Deified – Anthrobscene (Mini-Album)

Deified – Anthrobscene (Mini-Album)
Self-Released
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 27:31
Review by Sheri Bicheno
10/10

Hailing from Merseyside, Deified formed in 2013 and are an utter treasure, you don’t expect them to hit you the way they do when you first listen to their music. The raw sound that is apparent from the first moment is clear cut with elements of thrash and prog metal joining forces to create a rampant beast!

Looking into their background, Deified have made an impressionable footprint. Supporting acts such as Exodus, Lost Society and Cattle Decapitation, gaining the M2TM crowns for Merseyside in 2015 and therefore, playing the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock 2015. They released their first album “Ascension”, in 2015 and then EP “Inhuman Manifesto” in 2018.

I’m looking forward to what’s in store with “Anthrobscene”!

Thumping straight in, I detect a serious amount of vibe that reminds me of a Lamb of God crossover style, whilst still retaining their own sound.

We start with a ‘Prelude’ to the album. This is a taster of Jordan’s drumming that introduces a fast, but not too aggressive, pace to the album. Just edging us a bit along with the guitars. A slow and prog type riff that rolls with the exposed pounding drums.

First track proper ‘Dark Desires’ starts this journey with winding strings. Jamie’s vocals then kick in and they really do give a range on this track that remind me a lot of Randy Blythe’s technique – gravelling screeches, growling, and also softly spoken in places. I adore this track actually. The lyrics address the problem in the world of social media and privacy; identity problems surrounding this and the effects it has on someone with a fragile or darkening mind set. Like a creeping illness.

The strings and bass melt together and bring a heavy, progressive and chaotic sound…and in places, an almost doomy element to proceedings.

Next, ‘Broken Matrix’, is absolutely chaotic! I feel the sharp and tight guitars from Matt and Alistair really stand out here. The thumping and riffing on this track and the backbone of the strings from Tom present us with something you can get submerged in and take HUGE ENERGY from. When we come to 3:40 (the beginning of the end of the track), it still leaves you wanting more. I’m also picking up some Thrash and Groove vibes entwined throughout this track. It works so well and keeps the album momentum going.

Power. Greed and Corruption. Control….

“Because in a world so volatile, it only takes once more.”

‘Enemies Within’ smashes us right in the face with the global issues of these times – where is humanity going to end up?

Strings and drums are hammering and powerful with the apt message that Deified are telling us to sit the hell up and take notice. We are taken through a hellish picture and the pure energetic force and powerful tone tell us that this isn’t just sound and music – this is fast, ripping, spreading, wild and presently without order. I really feel that the aggressive, hard and slamming foundation of this track, should be highlighted and put out there to draw even more attention to Deified. This is the sort of track many people need to hear and feel so that the same level of passion and power can be created within themselves to understand. Not just lyrically, but with the style of tone.

This a top track and definitely my favourite on “Anthrobscene”.

A short, apocalyptic and industrial feeling drum piece, ‘Intermission’, appears next. This is a preparation for ‘Apotheosis – Rebirth’ which starts off with Thrashy guitars, winding bass and, once again, Jordan’s outstanding superspeed beats which are pounding and take us on a journey to some deep places; all welded with Jamie’s vocals, which are rough, fast and dark. The melodic breakdowns in this track are beautifully placed after such a rapid wander through the track, which are still heavy but touch on Deified’s progressive side. Then a fast and rough pace picks up again along with Jamie’s raging vocals and it all sweeps into a fadeout.

‘Blood Under The Bridge’ is a battering ram of Death Metal, Thrash and Groove that’s come to break anything in its path. I love a track that can keep you on your toes and this one captures that so well. The droning guitars, harsh vocals, rapid ever-changing beats and wailing bass that later melt into a moment of dirty breakdowns. Both guitars are skilled here with the riffs keeping us edged and the bass gluing everything in place.

Airing a beautiful wandering through the beginning of ‘An Ode To Armageddon’ with gentle strings and softer beats conclude “Anthrobscene”. The pace does pick up with some harsher tones but still stays true to the gentler and synth side of Deified. Although non vocal, this is another favourite of mine. In my journey through this album, this track feels like a time of reflection during post destruction!

What would you feel after such an ordeal?

“Anthrobscene” has nothing on it that I can negatively critique. Deified have created an album that is sharp, tight and takes us through the issues we, as humanity, face and have long taken advantage of. Their sound is a blend of tones that I enjoy most during live and studio versions of music and they bring it to us without compromise and with power. I’ll be more than happy to recommend “Anthrobscene” and Deified to friends and to colleagues in the industry from now.

Killer album!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Prelude
02. Dark Desires
03. Broken Matrix
04. Enemies Within
05. Intermission
06. Apotheosis – Rebirth
07. Blood Under The Bridge
08. An Ode To Armageddon

LINE-UP:
Jamie Hughes – Vocals
Matt Pike – Guitar
Alistair Blackhall – Guitar
Tom Simm – Bass
Jordan Stanley-Jones – Drums

LINKS:
www.deified.uk/
www.facebook.com/deified/
www.shop.deified.uk/
www.twitter.com/deifieduk
www.instagram.com/deifieduk/
www.youtube.com/user/officialdeified

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno 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.

Alizarin – The Last Semblance

Alizarin – The Last Semblance
Self-Released
Release Date: 10/07/2020
Running Time: 58:46
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Salutations once again music fans. It’s a glorious sunny day again here in our little corner of Wales, and I almost spent the day in the garden being productive, but, owing to the untimely death of my pressure washer, I’m now writing instead! I didn’t really want to be outside anyway… it’s overrated… damn.

Anyway, the subject of my musings today is Los Angeles based cinematic prog rockers, Alizarin, and their upcoming new release “The Last Semblance”. Formed in 2017, this will be the bands second album. Their first, “Cast Zenith”, was released in 2018 and was a strictly instrumental album, however Guitarist and band founder Josh Kay has now stepped up to vocal duties, providing another element to their sound.

The band’s press release says that this album ‘covers a wide spectrum of sonic landscapes and emphasizes the melodic journey over deliberate technique.’ My first impression of the sound was that it indeed explores many sonic landscapes, however I think the journey that it takes is both melodic and technical in equal measures. If you like true prog with many deep routed jazz rhythm changes, close harmonies, and unexpected cadences, this is certainly the album for you. It has a classic sound, which reminds me very much of bands like The Enid and Rush, but also is heavily influenced by more recent developments like Opeth.

The album starts off in true prog style, with ‘Elegy Simularca’, a near 8-minute song that is heavily routed in exploring instruments, with the addition of vocals. I’m a massive fan of instrumental exploration that this genre affords, so this for me was a good start. Leading in with synth strings, and then synth arpeggiator, the song progresses into sections that suggest urgency, with staccato guitar riffs and bass lines and offbeat accents in the drum line, juxtaposed with flowing synth and long vocal lines; interspersed with calmer section with all instruments given more chance to flow. There is also a superb guitar solo in this track.

The whole album continues along the same vein, with complex riffs and solos on the guitar, more rhythm changes than I’ve had hot dinners, attention to detail in terms of dynamics and tempos, and deep rooted layers of synth, emphasising the classic ‘prog originator’ sound that underpins what this band do.

There is a very clever bit of attention to detail at the end of the final track ‘The Ivory Silo’, as it finishes with the same chord on synth strings that the album starts with, bringing it full circle. I liked that very much.

All in all, this is a very accomplished album. But I do have a few issues with it. Firstly, they commit, for me, the cardinal sin of music. The fade out. Track 2, ‘Fathom’ rolls along beautifully for the entire track, but then is ruined by the fade out. If you can’t work out how to end a track, shelve it until you can. The fade out is the single worst thing to ever happen to music in my opinion, and no-one will ever change my mind on that!

My second issue is, whilst musically and technically the album is beautifully and very adeptly played and mixed, it lacks a bit of soul. It almost feels like there is an invisible wall of technique between the band and the audience, and they haven’t quite figured out how to get over it to connect with their listeners ‘right in the feels’.

My final issue is that I’m not convinced that the vocals add anything to the experience. They’re ok, they’re nothing ground-breaking, and they have a tendency to feel like a bit of an afterthought.

That said, as a work in its entirety, it does do what it says on the tin. Is it cinematic? Yes. Does it deliver proggy elements? Yes, by the bucket load. Is it accomplished melodically and technically? Yes, it most certainly is. Is it a beautifully balanced instrumentally? Yes. Everything sits in the right place when it comes to instruments.

This is an album that is going to be an acquired taste for many, but if you do like technical instrumental prog, and don’t mind some vocals, you will enjoy it.

Track Listing:
01. Elegy Simulacra
02. Fathom
03. A Wreath of Temperance
04. Velvet Margin
05. Heirloom
06. Zero Sum
07. Attenuation
08. The Ivory Silo

Line Up:
Josh Kay – Guitars and vocals
Jon Damon – Drums
Terran Fernandez – Bass and backing vocals
Avelino Ramirez – Keyboards

Links:
www.alizarinmusic.com/
www.facebook.com/alizaringroup/
www.instagram.com/alizarinband/
www.alizarinband.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UC5cy7LBoVpwCBcVHfxCZQdA

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.

Hellfekted – Woe To The Kingdom Of Blood

Hellfekted – Woe To The Kingdom Of Blood
Self-Released
Release Date: 29/03/2020
Running Time: 39:32
Review by Tammy Lomax
10/10

I have a huge smile on my face and let me tell you why…Midlands, UK band HELLFEKTED that is why! They have recently self-released ‘Woe To The Kingdom Of Blood’ and it has been an absolute honour to review this album.

Now, these guys have only been on the scene the last year or so but that means absolutely nothing! Ha! I cannot say it enough, if you haven’t checked them out, please do, like right now because, if you are a fan of really disgusting blackened thrash metal, all your needs will be catered for. Hellfekted are the whole cake.

Right, let me calm my pants.

Opening this beautiful carnage is title track ‘Woe To The Kingdom Of Blood’ and it IS one of the best ways to open any album. As the sound of a tolling church bell dissolves you are hit with an evacuation alarm and, by all means, do evacuate everyone from the room, bar yourself. In come the industrial, rustic vocals and pow…Houston, Hellfekted have landed! They glide themselves in perfectly on this mid-pace stomper.

By this point, the smile on my face is obvious and says it all, I am eager, and I am squeaking.

Next track ‘Treachery’ is just a minuscule portion of what is about to come. Hellfekted have been meticulous about the placement of every single track on the album.

‘Tower Of Life’ is a mosh pit track for sure, even I would throw myself in. It is from this point that you realise Hellfekted are going to be strong in their game. There is such a deep doom feel before the main riff comes in, gradually getting faster! The chaos is imposing, and they seem to push themselves harder and harder as the track accelerates and becomes more brutal. My legs go like jelly when they really go for it towards the end.

Next is ‘Fractured’ and there literally is no gasping for air here. If you need a break, then maybe these guys aren’t for you. They hammer away persistently. Drummer Myles’ double kick drums meeting the bass of Chris is pure sex. It’s hot and on FIRE, banging and bursting and then they stop inviting you to assume the track is over over…never assume!

On these three tracks the bass guitar really bulges out of the speakers. It’s luscious, literally mouth-watering, you can hear every single pluck!

‘Stigma’ is my outright favourite track on here (although, it was a tough decision, because every track is delivered to the highest of standards). Dissolving due to the bass, it is an immaculate 6 minutes and 22 seconds of euphoria. It pulls you in and then flings you back out, like a sling shot, but in your face! After some butchery, there is more development, like the track has only just begun. There are three sections, each one progressing and getting more intense, it is fascinating mayhem!

‘Omen To The Antichrist’ Is a little slower paced than the others, but don’t assume this is a breather because it’s not. The guitar work and tempo of the drums is spot on, they build you up, eat you and then spit you out.

‘Fire at Will’ and ‘Archaic Demise’ are the final tracks on here. There is zero dip in talent, their sound and vocals are consistent throughout. Talking about the vocals, I have to say they are something extraordinary! Liam does an incredible job of liquifying your face.

My ears are completely blistered after listening to this and I have an even bigger smile on my face. Being honest, I have been keeping a sneaky eye on Hellfekted and will continue to do so. Make sure you have your Tena ladies on (even the men) because they will be needed.

Cheers guys.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Woe To The Kingdom Of Blood
02. Treachery
03. Tower Of Life
04. Fractured
05. Stigma
06. Omen Of The Antichrist
07. Fire At Will
08. Archaic Demise

LINE-UP:
Liam – Vocals, Guitars.
Chris – Back-Up Vocals/Bass
Myles – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/Hellfekted/
www.twitter.com/hellfekted
www.instagram.com/hellfekted/
www.youtube.com/channel/UClv6zAlR29shaDFmGk_h4ew

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tammy Lomax 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.

Osyron – Foundations

Osyron – Foundations
SAOL/The Orchard
Release Date: 10/07/2020
Running Time: 28:41
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

After a pretty productive bank holiday weekend, Rick decided to hit me up with something new that he thought I would like, as part of my quest to write more reviews. The first of these is our subject here, Canadian Symphonic Metal band, Osyron. Based in Calgary, Alberta, the group see themselves as ‘bridging the gap between traditional European metal and the music of their homegrown contemporaries’.

Starting out in Ontario, they originally went by the name Morbid Theory, releasing two demos (Chaos Breed in 2006 and Harbinger in 2010). The band saw some changes in line-up, scenery, and identity, and, after moving to Alberta in 2012, Osyron was born.

Their upcoming release, “Foundations”, although only 5 tracks in duration, is just about scraping album length, owing to the progressive nature of their compositions and the story that it takes you through. It is a view on Canadian history, spanning topics from the country’s colonization, to the mistreatment and recognition of indigenous tribes, and the country’s participation in global warfare. This hard hitting and melancholy theme is stark from the off.

Starting with dark symphonic chords and the pounding of drums, Osyron take us through colonisation in the first track ‘The Cross’. It’s pounding beats and droning root chords suggest the regimented power of an oppressor, and the helplessness of the indigenous people; ‘They would learn to live like us, Or they would learn to die by the cross.’

The second track ‘Ignite’, tells the story of Canada’s roll in WWI, explored from a Canadian and UK perspective. Again, lyrically, it’s hard hitting. Musically it explores differentiation in rhythm, emulating the chaotic nature of battle, as well as pulsing beats and chanting war cries that suggest the regimented and indoctrinated nature of war. The use of drums here also cleverly suggests the sounds of a battlefield.

A contrast in pace and instrumentation to the first two tracks, ‘Battle of The Thames’, starts acoustically, with just voice and guitar, at a much slower pace, but in keeping with the melancholy that drifts beautifully throughout this record. It has almost a folk, lilting feel, and would not be out of place performed atop a craggy cliff on a Celtic shoreline. Halfway through, we are treated to a far away guitar solo, which almost sounds like a distant violin, adding more to the feeling of a ‘folk’ route. I may be wrong, but I think I can hear a mandolin in there too at some points. This track gathers layered momentum as it progresses, and reaches a climax with an excellent guitar solo, pulling things back from folk, to symphonic metal.

The penultimate track, ‘The Ones Below’, marks a sudden change in pace, starting with a fully loaded groove riff, the sort you would expect from a well-oiled groove metal band. However, this is intertwined with the ethereal sounds of strings. The reason for the more upbeat nature of this track – it is a celebration of the generations past and how their sacrifice is now being recognised. The raising of a glass to the ones below ‘We drink not in our sorrow… For our sisters and brothers’.

However, you still feel that this isn’t enough… That more can be done… A theme that is explored in the final, and title track, on this record. An epic composition and by far my favourite, it’s musically full, symphonic, and heavy in its minor key. For me, lyrically it is the most tortured track on the album. The chorus lines ‘Wild lies, of white crimes, I, can no longer bear…And hear them cry, throughout the night, Why? Have our wrongs taken their rights?’ are very stark, powerful, and thought provoking. And the change up in rhythm towards the end spark thoughts of final painful realisation and desperation to put right wrongs. Very deep and pretty moving.

Musically, this record is symphonic and proggy in all the right places, and if you like bands such as Nightwish, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Kamelot, and Wintersun, you’re going to like this. But in my opinion, the ace card here is the lyrics, and the way that every member of the band has explored and interpreted the subject matter. They all had a hand in writing the tracks, for the first time in their history, and I think that it has really worked very well. I might not have known Osyron before hearing this record, but I definitely intend to get to know them more now.

TRACKLISTING:
1. The Cross
2. Ignite
3. Battle of The Thames
4. The Ones Below
5. Foundations

LINE-UP:
Krzysztof Stalmach (Guitar)
Cody Anstey (Drums)
Bobby Harley (Guitar)
Reed (Vocals)
Tyler Corbett (Bass)

LINKS:
www.osyron.com
www.facebook.com/osyron/
www.twitter.com/osyron
www.instagram.com/osyronband/
www.youtube.com/user/osyron/videos

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.

Stargazery – Constellation

Stargazery – Constellation
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 44:42
Review by Chris Palmer
9.5/10

The second chapter in my journey with Ever Metal sees me travelling to the stars with Finnish Melodic Metallers, Stargazery, as the five-piece prepare to release their third opus at the end of this week.

Formed back in 2005 by guitarist Pete Ahonen (Burning Point, Ghost Machinery), the band released its debut album, “Eye On The Sky” in 2011. Four years later saw the release of the band’s follow-up album, “Stars Aligned”, which portrayed their tableau of keyboard-driven Melodic Metal that is heavily influenced by the likes of Rainbow and Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath.

The band, which is completed by ex-MSG and ex-Snakegod vocalist Jari Tiura, Marko Pukkila (Bass), Pasi Hiltula (Keyboards) and Illka Leskelä (Drums), release a third album to a world still struggling with the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For those still suffering the continuous ramifications of lockdown and self-isolation (like yours truly), this new release is a welcome surprise…

Entitled “Constellation” and containing ten tracks, this musical treasure chest will maintain a firm grip on you for almost 45 minutes, as this quintet will lift your spirits and leave you gazing at the stars, as you reach for the repeat button after virtually every song!

Released via Pure Steel Records, the album’s epicness is immediately obvious as the riff-driven sounds of ‘Sinners In Shadows’ blast from the speakers. Consisting of a chorus to die for, you’ll be singing along in no time, as cobwebs are blown away by the heavy rhythm section and powerful vocal attack.

The keyboard-led ‘War Torn’ is equally brilliant, as the band encourages you to close your eyes and absorb the sounds, before rising again to headbang your way through the heavy ‘Self-Proclaimed King’. After several stoppages to allow for usage of the repeat button, the beautiful sounds of the bass guitar lead you into the melodic ‘Ripple The Water’, which is followed by the beautiful, slow moving ballad ‘I Found Angels’.

The second half of the album begins with the breathless and powerful title track, which leads you into the Melodic Metal masterpiece, ‘Caught In The Crossfire’. The keyboard sections throughout are truly marvellous, as is the guitar solo during the song’s second half, but it’s the entire rhythm of the tune that’ll have you bouncing around the room with a stupid grin on your face! ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ meanwhile, turns the pace down a notch with its brilliant chugging rhythm. However, Jari’s vocal talents really shine here, as he treats listeners to a wonderful mixture of powerful and melodic moments.

Penultimate number, ‘In My Blood’, is another slab of Melodic Metal awesomeness, as it rumbles along at varying tempos and impressive riffs. The keyboard solo during the second half brings back memories of Paul Raymond and Jon Lord, as the song comes to an end. The album closes with the heavy and epic ‘Raise The Flag’, which contains a pounding rhythm that’ll have you punching your fists in the air in sheer delight.

After three quarters of an hour the silence is deafening, but your blood will be pumping and your face aching from the stupid grin imposed upon you earlier. This Finnish quintet have risen spirits and lifted your face to the stars as they’ve hurdled through ten tracks of epicness. You’ve discovered that the music has been so good, it deserves another round…

And what’s not to like? Everything a fan of Melodic Metal could possibly ask for is on display throughout. Each track takes up a life of its own, yet remains on the overall path of the album’s journey by being driven by the powerhouse rhythm section of Marko and Illka. The guitars and keyboards of Pete and Pasi offer moments of sheer beauty, while complimenting the aforementioned duo throughout each track. The solo offerings of both Pete and Pasi bring joy to the ears, as both musicians do what they do best. The entire work is completed by a superb performance from Jari, as the singer treats the listener to a vocal display of power, wonder, and beauty throughout.

“Constellation” has been a truly wonderful album to review, and will remain on my playlist for many years to come…or at least until the next chapter from Stargazery arrives! For any fan of Melodic Metal, this album is an essential purchase. The same can be said for any fan of good metal music… What a delightful listening experience.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sinners In Shadows
02. War Torn
03. Self-Proclaimed King
04. Ripple The Water
05. I Found Angels
06. Constellation
07. Caught In The Crossfire
08. Dark Side Of The Moon
09. In My Blood
10. Raise The Flag

LINE-UP:
Jari Tiura – Vocals
Pete Ahonen – Guitars
Marko Pukkila – Bass
Pasi Hiltula – Keyboards
Illka Leskelä – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/stargazery
www.instagram.com/stargazery_official/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCxR-v9ftG5Rjkud8KKiHn3g

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Palmer 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.

Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam

Thirteen Stars – Finest Ramshackle Jam
RPM Music
Release Date: 19/06/2020
Running Time: 55:12
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

When you think of Southern Rock and Blues, you probably picture a beat up back porch in the dusty southern states of America in the warmth of the evening sun, upon which there sits a craggy gentleman, supping a Southern Comfort or a nice bourbon, whilst singing about life and strumming a guitar. Or driving across an orange dessert in an open top Cadillac on the way to Woodstock, the sun beating down and the dust sticking hard to your brill-creamed handlebar tash, swigging from a bottle of moonshine and toking on a Marlboro.  And you would be forgiven for thinking that the members of Thirteen Stars had all indeed been living that life in order to create the Southern Rock sound that we all know and love. But you’d be wrong. They are, in fact, from the West Coast… of Cumbria, UK. Being a dweller of the UK myself, I can confirm that Cumbria is neither dusty, nor sunny for a good 95% of the year, so getting that Southern sound the way Thirteen Stars do is pretty impressive!

Their latest release, and fifth studio album, “Finest Ramshackle Jam”, is due to drop in mid-June 2020. The album was recorded at Doncaster’s Axis Studios, which has played host to a variety of names, including Terrorvision, Massive Wagons, and Black Spiders, and engineered and produced by Matt Elliss, with co-production by Thirteen Stars’ frontman, Hoss Thompson. The album was mastered by Geoff Pesche (Page & Plant, Therapy, The Divine Comedy) at Abbey Road Studios no less (if you don’t know the significance of that place, are you even a music fan?)!

The album as a whole has been inspired by, and pays homage to many sub-genres of Rock and musical icons from ages past, with nods to Rockabilly and classic Rock ‘n’ Roll, and hints of greats such as Queen, Tom Petty, and Elvis Presley, amongst others. The use of instantly recognisable instruments – Hammond organ, a brass section, and Bass Clav – provide a classic 50s, 60s and 70s feel, but it’s in no way ‘dated’. The sweeping backing vocal harmonies and guitar harmonies throughout, the fuzzed-out guitar solos, and the extremely good, multi-layered mixing, give “Finest Ramshackle Jam” a very ‘full’ feel, which is really pleasing to listen to. I particularly like the use of panning on many of the songs, which creates a brilliant sense of depth, and almost makes it feel like you are watching a live show (remember them?… they were fun… ☹).

The album starts at apace, with ‘I’m Ready’, a track that frontman Hoss Thompson describes as a composition in which the idea of music is personified, and is asking ‘are you ready to dedicate your life to me, whatever hardship that may bring?’ to which the answer, for these guys, is ‘yes’!

There is a good variety of pace and feeling across the record, with upbeat tracks like ‘Be There In The Morning’ (which to me has quite a Buddy Holly feel about it), and ‘Mint Jelly’, proper full on groove in tracks like ‘Break It Down Slowly’, and even a little walk into Motown in ‘Rebel’. The whole 55 minutes of this album is crammed full of excellent musicianship from all members – one of my favourite moments being the mighty guitar work in the final track, ‘Only A Soldier’. It’s like a big hug in its richness and has plenty of wah!

I simply can’t pick a favourite track off this album, as they are all so different from each other, and explore the full depths of genres around their sound. In the press release front man, Hoss, said that this album was a reaction to their previous album, “The White Raven”, which, although liked it, they “felt that it lacked some variety, and we wanted to create a more esoteric album. One that encapsulated all the different inspirations we have and that shows the variety of songwriting that we create.” Well, congratulations guys, as you have done just that in this album. It’s not ground-breaking, but it doesn’t need to be. Its beauty is in the bands understanding of the musical roots which they emulate. These guys are really solid players in their field, and deserve much acclaim for their work, and this damn fine album. If you like Southern Rock, in any form, you’re going to love this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. I’m Ready
02. Running So Long
03. Sweet Lies
04. Give It Good
05. Sleeping
06. Sorcery
07. Be There In The Morning
08. I’d Do Anything
09. Mint Jelly
10. Rebel
11. Steel Horse
12. Keep Calm and Carry On
13. Razor’s Edge
14. Break It Down Slowly
15. Only A Soldier

LINE-UP:
Hoss Thompson – Vocals/Guitar
Jax Sedgwick – Guitar
Mike Reid – Bass
Andy Bates – Drums

LINKS:
www.thirteenstarsuk.com/
www.facebook.com/ThirteenStars
www.twitter.com/13_Stars1
www.instagram.com/13_starsuk
www.youtube.com/channel/UCt3pEsMdP6CYVtwbLKBx0xw

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.

Battle Born – Battle Born EP

Battle Born – Battle Born EP
Self Released
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time: 24:16
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

So here we are my friends – still in the midst of weirdness, and slowly pushing the boundaries of our sanity a little further every day, complete with lockdown haircuts and all-day drinking! Add in to that a bank holiday weekend at the sweaty end of May, and you would be forgiven for thinking that I may have finally cracked! But thankfully the saving grace in all this madness is, as ever, music, and the new releases certainly haven’t slowed down here at EMHQ. So, I’m cracking open another bottle and settling in for the long haul. I have new music and wine. I could think of many worse ways to spend a Sunday evening!

Tonight’s listening pleasure is brought to me by Battle Born, a Power Metal quintet from the UK, who are about to release their debut EP of the same name. The Power Metal scene here in the UK has always been small, but perfectly formed (a lot like me!!) and it is great to see a host of new bands flying on to the scene, holding aloft the mighty sword of European Power Metal sounds, pulling their flowing manes and theatrical anthems behind them! The inspiration for Battle Born’s Debut EP apparently came from the hugely successful game, Skyrim. Now, I am a bit of a gamer, but alas being a bit old, and a staunch Nintendo girl, unless it has Mario in, it’s not on my radar! However, you don’t need to know the game in order to appreciate good music. So, without further procrastination, let’s talk Power Metal!

Without giving me chance to slurp my wine, the opening track and title track, ‘Battle Born’, burst out of my headphones with all the power and speed that you would expect from a very well healed band of the genre. Beginning with a very regent and full chord progression sequence, it quickly progresses to the gold old ‘riggidy diggidy’ beat so synonymous with Power Metal. Jack Reynold’s vocal are crisp and powerful, whether that be in a clean range, or giving us a couple of screams. I really like that every word is crystal clear. There is also some lovely keyboard work and a great guitar solo in this track. A proper barnstormer to start with. I like!

This theme continues throughout the EP. Classic Power Metal riffs, fantastic vocals, and metronomic rhythms. The addition of some 80’s style Synth in the second track, ‘Bring the Metal Back’, adds an interesting flavour and is a subtle nod to some of the greats. This 80’s feel is continued in track 3, ‘Man of War’, although this is less of a Power Metal anthem, and more Classic Metal. The band’s press release says that it ‘could comfortably have lived on 80s hard rock radio alongside Judas Priest.’ I concur. It comes complete with the sound effect of marching feet – very 80’s, hugely cliched, but perfect! A gold star again here to Jack Reynolds scream just before the end of the song! It’s big! I expect he needed a sit down after delivering it!

Track 4, ‘For Our Home’, slows things down into the realms of Power Ballad (lighters at the ready folks). It is a beautiful and very poignant and thoughtful composition amidst the thumping pace of the rest of the EP.

The final track, ‘Sovngarde Awaits’, starts of in a slow and melancholy fashion, but doesn’t stay there for long! Bringing the whole thing back full circle, it moves at a pace, and explores the full scope of the instrumentation on offer from Battle Born; the dramatic keys of Will Kerr, riffage a plenty on from Tom O’Dell on guitar, and a thumping and thunderous rhythm section provided by Chris Beattie on bass and Charles Lamacraft on drums. And of course, Jack Reynolds vocals.

You can’t help but smile at Power Metal, I find. It’s just joyous. And Battle Born have shown us here that they are certainly in contention to join the Power league with the big boys! Well done chaps!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Battle Born
02. Bring the Metal Back
03. Man of War
04. For Our Home
05. Sovngarde Awaits

LINE-UP:
Jack Reynolds – Vocals (also in Bykürius and Asira)
Will Kerr – Guitars, Keyboards
Tom O’Dell – Guitars, Vocals (Track 4) (also in Dwarrowdelf and Deavhronun)
Chris Beattie – Bass
Charles Lamacraft-Perrett – Drums
Extra guitars from Ethan Bishop (Asira/Bykürius/Cairiss on Tracks 3 and 4)

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/battlebornuk/
www.instagram.com/battlebornuk/
www.battlebornuk.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCg8iwUhNagsNEpSzLAui07g

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.

Flight of Eden – Dante’s Inferno EP

Flight of Eden – Dante’s Inferno EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 09/04/2020
Running Time: 22:39
Review by Sheri Bicheno
8/10

For those that don’t know, Flight of Eden are a prog metal four-piece band from Reading, risen in 2018 from the previous group Zodiark! To me, this new release brings more of a progressive metal feel to that of their 2019 EP “Transition”, which features more of the heavy and groove metal angle of Flight of Eden. The progress these guys have made in such a short space of time should not go ignored, gaining endorsement from Ashdown Engineering, Dingwall Guitars and Payson. Another point to make is the outstanding EP artwork on this release, by Monument’s Will Cross, Which I feel really represents the feel of “Dante’s Inferno”. Look out for a theme in the track titles.

We are welcomed into the EP by short intro piece, ‘Nessus’ – a symphonic organ sounding wave gently washing over us and floating us into ‘Selva Oscura’. This is another short piece, that I feel is designed as a small taster for what else could be coming…transporting from those gentle waves of the first track into a more grandeur melody and riff. The drums are heavy and take us to an abrupt end.

‘Canto I – Virtue’ slams into an aggressive start, with faster strings, and hostility, yet in some places, beautifully soft vocals. About halfway through, we are introduced to some synth keys which help meld the track with the strings, and a slower pace, with some twists of Kurt’s growling entwined with Christian’s soft vocals. Slow but heavy. A perfect symphonic sandwich.

The gentle side of Flight of Eden absolutely shines through the next beautifully put together track, ‘Canto III – Heresy’. This one sets me into a gentle sweep through emotions of love, light and… hope. With beautiful keys and the gentle sways of strings into a few melodic chords, leading then to a bigger light of sound that hits us with Simon’s guitars. I imagine water; healing water when I hear this short piece. Sunshine, ripples, colours, reflections of blue and clouded skies…endless and rolling…

…Which rolls seamlessly into the next faster, harder track, ‘Canto IV – Morning Star’. The guitar through this track tends to stick to one particular melody but keeps the song creative and forward moving. The vocals are not as harsh and tell us of retribution, betrayal, and self-image.

‘Canto V – Purgatorio’ is another short but incredibly beautiful taste of strings. Soft, calm and flowing. I feel these short bursts of serenity on “Dante’s Inferno” are to remind us that there is a balance between peace and sin, dark and light, hate and love. It’s my reflection on things…but these gentle and serene symphonic pieces are an opposite to the longer and more brutal tracks on the EP…it’s a nice change of direction every so often.

A wonderment of piano introduces us to ‘Canto VI – Paradiso’. Another reflecting track, I feel. And then we are hit with a sudden surge of shining vocals about halfway through. No harshness here, just light and beauty. This melts into last track, ‘Virgil’ that gives us the penultimate orchestral strings, suggesting a grand end to a long and very old story.

Flight of Eden have shown on this EP that they can separate themselves from other prog metal bands – the, few, very short tracks that shine so much emotion and beauty, as opposed to mixing that in with their harsher tones in other tracks, makes them stand out somewhat to me. There are elements of conflict and serenity in this album, and it leaves space to draw your own conclusions.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Nessus
02. Selva Oscura
03. Canto I – Virtue
04. Canto II – Cerberus
05. Canto III – Heresy
06. Canto IV – Morning Star
07. Canto V – Purgatorio
08. Canto VI – Paradiso
09. Virgil

LINE-UP:
Kurt Jones – Vocals
Simon Robins – Guitar, Synth, Production
Christian Sturgess – Bass, Vocals
Gualter Couto – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/flightofeden/
www.instagram.com/flightofeden/
www.flightofeden.bandcamp.com/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno 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.

Lost Legacy – In The Name Of Freedom

Lost Legacy – In The Name Of Freedom
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 20/03/2020
Running Time: 45:46
Review by Victor Augusto
8/10

It’s not rare that I find myself analysing a band on the album cover art and the title songs names before I hear anything of their music. I must confess that I thought New York based Lost Legacy was a religious themed band, or their chosen subject was historical wars with religion involved. Maybe because the cover art reminded me of something sacred. Well, I wasn’t totally wrong, considering the main band’s theme is war, but the album’s concept is about soldiers sent to fight, not only in your country, but in others as well.

The lyrics don’t mention enemies, neither support any political side, but it is possible to hear parts mentioning situations like defending other nations against tyranny. It could be dangerous being easily misunderstood by the radical defenders of any political sides. But If you’re not like that, you will realise that the main idea of Lost Legacy’s lyrics is an interpretation of all the suffering these soldiers live through during war. From the fear of being in a battle you hear in ‘Front Line’, to a personal question of a warrior – if he will be remembered if he dies – in the beautiful song, ‘Will You Remember’.

It is important to highlight that the album is a phenomenal interpretation by the band. Imagine classic Heavy Metal or Power Metal, but change everything they perfectly interpret about power, steel, dragons and sword, to bombs, guns, death and all the trauma war can cause.

Musically, the band has an important differential in their sonority. Mainly, it is Classic Heavy Metal, but also with Power Metal elements, and they have vocal lines that remind me of Warrel Dane (R.I.P.). For me, the main goal of Lost Legacy is to not talk about the old-fashioned themes of Classic Metal bands, nor repeat things that Power Metal bands do all the time (constant double bass, high vocal screams all the time, etc.). However, if you are not a fan of Nevermore because you think Warrel Dane’s voice is too repetitive, despite being incredibly good, please, meet Mr. David Franco. Good voice and not repetitive or massive.

I must congratulate the guitarists Jorge Pulido and Scott Bennett for the great solos and riffs. Jochen Witllinger also does an amazing job to follow them on bass and AJ Spinelli provides incredible drum lines too, with plenty of variation. But the beautiful piano in the opening song ‘Rise To Glory’ shows the beautiful side of Lost Legacy’s music.

‘My Faith’ is a good song to represent the band’s sonority. ‘In The Name Of Freedom’ explores more fast guitar riffs and solos but, as I said before, everything happens without being massive or repetitive. The guitar work in ‘Take Me Away’ is very similar to Accept in style. All tracks could be considered highlights, but I did really enjoy ‘Enough Is Enough’ for the catchy riffs and heaviness.

“In the Name of Freedom” is an intense album that carries the dramas and feelings of a subject that people think is beautiful in movies but is completely full of pain for those who have to live it. Even though it is only the band’s second release, the experience of being on the road for 22 years has definitely helped them to record an amazing album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rise To Glory
02. My Faith
03. Front Line
04. In The Name Of Freedom
05. Take Me Away
06. Enough Is Enough
07. Will You Remember
08. Rules Of Engagement

LINE-UP:
David Franco – Vocals
Jochen Witllinger – Bass
Jorge Pulido – Guitars
Scott Bennett – Guitars
AJ Spinelli – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/LostLegacyNY
www.instagram.com/lost_legacy_ny/
twitter.com/LostLegacyNY
open.spotify.com/artist/0ksHjNFgRbn8BWkntku7es
www.youtube.com/user/puresteelrecords

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.

Gentle Giant – 50th Anniversary Vinyl Reissues

Gentle Giant – 50th Anniversary Vinyl Reissues
Gentle Giant/Acquiring the Taste/Three Friends/Octopus
Alucard Music
Release Date: 03/04/2020
Running Time: 37:00/39:26/35:24/34:09
Review by Paul Monkhouse
8/10
6/10
8/10
9/10

One of the originators of Prog Rock and active between 1970 and 1980, Gentle Giant were a unique band and their mix of rock with jazz, folk, soul and classical music made them certainly stand out from the crowd. They were also certainly prolific, releasing eleven albums that charted their arc from their experimental titular first release through to the hard rock of “Civilian” at the end of their career. Having allegedly turned down Elton John as their vocalist, the core of the band consisted of three brothers, Derek, Ray and Phil Shulman, accompanied by Kerry Minnear and Gary Green with the line-up changing only slightly over the years with Phil leaving in 1973 and three various drummers coming in and out of the fold. The first four albums have now been re-released in their full glory and certainly make for interesting listening, their content at times challenging but always nothing less than rewarding and hugely enjoyable.

Their debut, “Gentle Giant” (8/10), treads a path that blends more traditional rock and blues with the classical, the multi-instrumentalist musicians and was produced by superstar producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie / T Rex). From the sweet ‘Funny Ways’ to the Beatle’s like eccentricity of ‘Isn’t It Quiet And Cold’ and onto the heavier psychedelic guitar-centric ‘Why Not’ the album bristles with great tracks that capture the spirit of their late 60’s origins and add a very new decade sensibility. It’s certainly a captivating experience and one that bears real exploration as you go on this fantastical journey with a band who were determined to break new ground.

Things got even more experimental on the follow up, “Acquiring The Taste” (6/10) which at times delves much more into jazz and electronica passages that mix in orchestral instruments and motif. With Visconti at the desk again, tracks like ‘Edge of Twighlight’ are a real melting pot of ideas and sounds with barely a hint of the more straight ahead influences rock shown in the first album. Whilst some things did stray off an entirely different path there are other moments that really work magnificently such as the blues and heavy soul album closer ‘Plain Truth’ which winds its merry way through some thrilling passages.

Gentle Giant seemed to reign in some of the more excessive limits of their musicality and head to calmer waters with “Three Friends” (8/10) and this concept album is considered one of the real highpoints of their career. With the band growing in confidence, they took over the job of producing themselves and created something that gave no quarter but sounded exactly how they wanted it to. Mixing their flair for classical music arrangements and some heavy R&B, the album follows the lives of its titular subjects as they grow up and go their separate ways in the world. Highlights include the fantastically evocative ‘School Days’ and the heavy blues bluster of ‘Strip The Paint’ as Gary Green’s guitar tears things up in no uncertain terms.

1972 was obviously a very fertile year for the band as “Octopus” (9/10) came hot on the heels of “Three Friends” and is considered by most people to be the finest in their canon. Lulling you with two relatively gentle tracks, the third, ‘A Cry for Everyone’ sees Gentle Giant heading into definite hard rock territory and the track shapes up to be their heaviest yet. More jaw dropping sideways moves and staggering musicianship draw the listener in to what is still an utterly compelling listening experience forty-eight years later. Of special note are the closing duo of tracks ‘Think of Me with Kindness’ with its lush and ever-changing patterns and the virtuoso ‘River’ that seems to pull in all their finest ideas into one perfectly formed six-minute track. If you’re brave and want something that will both challenge and entertain, you can’t go wrong with the brilliance of “Octopus”.

TRACKLISTING:
Gentle Giant (1970):
01. Giant
02. Funny Ways
03. Alucard
04. Isn’t It Quiet & Cold
05. Nothing At All
06. Why Not
07. The Queen

Acquiring The Taste (1971):
01. Pantagruel’s Nativity
02. Edge Of Twighlight
03. The House The Street The Room
04. Acquiring The Taste
05. Wreck
06. The Moon Is Down
07. Black Cat
08. Plain Truth

Three Friends (1972):
01. Prologue
02. School Days
03. Working All Day
04. Peel The Paint
05. Mr Class & Quality
06. Three Friends

Octopus (1972):
01. The Advent Of Panurge
02. Raconteur Troubadour
03. A Cry For Everyone
04. Knots
05. The Boys In The Band
06. Dog’s Life
07. Think Of Me With Kindness
08. River

LINKS:
www.gentlegiantmusic.com/GG/
www.facebook.com/gentlegiantband/
www.twitter.com/GGIANTMUSIC
www.instagram.com/gentlegiantband/

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.