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CD review GATEKEEPER "East of Sun"

Veröffentlicht am 25. April 2018 von Markus W. in Gatekeeper, Omen, Savatage, East of Sun, Cruz Del Sur Music, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Epic Metal, CD Review

CD review GATEKEEPER "East of Sun"

(8/10) Cruz Del Sur Music is known for having a portfolio of exciting bands when it comes to more traditional and epic metal. A new addition to it is Canadian metal warriors Gatekeeper. The band was founded in 2009 as a solo project by guitarist Geoff Blackwell. Some EP’s have been recorded and released but the debut was long in coming.

After having inked a deal with Cruz Del Sur Records things gained speed and here it is: “East of Sun”. The debut album features 10 songs of which the last two are covers. Let’s start with those. It’s the legendary “Hall of the Mountain King” (Savatage) and “Death Rider” (Omen) that have been slightly re-arranged and recorded for “East of Sun”. Gatekeeper sticks very much to the original version of these two power metal classics. Of course it’s hard to compete with the originals and I don’t think that it was Gatekeeper’s ambition either. What quintet did though in an excellent way is to keep the spirit alive, adding also some extra power to the classic.

The reason we I started with these two song is, because they reflect very well the influences when it comes to Gatekeeper and their sound. Blackwell and bandmates are into traditional metal that has a stronger epic metal aspect weaved in. While listening to songs like the awesome opener “Blade of Cimmeria” or the uptempo “Warrior Without Fear” reminded me of bands like the mentioned Omen but also Manilla Road came to my mind.

I tune you shouldn’t miss is entitled “Ninefold Muse”. It represents the entire spectrum of Gatekeeper’s sound. Starting slowly and with an epic riff the songs builds up to a heavy rocking metal anthem that will be a delight for fans of powerful metal.

The Canadians, hailing from Vancouver, did a great job when it comes to the debut. “East of Sun” is a great album that mixes melodies and strong riffing in a more old-school fashion without sounding outdated. This album is good stuff for the underground.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Blade of Cimmeria
  2. North Wolves
  3. Warrior Without Fear
  4. Ninefold Muse
  5. Bell of Tarantia
  6. East of Sun
  7. Swan Road Saga
  8. Oncoming Ice
  9. Death Rider (Omen cover)
  10. Hall of the Mountain King (Savatage cover)

 

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music

Genre: Epic 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 SPEEDCLAW "Beast in the Mist" EP

Veröffentlicht am 16. April 2018 von Markus W. in Speedclaw, News, CD Review, Shadow Kingdom, Beast in the Mist, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Speed Metal, Power Metal

CD review SPEEDCLAW "Beast in the Mist" EP

(7/10) Usually Croatia is known for excellent weather from spring to autumn with a summer vibe and beach-life included. But there’s also some metal that’s based in the country along the Mediterranean Sea coastline. Speedclaw, hailing from Rijeka, Croatia, is such a band that upholds the flag of heavy metal in the South Eastern parts of Europe.

Founded in 2015 the quartet unveiled a first EP in 2016. “Iron Speed” featured six tracks of which one was a cover of Exciters’ classic “Heavy Metal Maniac”. The choice of this song tells a lot about the sound you can expect from Speedclaw. The guys are heavily into traditional metal music that has its roots in the NWoBHM.

It was more than once that the second EP “Beast in the Mist” reminded me of Iron Maiden in the earlier days. The way guitar and bass are weaved into the songs clearly flags a main source of inspiration. Songs like the uptempo “Faster Than Hell” with its furious leads or the merciless “Evil Than You See” are perfect songs.

None of the tunes is a copycat of any NWoBHM band, esp. due to the coarse voice of frontman Silvano Cosic. But also the raging speed of “Aggression Strikes” makes a difference and refers to early speed metal.

“Beast in the Mist” is an EP with a cool entertainment factor, taking the listener back to a time when metal started to gain momentum – a time machine into the mid 80’s that you should enter for 30 minutes metal adventure.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Prelude
  2. Beast in the Mist
  3. Faster Than Hell
  4. Rising of the Claw
  5. Aggression Strikes
  6. Evil That You See

 

Label: Shadow Kingdom

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: February 2nd, 2018

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Final line-up and running order for ROCK HARD FESTIVAL announced

Veröffentlicht am 29. März 2018 von Markus W. in Rock Hard Festival, News, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Hardrock, Festival, Live, Tour, NWoBHM, Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Gelsenkirchen

Final line-up and running order for ROCK HARD FESTIVAL announced

Final line-up for this year's edition of Rock Hard Festival are announced. The festival will take place between Friday May 18th, and Sunday May 20th and it will be the following bands that will deliver a lot of riff-power during Whit weekend.

 

Friday 18.05.2018

SODOM (First show in new line-up!)

TIAMAT („Clouds“- und „Wildhoney“-Set)

DIAMOND HEAD

DOOL

ATTIC

DAWN OF DISEASE

 

Saturday 19.05.2018

OVERKILL („Feel The Fire“ & „Horrorscope“-Set)

AXEL RUDI PELL

MARDUK

CIRITH UNGOL

LEATHERWOLF

THE NEW ROSES

NOCTURNAL RITES

TRAITOR

 

Sunday 20.05.2018

SAXON

ARMORED SAINT

BACKYARD BABIES

CORONER („Only German festival show 2018!“)

ULI JON ROTH („Scorpions Revisited“)

NIGHT DEMON

MEMORIAM

THUNDERMOTHER

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CD review SAXON "Saxon" / "Wheels of Steel" / Strong Arms of the Law" - re-issues

Veröffentlicht am 26. März 2018 von Markus W. in Saxon, Reissue, News, NWoBHM, Heavy Metal, Wheels of Steel, Strong Arms of the Law, CD Review

CD review SAXON "Saxon" / "Wheels of Steel" / Strong Arms of the Law" - re-issues

(8/10) (10/10) (9/10) I few weeks ago I could witness Saxon live on stage. The five-piece from Birmingham played a fabulous show at 013 in Tilburg,  a set that featured classics like "747 (Strangers in the Night)", "Heavy Metal Thunder" and Wheels of Steel". To enjoy these songs also at home and while being on the road, BMG reissues the first three longplayer of the NWoBHM legend.

The debut, simply entitled "Saxon", was originally released in 1979 and was the start of an impressive career in rock. NWoBHM started to gain momentum at the end of the 70's and had an impact on Saxon sounds. The band, that belongs to the pioneers of metal, combined this new rising metal style with glam-rock and progressive influences, leading to songs like "Judgement Day" and "Backs to the Wall". What's the real benefit of this re-issue is the comprehensive booklet that comes with the CD and it's additional bonus tracks that enriches this release. Five songs from the demo are part of the re-release plus songs that came out of a BBC session in 1980 and a live recording from Donington, recorded in the same year.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Rainbow Theme
  2. Frozen Rainbow
  3. Big Teaser
  4. Judgement Day
  5. Stallions Of The Highway
  6. Backs To The Wall
  7. Still Fit To Boogie
  8. Militia Guard

 

CD Bonus Tracks:

  1. Big Teaser (demo 1978)
  2. Stallions Of The Highway (demo 1978)
  3. Backs To The Wall (demo 1978)
  4. Rainbow Theme (demo 1978)
  5. Frozen Rainbow (demo 1978)
  6. Backs To The Wall (BBC session 1980)
  7. Stallions Of The Highway (BBC session 1980)
  8. Motorcycle Man (BBC session 1980)
  9. Still Fit To Boogie (BBC session 1980)
  10. 747 (Strangers In The Night) (BBC session 1980)
  11. Judgement Day (BBC session 1980)
  12. Still Fit To Boogie (Live at Donington 1980)
  13. Backs To The Wall (BBC session 1980)
  14. Stallions Of The Highway (BBC session 1980)

 

Label: BMG

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 30th, 2018

CD review SAXON "Saxon" / "Wheels of Steel" / Strong Arms of the Law" - re-issues

One year later, Saxon released their sophomore longplayer "Wheels of Steel" which belongs to the shining pearls in metal. The record was a break-through for the quintet from the UK with entering the single charts twice. Furthermore the album achieved gold-status and tunes like "747 (Strangers in the Night)", "Motorcycle Man" and "Wheels of Steel" are indispensable parts of present live sets. Like with the others re-releases also "Wheels of Steel" comes with an extensive booklet that features photos, lyrics and additional background information when it comes to band and album. The special treat is again some demo versions and live recording from this early era of one of the most influential heavy metal bands.

 

(10/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Motorcycle Man
  2. Stand Up And Be Counted
  3. 747 (Strangers In The Night)
  4. Wheels Of Steel
  5. Freeway Mad
  6. See The Light Coming
  7. Street Fighting Gang
  8. Suzie Hold On
  9. Machine Gun

 

CD Bonus Tracks

  1. Suzie Hold On (1980 demo rehearsals)
  2. Wheels Of Steel (1980 demo rehearsals)
  3. Stallions Of The Highway (Live B-side)
  4. Motorcycle Man (Live at Donington 1980)
  5. Freeway Mad (Live at Donington 1980)
  6. Wheels Of Steel (Live at Donington 1980)
  7. 747 (Strangers In The Night) (Live at Donington 1980)
  8. Machine Gun (Live at Donington 1980)

 

Label: BMG

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 30th, 2018

CD review SAXON "Saxon" / "Wheels of Steel" / Strong Arms of the Law" - re-issues

Biff Byford and bandmates have been extremely busy and productive in 1980. The highly acclaimed second longplayer saw the light of day, the band performed at the legendary Monsters Of Rock festival and Donington and last but not least it was the third longplayer that came out after summer. 6 months after "Wheels of Steel" arrived at the record stores it was "Strong Arm of the Law" that followed. In times when some bands work for years on their next release it's amazing that Saxon could do such a job in half a year by not compromising on quality at all. It proves that if you're bursting to do something in short time and with enormous passion you can achieve it. As with the predecessor also "Strong Arms of the Law" features songs that are a standard at any Saxon show. Classics such as the title track and "Dallas 1pm" are part of this disc that established the band in heavy metal. Bonus tracks are part of this re-release too, as with the other two albums. 

Saxon's first three longplayers, actually all their longplayers, are a 'must' for any seriously meant metal record collection. If you missed them to date, this is your chance to close the gap. 

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Heavy Metal Thunder
  2. To Hell And Back Again
  3. Strong Arm Of The Law
  4. Taking Your Chances
  5. 20,000 FT
  6. Hungry Years
  7. Sixth Form Girls
  8. Dallas 1PM

 

CD Bonus Tracks

  1. 20,000 FT (BBC session 1982)
  2. Dallas 1PM (BBC session 1982)
  3. The Eagle Had Landed (BBC session 1982)
  4. 747 (Strangers In The Night) (BBC session 1982)
  5. To Hell And Back Again (Abbey Road mix)
  6. 20,000FT (Abbey Road mix)
  7. Mandy (Early version of Sixth Form Girls)
  8. Heavy Metal Thunder (Abbey Road mix)

 

Label: BMG

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 30th, 2018

Photo: Markus Wiedenmann

Photo: Markus Wiedenmann

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Iconic IRON MAIDEN singer BRUCE DICKINSON published "What Does This Button Do?"

Veröffentlicht am 24. März 2018 von Markus W. in Bruce Dickinson, Iron Maiden, Samson, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Book, Heyne Hardcore Verlag, Autobiography, Biography, Singer, Frontman

Iconic IRON MAIDEN singer BRUCE DICKINSON published "What Does This Button Do?"

Introducing Bruce Dickinson feels like carrying sand to the beach. If you're interested in metal there's now way around it, knowing the iconic frontman of NWoBHM spearheads Iron Maiden. The legendary singer from Worksop, England started was part of many bands of which Iron Maiden is the by far best known one. There was a life before Maiden though, days when Dickinson was the singer of Samson. The singer was part of the two most important Samson records - "Head On" and "Shock Tactics" - before he replaced Paul Di'Anno as vocalist of Iron Maiden. The singer also had some solo records in the pipeline, which were mainly released during the 90's when Dickinson focused on his own band and project. 

Next to his musical career the sympathic singer also has the got the gift of being multi-talented. Amongst many other things it’s fencing being one of his passions outside of music and also him being a pilot for planes like a Boeing 747 shows the variety of interest more than well. Having such an exciting and interesting vita can only lead to one conclusion - writing a biography. In this case it's even an autobiography, which was published a few weeks ago, showing an additional talent of Dickinson.

"What Does This Button Do" is the title of an exciting reading experience. Things began in 1958, the year of birth of Dickson. His grandparents raised him as an only child till 1963, the year when Dickinson’s younger sister was born. The singer gives a lot of insights into his youth, sharing exciting stories that are entertaining and easy to read. In another chapter he describes the days in Samson and the first touch point with Iron Maiden. Samson entered the Battery Studios in Willesden for recording the „Shock Tactics“ album and it was Martin Birch, working next door on Iron Maiden’s „Killer“ record, days when Samson was headliner and Iron Maiden support act. 

The book is full with all these anecdotes and stories from Dickinson’s exciting life of which the diagnosed cancer is also a part. The singer describes things in an extremely open way towards the end of the book. On one of the last pages Dickinson mention that he got so often the question about, if, in retrospective, he would do some things different when it comes to his life and career and he also states that the answer was always a clear ‚No‘. I think that this describes the iconic frontman in an excellent way. Life isn’t a simulation. Life is real and it includes also failure and mistakes as a part of developing an own personality.

"What Does This Button Do?" is a comprehensive and thrilling summary of important moments in Dickinson's life. The book covers important milestone in and stories, told in a very open way as it can be expected from the extrovert legend in metal. It provides insights that are captured in an enthralling way which makes this book to an enjoyable reading experience, not only for metal fans.

 

For the German readers:

Bruce Dickinson
What Does This Button Do?
Die Autobiographie

Heyne Hardcore
450 Seiten

€ (D) 22,- / € (A) 22,70 / sFr 29,90
ISBN 978-3-453-27112-8

Translated by Daniel Müller, Harriet Fricke, Dieter Fuchs, Matthias Jost

Iconic IRON MAIDEN singer BRUCE DICKINSON published "What Does This Button Do?"
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CD review MUSTASCH "Silent Killer"

Veröffentlicht am 24. März 2018 von Markus W. in Mustasch, Heavy Metal, Classic Rock, NWoBHM, Melodic Metal, Stoner Rock, CD Review, News, Sony Music, Silent Killer

CD review MUSTASCH "Silent Killer"

(8/10) Three years after Swedish metal outfit Mustasch released with “Testosterone” their latest longplayer, it’s “Silent Killer” that marks a next step of this powerful band from Gothenburg.

Active since 1998, the band released a debut entitled “Above All” in 2002, an album that was followed by another seven exciting records that established Mustasch as a constant player in the fields of stoner rock and metal.

Since 2015 the quartet is consisting out of Mats Stam Johansson (b) and Ralf Gyllenhammer (g/v), both being founding members of this powerhouse. Guitarist David Johannesson joined in 2008 and it’s drummer Robban Baeck who’s the newest kid in town by already being part of the line-up since three years.

Mustasch’s newest strike is entitled “Silent Killer” and it’s definitely a ‘killer’ but also less 'silent’. The band’s ninth album is a sonic blast and a 32 minutes adrenalizer. Gyllenhammer and dudes created an album that starts acoustic with “Givin’”, an intro that’s the calm before the storm. “Winners” is next in line and ends the calm, turning things into a metal twister. For me it’s the best track on the album since it has this merciless power, an excellent riff and a dirty metal vibe. It’s hard to not being fascinated by this song that combines different metal directions into one smasher.

The joy with “Silent Killer” is the fact that Mustasch varies their sound without giving a scattered impression. “Liberty” reminded me of classic rock a la Audrey Horne while “Barrage” stands for another highlight with an extremely cool chorus.

Even Metallica references can be found on “Silent Killer”. The start of “Grave Digger” reminds with its riffing very much of Hetfield and Co., leading to a well-crafted mid-paced tune with a good groove.

“Silent Killer” proves that also 32 minutes of rock and metal music can be a joyful thing, if, like in this case, things are boiled down to the essence of very inspired metal music. Two thumbs up.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Givin’
  2. Winners
  3. Liberty
  4. Barrage
  5. Lawbreaker
  6. Fire
  7. Silent Killer
  8. The Answer
  9. Grave Digger
  10. Burn

 

Label: Sony Music

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: April 6th, 2018

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CD review JUDAS PRIEST "Firepower"

Veröffentlicht am 7. März 2018 von Markus W. in Judas Priest, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Sony Music, CD Review, News, Firepower

CD review JUDAS PRIEST "Firepower"

(9/10) The moment that metal pioneers of Judas Priest announces a new album leads to excitement, expectations and guessing when it comes to sound and songs. All this also happened the moment when the Metal Gods announced their 18th studio album “Firepower”.

Judas Priest started in the early 70’s and since then the quintet released many milestones in metal, influencing young bands with their riffs and firepower. Already from this point of view the title for the newest strike, “Firepower”, is more than well chosen. Classics like “Electric Eye”, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming”, “Green Manalishi”, “Painkiller”… are known by every metalhead around the world and even the controversially discussed “Turbo”-release is, in retrospective, far better than what was discussed in 1986.

However, next to these cornerstones in metal Judas Priest also faced an era without Rob Halford being the iconic frontman of this metal powerhouse and also experimented with a concept album entitled “Nostradamus” which doesn’t belong to best ones the band released up to date. Things improved again with the latest record “Redeemer of Souls” and also the latest live releases “A Touch of Evil” and "Battle Cry" showcased the band in full force.

2018 is the year of Judas Priests newest strike, an album that's entitled “Firepower”. Nomen et omen with this longplayer I would say, an album that comprises of 14 tracks. These provide you with almost an hour of rock solid metal, done in a perfect fashion.

The first jaw-dropping high is the title track that opens this longplayer. "Firepower" begins with a typical Priest riff and a scream by Halford that shows the iconic singer in great shape and form. For the rest we are talking about a cool metal track, kept in a faster pace with some surprisingly melodic leads. After such a wowing beginning it's "Lightning Strike" that's next in the batting order. As the opener also this tune is a very well-crafted Priest anthem that contains everything fans of Halford and Co. could ask for.

The quintet slows down with "Evil Never Dies", esp. in the verse. Halford massive vocal range and razor blade sharp guitars are the main factors of this roaring metal track that also includes a calmer middle section, adding a gloomy vibe to the mix. A dark expression is also what "Never the Heroes" is built on, a song that reminded me in one or another way of Accept. 

"Necromancer" is a typical Judas Priest hymn before "Children of the Sun" shows why the band belongs to the genre titans.

A piano-based interlude entitled "Guardians" breaks the flow on the album in a positive way, introducing with "Rising From Ruin" another highlight on the this superb longplayer. "Rising From Ruin" is a built on a brilliant and heavy riff while also shining with a calmer verse. It's these two element and a great chorus that makes this song to a real smasher.

"Flame Thrower" is more of a straight-forward rocker, followed by "Spectra". "Spectra" is a sinister song that's not that easy to approach. It's not a bad one, but it needs time to find the 'golden nugget'.

After such un unusual tune it's "Traitors Gate" that brings back the spot-on Judas Priest sound with face-smashing guitars and excellent vocals, both built on a  thumping bass and a pounding drum line. Melody gets very much into the forefront with "No Surrender", which became a bit too sweet for my liking. However, the hooks are great and it's hard to not be fascinated by this tune.

"Lone Wolf" is another riff attack before "Sea of Red" marks the ending of this extraordinary longplayer. Acoustic guitars create a nice and calm atmosphere. Rob Halford joins, showing his voice in a calmer context. The tune slowly builds up to a heavier one with ferocious guitars sweeping away the acoustic six-string. "Sea of Red" is the most cinematic track of the entire album and reminds, with its bombast, of the "Nostradamus"-days. It's a good song, but there are better ones on the album.

No less than Andy Sneap and Tom Allom took over the production duties of “Firepower” and they gave the album the sound it deserves. Having Sneap and Allom together at the helm led to a sound that comes with a more modern approach combined with a classic metal vibe. What benefits the album and the sound too is the fact that the band recorded the tunes all together, which created a special and organic atmosphere.

Judas Priest’s 18th studio album became another great addition to an already impressive discography. The true highlights on the album are the moments when the band unveils their full riffpower, like with the title track and "Lightning Strike". The quintet was, is and will belong to the spearheads of heavy metal - true Metal Gods.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Firepower
  2. Lightning Strike
  3. Evil Never Dies
  4. Never the Heroes
  5. Necromancer
  6. Children of the Sun
  7. Guardians
  8. Rising From Ruins
  9. Flame Thrower
  10. Spectre
  11. Traitors Gate
  12. No Surrender
  13. Lone Wolf
  14. Sea of Red

 

Label: Sony Music

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: March 9th, 2018

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Live report SAXON / DIAMOND HEAD / ARMORED DAWN, 013, Tilburg, 27.02.2018

Veröffentlicht am 28. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Saxon, Diamond Head, Armored Dawn, News, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Classic Metal, NWoBHM, 013 Poppodium, Live Review, Live, Tour, Rock Hard Festival

It was an ice cold February evening when British metal icons Saxon had a stop at 013 in Tilburg to warm up the city with some hot metal riffs. No less than the legendary Diamond Head joined Saxon on their European tour and it was Brazilian metal newcomers Armored Dawn who got the opening slot in this package.

 

The first time I saw Armored Dawn on stage was when they opened for Fates Warning a few months ago and the impression I got wasn‘t the best. And since the new longplayer wasn‘t the most exciting one either I was curious about what they guys from Brazil will offer that night in Tilburg, being the opener for Saxon and Diamond Head. In general I must say that the guys did a much better job than earlier. They could create some reserved excitement in the first row and earned some well-meant applause at the end. As on the album, guitars were spot-on and also the sound they got was better. The biggest challenge though for Armored Dawn is their singer and frontman Eduardo Parras. He tries hard but there are much better metal sirens out there in the metal universe. All in all Armored Dawn showed some improvement and a solid show - not more but also not less.

Live report SAXON / DIAMOND HEAD / ARMORED DAWN, 013, Tilburg, 27.02.2018
Live report SAXON / DIAMOND HEAD / ARMORED DAWN, 013, Tilburg, 27.02.2018

Diamond Head‘s concert was the first highlight tonight. The band, known by many from the Metallica’s cover version of  „Am I evil“, preformed a professional and dedicated gig that was full of hits. The temperature in the venue immediately rose by the first riffs of guitar icon Brian Tattler. The guitarist is the only remaining founding member and driving force behind the band since many years. He and his three band mates showed that night how classic metal should sound like if being performed with a lot of passion. Next to Tattler it was vocalist Rasmus Bom Andersen who is not only an excellent singer but also a great frontman. Constantly in motion it was him being an engine of youth on stage with great vocals and agile stage acting. He was constantly motivating the crowd to be loud, and fans reacted accordingly. In the end each of the guys on stage obviously enjoyed playing live and fans rewarded this attitude with more than just a warm applause. Diamond Head was a true special guest for Saxon and since the guys aren‘t around too often, it was a pleasure to witness their show in Tilburg, a concert with the earlier mentioned „Am I evil“ as the Grande finale with audience being a huge choir for the chorus.

Live report SAXON / DIAMOND HEAD / ARMORED DAWN, 013, Tilburg, 27.02.2018

After warming up the crowd in such a good way it was an easy thing for Saxon to take over and turn the venue into a metal madhouse. I have seen the band several times over the last 6 years and they never disappointed. It‘s the combination of almost 40 years experience in rock, terrific songs and powerful stage acting that makes each Saxon concert to a special moment. The guys play together in the same line-up since many years and you can see and hear that the chemistry is there. It’s a blindfolded interplay and interaction that grew over many years, leading to a dense and powerful sound that builds the base for 90 minutes of metal delight.  As if it would be the most natural thing on earth Paul Quinn and Doug Scarrett create enormous riff power while it’s bassist Nibbs Carter who spreads the metal virus by a pounding bass play that‘s heavier than what you get to hear on any album. 

Saxon ignited a firework with old classics that were highly anticipated by fans. And it has been the new songs that fitted perfectly into the context by creating a seamless experience of rock that night.

As frontman Biff Byford said: „It‘s Tuesday - and it feels like fucking Friday“ and what he meant was the metal party vibe that filled the venue. Saxon might get older, but they are in an impressive shape and form. These guys are metal pioneers and it was the big crowd at 013 that rewarded all the band’s effort with horns up and an enthusiastic applause at the end. 

I‘m already looking forward to see the quintet from England again on this year’s Rock Hard festival where Saxon headlines one day. ... And Saxon plays on. Hopefully for many more years.

Live report SAXON / DIAMOND HEAD / ARMORED DAWN, 013, Tilburg, 27.02.2018

Tracklist Diamond Head:

  1. Helpless
  2. Bones
  3. In the Heat of the Night
  4. Lightning to the Nations
  5. It's Electric
  6. The Prince
  7. Am I Evil?

 

Tracklist Saxon:

  1. Thunderbolt
  2. Sacrifice
  3. Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz)
  4. Motorcycle Man
  5. Strong Arms of the Law
  6. Battering Ram
  7. Power and the Glory
  8. Sniper
  9. The Secret Flight
  10. Dallas 1PM
  11. Never Surrender
  12. Predator
  13. They Played Rock and Roll
  14. And the Band Played On
  15. 747 (Strangers in the Night)
  16. Crusader
  17. Princess of the Night
  18. Heavy Metal Thunder (Encore)
  19. Wheels of Steel (Encore)
  20. Denim and Leather (Encore)

 

Location: 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Date: February 27th, 2018

 

More photos of Saxon on FLICKR

More photos of Diamond Head on FLICKR

 

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CD review SACRED LEATHER "Ultimate Force"

Veröffentlicht am 27. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Sacred Leather, Ultimate Force, Heavy Metal, Power Metal, Cruz Del Sur, CD Review, News, NWoBHM

CD review SACRED LEATHER "Ultimate Force"

(8/10) Sacred Leather hails from Indianapolis, Indiana and is a metal powerhouse that was formed some years ago. A can’t tell you the exact date, but the first release dates back to 2014 when a single entitled “Hunger in the Night” hit the scene. Since then some singles followed and even before a debut album was released the guys published a live album.

With all this work done the time was right for a full-length album – Sacred Leathers debut. The quintet inked a deal with Cruz Del Sur Music and I must say that the guys fit very well in the label’s portfolio.

Sacred Leather plays heavy metal, in the best sense of the word. “Ultimate Force” comes with seven old-school metal tracks that will be loved by headbangers with a passion for vintage metal. Scared leather fires on all cylinders when it comes to “Ultimate Force”. What characterizes the sound of this five-piece band from Indiana are excellent riff attacks, razorblade sharp solos and a heavy pounding rhythm section, all enriched by the well-done vocals by Dee Wrathchild. This guys is a real metal siren that reminds of Rob Halford and eve the mighty Kind Diamond I had to think of once.

Next to great musical skills also the songwriting lives up to high standards. Sacred Leather doesn’t stick to a cookie-cutter approach. They five guys use the entire freedom traditional heavy metal provides. Short and uptempo tracks like the title track are also part of Sacred Leather’s offer as well as epical metal compositions a la “The Lost Destructor / Priest of the Undoer”. The latter is the closer of this album and is with almost ten minutes the longest song on the album. “The Lost Destructor / Priest of the Undoer” is covering everything you can expect from such an album. A mystical beginning with a pumping bassline introduces the listener to a metal treat that goes back to the roots of powerful metal.

I wonder why the world had to wait so long for Sacred Leather’s debut. However, now it’s ready to rock and I can strongly recommend this lively longplayer. These guys have metal in the veins and passion in their hearts.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Ultimate Force
  2. Watcher
  3. Power Thrust
  4. Dream Searcher
  5. Master is Calling
  6. Prowling Sinner
  7. The Lost Destructor / Priest of the Undoer

 

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: February 23rd, 2018

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CD review VISIGOTH "Conqueror's Oath"

Veröffentlicht am 8. Februar 2018 von Markus W. in Visigoth, Conqueror's Oath, Power Metal, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, US Metal, Metal Blade, News, CD Review

CD review VISIGOTH "Conqueror's Oath"

(8/10) It was three years ago, when Visigoth debuted with “The Revenant King”. The album was acclaimed by fans and media who were hungry for traditional metal. Such a positive response was motivation enough to continue the journey. It the guys 36 month to reach the next cornerstone, which is the new album. And here it is.

“Conqueror’s Oath” is the title of Visigoth sophomore record, comprising of eight new epic metal tracks. The album feels like a logical next step for the powerhouse from Salt Lake City, Utah. As well as the tunes from the predecessor also the new material is reflecting pure metal power that has its roots in the NWoBHM as well as in US power metal from the late eighties. In that sense Visigoth reminds of days when metal gained momentum every week without getting across as being outdated.

Songs to recommend are the opener with its melodic chorus and lot of riff power. “Warrior Queen” reminded me of the earlier Stormwitch while the uptempo “Outlive Them All” reflects the NWoBHM in a perfect fashion with leads that make you think about the earlier Iron Maiden.

“Traitor’s Gate” is with almost seven minutes a longer tune with an epic approach abd it's “Blades of the Night” that acts as a well-placed counterpart. It’s a fast and furious tune with sharp solo parts and a breathless tempo. Thumbs up.

The album closes with the title track that also belongs to the epic moments on the album. It’s another seven minutes anthem that shows the entire beauty of traditional power metal.

The quintet from Salt Lake City doesn’t have an approach of starting a metal revolution. Their strength is authentic metal, inspired by bands like Omen, Cirith Ungol and Iron Maiden. If you get excited by vintage riff power that still sounds fresh and vital you should listen to this album. Eight points go the Visigoth.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Steel and Silver
  2. Warrior Queen
  3. Outlive Them All
  4. Hammerforged
  5. Traitor’s Gate
  6. Salt City
  7. Blades in the Night
  8. The Conqueror’s Oath

 

Label: Metal Blade

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: February 9th, 2018

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CD review SAXON" Thunderbolt"

Veröffentlicht am 25. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in Saxon, Heavy Metal, Thunderbolt, NWoBHM, Silver Lining Music, Power Metal, CD Review, News

CD review SAXON" Thunderbolt"

(9/10) It’s next year when British metal pioneers Saxon will celebrate their 40th anniversary. It means a lot to be in business for such a long time. To be such a stable factor demands passion and quality, both key-characteristics of the British quintet. With the exception of some tougher years in the 90’s, Biff Byford, Paul Quinn and bandmates always delivered excellent metal records, featuring classics that went right into the DNA of metal music.

Now, in 2018, Saxon will ship their newest longplayer to the record stores. If you expect something totally new you should stop reading right here and now because Saxon stays true to themselves. The five guys found their sound and their signature, all coming back on the new longplayer entitled “Thunderbolt”.

The record might not be a bolt out of the blue but it carries the energy of thunder and lighting. Eleven new songs with a total running time of 47 minutes provide metal fans with terrific traditional metal. ‘Traditional’ in this context doesn’t stand for dusted and old-fashioned. Saxon’s newest strike sounds fresh and vital featuring heavy metal tracks reminding of the glorious NWoBHM era.

I can recommend to listen to tunes like the great title track, the uptempo “They Played Rock and Roll” and “Speed Merchants” with its roaring guitars. Also “Sons of Odin” is worth more than one loop. The song comes with a slower pace and an awesome bassline, adding an enormous groove to this highlight.

Now I mentioned some songs, but actually it’s the entire longplayer that stands as a rock and even the more complex “Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz)” grows over time.

It goes without saying that the sound of “Thunderbolt” is beyond all doubts. Andy Sneap was once again at the helm, giving Saxon’s 22nd album the power and appeal needed to let each of these eleven pearls shine bright, meaning sound good.

Saxon proves that age and metal don’t have any correlation. Even after four decades the quintet is still hungry for good heavy metal which is probably the most crucial factor for this great longplayer. Saxon are still in a ‘power and the glory’ mood with “Thunderbolt” being an album that will be a delight for every metalhead.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Olympus Rising
  2. Thunderbolt
  3. The Secret of Flight
  4. Nosferatu (The Vampire Waltz)
  5. They Played Rock and Roll
  6. Predator
  7. Sons of Odin
  8. Sniper
  9. A Wizard’s Tale
  10. Speed Merchants
  11. Roadie’s Song

 

Label: Silver Lining Music

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: February 2nd, 2018

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CD review WHITE WIZZARD "Infernal Overdrive"

Veröffentlicht am 5. Januar 2018 von Markus W. in White Wizzard, Infernal Overdrive, News, Heavy Metal, NWoBHM, Power Metal, US Metal, M-Theory, CD Review

CD review WHITE WIZZARD "Infernal Overdrive"
(8/10) White Wizzard from California debut in 2010 with "Over the Top". Two  more longplayers followed and it was in early 2017 when White Wizzard mainman Jon Leon announced a new album. "Infernal Overdrive" also stand for the return of no less than frontman Wyatt Anderson and guitarist James J. LaRue, both being White Wizzard veterans from the early days of this metal powerhouse.
 

It’s a fulminant drum beat that kicks-off the album, followed by a powerful riff, all introducing the opener “Infernal Overdrive”. One of the biggest assets of White Wizzard is the mentioned return of singer Wyatt Anderson. The moniker ‘Screaming Demon’ says it all. This man is a metal siren in the best meaning of the word, enriching each of the nine songs that made it on the album.

Next to the frontman it’s the melodic guitar leads that give the album its liveliness. Reminding of bands like Iron Maiden the four-piece band also shows some US metal roots, all leading to a surprisingly good metal record.

The quartet keeps some songs short and crispy with other tracks reaching an epic length. The masterpiece in this context comes at the end and is entitled “The Illusion’s Tears”. Eleven minutes of length show the entire capabilities of this US powerhouse. Starting calm and melodic it’s again Anderson’s voice that plays a crucial role. As not expected different the song slowly builds up. It takes quite a while till the closer breaks the pattern of melody and harmony. It’s the last two minutes that mark an outburst, again with some Maiden-references in the guitar melodies.

White Wizzard sound good when being spot-on, but it’s the longer tracks being the real treat that comes with this longplayer. Tunes like “Voyage of the Wolf Raiders” and the furious “Critical Mass” include everything traditional metal is asking for.

In case you’re looking for high-pitch screams, great vocal lines, crispy riffs and a pounding rhythm you should give “Infernal Overdrive” a fair chance. You will not be disappointed.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Infernal Overdrive
  2. Storm the Shores
  3. Pretty Nay
  4. Chasing Dragons
  5. Votage of the Wolf Raiders
  6. Critical Mass
  7. Cocoon
  8. Metamorphosis
  9. The Illusion’s Tears

 

Label: M-Theory Audio

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: January 12th, 2018

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CD review AUDREY HORNE "Blackout"

Veröffentlicht am 20. Dezember 2017 von Markus W. in Audrey Horne, Blackout, Hardrock, NWoBHM, Rock, Classic Rock, CD Review, Napalm Records

CD review AUDREY HORNE "Blackout"

(9/10) Audrey Horne, hailing from Bergen, Norway, can hark back to some excellent longplayers and energetic live shows. Their hunger for hard rock music obviously can’t be fully stilled which is great for fans of classic rock music - in this case since it leads to a brand  new longplayer.

Three years after having pushed “Pure Heavy” into the open it’s “Blackout” that is the next delight for fans of well-crafted rock music. Toschie, Arve, Kjetil, Thomas and Espen added an album to their discography that shows again why these five Norwegians can constantly add new folks to their fan base.

“Blackout” comprises ten new songs that stand in the tradition of the earlier releases. Audrey Horne built the new longplayer on some classic rock roots and metal influences from the 70’s/early 80’s.

The five Norwegians start into the album with a song that most of you might have heard already. “This is War” was unveiled a while ago as video to promote the upcoming release. The tune is a lively one, done in a typical Audrey Horne fashion. It’s an uptempo track that combines the power of rock and catchy melodies, leading to a real earworm experience.

The next number on the album is built on a heavy bassline by Espen Lien. “Audrevolution”, which is the title of this song, has a punky expression. The joy of this tune is the straight forward approach that shows the beauty of simplicity. Next song, next variation. The title track “Blackout” refers to the 70’s rock roots and it’s bands like Thin Lizzy that came to my mind while listening to “Blackout”.

Compared to these energizers the gently swinging “This Man” feels more like a welcomed break before “Midnight Man” marks the next energizer on “Blackout”. The uptempo “Light Your Way” is a typical Audrey Horne smasher before “California” reveals again some classic rock passion. The tune, known from the last tour, is a heavily grooving one, kept in a moderate pace – a song that works perfect in a live context.

“Satellite” shows a bit of a new aspect of the Norwegian quintet. The number, that is still 100% Audrey Horne, is very rhythm-based with drums and bass getting a lot of attention. I like this tune since it widens the frames and feels like a successfully done experiment. Next to the moments that stretch the borders it is the flow of songs on the album that is done in a good manner. Almost in contrary to “Satellite” it’s “Naysayer” that honor the NWoBHM with some riffs reminding of the earlier Maiden days. Instead of ending up with a scattered picture with all these variations it’s the band’s sound signature that keeps every together very well, leading to a Gesamtkunstwerk.

It’s the galloping “Rose Alley” that rounds off another excellent Audrey Horne album. “Blackout” underlines Audrey Horne’s position in rock. This album is more than just some songs on a record. It showcases a band that has a distilled rock’n’roll vibe running through their veins, leading to another album with a real ‘wow factor’.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. This is War
  2. Audrevolution
  3. Blackout
  4. This Man
  5. Midnight Man
  6. Light Your Way
  7. California
  8. Satellite
  9. Naysayer
  10. Rose Alley

 

Label: Napalm Records

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: January 12th, 2018

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