BLOODSHOT DAWN “S/T”

BLOODSHOT DAWN
“S/T”
(-)
There used to be a time when British death metal was something you talked about loudly. Nowadays you almost get laughed at mentioning British death metal. No panic now. There are those who are trying to right that wrong. Bloodshot Dawn are one to start with. This is death metal that is not melodeath or old school death or any other of the trendy deaths. Continue reading

HAIL SPIRIT NOIR “Pneuma”

HAIL SPIRIT NOIR
”Pneuma”
(code666)
I can honestly say that this album made me scratch my head in confusion. What is it that the band wants to tell us with their music. It’s not as confusing as Celtic Frost’s “Cold Lake” album was but still it leaves me wondering what to think. Something that I’ve noticed is that the band seems to want to incorporate as many styles as possible in their music. Continue reading

IRDORATH “Dekonstrukteur des Fleisches”

IRDORATH
“Dekonstrukteur des Fleisches”
(Massacre)
Thanks to the success of Rammstein everything sung in German makes me think of them instantly. No matter what style of music we’re talking about. Irdorath could best be described as death metal. In a way they too make me think of Lemming Project. That old German band keeps popping up every now and then when I hear a new band from Germany or German speaking countries. Continue reading

PANDAEMONIUM “The last Prayer”

PANDAEMONIUM
“The Last Prayer”
(IceWarrior Records)
For the longest of times I had this romantic notion of Pandaemonium being the greatest thing to come out of Italy since Rhapsody (Of Fire). That they would carry the banner of symphonic heavy metal higher than most other bands. That was before I got to hear anything by the band. It’s been 7 years since the last Pandaemonium album and that’s pretty much a life time for any band. Continue reading

PHAVIAN “Meridian I”

PHAVIAN
“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