Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Ninth Trip
RidingEasy Records
Release Date: 31/10/2019
Running Time: 36:00
Review by Alun Jones
7.5/10

Archaeologists of rock from RidingEasy Records have once again delved into the depths of the forgotten to present this, the ninth instalment of their “Brown Acid” series. They have unearthed yet more obscure gems from the past, in order to entertain and enlighten those obsessives who love to investigate the DNA of rock.

Call it heavy rock, proto metal, garage rock – whatever, these Brown Acid compilations offer a wealth of hard to find material.

The songs may be long lost relics, but they sure ain’t amateur. In fact, it’s surprising how well they’ve cleaned up – and how well produced some of them were in the first place. Take the first track, White Lightning’s ‘Prelude To Opus IV’, which is surprisingly grand and opulent.

I won’t play favourites, but Peacepipe’s ‘The Sun Won’t Shine Forever’ has an almost Stooges like sound, filtered through Californian psychedelia. Magi’s ‘Win Or Lose’ sounds like Grand Funk playing an MC5 song, while Stonewall’s ‘Outer Spaced’ holds the most outrageous riff of the set, with perhaps a touch of Hendrix.

Elsewhere, the fantastically named Fibreglass Vegetables offer up a more laid back, groovy but still heavy song with ‘Pain’. ‘Rebel Woman’ by Erik (a simpler name, but that’s cool) is another superb rocker that demonstrates some real song writing and arranging talent.

Not as bluesy as Zeppelin or as heavy as Sabbath, the songs on offer are a fine example of Rock’n’Roll of the time. It doesn’t take much to imagine the guys from Fu Manchu listening to these pre-stoner rock goodies, sat in their van waiting for the cry of “surf’s up”.

This ninth edition of the Brown Acid compilation offers retro quality, never kitsch or silly, with tons of infectious music. It’s easy to wonder why some of these bands never became more famous. At least RidingEasy have done the hard work for us, dusting off the artefacts and preserving them for all to enjoy.

TRACKLISTING:

01. White Lightning – “Prelude to Opus IV”
02. Peacepipe – “The Sun Won’t Shine Forever”
03. Magi – “Win or Lose”
04. Fibreglass Vegetables – “Pain”
05. Erik – “Rebel Woman”
06. Stonewall – “Outer Spaced”
07. Ice – “Running High”
08. Spacerock – “Going Down the Road”
09. Buckshot – “Barstar”
10. 29.9 – “Paradiddle Blues”

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.

Jorn – Heavy Rock Radio II – Executing The Classics

Jorn – Heavy Rock Radio II – Executing The Classics
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 24/01/2020
Running Time: 47:31
Review by Paul Monkhouse
3.5/10

Some records just make you ask “why?” Jorn Lande is a hugely talented singer and has released some truly excellent hard rock albums over the years that have won him fans all over the globe. His live shows too are the definition of hard rock masterclasses, a man truly at ease on stage and at the top of his game. “Heavy Rock Radio II” is, in fact, his fourth covers album and follows on the heels of volume one, released in 2016, which shares this theme as a compilation of tracks that influenced the Norwegian metaller. Again, the choices seem a mix of the obvious (‘Mystery’ by Dio) and the more off kilter (The Searchers ‘Needles And Pins’) but all hang together with arrangements and production that are tailor made to highlight the vocalist’s incredible range.

So far, so good but here’s the question: do these versions add anything to the originals? Overall, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, with some really benefitting from the new, heavier styling but others jarring and seemingly almost a pastiche. As mentioned, these are genuine heart felt tributes to some truly great songs but some can come nowhere near the magnificence of the primary recordings. Bryan Adam’s ‘Lonely Nights’, ‘Nightlife’ by Foreigner and a Celtic tinged ‘Winning’ by Russ Ballard all take away something positive from the treatment, the versions presented here sticking fairly close to source but adding some great little touches. Another couple of highlights are Jorn’s take on Deep Purple’s ‘Bad Attitude’, a great song choice and one where he shows flashes of the phrasing that Ian Gillan uses to great effect and a tilt at Santana’s ‘Love’ that’s filled with Southern Rock swagger.

Sadly though, there are some really huge misses that are either heavy handed or just utterly pointless. Given that ‘New York Minute’ by the Eagles and Peter Gabriel’s ‘The Rhythm Of Life’ are so iconic and perfect as they are, why tinker with them at all? Just as bad, ‘The Eskimo Quinn’, penned by Bob Dylan and made famous by Manfred Mann is needlessly turned into a Whitesnake style romp that does no-one any favours. As a whole, the album would be more enjoyable for the casual listener or Jorn devotee but for anyone acquainted with the original recordings it can be at times a frustrating or even teeth clenching experience. Done for the right reasons, this is a noble but very deeply flawed album that really does mix the good, the bad and the downright ugly.

TRACKLISTING:

01. Lonely Nights (Bryan Adams)
02. Winning (Russ Ballard)
03. New York Minute (Don Henley)
04. Needles And Pins (The Searchers)
05. Love (Santana)
06. I Do Believe In You (Pages)
07. Nightlife (Foreigner)
08. Bad Attitude (Deep Purple)
09. Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn) (Manfred Mann’s Earth Band)
10. Mystery (Dio)
11. The Rhythm Of The Heat (Peter Gabriel)

LINKS:

www.jornlande.com/
www.facebook.com/OFFICIALJORN/
www.youtube.com/user/OFFICIALJORN

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.

Alunah – Violet Hour

Alunah – Violet Hour
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release Date: 11/10/2019
Running Time: 41:35
Review by Paul Monkhouse
8/10

Midlands four-piece Alunah show that, without doubt, you can take something primal and brutal but turn it into a thing of beauty. Their 60’s tinged doom metal follows in the footsteps of pioneers Black Sabbath but is, if anything, more unnerving than the Legends ever released and, with Siân Greenaway fronting the band, have a vocalist who can really seduce the listener. ‘Trapped & Bound’ opens with dense riffs and heavy as thunder drums before enchanting vocals come in sounding like an angry Grace Slick and finally Dean Ashton kicks in with a tasty, funked up guitar solo. ‘Dance of Deceit’ also makes a huge impression, driving and forceful, it doesn’t just bluster and crush but does something more subtle and deadly too.

Having the air of something that could have been penned at the tail end of the days of ‘flower power’, ‘Hunt’ is a gorgeous and seductive slice of heavy and twisted psychedelia. Hypnotic and strangely futuristic, it radiates a sense of edgy wonder as Greenaway comes across as a primal and earthy force.  The singer comes to the fore again as she mesmerises over the cascading stoner fretwork of the aptly titled ‘Hypnotised’, the track swirling and pulsating to a shuddering finish. The album’s title track turns more towards a menacing blues shuffle with drummer Jake Mason and Daniel Burchmore on bass really turning up the heat, their playing hitting a solid groove and they then truly launch into the galloping riff of ‘Unholy Disease’. One of the most epic tracks on the release, this is a full-blooded assault on the senses as the huge vocals and guitar solo lift the song out into the stratosphere.

Not to be outdone or anti-climactic, ‘Velvet’ blends a riff almost plucked from Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ with the mystical and Far Eastern vibe of Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ to devastating effect but the band manage to top even this with closer ‘Lake of Fire’. Opening with some cool keys playing, the track is a real head trip, yet more exquisite vocals grow and swell until they’re the size to fill a cathedral. The huge scale and ambition of Alunah is encapsulated in this final track but, in truth, the whole album is a one titanic magic carpet ride from start to finish. The aural equivalent of Hansel and Gretel’s forest, “Violet Hour” is certainly something to get yourself lost in.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Trapped & Bound
02. Dance Of Deceit
03. Hunt
04. Hypnotised
05. Violet Hour
06. Unholy Disease
07. Velvet
08. Lake Of Fire

LINE-UP
Siân Greenaway – Vocals
Daniel Burchmore – Bass
Jake Mason – Drums
Dean Ashton – Guitar

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/alunah.doom/
https://twitter.com/alunah_doom
https://www.instagram.com/alunahband/
https://alunah.bandcamp.com/

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.

Koburg – Position Of Power

Koburg – Position Of Power
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/01/2020
Running Time: 55:27
Review by Paul Monkhouse
10/10

It sounds like a fairy tale but, at the stroke of midnight, as the old year passed into the next decade, a new Queen was crowned. Now, America has Amy Lee, Holland has Floor Jansen, Sweden has Anette Olson, Italy has Cristina Scabbia and Finland has Tarja Turunen but the UK’s new Queen of Symphonic rock is London based Anastasia Koburg. Released on the 1st of January, her new album, “Position Of Power” may well be the best thing you hear all year.

From the opening salvo of ‘The Descent: I and II’, Koburg, the band, set their claim for the big league with a pairing of tracks that brings all the drama and vision of the best of the genre. Vocals soar, guitars slash, keys swell and the drums and bass crush as you are swept away by the overwhelming grandeur. Koburg’s vocals are superb, and, whilst not touched with the grit of some of her contemporaries, are certainly full of beauty and character, bringing her own unique style throughout. Make no mistake, this isn’t some ethereal, featherlight album, it genuinely does rock and tracks like ‘Forbidden Realms’ and ‘Spirit Call’ are full of adrenaline, traditional metal with huge ambition as it mixes Nightwish with the sort of guitar work reminiscent of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow at his finest.

There are moments of industrial heaviness too with the stunning ‘Choose Your Poison’ a pounding, Gary Numan-like grinder that really brings the hammer down. Elsewhere, ‘Love, Let it Rain Down on Me’ has an otherworldly, Blade Runner, feel that brings to mind that dystopian neon lit landscape before it launches into its upbeat chorus and ‘All that is Hidden’ turns the clock back to 19th Century Russia grandeur or a vampire ball as strings swell and guitars soar.

The album peaks with the truly epic ‘We Could Be Angels’. A truly breathtaking track, it starts with a chilling and haunting piano that leads to a gorgeous verse and chorus that will both seduce you and break your heart. It’s the sort of track that you would sell your soul to as you’re enveloped in its black waters and will be stuck in your head for the next year or so, constantly coming back to pull you back in. ‘Karma is a Bitch’ is all hardcore riffing and danger, whilst closing track ‘As Darkness Falls’ seems to be both brutal and blood spattered but also tender and shimmering with a pure incandescence. It is this tightrope balance that is a major factor to the album’s success as Koburg captures that eternal struggle between light and darkness, the writing bother utterly compelling and intelligent. Remixes of both ‘We Could Be Angels’ and ‘The Descent’ are added on as bonus tracks and both the different takes are well worth listening to, the former in particular adding an additionally lush tone to the recording!

The co-production by Koburg and Robert L Smith brings such a broad palette of tones and textures that it couldn’t have been bettered and, with all these elements working together, you have the best of album of its kind since Evanescence unleashed their debut, ‘Fallen’, in 2003. Not just a great symphonic rock album, but one of the most stunning releases of the past ten years. The gloves are off, Koburg and ‘Positions of Power’ are ready to take on all comers.

TRACKLISTING:

01. The Descent – Part I
02. The Descent – Part II
03. Forbidden Realms
04. Love, Let It Rain Down On Me
05. Spirit Call
06. We Could Be Angels
07. Choose Your Poison
08. All That Is Hidden
09. Karma Is A Bitch
10. As Darkness Falls
11. We Could Be Angels (Transcendent Mix)
12. The Descent (Full Surrender Version)

LINE-UP:

Koburg – Vocals and all instruments.

Live

Koburg – Vocals, piano, lead guitar
Mark Spencer – Bass
Dean Baker – Synth, keytar
Bryony Brewin – Backing vocals

Clint Henderson – Drums

LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/KoburgOfficial/
https://koburg.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/koburgofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/iamkoburg/
https://twitter.com/IamKoburg
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz0ewANecp4dxNaqN0I-0yA

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.

Blood Oath – Infernum Rex Diabolus

Blood Oath – Infernum Rex Diabolus
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/12/2019
Running Time: 41:41
Review by Sheri Bicheno
9/10

Christ, this is one fast and thumping album!! It will turn you to absolute mashed potato…

Blood Oath, from Leicester, are one of those bands that are not going to go unnoticed, they are on everyone’s lips, and if you’ve seen them rip up the stage donning (fake) blood and a killer presence, you’ll have seen why! Forming in 2015, they have been rising through the levels, reigning chaos wherever they play. In the, just over four years they have been going, they have graced the New Blood Stage of Bloodstock 2017, Uprising, Ragnarok, Unearthed Festival, HRH Metal plus many notable others. “Infernum Rex Diabolus” is an album to get your ears around if you are well into your old-school death metal and mix it with elements, which to me, are quite Slayer-esque.

We are first walloped with the track ‘Angels To Some…Demons To Others’; a slow and melodic intro riff eases us into the next five minutes which is an earthquake of thrash. It’s a powerful start and the vocals are pretty evil, however, very clear. One thing about next track ‘Obliteration Ov Mankind’, that should be noted, is Ady McGlennon’s outstanding drumming – fast paced, aggressive and top notch, keeping the momentum going, it is clearly this track’s backbone.

NOW THEN – something wicked this way comes with the track ‘Infernum Diabolus’. This has to be my favourite track on the album and it really shows what Blood Oath are fully capable of. The monster riff that introduces us to this track takes us forward into a slow but absolutely belting headbanger of a tune. It then speeds up, with twists and turns of changing pace, something I absolutely need in a good track I want to get heavy to. Mark ‘Thrax’ Johnson’s vocals here are low and growling, a pure demonic crazy train, but again very clear and well cut.

This is a track that will give you the following face of approval…

Halfway through track ‘Howling Of The Draugr’ the double-bass is UNBELIEVABLY intense and I fear if you are the headbanging sort, your head may just fall off, it’s utter whiplash. I love how this track blends that superspeed drumming with the slower riffs and bass giving it an almost doomy tone.

“Infernum Rex Diabolus” takes us through some crushing riffs from Mike Freeman and Frazer Hart and Bill Fordham’s bass blends its elements of Blackened Thrash/Death Metal and even a hint of Doom into a cocktail that just blows you away. Turn this up LOUD!

Blood Oath have achieved something pretty special, there is not one bad track and it does what it promises. No compromises. Killer album!

TRACK LISTING:

01. Angels To Some…Demons To Others
02. Obliteration Ov Mankind
03. Infernum Diabolus
04. Lycanthropic Bloodlust
05. Monuments To Our Ruin
06. Born Godless
07. Howling Of The Draugr
08. Entwined And Un-Divine
09. Solitude And The Silence

LINE-UP:

Mark Thrax Johnson – Vocals
Frazer Hart – Guitar
Mike Freeman – Guitar
Bill Fordham – Bass

Ady McGlennon – Drums

LINKS:

http://www.bloodoath666.com
https://www.facebook.com/BloodOathUK/
https://twitter.com/BLOODOATHuk
https://www.instagram.com/bloodoath_uk https://open.spotify.com/artist/6gcXkAjPfy4QoDTvOWrSa5
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCorkMmh-2BlQmzwP4pEnPIA

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

Scarlet Aura- Stormbreaker

Scarlet Aura- Stormbreaker
Silver City Records
Release Date: 27/03/2020
Running Time: 54:06
Review by Tsarina Wilson
10/10

Well I hope you are all ready for the return of Scarlet Aura because they are back with a bang and a loud one at that. Their new album “Stormbreaker” is like a very heavily shaken can of beer which erupts as soon as the opening track starts and doesn’t stop until the last note of the final song. First track ‘The World Is Not Enough’ is an instrumental but from the first vocal track ‘Metal Hell’, with Aura’s husky, but such powerful, voice you are completely drawn in and from then on, its pure metal all the way!

For those of you who may not be familiar with Scarlet Aura (where have you been living) you are in for a treat. Fronted by Aura Danciulescu, who has the voice of a metal angel, she is joined by Mihai Danciulescu on lead guitar and vocals, Rene Nistor on bass, guitar and vocals and last, but not least, Doru Gheorghita on drums. They are from Bucharest, Romania and pack a potent punch.

“Stormbreaker” continues the trilogy of “The Book of Scarlet”, which consists of three albums and accompanying fantasy books. “Hot n Heavy”, which I was also lucky enough to review, was the first album in the trilogy and was released in 2019 alongside first book “The Book of Scarlet-Ignition”. The books are written by Aura and combine song lyrics and the story of “Scarlet”, so you get an insight into their Metal/Rock world, it uncovers their storyline and for any fan it’s an absolute must.

It features the previously released single ‘High In The Sky’, which was debuted on their summer tour in 2019. It may start like some metal ballad but don’t be fooled by that and Aura’s vocal range is mind blowing. One thing I have found with all of their music is, no matter how intense it is you can hear every word that is sung! With this particular track I can imagine lighters/torches in the air and people singing it at the top of their voices.

One of my favourites is ‘Daddy’s Lil Monster’ this track has it all including great guitar riffs and drumming. It contains the line “I’m on your skin to skin like a spell” and this track will get under your skin and stay there; you won’t get it out of your head and will be singing it for hours. However, I think once you listen to ‘Scarlets United’ you will be hooked totally and this album will be on permanent repeat! This track is like a fan call and if we are all invited to be part of Scarlet United, well I’m signing up to be a part of it.

No matter which is your favourite track you cannot get away from the intense musicianship which sometimes overwhelms you. Not many Rock/Metal bands can combine catchy yet compulsive listening like Scarlet Aura do. Tracks dig into subjects that many bands don’t seem to cover from personal feelings of love to having the courage to do things and they aren’t scared to cover the journey of things that not only trouble others but themselves as well. Most of you would have heard of the quote “Music soothes the soul”, well Scarlet Aura are a band that do that for me. You can sit back and chill out to a track while the next has the hair on your arms standing on end and the next has you with your fist in the air.

Is it possible to sum up “Stormbreaker” in a few words? Powerful, mind blowing and unique come to mind but that doesn’t begin to cover it. Scarlet Aura go from strength to strength with each release and Aura makes a good point in one of her comments “Music heals the spirit, metal heals the heart”; yes, you are so right.

Scarlet Aura will be on tour in Spring 2020 which will see them playing through Germany, Switzerland, France, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, The Netherlands and Austria together with Visions of Atlantis and Edenbridge along with solo album release shows in Romania and Bulgaria. Beyond that they have already announced tour dates for the Autumn where the band will join Primal Fear and Freedom Calls, as guests, for 24 concerts in 10 countries during September-October 2020.

TRACKLISTING:

01. The World Is Not Enough
02. Metal Hell
03. Battle Cry
04. Stormbreaker
05. Loose Cannon
06. I Am The One
07. High In The Sky
08. The Heretic
09. Daddy’s lil Monster
10. A Blast From The Past
11. Scarlet United

LINKS:

http://www.scarletaura.net/
https://www.facebook.com/scarletaura
https://www.facebook.com/groups/scarletsunited/
https://www.instagram.com/scarlet_aura_/
https://www.youtube.com/scarletaura/
https://twitter.com/Scarlet_Aura_

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.

Magnum – The Serpent Rings

Magnum – The Serpent Rings
Steamhammer
Release Date: 17/01/2020
Running Time: 57:06
Review by Paul Monkhouse
8/10

Whilst most of their peers have retired or rest on their laurels, Magnum just keep on getting better, with each new album better than the previous one. Musically hitting the same run of success that saw them ascend to headlining arenas in the 1980’s, Messrs. Clarkin and Catley bring a partnership that has been forged through the fire and flame of almost fifty years together and it looks like they have no intention of slowing down. “The Serpent Rings” has all the hallmarks of classic Magnum from the beautiful Rodney Matthews cover onwards and is filled with the magnificently melodic hard rock that their legions of fans have all come to know and love. This certainly isn’t a case of going over old ground for songwriter Tony Clarkin though as he continues to push himself and the band to new heights.

Having been through a major shake-up of the band in the past three years, with new members on keys, drums and bass, rather than derail the band it seems like there’s a new fire and desire to prove themselves. With new bass player Dennis Ward joining the band as recently as Summer 2019, the band hit the studio and the results are some of the best and heaviest work they’ve done. ‘Where Are You Eden?’ is the perfect opening track, its galloping rhythm charges at the listener and to be honest, it sounds absolutely huge. Despite concerns about his voice suffering through the constant touring, Bob Catley is on great form in the studio, the power and nuance in his delivery undiminished. Rick Benton’s keys are also shining through the mix, his playing deft but never overly florid, whilst the new pairing of Ward with drummer Lee Morris, has brought a thunderous heft that provides the perfect bedrock for Clarkin to build on. The guitarist is on top form throughout and the solos on the scorching ‘You Can’t Run Faster Than Bullets’ and the multi coloured hues of ‘House Of Kings’ are blistering.

This latter song, along with the epic title track, shows all the facets that make the songwriter/guitarist/producer just so great as each add layer upon layer of sound that only someone like fellow Brummie Jeff Lynne would dare to do. This was never going to be just a run of the mill, straight down the line, rock record and although it packs a powerful punch, there’s still so much to capture both the ear and the imagination. ‘The Great Unknown’ dances on a sea of stars and ‘Man’ has a pugnacious and knowingly bold riff that drives a typically brave skyscraping chorus that reaches to the heavens and then breaks down into a brief section that is reminiscent of 10cc before the solo comes in. The album reaches its end with the thoughtful and thought provoking ‘Crimson On The White Sand’, one of many songs on the album that manages to tell a tale that weaves between the deepest imagination and the harsh glare of a spotlight on a vital and pressing global subject.

There are rockers and there are ballads, all done in the unique Magnum style and ‘The Serpent Rings’ can certainly stand shoulder to shoulder with such classics as ‘Chase the Dragon’ and ‘A Storytellers Night’. Masters of their own destiny, Magnum, steered by the seemingly tireless Clarkin, are still one of the very best bands in the UK and the hallmark for quality. In an ideal world they should be as huge as Queen and this album shows why. Long may they continue!

TRACKLISTING:

01. Where Are You Eden?
02. You Can’t Run Faster Than Bullets
03. Madman Or Messiah
04. The Archway Of Tears
05. Not Forgiven
06. The Serpent Rings
07. House Of Kings
08. The Great Unknown
09. Man
10. The Last One On Earth
11. Crimson On The White Sand

LINKS:

http://www.magnumonline.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/magnumbandpage/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MagnumOfficial/ https://open.spotify.com/artist/3Nu9hoMBT4SkDcaNvmK4G1

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.

I Built The Sky – The Zenith Rise

I Built The Sky – The Zenith Rise
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/11/2019
Running Time: 43:29
Review by “Dark Juan”
10/10

Good afternoon, dear friends and acolytes of the slightly left field version of whatever bastardised sort of religion that’s entertaining me in my thoughts these days. I am Dark Juan and today is a momentous occasion for I am writing this in a) the early afternoon, b) sober and c) with Igor the Evil One “assisting” me by crawling under my left arm and refusing to move, rendering the blood supply to my left hand absolutely useless and causing numbness and discomfort. Like what I appear to do to nubile young ladies when I’m on the pull. Apparently telling them it is the will of God is not the way to go. Neither is Satanic chanting and brandishing your sacrificial dagger and telling them you are going to cut out their beautiful, still beating heart and drink the lifeblood from its last laboured pulsations as the life fades from their dark kohled eyes. Also, being a follower of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and wearing your sacred colander when you go out does not a successful encounter make. Wearing an Ever-Metal.com t-shirt does in fact turn you into a pussy (or cock) magnet though, so I suggest you all render yourselves irresistible to the opposite sex and purchase one immediately, and you too could be drowning in clunge…

Where was I?

Politicians are all cun… no. I did that last review and I do like to try to keep things fresh and novel for you, my good people. Ah yes… I Built The Sky. A solo project of an obviously possessed Australian musician who appears to have about 47 fingers on his fretboard hand, judging by the speed and complexity of his soloing and general playing! I’m quite scared for him because the price he must have had to pay the devil for this level of talent means that he’s going to be suffering extraordinary levels of punishment in Hell for quite some time. I Built The Sky is an instrumental project, and my first task is to assess whether the music suffers from a lack of vocals. It doesn’t. Not having the distraction of a vocal allows the guitar to breathe and to allow other instrumentation to come through and not have to compete with some wailing cretin trying to be the centre of attention. I also enjoy the style of playing on this record – its progressive, not in the naming songs after Cirith Ungol and dwarves sense, but in the experimental and satisfyingly complex sense. There are unusual time signatures and dissonance and all manner of good things here. Remember Yngwie Malmsteen and the fact that his musical prowess appeared to be built entirely from how fast he could play arpeggios and scales and he only had a singer to bridge the gap between guitar solos? I Built The Sky are nothing like that. They are built more on the Joe Satriani and Steve Vai principle of exploring the outer reaches of what the guitar is capable of as an instrument. Also, he quite clearly has mutant hands with elongated, prehensile fingers because some of the solos he plays appear to be physically impossible to us non mutants with normal hands. Bet Ro Han wouldn’t have any problems playing “Arpeggios From Hell”.

There’s a pleasing sub-djent quality to some of the songs on here too – opening track “Up Into The Ether” reminding me greatly of Infinitee in particular and having an excellent djenty central riff. On the middle solo, there’s some fearsomely fast picking going on as well, but I like the outward looking, expansive feel of the music, where on the slower bits it’s allowed to grow and spread in front of you. Here’s a musician with that rare ability to know just when to shut the fuck up playing and allow the music to breathe and become a living thing. Second track “Journey To Aurora” is probably the nearest we get to actual djent on the album – it straddles the fine point between full on djent and the pinnacle of heavy metal guitar playing and switches seamlessly from one to the other and back again before going into Floydian explorations of inner space before coming back out spitting venom because it clearly didn’t like what it saw in there. And from the point of view of a (admittedly very poor) musician I am blown away by the complexity of the arrangements of the music as well as the high quality of the actual songwriting. There is not an extraneous piece of music on the whole record. It all fits perfectly together and is surprisingly legible and easy to listen to. I find myself preferring instrumental albums more and more these days.

My favourite tune on here is the staggeringly massive “Wormhole Traveller”. Holy fuck. Jesus Holy High Christ in a chariot driven sidecar from the stars. It goes from black metal warp speed to introspective slow grind industrial to glorious goth metal solo, out – Tool’s Tool for musical creativity and complexity and still remains groovy and listenable. It is very very good and has left this hellpriest a metalgasmed out dirty, sticky, drained and sated mess on the lounge floor. Which I’m sure you’ll agree is a fine outcome, if a slightly disturbing image that will be sticking with you for your evening meal. Thank me later. Mrs. Dark Juan won’t. It’s such a persistent stain. So, we have extreme talent, musical promiscuity, staggering technique and an ear for a good tune and no need for squealing attention seekers. Dark Juan is pleased. And spent. If you like dense, complicated music that will give you something new on every listen, then I Built The Sky come highly recommended – however if you wish to listen to something boneheaded and simple, this ain’t for you. Cerebral music for cerebral people. Or guitar enthusiasts who will spend their lives picking the record apart note by note. Good luck learning it, chaps and chapesses. You need fingers that can do the Kessel Run in less than nine parsecs to keep up with some of it.

Marvellous.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Mate – for Ro is Australian and has so far avoided my notably dodgy sense of humour about where people come from) has tossed another shrimp on the Barbie and cracked open a tinnie in the back of its ute (ah, that’s more like it) and awards I Built The Sky 10/10 for a whooping skyrocket of a record. Well done, sir, well done. Bonzer.

I Built The Sky are:

Rohan “Ro Han” Stephenson – Antipodean guitar wizard.

TRACKLISTING:

01. Up Into The Ether
02. Journey To Aurora
03. Wormhole Traveller
04. Stellar Evolution
05. Light Pillars
06. Stars And Darkness
07. The Zenith Rise
08. The Only Way Out Is Up
09. Diamond Dust
10. Moonbow

LINKS:

https://www.ibuiltthesky.com
https://www.patreon.com/ibuiltthesky
https://www.facebook.com/pg/ibuiltthesky
https://www.instagram.com/ibuiltthesky https://open.spotify.com/artist/4URPAJlk8ay7npvNVVLpKN
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJZ2ZyMR9pgwXeV7uT_akDg

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.

White Crone – The Poisoner

White Crone – The Poisoner
Self-Released
Release Date: 22/02/2020
Running Time: 54:05
Review by “Dark Juan”
9/10

White Crone is Lisa Mann (Vocals, guitar, bass, and songwriting). You know, one of those really annoying people who are good looking and incredibly talented while the rest of us poor unwashed mortals have to struggle through life knowing that your only talent is managing to piss off as many people as the population of Wolverhampton with a single act. Granted, that act was putting up a picture of chirpy radio and TV personality Danny Baker on the internet and claiming it was Rosemary West (infamous child murdering horrorshow and one person I’m waiting to meet when I get to hell so I can kill her again and again forever). What? Pardon? I’ve digressed from my point again?

Good afternoon, friends, acolytes, denizens of the 13 circles and pet lovers! It’s been a while, hasn’t it? Shame on you all for abandoning me so readily. Dark Juan has returned to you, to bless you with the benefit of my wisdom and syllabification, and I ask only that you give yourselves over to me, heart and soul. Then, and only then will you gain the paradise on Earth that I can offer you. Hey, I have to get my kicks somewhere – I’ve moved to near Halifax and there’s most definitely no virgins to defile here anymore and haven’t been for quite some time. Anyone? Form an orderly queue. No, to the left, Mrs. Smith. TO THE LEFT!

Enough of my blandishments. We are here for one thing and one thing only and that thing is heavy fucking metal. White Crone are providers of said metal today and we are going to take a ride through their debut release, “The Poisoner”. No, you don’t have a choice. SIT THERE AND DON’T MOVE LEST I UNLEASH MY GREAT RAGE AND FURIOUS ANGER UPON THEE, UNWORTHY KNAVE! White Crone is Ms Lisa Mann, based in Portland, Oregon, and she is primarily a one woman blues music making machine who decided one day that she would make a heavy metal record based on her love of Priest and the like from her youth. With considerable self-effacement, Lisa describes the name of White Crone as representing herself as she”…has very pale skin and is not as young as other female metal artists out there.” Dark Juan does not like this description, which is rather uncharitable at best, as age and sex have fuck all to do with talent and ability and everything to do with the cruelness of an entropic universe robbing us of vitality and life with every passing day and us humans being too stupid to actually learn to fucking get along as we all only have a limited time and we should all make like Lisa and DO what we dream about!

Opening the album is ‘The Dream Of Tiamat’, which could only be described as a statement of intent. There’s no fucking about here, Lisa just goes for the jugular, fastens her fangs in and starts tearing. One wonders whether her youthful appearance and vitality is caused by consumption of human blood…. The bass on this record immediately hits you, punches through the ribcage, gets your heart and starts SQUEEZING and doesn’t let go. It’s the musical equivalent of Judge Death hissing, “The ssssssssssentence isssssssssss death…” It’s very good indeed, and now Dark Juan has a new heavy metal heroine to go gaga about…

Title track ‘The Poisoner’ is also a splendidly brutal heavy metal song. Lisa’s vocal sits somewhere in between the vocal gymnastics of Ronnie James Dio, the mezzo of the always wonderful and Dark Juan teenage obsession Doro Pesch and the original Metal Queen Jinx Dawson. Lisa sings contralto with a powerful vibrato, but not like a symphonic metal nymph. She sings in the traditional, full throated style of the vocalists of yore – the Dio’s, Dickinson’s, Halford’s et al and gives absolutely no quarter. She can easily keep up with the best of the past and stands head over shoulders of rather a lot of modern trad vocalists. For example she could absolutely take apart Dragonforce’s current singer with a simple D-note held for six seconds. She’s got a very powerful set of…. vocal chords. What else did you think I was going to say? Perverts, the fucking lot of you…

The music, then! Lisa (for she appears to be a musical goddess! Sigh….) has written and arranged every song bar the Venom cover ‘The Seven Gates Of Hell’, and has provided most of the guitar work (with two solos contributed by ex-Glacier axeman Mehdi Farjami), all of the frankly murderous bass and the previously mentioned powerful contralto vocal and has created a musical monster. It is heavy metal with all the needless bullshit stripped away. It’s not constrained by genre. It’s not “-core”, or death, speed, black or anything like that. It is simply heavy fucking metal – that original, deceptively simple interplay between guitar, bass, drums and vocals, untrammelled by genre or ideal. The sole reason for the existence of this music is to tear your face off, but do it gracefully and as make it as beautiful a murder as it can. The vocal harmonies, and the power of Lisa’s voice are just spine-tinglingly wonderful and her guitar and bass work both superb. I can hear so many influences in the music, all classics – Iron Maiden (ESPECIALLY at the end of ‘The Seven Gates Of Hell’ – not a million miles from the ending of ‘Infinite Dreams off of Seventh Son’…), Judas Priest, Sabbath, Warlock and Coven are all notable for their influence on White Crone’s music. Melody. Musicianship. Songwriting as art and (witch) craft! These are all VERY GOOD THINGS. One does get so bored of demented howling and million miles an hour hammering (and that’s just from my bedroom hurgh, hurgh) and occasionally long for some melody. White Crone now also fill a hole that Ghost were filling by themselves (probably better too, because White Crone aren’t currently disappearing up their own musical arse by exploring their own mythos like on Kiss The Go-Goat.)

I love this record and I love Lisa Mann. For a blues musician to have come up with a heavy metal record that, although hugely traditional in sound, concept, lyrical themes and execution, that sounds this fresh, vibrant and exciting is nothing short of spectacular, reminds us in a timely fashion that the heart of heavy metal is the blues and has caused me to flood the house with a three month back up of hugely excited sex wee… Thank god I bought some new trousers. These are fucking ruined.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has emerged from its hiatus, come blinking and trembling back into the light and awards White Crone 9/10. A mark was lost because the record does suffer that most heavy metal of tendencies – to go wandering off into the musical hinterlands during the middle eight. That happens a few times, but it wasn’t bothersome…

TRACKLISTING:

01. The Dream Of Tiamat
02. The Poisoner
03. To The Abyss
04. Our Sacred Duty
05. Broken
06. The Seven Gates of Hell
07. New Planet Earth
08. Internment
09. Edge Of Gone
10. Melancholia
11. Under Hag Stones
12. 18 Rabbit

LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/whitecrone/
https://twitter.com/whitecrone
https://www.instagram.com/whitecrone/
https://whitecrone.bandcamp.com/releases https://open.spotify.com/artist/1NozavBfHWpFM1TjevgqUp
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVcf2to4a_Wx-ELQW8hKSkw

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.

Kamala – Live In France

Live In France Cover

Kamala – Live In France
Self-released
Release Date: 27/11/2019
Running Time: 32:53
Review by Victor Augusto
9.0/10

Keeping a Heavy Metal band alive in Brazil could be considered honorable for so many reasons that I should write a book to talk about it! Heavy Metal is not even close to being popular in this country, but despite that, and many other issues, there are a great number of impressive records being released every year. Against all the odds, Kamala appeared and gave a great example of what a professional band must do to stay alive. They’ve been on the road since 2007 and started to play in Europe in 2013, where the band grew an incredible fan base, especially in France.

Kamala became a trio after the great album “Mantra” (2015), and the mantras and oriental music that once complemented the band’s sound, is not as obvious now, but it is still there. The work on a straighter guitar and bass made them sound more Thrash Metal than before. The last line-up change was new drummer, Isabela Moraes, who has been with the band since the recording of the acclaimed “Eyes of Creation” (2018). This album opened many doors for the band, especially overseas, where they have concentrated their recent shows.

The studio sound in the last two albums focused on Raphael Olmos’ riffs and on the great support of Allan Malavasi’s excellent bass work, which masked the absence of a second guitar, even during the solos. Of course, this “live” studio spirit increased their performance on stage, and here they’ve created a live album to explore this new path. Another good reason for a live album is the fact they have been more in Europe than their own country. The city of Lembras saw their last show on their 6th European tour, and the synergy between them was on its prime after an entire tour, playing every day.

Different from many live albums, all the instruments sound strong and clear. The guitar is like a punch straight in the face, with killer tones throughout, even during the wah-wah on solos. Allan Malavasi’s bass remains impactful all the time, with really good solos. Another interesting point, which I already observed at the shows that I was saw in person, is how the sharing of vocal duties between Olmos and Malavasi made the band seems to have not only one frontman, but two.

My biggest surprise is Isabela Moraes’ killer sounds on this album. Where she seemed to value groove and cadence on the studio record, here she sounds thirsty for Thrash, with a much greater speed. There is no way you can listen to the intro of “Suicidal Attack” only once, the way she smashes her drum kit. Another song that she put in her way of playing is “My Religion”, making the snare louder than the original version.

The set list for this live work focuses on the last two albums, and songs like “Stay With Me”, as well as the excellent “Believe”, are a great sample of what Kamala are. I must give a special mention to the amazing song “Mantra”, which is the last track of the album. In my opinion this is the best of Kamala’s songs, and I dare to say, even one of the best Thrash Metal songs I’ve ever heard in my life. It’s total destruction, with several nuances and rhythmical changes enhancing its great moments, the chorus being the best moment in my opinion.

Since their early days, Kamala wasn’t just one more awesome band among all other great Brazilian bands. From all countries that they have played, France was the one that really embraced this trio with the same passion that the band put on stage when they play. “Live in France” is one more brick in this great career in Europe, and a great way to show that Kamala continue to get bigger.

TRACKLISTING:

  1. Internal Peace
  2. Open Door
  3. Believe
  4. Stay With Me
  5. Take Away
  6. My Religion
  7. Suicidal Attack
  8. Mantra

LINE-UP:

Raphael Olmos – Vocals and Guitar
Allan Malavasi – Vocals and bass
Isabela Moraes – Drums

LINKS:

https://www.facebook.com/kamalaofficial

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

https://www.instagram.com/kamalaofficial/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/5mbUdP134DvKlRFr4AhsHO

Promo Pic 2019

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.