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CD review DIMMU BORGIR "Eonian"

Veröffentlicht am 3. Mai 2018 von Markus W. in Dimmu Borgir, Eonian, Black Metal, Melodic Black Metal, News, Nuclear Blast, CD Review, Bombastic Black Metal

CD review DIMMU BORGIR "Eonian"

(6/10) In a time when first Dutch tulips start to spread their joyful colors all over Holland, it's the darkness from the North that enters Europe via the backdoor. Norwegian black metal pioneers Dimmu Borgir started a new  mission to shade the brightness of spring with a new album the trio has in the pipline.

"Eonian" is the title of Dimmu Borgir's 10th longplayer, an album that features ten new songs. Considering the fact that "Abrahadabra", the predecessor, was published seven years ago gives the idea of a lot of time for working on new inspiring material.

Unfortunately I have to conclude that "Eonian" isn't the powerful album I expected. I was spinning the album several times, always hoping that it unveils a dark beauty I haven't discovered the previous round. Allow me a metaphor from baseball - bats stay cold when it comes to the new Dimmu Borgir record. The album might include some base hits, but definitely no homerun.

"Eonian" is like the endless flow of water, forced to stay in the riverbed. There isn't any wildness and what you get is the same thing only different. There is a lot of orchestrated bombast added to the album which camouflages a certain lack of inspiration. "Eonian" spreads a feeling of monotony. I haven't expected this at all, which made the disappointment even bigger. To be clear, I really like the earlier releases and I think that records like "Death Cult Armageddon" belong to the milestones of bombastic black metal. The new album though can't live up to these highlight from the North. Black metal is more than some uptempo parts and hoarse vocals by Shagrath. The longplayer misses the energy and enthusiasm of earlier albums. It feels like "Eonian" isn't a matter of heart. It sounds more like a 'must' to fulfill and also the well-done sound, with Jens Bogren at the helm, doesn't make any difference. 

"Eonian" is the first real disappointment in 2018 and even if you're Dimmu Borgir fan I recommend to check out the album first. 

 

(6/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Unveiling

  2. Interdimensional Summit

  3. ÆTheric

  4. Council of Wolves and Snakes

  5. The Empyrean Phoenix

  6. Lightbringer

  7. I Am Soveriegn

  8. Archaic Correspondence

  9. Alpha Aeon Omega

  10. Rite of Passage

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Black Metal

Release Date EU: May 4th, 2018

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CD review ANTHRAX "Kings Among Scotland"

Veröffentlicht am 26. April 2018 von Markus W. in Anthrax, Kings Among Scotland, Nuclear Blast, News, Thrash Metal, Speed Metal, Crossover, Live, Heavy Metal, Among the Kings Tour, Tour

CD review ANTHRAX "Kings Among Scotland"

(*/10) East-Coast thrash pioneers Anthrax played a show at Barrowland Blallroom in Glasgow, Scotland on February 15th, 2017. The show was part of the band’s “Among the Kings”-tour and was built very much around the legendary “Among the Living” album which was performed in its entirety.

The show was filmed and recorded, leading to this new Anthrax release entitled “Kings Among Scotland” of which the CD version is the base for this review. Next to the CD version the release will be available in other formats too, like DVD and BluRay, which gives you an additional visual impression of this intense metal show.

Listening to this live release feels like a journey back in time. Next to the brilliant “Among the Living” album also other highlights from the past found a way on the setlist of this show. Songs like the opener “A.I.R” and “Medusa” are still timeless classics in thrash metal that secure together with new material (“Breathing Lightning” and “Evil Twins”) a seamless thrash metal experience for fans of excellent metal music. This isn’t a coincidence knowing that fans voted on pre-show.

“Kings Among Scotland” is a live album that captures the energy of an Anthrax show in a really good fashion. This five-piece band from NYC belongs to the spearhead of thrash metal and releases, like the current one, shows that these five guys still have a huge appetite for metal and that’s what this live album states in a perfect fashion.  

 

(*/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. A.I.R.
  2. Madhouse
  3. Evil Twin
  4. Medusa
  5. Blood Eagle Wings
  6. Fight ‘Em Til You Can’t
  7. Be All, End All
  8. Breathing Lightning
  9. Among the Living
  10. Caught in a Mosh
  11. One World
  12. I Am the Law
  13. A Skeleton in the Closet
  14. Efilgnikcufecin (N.F.L.)
  15. A.D.I. Horror of it All
  16. Indians
  17. Imitation of Life
  18. Antisocial

 

Label: Nuclear Blast 

Genre: Thrash Metal

Release Date EU: April 27th, 2018

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CD review RIOT V "Armor of Light"

Veröffentlicht am 22. April 2018 von Markus W. in Riot, Riot V, Armor of Light, News, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Speed Metal, NWoBHM, CD Review, Nuclear Blast

CD review RIOT V "Armor of Light"

(8/10) I discovered Riot quite late. It was the brilliant 1988 release "Thundersteel" that caught my attention and I had to work backwards when it comes to the band's discography. However, from this moment on Riot belongs to my favourite metal outfits.

A critical moment for Riot was the year 2012 when founding member Mark Reale passed away. Could the band continue without the iconic axeman or do we have to face the end of Riot? Fortunately the quintet went on even though they slightly adjusted the band's name to Riot V. "Unleash the Fire" was the first album of this renewed powerhouse, a longplayer that was critically acclaimed and very well received by fans.

Almost to date four years later, the next Riot V longplayer will be unveiled. The band signed with Nuclear Blast and "Armor of Light" is the first record for the new label, being number 16 in total in Riot's history.

30 years after me enjoying "Thundersteel" for the first time it is ​​​​​​"Armor of Light" that is a new delight for metal fans. Things start very successful with a track entitled "Victory". This song is far more than just a bread and butter track. It's a classic metal anthem that reminds of the earlier Iron Maiden when it comes to vocal lines and rhythmic. 

Another highlight, framed by only killer tracks, is the title song "Armor of Light". The uptempo tune includes everything you can ask for. Furious guitars, a breathtaking pace and frontman Todd Michael Hall who's a real metal siren. Riot V finds with each of the tunes the magic balance between melodic parts and crushing riffs, both creating something big together rather than competing with each other. It's a combination that creates a terrific sonic pattern and it was producer Chris Collier (Metal Church, Slipknot, Korn) who gave "Armor of Light" the aggressiveness and dynamic needed.

"Armor of Light" is a great next album of Riot V. It proves that the decision to continue was the only senseful one. I'm sure, the metal community will receive this longplayer with open arms. Riot V is still hungry and so are fans of the powerhouse. Horns up.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Victory

  2. End of the World

  3. Messiah

  4. Angel's Thunder, Devil;s Reign

  5. Burn the Daylight

  6. Heart of the Lion

  7. Armor of Light

  8. Set the World Alight

  9. San Antonio

  10. Caught in the Witches Eye

  11. Ready to Shine

  12. Raining Fire

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 27th, 2018

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CD review LIGHT THE TORCH "Revival"

Veröffentlicht am 28. März 2018 von Markus W. in Light The Torch, Devil You Know, Metalcore, Modern Metal, Alternative Metal, News, CD Review, Nuclear Blast, Revival

CD review LIGHT THE TORCH "Revival"

(7/10) You might hear the name Light The Torch for the very first time, but if you’re into metal the name Devil You Know sound far more familiar. Now, Light The Torch and Devil You Know are the same. After going through some rough times in 2016 the band unveiled in 2017 their new name, followed by the first Light The Torch album as we speak.

The powerhouse from Los Angeles, CA consists out of Howard Jones, Francesco Artusato and Ryan Wombacher with Mike Sciulara who took place behind the drum kit.

“Revival” is the title of Light The Torch’s debut, comprising of 12 songs that bridges metalcore with modern metal and melody.

After spinning the album several times I must say that I like what I heard. What’s the thing though too with “Revival” is that I miss the some surprises, these jaw-dropping good moments that you haven’t expected.

No doubt, riffs are heavy (“Raise the Dead” and “Virus”) and brutal outbursts, like “The Sound of Violence”, are well done. Great craftsmanship, in general on a very high level, isn’t something unexpected, knowing the musical vita of the quartet. The album sounds to me like a first step of four guys to get back into a productive mode after some rougher days, weeks and month. Many ideas, that probably grew over the last years found a spot on this longplayer - a true 'revival'. 

To sum up: “Revival” is a well-done modern metal album with some metalcore references here and there. It doesn’t provide many moments of wow and it doesn’t push the listeners out of the comfort zone either. The album is very much according to the book, which isn’t necessarily something bad. If you’re looking for solid and powerful modern metal record it’s “Revival” that can still your hunger.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Die Alone
  2. The God I Deserve
  3. Calm Before the Storm
  4. Raise the Dead
  5. The Safety of Disbelief
  6. Virus
  7. The Great Divide
  8. The Bitter End
  9. Lost in the Fire
  10. The Sound of Violence
  11. Pull My Heart Out
  12. Judas Convention

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Modern Metal

Release Date EU: March 30th, 2018

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CD review EARTHLESS "Black Heaven"

Veröffentlicht am 28. März 2018 von Markus W. in Earthless, Black Heaven, News, CD Review, Nuclear Blast, Classic Rock, Rock, Hardrock, Krautrock, Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock

CD review EARTHLESS "Black Heaven"

(8/10) Earthless, a rock band hailing from San Diego, California, started in 2001 by Isaiah Mitchell, Mike Eginton and Mario Rubalcaba. The trio shared a common passion for psychedelic rock music and German Krautrock, which built the base for a debut that was published in 2005.

The trio released two more records and also has live recordings on their list of releases to date. The most popular one is “Live at Roadburn” when the band performed a 90 minutes set with knowing that the show was recorded. This gave the album a very authentic touch, an approach that maybe should be used more often.

Even though Earthless is in business already for such a long time the guys still premiers when it comes to a few things on the new longplayer “Black Heaven”. First of all the newest longplayer will be released via Nuclear Blast, which is the first newness. Secondly the trio, that usually is an instrumental one, added vocals to the new songs.

The album comprises of six songs, all benefiting of a warm and organic sound that was done at Rancho de la Lune with Dave Catching (Eagles Of Death Metal) at the helm. With the exception of “Volt Rush” tracks are rather long. Earthless incorporates all their experience and passion for jamming into each of the tracks on this disc. Longer instrumental parts clearly reflect the roots of this psychedelic rock outfit. It gives the album an unpredictable dynamic with the vocal lines adding the structure that holds together the creative instrumental section in a good way.

“Black Heaven” is great next album for Earthless and fans of psychedelic rock music. The album weaves together classic rock, Krautrock and some jazz to a great total that sounds authentic and won-to-earth. This is music for people with a passion for well-crafted and organic rock music that comes without frills and gimmicks.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Gifted by the Wind
  2. End to End
  3. Electric Flame
  4. Volt Rush
  5. Black Heaven
  6. Sudden End

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Psychedelic Rock

Release Date EU: March 16th, 2018

 

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CD review AURI "Auri"

Veröffentlicht am 25. März 2018 von Markus W. in Auri, News, CD Review, Rock, Folk, Celtic, Nuclear Blast, Nightwish

CD review AURI "Auri"

(9/10) Even though two third of Auri is known from Finnish symphonic metal giant Nightwish the music of this trio sounds very different. But let’s take things step by step.

Auri is a trio consisting out of vocalist Johanna Kurkela who, together with Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holopainen and Troy Donockley, founded Auri. Being driven by the vision of virtuous imagination and big soundscape the trio started the project with the debut being the beautiful outcome of a very creative period.

“Auri” has nothing in common with metal and even rock music is only one part of this divers musical puzzle.

The eleven songs on the album are atmospheric anthems, which are a soundtrack for dreaming away into a world full of magic, melancholy and beauty. The base for each of the songs is Celtic inheritance that leads to extraordinary tracks. If you close your eyes you can ‘see’ a foggy coastline with dreams covered in mist. Multi-layered sounds create an atmosphere that is imagery and fairytale in one.

The Northern expression gets spiced-up by songs like “Skeleton Tree” which adds an oriental vibe to the mix. And it’s tracks like “Night 13” that gives this longplayer a special feel. The partly fragile and partly energetic tune stands for almost everything “Auri” represents.

“Auri” is a cinematic milestone that’s built on the books of author Patrick Rothfuss. It’s the ‘Kingkiller Trilogy’ that acts as a source of inspiration and it’s Auri, one of the female characters, that gave this trio its name.

The idea to do “Auri” was born already some years back. In 2011 first thoughts came up and it was the experimental time between then and now that created the magic that’s weaved into these 56 minutes of very well-done epical music.

“Auri” is an unusual album that shines with its perfection and emotional depth. Heavy guitars and harsh riff is something you will not find on this longplayer. It’s the cinematic infinity that gives this album a beauty and bloom. Lay back and allow yourself an hour-long journey through mystery and fairytales. Your mind creates the movie and the album delivers the soundtrack.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Space Between
  2. I Hope Your World is Kind
  3. Skeleton Tree
  4. Desert Flower
  5. Night 13
  6. See
  7. The Name of the Wind
  8. Aphrodite Rising
  9. Savant
  10. Underthing Solstice
  11. Them Thar Chanterelles (feat. Liquor in the Wall)

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Rock

Release Date EU: March 23rd, 2018

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CD review MEMORIAM "The Silent Vigil"

Veröffentlicht am 21. März 2018 von Markus W. in Memoriam, Bolt Thrower, Benediction, News, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal, CD Review, Nuclear Blast, The Silent Vigil

CD review MEMORIAM "The Silent Vigil"

(9/10) One album I was excitedly looking forward to is Memoriam’s new strike, entitled “The Silent Vigil”. The band debut almost to the day one year ago with their fantastic first album “For the Fallen”.

Memoriam is new and not. The powerhouse, hailing from the UK, was founded by members of the legendary Bolt Thrower and Benediction which is an excellent reference. Memoriam is the brainchild of frontman Karl Willetts and bass player Frank Healy and the quartet is complete by Andrew Whale on drums and Scott Fairfax, handling the blistering riffs.

The debut of this new death metal outfit was sonic blast and so is the second album. “The Silent Vigil” comes with 10 songs of an equally high level of quality.

Memoriam doesn’t keep things short and fast. It’s a slowly rolling death metal machine that’s impossible to stop. Each of the songs, of which the title track is the shortest one, includes far enough firepower to wow the listener. The cool thing with Memoriam’s interpretation of death metal is the fact that the guys don’t create songs that are too complex. Simplicity rules and is a basic ingredient for “The Silent Vigil”. The beauty with this record is the combination of harsh metal music that comes with an almost hypnotic expression. What easily could end up in monotony is not the case with this longplayer. The compelling thing is the intensity and density of this metal bulldozer, a fascinating power with an anarchic vibe.

Musical wrecking balls like “From the Flames” and “As Bridges Burn” have the potential of coursing severe neck pain due to extensive headbanging. Also the first unveiled tune, “Bleed the Same”, belongs to the true highlights on the album of which each song would have deserved to be mentioned. But don’t spend too much time on reading. You need to listen to this album.

Expectations on the debut were already high, but those even increased when it comes to the new longplayer. Fortunately these four guys are experienced enough to handle such a situation. Memoriam wasn’t distracted by any expectation and recorded songs that are authentic and down-to-earth. This album will be successful because it’s not aiming for success. Sounds maybe weird but it isn’t at all.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Soulless Parasite
  2. Nothing Remains
  3. From the Flames
  4. The Silent Vigil
  5. Bleed the same
  6. As Bridges Burn
  7. The New Dark Ages
  8. No Known Grave
  9. Weaponised Fear
  10. Dronestrike V3

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Death Metal

Release Date EU: March 23rd, 2018

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CD review TAX THE HEAT "Change Your Position"

Veröffentlicht am 13. März 2018 von Markus W. in Tax The Heat, Rock, Hardrock, News, CD Review, Nuclear Blast, Classic Rock, Blues

CD review TAX THE HEAT "Change Your Position"

(8/10) The first time I could enjoy Tax The Heat was in November 2016 when the quartet got the opening slot of Europe‘s 'The Final Countdown - 30th anniversary tour 2016'. Tax The Heat had one album in their repertoire at that time and they used the songs from the debut to gain many new friends and fans on this tour.

Now, in 2018, the four-piece band has a second delivery ready to be shipped to the record stores.

Being entitled „Change Your Position“, the new longplayer picks it up where the guys ended with the debut. The sophomore record comprises of 41 minutes of well-crafted rock music with style that‘s split into twelve chapter.

Tax The Heat stand for good hardrock with a positive vibe. The guys don‘t care about the grey shades of life. This album is colourful longplayer that adds colour to your everyday life.

To give you some hints regarding songs you listen to means mentioning the title track with its irresistible beat. Also the uptempo „On the Run“ is a song you shouldn‘t miss if you like well-crafted rock music. „Taking the Heat“ is a powerful rocker and the same goes for the grooving „M Headspace“.

Great rock music doesn‘t necessarily demands denim and leather. Also well-dressed men in suits can create good rock songs. „Change Your Position“ became an album that underlines the before mentioned. It‘s a light-hearted and entertaining album, done by a band we will hear more from in the future. Rock’n’roll with style.

 

(8/10)

Tracklist:

  1. Money in the Bank
  2. Change Your Position
  3. Palying With Fire All That Medicine
  4. On the Run
  5. The Last Time
  6. Taking the heat
  7. My Headspace
  8. We are Consumers
  9. Cut Your Chains
  10. Wearing a Disguise
  11. The Symphony Has Begun

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: March 9th, 2018

 

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CD review MINISTRY "AmeriKKKant"

Veröffentlicht am 8. März 2018 von Markus W. in Ministry, News, Industrial, Nuclear Blast, Alternative Metal, Modern Metal, CD Review, Al Jourgensen, Uncle Al

CD review MINISTRY "AmeriKKKant"

(8/10) It's no secret that the last two Ministry longplayers didn't belong to the best things Al Jourgensen ever brought to table. "From Beer to Eternity" as well as "Relapse" sounded uninspired and bloodless. Creativity and energy were lacking; records that sounded like the desperate attempt to keep a ghost alive. Bad records and Jourgensen's unstable health conditions didn't support a positive outlook of getting a new Ministry longplayer served that can remind of the earlier days.

Now, Jourgensen is a fighter and it feels like he regained energy and passion. It looks like one of the factors of revitalisation was the blond 'blow-dry hairstyle pompadour' that moved into the White House a year ago. Finally there was a counterpart for Jourgensen which allows the iconic singer to process emotions and anger through new songs that belong to best ones since the 2004 released "House of Molé".

"AmeriKKKant" is Ministry's fourteenth studio album and it showcases the band in a much better shape than what we could expect. The first videos that have been revealed over the last weeks send already positive signals to the metal world, but it's the entire album that needs to prove the good first impression.

After having given "AmeriKKant" some spins to date confirms a revitalisation of the industrial metal legend. The new longplayer features powerful industrial tracks that express the entire anger about what happens at the moment in the US.

"I Know Words" is a first statement. Like with "N.W.O" it's this time samples of quotes of the current President of the Untied States that build the base for the opener. It's an oppressive start into the album, which is followed by "Twilight Zone". Jourgensen and Ministry continue with the same vibe, being the base for an eight minutes industrial metal smasher. 

Also "Victim of a Clown" can live-up to a high quality level and it's songs like "Wargasm" that brings back the old Ministry spirit. Furthermore it's the raging and ultra-fast "We're Tired of It" that is a pure adrenalin, packaged in a song with less than three minutes of length. 

The new album doesn't contain any bad or boring song. The change in the White House obviously was the trigger for Jourgensen to recharge Ministry, with the result of an electrifying new longplayer that I haven't expected to be that strong. Ministry is alive and far more impactful than what we saw and heard over the last decade.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. I Know Words
  2. Twilight Zone
  3. Victims of a Clown
  4. TV 5-4 Chan
  5. We're Tired of It
  6. Wargasm
  7. Antifa
  8. Game Over
  9. AmeriKKKant

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Industrial Metal

Release Date EU: March 9th, 2018

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CD review MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST "Ressurection"

Veröffentlicht am 1. März 2018 von Markus W. in Michael Schenker, Michael Schenker Fest, Ressurection, Nuclear Blast, News, Hardrock, Melodic Metal, Heavy Metal, CD Review

CD review MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST "Ressurection"

(8/10) If you didn’t live under a rock for the last decades the name Michael Schenker isn’t something new to you. The iconic guitarist has a long history in metal with many ups and some down.

Michael started, together with his brother Rudolf Schenker, being part of the Scorpions in the early 70's. After leaving the band he joined UFO before starting the Michael Schenker Group with which he published records such as “Assault Attack”.  I don’t want to spend too much time in the past but I still would like to mention the more mainstream-based McAuley Schenker Group for two reasons. One is that “Perfect Timing” is a well-done melodic metal record and it’s singer Robin McAuley that’s also part of Schenker’s newest release.

This time it’s the Michael Schenker Fest that brings some metal to your place. “Resurrection” is the title of the new longplayer that was recorded with Chris Glen (b), Ted McKenna (d) and Steve Mann (g/key). Next to these great musicians the album features four different vocalists, giving each of the songs a slightly different touch. Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Doogie White and the earlier mentioned Robin McAuley took over vocal responsibility and gave the album a special feel.

Things start fast and furious with “Heart and Soul”. The song functions well as being the opener since it transfers a lot of energy and it’s no less than Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett that contributes to the opener with some screaming guitar parts.

The album comes with more of these fast songs. “Time Knows When It’s Time” is such a song that pushes the pedal to the metal and also “Everest” keeps the pace up high.

Next to these fast tracks it's “Warrior” that’s a real anthem, combining all four singer in one tune.  “Warrior” is a highlight on the album, followed by the terrific “Take Me to the Church” with Doogie White behind the mic.

“Resurrection” also combines metal and melody in a good fashion, represented by “The Girl With the Stars in Her Eyes”. The verse is pretty dynamic and kept heavy before the chorus reveals a sugar sweet melody.

Next to all the musical brightness there’s with “Living a Life Worth Living” also a song on the album that can’t live up to most of the other songs on the album. Compared to some other hymns on “Resurrection” it’s this tune that never unveils it’s power. And stays on a good but standard level.

To sum up: “Resurrection” is a well-crafted metal album that unites some metal pioneers who follow their passion for hard riffs, pounding drum, excellent leads and a booming bass. This album stands for excellent metal entertainment and I recommend checking it out.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Heart and Soul (feat. Robin McAuley & Kirk Hammett)
  2. Warrior (feat. Gary Barden, Robin McAuley, Graham Bonnet, Doogie White)
  3. Take me to the Church (feat. Doogie White)
  4. Night Moods (feat. Graham Bonnet)
  5. The Girl With Starts in Her Eyes (feat. Doogie White)
  6. Everest (feat. Graham Bonnet)
  7. Messin’ Around (feat, Gary Barden)
  8. Time Knows When It’s Time (feat. Robin McAuley)
  9. Anchors Away (feat. Doogie White)
  10. Salvation (Instrumental)
  11. Livin’ a Life Worth Livin’ (feat. Gary Barden)
  12. The Last Supper (feat. Gary Barden, Robin McAuley, Graham Bonnet, Doogie White)

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 2nd, 2018

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CD review LETTERS FROM THE COLONY "Vignette"

Veröffentlicht am 18. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Letters From The Colony, News, Death Metal, Math Metal, Prog Metal, Nuclear Blast, CD Review

CD review LETTERS FROM THE COLONY "Vignette"

(9/10) I guess you can only write extreme music if, in one or another way, extreme things happened in your life. Now, why am I mentioning this. Swedish death metal outfit Letters Of The Colony is very much into extreme metal and one ‚extreme‘ is coming from Borlänge in the middle of Sweden. The city is mainly build on steel production industry and paper industry with not that much around that distracts mind and soul. This is a kind of extreme situation when you grow up and playing music is a welcome thing, esp. in the long dark winter days, weeks and months.

Letters From The Colony, hailing from Mid-Sweden, invested time and passion into writing metal songs that can‘t be compared with basic metal music. If you love a nice flow, hooks and melodies you can stop reading right here and now. This quartet doesn‘t bring any satisfaction tor you guys. But if complex music on an extremely high quality level is what you appreciate, you might found a new exciting album that you will love. The quintet, consisting of Alexander Backlund (v), Sebastian Svalland (g), Johan Jönsegard (g), Emil Östberg (b) and Jonas Sköld (d), is in general terms comparable with Meshuggah. Not that the guys from Borlänge sound exactly the same; it‘s more the way on how they approach music and complexity in a way that‘s fascinating and thrilling.

And since the album doesn‘t follow a regular pattern also this review doesn‘t follow the normal beginning to end approach. Let‘s start with the closer on this longplayer, which is the title track „Vignette“. Letters From The Colony ignite a metal firework the takes 12 minutes and, sticking to the metaphor, show all colors of ambitious metal music. Brutal riffs are a main pillar of this epic track while multilayered sound elements is another one. In order to break the chaotic structure of loudness the guys added a calm section to this milestone that includes a saxophone part, reminding of jazzy bar music. The section adds ambience to the total and shows the open minds of this Swedish quintet when it comes to styles and music. After such a moment of recharging, batteries are loaded again - the right moment for the song gaining power and brutality again.

Let‘s jump from end to beginning. Before you can enjoy the highlight of the album you have to work yourself through eight additional tracks. Now, ‚work‘ seems like an enormes effort, which isn't actually the case. It‘s more that you have to pay extra focus and attention to each these tunes since they aren‘t no-brainless or musical fast food. Letter From The Colony added so many nuances to their songs that things are quite demanding for listeners. Again, take „Galax“, the opener. The track comes with deep growls, head blowing riffs and a soulful middle section as a counterpoint to what you‘ve heard before.

And not that there‘s only variation embedded in each song. Also the tracklist comes with an unexpected moment. „This Creature Will Haunt I Us Forever“ is an instrumental interlude that feels like being in the eye of the storm. It‘s a calmer moment on this album, surrounded by a progressive death metal twister that blows you away.

„Vignette“ is an album that‘s worth many spins on your recordplayer. It took me quite a while to get into it. I can recommend to not give up since there will be a moment when fascination takes over and from then on you can stop listening to this creative masterpiece. Jaw-dropping good.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Galax
  2. Erasing Contrast
  3. The Final Warning
  4. This Creature Will Haunt Us Forever
  5. Cataclysm
  6. Terminus
  7. Glass Palace
  8. Sunrise
  9. Vignette

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Progressive Death Metal

Release Date EU: February 16th, 2018

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CD review THERION "Beloved Antichrist"

Veröffentlicht am 12. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Therion, Beloved Antichrist, Rock Opera, Nuclear Blast, News, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Symphonic Metal

CD review THERION "Beloved Antichrist"

(7/10) Therion has a long history in metal. Founded by Swedish multi-instrumentalist Christofer Johnsson, Therion began as a death metal band before slowly shifting toward symphonic metal. After having released a debut album in 1991, entitled "Of Darkness...", Therion released another 14 longplayers with number 15 being the brand new "Beloved Antichrist".

Johnsson and friends' newest strike is an ambitious one. "Beloved Antichrist" is not just an album. It's a three CD comprising rock opera, inspired by Vladimir Soloviov's "A Short Tale of the Antichrist". The entire plot is split into three acts, one per CD. To transfer the story in the best possible way, Johnsson was in need of different voices for 30 different roles and characters. To solve this challenge in the best possible way, Johansson worked together with many different singers, vocalists like Thomas Vikström, Lori Lewis and Chiara Malvestiti ... to just mention some.

"Beloved Antichrist" is a masterpiece when it comes to storyline, creativity and complexity. To create such an album is more than just writing songs. It's intensive work that transfers motions of characters into music. Therefor it's also a mission impossible to pick some songs out of the context. It just doesn't make sense since this 3-CD package is a Gesamtkunstwerk and also needs to be seen like that.

No doubt, "Beloved Antichrist" is an epic and ambitious project that grew over the past years to an impressive and challenging milestone. Next to excellent musicians and a perfect production, it's the running time of three hours that is far beyond average. Unfortunately it's the three hours that makes the album a bit lengthy. It's a real challenge to keep listeners excited over such a long time, esp. in a fast moving world with a span of attention that becomes shorter and shorter every year. After having gone through the first CD I had the feeling that I've heard it, but there were two more to go. Again, there is a lot of superb work done that asks for a lot of respect. However, the final spice is missing. "Beloved Antichrist" is like looking on the endless flow of a river surrounded by beautiful nature. The entire picture is an awesome composition but if you focus too long on the river it stays a flow of water that's pretty much of the same thing only different. That's the impression I got while listening to Therion's rock opera.

To sum up: "Beloved Antichrist" became a monumental release that offers a lot of music, composed and performed by exquisite musicians. Each song itself is a little masterpiece, but it's the quantity of music that's overwhelming and a bit too much. A real curveball.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

Act I

01. Turn from Heaven

02. Where Will You Go?

03. Through Dust, Through Rain

04. Signs Are Here

05. Never Again

06. Bring Her Home

07. The Solid Black Beyond

08. The Crowning Of Splendour

09. Morning Has Broken

10. Garden Of Peace

11. Our Destiny

12. Anthem

13. The Palace Ball

14. Jewels From Afar

15. Hail Caesar!

16. What Is Wrong?

17. Nothing but My Name

Act II

01. The Arrival of Apollonius

02. Pledging Loyalty

03. Night Reborn

04. Dagger of God

05. Temple Of New Jerusalem

06. The Lions Roar

07. Bringing the Gospel

08. Laudate Dominum

09. Remaining Silent

10. Behold Antichrist

11. Cursed By the Fallen

12. Resurrection

13. To Where I Weep

14. Astral Sophia

15. Thy Will Be Done!

Act III

01. Shoot Them Down!

02. Beneath the Starry Skies

03. Forgive Me

04. The Wasteland of My Heart

05. Burning the Palace

06. Prelude to War

07. Day of Wrath

08. Rise to War

09. Time Has Come/Final Battle

10. My Voyage Carries On

11. Striking Darkness

12. Seeds of Time

13. To Shine Forever

14. Theme of Antichrist

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Rock Opera

Release Date EU: February 9th, 2018

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CD review AMOR "Love vs Logic"

Veröffentlicht am 1. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Amor, Love vs Logic, Rock, News, CD Review, Alternative Rock, Modern Rock, Arising Empire, Nuclear Blast

CD review AMOR "Love vs Logic"

(6/10) Amor is the name of a band hailing from Phoenix, Arizona. The quartet, consisting out of Dillon Conneally (v), Ryan Daminson (g), Tre Scott (b) and Tyler Brown (d), worked intensively on their debut entitled "Love vs. Logic".

The longplayer, which was produced by Matt Good, comes with eleven songs that can be described as modern rock with some hoarse shouts here and there. The general approach though is a very melodic one, leading to songs with a catchy pop appeal. I had to think about Linkin Park when I listened to tunes like "Frequency" and the atmospheric opener "Poison Play". These songs describe best what to expect from "Love vs. Logic". The mentioned shouts ("At Odds With Self", "Heart Locker") mark some outbursts, adding a bit more aggressiveness to this solid portion of sugar.

Amor's debut is playing safe. The band doesn't take any risk, which unfortunately leads to songs that aren't bringing up something new. I have the feeling of having heard this kind of music far too often, even though I have to admit that the sound of the album is good and powerful. However, this can't compensate for average songs that are sugar sweet and feel like being from the shelf.

 

(6/10)


Tracklist:

  1. Poison Play
  2. Clockwork
  3. At Odd With Self
  4. Frequency
  5. Twice, Again
  6. Look Alive
  7. Tonight Always
  8. Heart Locker
  9. Living Lies
  10. Collisions
  11. The Exit

 

Label: Arising Empire

Genre: Rock

Release Date EU: February 2nd, 2018

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CD review PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS "The Age Of Absurdity"

Veröffentlicht am 26. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons, Phil Campbell, News, CD Review, Rock, Hardrock, Nuclear Blast

CD review PHIL CAMPBELL AND THE BASTARD SONS "The Age Of Absurdity"

(8/10) After the sad and painful ending of Motörhead three years ago, guitarist Phil Campbell had to look into new fields of activity. His passion for hard rocking music is unbridled and didn‘t end in 2015. Therefor a new outlet for riffs and mighty guitar sounds was very much needed.

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons is the band that is the new darling of the former Motörhead guitarist. Next to Campbell himself the line-up is almost a family business, consisting out of his three sons (Todd, Dane and Tyla) plus singer Neil Starr. After having published a first EP some months ago the quintet releases the debut as we speak, an album that is fuelled by thrilling hardrockers that are a real treat for your ears.

11 songs and a 41 minutes running time include everything dirty rock‘n‘roll music needs as a feature. My personal highlight is the fast „Gypsy Kiss“ that reminds of Motörhead‘s „R.A.M.O.N.E.S.“. This tune hits bull’s eye by showing the pure power of rock‘n‘roll.

Even though „Gypsy Kiss“ is a real hit on the album, it‘s the density of good music that makes “The Age of Absurdity” to a pleasureful way of spending some time. The grooving „Stepping in Fire“ is cool stuff as well as the catchy „Freak Show“. A song that‘s also worth to listen to is the closer „Into the Dark“. It brings back a bit of Dio when it comes to bass and drums.

Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons’ “The Age of Absurdity” is a brilliant debut that benefits of an experienced father and juvenile wildness. Rock music can‘t sound much better than what you get offered with this terrific longplayer.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Ringleader
  2. Freak Show
  3. Skin And Bones
  4. Gypsy Kiss
  5. Welcome To Hell
  6. Dark Days
  7. Dropping The Needle
  8. Step Into The Fire
  9. Get On Your Knees
  10. High Rule
  11. Into The Dark

 

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: January 26th, 2018

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