The Treatment – Waiting For Good Luck

Waiting For Good Luck Album Cover Art

The Treatment – Waiting For Good Luck
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 44:25
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Cambridge UK-based Hard Rock band The Treatment have been cranking out solidly delivered Rock ‘n’ Roll since 2008, although this (their fifth) album is the first time I’ve had the privilege of coming across their work. This might be a great place to start if you haven’t either, as after a quick exploration of their back catalogue on stream, this album would appear to be a full couple of notches up from previous releases.

Kicking off with a harmonised vocal intro and chorus that Def Leppard would have been proud of in the 80’s, ‘Rat Race’ gets things moving with mid-tempo guitar riff-driven rocker. It’s probably the most commercial sounding song on here, and belies the direction the album takes after this, but hints at the main musical influence from here on in. The first and most blatantly obvious comparison is with early AC/DC, with riff structures that are straight off of either the “High Voltage” or “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap” era albums. That comparison was probably not lost in the mix down either, as stalwart producer Kevin Shirley has done a fine job in echoing that rich fat rhythm guitar ripping-riffage sound that Malcolm Young probably should have trademarked. Add to this vocalist Tom Rampton is definitely channelling his inner Bon Scott for his sophomore album with these guys. I don’t have a problem with this, as this style of music is truly timeless and always storms the barn live and his voice has a nice soulful gravelly edge to it that literally drips charisma. This is particularly audible on the slower or more openly bluesy tracks, such as ‘Eyes On You’, where you also get to hear a slightly higher register to his vocal range to go with a catchy fag lighter-waver of a chorus.

With a dozen tracks averaging at the three and a half minute mark, this is not an album that wants to out stay its welcome, and to be fair it positively flies by. Lyrically it is in places a bit dated and sexualised for this decade and age, but it’s more cheekily cheesy than offensive or crass and even the worst example of this ‘Lightning In A Bottle’ is frankly not going to upset anyone. All this will go down just fine at a biker rally, but I would hope that this album opens them up to bigger and wider audiences. Just don’t let yourself be put off by the rather trashy photographic cover, as the music and production are nowhere near as tacky as that image implies.

I really hope that this album takes them up a level, as this kind of soulful and gutsy Rock ’N’Roll never gets stale when done properly and once in a blue moon a band coming along and opening up the audience to this style of music is never a bad thing.

‘Rat Race’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rat Race
02. Take It Or Leave It
03. Lightning In A Bottle
04. Vampress
05. Eyes On You
06. No Way Home
07. Devil In The Detail
08. Tough Kid
09. Hold Fire
10. Barman
11. Let’s Make Money
12. Wrong Way

LINE-UP:
Tom Rampton – Vocals
Dhani Mansworth – Drums
Tagore Grey – Guitars
Tao Grey – Guitar and Bass Guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Infinite & Divine – Silver Lining

Silver Lining Album Cover Art

Infinite & Divine – Silver Lining
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 47:11
Review by Simon Black
7.5/10

Another day, another debut album. The core of the band is two established Swedish song-writers; Tezzi (Terese Persson ) on vocals, and Jan Åkesson on guitar, bass, and pretty much anything else other than the drums. Åkesson has declared publicly that he has taken a back seat from live work and this definitely has the feel of a studio only project. It is pitched firmly in the Melodic Metal camp that is occasional known to dabble its nose into the Synth-tinged Symphonic instrumentally. I say that because despite having some blisteringly good lead work in there, the majority of the riffage takes a slightly further back seat in the mix to the epically expansive keyboards.

As debut’s go, it’s got a lavishly rich sound and production values, but then these are not new hands (with Åkesson  producing) and by all accounts the project has been baking in the oven for a few years before getting released. Tezzi’s vocal performance is quite something however and quite rightly is there front and centre in the mix for most of the songs. Her voice is gutsy and soulful and clearly full of heart and presence, but if I have a criticism it’s that she chooses to follow the main song melody lines a little too closely and a little more experimentation or some subtle Symphonic vocal touches here would have gone a long way.

Notwithstanding, there are some belters on here, ‘Keep Moving On’ is particularly memorable, along with the almost folky intro to ‘Burn No More’ which then takes a gutsy rockier road, but the fact that the album dips its toes into a number of different styles whilst staying close to the melodic core is quite refreshing. Although some of the tracks can be a little average, there is nothing bad here and the production values are so strong that even the weaker song structures pass by the ear unless you’re being deliberately critical (which is sort of my job). Time will tell if this is a one-off studio project or a full blown band, but it’s definitely a promising start and with a bit of confidence to be more experimental, then things could get very interesting indeed.

‘Infinite & Divine’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. II Feel Alive
02. Infinite And Divine
03. Keep Moving On
04. Not Too Late
05. Wasteland
06. Burn No More
07. We Are One
08. Off The End Of The World
09. You And I
10. While You’re Looking For Love
11. Perplexed Perfection

LINE-UP:
Tezzi – Lead and Backing Vocals
Jan Åkesson – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Backing Vocals and Programming
Jens Westberg – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Dead Label – Anthology EP

Anthology Album Cover Art

Dead Label – Anthology EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 25:35
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Irish Metalcore four-piece, Dead Label, first popped onto my radar several years back, after seeing them perform, and interviewing them, at Hammerfest in 2018, when they were three-piece. Their groove laden, heavy as hell style really impressed me, and pre-covid, they were in full swing, performing with big names, and getting ready for spots at major festivals. But, as with everything, the pandemic put the brakes on. However, it has given them time to work on new material for their next full-length release (with their new addition, Mick Hynes), and compile their new EP, “Anthology”, which sees a collection of their singles, and two previously unreleased tracks, brought together for the first time.

The EP kicks off with ‘Deadweight’, one of the unreleased tracks. It’s furiously paced, angry, and sees the band channeling negativity into a blisteringly violent track. I imagine that the pit when this is performed live next will be complete mayhem! It features chunky guitar riffs, hard hitting drums, and superb growling, screaming vocals. A great way to start.

‘Pure Chaos’ follows, which, although not as pacey and frenetic, still offers a tormented edge, thanks to the low crunching guitars, and the tortured vocals of Dan O’Grady. There’s also a great downtuned bass break part way through the song, which sounds dirty as hell.

It’s back to the frenetic next, with ‘Triggered’. Another ultimate pit song me thinks (note to self, if you ever decide to pit to Dead Label, remove glasses, for they will not survive). This track is a little more groove based than ‘Deadweight’ but still packs just as much of a powerful punch.

Claire Percival’s thumping metronomic rhythms are given a great chance to shine in ‘Flux’, the second of the two previously unreleased tracks, which opens with drums and guitars, pulsing out a heavy marching beat like a call to arms. ‘False Messiah’ sees a number of rhythm changes, giving it a more progressive feel, but still undeniably exhibiting the Dead Label sound.

And that brings us nicely to the final track, ‘Dystopian Complex’, which closes out the EP in banging style. Sound wise, this is probably the fullest track on the EP, and the heaviness of the bass sounds really thumps into your head. While not as frenetic as some of the other tracks, this still delivers one heck of a punch.

Production wise, there are occasions where the guitar sits a little too far forward in the mix, and I would like more bass, on a similar level to the final track. But aside from that, this is a superb EP, and I’m looking forward to the album very much.

‘Flux’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Deadweight
02. Pure Chaos
03. Triggered
04. Flux
05. False Messiah
06. Dystopian Complex

LINE-UP:
Clair Percival – Drums
Danny Hall – Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Danny O’Grady – Vocals/ Bass
Mick Hynes – Guitar

LINKS:

Dead Label Promo Pic

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.

Christian Liljegren – Melodic Passion

Melodic Passion Album Cover Art

Christian Liljegren – Melodic Passion
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 49:27
Review by Chris Galea
9/10

Christian Liljegren must be the most prolific and hardworking person in Metal…I counted more than 30 albums – released in the last 25 years – that have him as lead vocalist. One is tempted to speculate that the quality of his material would consequentially be diluted. Sometimes, perhaps, but certainly not as far as this album is concerned.

“Melodic Passion” is being touted as a solo album but if you’ve heard Christian’s previous bands…such as Narnia or Golden Resurrection…then “Melodic Passion” is something along those very lines. The lyrics are blatantly religious (e.g. ‘I trust in the Lord to show me the way’…a line from ‘I Breathe’) and I’d concede that the album abounds in clichés. But none of that bothers me because the songwriting quality is superb and Christian Liljegren’s voice has never sounded better…powerful, melodic and unfaltering. Of course, it helps that I have a soft spot for neo-classical melodies, of which “Melodic Passion” has many.

‘History’ reminds me of “Trilogy” era Malmsteen; I sensed a strong influence from early Dio in ‘Salute For The King’ and ‘The Victory’. And a lot of the guitar solos feel directly inspired by Rainbow and Alcatrazz. Stryper is another obvious comparison, both lyrically and musically.

With Liljegren are the cream of the crop of Scandinavian Melodic Metal, including drummer Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson and bassist Per Schelander, both with Royal Hunt at one point. Completing the line-up are two ex-bandmates of Liljegren: Stephen Carlson on guitars and Olov Andersson on keyboards.

The songs tend to be anthemic and loaded with hooks. All this makes them eminently suitable to be performed live. One example is ‘The Rock’, which, in addition to a catchy chorus has some impressive high-end screams and great guitar harmonies.

The title says it all…so if you check out one Melodic Metal album this year, let it be this one.

‘Salute For The King’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Melodic Passion
02. Salute For The King
03. The Rock
04. This Is My Love Song
05. The Victory
06. Dead Or Alive
07. I Breathe
08. History
09. Third Day
10. My King

LINE-UP:
Christian Liljegren – Vocals (Narnia, The Waymaker, Audiovision, Modest Attraction)
Stephen Carlson – Guitars (Brotthog, Tales, The Rise, Gil Edwards)
Per Schelander – Bass (Astrakhan, House of Shakira, Pain of Salvation, Royal Hunt)
Andreas ‘Habo’ Johansson – Drums (Narnia, Royal Hunt, Avatarium, The Doomsday Kingdom)
Olov Andersson – Keyboards (Audiovision, Grand Stand, Veni Domine)

LINKS:

Christian Liljegren Promo Pic

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

Deveria – Suicide Forest

Suicide Forest Album Cover Art

Deveria – Suicide Forest
Animated Insanity Records
Release Date: 17/03/2021
Running Time: 50:37
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Deveria describe themselves as being a Progressive Power/Thrash hybrid and are based in Upstate New York, USA. They’ve had a fairly chequered history, having originally formed in 2008, got an EP out and then disbanded for eight years, with this line up once again forming around front man Chuck Woodward. So this debut album has been a long time coming…

Musically these chaps are very, very tight. The intro track ‘The Beginning Of…’ builds up the layers of sound with some thundering drum work before launching into the full on attack of ‘Silent Cries’. The instruments keep those arrangements tight, but suffer somewhat from the production values. The problem is the vocals sound just that little too high in the mix, with the guitars in particular being in danger of being drowned out completely – particularly by the bass which is so high up in the mix that I was reminded of what happened when Iron Maiden let Steve Harris first try out the producer’s chair.

In parts I am reminded vocally of early Queensrÿche, in that period when Geoff Tate hadn’t quite taken hold of the flame with his lyrical phrasing and although that voice showed tremendous promise, the vocal lines tended to meander somewhat. Woodard does something similar – his voice has power and range but sometimes seems slightly at odds with what the music is doing. There’s a fine line between creating an element of musical tension by being half a tone out from what the melody lines are doing and sounding plain out of key, and this album walks that line once or twice – but the bigger problem is that the instrumentation is just too damned quiet. It’s actually the times when he turns on the more extreme vocal styles that he is actually at his most effective, as it forces a dirtier sound from the rest of the band and the frustrating thing is those stronger and more rounded songs are some way back in the running order. We’re well over half way through before things really get going for my money and the intermittent bursts of pure Thrash from ‘Reign of Fire’ is actually the point when the record really grabs me and starts to run.

Mostly the song writing is pretty solid, with some clever technical arrangements – the title track being a good example, but it’s really let down by that production sound, which is crying out for those guitars to be much more in your face, crunchy and dirty than the slightly too crisp and sanitised sound they have. When they do start to get a bit more down and dirty, say with ‘Kingdom of Evermore’ the effect is immediately obvious in a song that takes you along for the ride, rather than wanting to give notes of improvement. I’m far from writing these boys off though as there is enormous promise here, and no small amount of technical skill and proficiency – but desperately needs someone with a good Metal pedigree on the mixing desk to bring out the best in a more consistent manner. Nonetheless a very promising start.

‘Suicide Forest’ (Official video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Beginning Of…
02. Silent Cries
03. Suicide Forest
04. Fate
05. Demons Inside Me
06. Reign of Fire
07. Kingdom of Evermore
08. Miracles
09. IX
10. One Nation
11. …The End

LINE-UP:
Chuck Woodard – Lead Vocals
John Suski – Drums
Marvin Veeder – Bass
Christian Bivona – Guitar

LINKS:

Deveria Promo Picture

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Venomous – Tribus EP

Tribus EP Cover Art

Venomous – Tribus EP
Brutal Records
Release Date: 19/02/2021
Running Time: 21:38
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

Is this a review of a Melodic Death Metal band?!? No, no, no, my friends. It would be so unfair to call this Brazilian band just by that genre, at least for us, the ever-amazing readers of Ever Metal. I hope you are all good and safe today as we have a paradoxical EP to talk about. Paradoxical due to the complexity of the compositions whilst being catchy at the same time. I can say that in front of us are an intriguing band musically and thematically. Of course, the melody and Death Metal are very present in their music, but Venomous are a blend of many things that are hard to explain.

First, it is obvious that Venomous are honouring the old days of Brazilian Power Metal band Angra, from the “Holy Land” album, released in 1996. Sometimes we can hear structures that sounds like Angra being played by a Death Metal band. There is also the Piano! Those who are fans of the master conductor Andre Matos, know how he put incredible classical piano in Angra’s music (also in Shaman and his solo band). Even the solos reminded me of the structures and beautiful work between Kiko Loureiro (yes, Kiko from Megadeth) and Rafael Bittencourt, from the 90’s. This is just one, very important, element apparent from Venomous. So let me summarize and talk about the songs to enlighten the readers who, like myself, have never heard of this amazing Brazilian group before (…bad Victor).

“And the hope only dies if we stop believing”. This lyric is from the opening track ‘Eerie Land’ and it carries a positive message amongst all the chaos illustrated. The piano intro that appears is typical of the regional music played in the northeast of Brazil, similar to Baião*, but arranged into Heavy Metal. It brings the sensation of those whose lives are surrounded by beautiful nature, but also cursed by the corruption and killing that has occurred due to political desires to exploit these lands. A Brazilian picture of suffering, but with a message to stay strong.

When I looked at the name of the others three songs; ‘Trinity’, ‘Duality’ and ‘Unity’; I thought that there must be some theory about the numbers three, two and one. I used all of my efforts to try and understand it and here is what I suspect could be the mystery surrounding it or what it could, maybe, be related to.

‘Trinity’ – “No Religion, nor politics. Cause races and cultures are all the same”. Universe, Sun and our planet are the three things that I saw as trinity, within the lyrics. All the energy that comes from them reflect on us because we are supposed to have no fight or division amongst ourselves, as politics and religion used to, and still, do. Our source of power and faith are out there on these three elements!

‘Duality’ – “We walk around oblivious and tamed”. Titans and Satan’s, in the lyrics, could be connected to what make people oblivious and tamed. The duality that, mentally or physically, enslaves all of us. The lovely dancing percussion right after the independent guitar riffs at the beginning of this song, alongside the melodies, are so beautiful and taken from Brazilian musicality.

‘Unity’ – “And together we’ll see better days”. In the end, we must all act and stay united to become a powerful unity. The two previous songs navigate throughout issues of humanity to show how we can overcome them and it ends with this song. The darkest atmosphere of the EP is present here. It is, probably, the most Death Metal track and what a delightful way to finish, with all the heaviness fading out, resting on just beautiful sequences of notes from the piano.

If you are thinking that I am mad with this analysis (by the way, I agree with you), you must look to the EP cover. Maybe it is just art, but maybe it has some subliminal messages too. Broken chains, a snake swallowing itself and three (Tribus) different stages of our planet. The beginning (birth), the world as we know nowadays and then the breaking of it in two parts, after so many disgraces. Have a look and tell us what you think?

Among all these ups and downs of the thematic, the band has used elements of typical Melodic Death Metal with Metalcore breakdowns. The already mentioned “Angra and Baião elements” just increase the complexity of the band. The sonority is heavy and dense, also very remarkable and catchy. If I could mention any highlight, it would probably be the way that Venomous have united so many different elements to create superb music.

This is the first time I have heard Venomous and I have immediately become a fan of them. “Tribus” perpetuates the legends that started the Heavy Metal Scene in Brazil, but also shows unique identity for the band.

Amazing EP! Parabéns!

‘Eerie Land’ (Official Video)

*Baião is a very popular and famous genre of music from the northeast side of Brazil. This area has a unique culture, not only in music, but also with their way of life and how the population handle all the issues in those states.

Here is a video entitled “Luiz Gonzaga – Baião” so that you can understand and learn about this music.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Eerie Land
02. Trinity
03. Duality
04. Unity

LINE-UP:
Thiago Pereira – Vocals
Gui Calegari – Guitars
Ivan Landgraf – Guitars
Renato Castro – Bass
Lucas Prado – Drums

LINKS:

Venomous Promo Pic

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.

The Impaler – AFWTD (A Fate Worse Than Death)

AFWTD Album Cover Art

The Impaler – AFWTD (A Fate Worse Than Death)
Self-Released
Release Date: 19/02/2021
Running Time: 29:31
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

I’m starting to think the raging sun and the multitude of insects and animals that want to kill them is starting to really get to Australians.

A hive of various iterations of hardcore over the years, the light and frilly post-hardcore of The Amity Affliction and Hands Like Houses slowly evolved into the stomp and aggression of Parkway Drive and I Killed the Prom Queen, which then in turn crept into the realms of deathcore with Thy Art is Murder and Make Them Suffer, before a quick foray into the emergence of djent with Polaris and Northlane, lead to New Zealand’s bigger brother becoming the international hotspot for the new age of nu-metalcore with the likes of Ocean Grove and Alpha Wolf. It’s almost like they were bored of being known as ‘that country with the band that’s played the same song for 50 years and whose guitarist dresses like he’s still in secondary school’.

In that bracket of ‘it’s like deathcore, except it actually sounds like someone wants to kill me’ is The Impaler, a five-piece banquet from Melbourne. Following up from their debut “Death Cult” from last year, “A Fate Worse Than Death” actually opens with a similar idea to the debut, with the intro track – in this case ‘Voices’ – keen to set the mood and the atmosphere for the album. Whereas ‘The Leper’ from “Death Cult” goes from ‘spooky spooks’ to ‘murder’ in about 30 seconds, ‘Voices’ lets the aura build, creating a darker, encroaching presence before getting to the aforementioned ‘murder’ parts. Straight away from the two openers, The Impaler’s ‘AFWTD’ has whiffs that the band has been hard at work to create a bigger feeling to their music, with the switch into ‘Failure’ showing off the wall of noise they now have in their repertoire.

A large part of it comes from an improved production job, adding in the rumbling bass tone that’s all the rage at the moment, which affects the bass drum kicks and general low-end notes. That, in turn, gives you a satisfying little rattle in your head whilst not sounding like a blown speaker. It’s particularly prominent on ‘Mourn’, which features a guest appearance from Thy Art is Murder’s CJ McMahon who trades vocal lines with The Impaler frontman Jordan Scott, ending up sounding like the pair are gargling cement.

The black metal elements are far more pronounced on this album too. Echoing tremolos dominate ‘Release’ before they melt into veering bends that feels like you’re taking a peak outside after the first bomb has been dropped, but no song adds blackened kvlt-ness as prominent – or as good – as ‘Immortal’. An almost beautiful song that feels inspired by the blackened folk qualities of ‘The Wild Hunt’ by Watain and one that is bathed in melodies, with everyone playing their part so well throughout the song. The heaven breaching swells of guitars that seamlessly transition into black metal chord progressions, drummer Jammie Hubbard leading the charge from one key change to another, before working with bassist Ben Van Looy in imploding the world on the breakdown, all the while Jordan is performing with an incredible range that almost poetically feels like a cross between Alpha Wolf’s Lochie Keogh and former Suicide Silence frontman Mitch Lucker.

I feel almost cruel giving this a 7/10, mostly because it doesn’t feel like it tells the full story – although for what it’s worth, it is a high 7. Like a 7.999*/10.

It feels like the best parts of ‘A Fate Worse Than Death’ almost hinder the album, the heights of ‘Immortal’, ‘Mourn’ and ‘Release’ are so high that they leave the rest of the album feeling quite normal (although the “…destroy the fucking world!” breakdown in ‘Hatred’ is pure filth). The world building and sadistic opera-like swells brought in from black metal work wonders for the band’s sound and should, along with this production style, be things The Impaler lean into heavily for album number three, which given their turnaround so far should be here March next year, so chop chop lads.

‘Mourn’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Voices
02. Failure
03. Immortal
04. Mourn (ft. CJ McMahon of Thy Art is Murder)
05. Fear
06. Hatred (ft. Josh Hill of Cerement)
07. Release

LINE-UP:
Jordan Scott – Vocals
Shaun Van Looy – Lead Guitar
Lewis Ranford – Rhythm Guitar
Ben Van Looy – Bass
Jammie Hubbard – Drums

LINKS:

The Impaler Promo Pic with Logo

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.

Pentesilea Road – Pentesilea Road

Pentesilea Road Album Cover Art

Pentesilea Road – Pentesilea Road
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 71:00
Review by Simon Black
6/10

This is pure Prog. Originally starting life as a solo effort from all round instrumentalist Vito F. Mainolfi, the outfit has extended over lockdown to a wider project, although clearly Mainolfi remains front and centre given that he is delivering guitars, bass, programming and assorted other instruments. The record has actually been available digitally for a while, with a physical version now available this month.

Opening with the lengthy instrumental ‘Memory Corners’, this band deliver pure 70’s influenced Prog from the opening bars and throughout its, quite lengthy, seventy-one minutes of run time. As you would expect, there’s plenty of instrumental breaks and nearly all of the twelve tracks clock in over six minutes of run time, so experimentation is very much the order of the day. Lorenzo Vincenzo Nocerino has a slightly more edgy vocal tone than is normal for this sort of Prog, where cleaner than clean is the norm but actually it works quite well, but the strongest song is when the vocals open up and goes full on rock mode with the guest appearance of Ray Alder from Fates Warning on ‘Shades Of The Night’ being a good example – although he does feel like he has been added to the mix quite latterly.

Recording remotely through lock down has been a challenge many acts have had to manage in the last eighteen months, but many at least have had the advantage of working together physically before Covid called a halt to travel. That’s important here, because with contributions coming from band members and assorted guests located in The Netherlands, Italy, Spain and the USA who have not worked together face to face there comes the risk of fragmentation.

There is some great playing here and I cannot fault the skill of this, but where the album is weaker is the song-writing. Even though by its very nature Progressive music is not going to opt for over-simplification of song-structure, this one rambles just that little bit too much in many places. It’s worth noting that even the masters of the genre can lose focus in this way though and there’s a fair number of noughties-era Dream Theater records for example that suffer from this sort of meandering and slightly lost feeling. The trick would appear to be to have a strong core song structure and then play around the edges, whereas in this instance the experimental parts have been allowed to predominate. It will be interesting to see if the same thing happens again when all of the players are in the same room together when material is written and recorded, as all this could simply be the product of the fact that the core material is based on Mainolfi’s original demo’s, with everyone else added later and remotely.

In fact ‘demo’ is probably the key word here. This very much has the feel of a record that is only at the pre-production stage and is missing that crucial studio phase when the artists develop their short hand interactive personal chemistry (perhaps more vital in Prog or Jazz than any other musical genres) and where a firm handed producer focusses them on tightening up the arrangements. Get these guys in a room together to polish for a few weeks, then I suspect the end product will be quite formidable.

‘Memory Corners’ (Visualiser)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Memory Corners (feat. Mark Zonder)
02. Stranded
03. Genius Loci
04. Spectral Regrowth (feat. Mark Zonder)
05. Stains (feat. Michele Guaitoli)
06. Give Them Space (feat. Mark Zonder)
07. Shades Of The Night
08. The Psychopathology Of Everyday Things
09. Noble Art (feat. Ray Alder)
10. Pentesilea Road
11. A Tale Of Dissidence
12. Shades Of The Night (feat. Ray Alder)

LINE-UP:
Vito F. Mainolfi – Guitars, Bass, Backing Vocals, Programming & Whatever Else
Ezio di Ieso – Pianoforte & Keyboards
Alfonso Mocerino – Drums
Lorenzo Vincenzo Nocerino – Vocals

Special Guests:
Ray Alder – Vocals on ‘Shades Of The Night’, ‘Noble Art’
Mark Zonder – Drums on ‘Memory Corners’, ‘Spectral Regrowth’, ‘Give Them Space’
Michele Guaitoli – Vocals on ‘Stains’
Paul Prins – First Solo on ‘Give Them Space’

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker

Hellbreaker Album Cover Art

Motorjesus – Hellbreaker
AFM Records
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 44:32
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Motorjesus have been at this a long time, coming from the Lemmy school of ‘down to earth roll up the sleeves and get on with it’ corner of Rock ’n’ Roll. They date back to the early 1990’s, having changed their names from the slightly less commercially acceptable The Shitheadz and have been producing albums under the Motorjesus moniker since 2004. This is album number six for the German five piece and follows the well-trodden path of high-octane German Rock ’n’ Roll wrapped up in a colourful mascot-emblazoned cover. That long experience is positively tangible, but at the same time it’s wrapped up in a really fresh and crisply energetic delivery of the calibre newer bands often exude.

This is a band who know exactly what they need to deliver and who seem to have no problem cranking out the tunes on demand. The vocal delivery is very gruff and gutsy, but so full of energy and enthusiasm from Chris “Howling” Birx with lyrics that follow the formula of driving music meets fantasy, perhaps summed up best by the nod to Judge Dredd and more specifically his gun, both named ‘Lawgiver’ which alongside pure road music like ‘Drive Through Fire’ and the absolutely belting ‘Car Wars’ is road music at its best and will go down a treat at a bike rally. It’s Rock ’n’ Roll, so I wasn’t expecting complex technical instrumental interplay – this is all about living fast and delivering the goods and I can foresee each and every one of these songs working well in a sweaty club somewhere (assuming there are any left when this fucking virus has been kicked into touch). That said, it may not be overtly technical, but that does not mean that there is some seriously skilful musicianship at work here as these boys can play fast, melodic and heavy as fuck all in one go – with enough boogie in the rhythms and beats to keep feet tapping and heads nodding. They are also running in a new guitarist in Patrick Wassenburg who seems to have subtly changed their sounds in favour of the more Metal tropes of blistering solo work to go with that crunch rhythm based delivery and the opportunity for a bit of harmonised playing. And pretty good with it he is too, so the end result is a Metal tinged R’n’R album that really is going to appeal broadly.

From what I can gather, this album isn’t doing anything conceptually, tonally or lyrically that they haven’t done before but, if like me, you are not familiar with the back catalogue, then with eleven fast and furious, well-delivered tracks to get you going this is an excellent place to start. And this does not sound like a band who’ve been at it forever with a huge back catalogue. This is new, fresh and positively full of energy. Spot on.

‘Firebreather’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Drive Through Fire
02. Battlezone
03. Hellbreaker
04. Beyond The Grave
05. Dead Rising
06. Car Wars
07. Firebreather
08. Lawgiver
09. Black Hole Overload
10. Back To The Bullet
11. The Outrun

LINE-UP:
Chris “Howling” Birx – Vocals
Andy Peters – Guitars
Patrick Wassenberg – Guitars
Dominik Kwasny – Bass
Adam Borosch – Drums

LINKS:

Motorjesus Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Thunder Horse – Chosen One

Chosen One Album Cover Art

Thunder Horse – Chosen One
Ripple Music
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 54:17
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

It is 10:42 in the morning at Dark Juan Terrace and for some unaccountable reason I am a) awake, b) already walked the hellhounds and c) cowering in fear at the great shiny hot yellow thing in the sky because yesterday it was grey and snowing and absolutely more suited to the black gloom and morbid humour that normally characterizes my days rather than the superheated ball of gases and minerals that some folk bizarrely like to cook themselves under on the beach. I don’t like beaches. Sand is gravely inconvenient and more than a little unpleasant. Especially in crevices. In mitigation of the horror of the colossal ball of fire trying to kill me with its rays, the moors above my little village look absolutely fucking stunning in their beauty and wild, barren charm with the sun shining on them. So, it is with unaccustomed good cheer and more than a little pleasant bonhomie I present to you the latest collection of pithy platitudes and tortured metaphors that constitute the bulk of my pathetic ramblings about people with actual talent doing marvellous things and entertaining me mightily while I am a snarky bastard about their art.

Today, it is Thunder Horse being given the dubious benefit of my attention while I accompany them with a splendid bucket of Yorkshire’s finest tea and Hodgson Fartpants (number three furry son) basking in the rays streaming through the window and emitting the kind of smells that would have you up on charges of crimes against humanity in The Hague in next to no time if the CIA hadn’t bought the rights to his anal emanations for use against banana republic leaders first.

So, Thunder Horse are an American band hailing from Texas and are fronted by a man whose primary musical bent is industrial metal, being one Stephen Bishop, frontman of Pitbull Daycare. Thunder Horse has absolutely FUCK ALL to do with industrial metal, so get that idea out of your pretty little heads now. Thunder Horse play a peculiar hybrid of superdoom mixed with proggy elements and a fair bit of psychedelia and you will be no doubt unsurprised to hear that it’s right up my perverted and poorly lit street. Abandon hope all ye who enter here…

I have to say that the production on this album is absolutely sublime. I can hear everything perfectly. Normally doom metal sounds like the entire band have been recorded while they have been immersed in oxtail soup with croutons. This production is absolutely crystal clear (mixing done by Caleb Bingham and mastering by Joe Bozzi) right down to the single, quiet china hits on softer passages, yet maintaining such a huge sound that it’s like a wall of steel hitting you at 800 miles an hour. It’s not so much sound, as a weapon designed to reduce your flesh to liquid and your bones to a strange jellylike substance. And the riffs. OH, THE FUCKING RIFFS. Black Sabbath meets a bit of Jane’s Addiction, who’s been knocking off Pink Floyd and Cromagnon whilst simultaneously courting Mountain, Crowbar and Deep Purple in their darker moments make for an intoxicating mix of elements for the seasoned metal veteran to enjoy. And a slightly worrying mental image. The bass (by Mr. Dave Crow – hereby confirming my theory that EVERY band has had a Dave in them at some point) is a fuzz fuelled, rumbling beast bent on evisceration, the drums (Jason “Shakes” West) not unlike a titanic, explosive belching war machine stomping entire companies of men flat in its inexorable desire to reach you and stomp you out of existence and the guitars similar to armoured, flailing beasts with adamantium tipped claws disembowelling their foes with snarling precision. The solos of T.C. Connally are just fucking awesome as is all the guitar work on the record.

The music is also superb. The songwriting is fucking expert level and the lead vocal engaging and easy to listen to, as Stephen Bishop has a voice not unlike a mélange of Ozzy, Kirk Windstein and Dave Winegum (sorry, Wyndorf. Mrs Dark Juan and her penchant for ruining metal has always called the Monster Magnet frontman Dave Winegum and it has kind of stuck. She managed to turn the lyrics of the chorus to Ghost’s ‘Year Zero’ from “Welcome to Year Zero” to “Welcome to New Zealand”. The shit I go through for the love of metal, I tell you…) and this is the perfect mix for a doom vocalist, rather than the roaring battle machines that are normally employed.

There is a weak point, however, and that is ‘Texas’. Saying it’s a weak point is a bit churlish, but an acoustic, wah dripping paean to your home state sidles perilously close to Dark Juan’s pathological hatred of ballads and his penchant for dropping marks off scores because ballads utterly fucking ruin the magic of metal records. I mean, who, when they are happily being plastered against the opposite wall of their room by a concentrated and lethal wall of sound, wants to suddenly drop to the floor in a boneless heap while some long haired twat wails about their lost love/ being on the road all the time/ drink/ drugs/ drink AND drugs/ their home/ the 15-year-old groupie they shouldn’t have touched/ their pet fucking hamster over some delicately plucked acoustic guitar? Not me, buster. Otherwise, the music is absolute motherfucking savagery in aural form. The arrangements are uncommonly powerful and the performance absolutely top notch in execution. I particularly enjoyed the progressive elements and the way they integrated into the heaviness, providing a counterpoint to the power with melody, Hammond organs and musicianship and the simple acid fuelled joy of psychedelia.

I can’t give you any stand out tracks because the quality is so fucking extremely high, although opener ‘Let Them Bleed’ should be ranked among one of the most venomous statements of intent I have ever heard. Touches of Sir Lord Baltimore and Cream and Hendrix creep out of the background of songs and lodge themselves in your subconscious – they even use a fucking voicebox on bonus track and ode to the joy of metal that is ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’ and this sends goosebumps down the spine and reminds you of the time when Aerosmith were amazing (circa 1972) and rock and metal were expansive and exploratory.

There’s also a bonus and extended version of ‘Texas’. This is a much better and more cohesive version than the version earlier on the record and reminds me greatly of the wonderful Hawkwind’s ‘Hurry On Sundown’ and bizarrely, hints of The Mamas and The Papas. Thunder Horse have redeemed themselves with what actually has turned out to be a mighty fine psychedelic little acoustic number, rather than a pants wettingly awful unplugged lighter waver.

Well done, gentlemen, well done indeed. Dark Juan is a Thunder Horse convert. You magnificent bastards.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (y’all) awards Thunder Horse a stonking 10/10 for a fucking monster of a record that it will be singing happily along to in its grave.

‘Let Them Bleed’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Let Them Bleed
02. Among The Dead
03. Rise Of The Heathens
04. Chosen One
05. Broken Dreams
06. Song For The Ferryman
07. Texas
08. Halfway To Hell
09. Remembrance
10. Dear Mr. Fantasy (Bonus Track)
11. Texas (Extended Version)

LINE-UP:
Stephen Bishop – Guitar/Vocals
T.C. Connally – Lead Guitar
Dave Crow – Bass
Jason “Shakes” West – Drums

LINKS:

Thunder Horse Promo Pic

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.