Oh. – Metallia

Metallia Cover

Oh. – Metallia
Self-Released
Release Date: 28/07/2018
Running Time: 25:13
Review by Dawn King
8/10

I don’t know if this is true for everybody, but there comes a time every now and then that I get bored of listening to the same ol’ music and want to find something “different.” Well, you can’t get much different than Oh.

Oh. is Greek progressive metal multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, Olivia Hadjiioannou who arrived onto the international music scene in 2013, with her award-winning debut EP, “Sleeping World”. She has since released a prog-metal album “Synemotion” on vinyl and four avant-garde progressive ballads and her latest project is this album “Metallia” released in July of 2018.

Since her appearance on the music scene, she has accumulated many honours including, but not limited to, three international music video awards, most recently at the London Greek Festival for single ‘Deserted Eyes’, semi-finalist in the 2017 International Songwriters Competition and she had been added to the Prog Archives in the Crossover Prog Category.

Driven by a passion to musically reveal an “inner-story”, she can play the guitar (electric and acoustic), bass, drums, violin, piano and percussion and her voice has been compared to the likes of Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Happy Rhodes, Céline Dion, Melissa auf der Maur, Sharon den Adel and Anneke van Giesbergen (impressive list eh?). She composes, produces, mixes and masters her music in Athens, Greece.

Playing all those instruments, Oh. is a true do-it-yourself artist but she says; “I never felt as if there were a question of whether I can play music or not. Music is always a question of whether you have something to say.”

And she certainly does have something to say. Her music “evokes intense imagery, entices the listener to journey into epic sonic landscapes and finally escape into intense ecstatic oblivion!” She wants to touch the soul with her music, whether that be in “the dark recesses of sorrow or the heights of elation.”

But you need to listen carefully to her music because there is so much more to her than first appears. Combining frenetic, harmonic guitar solos, multi-layered vocals, head-banging riffs, fantastical violins, groovy bass lines and furious drumming, there are many twists and turns to her progressive rock and metal style. And let’s not forget, this lady plays ALL of the instruments herself!

Since its release in 2018, the album has had 32 different reviews from thirteen countries worldwide, was in the top 10 of the 2018 Progressive Metal EP Chart and was listed as one of the best albums of the year in 2018 by Metal Nation Radio!

Described by the lady herself, the album is an “epical prog-metal compilation in 6 parts – a multi-layered sonic piece of ravishing solo electric guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, grooving bass lines and deranged drums” and she is not far wrong!

Featuring just six tracks and lasting a little over 25 minutes, this album goes against everything that should be considered ‘epic’ but that is the only word I can think of to describe it. It is eccentric (I can see where the Kate Bush and Tori Amos references come in!), atmospheric and really does conjure up all sorts of images in your head while you are listening to it. The guitars whisper of Satriani and Vai and there is a whole host of musical sounds (wails, screams, bongos to name a few) to take you on your journey which Oh. describes as a spiritual one that will “transmute your subliminal mind map.”

‘Experimental’, ‘eclectic’, ‘strong’, ‘packs a punch’ are just a few of the words and phrases I have seen to describe this album and I would agree with every single one of them. Although instrumental (how the album is described by Olivia herself!) prog-metal is not really my thing, I can recognise talent where I see it. And this is one extremely talented woman!

This album won’t appeal to everyone, but anyone with a love of progressive music in general should really check it out!

But be prepared to be gob-smacked, bowled-over and totally amazed all at the same time!

TRACKLISTING:
1. Red Lion
2. Bee
3. Androgyny
4. Resurrection
5. Dragon’s Kiss
6. Triumph

LINKS:
http://www.olitunes.com
http://www.facebook.com/olitunes

https://www.instagram.com/olitunes/
http://music.olitunes.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/olitunesmusic

 

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

The Swamp Born Assassins – Smell The Mud

Smell The Mud Cover

The Swamp Born Assassins – Smell The Mud
Carnivora Records
Running Time: 49:38
Release Date: 19/03/2017
Review by Paul Monkhouse
7/10

It’s hard to believe that these guys come from Scotland, such is the skill and lovingly crafted paeon of love to the best of Southern Rock, albeit it with a much dirtier edge on this, their latest album. The Glasgow based five-piece have captured the spirit of their many influences and infused the album with their heroes whilst very much retaining an identity all of their own.

The moment that the slide guitar comes in on ‘Out in the Rain’ you know that this is going to be a big slice of gritty rock that Lynyrd Skynyrd would play at their heaviest. With the opening line of ‘’Ever had one of those days when nothing goes right?’’ seeming like a snarling challenge, these guys come out swinging and you know you’ve going to have to hold on tight as they take off like a Nascar champion.

‘Never Ever Never’ starts off with the riff from ‘Peter Gunn’ passed through an ancient and overdriven amplifier and is another brutal, pounding belter. In the shape of Black Stone Cherry, this song is meant to be heard from tiny bars to huge festival stages and is brimming with some real old-style R&B fire. ‘Walk Tall’ is another track that somehow brings together the trio of Pantera, AC/DC and Aerosmith to produce an unholy lovechild that has parts of all three huge acts but is also distinctly their own creation.

There is such a great gumbo of sludge and fire in their material that is matched by power and subtlety. All the way through the album there are some truly nice little touches that add some incredible colour to what could have been potentially been just a straight-ahead rock/metal album. Successfully combining balls and brains, The Swamp Born Assassins have approached both the material and performances with real intelligence that certainly pays dividends.

The stomping ‘Crawl’ would be something that you get the feeling that the late, great Lemmy would love and is a later highlight of the album. All rock ‘n’ roll attitude and spirit it demands to be heard, as does the garage rock madness of the title cut, ‘Smell The Mud’, a track you can easily imagine in the soundtrack of a Rob Zombie movie. Sinewy and prowling the song is full of menace and features a great bit of guitarwork and gang harmony vocals.

Equally sinister is the haunting and haunted ‘Clara Bella Lee’, a blues duet that finishes the album in style. It’s also the longest and most expansive track of this release. Underpinned with a real swing, the interplay of male and female vocals works masterfully in a call and response where you don’t really know who the victim is. All the members of the band really bring things together in a truly epic slice of American Gothic, the superb arrangement of voices and some outstanding musicianship mark this as the highpoint of “Smell The Mud” and provides a real contrast to all the other balls to the wall tracks. A really great listen and one certainly worth seeking out and adding to your collection.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Out In The Rain
02.Never Ever Never
03.Walk Tall
04.Dead Man Walking
05.Land Of The Six Gun
06.Crawl
07.Smell The Mud
08.The Gator
09.Clara Belle Lee

LINKS:
http://www.swampbornassassins.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheSwampBornAssassins/

https://www.instagram.com/swampbornassassins/
https://www.youtube.com/user/vettidu

 

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.

Devils Playground – The Collector

CD Booklet

Devils Playground – The Collector
Self-Released
Running Time: 40:31
Release Date: 21/01/2019
Review by Mark Pritchard
Intro by Richard Tilley
10/10

Hi Everyone, Rick here and another short intro for this review. Mark had already published a version of this review on his own blog a few weeks before he joined us as a reviewer. When he saw that it was also on our list he kindly offered it to us for publishing. It has been slightly adapted to fit our template. I wholeheartedly agree with many of his comments. Devils Playground are a great band and “The Collector” is a fine album. Happy reading!

Recently I have been listening to Birmingham based Heavy Metal band Devil’s Playground’s new album “The Collector”! When a good friend of mine tagged me on the bands post about possible reviewers I have been intrigued by them and couldn’t be happier to review them. I will be completely honest and say that until that point I hadn’t heard of the band or their music and I am gutted that I hadn’t because these guys and girl are absolutely awesome and the band is amazing to listen to.

The songs on this album are all quite different and each has its own meaning a bit like if you picked up a variety of food at a buffet. From start to finish this album is of the highest calibre. Devils Playground were only founded in 2015 but, from the sounds of this album, it feels like they have been around much longer. Immediately I can say that the combination of screaming/grunting of Vocalist Matt Pointon alongside the beautiful voice of Vocalist Leanne Nardone is out of this world!

The album begins with the track ‘Mr. Afterdark’ This starts with what sounds like an alarm and after about 45 in come the heavy instruments with the singing of both vocalists and I tell you what, the track instantly gives you an insight to what the rest of the album will be like with heavy playing and top notch vocals which causes immediate headbanging. I don’t usually do that because headbanging gives me the biggest of headaches but I couldn’t help doing it because this album doesn’t let up at all.

As “The Collector” continues playing I feel bound to it. I haven’t been able to listen to anything different, not by choice, but because it has grabbed hold of me and won’t let go which I think is brilliant. This really shows you the hard work and dedication that Devils Playground have put into the album. Even though a few tracks have really deep meanings just listening to them makes me happy and puts a smile on my face. When you feel down and music gives you that feeling then you can definitely say there will be a silver lining on the horizon.

On the bands profile on Facebook it says that they are influenced by the likes of Hatebreed, Bullet For My Valentine and Arch Enemy, all bands that I like to listen to and yes, when you listen to “The Collector” you can hear those influences but honestly I would listen to Devils Playground more than any of those bands because you can hear them anywhere and everywhere, whereas this bunch are a proper local band, fighting to show everyone what they are made of and proving themselves wherever they go. They did this in a big way in 2017 by entering and winning their regions Metal 2 The Masses which enabled them to play Bloodstock Festival.

I know I haven’t mentioned individual songs but, if I did that, it would make me feel as if those were the highlights off the whole album but “The Collector is brilliant throughout and one of the best albums I have ever listened to. I know people all have their favourites but this album is mine and I will be listening to it for a long time to come.

Therefore, it doesn’t come as a surprise to say that I rate it 10 out of 10. Personally, I couldn’t find anything at all wrong with it and, as such “The Collector’ is nigh on perfect!

I would like to thank the members of Devil’s Playground Leanne Nardone-Vocals, Matt Pointon-Vocals, Dan Nardone-bass Guitar, Ian Hiseman-Guitar, Luke Neath-Lead Guitar and both former drummer Bez and current drummer Jack Skilton, you guys are awesome and I thank you for giving me the chance to review the album. I would suggest to anyone to have a listen to Devils Playground because you won’t regret it!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Mr Afterdark
02. Epilogue
03. Are You Ready To Play?
04. Cross The Line
05. Time To Die
06. Reason One
07 Devil’s Playground
08. Unlost
09. Emergency
10 The Masque
11. Fortunes Hand

Links:
https://devils-playground.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/Devil.playground/

https://www.instagram.com/devilsplayground_ayrtp/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeBunW7KNpZKsvOpvpHa1dQ

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard 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.

Steel Raiser – Acciaio

Acciaio Cover

Steel Raiser – Acciaio
Iron Shield Records
Running Time: 42:53
Release date: 15/02/2019
Review by Lotty Whittingham
8/10

Through metal, a lot of strong bonds and friendships are formed. Often, it’s to the point where bands are formed. This is definitely the case with Italian Heavy Metal outfit Steel Raiser. They have unleashed their latest album “Acciaio” and the word translates to Steel from Italian. Coincidence? Given the sturdy material that this album offers, it’s far from that.

“Acciaio” gets off to a straight forward start with the tracks ‘The Fourth Seal (Intro)’ and ‘Demon Angel’. It’s well known that a great intro to an album can make a difference to how you enjoy the rest of the content. The atmospheric intro lures the listener in before they are treated to the musings of ‘Demon Angel’. First impressions? The production seems a tad quiet. If anything, it encourages the listener to crank up the volume to maximum power. Let’s be honest, that is the only way to experience those finger blistering solos and prevailing vocal work. They do say every cloud has a silver lining.

The style at first comes across as very old school Heavy Metal. Judas Priest comes to mind. That style is reinforced on the track ‘Heavy Metal Hero’. It’s a song that will undoubtedly go down as a classic in years to come. Particularly when the chorus swims around your head minutes, even hours after listening.

As you delve further into the album, some Power Metal influences can be heard. Particularly with the vocal work. Blind Guardian springs to mind when listening to the track ‘Rising Phoenix’. If you want a rough idea of what the love child of Rob Halford and Hansi Kürsch will sound like, then listen to the fantastic vocal work of Alfonso Giordano.

It’s quite rare to come across a song that makes you raise an eyebrow yet you can’t help but laugh. When it comes to “Acciaio”, there is a song called ‘Genghis Khan’ on the album. Songs about historical figures are usually fascinating to listen to as it encourages you to find out more about the person and how they made history. It also makes you wonder why the band decided to write about said figure. Anyway, going back to the song. When you start listening, you can hear Asian influences within the music alongside the Thrash elements. After listening to this track, you will be chiming “gong gong Genghis Khan” before you know it!

If ballads are your thing then “Acciaio” has a beautiful one. It’s entitled ‘Wherever’ and it tugs at the heartstrings. There are dramatic arrangements, passionate vocals and sweeping clashes on the drums, this ballad ticks all the boxes. The concluding track ‘Up The Fist’ helps you feel motivated and ready to go. More than apt. given that one of the lines is “Are you ready?”

It’s evident from the album that Steel Raiser are not a band to be messed with and “Acciaio” will ensure that their music is heard. Get the album, crank to the max and enjoy the ride!

TRACKLISTING:
01 The Fourth Seal (Intro)
02 Demon Angel
03 Heavy Metal Hero
04 The King Of The Night
05 Genghis Khan
06 Rising Phoenix
07 Highway Eagle
08 Wherever
09 Night Of The Duster
10 Spirits Of Vengeance
11 Man Of Rage
12 Up The Fist

SOCIAL MEDIA:
https://www.facebook.com/SteelRaiserOfficial/
https://www.instagram.com/steelraiserofficial/

https://www.youtube.com/user/steelraiser/videos

 

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

 

Cauldron – New Gods

New Gods Cover

Cauldron – New Gods
Dissonance Productions
Release Date: 07/09/2018
Running Time: 42 mins
Review by: Alun Jones
7/10

Listening to Canadian Trad metallers Cauldron, I can almost feel my Converse hi-tops sticking to the carpet in a dingy 80’s rock club, swigging from a rapidly warming bottle of Newcastle Brown, clad in an Iron Maiden T-shirt and waiting for my mullet to grow out into a full length rockin’ hairdo. Them were the days, eh?!

Yes indeed, Cauldron is proud paid-up members of the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal club. Or proper metal, if you prefer? In other words, if Angel Witch and Diamond Head are your thing, you won’t go far wrong here.

Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t want to accuse these Toronto terrors of ripping anyone off, or being stuck in the past. In fact, it’s quite refreshing to listen to old school heavy rock they way it used to be played. This sound isn’t as prevalent as it should be nowadays.

‘Prisoner Of The Past’ starts things off with a suitably meaty riff, and the best news is – you can bang your head to it! Like, properly nod that noggin to the beat as you drive along. Throw some horns too, if you want. Cauldron ain’t gonna judge you, let yourself go!

Appropriately the second track is ‘Letting Go’, and it’s obvious that the band are able to weld together some sharp melodies to the music. Band members Jason Decay, Ian Chains and Myles Deck have obviously studied their influences hard and can unleash the goods with precision. ‘No Longer’ rides another infectious intro and you can be sure we’re on exciting, though safe, ground.

“New Gods” follows pretty much the same formula throughout; though the final part of fourth track ‘Save the Truth – Syracuse’ (maybe it’s just the “Syracuse” bit?) adds some experimentation that reminded me of Van Halen’s ‘Sunday Afternoon In The Park’. After that, another blazer of a song in ‘Never Be Found’.

Unfortunately, Cauldron do blow it with ‘Together As None’ – a nearly-power ballad, the track that would’ve been extracted for a single. Here the band manage to add too much fromage to their fondue. This is the lighter waving, last dance smoocher that no-one needed to be reminded of. Almost-not-quite good enough for the Rocky IV soundtrack.

Thankfully they get their shit together to finish the record with a spritely, Iommi style instrumental (‘Isolation’) and a final, Priest style rocker in ‘Last Request’.

Whether you admit it or not, you love old school rock and metal. Of course you do, and “New Gods” is more honest celebration than cliché. However, please be warned that some of the ingredients may be fast approaching their Best Before date.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Prisoner Of The Past
2. Letting Go
3. No Longer
4. Save The Truth – Syracuse
5. Never Be Found
6. Drown
7. Together As None
8. Isolation
9. Last Request

LINKS:
http://cauldronmetal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/CAULDRONmetal/

https://www.instagram.com/cauldronmetal/
https://www.dissonanceproductions.co.uk/
https://www.youtube.com/user/CauldronVEVO/videos

http://www.theendrecords.com/

 

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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.

 

Wreck-Defy – Remnants Of Pain

Remnants Of Pain Cover

Wreck-Defy – Remnants Of Pain
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/02/2019
Running Time: 44:58
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

When Rick asked me to do him a favour and squeeze a review in for him, there were six words in his message that stood out to me – “former members of Annihilator and Testament.” That was all I needed to say yes as I am a mahoosive fan of both, especially Testament, and I always love coming back to my roots.

Wreck-Defy are a thrash band from Thunder Bay, Ontario in Canada and as previously mentioned features former members of Annihilator, Testament and Demolition Hammer. They were formed in 2016 when Matt Hanchuck got together with his friend Justin Steer, who had agreed to do the vocals on the debut record “Fragments Of Anger”, which was released in 2017. Shawn Drover from Megadeth was brought in to play drums, and his brother Glen, also ex-Megadeth, agreed to mix and master the album.

Fast forward to 2019 and 1st February saw the release of their latest offering “Remnants Of Pain.” With a new line-up featuring Matt on guitars, Aaron Randall, ex-Annihilator, on vocals, and Greg Christian, formerly of Testament, on bass, they used studio session drummer Dave O’Neal for the album, but have since been able to recruit the amazing Alex Marquez from Demolition Hammer and Solstice for future shows and tours.

The album has been mixed, mastered and edited by Juan Urteaga, who has also produced for Testament, Heathen, Vicious Rumors and Dragonlord, to name a few!

So, what of the new album? Well, this is nothing short of a thrash-fest that will have you banging your head from start to finish!

It has all the hallmarks of a great thrash album, from the rumbling, frantic drums, to the faster than lightning guitars and raw, aggressive vocals. Says Matt; “the new record has a street level sound that is a throwback to the burgeoning thrash movement from the mid 1980’s with a more modern-day production value,” and this is exactly the reason why I love it so much.

I always said I was born too late as a lot of the music I listen to now was around before I was old enough to appreciate it, but I love the fact there are bands out there who want to bring this sound back again. For the young ones like me (!) it gives us the chance to live through something we would otherwise have missed and I, for one, would love to see a full thrash revolution happen now.

The album deals with a lot of social issues, says Matt; “lyrically, it’s about many of the negative aspects in life, such as war, addiction, tyranny etc,” and I would be keen to sit down with a copy of the lyrics as I listened to it. There are a lot of concerns that need dealing with in society these days, and if we can’t get these dealt with through other means, what better way than through music?

The two stand out songs on the album for me were ‘Broken Peace’, a track FULL of fast, frantic riffs and drumming, and ‘Looking Back’ which has a strong Testament feel to it, but there really are no bad tracks on the album. With nine tracks lasting just under three quarters of an hour, this truly is a feast for your ears!

If you love your thrash metal, as I do, then I highly recommend you go and buy this album. You would be missing out on a right little gem!

TRACKLISTING
01 Killing the Children
02 Broken Peace
03 Riverview
04 Looking Back
05 18oz of Chrome
06 The Divide
07 Art Of Addiction
08 Angels and Demons
09 Blackend Cloth

LINKS
http://www.facebook.com/Underground4560/
https://wreck-defy.bandcamp.com/releases

 

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

Seven Hells – Prologue EP

Prologue EP Cover

Seven Hells – Prologue EP
Self-Signed
Release Date: 03/08/2018
Running Time: 17:35
Review by Mark Pritchard
9/10

As everyone knows I recently joined the team at Ever Metal as a reviewer, which I am happy about, and this will be my first official review as part of that team and what a band to start off with. For the last seven days I have been listening to Leicester based Metal band Seven Hells and their recent EP “Prologue”. When I was given the option of choosing something to review I saw these guys on the list and instantly requested if I could be the one to review it, thankfully I was given the go ahead and here I am.

This EP might only have four songs on it but they have a huge impact. When you listen to each track they are in your face with non-stop punching power. Seven Hells were formed in 2016 and for a first EP they have done brilliantly. Each song gives me a different feeling which I do enjoy because it shows the hard work and time put in by the band and having personally known the lead singer Marc Cross for the last few years, am very aware of his passion and how he puts everything into his music!

Each song is similar to listen to but, as I mentioned above, at the same time quite different. From the instruments in one song being played with a fast intensity to another being a little slower which allows you time to breathe. I have recently been really unwell and have listened to the EP whilst lying down. Listening this way has helped me a lot and the more I have listened the more soothing the tracks have become whilst still staying hard hitting!

Such is the quality, I have struggled to find one song that stands out more than any of the others on “Prologue” but, if I had to choose, the track I would pick is ‘Broken Bones’, which the band also released a video for. The gentle guitar intro, with calm, quiet and whispered vocals just draws me in and I cannot get enough of listening to this track. I would even go as far as to say I love this particular song! Even though Seven Hells only formed in 2016, it sounds like they have been together for much longer.

I’ve thought long and hard about how to rate this top notch EP. To be fair, I’ve had to discount my friendship with the lead singer, but I still cannot give it lower than a 9.

During a time where my physical health has been low, listening to the “Prologue” EP has been a breath of fresh air and has kept me fighting. As for the track ‘Broken Bones’ well I’m giving that a separate rating of 10/10 because I love it so much. If anyone wants to listen to a new, up and coming band then they need look no further than Seven Hells!

LINE-UP:
Oliver Wellings – Bass Guitar
Kris Elliott – Drums
Marc Cross – Vocalist
Simon Crofts – Lead Guitar
Dan Nelson – Rhythm Guitar

TRACKLISTING:
01. Resist
02. Broken Bones
03. We Will Rise
04. The Prophet

LINKS:
http://sevenhells.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/SevenHellsUK/

https://www.instagram.com/sevenhells_uk/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIOzfO5NxlBIaPpZsz381-A

Promo Pic1 Credit Will Tudor

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Mark Pritchard 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.

Photo Credit – Will Tudor