SOUTHWICKED “Death’s Crown”

SOUTHWICKED
“Death’s Crown”
(Abyss)
You might now the names of Allen West and Marco Vreven from their musical past. You might even have thought about what it would sound like had they collaborated. And even if you, like me, hasn’t given it a single thought you now have the chance to hear what a collaboration like that would sound like courtesy of Southwicked. If you like the groove of Obituary then you’ll gotta love this Continue reading

SORROWFUL ANGELS “Omens”

SORROWFUL ANGELS
“Omens”
(Warner Greece)
OK so this album was released in 2011. But since it is new to me I’ll still review it. This Greek band is totally unknown to me. This could be described as goth metal light. It makes me think of bands like Finnish HIM or even a more somber and restraint Moonspell. Perhaps a bit of Paradise Lost circa “Host” too for good measure. And not to forget Sisters Of Mercy. Continue reading

SUTURE “Skeletal Vortex”

SUTURE
“Skeletal Vortex”
(Soulflesh Collector)
This is a re-recorded version of the “Skeletal Vortex” album from 2005. Gotta say that I totally missed out on it back then which makes it new and fresh to my ears today. Suture are death metal. This is what I like to call typical American death metal. It blast like there is no tomorrow. You can really feel the chaos that the forth-coming Armageddon… Continue reading

Blackmore’s Night – “A Knight In York”

Blackmore’s Night – “A Knight In York” DVD / CD (UDR / EMI)

The legend of Ritchie Blackmore knows no bounds: Deep Purple, Rainbow and more recently, his renaissance music project in Blackmore’s Night. Essentially a medieval folk rock band, it flies in the face of convention and the wider rock world in general, very much like the man himself. Partnered by his wife, lyricist, and multi instrumentalist vocalist Candice Night, Blackmore’s Night is not just atypical to some, but an enigma to others with its select, almost exclusive approach from playing castles to the audience themselves wearing period costumes to match their onstage musical minstrels – complete with eccentric names like Squire Malcolm of Lumley! Steeped in ancient heritage itself, the medieval English city of York formed the perfect setting for this 3rd live DVD which superbly captures a Blackmore’s Night show. Right from the off, the costumed audience is seated and clap, very much as at theatre, rather than at a rock concert and the contrast is even more pronounced between Candice, resplendent in white, to the man still in black himself, complete with his trademark white Strat. Despite the seeming fire n ice approach, what immediately comes across is the light hearted jesting and humor between Blackmore and Night and even more so, the warmth and engaging interaction between the band and audience, almost as if they are playing to old friends than a fare paying public – quite refreshing if I might say so! When they bring out their daughter Autumn during ‘World Of Stone’ while Candice sings and plays the woodwind pipe, it tells me that Ritchie has opted out of being an arena rock god and instead returned to the intimacy and embrace of the audience. However, his guitar work continues to remain top notch be it on Strat or mandolin judging by the likes of ‘The Circle’ or ‘Fires At Midnight’, being the perfect match to Candice’s beautiful voice as demonstrated on the delicate ballad of ‘Barbara Allen’. All in all a true eye opener for me, “A Knight In York” not only captures the passion, pageantry and merry jest of the man in black, but proves that he has found his own world and the peace that goes with it. And for that I certainly envy him. Continue reading

King of Asgard – “…To North”

King of Asgard – “…To North” (Metal Blade Records)

Formed from the ashes of Mithotyn, KoA rose with their excellent debut “Fi’mbulvintr” which unashamedly forged epic viking metal into incredibly powerful Nordic melodies. Despite this, the band remained relatively low key as they continued to consolidate their line up, incorporating Lars Tängmark in as second guitarist, as well as playing a few live gigs. As such, “…To North” was highly awaited by myself and listening to the likes of ‘The Nine Worlds Burn’ and ‘Up On The Mountain’ it’s even more majestic in its Nordic rhythms and definitely more brutal with now almost blackish riffing. But where are those power melodies!? Only ‘Gap Of Ginnungs’ comes close to the likes of ‘Einhärjar’ from that classic first album, and to me this was the defining sound of KoA, essentially setting them apart from the rest of the Viking hordes. As such, “…To North” is still an excellent album in the Viking metal genre, but please Karl, bring back those epic melodies for the next one! Continue reading

Vore – “Gravehammer”

Vore – “Gravehammer” (AFM Records)

Ooooh yeahhhh, these dudes have been kicking ass at Milwaukee Metalfest since the mid 90s and musta toured with pretty much every band out there! Playing old school death metal straight outta the Obituary book, Vore concentrate less on speed or extreme brutality but cumulative crushing power as perfected by Tardy & co, melding heavy duty riffing with matching precision double bass drumwork. Considering Vore are a trio, they certainly put out a fair amount of power but most of all, being veterans, excel in the song writing dept with lethal effectiveness on toons like ‘Doomwhore’, ‘The Claw Is The Law’ and ‘Throne To The Wolves’. While “Gravehammer” isn’t gonna catapult Vore into the big league, I do feel that it sorta represents the culmination of all that they have accomplished over the years and in that respect is something they can feel proud of. Continue reading

Stallion Four – “Rough Times”

Stallion Four – “Rough Times” (Pure Rock Records)

Stallion Four are the next Swedish crue to emerge from their fast burgeoning sleaze scene – and what a kick ass rock n roll outfit they are! Taking inspiration from all the classic bands ranging from GnR to Rose Tattoo to AC/DC, they work their own catchy melodies and grooves to produce some addictive songs like ‘Sister Mean’, ‘Heart Of Rage’ and ‘Running Too Hot’ – and being Swedes there’s heaps of power in there too so yeah, these guys are on fire LOL! Vocalist Bjorn has one of those raw screeching voices reminiscent of Brian Johnson or more so Marc Storace of Krokus, while the rest of the band confidently deliver the goods from howling guitars to thumping drums that all in all could blow the roof off – be it club or stadium! Continue reading

Corroosion – “Dirt Awareness”

Corroosion – “Dirt Awareness” (Rising Records)

This impressive Italian deathcore band last appeared in 2010 with their release “Punish The Mind” and 2 years on, “Dirt Awareness” continues their ascent characterized by heavy Machine Head style dervish riffs, pounding rhythms and AnD’s hoarse, brutal vocals which also incorporate Six Feet Under shrills and other ‘FX’! Once again, Corroosion have made the correct decision to go for quality production, this time with Fredrik Nordstrom at Fredman Studios (At The Gates, Job For a Cowboy, Dimmu Borgir, In Flames etc), who has enhanced their brutal sound to bombastic yet professional levels on songs like ‘And The Rise Of Nothing’, ‘Kaos In Me’ and ‘Falena’. Whilst 2011 was spent touring with the likes of Bleed From Within and Trigger The Bloodshed, I certainly hope that “Dirt Awareness” gives these guys more exposure this year, cos they certainly deserve it! Continue reading

Lay Siege – “Obolus” MCD

Lay Siege – “Obolus” MCD (www.facebook.com/laysiege)

Roaring metalcore from the Midlands of England! Vocalist Konrad Barrick has one of these hoarse voices that could make a bear shit when he opens his mouth, and the rest of Lay Siege follow suit in the heaviness dept, making them have an almost industrial appeal in their sound. Songs like ‘Snarling Teeth’, ‘Wastelands’ and ‘The Ferryman’ might be slower than the average metalcore band, but with the amount of smashing and pulverizing they’re doing, Lay Siege more than make up in the balls out dept of intensity. Heavy, heavy, heavy! Continue reading

THE CHANT “A Healing Place”

THE CHANT
“A Healing Place”
(Lifeforce)
OK another Finnish band to write home about. It seems that under any given rock in the Finland you can find a band that is good enough to put on record. No, I’m not complaining. I’m not even feeling jealous. Turn a rock, any rock in Sweden and you’ll find a band equally as good. The Chant could very well be the next big Finnish metal export if they play their cards right. Continue reading