Katatonia – The Fall of Hearts

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‘The Fall of Hearts’ by Katatonia (no, not the ‘Mulder and Scully’ Catatonia that is spelt with a ‘C’) is the eagerly awaited tenth studio album from the Swedish dark progressive rock/metal band. Formed in 1991 by Jonas Renkse and Anders Nyström, the band’s first two albums were more death/doom metal but over the years they have added more progressive traits to their work, resulting in the sound they have today.

Not knowing anything about the band, “progressive” would have been the word that could have turned me away. I have never hidden the fact I am not a big prog rock/metal fan but this was the factor that made me want to review this one even more. I was not disappointed.

At sixty-seven minutes long, the twelve tracks, although separate songs in their own right, fit together perfectly, and with ease. Creating an eerie and melancholic atmosphere whilst  at the same time, not appearing too depressing. The haunting vocals of Jonas Renkse have such depth, he literally brings the excellently written lyrics to life. The guitar work switches effortlessly between heavy riffs and delicate picking, using both electric and acoustic sounds. The drumming from new drummer Daniel Moilanen, is intensive yet not overpowering. Add into the mix the orchestral keyboard sounds from Nyström and you have a progressive masterpiece that is well written and extremely well played.

With hints of Opeth, Tool and Porcupine Tree, and just a pinch of Riverside thrown in for good measure, they can be classed as one of the best of their genre. The album as a whole is complex yet remarkably easy to listen to and obviously contains some immense musical talent and ability, all of which complements the others impeccably. For me, the whole sound is brought together by the vocals, Renkse’s voice soothing and tender yet powerful enough to get you right in the heart.

I have seen this album being likened to the journey depression can take us on and the light at the end of the tunnel and I would say this was a very fair representation. There is a much laid back ambience to the album and, although I listened to it in my car to and from work, it would be more suited to a dark room, lying on the bed, eyes closed with the rain lashing at the windows.

I admit, I am a traditional heavy metal gal, often casting aside the technicalities and intricacies of progressive music but I am glad I did not throw this album to one side. Even if you are not a great fan of prog music ‘The Fall of Hearts’ will grow on you and I will definitely be listening to it again…..in a dark room, lying on the bed with my eyes closed and raining lashing at the window!

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

Reproduced here with kind permission from Loud STuff

 

Attica Rage -Warheads Ltd

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ATTICA RAGE

WARHEADS LTD

9 OUT OF 10

 

Warheads Ltd, released on 6th June 2016, is the fourth album by this heavy rock band from Glasgow, Scotland. Now signed to Off Ya Rocka Recordings, the home of bands such as The Quireboys and Bonafide, Attica Rage were formed in 2003 by brothers Richie Rage (drums) and Johnny Parr (vocals/guitar) and released an early ep in 2005.

The line up was completed with Steve Bell (guitar) joining the band in 2007 and the arrival of bassist Matthew Ward in 2014 and the band have, over the years, built up a global fanbase, supporting the likes of Black Label Society, Testament, Saxon, Skindred, Diamond Head and Armored Saint as well sharing festival bills will the likes of Judas Priest, Slash, Blind Guardian and WASP.

Being three and a half years since their last album, 88MPH, which consistently received good reviews, this latest release has been eagerly anticipated.

If I am honest I had heard OF Attica Rage, as they were on the bill at High Voltage festival, but I had actually never heard any of their stuff. Upon hearing the album teaser on Youtube I jumped at the chance to review it, and I am so glad I did.

Produced, engineered and mixed by vocalist/guitarist Jonny Parr, with the drum tracking and final mastering added by Roddy Macaudio, Warheads Ltd, its 10 songs lasting 44 minutes, is an album full of catchy rock anthems with heavy metal riffs and classic ballads thrown in.

Not quite a heavy metal band but so obviously much more than a rock band, it’s clear who they are greatly influenced by, and they are not afraid to show it. With the sound of Black Sabbath, Ozzy and Black Label Society, they also have the brashness of Motorhead and the heavy metal attitude of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Anthrax. If ever there was a band that would appeal to a wide variety of rock and metal fans then Attica Rage would be it.

Track 2 on the album “Falling Down” was released as a digital single on 6th May 2016, accompanied by a video, and features two live bonus tracks, ‘Killer Carousel’ and a cover of the Motorhead song “Overkill” as a tribute to the late, great Lemmy who passed away last year.

Stand out track for me was the title track “Warheads Ltd”, its heavy guitars and thumping drums, appealing more to my heavy metal side but every track has its own merits and there is not a bad song on the album, including the instrumental.

The band, who have a “solid reputation for energetic and powerful performances” will be going on tour in the autumn of this year and I, for one, hope to catch them at The Black Heart in Camden.

I absolutely loved this album and I will definitely be checking out their previous releases.

Anyone who has the slightest interest in rock or heavy metal should get themselves a copy of this album and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn ‘The Metal Priestess’ King and Loud Stuff. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to do adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities. Reproduced here with kind permission from Loud Stuff

 

 

My Affected Reality – Window In Time

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MY AFFECTED REALITY

WINDOW IN TIME

7 OUT OF 10

 

Being a big heavy metal fan it’s not very often that something other than metal lands in my inbox but that’s exactly what happened when Ron Irwin of the band My Affected Reality asked me to review their album “Window in Time.”

Formed in 2008 in Oshawa, Ontario in Canada, all three members of My Affected Reality are formerly of the band Juice, which also featured the talents of Darren Smith, Jake E Lee’s singer, and JD Fortune of INXS, and they have since opened for the likes of Motley Crue, INXS and 3 Days Grace.

On the first play through it’s really quite difficult to categorise where this band should fall on the music spectrum. Is it rock? Is it metal or should it be classified under 80’s electro-funk? Subsequent listens dispel all previous thinking and the album should be taken at face-value. Its guitar rock with a few heavy metal riffs and the funk of electric pop all fused together in such a way that the sound is almost somewhat unique. In the words of the band themselves “My Affected Reality has a dark driving flavour with melodic hooks.”

Opening with “Damage”, one of my favourite tracks on the album, listeners could be fooled into thinking they were listening to a metal band with the heavy riffs associated with that genre but with the melodic “Believe” and the funky sounding “Beautiful” coming later on, it’s evident there is so much more to this band.

The members are all clearly talented musicians and play extremely together well. The singer has the sort of voice that would be suited to singing any genre of rock music and is complimented perfectly by the backing vocals. The electronic sounds intermingle perfectly with the drumming and guitar riffs, never overpowering the whole vibe of the album and the overall result is an eclectic sound that could transport you back to the 1980’s or keep you firmly in the present day.

I under-estimated this album the first time I listened through it, being influenced by my heavy metal roots, but I am glad I gave it another chance. Having had it in my car for five days straight I still have not tired of it which, in my opinion, is always a good thing.

If you are a metal head through and through then this might not be the album for you, but you are willing to explore other types of rock music, then give this album a go. You might just like it…….

 

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

Temtris – Enter The Asylum

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TEMTRIS

ENTER THE ASYLUM

8 OUT OF 10

 

The only thing I knew about the band Temtris when I was given this album to review was that two of the members were ex-Mortal Sin. I had never heard any of their previous material nor did I know anything about their background.

Hailing from the south coast of New South Wales in Australia, the remnants of the band Labyrinth, namely Genevieve Rodda on vocals and Anthony “Fox” Roberts on guitar, are joined by ex-Mortal Sin members Anthony Hoffman also on guitar and Wayne Campbell on drums, with the line up completed by Adam Wotherspoon on bass. “Enter The Asylum” is their fourth album to date, released on 9th april 2016 by Battlegod Productions.

At just over 51 minutes long, the twelve songs are a mix of power and traditional heavy metal that will hit you like a speeding bullet train. The twin guitars of Hoffman and Fox pack an absolute punch and get you right between the eyes, and the solos kick some serious butt too.

Rodda’s strong vocals throughout the album are complimented by low growls dotted here and there from Hoffman, and she commands the well written lyrics perfectly. The guitar and drum work is extremely well played and it is clear the band have given 110% in the recording process.

Stand out songs for me are “Mind Games” which truly pounds the brain, title track “Enter The Asylum”,a pure heavy metal song throughout and “The Summoning”, which begins with the sounds of a church organ before it kicks in full throttle battering your ears as only heavy metal should.

The one instrumental “Too Deep” will defy anyone not to bang their head and the only “ballad” on the album, the piano led “Lament”, displays just how good a singer Genevieve is. But don’t get too comfortable because this is only a temporary breather as final song “Phoenix” cranks it back up again, ending the album with a crash, a bang and a wallop.

If I am totally honest, at the first play I wasn’t sure about this album but I am glad I gave it another run through, and then another, and another, a true opinion of the album soon setting it. I love the album’s artwork which was painted on a 1m x 1m square canvas and I shall definitely be checking out the band’s back catalogue.

“Enter The Asylum” is a well-written, well produced piece of work and the band should be extremely proud of what they have created. I can’t compare it to previous albums they have recorded but it’s one that definitely should be in any metal fan’s collection.

But don’t take my word for, go and check it out for yourself.

 

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

Voices by Syr Daria Review

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VOICES

SYR DARIA

8 OUT OF 10

These days it’s difficult to make an album that hasn’t “borrowed” something from another band, the odd riff here and there, a melody or a lyric, and this album is no different. Sounding a little like early Iced Earth with the hint of James Hetfield on vocals, it’s clear who the bands influences are but this does not take away from their originality.

“Voices” the second album from French band Syr Daria was released in December 2015 and has everything a metal album should.

Kicking off with “Back To The Circus”, an obvious show opener, the album starts as it means to go on, riffs, drums and a catchy chorus.

Followed by “Gilead”, a slower song that does not fail to pull any punches with its fantastic guitar solos and awesome drumming, this is one of the best songs on the album.

The stand out songs for me, and there were two, were “Slaves”, a song that switches from soft melodic verses to full on thrash choruses, and the title track “Voices” but there is not a bad song on the entire album.

Having finished recording the album in December 2015, the band offered it to many labels but only one was prepared to give them the support they needed to issue it and it was officially released on 15th may 2016 under the Brennus Music Label. Only having interest from one label was a surprise to me as the guys gel together so well they sound like they have been playing together for years, each complimenting the others with their excellent playing, all brought together by the singer’s vocals, strong, sometimes aggressive yet melodic at the same time. These guys can certainly play!

I, personally, hadn’t heard of Syr Daria before Michel Erhart, one of the guitarists, approached me to do a review of the album and I am so glad he did. “Voices” is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time and I will definitely be checking out their first album “Circus of Life” released in 2011.

Since then Syr Daria have been guests supporting the likes of Tankard, Paul Di’Anno and Scorpions, and in my opinion, thoroughly deserved those guest spots.

I hope to hear a lot more of this band in the future and I sincerely hope I get to see them perform live.

Go check ‘em out!!

Syr Daria are:

Christophe Bruner – Drums

Michel Erhart – Guitars

Thomas Haessy – Guitars

Guillaume Hesse – Vocals, Bass

Track Listing:

1 – Back to the Circus

2 – Gilead

3 – Army of Clowns

4 – Slaves

5 – Pornstar

6 – Hannibal

7 – The Monkey

8 – Walk with the Dead

9 – Insomnia

10 – Voices

 

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

Kaine- The Waystone

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KAINE

THE WAYSTONE

8 out of 10

 

Not being the biggest fan of New Wave of British Heavy Metal, to be given an album by a band who’s own website states they “combine Traditional/NWOBHM with Thrash/Speed metal” I was a little bit apprehensive, but I was more than pleasantly surprised.

“The Waystone”, the second album from East Anglian metallers Kaine, brings together NWOBHM influences from bands such as Iron Maiden and Saxon with the thrash elements of metal that I so love, to produce a fresh take on an older genre.

Opening with “Iron Lady”, even the title of the track seemingly paying homage to one of their obvious influences, the album seems to be a tribute to the bands of yesteryear, but if this is the case, then Kaine have totally nailed it. If any band can capture the sound of the metal greats that are Iron Maiden, Saxon and Judas Priest, then they are half way there.

“Iron Lady”, to be fair, does sound a lot like an Iron Maiden song, but it’s a great opener to a great album. This sound, however, does not carry through all nine tacks, and the second track “The New Wave” reminded me very much of my days as a huge Rage Against The Machine fan. “Dreams to Nightmares” starts with a drum rumble so familiar that one could be forgiven that “Painkiller” was about to start and track number eight “Wanderer” takes us straight back to the 80’s again.

As soon as this album started I knew it was going to be great, my favourite track changing with each new song I heard. However, the two tracks that stood out for me are “Resistance”, which carries on with the early Maiden sound and has a really catchy chorus that will have you humming for the rest of the day, and “This Soul Exchange”. Judged by some as being too lengthy at around eight minutes, it doesn’t, to me, have the feel of being that long. Starting slow, it builds up in speed and intensity before slowing back down again, and I would class it as the epic song of the album.

Being able to switch from sounding like Iron Maiden on one song to a slowed down version of Death Angel on another is a talent not many bands could pull off and, because of this, to some, the songs don’t appear to fit together but, personally, I think this adds to the greatness of the album. I like to be surprised when listening to a new cd, not bored by the monotony of every song sounding the same, and “The Waystone” certainly did that. Take a great big pot, throw in some traditional heavy metal, a handful of NWOBHM, and a bit of thrash, add a pinch of prog, mix thoroughly and you will come up with this fantastic album.

I really enjoyed “The Waystone”, having had it playing in my car for six days straight and I hope to see and hear a lot more of Kaine in the coming years. They are a hard-working band, full of talent, who have played over ninety shows, supporting the likes of Praying Mantis, Striker and Absolva, and they definitely deserve to be bigger than what they are.

So grab yourself a copy of the album and get yourself to a Kaine gig! They will almost certainly be a part of the future of heavy metal \m/

 

Kaine are:

Rage Sadler – Rhythm and lead guitars, vocals

Dan Mailer – Bass, vocals and keyboards

Anthony Mirch – Lead and rhythm guitars

Chris Mackinnon – Drums

Saxon Davis – Led and rhythm guitars

 

Track Listing:

1 – Iron Lady

2 – The New Wave

3 – Dreams to Nightmares

4 – Solidarity

5 – Resistance

6 – Entropy (Unrelenting Chaos)

7 – This Soul Exchange

8 – Wanderer

9 – The Waystone

 

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

Nelson – Peace Out

nelsonpeaceoutcd7 out of 10

It’s not very often that something other than thrash, death or heavy metal lands in my inbox, but new album “Peace Out” by American rock band Nelson was one of these rare occurrences.

Bursting onto the scene in 1990 with their single “(I Can’t Live Without Your) Love and Affection” from their debut album “After The Rain”, twins Gunnar and Matthew Nelson have released ten albums over their 25 year career, with “Peace Out” being the fourth released by Frontiers records in five years.

I, personally, had never heard of Nelson and, having no preconceptions of what they should or shouldn’t sound like, I listened to the album with an open mind.  I wasn’t disappointed.

Totally different to what I usually listened to, it had me tapping my foot in the car almost by the end of the second song and by the time I reached my place of work, I really didn’t want to turn it off.

Opening with the song “Hello Everybody”, a chorus that will stay with you for the rest of the day, it is upbeat, melodic rock from start to finish. The twin guitars and harmonising vocals will make you want to dance around the living room and the catchy choruses will have you singing along almost instantly.

The stand out song for me was “Invincible”, closely followed by “Rock Star” and “You and Me”, and for those who like a good, meaty ballad this album offers two, “On The Bright Side” and the closing song “Leave a Light on For Me”, both offering the listener a change of pace just where it’s needed, before launching them back into the next solid offering of up tempo hair rock.

At times, the album can feel a bit “samey” but another sing-a-long-a-chorus soon comes along to eradicate that sentiment.

This is a feel good, toe tapping album that will go down a storm with AOR lovers, old and new. It won’t appeal to die hard metal fans but I quite liked it…

….and I’m a thrash girl through and through.

 

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