Kyshera – “Made In China”

Kyshera – “Made In China” (www.kyshera.com)

LOL – if this was manufactured in China, it would truly be the end of the world! Kyshera actually come from Wales of all places but play some of the most off the wall fusion rock that owes more to the 70s prog and psychedelic inspirations of Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa and even David Bowie, but all wrapped up in a funky, eclectic modern groove also incorporating rap and grunge like elements! With an equally explosive live show and blatant political lyrics, Kyshera’s desire to escape the norm is reflected in their drive towards the undefinable on songs like ‘Mannequins’, ‘The Game’ and ‘Messiah Mask’ featuring space age keyboard sounds, slapping bass and radio mike vocals all cemented together by some equally diverse guitar work. For a trio, Kyshera certainly make a big sound, not just in depth but also in breadth and whilst genre purists may dismiss the talents of these young upstarts, I feel that “Made In China” has what it takes to bring modern prog to the masses. Continue reading

Grand Alchemist – “Disgusting Hedonism”

Grand Alchemist – “Disgusting Hedonism” (Lydfella Records)

With such a catchy band name I’m surprised these guys aren’t known better outside of their native Norway, given they’ve been going since the mid 90s, and even more so when listening to their amazing symphonic black metal! With elements of Emperor, Arcturus and early Children of Bodom, there is clearly a lot going on in this complex band and it’s all brought to life by the brilliant musicianship of Grand Alchemist. Listening to superb songs like ‘Synthetic Physical Intercourse’, ‘Deserted Apocalyptic Cities’, and ‘Touching The Course Of My Muse’ the passion is abundant in the dark drawling vocals, passionate folk harmonies, black / prog riffs, delicate middle eastern melodies, goth keyboard atmospherics, heaps of heavy technical drumming – and so much more! Thoroughly pleasurable, this is an album that doesn’t hold back in giving it all to you!!! Continue reading

Ex Deo – “Caligvla”

Ex Deo – “Caligvla” (Napalm Records)

Ex Deo is the epic Roman metal side project featuring members of Canadian death band Kataklysm. Stemming from vocalist Maurizio Iacono’s Italian roots, the concept is based almost entirely around subjects related to the Roman Empire – in this case Caligula Caesar, with the album even timed for release on his 2,000 birthday! Musically, the band retain some of their death metal elements especially in Maurizio’s alternating hoarse / screamo vocals but the rest of it is an altogether more artistic affair that lends itself more to Luca Turelli’s film score metal as pioneered in Rhapsody. Songs like ‘Burned To Serve As Nocturnal Light’, ‘The Tiberius Cliff (Exile To Capri)’ and ‘Evocatio – The Temple Of Castor & Pollux’ are certainly no light weight affair and are bombastically symphonic and classical – even at times operatic – than metal such that they musically reflect the power and might of one of the greatest empires the world has ever known! Continue reading

Daughtry – “Break The Spell – Tour Edition”

Daughtry – “Break The Spell – Tour Edition” CD / DVD (Sony Music)

I haveta confess that I’d never even heard of Daughtry until this release – but then I’m not exactly an avid watcher of American Idol from which frontman vocalist Chris Daughtry made his name as a season 5 finalist. Since then, he’s gone onto even bigger fame and fortune scoring no less that 4 number 1’s, selling over seven million albums worldwide and had 4 Grammy nominations fronting his namesake band sorta in the same vein as Bon Jovi. Musically, its not too different either, being an even more melodic American rock band characterised by ballads, catchy melodies and singalong choruses judging by the likes of ‘Renegade’, ‘We’re Not Gonna Fall’ and ‘Maybe We’re Already Gone’, the last of which is one of the bonus tracks on the deluxe version of this third album release from Daughtry. The tour edition, designed to coincide with the band’s Sept tour with Nickelback, is essentially this amped up album plus a DVD made up of live and official video performances. Although a tad poppy for my heavyweight appetite, Chris Daughtry does nevertheless put in a fine vocal performance and the catchiness of his rock may warrant further interest from those more into the mainstream. Continue reading

Svolk – “Nights Under The Round Table”

Svolk – “Nights Under The Round Table” (Napalm Records)

Plenty of tongue in cheek with the Svolksters! I actually thought the name was an amalgamation of ‘Swedish’ and ‘Folk’ but these farm boys tell me it actually means kicking the crap outta someone – nice (and they’re from bloody Norway – Ed)! If that wasn’t enough then they call their style bear metal. WTF?! But listening to the likes of ‘Break My Bones’, ‘Fallen’ and the witty ‘To Conquer Death And You Only Have To Die’ it’s actually somewhat anticlimactic given I was expecting some backwoods metal like Scissorfight, but this turned out more to be like Down albeit with an even more stoner groove especially on their lighter material and Knut Erik’s clean, high end vocals. It’s hard to tell whether Svolk are one of those piss take bands or just bored with the bullshit but their music is certainly played well enough with hillbilly fire so I’m prepared to give them a chance to Svolk ’em all! Continue reading

Eye of Solitude – “Sui Caedere”

Eye of Solitude – “Sui Caedere” (Kaotoxin Records)

Despite being formed in the bright lights of the city of London, EoS is a funeral doom band – and then some! Crushingly heavy riffs played at plod pace with some beautiful melancholic melodies courtesy of Indee Rehal-Sagoo’s guitarwork form the haunting backdrop to Daniel Neagoe’s guttural vocals on songs like ‘A Note To Say Farewell’, ‘Those Who Don’t Return’ and ‘Yet I Breathe’ which unsurprisingly from their titles deal with suicide, loneliness and hopelessness. Despite its seeming simplicity, Funeral Doom is not an easy style to master, given it really has to come from a heavy heart and reflect a despairing spiritual state to really have an ambient effect on the soul – EoS have indeed achieved this on the 10 gloomy tracks guaranteed to send you into an abyss of depression! Continue reading

Masachist – “Scorned”

Masachist – “Scorned” (Selfmadegod Records)

Death metal all the way. Masachist was formed in 2005 by Thrufel (ex-Azarath, ex-Yattering) and Daray (Dimmu Borgir, ex-Vader, Vesania), and later on joined by Heinrich (Vesania, ex-Decapitated, ex-UnSun), Aro (Shadows Land, Torquemada) and Pig (Anal Stench, ex-Decapitated). With a stellar cast, “Scorned” doesn’t disappoint with driller killer riffing, blast beat drumming and evil wailing solos on songs like ‘The Process of Elimination’, ‘Opposing Normality’ and ‘Inner Void’. Pig certainly lives up to his name, providing some of the most guttural vocals I’ve ever heard on a DM album that bring life (or death?) to the blurring brutality that is Masachist. Brilliantly executed and coupled with an intelligent use of slower, heavier and even quieter passages, “Scorned” is premier Polish death metal at its best. Continue reading

Within Destruction – “From The Depths”

Within Destruction – “From The Depths” (Noiseheadrecords)

The little known country of Slovenia is reputedly one of the most beautiful in Eastern Europe – the last place you’d expect for an extreme metal band like Within Destruction! Just a coupla years old, this young band have certainly mastered the trademark sounds of a number of extreme styles from hyperspeed precision drumming to alternating guttural /screech vocals with the odd Chris Barnes cannibalistic shrill chucked in for good measure. However, what brings this band to life are the heaps of guitar melodies that also come in from the black, death and extreme metal scenes chucked in by the barrel load on songs like ‘King Of Serpents’, ‘The Price Of Heresy’ and ‘While She Was Dying’. It’s by no means original but it certainly is a fine start in style from which to go onto bigger things! Continue reading

CODEJAK – POST SUPPORTING FOZZY WITH DEBUT

Sounding like the thrashed bastard child of early Queens Of The Stoneage tanked up on a case of whisky, CodeJak are here to blow the cobwebs away and rattle your ear drums into submission with their own stamp of boisterous Alco-Rock. The band release their debut album ‘Times Of Conflict’ through Ghoulish Records/PHD on Monday 19th November. Continue reading

Helstar – “30 Years Of Hell”

Helstar – “30 Years Of Hell” DVD / 2CD (AFM Records)

Well, as you can guess from the title, its 3 decades since the formation of Texan 80s power metal band. And what a better way to celebrate it than with a big concert in your hometown of Houston? This mighty 20 tracker captures material right from Helstar’s beginning with their very first song ‘Burning Star’ thru to ‘Baptized in Blood’ (from “Nosferatu”) right up until their latest stuff like ‘The King Of The Dead’. Still fronted by James Rivera (Vicious Rumors, Seven Witches and Destiny´s End) who clearly has lost none of his charisma, not to mention his incredibly powerful voice, there are times when the sound is slightly distorted as the live mix can’t cope lol, so this is a both a true live album and also true to their legacy as an underground band, having being one of the original bands signed to Combat Records, also the home of Megadeth and Exodus. Whilst Helstar never made it as big as their peers, they have still made their mark and without compromising their style in favour of commercialism – “30 Years Of Hell” is a true testament to that achievement! Continue reading