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Monday, September 26, 2016

Review: Crystal Pyramid - Enter The Beyond


Very, very, veeerrry underground doom metal for my ears this time.

After I got the album in my inbox, I just went to Facebook to check out the band. I always like to look at the esthetic aspect of a band before I review them. I don’t exactly know why and it doesn’t affect my review. As I went through their Facebook page I noticed they only have 150 likes or so. I instantly thought: ‘’Wow, this is really new and underground’’ and became very excited to listen to the album.

I was kind of disappointed though, my expectations were probably a tad too high. I was hoping for some kind of change in this scene. I’ve been hoping that for a long time. Something innovating in the scene like for example Slabdragger do. Making slow riffs sounds monstrously raw and explosive.

Crystal Pyramid make doom metal like it has been done before so that’s kind of a pity. I’m not at all saying the album is bad in any way or form, because different aspects of the music are good, maybe even great.

Talking about good aspects of the music. I find the lyrics to be very creative for a doom metal band. Let’s not hide the fact that 90% of the doom bands make lyrics about death and apocalyptic visions. Crystal Pyramid really tries to tell a story in their lyrics. Very cleverly written and fitting in the music and it makes the listener feel a creative wind in their ears in the land of doom metal.

In general, their song titles fit the music and the lyrics and make me interested in the song behind it. As I already said, it is clever writing that does the trick here. The disappointment for me comes from the fact that the music itself is not very out of the box, which I expected/hoped for from this band.

A solid 7 for the effort and lyrical content.

Written by Joost van der Leij

Crystal Pyramid Facebook

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Review: Eisenhauer - Horse Of Hell


Well I would call this an interesting combination of some punk influences, hard rock and some really small parts of heavy metal. The first thing I was struck by was the sound and the volume of the drums, as it reminded me of the punk albums of the 80's, with the volume and the way the drums are played. What makes this album stand out are the vocals, as they contain some of the most interesting vocal combinations I have heard lately. They range from simple melodic singing to some full scale heavy metal singing. Other instruments in the albums follow the classic way of this kind of mixed albums, the bass can't really be heard for most of the time, and when it is heard it is at a crucial point of a song or a riff. The guitars are compressed and really good to hear in the choruses, but sometimes maybe they lack the grit for some "heavier" riffs. The album contains four songs with about 25 minutes of material, but even with this maybe short length of the album, it does not lack in quality in both songwriting and mixing departments. All in all, if you are into some more punkish sounding hard rock mixed with heavy metal, this is an album for you. I give it an 8/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Eisenhauer Facebook

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Review: Andi The Wicked - Freak On Frets


Pretty ballsy to have a self titled record indicating you are ‘wicked’, but when you can play like this kid, you are fully entitled. In the wake of artists like Yngwie Malmsteen , Joe Satriani and Rik Emmett, Andi is on his way to full stardom. What a player.

I’m always amazed at virtuosos like this, starting at young ages with pianos and having a born talent for music and classical composition. ‘It Rocks’ should be the title of album. It truly does. Hammer-ons and fretwork for all abound.

Continual music like this is great for background while everyone is on your deck; provided they like good metal. 2:46 onward of ‘It Rocks’, rocks. Very nice arrangement and beats until close.

‘The Shark Song’ is just an all around smooth piece, and much like Satriani’s “Surfing with the Alien”, sounds like a frenetic encounter with a shark indeed. ‘Threat’ is anything but and is my favourite on this record. At 3:50 some smooth and rock, some soul and jazz mixed with vestiges of iron maiden and classic rock anthems, sliding in at 4:16. Outstanding.

‘Porn’. It doesn’t start off with that classic 70’s porn style guitar but with a fist-pumping ode to AC/DC, with his own original flair. From 0:00 – 00:35, I think this needs to be my ringtone! The rest does bang your ears with a nice fret-scial at the end…

The song ‘Classic’ is now starting to get to be too much. It’s fast, and all over the map and is slightly annoying to me, but what do I know; the playing is phenomenal.

The remainder of the album rocks out. ‘Heavy Funk’ plays well but gives me a little jolt of ‘Get The Funk Out’ by Extreme. (brrrr). It was surprising that came over me as I have not listened to that song in years but it played out alright at 2:32 with some nice fretwork and a great slow, power jam and fully redeemed itself from 3:20 on.

‘Damn Lick’ is just one damned long lick. Truly inspiring. I can’t say anything about this; I don’t play so what the hell do I know. I’d just sit and stare at the finger-walking in concert.

‘Bad in Bed’ is my second favourite. This immediately starts out with hammering UFO-like grind and keeps it going throughout. This song is great for the weight-room or jazz-room as it melts your head with licks at 3:46! One of the best closings I’ve ever heard. Playing this very loud now; hopefully Andi can autograph my copy of the eviction notice.

No choice. 10/10

Written by Alessandro

Andi The Wicked Official Website
Andi The Wicked Facebook

Friday, September 23, 2016

Review: Deadlock - Hybris


Deadlock is surely one of the more well-known death metal bands around these days. They formed back in 1997 in Germany. After the tragic passing of their former drummer, Tobias Graf, and the baby-related exit of their former singer, Deadlock are now back with their newest record “Hybris”, which was released on the 8th of July.

Good news: the concept of their sound remains even with the new lineup. This means: mixing clear with guttural singing, double-bass drums and guitars moving somewhere between held-back and energetic. Additionally, for the first time since “The Arrival”, a Deadlock-record contains a track with a German title. Actually not one, but two. “Ein Deutsches Requiem” is an interpretation of a Johannes Brahms piece, and “Vergebung” is an instrumental piece. Former has a great, yet weird (in appositive way!), sound to it and reminds of the former Deadlock records. A further positive thing to remark on are surely the guitar soli, which do add a tad of energy and variety to the album. However, overall, there’s just too little variation and highlights to really get you hooked, like on Deadlock’s previous records.

Deadlock experienced some dark times lately and use this album as well as a platform to deal with them. However, especially compared to their great “The Arsonist”, this album is just a tad too monotonous, and even the occasional highlights here and there cannot compensate for this general tone. However, it’s a solid album and will surely satisfy die-hard fans. Give it a spin if you have the chance! 7.5/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Deadlock Official Website
Deadlock Facebook

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: Aleska - S/T


While I am NOT a ‘Screamo’ or ‘Emo’ fan, this band hailing from Metz, France seems an up and comer. Their full length album was like wading through a sea of jet engines being fueled by barrels of broken glass, but I made it and I didn’t even get cut. Their self titled record will make some people happy/sad.

I am enthralled by their moody instrumental pieces but was thrown off and spilled my coffee when the Screamo part scared me at about 2:29 of ‘Instaurer le vide’. Yeah. No. They should have kept that instrumental going; great soundtrack piece and very effective.

‘Du gris au noir’ actually caught me a few times but was so vocal-heavy that the music was lost on me. Perhaps it was the production but it just grated on my nerves; the hollering, the messed up chords and then suddenly, mopey-sad-ass singing at 2:40...for a second, before being hammered with, not surprisingly, more screaming. Angry bunch of lads…From 4:22 onward it just became chaotic and sounded like Keith Moon destroying the Earth. I see the value in that jam for concert levels and foresee many people enjoying the spine-snapping freebies in mosh pits.

‘Du la cime au cimitere’ instantly assaults with power vox gone mad and super fast drums. While alternating speeds are ok, this song slams like none of the others and if I have to have a favourite, it’s this one.

‘Leaves, trees and me’. This was another fave of mine due to the progressive sound and potential. Instantly ruined at 5:20 by a spacing (production or artistry?) then more of this hollering. Agh. I turned it off, even though it was near the end.

The remainders of the songs have a good enough punk feel but that’s my holler-quota for the day. Even though I heard vestiges of Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and others, it won’t make my Mixtape, but for this sector of society, this album has a place to go and make more people mad or Emo or whatever kids are doing these days.

6/10

Written by Alessandro

Aleska Facebook

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review: Inquisition - Bloodshed Across The Empyrean Altar Beyond The Celestial Zenith


Reaching the zenith of their sound, Colombian-by-way-of-Washington black metal legions Inquisition have become one of the more impressive and consistent groups in the genre with a vast, enjoyable discography that always manages to satisfy. With the two-man project offering a slight refining and honing in on their sound, their seventh full-length album was originally released August 26, 2016 on Season of Mist.

As was introduced in their last album, this one again carries a strong celestial vibe to the material while still containing that all-powerful and devastating Inquisition attack. Tracks like “From Chaos They Came,” “Wings of Anu” and “The Flames of Infinite Blackness Before Creation” contains that deep, slow churning tremolo rhythm section with plenty of dynamic weaving through the arrangements to incorporate plenty of ravenous thrashing in the scorching up-tempo sections as well as the explosive dynamics within the tempos to go through these varied compositions with stunning and spectacular ease which creates a slew of prototypically savage tracks in their classic style. Alongside these are efforts like “A Black Aeon Shall Cleanse,” “Mystical Blood” and “Power from the Center of the Cosmic Spiral” which drop the savageness and rely more of a massive, majestic slow-tempoed sprawl throughout the rhythms which forsake the drilling speed for a more calculated, expressive approach that’s given a mood-enhancing boost with the use of the cosmic-styled melody patterns written here which drive them forward with plenty of atmosphere and power. This is simply jaw-dropping in approach and style that the album retains an epic vibe without really being an epic, overlong effort, and makes this one of the best of their discography as well as a certain contender for year-end Best-Of as well.

Frankly, this is surely one of the bands’ most masterfully-crafted and enjoyable albums on the whole with barely anything really wrong featured and the power and aggression of their usual material melded alongside the epic melodies working into their sound that this is a must-have record for anyone remotely into black metal or extreme metal in general. 10/10

Written by Don Anelli

Inquisition Facebook

Review: Hypersonic - Existentia


Hypersonic is a symphonic power metal band from Italy. This is their second full-length album called "Existentia". In January 2016 the band signed a record deal with Revalve Records for the releasing of this new album. The new album is a concept based on the existence of man and the spiritual affairs of the afterlife. This album came out May 13th 2016.

Onto this album: The first song is an epic intro, sweeping guitars and cinematics. It works well together for the first impression on this album. Then it comes to a very catchy chorus, the vocals are very clean and it represents Hypersonic well. The song "The Eyes of the Wolf" is a more high paced song, letting you see some more of the power metal side. "Living in the Light" starts off with a nice piano/guitar piece, after which the drums kicks in and speeds up the song. In the middle you keep head banging with the guitar riffs and drums, very rhythmic. The song "God's Justice" starts cinematically with the male vocals then immediately the power kicks in. The vocals go very well with this high speed song, such as the slower paced middle sections. "The Meaning of... (...Existence)" is by far the longest song on this album (9.37 min) long. It starts slow almost silent around 2.56 min the pace kicks in. It's a good ending song with the slow and high paced parts.

This is one strong album; the keyboardist is a big star along with the vocalist. If you like symphonic with power metal Existentia is an album for you, just give them a try.

Track list:
1. The first sound of life
2. The eyes of the wolf
3. As an angel
4. Blind sins
5. Living in the light
6. Embrace me
7. Love is pain
8. God's justice
9. Life'n death
10. Pilgrim's path
11. Prayer in the dark
12. The meaning of...(...existence)

Written by Nathasja Voerman

Hypersonic Facebook