Hungry Daze – Back To My Future

Hungry Daze – Back To My Future
Diamonds Prod
Release Date 21/04/20
Running Time: 39:57
Review by Beth Jones
7.5/10

Afternoon music lovers! It’s a sunny Sunday here at EMHQ, so I’ve cracked open a beer to accompany my musings for my latest listening pleasure, Italian heavy metal rockers, Hungry Daze.

Hailing from Turin, Hungry Daze were born from the ashes of Ivory, and after a few changes in the line-up, have released their debut album, “Back To My Future”.

Before I talk about the music, I just wanted to take a moment to pause, and tell you that I am actually reviewing this via a physical copy of the album! A CD! It’s a rarity these days to get physical CD’s to review, so it’s really great to have one for this! I’m an old fashioned kinda gal, and a new CD, for me, is like getting a new book. Yes, ok, Kindles are convenient for storage, but they don’t smell right. Nothing in the world beats the smell of a new book. And the same applies to CD’s!

So, to the music. Hungry Daze are good old fashioned, no nonsense heavy rock, and this album is like a familiar hug. It has all the riffage and solos reverbed to the hilt that you would want from a classic rock sound, and conjures images of their tousled locks, and tassled denim and leather blowing in the wind, in slow motion, on early days MTV. Some would say ultimate cheese, but I prefer to say sweet nostalgia.

The album kicks off with ‘The Right Way’, heading straight in with some classic rock beats, dirty guitars and clean vocals. Interestingly the guitar sound here is quite grungy – almost 90’s style. This song, for me, sits somewhere between Whitesnake, Guns & Roses, and early, but slightly heavier Manic Street Preachers!

Next up is ‘Kiss of Life’, and this sets the pace for the rest of the album. A leg tapper that you could see being a sing-a-along on a festival stage. The guitar cadences and vocal harmonies lend themselves very well to this track, and it’s easy on the ears. Although, saying that, any track on the album could fit into this category!

I think track 7, ‘Tonight is the Night’, is my favourite track on the album. Again, it’s good and bouncy, and has a really nice flow to it. Happy music! I like that.

Production wise, it’s all pretty good here. Everything sits nicely. The guitar solos ring out nice and loud, and the vocals are sharp. Naughty little fade on track 6 though. I do wish bands would stop doing that!

Musically, it’s nothing ground-breaking either. It’s solid, and technically very good, but if you’re looking for new and adventurous, you’re in the wrong place. However, if you appreciate good solid rock, and are looking for a soundtrack to accompany your road trip or meet-up, then this is it.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Right Way
02. Kiss Of Life
03. Rock Paradise
04. Back To My Future
05. Life On Two Wheels
06. Now You can Play
07. Tonight Is The Night
08. Motorcycle Man
09. Wolf’s Den

LINE-UP:
Roberto Bruccoleri – Vocals
Francesco Yackson Russo – Lead and rhythm guitar
Roberto Tiranti – Bass and backing vocals
Marco Biggi – Drums and percussion

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/hungrydazerock
www.hungrydaze.bandcamp.com/

www.diamondsprod.it/web/
www.facebook.com/Diamonds-Prod-218845904961348
www.diamondsprod.bandcamp.com/

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

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip

Various Artists – Brown Acid: The Tenth Trip
RidingEasy Records
Release date: 26/06/2020
Running time: 32:33
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

Between me and you, I’ve been wondering when this series of proto metal/heavy psyche long-lost artifacts would start to go off the boil. This is the tenth instalment now, and any listener could be forgiven for thinking that maybe, the well might run dry. That the party is over, the acid has worn off, and the hippies have traded in their kaftans for the last time. I mean, how much of these rare, forgotten nuggets can there be left, for the rock’n’roll gravediggers at RidingEasy Records/Permanent Records LA to exhume?

Well pardon me for being a fanboy, but the Brown Acid trip is far from over. In fact, this could be my favourite volume so far.

Yes, it’s more of the same: fuzzy, psychedelic late 60’s/early 70’s heavy rock; somehow cast aside for around fifty years, waiting to be rediscovered. Gems that pre-date and redefine the genealogical development of metal and hard rock; throwing the long-standing theories of origin into dispute like some musical Antikythera mechanism. But this time, if anything, the tunes are better than ever.

Here we have Sounds Synonymous with ‘Tensions’, a fuzz-rock monster with a ‘Wild Thing’ feel and washes of freaky organ not a million miles removed from Steppenwolf. Witness also the wonder of ‘Never Again’ from Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers, melding melodic vocals with an ‘American Woman’ style desert rock vibe. ‘Babylon’ by Conception rolls with some funky, Hendrix-like riffs and a great pop sensibility, not to mention a fabulous bluesy instrumental section.

Bitter Creek deliver ‘Plastic Thunder’, which has a Who meets Stooges aggressive sound. On ‘Mr. Sun’, First State Bank (rad name!) provide a Mountain-covering-the-Kinks lesson in far-out groovery. Then there’s Brothers and One with the saucily titled ‘Hard On Me’, which has a little Hawkwind on a road to Maiden’s ‘Running Free’.

Probably the best track is ‘The Roach’, by The Brood (another quality name). It’s a MC5/Sabbath garage rocker with apocalyptic horns and keys, heralding the end of peace and love and the arrival of the age of doom.

Freaky, fuzzy and far-out: that’s the latest edition of Brown Acid. If you’re late to the party, jump on the magic bus right now and let your hair down. Signs are this festival is gonna run and run.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sounds Synonymous – Tensions
02. Ralph Williams and the Wright Brothers – Never Again
03. Conception – Babylon
04. Bitter Creek – Plastic Thunder
05. The Rubber Memory – All Together
06. First State Bank – Mr Sun
07. Brothers & One – Hard On Me
08. Frozen Sun – Electric Soul
09. The Brood – The Roach
10. Tabernash – Head Collect

LINKS:
www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
www.ridingeasyrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords
www.twitter.com/EasyRiderRecord
www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfcKvfj8ei5GD2YVtLYhaoQ

www.permanentrecordsla.com
www.facebook.com/permanentrecordsla/
www.instagram.com/permanentrecordsla/

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

Ensiferum – Thalassic

Ensiferum – Thalassic
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 10/07/2020
Running Time: 43:46
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Well hello metal followers! Tis Sunday here at Ever Metal base camp. The idiots of our nation have gone back to the pub and the entire of England now has a collective hangover to deal with, as well as intense stupidity! But here in our little corner of Wales, we’re still being sensible. So, what better way to get our Sunday morning metal worship underway, than with a hefty dose of Folk inspired Melodic Death Metal from stalwarts of the genre, Ensiferum, in the shape of their new, and 8th studio album, “Thalassic”.

Hailing from the rugged shores of Finland, Ensiferum have been kicking it for a considerable length of time now, releasing their first album, of the same name, in 2001. They continue to delight fans globally with their brand of metal. It’s been three years since the release of their last album, “Two Paths”, and in that time they’ve been keeping themselves busy, writing, and exploring musically, in order to produce this new release.

Littered with huge orchestrations and traditional folk instrumentations, this album is the first of theirs to be based around one centralised theme: water and the sea. And it could not be a more fitting theme both for this style of music, and for the origins of the band. So much myth, legend and folklore are borne from the idea of the mystical waters that it provides a wealth of material to be explored.

And if there’s one thing that Ensiferum do spectacularly well here, it’s exploring. And after they’ve finished exploring, they’ve chucked everything they’ve found in the boat, and make it sing! It may only be the morning here, as I write this, but I really feel that I should have a large flagon of ale, and an equally large flagon of rum to enhance my listening experience!

The album begins with the sound of crashing waves, swirling wind, and the creaking bows of a ship. This progresses into the initial lamenting sounds of ‘Seafarer’s Dream’, an orchestrated opener to the album, with rolling timpani and strings setting the scene, and instantly bringing to mind wide shots of a grand vessel setting sail, big budget Hollywood period drama style.

And, what’s the first thing all good seafarers of olde want to do, once the shore is out of sight? Have a goddamn party, that’s what! And the second track, ‘Rum, Women, Victory’ provides the perfect soundtrack. Fast paced, ripping riffs, crazy folk fiddle, and chanted choruses make this a ridiculously riotous and bouncy track and I love it!

The album continues on in this style, melding folk fiddle, flute and Bodhran, with full string sections, chunky riffs, metronomic drumming at speed, and stunning melodies and guitar solos. This is all topped off with huge vocal diversity; crystal clear clean vocals, pentatonic harmonies, and guttural roars and screams, which not only deliver some fantastic lyrics, but also add so much colour and excitement to this already exciting sound.

And just when you think you’ve got the measure of this album; you get gifted with little extras – a whistling section akin to an old western movie soundtrack in ‘The Defence Of The Sampo’ being one such example.

From beautiful acoustic melancholy, to fluttering sea shanties, to rowing songs and rip-roaring pirate partying, this album has everything you need to cheer up a dull day.

Production wise it is equally brilliant. “Thalassic” was recorded and produced in Petrax and Sonic Pump studios by Janne Joutsenniemi, who is a renowned name in the industry, and has worked with the band before, so quality and precision were always a dead cert for this album. Everything is balanced and spaced perfectly, producing the depth and immersion that you would expect from a large live orchestral experience.

Its full-on cinematic qualities make it one of the most tangible albums I have heard this year. An absolute blinder of a record, stunning musicality, immense talent not just instrumentally, but in the sense of clever musical vision, AND they don’t have to fade out a single track to end it – see it can be done! These guys truly are the real deal, and long may it continue!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Seafarer’s Dream
02. Rum, Women, Victory
03. Andromeda
04. The Defence Of The Sampo
05. Run From The Crushing Tide
06. For Sirens
07. One With The Sea
08. Midsummer Magic
09. Cold Northland Vainamoinen Part III)
10. Merille Lahteva (Bonus Track)
11. I’ll Stay By Your Side (Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Petri Lindroos – Vocals/Guitar
Markus Toivonen – Guitar/Vocals
Sami Hinkka – Bass/Vocals
Janne Parviainen – Drums

LINKS:
www.ensiferum.com
www.facebook.com/Ensiferum
www.instagram.com/ensiferummetal/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCJSZkYiD1tDoyw2icpflQRQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/0krXCIkthz13P8o0v2tksH

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

Die Ego – Culto

Die Ego – Culto
Self-Released
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 40:01
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8.5/10

Die Ego are a three-piece metal band, based in London (UK) and surprisingly this is their debut album, you will get what I mean when I say “surprisingly”. The band was first formed by Diego Fardel (lead guitar) and Gabe Scapigliati (vocals and bass). After trialling a few drummers who didn’t make the band they secured Dave Grosz and then Die Ego officially were formed.

In 2018 they released their first demo “Songs For The Insanity” and gained notoriety for their live gigs, which certainly got them noticed by the metal community. They’ve played such venues as the O2 Islington, and Camden Rocks Festival. The bands description of their debut album is “Culto is a raw and powerful demonstration of our essence and spirit. Our mindset was to produce an honest album that reflects the bands journey and makes a statement of what we are all about”.

Ok on with the review, If you like your music loud, raw, hard hitting, and dark, these are your guys! We start the album with the title track, ‘Culto’, which begins with piano playing and what sounds like a child’s voice, but, within the first minute, you’re catapulted into the rich undertones of the vocals, a combination of deep gruffness with some epic screams, which combined with great guitar riffs, sets the bar for the rest of the album. As you work your way through the tracks it’s a dark but exciting journey. You don’t want to get off the metal bus in case you miss out on something.

‘Demons Have Demons’ gives you total goose bumps with gravelly vocals which sound like they have been summoned from the bowels of hell! These guys certainly don’t want you to not to be entertained while listening to the album! The album has a steady pace, which I liked, because I think if they had gone too crazy, then the gruff vocals may have been lost and the intense vocals, which get into your soul, may not have had the same impact.

This album is one of those that will embed into your sub conscious and give you nightmares! Not bad for a band that hasn’t been around for more than a few years! “Culto” certainly makes an impact. These guys draw inspiration from all the best. From Pantera and Metallica, through to Alice in Chains and Slipknot, and although Die Ego have only just started out, I can see us in years to come comparing new and up and coming metal bands to them. Their music is powerful yet has a deep soul to it, I was asked by my son (who loves metal music too) to describe the album, and I said it was like my soul had gone to hell to visit and enjoy itself.

It may not be for everyone, but all I’d say is don’t listen to it once and think “nah, not for me”. Listen to it a few times and take in the passion and confidence, that the band has in bucket loads. Going back to my comment about “Culto” ‘surprisingly bring a debut album’, well I have reviewed quite a few bands now and I always look up other things they have done. Sometimes as a reminder of forgotten tracks, or just to refresh my mind, but when I couldn’t find anything other than this album, I was truly surprised! The confidence they seem to exude is of a band that has been around for many years, and I have no doubt that some time in their future, I will have the pleasure of their second album to review.

If I had to have a favourite track it would be ‘Don’t Get Close’. From the start, it had me, then in came the intense lyrics – it was just the perfect combination and had me transfixed all the way through. This album has it all, raw gruff vocals that will make your ears bleed, addictive drumming, and guitar riffs that will make you wish you had learnt to play a guitar yourself. Well done guys, this was a great debut album and lets’ hope you’re out gigging again very soon.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Culto
02. Anger is Yours
03. Treatment of Silence
04. Demons have Demons
05. The Grave
06. There is No Tomorrow
07. I Promise
08. Don’t Get Close

LINE-UP:
GABE: Vocals and Bass Guitar
Diego: Lead Guitar
Dave: Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/DieEgoMetal/
www.twitter.com/DieEgoMetal
www.dieego.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCi5CxHa83uX70tvQgfFBDcQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4Yrsxw1DTctEeGRgPjAYRd

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

Descend – The Deviant

Descend – The Deviant
Aftermath Music
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Running Time:55:53
Review by Beth Jones
6/10

I’ve been pretty spoilt recently, as far as music is concerned! The sheer volume of excellent new releases is staggering, especially in the current climate, and getting the chance to pen some thoughts about them has been great. Next up for me is Swedish Progressive Death Metal quintet, Descend.

These guys have been around a good few years now, originally starting out as a Thrash band in 2003. However, through line-up changes and new musical influences creeping in, their style has morphed into what they now offer. Their first album, “Through The Eyes Of The Burdened” was released in 2011, and in 2014 they released a second album, “Wither”. Since then, the line-up has changed somewhat again, with the addition of Raul Vicente (bass) and Emil Nissilä (drums).

Recorded at Wing Studios, Stockholm, with Sverker Widgren (Diabolical) as producer, their third studio album, and latest release, “The Deviant” is being billed as their ‘milestone’ album. So, what does it sound like?

Well, the first thing that strikes you is power. The opening track, ‘Avalin’ hits you with a catchy riff and melody from the beginning. This is less of a track, and more of an intro/walk on piece, and at only 1 minute 40 in length, would be just about enough time to get the band on stage, let the crowd go wild, and do a quick line check.

This progresses swiftly into track 2, ‘Blood Moon’, which starts with a riff that is pure classic Thrash. It quickly drops off into a quiet mid-section, with clean vocals and acoustic sounds being the driver, then pumps back up for the chorus to guttural screams and growls, skilful wandering bass, and a hint of a blast beat, as well as some dark and overdriven down tuned guitar riffage.

The album continues on in this way, through four more tracks which all appear to be going for some sort of record in length. ‘Standard for prog!’ I hear you cry. Well, yes, but I do have an issue with this. Musically, this album is definitely Death, Melodic Death in places, with a good few nods to classic Thrash sounds. However, in my opinion it is lacking a little in the prog department. Don’t get me wrong, it has elements, but sometimes they feel a little forced, almost like afterthoughts to make it ‘fit in’ with the genre. The inclusion of a tenor sax solo in the penultimate track, “Wallow”, is interesting, but again feels like it’s been done purely ‘to prog it up’. And, dare I say, the extended length of the tracks has a tendency to be a little boring, as they’re not extended in order to introduce new variations around a theme, or explore different elements in instrumentation, they are just there to make the songs longer.

The only exception to this comes halfway through the album in the form of track 4, ‘Lily’. This track does do what it says on the tin, it’s Melodic Death in the heavy sections, and does successfully bring it down to indulge in some exploration in the middle. If the rest of the album was the same calibre as this song, it would be much more pleasing.

These guys are, without question, very talented technical musicians. The album is peppered with some extremely good guitar solos, precision drumming at impressive tempos, and bass lines that explore a decent range. And the ability of singer Nima Farhadian Langroundi to go from clean vocals to guttural roars and tortured scream is very impressive. But I’m not getting the important connection, that comes from the soul, when I listen to this album. I think this is a band who have the potential to do great things, but I think they really need to focus on what they actually want to be, and let themselves really feel the music rather than getting hung up on the technical detail.

Production wise, it’s pretty good, although I do find that sometimes the vocals are a little further back in the mix than I would like. It’s a very guitar driven sound though, so this is probably intentional. And if I’ve said this once, I’ve said it a thousand time. STOP BLOODY FADING TRACKS OUT BECAUSE YOU CAN’T WORK OUT HOW TO FINISH THEM!!! As a musician, and a huge fan of live music, it infuriates me! You can’t achieve that level of fade live, so why do it on a recording? Yet again, we see it here, with the final track on the album. It’s disappointing.

So, to sum up; Has it got some interesting elements? Yes. Is it technically very good? Yes. Did I like it?… it’s ok. It’s not terrible, but nor is it ground-breaking.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Avalin
02. Blood Moon
03. The Purest One
04. Lily
05. Wallow
06. The Deviant

LINE-UP:
Andreas Lindström – guitars
Alexander Wijkman – guitars
Nima Farhadian Langroudi – vocals
Raul Vicente – bass
Emil Nissilä – drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/DescendOfficial/
www.instagram.com/descendofficial/
www.descend.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfWjdGm10-b7E4Y51eYnCMA
www.open.spotify.com/artist/33EUSEyZ6PyFhsFrXIfsjb

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

Moonlight Haze – Lunaris

Moonlight Haze – Lunaris
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 51:46
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9/10

Moonlight Haze consists of Chiara Tricarico (ex-Temperance) on vocals, Giulio Capone on vocals/drums/keyboards, Alessandro Jacobi (also of Elvenking) on bass, Alberto Melinato and Marco Falanga on guitars. This is the second album from the Italian band in quite quick time, as far as albums go anyway, their first release which was “De Rerum Natura” in 2019, certainly put them on the map of great quality music, so I had high hopes for this release. This new album, “Lunaris”, was mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni at the Domination Studio (San Marino). The artwork and graphics (which are immense) are by Beatrice Damori.

Their music is not only symphonic, it’s up-beat, catchy, enthusiastic, and has vocals that make the hairs on the back of your arms stand on end. It has power and passion which shines through in abundance, and is an amazing blend of metal, folk, electronics, with one track, ‘Birth And Death’, even featuring Elvenking’s violinist, Fabio Lethien Polo.

The opening track, ‘Till The End’ bursts in with a, “hello! I’m here” feeling! It has a great tempo, is catchy, full of energy and doesn’t let up all the way through. Chiara’s vocals are so strong and powerful, and her range is epic. Added to that are great harmonies, and guitar riffs that go so fast it makes my fingers hurt just thinking about them! The ending of the song proves already what a great set of lungs Chiara has, the power in her voice is incredible!

Each track is a mini story within itself, and although some of the tracks are fast pace and can leave you breathless, you do get small lulls in between. But don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be able to sit and relax, as you wont be left with time to do that! This album will have you sat up and listening, waiting to see where it’s off to next. ‘Under your Spell’, is another stand out track for me. It starts off melodic and is gentle but very powerful, and again the range of Chiara’s voice is out of this world! Add to that brilliant guitar riffs, and you have a very powerful rock ballad.

I was a little taken back by ‘Enigma’, as rather than being sung in English, it is in Italian, but the power and passion shines out in bucket loads. Even though I couldn’t understand the lyrics, it still gives you such a vibe. I am one of those who listen to the album without looking at the track running order, so I was pleased to discover that the last track on the album is the English version of the same song. This wouldn’t be out of place in a rock opera and the immense drumming leave you breathless, thinking ‘seriously how the heck do you play drums that quick?’. Just wow!

I must admit I listen to my music a tad loud, and on a good set of speakers, but, my word, some of the drumming had my chest hurting! You can feel it inside. That and the guitar riffs almost blew the speakers! And I can’t say enough how fabulous the vocals are, going from gritty to operatic in a heartbeat. This is so apparent in ‘The Dangerous Art of Overthinking’ which I have to say is my favourite track. You start off with operatic background and crazy drumming. Calm down to almost ‘monkish’ undertones, then BAM! Back into it! Who needed to catch their breath anyway?! This would make an epic horror film score, the vocals leaping from powerful, to growls, to operatic, and back to ‘monkish’ in seconds, which leave you wandering what the hell is going on! You get chance for a quick gasp of air then off it goes again. It also has some crazy synthesiser twists which really add the icing on the metal cake. I like to call this track the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ of the album.

There are calmer tracks, like ‘Of Birth and Death’, that gives you a folkish interlude, which you’ll be grateful for as track 10 ‘Nameless City’ is 7 minutes and 34 seconds long, and once again leads you on a twisted journey! It starts off all nice and calm before throwing you into the deep end with a sudden change of pace. Operatic vocals switch to normal, and the whole track sounds like they have an orchestra and a team of backing vocals all joining in. And, once again, it’s littered with brilliant drumming, guitars and harmonies, and the synthesizer in the background.

If you wanted dull and boring then stay away from “Lunaris”, as that’s one thing this album definitely isn’t! But if you want powerful, intense, complex, and outside of the box, then hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Till The End
02. The Rabbit Of The Moon
03. Lunaris
04. Under Your Spell
05. Enigma
06. Wish Upon A Scar
07. The Dangerous Art of Overthinking
08. Without You
09. Of Birth and Death
10. Nameless City
11. Enigma (English Version)

LINE-UP:
Chiara Tricarico: vocals
Giulio Capone: drums, keyboards
Marco Falanga: guitars
Alberto Melinato: guitars
Alessandro Jacobi: bass

LINKS:
www.moonlighthaze.com/
www.facebook.com/Moonlighthazeband/
www.instagram.com/moonlighthazeband
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1J9Jg6CEtjR3C4SFXz1elX
www.youtube.com/channel/UC4xfX4XQB0cIO7KsBUf6gng
www.linktr.ee/moonlighthaze

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

Bofo Kwo – Space/ Time Carnivorium

Bofo Kwo – Space/ Time Carnivorium
Sliptrick Records
Release Date: 30/06/2020
Running Time: 44:36
Review by Dark Juan
9/10

Good evening, my good brethren and sorority of the Church of The Poisoned Mind. I trust I find you all well, hale and hearty, or are you dying gracefully on your silken chaise-longues after a weekend of drug fuelled wanton debauchery? I myself have been sharpening my wits on the skulls of hapless former victims and putting ignorance about our Lord and Master, The One Who Walks Backwards, to the sword. Normally with a foul snicker, a gallon of aviation fuel and a match. There are some right ignorant bastards out there, boys and girls. It is your duty to educate these motherfuckers and sharp sticks just ain’t gonna cut it. You’re going to need to go full on Highlander on these arseholes and use claymores. You don’t cut with a claymore, you hew. Like Conan the barbarian did – “Sweat dripping from his bulging sinews and from beneath his square-cut mane of black, shoulder length hair, Conan hefted his impossibly large two-handed broadsword (fnarr fnarr), roared a challenge to his heinous foe before plunging his extraordinary blade to the hilt (fnarr FNARR!) into the soft groin of his enemy. Tearing upwards with a sobbing gasp (what the FUCK was it about Robert E. Howard and his obsession with Conan’s weapon and what he was doing with it?), a welter of entrails and blood coated his hands and the vile beast shuddered its last, to fall stone dead by his sandaled feet.”

Quality writing, that. I’m sure you were just as entertained and edified as I was by that little pastiche. As usual there is a point to the madness. What? What do you mean you don’t believe me? You absolute SHOWER!!! ANYWAY, to drag you all back to the point of all this, I am listening to a magnificently barmy Finnish band called Bofo Kwo, and the record is entitled ”Space/ Time Carnivorium”. This is a concept album by some Finnish mentalists from Helsinki, detailing the journey of three cannibals (Bofo Kwo, Bomari and Wamufo) among the stars and their adventures as they leave trails of devastation, murder, and probably a lot of half eaten meals behind them, before graduating to eating alien flesh (hope they had a sophisticated lab setup to test for pathogens – imagine contracting some mental new form of alien hepatitis) and then performing a last human sacrifice before hoping to attain the power of immortality via mystic teachings of the ancients and becoming the Golden God. Oh, and they appear to arbitrarily start a war against Rex Talpas, The Rodent King, because fuck you, Rex, your people are fucking delicious with a barbeque glaze and a nice Caesar salad. This is spectacularly insane stuff, not out of place on an Esoctrilihum album, and that worthy Frenchman is seriously fucked in the head… Bofo Kwo aren’t quite as demented as Esoctrilihum but they are close. I should tell you about the main characters in the band as each band member plays one and then we have this strange kind of meta-black death metal hybrid where the members of the band perform as the characters while playing the music – it’s not like Coheed and Cambria where the story was told from the point view of a narrator in Claudio Sanchez. We have Bofo Kwo , The Cannibal King and his associates. They are Wamufo and Bomari, albino twins, one male and one female and they follow/ are dragged along in the wake of Bofo Kwo and his abundantly clear cannibalistic psychopathy.

So, a cut above the usual Satanic bollocks that BM bands normally spew out then. I imagine Bofo Kwo listened to Emperor’s “Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire & Demise” and thought that they could come up with a more insane concept after drinking a shitload of something potent. While the musicianship is by no means close to Emperor’s lofty standards, this is a mighty fine blackened death/ deathened black metal record. It’s rather less frenetic than traditional black metal, but this to your advantage as there are many little things and other genres of music that creep around the edge of your cognition. There’s little touches of industrial music, or goregrind and my personal favourite – Bofo Kwo have rediscovered power electronics. Don’t panic, metal purists, they are kept strictly as mood enhancers, although I’d personally like to hear Bofo Kwo take BM in a whole violent, new direction and meld power electronics with black metal and see what kind of carnage that bastard chimera could wreak among an unsuspecting populace…

In the spirit of this being a concept album, it is going to be impossible to choose a favourite song as it has to be listened to in sequence in order for you to follow the story effectively. The songs do stand out as individual entities though – I particularly enjoyed ‘Green Leviathan’ as a stand-alone song. But then the lyrics reference previous songs and you need to go back to understand it fully. It’s not so much a listening experience, as much as a get horrifically fucking stoned, buy some expensive headphones and sink into your mind’s eye while you get bludgeoned to death by chronically insane Finnish people experience. It is a bleak musical picture that Bofo Kwo paint. The music is cold, barren and steely and the performances excellent. Main vocalist Ted (playing Bofo Kwo himself) alternately roars and howls and shrieks in an entertainingly deranged fashion that fully meets with Dark Juan’s approval. The music is intricate and interesting and the mix passable. It’s difficult to hear cymbals and the producer appears to have not been able to make his mind up about whether he wanted to embrace the purity of the traditional lo-fi black metal sound (guitars sounding like they have been recorded in a Norwegian forest in a gale force wind by a microphone that has been fashioned from razorwire, sputum and polystyrene cement. From a submarine off the Swedish coast) to the warmer, thicker aesthetic of death metal and dare I say it, grunge (guitar and bass sounding like they have been recorded on equipment created entirely out of meat. In a slaughterhouse. In the unrefrigerated bit) and this leads to a sometimes confusing sound. However, the bass is enough to eviscerate you cleanly at twenty five yards, and the riffs are just simple and effective killing machines without embellishment.

And I think that’s where my main problem with Bofo Kwo lies. They should have gone BIGGER. With the overarching tale underpinning the songs and the aesthetic, I think Bofo Kwo have been too reserved with the music. They should have thrown the entire fucking kitchen at it. You’re telling a story about intergalactic cannibals – you simply can’t go too big. It’s not fundamentally possible. Anyway, I’m being churlish. This is that rare thing, a record that is interesting simply because of how many norms it breaks. It is musically adventurous, not afraid to delve deep for influences that might escape you on the first listen, and let’s face it, Dark Juan is a fucking sucker for concept albums. I love them. There are many things you will miss during the initial listen of this record and by jiminy it rewards repeated attempts at it. Just to hear Whitehouse-esque power electronics. Add to this that Bofo Kwo are doing this on their DEBUT album, and you have to conclude that once the rough edges are knocked off, this bunch of maniacal cannibal holocaust Finnish mad bastards are going to do great things. I think I am in love.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System(Patentoitu tumman Juanin verihiutausluokitusjärjestelmä – fuck it, close enough!) awards Bofo Kwo a splendidly bonkers 9/10 for a record that is a gnat’s wing away from greatness.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Plate Of Hate
02. Second Sun
03. Epic
04. New Destination
05. Green Leviathan
06. Bullets of Despair
07. The Massacre

LINE-UP:
Ted Egger (Bofo Kwo) – Vocals
Janne Winther (Bomari) – Backing Vocals
Kimmo Lindholm (Wamufo) – Lead Guitar
Elmo Winther (Lord Elmonioz) – Backing Vocals

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/BofoKwo/
www.bofokwo.bandcamp.com/

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

Amorphia – Merciless Strike

Amorphia – Merciless Strike
Awakening Records
Date: 15/01/2020
Running Time: 36:04
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Once again, I’m astonished to see how far Heavy Metal music can go around the world. Recently, I reviewed a band from Bangladesh, and I talked about how if access to information through the internet didn’t exist, we probably would never know about smaller bands from many places around the world, and now here I am, finding another amazing band! This time, it’s a band from India, pretty much next door to Bangladesh, called Amorphia! The thing that impressed me most about them is how they display a very experienced kind of style, that I would associate with a band on their third or fourth album release, living in a country where their music is popular, and the Heavy Metal scene is strong. Actually, it’s only the band’s second album! But from what I can see, they’ve been received well by the critics since their first release.

Eighties Old School Thrash Metal. Yes, this definition mostly definitely is Amorphia’s music. On first listen, I felt like I had travelled back to the days when I listened to old German releases like Kreator or Sodom. To be more specific, if you took the war theme disgraces that Sodom talked about, Tom Angelripper’s singing style, and the guitar technique of Kreator, you’d probably get something similar to Amorphia. Their track, ‘Upcoming Terror’, is a perfect example of this. Of course, this is just a reference to help you picture the band’s spirit. There are many more influences, from all the old school Thrash Metal bands.

Some songs, like ‘Radiation Overdose’, which is my favorite track from the album, make you imagine the concept from the lyrics. It’s political criticism about the traumas and consequences of war, and it got me thinking that this theme is still important to reflect upon, even though bands have been using these kind of lyrics for decades, because all these political issues are still happening around the world.

What we have here is a short album with all songs in the same cadence, just exploring different techniques on drums, or solos. Vasu Chandran’s riffs are amazing and responsible for bringing the heaviness to the music. I liked the bass lines from Faizaan Mecci, and they’re not hidden behind the guitar wall. They create interesting structures that are independent from the rest of the sound. Vivek Prasad plays linear fast rhythms throughout the album and uses a lot of drum loops to make the music interesting. The snare drum sound is loud and it gave me the sense hearing Amorphia at a concert.

As I said before, all tracks have similar structures and are amazing, but the album’s title track ‘Merciless Strike’ is a bit different. This song chooses faster drum passages with double bass and explores faster guitar picking. That amazing independent bass line that I talked about by Faizaan Mecci is present in this song. It is, probably, the most complete song from the album.

“Merciless Strike”is just the band’s second album and Amorphia shows the maturity of a much more experienced band who live on the road and have many albums released. I have no idea if Thrash Metal is a popular genre in India to inspire new bands to play as well as Amorphia, but I can assure you that this is a pure Old School Thrash Metal album, with good production that sounds aggressive, but with a clear sonority at the same time!

TRACKLISTING:
1. Death Zone
2. Judgement Day
3. Merciless Strike
4. Mutants’ Rise
5. Upcoming Terror
6. Radiation Overdose
7. Martian Law
8. Blazing Glares

LINE-UP:
Faizaan Mecci – Bass, Backing Vocals
Vivek Prasad – Drums
Vasu Chandran – Vocals, Guitars

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/Amorphiathrash/
www.instagram.com/amorphia_thrash/
www.twitter.com/AmorphiaI
www.amorphiathrash.bandcamp.com/
www.youtu.be/Wn5CgVoS2UA

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

Weed Demon – Crater Maker

Weed Demon – Crater Maker
Electric Valley Records
Release date: 03/04/2020
Running time: 46 minutes
Review by Alun Jones
9/10

“Crater Maker”, by Columbus Ohio rascals Weed Demon, begins with the warm and welcoming hiss and crackle of vinyl. Then we’re into the first track ‘Atmospheric Drag’, and you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’re in the wrong section of the record shop. It’s a dark, folky country number that sounds like you’ve just stumbled into a saloon in a God forsaken Western town. I was taken by surprise, but this song is both awesome and a fitting introduction to an album that isn’t afraid to wander off the obvious path.

When track two, ‘Birthquake’ lumbers in, we’re in familiar doomy Sabbath territory. It’s a stark contrast to the opening song, but brilliant as that was, this is what we came for. Big, dirty riffage that’s slow yet powerful, the result is an instrumental song that relies purely on dynamics to excite and uplift. This is bloody great stuff.

The next track, ‘Serpent Merchant’, is even heavier and more relentless – with growling vocals making a demonic appearance. It all descends into a masterful, psychedelic break before the pummelling returns. The album’s title track delivers a groove laden sludge, which again dissolves into a mellow passage at pretty much exactly the halfway mark. Gradually becoming fuzzier, this soon explodes into a frenzied, aggressive section.

The remaining tracks offer more crunching guitars, thudding bass, booming vocals and pounding rhythms, always concentrating on the all-important doom riff. Final track “Sporelord” wanders through several segments, before briefly fading away and returning with a quirky reggae style outro.

With four of the six songs here over the 8 minute mark, there’s a lot to explore and digest with “Crater Maker”. Weed Demon have created a dense album that I enjoyed from the first listen and I’m still returning to weeks later. Meandering into psychedelic space rock, groovy doom, country and ear-splitting sludge ensures “Crater Maker” is a complex release that’s worth hearing.

All this talk of weeds reminds me of a funny little escapade with my old mate Keith Moon. Moony lived next door to his big pal Ollie Reed, who asked the loony drummer to keep an eye on his mansion while he was in Europe, filming some naff horror/arthouse nonsense. Moon had a party, got totally blitzed and remembered at about 4am that he hadn’t mowed Ollie’s lawn for him. Well, you can imagine the laughs we had, as Keith tried to start the ride-on petrol mower in the dark.  Without going into too much detail, a split fuel pipe and a discarded cigarette resulted in most of Reed’s garden looking like it had been napalmed.

Ollie wasn’t best pleased when he returned to see the unholy mess Keith had left him with. But Moon just blamed Ringo Starr, who made a quick exit when drunken Ollie brought out his shotgun. Ringo had the last laugh though, by marrying the most beautiful woman in the world. Jammy git.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Atmospheric Drag
02. Birthquake
03. Serpent Merchant
04. Crater Maker
05. Elder Tree Pyre
06. Sporelord

LINE-UP:
Jordan Holland – Bass/Lead Vocals
Andy Center – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Brian Buckley – Guitar/Backing Vocals
“Big Nick” Carter – Drums

LINKS:
www.smokeweeddemon.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/weeddemonsludge/
www.instagram.com/weeddemonsludge/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCxNQPXsSX6BY66Lh4pQp9SA

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

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder

Basement Torture Killings – Lessons In Murder
Bizarre Leprous Productions
Release Date: 22/05/2020
Running Time: 33.45
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Ah, the sheer joy of murder. That release you get when the first jet of arterial blood sprays your face and then the completion you feel when you watch the light and the terror fade from the eyes of your victim, mainly because they have refused to be turned on to the Left Hand Path and away from their False Prophet and his strange dad in the clouds. The One Who Walks Backwards requires nothing more but adulation and the occasional blood sacrifice, which isn’t too much to ask, is it? Children are a burden anyway. Turn towards where all the cool kids are going and embrace Shaitan and piss off all manner of upstanding, elderly Christian neighbours! If you do it with the prodigious power of Basement Torture Killings played at a similar volume to a Saturn V rocket lifting off then it will be entirely to your credit when you take a trip downstairs and the Horny Old One is assigning you your own personal Hell. Which in my case would be no virgins, No alcohol, endless boy bands and K-Pop (and FUCKING BABYMETAL! WHO THE FUCK THINKS BABYMETAL ARE A GOOD IDEA UNLESS YOU HAVE STRANGE AND DISGUSTING IDEAS ABOUT TINY, PSEUDO TEENAGE JAPANESE GIRLS?!? Oh, wait…) and meat dishes all about the place. Delicious, aromatic viands that I can’t eat because animal flesh does not pass my lips.

Basement Torture Killings (for the rest of this review will be being referred to as BTK because I am fucking lazy. Just realised they share the same initials as good old neighbourhood stalwart and dedicated family man Dennis Rader) hail from that bastion of good taste, manners and politeness known as the UK and already I am a fan simply because of Beryl. Now there’s a lass after my own depraved black heart if there ever was one. An acid growling lady who’s just my type – deranged, homicidal and covered in gore up to the armpits. In fact, so far I love the lot of the demented fuckers – Tarquin is an accomplished death metal guitarist and appears to have three arms, such is the speed of his playing. Dr. Krause clearly has time on his hands after exploratory surgery to hit the bass like a man possessed and The Faceless Killer is clearly an insane mutant with many more limbs than are required for a normal life. All are absolutely batshit crazy and Dark Juan desperately wants them to be his new best friends as we all share similar interests…

The music on this record is classic splattercore, a la Autopsy and early Carcass, complete with the warped sense of humour that runs through every Carcass release. It’s also nearly as brutal as The Berzerker. I said nearly. Nothing can touch the brutality of The Berzerker’s debut record. However, just the thought of a BTK and The Berzerker tour has given me butterflies in my tummy and sent a tumescent explosion of sex wee clear out of the window of Dark Juan Terrace, much to the chagrin of my neighbour Leon and his dog, Shadow. Shadow seems less concerned than Leon. Call the underwear ambulance, Dark Juan has utterly fucked another pair of pants.

Now, you are all no doubt aware that I like a bit of death metal and splattercore because I incessantly bang on about how amazing Carcass are and BTK are most worthy contenders for the throne. Lessons In Murder is a fucking terrific classic DM record. It ticks all the boxes and I even like the slightly ropey production because it lends itself better to the music than the Morrisound clone jobs that most DM bands use. My only real complaints are that the cymbals are too high in the mix and the bass is extremely quiet. I love Beryl’s vocal style, although she is more proficient at the more highly pitched Jeff Walker-esque phrases, but she is a very good DM vocalist and the lyrics are dark as fuck too. We have murder, rape, torture, snuff and all other kinds of things that make me want to show the Christian virgins of the parish just what damnation feels like. The guitar phrasing of a number of the songs are very Cannibal Corpse like but it all still sounds fresh as fuck because it is played with passion, and dare I even say that there are a couple of bits where melody creeps in and adds a whole new dimension to the horror. Otherwise, the use of more crunchy guitar tones than usual for the genre lean the whole aesthetic more towards Carcass than the American classic DM bands like Morbid Angel and Death.

The songs are all short, sharp and utterly lethal blasts. If you want something to drive down a late-night road to, don’t listen to BTK. You’ll be picking up the most unfortunate whores at truck stops and butchering them to the point of not being recognised as a human being. Not good when you are delivering a load of bathroom ceramics to Motherwell. The whole record clocks in at a speedy 33 minutes long and this is a Very Good Thing because death metal should always be the aural equivalent of several sharp and fast stabs to the gut with a serrated knife. Each song starts with a small vignette from serial killer interviews or from educational films about murder before proceeding to remove your face, trample it into the dirt and then stamp on the raw flesh left attached to your skull with fucking big ass hobnailed combat boots. This is death metal with the pretension fucked right off. BTK exist for one reason, and that’s to kill each and every last motherfucker in the room with them, which will harm merchandise sales, but if it makes Beryl happy then I’m down with it.

I can’t pick a standout song because I have been transported back to my happy teenage days of discovering new levels of brutal music and how it made me feel happy when I was dreaming of eviscerating innocent religious folk on their own altars. Basement Torture Killings remind me of why metal is great – the simple happiness of listening to people just like you playing their hearts out and just living it, you know? Every song is crisp and razor sharp and deadly in the extreme. There should be warning signs around it and an exclusion zone. It’s infectious, heavier than a pair of plutonium underpants, faster than an airline asking for a bailout and so much fun it hurts my poor, blackened heart. I love BTK. I really do. A future classic death metal/ grindcore record.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has had to temporarily change from Blood Splats to Blood Gallons as splats just don’t seem to cut it right now. It also recommends this record to your attention if you are one of the young, new neophytes to the Protectorate Of The Faith because by God it will have your parents worrying about you and just what you get up to in the churchyard at night, you filthy little perverts. 10/10 for the most fun I have had with my clothes on in ages. Now to get Beryl out of hers…. Be seeing you!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Armchair Psycho Or Pure Predator (A literal description of the fans of BTK.)
02. The Three Step Hit Formula (I did a four-step once. That was at the Grand Hotel in Llandudno before it set on fire. I fainted dead away. Then my appendix exploded, and I had to have it out in Gwynedd Hospital. It’s a salutary experience waking up in a foreign country’s hospital with Pobol Y Cwm on the TV and a small, wiry and clearly homosexual nurse with a gold tooth called Dafydd asking whether you are OK… Er, yeah, what the fuck’s going on?)
03. DIY Store Murder Kit
04. Exercising Your Dominance (Dark Juan has no trouble with this.)
05. Erotophonophilia (Lust Murder) (Sexual arousal or gratification contingent on the death of a human being, fact fans! Otherwise known as a normal Saturday night around Halifax. Especially around the back of The Acca…)
06. Public Displays of Aggression (Generally giro day in Aldi when there are only two bottles of white cider left.)
07. Psychoflage
08. Resolving The Body Problem (Just don’t call Dyno-Rod.)
09. The Pen Is Mightier Than Another Splayed Corpse (It is not mightier than the sword, otherwise I’d be spending the rest of my days in chokey.)
10. Objectification (Something Dark Juan DOES NOT do…. No, fuck off. I don’t.)
11. The League Of Extraordinary Killers (I SOOOOOOO hope this is a thing and they are taking applications for membership. People are always on at me to extend my circle of friends.)

LINE-UP:
Beryl – Horrific Goratory Of Perverse Verse
Tarquin – Hideous Sermon & Manipulator Of Ripped Sinews
Dr. Krause – Low End Bowel Rupture
The Faceless Killer – Beater Of Human Skins

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/Basementtorturekillings/
www.basementtorturekillings.bandcamp.com/
www.instagram.com/btksnuffgrind/
www.youtube.com/user/BTKMurderTV

www.facebook.com/BizarreLeprousProductionCz/
www.bizarreleprous.bandcamp.com/music

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