Forlorn Hope – ‘Badajoz’

There is nothing stopping Brit heavy metal quintet FORLORN HOPE who continue
their climb. The band have just unleashed an explosive new track, Badajoz –
taken from their incoming debut album, OverThe Hills, out on Friday 26th July.

FORLORN HOPE hail from Merseyside and shrewdly fuse history and heavy metal
with epic results. The band use hard-hitting, hook-filled metal and rich,
meticulously researched lyrics to retell, through the medium of metal, some
of the most dramatic stories in military history. High octane classic riffs
and striking keyboards merge to give these tales the sense of excitement,
power and scale that they deserve.

In March 2018 FORLORN HOPE revealed their self-titled debut EP. Throughout
the year, the band played a series of stand-out sets, performing at the
Northern Symphony Festival and in the Merseyside heat of the national Metal
to the Masses competition. The group also went on to support NWOBHM legends
Raven and Swedish symphonic heavyweights Eleine.

FORLORN HOPE push forward with the release of their engulfing debut album,
Over The Hills. The release is a collection of stories of horror and heroism
from the Peninsular War of 1807-1814. With further releases on the horizon
and a string of live shows planned for the Summer, the future is very bright
for FORLORN HOPE.

Sabaton – “The Great War”

Sabaton – “The Great War” (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
Commanding headline shows at the largest European festivals, such as Polish Woodstock in front of half a million people along with high profile tours in Australia, Asia and both American continents, the Sabaton army seems undefeatable. Indeed, with 20 years under their (bullet) belts, these Swedes are even more popular than before, ably stepping into Manowar’s headlining slot at this year’s Hellfest following a tremendous performance the day before at Knotfest! With this huge milestone in mind, what better way than to base their 9th release on World War I, remembered by many even today as The Great War. Lasting only 4 years, but costing almost 40 million lives, it was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but instead heralded a new era in brutality and modern weapons including poison gas. Through their ultra catchy epic metal, Sabaton have risen once again over the parapet to tell the tale gloriously, not in basking in the savagery of war, but instead of noble, heroic sacrifices made by all sides as captured passionately on the 11 tracks here. From ‘Seven Pillars Of Wisdom’ with its twin melodic guitars leading the stirring charge, Joakim Brodén’s chest beating vocals gallop in the singalong chorus lines of ‘..as the darkness falls, and Arabia calls..’ – and your heart is instantly captured! Based on the Battle of Belleau Wood, ‘Devil Dogs’ crashes in with thundering drums, epic choruses, neo classical solos and massive melodies to match the intensity of the fighting that would earn the US Marines their infamous name ‘Teufel Hunden’, not forgetting General Pershing’s legendary quote ‘..the deadliest weapon in the world is a United States Marine and his rifle..’ that Brodén and the boys have skilfully woven into the lyrics. Featuring gargantuan choirs, ‘Great War’ is as hugely stirring as its title suggests through its hook laden melodic riffs and in no small part, Brodén’s heartfelt vocals, exuding soul along with high speed guitar solos truly reflecting the epic mastery of this gold and platinum earning band. “The Great War” is another complete victory for Sabaton, who don’t just sing about history, but are making their own mark on it.

Graham Bonnet Band – “Live In Tokyo 2017”

Graham Bonnet Band – “Live In Tokyo 2017” (Frontiers Music)
Battle Helm Rating
Following the issue of last year’s “Parole Denied – Tokyo 2017” when founding Alcatrazz members, Graham Bonnet (vocals), Jimmy Waldo (keyboards) and Gary Shea (bass), reunited after 33 years for a unique series of shows in Japan, comes “Live In Tokyo 2017”, also recorded in March 2017 after a very special show featuring a number of Rainbow, MSG, Impellitteri, and Bonnet solo classics as performed by the man himself – and who has been in the rock n roll business for over 40 years! With 16 songs that are nothing short of a ‘best-of’ compilation, expect nothing less in terms of the band’s performance, with minimal banter and absolutely stellar vocals from Bonnet himself throughout. Whatever’s been said about him in the past, nothing can take away from the majesty of hearing newer tracks like ‘S.O.S’ and ‘Dancer’ enthralling in the live sphere along with classics like ‘Night Games’ again and like I said, despite being 71 years old, Bonnet’s pipes still elicit the same emotion for me as they did back in day. Indeed, when it came to classics like ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and ‘All Night Long’ the feeling was nothing short of euphoric given Bonnet’s soul, backed ably by the pumping 70s keys of Jimmy Waldo and deep bass of Beth-Ami Heavenstone. With the band on fire, ‘Lost In Hollywood’ was nothing short of a blinder thanks to Mark Benquchea’s driving drums, the fantastic backing harmonies from the band, and the amazing guitar work of Conrado Pesinato, whose own performance throughout this mesmerising live release was truly to be impressed by. An incredible live album by all accounts, but most of all for its heart in the band and their music.

Death SS  – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Armageddon”

Death SS  – “Rock ‘n’ Roll Armageddon” (High Roller Records)
Battle Helm Rating
A cult band if there ever was one, Death SS was formed by Steve Sylvester (aka Stefano Silvestri) and guitarist Paul Chain (Paolo Catena) in 1977, combining elements of theatrical horror rock as influenced by Alice Cooper, Arthur Brown’s occult shock rock and proto heavy metal. Despite changing trends over time, Death SS have largely remained true to their style and loyal fans, with most of their albums being released on Sylvester’s own label, Lucifer Rising. Indeed, coming 5 years since its predecessor, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Armageddon” was released last year but also caught the attention of High Roller Records, who wanted to give the album a wider international exposure, and deservedly so, given how good the music was. With a solid line up behind him, including keyboardist Freddy Delirio who joined in the mid 90s, Sylvester’s talent is etched across the 13 tracks here that have a breathtaking range from the band’s own renowned ‘horror music’ to goth, electro rock, modern metal – and even a whistling ballad! With Al De Noble’s superb guitar driving the fluid melodies on ‘Hellish Knights’, the drums and bass provide the heavy back beat over which Sylvester’s high vocals and screams lead up to the catchy chorus. After a demon cacophony intro on ‘Slaughterhouse’, the pumping groove courtesy of Bozo Wolff’s classy kick drum beats immediately grabs as the guitars add their grimness although Delirio’s keys provide their own light hearted touch to ensure it’s not all doom and depression. ‘Madness Of Love’ brings on the goth big time with its suave new wave beat, while Sylvester’s deep, dry vocals add the final touch to this darkly romantic track, while ‘Promised Land’ with its hard electro beats brought back memories of White Zombie on this strong dance track, although Delirio’s organ and Noble’s fiery rock n roll guitar definitely gave it an identity of its own. In complete contrast was the acoustic ballad of ‘The Glory Of The Hawk’ which was reminiscent of ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ in its melancholy, although here presented with occult lyrics and even more exquisite guitar from Noble. Closing with a power rocker in ‘Forever’, Sylvester shreds his pipes along to the heavy riffs and pounding drums, although the ever present classy melodies and a catchy chorus show that despite their seeming brutal name (which in fact is a contraction of In Death of Steve Sylvester), there’s plenty of beauty here too. With bands like Lordi and Powerwolf attaining success and owing more than a nod to Death SS, Sylvester and his band must surely deserve much more themselves….

BLIND GUARDIANS’s Twilight Orchestra – Legacy of the Dark Lands

Promising to be one of the most ambitious projects in metal history, BLIND GUARDIAN’s upcoming release will be well worth the wait. The idea of recording an orchestral album, originally formed in the minds of the two leading lights of the BLIND GUARDIAN universe – guitarist André Olbrich and singer Hansi Kürsch – in the 1990’s when BLIND GUARDIAN started to use orchestral elements to enhance their opulent sound. Today, the band reveal the album’s amazing cover artwork, created by the renowned artist Gyula Havancsák.

Hansi Kürsch comments: “The cover artwork by Gyula Havancsák just perfectly fits our upcoming project and I think it’s a true masterpiece. Gulya’s love for details is incredible and his ability to see behind complex stories and reproduce them in art is amazing. We are more than happy since he could absolutely capture the monumental atmosphere of the music. Literally a perfect match!”

On July 19th the pre-orders for upcoming album The Legacy Of The Dark Lands will be launched, and the album will be released on November 1st.

In recent years the giant project started to take shape, and parallel to its epic sound cascades, the lyrical concept was then developed. For this, BLIND GUARDIAN was able to find support in German bestselling author Markus Heitz, whose latest novel “Die Dunklen Lande” was released on March 1st 2019. The book is set in 1629 and contains the prequel to BLIND GUARDIAN’s opus Legacy Of The Dark Lands.

“It’s incredible, that after 20 years we can actually finish this really exciting project. I am so happy and more than satisfied with it. Every single track unveils spectacular worlds and tells its very own story. With this album our biggest creative dream finally becomes reality. ” says front man/singer Hansi Kürsch whose favourite author was equally excited about the collaboration: “It’s really crazy: As Pen&Paper role players we used to listen to BLIND GUARDIAN whilst playing. And years later I get to work together with the band, which was incredible. It’s amazing, the things that can happen sometimes“, Markus recalls. “Of course I immediately agreed to join! This creative collaboration is very special for me.“

The two protagonists have actively cultivated their creative exchange over the last five years. “Markus is a great story teller; with “Die Dunklen Lande” he created the perfect setting and with the mysterious Nicolas, the perfect character for our complex works. His inventiveness seems to be almost infinite. Absolutely impressive and very inspiring” praises Hansi Kürsch regarding the fruitful cooperation with the highly renowned fantasy author.

Both sides tell in their own way the story of the mercenary Nicolas and his involvement in the Thirty Years’ War. Author Markus Heitz starts the story off in his book and BLIND GUARDIAN follow suit with Legacy Of The Dark Lands.

What is the secret surrounding Nicolas? Will he be able to cast off the chains of war and how will his loved ones fare? On Legacy Of The Dark Lands via BLIND GUARDIAN’sTwilight Orchestra, André Olbrich and Hansi Kürsch fulfill their long-time wish of emphasizing imposing choral singing and classical orchestral arrangements. It promises to be an opus unlike any other that the German quartet has ever released, or rather: an opus, as has never been heard ever before.

The Novel “Die Dunklen Lande” is available to purchase: http://nblast.de/BGLegacyOfTheDarkLands

SINNER – Fiesta Y Copas (feat. Ronnie Romero)

AFM Records are excited to present the new video single “Fiesta Y Copas” from the German Metal veterans Sinner, features a guest appearance by Ronnie Romero (Rainbow).

The new outstanding album “Santa Muerte”, released by AFM Records on September 13th, 2019, is the seventeenth studio album in their more than 35-years of band history.

But let’s begin with the most obvious innovation: Santa Muerte features a permanent second voice, alongside frontman Mat, for the first time. This voice is female, hails from Venice and answers to the name of Giorgia Colleluori. Mat: “I’d first noticed Georgia in her own band, Eternal Idol, that’s why we enlisted her as a background vocalist for ‘Rock meets Classic’. During that tour it transpired that Georgia would fit in really well with Sinner. So we asked her to join us on stage for three classics during a number of shows in Australia, Japan and Germany. The audience’s reactions were awesome, so we decided to ask her to join the band on a permanent basis.” Colleluori’s vocal range has lent a whole new dimension to Sinner’s current songs in particular – according to Mat – “a dimension that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve by myself.”

The second innovation: in Ricky Warwick (Thin Lizzy, Black Star Riders) and Ronnie Romero (Ritchie Blackmore´s Rainbow), Santa Muerte features two of the currently most charismatic vocalists of the international rock scene as guests. “I met Ricky in connection with Rock meets Classic, too,” explains Mat. “We frequently sat on the tour bus together, talked for hours and have become real friends. Ricky is very similar to me, down to earth, honest, a little rough.” Warwick’s unique voice can be heard on ‘What Went Wrong’, a straightforward rock number with an Irish-inspired Thin Lizzy flair. Ronnie Romero on the other hand, whose voice features on ‘Fiesta Y Copas’, came to Sinner’s attention in 2015 for the first time at a major festival in Italy, where Mat’s power metal act Primal Fear and Romero’s Spanish band Lords Of Black played on the same stage. Other guests on Santa Muerte are Swedish guitarist/co-songwriter Magnus Karlsson (Primal Fear, Allen/Lande) on ‘Death Letter’ and background vocalist Sascha Krebs, who already contributed fantastic choir parts to (almost) all songs on Sinner’s previous release Tequila.

You’ve already guessed it: Sinner have delivered another outstanding album, recorded by a line-up consisting of excellent artists, such as guitarist/co-composer Tom Naumann and Alex Scholpp as well as drummer and new addition Markus Kullmann (ex-Voodoo Circle). Santa Muerte was produced by Mat Sinner and co-produced by Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic, Gus G.), who also recorded and mixed the new album. Following the first single ‘Fiesta Y Copas’ (including video), Sinner are set to release two additional singles plus video clips: ‘Last Exit Hell’ will be out on 16th August, followed by ‘Death Letter’ on 6th September. Any other questions will be answered by Sinner in full volume from September 2019 on Santa Muerte or at the release shows.

TRACKS
Shine On * Fiesta Y Copas * Santa Muerte * Last Exit Hell * What Went Wrong * Lucky 13 * Death Letter * Craving * The Wolf * Misty Mountain * The Ballad Of Jack * Stormy Night
TOUR DATES
11.09.2019 – ESSEN – Turock
12.09.2019 – SIEGBURG – Kubana
13.09.2019 – MANNHEIM – MS Connexion Complex
14.09.2019 – BURGRIEDEN – Riffelhof
04.10.2019 – REGENSBURG – Eventhall Airport
05.10.2019 – REICHENBACH – Die Halle
06.10.2019 – BAMBERG – Live-Club

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS – Heroes Of The Dawn

“Heroes of the Dawn” is the first glimpse of a new chapter for VISIONS OF ATLANTIS.Epic melodies take the listener into an unknown world in which symphonic metal reigns. A captivating chorus gives the listener hope for more and awakens anticipation for Wanderers. Today, VISIONS OF ATLANTIS releases the first lyric Video to the new single“Heroes of the Dawn”.

This will be one of the most intense and profound Symphonic Metal albums of the last 15 years. At the end of August, a breathtaking journey will commence: VISIONS OF ATLANTIS start their musical search to find the truth and light that lies inside each one of us, overcoming the dangers and fears, daring to sail the seas that lead to self-realization, raising love as banner.

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS on the new album: “This is our heart & soul, the essence of Visions Of Atlantis.”

VISIONS OF ATLANTIS is set for heavy touring in 2019!

At Bang Your Head!! Festival in Germany, the band around singer Clémentine Delauney will play a very special show with Orchestra for the first time ever – A must see for every fan of the genre! This occasion will also be recorded for the band’s first ever blu-ray/DVD to be released in 2020! End of August starts the album Release Tour through Germany and Austria, before they hit the road with Freedom Call. Don’t miss the breathtaking show, including songs of the new Album Wanderers.

Festivals
11.07.19 DE – Balingen / Bang Your Head!! Festival – SPECIAL SHOW WITH ORCHESTRA!
25.07.19 RU – Serpukhov / Big Gun Festival
11.08.19 PT – Vagos / Vagos Metal Fest
16.08.19 CZ – Moravský Krumlov / Rock Heart Festival
17.08.19 SE – Lugnet, Falun / Sabaton Open Air

ALBUM RELEASE SHOWS
28.08.19 AT – Bruck/Mur / Dachbodentheater 2.0
29.08.19 DE – Munich / Backstage
30.08.19 DE – Bochum / Rockpalast
31.08.19 DE – Siegburg / Kubana
01.09.19 DE – Frankfurt / Nachtleben

Special Guest for FREEDOM CALL
04.10.19 SK – Kosice / Kasarne
08.10.19 DE – Hamburg / Knust
09.10.19 DE – Berlin / Musik & Frieden
10.10.19 DE – Aschaffenburg / Colos-Saal
11.10.19 CZ – Prague / Meet Factory
12.10.19 CZ – Zlin / Masters of Rock Cafe
13.10.19 HU – Budapest / Dürer Kert
16.10.19 DE – Cologne / Club Volta
17.10.19 DE – Stuttgart / clubCANN
18.10.19 DE – Erfurt / HsD
19.10.19 CH – Pratteln / Z7

Ram – “Ravnfell”

On September 13th, RAM will unleash their new album, The Throne Within, via Metal Blade Records. For a preview of the record, a lyric video for the first single, “Ravnfell”, can be viewed at: metalblade.com/ram – where The Throne Within can also be pre-ordered in the following formats:
– jewelcase-CD
– limited edition digibook-2CD (EU exclusive – includes bonus CD, slipcase, and patch)
– 180g black vinyl (EU exclusive)
– clear/brown marbled vinyl (EU exclusive – limited to 300 copies)
– lilac marbled vinyl (EMP exclusive – limited to 200 copies)
– purple/black A/B side vinyl (EU webstore exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– ochre-brown marbled vinyl (US exclusive – limited to 100 copies)
– limited edition 2LP (EU exclusive – includes clear violet marbled 2LP, poster, and patch)
* exclusive bundles with shirts, plus digital options are also available!

There can be few better ways to mark the 20th anniversary of your band than releasing the finest record of your career. In RAM’s instance, this comes in the form of The Throne Within, the Swedish quintet upping their game across the board to deliver a record with deep roots in classic heavy metal but wielding an energy and freshness to it that places it very much in the now. “It is unmistakable RAM, there are fast songs, heavy songs, mid-tempo and slower tempos as well. There’s melody and there’s grit. The arrangements are recognizable but some may be unorthodox,”states founding guitarist Harry Granroth.

“This is a monumental album for us, and I am certain for our fans. We have worked very hard to bring our sound, songwriting and playing to the next level without leaving our Black Path of Heavy Metal Tyranny,” says vocalist Oscar Carlquist.

Unlike 2017’s stunning Rod, there is no concept unifying the lyrics, each song speaking for itself, and coming from dark places. Vocally, Oscar Carlquist delivers every line with his signature style, pushing himself to give the best possible performance – with Alan Averill of Primordial also appearing on “Ravnfell”.

RAM tour dates
July 11 – Balingen, Germany – Bang Your Head Festival
July 19 – Bertingen, Germany – Rude Open Air
July 27 – Osterholz-Scharmbeck, Germany – Burning Q Festival
Aug. 9 – Karnten, Austria – Sauzipf Rocks Festival

RAM tour dates
w/ Vulture
Sept. 12 – Hamburg, Germany – Bahnhof Pauli
Sept. 13 – Leipzig, Germany – Hellraiser
Sept. 14 – Andernach, Germany – Ironhammer Festival *no Vulture
Sept. 15 – Mannheim, Germany – MS Connexion Complex
Sept. 17 – Krakow, Poland – Klub Zascianek
Sept. 18 – Wien, Austria – Escape
Sept. 19 – Salzburg, Austria – Rockhouse
Sept. 20 – Rovallasca, Italy – Dedolor Music HQ
Sept. 21 – Winterthur, Switzerland – Gaswerk
Sept. 22 – Munchen, Germany – Backstage
Sept. 23 – Kassel, Germany – Goldgrube
Sept. 24 – Bielefeld, Germany – Movie
Sept. 25 – Berlin, Germany – Cassiopeia
Sept. 26 – Hannover, Germany – Cafe Glocksee
Sept. 27 – Oldenburg, Germany – Cadillac
Sept. 28 – Aalborg, Denmark – Rock & Metal

FINSTERFORST – Ecce Homo

Black Forest Metal unit Finsterforst returns with their brand new album, Zerfall, on August 2nd with Napalm Records. On this record, the band gets back to their roots and elegiac soundscapes of classics such as the critically acclaimed Mach Dich Frei (2015). Their emotional brand of post black metal gives vent to endless rage with pounding riffs, somber choirs and astonishing orchestral elements Zerfall has to offer.

The centerpiece and culmination of it all has to be the 36-minute long (!) Ecce Homo though, that unfolds into a majestic post metal journey crowning Finsterforst ‘s songwriting skills and career to date. Today, the band is sharing this masterpiece of darkest art in black metal, and even in a shortened single edit we get to hear ahead of the official album release, you will be able to witness the fierce soundwalls of Finsterforst’s new magnum opus in its entire beauty. Listen to Ecce Homo and watch the lyric video HERE

“Our new album “Zerfall” kicks in mightier and much deeper than our previous releases.“ the band comments. “With “Ecce Homo” we present a very intense track, which forces the audience to go on a journey – a trip to relaxation and emotional depth.”

EQUILIBRIUM – ‘Renegades’ – Snippets (OFFICIAL ALBUM TRAILER #3)

Progress without estrangement is a rare craft that very few bands truly master. All too often, a band ventures so far from its roots that it loses its trademark sound. And every so often, a band’s stagnation drains all of its charm. Finding that rare balance between the two is a huge task not easily accomplished. And yet there is a band that has been coming close to that perfect balance more and more over the course of the past few years. A band that, ironically, already bears that balance in its well-known name: EQUILIBRIUM.

Their latest, sixth record ‘Renegades’ (out: August 16th via Nuclear Blast) is heralding a watershed, the turn of an era for this genre. This is metal at its most epic and most monumental, bearing huge songs, resting firmly in the Zeitgeist with massive, modern production and sporting quite a number of eclectic influences. Above all, it’s still Equilibrium – quite possibly more than ever.

Today, the band presents brand new snippets from each song in the third album trailer.

Pre-order ‘Renegades’ in various formats, here:  http://nblast.de/EquilibriumRenegades
Pre-save ‘Renegades’ via Spotify:  http://nblast.de/EQUILIBRIUMpreSave

In support of this upcoming release, the band will tour Europe in early 2020 to present the new material to their fans! Direct support will come from German dark-rock band LORD OF THE LOST. Melodic death metallers NAILED TO OBSCURITY and newcomers OCEANS will be playing as the opening acts! Find all dates below!

‘Renegades Tour’ – Europe 2020
w/ LORD OF THE LOST, NAILED TO OBSCURITY, OCEANS (*)
17.01.  D         Leipzig – Hellraiser*
18.01.  D         Berlin – Festsaal Kreuzberg*
19.01.  D         Wiesbaden – Schlachthof*
21.01.  F          Paris – Le Trabendo
22.01.  F          Toulouse – Le Metronum
23.01.  E          Madrid – Sala Caracol
24.01.  E          Barcelona – Sala Bóveda
25.01.  F          Lyon – Ninkasi Kao
26.01.  D         Lindau – Club Vaudeville*
28.01.  H         Budapest – Dürer Kert
29.01.  PL        Krakow – Klub Kwadrat
30.01.  A          Vienna – Szene
31.01.  D         Munich – Backstage (Werk)*
01.02.  CH       Pratteln – Z7*
02.02.  CZ        Prague – Nová Chmelnice
04.02.  N         Oslo – John Dee
05.02.  S          Stockholm – Fryshuset
06.02.  DK       Copenhagen – Pumpehuset
07.02.  D         Cologne – Essigfabrik*
08.02.  D         Stuttgart – LKA Longhorn*
09.02.  D         Hanover – Capitol*
11.02.  D         Saarbrücken – Garage*
12.02.  D         Nuremberg – Hirsch*
13.02.  NL        Eindhoven – Dynamo
14.02.  UK       London – O2 Academy Islington
15.02.  UK       Birmingham – HRH Metal IV
16.02.  B          Vosselaar – Biebob
Tickets on sale from 29.05. via www.renegades-tour.com

‘Renegades’ was recorded and produced during September 2018 until March 2019 by the band and Swedish producer Robin Leijon and is the first EQUILIBRIUM album to feature Skar with his clean vocals and Skadi Rosehurst on synths.