involved, meaty track, running like the hounds of hell are on its tail. Introing a battery of drums and keeping it metal, some powerful riffage does its thing. Burning its way to a blistering finale, it’s gone in no time and it thrashes hard.

Follow Down – Bang and it’s off back down the road of solid metal intent. Now, the lyrics get a bit more roary and screamy, like a pissed off gargoyle. Some delicious riffage again, demoing some shriller pitches. Running on till the drum led ending, it’s heavy with anticipation.

Old Man – A single drum hit intro’s, onto a blazing riff and an awesomely hooky melody. Guaranteed catch value. Brilliant vibrato section, growing faster and catchier by the second. The pace and melody combined are what makes this. Performed amidst a gloriously heavy backdrop. That’s the way it continues, right till the end. Love it.

Against – Another blaze of metal glory opens. So accessible, visually, it’s immediate, forming easy mosh pit material. The riffs really come to the fore here, as does the infectious melody. It’s just not long enough!

Son Of Beer – Really upbeat, playful drum intro. Gorgeously masculinely throaty vocals, the melody bites once more and doesn’t let go. So well paced, this is a really fun filled frolic, sure to pull you in. What is it with blokes and burps? What a way to end.

Reflection – Beautiful riff intro, unfolding onto a scene of addictive heaviness. Loving the melody in here. Especially as it proves just how carefully considered and beautifully intricate metal is. Really giving it some on the drums, bleeding out the riffs for the finale, leaving their echo behind.

Black Metal (Bonus Track) – Intense thrash riffing intro’s. Sounding much like a playful parody of black metal, this’d definitely make a good party piece. Like Gollum, throwing a temper tantrum, as Rumpelstiltskin dances a crazed jig around him, it’s just fun all the way and actually, it’s a great way to end).

Overall – A streamlined, evocative performance of everything contained within the best of metal. Appealing, affecting and addictive, ‘rHELLigion’ is a great album, whose infectious delivery entices you in and keeps you enthralled. A definite go to for uplifting sounds and a sound choice of jukebox metal. Dive in and get some.

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

For fans of Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, Hammerstroke, Angelfall, Bloodfield, Reign Of Fury, Spreading The Disease, Obzidian.

Posted April 20, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Infamous Demise – ‘Infamous Demise’   Leave a comment

A quartet from Page, Arizona, Infamous Demise are a heavy metal band, founded in 2015, with one simple goal in mind – bringing the metal to the masses.

Their self titled debut album was launched on March 18th 2019, via the digital platform, CD Baby.

Infamous Demise – Perfect intro of screeching guitar, employing immediate vibrato, with seasoned drum hits supporting. Classic new wave vocals, straight away, it’s evident that ID know what they’re doing. Throwing in every tactic you’d expect in a new heavy-metal track, it’s a sound that takes you back to the 90’s heyday of metal and wouldn’t be out of place on a metal publication album.

Violation Of Truth – Opening with a fairly gentle, but still clearly rocky drum roll. Moving right into a real power metal vocal, with all the right rhythms. Great accurately pitched power screams, brilliantly accompanying riffs fitting right in. It’s just a smooth, effortless performance, closing definitively, on an acute vocal.

No Shields – Drum rolls introing onto a great melody. Already, it’s got that indefinable edge and it’s shaping up well. Catchy, effectively paced and ringing with the sound of truth. It’s got a way of keeping the mood up, whilst still portraying the darkness associated with decent metal. Well maintained riff momentum and it all just fits together, succinctly.

Primeval Oath – Opening on a sombre acoustic note, accompanied by solo vocals. A pressing feel of profundity pervades. Exploding into electric fury, alternating with more quiescent tones. Building to a skilled crescendo, playing out a classically metallic arrangement, these guys already have many of the right ingredients. Bringing it to a sharply defined end, creating a very positive impression.

Break The Stream – Introing on an exciting, lively riff, drums falling in with it and vocals following suit. Such ease of delivery. Good solid rhythms. Verging on thrash, it’s a great example of metal structures. Fans of old school thrash and power metal should get on well with this. Real synchronicity shines through this, along with the passion with which, it’s played. This track almost crosses a line, taking them into different territory, from straight out metal to heavy thrash. Yes, it’s one of those that has me wracking my metallically medicated brain cells for that elusive riff it reminds me of, but meantime, it’ll do nicely and it takes things up a gear.

Floodgates – Coming in on a bit of bass now, then sliding in with the screaming riffs. If anything, it gets even more comfortable and proficient now. Cymbals well timed, drums keeping the pace expertly, vocals intermingling melody and power screams, the full set’s there. Beautiful steel string section, reflecting their skill for gentility, where necessary. Heating things up, to that well-known galloping horse pace, linked with so many successful metal tracks. If nothing else, what’s glaringly obvious here is ID’s sheer versatility. It’s a great sign for it to show so early on. Building to its heavy end, it does the job well.

The Flame – Banging, well synchronised intro. This one’s easy to get lost in, carrying streaks of both heavier and lighter melodies. Nice bit of classic action movie bass, breaking things up, between sections. It’s a visually effective bridge. Vocal pitch peaking there, just before the well timed looser riff ending.

Punishment – Explosive intro! Here’s a proper hard rock, heavy metal sound, holding potential for all angles and elements of both. A valuable talent to have at this point. More aggression in the lyrics, a heavy surrounding structure, with a bluesy edge. Heavily rhythmic. Another catchy one, easy to get involved with. Good bit of wah there, too. Gathering pace, till the end, closing on a solid, strong finale.

Overall – Given that ‘ID’ is a debut album, it’s already got a lot going for it. It’s strong and confident, with an ease of delivery, it shows a genuine skill, with metal performance and a natural metallic inclination, that can’t be taught. For a first album, it’s impressive and definitely worthy of recommendation. A few more years building a signature sound and ID could really go places. Give it a spin.

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

For fans of all old school hard rock/heavy metal, NWOBHM and thrash, power and speed metal.

Posted April 19, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Fallen Stars – ‘Trials’   Leave a comment

A female fronted hard rock pop metal band, from Vancouver, BC, Fallen Stars was created from a collection of bands, locally to Vancouver. They’ve since made numerous live appearances, opening for established bands like Iron Kingdom, Road Rash, Bone State Rebellion, etc.

Their debut single, ‘My Heart’, received airplay, internationally. At this point, FS are promoting their current EP, ‘This House’, aswell as touring and performing several gigs throughout the year. In addition to all this, they’re launching both a 2nd EP and a live, 2 track EP, entitled ‘Trials’.

Run – Very heavy, crunchy bass and riff intro, moving into a punky style, with metal edge. Plenty of cymbal action and clearly enthused vocals. Well timed drum hits, executed with lots of energy and the riffs come into their own, as the song progresses. It could actually do with more lyrics and a little more vocal invention, to reset the balance, currently leaning more heavily towards the accompaniments, but otherwise, it’s a well performed track, if slightly rushed.

Trial By Fire – Liking the classic ‘rolling’ intro and the following click of the drumsticks. Now, the vocals are overcompensating a bit. Surrounding instrumentals pleasantly rockily melodic. Keeping a good steady rhythm and fading out nicely, on a corresponding riff and drum hit. The passion’s definitely there, collectively. The vocals just need to strike a better balance between under and over performing. Catchy, though.

Overall – ‘Trials’ is undoubtedly a good sound, with many of the right ingredients. Its strengths weigh heaviest in the instrumentals and it’s effectively paced, with plenty of melody. There does need to be more lyrical opportunity, though and where it’s struggling is in vocal confidence. This is evident in the disparity between tracks, in terms of underwhelm, versus overdrive. Correcting this, over time, though, with the more assured accompaniments supporting would bring it up a level. That aside, it’s a fair general standard.

6/10 ******

For fans of Love Stricken Demise, No Doubt.   (Music Video for ‘Trial By Fire’).



Posted April 14, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Gasoline Outlaws – ‘Light Up The World’   Leave a comment

Presenting Gasoline Outlaws, with the brand new album, ‘Light Up The World’, released 10th May 2019.

Founded in Belfast, in 2014, GO launched their debut album, ‘No Rules, No Laws, No Regrets’, in 2015. Receiving high acclaim, it led to support slots for such high-profile bands as The Answer and Trucker Diablo. By 2018, they’d performed at Planet Rock’s Winter’s End Fest and Rockstock.

‘LUTW’, their 2nd album, produced by Frankie McClay, at Einstein Studios, Northern Ireland, features songwriting contributions from Cormac Neeson (The Answer) and guest vocals from Amy Montgomery. Well esteemed session musician John McCullough (The Waterboys, Van Morrison, etc) plays piano and Hammond organ.

The album includes everything from heavy, riff-based tracks, to basic acoustic songs, plus an orchestral piece. Aiming to hit a wide audience, ‘LUTW’ is thematically centred around global conflict through the generations and the healing power of love.

It was a Pledge Music campaign which brought ‘LUTW’ this far, but sadly, despite its rapid success, the present situation at Pledge has meant that the originally planned date of release, along with the money to fund it, has fallen through. This has set the release back to May.

With the band taking the initiative to overcome a very unfortunate situation and cover the pledges themselves, their touring and promo funds have now been consumed by CD and merch costs. They are, of course, now reassessing the best way forward.

Light Up The World – Good solid drum beat intro. Something about it reminds me of Free’s ‘All Right Now’. Getting straight into a real rock ‘n’ roll sound, the vocals are perhaps a little softer than expected, but no less impacting for it. Generally, it’s catchy, with a pop rock essence and well synchronised accompaniments. Effective start.

Livin’ This Way – Opening on a slight Trucker Diablo echo, it’s straight rock ‘n’ roll, easily performed, in a relaxed style. There’s definitely a natural flow to it, always good to hear. It’s consistent and rocky, with some notably good guitar riffs. The ascent and descent of the scales is audible and the vocals do a skilled job of keeping the momentum and holding the notes well. A comfortable, pleasant, chilled out track, with bluesy hints.

Better Days Coming – Fabulous ‘Communication Breakdown’ style intro! Determined lyrics, carrying an echo of Fleetwood Mac and demonstrating natural chemistry. This has got a really enjoyable feel and sound about it and the emotion’s unmistakable. Very catchy, hit material, walking that fine line between hard and soft rock and always a joyful listening experience.

Where We Started – Introing on a single strummed chord and instantly bringing a melancholic sadness, still holding a chink of light and hope. Soulful. Truly soulful. Highly proficient, not just musically, but emotively. This is real. Beautiful melodies, groove laden and exactly the right pace to make it full and enjoyable. Bringing everyone together, for the finale and ending on a gorgeous piano outro, leaving the memory imprinted on your soul.

Psycho – Hotting things back up again now, with a harder rock intro and a hint of the Wild West atmosphere. Faster paced, proving their chops within both heavier and lighter sounds and styles. Very catchy chorus, throwing in some brilliant wah wah sections and timing things immaculately. Showcasing the great breadth of vocal talent, within various shades and tones and ending definitively, it works, taking it into a heavier sphere.

The System Is A Lie – Well blended riff intro, moving into a very bluesy track and handling it well. Rhythmic, catchy once again and filled with hooks. Heating things up, with more involved riffing, making the most of every note and killing it all the way. This one’ll sweep you away.

Fight For One More Day – Immediate heavy drum hit intro, followed by a classic rock riff arrangement. Those vocals enter and soar, once more, bringing the lyrics to life with genuine passion. So easy to just get right into it and ending on an assertive exhortation that’ll stay with you. Brilliant delivery.

Executed – Opening now on a soft, gentle ballad, combining acoustic guitar and vocals, with piano and featuring additional feminine vocals, working well. Okay, so this one’s a little too emotional for me, but it’s unquestionably beautiful. Conveyed with pure feeling, till the end.

Breathe Again – Straight out rock intro here! That’s better). Back onto safe territory. If nothing else, GO are definitely versatile and well able to swing between heavier and softer rock, without skipping a beat. This one’s a groove fest, filled with hard rock atmosphere. Great number to throw in, at this point. Infectious stuff, for sure.

Hard Times – Now the mood is taken down again, but less emotionally. It’s more of a folky feel, this time. There’s a very tasty twang to it. Just as real and just as profound, but much more listenable than the balladry of ‘Executed’. Some great drum strokes in there, fitting well with the theme and style and all arrangements just work together, in sync. Loving the tones in here and there’s a clear air of contagion. Perfectly placed, as the closing track. Instrumentals pulling back at just the right point, to bring the vocals forward, entrenching that gorgeous grit in your mind, as it ends.

Overall – ‘LUTW’ is an absolute pleasure ride of blues rock grooves and melody throughout. The production’s consistent and flawless, the atmosphere strong and the feelings, evocative. Skilful, natural musicianship and real, honest sincerity shows through every word. It’s only right that this band succeed and given the depth of emotional honesty and genuine talent that have created ‘LUTW’, GO deserve to shine.

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

For fans of Fleetwood Mac, Def Leppard, Free, Boston, Venus Rising, Blue Oyster Cult.

Posted April 13, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Answer With Metal – ‘Centralia’   Leave a comment

A thrash power metal band from Ontario, Canada, Answer With Metal began in 2008. Currently a quartet, looking for a second guitarist, within 3 years, they’d recorded 3 demos and 1 year later, produced their self titled album, launched via Spread The Metal Records, during 2012. Striking out as an independent band, following that, they brought out ‘Handling The Blade’, in 2015 and ‘Return To The Gates’, in 2016. Their next album, ‘Centralia’, is expected to be released in spring 2019 and is thought to be their best work yet. Since their humble beginnings, AWM have opened and played support for Primal Fear, Havok, Kataklysm, Sanctuary, Hibria, Skull Fist, Cauldron and Striker, solidifying their reputation within Toronto’s heavy metal scene.

No One’s To Own – Blades of metal intro! Like a helicopter rotor blade, surrounded by assault rifles, that classically old school vocal completes the sound). Before the opening section’s even over, you know this is the business! Stacked high with melodic power and catchy rhythms, dosed up with capable, frenetic riffs and strongly built drumming. This speaks, sings and screams the soul of power metal, from its heart.

Wild Hunt – Powered cymbal action opens. Straight into another chasing race of thrashy, speed soaked metal. You can’t help but sing along, air drum and air guitar with it. A vibrant, lively melody, supported by colourful riffing and always steady, yet energetic rhythms. A real traditional edge to that voice keeps the whole thing held up high, as the confidently timed accompaniments perform, ‘Heavy Metal Killers’ style. Faultless, massively mood enhancing and just bags of fun, throughout.

Stand And Fight – A slower beat now and a more relaxed mood, played out, initially, by gentler acoustic style riffs, then picking up the pace again and adding a fabulously Celtic vibe. Brilliantly placed combo of solo and group vocals add to the already inherent strength of the sound. Keeping it upbeat and classic speed metal, it just pulls you in. There’s extraordinary power and passion in that voice, so much so, it’s almost an emotional experience. Ending on a spectacular light show of a power scream and skidding riffs, piling on extra emphasis. Energised, beyond the norm.

Jenova – Opening with instant, unhesitant determination and heavy with feeling. This just drenches right through your soul. Very DIO-esque, supported by a frame of form reflecting your own vivid imagination of a live collaboration between Dio and Priest. Filled with real metal atmosphere and closing on an incredible, heartfelt crescendo, building to its fiery climax, with rumbling and gradually, blasting drums. Perfection.

Centralia – Blistering intro, wasting no time and raining down the metal, from the off. So hugely catchy, absolute consummate professionalism and truly, those vocals are heavenly. Transportation to a better world, of nothing but metal. Again, that Celtic vibe slips in there and it’s a really big sound altogether. I’d defy any true metalhead to resist joining in and losing themselves in this. It soars like a jet plane, with ultimate power.

Don’t Know Why – Amazing drum roll and blitzkrieg riff intro! Yet again, the mood lifts skywards and stays there. Enormously melody driven, with the sexiest darkly played riffs around it. Bringing their tones back up again, injecting a war zone essence and occupying it fully, yet still keeping it light! That’s some talent and it’s rare. So healing and just so powerful.

Cry Wolf – Faster intro again and once more, that elusive Celtic feel’s audible, before sliding into a slightly looser style. This time, it’s a real blitz of riffage. That voice maintains its inexplicable power, never losing it, for a moment. I swear, it’s like Dio’s returned from the dead and is jamming with Halford, in full flight. Like an explosion of colourful fire, via a skyrocket, it’s just so involving.

No Height’s A Home – Cymbals hit the intro again, chased hot on their heels, by the rest. Bursting into another vivid expression of entrancing, beautiful metal. That riffing is seriously orgasmic! Slightly more controlled rhythm sections here. Building anticipation, then heating it up again, back to that chasing pace, on which, it ends. Utterly enthralling.

Last Of You – Now introing a quieter, more sombre sound, but it’s no less entrancing, still alive with other tones around it and then descends into a sexy darkness, echoing the classic traditional old school metal sound again. In the back of your mind, it’ll remind you of something unreachable, but unmistakably present. Haunting you, with ghostly riffs and vocals, in the most addictive way. This is pure compulsion. Ending, without hesitation, on a solidly dark, heavy finale, taking your heart with it.

Overall – I’ve died and gone to heaven. ‘Centralia’ is the absolute peak of magnetic metallic magic. Blessed with a vocal appearing to have teleported to Earth, from a golden age of metal gods, the flawless heavy sensuality of the accompaniments and the honest passion shining through combine to make this something incredibly special. A gold star album of pure, uncorrupted metal iconology. Buy it immediately.

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

For fans of Dio, Priest, Focus, Blue Oyster Cult, Pantera, Blaze Bayley, Baleful Creed.

Posted April 12, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Strike Master – ‘Strike Master’   2 comments

Introducing the self titled new album release from Mexican thrash metal band Strike Master. Also recently released, their video of the track, ‘As I March’, from the album, is now available on bandcamp.

Follow Me – Awesome sliding bass intro! Straight away, it’s followed by naturally synchronised accompaniments, making traditional metal sounds. It does end a bit abruptly, but otherwise, a reassuring start.

No Future – Good metallic intro, heavy and well paced. Speed vocals take the stage, with raw, aggressive consistency. Great fast riffing, injecting a beautifully metal melody. It’s just competent, easy focus and it’s a joy to listen to.

Boy In The Hole – Breaking into an instantly sharp riff intro, soon moving into an impressively controlled accompaniment. Throwing interest and intrigue into each section, always something new and original, throughout. Slightly like a toned down Exodus.

As I March – Nicely timed drum intro, gradually entering and building its momentum. Curious lyrics! It’s an inventive form, for sure, experimenting with various melodies, guitar styles and techniques, keeping it fresh and unique. Always building increasing momentum, via deftly handled, expressive drumming. This has got personality and bags of it. That’s what makes it special.

Urban Phantasms – Coming right in there, with immediacy and rabid enthusiastic vocals. Effortless performance, bridged by melodic, joyful, driven riffs. Strategically positioned ‘Tallica-esque section adds even more potency, as it draws to a close, creating memorable vibrancy.

The Mortarist – Brilliant, metal riffs intro! Enjoyably speed driven and capable. Nice pace change, adding enhanced effect. In places, echoing D.R.I.’s ‘Beneath The Wheel’. Never resting on their laurels for a moment, forever inventing creative new angles. Fading out on a tasty heavy low riff.

Anti Aereal Witchhunt Battery – Fabulous heavy classic riff thrown down at the outset. Echoes of the riff on which Whitesnake’s ‘Crying In The Rain’ is based, yet still making it notably hard lined and edgy. If anything, the vocals grow angrier, till the end. Towards the end, there’s a slight hint of Anthrax’s ‘Keep It In The Family’. It’s this combo of classic rock and heavy metal influences that keep the sound alive.

Chant Of Falcons – Low-slung bass intro, chased by a drumming battery and a very stoner-esque melody! Reminding of Grand Magus’s ‘Legion’ and yet, it’s STILL so unique to Strike Master. The group vocals make it on this one, however brief it is and the fade out’s tantalising.

Machines Of Mercy – Ace fast-paced riff intro! Getting right in there, with metal spirit and attitude. This is the kind of sound that addiction is born of. Really well composed bass line, creating and cementing catch. Inherently skilled arrangements, coupled with obvious passion make this what it is.

Born Horrible – Thrilling drum intro leads into a comfortable sound and a blitz of metal. Very thrashy vocals here! All held together by solid instrumentals. Combining catch with melodic flavour, hard edge and gentle, yet powerful rhythms. Actually, that oration, towards the end is better placed than most and fits perfectly, into the impressively battle-esque ending.

Overall – Well constructed and well conceived, this album delights and intrigues, capturing attention throughout. Bringing carefully honed influences to the fore, it’s still hugely original and surprisingly versatile. Creative and attentive at every point, it’s a thrilling and cathartic album, which hits the spot.

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

For fans of Exodus, Anthrax, Slayer, Metallica, Pantera, Grand Magus, D.R.I., Mind Patrol.

‘As I March’ video:


Posted April 6, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Eye Of Balor – ‘Imp Of The Perverse’   Leave a comment

Bay Area thrash/death combo band Eye Of Balor, founded by a triumvirate, quickly becoming a 5 piece, were initially entitled, A Subtle Art Of Murder. Rising from the ashes of previous bands, they planned to create a new sound. Their aim was to combine thrash and death core, in an original form, pushing past perceived genre boundaries.

The band title transition, from ASAOM, to EOB was a momentary decision, on the basis of ASAOM coming too close to Thy Art Is Murder. After debating numerous other possibilities, EOB was the final toss of the dice, as a tribute to the mythological king Balor, whose enlarged eye causes chaos, while open. He was emphasised to symbolise all manner of natural disasters.

What began as 2 pure instrumentals, ‘Blood’ and ‘Grinder’ were the first tracks written. The former, created with the notion of a subordinate empire reclaiming its kingdom; the latter, a heavier and more sinister track, based around a serial murderer, feeding his victims into a meat grinder. Cheerful stuff! Five more songs, ‘Noose Of Doubt’, ‘Pride’, ‘Gun Control’, ‘The Calling’ and ‘Oathbreaker’, came next.

Produced by Zack Ohren, of Castle Ultimate Studios, Oakland, California, (Machinehead, All Shall Perish, etc), the debut album, ‘Imp Of The Perverse’, was ready. Influenced by the conceptual phenomenon of the devil on all our shoulders, encouraging the perpetration of negative acts, ‘IOTP’ highlights the ease with which this can happen.

A final line-up change preceded the spring release of ‘IOTP’.

Blood – Instantly raining blood, (pun intended), it’s a memorable riff intro. Death vocals joining it, that thrash and death core collaboration’s immediately audible. Proficient instrumentals, the roars may be coarsely conveyed, but the interjecting child’s voice is even more unsettling. Just the right length, if they were going for a disquieting approach, then it works.

Pride – Mystery riffs intro, adding a touch of the ethereal, before breaking into industrial sounding accompaniments, coupled with blackened roars. The stuff of oesophageal varices spews forth. The lyrics are actually still audible, though. As is usual in death/thrash combo’s, all the inevitable hammering drums and darkened atmospherics characterise the track.

Oathbreaker – Opening with a very gruff, gravelly roar, then splitting into thrash instrumentals. A faint melody exists in the background, with all the usual darkened aggression. There’s a slight sense of menace lurking. That’s well conveyed, musically, as well as vocally. One or two more melodic riffs, but largely, a blacker form of metal. A slightly longer track and not much to differentiate it from the rest, but it’s technically proficient.

Grinder – More blackened death vocals intro. Much like a giant, stamping its way around a compound, trampling all in its path. Quite samey sounds throughout, but you could say it represents the band name well. If nothing else, the track’s well titled, as grinding is the sense that permeates it.

The Calling – Heavy metal drum and riff intro, much more along the melodic metal lines. That sound brings some colour, making it more bearable. Now apparently moving into clearer classic territory, the ravaged vocals still hold firm, however. Building to a crescendo, with a strange, but memorable ending, I often know the ‘Fuck It’ feeling well.

Gun Control – Blitzing in there, with a speed riff intro, though still retaining the vocal darkness. There’s a slightly stronger melody to this. Very vomitous lyrics here. Some more powerful riffage accompanies the deathly vocals and atmosphere. Not much change, otherwise.

Noose Of Doubt – Well timed drum intro. The rhythm’s always well-kept. This time, there’s a stronger back beat, in places and the occasional melody does help to lift it. Good drumming momentum. If only they’d thrown that gorgeous vibrato in earlier. It’s a more varied and lighter finale, at least.

Overall – ‘IOTP’, whilst being musically and technically proficient, is a little bit samey and doesn’t bring much uniqueness or variation to the table. Where stronger melodic sections are audible, they’re well performed and do add colour and light to the album. However, while it definitely does fulfil its own aims, it’s just a smidge too reliant on darkness and gruffness, which does become less tolerable, as time goes on. Ultimately, not much here to indicate originality, but as a debut, it’s capable and passable.

5/10 *****

For fans of death, thrash and melo-death.

Posted April 5, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized