Phobetor – When Life Falls Silent

Phobetor – When Life Falls Silent
Black Jasper Records
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Running Time: 40:10
Review by Steven Hooke
6/10

For as long as time has been a follow-able construct in the eyes of man, there has been a constant battle between generations. From music to money, business, politics, how to properly cut the grass and everything in between, the old guard stands firm in their belief in that back in their day, peace and tranquility roamed the land, whilst the new kids on the block offered up new ideas and alternatives. Following into this extremely prolonged metaphor is London-based trio Phobetor and their seeming attempts to blend the duelling generations together through the medium of death metal. A genre definitely not drenched in creative misalignment.

The debut album features vocalist Debora Conserva and guitarist Mitch Revy, flanked by new drummer Marc Dyos from the symphonic power metal band Pythia. Together, the trio forge their own path into the world of death metal, combining the songwriting tropes of today with delivery and presence of classic DM. The modern-day elements unsurprisingly hold up pretty well, Revy’s guitar work and the constant churning of riff after riff after riff is amongst the highlights of the album, with particular mentions going to ‘Blind Widow’ and ‘Bury My Name’, and their respective incorporations of groove metal and the Gothenburg metal scene in at the highest tier. However, these riffs are difficult to spot in the first few listens due to the old school death metal durge-sounding production style.

Now, far be it for me – a self-confessed production snob – to criticize the production of a debut death metal album. But this goes beyond me wanting every album to sound as crisp as a Devin Townsend-directed Pringles advert. There is a strong argument that a strong debut is trapped behind questionable production choices. It takes decent headphones and a little concentration to truly hear the ideas Revy has conjured up, and they simply just don’t crunch in the way they’re meant to.

The album, as a whole, is drenched in modern creative ideas. From the dark orchestral opening of ‘Merging Infinity’, to Conserva’s albeit rare dabbles with clean vocals, Dyos’ more progressive rolls and fills, and the frequent tempo changes, it’s all so far removed from the old school days of “play fast, be heavy”.

Whether it was a stylistic decision, a financial wall, or if Conserva and Revy had a particular idea for the album before the introduction and experience of Dyos (as well as session bassist Richard Hunter from Maelstrom) came into play, remains to be seen. But something that they definitely should be holding on to for the follow-up is the range of their frontwoman. Conserva combines the low-end, bassy gruff of Angela Gossow, with the strong, unwavering screams of Dani Filth, resulting in a dynamic warcry performance that greatly succeeds, in spite of the noted turn-offs. Focus on any of her screams throughout the album and they are pristine, razor-sharp, and often the most commanding part of a song.

While we have been spoiled over the past few years with near-perfect debuts (Conjurer, Fvneral Fvkk, Møl) it’s often missed that it’s possibly the hardest album to get right, being the starting block for a band’s image and their presence in their respective musical community. Will “When Life Falls Silentset the death metal world on fire? In its current state, my guess would be no. But, that is not to say there’s nothing here. Individual components of this outfit are there itching to break out, but some serious consistency needs to be established to really define what kind of band Phobetor wants to be.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Merging Infinity
02. A Toxic Lie
03. Whispers of Dissonance
04. Blind Widow
05. Psychopathy
06. Bury My Name
07. Harmony of Solitude
08. Dysmorphia
09. When Life Falls Silent

LINE-UP:
Debora Conserva – Vocals
Mitch Revy – Guitar
Marc Dyos – Drums
Richard Hunter – Bass (Session)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Ward XVI – Metamorphosis

Ward XVI – Metamorphosis
Metal Rocka Recordings
Release Date: 25/09/2020
Running Time: 49:43
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

Well hello there my fellow crazy fiends. Now, those who know me will know I’m a fairly measured soul, and I’ve also been referred to as ‘the shy and retiring type’, even demur (pahahaha)! But those who know me well, will know that underneath this cleverly disguised exterior, I have a darker, more deranged side, that’s held back for special occasions. And this is one of those occasions, so please forgive my musings. Getting the chance to become an inmate on Ward XVI at Whittingham Asylum is something quite appealing to me. And getting admitted here is simple. You only have to share in the joy of the deranged, unhinged and slightly peculiar. And that is something I can definitely do!

The latest wing of Ward XVI – “Metamorphosis” – is about to open, and us lucky special inmates get to have a sneak peak, and tell you what it’s like! I’m afraid that I was admitted to the ward fairly recently, so missed the arrival of the other wings, and am now exploring them out of order, Tarantino style, apparently! But I’ve been told, that if you explore them all in order of their creation, you can see how they all fit together!

So, what’s it like here in “Metamorphosis”? Well, as you would expect from Ward XVI, it’s conceptual and follows a theme. It’s a chilling and macabre circus of the mind. The kind you dream about after too much cheese late at night. Its haunting accordion melodies conjure images of deranged, black and white striped clowns doing odd things with organs – and not the sort of organs you can play… At least not without draining the blood from them and drying them substantially first. This is backed up by the solid rhythms and riffs, and some pretty trippy electro work. Get the probes out nurse, I’m ready for my lobotomy!

The first sounds you are hit with upon entering “Metamorphosis” are that of a conversation between doctor and client, setting the scene of the decent into evil madness, the reasons for which will become clearer as we move along. This leads into ‘The Cradle Song’, which paints the picture of where the madness started. A lullaby with a dark twist, complete with ominous music box sounds. The haunting melodies and guitar work here set the mournful tone.

As you move along the twisting corridors of “Metamorphosis”, the bitterness stemming from years of neglect sing out, with Psychoberrie’s vocals delivering all the disturbing tones and nuances you would expect from one so deranged. This is pummelled further into your brain with the freak circus melodies, strange ambient sounds, and the measured work on guitars, and ska inspired bass and drums that sit below the melody.

I think my favourite area of this new wing is ‘Shadows’. It’s melancholy and disturbing, and finalises this new chapter in a perfectly dark way. Its message is sorrowful, and its lilting melody matches the hurt within the walls of the asylum…

In case you didn’t understand any of that, here’s the important bit! If you like to be taken on a theatrical journey into the madness of despair, in the style of Alice Cooper or Avatar, then Ward XVI, and this new album, are for you. It brings another level of depth and depravity to their ‘Shock Rock’ style, both musically and production wise, it’s masterfully handled. The instrumentation is ingenious, mixing ska style off beats and classic rock riffs. The use of sound effects, as well as spoken word, and some operatic and harsh vocals, add to the drama, darkness and madness throughout. Lyrically this disturbing concept album creates a deep and sorrowful picture, that draws you in from the very start. Terrifyingly beautiful, or beautifully terrifying? I’ll let you decide. Until the next chapter, inmates. Stay safe…And don’t let the shadows bite…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Retrogression
02. The Cradle Song
03. Mister Babadook
04. Daisy Chains
05. Broken Toys
06. Imago
07. A Goodnight Shot
08. Burn The Witch
09. Catch Me If You Can
10. The Verdict
11. Shadows

LINE-UP:
Psychoberrie – Vocals and Lyrics
Dr Von Stottenstein – Guitar
Wolfy Huntsman – Bass

Guest Appearances
‘Retrogression’: The Psychiatrist – Chris Barton
‘Verdict’: The Judge – Steve Walker
Drums -John Badger
Martin Crawley – Keyboards & Accordion
Anabelle Iratni – Operatic Vocals
Russ Custard – Guest Vocals: ‘Shadows’

LINKS:
www.wardxvi.com/
www.facebook.com/WardXVI/
www.twitter.com/WardXVIOfficial
www.instagram.com/wardxvi
www.wardxvi.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqyXfqFGUbz0T-1wFXCjjQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1iB6Fms5mWFqlK0vJi07of

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth 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.

Smoke & Mirrors (Jeramie Kling & Taylor Nordberg) – 1 Song In 1 Day

Smoke & Mirrors (Jeramie Kling & Taylor Nordberg) – 1 Song In 1 Day
Smoke & Mirrors Productions
Release Date: From 21/03/2020 to 09/04/2020
Running Time: 46:21
Review by Victor Augusto
8/10

You are probably tired of hearing about how all our lives have become a wreck in this insane year of 2020. Jobs, families, mental sanity…everything we’ve known has been damaged / changed and we could all write a book about it when this Covid 19 situation finishes, if it ever does finish someday. Inside this hurricane the music industry is also struggling, but if we try to look on the bright side (or, at the very least, the less dark side); this lockdown has changed how bands are promoting themselves without concerts. For many bands, they are working better (as they should have worked even before this chaos started) with interesting material offered to give their fans the possibility of delving more deeply into their work. The inspiration for composition and for the amount of new songs appearing every day is a very positive aspect of this trying time!

Among this inspiration, two crazy men (in a good way), Jeramie Kling (Venom Inc, Massacre, The Absence) and Taylor Nordberg (Massacre, The Absence) joined forces, at the Smoke & Mirrors Recording Studio that Jeramie owns and Taylor Works, to create something very unusual and unique. They composed 12 songs from all the genres you could imagine, from Heavy Rock n’ Roll up to the heaviest Black or Death Metal. So far, so good? But no! They did more than ‘just’ compose them! Each song was recorded with different guests and each was completed in ONE day. But no, not only recorded! The whole process of writing, recording and mixing each song was done in just one day!! Always on a Saturday, “Slam Saturday” as they were named. Of course, Jeramie and Taylor invited different guest musicians to fit each genre and well-known names from bands such as Savatage, Soilwork, Marduk, Grave, Northtale, Kreator, Heathen, Exodus and many more took part. Is that good or is that good?

Explaining each song for those of you reading this is not an easy task but let me try. ‘Eternal Unlight’ (the first song released) and ‘Grief Eater’ are in a Deicide style, but in ‘Chaos Has Told You To Suffer’ you can hear something more Black Metal. ‘Monsters We Hide’ surprised me with classic Heavy Metal sounds in a Judas Priest or Accept style, with great vocals from Marc Lopes (Ross The Boss). ‘The Echo Mirror’ is similar but owes more to Power Metal. The doom cadence of ‘Terror In The Shape Of Suns’ reminds me of Black Sabbath with Deidra Kling’s beautiful voice and ‘Drag Them to the Guillotine’ has a pure Cannibal Corpse influence.

Of course, Motörhead couldn’t be left out of this and ‘Stay Clean For Me’ is a perfect song that could figure alongside any of Lemmy’s work, this time with Mr. Tony Dolan from Venom Inc. on vocals. ‘Undefeated’ is fast and shows how a good Hardcore song should be, similar to what Hatebreed play and ‘Obliteration Now’ has the same inspiration, but it is more Thrash and Heavy Metal. ‘Dying Day’ is melodic Death Metal that totally reminded me of what Dark Tranquility do so well. The album finishes with ‘A Silent War’ which is pure Thrash Metal sounding like the 80’s Bay Area Thrash Metal bands, specifically 80’s Anthrax!

Considering the minimal time they had to write, record, mix and take care about all the details of each song, I can assure you that the results are brilliant. We don’t exactly have what sounds like a full album here, nor anything that has a singular identity, but what we do have is an album that sounds like a compilation of material from many bands that we know and love in many different genres

The main difference is that this sounds like a compilation of brand-new songs from all the bands I mentioned. Jeramie and Taylor have done an amazing job of creating an album that carries the spirit and the power of all those incredible old bands you know. Congratulations to them both and to all the guests who stamped their style on each song. It truly is a remarkable achievement.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Eternal Unlight
02. Grief Eater
03. Monsters We Hide
04. Terror In The Shape Of Suns
05. The Echo Mirror
06. Drag Them To The Guillotine
07. Stay Clean For Me
08. Chaos Has Told You To Suffer
09. Undefeated
10. Obliteration Now
11. Dying Day
12. A Silent War

LINKS:
www.smokeandmirrorsproductions.bandcamp.com/ (All tracks and line-ups)
www.facebook.com/SmokeAndMirrorsProductions/
www.facebook.com/KingofallKlings/
www.instagram.com/kingofallklings/
www.facebook.com/taylor.nordberg.1
www.instagram.com/uncle_teets/

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.

WINO – Forever Gone

WINO – Forever Gone
Ripple Music
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time: 46 mins
Review by Alun Jones
8/10

Who remembers that old TV programme, The Fall Guy? You know, the one where the Six Million Dollar Man becomes a stuntman/bounty hunter, getting into all kinds of daredevil scrapes whilst pursuing the bad guys? At the end of every episode, old Lee Majors (for it was he) would be seen chilling in his backyard hot tub, mulling over events whilst drinking a cold beer and smoking a big, fat cigar.

Well let it be known that I, too, like to relax in the tub with a beer after a long, hard day of whatever-the-fuck-it-is-I-do. None of your business, really. Just take it from me, I need to unwind in a mass of bubble bath, with candles and refreshment. And of course, some music, just to add to the ambience.

This might not sound very metal to you, but let me tell ya: this new album from doom metal originator Scott “Wino” Weinrich would make ideal tunes for chilling in the tub. Or pondering lost loves and fortunes in a dusty bar. Or sound tracking a lonely drive across the desert, escaping an inevitable encounter. But to be honest, I like the bathtub metaphor best, ‘cos I’ve not used it before.

‘Forever Gone’ is stripped down and intimate; the title song itself is just Wino the man, plus acoustic guitar. Beautifully melancholic, the listener can really get lost in this. ‘Taken’ also ploughs a lonesome path, with Wino’s voice revealing a soulfulness that I’d never appreciated before.

For any fans of The Obsessed or Saint Vitus who were hoping for something louder and more aggressive, there’s not too much of a leap from familiar ground really. Other than the sonics, the emotions of loss and despair are what unifies Wino’s other output to this endeavour. ‘Dark Ravine’ brings a more Americana style to the proceedings, but it’s all still intense as hell, whether the guitars are turned right up or not.

It’s not all gloom, though: ‘You’re So Fine’ introduces a laid back, country blues number that sounds almost boogie-ish. Throw in a great cover of Joy Division’s ‘Isolation’ and this is an album that’s certainly full of surprises.

Great music can create images in your head for your own movie; “Forever Gone” is one of those. Melodic yet mournful, intense and introspective, there are dozens of stories to be told within the grooves of this record.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Forever Gone
02. Taken
03. The Song’s at the Bottom of the Bottle
04. No Wrong
05. Dark Ravine
06. Dead Yesterday
07. You’re So Fine
08. Crystal Madonna
09. Lavender and Sage
010. Was Is and Shall Be
11. Isolation

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/ScottWeinrich/
www.twitter.com/scottweinrich
www.scottwinoweinrich.bandcamp.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/6vP6pVpKHwEFO4wX9eT4cv

www.ripple-music.com/
www.facebook.com/theripplemusic/
www.ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/
www.en.ripple.spkr.media/

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.

Kamelot – I Am The Empire – Live From The 013

Kamelot – I Am The Empire – Live From The 013
Napalm Records
Release Date: 14/08/2020
Running Time: 97:12
Review By Beth Jones
10/10

You know when you finally get round to paying attention to a band that you should have paid attention to a long time ago. And then when you do, you feel like the dumbest decision you ever made was leaving it until now to do that. Well…um…yeah, that. I know, I know!! I will hold my hands up and you may throw rotten fruit at me and call me an idiot for leaving it this long to pay attention to American Symphonic Metal aficionados, Kamelot. But please rest assured that this sort of oversight will never happen again!

This most recent release is an epic live album, featuring their performance at the legendary 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands. It features 21 extraordinary tracks, with guest appearances from some renowned names, and spans an extensive nearly 100 minutes of play time. And I’m guessing that you may have already worked out from my score, that, for me, this is 100 minutes of pure extravagant joy!

The album begins with a triumphant instrumental overture, befitting of any good Arthurian film to accompany a riding sequence, with Arthur and the knights traversing rocky terrain. What better way is there to open a show for a symphonic metal band by the name of Kamelot, eh? None I tell thee!

From there we travel through hit after hit of grand melodies, from new songs to classics, encompassing intricate harmonies, powerful rhythms, and insatiable instrumentation that fills every beat with drama and beauty. We’re also treated to guest appearances from the likes of Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Lauren Hart (Once Human) and Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Epica and more)!

But for me, the aspect that gives me those excited, ‘tingles down the spine’ moments, is Tommy Karevik’s stunning vocals. They are both powerful and effortless, with a richness and purity that could melt even the coldest heart. If there is some kind of heavenly Eutopia for us to pass over to in the afterlife, I sure hope this is the soundtrack.

One track that particularly stands out for me, and displays these silky vocals perfectly, is ‘Here’s to the Fall’. In a change to the pacey and orchestrated masterpieces that have bathed us to this point, this ballad is more stripped back. It doesn’t have face melting solos, or earth-shattering power drumming. It is a melancholic piece with the perfect marriage of Piano and vocals at the forefront, backed up with strings and gentle bass. It has the feeling of a great operatic aria, steeped in sadness, somewhere in the middle of a Broadway musical, where one of the lesser main characters has departed before their time. Being a huge fan of musicals and all things dramatic and operatic, and a big old emotional softy, this ticks all the boxes for me! And god, that voice!!! I have gone all melty.

Now, my usual gripe with live albums is the production/annoying crowd noise/bits where the vocals disappear in the mix etc, etc. But, because this album has been mixed and mastered by Sascha Paeth, none of this is applicable – everything is placed perfectly, every instrument cuts through at the right level, and the vocals sit beautifully throughout. Even the crowd noise works! It’s like they’re an extra facet to the band, and it really makes you feel like you are there, immersed in the whole live experience! At one point there is a section where, I’m guessing, the band got the crowd to do the old ‘Which side can shout the loudest’ routine, and even this is panned between the left and right channels to give you the correct feel of it! Attention to detail like that is what makes great production stand out.

So, to the bad points. There are none! It’s perfect. That’s the shortest paragraph I’ve ever written.

“I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” is available in digital format, as well as CD digipak, Deluxe Box (including the album), Blu-Ray/DVD, and vinyl. I would suggest that if you like Symphonic Metal, Power Metal, Operatic Metal, Musical Theatre, or simply just want something bloody marvellous to listen to, then you should invest in this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Transcendence (Intro)
02. Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire) – feat. Lauren Hart
03. Rule The World
04. Insomnia
05. The Great Pandemonium
06. When The Lights Are Down
07. My Confession – feat. Eklipse
08. Veil Of Elysium
09. Under Grey Skies – feat. Charlotte Wessels (live premiere)
10. Ravenlight – feat. Sascha Paeth
11. End Of Innocence
12. March Of Mephisto – feat. Alissa White Gluz
13. Amnesiac
14. Manus Dei

15. Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) – feat. Alissa White Gluz & Elize Ryd
16. Drum And Keys Solo
17. Here’s To The Fall
18. Forever
19. Burns To Embrace – with Children’s Choir including Thomas Youngblood’s son
20. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) – feat Alissa White Gluz
21. Ministrium (Shadow Key)

LINE-UP:
Thomas Youngblood – guitars
Tommy Karevik – vocals
Oliver Palotai – keyboards
Sean Tibbetts – bass
Alex Landenburg – drums

LINKS:
www.kamelot.com/band/
www.facebook.com/kamelotofficial
www.instagram.com/kamelotofficial
www.twitter.com/KamelotOfficial
www.youtube.com/kamtv
www.vk.com/kamelot_official

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth 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.

Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof – Turned To Stone: Volume 2 – Masamune & Muramasa

Howling Giant/Sergeant Thunderhoof – Turned To Stone: Volume 2 – Masamune & Muramasa
Ripple Music
Running Time: 40.56
Released: 31/07/2020
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Good afternoon, my screaming hordes of the undead! It is I, Dark Juan, and I have returned to share the benefit of my syllabification with you all. I apologise for my lack of communication over the past few weeks, but I have been in a dark place for a while. It happens. A lifetime of debauchery, defiling the House of God and his attractive younger followers (old Mrs. Williams from number 48 can just FUCK OFF! I have no interest in her withered dugs…) and generally being Ever-Metal’s resident libertine and sex pest takes a mental toll, and combine this with a job that requires considerable mental fortitude and colossally long hours and my ever more speedy entropic rush towards the grave (yes, for I have now passed the halcyon days of my mid-forties and am now skidding towards the grave. If my mother had crossed her legs I could be two weeks younger!) and a dog who seems determined to kill himself and simultaneously cost me a fucking fortune at the vet (Sir Zeusington Zeus, KCVG, VC, MM, DFC and Bar has eaten something that does not even qualify as food YET AGAIN!) I have been compelled to deal with some next level depression and anxiety. It has now been beaten back into its little hole in my mind and the lid slammed and padlocked shut.

As this has happened to me, it makes it even more imperative that you all follow My gospel. Love each other and look after each other. Ask the normally garrulous friend who’s being unnaturally quiet whether they are well. Make sure your people are safe and well. Love without measure. And do it without constraint. Thus spake Dark Juan…

Now all that tedious nonsense is out of the way, I am listening to a very interesting split from Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof based on the legend of two Japanese swordsmiths, Masamune and Muramasa, who once competed to create the finest sword there has ever been. Now, if you’re me, this is a fucking awesome concept and already this record has my interest simply because I’m a simple twat who is easily distracted. Each song (there is only two on the record) clocks in around the twenty-minute mark. Which tells you immediately you are in for some sprawling, experimental stoner rock.

First up is Howling Giant with ‘Masamune’. This is not the kind of music you expect to emanate from Nashville, Tennessee, where this power trio are from. Instead of old-fashioned rock and roll, you get dirty DIRTY fuzzed out grooves and huge drums. The song, although lengthy, does not drop away from your interest for a second. It is an epic composed of several easily readable parts which flow easily into each other and make for a mightily satisfying whole. The guitar work is solid, if unexceptional, but the sheer majesty of the riffs in every part is absolutely undeniable. The riffs are colossal. Absolutely fucking massive riffs, mate. The vocals are impassioned, clear and the lyrics interesting and easily heard (too much stoner depends solely on the power of the riff and to fuck with everything else) and the bass and drums are more than adequately meaty. I have been seated upon the sofa, sipping upon a glass of absinthe, with my eyes closed and have been transported into galaxy sized cosmic green-tinged soundscapes and it has to be said I have been fucking enthusiastic about it. Howling Giant have written a fucking good song and you should all check them out. My bank account is protesting already.

Next up we have Somerset based British psychedelic bruisers Sergeant Thunderhoof. Rather more experimental (emphasis on the mental) than Howling Giant’s more polished take on stoner/ doom, this bunch of cosmic time travellers have taken the more elemental parts of psychedelia and rock and fused them (in the heart of a red dwarf star) into the kind of metal that’s heavier than a pair of titanium underpants. ‘Muramasa’ is less of a song and more of an event horizon. Absolutely saturated in fuzz and possessing a bass sound that surely has cost the souls of a number of members of the band, this song is a much more single-minded entity than Howling Giant’s. Whereas the Nashville band opt for loud and quiet parts and obvious movements in the song, the Hoof (this is what they are going to be called because I simply cannot be arsed to type Sergeant Thunderhoof every time) go straight for the jugular and their track is one long, long cohesive entity. One long drug fuelled, incredibly heavy experience, underpinned with some truly amazing vocals from Mr. Dan Flitcroft. The drums are also noticeably more prominent than in Howling Giant’s song.

So, here we have a battle royale between Americans and the Brits. Who comes out on top? It’s a riff-off! Howling Giant have the songwriting chops – their song is the more intricately written of the two and has interesting composition on its side, but the mighty Hoof have the galactic heaviness required for this style of music. Vocally, Sergeant Thunderhoof trample all over Howling Giant’s Tom Polzine. Guitar wise – the skills are pretty equal, but the edge goes to the Hoof simply because their sound is so much more massive. As a cohesive piece of work, I’d give it to Howling Giant as their song is the more expansive of the two, willing to go and explore outer ranges of the stars, while the Hoof boys are content to eat a shitload of shrooms and explore innerspace. Both bands employ absolutely majestic riffs that are brutally magnificent and if you’re looking to get into stoner or doom, this is the perfect place to start. A fucking brilliant record, even if I can’t decide whether or not it is an EP or an album because of the forty-minute running time.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System would seriously fail a drug test right now and offers the record as a whole 9/10 for some almost perfect stoner and doom. Howling Giant get 8/10 for their song and Sergeant Thunderhoof 9/10 for theirs. Victory goes to Muramasa!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Howling Giant – Masamune
02. Sergeant Thunderhoof – Muramasa

HOWLING GIANT ARE:
Tom Polzine – Guitar and Vocals
Zach Wheeler – Drums and Vocals
Sebastian Baltes – Bass and Vocals

SERGEANT THUNDERHOOF ARE:
Dan Flitcroft – Vocals
Mark Sayer – Guitar
Jim Camp – Bass
Darren Ashman – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/howlinggiant
www.howlinggiant.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/sergeantthunderhoof
www.sergeantthunderhoof.co.uk/

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.

Válvera – Cycle Of Disaster

Válvera – Cycle Of Disaster
Brutal Records
Release Date: 28/08/2020
Running time: 40:30
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Maybe I am becoming repetitive with my speech, similar to what some bands do with their music, considering it is almost impossible to offer something completely new in Heavy Metal. Of course, about my speech, it is more a matter of laziness to find good words to express myself (Please boss, don’t fire me!) (Don’t worry Victor, you’re safe – Rick). Ok, what I am trying to say is that I don’t expect anything new from bands, but there are two things that still intrigue me when brutal music is the subject. Firstly, if you can offer complex and heavy music, but at the same time, make it simple and catchy, you will have my attention. Secondly, it doesn’t matter if what you play has already been played by tons of bands before, but if you can still put anger (in the very good meaning of the word) and passion into the music, then you will also have my attention. With this explanation, we can now talk about this album and review!

As you may imagine, the Brazilian Thrash Metal band Válvera does, exactly, the two things I mentioned above, and they go further. Their music is brutal, like good Thrash Metal should be, but it is not the same old Thrash Metal that other bands repeat constantly. It is something full of heaviness, very well thought out with catchy riffs, amazing song structures and good melodies too. As for the anger, well that probably comes from all the subjects covered in the tracks. This is easy to explain because the lyrics focus on many disgraces that human beings have suffered with through the years. Do you want one example? Well, ‘Glow of Death’ is about the famous case of contamination by Cesium-137, which happened in Brazil in 1987. At that time, some people tried to sell equipment found in the garbage, but it had all been in contact with a machine used for radioactive therapy. They had no idea what they were dealing with or selling, and it caused the death of hundreds of people.

Musically, I can hear a very mature band, focused on cadence, which offers good value to the riffs. Nothing is extremely fast but it’s far from being slow. Title track ‘Cycle of Disaster’ contains a wall of heaviness from guitarists Glauber Barreto and Rodrigo Torres and it is possible to understand that the band don’t want to keep repetitive structures in their music. You can hear many variations here and it brilliantly keeps the listeners attention throughout the album. Glauber also explores some melodies with his vocals on the excellent ‘The Damn Colony’, which showcases a catchier kind of music without losing its powerful sonority. Even the solo is played differently with the usual ‘Kerry King style of playing’ making way for something much more melodic and well-structured!

If Gabriel Prado has already showed sonority on his bass during the opening song ‘Nothing Left To Burn’ and drummer Leandro Peixoto shows his technique on ‘Glow Of Death’, then in ‘All Systems Fall’ both appear stronger than ever and do a magnificent job together. Maybe it is not the album’s best song but it actually feels like all the members have put their identity into the composition and if that isn’t the case then the person who wrote it has thought really closely about the feelings of their bandmates

‘Fight For Your Life’ has a more positive spirit and makes you feel stronger after listening to all the struggles and disgraces mentioned by the band. This song also shows more melodies and solos inspired by classic heavy metal bands and it opens space for the last song, the furious ‘Bringer Of Evil’ with its fast cadence. It is a perfect song choice to finish this great album.

I confess that I’ve never heard anything from Válvera before. Maybe I heard someone talking about them and it was interesting try to understand what they want to play. The first thing that popped into my head was that the band knew exactly what they wanted to achieve with this record. This is a natural step for a band releasing their third album after 10 years of existence and many tours but it is not just a case of being a mature band, I feel like they have focused on getting a good producer, not just to have good arrangements or recording sound, but who seems to have travelled deep into the band’s soul to extract their best compositions and help them to reach this amazing result.

Once again, I don’t know if that was what really happened with the relationship between Válvera and their producer Rogério Wecko, but I can assure that the final result is incredible. “Cycle Of Disaster” shows a professional band that is ready to go much further in their career.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Nothing Left To Burn
02. Cycle Of Disaster
03. Glow Of Death
04. The Damn Colony
05. All Systems Fall
06. Born On A Dead Planet
07. O.S. 1977
08. Fight For Your Life
09. Bringer Of Evil

LINE-UP
Glauber Barreto – Vocals and Guitars
Rodrigo Torres – Guitars
Gabriel Prado – Bass
Leandro Peixoto – Drums

LINKS:
www.valvera.com.br
www.facebook.com/bandavalvera/
www.instagram.com/valveraband
www.open.spotify.com/artist/3S87lwfQs6K1O1WsQrpPhz
www.deezer.com/artist/8945888
www.youtube.com/valveraoficial
www.brutalrecords.com/

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.

One Desire – Midnight Empire

One Desire – Midnight Empire
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 22/05/2020
Running Time: 51:32
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9.5/10

When an album starts with a creepy voice that gives you goose bumps and then the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, you know you’re in for a good time. And this is how “Midnight Empire” by Finnish rockers One Desire begins. It is a feel-good album and the tracks just get better and better.

For those of you not familiar with One Desire, they formed in 2012, initially as a project put together by drummer Ossi Sivula. Fast forward a couple of years and they were working with renowned producer, Jimmy Westerlund (Negative, Sturm Und Drang, Joel Madden of Good Charlotte, Pitbull etc), who has several platinum and gold albums to his credit as a producer, guitarist, and song writer.

This brought them to the attention of Frontiers, but at the time, they needed a good singer. Enter stage right Andre Linman from the band Sturm und Drang, who joined the band in 2016. The remaining member, bassist Jonas Kuhlberg (Paul Di Anno, Cain’s Offering, MyGrain), then joined and the band was complete.

Their self-titled debut album really took off, with the track ‘Hurt’ gaining nearly 2 million hits on YouTube and almost 3 million streams on Spotify! After listening to the track, I can totally understand why! Following a successful European tour with Eclipse, they headed back to the studio to start work on this release. “Midnight Empire”. It took two years of work, but now it’s here!

Throughout the album I found myself thinking, “who do these guys remind me of?” and I kept coming back to two bands. Van Halen and the Scorpions! That upbeat, brilliant, 80’s good listening rock, that’s heavy enough to be ROCK, but not so OTT that your ear drums bleed! “Midnight Empire” is the complete package, punchy guitar playing, good rocking drums, amazing vocals…In fact, there’s nothing I don’t like about this! It’s been a while since an album I’ve reviewed has had such an upbeat vibe to it. It makes you just want to put it on repeat and listen over and over again.

Track 2 ‘After You’re Gone’ is definitely one of those tracks that is made for the summertime, window down, volume up, playing finger drums on the steering wheel (yes most of us have done it)! It has that feel good factor throughout. Not all the tracks are full on rockers though, you get some slightly slower tracks, but it just gives the whole album more appeal. I said earlier they remind me a little of Van Halen, by this I mean where you get an almost ballad type track, which then suddenly jumps to a faster tempo. It certainly keeps you on your toes which helps maintain interest throughout the album.

I have to give a special mention to the vocals here. You not only get some amazing melody vocals, but the harmonising is spot on as well! Not too overpowering but complimenting the main vocals of Andre whose vocals are crisp and clear, but with such an edge.

Track 5, ‘Through the Fire’, takes you in a differently direction all together. This slower, ballad like track, is such a variation to the others. But it’s not “just another ballad” because, out of nowhere, it explodes into another dimension! You can feel the guys passion for their music through almost every track, but in this one it’s especially noticeable. They sound like they’re singing their entire hearts out, and every ounce of energy they had went into it. In every track you can hear and feel how much the music means to them, and they want you to share that experience with them.

The final track, ‘Only When I Breathe, is a real ‘lighters out’ rock ballad, and really gets to you (for those of us who have a heart)! Listening to this, I think it’s something most of us can relate to at some point in our lives.

All I can say is wow. “Midnight Empire” is truly brilliant, and I have already added it to my music collection. The passion on each track is tangible. They have put their heart and soul into it completely and should be so proud!

As a little side note, a quick mention about track 9, ‘Killer Queen’! Just to say DON’T PANIC!! It’s not a cover of the Queen track!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Shadowman
02. After You’re Gone
03. Down And Dirty
04. Godsent Extasy
05. Through The Fire
06. Heroes
07. Rio
08. Battlefield Of Love
09. Killer Queen
10. Only When I Breathe

LINE-UP:
Jimmy Westerlund – Guitars
Andre Linman – Lead Vocals
Ossi Sivula – Drums
Jonas Kuhlberg – Bass

LINKS:
www.instagram.com/OneDesireBand
www.onedesire.net/
www.facebook.com/OneDesireBand/
www.twitter.com/oneDesireBand
www.youtube.com/channel/UCaMXnDg9g7WKw1tHHI69FnA
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1s25YudYTrIRBOSsj917K7

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Goldray – Feel The Change

Goldray – Feel The Change
Akashic Records/Cargo Records UK
Release Date: 31/07/2020
Running Time: 39:36
Review by Martin Bennewith
8.5/10

Goldray were not really on my radar before now. I feel like I have been missing out, but not anymore. Leah Rasmussen’s strong and stirring vocals, together with (Former Reef Guitarist) Kenwyn House’s melodic intricate guitar lines are short of the perfect marriage, so it does take time to understand their relationship, but I think I do get it after listening through this. Their deep psychedelic progressive rock fuelled album “Feel The Change” demonstrates this to the fullest. While on my journey through this, at times I would close my eyes and almost feel the energy running through me, as if I was listening to them live, but then I would open them again, and realise I was still alone in my room.

The feel of the album is firmly announced in the first track ‘Oz’ – which for the most part is a phased rhythmic lead riff matched against steady stirring vocals and swirling effects. At times, it has an eastern feel to it both through the vocal melodies and the way the guitar riff morphs, as well as some mellow lead playing against stirring effects as the track moves from energetic to dreamy in a way that works really well. It is definitely one to close your eyes to, only to be nudged back to reality with the nifty but slightly self-indulgent lead playing towards the end of the track.

Title track ‘Feel The Change’ begins with some really nice arpeggiated guitar work, giving it an almost acoustic feel. Leah doesn’t disappoint with her vocal work – emotional with expression that builds up as the track develops with great energy. The track has a fairly laid-back feel throughout, but with enough groove, direction and meaning to keep me interested.

‘The Forest’ has an equally sweet feel and progression, and you really can hear House’s Hendrix influences shining through with his melodic rhythmic playing as well as the lead parts, whereas ‘The Forest (Part 2)’ in contrast has a heavier energy to it, and made me wish I still had hair to fly around while rocking my head to the beat. Leah’s impressive vocal range and versatility really shine at the climax of the track as my journey through ‘The Forest’ nears the end.

We return to a slightly eastern, more psychedelic feel on ‘How Do You Know’, with heavily reverberated vocals, against an energetic beat and repetitive hypnotic guitar lines. I don’t think this is the most memorable track on the album, musically it didn’t hold my interest as much as the other tracks, but it does have a guitar part that is lengthy and full of raw energy to spice things up a lot towards the end.

Next track, ‘The Beat Inside’ has a really pumping guitar riff that will blow the dust off your speakers. Following most of the album’s formula, the stirring vocal work strikes an almost unusual contrast which is most evident in this track. With ad-lib style vocals and lead, this track feels like a bit of a jam session, albeit a jam session that I love to listen to. This is followed by ‘Come On’ which in contrast, has a more laid-back country feel, so the vocals do not sound so much detached as they occasionally do in the more energetic numbers.

On the final track ‘Phoenix Rising’, I could really hear Kenwyn House’s style shining through with his Hendrixesque rhythm play and intricate bluesy lead lines. After lots of energy and vocal stirrings to finish the proceedings, I opened my eyes, and felt like I had listened to a pretty good album!

I don’t think this album will be for everyone. The style is quite raw. Musically, it sometimes sounds like a jam session as opposed to a work of art, and the vocals at times feel like they don’t quite fit the music. But if you are like me, and you can see that the way this was put together was to draw you in and send you into a dream that is mixed with raw energy and emotion, then you will like it a lot.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Oz
02. Feel The Change
03. The Forest
04. The Forest (Part 2)
05. How Do You Know
06. The Beat Inside
07. Come On
08. Phoenix Rising

LINE-UP:
Leah Ray Rasmussen – Vocals
Kenwyn House. – Guitars, Piano, Farfisa Electric Organ, Bass, Backing Vocals

Plus, appearances from:
Geoff Laurens – Bass
Mike Kenna – Bass
Jamie Morrison – Drums & Percussion
Jonny Brister – Drums & Percussion
Lee Spreadbury – Electric Piano, Keyboards
Stephen Large – Hammond Organ

LINKS:
www.goldrayband.com/
www.facebook.com/Goldrayband
www.instagram.com/goldrayband/
www.twitter.com/Goldrayband
www.open.spotify.com/artist/03shUdhAgHcvpG1dXz2WXT
www.youtube.com/channel/UCNkWB93F51PRK4geKuQP52w

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Martin Bennewith 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.

Guardian Of Lightning – Cosmos Tree

Guardian Of Lightning – Cosmos Tree
Eclipse Records
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Running Time: 33:09
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

“We Are The First Thunder Metal Band”. With these words, I started on my journey to understand and review “Cosmos Tree” the debut album from Guardian Of Lightning, an amazing 3-piece band from São Paulo, Brazil. First, I was curious as to what exactly this unknown genre (at least for me) was, but after listening to their album several times, I guess I could understand it. Nevertheless, it is especially important to highlight that despite what they call themselves, their music is what comes first, and their music is very impressive.

What I could extract from the meaning of Thunder Metal on hearing Guardian Of Lightning for the first time is the following. Firstly, their lyrics and concept are connected to the power that comes from nature in a way to recover our energies and soul. All the lyrics have positive messages, but nothing is esoteric, and it is healthy, like a mantra connecting music and nature. The second thing that could be related to Thunder Metal is the loudness that comes from their instruments which are heavy and powerful like thunder. I guess this comes to mind due to their similarities with Motörhead and Manowar, mostly in the arrangements, and especially the vocals that really remind me of Lemmy Kilmister.

The sonority itself gives value to heavy guitars guiding the songs rhythmically. The incredible percussion of ‘Lord Drum’ increases the aggression where the speed is filled by strong hits on his drum kit and amazing tempo changes. The most interesting aspect of their music is that the bass does all leads and solos, obviously something that we are used to hearing from guitars. Therefore, the bass of ‘Iron King’ is the main instrument throughout the record and I feel that it makes the guitar of his father ‘Marco Fino’ better to follow. This is pure and heavy Rock n’ Roll and I mean a VERY HEAVY Rock n’ Roll but It is also Heavy Metal. However, I can’t think of any style that relates to Guardian Of Lightning other than when I mentioned Motörhead? The similarities between them are very apparent. Something that is not only Metal but also much heavier than just Rock n’ Roll.

There are more elements that make “Cosmos Tree” brilliant. Mantras you hear in the ‘Intro’ before the title track ‘Cosmos Tree’ kicks the album off show everything that the band are trying to achieve. This song also has a guitar sound that reminds me somewhat of the sounds of nature. ‘Aligned With The Stars’ includes some rattle (maybe it is another instrument, but it reminds me a lot of a rattle) throughout the song, that fits well with the drums. I also have to mention my favorite tracks, the beautiful ‘Sound Of Thunder’ that includes touching piano in the song and the lovely and heavy ballad ‘Be Like The Moon’ that finishes the album.

Perhaps Guardian Of Lightning hasn’t brought anything new to the table, that is for you to decide, but I find it interesting how their music navigates through Rock and Heavy Metal. If you like Rock but miss the heaviness of Heavy Metal or if you like Heavy Metal and miss the simplicity of good Rock n’ Roll then “Cosmos Tree” is the perfect album for you. Of course, fans of good and well-played bass are going to love this amazing band.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Intro
02. Cosmos Tree
03. Raise Your Sword
04. Sound of Thunder
05. Aligned with the Stars
06. Follow Your Silver Shine
07. Inside of Us
08. Another Place
09. Be Like the Moon

LINE-UP:
Iron King (lead bass guitar)
Marco Fino (lead vocals & rhythm guitar)
Lord Drum (drums)

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/guardianoflightningofficial
www.twitter.com/GuardianofLigh2
www.instagram.com/guardian_of_lightning_/
www.open.spotify.com/album/5xwjQG0hYDWjNEjOY1bp8A
www.youtube.com/GuardianofLightning
www.eclipserecords.com/release/cosmos-tree-guardian-of-lightning/

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.