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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Review: Pikes Edge - All Of Our Beauty


10/10!

An incredible album in its entirety! Rob Rock, Five Finger Death Punch, Maiden, Metallica; I hear all my favourites are in this group’s influences and the album soars all the way through! This album gives me a shiver like most of the Pretty Maids records do; talentful, artistic playing and writing along with a classy look.

The 4-piece, hailing from Munchen, Germany and tagged as ‘Metal’, have been around since about 2010 and released some other good material with their ‘Nameless’ record. Their tours include mostly Germany area so I’m not able to see them anytime soon as their vids are great and their energy is palpable.

This album ‘All Of Our Beauty’ kicks from the very first opening chords of ‘Denial of Service’ – a wonderful title as it reminds me of most of what I receive here in my city when attending many events. The incredible licks and mix of chorus and backup vocals makes this song a top 10 all around. Just great.

‘Blind Side of You’ has the most amazing licks and axe attacks at 02:10 onwards and angelic vocals to complement this song. Nothing compares to my favourite here; ‘Save Me’, as one of the best metal ballad-style songs ever heard by these ears. Memorable riffs and excellent writing compares favourably to much of the prog rock intelligence out there, and these guys rate a 9/10 for this song alone.

The nicely-fast ‘Tides of Time’ rocks all around and is well sung and completely balanced with the rest of the record. The crunching power chords of ‘Just Go To Hell’ are an excellent follow-up to ‘Ties of Time’ and would be an excellent mash up in concert.

‘Hypocrite’ isn’t bad; not one of my likes here as it seems somewhat piece-mealed together but still has good artistic value and overall sound. I don’t really get it as a song, but maybe it will resonate after a few more tries – or a month – or whenever.

This record is a definite must for your collection even if this genre is not your preferred style as it reaches into several genres and puts them together in a listenable and rocking way. Metal, Symphonic, Speed and Progressive vestiges are all included. I am constantly amazed at the writing ability of these types of artists. The intimate power of their writing and playing is perfectly integrated into a flow that can be listened through without having to take a break.

10/10 again, in case you missed it!

Written by Alessandro

Pikes Edge Official Website
Pikes Edge Facebook
Pikes Edge Twitter

Friday, November 25, 2016

Review: Veislakt - Fumar Mata


I don’t know whether to run screaming off a bridge or sit and listen on a bad mood day, but this album definitely has an effect of some kind on me! I would class this as ‘Ultra- Punk (if people can make stuff up, I’m going to as well), not metal, but there are some hints of others stuff in there. I was expecting a chainsaw sound somewhere…

The boys from Sandes, Norway have a sound that is perfectly muffled as is the norm for this genre and the Screamo-type vox are gravelly, incensed and ready to eat your face. Brash and un-relenting with shorter songs such as the pulsing ‘NAV’ at 1:48, the 2:16 ‘Derfor’ and the ultra-chaotic 3:12 opus ‘Sjarm ren’ gives us a look at the energy in these guys. ‘Flammer over’ is longer at 4:21 and is actually a bit better and likeable with some moderate rhythm strewn in. ‘Hjerteban’ is my favourite! There is some great Sex Pistols homage in there and a rousting rhythm. ‘Kaos Uden’ is probably my second favourite as it has more of an older Rob Zombie groove-vibe to it.

‘Lil mari’ is the surprise track I actually like on this record, because of the small vestiges of Tragically Hip chords I heard at the very beginning; maybe it’s a Hip cover track, I don’t know I don’t speak the language.

Their FB page has some limited pix but you can form an opinion that they like to have fun onstage and are blessed with lots of energy. I miss the clacking sound of a jiggling cassette too! Great touch! I also would have expected a little more energy on stage for this style of music; hell I’m half a century and I move better than that! Well, from the hand-cam shot footage anyway, maybe the stage was too small or they were having a slow day.

Just to show the love, I voted on your poll!

Overall not the greatest piece I’ve heard, but again what do I know about playing. They look like they love their stuff and hammering it with as much energy as possible. This is good to see a band that looks like they’re having fun with all and enjoying the ride. I’d have to be in a correct mood for this and it wouldn’t make a mixtape presently.

7/10 today, maybe 7.5 on a bad mood day.

Written by Alessandro

Veislakt Facebook

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Review: Freedom Call - Master Of Light


Freedom Call is a band from Germany that plays happy/power metal. Their last album was last year’s "666 Weeks Beyond Eternity" which was a re-release of the album "Eternity 2012".
Now Master Of Light is the latest album, released on 11 November and 18 November (USA/Canada).
Can they bring that smile back on your face with this album?

The album starts off strong with the opening song "Metal Is For Everyone". It's a song that
instantly let you smile. It also has some rhythmic parts which will make you sing a long and will let you head bang. "Metal Is For Everyone" is also a perfect quote, a good universal message. "A World Beyond" has an amazing chorus, with at the end a guitar solo and another catching chorus. The song "Kings Rise And Fall" starts off strong with fast paced riffs. Again, the catching chorus will make you easily sing along. After a slow song "Cradle Of Angels" they are blasting off again with "Emerald Skies". "Rock The Nation" and "High Up" are instantly bringing a smile on your face. The vocals on this whole album are spot on. You keep smiling with the melodic riffs that keeps you singing and head banging.

This is a perfect album, you just forget the rest and start smiling. If you like happy/power/melodic metal this is a band for you, go on and check them out!

Tracklist :
1. Metal Is For Everyone 4:52
2. Hammer Of The Gods 3:11
3. A World Beyond 5:54
4. Masters Of Light 5:29
5. Kings Rise And Fall 4:02
6. Cradle Of Angels 5:03
7. Emerald Skies 3:39
8. Hail The Legend 3:58
9. Ghost Ballet 3:07
10. Rock The Nation 3:11
11. Riders In The Sky 4:15
12. High Up 3:03

Written by Nathasja Voerman

Freedom Call Official Website
Freedom Call Facebook

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Review: Serpentine Dominion - Serpentine Dominion


2016, a year that has been called the year of the death of music (considering the number of musicians dying), but also the year of the supergroup. A year that gives birth to bands of which the members hardly need any introduction. Serpentine Dominion is George ‘’Corpsegrinder’’ Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), Adam D. (Killswitch Engage) and Shannon Lucas (The Black Dahlia Murder).

Though I, myself, am not a frequent listener of their music (apart from Cannibal Corpse), I was expecting something spectacular and to be honest, in that sense I was kinda disappointed. It’s not as powerful as I hoped it would be, though it did include a lot of neat stuff I didn’t expect. If you’re getting all fanboy-like after learning Corpsegrinder is fronting this beast, for the love of god, HOLD YOUR HORSES..and just listen to the intro track, which is simply titled ‘’Intro’’, for the lack of a better one, I guess. Maybe they’re just keeping it simple, who the fuck knows. Anyway, I like the intro, and if you’re an all-round fan of metal, I’m sure you will too. An acoustic guitar is something I wasn’t expecting, but okay, the riff is quite catchy to me and is soon empowered by electric guitars, tight and smooth. The 8th track, ‘’Prelude’’ is another example of this, except it leaves out everything but the acoustic guitar. Again, it’s quite nice if you like a change and want to give your ears some rest for the remainder of the album, but it’s not extraordinary or new and it sure doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the songs. ‘’The Vengeance in Me’’ and ‘’Vanquished Unto Thee’’ to me were almost inseparable. Crushing vocals, tight riffing, some facemelting solo’s here and there, yada yada yada you all know the standard metal song formula by now. However, there was a surprising lack of bass volume in the mix, and I did not like the clean vocals in the latter of the 2 songs mentioned. Not at all. It doesn’t feel out of place like ‘’Prelude’’ does, considering the influences each of the members have obviously brought to the table, but it’s just not something I want to hear in combination with Corpsegrinder. ‘’Divide, Conquer, Burn and Destroy’’ and ‘’On the Brink of Devastion’’ are probably the closest to the Cannibal Corpse sound this record can get. They’re definitely two of the better tracks, and they will tempt you to hear out the full length of this release. It is truly crushing and very enjoyable, but AGAIN, nothing mind-blowingly original. ‘’Jagged Cross Legions’’ could’ve been on that same list, but the chorus (and the accompanying clean vox) totally killed it for me. On the bright side, it’s got a really nice solo. ‘’This Endless War’’..probably the only song in which I dug the backing vocals, and I guess it’s a fitting track to close the album with. ‘’Sovereign Hate’’, not the final song on the album, but definitely my favorite. Other than a really cool title, it’s got a hell of a groove to it..it just keeps pounding all the way through. The only thing bringing this one down are the backing vocals..once more, but luckily they are never prominent throughout the entire record.

All in all, this record surprised me both positively and negatively. I was expecting a lot more death and a lot less core, but if you ask me, the pro’s outweigh the cons, even though you can finish this record in a little under half an hour. I’m giving this record a solid 7.5, and adding to that: I am very eager to hear future productions by these guys. Definitely a very interesting listening session.

Written by Nino Milillo

Serpentine Dominion Facebook

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Sirenia - Dim Days Of Dolor


Sirenia is a symphonic gothic metal band from Norway. Founded in 2001 by former Tristania co-founder Morten Veland, they have since provided us with a steady stream of releases starting with ‘At Sixes And Sevens’ in 2002 and, for now, ending with their latest creation, their eight full-length, ‘Dim Days Of Dolor’. The previous two albums were received with quite some criticism, which, in my opinion, was legit up to a certain point. The complaint was the albums sounded flat, monotonous and uninspired, both production- and composition-wise, and, in all honesty, I had to agree.

As if having to make sure this one was way better didn’t pose enough of a challenge, the band had another surprise up their sleeve making this even a bigger challenge. In the middle of the process of creating ‘Dim days…’ an announcement on Sirenia’s website appeared, stating they had parted ways with their lead singer Ailyn Giménez García for personal reasons after an eight-year collaboration. No details were provided, but in a reaction Ailyn claimed she had no part in the split. If anything that at least raised a few eyebrows. Either way, Sirenia moved on to take on their latest challenge, replacing Ailyn with Emanuelle Zoldan. Emanuelle was no stranger to Sirenia, since she contributed as a guest singer to every Sirenia album since 2004 and has been Ailyn’s live stand-in before as well. Along Emanuelle and multi-instrumentalist Morten, Sirenia consists of Jan Erik Soltvedt on guitar and Jonathan A. Perez on drums. Now to find out if this quartet has risen to this challenge.

Well, let's cut to the chase by saying they have. Definitely! Those of you that are familiar with Sirenia’s previous work know that they never stray far from their musical roots, ‘Dim Days Of Dolor’ is no exception to that rule. Or is it..? True, they stick to their symphonic roots, which is in no way a bad thing, simply because they are very good at it, yet they have almost completely abandoned their gothic influences. So yes, ‘Dim days…’ in fact is an exception, even though practically there really isn’t much difference. It still has smooth, bombastic, symphonic, choir-drenched compositions, it still has the sweet, touching slower intermezzos and it still has the groovy riffs. You will notice there’s a huge difference nevertheless.

The entire feel of the album is different, which is not all due to a much better production. The variety within and between the songs is bigger, the use of keys and choirs has been tweaked and, probably most striking, the vocals are hugely different. Not to disqualify Ailyn’s voice or her capabilities, but Emanuelle’s more powerful, more operatic voice simply is the better fit to Sirenia’s music. And to add to that there’s a near perfect interaction between her voice and both the growls and clean male vocals.

All you need is the first three songs to realize how big the improvement is compared to Sirenia’s much criticized previous two releases, especially ‘The Seventh Life Path’. Opener ‘Goddess Of The Sea’ starts with a short, somewhat unnerving intro with a howling riff, after which Emanuelle lets rip, leading you through a powerful song and immediately giving you the feeling you’re listening to an early Nightwish release from back when Tarja was their lead vocalist. I can’t say the two ladies have identical voices, but there’s definitely a lot of similarities. The fact the variety has been a point of interest on this release is proven with the title song, the very accessible singalong ‘Dim Days Of Dolor’. This might even have some hit potential.

Up next is the epitome of the differences between ‘Dim days…’ and its predecessor, which comes in the form of the mighty ‘The 12th Hour’. Powerful parts are alternated with slower and orchestral parts punctuated with soundscapes and the interaction between both vocalists hugely adds to the intensity of the song. The magnum opus of this one in my opinion. The fact the masterpiece comes so early, it is only the third song of eleven on the album, is in no way reason to skip the rest of this release. Even though the first half definitely is the most exciting half, the overall quality of the remaining songs on ‘Dim days…’ is well above average. There’s even a few gems to be found. Try the gripping ‘Ashes To Ashes’, the powerful ‘Fifth Column’ with its sinister intermezzo or the emotional and sad ‘Aeon’s Embrace’ in which Emanuelle’s sensitive side shows.

I don’t know whether they have listened to the criticism or not, but the fact remains that Sirenia delivered a fantastic album with ‘Dim Days Of Dolor’. To start with the most striking change: of course people will miss Ailyn, but in my opinion Emanuelle’s voice is much more suitable for Sirenia’s music than hers. Her power and operatic style and the really great fit her voice has with the other vocals on the album adds to the drama, depth and overall feel of the songs, making it more adventurous to listen to. Pretty much the same goes for the much improved and needed variety in and between the songs and of course the better production of the album itself. Perhaps the most influential however, is that you get the feeling everyone was focused and inspired when they composed and recorded ‘Dim days…’, a much needed aspect when you want to create something good. Speaking for myself of course I think this one will appear in various year lists. At least in mine they will, I definitely have reserved a spot for them. Highly recommended.

Written by Henric van Essen

Sirenia Official Website
Sirenia Facebook
Sirenia Twitter

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review: Ruptured Birth - Transmutant


Formed in the summer of 2014, Canadian slammers Ruptured Birth have quite quickly taken a prominent role amongst the community by offering a highly-competent science fiction-based attack to their tight, technical slam-infused brutality. Quickly releasing their first EP and now joined by Aaron Cividino handling bass guitar duties, the quartet issues their debut full-length September 28 on CDN Records.

From the very start here, the band clearly and quite comfortably takes their technically-proficient brand of brutal death metal and slam through a very engaging whole. Offering forth efforts like “Saprogenic,” “Projectile Copremesis” and “Vomit Drop” which are a never-ending whirlwind here of tight, pummeling slams and breakdowns fueled through a ferocious blend of dexterous riffing, slow lurching crawls and a fine sense of blasting drumming, this manages to compliment the fine slams featured throughout the rhythms here. Still, there’s a more impressive focus here on introducing all these fine slams to a science fiction-aesthetic that’s built more upon efforts like “Strogg,” “Blood Siren” and “Nuclear Marauders” that are far more technical and twisting rhythms that drops the slamming pretence for quite more straightforward brutal death here, and these result in far more superior and enjoyable elements by wrapping around quite a bit more enjoyable elements within their basic framework-style slams and tight, chugging rhythms, and with the technical and the brutal landing together side-by-side this is quite an enjoyable release. There’s very little about this music that’s all too original or brings about any additional revelations within the music, which isn’t a terrible facet to this one but it gets extrapolated here with the endless overlong closing epic “Unnatural Selection” that serves a purpose in signalling the start of the bonus tracks on this one but otherwise doesn’t really do much for the album as a whole here with the nonsensical sci-fi leanings and pointless meandering that stretches the song out way past the fifteen-minute mark. It’s really the only thing otherwise that holds this one back with all the other enjoyable elements on display.

While it does get docked somewhat for some rather questionable overlong material in an otherwise enjoyable and vicious album, that doesn’t really deter this one all that much as the vast amount of enjoyable work on display here makes this quite an appealing and worthwhile effort for slam fans or brutal death metal in general. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Ruptured Birth Facebook

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Review: Denouncement Pyre - Black Sun Unbound


Following their previous releases, Australian black/death metallers Denouncement Pyre have steadily risen throughout the scene as the group's propensity for added intensity and aggression makes for quite a dynamic presence throughout the album. Taking a three-year break from their last album, the power-trio released their third full-length effort July 22, 2016 on Hells Headbangers Records.

Utilizing a rather familiar formula, the bands’ past works are brought to full-bear here with plenty of overly prominent aspects of their sound coming to the forefront here. There’s efforts like “Deathless Dreaming,” “Scars Adore the Whore in Red” and “Revere the Pyre” which takes a very impactful and pummeling black metal style with the swirling tremolo riffing, darkened crimson-blasted tones and that dynamic frosty aesthetic to the rhythms and melodies while merging it all with the tight, churning riff-patterns and creating a wholly appealing overview of that appropriate genre mixture. As well, there’s the efforts where it takes on those churning patterns and meshes them with the sprawling tremolo riffing like “Wounds of Golgotha,” “World Encircler” and “Witness” create a rather controlled burst of melodic intermittent rhythms that balance out the furious, raging work elsewhere throughout the album, ebbing and flowing together in fine fashion in a wholly appealing running order which is quite appealing and well-done throughout this by never keeping a lagging pace for too long or offering too many similarly-themed efforts around each other. It’s impressive that they’ve managed to accomplish this facet this early in their career, and really makes this one all that much more fun here with the varied approach on display. There are occasions where it dips down slightly too much for comfort and drags itself along somewhat, but it’s really the main issue to be had here as this is another fun and enjoyable blast of molten black/death metal.

Managing to bring out yet another stellar and impressive outing of black/death metal that features plenty of enjoyable elements while not really featuring too many problematic or even detrimental areas, this is a great inclusion in a rapidly growing part of a catalog that should readily appeal to all black/death aficionados or to quality extreme metal in general. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

Denouncement Pyre Facebook