From The Depth – Moments

From The Depth – Moments
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 28/08/2020
Running Time: 48:44
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Many things in life give me pleasure – I’m a cheerful soul like that – but music is top of the list every time. So, the volume of awesomeness that is popping up in the various scenes around the world currently makes Beth a happy girl indeed! And if there’s one thing that makes me exceedingly happy, it’s a good dose of Power Metal. It’s impossible to be angry when listening to it, I find! Pacey rhythms, face-melting guitar solos, and powerful harmonies are a match made in heaven/hell/nirvana/eutopia/the pub/other (delete as appropriate to indicate ‘happy place’ preference).

So, as you can imagine, I’m rather enjoying “Moments”, the upcoming release from Italian Power Metallers, From The Depth. The path, since forming in 2008 as a Power Metal covers band, has been turbulent for these guys, and it has been 6 years since they released their last EP, “Perseverance”. This new full-length album explores some of those ‘moments’ in their lives and in the history of the band.

Musically, this has got everything you would expect from Power Metal. It’s punchy and thunderous from the get-go. It melds string sections and ethereal synth and keys, with thumping crunchy riffs and plenty of bass, and sits clean vocals and harmonies nicely on top of everything else. Structurally, the songs explore rhythm and key change sections in a very pleasing way, exploring major and minor cadences and creating unexpected chord progressions and resolutions. It’s musically clever, and I like that. These guys have spent a lot of time thinking about how these songs all fit together, and how each component of every song sits within the sound.

They’re also very technically skilled with their instruments – the guitar solo in ‘Missed’ shows this off perfectly. Production wise, it’s pretty hot too. It’s not as diverse with the placing of instruments as some of the recent stuff I’ve been listening to, but then, it’s Power Metal – it’s supposed to hit you straight in the face, right?!

My favourite track on the album is the final track, ‘Somewhere’. It has a real change in pace from the rest, being a ballad. But it soars, and Raffo’s vocals are incredible on it. His tone is beautifully rich, and his range is ridiculous. His journey from lower, exquisite tenor tones, to off the scale falsetto is insane! As a vocalist, it fills me with joy and envy in equal measures. It’s an incredibly powerful and cinematic song, and brings the album to a very tidy close.

While this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and is very much rooted in standard Power Metal boots, “Moments” is heartfelt and refined, and well worth a listen.

TRACKLISTING
01. Immortal
02. Spread Your Wings
03. Ten Years
04. Streets of Memory
05. Hypnos
06. Forget And Survive
07. Just Ice
08. Missed
09. A Matter of Time
10. Somewhere

LINE-UP
Raffo – Vocals
Santo – Bass
Jump – Guitar
Simone – Guitar
Cristiano – Drums

LINKS
www.fromthedepth.it/
www.facebook.com/fromthedepthband
www.twitter.com/officialftd
www.instagram.com/fromthedepthband
www.youtube.com/user/FromTheDepthOfficial
www.open.spotify.com/artist/6JfcvrXjV5ED87KSbGELqc
www.music.apple.com/us/artist/from-the-depth/467056211

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.

EMQ’s With Beth Jones

EMQ’s With Beth Jones

What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

Hi! I’m Beth, and I co-own Ever Metal with the formidable Richard Tilley! I also write reviews of both recorded and live music, and I take pictures of musicians doing their thing! Writing is something I’ve always done, but reviewing is fairly new. It all started with a chance meeting with the aforementioned Mr Tilley, and it kind of went from there. I got into photography when my eldest daughter (now an actual adult, I mean WTF?) was doing photography at GCSE. I thought it would be a good way of us doing stuff together. Turns out I was actually ok at it!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I’m from Wrexham, North Wales – or the proper Wales as we like to call it! The metal scene here is, well, trying. It’s not as good as it used to be back in ‘the day’ (aging myself there). We used to get some really big names coming to our little town. Motorhead being one example that springs to mind. In recent years the scene here has been a little neglected, and the town itself has been overrun with chavvy pseudo-upper class wine bars which attract men with more testosterone than brain cells and women who forgot to put their skirts on before they came out. BUT that being said, there are a few of us die hard metal heads who are trying every which way to relaunch the scene in a bigger way.

What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Now I have to answer this myself, I feel the pain of our interviewees that say this is a difficult question. But I have to say that it’s been a hell of a long time since I was totally blown away by an album quite as much as I was with Wilderun’s latest release – “Veil Of Imagination”. Without question, unless something miraculous happens, it’s my album of the year.

Who have been your greatest influences, in music or in life?

Musically, Freddie Mercury and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, mainly. But I also love Jazz and blues. Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra. And Tom Waites. In life, my parents. My dad for my music, and my mum for her calm and logic. Aside from that, I have many influences, mainly comedy based, which have helped form my personal outlook of ‘zero shits given’. The Pythons mainly! And Matt Berry.

What first got you into music?

Well, I don’t ever remember a time when there wasn’t music. My parents were both musical. My dad taught woodwind instruments, both in schools and privately at our house, and was also an incredibly talented jazz and swing musician (mainly on sax and clarinet) and played in pit orchestras for musicals. So, I was kind of born into it. He had music students at our house Monday to Thursday between 6pm and 9pm throughout my childhood, and when he wasn’t teaching, he was either playing Jazz or listening to Wagner!

Which current bands or musicians would you like to see collaborate on a record?

Devin Townsend, Freddie Spera and Matt Jones. That would be an epic prog episode!

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Wacken! I mean that’s just metal mecca really isn’t it. I’m not interested in the commercialism of Download – not my bag. But Wacken looks frikkin’ amazing. Saying that though, I’m not great with crowds so unless I was in the press pit, it would probably do my head in. But Wacken in the press pit… That would be amazeballs!

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

I have a Charango – it’s an Andean instrument, which is kind of a cross between a Spanish guitar and a Mandolin, but it has ten strings. Traditionally they were made from Armadillo shells, but this one is a more modern one made of wood. I bought it a few years ago with the honest intensions of learning to play it. I haven’t quite got there yet, but it’s really pretty!

If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?

Without wanting to sound like a 90’s D:ream cover band, ‘Things can only get better!’ Life can deal some pretty shitty cards at times but battle on through it and look to the end game. Things do get better eventually. I’m living proof of that. (Bit deep – sorry!)

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Without question or a second thought, Freddie Mercury. The most brilliant and influential rock star we have seen and will see in our lifetime. Taken far too soon, with so much more to give.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

That so many awesome musicians get overlooked because they’re not ‘in the clique’. The fact that you have to kiss ass to get anywhere in music sucks, and so many brilliant talents go un-noticed because of it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Mozart – Requiem Mass in D Minor, as recorded by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s, or Downloads?

Personally, I’m a CD girl. I was in my formative years when the transition from cassette to CD was being made, so I own a lot of cassettes too! For personal nostalgia, I love to think back to cassettes on my Walkman, and when they brought out the new edition Walkman, with automatic side changing, so you didn’t have to flip the tape over when it got to the end of side A. That was like the most magic thing I had ever seen. The most depressing thing about cassettes was if you had to get a pencil out to save it. For any youngsters reading, it was like your life was over when that happened – google it! But yeah, CDs are both tangible and decent quality. I like physical copies so streaming is a last resort for me. And vinyl is great for real nostalgia, but I don’t own a big enough house to have alllll the vinyl.

What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?

Bon Jovi at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester in 2013. Don’t judge me. It was fucking awesome. It was Bon Frikkin’ Jovi!

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

Well, I’ve done many things. I’ve been a shop assistant, bar maid, tailoress, admin clerk, estate agent, and I was even a teacher for a bit. But now I actually write for a living. I create course content, voice over scripts, and animation direction for animated corporate training courses. It’s pretty fun to be honest, and I am now an expert in everything from safe use of abrasive wheels to critical thinking for leaders in business innovation!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Devin Townsend, Stephen Fry, Sandy Toksvig, Michael Palin, and Hugh Dennis. I like laughing.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

A bloody biscuit, unless they are trying to fiddle the tax man!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Yes. Never eat yellow snow.

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

Hungry Daze – Back To My Future

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ensiferum – Thalassic

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Descend – The Deviant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wilderun – Veil Of Imagination

Wilderun – Veil Of Imagination
Century Media Records
Release Date: 17/07/2020
Running Time: 66:12
Review by Beth Jones
11 /10

“There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
       The earth, and every common sight,
                          To me did seem
                      Apparelled in celestial light,
            The glory and the freshness of a dream.
It is not now as it hath been of yore;—
                      Turn wheresoe’er I may,
                          By night or day.
The things which I have seen I now can see no more.”

Yup! Wordsworth. ‘But why?!’ I hear you cry. Well, when you put on an album to find the first track is almost 15 minutes long and opens with a recitation of a verse from one of the greatest poets ever to have lived, you know you’re going to be in for something special. So special in fact, that I am struggling to find a suitable way to even start talking about it! So, I’ll begin at the beginning.

For those not in the know, Wilderun are a Melodic Death Metal band from Boston, Massachusetts, who chuck more than a hint of prog, folk, and orchestral elements into the mix, in order to create their sound. They’ve been around since 2012, and “Veil Of imagination” is their third album release. They have recently joined Century Media, and the album is now to be re-released through them. They’re Opeth meets Devin Townsend and anything in between, and I think this is possibly the most excited I have been about an album since Devin’s ‘Empath’ dropped!

This masterpiece is seriously epic from the start. Following the delicate and beautifully poised recitation, the opening track leads in with acoustic guitar, and solitary violin, which begin to build with the addition of soft vocals, more string. Then orchestral instruments, and floating choral harmonies before burst into full on, speed drumming and some serious guitar riffage and growling vocals, all in a more complex time signature, exuberating prog and oozing musicianship.

This carries on, and flows into the second track, ‘O Resolution!’ with ease. I can’t be completely sure, but I’m pretty certain I can here pipe organ within the depths of all the other instrumentation on this track. I mean Jesus! How much is it possible to fit in?! It’s ludicrously marvellous in its decadence!!

The dynamic peaks and troughs of this album are on a vast scale, going from full on, in your face, walls of sound, to subtle and tender solitary piano, and lilting vocals, in the blink of an eye. This is less of an album of individual tracks, and more a classical work of art consisting of many movements to make up a full symphony. It’s also not an album that you can listen to just one track alone – it has to be heard in its entirety for the full effect to be appreciated. It tells a story through its orchestration and explores every nuance of emotion as it takes you on a journey through your own imagination. For me this conjures up colours, and scenes of rolling meadows with extraordinary wildlife, medieval battlefields, and tempestuous rolling waves. This is not just music. It’s a fully immersive experience! Just stunningly sublime… I have no other words.

Technically, this album is perfection too. The production, mixing, blending and placement of the individual elements is faultless. The fact that we’ve been sent the files in WAV format rather than MP3 speak volumes about the care and attention that Wilderun pay to their sound. This is illustrated perfectly towards the end of the penultimate track, ‘The Tyranny of Imagination’, where they deliberately overdrive the levels of certain elements, in order to distort the sound. It’s genius-level insanity, but just adds to the impact, and again makes the dynamic shift to the delicacy of the final track more enhanced.

The final track incidentally contains a section of brass, flutes, and strings, and finishes the album off on the same epic scale that it started, because why the fuck not, eh?! They do carry out my pet peeve, the fade, in this last track, but I seriously don’t care here because it fades into spoken word again, followed by random discordant piano, to bring everything to a climax. The fade has a purpose, and not just because they couldn’t work out how to end it, and that is the only occasion on which I will allow a fade to wash over me without a scowl! And if they can break my rule of docking points for a fade, then I too am going to break the rules of logic and the number system by awarding this lavish insanity 11 out of 10! So there!

For me, this album is setting the bar for this year, and possibly for a good few years to come. These guys are not only superbly talented technical musicians, but also gifted composers who set the sky as their limit, and then some! If you want to impress me, make it sound like this!

Tracklisting:
1. The Unimaginable Zero Summer
2. O Resolution!
3. Sleeping Ambassadors of the Sun
4. Scentless Core (Budding)
5. Far from Where Dreams Unfurl
6. Scentless Core (Fading)
7. The Tyranny of Imagination
8. When the Fire and the Rose Were One

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

Links:
www.wilderun.com/
www.facebook.com/OfficialWilderun/
www.twitter.com/wilderunband
www.instagram.com/wilderunband/
www.youtube.com/user/Wilderunband
www.itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wilderun/id569311375
www.amazon.com/Wilderun/e/B00E80N5NW
www.wilderun.bandcamp.com/

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

Toby and the Whole Truth – Ignorance is Bliss (25th Anniversary Remastered Deluxe Edition)

Toby and the Whole Truth – Ignorance is Bliss (25th Anniversary Remastered Deluxe Edition)
Jepsongs Recordings
Release Date: 17/07/20
Running Time: 52:17
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

The 90’s was a Marmite decade, musically. The rise of the manufactured band and the new waves of Britpop, indie, and mainstream rave was making it an eclectic picture, which you either loved or hated. The punk, glam, and classic metal scene was being driven underground by the polar opposites of kids with baggy jeans and curtains, smoking joints and playing bar chords, or kids dripping in Burberry, dropping Es and ‘climbing the rope’ or ‘stacking the shelves’ until dawn. The industry was fickle, and driven by profit more than ever before, to the detriment of many artists and bands. But if you looked hard enough, you could still find glimmers of hope amongst the detritus.

In 1995, I was 15, and in somewhat of a period of discovery as far as music was concerned. My tastes had begun to grow up from the likes of Take That and Let Loose. It started after hearing Queen, “Greatest Hits”, for the first time, and having an epiphany moment! And thank god it did, hey?! It was also the year Toby Jepson, formerly of Little Angels, released his first solo album, “Ignorance is Bliss”. A couple of years previously, Little Angels had been seen as the most successful group of a generation, but thanks to the greedy and destructive place that was the 90’s music industry, that had all ended in somewhat bitter circumstances. Now, after a quarter of a century, the dust has settled a little and, Toby, now the vocalist with Wayward Sons, has decided to re-release it as a special 25th anniversary edition. It has been remastered for this release, and there’s also a Limited ‘Songbook’ edition with CD featuring all 11 original tracks and two unreleased songs. The book features 36 pages of production notes, hand drawn illustrations, lyrics, song explanations and a forward introduction by writer David Gailbraith (Kerrang!)

Musically, this album leaves behind the safety of Little Angels’ classic Hard Rock style, moving into the darker realms of Alternative Rock with a hint of 90’s Grunge. Not surprising really, given the events that led to the demise of Little Angels, and, I suspect the need to ‘fit’ with the scene back then. But this album has a more mature edge than a lot of the music that was in vogue at the time, and that makes it ageless. It doesn’t feel dated in any way, and its themes are still as relevant today as they were quarter of a century ago; betrayal, sadness and existential angst, juxtaposed with hopefulness and new musical discovery, which really do make it a timeless classic.

It’s littered with catchy riffs, and a hefty dose of distorted fuzz, and is underpinned with intricate bass and robust rhythms. On top of all this sit Toby’s vocals, crystal clear and with just the right amount of edginess and grit to meld in the classic Rock ‘n’ Roll overtones, without taking the sound too far back into the comfort zone of times gone by.

It also has a certain acoustic intimacy about it – all the tracks could legitimately be played acoustically and not lose any of their meaning or feeling. I like this a lot. A few of the tracks have purely acoustic lead-ins, giving them a certain reflective melancholy, which nods to the overarching mood in which these songs were penned. One example of this is track 5, ‘The Wind Blows Hard’. It mixes a 90’s Bon Jovi style, with a more grunge inspired guitar and vocal sound, and classic rock rhythms. It ebbs and flows between acoustic sections and full on crunchy choruses. And just to top it off, there’s also a couple of intricate cross rhythm sections that bring you out of any false sense of security you may have been lulled into. Although it’s hard to single out any favourite tracks on this album, this one is right up there for me.

You should all know by now that I’m pretty fussy on production values when it comes to recorded music. Having not heard this album originally, I can’t really comment on the scale of the improvement that remastering has made, but the production on this release is pure quality. It’s very thoughtful in its placement of sounds, making it full and expansive, and dynamically everything is placed perfectly to create a very balanced and rounded sound. And every time I listen to it, I hear something new!

I’m going to shut up now. You can probably tell I quite like this album! All I’ll say is, if you liked elements of the 90’s, but need something a bit more grown up, thoughtful, and edgy, and appreciate talent and superb production, then this is definitely an album you should check out.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Some People Are More Equal Than Others
02. Better Off Without Me
03. Slipping Through Your Fingers
04. Haven’t Got Your Strength
05. The Wind Blows Hard
06. All Heal In Time
07. I Won’t Be With You
08. Save Me From Myself
09. Out Of Sight Out Of Mind
10. Harder All The Time
11. Open Your Mind
12. Get Your Feet On (Previously Unreleased)
13. Spiritually Bankrupt (Previously Unreleased)

LINKS:
www.tobyjepsonofficial.com/
www.facebook.com/tobyjepsonofficial/
www.twitter.com/TobyJepson
www.instagram.com/therealtobyjepson/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCKYqWet2jpPHLa5bS5eEA6g

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.

Ramage Inc. and Friends – A Quiet Earth (Charity Single)

Ramage Inc. and Friends – A Quiet Earth (Charity Single)
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/06/2020
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

There’s no denying that in many, many ways this lockdown has been shit. However, amongst all the fear, anger, and sadness, there have been some silver linings. Our subject here is one of those, and while we don’t usually do single reviews, with Ramage Inc. being a firm favourite in this house, it was a must for us on many levels.

Firstly, the band, and the 30+ ‘friends’ that join them on this project are all superbly talented musicians, who live for playing music, so coming together to create this has been a great outlet for them in these weird times, where supporting each other is paramount.

Secondly, they have all given up their time to do this in support of a brilliant charity – Doctors Without Borders. Founded to save lives and speak out, the selfless Doctors Without Borders staff have helped tens of millions of people since 1971. The 13 founders have grown to over 36,000 staff on the frontline of emergency medical aid globally. At this time of global medical crisis, this could not be a more fitting charity.

But the reason at the forefront of me wanting to write about this single is its sheer magnificence, both conceptually and musically. I can almost guarantee that you won’t hear a better song than this in 2020.

The project started with an appeal to their fans on social media, early on in lockdown, to help them write some lyrics for a song. Many people suggested potential ‘next lines’, and these suggestions were formulated into the final lyrics. The music video beautifully illustrates this, with the lyric suggestions appearing on screen in the style of a social media comment, showing the name of the commenter.

The band then enlisted the help of an array of musicians from around the world to collaborate with. As well as the standard instrumentation that you would expect to see, the collaboration also added new depth, with an exciting array of instruments including Cuatro, Oil Drums, Timpani and a Lyre.

Ramage Inc. are a band known for taking on ambitious projects, but even for them, this was a grand-scale undertaking. They said about the project: “Quiet Earth explores a distillation and the emotional impact of the isolation experienced by the world in lockdown. We wanted to bring a collective of talent together who are currently experiencing their own version of isolation, as well as the direct connection and input from the fans, who have been incredible themselves in this project too”.

Musically, this composition is simply stunning. I have no other words suitable to describe it. Not only is it poignant and so, so relevant, but it’s huge in its sound, it’s diverse in its instrumentation, it’s masterfully performed, and it’s incredibly produced, to the point of moving me to tears with its magnitude. That’s not something that happens to me often. The last song that did that was Queen, ‘Mother Love’. It’s an immense meld of heavy progressive metal, with overtones of symphonic classical music, and undertones of darker, down-tuned blackened metal.

It would be spectacular to see this performed one day with all the collaborators together, and a full classical orchestra – idea for the future guys?! But for now, turn up the stereo, turn the lights down low, and just enjoy this wonderful, moving, and epically expansive tune, and if you can, give to the cause. The single is available via the bands bandcamp page. I implore anyone who appreciates musical achievement to check it out: https://ramageinc.bandcamp.com/track/a-quiet-earth

RAMAGE INC. LINE-UP:

Bryan Ramage – vocals and guitar
Allan Forsyth – guitar
Marcin Buczek – bass
Paul Hameed – drums

SINGLE PERFORMED BY:

Abraham Sarache, Adam Peeroo (Kvilla), Al Douglas (Storm of Embers), Alan Ross Van Downie (DoNpHoBiA), Anabelle Iratni (Devilment), Bea García García (Silentvice), Bob Anderson, Bryan Ramage (Ramage Inc), Callum Stevenson, Colin MacGregor (Catalysis), Darren Callaghan, Jim Shemilt (RumRunners), Jason Rebel, Jay Stewart (41Divinators), Jim Marten (Hedra), Laura Gilchrist (King Witch), Mateusz Głuszniewski (Guchy Music), Marcin Buczek (Ramage Inc), Marcin Durmaj (Ashborn), Romain Jeuniaux (Omnerod), Stuart McLeod (Storm of Embers), Tom De Wit (Dreamwalkers Inc) and David Stott (Ward XVI).

LYRICS BY:

Bryan Ramage, Howard Toshman, Jess Taylor, Neil McLaughlin, Jason Rebel, Darren Callaghan, Anne MacGregor, Callum Stevenson, Jackie Frank Russel, Tobias Schmuecking, Michael Martin, James McBay, Simon Patchett, Fraser Macintosh, Al Douglas

LINKS:

www.ramageinc.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/ramageinc
www.intagram.com/ramageinc
www.twitter.com/ramageinc
www.ramageinc.net
www.youtube.com/ramageinc

‘A Quiet Earth’ on YouTube:

‘A Quiet Earth’ on Bandcamp:

https://ramageinc.bandcamp.com/track/a-quiet-earth

Just Giving link:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ramageinc

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.

Vega – Grit Your Teeth

Vega – Grit Your Teeth
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 42:11
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

I have an eclectic taste in music. I spent a good part of tonight listening to Mozart (who is incidentally the finest composer to ever grace the face of the earth, in my humble opinion). When I’m not indulging in a bit of classical or jazz, I like to get stuck into the heavier stuff. Anything from industrial and djent to power metal and classic heavy rock cuts it for me, as long as it’s got a bit of vim!

Enter stage left, “Grit Your Teeth”, the new release, and sixth studio album from Vega, the UK’s answer to Bon Jovi and latter era Aerosmith (who incidentally I both love)! I first became aware of these guys at Amplified 2017 and was instantly a fan! Their album release of that year, “Only Human”, is still on my regular playlist, and I’ve been hotly anticipating this new release for some months!

The band bring a certain edge to the classic 80’s AOR sound, which makes it current, and I really enjoy. This album is certainly no exception to their ‘classic with a modern twist’ feel. Every tune has an ‘anthem’ quality about it, and you can picture huge crowds at massive festivals having an absolute ball to it!  This release has been created with the help of “The Graves Brothers” (Asking Alexandria, Funeral for Friend, The Family Ruin), and, for me, the production has stepped up a big level. I’m a stickler for production, as you may have noticed, and it’s superbly done here.

So, what makes Vega’s sound so good? Well there are a number of things. First and foremost, Nick Workman’s vocals. He has the perfect voice for this sort of music and has a brilliant range. He can deliver power and punch right to the top of his range, but also has the control to bring it down when the music requires. Vocal harmonies add an extra layer, and that backed up by the riffs and melodies on multiple guitars. There are some blistering solos throughout this album, but nothing is over-done. The rhythm section don’t over complicate things, instead opting to do solid well! This sits perfectly within their style. And finally, the atmospheric keyboards and synth elements add a variation in colour and depth which tastefully nods back to the classic sounds of the 80’s (also a superb musical era, and anyone who says any different is wrong).

This is an up-tempo album, which has you nodding your head and tapping your toes right from the start. Every track is perfectly positioned within the album, making it ebb and swell in all the right places. Even though every tune is a banger, and we do get a cracking ballad in the shape of ‘Consequence Of Having A Heart’, I think my favourite track on the album is ‘Battles Ain’t A War’, which is slower than the rest, and the most stripped back and deep song on the album. It is in a minor key, which gives it a lamenting feel that is pleasing, in a melancholy kind of way. It also has a great choral backing vocal section towards the end, and the addition of strings, which give it an extra layer.

Another one that sticks in my head is ‘Save Me From Myself’. It has a ridiculously catchy chorus hook, which I was singing along with by the second listen!

But, and you’re going to get sick of me saying this, we have another example of the cardinal sin of music, the fade out, putting in an appearance. It was all going so well, and then the penultimate track goes and does a fade out to finish! Tut tut! For the love of god, please will bands stop doing that and find a way to bloody finish the song instead!! It’s a double shame as there’s an epic little guitar solo in this track too, which is beautifully panned from left to right for effect. It would have been a ten out of ten album for me, but in keeping with my musical morals, half a mark docked for the fade! Sorry chaps!

Apart from that though, stunning album! A huge step forward from their last, and I hope that this is the start of a wider recognition for this immensely talented band, as they thoroughly deserve it! If you like classic AOR, with a Bon Jovi and 80’s/90’s Aerosmith feel, seriously try this album out for size, as you won’t be disappointed!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Blind
02. (I Don’t Need) Perfection
03. Grit Your Teeth
04. Man On A Mission
05. Don’t Fool Yourself
06. Consequence Of Having A Heart
07. This One’s For You
08. Battles Ain’t A War
09. Save Me From Myself
10. How We Live
11. Done With Me

LINE-UP:
Nick Workman – Vocals
Tom Martin – Bass And Guitar
Marcus Thurston – Guitar
James Martin – Keyboards
Mikey Kew – Guitar
Martin Hutchison – Drums

LINKS:
www.vegaofficial.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/OFFICIALVEGA
www.twitter.com/VegaOfficial
www.youtube.com/user/FrontiersRecords/search?query=vega
www.instagram.com/vegaofficialband/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4fn3t2tBoP4nIOoqXAENIT

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.

Tomorrow Is Lost – Therapy

Tomorrow Is Lost – Therapy
Eclipse Records
Release Date: 13/03/2020
Running Time: 35:13
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

Morning music chums! There’s no denying that 2020 has been a pretty sucky year so far and that it needs to get in the bin! However, lockdown has given me a chance to get my head into some great music, which is definitely a silver lining, and I can wholeheartedly say that, as far as new music goes, this year has already been pretty epic!

Today’s listening pleasure for me is “Therapy”, the debut album from Newcastle based Alternative Metal band, Tomorrow Is Lost. Relative babies in the music scene, the 5-peice formed in 2017 and have worked tirelessly since then, making a big impression and gaining acclaim. They have had some pretty big names working on this album too. It was produced by Dave Boothroyd (Phil Campbell [Motorhead], Don Broco, The Bastard Sons) at 6db Studios, and was mastered by Jon Astley (Judas Priest, The Who, The Rolling Stones) at Close To The Edge.

Now, you know me. I love a good bit of production, and right from the off, the experience and mastery of the production team is evident in this recording. It is beautifully mixed and mastered placing everything perfectly. There is plenty of bottom end and nothing sounds tinny. The drums also sound epic – no unwanted popping or ringing, and there’s a great ‘thunk’ to the bass drum and toms. This is always a benchmark for me.

Musically, Tomorrow is Lost are, for me, exciting. Every tune is catchy, well-constructed, and full. They are like a combination of Paramore and Skunk Anansie and remind me a lot of Chasing Dragons (who were great, and it makes me sad that they have called it a day). Their tunes are full of chunky guitar riffs and pumping bass lines, and the powerful but beautiful vocals of Cass King cement the whole thing together into a very pleasing listen. There is also some clever use of atmospheric samples, which add an extra layer of depth to a number of the tracks.

This is an album full of colour and life. It is the sort of album that you want to sling on in the car, wind the windows down and pump it out loud (even though this is technically against the law now apparently! Don’t break the law kids!).

Although it is hard to pick a favourite track on this album, I think ‘Hideaway’ is the one that grabbed me most. It starts with a solo bass line, then kicks into the full riff. The verses are quite staccato and stripped back, then it progresses into a pre-chorus which builds into the very catchy chorus. This theme is revisited throughout the song, which gives it a great flow. And we get the extra little gift of a powerful and heavy middle 8 section which is properly down and dirty. It’s a track full of power which compels you to move with the beat. Cracking tune.

If you like solid heavy rock/ alternative metal, with perfect vocals, then this album is going to excite you. I love it.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Intro
02. Wildchild
03. Smile
04. White Noise
05. Self Destruct
06. Black and Blue
07. Hideaway
08. Too Young to Know
09. Electric
10. Pause Rewind
11. Therapy

LINE-UP:
Cass King – vocals
Joe Mac – guitar
Ryan O’Hara – guitar
Josh Fodden – bass
Marc Rush – drums

LINKS:
www.tomorrowislost.com/
www.facebook.com/tomorrowislost
www.twitter.com/TILband
www.instagram.com/tomorrowislostofficial/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/5VwzQ26FbEmmGhOL4b69lw
www.youtube.com/channel/UCAqteStS4BBoNeHk8QE8uoA/featured
www.music.apple.com/us/artist/tomorrow-is-lost/1296308898

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.