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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: Atlases - Penumbra

Atlases is a self-proclaimed modern post-metal band hailing from Pori, Finland, which was founded in 2017 by Oceanwake-guitarist/vocalist Ville-Veiko Laaksonen. The new material Ville-Veiko had written for Oceanwake turned into a project and not much later Atlases was born, resulting in Ville-Veiko’s departure from Oceanwake. Now, not much later, Atlases is a full-blown band with a line-up of five, consisting of Jamppa Lamminpää as vocalist, Nico Brander on guitar, Jerkka Perälä on bass, Rami Peltola on drums and of course Ville-Veikko Laaksonen on guitar. Although it is commonly accepted that patience is a virtue, the guys either disagree with this or don’t care, because before a year has passed they have released their first work, an EP called Penumbra. Considering the somewhat vague story of the birth of Atlases one would expect the music to be largely different from Oceanwake’s music, but the opposite is true. Music-wise the two bands are not far apart at all, making me wonder why Ville-Veiko decided to start with Atlases.

Anyway, as interesting a story that could be, this review is not about the emergence of Atlases but about their music, so I better get to that. They are not much of a help here, because the EP takes off with An Era We’ll Bury, which of course might very well be an innocent coincidence, but still is a striking title. All this is quickly set aside though, when the song starts, immediately shifting my focus to the tunes which, as turns out after hearing the entire release, are a perfect example of what Atlases stands for music-wise. The post-metal influences are obvious, yet the term doesn’t quite cover it. The clever use of soundscapes adds a subtle, yet unmistakable atmosphere of melancholy in the music, giving it a somewhat mysterious, ominous feel without sounding too desolate. The lingering, at times double, two-toned grunts augment this feeling, moving Atlases’ music to a darker corner of the post-metal genre. There’s no thumping riffs, no screaming solos, no thundering rhythm section. No, what Atlases presents is atmospheric, thoughtful, almost cautious metal music, which is remarkably relaxing despite the earlier mentioned ominousness.

To me, due to various reasons, the second song of any release is an important factor when it comes to judging path and quality of said release. On Penumbra this rather ungrateful task falls to A Passage Through Nebula and right from the bat it’s clear that Atlases continues where they had left off with An Era We’ll Bury. A Passage Through Nebula also offers a very determinative atmospheric aspect, perhaps even more so due to the use of clean vocals next to the grunts and the more distinct use of soundscapes that are woven around the alternately relaxed and raw rhythm. Hamartia, even though more or less the resting point of this release, is built around the same concept, in fact all songs more or less are. Despite them starting relatively calm, sometimes even serene, every single song eventually ignites into a more unpolished, less smooth rhythm, only to fade back into the peace and calm from earlier. This may sound as a recipe for monotony, but that is definitely not the case here. The guys have put enough variety, fire and heaviness in both rhythm and song structure to avoid that pitfall. Try Shards Of Broken Light, the most heavy piece on Penumbra, for size. Needless to say the term ‘heavy’ must be seen within perspective of course, you have to keep in mind you are listening to a post metal oriented band.

Having heard Penumbra I must say Atlases, despite being a new band, already seems to have found the style of music that fits them like the proverbial glove. The dark, melancholic atmosphere they have added to their solid and varied post-metal gives their music an elusive touch that is both intriguing and compelling. The composition and structure of the songs, the execution of the various instrument- and vocal lines, it all comes together. In addition Ville-Veiko managed to sweep some quality musicians together who seem to understand each other completely, one could be forgiven for assuming this is a band that has been around for quite some time. For all to enjoy, especially if you’re into atmospheric metal music. Make yourself comfortable, put this release on and you’ll enjoy a great thirty minutes with this musical experience. Time well spent.

Written by Henric van Essen

Atlases Facebook

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review: Klogr - Keystone

After two full-length albums (Till You Decay (2011) and Black Snow (2014)) and two EP's (Till You Turn (2013) and Make Your Stand (2015)), alternative metallers Klogr released their new full-length on October 6th. Klogr's lineup is vocalist/guitarist Gabriele "Rusty" Rustichelli, guitarist Pietro Quilichini "PQ", drummer Maicol Morgotti and bassist Roberto Galli.

People who only like the heavier metal subgenres will probably not like the music Klogr plays on Keystone. However, people who sometimes also appreciate less extreme music would probably really enjoy this album. Whether you want to call Klogr's music on Keystone alternative metal or heavy rock, it surely is worth listening to. Keystone contains a lot of melody, sometimes it sounds even a bit catchy, but definitely not too catchy. The guitar has a great role on Keystone and there are several nice solo's to be heard. Klogr plays their music really tight. Sometimes, there's some more room for drummer Maicol and bassist Roberto so they can show their skills, for example in Pride Before The Fall and Something's In The Air. This, in combination with the awesome vocals and the always present guitars, sounds really cool. Klogr also has some tracks on Keystone which are a bit heavier, such as Technocracy and Silent Witness. The interlude Siren's Song seems a bit misplaced and unnecessary initially, but when this flows into the quiet start of follow-up Dark Tides it becomes clear that it's perfectly placed and makes you focus even more on Dark Tides. Klogr's biggest power is, besides the awesome guitars, the combination of heavy parts and melodic parts within the tracks. A perfect example of this is the earlier mentioned track Dark Tides.

Whether you dig the heavier rock or the less extreme metal, Keystone by alternative metallers Klogr is definitely something I recommend.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Klogr Official Website
Klogr Facebook
Klogr Twitter

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Interview: Kobra and the Lotus

In May, Canadian metallers Kobra and the Lotus released the first part of their Prevail double album, Prevail I. DutchMetalManiac's Glenn van der Heijden already reviewed it here, now he and Tim van Velthuysen spoke with frontwoman Kobra Paige before their show in Merleyn, Nijmegen.

Hey Kobra, are you looking forward to tonight's show?

I am very much looking forward to the show. I think this is actually our favorite show of the whole tour.

Why is that?

Because we have some very dedicated supporters in The Netherlands. No matter what the size of the show is, it's going to be a very passionate group of people. I really value everyone that supported us and they show their appreciation for live music as well. They've done some exceptional things. One woman is running Kobra and the Lotus Netherlands and she's just putting in extra effort for no reason other than passion and love for our music to help us along. I am very excited to see many people tonight. There is also a radio-station that's been with us since 2012, K-Rock and they've been exceptional to us. Paul Torch and Ani are wonderful people. I am excited and every time we played in The Netherlands was amazing.

That's great to hear. Prevail I is the first album on Napalm Records. Why did you choose Napalm Records?

Actually it was really the best option for us and they couldn't have been better people for what we needed in this moment with Prevail I and Prevail II, which is coming next year. Napalm Records is still growing quite a bit. They are full of younger people that still have the fire to push and work for their bands and want the best for people. Which is not among all the labels, especially at bigger labels you get really lost in the shuffle.

You experienced that yourself?

Yeah, our first signing was with Universal Music in Canada which was a pretty big deal. As soon as they really figured out that it was not a race so much, it's more of a marathon with a metal band, it became really hard to get any help or any of the basics that you really need from a label. Napalm Records is providing everything we really need as a growing band, they're providing their network and their community.

Do you think it's hard because you're making metal to present the band? Is it harder than when making pop music?

Yeah, it's a completely different thing. With metal you never know if you break even. Success is measured with something else, you've got to really love what you're doing. We still consider ourselves to have a really long way to go. With pop it can change really quickly, but the fans are also different. Things can fade in pop, but people who stand by your side in metal are always there. They're very dedicated, which is amazing.

Next year Prevail II is coming out, what can we expect? Is there a difference between Prevail I and Prevail II?

Prevail I and II have a really even balance of all the music we've created before mixed with this kind of new sound we're bringing in. We're updating our sound a little bit. I really want to keep our authentic roots to metal, but I also don't want to be traditional metal as before. We've fallen into that sometimes. We really worked hard to make it more our sound and reflecting our generation as well. I think we accomplished it.

I listened to Prevail I and the first thing coming to my mind was "they're unique". I liked it very much.

Thank you, that's wonderful. It's the best thing we could hear.
Prevail II is also going to be hardrock and heavy metal, even balanced.

In your music there seems to be a message about suicide prevention, how does Kobra and the Lotus' music relate to that?

Well, for me a big deal in the lyrical content is the intention behind the messages. On these albums they're very clear. They're more vulnerable, clear messages that people can take for their selves in situations. It's also from my heart, my everything is on my sleeve. I just think that our world is lacking a lot of compassion, especially when it comes to mental illness, depression and anxiety. People that I spoke to experienced these things or are still experiencing them. Suicide is actually scary, because it's happening so much now and there are also people who think about it and we'll never know that they are not okay. They'll never tell anyone that they are not okay, no one will know, they go on thinking that nothing's worth it anymore or that the world is better without them. It's very sad, I wanted some light to really be shed at this area. We can also feel some support with our music for people who don't have that support in their life, it's something so they know that there are people who really care about it. It can also help for people who have people close in their life dealing with these things. There are also some people in my life dealing with this, I just feel really awful for them. These are things beyond our control, as you know. You didn't choose to have these things in your life. More people need to be aware about this.

I come from a loving family, that's the basis that many people don't have.

That's wonderful and so true.

In what way do you think music can help these people?

Because music is the only language in the world that everybody understands. It's universal, a gift.

You worked with Jacob Hansen for Prevail I. How was working with him?

It was awesome. Jacob was another new experience, he works completely different than the other producers we've worked with. He was a really a key player in helping open our minds around how we wanted to introduce new elements into our sound and also build a platform for what that was. He really helped us moving forward. He isn't a songwriter which is interesting, our other producers have been songwriters as well. Jacob was really like a visionary from the outside. For instance, he said let's introduce this key change to freshen up the sound and I was horrified because it was not ready for my vocals. Probably in the future we won't write some songs in those keys, but we learned to write in a different way. I had to use my voice in areas I didn't think I could. It was amazing, it made us all grow, so challenging.

So he enabled you to grow?

Yes, he did, he pushed us.

What would a world without music be for you?

We might not exist. I think a world without music would be completely chaotic and in destruction. It couldn't be, it's hard to imagine.

I understand, when you are feeling down or something, music is always there.

Yeah, it's always there.

What do you have with Batman? The first track is called Gotham, so I had to ask.

Batman is part of most kids' childhood in some way and I think that Arkham City, all the bad things and people who try to be good but have to fight this line of demons in Gotham is pretty much a parallel to reality. I thought this is perfect, this is what happening to me and this way we bring nostalgia into it.

The series is also nice.

Yeah, they're pretty good. They got better I think. I love Bruce, he always has to make choices and he is trying to be a good guy, but sometimes he is in this grey area where he is trying so hard to be good, but life circumstances are putting him in those tough places, that's interesting.

We all feel like that sometimes. Can you tell me a bit about the plans after Prevail II?

Our plan after Prevail II is basically to tour. We have a lot of music to get around. Even Prevail I has so much more touring to do, once Prevail II is out I feel like we have probably a couple of years of touring. In those couple of years we will do something fun.

You like touring very much?

We are still not touring all the time in busses and this is the first year in almost ten years of me being on the road that I've someone helping with merchandising stuff. It's a really hard lifestyle, it was really fun for the first 8 years. The last two years are harder, as I've gotten older. I am almost 30, but I started doing band tours since I was 18. Driving shitty-ass vans across the country, sleeping on floors in sleep bags, I've been slugging it out for a while. Now, the shows are what makes it worth for me, but I don't enjoy the movement and the exhaustion anymore as much. When we're on a bus I enjoy touring, but that's not all the time. Like now, we're sleep deprived for three weeks, it's brutal.

I can imagine that it is pretty brutal sometimes.

It can change with the band's ability to finance things. If you're on a bus tour and you've some crew helping you, it makes a world of difference. I think I would feel a little happier. When we are doing this now, while we are driving we are sitting out for like twelve hours, sleeping four hours, setting up everything. It's hard to enjoy that for me anymore.

When you're telling me this, than why are you doing it? In The Netherlands we have a pop-singer, called Anouk, who says she's only going to tour when she need money.

This band has never made money, I am still waiting for the day we break even. The reason I am still doing this is that my intention never changed. I love the shows and I love how music connects people, I am just addicted to that. Seeing how it brings all these people together is a wonderful thing, which I think is necessary in this world. I feel privileged to be a small piece of that.

We feel privileged that you bring that to us, because I think people with such a dedication as yours is a rarity. We have a very angry world right now and there need to be people who make it a little bit lighter.

We do have a angry world and I think so too. Everyone together makes this all happen, it's kind of a necessary working machine. I am really grateful to everyone in art in the art of music general.

Is there something you would like to tell our readers?

I just want to say thank you all for your support and your love along the way. I feel so grateful for everything that's happening in my life and with this music. Check out our new album, Prevail II, when it comes out, which is on May 11, 2018. It's going to be very exciting to release another round of new music. We are going to tour in 2018 through Europe, if anyone is around there, come on out. I want to do a shout out to our manager, because she doesn't get thanked that often. She is an exceptional person, who does everything for free and works her ass off. I want to give her a little love.

She sounds like a wonderful person, what's her name?

She's very generous, her name is Susan Bullen.

What do you expect from tonight's show?

Usually it's best to have no expectations, but I think it's going to be awesome. I see the excitement about it, which makes me excited. I can't wait to see everyone.

Are you a different person on stage than you're right now?

I think I am the same person, I really care, but a lot more. Passion is coming out, someone told me they loved the aggressive energy and I thought it was funny because I don't feel like a very aggressive person. I am a Libra on the scale side, that's pretty much what I am. I have a very passionate heart, it all gets unleashed on stage. It's going to be a very high energy impact.

Are you nervous right before you go on stage?

Sometimes I still am very nervous, then I have butterflies and when we already can hear people I get even more nervous.

What's the reward after the show?

For me, the reward is seeing people smiling. If people are smiling we did something right. I always like to talk to people and just see what they're feeling. That's a massive reward.

You always try to be at your best?

Yes, I think that everything I have inside me always comes out at the show. It doesn't matter how many people are going to be there, it will be the same every time. People deserve that.

You also deserve the recognition. How do you see yourself in the future?

I don't know, I hope the band keeps growing, so we can keep doing this, because I am not ready to stop. I know I'll definitely be a mom, I am that kind of woman. There will be kids at some point, not now obviously. There is no room for that in our schedule, it has to fit somehow without compromising our lives.

So even with kids you won't give up making music?

No way, I'll find a way for that. Maybe we will start a family band. My boyfriend also sings, so we actually might end up doing that.

Your boyfriend shares the same passion?

He does. It's really nice and the biggest part of it is that you can trust each other. It's hard to understand if you aren't doing the same thing. You are not with each other that much. I would love to be with him more, but we are both doing our own things and I am used to this at this point.

Does he also makes metal music?

He does, he makes progressive metal. He was in The Netherlands recently, singing in Ayreon's Universe show, Tommy Karevik.

He's amazing, I was there.

I was there every night, so I probably passed you. Those were great shows, the visuals were amazing.

Arjen Lucassen is really a mastermind.

Yeah, he is. Joost van den Broek as well. Actually Arjen's girlfriend is very creative, she came with most of the visuals apparently. There are a lot of creative people in this country.

*Kobra points at Tim's Judas Priest t-shirt and says "cool shirt!"*

Yeah, you saw a Judas Priest concert and you thought "this is what I want to do", right?

Yeah, that's exactly what happened. My dad took me and it changed my world. It was everything, the music, the way my boys would fit into it. That moment really sets me on this course.

In 2015, we went to a Judas Priest concert (check our live review here) and Rob Halford can still sing great!

Hell yeah, he is definitely one of those guys who is taking care of his voice. He has a really good vocal technique. Besides that he sounds good, he is also really taking care of it.

He always want to be the best he can be.

And he is, he is the queen of metal!

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

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Review: Arisen From Nothing - Broken

Ready for a heavy load of groove metal?

One year after their forming in 2008, Arisen From Nothing already released their debut EP. Their debut full-length, called Prototype came out in 2010. Prototype was followed by In Nothing We Trust, released in 2012. Since September, this Seattle based metalband has released some new material, an EP called Broken. Arisen From Nothing's lineup is guitar-combo Troy Elmore/Steven Pontius, bassist Eric Hanson, drummer Brandon Fuller and vocalist Jessie Brigham, with Brandon and Jessie being the newest Arisen From Nothing members.

With Broken, Arisen From Nothing gives us five new tracks with an total length of 20 minutes. So, this will be a very short release. Do we think that's a problem, or not? Let's find out!

The quiet intro of opener Chaos sounds far from chaos, but when the guitar kicks in for the first time it is clear that this is some very energetic music. It won't be chaos nor as quiet as the intro suggests. The tight guitar riffs combined with the pounding drums give us heavy, grooving metal. In addition to the tight guitarwork, there is also room for some deviant guitarrifs or a solo, for example in American Patriot. The heavy vocals of vocalist Jessie Brigham sounds perfect combined with this energetic, powerful music. His vocals vary from clean to a bit rawer, with the power and the passion being in his voice in both situations.

With Born Hated, the last track on this EP, Arisen From Nothing go fully insane one last time. All energy that was left (even more!) is thrown in this track. That's why Born Hated is the heaviest track on Broken and it’s a perfect closing track.

What stands out on Broken is the variation between very heavy parts and more melodic parts, vocal-wise as well as instrumental-wise. This is what makes Broken a very strong release and what will keep your attention at Broken.

With Broken, Arisen From Nothing released a very heavy, nice EP. To get back on Broken being 20 minutes and whether it's a problem or not: I clearly say yes, it would be nice if Broken had a longer length. Highly recommended for sure!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Arisen From Nothing Official Website
Arisen From Nothing Facebook
Arisen From Nothing Twitter

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Live review: Dream Theater at Sony Center, Toronto, ON, Canada, November 12th, 2017

To rock, perchance to dream….

This would be my first time seeing Dream Theater and this was no less than an emotional, visual and senses assault on me and everyone in the packed house at the Sony Center for the Performing Arts in Toronto, ON Canada. A massive elegant stadium with sweeping arches and perfect, sloped everyone-can-see seating, it was a perfect venue to see an equally classy band of this stature.

The pre-concert recorded jive was a hilarious mish mash of progressive humour and when the lights exploded, everyone was on their feet…until the end of the near 3 hour spectacle before us.

Killer tracks such as The Dark Eternal Night, The Bigger Picture and To Live Forever, As I Am (with a Metallica snippet of Enter Sandman) were greeted with thunderous cheers and I was greeted with a secondary act of apparently Dream Theater’s #1 fan beside me, screaming every word, of every song every minute every second. Somewhere in the utterly clean flowing music my ear caught a bit piece of Rush’s Xanadu! The Jaco Pastorius bass cover of Portrait of Tracy by bassist technico John Myung was superb.

Lead vocalist supremo, James Labrie’s audience banter was great, punctuated with roaring appreciation when he mentioned his Canadian heritage and raucous laughter when a front row fan threw an item onstage and Labrie cut his talk with a jokingly well placed, “don’t throw things on stage , I’ll hit you man...” Once he saw it was a Canadian flag, he showed an appreciation and then placed it on batterie extraordinaire Mike Mangini’s kit, where he was met with a hilarious "don’t put that on here man.”

The show continued for at least 1 hour 10 minutes until Intermission.

“Act 2” was Images and Words in its entirety, my favourite album (besides Octavarium) plus some of the most stunning imagery and lighting I have ever seen. I was with people who do not listen to or have ever been to Dream Theater and they were constantly amazed at the energy, power and heart in every ounce of their performance. During more audience banter, remarking on their earlier days and being in New Orleans once for…FIVE people, someone told them that "if you guys were paid by the note, you’d be millionaires.” Huge audience applause here; I believe it; I don’t know how they keep all that straight.

Take the Time with guitarist eccelente John Petrucci’s extended solo, Metropolis Pt. 1 The Miracle, The Sleeper with technical percussion proficiency par excellence and probably, not a mistake made, with Mike Mangini, the keyboard solo intro at Wait for Sleep by super-super ivory-ticker Jordan Rudess rousted continual applause every time. And what WAS that portable keyboard? Outstanding!

Not sparing us at all or themselves came an encore of another entire album, A Change of Seasons. My colleagues were weary, some of the audience was barely conscious, fewer hands in the air now, some people leaving…. It was an incredible ears-ringing-after-2-days experience; no one can ever say you do not get your money’s worth here both in quantity and quality.

50/10 Just…because.

Written by Alessandro

Dream Theater Official Website
Dream Theater Facebook
Dream Theater Twitter

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Live review: Damn Pigeon, A Rebel Few at Back Alley Bar, St. Thomas, ON, Canada, November 11th, 2017

Homey with great food (parmesan-pepper wings! Yea) and a pleasant backwoods atmosphere describe the Back Alley Bar in St, Thomas ON – Canada; it was perfect. It reminded me of my small town roots and working the bars and the rock n roll was just as awesome as it was back in the day.

A Rebel Few

Cool sounding band name, good metal look, loud n proud and a desire to have fun onstage is the best way to describe Raposo-vocals/guitar, Barry Martin-guitar, Chris Spiers-drums and Adam Shortreed-bass. Self-proclaimed D.I.R.T bags -DB4L, (Driven by Integrity Respect Trust) is a great take on that outlived negative moniker and will hopefully take them far.

Expert players all, they rocked the house with a pounding crisp sound, despite several technical issues which, in their fun-loving way, played through them, made jokes and engaged us with a rousing bout of HELLYAS! Some kick ass music here and a great stage presence.

I WAS looking forward to the completed cover version of Bryan Adams It’s Only Love via your FB teaser trailer, but alas it’s a work in progress! Nice one lads, a great cut!

Their EP, As The Crow Flies available on cdbaby and on their FB page, consisting of the killer tracks, bangers all, Born Again, Rebel Few, Empires Fall, Dyin Breed, Said n Done, Serious, Who Knows, Bitter Man and Revolution were sonically and powerfully given to the small but active crowd and got us severely ramped up for the headliner…

Damn Pigeon

The utter kindness and sincerity from each of the band coming over to chat briefly before their set and sign my freebie cd’s of their latest album Whiskey Sinners and an incredible bonus of their 2014 release Re-Coop (haha!.. Pigeon, chicken coop, birds? Get it?), and a signature Damn Pigeon shot glass, currently unavailable on their website, was a testament to Canadian Kindness. Hand on heart for this generosity lads, but you can’t keep giving this stuff away!

Already spoiled by their YouTube videos from their latest record Whiskey Sinners, Haunted and Killswitch I was immediately roused with a pounding version of Rammstein’s Du Hast, ok, now we’re cooking with fire. Unreal! The lovely metal chords of Starlight, an awesome tune with the coolest chorus infused with emotion laden harmonies and screaming guitar solos.

The band was pro all the way, acting as a total team: Musicians Extraordinaire: Doug Weir (lead vox and guitars), Joe Edmiston (guitars and vocals), Steve Proctor (guitars), Steve Proud (Proudy) (bass guitars), Jason Latimer (drums), we were treated to an eclectic mix of definite power metal and rock, interspersed with vestiges of Alan Parsons Project (I heard it in there, don’t care what anyone says), Thin Lizzy, 70’s rock, 80’s anthem metal, all pulled together by their superb originality and writing.

I was particularly hit by the appearance of all four guitars out front during several songs with excellent light and smoke show, reminding me of one of my favourite concerts, Blue Oyster Cult, when all members came out with guitars, including the drummer. A truly moving moment for me; I don’t know why, it’s one of those that hits you at a concert, y’know?

Doug is an outstanding front man, hurling praise to A Rebel Few, getting everyone metal-motivated and some great humour thrown in when he thanked “Mr. Happy Face”, a loose, smiley beach ball, batted around with various ferocities depending on the song, and of course a heartfelt shout out to all veterans on today’s Remembrance Day.

The thundering, lightning strike speed of Jason’s drum solo Was. So. Cool. It felt like a Peart solo in under a minute. Fast. Really fast. Accurate. Sniper accurate.

Then suddenly a Kiss cover tune (Rock n Roll All Night) and a Cars cover (can’t recall which), strategically placed near closing and people suddenly poured onto the spacious dance floor and were giving their all. Some small town 50 year old teenage power drinkers were there (not me!) obstructing my perfect view from stage left, doing the Wobbly-Knee Tango and refreshingly annoying, again bringing me back to my old days working the taverns, but all having a good time.

This live set was amazing, punctuated with the ‘infectious’, laugh a minute Stripper Crotch. Guys, what the hell...laffin all the way to those cool riffin beats! This promises to be more ‘catchy’ than a Top 40, any day!

10/10 easy! Must see live! Must See Live!

Written by Alessandro

Damn Pigeon Official Website
Damn Pigeon Facebook
Damn Pigeon Twitter
A Rebel Few Official Website
A Rebel Few Facebook
A Rebel Few Twitter

Monday, November 20, 2017

Live review: Seita, Apophys at Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 9th, 2017

Today Amsterdam based death/thrash metal band Seita released their new, second full-length album called Maledictus Mundi. They celebrated this release with a Maledictus Mundi releaseparty in the upstairs venue of the Melkweg, in their hometown.

When arriving at the Melkweg I saw two big crowds of people waiting outside of the venue, but both weren’t looking like metalheads. It turned out one of those was waiting for Princess Nokia (according to the Melkweg website some hiphop/r&b), and the other crowd being there for a Finnish rockband called Sunrise Avenue. After a while I saw some metalheads waiting for Seita.

When arriving at Melkweg's upstairs venue it seems like it’s some sort of movie theater venue, even with some higher placed seats in the back. The stage was very low, only a bit higher than the audience.

First it was time for the support act Apophys to warm up the crowd. The venue, which was really small, wasn’t very full yet. However Apophys started their set at full speed. With their intense music, combined with a very intense, hectic light show, they really played a very heavy show. Drummer Michiel van der Plicht and bassist Sid van Kastel are definitely the very solid backbone for Apophys. They literally made the ground shake with their bass tunes. Vocalist Kevin Quilligan has a very brutal voice and with his movements like some kind of evil maniac he really delivered a very good show. Besides some little issues with one of the guitars in one track, Apophys played a great show!

After a short break, it was time for Seita to enter the stage. While this break only lasted for around 15 minutes or so, the venue was quickly getting packed with people who wanted to see these Amsterdam metallers. When Seita started with their first notes it was immediately clear that Seita fans are very dedicated. Having seen this Seita show I now completely understand why. They deliver such an intense, extreme, chaotic (in a good way) show! This is something which punches your body so hard, it is impossible not feeling it. The band shows a lot of energy and succeeds in bringing this onto the audience. Especially bassist Diego Gomez shows a very high level of energy. What a show!

I think this releaseparty for Seita’s new full-length album Maledictus Mundi was a great success and I would highly recommend seeing Seita and Apophys live. Great, heavy, intense shows and you won’t regret it.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen, photos by John van der Zee

Read another DutchMetalManiac live review of Seita, among others, here.

Seita Official Website
Seita Facebook
Seita Twitter
Apophys Official Website
Apophys Facebook
Apophys Twitter

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Live review: Delain, Serenity, Cellar Darling at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, The Netherlands, October 31th, 2017

It is October 31, the Dutch day of the Danse Macabre tour with special guest Marco Hietala of Nightwish. The expectations were high if you ask me. I have seen Delain earlier during the Moonbathers tour and also many times before, so I knew what they were capable of. Now, with such a special guest as Marco Hietala it had to be a kick ass show!

First on the stage there was Cellar Darling. To them the humble task was given to open the show and warm up the audience. And oh boy they did a hell of a job! Despite the fact that the band doesn’t have any really complex songs, they did manage to hold my attention and keep things interesting. Simply by being minimalistic. Apart from a few lightning effects, they don’t need many things to distract the audience. They are just good at what they do. This is mostly due to the strong and clear vocals by singer Anna Murphy. From the first moment she gets on stage it is clear that she can front the band. From little quiet songs to heavy melodic guitar songs, this band has it all. There are even some folk influences thanks to the addition of the hurdy-gurdy. This means that there is a lot of variation in the songs. But what I remember the most about seeing this band play on stage, is the incredible stage presence of this young lady. Without being too much in the picture she knows exactly what to do. And that’s a great accomplishment for an opening act.

Especially if you know that after that symphonic power metallers Serenity come on stage. This band stands in great contrast with its predecessor. Where Cellar Darling most of time is very modest and straightforward, Serenity is everything but that. This enthusiastic band does have very fanatical and loyal fans. You could also hear that in the audience this night. That these people didn’t come all the way for Delain only, became clear very fast. From the first moment Serenity got on stage the fans were ecstatic! This of course, had everything to do with singer Georg Neuhauser. His endless energy and enthusiastic performance often seem a little slik. It is all very well thought off and it seems that from the beginning you are watching some kind of Shakespearean play. That doesn’t mean that this is a bad thing however, it simply fits well with this kind of music. The band plays extremely well, especially the guitarists who enjoy enough freedom on stage to do their thing. After three songs singer Natascha Koch enters the stage. Directly visible is the fact that these two vocalists work exceptionally well together. They complement each other and turn Serenity into a well-oiled machine. The audience got what they came for. The fact that Serenity isn’t really my kind of music doesn’t degrade the quality of this good show.

Then it is finally time for Delain. The set list immediately starts great with the now standardized intro The Monarch followed by the first song Hands Of Gold. This is a great starter because for the grunts in this song George Oosthoek was called on stage. His incredible grunts give this song what it deserves. We Are The Others is next. With this song I always feel a lot of familiarity. Not to tell you any details, but I also know what it’s like to be treated differently. Like many other people in this world. This song is about that and speaks to all these people, it’s okay to be different.

The Glory And The Scum, Get The Devil Out Of Me, Sucker Punch and Danse Macabre form a heavier section of this set list. Scarlet is the next song. I haven’t really spoken about Charlotte’s vocals yet. I think this mostly has to do with the fact that I’ve been to so many Delain shows, that it is normal for me to hear her sing exceptionally well. But during the song Scarlet you can really hear how great she is. Scarlet had Elianne Anemaat on cello. Of course, in the heavier songs you can also hear that Charlotte can sing, but with a beautiful quiet ballad it is a little easier. It was also a perfect time for me to determine how versatile Charlotte really is. She has grown a lot over the years as a performer. Her interaction with the audience is sincere and very spontaneous. This is also the case for the other band members. If we for example pick Merel Bechtold, this woman has been a great addition to the band for some time now and her interaction with front–woman Charlotte is a sight for sore eyes! The only thing that bothers me a bit is that Merel never plays any guitar solos. I don’t know if this is by choice, I mean I can’t imagine she can’t play a complex solo. However, Merel doesn’t look like she is unhappy in the band at all! And speaking of the guitar solos of Timo, of course they are phenomenal. In this genre of metal not many classic guitar solos are played, so I always like it when I hear a great solo.

Here Come The Vultures and Fire With Fire are performed very powerful by Charlotte and the band. After that it is time for Marco Hietala to steal the show. He is doing this a little half-baked. He starts off amazing in Your Body Is A Battleground. In this first duet with Charlotte, Marco shows what he came for. I directly noticed that Marco has a very free role tonight as opposed to being in Nightwish. Nightwish shows are being directed very tight and everybody got their own roles but when you are acting as a guest singer in a Delain show then you can do whatever you want, and that is precisely what Marco does. He is all over the place and makes contact with members of Delain, however, this is not always good for his singing voice because where he is singing well enough in the first song I mentioned, the same cannot be said for the next two songs Nothing Left and Control The Storm. In the song after that, Sing To Me, he recovers a bit. What follows are some heavy Delain songs without Marco Hietala where the band shows how much they have grown as a band. Delain has become a well-oiled machine on stage. When it was time for Scandal, the cover of rock legends Queen, Marco Hietala returned to the stage. At first, I was afraid that he would screw up this difficult song based on his performance of the last few songs. However, I couldn’t be more wrong, Marco hits every note and the band produces a great version of this wonderful song! Charlotte’s vocals are absolutely phenomenal and this is not for the first time.

Then there is only one song left that needs to be played with Marco Hietala. At The Gathering everybody jumps up and down and a confetti cannon goes off. Having Marco for this song is great, but choosing The Gathering as a closing song couldn’t have been better! It was a fantastic show that, if you ask me, could have easily been just as good without Marco Hietala. Delain is capable of much more than that. But the fact that Marco was there satisfied a lot of fans and made the evening even more special than it already was!

It was a night to remember! Thank you Delain!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden, photo by Tim van Velthuysen

Read another DutchMetalManiac live review of Delain here and our review of Delain's Moonbathers album here. Go here for our interview with Delain's Martijn Westerholt and here for the one with Charlotte Wessels in which we spoke with her about Phantasma.

Delain Official Website
Delain Facebook
Delain Twitter
Serenity Official Website
Serenity Facebook
Serenity Twitter
Cellar Darling Official Website
Cellar Darling Facebook
Cellar Darling Twitter

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Live review: Skálmöld, Omnium Gatherum, Stam1na at Backstage, Munchen, Germany, November 12th, 2017

On 12th of November, the Arctic Circle Alliance stopped by for an evening at Backstage club in Munich, Germany. The frosty name of the alliance is hinting towards the countries of origin of the groups: up high from the north, Finnish bands Stam1na and Omnium Gatherum are touring together with Skálmöld from Iceland.

This epic evening kicked off with the guys from Stam1na, who not only entertained with their Finnish-speaking songs, but also with their profound knowledge of the German language (“Mein Arschloch ist kaputt!” (a.k.a. my asshole is broken!)). Time flew by way too fast, especially for me as this was the first time I’ve seen the guys live, but surely not for the last time!

Omnium Gatherum then took over after a quick tag break. The sextet obviously had a lot of fun during their show, and entertained the crowd by constant interaction and with a broad selection of old and new songs. Amongst others, they played Formidable, The Pit, Skyline and the crowd-favorite, Frontiers. In addition, they also performed their newest track, Blade Reflection, already wetting the appetite for the follow-up longplayer to Grey Heavens.

Lastly, Skálmöld climbed the stage, and with them came the more folky part of the evening. With texts only in Icelandic and dealing with Norse mythology, the audience was drawn into the wild past of the sextet’s home country. Also here a wide variety between old and new songs guaranteed a very diverse show, from Gleipnir and Kvadning all the way to tracks taken from their latest release, such as Nidavellir, the dark Muspell and the mid-tempo Niflheimur. The audience rewarded Skálmöld’s enthusiasm with circle pits and imitations of rowing Viking ships, and really had a blast. All in all, the Arctic Circle Alliance delivered an epic evening and hopefully will come back to Munich soon!

Written by Julia Obenauer

Read our review of Skálmöld's Vögguvísur Yggdrasils here, as well as two live reviews including Omnium Gatherum here and here.

Skálmöld Official Website
Skálmöld Facebook
Skálmöld Twitter
Omnium Gatherum Official Website
Omnium Gatherum Facebook
Omnium Gatherum Twitter
Stam1na Official Website
Stam1na Facebook

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Interview: Dvne

In July, Scottish metallers Dvne released their debut full-length Asheran. At their show in Merleyn, Nijmegen during their tour with French metallers Crackhouse, DutchMetalManiac's Tim van Velthuysen spoke with vocalist/guitarist Victor Vicart, drummer Dudley Tait and vocalist/guitarist Dan Barter.

For people not knowing you (yet), can you tell us something about Dvne's history?

Victor: Yeah, I am French, I moved to the UK eight years ago. There I started the band with the drummer, then the rest joined in. The first show we played was with EyeHateGod in Glasgow, which was really cool. Dan joined us when we already wrote some songs for the first EP. So from that moment we were a proper band with vocals. Before that we didn't have any vocals. Then we wrote another EP, Aurora Majesty, and toured with Fange, a band from France. They are really good, heavy, kind of noise/sludge/d-beat. After that we toured with Trudger, which are really like us, but a bit less melodic, in Europe, which was also really cool. Then we wrote Asheran, which is our last one and our first full-length album. We actually start singing, it's more composed music.

The homeland of Dvne is Scotland right?

Victor: Yeah, it is. We started the band in Edinburgh and are still based there. I am moving to London soon, but the band will stay as it is. Edinburgh is a great city and Scotland has been great to us. Our label is from Scotland as well, they pretty much released everything we did so far. We've done a music video recently for Thirst, which was filmed in the Highlands of Scotland. It's a beautiful country, sometimes bleak but also really beautiful with great landscapes. When we went to do the music video, we thought like our music is expansive, aggressive, we felt that it was a great way as a tribute to the kind of landscapes we have around us. I would highly recommend Scotland.

How is the Scottish metalscene?

Victor: It's great, there are a lot of bands doing some very interesting stuff at the moment. A really good band I would highly recommend is Sapien. Another band is Barshasketh, who play black metal, one of them is from New Zealand, but I think the others are from Scotland. I know some of them, actually. You've got Haar, a great black metal band. Haar means fog in Scottish. In Glasgow there's a great scene, but I know more about the Edinburgh scene. You've got King Witch as well, which we are good friends with. They are doing pretty great and just signed with Listenable Records. There are quite good venues. Glasgow is also great, the underground scene there isn't what it used to be, but they still have some great bands, for example The Cosmic Death, it's some kind of acid prog. They played Roadburn, Psycho Las Vegas, they are really topnotch.

You already played some shows with Crackhouse, including tonight, how is it going so far?

Victor: Amazing. Funny enough, some shows were in basements or houses. Those small places tend to be packed and when we play bigger venues, as tonight, fewer people come. However it doesn't really matter, because I think the reception is pretty much all very good. We are not used to it, since Asheran came out, people show more interest to the band. So we are going to gigs and see people knowing the music. People are much more engaged to our music then before. It's makes the show more interesting for us as well, we put more effort in it.

Dudley: If you don't know the music you can enjoy, but if you know the music, there's more. Because we released the album, it feels like people are getting a bit of experience. It makes a big difference for us.

Victor: The same story with Crackhouse, people are really engaged with their music as well.

Both bands play very intense music.

Victor: Yeah, of course. The shows are meant to be. What works for both of us and why we toured together is that both bands have a melodic edge. They are probably more into the doom/post-metal scene, we are probably more into the sludge/progressive. You can name it however you want, I don't really believe in labels these days, it's just what you play. We both have melodic moments in common. We want something melodic and not be heavy and relentless all the time. Both bands don't want to do so, but want to go through movements and change.

What is it that makes Dvne Dvne?

Dudley: It starts with the fact that we are all good friends, we can really get to the fine parts of music by communicating the way we want. Things just happen because we know each other. We know what we are trying to go for. It always brings out the best in us.

Victor: We are a band who will release a new album when we feel like we have something. What we are trying to do is make something that we generally enjoy which is melodic and heavy at the same time, with a lot of impact. To have a lot of impact we go through quiet sections and after those the energy is there. When we wrote this album, we really enjoyed jamming and writing it.

Dudley: It was fun, but not really hard. The songs flowed in.

Victor: When we had a period where we kept changing bassists, we were playing a lot of tragedy and heavy stuff.

Dudley: We even played some black metal.

Victor: We wrote two tracks on the back of the previous EP and they were heavy, old school tragedy kind of stuff.

Dudley: When we started exploring how we felt, the music came. Rather than trying to vent somewhere outside. Victor found himself and the music came. We all were in the zone.

In July you released Asheran. When you compare Asheran to the first two EP's (Progenitor (2013) and Aurora Majesty (2014)), what is it you notice?

Dudley: They were the way we were feeling at that time.

Victor: For me, the EP's were things we wanted to do like other bands. Asheran feels like it's really us.

Dudley: The EP's were us venting ourselves.

Victor: What we have done on this album is what we like to listen to. I don't listen to our own music.

Dudley: I like it, also the EP's. I have some evenings when I have a good beer, put one of my own songs on and I get goosebumps. It's a weird feeling. It took a long time for me to listen to my own songs without listening to the drums or another specific part. Just trying to forget it. One night, I will never forget, I smoked a big joint, zoned out and heard the music from listeners point of view, rather than from the person who contributed to it. That was very exciting.

Asheran is your first release with Allan Paterson on bass.

Yeah, but he left the band because he had two kids. He is a great bassist and a great friend, we had great times together, but with his kids it's impossible to tour for him. There were no issues for his replacement, but now Anderson Fry is our bassist.

What's the story behind Asheran?

Victor: Actually Dan, our gitarist, can answer that question the best.

Dudley: We came up with an idea, Dan took the idea and turned it into his own story, really cool.

Victor: We write the music first, then we get to the story.

Dan: It has influences from a lot of things, for example sci-fi and Studio Ghibli films. It's like an ark, from two perspectives, so you have people coming back that left a few thousand years ago. I like to leave things a bit open for interpretation. They come back and then it's basically a story about how they interact with the nature that has regrouped since they left.

Dudley: The earth got damaged because of what people have done to it, so they left. When they came back there were still some very small civilizations that could live with nature and life, they way it should be.

Victor: The story is much more from the nature itself, nature taken the world back and humans coming back.

Dudley: When they came back the planet had grown back to life the way the planet would. When the people came back, they did so because they lost with what they tried to do in space. The simplest way to say it is that they not learned about their mistakes.

Dan: It's a very tragic story.

Dudley: They came back and are going to do the same thing again that caused the problem.

Victor: Dan is vegan as well.

Dan: I like the planet.

Victor: We are all kind of green ecologists. Gojira also talks about that a lot. We really find inspiration in nature. We are all conscious about it, that was a point we had in common for this album.

Dudley: And we like Princess Mononoke.

Victor: Yeah, it's amazing, a very good story.

On Edenfall you have a guest vocalist, Jenni Sneddon. How did you met her and how was working with her?

Dan: I work with her outside the band and she's also in a band with my girlfriend. She came in quite late on, because there was someone else but couldn't do it. Then she stepped in, which was very cool, because she had a very short notice.

Victor: We had something in mind, so we knew how we wanted it. Guests is something we might look for in the future as well. It's interesting stuff to do. On our releaseshow we had Allan (our previous bassist) playing extra guitar and Jenni played keys and did backing vocals. So Dvne is a four-piece for now but it might change. I am big fan of bands like Magma, Ulver, they don't care about that. They want to do something and when they need more people on stage, they just do it.

Dudley: They know what sound they want and they bring in whoever they need to get that sound. The sound is top priority. It's better than taking samples or something.

Victor: I would never do that.

Dudley: It has to be naturally and honest.

Victor: Honesty is a big thing for us.

The artwork of Asheran is created by Eli Quinn, what made him the right person for this job?

Victor: I have seen his artworks. He did the cover for a release from Droid and it was fantastic. What we were after was something intricated. Eli did the artwork and Dan kind of build on that. Eli is great, we felt like the cover has everything we wanted and he is very Princess Mononoke/Studio Ghibli-inspired.

Dudley: He was happy to work with us.

Your music combines a lot of different music styles, what are your musical influences?

Victor: Isis, Tool, Mastodon, Neurosis, Inter Arma, classic rock, Led Zeppelin, we all listen to different music styles. Dan was in a band, Dudley in a rock band, I came from a classical musical background.

Dudley: That's why the music is us.

Victor: A next album probably has elements from Asheran, but it also will be different as well. I am very interested in having a keyboardplayer, maybe a bit of folk, some violin. If we can do it, we will do it. We try to not limit ourselves.

Last month you were announced as the first band for ProgPower Europe next year, looking forward to it?

Victor: It's going to be great! We will try to make things a bit special for it. It will be a Dutch exclusive, we will probably make a tour out of it. We will be on some festivals the week before and after, but I can't talk about that yet. There is another Scottish band just announced for it, Ramage Inc. . We are friends with some of them.

Do you already have plans for new material?

Dudley: We have started for some riffs and drums.

Victor: We wrote two tracks for Asheran which aren't on it. Every band does it, but our tracks are a bit long, so it's a lot of work. After this tour we will probably start really writing some new stuff.

Dudley: We are doing great, quality shows and after that we spend our spare time writing stuff. Asheran wasn't rushed, we will do take our time again.

Victor: We won't do the same thing over and over again, no Asheran 2 or something. We want to do something different.

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

Dudley: Look forward to the next stuff, because it will be kickass. We try to stay in control of our music. When it's the right time, the next stuff will be there.

Dan: See you at ProgPower.

Dvne Facebook
Dvne Twitter

Monday, November 13, 2017

Review: Kobra And The Lotus - Prevail I

When it comes to Kobra And The Lotus, I am relatively new to the band. Even though the band already has three full-length albums under their belt. Prevail I is this third album. The first song on the album has a really familiar name, it is called Gotham, named after the city where Batman lives. If you listen clearly, you can even hear the Batman tune, although the guitars are a lot heavier in this one! When the vocals start immediately after that, it becomes inescapably clear to me what an extraordinary lead woman Kobra Paige is. At first glance, her vocals aren’t really that special, you might say, yeah, I’ve heard this before, but these vocals are so incredibly powerful that you immediately know what this band stands for. Because that’s what goes through my head when listening to this. You can’t compare the vocals with anything else I have heard in this genre. They are unique, granted, at times they are somewhat simplistic like many of the catchy choruses on the album. Now, I don’t mean simplistic as in not well thought off, no I just mean catchy. The choruses remain in your head, so that if you go to a live show, you can easily sing along with them.

The second song TriggerPulse starts with some heavy guitars. Again, just like the first song the chorus is catchy, almost a little pop like. But the song is accompanied by a really strong rhythm section and a very powerful guitar riff, which makes it a full-blown metal song. When listening to the next song on the album You Don’t Know you can hear that it was meant to be the first single. This song was also my first acquaintance with Kobra And The Lotus and one an acquaintance that has been! If you, upon hearing that song for the first time, only pay attention to the drums than you might think you are listening to Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2 but when those heavy guitars come into play, you can clearly hear that it’s Kobra And The Lotus. Despite that it is not a typical Kobra And The Lotus song. The next song Specimen X (The Mortal Chamber) is a very heavy song with tight guitar riffs and outstanding drums, this song is easily one of the best songs on this album. Kobra Paige is a force to be reckoned with, with her threatening and powerful vocals. Less prominent is the ballad Light Me Up. But the song does exactly what it needs to do, it breaks the heaviness of the album by being a beautiful intermezzo.

The next song, Manifest Destiny, is with some distance the best track on the album if you ask me. Vocally, lead singer Kobra Paige shifts into a higher gear! In the chorus she uses all her vocal capabilities and opens all of her registers. What amazing vocals this woman has. The song Victim is about being responsible for your own actions, I only agree to this to some extent, but I am not here to advocate life lessons, but to review a good album. Anyway, this song is heavy and transfers the message very well. Check The Phyrg is kind of an different song. Why? Well, the song is completely instrumental and it has a lot of guitar violence! It is pointless to me to try and describe everything that is happening in this song, because there is so much going on and it’s truly epic. Despite the catchy chorus again from the next song Hell On Earth this song is the most lugubrious song on the album. The song has a lot of threatening vocals and a very threatening tone overall. Again, there are these very tight guitar riffs and outstanding vocals. The variations in the vocals fit this song very well. While Hell On Earth is very dark, the title track Prevail is really positive and patriotic. It’s a nice positive closing song on this nice album.

If I have to describe Kobra And The Lotus, then I would say it’s accessible metal for people that don’t listen to metal very often, but also for true metalheads. It’s a wonderful band that deserves the attention it gets, because if their live shows are as good as their studio material, then people are in for a very good time!!!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

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

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Live review: Lynch Mob, SFD (Searching For Daybreak), Ryder at The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, Canada, November 4th, 2017


A super pleasant surprise of good ol’ fashioned rock n metal! They were playing as we got into the venue, already jammed to the gunnels, so missed some of their tunes, but what was heard was fabulous. You know when the sound of a band you’ve never heard but hits you just right? Great audio and a tight presentation, James Ryder: vocals/guitar, Andrew Bloch: guitar, Tim Freyr: bass and Billy Smith: drums from NYC garnered lots of love. Lovin’ their song Do or Die! No swag CD’s there but their EP IV, is available through their Facebook. They were pleasant as all grits at their merch table. Remarkable performance after driving 20 hours and then having to drive back! Putting on some rock n roll miles in addition to the miles they have already put on! Hilarious FB bit back at the hotel post-show. Keep goin lads! 9/10

SFD (Searching For Daybreak)


Admittedly, I was doing some intense networking here, but what I did hear was pretty good. More of an Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Audioslave, Shinedown groove especially their song Scream, (so not ultimately my favourite), but very solid and pretty intense presentation. Garrett Alto: vocals, Brad Black: guitar, Zakk Scott: bass and Steve Scott: drums do a great job as the act before Lynch Mob, ramping everyone up and getting the fists pumping. Their CD So Far Down is available on their Facebook. With a long and storied resume, playing with some big acts, these lads are sure to please the 90’s music fans, with some good rock riffs and beat laid down for the newbies of the world. 8/10

Lynch Mob

From the set list, it pretty much went as expected with the unseen bonus addition of the Dokken gem, Tooth and Nail. Their musicianship and onstage presence was awesome and their experience shone through, navigating the above-average annoying, high-flying phone fans. A few pictures, OK, I’m taking them too, but wasting a front row space and videoing the whole show? C’mon!

My highlight was seeing Mr. Scary performed in its entirety. A scorching 5+minute guitar solo that has been my favourite (except for Triumph’s Rik Emmet’s Rock n Roll Machine) from the Dokken classic album Back for the Attack. Lynch powered through this in his inimitable style, searing riffs and face-melting licks and I am glad I got to see this up close in this excellent venue.

Oni Logan’s vox are as searingly great as ever, glad you’re back in brotha! and the backbone pound-sound of drummer Jimi D’Anda and Sean McNabb’s thundering, chest-burster bass completed this perfect rock picture. Sorry, I can’t take a picture worth a damn, but I hope these convey the feeling of that night’s vibe. (I was trying not to be one of those clowns with their phone in the air for too long).

Sadly, the troupe didn’t come to the swag table except for Sean where I got my copy of Brotherhood signed but alas, my Back for the Attack cd will probably remain blank forevermore.

Overall 9/10 great show!

Written by Alessandro

Lynch Mob Facebook
SFD (Searching For Daybreak) Official Website
SFD (Searching For Daybreak) Facebook
SFD (Searching For Daybreak) Twitter
Ryder Facebook

Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: Mindkult - Lucifer's Dream

As a follow-up to their 2016 EP called Witches’ Oath Mindkult released their debut full-length album Lucifer’s Dream. Venturing more into the occult realm with fuzzy force!

After striking the first string you can definitely feel doom and smell the disgusting smell of sulfur in the air straight from lucifer’s throne. Followed up by a creeping guitar solo that feels like a melancholic blues lick to get you in the mood. With the clean vocals they hit a mark not many bands could pull off. A very empty, distanced sound but still prominently apparent. It’s really Ozzy Osbourne-like in an early Black Sabbath way but still it’s not a copy but really inspired by.

In any form or way you could classify this as stoner-rock, doom, metal but the most important tag is definitely the groovy elements. It captivates you and drags you down to hell to follow Lucifer’s Dream. The album is very cohesive and doesn’t feel unfinished when the last note strikes. The duration of the album is just enough to keep your attention with it all the time.

For clever use of known elements within stoner/doom metal I rank this album 8/10.
Because Mindkult didn’t really reinvent the wheel but surely helped refine it.

Written by Joost van der Leij

Mindkult Facebook

Monday, November 6, 2017

Review: Drakkar - Diabolical Empathy

The intro, featuring The Arrival is bizarre, complete with eerie whispers, monkeys and other jungle sounds. Perfect for the All Hallow’s Eve season and finely introducing this very experienced and historical band! From Mons, Richy (Guitar) - Pat (Guitar) - Leny (Vocals) - Adrien (Drums) - Humungus (Bass) are again very welcome into the metal world!

A long and storied past, they have overcome much adversity and risen strong with this heavy, powerful piece. They have done many past shows and the only current one I see on their FB is as support for Tank and Raven! Unfortunately I am nowhere near Maasmechelen to see this incredible lineup.

Drawing from themes such as Padre Pio’s stigmata, the mind of Jefferery Dahlmer and the works of Goya, they are a very entertaining, intelligent group of songs.

Stigmata is my favourite with crunching string abuse and broken, guttural vox.

There is some crazy thrash/speed and power metal riffing and chords in Rose Hall’s Great House with hardcore musicianship and great tempos. An upbeat song indeed!

The Witches Dance with its Maidenish guitar duets and wailing fills is fast, angry and instantly recognizable, this is the stuff we air-guitared to!

Thundering metal albums such as these are punctuated by ground-pounders by a seeming hit and Lucifereo Moderno is it. Now my favourite song, sorry Stigmata, you lose out. The perfect arrangement is metal meets melodic metal with crowd revving chants sure to be a live hit.

Although I don’t get the inclusion of 1:21 West Allis, it would make nice filler at the end of a cassette tape.

The remainder of this record gets raves all around; powerfully played and well produced, it’s a metal dream!

The closing warbled outro of Opening Towards the End inspired by Carmen’s Bizet, is a bizarre little piece like the intro, balancing the album off but I would have preferred another full song.


Written by Alessandro

Drakkar Official Website
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Drakkar Twitter

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Review (+ contest): Insurrection - Extraction

Near the Canadian capital city Ottawa is another city named Gatineau. Several metal bands hail from this place, one of them is called Insurrection. Drummer Philipe Moreau-Latreille, bass guitarist Francis Girard, vocalist Stef Jomphe and guitarist-combo Antonin Perras-Foisy/Vincent Laprade Séguin are the current members of Insurrection and recently they, released their latest album called Extraction. After Prologue (2008), Fracture (2010) and Prototype (2013), Extraction is the fourth full-lenght album from these Canadian metallers.

First of all, a little warning! Did you train your neck muscles lately? Because you're going to need them! This album is a real neck-breaker, full of blastbeats and brutal metal. If you're looking for an album with a point of rest in it, this isn't what you're looking for. So, I suggest you already start training those muscles to handle Extraction.

From the first notes of opening track System Failure, it's immediately clear that these guys know how to play some very brutal metal. Especially the very heavy bass and drums are standing out. You can hear the bass-snares blasting trough your speakers, which sounds really awesome. Guitarists Antonin and Vincent play very brutal riffs, but regularly, they let us hear that they can also play some cool thrashy riffs. Vocally, Stef can do a lot with his voice as he shows on this release, ranging from low and high growls, via screams (Pull The Plug), till pig squeals at the start of Le Prix A Payer. Sometimes he sings in English, sometimes in French, which is probably because of their origin. At Data Extracted... End Transmission, the vocals are taken care of by Stef together with guest vocalist Bruno Bernier, whom you might know from Obliveon. Besides the brutal sound and extreme vocals, there are also some tempo/rhythm changes present in Extraction, which also really keeps your attention.

With Extraction, Insurrection delivers a really nice album. They grip you and shake you 40 minutes long. Then they leave you alone with the feeling that those 40 minutes were going very fast, but it’s definitely worth it all.

Want to win a CD of Insurrection's Extraction? You can get a chance by:
1. Sharing our Facebook post of this review and commenting on it after you shared (be sure to share publicly, so we can see it)
2. Retweeting our Twitter post of this review.

After November 12th we will pick one winner. Good luck! \m/
Writers of DutchMetalManiac can't win.

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Pre-release party review: Brian Vollmer at Planet Helix, London, ON, Canada, October 27th, 2017

Here it is! The event of a lifetime! Why I quit my job for rock n roll!

The week was a blur, an amazing double bill at the Rose Brampton for Helix and Lee Aaron (our live review), more running around and prep work and then the ultimate 3 hour voyage to a nearby …Planet.

When we got there, the house, which has been featured on MTV Cribs, is outwardly garish, slick and very red. Simply beautiful. Darker as it got, we waited for a few minutes, soaking it all in, watching guests arrive and trying to stem the bit of nervous anticipation of going into one of your favourite rock stars’ house!

Squawking back the front iron gate, we’re hit with the Halloween-ness of the setup. The amazing food spread inside the living room, the smell of mouthwatering appetizers cooking, the scary noises and since The Devil Was Having a Party Tonight, (Helix’s latest single, on wickedly slick red vinyl) that’s who answered the door.

Introducing ourselves, a quick hello and a friendly don’t bother with your shoes, and some chit chat, Vollmer-Devil was off to mingle with an already packing up event. Rockers and friends mixing together, completely friendly and hyper-costumed, it was a good ol’ fashioned house party.

The sounds of Vollmer’s new solo release were playing, to rave applause and congratulations. Featuring Canadian icon Danko Jones on the title track and background vox of amazing Cheryl Lescom, the album is a fabulous release of 7 covers and 2 originals:

Buff’s Bar Blues (Alex Harvey)
Rock n Roll Outlaw (Rose Tattoo)
If You Need Me (Wilson Pickett)
When the Bitter’s Got the Better of You (original: Kelly/Vollmer)]
Rock n’ Roll /Don’t Try to Lay No Boogie Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll (Velvet Underground/Long John Baldry)
Gudbye t’ Jane (Slade)
Oh Well (Fleetwood Mac & Peter Greene)
Get Yer Hands Dirty (original: Brown/Kelly/Vollmer)

Indeed the guitar and writing of famed Sean Kelly is also underscored on the record (see Helix/Lee Aaron live review for more Sean)!

Perhaps not metal in the sense hardcore metallers are looking for, but check these songs; they have deep roots and personal connections to Vollmer and are a part of rock and metal history.

As over 100 people now poured into the narrow house and onto the outside deck, even amidst the oncoming stormy rains, I met many people in the rock industry; Doug Weir of Syre and now Damn Pigeon! I was floored. Such an awesome guy and hopefully (take heed, Tim!) a possible review of their new record!

Also, Jim McKormick CEO of Allstage, prime supporter of live music, they have an app at Google Play/App store!....Fritz and Kaleb, Helix drummer and guitarist…too many to count. Everyone with a kind word, everyone with a hug and a handshake; it was overwhelming.

Vollmer’s wife Lynda was the ultimate hostess and made sure everyone was not drinking and driving and were well fed, amidst ordering the Devil to mop up some spills, ha! The next album needs to be called “Domestic Metal”! You are the greatest!

The “Helix Bucks” as I call them were an awesome piece of swag, a fitting invite to the Devil’s Party! (Conceptualized by Don and Tracey – these are not for copying and posting without express permission).

As the rains wore on it was time to venture out after some heavy hearted goodbyes; an amazing groove at Planet Helix, and a successful launch for the new record, hopefully to be repeated!

10/10 – Record
15/10 – Hospitality and Welcome

Written by Alessandro

Read the earlier interview DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro did with Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer here.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Live review: Helix and Lee Aaron at Rose Theatre, Brampton, ON, Canada, October 26th, 2017

In a beautiful, about 890 seat venue named the Rose Theatre, Brampton ON – Canada, boasted by one of the volunteers as the 2nd largest stage in Canada, not a bad seat in the place, we were thundered with the opening riffs of Long Way to Heaven and Wild in the Streets by “The Hardest Working Band in Canada”.

Aptly named after doing over 300 shows a year for many years and recently coming off the 2017 Sweden Rock Fest, these lads delivered a high energy heavy metal cascade, and, playing all the hits I hoped for, live.

Lead vox Brian Vollmer howled out their best metal anthems like When The Hammer Falls and of course Rock You and Dirty Dog with true vocal precision, the voice not having changed in years, probably due to his professional ‘Bel Canto’ training and living a clean, not so rock n roll lifestyle these days..well maybe a little.

The guitarist duo of Kaleb Duck and Chris Julke hammered their axes with wild abandon, coming up close to the audience and driving their guitars forward at us, showing us that we all have only about 6 Strings, 9 Lives left, so we had best make use of them! Bassist Daryl Gray, sporting the infamous HELIX bass, and drummer Greg “Fritz” Hinz, the backbone of the animal, relentless and thundering with a welcome drum solo that sounding like machine gun fire.

The eventual slowdowns of Deep Cuts the Knife and Make Me Do (Anything You Want) gave them a bit of a respite while getting some avid fans up and moving (I know, NOT the fast tunes?!?) much to the chagrin of the venue’s ushers who were eventually lulled into letting some people rock out.

We were also treated to a rare, archived song Danger Zone, from the-oh so missed guitarist Paul Hackman, days. A sounding rocker and hoping to be on a B-side somewhere!

A host of other hits (in no particular order) The Kids Are All Shakin', Even Jesus (Wasn't Loved In His Hometown), No Rest for the Wicked, Gimme Gimme Good Lovin' and probably their most popular and successful, Heavy Metal Love resounded with cheers and appreciative applause from us old rocks, er rockers.

Awesome metal show lads!

After a brief beertermission, Lee Aaron, The Metal Queen was amazing us with her near identical pitched vox and incredible onstage sensuality that hasn’t changed. She gives women’s empowerment a makeover every time she hits the stage and her songs and career are a testament to that.

While experimenting over the years with metal, blues/jazz and pop rock, she and her tight knit band, backboned by her drummer husband, claimed her roots here in Brampton, writing songs in her basement years ago, to the applause of proud Bramptonians.

Hits such as Tom Boy and Hands On may not be the shrieking metal indicative of our beloved blog but these metal roots are important. Her band was tight and expert and the hammering guitars of Sean Kelly (of Metal On Ice fame) made even pop songs like Whatcha Do To My Body sound metal.

There was a bonus for us that she played a track, unreleased from her new upcoming LP. (Not Fire and Gasoline). Diamond Baby, an amazing soulful rocker that shows her musical adaptability to almost any genre. Check the tracklist!

Lee is happy and extremely active onstage, talks with everyone and is always up for a laugh. She has been getting into music debuts as two male fans were treated to screaming (not badly either) Whatcha Do To My Body at stage left. (I made my debut thusly at Metal On Ice sound check. Story for another time). As well, a longtime female fan of about 30 years got to intro the song, and it was amped!

This was the first time ever seeing Metal Queen live and it was an excellent metal pounder that holds true in the metal world today. A powerful voice propelled it to the back of the theatre and we all sang along.

Lee Aaron has reinvented herself and her band and has exposed many generations to many genres; influencing many including the metal world, even while not intentionally attempting to be “metal”. This performance would do any metal scene justice and the intensity and power of the performance from the entire band was palpable; we all felt it.

Keep up the 10/10 performances, both of you!

Written by Alessandro

Read the interview DutchMetalManiac's Alessandro did with Helix vocalist Brian Vollmer here

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