White Moth Black Butterfly – The Dreamer

Having recently announced details of their forthcoming studio album The Cost Of Dreaming, due for release on Kscope on 28th May White Moth Black Butterfly have revealed the first single and accompanying video to be taken from the new release, entitled “The Dreamer”. Daniel Tompkins on the song’s meaning “this is a song that explores both the apprehension and excitement of the birth of a dream, ‘The Dreamer’ boldly embraces regretfully introspective verses that clash with a powerfully uplifting and hopeful chorus.”

White Moth Black Butterfly are a contemporary pop project with progressive and experimental music at its heart; created by Daniel Tompkins (TesseracT), it features a team of songwriters & producers based worldwide, all at the height of their own scenes. Collaborating with Tompkins are New-Delhi based Skyharbor songwriter and producer Keshav Dhar; US based producer and string arranger Randy Slaugh who has previously worked with the likes of Devin Townsend, Architects & Periphery, drummer Mac Christensen and the line up is completed by ethereal vocals of UK singer & lyricist Jordan Turner. Their newest output, The Cost Of Dreaming, not only signals a sonic evolution for the band, whilst still retaining core elements from previous recordings such as organic string sections and experimental theme linking interludes, but also features some exceptional special guests including saxophonist Kenny Fong and The Contortionist’s keyboardist Eric Guenther.

For Tompkins, White Moth Black Butterfly and The Cost Of Dreaming represent a dichotomy between peace and conflict within a life full of chaos.  He explains more “Our new album ‘The Cost of Dreaming’ is something we feel just about every human being on the planet that’s been affected by life changing disruption will relate strongly to. Our nature is to always be planning, dreaming about an ideal future in which we will have ticked various boxes that define our ideal lives, often at the cost of the present. And when control over that future is seized away from us and all we are left with is the present, we realise just how much we took for granted. Life is surely a gift to us all throughout which we experience moments of soaring bliss and happiness, and then in a heartbeat sink into states of great trouble and suffering. Often our struggles can serve as momentous opportunities for growth, but the balance of life can often hold us back from seizing the day. It’s an outpouring of love and a cry for help.”

There are strong themes throughout the album that will resonate with many people, from addressing the issue of ongoing domestic abuse crisis in “Use You” and offering a way to sign post people toward support agencies; to the unexpected psychological upheavals brought about by events beyond our control in “Darker Days”.  Self-produced, engineered and recorded over three continents in various studios throughout the last year, The Cost Of Dreaming was written remotely. This album signals a sonic evolution in the bands’ output while still retaining core elements from previous recordings such as organic string sections and experimental theme linking interludes. Fans will be able to discover a series of easter eggs within the album, providing a link between this and TesseracT’s live portals experience, demonstrating the interconnected relationships throughout the artists’ various projects.

Paradox Community – Northern Star

Just imagine you could combine the qualities of some great metal bands of the early 90’s. The melody from Maiden, the groove from Pantera and riffs from Megadeth…and all that without any limits and genre rules!?

PARADOX COMMUNITY (PC) is a German metal band that combines a wide variety of styles from metal, progressive and rock. The trio does not create a constant boring mixture of all genres but tries to ensure a differentiated and exciting song experience by using different structures and styles for each song, i.e. from calm, melodic pieces to pumping metal grooves or a bit of thrash metal. Most of the vocals deserve this name and change from shouting to melodic styles or aggressive screaming and back. In terms of PARADOX COMMUNITY’s genre can be described as a bit progressive, although the band’s style does not sound like “student music”. It’s rather reminiscent to some straight old metal heads.

The band has been playing with the current line-up since March 2007 when Henk Humberg joined as bass player. Mirko and Tommy have been playing together for about 25 years in different groups. Due to the trio line-up, which is unusual for this style, PC clearly stands out from the crowd. The three-person line-up is particularly advantageous live, because instead of the typical metal muddy sound, the PC’s have organized an ass-kicking tight live sound!

After so many years in making metal music, the PC’s decided to release their first official album entitled “Omega” in 2021. Of course, they have played live gigs over the years and all band members have had several other projects and bands, but now it is time to present the Paradox Community metal to a bigger audience – maybe just to get a feedback from some real metal heads after all these years of making music.

ten56. – Diazepam

New death / industrial / all-round brutal metal band ten56. have unveiled their debut single ‘diazepam’ along with a music video, out now via Out Of Line Music. Fronted by Aaron Matts, the former vocalist for Betraying the Martyrs, who announced his departure last week, ten56. deliver a new level of uncomfortably heavy.

Aaron has joined forces with members of Novelists FR, Uneven Structure, and Kadinja to unleash their gut-wrenching sound that is sure to leave listeners in a state of despair. This is filth like you’ve never heard before. Aaron comments on ‘diazepam’: “As is the case for all of the tracks on the record, it’s been a true battle putting the thoughts I have into words on paper; the song’s true meanings are there to be found inside the lyrics, and given the nature of the subject matters I don’t feel super comfortable going too deeply into the gritty details. I’ve done my best to put it all out there in these tracks, so I feel there’s nothing left to say, plus therapists are expensive, hence the birth of ten56.”

On the formation of ten56. and upcoming plans, Aaron continues: “We’ve been working on this silently for over a year and have a lot of surprises all backed up and ready to go; I can confidently say that no matter what people’s first impressions of our first single may be, they should not be hasty to form an opinion until they have heard the whole upcoming record, each single is going to a shock to the system, that I am sure of!” “As for the guys in the band, it’s been a help being in the game for over ten years, it started with Arnaud, then together we hand-picked from our close friends who we knew would be the perfect fit, and f*ck me we lucked out, everyone is so sick.”

On the making of the ‘diazepam’ video, Aaron concludes: “S*it, hanging about in metal hangar until 5 am in the wintertime is as awful as it sounds haha, luckily the crew and company were real legends and the video turned out just how I’d imagined it, super gassed about it, stay tuned for the next one!” “Cheers for giving us the time of day, if you’re just finding out about us now; or if you’ve been following us individually for any amount of time then we owe you a huge amount of gratitude, thanks everyone.”

Ellis Mano Band – “Keep It Simple”

Swiss-based four-piece blues rock band the Ellis Mano Band release their new single “Keep It Simple” on Friday April 9th.  “Keep It Simple” is the first single taken from their sophomore album “Ambedo” released Friday June 25, 2021 via Jazzhaus Records. The band describe their trademark well-produced sound as “a sort of rock n’ soul, rooted deep down in the blues.”“Keep It Simple” refers to the one subject on the planet that certainly is not simple at all, love. The single is available to stream/download and the album can be pre-ordered .

In Switzerland, the Ellis Mano Band are not unlike the Wrecking Crew or the Funk Brothers. They are top-flight studio musicians and elites in the Swiss music scene. Although they spent years making music with other artists, the band members never got much time to make music of their own until now.

“We chose the album title “Ambedo” because it reflects the state of the process of recording an album,” says guitarist Edis Mano. “Ambedo” refers to the tendency both to reflect and to absorb. Musicians like us do it all the time, especially when we compose new songs and create a new album.”

Every track on the new album is rich with perfectly chosen detail including Chris Ellis’s rough voice, Edis Mano’s vintage sounding guitar playing, and the tight rhythm section of drummer Nico Looser and Severin Graf (bass). The album also features Hammond B3 organ, and horns that reflect the blazing summer heat during which they were recorded. The harmonious backing vocals are reminiscent of something you would hear from Muscle Shoals Studios.

“We would get together with just a few ideas, fill it out, let it grow, work on it, with a great passion,” says Chris. “For session musicians, it was not about having just another project to play on, but it was an opportunity for us to play as a real band again. It was a great feeling to see the guys together and getting emotional from time to time playing the music.”

The album was recorded at Edis Mano’s Studio E10 with a lot of vintage gear and instruments and produced with a contemporary sound. All songs were recorded live with just a few later overdubs, including backing vocals and horns.

The album is nothing short of brilliant. With “Ambedo”, the Ellis Mano Band presents a rich tapestry of that universal joy and sorrow; the awkward moment after a one-night stand in “Breakfast”, the desperation and grief in “Long Road” and by contrast, the loud social criticism in “The Horrible Truth”.

Each track is saturated in a deep respect and understanding of American roots music, from the early blues of the American South through to the revolutionary blues and rock revolution of 1960s Britain.

Influenced by Led Zeppelin, J.J. Cale, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jimi Hendrix and more recently John Mayer, the Ellis Mano Band have put their own unique stamp on the blues which has now become a shared global phenomenon.

“Making this music was fascinating, it was really easy to create the music and take it further,” said Chris. “It was a beautiful experience and I hope we can repeat it time and time again.”

Kent Hilli – “Don’t Say It’s Forever”

Frontiers Music Srl is proud to present ‘The Rumble’, the debut solo album from Perfect Plan vocalist Kent Hilli and the culmination of the musical path that the Swedish singer has taken since the inception of the melodic rock quintet in 2014.

To craft his own record, Hilli joined forces with multi-talented compatriot Mike Palace, who produced the record and provided instrumentation on what has turned out to be the proverbial partnership made in heaven. Together, the duo have developed a chemistry that really captured the sound that Hilli was after.

“My goal was to find a classic yet modern feel and sound and to differ a bit from what I’m known for with Perfect Plan,” explains Hilli. “I also wanted to make a diverse album containing everything from rockers to ballads. I am a huge fan of Giant, Foreigner, Survivor, Starship, Whitesnake, etc, and I wanted these influences to shine through as well as bringing my own sound and identity to the songs. Mike had the same vision for the music and we also have the same influences. He is a real genius and just a dream to work with. I also co-wrote with Alessandro Del Vecchio and Pete Alpenborg on two songs, Mike on one, plus my sister Tina on another, which was really great fun. I am so very thankful and blessed to have had the chance to work with all these talents.”

‘The Rumble’ is also a very relationship oriented album, with lyrics that are coming from a place of personal experience. Of its first single, ‘Don’t Say It’s Forever’, Hilli states that “it is about the joy, the expectations, the promises, the disappointments and struggles in a relationship where one party is giving it 100% and the other isn’t. It is also about living in the here and now and enjoying life, because it will not last forever. Take care of one another, enjoy and be thankful for what you have.”

The album resounds with inspiration and influences from Hilli’s aforementioned idols, with a musical style that is built into his DNA. The legendary voices of Lou Gramm, Jimi Jamison, Dann Huff, David Coverdale, Joe Lynn Turner and Joey Tempest have influenced his vocal style, although existing fans are already aware that he is also very much his own singer and one of the finest to emerge in the melodic rock scene in some time.

Hilli actually started out as a footballer, quitting his career in the early ’00s to start singing with a covers band, but it took a decade until he started writing his own songs and began playing with Perfect Plan. The release of their first single, ‘In And Out Of Love’, saw his astounding vocal ability exposed to an international audience and acted as the perfect appetiser for his group’s acclaimed 2018 debut album, ‘All Rise’. A follow-up entitled ‘Time For A Miracle’ (2020) and a covers EP ‘Jukebox Heroes’, have been similarly well received. Hilli also participated on the self-titled debut by Restless Spirits, masterminded by Tony Hernando (Lords of Black), wherein he was showcased alongside the likes of Deen Castronovo (Revolution Saints, ex-Journey), Johnny Gioeli (Hardline) and Alessandro Del Vecchio (Hardline, JORN).

Cannibal Corpse – “Violence Unimagined”

Cannibal Corpse – “Violence Unimagined” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Unbelievable. If the title and album cover are anything to go by, then Cannibal Corpse must be the last US death metal band standing originating in late 80s. With over 30 years delivering their old school blood ‘n’ guts brutality, this 15th release proves they still reign supreme as headliners with legions of crazed fans around the globe! Uncompromising in their style, the band have refined their winning formula over each record, distilling the essence of death metal into a pure nectar delivered through ever increasing levels of musical excellence. As such, the arrival of new guitarist Erik Rutan will only excel this even further. A long-established name in the scene, Rutan’s accomplishments include his role in Morbid Angel as well as fronting his own band, Hate Eternal, while not forgetting his reputation as being one of the most sought-after producers, working on 4 prior Cannibal Corpse albums alongside the likes of Goatwhore, Soilent Green and Belphegor. Needless to say, “Violence Unimagined” has also been produced by Rutan at his base at Mana Recording Studio in Florida, while confidence in him is such that Cannibal Corpse have incorporated 3 of his songs into this record. Going beyond his composing contributions, Rutan has added an undoubted technicality to the music not dissimilar to that employed in Hate Eternal, which I have to say has only added to the band’s arsenal, which for their behalf, has seen them push themselves too, especially in the unbelievably intense drum work of Paul Mazurkiewicz! Opening with profanities abound on ‘Murderous Rampage’, the shredding riffs of Rob Barrett and Rutan scythe and slice cruelly together and breaking to perfection as Alex Webster’s pumping bass propels the groove over which George ‘Corpsegrinder’ Fisher regurgitates his guttural splendour. Going a bit Slayer on ‘Necrogenic Resurrection’, the guitars simply roar all over this song as Fisher barks his lines in rapid fire succession à la Tom Araya while the band’s use of alternating tempos is excellent, along with a generous serving of old school tremolo wailing solos bringing back all the memories for me! Chundering in viciously on ‘Inhumane Harvest’ to Mazurkiewicz’s frantic snare beat, the slow grinding passages only serve to add even more menace to the song’s atmosphere made even more ominous thanks to Fisher’s bestial drawls, while Rutan’s exotic solo work really adds some finesse into the furnace at hand. Hammering out on ‘Overtorture’, Mazurkiewicz sets a blistering pace over which the guitars chainsaw away while adding melodic touches to Fisher’s bark blast as the band hit a home run on this all-out headbanger. Ending in the creeping death of ‘Cerements Of The Flayed’, the guitars hack and rumble as Mazurkiewicz explodes his percussive prowess to the catchy, if very ugly groove while Fisher’s slickly arranged cookie monster vocals could almost be  (dare I say it) rap like in bringing to a close another winning sledgehammer of a release that the drummer would sum up as ‘…what the band is about in every facet, and taking violence to another level of extremity…’. Nuff Said.

Primal Fear – “I Will Be Gone”

Primal Fear – “I Will Be Gone” EP (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
Having released their 13th album last year in “Metal Commando”, Primal Fear return with this 5 track EP, featuring a new song, 3 songs previously only available as bonus tracks on the limited digipack version of the aforementioned album, and the undoubted cherry on the cake, a long in the making vocal collaboration with Tarja Turunen! Boasting an enviable tenor-esque voice, Ralf Scheepers shows the true measure of his singing talent on the acoustic title track opener, with its gentle classical guitar plucking and Tarja’s stellar voice still as enthralling with both vocalists being remarkably restrained in not unleashing their power! That certainly isn’t the case on the new track ‘Vote Of New Confidence’, which is a 6-minute metal anthem in the Primal Fear trademark of heavy crunching riffs, booming bass and hammering drums graced by Scheepers’ soul and indeed, power screams in a superb contrast of melody and energy. Moving onto the bonus numbers, ‘Rising Fear’ is a short but moving guitar instrumental featuring stormy atmospherics while ‘Leave Me Alone’ grabbed my attention for not just being another catchy, steaming mid paced rocker of double bass drumming, chugging riffs and complementing melodies, but equally its witty lyrics of ‘…bugger off …make yourself scarce and fuck off…just bugger off…’ – well, what more can you say! Closing in true Priest inspired style on ‘Second To None’, the brooding power riffs rock as Scheepers’ crescendo singing soars and wails much in the spirit of Halford, although the twin melodic guitar solo no doubt has its Teutonic mark stamped all over it in fine style. An excellent combination release pulling together diverse tracks into one enjoyable package!

Endseeker – “Mount Carcass”

Endseeker – “Mount Carcass” (Metal Blade Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Formed in 2014, this old school Deutsch death metal band have become one of the premier outfits in their genre as a result of two prior acclaimed full-length releases and furious touring in their native Germany. Now comes album number 3 and it proves why both musically and cerebrally, Endseeker are a force to contend with! Taking their musical inspiration from across the death metal spectrum, there’s as much Bolt Thrower in there as Entombed and Gorefest, with little restraint in holding back the crust / punk element across the 9 tracks here, right down to the socially conscious album cover. Indeed, “Mount Carcass” is a political album, and as such the first for a band whose musicians have previously kept their thoughts off record, but in view of the pandemic have felt compelled to comment on the global insanity. With the title track commenting on the commoditisation on climbing Mount Everest, which now seems to be as famous for its death toll as its near extortionate climbing fees, other topics include the growing belief in conspiracy theories, a famous bear nicknamed ‘Pablo Escobear’ who died from eating $15 million worth of cocaine, and a cover of the theme song to John Carpenter’s “Escape From New York” in honour of its 40th anniversary this year! Kicking off things in classic zombie fashion, ‘Unholy Rites’ does exactly that through its filthy twin guitars issuing catchy down tuned menace contrasted by some very stylish melancholic melodies while whirring crazily to match Andre’s insane drumming and Lenny’s ugly drawl. Chugging in like a freight train on ‘Merciless Death’, the reverb radiating out’ve the guitars is awesome, as is the subtle melodic topping, while the drums crash and bash to a massive sound, matched by Lenny’s drawl which is in perfect synch to the dirty beat as it chunders off like a runaway propelled by Andre’s limitless steam! Wailing in feedback and chopping brutally on ‘Frantic Redemption’, the walls of power riffing are awesome and contrast Lenny’s slow drawl superbly, and as the double bass drumming bombast blasts around you,  the death ‘n’ roll groove is to die for – and you certainly will on this stunning 3rd album from Endseeker – brilliant!

My Refuge – “The Anger Is Never Over”

My Refuge – “The Anger Is Never Over” (Pride & Joy Music)
Battle Helm Rating
Initially started as a solo project by guitarist / keyboardist Mauro Paietta, My Refuge grew into a band by the time of its debut “A Matter Of Supremacy” and now on this incredible sophomore has expanded into an awesome collaboration involving some 11 different vocalists from across the world! Having already performed at festivals and previously shared stages with Freedom Call, Elvenking, Furor Gallico, Domine, Drakkar and Primal Fear, it’s easy to see why the blinding musicianship behind their power metal has garnered them so much support. Opening in the dramatic power metal fashion of overflowing melodies, speedy guitarwork and the high-octane soprano vocals of Berzan Onen (Turkey) on ‘Immortal Fire’, the chorus doesn’t disappoint in being as epic as it is emotional as Onen’s vocals soar and wail spectacularly while Paietta’s solo matches his singer in every aspect. With scarcely any let up, “War In Heaven” rocks in with more pistoning double bass drumming, chundering riffs and this time, Iggy Rod (Argentina) power screaming and soaring out the majestic chorus that effortlessly fills your soul with ecstasy, occasionally hitting on a heavy headbanging moment but otherwise blessed of heaven itself. Bringing in some gothic symphony on the slower and somewhat more melancholic ‘Mistress Of The Dark’, Davide Vella (Italy) wails his magnificent operatic essence along to Paietta’s resonating power riffs and folky melodies on this incredible piece although to be sure, each one of the 12 tracks – nearly all with different vocalists – on this sophomore are sure to impress without a shadow of a doubt!

DIRKSCHNEIDER & THE OLD GANG – Where The Angels Fly

On April 2nd, the single called “Where The Angels Fly” came out, which has been bubbling the rumor mill for weeks: when the video for the song went online, it triggered a huge social media storm. DIRKSCHNEIDER & THE OLD GANG have already achieved more than two million clicks on YouTube! The name practically explains what is behind the music project: Rock legend Udo Dirkschneider gathered his closest peer group around him in autumn 2020 and founded a spectacular new project. The first concrete information is already available about the details of Dirkschneider & The Old Gang – in addition to Udo, his son Sven, the former Accept members, bassist Peter Baltes and guitarist Stefan Kaufmann, as well as singer Manuela Bibert are also on board – the extent “of this prominent formation and their further plans will only be announced in the coming weeks. Just this much: Anyone who had previously believed that they already knew all the essentials is mistaken. Dirkschneider & The Old Gang started with a sensational video, but only vaguely indicated the entire dimension. So keep your eyes and ears open: From now on it will be really exciting!