PHAVIAN “Meridian I”

“Meridian I”
Phavian seem to have a very elaborate plan for the future releasing four albums in a conceptual series with “Meridian I” being the first. For that I celebrate them. I like it when people put all on one card and just go for it. Better them than me. “Meridian I” could have started better than with an instrumental track but hey, from here it can only go up. I don’t know why but for some reason I came to think of Hammers of Misfortune when I listen to Phavian. Continue reading

UFO – “Seven Deadly”

UFO – “Seven Deadly” (Steamhammer/SPV)

Holy crap, these guys started in 1969 – making the band 43 years old, although the guys themselves are decidedly older! However, like a vintage wine, age has made them all the more reason to savor. Amazingly still with 3/4 of their classic line-up i.e. Phil Moog, Andy Parker, Paul Raymond, what is even more endearing about this seminal hard rock band is how the sound on this album has reverted to those early years, incorporating a blues feel on ‘Year Of The Gun’ that was very much that era along with bands like Deep Purple. Ever the ones to surprise people, these pensioners even manage to sound heavier on ‘Mojo Town’ than I remember on previous albums with all the band in fine form and Moog’s voice on ‘Fight Night’ sounding just like it did when I heard him on “Strangers In The Night” back in the 70s! Special mention goes to the ‘new’ kid Vinnie Moore, who has had some big shoes to fill be it in Michael Schenker and Tonka Chapman, but his guitar work on this album has been exemplary, incorporating elements of both these legends while defining himself in his own right, yet within that aforementioned UFO sound. With a flower power cover to boot, UFO have returned to their roots – now go wake the dead. Continue reading

Xandria – “Neverworld’s End”

Xandria – “Neverworld’s End” (Napalm Records)

If you can’t beat ’em, then bloody well join ’em! German symphonic femme rock band Xandria have always walked in Nightwish’s shadow, but with the Finns taking a more progressive approach these days, Xandria have doubled back to classic Tarja Turunen era Nightwish on songs like ‘Forevermore’ that will probably scoop them up a barrel loada fans. After going thru a number of female vocalists, new gal Manuela Kraller seems to be the full package capably handling both the softer soprano style like on ‘Euphoria’ or the more goth opera of ‘The Lost Elysian’ or just out rightly symphonic like on ‘Cursed’ – makes me wonder what Nightwish might’ve sounded like with her instead LOL! It may have been 5 long years since we last heard Xandria, but they have returned with a vengeance on this album – and an able bodied babe to boot! Continue reading

Lyriel – “Leverage”

Lyriel – “Leverage” (AFM Records)

It’s always nice to come across a band who aren’t easy to define, especially if they do it naturally and not in some contrived manner. Germany’s Lyriel do exactly that, fusing together the diverse musical talents of the seven people making up the band, which in essence is Celtic Folk, romantic Rock, cellos, violins and soft femme vocals. Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t call Lyriel even ‘metal’, but it’s easy to see their appeal to all but the hardest of headbangers – along with goths and I would imagine the sword n sorcery division. Flowing Elven melodies mix with angelic vocals in an emo-ish atmosphere on tracks like the anthemic ‘The Road Not Taken’, the uplifting ‘White Lily’ and my personal fave, the deep ballad ‘Wenn Die Engel Fallen’ with its excellent piano and violin accompaniments. If you’re looking for something different, then look no further than this 4th album by Lyriel – a name I will not soon forget. Continue reading

Nitrogods – “Nitrogods”

Nitrogods – “Nitrogods” (Steamhammer / SPV)

Holy crap, this German trio take Motorhead’s snake rattle n roll groove into a new league! Undoubtedly fueled by huge quantities of beer n whiskey, bassist / vocalist Oimel Larcher sounds so much like an 80s Lemmy that it wouldn’t surprise me if does impressions of the man LOL! And that’s the real key here – that 80s sound of ‘head, as well as bands like Rose Tattoo, AC/DC and even ZZ Top when they were no frills or effects, just plug in n play rock boogie bands. From ‘Black Car Driving Man’ to ‘The Devil Dealt The Deck’ this is classic rock personified in sound (if not in smell LOL – Ed) – hell, they even managed to get Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty to guest on ‘Whiskey Wonderland’ and the guv’nor himself Fast Eddie Clarke hittin’ that wah wah on ‘Wasted In Berlin’ – prepare for detonation!!! Continue reading

Church Of Misery – “The Second Coming”

Church Of Misery – “The Second Coming” (Metal Blade Records / Rise Above Records)

Well, what can I say about this Japanese stoner / noise / doom band that I didn’t say in my previous review? Typifying the noise bands of the late 90s, Church Of Misery were a weighty contender to ‘most-insane-noise’ of the decade! Aptly titled, “The Second Coming” was indeed their second full length album released in 2004, and although their songs continued to be named after serial killers like ‘Filth Bitch Boogie (Aileen Wuornos)’ and ‘I, Motherfucker (Ted Bundy)’, their style became less noise driven and more psychedelically rock influenced reflected in their cover of Cactus’s ‘One Way…Or Another’, whilst on other tracks the vocals almost resemble shamanic chanting. That said, “The Second Coming” is still a heavy duty slab even after all these years and proof of Church Of Misery’s contribution in the annals of doom. Continue reading

MaLokai – “Heart Beats”

MaLokai – “Heart Beats” EP (Nameless/Faceless Records)

Punk pop babaay! This enigmatically named, not to mentioned crewed 5 piece (including a Bolivian, American and Welshman LOL), may not melt your faces off, but they’re sure crooners judging by the straight from the heart songs on this EP tactically released on Valentine’s day! Emo cum white boy rapper vocals, heaps of melodic guitar work and an upbeat rhythm deliver some fine catchy songs like ‘Price Tag’, ‘What’s Inside’ and ‘Young And Dumb?’ that will undoubtedly appeal to teenage angst the world over, albeit with a positive, optimistic spirit. Now you don’t need to cry your hearts all alone, cos MaLokai are there with you, and showing you a light at the end of the tunnel. Continue reading

Graveyard – “The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls”

Graveyard – “The Altar Of Sculpted Skulls” (Pulverised Records)

Not to be confused with their Swedish hard rock namesake, although you could be given these 4 Spaniards play it Swedish – especially if you like olde school death a la Dismember and of course, Grave! Guttural vocal drawls, filthy Swe-deth riffs, insane Slayeresque diddly-dee soloing, and raw, pummeling drums define songs like ‘Howl Of The Black Death’, ‘An Epitaph Written In Blood’ and ‘Cult Of The Shadows’. Formed 5 years ago, they appear to have been very active since, touring mainly in Southern Europe – and it’s easy to see why, cos their brand of brutality is masterfully played, as well as being lethally addictive! Continue reading

When Giants Collide – “No One Is Safe”

When Giants Collide – “No One Is Safe” EP (www.facebook/whengiantscollide)

Fookin ‘ell, it’s nice to know there’s something more upbeat than Plusnet in Yorkshire LOL! With a big sounding name, I’m sure glad they sound big too – straight outta the Pantera “Vulgar Display Of Power” schoolbook in fact, not withstanding Scott’s vocals, which are more reminiscent of Fear Factory’s Burton C Bell. In any case not a bad combination with those heaps of chugging Dimebag (RIP) riffs, Vinnie Paul precision double bass drumming and all in a cool aggro core groove on songs like ‘Defcon’, ‘Wasteland’ and the epicly titled ‘Balboa’ – and man, they fuckin hit like him too! Continue reading


“Astral Mantras of Dyslexia”
(Dunkelheit Producktionen)
Oh no, not another split album! I guess I have no other choice but to tackle this one too. Funeral In Heaven and Plecto Aliquem Capite are new to me. I can’t even remember having read about them on-line. I don’t even think I’ve heard any metal from Sri Lanka before. Which doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. Continue reading