Black Messiah – “The Final Journey” (AFM Records)
‘..From Black/Death to Thrash/Power to Folk Metal, we´re mixing up any metallic style that fits to create our own sound, Black Messiah style!..’ Yeah, no kidding, if I had to sum up the bands near 20 year history – during which time they’ve only released 4 prior albums – then I’d agree with the band’s statement that it has made a number of transitions over the years. On this album they venture into pirate metal with the liberal use of the fiddle and some nice knees up jolly’s like ‘Der Ring Mit Dem Kreuz’ with vocalist Zagan sounding like a pissed up (German) Davy Jones LOL. However, on other tracks like ‘Lindisfarne’ the band turn up the black metal influences while on ‘Feld Der Ehre’ they go for a softer symphonic approach. The epic 4 track closer ‘The Naglfar Saga’ pretty much covers all the band’s different styles and whilst I wouldn’t give them any points for originality, in their 20 years they’ve definitely learnt how to combine and piece the different metal genres into some interesting compositions, boldly daring even a violin power metal cover of Candlemass’s ‘Into The Unfathomed Tower’ – what balls LOL! Continue reading
Anguish – “Through The Archdemons Head” (Dark Descent Records)
Resplendent in fox furs and bathed in animal blood, there’s no doubt these Swedes will cause no small amount of people a great deal of anguish, but pets aside, they also produce epic doom par excellence! Taking early Black Sabbath (a la ‘Master Of Reality’), mixing it with ‘Morbid Tales’ era Celtic Frost and giving it Candlemass’s funeral doom touch, Anguish have arrived at a lethal cocktail that should carry a (mental) health warning: if you thought dinosaur rock was dead, beware as there is still one solitary beast lurking. Stonehenge drums, bottom heavy bass, and raw fuzz toned guitars coil riffs around you like a python slowly crushing you to death on gargantuan epics like ‘Lair Of The Gods’, ‘When The Ancients Dare To Walk’ and ‘Morbid Castle’. Most of all, J Dee’s demented vocals are like a cross between Ozzy, Tom Warrior and Lemmy – you couldn’t ask for better (the man is gonna be a star – a dark star LOL – Ed). At times the music is seemingly disjointed, but with an average song time of 6 mins I actually think it adds to the flavour and reflects a truly creative and underground release. The cover says it all really…a desolate shack atop a bloody ice strewn mountain with a foxes head stuck on a pole!!! Continue reading
Dead Label – “Sense of Slaughter” (Rising Records)
The winners of the All Ireland 2008 Battle Of The Bands, this young 3 piece really kick it with their brutal brand of metal along the lines of Lamb Of God or Machine Head. Driven by the pummeling drums of Claire Percival (don’t get into a fist fight with her LOL – Ed), and faithfully flanked by the throat strained screechcore vox of bassist Dan O’ Grady and the dervish riffing of Danny Hall, songs like ‘Thrown To the Wolves’, ‘Dawn Of A New Age’ and ‘Raising The Veil’ may not be breaking any new ground, but man, does this band know how to kick ass!! Continue reading
Burn The Sunset – “Home” (www.facebook.com/burnthesunsetuk)
Burn, baby, burn! This young Scottish metalcore hail from William Wallace country and whilst there may not be much in the way of sunsets in Stirling, they sure know a whole lot about burning (and looting, pillaging, raping LOL – Ed)! Mixing it furiously on this debut between the aggro of Terror in The Bruce’s hoarse vocals to the Almond / Fyfe guitars that have claymore size doses of Dimebag Pantera like riffing laced with pensive melodies on tracks like ‘Lonely & Defeated’, ‘Insincere’ and ‘The Changing Of Times’, BTS give it a kick in the bollox that brings the braveheart to the highlands! Continue reading
Where the hell is Bulgaria?!?! Well, it’s remotely located in Eastern Europe and while it doesn’t make the news, a metal band called Krossfire have with their brand of prog / power metal. Shan Siva goes over the iron curtain to chat to guitarist Georgi Kushev!
1. Firstly, congratulations on your new album – it really is impressive given I did not hear about a metal band from Bulgaria before!
Georgi : Thank you very much. We really tried our best and we are happy that people are digging it.
2. Is Krossfire Bulgaria’s biggest metal band?
Georgi : No. We are truly an underground band and there are others like us in here. Metal in Bulgaria is not very popular to say at least.
Freedom Call – “Land Of The Crimson Dawn” (Steamhammer/SPV)
These guys are awesome, and yet one of the most underrated power / symphonic bands around. Co-founded by Chris Bay and Gamma Ray’s drummer Dan Zimmerman, I sorta always got the impression that the latter’s commitments had always been a bit of rein on the band’s success, cos it sure wasn’t their astounding music that I’ve always found majestic and highly uplifting! Well, the news is that Dan is no longer with the band (funnily enough given his commitments to Gamma Ray) so I greeted this with mixed feelings given how this might influence the band’s sound. Well, it has changed somewhat, with songs like ‘Sun In The Dark’ being more mainstream rock and ‘Hero On Video’ reminding me of Queen’s ‘Radio Ga Ga’ (aaarrggh – bring back Dan – Ed), although the likes of ‘Crimson Dawn’ and my personal fave ’66 Warriors’ (complete with Mongolian throat whistling) brings us back to that classic power metal sound that defined the genre. To be fair, Bay’s use of power melody continues to pervade through all the songs, but I guess on the lighter material it kinda fluffs them up. Truth be told, this is a fine rock / metal album that quality wise is probably their best work to date and given its breadth should bring the band their long deserved big time success. Continue reading
4ARM – “Submission For Liberty” (Rising Records)
Describing themselves as ‘…a pure, no-gimmicks, straight-up thrash metal band..’, 4ARM are one of Australia’s premier up coming thrash bands. Hailing from Melbourne, this 4 piece play it right outta Metallica’s ‘..Justice..’ era on songs like ‘My Father’s Eyes’, ‘While I Lay Awake’ and ‘I Will Not Bow’. Mainman Danny Tomb may look and be as pumped as Danzig, but he could be (and should be) James Hetfield’s cousin LOL! Whilst this is an unreserved take on a classic sound, it’s unashamedness and measure of quality go quite a ways to tempering any crys of ‘foul’, so savour the rippa mate! Continue reading
Dawn Of Ashes – “Farewell to the Flesh” EP (Metal Blade)
Dark. Distasteful. And downright nasty.This musta been released in time for Valentines cos the vid is some foul snuff type flick with some demonoid creature slicing up some chick (I think it’s his chick LOL – Ed). I mean, WTF is going on in the minds of ‘Blood Stained’ Kristof Bathory and Volkar ‘Bludgeoning’ Kael?! Mind you, with names like that it’s easy to see how DOA have scraped every dirty vestige of the Shock / Horror / Black Metal sewer – along with their own brand of obnoxious Aggro-Tech – to produce this 8 tracker EP. With songs like ‘Torture Device’ and ‘Seething The Flesh In The River Ov Phlegethon’ where do I begin – except to say ‘NSFW’! As for ‘Carnal Consummation In The Empty Space – which is available in 3 mixes: Falling Skies; Die Sektor; To Mega Therion, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference as I was sucked in, absorbed and totally tranced baby. Join the vile and sacrifice yourself!
Bloodwrath – “The Hate Effect” (Rising Records)
Howay the lads! These Geordies have been gettin about what with all their touring to Russia and the Ukraine no less! Rather than the likes of traditional British Death Metal, this lot have a more polished approach along the lines of Kataklysm with a strong mello-death element in their clean but brutal Metallica like chugging riffs as well as those all too familiar squeaking guitars. Aptly named vocalist Grym Cox nevertheless lets you know his foot’s on your throat though on songs like ‘Organised Genocide’, ‘Served In Silence’ and the cool titled ‘Hyperchrist’. Although not scoring in the originality, Bloodwrath’s appeal is in their generic, catchy and well executed material that is no doubt endearing fans to them by the bucket load! Continue reading
A World Defined – “Welcome In This Feeling” EP (www.aworlddefined.com)
This young emo punk band hail from middle England and were reputedly brought together ‘..with a love for music and art..’ and yes, I’d have to agree with that given that they have some of the most beautifully soft and tranquil passages on songs like ‘Sophomore’, ‘Welcome To Barrow’ and ‘Internecine’ making up this 4 tracker EP. However, for me the interest is in the contrasting frenetic riffs along the lines of Pennywise and excellently finished off by Aidy Lennox’s powerful vocals, all of which add to a powerful punch reflected the equally contrasting cover of a red budgie with a worm in its mouth! Continue reading