Onslaught – VI

VI Cover

ONSLAUGHT – “VI”
AFM Records
Release Date: 20/09/2013
Running Time 39:30
Review by Rick Tilley
10/10

This Review was first published in 2014 and is reprinted courtesy of Brutiful Metal Radio

I have been a big fan of Onslaught since their debut album ‘Power From Hell’ hit the streets in 1985. They were at the forefront of the UK Thrash movement back then and a perfect counterpart to the Bay Area and German scenes. I was also lucky enough to be part of the crowd who witnessed one of Sy Keeler’s very first gigs with the band at The Marquee Club, London in April 1986 when they supported Exciter. Due to the timetable running a bit late everyone was inside the venue when Onslaught emerged onstage to soundcheck ‘Let There Be Death’, which they did with such ferocity and precision that there were bodies and open mouths everywhere you looked. It was one of those spine tingling moments that only happen occasionally, it remains forever scorched onto my brain and second album ‘The Force’ is still one of my all time favourites!

What happened in subsequent years up until their eventual split in 1991 is a story for another day, needless to say I was more than a bit surprised, but extremely happy, when they decided to get back together in 2005. “VI” is Onslaught’s third album since returning and not only is it the best of the three it is also very close to being their finest hour. This is about as heavy and precise as a squadron of British Chieftain Tanks hitting you at full force, in other words “Fucking Immense”! Thirty second intro ‘A New World Order’ leads into ‘Chaos Is King’ and for the next forty minutes the skin is going to be melted from your face. Keeler’s venomous, spitting vocals improve as he ages and this is arguably his best ever performance. Founding member Nige Rockett and Andy Rosser Davies’ guitar work is outstanding, and in places reminiscent of Slayer’s Jeff Hanneman (R.I.P) and Annihilator’s Jeff Waters. Jeff Williams bass thunders and rumbles in perfect unison and new drummer Mic Hourihan appears to have been taking lessons from Gene Hoglan such is his split second timing. There really isn’t a poor track here and ’66’Fucking’6′ is going to become a thrash anthem!

Yes, I unashamedly love this album and after such brilliant releases from Exodus, Testament, Annihilator and Kreator in recent years I’m proud to say that Onslaught have matched them. I’m just pissed I never got round to reviewing this last October because it would have been top three in my albums of the year list. Double check the score I’ve given this, believe me, I don’t hand that out very often!

 

Tracklist

  • 1. A New World Order
  • 2. Chaos Is King
  • 3. Fuel for My Fire
  • 4. Children of the Sand
  • 5. Slaughterize
  • 6. 66’Fucking’6
  • 7. Cruci-Fiction
  • 8. Dead Man Walking
  • 9. Enemy of My Enemy

 

Social Media

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce and part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

The Deep – Premonition

Premonition Cover

THE DEEP – PREMONITION
Independent
Release Date: March 2015
Running Time 53:37
Review by Rick Tilley
10/10

This review was first published in 2015 and is reprinted here courtesy of Brutiful Metal Radio

When vocalist Tony Coldham kindly sent me The Deep’s four track demo last year I immediately knew we were in for something special! Tony has now very kindly sent me an un-mastered copy of ‘Premonition’, the band’s debut album, due in March 2015 and if the demo whetted your appetite then this is going to absolutely knock you for six and remember I’m listening to an unfinished version!

Some members of The Deep have been around the music business since the early 1980’s, and have been part of Airrace and Rogue Male, amongst other bands. It’s fair to say that between them they have a rich heritage but if you don’t believe me then listening to ‘Premonition’ will be the only evidence you need! The Deep’s sound is rooted between Classic Hard & Heavy Rock, Melodic Rock and NWOBHM so think Saxon meets UFO and Uriah Heep and this album has given me goose bumps in places I didn’t know you could get them!

First and foremost is Tony Coldham’s voice which is utterly outstanding, reminiscent of one of my favourite vocalists Bernie Shaw (Uriah Heep, Grand Prix, Praying Mantis). Tony’s singing is the centrepiece of The Deep, power and emotion ring out in equal fashion and he absolutely destroys many modern day ‘singers’, but as I said in my review of the demo, that in no way takes anything away from the rest of the band who are all utterly superb. Paul Smith and Mick Feleppa’ guitar work & backing vocals are fabulous. Riffs and solos fly with abandon, whether the song is heavier or more ballad driven (The Deep are extremely good at mixing things up) and bassist Don Whiberley along with drummer Steve Kingsley have become a very solid and entertaining rhythm team!

Being in a superb band doesn’t just mean having good musicians though. You all know as well as I do that what matters most are the songs themselves and ‘Premonition’ is packed to the rafters with good songs. All four tracks from the demo are present and correct but the six new tracks showcased here are equally as good and it feels like the album has been sequenced perfectly, something a lot of bands don’t bother with now in the downloading era! From the opening Saxon like riff of ‘The Rider’ through to closer ‘Turn Me Loose’ this is 100% quality and I’m privileged to be one of the first to here it! Highlight moment for me currently, and it’ll probably change, is ‘Saga’. One of the quieter tracks but it’s near seven minutes of perfection and is just magnificent!

It’s only the middle of January and to receive an album of this magnitude so early on in 2015 is really quite something special. Even though there will be other bands that get given more column space this year I will be shouting The Deep’s name from the rooftops until you all get fed up with me because this band is too good to ignore and ‘Premonition’ is a must have for any lover of Classic Rock & Metal’. I’ll be damned if I know what this album will sound like when it’s actually completed because I honestly don’t think the band can make it any better!

 

TRACKLIST

  • 01. The Rider
  • 02. You Take My Breath Away
  • 03. Night-Stalker
  • 04. Cold-Hearted
  • 05. All I Want
  • 06. Out Of Touch
  • 07. Premonition
  • 08. Spell-bound
  • 09. Saga
  • 10. Turn Me Loose

 

Social Media

Cover Artwork

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce and part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

Gaskin – Edge of Madness

Gaskin - Edge of MAdness

Gaskin – Edge Of Madness

Running Time 41:27

Released 2012 on High Roller Records

8/10 – Review By Rick Tilley

THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN AND FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2014

If you read my recent review of Gaskin’s gig at The Rock Den last month, then you’ll know how impressed I was with them and how much of a pleasure it was to finally see them live after so many years. Meeting with Paul Gaskin after the gig, he was kind enough to give me a copy of Gaskin’s most recently released studio album ‘Edge Of Madness’ (2012) and here is my review!

Gaskin arrived on the UK Metal scene in 1980 and were squarely lumped in with the NWOBHM movement at that time. They released two very good albums ‘End Of The World’ (1981) and ‘No Way Out’ (1982) and then, as so many bands did, faded away! I didn’t get into Rock & Metal until very late in 1982 so, even then, I was already a little late for the Gaskin party but I got hold of both albums in 1983 and still cherish them. I always felt, as many people did, that there was more to Gaskin then pure NWOBHM. They could certainly thump out the metal when they wanted to but Paul’s influences in Blues & Heavy Rock meant they were always a more melodic prospect than many of their peers and I personally thought they were very underrated! They returned in 2000 with third album ‘Stand Or Fall’ and after many ups and downs have thankfully been a more regular band on the circuit again since 2010!

And now we come almost up to date with fourth album ‘Edge Of Madness’ which is the best sounding Gaskin release to date, thanks to a fine production from drummer David John Norman, and an album that sees the band do what they do best which is give us eight full and two short instrumental tracks full of the trademark Gaskin sound! They know exactly what works for them and write the songs they love playing so there is no point expecting anything modern or original. This is a good hard rock album and if you have an ear for melody, some great guitar playing and fairly dark lyrics then you’ll really enjoy this. I certainly do!

What I am going to say is that one track doesn’t work so well for me and that’s ‘Wake Up Dead’ Now lyrically it’s a very personal, emotional and dark song, dealing with Paul’s descent into depression and drugs at a low point in his life and they are an engaging listen, but musically I find the track pedestrian and plodding, especially at over six minutes. However, Gaskin more than make up for it with opener ‘Damnation’, which has a very mid-paced sounding Saxon riff and is a good way to start the album, ‘Heart Like Thunder’, ‘Bedlam’, The title track and the barn storming and brilliant ‘The Contract’.

Apart from Saxon, there are elements of Diamond Head, Ozzy Osbourne, Rainbow and even a couple of instances that reminded me of classic UK Melodic Rock greats FM! Paul’s voice has stayed intact over the years, although he comes across more powerfully live and his guitar work is lovely, with a certain Ritchie Blackmore feel in places. Fellow guitarist Andrew Solomon is an excellent soloist and the aforementioned Norman on drums and bassist Mick Cross make a very solid rhythmic team. We also get a couple of guest appearances from Emma Hudson on backing vocals and Hawkwind’s Nik Turner who turns in a nice saxophone solo on the track ‘Mans’ World’

I’m not going to suggest that Gaskin have released an album of the year contender, but you also know what else I’m going to say if you are a regular reader. If it’s played with passion and emotion and nearly all the songs rock your boat then it doesn’t matter. Edge Of Madness is a good album and it’s by Gaskin. That I’m still saying that band name in the year 2014 means a lot because they, along with Saxon, Motorhead, Priest, Rush, Magnum, Demon and UFO were one of the bands that set me off on my long rock journey over thirty years ago and they deserve their moment in the spotlight! Come on Paul, I want album number five!!

Gaskin band pic

Track List –

  • 01. Just Before Dawn
  • 02. Damnation 04:36
  • 03. Heart Like Thunder
  • 04. Man’s World
  • 05. Wake Up Dead
  • 06. Lost & Lonely
  • 07. The Contract
  • 08. Bedlam
  • 09. Te Amavi
  • 10. Edge of Madness

Links –

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce and part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Hammerforce – Access Denied

Hammerforce Access Denied

Hammerforce – ‘Access Denied’ (2013)

Running Time 51:00

Released 2013 on Metalism Records

9/10 – Review By Rick Tilley

THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN AND FIRST PUBLISHED IN 2014 ALTHOUGH I HAVE NOW GIVEN THE ALBUM A SCORE OUT OF TEN.

Hammerforce have returned with their sophomore album ‘Access Denied’ and for anyone unfamiliar with their sound and who has to have a genre tag, I have taken it upon myself to give them the title ‘Twisted Power Metal’. Hailing from St. Petersburg in Russia, Hammerforce are one of a handful of bands, I can think of, who are breathing fresh life into the power metal genre and if you crave something a little bit different then these guys come highly recommended!

Why do I call them twisted? Well, they are essentially an extremely good power metal band at heart, and possess all the good elements of that genre in spades. Soaring vocals, powerhouse drumming and bass runs with fantastic guitar work, but…where they stand out from legions of other bands is in the keyboard department. ‘Nikita Merzlyakov’ delivers some quite stunning work. If you can imagine synth work in an almost dance/trance style mixed with classic power metal you’ll find something that really shouldn’t work, or so I keep telling myself, but in actual fact adds an outstanding clash of styles, especially for a huge fan of the genre, like myself.

The album kicks off with ‘I Am I’ and leaves you in no doubt that this is going to be a pretty special listen. Picking out individual tracks is pointless though, because most of them follow a similar pattern, although that doesn’t mean they all sound alike, far from it. There are some great melodies and choruses contained here that will have fans of Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pagan’s Mind and Dragonforce jumping and headbanging for all that they are worth. There are also elements of classic metal bands such as Judas Priest, so anyone who thinks I’ve lost my mind will very definitely know what side of the fence Hammerforce sit on. Fantastically produced, mixed and mastered by Nikita at his own studio, and with artwork and booklet to put much bigger bands to shame, ‘Access Denied’ is nine tracks (plus two bonus cuts sung in Russian) of awesome catchy metal that should really see the ‘Hammerforce’ name spoken by many more people in the coming months. Check out their website, which gives you access to lots of free songs and see what you’ve been missing!

Hammerforce

NOTE:

It looks like it has been very quiet on Hammerforce Social Media for quite a while now, which is unfortunate, but I wanted to share the review again because “Access Denied” is such a good album and deserves to be heard.

Rick – November 2017

Track List –

  • 01 I Am I
  • 02 Templates For All
  • 03 Wasted
  • 04 Mass Media
  • 05 Fugitive
  • 06 Earth Is On Trial
  • 07 No Place For The Old Men
  • 08 Reflections
  • 09 Access Denied

Links –

Reproduced with the kind permission of Brutiful Metal Radio

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce any part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.