Hour Of 13 – “333”

Hour Of 13 – “333” (Earache Records)

LOL – I hope that just cos this album is called “333”, that don’t mean that it’s only half as good as Anvil’s! Still, it’s nice to see a band that has someone older than me (actually he’s younger LOL – Ed). Hour Of 13 is one of these weird musical projects, in this case between vocalist Phil Swanson and Chad Davis, who plays all instruments, although it’s hardly a collaboration from what I hear given they both record independently, and rarely interact socially, which makes a live appearance rare indeed! However, musically there is clearly something that gels these two together in the old school occult doom rock that they play, which is undoubtedly influenced by the likes of Angel Witch, Witchfinder General and naturally early Sabbath, although I would say that songs like ‘Deny The Cross’, ‘Rite Of Samhain’ and ‘Sea Of Trees’ err more to the lighter doom side sorta reminding me of Sweden’s Ghost or Year Of The Goat. It’s especially so in Swanson’s haunting voice, which is a nicer, soulful version of Ozzy’s (i.e. without the drugs LOL!), and while the music is dark in it’s atmosphere, I certainly wouldn’t call it evil by any means – and nor is it intended as such I would imagine – but appealing in its own beautiful way, rather like many horror films also from that 70s era. Continue reading

TesseracT – “Perspective”

TesseracT – “Perspective” EP (Century Media)

TesseracT play modern prog metal and on this acoustic EP, they have definitely gone into the spiritual dimension judging by ethereal songs like ‘Dream Brother’ and ‘April’ that lean more towards The Doors or even Pink Floyd, while ‘Eden 2.0’, is more in the djent vein with its funky chopping rhythms drawn seemingly from the likes of Meshuggah. New vocalist Elliot Coleman has an amazing voice, high and clean, that adds even more atmosphere to the music, giving the listener an almost trance effect in combination – little wonder then that TesseracT are being worshiped as the next rock n roll deities of India! Continue reading

Nightmare – “The Burden Of God”

Nightmare – “The Burden Of God” (AFM Records)

Wow – these French guys have been going since 1979 when they started as a NWOBHM influenced heavy metal band and whose career could be veritable nightmare given they were signed to ill fated Ebony Records, had personnel problems owing to the direction of the band which ultimately led to a 10 year hiatus until 1999! Their second coming however, has been better blessed with the Amore brothers taking a more prominent role in the band, better label support and regular touring, including playing the major European festivals. Shifting their sound more towards melodic power metal, there are still HM roots in the guitar work and it’s certainly heavy on ‘Children Of The Nation’ although most of the material is actually slow to mid tempo. Additionally, Jo Amore’s vocals on songs like ‘The Preacher’ give them an almost techno prog feel a la Savatage rather than what might expect from a traditional power metal band. Still, I’m impressed by the epic but melodic groove of ‘Final Outcome’ and the longevity of this band against adversity is truly commendable so bravo mes amis! Continue reading

Viking Skull – “Cursed By The Sword”

Viking Skull – “Cursed By The Sword” (Transcend Music)

Ingredients: 2 parts Whiskey, Motorhead, Sabbath & Maiden; 1 part WASP and a cupful of AC/DC. Yup, can’t go wrong there! Hailing from the English steel town of Corby, comes Raging Speedhorn’s alter ego – Viking Skull, who started off as a spoof band and having impressed Jack Ass’s Bam Margera to the point where he drafted his brother Jess in as drummer, have become a band in their own right (or wrong LOL – Ed). Clearly a ‘very metal’ band, VS play a booze laden dirty biker rock n roll that is ideal for getting pissed to, or just being a downright pig in general: hoarse, Lemmy-esque vocals, blues boogie stripper club riffs, and a good ‘ol boy rhythm define barroom songs like ‘Machine Gun Honey’, ‘My Bitch Talks Too Much’ and the defining ‘You Look Like I Need A Beer’. Don’t be expecting any Vikings, but you will be right outta yer fucking skull after ‘eadbanging to this LOL! Continue reading

Sacred Blood – “Alexandros”

Sacred Blood – “Alexandros” (Pitch Black Records)

As ambitious as it is titled, this a concept album about none other than Alexander The Great! Greek epic metal trio Sacred Blood have set themselves as mighty a task as their Macedonian hero did in conquering Persia – but as bold as Alexander they rise to it with no less than 15 stirring tracks like ‘Phalanx Invicta’, ‘Before the Gates of Ishtar’ and ‘The Battle of the Granicus (Persian in Throes)’. With some modern metal hints coming from Maiden, the rest is pretty much in the epic / folk vein steeped in ancient culture and mythology but delivered in the same battle arousing fervor as those Greeks who went to forge an empire in the sands of time. Truly I would’ve only thought something of this magnitude possible from Manowar or Virgin Steele, but I’m really happy its a Greek band and the Hellenic metallers should feel proud for this, as it has done the Macedonian’s life true to his legend! Continue reading

Kaos – “Validated In Blood”

Kaos – “Validated In Blood” EP (Malevolence Records)

No kidding man, if this should need a validation, then it should be signed by every f–kin thrasher in the Bay Area from the high n mighty Metallica to Exodus to Forbidden for Kaos are their thrash underdogs who have been scorching the streets of San Francisco since 1988! Still with that classic Bay Area sound, these never say die bangers might be a band out of time, but they’re still dishing it out with chopping thrash a bomb riffs, throat strained vocals and pummeling drums on songs like ‘United We Kill’, ‘Alive To Die’ and their cover of Vio-lence’s ‘Kill On Command’. Aggressive, uncompromising and unashamed, this is how it was, still is, and forever will be according to the law of Kaos! Continue reading

Vera Grace – “Rotations”

Vera Grace – “Rotations” EP (www.facebook.com/veragraceband)

From the English wilds of Oxfordshire come Vera Grace, who are a modern metalcore band influenced by the likes of Underoath and Oceana – although these laid back lads don’t try too hard in being at it! Formed just a year ago after toying with idea for some time, Vera Grace fuse Stephen Nulty’s raw ‘words’ with the delicate guitars of Jonjo Williams and Chris Thirtle on songs like ‘Esther’s Imagination’, ‘Lost’ and ‘I Am The Earth’. Although heavy, “Rotations” appealed to me more in it’s laid back groove, ideal for lazing away on a sunday afternoon on a green field somewhere after a heavy hardcore nite in the pit LOL. Continue reading

ALIEN KEN “Son Extraordinary”

ALIEN KEN
“Son Extraordinary”
(-)
I have no idea why Roswell and its UFO history still fascinates people almost 70 years later but if we get anything good out of it I’m not one to complain. The whole aura surrounding Norwegian Alien Ken is that of abduction, secrecy and paranoia. And that is just the outside. The music is a whole different kettle. Continue reading

ASARU “From The Chasms Of Oblivion”

ASARU
“From The Chasms Of Oblivion”
(Schwarzdorn Records)
I don’t know if the band got the name wrong from the start but I thought that they were called Asatru (as in the worshiping of the Ancient Nordic gods) but the name is actually Asaru. Either way works fine for me. This is supposed to be one of the oldest black metal bands to come out of Belgium. Continue reading

DISAFFECTED “Rebirth”

DISAFFECTED
“Rebirth”
(Massacre)
The name Disaffected seem familiar but I can’t say for sure if I got them confused with another band or if I’ve read about/heard of them previously. Don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because I get subjected to so much music that certain bands tend to fall of my radar. Continue reading