Toby and the Whole Truth – Ignorance is Bliss (25th Anniversary Remastered Deluxe Edition)

Toby and the Whole Truth – Ignorance is Bliss (25th Anniversary Remastered Deluxe Edition)
Jepsongs Recordings
Release Date: 17/07/20
Running Time: 52:17
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

The 90’s was a Marmite decade, musically. The rise of the manufactured band and the new waves of Britpop, indie, and mainstream rave was making it an eclectic picture, which you either loved or hated. The punk, glam, and classic metal scene was being driven underground by the polar opposites of kids with baggy jeans and curtains, smoking joints and playing bar chords, or kids dripping in Burberry, dropping Es and ‘climbing the rope’ or ‘stacking the shelves’ until dawn. The industry was fickle, and driven by profit more than ever before, to the detriment of many artists and bands. But if you looked hard enough, you could still find glimmers of hope amongst the detritus.

In 1995, I was 15, and in somewhat of a period of discovery as far as music was concerned. My tastes had begun to grow up from the likes of Take That and Let Loose. It started after hearing Queen, “Greatest Hits”, for the first time, and having an epiphany moment! And thank god it did, hey?! It was also the year Toby Jepson, formerly of Little Angels, released his first solo album, “Ignorance is Bliss”. A couple of years previously, Little Angels had been seen as the most successful group of a generation, but thanks to the greedy and destructive place that was the 90’s music industry, that had all ended in somewhat bitter circumstances. Now, after a quarter of a century, the dust has settled a little and, Toby, now the vocalist with Wayward Sons, has decided to re-release it as a special 25th anniversary edition. It has been remastered for this release, and there’s also a Limited ‘Songbook’ edition with CD featuring all 11 original tracks and two unreleased songs. The book features 36 pages of production notes, hand drawn illustrations, lyrics, song explanations and a forward introduction by writer David Gailbraith (Kerrang!)

Musically, this album leaves behind the safety of Little Angels’ classic Hard Rock style, moving into the darker realms of Alternative Rock with a hint of 90’s Grunge. Not surprising really, given the events that led to the demise of Little Angels, and, I suspect the need to ‘fit’ with the scene back then. But this album has a more mature edge than a lot of the music that was in vogue at the time, and that makes it ageless. It doesn’t feel dated in any way, and its themes are still as relevant today as they were quarter of a century ago; betrayal, sadness and existential angst, juxtaposed with hopefulness and new musical discovery, which really do make it a timeless classic.

It’s littered with catchy riffs, and a hefty dose of distorted fuzz, and is underpinned with intricate bass and robust rhythms. On top of all this sit Toby’s vocals, crystal clear and with just the right amount of edginess and grit to meld in the classic Rock ‘n’ Roll overtones, without taking the sound too far back into the comfort zone of times gone by.

It also has a certain acoustic intimacy about it – all the tracks could legitimately be played acoustically and not lose any of their meaning or feeling. I like this a lot. A few of the tracks have purely acoustic lead-ins, giving them a certain reflective melancholy, which nods to the overarching mood in which these songs were penned. One example of this is track 5, ‘The Wind Blows Hard’. It mixes a 90’s Bon Jovi style, with a more grunge inspired guitar and vocal sound, and classic rock rhythms. It ebbs and flows between acoustic sections and full on crunchy choruses. And just to top it off, there’s also a couple of intricate cross rhythm sections that bring you out of any false sense of security you may have been lulled into. Although it’s hard to single out any favourite tracks on this album, this one is right up there for me.

You should all know by now that I’m pretty fussy on production values when it comes to recorded music. Having not heard this album originally, I can’t really comment on the scale of the improvement that remastering has made, but the production on this release is pure quality. It’s very thoughtful in its placement of sounds, making it full and expansive, and dynamically everything is placed perfectly to create a very balanced and rounded sound. And every time I listen to it, I hear something new!

I’m going to shut up now. You can probably tell I quite like this album! All I’ll say is, if you liked elements of the 90’s, but need something a bit more grown up, thoughtful, and edgy, and appreciate talent and superb production, then this is definitely an album you should check out.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Some People Are More Equal Than Others
02. Better Off Without Me
03. Slipping Through Your Fingers
04. Haven’t Got Your Strength
05. The Wind Blows Hard
06. All Heal In Time
07. I Won’t Be With You
08. Save Me From Myself
09. Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
10. Harder All The Time
11. Open Your Mind
12. Get Your Feet On (Previously Unreleased)
13. Spiritually Bankrupt (Previously Unreleased)

LINKS:
www.tobyjepsonofficial.com/
www.facebook.com/tobyjepsonofficial/
www.twitter.com/TobyJepson
www.instagram.com/therealtobyjepson/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCKYqWet2jpPHLa5bS5eEA6g

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.

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses

Bloodyard – Orchard Of Corpses
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Running Time: 42.27
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Hello, my mischievous little munchkins and pixies. I trust you have all been cavorting around ancient forests like the good little misanthropic spirits you are and terrifying small children? Capital, my pernicious little piskies, capital. It seems that you are now allowed to go and get a haircut, but you aren’t yet allowed to adorn your skin with art. Because tattoo studios aren’t some of the most hygienic places in the world are they? I normally avoid politics because it’s a) Boring as fuck for you lot to read, b) I’m right and you’re wrong (TRUST ME ON THIS!) and c) the art of debate appears to have died a grisly and unpleasant death because we are all apparently snowflakes repeating fake news, regardless of which point of view we have. Suffice it to say that the current parasite inhabiting Number 10 appears to be hell bent on killing off our entire scene and I AM NOT HAPPY ABOUT IT! Apparently the choleric Mrs. Phillips from number 42, Saddleworth Road can now toddle off and get her fucking blue rinse sorted out and gossip with her equally unhealthy friends at a 1 metre distance in a hair salon full of hair clippings but we can’t get fucking tattoos or piercings and go and watch some heavy fucking metal played live in a sweaty, salty club somewhere. Even the mop topped fuckwits have their beloved fucking football back. It is not right and Boris is a right pigfucking cunt.  I’d like to curse the entire planet but that would leave me no virgins to defile and that would not be a good thing. I get testy when I am not able to perpetrate horrors on the wildly resisting bodies of nubile young victims. I’d like to say that that is my rant over but it probably is only the beginning… For the record, Dark Juan does not like football – if I want to shout myself hoarse for 90 minutes at people who aren’t listening and don’t give a fuck anyway I’ll just go to work as normal and I don’t have to pay investment groups gajillions of pounds for a season ticket to go and be wet, poor, cold and deafened.

Well, this is thrilling. I have, clenched in my sweaty and considerably sexually aroused hands the debut album from Lancaster death metal speedsters Bloodyard. Led by Amazonian, and not in the least bit frightening, frontwoman Donna Hurd, who appears to have been doing unspeakable things with acid, broken glass and large amounts of gravel to her voice, they have unleashed a record that would have done a very well established act justice. This is an excellent debut. My arousal only increases. You lucky things. I must note that it appears, from my past couple of reviews, the UK is undergoing a rather splendid wave of British death metal at the moment. And especially fronted by the fairer sex. This is not me being misogynist (although the darker ideas I have about ladies absolutely are…) this is me commenting that I find it gratifying that women are standing up in a genre that has not been historically populated by women and making it their own. Both Basement Torture Killings’ Beryl and Bloodyard’s Donna are as good as the classic male vocalists of the genre and actually better than the David Vincents of the world. I’m conflicted about the past couple of sentences because I’m not trying to draw comparisons. I’m all about equal rights (rites?) and I am a feminist, and to my sensibilities I have just been tremendously sexist, where all I was trying to say was that Donna is a great DM vocalist. Fuck’s sake. Being woke is hard sometimes. It’s staying in the review because I do think it a great thing that more extreme genres are starting to be populated by women and I believe in being honest with all you good folk out there. Extreme metal has been a sausage fest for too long.

Let’s move to less deep water where I can’t get myself in trouble any more, shall we? The music is excellent. The guitar sound is rather more crisp and legible than most death metal and there is an undercurrent of more traditional metal underpinning Bloodyard’s sound that proves to be an advantage, as it manages to break the unrelenting brutality up and makes “Orchard Of Corpses” something greater than the sum of its parts. There are also little thrash touches – on “Antithesis” especially there is an extremely Slayerish moment… I’ll let you all find out what that is. The fact that the band hail from the Historic County Palatine of Lancashire is another point in their favour considering your favourite Satanic shock rock hack is a Lancastrian boy too (apart from Donna, who is very obviously Scottish, but she does count as Northern and therefore brilliant!) The drumming on the record is tighter than a gnat’s chuff, the bass happily vibrates your nethers into a state of priapic excitement, the guitar work incisive and sharp, and the vocals facemeltingly intense. What’s not to love?

There are a couple of negative points I’ll quickly address because they are minor and don’t really impact on my enjoyment of the record – there is a slight case of musical schizophrenia as Bloodyard do appear to have moments of being unsure as to whether they want to be full bore death metal or add some groove in there, and a couple of the songs do feel to be a bit overlong, “Antithesis” (that song again!) could comfortably have had a minute shaved off the end of it and no one would have been the wiser. But, and this is a BIG FUCKING BUT, it is a debut album and a very, very good one. Everyone has to start somewhere and hopefully quality control will become better as Bloodyard continue their hopefully meteoric rise.

Standout tracks are “All Hail The Crimson King” which is just meaty as fuck, “Antithesis” which combines death, groove and thrash in a fashion that can only be described as sexual and the title track, which is old school DM of the highest calibre. Hopefully we are seeing a NWOBDM forming with Bloodyard in the vanguard.

To summarise – Bloodyard’s battlewagon is combat ready and devastatingly lethal, but the engine is missing a beat or two. Otherwise it’s a matt black, lead belching death machine razing everything, and butchering everyone around it. Just the kind of thing that gets my lust murdering tendencies fired up. Well done, you beautiful bunch of axe murdering bastards.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Bloodyard a blistering 8/10 for a first class debut. Can’t wait to make them the soundtrack to my own personal apocalypse.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blood Begets Blood
02. Mortem
03. Rupture The Mask
04. Orchard Of Corpses
05. All Hail The Crimson King
06. Stack The Pyre
07. Choke
08. Purge The Rot
09. Antithesis

LINE-UP:
Donna Hurd – Vocals
Nick Adamson – Guitar
Dave Cowley – Bass (Proof of my theory that all bands have a hidden Dave! There is ALWAYS A DAVE!)
Matty Lee – Drums

LINKS:
www.bloodyard.uk/
www.facebook.com/bloodyard666/
www.twitter.com/Bloodyard
www.instagram.com/bloodyard666/
www.soundcloud.com/nick-adamson-4
www.youtube.com/user/bloodyard1

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.

Son of Boar – Stoned Wail Single

Son of Boar – Stoned Wail Single
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time: 17:39
Review by Alun Jones
9/10

Singles don’t often get reviewed here at Ever Metal, purely because there’s so damn many of them. They just can’t compete with the album reviews. But rules are made to be broken, and this release from Son of Boar demanded some attention. Having witnessed the live onslaught of this band at Pentre Fest earlier this year, Son of Boar have risen on to my personal favourites list, and I’m damn near rabid for any new material.

Waves crash as a mesmeric bass begins to chime, creating a deceptively ambient vibe. Guitars and drums warm the sound as the band slowly build momentum. They’re in no rush, but when the main riff kicks in, it’s worth the wait. Luke’s vocals roar and the song rises like a leviathan from the depths. ‘Stoned Wail’ is 9 minutes of powerful, groove laden doom rhythms: thundering bass, churning guitars and crashing drums. This fisherman’s tale is indeed a whopper of humungous proportions.

With two additional live tracks (‘Outlet’ and the boogie influenced ‘The Weekend’), this is a great introductory package to a band destined for big things. ‘Stoned Wail’ is taken from the forthcoming debut album, which, to be honest, I’m shitting my shoes off in anticipation for. TUSKS UP!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Stoned Wail
02. Outlet (Live)
03. The Weekend (Live)

LINE-UP:
Luke Oliver – Vocals
Adam Waddell – Guitar
Lyndon Birchall – Guitar
Gaz Bates – Bass
Luke Doran – Drums

LINKS:
www.sonofboar.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/SonOBoar
www.twitter.com/Son_Of_Boar
www.instagram.com/son_of_boar/
www.youtube.com/channel/UC1YKTfwlyEpZfmjqNyTF5Dg

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.

Volturian – Crimson

Volturian – Crimson
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 24/04/2020
Running Time: 35:53
Review By Mark Pritchard
8/10

On what was a bright and sunny day with a nice cool breeze, I decided I would pop to the local shops to get a few bits and bobs. My soundtrack for this expedition was “Crimson” by Volturian. As I headed to the shop listening to the music, I found out why, when you’re walking, it’s a good idea to look where you’re going! In my right hand was my stick (as I have nerve damage in my right leg) and in my left was my phone. I was quite happily looking at track titles on my phone and then SMACK, I walked straight into a streetlight! Thankfully, I didn’t drop my phone and it didn’t interrupt my listening pleasure! Now you would have thought I would have learnt my lesson, but that wasn’t the case, as when I was walking back from the shops I did the same thing! It’s safe to say that I have learnt the hard way. Definitely not the kind of headbanging I was expecting! Anyway, enough about me, let’s get on to the cause of my slightly sore head!

Volturian are a modern metal band who hail from Italy and are only recently founded, in 2019, by singer Federica Lanna of the band Sleeping Romance, and songwriter Federico Mondelli of the band Frozen Crown. “Crimson” is their first album release and displays their mixture of styles amazingly well. They bring calming, dreamy female vocals alongside heavy, down-tuned guitar riffs, and a big hit of electronic sounds to boot.

The press release for this album says: “Lanna’s pristine and ethereal vocals move fluently between slow paced groovy songs and rigid, industrial inspired hymns, held together by Mondelli’s Swedish death metal-oriented guitar riffs (early 2000 In Flames and Soilwork) and by a powerful and precise drumming. Keyboards add a fundamental layer to Volturian’s music, ranging from New Wave to 90’s Europop to obscure gothic atmospheres. The album concept relies on dark, obscure and romantic themes, infusing the band’s lyrical imagery with gloomy Victorian vibes.” I couldn’t have said it better myself and can definitely say that these influences and variations are very much what you will hear, and they create a very pleasurable sound.

It is full of fast paced playing and amazing vocals, and the added electronic sounds give it a huge and eclectic range of genres. It’s heavy, dark and powerful, but I’ve also found “Crimson” quite calming. On more than one occasion it has been so relaxing to listen to that I’ve actually fallen asleep! Volturian have done an amazing job here, especially as they’re so new to the scene as a band. It’s an album you can listen to many times without it getting old, and I find something interesting and new in it with each listen. Definitely an album I will be adding to my collection.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Crimson Dust
2. New Life
3. Haunting Symphony
4. Broken
5. The Killing Joke
6. In A Heartbeat
7. Between The Sleepers
8. Days Before You Die
9. Forevermore
10. Fading Like A Flower

LINE-UP:
Federica Lanna – Vocals
Federico Mondelli – Guitars and Keyboards
Massimiliano Rossi – Bass
Alberto Mezzanotte – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/volturian/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCKNg0fDQs5eN_SSLmAYqHRA
www.twitter.com/VolturianBand
www.scarletrecords.bandcamp.com/album/crimson

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

Ramage Inc. and Friends – A Quiet Earth (Charity Single)

Ramage Inc. and Friends – A Quiet Earth (Charity Single)
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

There’s no denying that in many, many ways this lockdown has been shit. However, amongst all the fear, anger, and sadness, there have been some silver linings. Our subject here is one of those, and while we don’t usually do single reviews, with Ramage Inc. being a firm favourite in this house, it was a must for us on many levels.

Firstly, the band, and the 30+ ‘friends’ that join them on this project are all superbly talented musicians, who live for playing music, so coming together to create this has been a great outlet for them in these weird times, where supporting each other is paramount.

Secondly, they have all given up their time to do this in support of a brilliant charity – Doctors Without Borders. Founded to save lives and speak out, the selfless Doctors Without Borders staff have helped tens of millions of people since 1971. The 13 founders have grown to over 36,000 staff on the frontline of emergency medical aid globally. At this time of global medical crisis, this could not be a more fitting charity.

But the reason at the forefront of me wanting to write about this single is its sheer magnificence, both conceptually and musically. I can almost guarantee that you won’t hear a better song than this in 2020.

The project started with an appeal to their fans on social media, early on in lockdown, to help them write some lyrics for a song. Many people suggested potential ‘next lines’, and these suggestions were formulated into the final lyrics. The music video beautifully illustrates this, with the lyric suggestions appearing on screen in the style of a social media comment, showing the name of the commenter.

The band then enlisted the help of an array of musicians from around the world to collaborate with. As well as the standard instrumentation that you would expect to see, the collaboration also added new depth, with an exciting array of instruments including Cuatro, Oil Drums, Timpani and a Lyre.

Ramage Inc. are a band known for taking on ambitious projects, but even for them, this was a grand-scale undertaking. They said about the project: “Quiet Earth explores a distillation and the emotional impact of the isolation experienced by the world in lockdown. We wanted to bring a collective of talent together who are currently experiencing their own version of isolation, as well as the direct connection and input from the fans, who have been incredible themselves in this project too”.

Musically, this composition is simply stunning. I have no other words suitable to describe it. Not only is it poignant and so, so relevant, but it’s huge in its sound, it’s diverse in its instrumentation, it’s masterfully performed, and it’s incredibly produced, to the point of moving me to tears with its magnitude. That’s not something that happens to me often. The last song that did that was Queen, ‘Mother Love’. It’s an immense meld of heavy progressive metal, with overtones of symphonic classical music, and undertones of darker, down-tuned blackened metal.

It would be spectacular to see this performed one day with all the collaborators together, and a full classical orchestra – idea for the future guys?! But for now, turn up the stereo, turn the lights down low, and just enjoy this wonderful, moving, and epically expansive tune, and if you can, give to the cause. The single is available via the bands bandcamp page. I implore anyone who appreciates musical achievement to check it out: https://ramageinc.bandcamp.com/track/a-quiet-earth

RAMAGE INC. LINE-UP:

Bryan Ramage – vocals and guitar
Allan Forsyth – guitar
Marcin Buczek – bass
Paul Hameed – drums

SINGLE PERFORMED BY:

Abraham Sarache, Adam Peeroo (Kvilla), Al Douglas (Storm of Embers), Alan Ross Van Downie (DoNpHoBiA), Anabelle Iratni (Devilment), Bea García García (Silentvice), Bob Anderson, Bryan Ramage (Ramage Inc), Callum Stevenson, Colin MacGregor (Catalysis), Darren Callaghan, Jim Shemilt (RumRunners), Jason Rebel, Jay Stewart (41Divinators), Jim Marten (Hedra), Laura Gilchrist (King Witch), Mateusz Głuszniewski (Guchy Music), Marcin Buczek (Ramage Inc), Marcin Durmaj (Ashborn), Romain Jeuniaux (Omnerod), Stuart McLeod (Storm of Embers), Tom De Wit (Dreamwalkers Inc) and David Stott (Ward XVI).

LYRICS BY:

Bryan Ramage, Howard Toshman, Jess Taylor, Neil McLaughlin, Jason Rebel, Darren Callaghan, Anne MacGregor, Callum Stevenson, Jackie Frank Russel, Tobias Schmuecking, Michael Martin, James McBay, Simon Patchett, Fraser Macintosh, Al Douglas

LINKS:

www.ramageinc.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/ramageinc
www.intagram.com/ramageinc
www.twitter.com/ramageinc
www.ramageinc.net
www.youtube.com/ramageinc

‘A Quiet Earth’ on YouTube:

‘A Quiet Earth’ on Bandcamp:

https://ramageinc.bandcamp.com/track/a-quiet-earth

Just Giving link:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ramageinc

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.

Thematic – Skyrunner

Thematic – Skyrunner
Self-Released
Release Date: 31/01/2020
Running Time: 68:25
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8.5/10

Hailing from Indiana, Thematic are four very talented guys; Kevin Samuel, Nate Buesching, Ryan Schmidt and Adam Cesarz. Their last album, “The Endless Light” came out in 2014, and certainly stood them in good stead, making people sit up and take notice of the new(ish) kids (men) on the block! Four good looking guys, all very musically talented, who have taken rock music and given it a twist of their own, this is rare these days as so many just follow trends. But these guys don’t follow the pack, they create their own!

The band spent two years working on “Skyrunner” a concept album, which they self-engineered and was mixed and mastered by award-winning producer Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Animals as  Leaders, Twelve Foot Ninja, I am Giant). The band say “the album that tells of a hero’s quest to honour a promise. It is a tale of an epic journey through the fall from grace, the battle for redemption and the ultimate glory and tragedy of salvation. It’s a story of honour and valour to a world and soul consumed by darkness. It is a story of a promise kept”.

This album is definitely a blend of a lot of musical styles. ‘Incarnate’ starts off with what sounds like panpipes, very soothing and relaxing, and you think ‘Hmm ok? How does this fit in to what I was thinking the album was going to sound like?’ and then, like a slippery slide, you hurl into the rest of the album with a blend of great vocals, some hardcore drumming, some great harmonising, and some totally brilliant guitar riffs, with a twist of growl! The perfect mix for a great album.

It twists and turns throughout, with some great metal sounds, and great harmonising, as illustrated in ‘Carry The Fire’ for example. This starts off with an almost laid back calmness, but just as you get into the rhythm of it, it slowly gains speed and hardness, then back to calm, then slam dunk harmonies, and as it reaches it’s finale, you can picture everyone singing it at the top of their voices at a gig.

The artwork on the album is also worth mentioning. It’s stunning and is like a picture within pictures, which to be honest fits perfectly with the feel of the music – it’s genres within genres all the way through, a classic pic and mix, put it on, press play and see which sweet song you get.

These guys take music to a whole different level. ‘Solitude’ is another “twist” track, one you’re not expecting on a metal album! It’s almost hypnotic to start, with some gorgeous vocals, so crystal clear, which leave you expecting and waiting for the BOOM. But no! instead it delivers more harmonising and the boom of drums never come. It leaves you wondering what else they can possibly fit on this album. And then you get ‘Universe Bloom’. Wow! so powerful.

It’s so apparent that these guys work brilliantly together, the magical guitar riffs, vocals that are powerful yet so clear… They sure know how to bring new input into the rock and give you your full monies worth! This is an album you will put on and be totally chilled with, and as it goes on you will be air guitaring, air drumming and hairbrush singing along too! It’s an addictive album. The final track, ‘This Golden Day’ is almost 12 minutes long and is definitely my favourite track. It’s like being told a complete story, and all you can do is sit back, close your eyes and go on the journey with them, it’s just so good. With the combination of this fantastic storytelling, the diverse twists and turns, and 14 tracks to get your teeth into, you really can’t go wrong with “Skyrunner”.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Incarnate
02. Skyrunner
03. The Open Arms of Grace
04. Dirt and Chains
05. The Last Boundary
06. Silence in Thought
07. Abyss
08. Malice
09. Carry The Fire
10. Solitude
11. Universe Bloom
12. With Empty Hands
13. Falling Star
14. This Golden Day

LINE-UP:
Kevin Samuel – Guitar
Nate Buesching – Guitar
Ryan Schmidt – Bass/Guitar
Adam Cesarz – Vocals

LINKS:
www.thematic.bandzoogle.com/home
www.facebook.com/thematicofficial/
www.instagram.com/Thematic Official/
www.youtube.com/user/thematicofficial

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.

Eternal Armageddon – In Light In Dark In Hate

Eternal Armageddon – In Light In Dark In Hate
Self-Released
Release Date: 10/04/2020
Running Time: 33:00
Review by Victor Augusto
8/10

I know the music industry can be very unfair sometimes. Actually, it’s been unfair for a long time, and since the change from CD/LPs to MP3, and now digital streaming, some things have got worse. Probably for mainstream bands, this radical change was tough, forcing them to work much harder to earn the amount of money they were used to. Labels had to reformulate their distribution methods, and some (big and small) went bankrupt. However, if this technology, and information access didn’t exist, we probably would never know about smaller bands from many places around the world. And I bet that this amazing band from Dhaka, in Bangladesh, would have been in that ‘unknown’ category for me. Sometimes bad things can bring good results.

As always, I like to think about my first impression when I hear the first song from any band I’m about to review. My initial thought, before listening to Eternal Armageddon was, “Ok, I will review a Black Metal one”, but I was partially wrong. The band’s music is essentially Thrash Metal, even if that’s not what their sound is aiming for. Are you confused?! I was too when I heard it! I don’t mean that the band has a confusing sonority, but that their riff structure is similar to Thrash Metal. The main difference is that everything is arranged in a Black Metal style. Guitar, bass and vocals are pure Black Metal, but playing in a Thrash Metal way.

Lyrically, they explore the issues that come with religion when it’s used as political power to manipulate people, and other sickness. From what I could understand, I didn’t hear silly Anti-Christian themes that run through traditional Black Metal bands, but a way of criticizing the dark side of religion, and not the faith itself. On the other hand, they just elucidate obscure themes in songs such as ‘Hazam the Black Reaper’. I hope I am right in my perspective!

The opening song ‘Black Thrash Bastards’ leaves no doubts about the fusion of Thrash and Black Metal, both by the name and in the music. Good riffs from ‘Turag’, with some breaks on the cadence, and a very raw vocal by ‘Abrar’. There’s a break on this track and the bass of ‘Abrar’ restarts the song slowly, and it grows until they return with all devastation. ‘Rashik’ chooses a fast cadence, but not as extreme as some Black Metal bands play. As you can see, I’m describing Thrash Metal elements, but you need to imagine all of it in an obscure way. All the tracks have a similar structure, with a mix of fast paced songs like ‘No Lord Above’ and slower ones such as the closing song, ‘Satanic Whispers ‘, but all are heavy and obscure.

Maybe this kind of mix of styles is nothing new. Actually, if you listen to what Sodom have been playing since the eighties, it’s similar to what Eternal Armageddon are doing now. If you toke Sodom’s music, changed the war themes from the lyrics, and put in an Abbath vocal style, Eternal Armageddon is what you would end up with. Sometimes the band put more technique on compositions. One example of this is, ‘Obey To None’, which is my favorite track of the album.

Now, I’m usually a Thrash Metal Lover but not so much of a fan of Black Metal. But, the union of these two genres in Eternal Armageddon’s sound gives a good balance, allowing me listen to it without getting tired or fed up. “In Light In Dark In Hate” is brutal, heavy and obscure at the same time, and if that sounds like something you’d like, give it a listen.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Black Thrash Bastards
2. Hate Reincarnated
3. Hazam The Black Reaper
4. In Light In Dark In Hate
5. No Lord Above
6. Obey To None
7. Satanic Whispers

LINE-UP:
Abrar – Vocal and Bass
Turag – Guitar
Rashik – Drums

LINKS:
www.eternalarmageddon.bandcamp.com/album/in-light-in-dark-in-hate
www.facebook.com/Eternalarmageddon
www.instagram.com/eternal_armageddon
www.youtube.com/channel/UCjj7JAO4FEzhepSTMzPp2CQ
www.open.spotify.com/album/7K6vNCiVRZAsXlV25FOUyE

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.

Vega – Grit Your Teeth

Vega – Grit Your Teeth
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 42:11
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

I have an eclectic taste in music. I spent a good part of tonight listening to Mozart (who is incidentally the finest composer to ever grace the face of the earth, in my humble opinion). When I’m not indulging in a bit of classical or jazz, I like to get stuck into the heavier stuff. Anything from industrial and djent to power metal and classic heavy rock cuts it for me, as long as it’s got a bit of vim!

Enter stage left, “Grit Your Teeth”, the new release, and sixth studio album from Vega, the UK’s answer to Bon Jovi and latter era Aerosmith (who incidentally I both love)! I first became aware of these guys at Amplified 2017 and was instantly a fan! Their album release of that year, “Only Human”, is still on my regular playlist, and I’ve been hotly anticipating this new release for some months!

The band bring a certain edge to the classic 80’s AOR sound, which makes it current, and I really enjoy. This album is certainly no exception to their ‘classic with a modern twist’ feel. Every tune has an ‘anthem’ quality about it, and you can picture huge crowds at massive festivals having an absolute ball to it!  This release has been created with the help of “The Graves Brothers” (Asking Alexandria, Funeral for Friend, The Family Ruin), and, for me, the production has stepped up a big level. I’m a stickler for production, as you may have noticed, and it’s superbly done here.

So, what makes Vega’s sound so good? Well there are a number of things. First and foremost, Nick Workman’s vocals. He has the perfect voice for this sort of music and has a brilliant range. He can deliver power and punch right to the top of his range, but also has the control to bring it down when the music requires. Vocal harmonies add an extra layer, and that backed up by the riffs and melodies on multiple guitars. There are some blistering solos throughout this album, but nothing is over-done. The rhythm section don’t over complicate things, instead opting to do solid well! This sits perfectly within their style. And finally, the atmospheric keyboards and synth elements add a variation in colour and depth which tastefully nods back to the classic sounds of the 80’s (also a superb musical era, and anyone who says any different is wrong).

This is an up-tempo album, which has you nodding your head and tapping your toes right from the start. Every track is perfectly positioned within the album, making it ebb and swell in all the right places. Even though every tune is a banger, and we do get a cracking ballad in the shape of ‘Consequence Of Having A Heart’, I think my favourite track on the album is ‘Battles Ain’t A War’, which is slower than the rest, and the most stripped back and deep song on the album. It is in a minor key, which gives it a lamenting feel that is pleasing, in a melancholy kind of way. It also has a great choral backing vocal section towards the end, and the addition of strings, which give it an extra layer.

Another one that sticks in my head is ‘Save Me From Myself’. It has a ridiculously catchy chorus hook, which I was singing along with by the second listen!

But, and you’re going to get sick of me saying this, we have another example of the cardinal sin of music, the fade out, putting in an appearance. It was all going so well, and then the penultimate track goes and does a fade out to finish! Tut tut! For the love of god, please will bands stop doing that and find a way to bloody finish the song instead!! It’s a double shame as there’s an epic little guitar solo in this track too, which is beautifully panned from left to right for effect. It would have been a ten out of ten album for me, but in keeping with my musical morals, half a mark docked for the fade! Sorry chaps!

Apart from that though, stunning album! A huge step forward from their last, and I hope that this is the start of a wider recognition for this immensely talented band, as they thoroughly deserve it! If you like classic AOR, with a Bon Jovi and 80’s/90’s Aerosmith feel, seriously try this album out for size, as you won’t be disappointed!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blind
02. (I Don’t Need) Perfection
03. Grit Your Teeth
04. Man On A Mission
05. Don’t Fool Yourself
06. Consequence Of Having A Heart
07. This One’s For You
08. Battles Ain’t A War
09. Save Me From Myself
10. How We Live
11. Done With Me

LINE-UP:
Nick Workman – Vocals
Tom Martin – Bass And Guitar
Marcus Thurston – Guitar
James Martin – Keyboards
Mikey Kew – Guitar
Martin Hutchison – Drums

LINKS:
www.vegaofficial.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/OFFICIALVEGA
www.twitter.com/VegaOfficial
www.youtube.com/user/FrontiersRecords/search?query=vega
www.instagram.com/vegaofficialband/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4fn3t2tBoP4nIOoqXAENIT

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.

Tomorrow Is Lost – Therapy

Tomorrow Is Lost – Therapy
Eclipse Records
Release Date: 13/03/2020
Running Time: 35:13
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

Morning music chums! There’s no denying that 2020 has been a pretty sucky year so far and that it needs to get in the bin! However, lockdown has given me a chance to get my head into some great music, which is definitely a silver lining, and I can wholeheartedly say that, as far as new music goes, this year has already been pretty epic!

Today’s listening pleasure for me is “Therapy”, the debut album from Newcastle based Alternative Metal band, Tomorrow Is Lost. Relative babies in the music scene, the 5-peice formed in 2017 and have worked tirelessly since then, making a big impression and gaining acclaim. They have had some pretty big names working on this album too. It was produced by Dave Boothroyd (Phil Campbell [Motorhead], Don Broco, The Bastard Sons) at 6db Studios, and was mastered by Jon Astley (Judas Priest, The Who, The Rolling Stones) at Close To The Edge.

Now, you know me. I love a good bit of production, and right from the off, the experience and mastery of the production team is evident in this recording. It is beautifully mixed and mastered placing everything perfectly. There is plenty of bottom end and nothing sounds tinny. The drums also sound epic – no unwanted popping or ringing, and there’s a great ‘thunk’ to the bass drum and toms. This is always a benchmark for me.

Musically, Tomorrow is Lost are, for me, exciting. Every tune is catchy, well-constructed, and full. They are like a combination of Paramore and Skunk Anansie and remind me a lot of Chasing Dragons (who were great, and it makes me sad that they have called it a day). Their tunes are full of chunky guitar riffs and pumping bass lines, and the powerful but beautiful vocals of Cass King cement the whole thing together into a very pleasing listen. There is also some clever use of atmospheric samples, which add an extra layer of depth to a number of the tracks.

This is an album full of colour and life. It is the sort of album that you want to sling on in the car, wind the windows down and pump it out loud (even though this is technically against the law now apparently! Don’t break the law kids!).

Although it is hard to pick a favourite track on this album, I think ‘Hideaway’ is the one that grabbed me most. It starts with a solo bass line, then kicks into the full riff. The verses are quite staccato and stripped back, then it progresses into a pre-chorus which builds into the very catchy chorus. This theme is revisited throughout the song, which gives it a great flow. And we get the extra little gift of a powerful and heavy middle 8 section which is properly down and dirty. It’s a track full of power which compels you to move with the beat. Cracking tune.

If you like solid heavy rock/ alternative metal, with perfect vocals, then this album is going to excite you. I love it.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Intro
02. Wildchild
03. Smile
04. White Noise
05. Self Destruct
06. Black and Blue
07. Hideaway
08. Too Young to Know
09. Electric
10. Pause Rewind
11. Therapy

LINE-UP:
Cass King – vocals
Joe Mac – guitar
Ryan O’Hara – guitar
Josh Fodden – bass
Marc Rush – drums

LINKS:
www.tomorrowislost.com/
www.facebook.com/tomorrowislost
www.twitter.com/TILband
www.instagram.com/tomorrowislostofficial/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/5VwzQ26FbEmmGhOL4b69lw
www.youtube.com/channel/UCAqteStS4BBoNeHk8QE8uoA/featured
www.music.apple.com/us/artist/tomorrow-is-lost/1296308898

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.

Soul Dragger – Soul Dragger

Soul Dragger – Soul Dragger
Time To Kill Records
Release Date: 07/02/2020
Running Time: 47:18
Review By Tammy Lomax
9/10

There has been a tremendous amount of negativity floating around social media recently and it’s a shame considering all the good that goes unrecognized! So, allow me to distract you for a moment and inject something good into your lives.

Italian Modern Metallers Soul Dragger are clouting us with their debut, self-titled, album which was released back in February via Time To Kill Records and It follows their EP “Before Chaos”, released in 2018. It was produced by Marco Mastrobuono (Hour Of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse) and their sound has been compared to such heavyweights as Machine Head, Trivium and Testament!

“Soul Dragger” is a fantastically agile album that will kick your teeth right in.

‘Rise’ opens the album and because I am a Soul Dragger virgin, I have no idea what awaits. However, it is well balanced and opens the album soundly. There is technical guitar playing with a fast thrash feel and I already feel assured that these guys will bring all the cream. ‘Damnati Memoriae’ swings in next and it’s incredibly good. It’s a bulkier and chunkier track. Vocalist ‘Alex’ is diverse, he executes some really decent metal growls, and throws some lighter noted vocals into the mix too. They are a fitting match to the rest of the music being played.

‘Angel’ enters, and it is so fast. I’m keeping up though and I have started to mould myself into the Soul Dragger vibe, I’m beginning to understand their message. Every instrument is being played impeccably. Intensity starts to build up about halfway in and when a slower riff hits my ears, I start to headbang to the vegetables that I’m preparing for dinner; they also approve! ‘Maid And The Beast’ breaks the album up, however I feel it’s a little too soon to place a ballad in the album. You’ll need to get your lighters out for this one though, because it’s still emotional. The lyrics make sense to me in a personal way and it pulls at my heart strings.

If you are listening along whilst reading this then I hope you are well recovered because from here, everything is going to mess you all up, a lot more! Carrying over the feelings from ‘Maid And The Beast’ the album reaches another stage of awesomeness. ‘Everyday’ gears you up ready for when instrumental track ‘Before Chaos’ plays. With the vocals out of the equation you can hear hefty amounts of talent on display. I love drummer Flavio’s double kick footwork; he is very good. What a great opportunity for Soul Dragger’s musicians to express their talents. They are alert, energetic and more particularly, on point.

‘Alone’ is a great addition to the album. The more it plays, the more it grows on me. Firing in an angelic chorus which battle the ripping roars of the verse, adding the best guitar solo and… I feel all fluffy. It’s a shame there wasn’t more clean singing because, wow, what a voice! By this point I literally want to kick the air, my emotions are flying all over the place. ‘War Nightmare’ is next and it is relentless. I feel totally armed and ready for war, Souls Dragger just keep pounding and pounding… breathe Tammy… Jesus!

‘Soul Dragger’, the track, keeps the pace of the album going. There are some awesome screamed vocals, it is a buoyant track, bouncing you about all over the place. I love how quickly it’s projected straight at my throat and just wants to cause straight up carnage. ‘Death ‘n’ Destruction’ highlights exactly how versatile Soul Dragger are, it’s emotional again but in a different way, it brings out all the inner demons. hammering, breaking you up bit by bit and it is dark. ‘Collapse’ closes the album, and wow, what a journey. It’s just as ripping and consistent as the rest of the tracks, I am finally full, right to the brim. Absolutely fantastic work.

This has literally blown my everything off and I am now a new fan of Soul Dragger. They smash through the album with sheer energy. It’s fresh, experimental, combining the old and new, and has some brutal components.

Let’s recognize positivity and what better way to do it than through music ❤.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rise
02. Damnati Memoriae
03. Angel
04. Maid And The Beast
05. Everyday
06. Before Chaos
07. Alone
08. War Nightmare
09. Soul Dragger
10. Death ‘n’ Destruction
11. Collapse

LINE-UP:
Alessio ‘Alex’ Pompedda – Vocals, Guitar
Davide ‘Spol’ Spoletini – Guitar
Jacopo ‘Jake’ Gennaro – Bass, Backing Vocals
Flavio ‘Imperatore” Leone – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/soul.dragger/
www.instagram.com/souldragger_official/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/3QCoVWbFMlZ6JAghXxXj1r
www.youtube.com/channel/UCRDI_sP3390u5ECzOgDoy4A

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.