(Iron On Iron)
I’m a huge heavy metal fan. Have been so since the early 80s. Can’t seem to get enough of the stuff. So when I stumbled upon Greek label Iron On Iron it was like heaven had opened up for me. The bands I discovered the first time around were all so great that I had to interview them all. I have the same kind of hope this time around.
FRAGMENTS OF UNBECOMING
“The Art Of Coming Apart”
I reviewed an album by Fragments of Unbecoming once upon a time. I liked their Gothenburgian metal back then. But that was ages ago. What the band has been up to since then I have no idea about. They could have gone either way since then to now sounding like Mr Bungle’s most inbred cousin or something.
LOVER UNDER COVER
“Set The Night On Fire”
The first time I saw the name I thought it was stupid. But the more I gotten used to it the better it fits in my mouth. It is actually pretty clever if you think about it. Hopefully the music they present isn’t as clever as the band name. I could really do with some big melodies right about now. I need some really good AOR/hardrock to light up an otherwise rather dark November day.
“Saturn In Ascension”
I liked Danish Saturnus from the very first note I heard from them back in the late 90s. I tried keeping up with them but sadly lost touch with them after an EP they did. So I haven’t heard the two albums they’ve done in between the first album and this their fourth one.
“Once Upon A Tide”
(Iron On Iron)
I really hope that the band name is some sort of promise as to what I’ll get from listening to this album. I could really do with being swept away by some really great heavy metal. It doesn’t have to be symphonic or anything as long as it is great. Great is what I really need right now. And symphonic it isn’t. More like epic.
Unhale might not be the brightest of band names but who says that you gotta have a clever band name to be any good. What matters in the end is the music and if it’s any good or not. I admire bands that stick to their plan and don’t let trends and shot stand in their way. I get that kind of vibe from Unhale.
I’ve come upon some strange band names in my time but most of the time there’s been an easy explanation. Don’t know how this band will explain the name Uritup unless it is a surname or an anagram of sorts. But as they say; don’t judge the book by its cover. This could be anything but crap despite the band name. Let’s hope for the best?
“Dawn Of The Avenger”
(Iron On Iron)
Just by looking at the cover to this album I got my hopes up that this will be somewhat along the lines of good old Swedish heavy metal heroes Heavy Load. I could do with some really classic heavy metal. But if it is not that then I just hope that Validor come close to Manowar.
These Finns were already a top of the line symphonic metal band when they released “Imaginaerum” last year – now comes the film score re-interpretations by famed Finnish flautist Petri Alanko to the band’s highly anticipated movie! Filmed in Canada and featuring appearances by all Nightwish members (as well as the last appearance by vocalist Anette Olzon) the screenplay is the vision of lead songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, essentially dealing with a dementia sufferer slipping into a coma whose only memories are that of a ten year old boy. Following on from “Dark Passion Play” and inspired by film directors like Tim Burton and painter Salvador Dali, “Imaginaerum” is expected to a lavish dark emo adventure. As such, Alanko’s score is built to similar lines and from the opening tracks, it’s clear that nothing has been spared in its perfection from grandiose production to orchestras and choirs in making the likes of ‘Heart Lying Still’ and ‘I Have To Let You Go’ deeply passionate but also powerfully inspiring. In particular the use of Uilleann pipes goes a long way to achieving this on the likes of ‘Sundown’ which bear strong similarities to the panoramic score in the film ‘Last Of The Mohicans’. I really admire what has been created here between Holopainen, director Stobe Harju and Alanko: “Imaginaerum The Score” isn’t just a rehash Nightwish’s material but rather a piece of art in itself, honoring the band’s original work with Olzon’s vocals and Emppu Vuorinen’s guitars while still being radically different. This is possibly one of the most significant moments in the history of metal and while not initially being my cup of tea, has now inspired me to go and see the movie!
Vicious Rumors are another legendary Bay Area metal band that take us right back to the halcyon days of thrash with bands like Testament, Death Angel and Forbidden. Yet despite coming from thrash central, only a hint of this would rub off into Vicious Rumors music, which for the main was blistering power metal a la Judas Priest to the max! Screaming vocals, turbo charged twin guitars, wailing solos and rapid fire drum work are the nature of ‘Soldiers Of The Night’, ‘Let The Garden Burn’ and ‘Abandoned’ – all in all 9 tracks spanning the band’s 10 year discography. Additionally, the band also offer a coupla covers, the best being classic Priest’s ‘Running Wild’. Despite their 33 year duration, the band never broke big owing to I suspect an ever revolving door of line-up changes as well as the sad demise of vocalist Carl Albert in the mid 90s. But make no mistake, the sheer roster of people playing in this band at one time or another (try Vinnie Moore, Brad Gillis and James Rivera to name but a few!) speaks bounds about this band whose cult status has never waned and continue to remain an underground favorite!
And Hell followed with them…if one mammoth isn’t enough to trample the masses then try two when you’re chasing mayhem, hunting unicorns and murdering Fuzz lol! Australia’s MM have clearly been taking too much of everything but in doing so have created a lethal concoction of Kyuss, Motorhead and Rose Tattoo with their chugging rock n roll. Bottom heavy bass, stoner riffs and raw rock dawg vocals smelter songs like ‘Demons To Fight’, ‘Bury Me’ and ‘Another Drink’ into the next dimension as they subliminally whisper ‘..I’m a danger to, a danger to…myself..’. Definitely way out there, these Aussies are more awesome than God’s tits!
The Very End are a modern thrash metal band hailing from Germany, and in particular the city of Essen, famed for spawning the likes of Kreator and Sodom no less. However, despite having a thrash base very much like Petrozza et al, there’s also a strong melodic element to the band indicating a desire to be open to other influences – as such, I’d therefore also include comparisons to the likes of Arch Enemy and Nevermore. Flowing guitars amidst chopping riffs and soulful vox amidst a more traditional gruff style define strongly structured songs like ‘Maelstrom Calling’, ‘Orphans Of Emptiness’ and ‘The Black Fix’ – the latter featuring Entombed’s LG Petrov on guest vocals. With famed producer Waldemar Sorychta completing the circle of talent “Turn Off The World” is a fine example of contemporary / post thrash to finish off the year in fine style!
Raucous singalong punk pop from the bierkellers of Germany! These jolly Deutschlanders are comparable to Scotland’s Alestorm and even more so, their homegrown cousins in Tankard. Dirty guitars, gutter bass and heavy hangover drums complement party on choruses and Gruppenfuhrer barking vocals on short but sharp songs like ‘Nacht der Werwolfe’, ‘Prosit’ and ‘Im Namen des Herrn’ – grab your biers, get pissed outta yer head and prepare for wild night out in the Reeperbahn with the very vocal 9mm!
Despite coming from the small Mediterranean island of Cyprus, big things are happening for Blynd. The last 2 years have seen them touring with the likes of Sepultura, In Flames and Sodom as well as a stop off at this year’s Bloodstock festival in the UK! Still hungry for more, they’re presently on the Black Abyss Tour with no less than Cradle of Filth, God Seed and Rotting Christ. In between it all comes the “Punishment Unfolds” which essentially sees the band drawing inspiration from all the bands they’ve toured with right down to guest appearances from Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ) and artwork done by Seth Siro Anton (Septic Flesh). Musically Blynd go for a straight down the line mix of brutal thrash a la Machine Head with melodic death a la In Flames. Heavy dervish riffs and growling vocals meld with deep melodies and spirited solos on songs like ‘Arrival Of The Gods’, ‘Never For The Fallen’ and ‘The Final Resistance’. Although by no means original it’s certainly done well enough and with a generic appeal that makes them such a lucrative act to have on tour so let the punishment unfold!
Hail to the masters of funeral doom! One of the genre’s pioneering bands, Norway’s Funeral were formed in the mists of the early 90s with an apt name to match their distinct style: morbid keyboard melodies, plodding death stalking riffs and melancholic choral harmonies all superbly mix to create an unbelievably sombre atmosphere on songs like ‘From The Orchestral Grave’, ‘Making The World My Tomb’ and ‘Song Of The Knell’. With each song clocking in around 10 mins a piece “Oratorium” really does feel like attending a funeral in every sense – not in the least when you consider how many guys in the band have died since its formation!
VAS are a new femme operatic goth metal band hailing from Poland steeped in majestic splendor emanating from their 100 year ancestral heritage going back to the Victorian era! With aristocratic wit and bravado they now give us mortals the chance to glimpse into the inner sanctum of their ‘V-Lodge’. Classical orchestrations incorporating violins and delicate tantalizing melodies belie a feisty confidence and passionate power behind songs like ‘Who Never Loved’, ‘Servants Of Beauty’ and ‘Don’t Let Them Cut My Wings’. Exuding superb musicianship throughout – not in the least the wailing operatic vocals of the delectable Eydis – VAS are up there with the likes of Nightwish and Within Temptation, bringing an exquisite style to match their aristocratic suaveness!
For reasons unknown to me I haven’t bothered to check out Adorned Brood even though I’ve known of them for ages. This is a band that was folk, pagan, heathen or whatever you like to call it way before it burst onto the scene like the bubonic plague. If you like bands like Folkearth, Arkona or any of the newer bands then this is the band for you.
I love old Hammer films. They used to make some of the most classic horror movies. If Black Sabbaths debut album from 1970 was the epitome of horror on record back then Hammer films where the equivalent on the big screen. When I saw the cover to this album the first time I immediately came to think of Hammer Films and Black Sabbath.
“The Overture Of Sun-Moon Lake”
Taiwanese Bloody Tyrant impressed me the first time I heard them. So much that I interviewed them. Now it is time for a new 4 track EP. What I liked about them the first time was that there was something more to their black metal. Call it melody or call it attitude. Something it is and it adds to the overall impression of Bloody Tyrant being more than your average black metal band.
“Tone Of Things To Come”
This is a totally unknown band to me. This one kinda just dropped in on me unknowingly making me feel like I’m in the dark about it. This could be anything from a turd to a shiny bar of gold. All I can say is that it didn’t quite match what I had thought it to be. There is an old school feeling to this that I haven’t been able to place just yet.
I can never let go of my past. Instead of letting go of old stuff I keep building on, adding new stuff to my old baggage. Which is why when I discovered extreme metal I still kept an interest for hardrock/heavy metal. Dirt might not be the best band name ever but luckily it doesn’t describe the standard of the music. This is far from dirt.
I have no relation whatsoever to 8th Sin. When they first burst onto the scene I stayed well away from them. I kinda knew that they weren’t my kind of band. I might have been wrong but I forgot all about them until this new album dropped in on me. Today I can understand where they are coming from with the success of the likes of Marilyn Manson and Deathstar.
FAREWELL TO ARMS
The day I stop finding it interesting to discover new bands is the day I’ll put away my slippers for good. 90% of the fun about this is discovering new bands. The remaining 10% is keeping up with them when they release new albums. Farewell To Arms are being described as a melodic death/thrash metal band. A description not too far off.
GREEN RIVER BURIAL
“Separate And Coalesce”
This had an intro that made me think Carcass round “Necroticism…”. But that is the only similarity to be found. This is nowhere near the death metal that Carcass played on that album. This is hardcore the brutal way. This is the kind of hardcore that I like. The kind of HC that doesn’t beat around the bush. Instead it hits you on the head when it moshes its way through the crowd that is the HC scene.
I love Limbonic Art. I love Arcturus. I love Dödheimsgard. All Norwegian bands that doesn’t follow any set formula. Quadrivium follows in that tradition. This is extreme metal that transcends all borders. Instead it mixes different styles of metal in a never ending way. This sounds like an amalgamation of Limbonic Art and Arcturus. You get the industrial, monotonous side of Limbonic Art and the melodic, progressive side of Arcturus.
The polish metal scene seems to be in better health than it ever been before. Don’t know if that is because of Behemoth’s success or if it is just a generation thing. Whatever the reason might be I for one is a pleased metalhead. Saratan is my latest discovery from the Polish metal scene.
“New Sound Of War”
If you like Fawlty Towers you’ll know that you shouldn’t mention the War to the German guests. Stuka Squadron doesn’t seem to care too much about that. With a stage show that (allegedly) looks like a battle field and with a lyrical content about the second World War this in that aspect very British
“Plan Your Rebirth”
I’m kinda allergic to anything that is being described as post this or that. Calling a band’s music post-hardcore implies that there is something to follow traditional hardcore which to my knowledge hasn’t happened. Italian Underwell might be hardcore in spirit but musically they pretty much reminds me of a crossover between thrash and HC
Sweden’s Avatar hail from the famed city of Gothenburg so it comes as typically they have a strong melodic death base a la In Flames. However, there it ends as the band’s avant garde approach lends itself to a theatrical / circus image and incorporates industro metal along the lines of Rammstein and with little surprise, the freako goth of Marilyn Manson. Johannes Eckerström’s hoarse vocals mingles with creepy melodies amidst bombastic riffs, harmonicas and weird country n western geetars on songs like ‘Smells Like A Freakshow’, ‘Paint Me Red’ and ‘Use Your Tongue’. You’re either going to loathe this or like it – like many have to date having seen the band tour with the likes of Megadeth and System Of A Down no less. Definitely different!
Frictionless death metal played by a buncha Swedes who strangely shy away from their own brand of Swe-deth instead preferring the warmer climate of Florida no less! From Tommy Dahlström’s guttural Cannibal Corpse vocals to the Morbid Angel-esque techo riffing and hyper speed Sandoval drumming, songs like ‘Garden Of Sin’, ‘Neptune The Mystic’ and ‘Nothing Left To Destroy’ are delivered with matching precision brutality. The circle of hate is completed by their fiercely anti-Christian lyrics (allegedly from Dahlström’s childhood harassment suffered at the hands of Jehovah’s Witnesses) so much so that when he hoarsely barks ‘…where’s your savior, where’s your God?…’ it’s enough to make Deicide quake in their boots – buy n fry!
Stonking balls out stoner blues rock from Finland! These guys might have only formed 4 years back but they sure play like guys who’ve done for yonks – guess there aren’t too many other things to do on those long cold winter nights except howl back at the wolves! Vocalist Riku “Richter” Tarvonen growls like a cross between a bear and Danzig while the rest of the band sound like a throwback version of Karma To Burn with syrup thick grooves, crunching bass and mammoth plodding drums on heavy duty songs like ‘Locked n Loaded’, ‘Stoneskin’ and ‘Skulltower’. This is an awesome debut from a band outta nowhere who’ve got some serious ass to kick amidst the other wild mayhem they no doubt partake in!
These guys might be named after Sin City but they’re actually from Chicago. And they ain’t glam or hair metal either even though they may lookit. Truth be told The Last Vegas are 70s Aerosmith meets 80s GnR: from Chad Cherry’s Axel like screeches to Tyler n Perry’s shake it grooves – along with some home grown Chicago blues on songs like ‘Beat To Hell’, ‘Don’t Take It So Hard’ and ‘Devil In You’. Twelve songs to croon, cry and rock out baby! Forget the net, these five mid westerners take it right back to the basics from handing out flyers to living in a warehouse to working with Chicago local Johnny K, who has helmed albums by Megadeth, Disturbed, 3 Doors Down and Airbourne. The result is a no frills hard rockin n rollin album that exudes only the sweat n stink of a talented rock n roll band. Made in the USA!
Norway’s Nidingr are the veritable super group in every sense comprised of members of Mayhem, Gorgoroth, Dødheimsgard, 1349 and God Seed. Musically, it lives up to its name being conventional black metal at its base but straying into the intense pagan metal more recently fashioned by the likes of Primordial. Metallic, clanging guitars, intense riffing and hoarse, throat strained vocals govern the likes of songs like ‘O Thou Empty God’, ‘Rags Upon A Beggar’ and ‘The Worm Is Crowned’. Main man guitarist Teloch does a fine job of conveying a dark and sombre atmosphere on the material which for the most part reflects the inner pain of one’s soul on this charged album that pulls no punches!
Hailing from the Ukraine, Oskord are named after a Slavic war axe based on their beliefs in spiritual weapons of God! Essentially playing folk metal, these guys are similar to Russia’s Arkona, only more folk possessing some of most magically medieval melodies to pass my ears for a long time. Vocalist Pavel Smirnov can growl all he wants, but it’s Andrey Yakovenko’s flutes and whistles that truly drive the band on pulsating songs like ‘Salvation Ark’, ‘Temptation Of The Righteous One’ and ‘The Waters Of Meribah’. Amidst the two are the guitars Sergey Nagorny and Max Kiprov that provide even more melody as well as heaviness – overall, it’s an epic sound befitting the band’s strong Biblical beliefs. Although I would imagine Oskord are unknown in the more established metal countries they’ve done the right thing to tour in Belarus, Switzerland, Moldova, Finland, Poland and The Czech Republic so I can’t wait to see more of this promising band!
Wow. This has to be one of the best indie releases I’ve ever heard! Whilst England’s Broken Links aren’t exactly metal, they take inspiration from a wide variety of bands ranging from Nine Inch Nails to Bush to even Joy Division in their amazing sound. Delicate guitar harmonies mix with emo vocals and dark melodies to produce a melancholic, yet powerful and captivating sound to songs like ‘Within Isolation’, ‘A Memory Of Home’ and ‘Shelter Your Loss’ – and all this coming from a trio no less! Generally mainstream Brit Rock bands like the Manics and Oasis fail to reach me on any level given their blandness but Broken Links are something else, having grabbed my heart from the outset thru their winning songs and powerful emo charged passion!
Fed up of the mundanity of their run down old ship building town of Barrow, this UK 4 piece decided to mix Queens Of Stone Age with Clutch and some RATM to create some power rock to shake the rafters! Amidst a chugging groove come eclectic rhythms and aggro-ish vocals on songs like ‘Pull Out Your Knife’, ‘Broken Man’ and ‘The Ballad Of Jenny’. There’s a definite commercial appeal to their sound so it comes as no surprise they’ve toured with a wide range of bands from Fozzy to Sham 69 (!) as well played a number of tattoo expos but whatever their appeal, their one constant is rock, rock, rock!
“The Revolution Is Dead”
I have very up and down feelings about this album. My worst case scenario is that this will make Naked City look like the sanest band on earth. My best case scenario is that this is as weird as I anticipate it to be. Even though the band name seems familiar I’m not sure that I have heard their music before.
“When Tomorrow Comes”
Russia is a very large country spanning different continents yet musically it is pretty much an undiscovered territory. Deformity are in essence thrash metal but more of the softer kind like early Metallica or Megadeth while not sounding anything like any of these bands. In spirit you could say that they are caught between the first and second wave of thrash.
“Absolutely Anti-human Behaviour”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m a huge fan of the Polish extreme metal scene. There seem to be an endless supply of bands that take no prisoners when it comes to their metal. Full speed ahead and no stopping for anybody kind of metal. Embrional are no exception. This is death metal that is no stop, full throttle from start to finish.
THE FAT DUKES OF FUCK
“Honey From The Lips Of An Angel”
I don’t often take offense to band names. And I have no problems with this one either if that is what the band wants to be remembered for. I don’t even take offense to the music. This might not be my cup of java. There is something too chaotic and non-consecutive to it that doesn’t sit well with me. It is like they are trying to be too much at once.
“It All Fades”
To be honest I can’t say that I remember too much of The Gardenerz previous album. Somewhere in the back of my head I seem to remember that I liked them and their death metal mixed with thrash and doom. Or is itthe other way around? This is only a five tracker and as somebody that is an album person this is like being treated to an appetizer and not getting the full meal.
I haven’t heard of this band prior to receiving this album. From what I gather this is some sort of retrospective release from a rather cult-ish Polish band. That it is death metal you don’t have to doubt a second. This is perhaps not as chaotic and throttle slashing as all other Polish bands I’ve come into contact with recently but this is still cool death metal.
I don’t know why it is that the Polish extreme metal scene is so vital and livid. Can it be because they find so much vitriol from the Catholic church to spew vile over? Whatever the reason might be I like it. Infidel are no exception to other polish death metal bands. They seem to go for the throat straight away.
LOST IN ALASKA
“Time Of Solution”
I’m not the biggest fan of grindcore. To my ears it most often is just noise and blast per seconds than it is pure enjoyment. Russian Lost In Alaska is not what I’d describe as grindcore. This to my ears reminds me of a Korn gone death metal or if you like a cross between Cryptopsy and Pyrexia.
This is another one of the bands that I’m very much aware of but haven’t bothered to check out for one reason or another. In my mind I’ve made this band up to be a softer version of Cult Of Luna (another band that I haven’t really checked out). And while that might be true musically I have no idea how to compare the two of them apart from the fact that there are strings tying them together.
I honestly don’t know how to pronounce this band’s name. Not that it matters when it comes to decide if this is something that I like or not. That I don’t know anything about the band is a bit more bothersome. At first I thought that this was going to be another black metal release but once past the intro I’m more akin towards this being death metal but I’m not sure.
I’m not one to be blinded by the star potential of a band but this is probably as close to a death metal dream team you’ll get on the Xtreem Music label. With Dave Rotten (label boss and vocalist for Avulsed) and Rogga (PAGANIZER/ RIBSPREADER and what Swedish bands has he not be involved with) Putrevore is a massive slab of death metal.
Seethe sounds like a combination of metal and hardcore. This while not being a metalcore act. Or is that this is what hardcore sounds like today? All I know is that I like this. There is something to this that makes me smile. I can’t help thinking back to a The Haunted with Marco Aro on vocals.
This Greek hardrock band takes me back to a time when Pearl Jam’s and Alice In Chains’ albums went warm in my CD player. I liked grunge and this is as close to that style I come in 2012. But as they say; great music never dies, it just keep living. And this is great music. There is a melancholic side to the music that I found in Alice In Chains and to some extent in Pearl jam too.
“Carnage Slaughter And Death”
Swedish death metal. Need I say more? This is another great example of why Swedish death metal is the greatest thing since denim pants. This is heavy and dirty and murky and so great that I don’t know what to do. No matter where I turn I seem to run into a great death metal album the Swedish way. I can’t seem to get enough of old Nihilist/Autopsy/Entombed death metal.