Black Widow – “Sleeping With Demons”

Black Widow
“Sleeping With Demons”
(Smack Management)

HOLY SHIT – who needs Spinal Tap when you’ve got the real deal in Black Widow LOL? This is simply frightening – not even Beelzebub could conjure this unholy concoction! Originally formed in 1966 as Pesky Gee! (big clue in that name), following their name change and adoption of an occult image involving mock stage sacrifices, Black Widow went onto infamy be it from being banned by the BBC or besieged by religious fanatics who would preach at the waiting queues warning of the inherent dangers of witchcraft and the band LOL! Despite all this, Black Widow took the rock world by storm in the 1970’s. Hailed as the ‘original’ black magic band, they rivaled Black Sabbath, were billed with Deep Purple and Yes, and played at the Isle Of Wight Festival in 1971! However, just 2 years later it was all over. Since then there have been the usual reissues but “Sleeping With Demons” is a full blown unholy return – even featuring original vocalist Kay Garrett. Even worse, they have managed to enlist the services of arch conspirator Tony Martin on opener ‘Hail Satan’, which is a cheesy mixture of 70s folk, pan pipes, and groovy hippy choruses of ‘…hail hail Satan, demon god, drink my blood..’ conjuring him to appear, but guaranteeing quite the opposite as the disco folk of ‘That’s When Evil Touched Me’ sends you up the wall. And it only gets worse: even the comparatively tame blues rock of ‘Even The Devil Gets The Blues’ gives you no respite with lyrics like ‘… the man in the moon won’t come out n play…those devil children will turn out gay..’ LOL! To be fair, the band have faithfully recreated their 70s bad trip to a letter on the 15 tracks herein, but man, have these people been tripping on bad acid for the last 4 decades, locked in their cottages in deepest England watching 70s reruns of Dr Who and the Goodies, cos that’s what it sure feels like? If I had any vestige of empathy it was utterly erased by the total tick toc insanity of the funk rock of ‘Evil Clock’ complete with demented bonging from Big Ben off News At Ten!!! Stay well clear.

Riot – “Immortal Soul”

Riot
“Immortal Soul”
(Steamhammer/SPV)

I honestly feel privileged to do this review – Riot are a band that I’ve known and seen since the 80s and have a tremendous amount of respect for. Centered around guitarist Mark Reale, they’ve been going thru thick n thin since the late 70s with a plethora of line ups. To me their legendary album “Thundersteel” is one of THE classic releases of all time and clearly I’m not unique in that perspective as over the years, the Riot fans have repeatedly acknowledged the “Thundersteel” line up as being the definitive one. Well, get ready for a heart attack: “Immortal Soul” not only has been carved out as the successor to “Thundersteel”but features Tony Moore (vocals), Mark Reale (guitar), Don Van Stavern (bass) and Bobby Jarzombek (drums) plus live guitarist Mike Flyntz!!!! Despite 23 years passing by, the sound of “Immortal Soul” has been faithfully reproduced and also contains a mixture of power and hard rock, not forgetting the trademark fretboard burnings that have made Riot a cult band of today. I reveled in the 12 songs making up this album, whether it was ‘Wings Are For Angels’, ‘Insanity’ or ‘Sins Of The Father’ as they all contained elements of those classic songs on “Thundersteel”, making this a true n worthy successor, as well as being an aptly titled album reflecting the indomitable spirit of this fine, fine band.

Isole – “Born From Shadows”

Isole
“Born From Shadows”
(Napalm Records)

With the twilight of the gods looming in Sweden’s Candlemass, Isole are already throwing in their lot with this contemporary doom album. Whilst adopting the trademark doom riffs and soulful vocals of their predecessors, they instead go for a cleaner sound with more tranquil passages and blend in acoustics on songs like ‘The Lake’, ‘My Angel’ and ‘When All Is Black’. Whilst I prefer my doom dark and as heavy as a cobalt bomb, it’s worth appreciating the somewhat more suave approach Isole have taken – and that is not just to the funeral, but having risen the soul, to accompany its ascendency into the light. In that respect they have truly emerged from the darkness of doom.

Skinny Puppy – “hanDover”

Skinny Puppy
“hanDover”
(Synthetic Symphony / SPV GmbH)

OMG, Ogre and cEvin Key – aka Skinny Puppy – have returned with their 14th album! These guys must be what, pushing 50 nowadays having formed SP back in the early 80s and pretty much been the forerunners of today’s trance / electro / industrial scenes? Still, there is nothing repetitive or even predictable about the samples and beats that they use on tracks like ‘Cullorblind’, ‘Gambatte’ and the ultra chaos ‘NoiseX’ – in fact, there is an undercurrent of broiling angst almost as if like two immature dads they’re once again trying to change the world in their own right. And why not? When you’ve got a world based on wanton unashamed greed coupled with political impotence and collusion is it a wonder that the mainstream masses are as indifferent as they are? Well as long as there is one last (electro) beat in the hearts of Skinny Puppy, they’ll be still blasting beats at the badman before passing on their crown.

Vain – “Enough Rope”

Vain
“Enough Rope”
(Jackie Rainbow Records)

WTF?! This was like being flashed back to 80s LA when GnR were pounding out “Appetite..” – totally amazing man!! Vain have been kicking their street glam rock around since the mid 80s but being located in the thrash metal capital of San Francisco’s Bay Area, I suspect they may have been overshadowed by the likes of Metallica or Machine Head. Still, Davy Vain’s perseverance has payed off in bunches on this album cos it fires from all cylinders! Mebbe not as cocksure as Axl & co were back then, instead he has confidently taken the heaviness of his Bay Area environs to produce 11 kick ass rockers like ‘Triple X’, ‘Cindy’ and ‘Stray Kitten’ – oh yeah baby, Davy knows where it’s at from ball crusher riffs to sleezy vocals right down to that Slash wailing geetar. Man, he even has Steven Adler guesting on a coupla tracks! I sure hope the world gives Vain enough rope this time round, cos we all damn well deserve to be lynched for having missed out on such a good band for so long.

PANDEAMONIUM

For the longest of times I’ve had this romantic notion about PANDAEMONIUM being the perfect Italian metal band. Now that I had the chance to interview them I had to take it. A new, third album is to be released in early 2012. Answers by Lorenzo Zirilli and Daniel Reda. © 2011Anders Ekdahl Continue reading

BETRAYING THE MARTYRS “Breathe In Life”

BETRAYING THE MARTYRS
“Breathe In Life”
(Listenable)
I can honestly say that the more metalcore I hear the less I get it. In the end it all becomes too formulated for my taste. It’s all break downs, growl v/s clean vocals and what else. But then it is with metalcore as with all other music that becomes a trend. You gotta wade through the mud to find the pearls. I’m not saying that Betraying The Martyrs are a perfect gem but stood against all other hopefuls I’ve heard this pretty much stands out Continue reading