In my job as a bus driver I visit The Forsaken’s home town of Landskrona at least once a week. And a duller place you have to look hard for. Come evening and you’ll find few people out and about. But if everybody is in hiding writing and recording music like this then we’re about to see an explosion of metal to erupt. This is the first new album since 2003but they still sound the way I remember them from their last album. This is death/thrash the way it was done by At The Gates and in extension all those bands that came up in the wake of that last album. The Forsaken came onto the scene together with bands like Soilwork, Darkane, The Defaced and some more and while few has survived some have carried the torch high. Maybe 2012 is the year for The Forsaken to rise again. They have the album for it to happen. Anders Ekdahl
I’m not the greatest sleaze fan in the world. I do not go for image that much which kinda explains why I haven’t bothered to check out the latest bands in this genre. Don’t even know the names of the bands and if I’ve known them I’ve forgotten them. But I’m not worse than I can change my tune. If the music is good enough I don’t care what the band looks like. Helldorados from Stuttgart, Germany might look like Hardcore Superstars’ younger brothers but that doesn’t mean shit to me. All I care for is if the music is any good. And good it is. This is hardrock/metal that is strong on melodies. With choruses that you can sing along with this is party music even for those of us who don’t party. Anders Ekdahl
LESBIAN BED DEATH
“Riot Of The Living Dead”
I have no idea what the band’s name is supposed to mean and I don’t really care either. As long as the music is good they can pretty much call the band whatever they like. And this seem to be good music. Done well I like music that crosses genres. Done badly it is just plain awful to listen to. Funk rock wasn’t one that I particularly liked. But mixing goth with punk with hardrock is at least on paper an appetizing idea. And Lesbian Bed Death does this well enough for me to actually tap my right foot to the beat of the songs. I would recommend those of you who like the sound of Paramore and Fall Out Boy but think that they are pussy-footing about to give this a try. Well I’d tell anybody into good music to check this out. This is good period. Anders Ekdahl
(Limited Access Records)
I like Angel Dust even if it took me some time to get into them back in the 80s. There was something to their speed metal that appealed to me. But that was then and this is now. You can’t live on old merits alone. If you are not worth anything today you’ll be discarded like an old dish cloth. Mercury Tide dos look the game but can they deliver the goods too. The only thing that Mercury Tide has in common with Angel Dust is vocalist Dirk. This is metal in a whole different school. Not so much speed as power metal. Perhaps a bit like Kamelot. Or a male-fronted Nightwish. Big and bombastic on the verge of pouring over. This is metal for the more grander moments in life. And I like it. Anders Ekdahl
“Green Machine Laser Beam”
For some reason I come to think of Troma’s “Toxic Avenger” every time I see the name Prophecy23. Don’t know why. Perhaps because this reminds so much of my youth in the 80s, well not musically so much as for the imagery. This is death/thrash in the harder school. And while I had expected something along the way of Wehrmacht or Municipal Waste this is so much harder than those bands ever will be. There’s not much party to this music, unless you celebrate the demise of Mother Earth. This is hard as rock death/thrash that will bulldoze everything in its wake. Do not stand in the way of this megalith or you’ll end up crushed to bits. Cool stud indeed. Anders Ekdahl
Turkey might be known for many things but metal isn’t one of the greatest proponents to come from that country. But there are metal bands that call Turkey home. Soul Sacrifice is one of these. It would be so easy for them to just include some oriental flirts and people would go ape shit over how innovating this is. But not Soul Sacrifice. This is matter over show and not the other way around. This is death metal that has a slight melodeath approach but also is heavy enough to appeal to those into the more serious stuff. Not being familiar with this band prior to this album I am impressed. I kinda expected another tired melodeath band or even worse a band that had taken the easy way out and just incorporated a bunch of traditional Turkish instruments and calling it innovating. This so much more than that. This is great death metal. Anders Ekdahl
Rush – “Clockwork Angels” (Anthem / Roadrunner)
Wow, considering I grew up listening to Rush, I never thought I’d ever be reviewing one of their albums – maybe there is a god after all LOL! For today’s metalheads, Rush may seem like a faint hark back to pre history, but if you were a kid in the late 70s and early 80s then albums like “2112”, “Farewell To Kings” and “Permanent Waves” stood alongside those of UFO, Priest and Motorhead as part of your staple diet! However, when they moved into softer rock and I erred to the dark side (i.e. thrash LOL) from ’83, I lost touch with these 3 plucky if eccentric Canadians (not touring in the UK didn’t help either eh boys) until their 2007 “Snakes & Arrows” tour when by chance I got a VIP ticket – still, it wasn’t the most encouraging performance leaving me (and probably the 3,000 other people) if anything hankering even more for those old classics. Five years on we have “Clockwork Angels” and despite the predictable big mechanistic prog inlay booklet – WTF – they’ve wow’d me again by going heavy this time! From Geddy’s hard twanging bass to Alex’s hard, squeaking guitars to Neil’s smashing cymbals for a mo I did a double take thinking I’d been taken for a ride by a cover band as even Geddy’s vocals were occasionally screaming LOL! But no, I’m pleasantly surprised to hear that messrs Lee, Lifeson and Peart have infused metallised rock into songs like ‘Carnies’, ‘Seven Cities Of Gold’ and ‘Headlong Flight’, thankfully dispensing with that (now old) ‘New World’ radio rock. But Rush being Rush, there’s still plenty of prog, ambient and bits of funk etc to make them as odd man out as they were before, all brought to fully bear by the usually superior levels of musicianship and production. Over four decades on, these guys show why they are still one of North America’s premier classic rock bands and if anything “Clockwork Angels” is an amazing return back to their rock roots that will reach out to both new and old fans: 40 million albums sold worldwide can’t be for nothing…..
Gun – “Break The Silence” (earMusic)
14 years since they split, Scottish rockers Gun have indeed broken the silence with this comeback album! Gun formed in the late 80s and their brand of mainstream rock saw them land support slots to giants like The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi and Def Leppard before making it themselves and winning a plethora of awards along with a Top 40 single in ‘Word Up’! Following that, the band took a break only to make an ill timed return to coincide with the Dunblane gun massacre, prompting both name as well as personnel changes. The follow up album, “0141 632 6326” did not fair so well and led to the inevitable split. Since then, the band have being playing one off shows with revolving door line ups including the likes of Tony Jepson on vocals. Today, still with the Gizzi brothers on vocals and guitar, Gun are back and pretty much in the same vein of commercial rock that could very much fill the niche left by the likes of Thunder. Jools’s guitar still has that fire n soul and Dante’s voice is still in magic shape on songs like ‘Bad Things’, ‘Butcher Man’ and ‘Running Out Of Time’ that sees Gun reloaded and cocked to rock for a second round.
Bonded By Blood – “The Aftermath” (Earache Records)
With a band name like Bonded By Blood it comes as no surprise that these guys are thrashers, old school ones at that and needless to say, heavily influenced by Exodus, despite the band actually coming from the greater Los Angeles area. Vocalist Mauro Gonzalez is straight outta the Paul Baloff school of insane vox and the rest of the band are happily thrashing along to just like bands used to back in the 80s. Thankfully, songs like ‘Shepherds Of Rot’, ‘Among The Vultures’ and ‘Show No Fear’ also show a pensive side to the band, at a guess also influenced by Norcal techno thrash luminaries such as Death Angel and Forbidden. Either way, like hungry kids at the candy store, Bonded By Blood take all they can and throw it right back at ya, hook line and sinker!
Gaskin – “Edge Of Madness” (High Roller Records)
Despite being rightly categorized as a NWOBHM band, many wrongly associate that wave of metal with the speed and power of the more popular bands. Gaskin, on the other hand, were one of the many less well known bands and rather than being ‘metal’ played a melodic metallised rock that drew inspiration from the British blues tinged hard rock of the 70s rather than punk. I can’t remember when the band folded but “Edge Of Madness” is the band’s 4th album and aptly titled given that Paul’s personal life saw him going thru depression, divorce and attempted suicide before picking himself up on the slow, hard road to recovery. Thankfully the reputation he made in those early days never left him short of friends and with the growing interest in ‘true’ metal, Gaskin got a new lease of life playing festivals like Headbangers Open Air in Germany. According to Paul, it has taken around five years to produce “Edge Of Madness” which may come as a shock to some, and even more so when listening to songs like ‘Heart Of Thunder’, ‘Lost & Lonely’ and ‘Mans’ World’ (featuring Hawkwind’s Nik Turner on guest sax), which scarcely show any signs of modernity, but continue in that same old harmonized blues rock style. Some might say its dated, but I haveta respect Paul Gaskin for continuing in fine style to do what he both loves and is best at. And with a cult following behind him, who’s to say there isn’t method behind his madness?