As I don’t know too much about UNITY I thought an interview with them would straighten out the biggest question marks. You might not get to know all you want to about UNITY but you will be much wiser than before. Anders Ekdahl ©2012 Continue reading
This is about as eclectic that Battle Helm will ever be. There used to be a time when MTV Unplugged was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Acoustic performances was what every self-respecting artist should do, From Nirvana to Metallica to whoever. All did it. That was acoustic. This is also acoustic but in a whole different league. Jeff Aug is an American guitar player that has released several solo albums prior to this new one, toured the globe alone or as a musician part of a band. There might not be anything distorted about this album. It might not be heavy in the traditional sense but still there’s plenty of stuff for all of us who like songs. Filled with so much emotions Jeff takes us on a journey into the nether regions of our psyche. A journey that is only limited by your own imagination. I like the fact that there is something so storytelling about the music that you don’t need lyrics to make up stories. Maybe not the usual hardrock album you’re looking for but for the more adventurous of us this will take you on an equally intense journey as the latest Iron Maiden album. Anders Ekdahl
There used to be a time when British death metal was something you talked about loudly. Nowadays you almost get laughed at mentioning British death metal. No panic now. There are those who are trying to right that wrong. Bloodshot Dawn are one to start with. This is death metal that is not melodeath or old school death or any other of the trendy deaths. This is death metal that is heavy and aggressive in a way that could not be mistaken for anything other than death metal. I get a distinct American feeling listening to this mixed with a Behemoth-ian attack. There is something very liberating about death metal this aggressive. It’s like a release of all pent up anger you’ve accumulated during the week working your shitty job. Blast this at full volume and it’ll clean out everything, including your annoying neighbours too. Anders Ekdahl
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR
I can honestly say that this album made me scratch my head in confusion. What is it that the band wants to tell us with their music. It’s not as confusing as Celtic Frost’s “Cold Lake” album was but still it leaves me wondering what to think. Something that I’ve noticed is that the band seems to want to incorporate as many styles as possible in their music. Done the wrong way it could end up just sounding schizophrenic. Done the correct way it’ll end up a dream come true. Hail Spirit Noir end up somewhere in between, in a kind of no man’s land musically. I get very bad acid trip vibes (and I’m anti-drugs in any ways) listening to Hail Spirit Noir, like if Iron Butterfly mixed with grunge mixed with Pink Floyd mixed with 70s psychedelic mixed with black metal mixed with heavy metal mixed with death metal. It’s too much. Having said that, there’s a side to me that likes this chaotic mix of styles. It’s not as bad as I might have thought at first. Anders Ekdahl
“Dekonstrukteur des Fleisches”
Thanks to the success of Rammstein everything sung in German makes me think of them instantly. No matter what style of music we’re talking about. Irdorath could best be described as death metal. In a way they too make me think of Lemming Project. That old German band keeps popping up every now and then when I hear a new band from Germany or German speaking countries. Gotta be something in their water that brings out that in them. Irdorath may have a melodic side to their metal, but I wouldn’t go as far as call this melodeath. For that they are too hard and aggressive. So melodic death metal has to do. Maybe a slight kinship with Hypocrisy are to be found as well as some goth metal thrown in to mix it all up. Not so bad that you’d want to stay away from it. If you like melodic death metal and want to check out the newest releases then this is for you too. Anders Ekdahl
“The Last Prayer”
For the longest of times I had this romantic notion of Pandaemonium being the greatest thing to come out of Italy since Rhapsody (Of Fire). That they would carry the banner of symphonic heavy metal higher than most other bands. That was before I got to hear anything by the band. It’s been 7 years since the last Pandaemonium album and that’s pretty much a life time for any band. So how does Pandaemonium fare in today’s metal world? This is just as romantic as I’d imagined. This is grand and pompous in a positive way. Not for everybody though, but if you like bands that are OTT then Pandaemonium is just right for you. This is metal that takes you to the skies and won’t let go of you until you’ve been taken on the journey of your life. This is metal that is so full of itself that you just gotta love it for that reason alone. There is nothing middle of the road to this metal and for that I salute Pandaemonium. Anders Ekdahl
Phavian seem to have a very elaborate plan for the future releasing four albums in a conceptual series with “Meridian I” being the first. For that I celebrate them. I like it when people put all on one card and just go for it. Better them than me. “Meridian I” could have started better than with an instrumental track but hey, from here it can only go up. I don’t know why but for some reason I came to think of Hammers of Misfortune when I listen to Phavian. Continue reading
UFO – “Seven Deadly” (Steamhammer/SPV)
Holy crap, these guys started in 1969 – making the band 43 years old, although the guys themselves are decidedly older! However, like a vintage wine, age has made them all the more reason to savor. Amazingly still with 3/4 of their classic line-up i.e. Phil Moog, Andy Parker, Paul Raymond, what is even more endearing about this seminal hard rock band is how the sound on this album has reverted to those early years, incorporating a blues feel on ‘Year Of The Gun’ that was very much that era along with bands like Deep Purple. Ever the ones to surprise people, these pensioners even manage to sound heavier on ‘Mojo Town’ than I remember on previous albums with all the band in fine form and Moog’s voice on ‘Fight Night’ sounding just like it did when I heard him on “Strangers In The Night” back in the 70s! Special mention goes to the ‘new’ kid Vinnie Moore, who has had some big shoes to fill be it in Michael Schenker and Tonka Chapman, but his guitar work on this album has been exemplary, incorporating elements of both these legends while defining himself in his own right, yet within that aforementioned UFO sound. With a flower power cover to boot, UFO have returned to their roots – now go wake the dead.
Xandria – “Neverworld’s End” (Napalm Records)
If you can’t beat ’em, then bloody well join ’em! German symphonic femme rock band Xandria have always walked in Nightwish’s shadow, but with the Finns taking a more progressive approach these days, Xandria have doubled back to classic Tarja Turunen era Nightwish on songs like ‘Forevermore’ that will probably scoop them up a barrel loada fans. After going thru a number of female vocalists, new gal Manuela Kraller seems to be the full package capably handling both the softer soprano style like on ‘Euphoria’ or the more goth opera of ‘The Lost Elysian’ or just out rightly symphonic like on ‘Cursed’ – makes me wonder what Nightwish might’ve sounded like with her instead LOL! It may have been 5 long years since we last heard Xandria, but they have returned with a vengeance on this album – and an able bodied babe to boot!
Lyriel – “Leverage” (AFM Records)
It’s always nice to come across a band who aren’t easy to define, especially if they do it naturally and not in some contrived manner. Germany’s Lyriel do exactly that, fusing together the diverse musical talents of the seven people making up the band, which in essence is Celtic Folk, romantic Rock, cellos, violins and soft femme vocals. Strictly speaking, I wouldn’t call Lyriel even ‘metal’, but it’s easy to see their appeal to all but the hardest of headbangers – along with goths and I would imagine the sword n sorcery division. Flowing Elven melodies mix with angelic vocals in an emo-ish atmosphere on tracks like the anthemic ‘The Road Not Taken’, the uplifting ‘White Lily’ and my personal fave, the deep ballad ‘Wenn Die Engel Fallen’ with its excellent piano and violin accompaniments. If you’re looking for something different, then look no further than this 4th album by Lyriel – a name I will not soon forget.