Temtris – Ritual Warfare

Ritual Warfare Album Cover Art

Temtris –  Ritual Warfare
WormHoleDeath
Release Date: 30/04/2021
Running Time: 48:45
Review by Simon Black
7/10

The sixth album from the Australian Metallers opens with a thundering drum line that really whets the appetite for what follows, which is eight tracks of traditional styled Heavy Metal, with just a teensy-weensy hint of Thrash. Temtris have been at this a while so have that heavy guitar delivery down pat, with the solid alternating sparring rhythm and lead split that NWOBHM made so widely popular, although the rest of the time you wouldn’t necessarily spot that there were two guitars in the mix. When this distinction comes clear, my word these boys can fly and I wonder why they’ve chosen to indistinguishably synch their playing everywhere else, as the technical ferocity on display when these instruments open up is little short of formidable.

Song-writing wise there is some great structure and incredibly catchy but punchy delivery, although I struggle somewhat with the vocal phrasing through some of this. I wonder if Genevieve Rodda plays drums, because she follows the rhythm riff melody so meticulously throughout – rather than extending and varying it (much like early thrash singers tended to do as so much of their attention was focussed on the guitar round their necks). This is a bit of a shame, as it feels like she is playing catch up with the instruments rather than leading from the front with more complimentary melody lines even though she clearly has a very good range and a really powerful vocal delivery. That said, in places that gutsy delivery works really well, creating a relentlessly heavy rhythmic and hypnotic effect that pulls you in. What’s missing is variety, although we get snatches of it in moments when the pace mellows out – such as the halfway point in ‘Seven Sins Of Man’. This is one of the longer tracks on the album, so gets to play about with the format more than most and is much the stronger for it by a country mile. Again, when Rodda does lead from the front, such as in the relentless ‘Forever’ or the introduction to the title track, her sustained and soaring vocal delivery is little short of spectacular, gives Rob Halford a run for his money and leaves me wishing that she had opened up a bit more elsewhere.

If I was going to pick a word to summarise this album I would perhaps choose ‘restrained’. They lift the lid on their technical skill at moments, but this doesn’t feels like a band that’s hungry consistently throughout. That said, what it misses in consistency of performance, more than makes up with song-writing and the anger lyrically is palpable and picked up and carried by the rest of the band. Solid stuff, which maybe just needed a touch more pre-production before hitting the studio – although like so many bands at the moment, this is probably just a consequence of the lockdown writing process. Nevertheless, absolutely worth some of your valuable time to listen to.

‘Ritual Warfare’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Race To The End
02. One For All
03. Seven Sins Of Man
04. Forever
05. Ritual Warfare
06. Tempus Aeturnum
07. Erased
08. Always United

LINE-UP:
Genevieve Rodda – Vocals
Anthony Fox – Guitar
Nik Wilks – Bass
Nicholas Bolan – Drums
Nadi Norouzian – Guitar

LINKS:

Temtris Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Void Vator – Great Fear Rising

Great Fear Rising Album Cover Art

Void Vator – Great Fear Rising
Ripple Music
Release Date: 23/04/2021
Running Time: 32:31
Review by Simon Black
10/10

You know once in a while, records come across the ether from bands I’ve never heard of, that absolutely blow my socks off. This is one of them, categorically and unequivocally.

Void Vator have been at this for a good seven years or so and despite having to recover from the challenge of losing the physical Californian presence of their drummer Moura to a USA Visa / immigration issue, seem to have channelled some of that frustration into one of the more interesting and punchy records I have heard in a while (although he’s still in there folks, thanks to the marvel of remote recording). Despite being at it since 2014, this is also only their sophomore album. At thirty-two minutes it’s short, it’s sweet, but it definitely packs a bloody powerful punch. Like everyone else, the pandemic has royally screwed with their plans, but unlike many other bands forced into remote writing and recording this baby does not lose one ounce of energy along the way and it was a problem they already had to address after Moura could no longer remain locally to the rest of the band, giving them a head start on the challenge everyone else has had to adapt to.

Musically, this is mostly high tempo Heavy Fucking Metal in the highly accessible American Modern Metal style, which flows that American Punk energy with a deep, long snort of metallic Rock’n’Roll that usually comes from a deep love of the likes of Motörhead, but whose parents lived through the Sunset Strip years and left the records behind to prove it. The energy is palpable and reflected in songs that largely fly by in three short minutes or so with a fast, but not excessively heavy delivery style and vocals from Lucas Kanopa that lean towards the clean but equally dirty style that means they are a band that could just cross a few aisles and get a wider audience if they can get their message out. That message is one of tightly executed and well-crafted song-writing, slathered in blisteringly raw but technically exquisite musically delivery.

That of course is the problem for so many acts right now. At this stage of their career the boys need high profile support slots to tell the world they are there, because if this record does not get listened to by a larger bunch of new listeners it’s going to be a damned shame. Upbeat, up-tempo and up your nostrils, with enough sleaze to maintain credibility but the musical chops to raise eyebrows positively, this is darned fine and refreshing stuff. So read this, buy this and make it fucking happen for them. If you don’t fucking mind…!

‘I Can’t Take It’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. I Can’t Take It
02. I Want More
03. There’s Something Wrong With Us
04. Losing Control
05. Great Fear Rising
06. McGyver’s Mullet
07. Encounter
08. Poltergeist
09. Infierno

LINE-UP:
Sam Harman – Bass
German Moura – Drums
Erik Kluiber – Guitars
Lucas Kanopa – Guitars & Vocals

LINKS:

Void Vator Promo Pic. Credit Nikkie Marie Kephartv
Photo Credit: Nikkie Marie Kephartv

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Ironbound – The Lightbringer

The Lightbringer Album Cover Art

Ironbound – The Lightbringer
Ossuary Records
Release Date: 30/04/2021
Running Time: 46:20
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Part NWOBHM early Iron Maiden, part Modern Euro-Metal, Poland’s Ironbound have been bubbling around for a few years with only a short EP to their name to date, so this first album is an important milestone for them. Since that time, they have a had new pair of lungs at the microphone and I get a strong sense that vocalist Łukasz Krauze has helped pull these guys up by their bootstraps, because for such a young act who have self-produced, this is an unexpected little diamond in the rough of a record.

A quick look at what went before shows a band that have realised that in a crowded market place, attention to detail and a focus on professional quality is the only way forward and this album has a richness to the song writing and production that takes you by surprise. OK, there’s a couple of bridges and riffs in there that Harris, Murray and Smith might want to lay partial claim to, but fundamentally this is a band paying homage to their heroes without sounding clichéd or derivative and a huge amount of their own distinctiveness to stand apart. In part this is the songs, but the performance of the musicians is top notch to boot. Krauze’s long high voice is a treat and evokes Blaze Bayley at his height, and he’s got that gift of holding your attention through his intonation and leads you through the tracks, to which we willingly follow. There are a lot of bands out there right now desperately trying to recapture a sound forty years gone, but Ironbound have pulled off the feat of adopting style as influence whilst keeping their own sound.

That sound I keep coming back to. They sound a very cohesive unit, with no one instrument predominating in the mix, although vocals stand very strongly out in front, which, when you have a strong voice to show off is absolutely right, and it feels like this has been done with a no frills approach, so one of the few NWOBHM re-creators around at the moment that sounds like it could have been recorded back in the day. Excluding the intro ‘Far Away’, all the remaining eight tracks are reasonable lengthy, which gives plenty of room for instrumentalists to play in that Maidenesque way, but unlike the granddaddies, the instrumental sections aren’t based around overplaying the riffs or drowning you in solos – it’s more about trying different structural directions within songs in that distinctive way that made Maiden’s first two records so ground breaking. Nothing nails this more than ‘Children Left By God’, whose epic qualities and strength of writing make this a stand out track on the record and show such maturity that I struggled to accept that this is these guys first rodeo. Then there’s the technically rich and layered power ballad ‘The Turn Of The Tides’ that really hammers home how these guys can play with our emotions and again another belter of a track. Although I can’t fault any of the songs on here, the richer and more mature ones are definitely held to the end but to be honest this is one of those records that grows with every listen. Great work chaps.

‘When Eagles Fly’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Far Away
02. The Witch Hunt
03. When Eagles Fly
04. Smoke And Mirrors
05. The Lightbringer
06. Children Left By God
07. The Turn Of The Tide
08. Light Up The Skies
09. Beyond The Horizon

LINE-UP:
Łukasz Krauze – Vocals
Michał Halamoda – Guitars
Krzysztof Całka – Guitars
Zbigniew Bizoń – Bass
Adam Całka – Drums

LINKS:

Ironbound Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Blaze Bayley – War Within Me

War Within Me Album Cover Art

Blaze Bayley – War Within Me
Blaze Bayley Recording
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 41:47
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Now those that know me well know I have a deep and long held love for Iron Maiden. They may also know that despite the fact, that back in the day, I was hugely impressed by Bayley’s performances in Wolfsbane, that sadly the stars really did not quite align when it came to him filling the empty spot left on the monitors when Bruce Dickinson went into the wilderness. What he has done since though has been pretty consistently good and he’s one of the hardest working acts on the block, so let’s treat those Maiden years for what they were – a blip in a career that’s otherwise been pretty consistent quality wise.

And it must be said that this record is probably the best thing I have heard from him in a very long time…

Musically this is all about Chris Appleton and the guys from Absolva, but Bayley isn’t just overlaying here and feels like he’s been a core part of the writing process as his vocal work interweaves beautifully with the instrumentalists. Some real thought has gone into targeting the sound that they want to achieve here, which is like a virtual tour around the delivery aspects and sounds that Bayley’s associated best with. The upshot of all this is that it feels like a cohesive band, rather than a solo project plus backing band more than any of the previous post-Maiden outings I have heard. It sounds like it should be a concept album, but it isn’t – that said there are themes that recur and a positive upbeat tinge to the lyrics, which contrasts with the musical tone. There’s a strong thematic block near the end of the record in particular that explores the respect held for scientific pioneers, so three tracks tell stories about Alan Turing, Nikolai Tesla and Stephen Hawking respectively – it’s almost like finding an EP hidden within the larger album.

The style is very much NWOBHM influenced Power Metal, but with a more understated technical dimension to the guitar work that is quite exceptionally talented. Equally some of the guitar parts are a bit Maidenesque, as is the vocal phrasing which echoes his brief tenure of walking among giants. It’s a strong blending of sounds that means it going to appeal to the broadest base of his audience and I would be very keen to see this material live.

This is an album that’s really growing on me because every time I sit down to write the review, I find myself stopping to simply listen and enjoy the songs. That happens rarely with me, especially when I have a (virtual) teetering pile of records to listen to with release dates in the past. But I can’t help it, and neither will you if this grabs you. A palpable hit, Mr Bayley.

‘War Within Me’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. War Within Me
02. 303
03. Warrior
04. Pull Yourself Up
05. Witches Night
06. 18 Flights
07. The Dream of Alan Turing
08. The Power of Nikola Tesla
09. The Unstoppable Stephen Hawking
10. Every Storm Ends

LINE-UP:
Blaze Bayley – Vocals
Christopher Appleton – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Martin McNee – Drums
Karl Schramm – Bass

LINKS:

Blaze Bayley Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Artillery – X

X Album Cover Art

Artillery – X
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 45:48
Review by Simon Black
9/10

This album was a delightfully pleasant surprise. When a band has been at it for forty years and its members cracking on a bit, you expect the engine to not be running at the kind of ferocity that it did when they were younger, back when wearing studded leather straps in public was a bit rebellious and dodgy moustaches were the thing. Well, that dodgy look may be long gone, but Artillery have managed to turn out what feels like one of their finest hour’s with this, their tenth record (although I still think the anthemic ‘In Thrash We Trust’ from the second track on the disk would have been a better title).

Back in the day, Artillery were one of those bands that hadn’t quite registered on the radar much here in the UK when Thrash was exploding world-wide. Although I had come across their rather explosive debut “Fear Of Tomorrow”, they didn’t tour enough to push themselves into the consciousness of us Brits in the way other European stalwarts of the scene did and so unless you had seen them on the bill at a festival over there, you were probably blissfully unaware of them. Taking most of the 1990’s and 2000’s off probably did not help with maintaining a profile here though. The band have also endured some recent tragedy with the passing of founding guitarist Morten Stützer, suddenly, in 2019. You would have forgiven his surviving brother Michael for wanting to hang up his axe at this point, given that the brothers were the song-writing engine at the heart of the band, but having on boarded long-time friend Kræn Meier the band have taken that emotion and forged what is head and shoulders the strongest album since their debut in 1985.

This does not sound like a band who have been around for such a long time. It sounds as fresh, focussed and energetic as that crucial first record, with the added benefit of experience and the kind of crisp and modern production values which although more affordable and technically achievable in this day and age, still many bands struggle to find. They’ve been working with Producer Søren Andersen for a while, but this time he really seems to have nailed their sound with a rich and well produced piece of work. Thrash and high production values did not always go together historically, so this is important. In days gone by the best thrash albums were often the ones with the weaker production, given that the speed and urgency borne from necessity of limited budget and studio time often leant the recordings an energy that became conspicuous by its absence when bands got better established and hard more time to polish their chops. Andersen crucially has managed to capture both the immediacy without sacrificing the quality here.

But then when you have song-writing of this calibre to work with, half the work is already done. The eleven songs on here positively fly by in a blur of technically proficient and blisteringly accurate speed. Artillery’s sound is subtly different from many Thrash acts, as Michael Bastholm Dahl’s clean vocal style stands out from the usual guttural delivery of the sub-genre. Personally his wailing tone adds an emotional timbre so often missing from Thrash, and allows the meaning of the words to emerge clearly. This counterpoints superbly with the aggressive and frenetic delivery of the instruments and I am left with an album that I am not done with yet. The band also vary the tone in unexpected ways – ‘The Ghost Of Me’ is the kind of ballad that you would not expect to find in the genre, but it works and really shows just what Dahl’s voice can achieve. Equally the more Traditional Metal sound of ‘Eternal Night’ brings a refreshing change from the all-out speed and illustrates a band with song-writing maturity and confidence that experience naturally brings, but who have not lost their mojo. A resounding hit for me.

‘In Your Mind’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Devil’s Symphony
02. In Thrash We Trust
03. Turn Up The Rage
04. Silver Cross
05. In Your Mind
06. The Ghost Of Me
07. Force Of Indifference
08. Varg I Veum
09. Mors Ontologica
10. Eternal Night
11. Beggars In Black Suits

LINE-UP:
Michael Bastholm Dahl – Vocals
Michael Stützer – Guitars
Kræn Meier – Guitars
Peter Thorslund – Bass
Josua Madsen – Drums

LINKS:

Artillery Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Arched Fire – Remote Control

Remote Control Album Cover Art

Arched Fire – Remote Control
WormHoleDeath
Release Date: 30/04/2021
Running Time: 38:44
Review by Simon Black
6/10

There’s been a lot of this of late. This, being bands I’ve never heard of releasing albums with a several decades back story that is. The recent revival in NWOBHM and the 80’s in general has seen a wave of new acts influenced by their parent’s (or indeed grand-parents) record collections in much the same I was by my Mum’s Stones and Beatles records a long time ago. It’s also seen a lot of acts who were around at the time and either did not stay the pace, or never really got going before Grunge et al became the focus of the easily distracted labels searching for the next big thing.

Finland’s Arched Fire definitely fall into that final category who were teenagers when they formed in 1989 and by the time they had got their shit together, the world had well and truly moved on. They folded early, without really getting the chance to even dent a wider, and at that time, burgeoning European Underground scene, with all the members moving on to other projects in the intervening years before reforming very recently and producing this album. After thirty-two years of gestation and the experience gained on other projects the old A&R adage that a band has years to write the first album has never been more correct and it would be interesting to know just how many of the songs were birthed in the 1980’s.

So enough of the history and on to the present.

Stylistically this is NWOBHM with a strong vein of Speed Metal running though it and a few Thrash-like motes and time changes thrown in for good measure. I’m quite enjoying Kristian Herkman’s vocal turn, which alternates from a straight Rock / Metal clean delivery to some incredibly high ranging shrill screams that hybridise Halford’s unique turn on ‘Painkiller’ whilst snorting Martin Walkyier’s Sabbat era delivery. It’s an odd mixture but works quite well and adds variety and tone to proceedings.

Musically the guitar work is fluid and melodic when the solos come around, but the overall musical arrangements can sound a little jerky and I am left with the feeling that even though the material has been simmering on the pot for a long time, that it could have also benefitted for a little more time spent on pre-production. It’s also let down a little by the production, which whilst retaining that retro feel of a hastily recorded demo just doesn’t sound rich enough for the day and age we live in. The drums and vocals suffer from this in particular although the stringed instruments sound punchy and fat. It’s frustrating, as with a little more care the overall sound would have compensated somewhat for the chaotic arrangements. Nevertheless, an interesting start, and I can see the energy and chaos being transferred into the live arena much more effectively.

‘Wormhole’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Hindsight 20/20
02. Back On Track
03. Remote-Controlled End
04. Crawling Down
05. …And Ride Away
06. A.T.W.
07. Wormhole
08. Escape
09. Futile
10. From Dust To Dust

LINE-UP:
Kristian Herkman – Vocals
Aslak Purojärvi – Drums
Mika Rytilahti – Bass
Janne Särkelä – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Ari Väntänen – Rhythm Guitar

LINKS:

Arched Fire Promo Pic (credit Tapio Wilska)
Photo Credit: Tapio Wilska

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Zeahorse – Let’s Not (And Say We Did)

Let's Not (And Say We Did) Album Cover Art

Zeahorse – Let’s Not (And Say We Did)
Copper Feast Records
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Running Time: 33:09
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

Returning after a 4+ year break are noise rock-merchants Zeahorse, a Sydney-based four-piece who combine fuzzy, sludge metal riffs with clean psychedelic vocals in a delivery not a million miles away from punk rock.

Invoking a heavier approach than 2016 offering “Torana Dreamin”, much of which is courtesy of bassist Ben Howell whose mired tone could rival the Bloop, “Let’s Not (And Say We Did)” consequently draws in a lot of comparisons to Fugazi, Hawk Eyes and to a lesser extent, Helmet. Opener ‘Designer Smiles’ does this almost immediately, a filthy, bassy riff that acts as lead conductor to the music, before the hypnotic vocals of Morgan Anthony come sprawling in, resulting in a high-energy melancholy, dating back to 90’s grunge (complete with a very ‘Black Hole Sun’-esque solo).

The album then breaks into a brilliant three-part special from ‘Panic Laps’ to ‘The Ladder’. ‘Panic Laps’ has a nice injection of pace, even as Anthony continues his floating vocals, in a well-worked clash of tempos and brings the album from the 90’s feel of ‘Designer Smiles’ into the present day. Follow-up ‘Guilty’ feels like it has more of an attitude in the vocal delivery, akin to Hawk Eyes’ Paul Astick, accompanied by a lingering vocal hook the chorus will stick with you for the rest of the day. And then ‘The Ladder’ presents a bit of a kick up the arse, as it leans more towards Zeahorse’s punkier roots. The song packs tight bassline riffs, a punchier chorus, and a general frenzy that is perhaps lost in the more aloof, stonery tracks heard prior.

The latter half of the album feels like it takes a step pack in tempo and makes up for it in a gluttony of riffs. ‘One Of Everything’ is a sole three minute shot of adrenaline, in amongst blown-amp-sounding, face-gurning riffs, with ‘Cut The Slack’ almost falling into stoner doom territory, owing to the cloud of psychedelia that makes its way into the fold as well.

By garnering comparison and directly/indirectly drawing inspiration from a multitude of names, Zeahorse almost back themselves into a corner of “why listen to the new thing instead of the original thing that we already know and like?” In response, the band does a fine job of establishing their own identity throughout the majority of the album. Songs like ‘One Of Everything’ and ‘Panic Laps’ never feel punk enough to be outrightly branded Fugazi 2.0, but show enough homages to bring in new fans.

For those about the riff and maybe certain horticultural practices, this album should be a winner. Intense, bass-heavy sounds stomping their way through psychedelia and 90’s grunge, with interludes of punk rock to keep the party going, Zeahorse are heading into their metal phase with gusto and with more than ample ideas at their disposal.

‘Designer Smiles’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Designer Smiles
02. Panic Laps
03. Guilty
04. The Ladder
05. Cut The Slack
06. 20 Nothing
07. One Of Everything
08. Don’t Laugh

LINE-UP:
Morgan Anthony – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Max Foskett – Guitars
Ben Howell – Bass
Julien Crendal – Drums

LINKS:

Zeahorse Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

ScreaMachine – ScreaMachine

ScreaMachine Album Cover Art

ScreaMachine – ScreaMachine
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 45:25
Review by Simon Black
7.5/10

Most of the material I get sent to review that hails from the shores of that wonderful nation Italy tends to fall into either the Power, Progressive, Symphonic or Operatic sub-genres and I had started to wonder if these were the only styles of Metal that had a market over there. Of course, I am wrong (and it’s all the editor’s fault as he chooses what I listen to), so when I received this delightfully fresh slab of good old-fashioned Rock’n’Roll influenced Heavy Metal today I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s rough, it’s raw, it’s gutsy and it’s refreshingly good, with twin harmonised guitars coming out of every bar, galloping rhythm lines aplenty, plus some blistering lead work and a soulful, no frills, powered vocal delivery. The Metal is definitely of the traditionally influenced NWOBHM and German ends of the spectrum, but it’s not sounding dated or derivative and has the freshness of a band who know what they liked in their parents record collections, but know what works for a modern audience. Not that these are fresh faced newbies either – this may be a debut album, but the musicians involved are all experienced hands with a good history of delivery in acts such as Stormlord, Kaledon, and Lunarsea dating back to the 1990’s. That experience shows well, as there is a maturity in the song-writing and sound that has the fresh energy of a project that they all clearly dig…A lot! They’ve also dragged in an impressive roster of guests as well, with guitar turns from Steve Di Giorgio and a whole bunch of Italian shredders, plus a vocal turn from Avantasia and Firewind singer Herbie Langhans, but frankly the core five-piece at the heart of this are more than capable of delivering the goods on their own.

Vocalist Valerio Caricchio has a powerful presence in this act, with a solid rough round the edges delivery and a hint at a little top end screamage where it’s needed, creating the impression that he could take the wallpaper off if he chose to, but it’s not what they wanted in this instance. The album flies by quite quickly and if it has a down side it is that most tracks are very much of a similar tempo, and a little more variety in tone might have offered a broader appeal, but as far as straight ahead riff based Metal goes, it can’t be faulted.

‘The Metal Monster’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Demondome
02. The Metal Monster
03. The Human God
04. Darksteel
05. Mistress Of Disaster
06. 52Hz
07. Wisdom Of The Ages (Feat. Steve Di Giorgio and Herbie Langhans)
08. Silver Fever
09. Dancing With Shadows
10. Scream Machine

LINE-UP:
Valerio “The Brave” Caricchio – Lead Vocals
Francesco Bucci – Bass
Alex Mele – Guitars
Paolo Campitelli – Guitars
Alfonso “Fo” Corace – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.

Skarlett Riot – Invicta

Invicta Album Cover Art

Skarlett Riot – Invicta
Despotz Records
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 48:08
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

As a reviewer, I will never tire of the privileged position that we have of being introduced to new music on a daily basis. Music, for me, has always been a lifeblood, and a constant, which travels with me, wherever life leads. The creation of music is a journey which strives to make emotional connections, in whatever form that may take. And, as a listener, one of the best feelings in the world is hearing an album, or indeed any piece of music, that connects with you straight away. In that instant, you know you’ve found something special. This doesn’t necessarily happen all the time, but when it does, it is magical.

I’m going to say, straight up, that “Invicta”, the latest release from UK Modern/Alternative Metal band, Skarlett Riot, is one of those magical albums. And that’s because it’s been created with emotion at its forefront. The band themselves say about the album “We’ve overcome so much together as a band throughout the years and “Invicta” represents the physical and mental struggles we’ve experienced together and individually, making us who we are today.”

Musically, Skarlett Riot could be likened to a combination of Killswitch Engage and Evanescence (who incidentally are two of my favourite bands). It’s a chunky, technical, riff-heavy sound, with lots of hooks and progressive elements, and a combination of screams, growls, and clean vocals from the exceptional pipes of Skarlett, all pulled together through brilliant melodies. It’s fast and ferocious, and played, mixed, and produced perfectly, making it an irresistible listen from start to finish.

However, the ‘great album’ status of “Invicta” moves a step higher for me, with one track in particular. Recently, I’ve not been in the best place. A lot of historical detritus decided to invade my headspace in a way that it’s never managed to before, and it’s not been much fun. ‘Into Pieces’, lyrically, is a track that could have been written from my soul. It’s a more acoustic-based track, compared to the speed and punchiness of the rest of the album. And it’s a melancholic journey from start to finish, which caught me off-guard on first listen. I’ve now lost count of how many times I’ve listened to that track alone in the past couple of weeks. It’s been my go-to track, I’ve had it on repeat, I’ve turned it up full pelt in the car and sung my heart out to it (it didn’t take long to learn it word-for-word, because I felt like I already knew it), I’ve wandered round the house humming it, and I’ve cried to it. I feel very lucky to have found it, and Skarlett Riot. This is the start of a beautiful friendship between me and their music.

And that’s all I really have to say about this album. There’s only so many ways to say ‘this is next-level brilliant’ in one review. The magic music triangle of technical perfection, passionate emotions, and connection, glows intensely throughout this masterpiece of a record, making it a very strong contender for my number 1 album of 2021, and it’s only May. It’s going to take some beating; I can tell you that.

‘Stronger’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Breaking the Habit
02. Gravity
03. Black Cloud
04. Underwater
05. Stronger
06. Cut the Ties
07. Into Pieces
08. Not Alone
09. To the Flames
10. Falling
11. Human

LINE-UP:
Skarlett – Lead Vocals/Guitars
Danny – Guitars/Backing Vocals
Tim – Bass/Backing Vocals
Luke – Drums

LINKS:

Skarlett Riot Promo Pic

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.

Immortal Sÿnn – Force of Habit

Force Of Habit Album Cover Art

Immortal Sÿnn – Force of Habit
Self-Released
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 40:37
Review by Simon Black
5/10

This record really does feel like it has fallen through a time warp. Immortal Sÿnn hail from Colorado, and have clearly been listening to their parent’s 80’s breakout Thrash vinyl collection since their debut back in 2017, although this change of direction had been signalled with the “Capital Punishment” EP that filled that gap. I say Thrash, but I really mean Thrash-influenced in the instrumental department, with beats and riffs that remind me of that era. Vocally new singer Duel Shape is not what you would expect, opting for a much cleaner vocal style that the musical tone would imply. This can go both ways, depending on the phrasing of the song. The opener ‘Anamnesis’ works well, as that clean style and phrasing invokes a bit more of a traditional metal melody and Shape can open up and channel his inner Joey Belladonna. However, the more overt Thrash tracks are crying out for a gruffer delivery style. ‘Fight The Prince’ which follows is a good example of this – the vocal phrasing follows the riff’s, which feels like a waste of Shape’s voice, as this needs staccato and guttural delivery and the clean style flounders somewhat.

My problem with the album is that although the sound is influenced by that 80’s heyday, it sometimes lacks the kind of barely contained aggression and energy that characterised the period. Many bands who were there at the time struggled as well, which is why their early releases borne out of a limited time and budget situation felt special, yet later albums recorded with the advantage of time and money failed to capture that zeitgeist. Some tracks get the balance right, some not.

Instrumentally though they’ve got the sound structure and phrasing down pat – the riff driven pace of delivery of tracks like ’F.U.D.C.’ is pure Thrash, with time changes in all the right places, but the guitar sound is that little bit too clean. When they do go down and dirty which happens for example in the solos for ‘The Ballad of Martin Heemeyer’ (which absolutely ain’t a ballad by the way) then suddenly the whole thing works much better, helped also by the fact that the vocal delivery once again mixes things up and helps pull the whole song together. There’s a nice vein of humour running underneath the thin political veneer – the Lawnmower Deth inspired ‘The Mailman Song’ being a classic case in point and with another member of the band throwing in a much more aggressive vocal turn and proving that when they mix things up, it works. Perhaps alternating vocalists a bit more is the way forward for these guys as the half of the album when they do far outshines the remainder.

‘Anamnesis’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Anamnesis
02. Fight The Prince
03. F.U.D.C.
04. The Ballad Of Marvin Heemeyer
05. The Mailman Song
06. Nuclear Terror
07. Satan’s Tavern
08. Denver Nights
09. Force Of Habit
10. Whiskey II: The Wrath Of Corn

LINE-UP:
Duel Shape – Lead Vocals
Tony Z – Rhythm/Lead Guitars, Vocals
Axel Berrios – Drums, Vocals
Frantz Pierre – Bass, Vocals
Brad Wagner – Lead Guitar, Vocals

LINKS:

Immortal Sÿnn Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.