Darkwoods My Betrothed – Angel Of Carnage Unleashed

Angel Of Carnage Unleashed Album Cover Art

Darkwoods My Betrothed – Angel Of Carnage Unleashed
Napalm Records
Release Date: 12/11/21
Running Time: 50:33
Review by Rick Eaglestone
8.5/10

After a two-decade silence Finland’s Darkwoods my Betrothed find their voice with new album “Angel of Carnage Unleashed”.

There were two things I did when I heard about this new album; firstly get very excited as not only is it a brand-new release but it’s also the original line-up, and secondly go back and revisit gems such as “Autumn Roars Thunder” and “Witch-Hunts”, and once I had done that I was fully invested and ready to dive in.

Opener ‘Name the Dead’ immediately brings in a cacophony of brutality which weaves into orchestral elements and back to storming drums and desperately raw vocals, a strong opening track which firmly announces the bands intention and direction. ‘In Evil, Sickness and in Grief’ follows and is also unrelenting for the most part, but has some wonderful atmospheric sections with added layers of haunting backing vocals, and at over eight minutes, manages to hold the listeners attention throughout. 

A change of pace entirely for ‘Murktide and Midnight Sun’, which has a really strong Folk/Viking feel to it. And that leads into my highlight track of the album, ‘You Bitter Source of Sorrow’, which at its very core is everything that first appealed to me as a listener all those years back. It has the frostbitten feel to it, and I just kept going back to it over and over. ‘Where We Dwell’ has a great riff and wonderful piano melodies – these 2 songs paired together make the album for me in all honesty.

The band revisit the Folk/Viking side with ‘In Thrall to ‘Ironskull’s Heart’, another 8 plus minute track that again has enough varied elements, and the only thing that’s missing is a horn full of mead. ‘Massacre’ brings it back to the atmospheric, bleak, and heavy with easily the most urgently savage track of the entire album – it’s a full-on assault of the senses, as too is ‘Black Fog and Poison Wind’ but it’s laden with all the atmosphere of the Carpathian Mountains.

The album finishes with an outro and, although enjoyable, I feel this would’ve served better as an intro track.

‘You Bitter Source Of Sorrow’ Official Audio

TRACKLISTING:
01. Name the Dead
02. In Evil, Sickness and in Grief
03. Murktide and Midnight Sun
04. You Bitter Source of Sorrow
05. Where We Dwell
06. In Thrall to Ironskull’s Heart
07. Massacre
08. Black Fog and Poison Wind
09. Outro

LINE-UP:
Pasi Kankkunen – lead vocals, guitar
Jouni Mikkonen – guitar
Teemu Kautonen – bass, backing vocals
Tuomas Holopainen – keyboards
Kai Hahto – drums (session)

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone 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.




Scarecrow – Scarecrow II

Scarecrow II Album Cover Art

Scarecrow – Scarecrow II
Wise Blood Records
Release date: 22/10/2021
Running Time: 42:52
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

You could say I was a little confused when I first heard ‘The Endless Ocean Overture’, the opening track on this second album from Scarecrow.  I know the clue’s in the song title, but this really is a big, full on orchestral piece – complete with moody storm sounds and crashing waves.  I thought the Ever Metal Delivery Monkey had sent me one of those symphonic metal monstrosities by mistake – there are NO GUITARS here.  At least not on the first song.

Not that it’s a bad track – it’s actually very atmospheric and very bloody clever.  Just a bit of a surprise, that’s all.

Scarecrow are a Russian Doom Rock band, taking their inspirations from the classic seventies masters like Sabbath and Zeppelin.  When track 2 – ‘Blizzard’ – kicked in, I realised my mistake.  Yes, here we have it: Blues based Heavy Rock that could have easily been produced in 1973.  Groovy riffs, batteringly good drum breaks, high pitched wailing vocals – all the tropes are present and correct.  ‘Blizzard’ has all these, plus relentless changes of pace, which means the listener can bang their head or swing their bell bottom jeans all in one song.

‘Magic Flower’ has a slower, Doom Blues sound with some mouth organ for additional retro stylings.  There’s even a Folky mid-section with some Plant-esque banshee screams.  Up next is ‘Spirit Seducer’, a rocker that’s more of the Iommi sound already hinted at, and some pounding rhythm.  

Scarecrow are nothing if not ambitious.  ‘The Moors’ is a hell of an epic: warm acoustic guitar intro; Doom laden heavy riff; ethereal keys: all the ingredients are here, and happily we reach another Sabbath-like peak in the middle of the song.  Some of the orchestral feel of the opener makes a well-judged return here, adding to the bombast.  

When I heard the intro to ‘The Golden Times’, it was easy to make the comparison to Sabbath tracks like ‘Orchid’ and ‘Fluff’.  This song flows along serenely, with the vocals making me think I’d started listening to a new Wolfmother recording.  Another multi part piece, best to just mellow out and enjoy the ride – till the increasing pace runs off with your ears.

The range and scope of this album really is very impressive.  “Scarecrow II” is an accurate love letter to the giants of yesteryear, whilst firmly placing the band’s feet alongside contemporaries like Uncle Acid and Graveyard.  Scarecrow has delivered an album that features new spins on the old ideas co-existing with brave, surprising augmentations.      

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Endless Ocean Overture
02. Blizzard
03. Magic Flower
04. Spirit Seducer
05. The Moors
06. The Mushroom Wizard
07. The Golden Times
08. The Endless Ocean

LINKS:

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.

NervoChaos – Dug Up (Diabolical Reincarnations)

Dug Up (Diabolical Reincarnations) Album Cover Art

NervoChaos – Dug Up (Diabolical Reincarnations)
Xenokorp
Release Date: 19/11/2021
Running Time:37:39
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

For passion, Not Fashion! Yes. This phrase, taken from one of the NervoChaos song, is perfect to describe what this band represents for the Brazilian Heavy Metal scene, and also worldwide! Hello again my friends and readers of my nonsense thoughts. Today, I am very honoured to have this legendary band to talk about. I am happy not only because of their importance for our scene, but also happy to be fortunate enough to have followed them for a pretty long time. Before I really starts to describe the phonographic material, I must describe a picture of the environment NervoChaos have grown from along their 25 years on the road.

If you think it is hard to keep a band active for so long time, you have no idea how hard it is to achieve it in Brazil. Especially for Death Metal bands. Many are the obstacles that NervoChaos have faced throughout these decades. Firstly, to record a good album, with this style, in the late nineties, was not an easy or a cheap task. The equipment they had to use when playing on tour and at the Heavy Metal venues (the underground ones) was awful (maybe still is). Roads in Brazil are terrible and dangerous so not good at all for a band in a van/bus travelling hours and hours between each city. And the country is also huge, which makes everything worse.

And that’s only the logistic! I am not considering all the other issues like dishonest promoters failing to pay the bands, and the daily living among members when you’re on an extended tour. Line-up changes are something that have tracked NervoChaos’ career. Each of the three NervoChaos concerts I’ve been to were with different line-ups. But even with this chaotic scenario, the band has never stopped. They are always releasing new albums and have been going on long tours around the world for many years. Put this success that the band has strived for and conquered, allied with a loyalty to their fans and for their music, and it’s easy to see how they survived and became so respected.

“But what about the album, Victor?”. Ok, let’s talk about it. Like the title suggests, we are in front of re-recorded songs from their first 4 albums, which were all originally released between 1998 and 2010, along with one bonus track from “The Art of Vengeance” (2014). Instead of just putting out a “best of” or a collection of albums, they decided to show what NervoChaos is nowadays, as a band. Following their pattern of album recordings, this one represents their attitude on stage. It is like a live album, but recorded in a studio. I felt it because it sounds like they have gone straight into the studio, and just plugged their instruments in and played. There aren’t so many studio tweaks like there would be with a new album, but it is still pretty good, clean and true to the music.

Musically I must mention a few elements that I consider NervoChaos trademarks. Even though Death Metal is the main style, there are few Thrash additions, like the beginning of ‘I Hate Your God’. I like the work on riffs, not too many complications or too much virtuosity, but keeping a good technique. The drum work is another positive aspect which holds things together, because Edu Lane (The only original member) plays in a good pace and changes the rhythms. A highlight for him is on ‘Upside Down Cross’, where he plays an amazing drum intro. The result of all this is you will always have brutal and aggressive music, but not over exacerbated in the way extreme bands use to do.

For me, as a fan who has followed them since 2012, it’s almost impossible to not go nuts hearing the classic track ‘Pazuzu is Here’. It makes me feel like I am seeing them on stage. By the way, it is the best thing on this album. It really does give the feeling of hearing them live! The closing track ‘The Devil’s Work’ shows how is possible to increase the satanic and blasphemous atmosphere just with guitars, bass, drums and a powerful vocal. 

25 insane years of underground persistence from a band who has never stopped playing brutal Metal all around the world! Line-up changes, members who passed away, discrimination in countries with strongly religious orientations, and many other battles they’ve fought; And no-one was able to keep them down. While NervoChaos haven’t released a book to tell every bit of history they lived (and I think they should), you can enjoy “Dug Up (Diabolical Reincarnations)” to get an idea of what NervoChaos are all about.

Cheers!

‘Pazuzu Is Here’ – Official Audio

TRACKLISTING:
01. I Hate Your God
02. Envy
03. Putrid Pleasures
04. Pazuzu Is Here
05. Mighty Justice
06. Upside Down Cross
07. The Urge to Feel Pain
08. Dark Chaotic Destruction
09. Nervochaos
10. Pure Hemp
11. Scavengers of the Underworld
12. Perish Slowly
13. The Devil’s Work

LINE-UP:
Brian Stone – Vocals
Luiz “Quinho” Parisi – Guitars
Wesley Johann – Guitars
Pedro Lemes – Bass
Edu Lane – Drums

LINKS:

NervoChaos Promo Pic

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.

Wilderun – Epigone

Epigone Album Cover Art

Wilderun – Epigone
Century Media Records
Release Date: 07/01/22
Running Time: 71:14
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Rarely is it that an album comes along which leaves me completely lost for words and in complete awe. Over the years a few artists have managed it. Devin was one, with “Empath”. Much earlier in my musical listening life, Queen’s “Innuendo” album left me speechless too. But in 2020 I had the pleasure of reviewing “Veil Of Imagination” by Boston, Massachusetts based Symphonic Progressive Metal band Wilderun, and that left me in much the same state… 

Well, now they’re back with their new release, and bugger me, they have done it again! This album is ridiculous, and I simply do not have enough words for it (I’m pretty sure I said similar in my last review)! So, without further ado, I will try and explain why “Epigone” is a modern masterpiece. 


Wilderun’s previous offering began with a track that was over 14 minutes long, and absolutely huge. I didn’t think it was possible to make a sound any bigger than that track. Turns out I was wrong again! While this record starts with a beautifully haunting acoustic number, we are introduced to the epic track next, with ‘Woolgatherer’. It’s insanely gigantic in every imaginable way, not just in length, and it all starts from the position of stunning, beautiful gentleness, both vocally and instrumentally. This is the most ridiculous prog I have ever heard – delicate, yet flamboyant and sumptuous, it sails you away to some sort of weird, and a little dark, symphonic Atlantis that simply should not be possible, or at all plausible. Massive orchestrations, intricate cross rhythms, close harmonies, clean vocals that soar, and demonic growls that tear at your soul, and it’s all rounded off with guitar riffage and bass wizardry that moves through so many colours during the track.

And this is very much how this album continues. Darker than their previous album, it really is an absolute genius masterstroke, and I am in total awe of the musical brains behind Wilderun. Magic. That’s what it is. There is no other word to describe it.

‘Ambition’ serves as a pause within the album, and is a haunting and sinister soundscape, which feels oppressive and insular – almost like being in a submarine deep under the ocean. This leads into ‘Distraction – parts I-IV’ which creates a 20-minute Progressive Metal Juggernaut that takes us to the end of the main album. Its orchestral elements are frankly stunning. I have visions of it being performed by a full orchestra in venues like The Royal Albert Hall, or Sydney Opera House. And the skill of every single musician in the work is exhibited perfectly within these tracks. The guitar solo in part III is just nuts! 

I implore you though – do not let that be the end of the album. Purchase the full works that have the 2 extra tracks, because if you don’t, you’re depriving yourself of more brilliance. ‘Everything In Its Right Place’ is heavy and crunchy, but still retains that beautiful orchestral element, and a choral element as well. And the Synth remix of the opening album track ‘Exhaler’ is equally as beautiful, but somehow more haunting. 


Stunning. Absolutely, totally and utterly astounding. Everything is perfect. If I could give a million out of ten, I would. Probably my album of the year already and it’s only January. It’s going to take a massive amount of beating. I’m feeling emotional right now. If you like prog, classical, or anything symphonic, and want music to make you really feel something, you need this album. 

TRACKLISTING:
01. Exhaler
02. Woolgatherer
03. Passenger
04. Identifier
05. Ambition
06. Distraction I
07. Distraction II
08. Distraction III
09. Distraction Nulla
10.  Everything In Its Right Place (Bonus – only on CD & digital)
11. Exhaler (Synth Mix – Bonus – only digital)

LINE-UP:
Evan Anderson Berry – Vocals, Guitars, Piano
Dan Müller – Bass, Synths, Orchestrations
Jon Teachey – Drums
Joe Gettler – Lead Guitar
Wayne Ingram – Orchestrations

LINKS:

Wilderun 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.




Warzaw – Black Magic Satellite

Black Magic Satellite Album Cover Art

Warzaw – Black Magic Satellite
Self-Released
Release Date: 31/12/21
Running Time: 45:05
Review by Simon Black
6/10

The sophomore release for Norway’s Trad Metallers Warzaw picks up where their debut “Werewolves on Wheels” left off, pausing only to add a little more polish. This is a band that wear their very 80’s influence patches very clearly on their collective band battle jacket, with lots of NWOBHM and similar 80’s infused touches loudly and proudly on display. This is a backbone of solid riffage with melodic vocal lines which probably have more in common with the likes of Dokken than the more in your face high end screaming of your Halfords or Dickinsons that the British end of the era delivered. 

The whole thing is very 80’s in sound too, with production values that feel like they are trying to sound of that age as well although it feels a more mature affair in the song-writing department than their brash debut. For me that retro production feel is not always the best strategy, as I feel it’s always better if bands can nod to the influences through the song-writing but keep the production bang up to date, otherwise too much effort is wasted in the retro sound rather than authenticity in the tunes. That said, musically they do capture that ethos, although the vocals feel a little too proud in the mix. Daniel Rønning has a strong and distinctively raw voice, with quite a considerable range and enough charisma to carry the band’s sound. But the way it’s mixed makes it sound like it’s all about him and a backing band, rather than one cohesive band, which is a shame as the performances from the other three are spot on.

It’s one of those albums that’s worth bearing with, as the better material doesn’t start to predominate until the halfway point, with the first few numbers feeling that little too obvious. By the time you get to ‘Shot Of Poison’ it feels like they’ve got the balance right, although the retro mixing remains intrusive, but musically they’re firing on all cylinders, and they certainly know a thing or two about effective arrangements, with enough technical flourishes to stop this being too run of the mill. A focus on sounding of the moment rather than one long gone and this bunch could go the distance.

Circle Talk – Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Santa Mira
02. Fierce Attitude
03. Send My Regards
04. Lightning From the Clear Sky
05. Circular Talk
06. Machine Gun Fire
07. Where the Bodies Are Buried
08. Shot of Poison
09. Pistols at Dawn
10. Altar of Pleasure
11. Sabres of Flesh and Blood

LINE-UP:
Daniel Rønning – Vocals
Håvard Alvarez – Guitars
Trond Jullumstrø – Guitars, bass
Mats Sødahl – Drums

LINKS:

Warzaw 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.

Null Cell – Nemesis

Nemesis Album Cover Art

Null Cell – Nemesis
Machineman Records
Release Date: 31.12.21
Running Time: 47:05
Review by Dark Juan

9/10

Hello, dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan, and you may be very surprised to know that I am feeling somewhat subdued. Normally I am to be found bursting with explosive bonhomie, and replete with witty bon mots and all round cheerful good humour. Instead I feel like shite and can’t even rouse myself to masturbate furiously over a picture of Euronymous burning down a church. That’s death’s door kind of business. Fuck knows what’s wrong with me, because all the tests I am doing for COLIN-19 appear to be negative. Mrs Dark Juan is currently sparked out on the sofa with two Smellhounds and I have a gently snoring (and extremely flatulent) General Sir Zeusington Zeus KCVG, VC, DFC and bar, Croix de Guerre and Order Of The Red Banner next to me whilst I contemplate my mortality, and what the response from Mrs Dark Juan would be if I woke her to demand tea. As the second point would probably directly influence the first, I feel it would be beneficial to my lifespan if I just went and fetched my own cup of tea.

I don’t even feel like drinking, even though I know there’s a very acceptable bottle of 15-year-old single malt Scotch whisky in the kitchen with my name on it. Is this what old age and senescence is?

Also, it’s near Christmas, and I promised Mrs Dark Juan I wouldn’t ruin it for her this year by being miserable. However, seeing as she has no control over the vitriolic vomiting of my metaphorical pen (he sez as he types this on Word) I can confidently share with you the fact that I despise Christmas with a passion. I hate all the false bonhomie, the commercial shitstorm that starts in fucking SEPTEMBER, the awful music, and most of all the fact that I am OBLIGED to like it for the sake of society as a whole. Why? Why the fuck should I accept the Christians (fucking imported Middle Eastern death cults do my fucking head in too) having stolen a perfectly acceptable pagan festival, and their capitalist lackeys using it as an excuse to drag ever more profit out of our miserable and increasingly less well-off lives? And more to the point, swallow it all down like a good little boy for the sake of other people’s happiness? Commercial shitstorms do my fucking head in. Next the supermarkets will have fucking Easter eggs in in February. Right after the supermarkets try to relieve me of money and increase my already beyond Catholic levels of assumed guilt with Valentine’s Day and all the pink frothy bullshit that comes with it. Mrs Dark Juan would fucking adore it if I bought her a raven, not a fucking lovebird, you money grabbing twats…

You might be wondering just what the fuck I am listening to that has caused me to rant in such a disgracefully self-indulgent fashion. It’s “Christmas Time (Don’t Let The Bells End)” by The Darkness.

No, it isn’t. I’m lying to you again. By kind permission of Machineman Records, I have in my sweated and greasy hands an advance copy of Nebraska native Isabella Chains’ latest offering as Null Cell – “Nemesis”.

You will no doubt, as regular readers of this gobbledegook masquerading as factual information, know that I am something of a Null Cell fan, having reviewed the debut album (https://ever-metal.com/2021/02/20/null-cell-eternally-ill/, if you’re interested) and found the listening experience not unlike being incarcerated in an industrial meat packing plant populated by heavily armed sadists who all have anger management issues and severe inferiority complexes. You will be pleased to note that “Nemesis” is considerably more schizophrenic, ‘Chemical Haze’ having a bizarre, calliope like carnival quality, and a vocal that for some outré (and probably drug-fuelled) reason has me thinking of the tongue in cheek humour and delivery of Lux Interior, with a strange middle and end section of spoken word parts that also remind me of Satanic doo-wop titans Twin Temple. A very strange and engaging mix of psychobilly and industrial… This having exploded out of the end of a rather more industrial piece of noise called ‘The Void’, which spasmodically jerks from a droning electronic noise to the sound of orgasm over pounding sequenced drums.

In general, though, the sound of Null Cell is still an amalgam of Skinny Puppy, early Ministry, KMFDM, Die Krupps and Front Line Assembly. Chopped up guitars underpin machine-made, pounding beats and vocals that still remind me of a mightily pissed off Nivek Ogre. All good on the influence front then, eh? 

Fear not, because “Nemesis” has more variety than “Eternally Ill” did. Isabella Chains has increased her musical influences and a distinct hip-hop vibe has crept into the music – ‘South-O Sleaze’ having hip-hop beats fused with choppy metal guitars and a Trent Reznor-channeling vocal and lyrical performance, and ‘Psychic Slave’ enjoying more rap beats and a sample from 90s R&B superstars En Vogue (don’t think I didn’t notice, you cheeky little monkey!), as well as it being the most removed song from Null Cell’s actual grinding, percussive assault upon the senses.

Null Cell still have the same “problem” as they did with their debut record. It might not be metal enough for a metal fan to truly enjoy. Whilst, I, as a massive fan of EBM and Futurepop and Aggrotech and Synthwave and Power Electronics and especially Industrial, can find much to enjoy and to appreciate the coldness and the alienation that Null Cell’s music conjures up in my poor abused brain, a metal fan unwilling to be convinced by the righteous path of Industrial might consider it lightweight poppy bollocks. However, I am prepared to ignore this when I score the record because I think it’s fucking brilliant. My favourite song is ‘Mechanesia’, which has an emotional, scarred vocal overlaid by closely tracked guitars and keyboards and a real feeling of melancholy attached to it.

Being a one-person project means absolutely no need to compromise on your musical vision, and Isabella Chains is to be praised for forging her own Industrial path and creating another fine album that is a reflection of her personality. It mirrors my own obsidian take on the universe, and the lyrical content relates stories of losing control of yourself, and going through depression and possibly failing to come back out of it again unscarred, or (and this, with you all knowing I wrangle young gentlemen in the care of local authorities for an actual living when I am not deflowering the children of religion, and frequently the followers of them makes it DEEPLY personal) the abuse suffered by young people in all its forms. This song (‘Blade’s Edge’) is a deeply unpleasant listening experience for me in that regard, but is relevant, timely and sharper than a rapier thrust to the eyeball.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (they speak a strange and bastardised version of English over in them there United States of America, so no amusingly incorrect translations into foreign languages today) awards Null Cell 9/10, because their cyberpunk mix of Skinny Puppy, Front 242 and Ministry with added metal is right up my perverted little alley.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Return To Oz
02. Nemesis
03. Breaking The Code
04. Dream Emulator
05. Over The Top
06. Psychic Slave
07. Blade’s Edge
08. The Void
09. Chemical Haze
10. Judgement Pays (Good Cop)
11. South-O Sleaze
12. Twitching Alive
13. Mechanesia

LINE-UP:

Isabella Chains – Vocals, synths, programming, guitar, production and all instrumentation where noted. There’s no need for this level of talent. No need at all!

LINKS:

Null Cell Promo Pic

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.

Perseide – The Only Thing

The Only Thing Album Cover Art

Perseide – The Only Thing
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/12/21
Running Time: 39:31
Review by Simon Black
9/10

OK, so you know how the whole Nu-Metal / Alternative hybrid thing is dead, right? Well, maybe not…

Given that I spent most of the late 90’s and early noughties in mourning for my favourite musical genre, which seemed to be melting away in favour of a sub-genre that rarely got my attention, then those of you that know me would be quite justified in raising the odd eyebrow regarding why I chose this particular release to scrutinise. Whilst there is an argument that journalists often listen to things so you don’t have to, that’s not the way I work, and France’s Perseide crossed my desk quite willingly. 

The reason for this is simple. Despite being in many ways a time capsule from the period when bands like Korn and Linkin Park were busy tearing the world a new stylistic asshole, this record doesn’t feel like it’s just some retro wannabe. This band have an energy, soul and persona as emphatic and stylistically appealing as the first time Chester Bennington’s angst ridden scream scored its way through my ear drums and made me think that there was something worth listening to in this nu-fangled sub-genre after all. 

For a start there’s way more than Nu-Metal or Alternative in the mix. It’s as Modern as hell, as heavy as a concrete elephant and with some really technically impressive Progressive twists and flourishes that have moved this from raised eyebrows and straight into repeat playlist territory.  ‘Skyfall’, despite being a much-used song title elsewhere, is a great example of this fusion of styles, but it pales into insignificance compared to the stand out tracks on here, like the hauntingly catchy ‘Sell Yourself’, or the brutally hard driven ‘Fade Away’. The Linkin vocal comparison above is relevant, as vocalist (and indeed guitarist) Julien Lanoiselèe has an incredibly gutsy and emotionally intense timbre when he lets rip, but scales so many stylistic notches between there and the cleaner style he equally effortlessly delivers along the way. It’s hard to take on board that not only is he doing it vocally alone, but he’s also playing an instrument to boot. Not that the rest of the band have any challenges in that department either, as the musicianship and song-writing on here is top notch, with a lavish and rich production sound that really emphasises the depth of their material, and really, really does not sound like a debut album finding their house sound.

Amazingly for a band that’s been around in one form or another since they were kids in 2001, this is in fact only their first full length album (although there have been a couple of EP’s along the way). I guess when you’ve had twenty years to get to this point, then the material is likely to have been well crafted and honed over time, so the real challenge will be if they can keep the quality up now that they are onto the treadmill of the album touring cycle, but I remain positive because the quality here really is exceptionally good. More please, and soon…

‘Siren In The Distance’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sell Yourself
02. Trick or Treat
03. The Getaway
04. Fade Away
05. Blackening Everything
06. Siren in the Distance
07. Skyfall
08. Asylum
09. Red Naomi
10. Don’t Let Me Go

LINE-UP:
Anthony Segarra – Drums
Guillaume Lafosse – Bass / Keyboards
Julien Lanoiselèe – Vocals / Guitar
Adrien Rossero – Guitar

LINKS:

Perseide 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.

Unzane –  Test Of Time

Test Of Time Album Cover Art

Unzane –  Test Of Time
Too Loud Records
Release Date: 17/12/21
Running Time: 29:56
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Hailing from Puerto Rico (so that’s another first country album review for me) this powerful four piece have been around for over twenty years. As so often happens when I get something from a new part of the world (for me at least), the discovery that there’s a whole back catalogue of four albums is refreshing, yet frustrating at the same time. Refreshing, because that gives me confidence that these are experienced players honing their craft and I’m going to enjoy mining the past, but frustrating that it’s not until their new signing to Italian label Too Loud Records in 2021 that the wider world has a chance to hear them.

It’s an odd and eclectic beast to say the least, as for an album that’s quite short in duration, it runs a whole gamut of styles in its near thirty minutes run time. That said, it’s done with a clear and distinctive groove-laden house sound that says to me that here is a band that knows what they are after and don’t mind nodding to their quite varied influences on the way, so I will stick with Heavy Metal as the catch all pigeonhole. But, variety is definitely the spice of life here…

‘Life Cruiser’ is definitely one of the stronger tracks, with a bouncy and catchy delivery and allowing vocalist David Carrión the chance to prove that he’s more than capable of hitting the higher, cleaner registers quite effortlessly – to the point where I am left wishing he had done it a little more often. Although he stays mid-range predominantly, and his phrasing is the classic one you get when a singer is focussing fifty per cent of his attention on his rhythm guitar parts (which is unusual as he’s not actually playing one!), this particular song works better because his melody lines are at an angle to the guitar ones, as opposed to rigidly following the guitar melody though. That said, the highly Slayer-esque ‘Extreme Ferocity’ works precisely because it does the complete opposite! 

There’s clearly a place for both, but the point is he could hit the stratosphere vocally if he set aside the Stratocaster’s tempo more often… Like I said, it’s eclectic – yet it works, because this is a band with a confidence and richness of sound that means whatever approach they try, the effect and the underlying deep and catchy groove remain.

‘Test Of Time’ Official Video

TRACKLISTING:
01. Emotional Coaster
02. Braveheart Warriors
03. Because of You
04. Boogeyman
05. Extreme Ferocity
06. Life Expectancy
07. Feelings for You
08. Life Cruiser
09. Evolution
10. Test of Time

LINE-UP:
Ricky Leon – Guitars
Alfredo Vargas – Bass
Alex Hernández – Drums
David Carrión – Vocals

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.

Forever Falling – Suspended Over The Immanent

Suspended Over The Immanent Album Cover Art

Forever Falling – Suspended Over The Immanent
MSH Music Group
Release Date: 27/11/21
Running Time: 47:15
Review by Rick Eaglestone
7/10

As the night’s turned in and the frost appeared Italy’s Forever Falling released their debut album “Suspended Over The Immanent”.

Winter is just the best time for doom, isn’t it? Everything I mentioned earlier just puts me in the mood to listen over & over to the melancholic harmonies that play throughout. And yes, I may be guilty of going for the same releases over and over, but there is one thing that changes my thinking: a debut album as the undiscovered – an unknown part – which is still something that intrigues me. 

The album starts off with the instrumental ‘Bless This Floor’ and although it’s atmospheric and does set the scene I felt that it was too long and would’ve worked better as an intro track at maybe half the length. However the first track proper,  ‘Dark Friend’, is such a great track, with differing vocal styles and changes, and a heart pounding drum pattern.

A goosebump moment happens as soon as ‘Nightmare’ begins to play, as it’s everything I love about the genre and yes there’s violins! So, this is easily my highlight track of the album which, paired with the nearly eight-minute marathon that is ‘My Tears in Life’, makes the album for me. 

The insomniac’s anthem ‘I Will Never Sleep’ has some beautiful guitar parts, and this is followed by another longer track, ‘Only Emptiness’, which has some long speaking parts that I didn’t necessarily enjoy, fortunately this was remedied by the shorter ‘To Die in Silence’ which I loved.

The album finishes with ‘Dark Painting of the I’ and it’s a great track to end on. It did make me emotional, which is actually a good thing! Also, I’m really glad there wasn’t the temptation to end with an outro track as this was really well done.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bless This Floor
02. Dark Friend
03. Nightmare
04. My Tears in Life
05. I Will Never Sleep
06. Only Emptiness
07. To Die in Silence
08. Dark Painting of the I

LINE-UP:
John Suffering – Vocals 
Tullio Carleo – Guitar, Drums, Keyboards

LINKS:


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone 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.


White City Graves – One Of Us

One Of Us Album Cover Art

White City Graves – One Of Us
Self-Released
Release date: 20/08/2021

Running Time: 27:35
Review by: Alun Jones
8.5/10

White City Graves released this album back in August, but I’m reviewing it in October (and I’m publishing it in January, because of technical issues – Beth).  Not because I’m a slacker, but because this album is totally appropriate for the Spookiest Month of the Year.  That’s right folks, we’ve jumped on the Horror Punk ghost train again, so buckle up and be prepared for a rollicking roll on the tracks to hell.

To be fair, there’s definitely a Misfits/Danzig influence with “one Of Us”, but White City Graves cast a wider net than just Horror Punk.  Aggressive as it is, and with the undoubted splash of melody from those aforementioned bands, these songs also owe a big debt to ugly metal bands like Motorhead, Venom and Mercyful Fate.

Like Tad jacked up on speed and Monster Energy whiskey cocktails, it’s furious and frightening.  We’re only one motel stop from chainsaw killers and rabid werewolf bikers – all of which makes Al rub his hands with glee.

‘Bump In The Night’ starts with a sample of an obscure B-movie (of course) and proceeds in the manner we’d expect: Punk’n’Roll at 200mph and snarling vocals.  ‘Lights Out’ is a frenzied rocker with the hugest chorus on the album – think the Anti-Nowhere League partying in a haunted house and you’ll be there.      

The band give a nod to their Seattle roots with an exemplary cover of Soundgarden’s ‘Hunted Down’, a surprising song choice, but it makes perfect sense.  WCG take the original and inject even more brutality, but retain a little of the psychedelic feel of the original.

I’ve no idea who Brooks is, but ‘Brooks is Here’ features a helluva fast, almost psychobilly freak out.  ‘Make My Blood Boil’ and ‘Day in the Death’ have a similar feel, though ‘Deeper’ takes a more metallic approach with some added Sisters of Mercy atmos.

“One of Us” is fast and nasty, unafraid to have some fun with the Horror Punk cliches, but adding a ruthless Heavy Rock influence.  Like the best of Seattle bands, it’s an irresistible collision of Punk and Metal that’s fun and makes the listener beg for more.  Why aren’t more bands like this?  

My old mate Ronnie James Dio used to love Halloween.  He had fantastic costumes too: demons, zombies, imps.  I used to have to take him out Trick or Treating every year, acting as his minder.  Of course, I looked more like his parent, and most of the people thought little Ron, knocking on their door, was a child.  He got loads of candy though, and he always shared it with me.  Happy days.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bump in the Night
02. Lights Out
03. Manifesto
04. Hunted Down
05. Brooks Was Here
06. Make My Blood Boil
07. Day in the Death
08. Freddy Four Fingers
09. Deeper
10. We’ll All Be Graves

LINKS:

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.