Soulwound: The Suffering

Soulwound: The Suffering
Inverse Records.
Release Date: 11/09/2020
Running Time: 48:10
Reviewed by Tammy Lomax
9/10

Hello lovely people. Today I have the amazing privilege to review Soulwound’s new album “The Suffering” which was released in September via Inverse Records. It’s the third album from Soulwound, who formed in the 90’s, and come from a small village called Myllykoski, Kouvola, in Finland. They offer fast, brutal aggressive metal with a hint of old school.

Their motto (which I love) is “fuck what anyone else thinks”, and to be fair, it is spot on. One thing I’ve learned in my life is, it’s human error to judge. We don’t even realise we do it sometimes, but we do.

Personally, my family never really understood my passion for metal music. My mother calls it the ‘Devil’s Music’, which I accept, as it’s her opinion. Doesn’t mean I agree though! Nor will I waste energy debating to try change her mind. Instead, I’ll go sailing in my music bubble boat, ready to press play on this album.

‘The Waste Of Life’ opens the album. There’s definitely some suspense, and my instincts screamed at me that something was coming. As the track developed, I found myself waiting for the unknown. I’ve never heard any Soulwound until now, so I had no idea what to expect. Then BOOM! Absolutely crazy fast, they launch some meaty guitar solos into the mix, along with gut erupting vocals. Oh! I may not have known what to expect but by this point, I felt extremely excited.

Wasting no time at all, track ‘Ritual Cleansing’ appears. The drums made me dribble, they were so incredibly intense and fast. Wow these guys have some huge balls that’s for sure. My face felt like it had been set on fire! I was barely inside the album and had already started jumping about like a chicken who’d lost its head! This track had got me thinking, “I am unsure if I will be mentally sound after listening to this album in its entirety!”

The next track, ‘Pleasures’, is perfectly placed. I REALLY enjoyed the deep doomy gloomy vibes here. Vocalist IIkka Valkonen’s range and variations have me in absolute awe. It’s a weighty 6 min track, with some belting guitar work, especially when the solo comes flooding in. Why have I only just now heard of these fellas?! ‘The Cult Of I’ follows this, and you really feel their passion in it. They are drip feeding us bit by bit throughout the album, adding something a little extra, something a bit different, totally opposite to ramming it all in straight away.

‘Meat Puppets’ keeps the consistency going after ‘Hivemind’, however it’s more together than ‘Hivemind’. I am not lying though, when I tell you I kept running out of breath as I listened. I just kept getting smashed repeatedly, it’s absolutely relentless!

I couldn’t have begged harder for, or been happier, when ‘This Hatred’ arrived. It gave me just a moment to take everything in, because ‘Error In The System’ broke me a little. I am astounded that a band has managed to do this to me! They literally are the full pudding. Well, for a few moments anyway, before they slaughter you up all over again. You can’t deny that these guys fit their own personal mould. They are literally peeing on everything, claiming ownership.

The last tracks on this monster album are ‘Apex Parasite’ and ‘Death Of The Sun’. And they literally left me speechless, I no longer have any words! They do calm it down massively at the start of the final track, but they make it work. I actually preferred this after what I’d just gone through. I felt all sway-ey and black metal-y with ‘Death Of The Sun’. However, I got a feeling they would close the album the same way they opened it, and I wasn’t wrong! Around 6 mins in, I was getting bashed to hell again 😅 I contemplated taking a break, just to go put my face in a bucket of ice!

Well, what can I say?! That was intense. All hell broke loose in my lounge. Soulwound’s music is created and crafted by guys who know what they like and know exactly how to bring it. They mention “It will probably take repeated listens to take in all the details embedded in the songs” I see no problems with this statement, I have stored it into my playlist anyway, y’know, so I can do all that to myself again!

‘The Suffering’ seems to me to be an evolution of Soulwound’s journey. Go and check them out.

And one final thought. Let’s be more accepting of others liking different things. Don’t make anyone feel outcast because they like a particular something that you don’t. One day in the future, humanity will accept others, regardless of race, religion, likes, or dislikes. Let’s carry each other. ❤🖤

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Waste Of Life.
02. Ritual Cleansing.
03. Pleasures.
04. The Cult Of I.
05. Hivemind.
06. Meat Puppets.
07. Error In The System.
08. This Hatred.
09. Apex Parasite.
10. Death Of The Sun.

LINE – UP:
IIkka Valkonen – Vocals.
Niko Huusari – Guitars.
Mikko Huusari – Guitars.
Join Järvenmäki – Bass.
Janne Huusari – Drums.

LINKS:

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

Spreading the Disease – Mindcell EP

Mindcell Cover

Spreading the Disease – Mindcell EP
Surgery Records
Release Date: 11/04/2019
Running Time: 24:38
Review by Paul Monkhouse
7.5/10

Kent metallers Spreading The Disease have been pushing envelopes since first forming at the end of 2014 with their own unique blend of in your face aggression counterbalanced by real hooks. Their latest release is another progression and shows them stretching themselves as they delve deep into the dark world of mental health, spawning five thematically linked tracks that manage to convey more in five songs and 25 minutes than most bands do in a decade.

It’s really a case of put the EP on, sit back and be prepared to be torn apart as not only is it a devastating sonic attack but an emotional one too with lyrics that seem to peer into lost souls and convey all that this, at time of writing, Mental Health Awareness Week speaks about. It is both cathartic and consuming.

The blistering ‘Obsession’ opens with a sledgehammer intensity, the guitars and drums brutal and the vocals screamed. As this slips into the melodic section, the lyrics asking “Am I all that you want me to be / or should I just go in for myself, break my chains and be free?” perfectly mirror the conflict between despair and determination. Later in the song there is a very telling line that points at social media, exposing the dangers of living your life through the fragile medium of how many ‘likes’ you get for a post and how other people’s approval matters much more than it should. Whilst all this is going on the music is nothing less than truly face melting and fierce.

We go further into the psychological as the discordant notes and unsettling whispers at the start of ‘Voices’ give way to some gentle singing before tearing into tormented screams. This really is a rollercoaster ride as the track jumps between full on metal and great melodic passages, once more illustrating the theme of split personalities in the song. Swirling rhythms build beautifully amongst the grinding guitars and epic, fast-paced drums. ‘The Anger Inside’ starts with a siren as a riff like a rampaging gorilla absolutely tears out of the speakers. The twisted reference to The Sound of Music classic ‘Favourite Things’ is a great touch and the song seethes and boils over with a barely under control aggression.

Following that is album highlight, ‘Waves’, the most melodic and hopeful track of the release. With its mix of screams and ringing guitar patterns it has a real punch whilst also melodically and lyrically uplifting, the lines ‘The path will be long / but I’ll find a way’ the brightest moment on the EP. There is a latter heavy passage that recalls some of the work by The Big 4 and the whole track is full of textures and layers. Last song ‘Conflicted’ is a monstrous rip-roaring finish, full of snarling guitars and slowly unhinging vocals it couldn’t have been a more breathless or apt end to the recording.

There is huge ambition with this release and truth be told, this very occasionally exceeds what the band are presently capable of but there really is so much to sink your teeth into and the songs themselves are real growers. Another very minor point is that once or twice the ‘clean’ vocals could be a little stronger but there is a real level of intelligence here that makes Spreading the Disease stand apart from peers and this is without doubt another massive leap up for the five-piece. Founder member and bass player Steve Saunders and his bandmates have worked hard on making “Mindcell” what it is and should be proud of the achievement as they resolutely do things their way, the band having created something that should find a home in the collections of many a metalhead. Brutal and brave, “Mindcell” needs to be heard.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Obsession
02. Voices
03. The Anger Inside
04. Waves
05. Conflicted

LINKS:
https://www.stdband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/spreadingthedisease.official/

https://www.instagram.com/spreadingthediseaseband/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC78r7Ox1gVNPs4xtc5Us7zQ/videos

 

Promo Pic1

 

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

Behind The Smokescreen – Scars Within EP

Scars Within Cover

Behind The Smokescreen – Scars Within EP
Unsigned
Release Date: 01/06/2018
Running Time: 23:01
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

One thing we are proud of at Ever Metal is the diversity and range of music that we review. My last three reviews couldn’t have been any more different if I tried. I have gone from a progressive rock band to a 60’s/70’s influenced psychedelic band and now to this new EP from Greek band Behind The Smokescreen, an Aggressive / Groove metal outfit.

Formed in Ioannina, Greece, in 2013, the band is made up of Nikonas Tsolakos on vocals, Nasos Drougas on rhythm guitars and backing vocals, Kyriakos Magdalis on drums, Evaggelos Roukos on bass and Dimitris Lucas on lead guitars. The EP was mixed and mastered at Crown Audio Conspiracies by Achilleas Kalantzis and the cover artwork was designed by Giannis Tagmatarchis.

This is a band who wear their influences on their sleeve and have maintained a great respect and admiration for bands such as Pantera, Machinehead, Lamb of God and Black Label Society. I’m sure they would be the first to admit they are not trying to break any new ground with this EP, but it is still a stonking recording none the less.

The EP kicks off with ‘Too Ambitious’ and I absolutely loved the opening intro with its galloping guitars and heavy riffs that rumble in your belly. I was expecting really growling vocals to kick in (probably because experience has shown me that if I really love the music, I am going to hate the vocals!) but was pleasantly surprised when they didn’t. The vocals are aggressive and in your face, but at least you can still hear what the singer is singing and is even quite melodic in places.

The guitar work is fantastic throughout the EP and the solos are out of this world. The rhythm section is solid, and everybody seems to fit together perfectly. I do think a lot of the heavier bands are accused of “just making a noise” but it takes a lot of talent to be able to make a noise and it be as good as this EP!

My head was banging, and my foot was tapping the whole way through this and I just wished it lasted longer! I think these guys would be immense in a live setting so if I hear they are visiting London town at any point I will be there, with bells on! (well ok studs and buckles but you get my drift!)

I hope these guys are going to put out a full-length album soon but, in the meantime, I will go and check out their previously released album “Age of Corruption.” I suggest you all go and do the same!

As the famous Oliver once said…. please sir, can I have some more?!

TRACKLISTING:
1 Too Ambitious
2 Broken Is The Word
3 Future Re-Set
4 Shelter In I (Bonus)

LINKS:
http://www.facebook.com/behindthesmokescreengr
http://www.youtube.com/behindthesmokescreenvault
http://www.instagram.com/behind_the_smokescreenband
https://behindthesmokescreengr.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6xh34hCCkDQsMAAyWWy9mg

 

Promo Pic1

 

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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Alphastate – The Grind

The Grind Cover Art

Alphastate – The Grind
Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 03/04/2018
Running Time: 37:28
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
7/10

Alphastate are a Greek metal band, formed in 2013 as a personal project of Pete Breaker (guitars). Vocalist Manos Xanthakis joined in in 2015 and the line up was complete in 2016 with the additions of Dimitris Tsounakis on bass and Fivos Andriopoulos on the drums. They released their first album “Out of the Black” in 2015 and received excellent and positive press globally.

Says the band: “we wanted to combine modern metal with 80’s and 90’s influences such as Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera and Nevermore to create a very personal and extreme style with no boundaries.”

So, what genre of metal are Alphastate? To pigeonhole them into one category would be wrong and do them a severe injustice. They play heavy metal that is heavier than normal, but they have thrown in a bit of power too, with just a hint of doom (think Sabbath, Candlemass and Trouble), and this gives them an almost unique sound.

I always think the vocals make any band and am always on the lookout for bands that have distinctive and different singers. If I am totally honest, on the first run through of the album, I didn’t actually like Manos’s vocals but after listening a few times, I realised I really didn’t give him much credit. His vocals are deep, and unmistakably Greek, which is by no means a bad thing. He could quite easily fit into a band such as Firewind if they were ever on the lookout.

I must admit that I hadn’t listened to the band’s first album before listening to this one, but the promo notes that came with the album stated that they wanted to take a more modern and aggressive approach musically with this new album. They wanted “very loud and distinctive guitars, a more modern production that had the vocals pushed up front and drums that punched through the sound.”

I think they were successful on all three counts. Take the guitars out of this album and they would slot straight into a Pantera album, the drums are strong and tight, and I have already mentioned the vocals above.

This album includes a lot more of the band’s own thoughts and experiences making it the most personal release so far, and sonically it is their best. They have made an album that is “pure aggression with the best songs they have ever written.”

One thing that I wasn’t overly keen on with this album, was the lack of variation. Each song seemed to sound much like the last, and I am not sure if this is due to unfamiliarity with the tracks. Maybe with a few more listens through, the songs may start to separate a bit.

But this doesn’t take away from the fact, that this is a solid album, and for a band that has only really been together properly since 2016, it’s a good sign of things to come.
Give these guys a go……and they may just surprise you!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Trapped
02. Phantom Desires
03. Speak Your Mind
04. Theater Of Lies
05. The Grind
06. Forevermore
07. Behind The Dark
08. Heaven’s World
09. Man Made God

LINKS:

Alphastate Promo Pic

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 adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.