Collateral – ‘Collateral’ Roulette Media Records / Cargo Records UK Release Date: 21/02/2020 Running Time: 34:35 Reviewed By Paul Monkhouse 8/10
The rock scene has seemingly never looked healthier and 2019 has seen some absolutely incredible new albums emerge this year. This trend looks to continue well into 2020 with the release firstly of the Anchor Lane debut album and this, the first full length offering by Kent four-piece Collateral in February. Already making a big impression on UK and global audiences with slots at Camden Rocks, Ramblin’ Man and an appearance alongside Jon Bon Jovi, these South East rockers are amongst the most hotly tipped bands for future superstardom and this self-titled release shows exactly why they’re getting so much attention.
The songs on the album are huge and have such lofty ambitions to be played in stadiums but, unlike many who have come before, their strongest weapon in the fight is their talent and drive to succeed. Despite all the big, singalong anthems and flamboyant image, it’s not all empty glamour and glitz as beneath the noise and gleaming chrome of the surface lies a real blue-collar heart and recaptures the spirit of when Bon Jovi and their ilk were at their peak.
The album kicks off with the single ‘Mr. Big Shot’ and it’s a giant slab of commercial hard rock that mixes in some really 80’s elements ranging from classic American AOR to some almost New Romantic undertones and a pinch of ELO. Full of great guitar work from Todd Winger and epic vocals by Angelo Tristan, the track drips with tongue in cheek innuendos and a huge sense of a band having a ball in the studio. More monster riffing and vast melodies power along paeon to the modern music industry ‘Promiseland’, it sounds like the sleazy lovechild of AC/DC and, should have been huge, USA rock legends Giant as it snarls and purrs, leading to a superb solo by Winger. The band dust off their cowboy boots as the Southern Rock feel of ‘Merry Go Round’ brings images of swirling dust devils and shimmering desert heat to mind as they effortlessly turn their home county ‘Garden of England’ into the American Midwest. Close your eyes and you can feel the sun beating down and the dry mouthed feel that is desperate to be administered an ice-cold beer. Without doubt, one of the greatest strengths of the band is to conjure up that sense of time and place in a very tangible way, transporting you to a time when hair was big, and choruses were even bigger. This is no aping of the classic bands of that era but a contemporary take on the type of rock music that made Bon Jovi et al kings of stadiums, the production by Sean M Kenny bringing out the best in the material whilst giving it a thoroughly modern sheen.
‘In it for Love’ exemplifies this approach as it perfectly balances the pounding rock driven by rhythm section Ben Atkinson on drums and Jack Bentley-Smith’s bass alongside such a great, dynamic song that will have you singing along in no time. With its instantly catchy “woooh oooh oooh” gang vocals during the chorus and another fret blazing solo ‘Lullaby’ has already become a live favourite and should be blaring out of every car radio across the Atlantic, such is its perfect suitability for the American market.
Also finding its main inspiration the other side of the ‘pond’ is ‘Midnight Queen’, the band tilting their Stetsons to a more AOR meets Country Rock feel that sounds like it might have been written by Richard Marx and Vince Gill, the opening line the name of a huge hit that Marx wrote for Vixen and it shares that same sense of space, the focus on the songwriting, not the flash.
Those waiting for the heartfelt power ballad won’t be disappointed as ‘Get Back to You’ ticks all the right boxes, Tristan pouring his heart out as he longs to return home whilst the song proves it’s more about quality and quiet than drama school overemphasis.
Having stated their love for the aforementioned Mr. Jovi, the band expressed their intent to write something that captured the spirit of tracks like ‘Always’ and this certainly will see a sea of mobile phone lights (nobody is allowed lighters at gigs these days) held aloft in tribute. The pace picks up once again in the spot on, commercial pop rock of ‘Won’t Stop Me Dreaming’, a song that contains a tough streak of steely determination laced through its supremely candy coated and instantly addictive shell. The album ends with ‘About this Boy’, another country tinged track that once more heads more to the massive and lucrative Nashville scene than the heavier end of their material. Whilst a meatier number may have been more fitting, the song is still imbued with that Transatlantic feel that may well find the band gaining ground both in their home country and in the United States given the growing market here and the already titanic base there. Always doing things their way, Collateral continue to push forward, and this album shows just how far they’ve grown and where they’re heading. The stadiums of the world are beckoning.
1 Mr Big Shot
2 Promised Land
3 Merry Go Round
4 In It For Love
6 Midnight Queen
7 Get Back To You
8 Won’t Stop Me Dreaming
9 About This Boy
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Trippy Wicked and The Cosmic Children of The Knight – Moving On Singles APF Records Release Date: 30/10/2019 Running Time: 21:24 Reviewed By: Dark Juan 9/10
Good evening, my initiates. It is I, the Ipsissimus of all things Groovy, Dark Juan, and I am here to take your mind off the mundane and into realms of cosmic thought never truly encompassed in the human journey before. Or I could just write a record review.
However, I’m sure you have all become accustomed to me babbling incoherently about anything but the record I am supposed to be writing about AND THIS TIME IS GOING TO BE NO DIFFERENT! However this time, it’s a simple message I want to share with you all. After all this unpleasantness to do with rich bastards squabbling over who gets to tell us what to do and lying about what they will give you to make you like them is out of the way (they won’t give you what they promise anyway) take the time to reconnect with people who might have different opinions to you.
Love everyone without question, my people, for that is what makes the world a better place. Not which motherfucker in a suit sits in a leather chair and talks a lot. Love each other and for fuck’s sake look for the good in each other because I have never seen such venom and vitriol flying amongst friends before. It’s fucking depressing to see friendships that are years old fall apart because of shitposting on the internet. Us alternative people only have each other to depend on – so fucking love each other, drink the fucking beer, smoke the fucking weed, hug fucking strangers and turn them into fucking friends and dance the fuck out of every piece of metal you hear. So sayeth My gospel. Here endeth the sermon…
Trippy Wicked and The Cosmic Children of The Knight. Now there’s a name to conjure with and no mistake. I like it. I like it a lot. This EP comprises four songs that didn’t make the Movin On (I hate it when bands do this. There’s a G at the end of the word for a reason. STOP IT FOR FUCK’S SAKE!) album recorded in 2009 and as the demented pscyhonauts themselves put it, “10 songs had made the album while the other 4 went in the cupboard under the stairs and were forgotten about for a while. Since then we’ve played a whole bunch of gigs, released another album and a few EPs, went on a few tours around the UK and Germany, and generally did what bands do. The 10 year anniversary is a perfect opportunity for us to revisit the recording on Movin On, give those 4 extra songs a release and finally share them with our fans. So here they are. Dig it.”
Quite. So here we have four songs based on absolute fuzz heaven. Fuzzy fuzzy fuzz fuzz with a bit of fuzz-wah thrown in for variety. It is stoner doom distilled down to the most basic elements of stoner doom – highly distilled Sabbath riffs, lazy tempos, thunderous fuzzy bass (if only the bass player was called Fozzy, then my life would be complete) and a drummer who seems intent on reducing his drums to their component atoms instead of playing them.
Opening track “Evil” starts with the sound of a bad earth before the instruments all kick in together with the kind of punch in the guts a certain Mr. Tyson might deliver if you upset him and a heartbreakingly beautiful palindromic riff of such stoner splendour this hellpriest fell to his knees and wept against the sofa. Hodgson Fartpants (the only dog to be classified as an illegal chemical weapon under both NATO rules and the Geneva Convention. Not even the Russians would have him) was sat on it at the time and gave me a look best described as quizzical and not “What the fucking fuck is that fucking demented human bastard doing this time and why does it not involve feeding me?” It is very, very good as it stomps all over the landscape like some kind of ironclad assault walker. Vocals from Peter Holland are very Ozzy-esque as well, having that high pitched, throaty and raw quality that the auteur Mr. Osbourne had when he fronted Sabbath the first time.
Track two “Hark At You” is more of the same wholesome stoner wonderfulness but a bit faster this time, as if the boys had put down the weed and decided a bit of the old Billy Whizz was the way to go this time. It’s a bit of a goer, this song, like it’s had its arse whipped sore by a vigorous rider and moves along at a brisk canter.
“Things Go Up” is the third song in. This is where Peter decided that we needed to hear his fuzz-wah. He was right. We all needed to hear his fuzz-wah. Fuzz-wah me, baby. It’s soooooooooo good. I love it when you fuzz-wah me. Don’t stop. Drummer Chris West had apparently also decided that his cymbals had to die on this song and gave his crashes the kind of thrashing that only Basil Fawlty can deliver with any conviction.
The final song on the record is called “I Wanna Be” and sees the entire fucking kitchen being thrown at the song, not just the sink. There’s wah, there’s phaser, there’s the kind of monolithic riffs Kirk Windstein and Tony Iommi would face off in a grim battle to the death to claim to have written. And the bass. Oh, the bass. Dicky King (probably deploying the smile of champions he is displaying in the band photo) goes into some kind of fuzz nirvana and disappears (in my head anyway) into a pineal focus streaming outwards from his third eye in glorious psychotropic colour, dissolving into a self-contained universe of the groove…
Ok, I have managed to contain myself. It’s cost me a pair of pants, as it usually does. Trippy Wicked are awesome. Buy their music.
Trippy Wicked, I salute you. Now I’m going to drink this beer.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is floating motionless in a universal groove constant and awards Trippy Wicked etc etc 9/10 for a trip through the psychedelic heartlands that leaves me wanting more…
Hark At You
Things Go Up
I Wanna Be
Trippy Wicked and The Cosmic Children of the Knight are: quite clearly insane.
Pete Holland – vocals, guitars, brass, slightly worrying propensity to look at your left ear when talking to you.
Dicky King – bass, winning smile, award winning face fuzz.
Chris West – drums, knowing smirk. This man has seen things – things that would fuck you right up.
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Speedealer – Blue Days Black Nights Rise Up and Fall Records Release date: 15/11/2019 Running time: 30 mins Review by: Alun Jones 9/10
Curse you, Speedealer! I had pretty much decided on my Top 10 albums for 2019, and then these guys turn up with this rocket fuelled bruiser of a record. The year had started off slowly, to be honest – but great new music has been arriving at a rapid pace recently. And just when I was about to bed down for a long winter nap, Speedealer turned everything up to 11 and ruined my plans.
The album is called “Blue Days, Black Nights”. It’s fast, crazy, adrenaline pumped rock’n’roll and it never stops pounding home the righteous sounds till it’s brief-but-beautiful 30-minute lifespan is over. At which point, I tend to just start again from the beginning.
The first song is called “Never New” and it smashes in, steals your whiskey and is gone in under a minute and a half. That’s reckless by anyone’s standards.
It ain’t all super-fast punk’n’roll though, there’s many a change of pace to be heard. “Rheumatism” and “War Nicht Genug” both feature riffs that are heavy and brutal. Elsewhere, in “Sold Out”, the band unleash a tortured performance of a song that would be a blues rocker, but is far too dense and violent for that phrase to fit snugly.
Never mess with Texas, goes the old saying. And these Texan boys do not fanny about AT ALL on this fine collection of tunes. Instead, “Blue Days Black Nights” will drag you along like an out of control stag party: full of booze-filled fun, ridiculous antics and dangerous detours. I’m deducting half a point for the terrible cover art, otherwise this one’s a killer.
FUN FACT: Speedealer used to be called REO Speedealer – which let’s face it, is a much better name – until REO Speedwagon got wind of it and issued a cease and desist. Anyone with a sense of humour would surely take that name as an homage, right? You’d think the miserable old bastards would’ve enjoyed being put back on the map.
What’s that? Ever Metal’s lawyers are on the phone? Court order from who? Oops…
1. “Never New,”
3. “War Nicht Genug,”
4. “Nothing Left To Say,”
5. “Sold Out,”
6. “Losing My Shit,”
7. “A Reckoning,”
8. “Shut Up,”
10. “Blue Days Black Nights.”
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Victor Augusto’s Top Ten Albums of 2019 By Victor Augusto
Before I let you loose on Victor’s Top Ten Albums of 2019 I would just like to thank him for all of his hard work this year. It’s been great to have you onboard!
Definitely 2019 was not an easy year for me. After a couple of years of intense dedication to my local Heavy Metal scene, I realized I was walking in circles and wasting energies in the middle of many egocentrical people. I also lost time with bands that don’t appreciate my support.
Before I changed my focus to professional bands, I spent a few months trying to recover myself from my mental exhaustion and I wasn’t able to follow all the good releases, but the few I heard were enough for me. So here are my impressions of what were the best this year.
10 – Acid Reign – The Age of Entitlement
The UK band Acid Reign appeared at the end of the eighties and quit in the early nineties, but they returned in this decade and let clear to the world that they still can record a killer album. “The Age Of Entitlement” just shows their creativity to play incredible riffs, as a good Thrash Metal band does. The band also explored the melodies of classic British Heavy Metal bands. All of it together with an incredible recording/production was enough to show to the world that Acid Reign is really back.
Since their first years, Kamala wasn’t just a one more awesome band among all other great Brazilian bands. They put some mantras and oriental music to complement their heavy music and built a great name in their country. In this decade they changed their sonority to a straight Thrash Metal and also started to tour in Europe. From all the countries that they played, France was the one that really embraced this trio with the same passion that the band put forward when playing for French Metalheads. “Live in France” is one more brick in this great career in Europe and a great way to show that Kamala is getting bigger, even after almost 17 years on road.
If you think South American Metalheads are insane, you have probably never seen the Chilean ones. Bands from there also have this spirit and you just have to analyze the name Acero Nacional to understand it. The band’s name means “National Steel” and the steel is a reference to the people who works with this metal in metallurgy industries. The band represents the workers in their country and “Trueno” (Thunder in Spanish) sounds like the title; Strong, fast and devastator.
As a fan of extreme Metal I have always loved Fleshgod Apocalypse since the first time I saw the video of ‘The Violation’ in 2012. For me, they are the great new mainstream band that appeared in this decade. Instead the same old stuff from all Death/Black Metal bands; they just put opera and al Italian influence. For my surprise, the band drastically changed their line-up for this album, but I still feel the same spirit in their music. Actually, they are better in my opinion. The songs are not extremely fast all the time as before and the production chose a more organic recording. For me, those changes helped to digest easier all the complexity of their arrangements. I loved as always.
The first time I heard and reviewed Legacy of Kain in 2017, they were just a new band in Brazil, with old musicians that were playing Metalcore/Thrash Metal. I liked them, but the band was not so far my favorite of the year. Now they have changed their lyrics from Portuguese to English and decided to play a strong and furious Thrash Metal with a few elements of Metalcore. All the anger you hear in this new album is from the main theme that is about the slaughter of an Indian tribe in Brazil, which happened in 1963. For sure this record will make you angry too.
Woslom is a very famous Thrash Metal band in Brazil. In this decade they released three great full albums and toured a lot, not only in their country but also in Europe. Again, the band brought a great theme well represented in the cover art. “Paranoia” has a dizzy stairway and the opening riffs of the title track reproduce it too. Despite it is just a four track EP, this record can show what we can expect from the next full album. A technical and crazy Thrash Metal that always surprises the listener.
One detail that makes me admire a specific band is when I have difficulty to find their band’s style. Hatefulmurder in an incredible Heavy Metal band that offers something similar to Thrash Metal, but they sounds as heavy as a Death Metal band. Sometimes the band flees to funky bass lines structure or other styles and is not repetitive with the songs structure. This is the third band’s album and the second with Angelica Burns on vocal. She brought all heaviness with her strong vocal, sometimes similar to Tomas Lindberg voice (At The Gates singer), but the band goes further to any kind of Death Metal. I suggest you listen to “Reborn” and make your own conclusions about it.
Destruction is a band that doesn’t need to be introduced to anyone. I was lucky to see them live twice (in 2016 and 2018) and I even met them backstage for few minutes last year. Schmier, Mike and Andy Black were very polite and I took a pic with them to save this moment in my memory. It was few months before they announced the Damir Eskić and returned to have two guitar players. Probably any Destruction album can easily perform in a top 10 list, but “Born to Perish” has this stronger sonority due the addition of the second guitar and this album sounds even more aggressive than the others.
It is very hard to not love anything that Death Angel release since I showed their concert in my hometown in 2010. That day I was lucky to stand in front of Rob Cavestany and he gave his guitar pick on my hands. He is as gentleman as a great riff composer. Actually he could be considered one of the best riff makers in the Thrash Metal history, but maybe the long time that the band was stopped disrupted the band’s trajectory. What really matters here is the fact that Death Angel released another insane album and I dare any Thrash lover doesn’t bang his head while listening such amazing album.
Before I put this record in the first place of my top 10 albums of 2019, I was really afraid to be unfair with the famous bands that have a great history in Heavy Metal, but DarkTower really touched me with this album. It is not just a matter of how they play Black/Death Metal, but how they put all anger and feeling to illustrate all chaos we live in Brazil. Since the political fights that our people have been doing to how we are losing our culture and our identity as a nation; everything was brilliantly described without attack directly at any side of this war. They just advise how people are stopping to think by themselves and how they have been manipulated by false heroes. Embark on this epical and realistic journey listening to “Obedientia”.
Special mention also has to go out to the following bands:
Miasthenia – Sinfonia Ritual
Here is a great Pagan Black Metal band that is the opposite of bands from this style. “Sinfonia Ritual” is not specifically an album because it shows a symphonic version of five songs from the last three band’s album. It is a great way to enter into the Miasthenia soul and discover how amazing they are.
My special mention goes to The Brazilian Thrashers of Endust that released their first album “All Ends in Dust” even though they have never played any concert ever. Their music is a kind of Thrash with Nevermore influences, which increased melodies and changed the dynamic of this great record.
Another special mention goes for the Canadian band Infrared. They also quit in the eighties and returned this decade. The album “Back To The Warehouse” rescued old compositions that received all aggression of their Thrash Metal.
Disclaimer: This Top Ten is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
8. Hecate Enthroned – Embrace Of The Godless Aeon.
More Brits, bringing back the good time when British avant-garde black metal had romance and melody instead of a production job not unlike a wasp in an echo chamber and a problem with unburnt churches.
The greatest French metal band I have experienced apart from P.H.O.B.O.S. Did the most amazing thing ever for the release of this album. Released it, then split up just when I discovered how awesome they are. Merci pour rien, mes amis!
Portugal normally means port, the Algarve and occasional naval ally against Spain to this hellpriest. It doesn’t normally mean absolutely slamming female fronted heavy fucking metal. Splendid stuff from the sun-kissed slammers.
When Wales stops bothering about rugby, cawl and Felinfoel Double Dragon (a fine Llanelli brew as Woven Man will of course know!) they do this. A supremely crushing and powerful heavy metal record enhanced with the delightful form of Natalie Purchase on the cover. It almost makes me forget the Church. Amen.
Hitherto unknown prog delights from a technically expert band. Also, they are wonderful gentlemen and fine conversationalists. You heard it here first. And I’ve still not given away the secret they told me about the next record…
Oh god. Oh my fucking god. The BEST of the American thrash metal bands return to the fray with an album that took off my face, stamped all over it with hobnailed boots on and then threw it in the bin. Savage.
The perfect heavy metal live album from a fucking bona fide heavy fucking metal legend, a gentleman of the first order, and also Beth-Ami Heavenstone. If you know me, you know about Beth-Ami Heavenstone. Sigh.
1. Damim/ King Satan – A Fine Game Of Nil/ I Want You To Worship Satan.
I couldn’t choose between these two records so they can share the spoils and the dubious honour of now being on my somewhat depraved radar.
Damim – British blackened death metal of the very highest calibre. Faster than the firing rate of a gatling gun, and more complex than an Italian fuel pump design, but infinitely more reliable and pleasing. A truly monumental record.
King Satan – Incredibly insane industrial metal from Finland. Cacophonous, dribblingly mental and inventive and a shining example of what joy can happen when musical genres like what they see and make violent, unpredictable love together. Aggrotech meets industrial metal, checks out its arse and then tears its clothes off in a paroxysm of sexual frenzy. King Satan is the offspring of that unholy union. Utterly magnificent.
So there you have it. Dark Juan attempts a top ten of the many fine records and some stinkers (hear that, Warrior Soul?) I have had the pleasure to review. Here’s to 2020. Happy Yule, you beautiful bitches and bastards! If you see me out out, buy me beer and lock up your daughters. Peace and good fortune.
Disclaimer: This Top Ten is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
We have already posted a few of our reviewers’ Top Tens of 2019 and now it’s Alun’s turn. We would like to thank him for all the work he has done for us over the past year. He certainly knows what he is talking about music-wise so go check out the albums on his list and see what you think.
With honourable mentions for Firebreather, L7, Sacred Reich, Wizard Rifle, Duel and Helligators
Disclaimer: This Top Ten is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Anchor Lane – Casino R7 Music Release Date: 31/01/2020 Running Time: 33:23 Review by Paul Monkhouse 8/10
Very few new bands come into the public eye with a fully formed and unique identity but it seems like Anchor Lane have just managed this very feat on “Casino”, their debut album. With a solid commitment to being road dogs, having supported the stellar likes of Cheap Trick, Tremonti and Eagles of Death Metal, alongside appearances at some very major festivals it’s obvious that these four young guys from Glasgow have the drive and work ethic to be in the big leagues. It also speaks volumes that, having worked with some of the best in the business, Wayward Sons/Little Angels/Gun/Waysted frontman and super producer Toby Jepson chose to make ‘Casino’ his next project and, with his brilliant ear for sonic enhancement and the bands songwriting skills, it’s a perfect match.
Kicking off with the fuzzed up, lurching beat of ‘Blood & Irony’ Anchor Lane certainly distance themselves from the million and one other new hard rock outfits out there and this slightly unhinged opener promises something different. Listening to the track is akin to being in the ring with Muhammed Ali at his prime; the jabs come thick and fast with the occasional flooring blow to the solar plexus. They follow this with single ‘Fame Shame’, shifting the emphasis to a snotty glam metal vibe that is a wild eyed and lurid stomp through Sunset Strip, careening though the speakers like an out of control motorbike in a china shop and laughing like crazy whilst doing it.
Another twist with the Louisiana swamp blues of ‘Voodoo’, a track as bewitching as its title, the track deftly mixing light touches with a chorus as thick as molasses. The titular ‘Casino’ is a heavy duty rocker that swings, making it impossible not to sway and move to, singer Conor Gaffney putting in a truly gritty and powerful vocal as guitarist Lawrence O’Brien lays down some truly funky licks and the rhythm section of Matthew Quigley and Scott Hanlon lock into a solid groove. The visceral modern blues of ‘Clocks’ once again highlights their great songwriting flair and versatility, marking them out as absorbers of ideas who mould them into something uniquely their own. Very rarely do you get a band this brave to push the envelope on a debut album and, whilst some might want to stick to a rigid formula, it speaks volumes that Anchor Lane show themselves to be true music fans, embracing these multiple influences. A lot of the success of the album is the sky-high production value that Jepson brings and he’s obviously a fan of the bands willingness to take risks, bringing a great guidance and cohesion to the whole.
The bands magpie-like ability to pull in great music from everywhere is seldom better illustrated than on ‘Stone Cold Hearted’ as it opens with a Portishead ‘Glory Box’ style intro but soon transforms into a Led Zep meets Bad Company drama-filled monster of a track, soaking in dynamics. ‘Shell of Me’ is a much more laid-back number, showing their softer, more introspective side perfectly and ‘Flatline’ throbs with an electric current, its singalong chorus underpinned by gut wrenching bass and drums and the howling feedback of the guitar.
Another frontman joins the fray in the shape of Black Star Riders’ Ricky Warwick, his voice giving extra weight to the gang vocals in the pounding ‘Dead Run’. The band really rip things up, led by O’Brien’s wild fretwork and this proves to be one of heaviest tracks on the album as it races towards its conclusion. The album closes on another slice of fresh and potent modern rock as ‘Honey’ glories in a jagged interplay between the vocals and guitar, its stop/start chorus certainly leaving an impression. Anchor Lane are certainly forging their own path and, with a debut as good as this, the sky is most certainly the limit. The arena tours beckon…
01. Blood & Irony
02. Fame Shame
06. Stone Cold Hearted
07. Shell Of Me
09. Dead Run
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Lotty’s Top Ten Albums of 2019 By Lotty Whittingham
Hi Everyone – Rick Here. Before I pass you over to Lotty we would like to take this opportunity to thank her for her continued hard work in 2019. As well as writing for us she also runs her own great Blog/Site (https://www.facebook.com/rockoutstandout/) but she continues to send us great album reviews, live reviews and interviews. Once again, she has not only given us a very interesting top ten but she has also written mini reviews for each entry as well as a good list of honourable mentions. Thanks Lotty
The end of the year is upon us and I must say there have been some brilliant releases this year. I have been particularly impressed with the amount of new bands that have released albums. This is reassuring as it means the metal/rock scene is still alive and well. From listening pleasures to albums I enjoyed reviewing; here are my top ten albums of the year.
10. Sabaton – The Great War
Kicking off my top ten is Sabaton’s latest historical account of “The Great War”. It’s no secret that Sabaton write songs based around historical battles and events whilst donning the camo trousers. “The Great War” looks at the different aspects from The First World War. The Swedish icons tend to produce sterling albums and this is no exception. I’ll admit I didn’t take to this album right away but after listening to it a few more times, it grew on me. From the booming opener ‘The Future Of Warfare’ to the touching ‘In Flanders Field’, the album takes you on a historical journey told through bombastic melodies. My personal favourites on the album are ‘Seven Pillars Of Wisdom’, ‘82nd All The Way’, ‘Devil Dogs’, ‘Red Baron’ and ‘Great War’. I look forward to experiencing these songs live next year.
At the beginning of the year, I got an email from a guitarist to ask if I could help promote his band via a review and interview. After listening to their music, I was very keen to do so. Melodic Death Metallers Aephanemer are now signed to Napalm Records and they are gathering new fans by the second. I had the pleasure of reviewing their latest album “Prokopton” before they were signed and given the strong content from the record, I knew they would go far. The thing that sticks out on this album is the strong mix of Melodic Black and Melodic Death Metal; you can hear this within Marion Bascoul’s varied vocal style. The strongest examples of this can be heard in ‘Snowblind’ and single ‘Bloodline’. Amongst the prevailing growls and brutal musicianship, there is a poignant message in their sound. Prokopton means making progress. It’s a Greek word describing someone who practices stoicism in their day to day lives. You can see this within their powerful lyrics. I highly recommend this band to fans of Moonsorrow and Ensiferum.
I was happy to see the return of Swedish Hard Rockers Eclipse this year via their latest release “Paradigm”. There were some strong single releases leading up to the release and from hearing those, I knew I needed to hear the rest of the album. I had the pleasure of reviewing it this year. In tough times, we need something to lift our spirits and “Paradigm” does exactly that. There is an eclectic selection of songs on this record; it wouldn’t surprise me if songs such as ‘Viva La Victoria’, ‘The Masquerade’ and ‘United’ were live show anthems already. It’s albums like this that prove rock is still alive and kicking.
A few years ago, I witnessed Massive open up for The Treatment at The Joiners, Southampton. I remember being taken with their high energy and passionate music. Fast forward to the present and I can say I watched them headline the same venue with that same energy and passion. Talking to lead vocalist Brad Marr earlier this year, he mentioned the influences for the writing. “Rebuild Destroy” came from hard times they have had as a band. They used all this frustration and energy to create this no nonsense, straight up Hard Rock album and there is a fantastic collection of songs included. You have the party sounds on ‘Gettin’ Heavy’, the punchiness of ‘Bullet’, the rebellious ‘What You Gonna Do’ and the ballads ‘Face In The Crowd’ and ‘A Mile In My Shoes’. This is a Hard Rock gem that should be treasured and given your undivided attention.
I first came across Coronatus when I was sixteen years old, particularly, when I was starting to discover Symphonic Metal. I was attracted to the fact there were two different vocal styles taking the lead. Fast forward and in 2019 they released “The Eminence Of Nature”. Once I pressed play on this album, I was taken instantly by the striking vocals and grand musical arrangements.
Their important message is told through a great selection of bombastic melodies that encompass both folk and symphonic metal elements. It’s no secret that we need to work together and make drastic changes to ensure the future of our planet changes for the better. You hear this instantly in the lyrical content in the opening track ‘Planet B’! It doesn’t take much explanation what the lyric “no planet B, no more earth, only one chance” is referring to.
Other favourites on the album include the fun folk sounds of ‘Midsommar’, the haunting sounds of ‘Echo Of Souls’ and the gallant ‘Set Sail To North’. Highly recommended for fans of Symphonic and Folk Metal!
Ever since I caught them on tour supporting Sabaton a few years back, I have been hooked on Bloodbound. Their latest tale “Rise Of The Dragon Empire” only reinforces my love for the Swedish Dragon Slayers. The album contains gallant melodies that will make you want to unleash your inner warrior and join the band on their noble quest. Those who have been fans of the band for a while may have noticed the development in their sound.
My personal favourites on the album are the title track, ‘Blackwater Bay’, ‘Giants Of Heaven’ and ‘Reign Of Fire’. The title track shows us Patrik Selleby’s brilliant vocal range, ‘Blackwater Bay’ is majestic, ‘Giants Of Heaven’ is a standard Bloodbound track that contains the elements I love about the band and the uplifting sounds in ‘Reign Of Fire’ give me hope when times are tough.
Unleash your inner dragon slayer and join them on their quest, you know you want to!
Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual listener, the name BEAST IN BLACK has been hard to miss. I was initially attracted to their straight to the point and no-frills Heavy Metal sounds through the strong content they produced. After hearing their latest release “From Hell With Love”, I knew instantly it was going to be at least top five material.
Like their previous album, it is no frills and no fuss; just solid sounding Heavy Metal. The record contains a great array of songs that will get you pumping and ready to go. Great examples of this get up and go energy can be found in ‘Repentless’, ‘Heart Of Steel’ and ‘True Believer’. I also like the eighties-esque sounds in ‘Sweet True Lies’ and ‘Die By The Blade’. It’s nice to have a break through the track ‘Oceandeep’ that shows us a different side to vocalist Yannis Papadopoulos, especially when it comes to his vast vocal range.
Like your Heavy Metal straight to the point whilst needing a get up and go? Give “From Hell With Love a whirl”.
Control The Storm have been favourites since I caught them at a local show a few years ago, I likened them to Britain’s answer to Nightwish and after their hiatus and a few line-up changes, their sound is stronger than ever before and I still say they are the British Nightwish. The concrete content in their anticipated second album Forevermore is solid evidence of this.
Even though I could hear influences from Nightwish, I can hear instantly that they have their own sound. For the duration of this album, I am taken with the beautiful melodies that have a sense of empowerment. I know that some of the band members have been open about their struggles regarding mental health and there is strong lyrical content in the album describing perfectly what it’s like; “I’m trapped in my mind” from ‘In The Night’, “Feeling defeated, life will take its toll” from ‘Follow Me’ and “Now I’m at war with my inner peace” from ‘Chaotic Mind’.
The song ‘Chaotic Mind’ is a perfect embodiment of struggling with ill mental health and to keep on fighting through it all. This particular song is another that helped me through some difficult times this year.
With all these reasons in mind, this was the ideal album to open my top three.
I had heard of Skillet in passing, but it was only this year I managed to sit and listen to them. This came on the off chance when listening to a radio show and the song ‘Legendary’ came on. I was instantly taken with the power and passion in the song, so much so that I eagerly waited to give the album a try.
From start to finish, I was taken with the pumping, strong and empowering content that this album gave. When you listen to it, you realise the title is more than appropriate. There is a great variety of tracks that suit every mood under the sun. I know it is a cliché but it rings true in this case.
Highlights for me include the first pumping notes of ‘Legendary’, the sweeping title track, the bouncy rhythm in ‘Rise Up’, the poignant message about having someone there for you in ‘Anchor’ and the straight to the point sounds of ‘Never Going Back’.
Music fans looking for something different then give this album a spin and feel Victorious.
It’s very different to the rest of my list but when I listened to the relaxing sounds of this record, I knew instantly that this would be my number one pick. For “Ancient Winter”, Leah strips back her usual Symphonic Metal sounds for a earthier ambience. It’s within this album you can hear why she is referred to as Metal Enya from her fans.
‘The Whole World Summons’ and ‘Light Of The World’ begin the album and I was taken away to a far-off land instantly and it genuinely helped me forget my troubles for hours. This album highly encourages the phrase “dance as if no-one is watching”, which is what I found myself doing whilst listening!
Speaking of being taken to a far-off land, I thought of Dark Crystal and Lord Of The Rings when listening to the record. The earthy sounds are given to us through Leah’s haunting vocal work and some of the international names featured on the album. These include the stunning Pipes from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley, the quirky Hurdy Gurdy sounds from Cellar Darling’s Anna Murphy, and a few others. My personal favourites on this album are the hypnotic sounds in ‘Redemption’, the stunning rendition of traditional song ‘Gaudete’ and the merry arrangements in ‘Puer Natus’.
In today’s fast paced world, it’s more important than ever to step back and slow down. “Ancient Winter” helped me to do this; it made me to relax and take a breath. If slowing down is something you need to do, take yourself away with “Ancient Winter”.
I would also like to give honourable mentions to the following albums:
A New Tomorrow – Universe
I really enjoyed the vast sounds of this album. I caught their live show a year ago and was really taken with them. Imagine Alter Bridge meets Foo Fighters and throw in Queens of The Stone Age and you get the sounds of A New Tomorrow. Their music matches the positivity and hope behind their band name. It’s albums like this that prove the rock scene is alive and kicking. I personally really liked the tracks ‘Golden Sands’, ‘A Million Stars’ and ‘Step Into The Wild’. The future for these guys is looking bright.
A few years ago, I reviewed Obsidian Tide’s debut EP and really took to the hazy sounds. Fast forward to the present and I got to review their debut album “Pillars Of Creation”. This isn’t just an album; it’s an experience that requires your undivided attention. It’s a journey full of unexpected twists and turns that I won’t reveal here, it’s recommended you buy the album to find out what those are. If this album doesn’t get the band swooped up by a big record label, I don’t know what will.
I am a huge fan of the bold and exciting sounds of eighties rock, I also have a huge admiration for modern bands bringing those sounds back. The appropriately titled “Forever Wild” by Crazy Lixx is the key to feeling free and wild. The songs contain sounds that make you feel like you are free and invincible; this is evident in my personal favourite tracks ‘Wicked’, ‘Eagle’ and ‘Terminal Velocity’. I also love the fun antics in ‘(She’s Wearing) Yesterday’s Face’. Feel free and Forever Wild with this album.
Crystal Viper are a new discovery for me this year and after hearing the strong sounds from “Tales Of Fire And Ice” I hope to see more of them. It’s a straight up, no nonsense album that delivers top class heavy metal sounds. Powerful vocals, finger blistering guitar work and thunderous rhythms; You can place a big tick by all of these items on this list of essential elements to create a Heavy Metal gem. There are some fierce tracks here such as ‘Bright Lights’, ‘Under Ice’ and ‘Tears Of Arizona’. They are definitely ones to keep your eyes out for.
As most of you know, Rotting Christ have been personal favourites of mine since I caught them headline the Sophie Stage at Bloodstock a few years ago. Their latest release “The Heretics” only upholds my admiration for their mesmerising music. The album doesn’t mess around as it opens with ‘In The Name Of God’ and the album keeps up the strong music from there. Highlights include ‘Vetry Zlye’, ‘Hallowed Be Thy Name’, ‘Dies Irae’ and ‘Fire God And Fear’. What I like about this album is that it proves beauty can be found in the darkest places if you look hard enough. This was one of the things that drew me to the band in the first place.
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Stew – People Ripple Music Release Date: 11/10/2019 Running Time: 37:24 Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King 10/10
At the beginning of this year I had, what can only be described as, the absolute pleasure to review the “Hot” EP by this young band from Sweden. I gave it 9 out of 10 as I was so impressed and even stated in my review how much I was looking forward to reviewing the album once it was done.
Well, the album has now been completed and, as you can already see from the score I have given it, it’s an absolute stonker! But, to be fair, I already knew that would be the case!!
Formed in early 2017, the band hail from Lindesberg / Ӧbero in Sweden and is made up of the power trio of Markus Asland on bass and vocals, Niklas Jansson on guitar and Niklas Dahlgren on drums. Their own band notes state they play a “gritty and nostalgic fusion of classic rock and blues inspiration” and this just about sums them up perfectly.
I said in my review of the EP that the music enticed a “warm, fuzzy feeling of bliss and contentment” as you were transported back to the past and this album gives you that feeling once again….and more! Playing a mix of classic rock, blues and soul, this band is obviously heavily influenced by the sounds of the late 60’s/70’s era. And that is by no means a bad thing.
With groovy riffs, strong vocals (this guy’s voice is outstanding) and swinging drums, this is classic rock but with a modern twist. With a little bit of blues, a little bit of rock and killer guitars, these guys have nailed the sound of the 60’s/70’s with true musicianship.
With influences such as Jimi Hendrix, Free, Deep Purple, Grandfunk Railroad, Buddy Miles, Rory Gallagher and Spooky Tooth, they were always on to a winning formula, but they do it with a class that could easily put them up there with the best of the genre.
A quote from Classic Rock magazine regarding the EP stated that the music was “spewing embers of psychedelic wonder” and these guys would not have been out of place at the Woodstock Festival in 1969. They really are the perfect band to just chill out to.
Just like the EP the whole album was recorded live except for the vocals and solos and recording finished in just nine days! Something of an accomplishment!
When the EP was released Stew was an unsigned band (a sacrilege if you ask me as they should have been snapped up ages ago!) but I was extremely pleased to see that they have now been signed to Ripple Music and I know with the backing of a record label and the hard work they so obviously put into their music, this band will go places. They are still young and have many successful years ahead of them.
Its not very often I give a 10 out of 10, having only dished out a handful during my reviewing career, but this album certainly deserves it. In fact, it actually deserves an 11!
I am sooooo impressed with these guys that I will be following them very closely in the future and monitoring just how successful they are going to be. I am even going to recommend to Rick we add them to our “Bands We Follow” page on our site.
Keep up the good, no great, work guys and I hope to see you at a gig over here sometime! Now, THAT would just be the icing on the cake!
02. Right On Time
05. Endless Journey
06. Play The Fool
08. Afraid Of Getting Nowhere
09. Sweet And True
11. Morning Again
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
SuidAkrA – Echoes Of Yore MDD Records Release Date: 15/11/2019 Running Time: 50:41 Review by Victor Augusto 9/10
We are almost at the end of 2019, with a new decade upcoming in less than a month, and I keep thinking to myself about the new styles/genres that will quickly appear and disappear like has happened in previous decades. I also wonder why Heavy Metal listeners are still so worried about the farewell tours of the mainstream bands, considering that we have plenty of new killer bands around the world. One other thing that I reflect on is how bands that were considered young a few years ago are now reaching, what can be considered, long careers and it is astonishing how they keep themselves alive and active. Within all of those questions the name SuidAkrA appears as a good example of what we will have in the near future.
The German Celtic Heavy Metal band SuidAkrA is celebrating 25 years of non-stop releases and tours. Instead of offering an easy and boring compilation album, why not record the classic and most famous songs again? With this in mind, they decided to ask their fans to choose 10 songs to re-record with a modern production but without losing the original spirit. But, they also had an extra gift for their fans and recruited former member Marcel Schoenen to record his original parts, increasing the original spirit of the record even more.
No matter from which album each song was originally released, the way that the band have worked this and the order they have put the songs in make the listener feel like they are listening to a new album. All the tracks connect to each other! If you like Celtic music then it is, obviously, the main influence here, but you can also hear Melodic Death Metal, similar to Dark Tranquility and even a touch of Black Metal but it is very well diluted in arrangements like ‘Hall Of Tales’. The beautiful and classic ‘Rise Of Taliesin’ (at least classic for me) comes at a perfect moment to calm down the listening.
I could spend hours describing each song, but they are all highlighted as favourites by the band’s fans and they received great attention during the re-recording process. I believe the band made the right decision to make “Echoes Of Yore”. If you have been a fan of SuidAkrA since the early days then you will enjoy this record. However, if you don’t know this classic German band, it is the perfect opportunity to discover the best of them and hear the great mix of heavy styles that the band incorporates over their Celtic music. After all, it’s not every day that a heavy metal group hits their 25th Anniversary
02. The Quest
05. Rise of Taliesin
06. Hall of Tales
07. Pendragon’s Fall
09. Warpipes Call Me
10. Lays from Afar
Arkadius Antonik – Vocals, Guitars, Orchestral Arrangements
Sebastian Jensen – Clean Vocals, Guitars
Tim Siebrecht – Backing Vocals, Bass
Ken Jentzen – Drums
Shir-Ran Yinon – Violin
Catalina Popa-Mörck – Flute
Bernhard Mahlmeister – French Horn
Robse (Equilibrium) – guest vocals on ‘Havoc’
Sascha Aßbach – Backing Vocals
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.