Hammerforce – Access Denied

Hammerforce Access Denied

Hammerforce – ‘Access Denied’ (2013)

Running Time 51:00

Released 2013 on Metalism Records

9/10 – Review By Rick Tilley

THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN AND FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2014 ALTHOUGH I HAVE NOW GIVEN THE ALBUM A SCORE OUT OF TEN.

Hammerforce have returned with their sophomore album ‘Access Denied’ and for anyone unfamiliar with their sound and who has to have a genre tag, I have taken it upon myself to give them the title ‘Twisted Power Metal’. Hailing from St. Petersburg in Russia, Hammerforce are one of a handful of bands, I can think of, who are breathing fresh life into the power metal genre and if you crave something a little bit different then these guys come highly recommended!

Why do I call them twisted? Well, they are essentially an extremely good power metal band at heart, and possess all the good elements of that genre in spades. Soaring vocals, powerhouse drumming and bass runs with fantastic guitar work, but…where they stand out from legions of other bands is in the keyboard department. ‘Nikita Merzlyakov’ delivers some quite stunning work. If you can imagine synth work in an almost dance/trance style mixed with classic power metal you’ll find something that really shouldn’t work, or so I keep telling myself, but in actual fact adds an outstanding clash of styles, especially for a huge fan of the genre, like myself.

The album kicks off with ‘I Am I’ and leaves you in no doubt that this is going to be a pretty special listen. Picking out individual tracks is pointless though, because most of them follow a similar pattern, although that doesn’t mean they all sound alike, far from it. There are some great melodies and choruses contained here that will have fans of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind and Dragonforce jumping and headbanging for all that they are worth. There are also elements of classic metal bands such as Judas Priest, so anyone who thinks I’ve lost my mind will very definitely know what side of the fence Hammerforce sit on. Fantastically produced, mixed and mastered by Nikita at his own studio, and with artwork and booklet to put much bigger bands to shame, ‘Access Denied’ is nine tracks (plus two bonus cuts sung in Russian) of awesome catchy metal that should really see the ‘Hammerforce’ name spoken by many more people in the coming months. Check out their website, which gives you access to lots of free songs and see what you’ve been missing!

Hammerforce

NOTE:

It looks like it has been very quiet on Hammerforce Social Media for quite a while now, which is unfortunate, but I wanted to share the review again because “Access Denied” is such a good album and deserves to be heard.

Rick – November 2017

Track List –

  • 01 I Am I
  • 02 Templates For All
  • 03 Wasted
  • 04 Mass Media
  • 05 Fugitive
  • 06 Earth Is On Trial
  • 07 No Place For The Old Men
  • 08 Reflections
  • 09 Access Denied

Links –

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce any part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Neverworld – Visions Of Another World

Visions Of Another World Cover

Neverworld – Visions Of Another World

Running Time 57:27

Released 2014

Dream Demon Recordings/Self Released

9/10

Album Review By Rick Tilley

 

THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN AND FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2014

I am honoured to be one of the first people to listen to and review the debut album ‘Visions Of Another World’ from Progressive NWOTHM Metal band Neverworld. I know there are a lot of people who have been pulling their hair out waiting for this so I’ll not beat around the bush, are you ready everyone…Forget the bubblegum, this CD kicks ass BIG TIME!! Neverworld have delivered a rip roaring and emotional nine songs of metal magic and fantasy spread over nearly an hour and I still fail to understand why they have not been snapped up by a record label! Hopefully with this release, and the exposure it will undoubtedly bring, Neverworld will be able to hold their collective heads up high and say “We have arrived!”

Opening with the ticking of a clock and gorgeous orchestration, the instrumental ‘Tempus’ sets the scene wonderfully. This leads headlong into the title track riff and we’re off on our Neverworld journey of discovery. When vocalist and guitarist Ben Colton kicks in with his trademark thundering scream the Cheshire cat grin on my face was huge. Not only is this track heavy it has wonderful melody, a sublime chorus and immense guitar solos courtesy of Colton and fellow axe master Jack Foster. Believe me these two make an outstanding team. Couple that with the fabulous bass work of Gary Payne, drumming of Mike Vaughan and keyboard wizardry of Daniel Potter and you’ve got a super talented bunch here! Not content with this amazing opening salvo the guys then lead in, almost immediately, to arguably their best known song and anthem ‘They Live’. If you’re already a fan of the band then you’ll know what an absolutely mighty track this is. Instantly recognisable as giving Neverworld their signature sound it is one of those songs that will be remembered long after I’m gone! ‘Blood & Romance’ is up next, a near perfect 10 minutes of emotional impact that introduces us to sublime female guest vocalist Christina Gajny. Her voice compliments Ben’s superbly and she puts a lot of more well known female singers to shame! Without pause for breath the titanic riff of ‘Ghosts’ comes next and also what I think is Ben’s crowning moment vocally on the album. He absolutely nails the singing with enough power to split an atom!

I could go on telling you how good these tracks are. ‘The Wheel Of Misfortune’, ‘Eminent Reprisal’, ‘Salt Water Bandits’ (with guitar work that gives me goose bumps) and final song ‘This Fire’, which comes full circle and leads back into the ticking clock, are all utterly superb, the quality of writing, lyrics and musicianship is outstanding and you would be correct in thinking I’m just a little bit in love with this band. As far as influences go then think Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Gamma Ray, Judas Priest, Sonata Arctica, Iced Earth and Blind Guardian amongst others i.e. some of my favourites which is probably why this works so well for me!

Of course, I always try to be completely honest when reviewing and if there is one (only very slight) weak point, it’s in the production. Mike’s snare drum could definitely do with being higher in the mix, especially on the heavier numbers as it can get a bit lost, and on a couple of occasions Daniel’s keyboards come through a little too loudly, but you also have to remember that Neverworld do not have the resources to employ Mr ‘Uber’ Producer and this whole album has been produced by themselves. With that in mind, I sort of feel bad even mentioning it!

At the end of the day, for a debut album, this is nothing short of blissful to listen to and I’m utterly stoked for the guys that they’ve released something this good because they deserve nothing less. Artwork and CD booklet are also of extremely high quality, damn, I know how hard they’ve worked on this and it shows. It’s only March and I have yet another contender for my top five albums. Get ready everyone because Neverworld are here to stay!!

Neverworld photo courtesy of Sally Newhouse

TRACKLIST

  • 1. Tempus
  • 2. Visions Of Another World
  • 3. They Live
  • 4. Blood And Romance
  • 5. Ghosts
  • 6. Wheel Of Misfortune
  • 7. Eminent Reprisal
  • 8. Salt Water Bandits
  • 9. This Fire

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

31c Neverworld Promo Pic

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

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

NitroVolt – Pänzer

29a Panzer Cover

NitroVolt – Pänzer (2014)

Running Time 32:51

Release Date 12-08-2014

Mausoleum Records/Rock N Growl Promotion

Album Review by Rick Tilley

8/10

‘NitroVolt’…For some reason I really like that name, and after listening to their second album ‘Pänzer’ there is also a lot to like about this German band. NitroVolt ply their trade in a variety of genres, namely Speedrock, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Punk, Hardcore and a little bit of Thrash. Take ‘Motorhead’, add liberal doses of ‘Airbourne’, Rose Tattoo and ‘AC/DC’ (after they’ve been smoking some good weed) and mix together with a little ‘Warfare’ and ‘Septic Death’ and what you get is a completely unpretentious thirty minutes of fun!

NitroVolt  have been around, in one form or another, since 2004. They have toured relentlessly and built a following the hard way. In 2011 they were rewarded with a record deal (IHP Records) and released their debut album ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Commando’. to favourable comments. Unfortunately the record company folded and the owners disappeared leaving the band high and dry. Undeterred, they forged ahead, and where many bands would have packed it in NitroVolt persevered, and have now signed a deal with Mausoleum.

‘Pänzer’ kicks off with the speedy ‘Pay The Price’, and at just under two minutes it leaves you in no doubt as to what this album is all about. Dirty, sweaty and alcohol soaked rock music with loads of catchy tunes and some great guitar work (Phil Campbell from Motorhead would be proud of some of these solos). Tracks follow swiftly with barely a chance to take breath. ‘Twisted Shot Of Booze’, ‘Hardröck Queen’, ‘Rock It Out’ and ‘Hail Hail’ all bristle with energy. At first you might be a little put off by the vocal scream/bark of singer and guitarist ‘Tom Krämer’ (NitroTom), but after a few listens it all makes sense. NitroVolt’s lineup is completed by ‘Tim Vader’ (NitroTim) on guitars, ‘Luciano Vanini’ (Louis Nitrovolt) on bass and ‘Shockstar’ on drums who all play with the required amount of filth. Everything sounds great production wise but I reckon seeing these guys live would make for a great evening out, although you might need an extra long cold shower afterwards!

There are thousands of bands around and many of them are releasing long, story driven albums or similar. I have nothing against that, but once in a while I just like to get back to basics, open a beer, let my hair down and listen to some unadulterated heavy rock ‘n’ roll and NitroVolt fit that bill very nicely thanks.

TRACK LISTING

  • 1. Pay the Price
  • 2. Rock It Out
  • 3. Don’t Let Go
  • 4. Twisted Shot of Booze
  • 5. Lie to You
  • 6. Into the Night
  • 7. Hardröck Queen
  • 8. Going Down
  • 9. Born to Love
  • 10. Get Rid
  • 11. So You Die
  • 12. Hail Hail

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

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

Originally written for Brutiful Metal Radio in 2014 and reproduced here with their kind permission

Unhoped – Nuclear Death EP

08b Nuclear Death Cover

Unhoped – Nuclear Death EP

Running Time 19:25

Violent Journey Records

EP Review by Rick Tilley

8.5/10

I have a question for you Dear Readers! Do you love any of the following bands; Slayer, Kreator, Possessed, Venom, Warfare, Exciter, Sodom, Destruction, Nuclear Assault, Exodus or Obituary? If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you are going to love ‘Nuclear Death’ the new EP from Unhoped because it is Thrash/Death excellence! Hailing from Finland (how many good bands can possibly come from this country?), and formed in 2007 Unhoped already have a Demo EP (‘First Blood’) and full length debut album (‘Die Harder’) to their name, both of which have received a very positive response, and now they are signed to Violent Journey Records are hoping to take the next step with ‘Nuclear Death’. If they don’t achieve that then there is no justice because all five tracks on this EP kick some serious butt!

There is no hanging around with this band. Opener ‘Pestilence’ punches you in the guts within seconds and for the next 20 minutes vocalist ‘J. Luostarinen’, guitarists ‘K. Laanto’ and ‘A. Paasu’, bassist ‘S. Parviainen and last, but not least, drummer ‘M. Huisko’ repeatedly pound you into a bloody submission with their brutality until you are a crumpled heap on the floor! Unhoped recreate the feel of the classic bands whilst still managing to sound current and relevant and even though you shouldn’t expect heaps of originality, what you will get is a band who know how to write a great song and infuse that with enough melody and change of pace to make them more than memorable once the music has ceased and you recover your breath! Even the blast beats (not one of my favourite things) sound right because they aren’t used constantly. Add to that a production and mix which could probably crumble concrete and you have a band that any self respecting thrash or death fan should check out immediately!

TRACKLIST

  • 1. Pestilence
  • 2. Modern State Of Sodomy
  • 3. Eternal Infernal
  • 4. Empire Of Lies
  • 5. Nuclear Death

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

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

First published on Brutiful Metal Radio. Reprinted here with kind permission

 

Walkway – Top Shelf Content

Layout 1

Walkway – Top Shelf Content

Running Time 51:57

Released December 2012

Independent

Album Review by Rick Tilley

9/10

Walkway are a Classic Rock band whose name has been cropping up on my radar regularly over the last few months, with some very positive comments, so there was a good level of anticipation when loading their debut album ‘Top Shelf Content’ into my CD player for the first time! So the question is have they justified all the hype? My answer is unequivocally yes! Formed in Diss, United Kingdom in 2008, and influenced by bands such as Van Halen, Aerosmith & AC/DC they have literally not stopped since, gigging almost constantly and building a great live reputation on the way, including supporting ‘The Darkness & Black Stone Cherry in 2012. This album is a culmination of all that hard work and hopefully a springboard to launch Walkway, deservedly, to much bigger and better things.

‘Top Shelf Content’ kicks off with ‘One Touch Too Much’ and straight away you are hit by the quality of musicianship and catchiness of the song, something that doesn’t let up for the whole album. Musically the influence of the above named bands is recognisable, but I would like to add a few more to the table. Imagine Tyketto, Little Angels, Giant & Tesla mashed together and that would be a good start. Bass player Alex Rosedale & drummer Joe Evans make a great rhythm section, holding everything together nicely and powering the songs along. However, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chris Ready and brother lead guitarist James Ready have to take credit for elevating this band above the norm. Chris has a great voice with just the right amount of gravel, but that can be as smooth as silk when needed. As for James, well his guitar solos are seriously impressive and remind me very much of Giant’s Dan Huff in places. Tracks such as ‘Overrated’, ‘Life Is Looking Good (To Me)’, ‘Rise’ and ‘More Than Enough’ have enough hooks to reel you in completely and believe me the air guitar and drums take a good battering when listening to this. There are also several quieter songs which hit the mark. ‘Thank You’ will have you raising your lighter and waving your arms high. Production is also very well handled, although for the type of rock that Walkway play, I did think the mix was a little bit too clean. A bit more rawness next time round would be welcomed, although of course that is just my opinion.

Another band that are criminally unsigned, Walkway have delivered a fantastic debut album that really should make people sit up and take notice. There is no way ‘Top Shelf Content’ is going to stay on the top shelf (or any other shelf) for that matter as I suspect many places will be sold out before long.

 

TRACKLIST

  • 1. One Touch Too Much
  • 2. More Than Enough
  • 3. On And On
  • 4. Overrated
  • 5. Life Is Looking Good (To Me)
  • 6. In And Out Of Love
  • 7. Take A Back Seat
  • 8. All I Want
  • 9. Wasted Time
  • 10. Get Out
  • 11. Rise
  • 12. Thank You

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

 

Top Shelf Content Back

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Brutiful Metal Radio. 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 Brutiful Metal Radio

Originally written for Brutiful Metal Radio in 2013

DGM – Momentum

06c Momentum Front Cover

DGM – Momentum (2013)

Running Time 56:04

Release Date 26-03-2013

Scarlet Records

Album Review By Rick Tilley

10/10

Question! When is a very good album NOT a very good album?

Answer! When it’s so bloody brilliant as to render that description completely useless!

DGM’s eighth album ‘Momentum’ has quite literally sprung from nowhere to go straight to the top of my list of best albums for 2013 and it is going to take something of seismic proportions to knock it off that spot. Considering the amount and variety of music I’ve reviewed and listened to already this year, that is really quite a statement, but this is sheer quality and class from start to finish. I’m already on about my twelfth listen, it gets better each time and the goose bumps are ever present.

What makes it so special? Well firstly it’s not just a case of ‘Momentum’ being ‘all killer and no filler’ but every song from opener ‘Reason’ to album closer ‘Blame’ is so utterly stunning that a new word for killer needs to be thought of! To my ears every note is nigh on in perfectly the right place. Vocals, melodies, choruses, solos (keyboard and guitar), tempo, time changes; bass & drums, absolutely everything has been given the Midas touch! Sometimes, the stars align with my eardrums and that is what has happened here. Mark Basile (vocals), Simone Mularoni (guitars), Andrea Arcangeli (bass), Emanuele Casali (keyboards) and Fabio Costantino (drums) have quite simply created a masterpiece and you cannot get the smile off of my face when listening to ‘Momentum’.

DGM have long been regarded as one of the best Prog Metal bands around, although they have never reached the same level of success as Symphony X or Pagan’s Mind. Those bands better watch out though because, whilst the previous albums of DGM that I’ve heard have been very good, ‘Momentum’ takes it into the stratosphere. In fact they couldn’t have picked a better name for the album. As if to prove that those two bands are sitting up and taking notice ‘Russell Allen’ (Symphony X/Adrenaline Mob) and ‘Jorn Viggo Lofstad’ (Pagan’s Mind) make stunning guest appearances on this album to add an even further layer of brilliance. Those of you that read my reviews on Brutiful or elsewhere know that I do not heap praise on an album lightly! I also don’t give scores at this site, but if I did, and to quote an often used line from Spinal Tap, “This one goes up to eleven”!

Note – Added 11/06/2017

As you know I now give scores and I’ve somewhat shot myself in the foot by saying above that I’d give this album an eleven, however, I have absolutely no problem with giving it full marks because, even four years on, ‘Momentum’ absolutely kills! I shall also be reviewing their recently released live album ‘Passing Stages, Live In Milan And Atlanta’ very soon!

TRACKLIST

  • 1. Reason
  • 2. Trust
  • 3. Universe
  • 4. Numb
  • 5. Pages
  • 6. Repay
  • 7. Chaos
  • 8. Remembrance
  • 9. Overlord
  • 10. Void
  • 11. Blame

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

06e DGM Band Pic2

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Brutiful Metal Radio. 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 Brutiful Metal Radio

Originally written for Brutiful Metal Radio in 2013

Lifer – Cursing Them Out

03c Cursing Them Out Cover

Lifer – Cursing Them Out (2011)

Running Time 46:57

Release Date 01-03-2011

Independent/House Of Doom

Album Review by Rick Tilley

9/10

Do you love Down, Pantera, Clutch & Sabbath? Do you live for Thrash, Groove & Southern Metal with a dash of Hardcore, Punk & Death? If the answer to any of these is yes, indeed if you just love Heavy ‘fucking’ Metal then you need Lifer! If you’ve yet to hear this band, who come from South Wales (no they aren’t from the States, although you wouldn’t know that from listening to them), then be prepared because they will be hunting you down and bludgeoning you until your face bleeds.

Originally released in 2011 ‘Cursing You Out’, Lifer’s debut album is one huge beast, which actually strains not to escape from your stereo as you play it. From the first notes and scream of opener ‘Curse You Out’ you know you are listening to something special. Every song is filled with enough hooks to make ‘Hellraiser’ look like a kids film, the vocals and lyrics of lead singer ‘Scriv’ demand attention from the off (Anselmo really does have some serious competition with this guy), everything is beautifully produced (the quality is amazing for an independent), there is some fabulous guitar work and drumming on offer, it’s heavy as lead, but with melody and emotion in abundance. Lifer are a product of their collective upbringings and that knowledge has stood them in good stead when writing these songs. There are no standout tracks because the whole album is full of them, ‘Bring It Down’, ‘Loss’, ‘Long Time Dead’, ‘Broken Bones’ & ‘Goathead’. Once you hear these they will be firmly embedded in your withered skull!

Lifer gig relentlessly in the UK, also playing on some major festival bills including Hammerfest and have recently supported Orange Goblin to excellent pres. They have many more shows in the pipeline as well as getting ready to release album number two. I know how good these guys are live because I witnessed them destroy Bloodstock Festival’s ‘New Blood Tent’ in 2011, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing them again next month. 2013 is going to be a big year for Lifer. Any doubters should quickly retreat. I may not be the first person to review this but I’ll be on the front line shouting “I told you so” when this band take off. Simply immense!

TRACKLIST

  • 1. Curse Them Out
  • 2. Nothing Left To Lose
  • 3. Bring It Down
  • 4. Reach
  • 5. Loss
  • 6. Broken Bones
  • 7. Goathead
  • 8. Long Time Dead
  • 9. Raging Waters
  • 10. Embrace The Madness

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Band Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Brutiful Metal Radio. 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 Brutiful Metal Radio

Originally written for Brutiful Metal Radio in 2013