Jackknife Seizure – ‘Starfisher’

February 12, 2017


Originating in North London, difficult to categorise, Jackknife Seizure are described as proggy grunge, infused with heavy groove. Winning London ‘Metal to the Masses’, in 2014, they played Bloodstock and following that, released their debut EP, ‘Time Of The Trilobites’. After a brief break, Jackknife Seizure recommenced gigging, producing new content for this current 5 track album. The ‘Starfisher’ release depicts supernatural forces at work, controlling the earth, via the bands’ own unique perspective. ‘Starfisher’ was released on 16th January 2017 and is available digitally and on CD. Recorded at Defiance Studios, London. Mixed and mastered in the Netherlands.

Johnny Little Pocket Versus Mickey Pork – Thrudding, heavy intro, of battle style drumming, riffs and vocals to match. Lyrically resonant with war and violence, solid, determined aggression and overall, epic beats.

Fornicate Galactic – Blast of metal power, steady, chugging prog, darkly rhythmic threads of groove laden grunge dominate throughout. It’s a powerful combo, living up to its description and clearly outlining its lyrical themes.

Betelgeuse – Slightly more free-form, looser style to this; more filler than killer, but it builds strength and impact, as it goes. Alternating pace and tempo, as most good prog does, in that in and out sense, which enhances the clarity of its associated visual imaginings.

Starfisher – Opening with a continuous electronic beat, much like that of a life-support machine, penetrating through your soul, till it finally morphs into some peaceful ambient riffs, just before piercing your brain. Ending on an underwater sensation, coming as a blessed relief, after the holes in your brain through which the almost incessant beeps still seem to be filtering. I’ll happily stay under the water.

Tappy Tapperson – Bang! Well that intro couldn’t have been more different. Something of a relief, I must say. This is more like prog nightclub territory and now, there’s something a bit Arctic Monkeys about it. An experimental track, essentially. Lots of variation, lots of enthusiasm, lots of mix tape feeling. Ideal stuff for transportation back to the hours spent in the company of drugged out friends, in box rooms, in university halls of residence, whilst you collectively analysed the sounds of ‘ambient rock’. Oh no, that infernal beeping’s back now. What are Jackknife Seizure trying to do to me? Okay, you’ve done it. You’ve got in my head and drilled into my brain with permanent prog.

Overall – A highly unusual blend of prog techniques, incorporating a cocktail of alt, grunge, groove and stoner). Beginning as one thing and ending as another, with a proggy dream in the middle. Uncategorisable as one thing or another, but clearly willing to experiment with whatever works in the moment. At least they’ll never be one trick ponies.

6/10 ******


Vorbid – Self Titled

February 8, 2017

Established October 2013 as ‘Purgatory’, the prog thrash metal band from Arendal, Norway, was known, for a short period, as ‘Morbid Visions’, but as it replicated a Sepultura album title, it was eventually changed to ‘Vorbid’.

Various line-up changes took place from 2013-2016, during a very busy time for the band, of entering talent contests, experimenting with contrasting musical styles, etc. During this time, they won 2 local Battle Of The Bands style contests, one international BOTB, (Norway 2016) and eventually came 4th, in the world final, held in Berlin. As part of their 2nd BOTB, they won the opportunity to play a local fest alongside former Rainbow keyboardist Tony Carey.

Following the Global BOB world final, early 2016, things were going well for the band and creativity was at an all-time high. Rehearsals were now more frequent than live appearances. At this point, the final and current line-up was completed.

In August 2016, Vorbid released their debut self titled EP, recorded at Mella studio. It’s available on spotify and iTunes, etc and also on CD. The track, ‘Violation Of A Human Mind’, recorded in a separate studio, a year earlier, is also on spotify.

Closed Casket – Ooh yeah! Banging intro there, of utter professionalism. Sleek, thoughtfully paced and constructed, with a very Testament-esque sound and vocals resembling Axl Rose himself. A surprisingly fitting, workable combo! Gigantic riffs, explosive feel, great track length. It’s a killer intro. 3/4 in and already I’m in metal heaven. A cross between ‘Days Of Darkness’ and ‘Use Your Illusion’ 1 and 2, which works immensely well. That’s what I call flavour.

Crimson Crown- Intrigue, mystery and suspense! That’s how you start a follow-up track! Creaking, footsteps and trap doors, with a sinister, ominous feel … and then … it bursts into life, with a fiery riff blitz, powerhouse drumming and vocals to stun, delight and singe into living memory. It positively fizzes and crackles with energy. Throwing off fiery sparks of electricity, left, right and centre, it’s an absolute feast of epically magical proportions. Truly beautiful in the most enjoyably haunting way. You could live and die by those riffs.

Desert Of The Wicked – Crashing landslide of metal. Very Halfordesque power vocals there and pulling them off incredibly well! Think ‘Painkiller’. There’s the catchiness revealing itself, 1/4 of the way in and it just buzzes with life and vitality. If there’s one thing this band must be, it’s consummate consumators, if the raw sexiness inherent in this music’s anything to go by. Talk about metalgasm territory. Got it here, in spades and then some. Seriously impressive and seriously fun. Just one thing – why does it end?

Garden Of The Departure – Oh, some gloriously steel stringed riffs to die for there, right at the intro and it’s not long before the whole track grows in even more strength. Building a metallic pyre of such vibrant, life affirming fire, only the already dead could fail to be moved, excited and thrilled to the very core by this immensity. This time, I actually lost my pen, air drumming and had to search for it, finally finding it on the bottom of my computer desk, where it had flown out of my hand and fallen three levels, in its excitement. Retrieving it just in time for the sheer amazement of power that is the ending, to make you just want to drop everything and rock out, with them, I have one thing left to say …. Gold dust. Absolute gold dust.

Overall – From here to eternity, you’re going to remember this EP. Extremely rarely will anything hit you so profoundly. When you write your bucket list, this EP has to be number 1. Seriously, brain-slammingly, earth-shatteringly, metallically powerful. Unique, bold, extravagantly energetic. Livelier than life itself. Thrash metal gold.

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

For fans of Testament, Judas Priest, G’ ‘N’ R’, AC/DC, Alice Cooper, Anthrax, power, speed, thrash and NWOHM.




Toxic Waltz – ‘Declassified’

December 28, 2016

Abduction – WTF? An obscure film script dialogue intro’s this, but luckily, it’s soon followed by some pleasantly heavy, thrudding riffs, drum hits and angry vocals, verging on growly, in places, but staying just the right side of thrashy.  Oh, that was an abrupt end, just as I was getting into it.  Never mind, the whole thing has a jungle sound to it, that makes me curious about the next track.  And are there bongos in there, somewhere?  I’ll let you work it out.

Thrash Metal Dictatorship – Clear heavy ethos immediate here and an obvious thrash direction.  Some anthemic stuff, pace variations and a very competent fluidity to the movement between them.  Liking that riff wizardry midway through and the quickening pace towards the close.  Something about it makes me yearn for Metallica.

Beyond The Wall Of Sleep – Nice opening cymbal hit, followed by a very agreeable roar.  Good rhythmic momentum.  It could just perhaps do with a touch more melody, but the riffs compensate (especially 3/4 of the way in).  An even more abrupt end.  A bit too abrupt, I feel.  It would have benefited from a little more time, to show its’ wares.

Island Of Death – Another cymbal intro, with a slight feedback section, and rapidly getting into the mood, with plenty of fast-paced riffage, rapid fire drumming and a distinctly ‘Tallicaesque mid-section, utilising the time well.  A bit of anthemic vocal stuff and again, they maintain the rhythm well.  Echoes of building towards a Hetfieldesque closing evil laugh, but it doesn’t quite get there.  Still, the enthusiasm’s inherent and its a good collective effort, overall.

Politician – Oh a nice new downscaled riff and evenly spaced drum hit intro.  An effective change and maintaining plenty of vocal aggression.  Some well-placed rapidly delivered drum hits, creating a battleground firing range impression.  This definitely ends too soon, depriving itself of the chance to show what else it’s capable of.

Octogenarian Violence – Now that’s much better!  Real vibrancy, life and all-out metal attack form to this!  Edging towards black metal, in places, yet still retaining that thrashier/extreme sense.  Quickened pace, heightened vocal power and generally, livelier feel.  Varying the sound, around 3/4 of the way in, slightly, but never deviating too much from the overall aggression and ending with far greater confidence and certainty – those closing riffs say it all.

Srebrenica – Proper full on battle metal intro.  Very much a team effort here, demonstrating a real flair for anthemic choruses.  Great rapid pace, excellent volume and a clever touch on the final drum hit, coming just after the initial ending.  Well constructed and impressively cohesive.

Loudmouth – Great Tallicaesque ‘Battery’ sound).  Strong pace and rhythm once more, conveying the anger and rage well.  This has got to be the shortest track on the album, but at least it packs a lot of power into the time.

Thrashing Like A Maniac – Spot the ‘Whiplash’ reference).  No bad thing, imo.  OK, … an unexpectedly unusual intro, carrying a somewhat gravelly tone to the instrumentals, somehow, at least initially, but that soon fades, as the song gets into its stride.  Curiously, this may reference ‘Whiplash’ in its title, but its construction, although definitely holding some aspects of “Kill Em All”, is far more along the “Master of Puppets” lines.  Again, I have to say that this goes down very well, for me.  Aw, I really did not want that to end!(.

Overall – Well, this has been saved by the latter half of the album, as while the former half may have been adequate, but not necessarily much to write home about, something happened mid-way through the album and it picked up considerably, from ‘Octogenarian Violence’ onwards.  These last four tracks have sealed it for me, increasing the star rating from the initially intended 5/6, to an improved 7.  The final few tracks are where the true potential lies, imho, so perhaps this is a case in which the track order would benefit from being rearranged, to reflect the genuine ability within the album.

7/10 *******


For fans of Metallica, Anthrax, Slayer, Testament, Megadeth, Municipal Waste, extreme metal.


Fabulous Desaster – ‘Hang ‘Em High’

December 7, 2016

A thrash metal band from Bonn, Germany, Fabulous Desaster were founded in June 2005, as Stay Hungry, playing a combo of original material and covers.  They changed to Fabulous Desaster in 2010, and are now focused on playing thrash metal which doesn’t conform to stereotypes.  Influenced by: Exodus, Heathen, Razor, RAVEN, Demolition Hammer, Bruce Lee, Artillery, “Kill ‘Em All”, Flotsam and Jetsam, “Whiplash”, Show No Mercy, Van Halen, Beer, etc.

Their initial EP, ‘When The Silence’s So Loud’, was launched in 2010.  In 2013, line-up changes led to a new energy and in summer 2014, the 5 track demo, ‘Chaos.  Torture.  Terror.  Violence’.  was recorded.  More line-up changes took place in the latter half of that year, including Andi from Hornado joining on bass.  In 2016, the full-length debut album, ‘Hang ‘Em High’, was released independently, on 19th November.  Produced, mixed and mastered by Armin Rave, at Soundsight Studio, Hennef. Cover artwork by Mario E.  Lopez. M.

Death Is Loud – Hard as hell intro there; impacting, angry and truly thrash.  Fast-paced, blazing riffs, fiery vocals, with a well-placed anthemic streak, blitzing drums and a generally aggressive, lively feel.  Thrash is still very much alive and well and on fire, with metal heat, if this track’s anything to go by.  A brilliant start.

Faster Than Light – Nicely placed cymbal hit opening this, setting the trend for the precision rhythm following throughout.  Crazed, furious and filled with thrashy energy.  This is one of those tracks in which you can hear the bands’ reason for being.  It’s just alive with such high, frenetic energy, that it’ll lift you with one listen.  Confident, fresh and real.

Warsaw – Great unhesitant drum roll intro, opening the way ahead, for the sheer thrash metal extravaganza that is Warsaw.  Your ear drums aren’t gonna know what’s hit them.  Little but true metal blood can prepare you for this insanity of sound.

Thrash Bang Wallop – Wow, that’s an amazing contrast, opening misleadingly, with a single acoustic note, then instantly and seamlessly moving into a cracklingly vibrant thrash party.  Fans of Metallica’s ‘Kill ‘Em All’ will love this, as will Pantera’s ‘Hostile’ fans, as you’ll hear both in here.  It truly is a cleverly synchronised thrash track, verging on a medley, playing out old school influences, while making it their own modern, but not quite modern, masterpiece.  Throwing in some gentler riffs, between the effervescent metal madness and ending decisively on a single beat, in an AC/DCesque style, with a thrash twist.

Midnight Fist Fight – Oh yeah, now that’s a proper ‘Kill ‘Em All’ spirit right there.  ‘Whiplash’ fans, eat your heart out.  I tell you what, though.  Even the mighty James Hetfield couldn’t nail those power screams, even if he is still the master of the fabulously performed evil laugh in there.  Magnificent riffs, superb quality audio, top-level production values and just loving those final frantic vocals and even more evil, yet hilarious laugh.  Really?  There’s nothing not to love).

Wellness In Hell – Blazingly powerful intro that’ll take you right into the centre of the mosh pit with it.  Stunning pace to those vocals, a bit more of the anthemic slant and an overall fiery energy to the whole thing.  Again, that old school influence is audible, whilst it’s clear that they’ve very much gone their own way with this, creating their own monster and it really truly works.  Still, Testament fans will enjoy the hark back to ‘The Haunting’ , in here.  Exodus’s ‘War Is My Shepherd’ is also an audibly similar sound.  Faultless performance.  Especially the way he nails those screams.

R.I.P. (Rest In Power).  An admirable sentiment.  Another crazed, energy fuelled drum roll intro.  Still, those strikingly powerful vocals are brilliantly maintained.  Killer riffs.  Such an intense vibe and that glorious scream around the mid-section is just to die for.  Again, you just have to love it.  Memorable, uplifting, powerful as fuck and there’s that loveably narcissistic laugh again, just before the end).  It wins every time.

Thrash Metal Symphony – Great, highly skilled, fluidly timed percussive intro, flying straight into the metallic buzz, with astounding riffs, a noticeable effort to inject real venom into the vocals and a complete thrash take-over, flooding your being with the welcome sensation of metal, pouring through your veins, seeping into every pore and infiltrating your very being.  Such awesomely fitting lyrics too.  Metal incarnate.

Toxic Nuclear War – Fuck, that shouted intro just startled me out of my reverie.  This is simply a thrash battlecry to end them all.  Holding such a force field of powerful energy, the thrash just permeates your skin, through osmosis.  One to leave your metal senses reeling, you could say it’s a standout track; I’d call it a thrash attack.

Customized – The final race into thrash town territory, it’s a veritable cloud burst of thrash from the Gods of Metal.  Truly gorgeous melodies and riffs in there and the timing’s divine.  Slayer fans will be in heaven here, cos if ever there was a gold standard tribute to ‘Seasons In The Abyss’, it’s this.  Injecting more anthemic stuff, more speed, more power, more everything, till it ends on a magnificent scream and your energy’s probably done now, but what better way to expend your vital energies than on engrossing yourself in what can safely be called a benchmark of true thrash metal?

Overall – Holding all the true hallmarks of thrash metal, at its passionate best, as it’s meant to be, your life will never be complete without a copy of ‘Hang Em High’.  Add it to the top of your top 10 must have albums now.  Nothing more to say.

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

For fans of Metallica, Exodus, Slayer, Pantera, Anthrax, Megadeth and every high-level thrash metal band imaginable.





Thanks to Fabulous Desaster, I now have the ‘beautiful disaster’ lyrics from Slash, Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators’ World On Fire’ track on an endless loop in my head.  It’s all their fault.


Muddy Moonshine – ‘Muddy and Wild’

November 8, 2016

Muddy Moonshine’s debut album, ‘Muddy and Wild’, is released in December, via Secret Entertainment.  Founded in 2014, they’re an acoustic blues ensemble; playing a combo of covers and original material.  Their self recorded and published EP, ‘Distilled’ was produced in Finland, in 2015.  As a result of band evolution, increasing gigs and line-up changes, new and different material was written.  The record deal with SE led to the debut album being produced and a new vocalist joining the band.  Their single, ‘This Town Of Mine’, was released on October 13th and is available through spotify and youtube.

Back In Jail – Heavy blues chord opening, with a tasty edge, moving steadily into a smooth, hard blues riff and vocals to match.  Rhythmic, visual and lively, mid-paced blues fayre, boding well for the following tracks.  A positive intro to a promising sounding album.

Drunk As Fuck – That’s quite a strong intro, harbouring blatant influences from combined rock genres, working well, to create a successful modern blues rock project, well worth a listen.  An easy listening component is clear in here and the slowed down slide guitar closing section clinches it perfectly.

This Town Of Mine – Nice touch to this intro, bringing in a country rock aspect, with a catchy emphasis.  Reminders of Puddle of Mudd’s, ‘Bring Me Down’.  Unusually noticeable strong lyrics, somehow not quite gelling with the upbeat melody, but often a brave effort, to incorporate such emotive material anyway.  It’s somehow relentlessly cheerful, even in the face of such dark subject matter and if one thing stands out, it’s the hooks, of which there are plenty.

Moonshine Man – Very lounge rock style, instrumentally, at least.  More of the slide guitar emphasis, with an audible nod to the Rolling Stones,’ ‘Little Red Rooster’, which does hold a certain catchy appeal, it must be said.  A laid-back approach permeates this and you’ll remember the deep, gravel throated outro, for its manly quality, which in itself, stands out a mile.

Bottle Of Love – Aha! Picking up the pace now, there’s an evident early R’ and R’ feel.  In this case, it’s lyrically and instrumentally cohesive.  A very visual one, reminding you of old-fashioned dance halls, 50s programmes and the roots of blues.  As hesitant as I am to describe it thus, it is kind of … nice.  Especially with that gently strummed finale).

Funkytown – Okay, a very slightly darker, but somehow, easier sense to the movement and tone of this, so much so that you do actually visualise it as a climb down from somewhere above, into fun, eased back territory.  There’s a certain mix of sounds and styles in here, which seems to blend punk, funk, soul, psychedelic, blues and whatever alternative strands you want to throw in.  It’s likable, light-hearted and memorable.

River – Lovely riff intro, with a really tasteful, appealing sound.  Slight sense of Whitesnake’s ‘Till The Day I Die’, which seems to fit well into the background.  Quite visually evocative themes, a pleasantly paced track and generally, it’s easy to follow.  Post mid-section, you’re going to find yourself joining in with the catchy chorus, in spite of yourself.  It’s a really enjoyable track.

Blued Steel Blues – That’s how you do it!  Opening with a very sexy sounding slide riff section, getting into its stride, from then onwards.  There’s an essentially natural feel to the whole slide rhythm of this track and it really gets inside you.  Some truly great riffs, the vocal strength really comes into its own here and there’s just an overall fun feel.

Russian Pussycat Blues – Interesting deviation from form, initially, prior to resuming the typically rocking rhythm.  Continuing down that same rocky road, it’d make a good dance number.  Some pleasant slide riffs in there, even if it does have a somewhat unusual, not to mention abrupt ending.

Stomp – Gorgeous full volume slide intro!  So catchy, it rocks, from that aspect alone.  Varied pace to this one, increasing as it reaches the point just prior to the mid-section.  Slowing down again, following it and focusing wholly on the steady rhythm, till the end, in an almost hypnotic sense.

Succubus – Another enjoyably slide guitar focused track; intriguing lyrics, though you could say, typically bluesy.  It works, however.  It’s a classic note to end on, really – the hate and resentment filled lyrics, which somehow, just work, to create that experiential life emphasis, so beloved of the blues genre, expressing, through the music, the essence of hard-won lessons.

Overall – A decent slice of blues rock, well worth a listen, with plenty of yummy slide guitar and although repetitive, in places, it doesn’t seem to matter.  It’s still a laid-back, relaxing listen, with nothing to dislike.

7/10 *******

For fans of blues, groove, R and R, Southern rock, country rock and good old-fashioned rock.






Nukem – ‘The Unholy Trinity’

November 7, 2016

Warwolf – Helicopter propellers introing this, making for a totally unique listening experience, before making way for the thunderously heavy metallic track.  The immediacy of this catchy, ground shaking sound is affecting, memorable and immense.  ‘Heavy Metal Killers’ would be a perfect home for this.  Steel catharsis, right here.

Evelyn’s Awakening – Horror style intro, thankfully, soon moving into a fast-paced metal rhythm, reminiscent of Altheniko’s ‘Feel the Power’.  Just a really classic NWOBHM sound and feel, to melt the hearts of even the hardest metalhead.  It’s simply full of hooks and you just can’t fail to love it.

The Atomic Age – Wow, that is one gorgeous, stunning intro.  Blending acoustic, with gradually amped up volume and a subtle darkness on the periphery; it all combines to make this a truly appealing track.  Growing harder, heavier and edgier, with a steamroller of a chorus; breaking down into all-out headbanging territory.  There’s a really strong anthemic metal emphasis, with a pure, ‘Tallica, ‘Creeping Death’ drum roll to finish, which actually succeeded in knocking one of my pictures off the wall, two rooms away!  That’s what you call metal!

The Deceiver – Fuck me, that’s one bloody powerful intro.  There’s no arguing with this!  It’s a drum and riff opening of such mind blowing strength, it gets your full, undivided attention and maintains it throughout.  This whole track is just an absolute blaze of searing aggression, on all fronts.  The energy is something else.  A total riff, drum, bass and vocal fest, from start to finish.  If this doesn’t get you moshing, till the last, I don’t know what will.

Bloodseeker – A blast of drums, an epic power scream, a blitzkrieg of riffs and a sheer mountainous effort of will, resulting in a molten landslide of metal.  This is one almighty avalanche of steel.  You wouldn’t want to be skiing on the same slope as this enormous weight of power.  It’d swallow you up, in its depths and consume you, before you hit the bottom.  Magnificent.

TV Crimes – The full volume power’s still turned up to the max and it ain’t stopping for anything.  Giving it everything for this Sabbath cover, they show just how capable they are of paying homage to the Godfathers of Metal and doing them full justice, with an equal strength to that embodying their original material.  It storms the show, aswell as stealing it.

D.O.I. – Blitzing right into the fray, with massively wilful metal abandon, it’s just another steady flow of steel strength and metal rain, that’ll take you right back and put an adult spin on the most fun, frollicking, water fights you had as a kid, during street party celebrations of torrential rain storms.  Imagine replaying them as adults, with metal soundtracks blasting out, at full volume, from every house in the street, devil horns in every window and all the neighbours dressed in black.  Now picture the metal, as the rain, coming down from the sky, in torrents.  That’s how vivid the sense of D.O.I. is.

Lethal Injection – If it were possible, it gets even louder, stronger and more pronounced.  An all-out metal assault.  One thing this band is bestowed with is an endless, boundless energy and passion for their music, permeating every song on this album.  There’s just a sheer powerhouse of effort and will, carved through every single nuance and note.  It’s an energy store that’s hard to match, impossible to forget and leaves everything else standing.  Their complete and utter driven focus is out of this world and hooks you in the most addictive way.

Lucida Sidera – Here’s yet another uniquely magical sound, combining melody, softness, strength and intensity; this time, in an instrumental; hypnotic and mesmeric, in its otherworldliness and its indefinable beauty.  There’s a cleansing feel, cathartic, beyond measure.

Nukem All – Talk about going out on a high!  This holds all the keys to doing just that.  A real timelessness to this, in the sense of reminding you of all your most beloved classic old school influenced thrash, speed, melodic, power metal bands and all that you love about them.  This very sound, feel and emphasis is how and why metal never dies.

Overall – An indescribably massive force of metal magnetism.  One listen and everything else is blown out of the water, in an instant.  There’s a real rarity to anything so consistently powerful, energised and loud, with such high quality production, that the passion shines through so clearly and profoundly.  An aural form of tunnel vision is induced, in which the raw, fun element of the music and its lively performance becomes your sole focus.  A difficult, even near impossible, thing to achieve, ordinarily, but Nukem do it, with effortless capability.

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

For fans of the finest arena rock, anthemic metal, speed, power, thrash and NWOBHM.



Fusion Bomb – ‘Pravda’

November 5, 2016

Fusion Bomb, from Luxembourg, play old school thrash, with some deathy aspects.  Formed in 2010, since then, it’s evolved, to the current point, at which, ‘Pravda’, the debut album, is being released.  ‘Pravda’ is a lyrical, thematical take on the Soviet Union’s history, delivered in a humourously analytical context.  It promises loads of fun melodic thrash, in an old school spirit.

1986 – Well that was different!  Slight delay, followed by an orchestral performance of patriotic music, with news flashes and sirens in the background, creating a very slight nod to Disturbed’s ‘Indestructible’, in the closing section.  Nothing like a bit of intrigue, to get your senses working.

Powersource – If ever there was a starker contrast to the intro track, it’s this one.  It couldn’t be any thrashier or heavier, if it tried.  Speed riffs, deathy screams, and raw, powered aggressive vocals; there’s an instantaneous delight to my ears, it has to be said.  Hard, driven and throwing in some truly fabulous riffs.  Ending on a barely audible light percussion hit, after the raging storm of drums throughout; there’s no arguing with the starkly obvious fact of heaviness permeating.

Pravda – Another evidently Soviet theme to this intro, before seguing rapidly into a truly metallic storm, to excite the sensibilities of any true metal devotee.  An unmistakable thread of metal attitude, persistence and absolute, determined conviction runs through this.  Very pleasing to beholders of the faith.  You can definitely hear the tongue in cheek presentation of metal overtaking Soviet restrictions and it’s refreshing, in its own way.  Ending with a battleground sound, from which the metal never dies; it’s very apt.

On The Fields Of Katyn – Bang!  Crash!  Lightning flashes of thrash metal abound.  Touches of extreme, moving so fluidly, from that, back to Exodus style performances, vividly reminiscent of ‘War Is My Shepherd’.  Cohesive, uplifting, focused and cause driven, there’s nothing to dislike.  So heavy, your floorboards would cave in, if this song was dropped on them.

Masses Breakfast – Fuck!  That’s another doom laden heaviness opening.  An evilness infiltrates the feel of this, worthy of the darkest Satanic metal.  Mosh pit territory, with well-placed sublime riffs and a thunderous effect, to compete with Thor himself.

Beertroopers Of Death – (Bonus Track) – Laying down some real thrash material, right from the outset; even the most restrained, self-contained metaller would obey the urge to get in the pit.  This thunders along, to the end, where it closes on an animalesque howl of death.

Overall – An energetically short burst of politically driven thrash metal, to blast and singe its way into your brain, where it will stay.  Hard to fault, immaculate delivery and fun performance.  It gets my vote.

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

For fans of Exodus, Testament, Slayer, Anthrax, high-quality thrash, extreme, death, doom, pagan, gothic and satanic metal.




Venus Rising – ‘Waterfall’

November 3, 2016

Slow, steady start to a softly sung acoustic folk rock track, with an initially darkened edge and a meaningfully spiritual flavour.  Becoming gradually lighter in tone and feel, revealing a clear link to the natural world, the lyrics will intrigue and delight those of a fey like, alternative nature, as will the beautifully fitting closing section, which could easily be straight out of a fey folk film, giving the striking imagery it evokes.  Mysterious and pleasantly ‘other’.  Dip into this for some gentle nature folk rock therapy.

7/10 *******

For fans of fey, alternative and natural strands of folk rock.

Out now on Global Path Records.





Obzidian – ‘Obliteration Process’

October 22, 2016

From Wolverhampton, West Midlands, the home of heavy metal, come Obzidian, thrash metallers, formed in 2001.  Obzidian have toured the UK, supporting such legendary metal heavyweights as Sepultura, Arch Enemy, Crowbar and Ill Nino, earning them the title ‘one of the UK’s finest thrash metal bands’.

Two full-length albums were released previously, both of which received critical acclaim amongst the likes of ‘Kerrang’, ‘Metal Hammer’ and ‘Powerplay’.  Their first release, 2007’s ‘Damned Eternal’, was launched via Casket Records.  In 2014, they signed to Rocksector Records, through which, the second album, ‘Concrete Psychosis’, was released.

Having recently signed to Bearded Monkey Promotions, Obzidian are presently preparing for their busiest tour schedule yet, encompassing the remainder of 2016 and 2017, which looks set to be their heaviest year to date, including some significant festival slots and live gigs planned further afield, including mainland Europe are on the horizon. 

They’re now ready to release their third album, ‘Obliteration Process’, their heaviest, most detailed album so far.  Artwork and single ‘Sins Here Are Purified’ video commissioned by Andy Pilkington, of the award-winning ‘Very Metal Art’. The single is now available on youtube and soundcloud. 

Sins Here Are Purified – Decent chugging groove edged intro – gradually intensifying the heavy feel and sinister atmosphere behind the themes.  A very raw feel to the vocals, with a versatility, enabling them to go from death/black emphasis, to groove metal, with pounding rhythm and accompaniment.

Perish The Thought – Well timed follow-up, with obvious thought having gone into it.  Some classic groove laden riffs, immaculate drum fills and a very deep background storyline.  Real precision emphasis on the instrumentals and an angry energy in the vocals.

They Led The Fall – Lots of drum emphasis here, it’s a blitzing storm of drum rolls, with a positively monster vocal, spewing out its bilge, in all directions, till you’re envisioning him bleeding from the throat.

Beaten Into Submission – You actually feel the physical emphasis of the words in the title here, through the instrumentals, the lyrics and the general feel.  Brutal isn’t too strong a word.  It’s almost like a speed train coming towards you at full pelt.  There’s no escape and you won’t get out alive.

She The Shadow – A blackened intro, so in your face as to eat you alive and then step in and wear your entrails as fancy dress.  There’s a viciousness about this track, so all-encompassing, it lies beyond words.

Obliteration Process – Banging, raging, thorough battery of assault, so complete and in depth, it’ll drain your senses and cause you nightmares till the end of time.

Desolate Creed – Hammering at your door, with incensed metal violence, till you open up and let it in, when it floods your aura with darkness, doom and blood red rage.  Murderous intention, by association.

Body Of Mass Production – Increasing the speed of metallic aggression, overtaking its immediate environment, with death fuelled intent.

Mistress Of Deception – There’s a more melodic edge to this, with the riffs taking centrestage, as the vocals take on a melodious aspect, the drums beat their hardened way through their path and the bass element becomes the word, as it makes itself heard and demands your full and undivided attention.  A rolling feel to the outro, it’s done its job well.

Behind The Angels Eyes – Racing forwards, with a blitzkrieg of energy, opening up wider and wider, till it’s plain for all to see, in its boldness, determined focus and absolute single-minded intent.

Like Maggots They Infest – Oh, you’ve got to feel that tunnel like visual, invoked by the arrangements here.  A rockier, groovier vibe in here, rolling along, powerfully.  There’s a sense of letting go completely, being fully within its element.  Uninhibited metal rhythm, riffage and drumming to astound.

Raven – A clearer melody and groove to this, you’ll get right into the rhythm.  Another showcase of growly, adept vocals and collectively, going for it, showing the full instrumental dexterity and capacity for sexy sounds and memorable choruses.  A rather lovely doomy acoustic closing riff, fading out spectacularly.

Overall – Imagine being trapped in an experiment ground for heavy industrial machinery, with a psychopathic mind of its own, which is coming towards you, at full throttle, about to catch you in its threshing components, from which there’s no escape.  Combine that with being caught in a macerator, preparing to meet your horrific and terrifying doom, which you can see straight ahead, but are powerless to stop.  That summarises the power at play in ‘Obliteration Process’.  Full-scale fireworks have got nothing on this.  Heavy duty metal artillery, fully charged and ready to kill.

8/10 ********

For fans of Spreading The Disease, Boltthrower, Kyrbgrinder, satanic, extreme, death, doom and black metal, generally.

Released 28th November 2016 on Black Rock Records, via all online stores. Pre-orders available from http://www.obzidian.co.uk/ .







All press and booking enquiries should go through the band’s contact page or through their agents at Bearded Monkey Promotions.






Toxic Ruin – ‘Subterranean Terror’

October 20, 2016

Toxic Ruin formed from the covers band, The Ruin.  They’re a thrash metal band, focusing on ever evolving sounds, incorporating pure thrash, hints of death, with old school rock ‘n’ roll at the forefront.

From eastern Wisconsin, USA, they’re a one-off band, providing the basis for most of the heavy metal music in their area, along with legends, Morbid St.

The current release of ‘Subterranean Terror’ has become massively popular in the heavy metal community and Toxic Ruin is set for even bigger future projects.

Submerged In Chaos – Very fine intro there.  Moving, gradually, into a riff filled haven.  Short, but sweet.  It’s all that was needed.

Immolation – Biting intro, of hardened metal, combining speed, power, thrash and death/melo-death.  That’s one neatly wrapped drum roll, of hammering incredible speed and precision.  Throwing in some very tasty riff melodies and adventures with a well-placed whammy bar section.  There’s a clear and inherent dark edge to this, which serves the genre sounds they aim for well.  Got the lyrics cracked, too.

Seat Of Corruption – A well constructed follow-up track.  Easing further and confidently, into the heavy feel and demonstrating a great, classic example of how good thrash is performed.  Melody, lively pace, attentively timed drums, anger driven lyrics, thrashy vocals, yummy speed riffs.  It’s got it all and it’s all bound up cohesively and neatly.  A well-organised and structured track, whetting the appetite for more.

Subterranean Terror – Chasing the metal dragon, this gets right in, with a thoughtfully arranged performance and rhythm, forming a natural continuation of the thrash, death tinged sound.  Evident progression and natural flow.  Soundalike of RAM’s ‘Sudden Impact’.

The Human Condition – Wow!  Gorgeously melodic riff intro, with a slight eerieness, beating drums and very raw, heartfelt, death edged vocals, blatantly dredged up from the depths of blackened emotion.  There’s a dark thread throughout, almost visually black, so entrenched is its sense.

Rampage – Blasting drum intro, soon crackling into vivid life, with a startlingly clear Testament feel and quality to match.  One or two particularly well thought out, delicious riffs and it’s over in almost record time, for such a complex song, but its message is clear and unmistakable.  Mind you, even the dimmest individual would have trouble mistaking the words ‘fuck you’, with which it closes.

Of What Lies Beneath – Gradually building in volume and intensity, there’s a complexity to this, in terms of arrangement and song structure, showcasing real, well honed musicianship, to rival many.

Lord Of Pandemonium – An insanely fast, power fuelled drum roll intro, quickly joined by crazed riffs, Hetfieldesque vocals and a noticeably fiery essence.  Blazing along, with fury and passion, there’s an impressive commitment to intricate compositions, carefully timed sections and a consistently and well maintained dark theme.  A well crafted piece of work.

Alcoholocaust – Drums opening, once more, with a blast of metal fuelled aggression, going on to instill their message of danger and destructive determination.  A definite ‘Tallicaesque section, towards the middle, with a positive blaze of a riff fest, increasing in pace and intensity.  The frustrated lyrics are ideal.

Toxic Ruin – Bang!  That’s the only way to describe that insistent drum intro.  Really going in for the kill, with the enthusiastically angry lyrics, fire powered riffs and drum battallion, from which there’s no escape.  Cornered in an explosive arena.  Mighty power screams and more of that unforgettable RAM type speed, power heaven.  Brilliantly placed as the standout track.  I love the melody in there.

Overall – An impressively intelligently constructed album, filled with craftsmanship of the highest standard.  You’ll have to wait till the end for the most melodic track of all, but it’s well worth the wait.  All serious thrashers, power and speed freaks should give this a whirl.

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


For fans of Testament, Slayer, RAM, thrash, melo-death, speed, power and death metal.