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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Review: Rebaelliun - The Hell's Decrees


Breaking their 15-year silence between studio albums, legendary Brazilian death metal horde Rebaelliun are finally back and are acting as if they’ve been frozen in time since the break-up. This is how to do reunion albums as there’s simply nothing here but their classic sound turned through a newfound production job and modern recording sensibilities for an utterly dominating and explosive return, truly making this a great release overall from Hammerheart Records.

For the most part this one ultimately shows that their decade-plus long disbanding hasn’t slowed them down as they pick up right where they once left off. This has the band's trademark sound and style dripping all over this release, running the full gamut of technical and brutal riffing here, with “Affronting the Gods: and “Legion” offering the best examples here, to blistering displays of tightly-wound rhythms charging along into ravenous speed-drenched patterns that are running along through rather impressive tempos, much like “Dawn of Mayhem” and “Crush the Cross,” allowing for the various changes and tight arrangements that have always been present throughout their sound. Given that same blistering drum-attack that piles on the blasts and choppy, up-tempo patterns that matches the generous speed anthems here it makes for a wholly pleasing and cohesive effort that still sounds like the group hasn’t lost a step at all. This ends up being the one minor misstep here in that all the album does is reaffirm what the band was all about from the beginning with this one running through all the motions of their previous attacks without much deviation, and considering the overall brevity of the album that leaves this with a feeling of wanting more out of it, but in the end this is a negligible flaw that shouldn’t hold it back too much.

While it doesn’t reinvent the wheel when it comes to these venerable and well-missed legends, the fact that it still sounds so much like the bands’ heyday and hasn’t missed a step attack-wise makes this a wholly worthwhile investment for fans itching to see their assault continue or even fans of the overall style. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Heretic's Dream - Floating State Of Mind


Heretic’s Dream is a new band formed in 2010.

Since their creation they’ve kept themselves extremely busy by playing more than 200 gigs along names like Freak Kitchen, Secret Sphere, Richie Kotzen, Godyva, Eldritch, Crucified Barbara and others. Definitely an impressive achievement!

The busy gig schedule didn’t push back on their creativity and recording. Releasing 2 albums “Unexpected Move” and “Walk the time” and a single by 2013 we’ve arrived at 2016 and their latest offering “Floating state of mind”.

Their style has its roots in progressive metal but you can track down elements from other styles like rock, alternative and more extreme genres like metalcore. The whole mixing genre thing is somewhat common to modern progressive bands since let’s face gone are the days were bands of this genre were notorious for their musicianship and complexity of compositions. I am certain that becoming just another prog/metal band was never their goal, this reflects on their songwriting, production but also on the targeted audience.

Heretic’s Dream musical skills are in good level without flashy work on any department. Interesting riffs and cool bass lines fly all over the place along with unusual vocal lines. Jazzy influences make their appearance in guitar leads in “Master your demons” providing enough diversity while there are plenty of heavy moments in “Golden cage” and “Hide yourself” which is one of the fastest and probably best song in the album.

Unfortunately their production has taken away much of the heaviness that this album could have. Guitars have lost much of their aggressiveness while the vocals dominate the entire album leaving the rest of the instruments slightly in the back, yet thankfully mixing is precise enough so you can hear everything clearly.

Vocals is something that put me off from first listen. Francesca Di Ventura’s voice sounds thin and fragile lacking both in depth and range. Her approach is more suited to more pop oriented music but the biggest problem is the lack of good vocal lines. I failed to find any memorable or catchy parts anywhere. A good example is the song “Secret place” which starts off heavy enough but is dragged down by the poor singing and vocal lines. Another one is “Walk alone” starting off with a good and heavy riff that’s ruined by an uninspired verse. If there is one band I could easily compare Francesca’s singing with then it’s Aghora.

With the exception of a couple of songs my interest for “Floating state of mind” quickly faded. While there are definitely noteworthy ideas throughout the album in the end it sounded flat and boring. Getting rid of the need to be appealing by people listening various and more popular genres of music along with lots of work that should be done in the vocal department should definitely create a more interesting result in the future. They definitely have the skills let’s see if they’d capitalize them.

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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Review: Except One - Haunted Humanity


The new EP by Except One, Haunted Humanity, drifts somewhere in between metalcore melodies, hardcore breakdowns and tempo’s and sometimes djent-y riffs. It is an interesting mix, with a few flaws; all the genres are well-established and sometimes looked down upon by metalsnobs of the internet, so it is hard to fuse these styles and still bring something to the table that is solid and inspiring. Except One succeeds, at times, very convincingly.

The track “Lost” hammers home what Except One is all about, pummeling right through with a double-bass drumbeat and a searing riff. Firstly notable is the slick production for a band that has just started on his second EP with no real albums yet under their belt. The guitars are slightly dark for the snappy riffs and so not every riff springs out as it would, but in the lows the strings section are a delight. Especially “Revenge”, a very short song clocking in at just shy of three minutes, is a good example of this. The very present bass sound makes the whole crew’s sound growl like a beast and makes the hardcore breakdowns - if that’s your thing - a delight to listen. The rhythms in these are rather straightforward and have little prog influences, which is maybe a delight but a bit too simple for my taste. The talent of the guitarists is undeniable; though the songs lack a real solo the two guitarists have a lot of harmonic plays intertwining that are great to listen to and don’t really become stale or boring for the most part.

A bit of a letdown is “7even”, the finisher of the track. It appears Except One is trying to be a bit more emotional and melodic than on the other tracks, but despite it being close to four minutes it has a very repetitive melody that isn’t really interesting enough to keep attention through the song. It sounds a bit overdone, almost like a desperate radiosingle that this EP actually doesn’t really need.

In terms of vocals, as presented noticeably on “Elm Street” the grunts and screams are definitely better than the clean singing. This might be in the mix but the clean vocals sound thin and too soft in comparison with the growls that remind me of Caliban’s Andreas Dörner. Those make up a lot for it, and there is little clean singing at all, but it never, sadly, adds anything to the songs.

Overall this EP is a solid effort of Except One that, though not breaking new ground, is pretty enjoyable to listen to and doesn’t give you a moment of rest from beginning to end. The energy is what drives this EP and therefore keeps it standing and interesting.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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Video + tourposter: Tears Of Martyr - Mermaid And Loneliness

Check the newest videoclip by Tears Of Martyr below.



Also be sure to catch them on tour with November 7!


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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Interview: Sanzu


A while ago Sanzu released their latest album Heavy Over The Home (review). Time for DutchMetalManiac’s Joost van der Leij to ask them some questions.

Hey guys, First of all. Big fan here. I have reviewed your album “Heavy Over The Home” a couple of months ago. What has been the response to the album?

Hi, Thanks very much!

It's been really great, more than we could have ever expected....

Being so isolated in Perth even from the other side of Australia it's really mind blowing that people are so responsive to what we’re doing.

From what bands did you draw inspiration from? There's gotta be some Meshuggah in there (haha).

Honestly allot of places, we all have such diverse musical influences from Metal to Prog to Rock to Rap, it all becomes one big melting pot!

I don't think we consciously drew influences at times of writing we just wrote music that we like, that we'd want to go see!

In that tho of-course the influences we all have come through in the music.

I've showed your band to my friends and they were all like: woah, they sound like Gojira. Do you think that it is positive to be linked to Gojira and why do you think that?

Well in my opinion we have similarities but honestly I think if you listen to them side by side there fairly different.

I do understand why people make the comparison, I think it's because there are not too many bands with these characteristics.

In saying that I love Gojira and take it as a huge compliment to be considered anywhere near them!

What is your opinion on the metal scene in 2016?

I'd say good and bad.

Being in Australia, particularly Perth can make traveling expensive but I think metal worldwide has never been stronger.

There's a huge community who support and encourage each other to improve and evolve and you can't ask for more than that!

Elaborating on question #4, do you think there are ever going to be bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica again?

I'd say without the HUGE budgets there used to be to back and develop bands like there used to be it'll be hard but who knows!?

The industry always changes and evolves and i can't help thinking and hoping it'll all come around again....Hopefully in my lifetime! hahaha

These bands have 30 years history's and you can't fault that whether you like them or not they sure have earned it!

Are you the kind of band that likes to write while on tour or do you need to be in a rehearsal room together and work out ideas?

So far we generally write in the room or people bring part or whole idea's in and we work through them or send each other demo's to work on in our practice spaces so when we get in the room it's much more efficient and we waste less time.

In the future I don't know, we’re all adaptable to our situations so I'd say we'd take it as it comes.

Is it harder for bands from Australia to break out into the open world with playing extreme metal?

Yes and no, as I said before being in Perth adds another bump in the road because of the distance and added cost for travel, but overall I'd have to say no.

Look at bands like Psycroptic, King Parrot and Disentomed who are really killing it internationally, with a hard work ethic and constant pushing it's totally possible.

Are there any plans in the works for a European tour?

We're looking at a few options at the moment, we're really keen to get over there towards the end of the year or next year.

It'd be an amazing experience to take what we've worked on so hard to the other side of the world.

Do you have a preference, clubshow or festival?

No we just want to play as much as we can!!!

What would be your dream tour (which you play on)?

Any of the festivals across Europe or the States would be incredible!

If you mean what bands then I'd have to say Strapping Young Lad even tho they don't exist anymore!! Textures, Good Tiger, Origin, Ihsahn, Veil of Maya, but that are just some of my preferences!

Is there anything you would say to the readers of DutchMetalManiac?

Thanks so much for the support!

Like I said before knowing that people on the other side of the world show and interest in what we do is amazing and we're so grateful for that.

Thank you guys for the answers to my questions. I hope we will hear and see from you very soon!

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Interview: Bloodbound


A bit more than two months ago Bloodbound released its latest effort, an live CD/DVD called One Night Of Blood (review). So DutchMetalManiac’s Nathasja Voerman fires some questions at them.

First of all thank you for your time to do this interview with us.

When you guys started in 2004, did you think you would still be going strong in 2016?


Tomas: No, we never expected this, and we are very grateful of all the fun places, moments and people we have seen and met on this journey. It has been a blast! And I want to thank all the fans for making it possible.

What drove the band to create melodic power metal?

Patrik: I wasn’t in the band from the beginning but I was a fan of the band since the first album “Nosferatu”. But power metal or heavy metal, whatever you want to call it, has everything! It’s based on melody, speed and power. Especially with our latest album Stormborn we used all these elements and made more of it than before. We got more bombastic songs with bigger choirs and more keyboards, heavier songs, fast songs and so on. And we made the most diverse album from Bloodbound so far.

How did you got the idea to release a live DVD/CD and not another album?

Patrik: We’ve talked about doing a live dvd for a while. When we got the chance to do it at the mighty Masters of Rock festival we just went for it. And since the band been around for ten years now it was a perfect way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the band. J

How did the fans react to the new live DVD/CD?

It’s been very well received from both fans and media so far and we’re really glad about that.

Can you describe your show, visual and musically?

We want it to be both. We always try to give the audience a full show, not to just stand there and play the songs. Visually we could do a lot more, but it’s all about money you know. We are planning to do more cool stuff on stage, so let’s see what happens in the future.

What's it like to tour with Sabaton and Alestorm through Europe and other places in the world?

Patrik: As Tomas said we are very greatful to be able to travel around to see so much cool places and meet cool people.
The latest tour with Sabaton and Alestorm was a big success for the whole tour package and also for us as a band. You never know what to expect when you are a support band, but the audience received us very well, more than we could ever expect and we had a blast!

What do you do for living other than the band?

Patrik: I’m working in a school. I’m an extra resource in a class with children with “special needs”.
And I have music classes as well. It’s great and they are very understanding and giving me free time to go on tours and everything.

Have you ever experienced a moment on stage when something went wrong? What happened?

Patrik: Oh a lot of times, haha… But last summer (2015) at Out & Loud Festival in Germany, I fell from stage (behind the scene) and took a pretty bad hit in my right arm. Just minutes before the show was about to start. The fall was pretty high and I was in serious lots of pain in my arm when the intro started. The other guys in the band asked if I could go on and I told them that I wasn’t sure… Anyway, they ran out on stage and didn’t know if I was coming after. Every time I tried to stand up on my feet it felt like I was going to faint and/or puke. Put when the first song started I thought “fuck it” and ran out. I made the full show, but don’t remember so much of it because of the pain. We had two more festivals booked before we were going home, one more in Germany and one in Switzerland, so I thought that I could go to the hospital when we were back in Sweden. All the trip I ate painkillers and tried not to complain too much of all the pain. When we finally got home I went to the hospital and they told me it was broken by the elbow and needed surgery.
I got rid of the plaster just a few days before the Masters of Rock Festival where we recorded the dvd.
So I was still in pain and I couldn’t move my right arm very much. If you think about it I think it shows.
There is also a clip of “Stormborn” on the “extra material” on the dvd that is recorded at Out & Loud Festival where I broke my arm.

What are the future plans of Bloodbound?

Patrik: We’re taking everything step by step. So for now were just excited to do the festivals we’re booked at before we gonna make plans for a new album and following tours.
Then of course it’s time for us to rule the world :p

Is there anything you would like to add to this interview?

Patrik: For our fans: Thank you for your support I hope to see you all soon!

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Live review: Violator, Nuclear Devastation, The Shining at dB's, Utrecht, April 21, 2016

Last night 4 guys from Brazil’s capital city, Brasilia, came to Utrecht to play a Benelux exclusive show. After travelling for 20 hours they arrived at the location and they were still looking surprisingly alive! Later on in this review I will elaborate on the show but first I have to talk about the support on this tour.

The Shining was the first to rise the stage. Due to logistic circumstances my friends and me could not reach the venue in time so we missed the first band The Shining. If the band reads this we would like to apologize for missing it.

Luckily we were in time for Nuclear Devastation because that was a show that I would not have liked to have missed. What they performed on stage was pure energy. Raw energy. The will to rebel and fuck shit up. The first thing that I noticed was the vocalist.

The vocalist was the guy who made me aware of this concert last month at the Exodus + Lost society show. He kindly invited me and my friend to come to the concert and the next day we ordered the tickets. Amazing to see the same dude up on the stage destroying the microphone. He was also one of the 2 guitarists on stage. I noticed that he struck his strings with his hand rather than using a guitar pick. He executed it with great speed and accuracy. The bass player had the most old skool haircut ever and looked like a blonde Bruce Dickinson in his early years. Plucking the strings really hard so the bass would not fall out of the soundmix.

At first Nuclear Devastion had a hard time to get the crowd involved despite the provocations by the vocalist. Nearing the end of their stage time they had a few circlepits going and some people who just went full berzerk. Overall this concert was full of energy by the band. Super fast, super heavy. Sometimes even coming close to grindcore.

The last band of the evening was Violator. The reason people came from Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania. Like I said I found it very surprising that Violator still had such a significant amount of energy in their bodies after a 20 hour travel. Playing like total maniacs. The crowd made clear they were ready to destroy the building and the circlepits were almost as big as the venue itself. Very aggressive people were bashing into other people trying to get them involved in the moshing.

With an impressive set list of 80 minutes they left a whole building in shock and awe for

their relentless, raw energy. I have never seen a band play so fast for so long. Especially the drummer is going to need his rest after this show! What great power resides in this body. We will never understand.

Between the songs the frontman made very clear that he really appreciated it.

The show left me broken. I broke my head of like 3 times. At least that’s how it feels. Before the show I bought the latest Violator LP called Scenarios Of Brutality. I even got it signed by all members. Every minute of this night was enjoyable. This concert is one for the books and I will never forget mighty Violator and Nuclear Devastation.

9.5/10

Written by Joost van der Leij

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Review: Annihilationmancer - Precursor Of Destruction

Annihilationmancer! A band I have never heard of before. And that’s a shame really. The thing I was wondering at first was why the hell would you call your band Annihilationmancer? It’s also kind of a pain in the ass for the dude who designed their logo. That’s why it came out “not so thrash metal”. I’m sorry I had to point this out before I started talking busin… uhm music.

After releasing a few demo’s in the late 90’s and after that a 10 year silence. In 2009 Annihilationmancer released their 3rd demo named simply “promo 2009”. From that point I guess they started taking their band seriously. In 2011 they released their first full-length album called “Involution Philosophy” and now in 2016 they release a new EP called “Precursor Of Destruction.

I must say I was pleasantly surprised with this EP. They take the elements of 80’s thrash and make their own twist to it. Sometimes their song structure is more proggy and sometimes it takes even death metal turns here and there. In the first two songs I was really surprised with how their song writing skills are. It’s not riff after riff after riff and so on. There are some really clever turns left and right in their music. I also really liked the way how Annihilationmancer approaches the guitar solo’s. Usually they drop into a slower beat with a hollow atmosphere so the very clean guitar sound stands out on it’s on while performing sweeping madness.

The thing I could not appreciate were the vocals. From second one into the vocals I instantly thought ‘wow, this is a really good James Hetfield immitator’ He sounds so much like the “ride the lightning/…and justice for all” Hetfield. It just annoying me the rest of the EP. I don’t mean to approach this negatively but for “non-Metallica” fans this is not an EP for them. You can’t get around the vocals that easily because they support the music very well. It has been cleverly incorporated to serve the music, not the other way around.

Like I said. The music sounds great in a certain degree because it’s a fresh take on modern and old school thrash metal. I give my compliments on songwriting and creativity. But, beware. Thrash metal fans who do not give a rats ass about Metallica will definitely not enjoy this album solely based on vocal performance. There is no way to just not hear the vocals and connect the James Hetfield thought to it.

I would like for more people to hear about this band and give their own opinion on it. I must say I enjoyed listening. It is definitely not a waste of time and I will definitely look out for a new full-length album by Annihilationmancer!

7/10

Written by Joost van der Leij

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Review: Wormed - Krighsu


After initially bursting onto the scene in the early 2000s, Spanish brutal/tech death masters Wormed laid dormant for a decade before finally offering their second blistering release. It’s been just a scant three years since that previous release, but this is still another overwhelming release that captures the insanity and blistering performances that once put them on the map in the first place and leaving this a strong contender for Album of the Year already.

Frankly, the album overall simply exudes the two genre terms Brutal and Technical Death Metal here in one of the most complete ways possible. Vice-tight riffing, pummeling, blasting drumming and utterly ferocious rhythm changes are the order of the day on nearly every single track here and the results are absolutely spectacular when viewed alongside the albums celestial tone which was a fine concept carried over from that preceding effort. It’s a fantastic mixture that is seemingly so well-suited to their mechanical blasting and groove-laden charge that it seems almost inconceivable not to have been a part of their style all along as such explosive efforts as “Pseudo-Horizon,” “Neomorph Mindkind” and “Computronium Pulsar Nanarchy” offer up the kind of wholly engaging attack full of their usual high-quality arrangements and truly frenzied speed-drenched arrangements. Other sections, from the more mid-tempo segments that focus more on technicality rather than brutality like “Agliptian Codex” and “A Life Omega Point” showcase of a sense of variety that’s exceptionally pleasing while “The Singularitarianism” interrupts it all for spacey, cosmic atmospherics that become gradually more present as the album continues on with its mechanical sense of brutality. It creates a truly fantastic feel here as the album whips through its paces incredibly well, displaying a wide sense of variety, impossibly pummeling performances and a strong sense of cohesion that makes for an engrossing experience.

This was just an overall blistering release containing nearly everything that a full-on fan of the band or brutal technical death metal will lap up instantly, not only making this one of the best albums in their already-stellar career but immediately earns it a top spot in the genre that will be hard to surpass. 10/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Aborted - Retrogore


Are you ready for some new Aborted? I sure as fuck am! It’s been an excruciating 3 months anticipating this album, but we should all by now have listened to their previous (EP) release ‘’Termination Redux’’ a thousand times at least. You’ll all be glad to know that, other than ‘’Termination Redux’’, there’s 11!!! new tracks waiting to violently penetrate your eardrums. In good old Aborted fashion, the album hits off with an introductory track, which usually sort of reflects the mood of the album. Well, let’s just say they kept it ‘’retro’’ this time ;)

Let’s start off with the 2 singles that were released before the album was out. ‘’Retrogore’’ hits like a goddamn truck, any fan who’s been paying attention to the band on the media will confirm this. It is very aggressive and loaded with blast beats; they couldn’t have chosen a better first single. ‘’Divine Impediment’’, if you haven’t already heard it, is a song that is at least as brutal as the previous, but adds a little more horror with its *slow* (read: still really fast..) parts…but the feast has only just begun. Seriously, each song’s title is as good as its sound: ‘’Whoremageddon’’ is just pure evil, and unsurprisingly, among my favorites. One of the song’s main riffs kind of reminds me of what you’d usually find in black metal, but with a different effect that perfectly fits the band’s trademark sound. Like always, great harmonic solos and riffs are an abundant presence. ‘’Cadaverous Banquet’’ is among the best tracks as well, it features just about everything you can find on this album. Sick vocals, facemelting solos, insanely fast riffs, nasty pinch harmonics, sound effects..what’s not to love? One thing I appreciated a lot is that they kept bringing up the retro theme throughout the album. Some tracks start off with an intro that sounds like fragments of old horror movies. It’s these small things that add that extra mojo to the overall experience. All I can say is: listen to the album and you WILL understand the definition of retro and gore combined!

It really seems 2016 is the year of Aborted, aside from a fantastically mastered EP and album, members of Aborted have also formed a new melo-death band ‘’Oracles’’, featuring Sven (Aborted) and Sanna Salou (Dimlight, System Divide) on vocals. At the moment, they have 2 singles out and their album is set for release on July 1st! If you’re a fan of Aborted, don’t forget to check this out as well.

Written by Nino Milillo

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Review: Scolopendra - Cycles


While continuing my journey into some extreme metal which is not death or black metal I got Scolopendra to review. Scolopendra is some strange mix of extreme elements of some black/death metal with some more hardcore elements in it with some electronic sounds mixed in.

The intro is pure electronic music with some ambient sounds, generally short and a great lead way into the album. A few songs down the way there is one more track like the intro, and it does wonders to break up the stalemate of the album. The tracks themselves are a mirage of the mentioned mix of HC and extreme metal. The songs have it all, HC breakdowns, blast beats, fast paced riff work, harsh vocals and energy.

The mix of styles may sound a little bad placed in some songs and parts of songs, but in general it does show that there is more than one way to combine HC and extreme metal and the result not being deathcore or metalcore.

The sound quality of the album is great, and like more and more albums of this day the vocal recording does leave a little bit to be aspired for the possible next album, as they are overpowered a bit in some critical points of the album, The instruments are greatly recorded and mixed, even with some electronic music components.

All in all, this is a great album, and I give it a 9/10 because of the vocal issue pointed out above.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Review: Nemesea - Uprise


Nemesea is a Dutch band that, nowadays, plays a dark type of rock which is achieved by the clever use of keys. Founded in 2002 in Groningen, the Netherlands, by vocalist Manda Ophuis and guitarist HJ de Jong they started as a Gothic metal band. They had an instant impact in the metal world, having toured as support for After Forever only a year after the band came into existence, followed by the release of ‘Mana’, their debut album a year later. Since then they have released two more albums, ‘In control’ in 2007 and ‘The quiet resistance’ in 2011. This year their fourth full-length, called ‘Uprise’, will be unleashed to the world. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that every new release takes a year longer. Anyway, as long as the music is good it doesn’t really matter. Judging by its title, we should be up for some feisty stuff, but their statement the focus shifted from metal to strong rock, making ‘Uprise’ their most accessible album to date, slightly concerns me. Time to find out what we’re dealing with here.

I’ll be honest about this one, if you’re a fan of Nemesea’s music from before this album, you might have some adapting to do when you play this release. Every word of the aforementioned statement about focus shifting is true in my opinion. However, they have made the adapting process as easy for you as they could, because ‘Upsrise’ starts with ‘Hear me’, a powerful, energetic rock song with a great vibe that isn’t all that different from their earlier material. Even the gothic influences are audible here and there. Its strong, catchy guitar riff, played by HJ, supported by an equally catchy rhythm section, played by Sonny Onderwater, underline Manda’s pleasant, vibrant vocal efforts, making it quite easy to get used to their new sound.

And this is not an exception, there’s quite a few more of these spirited songs to be found on ‘Uprise’. No matter which song you choose, the almost poppy ‘Can’t believe it’, the surprising ‘Bones’ with its oriental vibes at the end, the electrifying ‘Get out’ or the vivacious ‘Twilight’ to name a few, the energy splashes off of every single song with a relentless force. Every now and then there’s the earlier mentioned hint of their gothic roots, adding a bit of darkness to the overall vibe and atmosphere in the songs.

The ultimate example of Nemesea’s new style, or perhaps what I would like their new style to be, is the song ‘Forever’. Catchy riffs, a powerful rhythm section, an awesome vocal performance by Manda, which displays the full reach of her voice, the mildly dark, somewhat ominous intermezzos, all elements of the new Nemesea are forged together in an impressive song.

Completing the album is a couple of ballads, ‘Let it burn’ and ‘Light the sky’, although the term ballads is to be used loosely here. Power ballads would be the more correct term here, consisting of soft, smooth starts with some great keys that build up to powerful endings. Manda’s voice is perfectly capable of unleashing hell in any type of rock or metal song, but she’s equally skilled when it comes to singing more sensitive lines, effortlessly switching from a pained whisper to a truly hurt scream. An asset to this release I’d say.

So ‘Uprise’ is one of those albums that is over before you know it, let alone are ready for that to happen. It’s filled with energetic, catchy rock songs interspersed with powerful ballads. Admittedly, Nemesea has strayed from the metal path they were on, which will undoubtedly disappoint part of their fans, but in all honesty, they do a damn’ good job in their new style as well. You can hear and even feel the members are truly enjoying themselves when playing these songs, this switch might prove to be a good move. Great release, worth everyone’s time if you ask me.

Written by Henric van Essen

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Review: Thunderstone - Apocalypse Again


Thunderstone is a power metal band from Helsinki, Finland. The band was formed in 2000 by guitarist Nino Laurenne and the line-up became full the following year. "Apocalypse Again is their 6th studio album that was released 4th of April.

This new album starts with the song "Veterans of the Apocalypse". A fast paced song with much sing-a-long lyrics. That keeps you hooked to this song. "Fire and Ice" has some darker/heavier feel to it, with also catching riffs and high guitar sounds it really flows together. This track "Walk away free" has a nice keyboard solo in it that goes perfectly with the blasting guitar."Higher" is a song that let you think of a blues song. "Barren Land" is the longest and final track of this perfect album. It has some nice keyboard sounds with heavy guitar riffs. The last minutes will for sure keeps you head banging.

If you like bands like Sonata Arctica this is a band for you. It is a very interesting album with all the right ingredients to make it alive.

Track list:
1. Veterans of the Apocalypse
2. The Path
3. Fire and Ice
4. Through the Pain
5. Walk Away Free
6. Higher
7. Wounds
8. Days four Lives
9. Barren Land

Written by Nathasja Voerman

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Review: Antillia - Ancient Forces


Hailing from Russia, more known for its frosty black metal and burgeoning extreme metal scenes, symphonic power metal upstarts Антиллия (anglicized into Antilla) have a strong uphill battle to climb by means of this chosen genre hailing from such a location. Despite a few other groups making their case for this particular style emerging recently, it’s this act that seems poised to become the leader of the movement if this powerful, dynamic release has anything to say about it.

It becomes immediately clear here that term Symphonic Power Metal is apropos that it offers exactly to expect here. Majestic, grandiose and bombastic keyboards that feel at home scoring an epic fantasy battle sequence are the primary factor here, offering a cinematic style on display throughout that suitably captures the epic feel generated by the dueling male/female vocals which are also such a prime factor throughout here that it regards itself more in favor of the Italian version where it sought to marry the cinematic scope of the material alongside the energetic power metal material. This is mostly prevalent in several of the more symphonic-leaning tracks here, from ‘Штурм (The Assault),’ ‘Смертный бой (Mortal Fight)’ or ‘Пленённый бессмертием (Captivated By The Immortality)’ which all manage to incorporate a cinematic style approach heavy on chugging rhythms and blasting drumming. When this unleashes more traditional values with faster riffing, dexterous speed metal drumming and majestic keyboards as in ‘Последний звездопад (Last Starfall)’ or ‘Шаман (The Shaman)’ the results are standard symphonic power metal fun that harkens back to the glory days of the scene from the early parts of the previous decade. Though it stumbles somewhat in terms of generating the kind of variation required to really sell this material, as it tends to feel like it’s struggling to get to the finishing line, it emerges as the one real flaw here as this comes off with so much else to like here in the dynamic dueling vocalists and powerful, impassioned performances.

Offering up enough enjoyable elements to really make an impression despite a few missteps here and there, overall it ends leaving this one as a rather enjoyable and somewhat notable act to follow for fans of this bombastic, cinematic style of power metal or just undiscerning power metal fans in general. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Verdun - The Eternal Drift's Canticles


It has been a long time since I reviewed an album this long, it is almost an hour long and more in the doom-ish department, but it does contain some elements of prog and industrial metal in it.

In general the album is well produced, the instrument sound quality varies from riff to riff but I believe that that is the way the sound quality was imagined to be. The sometimes extreme length of some songs (a few are 12 minutes and beyond) compensates with the structure of said songs, as there are riff pauses and some intermediate sections in Japanese I presume, and the sometimes simple pause of sound after which the song continues on.

The vocals are atypical of what is heard in this genre, although you would find it very hard to precisely define the genre of this band, and that makes the vocals particularly interesting. They have a distinct doom metal sound, but in some sections they have almost a James Maynard Keenan sounding vibe to them followed by a clean guitar section under the vocals. Also there is distinct dissonance in the guitars in a lot of the album, sometimes not really heard though because of the selected quality in the part, but it certainly gives a unique feel to the riff work done.

Overall I would give this album a 8/10, mainly because of the recording quality.

Written by Nikola Milošević

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Review: Murder Made God - Enslaved


Formerly known as Human Rejection, Greek brutal/technical death metallers Murder Made God are really on a roll as of late with this monumental opus. With ten blistering, swarming seeds of brutality and technically-challenging crushing all in their way, the stage is set for them to explode on the scene in a huge way with their second full-length, out on Comatose Music.

Putting on a clinic with insanely tight, challenging riff-work that drops through numerous tempo changes, rhythm deviations and even wholesale riff-qualities that whip and dive-bomb constantly here, it brings out a technically-complex assortment of attack here that gives this a strong variety on top of showcasing utterly pummeling work throughout here. Offering the chance to go for mid-tempo crushers loaded with chugging grooves and heavy-hitting breakdowns as in the phenomenal “The Titan, The Fighter and the Thief,” “Depression” or “Subject 666,” or searing blasts loaded with driving stuttering chords and mechanical drum-patterns full of blistering speed in highlights “Victims,” “A Morbid Institution” and “Urban Warfare,” this one tends to run the full gamut of extremity in the genre all the while utilizing utterly complex, challenging arrangements that run throughout the tracks here. The brutality of this kind of tight, raging material gives it an extra dose of extremity alongside all the technicality and varied dynamics featured within here, and overall there’s just so much to like about the attack here going.

An overall impressive and highly engaging effort here, there’s enough to work here that ends up giving this one a varied, dynamic attack that gives this plenty to like which makes this a solid choice for those who appreciate this destructive kind of death metal or fans of brutal, complex music that gets featured here. 9.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Khynn - Supersymmetry


Exiting opener: acoustic, yet haunting use of electronics build up to an explosion after the first minute. Basically one can say: Khynn stands for explosive, aggressive, yet melodic metal. The vocals vary from clean to harsh, halfway some deathgrunts are heard too!

After the volcano force of the first two songs, Tainted Impression and God in Hell, Black Circle gears back a bit, with more room for melody and a nice guitarsolo. And I must say, I love a clear and abrupt ending to a song!
Breath inside Me again shows the acoustic quality of the quartet, but now during the whole song. Female guest vocals complete the strong feel around this song.

Although Khynn is a French band, the music sounds very much inspired by American metal, some sort of metalcore mixed with deathmetal and space for more contemplative softer songs, that fit in well with the atmosphere of the whole album.

Living Time is the sort of song that could be a very good ‘rockballad’, lyrically referring to the cover of the album, with its clock with a person standing in the middle. The song is a really nice one, grabbing the listener by the throat. And just when you think it is over...the song blends beautifully into the next, the heavy Depersonalisation. The stillness of Living Time supports the heaviness of Depersonalisation.
There is a recognisable line in musical style, but some songs stand out, giving the album more depth than a ‘normal’ metal album. Shortest song A Wild Night is one of those beauties, feeding a spooky atmosphere, with haunting spoken word, supported by great background sound and some great explosions in emotion, both in sound and vocals. And here again, the way the one song ends and the next one begins is well thought about here. The softer finish of the song is actually a little interlude to the final song Into The Supersymmetry that starts with heavy guitar riffs, followed by melodic clean vocals. In my opinion this song is easily accessible for most people, maybe it could be a bit more sharp edged. The album ends with a short spoken word, grabbing back to the previous song and makes a nice ending to a nice album.

Written by Martijn Bakker

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

An Evening With Knives starts crowdfunding for new album!

Dutch band An Evening With Knives just started their crowdfunding for their new album. Read the statement of the band below.

Crowdfunding started!
We’re working up to the recordings of our first full length album, and for that, we need you!
Planning to buy the album on CD or Vinyl when it’s out?
Please do so upfront. Without you, there will not be an album..

Besides...
Everyone joining, will get a ticket to ‘Off the Record’, the live show on a secret location in Eindhoven.
All the info and options: www.aneveningwithknives.com

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Interview: The Bendal Interlude


On April 1st, The Bendal Interlude released their latest album Reign Of The Unblinking Eye. DutchMetalManiac's Frank van Drunen already reviewed it (read here) and now it's time for him to ask some questions to The Bendal Interlude.

Thanks for having this interview! For the people who haven’t heard of you yet; can you tell us a bit about yourselves? Who are you guys and what would you describe your music as?

We are Stu, Nat, Dave, Tommy. We started The Bendal Interlude 13 years ago, Valantines Day actually, pretty romantic, ey!

The music style has always been hard to place, it’s somewhere within the Stoner Metal, Sludge bracket but with Thrashy parts here and there, and slow, dynamic Psych parts thrown in.

The Bendal Interlude seems an interesting name. What is the story behind your band’s name?

Stu: Me and Dave used to look after an old lady when we worked together in the Hospitals. She had quite an affect on us but sadly died. We took Bendal from her name as a sort of tribute, and Interlude, which has a few different meanings actually fitted quite well.

You seem to have digressed a lot from your style on the first releases, with way more power, grunting and screaming on the new release. Was that a conscious decision?

Nat : Vocal-wise, it's only ever really been 2010's self titled Ep that deviated from the screamy/growly approach. I experimented with a more typical stoner delivery and a softer tone. While this seemed popular with reviewers and promoters, it never sat right with me and I find it a bit cringey to listen to. For me, the vocals aren't a lead instrument in Bendal. They are there to add extra rhythm and tone.

In the UK, a lot of vocalists (whether they be rock, hip hop etc) have a tendancy to affect an American accent as this is what they've grown up listening to. You get a lot of UK stoner vocalists sounding like they're driving a fast car through the desert whilst necking whisky and smoking a bong. Whereas, they're really sitting on a bus meandering through a labyrinth of grey whilst sipping a Rubicon and making a rollie.

You seem to fall into a peculiar kind of genre; heavy laden with melodic riffs reminiscent of American bluesrock but with a huge dose of balls-to-the-wall metal. What was the appeal for you as a band to this genre?

Stu: We’re all fans of Blues and that Southern American, NOLA thing, but were influenced by Metal mainly, as young players anyway. It’s the heavy groove from the likes of early Sepultura, White Zombie, Pantera which really did it for us. I suppose the music is a good mix of the two.

Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for the new album Reign of the Unblinking Eye?

Nat : It was a dream of Dave's (drums) to use his Yamaha 8-track tape recorder in our practice space to capture his desired drum sound. So, against the advice of engineer friends, this is what we did, and it worked a treat.

We then recorded all of the drums from the tape machine on to Logic with our friend Trippy at Toxdeth Studios. Tommy laid down his bass in one session and then waited patiently as Stu and I spent months recording our parts, moving sessions between our practice room, Toxdeth Studios and Stu's house.

Once we were happy with everything, we spent 3 days with Chris Fielding (Conan) in Skyhammer Studios editing and mixing. Then it was sent off to James Plotkin for mastering.

All in all, a fairly convoluted and lengthy process, but we're chuffed with the results.

What is on the horizon for The Bendal Interlude in the near future?

Nat: We have our first full length album coming out on 1st April through Black Bow Records. Then we head out on a UK tour with Conan for a couple of weeks, with plans to head over to mainland Europe later in the year.

Would you like to say something to our readers?

Yes. Grab yourself a copy of our album and get yourself to one of our shows. Oh, cheers for reading!

Thanks for the interview!

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Live review: My Dying Bride, Oceans Of Slumber, The Monolith Deathcult at De Neushoorn, Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, 1-4-2016

There is no more fitting place for a metal concert than ‘De Neushoorn’ (The Rhino)? Like a rhino, a good metalconcert can bash you to pieces. The Monolith Deathcult is a good one to do that!

Unfortunately the communication about the starting time was a bit weird. While my ticket said 8:20PM, I came into the concerthall quite in time, but the band was already playing.
The crowd needed to loosen up a bit still, but musically the band did great. For this evening with My Dying Bride, they put together a special ‘doom-set’. I never heard the band before, but was impressed by their brutal basslines and deep growls. A high level of technical guitar playing really lifted my appreciation for the band. A weak thing in a live performance is when you play with a background tape for the synth/computer sound. Especially with their doomsongs, the space is filled with atmosphere and there is a good combination of light and sound. Their own ‘hardcore’-sound is well received by the audience once it is warmed up.

For me a surprise, for it was not announced, there was a second support band. Texan based band Oceans of Slumber did, in my opinion, not really fit in, though it was a nice and interesting band. With a female vocalist and –my god!- three male vocalists –all playing their instruments too, though- there was enough change in vocal styles. When the band played their first song, Winter, I was almost afraid it was a pop/rock band, and, being very honest, it was a bit strange to hear a relatively ‘accessible’ metalband, after the brutal THD and before the dark MDB.
Trying not to be too sexist, singer Cammie Gilbert is in her physical appearance and movements a sensual delight to see. Yet her vocal qualities, with breathtaking lows and great medium-highs, are a superb asset to the band. Although I really like the vocals, the music is too soft, too much made to please, for my taste. An interesting final song though is their Moody Blues’ cover Nights in White Satin. When the song started I thought it strange that no-one ever thought of making a heavier version of the song, that is so fit for it. The vocals are great, but something itches: It can be a bit heavier...And then, halfway it starts. Surprising heavy riffs, but it gets a bit muddy. The album version I listen to later, has a better balance.

Then, finally, after long stage changes, it is time for My Dying Bride, A bad thing is: I have to catch my last train from the North back home, It makes me miss more than half of the concert. Honestly I do not get the planning of this concert, where the main act starts shortly before a quarter to eleven. But hey, the impression the band gives totally blows the other bands away. A few things in this performance –it is my first MDB concert- are interesting to note. First of all, most of the band members play, even in the heavier parts, very concentrated, focussed on their instruments and in a way relaxed. Only singer Aaron – the only one wearing white instead of black- and keyboard player/violinist Shaun are moving to the music, where Shaun is contagiously headbanging, and Aaron merely expressing his haunting emotions.
Another thing is that the instruments are sounding relatively clean, giving a fresh sound, making it feel like not every sound is echoing and thereby pushing away the silence. On the contrary, the stillness is allowed very much on stage, making the heavy parts feel deeper, darker, heavier. “I will sing you this song of all my pain, so listen”, a line from the beautifully performed My Body, A Funeral, basically sums up the experience of this concert. One of the biggest pains I feel is having to leave way to early, catching my train taking me southwards through the dark night filled with little hopes of spring.

Written by Martijn Bakker

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Official website Oceans Of Slumber
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Review: Suidakra - Realms Of Odoric


Being founded in 1994, Germany based Celtic metal band Suidakra is not exactly an unexperienced player in the genre. In fact, after 11 releases they have grown into one of the leading Celtic metal bands in the world, and, arguably, the number one in Germany. A status they’re trying to maintain with the release of their 12th release called ‘Realms of Odoric’, a title that might sound familiar. As to be expected from a Celtic metal band Suidakra, which has no meaning but simply is front man Arkadius Antonik’s first name backwards, finds its lyrical themes in historical facts from Celtic mythology. At least until now, because this time things are slightly different.

This time the theme is based on a fantasy world created by Kris Verwimp, a Belgian artist responsible for an impressive amount of album covers by, among others and in no particular order, Marduk, Manegarm, Ancient Rites and Arch Enemy and writer Filip Keunen, brought to life in a comic book called ‘Odoric, the wall of doom’. This collaboration is not new, it all started three years ago with an artwork/soundtrack project also called ‘Realms of Odoric’ as a result. The main focus in the soundtrack then was about what happened in the world itself, for this release they have focused on the actual characters within the world, their thoughts, feelings and personalities. To make it a ‘legit’ Suidakra album they have added a mix of melodic death metal and traditional metal in which there is plenty of room for the characteristic Celtic influences to the story lines.

‘Realms of Odoric’ clearly showcases the wealth of experience that houses within Suidakra’s members. The twelve songs give you almost 45 minutes of well-balanced music, the digipack even gives you a bonus song called ‘Remembrance’ which makes ‘Realms…’ the longest Suidakra album ever, but that song was not included in my version. There’s a little bit of everything on this album, which could easily spell disaster, but in this case it’s a big plus to be honest. Not only is every song well-composed, the composition and execution also perfectly conjure the atmosphere they need.

It all kicks off with an intro called ‘Into the realm’ that actually makes sense for a change, even though it’s not particularly original to have a dark voice express a message with a deeper meaning. The use of the pipes, played by guest musician Axel Römer are a very nice touch here, which they are throughout the entire album. Try ‘One against the tide’ for example. The songs on ‘Realms…’ are a story themselves, filled with variety in speed, vocals and atmosphere. From pretty much straightforward metal in ‘The serpent within’ to the eerie, haunting, oppressing atmosphere in ‘The hunter’s horde’, my personal favorite, there’s something new to be heard in every minute of every song.

The first half of the album clearly is the darker, more sinister part, with the scary ‘Creeping blood’ as its most prominent representative. In the second half the atmosphere feels much brighter, with the power metalesque ‘Pictish pride’ and the heavy ‘On roads to ruin’, although ‘Dark revelations’ could be considered the exception to the rule. There’s even room for a (semi-)acoustic song called ‘Braving the end’. The earlier mentioned ‘One against the tide’ is, thanks to some well-placed arrangements, an epic build up towards the soothing end called ‘Cimbric requiem’, a great diptych to end a great album.

Like I said before, Suidakra knows how to compose and play, which they show on this release. Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist/growler and front man Arkadius Antonik, drummer Lars Wehner, bass guitarist Tim Siebrecht and lead guitarist Marius "Jussi" Pesch, they’re all equally skilled in their respective roles. They effortlessly vary in speed, rhythm and atmosphere, which makes ‘Realms…’ an interesting journey, but most of all a great album. To add to the quality of their work they employed a few guests who all truly are an asset: Apart from the earlier mentioned Axel Römer on the pipes, Tina Stabel (vocals), Matthias Zimmer (vocals) and Sascha Aßbach (vocals) lend their skills to this album. The production is in the trusted hands of Martin Buchwalter, and he too did a great job. A slightly milder Suidakra delivered a highly varied, qualitatively excellent album.

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Review: Caliban - Gravity


German metalcore band Caliban recently released their 10th album, “Gravity”, and promote it as their “heaviest album ever”. Well, let’s see…

Overall, the record is an example of well-done metalcore, with the typical aggression in the songs Caliban are known for. This s already reflected in the opener “Paralyzed”: lots of variation, brutal riffs and drums and aggressive shouts mark this a strong track. Especially the chorus with the clean singing of Andreas Dörner creates a very dense atmosphere. Unfortunately, this trend is already discontinued in the next track, “Mein schwarzes Herz”. Starting off rather brutal, it then drifts off into pure kitsch. This is due to the lyrics, but definitely aggravated by the female background vocals. Weird. Fortunately, in my opinion, this is the only major failure on the entire record. The remainder of songs is mostly on the brutal side, such as “Walk alone”, “Who am I” and “For we are forever”, the latter being the strongest track on the entire album, due to awesome chants by Andreas Dörner and guitar riffs. The album in general has a wider range of emotions, also reflected by the powerballad “brOKen”, or the emotional chorus on “Hurricane”.

In conclusion: “Gravity” is a very good album, which will especially persuade fans of metalcore. The band’s statement that this would be their heaviest record ever is not entirely true in my opinion, as it’s both in intensity and style very similar to “Ghost Empire” – a piece of work with the trademark Caliban written over it. Nothing new for these German guys, but it will satisfy any Caliban-fan and is definitely worth listening to, so give it a shot! 8/10.

Written by Julia Obenauer

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Review: Awake The Sun - The Barren Sleep


Awake The Sun is a new band from Italy formed in 2010.

Playing a unique and unusual mix of prog/doom they distance themselves from the majority of today's released music. According to the band “The Barren Sleep” is an EP but at 45' it's one of the longest EPs I've ever heard!

Their music is mostly mid tempo oriented but due to complex structures the interest remains high through the entire listening session.

The elegant use of keyboards and samples is a big plus to the album since it enhances its atmosphere without taking control. I always appreciate when a band has the know how to introduce various elements to their sound in order to embellish it but without changing their essence because in the bottom line this is a metal band we're talking about.

Must also emphasize on the awesome musicianship of Awake the Sun's and especially on the killer performance of drummer Christian Luise aka Xenos. His aggressive and complex drumming is full of rhythm changes and killer fills.

The vocals of Nicola Mel are somewhat unusual. Distancing himself from the majority of high pitched singers (Italy's trademark for years) he focuses mostly on the mid range and gives an solid performance. Actually I was quite surprised by his approach since he brought to mind the vocals from Teramaze. While he sings cleanly throughout the album there is an eerie feeling of just being a step away from screaming and growling his head off.

My only complain for this album is the lack of memorable (or catchy) moments but this is more or less somewhat common on progressive groups and it all boils down on the band's personal preferences.

In conclusion Awake The Sun have released a very nice album that requires a lot of attention from the listener's part. People that are into “easy” music keep away as for the ones who're bold enough, they'll be rewarded!

Written by Manos Xanthakis

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Review: Lucifericon - Brimstone Altar EP


Lucifericon is a occult death metal band from the Netherlands. In 2012 they released a very cool 5 track EP called “The Occult Waters.” I have seen this band live in 2015 (and they were amazing), but apart from that I have not heard from the band for some time. Up until now!

Lucifericon is back with a brand new EP called: Brimstone Altar. It is a three song EP and the last song (Witch of the Cosmic Grave) is over 11 minutes! Lucifericon reminds me most of the old Morbid Angel in the “Blessed are the Sick” era. It is all dark, evil en grimness here. The obscure artwork and production contribute to this atmosphere as well. With (ex)members of Destroyer 666 and Pentacle you can’t go wrong either.

This is a high quality EP and a must have for worshipers of blackened death metal, the old school way….

Tracks: Brimstone Altar/ The Jaws of Time / Witch of the Cosmic Grave

Label: Blood Harvest Records

Release date: 2nd of May 2016

Written by Remco Kreft

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Review: Minotaur - Beast Of Nations


Ah Minotaur. What is there to tell about this band that probably hasn't been said a thousand times before. Started in 1983 as part of the Teutonic thrash movement. Released a few demo's and ep's and ultimately got overtaken by the more famous German thrash acts Kreator, Sodom and Destruction. Faded into relative obscurity with the exception of a group of Die Hard fans.

Now, 7 years after their last full length "God May Show You Mercy...We Will Not" they are back with a new mini album containing 4 new tracks clocking in at around 15 minutes in total. Personally I find that in 6 years it should've been possible to come up with more material. But I will judge this record based upon that which is presented.

For those of you that haven't heard of Minotaur before. Minotaur plays thrash in the German sense of the word. So less melodic then most American acts. More in the vein of old Sodom, Destruction and especially Kreator. Fans of the genre will recognize a Mille Petrozza like quality in Andi Richwien's vocals. According to Minotaurs bio they "avoid innovation like the plague". After listening to the tracks a couple of times I can only agree. I can also only say this is a good thing.

Opener 27 dead (with guest solo by Wes Rhodes of Dekapitator fame) immediately blasts out of your speakers at full speed and has your head banging from the get go. The song blends fast parts with the occasional groovy riff that avoids the song getting stale. Most of this song (and indeed most of the album) is fast though.

The next track Beast of Nations is even faster and has that typical German "thrash that is slightly black metal in its riffing and insane tempo's" style that we all love. It is here that we truly see what the band is capable of. It's amazing how 3 people can create such a wall of sound. The heavy but crisp production only enhances that.

Standout track for me is the next track Ignite Me that makes me windmill and air guitar every single time I listen to it. The mid tempo ending only enhances the power of the track.

Closing track Skipping the Sin starts with a punk inspired guitar riff and thrashes away at high tempo before once again plodding along in a heavy mid tempo groove. This feels like the least song on the album though I couldn't tell you why. It just doesn't grip me or hold up well against the other 3 tracks. The abrupt ending doesn't help in that at all.

All in all I can understand why Minotaur never made it as big as their fellow countrymen. Though I am a great fan of the band and genuinely wish they had made it I can understand why they haven't. Their music, whilst perfect for what they do just doesn't seem distinctive enough to please the more casual metal listener or the ones that aren't big thrash fans. In other words, Minotaur probably hasn't got as much crossover appeal with death and black metal fans as the Teutonic big 3 have. I would love nothing more than to give this album an outrageously high score. Realistically though I can't. Once again this album. Whilst definitely enjoyable will probably do nothing to enhance their career. And that's sad. As this is a great record. I will definitely blast this one a lot over the next couple of years. If you are a fan of unrelenting thrash. I advise you to do the same. Also, an extra point for the amazingly fitting artwork of Phil Lawvere.

Score: 81/100

1. "27 Dead"
2. "Beast of Nations"
3. "Ignite Me"
4. "Skipping the Sin

Written by Doctor Chris

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Review: Raging Speedhorn/Monster Magnet - split


For this record, the UK based sludge machine Raging Speedhorn has teamed up with US stoner legends Monster Magnet to produce a desertfest exclusive split EP.

The bad news is, it'll only be limited to 300 pressings, so I'd suggest getting it while it lasts!

Raging Speedhorn - Halfway To Hell

The song kicks in immediately after the bass line, smashing your brain all at once. Vocals remind me of Toxic Holocaust.

Really like how the main guitar is muted and fuzzy while harmonized with a guitar that sounds cleaner and more open (or is it the higher notes that make it sound cleaner?)

The breakdown goes nice and slow, before kicking into overdrive with the vocals a bit more on the background so you can hear the heaviness of the riff. Nice song to steal a car to!

Monster Magnet - Hallucination Bomb

Starts off slow with contrasting heavy bass lines, distorted guitar riffs, drum that seems to walk behind and clean vocals.

Halfway during the intro the vocals get harsher.

The pre-solo sounds like driving alone through a desert in the late morning after a good night sleep in the car that you stole during the previous song.

When the main solo kicks in, your car is driving a nice 100 to the sweet sound of the guitar, with nothing but road ahead of you.

After the solo is a nice breakdown, that reminds you of your car running out of gas.

Overall, I'd recommend this record to all fans of stoner, sludge, and desert rock/metal, and I hope you guys won't literally go out to steal a car, I was just using metaphors to describe the feel of the music.

Written by Gijs de Wolff

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Review: Van Halst - World Of Make Believe


Van Halst is a metalband from Canada with the genre: hardrock/metal with goth rock influences. This is their debut album released on March 4th.

The albums start off with the track "The End", this song starts slowly with some drums, then kicks in with some fast paced drums and guitar riffs. You start headbanging right away, then the rhythm starts in that picks your attention to keep listening. The chorus "Stand Up" is easy to sing along with. The song "Save Me" was earlier available to the listeners. It is a song that let you hear all kind of different riffs, sing-a-long parts and very catchy vocals. "World Of Make Believe" is a song that talks about wanting to live in a world where everyone is equal in all measures. The song "Put Him Down" is like a blues song, but with heavy tones to it. This is a great song if you like strong vocals and guitar solos. This debut album ends with the track "Perfect Storm" you should think they would end it with a title as "Start", but that is not the case. This is a song that you can hear the true nature of her voice, very clean high and beautiful. The piano makes it all flow from begin to end.

This is a must have album for all hardrock, gothic and metal listeners/fans. This is a perfect debut album. This band has some great potential to grow worldwide if they keep it up like this.

Tracklist:
1. The End
2. Save Me
3. Ryan’s Song
4. World of Make Believe
5. Questions
6. Denying Eyes
7. Monster
8. Plastic Smile
9. Put Him Down
10. Perfect Storm

Written by Nathasja Voerman

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Live review: Reckless Love, Santa Cruz at Doornroosje, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 30-3-2016

Reckless Love just released their latest album InVader and while they play this show on a wednesday evening it felt like it was already weekend. The whole day the sun was shining, temperature was nice and it was a perfect evening for some glam metal, because we are the weekend!

On this evening their tour with special guest Santa Cruz strikes down to Doornroosje, Nijmegen.

Before the first band, Santa Cruz, started, the venue was already open for 45 minutes, so time enough to find a nice spot. While the concert wasn't sold out, the front part of the venue was quickly filled. When you needed some more space you could easily find that spot some more in the back.

At some moment, the background music faded out, lights turned off and you could almost feel the tension in the audience rising. The Pirates Of The Caribbean theme started and Santa Cruz came on stage. Right from the start they blew the audience away and at the first song there was already a circle pit! Santa Cruz' show was very close to perfect. You can see that the guys themselves are very well enjoying the show, while they also play their instruments very nicely. Only thing that could be better, was that on the first two songs the drums were a bit to heavy compared to the rest of the band, which made the vocals difficult to understand.

First band did a nearly perfect show, so that was a nice warm up and a good sign for the rest of the evening.

The rest of evening was in the hands of Reckless Love and, hell yeah, Santa Cruz' show was indeed the good sign for this evening, because Reckless Love played a perfect show. When the band around Olli Herman came on stage, the crowd gone crazy. They played songs from their latest, just released, album InVader as well as older songs as Beautiful Bomb, Back To Paradise and slower song Edge Of Our Dreams. What an energy was coming from this band! They played their show very nice and you could see that everybody, the band as well as most of the crowd, were very well enjoying. The show was perfect and, personally, I hope to see Reckless Love play more shows in The Netherlands in the future, because I would love to go to their shows for many more times.

Overall, as said in the beginning of this live review, it was indeed a perfect evening for some glam metal. An perfect evening for some perfect glam metal shows, which succeeded for 100%. This wednesday evening there were two amazing bands on stage in Doornroosje and they both played a perfect show.

Perfectly done, Santa Cruz and Reckless Love!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

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Review: Mortiis - The Great Deceiver


Mortiis…remember, the odd guy, with the bog crooked nose and pointy ears? The guy who used to make atmospherical music, sort of classical, sort of sound-track like. After 2001 the style changed to a more electronic industrial style and this developed over time. The Great Deceiver sounds a lot like ‘Marilyn Manson meets Nine Inch Nails’. The industrial style, screeching vocals, rock guitar. If it were not for the fascinating image that Mortiis created around himself, the album would not be of great interest.

The album starts in an ugly way, which reminds me of teenagers wanting to express their anger. The lyrics of The Great Leap seem to be merely around the theme ‘how do I include as much the word ‘fucker’ in one song?’.
If you get past this song you will find that after this great leap, the album is quite alright. The Ugly Truth has a nice song structure and Demons Are Back is a really catchy, yet still industrialised song.

Hard To Believe and Road To Ruin have a classical grunge build up, which gives space for the clean voice of the singer. Listening to the songs I cannot overcome the feeling of listening to Babylon Zoo, though.

The Shining Lamp of God is a typical Marilyn Manson song, aggressive and fast. Followed by Sins of Mine, a relaxed song, giving space for a gasp of breath after so much aggression.

Next to last song Feed the Greed not only has a great title, it also has a nice way of building up tension layer after layer.
Album closure Too Little Too Late has some new elements in the song, rocky, electronic even some dance floor rhythms.

So what can one say about the album? Mortiis as an artist is an interesting one. You never know what he will look like and whether or not the style will change. This time he stayed close to what is already known, an aggressive industrial style, with rock elements. The label states it is one of the more accessible albums.. The style can be heard in Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson albums, and in that way it does not contribute largely to an amazing new interpretation of this sort of music. More variation would do the album some good, but all in all, it stands like a rock.

Written by Martijn Bakker

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Review: Caecus - Affliction


This is one of the shortest EP's I have heard or reviewed in my life, but even despite the EP's length it doesn't lack in brutality or intricateness of the riffs. The overall sound of the EP is more inclined towards the black metal school of recording, not the best kind of quality but it didn't take away from the greatness of the EP.

The guitar work is absolutely solid and more going towards the brutal death metal sound of Suffocation, but when combined it does really go into the territory of Dying Fetus. The drums are solid, the only thing that got my attention is the snare drum. It really does grind through the mix and pulls into a grindcore sounding snares with high volumes and straight through clear sound. The bass isn't really audible, but since the guitars has a lot of compression that may be the reason the bass can't be heard. The vocals are also a great addiction, but like the other instruments it does have a bit too much of compression and you can’t really understand what the vocalist is singing.

Overall this EP can make a great future for this band, if they can make a album like this with a little more attention to the recording quality, and I give this EP 7/10.

Written by Nikola Milošević

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Review: Artillery - Penalty By Perception


Formed in the small Copenhagen suburb of Taastrup in 1982, Danish thrash heroes Artillery has stood strong in the scene despite several set-backs and break-ups over the years. Coming back with a vengeance in 2007, their fourth in that span and seventh full-length overall is as strong and effective as they were back in the heyday during their assaults in the late-80s.

Continuing on the theme from their last album which introduced their new singer, this material is much in that same manner of utterly pummeling thrash rhythms and crushing drumming barreling along through engaging up-tempo work-outs that can maneuver through a strong variety of tempo change-ups due to the incredibly strong riff-work at the forefront of the record. Being able to drive through tracks with an intense speed-driven straightforward thrashers like “In Defiance of Conformity,” “Mercy of Ignorance” and “Rites of War” or more melodic mid-paced efforts that contain a fair amount of toughened churning riff-work alongside the power-metal accented flairs in place throughout as in tracks “Live by the Scythe,” “Sin of Innocence” and “Deity Machine,” this a rather intriguing amount of variety makes for a wholly engaging dynamic throughout here. It readily thrashes when necessary, eases off into the mid-tempo when appropriate and offers the kind of melodic tendencies that don’t diminish the full-scale blistering tempos featured. Surely, the ballad “When the Magic is Gone” might not be for everyone’s personal tastes and it can seem to drone on a little too long at times but it still holds up well enough overall.

Certainly well on-par with many of their more fruitful and explosive efforts of the past even if this one doesn’t overwhelm like their true knock-out efforts did, this is still prime-era thrash at its greatest done by an entity around at the birth of it all which makes this one welcome enough for any raging thrash aficionado or fans of classics old-school metal. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Rising - Oceans Into The Graves


Today I’ll be covering an upcoming release from the quite unknown Danish sludge/groove band ‘’Rising’’. Their new album is due at the end of April, but you can already find their first single off the 10 track album, which is named ‘’Old Jealousy’’. This is the band’s 2nd full-length since their formation in 2008, and to those of you who know them, you’re either gonna love this or hate this. For those of you who don’t, I suggest you look up some of their older work before or after you hear this, the difference is very distinct.

Personally, I’m not really a fan of this particular album ( I do dig their previous releases ). I was unpleasantly surprised by clean vocals, but this is really something you’ll have to compare to earlier work from ‘’Abominor’’ (2013) or ‘’To Solemn Ash’’ (2011). Rising used to have pretty good grunting. It wasn’t something new, but it was raw and in your face, as the instrumental part has always been, but now they have switched to a clean, pretty dramatic, almost power-metal like vocal sound, and I for one am not very excited about it.

The album opener is called ‘’All Dirt’’ and first thing I notice is that it’s not very fast, like I’m used to. It’s actually quite slow and boring to my taste. The sound still hits like a truck, but for some reason, I just think the guitars could’ve sounded better. Unfortunately for me, this feeling persisted throughout the entire album. The second track, ‘’Burn Me Black’’ wasn’t that bad though. There was no difference in sound instrumentally, but they picked up the pace and this was actually one out of 3 songs that worked, for my taste. The vocals in this song really fitted the music, but at this point, I’m still having trouble adapting to the new style. Next up is their single ‘’Old Jealousy’’, which in my opinion is the second best on the album, which is a very energetic song, with an entirely different mood to it. The pace is still quickening, the vocals are getting a bit darker, as well as the vibe that the music is giving off. There are some really good instrumental parts that show that these guys are not just another bland group of musicians. The last song I didn’t think was just ‘’mehhh’’ was ‘’Coward Heart’’, but it didn’t add any more spice to the mix, if you ask me. To me, most of the album just sounded the same, which I find a shame. But, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or in this case listener. They have some neat work, if you want to find out what the rest of the tracks are like, make sure to give it a spin, as well as their old work. ( ‘’Vengeance is Timeless’’ is a really good one to begin with ).

It is with a heavy heart that I have to rate this album a 5/10. I’m still interested to see what happens next, though.

Written by Nino Milillo

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