Legion – Darkness

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Legion – Darkness                                                                                                      Arkeyn Steel Records

Release Date: 23/01/2017                                                                                        Running Time: 76.51

Album Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

8 OUT OF 10 

Finding information about the band Legion is not easy. One of the bands lost somewhere in the late 80’s / early 90’s, they had no big record deal, budget or promoters/managers to help spread the word about them or their music. Which is a real shame as they had the work ethic, dedication and talent to make it as big as the likes of Metal Church, Agent Steel and Exciter.

But let’s start at the beginning.

Legion were originally formed in 1985 by multi-instrumentalist Doug Calloway and hail from Augusta, Georgia in the US. Described on their own Facebook page as ‘power metal’ this doesn’t really do justice to the full scope of their talents. Mixing in speed metal riffs and thrash metal guitar and drum work, with the extensive vocal range of singer Loy Mitchum, they could be considered the ultimate all round metal band.

But I digress.

Between 1985 and 1994 Legion worked tirelessly and recorded lots of material but due to various difficulties only one independent LP-Tape, “Darkness,” was ever released, back in 1991.

But now, with the help of Arkeyn Records, “Darkness”, one of the rarest and most obscure LP-Tape’s of the 1980’s, along with the band’s previously unreleased fourth album “For We are Many”, have been remastered and both are released together on an epic 21 track cd!

And what a cd! With songs averaging at just about three and a half minutes each, there are no marathon tracks, no complicated and intricate guitar work and no massive drum solos that add no significance to the songs whatsoever (for those who do not know me, I am NOT a big fan of drum solos, on cd or live!)

This is a record of pure, unadulterated metal. It sounds like it was written in the 1980’s but that is in no way a bad thing. I love metal from that decade and if you are a fan of bands such as Metal Church, Agent Steel, King Diamond, Nazareth, Judas Priest, (the list can go on and on), then you will love this album.

Doug Calloway’s guitar work can rival any of the leading guitarists from that day, the percussion section of Marvin Mitchum on drums and Chuck Goodwin on bass are tight and they hold the rest of the band together well, and, as previously mentioned, the vocal range of singer Loy Mitchum easily equals that of Rob Halford, King Diamond and Geoff Tate. I, personally, love the high range vocals in metal music but some people might think he uses it a little bit too much on some of the tracks. This, however, does not extend throughout the whole album, and he does prove he has more strings to his bow that just his high-pitched voice.

This really is a gem that should never have been lost in time. If this album is anything to go by, with the right promotion and manager behind them, Legion could and should have been one of the big bands of the 1980’s.

I hope Arkeyn continue to remaster the rest of the material recorded by Legion as this band is a vital addition to any metal lovers collection.

Tracklist:

1. Dream

2. Watching the Sky

3. Eternal Life

4. Living Free

5. Lo the Star

6. All Become One

7. Evil Mind

8. Darkness

9. Wake the Dead

10. Simple Rhyme

11. River Song

12. The Spirit

13. Where is the Laughter

14. Everybody Wants To Be

15. Within Your Eyes

16. Empty Graves

17. Message Intro

18. Message

19. Judgement Day

20. Memories

21. Sunday Shoes

Legion are:

Doug Calloway – songwriter, guitar, backing vocals

Marvin Mitchum – drums

Chuck Goodwin – bass

Loy Mitchum – vocals

Social Media:

www.youtube.com/channel/UCcE9saonGbIk5Rd-SMCqgbw

www.facebook.com/OriginalLegion.band/

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” 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.

Jenovese – Love U to Death EP

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JENOVESE – LOVE U TO DEATH EP                                                                                             Unsigned

Release Date: 23/06/2016                                                                                        Running Time: 17.05

Album Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

8/10

Where are all the female fronted bands? I asked myself, just as this little gem from band, Jenovese, landed in my inbox. Admittedly, it remained downloaded onto my computer, waiting patiently in the “awaiting review” folder on my desktop, until I transferred it onto my little USB stick and put it my car.

Immediately, I kicked myself for leaving it so long!

Jenovese are a female fronted band hailing from Cardiff, South Wales and the “Love U to Death EP” is their debut recording released on 23rd June 2016. And, wow, what a way to start? With crunching guitar work, heavy riffs (which I oh so love!) and the strong voice of singer Emma Rees, it’s hard to believe these guys had only been together six months when this EP was recorded.

The two guitarists, James Rees and Lee Jones, complement each other perfectly, drummer Jack Pritchard works his little socks off and bassist Jason Sims slots in between them all rather nicely.

The sound is tight and the tracks are all well written. Describing themselves as an “anthemic rock/melodic metal band” on their Facebook page, they have produced songs that have that singalong-ability, clean vocals so you actually hear what Emma is singing and epic choruses, while still maintaining that edginess that all good (nay, great!) rock bands have.

Says the band themselves: “Despite not being together very long, we are all friends that decided to come together to form Jenovese. We are all very excited with how the EP has turned out and thinks it’s a really good representation of who we are and what we are about.”

My favourite track on the EP is (probably) I Love U to Death but there really is not a bad track on there. Each one leads seamlessly onto the next and the whole EP will have to jumping around your living room, strumming on your air guitar or singing into your hairbrush. This would be my ideal soundtrack as I got myself ready for a night out.

It’s fresh, it’s funky and it totally rocks!

I really do think big things could happen to this band and I will certainly be waiting for their next release to add to my collection.

Jenovese will be playing at the Metal 2 The Masses competition in Cardiff so go out, grab this EP, and give them a vote.

Let’s get these guys (and gal) to Bloodstock!

Track Listing:

  • Nothing Left To Say
  • Despair
  • Love U to Death
  • It Doesn’t Matter

Jenovese are:

  • Emma Rees – vocals
  • James Rees – guitar
  • Lee Jones – guitar
  • Jason Sims – bass guitar
  • Jack Pritchard – drums

Social Media:

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

 

Hamerex – Traitor

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HAMEREX – TRAITOR                                                                                           IX Music

Released 07/10/2016

Album review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

6/10

Hailing from Wakefield, West Yorkshire, Hamerex are a four piece heavy metal band, founded in 2004 by vocalist and guitarist Steve Blower. Throughout their career they have supported the likes of Powerquest, Conquest of Steel and Funeral for a Friend, as well as well as playing at Clarence Park Music Festival in 2012 and Coalfields Festival in July 2014.

When Steve approached me through Facebook to do a review of their third studio album “Traitor,” I jumped at the chance and, having never heard anything they had done before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.

Released on 7th October 2016 on their own label IX Music, the album is first to feature Steve on vocals following a positive reception of ‘The Last Ride’ E.P, and once again enlists the artistic talents of Kiera James as cover and cd layout designer.

Musically there is nothing wrong with this album. Hamerex are a heavy metal band who play heavy metal music, albeit with reminiscence of the NWOBHM era of the late 70’s / early 80’s.

There are funky bass lines, such as the strong intro to the opening title track, heavy doomy riffs on tracks such as “Journeys End” and great guitar playing by both guitarists. But I have never been a big fan of the NWOBHM period of metal music, sounding to me like much of it has been played into a bucket.

Although this album does not sound like it has been recorded inside a steel can, I do, however, think the vocals let the record down. I have no doubt that the band have worked very hard to produce this album and I personally think seeing these guys perform live would be an experience not to be missed but I don’t think it quite works on cd.

For me, nothing jumped out during the first play through. I am not saying the tracks are awful because they are not but there were no dynamic tracks that embedded themselves into my brain, making me sing them to myself throughout the day.

The album is not rubbish, not by a long shot, but it is not a game changer either. This is a heavy metal album that “does what it says on the tin”…..it plays metal.

But go and give it a listen. It may not to be my taste, but it might just be the album you are looking for!!

Track listing:

  1. Traitor
  2. The Dark Tower
  3. Dead Mountain
  4. The Nameless One
  5. Eyes of Deceit
  6. The Abyss
  7. The Evil Within
  8. Journey’s End

HAMEREX are:

  1. Steve Blower – Vocals & Guitar
  2. Andy Firth – Guitar, Bass & Keyboards
  3. Darren Kelsall – Drums
  4. Marc Hood – Bass (Not featured on the album)

Social Media

  1. www.hamerex.com
  2. www.facebook.com/hamerex
  3. www.youtube.com/hamerex
  4. http://hamerex.bandcamp.com
  5. www.reverbnation.com/hamerex
  6. www.twitter.com/hamerex
  7. www.instagram.com/hamerexofficial

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

Avantasia – Ghostlights

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Avantasia – Ghostlights                                                                              Running Time: 70:03

Release Date: 29-01-2016                                                                                     Nuclear Blast

Album Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King

10/10

Having not reviewed anything since before Christmas, I needed something I could get my teeth into, and boy did this album deliver that.

Avantasia are a German supergroup/rock opera project created by Edguy vocalist Tobias Sammet and “Ghostlights” is their seventh full length album. With contributions from a variety of vocalists and musicians over the years, the project’s history can be divided into three periods, each consisting of a various number of concept albums. “Ghostlights” belongs to the third, and more recent, period along with the preceding album “The Mystery of Time.”

With a name made up from the words ‘avalon’ and ‘fanstasia’, Avantasia describes a “world beyond human imagination” and this album certainly does invoke use of the imagination as it gently pulls you in and submerges you into a whole different world.

“Ghostlights” concludes the story started on “The Mystery of Time”, a story of a protagonist who uses a group of scientists willing to find a way to align everybody’s personality so they can understand each other and make the world a better place. Says Sammet, himself, of the concept “the whole concept of this album deals with questionable ideals you have in life. It depends on which philosophy you have in life. Such ideals can be very different from each other. And it’s about distraction to find cross-fires on the way to find out what you really want from life.”

Very deep and meaningful and this album certainly has the darkest atmosphere Sammet has ever created. With songs such as “Draconian Love” and “The Haunting” conjuring up very gothic images, I had in my mind this whole album being played in front of a Victorian backdrop. A sort of Dracula-esque scene, lots of smoke, and very eerie feel.

Of course, whether Sammet intended this album to have that feel, only he would know but I absolutely loved it. Featuring the guitar talents of Bruce Kulick and Oliver Hartmann, Sammet also enlisted a long list of vocal talent, ranging from Geoff Tate, formerly of Queensryche, to Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, to the haunting vocals of Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation fame, and Bob Catley from Magnum, with lots more besides (see below for the full list of contributing musicians)

Being a big fan of rock operas, and who wouldn’t be growing up with the likes of Savatage’s Gutter Ballet and King Diamond’s Abigail, I thought this album was great from the very first song I heard. At 1 hour and 10 minutes long, possibly considered too long by some, the twelve tracks each have a totally different feel to them, and with each one I listened to, my favourite track on the album changed. My only gripe with the length of the album is that I couldn’t listen to the whole of it on my journey to and from work!

I have read a few reviews saying how sh*t they thought this album was and I can understand why some people would think that. It could be considered very cheesy, and maybe a little overpowering, but, personally, I think that all adds to the charm of the album. I love strong choruses and powerful guitar solos and the power ballad for me is very underrated but I think this album deals with them extremely well. “The Isles of Evermore” could be seen as a bit wishy-washy but Sharon den Adel’s vocals were perfect for the song and I think it was a great addition to the album as a whole.

In my opinion, and let’s face it, this review is just my opinion, there is not a bad song on the album. Some albums have a few strong tracks while the rest is filled with mediocre songs that just pass the time into the next big track. This album does not do that. Each track, although belonging to a concept album, could stand up all by itself and still be seen as a story on its own.

I loved this album and nigh on two weeks in my car is testimony to that. Not once have I got bored with it or even considered changing it. If you love rock operas, go out and buy this album. If you don’t, still go out and buy this album, and maybe after a listen or two, you will.

Tobias Sammet…..you rock (opera) god, you!!

TRACKLIST

Mystery of a Blood Red Rose
Let the Storm Descend Upon You
The Haunting
Seduction of Decay
Ghostlights
Draconian Love
Master of the Pendulum
Isle of Evermore
Babylon Vampyres
Lucifer
Unchain the Light
A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies

Avantasia are:

Tobias Sammet – vocals and bass
Sascha Paeth – Guitars
Miro – Keyboards & orchestration
Felix Bohnke – drums

Guest Musicians:

Let the Storm Descend Upon You – Jørn Lande, Ronnie Atkins, Robert Mason
The Haunting – Dee Snider
Seduction of Decay – Geoff Tate
Ghostlights – Michael Kiske
Draconian Love – Herbie Langhans
Master of the Pendulum – Marco Hietala
Isle of Evermore – Sharon den Adel
Babylon Vampyres – Robert Mason
Lucifer – Jørn Lande
Unchain the Light – Ronnie Atkins, Michael Kiske
A Restless Heart and Obsidian Skies – Bob Catley

Social Media:

https://www.avantasia.net
https://twitter.com/_avantasia
https://en-gb.facebook.com/avantasia
https://www.tobiassammet.com
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoo3R3_6QAn0cXTkgaM-QKQ

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

Reproduced here with kind permission from Metal Gods TV

http://metalgodstv.com/avantasia-album-review-ghostlights/

 

 

Beelzefuzz – The Righteous Bloom

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Beelzefuzz – The Righteous Bloom (2016)                                                  Running Time 46:14

Release Date 30-09-2016                                                                 The Church Within Records

Album Review by Rick Tilley

9/10

Beelzefuzz…what a fantastic name for a band and one which seems to encapsulate precisely what this band is all about! That’s just as well because, otherwise, I would have to describe them as ‘Ozzy era Black Sabbath meets Wishbone Ash meets Uriah Heep meets Pentagram meets Dio era Black Sabbath meets Deep Purple meets Graveyard meets a little bit of Jethro Tull’…and that’s a bit of a mouthful isn’t it? I suppose I could just say Doom meets 70’s Rock but that would do Beelzefuzz a massive injustice because they are so much more than that!

Hailing from the small town of North East, Maryland Beelzefuzz formed in 2009 and released their, self-titled debut album in 2013. Originally a trio, band politics got in the way and they broke up the following year. Two of the band got back together, added two new members and changed their name to ‘The Righteous Bloom’ but in 2015 they changed it back to Beelzefuzz and began writing their second album. I’m not sure if there were legal wrangling’s over the name and, if yes, whether they are still ongoing but, having listened to the debut album, I can safely say musical integrity and style has not been affected. If anything this album seems more focussed!

Musically Beelzefuzz are down tuned, fuzzed out psychedelic Doom Rock and sometimes I can find that style a little laborious but what makes their very catchy and straight to the point brand of Doom so individual is the magnificent singing of Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Dana Ortt. He sounds very much like Uriah Heep’s David Byron but sung somewhere in the register of Barry Gibb and early Geddy Lee. Mix that with an essence of Ian Anderson and occasionally a tiny pinch of Ronnie James Dio, more in phrasing than in sound, and you have a very unique sounding vocal that’s a joy to listen to. With tracks that are mostly three to four minutes in duration, some excellent 70’s style organ playing and riffs that get your foot tapping immediately ‘The Righteous Bloom’ is as about as authentic a 1970’s Rock album as you can get whilst still being smack up to date!

Opener ‘Nazriff’ has a distinct Led Zeppelin feel to the riff but then the vocals start and the song is transported to somewhere in the upper stratosphere. I cannot stop emphasizing how distinct the vocals are and the clarity with which the notes are hit! ‘The Soulless’ has a fantastic riff that brought to mind Michael Schenker on the early MSG albums. ‘Hardluck Melody’ follows and has a Black Country Communion vibe to it and some great solo work courtesy of Lead Guitarist/ Vocalist Greg Diener. These first three songs pass so quickly that you don’t get the chance to appreciate how good they are. ‘Rat Poison Parfait’ is next and it’s this track, on first listen, where I really started to understand Beelzefuzz and their groove. It’s a slightly less immediate song but I closed my eyes and lost myself completely in it! ‘Within Trance’ is a gorgeous four minutes of music but in contrast the following ‘Nebulous’ has a really fuzzy, off kilter riff that works perfectly with some great harmony vocals that come straight from the Uriah Heep book of classic singing! At nearly seven minutes the title track is next; it’s the longest on offer here and proves Beelzefuzz can write a longer song that is perfectly balanced. ‘Dying On The Vine’ is just sublime and the album finishes perfectly on ‘Peace Mind’! There are no bad tracks here, just highlights. Darin McCloskey’s stick work and Bert Hall’s buzz saw bass guitar work together like apple pie and custard and the whole thing reeks of professionalism! Beelzefuzz offer up haunting, beautiful and unique music that grows and continues to envelop me the more I listen. I haven’t quite heard anything this different since the last Bigelf album!

TRACKLIST

  1. Nazriff
  2. The Soulless
  3. Hardluck Melody
  4. Rat Poison Parfait
  5. Eternal Waltz
  6. Within Trance
  7. Nebulous
  8. The Righteous Bloom
  9. Sanctum & Solace
  10. Dying On The Vine
  11. Peace Mind

SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. http://www.beelzefuzz.com/
  2. https://www.facebook.com/beelzefuzzofficial/
  3. https://twitter.com/Beelzefuzz
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSh2H0WQJd4 (Nazriff Video)

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Metal Gods TV. 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 by Metal Gods TV

http://metalgodstv.com/beelzefuzz-album-review-the-righteous-bloom/

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The Crimson Brigade – Blutkrieg (Scorched Earth Holocaust)

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The Crimson Brigade – Blutkrieg (Scorched Earth Holocaust) (2016)      Running Time 39:21

Release Date 22/11/2016                                                                                                     Rebco Records

Album Review by Rick Tilley

7.5/10

When you’ve been reviewing for a few years you can sometimes get caught in the rut of being a little too picky about which albums you want to write about and you end up getting sent lots of similar sounding albums! Whilst it’s a privilege to type about your favourite bands or preferred type of music it’s wise to occasionally step outside the box and challenge yourself with a genre you don’t usually listen to and that is what I am doing with this review!

Black Metal is a genre I’ve never been particularly fond of. Apart from early releases by the likes of Bathory and Falkenbach (both of which have a Viking feel to them) or bands that play a more symphonic style of Black Metal such as Dimmu Borgir, I’ve always found it noisy, bleak, too fast and way too serious. Yes, there are some extremely talented musicians playing it but musically it leaves me cold. However, like the bands mentioned above, there are always going to be some exceptions to the rule so when The Crimson Brigade sent me their second album ‘Blutkrieg (Scorched Earth Holocaust)’ for possible consideration I approached it with an open mind! I’m very glad I did do that because this album, even though brutally heavy and fast and definitely very Black, is a pretty good listen!

Described on the blurb as ‘BLACK VAMPYRIC WAR METAL’ automatically makes you believe this three piece are based near the frozen glaciers and lava fields of Iceland but you would be wrong as it is the slightly less bleak (but not much) town of Chesterfield, UK where they call home. You would be right in thinking Chesterfield is hardly the first place to spring to mind when talking Black Metal but, regardless of where they originate from, opening introduction track ‘The Rise Of Evil’ sets the war torn scene beautifully before leading into first track proper ‘Ghosts Of Hutgen Forest’ which, from the first programmed drum roll (more on that later), kicks you so far up the arse that the boot appears out your mouth. The Crimson Brigade have a very nifty trick of combining early Black Metal with the much harsher sounding genre that many will recognise today BUT they then go and throw in a whole host of programmed symphonic and keyboardy stuff as well as glorious sound effects which adds a beautiful sheen to proceedings. Before you say it, no, they are nowhere near as polished as bands like Dimmu Borgir because If you took the programmed effects away this would be very cold and raw. However, it’s the addition of these that makes ‘Blutkrieg (Scorched Earth Holocaust)’ work for me so well. Well nearly, because I do NOT like programmed drums and, however well they might be programmed, that spoils things. Having watched clips of the band gigging on Youtube it also spoils things live, even aesthetically, because it just looks odd watching three men playing this brutal music with no drummer!

If you can look past that misdemeanour there is a fantastic story behind The Crimson Brigade’s music. It tells the stories of The Blood Battalion, formed in 1803 at the onset of the Napoleonic Wars. They are a fierce and blood thirsty, but insidious, army of Vampyres that have caused every conflict and War in human history. With high ranking Vampyres, in all walks of life, pulling strings as part of an elaborate plan so that certain battles are won on each side, sometimes at incredible odds. My small brain takes this to mean that the human race will never die allowing the Vampyres constant food! This is perfect fodder for my love of Horror, Fantasy and vivid imagination. When music takes me somewhere, however gruesome and savage that place might be, then it has done its job!

Wonderfully titled ‘’Blood Red Snow Of The White Death’, the blunt force trauma of ‘Blut Red Plague’ and the torturous but hauntingly beautiful ‘Sacred Ground (Siege Of Budapest)’ are my album favourites and I tip my hat to BlutKommendant Ansgar Blutdrache (Guitars, Vocals, Keyboards & Programming), Beserker Arnþórr Bergmann (Bass) and Marshal Vladamir Nikoli Vatutin (Lead Guitar) for their successful attempt at getting me to listen to something like this!

As you can tell from the band member names, there is a certain amount of tongue in cheek (or at least I hope there is) about The Crimson Brigade but they’ve certainly produced an interesting album. It may be one that doesn’t grace my stereo every day but I’m certainly glad to have it in the collection. Just PLEASE get a real drummer for the next album guys, at the very least someone to play live! Even a dead Vampyre playing them would be preferable!

TRACKLIST

  1. The Rise Of Evil
  2. Ghosts Of Hutgen Forest
  3. Destruction Of Louvain
  4. Blood Red Snow Of The White Death
  5. Verdun Battle Field Of The Dead
  6. Blut Red Plague
  7. Scorched Earth Holocaust (Rise Of The Beserker Blutmacht)
  8. Sacred Ground (Siege Of Budapest)

SOCIAL MEDIA

  1. https://www.facebook.com/TheCrimsonBrigade/
  2. https://thecrimsonbrigade.bandcamp.com/album/blood-battalion

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley 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.

Veil Of Delusions – Echoes of Dawn

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Veil Of Delusions – Echoes Of Dawn (2016)                                                  Running Time 46:14

Release Date 16-09-2016                                                                              Independent

Album Review by Rick Tilley

Veil Of Delusions are a young, five piece Dutch band, formed in 2015, who describe themselves broadly as Melodic Metal but thanks to many influences and styles emerging in their music you can add Symphonic and Death Metal as well. Their UK agent Matt Hopper sent me debut album ‘Echoes Of Dawn’ before Christmas but, due to my workload, this review is arriving a bit later than planned so I apologise to him and the band for the delay.

What is immediately apparent is that Veil Of Delusions are another female fronted band, although, thanks to guitarist Martin Vos, they incorporate some pretty good grunted male vocals on a regular basis as well, similar to another band I reviewed recently ‘Beyond Forgiveness’. What’s different here is that female vocalist Zoë Tilly (almost my namesake) doesn’t go down the operatic route, choosing to use her natural voice, which does make a pleasant change but, yes I’m going to get my ‘but’ out of the way early for a change, whilst Zoe does have a good voice it’s her contribution to ‘Echoes Of Dawn’ that lets it down slightly for me! Now I have seen written that she didn’t use any ‘tricks’ in the studio on her voice, which means what you hear is what she sounds like live, and if that is the case then I have to compliment her immensely. Unfortunately her delivery on some of the songs does seem a little underwhelming, almost like she is just going through the motions and some of her notes are, very slightly sharp or flat! While the rest of the band are hammering away, producing pretty catchy and lively tunes some of her vocal lines seem rushed, unoriginal and don’t really fit the overall composition and because of this many of the songs sound similar! I feel like I want to tell her to go back and try again, because it’s quite clear that Zoe has the talent to produce something excellent. I don’t want to sound like I’m being overly critical though because ‘Veil Of Delusions’ have still released a decent debut and considering this is self-produced have made it sound good within the limitations of their budget.

Intro piece ‘Echoes Of Dawn’, that is as bombastic as it sounds and which leads seamlessly into first track proper ‘War Begins’ sets the scene nicely for an album dealing with myths and battles. Guitar work, from Martin Vos and Xander ten Boden is good, the riffs are chunky and more than solid although solos are lacking, bassist Jeffrey Wennekes plugs away nicely, but it’s not always easy to pick him out and drummer Rob Reijs does his job very well indeed with some great double bass work! Put that together with the aforementioned growls of Vos, which aren’t overused but add plenty of bite and authenticity to the lyrical themes of the tracks, then Veil Of Delusions have come up with an interesting sound that bears repeated listening. In fact tracks such as ‘Together For Glory’ (which is arguably the best song on offer here), ‘The Chase’ and, the slightly more up-tempo, final track ‘They Wonder’ do start to bury themselves inside your head the more you listen!

It might be that there is an overt feeling of impending doom and sadness to Veil Of Delusions music that makes me feel like I do, especially when it comes to Zoe’s vocal delivery, or perhaps it is as something as simple as they just need more time to gel together as a band but I think that album number two is going to take them and the listener to the next level. They quite obviously have the talent to produce a fantastic album but just need to concentrate on ‘the hook’ and perhaps throwing a couple of faster songs in to break things up as well! I’m certainly going to give them full marks for the cover art though which is excellent! Definitely a band to watch out for over the next couple of years!

TRACKLIST

  1. Echoes Of Dawn
  2. War Begins
  3. Together For Glory
  4. Black Wings
  5. The Chase
  6. Desperation
  7. Across The Sky
  8. Last Generation
  9. Shadow Of Myself
  10. Fields Of Dragons
  11. They Wonder

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • http://www.veilofdelusions.com/
  • https://www.facebook.com/veilofdelusions/
  • https://twitter.com/veilofdelusions
  • https://www.instagram.com/veilofdelusions/
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EzzTL6-utzw (‘The Chase’ Official Lyric Video)

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Metal Gods TV. 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 Metal Gods TV

http://metalgodstv.com/veil-of-delusions-album-review-echoes-of-dawn

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Cage9 – Illuminator

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Cage9 – Illuminator (2016)                                      Running Time 56:11

Release Date 26/08/2016                                         EMP Label Group / Rock’N’Growl Promotion

Album Review by Rick Tilley

8.5/10

If you’ve read my intro piece on Ever Metal’s ‘Meet the Team’ page you’ll know that I’m not a big fan of all the sub genres of Rock and Metal that fly about these days! I can deal with the broader ones, but over the years they have become ever more fragmented with some music ‘fans’ becoming so insular that they won’t listen to anything unless it’s labelled with a niche genre tag. That’s a shame because you could miss out on so much that might, in fact, really move you! That’s why I’ve always tried to listen to everything regardless of how a band may be pigeon holed. As a Metalhead that lived through the 1980’s, much of what was labelled as Metal & Rock, i.e. Grunge and Nu-Metal, in the 1990’s left me cold, but that was always based on listening to a band before making a decision. I say all this because, had I just based my impressions of Cage9 on what I’ve read about them, I probably would never have REALLY listened to them!

Cage9, originally from Panama, but now based in Los Angeles have actually been around a fair while, releasing many albums and touring the US. It’s likely I’ve probably never heard of them because of the fickle nature of the music industry in the UK and the fact that ‘Illuminator’ is their debut international album release. Whatever the reason and notwithstanding the fact that Cage9 are labelled as Alt-Metal, Post Grunge and all other manner of things that might make any number of people turn their noses up, it’s quite clear from this album that Cage9 are head and shoulders above other bands of this type. ‘Illuminator’ is a hugely satisfying listen, full of captivating and extremely catchy tracks and performed by a band who knows exactly what they want to sound like…oh and it rocks big time! If Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson loves them enough to sign them to his label then you need to sit up and take notice!

Founding member, vocalist and guitarist Evan Rodaniche has a fantastic voice and sings his heart out on these thirteen tracks, whether that be on full on tracks such as ‘Everything You Love Will Someday Die’, which is almost Thrash in its execution, or on more melodic tracks such as current single ‘Oscuro’ which is haunting. There really isn’t a track here that fails to sound huge but that could also, quite easily, be played on the radio and that is an envious position to be in. Yes, it’s clear that the 90’s has been a big influence on these four guys but there is also an undercurrent of 80’s Metal and Rock, which might be small, but it elevates Cage9’s material to the next level and makes it really exciting to my ears! They’ve managed to collect all their influences into one big pot and produce an album that, regardless of style, sounds like Cage9 and I’m really surprised this band aren’t huge, especially in the States!

Guitarist Brian Sumwalt, drummer Leslie Wyatt and bassist Matt Borowski along with Rodaniche, are not only great musicians but make everything sound alive and real, their vocal harmonies are fantastic, lyrics are thought provoking and the production, which was also handled by Rodaniche, is fabulous. It is very gratifying to listen to tracks such as ‘Open The Sky’, ‘Starry Eyes’, ‘Aleatoricsism’ or ‘Take Back Tomorrow’ with their commercial, almost pop feel, but know the band haven’t once sold out because each one hits you like a trip hammer. ‘Illuminator’ is an album and Cage9 a band that should teach each and every Rock fan out there never to judge a book by its cover. I’m really looking forward to discovering their back catalogue because if any of it is half as good as this album then I’m going to be a happy Rick!

TRACKLIST

  1. Open The Sky
  2. Gallows
  3. Starry Eyes
  4. Everything You Love Will Someday Die
  5. Oscuro
  6. Black Horse
  7. Death Of A Dragon
  8. Aleatoricsism
  9. Birds Of Prey
  10. Martyr
  11. Ghost
  12. Illuminator
  13. Take Back Tomorrow

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley 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.

Change of Heart – Last Tiger

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Change Of Heart – Last Tiger (2016)                                                          Running Time 44:23

Release Date 22-7-2016                                                                                 Escape Music

Album Review by Rick Tilley

9/10

Can someone please tell me, for the love of god, why I have never heard of UK Melodic Rock/AOR band Change Of Heart before? As you probably know I listen to a stack of different genres of Rock & Metal but, when I’m in a quieter mood, bands such as Survivor, Journey, Foreigner, FM, Ten, Pride Of Lions, Europe, Chicago and even early Michael Bolton (before he turned into a housewives favourite) are some of my favourites, in fact the list is endless of more popular and lesser known bands playing in this genre that have graced my stereo over the last 35 years. Yes, I’m a sucker for great melodies, soaring guitar & keyboard solos and heart rending ballads, I always have been, always will be and the reason I’m telling you this is because ‘Last Tiger’, the fourth album from Change Of Heart, with the exception of the sublime FM, contains some of the best British AOR that I’ve heard for a long while!

Change Of Heart released their debut album in 1998 with guest appearances from Chris Ousey and Steve Morris of Heartland, then played a gig at The ‘Gods’ Festival which raised their profile considerably (but obviously not as far as me)! Since then they have released a further two albums, the last being in 2005, so it has been some years since there has been any new material. When researching Change Of Heart it seems, to most that have written about them, that the band had quietly disappeared and nobody was expecting a new album but in the summer of 2016 they reappeared with ‘Last Tiger’.

Vocalist/Guitarist and founding member Alan Clark was the person who contacted me asking if I could review the album and I’m extremely glad he did. As far as I know Alan is the only original member in the current line-up of Change Of Heart but this is one of the most professional sounding albums I’ve heard in the genre for years, the production is nigh on perfect (it was produced and mixed by Paul Hume, of the band Lawless, who also plays guitar and supplies backing vocals on the album) and the songs…well the songs are fantastic. Obviously the gap between albums has given Alan the chance to perfect these compositions but there is no doubt he is an extremely talented guy. ‘Last Tiger’ is full of hard hitting Melodic Rockers and gorgeous Ballads and had this album been released in the 1980’s it would have done very well indeed!

Opener ‘Rise To The Challenge’ does just that and gets the album off to a great start. Immediately noticeable, apart from the crystal clear sound, are Alan’s vocals which are excellent. He has the perfect voice for Melodic Rock with power and grit but able to mix between that and a softer voice. He also has great range and sings in tune (something which a lot of vocalists fail to do). Lead guitarist Nick Catterick is also fantastic. His riffs are powerful and chunky with well worked out solos reminding me of Kee Marcello and current FM member Jim Kirkpatrick. He leaves space where space needs to be left and doesn’t bombard you with hundreds of notes a second! After the up-tempo ‘Wayward Son’ next track ‘Roads of My Life’ slows things down nicely and reminded me of ‘Corridors Of Power’ era Gary Moore with a riff that is reminiscent of a slowed down ‘Kayleigh’ by Marillion. ‘March Of The Souls’ is a completely different kettle of fish though. It’s probably the hardest hitting track on ‘Last Tiger’ and is heavily influenced by the band Dio! It begins with an almost ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ intro and kicks in from there with Alan’s phrasing being distinctly Ronnie James in style. It’s an excellent track and one, I imagine, a young Vivian Campbell would have been very happy to write! ‘Holy Days’ has a great Whitesnake feel, ‘Hold Onto Love’ is a gorgeous ballad and the title track has classic Bryan Adams written all over it!

Let’s be completely honest here, Change Of Heart aren’t re-inventing the wheel with their music, nothing on ‘Last Tiger’ is original but damn, do they do it well. Anyway, fans of this genre don’t want experimentation, they want to hear the tried and tested formula being played with passion and skill and Change Of Heart manage that effortlessly. It would be remiss of me to not mention the rest of the band so John Sykes (Keyboards/Vocals), Jeff Hopkins (Bass/Vocals) and guest drummer Sam Ogden please take a bow!

‘Last Tiger’ is a joy to listen to from start to finish, Change Of Heart should quite rightly be much bigger than they are and I’m extremely happy that my first official review for Ever Metal has been so gratifying to write!

TRACKLIST

  1. Rise To The Challenge
  2. Wayward Son
  3. Roads Of My Life
  4. March Of The Souls
  5. Holy Days
  6. Touch Your Soul
  7. Hold Onto Love
  8. Last Tiger
  9. Stone Cold (In Your Eyes)
  10. Silent Rage
  11. Only Tomorrow

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley 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.

Sacrilege – six6six

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Album Review by Rick Tilley

9 OUT OF 10

Release Date 03/07/2015                                                              Pure Steel Records

As it’s over a year since I’ve written anything about Sacrilege, and that was for a different website, I’m going to update you all briefly on their history before getting onto the latest studio album. This Sacrilege were formed in 1982 by guitarist/vocalist Bill Beadle and they should not be confused with the female fronted Thrash band of the same name who appeared in 1984! Having recorded a demo in 1983 it was sent to The David Jensen TV Show by Bill’s Dad where Sacrilege were picked from thousands of entries as one of six new bands to perform on the show and compete for best new band of 1983. Sacrilege duly turned up to record their particular episode and found themselves performing alongside U2 and The Stranglers who had also been booked to play! Their performance got plenty of exposure and Sacrilege went back into the studio to record the demo album ‘Gates Of Hell which was then followed by a UK Tour including a final date at the legendary Marquee Club in London. Unfortunately, and as was the case so many times during the 80’s, the initial interest didn’t flourish and after slogging away Sacrilege called it a day in 1987 and Bill stopped playing completely!

Twenty years later Bill decided it was time to give things another go and re-recorded much of the old material as well as writing new songs. Since then Sacrilege have released several very good but low key albums, all of which are available at the bands website and are well worth getting! There have also been several line-up changes but in 2015 they signed a deal with Pure Steel Records to release a ‘Best of’ album entitled ‘Ashes To Ashes’ and ‘six6six’ which is the new studio album. I reviewed the compilation album and was due to review this as well but my enforced layoff meant I was unable to do so when the album was originally released. I’m here now to put that record straight and tell you all what a great band Sacrilege are and how, in ‘six6six’ they’ve managed to release the best album of their career!

Ever since first hearing this band in 1983 I’ve always thought they had a unique sound. Mixing the proto Doom of early Black Sabbath, NWOBHM and 1980’s Goth is no mean feat and there isn’t another band around, whom I’ve heard, who do it as well as Sacrilege. ‘Death March six6six’ starts the album off in menacing fashion, being a short but sharp atmospheric and doom laden intro which segues into first track proper ‘Welcome To The Dragons Den’! This is thumptastically old-school Heavy Metal with great riff, chorus, and fingers flying at high speed during the solo. A great way to begin and a sweetener for next track ‘Lucifer’s Soldier’s. This is much slower and laced with doom, a chugging riff overlaid with vocals placed somewhere between Ozzy and early Candlemass. ‘In Hell’ is next and is an even more despairing and bleak tale which pays a huge homage to the song ‘Black Sabbath’ with Bill excelling in the vocal department. It is also my favourite track on the album!’six6six’continues in this fashion, switching between Doom and mid paced Metal monsters. ’I Can’t Die’ and ‘Eyes Of The Lord’ also stand out amidst an album of highlights. Closing with a reprise of the opening ‘Death March’ brings ‘six6six’full circle to a very satisfying climax!

Sacrilege have always been a fabulous live band outstripping what they do in the studio but now that this line-up has been stable for a couple of years with the band gigging regularly around the UK and further afield ‘six6six’ boasts a sound that is the nearest I’ve heard to what they recreate live. Bill, Neil Turnbull (Drums), Jeff Rolland (Bass) and Tony Vanner (Guitar) are all excellent musicians and that togetherness is really starting to pay off in a studio setting. To add to this the album is excellently produced and mixed and the cover artwork (which seems almost a companion piece to the compilation album) is brilliantly dark and once again brings to mind early Candlemass albums.

Sacrilege definitely deserve their time to shine and for you to miss out on either their albums, especially this one, or seeing them in a live setting would be a criminal offence. I’ve also been lucky enough to chat with Bill on many occasions over the last couple of years and you really couldn’t wish to meet a nicer gentleman. In 2017 if you see their name on a gig or festival poster make the effort to go and see them and say Hi! You won’t regret it. I’m also itching to see if there is going to be a new studio album because if ‘six6six’is anything to go by the next one could well be a monster!

TRACKLIST

  • Death March six6six
  • Welcome To The Dragon’s Den
  • Lucifer’s Soldier’s
  • In Hell
  • Sanctuary
  • Forever After
  • I Can’t Die
  • Paranoia
  • Eyes Of The Lord Prologue
  • Eyes Of The Lord
  • Death March six6six Reprise

MEMBERS

  • Bill Beadle – Vocals/Guitar
  • Neil Turnbull – Drums
  • Jeff Rolland – Bass
  • Tony Vanner – Guitar

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley 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.