“Rape Your God And Pray For Reprieve”
I like the aesthetic of primitive black metal. Just guitar, bass and drums repeating a small amount of chords over and over again. The repetitiveness of using the same chords over and over again presents a challenge in making it interesting. Odem are just that primitive and repetitive the way I like. This is black metal in its most primitive form. Continue reading
HEAVY METAL TYRANNY!!! For some people enough isn’t enough: despite living in Gothenburg, Harry Granroth wanted to form a ‘real’ heavy metal band. And so was born RAM: pioneers of the New Wave Of Traditional Heavy Metal! Essentially playing ‘true’ metal going back to the golden era of heavy metal in the early 80s, RAM draw their inspiration from the likes of Mercyful Fate, MSG, Scorpions as well as Maiden and Priest. High end vocals mix in with raw guitar and pounding drums that switching effortlessly from melody to mayhem on songs like ‘…Comes From The Mouth Beyond’, ‘Flame Of The Tyrants’ and ‘Under The Scythe’. With little regard for modernity, keyboards, or image, this is traditional HM the way it used to be – RAM are back, and necks will be broken!!!!
Lillian Axe – “XI: The Days Before Tomorrow” (AFM Records)
‘..The big shot producers, major label record deals, videos for MTV, quarter of a million record sales in the United States alone, New Orleans survivors Lillian Axe have persevered through the years and still to this day, record new music and tour…’. Yup, can’t argue with that – these guys are like the history of metal personified! Still lead by guitarist main man Steve Blaze, Lillian Axe go back to the 80s when they were named after the movie ‘Creep Show’ and even more so, their music reflects the times they’ve been thru, from glam rock n roll to hard rock to heavy metal. The sheer number of people that have played in this band is frightening and I would not like the daunting task of trying to document their history so prob best to concentrate on this 11th album, which pretty much reflects their past from the hard n heavy ‘Lava On My Tongue’ to the anthemic ‘The Great Divide’ to the kick ass rock n roll of ‘Caged In’. Whilst this album doesn’t break any new ground, frankly I don’t get the impression it’s supposed to but instead serves to continue their legacy and remain true to their fans – as reflected by the straight-from-the-heart songs that Blaze writes. Lillian is back and the girl has an axe to grind……
Cirith Ungol – “Servants Of Chaos” 2 CD/1 DVD (Metal Blade)
True to the album title and drummer Robert Garvin’s words (see recent Battlehelm interview – Ed), Cirith Ungol remain one of the most enigmatic proto metal bands EVER. Drawing inspiration from the (still) spaced out 70s, Cirith Ungol’s music was an eclectic blend of prog and hard rock characterized Tim Baker’s unique high vocals, Michael “Flint” Vujea’s jazz like bass runs, and Jerry Fogle’s far out (and I mean waaay out there man) guitar. At times sounding like a Spinal Tap jamming session, Cirith Ungol nevertheless went on to inspire bands in the early 80s, and especially on the West Coast – mainly thru the proto metal sounds and styles they were experimenting with – although true to their eventual cult status, never actually made it themselves! It is perhaps this legacy that has caused the band never to be forgotten and paved the way for this special release 2 CD/1 DVD double digipak made up of a collection of rare and live tracks, including old chesnuts like ‘King Of The Dead’, ‘Better Off Dead’ and ‘Master Of The Pit’. Even more ancient is the DVD: an entire, rarely seen live show, shot on November 9th, 1984 at the storied, and now defunct, Wolf and Rissmiller’s Country Club in Reseda, CA. True to the band’s nature, there is nothing ‘official’ about this either – according to Garvin ‘…this amateur video was never meant to be released. The audio was taken off the mixing console. As we were an opening act, we had little or no sound check, room on stage, and restricted access to the lighting and sound. Regardless, this rare and primitive video is one of the few ever taken of the band!..’.
Klogr (pronounced ‘Kay – log – are’ – in reference to the law of Weber-Fechner – whatever that is) are one of these deep, cerebrally challenging projects (notice I said ‘project’ rather than ‘band’ LOL) that apparently sits ‘..on the thin line between alternative rock and alternative metal…’. Well, rather than analyze that line I would say that their emphasis is very much on being ‘alternative’ just like other bands in that genre from A Perfect Circle to Porcupine Tree to Tool etc. According to the band the whole record is based on the concept that ‘…society around us controls us, judges us, conditions us and ultimately suffocates us. A psychological game of massacre, control and power over the masses, in which they use fear and anxieties to unstabalize a person into something more fragile, more controllable and more subservient…’ – well, I said it was deep LOL but thankfully the 11 songs on this debut aren’t unfathomable, but are definitely intense! From ‘White Eyes’ with its heavy brooding rhythm and contrasting mellow / screaming vocals to the anthemic rock / core of ‘You Gotta Know’ with it’s fluid guitar work and raw vocals to the pensive, passionate closer of ‘Young Graves’, Klogr have energetically challenged the stereotypical norm and more poignantly, its underlying ideology.
Chainfist – “Black Out Sunday” (Chainfist/Rock N Growl)
333% Metal – 333% Rock – 666% You!! No fuckin kidding – your lights will be out by these tattooed Danish biker rockers who play an excellent blend of heavy duty rock metal effortlessly blending in Slayer elements on songs like ‘Evolution’ or Motorhead on ‘Clown’. Elsewhere, it’s no surprise that vocalist Jackie Petersen sounds like Danzig on ‘In Your Face’ cos he sure looks like Glenn! Whatever the case, this is one hard rockin album with chugging guitars, thumping drums and steam hammer bass runs on 12 kick ass numbers – Sundays will never be the same!!
Krossfire – “Learning To Fly” (Pure Steel Records)
No kidding! This is a pretty apt title given that Krossfire come from one of the most remote parts of Eastern Europe – Bulgaria! Funnily enough, I was actually there last November, and if I’d known about Krossfire then, I mighta checked them out cos they are a pretty good power metal band with Maiden, Manowar and Blind Guardian influences. Soaring vocals, chugging guitars and soulful melodies laced with atmospheric keyboards grace songs like ‘Touch Of Destiny’, ‘How Can There Be…’ and the dual operatic male / female ‘The One’. Having been going around 10 years, this is no mean feat in this former Sov Bloc country so Krossfire deserve full marks for their enthusiasm and effort, if not for their originality, although they have sensibly stuck to a proven sound that should nevertheless gain them fans.
Fans that have seen Unearth live on their recent trips to Alaska, Japan and on their US and Canadian tour with Chimaira, may have noticed a new face on stage. The guy behind the kit has been none other than up-and-coming drummer, Nick Pierce who’s been playing since age 10. He grew up playing for local bands in the Seattle/Tacoma area (Culling the Weak, Eterna Nocturna, Embalmed) as well as LA based band The Faceless.
Vocalist Trevor Phipps adds: “Nick is a beast of a drummer and a great guy to hang with. I look forward to jamming with him around the world for years to come.” Guitarist Buz McGrath compliments Pierce and says he has a “Great attitude, energy and the knowledge that we can throw the most insane riffs at him and he can create and adequately perform next level beats for said riffs makes it a little easier to sleep at night.”
Check out MALEFICE when they teamed up with football legend Marcus Hahnemann for their Jägermeister ‘Ice Cold’ Studio Session, where rock bands and icons meet for the first time in a recording studio and ‘break the ice’ by working on a track together.
Marcus Hahnemann, US international goalkeeper (“Best goalkeeper in the world” – 2009/2010 Castrol Performance Index) who is currently playing for Everton is a well known heavy metal fan but this will be the first time he has ever taken his passion for metal into a recording studio.
Marcus Hahnemann said: “Today I have come down to London for the Arsenal game. Getting ready for the game always includes some heavy rock to get me going. But I can’t stop thinking about when I am coming back down here in a few weeks to record with Malefice! So hopefully my love of music and their love of football with translate to a really cool track!”
Since the first time I heard Molly Hatchet I’ve been in love with southern boogie. So whenever anything slightly resembling that sound comes my way I sit up and take notice. THE DOGS DIVINE did that for me. Continue reading