Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The Mercy House - A Broken State Of Bliss (CD Review)

01.A Broken State Of Bliss
03.My Disease
05.Lead The Way
06.The End
11.The Price Of Dying

Drew Davis (Vocals)
Dany Serrano (Guitar)
Dan Edwards(Guitar)
W.R (Bass)
Nick Schlesinger(Drums)

So it was march 27th 2009 that Mercy House made their debut with Drew on vocals
at the rock attic in streatham, their next gig was at the Underworld in Camden
So right from the start it was a step up every time, they lost a band member and
replaced him then started recordings, did more gigs, got a few good support slots as
well, gigged constantley even out of London shows and released a couple of one track promo cd's.

Well things did keep moving forward they were hailed by Kerrang! Radio’s Alex Baker as a band possessing, “killer riffs, monstrous vocals and more hooks than a slaughterhouse”.
Then they had tracks featured on both Metal Hammer and Classic Rock cover CDs and received regular airplay on the likes of Kerrang! Radio and Total Rock as well as being championed by Recharged Radios DJ Caz on her Metal Mumin show.
They won Kerrang! magazine’s Guitar Hero competition to have one of their tracks featured in the game, which led to a double-page spread feature on the band in the magazine.
Following this, Harmonix and the Rock Band franchise snapped at the chance to add The Mercy House to their roster of artists, which will see their track ‘Greed’ being released as part of the game’s additional content in later this year.
All this came whilst gaining a fierce live reputation on the UK circuit, culminating in Metal Hammer selecting them to support Biohazard at the London Scala.

After battling against health issues that brought the band to the brink of destruction
in 2010 they have now returned determined than ever to prove that real, honest Metal can still be produced by real musicians who are not intrested in image and simply copying someone elses music.

The last few months have seen the band in the studio finishing their debut album, A Broken State of Bliss, which was mixed by Donald Clark (Guns N’ Roses, Korn, Muse) and is now finally out for all to hear.
Time then dear reader for me to hit "Play"........

'A Broken State Of Bliss', now although this is the title track its actually a one minute atmospheric intro.

Kicking into 'Greed' a dark brooding rocker kicks off this album with pure majestic power, it brings to mind Judas Priest's 'Touch Of Evil' with Zeppelinesque qualities, superb production brings out every instrument to perfection.
Drew's vocal delivery is reminicent of Chris Cornell doing an impression of Johnathan Davis, but has those trademark high notes that still makes Drew "THE" rock vocalist in the UK today.
The multi tracking and layering of the vocals and their various styles just adds to a superb piece of work.

The pace remains the same for 'My Disease' but slows down for 'Blind' giving some balance between the bands abilities to rock and also create more melodic and mellow music.

However with 'Lead The Way' that relentless wall of power continues starting off with a bass riff that would fit any decent Korn track, the song has an Audioslave vibe.
Part ballad part rock monster it is a song destined for american rock radio and a subsequent begging letter to come and tour.

Moving very much in ballad territory with 'The End' it has nice "Floaty" guitar sounds, it does of course kick in with more power throughout.

The next 3 songs 'Weight', 'Unclean' and 'Hayt' all return to the powerhouse sound with every element from vocals to guitarwork being in perfect harmony.

And now 'Inversions',im not sure how they have managed to do it but the breathtaking 'Inversions' has now reached a level of superbness that is beyond my ability to describe, in fact one of the lyrics,"you wont find the answers, they are too deep inscribed, deep within the maze that is your mind" just helps to illustrate my fail here on words.
This is version number three that i have in my collection, this one is by far the most acomplished the music is tighter, the little vocal effects added here and there, the cleaness of the guitars to such clarity that each note has its own purity, i mean its just fucking perfect!
There are few modern songs that have those elements of "timeless classic" but this song has it and will be around to entertain future generations, surely the next single??

Finally the near doom laden epic 7 minute masterpiece 'The Price Of Dying', this one comes as a surprise with its multi layered vocals, eerie guitar sounds, odd sound effects, pounding bass, scathing guitarwork punctuated with top heavy powerchords.

Top notch British hard rock currently unrivaled by any other band, you must own this album!
Also go see them live, they are currently supporting Viking Skull on thier uk tour.

Rating 10/10

For fans Of: Audioslave, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Judas Priest, Voodoo Johnson.

Crystal Viper - Crimen Excepta (CD Review)

01.Witch’s Mark
02.Child Of The Flame
03 It’s Your Omen
04.Crimen Excepta
05.Medicus Animarum
06.The Spell Of Death
07.Hope Is Gone, Here’s New Law
08.Fire Be My Gates
09.Tyrani Piekiel (Vader cover)
10.Ghosts Of Sherwood

Marta Gabriel (Vocals/Guitars)
Andy Wave (Guitars)
Tom Woryna (Bass)
Golem (Drums)

CRYSTAL VIPER are a Female Fronted Traditional Heavy Metal act from Poland, founded in 2003 and led by the singer & guitarist Marta Gabriel.
After doing 3 full length studio albums, several single and EP releases,
appearing on numerous compilations and constant touring in most European countries.

Due to Marta's charismatic voice and stage presence, the band was often placed in one line with acts such as Warlock, while melodic, fast songs brought comparisons to acts such as Running Wild and Accept.

This is being hailed as their heaviest, most dark and aggressive album to date.
'Crimen Excepta' is a concept effort about holy inquisition, black magic and witches, where fiction is mixed with historical facts.

The album's artwork was painted again by the legendary French artist Chris Moyen (known from cooperation with acts such as Slayer, Beherit and Blasphemy).

The band decided to hide their influences no longer, and showed the world they are
fans of Black & Death Metal as well and even recorded a cover version of the classic Death Metal anthem by Vader song "Tyrani Piekiel" ("Tyrants Of Hell") they invited
VADER mainman Piotr "Peter" Wiwczarek to the recording studio, so you
can hear their amazing vocal duet of Marta and Peter.

It's of course not the end of surprises: the band didn't forget about their NWoBHM influences as well, and in the title track you can hear one more special guest: David
Bower of HELL.

'Ghosts Of Sherwood' is the theme for the forthcoming 3D cinema horror movie "Robin
Hood: Ghosts Of Sherwood".

So to sum up "Crimen Excepta", It's heavy and dark, but still very classic. Old school influences of bands such as Mercyful Fate, are mixed here with riffs that could land on some classic Iron Maiden album, and die hard Metal attitude of bands such as Nifelheim -
not to forget about amazing vocals of Marta Gabriel, who sounds like the
younger sister of Chastain's Leather Leone.

So its amps to "11" and enter a world full of Flying Vs, tube amplifiers, real drums,
leather and chains! This is Heavy Metal all the way!

Rating 9/10

For Fans Of: Warlock, Chastain, Bitch, Achilla

Hour Of 13 - 333 (CD Review)

01.Deny The Cross
02.The Burning
03.Rite Of Samhain
04.Spiral Vacuum
05.Whos To Blame
06.Sea Of Trees
07.Lucky Bones

Chad Davis (Instruments)
Phil Swanson (Vocals)

Hailing from the USA, Hour of 13's core duo of Chad Davis and Phil Swanson return with their third album, '333'.  Cloaked in obscure tales of the bizarre and the lost, Hour of 13 bridge the gap between forlorn despair and cautious hope on their new album.  Powered by majestic, haunting riff worship, and shrouded with occult sentiment and themes, the album offers a glimmer of salvation for the alienated and the alone.

Choosing to utilise a highly listenable classic rock songwriting approach, Hour of 13 throw in curveballs with the use of devilish riffs and a pained vocal intonation that threatens to collapse under the weight of unwieldy despair.

'Sea of Trees' and 'The Burning' emphasise the twisted catchiness that has become Hour of 13's trademark - on the one hand welcoming enough to get heads banging, but grimly haunting enough to leave a sense of unease lingering.

If it's possible to create an uplifting kind of doom metal, then Hour of 13 might have uncovered the alchemical formula that offers redemption on the one hand, and plunges you into hopelessness on the other.

Coming across like classic 'Witchfinder General' the band have achieved exactly what they set out to.

Rating 7/10

For fans Of: Witchfinder General, Cathedral, Electric Wizard

Cradle Of Filth - Midnight In The Labyrinth (CD Review)

01.A Gothic Romance (Red Roses For The Devil's Whore)
02.The Forest Whispers My Name
03.The Twisted Nails Of Faith
04.The Rape And Ruin Of Angels (Hosannas In Extremis)
05.Funeral In Carpathia
06.Summer Dying Fast
07.Thirteen Autumns And A Widow
08.Dusk and Her Embrace
09.Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
10.Goetia (Invoking The Unclean)
Disc Two: Orchestral

01.The Rape And Ruin Of Angels (Hosannas In Extremis)
02.Dusk And Her Embrace
03.Summer Dying Fast
04.The Twisted Nails Of Faith
05.Funeral in Carpathia
06.The Forest Whispers My Name
07.Cruelty Brought Thee Orchids
08.A Gothic Romance (Red Roses For The Devil's Whore)
09.Thirteen Autumns And A Widow

Mark Newby-Robson (Orchestration)
Dani Filth (Narration)
Sarah Jezebel Deva (Narration/Vocals)
Ralph Woodward (Choir & Orchestra Conductor)

Midnight in the Labyrinth is an orchestral album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth, well actually its not, lets face it this is a Dani Filth solo album that he doesnt even sing on!

The songs selected are from the band's first four releases which in itself shows a lack of imagination, its okay to do a few covers in this way but some new and intresting concepts wouldnt have gone a miss.
Definatley a missed oppertunity here to do what Glenn Danzig did with his 2 Black Aria projects.

So the first disc features narration by Dani Filth (Dani here perhaps trying to emulate Richard Burton from the Jeff Wayne War Of The Worlds), plus additional vocals from Sarah Jezebel Deva.Its okay but nothing outstanding, certainly the oppertunity to re create and make new has been wasted, albeit pleasent enough to listen to.

Disc Two contains the same recordings minus the vocals and somewhat labours the pointless exercise even more pointless.

So Mr. Filth claims the album would "reinvent" tracks from the band's first four albums and include "full soundtrack-quality stuff... with choirs, strings and some narration".
Well in my opinion it has failed to do so.

Dani wrote; "All songs will be fully orchestrated akin to a horror movie soundtrack (think Danny Elfman, John Williams, Christopher Young, etc.) and [the record is] comprised solely of tracks from our first four releases - 1994's The Principle of Evil Made Flesh; the 1996 EP V Empire; 1996's Dusk... and Her Embrace and 1998's Cruelty and the Beast - [with] "Funeral in Carpathia" being my favorite conversion thus far."

Thing is that even Hellraiser composer 'Young', the legendary 'Elfman' and others have all utilised electronics and electric instrumentation in many of their compositions to give it a fuller sound.

So basically NOT a Cradle album but a Dani solo album with speech instead of vocals, make of this what you will....

Rating: 5/10

For Fans Of: Dani Filth, Glenn Danzig - Black Aria, Jacula - In Cauda Semper Stat Venenum, Devil Doll - Eliogabalus

This Months Gig Flyers