EP: The Family – Welcome To The Family

Welcome_To_The_Family_ArtworkJust because you’re well known for showcasing one particular genre of music to the world, doesn’t mean you won’t don’t well in other directions. The latest example of this theory to come to play is Sheffield based Alternative Rock outfit THE FAMILY; some of them have raised from the ashes of former Hardcore act DEAD HARTS. Their upcoming EP will show you a completely different side musically but their rebellious, punk streak is alive, hungry and eager to get out.

As stated before, THE FAMILY are an Alternative Rock quartet that hail from Sheffield, UK. They formed from the ashes of the recently disbanded DEAD HARTS. This idea has orrignally come from vocalist Matthew Baxendale’s pursuit to create more melodic vibes, taking influences from QUEENS OF STONE AGE and NIRVANA.

The EP itself provides the listener a great taster of their sound; it is literal proof that great things come in small packages. The EP only contains four tracks but each one has a very different story to tell.

It opens with a bit of belter that gives us a very cool, upbeat intro that will lift the darkest of moods up to a very high level. The track in question is titled Ain’t Gonna Happen. It contains a straight to the point, no nonsense kind of sound and you get to hear the first tints of the QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE/FOO FIGHTERS influences.

My Kinda Scum could easily become the Rock anthem of the century. The sound is as raw as the message it portrays across. According to vocalist Bax, the song touches upon those sorts of people who seemingly have this presence on social media yet when you meet them in real life they aren’t who they claim to be. What’s particularly remarkable about this track is that it contains that punkish, rebellious vibe even with that groovy beat that anyone could dance to. The line My Kinda Scum alone has a great impact and one can imagine that this particular track will go down very well at live shows.

It might appear that Nightmares and Daydreams is going to take a slight turn towards the industrial side of the spectrum. The intro contains hard hitting riffs, ROB ZOMBIE-esque vocals and the chorus showcasing a similar musical structure to this Rock/Metal legend. Once the upbeat guitar riffs are heard, one can be sure that the original sounds of THE FAMLY are not far off.

The EP concludes gallantly in a very rebellious fashion with their single Radio Headphones. This was recently heard on the airwaves thanks to Radio 1’s Rock Show. This raw, dirty single touches upon the issue of hearing the same mass produced material over and over again, whether we like it or not. The song as a whole reminds one of the classic Hate To Say I Told You So by fellow alternative rockers THE HIVES.

So, even though the EP is small with not very many songs, it contains a huge sound that is sure to be admired by many fans of Rock and Metal alike. Highly recommended for fans of QUEENS OF STONE and NIRVANA, or just those wanting to expand their musical collection with something a little bit different.

8/10

Album Review: Root – Kärgeräs – Return From Oblivion

a0879862781_10Ever felt so immersed with an experience that once you start doing it, you want to do it all over again and not want to do anything else? This is the feeling that is very well received when you take a deep plunge and listen to ROOT’s latest album “Kärgeräs – Return From Oblivion”. It is a portfolio of powerfully, hypnotic vocals, finger blistering guitar work and sweeping drums; once you start to listen to it, that’s it. Forget about what else you had planned for the day, the worries of being late to a meeting will be long gone and who cares if it’s time for bed. This album is that addictive.

For those who don’t know the band ROOT, here is some information. They formed in the year 1987 in the city of Brno, Czech Republic and over the past three decades they have released an impressive discography of full length albums, demos and even a boxed set.

You’ll be interested to know that ROOT were one of the original pre-second-wave Black Metal bands, following in the footsteps of legendary icons BATHORY and VENOM. They approached this genre in a very refined, less savage way then it’s predecessors. As the Metal Archives say, their style progressed towards a more epic, dark sound with clean vocals. It still recognised as Black Metal at the core due the unchanged ideology. With this impressive background, it’s no wonder they have a loyal following of fans and with this album gain a new generation of fans.

From the moment you press play on this record, you are rooted to the spot with the strong opening melodies “Life Of Demon” and “Osculum Infame”; these powerful songs contain dominant vocal work, exquisite guitar work and thunderous drums.  This high standard of quality music continues right until the very end; these songs come in all different forms and shapes which continue to keep the listener engaged and interested.

“Black Iris” sounds very eloquent and cultured with the rolled ‘Rs’ yet give us the brutal hell they are known for with excellent guitar solos and aggressive growls. “Moment Of Hope” is stripped completely of the darkness and distortion that creates a haunting melody that emphasises the impeccable vocal work. Then you have tracks that completely surprise you such as “The Key To The Empty Room” and “Do You Think Is It The End?” that have a Doom vibe to them. That’s just a few examples of why this album is mighty and glorious.

For those Metal heads wanting a gem in their record collection, this is the album for you. Highly recommended!

10/10

Find Root on Facebook and their official website.

Album Review: Battle Beast – Bringer The Pain

battle-beast-bringer-of-pain-artworkTwo years have passed and all was quiet in the BATTLE BEAST camp…until now. They are due to release a belter among us in less than a month and it will bring even the laziest couch potatoes of their sofas and raring to go. This album packed with energy and fire is titled ‘Bringer Of Pain’ and it is due to be released 17th February 2017 via Nuclear Blast.

BATTLE BEAST are one of Finland’s rising stars; their music reaching the airwaves on an international scale, headline tours across Europe and support slots with some of the biggest names in metal including SABATON.

From the first opening notes of ‘Straight To Your Heart’ you feel the fire and passion that BATTLE BEAST are well known for, it’s enough to bring a warm smile across your face.

Each track contains an outstanding arrangement of dominant vocals, blistering guitar riffs, excellent synths and pounding drums; all these elements create an eclectic selection of tracks that suit every mood under the sun. Strong examples of this can be heard in the songs ‘Bey
ond The Burning Skies’, ‘Lost In Wars’ and ‘Familiar Hell’.

‘Beyond The Burning Skies’ gives the listener a sense of hope and fulfilment with its majestic musical arrangements backing the gratifying vocal work. ‘Lost In Wars’ is a powerful duet between Noora Luhimo and AMORPHIS frontman Tomi Jousten, the harmonisation between these two powerful voices is extraordinary. ‘Familiar Hell’ is an empowering song that encourages that inner rebel to start a revolution.

The album concludes beautifully with the moving ballad ‘Far From Heaven’ that shows the softer side to Noora’s versatile vocals.

Like its predecessors this record contains power, passion and a lot of tenacity. That encourage behind the music not to give up and to keep going no matter what.

EP Review: Seven Kingdoms – In The Walls

587906_phixrAs well as being associated with all things Disney and dubbed the sunshine state, Florida USA is now also known as the home of the hypothetical love child of DRAGONFORCE and NIGHTWISH. Power Metal troupe SEVEN KINGDOMS are that hypothetical love child; with their neck breaking solos and opera like vocals there could be a new power troupe in the midst of the metal community.

This troupe formed in 2007 and began to play shows. They went through the usual underground route; members coming and going, numerous local shows, an independently released album etc. They signed a deal with Intromental Worldwide in 2009 when they had a solid line-up. Since then, they have shared the stage with Metal giants such as BLIND GUARDIAN, SYMPONY X, BEHEMOTH, QUEENSRYCHE and AVANTASIA.

Their latest EP ‘In The Walls’ reinforces the statement they could be the love child of two of the biggest names in metal.

‘In The Walls’:  The finger blistering guitar work reminds one of DRAGONFORCE and HAMMERFALL, it’s straight to the point with some memorable riffs and solos. The vocals come in sometime later and they do make hair stand on end when they are heard, especially with the powerful back from the choirs in the chorus. The opera like vocals, provided by Sabrina Valentine and the majestic choir have strong tints of NIGHTWISH and the older material from TRISTANIA. What a way to make a grand entrance.

‘Undying’:  A similar start to its previous track, later you hear some elements that make it stand out. This contains a sweeping melody and a genuinely darker theme, it’s not as majestic as the choirs are a lot quieter. It’s great that they keep up a variety.

‘The Bloody Meadow’:  The title alone doesn’t exactly suggest a cutesy woodland with bunny rabbits, deer and squirrels playfully chasing each other in a vast field of green. The vibe of the track reinforces this fact with it’s heavy, pounding riffs and eerily serene vocals. The choirs and vocals bring forth the heroic battle that is clearly either taking place in the track or the soldiers are preparing for it.

‘Stormborn’:  Concluding track ‘Stormborn’ shows off the beauty and the beast technique for the first time, the harsh and clean vocals harmonise together perfectly. It is the track that is contains the uplifting end to a very promising EP.

Overall verdict is that this EP is quite a powerful release that shows the quality of their sound.

Album Review: Autokrator – The Obedience To Authority

569662_phixrAs well as being well known for its fine wine, strong cheese and rolling country sides, France has become a rare breeding ground for Metal bands alike. Following in GOJIRA’s roots is Death Metal duo AUTOKRATOR. They are new to the scene but they are already spawning a huge fan following on social media with their suffocating Death Metal. They released their second full length album ‘The Obedience To Authority’ which could be interpreted as explaining the fearful feelings if you don’t follow the rules, even if these rules are against your better judgment.

This duo formed in the year 2014 in the French capital Paris by guitarist/bassist Loïc.F and vocalist David Bailey, little did this city of love know that this duo was to concoct and release despair and misery onto the world. In terms of the sort of music they planned to produce this is a huge compliment.

They describe themselves as Suffocating Death Metal and this record gives this the listeners that. Each chapter brings out a sense of panic, fear and anxiety; these feelings actually come on physically as the listener may feel a tightness in the chest and the fear of not being able to breath by the end of this work. They do this by deploying drone like elements and echoed effects into the music that emphasise the dread and horror the listener feels.

Their influences from Milgram’s experiments fits extremely well within the record. For those of you who don’t know, Stanley Milgram was an America social psychologist who conducted controversial experiments on obedience and how far we would go to follow orders, even if they were against the participant’s conscious and gut feelings. After researching his works in greater detail, the listener will be able to hear these intense influences within this penetrating music.

Overall verdict, a recommendation for those who love Extreme Metal in any shape or form and those who are into the psychology side of things. Not for the faint hearted or the easily offended.

My Top Albums of 2016

 

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10. Eternal Halloween – Eternal Halloween

Kicking off my top ten for 2016 is the self titled abomination from terrifying troupe ETERNAL HALLOWEEN. There are a few things I admire about this troupe; their outrageous (well not to us metal heads) appearance, their brilliantly heavy sound and their ability to entice the listener in within the first few seconds. What I liked the most is their scarily accurate lyrical content about some dark issues, these lyrics hit you hard. Not recommend for the faint hearted or easily offended.

 

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9. Rotting Christ – Rituals

As I’ve mentioned previously; watching Greek Extreme Metallers ROTTING CHRIST at Bloodstock 2014 converted me into a fan. Their latest release ‘Rituals’ is a stunning masterpiece with brutal yet beautiful melodies that have you submerged from the word go. From the hypnotic and pounding beats of ‘Devadevam –देवदेवं-‘ to dominant single ‘Elthie Kyrie’ it’s a treasure for fans of the band and Extreme Metal.

 

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8. Diablus In Musica – Dirge For The Archons

They hail from Spain and are fronted by a voice of beauty. Number eight comes in the form of DIABLUS IN MUSICA’s ‘Dirge For The Archons’. This album is a portfolio of grand melodies infused by huge orchestras, loud riffs and a powerful voice. Highlights of this album for me included the empowering ‘Marble Embrace’, Metal/Tim Burton-esque fairy tale ‘Ring Around The Fairies’ Carousel’ and the ballads emphasising the vocal work such as ‘A Speck In The Universe’ and closing track ‘Zauria’. NIGHTWISH watch out, there’s a new troupe in town.

 

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7. Eden’s Curse – Cardinal

It’s no secret they’ve been personal favourites since first reviewing their London show over two years ago. ‘Cardinal’ from Multi-National Melodic Metal outfit EDEN’S CURSE is an assortment of great quality tracks consisting of great guitar work, powerful vocals and excellent arrangements on keyboards, bass and drums. This is the first studio album with drummer John Clelland and new master of the keys Christian ‘Chrism’ Pulkkinen, if this album doesn’t say they’ve settled in who knows what will. With some strong melodies such as ‘The Great Pretender’, ‘Unconditional’ (featuring Metal siren Liv Kristine) and ‘Find My Way’ it’s a must have for fans of Hard Rock and Melodic Metal.

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6. Kissin’ Dynamite – Generation Goodbye

KISSIN’ DYNAMITE have been a growing presence in the Hard Rock scene and their latest release containing strong melodies will ensure their increasing recognition. This album contains some Hard Rock masterpieces containing great guitar work, prevailing vocal work and pounding drums. These include the fist pumping ‘She Came She Saw’, the empowering concluding track ‘Utopia’ and moving ballad ‘If Clocks Are Running Backwards’.  If you love epic sounding Hard Rock tracks that you can imagine hearing in stadiums then this is the album for you.

 

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5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika

I understand MOONSORROW have been round for a while but this year was the year I got to experience their sound and live presence. Ever since listening to the album’s single ‘Suden Tunti’ and catching them live with fellow Finnish Folk Metalheads KORPIKLANNI I have been addicted to their sound ever since. With its prevailing, sweeping melodies it’s no wonder the album has been a regular occurrence on my playlist this year. I particularly admire the Pagan like melodies infused with heavy riffs, harsh vocals and pounding drums; it’s an album I can listen to from start to finish without growing bored.

 

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4. Devilskin – Be Like The River

New Zealand based Hard Rock quartet DEVILSKIN have been favourites of mine since last year when I listened to their first album containing straight up, non nonsense melodies. Their latest record ‘Be Like The River’ holds up this statement loud and proud, the first few seconds of ‘Dressed In Black’ had me hooked from the word go. The rest of the album follows suit with tracks such as ‘Bury Me’, ‘Limbs’ and the mighty single ‘Mountains’. This album and band are highly recommended for fans of HALESTORM, giving that they are due to tour together in New Zealand later this month.

 

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3. Delain – Moonbathers

It’s no secret DELAIN are a mounting presence on the Metal scene and their latest release ‘Moonbathers’ will ensure they are still renowned within the scene. The first few seconds of ‘Hands Of Gold’ featuring guest vocals from ARCH ENEMY’s own Alissa Whyte Gluz gives us a taste of the epic sounding music that is expected on the rest of the album. The album contains a great selection of tracks such as empowering ballad ‘Chrysalis – The Last Breath’, fist pumping ‘Pendulum’ and incredible single ‘Suckerpunch’.

 

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2. Sabaton – The Last Stand

‘When the winged hussars arrive’ have been the words on every SABATON’s fans lips and with their powerful new release ‘The Last Stand’ it is easy to see why. Love them or hate them this camouflaged troupe of talented Swedish musicians have made a huge impact on the Metal scene. The first few seconds of opener ‘Sparta’ was enough to grab my attention and made me punch the air with glory. The release contains some incredible belters such as ‘The Last Stand’, ‘Winged Hussars’, ‘The Last Battle’ and ‘Blood Of Bannockburn’.  It appears these Power Metal heroes have conquered once more.

 

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1.Van Canto – Voices Of Fire

My number one album of 2016 comes from the almighty acapella troupe VAN CANTO. This is their very first concept album and the first one not to contain covers. It goes to show that you can create an epic release using only five voices and a drum kit. At first listen the spoken prologue and ‘Clashings Of Armour Plates’ send shivers down the spine and hair raising on end with the sheer beauty of this majestic sound. It keeps up this stately feel with songs such as ‘Firevows (Join The Journey)’, ‘Time And Time Again’, ‘The Bardcall’ and ‘To Catharsis’. With striking sounding voices harmonising to create grand melodies, this makes VAN CANTO’s album ‘Voices Of Fire’ my number one record of 2016. I highly recommended getting the album with beautiful bonus track ’Hymn’.

Album Review: Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell

airbournejpeg_phixr-1Here’s a band that don’t an introduction, especially within the Hard Rock community. Aussie born AIRBOURNE have wowed audiences with their brilliant Hard Rock tunes such as ‘No Way But The Hard Way’, ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Live It Up’. They released their latest creation earlier this year; there is no doubt that it is blowing people’s minds with its powerful content.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past thirteen years, here’s what AIRBOURNE are all about. They formed in their hometown of Warrnambool, Australia. Their first album ‘Runnin Wild’ was the most talked about and best reviewed debuts around. Since then they have released many chart worthy records such as ‘Black Dog Barking’ and ‘No Guts No Glory’. Following in their fellow Australian Hard Rockers AC/DC’s footsteps ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ will ensure they stay ahead of the game.

No matter what you are doing and no matter where you are, the record itself contains some excellent material that will encourage you to let yourself go. Each track contains blistering guitar work, beats that make you want headbang and dance on the spot and prevailing vocals that encompass the best qualities from fellow Hard Rockers AC/DC and JUDAS PRIEST.

Many of the tracks on this record are more than suitable to be play at arenas and stadiums. A few examples include ‘Thin The Blood’ and ‘When I Drink I Go Crazy’, these tracks will encourage you to let go of all inhibitions and to go for it. There’s sassiness in tracks such as ‘Get Back Up’ and ‘Do Me Like You Do Yourself’. Of course no Hard Rock record is complete without fist pumping anthems; these come in the forms of the single ‘Rivalry’ and ‘I’m Going To Hell For This’.

Bearing all of the above in mind, diehard fans of AIRBOURNE and Hard Rock will not be disappointed with this release.