Evo – “Warfare”

Evo – “Warfare” (High Roller Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Lemmy. Algy. Cronos. Evo. If you grew up in the early 80s then you’d know these names very well indeed. Famed as much for their character as their music (in some cases the former more than the latter), few can deny the indelible mark (or stain) they left on people. While bands like Venom and Raven were fighting to get out the gutter, Warfare, the band formed by Paul ‘Evo’ Evans were not just content to roll in it, but become kings of the sewer! Raised as much on punk as metal, Evo had already accumulated some experience in Angelic Upstarts and crossover nasties The Blood, bringing all of this to create his own nightmare – Warfare. Adopting Exciter’s mode of playing drums and singing, Warfare soon acquired a fearsome reputation for their volatile gigs and hijinks on other bands (including Metallica). Whether copycatting the Sex Pistols for publicity or just reveling in merry mayhem, Warfare soon became a name promoters viewed with trepidation, although a growing cult following of fans was undeniable for the band’s no nonsense aggro punk metal. Clearly more than just a piss head yob, Evo’s compositions always had plenty of catchiness, hooks and grooves – much to the annoyance of the critical press content to bin the band into obscurity, but like an embedded tick, the stench of Warfare didn’t go away until the early 90s. However, with new generations discovering the lingering odour, Evo decided to once again re-activate one of the original British metal punk crossover outfits in history! This self titled album is Warfare as you might expect some 25 years on, with Evo playing all the instruments and singing – but not without some notable guests from Motorhead’s Fast Eddie Clarke who does some serious guitar damage on ‘Misanthropy’ while Lips of Anvil hits it on ‘This Man Bleeds Hate’ along with Hawkwind’s Nick Turner lending his sax on ‘Doctor Of Insanity’, not to mention contributions from Fred Purser (Tygers of Pan Tang) and The Damned’s Paul Gray. Across the 11 tracks the heavy bass is prominent in the mix, with a drum sound very much Warfare’s original style (i.e. recorded in the toilet), although the guitars are crystal clear making for overall a good production. Likewise, Evo shows he’s got a versatile vocal range from the guttural roughage on ‘Black’ to bopping it out on the Ramone’s punkerola of ‘Burnt Out’ – while his best is reserved for a cover of David Essex’s ‘Stardust’ – thankfully un-mayhemic and with Evo actually singing – it’s just the sort of thing you’d expect from this prankster even in his old age!

Tytan – “Justice Served”

Tytan – “Justice Served” (High Roller Records)

Battle Helm Rating

Formed out’ve Angel Witch’s rhythm section of bassist Kevin Riddles and drummer Dave Dufort, Tytan lived up to their name in just being able to attract all star musicians into their fold at the time from Lionheart’s Steve Mann to Les Binks of Judas Priest! Despite being caught in the NWOBHM, Tytan’s heavy use of keyboards and overt melody soon proved they went beyond the label, much to the joy of budding musicians like Simon Wright who would use the band to move onto better things like AC/DC. Sadly for Tytan, no such luck would be enjoyed with the band’s label holding back the release of their debut album, despite a promising EP in “Blind Men And Fools”, now a cult classic! Although “Rough Justice” did eventually hit the streets in 1985, it was too little too late and the band ultimately folded. Fast forward to 2012 and with the true metal movement gaining steam, Riddles recruited a new line up to play Headbangers Open Air, and from the resurgence of interest increased touring, ultimately culminating in a record deal and this sophomore release – some 32 years after its predecessor! Well, it’s clear listening to the 12 quality tracks here that big Kev isn’t gonna suffer fools justice this time round as “Justice Served” lives up to its name in bringing the full measure of the Tytan sound to a new era. That said, with the exception of closer ‘The Cradle’, whose beginnings bring to mind the heavy synths of the past, the new material is far more guitar driven and clearly targeted at the true metal crowd – although by no means lacking in an abundance of NWOBHM melodies be it vocally, guitar or keyboard driven! This album is a great comeback and the line up is brimming with talent from the high soulful vocals of Tom Barna whose dextrous guitar, along with Dave Strange’s produces just the right blend of authentic 80s heavy metal heaviness and power melodies like on the deep but catchy ‘Reap The Whirlwind’. Retaining that air of ‘being different’, Tytan serve up ‘Billy Who’ with the guitars simply exploding all over the place in a neo classical frenzy while the keyboards anchor the song with a pomp rock melody before funking out themselves. Best of all is James Wise’s drum solo with plenty of cymbal work and double bass drumming, bringing back fond memories for me of Neil Peart’s own mini concertos – awesome! Proving their worth even more on ‘Worthy Of Honour’, beginning as a gentle acoustic and Kev himself taking on the passionate vocal lead before the song explodes in the brilliance of power melody soloing with a strong Slash signature ending with the keys fading out….impressive, truly impressive. “Justice Served” proves that Tytan these days are not just content with keeping their legacy, but are ready to take on the world with their come of age heavy metal. Well done big Kev – no more skids here mate! 

Skinny Puppy – live in London

Skinny Puppy commence a short European tour with a rare UK show at the O2 Forum in
north London on 30th May. It is the first visit to the capital since 2010 by the group, who are
widely acknowledged as pioneers of electro-industrial rock and were a formative influence on
artists such as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Grimes and many more. Continue reading

ORDEN OGAN – Gunman

ORDEN OGAN release stunning new Wild West video for their single ‘Gunman’ on 19th May, and what a fantastic video it is!
ORDEN OGAN, Germany’s premier power metallers, have exceeded themselves with their new fifth studio album, titled ‘Gunmen’. Undoubtedly the band has delivered their heaviest but at the same time also most melodic piece of work. Continue reading

INTEGRITY – “I Am The Spell”

Known for being one of the most incendiary and influential bands in hardcore and modern metal history, apocalyptic heavy music icons INTEGRITY return with their highly anticipated, 12th studio album entitled Howling, For The Nightmare Shall Consume. A conceptual foretelling of the final days of Armageddon, Howling… is a manifestation of pentecostal nightmares and religious depravities, wrought with fire and brimstone sermons and occult prophecies bathed in waves of destruction. Continue reading

AVATARIUM – The Starless Sleep

One week before the storm of Hurricanes And Halos reaches the shore, Swedish doom sensation, AVATARIUM unveil the music video to the brand new single ‘The Starless Sleep’. The catchy track with it’s howling guitars and Jennie-Ann’s raw bluesy voice shows a melodic and surprisingly uplifting side of the new album that builds a bridge between soft moments of lights, beauty and darkness. Continue reading

RAGE – TRAILER #3

The creativity and productivity of the German heavy metal trio RAGE seems to have no limits. Little over a year after the successful “The Devil Strikes Again”, RAGE are set to deliver their new, 23rd studio album, “Seasons Of The Black”, which will be released on July 28th. To give fans a first impression of the recordings, the band has been releasing regular trailers from the studio. Today they release the third installment. Continue reading

TANKARD – One Foot In The Grave

In 1982, when four long-haired metal maniacs from Frankfurt am Main, Germany decided to found a band named TANKARD, nobody expected them to still be going three decades later. Ahead of the release of their 17th studio album, “One Foot In The Grave”, the band drops the official video for the album’s title track. Continue reading