Saturday, December 03, 2016

Saturday Single:Psychedelic Witchcraft-"Come A Little Closer"

Soulseller Records
2016

Based in Italy, Psychedelic Witchcraft is a extremely-talented occult rock/doom metal band that has slowly but surely become one of my favorite new acts. Ever since I heard the exceptional "Black Magic Man" I have been hooked on this up-and-coming exciting group. The aptly-titled band is lead by the amazing Virginia Monti (who I had the pleasure of interviewing back in May of 2015) and this fresh new number comes from the group's upcoming release, "Magick Rites and Spells" (which is due out in late January of 2017 on vinyl, CD Digipack, and as a digital download). As someone else so perfectly pointed out, "Come A Little Closer" almost sounds like "Deep Purple on LSD"! The key difference is Deep Purple never had anyone near as fabulous as Virginia Monti is on the mic! With Virginia's hauntingly suggestive voice setting the mood, the hypnotic "Come A Little Closer" beckons you to keep moving ever so closer until it finally has you completely under it's spell. If you've never heard this simply-unreal/one of a kind outfit before then be warned that Virginia Monti's is intoxicating and highly-addictive! Based solely on this seductive cut, "Magick Rites and Spells" is going to be one of the most anticipated and rewarding releases of 2017. For that reason alone, 2016 cannot end soon enough!



Friday, December 02, 2016

Final Solution-Through The Looking Glass

Logic(il)logic Records / Andromeda Dischi

Final Solution is an Italian metal band that was founded in June of 2011 by guitarist Fabio Pedrali and drummer Andrea Gorio. As of this writing the band is comprised of Mario Manenti (vox), Fabio Pedrali (lead guitar), Alessandro Martinelli (rhythm guitar), Gabriele Savoldi (bass), and Gianluca Borlotti (drums).
Released this past September,  "Through The Looking Glass" is the full-length debut album for Final Solution and it was recorded, mixed and mastered by Oscar Burato at Atomic Stuff Studio, Isorella, Brescia, Italy. It features eight tracks and has a run-time of just over 35 minutes. While this band reportedly started out in life  playing a standard form of death metal, "Through The Looking Glass" displays a melodic form of metal that is part modern metal and part groove metal. With solid singing from Mario Manenti and the well-placed usage of HEAVY guitars solos from Fabio Pedrali, "Through The Looking Glass" is a good starting point for this hard-edged outfit. Even though there are not any particular songs that stick out from the rest, Final Solution's first release is as solid as they come. For fans of  HARD & HEAVY groove metal this up-and-coming Italian metal band has plenty to offer.....

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Thursday, December 01, 2016

Interview with Al and Crown of Roxin' Palace



Roxin' Palace is a hard rock/heavy metal band from Italy that has been active since 2011. Just recently I reviewed the band's exciting new album, "Freaks of Society", and now it is my pleasure to present this interview that I did with lead vocalist Al and guitarist Crown. If you haven't had the chance yet to hear this fun band in action then be sure to check out the official lyric video for "Neighborhood Stars" that is right below this interview. I want to thank Al and Crown for taking the time to chat with us. 





Andy-Let me just start of by saying how much I enjoyed your new album. What was it like recording it?

Crown-It has been a long process due to the line up changes: only me ( Crown) and drummer Hell are still in the band, but that said it was very funny! We had great time with the new guys!

Andy-That's always good to hear. Chemistry is so important! What made you decided to change your band's name and how did you settle in on your new one?

Crown-I made this band under the moniker Modern Middle Ages with the intent to unite rock atmospheres with darker ones but when Hell joined the band he suggested we change the moniker into something more rock.

Andy-I agree with Hell then because your moniker just screams ROCK! I'm curious about this, but what are your favorites songs on the new album?

Al-"Fading Idol" and "Freak?" because they are the funniest to sing but, that said, I personally love every song in this record!

Andy-Yeah, you really can't go wrong with any of the songs on your new albums as there are absolutely no duds. Now, you guys went through a line-up change between your debut album and "Freaks Of Society". Why was that?

Crown- You know people come and go: some guys were not focused, other guys wanted to do something else in their lives! Anyway, we are still in great relationship with the former members!

Andy-That's cool. How did you get your two new members?

Crown-I knew them for a long time! Al was singing in a cover band but I've always been in love with his talent and potential so it was natural for me to ask him to join the band! Al joined the band some months after Axel had left! The first show happened only one year after that because we were recording! Gian Roxx entered the band when we fired the former bassist, Garret. He toured Czech Republic with us. Gian Roxx plays in Party Animals which is another rock band from the area!  He had no problem dividing the duties between the two bands!

Andy-Your Facebook page lists a second guitarist. Could you introduce him?

Al-His name is Riggs: he wrote some guitar solos and co-wrote "Neighborhood Stars"! He had a killer job but he was more interested in playing some other kind of rock...more AOR oriented so he decided to leave the band!

Andy-How has your new album been received by fans and critics?

Al-We had only 4 reviews by now and they are great! We are still waiting for more response but all the guys who listened to the record love it!

Andy-On "Freaks Of Society" I hear a little bit of everything from Mötley Crüe to Metallica. Did you guys rummage through my personal music collection before writing your new album? Honestly, there is a wide range of influences going on here!

Al-You are right man! We love all the kind of music, from Beatles to Megadeth, Mötley Crüe, L.A. Guns, Hardcore Superstars, Crashdiet, Metallica, Iron Maiden and even pop stuff: for example me and Crown love Duran Duran: every influence is welcome to be read in rock n roll key!

Andy-Amen to that! Are there any local bands that you would suggest our readers check out?

Crown-We love Party Animals where Gian Plays, Fake Idols: Some guys of this bands are guests on the album he he..We also love a metal band called Overunit Machine: we’ll share the stage with them soon!!!

Andy-I'll have to check those acts out sometime. Who are some of the bands that you've shared the stage with so far?

Al-Overunit Machine but also bands outside Italy: Salamandra (Cz) Jettblack from UK, Phantom x (USA), Steel City Heroes and Lionsoul from Italy…

Andy-Awesome! Are there any favorite shows that stick out?

Crown-Absolutely! Our shows at Metaldays Festival (Slovenia) a couple of years ago but even the last show with the new line up for "Freaks of Society" Release Party!

Andy- How about any bad ones? Most bands that I know have that one show that didn't quite turn out the way that they thought it would!

Al-My first Show with the band: Damn I had no voice because of the Flu (lol)!!

Andy-Ah man that had to have been awful! Do you guys ever throw in cover songs when playing out?

Al-One or two: we cover L.A. Guns lately!

Andy-Good call there! Where do you see Roxin' Palace going from here?

Al-We don’t have a great market here in Italy! Actually we are working with our booking agency for a European Tour but our dream is to play in USA!

Andy-That would be awesome if you could! Where can fans pick up a copy of "Freaks Of Society" ?

Al-From Sleaszy Rider Records shop or through our e-mail! For digital copies it’s in every platform!

Andy-I always like to give bands the last word so have at it. Is there anything that we didn't cover that you would like to mention? Have some words of wisdom for upcoming bands? Is there anything that you would like to say to your fans? Whatever it is, the mic is all yours!

Crown and Al-We thank you for this space first! We thank everyone that will be so patient to read this interview (lol)! We can’t wait to play in every country we can! Be there so we can rock together! ROXIN’ PALACE

Andy-I hope that happens guys and good luck with everything going forward!

















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Mercy Isle-Undying Fire

Self-Release/Independent
2016
Mercy Isle is a symphonic metal/rock band that was founded in 2014 by lead vocalist Kassandra Novell. Now in it's second year together, with the 10-track "Undying Fire" serving as this American-Dutch group's simply-stellar first full-length album, Mercy Isle is currently rounded out by Freek Gielen (lead guitar), Eelco Slont (rhythm guitar), Chad Novell (bass/vocals), Joop de Rooij (keys), and Ywe van der Pol (drums). That differs somewhat from the line-up that was responsible for this first-class recording. On "Underlying Fire" we have: 
Vox/Growls: Kassandra Novell
Keys: Joop de Rooij
Bass/Vox: Chad Novell
Drums: Ywe van der Pol
Guitars-Sebas Honing (except for "Saying Goodbye") 
The album also includes a number of guests. One such guest is Amanda Somerville who provides vocals on "Saying Goodbye" (Which is just beautiful in it's heartfelt delivery! Wow!!). The song "Saying Goodbye"  also features guest flautist Jeroen Goossens as does "If I Could". Speaking of "If I Could", Erik van Ittersum provides additional strings and synth lines to the song which makes it all the more enduring. Add in a some very special choir guests on "Come To Me" (Kolin McCormick, Dave Boxhorn, Brett Kihlmire, Thomas James, Gerra McShan, David Zapp, Todd Herdt, Lisa "Ashton" Cochran, and Ami Bouterse ) and you have a well-assembled cast of musicians that deserve extra special mention. The fact that so many people stepped up to help Mercy Isle out with this new album speaks volumes as to the natural grace and elegance that this band exudes. But then again, so does this recently-released album. It opens with the powerful "Wake Up" and quickly goes on to showcase this young band's unmatched ability to blend modern day pop/rock* and (amazingly enough!) classic rock like Heart and Pat Benatar(!) into what is already a really classy version of European symphonic metal! That proves to a completely new take on symphonic metal that is unbelievably enjoyable as far as listening experiences go! Without going too far into each and every number on Mercy Isle's full-length debut, "Undying Fire" is a amazing collection of songs that is second to none. Collectively these numbers sync together in such a smooth fashion that you can't help but imagine this album as a concept release. Like the days gone by when we used to have actual LPs and not just a mishmash of singles and filler material, "Undying Love" should be listened to in one sitting...start to finish. Otherwise I'm not sure you can actual appreciate the magnitude of this stylistically-rich recording.  For the members of Mercy Isle I offer my congratulations on what is one of the classiest releases of the year! Here's hoping "Undying Fire" is just the first of many such wondering albums!!
*Think high-end pop like Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlack, Beyonce, etc. 

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

=fudge=: "Never Stop Firing"




Welovemusic Records
2014

Graciously sent our way by band member Jake Curtis (drums), "Never Stop Firing" is the first EP from Germany's  =fudge=. It was independently-released in May of 2014 on CD (limited to a mere 100 copies) and now, thanks to damn fine folks over at Welovemusic Records, it is available for purchase on digital platforms like iTunes, Amazon, and Spotify. Starting things off with the wicked cool "Liars and Believers", the four-song "Never Stop Firing" is the last few (nail-biting) pages of one adventurous journey that originally began back in 2012 when two industrial metal fans, Chris Techritz (vocals, synthesizers) and Paul Curtis (bass), decided to form a new band with two young guitarists that just so happened to be modern metal maniacs (Maximilian Amberger and Sebastian Michaelis). Having added in rock-steady drummer Jake Curtis, the Mainburg-based =fudge= headed into the studio with a lofty goal in mind. This five-piece band would craft a EP that perfectly reflected the various musical influences of it's band members while simultaneously creating a powerful new genre called "synthesizer metal". Based upon songs like "The Spell", "Snow", "Ascending in Bleakness", and the aforementioned "Liars and Believers" that attempt to stretch the boundaries of industrial metal and modern metal proved extremely successful! To that end, "Never Stop Firing" wasn't just a slick combination of industrial rock and modern metal. While it's true that a big part of it's strength comes from bands like Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, and KMFDM, =fudge= is much more than your typical industrial rock/metal band. There are electronic rock and synth rock elements on display here as well as some (early eighties) punk infused-new wave. And those modern metal parts? They often give way to things like U.S. power metal, melodic metal, technical metal, and (garage-worthy!) raw heavy metal. Mixing up all these things in a bubbling vat of toxic waste, =fudge= becomes a completely different creature than what one might have imagined! In many ways this clever five-piece band reminds me of the cult act, God Is LSD. Maybe not sound-wise, but just the way in which this German band effortlessly mixes harsh vocals & grinding guitars with synthesizers and a punk-like mentality. Ultimately, "Never Stop Firing" is a rather easy release to recommend and hopefully it is one that serves as enough of a springboard for =fudge=  to use as they make the well-deserved jump from underground group to well-established outfit!

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

King of None-Troubles by the Score

Self-Release/Independent
2016

King of None is a riff-heavy & beer-fueled band from Finland that just released it's second EP, "Troubles by the Score", back on November 1st. The five-piece group, which is lead by emotionally-rich vocalist Miiro and (sadly) appears to be relatively-unknown outside of their home country, first hit the scene in 2015 with their self-titled EP. That particular recording was apparently "stoner rock 101 for beginners" whereas this gritty four-song EP is seventies rock and hard rock-infused stoner rock with depth and a great deal of integrity. For these self-dubbed "waster rockers", "Troubles by the Score" is the right sound to get them noticed by not just fans, but proper A&R reps. Seeing as their new EP is a name-your-price download, King of None should have little trouble reaching either party....

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Free Metal Monday: Hazarder-"Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!"

Active since 2011, Hazarder is a doom/sludge metal trio from Croatia that more than lives up to the implication of it's name. This (HARSH & HARDCORE) 7-track recording from early December of 2013 is Hazarder's only full-length release and it can should be downloaded for free by clicking on this link. With a run-time that is just over the forty minute mark, "Against His-Story, Against Leviathan!" is all kinds of brutal and maybe even a little dangerous with it's no-holds-barred delivery! For that very reason you are going to want to play this one LOUD and PROUD friends!!  

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Free Metal Monday: Headbangers Latinoamerica: Crash Of Two Worlds-Part 1: Europe Bands


Released way back on December 26th of 2013, "Crash Of  Two Worlds-Part 1: Europe Bands" is a free metal compilation that features 130 tracks! Yes, that's one hundred and thirty songs from one hundred and thirty DIFFERENT bands!! These bands range from established acts to underground/unknown groups and while I have obviously not had the time to listen to each and every number on this HUGE compilation I can say that there seems to be something for everyone's tastes. To that end, every track comes with a brief description of the band's style of metal (e.g., heavy metal, progressive metal, melodic death metal, symphonic metal...) as well as a link to their Facebook page. All of which makes this free compilation a real tweet. For more information on this digital release be sure to head here.  

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Children of the Reptile-The Four Weapons EP

Self-Release/Independent
2016

Sporting one of the coolest monikers out there(!), Children of the Reptile is a up-and-coming heavy metal band from Wilmington, North Carolina that is every-bit as epic as their name suggests! The group's wide array of influences include (but are not limited to!) Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Rainbow, Manilla Road, Loudness, Megadeth, Brocas Helm, The Lord Weird Slough Feg, Metallica, and even Thin Lizzy!! According to the Metal Archives, Children of the Reptile was originally formed in 2008 by vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Ozzie Darden (ex-Death Machine Weapons, ex-The Disasters) and guitarist/vocalist Chris Millard (Salvación, ex-Wrathlord) for a one-off show. It was only in 2009 that this U.S. epic heavy metal band became the real deal. After putting out their 3-song debut EP in March of 2012, Children of the Reptile went on to release a self-titled album in 2013. Just released on November 19th, "The Four Weapons EP" is the latest studio recording for this four-piece lot. It finds Ozzie Darden and Chris Millard backed by bassist/vocalist David "Pils" Hufham and drummer Jon Kiker (ex-Death Machin Weapons, ex-Wrathlord). While Jon Kiker has since been replaced by Chase Kelly, "The Four Weapons EP" did feature his immense skills and he should be duly credited. And speaking of (MAD) skills, Ozzie Darden and Chris Millard have the twin guitar attack style of Tipton/Downing (Iron Maiden) and Smith/Murray (Judas Priest) down pat! Simply put, the guitar solos on this EP are KILLER! For fans of real heavy metal (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, solo Ozzy, Dio, etc.) these leads will feel like a homecoming of sorts. Meanwhile the tight rhythm section is right there in line with the strings...and so is lead singer Ozzie. Darden's voice is honest and sincere and it fits right in with the overall mentality of this 4-track recording. Easily verified by listening to just one of the songs on this tremendous EP, Children of the Reptile has a real love for the music that they have created. Whether it's the instrument number "Arrival of the Dark Child" (which slays!) or the EP's three "regular" songs ("4 Weapons", "Sieg Zeon!", and "Goblin's Treasures"), "The Four Weapons EP" is 100% authentic in it's delivery! There is nothing fake about recording or the  extremely-talented band that crafted it. God, is that every refreshing or what? Real heavy metal from a honest to goodness real heavy metal band. Who would have thought it possibly that such a cool thing still existed in 2016? Available for the low price of only $5.00 (which frankly is a steal of a deal for this twenty plus minute EP!), "The Four Weapons EP" is for fans of traditional heavy metal as well as epic metal. It's a A+ recording in a world where we all too often settle for B- releases and it comes with my highest of recommendations! 

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