MaterDea – ‘Pyaneta’

May 17, 2018

Currently, one of Italy’s most famous bands amongst the Pagan and Celtic genre, founded in 2008, from a collaborative project between 2 of its members, from which, the band name emerged, ‘MaterDea’ was also the title of the Celtic soundtrack for a brief film, on which the collaboration was based. In itself, ‘MaterDea’ stems from a collection of influences, of various origins, surrounding the concept behind the band.

Influenced by Genesis, Jethro Tull and Led Zeppelin, their sound is best summarised as neo-classical light power metal. Devised as strong, spiritual music, with fantastical elements, it succeeds in this colourful purpose. All 7 band members bring classical training to this vibrant sound. Having 4 albums under their belts, to date, (‘Below The Mists, Above The Brambles’), 2009, ‘Satyricon’ (2011), ‘A Rose For Egeria’ (2014) and ‘The Goddess Chants’ (2016), ‘Pyaneta’ is their 5th and is due for release on June 8th in Europe and July 6th in North America, via Rockshots Records. (Released on 8th May in the UK).

Back To Earth – Whale song opens onto a sci-fi-esque, otherworldly narrative, gradually exploding into full pelt metal. Memorably powerful feminine vocals, much in the vein of Lacuna Coil, Nightwish and Delain. Dealing with the themes and lyrical duties with complete ease, there’s no hesitation, as she just moves straight into it, swimming through and with it, easily. A notable fluidity encapsulates the track, holistically, as it ends on another voice-over, extolling love as an immediate and central panacea to all.

The Return Of The King – Ethereal beauty haunts this intro, incorporating a combo of light sounds, before evolving, once more, into powerful metal. Again, it just flows, so naturally. Vocally and instrumentally, it is one. Pure melody. Some very intriguing accompaniments in there. Great fast pace, gathering momentum, as it goes, eventually ending on a bestial whale cry, amongst the sound of breaking glass. It’s unique and capably performed.

One Thousand And One Nights – An Eastern vocal intro’s, on to rapidly deployed heavy-metal instrumentals. A quickened pace pushes it along, purposefully, as its power grows. More than ably assisted by those driven riffs. Ending on the Eastern vibe, to which it returns, a world of power infuses its sound, as that tight, determined drum hit closes it. Strength in spades and an individual touch, to go with it.

Pyaneta – Introing with a heartbeat and an underwater breathing sensation, it moves in, very carefully, with the accompaniments, as there’s a very slightly more restrained sense to them, in places, here. Any fan of operatic metal’s going to get on well with these vocals and that sax is just sumptuous. Filled with mystery and enigma, it’s a thrilling delivery and full of surprises.

Neverland – Opening with a flock of seagulls in the background of the sound of manual labour, planing off and soaring into vivid melody. Palpable accompaniments and magical sounds interspersing it. Loaded with catchy rhythms and melodies, this is a standout track, for sure. Particularly, where the finale’s concerned. There’s enough power and momentum in the finale alone, to fuel any fire of metallic passion.

S ‘Accabadora – Male vocals introing here, in a worshipful tone. Celtic sounds follow, before and surrounding the feminine, lighter vocals. Heavily melodic, with a lyrically narrative style. Combining light and shade, soft and heavy, as the powered accompaniments flow in and out and around the vocals. There’s just so much beauty pulsing with life and energy, throughout this and it closes on a strong drum finale. Just beautiful.

The Legend Of The Pale Mountains – Opening onto an aural scene of mediaeval forests and lakes, complete with violin and accordion, to accompany it. The electrifying riffs hit at that point. Gentle, feminine vocals join them there, telling their story, till the full on instrumentals take over, on and off. Eventually ending on a diminishing fade-out, it’s said all it needs to.

Legacy Of The Woods – Birdsong and an aura of enchantment intro’s, replaced by tuneful acoustic riffs and beautifully melodic vocals. Heightening the power and heaviosity, it races along on a thread of metal gold. Spinning a tale of old world mystery, as it speeds along its path, it’s just full on melody till the end, when the birdsong returns. Gorgeous.

Coven Of Balzaares – Thunder intro’s, a piano section, mysterious children’s laughter and a heavier accompaniment and then masculine vocals enter. Seeming to blend in with the feminine ones, at certain points, the masculine aspect does gain in strength, though still interweaves with the feminine. Lots of soaring tones in here, picking up more power, as they go. Definitely a greater mystique to this, generally.

Metamorphosis – Sounds of tinkling chimes and a short voice-over, before the instantly involved vocals come into play. More than competently supported by big instrumentals and an air of affecting passion and power. So melodic, in fact, it’s the melody that drives this, all the way and one way or another, it’s going to leave a lasting impression.

Bourre del Diavolo – Wolves howling at the outset, the pumped up accompaniments get straight in there, with a real Celtic flavour and a hurried tone and rhythm. Sharp, affected male vocals narrate their story, in another language, complete with evil laughter. Brief female vocals play a part, before being drowned out, by the excitable male and it closes on a child’s mobile, playing a nursery rhyme. Odd way to finish, perhaps, but memorable, regardless and maybe, that’s the point.

Overall – I have nothing but compliments for ‘Pyaneta’. It’s a blissful album, from start to end. Narrating a wonderfully fantastical tale, with all the skills and passion inherent within it. A metallic, mythological storyboard, combining old and new world wonder is the closest summation of this standout album. A definite example of all killer, no filler, with mysterious touches, accentuating the metal.

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

For fans of Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, Delain, Frost Giant, WYKAN, Within Temptation, Pagandom, Satarial, Xael, Northhammer.

Pre-order link:



Hell’s Gazelles – ‘Stone Cold’

May 14, 2018

Originating from Oxford, quartet Hell’s Gazelles now offer up the single ‘Stone Cold’, from their brand-new EP, ‘Take Your Medicine’, released 27th July 2018. Five tracks of new wave heavy rock, with traditional influences. H.G. have so far supported Black Moth, The Treatment, Desert Storm and also played Bloodstock Open Air and HRH Road Trip, etc. Fronted by Cole Bryant, engineered at The Ranch Production House, by Chris D’adda (Wayward Sons, Toseland), production and recording and Neil Kennedy (Creeper, Milk Teeth), mixing and mastering.

H.G. have created an edgy classic rock and metal sound. The band’s overriding aim is to perfect the art of songcraft, bringing that out in their music, along with their passion and driving influences, both new and old.

Marking the EP release, with a one-off local show, HG will perform at The Bullingdon, Oxford, on Friday 20th July. To hear what John Challis (a.k.a. ‘Boycie’, Only Fools And Horses, The Green Green Grass) has to say about the event and EP, check out YouTube. (Link below).

Vocalist Cole Bryant refers to his lyrics as having double meanings, to reflect the truths and realities of all arenas of life, especially at this point in time.

In line with the engaging, irrepressible performance of ‘T.Y.M.’, Andy Pilkington, of Very Metal Art, does the duty of featuring ‘Dr Strangechild’, the eccentric scientist, within the cover. Svenja Block Photography.

Stone Cold – Massive intro! Forceful, impacting and wildly catchy. Instantly, you can hear that those vocals were born for this track. It’s very true to say that Cole brings it to life, coming off the line endings, with hugely powerful expression, like few can replicate. Mega drumming stamina characterises the whole song and particularly, the finale. Hard grooving riffs really get to work, laying down the hard-line rock, throughout and the rhythmic beat’s infectious. This is true rock, at its best. Completely at home with itself, it screams with perfect synchronisation and there’s not a note out of place. Welcome to hard rock heaven. Buy this. Buy it now. The next Seb Bach has entered the room.

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

For fans of all great 90’s rock and metal. (Official Stream – ‘Stone Cold’).

Event Ticket Link:

Boycie’s feedback:


IGNITOR – ‘Haunted By Rock & Roll’

May 13, 2018

Original heavy-metal giants IGNITOR have now launched the official video for the title track from current album release, ‘Haunted By Rock & Roll’. Produced by guitarist Stuart ‘Batlord’ Laurence, featuring Lydia Gallardo and her husband ‘Hands’.

The album on which it’s based is their 6th album release, officially launched on November 24th, 2017, via EMP label group/Ariescope Records. It’s the 4th video from ‘HBR&R’, after Hatchet (‘The Ballad Of Victor Crowley’), ‘No Sanctuary’ and ‘To Brave The War’. Those last 3 are viewable on YouTube.

EMP label owner Dave Ellefson (Megadeth) acts as executive producer on ‘HBR&R’.

Founded in 2003, by Stuart ‘Batlord’ Laurence, guitarist and founder of ‘Agony Column’ and ex ‘The Offenders’ drummer, Pat Doyle, IGNITOR’s mission was to return to genuine, old school heavy-metal and bring that sound back home to Austin, Texas.

Standard line-up changes resulted in Jason McMaster (Watchtower, Dangerous Toys, Broken Teeth, Evil United) taking over on vocals, with his first outing on ‘Spider Queen’, back in 2007. Well-known in the Texas metal scene, Jason is considered a veteran of metal.

By 2015, IGNITOR had brought guitarist Robert Williams (Witches Mark) and bassist Billy Dansfiel (Agony Column) on board. Thus began a 3 year promo drive, performing live, with the new line-up, supporting legends such as, Grim Reaper, Helstar, Jag Panzer, Raven and Cage. These new, enlivened tracks would form the album, ‘Haunted By Rock & Roll’.

IGNITOR will appear at Chicago’s longest standing heavy metal Fest, ‘Alehorn Of Power X’, on July 28th, at ‘Reggie’s’, Chicago. This is set to be the 10th presentation of the event, which has aimed to promote the cream of the heavy-metal underground, since 2006.

Haunted By Rock & Roll – Banging, loud, instant catch, with consummate, high-level drumming, classic metal visuals and all the surrounding gothic darkness and implied threats to prove it. Great, fast-paced, highly melodic riffs and top-notch production. The sound quality rocks hard, as do the satanic lyrics, well honed power screams and carefully, tacitly designed scenes. Just enough mild horror-esque anticipation to keep you guessing, on the edge of your seat and a strong air of absolute metal professionalism and supremacy, marrying sound and visuals well.

Overall – A classic heavy metal video, with ‘headbanging, crowd puller’ written all over it.

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

For fans of old school greats, such as Alice Cooper, Ozzy Osbourne, KISS and Skid Row.

Video link for ‘HBR&R’: (‘Hatchet’) (‘To Brave The War’) (‘No Sanctuary’)

Old Man Wizard – ‘Blame It All On Sorcery’

May 11, 2018

California-based ‘Old Man Wizard’ make a comeback, with new release, ‘Blame It All On Sorcery’. A 10 track album, released today, combining prog, metal and hard rock, charting their journey over time, since the first album, with all the personal and professional challenges inherent within it. It’s been several years in waiting. The band are now proud to present it.

Beginnings And Happenstance – Very neat slide riff intro, with a very bluesy angle. Seems it really was just a very brief intro, though, as it’s over in no time, but it’s provided a decent taster.

Sorcerer – Gorgeous flowing acoustic opening, from which a world of mystery emerges. Fairly pathos filled vocals, adding a darker thread, gradually gaining in strength. As the accompaniments provide the light and the intriguing glimpse into mediaeval corners, it unfolds into a well blended combo of prog, old world, metal and varied rock, both enlightening and refreshing, in equal measure.

The Blind Prince – Instant voluble intro, coming straight off the last track, so spontaneously as to seem as if there was no separation between tracks. Drum heavy and quite psychedelic in nature, it never misses a beat and it’s ending, while you’re still contemplating it. Impressive.

Never Leave – Lovely sound to that smooth acoustic intro. A flair of colour and Latin style rock enters. Actually, there’s a hint of flamenco in there, along with a bit of Baroque. Beautiful lyrics and still, a slight melancholic note, in between the lighter shades. Ending on a triangle hit, in sync with the closing vocals, it’s very much a folding track, revealing various depths, as it moves.

Cosmo – Much more vivid and almost violent, in its expression. The moods are well conveyed, as they change. A strong beat, there’s a lyrical quality about it, showing the ever-changing flow of emotions, well supported by profoundly performed instrumentals. As it moves towards the end, you’re left with a desolate sounding guitar tone, closing, liable to stay in your memory for some time to come.

Somehow – Really lively, folky intro, adding a whole new colour into the mood). A catchy note comes into play, bringing a more playful angle I could listen to forever. Brief, but very memorable.

Innocent Hands – Instant colourful aggression opens this time. That sound’s interplayed with The Lightning Seeds style vocals, as that ‘Lucky You’ nostalgia hits you. A great build-up sound to the accompaniments, as their full dramatic impact hits, while they come to life, bringing a burst of brightness with them. It’s a good resonant finish.

The Last Ride Of The Ancients – A quite Beatles-esque intro, evoking recollections of ‘An Octopus’s Garden’, ‘Hello, Goodbye’ and Paul McCartney’s ‘Live And Let Die’. Really melodic, quick paced and lively, with a party rock sense to it, yet still building in the flamenco sections. Quite an extraordinary feat of achievement.

The Vision – Deeply expressive chord introing, leading into a macabre lyric section. It does, though, contain both lightness and darkness. Viking metal unexpectedly adds a stronger theme, as does the mediaeval thread following it and in fact, ending the track. A spectacular skill is shown, for blending and incorporating various eclectic styles and genres and making them work together. Just very profound and very versatile. There’s something in here for everyone.

The Long-Nosed Wiseman – The loudest, most powerful intro yet! Here’s where the proper heavy-metal comes into play. Injecting a deeply morose, grungy tone, with a doom flavour, altering the mood, from exuberant, to darkly contemplative, in an instant, taking your thoughts with it, a stark realism pervades its atmosphere. There’s a sense of a dark tunnel, from which, the light at the end gradually emerges, symbolised further, by the carefully strategic use of light, small percussion, towards the end. The close itself is sudden and dramatic, consolidating the ever-changing possibilities of nature.

Overall – Unlike anything I’ve heard previously, ‘B.I.A.O.S.’ is a deeply reflective and unpredictable album, of random changes and musical experiments. Highly impressive, in the extent and nature of its willingness to differentiate, from one style to another, in such a diverse way. In ‘B.I.A.O.S.’, you’ll find something to suit most moods and something to fit most genres. A concept album, with a difference. One whose concepts become clearer, through not categorising or defining itself as such. A truly developed and evolved concept album, whose creators are yet to realise its true value.

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

For fans of everything from early pop rock, through to psychedelic, alt rock and grunge blues, to prog, heavy-metal, Viking and mediaeval, Baroque stuff, with folk and Latin and flamenco touches.

Released 11th May 2018.

Desensitised – ‘You’ll See’

May 5, 2018

Desensitised are an emerging band from Nottingham, UK. An all-female band, already featured on BBC Radio, throughout East Midlands, their new single, ‘You’ll See’, is released on 12th May 2018, via Sound-Hub Records. The associated video is available to watch on YouTube.

You’ll See – Slight delay, before you’re hit by full volume rock. Well powered feminine vocals, with a slight punky edge. Strong, but slightly tinny sounding drums and cohesive bass and guitars, conveying good band solidarity. Fairly short, pop rock material, fading out on a slow riff. Generally, it’s a bit basic, though well vocalised. In melodic terms, it definitely errs more on the side of soft rock, than anything metallic, but all in all, a decent effort, adequately performed.

Video – ‘You’ll See’ – Classroom scene, with punk attitude, interspersed with band live performance shots. Schoolgirls audition the song, to school staff. Cut to apathetic crowd at a gig, in similarity to the earlier apathy shown by the teachers, towards the music and the pupils, towards school work and environment. Crowd apathy, though, gradually turns to interest, as they stand up and get into the music, but it still feels forced. Maybe that’s the point – people have to want to do things, or any apparent interest shown will be nothing more than a show. Some truth in that. A form of punk protest, perhaps. Ending with a dark look from the vocalist, in black make up, sporting the Goth look, it tends to have a Wednesday Addams effect, on the whole. More than anything, the video just contributes to the punk mood already there in the song. Ultimately, this’ll probably go down best with a younger audience.

5/10 *****

For fans of Alanis Morissette, Anastacia, Pink.
http://www.instagram/DesensitisedUK  – ‘You’ll See’

Released Anger – ‘Revenge’

May 4, 2018

 Presenting Released Anger’s current album, ‘Revenge’. Formed November 2004, their debut EP, ‘Violent Instincts’, was recorded 7 months later and launched in November 2005. Produced at Baseline Studios, it comprised 5 thrash tracks. At the time of its release, there was a change of drummer and a bass player entered the band.

Their 1st full-length album was actually their 2nd release, entitled, ‘Faces Of Fate’, consisting of 10 tracks and a cover of ‘Whiplash’. That production was completed at 222 Studio, during August 2006, in just 8 days. Released on various record labels, (Eat Metal, Released Anger and Kill Again), it’s available in physical format, via standard retailers or through digital means.

Following the debut album’s release, were ‘Virus’ 7 “(2009) and ‘Monarch In Life’ (2010), split with Dead City.

Released Anger are well experienced in live performance, in European countries thus far and have supported the likes of: Attacker, Blitzkrieg, Brocas Helm, Sodom, Enforcer, Whiplash, Acid Death and Flotsam and Jetsam.

Revenge – Dark, heavy intro, extreme, to the point of blackened. Ragingly fast rhythm, chasing vocals and a fair bit of repetition. No denying the skill behind the momentum of that pace, though. Not necessarily for those of a more melodic persuasion, but the craftsmanship’s unarguable.

Problems Remain – Fresh, confident drum intro, closely followed by a catchy bass line and a collective thrash section. Vocals clearly blacker than most thrash pipes, but this is definitely much more melodic, on an instrumental level. Good pace to it, building the intensity, while dropping back down to lower, deeper bass lines and experimenting with tempo, beat and thrash possibilities. All of which work. Open-minded and versatile.

Fight Back – Great, intense thrash riff opens, setting up the speed of the pace, from the start. Again, those vocals are much more black than thrash, but there’s a definite edge to the sound, giving it a razor sharp quality. Decent vibrato whammy bar section adds an intriguing air, just before the raging drum and riff finale, meeting the vocal extremity.

Mind Penetration – Boom! That’s the best way to define that intro. A melodic edge throws shafts of light into the darkness, bringing it up, out of the shadows. Classy riffage, increasing the melody. Great momentum’s maintained and all the time, a familiarity seems to penetrate the sound, expressing the title well.

Inner Enemies – Loud, insistent and determinedly thrashy best sums up that intro. Another scene setting track, with a bit of stop start division within it. An exhilaration permeates this, especially within the pace and power qualities running through it. There’s now a definite catchiness within those riffs and bass lines. Love those vocals or hate them, you can’t deny they’re performed with precision and absolute consistency and that’s got to take some skill to maintain, without ripping your throat to shreds. Darkness and light, in equal measure.

Certain Death – Instant mega fast speed defines this track. Astounding pace blazes a trail of fire through the track, as those screaming extreme vocals match it, adding fuel to the fire. A very brief, but shockingly powerful slice of major thrash action.

Justice – Wow! One more piece of thrashing mad insanity, from the off. Reminiscent of Pantera’s ‘Hostile’, in rhythm, sense and lyrics and in particular, lyrical, well, hostility. A speed demon of fiery awesomeness hits the mark, continually. So much so, it’s triggered a Tourette’s-esque line of ‘fuck’s’, exiting my mouth.

Human Slavery – Bang! Straight in there, with instantaneous catch, via rhythmic pace and thrashy riffage to kill for. Forget any notion of rest or relaxation, for even a moment, cos it ain’t gonna happen. If this is anything, it’s a guaranteed wake-up call and it’s the kind that shakes, stuns and rattles you awake and then keeps you awake. That riffage in itself, is enough to get off on. Add those drums and you’re there. Brilliant team effort to shake the foundations, till they fall and it succeeds.

Scum – More of that ace and awesome speed-freakery intro’s, chasing you down, till you relent. Very Anthrax like, ‘A.I.R.’-esque, ‘Welcome To Your Nightmare’ thread bleeds through this and if you’re not screaming along to that riff by now, check your pulse, cos you’re clinically dead. Just a raging battle to metallicise your senses.

Silent Killer – Battering ram of metallic drumming, raging, hunter like lyrics and palpable riffage, in the mode of a killer, who’s anything but silent. An acutely sharp, patently insistent piece of evil, to match Slayer’s most therapeutic, anger releasing tones.

War – Even faster, blitzkrieg of mighty fretwork, of finger bleeding epicness. Slowing things down, intermittently, before taking it back up again, to incredible pace, this is all-out gory extremity, of nightmare inducing proportions. Just a blizzard of speed riffs, with vibrato included. Absolute steel.

Overall – ‘Revenge’ really says it all. Brilliantly depicted, within this epic fire of lightning fast darkness and extremity. This well and truly woke me up and I’m pleased to say, changed my mind about the sound I wasn’t sure about, initially. In fact, it just got better and better. So the blackened vocals may not do it for me, but the riffs certainly do, as does the general thrash intensity and the precision of delivery. Metal mania.

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

For fans of Pantera, Exodus, Slayer, Anthrax, black and extreme metal.

Demolition Train – ‘Bound By Horror, Sealed With Blood’

May 2, 2018

Founded in 2009, by Apostolis Korakas (guitars), Vasilis Korakas (guitars), Nikos Niavis (drums) and Michalis Papadimitriou (bass). Created with one basic mission in mind – to rock out! Loudly. As loudly as possible.

After some false starts initially, the first 2 years were spent trying to secure the full line-up, whilst producing early music. By 2011, they were ready and their demo EP, ‘Kill Your Boss’, (a sentiment to which many can surely relate), was released. Following a couple of temporary exits from the band, to pursue postgraduate education overseas, Witchkiller, from Steamroller Assault came on board, as bassist. The resulting power trio remain.

Their debut album, ‘Unleash The Hordes’, was launched in 2015. They’re currently promoting the next one, entitled, ‘Bound By Horror, Sealed With Blood’, via Eat Metal Records.

The Night Of The Wurdulak (Intro) – Creepy sinister scream intro’s, along with an equally ominous, but highly intriguing bass line. Funeral bells accompany the dark, slide riffs and the percussion slots right in. A really imaginative, visually evocative piece, making good use of rhythm and shady melodies, to solidify the picture, in your mind. Excellent starter. Edge of the seat stuff. Fits the rain and greyness outside, perfectly.

Beast Of Hades – Intense riff opening. Immediate insane riff fest, of real thrash material. Proper lyrical thrash stuff, too. So damn catchy, you just lose focus, as you find yourself wanting to sing, shout and mosh along. Huge rhythms, cemented in place by clearly seasoned drum sections. An overtone of darkness, coloured by thrashtastic tones and aural hues. Skilled delivery, high quality sound production and flawless performance.

Witchkiller – Massively visual, witch hunting intro, with all the verbals and surrounding public courtyard sounds to go with it. Opening onto an evil sounding vocal, with matching riffs, makes this an instant and memorable ace. Breaking down into a doom melody, in the classiest way and interlacing it with power riffs and thrash vocals, it’ll appeal to fans of most metal genres. Successfully conveying the emotion of the moment and their considerable skills of metallic dexterity, this should go down a storm with most.

Wendigo Screams – Instant power riffs and screams intro and this time, I had to scream along. Top quality here. Of the type of stuff that belongs on ‘Heavy Metal Killers’. Everything from R.A.M., to Anthrax is audible in here and it works screamingly well. Enormously catchy, pressured steamroller action speeds and rocks it along and you’ll want this and in particular, those infectious power screams, on endless repeat.

Dawn Of The Necromancer – Ace, lively, sexy, crunching bass line introing. Throbbing vocals follow, enhancing that orgasmic sense some more. Thrashing mad, like a bastard, it’s gloriously hellish and I love it and so will you. That rhythm and pace is crazed, contagious and just sees it through. Dark, sensual and playing with melody, within the darkness, it’s absolutely faultless.

Symphony Of Horror – Instant speed riffs intro, onto a landscape of pure metal. Classic thrash vocals hit the mark immediately and carry you along in their wake. Hugely catchy rhythms again, capably assisted by the drums and their pure steel backdrop. Just an immense feat of metal masterdom. Want escapism? Fast, loud, metal escapism? Try this.

Blood On Satan’s Claw – Banging explosive drum intro, getting straight into an epic riff fest, with equally epic melodies. Some very tasty Slayer-esque electrifying, sharpened riffs in there and a real power element overlaying the whole thing. Ending on a traditional speed power sound, you’ve got to love it and that’s it.

Grim Reaper – Immediate, immaculately timed vocals introing. Doesn’t miss a beat. Perfected thrash is what this is. Just thrash, to the bone, all the way through. Aptly evil vocals depict the tone of the theme and the darkened sense emanating from it, yet without becoming too blackened. Everything’s in perfect sync and the sound embodies the title.

Nocturnal Rite – (Outro) – Measured tones and an eerie sense intro this, with classy atmospherics. Actually building the ominous atmosphere, growing creepier and darker, it then ends on a light percussion, meeting and closing the darkest point, like the light at the end of the tunnel. Perfect and truly unique, ideal closer.

Overall – It’s a remarkably rare album that can clinch the rage of Pantera, coupled with the speed and melodies of R.A.M., the power of Enforcer and the thrash force of Anthrax. ‘B.B.H.S.W.B.’ achieves it, saying it all, in itself, but taking into account, the multitude of immense talents and skills inherent within the entire performance, it’s got to win full points for the mightily impressive outcome. Metallic mastership epitomises ‘B.B.H.S.W.B’.

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

For fans of Pantera, Enforcer, R.A.M., Exodus, Slayer, Anthrax, Down, C.O.C., H.O.D., Megadeth.


Defeater – ‘Endless Ray’

May 1, 2018

Introducing Defeater’s current EP, ‘Endless Ray’.

Endless Ray – Gradual intro, with synthesisers and an air of mystery, moving into a party metal section, moving up a gear, when the edgy feminine vocals come into force. Those screams are impressive and the riffs provide the central power, ably supported by the drums. It does have to be said that the accompaniments provide most of the melody in this case and that whilst they are enthusiastic, the vocals could do with more presence. There’s a sense that the vocalist’s focusing too much on volume, at the expense of melody and therefore, losing some of her potential. The vocal sound quality’s hiding in the shadows and needs to come forward.

Evil Strike – Enigmatic bass driven intro, opening onto some great riff melodies and again, the power screams are capable, but more vocal range is needed. Here, the drums drive much of the track, adding speed and energy. The main thing with those vocals, though, is there’s just too much focus on power screams and more needs to be channelled into actually singing. The potential is there, as is audible, through the screams. It just needs to be brought forward.

Bleed For The Gods – (Agent Steel) – Far more powerful intro, of top instrumental quality. More melodic vocals this time, though she needs a more powerful microphone. Generally, a great catchy pace and rhythm, with lots of energy and just what you’d expect from a standard power metal track.

Galactic Domination – (Rehearsal) – Opening gradually, but this time, it’s actually a lot louder and stronger. Loads of cymbal involvement and somehow, it’s got that exuberant, playful sense of natural improvisation, colouring it, significantly. This is much more like it. A pure instrumental, showing the full sound potential within the rhythm section. A full on, energised jam session, with all the light-hearted fun to add to it. However, the sound levels are deafening and do need to be better controlled, as my ears rang so much, I had to commit the ultimate sacrilege and turn it down. Still enjoyable, though.

Overall – Okay, so ‘Endless Ray’ didn’t grab me as much as it might have, but it still holds a lot of potential. Its main strength is the instrumental speed and melodies. Ultimately, the singer may just need more time and confidence, as well as a stronger microphone, but her power screams are of undeniable notational quality. Collectively, the fun, light-hearted energy is ‘ER”s U.S.P. The vocals just need to match the accompaniments’ melodies, to bring it all into synch.

6/10 ******

For fans of Vixen

Rosco’s Riot – ‘Yesterday’s Paradise’

April 27, 2018

Released this year, on their own label, Rosco’s Riot present their new EP, ‘Yesterday’s Paradise’. Six tracks of chilled out rock, all the way from Ireland. Recorded and produced at Einstein Studios.

Bound To Hell – Gentle acoustic intro, morphing into a full on metal section. A slight grungy sense to it, within the harder sound of accomplished rock. Those vocals fit right in, with their laid-back, yet evidently involved drawl and the twiddly melodic riffs are well placed. Just a great rocky song.

War – Right into it, with rocked up pizzazz. No help needed in convincing anyone of their metal wares. Seasoned vocals, with a Bon Jovi-esque edge blitz their way through, easily, in sync with the accompaniments, exuding a heavy, yet light-hearted doom aspect.

Only One – Slash-esque intro, with a notable sound of Andrew Stockdale’s ‘By The Sword’, before those Bon Jovi-esque vocals take the reins again, evoking imagery of westerns and dusty back roads in deep south America. A really classy feel permeates this and it’s one which enables instant ease and relaxation. Eventually, it moves into natural ‘Dead Or Alive’ sound, rounding it off into a perfect rock track. It’s very much alive with that true American essence – difficult to achieve as a non-American band, so big respect for that.

Little Darling – Very cool guitar breakdown introing and launching straight into a neat riff and drum centred section, helped along by those intrinsically rocky vocals. A bigger sound grows out of those guitars and it’s a short, but sweet taster.

Fate – Bass led intro, bringing it straight into a mid-paced number, with drive and energy pushing it along. Classic rock style vocals, of the kind that belong in ‘Classic Rock’ mag itself. An easy tempo and some truly fab riffs take it into respected metal territory. Catchy and cool.

Yesterday’s Paradise – Controlled opening, coming in gradually, at a nice easy flowing pace. Very smooth, listenable, bluesy tone, with an experimental, yet perfect directionally diverted breakdown. Really fulsome track, with light doom aspects and plenty of bass. Speeding up again at the end, for those final riffs, it’s immediate and so cathartic.

Overall – A refreshingly laid-back mix of blues, southern rock, classic rock and sleaze, with melody and a bass driven, doom edge. Sure to catch the attentions of all, from soft rock, to gritty hard rock and metal fans, it’s memorable, cathartic and easy on the ear. A seasoned sound, from deceptively young talents.

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

Hammerstroke – ‘Satan’s Claw’

April 24, 2018

Formed 1st May 2017, from ex-members of ‘The Siks’. Based in Salzungen, Germany, born with the intention to create a traditional metal sound, with all that that involves, Hammerstroke are a heavy melodic thrash metal band. Composed of Thomas (DocRock) Kaufmann – lead guitar and currently, bass and Rene (Kursche) Kurschner – rhythm guitar. An old friend (Isy) from a past band completed the line-up, as bassist. June 2017 saw the beginnings of the EP. The trio produced the guitar sections at DocRock’s home studio. He also produced the rest, including the drums, lyrics and vocals, while René was responsible for the rhythm guitar, cover art and band promo. Isy then left, leaving DocRock and René as a 2-piece, who continue to work on creating new material, whilst pursuing a new drummer and bassist. The debut full-length album and live shows are in progress. ‘Satan’s Claw’, the debut EP, was released on February 15th, 2018, via DocRock Music Records.

Now You Die – Eerie, mysterious music introing. Loud metal soon follows. A very doomy tone to those vocals, painting pictures of darkness and fear. Still metallic, in places and some yummy, spooky, yet melodic riffing complementing the lyrics. An aptly depicted tale of doom and haunting.

Satan’s Claw – Speed riffing opens, with equally powered, fast drumming and frenzied vocals, setting the scene for more. In a blatantly heavy-metal style, this title track grows stronger, as it progresses, injecting an edgier vibe and real visual imagery into the tone. Climbing and descending, in all the right places, it’s vocals are grittier and more emblazoned and it ends on a rapidly falling riff. Just wish it was longer.

Sweet Illusion – A much deeper, clearly doomier bass line intro’s, emphasising the tone of ‘S.I.’, immediately. Vocals following the sound and technique, they take it into lower, sleazier, but still doomy territory. Gorgeous, tuneful riffage embodies the title and the pace is steady, while the song itself is catchy, ending on a low bass hum. Easy to get into and down tuned, to a relaxing tone.

Kali Yuga – Racing things back up again, with a speed themed riff opening and everything falling instantly into line. Very catchy sound, a more uplifting vibe and a great, fun loving melody. Filled with higher pitches, rhythmic bliss and obvious enjoyment. Exuberant, upbeat and massively infectious. It’s a hit.

Depths Of Mind – Carefully crashing intro, like bringing a chandelier, cautiously to the floor, sending a controlled rain shower with it, in turn, sending a vibrant explosion of colours shooting off it, into the atmosphere. That sums up the vivid sound of ‘D.O.M’. Hugely riff centred, so much so, that it’s basically a riff fest, of the kind that comes from freestyle, fired up improvisation. I love it.

Stayin’ Alive – Perfected, true heavy metal intro, making this Bee Gees’s classic into something I never thought possible. Enormous kudos and metal respect for that. Never before have I enjoyed this track so much, which in itself, speaks volumes. Creating a novel, catchy, metallic number, sure to attract fans in their droves, it’s got anthemic harmonies, colourful riff sections and a general feel-good air, proving the power and potential metal can bring to anything. It wins points for that alone.

Hammerstroke – Sheer power, energy fuelled drive, taking the pace up to frenetic speeds. This here is what you call a flagship song. A mascot, even. Call it what you will, but however it’s termed, it’s an ace. Gravel edged vocals, crazed riffs and speeding drums, slotting right in. It may be brief, but it knocks the socks off most. One listen’ll chisel it into your memory forever.

Overall – A faultless, versatile and energised performance, crackling with power and exuberance. Solid delivery, flexing the edges between doom and heavy-metal, speed and power and the vocal dexterity to suit each one. Even a wildcard, from a different genre altogether, expertly metallised and recreated. As if that wasn’t enough, the closing flagship track just made it. A wonder of metallic creation.

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

For fans of doom, speed/power metal and heavy-metal, with alt, fantasy and gothic themes.