Archive for August 2019

Fight Till Death – ‘Tales Of Torture’   Leave a comment

From Santa Cruz, California, Fight Till Death is a death thrash power metal band, which has been going since 2012. Founded by Brayton Furlong (vocals, guitar), Matt Roe (bass) and Kyle Moore (Band Of Orcs – drums), their debut EP, ‘Ruled By Hate’ was produced in 2015, with Max Zigman, (formerly of Son Of Aralius and Smargos), who later joined on rhythm guitar.

Since that first EP, FTD have supported Arnocorps and Battalion Of Saints, drawing a rapid fan base. Inspired by the likes of Pestilence, Demolition Hammer and Morbid Saint, FTD employs vicious aggression, down tuned guitars, heavily melodic grooves, lightning fast speed, cutting leads and screamo vocals. They’re a must see live act.

Jed Boole replaced Max Zigman in 2017 and the last album was created the same year. Entitled ‘Tales Of Torture’, it was launched April 2019, having been recorded with renowned metal producer/engineer Juan Urteago, from Trident Studios. His previous work includes Exodus’s ‘Shovel Headed Kill Machine’, etc. Touring to promote the new album will commence in October, with an appearance supporting crossover thrash legends DRI. Current drummer Brett Weiser will join them.

Kill – Rapid fire drum roll intro’s, followed by a hugely heavy, burning hot riff section, worthy of Venom themselves. Continuing down that same road of pure aggression, resonant of Testament, at their best, employing some notably impressive whammy and vibrato. Evil vocals, drums growing louder and heavier, battering their way to the end. To say this is some heavy shit is an understatement.

Say It To My Face – Searing guitars open, moving instantly, into a massively rifftastic section, once more, echoing Testament, at their loudest. Drums giving it their all, in a cuttingly vicious performance, growling vocals join in. Speed growing livelier and faster, this is one band who mean business. Still maintaining a clear, unstoppable rhythm, the bass comes into play, as the whammy section returns. Riffs almost stomping the darkened atmosphere into the ground. Melody’s still audible, but heavy is very much the watchword.

Tale Of Torture – Immensely heavy drum hits intro! Leading into electrified riffage, with relentless drumming support. Thrash extravaganza. Vicious lyrics you wouldn’t want to hear on a dark night. It’s just merciless. Picking up the pace some more, the heaviness just bleeds into you, with massive atmospheric pressure, as it beats your head to a pulp. Insanely physical, leaving your brain throbbing, like it’s been shaken in a combine harvester.

Reign Of Terror – Straight into another round of unearthly loud, metal aggression, making more use of vibrato and whammy in all the right places. Just intensely steel driven force. The speed alone’s a sound to behold. Some great riff melodies in there too. Reaching a level of heaviness out of this world. You’ll feel your floor vibrating. As if it wasn’t already fast enough, it speeds up even more, at the end. Closing on a hard-lined riff of epic speed.

Cult – Drums and riffs marching to an equally murderous beat. Just all-out killing aggression. Volume hitting earsplitting proportions, as those drumbeats show they’re out for blood. This is a taste of something on another level altogether. Really making use of those opportunities to introduce more whammy and lightning speed riffs. Ending on an intentful vocal, matching the explosive anger of the accompaniments.

Dirty Rig – No letup at all, it comes in on another floor destroying, wall shaking drum and riff section. Loving those riff pitches, adding visuals to the atmosphere. A steel phenomenon. Blood drenched vocals searing into your mind, dripping venom, as they enter. Electrified riffing does its thing, shredding your brain to bits. Epically heavy, from start to finish.

Trail Of Blood – Introing on a vein deep blast of solid riffage. Drums backing it up, with that same consistent level of ear obliterating volume. Becoming slightly Pantera-esque now. Gorgeous melting riff in there, amongst the metal mayhem. Really going for it with the speed vibrato and whammy, once more, towards the end, as the drumming gets more and more intense and the legendary numbers ‘666’ are burned into the vocals, to remember for all time.

Overall – ‘Tales Of Torture’ is a case in which you can see the album title being played out, within the audio. Suitably evil, it pours venom and blood from every orifice. If it’s possible for this album to get any louder or heavier, your eardrums would burst and your brain would seep out of your ears and bleed onto the carpet. What you’ll hear within ‘TOT’ is a heightened level of insistent aggression, from start to end and it’s a damned impressive sound. Mightily metallic.

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

For fans of Wreck-Defy, Testament, Venom, Pantera.


Posted August 30, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Illucia – ‘111’   1 comment

A traditional heavy metal band, from Bangalore, India, Illucia was founded in 2014. A trio, strongly inspired by the titans of heavy metal, such as Saxon, Omen, King Diamond, Accept, Manowar, Judas Priest, Dio, etc. Having performed live throughout the last 5 years, whilst prepping and recording original material, they’re now ready to unleash their debut 6 track EP, ‘111’ – due to be launched later this year.

Combining the traditional sound of old school heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll, ‘111’ aims to get your metal taste buds frothing, at first listen.

Intro – Beautifully poignant classical string, piano and acoustic intro. Brief, but very meaningful.

Lucy – Razor sharp metal riffs and heavy drums hit immediately. Highly unusual vocals, performed with a slight cultural marker, anthemic and cohesive from the start. Almost crossing into hypnotic trance territory, yet never losing its metallic flavour. Vibrant riffing. Group vocals give it the edge, straight away. This definitely has that indefinable, but unmistakable sense of escapist metal. Heavily riff centred, it ends on more of the same twangy, exuberant riffs.

Seraph Fiend – Opening with more sexy riffage. Very resonant of the greats of the golden era of metal. Melody, rhythm, catchy accessibility, the works. Deliciously heavy, whilst still remaining uplifting. Some simple descending riff scales play alongside the darkened metal vocals. Here, the drums loosen and it’s an abrupt, but memorable end.

111 – A short blast of metal riffs and drum’s intro’s, before moving into tangy Rose-esque vocals. Utilising the in and out speaker phenomena well, the timing’s flawless and for a debut, this is shaping up to be one impressive piece. Fast-paced shredding, warmly atmospheric and fairly G’N’R’-esque in style, echoing the ‘UYI’ years. Picking up the pace some more, the riffs really show what they’re made of. Maintaining the momentum, right up to the line.

The High Priest – Drum rolls open. Similar to the late great Bonham’s intro to ‘Rock And Roll’. Bringing it up and down in all the right places. There’s a cultured maturity to the sound and style, flowing naturally. Vocals lifting at just the right points. The riffage is immense and truly addictive, in places. Employing just a touch of whammy. Fading out on a vocal harmony.

Decimation Of The Circle – (D.O.T.C.) – Speed riffing intro’s, with zero hesitation). Showcasing that traditional mirror, from the off. Sound building, steadily, the edge clearly shows. Vocals climbing, as the drums grow more thunderous. Acute, heavily melodic and taking it up to siren level, eventually hitting its climax and then bringing it back down, to fade out, on a return to the classical form of the intro.

Overall – If this is a taste of things to come, then ‘111’ makes an excellent starter. Falling easily into the category of debuts you can’t quite believe are debuts, it’s got it all and it’ll blow you away. Highly recommended, ‘111’ is a refreshingly edgy, diverse EP, emphatically metallic and convincingly delivered.

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

For fans of Pantheon, G’N’R’, Iron Maiden, Hammerstroke, Slayer, Metal Church.

Posted August 29, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Black Income – ‘Loaded Gun’   Leave a comment

Newly released on August 23rd, 2019, on limited edition yellow vinyl, ‘unSOUND’ is the new album from Danish alt rockers Black Income. Featuring lead single ‘Loaded Gun’.

Influenced by the dangers inherent in current society and consequent decision-making, by those in power, the video features a few pertinent symbols, perhaps best left to the imagination.

Following on from the acclaimed album ‘Noise Pollution’, back in 2016, ‘unSOUND’ is a similar sound, boasting 9 tracks of heavy grooves and fiery riffs, stacked with melody and speed. Though it is a progression from ‘NP’, it still hasn’t lost the essential BI identity.

Having over 50 live appearances under their belts, BI have opened for the likes of Exumer (US), Bullet (SE), Tygers Of Pan Tang (UK) and more. Highly internationally esteemed, having had more than 1 million digital streams, BI are in fine form. Since the line-up was completed, in 2017, by Grammy award winner bassist and long-standing friend Michael Gersdorff (Superfuzz – DK), the material’s gone from strength to strength.

Loaded Gun – Introing with a blast of metal and a good powerful melody, resonant of Bryan Adams’ ‘Summer Of ’69’. Lots of heavy drumming forming the backbone. A strong anthemic flavour to the vocals. Tasty electrified riffage. Hitting those notes with precision. Swooping downwards, before soaring higher again, with that catchy melody, it’s memorable, with a well deployed beat. Very listenable.

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

For fans of Final Coil, Dan Trigger, A.I.C., Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Them Crooked Vultures.


Posted August 27, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Screamer – ‘Highway Of Heroes’   Leave a comment

Due for release on.October 11th, via The Sign Records, ‘Highway Of Heroes’ is the 4th studio album from Swedish metal band Screamer.

Known for their electrifying, thunderous sound, equally voluminous both live and recorded, Screamer emulate the Gods of traditional classic metal, whilst bringing a unique, enduring interpretation.

‘HOH’ follows the former 3 albums, ‘Adrenaline Distractions’ (2011), ‘Phoenix’ (2013) and ‘Hell Machine’ (2017), all of which were released through High Roller Records. The band have now moved on to The Sign Records.

Formed in Sweden, Screamer always keep it real and focus on the basic essentials.

Aiming for no more than performing to as many as possible, this simple approach has kept them actively touring, internationally. So far, they’ve toured alongside Bullet (2012 and 2018), Striker (2013), Evil Invaders (2013), Night Demon (2019), Satan (2019) and RAM (2019) etc.
Their festival appearances include Headbangers Open Air (2013), Rock Hard (2014), Summer Breeze (2014), Frost And Fire (2018), Muscelrock (2012, 2014, 2017, 2019) and Bang Your Head (2019). This is just a minuscule snapshot of their activities, to date. Now boasting 300 shows plus, their reputation has been well and truly cemented.

They’ve really gone to town on the song composition on ‘HOH’. This will be the first album with a full line-up, from which, they’ve evolved, as a band. The new album is also their first created with an external producer, whose input has polished ‘HOH’, to the max. Individually, each track offers something different and collectively, the tracks hold the power to sustain their ethos of all killer, no filler.

Recorded at The End Studio, mixed at the renowned Sunlight Studio and mastered by Patrik W Engel, from Temple Of Disharmony, ‘HOH’ contains 9 main tracks and a bonus CD/vinyl exclusive intro. Screamer are ready to embark on their European tour, after the launch of ‘HOH’.

‘HOH’ is available to pre-order now.

Intro – Good controlled intro. Moving, smoothly, into the riff. A slight sci-fi element enters. Building the tension,, gradually, it ends on a screeching riff.

Ride On – Straight in there, with a powered riff, very much in the style of Die No More. Vocals kick in, with a power matching that of the riffs. An anthemic quality suffuses this. Combining the sounds of classic G’N’R’ and Priest and still sounding fresh. Hell’s Gazelles fans should dig this. Strong, sharp, to the point.

Shadowhunter – Coming in, clearly and unhesitantly, with an electrifying riff. Melody abounds, very much a traditional sound, with visions of the night infusing its atmosphere. Immaculately timed, evidently enthused and so, so catchy. Standout track right here. Great power screams end it).

Rider Of Death – Right in there, with fast-paced riffing and melodic vocals. Taking you right back to the old school sound, in an instant. Very decent audio production. Again, those screams do it a lot of justice. The riffing’s immense and so precise. Not a beat missed. Contagious and addictive.

Sacrifice – Taking the tones up a bit now, spacing out the drums slightly and still retaining that intensely infectious flavour. True metal therapy. This is the sound all staunch metal fans are after and it carries the massively catchy feel with it. So engaging, involving and atmospheric. Songwriting and melody at its best.

Halo – Another thrillingly fast rhythm. Chasing you down and filling your head with action sequences. Palpably exciting. More group vocals here. An edge of acuity to this, still intently melodically focused. Consistently precise, it ends on another riff, seeming to steer into the skid).

Highway Of Heroes – Opening with a solid couple of drum hits, followed by that same electric riff sound. Naturally metallic vocals. The melody’s what this band are all about and it shows. That’s the obvious strength of their sound. Hugely anthemic and singalong catchy. The pace just carries you away.

Out Of The Dark – Straight out metal riff intro’s. Back to the days of traditional old school metal, once more. Just melody filled and genuinely accessible. In fact, I’d defy you not to get into this one. You could call it party metal, but that just wouldn’t do it full justice.

Towers Of Babylon – Very Powervice-esque intro! Thought-provoking, but still catchy lyrics. These guys really are masters of melody and masters of the skilled art and craft of songwriting. Absolutely flawless delivery and never losing or even compromising on the catch or the rhythm, for a single moment).

Caught In Lies – Riff shredding opens, onto a metallic landscape worthy of the best. The vocals really shine here, showing their strength, in abundance. Such intuitive flow, taking you with it. This here is real feelgood metal, at its best. High-calibre melody, to the nth degree. Getting inside you, like a welcome contagion. Just pure metal bliss, from start to finish.

Overall – ‘Highway Of Heroes’ is very aptly titled, as that’s exactly what it is. This is what would result if all the old school Gods of metal got together and jammed, incessantly. It’s on another plane of genius and addiction altogether. Faultless and relentlessly enjoyable, ‘HOH’ is the epitome of melodic metal songcraft.

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

For fans of Hell’s Gazelles, Powervice, Journey, Saxon, Whitesnake, Judas Priest, old G’N’R’ line-up, Live, Die No More, White Wizzard.

Posted August 23, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Twin Seeds – ‘Parallel Knight’   Leave a comment

Portuguese metal band Twin Seeds have released a video for their track, ‘Parallel Knight’, from the forthcoming EP, ‘Red Powder’, due for release on September 6th, 2019.

Founded by Diogo Ferreira, Twin Seeds is mainly instrumental music, much in the vein of Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Paul Gilbert, Buckethead, Scale The Summit, Dead Combo, Mono, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater and Deftones. TS aims to merge all the sounds and genres of the aforementioned artists, as an experimental project, to catalyse further exploration into the philosophies and feelings rooted in those sounds.

Parallel Knight – Instant hit of clearly Vai-Satriani-esque riff melodies). Much like their brand of colourful psychedelia. A very refreshing change from the standard and highly listenable. Good to see the focus being and staying on the music. The visuals are mainly muted background colours anyway, adding to the restful element of the music. There are drums, but it’s mostly two guitars, with one doing most of the lead work and the other supporting. Strongly atmospheric and hugely enjoyable. I could easily listen on endless repeat. A new Vai-Satriani hybrid is born).

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

For fans of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Slash’s solo material.


Posted August 20, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Dizastra – ‘Vae Victus’   Leave a comment

Ahead of their forthcoming album, ‘Elder Sun’, expected later this year, Dizastra have independently released their new video single, ‘Vae Victus’. Following on from 2015 EP ‘Hell’s Gate’, ‘VV’ is the first single on ‘ES’.

Hailing from Montréal, Canada, Dizastra combine black, thrash and melodic metal, to create a sound at once evil and malevolent.

The theme of ‘VV’ is an image of riding a dragon through Hades and as such, it attempts a concoction of screamo vocals, thunderous drums, earthshaking bass and lively solos.

As heavy as it sounds, ‘VV’ actually illuminates the tiny budget they were working within, to bring to light the Tolkien-esque narrative, of time travel and fantastical adventure. It conveys an internationally popular and accessible mixture of wizards, warriors, battle and friendship.

A quartet, boasting Wacken Metal Battle Canada finalist and long-standing participant of Québec’s Heavy Montréal Music Fest, Matt Conti, Dentis Stoisin, Nathan Afilalo (Dissension) and Petey Giampa (Venomenon) complete the line-up. Dizastra have been identified as an emerging strength in Québec’s heavy metal underground and also throughout Canada. ‘ES’ looks set to solidify their place in the collective memory of fans and bands alike, as heavy metal titans.

‘VV’ was mixed, mastered and recorded by Carl Roberge and co-produced with Carl Roberge and Dizastra. It’s available to stream and download, on all main digital platforms.

Vae Victus – Unusual orchestral intro. From wurlitzer to instant speed metal, with fantasy images, the death thrash vocals add the evil maleficence. Much like an action fantasy superhero movie, it’s definitely got the intrigue element down. Great power riffs, clear passion and good striking contrasts between scenes. This’ll keep you interested and on your toes. Lots of changing scenes and a strong thrash emphasis throughout. Still more power and speed than thrash, though.

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

For fans of RAM, Enforcer, Portrait, Altheniko, In Solitude, Cast Iron, Pantera, Trivium.

Posted August 17, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Strike Master – ‘Strong As Hell’   Leave a comment

Mexican thrash band Strike Master have now launched their debut single and video, ‘Strong As Hell’, taken from the forthcoming EP, ‘Death Based Illusions’. Due for release in November 2019. Three singles and associated videos will be released, ahead of the full EP, planned to be physically and digitally available.

Strong As Hell – Rapid intro, with jungle drum beats joining the thrash riffs. Pantera-esque thrash vocals, echoing the track ‘Domination’, in places. Lots of percussive emphasis. Sound values could definitely do with being boosted. Timing well kept. Slightly rough production, somewhat rushed, but the overall quality is good.

Strong As Hell video – Much better audio production on here. Some classic clips of rehearsals and live shows. A shot of the Golden Gate Bridge and some random scenes of various other places. Flash photography intermittently. Plenty of enthusiasm there and a traditional thrash metal feel. Just nothing memorable and it’s missing the excitement and verve. All in all, an average track.

5/10 *****

For fans of Pantera, Testament.


Posted August 13, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Steve Blower – ‘Back In Hell’   42 comments

11 tracks long, ‘Back In Hell’ is the debut solo release by Steve Blower (Hamerex).

Following the announcement of Hamerex going on hiatus, in June 2018, work on ‘BIH’ began. Initially a 6 track, originally titled ‘Facilis Descensus Averno’, it later grew into a full-length album, updated and improved. Funded with assistance from fans, post announcement, during August 2018, via pre-orders, its planned release was delayed, by 5 months, due to Steve suffering serious drumming related wrist injuries.

All music is written and performed by Steve, who also created the cover art. It was co-mixed and mastered by Andy Firth.

Scheduled release is TBC, but fans can still purchase a special edition ‘BIH’ album, featuring an ‘FDA’ disc, through Bandcamp.

Back In Hell – Instant hit of metal power! Very classic sounding riff and Priest-esque vocals. Highly melodic, from the start. Palpable passion and plenty of speed. An involving listen. Slightly flat in places, but some tricky notes in there and generally, he hits them well.

The Whisperer – Straight in there, with melodic riffage and rhythm). Faster paced, but not by much. A little flat here and there, again, but as before, he achieves some awkward tones and the passion’s still present and audible. The accompaniments fit well, the rhythm’s always precise and there’s an easy warmth about it.

What’s Left Of Me – Drums introing, right in there, with some well handled vocals. It’s very much a traditional metal sound, with a strong power/speed emphasis. Stacked with melody. Very well emoted. Good placing of accompaniments. Timing spot on. It just gets stronger and stronger, as it goes on. Loads of conviction there. Closing on a very powerful riff melody.

The Prophet – Darker, bass intro, with a slower drum beat in the background. Merging together, in sync, the mood’s laid out clearly. Immediately atmospheric, the vocals sound increasingly comfortable now. Memorable beat. Great riff solo. Cleverly structured, in a more instrumental fashion, every aspect has its day. Definitely catchy and ending on a rhythmic riff and drum hit.

Arabian Nights – Bang! That intro plainly echoes W.A.S.P.’s ‘War Cry’ and it works extremely well. Adding that well established chasing pace, so beloved of many a metal legend, it proves its melodic chops, in every capacity. Keeping that momentum, with complete seamlessness). The riffs really come into their own here and close the track, with a single cymbal hit.

Out Of This World – Sudden leap into Celtic sounding riffs, but it’s fresh and it works! Massively melodic emphasis here. A real standout track. More so for being fully instrumental. Energised and filled with pizzazz).

The Midas Touch – Heaviness opens with thunderous drumming and matching riffage. Steady rhythm, great pitches working their way in there, suffusing it with tension and elation. Really well arranged track, giving the riffs the full opportunity to shine. Alternating between that thunder heavy sound and the lighter soaring quality. Again, it’s another instrumental and this time, the drums are carefully interspersed. Steadily gravitating to the finish, it leaves a positive impression.

Twisted Evolution – Low down bass intro, with some precision riff shrieking. Moving into the flow, with that darkened heaviness, so addictive to metallers). Guaranteed crowd involvement, as a live track. Engaging and accessible, easy to follow. It just flows). Vocals skilfully matched with the tone and timbre of the accompaniments. Gorgeous melodic riffage. Good spaces between the drum beats. A very natural feel about this. Artfully conveyed dark mood and atmosphere. Fading out on a mid-paced riff.

The Slain/Ties That Bind – Opening with a sinister heartbeat and a similarly poignant riff. Vocals painting a clear picture. Very visual. Almost alarmingly so. Moving into faster, heavier territory now. Effective lyrics. Sound values just as impressive as the rest. Slightly Dickinson-esque vocals here. Very open, courageous lyrical themes. Racing riffing speeds it up, with absolute precision. That timing’s just an ace. Real power in this track. Ending on a very Maiden-esque vocal and gentle riff, followed by a return to the ominous heartbeat.

Haunting Misery – Instantaneous riff power and melody intro’s. Great involving pace. You’ll recognise a line in here from Skid Row’s ‘Psycho Love’, with just a brief alteration). Speeding up again, the riffs take centre stage once more, galloping along, in pursuit, like Horseman Vikings. Running on into the distance, that’s how it ends.

The World Is Ablaze – Drumming intro, much in the vein of Priest’s ‘Judas Rising’ and ‘Ram It Down’. Continuing in the same way, it’s an impressive demo of Steve’s abilities and his vocals really come forward here, in all their glory. Holding those notes so well, it closes on a similarly Priest-esque section, combining vocals and accompaniments, including some cymbal action, to top it off.

Overall – Stunningly good performance, ‘BIH’ is an impressive solo and its audio production is flawless. Consistent delivery throughout, enabling listeners to access the mood of the tracks, through catchy melodies and carefully crafted arrangements. Resonant, as a classic, old school sound, with passion and conviction burning throughout it, ‘BIH’ should definitely whet the appetites of all true heavy metal fans.

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

For fans of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, W.A.S.P., Skid Row.

Posted August 10, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

HellgardeN – ‘Learned To Play Dirty’   Leave a comment

Founded in 2015,  HellgardeN  is a Brazilian metal quartet, which became an active band in 2017. They were born out of not just a love of metal, but also a desire to strengthen the core of the Brazilian metal scene. They’ve been playing music together since they were pre-teens.

It took till 2017 to complete the line-up and their first gig was opening for Krisiun. Many more gigs and prestigious festival appearances followed. During these shows, HellgardeN shared the stage with some internationally renowned bands. They produced their album, at the same time. So far, fan response to the live performances of the album material has been exceptional.

The album was eventually recorded in the latter half of 2018, in Petropolis city, Rio de Janeiro, by producer Lisciel Franco, at Forest Lab Studios. Entitled ‘Making Noise, Living Fast’, it went straight to tape.

Prior to its still awaited release, the band resumed live shows, including a slot at another fest in their home city, where they performed with Aquiles Priester and Clawn (a successful local death metal band).

On 12th July 2019, HellgardeN launched their first official video, for the track ‘Learned To Play Dirty’, from the ‘MNLF’ album.

Learned To Play Dirty – Straight in there, with a crushingly heavy intro. Good rhythm, from the start. Very Pantera-esque! Almost a Phil Anselmo carbon copy, in fact! All the killing aggression and song structure to go with it. Some very decent shredding in there and a faint vibrato, but never letting go of that raging hostility, for a moment. A fairly Grand Magus-esque riff descent in there, too. Noticeably riff-centred. Fading out on the same metallic screech). That’s a track with real memorability.

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

For fans of Pantera, Grand Magus, Obey.

Posted August 5, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Arapacis – ‘Paradox Of Denial’   Leave a comment

Founded 2003, by guitarist Jerry Fielden, Arapacis is a female fronted metal band, from Montréal, Canada. Scots vocalist Shelle Macpherson fronts. Jerry also features on bass, drums, drum programming, synths and mandolin. The ethos of the band is to emulate certain elements of 1970’s hard rock and prog rock and combine it with 21st-century prog, doom and metal, creating an intriguing hybrid. They succeed in doing just this. Especially with this new release.

They’ve previously played alongside the likes of Blaze Bayley, Uli John Roth, Anvil, Raven, The Agonist, Doro and more. 2006 saw the 1st of their many releases, ‘So Many Leapers’. The next album, ‘Consequences Of Dreams’, launched in 2009 and their 3rd, ‘Netherworld’, came out digitally, in 2011 and on CD in 2012. ‘Déjà-vu’, a remix EP of older material, appeared in 2013, followed by 4th album, ‘A Disturbing Awakening’ (2014), ‘System Deceiver’ (2016), ‘Obsolete Continuum’ (2018) and the most recent production, is their other EP collection of older tracks, entitled ‘Deja Doom’, also in 2018, on Blackhouse Records.

To date, a selection of guest contributors have featured on their albums, including: Guy Leblanc (RIP) of Carmel and Nathan Mahl, Steph Honde of Di’ Anno and Hollywood Monsters, Don Airey, of Deep Purple, Rainbow, Jethro Tull etc, Vinnie Appice, of Black Sabbath, Dio, David Stone, of Rainbow and Max Webster and John Gallagher, of Raven, etc. This, their 7 track 7th album, ‘Paradox Of Denial’, is released August 2019.

Order Of The Ember Queen – Introing with a very bluesy groove, with a strong folky element, conveyed in a heavy vocal. Straight away, there’s a powerful catch to it and a slight early psychedelia echo, playing around with a hint of sci-fi. Loving those sharp feminine vocals! A clear edge of punk attitude shows through them and 3/4 in, you’ll hear some inventive riffs. It’s a very fulsome track, with plenty of percussion elements. Breathing through the space, before the end, there’s a very refreshing tinge to this.

Pressure Cooker – Opening on a gorgeously sexy deep heavy blues riff, it’s addictive, from the off. Vocals combining lilting Kate Bush styles, with strong punk and groove. Tons of character to this. Again, some great riffage and a strong southern rock beat. It’s a brilliant combo of vocal acuity and solid instrumentals, almost sludgy, in their tone and emphasis. Just a fresh, vibrant track.

Propaganda Messiah – Starting off on a slight slide riff, now the vocals move into death growl territory. Suddenly alternating that with more sharpened tones again, further emphasising the depth of the accompaniments. Shifting up the scales now, taking it into lighter arenas, showcasing the riff mastery. Definitely a notable edge to those blackened sections, on which, it closes.

Dirty Soap – Drums opening, with a solid, inherently sensuous blues riff. Honestly, you could just climb inside that riff. Those fabulously high-pitched vocals return, complemented perfectly by the beautifully melodic riffage, with which, they’re in sync. This here is some heavy duty chemistry and a rare type, at that. Still, injecting a few more ragged edges, just adding magic and ending on a gloriously indulgent laugh, while the riff slides out, beside it).

The Devil’s Prince – Heavy combo of drums and riffs intro’s, getting right into its stride and showcasing the blues, in traditional fashion. The Whitesnake influence is well audible here. This time, the vocals fade into the background, in places, displaying a softer side. Next, a descending tower of riff scales does its thing, before returning to more of a slide emphasis. Lots of clear cymbal action, too. The timing’s exquisitely good, showing natural flow. Vocals emitting a final darkened shriek, before the sound takes us elsewhere, to a looser, more laid-back arrangement, altogether, yet still reflecting a few tighter riffs, as it fades out.

Spearhead – Solid riff and drum beat opens. Instantly catchy melody, this time, with a second female vocalist joining the first. More of a vocal emphasis here, with a slightly simpler accompaniment, but still exploding into colourful flashes of light, here and there. It’s just so plausibly performed, with almost palpable conviction. Razor-tipped vocals give it so much flavour and it ends on a lightly sinister riff.

Paradox Of Denial – Wow! Fabulously exotic intro! Real instrumental quality. Whispered vocals adding to the intrigue, before segueing into singing, in those incredibly heightened tones. The blacker aspect interweaves them again, as the deep, down tuned, stoner-type accompaniments do their thing. Gradually moving into much softer landscapes, with a mystical edge, before taking it back up to solid, floor dropping stuff, once more. It’s a real interplay of conflicting styles. Coming together, in a show of multicoloured sounds, at the end.

Overall – Impressive stuff. ‘POD’ is Arapacis’s best album yet. It’s solid, with an intuitive grasp of expression and it’s altogether heavier than before, yet still leaves room for lighter sections, where necessary. Vocally, there’s a real standout quality and generally, a great blend of depth and light. The feel for the groove is immense and the blues aspect shines out. A remarkable album, both unique and classic, in delivery.

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

For fans of Whitesnake, Voodoo Blood, Kate Bush, Muddy Moonshine, Electric Wizard.

Recorded and mixed by Jerry Fielden.
Mastered by BandLab
Produced by Jerry Fielden and Shelle Macpherson
Production Assistance – Jenny Haan (Spearhead)

Cover art – Michael Lee Jackson
Background Pics – courtesy of NASA
Layout – Jerry Fielden

Featured guests:
David Stone (Rainbow)/Max Webster – track 1 – keyboards, Lorrie Snyder (Montréal blues/jazz singer) – track 3 – scat jazz vocals, Dwane Dixon (Montréal Blues man) – track 4 – lead guitar, Gillan Macpherson-Briggs (JF and SM’s 8 year old son) – track 6 – backing vocals, Kayla Dixon (Witch Mountain/Dress The Dead) – track 6 – lead vocals, 1st verse and backing vocals, on rest, Steph Honde (Di’ Anno/Hollywood Monsters) – track 7 – lead guitar, Mark Focarile (Mile Marker Zero) – track 7 – synth lead, Philippe Mius D’ Entremont (Montréal cellist) – track 7 – cello, Gwendolyne Krasnicki (Montréal violinist) – track 7 – viola.

Posted August 2, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized