Wednesday, July 31, 2013

N.W.O.B.H.M. Wednesday: Legend-The Dark Place

High Roller Records 

Just sit right back and bear witness to another N.W.O.B.H.M. act that deserved a better fate, or even a better send-off, then they initially received. Formed in 1980, and with 2 full-length LPs and an EP to their name before they closed up the ranks (all of which make for essentially purchases for N.W.O.B.H.M. fans and collectors alike), the band Legend hailed from the island of Jersey. While they were not the only exports from this one time (and most likely still?) club-deprived island, as the N.W.O.B.H.M. Encyclopedia makes mention of both Tracer and Jonah,  they would prove to be the most successful band as well as the one that people most remember. Still though the Island's own Legend ended their run way too soon. By 1994 they were done. It would be years before the group got back together. In that span two compilations would be released (one of which, 2002's "Anthology", is in my personal collection and it covers the recording output of Legend) before the group finally got back together around 2002. A new album, 2003's "Still Screaming", was the result of said reunion although I must confess to having never heard it. The same can't be said of this new album though as "The Dark Place" has been on heavy rotation since I first spied it sitting there like a blue light special in the promo department! Who would have guessed that after 10 years waiting that their latest output would be this good? The fact that Legend are back with such a strong album just goes to show you that there are bands out there who still know how to rock after some 30+ years! As for Legend's line-up these days it looks as if other then drummer Jack Pallota a lot of the same players from back in the day are here on "The Dark Place". Vocals come from Mike Lezala whose melodic voice still sounds great while Pete Haworth's lead guitar still retains it's familiar Black Sabbath-like cutting edge. Meanwhile bassist Eggy Aubert easily slips back into place as if no time has passed at all. Neil Haworth (who played bass early on for the group) is the second guitarist here and together with the other 4 musicians you end up looking at a vintage act who sure as hell doesn't sound vintage here! Well, check that as a lot of this does retain their older style, which was somewhat doom while also packing in some classic rock, hard rock, some British metal and even the jazz-like influences, but it's also modern enough to kick a little ass up and down the ranks of rock and roll! The band still knows how to lay down some monster rock moments while at the same time they can easily mix in bits of melodic rock and even some progressive rock when the mood calls for it. In the end "The Dark Place" is such a good album that even I admit to being taken off guard by it! This one is going to be a must-buy for me and if you're a fan of the group then I suggest taking the same route. Are we looking at another album to be added to the year end best of as well? Maybe we are...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

You Slut!-Critical Meat (Re-issue)

Stressed Sumo Records

I'm not sure which is better, the band's name or the record label name. Both rock. You Slut!, who hail from Derby, Nottingham, formed in 2004 with "Critical Meta" being their 2007 full-length debut album. An EP, "Grit Eyed & Greasy Tailed", had been released in 2005, but for all intensive purposes this 8-track album had been their real deal. It's a real "stab society and all of it's hipsters in the eyes with a sharp stick" kind of record if you will with this 4-piece having had a sold out album on their hands. As for the reissue the band took what had obviously been a damn fine album to begin with and then when and analogously remastered and repackaged the album into a nifty digifile.This instrumental 4-piece are somewhat math rock although their also a bit of an indie rock/post-rock/post-punk kind of creature so it's all good in the end. While the name and song titles might come off as comical in nature there's actually a lot of skill going on here and the album, as an overview, offers up experienced rock that's quietly quirky. Look into this one if your side-hobbies include math rock or indie rock or if you're just set of flexing your musical tastes.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Hidden Masters- Of This & Other Worlds

Rise Above Records / Metal Blade Records

Three men and a cause. That's the essence of this Glasgow-based entity known as Hidden Masters. Those three men are the vocalist/guitarist David Addison, vocalist/bassist Alasdair C Mitchell (who also plays piano and organ) and vocalist/drummer John Nicol. As for the cause? On this, the group's debut LP, the trio embark on a journey straight into the heart of psychedelic rock and pop band. Make that psychedelic rock and pop band of the 60's variety. Without a doubt these three are exceptional musicians with talent that would have been right at home during the later day, musical exploration era, of both The Beatles and The Beach Boys. Whether it's the sugar sweet group melodies that cut right to the core of what made the 60's and early 70's such a magical time to begin with (think along the lines of an acid-rock version of  The Association or even Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young) or the band's natural ability to casually switch things up between folk-rock (The Byrds), classic rock (The Doors) and even hard rock/proto-metal (Black Sabbath) it's all nothing short of brilliant! The influences that these three gentlemen bring to the grand party are as varied as the music itself on "Of This & Other Worlds". A casual walk through the other day of this album, with my own two teenagers also listening in admiration to this 10-track LP, opened up our eyes and ears to the sounds and styles (all of which were splashed against the canvas in these exploding waves of color!) of each and everyone of those Hidden Masters influences. From The Doors to Queen to The Who it's all here under the covers of Hidden Master's sound. Any band who sites the likes of  Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, Buddy Holly, The Moody Blues, Earth & Fire, The Move, Buffalo Springfield, Yes and black Sabbath as influences obviously will be interesting, but it's how simple that all of this sounds seem to be that proves to be the real difference maker. It's rock and roll with all the trimmings (seriously this one rolls from one extreme to the other) while it's also highly experimental (Black Sabbath, Yes and even The Zombies? Really?) and downright addicting! There's just so much fabulous variety going on within these tracks that it begs just one question. That is where has this band been hiding all this time?

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gloomball-The Distance

Steamhammer / SPV

The Mannheim, Germany 5-piece known as Gloomball (interesting choice of name all in all) first came together in 2010 as a studio project. Doesn't it seem more and more like that's the case with a lot of bands these days? Really though, and let's be honest here, there's nothing all that unusual about going that route first as it gives these sort of young groups a firm place to get that initial footing down. As they started out that way then it is worth noting  that Gloomball put out two demos prior to this full-length debut. Now, whether just one or both of those demos (or neither I suppose) came about with a full-fledged band in place is left up in the air. Not that it matters much in the end though. Although, for those who have followed this band from the very beginning, it is worth mentioning that four songs from those demo days made it onto "The Distance"Fans would probably recognize those cuts as "In Blood", "Bitter Place", "Long Time Gone" and "We Do Belong". For the rest of us it's all new anyway so we'll get to the heavy rock that Gloomball lays down in just a second or two.. All told "The Distance" features seven brand-new tracks, those four leftover demo days tracks as mentioned and a pretty kick ass cover version of Robert M. Tepper's "Rocky IV." contribution, "No Easy Way Out". What's it all about though? Just what is the band selling with their full-length debut album then? Both of those questions are good so let's just see if we can get down to the bottom of this German group's sound together. First though just whose who in Gloomball? With lead vocals from Alen Ljubic, who sometimes comes across as Rob Zombie's illegitimate son (especially on the heavy rocker/opener "Overcome"!) while other time's he sounds as if he should be fronting a System Of A Down cover band, the band features a solid front-man. The rest of Gloomball is filled out by guitarist Björn Daigger (who composed the majority of these tracks with vocalist Alen Ljubic), guitarist Jossi Lenk, bassist Basti Moser and drummer Danny Joe. Stylistically these guys pull the trigger and go all out for this combination of modern hard rock (Hinder, Alter Bridge, Breaking Point, Nickleback, Shinedown, Papa Roach, Saving Able, etc), alternative hard rock/grunge (Rob Zombie/White Zombie, Sevendust, 12 Stones, 36 Crazy Fists, Soundgarden, Queens Of the Stone Age, Seether, Urge Overkill, etc.) and misc. other genres, acts and artists like Fear Factory, Pantera, Zakk Wylde and Filter. It's all well and good then as Gloomball keeps things moving and keeps things interesting! Everything about this young group from the lyrics to the actual music on hand points toward a band that has great promise.

Labels: , , , , ,

Orne-The Conjuration by the Fire (Reissue)

Svart Records

It sure seems as if a lot of Finnish bands have been finding their way to my inbox. The latest was Orne who, having first came about back in 1997 (initially as Mesmer before changing their name in 2001 to it's current moniker), is a side-project assembled by guitarist Kimi Kärki ( Reverend Bizarre & Lord Vicar). Originally released in 2006 on Black Widow Records, "The Conjuration by the Fire" was Orne's debut album and it's now getting a deluxe double LP reissue. It's been re-mastered for vinyl, which sounds great if the promo I received is to be believed, and features the 3-tracks from the group's 2000 demo, "A Beginning", as a special bonus. In addition to Kimi Kärki  (who the chief songwriter for this album) on guitar and mellotron player the album featured countless other band-mates and guests. Chiefly interesting is the vocal department where onetime Lohja SS (a hardcore punk band from the 90's) lead singer Sami Albert Hynninen pops in as a guest. This veteran singer, who is also known as Magister Albert and Albert Witchfinder, has had quite the career, what with stints in Reverend Bizarre, The Puritan, Opium Warlords, Armanenschaft, KLV and many more! On this debut recording his vocal delivery is subtle with an earthly air about it. Given the music at hand, which has a real vintage sound to it anyway, Sami's everyman delivery pulls the listener in and makes one feel rather relaxed and carefree. That says something as the music presented here, in a decidedly older fashion, lives within the dark corners of progressive rock. With talented musicians like Pirkka Leino (organ, Rhodes Piano) and Jussi Lisko (soprano saxophone, flute) added in the album is somewhat dream like. It's as if the listener is in a walking dream where Orne has been transported to another time where groups like Pink Floyd, King Crimson and Genesis were just starting out. On this (soon to be a classic) LP lead guitar was handled by Pekka Pitkälä (who, besides Kimi is the only original member of Orne) while bass duties belonged to Antti Fredriksson.  And finally Jari Pohjonen, also known as Void and Jay Lovely, of  Reverend Bizarre, Specie’s Traitor, Confirmed Kill, Vyöhyke and KLV, took care of the drumming. With some guest musicians also added into the mix this soon to be released double LP is one I can't help but enthusiastically recommend! Progressive rock fans likely already knew about Orne, but for the rest of us (and naturally I include myself in this category) the band was once unknown and sadly unheralded. As an album that sounds remarkably classic, with images of 70's progressive rock bands like those mentioned above spiraling through out my head, there's always an audience waiting to soak in and soak up what could best be called a magical album. Defiantly one of those recordings that I hope to enjoy for years to come now that it's discovery is at hand!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Circle Of Silence-The Rise Of Resistance

Massacre Records

Circle Of Silence, another traditional heavy metal/power metal band from Germany, offers up their fourth full-length album of their eight year career. Vocals, which are satisfying enough even if they are a hair too one-dimensional for their own good, come courtesy of Niklas Keim with guitarists Tobias Pfahl and Christian Sommerfeld providing riffs that bring to mind Ice Earth. Björn Boehm and Peter Suppinger (bass and drums respectively) round out the gang and, while there are no real weak links in Circle Of Silence, there's also nothing and no one who actively steps up to the plate. Born of bands like Iced Earth, Brainstorm, Mystic Prophecy, Sanctuary, Brainstorm and, to a lesser extent, Savatage  the 5 members of Circle Of Silence obviously appreciate these kinds of influences but, at least on their forth and latest album, they don't really do much to show such appreciation for the bands that came before them or, for that matter, they don't do anything to stand out. While the music is probably technically sound on paper Circle Of Silence doesn't really do anything that warrants excitement. In fact there's just so little energy to be found on this album that it's hard to resist the urge to hit the skip button. It's like someone let the air out their balloons and all we're left with is just a fizzling sound that nearly puts you to sleep! As harsh as that might sound (and believe me it killed me as I love this kind of traditional heavy metal/power metal mix) it's sadly all too true. Maybe they'll pull it all together for album number five (assuming they release an album number five) and maybe this was just a fluke bad album. Either way there's not much to recommend here so approach at your own risk.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, July 29, 2013

Until Dawn-Horizon


Hailing from the remote former city, but now know dubbed a urban service area, of Fort McMurray, Alberta is the melodic death metal band Until Dawn. Formed in 2010, with a self-titled demo and a self-titled LP proceeding "Horizon", the band is made up of lead vocalist Adam Macleod, guitarist Steve White, bassist Luke Davis and brothers guitarist Deke & drummer Luke Worrell. On full-length album number two there's actually two initial points that sprung to mind as "Horizon" played. The first is that for a band from such a remote area as these guys hail from their sound is modern and slick. Again we find that even the most remote of areas in this world of ours produces professional and technically skilled metal bands. The second thing that came to mind as I spun this album was if there is anyone left out there who doubts the high quality of self-releases then they need to not only have a reality check, but also they need to pick up this album! While on paper the group is often described as melodic death metal (or at least that's the tag they most times seem to find themselves saddled with right or wrong) there is so much more to Until Dawn then meets the eye or could ever be properly conveyed with such a simple tag. Two albums in and this 5-piece group has released an album that not only pulls in some of the finest melodic death metal out there, but also some moments of heavy hard rock, light progressive thrash, classic heavy metal and even metalcore. Overall it's more realistic to label Until Dawn "modern metal" although admittedly that term has  gotten a bad rep as of late. The band, who have shared the stage with Korn, Volbeat, Billy Talent, Kiss, A Day To Remember, Hell Yeah, All Else Fails, Fozzy, Ill Scarlett, Without Mercy, Unleash The Archers, 3 Inches of Blood, Striker and even Kiss (whew!), offer up this level of aggressiveness and brutality that is still rooted in energetic heavy metal riffs. So yeah, in a way they are modern metal, but don't let that tag persuade you in any way as this Canadian act is the real deal. Comparisons have been made to Trivium, which is a fair enough statement, although it's really more like someone took apart the likes of Killswitch Engage, At The Gates, Soilwork, All That Remains, Avenged Sevenfold, In Flames and maybe even some Parkway Drive and then, with equal parts super glue and duct tape, it was re-assembled with the whimsical mannerisms of Merlin The Magician at play! It's an impressive album that's sure to find plenty of praise from critics and fans alike. In Until Dawn we find another band to keep an eye on as everything is right in place for the group to take that next big step!

Labels: , , , , ,

Orbweaver-Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon

Primitive Violence

Words escape me when it comes to this Miami-based 4-piece. Formed in 2010 by guitarist/vocalist Randy Piro (ex-Hate Eternal, ex-Gigan, ex-Kult ov Azazel)) and drummer Mike Pena (Nuclear Infantry) the pair recorded a self-titled, three-song demo sometime thereafter. At that point it was just the two of them before lead guitarist Sally Gates (ex-Gigan) and bassist Jason Ledgard joined the party for some merry fun. As of 2013, and the mouthful of a title, "Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon", the band is still the same group of metallic misfits with the sole exception of  Scott Spasiano (drummer/percussionist). Scott took over Mike Pena, who left sometime this past year. Taking a look at this five-track album, and having listened to it in a dimly lit basement, this is the sound of one band hell set on doing it their own way. Avant-garde metal is certainly not new to these ears of my and yet, when it came right down to it, this listening experience left me locked in a mild state of confusion. Weirdly mixing death metal with psychedelia rock the band's album spends a lot of time on the go as it boldly moves about between noble heavy metal and noise. Frantic is a good word to use when it comes to this 5-track experiment in mood-altering death metal even though Randy Piro (vocals/guitars/effects) and company do keep everything in check...for the most part. Recorded at Pinecrust Studios in Miami, with Jonathan Nunez of Torche at the helm, the album sounds good even if it comes off as a bit of a mad-cap adventure in all things space and time.
As well it was Brian Elliot who mixed and mastered the oddly named "Strange Transmissions from the Neuralnomicon" at Mana Recording Studios (Hate Eternal, Cannibal Corpse, Goatwhore, Exhumed) so between Brian Elliot and Johnathan Nunez this recording does do a good job at portraying this Miami band in just the right light. In the end this was an album that intrigued me as much as it left me reason to pause and scratch my head. I give credit to Orbweaver for doing their own thing though so while this might just be a strange band and a stranger reason it at least stands out from the rest of the pact of death metal albums that flood my inbox.

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dagger-Mainline Riders 7"

High Roller Records

Stockholm, Sweden's very own Dagger, which falls squarely in the category of side-projects that should be warmly welcomed with open arms and opened wallets, was formed in 2009 by some like-minded musicians. Ripped straight from their Facebook profile, which is where I found the bulk of information about Dagger anyway (as their promo profile section was as empty as my checking account) the group's influences include Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Whitesnake, Riot, Iron Maiden, MSG, Whishbone Ash, Dio, Scorpions, Accept, Judas Priest, Montrose, W.A.S.P., UFO, Blue Öyster Cult, ZZ Top and Saxon. Whew, that's more then enough influences to build your band around, but, for some reason, I walked away from this 2-track release thinking about The Rods and Fastway. Maybe it's just me though? Anyway, back to the band at hand and it's the day jobs of the musicians involved here that is really interesting. You've got Jani Kataja (Mangrove, Sideburn), David Blomqvist (Carnage, Dismember),  Tobias Cristiansson (Grave, Dismember) and Fred Estby (Necronaut, Dismember). With that said let's look at what everyone does in Dagger. Lead vocals are handled more then effectively by Jani Kataja while David Blomqvist takes his guitar and carefully crafts solos that are simple and yet more then satisfying as only a Swedish band knows how to! While the riffs are played with a restrained and subtle air of  passion without a solid rhythm section in place it could all easily fall apart. That's where David's former Dismember band mates Tobias Cristiansson (bass) and Fred Estby (drums) come in to play. The pair keeps everything  in check and together with lead vocalist Jani and guitarist David the four musicians plays fairly straight-forward, no-frills (but just enough thrills to leave you wanting more) hard rock/heavy metal. The fact that it comes packed with a very distinct old-school charm only adds to it's appeal so let's hope that Dagger releases more material then just these two songs by the time it's all said and done!

Find out more about Dagger here:

Order your own copy of "Mainline Riders" here:

Labels: , , , , ,

Ranger-Knights of Darkness


After 3 demos, the last of which, the 3-track "Combat Metal", was actually released earlier this year, Helsinki-based Ranger are ready for the big time with "Knights of Darkness". Having been at it since 2009, and reportedly going by the name of Turbo early on,  this four-piece Finnish band stirs up some serious speed metal shit on this 5-track MLP!  Lead vocals come courtesy of Dimi (aka Dimi Pontiac) who also handles bass duties here with Ranger. Incidentally Dimi also plays bass in the thrash metal/crossover act Forseen...for what it's worth and all. With his shrill, banshee-like (and damn near bat shit crazy!) vocal delivery, Dimi unleashes all kinds of hell while he's on the mic! Even if it sounds at times as if he went out and enlisted Lizzy Borden for vocal training, which is truly a scary proposition, it's not quite that over the top. Thankfully it never reaches the finger nails on a chalkboard level or anything and, in reality, his voice actually gels with the metal on hand here.With dual lead guitars from the pair of Jaakko (Steel Machine, Swallowed, ex Damnation Pride and ex-Deathraiser) and Verneri and pounding drums from Miko (ex-Tornado where it looks as if he actually played guitar there) this 4-piece band thrashes their way through this MLP! Comparisons are fairly easy when it comes to Ranger. First off there's a very distinct appreciation shown for early Slayer. But, since we all love Slayer, it's easy to side-step the copy-cat tag that might be thrown Ranger's way. Especially as Ranger come across as a much more speed metal version of Slayer. Furthermore let's just say we're in an alternate universe where Slayer was first starting out and they had been influenced by the likes of Heathen's Rage, Griffin, Tyrant (the U.S. version), Phantom, Riot, Toxik, later day Megadeth and early Running Wild. Only with Ranger it's a much more straight to the point/go for the throat delivery then any of those influences would suggest. Confused? Don't be. All you really need to know about Ranger is that they sound as if they were forged out of molten lava and custom shaped to play heavy metal! If that idea thrashes your insides then come September, when this 5-track little rocker of an MLP is released, scoop this one up!

Labels: , , , , ,


Eolian Empire

Dead, the Melbourne, Australia-based purveyors of noise rock, is a 2-piece band comprised of Jace on bass/vocals and Jem on drums/vocals. After listening to all that Dead has to offer here on their latest release, which was originally released at the tail end of 2012, I'm left drifting in the wasteland that is indecision. As "Idiots" opens with a slow build up, which I would have bet anything was going to be a case where a track  lulls you into a false sense of security, and doesn't really ever pick up until much later on. Produced by Dead themselves and recorded and mixed at Headgap Studios by Neil Thomason (except for the vocals which were recorded by Max Ducker at Cellar Sessions) this heavy slab of noise rock picks apart plenty treasured post-punk bands of old and then super-glues everything back together into it's own structurally unsafe work of art. I'm not going to lie here as I do like the description that came with this particular underground release. Describing this LP as (and I quote) "a Voltron-like beast formed from stripped-to-the-bone Karp and Melvins, ultra-heavy aberrations of Wire and Gang of Four angular punk, odd technical riffage of GodHeadSilo and No Means No, the aggro Aussie vibes of Feedtime, and creepshow experimentation" it's actually close to being spot on (description-wise) although images of The Swans flashed before my very eyes as I sat with my headphones on digesting this album. There's parts of this album that I thoroughly enjoyed (including the last 3 album tracks), but there's also parts I could have done without. Therefore I'm left in a quandary as I can't really recommend this release and yet I'm not ready to write Dead off yet. My best advise with this one (if you're into noise rock) would be to listen to it before you buy it. If you can take it for a test drive then by all means do it.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Fueled By Fire-Trapped In Perdition

Noiseart Records

Norwalk, California is home base for thrash metal warriors Fueled By Fire. The group, which has ties to the band Sodomizing the Dead, first formed in 2002 with a demo, "Life, Death and FBF, coming in 2005. With "Trapped In Perdition" it's album number three for this group. While the band's first full-length album, 2007's "Spread The Fire", gathered mix reviews (Metal Mark reviewed it for Heavy Metal Time Machine and gave it a good review) I remember hearing it and thinking that for a retro-thrash band they were not half band. Their second album, 2010's "Plunging into Darkness", I did not have the pleasure of hearing, but from what I hear on this 3rd album it seems as if there has been significant growth and maturity from the music to the lyrics. Still soaked in Bay Area thrash worship (Exodus, Testament, Death Angel, Sadus, Forbidden, Heathen and Lääz Rockit) the band's sound easily hearkens back to the golden days when all of those aforementioned bands (as well as Overkill, Intruder, Evildead and Nuclear Assault) roamed the earth in grand fashion. Former bassist turned lead singer/guitarist Rick Rangel has the thrash metal style nailed down flat and with a good group of musicians such as lead guitarist Chris Monroy (Skeletal Remains), bassist Anthony Vasquez (Sodomizing the Dead) and drummer Carlos Gutierrez (also formerly of Sodomizing the Dead) backing him up this new album finds the group making huge strides towards a more formidable and unified style of their own. Give this group another album or two and Fueled By Fire should be looking at a sincere style all their own. In the meantime this is a solid addition to any thrash metal fanatics collection.


Labels: , , ,

Friday, July 26, 2013

Current Playlist

Well, it's Friday so let's roll everything out...

Listening to:
Diamond Head-Borrowed Time
Crimson Glory-Crimson Glory
15 Sounds Of The Metal Rapture-Hellraisers
Hello-Glam Rock Singles Collection
Until Dawn-Horizon (Just got this promo in the mail yesterday...)
Elton John-Greatest Hits-1970-2002
Leatherwolf-Leatherwolf 1
The Beatles-The White Album
Iron Maiden-the Beast Of The Beast


Expendables I and Il
Also catching up on episodes that I taped of Endeavour

The latest issue of The Walking Dead-The Official Magazine

Labels: ,

Master Charger-Unity In Black

Black Vulture Records

From the looks of it "Unity In Black" was originally released at the tail end of 2011. The thing is it was apparently a self-release as well which is something to keep in mind should you ever stumbled upon a copy for sale or trade. Why keep that in mind at all you might ask? Well, up front it looks as if the band, which hails from Nottingham, England, has signed on with the Swedish record label Black Vulture simply as a means to offer greater distribution for this 10-track LP. Otherwise it wasn't like the band needed a record label in their corner when they self-released their latest LP as "Unity In Black" sounds like a professionally produced album from a band that could easily be on a major label. So, where to begin? How about back at the beginning kids? Formed in 2009, and featuring the current line-up of  J.H.P. (John Hoskison-Parkin) on lead vocals and guitars, bassist Kevin Wain and drummer John Kirk, the band issued not only their debut album, "Southbound N' Supercharged", later that same year on Alphaline Records but also the six-track album, "Live At Unit 5". A 3-track EP by the name of "Violent Wand" was released in 2010 which brings us to the present and "Unity In Black". In it's present setting, which may or may not be somewhat mind-altering, "Unity In Black" opens with "Super Death Charged" and just steamrolls it's way over everything thereafter. Serving as their latest listening experience, and yes, this 10-track LP is an "experience" if you catch my drift, the 3rd full-length album from Master Charger should really do wonders to put this English band on everyone's radar. Even if it does come across as somewhat crushing in it's delivery it's still an album that could leave you in a haze. If you don't know what I'm talking about kids then let's just say that this whole album ends up in smoke by the time it finishes. And, seeing as it closes with the eight minute plus "Journey Through All Tomorrows" it's every bit the definition of stoner/doom rock. On paper (or rolling paper if you will) the band's latest release is a "fusion of late 1960's psychedelic rock and the rock / heavy metal acts of the 1970's" as well as mix of "punk attitude and working class frustration". Translated that means you've got yourself another promising band that combines everything and anything to their basic sound which, while it would normally be one big twisted mess of noise, makes "Unity In Black" a pretty cool listen all around. Taken apart there is everything from the doom of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, the punk of  The Dead Boys, the stoner grooves of Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu and Queens Of The Stone Age and even some semi-grunge by way of Soundgarden and The Melvins. So, when it's all said and done, and the hazy cloud of smoke that would inevitably fill the room of some listeners to this album has dissipated, "Unity In Black" comes across as a heavy and heavenly mastered mix of psychedelic rock and roll, doom metal and stone cold grooves which beckons the listener to hit replay time and time again. In other words it's an album that should be in every stoner rock and doom metal fans music collection/personal library.

Labels: , , , , ,

Owl Stretching-"Keep Calm And Carry One" Single

I owe a debt to Sleaze Roxx ( ) for turning me onto this single and this project I knew nothing about! Owl Stretching is a project from Saigon Kick guitarist (and one time front-man) Jason Bieler. Here he is joined by bassist Chris McLernon and drummer Ricky Sanders. Overall the single is some smooth rock/hard rock and it made for some good times here at the offices of Heavy Metal Time Machine (aka my basement!) as it became quite addictive to all who heard it! With Saigon Kick reportedly set to play a few select shows sometime this year or next (mostly festival appearances from the sounds of it) this single will help to remind everyone just how talented Jason Bieler is! Oh, just in case you are wondering, I was a Saigon Kick fan back in the day and I always thought that "The Lizard" was an underrated album.

Labels: , , , , ,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Deadlock-The Arsonist

Napalm Records

Deadlock, who were formed in 1996, are now on album number six with "The Arsonist". While labeled in some places as melodic death metal, which they are to a point one could argue, there is so much more to the story then that description would imply. The group, which hails from Germany (and shouldn't be confused with all the other bands called Deadlock that are out there) offer up this absurd style of modern metal that actually peaks into the world of metalcore, alternative rock and pop music! Yes, Deadlock are a combination of all that and more. Not so fast folks. Don't run away on me screaming as it kind of works. Shocking I know. With clean female vocals and harsh male vocals (Sabine Scherer and John Gahlert respectively) it's a situation where they both feed off of each other in a near perfect way. Chief songwriter Sebastian Reichl (guitars and keyboards) keeps in the thrash rock solos that hint at this group's metallic core intact, while he also experiments with vastly different styles in order to create an emotional sound-scape. To that end he's helped by bassist Ferdinand Rewicki and drummer Tobias Graf who keep things from going too far off course. Musically it comes off as the meeting point (or is it the melting point?) between Swedish death metal, a less breakdown indulging Killswitch Engage and Evanescence. With "The Arsonist" deadlock brings everything they've got, all their goods and services on hand, to the table and dares the listener to get their hands dirty and indulge in all the different sensations. Here we see another act that should not, in theory, work given the odd assortment of genres and yet here it is sounding incredibly to the ears. Still, not everyone is going to get Deadlock or their album "The Arsonist". That's understandable given the over-all weirdness at hand here. For those who do appreciate all the different colors that life has to offer us, or rather freely listen to and indulge in everything from Abba to Napalm Death (like yours truly) this one comes packed with a recommendation. Life is far too short (and the ending can and does sometimes come from out of nowhere) to be close-minded when it comes to metal bands like this. So give it a listen and try it if nothing else. You might just be surprised that you've found something new out of life to enjoy!

Labels: , , , , , ,

Front Beast-Demon Ways of Sorcery

Hells Headbangers

Given the long-running nature of Front Beast (1999-now) it would probably be a somewhat odd thing to discover that this is only the second full-length release from this German band. Of course there has been quite the huge lot of demos, splits and EPs (and a couple of compilation albums to boot!) so it's not like Front Beast has been asleep at the wheel or anything. Formed back in 1999, and calling Ober-Flörsheim, Rhineland-Palatinateto home-base, it should probably be noted that Front Beast is also a one-man project. The man behind this latest album of old-school black metal is the one and only veteran Avenger (aka Daniel Cichos) who sure seems to keep himself busy! There would be way to much to list (as far as his past and present contributions) so if you're at all interested just head here: where you'll discover that this guy must never sleep! Avenger is one hard-working individual  and he's no slouch when it comes to handling everything from lead vocals to guitar, bass and drum work. On "Demon Ways of Sorcery" Avenger draws from black metal's past musically while lyrically it's all one big satanic love-in. If it wasn't for the one dimensional nature of  these lyrics ("Bearer of Satan's Flame" really?) I'd give Front Beast's second full-length LP higher marks, but it does drag things down somewhat. Still, that's the approach that Avenger has taken so who am I to argue? As black metal is more though then just a lyrical undertaking, unless we were dealing with spoken-word black metal (if that even exists?), the music here helps smooth over any rough edges theme wise. Avenger keeps things flowing by way of his aggressive vocals and his ability to make raw, no-frills metal sound inviting and relevant. That right there is Front Beast's strongest selling point as simplistic black metal can, and is here, be a popular alternative to the overly extreme music that is swallowing up the scene. Ultimately "Demon Ways of Sorcery" gives off this underground metal feeling where you could easily imagine Front Beast playing in the ruins of some old, long abandoned church and it's that vibe (of something old, dark and creepy) that saves this album.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Livin Fire-Under The Spell

Self-Release/Independent Recording

It's been awhile since we last heard from Livin Fire here at Heavy Metal Time Machine. That was actually back in September of 2011 when Metal Mark covered their self-produced 3-track demo. Here it is 2013 and this Cracow, Poland-based 4-piece band has doubled our pleasure and doubled our fun with this just released/hot of the presses 6-track EP! Drawn together over a strong desire to recreate the magic of 80's classic hard rock and melodic heavy metal, which they managed to do quite well since the word go, Livin Fire was formed in early 2010 by vocalist/guitarist Alda Reï and guitarist J. K. Shredd. With bassist Alvaro and drummer Matt B. rounding out the rhythm section of Livin Fire, and if effect forming a smooth foundation of which this act can build their hard rock/metal sound brick by brick, this new 6-track EP picks up where the 2011 demo left off. Although here's the thing. After a brief instrumental opening "Under The Spell" slams open the doors of rock and roll with more urgency and energy then what you might normally expect from a band that's been going at it for 3-years!. Damn, if that isn't good to see then I don't know what is! What's even better is what it translates to once you get into the thick of what Livin Fire is all about! The spirits of 80's bands like Bitch, Lizzy Borden and Witch still reverberate in Livin Fire's sound, but then again there's traces of Axxis, Chinawite, Warrior, Phantom Blue and Alien Force in "Under The Spell" as well. With this band it's all jumbled together in such a different fashion that it's not like they're just wearing those influences on their sleeves for all to see and hear. Where the argument could be made for this young band catching a break and getting a signed record label contract is in this train of thought. Livin Fire has a great lead vocalist in Alda Reïthough and they've structured their songs in such a way that they could easily be radio rockers if this was turned down a notch or two. It's not that Livin Fire is a commercial entity though but rather that when it comes to the lead guitar work of J.K. Shredd it's all structured around rock and roll's humble influence. Bands from this walk of life now that classic hard rock and heavy metal can still be loud and proud if only with a pinch or two of basic, school of rock 101 layouts. Livin Fire was born out of a love of 80's  hard rock and heavy metal though so while the lead solos do rock out, which is/was fairly typical of the 80's scene anyway if you're old enough to remember, this one is still going to resonant more with the headbangers then the rock and rollers!  Find out more at the band's Facebook page below.

Labels: , , , , ,

Earthling-Dark Path


After releasing two demos and a split split 7" with Valkyrie (guitarist Alan Fary actually plays in both Valkyrie and Earthling) we are now looking at a full-length debut album in the form of "Dark Path". Calling Virginia home the band, which first came together in early 2009, started out as a project by Alan Fary (guitar/vocals) and Brently Hilliard (drums). Soon enough the project turned into a full-on band and the Harrisonburg natives would find a solid lineup with the addition of Praveen Chhetri (guitar) and Jordan Brunk (bass).
Recorded by Garret Morris (Windhand, Cough, Parasytic, Bastard Sapling) and mastered by Mikey Allred (Inter Arma, Hellbender, Across Tundras) this six-track release runs a little over 30 minutes, but that's more then enough time for this group to shake things up and get down. And down they do go towards a doom-encrusted hell inhabited by a race of Slayer-worshiping demons who live and die on all things blackened thrash! Earthling takes the left hand path as they move forward and down inhaling the smoke of the bands Death and Possessed while chipping away at the crusty outer edges of  early Venom and Cronos' idea of black metal. Earthling's debut-album doesn't exactly hide it's influences and it can't be called brilliant release, but seeing as it is blinding when it comes to the band's obvious love for what they're doing there's no way I could ever complain about how real they are! At the end of the day "Dark Path" is the result of a young band doing their own thing and not giving a crap about how it's perceived. Somewhere down the road we'll hopefully see Earthling emerge as a legitimate band to be reckoned with, but for now "Dark Path" is worth the investment and attention as it's a raw and rampaging collection of home-grown metal tunes from a home-grown group of fanatic metal musicians.


Labels: , , ,

Acherontas: Amenti - Ψαλμοί Αίματος και Αστρικά Οράματα

W.T.C. Productions

Greek black metal outfit Acherontas, which is also the name of it's founder and leader, was formed out of the ashes of another black metal band called Stutthof. All of this took place in 2007 and since then the band has remained fairly active and fairly consistent. This new release is more of the same. That's good as the same old same old for this Greece act is mood altering black magic black metal. Adventurous and atmospheric to begin with the new album, which marks about number four for the group (there has been splits and what not as well), is enhanced by the presense of guest musicians and the seeming desire that this band has to push their own boundaries. Added up everything converges in one darkly lit place. With an overall arch that feels epic andcharacteristics that point towards ritualistic dark metal this one bound to draw new fans in to the cause.      

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Shock-Paths of Glory (Video)

One of my favorite "new" bands isn't really all that new as their history goes back a L-O-N-G way. Just recently this great Canadian heavy metal/thrash act released a new video for the track "Paths of Glory". You can check it out at the link below. And if you haven't done so yet be sure to scoop up you're own copy of "Once Denied", the band's long-awaited debut album!

Labels: , , , ,

Kryptos-The Coils of Apollyon

AFM Records

Having planned to review a couple of black metal/death metal releases later on in the week I just about passed over Kryptos. Luckily I noticed that "The Coils of Apollyon" was released on AFM Records who are not exactly known for releasing black metal albums. Instead here's another example of not judging a band by the cover artwork they use. Had I indeed just passed over Kryptos I would have missed out on a mind-blowing combination of traditional heavy metal, doom and thrash. There's even a slight scent of melodic death metal about Kryptos and it's all of those different ingredients that makes "The Coils of Apollyon" such a cool listen. For the record the band lists Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Mercyful Fate, Kreator and Coroner as influences, but even a casual listen to this album will find you picking up so much more. Originally this was released back in 2012 on Iron Fist Records, but it's just now getting a U.S. release. Does that mean that I'll be able to add this one to my year end best-of list or is that cheating? We'll have to figure that one out later as there is much more to this band then meets the eye! Formed in 1998, with "The Coils of Apollyon" making album number three for these heavy metal thrashers, this India-based band is fronted by Nolan Lewis (ex-Aeons of Sorrow, Witchgoat) who also plays guitar. Did I just say "India-based"? Yes I did and to add to that this release marks my first occasion of covering a band from India. While it shouldn't surprise me to find out that there is a scene there, as the heavy metal community is now world-wide, I still admit to being pleasantly surprised at the notion that, just like the inevitable zombie apocalypse we'll all face one day, it's everywhere. But, that's neither here nor there when we're talking about this thrash-happy group of musicians. As Kryptos, who are now considered to be one of the leading heavy metal bands to come out of India, is more then just one man (Nolan Lewis) the rest of the band should be noted. Fellow six-stringer Rohit Chaturvedi (Millenium) adds some fuel to fire that is these old-school guitar solos (everything from N.W.O.B.H.M. like Holocaust to "Master Of Puppets" era Metallica comes to mind when you soak in the guitar work) while the fun times just keep of rolling thanks to the superb rhythm section of Jayawant Tewari and Ryan Colaco (bass and drums respectively). Add it all together and you've these four musicians who end up feasting on some sweet tasting, 80's-inspired rage. What a band and what an album!

Labels: , , , , ,

Forgotten Gems: X-Sinner-Get It


It was sometime between 1989 and 1990 when, for more then a few months (maybe even a year?), I had a change in my conscious and I started listening to nothing but Christian rock and heavy metal. Come to think of it we might be talking about being closer in time to 1991, but so much of my middle to late teenager years have become a blur. It's a lesson for another place and another time kids, but let's just say that treating your body like a guinea pig it's the right way of living. Anyway, it was sometime back in high school when I started getting into the whole "White Metal" scene. As I had loved AC/DC prior to this point I was thrilled to hear that there was this Christian hard rock band that had AC/DC's sound down pat. That group was X-Sinner who, having been been formed in Michigan in 1988 by guitarist Greg Bishop, released this John and Dino Elefante-produced album in 1989. While it's true that the band's sound also borrowed from the likes of Cinderella, Def Leppard ("Livin' On The Edge"), Krokus, Whitesnake and Kix it was AC/DC's trade-mark sound that rang true the first time I put my cassette copy of "Get It" into my Walkman! A big part of that had to do with lead vocalist David Robbins. If you had closed your eyes back then (and didn't know any better) then you would have been forgiven for confusing David Robbins for Brian Johnson. As it wasn't a subtle comparison by any stretch of the imagination it would only have any taken a few turns here or there to turn X-Sinner, who had moved from Michigan to L.A. by the time they signed their first contract, into a secular AC/DC tribute band! Which brings me to my next point. As I, as well as countless other fans of AC/DC, had turned to the group as a Christian alternative to the "Highway To Hell" bunch, I found it funny (Or is it funny sad?) that later on the group (reportedly) tried to wash their hands of the whole Christian and "White Metal" tags. You might say "But, isn't their name "X-Sinner" as in a former sinner?". Well, and again this is something I can't get 100% verification of, it was later on when their drummer Mike Buckner reportedly claimed that they had originally gone for the name Sinner, but then compromised and settled in on X-Sinner. Whatever the case "Get It" was considered a Christian release and it was a well talked about and well-received Christian release. Lyrically it's also very easy to catch what these guys are pitching (even if the pitching often came with some cheesy lines). The 4-piece act, which was rounded out by the effective rhythm section of bassist Ron Kniep and drummer Mike Buckner, would end up getting nominated for a Dove award (kind of like the Christian version of the Grammy awards) and (according to Wikipedia) had three number one singles for this album and five top ten singles. I'm assuming that was on Christian rock radio back in the day, but regardless they were well-embraced by the Christian community. So, when is a Christian band not really a Christian band? That is the question with X-Sinner, but it doesn't matter much when we're talking about this album and it's really cool rock sound. With David Raven (drums) and former Kansas member/producer John Elefante (keyboards) helping out as guest musicians their debut album, "Get It", featured 10-tracks with none of the tracks being anything less then good. Just like some of the bands that these guys drew from early on (especially AC/DC and Krokus) X-Sinner wrote catchy, foot-stomping, "throw those hands in the air folks", rough and ready rock and roll. The guitars leads from Greg Bishop smoked and the band sizzled their way through cuts like "Medicine", "Steppin' On Toes", "Hearts On Fire" and "Livin' on the Edge". In a nutshell the album is a fun listen and it comes across as everyman hard rock/heavy metal. On "Get It" X-Sinner was showing off their love of gritty rock and roll and made no bones about it. These cuts come from a band that played music with some boogie and some drop-dead beats to it. That band changed on album number two though as vocalist Rex Scott (ex-Zion) came into the picture. With a change of vocalists came a change in the sound and even though the new album (1991's "Peace Treaty") was good it just didn't have the same fun and laid back feeling of "Get It". Or at least for me as I do know that there are tons of people who love album number two more then this 10-track debut. While I bought the new album on tape I know I didn't listen to it more then once or twice. It wasn't "Get It", but let's face it there will never likely be another album like "Get It". It was a time and place thing when I, like so many other kids, needed something more positive to focus on. We also needed something that wasn't afraid to show off it's metal muscles and barroom rock mentality. That was the real reason "Get It" appealed so much because it wasn't all glossy and squeaky clean. It sounded like a real rock record from a real rock band. The production, which was unpolished, actually benefited the group as it helped set the tone for X-Sinner's gritty street rock. It stills does. As I'm typing this up I've been llistening to "Get It" and it still sounds good thanks in no small part to John and Dino Elefante's low key "Let's step back and let the band do it's thing" production job. In closing "Get It" is a timeless rock record for me. Even if  I'm back to listening to AC/DC these days, I still think "Get It" is a cool record with lots of crazy hooks and lyrics that stick in your head long after you've played it. It's those gritty Brian Johnson-like vocals that make the album seem like a AC/DC clone and yet it's those same rough vocals that make me want to listen to this album over and over again. So yeah, for a album that I once wore out on tape as a teenager I still listen to it as an adult. Only now it's a digital album that has replaced my old cassette tape! 

Labels: , , ,

Monday, July 22, 2013

Interview with Robespierre

Lead vocalist/guitarist David Cooke

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing Robespierre vocalist/guitarist David Cooke. I want to thank him for taking the time to sit down and answer a few questions for Heavy Metal Time Machine. For fans of the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene or even those that just like good heavy metal/thrash metal hybrid bands I strongly encourage you to check out their recently released album "Die You Heathen, Die!" out now on Skol Records. Incidentally you can read my review "Die You Heathen, Die!" by clicking on the link at the bottom of this interview.

Andy-Let's start at the beginning. How did the two of you hook up initially?

David-We were in a band called One On One. We advertised for a drummer and Gordon phoned me up. We actually hit it off before we even met. I gave him the gig at the audition which pissed off a certain band member, but it didn’t bother me one bit. David wants what David wants, LOL!

Andy-Was Robespierre always meant to be a studio-only project or was there ever talk of trying it out live?
Drummer Gordon Logan

David-To be honest I don’t really know what it was meant to be. I had the idea to do it and Gordon was well up for it. We had no real ambitions - I suppose it was something we had to get off our chests. I have always been one of the ‘classic’ songwriters so this was an opportunity to thrash out and have some fun with lyrics. As far as playing live was concerned, we had other projects we had commitments to. Here in 2013 playing live is a real possibility, but the personnel has to be right. I won’t be playing guitar as it’s tough to sing and play this music at the same time. In a perfect world it would be so cool to have a ‘Robespierre’ band out there playing our music with our blessing. Wouldn’t that be incredible? Any band can apply for the post!

David Cooke
Andy-The influences on "Die You Heathen, Die!" are so varied and yet it (the album as a whole) perfectly conveys the sound and spirit of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement. Was there any discussion about what direction to take the recordings or did it all unfold naturally?

David-All quite natural. Neither of us told the other what to do or how to play. We totally went with the flow. I have always been an aficionado of what I call ‘planned accidents’. The room we recorded in was very small and basic. It was next door to an off license which was very convenient. Yes, a fair portion of it was beer-fueled.

 Andy-Was the musical chemistry between you too that obvious once you were in the studio?

David-We have always had a musical chemistry between us whatever the project. Gordon has always had absolute faith in me and that has continually inspired me to go with my gut instincts. The basic structure of the songs was mine in terms of chords and lyrics, but it was Gordon who knocked them into shape and recognizable as songs. I would say the whole direction and atmosphere was conjured up by Gordon’s imaginative drumming and overall ideas. I just bounced off what he did. It was easy. The great thing I remember was how much fun it was. It wasn’t meant to sound like Yes or Gentle Giant. Mistakes were left in. We were all after capturing the moment. I can recall listening back to the recordings and being very pleased at the sound and atmosphere of it. I am terribly self-critical though. I couldn’t imagine anyone else liking it. It was something we did purely for US. Gordon was the one giving the tape to the DJ at the Moonstone. I would have just thrown it in the drawer.The music has been compared to this band and that band. I can sort of see where the comparisons are coming from, but I think we were quite ‘unique’ – and that can be a good or a bad thing.

 Andy-What were your day jobs back then?

David-Gordon worked in a department store and I worked in a local council office. We hated our jobs. It was clear we never fitted in and struggled to even pretend to. I was always on a ‘disciplinary’ for telling my ‘bosses’ to **** off. It was then I learnt that especially in local councils, the higher you go, the stupider they become. Some used to laugh at me for filling my time making music. They more or less mocked my life. Far better to sit watching soaps with a few cans of beer by your side eh?

Andy-How about now? Where has life taken the pair of you?

David-Gordon is a property developer and still lives in Merseyside. I am a tattoo artist living in North Devon. We are both proud family men and reasonably content with our lot. The only problem is that we live a long way away from each other. We still record together and have done demos of about 24 songs which we are whittling down to 12 for a new album.

Andy-A new album would be a thing of wonder for fans for sure! Can you tells us though
how the deal came about with Skol Records?

David-Bart got in touch and said he wanted to put out the album previously released on vinyl by BBTAD and we said OK. The deal was no more that that really. We love what he has done. The booklet is stunning.

Andy-I couldn't agree more! The overall package is just killer. I wonder David, if it could be worked out somehow would you ever consider playing live?

David-Short answer: yes! It’s highly unlikely that I could replicate those insane yelps though.

Andy-Those are some pretty impressive yelps! The material on the Skol Records release is nothing short of kick ass! Were there any favorite numbers for you?

David-Not really. I am still very critical of whatever I do. I am never one to sit there and think ‘I could have done better there’. It is what it is. A moment captured in time. If people like it, great. If they don’t, that’s great too. If you twisted my arm – ‘Backs To The Wall’. The whole song is in danger of collapsing at any moment, but we made it through to the end of the song in one piece.

Andy-What's next for the band David?

David-A new album perhaps. Maybe some festivals next year. We will consider all offers.

Andy-That would be great! Anything you'd like to add before we part company?

David-Thank you for your interest and enthusiasm. I know the music is quite odd when compared to mainstream, so it’s quite a buzz when people ‘get’ it. What I truly like are the reasons people get off on it. I know from my own experiences that ‘mystique’ plays a bit part in it all. Now people can put names and faces to Robespierre, something has been lost – but at least the music is now available in a good reproduction. Having said that, 10th generation cassette copies have their magic too.

Labels: , ,

Church Of Void-Dead Rising

Svart Records

Having previously released/made initial contact with a limited-run, 4-track EP called "Winter Is Coming", which, incidentally, also came calling with just a lonesome and despair-inducing face for album art, this 5-piece Finnish act now presents their full-length debut LP. After first soaking in this album's artwork, which is chilling to say the least, I moved on into the inner sanctum that is "Dead Rising". Once this album starts to unfold it's obvious that the above album art is an effective starting point and it sets the mood perfectly Church Of Void's full-length debut recording. But, it only tells you so much and in no way can it prepare you for what's to come. For you see it's the music within that is the most caustic. Hard-edged, electrical doom rock? That seems just about right. Church of Void, who first came together in 2010 when it was assembled by vocalist Magus Corvus, point toward the likes of Saint Vitus, Black Sabbath and Pentagram for the doom while Scandinavian downer rock like Mana Mana and Babylon Whores fills in the blanks. I can't vouch for those last two (their ripped straight for the promo material), but I will say that the overall picture is one where everything fits together snugly. As wave after wave of this eclectic/electric doom comes crashing down it's interesting to note that while the music might just be downright spooky there is no talk of the devil to be within their lyrically content. Instead Church Of Void writes about the human condition which gives them a foot up on the competition one would have to argue. As vocalist Magus Corvus puts it "We write our material both as individuals and as a group, and most of it draws inspiration from archaic human instincts, needs and emotions". That's something you don't see, or rather hear, everyday from a doom touched outfit! "Dead Rising" is due out on August 30th on CD and LP.

Labels: , , , ,

Honduran-Street Eagles

Eolian Empire

Every now and then some new band comes along that makes you want to reevaluate your position that x, y or z band are the heaviest and most brutal band on the planet. Such is the case with this Portland, Oregon 3-piece. No, we're not talking about some extreme, full-speed ahead, it's all death metal and nothing else act here. These 3 musicians, who first set down on the stage in early 2009, don't need to travel into that territory in order to compete in the world's most extreme band contest. Besides, that horse (extreme death metal) has been beat to death ad nauseum.  Instead we find guitarist/vocalist Jason Dinges, bassist/vocalist Corey Dieckman and drummer Kevin Spafford feeling quite comfortable raging out to their own beat thank you very much! On this 11-song, 21-minute album we get some Napalm Death/Terrorizer-like grind, old-school thrash metal (mostly Bay Are or bust) and old-school hardcore (Cro-Mags, Sick Of It All, Gorilla Biscuits, Burn, Leeway, Agnostic Front, Inside Out, etc-you get the point) mixing it up in some back alley-winner take all. With some early Prong showing up to add to the carnage it ends up as a street fight to the death! It's a rather bloody and violent conflict with countless bodies left in it's wake. It's also a rather bloody fun listen as these Oregon bashers and thrashers sure know how to show listeners a good time! This ones not for the weak-willed or those who like their extreme music to comes packaged in a little neat box. Nope. This one is raw and ugly with kicked in teeth and broken limbs. It's street-cred is written in blood and it never let's up into it smashes everything into nothingness. Yes, it is that heavy and brutal and yes, I am reevaluating my belief that I've already heard the most wonderfully extreme and violent music out there. This 11-track release proves that's there is always something new waiting just around the corner to beat-down your senses. That's something to be thankful for.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Leviticus-The Strongest Power

Here's a cult release that I've only read about but never heard. Or at least I've never heard presented with such a clean and clear sound. Due for release on August 16th, which means that those of us who have waited to hold a copy of this legendary album in our hands will have to wait just a little bit longer, this album is considered to be a classic in the field of Christian heavy metal. Here's the deal though. Once again we're talking about a Christian metal release that you don't have to be a Christian to enjoy. Originally released in 1985, to great reviews from both the Christian and secular press, the album would help signal the arrival of "white metal".  While it wasn't the first release by Leviticus, as they had first hit the scene with an EP in 1982, it was arguably their best piece of work at that point in their career. It would go on to be the group's breakout moment and it would forever link this Swedish act as one of the most important bands in the history of Christian heavy metal. That says a lot about the staying power of this classic as there have been countless classic Christian heavy metal releases since this first hit the stores. Like many other groups from that same time period this Swedish act, who initially sang entirely in Swedish before re-releasing the album "Jag Skall Segra" in English in 1984, drew from the earlier sounds of the N.W.O.B.H.M. movement. Formed in 1981, and lead by skilled guitarist Bjorn Stigsson, Leviticus played a refreshing form of real heavy metal that helped prove that Christian heavy metal could compete with secular heavy metal. That might sound silly now (as there are hundreds (probably thousands) of Christian heavy metal, thrash and death metal groups that have crossed over into the mainstream), but at the time you would have been hard pressed to find one this good, this talented and one this universally praised. That being said, I do recall how some critics (over the years I had read scores of reviews for this album before I was actually able to hear this album all the way through) had gone to great lengths to point out the cheese factor that exists of "The Strongest Power". While you can't deny that it exists within these tracks it's not like it was standing all by itself in an open field or anything! As the band embraced not only the British heavy metal style of the day, as well as the aforementioned nwobhm influences, but also the 80's metal scene in general (both here in the states and overseas) they were only rocking out in the same way that most groups were rocking out back then. Only with Leviticus it wasn't girls, goblins, dragons, witches and knights of old themes that infiltrated their lyrics. Instead it was (to quote the promo here) "traditional heavy metal themes - individuality, freedom, power, glory, rocking, running in the night" that swept through this album and amounted to "cheese" for some. I get that and then again I don't as some of the reviewers of old would dismiss this album while praising other similarly-cut 80's bands. It is what it is I guess but in no way does it take away from the enjoyment of listening to this pioneering Christian heavy metal group for the first time. And you know what? It won't be the last time I check out this re-release as we're talking about some well-written, hook-crazy music here that is right down the line straight and true heavy metal. I'll be adding a CD copy of this album to my personally collection when it rolls out next month. This LP is the sound of traditional heavy metal in all of it's dressed-up and looking good glory! It's a thing of beauty and one cult-metal release that I'm glad to see getting a modern re-release. The band deserves it and so do the fans.

Labels: , , , , , ,