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USURPER – ‘Beyond The Walls Of Ice’   Leave a comment

Chicago metal extremists USURPER now have a new track released as a YouTube sample listen. ‘Beyond The Walls Of Ice’ is taken from the imminent 8 track album, ‘Lords of the Permafrost’, due for release on March 22nd, through Soulseller Records. It can be pre-ordered online.

Beyond The Walls Of Ice – Thudding heavy bass and riffs introing, with a very mosh friendly beat. Proper growly vocals, darkly conveyed and lots of catchy, mid-paced riffing. Plenty of slide and bottleneck style, commanding most of the track, with a very heavy presence. Ending definitively, on more of the same. It definitely does create an aural impression of icy visual landscapes and given that, it’s ease of performance and it’s clear production, it does its job well.

8/10 ********

For fans of Amon Amarth

Pre-order links:   (USA).


Posted February 20, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Motive – ‘Fight The World’   Leave a comment

Founded June 1999, Motive now has a new line-up, enhancing the new wave, decimating sound with which they identify.
Their current album, ‘Fight The World’, was launched on December 1st, 2018 and is universally available, through all digital platforms. Presently on tour in America, they’re 6 shows down, with 14 more to go and plans to add to that figure.

Thrash Priest – Blistering intro, making an immediate indelible impression. That really is a full force metal attack. The steam roller effect here’ll go down well with fans of Spreading The Disease. It’s a sound edging towards blackness, but with more of a thrash focus, leaning heavily on the heaviness itself. One thing that can definitely be said for this is that it’s intense and immensely so. Picture a gigantic boulder coming towards you, in slow motion, then gathering speed and add a heavy metal soundtrack. Now you’re there.

One With The Water – Now the riffs take centre stage, with the heavily thrashy vocals, carrying a hint of death. There’s actually a Viking-esque sound to this, along with some great exciting fretwork and it’s played at breakneck speed. This is one of those indefinably catchy tracks, with that something unique and special about it. Heavy’s an understatement and it’s just delightfully forceful and ferocious.

Boycott Your Boycott – Another blistering opening, like a metallic aperture, tearing itself to shreds. Lively, lethal and energising. Magnificent shredding, melodic and crushing, in equal measure. Loaded with power and Lamb Of God echoes, this should come with a ‘warning – risk of exploding eardrums’ label.

Evil In The Devil – Change of tack now, moving down a gear, with some gentle acoustic tones, still sinister, but revealing a lighter side, at least initially, till it bursts back into life again, with menacing aggression. The level of power within this is quite awesome. Liking the vocal changes, from low-down masculine depth, to blackened, full frontal anger. It really does depict its title well.

Grass Ain’t Greener – Drumming hitting the nail right on the head, with instant rhythm and earsplitting all-round sound. The driven rhythm leads the way here, ably assisted by catchy tones and a deadly and increasingly blackened vocal. Alternating, at the mid-section, with a briefly slower pace, then the aggression hits again. Like coming face-to-face with a rabid, slavering beast.

An Act Of God – Drumming blitz intro’s, with a catchy melody and memorable pace. Some fabulous bass work, laying down a solid foundation and an exhilarating rhythm speeds it along. A real headbanger, with undeniable mosh appeal.

Goodbye Again – Very stop start, Metallica-esque style to this one, but with even more thrash and tasty heaviness. Again, that Viking edge creeps back in, adding colourful visuals. Experimenting with pace alternations and reloading with more of the by now familiar speed. Real passion in those vocals and a very slight southern blues echo, at times. The heaviness is unrelenting and deliciously so.

Digital Slave – Immediate hit, getting straight in there, with a fast-paced thread and a vocal sound like a sped up Crash Test Dummies, crossed with a classic southern blues crunch. It’s wild, untameable and free.

Fight The World – Banging intro, solid and brooking no argument. A damn good heavy metal title track. Quick paced, with a rapid-fire drumming fest and another Lamb Of God echo. Real thrash material, with deathy leanings and a well-defined ending. Acute, like a volcanic eruption.

Headstones And Pictures – Another instant hit, opening with probably the catchiest, moshiest sound yet. Filled to the brim with terrorising metal and packed with volume. That rumble of thunder returns and this time, the boulder’s picked up speed and is about to crush you flat. Truly decimating. All over before you know it, but not before it’s blown your brains out, with a full-scale steel assassination.

Overall – Powerful doesn’t even begin to cut it. ‘Fight The World’ creates a solid impression of doing just that, with all guns blazing and a sniper ready, just to cover all angles. It’s monumentally thunderously aggressive, from start to finish. You wouldn’t want to screw with Motive, that’s for sure. Prepare to blow your own brains out, with sheer volume and power alone. A monster of an album.

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

For fans of Spreading The Disease, Obzidian, Lamb Of God, Devildriver, Dez Fafara, Killswitch Engage, Kyrbgrinder, Boltthrower, Line Of Fire.

Posted February 19, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Mortifex – ‘Self Titled’   Leave a comment

Thrash metal band Mortifex, from the USA, now introduce their self titled debut album. Modelling themselves on the giants of metal, otherwise known as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Testament and Slayer, Mortifex are already sporting the much vaunted slogan, “the most original sounding heavy metal band to emerge in years”! Packing just about every classic metal feature in existence into this stunning new album, amongst its members, Mortifex also features some top-notch performers, including founding member Carl Crosswhite (Technical Ecstasy, Damage Inc, Talonz Fury), Gregg Carey (Audiovangelist, Industrial Corruption Unit), Oscar Rangel, (Annihilator, Operus, Obey The Moon), Josh Seguin (PDP, Mute The Saint) and Greg Harrison, (HeD PE, PDP). With mixing and co-production by none other than renowned Grammy nominated engineer Chris ‘Wizard’ Collier (Flotsam & Jetsam, Metal Church, Korn, Fear Factory, Prong), at CMC21 Productions, Santa Clarita, California.

Having a single, focused aim, of creating an amazing heavy metal album, you could say Mortifex have achieved that aim.

War Cries – A tantalising intro, of sirens, helicopters and the war cries by which it’s titled. True heavy metal riffs following, with soaring, gritty, enthused vocals hot on their heels. It’s immediately audible that it’s a track fashioned by classic influences, on which, an up-to-date spin’s been placed. It’s satisfyingly long, avoiding the common temptation to rush through it. It’s all there – the traditional beat, the melody, the high spirits and positive vibes, the driving riffage and pounding bass. Not much more you could want. Very impressive start.

On A Mission – Similar tone, but this time, with slightly more of a Sab-esque twist. Soon moving into quickfire riffs and drums and chucking in an unusual choral section. The gravel continues, along with the ubiquitous metal lyrics and more background sirens. The riffs heat up, demonstrating a very classy slant, with some excellent speed metal sounds. Ending on a perfectly executed and synchronised line ending, it’s a great finale.

Human Decay – Instant catchy drum hit opening. Easily followed by well-placed slide riffs, still as thrashy and still as heavy. There’s a lot of great musicianship in here and even the odd lyrical Sab reference. Ooh and then an awesome and very fitting power scream. Exciting pace, enticing heaviness and a skill level facilitating just enough variety and versatility to keep you on your toes. Brilliantly performed power pitches, it’s neither predictable, nor random and again, the ending’s precisely timed.

Dying Heroes – Banging, dark intro, keeping that well trodden path of recognisable thrash melody, setting the scene instantly and entrenching it, with some strategically placed Slayer-esque electricity. Real chemistry of this kind can’t be faked. Carefully riffing a very personalised rhythm, whilst retaining an indefinable familiarity. Slight growls enter the scene, 3/4 in, overtaken once more, by vocals with a mission. Fabulously catchy, addictive drumming closes, embedding itself in your memory. (As do the unforgettable closing lyrics).

Distant Shores – Instantaneous hit. Fairly eerie note opening onto a scene of visual carnage. Another of those very moreish power screams. Fast, fiery pace beating its way through the track. Like a metal expedition, the vocals paint a picture of a mighty mission, destined to reach completion.

Who Are You – Gorgeous riff intro, with a gentler tone, growing gradually heavier, this is already a well covered tribute to the Sab original. Played at a faster pace, but with a similar vocal passion, it does justice to the Titans themselves. Inventive riffing speeds it up and colours it even more. Adding a slight sci-fi angle, which, unlike many others’ efforts, actually works. Once again, the line endings are immaculately timed, making the end that bit more pleasurable.

Hallucinating – Again, introducing a sci-fi aspect and as before, making it work, the intro’s a complete success. Deliciously aggressive and sexily heavy. Lots of rhythm to this one and some tasty high-pitched speed riffs. Plausible vocals, capable and effortless. It’s another slight Sab soundalike, emulating their Sabotage era and in particular, ‘Symptom Of The Universe’. A slight psychedelic sound to this, in places, closing on a searing riff.

Destiny – Cautious feedback intro, showcasing some Metallica-esque drumming. Fairly self explanatory lyrics, convincingly conveyed. A well timed track, this may resonate with many. An accessible track, easy to personalise and relate to. Gorgeously melodic riffage, bringing vibrancy and lurid shades of uplifting colour. Suitably closing on that same electrified riffage.

Overall – For a debut album, ‘Mortifex’ is mightily impressive and laced with sincerity. Always introducing a new concept to each track, whilst honouring the gods of metal, ‘Mortifex’ is certainly well deserving of a place amongst the new generation of heavy-metal flame keepers. Give it a spin and allocate it a place on your ‘ones to watch’ list for 2019.

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

For fans of Black Sabbath, Dragonforce, Metallica, Slayer, Enforcer, Stuka Squadron, Savatage, Malmsteen, Mark Vanderberg.


Posted February 18, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Matt Mitchell & The Coldhearts – ‘Black Diamonds’   Leave a comment

Ex Furyon/Colour Of Noise front man Matt Mitchell returns, with a new band, album and music video – ‘Black Diamonds’, the lead track for the self titled, self released debut album. Ahead of the album release on April 19th, the ‘BD’ video was launched on 4th February.

The inspiration for ‘Black Diamonds’ stemmed from a personal interpretation of predictable endings and the fading of a star’s light. It’s actually a re-written title, coming from the initial track, ‘I Hope You Find What You’re Looking For’.

Already having been widely successful, ‘BD’ has been included in Planet Rock Radio’s renowned ‘A-List’, aired on Kerrang! Radio, Great Music Stories etc and voted Number One in Louder’s ‘Tracks Of The Week’.

As is his way, Matt has ensured the emerging album fully conveys the realities and strong emotions of life, through powerful, resonant tracks, designed to connect with all.

With plans to create a more basic rock ‘n’ roll format in future, Matt has kept his focus on a comprehensive story package, revolving around people who’ve passed through his life and whose experiences have impacted on him.

Special features on the album include the piano Freddie Mercury recorded Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on. ‘MM&TC’ was recorded at Rockfield’s Quadrangle studio, by the famous Nick Brine (Stereophonics, Thunder, Bruce Springsteen, The Darkness). Complete with entrancing art, ‘MM&TC’ is an imaginatively written, stunningly delivered and affecting album. Already, ‘MM&TC’ looks like a must listen for 2019.

Black Diamonds – Instant hit! This one bangs right from the start. No mistaking that voice, nor the sexy twang of the guitar and the skilful visuals work best cos they’re real, yet shaded with understatement, both visually and metaphorically. Top-notch production. Huge vocal power just screams through it and it’ll leave you desperate for more. Sensual and delicious.

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

For fans of Furyon, Slash, Myles Kennedy And The Conspirators, Devilfire, Dan Trigger, KLOGR, The Quireboys’ ‘Twisted Love’ album.   (‘Black Diamonds’ – Official Music Video).

Posted February 13, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

ZERO FIRE – ‘Second Sun’   Leave a comment

Hard rock/alt metal band ZERO FIRE  launch their latest release, ‘Second Sun’, on March 22nd. Inspired by bands such as Deftones, QOTSA, Mars Volta, Tool, etc,  the main emphasis of this release is riff-based heaviness, catch and memorability.

ZF is all about melodic strong vocals, heavy powerful riffs and a seamless, accessible groove. Formed initially, via a collaboration between Graham King and Eric Thorkildsen, ZF replicate the nostalgia of the 90’s and 2000’s, whilst placing their own spin on the sound.

Having played alongside the likes of Silent Planet, Hail The Sun and Mandroid Echostar, ‘SS’ showcases their growth and evolution since then. The EP aims to provide a fun, catchy and addictive listen.

Slides – Opening with a steady single note and blasting into a stoner sound, with a heavy bass presence and fitting slide style, equally prominent within the vocals and riffs. A fairly short intro track, with an easy flow and melody both downbeat and upbeat, here and there, moving between the two.

Ghosts – Coming in on a heavier, bluesier, more reliable riff. The QOTSA influence is definitely very prominent. This is lighter in tone and mood, producing a more uplifting vibe. Again, it’s very stoner-ish. There’s a stronger melody here, which does have that catch about it. A slight grunge aspect aswell. Wish it was longer.

Disaster Symphony – Plucky gentle riffs intro, with a slightly sinister edge to the vocals. Something of a Smashing Pumpkins soundalike infiltrates this. Growing catchier, as it goes on, the drums exude a stronger presence now. There’s a comfortable pace about it and perhaps, also a slight Stone Temple Pilots sense in there, too.

You Own The Sun – A tunnel like effect opens and then it’s over, like a vacuum, sucking up the remaining oxygen.

Gout Mouth – Racing right into a much faster rhythm, this is quite an involving sound, throwing in a few deathy vocals, which it doesn’t need and could do with losing, frankly. Thankfully, the melodic vocals are still there, maintaining the song’s essence. Just a catchy hook to this one, retaining the atmosphere well.

Heart Divided – Opening on another grungy sound, working instantly. Very melodic and still an underlying melancholia noticeable, but it’s largely overridden by the higher vibes permeating the majority of the track. Good clear lyrics and sound production. The leisurely pace provides time to get into it and consider it. Fading out carefully, on the final riffs, it’s a decent relaxed listen.

Overall – Consistent throughout, with mainly steady rhythms, ‘SS’ is a chilled out listening experience, with a clear stoner/grunge emphasis. Carrying an echo of slight melancholia within it, the lighter-hearted tones are enough to cover that, making it a bluesier sound, ideal for laid-back Sundays and long summer days. The effective production and audio values enhance that comfortable feeling further. Listen at your leisure.

7/10 *******

For fans of Q0TSA , The Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, AIC, Final Coil.

Posted February 12, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Becoming The Lion – ‘Ghosts Of A Fallen Soldier’   Leave a comment

Post-metal/rock band Becoming The Lion, from the mid-west, formed in 2010, as a solo instrumental project. It’s since been rehashed, with the addition of two more band members. Inspired by prog and post-hard-core metal, such as Deftones, Thrice and Oceansize, BTL place their own creative spin on those sounds.

‘Ghosts Of A Fallen Soldier’ connects personal struggles with those of war, as faced and fought by soldiers and portrays an individual battle, without closure.

The ‘GAFS’ EP was re-released in December 2018. It’s available to buy on bandcamp. ‘GAFS’ follows the 2015 release, ‘Atoma’.

Rally At The Battle Front – Bleak careful intro, denoting a great deal of dark emotion. Suitably melancholic lyrics, well vocalised. A consistently slow rhythm, cautiously and yet apparently effortlessly synchronised with the accompaniments. Filled with poignant peaks, hopelessness is clearly conveyed. A real bottomless pit of pain.

Ready Aim Fire – Slide guitar opens, segueing into some very Coldplay-esque vocals. Again, it shows a stark emotional heaviness. There’s an equally flat visual landscape within it too. Yet, the pace does eventually speed up, towards the end, before reverting back to a slow, singular, morose closing note. Certainly effective.

Why – Now a single guitar note intro’s, moving smoothly and fluidly, into more bleak morosity. It’s very much a continuum of greyness, throughout. A shorter, but samey mood.

We Should Have Turned Back – Mystery shrouded intro effects, which, as it turns out, are, in fact, the entire brief track. Too short to comment further.

Too Late Now – Louder and just slightly livelier, though I use that term very loosely, in relation to this. There are now group vocals aswell, though. They still don’t make much difference to the overarching greyness. At least here, the instrumentals do heat up a bit, but the essence of its title is fittingly conveyed.

Fading Fast – Drums making an appearance now, opening onto yet another scene of misery. A raw scream of pain fades into the background, blending in with the general sadness. More group vocals, just accentuating that pain and sorrow. Not much divergence here, though that’s really it’s point.

Overall – Production wise, fine. Performance wise, the same. The talent and ability are there. Just a pity the mood’s too contagious. It does what it sets out to do, in terms of portraying meaning and soul wrenching angst, but that’s also its problem. Essentially, a deeply depressing listen and not one I’d want to return to.

6/10 ******

For fans of Coldplay.   (‘GAFS’ is available to buy here).


Posted February 7, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized

Flesh Storm – ‘Erased From Existence’   Leave a comment

Flesh Storm were born from a variety of band concoctions going back to 2006. After experimenting initially with Death ‘n’ Roll formats, Flesh Storm became a means of replicating the old school thrash metal sound from the 80’s era. Originally covering Annihilator, Slayer and Metallica tracks, their first FS song was ‘Erased From Existence’. FS also perform tracks by a solo side project, named Manyth, covering intro’s to cartoons, for instance, Saber Rider, Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles, Captain Tsubasa and Power Rangers, etc. The line-up was completed at the end of 2007. Many live gigs have followed, throughout Vienna. A 3 track demo was also recorded.

A planned 2015 album recording was put on hold, due to a band member suffering a serious motorbike accident, but resumed in 2017, following his recovery.

Recorded at 4ear studios, by Daniel Hasibar, mastered by Fabian, (drummer), also responsible for all intro compositions, the album, ‘Erased From Existence’ was finally released in May 2018. Formed thematically, around the self-destructive aspects of humanity, natural disasters, the unexplained and conspiracy theories, all overlaid by a computer gaming notion. Launched at an event shared by Grim Justice, ‘EFE’ is the perfect comeback.

FS are currently re-releasing some old tracks and recording some acoustic versions of tracks from ‘EFE’. Their 2nd album is also in production.

Also Sprach Der Quayzor – Oddly placed computer sounds and trancey, psychedelic stuff intro’s, prior to a classic soundtrack I’ll refrain from revealing with spoilers. Bizarre intro, for a thrash album, but it is mentioned in the promo material, so not entirely unexpected.

Transformator – Now here comes the thrash! Actually, it’s a bit punky, in places. It’s an unusual sound. Hard to place the metal influences in here, but it’s certainly unique. Slightly sci-fi-esque and quite dissimilar to the majority of thrash metal. Inventive, perhaps, but not something you’re likely to hear elsewhere.

Song Of Nuclear Annihilation – Opening on a synth, keyboard and possible mellotron sound, producing something best described as ethereal, but probably more Muzak-like, along the lines of a backing track to nature and relaxation sounds. Again, not what you expect on a thrash album.

State Of Emergency – Siren’s introing, with rumbles of thunder/bomb blasts, followed by a real thrash sound of riffs and protest lyrics. Here, the riffs pick up, even bringing in a bit of a jazzy feel and a brief whammy section. Mostly simple riffs, but a vague echo of Metallica, towards the end, in their ‘Ride The Lightning’ era. Not much more of note.

Chemtrail Illusion – Another strange intro, incorporating a near medley of different sounds, hashing it all together, in a mash up of sorts. There is a power scream thrown in, but even that doesn’t sound quite right. The riffage is okay, but there’s just a bit of an amateur sound and feel to the whole production.

Realm Of Pelz – A synth and keyboard intro, moving into another sci-fi sound. Over before it’s begun and I hate to say it, but good. Weirdness is something I’d ordinarily embrace as a positive thing, but you can go too far with weird.

Noob Demons – Drums finally kick in to take their place and there’s a wackiness about the vocals. Frankly, I don’t know what’s going on. It’s just strange, to a morbid degree. One or two bits of decent riffage, then for some reason, ‘Greensleeves’ enters the show. The term 3-ring circus springs to mind, but this is definitely NOT what I call thrash.

The Legacy Of Strohsuck – Now we’re onto Gregorian chanting! Segueing into percussive waves, again, ending when it’s barely begun, one thing’s for sure with this album – it’s unpredictable, from one moment to the next.

Yellowstoned – Proper riffage opens, followed by narrative vocals, with a collective and seemingly involuntary yodel. Chaotic and though the vocals do hit the high-pitched notes well, they do create the general impression they’re struggling. Ending on a single bass note, it’s just peculiar.

Yellowstoned 2 – Apparently, a slight extension of the same track. Other than some average bass work, not much more to add. They do keep the rhythm well, but there’s just too much chaos to keep your focus.

Climate Change – A nicer, more mellow sound intro’s, with some fast riffage following. Again, on a positive note, the vocal keys are always hit well. Lots of collective power screaming. Maybe if that was better placed amongst some equally pitched power accompaniments, it might work much better. So far, this is actually the best track and that, it seems, is cos it leans much more towards power metal, which seems like a much comfier fit for all. It does end on another sci-fi finale, which wrecks it, really. Bad move, at that point.

Overall – The main thing here is that ‘EFE’ doesn’t sound anything like thrash metal. If anything, it could be called sci-fi metal/maths metal/prog, with trance and psychedelic undertones. Actually, overtones is probably closer to the mark. Have to say, though, that it just doesn’t do it and there is an amateurish strand to much of it. The production could be better and though it is unique in its choice of sound and style combo’s, it’s best thing, by far, is its’ power screams, which would be much better placed in a power metal band. Chaotic and disorganised, ‘EFE’ doesn’t seem to know if it’s coming or going, but a stronger, more powered basis might serve it well.

4/10 ****

For fans of Henry Metal, Flesh Press, Buck Tow Truck, Flesh Eating Foundation.

Posted February 6, 2019 by jennytate in Uncategorized