Archive for September 2019

Shadow’s Far – ‘Ninety-Nine’   Leave a comment

Shadow’s Far, from Uri, Switzerland, formed in 1999. With 3 full albums and the initial demo to their names, all of which were sold out, SF have already received plenty of positive acclaim. Their music straddles various metal genres, combining melodic, thrash, death and Scandinavian. As a live act, their engaging, lively energy has also become popular.

Having performed a great deal in their home country and Europe, SF have also toured and played festivals throughout Europe, Ireland, etc.

Amongst the bands they’ve played alongside to date are Coroner, Tankard, Sinister, Eluveitie, Legion Of The Damned, Entombed, Evocation, Hatesphere, Evile, Grave, Accuser, Samael, Sonic Syndicate, etc.

Being a close-knit, incredibly passionate band, they hope to continue bringing the metal to the masses, for many more years.

The discography of SF so far consists of ‘Lost In Contemplation’ (demo, 2004), ‘Eleven Sins’ (album, 2007), ‘As Black Turns Red’ (album, 2009) and this, the current album, ‘Ninety-Nine’ (2019).
All were recorded at Hedgehog Recording Studios, Switzerland, released on Stonepath Records, Switzerland, ‘LIC’ and ‘ABTR’ were mixed at Stage One Studio, Germany, ‘ES’ at Hedgehog RS and ‘NN’ at Antfarm Studio, Denmark.

Their music’s also accessible through most digital platforms.

99 – Unusual intro, filled with intrigue and suspense and starting off with gentle acoustics, then exploding into loud, expressive metal. Careful artistry’s audible, right from the start. Short, but aptly so, as it builds the tension well.

Propaganda – Similar start, but getting into the thrash effect a lot sooner. Vicious vocals, clear melody and a decent, accessible mid-paced rhythm. This is performed in a style which lets the song breathe. Consequently, it’s easier to focus on.

One Shot One Kill – A united riff intro, showing an effective display of cohesion. Growing the sound, with a gradual pace and staying consistent with the quality and rhythm. Thrashy, whilst well controlled. Drums coming to the forefront, briefly, in the latter sections. Great vocal momentum there, taking it to the end.

Rebound Of Greed – Opening with the same wind tunnel effect as previously, but introducing a darker thread, this time. The heaviness builds, as the thrash continues, melding with a deathy flavour. Here, the pace quickens, in tandem with the increased heaviness and darkness. Definitely more death oriented, but taking care to keep the vocals audible.

Headshot – Bang! A single drum hit and riff opens. Moving right into a melo-death section, suitably sinister around the edges. It heightens the coldness of the atmosphere, injecting it with enough melody to keep the lyrics clear and maintain listenability. Smooth delivery, always coherent and cohesive.

Land Of The Dead – Another fast-paced intro, getting into an immediate flow of thrash. The aggression’s there, showing its wares and climbing higher. Very vocally focused, it’s pretty much a shouty scream-fest, throughout and as such, it works well.

Our Last Sunset – Strong riff intro, returning to the more melodic sound. The aggro’s still there in the vocals, but this time, the melody’s lifted. Notably rhythmic, good rumbling drum sound, gathering pace and working in a physicality. Towering heights and depths of scales add that crucial effect of visual evocation. Building on a catchy chorus and fading out on a collective tone.

Cast The First Stone – Drums opening heavily, throwing in some cymbal action. Leading into a riff fest, working closely with the vocal rage. That aggro suits this track well. Once again, the drumming power builds, growing stronger and louder, till the volume takes a back seat, while the pace comes forward, with the vocal aggression. Definitely much more centred around the rhythm and ending abruptly, but sharply.

I Will Spit On Your Grave – Introing with an instant acuity, fluidly moving into the next angrier stage. Developing well. More of a bass emphasis here, lower in tone and more rounded, heightening vocal pitch, to stand out more, amongst the down tuned guitars.

Forsaken – Cymbals joining with the drums, at the intro, lightening the sound slightly. As vocally effective as ever, drums spacing out the harder, heavier hits, in places and bringing them together, in others. Just a great effectual surround to a melody swinging between thrash, melo-death and metal core. Eventually, becoming more melodic. Still, it doesn’t lose the rawness, though.

Turn The Page – Fast-paced intro, delivering a lively, excitable melody. Again, it’s still got that edge, but the rhythm picks up and with it, the visual imagery. Alternating the flow of the pace, here and there, gravitating towards classic mosh pit territory. There, it ends).

Overall – Impressively performed, from start to finish, ‘Ninety-Nine’ combines many metallic skills and angles. It’s consistently aggressive, melodic, yet thrashy, dark, but light and ultimately, it retains momentum, throughout. Working well on numerous levels, ‘NN’ reveals a diligently crafted album, based on considered techniques and obvious metal skill and dedication.

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

For fans of Skreamer, Centrilia, Usurper.

Posted September 4, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Rebel Riot – ‘The Good, The Bad And The Heavy’   Leave a comment

Rebel Riot, a Latvian quartet, around since 2007, play hard rock and heavy metal, with a sound influenced by 70’s and 80’s bands.

‘The Good, The Bad And The Heavy’, their latest studio album, launched in November 2016, was highly acclaimed, not just amongst fans, but also overseas and via its nomination in the Latvian music awards, categorising it amongst the top 5 Latvian rock and metal records, during 2016. Their debut tour began in Central and Eastern Europe, during the latter half of 2017.

Rebel Riot got together at high school, inspired by their shared love of classic rock and metal. They still continue to maintain that flavour in their music. The strong, acuity of the vocals, complex fretwork, female led drumming and unique stage performances assist in sustaining that sound.

Securing wins at numerous regional band contests cemented the signature style of their first 3 albums, ‘Make A Mess’ (2010), ‘Destructive Chaos’ (2012) and of course, ‘The Good, The Bad And The Heavy’ (2016). Since then, they’ve performed in literally hundreds of venues, including festivals, around the Baltic states. In addition, they’ve appeared in Finland, Belarus, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Germany and the Netherlands. The most memorable was opening for Accept, in Riga, in 2012.

Big Fat City – Wow! Hugely bluesy intro! Immediately catchy, with classically metallic vocals and melody. It should be compulsory to like this. Loaded with rocky flavour and melodic greatness. Riffing to the max. Just divine. It’s infectious, in a big way. Those vocals are just so impassioned, so enthused and so damned lovable. Coming to a rapid halt, with palpable skidding into the steer). Awesome start.

Lucifer – Another taste of heavy blues rock, with a southern twang. Meant for metal vocals, for certain. Flawless delivery, stacked to the decks with catch and metallic thrills. This is just immense and it takes you back to the glory days of old school hair metal aceness. Heavily riff centred, throughout and sexily performed, it rocks damn hard!

Dark Wizard – Opening on an electrifying riff and hard edged drum beats. Chanting vocals, evolving rapidly, into truly heavy sounds. Hitting a faster pace, filling the atmosphere with delicious heaviness. Always retaining that contagious rhythm, with a hint of Megadeth style within it, it’s sharp, defined and to the point.

Lightworker – Coming in gradually, with an in and out speaker effect and some initially gentle riffs, till it picks up the beat and hardens them up again. That fabulous bass line really identifies this one, building the catchy melody into it, from the off. Utilising some classic lyrics, transporting you once more, to those magical hair metal days and keeping the fervour going. Jump in the pit and join it.

When The Stars Align – Introing with a powerful southern sound, likely to appeal to any fellow fans of that branch of metal, from the start. Heavy enough to consume. It’s inherently sexy and holds that unmistakable crunch common to all good southern blues rock and metal. Faultless, all the way and completely seamless. It just slides into the groove and stays there.

Legacy – Drum kick introing. Straight into another sensual performance, accentuating the riffs and their significance. Just an extraordinarily sensual sound, that pulls you in and refuses to let go. There’s literally nothing to dislike about this and everything to love. Feel the release, as it seduces you into its lair. It’s massively  riff focused, once more and it just never errs or stalls for a minute. Such incredible natural flow and here’s where the drums really come into their own, too. A hotbed of metallic delights.

Walk It Like You Talk It – Instant drum hits, with enormous catch and every bit as much catch, in the punky lyrical attitude. A metal rollercoaster, to ride again and again. A much briefer track, but it certainly leaves its mark.

Preacher Of Lies – Slower intro, using a bit of feedback and echo, combined with some ritual style drumming and melody. Visually evocative of heavy metal warriors, marching intently, into battle. Then moving straight into yet another out of this world metal melody, delivered in that same now unmistakable classic drawl. A traditional sound, but still fresh with its own unique take on things. Great bit of whammy in there, as it lurches towards the next section. Some true metal talent lives here. You’ve just got to love that vocal power. Ending on an equally powered riff.

Green Dragon – Introing on a slightly darker riff, intriguing in its way. Drums get even heavier and now, there’s more than a hint of Sabbath-esque atmosphere. Every section’s so brilliantly conveyed, it leaves you hanging on its every note. Tasty, in a huge way. Massively rhythmic and again, oh so catchy. Building that momentum, as the pace picks up and the pitch heightens. You couldn’t fail to get into it and its drive’ll leave you spinning. Fading out, on a thrill ride of riffery, playing with volume, till its finale, of audible palpability of fingers completing the last slide riff and quickly leaving the frets.

Overall – Spectacular is just one way to summarise ‘TGTBATH’. This is one which’ll stick in your memory, after the first listen. It truly does have it all and more. A dramatic rifftastic explosion of metal, in a traditional format, delivered with a new spin. To call it incredibly sexy is an understatement and it’ll take you to the heights. One spin of this and you’ll be lost to it forever.

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

For fans of Megadeth, Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Anthrax, Skid Row, Van Halen, Black Stone Cherry, Line Of Fire, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Danzig, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Overhung.

Edited with Afterlight


Posted September 3, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Devastruction – ‘Space Force One’   Leave a comment

Devastruction were formed in 2016 and launched their debut EP, ‘Thrash Force Attack’ in 2017. A 6 track original, ‘TFA’ was self produced, in the rehearsal room. They then began performing amongst the metal underground, alongside Stallion, Rezet, Space Chaser, Iron Kobra, Idle Hands, etc.

Working creatively with their sound and style, their debut album, ‘Space Force One’ was produced at DNA Studios, Menden, early 2019. As the title track was influenced by the US military space programme, the rest of the album is constructed around that concept, using humour, combined with serious socio-political, analytical subject material, re-alien encounters. In sound and style, ‘SFO’ moves in the more determined direction they intended, utilising thrash metal speed riffs and sustained vocal aggression.

Civilised – Straight in there with insistent thrash riffs and a ton of power. Impressive screams, still making the vocals audible. Great metal rhythm, group vocals combining, at points, seamless and well paced. A sinister note makes itself heard, at the end. Closing on a smoothly delivered riff.

Men In Black – Drums taking centre stage now. More of a spoken vocal emphasis. Picking up the pace, a few bars in and letting the shredding take over. Again, it alternates between solo and backing vocals, working well for the style. Safe to say, this is obviously where the satirical approach comes in, but those riffs are always intent. Light-hearted, yet still heavily metallic. Full throttle riffing taking it to the close. A clever memorability is woven into ‘MIB’.

Black Power – Another instant blast of metal power. Rattling on, at speed. Very riff focused. Great vocal efforts, screaming through the track. Drums rumbling forwards. More full band vocals interweaving with solos. Alternating the pace, 3/4 in, echoing D.R.I.’s ‘Beneath The Wheel’, just before the end.

Church Of Fear – Ace riff intro! Vibrant and convincing. Very new wave techniques employed here. Liking that familiar chorus, emphasising its catch. This is the standout track, so far. Metallica fans will definitely get off on this. As will fans of Farseer and Black Tide. Very much speed oriented, throughout. A particularly intelligent melding of Maiden and Metallica styles in here and it works noticeably well.

Titan Rain – Much the same, but even faster. Very involved sound, especially vocally. This is a notably strong track, with a heavier feel. Again, some echoes of classic tracks, here and there. It’s just very intense, packing a fuller sound. Drums maintaining a solidly consistent beat throughout. Ending on a riff and cymbal hit.

Space Force One – Heavy, controlled intro, brooking no argument. Sliding into the riffs and, utilising some very impacting fretwork there, just rolling the riffs over, to match the drums. Growing catchier, as it continues. Based around one specific riff and bass line, adding the higher pitches over the top. Again, it’s another impressive track.

Abducted – Opening on a more melodic front, raining warm metal riffs). Gradually building the sound, employing many of the same tactics. The sci-fi angle’s definitely clear. This track could just do with a few chord changes and progressions, though.

Tarantula’s Den – Introing with what’s probably the heaviest sound yet and it’s certainly attention grabbing. Increasing the speed, throwing in some more screams, for good measure. One thing’s for sure – it’s very cohesive and slots together well. Decent arrangements. Good retention of momentum. The energy’s spot-on for the contents. Building it up some more, towards the end and closing on a darkened riff.

Overall – ‘Space Force One’ is pretty much as expected and described. Good musicianship and creative song structure. Keeping momentum particularly well. The heaviness is there, as is the light, but it’s just lacking anything new or novel and does get a bit repetitive. No quarrel with the delivery or the flow at all, but it just needs some excitement and spark added to it.

8/10 ********

For fans of D.R.I., Metallica, Iron Maiden, Black Tide, Farseer, NWOBHM, speed/power, generally.

Posted September 1, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized