Overthrow – “Adjust To Darkness”

Overthrow – “Adjust To Darkness” (Indie Recordings)

Hailing from Norway’s home of the oil rigs – Stavanger – Overthrow put out as much noise as these huge steel structures! Cooly blending in punk with the majestic metallic riffs of At The Gates and some excellent Entombed death n roll, Overthrow create a superb mix of passion and intensity that also shakes it on songs like ‘Phantom Hearts’, ‘Come Thunder’ and ‘Let Them Fall’. Ole Gaard’s vocals are hoarse and almost Lemmy like (thankfully without the warts lol – Ed) whilst his guitar work – along with Erlend Færevåg’s – is as intense in its styles as inspirations, drawing from the full range of punk, death and even thrash influences on the 11 fast n dirty tracks making up this eye catching debut. Continue reading

Stormrider – “Path Of Salvation”

Stormrider – “Path Of Salvation” (Pure Steel Records)

Excellent – galloping German HM with tinges of US heavy metal and NWOBHM chucked in for good measure! Driven by the twin mean but melodic guitar attack of Ingo Rieger and Jan Gerbracht, Stefan Hebes brings in his epic vocals – along with some cool bass runs from Sven Carsten and unflinching double bass drum work from Stefan Lange. In many ways they remind me of Riot and especially Maiden, although Hebes has a much lower range, opting for a more soulful approach that superbly complements Stormrider’s excellent power melodies on songs like ‘Heaven Is Closer’, ‘Across The Acheron’ and ‘The Sentence Divine’. I thoroughly enjoyed this unpretentious yet confident slice of traditional heavy metal which is a fitting salutation to the 10th anniversary of this band – long may they reign! Continue reading

Massgrav – “Still The Kings”

Massgrav – “Still The Kings” (Selfmadegod Records)

Loud, obnoxious crust core from Sweden. What the fuck have they been downing – this trio are like a mental moose let loose in the studio! Frenetic drumming, thrashing speedway riffing and larynx crushing screaming vocals are unleashed on 19 mayhemic tracks like ‘At war with etno’, ‘Ni krustar, dom dör’ and lol – ‘Full fart mot döden’! At times their stuff is more punk reminding me of Discharge with their nihilistic riffs whilst on the more singalong stuff it’s akin to The Misfits. Elsewhere it’s blast beats galore as Massgrav give it their all like it was their last fuck on Earth – total chaos!!! Continue reading

Geoff Tate – “Kings & Thieves”

Geoff Tate – “Kings & Thieves” (Inside Out Music)

Given the ongoing debacle with his former band mates in Queensrÿche, I did wonder if there was something in Tate’s second solo album’s title lol. Still, it’s a marked departure from the proggy metal of the ‘rÿche, being more melodic power rock with some kick ass funk rock sass to boot! Tate himself sounds remarkably at ease vocally, probably not having to hit those highs as frequently but instead pouring his very passion into making songs like ‘She Slipped Away’, ‘The Way I Roll’ and ‘These Glory Days’ as soulful as possible. Indeed, soul is the word here on “Kings & Thieves”, what with the liberal use of subtle female backing harmonies and a prominent use of the Hammond organ. But when he’s feeling jestful, Tate kicks it big time with the use of subtle sax’s and funky Glenn Hughes rhythms to bring the sex in there babaay! Whatever the outcome of matters related to Queensrÿche, this album proves that Geoff Tate is still one of the top rated vocalists in the world, and best of all, that “Kings & Thieves” is no mere token offering in the meantime, but a top rock album in its own right! Continue reading

Trail Of The Dead – “Lost Songs”

Trail Of The Dead – “Lost Songs” (Superball Music)

Awesome – these guys are probably my fave US alt punk rock band of all time! With a name derived from the Mayans, formed in Hawaii and members residing across the globe from Cambodia to LA to Texas their music is equally diverse ranging from inspirational legends like Hole, Fugazi and Sonic Youth as well as estern harmonies and melodies – truly a gift from the gods indeed! Likewise, their wrath is also to be found in the unbelievable power and intensity of songs like the crashing ‘Open Doors’ or the spiraling guitar work of ‘Heart Of Wires’ and ‘Bright Young’ that will simply bounce you off the walls of your room! Conrad Keely’s adolescent vox find their niche amidst the raw guitar frenicity and pummeling ferocity of no less than two drummers! Best of all, there is a trippy feel to the songs not necessarily in the hippy sense but in terms of spiritual strength that draws both from the light and dark aspects of one’s soul – truly music from heaven that radiates an inspirational beauty showing a path of light thru the world’s tumultuousness! Continue reading

Early Graves – “Red Horse”

Early Graves – “Red Horse” (No Sleep Records)

Rest In Peace mah brutha. In the summer of 2010, this San Francisco noise core crew suffered the tragic loss of singer Makh Daniels, killed in a van accident. After a year of mourning and no doubt wondering if the band should continue given the daunting task of replacing Makh’s considerable vocal and onstage presence, as fate would have it Funeral Pyre’s John Strachan (who bizarrely were in the same van during the accident!) decided to step up to the plate. “Red Horse” is his baptism of fire and brings the same fucked up beyond shit, feedback drenched pummeling noise core that brutalized us to musical ecstasy the first time around and now does the same again on obnoxious songs like ‘Skinwalker’, ‘Days Grow Cold’ and ‘Apocolyptic Nights’. Loud, dirty guitars, distorted bass and pummeling drum work form the backdrop for Strachan’s tortured, throat strained vocals – which although higher than Makh’s – lack no less the intensity of his much missed and legendary predecessor. Early Graves live on, carried thru the darkness by the steed known as “Red Horse”. Continue reading

Orden Ogan – “To The End”

Orden Ogan – “To The End” (AFM Records)

Widely known as the successors to Blind Guardian and Running Wild, Germany’s Orden Ogan predictably play melodic power metal although touring with the likes of Grave Digger, Van Canto and Freedom Call has certainly enhanced their sound on this superb album! Along with their galloping speed comes a more epic and even singalong feel to songs like ‘The Things We Believe In’, ‘Till The Stars Come Out’ and ‘Mystic Symphony’. They even venture into djent territory on ‘This World Of Ice’ but thankfully keep it to this one song – although competently played, I don’t feel it’s Orden Ogan’s forte. Elsewhere racy melodic guitars, soulful Seeb’s vocals and epic choirs combine with pianos, violins and acoustics on a big sound production to create a sense surround symphonic experience full of passion – a magnum opus par excellence indeed! Continue reading

Velvet Star – “All Or Nothing”

Velvet Star – “All Or Nothing” EP (www.facebook.com/velvetstarband)

Named after the tatt on vocalist Danny’s butt, this is what street punk rock n roll is all about! Mix the adrenaline kickin rock of GnR with the high energy fueled roll of Hanoi Rocks and an amped up Iggy Pop and Velvet Star is what u get. Four skanky dudes glazed in rocker sheen (that’s sweat to you & me boyo lol – Ed), covered in tatts and a liberal use of eye liner – but can they kick it! Songs like ‘Crash & Burn’, ‘Overrated’ and the bruisin’ opener ‘Bring It On’ show a powerful, lean n hungry machine built to destroy pussy and burn your town to tha ground! Continue reading

Depth – “Waiting For The Waves”

Depth – “Waiting For The Waves” (www.facebook.com/depththeband)

This young mellow core band from England have already been making waves on a Red Bull Bedroom Jam competition with a fair number of endorsements following suit! Paul Hardy’s rumbling bass brilliantly contrasts his high punkish vocals while the Holliday brothers’ dueling guitar work matches in ferocity meets melody on songs like ‘Hope In Mind’, ‘All I Know’ and ‘Whispers’. Inspirationally, it takes elements from Funeral For A Friend and Killswitch Engage and mixes them in with other mello punk bands like say, Billy Talent whilst still retaining enough of their own touch to warrant some cred. Continue reading

Angra – “Best Reached Horizons”

Angra – “Best Reached Horizons” 2CD (Steamhammer / SPV)

Angra are probably Brazil’s best known power metal band and have been going for the best part of two decades. Funnily enough in all that time this is their first ever compilation which speaks bounds about their recording output! Comprising 20 tracks handpicked by the band’s two guitarists, Kiko Loureiro and Rafael Bittencourt, “Best Reached Horizons” brilliantly showcases the awesome talent of this band – and in particular the two distinct eras in their history as reflected by the vocal talents of firstly Andre Matos and later Edu Falaschi. Although without any frills (i.e. remastering), songs like ‘Evil Warning’ and ‘Spread Your Fire’ show the breadth of Angra’s influence besides metal, ranging from prog to neo classical to traditional Brazilian music, all played with breathtaking virtuosity! If that wasn’t enough, they boldly offer a cover of Zepp’s ‘Kashmir’ and whilst yet to touch the godlike status of Plant & Page, their ascendancy is beyond question! Continue reading