D:HATE “Game With Ghosts”

D.HATE
“Game With Ghosts”
(Metal Scrap Records)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I don’t like Pantera. Maybe I’m totally of track here but everything everybody else likes about them I don’t see. So whenever I hear an album that even closely resembles Pantera’s sound I get hesitant. D.Hate made me think of Pantera classics like “Walk” sped up and I don’t know what to think about it. Have I been totally wrong about Pantera or is it just that I like what D.Hate performs that I think I’ll like Pantera too. Continue reading

ECLIPSE “Triumph Of The pain”

ECLIPSE
“Triumph Of The Pain”
(Metal Scrap Records/More Hate Productions)
I like Cannibal Corpse and have done so ever since I heard their debut album. My relationship with them has been up and down but I’ve stood by them no matter what. So whenever I hear an album clearly inspired/influenced by Cannibal Corpse I listen with an extra ear. Eclipse plummet me with their intense death metal. No prisoners are left behind. It is kill or be killed. I will survive. Nothing is going to kill me. I will take on Eclipse’ death metal with all necessary means available. Continue reading

HELL:ON “Re:Born”

HELL:ON
“Re:born”
(Total Metal/Metalism)
I like that fact that there are bands even today that think that thrash metal is cool to play. Not everybody can be trend sensitive and go with the flow. Somebody has to go against the grain. Hell:On are thrash metal the not so hip way. This is aggressive and hateful thrash metal that speaks to the internal savage in you. This is music to cut wood to. Continue reading

LIBRAH “Inside The Black Balloon”

LIBRAH
“Inside The Black Balloon”
(Supernova)
Having read the press release for this album you’d be forgiven for thinking that this would be some kind of stoned out Eastern flirt that makes George Harrison seem like a Westerner lost in India, smoking all kinds of funny things. Things aren’t that bad in reality. Sure, there is an eastern touch to the music but it isn’t as stoned out as you might think. It all started on a high note with a really aggressive riff and then it kept going in that high note fashion throughout the whole album. Continue reading

SANCTORUM “Semper Fidelis”

SANCTORUM
“Semper Fidelis”
(-)
I don’t know why everybody has to follow the latest trends but that’s the way the it is. Hearing band after band after band using the beauty and beast vocal approach starts to become a tad tiresome. How many different variations are there to it? Sanctorum too uses this vocal trading system and as with any other band that have this approach it doesn’t surprise that much. Musically Sanctorum are death metal the way Dark Tranquillity used to be death metal or the way In Flames used to be death metal Continue reading

Eden Wakes – “Darkest Before The Dawn”

Eden Wakes
“Darkest Before The Dawn”
(Rising Records)

Wow, these 4 young lad(ette)s from Madchester are like a dark, high energy goth rock band mixed in with punk and the off the wall beats of The Pixies! Formed by the Hebenton twins, Jane (lead) and Helen (bass), and completed by Tom on drums and Mark on vocals, on the face of it, Eden Wakes look like 4 extras from the ‘Twilight’ sagas going off to a Halloween ball. Except this ball would be with their local death, black and hardcore talent! Songs like ‘Where Are The Vultures’, ‘Fall Before Vermillion’ and ‘Faust Macabre’ have a decidedly dark and heavy vibe mixed in with Holden’s trippy, almost haunting vocals and melancholic guitar creating a powerfully captivating and atmospheric experience that you never wish to woken up from. Continue reading

Illnath – “Third Act In The Theatre Of Madness”

Illnath
“Third Act In The Theatre Of Madness”
(Pitch Black Records)

Too true, it seems that Danish band Illnath are indeed on their third act having since been formed in 1999 as a symphonic metal band. Today’s Illnath are a trio with only mainman Pete Falk left from the original line up and play melodic death metal with creepy theatrical keyboards. Even more scary are Mona Beck’s vocals, which are truly brutal for such a lovely looking girl – one can only imagine what beast lurks in her inner soul! Still, there is a romantic beauty inherent in songs like ‘Snake Of Eden’, ‘Tree Of Life And Death’ and ‘Vampira’, no doubt thanks to the use of Falk’s tasteful guitar melodies as well as some well placed atmospheric keyboards. I’m not sure what the future holds for Illnath but even if this turns out to be their final performance, they have gone out on a high note worthy of an encore. Continue reading

Oz – “Burning Leather”

Oz
“Burning Leather”
(AFM Records)

Some people just can’t enough can they? Sweden’s Oz are that same metal band who started in the late 70s and released “Fire In The Brain” in 1983 (which I didn’t buy cos of its cheesy cover LOL). Well, nigh on 30 years on and Oz still have burning brains (or whatever’s left of them). “Burning Leather” is 11 tracks of raw heavy metal mayhem just how it was back then. Comprised of new and re-recorded classics like ‘Dominator’, ‘Fire In The Brain’ (told you) and ‘Turn The Cross Upside Down’, this is simply an OTT performance: I dunno old original vocalist Ape DeMartini (real name Tapani Hämäläinen – no wonder he changed it LOL) is but his high end vocals are truly astounding – just like when he was 20 years old! Joined by original drummer Mark Ruffneck (who still pummels) and guitarist Jay C. Blade (who still shreds – when he’s not soloing insanely), Oz even hooked up with award winning video director Amir Chamdin (who’s worked with The Hellacopters and The Cardigans) to produce a genuine 80s style heavy metal video. With a slot already booked at next year’s Sweden Rock Festival, it sounds like Oz are stoked to make a comeback as a heavy metal force in Scandinavia! Continue reading

Svolk – “Svolk ‘Em All”

Svolk
“Svolk ‘Em All”
(Napalm Records)

LOL – just what the fuck is ‘bear metal’ LOL?! Well, Svolk from Norway’s backwoods play it and given they all look the same (certainly a good sign they all got the same mama) and wear flannel shirts I can believe it. That is, until they say vocalist ‘…Knut Erik Solhaug could be easily mistaken for Glenn Danzig, if Glenn were wearing Norwegian flannel…’!! SACRILEGE!!! For a start I very much if Mr Danzig would be seen in a flannel shirt and there’s a whole lot more to the man-beast than his vocals. He is darkness personified. Although Svolk come from the land of the trolls, there just isn’t a comparison. Sure, when I listen to songs like ‘Inferno’, ‘End Of Days’ and ‘Time For The Dying’ they certainly give it a good go, but Svolk’s brand of light stoner rock is way too mellow to be caught in a dark dead end alley with Evil Elvis. They are mere cubs. Continue reading

When Words Fail – “Eyes On Everything”

When Words Fail – “Eyes On Everything” EP (www.facebook.com/whenwordsfail)

Wow – I very nearly was lost for words on this amazing EP – this has to be one of the heaviest mellowcore releases I’ve heard in a while! If not for the occasional guitar melodies and William Hargreaves’s emo vox songs like ‘Over Again’ and ‘Something For Nothing’ would be just outrightly heavy tracks but due credit to the way these 5 lads from Swindon, England have intelligently weaved their passionate melodies into the fierceness of their music – as such not a case of fire n ice, but fire with fire! Continue reading