Tri State Corner will release their newest album "Hero" today. The guys will also hit the road and tour dates can be check in the video below.
Tri State Corner will release their newest album "Hero" today. The guys will also hit the road and tour dates can be check in the video below.
(6/10) It's not easy to write a review for this album. Normally I don't want to be influenced by anything more than by listening to an album a few times in a row, which shapes a picture about the release and the included songs. What makes it less easy this time is a Facebook post from a few days ago in which the band addresses with dramatic words the sales situation of CD's and vinyls compared to streams and downloads, linked to the financial effect. Furthermore the pre-sales for the upcoming shows doesn't seem to by very satisfactory and it was mainly statements like: "That will only happen, have you fans get off your lazy asses and start buying tickets for the announced shows." that created irritation with fans of the band and fans of metal in general. I think it's never a good thing to insult your own fan base, how tricky things are.
However, let the music do the talking since great music will always finds friends. "Expectation" is an intro that leads to "Salvation", the opener of Crematory's 14th studio record. It's a melodic song, kept gloomy in the verse and catchy in the chorus. The tune is easy approachable and belongs to the positive moments on the album. "Ghost of the Past" is a song that combines gothic, riff and beat in a good way and also the heavier "Cemetery Stillness" has moments of dark joy.
Where's light there's normally darkness too. The extremely boring "Stay With Me" might benefit from mainstream catchiness, but doesn't include any specific feature that wasn't heard earlier in time and in a much better fashion, something that also goes for the title track. "Oblivion" feels like nomen et omen since the tune could fall into oblivion by its standard expression and trivial melody.
To sum up: If you should buy the album, stream the album or ignore it is something each of you need to decide for yourself. I can only tell you that "Oblivion" has some better moments of dark gothic rock, which are mainly the ones with guitars in the forefront. However, also the good attempts aren't mind-blowing and there's nothing new or surprising to expect with "Oblivion". I assume fans will like "Oblivion", but it's a tough thing to gain new fans with this longplayer. Let's see what the future will bring.
(8/10) “Blood” is a rather unusual album when it comes to Nuclear Blast. The Swabian label signed Swedish dark rock outfit Then Comes Silence and “Blood” is the first countable result of this cooperation. But instead of razorblade sharp riffs and deep growls it’s a dark rock sound that finds its way to your ears and mind.
Then Comes Silence started in 2012 in Stockholm and managed to publish three longplayer up to date. I must admit that I missed these releases and I could imagine that the same goes for some of you. But now, with the support of Nuclear Blast, the Swedes have an excellent opportunity to increase awareness on a more global level with a new longplayer.
“Blood” is the fourth record of this indie rock outfit. Then Comes Silence is no metal. The four-piece band describes their sound as a mixture of Darkwave/ Gothic and Post-Punk, which I brings it pretty much to the point. The quartet reminds of bands such as Bauhaus, but also Joy Division and Fields Of The Nephilim can be seen as references for what the guys from Stockholm release on their newest strike.
The beauty with each of the songs is the intensity that come with it. Then Comes Silence create a dense sound that is equally build on guitar and synthesizer. Supported by a grooving beat and excellent vocals the longplayer is a ‘must have’ for gothic fans as well as for supporters of the earlier mentioned groups.
Songs you should listen to are the speedy “Flashing Pangs of Love” which, I think, shows the entire fascination of Then Comes Silence. But also the slow and gloomy “Good Friday” belongs to the outstanding tracks on the album. These two songs stand for the entire album that comes with a rich variety of sounds, all kept together by a melancholic vibe. The slow paced “Magnetic” is another example, showing the width of “Blood”, an album that lives by the beauty of darkness.
Then Comes Silence is an interesting album that adds something new to Nuclear Blast’s portfolio. These Swedes prove that ‘silence’ can be loud’ too.
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date EU: October 20th, 2017
Concerts on a Sunday night are always a challenge since it’s hard to get people to the venue, having a new work-week in front of them. However, the once that get out to a concert as a weekend-closer are the real and loyal fans who appreciate seeing their favorite band live on stage, listening to music they like. This goes very much for Avatarium’s visit in Zaandam, playing a show at De Flux.
But before the Stockholm-based quintet entered the stage it was The Slayerking from Greece, acting as the opener that night. After having enjoyed a sunny Indian Summer weekend in Holland it was this trio that blew away all the good vibration within 40 minutes. The Slayerking, that’s Efthimis K, Kostas K., both known from Nightfall, and Eki on drums. These three guys ‘celebrated’ a dark mess with songs that are mainly built on doom and gothic. Visual highlight of the show was frontman Efthimis K. with a hat that reminded of one being used for a funeral march. It was a nice gimmick and fortunately things haven’t been reduced only to this extra. The trio could score some positive reactions, with the folks becoming quite enthusiastic. The Slayerking got 40 minutes on stage to warm up the crowd which they did very well. In addition they won some new friends with their powerful, but not very agile show that had the only small little downer of songs being a bit too much of the same thing only different.
Time for the main act, time for Avatarium. It’s amazing to see the development of this band. I had the pleasure to witness the band’s first show outside Sweden a few years ago, when the quintet played a show at the Afterburner of Roadburn. Songs were already great at that time, but you could sense the level of excited tension and stage fright while doing this concert. Already at that time a warm applause ended the well-done show and it was no difference three years later in Zaandam. What was different though was the stage performance. Even though it was a much smaller one than at 013, Avatarium used every square millimeter for an energetic Sunday night metal show with Jennie Ann Smith being not only an excellent singer but also a great performer. No comparison to three years ago in Tilburg. Dressed in black with a red cape, Smith evolved to an entertaining singer, always being in contact with her audience. Next to the singer it is guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Lars Sklold being the constant factor is this metal/rock outfit, with Jidell being the crucial musical brain behind Avatarium these days.
The five-piece from Stockholm played a full 90 minutes set that night which had a focus on the latest album “Hurricanes and Halos”. From the first note played that night, Jidell and band mates sparked the audience which reacted with clapping and enthusiastic applause after the last tone faded away in Zaadam's evening sky.
Each of the thirteen songs have been welcomed very much and even the unexpected Led Zeppelin cover sounded very good, being performed in an Avatarium fashion. The real highlight though has been three songs from the earlier days. “Girl with the Raven Mask” ignited a firework that peaked when songs like the awesome “Moonhorse” and “Avatarium” filled the room.
All in all Avatarium performed an excellent show, musically as well as performance-wise. And since De Flex is a smaller venue the show also felt like a ‘living room concert’ in an intimate atmosphere, bringing band and fans closer together with everybody leaving the room with a satisfied smile on their face.
Location: De Flux, Zaandam, The Netherlands
Date: September 24th, 2017
(8/10) Finnish rock outfit Grave Pleasure delivers their soundtrack for the dark season like autumn and winter right in time. The third album of the band this Helsinki-based band is an important one, having an impact on the future direction of this rock outfit. Fortunately things look pretty good since “Motherblood” became a big one.
Basically Grave Pleasure continues their journey through dark rock that’s rooted in punk rock. The best references for Grave Pleasure’s sound are Joy Division, Killing Joke and partly The Cure. The quintet doesn’t interpret ‘dark’ and ‘gloomy’ as something that needs to be slo-mo. The tracks on this album are of a higher pace, including a post-punk approach. The darkness comes more from well-done undertones that are weaved into each of the tracks and it’s the lyrics too that are a kind of danse macabre. The guys dig into the deepest fears of mankind. Demise and the apocalypse are main sources, acting as inspiration for lyrics like in “Laughing Abyss”. Even a certain Fields Of The Nephilim vibe is included in songs like “Atomic Christ”.
What comes with each of the songs is a great melody. It’s hard to get fascinated by these tunes since the hooks do their job in a perfect manner. In that sense the album has almost a pop appeal. But I don’t want to be misunderstood, none of the ten songs is even close to pop music. It’s more that the songs are, based on their melodies, danceable ones that would work perfectly for an alternative club night.
The predecessor was already a good album and “Motherblood” prolongs this positive expression. Grave Pleasure can look forward to a bright future in darkness.
Label: Century Media
Release Date EU: September 29th, 2017
(7/10) Belgian metal outfit Diablo Blvd. debut in 2009 with “The Greater God”, an album that brought some darker metal up to surface. The sound reminded of bands like Danzig and some Type O’Negative, ending up on a debut that included a harsh sound and a gloomy atmosphere. Already at this early stage of the band, melodies played an important role, something that got more into the forefront over time. The latest album “Follow the Deadlight” included some really catchy songs and the successor “”Zero Hour” continues this journey.
There is still some melancholy included in most of the eleven tunes and also some mighty riffs are the foundation of the heavy sound that comes with this album. Tracks like “Sing from the Gallows” convince with a good drive and a beat you can’t escape from. Also “Life Amounts to Nothing” belongs to the harder tracks on the album, tunes that also include a modern metal vibe which fits very well.
Next to these tracks there is with “God in the Machine” a song that is kept a bit more moderate, reminding in parts of dark rock bands more the earlier mentioned metal icons. This tendency continues with “You are All You Love”, one of the catchiest tracks on the album. The number has the potential to reach a wider group of rock fans.
With “00 00” the record includes an acoustic interlude that prepares ground for “Like Rats” – one of the best songs on this longplayer. The number is pushing hard with a hypnotic beat that steers towards a melodic chorus, making it to a real and heavy rocker.
Diablo Blvd. newest longplayer reminds me a bit of Volbeat. Not really when it comes to the music. It’s more that the band moves towards a sound and music that’s opens up for new fans by adding more melodies and hooks to the songs. The harshness partly makes place for dark catchiness, which is per se not a bad things, as long as uniqueness isn’t effected.
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Dark Metal
Release Date EU: September 22nd, 2017
Evanescence was one of the most successful rock bands in this current millennium, selling millions of records, gathering rewards in gold and platinum with two Grammys has the absolute highlight. What followed was hiatus for some years with some new life that was blown into the band in 2015. Another two years later fans of Evenescence can welcome the anticipated fourth album, entitled “Synthesis”. Release date will be November 10th and the first single, “Imperfection” is available as of day.
(8/10) German mediaeval rockers In Extremo are a quite productive rock outfit with some releases spread out over the last years. The band started their winning streak back in 1995 and belongs to the spearhead of this genre. Twelve longplayers represent an impressive discography with some of them getting in pole position of German longplayer charts.
This year it’s not a new studio album that hits the record stores. The band wants to offer something special to their loyal fan base with a release that covers the entire 22 years of the exciting band history. Under the banner of „40 wahre Lieder“ ('40 real/true songs') In Extremo releases a double-CD that includes songs from the early days as well as it features recent highlights such as „Störtebeker“ and „Sternhagelvoll“. „40 wahre Lieder“ is a comprehensive overview of what In Extremo stands for and it documents a quite unique musical evolvement that began on some mediaeval markets and grew to one of the most influential bands in German rock music.
Next to the CD, the package also includes three DVD’s, providing footage of spectacular live shows. Next to both shows, celebrating the twenty years anniversary at Loreley, Germany, fans can also enjoy an acoustic set that took place on a boat on the Rhine River. In total we’re talking about 59 live songs, all in 5.1-surroundsound. And if this would not be already enough, there are additional extras that come with this package. It’s an exclusive documentary “Verehrt und angespien” from 2016, done by German TV station WDR, that’s providing background information of band and songs, plus there’s a booklet included with many photos that haven’t been published earlier.
“40 wahre Lieder” is a worthy retrospective on 22 years of In Extremo, a release that’s a perfect entry point for new fans as well as it’s a well-done throwback for supporters from the very beginning.
Warmup / Boat show / Thursday, 03.09.2015:
Day 1 / The 1st 10 Years / Friday, 04.09.2015
Day 2 / The last 10 Years / Saturday, 05.09.2015
Label: Vertigo Berlin (Universal Music)
Genre: Mediaeval Rock
Release Date EU: September 15th, 2017
(9/10) Three years after End Of Green released their latest longplayer “The Painstream”, Michelle Darkness and colleagues are back with a new record. “Void Estate” is the ninth disc of the Swabian dark rock outfit and it showcases the band in a top-notch condition.
Almost two months after having cherished the longest day of the year, End Of Green rings in the darker seasons with autumn and winter just waiting around the next corner. While still being in August and enjoying bright sunlight and warm temperatures it’s “Void Estate” that prepares fans of intense rock music for what’s supposed to come.
The new longplayer features eleven songs that get under one’s skin. The album focuses on rock more than metal, with songs that include a dark intensity giving you the shivers.
Things start with the slow paced “Send in the Clowns” before the band shows with “Darkside of the Sun” their rougher edges. Still very melodic the tunes combines a bit of Paradise Lost and Type O’Negative without getting as extreme as these two bands. The first single release “The Door” follows and it’s the catchy chorus that makes an impression from the beginning.
Via “Head Down” you’ll reach “Crossroads”. The up-tempo songs stand out a bit from the rest since it’s a melodic and light-hearted number, in End Of Green terms. Each of the first five tracks is a winner and also the second half of the album comes with good stuff too. Based on a similar basic mood and pace the density of real hits is a bit less compared to the beginning, however, tracks like the wistful “Dressed in Black Again” and the sad “Mollodrome” includes an emotional depth that’s very touching. These songs cover the sun behind shades of grey and instead of sunrays shining on the listener it’s melancholy that covers your soul.
“Void Estate” is the most mature album of the Stuttgart-based quintet. End Of Green evolved their music and sound to a next level while still being 100% true to themselves. This album is THE soundtrack for the upcoming grey and dark autumn season. Enjoy this album- and the last sunrays.
Label: Napalm Records
Genre: Dark Rock
Release Date EU: August 18th, 2017
(7/10) And if there aren’t enough style in metal alreadt, there’s a new one around since quite a while – ‘Alfapocalyptic Rock’. Created by Swedish rock outfit Alfahanne, the style combines different variations of metal and rock. There are some black metal influences weaved into the sound, even though you shouldn’t think about a black metal band at all. Alfahanne are more a rock band that’s dedicated to dark and gloomy music build on a solid foundation of classic rock and punk.
”Det Nye Svarta” isn’t the first album of the Eskilstuna-based band. After having published a split 7” with Niklas Kvarforth’s Shining in 2013, it was the debut “Alfapocalyse” that hit the shelves a year later. Another longplayer followed in 2015 before “Det Nye Svarta” marks the third step of this outfit.
As the album title professes, the lyrics are in Swedish which makes it pretty hard to understand what the guys are singing about. However, just looking on names like “Satan's Verser” and “Dödsmaskin” clearly states a black expression that’s supported by the vibe of the music.
The songs on this longplayer, nine in total, have a grim approach. Within this framework it’s sometimes the impact of punk that’s more in the forefront – like in “Stigmata” and “Klubb 27”. A song that’s slightly different, having a slower pace, is named “Mitt Mörker Är Mörkare Än Ditt”. It spreads a sinister and baleful vein, mainly due to the pace and the hypnotic vocal lines.
Then there are other moments when I was reminded of bands like Fields Of The Nephilim. “Avgrundsgravitation” is one of these songs that include the beauty of melancholy spiced up with an essence of gothic rock.
It’s not ‘Orange is the New Black’. “Det Nye Svarta” comes from Sweden and it’s Alfahanne who launches it in beginning of April. In case you’re done already with colorful flowers and warmer temperatures, than this longplayer helps you to balance it.
Label: Indie Recordings
Genre: Alfapocalyptic Rock
Release Date EU: April 7th2017
One of the shooting stars in 2017 are Dutch newcomers Dool. Now, ‘newcomer’ might not even be the right word, since all involved musicians have a more than solid background in rock and metal. However, the band itself is fairly new with a debut called “Here Now, There Then” that was released a few weeks ago.
In order to promote the album, Dool started a first leg of touring activities, mainly built on some shows in Holland. The Amsterdam concert, which was originally planned to take place in the OT301, moved to the Paradiso a few days prior to the show. The gig was supposed to start at 22:00 with ‘doors’ at 21:30. The Paradiso is a venue in the middle of Amsterdam with various rooms and when I arrived, the stage was still occupied by the band that had their show earlier that night. Since these guys finished pretty much on time it was an interesting mix of people that met, considering the fact that the earlier band wasn’t about metal at all. Unusual and fun.
Since the whole stage had to be build-down and build-up for Dool, I was wondering if the quintet could start as planned at 22:00. But after a very coordinated work of stagehands and a quick soundcheck of the band in front of the audience it was around 22:15 when the band began their journey through the entire debut.
I have listened to “Here Now, There Then” a few times and I really like each of the songs (see review). However, seeing Ryanne van Dorst and ‘the boys’ live on stage as a far more intense experience. Already the presence of three guitars allows Dool a density that is enormous. And having with Micha Haring (d) and Job van de Zande (b) a rhythm section that provides a more than proper sound foundation each of the tunes was a real treat for fans of darkened rock music, classic rock and heavy metal. And last but not least it’s Ryanne van Dorst herself, being with her stage presence a real ‘frontwoman’.
Actually it was a pity that Dool has released just one longplayer up to date. Based on that, the show took around an hour and I think that most of the fans could have easily continued for half an hour (or more). The five-piece from Rotterdam underlined with the Amsterdam show why they, and their debut, have got so much attention and positive feedback. Dool combines dark psychedelic elements with a warm and organic sound, that’s evolved to an intensive rock experience during their shows. I was very much impressed of the band and their show and hopefully we will hear more from this rising star in the near future. Two thumbs up.
Location: Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Date: March 9th, 2017
(8/10) "Here Now, There Then" is the highly anticipated first album of Dutch psychedelic rock outfit Dool. The quintet released a first single in 2016 and played a notable show on last years Roadburn festival in Tilburg.
Who is Dool? The five-piece band is Micha Haring (d) and Job van Zande (b), both former members of The Devil's Blood. The two guys teamed-up with Reinir Vermeulen and Nick Polak, both guitarists and its singer Ryanna van Dorst who completes the line-up of Dool.
The group worked on their debut, which features eight songs that are rooted in dark rock. In total the album provides the listener with 50 minutes of exquisite rock music. To describe the sound of Dool I would say that it’s a combination of dark rock, that is spiced up with a psychedelic vibe and a certain touch of gothic. A song that epitomizes this is “Oweynagat”. Sisters Of Mercy are often mentioned as a source of inspiration, but I had to think of Fields Of Nephilim when I listened to this gloomy beauty. No surprise that this song was chosen to be the first single and the first countable statement of the band.
“Here Now, There Then” also starts spectacularly. The five guys have put the longest track in pole position. “Vantablack” is a 10 minutes opus that spreads the vibe of an elegy in the beginning. After a few minutes the opener builds–up to a rocking masterpiece and evolves into a bittersweet beauty. It’s a first solid pillar on which Dopl build their music on.
Another track I would like to stand still for a moment is “The Alpha”. Based on a powerful rhythm section the tune is kept in a slower pace. It’s an irresistible groove that pushes this tune forward. It’s a psychedelic groove monster that has weaved in moments of light before darkness and wistfulness takes over again.
All this could lead to the impression that Dool created an album that is charged of despair and sadness. Party this is probably true. But what counts even more is this melancholic fascination that makes this album to an irresistible piece of music and to a great debut. It puts a spell on you.
Label: Prophecy Production
Genre: Dark Rock
Release Date EU: February 17th, 2017