REVIEWS FEBRUARY 2024

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QUANTUM: Abstract Bliss
Black Lodge Records - Digital Single
Swedish progressive rock/metal band QUANTUM will release a new album, "Down The Mountainside", on April 19. This song is a taste of what you can expect from that album. In other words a mix of the classic prog rock bands and the new generation of prog metal. Or what I use to call a progressive journey.
But the special thing with this band is that they are among the really good ones. And then I'm not talking about how talented they are (it should be obvious when you play this kind of music that you're not an amateur), but the songs. Yes, they actually make songs that are fantastic. And this song is no exception. Check out!
youtu.be/2fofQrLumOQ?si=eHHoCFe19Se4LIis | blacklodge.se | officialquantum.com


NIGHTBLAZE: Daughter
Art Of Melody Music/Burning Minds Music Group - Digital Single
The 2 previous singles have both been great. But this song begins very soft with a piano, and it turns out that it's a ballad with a big epic ending. Big dissapointment! I want more of that melodic rock/AOR instead, and not some pop crap. But as long as there's no more tragic ballads on the new album, then it will probably be a great album anyway.
NIGHTBLAZE's self titled debut album will be released on March 22. And if you like classic melodic rock/AOR from the 80s, then you really shouldn't miss that album.
youtu.be/nmWe-evn8so | burningmindsgroup.com/art-of-melody-music | facebook.com/Nightblazeofficial


LA MENÄCE: Erebus
Violence In The Veins/Hombre Montaña/7 Lamentos Records on March 4 - MCD, Digital EP
LA MENÄCE is a neo-crust band from Madrid, Spain, formed in 2022 by 4 experienced musicians. The 6 songs on this EP are inspired by Franklin's lost expedition, using the disappearance of the ships Terror and Erebus in 1845. And the soundtrack to that is a mixture of crust punk, melodic death metal, post-hardcore, blackened crust and black n roll. It's intense and full of energy, but there's also melodic guitar melodies and not just violence. There's no "silence" between each track here, so it's almost hard to tell when the next song begins. But that just makes it more intense.
This is something that I think both crust punks and metal heads could enjoy.
youtu.be/0rodTKildQc | instagram.com/lamenace_crust | violenceintheveins.bandcamp.com


HANDS OF GORO: Hands Of Goro
BSP Records on March 1 - LP, Digital
HANDS OF GORO is a heavy metal trio from Bay Area, and this is their debut album. The band has existed since November 2016 though. And the members are: Tom Draper (SPIRIT ADRIFT, ex-CARCASS and ANGEL WITCH live) on guitar, Adrian Maestas (SLOUGH FEG) on bass/lead vocals and Avinash Mittur (NITE, WRETCHED STENCH) on drums.
This debut is a thunderstorm of anthemic, epic and traditional heavy metal, with elements of punk, classic rock and more. We get songs that are melodic and catchy, songs that are fast, and some that are almost epic. It's almost like one of those cheap compilation albums from the 80s, but without any bad songs.
It's in other words a really strong debut that they have made. Fans of NWOBHM should check this out.
linktr.ee/handsofgoro


v/a - New Wave Donut
Wax Donut Records on March 1 - LP, Digital
This is the latest tribute album from Wax Donut Records (formerly known as Black Donut Records). On this album they unite a diverse array of punk and metal bands from across the United States, and let them do their own version of a new wave song from the the late 70s to the mid-80s.
There's not many songs that I reconize here, but at least 2. BOVINE NIGHTMARES' version of "Here Comes The Rain Again" by EURYTHMICS is not so good. But GLOSE's version of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" by TEARS FOR FEARS was much better, even if I would not call it fantastic. The rest of the bands are NAW, WIPES, SCIENCE MAN, The KRONK MEN, BASEMENT FAMILY and NIGHT GOAT. And they are doing covers of songs by ORCHESTRAL MANOEUVRES IN THE DARK, Gary Numan, SUBURBAN LAWNS, THEATRE OF SHEEPS, MINISTRY and SIOUXSIE AND THE BANSHEES.
A o.k. compilation, that you listen to a few times and then probably forget.
waxdonut.com


SURGICAL STRIKE: 24/7 Hate
Metalville Records on March 1 - CD, LP
SURGICAL STRIKE released their first EP, "V:II:XII" in 2016, and their first full-length album, "Part Of A Sick World", in 2020. Now they return with their second full-length, "24/7 Hate". And what we have here is nothing but a pure thrash metal attack, mainly in the old school. It's fast and energetic, yet very tight. So more or less exactly what you can expect. But they do this very good, so I really don't complain.
Fact is that these guys are just as good as any of the more well-known thrash bands. So listen to them. And if you like what you hear, tell all your friends about them.
metalville.de | surgicalstrike.de


Liv Kristine: Deus Ex Machina (Re-release + Bonus CD)
Allegro Talent Music on March 1 - 2CD, LP
"Deus Ex Machina" was the first solo album with Norwegian vocalist Liv Kristine (THEATRE OF TRAGEDY. LEAVES' EYES). It was released in 1998, and will now be re-released. And even though she had a metal background, this was something completely different. This is a soft and laidback album, and hardly what I call rock or metal, so why should I write about this then? Yes, it could have been good anyway of course. But the problem is that it doesn't stimulate my ear canals. And I really hate bad music. It actually makes me angry. I almost want a physical copy so I can throw it out or crush it.
That extra CD is even more useless. Just alternative versions, sometimes the same song 2 to as much as 5 times in a row. You must be really disturbed if you want to listen to that.
So how do we describe this shit then? Sometimes it's like she has tried to make a dark pop opera. Other times it's more like some kind of pop music or some electronic shit. There's even tracks that sounds like something from a fantasy movie or something for children. Yes, as I said, this is not a rock album. Dream music maybe?
livkristine.net


FIREWIND: Stand United
AFM Records on March 1 - CD, LP, Digital
Greek guitarist Gus G. and German vocalist Herbie Langhans might be seen as the 2 most important parts here, but the 2 other guys - Petros Christo (bass) and Ju Nunez (drums) - are also an important part of the band of course. Together they form a strong union, who really know how to make great heavy/power metal songs in the melodic league. And even if they have been around for a long time now, there's still an enthusiasm and passion for it.
FIREWIND have in other words made a great album, that every fan of hard rock and heavy metal should own. But I don't really get their love for covering 80s pop songs. This time it's "Talking In Your Sleep" by The ROMANTICS. A o.k. song for being pop (in the 80s they still knew how to make songs), but do I really need a cover of it on a metal album? I'm actually not sure..
firewind.gr | shop.afm-records.de


FATHOMLESS RITUAL: Hymns For The Lesser Gods
Transcending Obscurity Records on March 1 - CD, Digital
FATHOMLESS RITUAL is a 1-man band with somebody called B. Dean (GUTVOID, FUMES, PUKEWRAITH). It's said to be something for fans of DEMILICH and similar. The music is a dark and heavy kind of death metal, with growl that almost sounds like throat singing (well, just almost). Yet it's also pretty raw, with elements of both the old school and the modern. I guees you could say that this is more underground, if that gives you a better idea of what this sounds like?
There's both good and less good moments on this album. It's probably the lack of variety that gets me tired after a while. But maybe you're more extreme than I am?
fathomlessritual.bandcamp.com | tometal.com


LAMBRINI GIRLS: God's Country
City Slang - Digital Single
LAMBRINI GIRLS is a new punk band from Brighton, England, and they are not happy about the situation in today's society. They don't play the good old punk rock however, but a more modern kind of punk. It's still angry and energetic anyway, and it sounds good, so don't be afraid to give them a try.
I don't really know what else I should say about this..
youtu.be/muoddHKZthg | facebook.com/LambriniGirlsband


SHOW N TELL: The Ritual Has Begun
No Remorse Records - CD, Digital
Here's the debut album from American heavy metal band SHOW N TELL, which was formed in 2019. They play, like so many others, traditional heavy metal, but call it true heavy metal. Influences comes from classic acts like DOKKEN, IRON MAIDEN, ACCEPT and W.A.S.P., but also bands like SKULL BONES and ENFORCER.
These 9 tracks are absolutely not bad at all. They have lots of great material here. It's powerful and melodic at the same time, and these songs should take you back to the 80s. So if you prefer the old school before the modern, then this could be something for you.
linktr.ee/OfficialshowNtell | noremorse.gr


SONIC UNIVERSE: I Am
earMUSIC - Digital Single
Vocalist Corey Glover (LIVING COLOUR) has teamed up with guitarist Mike Orlando (ADRENALINE MOB) to form SONIC UNIVERSE. Bassist Booker King and drummer Taykwuan Jackson complete the line-up. The band has signed a worldwide deal with earMUSIC for their debut album, "It Is What It Is", scheduled for release on May 10. And "I Am" is their first single.
What we get is a funky kind of hard rock that is really catchy. This is good stuff for sure, but I don't really know what else I should say about it. You should give it a try anyway.
youtu.be/1E4TjgmHNq8


VIPERWITCH: She Wolves Of The Wasteland / Tooth & Nail
Viperwitch - Digital Singles
It looks like the story of this American band began in 2014 already, but it wasn't until 2017 that it became a band. The first line-up existed for 1 and a half year. But founder Danica "Lynx The Huntress" Minor (guitar/vocals) didn't give up, but found some new people to work with. These 2 tracks are the 2 first singles from their upcoming debut album, "Witch Hunt: Road to Vengeance", which will be released on May 1.
"She Wolves Of The Wasteland" is a excellent song! You must check it out! True classic heavy metal. "Tooth & Nail" on the other hand seems to be just a outtro to the first anthem, and I don't really understand why they release something like that as a single? It's not totally useless anyway.
It can be really interesting to hear that album, because I think they have something very good in progress.
VIPERWITCH is part of what is called "The new wave of traditional heavy metal".
youtu.be/wwq5uY3GSyA?si=79EbcB9ebwmM5eoK | linktr.ee/Viperwitch


VR SEX: Inanimate Love
Dais Records - Digital Single
Another single from VR SEX, taken from their upcoming album, "Hard Copy", due March 22.
This band play a psychedelic kind of punk rock, which is a bit difficult to place. At least this song. I think their last single was much better, but I would not say that this is bad. But as I don't really know how to describe this for you, I think you better listen for yourself instead, because I don't really know what to say.
youtube.com/watch?v=Y0BRMuKGqF4 | instagram.com/vrsexring


STRÖM: En Orkan På Vår Sida
Black Lodge Records - Digital Single
Press photo
Yes, Sweden's own AC/DC are back with a new single, which is the title track of their second album, that will be in stores soon. It's electrifying and catchy, and it sounds just like it should. It's not impossible that they have succeeded to make another album full of classics.
The idea of playing a mix of classic hard rock and rock n roll, and then sing in Swedish, is a brilliant idea in this case.
STRÖM are going on a Swedish tour as support act for THUNDERMOTHER on February 23, which will last until March 23. I would really like to go to one of those shows..
tidensjunger.se


SLAUGHTERROR: Endless Lust For Gore
Noble Demon - Digital EP
This is the debut EP from this Finnish death metal band, who formed in 2022. Inspiration is taken from American death metal legends like SIX FEET UNDER and CANNIBAL CORPSE, and it's said that this will take you back to the golden era of the genre. But they also infuse their own modern twist. It's simply a relentless onslaught of aggression and groove. Very powerful and brutal, like it's supposed to be.
The members also play in other bands, like ONE MORNING LEFT, HORIZON IGNITED and RED MOON ARCHITECT.
instagram.com/slaughterrorofficial | nobledemon.com


REN MARABOU AND THE BERSERKERS: The Journeys Of Rig
Wormholedeath Records - Digital Single
Ren is the same as clean in Swedish, and Marabou is a Swedish chocolate maker. Ren can also mean reindeer. Nice to know huh? But to be more serious, it's also the name of the frontman of this band.
This band is not from Sweden however. They are Irish, and have just signed to Wormholedeath for their upcoming album, titled "Helgafjell", slated for release on March 29. And the music that these guys make is best described as pagan/viking metal. It's powerful and the energy is high. The verse is a bit harder, while the chorus is more melodic.
This doesn't really sound like other bands in the same genre, as they seems to be more hard. A pretty o.k. song however.
youtu.be/fS66pFnTNT0?si=PTFEtEkXUcP1Uzhc | facebook.com/renmarabou | wormholedeath.com


PETROLBREATH: Carnal Rivals
Inverse Records - Digital Single
PETROLBREATH is a Finnish rock n roll trio, influenced by acts such as MOTÖRHEAD, CLUTCH, The HIVES and similar stuff. In other words a bare bones and honest interpretation of gasoline drenched rock n roll.
"Carnal Rivals" is taken from their upcoming EP, "Spread Your Wings And Die", to be released next month (March). Now it might not sound like any of the mentioned bands, but it's adrenaline fueled hard rock n roll that we get anyway. And I think fans of those bands will like this anyway, because this was absolutely not bad at all.
push.fm/fl/petrolbreath-carnalrivals | facebook.com/Petrolbreathband | inverse.fi


IRON SAVIOR: Raising Hell
AFM Records - Digital Single
German power metal band IRON SAVIOR released their latest album, "Firestar", in October last year. But this band is not lazy, so now they gives us a new single, "Raising Hell". And it sounds just like it should. It's in other words a powerful heavy metal anthem that they have created here. You should really check this out, because this is high quality metal.
iron-savior.bfan.link/raising-hell | iron-savior.com | afm-records.de


INNER AXIS: Master & Commander
Fasball-Music - Digital Single
From Kiel in Germany comes INNER AXIS, and they play classic heavy metal. "Master & Commander" is the second single from their upcoming album, "Miidnight Forces". And this fast-paced song have many different ingredients, such as brutal hooks, a captivating epic chorus, and an emotional bridge. These guys are hardly any amateurs, but seems to know exactly how to deliver a magical anthem.
Could be worth a try.
youtu.be/9rRXa9sxd0Q?si=fxx192ZBdbJ8_n8R | fastball-music.bandcamp.com | linktr.ee/inneraxisguitar


WITCHORIOUS: Witchorious
Argonauta Records - LP, CD, Digital
This is very good stuff! And when they use both male and female vocals in the chorus of "Catharsis", then it's extra magical. Another extra magical moment worth to mention is the power ballad "To The Grave". People who like doom metal and anything that's heavy should absolutely check this out. I'm pretty sure that you will love this band, because they should be the next big thing when it comes to doom metal from Europe.
This is a trio from Paris, founded in 2019, and this record is their debut album. Their music blends bluesy riffs inherited from BLACK SABBATH, aggressive sounds supported by fuzzy bass lines in the likes of ELECTRIC WIZARD, and intense atmospheres inspired by bands like AMENRA and MASTODON. To vary the vocals, and also use both male and female vocals, is a very good idea.
witchorious.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/ArgonautaRecords


Louise Lemón: Lifetime Of Tears
Icons Creating Evil Art on Feb. 23 - CD, LP, Digital
Louise with band at Liseberg
Swedish singer Louise Lemón has established herself as "the queen of death gospel", which is a darker and gothic kind of pop, but at the same time very emotional. And I guess it's the darkness in her music that makes some fans of metal interested.
She have now come to her third album. And if I should compare this with the previous albums, then I would say that she has really developed her sound. It's not just darkness this time, but also a sense of relief. Sometimes it's almost catchy, which comes as a surprise to me at least. However, to call it happy would be exaggerating a bit.
Fans of artists like Anna von Hausswolff, Chelsea Wolfe, Lisa Culbert, Emma Ruth Rundle and A.A. Williams should give this a try.
louiselemonmusic.com | icea.se


Avi Rosenfeld: Very Heepy Very Purple XV
Avi Rosenfeld - Digital Album
Well, guitarist Avi Rosenfeld doesn't have that much new to come up with. It's mainly the same old hard rock and heavy metal from the 70s and 80s as usual, with more or less the exact same sound. Still good, but mainly not much else.
But then comes a song like "You Feel Good Then It's OK", which is suddenly more catchy and a little different from the rest. That was a nice surprise! A uptempo song like "It's Alright" was also much needed.
This is actually the 15th chapter in the "Very Heepy Very Purple" series. As usual there's lots of different musicians and vocalists involved in these 10 songs. The most well-known is probably Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin (JAG PANZER), which sing on 1 song. Some of the others are Nick Walsh (SLIK TOXIK) and Brian Young (David Lee Roth), just to mention a few of them all. Main influences are still DEEP PURPLE and URIAH HEEP, but also RAINBOW, DIO, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST and JETHRO TULL. So it's a tribute to the music from the 70s and 80s.
avirosenfeld.bandcamp.com/album/very-heepy-very-purple-xv


BLOODBOUND: The Warlock's Trail
AFM Records - Digital Single
Swedish power metal band BLOODBOUND celebrate their 20th anniversary with a live album and Blu-ray, "The Tales Of Nosferatu - Two Decades Of Blood (2004-2024)", which will be released on April 19. "The Warlock's Trail" is the first single from this release.
Well, this is said to be one of their classics, and it's a true anthem in the melodic and powerful league. Absolutely worth checking out, and that's it.
I'm pretty sure that the live release will be excellent.
bloodbound.bfan.link/the-warlock-s-trail | bloodbound.bfan.link/the-tales-of-nosferatu | bloodbound.se | shop.afm-records.de


PISSED JEANS: Sixty-Two Thousand Dollars In Debt
Sub Pop - Digital Single
Here's another song from the upcoming album, "Half Divorced", which will be in stores on March 1. And this song is really punk. It',s raw and dirty, and I really like it. Absolutely worth checking out.
If they have more songs like this on that new album, then it could be really interesting to hear.
Not much else to add there..
youtu.be/ta0RR6cOb44 | music.subpop.com/pissedjeans_halfdivorced | whitedenim.com/pissedjeans


SKALLBANK: Det Var En Gang
Skallbank - Digital Single
In October 2024 Swedish rock band SKALLBANK celebrates their 10-year anniversary. But the pre-party has already begun, as they will release 1 song each month for the coming 10 months. And the first track is "Det Var En Gang".
This song is a hard and powerful metal/rock anthem. It's catchy, and I guess it should not fit totally wrong at a party. You should absolutely check it out anyway. And that's all I have to say..
skallbank.se


THERAGON: Lumina
Thornado Music on Feb. 23 - EP
This is something for those who like good old power metal from the 80s.
THERAGON was formed in Valencia, Spain in 2018. Among their influences were bands like AVANTASIA, FREEDOM CALL and GLORYHAMMER. Their debut album, "Where The Stories Begin", was recorded in 2020. On this new EP the story from the first album continues. And these 4 tracks are really good stuff. High quality power metal with passion and soul. So yes, this is obviously something that you have to check out as soon as possible.
thornadomusic.com


WHITEABBEY: The Words That Form The Key
Metalapolis Records on Feb. 23 - CD
WHITEABBEY are based in Belfast, and this is their third album. In the line-up we can find Steve Moore (STORMZONE, MAVERICK) on guitar, Dutch singer Tamara Bouwhuis (DIM CRIMSON), Graham McNulty on bass and Badger Duncan on drums. And the music that these people create is a symphonic kind of power metal.
The vocals is sometimes irritating high according to me, but luckily she sing more normal too, and the material that they have here is actually fantastic. I think there's just 1 or 2 songs that are not that hot on this album, the rest is all great stuff.
This is an album that you should check out.
metalapolis.eu | facebook.com/whiteabbeyofficial


SOCIAL DISORDER: Time To Rise
Pride & Joy Music on Feb. 23 - CD
SOCIAL DISORDER is another one of these supergroups, with members from both Sweden and USA. The band features Anders La Rönnblom (X-ROMANCE), Tracii Guns (LA GUNS), Leif Ehlin (PERFECT PLAN), Shawn Duncan (LA GUNS), David Stone (RAINBOW), Thomas Nordin, and Rudy Sarzo (WHITESNAKE, Ozzy Osbourne etc). They released an album, "Love 2 Be Hated", in 2021, and now another album is ready to be released.
I guess that it doesn't come as a surprise that what these gentlemen have created is a melodic hard rock album in the old school, even though the production is modern. It might not be a future classic, but they have some good songs here, so it's still worth a try for people with good taste in hard rock.
youtu.be/Y7ExvGwZyEo | facebook.com/OfficialSocialDisorderSweden | prideandjoy.de


ARKADO: Open Sea
Pride & Joy Music on Feb. 23 - CD
"Open Sea" is the second album from this Swedish melodic rock band. It's built on the same ingredients as the debut, "Never Say Never" (2020), but with a slightly symphonic and heavier dimension added to it. And this is an album that I recomend you to give a try. It has lots of really strong songs that I'm pretty sure that you will like if you're into melodic rock.
For some reason I think a little of a band like EUROPE when I hear this album. And then I talk about their later material (after the reunion), and not the classic 80s stuff.
youtu.be/_8ulojpTNHc | facebook.com/ChasingMiracles | prideandjoy.de


DUST BOLT: Sound & Fury
AFM Records on Feb. 23 - LP, CD, Cassette, Box Set
DUST BOLT formed in 2007 in Bavaria, Germany, and they play thrash metal. "Sound & Fury" is their fifth album. And on this album they redefine their sound for a new era. It's still rooted in thrash and old school metal, but with some extra flavours added to it. This makes it more catchy and melodic, while it's still heavy and powerful at the same time. It sounds very modern and fresh, and not necessarily like a thrash album.
I get a feeling that this is the kind of album that should be able to take the metal scene by storm. But I'm not so sure that it will. It sounds good anyway. No doubt about that.
dustbolt.net | shop.afm-records.de


DOOM: Corrupt Fucking System (re-issue)
783punx - Cassette, Box Set, Digital
Doom at Musikens Hus in 1995
I have to admit that I have never really been a fan of these British crust punk legends. I even saw them as overrated for many years, while many of the crust punks worshiped them (and yet I went to see them live in the 90s, but I was mainly there for the other bands I guess). But I guess that I had just heard the wrong recordings with them, because this album was not so bad. It's actually really good.
DOOM have been kicking ass against the system since 1987, and this album was originally released in 2013, so it's not such an old album. I can hear lots of influences from DISCHARGE and ANTI CIMEX here, and that can hardly ever go wrong. What I don't really like though, is that playing while somebody is talking. They could easily have thrown away 4 of these 14 tracks without a problem. It makes me wonder if their political message is more important than the music? Because DOOM has always been very political. But for being so political, they also have some funny titles - like "Final Hour (for Golden Shower)" for example.
For some reason this re-issue just seems to be available on cassette and digital.
DOOM have not been active all the time since 1987. The original line-up went seperate ways in 1990. In 1992 they were back again, and that time they existed until 2005. Since 2010 the band has been alive again.
youtu.be/YHQjUj7a17Q | linktr.ee/783_punx | facebook.com/doomcrustpunk


DISTORTED REFLECTION: Doom Rules Eternally
Iron Shield Records - CD
Greek power/doom metal band SORROWS PATH released 4 albums. But then the co-founder and guitarist Kostas Salomidis decided to leave the band for musical reasons. He formed his own band DISTORTED REFLECTION in August 2022, and now it was all in on doom metal.
Even if this band play doom, it's not of the slow kind. It',s heavy of course, but it's almost like they play fast compared to many other bands in this genre. Still damn good. No doubt about that. I think that fans of a more epic band like CANDLEMASS could like this a lot. And being compared with them can hardly be bad.
For some reason they have choosen to keep a low profile, and will not play live or give any audio or video interviews.
facebook.com/distortedreflectiondoom | ironshieldrecords.de


CRANEIUM: Point Of No Return
The Sign Records on Feb. 23 - LP, Digital
This is the 4th album from these Finnish heavy psychedelic fuzz rockers. It's said to be of interest for fans of bands like LOWRIDER, SKRAECKOEDLAN, LUCIFER, MARS RED SKY, WO FAT, MONOLORD and similar acts. We talk about a constant flow of fuzzy heaviness, complemented by psychedelic melodies and atmospheric passages. There's lots of heavy riffing, but the material is also diverse and dynamic, and more or less an adventure to listen to, so it never gets boring.
While many other heavy bands have songs that last for an eternity, this band is satisfied with a more normal length, 5 to 7 and a half minutes. And it's actually songs and not just a lot of riffs that they repeat over and over again. That gives them some extra points from me.
craneiumband.bandcamp.com | thesignrecords.com


ANUBIS: Dark Paradise
M-Theory Audio on Feb. 23 - LP, CD, Digital
Following a few EPs and singles, here's the debut album with this L.A. thrash/power metal band. And it sounds really strong and powerful. There's lots of great material to discover on this album, so I recomend all fans of true metal to check this out as soon as possible.
With the last song, "Thy Frozen Throne", they have even succeeded to make something more melodic. And this without losing power or energy.
A wild guess is that fans of something like JUDAS PRIEST could like this.
facebook.com/AnubisBandOfficial | m-theoryaudio.com


LIONHEART: The Grace Of A Dragonfly
Metalville Records on Feb. 23 - CD, LP
LIONHEART have been working on this album since the last album, "The Reality Of Miracles", was released in 2020. And they decided early on that it would be a concept album, so this record centres around World War 2. It's a anti-war album though, and also a tribute to those who fought.
This British melodic rock band is more or less a supergroup you could say. The current line-up features Lee Small (The SWEET, ex-SHY) on lead vocals, Dennis Stratton (ex-IRON MAIDEN) on lead guitar and backing vocals, Steve Mann (MSG, ex-LIAR) on lead guitar and backing vocals, Rocky Newton (GRAND SLAM, ex-MSG) on bass and backing vocals, and Clive Edwards (ex-Pat Travers, Uli Jon Roth, WILD HORSES) on drums and percussion.
It's soft and melodic, but not weak and silly. They simply have lots of good songs here. So the material is really strong. This is an album that you have to check out. It fits for both fans of melodic rock and melodic hard rock.
Lee Small reminds me a little of Glenn Hughes (ex-DEEP PURPLE, BLACK SABBATH, Gary Moore, PHENOMENA etc) actually, and that's something to be really proud of.
metalville.de | lionheartrock.com


RIFFORIA: Axeorcism
Metalville Records on Feb. 23 - CD
There once was a Swedish thrash band called TUCK FROM HELL, who released their debut album, "Thrashing", 12 years ago. They were already a celebrated live act, so the future looked bright. But destiny had other plans, and the band was put to rest.
But that didn't stop drummer and band leader, Fredrik Johansson, and guitarists Petrus Granar and Marcus Bengts, who continued to write music. Not much happened though, and when Petrus joined CIVIL WAR, the band became a duo. Now CIVIL WAR happens to feature Fredrik's father, Nils Patrik Johansson on vocals, and he wanted to help the guys and became their singer. By this time they changed the name to RIFFORIA.
What we get on this debut album is 10 powerful songs of thrash/heavy metal, with both traditional and modern influences. A big surprise is the cover of "CC Cowboys" by Swedish rock legends IMPERIET, where they suddenly sing in Swedish.
This is not bad at all, but could have been so much better. Nils Patrik is usually a very good singer, but for some reason he sounds strained/made up here (or like he's doing No. 2 on the toilet while he's singing). So I would like to hear these songs with more normal vocals, because I think that could be even better.
metalville.de


PAT!i: Sahara
Red Flag Music on Feb. 23 - (formats unknown)
PAT!i choose to begin with an acoustic piece, which can be a dangerous idea as it's the first song that people hear. And if you don't rock at once, you can easily lose listeners.
What we get after that is not exactly what I use to listen to (unless I get it for review). Some kind of catchy rock in the alternative/experimental league, which is spiced with heavy guitars and influences from different kinds of pop music. I guess that this could be something for fans of a band like QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE for example, even though it's not the exact same thing that we get here.
PAT!i is a 1-man band. And the man behind it has toured several parts of the world as a musician and bandmember, and has been both a musician and producer for bands in various genres, from hardcore to hip-hop. As a result, he has developed a unique sound in the borderland between vintage hard rock and modern rock, with experimental sounds and elements from hip-hop, rock and punk. "Sahara" is the debut album with this solo project.
youtu.be/HF2R3jYJ5lg


ELECTRIC FEEL GOOD: Janes Inn
Killed By Records on Feb. 23 - LP, Digital
I don't really know if I should call this garage rock or power pop or maybe both? It's a pretty happy and melodic kind of rock that they play anyway. Pretty catchy stuff with a touch of the 60s/70s, and easy to like as the songs are good. I think of Swedish bands like The CREEPS and ATOMIC SWING for example (if anybody remember them?). Worth checking out.
ELECTRIC FEEL GOOD is a band from Hälsingland in Sweden, formed in 2015. In the beginning they were influenced by British rock from the 70s, like The FACES. Later on they also began to blend in some Swedish rock/pop from the 90s. "Janes Inn" is their third album.
facebook.com/electricfeelgood


MANNEQUIN PUSSY: Nothing Like
Epitaph Records - Digital Single
Hm, I don't really know, but this didn't sound as good as they use to be. It's soft and laidback, no action at all. And it has been the same with their latest singles as well, so this doesn't really give me much hope when it comes to their next album, "I Got Heaven", which will be released on March 1. I actually begin to worry that they have become weaker, and that they have left the punk rock behind to play some soft and emotional rock instead. But that remains to be seen (or rather heard).
youtu.be/RHrWB4QnDQg | epitaph.com


FROZEN RAIN: One Mile From Heartsville
Lions Pride Music - CD, Digital
FROZEN RAIN is a international AOR band, formed by Belgian songwriter Kurt Vereecke, and the band have now come to their third album, which was released in October last year. As usual this record features some new members: guitarist Jens Ambrosch and vocalist Lars Edvall. The current line-up have people from Belgium, Sweden and Germany. But there's also some guest musicians, like Roy Nichol (APRIL WINE) and Fran Alonso (HACKERS), to name a few.
The music is no big surprise, as it sounds just like the classic bands in this genre. In other words melodic and kind. But they do it just as good as the legends, so fans of AOR should absolutely give this band a try, because I'm pretty sure that you will like what you hear, very much.
frozenrain.be | tiny.cc/lionspridemusic


UGLY PUNCH: Ugly Punch
Secret Entertainment on Feb. 22 - MCD, Digital
UGLY PUNCH is a pretty new band, who formed as late as last year. This is the debut EP from this Finnish band, who are said to play punkroll (whatever that means?). But I think we have to dig deeper than that to describe their sound. To me these 6 songs sounds more like some kind of mixture of psychobilly like The CRAMPS and garage/psych rock like The STOOGES. Then they add a twist of their own craziness to that, which gives us a varied material.
Well, most of the songs here are not so bad, pretty cool stuff actually. But there's at least 2 tracks that was pretty useless.
youtu.be/32kYqBeXx7U | uglypunchband.bandcamp.com | secretentertainment.fi


The SWAGGERLIES: Undoing
The Swaggerlies on Feb. 17 - (formats unknown)
The SWAGGERLIES play cool action rock/garage punk rock, and I really like these 4 tracks that we get on this EP. So this is something that I really can recomend you to check out if you like cool rock. And if you don't.. Well, then you have bad taste. But you can always do something about that.
The SWAGGERLIES are based in Seattle, and formed in 2018 influenced by guitar-driven rock like MOTÖRHEAD, AC/DC and The REPLACEMENTS. They have previously released a 2-track EP, a live album and 1 full-length album.
theswaggerlies.bandcamp.com


The INNOCENT: Underground Living
Cheat Records - Digital Single
The INNOCENT is an Italian punk rock band, formed in 2017. They are influenced by rough rock n roll, as well as early American and British punk rock. Their self titled debut album was recorded in 2018.
This song is taken from the second album, "Move After Dark", which will be released on February 22. It will be the first release for the newly established German label Cheat Records.
This is a melodic and not so fast song, and possibly more rock than punk, but I like it somehow. It could be interesting to hear that album, because I don't know if this song is representative for the rest of the album or not.
youtu.be/2mZbeI2JVIA?si=gPxkGweJ9AsfJM4P | cheatrecords.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/theinnocentgangbang


Frank Turner: Do One
Xtra Mile Recordings - Digital Single
Frank Turner will release his 10th album, "Undefeated", on May 3. "Do One" is one of the songs on that album.
This song start very soft, but becomes something that I would describe as pop punk or rock after that. It's very catchy, and a pretty good song after a few listenings.
I really don't know what else I should say, so give it a try if you want to.
frankturner.orcd.co/doone | frank-turner.com


ARADIA: Sad Time
Wanikiya Record - Digital Single
This band was born in 2019 and have their roots in NWOBHM. I'm not sure if they have released anything before this single, or if it might actually be their first release? But it sounds very old school anyway, much because of the bad/low sound quality I suppose. What I can hear sounds very promising though, so you should definitely check out this song as soon as you can.
Unfortunately the record label wasn't intelligent enough to include any link, so search for it (it's available on Spotify for example).


Venus: Two-0-One-9
Wanikiya Record - Digital Album
Venus is Giusy Minervino, an Italian woman who has been into music since a very early age. On this album she has collaborated with her guitar teacher, Marco D'Andrea (PLANETHARD), who wrote and arranged the music and produced the album, while Venus wrote all the lyrics. There's also some guests on the album, like Stefano Arrigoni (PLANETHARD) and Jordi Tagliaferri on drums. Alberto Zampolli (PLANETHARD) is singing a duet with Venus on 1 song. Marco D'Andrea play bass and guitars.
The music then? Well, how do I describe this? I would almost want to call it symphonic metal, but there's no symphonic elements, so that's not right. It's something similar at least, but luckily free from soprano vocals. It's modern and melodic anyway, and the songs are absolutely not bad at all. You should really give this album a try.
youtu.be/M2reGdFVvac


ACRID DEATH: Abominable Presence Of Blight
Rising Nemesis Records on Feb. 16 - Digital Album
This is the debut album from this German death metallers. The band was formed in 2020 by members of ALL ITS GRACE, DRIVEN BY ENTROPY and SYNCHRONIC. And what we have here is 9 tracks of dark and brutal HM-2 death metal, that will crush bones and pulverize all in its way (to exaggerate a bit). They are hardly doing anything new and unique, and they don't have to either, because this is good as it is. So simply an album that you really should check out.
The songs are short and straight without any crap. The shortest track is just 1:17 minutes, while the longest is 4:19 minutes.
acriddeath.de


ETERNAL STORM: A Giant Bound To Fall
Transcending Obscurity Records on Feb. 16 - CD, Digital
ETERNAL STORM is a progressive/melodic death metal band from Spain. They released their debut album, "Come The Tide", in 2019. After almost 5 years, they now return with their second full-length, "A Giant Bound To Fall". And on this album they have taken their sound even further. Sometimes it's raw and aggressive, other times it's emotional and atmospheric. So you could say that this is an ambitious journey between the extreme and the melodic. Or an album where progressive metal meets melodic death metal in perfect harmony maybe?
Not an ordinary album anyway. So if you want something different, this is exactly what you need.
eternalstormdm.bandcamp.com | transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com


VANIR: Epitome
Mighty Music on Feb. 16 - CD, LP, Digital
Danish melodic death metallers VANIR are ready to unleash a new album. The theme of this new full-length is the Danish middle-ages, with 2 songs branching into the Renaissance and the early middle-age. The core of the album's theme is the throne and the battles fought to keep it or to cement its power.
The band has been around for over 10 years now, and are one of the most popular melodic death metal bands in Denmark. VANIR have during the years evolved a lot. And on this album they show us a hard edge, but also a catchy and melodic side. They also prove that they should be ready for the rest of the world, becuase to me this album sounds just as good as anything from the more well-known name AMON AMARTH. So this is really something that you should check out.
Best melodic death metal album so far this year? It could be..
bit.ly/vanir-target | facebook.com/Vanirband | mightymusic.dk


The SCREAM: Whellcome
Sliptrick Records on Feb. 13 - CD, Digital
There was an American hard rock band called The SCREAM, featuring John Corabi (MÖTKEY CRÜE) and some members from RACER X and SHARK ISLAND. This is not that band..
"Whellcome" is the third album from this Italian band. They blend high energy and fast paced songs with more melodic and darker, aggressive tunes. And the music that they play is a mix of punk and hard rock.
The SCREAM have a collection of good songs here, but the one with the biggest hit potential must be "Go Out... Go Mad", which have a extra strong chorus. I can also recomend you to check out songs like "Underdogs Hymn" and "The Best Of Me", which also have a good chorus.
The English pronunciation may not always be perfect. But on the other hand, it gives the whole thing a bit of charm.
facebook.com/Screampowertrio | sliptrickrecords.com


HVALROSS: Running The Gauntlet
Hvalross - Digital EP
During 2023, Dutch hard rock/heavy metal band HVALROSS released 3 singles. These have now been combined into an EP, which was released in January 2024.
The band formed in the spring of 2018, but the members have been playing since they were teenagers in the late 80s. And it's mainly the 70s and the 80s that they want to honour with HVALROSS, even if it sounds more like stoner and heavy rock than good old hard rock/heavy metal (as I expected to hear). But there is something old over this band's music, and it sounds really good, so I'm not dissapointed anyway.
The best track must be the title track.
hvalross.com


NIGHTBLAZE: Take On Me
Art Of Melody Music/Burning Minds Music Group - Digital Single
No, it's not a cover of the old pop hit by A-HA, but an original song by this Italian AOR/melodic rock band. This is their second single, and it's just as strong as the first single. Those of you who like melodic rock from the 80s will love this band. That's how good they are. And that makes them one of the most interesting new bands in this genre.
Their self titled debut album will be released on March 22. That's something to look forward to.
youtu.be/61QH_b4s4JE | facebook.com/Nightblazeofficial | burningmindsgroup.com/art-of-melody-music


NATTRADIO: When Life Betrays
Raw Street Noise - Digital Single
What we have here is the debut single from NATTRADIO, who call their music "Doom Noir". It serves as both an introduction to the band and their sound, as well as a first taste of their upcoming album (due in April).
NATTRADIO is led by Niklas and Martin from bands like EVERCRY and MARBLE ARCH. With this new band they are exploring the borderland between art and music. The roots are in gothic doom metal, and it sounds soft and melancholy. Think of some of the bands from the 90s and add a modern twist.
If it wasn't for the electric guitars, I would probably have called this pop. So they are really on the border.
facebook.com/Nattradio


LEACH: Gone To Waste
Leach - Digital Single
LEACH is a local (Borås, Sweden) metal band, who play thrash/death n roll with a bang. This song is a first taste of their upcoming album, "New Model Of Disbelief", which will be released on April 19. It's crushing and aggressive, in your face as they say. In other words, fast and explosive metal with groove and melodies.
I might not have found a new favourite band, but it sure ain't bad anyway.
I don't know how long this band has existed, but it's a few years anyway as they have already released 3 full-length albums and 1 EP. Their own description of their sound is that they combine the Gothenburg sound with the old school death metal from Stockholm and the agressiveness of the northern hardcore.
youtu.be/zT8rjTr0lSc?si=6HE9e6vnn0-gF79g | linktr.ee/leachswe


HARSH: Maniac
Harsh - Digital Single
But what? Another band who is doing a cover of that old 80s pop song from Flashdance? It's a good song, but it's not like I need 10 cover versions of it. And this band is hardly adding anything new to it, so what's the point? And how come that some hard rock and heavy metal bands like this song so much? This gives me more questions than answers..
The young Paris based rock band HARSH are said to be inspired by classic acts like BON JOVI, MÖTLEY CRÜE, GUNS N' ROSES and VAN HALEN. That's not something that you can hear here. But maybe they give us one of their own songs next time?
youtu.be/SbkGRKGw9HU


The GHOST INSIDE: Wash It Away
Epitaph Records - Digital Single
The GHOST INSIDE will release a new album, "Searching For Solace", digitally on April 19 and physically on June 7. "Wash It Away" is a taste of that album, and it's hardly my cup of tea as they are said to play metalcore, but sounds like a modern pop band instead (which is quite common these days). They combine the hard and aggressive with the soft and melodic, and it sounds like something that could have been popular 20 years ago, but with an updated sound.
The band was formed in El Segundo, California in 2004. They have released 5 studio albums so far.
youtu.be/UNlutrxYsGw | epitaph.com


DEATH LENS: Cold World
Epitaph Records - Digital Single
Epitaph Records are really not what they used to be these days. But I must say that DEATH LENS is one of the better bands that they have (and there's a few more that I like as well), so it's not totally hopeless (even if they seems to have too many of those modern pop/metalcore acts according to me).
DEATH LENS is an alternative punk band from Los Angeles, who has existed since 2015. Their new album, "Cold World", will be released on May 3, and the title track has been released as a single.
This song seems to be a mixture of indie, punk and shoegaze. That's what the press release says anyway. Not the fastest song, but not slow either. It's actually hard to explain what it sounds like, so you could always give it a try.
youtu.be/us4ZxBcgvqA?si=uUx2L7fdtdT6ONSN | epitaph.com


TOO CLOSE TO TOUCH: Control
Epitaph Records - Digital Single
O.k., this is the kind of modern pop stuff that I really don't like. Soft and boring, no action and whining/emotional vocals. Be a man and rock out!
I guess that the kids like this shit anyway, but what do I care about their bad taste?
TOO CLOSE TO TOUCH (what a silly name) will release their final album, "For Keeps", on March 8. Sounds like good news that it will be their last album.
The band hailing from Lexington, Kentucky, and are said to play post-hardcore. They have been around for more than 10 years and released 2 full-length albums. Unfortunately their frontman, Keaton Pierce, died in 2022. So I can understand why they don't want to continue with the band. But hopefully something positive and good can come out of it.
youtu.be/Rw7rjWBpMHU?si=C1VekthrpCMiQp6W | epitaph.com


F.K.Ü.: The Horror And The Metal
Despotz Records on Feb. 9 - CD, LP, Digital
FKU
It's over 6 years since the last album, "1981" (Nov. 2017), with our Swedish horror thrashers F.K.Ü was released. But finally a new album is here, with some new bloody horror stories.
While the last album was based on slasher movies from 1981, there's as far as I know no specific theme this time. But the songs are just as great as on their previous albums, so you should not be dissapointed when you hear this masterpiece. Good song after good song is delivered, and you can't be anything but satisfied.
F.K.Ü. combines Bay Area thrash metal with crossover metal, and the lyrics are always inspired by horror movies from the 80s. This is their 6th album (if I get it right), and it's a must in every metal collection.
facebook.com/moshoholics | despotz.se


EXELERATE: Headfirst Into The Void
From The Vaults on Feb. 9 - Digital Single
Danish band EXELERATE continues to deliver the same power/thrash metal with progressive hints as they did on their debut album, but take it to the next level. It's both fast and heavy, as well as both fast and melodic. I think of something from the 80s when I hear this song, and that's a good grade. You should absolutely give these guys a try.
exelera.lnk.to/void


NEW MODEL ARMY: Unbroken
earMUSIC - LP, CD, Digital
NEW MODEL ARMY have been around for more than 40 years, and this is their 16th album. It's said to show us both their current and their past sound. They push the boundaries of their signature sound while staying true to their heart at the same time. The subjects and moods are variable, creating a diverse collection of tracks which touch on topics ranging from social and political commentary to deeply personal reflections.
They have succeeded to create their own sound somehow, which to me sounds like a mixture of indie rock and alternative rock, even if this band formed long before any of those genres existed. But I also hear some of the rock from the 80s and 90s. They are not the wildest rock band, but often laidback without being too soft. I don't really know how to describe it better than that..
newmodelarmy.org


MIND CONTROL: Elements
Mind Control - Digital Album
MIND CONTROL is a progressive death metal band from Abruzzo, Italy, who formed a decade ago. After a period of inactivity and a line-up change, they returned with their second album, "Elements", in December 2023, which is described as a "unique sonic journey".
Their roots might have been in melodic death metal with a progressive touch. But on this album it's like they have turned everything around, and want to show us who they really are and what they can do. This band are not afraid to push the boundries of the genre, which gives them a powerful and aggressive sound. But this is so much more than just that, as they blend styles and atmosheres just like they want to. The vocals is mainly screaming and growl, but sometimes there's also some clean vocals in the softer and more melodic parts.
It sounds modern and experimental, and should fit like a gloove for fans of progressive metal. Fans of straight and simple old school death metal might not be so impressed though.
ffm.to/mindcontrol_elements | facebook.com/mindcontrol.it


MATNEY: All Fired Up
Roulette Records on Feb. 9 - Digital Single
It sounds like these guys wants to be as cool as ZZ TOP. In other words a 80s kind of bluesy Southern rock with electronic elements. It might not have the same hit potential as the old classics by ZZ TOP, but it sure ain't bad anyway, no doubt about that.
"All Fired Up" is a track taken from the upcoming album "The Red Neck & The Red Man", which will be released in April.
MATNEY is led by Michael Matney, who seems to be a popular figure in the post-punk and Southern rock scenes. He comes from bands like WHITE BOY and The AVARAGE RAT BAND. He has also been playing guitar for David Alan Coe.
youtu.be/ZpcNwlYACEY | matney.rocks


COBRAKILL: Serpent's Kiss
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
If you want some good old hard rock/heavy metal like it sounded back in the 80s, then I can really recomend you to give this band a try. 12 brilliant songs to bang your head to or just have a few drinks to (or maybe both?). This is how it should be done if you want me to like your music.
I suppose that these guys are young. Because these songs are full of that young energy and passion that you lose when you get older.
COBRAKILL is a German band, formed in 2020. They have now signed to Italian label Frontiers Music, and "Serpent's Kiss", is their second album. It's said to be a giant step forward compared to the debut, "Cobratör" (2022).
Fans of classic bands like MÖTLEY CRÜE, JUDAS PRIEST, W.A.S.P., LIZZY BORDEN, RATT and DOKKEN should check this out at once.
orcd.co/serpentskiss | facebook.com/cobrakillrocks | frontiers.it


GOTUS: Gotus
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
Formed in 2019, GOTUS initially emerged as a live project conceived by guitarist Mandy Meyer (KROKUS, GOTTHARD, KATMANDÜ) and drummer Pat Aeby. The line-up were completed in 2022 with the addition of Ronnie Romero (ELEGANT WEAPONS, LORDS OF BLACK, RAINBOW, The FERRYMEN, MSG, SUNSTORM) as frontman, bassist Tony Castell (ex-KROKUS, CRYSTAL BALL), and keyboardist Alain Guy. Now their self titled debut album is here, and what we get is hard rock in the good old tradition, but with a modern production. It sounds really good to me. The material is powerful and heavy, yet catchy and melodic as well. You should absolutely give them a try.
I would guess that fans of classic bands like RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE and DEEP PURPLE could like this a lot (I did not say that GOTUS sounds exactly like them though).
orcd.co/gotus | facebook.com/gotusmusic | frontiers.it


GRAND: Second To None
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
This is the second album from this Swedish AOR band.
GRAND pass on the legacy of the Scandinavian AOR bands from the 80s and the 90s, but also add influences of classic bands like STARSHIP, FOREIGNER, TOTO, MR. BIG and GIANT. And as you probably can figure out for yourself, this gives them a sound that all fans of the genre will fall in love with. So yes, the material on this album is really strong. You have to give these guys a chance.
orcd.co/grandsecondtonone | facebook.com/grandthebandsweden | frontiers.it


The GRANDMASTER: Black Sun
Frontiers Music Srl - CD, Digital
The GRANDMASTER released their debut album in 2021, and now the second album is here.
The band is led by German guitarist Jens Ludwig (co-founder of EDGUY). And on this album Danish vocalist Peer Johansson (FATE, UREAS, PENTAKILL) has been welcomed into the fold, which has been compared with giants like Rob Halford (JUDAS PRIEST), Jorn Lande (JORN, MASTERPLAN) and Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O., ACCEPT). Alessandro Del Vecchio (to many bands and projects to mention here) play bass and keyboards.
What we get is a powerful kind of heavy/power metal with excellent vocals. The songs are strong, so you should find a lot of anthems to bang your head to. I have nothing to complain about anyway. But not really that much else to say either. So let the music speak instead.
orcd.co/thegrandmasterblacksun | facebook.com/TheGrandmasterBand | frontiers.it


MOTÖRHEAD: The Löst Tapes Volume 1-5
BMG on Feb. 23 - 8CD Box Set
Motorhead at Way Out West
Oh, this was pretty cool as MOTÖRHEAD is a favourite band to me. And what we have here is 5 "lost" live recordings that have been found on some old tapes.
Vol. 1 is a recording from Sala Aqualung in Madrid, Spain on June 1, 1995. A weird thing is that there's a few songs that I had forgotten, and some of them are actually not that good (maybe that's why?). But they are playing some of the classic stuff too of course, and those songs are never bad. And a fun thing is that they also decided to play "Silver Machine" by HAWKWIND (which Lemmy was a memebr of before MOTÖRHEAD). Unfortunately they also had to include both a drum and a bass solo. I get so tired of that..
Vol. 2 was recorded on October 18, 1998 at University Of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. And here they had a much more interesting set list according to me, with mainly great songs and no stupid solos included. Many songs from the 80s. There also seems to be a little more bite here, compared to the Madrid show. Absolutely worth checking out.
Vol. 3 is a recording from Malmö, Sweden in 2000. Another great concert with a very good set list. But it seems like they had not changed the set list that much since 1998, as it's more or less the same songs here, and even the talk is exactly the same as in 1998. But as I said, a really good concert though. But you don't need both volumes, unless you just must have everything you can get with the band.
The recording on Vol. 4 is very interesting, as it goes all the way back to December 20, 1984, when they played at Sporthalle in Hellbronn, Germany. At this time the lineup was Lemmy Kilmister on bass/vocals, Phil Campbell on guitar, Michael "Würzel" Burston on guitar and Pete Gill on drums. Only classics of course, and a very good concert. And there's actually not much else to add there. Every true fan of MOTÖRHEAD will be happy when they hear this explosive live recording. They were really on fire here.
And the last record here comes from a performance at Download Festival in Donington, England on June 13, 2008. And this is another explosive show with lots of great songs and a MOTÖRHEAD who seems to be in perfect shape. They even surprise the audience with a cover of the THIN LIZZY classic "Rosalie" and a guest apperance from Würzel (who left the band in 1995) on the 2 last tracks. It's a mixture of old and new songs, just as you can expect.
There's between 14 to as much as 24 tracks here per concert, which means a total of 104 tracks! So it takes a few hours to listen to all these concerts. But if you're a true fan, it's worth it of course.
All 5 concerts are also available digitally and as seperate vinyl releases (Vol. 5 should be out on Feb. 23 like this box set) in a limited edition.
motorhead.lnk.to/losttapesPR | imotorhead.com


IN VAIN: Back To Nowhere
Fighter Records on Feb. 8 - CD, Digital
IN VAIN is a Spanish heavy metal band with the roots in the melodic 80s sound, who also blend in elements of power, speed and thrash metal. They have existed since 2003, and have previously released 5 full-length albums.
While some other Spanish heavy metal bands choose to sing in Spanish, this band sing in English. And it's a very traditional sound that they have. So fans of that should give these guys a try, because this is pretty good stuff. And I don't think that I have to give you any deeper description than that, because you probably already know the sound and if you like it or not.
There seems to be another band called iN VAIN, as I got an e-mail that said that they will release a new album in April.
invainmetal.com | fighter-records.com


RAW WAR: Total Raw War
Sentient Ruin on Feb. 9 - LP, Digital
This is a posthumous release from defunct Canadian crust core band RAW WAR. It includes everything that they recorded.
The band existed from 2009 to 2013, and was influenced by 80s and 90s UK d-beat and anarcho-punk bands like DOOM and DISCHARGE, as well as by early Scandinavian hardcore/punk bands like ANTI CIMEX and TOTALITÄR. An unnamed full-length album and a 7" EP, tentatively tiled "Raw Terror", were recorded but never saw the light. But now you can finally get them both on this LP.
If you like more noisey and raw crust punk from the 80s/90s, then this could be something for you. Most songs are just around 1-2 minutes, so you get as much as 17 tracks here. And I think it's good that people finally get the chance to hear these songs, because most of it sounds really good.
My only question is why they thought it was a good idea to waste as much as 3 minutes on a useless instrumental intro? But otherwise not much to complain about. Get youself a 6-pack and pogo all night long to the sound of RAW WAR.
sentientruin.com/releases/raw-war-total-raw-war


HAYSTACK: Doomsday Goes Away
The Dogma Repertory Institute/Threeman Recordings on Feb. 9 - CD, LP, Digital
If I'm not totally wrong, I wasn't so impressed by their last album. But this new album seems to be a little better.
HAYSTACK is a Swedish rock band featuring Ulf Cederlund (ENTOMBED, MORBID, DISFEAR, MURDER SQUAD, ALPHA SAFARI, SWARM OF SOULS) on vocals and guitar, Jonas Lundberg (The MAGGOTS, A-BOMB, The SLAMMERS, VOLADORAS) on drums, and Patrik Thorngren (A\VOID, NEUTRA, ALPHA SAFARI) on bass. They play some kind of mixture of alternative, noise and post rock that is difficult to place. So it's not that easy to describe what they actually sounds like. It's not any advanced math music anyway, but not that hit friendly either. Influences seems to come from American bands mainly, and one thing I can say is that it's raw and unfiltered.
The band first existed between 1994-1998. And after a long hiatus, they were back again in 2017. "Doomsday Goes Away" is their 4th album.
threeman.se | haystack1.bandcamp.com


PAT!i: NumbDance
Red Flag Music - Digital Single
PAT!i is a 1-man band who blend influences of vintage hard rock and modern rock, with experimental sounds and elements from hip-hop, rock and punk. This is the first single from his debut album, "Sahara", which will be out on February 23.
What we have here is a energetic song that reminds me of QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE. It sounds alternative and experimental.
This is one of the better songs from the album.
youtu.be/HF2R3jYJ5lg


The DEVILS: Let The World Burn Down
Go Down Records on Feb. 9 - LP, CD, Digital
This Italian duo play a heavy and raw kind of garage rock n roll, sometimes with much distortion. They are not the wildest band as you can probably dance to most of these songs (if anybody like to do that?), but it sounds old and cool anyway. There is at least a couple of songs with more action, but they are actually not as good as their other songs.
The DEVILS hailing from Naples, and this is their 4th album. Their rock n roll is primitive and filled with sex and sin. But it's said that they have actually pushed the boundaries of their sound this time. They have for example been listening a lot to blues and soul during the last years. We also get 2 covers: "Big City Lights" by Cleo Randle (1966) and "Teddy Boy Boogie" by CRAZY CAVAN 'N' The RHYTHM ROCKERS (1975), which has been adapted into "Teddy Girl Boogie".
bfan.link/let-the-world-burn-down | thedevilsduo.bandcamp.com | godownrecords.com


Francesco Marras: Soldiers Of The Light
Hell Tour Productions - Digital Single
Francesco Marras is a Sardinian guitarist, who has been playing with British legends TYGERS OF PAN TANG since 2020. He is also the founder of SCREAMING SHADOWS, and has a solo career as well.
This song is a collaboration with Sardinian singer Daniele Ledda (TWILIGHT ZONE, SCREAMING SHADOWS), and it's classic metal that we get. It sounds really good, so this is something that all fans of true heavy metal should check out. I would not say no to some more songs in the future.
youtube.com/watch?v=z-QgvoC3YsA | francescomarras.com


BURNING LEGION: Injustice
Burning Legion - Digital Single
BURNING LEGION is what they call an "American multi genre metal band", and this is the second single off the upcoming debut album, "En Sabah Nur", to be released at a later date in 2024.
The band started as a solo project in 2022, but have now become a online studio band with members from different states of America. The group draws influences from all aspects of metal, and has therfor been described to be very difficult to place in a genre. But to make it easy for oursleves we simply call it alternative metal then. Because this song actually have all kinds of ingredients, and is really hard to describe in detail. I think I put it in the more extreme category though.
burninglegion23.bandcamp.com


VRÄVARNA and BLÄCK
Concert at Orangeriet in Borås, Sweden on Feb. 3, 2024
Local sex punk legends VRÄVARNA celebrated their 40th anniversary with a sold out party in the middle of the city. But first out was the new band BLÄCK, from the gettho Norrby. A young trio who played a pretty catchy and melodic kind of punk rock. Pretty o.k. But as I had not heard them before, I guess I have to hear some more before I know if they are good or not.
There were already lots of people when they played, and that's unusual. So I guess they have some fans already.
Black at Orangeriet
Black at Orangeriet
It's already 10 years since I saw VRÄVARNA last time. It was when they celebrated their 30th anniversary at Tåget here in Borås. Not much people that time, but now that they celebrated 40 it was sold out.
It was a totally different line-up that we got this night. As far as I know there was just 1 member left from the gig in 2014, the drummer. The band was a wild mixture of people - 1 looked like an old blues dude (which he actually is, they even let him play a blues solo for us), 2 members had a mask, 1 had chains over his bare chest, and 1 guy just looked like a normal middel-aged man. Not really what I expected to see. They sure didn't look like that before, and I guess that dissapointed me a little somehow. It was almost like seeing a tribute band with a bunch of clowns, haha.
I can't deny that they did a really good job with the songs though, which was all the classics that you can expect, with dirty lyrics mainly about the ass hole and similar stuff (hardly a band for everyone). The music is a very catchy and melodic kind of punk with twin guitars, and it's very sing-along friendly. Very male you could say, but I'm actually a little surprised that there was so many women, who also seemed to like it.
It was a little weird to see them without Ruben on vocals, but it actually worked.
Vravarna at Orangeriet
Vravarna at Orangeriet Vravarna at Orangeriet


THUNDERMOTHER: Speaking Of The Devil
AFM Records - Digital Single
Filippa, the queen of Thundermother
This is the second single from the latest line-up of this all-female hard rocking band from Sweden. But not much have changed, which they proved already with the last single, "I Left My License In The Future", which was damn good. It's as usual straightforward, energetic, catchy and very contagious hard rock n roll with a big party vibe. But while the last single was more uptempo, this one is more melodic according to me, even though it's still rocking of course.
Definitely worth cehcking out.
thundermother.bfan.link/speaking-of-the-devil | thundermother.com | afm-records.de


TEARS' HEAVEN: Godfall
Almost Religious - Digital Single
This is a band from northern Italy, who will release their new studio album, "Godfall", later this year. The first single is the title track.
The members of this band all have mysterious names like Atlas Heaven, Jericho, Legiõn, and The Priest. Inspiration comes from Anglo/Swedish alternative bands like GHOST, MAGNA CARTA CARTEL, WHITE LIES and EDITORS. Their music is characterized by haunting minor keys, ethereal Gregorian choirs, evocative rhythms, and rich melodies, and delivers an almost ritualistic experience. This is obviously something different than the usual rock music.
Fact is that this song have a touch of modern pop according to me, which is something that I don't like. But then there's also some heavy guitars here, which gives it a other feeling somehow. I guess we can call this something like alternative rock/post-rock, but this is probably not any of that?
frontl.ink/n0m7y6q | facebook.com/TRS7.music | almostreligious.com


PALOOKA: Save Yourself
Palooka - Digital Single
PALOOKA is a rock band from Seattle, USA. This single is the title track of their upcoming EP, which will be released on February 23. It's said to be something for fans of bands like CHEAP TRICK, ALICE IN CHAINS, AC/DC, BUCKCHERRY, AEROSMITH and similar stuff. In other words we get elements of metal, blues, 70s rock, grunge/alternative rock and more. But to make it easy I just call this alternative hard rock.
PALOOKA released their debut album, "What's Wrong With Wanting Everything", in 2011. So they are hardly a new band on the rock scene.
Well, this is a pretty o.k. song for fans of alternative rock from the 90s. Dark and heavy, yet not sleepy.
youtu.be/a2APbhYOX2E


NEPAL DEATH: She Demon (The Exorcism Of The Rakshasi)
Nepal Death - Digital Single
I really liked their last single, "Sister Nirvana". And just like that song, this latest also reminds me of Swedish rock band The SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES in their more psychedelic moments. But they also mention elements of the ROLLING STONES classic "Sympathy For The Devil" and "Movin' On Up" by PRIMAL SCREAM when they describe the sound of this song. It sounds really good anyway, no doubt about that. This must be one of the most interesting psych rock bands at the moment, and they are from Sweden (like me).
Listening to this is like going back to the late 60s/early 70s, and meeting stoned hippies everywhere. Everybody is dancing and just having a good time.
youtu.be/s4WF1I1_gsE?si=M-y9JXEeEXecxUSk | nepaldeath.com


MASTERPLAN: Rise Again
AFM Records - Digital Single
After something like a decade of silence, German power metallers MASTERPLAN return with a brand new song. If this is a first taste of a new album is too early to say though, but maybe. As far as I can understand it sounds just like it should, so no old fan should be dissapointed. In other words a very good song that you really should check out.
MASTERPLAN are going on a European tour together with FIREWIND in the end of this month, which will last until March 24.
masterplan.bfan.link/rise-again | masterplan-theband.com | afm-records.de


JUNKYARD DRIVE: Tearaway
Mighty Music - Digital Single
After 10 years on the rock scene, JUNKYARD DRIVE embraces a new sound and lyrical universe, which is a combination of high energetic tempo and raw expression, with lyrics that celebrate the modern woman who neither wants nor should settle for anything. To me it sounds like hard rock with both classic and modern ingredients. This song is absolutely not bad, but it's not a hit song either. You should check it out though, as it's very catchy somehow.
A new album, titled "Look At Me Now", will be released later this year.
junkyard.lnk.to/tearaway | linktr.ee/junkyarddriveofficial | mightymusic.dk


TROY THE BAND: Cataclysm
Bonebag Records on Feb. 2 - LP, Digital
London-based doom/stoner band TROY THE BAND release their full-length debut. They have previously released a EP.
This band blend stoner/doom, post rock, shoegaze and heavy psych, which gives them a dark and heavy sound of their own, but without sounding too unfamiliar. It's often psychedelic, but not too adventurous.
Heavy music like this can easily be monotonous and boring, but TROY THE BAND succeed to be more active and alive than many other bands who play heavy. That's a big plus for me at least.
troytheband.com | bonebagrecords.com


STRIKER: Ultrapower
Record Breaking Records on Feb. 2 - CD, LP, Digital
This is a Canadian heavy metal band, and "Ultrapower" is their 7th studio album. It seems like they have been working on this record for 5 years. And what we get here is a wild collection of influences, from AOR to speed metal and hardcore to hair metal. The result is not that wild though, but rather hard rock and heavy metal, mainly melodic and in the old 80s tradition. 1 song is melodic rock, while another is almost power metal.
But no matter in what direction they go, it's good. And among the best songs here are the opening with "Circle Of Evil" and "Best Of The Best". But stuff like "City Calling" and "Live To Fight Another Day" are also really good.
youtu.be/YrG-mSSvIeo | kck.st/3P6Gws6


SOLBRUD: IIII
Vendetta Records on Feb. 2 - 2LP, 2CD, 2Cassette, Digital
SOLBRUD is a black metal band based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is their 4th album. And instead of composing the music together, as they use to do, they decided to write music and lyrics individually - 1 side each of a double LP. But the songs were of course recorded by the whole band.
The result is their longest, most ambitious and diverse album yet. But that doesn't mean that all songs last for an eternity (even though some does). Because there's some shorter pieces too.
The music is the atmospheric kind of black metal, and all lyrics are in Danish. Sometimes it',s very peaceful and heavy, other times fast and intense. But I think you know the sound, so I don't have to give you any deeper instructions. And then you also know if you like it or not.
The number 4 is a theme here. They are 4 members of the band, the title is "IIII", it's their 4th studio album, and there's 4 sides on a double vinyl. But we also have the 4 elements: wind, water, earth and fire. The members have written about 1 of these elements each.
This is a very long album. The first track is 17 and a half minutes, and another song is 17 minutes. Some of the other tracks are between 7 to 11 and a half minutes. But there's also some shorter songs, which are between 2 to 4 minutes.
Since the recording of the album, vocalist/guitarist Ole Luk has left the band to focus on his solo project, AFSKY. He has been replaced by David Hernan.
solbrud.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/vendettacult

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