Thursday, 26 September 2013

Esper Scout - Poet Curses (CD Review)

01.Assumpta Tang
02.Swallowing The Sun
03.No Gold
04.Gammal Gubbe
06.Wallet Of Brass Crowns

Sarah Statham (Guitar/vocals)
Kirsty Morton (Guitar/synth)
Rebecca Jane (Bass)
Lou Brinn (Drums)

Esper Scout are an experimental rock/progressive four-piece based in Leeds formed in 2011. They are driven by an enthusiasm for melody, harmony, textures and pedal effects as well as dynamic rhythms.

Having released e-single ‘Assumpta Tang’ in August to positive reviews (with accompanying VHSthemed video by Manchester’s WE ARE WULF collective),they are now releasing their longest collection of recordings to date in the form of ‘Poet Curses’. All six tracks were corecorded, produced and mixed by past collaborator Paul Crompton and Esper Scout at Eiger Studios and Hut 57 (ES’s home studio) on a ‘modest’ budget.

‘Poet Curses’ is an anagram of the band’s name and the artwork is a painting by Paul Crompton’s mother Annette who passed away before in winter 2012 and whose headstrong and
adventurous lifestyle is reflected in the lyrics to Swallowing the Sun. ‘Gammal Gubbe’
is Swedish for ‘old dude’ and is one of the terms the Gothenburg raised producer
taught the band during recording.

Well for experimental/progressive rock, this is a tag that most certainly does not apply in any form i am aware of, this is pretty straight forward indie rock, reminds me more of Throwing Muses than say Sonic Youth who might just fit that tag.

A solid little ep mind you, quite downbeat in places, well put together and a nice production allowing the layering of sounds to come through.

Rating 7/10
For fans of : Throwing Muses, Pixies, Auf Der Maur, Oceansize.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Allus On Drugs - Demo EP (CD Review)

03.How High
04.Sunset Yellow

Jason Moules (Vocals)
Damien Hughes (Guitar)
Tom Peden (Bass)
Andrey Pavlovic (Guitar)
Connor Fisher-Atack (Drums)

Allusondrugs are a 5 piece alternative rock band from Castleford in Yorkshire formed in the autumn of 2012.
Noted for their beautiful vocal harmonies soaring over huge, effect ridden guitars and pulverizing beats, this band will give you a screaming eargasm.
Their wild and intense live show can turn a room full of people into soup in minutes.

The band has spent the last few months gigging heavily and making home recordings of
their material that so far has ranged from psychedelic pop to fuzzed out stoner rock and
have just signed to Clue Records who recently released a limited edition cd single called 'Plasters'.

However this is a promo ep given away at gigs, well packaged and even came with a free sweetie!

We start with 'Ted' a screaming super fuzzed out mix of Mudhoney meets the Hives, a simple song about their friend "ted" who is apparently in heaven and watching porn!

With the catchy lyric "watch him as he shivers" i shall hazard a guess that 'Stir' is not about being stuck out in the cold, but a drug related matter set to some excellent subterranean pop music.

'How High' has a post brit pop sound reminiscent of Stereophonics, a great vocal performance backed by sub psychedelic riffs and solid drum beats.

A chilled out mellow song, 'Sunset Yellow' apparently about "Irn Bru", im not convinced its a homage to the scottish soft drink, i suspect it maybe something more "fun", the song has an hypnotic sound and is one that really stands out.

An interesting mix of sounds and influences all "possibly" influenced by something not musical?
I think they may have hit upon a new sub genre of indie or grunge with a sort of "StonerPop".

Rating 9/10

For fans of : Mudhoney, Nirvana, Stereophonics, Stone Roses, The Hives


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Symphony Of Pain - Hydeology (CD Review)

01.Mister Hyde
02.Darker Side
03.3rd Mauvement
04.Sister Change
06.Am I Dreaming
07.Kiss The Bride
08.For Now I'm Dead
09.Out Of My Head
10.Broken Clown
11.Nightmare Life

Tracie Law (Vocals/Bass/Guitar/Drums)
Pam Chowhan (Piano/Violin/Keyboards)
Guest Musicians:
Dave Dart (Guitar)
Nick Taylor (Guitar)
Liz Sweetland (Vocals)
Dean Simister (Drum Programming)

Formed by Tracie (from Beki Bondage band) and Pam (Pianist to Andrew Lloyd Webber) the duo set about creating an ecletic gothic rock group.

The debut album is a combination of three years work and features some guest guitar playing from Krybgrinder's Dave Dart.
Right i have listened to the album all the way through, now gonna take a break for a while then come back to it........

This is a weird one to review, it doesnt do what you expect it to, the promo sheet talks of Thin Lizzy and Queensryche as being influences yet neither influence shows anywhere, in fact if you had told me Hawkwind and The Cure then i would have seen that as more obvious.

For an album essentially "Gothic" it has more in common with Tristania jamming with Simon House and Tim Blake, its a very strange and intresting mix of styles, much of the music is symphonic in structure blended with "heavy metal" riffs and drums then amazing sweeping synths (think Tim Blake, Klaus Schulze) and huge violin solo's worthy of Hawkwind/David Bowie player Simon House.

The vocals seem to range from Snowy Shaw (Therion) to Jinx (Deep Switch) and sometimes almost done as narration.

Then add the quirky element like those pop/goth singles that The Cure used to do so well and all this put together gives you an idea of where this album sits.

When i said "doesnt do what you expect it to" this comes in with songs like 'Broken Clown' you would expect a nightmare circus sound, but you dont get one, other songs you expect guitars to come in and they dont, so it tends to throw you off.

The last song 'Nightmare Life' has an opening violin that is pure Hawkwind (in fact i thought it could have been the 1977 classic 'Hassan I Sahba') and i was expecting it to "kick in" and you guessed didnt, well not to start with anyway.

The lyrics seem to range from nursery rhyme themes (very prevelant in 'Am I Dreaming') to dark humour and straight forward goth/horror imagery.

A very good production and layering of sounds, especially in the first few tracks which flow into each other, the later ones come over individually.
There was only one song i didnt like much, but then for my ears it was saved by that brilliant synth/violin instrumental section towards the end.

So for an album that you would simply tag as "Goth" it has much more to offer and consequently would appeal to a wider audience.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of : Tristania, Therion, Cradle Of Filth, Hawkwind, Emille Autumn, L'Ame Immortale, Ghost Dance


Friday, 13 September 2013

Huntress - Starbound Beast (CD Review)

01.Enter The Exosphere
02.Blood Sisters
03.I Want To Fuck You To Death
04.Destroy Your Life
05.Starbound Beast
09.Spectra Spectral
10.Alpha Tauri
11.Running Wild

Jill Janus (vocals)
Blake Meahl (Guitar)
Anthony Crocamo (Guitar)
Ian Alden (Bass)
Carl Wierzbicky (Drums)

Huntress was spawned from the preternatural union of Jill Janus and Southern California metal band Professor. They thrive on thundering drums, heavy riffs, spectral solos and catchy choruses that come from the band’s musical concoction of occult science and melodic heavy metal with a penchant for thrash, death and black metal.

The band recorded the album at Hobby Shop Studios in Los Angeles, CA, working with famed producer Zeuss (Shadows Fall, Hatebreed, Agnostic Front).  The artwork for Starbound Beast was created once again by Vance Kelly (Slayer, Ghost B.C., Mastodon)

This sounds very old school, solid screaming vocals backed with powerful guitarwork all held together with pounding drums.

“I Want to Fuck You to Death” was co-written for Jill by Lemmy, hmm wonder what that song is about? :-)

All in all a good solid albums worth of heavy metal, you cant go wrong.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of : Doro, Warlock, Sister Sin, Arch Enemy, Bitch

In This Moment - Blood (CD Review)

01.Rise With Me
05.You're Gonna' Listen
06.It Is Written
10.From The Ashes
11.Beast Within
13.The Blood Legion

Bonus Disc
01.Closer (Nine Inch Nails cover)
02.Blood (Sluggo Remix)
03.Adrenalize (Mr. Kane Remix)
04.Whore (Nikka Bling Remix)
05.The Blood Legion (Mitch Marlow Remix)

Maria Brink (Vocals)
Chris Howorth (Guitar)
Travis Johnson (Bass)
Randy Weitzel (Guitar)
Tom Hane (Drums)

Guest Musicians
Jake E. Lee  (Guitar on You're Gonna Listen)
Kevin Churko (Drums)

Change. Some people welcome it. Others resist it. Some seek it out. Others fear the unknown. Sometimes it happens beyond our control. Whatever one’s mindset, change is inevitable. The challenge comes with how we face it and deal with the consequences.

For vocalist Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howorth, the duo at the heart of In This Moment, change came unexpectedly when they found themselves rebuilding the walls around their foundation. Stripped down to their essence, the core of In This Moment is on fire with their fourth album, aptly titled Blood.

“I knew that I wanted this album to bring out elements we’ve never shown before. This alluring, darker, sinful side of us that no one has ever seen,” says Brink. “We wanted to find something new within ourselves, and with this album, I’m definitely the boldest I’ve ever been. I’m not trying to push boundaries. It’s not a conscious thing. It’s a natural artistic place.”

First released last year the album seemed to pass many by, but following a steady rise of intrest after live shows a lot of people started to take note, so much so that the album has been re-issued with a bonus disc.

From the moody intro into the venomous Blood' this is a completley different band, new sound new attitude and bloody amazing!

'Adrenalize' has a Led Zepp vibe, sleazy as hell and again stunning stuff.
 After the disturbing 'Whore' we come to the techno rocker 'Youre Gonna Listen' featuring former ozzy guitarist jake e lee, very catchy song.

Rest of the album seems to fire on a full out metal assault until the final track and fantastic vocal downbeat ballad called '11.11'.

The re issue bonus disc offers up an inspired NIN cover of 'Closer', dare i say better than the original? FUCK YES!
The remixes are full on techno versions that actually manage to not detract from the original versions.

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of : Theatre Of Tradegy, Marilyn Manson, Theatre Des Vampires, Die So Fluid

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Nekrogoblikon - Power (CD Review)

01.Friends In Space
02.Nothing But Crickets
04.Bells & Whistles

Nicholas Von Doom (Vocals/Keyboards)
Tim Lyakhovetskiy (Guitars)
Alex Alereza (Guitars)
Brandon Frenzel (Bass)
Eddie "Drifty" Trager (Drums)
Aaron Minich (Keyboards)

On a cold, dreary winter night in July of 2006, Nicholas Von Doom and Tim were in the woods engaging in general tomfoolery when they stumbled upon a mysterious cardboard box with their names crudely inscribed with a Sharpie® Permanent Marker. Inside they found a letter handwritten in blood instructing them to write and record an album about the destruction of mankind at the hands of small, hideous creatures. Additionally, it mentioned that failure to complete this task would result in gruesome death. The letter was signed, "goblins".

Frightened and still a little buzzed, Nicholas and Tim immediately ran back into their cave and began frantically writing melodies and rhythms using an assortment of straws, whistles, and wooden spoons. The amalgamation of these sounds and Von Doom's indecipherable yelling soon became known to the world as NEKROGOBLIKON. The collection of music created that night was eventually named Goblin Island and was unleashed upon the world on January 1st, 2007. After receiving much Internet acclaim and a couple Grammys, Nicholas and Tim were relieved, assuming the goblins must have been satisfied. However, a couple years later another cardboard box appeared nearby their cave.

The goblins wanted more. Not just more music, but more people performing it, more silly instruments being used, and more Sharpies. Tim and Nicholas proceeded to kidnap four strangers and force them to help do the goblins' bidding. After another two years of writing, recording, drinking, and compulsive snacking, the new lineup of NEKROGOBLIKON released their sophomore album STENCH, which garnered them even more accolades. Rolling Stone raved about the album, calling it "the most dazzling album of the year." The LA Times stated "one can't help but be dazzled by STENCH." Even Paul McCartney praised the album, saying "if the degree to which I was dazzled was measured by volumes of water, STENCH would be an ocean."

At the goblins' command, NEKROGOBLIKON went on to perform these songs in public for months with the sole purpose of frightening children. This resulted in even further success for the band, eventually leading to them fully enslaving the Internet and being invited to shriek at innocent people at large musical festivals in Europe. "Surely, the goblins must be satisfied by now" thought the band. Weeks later another box appeared...

A mad mini album of power metal mixed with black metal, great vocals and superb playing.
Oh but very very silly in places :-)

Rating 8/10
For fans Of : Graveworm, Cradle Of Filth, DeProfundis, Dream Evil

Midnight Syndicate - Monsters Of Legend (CD Review)

For the past sixteen years, dark music pioneers Midnight Syndicate have been creating Halloween music and gothic, horror, fantasy "soundtracks for the imagination." Formed by composer/director Edward Douglas in 1995, their music has become a staple of the Halloween, gothic music, haunted attraction, and role-playing game industries. With a catalog of CDs that blend dark, orchestral horror and fantasy movie score-style music with sound effects, the band consisting of Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka has had its soundtracks to imaginary films featured in everything from Hugh Hefner's infamous Halloween parties, Barbara Walters specials and Monday Night Football to X-Box games, tracks by horrorcore artists Insane Clown Posse, Twiztid, and the Academy Award-winning Three Six Mafia as well as concerts by punk rock and metal pioneers The Misfits and King Diamond. The music has also been featured on countless television shows and documentaries relating to horror films and the supernatural.

Often referred to as the "first Haunted House band," Midnight Syndicate is the industry standard for the world's top haunted attractions and amusement parks. From Siberia and Hong Kong to Europe and the United States, whether it's a costume store, neighborhood celebration, SiriusXM's Halloween Channel, or even a Halloween themed-cruise, Midnight Syndicate's music has become synonymous with the many people's celebration of the holiday.

From 1997 through 2005, Midnight Syndicate built their following through the release of "Midnight Syndicate," "Born of the Night," "Realm of Shadows," "Gates of Delirium," "Vampyre: Symphonies from the Crypt," and "The 13th Hour."
In 2003, Midnight Syndicate made an impact in the gaming industry when it teamed up with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to produce the first official soundtrack to the classic role-playing game, "Dungeons & Dragons." Midnight Syndicate's 2005 release, "The 13th Hour," was the first music CD to ever receive the industry's top two awards: The Origins Award and the ENnie Award for Best Gaming Accessory. 2007 saw the band take on three new projects as they composed music for Universal Studios' Halloween Horror Nights XVIII, scored Robert Kurtzman's drive-in thriller, "The Rage," and began work on their biggest production to date, "The Dead Matter" movie.

An updated remake of a film that Edward Douglas produced and directed in 1995 for $2000, "The Dead Matter" is a supernatural thriller co-produced by Midnight Syndicate Films, Robert Kurtzman (Producer of "From Dusk Till Dawn," co-founder of KNB FX), and Gary Jones ("Xena," "Boogeyman 3"). The movie stars Andrew Divoff ("Lost," "CSI: Miami," "Wishmaster"), Jason Carter ("Babylon 5," "Angel"), FX-legend Tom Savini ("Friday the 13th," "Dawn of the Dead"), and legendary horror hosts Dick "Count Gore de Vol" Dyszel and "Big Chuck" Schodowski. The movie tells the story of a girl named Gretchen, whose desire to reconnect with her dead brother draws her into the supernatural world of vampirism and the living dead. Drenched in the dark and shadowy music of Midnight Syndicate and inspired by EC Comics, Creepshow, and Hammer Films, this mix of classic horror, modern twists, and 80's camp proved to be a winning formula for fans and critics alike.

In 2008, the band released it's tenth studio album, "The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates." One of their most critically acclaimed releases to date and inspired by the themes from the upcoming movie, the disc draws listeners into the supernaturally-charged world of "The Dead Matter," taking them on a musical journey into a realm of forbidden relics, druids, vampires, and the living dead.

In April of 2010, Midnight Syndicate released their first music video. It was to the song "Dark Legacy" from "The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates" CD. It featured Ed and Gavin performing live together for the first time, as well as scenes from "The Dead Matter" movie. Produced with the help of Robert Kurtzman's Creature Crew and Screamline Studios, the video was shot in the historic and haunted Phantasy Theatre in Lakewood, Ohio. In June, Midnight Syndicate teamed up with Cleveland-based 529 Films ("Hellementary") to release a second music video, this time for the song "Lost" which appeared on both "The Dead Matter: Cemetery Gates" and "The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack."

In early July 2010, the band teamed up with vocalist Destini Beard to release "The Dark Masquerade." This six-song EP features existing Midnight Syndicate songs blended with operatic vocals and haunting lyrics written performed by Destini. The success of this EP lead to the production of a full-length followup CD entitled "A Time Forgotten" which was released in August of 2012. In July of 2010, the band released "The Dead Matter" DVD, "The Dead Matter: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" and their "Halloween Music Collection" CD, which is a compilation of some of the band's favorite tracks from their first thirteen years.

In August of 2011, the band released their fourteenth studio album, "Carnival Arcane." The narrative of the disc surrounds the Lancaster-Rigby Carnival, a turn-of-the-century traveling circus with more than a few skeletons in its closet. Inspired by historical research into carnivals of that time period and the writings of Ray Bradbury, the disc features the band's most intense sound design to date. "We wanted to push the boundaries on this disc. For a band that's made a career of making "soundtracks to imaginary" films, I think this one feels more like a movie than anything we've done to date," said Edward Douglas. "Definitely the most complete and intricate soundscape we've ever produced. You can practically smell the popcorn and Fairy Floss (cotton candy)," said Gavin Goszka. "There's also a tremendous amount of variety. There are moments where I think the listner will find themselves caught up in this strange sense of wonder and macabre fascination, and others that will leave them shaking in their boots. We were able to expand our instrument roster on that disc in ways that we'd only touched on before." Within months, "Carnival Arcane" became the band's most critically-acclaimed disc to date, garnering rave reviews from press and fans alike. In 2012, it won Best Horror CD / Soundtrack at the horror community's 10th annual Rondo Hatton Awards and was nominated for best RPG-related product in the RPG industry's ENnie Awards.

As Midnight Syndicate enters it's sixteenth year, they show no signs of slowing down. In August of 2012, the band announced that they had completed the score to the upcoming grindhouse thriller, "Bunyan" (starring Joe Estevez and Grizzly Adams' Dan Haggerty). That same month, they released Destini Beard's "A Time Forgotten," Destini Beard's full-length followup CD to "The Dark Masquerade" that takes listeners behind the room walls of a haunted Victorian hotel. Production on the next Midnight Syndicate disc is well underway. Although details have not been released, it was announced that the new disc will classic horror theme inspired by the early Universal and Hammer Films.

This latest offering is a superb trip into the genre, creating the perfect ambience.
Stunning !!!

Rating 9/10
For fans Of : Dario Argento, Axis Of Perdition, Cradle Of Filth, Akira Yamako

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Godzilla Black - The Great Terror (CD Review)

01.Black And Blue
02.One Out One In
04.In Camera
05.In The Forest
08.Murder On The Beach
09.Return Of The Son Of Godzilla
10.The Blue Music

John Mackenzie (Vocals/Guitar/Percussion/Keyboards)
Alex Nicholl (Guitar/Saxaphone/Keyboards)
Dan Frazer (Bass)
Matt Reid (Drums)

Guest Musicians
Dale Crover (Drums)
Toshi Kasai (Guitar)
Suki Osman (Vocals)

The Great Terror was recorded and mixed by the band and features contributions from drummer Dale Crover (Melvins/Nirvana) and  Toshi Kasai (Melvins), working collaboratively as "DEAF NEPHEWS", and guest vocals by Berlin/London based performer Suki Osman.

This is an album full of jarring dischord entwined with melodic interludes and percussive disarray, they have previously been described as "Disconcerting and indescribable post-Kraut mayhem from Hell's own art school" by Classic Rock magazine, which is also a fitting description for this, the follow up to their self-titled debut.

It sure is a strange one! so many different elements and styles that its hard to nail down, some could be indie rock, some could be gothic rock, others like an early Mudhoney whilst echoes of Portishead lurk within.

I suggest you track it down if you like odd experimental and challenging music.

Rating 8/10

For Fans Of : John Zorn, Radiohead, Merzbow

Bloody Hammers - Spiritual Relics (CD Review)

01.Whats Haunting You
02.At The Well Of Nazareth
03.The Transit Begins
04.The Source
05.Colour Me Blood Red
06.Night Of The Long Knives
08.Flesh Of The Lotus
09.Path Of Sorrows
10.Science Fiction

Anders Manga (Vocals/Bass)
Devallia (Organ)
Zoltan Von Bury (Guitar)
Doza (Drums)

American doomsters BLOODY HAMMERS have completed work on their sophomore LP titled Spiritual Relics. This is the follow up to the North Carolina occult metal band's critically celebrated, eponymously titled debut and boasts ten titanic tracks revolving around ironclad themes of classic horror, stories from the coven and chilling evil.

Produced by towering front man / bassist Anders Manga, Spiritual Relics builds on the strong wall of sound BLOODY HAMMERS created on last year's debut.  The artwork was created by Brazillian artist, Caio Caldas.

Named in homage to the singularly atomic Roky Erickson & The Aliens song of the same name, BLOODY HAMMERS' hallucinatory heavy music has been called "a psych / hard rock / horror fan's dream come true."

This is a slab of 10 fuzzed out psych/doom monsters, very much with a nod back to late 60's early 70's sounds created by bands like Blue Cheer with that occult sound created by the legendary Coven.

At times some beautiful guitarwork and haunting vocals mix in with the more traditional heavy drum and powerchord that you expect when the word doom is mentioned.

Rating 10/10

For fans of : Cathedral, Purson, Electric Wizard, Moss, Jex Thoth, Uncle Acid & Deadbeats

Tarja - Colours In The Dark (CD Review)

01.Victim Of Ritual
02.500 Letters
03.Lucid Dreamer
04.Never Enough
05.Mystique Voyage
09.Until Silence

Tarja Turunen (Vocals/Piano)
Alex Scholpp (Guitar)
Julian Barrett (Guitar)
Kevin Chown (Bass)
Doug Wimbish (Bass)
Christian Kretschmar (Keyboards)
Mike Terrana (Drums)
Max Lilja (Cello)

Guest Musicains
Thomas Bloch (Glass Harmonica)
Saro Danielian (Duduk)
Justin Furstenfeld (Vocal on Medusa)
Caroline Lavelle (Cello)
Naomi Cabuli Turunen (Vocals On Lucid Dreamer)
Mel Wesson (Synth)

At the end of 2005, Turunen performed several classical concerts in Finland, Germany, Spain, and Romania.Since she expected to participate in another Nightwish album, several concerts and the release of her Christmas album Henkäys Ikuisuudesta were the only activities scheduled for 2006. Turunen again played at the Savonlinna Opera Festival in July 2006, In November she performed at the charity concert “Tomorrow's Child” with the Tapiola Choir as a benefit for the UNICEF Children's Fund. On December 6, Turunen performed a big concert at the Sibelius Hall and was nominated for the Finnish Emma Award as Best Soloist of 2006.

The following year, Turunen recorded vocals for the track "In The Picture" on the Nuclear Blast All-stars album Into the Light.
Her solo album'My Winter Storm' was released featuring various styles, including symphonic metal with classical “operatic” lead vocals.

In November she embarked on the Storm World Tour to promote My Winter Storm. She performed 95 concerts throughout Europe, North and South America and ended the tour in October 2009 at the O2 Academy Islington in London.In December 2008, the EP The Seer was released in the UK and the new extended edition of My Winter Storm released on January 2, 2009.

She also contributed three songs to the Finnish charity Christmas album Maailman kauneimmat joululaulut,In December 2009 she recorded her vocal part for the song "The Good Die Young", a duet with Klaus Meine which is included on the final Scorpions album Sting in the Tail.

Turunen recorded her third album, What Lies Beneath, in 2009 and 2010; it was released in September 2010. The album combined metal with classical “operatic” elements in an out of the box approach.[52] She started the What Lies Beneath World Tour performing in several festivals, including the Wacken Open Air and the Graspop Metal Meeting, with special concerts at Miskolc Opera Festival and at the Masters of Rock, when she performed accompanied by a full orchestra. The tour is scheduled to last until April 2012.

Turunen with her support band at the Wacken Open Air, August 6, 2010
On February 27, 2012 during her What Lies Beneath World Tour concert in Brussels, Turunen announced that she will be working on a new album after completing the tour. During the concert she already presented 2 new songs.
In March 2012, Tarja won the title 'Europe's best crossover performer' with over 100.000 votes.

In May 2013, Tarja announced the title of her 4th solo album, Colours In The Dark.
The name of the album, as the cover image, came as a metaphor from the idea that life has a large range of colors and the dark absorb all of them, containing every color.

Its a Tarja album, so you know what you gonna get lots of superb vocals over symphonic rock and metal music, and thats exactley what this is, have to pick out a few tracks though such as 'Never Enough' which is very dramatic and heavy, 'Mystique Voyager' for its classical theme with amazing chorus vocals.

The Peter Gabriel cover is pretty good, but the last track featuring Justin Furstenfeld (WHO?) is a bit average.

Rating 9/10

For fans of : Nightwish, Epica, ReVamp, Within Temptation

Turisas - Turisas2013 (CD Review)

01.For Your Own Good
02.Ten More Miles
03.Piece By Piece
04.Into The Free
05.Run Bhang-Eater, Run!
06.Greek Fire
07.The Days Passed
08.No Good Story Ever Starts With Drinking Tea
09.We Ride Together

Mathias Nygård (Vocals)
Jussi Wickström (Guitar)
Jaakko Jakku (Drums)
Jesper Anastasiadis (Bass)
Olli Vänskä (Violin)
Robert Engstrand (Keyboards)

Just in case you have been on another planet for the last 16 years....Hailing from Finland, Turisas (named after a Finnish God Of War) formed in 1997 and then released 3 demos, one of which contained an epic version of 'Thse Were The Days' by Irish folk singer Mary Hopkin.
Ever since the debut album ”Battle Metal” (2004) came out, the band has become known as one of the most energetic, innovative and exciting metal acts both on record and onstage. Turisas has made its name through hundreds of shows and headline tours in Europe, the US, Russia and Latin America, and wherever the guys have set their foot, they have triumphed.

Often labeled as simply a folk/metal band, the band defies easy genre definitions. Incorporating elements of symphonic power metal along with elements from prog, punk and death metal.

The album ”The Varangian Way” came out in 2007 and was followed by ”Stand Up and Fight” in 2011.

This ones a bit weird or perhaps i should say "ecletic" ?
The first track sounds like something from a musical, a very operatic vocal over some piano work, it picks up to a quite poppy sound.

'Piece By Piece' picks up to the old sound (a bit) but just seems way to commercial, whats happend to their edge?

'Into The Free' has some of that epic vocal work and quite fast drums but still kinda seems "off".

The weird 'Run Bhang-Eater Run!' is a great ethnic sounding song then its full on old school style Turisas, Awesome!

But overall this is a very patchy album, not what i expected from them at all.

Rating 6/10

For Fans Of :  Finntroll, Ensiferum, Korpiklaani, Gogol Bordello

Messer Chups - Church Of Reverb (CD Review)

01.Cemetery Beach
02.Surf 'N' Rolla
03.Less Playboy More Cowboy
04.Mickey Rat
06.Paore Pizzicato
07.Sallon "Bloodweiser"
08.Rockin' Zombie
09.Black Saoole
10.Dracula Hates Photoshoots
11.Human Jungle
12.Hula Tikula
13.Harlem Nocturne
14.Popcorno Revenge

Zombie Girl (Vocal/Bass)
Dr.Boris (Drums)
Gitaracula (Guitar)

Messer Chups is an experimental band from St.Petersburg, Russia. The band was founded by Oleg Gitarkin who had previously performed with Oleg Kostrow under the name of Messer für Frau Müller. Messer Chups is often considered a "spin-off" band of Messer für Frau Müller. The band was originally a duo of Gitarkin on bass guitar and Annette Schneider who played the synths. In period 2000-2002 Messer Chups consists of Gitarkin and Igor Vdovin on Synth.

In 2003, the producer of Messer Chups and head of homelabel Solnze Records, Oleg Tarasov, invited the world famous theremin player, Lydia Kavina, to join them. Together they have released several albums and reworked their previous releases. In 2005, Messer Chups became a duo consisting of Gitarkin and ZombieGirl on bass. In 2007, they became a trio, with drummer Denis "Kashey" Kuptzov from the famous band, Leningrad.
In 2008, they changed their drummer to Alexander Belkok, and Alexander Skvortzov became their vocalist.

Messer Chups' music often features a foundation of surf drums on which they build collages of samples from odd sources, like jazz, east European animation soundtracks, and American B-pictures. On top of that they lay guitar solos and theremin.

Sounding like a mixture of the "Chantays" and Dick Dale the majority of these tracks are classic surf/rockabilly instrumentals.

'Rockin Zombie' has a great vocal sounding like vampira, also some great sax playing in the mix.

'Dracula Hates Photoshoots' is a great fun song and to be honest the whole album is fun!

Rating 9/10

For Fans Of : Dick Dale, Fuzztones, Misfits, Link Wray, Vince Ray

Edens Curse - Symphonies Of Sin (CD Review)

01.Symphony Of Sin
02.Break The Silence
03.Evil & Divine
05.Fallen From Grace
06.Losing My Faith
07.Rock Bottom
08.Great Unknown
09.Turn The Page
10.Sign Of The Cross
11.Wings To Fly
12.Devil In Disguise
13.Where Is The Love?

Nikola Mijic (Vocals)
Thorsten Koehne (Guitars)
Paul Logue (Bass)
Steve Williams (Keyboards)
Pete Newdeck (Drums)

Formed in 2006, EDEN'S CURSE have risen from their humble beginnings as an internet studio project to a full blown touring outfit with four studio albums and several tours behind them.
"Symphony Of Sin" is their first fronted by new Serbian vocalist Nikola Mijic and former Dragonforce and Powerquest keyboarder, Steve Williams, alongside founding members Paul Logue, Thorsten Koehne and Pete Newdeck. 

This album carries on where their last album "Trinity" left off with the band delivering arguably their most consistent collection of melodicyet-thunderous songs to date. Opener and title track 'Symphony Of Sin', clocking in at just under the 8 minute mark, features the epic sonic wall of a 46 piece orchestra, soaring vocals from Mijic and topped off with razor sharp riffing from Koehne. 

'Evil & Divine', which the band will release a promo video for, is a sumptuous moody-yet-melodic pot boiler and has "live classic" stamped all over it, whilst the heartfelt 'Unbreakable' sees the band step into the uncharted waters of Pop Metal. It has hooks galore, a radio friendly chorus, yet somehow effortlessly manages to retain the powerful sound.

All in all pretty good, not the greatest power metal album ever made, but certainly not the worst.

Rating 7/10

For fans Of : Firewind, EdGuy, Queensryche

Monday, 2 September 2013

DevilDriver - Winter Kills (CD Review)

01.Oath Of The Abyss
03.Desperate Times
04.Winter Kills
05.The Appetite
07.Curses And Epitaphs
08.Carings Overkill
09.Haunting Refrain
10.Tripping Over Tombstones
13.Back Down To The Grave

Dez Fafara (Vocals)
Jeff Kendrick (Guitar)
John Boecklin (Drums)
Mike Spreitzer (Guitar)
Chris Towning (Bass)

At the age of fifteen, bassist Jon Miller had formed a band with drummer John Boecklin and guitarist Jeff Kendrick in high school. The band was called Area-51 and played cover versions of Metallica, Slayer, and Pantera. Miller, Boecklin and Kendrick met Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara while he was in the process of recording the album Dark Days with Coal Chamber in 2002. The three were playing in a local band and talked to Fafara who said he was thinking about leaving Coal Chamber. Fafara said "Hey you guys write some heavy shit, and I want to get out of Coal Chamber".Fafara hosted several barbecues after moving from Orange County to Santa Barbara and would jam with musicians he met, which led to the formation of the band. Guitarist Evan Pitts met Fafara in a restaurant and gave him his phone number for a jam session, while John Boecklin who originally played guitar then played drums, met Fafara at a bar.

The band was originally known as Deathride, but later changed their name to DevilDriver because Fafara felt there were too many bands with that name; a band in Norfolk, Virginia, and a bicycle racing team. Another problem was that the band's label, Roadrunner Records were unable to secure copyright. The members compiled a list of roughly two hundred names to go for a more original approach. Fafara's wife had a book by Italian witchcraft author Raven Grimassi on Stregheria, and came across the term 'devil driver'. The term 'devil driver' refers to bells Italian witches used to drive evil forces away. Fafara thought it was appropriate because it sounded "evil", and thought the term "suits his life". The band's logo is the Cross of Confusion, which has existed for thousands of years and refers to "question religion, question authority, question everything around you". Fafara was brought up to "question everything" and was exposed to Italian witchcraft through his grandparents.

The band then set about making some of the most brutal heavy metal going, creating a massice fanbase all over the world and some of the biggest circle pits ever!!!

This is the first Devildriver album to feature new bassist Chris Towning who was a touring member from 2012 until joining permanently in February 2013. Recording of instrumental parts took place at Audiohammer Studios in Sanford, Florida and the album was produced by Mark Lewis.

Man thats what i love about this band a nice quiet little intor into some full on metal! 'Oath Of The Abyss' shows that the band have no sign of slowing down.
This stays the way for every track, screaming vocals, superfast drumming and epic riffing! but then we get to 'Sail' originally by indie band Awolnation (Dez Fafara was turned on to the original by his teenage sons!) its kinda different, slowish, musical, sounds like female backing harmonys - On a devildriver album?????

Fortunatley 'Shudder' and 'Back Down To The Grave' return to form.

Rating 9/10

For Fans Of : At The Gates, In Flames, Arch Enemy, Machine Head

Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks (CD Review)

01.The Eater of Dreams
02.Copy of A
03.Came Back Haunted
04.Find My Way
05.All Time Low
09.Various Methods of Escape
11.I Would for You
12.In Two
13.While I'm Still Here
14.Black Noise

Trent Reznor (Vocals/Various)
Pino Palladino (Bass)
Lindsey Buckingham (Guitar)
Adrian Belew (Guitar)
Eugene Goreshter (Bass)
Alessandro Cortini (Keyboards/Guitars)
Ilan Rubin (Drums)
Joshua Eustis (Bass)

Looking back Reznor has had an intresting and very diverse career working alongside people like David Bowie, Josh Homme, Marilyn Manson, Al Jourgensen to Tori Amos and Busta Rhymes, doing numerous film sountracks and endless side projects.

The career of NIN began with 'Pretty Hate Machine' in 1989. It was a moderate commercial success, and was certified Gold in 1992.Amidst pressure from his record label to produce a follow-up to Pretty Hate Machine, Reznor secretly began recording under various pseudonyms to avoid record company interference, resulting in an EP called Broken (1992). Nine Inch Nails was included in the Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1991, and won a Grammy Award in 1993 under "Best Heavy Metal Performance" for the song "Wish".

The second album, 'The Downward Spiral' remains the highest-selling Nine Inch Nails release, recorded at 10050 Cielo Drive mansion, where the 1969 Manson Family murders took place.He built a studio space in the house, which he renamed Le Pig, after the word that was scrawled on the front door in Sharon Tate's blood by her murderers. Reznor told Entertainment Weekly that, despite the notoriety attached to the house, he chose to record there because he "looked at a lot of places, and this just happened to be the one I liked most".
This somewhat contrived approach helped gain his repuatation and along with controversal videos, and songs with "Fuck" in it gave the kids a new band to piss off their parents with.It did contain the song 'Hurt' an emo anthem if ever there was one, but a song that when covered by legend Johnny Cash found new meaning and true soul.

Nine Inch Nails toured extensively over the next few years, including a performance at Woodstock '94, although he admitted to the audience that he did not like to play large venues. Around this time, Reznor's studio perfectionism, struggles with addiction, and bouts of writer's block prolonged the production of a follow-up to The Downward Spiral.
But there were many follow ups over the years and eventually scored a huge pop hit with 'The Hand That Feeds'.

In February 2009, Trent Reznor stated, "I've been thinking for some time now it's time to make NIN disappear for a while."
But he has returned and recruited King Crimson's Adrian Belew and Fleetwood Mac's Lindsay Buckingham to provide the guitarwork.

So an albums worth of sub techno/dance with downbeat ambience, a somehwta waste of talent from the musicians involved, this just sounds like another one of Reznors extended suicide notes set to his own music.

That said 'find my way' sounds a bit like ultravox's vienna, 'everything' could be a new order song and the end piece 'black noise' could have been from the industrial noise master Boyd Rice.

The albums called Hesitation Marks', this refers to the marks left behind after an attempt at self harming or suicide, so in many ways this is a Hesitation Album, an attempt to make a statement but falling short.

Rating 5/10
For fans Of : Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Skinny Puppy