Goatwhore – “Blood For The Master” (Metal Blade)
Holy fuck, if Celtic Frost were still shakin’ it like they did in the 80s, then Goatwhore would be their name LOL. Remember that raw guitar tone? Those evil sliding riffs? The death grunt drawl? Well, Goatwhore are doing it all an’ a whole lot more! Fronted by no less than two NOLA legends in Sammy Pierre Duet (ex Acid Bath, Crowbar etc) and Soilent Green’s Ben Falgoust, I remember these guys when they first started in the late 90s, and boy, have they matured into something special. Added to them are the bludgeoning rhythm of drummer Zack Simmons (ex-Nachtmystium) and bassist Nathan Bergeron, and you’ve got a killer crew to boot! I guess if there were a spectrum that began at Celtic Frost and went all the way into full black metal then the 10 songs on “Blood For The Master” would pretty much spread across that scale from the “Morbid Tales’ like ‘When Steel And Bone Meet’ to the blackish / deathlike ‘Judgement of the Bleeding Crown’ to the heading straight for Emperor’s throne on ‘My Name Is Frightful Among The Believers’. With Erik Rutan completing the circle to give this blistering slab A1 production and you’ve got it all par excellence bar none. Continue reading
Vengeance – “Crystal Eye” (Steamhammer/SPV)
It’s hard to believe that after 30 long, hard years cult Dutch band Vengeance are still going – and amazingly still fronted by semi legendary vocalist (and now sole survivor) Leon Goewie. After being discovered in 1983 and catapulted into fame, Vengeance sadly never broke out of their native Holland, and as the years went by with missed opportunities, they finally went into hibernation. Even a reunion in 1997 turned out to be short lived as Goewie departed soon after, apparently without a trace. Fast forward to today and Vengeance is once again upon us – and along with Goewie is an all star line-up with veteran bassist Chris Glenn (Alex Harvey Band, MSG), guitarist Keri Kelli (ex-Alice Cooper) and drummer Chris Slade (ex-AC/DC) in his ranks! With renowned producer Michael Voss (Mad Max, ex Vengeance) in collaboration with
Goewie on the material, musically it draws from the length of the band’s career from the Leppardesque stadium rock of ‘Barbeque’ to the LA hard n sleeze of ‘Desperate Women’ to the awesome epic power metal title track ‘Crystal Eye’. All in all it’s a package that does Goewie justice at last, allowing him to showcase his excellent and versatile rock vocals. 30 years is a long time, and Goewie has had that time to ponder on the band’s ups and downs, dedicating the final track to guitarist Jan Somers who recently passed away. Whatever the case, “Crystal Eye” shows he has come out a better man, and earned his right to a second chance. Continue reading
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!