LHAÄD – Below

Below Album Cover Art

LHAÄD – Below
Babylon Doom Cult Records / Extraconscious Records / Fólkvangr Records
Release Date: 10/12/2021

Running Time: 40:14
Review by Wallace Magri
10/10

A putrid and uncomfortable piece of art made of Black Metal, enriched with avant garde touches that, somehow, homologate to Traditional Heavy Metal basic structures. That is a good start to try and describe what is heard on “Below”, the first album from the Belgium based one-man-band, named Lhaäd by his creator, Lykormas.  

To make things easier for the reviewer, there are only Roman numerals distinguishing one song from another: ‘Below I’ , ‘Below II’ (… until the song #VI), while musical progressions plunge relentlessly all the way to the slime pit’s bottom, during the 40 minute duration of the album.  

This criteria of naming songs helps us to focus purely on the musical element, instead of distracting the listener with extensive song titles, such as… “Blessing Upon the Throne of Tyrany”… oops, did I mentioned a Dimmu Borgir song? Dimmu Borgir probably aren’t the best reference for aiding understanding of what is going on on “Below”. But, let’s take the above-mentioned famous Norwegian Black Metal band as a parameter to set Lhaäd’s territorial demarcations for the hordes: what is heard on Lykoma’s solo project is way more Extreme than any Dimmu songs that I have ever heard. And, besides that, on Lhaäd’s sludgy fields, the symphonic elements aren’t required all the time, to maintain the dark ambience. 

Lhaäd leans towards harsh Industrial programming, leading the songs to an almost Progressive/Experimental form of art – or Avant Garde/ Atmospheric Black Metal, as some use to name that kind of musical style, which I like a lot, as a matter of fact! Just take a close listen to ‘Below III, if you want to really understand what I am trying to express through my words.

“Below” is basically a tremolo riff conducted Black Metal album filled with musical passages at the speed of light, where immoderate blast beats meet chaotic, Electro-Industrial layers, and vocals screams and roars are wrapped in ‘hadopelagic’* ambience. 

*(Relating to or inhabiting the layer of the water column of the open ocean that lies below the abyssopelagic layer at depths greater than about 6,000 meters (19,680 feet) – taken from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/)

On ‘Below V’ the roars are mixed with a liquid texture, as if the artist was increasingly sunk into the musical immersion that gets deeper with each new track.  And then, the album ends in a suffocating and austere conduction towards complete drowning into the deep ocean, on ‘Below VI’.

It is impossible not to love such an unpalatable piece of music that allows Black Metal to surpass its boundaries, combining it with ambiences and musical textures that are unusual, chaotic and unexpectedly beautiful somehow? 

The one thing that I know is: it is going to be really hard for me to let “Bellow” go from my day-to-day Spotify library!

TRACKLISTING

01. Below I
02. Below II
03. Below III
04. Below IV
05. Below V
06. Below VI

LINE-UP: 
Written, performed, recorded & mixed by Lykormas 

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Wallce Magri 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.

Daxma – Unmarked Boxes

Unmarked Boxes Album Cover Art

Daxma – Unmarked Boxes
Blues Funeral Recordings & Majestic Mountain Records
Release Date: 19.11.21
Running Time: 57:21 
Review by Rick Eaglestone
7/10

Directly inspired by the 13th-century Persian poet Rumi’s poem, Oakland’s Daxma return with their new album “Unmarked Boxes”, which explores difficult personal topics such as grief, depression, longing, and the process of overcoming.

Opening track ‘The Clouds Parted’ woefully weaves into elements of 90’s style My Dying Bride – it’s thirteen and a half minutes of bleak yet undeniably beautiful soundscapes, with varying directional changes. I particularly love the slow build up into the heavier parts and back again. When tracks are done this well you really do not notice the length of them. This is followed by the shorter instrumental ‘And the Earth Swallowed Our Shadows’.

My highlight track ‘Hiraeth’ is up next, and yet again it is another thirteen-and-a-half-minute track. It’s heavier than the opener, and the guitar parts blend fantastically well. I also love the dual vocal parts. This, much like the previous tracks, is followed by another instrumental track ‘Saudade’.

Given the subject matter ‘Anything You Lose’ is emotionally charged in the right places, the heavier parts are subtle, and when the dual vocals take hold it really encapsulates the overall mood and feel of the album.

Lastly ‘Comes Back in Another Form’ has a minimalistic vocal presence which is only really highlighted in the middle of the track, as between those parts, building drum patterns and bleak soundscapes take over.

Daxma comment, “As a band, we have been working on this material for some time, only recently feeling like we’ve undergone the musical and spiritual growth necessary to achieve our vision and put this album out into the world.”

Overall, the orchestration, guitar tones, and melodies are wonderful, for me I would have liked to have more of the above, with the dual vocal, and slightly fewer instrumental pieces.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Clouds Parted
02. And the Earth Swallowed our Shadows
03. Hiraeth
04. Saudade
05. Anything You Loose
06. Comes Back in Another Form

LINE-UP:
Isaac R. – Guitars, Vocals, Bass
Jessica T. – Violin, Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Forrest H. – Guitar, Bass
Thomas I. – Drums

LINKS:

Daxma Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone 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.





Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip

Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip Album Cover Art

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Thirteenth Trip
RidingEasy Records
Release date: 31/10/2021
Running time: 34:49

Review by: Alun Jones
8.5/10

Back in early 1970, I was in LA working for Jim Morrison, singer of the Doors.  Morrison was a pretentious, drunken bore – but we did have a few old laughs.  This one time, Jimbo was mid-liaison with a young lady in her upstairs apartment, and I had to pick him up in his new car before the pair were interrupted by her husband.  Parked in a gleaming white Dodge Challenger under the first-floor window, there was no fire escape and Jim had to jump out of the window onto the roof of his car.  It was a hard top, not a cabriolet, and Jim’s fat arse flattened it like an egg box when he hit it.  He wasn’t in the best shape at that point.  Wrecked that beautiful car, too.  Luckily, I could still see out of the window, and drove off in hysterics, while chubby Jim tried to squeeze into his tiny leather trousers. 

Great days, indeed.  And the memories of that time always come flooding back when I spin one of these Brown Acid compilations from RidingEasy Records.  Yet again, the guys have dug out some long-lost treasures of the early Hard Rock and Proto Metal variety, to return phoenix like from the netherworld.

Things get underway splendidly with ‘Run Run’ by Max, a funky riff rocker that will light up your lava lamp straight away.  It’s probably my favourite on another strong collection.  Next is ‘Dark Street’ by Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers – fuzzy guitars and great vocal melodies with a faint air of menace.  Geyda provide ‘Third Side’, another pacey rocker, reminiscent of the MC5.

Following that, there’s Gary Del Vecchio, who’s apparently ‘Buzzin’.  But then, who wasn’t in those days?!  It’s party time Blues Rock in the vein of early Zep.  John Kitko is suffering from ‘Indecision’, as proven by the Psychedelic jam of the start contrasting with the speedy, aggressive main body of the song – with Alice Cooper-like vocals.    

‘Hope’ by Bacchus reminded me of old Jimbo’s band doing ‘Roadhouse Blues’.  Master Danse are up next with a very heavy blues number, ‘Feelin’ Dead’.  It’s a slow, ponderous song with a melancholy vibe – which I’ll swear was stolen by The Cult for their obscure B-side ‘Wolf Child’s Blues’.

Orchid offer up the weakest track on the album, ‘Go Big Red’, a fairly unexceptional Garage Rock number.  It’s fun and still has some charm, though.  Then you’ve got Dry Ice and ‘Don’t Munkey with the Funky Skunky’, a crazy fast paced number that’s like The Monkees and Jimi Hendrix jamming a Eurovision novelty song.  On drugs.  Finally, a strong final track from Good Humore, ‘Detroit’ – a catchy tribute with a sprinkling of MC5 at their most Rock ‘n’ Roll.

And there we have it: another fine collection of Rock fossils unearthed and displayed for our enjoyment, never to be forgotten again.  It may be “The Thirteenth Trip”, but this ain’t unlucky for some – it’s gold all the way.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Max – ‘Run Run’
02. Ralph Williams – ‘Dark Street’
03. Geyda – ‘Third Side’
04. Gary Del Vecchio – ‘Buzzin’’
05. John Kitko – ‘Indecision’
06. Bacchus – ‘Hope’
07. Master Danse – ‘Feelin’ Dead’
08. Orchid – ‘Go Big Red’
09. Dry Ice – ‘Don’t Munkey With The Funky Skunky’
10. Good Humore – ‘Detroit’

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Bonded – Into Blackness 

Into Blackness Album Cover Art

Bonded – Into Blackness 
Century Media Records 
Release Date: 12/11/2021 
Running Time: 53:54 
Review by Victor Augusto 
8.5/10 

How do I choose albums for review? What an intriguing question. Well, most of the time I pick an album by the genre I like to hear or that I understand enough to talk about. Most of them are Thrash and Death Metal bands. Sometimes, I try to change for something more to Grindcore or Classic Metal. This time, I asked for Bonded because I thought “A Thrash Metal band with Bonded as their name must be influenced by Exodus”. I am pretty sure that nobody cares about how I select the bands for review, but it was an interesting shot in the dark.  

Luckily, I found myself presented with an awesome band, but are they inspired by Exodus as I was expecting? Maybe yes. Is it their main influence? Maybe not. I confess that I still can’t decide even after hearing the album many times. My conclusion is that it is impossible to create a killer Thrash Metal album, full of insane riffs and fast and furious solos, without being associated to Exodus. So, this is my answer. Am I being confusing? Welcome to my strange way of thinking! After a few weeks listening to the album, I discovered the band were part of Sodom and it was a great surprise for me. By the way, thanks to DJ Jeanne E Thomas of Gimme Metal radio. Without her interview with Bonded, I would never know about this detail. 

But what really matters in their music is how they put many elements into a blender to give a special taste to their Thrash. It has A bit of Motorhead, also a bit of Classic Metal in a few melodies. And the Thrash elements carry a bit of German Thrash (Is Teutonic Thrash Metal that you call?) as well. 

Everything I mentioned is well diluted and mixed, but I still think the band is more Exodus oriented, musically. ‘Into The Blackness Of A Wartime Night’ highlights the melodies I’ve mentioned and the cadenced ‘Destroy The Things I Love’ does the same for the Motorhead influences. 

Lyrically, the album has a concept taken from the book “The Division Of The Damned”, by Richard Rhys Jones. And the song with (almost) the same name, ‘Division Of The Damned’, has a show of riffs from Bernemann and Chris Tsitsis. There is some killer drum work from Markus Freiwald too, and he shows amazing versatility with changing tempos, and alternating between cadenced and brutal parts. Marc Hauschild had the hard work of not sounding hidden by all the heaviness, and Ingo Bajonczak does a great job on his vocal interpretation. It is impossible to not be reminded of Lemmy Kilmister’s voice on Ingo’s work. 

No matter what I thought about them. Even if everything I said about influences are wrong, there is one thing I am sure I am right about. If You love Thrash Metal which is brutal, but also brings good technique, you will love this album. It is a master class of furious solos, great riffs, well balanced melodies, and a music which totally brings excitement and energy for the listeners.

Watch (While The World Burns) – Official Video

TRACKLISTING: 
01. The Arsonist  
02. Watch (While the World Burns)  
03. Lilith (Queen of Blood) 
04. The Holy Whore 
05. Division of the Damned 
06. Into the Blackness of a Wartime Night  
07. Destroy the Things I Love  
08. Final Stand  
09. Ill-Minded Freak  
10. Way of the Knife  
11. The Eyes of Madness  
12. Humanity on Sale (Bonus) 
13. Will to Survive (Bonus) 

LINE-UP:
Marc Hauschild – Bass 
Chris Tsitsis – Guitars 
Ingo Bajonczak – Vocals 
Markus Freiwald – Drums 
Bernemann – Guitars 

LINKS:

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.

Khroma – Ex Nihilo

Ex Nihilo Album Cover Art

Khroma – Ex Nihilo
Inverse Records
Release Date: 10/09/2021
Running Time: 35:35
Review by Wallace Magri
9/10

Helsinki, Finland based  band Khroma deliver an interesting mix of Djent/Nu Metal songs invaded by Electro elements on “Ex Nihilo”, their third album. 

Every time that I review an album from a Metal genre that doesn’t match exactly with my musical taste, I try to form my impression of the songs by searching for what may be interesting and worth listening to, instead of just complaining about certain stylistic standards that bother me, here and there.

And what is heard on “Ex Nihilo” are songs based on a good sense of composition and arrangements, that sustain everything harmoniously as a whole, sometimes highlighting the Djent Metal aspect of Khroma’s music, on such songs as ‘Tread Light’ – but with a little bit of Pendulum-like Electro-Techno interventions – which are aligned to the New Metal/Rap vocal lines.

Sometimes, like on ‘Tidal’ for example, the Electro touches are emphasised, sounding like a retro-wave 80’s revival, invaded by Djent Metal riffs and the above-mentioned Nu Metal singing styles, like Limp Bizkit used to do.

Speaking of Nu Metal and Limp Bizkit, ‘Drop That Treble’, and ‘Waste All Reason’, among others, would fit just fine for fans of those kinds of bands, if, somehow, those bands were dipped on a greyer pallet of electronic layers.

That’s pretty much what is heard on “Ex Nihilo”: Nu Metal strengthened with Djent riffs and some electronic features. Is it my favourite Metal style? No. It’s not a style that connects me to music, but saying that, it is definitely worth a listen, if that is your kind of thing. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Slaves
02. Dead Arrive (Run Tell Them)
03. Tread Light
04. Tidal
05. Drop That Treble
06. Kill the Friction
07. Waste All Reason
08. The Overthrow
09. Trace Amounts

LINE-UP:
Riku Rinta-Seppälä – vocals, electronics
Mikko Merilinna – guitars, keyboards
Maarik Leppä – bass
Antti Honka – drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Wallace Magri 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.

Elimination – Echoes Of The Abyss

Echoes Of The Abyss Album Cover Art

Elimination – Echoes Of The Abyss
Self-Released
Release Date: 29/10/2021
Running Time:
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

This may make me go down in people’s estimation, but Thrash is a genre that, in the past, I have blanket ignored. Classic Thrash just isn’t my thing. I find it, dare I say, a little samey and boring (We can’t all like everything). But recently I’ve been listening to a fair number of more modern Thrash bands, and I have to say that they really appeal to my eclectic proggy brain. They’re angry and violent enough to be Thrash, but they have more about them, and the ability to explore. And the subject of today’s review definitely fall into this category.

UK Thrashers, Elimination, are on their 3rd album, after originally forming in 2007, then taking a bit of a hiatus between 2013 and 2017. Their press release says that they are “pushing themselves musically and thematically into a new era” with “Echoes Of The Abyss”, so what does it actually sound like?

There’s a simple answer to that really – bloody good!  

Opening with ‘Disciples Of The Beast’, we are instantly introduced to something a little different. Droning chords and twin guitars tracking each other build the atmosphere to lead into the track. This gives way to some raw and punishing vocals and rhythms, hinting at Classic Thrash, just with some extra oomph!

The use of two guitarists, who are both equally skilled in the way of noodling twiddly diddly solos, as well as punchy speed riffage, works really well with their sound, too. The sound, incidentally, is explorative and intense from the get go, and this never lets up throughout the album. 

‘This Is War’ features a guest appearance from Shrapnel’s Aarran Tucker, which adds another layer to the sound, but also makes this track into the most standard Thrash number on the album. It is hellishly catchy, and I’ve been singing along with it, and even discovering it as an earworm at ridiculous times of the day and night (I must give myself a serious talking to. I appear to be enjoying a genre that I always said I didn’t, and this will do nothing for my credibility as someone who knows what they like, and can talk with a broad scope of knowledge on the subject – damn you imposter syndrome)!!! 

There’s some super guitar work in ‘Price of Insanity’, and ‘Victim By Design’ features some machine gun drumming, and schizophrenic guitars, which give it a real urgency, and the intensity of a battering ram to ones…erm… crown jewels (I’m surmising the pain this causes, but all told, it’s a lot)! 

‘The Nameless City’ enters the realms of the more exploratory again, with varying sections, changes of rhythm and tempo, and some great displays of technical ability. ‘Blind’ leads us towards the final movement of the album. This is a track that moves from the laboured slowness of the chorus to groove laden riffing sections that make you move. It’s interesting. I like it.

The final track on the album, ‘Infernal’ almost has the essence of 90s Grunge hanging around it in parts, as well as some classic Heavy Metal. It’s an epic track too, at over 10 minutes. But we do get back to the familiar punishing Thrash that makes me want to crank it up to stupid levels and lose my shit to it.

All in all, this is a very pleasing album, from a band who have decided to give this whole music business shit another go. I like it a lot. I think I actually might like thrash now, too. Nicely done Elimination!   

TRACKLISTING:
01. Disciples Of The Beast 
02. Black Wings 
03. This Is War (feat. Aarran Tucker of Shrapnel)
04. Price Of Insanity
05. Victim By Design
06. The Nameless City
07. Blind
08. Infernal

LINE-UP:
Neil Stevens – Bass & Lead Vocals, 
Leigh Rumsby – Guitar & Backing Vocals
David Hill – Guitar & Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Elimination 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.

Road Trip – Merry Go Round

Merry Go Round Album Cover Art

Road Trip – Merry Go Round
Epictronic
Release Date: 21/01/2022
Running Time: 53:36
Review by Martin Bennewith
8.5/10

“Merry Go Round” by Road Trip (Dave Hulatt) is a mixture of all the things I like about rock music. As an album rooted in they Psychedelic Rock genre, by nature it does not place itself right in your face with flashiness and overagression, instead it meanders through the time it takes to listen, with clear influences of early Barrett driven Floyd, as well as crossing into the realms of more arty, Progressive Rock, and the occasional flirt with a harder 70s sound. The album has a large focus on lead guitar, and to a lesser extent synthesised leads, where some may feel this is overdone, for the most part, I think it is a breath of fresh air.

The album begins with ‘Cracks In Space’, which has a Late 60s Psychedelic Rock feel, sometimes crossing into harder Rock. It is energetic, with dreamy lyrics, overdriven guitars but a fresh and easy listen. 

Next is ‘The Rabbit Hole’, which begins as eerie Folk, but emerges into softer Rock, with swirling tense lead guitar, progressive, hypnotic rhythms, and some swirling synths to compliment the guitar.

The third track, ‘Light of Perfection’ is introduced by Sweet guitar sounds prior to some delicate piano which carries emotion. With almost a country feel, the buildup is upbeat and progessive, and the lead guitar kicks in telling the story, with some synth bubbles creating a dreamy feel. This leads to a more tense section with a change of rhythm. A nice track.

Next is ‘Station In The Sky’. Classic Psychedelic Rock lyrics and singing style, dreamy, musically tense and modal – fun! The lead playing explores the possibilities of the underlying harmony well, with sinister musical breaks adding to the tension.

‘The Maze’ has an epic sounding beginning, which leads to an interesting part that is hard to pin down rhythmically and musically, and we get the same sort of dreamy lyrics again, over a loose Rock and Fusion jam. The number ebbs and flows, and evolves enough to keep me interested.

The next track, ‘Times Gone By’ is a bit different. It begins with a soft, emotional soulful feel, and when the lead guitar kicks in, the mood is emphasised some more, with floating melodies and effects that are soft and sustained. The mood slightly evolves and becomes even more laid back and reflective as the number progresses. A sweet instrumental track.

‘Welcome To The Dark’ is next, and in contrast, is very tense musically, but with a soft synthesised melody and stirring lyrics, which use spoken word to create a dystopian atmosphere. The number progresses into some heavier moments, with overdriven guitar and more synth moments. It’s in a minor modal musically with a hypnotic underlying rhythm.

‘The Trip’ can be described as an energetic improvised Classic Psychedelic Rock jam, with synth and lead complimenting each other; a foot tapping and head moving song. It is easy to get lost in this one, as I did. The vocals and lyrics are very dreamy, and it is a lot of fun!

Finally, ‘Merry Go Round’. The beginning is quite different, with chiming bells and swirling synths before the drums and guitars kick in, introducing the vocals. It has quite a melancholy and laid back feel at first, which evolves and changes into something more urgent. A nice end to a nice album.

Generally I found this album very easy to listen to, in fact it was so easy to listen to, I played it several times before starting this review. I am not saying there is no depth, rather it captivates and keeps the interest going with the subtle changes in style, musicality and rhythm. Although the track names, lyrics, and vocal style are a bit trippy, it actually feels like a work of art that could be appreciated whatever the state of mind, and that emotional but unpredictable lead guitar style that dominated the entire album left an impression. I think if I have any criticism, it would be that it sometimes felt a bit lacking in direction and even slightly self-indulging, which is understandable as a solo project. But if you can tap into the overall feel then it does captivate, which is why I will give this a 8.5/10.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Cracks In Space
02. The Rabbit Hole Of Time
03. The Light Of Perfection
04. Station In The Sky
05. The Maze
06. Times Gone By
07. Welcome to the Dark
08. The Trip
09. Merry Go Round

LINE-UP:
Dave Hulatt – Everything

LINKS:

Road Trip Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Martin Bennewith and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Fourth Son South – Machine EP

Machine Ep Cover Art

Fourth Son South – Machine EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 21/01/22
Running Time: 16:55
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Fourth Son South is the brainchild of Dutch singer/guitarist Peter Toussaint, although the band themselves hail from Pretoria in South Africa. Musically this is firmly coming from a solid Rock with a hint of the old Blues tradition, but with plenty of mood and attitude, plus a subtle but effective tinge of heaviness. All of the players are experienced older hands though, despite this project being relatively nascent and this really shows in the song writing quality, highlighting an intuitive fluidity in their interplay. That’s really important, as this feels like a really down, dirty and honest rocking band, not a project for an established front man. 

‘Hold On’ is the only song on here that’s had a previous outing, having been released as a single mid-2021, and getting a remix and deep polish for this package. The remix is notably different in sound and tone than the newer material, sounding much more studio burnished in contrast to the much rougher and ready newer songs. Both production styles work well, but to be honest I’m much preferring the slightly looser and rougher round the edges sound of the later songs than the honed and polished single remix, as they work much better with Toussaint’s gruff vocal style. 

Nothing throws this more into contrast than when he’s dueting with Melissa Osbourne on the closer ‘Tomorrow’s Better’. In terms of song-writing this is one of the best phrased pieces on here, but when they are harmonising it doesn’t quite pull it off because the contrast in their ranges and styles is so vast, but at the same time the slightly dangerous edginess that this brings also makes the song stand out for sheer authenticity. It’s this kind of contradiction that flows throughout the EP, making it feel fresh and real, so I’m all for them sticking to the warts and all approach, rather than try and add inauthentic gloss through over production. 

It’s raw, it’s edgy and it’s a very promising start.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Not A Machine
02. Power To The People
03. Hold On
04. Sea of Life
05. Tomorrows Better

LINE-UP:
Franco Jamneck – Bass Guitar & Backing Vocals
Dale McHardy – Rhythm Guitar
Peter Toussaint – Lead Vocals & Lead Guitar
Carel Viljoen – Drums & Backing Vocals

LINKS:

Fourth Son South Promo Photo by Alouise Jamneck
Fourth Son South Promo Photo by Alouise Jamneck

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.

Browbeat – The Showdown EP

The Showdown Ep Cover Art

Browbeat – The Showdown EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 22/01/22
Running Time: 14:08
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

I have come across a lot of great bands from Italy, but it’s fair to say that they’re predominantly Power Metal or Classic Heavy Metal Bands, so I was fairly surprised to discover that Metalcore 5-piece, Browbeat, were Italian. I was also surprised to know that, with the exception of an extended hiatus, they’ve actually been around since 1998! How have I missed them?! Especially as they’ve been back since 2017!

This new EP, “The Showdown” is their first release since 2019, and it really does pack some punch. It’s full of the 90s sound, but with a current modern metal twang. It makes some clever use of spoken word samples to open and close the EP, and is a pacey, anger fuelled 14 minutes of music. To be honest, I’d have liked it to be a little longer, as there is some really quality stuff here. Super barked rap vocals, complete with growls, alongside punishing drums, and some epic guitar riffs. 

There are also some nods to bigger bands of the 90s, which pleases me, because love them or hate them, the 90s were my formative years and I actually liked a lot of the Nu sounds that started then. The first obvious nod is with a cover of Sepultura’s ‘Slave New World’ which is done very well. But there’s also a more subtle nod to Rage Against The Machine – a band who shared the same anti-establishment views as Browbeat – within the EP Title Track; The chorus of this being predominantly lyrically the same as the all time RATM classic, ‘Killing In The Name’, just with a different rhythm.

The tone of the instruments helps to give this EP a more modern sound. It’s quite metallic, and almost Industrial in its production, which works surprisingly well with the angry vocals and crashing rhythms. My only real criticism aside from the EP being a bit on the short side, is that I’m not a massive fan of the mix. The guitars are too far back in it, and get overpowered by the drums and vocals at times. 

Aside from that, though, this is a great little EP, and if you liked the 90s angry Crossover/Metalcore/ Rap Metal sound, akin to Hatebreed and early Machine Head, then you need to throw on a bit of this EP to bring the glory days back to life!  

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Real Face 
02. The Showdown 
03. The Call Of Falldown 
04. Slave New World (Sepultura Cover) 
05. Bleeding Age (Outro) 

LINE-UP:
M.V. – Vocals
Luca Cocconi – Guitar, Choir
Matteo Usberti – Guitar
Mirco Bennati – Bass, Choir
Nicholas Badiali – Drums

LINKS:

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.

Magnum – The Monster Roars

Magnum Album Cover Art

Magnum – The Monster Roars
Steamhammer / SPV
Release Date: 14/01/22
Running Time: 58:27
Review by Simon Black
9/10

I need to be honest with you here, I’ve loved this band since I was about sixteen, which is a very, very long time ago. Even back in the mid-Eighties, Magnum were a bit of an outlier. Not really part of the mainstream Rock scene but with a toe dipped subtly into the Metal world, and by making themselves that little bit more anthemic, they nonetheless had organically built themselves a considerable following in that decade. It took a while mind and remember that they’ve been going since flared trousers were first in fashion, but during that time, and despite the ropey early record labels, the painfully underinvested production values courtesy of skinflint Don Arden and an endlessly dodgy club slogging circuit that would have demolished the enthusiasm of many other acts, they still built themselves a very devoted and loving fan base of which I’m happy to count myself a part. 

By the time I found them they had clawed themselves up into Major Label Land in time for their breakout (and still standout) “On A Storyteller’s Night” and from then on they were unstoppable for a while, having elevated themselves to arena status for their absolute high spot ‘Wings of Heaven’ tour. Their momentum misfired in the early 90’s, but then so did everyone’s, and for a bit they threw in the towel and went on hiatus until a side-project called Hard Rain convinced main man Tony Clarkin and front man Bob Catley that the love was absolutely still there, and a reformation was in order. Having attended both their ‘farewell’ in 1996 and their return in 2002 at their hometown I couldn’t have been respectively sadder, then happier. Since that time Magnum have steadily cranked out (mostly) credible and decent albums to the loyal, who I suspect are going to really like this one, and completely continue to deliver the goods live with the annual touring schedule (well, they would but you know, Covid). 

There’s a subtly darker feel to the whole record, which starts with the much more stylistically dark cover – a clean break from the usual colourful fantasy Rodney Matthews fare, opting instead for a moody photo courtesy of former Hard Rain drummer Rob Barrow, of the still firmly fairytale and fantasy titular beast. This feels like Magnum rebooting themselves for a new decade and you can’t help but respect them for managing to pull the same trick off for five decades and counting…

What makes it work is that the central essence of the band is still there in Toby Clarkin and Bob Catley. Between them they have written and sung on every track in their considerable back catalogue and despite no longer having any of the other original members involved, have nonetheless in their current incarnation rolled in a stand out group of musos who really love and understand that core Magnum sound. In fact I’m really loving Rick Benton’s keyboard contributions on this record as although much as I loved original stalwart Mark Stanway’s sounds, Benton is a way more technically accomplished player and adds some lovely classical and progressive flourishes on top of the usual melody lines that Clarkin pitches for. The rhythm section feels really fluid this time out too, with some lovely interplay between Ward and Morris that makes this feel like a band with a bit of hunger once more, whilst still keeping those distinctive heart-nudging guitar licks and vocal melody lines and that are Clarkin and Catley’s unique selling point.

And then there’s Bob’s voice. 

This man is well into his seventies, yet seems to have grown into his voice which has matured like the finest of aged single malt whiskeys – dusky, smokey and full of richness. He may not be able to scale the octaves in quite the same way (although he can still surprise you live), but he’s lost none of his delivery, soul and emotion which now bring a lovely, deep maturity to proceedings. Musically Clarkin is not doing anything radically different and I would be annoyed if he did, but this is a mature and well-crafted album with plenty of tonal variety. It’s perhaps not as capable of blowing your socks off so consistently in the way that “On The 13th Day” did (because let’s face it that one went up to eleven), but it’s pretty damn close and this line up has definitely bedded down now. Hopefully they will get to prove this on the road, given that 2020’s “The Serpent Rings” never got the benefit of a live outing but this year’s piece definitely feels a much stronger and richer piece of work, so that’s probably all for the good. Solid, dependable, catchy as fuck and still capable of making my sad old heart beat just that little bit firster, this is a welcome return to form.

‘I Won’t Let you down’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Monster Roars
02. Remember
03. All You Believe In
04. I Won’t Let You Down
05. The Present Not the Past
06. No Steppin’ Stones
07. That Freedom Word
08. Your Blood Is Violence
09. Walk the Silent Hours
10. The Day After the Night Before
11. Come Holy Men
12. Can’t Buy Yourself Heaven

LINE-UP:
Tony Clarkin – Guitar
Bob Catley – Vocals
Rick Benton – Keyboards
Dennis Ward – Bass
Lee Morris – Drums

LINKS:

Magnum 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.