DONNA CANNONE: Donna Cannone
Despotz Records on May 27 - CD, LP, Digital
This Swedish band was formed by former THUNDERMOTHER members Giorgia Cateri (guitar) and Tilda Nilke Nordlund (drums), plus a friend to Giorgia, Luca D'Andria (vocals/bass). Soon Björn "Speed" Strid (SOILWORK, The NIGHTFLIGHT ORCHESTRA) decided to join the band on guitar. They have released a few singles, but now the time has finally come for their debut album.
The best way to describe their sound is to call it hook-laden melodic rock n roll with a punky attitude, but I think there's also some glam rock here and there. Very good rock songs anyway, and this is something that you absolutely should check out.
"Is It True" features a guest apperance from Mia Karlsson (aka Mia Coldheart, ex-CRUCIFIED BARBARA).
despotz.se / donnacannone.bandcamp.com
EMISSARY: The Wretched Masquerade
Underground Power Records on May 27 - CD, Cassette, Digital (LP in late 2022)
EMISSARY was originally formed on the American West Coast in 1989 by some high school friends. They recorded a primitive demo and performed locally in Las Vegas a few times before they parted ways a year later. In early 1993, founding member Jym Harris moved to Medford, OR and reformed the band with Tim Dahlen. This duo distributed several demos, but came to an end in early 1996.
25 years later Jym and Tim reconnected to reunite EMISSARY with members of the 90s line-up. "The Wretched Masquerade" is comprised mostly of new recordings of the band's classic material. But a deluxe version of the release will feature a bonus disc full of remastered 90s demos. And the music that they play is classic U.S. power metal, but with thrash riffs and melodic vocals. And this combination works fine to me, even though they might not have that extra thing that makes them better than the rest.
If you like the old school better than the new school, then this could be something for you.
HEAD FIRST: Head First
Metalville Records on May 27 - CD
What we have here is something different to what I use to get for review. Read on..
It seems like this Finnish band was active in the 1980s/90s sometime, and one of the members was WALTARI singer Kärtsy Hatakka. They were the only real funk metal band from Finland, but broke up when WALTARI suddenly got an international record deal. 30 years later they are back with their debut album.
HEAD FIRST mix their funk metal with progressive rock and a party vibe, as well as some danceable sounds here and there. Cool sometimes, but not so cool other times. This was much better than the latest album with WALTARI anyway. No doubt about that.
The album consist of both old and new material, and we get as much as 15 tracks here.
SMOKE: The Mighty Delta Of Time
Argonauta Records on May 27 - Digital (CD later)
Dutch power trio SMOKE describe their music as psychedelic swamp rock, and this is their debut album. Influences comes from all kinds of heavy and psychedelic rock music, but also blues. This gives us a smokey, psychedelic and heavy sound. There's not that much action/energy here, as the music is more soft and bluesy. Unfortunately the lack of action makes them a little boring. It's not catchy enough to make me interested.
Those of you who like long songs should check out the 2 last songs here, which last for 10:43 and 10 minutes.
TIMECHILD: Son And Daughter
Mighty Music on May 20 - Digital Single
Danish hard rockers TIMECHILD released their debut album in the end of 2021, and now they release a new single, which is a cover of an old QUEEN song from 1973, that I don't think that I have heard before. This sounds just as good as their album did though, so you should definitely give it a try. And there's not much else to add there, as you probably will figure out that you have to check out the album too after hearing this.
timechild.lnk.to/son / mightymusic.dk / facebook.com/timechildofficial
SPHERIC UNIVERSE EXPERIENCE: Back Home
UPRISING! Records on May 20 - CD, Digital
Another progressive adventure. This time by a French prog metal band called SPHERIC UNIVERSE EXPERIENCE. "Back Home" is their fifth album, and it's said to make people who like DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X and similar happy. It's as much as 13 tracks here, and 3 of them are 7 minutes long and 1 is 9 and a half minutes, so this album last for a long time. But luckily the songs are not too advanced and pretty good, so I guess it's o.k. anyway.
uprisingrecords.de / facebook.com/SphericUniverseExperience
LUCER: The New World
Mighty Music on May 20 - CD, Digital
How you can release such a modern and silly album like this after 2021's high voltage attack "L.A. Collection" is a big mystery to me. Instead of continuing to rock, they choose to go back to what they did on their 2019 album, "Ghost Town". Which I think was a very bad idea. You can actually wonder if this is the same band or if there's 2 Danish bands called LUCER? I actually don't understand this!
What Danish band LUCER is doing here is what I would describe as rock with a big dose of modern pop music. Sometimes it's just pure pop and not even rock. Absolutely not my thing as I actually hate modern pop. Listening to this just makes me angry! But we all have different taste. And I guess that the label see this as a chance to get a quick million, so that they can release some good music instead.
LUCER are said to be "the sound of rock a la 2022", and then there's not much hope for the future, because this is just a great betrayal of everything that rocks.
lucerofficial.com / mightymusic.dk
EVIL: Book Of Evil
From The Vaults on May 27 - LP, CD, Digital
The Danish metal scene in the early 80s are probably most well-known for bands like MERCYFUL FATE and ARTILLERY, but there were more bands than those 2. Like EVIL for example, who formed in Copenhagen in 1983 and released a demo and a EP before they went seperate ways in 1985. In 2015 original drummer Freddie Wolf, now on guitars, gave it another try and released the band's debut album, "Shoot The Messenger". But that version of the band didn't last that long.
Now they seems to be back for real though, and this new album is ready to be released. The songs are inspired by 80s bands like JUDAS PRIEST and ACCEPT, but doesn't really sound exactly like them as there's a modern touch too. Fans of old school heavy metal will probably like this though, no doubt about that.
facebook.com/EvilmetalDK / fromthevaults.dk
ERUPTION: Aegon's Wrath
From The Vaults on May 20 - Digital Single
Slovenian thrash/heavy metal band ERUPTION release a new single. The song is taken from their 4th studio album, which will be released later this year. It's delivered like a fist straight in your face. It's hard and heavy, but the vocals is melodic. Not so bad. The blend of thrash and heavy metal is perfect.
facebook.com/EruptionMetal / fromthevaults.dk
Emanzipation Productions on May 27 - CD, LP, Digital
Tampa, Florida death metal veterans BRUTALITY has existed on and off since 1986. The last time they split up again was as late as in October 2020. 1 person, Michael H. Andersen of Emanzipation Productions, saw that as an opportunity to release 1 last album with the band. So the members slowly started to work on some new material, and this album is the result.
What we get is just 2 new songs, 2 re-recorded tracks (previously only available on a limited 7" EP) and 4 live tracks (from Maryland Deathfest 2019). And what can I say? If you like your death metal the good old American way, then you have nothing to fear. Because this is exactly what you need.
This album might not be the last you hear from BRUTALITY, as they are now open to continue after all. You can thank Emanzipation for that.
brutalitytheband.com / emanzipation.dk
RUNNING WILD: Ready For Boarding (Expanded Edition) (reissue)
BMG on May 27 - CD/DVD, 2LP
"Ready For Boarding" was originally released in 1988, and is RUNNING WILD's first live album. I think I still have it on a cassette, but have not heard it in an eternity, so it was fun to hear it again. This is an expanded edition though, with the songs from the "Death Or Glory Tour" VHS from 1990 included as well. And a difference between these 2 live recordings is that they had changed almost every song in the set list but a couple in a few years. That's how strong they felt that the newer material was (or maybe they were just tired of the early stuff?).
Both live recordings are great stuff. And I think it's just great that we get 2 completely different set lists. Because honestly, what's the point in including 2 identic concerts?
I think I have to dig up my old RUNNING WILD cassettes (copies of course, like everybody did back then) now and rip them to MP3s.
bmg.com / running-wild.net
RUNNING WILD: The First Years Of Piracy (reissue)
BMG on May 27 - CD, LP
Ah, that was a long time ago since I heard these songs. Or any songs at all with German heavy metal band RUNNING WILD.
The band existed from 1976 to 2009, and reformed in 2011. These legends invented the pirate metal genre with their 1987 breakthrough album, "Under Jolly Roger". After a few years and 2 more albums there was a change in the line-up fo the band, so in 1991 they decided to re-record the best tracks from the 3 first albums. The result was "The First Years Of Piracy", which is now being re-released as it has been out of print for years.
As far as I can remember, RUNNING WILD was hardly among the more popular bands among my friends in the 1980s. But I liked them anyway, no matter what anybody else was thinking about them. And now that I have heard these songs again, I can only say that I was right about their quality, because these songs are all great. So if you don't have this album, order it at once!
bmg.com / running-wild.net
NATTEHIMMEL: The Night Sky Beckons
Hammerheart Records on May 20 - Cassette
Norwegian brothers Christian and Christopher Botteri return to their black metal roots, and here they have teamed up with Englishman James Fogarty (OLD FOREST, ex-IN THE WOODS) and long-time collaborator Sven Rothe (STRANGE NEW DAWN). This band was founded as late as in January this year, and this is their first demo tape. They are currently working on their first album.
Their sound is said to go back to early IN THE WOODS and the early 90s black/pagan metal. These 3 songs are nor fast or brutal, but more atmospheric and melodic (in lack of a better description). It's o.k. though, but I have heard better.
MOTHER MERSY: From Above
Raw Street Noise/Flick Agency on May 20
MOTHER MERSY are inspired by artists like David Bowie, Joni Mitchell, AEROSMITH, Jeff Buckley, RIVAL SONS and LED ZEPPELIN. But also the dark personal portraits in Stephen King's novels, as well as the powerful and uncompromising participants in Ru Pauls Dragrace (?).
We talk about hard rock from the 1970s, with a touch of blues rock. Which they deliver with energy and soul. Really cool stuff of course. So if you're into so-called retro/vintage rock, then this could be of interest for you, because this is a great album (according to me anyway).
This seems to be their debut album. It will be very interesting to see and hear if they can succeed to make another album that is this great.
flickagency.se / facebook.com/MotherMersy
HAVE NO HEROES: Letters To Nowhere
Black Star Foundation on May 20 - LP, CD, Digital
This band ravages loose in the same area as BAD RELIGION and MILLENCOLIN. We talk about fast and melodic punk rock here (aka skate punk). No, this band is hardly doing anything unique here, but they are just as good as the bands I just mentioned, so I hardly complain. One problem though is that there's not much variation between these 13 tracks.
HAVE NO HEROES hailing from Riga, Latvia, and started to play in 2016. "Letters To Nowhere" is their second album. And like they say in the press release: "If they would have been American they would have been on Epitaph Records by now and booked by some of the bigger booking agencies." For once I'm ready to agree.
facebook.com/havenoheroes / facebook.com/Blackstarfoundationrecords
SHAMELESS: So Good, You Should...
Pride & Joy Music on May 20 - CD, LP, Digital
SHAMELESS was originally formed back in 1989. Not sure how long (or short) it last that time, but they reformed in 1998 anyway. Since then they have released 7 full-length albums, but this is their first covers album, even though it also features 2 brand new tracks. Due to the pandemic, it was recorded at 12 different locations all over the world.
We get both female and male vocals here - Charlotte Tybalt sing lead vocals on 5 of the tracks and background vocals on most of the other songs, TUFF singer Stevie Rachelle also sing on a couple of songs, and Jaret Reddick from BOWLING FOR SOUP sing on 1 track, while Frankie Muriel sing on the rest. Then former KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick play on a total of 4 songs, and L.A. GUNS guitarist Tracii Guns also play on the album.
There's many of these 14 songs that I don't reconize, but I know a few of them anyway. It seems to be many pop songs, but SHAMELESS make them into some kind of glam rock or possibly melodic hard rock songs. Sometimes it's good, sometimes almost a little embarrassing.
What artists have they done covers of then you might ask? Well, that would be interesting to know, becuse the only artist that they mention in the press release is Gene Simmons (KISS). And the funny thing with that song is that it's actually an unreleased song. I know that 1 song is made by ABBA and 1 by PSYCHEDELIC FURS. But the rest is unknown to me. Maybe they let you know the artists if you buy the physical album?
prideandjoy.de / shamelessrock.com
NOVA LUNA: Nova Vita
Pride & Joy Music on May 20 - CD
NOVA LUNA is an Italian band, formed in 2019. They are inspired by prog metal, pop metal, 80s hard rock and Japanese pop. But if we should put them in just 1 genre, then it will be melodic progressive metal. But those other influences are also lurking there somewhere.
If you want your metal melodic, and like strong songs, then this could be a perfect album for you. And I get a feeling that their sound is neither old or new, but just timeless.
The album also features some guests, including Marco Minnemann (The ARISTOCRATS), Reb Beach (WHITESNAKE), Michele Luppi (WHITESNAKE) and Mistheria (VIVALDI METAL PROJECT).
MENTALIST: Noah's Ark
Mentalist Records/Pride & Joy Music - Digital Single
"Noah's Ark" is the first single from German/Swedish power metal band MENTALIST's third album, "Empires Falling", which will be released on September 16. This song has all kinds of ingredients - It's epic, powerful, catchy, melodic and so on.. ..and yes, it's also good. Fans of European power metal should absolutely check this out.
youtu.be/4Zu0ZzEDKeQ / prideandjoy.de / facebook.com/mentalistband
DAYS OF WINE: Days Of Wine
Pride & Joy Music on May 20 - CD
DAYS OF WINE comes from Norway, and play what is best described as classic rock. Even though it's a pretty new band, the members have known each other for years, and have been playing in other bands (PHENOMENA, A-HA, STONEFLOWER, DIEZEL etc). In this band the influences comes from the 60s and 70s, and it's melodic as well as grown up. Most of these songs are really good, and I think that even your pop friends (if you have any) might like some of the songs. Fans of melodic rock will also like this.
daysofwine.no / prideandjoy.de
Bobby Stoker: Everglow
Vivid Music Productions/Pride & Joy Music on May 20 - CD
Bobby Stoker is a German guitarist, and this is his first solo album. What we get is a rock album with both blues and soul included. It's mainly melodic and quite grown up music on this album. It might not be a masterpiece that we have here, but most of these songs are good enough to me anyway. So why not give it a try at least?
I don't really know what else there is to say..
facebook.com/BobbyStokerBand / prideandjoy.de
SKAVEN: Flowers Of Flesh And Blood
Carbonized Records - 12" MLP, Digital
Their existence was short-lived, and the band has already split up. This 3-track EP was recorded back in 1996, and remastered in 2014. The band came from Oakland, and existed between 1995-97. The music that they played is called crust/stenchcore, influenced by acts like NEUROSIS, AMEBIX, NAUSEA and AXEGRINDER. We talk about a heavier kind of hardcore/punk, which hardly smells like roses but more like something rotten. In this case that's not something negative though.
The first song, "Severed", last for 7 minutes, while the title track is 6:40 minutes. They end the whole thing with "The Swarm", which is 4:24 minutes.
If you want it raw and dirty, then try this.
skavencrust.bandcamp.com / carbonizedrecords.com
VENENO: Camino de Espinas
Sentient Ruin - Cassette, Digital
From Buenos Aires, Argentina comes VENENO, who play hardcore/punk. This 4-track demo will probably make you think of 80s underground acts like HELLHAMMER and G.I.S.M., for example. It's raw and heavy, as well as aggressive and intense. The songs are just around 1 to 2 minutes, so the whole thing is over in approximately 6 minutes. But it's 6 enjoyable minutes without any bullshit. Just pure hardcore/punk the way it was meant to be.
Sentient Ruin - Cassette, Digital
Then we take a trip to the gutters of São Paulo, Brazil, where we find the hardcore/punk band OBSOLETION, who have made this 6-track demo for us.
The first track, which is instrumental by the way, is not so interesting to me. But after that it's more action, and much better. Short and intense hardcore/punk songs with raw vocals. I like it! This is how it's supposed to be done. No metal or any modern crap, just pure old school hardcore/punk straight in your face.
APOSTASY: The Unknown Path (reissue)
Sentient Ruin - Cassette, Digital
This Chilean band existed for a short while in the late 80s and early 90s, and returned in 2018. This EP was originally released in 2020, if I got it right.
APOSTASY play raw and dirty old school speed/thrash metal with a pinch of black metal. 3 intense tracks is what we get here. And this is not bad at all. I think of South America and eastern Europe when I hear this. So if that sounds exiting, then you should really check this out.
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
STARCHASER is a new band formed by former TAD MOROSE guitarist Kenneth Jonsson, and this is the debut album. It was supposed to be a solo adventure, but soon became a band instead, with vocalist Ulrich Carlsson (SHAGGY, ex-M.ILL.ION), bassist Örjan Josefsson (CIBOLA JUNCTION), drummer Johan Koleberg (WOLF, THERION, HAMMERFALL etc), and keyboardist Kay Backlund (LION'S SHARE, Nils Patrik Johansson, IMPERA etc).
The music that these men has created is a melodic kind of heavy metal. The songs are very good and strong, so I would guess that lots of people will like this.
This is another album that last for almost an hour, so you get lots of music here too.
frontiers.it / facebook.com/Starchaser-101231631651329
Jeff Scott Soto: Complicated
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, LP, Digital
With a past with bands and artists like SONS OF APOLLO, W.E.T., Yngwie Malmsteen, JOURNEY, TALISMAN etc., you definitely have something to live up to. But Jeff is obviously experienced and professional enough to succeed on his own. So fans of his past should not be afraid of giving his new solo album a chance. Because this is definitely not bad at all. If you like high quality melodic hard rock, then you should give this album a chance.
This is the 8th studio album from Jeff as a solo artist.
frontiers.it / sotoworld.net
Jani Liimatainen: My Father's Son
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, 2LP, Digital
Jani Liimatainen (The DARK ELEMENT, INSOMNIUM) is a Finnish guitarist/songwriter. On this solo album he get help from guest vocalists like Björn "Speed" Strid (SOILWORK, The NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA, DONNA CANNONE), Tony Kakko (SONATA ARCTICA), Timo Kotipelto (STRATOVARIUS), Anette Olzon (The DARK ELEMENT), Renan Zonta (ELECTRIC MOB), Pekka Heino (BROTHER FIRETRIBE) and Antti Railio (CELESTY, DIECELL). But Jani himself also sing here. The other musicians are bassist Jonas Kuhlberg (ONE DESIRE), drummer Rolf Pilve (STRATOVARIUS, SMACKBOUND), and pianist Jarkko Lahti provide instrumentation, while Liimatainen handles guitars, keyboards, and programming. Jens Johansson (STRATOVARIUS, RAINBOW) and Janne Huttunen provide guest keyboard and saxophone solos, respectively.
So what about the music then? Some kind of melodic heavy metal I would say. But the album last for almost an hour, which I think is a bit too long. Luckily it's a really good album though, so see it as much music for the money.
frontiers.it / facebook.com/janiliimatainenofficial
BLACK EYE: Black Eye
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
BLACK EYE is a new musical project centered around the vocalist David Readman (PINK CREAM 69), and this is their debut album. The other musicians are producer/guitarist Aldo Lonobile (SECRET SPHERE, ARCHON ANGEL, SWEET OBLIVION), guitarist/songwriter Luca Princiotta (DORO), drummer David Folchitto (ex-FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE, STORMLORD), and bassist Andrea Arcangeli (DGM). Additionally, Antonio Agate and Mattia Gosetti (ARGATHIC) provide keyboards and orchestra arrangements.
The goal was to "craft a melodic metal album with big choruses, powerful rhythms, and huge solos that would showcase the powerful voice of Readman". The result is a melodic hard rock/heavy metal album with lots of strong songs. There's nothing to complain about here.
RATOS DE PORÃO: Necropolitica
FOAD Records on May 20 - CD (LP in July)
Brazilian crossover legends RATOS DE PORÃO have been around for over 40 years. They have always been lurking in the underground, so if you like me have not heard them before, don't be surprised. But it might be time to change that.
Their music is rooted in hardcore, punk and thrash metal, and their lyrics are political. It's raw and mercilessly, and the lyrics are in Portuguese.
Yes, this was really good. You should absolutely check them out. And I think that both hardcore/punks and thrashers will like this band.
ratosdeporao.bandcamp.com / foadrecords.com
OMNI OF HALOS: Care Free
Lövely Records on May 20 - Digital
This is a new band from Sweden fronted by former DIVISION OF LAURA LEE member Henrik Hjelt Röstberg, and this is their debut EP, which was recorded by DIVISION OF LAURA LEE member Per Stålberg, and mixed by John Agnello (DINOSAUR JR, SONIC YOUTH, Kurt Vile etc).
It's supposed to take us back to the guitar-driven, noisey and melodic sound of the 90s, when alternative rock and pop was very popular. So if that sounds like something that you would like, then you should probably give this a try. Personally I don't really know what I should think about this, as this is not something that I use to listen to. Weird with that steel guitar, as this is not country music.
almostreligious.com / facebook.com/omniofhalos
The OhNos: Waving From Hades
Beluga Records - EP
The title track is good old power pop that reminds me of something like BLONDIE, but with a little more bite.
"Ngbg" is more dark and heavy instead.
The last of these 3, "Kiss The Boots", is more of the classic power pop.
These 3 tracks is a first taste of an upcoming album, and it sounds really good, so it would be nice to hear the whole album, which will be released in September.
The OhNos is a female Swedish quartet, formed in 2014.
belugarecords.com / youtu.be/86uAlg4-hJQ
EASY SHAPES: Fistfight
Easy Shapes Records - Digital Single
Well, this is hardly like a fistfight. They describe this as hardcore/new punk, but it sounds more like some kind of alternative pop/rock with hard and heavy guitars to me. And that has not much to do with either hardcore or punk according to me. It's a catchy and guitar-driven song with energy though, I can't deny that. And I guess it's o.k. anyway.
They are said to be inspired by bands like BRAND NEW, RISE AGAINST and BAYSIDE, if that tells you something?
s.disco.ac/zpkhbwdsmshg / facebook.com/easyshapesband
The SAME RIVER: Weight Of The World
Electric Talon Records/Sliptrick Records on May 13 - CD, Cassette, LP, Digital
This band makes me sleepy. Maybe not at once, but pretty soon anyway.
The SAME RIVER flows in Athens, Greece, and has done so since August 2019. Their first EP was released in 2020, and now their debut album, "Weight Of The World", is about to be released.
With passion and lust they go all in for their love of heavy, rock influenced psychedelic music. I guess we can place them somewhere between stoner, doom and psychedelic rock. Heavy and psychedelic it is anyway.
This is a chapter based, philosophical concept album, where the songs fulfill the vision of a world that's spinning through the wheels of confusion.
talonrecordsusa.bandcamp.com / facebook.com/thesameriverband
Metalville Records on May 13 - CD
O.k., this was absolutely not what I wanted to hear. Some poor bastard singing to a string quartet, and it's all very laidback. If it would have been a physical copy, I would have thrown it out! That's how irritating that string quartet is to me. A very tragic and sad album.
They call this band's music medieval rock, but this is not rock at all, just medieval music in German.
This album was done to celebrate their 10th anniversary, and features some of their old songs re-arranged for a string quartet.
WARWOLF: When The Hangman Cries
Metalapolis Records - Digital Single
German heavy metal band WARWOLF will release a new album, "Necropolis", on July 29. The song "When The Hangman Cries" is just one of many great songs on that album. And this is something that I recomend for those of you who like good old IRON MAIDEN and similar 80s heavy metal. If you want something modern, try something else.
I tell you more about them in my album review in July. But check out this song while you wait for that.
facebook.com/WARWOLFofficial / metalapolis.eu
Zinny Zan: Lullabies For The Masses
Wild Kingdom on May 20 - CD, LP, Digital
After a few laidback years under his real name Bo Stagman, Swedish singer Zinny Zan (ex-EASY ACTION, ZAN CLAN, SHOTGUN MESSIAH) return to the rock music together with former SKINTRADE members Stefan Bergström (guitar) and Hogge Calmroth (bass).
This is far away from the young man we heard on the almost 40 years old debut with EASY ACTION. He's now a middle-aged man with a better voice and other ideas. And nothing wrong with that. This is not meant to be a repetition of something he has already done, but a completely new project with a modern sound. Some songs are hard rock, while some are softer and more mature. In general a pretty good album.
wildkingdom.se / facebook.com/large4ever
SQUARED: Strange Affairs
Squared on May 13 - CD, Digital
SQUARED was founded in 2019 by French guitarist Arthur Vere and Swedish singer Jack L. Stroem. They took inspiration from the late 80s AOR scene, and mixed it with their own musical backgrounds. And on this debut album they have done all they can to make it sound like it was recorded in 1989.
I would say that they have succeeded with that, because this doesn't sound modern and made in the 20s. I like their sound though, and they have many good songs on this album. Every fan of 80s AOR and melodic (hard) rock should give these guys a try.
LUGNET: Still A Sinner
Pride & Joy Music - Digital Single
Swedish band LUGNET are going to release a new album, "Tales From The Great Beyond", on August 26. And what we have here is a first taste of that album, the single "Still A Sinner", which open the album.
I would describe this track as classic hard rock, as it reminds me of the bands from the 1970s. And what a song it is! You have to listen to it! Now I really look forward to hear the whole album.
lugnetrock.com / prideandjoy.de
BRANDY AND THE BUTCHER: Lucky Foot
Brandy And The Butcher on May 20 - LP, Digital
This American band have their own little hybrid of punk, garage rock and traditional metal. It can be heavy, energetic or catchy, and sometimes all 3. Their sound is raw and powerful. Many of their song are pretty cool rock songs that rock hard, and they deserve some more fans around the world, so give them a try before everybody else does.
"Lucky Foot" is the second album from BRANDY AND THE BUTCHER, and this should fit fans of both hard rock and garage rock, and probably a few fans of punk rock as well.
BlackBeer: Take The Freedom
Pure Steel Records on May 13 - CD, Digital
French newcomers BlackBeer release their debut album, where they are said to pay tribute to bands like WHITESNAKE, VAN HALEN, GUNS N' ROSES etc. In other words old school hard rock/classic rock like they did it back in the 1970s/80s. And they deliver a powerful and strong material on this debut, which is backed up by good musicians and a good vocalist in the same league as David Coverdale, Sammy hagar, Lou Gramm etc. You can really hear that they have experience from other bands. This is absolutely worth a try.
The band was founded in 2021 in southern France by people from Venezuela, Argentina and France.
facebook.com/BlackBeer-103221815184868 / puresteel-records.com
ANVIL: Impact Is Imminent
AFM Records on May 20 - CD, LP, Digital
Hm, this was actually better than I thought it would be. What a surprise! Because when I saw them live something like 10 years ago (or whatever it could be), they didn't impress me. They were more like clowns with weak songs. This material is stronger though, so it's not totally hopeless when it comes to these Canadian heavy metal veterans. It's just that last instrumental crap with a blow section that is not so good.
"Impact Is Imminent" is ANVIL's 19th album. But then this Canadian trio have been active since 1978.
facebook.com/anvilmetal / afm-records.de
Anniken: Climb Out Of Hell
Rockshots Records on May 13
Anniken has been a part of the Norwegian metal scene for years with her band DARKEST SINS, the studio project Ana - Metal For Charity, as well as being a part of her husband Marius Danielsen's trilogy LEGEND OF VALLEY DOOM. This is her solo debut though, which features 9 tracks of melodic, catchy and varied heavy metal. She sing with empathy and passion, and this is not bad at all. This is absolutely worth checking out.
POST-MORTEM: The Monumental Pandemonium
Great Dane Records - CD, Digital
How original was it to name the band POST-MORTEM? I did a quick search, and there were lots of bands named POST MORTEM, so it's hard to find information about this band as the label was too lazy to give any. But anyway, I succeeded to find out that this band comes from France, and that they play death metal in the vein of CARCASS, ENTOMBED, BOLT THROWER, old PARADISE LOST and CRUSHER (France). And what else do you need to know?
They begin with a big mistake, an intro that last for 3 minutes. But after that it's full speed ahead, aggressive and brutal, but without losing its feeling for melody. In 1 track there's even a short symphonic element. And they are actually quite good, so you should give them try.
GALLADORN: The Cauldron Born
Galladorn - Digital Single
GALLADORN is a power metal duo from USA and UK, formed in 2020. This is their first original single (they have previously released covers of HAMMERFALL and ICED EARTH), which is inspired by author Lloyd Alexander's "The Chronicles of Prydain". It has all the right ingredients that you can ask for when it comes to a power metal song, and it's absolutely not bad, so maybe you should check it out than? Of course you should.
The 2 men behind this band are multi-instrumentalist Chris Johansson from USA and UK vocalist Craig Cairns.
Avi Rosenfeld: Very Heepy Very Purple XIII
Avi Rosenfeld - Digital
Yes, this man is very influenced by old URIAH HEEP and DEEP PURPLE. But it doesn't really sound exactly like them all the time, he add some of his own touch as well. And the result is another great hard rock/heavy metal album in the good old tradition. So fans of 70s hard rock and heavy metal should be happy to hear this.
As far as I can see, Avi has teamed up with a different group of people on each track here. Yet he manages to steer it right. And it doesn't sound like 10 different bands, but the same band playing on all 10 tracks.
DIMWIND / BREATHS
Trepanation Recordings - CD, Cassette, Digital
DIMWIND is a duo from Gothenburg, Sweden, formed in 2019. The 2 guys have been playing together in different contellations since the late 1990s though. Their vision with this band is to create heavy emotive post-metal. There's no vocals at all, only some talking here and there. And this song last for as long as 15:38 minutes, which makes it boring after a while. It's not as useless as I first thought it was though.
1-man band BREATHS, from Richmond, VA, USA, is not that much better. This man combines elements of post-metal, black metal, doom metal, shoegaze, post-rock, progressive metal and post-hardcore to his own unique gasoline called blackgaze. And this track last for as long as 14:56 minutes.
dimwind.com / breaths.bandcamp.com / trepanationrecordings.bandcamp.com
Ursäkta Röran Vol 4: Var God Röj!
GrönPeppar Records - Digital, CD
I like these compilations with 13 Swedish punk bands each. You get the chance to hear both old and most of all new bands, and all kinds of punk and hardcore. Yes, every artist might not be of interest to me, but the fun thing is that most of them are good.
On the 4th volume we get the chance to hear what MIMIKRY, LEFT HAND BLACK, RÖD REVOLVER, Dahl & VOLENTÄRERNA, GASP, HEADONS, DEPRAVERAD, RAWHEADS, ONSDAG, HERR GÅRMAN, PROJEKT MISTITS, KARANTÄN and PARADIGMER has to offer. And there's unusually many of those that I have heard before. MIMIKRY are veterans, and I guess HEADONS are too more or less. And then I reviewed GASP a few months ago or something like that.
So what do we get musically than? Well, as usual it's all kinds of sub-genres - from acoustic folk punk via trallpunk and ska punk to pure punk and raw hardcore/punk. I like the songs with MIMIKRY, RÖD REVOLVER, HERR GÅRMAN and RAWHEADS best. What HEADONS is doing is a good question - Weird song and a big dissapointment. Otherwise nothing to complain about.
And hey! If anybody who read this is doing a good old fanzine (printed on paper, not web zine), please send it to me for review. Swedish or English, otherwise it will be very hard for me to understand.
Vollmer: Get Yer Hands Dirty
Helix Records - CD
This is a solo album from the legendary HELIX frontman Brian Vollmer. And this is a more bluesy rock n roll story than his long-running hard rock band. But the Canadian show us all that he can handle that too. But yes, I would not call this a pure blues rock or rock n roll album, so I guess you could call this hard rock if you have to.
Of these 9 tracks 7 are covers, which means only 2 originals. Among the covers are songs by ROSE TATTOO, VELVET UNDERGROUND, SLADE and FLEETWOOD MAC, among others. On the last song, the title track, we get some guest vocals from Danko Jones (DANKO JONES).
Most of the songs are catchy and perfect for a Friday night. Maybe not something that you play at the party, but to warm up with before the guests arrive. But you do as you want to. It's a really good album anyway. No doubt about that.
The STRANGE SEEDS: Plant
The Strange Seeds - CD, Digital
From Passau, Germany comes this band, who started jamming together in 2020. They are inspired by acts from the 1960s and 70s, and especially acid, psych and hard rock. So no, they are hardly looking for a modern sound, but are rather one of all these vintage bands.
8 tracks is what we get, and just like so many other vintage bands The STRANGE SEEDS are very good. Their songs are catchy and performed with passion. It's heavy and much organ. You should definitely give them a try.
COBRA SPELL: Anthems Of The Night
Cobra Spell - CD, LP, Digital
International band COBRA SPELL was founded by guitarists Sonia Anubis (CRYPTA, ex-BURNING WITCHES) and Sebastian Silva (UNTO OTHERS). Sebastian is not a member anymore, but still involved in their activities and lyrics. So today's line-up is: Alexx Panza (HITTEN) on vocals, Sonia Anubis on lead guitar, Esmée Van Sinderen on rhythm guitar, Angelina Vehera on bass and Léonard Cakolli on drums.
The band's debut EP, "Love Venom", was released in September 2020. Now their second EP, "Anthems Of The Night", is here.
The music is melodic but powerful, the guitar solos sounds like a guitar hero, and these songs are absolutely not bad at all. I would say that it's mainly heavy metal here, but with a pinch of sleaze rock. Very 80s.
CARBON BLACK: We Remain
Carbon Black on May 6 - CD, Digital
CARBON BLACK are based on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. In 2014 they released their debut EP, "Principium", and a full-length, "End Of This", was released in September 2018. Their music have its roots in groove-based metal and rock from the 90s.
The new record, "We Remain", was mixed by legendary producer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley (IRON MAIDEN, DREAM THEATER), and also features guest vocals from Tim "Ripper" Owens (ex-JUDAS PRIEST, ICED EARTH, Yngwie Malmsteen). We get 7 tracks, and it's both hard and brutal as well as melodic. Sometimes it goes fast, sometimes it's heavier.
Fans of groove metal should check this out. But I would guess that fans of thrash metal could like this too.
NATJAGER: At Kende Bølge Fra Hav
Last Mile Records on May 13 - LP, Digital
But for fucks sake! What kind of crap is this shit? This makes me angry! That's how bad I think this is. I had to give up after just a few songs to avoid a nervous breakdown. Give this shit to somebody who like pop music instead!
The press release was very funny: "NATJAGER makes an experimental use of autotune, combining it with hardcore and metal, to come up with one of the most refreshing musical approaches in a long time." Then they claim that it's melodic post-hardcore. What a lie! I can honestly not hear any hardcore at all, possibly a metal guitar once in a while. This sounds more like a stupid nightclub to me, but with the unique thing that all songs are in Danish.
facebook.com/natjager / targetshop.dk
KADAVERMARCH: Into Oblivion
Last Mile Records on May 6 - LP
The members of KADAVERMARCH has their roots in the Danish underground scene, and met up for the first time in the summer of 2019 to live out their desire to play stoner/desert rock and heavy metal. Since then they have been working on their sound to get the right blend.
And that sound is riff-based and heavy, yet catchy and melodic. But what makes their sound special is that they have 2 lead singers, who often sing together. Interesting.
It's said to fit fans of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, The SWORD, BARONESS and RED FANG. These 9 tracks are not bad anyway.
facebook.com/kadavermarch / lastmile.dk
JUNKYARD DRIVE: Electric Love
Mighty Music on May 13 - CD, LP, Digital
JUNKYARD DRIVE are Danish dynamite prepared with energetic hard rock n roll. They might not do anything unique, but it's damn good. And that's all that matters. This album is full of great songs, and I can honestly not hear anything to complain about at all. This kicks ass!
"Electric Love" was produced by Søren Andersen (Glenn Hughes, Jesper Binzer, ELECTRIC GUITARS), and mixed and mastered by Erik Mårtensson (ECLIPSE).
I don't really know what else there is to say, but you have probably figured out already that you have to hear this.
junkyard-drive.com / mightymusic.dk
The DARK OVERLORDS: Darkpocalypse
UPRISING! on May 6 - Digital EP
The DARK OVERLORDS is a violent black metal attack on all your senses. Yet there's melody too, which I think is important as it makes it better. This band has the right combination of anger and guitar melodies.
"Darkpocalypse" is the second EP from this band, which consist of 5 tracks. The songs are said to be faster, harder, blacker and heavier than before. Are you hard enough to give it a try?
facebook.com/TheDarkOverlords / uprisingrecords.de
MISERY INDEX: Complete Control
Century Media on May 13 - CD, LP, Digital
Baltimore death metallers MISERY INDEX has been around for 2 decades, and "Complete Control" is their 7th studio album. Now I can't remember if I have heard this band before, but according to themselves this album is "a well-refined continuation of their previous efforts". And that sounds to me like no old fan will be dissapointed.
MISERY INDEX mix their death metal with brutal hardcore and grincore, which makes their sound extra brutal. Yet it's not too extreme for me, but actually listenable. There always seems to be some kind of melody and a clear vision, so it's never chaotic. Simply really good death metal.
centurymedia.com / miseryindex.com
PURE REASON REVOLUTION: Above Cirrus
InsideOut Music on May 6 - CD, LP/CD, Digital
I don't really know what I should think about this. I feel nothing when I listen to this. Some bands/records are like that, and I'm not really sure why.
The press release says that the music is shapeshifting and evoke a range of emotions. And I guess I can agree on that first thing at least. Because sometimes it's more energetic, and sometimes very soft and boring.
These 7 tracks last for 45:55 minutes. I guess that progressive rock/metal is the right genre for this trio.
And for those of you who wonder what Cirrus is, it's actually a cloud formation. So one person ask: "What's above Cirrus?" And the other person answer: "Well, nothing's above Cirrus". Deep..
InsideOut Music on May 6 - CD, LP, Digital
If you want to hear something really odd and unique, then you should listen to this Chinese band, who actually sing in some Chinese language as well. Progressive metal/rock? That's just the first name! It's impossible to describe this, so you just have to listen for yourself.
Let's just say that this is very varied. Sometimes they calm down from the madness, and then it's more like soundscapes than music, or almost like lounge music or lullabies. And the funny thing is that I like the madness best, even though it took a while.
I would guess that fans of a maniac like Devin Townsend might like this.
OU (pronunciation: O) comes from Beijing, and this is their debut album.
ARMAGIDEON TIME: Crime As Theatre
Anti-Corporate Music on May 6 - Cassette, Digital (vinyl in the summer)
ARMAGIDEON TIME was born in Richmond, Virginia out of paranoia and racial tension in the Spring of 2019. Now their debut EP is here.
Is this what they call neo-hardcore? Because it doesn't really sound like I'm used to. This is more melodic, and the singer is actually singing instead of screaming, but yet not soft or weak because of that. The energy and the speed is there anyway.
If you want something different to the usual hardcore, then you should try this. Because even though it's different, it's not bad.
anticorpmusic.com / instagram.com/armagideontimerva
VIRGIN IDOL: Virgin Idol
Super Sargasso Records on May 10 - CD, Digital
VIRGIN IDOL is a traditional heavy metal trio with elements of thrash metal. They have often been compared to KING DIAMOND and JUDAS PRIEST, with instrumental elements ranging from BATHORY, MEGADETH, Overkill, METAL CHURCH, DOKKEN and QUEENSRŸCHE. This is their debut album. You can expect shrieking falsetto vocals, flashy guitar work, and all things metal. Sometimes it's more powerful, sometimes more melodic. Some stuff reminds me of ACCEPT with Udo Dirkschneider on vocals, while other songs fits to the description above.
Everything might not be so interesting, but I would say that most of these 9 tracks are of interest.
TENEBRO: L'inizio di un Incubo
Xtreem Music on May 3 - CD, LP, Cassette
Really heavy death metal in Italian. But once in a while there's some machine gun blast beats, so I would not say that they are sleepy. I have heard much better though, no doubt about that. I would not say that they are totally useless though.
TENEBRO are inspired by Italian horror cult movies from the 70s/80s, and have been around since the early 2000s. Due to illegal activities they have not been active all the time, and therfor not released that much either. Today's line-up is Il Becchino (guitar/vocals) and Il Beccamorto (bass/drum programming).
For those who like it heavy.
tenebro666.bandcamp.com / xtreemmusic.com
WACHENFELDT: Faustian Reawakening
Threeman Recordings on May 6 - CD, Digital
WACHENFELDT is a Swedish trio, who play blackened death metal spiced with progressive elements, traditional Nordic folk music and symphonic parts. Mainly it's full speed ahead though, so don't you worry too much about those other things that I mentioned. Because it all works very well together.
The band formed 10 years ago, but has just released 1 EP and 1 album before "Faustian Reawakening". But that's because they have been busy with other projects.
I don't really know what I should compare their music with, but you should give them a try anyway.
MOTHER OF MILLIONS: Orbit
ViciSolum Productions on May 6 - 12" EP
This is a Greek prog metal band, who have previously released 3 albums. Now they deliver a 4-track EP, which consist of 2 new tracks, a Florence + The MACHINE cover and a piano version/re-recording of "Rome".
Their music here is laidback and atmospheric. In other words not much action. But then it's the band's first release after the loss of keybordist Makis Tsamkosoglou, who passed away during a show in June 2019. So on this EP they share all emotions that followed this tragic event.
I guess that this could be nice for those of you who wants it a little bit softer once in a while.
DE ARMA: Nightcall
Silent Future Recordings on May 6 - CD, Vinyl, Digital
I got an album with this band that was released in June last year, and less than a year later here's already a new 3-track EP.
Well, DE ARMA is a Swedish goth rock act. And I guess it's not so hard to figure out that the sound is dark and melancholy. Yet it's catchy enough to give some hope. They say that it's something for fans of DEPECHE MODE as well as later PARADISE LOST, if that gives you an idea about their sound?
Whereas the last full-length still showed some traces of DE ARMA's metal past, this EP introduces elements of darkwave into their ever-expanding sound, which makes it sound like synth music from the 80s to me (which I guess is the same as what they call darkwave or synthwave nowadays). The songs are no short hit songs, but 6:19, 9:16 and 6:57 minutes long. And it's very emotional minutes that we get here, with both male and female vocals and atmospheric soundscapes.
If you want something softer, then try this.
dearma.net / silentfuture.se