REVIEWS 2020 - Page 4

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HEADLESS: Risin' Up - Single
(Mighty Music)
HEADLESS is a hard rock band with legendary Swedish vocalist Göran Edman (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, KHARMA, KARMAKANIC, X-SAVIOUR, TALISMAN, SWEDISH EROTICA, MÅRRAN etc). The band plays a blend of classic and hair metal with a progressive injection, and it seems like they have released 2 albums - "Growing Apart" (2013) and "Melt The Ice Away" (2016). They have also been touring a lot through the years.
Now they plan to release several new songs, and they start with "Risin' Up", which is about environmental awareness. This is a song with heavy guitars and melodic vocals, and it's absolutely not bad at all. I think you should check it out if you like melodic hard rock.
Published: June 19, 2020

Conny Bloom: Med Charlie I Venedig - Single
(Target Records - Release date: June 19, 2020)
Conny with the boys at Holmens Rock
This song was previously released on a 12" vinyl for what would have been Record Store Day. Now it has also been released as a digital single. And this is a cool song that you should check out (extra good if you know Swedish like me, so that you get the funny lyrics).
As you probably already know, Conny Bloom is the frontman of Swedish hard rock band ELECTRIC BOYS. But he has also been a member of ROAD RATS, NEON ROSE and HANOI ROCKS. When he go solo it's more like singer/songwriter with a touch of 70s rock and funny stories in Swedish. I like this!
And if you like this too, then I recomend you to check out his latest album, "Game! Set! Bloom!", which is full of great songs.
Published: June 19, 2020

Old Kerry McKee: Cattle and Wolves - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
This is raw! The verse is softer, but in the chorus is more wild.
Old Kerry McKee is a man who combine old American folk music and blues with punk and black metal. And that might sound like a combination that would not work, but somehow it does when Old Kerry is the conductor. It's dirty, crooked and dynamic, something we could call horror blues. You should really give this a try!
"Cattle and Wolves" comes from his new album, "Mono Secular Sounds", which will be released in the fall.
Published: June 18, 2020

Hulkoff: Martial/Matrialisk - Single
(Faravid Recordings)
Hulkoff with Raubtier
Pär Hulkoff from RAUBTIER continue to deliver singles from his upcoming second solo album. This is the third single so far, and it sounds better than his last single did. I would describe it as some kind of hard and heavy folk metal. Like a mixture of RAUBTIER and voluntary folk metal band. This is actually worth checking out.
As usual with the new songs, it's available in both English and Swedish. The album, which will be released in the fall, will also be available in both languages.
Published: June 18, 2020

BATTLE BORN: Battle Born - EP
(Self released on June 26, 2020)
UK's BATTLE BORN have made 5 really good power metal anthems here. This is no less than a masterpiece! And this is just their debut. What can we expect from them in the future then?
They seems to aim at making every song to an anthem that put its hooks into you at once, and all members are doing a really good job here. They also know how to make a really great song, and there's no weak moments at all here. Fans of European power metal should love this band!
Published: June 17, 2020

WITHERING SURFACE: I'll Soon Be Gone - Single
(Mighty Music)
WITHERING SURFACE continue to deliver singles from their comeback album, "Meet Your Maker", which will be released soon (on Friday). This song is more slow and heavy, what we could call a epic and doom inspired ballad, but still within the melodic death metal genre. It's a duet between frontman Michael H. Andersen and his 19-year old daughter Elizabeth Gorboi Andersen.
Well, this is 1 of many good songs from the album, so you should check it out.
Published: June 16, 2020

NIGHTRAGE: At The Ends Of The Earth - Single
(Despotz Records)
Swedish/Greek melodic death metal band NIGHTRAGE celebrate 20 years in 2020 by releasing their first demo, simply titled "Demo 2000". At that time the band just featured guitarists Marios Iliopoulos (still in the band) and Gus G (Ozzy Osbourne, ARCH ENEMY, FIREWIND, DREAM EVIL), who recorded the demo with the help of a drum machine and a digital recorder. It's more raw and a bit different from what the band became later, when they finally got a full lineup. It might not be a masterpiece like the latest albums, but it's fun to hear. And it's also good to know that they have developed a lot since then.
It seems like this demo was never officially released, and I actually don't have a release date yet, but "At The Ends Of The Earth" is the first official taste of this rare demo.
Published: June 16, 2020

MERIDIAN: The Sun Always Shines On TV - Single
(Mighty Music)
This is a song that I remember from when I was just a kid in the 80s. It was originally made by the Norwegian pop band A-HA, who had a big hit with this song. Danish melodic hard rockers MERIDIAN are doing a very good job with this song, and add some guitars instead of all the zynthesizers that was used in the original version.
This is the second single out of 6 from their upcoming covers EP, "Taking Cover", that will be released later this year.
Published: June 16, 2020

LYKANTROPI: Coming Your Way - Single
(Despotz Records)
LYKANTROPI continue to sound like they use to, but they are still a damned good band, no doubt about that.
I have been writing about this band a few times before, so you might know their sound already. But in case you don't, then I would say that their sound is like retro rock with a touch of Swedish folk music somewhere in a dark forest. It's melancholy, psychedelic and dark. Their lyrics are full of folklore, tales and legends.
"Coming Your Way" is the first single from their upcoming album, "Tales To Be Told", which I look forward to hear as their 2 previous albums were absolutely excellent.
Published: June 16, 2020

PURTENANCE: Buried Incarnation - Album
(Xtreem Music - Release date: June 23, 2020)
PURTENANCE is a Finnish death metal band from Nokia. They originally formed as PURTENANCE AVULSION in 1989, and recorded 1 demo in 1990 before they decided to shorten their name to PURTENANCE. They recorded another demo, which became a 7" EP, and after that it was time for their first full length, "Member of Immortal Damnation". But after the album was done they went seperate ways due to other things in life.
In 2011 the debut album was re-released, and at the same time the band decided to reform as a trio. And they have continued to produce records and play live. Nowadays they are 4 members in the band: Juha Rannikko (guitar), Harri Salo (drums), Tero Aalto (guitar) and Aabeg Gatamn (vocals/bass).
In the beginning of this album they play a heavier kind of death metal, what we call doom/death metal. After that it goes a little faster. But just a little bit. I would still say that it's doom/death. So no, they are hardly the fastest band, but they do it good at least.
Published: June 15, 2020

SHE BITES: Joyride - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: June 19, 2020)
SHE BITES is a pretty young band from Germany, who formed as late as last year. But the members all have experience from other bands, like LIONCAGE, SKYLINE, THREE WISHES etc. Their music is a blend of hook-driven AOR with harmony vocals, big drums and rock guitars, with a touch of the 80s. But it's actually said to fit fans of pop artists like ROXETTE, Robin Beck, Fiona and STARSHIP, which confuse me a bit. This is very catchy and melodic anyway, and I guess that we can call it rock with pop melodies then.
Well, they have some good songs among these 11 tracks, but I wonder where that extra good hit song is? They are on the right way once in a while though.
Published: June 14, 2020

OPERUS: Score of Nightmares - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: June 19, 2020)
Theatrical, symphonic and a bit progressive metal is what we get from these 6 musicians. These people have dedicated their lives to music with University and masters degrees, Royal Conservatory of Music certifications, as well as experience from performing live all over the world. They have played with bands like TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA, ANNIHILATOR, VITAL REMAINS, SKULL FIST and ECLIPSE ETERNAL. And some of them have also had leading roles in theatrical productions like "Jukebox Hero" and "Beauty & the Beast".
Their debut EP, "Opus I", was released in 2015, and their debut full length, "Cenotaph", in early 2017. And now in 2020 their second album, "Score of Nightmares", is ready to be released. And it's said to be something for fans of RHAPSODY OF FIRE, ORION'S REIGN and TWILIGHT FORCE. But I would guess that any fan of epic and dramatic metal, that doesn't have anything against elements of symphonic/chamber orchestras, will like this.
This is like an ambitious metal opera in 11 acts.
Published: June 14, 2020

Jessica Wolff: Para Dice - Album
(Metalapolis Records - Release date: June 19, 2020)
Some pop string trying to play hard rock by adding heavy guitars to the cocktail. It all end up somewhere between hard pop and soft rock. Not so bad and very catchy, but it's enough with just a few songs, because after that you know this stuff. On the other hand, a song like "All The Right Things" could be a hit.
Jessica Wolff is from Finland, and she's a very busy young woman. Except for being a singer, she's also acting, practicing Kung-Fu and doing stunt work. In other words a hard woman, even though she show us her soft side when it comes to her music.
It seems to be 3 years since her last album, "Grounded", was released. "Para Dice" is her third album.
Published: June 14, 2020

PRETTY MAIDS: Maid in Japan Back to the Future World - Album, DVD, Blu-ray
(Frontiers Music s.r.l)
"Future World" was released in 1987, and was this Danish hard rock band's breakthrough album. In 2017-18 they celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the album by playing the entire record live. And when they came to Tokyo, Japan in November 2018 they decided to film and record the show. And what we get here is simply the result of that.
They have some really good stuff here. Among my favorites are "Future World" and "We Came To Rock", which they begin with. But the rest is absolutely not bad either. This is simply a brilliant album!
They also play some newer songs when the "Future World" album is done. These songs are not so bad either. Unfortunately they don't go back in time and play my favorite "Back To Back".
Published: June 13, 2020

HER CHARIOT AWAITS: Her Chariot Awaits - Album
(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)
HER CHARIOT AWAITS is a newly formed metal band, featuring Spanish singer Ailyn (ex-SIRENIA) and American guitarist/producer Mike Orlando (ADRENALINE MOB). Another musical alliance who came together through Frontiers Music. They melt together the metal approach of ADRENALINE MOB with more melodic hooks. The guitars are hard and heavy, while the vocals is melodic. And their music is very catchy. I really like what I hear!
I don't really know what else I should say, but this is absolutely something that you should check out.
Published: June 13, 2020

VAMPIRE: Rex - Album
(Century Media - Release date: June 19, 2020)
Vampire in the red, hometown show
VAMPIRE play a raw and almost punky kind of death metal. With influences like MERCYFUL FATE, SLAYER, DISSECTION and POSSESSED, this is absolutely not any modern stuff. They add more elements than that on this album though, as you can hear inspiration from 80s IRON MAIDEN and METALLICA, as well as acoustic guitars. And even though it's mainly raw and full speed into the fire, there's also lots of melodies. I would say that they have found their own unique sound.
VAMPIRE formed in 2011, and comes from Göteborg (aka Gothenburg), Sweden. "Rex" is their third album.
Published: June 12, 2020

LEAGUE OF CORRUPTION: Something in the Water - Album
(Black Doomba Records - Release date: June 12, 2020)
Southern-styled groove metal - The beer is flowing, hair is flying, and the speakers scream out riff after riff and solo after solo. Fuck! I want to go to a concert!
LEAGUE OF CORRUPTION was founded by scene veteran Chris Barlow (ex-MECHA MESSIAH), and with Canada's underground legend Brian Langley (AGGRESSION, ex-INFERNÄL MÄJESTY) on guitar and backing vocals. Despite existing intermittently for 15 years, 2020 is the time to roll out their debut full-length, "Something in the Water".
Their influences seems to come from many different directions. It's Zakk Wylde-inspired guitars, a LYNYRD SKYNYRD vibe here and some DOWN or CORROSION OF CONFORMITY there, and that's just the beginning.
6 tracks is what we get here, and it's not bad at all. Yes, I think you should check this out.
Published: June 11, 2020

GREYHAWK: Keepers of the Flame - Album
(Fighter Records - Release date: June 16, 2020)
GREYHAWK was born when 5 metal heads from all over USA met on the shores of the pacific northwest. They came from bands like SKELATOR, AGGRESSION, PRELUDE TO A PISTOL, ARCHMAGE and PROPHETS OF ADDICTION, but wanted to bring their musical vision to life in a new band. And this vision was equal parts of traditional heavy metal, power metal and shred, which they take the best parts from to create energetic and dynamic metal. Fans of DIO, Yngwie Malmsteen, MANOWAR, JUDAS PRIEST and similar should be happy to hear this, because this is really good.
GREYHAWK released their debut EP, "Ride Out", in October 2018. "Keepers of the Flame" is their full length debut.
Published: June 10, 2020

CUTTIN' EDGE: Face Down - Album
(Rebellion Records)
Street punk straight out of Edinburgh, Scotland. This is a new band, that consist of some skinheads, punks and metal heads. Their music is described as a mixture of The EXPLOITED, MOTÖRHEAD, ANTI-NOWHERE LEAGUE and DISCHARGE. So yes, it sounds very British, but I think of a Swedish band called PERKELE for example. They kick down your door, steal your beer and play loud while a hooligan roars out the words.
It's far too rare that I get this kind of stuff for review. But I really like street punk, or Oi! as it's also called (no nazi shit though). I would say yes to some more.
On this debut album CUTTIN' EDGE show us that they are a really good band, so this is definitely worth a try. And I guess that a few beers would not hurt while you listen.
Published: June 10, 2020

ASTRAL SLEEP: Astral Doom Musick - LP
(Saarni Records)
Only 4 tracks, but this is doom metal, so the songs are between 9 and a half to 11:44 minutes. This is the third full length album from this Finnish band, which gives us what they call experimental doom metal. But to me this is most of all very heavy and monotonous, even though they have some good riffs here and there. The vocals is mainly clean, which I like better than growl when it comes to doom. Sometimes there's a psychedelic vibe or a short outbreak.
The song that I like best here is "Integratron", which is the most melodic song on this EP. This song is not as heavy and monotonous as the others.
Published: June 10, 2020

ARMAGEDDA: Svindeldjup Ättestup - Album
(Nordvis Produktion)
After 17 years the Swedish black metal duo ARMAGEDDA is back with a new album. M.Z. (MGLA) has produced, and Erik Danielsson (WATAIN) has done the artwork. Guest on drums is a creature called M.S. (OVER THE VOIDS, MEDICO PESTE, MGLA live).
This is like walking without getting anywhere. They play and play, but nothing happens. Pretty boring actually, if it wasn't for the singer who is very entertaining sometimes. He try to sound harsh and hard, but sounds very funny instead. Not all the time though, just once in a while here and there. And I guess that their music is not totally useless after all, but there's still the little problem that I mentioned earlier - Some of these songs just trampling on without a clear vision of where they are going.
Published: June 10, 2020

ÖTZI: Storm - Album
(Artoffact Records)
Oakland, California-based post-punk group ÖTZI formed in 2014. They have previously released several EPs, as well as 1 album, "Ghosts" (2017). And they has also toured all over the world.
Their music is dark but passionate, sometimes more energetic and catchy. The analog production gives it a touch of the 80s new wave sound. It's like a mixture of SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES, CRASS and early The CURE. I would not say that they are a vintage band who live in the past though.
Some favorites then? Well, I would say "Hold Still", "Scorpio", "Ballad Of Oiwa" and the title track. Nothing is really bad though.
Published: June 9, 2020

(RFL Records - Release date: June 12, 2020)
SVEN GALI is a Canadian band, who released their self-titled debut album back in 1991, which went gold in their country. Another album, "In Wire", came out in 1995.
After a long time out of the spotlights, the band returns with a 5-track EP. And their music is described as a "fusion of 80s screaming hard rock and 90s blazing metal". It's heavy guitar riffs and melodic vocals, and the songs are catchy. Sometimes I hear the 90s in their songs, and sometimes it's more modern.
Published: June 9, 2020

STINKY: Of Lost Things - Album
(M-Theory Audio - Release date: June 12, 2020)
The first song is fast hardcore. After that it's sometimes melodic hardcore, and sometimes a little harder and heavier. In some of these songs it's a little bit of both - like a hard and heavy verse followed by a melodic chorus for example. Gang choirs in the chorus is very usual here. Why they end the whole thing with an acoustic song is a mystery to me though.
STINKY is mainly a melodic hardcore band, and they are influenced by bands like COMEBACK KID, BANE and MILES AWAY. I have as far as I can remember never heard any of those bands, but if they are familiar to you and something that you like, well then you should give this a try. I like it anyway.
Published: June 9, 2020

MADHOUSE: Braindead - Album
(Iron Shield Records - Release date: June 12, 2020)
MADHOUSE was originally founded in 1987 in Hamburg, Germany. They produced the demo tapes "Goin Crazy" (1988) and "Madhouse" (1989) before they split up in 1991.
In the winter of 2014 the members got back together again, and after some beer they decided to reunite the band. A demo, "Pure Metal", was released in 2017, and their first full length album, "Metal Or Die", came out 1 year later. Now their second album is ready to attack the world.
Teutonic heavy metal is what they call this, but there's also a touch of speed and thrash metal, and very much 80s. Pretty good stuff actually, so this can be worth checking out.
Published: June 8, 2020

DEATHING: All Hail The Decay - EP
(Inverse Records)
Digital debut EP from a Finnish death metal band, who took its first steps in 2014. They say that they have never intended to reinvent the wheel of death metal or please everyone. They create their own music, like it or not. The main influences comes from the 80s and 90s, and they are actually doing a cover of the AT THE GATES song "Blinded By Fear". But as they want to be open-minded, they don't lock themselves to just 1 era. So don't think it's that easy.
That doesn't mean that it's advanced though. No, this is actually pretty good stuff.
Published: June 7, 2020

GOMORRA: Divine Judgement - Album
(Noble Demon Records)
First of all, this is not the extreme metal band GOMORRAH. This is a thrash/heavy metal band, who released this debut album a few weeks ago. They deliver fast and groovy riffs with a young man's energy. The music balances between heavy, power and thrash metal. Power, aggression and melodies is their key words. The lineup consist of experienced musicians like Damir Eskic of German thrash metal legends DESTRUCTION, as well as former members of GONOREAS.
Well, I have no problem at all with this band. They are really good at what they do. So maybe you should check them out?
Published: June 7, 2020

HEAR 'N NOW: No Road To Ruin - Single
(Heaven And Hell Records)
This is what they call a "multi-artist COVID coalition", which features Steve Grimmett of GRIM REAPER, Patrick Kennison of Lita Ford, Chris Natalini of BLOOD FEAST, CORNERS OF SANCTUARY, Ed Mischke of Veronica "The V" Freeman and Alex Olivetti of THREATPOINT, among other rock and metal artists.
This is a pretty o.k. heavy metal song, but not much else. It sounds too much like CORNERS OF SANCTUARY. But then the song is written and produced by that band's guitarist, Mich Michaels.
"No Road To Ruin" should be available for free here and there. But you can of course make a donation for something good if you want to.
Published: June 7, 2020

Louise Lemón: Devil - EP
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
Louise Lemon at Liseberg 2019
I never thought that I would say this, but this is too light. I get a feeling that her previous releases was much darker. And it was that darkness that kept me intrested. On this EP she is, unfortunately, just another pop chick. So we can now forget about the "death gospel" label, that they use to call her music. It's still a bit gothic and very emotional though.
With that said, Louise is still better than many other pop artists (who all sounds more or less the same). Just listen to her 2 previous albums for example, which includes lots of dark and emotional songs.
Published: June 6, 2020

GRUSVAEG: Grusvaeg - EP
(Viskningar Och Vrål)
Some kind of jazzy, instrumental 60s/70s progg rock or something like that is what we get from this debut EP. And their songs are actually pretty short, just 1:52-3:36 minutes. They give us 6 tracks here, so it's over pretty fast.
I think of Swedish progg rock (not really progressive rock) from the 1960s/70s, as well as other music from the same time. And this is actually pretty good stuff. Those of you who like vintage/retro music should absolutely give this a try.
Published: June 6, 2020

ELECTRIC BOYS: The Lion's Roar - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: June 5, 2020)
Electric Boys at Holmens Rock
As you might remember, this song has already been released on a 12" vinyl EP in April. That EP was limited to just 300 copies though. Now it will also be released as what they call a radio single, which I suppose means a digital release?
"The Lion's Roar" is actually a cover of FIRST AID KIT, and as I said when I reviewed the 12", it's very different from what ELECTRIC BOYS use to do. And I didn't really like what I heard then, but now it sounds a little better for some reason.
Published: June 5, 2020

FROST*: Others - EP
(InsideOutMusic - Release date: June 5, 2020)
What kind of zynth weirdos is this then? Definitely not my bag of potatoes. It's probably supposed to be progressive rock, but I hear lots of pop music, electro and very much zynths and keyboards.
They call this a EP, but fact is that it's 32 minutes long. And in the old days that was enough to call it a long player (album). It consist of 6 tracks that was written at the time of the "Falling Satellites" album in 2016. Initially the idea was that "Falling Satellites" would be a double album. But they decided to go with a single album instead, and these 6 songs were left half completed.
But now they have finished these songs, if that makes anybody happier. And they are also putting the finishing touches on a completely new studio album, tentatively scheduled for release in September.
Published: June 5, 2020

GRUMPYNATORS: Still Alive - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: June 5, 2020)
"Still Alive" is the second single and the title track of their third album, which will be released in August. This song has already been played live in December 2019 and January 2020. It's a feel-good uptempo song that salutes life (among other things).
Their music is some kind of rock that I think that people who like D-A-D or SATOR could like. In other words, not so bad.
Published: June 5, 2020

MUSTASUO: Katharsis - Album
(Off Records - Release date: June 5, 2020)
Blackened hardcore/crust from Finland, and it could have been really good as I really like hardcore/punk, crust etc. But for some reason it sounds like these guys just play fast and hard to be as cool as possible. It's not totally useless, they have a few good moments here and there, but there's lots of better bands in this genre.
This trio formed in Oulu (northern Finland) in 2015. They have previously released a digital debut, "7", and a split 7" EP with the death/grind band NAPALM TED.
Published: June 5, 2020

WITCHES: The Fates - Album
(Mighty Spell Records - Release date: June 5, 2020)
Fast, raw and aggressive. Very good when you are angry at all and nothing. This will kick your arse all the way straight to hell.
It looks like WITCHES has been playing thrash metal since 1986, but has got more and more violent for each year. They are also said to be the first French band with female guttural vocals. But nowadays it's more than just thrash metal involved in their music. We get all kinds of extreme metal (but most of all death metal), as well as lots of blast beats.
Yes, it's brutal and extreme music, but it's good. And these 9 tracks are over in less than half an hour.
Published: June 4, 2020

RE-ARMED: Aeternum Ignis - Album
(Black Lion Records - Release date: June 5, 2020)
RE-ARMED is a melodic death metal band from Kerava, Finland, who mix their music with thrash metal and symphonic influences, which gives them a modern touch.
They started their adventures in 2001. At that time their main influence was the "Gothenburg sound", but they have since then developed their sound. A first album, "Worldwide Hypnotize", was released in January 2012. And a lot has happened since then.
"Aeternum Ignis" is their 4th album, which includes more melodies, symphonic elements and more clean vocals. And this is a album that could be worth checking out, because this is good stuff. And if we are going to have a bigger vision, then I would say that this could be the album who unite the fans of melodic death metal with those who like symphonic metal. But that is just a wild guess of course.
Published: June 4, 2020

CALIGULA'S HORSE: Rise Radiant - Album
CALIGULA'S HORSE comes from Brisbane, Australia and play progressive metal. Their music spanning influences as diverse as KING CRIMSON, Steely Dan, OPETH and Jeff Buckley. This is complicated and ambitious music for those who want some extra ingredients to be satisfied, and who doesn't want to take the easiest way.
They formed the band in 2011, and released their debut "Moments From Ephemeral City" the same year. "Rise Radiant" is their fifth album, which is said to be "their most focussed and potent artistic statement yet". And that is probably true (it sounds like that anyway).
Published: June 3, 2020

So, this is the third and last split 7" from Finnish hardcore/punks BOB MALMSTRÖM, who celebrate their 10-year anniversary. Their partners this time is the Finnish crust/black/death metal band DISPYT. Even though both bands are from Finland, they sing in Swedish. And there's no doubt that BOB MALMSTRÖM is the best band on this split, but DISPYT are at least a little bit better here than they were on their own 7" EP, "Livsglädje". And I like their heavy sound here too, so maybe they can do something really good some day?
Not much else to say..
Published: June 3, 2020

Hannah Aldridge: Howlin' Bones - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
Hannah Aldridge is a woman from the darkest American South, who fight against demons from her passed life, which was filled with substance abuse, crashing relationships and scars from being flogging by the Bible Belt. It's darkness and horror, depression and hopelessness. Heavy stuff.
This song is a first taste of her upcoming live album, "Live in Black and White", which is said to be a raw and dirty recording. Her music is called dark country and Southern gothic. And as I said earlier, this is dark and heavy. So even if it's not eaxctly rock music, I guess some of you will enjoy it anyway.
Published: June 2, 2020

REACH: The Law - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
Now I'm on really thin ice here, but the beginning of this song actually reminds me of the 80s pop band EURYTHMICS. Then they start to rock, but that doesn't help much. Sure, the chorus is very catchy, and could have been something great. But you need a better verse, and have to start rocking at once instead of beginning with some silly pop.
This seems to be a common problem with this band, because it was exactly the same thing with their last single, "Higher Ground", which I reviewed in April. A weak pop verse and a strong rock chorus.
A new album from this Swedish trio will be released in the fall/autumn.
Published: June 2, 2020

Tony Montana: Tombstone Shuffle - Album reissue
(Deadline Music)
Tony Montana is an American bassist, guitarist and vocalist who has played with GREAT WHITE, JACK RUSSELL'S GREAT WHITE, Slash, MONSTER CIRCUS, ANNA'S BROTHER and 2200, among others. "Tombstone Shuffle" is a reissue of his sole solo album, which was originally released 20 years ago. This "anniversary edition" has been digitally remastered, and also includes the bonus tracks from the French and Japanese releases of the album.
But anyway.. The music that we get from this man could be described as catchy hard rock in the old school, even though there's a few heavier numbers too. Most of these 12 songs are good stuff that fans of 70s and 80s hard rock should like.
Published: June 2, 2020

DEATH COURIER: Necrotic Verses - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: June 5, 2020)
Pretty fast death metal from these Greeks, but I like what I hear, because they are also good and not just fast because they want to be the fastest band in the world. And to be more exact, it's not pedal to the metal all the time.
DEATH COURIER is actually one of the earliest death metal bands from the Greek scene. They released a few demos in the late 80s, and put out an album and a EP in the early 90s. Now I don't know if they have been around all the time since then. But more than 3 decades later they prove us all that they still can deliver a damned good album, that is full of energy and hunger.
You have to check this out man!
Published: June 1, 2020

SLAP GURU: Umashi's Odyssey - Album
(Sixteentimes Music - Release date: around June 1, 2020)
What we have here is a 70s psych/hard rock band, and this is their third album. And this is a concept album based on the novel (with the same title) written by Alberto Martin Valmorisco. Every song is a chapter of the story, and these songs are full of different influences. So it's not necessarily just psych and hard rock here. I really like a action rocker like "Erkil" for example.
SLAP GURU started to play together in February 2015. Within 3 months they hit the stage for the first time, and then entered the studio to record their first record, which came out in 2016 (vinyl LP in January 2017).
As I said earlier, there's many different influences here. Atmospheric, psychedelic pieces share the space with 60s/70s hard rockers and psychedelic rock. And this is really not bad. They have many good songs among these 10 tracks.
Published: May 31, 2020

MERIDIAN: Hungry For A Game - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: May 29, 2020)
This sounds like the kind of soft and melodic hard rock that I liked when I was a kid in the 80s. So this is absolutely not any bad stuff. I guess I have discovered a new interesting band, becuase this song is excellent.
But now "Hungry For A Game" is actually a cover by the Dansih 80s band SKAGARACK (which I have never heard, just heard of), and it's the first of 6 singles from a upcoming EP of covers, titled "Taking Cover", which will be released later this year.
I look forward to hear some more interesting covers by this band.
May 29, 2020

IRON ANGEL: Sands of Time - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: May 29, 2020)
IRON ANGEL is a German speed/power metal band. It's 2 years since their latest album, "Hellbound", came out. So I guess they thought it was time for a new single now. And there is a new album, "Emerald Eyes", that will be released in October, and that's where this song comes from.
This is really good stuff! If they have more songs like this, then I really look forward to hear that new album. ..and I don't think I have to write much more than that.
Published: May 29, 2020

IMPALEMENT: The Impalement - Album
(Self released - Distributed by Season of Mist and Rising Nemesis Records)
Fast and intense, but yet melodic. It's mainly the drummer who whip his kit like a machine gun (especially in the first song), while the guitars stand for the melodic parts. So in the end the sum of it all is melodic black/death metal.
Now it's not full speed ahead all the time, they have some heavier songs too, so it's a good variation here. And this is a really good album that they have made. No doubt about that. How this band can be unsigned is a mystery. But with an album like this, I'm pretty sure that it won't take that long before they get signed.
"The Impalement" is the debut from this Swizz band. IMPALEMENT is a guy named Beliath and his musical vision. He get help from a drummer called Torturer (BETHLEHEM, ex-BELPHEGOR). There's also some guests, like Helmuth Lehner (BELPHEGOR) and Sarah Jezebel Deva (ex-CRADLE OF FILTH).
Published: May 28, 2020

STARGAZERY: Constellation - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: May 29, 2020)
Finnish melodic metal band STARGAZERY released their debut album, "Eye On The Sky", in 2011, and another album, "Stars Aligned", in 2015. Now their third album is finally ready to be released. And when I say finally, then I really mean it, because this is a damned good band.
Their style might not have changed that much through the years. It's still bombastic, keyboard-driven melodic metal and really strong songs. And the main influences are still RAINBOW and Tony Martin-era BLACK SABBATH. But it's so fantastic that details like that doesn't matter at all. I mean, why change something that really works?
Published: May 27, 2020

DARK ARENA: Alien Factor - Album reissue
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: May 29, 2020)
"Alien Factor" is the first release from DARK ARENA, which was originally released in 2006. Their music is US metal, with some prog and thrash elements. It's said to be something for followers of FATES WARNING and LEVIATHAN.
The band was built around guitarist Paul Konjicija (also ANTITHESIS), who unfortunately left us last year. At the time when this album was recorded, the band also featured Chris Thomas on bass, Emery Ceo on drums, singer Juan Ricardo (also RITUAL, SUNLESS SKY, WRETCH) and Rhiannon Wisniewski on keyboards. But there's also 2 special guests: Dale Robertson on second guitar, and Michael Siefert on organ.
After this album they released 2 more albums - "Flowing Back" (2009) and "Ode to the Ancients" (2012) - as well as the compilation "Non Human Contact" (2013).
Published: May 27, 2020

ANCILLOTTI: Hell On Earth - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: May 29, 2020)
Italian heavy metal band ANCILLOTTI released their first EP, "Down This Road Together", in 2012, and their first full length, "The Chain Goes On", in 2014. Another album, "Strike Back", was released in 2016. But since then it has been quiet when it comes to records. Until now..
On "Hell On Earth" they deliver what they always have done, classic heavy metal. It's powerful, catchy and riff-based. This will probably make you think of legends like ACCEPT, JUDAS PRIEST and sometimes even MOTÖRHEAD for example. Absolutely worth checking out.
Published: May 27, 2020

ANCIENT CURSE: The New Prophecy - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: May 29, 2020)
This German band formed in 1985, and released several demos between 1987-1996. After that they released 2 albums in 1997 and 1998, and then another demo in 1999 before it was goodnight. But now they are back again.
Now you might think that this is another typical 80s heavy metal band, but they're not. This is more like progressive power metal, with a touch of speed and thrash metal in some of the songs. They have somehow found their own sound, and it's actually not so bad at all. This is something that you should give a chance.
Published: May 27, 2020

SLEAFORD MODS: All That Glue - Album
(Rough Trade)
I expected this to be punk rock, but instead I got some kind of electro punk, or whatever I should call this. Sometimes it almost sounds like hip hop actually. It sounds a bit weird, and very alterantive. You must actually hear this to understand their sound, because I don't have a clue what I should compare them with. It's very British though. But I guess that doesn't say much either.
For being so monotonous as they are, there's musical variation at least. But you don't need to hear more than 2-3 songs before you have heard all you need with this band. And then they have included as much as 22 tracks here. I get tired of this pretty fast. They have a few good songs though, but hardly 22.
SLEAFORD MODS is a duo with Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn. They blend anger, tenderness and humour. "All That Glue" is a career-spanning retrospective of what they have done so far.
Published: May 26, 2020

RRRAGS: High Protein - Album
(Lay Bare Recordings - Release date: May 29, 2020)
These 3 guys joined forces in September 2017, and made their live debut at the Roadburn festival in 2018. "High Protein" is their second album, which is a stew of heavy 70s, blues and psychedelic rock, based on bands like GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, BUDGIE and BLUE CHEER. It's simply heavy and raw rock like it was meant to be.
But then we have a song like "Demons Dancing", that sounds like something softer with late The HELLACOPTERS or IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC - Rock n roll with soul like Nicke Andersson (from those 2 bands etc) use to do it. And in the last song, "Window", it's psychedelic and slow. So they also have a softer side, and are not full of energy all the time.
Published: May 26, 2020

The O'REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS: Dogs On The Leash - Album
(Metalville - Release date: May 29, 2020)
This is a band who play Irish folk/punk rock. And their mission is to take you away from your boring daily life and have a good time. They do this with driving folk music, guitars and a passion that you just can't say no to. Traditional Irish folk melodies are mixed with punk rock energy, and they use both traditional acoustic instruments as well as typical rock instruments like electric guitar, bass and drums.
The O'REILLYS AND THE PADDYHATS are as much as 7 members. "Dogs On The Leash" is their 4th album, and you should absolutely check it out in these hard times, because this is good for you.
Published: May 26, 2020

LEFTOVER BULLETS: Waisted Silence - Single
(Sold Out Music)
O.k., this is the second single from the second album, "Tell Mama We're Doing OK", which was released in late April.
LEFTOVER BULLETS is a hard rock band from Thessaloniki, Greece. They have been rocking since 2013, and are mainly inspired by the music and the attitude from 1985-1995.
This is a totally o.k. song, but I actually don't know what else I should say about it. But give it a chance, you might actually like it.
Published: May 26, 2020

Jordan Jones: Text You Back - Single
(Beluga Records)
This song was originally released as a bonus track on the CD version of Jordan Jones debut album, which was released last year. And this song is obviously more of the same thing that we got on the album. A short (1:33 min.) power pop song, that is very catchy and melodic. And this is more or less a hit! Or, it should be anyway.
Jordan is currently working on material for the follow up of his debut album, which will be recorded once the Covid-19 virus has died out (whenever that will happen).
Published: May 26, 2020

NO TREND: Too Many Humans/Teen Love - Box Set
(Drag City - Release date: May 29, 2020)
Here's a band who call their music anti-punk, as they saw themselves as an alternative to the hardcore sXe bands from Washington, DC in the early 80s. NO TREND was from Ashton, Maryland, and were cynical, surreal, and eager to call attention to the hypocrisy of both Middle American norms and supposedly free-thinking subcultures, the band mercilessly baited its audience, dressed in atrociously kitschy clothing, and antagonized fans and foes with grinding dirges and contemptuous, tragicomic lyrics. Some of their song titles are: "Kiss Ass to Your Peer Group", "Fashion Tips for the 80s", "Mindless Little Insects", "Mass Sterilization Caused by Venereal Disease" and so on. They often repeat the same words over and over again like a mantra. And fact is that there isn's much among all these tracks that is really good. But 2 of the few good songs are "Reality Breakdown" and "Do as You're Told".
I guess the best way to decsribe this band is to call their music alternative punk. Which doesn't say that much. But they actually have their own little sound. So I guess that this is for those of you who want something different.
This compilation covers NO TREND's early records: the first LP, "Too Many Humans", and 2 versions of the "Teen Love" EP. The attendant CDs also tack on the group's first demo tape and a live performance from the period, 1983-84.
A problem with a collection like this, which features as much as 43 tracks, is that you get some of the songs 2-4 times in different versions. So I guess that this is just for the die hard fans (if there is any).
Published: May 25, 2020

5iVE YEARS GONE: Rock N' Roll Rebirth - Album
(Self released digitally)
This Italian band is pretty fresh, as they formed in 2019. Now their first full length is already here, so they have obviously not been lazy. Their music is melodic and catchy guitar-driven rock, and I guess it's not so bad as they have a few good ones here. But I think that a EP would have been enough to begin with.
What should I compare them with then? Well, now I can't remember the names of those bands, so that's not easy. But I think of a few pretty modern bands anyway (which doesn't have to mean modern rock). Give it a try and listen for yourself.
Published: May 24, 2020

ELECTRIC FEAT: Electric Feat - LP
(Inner Ear)
Debut album from a Greek band, who play psych/heavy rock with 70s swing and proto-doom vibes. They mention ALICE COOPER, BLACK SABBATH, The DOORS, JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE, PENTAGRAM and CREAM to describe their sound. And this is really good stuff and interesting music. I really like this album!
They start with a couple of catchy and energetic proto-metal songs. A really good beginning of the album. After that they slow down a little, and it becomes more like psych/doom rock instead. Still good though. Then they continue with some heavy/hard rockers that are good too. Towards the end it's more like psych rock and proto-doom.
Most of these songs have their psychedelic elements, and sounds like they would have been recorded in the late 60s or early 70s.
Published: May 24, 2020

CHIPPER: Self Patrón - Album
(Self released?)
CHIPPER is a heavy rock band from Thessaloniki, Greece, who formed in 2017. Their musical influences stand somewhere between hard rock, heavy rock and stoner with some rock n roll attitude, according to themselves. And they are of course right about that.
This is their debut album, where they gives us 8 tracks. And I have been listening several times now without writing anything at all about it. Not really sure why though, because now that I listen once again, it's not so bad. I think of a band like TRANSPORT LEAGUE for example.
I'm pretty sure that fans of heavy rock and stoner rock will like this band. So give them a try.
Published: May 24, 2020

SERPENT OMEGA: Orog Nuur - Single
(Icons Creating Evil Art)
SERPENT OMEGA is a Swedish band who blend sludge, doom, metal and crust to their own little brew. Their first self titled album came out in 2013, and sold out within a few months. 7 years later they are ready to release their second album, simply titled "II", which will be out in September. And this song, "Orog Nuur", is a first taste of that.
Well, this is not so bad. It's dark and heavy, and they seems to have their own sound somehow, which includes many different elements.
New drummer in the band is no other than Peter Stjärnvind (ENTOMBED, NIFELHEIM, MERCILESS, UNANIMATED, MURDER SQUAD, VOJD etc etc). In this band he call himself Fast Feet Pete.
Published: May 23, 2020

ASHES OF LIFE: Seasons Within - Album
(Abismo Humano)
They start with a slow and heavy piece that is 10:47 minutes long. The other 5 tracks have more normal length - 4-7:39 minutes - but are just as slow and heavy as the first song. I guess we can call it doom metal with harsh vocals and growl. But there is also some clean vocals here, and some melancholy parts too. Long instrumental parts is nothing unusual when it comes to this band's music. I guess it's pretty o.k., but not much else.
Doom metal might be the main ingredient here, but you can also hear elements of post-rock, progressive metal, progressive rock and even shoegaze (I still havn',t figured out what that really is) amongst other influences.
ASHES OF LIFE started around 2010, and they are from Lisbon, Portugal. But even though they have existed for 10 years already, this seems to be their full length debut. Tiago Silva (clean vocals, guitars, bass, programming) seems to be the leader who has written all the music. Extreme vocals is done by Stefan Nordström (SOLILOQUIUM, DESOLATOR), and guitars are played by Luís Pinto. There's also some additional musicians on bass, drums, guitars, piano and keyboards.
Published: May 23, 2020

Alice Cooper: Don't Give Up - Single
Alice with his doll somewhere in Sweden
New single from the legendary shock rocker Alice Cooper. And with this song he wants us to instill a little hope and courage, after all misery that Covid-19 has caused. He urges us to not give up, as there's an end even to a pandemic like this (well, let's hope that anyway, but as long as people continue to eat meat, there will be more pandemics, as far as I can understand).
As a song this is not among his best works in a very long career. It's not total crap, but hardly as strong as his old classics (but it would on the other hand surprise me a lot if he ever would do something that great again). This song is a little softer and more thoughtful, and not like a regular Alice Cooper song. It's not a ballad though.
This single has so far just been released on digital services, but will also be released as a 7" vinyl picture disc on August 14. A brand new studio album will be released in the fall/autumn.
Published: May 22, 2020

CLIFFORD: All makt åt Tegnell - Single
(Despotz Records)
The label that gave you the metal version of Greta Thunberg's United Nations speech, "How Dare You", now get the latest metal tribute to another Swedish personality, the state epidemiologist of Sweden, Mr. Anders Tegnell (not sure how well-known he is outside of Sweden though). I'm not really sure if I should take this seriously or not, but it seems like it has got lots of attention here in Sweden anyway (which I have totally missed). Their succees includes over 15.000 views on YouTube in a few days, getting airplay and discussed on Sweden's largest morning show on national public radio "P3 Morgonpasset", and getting press coverage from Swedish music magazine GAFFA.
The guys behind CLIFFORD are 2 brothers, and it didn't take that long before Swedish record label Despotz Records signed them. If they are serious and will do more songs are completely unknown to me, but this song is pretty o.k. death/black metal anyway. Not much else though.
Published: May 22, 2020

HULKOFF: Varjagen - Single
(Faravid Recordings)
Mr Hulkoff with Raubtier in GBG
Ha, ha, ha! Very funny song. First that crazy part in the beginning, and then the Hulk's quirky voice (at least the Swedish version as he sounds like he would be Finnish/Swedish, but the English version is better). It's not bad though, but not really a masterpiece either. I guess we can label this as some kind of folk metal, even though it's a pretty fast song.
"Varjagen" is the second single from RAUBTIER frontman Pär Hulkoff's second solo album "Pansarfolk", which will be released in the fall/autumn. The album will be released in 2 versions: Swedish (Svitjod Edition) and English (Vinland Edition).
Published: May 22, 2020

VHÄLDEMAR: Hell Is On Fire - Single
(Fighter Records)
"Hell Is On Fire" is Spanish heavy metal band VHÄLDEMAR's first single of their 6th album, "Straight To Hell", that will be released in early October. You can find this song on digital platforms like Spotify, YouTube etc.
This track is a little heavier mid-tempo song, but yet very catchy. I think of the more melodic 80s stuff with heros like ACCEPT and JUDAS PRIEST for example. A really good song anyway, so you should absolutely give it a try.
Published: May 22, 2020

WITHERING SURFACE: Meet Your Maker - Single
(Mighty Music)
I don't really get why there has to be 20-30 seconds of silence before the song starts. Just start to rock at once, and show us how it's supposed to be done. Because when the song finally start, it's absolutely not bad at all.
Melodic death metal is what we get from this Danish band, and the song is the title track of their upcoming come back album, that will be released next month. This is a little heavier song, but there is faster songs too on the album.
This is the third single from the album. It's 6 and a half minutes long, and is described as epic and proggy, as well as being something for both fans of DARK TRANQUILLITY and DREAM THEATRE.
Published: May 22, 2020

SOLAR FLARE: Solar Flare - Album
(Release date: May 23, 2020)
SOLAR FLARE comes from Ohio, and play 80s power metal influenced by both European and American bands. It seems like they have existed for 6 years already, but this is their debut album as far as I can understand.
Finally I suppose as this is hardly any dog shit. Some of the bands these songs makes me think of are HELLOWEEN (around the "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" era) and JUDAS PRIEST in the 80s. And the singer, Ethan Jackson, seems to compete with legends like Geoff Tate (ex-QUEENSRŸCHE) and Bruce Dickinson (IRON MAIDEN). He shows a great width of the vocals.
This is a band that every true fan of metal should check out.
Published: May 21, 2020

SOULS OF TIDE: Black Magic - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: May 22, 2020)
I wasn't really sure what to think about this Norwegian band when I heard the first single, "Through The Fire". But now that I have heard the whole album, all pieces fall into place, and suddenly everything is more logically. SOULS OF TIDE walk around in the 70s rock shoes, and they do it really good. As a matter of fact, they reminds me of a Swedish band (that I forgot the name of) who released a damned good album a few years ago, and then they just dissapeared. But while I wait for that band to come back, SOULS OF TIDE is a damned good substitute.
Fans of 70s hard rock like DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH and a rock band like The DOORS should check this out. They might not sound exactly like them, but those bands are among their influences.
Published: May 20, 2020

MAD HATTER: Pieces of Reality - Album
(Art Gates Records - Release date: May 22, 2020)
This reminds me of HELLOWEEN among others. In other words damned good! But why in the whole wide world do they suddenly start to play a English version of Sweden's national anthem in "Awake"? Very stupid! And most of all very silly. But that's all I have to complain about. This is definitely worth checking out.
Swedish power metal band MAD HATTER was founded by Petter Hjerpe and Alfred Fridhagen (both from MORNING DWELL) in 2017. A self titled debut album was released in 2018, and now their second masterpiece is here (well, in a few days anyway).
"Pieces of Reality" is full of great melodies and passion for metal. This is powerful and melodic at the same time, and most of these songs are really strong.
Published: May 19, 2020

HENRY KANE: Age of the Idiot - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: May 22, 2020)
19 tracks! Why? But o.k., most of all these songs are no longer than approximately 1-2 minutes, and I guess that's an o.k. excuse.
HENRY KANE is a 1-man band with Jonny Pettersson (HEADS FOR THE DEAD, WOMBBATH, NATTRAVNEN, PALE KING) on everything, even though there's some guest vocals from Liam Hughes (SOOTHSAYER) on "Entrenched in Nihilism". The songs are both in Swedish and English, and the music is a crossbreeding of grindcore, crust punk and death metal.
Even though it's brutal music, it's a varied album. And thanks for that. 19 tracks of the same thing would have been way too extreme for me. Then he end the whole thing with a brilliant cover of Swedish punk legends ASTA KASK's old classic "Psykopaten" - Best song on the whole album!
Published: May 18, 2020

HARTMANN: 3 - Album reissue
(Pride & Joy Music/Sonic 11)
HARTMANN released "15 Pearls And Gems" in April to celebrate their 15-year anniversary. But they also re-released this album on CD the same month. "3" was originally released in 2009, and features a guest apperance from Tobias Sammet (AVANTASIA, EDGUY) on 1 of the songs.
In singer/guitarist Oliver Hartmann's weaker moments he sounds like Swedish pop singer Tommy Nilsson, and not as Tommy sang in EASY ACTION then. This is as a matter of fact a very soft record in general, so I would call the music melodic hard rock. But it's not total crap because of that. And if you like any of the other albums they have made, then you will most likely like this too.
Published: May 17, 2020

FROM HELL: Rats & Ravens - Album
(Scourge Records - Release date: May 22, 2020)
FROM HELL is a hard heavy/thrash metal band from California with a horror theme. They formed in 2010, and have previously released an album, "Ascent From Hell", in 2014. The idea is that each record will have its own little horror story.
When I listen to "Rats & Ravens", I think that the singer is somewhere between Blackie Lawless (W.A.S.P.) and Dee Snider (TWISTED SISTER). But I honestly don't really know what I should say about the music, so I guess I'm not so impressed. I have heard a lot worse in my life though, so I guess it's not totally useless after all. It seems like the story is more important than good songs, because there's no hit potential or any anthems here at all.
Published: May 17, 2020

FOGHAT: Family Joules - Album reissue
(Metalville Records - Release date: May 22, 2020)
This sounds like something that one of my uncle's could have been listening to when I was a kid. Some kind of bluesy boogie rock that sometimes reminds me of ZZ TOP.
"Family Joules" is FOGHAT's 14th studio album, which was originally released in 2003. This album marked a new beginning in the band's history, as it was the first record with singer/guitarist Charlie Huhn (Ted Nugent, VICTORY, Gary Moore) and guitarist Bryan Bassett (WILD CHERRY, MOLLY HATCHET).
Well, they have some good stuff here, no doubt about that. Everything might not be so great, but most of these 13 tracks get approved.
Published: May 17, 2020

BIEST: Stirb Oder Friss - Album
(Metalville - Release date: May 22, 2020)
This is the debut album from this Hamburg-based band, who sing all their songs in German. Their sound is diverse, with influences from rock, hard rock and metal. The guitars are hard and heavy, the vocals female. And with this album they prove that they have good songs that those who understand German can sing along to (in some cases you don't even have to understand to be able to sing along). This is simply a really good hard rock album with its own big sound.
BIEST formed in 2015, and are said to deliver an energetic live show. Their first EP, "Alphatier", was released in 2016.
Published: May 17, 2020

SOULS OF TIDE: Black Magic - Single
(Mighty Music)
Norwegian hard rockers SOULS OF TIDE release the third single from their new album, "Black Magic", which will be released on May 22. And this is something for those of you who like the 70s sound, and classic acts like DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH and The DOORS.
This song is a very good representative for the album, so check this out while you wait. Not much else to say..
Published: May 16, 2020

NOTÖRIOUS: Glamorized - Album
(Sliptrick Records)
Well, these sleaze/glam/hard rockers have lots of great anthems here. But they are not from L.A. as it might sound, but from Norway. That doesn't really matter though, because Norwegians know how to party too. And on this album they show us that they also can make a good soundtrack to the party. This album have all the right ingredients for a succeesfull evening: catchy riffs, high pitched vocals, screaming guitar solos and choruses that makes you wanna sing along. This album boils of energy!
Among their influences are classic 80s hard rock like MÖTLEY CRÜE, VAN HALEN, Yngwie J. Malmsteen's RISING FORCE, EUROPE, SKID ROW, POISON etc.
Don't miss the party, check this out at once!
Published: May 16, 2020

HUNGRY DAZE: Back To My Future - Album
(Diamonds Prod.)
This Italian band was formed by vocalist Roby Bruccoleri (ex-PROJECTO) and guitarist Francesco "Yackson" Russo (ex-SHADOWS OF STEEL). The line-up on this debut album is completed by Roberto Tiranti on bass and backing vocals (LABYRINTH, WONDERWORLD, ex-VANEXA) and Marco Biggi on drums.
This is absolutely not bad for being a debut album, but now they have some experience from other bands, so they are hardly new musicians. The music they play here is hard rock/heavy metal with melody, and these songs are full of potential. You should check this out.
Any favorites then? Well, that's hard, but a song like "Rock Paradise" have a really good chorus anyway. And a cover of an old SAXON classic, in this case "Motorcycle Man", always gives you some extra credit.
Published: May 16, 2020

TOLEDO STEEL: The First Strike Of Steel (The Early Years Anthology) - Album
(Dissonance Productions - Release date: May 15, 2020)
When it says "The Early Years" it might sound like another veteran band. But this band is actually not that old yet.
TOLEDO STEEL is a British heavy metal band, who formed in 2011 and released their 2 first EPs in 2013 and 2015. And that's what we get on this album. In May 2018 they released their debut album, "No Quarter", and are currently working on their second album, which should be out later this year.
Their own description of the sound is "their own style of 80s influenced high energy heavy metal". And well, that is pretty correct. But I'm not so sure about the "their own style of" part, because to me this sounds just like a band from the 80s. But it's really good stuff, and you should check them out, so no problem.
Published: May 15, 2020

TOKYO BLADE: Dark Revolution - Album
(Dissonance Productions - Release date: May 15, 2020)
TOKYO BLADE are one of many New Wave Of British Heavy Metal legends. This is their 9th studio album, which the guitarist Andy Boulton think is "possibly the most aggressive Blade album to date". Well, it's a really good heavy metal album anyway. No doubt about that. If you are looking for powerful and great songs, then this is an album for you.
The band formed in Wiltshire in the early 80s, and were initially known as KILLER. But after a 5-track demo tape with that name, they changed it to GENGHIS KHAN and released a 4-track twin-disc single. But it's obviously hard to get a unique name of the band, so yes, they had to change it once again. And this is when they finally became TOKYO BLADE. Their debut LP was released in the end of 1983, but after 3 albums and lots of touring, the group disbanded. Founder and guitarist Andy Boulton continued though, and released 2 more albums before being forced to quit due to lack of support from the record company. But in 2008 they reunited, and has released a few more albums since then.
Published: May 15, 2020

BLENDED BREW: Don't Say No - Single
(Mighty Music)
So, they decided to release the last song, the ballad of the album, as a single then? Well, it's a really good song, so why not? But as I said in my review of the album, this song is totally different from the rest of the songs. They usually play hard rock, but here it's soft and even strings and piano, and no guitars or drums at all. You should absolutely check this out though.
Published: May 14, 2020

HIDDEN PHASE: Sell Your World - Single
(Self released?)
HIDDEN PHASE is an atmospheric and alternative rock band from France. Their album "The Deviant Place Theory" was released in January this year, and that's where this little song comes from, which they sent to me for review.
Well, "Sell Your World" is the kind of song that is hard to get a hold of. Not because it's bad, but it's soft and melancholy, not really a hit song. But their description that it's atmospheric and alternative is absolutely correct.
I don't really know what else I should say about this..
Published: May 14, 2020

DRÅPSNATT: Skelepht - Album reissue
(Nordvis - Release date: May 22, 2020)
This is a re-release of Swedish black metal band DRÅPSNATT's third and last album, originally released in 2012. It's described as "atmosphere driven extreme metal with majestic melodies, rocking riffs and elements of excellent clean vocals". They are devoted to the Northern nature, and it's dark and sorrowful with acoustic passages, supported by clean vocals and piano. This album is said to be something for fans of old BORKNAGAR, ARCTURUS and TARTAROS.
It might not be the worst crap that I have heard, but it doesn't give me that much either.
DRÅPSNATT was started in 2005 by 2 guys who call themselves Vinterfader and Narstrand. They had been working together in other various small projects with creative freedom as the main guideline, and with this band they continued with that.
Published: May 13, 2020

Louise Patricia Crane: Deep Blue - Album
(Peculiar Doll Records - Release date: May 15, 2020)
This is the solo debut from Louise Patricia Crane, where we get some kind of dreamy alternative rock with a psychedelic touch, and it's also a little progressive sometimes. It's often on the border to pop actually, but not bad. I find it hard to find anything to compare her music with though. But for some people that's something good.
This project began when Louise started to work with Stephen Carey, who she had first met when singing with The EDEN HOUSE. She actually became so thrilled by what they came up with together that she relocated from her native Belfast to rural Cambridgeshire to work on the record. The album also features guest appreances from JETHRO TULL's Ian Anderson, Jakko Jakszyk of KING CRIMSON and PENTANGLE bass player/Kate Bush collaborator Danny Thompson, and many more.
I don't know, but I would guess that this could be something for those who need to relax, and have nothing against dreamy pop melodies. But those of you who like psych rock and/or progressive rock should also give this a try.
Published: May 12, 2020

FAKE NAMES: Fake Names - Album
(Epitaph Records)
As you might know already, FAKE NAMES is the new "supergroup" with Brian Baker (MINOR THREAT, DAG NASTY, BAD RELIGION), Michael Hampton (S.O.A., EMBRACE, ONE LAST WISH), Dennis Lyxzén (REFUSED, INTERNATIONAL NOISE CONSPIRACY, INVSN) and Johnny Temple (GIRLS AGAINST BOYS, SOULSIDE). The band first came to form in early 2016 when Brian and Michael met up at Hampton's Brooklyn home to play music together, with no intentions beyond possibly writing a song or 2. Friends since first grade, the 2 guitarists ended up writing a handful of songs that day, and then closed out the session with a spontaneous decision to start a band. When it came to finding a bassist, Baker and Hampton looked to Johnny Temple, a fellow classmate from their elementary school. Later that year at Chicago's Riot Fest, both Baker and Temple were struck with the sudden inspiration to recruit REFUSED frontman Dennis Lyxzén as their singer.
Together they create catchy punk rock and powerpop. This is their debut album, where they fire off 10 tracks in just under 28 minutes. And this is absolutely not bad at all. I really recomend you to check this out.
Published: May 12, 2020

HORISONT: Sudden Death - Album
(Century Media - Release date: May 15, 2020)
Horisont in Goteborg
Oh, wasen't this a hard rock band last time I heard them? Because now it sounds more like American 70s rock n roll, which is also cool of course. These songs makes me think of late The HELLACOPTERS and IMPERIAL STATE ELECTRIC for example, while the Swedish song "Gråa Dagar" sounds like Swedish pop artist Ted Gärdestad (r.i.p).
Swedish band HORISONT formed in 2006, and this is their 6th album. For each album they have become more epic, complex and diverse. This time it's stadium rock with twin-guitars and piano/zynths. It's often very catchy and full of energy without being action rock.
Yes, this is not bad at all. I think it's actually very good. Even brilliant!
Published: May 11, 2020

ASGARD: Ragnarøkkr - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: May 15, 2020)
With that name and that title, I thought it would be some kind of viking/folk metal band. But this is actually a progressive heavy metal band from Italy, even though there's some medieval parts here and there as well. And the lyrics are full of myths, shamans and rituals.
The band was founded back in 1986 already, and released 4 albums in the 90s and 1 in 2000. After 20 years they thought it was time for another album, "Ragnarøkkr", which was produced by Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN, ex-HELLOWEEN).
Well, they have their own sound anyway, that is said to fit fans of PINK FLOYD, early GENESIS, JETHRO TULL and RUSH. Not something that I use to listen to, but I have heard them at least, and they have their bright moments, just like ASGARD also have. It's never much more than that though, and I can't hear any masterpiece among these 11 tracks.
Published: May 10, 2020

SAPPHIRE EYES: Magic Moments - Album
(Pride & Joy Music - Release date: May 15, 2020)
SAPPHIRE EYES was started in 2011 when Niclas Olsson (ALYSON AVENUE, SECOND HEAT) decided to make a record with friends he had met in the music business. The first, self titled, album was more of a project than a band, with various musicians and singers involved.
After that he thought that it could be fun to make it into a band with regular members instead. The band is based in Sweden, but the vocalist Kimmo Blom (not a relative to me) (URBAN TALE, LEVERAGE) is from Finland.
"Magic Moments" is their third album, and it gives us a big doze of melodic rock/AOR. It's soft but catchy, and this is absolutely not bad, even though I have heard the exact same thing about a thousand times before.
Published: May 10, 2020

(Mighty Music)
JUNKYARD DRIVE are a rock n roll band from Roskilde, Denmark. They have been a band since 2014, and released 2 albums. They also brag about more than 2 million streams.
This new single is a softer piece, or "more serious, dark and melancholic" as the press release says. "Mama" is a tragic story about a young man dealing with his sorrow and anger after the loss of his mother.
Usually it's rock n roll with influences from LED ZEPPELIN, GUNS N' ROSES, RIVAL SONS and GRETA VAN FLEET. But this song is o.k. too.
Published: May 9, 2020

(Metalville - Release date: May 15, 2020)
The sound of the German band GRAND MASSIVE is a groovy and massive kind of metal, with fat riffs, melody and catchy choruses. Not total crap, but they don't have that song that is extra good, and no hit potential, no matter how catchy they are. So in the end this is just a o.k. record, but not much else.
GRAND MASSIVE have been on the road since 2009, and it seems like they have been working on this album for 3 years. The most interesting song might be "Never Gone", and not because it's better than the rest, but because it's a tribute to deceased rock stars.
Published: May 8, 2020

Champlin Williams Friestedt: II - Album
(Black Lodge Records - Release date: May 15, 2020)
Another AOR/Westcoast rock band that makes me think of CHICAGO and TOTO. And fact is that it's TOTO singer Joseph Williams who have teamed up with former CHICAGO singer Bill Champlin and Swedish guitarist/producer Peter Friestedt, so the sound of this band is hardly such a big surprise. But some of these songs sounds like something silly with Stevie Wonder, so I guess we can say that there's some soul music as well. This is hardly for the hard boys anyway.
This album also includes contributions from legendary DOOBIE BROTHERS vocalist Michael McDonald, drummer John JR Robinson (Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones), Randy Goodrum (TOTO, CHICAGO), and Tamara Champlin. Several other musicians has also been involved here, but I guess a list of them all would just be boring (it's lots of people anyway).
Well, these guys are hardly any amateurs, and have succeeded to create an album that should be very popular in the genres AOR, Wescoast rock and melodic rock (isn't all of them more or less the same by the way?).
Published: May 8, 2020

PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS: Prehensile Tales - Album
(InsideOutMusic - Release date: May 15, 2020)
What? Another pop album? I'm getting tired of this! But suddenly they are also progressive, which means songs that last for an eternity (like 8-17 minutes). There are a couple of shorter songs too though (just 4 and a half to 5 minutes).
The music is pretty soft and melodic in an attempt to be catchy (I suppose), but this is just not my kind of band. I'm pretty sure that a guy I know, who happens to like progressive rock, would like this (but he like all kinds of weird stuff just because the musicians happens to be good at what they are doing, and I don't trust people like that).
PATTERN-SEEKING ANIMALS consist of 4 men based in California. "Prehensile Tales" is their second studio album in just under a year. This time they introduce instruments like violin, flute, trumpet, cello, sax and pedal steel to their sound palette.
Published: May 7, 2020

TRIPTYKON with The METROPOLE ORKEST: Requiem (Live At Roadburn 2019) - Album/DVD
(Century Media - Release date: May 15, 2020)
Some people might think that this is brilliant, while I sit here like a question mark and don't get it at all. The music is slow and heavy, probably what they call avantgarde metal - A "genre" that I never have understood what it really is. But if it sounds like this, then it's not really my thing. Not that it's totally useless, I have definitely heard worse than this, but it just doesn't give me anything.
TRIPTYKON was formed by Tom Gabriel Warrior in 2008 after his departure from CELTIC FROST, which he wrote the first part, "Rex Irae", of this 3-part "Requiem" thing with back in 1986. The third part, "Winter", was written in 2002, when the band had reunited. Now we also get the second part, "Grave Eternal", which last for as long as 32 and a half minutes. Here they really go all in when it comes to being ambitious.
As the title says, this was recorded with The METROPOLE ORKEST (an classical orchestra) at the Roadburn festival last year. Now I have not heard the first and last part before, so I can't compare these versions. But I'm pretty sure that these versions are a bit different from the original versions. Except for the orchestra, there's also much female vocals here by Safa Heraghi.
Well, fans of CELTIC FROST and TRIPTYKON should be happy at least..
Published: May 7, 2020

HYRDA KNEKTAR: Törnar, snår och ris - 7" EP
(Beat Butchers/Noise of Sweden)
The first track is some kind of melodic punk rock with a touch of ska, with both keyboard and saxophone involved. And it's very catchy.
The second song and the final number is more like straight punk rock, and just a little bit harder. Still very catchy though. And that last song is by the way a Swedish version of "I Need To Know" by TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS.
I'm not sure if I have heard this Swedish band before, but it seems to be nearly 4 years since their last release. This is very good though, no doubt about that. So if you like catchy punk rock in Swedish, then this is absolutely something for you.
HYRDA KNEKTAR formed as a duo in 2011, but has grown to a 7-piece band, and has released a few EPs through the years. They have their own unique sound, so it's a little hard to compare them with any other band.
This EP is also available on all major digital platforms.
Published: May 6, 2020

GOMORRAH: Reflections of Inanimate Matter - Album reissue
(Vic Records)
This is a re-release of UK death metallers GOMORRAH's debut album, which was originally released on a small label before Black Market released it in 1994. The band formed in 1990, and released 2 demos and 2 full length albums during their existance.
"Reflections of Inanimate Matter" was produced by Paul Johnson (CATHEDRAL, BENEDICTION, VADER, NAPALM DEATH), and also features additional vocals on "Human Trophies" by former MARILLION singer Fish. On this new edition we also get the 3 tracks from their debut demo, "Embryonic Stages", as a bonus.
Published: May 6, 2020

FUNERAL BITCH: The 80's Demos - Album
(Vic Records)
Another one of these demo collections with a bunch of live tracks as a bonus. And this band play some kind of faster metal punk with an attitude. It's not totally worthless, and with a better production I could even have called it death/thrash metal (which it's probably supposed to be).
FUNERAL BITCH was formed by Paul Speckmann when MASTER broke up in 1986. He was joined by Alex Olvera and Pete Thomson, and they released 2 demo tapes. This band were faster than MASTER, and there's almost some proto grind/blastbeat speed here and there.
Both demos are included here, as well as a concert recorded in Exit, Chicago on September 22, 1987. Except for the songs from the demos, they also played some songs by MASTER and DEATHSTRIKE, plus a few unreleased tracks, at that show.
Published: May 6, 2020

CEREMONIAL OATH: Carpet - Album reissue
(Vic Records)
Gothenburg, Sweden-based death metal band CEREMONIAL OATH was formed in 1988 as DESECRATOR by Oscar Dronjak (HAMMERFALL) and Anders Iwers (TIAMAT). In 1991 Jesper Strömblad (RESISTANCE, ex-IN FLAMES) joined the band, and they changed the name to CEREMONIAL OATH.
The album "Carpet" was their second album, which was recorded at the legandary Studio Fredman in 1993. It was originally released on the Gothenburg label Black Sun/Dolores Records, and featured what we today can see as an all-star lineup: Anders Fridén - Vocals (IN FLAMES), Anders Iwers - Guitars (TIAMAT, DARK TRANQUILLITY), Mikael Andersson - Guitars, Thomas Johansson - Bass, Markus Nordberg - Drums (ex-CEMETARY) and Tomas Lindberg - (session) vocals (AT THE GATES).
The album includes a cover of the IRON MAIDEN classic "Hallowed Be Thy Name", which I remember that DARK TRANQUILLITY played the first time I saw them in the mid-90s. As a bonus we also get a cover of "Disposable Heroes" by METALLICA, taken from the "Metal Militia" compilation.
Well, this is really good stuff and therefor something that you absolutely should have in your collection. And especially if you are a fan of the famous Gothenburg sound.
Published: May 6, 2020

BRUCExCAMPBELL: South To No Life - Album
(Give Praise Records - Release date: May 8, 2020)
More noise. 14 short songs of grindcore. In through 1 ear and out through the other. But if you love it as loud, brutal and extreme as possible, then this is probably something for you my enenmy.
It's a little funny that they call it a full length, as the whole thing is over in 17 minutes. This is a limited vinyl pressing anyway.
These 4 noise makers are based in L.A., and that's actually all the information I could find about them (not that I really care).
Published: May 5, 2020

LADY BEAST: The Vulture's Amulet - Album
(Reaper Metal Productions)
LADY BEAST is an American band who play traditional heavy metal/NWoBHM influenced by legends like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, DIO and MERCYFUL FATE. They have been playing since 2009, and done hundreds of shows through the years. The band draws heavily on the DIY ethos of the punk scene, and has always done everything on its own. But now they have actually let somebody else (Reaper Metal Productions) release their fifth release.
And what we get here is good female vocals, twin-guitars and true guitar solos. This band really knows how to make good heavy metal songs. So if you don't give this band a chance, then you must be totally stupid.
Published: May 5, 2020

NOCTU: Gelidae Mortis Imago - Album
(Transcending Obscurity Records - Release date: May 8, 2020)
O.k., the first track is totally useless. It sounds like water dropping, and after 2 minutes of that there's a piano. The next track start with something like half a minute of silence before there's some silent, atmospheric soundscapes, which is followed by a electric guitar who reapeat the same thing over and over again. After almost 4 minutes there's "vocals" in the background. And it's hardly the best singer in the world we talk about here.
And the rest of the tracks are not much better either. This is so damned boring to listen to. And the songs are extremely long pieces between 16-32 minutes. If this is what they call atmospheric doom metal, then it's absolutely not something for me. Give me CANDLEMASS instead!
NOCTU is a 1-man band from Italy. This is described as "haunting, atmospheric blackened doom metal that infects the soul, eviscerates it and leaves it hollow, bereft of the abundance of feelings that once invaded it." Does that sound healthy to you? This is funeral doom according to me, and it sucks.
Published: May 5, 2020

SAVAGE ANNIHILATION: Soumises à la Procréation - EP
"Soumises à la Procréation" is a 3-track conceptual, comics-like, story of Lieutenant SAVAGE adventures in a post-Apocalyptic world full of zombies, anthropophagous beings, Satanic rituals and orgies in blood. But there's also 4 bonus tracks.
The first 3 songs are a direct continuation of the story from their second full-length, "Quand s'abaisse la croix du blasphème", which was recorded during the album sessions. Song 4 is an exclusive bonus to the vinyl version of the afore-mentioned full-length, and is a tribute to late SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman, exclusively wrote with bits of SLAYER riffs and lyrics, yet totally original. It features French thrash metal legend Sybille Colin-Tocquaine (WITCHES frontwoman) and PLEASURE TO KILL's vocalist Dums as guest vocalists.
Tracks 5 and 6 are brand new cover versions recorded specifically for this collector EP. These songs are "When Satan Rules His World" by DEICIDE featuring Max Otero of cult death metal band MERCYLESS as guest vocalist, and "Savage" by HELLOWEEN with Loïc "Trivette" of KRONOS as guest vocalist.
This EP was released on April 10 as a strictly limited unique print of 500 copies on deluxe DigiPak CD with a 8-page booklet. It's also available digitally.
The best way to describe the music that we get is blasphemous death metal. That will probably give you an idea of their sound. But let's just say that this is hardly a nice Sunday walk in the park. It's not bad though.
Published: May 5, 2020