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.

Brand New Me and a Brand New Laptop

Hello there

Yes it has been a while since I last posted, things have been taking place in my mind and in my life. There has been more stability in my life and more challenges to take on. The first one being that I am writing for a new magazine project that is title Warrior Women; it is the alternative to the typical women’s magazine, those that seem to encourage taunting when someone has put on weight, going out with no make up, basically just being human. It encourages positivity and ambition. It was started up by Steph Kiddle, all round creative. To find out more watch this video.

After a recent visit and hopefully last counselling session I realise how important it is to like yourself and have strong self confidence, not to the point where you’re completely arrogant mind but enough to know full well you are good enough and you are perfect just the way you are. I realised that after years of not liking myself as a person, at school I was often ignored or teased for being that little bit different; they say sticks and stones will break bones but names won’t hurt you. In fact words can hurt, they stick with you and encourage self doubt. So when I tried to say a nice out loud to myself, I found I couldn’t. I have been practicing since, it gets easier each time but I still need to believe it’s true.

Anyways

Happy New Year and here’s to more writing from me.

Take care

Lotty

My Top Albums of 2016

 

eternal-halloween

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.

 

rottingchristritualscd_phixr

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.

 

diabalbualbumaug_phixr

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.

 

edens-curse_cardinal_phixr

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.

kissin-dynamitejpeg_phixr

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.

 

moonsorrow_cover-2_phixr

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.

 

devilskin-be-like-the-river-album-cover-1_phixr

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.

 

delainmoonbatherscd_phixr

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’.

 

last-stand_phixr

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.

 

vancantomvm_voicesoffire_small_phixr

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.

Album Review: Running Wild – Rapid Foray

runningwildrapidforaycdRUNNING WILD are well known for producing albums that make one imagine that you are on a ship, sailing the seven seas looking to wherever the wind will take you. Not forgetting the copious amounts of rum of course. Their latest release ‘Rapid Foray’ is no exception. It is a legend of treachery and adventure that will help you immerse into another reality.

This album contains an array of adventurous tales and quests to create this record. It starts off very well with the tune ‘Black Skies, Red Flag’ in a very RUNNINING WILD with the sweeping guitar riffs, husky vocals and the rapid drums. This varies throughout the album in a great way.

There’s sassiness, brashness and no nonsense in a lot of theses tracks. These include ‘Stick To Your Guns’ that will bring the inner stripper in everyone, ‘By The Blood In Your Heart’ an empowering track that will encourage rebellion and ‘Last Of The Mohicans’ a sweeping melody with slick guitar riffs and prevailing vocals, this particular track has a similar vibe to ‘Ballad Of William Kidd’.

If you are ready to sail the seas with experienced Metal Pirates, than this is certainly the record for you.

Album Review: Eternal Halloween – Eternal Halloween

eternal-halloweenEven though Christmas is just around the corner for some of us, imagine listening to a record that will guarantee its Halloween all year round. This treacherous group of condemned souls and proletarians are ETERNAL HALLOWEEN, their self titled release of destruction will cause more than untold misery and despair on whoever listens to it. In terms of the type of band they are this is huge praise for their perfidious scheme.

This troupe formed from the depths of the United Kingdom, they are lead by Dave Devil. The name stems from the Eternal Horror and Political Crisis the world is suffering. Under this name they seek to mock those stereotypes within modern society. In fact they are already having their videos being banned after receiving complaints from religious groups.

Imagine if ROB ZOMBIE and RAMMSTIEN had somehow conceived demonic offspring, that’s the sound of ETERNAL HALLOWEEN. Within the first few seconds of ‘Welcome To The Show’ you get that tint instantly. The record consists of heavy riffs, songs that are unsettling yet addictive and chilling vocals; a band that will go down well at lives shows.

Behind the addictive, heavy arrangements;  lyrically it’s quite dark. Example of this is single ‘Don’t Scream At Me’ which takes a look into abuse in relationships, for those who have experienced it, warning it’s not an easy listen lyrically. Another example being in the track ‘Two Bullets’ which is based on a true story involving passion and death. That seems to be theme throughout the record, up keeping the title ETERNAL HALLOWEEN, it brings those inner demons to life within.

A relief from the darkness is the track ‘Non-Funny Clown’ which starts off with a hill-billy type sideshow that will bring a look of puzzlement and amusement to the listener.

This certainly is a record that will spark emotions from left, right and centre. It will ensure that Halloween will happen all year round as opposed to once a year. Watch out ROB ZOMBIE, there’s a new troupe in town and they may have a run for your money.

Find Eternal Halloween on Facebook, Twitter and their official website.