Tuesday, 24 June 2014

BB Blackdog - No Two (CD Review)

01.Low Blow
03.Music Saves Me
05.Music Teacher
07.State Of Today
08.Nice Boys
09.Can You Just
10.Stranded In The Rain
12.Dont Want

Bonus Track :
The Dog Awakes an audio story

Dale Rowles (Bass/Vocals)
Axel Boldt (Drums)
John Ferguson (Bass)
Montague Jacques Fromage (Narration On Story)

Derbyshire based band with English and German members, formed early in 2007 with a pretty unique set up with 2 bass players and a drummer and playing a mixture of Psychedelic and Classic Rock with Stoner and Blues influence, then add to that mix some quirkey lyrics and clever timing changes and dress it up in Steampunk outfits.

They have built up a fearsome live reputation in Europe, America and here in the UK, Playing festivals, conventions and straight forward gigs.
Surprisingly this is only their second album though i believe that another one has since been recorded with legendary heavy metal musician and producer Andy Sneap.

A slow and moody opener with 'Low Blow' sounding like Black Sabbaths Heaven & Hell but with a mellow vocal and just some of the coolest phased bass playing ever laid down.

'Women' has a funky feel with another smooth vocal, drum and bass music with some serious agression, however the lyric that you take away from the song is that women wont let men fart!

A brilliant and im guessing personal lyric from Dale about working in an office and dreaming of being in a band and then going for it, 'Music Saves Me' is something a lot of us can relate to and yet it can bring more stress than a "normal" job.

Now 'Love' has this great 60's jazz/blues feel, both bass players compliment the sound perfectly, one is low and solid then Dale comes in with some odd sounds on his.

Sticking with that 60's vibe comes the blues heavy 'Music Teacher' nice deep vocal in places and some of the best harmonica playing this side of Sonny Boy Williamson, reminds me of early John Mayall, but then when that lead bass kicks in brings it more into Primus territory.

'Why' is one of the slowest darkest doom laden tracks i have heard for a while, pounding drums evil bass lines and a wonderful harmony vocal.

This one has it all - dual vocal one high one low, dual bass, again one high one low.While the song attempts to say something about politics and the 'State Of Today'.

Hitting up some reggae beats and full on speed punk, 'Nice Boys' is an intresting style change for the album.

After 'Can You Just' with its nice little bass fills comes another personal song called 'Stranded In The Rain' telling the story of being stuck in Sheffield whilst trying to get to a Dr John gig, then it happens again in Germany as they are about to tour, Damn the rain but not the song.

Politics is the subject matter once more, this time what happens when you want to be elected - you ask for 'Power' you get it and then you abuse it no matter how much you say you wont.
As for the music, cant help this but i have heard them perform this live and as soon as that bass kicked in, in my head i started singing Hawkwinds 'Time We Left and i have just done it again!

A touch of classic Black Sabbath drumming mixed with some Cream era Jack Bruce, got it? Then you will love 'Dont Want' with its brooding bass lines and solos.

Are you sitting comfortably then we shall begin, 'The Dog Awakes' is a 24 minute Steampunk/Horror story by Dale Rowles and Sean Varney and then expanded by LM Cooke (Author and lead singer in Crimson Clocks), it is read by friend, singer and sometimes collaborator Montague Jacques Fromage.
The story is with some excellent artwork is in the booklet and you can read along with Montague's wonderful speaking voice, a tone and passion worthy of any radio play.

All in all this is one helluva album, one which has the potential to reach a huge and diverse audience, it is quite something!

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of : Hawkwind, Cream, Black Sabbath, Monster Magnet, Primus.

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/BBBLACKDOG

Monday, 16 June 2014

Origin - Omnipresent (CD Review)

01.All Things Dead
04.Manifest Desolate
05.Absurdity Of What I Am
06.Source of Icon O
08.Unattainable Zero
09.Redistribution Of Filth
11.Malthusian Collapse
12.The Indiscriminate

Jason Keyser (Vocals)
John Longstreth (Drums)
Paul Ryan (Guitar)
Mike Flores (Bass)

Formed in Kansas in 1997, building up a reputation as one of the leading, most intense and brutal technical death metal forces to be reckoned with.
"A culmination of 15 years of technical death metal brutality that transcends definition" - states the band. And continues: "From light speed to absolute zero, it is a journey to the farthest reaches of the universe, to the darkest nether of the mind".

This new album features the recording debut of vocalist Jason Keyser (ex-Skinless).

Brutal perfection, each song delivered with agression and superb musicianship.
We get a nice break with 'Continuum' which is a little Guitar solo with some harmonic synth playing backing it up then its back to the metal!

But wait another chance to catch our breaths with 'Obsolescence'? ahh wait half way through the drummer lets loose an amazing performance of pedal power!

Then the last few tracks do what you would expect!

This is bordering on a masterclass of how to do this Technical Death Metal music, if you like this genre then this is the one to get.

Rating 9/10
For fans of: Nile, Cryptopsy, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Hate Eternal, Decapitated

Lazer/Wulf - The Beast Of Left And Right (CD Review)

01.Choose Again (Right Path)
03.A Conflict Of Memory
04.Twelve Leaps Over The Triple Trap
05.Beast Reality
06.Concentric Eyes
07.Choose Again (Left Path)
08.Mutual End

Sean Peiffer (Bass)
Bryan Aiken (Guitar)
Brad Rice (Drums)

Formed in 2010, a band hard to define so i will let them do it...

"Lazer/Wulf is an instrumental metal trio, which sometimes includes vocals. No, let's start over. It's a funk group with thrash roots. Or a jazz trio with sludge issues. Whatever it is, it's not the easiest thing to describe, which makes it that much easier to love. Just ask the band's rabidly devoted following.

Formed in the diverse and devoted music scene of Athens, GA, where every possible genre not only exists but actively co-exists, Lazer/Wulf learned to disregard genre conventions for the sake of an compelling performance and honest songwriting. It's thrash, it's math-rock, it's fusion and crust punk and doom and funk in 7/8 – but the seams between them aren't just hidden; they're simply not there. The Wulves are an ongoing experiment in making stylistic conflict a non-conflicting listen, cooking diverse, often adverse, ingredients into an exhilarating whole.

Circumstantially, it's heavy as hell, and tends to unify audiences with how simply fun it all is, even as it toes the line between "challenging listen" and "utter alienation."
To put it another way; imagine a giant trampoline rigged to explode. It's fun for everybody, but likely to kill you at any moment."

Okay so now it gets weirder.....

"The Beast of Left and Right is written as a palindrome, that is, it is the same backwards and forwards with two distinct halves, Left and Right. For instance, the first song on the album, Choose Again, uses the exact same chords, riffs and drum tracks as the final song on the album, Mutual End but one is major and the other is minor. As the band explains it, “The idea is that either way you choose, Left or Right, the paths are the same.”

Ahh well this one didn't quite live up to expectations at all im sorry to say.
What i heard were 8 instrumental tracks (Though most have some form of vocal on them), the style was pretty mainstream on the whole.
This would be simply listed here in the UK as Progressive Rock, think of bands like King Crimson and Soft Machine, then if you add a modern heavy twist for a few of the other songs then you could be listening to Here & Now or Tacoma Bridge Disaster.

The concept of the same forward and backwards would have worked better if the track lenghts were the same, this kind of style was done way back in the early 70's with bands like Faust and Neu!

So in terms of a modern prog album then this one gets a thumbs up, but if you buy into the hype then its a thumbs down.

Rating 5/10
For fans of: King Crimson, Kylesa

Friday, 13 June 2014

Steampunk Doncaster June 21st & 22nd Entertainment News

One week to go for this years Steampunk Doncaster 2 day event.
Aside from the Trade Show, Litarium, Photographic workshops, Art Exhibition, Film Show, War Gaming etc.
There will also be Competitions and Prize Draws, Refreshments (Mainly Tea knowing steampunkers but lets hope for some subversion and a coffee stall!) and Entertainments.

On saturday afternoon there is a Bartitsu demonstration (for those who didnt watch Guy Ritchies Sherlock Holmes film, that means Kung Fu victorian style), a fashion show from Nightshades Clothing (Lots of goth and steampunk outfits) and a "family friendly" performance on the pole by Scarlet Butterfly.

The evenings entertainment kicks off with some 'Acid-Folk' from Crimson Clocks,
fronted by respected author LM Cooke, they will also be filming a promotional video for their song 'You & Your Crimson Shadow'.

Next up the enigmatic Montague Jacques Fromage, a unique performer of Victorian rap and comedic verse.

To round off the evening there is the Progressive/Classic rock sound of the legendary BB Blackdog, currently promoting the latest album 'No Two'.

Between each act will be stunning performances on the pole from Miss Scarlet Butterfly.

On sunday its a repeat of saturday afternoon, then in the evening at the 'officers mess area' there will be an Acoustic performance by The Storm Trees.

For tickets for the weekend go here http://www.steampunkdoncaster.org/tickets.html
If you can only make the saturday evening then its just £4 on the door.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Amaze Knight - The Key (CD Review)

01.Imprisoned (Shadows Past)
02.Restless Soul
04.Liberation (The Reflection)
05.Liberation (A New Day)

Fabrizio Aseglio (Vocals)
Christian Dimasi (Guitar/Vocals)
Davide Gemello (Keyboards)
Nicolò Vese (Bass)
Michele Scotti (Drums)

Special Session Member: Max Tempia (Keyboard)

Amaze Knight formed in November 2010 in Turin, when Christian and Michele met, they both had a big passion for music and the strong will to create and experiment with it, without any preconception.

Once the rest of the band were found they began composing their first songs, with the main aim of touching the listener and taking him to a world where melody and aggression find a balance and a meeting point.

In collaboration with Sound Engineer and Producer Roberto Maccagno they set out to record a concept album describing emotions, experiences and considerations through a common story which bounds one song to the other, with a varied and unpredictable sound caused by the many different musical influence each member of the band brings.

'Imprisoned (Shadows Past)' takes a couple of minutes to get going, but when it kicks in it comes to life, full of swirling keyboards, anthemic riffs and a strong vocal performance.This first track is 10 minutes long so there are plenty of timing changes at one point bringing back memories of bands like Atomic Rooster.

Nice Acoustic opening to 'Restless Soul' leads to a mellow song, almost bordering on 'AOR' style american rock, again this one has a change half way through with some excellent guitarwork backed by a solid drumbeat.

Unfortunatly 'Heartless' is a slow melodic ballad, its "Nice" but doesn't seem to go anywhere, if it was a straight ambient piece that would have worked better but the attempts and guitar solos dont fit right.

The opening keyboard work on 'Liberation (The Reflection)' almost sounds like a flute creates a nice mood then some amazing synth playing heralds the rest of the band in.
This one builds and builds, throwing in twiddling little solos here and there, and some fast drumming towards the end giving it that Neo-Prog edge.

'Liberation (A New Day)' starts with a traditional piano piece to make Beethoven proud, when the vocals come in it just adds to the atmosphere and the guitar solo would make Steve Hillage proud.

This is a great album, very much old school Prog, think ELP, Atomic Rooster, Yes in essence yet with a good Neo-Prog standing as well, again think IQ, Marillion.

Rating 9/10
For fans of: Purson, Asia, Dream Theater, Claudio Simonetti

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/AmazeKnight

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Dirigiri - Dirigiri (CD Review)

01.Death By The Hands Of An Angel
02.Bone Collector
03.Boiled In Blood
05.Straight From The Grave 2
06.Toilet Extermination

Derek Dishner (Vocals/Bass)
Gene Olivarri (Guitar)
Omar Guerra (Drums)

Dirigiri were formed in March 2004 to create a mixture of old school thrash and traditional death metal and to make music that is yet captivating and driving but leaves you wanting more.

The band have built their reputation as part of the Texas Metal Market with major road experience and also in Mexico in undeground music festival circuit's.
They have supported the likes of Exodus, Overkill, Rigor Mortis, Candlemass and Onslaught.
Some say after have seeing their shows they have experienced nightmares and have had the Devil himself appear before their very eyes!

Well they may have influences from old school thrash but this is pure death metal!
Very fast, highly aggressive, delivered with a conviction that this level of brutality is justified.
Some of the most evil growling vocals you will hear blend with furious drumming and full on riff mayhem.

The only thing i didint like was that all but one track (Riot) seem to be counted in on the snare drum, which just sounds a bit odd to me.

Rating 8/10
For fans of: Nile, Morbid Angel, Brujeria, Cannibal Corpse

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/dirigiri

Mercy House - Conflict (Download Review)


Drew (Vocals)
Dany (Guitar)
Dan (Guitar)
Mick (Bass)
Yam (Drums)

London rockers the Mercy House return with a new line up and a refined heavy rock sound that seems to improve everytime they release something new.
After numerous demos and a highly rated debut album (A Broken State Of Bliss) they set out on the road bringing their controlled mayhem to any stage that would have them.

This new track is full of heavy guitar and drums and Drew's voice screams out of the speakers as dangerous and as powerful as ever.

This track is available for free and is released to coincide with their first ever slot at Download Festival this Friday 13th June wher they will be tearing up the Jägermeister Stage from 3:55pm with an ear blistering show not to be missed.

Their second album is due later this year.

Get Song Here https://soundcloud.com/themercyhouse/conflict

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Sylvatica - Evil Seeds (CD Review)

03.Winds Of Decay
04.The Ascension
05.Evil Seeds
06.God Of The Gallows
07.Hate Quest
10.The Sludge Soup
11.Sect Of Sleep

Jarden Schlesinger (Guitar/Vocals)
Thomas Haxen (Bass)
Pelle Buch (Drums)

Sylvatica started as a folkish black metal project in 2009 by friends Pelle Buch and Rasmus Kaibe, who, while listening to Svartsot, in a drunken haze decided that they wanted to start a folk metal band. Realizing that none of them could play flute, and they needed a guitarist, they called Jarden Schlesinger the same night and he was added to the "line-up" after that, and the flute was scrapped.

The first Sylvatica release was the song 'Mjölner og Mjöd', which quickly became a local hit in their hometown Nyborg, even though it was very poorly recorded and mixed, by Kaibes bigger brother, they started getting a name for themselves, and after a couple of line-up changes they recorded their first Demo EP 'Sagn og Sagaer' in late 2010 with the new line-up, consisting of Jardén Schlesinger and Jannik Ravn on guitars, Thomas Haxen, replacing Kaibe, on bass and Pelle Buch on drums.

Jannik left the band in the summer of 2011 just as they were about to record a new EP  'Mosemanden'. For gigs they band took in guitarist Thor Stokholm, who filled in for a few shows untill they found a permanent replacement in Martin Hamann, though he would also leave a year later.

Now sticking to a three piece unit for recordings they have since been signed and now unleash their debut album, they continue to play live with the addition of Richardt Olsen on guitar.

Expecting 'Melodic Death Metal' i was rather surprised to hear the opening track 'Lost' being a symphonic piano instrumental, this lead into a 7 minute mini epic called 'Psychopatica', very much a Viking Metal sounding song, super fast drumming, furious riffery and demonic vocals, throw in an acoustic breakdown and unexpected timing changes and this is way more than what it was billed as.
The next few songs continue with this style, folk melody played on guitar with power metal precision.

'God Of The Gallows' is a slow dark and brooding piece, again nice use of acoustic guitars and simple powerchords to start with creating a doom/black metal feel, when it kicks in it is very reminiscent of classic Satyricon.

After this we return to the folk/viking influences, some thrash metal riffs lurk within 'Reanimated' complete with the slow chord structure a la Mustaine.

'Sect Of Sleep' starts with more beautiful acoustic playing, the song builds with a very catchy riff running throughout.

Rating 9/10
For fans Of: Amon Amarth, Satyricon, Turisas, Ensiferum

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Vengeful Ghoul - Timeless Warfare (CD Review)

01.Chained Freedom
02.The Sovereign Place
03.Ruthless Crow
04.My Crowded Solitude
05.Under Control
07.Search For Apeiron
08.Fire & Spell
09.Timeless Warfare

Emre Kasapoglu (Vocals)
Ozgur Nair (Guitar)
Senem Undemir (Guitar)
Volkan Beykoz (Drums)
Gorkem Buyukesmeli (Bass)

Formed in 2005 in Istanbul, Turkey by Senem and Emre, they took their style of power/thrash metal and started to play live, soon after they cut their first demo.
Whilst most bands will pay for studio time, the band decided to build their own studio in which to continue recording and 'Ruthless Crow Studios' was the result and also the title of track three from this their debut album.

Machine gun fire effects are used to introduce 'Chained Freedom', starts off as a mid paced thrasher before moving more in Painkiller era Priest metal, and boy has that vocalist got some style!
At times this borders on Power metal, but manages to stay away from the endless guitar twiddling that that genre tends to offer.

The next few songs follow the same pattern then we come to 'My Crowded Solitude', a very simple guitar riff with a powerful vocal delivery to start with but you can feel that the song is building, and 2 minutes in the song explodes into riff heaven.
Then the pace changes again, a lot more agressive with some very heavy drum work.

The oddly titled 'Schaukelstuhl' is sung in german and sounds like a Rammstein ballad!
The song does not fit on the album, but it does stand out and is very well put together, even the keyboard sound is authentic.

'Search For Apeiron' offers up some old school thrash riffs, with some unusual timings from the drums, some serious multi on tracking on the vocals, and a strange solo thrown in that sounds almost out of tune, that all helps however to create the albums second stand out track.

The doom laden 'Fire & Spell' brings back that early 80's sound of Mercyful Fate, a brilliant track, superb guitarwork and that vocal is outstanding.Plenty of timing changes thrown in to keep the song fresh and exciting for a great 7 minutes!

'Timeless Warfare' manages to switch seamlessly between two styles, the first is a traditional thrash chord structure and then old style speed metal, throw in another great vocal performance, a riff heavy solo some pounding bass playing and you have another outstanding song!

You know the first 5 tracks were really good, but it is the last 4 that really stand out for me and have to say again that the vocals are just amazing!

Rating 10/10
For fans Of: Mercyful Fate, Accept, Judas Priest, Opera Diabolicus

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/vengefulghoul

Monday, 2 June 2014

Running Death - The Call Of Extinction (EP Review)

02.Killing For Gods
03.Call Of Extinction
04.Celebrate Your Agression
05.Hunting For Heads

Simon (Guitar/Vocals)
Julian (Guitar)
Vigi (Bass)
Jakob (Drums)

German thrash metal band formed back in 2004, in 2007 they released their first demo and after building up a solid live reputation they released a full EP called 'Raging Nightmare'.
They are currently working on their first full album but until its release they are re promoting their second EP 'The Call Of Extinction' which is available for free at the bands Bandcamp page (Link Below).

This is what i like to call melodic thrash metal, think Megadeth style, lots of guitar workouts with Maidenesque overtones mixing with Mustaines style.
Some excellent bass playing here as well, you dont often hear that coming through with a lot of bands, and the whole thing is driven by some precision drumming.

However the vocal style is a little raw, it doent quite match the music, not sure if thats because the vocalist is singing in English and trying too hard to get it right or if simply he has a more agressive "shouty" style of vocals more suited to the death metal genre.

But it is a good solid EP, any misgivings i have about the vocals are essentially unimportant because its the music that makes this one stand out from the endless pile of bands who knock this out without much care and attention.

With that new album in the works it should be one to watch out for.

Rating: 9/10
For Fans Of: Evile, Elimination, Kemakil, Megadeth, Slayer

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/runningdeath
GET EP HERE http://runningdeath.bandcamp.com/

Wretched - Cannibal (CD Review)

01.Gold Above Me
04.Thin Skinned
05.L'Appel Du Vide
06.Cranial Infestation
07.Salt Lick
10.To The Flies
11.Engulfed In Lethargy

Steven Funderburk (Guitar)
Adam Cody (Vocals)
Joel Moore (Guitar)
Andrew Grevey (Bass)
Marshall Wieczorek (Drums)

North Carolina band first came together in September 2005 when drummer Marshall Wieczorek and guitarist Steven Funderburk formed 'AND SINCE FORGOTTEN'.
By 2009 and with the new name 'Wretched' they released their first album 'Exodus of Autonomy'.
In 2010 a line up change brought in guitarist John Vail and bassist Rico Marziali and felt confident these changes would propel them further into
metal glory. Perfecting a new sound, they released Beyond the Gate, however their success proved too much for the band, who suffered another lineup change in 2011, creating what would be this latest incarnation With Adam Cody (GLASS CASKET) on lead vocals and Andrew Grevey on bass joining Marshall on drums and guitarists John and Steven, the group finally felt complete. Motivated by their new additions, they joined The Metal Alliance Tour alongside DevilDriver and 3 Inches Of Blood.

After another album and more gigs and positive press they have now unleashed 'Cannibal'.

The opening to 'Gold Above Me' is amazing, slow guitar over some technical blast beats, the song then picks up the speed and we find the level of power that this band are highly capable of.
Heavilly driven by the superb drumming of Wieczorek and the evil growls of Cody.Some very clever guitarwork in there as well, not just riffs and powerchords but some great solos.
This is a relentless onslaught of power executed by a band who understand their craft to perfection.

They mix up the styles as well, songs like 'Thin Skinned' start off with a doom feel before moving into Thrash and a stunning guitar solo.
There is a weird almost gothic instrumental called 'L'Appeal Du Vida' that gives the album some breathing space.

The title track is a 7 minute epic blending melodic progressive riffs, quite almost acoustic guitarwork and mid tempo thrash metal.

A very good album and one that went beyond my expectations of just another generic death metal album, definatley one to check out.

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of : Devildriver, Six Feet Under, Xenochord