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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Review: White Wizzard - Infernal Overdrive

In 2017, White Wizzard's bandleader/bassist Jon Leon announced the return of classic White Wizzard members Wyatt Anderson (vocals) and James J. LaRue (guitarist) to the band's lineup. They also signed with another label, M-Theory Audio. On January 12, 2018, the first White Wizzard album on this label was released. This album, entitled Infernal Overdrive, is White Wizzard's fourth full-length and is the successor of their 2013 album, The Devils Cut. Their music can be described as heavy metal with some prog-influences.

Even before you start listening to Infernal Overdrive the cover of this album, created by UK White Wizzard fan Christopher Hardy, promises a lot for this album. I can already tell you, that's deserved!

Immediately when Infernal Overdrive begins the band kicks in full throttle with the title track. Soon vocalist Wyatt clearly lets us know that he is also present. The energy immediately kicks into your body, this is very promising!

Something that is very noticeable and sounds really cool is the very present bass guitar. It's very clear to hear the difference between the bass guitar and the bass drum, which gives the music some sort of extra dimension. You can clearly hear the bass-strings blast, which gives a very nice sound. Luckily this maintains during the entire album.

Vocal-wise Wyatt Anderson shows a very strong voice with some extra emotion in it, because of his a bit raw sound. At a few moments he also let us hear that he can get pretty high with his voice, for example in Critical Mass and at the end of closing track The Illusion's Tears.

I guess that Critical Mass will be a killer song when played live. It has a pretty fast start, with also a bit slower, doomy part and the choruses are almost anthem-like.

Of course guitarist James J. LaRue can't be unmentioned when talking about some very positive peaks on Infernal Overdrive, because he shows that he is a very great guitarist. You can't deny that after listening to this album. Besides the great riffing, James also gives us quite some solo's which are, piece by piece, very nice. Some examples of these which are very worth checking out are in Voyage Of The Wolf (a bit oriental-sounding), Metamorphosis and The Illusion's Tears.

Logically, this all can't be possible without a drummer and that's why drummer Dylan Marks shows that he is the very solid, strong backbone of White Wizzard. In Metamorphosis he gets some extra space to show his skills, which he of course takes in a very great way.

The last, and longest, track on Infernal Overdrive is The Illusion's Tears, which is a perfect closing track of a perfect album that you definitely don't want to miss. Here White Wizzard shows us what they are able to for one last time.

Apart from the fantastic music on this album, Infernal Overdrive is also produced in a really good way. Everything sounds pretty intense and clear, but it definitely doesn't sound overproduced.

In the end, the many promises based on the cover and the titletrack definitely came true. White Wizzard's Infernal Overdrive is a very energetic, perfect heavy metal album with some prog-influences which gives it some nice variations.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

White Wizzard Facebook

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Review: Marabou - Spirit Lights

Marabou was originally formed by two friends, Shay Davitt and Tom Leacy, in Wexford, Ireland back in 2011. They blended metal with post-hardcore and a few more styles into a brutal mix that gave them an almost instant success in the Irish underground scene. With their fame and fan base quickly growing, they found themselves an extra guitar and a set of vocal chords in the person of Aaron Gaffey, expanding the lineup to four members, with bassist Kalebh Grocock completing the quartet, securing their reputation as a strong live band. To underline this growth they have now released their first studio work, which comes as an EP called Spirit Lights. A great opportunity to find out if they have the potential to convert their live performance into a solid studio performance.

Being an EP, Spirit Lights only clocks a little over 15 minutes, in which four songs are served. Opener The Heat is a groovy song that leaves no doubt about why these guys have such a great reputation as a live band. The tight riffs are accompanied by harsh vocals that breathe anger and a very strong rhythm section that defines the song’s borders. I have no problem whatsoever imagining a huge mosh pit developing when this is played on a random stage anywhere. The next song, Keep Hating Me, builds on the same foundations, but those foundations are so expertly tucked away in the countless differences in rhythm and structure you will most likely barely notice it, if at all. And to be honest, even if you do it doesn’t take anything away from the entertainment this song offers. There is not always the need to reinvent your style, in fact, it hardly ever is as long as you keep things varied enough. Next up is These Creeps, which is a bit different from the other songs, it vaguely rang a few Suicidal Tendencies bells every now and then with its clean singing and various intermezzos and rhythm changes. As if to summarize the album closer, Mr Architect, kicks in, in which the guys show what they are made of one last time. I have no idea what exactly they are made of, but it’s pretty damn’ solid I’d say.

Marabou pretty much nailed it with their maiden release Spirit Lights in my opinion. The four more than solidly composed and executed songs are a perfect reflection of what they stand for music-wise and I think it’s safe to say every single one of these songs is capable of making any metal minded crowd go absolutely bananas at a live performance. Saying these songs are best consumed live would derogate the band’s efforts, the songs are way too strong quality-wise to simply state that, but man, these songs will cause a serious stir when played live. If metal with a post-hardcore flavor and a blend of subtly dosed other styles is your thing, buying this is a no-brainer. If you are into metal as a whole you should give this a shot as well. Chances are you will like this.

Written by Henric van Essen

Marabou Official Website
Marabou Facebook
Marabou Twitter

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Review: Ashes Arise - Resurgence From Oblivion

Melodic death metal trio Ashes Arise hail over from the US and France – and here is already a special thing about them: they overcame time zones and language barriers and managed to form a fully functioning band – a beautiful example that music knows no boundaries. Another curious thing: from composing over production to artwork design, everything is self-made. A very impressive achievement, so let’s listen to the result!

It starts with The Countess and a more symphonic intro, which quickly turns over to a proper melodeath track, while still also incorporating some clean vocals in it. Fate is mainly characterized by tempo switches and incorporates some symphonic elements in it. This latter point actually holds true for a lot of the songs, so if you’re i.e. a fan of Septicflesh, then you’ll like this album very much. There are some deviations from it, though. Theory Divine, the album’s fifth track, for instance offers a hearty dose of doom metal, especially in the beginning, and the seventh track, Awakening, has a lot of rock influences.

In conclusion: Resurgence From Oblivion still has some rough edges here and there that need a bit of sanding off, for instance the tracks which are rather long and could be brought a bit more to the point by shortening them. Nevertheless, it’s a very good album. The fundamental style is melodic death metal, but also a good portion of i.e. symphonic metal are added to the whole mix, thus making it a varied album that is fun to listen to. I’m curious to see what the girls come up with next! Recommended and 9/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

Ashes Arise Official Website
Ashes Arise Facebook
Ashes Arise Twitter

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Interview: Gonoreas

On February 23rd, the Swiss metallers of Gonoreas released their new album, called Minotaur. Time for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to ask Gonoreas' guitarist Damir Eskic some questions!

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Minotaur. I really like it!

Big, big thanks my friend! It's nice to hear.

When you compare Minotaur to its predecessor, Destructive Ways (2015), what is it you notice?

Hmm... we did Destructive Ways in a easier way, only heavy metal. With Minotaur we speak about our influences, and depths of the ideas and music. So, Minotaur is a little bit more dark and a little bit more complicated album.

What is the story behind the lyrical content of Minotaur?

It's not a story, every song has a different lyrical content, but it's all about life, and what's happening during it. The song Minotaur is about big obstacles that appear in our life, sometimes the biggest obstacle, the biggest enemy is ourselves. On the song, the walls of the labyrinth are made of mirrors that reflects past memories and regret. The main character tries to attack the minotaur, but attacks the mirror, his on reflex, the glass breaks and kills him. The meaning behind the lyrics is about not getting lost on the labyrinth of our mind, sometimes we can be our worst enemy.

Where do you get inspired by? 

Our inspiration now are, we by ourselves. When we composed the songs this time we only thought our way, and how to give the riffs and ideas for us only.

Since your 2011 album Apocalypse you work with V.O. Pulver in the studio. What is it that makes you return to him?

It's just a perfect way to create and record the album with V.O. and everybody can hear the great result. We love the work of V.O.

The cover art of Minotaur is made by Osmar Arroyo. He also did some covers of your earlier releases. What made him the best person for creating the cover of Minotaur? What is it that makes you return to him for the covers?

Osmar Arroyo is an great artist and he is a friend of our singer Leandro. He is a uncomplicated guy and he does great artwork. For the special edition of Minotaur, we have a different cover and another artist too. It was made by Gyula Havanczack. Gyula made covers for bands like Blind Guardian, Destruction, Grave Digger and more.

For releasing Minotaur you signed to Art Gates Records. What makes them the best label for Gonoreas at this moment?

We needed a partner who would help us. I'm a full-time musician and also worked for my wife's band called Burning Witches. Now we have too much to do, so we needed a partner who can work good with us. This is the first album with Art Gates and we must see how it will work the next time.

You hail from Switzerland. How is the Swiss metalscene?

The Swiss metal scene is great, but there are too many concerts every week in, for example, 40 km around of us. It's great but sometimes it's bad. For like 10 years we did some easy promo and much people were coming to every show. Today we must do big promo for every show.

Any bands from there you recommend checking out?

Yes! Burning Witches, Mind Patrol, Final Crusade, Hellvetica, Comaniac and Emerald.

You already announced some shows, can we expect more of them? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

Yes, we now have some shows booked for the Minotaur tour. Maybe we can come to The Netherlands.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers?

Big thanks for love, great metal sounds and enjoy the greatest music in the world!!

Gonoreas Official Website
Gonoreas Facebook

Friday, May 18, 2018

Interview: Morvigor

In November last year, the Dutch metallers of Morvigor released their second full-length album, called Tyrant. Time for DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen to interview them!

Hey, congratulations with your new album, Tyrant. It's really nice!

Thank you! We’ve been working on Tyrant for a long time, so it’s always great to hear people appreciating our work.

How are the reactions you get on it so far?

The reactions have been overwhelming so far. Almost every review online is hugely enthusiastic and speaks about us with lovely flattering words. We also really enjoy the fact that people don’t really know how to classify our music. We’ve been called almost everything, ranging from Hardcore Punk to Prog Rock to Atmospheric Black Metal and, my personal favourite, Eclectic Meme Metal.

When you compare Tyrant with its predecessor, A Tale Of Suffering (2014), what is it you notice?

Personally I notice a much more matured band, both musically and conceptually. The songs are more thought and worked out than on A Tale Of Suffering. Soundwise, A Tale of Suffering shows a mixture between Melodic and Folk metal with a little progressive touch, Tyrant shows a hybrid between Black / Death / Prog Metal and a little bit of Punk.

The song structures are great! How does the writing process go for a Morvigor track?

One of us introduces a riff or an idea in the rehearsal room. We jam a little, and then our guitar player Sytze makes a little demo recording at home. Then we improve and improve and improve the demo till we got something we all are content with.

This is your first album with Brendan Duffy on drums, did this change something to the creating process of an album compared to creating an album with your former drummer IJdo IJssennagger?

Brendan is a fantastic guy, both musically and personally. I won’t go into details about differences between Brendan and IJdo, since they aren’t really comparable, but I can say that Brendan is a drumming mastermind and is extremely motivated, which is really inspiring for all of us.

You have two guests on this album, Jan Jongewaard (who is responsible for the programming on Voices) and Geert Omta (who plays piano in the outro). How did these collaborations came to pass?

Geert Omta has been a friend of the drummer Brendan for a long time. We were thinking about doing a piano-outro, and since Geert is studying classical music at the conservatory, it was really obvious we had to ask him for doing the outro. It was a great experience, we recorded it in a small church in the Dutch countryside, it was beautiful. About Jan, he was my English teacher when I was in high school. He had this low, intense voice, which I then, and still, found really imposing. So when we decided to do a interlude with voices, I sent him an email, and he was enthusiastic right away.

How are you going to surpass this on a new album?

A healthy combination of motivation, inspiration, exploration, experimentation.

Speaking of it, are you already working on new material? If yes, can you already tell us something about how it's going to be?

I can’t tell how it’s going to be. We already have a few ideas lying around, musically and conceptually. But, it still requires a lot of work before we can make anything public I guess.

You recently participated in the Dynamo Metal Fest BandBattle for a spot on Dynamo Metal Fest. How did that go?

Brendan is doing the MetalFactory at Dynamo, so the choice to play there was an easy one. We were very glad to see we were selected for the finals, since it’s kinda strange for a Black Metal band to compete in a bandcontest for a more modern / mainstream open air metal festival. We didn’t won, but we had a great time there, and I think we’ve made quite a impression on the bookers of Dynamo, so we might be back there another day.

You currently have three upcoming shows announced. Can we expect some more Morvigor shows soon?

Yes! We are planning a few other, mostly small local shows, which will be announced over following months I guess.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything you want to say to our readers?

Thank you for reading, and don’t forget to check out Tyrant!

Morvigor Official Website
Morvigor Facebook

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review: Kobra and the Lotus - Prevail II

Last year Kobra and the Lotus released their first part of the Prevail album, of which you can read our review here. Now Prevail II is out and I again feel privileged to be able to review this second album as well! The album immediately is off to a good start beginning with the earlier released single Losing My Humanity, this track builds further on where Prevail I stopped. The song has the guitars and fierce vocals that bring us the all-too-familiar Kobra and the Lotus sound. The force and aggressiveness of this opening song immediately sets the right mood. I can understand why this song has been put at the beginning of the tracklist!

The beautiful Let Me Love You dials down on aggressiveness and fierceness without taking away the familiar Kobra the Lotus sound. It sounds more like a heavy rock song then it is a metal song per se. This is perhaps the power of Kobra and the Lotus and in particular with these last two records, there are quite a few variations between different styles of music, but switching between those styles sometimes happens without me actually being fully aware of it. I mean, I obviously did notice it, but all the songs blend perfectly together and it actually adds a lot of flavor to the record rather than diminishing it. The next song called Ribe is an acoustic intermezzo which connects the songs Let Me Love You with the next track, My Immortal. Ribe takes you out of all the guitar and drum violence for a few minutes, which I will address later on, and calms you to give you time to charge up for the beautiful My Immortal. This song in some ways builds on the foundation of Let Me Love You. Only this time there is more variation and the song builds up constantly eventually leading up to the beautiful high notes of Miss Kobra Paige herself. These well-controlled and clear high-pitched vocals show how versatile and talented Kobra really is.

Human Empire shows itself as being a true metal track to the bone. The guitar and drums are absolutely phenomenal here and the fierceness of the vocals again shows its face! After this violence follow two straightforward rock songs that don’t really jump out but are necessary and beautiful nonetheless even if it were only due to the fact that they again show how versatile Kobra and the Lotus as a band really is. I love how they show time and time again that they make the music that they want to make rather than thinking about whether it’s metal enough for some people.

Modern Day Hero is the next track. This song is really positive, it makes me feel good and I immediately want to fight for righteousness! Something that really fits Kobra and the Lotus and the reason they make music. You can read about this further in this interview which we did last year with Kobra herself! In You’re Insane the band goes really all-out! This is metal like it's supposed to be, straight to the point and heavy! At least that is my opinion! The fierce and powerful vocals of Kobra are back once again and she really gives her all! As a listener I was completely blown away by her power! With White Water, the ballad on the record, the band again shows their vulnerable side. The song is really beautiful and is without a doubt, like ballads have been so many times, my favorite song on the album. The classic 80s guitar solo at the end really makes the difference! That’s how a powerful rock ballad, with little bit of metal must be! Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain has been covered with grace. The band really gives color to the original song and makes the song dynamic! This coming from a guy that doesn’t even like covers! Great job Kobra and the Lotus!!!

The acoustic version of Let Me Love You is the bonus track. To me this is the cherry on the cake. Where the original track is only vulnerable in the chorus, this acoustic rendition is vulnerable the whole way through and translates the feeling of love and positivity even more than its electric counterpart!

I can only say that Prevail II is a great continuation of the path that Kobra and the Lotus is on right now! I really hope that the band continues to do this with all their positivity and love!

Thanks Kobra and the Lotus!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

We also mentioned Kobra and the Lotus in part 14 of Promoting Bands, which you can read here.

Kobra And The Lotus Official Website
Kobra And The Lotus Facebook
Kobra And The Lotus Twitter

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Live review: Nachtblut and Krankheit in Willemeen, Arnhem, The Netherlands, May 9th, 2018

May 9th, it's a pretty hot day today with a lot of sun, but a very dark evening is planned in Willemeen, Arnhem. Not just a dark evening! Two bands will play their first Dutch show tonight: headliner Nachtblut and support act Krankheit!

When the doors of Willemeen's cafe (where tonight's shows will happen) just opened, the venue stays pretty empty for quite a while. Just a few moments before Krankheit will begin their set, the café starts to fill up quite well. It’s possible that many people where just enjoying their last few moments of sun for the day.

At 20:00 the show has begun; the background music fades out and Krankheit begins their set. Immediately it's clear that the sound guys are doing a great job, the quality of the sound is very good right from the start. Luckily this remains the same the entire evening. Anton (Tony) Gassner, Christian Präauer and Roy Preissler play their set with a lot of energy. Krankheit presents themselves in a very maniacal way, with especially drummer Tony standing out with his Joker-like appearance. The set is very well done, they give all they have to give during the show, there is a very hectic light-show present and the audience is already getting quite warmed up as well. Yes, I am going to compare Krankheit with Rammstein, but not just because they are a metal band singing in German. Of course, there are some similarities, but Krankheit for sure also has their own things. A few examples being Krankheit using a lot more classical music in their tracks and the vocals are clearly different. The atmosphere of their show was also really their own, but sometimes reminded me a bit of Rammstein. Of course this is a personal opinion from someone who unfortunately never went to an early period Rammstein-show. Tonight's small venue, the heavy, drilling music of Krankheit and tonight's atmosphere made me feel that I was at one. I am definitely not saying that Krankheit is imitating Rammstein. To be honest, I think that Krankheit clearly shows that they are very able to turn these similarities into their own thing, also partly because of the addition of other aspects.

After Krankheit left the stage and it's prepared for Nachtblut, it finally is time for tonight's headliner. Right after Nachtblut entered the stage they start with the first notes of Multikulturell, the much-discussed track from their newest album, Apostasie. In case there were people present for who tonight's atmosphere wasn't strong enough yet, it at this moment, can't be a problem anymore. Nachtblut shows to be very enthusiastic on stage, something that for sure passes onto the audience. Of course tracks from Apostasie are played, a few examples being Amok, Der Tod Ist Meine Nutte and Frauenausbeiner, but also some older Nachtblut tracks will pass by on tonight's setlist, for example with Töte Mich and Antik. At some point during the show, Nachtblut serves their legendary shot-drink.

A while later vocalist Askeroth asks the audience if they want something else to drink. This of course means the start of Ich Trinke Blut. The chalice with blood is handed to Askeroth, he takes a sip and empties the remainder over a part of the audience. Askeroth also joins the audience at some moment, starting a mosh pit to heat up the audience some more. When Nachtblut leaves the stage, the audience immediately starts shouting "Zugabe! Zugabe!" Nachtblut soon comes back to deliver this eagerly anticipated encore, which contains quite a few tracks. Wat Is Denn Los Mit Dir, Nachtblut's version of the Kollegah & Majoe-track and Apostasie's bonus track, also is part of this encore, with vocals being handled by Krankheit's vocalist Christian.

This Dutch live-debut of Nachtblut and Krankheit was great and I can't imagine that there won't be any more Dutch shows for these two bands in the future. It was an awesome evening!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Read our earlier interview with Nachtblut's drummer Skoll here.

Nachtblut Official Website
Nachtblut Facebook
Krankheit Official Website
Krankheit Facebook