Satan’s Wrath – interview with Tas Danazoglou!

With fire. With blood. With Satan. And seriously tongue in cheek!! Here comes Satan’s Wrath from Greece, bringing back all the cringe worthy memories of the 80s – Shan Siva dusts off his bullet belt as he swears to the new dark lord on the streets, Tas Danazoglou! 1. Congratulations on your new album “Aeons of Satan’s Reign”, it reminded me a lot of the bands I grew up with like Possessed, Venom and early Slayer so was that your intention as opposed to being part of the current black metal scene? Tas: yes these are our influences and of… Continue reading

Saxon – “Unplugged and Strung Up”

Saxon “Unplugged and Strung Up” (UDR Music) Bold as brass Barnsley rockers Saxon have returned, this time with an ambitious package of orchestral versions and re-recordings of their classic numbers. If this were the average band I’d say that were a gamble. But given this is Saxon, the guys who told famed promoter Harvey Goldsmith where to go, you can be sure they wouldn’t take a punt on anything that could damage their 37 year legacy! True to their reputation, they have taken some of their more epic and softer material over the years and rather than hide it away… Continue reading

Tad Morose – “Revenant” (Despotz)

Tad Morose “Revenant” (Despotz) The return of the kings! Back in the early 90s, these Swedes were massive, seen as the next big thing with their mixture of heavy n prog melody such that many saw them as Metallica meets Dream Theater. Despite this, there were numerous line up changes although the band managed to survive thru thick n thin. Even when the steam was running out by 2003 they managed to release a respectable album in “Modus Vivendi”. Thereafter began the sleep of the decade. With only founder guitarist Christer ‘Krunt’ Andersson left and drummer Peter Morén from the… Continue reading

Operadyse – “Pandemonium”

Operadyse “Pandemonium” (Sonic Attack / SPV) I was wondering when the French would come out with a band to match Rhapsody Of Fire and Operadyse have answered in fine style! Although not quite as classical or operatic as the Italians, Operadyse also take a fair amount from Brazil’s Angra with their soft folk melodies and galloping speed. Still, there’s enough ‘film score’ (i.e. atmospheric keyboards, choirs) in their metal to have those preferring bombastic epics like ‘Keeper Of The Flame’ and ‘Celestial Sword’ heartily beating our chests! For a band with little history and experience this is a stupendous effort… Continue reading

Day of Execution – “Pointless Cause”

  EP (Mulligore Production) Death metal from Bulgaria! These guys formed in 2005 under the dubious name of Reichsradio when they were a death / grind band but after watching “The Green Mile” changed their name to Day of Execution and became a full on death metal band. Mixing old and new schools there’s enough of a mixture of SFU pig squeals to guttural vocals from mainman Svetoslav Vasilev to keep the chundering tempo going on brutal songs like ‘Lust For Gore’, ‘Wormfeast’ and ‘The Greatest Pleasure’. The guitar work mixes diddly dee fretboarding with roaring riffola whilst chucking in… Continue reading

Artical – “Illusion X”

  (Pitch Black Records) Formed by the Dimareli brothers in 2002, Artical are a Greek neo classical power metal band who were probably little known outside of their country – until now! For this album they’ve recruited famed vocalist Mark Boals (Yngwie Malmsteen, Ring Of Fire etc etc) and he’s in fine form as usual with his majestic vocals throughout songs like ‘Follow The Light’, ‘Run Like The Wind’ and ‘Chasing My Life’. For the most part the material is upbeat and racy along Angra’s tempo with the added harmonies of Freedom Call, although on the slower songs it could… Continue reading

Castles – “Fiction or Truth?”

(Palm Reader Records) Indie screamo from Belgium! Definitely outta the ordinary, Castles remind me a lot of eclectic bands like Fugazi and Husker Du who brilliantly forged their own sound fusing a number of styles thought impossible at the time. Whilst Castles stop short of this themselves, they too have bravely experimented with Sub Pop grunge, modern hardcore and late 80s indie in nevertheless producing an interesting fusion album that certainly makes a lotta noise – along with a lotta love. Ed Godby’s abrasively hoarse vocals could have been tutored by Guy Picciotto himself while his guitar work is equally… Continue reading

Legion – “Woke”

Legion – “Woke” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Reputedly named after Rome’s famed soldiers and the spirit cast out by Jesus, Ohio’s Legion are already building themselves on legends with their own extreme death core. Michael Guilford’s tortured guttural meets squealing vocals make him sound like a demon possessed man while the downtuned, thick as mud riffs lay into you like a gladiator chopping to the roar of the crowd before he sadistically twists his sword in for the kill. As for the rhythm, needless to say it’s shit heavy – and just wait till those blastbeats get going – it’s like a cement mixer shredding your goddamn brain with songs like ‘He Became Death’, ‘And Then, The Devil Said’ and ‘The Roach’! Legion have to be the most extreme band to ever appear on SPV’s roster – let’s hope their other bands don’t wither away lol – all I can think of is that someone woke up one day thinking they wanted a band like Oceano and lo, a Legion appeared in their wake laying waste to all and sunder. Continue reading

Ashes Of Ares – “Ashes Of Ares”

Ashes Of Ares – “Ashes Of Ares” (Nuclear Blast Records)

Searing modern heavy metal from Iced Earth’s vocalist Matthew Barlow! Joined by guitarist Freddie Vidales and ex-Nevermore drummer Van Williams, Ashes Of Ares play it like it used to be, where melody and mayhem erupted in volcanic splendor. Barlow’s high screaming vocals unsurprisingly make Ashes still sound like Iced Earth but I’d say the material is a lot heavier, both in terms of how it’s played and also engineered which is just how old headbangers like me love it. Vidales ably handles the guitar work ranging from acoustic to flowing melodies and of course, firebrand solos while Williams just happily pounds away on songs like ‘Dead Man’s Plight’, ‘On Warrior’s Wings’ and ‘The One Eyed King’. There’s also a definite epic feel to the material, especially in the quieter yet more intensely passionate moments which again harks back to the best traditions of heavy metal making this album one of the finest contemporary releases I’ve heard in a while. These guys are so tight that Ashes Of Ares sound like they’ve been together since the dawn of time, making them a must see band in their moment of history! Continue reading

Ministry – “From Beer To Eternity”

Ministry – “From Beer To Eternity” (AFM Records)

The final stand. With a typically decadent cover harking back to biblical times when Al Jourgensen’s ancestors were slavers (in his case the slaves were willing lol) we come to what appears to be Ministry’s last album. Gone is friend and anchorman Mike Scaccia but the songs he wrote and recorded with Al laid the foundations for “From Beer To Eternity” – and it’s Ministry a go go all the way. Furious chopping industrial metal riffs, bucking bronco soloing, heaps of socio political diatribe sampling against good ol’ Georgie Bush, and even some dub chucked in for good measure! It’s all there from the anarcho punk of ‘Side EFX Include Mikey’s Middle Finger/TV4’ to the apocalyptic ‘Perfect Storm’ along with the prophetic lyrics ‘..we are in uncharted territory..’. But the true nature of Ministry is probably best summed up by the amazingly diverse ‘Change Of Luck’ which starts off in ambient dub step with an almost Middle Eastern beat before Scaccia’s guitar – which indeed seems omnipresent throughout this album – comes crashing in along with some deep dark vocal drawls before an 80s pop chorus adds in harmonies! Few bands could pull this off but only Ministry could make it sound this great. From the streets of Chi-town to the cowboy boot capital of El Paso, Al Jourgensen will be sorely missed – I just hope he takes his royalties and buys a place next to Bush to carry on the war! Continue reading