In The Woods… – Cease The Day

Cease The Day Cover

In The Woods… – Cease The Day
Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: 23/11/2018
Running Time: 54:43
Review by Chris Galea
8/10

It feels odd having an album from In The Woods… without the creative presence of the Botteri twins. Despite their departure, original drummer Anders Kobro and English singer James Fogarty (the latter of Ewigkeit fame) were determined not to let their efforts go to waste and with the assistance of guitarist Bernt Sørensen gave birth to this album.

Musically, “Cease The Day” is atmospheric Black Metal with Progressive attributes. Onto this are daubed epic and free-flowing emotional soundscapes. ‘Substance Vortex’ and ‘Strike Up With The Dawn’ are apt representations of these qualities. In comparative terms, “Cease the Day” is an improvement on “Pure”, its predecessor, but not as fulfilling as earlier In The Woods… albums such as “Strange In Stereo” or “Omnio”.

Peeling open “Cease The Day”….’Cloud Seeder’ is an excellent and catchy composition. ‘Transcending Yesterdays’ sometimes risks suffocating under its own weight but also contains some bewitching and cathartic moments. Taken as a whole, “Cease The Day” sometimes tries a bit too hard to be In The Woods… but by and large it should please the band’s fans. It certainly pleased me.

“As the fire becomes cold, there’s a story to be told” is a verse from the brief title-track that concludes the album. It’s also an accurate summation of the raison d’être of In The Woods…!

TRACKLIST:
1. Empty Streets (09:30)
2. Substance Vortex (07:26)
3. Respect My Solitude (06:33)
4. Cloud Seeder (06:52)
5. Still Yearning (09:00)
6. Strike Up With The Dawn (06:26)
7. Transcending Yesterdays (07:05)
8. Cease The Day (1:51)

LINE-UP:
James ‘Mr Fog’ Fogarty – Vocals, Guitars, Basses, Keys
Bernt Sørensen – Guitars
Anders Kobro – Drums
Kåre Sletteberg – Guitars on 2.

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/inthewoodsomnio/
https://www.instagram.com/inthewoodsofficial/
https://in-the-woods.bandcamp.com/
https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/234-in-the-woods

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6IcuGxbiI ‘Empty Streets (Official Audio)

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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.

Eleanor – Celestial Nocturne

Celestial Nocturne Cover

Eleanor – Celestial Nocturne
Mighty Music
Release Date: 30/03/2018
Running Time: 56.15
Reviewer Tsarina Wilson
6.5/10

When I first asked to review this album, I had no idea that it would all be in Japanese, so it was a little bit of a surprise when the album first started. I have previously reviewed bands who sing in both their native language and English, but this was a first for me and unfortunately, I don’t speak Japanese…!!

Eleanor are a Japanese Melancholic, Symphonic, Gothic Metal band (phew, a little bit of everything), founded in 2006 by Ippei J Malmsteen (guitars) and Shiori Vitus (vocals) in Osaka. Their sound has been influenced by bands such as The Gathering, Sentence and Amorphis, and, in fact, their name Eleanor was a song by The Gathering.

Their debut album “A Circle of Lament” was released in 2011 in Japan by Black-Listed Records. Two years later their second album “Breathe Life Into The Essence” was released also by Black-Listed records and was highly rated, with lots of attention from overseas. As a result, Eleanor appeared on the Metal Female Voices Fest Vol 11 in Belgium as the only Japanese Metal band.

They then went on to perform as an opening act for Eluveitie’s Japanese tour in 2014. In 2016, their third album “Celestial Nocturne” was released in Japan by Rubicon Music and they played the largest number of live shows in their history.

In 2017, Eleanor signed an international deal with Scandinavian leading Rock/Metal label Mighty Music and on the 30th March 2018, “Celestial Nocturne” was released world-wide and included three bonus tracks.

The band consists of Shiori Vitus on vocals, Ippei J Malmsteen on guitars and keyboards, Neo on guitars, Lupin on bass, Carlos on drums and Jet Rumi on chorus and percussions.

So, as I couldn’t actually understand the lyrics of the album, this was quite a difficult review to do but you can hear so much passion in Shiori’s voice and the riffs are almost haunting. I can imagine some of these tracks being used as end title music for a film of dark heartache or mystery as they have that sort of sound to them. And then you hear ‘Buried Alive!’ This track is such a change from the rest of the album, it’s very upbeat and light, a refreshing change as everything else is very dark and melancholy. But dark and melancholy is what the band are noted for.

The album has a lot of instrumental sections and there is nothing better than a good guitar interlude, this album giving you plenty of them, especially ‘Thirsty’ and ‘Defying’, a track which has an almost Spanish flamenco hint. Most of the tracks have a strong drum beat which keeps the album bouncing along nicely and mixed with great harmonies, you have yourself a very interesting album.

TRACKLIST
1.Fall From Grace
2.Defying Gravity
3.Far Beyond Dystopia
4.Solitude
5.Eternal Moment
6.Empyreal Beauty
7.Buried Alive
8.Lazy Noise
9.Thirsty
10.War Cry
11.Mellow Ⅰ – Sleeping Water – (European Bonus Track)
12.Mellow Ⅱ – Far Beyond Dystopia – (European Bonus Track)
13.Mellow Ⅲ – Defying Gravity – (European Bonus Track)

LINKS:
http://www.eleanorjapan.com
https://www.facebook.com/eleanorjapan/

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

 

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

Bastian – Grimorio

Grimorio Cover

Bastian – Grimorio
Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 31/07/2018
Running Time: 59:30
Review by Chris Galea
9/10

Before delving into “Grimorio”, Bastian were a new proposition to me but I decided against looking for any information about the band until I actually listened to this album. That way, I reckoned, I could form an opinion based on the music alone. Speaking of which…

Candlemass seem to have been a strong influence on “Grimorio”. The lead vocals are incredibly good…very solid with powerful screams. In fact, the overall level of musicianship is quite high and the sound really brings the best out of these songs. So far so good.

Despite the candour of its influences, the music in “Grimorio” has its own character and that’s quite an achievement for a style that revels in traditional Metal. For example ‘The Time Has Come’ has some tasty Blues Rock undertones and ‘Epiphany’s Voodoo’ is an instrumental that kicks off with a delightfully funky vibe using hand percussion and Hammond sounds. ‘Infinite Love’, on the other hand, is a melancholic song with Prog Rock traits. And all the while, throughout the album, the listener never doubts that this is essentially a Metal album.

OK, there were a couple of songs that I wasn’t too enthusiastic about but by and large, the band/album was a welcome discovery.

Incidentally, afterwards I did seek more info about Bastian. The band is the brainchild of Italian guitarist Sebastiano Conti (‘Bastian’ being a diminutive of ‘Sebastiano’), who here recruits the talents of bassist Federico Paulovich (Destrage), drummer James Lomenzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Black Label Society) and Danish singer Nicklas Sonne (Defecto, Theory).

“Grimorio” was released back in July but I’m glad it dropped in late rather than never.

TRACKLIST:
1. Pale Figure
2. Sly Ghost
3. The Trip
4. Infinite Love
5. It’s Just A Lie
6. Southern Tradition
7. The Time Has Come
8. Epiphany’s Voodoo (instrumental)
9. Black Wood
10. Fallen Gods

LINE-UP:
Sebastiano Conti – guitar
Nicklas Sonne – vocals
James Lomenzo – bass
Federico Paulovich – drum

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/bastianband/

https://sliptrickrecords.com/bastian/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJibyblJK1JAPUgwKR9XEtQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yK9kGUV10Qw It’s Just A Lie (Official Video)

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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.

Twisted Illusion – I Have Music, I Have Life (Live Album)

 

I Have Music, I Have Live Cover

Twisted Illusion – I Have Music, I Have Life (Live Album)
Self-Released
Release Date: 21/12/2018
Running time: 41:02
Review By Beth Jones
6/10

I’m slightly frustrated today, listening to the new live release by the fabulous Twisted Illusion, and I will tell you why.

For those of you who have not come across Twisted Illusion, they are a bunch of uber-talented guys who create a very unique brand of Prog Metal. Front man Matt Jones is a big character, and they have excellent stage presence live, and brilliant musicality recorded. They work hard and live for their art.

Their new release “I Have Music, I Have Life” was recorded live at a recent gig in Norwich. This is where my frustration comes in. Musically, they are as always superb; complex rhythms, outstanding vocals, and ripping guitar solos. Unfortunately for the first three or four songs, you can’t hear anything properly apart from the vocals, as the live mix was not great at all. First niggle. It does improve after about ten minutes, but it is still missing a bit of volume on the Bass for me and is still a bit hit and miss with some of the vocal levels in comparison with everything else.

Once the sound becomes more equal, it is much easier to hear the guitar wizardry of Steve Revier, who was appearing with them for this performance. He has great tone and it works really well, complimenting Matt’s vocals and guitar and adding an extra element to the sound.

The set is a very lively one, full of a whole roster of cracking tunes, which makes it move on a pace whilst the music is playing, but here is my beef number two; Too much rabbiting between songs. I don’t mind a bit of banter, and it is a good thing to be connected with your audience, but I think on a live album, it is difficult to stay connected when you can’t hear some of what the crowd or other band members are saying and responding to. It forces you to lose interest a little. I also have to say that, whilst I am no prude, there is rather gratuitous use of the word c**t at the beginning of the album, and because the album is recorded as one long track, rather than multiple tracks, you can’t skip it! Now, I can get over this because I know that good music is coming, but a lot would have an issue with it and would turn the album off before a single note had been played and that would be a travesty and completely counter – productive to what the band are trying to achieve. It is unnecessary. The music is awesome and can speak for itself, so let it!

Whilst this has got me doing my teacher face a little, there are many, many good elements – the actual performance from a playing point of view is difficult to fault, the vocals are huge, the complexity of the compositions is warped but insanely brilliant and these things combined make Twisted Illusion instantly identifiable, whether it is a live recording or a studio album, and this release is definitely one to have for TI fans old and new. However, I can’t help feeling that maybe it would have been better to take more time over releasing it – maybe recording it at a different gig and making sure that the recorded sound mix was spot on before putting it out there. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe I am in a bad mood. I still love Twisted Illusion and hope that they can continue making great music for a long time.

TRACKLIST:
01 TI Live at Norwich

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTIband/

https://www.instagram.com/twistedillusion__official/
https://twistedillusion.bandcamp.com/
https://twistedillusion.bigcartel.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK0IxAnfXG7ibOx4HUyOHQQ

 

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.

 

Ascendant-A Thousand Echoes

A Thousand Echoes Cover

Ascendant-A Thousand Echoes
Pure Steel Publishing
Release Date: 20/04/2018
Running Time 60:40
Reviewer Tsarina Wilson
10/10

Work on this album started in late 2014 and was completed in 2017, and I’m so glad it was, as this is an album you can really get your teeth into. It is just a joy from the first song to the last. At first, I thought I had pressed play on the wrong song and was listening to Manowar so had to check my files. But I was definitely listening to this album.
The band was formed in 2012 by Alaa, Puneet and Ashish, with Aram and Younmi added a few months later to complete the line-up.

The album consists of eight tracks (not including the intro track) and by track three I was totally hooked; the drumming alone is just immense.

The album is inspired by true experiences of the band, with three of the five members having grown up in war-torn Syria, experiencing loss and tragedy and seeing first-hand things that no one should have too. It is the unseen victims of war and the innocent people suffering who are the main themes of this album.

There are some welcome special guests contributing to the album, including brothers Simon and Elias Abou Assali, who feature on the track ‘Land Of A Thousand Echoes’ which tells the story of people risking their lives to brave dangerous seas and escape their war-torn country, seeking refuge in a safe place. This is a personal experience of the brothers, who managed to do just that a few years ago. The album also features Lindsay Schoolcraft from the legendary Cradle Of Filth on the track ‘Light’ and Hadi Sarieddine (Solo & Benevolent) lent his talents to the intro arrangement for ‘Twilight Of Eden’ and ‘Fog Of War’.

The band line up is Youmni Abou Al Zahab on vocals, Puneet Sharma on bass, Alaa Abousaada on guitars, Ashish Shetty on guitars, and Aram Kalousdian on drums, and together they are a pure joy to listen to. If you are not playing either air guitar or air drums by track six, then I would be shocked!

If you listen to the lyrics you can almost imagine the terror these guys have been through and putting these stories to a great rock music backing really gives it the wow factor, the expression in their music is excellent. You need to realise these lyrics are not written by someone with no knowledge of facts. These guys have actually been there and endured horrors that most of us cannot even begin to imagine.

Thankfully, they survived and have now given us this incredible album and you could mistake them for a band who have been around many years, not just the short time they have been. They have poured their heart and soul into this album, and then a little bit more. I could honestly listen to this album all day.

The drums on “Land Of A Thousand Echoes” are awesome and the guitar riffs are crystal clear and mixed with the powerful vocals, this band is one I know we will be hearing a lot more of in the future.

‘Tears Of His Majesty’ leads you into a false sense of security, starting as a “lighters in the air” track but then suddenly launching itself into pure rock. (Have I commented how much I so love this album?!!) And even when you think they have given everything, the last track will definitely leave you out of breath, as it is almost 13 minutes of pure heaven!

I honestly have nothing bad to say about this album and, in fact, I only gave it a 9 to start with! I adjusted this to a 10 and I can’t wait for future music from these guys. They definitely have a new fan to add to the many they already have and, sorry guys, but you now have a new groupie…. keep rockin’ lads.

TRACKLIST:
1 Twilight Of Eden (Intro)
2 Doomsday Machine
3 Walls Between Us
4 Fog Of War
5 Morning Light
6 Land Of A Thousand Echoes
7 False Illusion
8 Tears Of His Majesty
9 At The End Of The World

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/ascendanttheband/
https://www.instagram.com/ascendanttheband/
https://ascendanttheband.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQuRd-a–qM6bBvBKMQ7f0Q

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

A Gathering Of None – One Last Grasp At Hope

One Last Grasp At Hope Cover

A Gathering Of None – One Last Grasp At Hope
Independently Released
Release Date: 06/04/2018
Running time: 44:00
Review by Vikkie Richmond
7/10

American hard rockers A Gathering Of None are no strangers to the music scene; having been around since 2012, in this transigent day and age, that could class them as veterans. “One Last Grasp At Hope” is their third release and their second full length effort.

I don’t like to pigeonhole bands, because the music a group of people create is unique and should not be put into a box labelled as one thing or another, however my first listen to this album (and my first listen to them as a band, full stop) had them partly in the ‘alt rock’ category and partly in the hard rock camp. It doesn’t really matter, the important point is whether the album is any good.

I confess I wasn’t set on fire by the first track, the speedy ‘What For’; featuring some nice guitar licks and some nifty percussive highlights, with a time signature change or two, but it did have me tapping my toes and nodding my head, so it can’t be all bad. Next up, ‘No Stone Unturned’ started off with a lick that was worthy of Thin Lizzy and continued with some nice vocal harmonies, despite a ‘vintage’ whiff about it. Tracy Byrd’s vocals don’t do a lot for me, but he does have a fair set of pipes on him.

Out of a total of eleven tracks, I didn’t dislike any of the songs, they were all listenable, with those worthy of further mention being the soaring ‘Break My Stride’ and the slightly dirty ‘Dissolution’.

Special mention goes to ‘You Stagnate’, which was worthy of Alice In Chains, or any other band that arose out of the dark ashes of the hair metal age at the start of the 90’s. In fact, I felt like I was listening to different albums at times, such were the style differences between some of the songs.

I liked this album; I feel that A Gathering Of None are competent musicians and having listened to some of their back catalogue, they are honing their craft as they go, album by album. It’s not an album I would listen to on repeat, but that’s just my choice. Take a listen yourself and make your own mind up; I suspect you’ll like it.

TRACK LISTING:
01 What For
02 No Stone Left Unturned
03 Break My Stride
04 Fabulous Mishap
05 You Stagnate
06 Reaching Out
07 Dissolution
08 Something You Should Know
09 Predatory Male
10 I Hope I’m Wrong
11 Move Along

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/AGatheringOfNone/

https://www.instagram.com/agatheringofnone/
https://agatheringofnone.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeIEuZl2EvKKRkMakpH0yJw

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond 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.

Drawn And Quartered – Hail Infernal Darkness

 

Hail Infernal Darkness Cover

Drawn And Quartered – Hail Infernal Darkness
Krucyator Productions
Release Date: 03/04/2018
Running Time: 36:46
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
6/10

One of the things you cannot do as a reviewer (or at least you shouldn’t do!) is stay inside your comfort zone when it comes to music. Reviewing the same genre time and time again will make you unappreciative of the music and your reviews will all start to sound the same. (well, that’s my opinion of it anyway!)

So, being the thrash/power/traditional heavy metal fan that I am, I decided to take a huge leap out of my comfort zone and review a death metal album. But, before I tell you what I think of the album, I will give you a little history of the band.

Drawn And Quartered were originally formed over two and a half DECADES ago, in 1993, under the name of Plague Bearer. Since changing their name, this Seattle based band have earned themselves huge admiration from critiques and listeners alike because of their unconventional and dark structured song-writing.

Now, six highly acclaimed full-length releases and numerous demos and EP’s, show why their existence in the underground is invulnerable and indestructible, and they have mastered the influences of bands such as Immolation, Incantation, Morbid Angel and Autopsy in their own way.

Even their own publicity notes say they “push the boundaries of traditional death metal by infusing technically complex riffs, while retaining the dreadful and raw environs with dexterity.”

“Hail Infernal Darkness” was the band’s third full length album, originally released on CD by Moribund Records, in 2006, having been mixed and mastered by Jesse O’Donnell at The Autopsy Rooms. Now, for the very first time this timeless masterpiece has been released on 12″ vinyl format by Krucyator Productions.

So, as I said at the start of this review, I am completely out of my zone with this album as I am not a fan of death metal in anyway BUT having given this a few listen throughs, there are some positive points to the whole genre.

While the guitars are fast, and the drums are pounding, the music is anything but a noise. The guitarists are obviously very talented musicians as there is some great guitarwork hidden under all the speed and growling vocals and riffs galore punch you in the stomach so hard they reverberate around your very being from some time after the track has finished. The drummer, who also possesses a LOT of talent, must lose a gallon of sweat during a live performance as the drumming is so fast it’s any wonder he keeps up.

Death metal vocals have always been a bug-bear of mine, always preferring clean vocals no matter what the speed or ferocity of the music, and this album is no different. Some may argue it’s the vocals that make death metal what it is, but I don’t think anything in the world could make me change my mind.

Musically, I loved this album. Its fast, its intricate and its raw. This album is brutal for brutality’s sake, yet it is also very atmospheric. Darkness, death and extreme violence are images conjured up while listening to this and, although that could just be my overactive writer’s imagination kicking into play, with title tracks such as “Blind, Torture, Kill”, “Throne Of Desolation” and “Nightghoul of the Graveyards” I think this is precisely the reaction they were looking for.

Despite my limited death metal knowledge but relying on my intense research as I reviewed this, I think this will appeal to a lot of death metal fans. But don’t take my word for it, go and grab yourself a copy and see for yourself!

TRACK LIST
1. Procession of Pain
2. Genocide Advocacy
3. Hail Infernal Darkness
4. Blood of a Million Martyrs
5. Throne of Desolation
6. Suffer a Traitor’s Fate
7. Escape to Cremation
8. Bind, Torture, Kill
9. Nightghoul of the Graveyards

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://www.facebook.com/drawnandquartered
https://drawnandquartered1.bandcamp.com
http://krucyatorproductions.com

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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.