Volkihar – Blood Magik Ritual

Volkihar – Blood Magik Ritual
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/10/2020
Running Time: 27:01
Review by Emma Torkington
7/10

Volkihar is a Vampiric Black Metal project that has taken influence from the popular game series Elder Scrolls.

“Blood Magik Ritual” is a 10 track, debut release, and is exactly what you expect from a second wave Black Metal band, it’s heavy, with deep growling vocals and some killer guitar. The first song, which is also the title track, sets the scene perfectly for what awaits you! It starts with hard drum beats and shredding guitar riffs then the deep vocals hit you hard and, overall, it’s a great track to start off with. ‘Struggle For Survival’, takes you on a slightly faster journey but remains very much guitar heavy and, with those growling vocals, you feel yourself nodding along without even realising it. The seamless transition between tracks has not gone unnoticed! The ease of listening to this album is really a credit to Volkihar!

Half way through ‘The Shaken Lamb Bleats’, which is an interlude, is a great melodic break between the heavier tracks and I, for one, was not expecting it. ‘Thrall’s Blood is up next and after that beautiful interlude this slams you back into the heavy, gut punching riffs you expect. As with all the tracks so far, I’m still nodding along and even as the track comes to a close, with the guitar notes fading out, you leave the end of that song with a smile. My favourite track is ‘Slay The Dawnguard’. For me, this song provides everything I love about this genre. You immediately sit up and pay attention to what you are listening to, and are present and in the moment with it!

As you reach the end of the album you think you have gotten to know this band/project and their signature sound…then Volkihar drop the last track, ‘Bathing In Moonlight’ which contains a beautiful chorus of voices and harmonies. It is an unexpected, yet somehow fitting end to the debut album.

However, there was one thing that did let this album down. I feel that the drums could have been louder and the vocals turned up a little as it can be a struggle to hear them over the guitars. This was a key factor in the rating I have given.

Overall, though, if you are a fan of Black Metal and have a love for Elder Scrolls then I do suggest you check out Volkihar! “Blood Magik Ritual” is out now and ready to download. For all their information see below.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blood Magik Ritual
02. Struggle For Survival
03. March For Blood
04. Feast On The Herd
05. The Shaken Lamb Bleats (Interlude)
06. Thrall’s Blood
07. The Machinations Of Court
08. Slay The Dawnguard
09. Onwards To A Blackened Son
10. Bathing In Moonlight (Outro)

LINE-UP:
Lord Malice – All Instruments
Normakk – Second Guitar, Vocals and Lyrics on ‘Slay The Dawnguard’

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Emma Torkington 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.

Satanica- Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit

Satanica- Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit
Iron Shield Records
Release Date: 24/07/2020
Running Time: 38:48
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8/10

Well, this is just the thing to wake you on a Sunday morning, Satanica, from Japan, are brilliantly loud and full on from the start. These guys endorse everything you want and expect from a Heavy Metal band.

Satanica were founded in 2002, “Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit” is their fourth album and it’s been 10 years since “We Are Satan’s Preacher” which was the third!! It has been a long time coming but we have been given a combination of songs and epic production which all make for a very strong album.

With main-man Ritti Danger, formerly of 80’s band Witch’s Kiss, being in charge of drums and vocals, you get the feeling of someone who puts everything into every track, there is passion and emotion from start to finish, this is a total romp of an album.

With a definite feeling of classic Heavy Metal/NWOBHM about Satanica, it’s like being transported back to the early days of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden or Saxon and definitely in a good way (especially for those of us who grew up back in those days)! Satanica take you on a Heavy Metal ride of pure nostalgia and talented showmanship. Instrumental track ‘Kamikaze’ shows this in abundance and it also gives us the proof, if ever it was needed, that Metal is not always about the vocals, Satanica certainly have a lot to give musically! However, the vocals are 100% headbanging fun and you seriously cannot help loving hem, especially on tracks like ‘Thunderstorm’. Add in thrilling guitar work and drumming and it all combines into one seriously crazy track.

Will “Resurrection Of Devil’s Spirit” appeal to everyone? No, probably not, but I would suggest listening to it a few times before giving it your verdict. it’s very much one of those releases that you will either take to or not, but with the intensity and passion Satanica provide, it grows on you and it’s very hard not to really get into!

One thing though guys, please don’t make us wait another 10 years for album number five!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Resurrection
02. Bloodthirsty
03. Liar
04. Black Widow
05. Kamikaze (Instrumental)
06. Thunderstorm
07. Dark Star
08. Like A Fire
09. Deal With The Devil

LINE-UP:
Ritti Danger – Vocals/Drums
Ozzie Alastor – Guitar/Vocals
Shee Lipps – Guitar
K.Z. Behemoth – Bass/Vocals

LINKS:

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.

Concede – Indoctrinate

Concede – Indoctrinate
Petrichor Records
Release Date: 23/06/2020
Running Time: 22:44
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

After a succession of EP’s and splits under the Concede moniker, multi-instrumentalist and project leader Jay Huxtable enlists the talents of End It All frontman Peter Emms for the debut album from the Australian powerviolence troop.

The terms “laid-back” and “relaxed” need not apply here.

“Indoctrinate” is a viperous, angry vortex of punishing pace, bleak nihilism, and a multitude of riffs that would make Scott Hull proud. The album doesn’t even bother with a dedicated intro track of static noise or a spooky man telling you you’re gonna die or something, it’s just a bit of feedback and boom, you’re in. Strap in for nearly 23 minutes of getting your head kicked in.

The album rarely – if ever – allows you time to catch your breath, bounding from one bite-sized burst of intensity to another, with only one song out of the 15 breaking two minutes. In those little blasts though, the one thing that can be consistently identified is the quality of the guitar work on show. Many a grind/powerviolence group come and go and sacrifice creativity and ideas in the name of speed, resulting in a drab mess that’s only exciting for the first two minutes. Cheaper than getting married I suppose…

But dem riffs bound their way through the tortured screams and sodomised snare to add a little depth to the proceedings. First major highlight on the album ‘Through The Teeth’ seems to have taken inspiration from Napalm Death’s ‘Time Waits For No Slave’ whilst ‘Misgiven’ has a definite air of Nails about it, and ‘Bottom Feeder’ doesn’t immediately sound like any particular grind/powerviolence royalty, but it does slap real fucking hard.

On the musical side of things, “Indoctrinate” does hold itself up pretty well. The guitars as mentioned go hard, Emms sounds wickedly marvellous in his delivery and the overall production handles itself pretty damn well. There’s never a moment when a particular layer sounds washed out or too overzealous.

But the biggest thing holding Concede back in these early stages is that they’re already pigeon-holing themselves. That constant barrage of sound with no deferring to a slower pace, experimental idea or even a different drum beat makes the album drag at times even with its short run time. Every song even starts the same with a squeal of feedback.

Taking Nail’s 2016 album “You Will Never Be One Of Us” as an example, on track one, the focus is more on the groove and the vocal hook, track two is the frenetic blast, three is an almost portmanteau of the previous tracks, four is back to the intense blast beast and then five almost becomes a metal song with how much it leans on that riff. With “Indoctrinate”, the only step outside the comfort zone comes right at the very end with final track ‘One With The Earth’, a five minute plus track that is basically Dream Theater compared to the rest of the album. But, with the diversity in the song – slower, groovier pace, and multiple, more elaborate riffs – shows that Concede have the mettle to pull something more substantial off and incorporate it more into future releases.

23 minutes of Concede is as cathartic a release as they come. While some will like the zero-reprieve approach to “Indoctrinate”, others will want that brief pause to dust themselves off and pick up their teeth. But the performances from Emms’ vocals and Huxtable’s guitar and production are not to be sniffed, nor too his lyrical writings. A nice, plump serving of white-hot anger, nihilism and anti-government if you don’t mind.

But Hell, even the bleep test has a rest period.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Indoctrinate
02. Through The Teeth
03. Brainwash
04. Burn In Your Own Hell
05. You Ruin Me
06. Proselytize
07. Misgiven
08. No Certainty
09. Influence
10. Baited
11. Deliver
12. Bottom Feeder
13. Conditioned
14. Plagued
15. One With The Earth

LINE-UP:
Peter Emms – Lead Vocals
Jay Huxtable – All Instruments, Additional Vocals

LINKS:

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

Ashen Reach – Homecoming

Ashen Reach – Homecoming
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/11/2020
Running Time: 56:17
Review by Beth Jones
8.5/10

Liverpool based Ashen Reach have been a firm favourite with us here at ever metal since discovering them in their previous guise at a Twisted Illusion gig in Manchester. Recently, they’ve had some ups and downs. The dizzy heights of playing to vast audiences in Russia, to the disruption of a line-up change. Considering their young age, they’ve shown a lot of balls to stand up to the challenge, and now they’re a solid 5 piece again, the time has come to unleash their debut album, “Homecoming” into the world of hard rock. This has pleased us a lot here at EMHQ, because they’re a super talented bunch of musicians who have been working their asses off for the last couple of years.

“Homecoming” is an album that explores many current themes, from mental health and domestic abuse, to love and determination. Their unique sound does this in a way that sets each song apart from the next, and explores mood through the dynamics of music.

The album kicks off with ‘Fighting For My Life’ – a riff heavy, chunky, classic hard rock track, which really gets your foot tapping. The powerful vocals of Kyle Martyn Stanley cut through over the top of thumping riffs and drums, and we get treated to a guitar solo towards the end of the song, which is rich and full in terms of tone, making this a great start to the album.

The next two tracks, ‘Epiphany’, and ‘Tear It Down’ follow the same style, providing a very upbeat first ten minutes of the album. Then things take a turn for the heavier with, ‘Heir to The Throne’. It starts with drums and guitar, similar to the sounds we’ve already heard. But this then gets joined by some down-tuned bass and builds into an expansive chorus that wouldn’t be out of place in a symphonic metal band. We also get a middle section with some screams and growls thrown into the mix, at a low enough level to make them not too intrusive, but enough to give this song a distinctly heavier edge. Kyle also has more of a rasp in his vocals throughout this song.

‘Alive Again’ and ‘Prey’ continue with the slightly heavier sound, but also add in some progressive exploration, with more experimental sections. The use of reverb in these adds a haunting and lilting feel to the acoustics. This provides a great contrast between the full on, in your face, and the more stripped back elements. I really like the opening to ‘Prey’ – Kyle’s unusual vocals work really well for the quiet elements, as he has an interesting tone, and is still able to deliver a powerful sound at a softer dynamic. This track builds throughout, to a crescendo of sound towards the end, giving the sense that the ‘prey’ has been trapped.

An element of calm is then thrown into the mix, with a Pink Floyd-esque soundscape in the form of ‘Ether’. Gentle guitar and synth effects float for around a minute and a half, creating a beautiful and peaceful serenity. Like sitting in a summer meadow, watching the pollen and insects float on the warm breeze.

‘Here I Go’, continues this theme, but with the addition of some lovely vocal harmonies. Then it bursts into a full-on progressive rock ballad, complete with cross rhythm sections, epic soloing, and plenty of moments where, in the good old days, any crowd would have been stood with lighters aloft creating a twinkling sea of swaying fire! I think this is one of my favourite tracks on the album actually.

Then we get to the business end of the album. The final three tracks, ‘Hole In The Sky’, ‘Broken Column’, and the title track ‘Homecoming’, really make this album for me. They feel like a bit of a level-up. They’re intricately put together, with interesting rhythms, brilliant vocals and harmonies, and real power. I also feel that the balance of sound in these final tracks has really had attention paid to it. At some points earlier in the album, there are times when I think things are too mid- heavy. The guitar riffs almost take over and obscure the rest of the sound. But here, it’s much easier to pick out individual sounds. These three tracks also have an insatiable groove to them, which really connects you to the sound. I would still like a little more bass and drums in the mix for ‘Broken Columns’ and ‘Homecoming’ though. I think that would have really helped drive the tracks. But then I’m a sucker for bass heavy stuff, so this is, off course, purely my opinion!

All in all, this is a very solid and accomplished debut album, from a very exciting young band, who I believe have a whole ton more to give. And it is well worth investing 56 minutes of your time to listen to it!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Fighting For My Life
02. Epiphany
03. Tear It Down
04. Heir To The Throne
05. Alive Again
06. Prey
07. Ether
08. Here I Go
09. Hole In the Sky
10.Broken Column
11. Homecoming

LINE-UP:
Kyle Martyn Stanley – Vocals
Paddy Cummins – Lead Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Joe O’Sullivan – Rhythm Guitar
Mike McCarroll – Bass/ Backing Vocals
Jess Stanley – Drums

LINKS:


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

Grimorte – Esoteric Ascendance EP

Grimorte – Esoteric Ascendance EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 31/10/2020
Running Time: 18:01
Review by: Tammy Lomax
10/10

My head has been battered since starting my new job, systems overlapping systems galore! But the weekend is here Mofos! And do you know what this entails? That’s right, MUSIC!

Let me introduce you to Grimorte. They are a new two-man project consisting of…Kieran Scott from the band Ashen Crown, who is the vocalist and Lewis Borthwick, from the band Archierophant, who plays the instruments and is Master of Production. The project itself sits somewhere between atmospheric Black/Death Metal and Doom.

Grimorte are all things chilling and they explore the mysteries that surround Aleister Crowley and the occult, with this debut EP telling us of a woman’s journey, whose innocence is ripped away and replaced by possession.

Ok, at this point I am shitting it!

I can’t even sleep with my feet outside the bed and I am, admittedly, a huge fluff pants! Friends have stated many times “It’s just a film” But that is NOT how I see it! It’s a script FYI! Someone out there has this in their head, and do you know what is worse?! SOMETIMES THEY ARE BASED ON TRUE EVENTS!!

Right, where was I? Oh yeah, this possessed lady, right, (ok, I’m calming my tits).

“She is lulled into the esoteric pagan and Satanist practices of the golden dawn and awakes to find her new demonic form.” I would be livid if I woke up to this, mind you first thing in the morning…there is definitely a resemblance.

To add to the dark story, obviously “Esoteric Ascendance” was released on 31/10/20, Halloween…

Now let’s get to the music.

Opening Esoteric Ascendance is track ‘The Procession’ The vocals hit you immediately, personally the most deathly vocals I’ve heard in a while. You begin to unravel and visualize unsettling scenes, breaking down the story piece by piece and become drawn in with the simple note progressions. It’s truly poetic and full of passion. This duo are definitely onto something.

The following track ‘Sequestrate’ slowly builds with the most haunting atmosphere. It is more melodic, and it marches you into the EP. It feels nostalgic with a doomy edge and vocals that are accompanied by a depressing energy and added layers. This is a much more beefy and weighty accomplishment.

Third track ‘Esoteric Ascendance’ is definitely an eye opener for me, or shall I say a chaotic roller coaster. The shrieking vocals and slow tempo lead me to a distorted guitar section, catapulting me straight into the plot of the story! They then proceed to rip me away, hurling me back and forth, my head is all over the place, in the best possible way, of course.

Finally, ‘Firvir’ is 100% advanced modern black metal. By this point I feel possessed, and maybe that’s exactly Grimorte’s aim? This is my favourite track on the EP, there are layers upon layers, and you can really explore and hear the depths of their combined talents and ideas. It is an offering of chilling detail and rich tastes; you cannot dismiss the infinite variety of intonations that have been used meticulously.

This 18-minute EP had me enthralled from the first second. It is elegance at its finest, with the combined skills of Kieran and Lewis brought to the fore. Just like baking the perfect cake, It is carefully structured, and the sections do not over spill or run into each other and as a debut release they have done an unreal, first-class job.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Procession.
02. Sequestrate.
03. Esoteric Ascendance.
04. Firvir.

LINE-UP:
Kieran Scott – Vocals.
Lewis Borthwick – Instruments/Production.

LINKS:

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

Various Artists – Fangs: Volume 2

Various Artists – Fangs: Volume 2
Mongrel Records
Release Date: 25/09/2020
Running Time 71:41
Review by Chris Galea
6/10

Unfailingly ubiquitous and adaptable, Metal always finds a way to reach every part of the planet, but some areas’ contributions tend to get overlooked. “Fangs: Volume 2” is an attempt to address that transgression by shining some light on a few Metal bands from Africa. Most of the bands in this sampler are from South Africa (which is where its label, Mongrel Records, is based) but there are also tracks from the opposite extremity of the continent.

Here’s a quick rundown of the album’s contents…

Facing The Gallows is a Hardcore band from South Africa and ‘Small Hands’ sounds furious if a tad unimaginative.

Papang are from Réunion, a small volcanic island in the Indian Ocean. I didn’t quite like the singing style and guitar solos in ‘My Engine Burns’ but the track contains some great Stoner Metal riffs.

Dividing The Element are a Nu Metal band from Zimbabwe. The band’s track has Limp Bizkit written all over it. Some hand percussion sounds give the song a nice touch. Despite straining my ears, I couldn’t understand the lyrics – then I discovered that Dividing The Element sing in a native Shona language.

Next are Ill System, from South Africa, who keep the Nu Metal vibes flowing but in a creative and original way.

We remain in South Africa with the next track, ‘Shadow Beast’ from Monstroid. I’m hearing some catchy Fuzz in the footsteps of Kyuss and Fireball Ministry. Decent stuff.

State Dependency, from South Africa, ply a sort of generic Groove Metal with occasional atmospheric spells.

Albinobeach are an instrumental band from South Africa…the band provides the music and as a listener you let your mind provide the lyrics. Groovy, sometimes psychedelic, ‘Jugga’ hovers back and forth between Progressive and Alternative Rock.

Vielikan seem to have their own brand of Black Metal. The vocals sound intense and the band says they’re inspired by Russian and Slavic folklore, which is odd coming from a band based in Tunisia.

Next door to Tunisia at the Northernmost regions of Africa is Algeria, which is where Lelahell are from. Lelahell was the only band in this compilation whose existence I was already aware of. The band plays classic and brutal Death Metal. A technical, well-recorded and incisive track.

It’s back to South Africa with Demogoroth Satanum, whose Black Metal sounds raw and chaotic with weak riffs often overshadowing the vocals and other instruments.

We remain in South Africa next with Ethyl Ether and there‘s a significant difference in style. Is this Psychedelic Blues, Stoner Rock or Alternative Rock? I’m undecided where to pigeon-hole this music but the band calls their style Agro-Pop so Agro-Pop it is. To be honest it’s not something I’d usually be caught listening to, but all instruments are well-played and the songwriting is pretty decent too.

Vulvodynia, from South Africa, play a Death Metal that is brutal, filthy and visceral. Apparently ‘vulvodynia’ is a chronic, severe vaginal pain with no identifiable cause. Charming.

Kishi are from Angola…a Portuguese-speaking country on the South West coast of Africa. The band describe themselves as Stoner Rock but what I’m actually hearing is a soul-crushing atmospheric Doom Death. I sense that Kishi really seem to grasp the essence of Doom.

Rounding off this sampler are Scarab and with a moniker like that the band can only come from Egypt. It’s hard to compartmentalise the band’s music but Dimmu Borgir comparisons probably wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Dramatic, intense and epic Death Metal with great guitar melodies and a very professional sound.

I know that Metal in the African continent is much richer and more diverse than this compilation might suggest. Nevertheless, “Fangs…” provides a useful insight for Metal communities beyond Africa. So, Kudos to Mongrel Records for putting it out.

My overall impressions are that some bands seem intent on doing what standards require but need to inject more freshness into the music. Others have interesting ideas but haven’t yet developed them well. A couple of bands are already on their way to greatness. Of course, it’s hard to be objective by listening to just 1 track. So, head over to the bands’ sites, check out anything that has piqued your fancy and make up your own minds. Links are provided.

“Fangs Volume 2” official sampler promo:

TRACKLISTING:
01. Facing The Gallows – Small Hands
02. Papang – My Engine Burns
03. Dividing The Element – Pakaipa
04. Ill System – Ego Check
05. Monstroid – Shadow Beast
06. State Dependency – Bridges
07. Albinobeach – Jugga
08. Vielikan – God(s), Love And Life
09. Lelahell – Adam The First
10. Demogoroth Satanum – The Apostate
11. Ethyl Ether – Ode
12. Vulvodynia – Anthropophagus
13. Kishi – Kianda
14. Scarab – Coffin Texts

LINKS:
FACING THE GALLOWS:
www.facingthegallows.com/

PAPANG:
www.facebook.com/papangmusic/

DIVIDING THE ELEMENT:
www.facebook.com/DividingTheElement/

ILL SYSTEM:
www.facebook.com/illsystem/

MONSTROID:
www.facebook.com/monstroidfuzz/

STATE DEPENDENCY:
www.facebook.com/StateDependency/

ALBINOBEACH:
www.facebook.com/albinobeach/

VIELIKAN:
www.facebook.com/Vielikan/

LELAHELL:
www.facebook.com/Lelahell/

DEMOGOROTH SATANUM:
www.facebook.com/Demogoroth.legion/

ETHYL ETHER:
www.facebook.com/ethyletherSA/

VULVODYNIA:
www.facebook.com/vulvodyniaslam

KISHI:
www.facebook.com/Kishistoner/

SCARAB:
www.facebook.com/Scarabegypt

MONGREL RECORDS:
www.facebook.com/mongrelrecords/

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.

Master Charger – Origin Of The Lugubrious

Master Charger – Origin Of The Lugubrious
Stoned Rocka Recordings
Release Date: 21/08/2020
Running Time: 38:28
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, you heinous hellions and lugubrious Luciferians! I am Dark Juan and this review is brought to you by very little sleep, thanks to the young gentlemen I wrangle for money and a distinct lack of appreciation on their part, and their steadfast refusal to GO TO FUCKING SLEEP, even in the face of my threatening the most dire recriminations (yes, I have a penal Tellytubbies DVD and I am not afraid to deploy it! If they carry on then it’s the Ringo Starr narrated Thomas The Tank Engine and if that does not work then it’s time to freak them the fuck out with Chorlton And The Wheelies) and an amount of caffeine that would make the most extreme coffee enthusiast gasp at the increase in their heart rate, and subsequently I thought it would be a wise and sage idea to commit my somewhat frothing thoughts to the electronic ether before the inevitable and canyon deep emotional crash happens. Welcome to the “sound” (because you’re reading this…) of one slightly deranged man and his collapse into utterly devastating exhaustion.

Every collapse has to have a soundtrack, doesn’t it? Today’s selection for my own personal descent into blessed oblivion is a slightly late entry into the pantheon of my ramblings – the UK’s own groove merchants Master Charger. This bunch of hairy herberts hail from, and I quote, “The blackest heart of the Midlands”, which could range from anywhere from Wolverhampton to Mansfield, frankly. Don’t go there though. There be dragons and a forest in which a man in a strange hat and funny tights runs around robbing the postman and shit with his mates and some bird called Marion.

What do you get for your money with Master Charger, I heard literally no-one apart from the 47 different personalities occupying my head ask? You get some of the filthiest, oil-stained, diesel belching, sludgy stoner metal it has ever been my pleasure to experience. There is not a word to describe the crushing, brow beating heaviness on display. Monolithic is not a big enough word to explain the fucking mahoosive riffs on this record. The riffs are that fucking huge they block out the sun and the overall sound of the record is so expansively huge that it is slightly larger than the known universe – the bass is a ground shaking battlewagon heading straight for the flimsy wooden fence you’re hiding behind, the guitar so sludgy and heavy that every step shakes another organ loose in your already pitifully broken body and the drums…. well, actually the drums are curiously lifeless. Where the rest of the band sound alive and organic (as do the cymbals, which are masterfully produced) the drums sound like someone twatting the taut bottom of one of the false god’s followers with a wet tea towel, but without the enticing squeals. The vocals are another fine point of note – Mr John James (pleasingly alliterative) employing a voice not unlike a more muscular, slightly less whiskey-soaked Spike of The Quireboys. John Jones (still pleasingly alliterative, and no, I’m not going to get bored of it) also is a fucking slamming guitar player, allowing space in the music and his playing to allow the songs to breathe, and more importantly, making them absolutely bastard groovy.

Unlike fellow British stoner stalwarts (pleasingly alliterative) Red Spektor, Master Charger have dialled down the psychedelia in favour of METAL and they have created something dangerous. The record opens with a three-minute groove instrumental which is also the title track, beginning with the sound of the crackling you hear on vinyl records before a slow build-up of wah drenched guitar. Then there is a tumultuous avalanche of sound and you are suddenly picking yourself up from the rubble of what remains of your house. Mrs Dark Juan is not pleased because she did the housework yesterday and now there is brick dust on the antimacassar. Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, KCVG, MM, DFC and Bar, Croix de Guerre is looking plaintively at me because the radiator he was asleep in front of isn’t working anymore and it is all Master Charger’s fault for levelling Dark Juan Terrace.

Second tune in (‘Embers Of The Sun’) we are treated to John James’ (pleasingly alliterative) magnificent howl and the kind of post-Sabbath riffing that makes this hellpriest weep with a strange and unfamiliar feeling called joy. If this song was meant as a statement of intent, then it’s brutally effective. There isn’t a single wasted note in this song. It’s fucking brilliant. And that middle eight, man. It’s like a fucking double time death march to go murder some Nazis, which means it should only be encouraged.

And it’s the same, song after song. Interesting lyrics, the pleasingly alliterative John James’ voice and guitar and the thunderous bass work of Dave Hayes kicking your sorry little arse into the middle of next week and although the drum sound is a little flat, Jon Kirk’s drumming is top fucking notch. I could waste your time and mine going through every song on the record finding new tortured metaphors and superlatives to tell you how great it is, but I’m not gonna. I can sum it up really easily. Although the middle eight of ‘Blood, Sand’ is particularly sexy and deserves your attention. So is ‘Who The Hell Are You’ which has a riff of such majestic prowess it has brought forth a torrent of sex wee the likes of which has been unseen since July. Mrs Dark Juan is now even more unhappy because we are now rendered homeless in a sex wee flood zone because of Master Charger.

Master Charger are fucking brilliant. A band with roots in the classic blues rock of the 60’s and 70’s, coupled in an unholy and possibly illegal and definitely bestial sexual union with groove, stoner rock and heavy fucking metal and the music is the bastard chimera bursting forth into your unsuspecting headspace. How the fuck three men can make a noise this huge will always be a cosmic mystery. Support British metal. Buy this record. Holy fuck, buy this record.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is currently floating on giant fluffy purple clouds of enthusiasm for Master Charger and their sublime take on stoner metal and awards them 10/10. FULL FUCKING MARKS, BOYS, and you have totally fucked up my plans for my top ten of the year!

I need a lie down.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Origin Of The Lugubrious (Damn, I love the word “lugubrious”. It sounds exactly like what it is describing)
02. Embers Of The Sun
03. Blood, Sand
04. Who The Hell Are You
05. Buried By Time And Dust
06. Our Time Has Come
07. Earthbound Hellbound

LINE-UP:
John James (pleasingly alliterative) – Guitar and Vocals
Dave Hayes (disappointingly not alliterative) – Bass
Jon Kirk (also not alliterative, for SHAME!) – Drums

LINKS: (234. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself)

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.

Macakongs 2099 – Amor

Macakongs 2099 – Amor
Self-Released
Release Date:15/01/2020
Running Time: 22:30
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

Something very peculiar about the Musical Scene from the city where I live (Brasília, the capital of Brazil), is how Heavy Metal and Hardcore bands show a great union and connection with each other. Much hard work goes into the promotion of events where these two genres play shows together. Many local Hardcore bands act in this way and all of them are very-old bands Of course, it has not happened from nothing. Bands like Terror Revolucionário and Death Slam (both of whom have taken part in EMQ’s interviews here at Ever Metal), among many others made it happen, mainly through the promotion of the concerts I mentioned. Macakongs 2099 could not be left out of this history, since they have been on the road since 1998 and have promoted many events, opening space for the most diverse local bands. The quartet spreads their Hardcore, with a critical and social content, always with an acid criticism and a hint of humor to talk about it. Ironically, their newest full album is called “Amor” (that means love in Portuguese).

The band’s sonority values straight compositions, with strong riffs. All songs are short and all lyrics are in Portuguese, now sung by the bassist and band’s leader Djalma Phu. This time, I can feel that they are more focused on Thrash Metal than just on pure Hardcore, and this probably has something to do with guitarist WA, considering he also plays in an amazing Thrash Metal band called Degola. He has added some solos alongside all the beautiful rhythms played by the guitarist Léo, giving a special emphasis to the music. The cool thing about both guitarists is the freedom with which they play, not sticking to a formula. Drummer Thiago doesn’t use complicated drum lines which increases the feeling on the album and makes it easy to digest.

“Amor” is a short album, and it is hard to talk about highlights when you have such an awesome record from beginning to end. However, I will mention what most caught my attention and quote them in the order they appear on the album. ‘Traiu Sinistro’ has the addition of clean vocals. It also has extremely strong lyrics about people who were friends and betrayed each other. The melodious voice adds to the theme, creating a counterpoint to the heaviness of the instruments. ‘Combustível da Dominação’ has a Dead Kennedys vibe at its beginning, bringing a classic Punk Rock spirit, in addition to the lyrics being very hard about our alienation and how easily people can be manipulated.

Now, stop everything you are doing, as I am going to talk about ‘Haters Amam’ (that means haters love). What a CLASSIC song! The best on the record, in my humble opinion. Not only because it portrays the idiocy in which we live in a divided Brazil, where people are totally blind, exactly as explained in ‘Combustível da Dominação’. They are killing themselves on the streets, in defense of pets called politicians, while the politicians continue screwing and laughing at this war among the population. It is such a strong track, with a furious riff and tightly fitting drum variations that make it beautiful. The accompanying video begins with an interruption of your normal TV programming to the “free hardcore campaign” I confess that I had a good laugh when Phu says on the lyrics that he never voted on a “Distrital” (specific kind of Brazilian politician) because he doesn’t even know what they are useful for. What a song!

Still talking about influences, you can hear some Exodus on ‘Terra de Ninguém’. The distorted bass notes from the beginning of ‘Cerrado Sem Miragem’, which closes the album, reminded me of the S.O.D. song ‘Milk’, as well as the idea of a direct, aggressive sound, even if this track is a Rap, arranged in Heavy Metal, with the special participation of Dino Black. Once again, this time with the reinforcement of Dino, they expose many issues from society that, we, the people pretend do not exist.

Summarizing what I think about this amazing album. You can hear the heaviness of good old Hardcore, which the city of Brasília has known since the 90’s, from all Macakongs 2099 roots, but it is heavier now. There is a good and dirty production, and they have made it like this on purpose, without taking away the quality and equalization of all the musicians. They also don’t sound dated because of the added Thrash Metal elements, which gives a disguised brutality in the false calm that the album presents. In other words, we have a lovely album for worshippers of good and pure Crossover. Listen to it with all the love from your heart.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sobreviventes do Caos
02. Traiu Sinistro
03. Combustível da Dominação
04. Haters Amam
05. Amargo Arrependimento
06. Pesadelo da Realidade
07. Terra de Ninguém
08. Tristes Conclusões
09. Cerrado Sem Miragem

LINE-UP:
Djalma Phu – Bass and vocals
Léo – Guitars
WA – Guitars
Thiago Brito – Drums

LINKS:

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

King Bull – What Happened Here? EP

King Bull – What Happened Here? EP
Riot Records
Release Date: 30/10/2020
Running Time: 18:11
Review by Martin Bennewith
8/10

Sometimes it is nice to sit down and listen to a good bit of rock music – music that has a familiar ring to it and that doesn’t try to be anything out of the ordinary. I kind of get that feeling with King Bull. King Bull are a young Canadian rock band, playing music with a style that is long before their time, and they pull it off well enough. I would describe it as rock with a touch of punk, with a swirling vocal style against dirty guitars and a driving rock beat. ‘What Happened Here?’ is a 5 track EP that demonstrates well what King Bull are about, that is, no nonsense, energetic rock.

The first track ‘Pay Attention’ has a fitting title – it is a short number, with distorted guitar, energetic vocals, and some neat simple fills. It has a positive vibe to it, and is a nice way to start.

The second helping, ‘Secret Sauce’ follows the same formula but is slightly less rough around the edges than the first – and is stretched out with more rhythmic builds and guitar fills. Once again, the vocal work is full of energy, and the stirring vocal style works really well here.

Track three ‘Dontcha Know’ has a different feel to the first two – it is not quite a rock ballad, and the best way to describe it is like a cross between Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and Guns N’ Roses knocking on heaven’s door – so again it is pure rock with uneasy vocals, sometimes fluttering, sometimes screaming, but always true.

Next comes ‘The Defender’ – and this one is very raw – it is probably the most punk sounding track on the EP, it is just raw dirty guitar energy and screaming vocals. The beat is driving and carries the track forward at a nice pace.

We finish with ‘B-side Baby’ – this track has a more serious storytelling feel to it, it has more defined sections, and holds back in parts to emphasise the vocals. There are some nice guitar feels once again and an epic guitar and scream fuelled finish to wrap things up.

Because of the unpretentious and simple nature of this EP there is not too much to say about it, so this was quite an easy review to do  – it is rock music as it should be, and it really speaks for itself. 8/10.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Pay Attention
02. Secret Sauce
03. Dontcha Know
04. The Depender
05. B-Side Baby

LINKS:

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

Autocatalytica – Powerclashing Maximalism

Autocatalytica – Powerclashing Maximalism
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/10/20
Running Time: 37:30
Review by Steven Hooke
6/10

Progressive music in 2020 is a funny old thing. New music typically falls into one of two camps; the wild and frenetic mathcore side which consists of seeing how many notes you can play in a two and a half minute period before your fingertips catch fire, and the classically trained/musical theory side where you show off how many musical scales you know and most conversations people have end with “what do you mean you don’t know who Alex Lifeson is?” Inevitably, you’re going to get artists who try to emulate both, as is the case with New York-via-Boston four-piece Autocatalytica.

Having begun life as a musical outlet for guitarist and frontman Eric Thorfinnson, Autocatalytica soon formed into a more traditional band structure, albeit with an ever-changing cast of characters with up to 15 musicians contributing to the band over the years. The rather chaotic nature of the band’s origins (combined with the apparent and alarming thought processes of Thorfinnson) is reflected onto its sound, a heavily jazz-inspired progressive racket that stretches into the extreme levels of a Meshuggah or Between the Buried and Me and reaches all the way to the other end of the spectrum, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Steven Wilson or Cloudkicker.

As a result, it becomes such a bastard of a time trying to gauge the overall quality of an album like this because of the polar opposites trying to work together. “Powerclashing Maximalism” opens with ‘Borndun’, a crushing opening track that sounds like Meshuggah fronted by Avatar’s Johannes Eckerström playing the hits of Protest the Hero. And much of the first half of the album remains of this ilk, it is consistent in its inconsistency, utilising an avant-garde approach to song structure that keeps you on edge for what madness they conjure up next.

When you hit track four ‘Cheggo’ though, that’s when the avant-garde side of Autocatalytica really kicks in. An instrumental barrage of classic prog rock, guitar effects, some brass instruments, and maybe even a cheeky bit of organ in there for good measure. It is impressive for sure, but it edges too far into the world of “I’m a Grade 8 in guitar”, especially coming so soon after the extreme metal influences seen earlier in the album.

‘Dukka Dukka’ does better at finding that middle ground that “Powerclashing Maximalism” seems to be searching for, drawing comparisons to BTBAM’s “Automata I & II” albums from 2018, where the two sides of prog are used to build towards each other instead of fighting for attention. But then the final third of the album breaks down once again, losing a lot of the momentum re-established by ‘Dukka Dukka’. ‘Bananas Have Potassium’ (great title by the way) is equal parts classical music used for an end credits sequence of a game, street busker and cat walking on a piano; ‘Crawboi’ is a half-decent attempt at recreating “Ki”-era Devin Townsend Project (complete with their own Ché Aimee Dorval-equivalent); and ‘Graveo’ is the kind of idyllic music that’s usually played over a babbling brook or something.

“Powerclashing Maximalism” feels like what would happen if you tried to compress Opeth’s entire back catalogue into one album. For some, it’s a wet dream. For others, it’s an acute bout of vertigo. Multiple times during this write-up alone, the grade for this album has changed from a 6 to a 7 even to a 5 just because of how much is going on. Dedicated prog folk and those with more affiliation for jazz will view this album much differently, but for the filthy casuals, the pacing is a little jarring, good ideas and healthy inspirations are there but mismanaged, and there’s a distinct lack of killer hooks to really latch on to. Good songs like ‘Borndun’, ‘Trash Serum’ and ‘Dukka Dukka’ are worth sticking around for though.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Borndun
02. Zippler
03. Trash Serum
04. Cheggo
05. Dukka Dukka
06. Bananas Have Potassium
07. Crawboi
08. Graveo

LINE-UP:
Eric Thorfinnson – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Erik Sorensen – Guitars
William Purcell – Bass
Emmett Ceglia – Drums

LINKS:

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