Brainstorm – Midnight Ghost

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Brainstorm – Midnight Ghost
AFM Records
Release Date: 28/09/2018
Running Time: 51:38
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

Being just over forty years of age but preferring a lot of the older bands, I was always late to the party where many bands were concerned. Brainstorm were one of these such bands. I first heard them one night when I was browsing through YouTube. They appeared as a “recommended bands” on the right-hand side of the screen so I thought I would check them. And I am glad I did. From the very first track I listened to, I loved them. They were just the sort of metal that I loved.

But, then they kind of disappeared from my radar.

So, when Rick sent me the new album, I just had to review it to see if they are still as good as I remembered. And they are!! But first a little history!

Brainstorm are power metal band from Germany (where else? All the decent power metal bands seem to come from Germany!) They were formed in 1989 (hence why I was late to the party with these guys. I was only 12!) by guitarists, Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric, and drummer Dieter Bernert, and are known for playing a somewhat darker style of music than most power metal bands.

During their early years they built up a solid groundwork with several demo releases and live appearance. They signed their first record deal in 1997 and the self-produced album “Hungry” was released, to great reviews. Chart entries in many European countries followed and their intense live performances were catapulting them into the champions league of or metal, resulting in the band being asked to perform at many of the big festivals.

And now on to their new album “Midnight Ghost”. This is the band’s 12th studio album (man, I need to buy some of their back catalogue), produced by Seeb Levermann and recorded at the Greenman Studios. It was released on 28th September 2018 by AFM Records.

Although not a concept album in the strictest sense of the word, there is a thematic thread running through the tracks…the fear of ghosts, monsters under your bed, the bogeyman in your wardrobe and wild beasts in the night….all fears that many of us have had since childhood and this is all depicted magnificently in the cover artwork produced by Gyula Havancsak (who has also worked with the likes of Accept and Stratovarius).

This album has a sound that it bound to delight all power metal fans and was even a surprise for the five band members themselves. Says vocalist Andy P Franck; “It’s pretty unusual that musicians still get the shivers down their spines when they listen to the new material after a long and energy-sapping production. In this case, we can really say that all Brainstorm musicians are total fans of our new recording. Midnight Ghost is the album we want to be measured by in the future.”

From the anthemic opener “Devil’s Eye” to the driving “When Pain Becomes Real” to the punchy “Haunting Voices”, Brainstorm more than live up to the term ‘melodic power metal.’ They deliver the full range of their typical trademarks, awesome melodies, dynamic grooves and extremely heavy, pounding guitar riffs. The galloping drums that I so love are there too, and of course, magnificent vocals. One of the things that made me fall in love with this band the first time I heard them was Andy P Franck’s voice. Strong and powerful yet able to carry off a huge range that adds dimension to the band’s sound and this he still has in abundance!

All the tracks are fantastic in their own right but together they make up an awesome album that should be in any metal fan’s collection. Not only do they bring the power element that they are so good at, but there are elements of thrash, traditional and speed metal too.

Says Andy P Franck; “Midnight Ghost is faster, more melodic and at the same time also tougher than all our previous releases.” And I couldn’t agree more. Why stick to one genre or aspect of metal when you can combine many and achieve a sound like this?

I can’t fault this album really and I really don’t want to take it out of my car. But, alas, needs must for the next review!

All I can say though is, when are you coming to England guys!!?

TRACK LISTING
01 – Devil’s Eye
02 – Revealing The Darkness
03 – Ravenous Minds
04 – The Pyre
05 – Jeanne Boulet (1764)
06 – Divine Inner Ghost
07 – When Pain Becomes Real
08 – The Four Blessings
09 – Haunting Voices
10 – The Path

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://en-gb.facebook.com/officialbrainstorm/
https://www.brainstorm-web.net/site/

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

The Rocket Dolls – DeadHead

DeadHead Cover

The Rocket Dolls – DeadHead
Independent
Release Date: 06/04/2018
Running time: 44:00
Review by Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond
8/10

The Rocket Dolls are a trio of old rock hands hailing from the thriving seaside town of Brighton; they have been around since 2008 and I can’t believe that I’d never heard of them before I received this album, their second, for review. In a way, that’s always a good thing, as it means there are no preconceptions to constrain a review. “Deadhead” features eleven tracks over nearly 45 minutes of listening time and was produced and mixed by Mark Roberts (Black Peaks, Dorje).

Opening gambit, ‘None Of This Is Right’ had some interesting effects with a impudent lick and some nice vocals, with a headbangingly heavy finish. I was cautiously optimistic about the rest of the songs after listening to this one.

‘She’s Starting Something Now’ featured a heavy intro, which whisked the listener into a harmony laden, soaring, repetitive refrain with earworm lyrics and some cheeky screams at the end. It was at this point that I started to relax; this was an album that I could enjoy whilst reviewing, rather than the pain of having to merely endure it. That, in itself, is worthy of a half decent review …

The title track featured booming drums, vocal harmonies worthy of Corey Taylor and a dirty little bridge to the chorus. It was impossible to sit still whilst it was playing, too. ‘She Said’ started with a punky, formulaic riff and continued with a poppy feel. Not one of my favourite tracks, but I appreciated the sentiment behind the lyrics.

I enjoyed the whole album, but the best of the rest were the vaguely orchestral and rather beautiful, ‘The Last Thing on My Mind’, the dark ‘Drowning’ and the pacey ‘Strain’. Anyone who has read any of my previous reviews will know that I like my rock dirty and I particularly enjoyed ‘Rusty Bones’, for the seedy riff.

This album gave a really good insight into what this band are about musically and frontman Nikki Smash really opened up with strong themes around his battle with addiction, depression and mental health issues. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the songs are downers, though. The Rocket Dolls have taken some pretty heavy subjects and created a heavy, dark yet uplifting collection of songs. I found it pretty exciting to listen to; it reminded me of all sorts of influences, from Stonesour to Apocalyptica, from Alice in Chains to Theory Of A Deadman; they may not be breaking boundaries as such, but “Deadhead” stands, if not head and shoulders above the competition, then it’s got to be at least a few inches and that is enough to get you noticed and pulled out of the fast flowing stream of dirge that can sometimes demoralise a reviewer.

I’m gutted I missed the tour, but I will definitely catch TRD next time around.

TRACKLIST:
01 None Of This Is Right
02 She’s Starting Something Now
03 DeadHead
04 She Said
05 The Last Thing On My Mind
06 Stop The Dead Men Crying
07 Drowning
08 The Desperate
09 Strain
10 Rusty Bones
11 Trigger

SOCIAL MEDIA:
https://therocketdolls.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/therocketdolls/

https://www.instagram.com/therocketdolls/

Photo by Tina Korhonen © 2017, all rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond 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.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Memories In Rock II

Memories In Rock II Cover

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – Memories In Rock II
Minstrel Hall Music
Release date: 06/04/2018
Running time: 2:15:41
Review by Chris White
3/10

Rainbow should need no introduction as Ritchie Blackmore must rank in the top ten rock guitarists of all time; after leaving Deep Purple in 1975, he formed Rainbow as the platform for his future songwriting and playing prowess.

The line-up of Rainbow changed during the many years they were together and included greats such as Ronnie James Dio, Graham Bonnett, Cozy Powell and Joe Lynn Turner to name but a few.

This album follows on from the previously released “Memories In Rock I”, of which the only memories are probably bad ones, due to the lethargic tempo and loose playing contained on the live performance.

Against all expectation, “Memories In Rock II” has managed to surpass its predecessor by providing an even more pedestrian feel to both the Rainbow and Deep Purple songs featured. This listener got to the point where he wondered if the guitar tech had accidentally dosed Ritchie with an over large shot of Thorazine, given the state of the six string accompaniment throughout the album.

Having been such an avid fan of Mr Blackmore’s melodic and classical guitar playing over the last three decades, It pains me to say this release was well below the level I would expect from him and the musicians featured. I’m frankly surprised any record company would take the effort to release this package as it offers very little extra to even the most diehard Rainbow fan and would probably deter the casual listener from ever wanting to hear Rainbow live or on record ever again.

 

TRACKLIST:
Disc 1: (CD)
01 Over The Rainbow
02 Spotlight Kid
03 I Surrender
04 Mistreated
05 Since You’ve Been Gone
06 Man On The Silver Mountain / Woman From Tokyo
07 16th Century Greensleeves
08 Soldier Of Fortune
09 Perfect Strangers
10 Difficult To Cure
11 All Night Long
12 Child In Time

Disc 2: (CD)
01 Stargazer
02 Long Live Rock’N’Roll / Lazy
03 Catch The Rainbow
04 Black Night
05 Carry On Jon
06 Temple Of The King
07 Smoke On The Water
08 Waiting For A Sign

Disc 3: (DVD)
01 Ritchie Blackmore Interview
02 Ronnie Romero Interview
03 Jens Johansson Interview
04 Bob Nouveau Interview
05 David Keith Interview
06 Candice Night Interview
07 Lady Lynn Interview
08 Dave David Interview
09 Andreas Bock (tour manager) Interview
10 Michael Bockmühl (guitar tech) Interview
11 Bonus Backstage Clip
12 I Surrender 2017 Backstage Clip

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://www.blackmoresnight.com/ritchie-blackmores-rainbow
https://www.facebook.com/ritchieblackmore/

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris White 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.

 

Machine Gun Kelly – No Easy Way Out

No Easy Way Out Cover

Machine Gun Kelly – No Easy Way Out
Sliptrick Records
Release Date 30/01/2018
Running time: 38:00
Review by Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond
6/10

I was perplexed when I searched for Machine Gun Kelly online and I got results back for an American rapper who has over 5m likes on Facebook. Further research revealed that there is also an Italian rock band of the same name, with a somewhat more modest 3,500 likes (not too shabby). I’m no copyright expert, but I expect to see some sort of a legal battle occurring at some point in the future … interestingly, it appears that the Italians may have had the name first.

This Machine Gun Kelly are not rappers, indeed they are a band of four rockers who have apparently been in existence since the year 2000, but ‘No Easy Way Out’ is only their third full length offering, one demo and one EP notwithstanding. This album is the first to feature new guitarist/bassist Manfre.

I’ve never really understood why bands include an intro on an album; this one is no exception, it’s called ‘Broadcast Humanity’ and it’s basically snippets of radio broadcasts, but… well, it’s so short, what is the point? I suppose it could be because the first track proper was a chuggy, riff laden beast of a song, titled ‘Broadcast King’. I quite liked it until the vocals kicked in. As with many European artists I have listened to lately, the musicality of the record is there, but in my opinion the vocals let it down. That’s not to say that Mikke has a bad voice, it’s just not to my taste.

There are some great tracks on this album, although I have to say sadly the vocals weren’t really my cup of tea on any of them. ‘Eye of the Storm’ featured a great, slide guitar sound at the start before morphing into a fast, somewhat repetitive refrain.

The simple drum and guitar intro to ‘Nothing Ever Changes’ was promising; the song had a big, brash sound to it with a catchy lick (it was going around my head for hours after I’d listened to it). The ballad like opening to ‘Hard Times’ was interesting, and there was a cheeky little riff going on at about 3 and a half minutes in.

If I had to pick a ‘favourite’ track, I suppose it would probably be ‘Take What You Need’, purely for the vaguely dirty feel to it, however, at times the guitars sounded a little discordant and jarring.

The production isn’t sparkling on this album, but there is evidence of some talented musicians here and it’s a bit of a rip-roaring, semi-classic yet somewhat dated outing for the Italians. You could do worse than give it a listen; I wish I’d liked it more, but it just wasn’t my bag. I would imagine that MGK are probably really good live as the songs have that raw, untamed edge that would translate well into the live environment.

TRACKLIST:
Intro (Broadcasted Humanity)
Broadcast King
Aileen
Eye Of The Storm
Nothing Ever Changes
Hard Times
Stand Or Fall
No Easy Way Out
Take What You Need
The Boogeyman

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://machinegunkellyitaly.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MgkSv/

https://www.youtube.com/user/MachineGunChannel

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond 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.

 

Amanda Somerville’s Trillium – Tectonic

Tectonic Cover

Amanda Somerville’s Trillium – Tectonic
Frontiers Music srl
Running time: 44:04
Release Date 08/06/2018
Review by Lotty Whittingham
8/10

No introduction required here. Amanda Somerville is a prominent figure in the metal community. Her impeccable vocal technique has seen her collaborate with some of metal’s household names. EPICA, KAMELOT, AVANTASIA and AFTER FOREVER are just a few that she has worked alongside. There was also her unforgettable partnership with HELLOWEEN’s Michael Kiske. She has now released a new album by her project TRILLIUM.

Somerville is very well known for her versatile vocal range and diverse ability to fit in with a lot of musical styles. TRILLIUM is rooted within the metal genre and their second studio album “Tectonic” shows this within the opening song ‘Time To Shine’. This empowering track moves the listener forward and helps them feel uplifted.

“Tectonic” is a versatile portfolio of brilliant melodies. These all consist of great guitar work, wonderful vocals and sweeping beats. If you are used to the excellent calibre of Somerville’s vocal work, this album may seem a bit tame and mediocre, almost just a mesh of tracks sounding similar to each other!

On second listen however, it’s a different story. You begin to scratch the surface and learn to appreciate music in all it’s different forms. Each track shows you varying vocal abilities and range. You might come across a vocal technique that you haven’t heard Somerville perform before.

A good example of the unheard vocal work can be found in the booming track ‘Full Speed Ahead’. It highlights the lower end of Somerville’s vocal range, a surprise, particularly when you are used to hearing her hit those high notes. This impounding track hits you like a tonne of bricks and it doesn’t plan on taking prisoners. The blasting guitar work and thunderous drums provide the perfect allies for a powerful voice.

The sweeping beats and melody of ‘Nocturna’ are stunning. If you decide within the first few moments that it’s going to provide a huge impact, you’d be correct. From the amazing guitar riffs and orchestral melodies emphasising the song to the beautiful vocals then this track is a definite highlight of the album.

‘Shards’ is a brilliant hard rock track that provides inspiration and power. The song has a fabulous melody and ambience that draws you in. The chorus is a dominant one that ensures you are still listening and paying attention to the track throughout. The track name ‘Shards’ is also perfect for what this track portrays with the music giving off an icy ambience, one that is powerful.

“Tectonic” ends on a beautiful note with the track ‘Eternal Spring’, it’s the ballad of the album stripped down to just a piano and vocals. You know those tracks that just make you stop what you are doing and listen to the song? ‘Eternal Spring’ does just that. Like EPICA’s ‘Tides Of Time’, it provides a stunning melody showing us the best of the vocal work.

To sum this up, this album is a great portfolio of work. The production is already dominant, but considering the calibre of Somerville’s vocals I was expecting it to be even grander. I can only imagine how it would sound if it had received even more nurturing and care? The production could be huge. Despite that Amanda Somerville’s TRILLIUM is a force to be reckoned with!

TRACKLIST:
01 Time To Shine
02 Stand Up
03 Full Speed Ahead
04 Hit Me
05 Fighting Fate
06 Nocturna
07 Fatal Mistake
08 Shards
09 Cliché Freak Show
10 Eternal Spring

LINKS:
http://www.amandasomerville.com/
https://www.facebook.com/amandasomervilleofficial

https://www.instagram.com/amandasomervillemusic/

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lotty Whittingham 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.

 

 

Trevor and The Wolves – Road to Nowhere

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Trevor and the Wolves – Road to Nowhere
Nadir Music
Release Date: 02/02/2018
Running Time: 49:34
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

Finding background on the band Trevor and the Wolves is not easy. There seems to be precious little information on the world wide web and the small bit that can be found, is mostly written in Italian!

Trevor and The Wolves is the side project of death metal band Sadist’s vocalist, Trevor Sadist, and this album couldn’t be more different if it tried.

Featuring a number of special guests including Christian Meyer (Elio E Le Storie Tese), Stefano Cabrera (Gnu Quartet), Paolo Bonfanti, Grazia Quaranta, Francesco Chinchella and Daniele Barbarossa (Winterage), the new album Road to Nowhere was recorded at the Italian Nadir Music Studios in Genoa, under the expert supervision of Tommy Talamanca as producer.

With obvious influences from the hard rock end of the rock and metal spectrum, this is a good old-fashioned rock and roll album. Its simplistic in style but that in no way takes away from the appeal of the music.

Think the Brian Johnson era of AC/DC, mix it with a bit of Motörhead and Saxon, and you are somewhere close to what this band sound like. I am not a HUGE fan of any of the just mentioned bands, but I do like this album. The rough vocals of Trevor are ideally suited to this type of rock, there are riffs galore and at just under fifty minutes in length, there is plenty to get your listening gear round.

The guitar solos are simple yet expertly executed and you can just imagine the drummer and bass player bouncing around the stage keeping everyone in time. I personally love to see musicians making music other than what they are known for and, having listened to a bit of Sadist just for comparison purposes, this is nothing like what Trevor is known for.

With enough grit and gravel to line all the roads in England during a cold snap of weather, I think this is a must for any hard rock fan’s collection. Slightly heavier than AC/DC, it still has the party feel about it and will certainly have you bounding round your living room strutting your stuff on your air guitar!

 

TRACK LISTING
From Hell To Heaven Ice
Burn At Sunrise
Red Beer
Black Forest
Bath Number 666
Spiritual Leader
Roadside Motel
Wings Of Fire
Lake Sleeping Dragon
Unforgivable Mistake

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://en-gb.facebook.com/trevorandthewolves/
http://www.twitter.com/TrevorSadist96
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Krull – The Black Coast

Krull The Black Coast Cover

Krull – The Black Coast
Iron Shield Records
Release date: 27/04/2018
Running Time: 42.32
Review by: Alun Jones
6/10

KRULL! Did you ever see the movie? It’s GREAT! On the ancient world of Krull, Prince Colwyn brings together a band of scoundrels to help him rescue Princess Lyssa from the clutches of the evil Beast, who threatens to conquer the planet. It’s a sci-fi fantasy adventure with a Cyclops, cool weapons, vile baddies, Tucker Jenkins and Lysette Anthony. I mean seriously, you need to see this film. How metal does it sound? Even the bad guys are called “Slayers”!

The band Krull occupy a musical space which is openly very inspired by fantasy, battles and all things sword and sorcery. And right from the off, it’s a whole lot of fun. The atmospheric intro “In the Woods” grabs the listener and plunges them into the ethereal world that Krull have concocted, and it’s pretty much full on from there.

Pace-wise, “The Black Coast” is like riding shotgun in a barbarian’s chariot, charging an army of Orcs. Stand out tracks for me included “By Steel” and “The King and the Sword”, but the whole album is energetic traditional metal. If you’re a fan of Priest, Maiden and the mighty Manowar you’ll find something to enjoy here. Only midway track “Valhalla” slows things down a little, otherwise it’s a fast and brutal campaign.

So why only 6 out of 10? Well there are lots of plus points with this album. The vocals are suitably bonkers, ranging from powerful cries, deep growls to a high pitched, witchy cacophony. The musicianship is great, and the rhythm section successfully keep the march relentless. The songs are fast and filled with          fantastic tales of battles and bravery.

But the guitar tone was just off for me. I like something with more crunch; more skull smashing intensity. After the cool intro, first track “The Witch”, whilst a great song, suffers from a languid guitar sound that slices the records               hamstrings before the fight is really on.

Don’t misunderstand me, the playing is great – it’s the production that’s slightly lacking. The guitars should be much more axe in the face, blood and brains       everywhere.

There’s still a lot to recommend Krull’s “The Black Coast” though. Especially if you dig your metal as a soundtrack to a rampaging berserker, attacking a horde of evil ghouls.

Oh, and get down to your local Blockbuster and rent the Krull video. You won’t regret it. It makes Lord of the Rings look like a bad Dungeons and Dragons game in a crack den…!

TRACK LISTING
1. In the Woods – Intro
2. The Witch
3. By Steel
4. Marching to Mountains
5. Valhalla
6. The King and the Sword
7. Immortals
8. Stand fight to Kill
9. The Black Coast

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://www.facebook.com/krullheavymetal/
https://krullofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://www.instagram.com/krull.official/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdgPwJVIKdkOcphCcdQSBBA

Krull Promo Pic1

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.