BROTHER FIRETRIBE – Night Drive

The Finnish hard rock band Brother Firetribe have announced the opening of the summer season by dropping ‘Night Drive’, the third single from their upcoming album ‘Feel The Burn’ (out in September). The song is the perfect accompaniment for a drive around town on a summer’s night and can be heard now on all digital streaming services.

States singer Pekka Heino: “’Night Drive’ has a certain kind of vibe that takes Brother Firetribe to a place we’ve never been before. The song is very intense and almost cinematic, which is what we were after ever since the first demo. It’s about a guy driving off into the darkness every night, trying to shake off a ghost from the past. It builds up dramatically, serving as the perfect road trip song. Watch out for speeding tickets though; you’ve been warned!”

‘Night Drive’ can be heard at its best when being blasted out loud in a car, but if there is no suitable vehicle available then the stunning video for it will definitely do the trick. The nightly cruising in the clip is made in a 1970 Plymouth Barracuda (as seen in the Fast & Furious movies), of which there are only 2000 in the world and just two in Finland. The video was directed by Ville Juurikkala.

Heino continues: “Shooting the video was amazing as it gave me the opportunity to drive the most badass, coolest beast of a car all night and just enjoy the moment. It was obvious from the second I sat behind the wheel that the video would turn out great, as the car basically took care of that by itself! The result is the best possible combination between audio and video mood-wise, with each boosting the other perfectly. We added a bit of a mysterious feel to it and aim to continue the story.”

The fifth album by Brother Firetribe is entitled ‘Feel The Burn’ and will be released on 18th September 2020. The two other singles already made available from it are ‘Rock In The City’ and ‘Bring On The Rain’.

Jet Jaguar – Blinding Lights

“Blinding Lights” is the second single and video from the new JET JAGUAR album “Endless Nights” (out: July 17, 2020) via Pride & Joy Music.

JET JAGUAR was formed in 2014 and hails from Cancun, a city located in the Mayan region of Mexico. The band’s name was inspired by the Jaguar, a sacred animal for the Mayan civilization and for the areas inhabited by the Mayans. In early 2016, their “Zero Hour” EP was released. The title track and their first Spanish song “Rompiendo el Acero” have become fan favorites. 2017 was a busy year for JET JAGUAR. This year saw them tour Mexico twice (for a total of 35 dates). The group also embarked on their first European tour across Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Poland, Hungary and Romania. JET JAGUAR received worldwide recognition by being the first Hispanic-American band to ever win the Wacken Open Air Metal Battle in Germany in August 2017.

In 2018 JET JAGUAR performed in Mexico City at the biggest metal festival in Latin America, “Corona Hell and Heaven”, alongside acts such as Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple, the Scorpions, Judas Priest and Megadeth. They also performed at “Tecate Mexico Metal Fest“ and had their first gig at the Lunario del Auditorio Nacional (Mexico City). JET JAGUAR kicked off 2019 with performing at the biggest festival in Costa Rica “Grito Latino Fest”. Currently, JET JAGUAR is planning the release of their debut album “Endless Nights”, which will see the light on July 17th, 2020 on German Heavy Metal label Pride & Joy Music. Future plans include touring throughout Mexico, Europe and Latin America in support of the album.

Domination Black – Center Of The Universe

“Center Of The Universe” is the first single from the new DOMINATION BLACK album “Judgement IV” (out: July 17th, 2020) today!

DOMINATION BLACK have come a long way since their formation in 2003. After releasing their first two albums in 2005 and 2006 with their first line-up they already had started steering into a more melodic direction with their MCD “The Haunting” in 2008. In 2009, however, original vocalist Kari Killgast left the band. About half a year later, DOMINATION BLACK found a new frontman in person of Matias Palm (Merging Flare, Heavy Metal Perse) and started recording their 3rd album “Dimension: Death” which was then released in 2012. It truly was a step into a new melodic sound and received raving reviews all over the place. Supporting the album, the band toured in Finland, Sweden, Romania and Russia. The year 2014 saw DOMINATION BLACK releasing their new single “Master Of Deception” and visiting Estonia for the first time. Since then, there was a break for a couple of years until the band finally started demoing songs for their next full-length album. But this also meant that some changes needed to be made. Along came new drummer Ville Nissinen (formerly of ID: Exorcist) and guitarist Juuso Laitinen (Deathproof).

The recordings were finally started in summer 2018 with the new energy. The group also played some gigs to introduce their new line-up to the audience. Now, DOMINATION BLACK are ready to release their new album “Judgement IV”. The band has also shot a music video for the song “Center Of The Universe” which will be released soon. The record was produced by DOMINATION BLACK and mainly recorded at Äänilaitos Studio, Kotka by J-P Pusa and Juuso Elminen. Vocals were recorded at Sonic Pump Studios in Helsinki by Eero Kaukomies, and bass tracks & acoustic guitars and some lead guitars were recorded by Matias Palm in Helsinki. The mixing and mastering was handled by Saku Moilanen.

OXIDIZE – Heading for tomorrow

Swedish melodic metal combo Oxidize’s album “Dark Confessions” is out today via Wormholedeath. “Dark Confessions” is available on all major digital stores and streaming services worldwide:  https://orcd.co/q9p95dm

Atavistia – The Forbidden One

Canadian epic metal band ATAVISTIA have just released a lyric video for their song “The Forbidden One” via Captured Howls. The song is from their album “The Winter Way” which is being released next week.

Pre-order The Winter Way: https://atavistia.bandcamp.com/

As this most unusual spring begins, Vancouver metallers ATAVISTIA are revealing the tracks to their long-awaited sophomore album The Winter Way.  To be independently released on May 29th, this is a must listen for fans of Wintersun, Ensiferum, Dimmu Borgir, and symphonic metal newcomers Dialith.

Opening instrumental sequence “From the Ancient Stones” rolls straight into “The Atavistic Forest,” where frontman Mattias Sippola greets listeners with his characteristic snarl.  Says the band, “We are very happy with the turnout of The Winter Way. The album is quite dynamic ranging from pounding blast beats to emotional clean vocal driven sections. Our blood, sweat, and tears have poured into The Winter Way and we cannot wait to share it with the world.”

Indeed, the band’s effort and precision on this album suggest many successful seasons ahead for Atavistia.

Atavistia is an epic metal band from Vancouver, Canada. They explore various forms of metal within their music resulting in a symphonic mix of nature, atmosphere, and technically precise musicianship. The diversity of Atavistia, much like a forest in the full bloom of spring is something to behold.

Influenced by the epic landscapes and nature of British Columbia, the coldness of winter and the flourishing of summer can be felt in each song. Visions of lands long forgotten in time are key elements behind the music of Atavistia.

Now making the transition from a one-man project to a full band with more and more live appearances under their belts, Atavistia is poised to take 2020 by storm. Crank up the volume and feel the sun melting the ice and snow!

FM – “Synchronized”

FM – “Synchronized” (Frontiers Music)

Battle Helm Rating

Something of a supergroup when formed in 1984 when singer Steve Overland and his brother, guitarist Chris (both formerly of Wildlife) teamed up with drummer Pete Jupp (ex-Wildlife and Samson), bassist Merv Goldsworthy (ex-Diamond Head and Samson) and keyboardist Didge Digital, FM’s potential was quickly realized in a signing to CBS followed by a run of dates with Meat Loaf that year. Tours with Tina Turner, Foreigner, and Gary Moore followed after the release of their debut in 1986, culminating in the band supporting a white-hot Bon Jovi on their “Slippery When Wet” tour. Issuing follow up albums “Tough It Out” and “Takin’ It To The Streets” saw further touring with Status Quo and Whitesnake, and two more albums until “Dead Man’s Shoes” in 1995, when the band split up. However, some 12 years later, FM reunited for a ‘one-off’ headline performance at a sold-out Firefest IV at Nottingham Rock City. Since then, the rest is history with the band returning to full form, releasing 4 full length albums and a live recording, as well as touring with Foreigner, Journey, Thin Lizzy and Heart, and festival appearances including Download, Planet Rockstock, Sweden Rock, Graspop, Steelhouse Festival, Frontiers Rock Festival, HRH, HRH AOR, Cambridge Rock Festival, and in 2018 their first-ever live show in the US at Melodic Rock Fest 5! “Synchronized” is band’s 12th release, containing 12 wholesome melodic rock tracks that hold back nothing in bringing back all the passion and memories from the glory days, amply proving that this British melodic rock band still hold a premier place even today. And why would you doubt it listening to the likes of ‘Ghost Of You And I’, opening movingly through Jem Davis’s delicate piano and soothing keys, and led by Steve Overland’s soulful voice, the gentle guitars strum out, bringing graceful passion in abundance before breaking your heart through their wailing solos – man, it couldn’t be anymore perfect. Then there’s ‘Walk Through The Fire’ with its unashamed 80s synth sound (think “Miami Vice”) that took me right back to the arena days of the band, while the powerfully melodic chorus and backing harmonies whisk you off in utter bliss as if made for a hit video, steadily building the passion over the course of the song until a climax of squealing guitars and Overland’s passionate highs – wow. Slowing it right down to the slide guitar blues of ‘Angels Cried’, the moving piano and Overland’s heartfelt tones, while being melancholic as you might expect, are also strangely uplifting, especially when the gospel like chorus with its light backing harmonies really touches your soul – and shines a light of hope to radiate it immeasurably. And that’s what sets this fine band apart, and continually proves that even after a hiatus lasting a decade, FM are simply unforgettable.

Grave Digger – “Fields Of Blood”

Grave Digger – “Fields Of Blood” (Napalm Records)

Battle Helm Rating

‘…we did it again and put on the kilts…’ says founder vocalist Chris Boltendahl when asked how he would be celebrating Grave Digger’s 40th anniversary. Thus, in closing the Highland trilogy set by “Tunes Of War” in 1996 and “The Clans Will Rise Again” in 2010, comes this 20th studio album covering the battlefields of Stirling, Bannockburn and Culloden as seen through the eyes of the Highlanders on the fast and furious ‘Freedom’ with its razor riffing, fiery solos and double bass attack, while equally presenting a seldom presented emotional take on Scotland’s history through all its triumphs and griefs on ‘The Heart Of Scotland’, experienced dramatically through pounding warrior drums, epic bagpipes and celtic melodies, while passions are unbound on the (power) ballad of ‘Thousand Tears’, a vocal duet featuring the soprano majesty of Noora Louhimo from Battle Beast. It’s a masterful achievement by all accounts, not in the least given that the band recorded as a 4 piece following the departure of longtime drummer Stefan Arnold, who was replaced by keyboardist Marcus Kniep and has done a magnificent job covering both instruments! But what makes Grave Digger stand the test of time is how they have stayed true to their course of no frills old school power / heavy metal, mixing brutality with speed and melody to perfection as can be evidenced on the 12 tracks here. It’s no better summed up than on ‘All For The Kingdom’, with its heavy power riffing and pistoning double bass drums, while Boltendahl’s rough ‘n’ ready voice provide the perfect lead to the incredible chorus, resonating passion and heroism in epic glory, while Axel Ritt’s superb neo classical solo is just simply outta this world! Building the grandeur on ‘Union Of The Crown’, the expansive sound works a treat in a stylish blend of wailing guitars, fast neo classical breaks, mid tempo double bass drums and power riffs as the emotionally charged voice of Boltendahl takes us to another moving chorus that is as deep as it is melodic, but oh so incredibly electric and highly catchy in every regard. Bringing it all together on the 10 minute title track of ‘Fields Of Blood’, it’s straight out’ve “Braveheart” with its stirring bagpipes and military drumming before sounding the speed metal charge led by Jens Becker’s pulsating bass in building to the ambient but epic chorus, followed by a melodic folk evolution touched in places by heavy metal and even a prog piece, until looping back to its original soundscape. Wow, this album is truly a special celebration by one of Germany’s most successful heavy metal pioneers!

Árstíðir lífsins – “Saga á tveim tungum II: Eigi fjǫll né firðir”

Árstíðir lífsins – “Saga á tveim tungum II: Eigi fjǫll né firðir” (Ván Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Concluding the two-sided story constructed around the later period of the Norwegian king and saint, Óláfr Haraldsson (995-1030), this 5th album, along with last year’s predecessor, depicts the lives of two siblings and their individual experiences during the turbulent times of early 11th century Norway. Based much more on Skaldic, and also partly on Eddic poetry, “Saga á tveim tungum II: Eigi fjǫll né firðir” points to historical battles and other happenings as described in Kings’ sagas and other old Norse sources, despite the main characters themselves in the story being fictional. Sung entirely in old Icelandic, this concluding chapter was composed and recorded at the same time as its brother album, so is the perfect continuation in every aspect in bringing the astonishing soundscapes of Árstíðir lífsins, meaning ‘seasons of life’, once again to the fore! Skillfully forging epics crafted from the elements of black metal, ambient, folkloric chants and even string orchestrations, the composing talent is matched by the high musical abilities of Stefán (guitars, bass, vocals & choirs), Árni (drums, string instruments, effects, vocals & choirs) and Marsél (storyteller, vocals & choirs). Darkly slide riffing in on the 10 minute ‘Sem járnklær nætr dragask nærri’, it doesn’t take long before the savage speed hits, although it’s the thick, ominous atmosphere in the background that makes this song such a heavyweight, especially when the pagan choirs mix beautifully with chiming Norse melodies to build the captivating intensity that doesn’t let up a heartbeat from start to finish! Blastbeating in at nuclear levels on the 8 minute ‘Gamalt ríki faðmar þá grænu ok svǫrtu hringi lífs ok aldrslita’, Árni’s power drumming adds the dramatic contrast to the slower demonic drawls and screamo, while the whirring guitar touched off exquisitely by epic tones is no less affecting on the soul, as are the spoken narratives that evoke thoughts of mystical spells being cast amid a flurry of Nordic melodies. Reversing the polarity on ‘Um nætr reika skepnr’, the serenity couldn’t be more striking through its drawn out weeping violins and synth ambiance, providing the background to Marsél’s storytelling narrative as spoken through his deep voice, ghostly whispers and other sound effects. Blasting back in on ‘Er hin gullna stjarna skýjar slóðar rennr rauð’, the undeniable power of the whirring Nordic riffola is breathtaking, and when the dark choirs add their measure to the black screamo and melancholic violins, you know why Árstíðir lífsins are such a force to be reckoned with. Ending with the titanic 17 minute ‘Ek sá halr at Hóars veðri hǫsvan serk Hrísgrísnis bar’, the epic soundscape of guitars and chanting choirs mix with black drawls as the song becomes ever more intense through blast beating and shredding melodic fretboard work reminiscent of Dissection, while pagan chants and wailing guitars add even more darkness and beauty before a blissful mix of melancholic violins, acoustic guitars, spoken word and weather effects brings this utterly awesome track, and indeed, spectacular album, to a fitting conclusion. If you did not catch the last album, then do not miss this one….

The Headlines – “Warpaint”

The Headlines – “Warpaint” (Metalville)

Battle Helm Rating

Apparently outcast for not having enough tattoos and wearing too much pink in their native Sweden (!), little has stopped The Headlines from playing over 300 shows all over Europe, including supporting The Levellers and finding themselves new territories in Asia, North America and Russia! Formed in 2005 and now expanded into a 5 piece, The Headlines have released 5 prior albums as well as EPs and singles, mixing the melodic punk rock influences of Bad Religion, Rancid and Green Day with an old school rebellious touch of The Clash in vocalist Kerry “it’s my own fucking revolution” Bomb’s riot grrrl attitude! And that’s where it’s at: while others are fixated on image (and possibly jealousy), The Headlines have put it all into their music, which while being as energetic as one might expect, also contains tons of deep hooks and catchy melodies along with heart felt croons to set “Warpaint” well apart from the punk pack. Indeed, the sound on this 12 track release is highly polished thanks to award-winning producer Chips Kiesbye, who’s worked with The Hellacopters, Backyard Babies and Millencolin, indicating the awesome potential that The Headlines have, and with Bomb taking over main vocal duties and dropping the bass into Sophie Ward’s hands, the future looks set for this Swedish band! It’s certainly hard to ignore the instant catchiness of the raw but melodically alluring guitars on ‘Sounds From The Underground’, wailing and crooning as Bomb tells the tale not with negativity, but with a strong can do ethic to pull yourself up in building to the uplifting singalong chorus, encouraged by the positivity of the harmony shout outs. Kicking in sharply on ‘Warpaint Authority’ to Jake Lundtofte’s punchy riffs, Bomb’s girlie singing belies the punk lyrics of ‘..if you fuck with her and fuck with me, fucking gonna fuck with you!!..’ and as the melodies grow along to the soulful croons of ‘..molotov cocktails in the air…we’re that generation we don’t care..’ the song builds to another hugely catchy chorus with its raucous chants of ‘Warpaint! Warpaint!!’ – brilliant! Hitting up the punk rock ballad on ‘The Storm’, the raw but heartbreaking guitars mix perfectly with the deep emotions of Bomb’s soulful voice, and while sad in its tone, thanks to the punk fire charging it, still comes fighting outta the gutter resonating plenty of hope and love. Whaling away for the massive singalong ending in ‘Underdog’, it’s all hands to the pump in a mix of punk and new wave riffs, wailing melodies, mixed male and femme lead vocals, background and harmony shout outs all centered around another positive and inspiring message about making it in this world. Whatever the views of their hometown scene, The Headlines seem to be happening everywhere else thanks to their amazing music!

EPICA – Studio vlog album #8 (Part 5)

Dutch symphonic metal giant EPICA recently entered Sandlane Recording Facilities to record their eighth album. In March, keyboard player Coen Janssen and bass player Rob van der Loo, together with producer Joost van den Broek, traveled to Prague to record with the renowned “City of Prague Symphonic Orchestra”. In the fifth Studio Vlog episode, you will get a behind-the-scenes look at these recording sessions.

Coen Janssen comments: “Yes! It finally happened!! We recorded our new album with a full symphonic orchestra!!!  Of course this has been a life-long dream of ours and this time it was the next logical step to take to enhance our sound. So we spend 3 awesome days in the beautiful city of Prague to record with the well-known City of Prague Symphonic Orchestra, and boy are you in for a treat!!! I am sure the orchestra adds a new layer and depth to our sound and I am beyond excited for everyone to hear it!!’”

EPICA new album is scheduled for release this fall through Nuclear Blast Records. In support of this album the band will comprehensively tour Europe during the ‘Epic Apocalypse’ co-headline tour with APOCALYPTICA and support-act WHEEL.

LIVE DATES: Design Your Universe – 10th Anniversary Shows – Latin America
03.09.2020                CL    Santiago – Teatro Caupolican *RESCHEDULED*
05.09.2020                 EC      Quito, – El Teleferico *RESCHEDULED*
06.09.2020                 PE       Lima – Centro de Convenciones Barranco *RESCHEDULED*

The Epic Apocalypse Tour 2020 w/ APOCALYPTICA, WHEEL
21.10.2020                 CH       Zurich – Komplex
22.10.2020                  CH       Lausanne – Komplex
23.10.2020                  IT         Milan – Fabrique
25.10.2020                  HU       Budapest – Barba Negra
26.10.2020                  CZ        Brno – Hala vodova
27.10.2020                  D          Munich – Tonhalle
29.10.2020                  S          Stockholm – Berns
30.10.2020                  N          Oslo – Sentrum
31.10.2020                  DK        Copenhagen – Amager bio
02.11.2020                  D         Hannover – Capitol
03.11.2020                  D         Hamburg – Docks
04.11.2020                  D          Berlin – Columbiahalle
06.11.2020                  PL        Warsaw – Progresja
08.11.2020                  D         Leipzig – Haus Auensee
09.11.2020                  AT        Vienna – Gasometer
21.11.2020                  Fi         Helsinki- Ice Hall *NEW*
26.11.2020                  P          Lisbon – Coliseum
28.11.2020                  E          Murcia – Gamma
29.11.2020                  E          Madrid – La Riviera
30.11.2020                  E          Barcelona – Razzmatazz
01.12.2020                  F          Toulouse – Bikini *NEW*
03.12.2020                  F          Paris – Zenith
04.12.2020                  BE        Brussels – AB
05.12.2020                  UK        London – Roundhouse
07.12.2020                  UK        Bristol – O2 Academy
08.12.2020                  UK        Glasgow – O2 Academy
09.12.2020                  UK        Manchester – Academy
11.12.2020                 NL        Amsterdam – AFAS Live
12.12.2020                 LUX      Luxembourg – Den atelier
15.12.2020                 D         Cologne – Carlswerk Victoria
16.12.2020                 D         Wiesbaden – Schlachthof
17.12.2020                 D         Ludwigsburg – MHP Arena

Tickets and VIP upgrades for all shows are available from www.epica.nl/tour