Gypsy’s Kiss – 74

74 Album Cover Art

Gypsy’s Kiss – 74
Vole Records
Release Date: 30/06/2021
Running Time: 54:24
Review by Dawn Smith
7/10

When we think of Iron Maiden, we generally think of one of the biggest bands in the history of metal. But the Iron Maiden story started with a little-known band called Influence, who later changed its name to Gypsy’s Kiss.

Originally formed back in 1973 by Steve Harris (Iron Maiden founder and bass player) and David Smith, when the two lived within a short distance of each other, in East London. With a mutual love of West Ham United and progressive rock the two formed a band, along with Paul Sears on drums and Bob Verschoyle on vocals.

However, the band was to be short-lived as, despite playing prestigious venues such as The Cart And Horses in Stratford (later to become known as the birthplace of Iron Maiden) and The Bridge House in Canning Town, the band called it quits in 1975.

After being asked numerous times to reform, the band agreed to play at Burrfest in March 2018. Although this was meant to be a one-off gig, two more followed and “overwhelmed and motivated by the worldwide support from the Iron Maiden fan community” David decided to keep going and Gypsy’s Kiss was a real band once more.

“74” is the band’s debut full-length album, after the release of their EP “Heat Crazed Vole And Other Tails” in 2019.

First thing to note about this album is that is it NOT, and I repeat NOT, an Iron Maiden album, so if you are expecting galloping riffs and in your face drums, then this is not the album for you.

This album seems, to me, to have taken its influence from the NWOBHM era of Rock/Metal and, although this is not a genre, I am particularly a big fan of, I am glad the band went in this direction, and didn’t just hold on to the coat tails of Iron Maiden.

This is a solid Rock album with some great tracks, my favourite being ‘Gone For Good’. There is nothing new, musically, on “74” and I am sure there are a few blinkered people that will say it has all been done before, and maybe it has, but is there something wrong with a band sticking to its roots? I certainly don’t think so.

Will I buy an album from these guys in the future? Yes, I will. Will I go to see them live? Again, yes, I will. I would like to see them leave the whole “Iron Maiden” thing behind them but with the accompanying tour called “The Maiden Prequel UK Tour 2021” I don’t think that is going to happen any time soon!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Take Me Down
02. Gone For Good
03. Better Than Me
04. My Own Holy Grail
05. Smoke And Mirrors
06. Nothing To Say
07. Traveller
08. Arabesque
09. The Man For All Seasons

LINE-UP:
David Smith – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Jonathan Morley – Guitars, Vocals
Fraser Marr – Guitars
Ross Hunter – Keys, Vocals
Robin Gatcum – Bass, Vocals
Stuart Emms – Drums

LINKS:

Gypsy's Kiss Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn Smith 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.

Queen Of Distortion – Checkmate!

Checkmate! Album Cover Art

Queen Of Distortion – Checkmate!
Green Bronto Records
Release Date: 02/07/2021
Running Time: 53:25
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Checkmate! is the debut full-length album for this German-based five piece, all of whom are experienced players coming together for this project. They’ve been going since 2018 and have previously released an EP and a live EP, but this has clearly been delayed by Covid, hence the rather unusual sequencing of the live offering before a studio full length debut. Musically this is straight up twin-guitar fuelled good old Heavy Metal, with solid riffage, subtle but technically effective melodic structural integrity and a restrained level of flourish on top. I can’t really fault any of the song-writing either, as these songs are well-crafted and structured, if a little bit predictable.

Vocalist Chris T’Anti, interestingly, is a newcomer to the Metal world though, having started her career as a vocal coach and has sung in more mainstream projects to date but is absolutely front and centre of the mix. She can deliver an edge and has the roughness that can work well in the genre, but comes across a bit like she is forcing herself too rigidly to follow the melodic riff structure and phrasing the guitars are rendering – much like a Thrash vocalist who has fifty per cent of their focus on the instrument hanging round their neck might tend to, rather than being freer with the melody lines – although you get a hint of what she is capable of with her overlaid vocal backing vocals, which stretch the envelope a bit. For an album full of experienced musicians though it has an unusual, almost unfinished feel as if the band are still finding their voice. I think an element of this lies with T’Anti needing to develop the confidence to let rip with her more natural (and considerable) vocal talents.

However, when a track like ‘Torn From Life’ comes along that difference is stark and clear. Whereas the majority of the songs show her phrasing and delivery in quite a fixed, gravelly and staccato light, this track (at nearly seven minutes the longest on the album) is a Power Ballad, that opens gently and sees her singing properly and opening up in a completely different way. At this point she is utterly entrancing. I guess the point I am trying to make is that the more overtly Metal tracks on here see her trying to be a Metal singer, rather than just being a singer, who is in a Metal band. From this point onwards some of the songs show her balancing the two styles a little bit more frequently, but I can’t help feeling that if she had opened up and just sang her heart out with the clear, powerful and emotionally wrought set of lungs and voice box that this track delivers, more consistently on the rest of the tracks, then this would have been an absolute belter of an album.

‘Bloody Rain’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Throne Of Destruction
02. Bloody Rain
03. New Order
04. Electrified
05. Threatening Stalemate
06. Four Horsemen
07. Save Yourself
08. Torn From Life
09. Rest In Pieces
10. Into The Void
11. Checkmate!
12. People Without Tears
13. Nightmares

LINE-UP:
Chris T’Anti – Vocals
Torsten Schirmer – Guitar
Mike Richter – Guitar
Carsten Bätge – Bass, Backing Vocals, Keyboards
Holger Schilling – Drums

LINKS:

Queen Of Distortion 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.

Brunno Mariante: Heal Or Kill – 15th Year Anniversary Tour

15th Year Anniversary Tour Cover

Brunno Mariante: Heal Or Kill – 15th Year Anniversary Tour
Self-Released
Release Date: 14/04/2021
Running Time: 57:31
Review by Victor Augusto
8/10

I guess I sometimes have the spirit of an old man, even though my body is not as old as I think it is and let me repeat the thing I always say in the intros of my reviews. Yes, my nightmare intros. I will constantly say how much I admire musicians or bands that work really hard to share and spread their music. For sure, Brunno Mariante is a good example of a professional that has a mind a little ahead from regular Brazilian bands. I had always heard about him, even though I’ve never stopped to pay close attention to his work before. Nevertheless, as I always say, we are like radio frequencies and have a connection with people who are on the same wavelength, and who have the same spirit and passion for the cause. Walking in this path I was lucky to be introduced to Brunno thanks to a friend, who is also one of the best Brazilian reviewers, my friend Mauro Antunes.

As the album title suggests, Brunno has been on the road for a long time and this material is put together mainly from his solo career with the addition of a few songs from Vindicta, the band he is a part of. Despite this, he has worked in other bands and projects alongside important Brazilian names. He reached a certain point in his career and decided to focus on his solo band and his studio solo album “Heal or Kill”. This album had important Brazilian guests such as Vitor Rodrigues (Torture Squad/VoodooPriest) and Val Santos (Viper). Even Blaze Bayley joined him on this record, which shows how much Brunno is respected as a musician. So, let us delve deeper into this live material that travels along his musical journey.

I can mention two different stages from this concert. First, a more traditional style that embraces songs from Brunno’s solo career like ‘Ascension’ and ‘Holocaust’, also heavier parts like ‘Onslaught’. These songs are just three from all the new, and still unreleased, music that appears here and let’s talk about them. It is possible to see a trademark from Brunno’s sonority. What came to my attention most is how guitarist Paulo Bertoni sounds and feels so free on stage, even commanding the solos of these tracks. I must tell you that Paulo is a guest musician here, but if I hadn’t known him from his great Brazilian band Kadabra and nobody had mentioned him as a guest, all listeners would think he was a long-time member of the band, all because of his synergy with the team.

For the already released songs, guitarist Andreas Dehn is the main guy on solos, like in ‘Shadows Remain’. I have to highlight him on ‘Alone’ because he also does a small section of vocals, exploring medium range notes that reminded me somewhat of Warrel Dane. It is interesting how he puts in a good vocal performance on a song that also has Isabela Pereira’s beautiful voice. She is another guest who shares lead vocals with Brunno. Her participation is amazing especially with the harmonies from them both on the chorus. Continuing with the ‘older songs’, I did enjoy ‘No Time To Waste’ because of the energy that it brings to the listener. Even Punk Rock is present here on ‘Rage Hurricane’ .The ballad ‘Winter Fiends’ appears at a good moment with Michel Turim on acoustic guitar alongside Rafael Leoni on keys and backing vocals. Great choice before everything turns heavier.

Brunno Mariante Live Pic

Now the second part! So far, I have talked about songs that Brunno released as a solo artist and Traditional Heavy Metal is a good way to describe it. However, this album also showcases heavier material from his band Vindicta, which brings something doomier and also delves into the realms of Death Metal, such as on ‘Realm Of Darkness’, which offers a good dynamic on the album. For me, there is a highlight here, not just from the Vindicta tracks, but of the entire album and that is ‘New Holy Fire’ with its keyboards and the beautiful intro riff which is Deep Purple in style. Again, the special guest of Isabela with her strong voice gives new life to the ‘old’ Holy Fire*. Probably my favourite of the album.

It is a really complete live/DVD album which navigates through a huge part of Brunno’s career. I liked how drummer Leonora Mölka offers amazing versatility on her drum parts and bassist Rick Posi rescues the spirit of 80’s rock/metal in his performance. If you prefer watching the video of this offering, you will see a small, but professional stage with all band members really showing the energy of a live concert. The audio is also amazing and believe me, I hear even great mainstream bands committing mistakes on live material/albums with regards to quality, but here everything is amazing.

Sorry to extend my review, but with amazing material that tries to cover 15 years existence of an artist, it is natural to have many things to say. Therefore, my last words to describe it is that you are free to grab a beer or whatever you like to drink and enjoy this album. It is undeniable that everyone involved put a 100% of their hearts into producing it.

*The original song is called ‘Holy Fire’ and this new version received the name ‘New Holy Fire’.

Brunno Mariante – 15th Year Anniversary Tour (Full Concert)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Clockwork
02. Ascension
03. Holocaust
04. Shadows Remain
05. Onslaught
06. Alone
07. Ready To Die
08. New Holy Fire
09. Winter Fiends
10. Realm of Darkness
11. No Time To Waste
12. Lost Station
13. Rage Hurricane
14. Heal Or Kill
15. River Of Sorrow

LINE-UP:
Brunno Mariante – Vocals
Andreas Dehn – Guitars
Rick Posi – Bass, Backing Vocals
Leonora Mölka – Drums

Special Guests:
Paulo Bertoni – Guitars
Michel Turim – Acoustic Guitars
Rafael Leoni – Keyboards / Backing Vocals
Isabela Pereira – Vocals

LINKS:

Brunno Mariante 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.

Blaze Bayley – War Within Me

War Within Me Album Cover Art

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘War Within Me’ (Audio)

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

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

LINKS:

Blaze Bayley Pic

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

Primitai – Violence Of The Skies

Violence Of The Skies Album Cover Art

Primitai – Violence Of The Skies
ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 64:15
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Before I start to review Primitai’s new album, “Violence Of The Skies”, I have to offer the coveted and extra special (so special that no-one except me knows it exists, and it has no physical presence) award for the best website ever to have graced the internet. If you’re a Spectrum/C64 kid of the 80’s I implore you to check it out, and I promise that you will not be disappointed. Spectacular piece of marketing! I take all my hats off to whoever designed it.

Ok, now I’ve stopped playing on the Primitai website, I suppose I should get on with what I’m actually meant to be using this space for. Let’s have a chat about the album that goes along with this ingenious internet creation! This is a space themed concept album, telling a story about “escaping the end of the world, seeking new victories and facing unknown dangers.” And, aside from that, it’s solid Heavy damn Metal, which is why we’re all really here, right? We lust for new tunes to bang our heads to and get lost in, while the rest of the world tears itself apart. Well, this album can offer you that, for just over 64 minutes of your day at least.

Deep rooted in Classic Heavy Metal, but exploring things on the Power, and Progressive side as well, Primitai join a growing breed of ‘modern’ Classic Heavy Metallers, bringing back all the vim and vigour of the greats, in a more modern way. Powerful bass, intricate rhythms, and synth are the name of the game, along with the soaring harmonised vocals, epic solos, and the duelling guitar cadences that are so synonymous to Heavy Metal. It’s Maiden with modern, Priest with more power, and Queensrÿche with an extra ‘Je ne sais quoi’!

Every track is fast paced, and in your face, but each offer their own unique little twists, to create a full story (I particularly liked the little twiddle at the end of ‘Warriors Of Time’). ‘Innocent’ has a real chug to it, especially in the middle section, which helps express the exciting direction that this sound is taking, as well as exhibit a number of other styles from across the eras. The guitar sound here I find quite 90’s Grunge in a lot of places. There’s plenty of classic European Power Metal influences rammed into this rather tasty pick and mix, as well. One such example is ‘Put To The Sword’.

‘The Cold Surface Of The Moon’ starts off with solitary piano, with effects that make you feel that it’s echoing in the emptiness of space. This is a marked change from the tracks preceding it, but it pretty quickly ramps up into another roaring anthem. However, I would say that this is one of the most classic sounding tracks on the album, with a lot of 70’s prog vibes going on in it, too. I’m a sucker for the old sound, so I think this is one of my favourite tracks on the album. This feel also continues in the following track, ‘I’ll Live Again’. However, after starting with solitary guitar, here there’s more punch when everything kicks in, and we get one of those epic guitar solos I mentioned earlier.

All in all, this is an exciting and toe-tapping album. And I really only have one criticism, but it’s nothing to do with the band, or anything that could have been controlled, it’s more a general irk with the need for everything to be digital these days (when I were a lass, you were lucky if you had a cassette player that didn’t eat your tapes, and you always kept a pencil handy just in case). The files we get to review from are usually MP3s and they compress the shit out of everything. I’ve got pretty dodgy ears anyway, but add into that the hell of compression, and I find that the vocals become muddy. This irritates me immensely, because Guy Miller has a superb voice, and the vocals should be star of the show in this genre (shut your face guitarists – you get your chance in the solos, and I’m a vocalist, so I’m biased).

But that aside, cracking album. Listen to it, have a play on their website, and that will be an afternoon well spent.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Stars Are My Guide
02. The Uprising
03. The Violence Of The Skies
04. Valley Of Darkness
05. Warriors Of Time (feat. Vladimir Djedovic and Mladen Pecovic)
06. Innocent
07. Put To The Sword (feat. Paul Quinn)
08. The Cold Surface Of The Moon
09. I’ll Live Again
10. The Storm Kings (feat. Tom Draper)
11. The Huntress (CD Bonus Track)
12. Prophecies (CD Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Guy Miller – Vocals
Srdjan Bilic – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Scott Miller – Bass and Synth Arrangements
Jonathan Warren – Drums
Sergio “Cheko” Pedro Giron – Rhythm Guitar on ‘Innocent’/ co-Lead Guitar on ‘The Uprising’, ‘Innocent’, and ‘Stars Are My Guide’

Special Guests:
Paul Quinn (Saxon) – Guitar Solo on ‘Put To The Sword’
Tom Draper (formerly of Primitai, Carcass, Pounder) – Guitar Solo on ‘The Storm Kings’
Mladen Pecovic – Guitar Solos 1 and 2 on ‘Warriors Of Time’
Vladimir Djedovic (The Tilt) – Synth Arrangement and Keyboard Solos on ‘Warriors Of Time’

LINKS:

Primitai 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.

Hevilan – Symphony Of Good And Evil

Symphony Of Good And Evil Album Cover Art

Hevilan – Symphony Of Good And Evil
Brutal Records
Release Date: 19/03/2021
Running Time: 55:16
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Good afternoon again my merry bunch of fellow music lovers! Tis I, Beth, come to give you more of my opinions! I’m in a jolly good mood today; the sun is shining, I’ve painted a door frame, and it is that finest of days in the sporting calendar – the day the mighty Welsh dragons take on the English in Rugby Union’s 6 Nations. That’s why I’ve decided to sit down and write now, as the likelihood of me still being able to write later is slim to none (I’ll either be happy drunk or angry drunk, depending on the score at the final whistle!)[***LATER EDIT*** It was indeed the happiest of days for me, and everyone else in Wales – Da Iawn Bois!!] Anyway, enough of this witty banter and repartee, it’s time to tell you about some music, this time in the form of Brazilian Heavy Symphonic Metallers, Hevilan, and their new album “Symphony Of Good And Evil”.

Hailing from São Paulo, and formed in 2005, this will only be the band’s second full-length release, the previous being “The End of Time”, way back in 2013. Now, I do love a good bit of crossover when it comes to genre, and Hevilan certainly do that. They are no doubt symphonic, but there’s more than a smattering of Prog and Thrash in this album too, along with very deep roots in Power and Classic Heavy Metal. Alex Pasqualle’s vocal style definitely draws influence from Bruce Dickinson and the like, and a lot of the riffs and solos are pure, bang your head, Heavy Metal.

The Album kicks off with ‘Dark Paradise’, a crunching track full of Thrash rhythms and heavy chunky riffs. It’s a fast and furious start that sets the tone and pace for things to come. There are a fair few cross-rhythms in the middle of this track, too, which adds an extra depth of complexity, and displays some incredibly talented musicianship. This track rolls seamlessly into ‘Rebellion Of The Saints’, which follows the same vein, but adds in some choral harmonies, and harsher vocals, giving the whole thing a broader feel.

After a rip-roaring 20 minutes spanning the first four tracks, the intensity comes down a little for ‘Always in My Dreams’. It’s a pure Heavy Metal power ballad, and we get to hear Alex’s vocals in full clarity, as well as a delicious guitar solo from Johnny Moraes. Lush, as they say here in the Wales! BUT, and this is one of my only qualms with the album, this track finishes with the dreaded fade out!!! Argh!

Following that little interlude, the pace picks back up again, with a mixture of Symphonic, Thrash, and Classic metal, in the two parts of ‘Devil Within’. But then it’s time for another curveball with ‘Waiting for the Right Time’, which throws in a stripped back section almost akin to David Bowie.

And then we reach the business end of the album, which really is the pièce de resistance in the shape of the four-movement ‘Symphony Of Good And Evil’. Starting with a piece using purely classical instrumentation and choir, this dark and expansive work is much more progressive, experimental, and exploratory than the previous tracks, and centers around specific musical motifs. It’s a very clever full work, within a work, and the rousing strings and choral orchestration boost everything to the next level.

All in all, this is a very pleasing album. My stand-out track would have to be ‘Great Battle’. It’s a real thumper! And, musically, there’s nothing on this album that isn’t done with technical brilliance and skill. Aside from the qualm of the fade out (which incidentally happens in the 3rd part of ‘Symphony Of Good And Evil, too), my only other slight irritant is that, on a few occasions, the mid-tones are a little overbearing in the mix. But that’s a small thing that is easy to overlook when the standard set by Hevilan on this album is so high.

A cracking listen! Would highly recommend if you like any of the aforementioned genres!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dark Paradise
02. Rebellion Of The Saints
03. Great Battle
04. Here I Am
05. Always In My Dreams
06. Devil Within Part I: Evil Approaches
07. Devil Within Part II: Hammer Of Gods
08. Waiting For The Right Time
09. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part I: Revelation
10. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part II: Dark Ages
11. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part III: Song Of Rebellion
12. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part IV: Epilogue

LINE-UP:
Johnny Moraes – Guitar
Alex Pasqualle – Vocals
Biek Yohaitus – Bass
Rafael Dyszy – Drums

LINKS:

Hevilan 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.

Ghost Avenue – Even Angels Fail

Ghost Avenue – Even Angels Fail
Self-Released
Release Date: 07/08/2020
Running Time: 50:47
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9/10

Ghost Avenue are a brilliant, punchy metal band from Oslo, Norway and display a great blend of 80’s Metal with a modern twist. They have all the trademarks of a good Rock/Metal band, with great riffs, awesome drumming and fab vocals/backing vocals. Since first hitting the scene in 2002, they’ve been growing and have played many live shows, including support for Tad Morose at the Norway Rock Festival alongside bands like Status Quo, Accept, Nightwish and Turbonegro, I bet the place was bouncing that night!

Now with 6 releases (1 demo, 1 EP and this, their 4th full-length album) under their belt, they have produced some great work. And from the early days to now, it’s fair to say that their music definitely stands the test of time. Like a lot of bands, they’ve had people come and go, but the current line-up is solid, and full of talent. And this album perfectly displays that. Their talents are blended together, with each having something to put into the musical pot in both performance, and conception of the songs.

This album was recorded at the Lionheart Studios, and was mixed by Oyvind Voldmo Larsen, at the award-winning studio, The Panic Room, in Skovde, Sweden. And, may I say, he has done an amazing job.

One thing I will say at this early point is, I would recommend you don’t play this album too loud. Yes, we all like our music loud, I know, but believe me, the bass almost beats out of your chest and makes your head explode! It’s intense and super powerful, but also strangely soothing.

Despite the booming bass and raw undertones, “Even Angels Fail” isn’t overpowering. It explores clear vocals, and constant changes in tempo. Kim Sandvik’s voice has a distinct gruffness to it, but isn’t overly raspy, so is kinder on the eardrums!

Their high voltage, pure power sound must come across so well in their live shows. Let’s be honest, they’re not a stand still kinda band! With the strong vocal mix of Kim and Andre, they show us that, just because they are a heavy metal band, getting the right balance of vocals and harmonising is just as important as having killer riffs to back it up.

The track ‘Northman’ has a great Nordic theme and is full of harmonically rich vocals, blending with mesmerising guitar, and thumping drums. This upbeat track is one that you just can’t get out of your head. I love the Valhalla input, and I so hope that, in time, we get a video to accompany this track.

It comes across that the guys have such passion about their music, and their performance. The album makes you feel everything that they feel, the passion, the power, the depth. The winning combination of brilliant song-writing, musical talent aplenty, and superb production, have made for a very strong album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Best of The Best
02. Breakdown
03. Wasted Generation
04. The Fallen
05. Still Craving
06. Take Cover
07. Northman
08. Hero
09. A Violent Disturbance of The Peace
10. Even Angels Fail

LINE-UP:
Kim Sandvik – Vocals
Petter Lein – Drums
Magnus Liseter – Bass
André Berger – Guitar and Vocals
Thomas  Eljarbø – Guitar

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Ignited – Steelbound

Ignited – Steelbound
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/10/2019
Running Time: 39:21
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Do you know that old Uncle who, despite all the terrible jokes at Christmas, spends all year mumbling about everything? It doesn’t matter if everything is good, he will still complain about anything, just for the love of complaining. Perhaps this grumpiness is what represents some older Heavy Metal listeners (the young ones too, sometimes). It is obvious that you will have already heard some Heavy Metal fan saying that he doesn’t like a kind of music because it is too modern. The opposite happens to when he thinks the music is dated and repetitive. Let’s be honest! Do you really believe that a band can bring something new to the table after so many fruitful decades with so many styles being perpetuated for eternity? I guess, not even the best clairvoyant could answer that. Why am I saying all this? No Reason! 😊. They are just random thoughts to explain what I felt when listening to Ignited’s debut album “Steelbound” for the first time.

Could it have been nostalgia? Maybe. For sure, I had a mix of feelings that reminded me of many classic Heavy Metal bands, but with a touch of modernism and I don’t mean the low tuning that some Power Metal bands use as an excuse to promote that they are “reinventing” themselves. Being very non-comprehensive, my first impression of this album was like hearing a mix of Judas Priest and Accept, as an overall concept about their sonority. Now, as my comments, about this Brazilian quartet, become ever more confusing I felt a proper heaviness from Dalton Castro’s guitars, together with strong and present bass from Sama Benedet and, together, they create a good wall for Maurício Velasco to be free on the double kick drums. So far then, we have the most traditional lines possible, but with something new that I promise I will mention.

Apparently, their sonority is the typical one that we hear from the aforementioned bands that influenced Ignited. Ignited have done a great job and all instruments are well equalized, they are also very clear. So far, everything is inspired by the classic bands, right? Yes! Totally! What I feel from the “modern” side, is the sound of the drums, which are a bit digitized for me. However, nothing more than that, after all, Maurício has done important work for the overall heaviness. So, maybe, it is more related to the production than the compositions themselves.

Now let’s go to the vocals, which deserve a few more words. No! I am not saying that the vocals are more important than all other instruments, but I would like to highlight a few aspects. The high range notes, in the Rob Halford style, are done with mastery. Sometimes, I hear singers trying to do this, but often the result is not so good. There are also many moments with further clean voices in the style of our most divine entity in Metal, called Mr. Ronnie James Dio. It sounds perfect, doesn’t it? Well, it’s just a matter of taste. The quality of the members of Ignited is unquestionable, however, I found the repetitive high notes/screams a bit tiring and I ended up enjoying more the interpretations when there is more cadence. As I said before, it is just a matter of taste.

We are looking at an album full of attributes. Excellent recording, musicians and compositions. If you’re the grumpy uncle, who complains that classic big-name bands are dying out, then listen to Ignited. “Steelbound” is a powerful album, with complex elements, that easily sounds like other mainstream bands, mainly Judas Priest. If you don’t like innovation, then here is an album where you can hear something very influenced by the past, but also framed with a more youthful design. Personally, it gave me a good feeling, because it reminded me of the old Dark Avenger, which is, probably, one of the greatest names of Traditional Heavy Metal that we have ever had in Brazil. Obviously, this also includes the similarity of Mario Linhares voice in relation to Denis Lima, vocalist of Ignited.

Are there more highlights? Listening from first track ‘Ignition’ through to closing song ‘Rotting’ there are powerful guitars, good rhythm changes allied with amazing melodies and remarkable solos. The entire album exposes what I have spoken about so far. It is an excellent debut!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ignition
02. Pain
03. Steelbound
04. Living In The Dark
05. Call Me To Run
06. Times
07. Ground Pounding
08. Shining Void
09. Roaring Gears
10. Rotting

LINE-UP:
Denis Lima – Vocals
Dalton Castro – Guitars
Sama Benedet – Bass
Mauricio Velasco – Drums

LINKS:

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.

13 Burning – Unholy EP

13 Burning – Unholy EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 14/08/2020
Running Time: 25:00
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Well, it’s Wednesday! Or ‘hump day’ as some call it (stop snickering at the back, it means it’s the hump of the week, and once you’re through it, you’re on the way to the weekend)! And what better way is there to make it through a humpy Wednesday, than with a bit of metal? None, my good people! None at all!!

This evenings listening is presented by Oxford based NWOBHM band, 13 Burning, in the shape of their recently released debut EP “Unholy”. Formed in 2014, their mission is to combine the traditional sounds of classic heavy metal, with storytelling of mythology, war, and witchcraft.

The EP opens with the title track and gives us everything you would expect from a classic NWOBHM band. Face melting riffs, slightly edgy vocals with perfect Shakespearean diction, a great steady 4/4 beat, and a booming bass line. It’s like bish bash bosh, meat and two veg, heavy metal. And there is not a single thing wrong with that. It takes me back to the good old days, when hair was flowing, boots were cowboy, and everything was double denim clad. And not a pair of rose-tinted glasses in sight!

We’re treated to some awesome musicianship on this release too – a notable example is the ripping solo in track 2 ‘Wings Of A Dream’, which really brings that song to life.

Track 3, ‘Day Of Reckoning’ begins in theatrical fashion; spoken word with a ton of echo, backed up by some eerie and ethereal sound effects. I think this is actually my favourite track. It’s got a slower pace which helps to show off vocalists Dan Abrams pipes really well, and hints at how they can diversify their sound from the traditional. Saying that, it does kind of remind me of the more drug induced tracks that appeared back when peace and love were a thing…just with more riffage!

The final track, ‘Valhala’, again starts in a more slow, lamenting style, with Dan’s vocals sitting atop the mix. Lyrically, it’s pretty poetic, too. Completely in keeping with their mission. And this track is a close second for my favourite track. It’s a biggy, at over 8 minutes long, but has a sharp change of pace in the middle, taking us back to the comfortable groove of classic metal! By the way, unless you by the CD, you won’t hear this track, because it’s a bonus track only on the physical copy. And the lesson here is BUY MERCH AND BUY PHYSICAL COPIES!!!!! Stream, shmeam!!!! Heathens!!! Anyway, where was I?…

Ah yes! “Unholy”, as a debut EP, is a sound footing for 13 Burning to start out with. It’s not ground-breaking, but as a first tentative step into the world of having the balls to put your tunes onto a shiny circle of coated plastic for all to hear, it’s pretty worthy. There are a couple of itchy teething problems that could probably do with ironing out to take them to the next level. The mix is a little muddy in places, and the balance of instruments isn’t always right. But that almost gives it the authentic NWOBHM feel. So, you have to make a call. If it’s ‘perfection’ in the modern day that you seek, then maybe check go out some Ed Sheeran. But if you want proper no nonsense British Heavy Metal, then you could do a lot worse than looking these guys up. I think 13 Burning have a lot more to give (hence my score) and I very much look forward to hearing where they go next.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Unholy
02. Wings Of A Dream
03. Day Of Reckoning
04. Valhala

LINE-UP:
Dan Abrams – Vocals
Phill Millward – Guitars
Sarah Thompson – Bass
Steve Kearley – Drums

LINKS:

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.

Validor – In Blood In Battle 2020

Validor – In Blood In Battle 2020
Symmetric Records
Date: 06/04/2020
Running Time: 48:32
Review by Victor Augusto
8/10

There is a question I often ask myself and it is ‘what makes an album strong or remarkable?’ Of course, there are many possible explanations and I wouldn’t dare try to explain something, so complicated, that I don’t know the answer to, but I have some opinions/points of view as a fan of Metal. When I picked Validor’s “In Blood In Battle album to review, I had no idea who they were or where they were from, I just knew that they played Epic Power/Classic Heavy Metal. It is always complicated to analyse this style after hearing so many incredible bands from the eighties who were the first to play this genre and then all the others that have appeared since, making this music massive. I was afraid that I was going to have mixed feelings, happy to hear the genre that was the first one I loved but also worried that I would hear ‘more of the same’.

Validor are a Greek band and while they prepare their fourth album, they decided to also give the correct value to their debut, which had a small budget, and re-record the ‘spine’ of it (guitars, bass and drums), whilst leaving the original vocals and guitar solos to preserve the band’s spirit from 2011, when the original record was released. As I said before, I’ve never heard Validor’s music, so my initial impressions are based on a partly re-recorded debut album. It is absolutely full of passion and anger which is even better than just playing well or creating incredible solos, at least for me! I am tired of releases, full of musicians, just trying to be faster than the speed of light or the most technical in the world. Validor provide emotion.

The first song ‘The Riddle Of Steel’ has a kind of Celtic acoustic intro with a beautiful clean voice that reminded me of my favourite singer of all time, Mr. Eric Adams from Manowar, who used to sing beautifully in this way. As the music gets fast and heavier, it is possible to hear all of Validor’s influences emerging. Classic metal like Manowar and Judas Priest are combined with heavier bands such as Iced Earth and Blind Guardian. Maybe , as this is Validor’s first album, these influences are more apparent, as they hadn’t yet found their own identity, but it is impressive how they work so well together.

One thing that makes me love a band or song is when they put emotion and interpretation into their music, no matter the concept or subject. Riffs that make you bang your head or pick an invisible guitar unconsciously are a good sign of this and the songs ‘Stealer Of Souls’ and ‘The Dark Tower’ are perfect examples. It is amazing how incredibly beautiful the guitars, bass and solo variations are. They really put everything into these tracks, and it is a masterclass of how to play good power metal full of feeling and energy.

A few songs, like ‘Through The Storm’, bring a more melodic influence to the fore, similar to Helloween, but if you want to hear real heaviness then a song like ‘Wrath Of Steel’ is a good example, once again, there is an Iced Earth influence, which gives value to the riffs and aggressiveness. Another highlight is the last, and title, track ‘In Blood In Battle’ where the band combine all these elements together, it is a complete song.

This, partially re-recorded, reissue is a good way to understand the seeds of Validor’s music. You can hear the pure and genuine influences! It is maybe a little bit raw, but it is enough to understand their capability. After hearing the album, I imagine how they are playing now they have become a more experienced band. I intend to find out and I recommend you do so too!

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Riddle Of Steel
02. Sword Of Vengeance
03. The Last Emperor
04. Stealer Of Souls
05. Through The Storm
06. The Dark Tower
07. Stormbringer
08. Wrath Of Steel
09. In Blood In Battle

LINE-UP:
Odi Thunderer – Vocals, Guitar
Bob Katsionis – Lead Guitar, Bass and Keyboards
Apollo Giannoulis – Drums and Classical Percussion

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/validor.gr/
www.validor.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/symmetricrecords

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.