Incognosci – A Biography Of Madness

A Biography Of Madness Cover Art

Incognosci – A Biography Of Madness
Extreme Sound Records
Release Date: 22/10/2020
Running Time: 27:04
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Incognosci have finally released their debut album and maybe you are thinking that in front of us is a raw album made by people without experience. Sometimes it can happen with young bands releasing their first material, but I must tell you a few details that you probably don’t know about this Brazilian group. It is not easy to have a Heavy Metal band in my country (as you already know from me writing about it hundreds of times) and it is even worse if you play extreme Metal. In this case, the members have taken more than a decade to release this debut after line-up changes and all the struggles that being in a band demand. Of course, they are extremely active in their local scene along with other bands, like Gutted Souls, for example. However, if you look at it from a commercial or business point of view, it is horrible for a band to spend so much time without a release, but if you take the time to listen to “A Biography Of Madness”, you will understand how it was actually good for Incognosci!

Firstly, they are very experienced musicians as a consequence of all the years working together and with other bands. What every member does here is almost as if they are aliens from a distant and evolved civilization, playing on our humble planet. They are insane on their instruments. I could swear that I was listening to a band with more than three albums released and that survive by travelling around the world on long tours. This is obviously not the case with Incognosci, but what they have achieved as musicians is astonishing and they have delivered an incredibly mature work. There is a good balance between being extreme, but not sounding exacerbated or massive.

Now, let’s talk about the music itself. “A Biography Of Madness” is extreme Death Metal with Gore elements. It combines the aggressiveness and speed of Cannibal Corpse with elements of Obituary or Deicide from the Tampa Death Metal scene of the 90’s, mostly in terms of arrangements. There is also a much-diluted Djent feel which brings a modern flavour. The musical highlight are the complex variations they have created inside each song. It is insane how they vary the sonority many times with tremendous speed.

Having Jonathas “Jon” Pereira as lone guitarist sets him free to explore interesting techniques with his guitar, but it could also be because he has a killer bassist alongside him. Marcos Medeiros is highly creative with his bass and all the independent bass lines he has written are astonishing. Sometimes, it is like hearing hellish funk rearranged into Extreme Death Metal, as you can hear on the intro to ‘Perfect Specimen’. ‘Tales Of Insanity’ also has amazing bass work and Marcos fills the rhythm section during Jonathas solo, without worry. You will not notice that empty feeling, bands with one guitarist, sometimes have during solos!

Iron has a powerful, guttural voice and he has explored different vocal lines. This is the first time I have heard him doing ‘Pig noises’. He has departed from the usual style of Death Metal singers in one small detail. I can understand many things that he sings, and it shows his great ability on vocals that are noisy, but clean at the same time. Maybe, it is similar to the David Vincent (Morbid Angel) way of singing. Finally, the drum work that Braulio Drumond has put together for the album is the most impressive thing here, in my opinion. Many drummers can play faster than the speed of light, but to play fast with many tangled parts…well, few people can do that. He also hits his drum kit HARD and the music never sounds repetitive thanks to him. The opening song ‘Aftermath’ is a good example of what I am talking about!

The experience of the individuals has made “A Biography Of Madness” a terrific work. The album is short, the production is organic, the arrangements are very well thought out and the complexity of the compositions makes this an easy album to digest. It is a blend of the good and gold Old-School Death Metal, but with new elements. There is not a single song that sounds boring. All of them have received good attention and they are very professionally written. As a result of all these positive aspects this is an album that you won’t get tired of after 2 or 3 tracks, which can sometimes happen.

“A Biography Of Madness” is an amazing debut, I promise you.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Aftermath
02. Awaken The Desperate
03. Perfect Specimen
04. Traumatize The Masses
05. Eleven Years
06. Tales Of Insanity
07. Final Descent Into Madness
08. Trapped In Spontaneous Disintegration

LINE-UP:
Iron – Vocals
Jonathas “Jon” Pereira – Guitar
Marcos Medeiros – Bass
Braulio Drumond – 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 said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Monolith – Sentience

Monolith – Sentience
Self-Released
Release Date: 13/11/2020
Running Time: 53:10
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Hands up who likes Progressive/Tech/Djent/Industrial/Electro Metal??!!! Ah good!! Me too! Well I’ve got a little something you might like.

Monolith is a one-man project that’s got all that and more. It’s the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, and an old friend of mine, Nathan Hughes. And his debut album, “Sentience” has just landed. Formed as a project for his university degree in 2018, Monolith has grown into his ‘passion project’, culminating in this release. It’s a meld of everything, like one big metal caravan filled with whatever the hell you want, ready to set off on a trek to wherever the hell you want, down all the twisty and turny A roads and dirt tracks you can find! Metaphorically speaking!

The album explores a myriad of soundscapes, infusing synth effects with more traditional metal instrumentation. It starts with ‘Sentience I – Awakening’. The opening couple of bars sound like ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, which I thought was pretty fitting for the direction this album is aiming to take. But it quickly becomes a guitar and drum driven track full of darkness and intrigue, as well as a myriad of complex rhythms and interlocking sections. A great start.

‘Lucid’ is up next. Groove funk central!! It starts off with drums and some pretty nifty bass licks, and then tumbles into groove laden guitar. But don’t get too comfortable, as some crazy synth then drills into your brain followed by a ridiculously complex rhythm section, then some full-on thrash! It’s impossible not to move to, but do NOT try to bang you’re head, as you will either a) get annoyed at yourself for going off beat, or b) look like you’re having some kind of episode.

‘Departure’ takes you on a much floatier and more calming journey to start with. Massive reverb on a solo guitar, with wave sound effects in the background, lead into bass synths, and a Pink Floyd style guitar solo that’s indulgent, but not to the point of it becoming tacky. It’s just peaceful. I likey. ‘Skyline’ comes next. This takes the crazy djent prog madness of the first two tracks, and the mellowness of ‘Departure’, and chucks them both together, purely because it can. It also has synth sax, again, because it can. Although, I’m a bit of an old fuddy duddy when it comes to wind instruments, because I was brought up in a house full of very proficient sax players, and synth versions of them grind my gears. They just sound corny. Sorry.

Anyway, moving on! In the middle of the album, at track 6, ‘The Elusion’ we’re introduced to some more new sounds. An almost 90’s grunge feel, cloaking, but not completely obscuring, the crazy proggy madness that we have been gifted with so far. Given the point in the album, and the track name, I think this is very cleverly thought out bit of placement. Possibly a metaphor for the ‘more socially acceptable’ version of ourselves that a lot of us over here in metal corner have to create in our day to day lives, in order to be accepted within ‘normal’ circles.

The next tracks, starting with ‘The Price Of Reality’, are a much darker journey. Slower than what has gone before, and with more trepidation. ‘The Price Of Reality’ using sludgy doom inspired sections, and ‘Lost’ making use of a minor key, an altogether slower tempo, and synth strings, giving it a stark and overarching feeling of sadness. Being a melancholy soul, this is my favourite track on the album. The musicality in the instrumentation really is superb here, and the progressions and cadences almost send it into the realms of a classical composition.

‘Cmd_Shutd0wn’ sees us heading swiftly back into Electro/Djent, and is hugely Gojira inspired. It’s only a small track, but it’s no less technical. It also marks the beginning of the reverse, which will bring us full circle to the sounds that opened this album. This is more noticeable however in the penultimate track, ‘Transcend’ which draws influence from everything that has already been introduced, and neatly packages it into a little under 4 minutes. ‘Sentience II – The Neon Dreamscape’, closes the album in much the same way, ending with the same synth sounds that we were first met with in the opening bars of the album.

Musically, this album displays the undeniable talents that Nathan has, as both a musician and a composer. It’s also superbly mixed and mastered, given that the sound is huge, but was basically put together in his bedroom. But, there is a fairly large elephant in the room, that I haven’t addressed as yet. This album, in its current form, is purely instrumental, and is crying out for vocals. While every track is masterfully constructed and played, there is a vocal shaped hole in them all, that needs filling to take this album to the next level. Maybe I’m biased as vocals are my thing, but for me, with vocals, this album would be a solid 10.

That said, if you like any of the aforementioned musical styles, you really should check out “Sentience”. With Monolith, and this release, Nathan has taken a really great step onto the metal project ladder.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sentience I – Awakening
02. Lucid
03. Departure
04. Skyline
05. Overseer
06. The Elusion
07. The Price of Reality
08. Lost
09. Cmd_Shutd0wn
10. Transcend
11. Sentience II – The Neon Dreamscape

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.

Ashen Reach – Homecoming

Ashen Reach – Homecoming
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/11/2020
Running Time: 56:17
Review by Beth Jones
8.5/10

Liverpool based Ashen Reach have been a firm favourite with us here at ever metal since discovering them in their previous guise at a Twisted Illusion gig in Manchester. Recently, they’ve had some ups and downs. The dizzy heights of playing to vast audiences in Russia, to the disruption of a line-up change. Considering their young age, they’ve shown a lot of balls to stand up to the challenge, and now they’re a solid 5 piece again, the time has come to unleash their debut album, “Homecoming” into the world of hard rock. This has pleased us a lot here at EMHQ, because they’re a super talented bunch of musicians who have been working their asses off for the last couple of years.

“Homecoming” is an album that explores many current themes, from mental health and domestic abuse, to love and determination. Their unique sound does this in a way that sets each song apart from the next, and explores mood through the dynamics of music.

The album kicks off with ‘Fighting For My Life’ – a riff heavy, chunky, classic hard rock track, which really gets your foot tapping. The powerful vocals of Kyle Martyn Stanley cut through over the top of thumping riffs and drums, and we get treated to a guitar solo towards the end of the song, which is rich and full in terms of tone, making this a great start to the album.

The next two tracks, ‘Epiphany’, and ‘Tear It Down’ follow the same style, providing a very upbeat first ten minutes of the album. Then things take a turn for the heavier with, ‘Heir to The Throne’. It starts with drums and guitar, similar to the sounds we’ve already heard. But this then gets joined by some down-tuned bass and builds into an expansive chorus that wouldn’t be out of place in a symphonic metal band. We also get a middle section with some screams and growls thrown into the mix, at a low enough level to make them not too intrusive, but enough to give this song a distinctly heavier edge. Kyle also has more of a rasp in his vocals throughout this song.

‘Alive Again’ and ‘Prey’ continue with the slightly heavier sound, but also add in some progressive exploration, with more experimental sections. The use of reverb in these adds a haunting and lilting feel to the acoustics. This provides a great contrast between the full on, in your face, and the more stripped back elements. I really like the opening to ‘Prey’ – Kyle’s unusual vocals work really well for the quiet elements, as he has an interesting tone, and is still able to deliver a powerful sound at a softer dynamic. This track builds throughout, to a crescendo of sound towards the end, giving the sense that the ‘prey’ has been trapped.

An element of calm is then thrown into the mix, with a Pink Floyd-esque soundscape in the form of ‘Ether’. Gentle guitar and synth effects float for around a minute and a half, creating a beautiful and peaceful serenity. Like sitting in a summer meadow, watching the pollen and insects float on the warm breeze.

‘Here I Go’, continues this theme, but with the addition of some lovely vocal harmonies. Then it bursts into a full-on progressive rock ballad, complete with cross rhythm sections, epic soloing, and plenty of moments where, in the good old days, any crowd would have been stood with lighters aloft creating a twinkling sea of swaying fire! I think this is one of my favourite tracks on the album actually.

Then we get to the business end of the album. The final three tracks, ‘Hole In The Sky’, ‘Broken Column’, and the title track ‘Homecoming’, really make this album for me. They feel like a bit of a level-up. They’re intricately put together, with interesting rhythms, brilliant vocals and harmonies, and real power. I also feel that the balance of sound in these final tracks has really had attention paid to it. At some points earlier in the album, there are times when I think things are too mid- heavy. The guitar riffs almost take over and obscure the rest of the sound. But here, it’s much easier to pick out individual sounds. These three tracks also have an insatiable groove to them, which really connects you to the sound. I would still like a little more bass and drums in the mix for ‘Broken Columns’ and ‘Homecoming’ though. I think that would have really helped drive the tracks. But then I’m a sucker for bass heavy stuff, so this is, off course, purely my opinion!

All in all, this is a very solid and accomplished debut album, from a very exciting young band, who I believe have a whole ton more to give. And it is well worth investing 56 minutes of your time to listen to it!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Fighting For My Life
02. Epiphany
03. Tear It Down
04. Heir To The Throne
05. Alive Again
06. Prey
07. Ether
08. Here I Go
09. Hole In the Sky
10.Broken Column
11. Homecoming

LINE-UP:
Kyle Martyn Stanley – Vocals
Paddy Cummins – Lead Guitar/ Backing Vocals
Joe O’Sullivan – Rhythm Guitar
Mike McCarroll – Bass/ Backing Vocals
Jess Stanley – 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.

Die Ego – Culto

Die Ego – Culto
Self-Released
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 40:01
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8.5/10

Die Ego are a three-piece metal band, based in London (UK) and surprisingly this is their debut album, you will get what I mean when I say “surprisingly”. The band was first formed by Diego Fardel (lead guitar) and Gabe Scapigliati (vocals and bass). After trialling a few drummers who didn’t make the band they secured Dave Grosz and then Die Ego officially were formed.

In 2018 they released their first demo “Songs For The Insanity” and gained notoriety for their live gigs, which certainly got them noticed by the metal community. They’ve played such venues as the O2 Islington, and Camden Rocks Festival. The bands description of their debut album is “Culto is a raw and powerful demonstration of our essence and spirit. Our mindset was to produce an honest album that reflects the bands journey and makes a statement of what we are all about”.

Ok on with the review, If you like your music loud, raw, hard hitting, and dark, these are your guys! We start the album with the title track, ‘Culto’, which begins with piano playing and what sounds like a child’s voice, but, within the first minute, you’re catapulted into the rich undertones of the vocals, a combination of deep gruffness with some epic screams, which combined with great guitar riffs, sets the bar for the rest of the album. As you work your way through the tracks it’s a dark but exciting journey. You don’t want to get off the metal bus in case you miss out on something.

‘Demons Have Demons’ gives you total goose bumps with gravelly vocals which sound like they have been summoned from the bowels of hell! These guys certainly don’t want you to not to be entertained while listening to the album! The album has a steady pace, which I liked, because I think if they had gone too crazy, then the gruff vocals may have been lost and the intense vocals, which get into your soul, may not have had the same impact.

This album is one of those that will embed into your sub conscious and give you nightmares! Not bad for a band that hasn’t been around for more than a few years! “Culto” certainly makes an impact. These guys draw inspiration from all the best. From Pantera and Metallica, through to Alice in Chains and Slipknot, and although Die Ego have only just started out, I can see us in years to come comparing new and up and coming metal bands to them. Their music is powerful yet has a deep soul to it, I was asked by my son (who loves metal music too) to describe the album, and I said it was like my soul had gone to hell to visit and enjoy itself.

It may not be for everyone, but all I’d say is don’t listen to it once and think “nah, not for me”. Listen to it a few times and take in the passion and confidence, that the band has in bucket loads. Going back to my comment about “Culto” ‘surprisingly bring a debut album’, well I have reviewed quite a few bands now and I always look up other things they have done. Sometimes as a reminder of forgotten tracks, or just to refresh my mind, but when I couldn’t find anything other than this album, I was truly surprised! The confidence they seem to exude is of a band that has been around for many years, and I have no doubt that some time in their future, I will have the pleasure of their second album to review.

If I had to have a favourite track it would be ‘Don’t Get Close’. From the start, it had me, then in came the intense lyrics – it was just the perfect combination and had me transfixed all the way through. This album has it all, raw gruff vocals that will make your ears bleed, addictive drumming, and guitar riffs that will make you wish you had learnt to play a guitar yourself. Well done guys, this was a great debut album and lets’ hope you’re out gigging again very soon.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Culto
02. Anger is Yours
03. Treatment of Silence
04. Demons have Demons
05. The Grave
06. There is No Tomorrow
07. I Promise
08. Don’t Get Close

LINE-UP:
GABE: Vocals and Bass Guitar
Diego: Lead Guitar
Dave: Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/DieEgoMetal/
www.twitter.com/DieEgoMetal
www.dieego.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCi5CxHa83uX70tvQgfFBDcQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4Yrsxw1DTctEeGRgPjAYRd

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.

Soul Dragger – Soul Dragger

Soul Dragger – Soul Dragger
Time To Kill Records
Release Date: 07/02/2020
Running Time: 47:18
Review By Tammy Lomax
9/10

There has been a tremendous amount of negativity floating around social media recently and it’s a shame considering all the good that goes unrecognized! So, allow me to distract you for a moment and inject something good into your lives.

Italian Modern Metallers Soul Dragger are clouting us with their debut, self-titled, album which was released back in February via Time To Kill Records and It follows their EP “Before Chaos”, released in 2018. It was produced by Marco Mastrobuono (Hour Of Penance, Fleshgod Apocalypse) and their sound has been compared to such heavyweights as Machine Head, Trivium and Testament!

“Soul Dragger” is a fantastically agile album that will kick your teeth right in.

‘Rise’ opens the album and because I am a Soul Dragger virgin, I have no idea what awaits. However, it is well balanced and opens the album soundly. There is technical guitar playing with a fast thrash feel and I already feel assured that these guys will bring all the cream. ‘Damnati Memoriae’ swings in next and it’s incredibly good. It’s a bulkier and chunkier track. Vocalist ‘Alex’ is diverse, he executes some really decent metal growls, and throws some lighter noted vocals into the mix too. They are a fitting match to the rest of the music being played.

‘Angel’ enters, and it is so fast. I’m keeping up though and I have started to mould myself into the Soul Dragger vibe, I’m beginning to understand their message. Every instrument is being played impeccably. Intensity starts to build up about halfway in and when a slower riff hits my ears, I start to headbang to the vegetables that I’m preparing for dinner; they also approve! ‘Maid And The Beast’ breaks the album up, however I feel it’s a little too soon to place a ballad in the album. You’ll need to get your lighters out for this one though, because it’s still emotional. The lyrics make sense to me in a personal way and it pulls at my heart strings.

If you are listening along whilst reading this then I hope you are well recovered because from here, everything is going to mess you all up, a lot more! Carrying over the feelings from ‘Maid And The Beast’ the album reaches another stage of awesomeness. ‘Everyday’ gears you up ready for when instrumental track ‘Before Chaos’ plays. With the vocals out of the equation you can hear hefty amounts of talent on display. I love drummer Flavio’s double kick footwork; he is very good. What a great opportunity for Soul Dragger’s musicians to express their talents. They are alert, energetic and more particularly, on point.

‘Alone’ is a great addition to the album. The more it plays, the more it grows on me. Firing in an angelic chorus which battle the ripping roars of the verse, adding the best guitar solo and… I feel all fluffy. It’s a shame there wasn’t more clean singing because, wow, what a voice! By this point I literally want to kick the air, my emotions are flying all over the place. ‘War Nightmare’ is next and it is relentless. I feel totally armed and ready for war, Souls Dragger just keep pounding and pounding… breathe Tammy… Jesus!

‘Soul Dragger’, the track, keeps the pace of the album going. There are some awesome screamed vocals, it is a buoyant track, bouncing you about all over the place. I love how quickly it’s projected straight at my throat and just wants to cause straight up carnage. ‘Death ‘n’ Destruction’ highlights exactly how versatile Soul Dragger are, it’s emotional again but in a different way, it brings out all the inner demons. hammering, breaking you up bit by bit and it is dark. ‘Collapse’ closes the album, and wow, what a journey. It’s just as ripping and consistent as the rest of the tracks, I am finally full, right to the brim. Absolutely fantastic work.

This has literally blown my everything off and I am now a new fan of Soul Dragger. They smash through the album with sheer energy. It’s fresh, experimental, combining the old and new, and has some brutal components.

Let’s recognize positivity and what better way to do it than through music ❤.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rise
02. Damnati Memoriae
03. Angel
04. Maid And The Beast
05. Everyday
06. Before Chaos
07. Alone
08. War Nightmare
09. Soul Dragger
10. Death ‘n’ Destruction
11. Collapse

LINE-UP:
Alessio ‘Alex’ Pompedda – Vocals, Guitar
Davide ‘Spol’ Spoletini – Guitar
Jacopo ‘Jake’ Gennaro – Bass, Backing Vocals
Flavio ‘Imperatore” Leone – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/soul.dragger/
www.instagram.com/souldragger_official/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/3QCoVWbFMlZ6JAghXxXj1r
www.youtube.com/channel/UCRDI_sP3390u5ECzOgDoy4A

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tammy Lomax 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.

DeadRisen – DeadRisen

DeadRisen – DeadRisen
AFM Records
Release Date: 13/03/2020
Running Time: 47:06
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9/10

Personally, the first track on DeadRisen’s debut album ‘Risen Death AD’, which is just over one minute long, had me going “hmmm okay, is this the opening theme for a new “Mummy” film soundtrack, and my interest was immediately piqued…then, first track proper ‘Prophecy’ kicks in with the vengeance of a steel toe cap to the shin. Talk about going from one end of a scale to the other.

DeadRisen is the brainchild of guitar maestro Rod Rivera (Rivera/Bomma) and bass wizard Mike LePond (Symphony X) and wow, am I glad they got their heads together because this album blows away any winter cobwebs that may still be lurking.

As well as Rod and Mike the band consists of Will Shaw (Heir Apparent) on vocals, Tony Stehl (Livesay) on keyboards and last, but definitely not least, Dan Prestup (Midnight Eternal) on drums. Rod, who has many years of performing and recording behind him, is the son of a flamenco guitarist and you can hear this in his style of playing, I think it comes to the fore most in ‘The Maker’ which has a Latin/Flamenco feel and a unique sound that gives it a real edge. Mike, who has played on some of the best Heavy Metal albums ever, is so fluent, he sounds like a second guitarist!

DeadRisen are like a metal recipe combining some new, some old, some power, a pinch of slow and twist of crazy, all mixed and baked into a brilliant album The energy that comes through is breath taking but then next track ‘Reach For The Sun’ has you chilling out to a much slower tune that slowly builds to a mammoth climax. These guys definitely want to keep your interest throughout!

The vocals from Shaw have a range that would make most guys eyes water yet the power and clarity he provides makes this whole album stand out. In fact his sound and some of his phrasing reminds me of a mix between Graham Bonnet and Russell Allen, Stehl’s keyboards are a wonderful addition to the mix and with the thunderous and precise drumming of Prestup, these five guys gel in such a way that can only come from many years of experience! “DeadRisen”, the album, has more twists and turns than a roller coaster. Never before have I heard an album that goes from flamenco to metal to thrash all within one track. Some of the tracks are dark and deep, others light and fast. The astonishing guitar riffs and solos from Rivera almost had me holding my breath. It’s okay though as he gives you a rest to draw breath before you turn blue!

One thing that comes across with DeadRisen is not just the amount of experience they possess but it sounds like that they just love making music and enjoying what they do and that is giving us truly epic tunes such as ‘Chains Of Time’ and ‘But You’, fast, furious and with a pitch on the vocals that almost make your ears bleed, in a good way. This is an album that you certainly won’t get bored of listening too, the variety in each track is genius but they seamlessly blend everything like they have been playing together for years and no way does this sound like a debut album.

With Heavy Metal approaching its 50th Birthday, DeadRisen have rightfully taken their place on the icing of the cake and I hope there are many more tracks to come from them. Final track on the album is a sumptuous cover of Metallica’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ and proves the point that you never know what’s coming next! If you are a fan of incredible Progressive Power Metal with a nod to bands like Alcatrazz, Rainbow, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep then hold on to your seat and your beer because this is sublime!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Risen Death AD
02. Prophecy
03. Destiny
04. The Maker
05. Reach for The Sky
06. Visions
07. Chains of Time
08. Fear and Fury
09. Buy You
10. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Metallica Cover)

LINE-UP:
Will Shaw – Vocals
Rod Rivers – Guitars
Mike LePond – Bass
Tony Stahl – Keyboards
Dan Prestup – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/deadrisenband/
www.instagram.com/deadrisenband/
www.open.spotify.com/album/5vMUmOccMKjkhjtIteaDKX
www.youtube.com/channel/UCTKQlZbfT32dfyQ-GlbLwGg

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.

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast

HellgardeN – Making Noise, Living Fast
Brutal Records
Date: 10/04/2020
Running Time: 34:27
Review by Victor Augusto
7.5/10

Many bands could seem to be totally unknown or new when they appear with a first release, but some work extremely hard before this first step to increase the expectations and anticipation of their first recorded release. Brazilian thrashers HellgardeN are a great example of this. They have been making noise and living fast for a few years, and I had the privilege of seeing them live before hearing this album, so I am one of those people who waited eagerly to hear it.

On the subject of all things that any band must plan and prepare before entering the studio, I have to mention the production of this album. It pleased me. It is raw, but good at the same time, and is refreshing, as there are plenty of albums sounding over digitalized and soulless. The distorted vocals and few guitar effects reminded me a little of Crust/Grindcore bands, just in terms of arrangements.

So, let me talk about the music. The Thrash Metal of HellgardeN has a lot of excitement in compositions and uses many good tempo variations to avoid repetition. So far, nothing new from what a good band in this genre must play. Guitarist, Caick Gabriel, does a great job with good riffs. Diego Pascuci screams a lot, and the mix makes his voice blend very well with all the other instruments. Guilherme Biondo has good bass lines which complement Caick’s guitar work and Drummer, Matheus Barreiros had the hard work to brake and change all cadences. In my opinion, his work, together with Caick are the highlights in the music and they create a good sonority with groove.

All the songs are good, but a couple stand out for me. ‘Evolution or Destruction’ shows the band’s ability to create catchy riffs. ‘Brainwash’ is my favorite due to the straight structure and more aggressive riffs. The album’s title track ‘Making Noise, Living Fast’ has a good bass sound opening it, as well as a good chorus, and lyrics that express the band’s spirit. ‘Possessed By Noise’ follows the same idea, but this last one has a fast and amazing ending to close the album.

Now, I should say what has worried me about HellgardeN’s music, and what I haven’t enjoyed since my first listening. Between many bands that have inspired them, probably Pantera is the strongest influence and it could be a problem. Of course, Pantera are a legendary group and I don’t need to explain why, even if anyone who is reading this review doesn’t like them. The problem is not being influenced by them, but when you sound exactly the same, like a copy sometimes, it could be dangerous. I will mention just two songs to enlighten what I am saying. The first one is ‘Spit on Hypocrisy’, with almost the same riff and cadence from ‘A New Level’. The second one and worst offender is ‘Fuck the Consequences’, that is totally like ‘Fucking Hostile’. Even Phil Anselmo’s counting (one, two, three, four) to open the song is identical on HellgardeN’s version.

Of course, I love to hear Pantera and everything that reminds me of them, but not when it sounds like a cover band. Probably this similarity will help them to conquer a few fans, as we all miss this important band since they quit almost 20 years ago, and a reunion is becoming (or has already become) almost impossible, after everything that’s happened during this time. But in my opinion, if HellgardeN are working on having a longer career, they must look for their own identity; this similarity will not work. Worse than that, the band could suffer by gaining the title of “Pantera Cover Band” and making this disappear, even when they create their own identity, could be hard. Considering that band’s members are working hard to be professional (different from most Brazilian underground bands, by the way) I think it is a subject to pay attention to.

However, it is not the end of the world (right, COVID 19?). The band did an amazing job for a first release and I can assure that you are going to have exciting concerts with these guys exploding with energy on stage. If you like powerful shows, just grab a beer and go to see them. The main thing here is that “Making Noise, Living Fast” shows a band hungry for blood with a great sound, great cover art, and it’s easy to listen to. Enjoy it!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Spit On Hypocrisy
02. Evolution Or Destruction
03. Learned To Play Dirty
04. Fuck The Consequences
05. Brainwash
06. Making Noise, Living Fast
07. Believe In Yourself Or Die
08. Possessed By Noise

LINE-UP:
Diego Pascuci – Vocals
Caick Gabriel Cavallari – Guitars
Matheus Barreiros – Drums
Guilherme Biondo – Bass

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/OfficialHellgardeN/
www.instagram.com/officialhellgarden
www.twitter.com/HellgardeNbr
www.spotify.com/artist/5TaQEYrbgw7mdKGtVNI2ye
www.youtube.com/channel/UClHK28vwf-Kkavveir7AhoA

Photo by Thiago Victal II

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.

Static Tension – Ashes To Animation

Ashes To Animation Cover

Static Tension – Ashes To Animation
Buried By Sky Records
Release Date: 11/01/2019
Running Time: 56:19
Review by Stephen Moss
6/10

Static Tension’s debut, full-length, album “Ashes To Animation has been a frustrating album to review. I have listened to it so many times, at different times of the day and night, over the last week in the hope that repeated plays would make it grow on me and so that I could be honest and fair but no matter how many times I have listened I’ve still found myself feeling just as frustrated as the first time I pressed play!

Here are the good points!

Firstly, the music itself is amazing, Greg Blachman’s guitars are great and some of the solos will blow you away.

I play drums, so I find myself paying a lot of attention to them in music. Tom Sager is highly talented; he is not overly repetitive and does a fantastic job in building suspense and emotion!

The bass doesn’t seem like just a background instrument. For example in the track ‘Bury My Body’ the music has an intense climax and the bass is front and centre, loudly kicking you in the teeth.

If “Ashes To Animation” was an instrumental album then I would absolutely love it, however, it isn’t and that’s where my issues come into play!

Here are the not so good points!

There were two glaring issues and I’ll start with the lesser of them.

Opening track ‘Kindling’ is an awfully poor way to start an album. The first track should set the mood for an album, but this song should be hidden away in the middle or end of the album. As a stand-alone track it’s okay. It’s a melodic, repetitive kind of song but I just zone out to it. It doesn’t make me want to keep listening; it makes want to take melatonin and sleep.

Alice In Chains seem to be one of Static Tension’s biggest influences and they know how to start an album. Compare ‘Kindling’ to the AIC track ‘Them Bones’ which kicks off the “Dirt” album and you’ll see that Static Tension have completely missed the mark! In my opinion the aforementioned ‘Bury My Body’ should kick things off but that track also highlights my other issue with the band – they lack PASSION in the vocals!

There isn’t any raw emotion in the lyrics. The entire time I’m listening to “Ashes To Animation” I get the overwhelming feeling that I’m listening to an Alice In Chains cover band. They put so much effort in trying to sound like other bands rather than create their own identity that they come across as fake, forced, shallow and ultimately fluff rock!

With a couple of exceptions on the tracks ‘No Return’ and ‘Got To Give, which sound real, believable and heart-felt. vocalist Rob Rom sounds monotone and unfeeling. His delivery rarely matches the intensity of the music and he just doesn’t sound real or believable!

‘Serpentine’ sees Static Tension trying to sound like Tool, specifically their song ‘Schism’. Musically they have done a phenomenal job but, yet again, the vocals are the weak link, failing to match the suspense of the music and, ultimately, you just end up feeling let down and ‘Blank Silhouette’ sounds like the band Days Of The New have hired AIC’s Layne Staley to sing with them!

When I say that the vocals lack passion or emotion, I don’t mean from power or indeed yelling. Even the quietist of acoustic tracks can have huge passion and feeling but most of the vocal delivery on this album feels entirely disconnected.

The best way I can describe it is to reflect on what happened to the band Flyleaf. Their original vocalist Lacey Strum had been through some dark times and wrote deeply personal songs that she delivered with huge emotion, desperation and anger. When she left the band she was replaced by Kristen May and Flyleaf were never the same again because, although she was a good singer, she could never deliver the songs with the same passion!

Static Tension certainly have all the tools musically but it’s a real shame that the vocal delivery feels so forced and that they desperately seem to be trying to sound like their heroes rather than forge their own path. I really wanted to connect with this but I have come away feeling rather disappointed!

TRACKLIST:
01. Kindling
02. Bury My Body
03. No Return
04. In Spite
05. Absence
06. Got To Give
07. Serpentine
08. Blank Silhouette
09. Where’s The Air
10. Bloody Shadow

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/statictensionrocks

https://www.instagram.com/statictensionrocks/
https://statictensionrocks.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/statictensionrocks

 

Promo Pic1

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Stephen Moss 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.

Solitary – Nothing Changes: 20th Anniversary Edition

Nothing Changes, 20th Anniversary Edition Cover

Solitary – Nothing Changes: 20th Anniversary Edition
DOC Records
Release Date: 20/08/2018
Running Time: 56:44
Review by Dawn King
9/10

It was the mid-90’s, thrash metal was dying and the heady days of “The Big Four” were fast becoming fading memories. But, one man in the north of England wasn’t prepared to sit around and reminisce about the good old days.

Rich Sherrington had always had a dream to follow in the footsteps of his heroes, Xentrix, and in 1994, he formed his own band, Solitary, and against all reason and sense, started the thrash comeback!

The first Solitary album “Nothing Changes” was released in 1998 on Holier Than Thou Records and bristling with its snarling riffs and ready to fight attitude, even the press couldn’t deny the intensity and integrity of the album. They received positive reviews from major magazines such as Terrorizer, and they hit the road for two UK tours. The rest, as they say, is history!

In 2008 they released the album “Requiem” and in 2017, they released “The Diseased Heart of Society”, which was harder, faster and more focussed, and was welcomed with open arms by a society that was much more tolerant of thrash metal.

Now, twenty years later, they have re-released the album that originally set them on their road. There is new artwork, a host of bonus tracks, and a little injection of modern-day studio wizardry, to give the album a heavier and more aggressive sound and it is only available on CD, with NO digital platform whatsoever, so get your copy while you can!

For those of us who weren’t around the first time this was released, there are five bonus demo tracks tagged onto the end of the album, showing just how their sound has changed. Maybe they included these to tempt newer fans to their music or maybe it was just to give older fans a taste of what was, only the band will know that, but either way, I think they are a great addition to an already awesome album.

From the opening bass lines of first track ‘Within Temptation’ it’s obvious this band is not messing around. With chunky riffs and snarling, menacing vocals, these guys are every bit as good as the original thrash bands of the 80’s. With the likes of Metallica, Machinehead, Pantera, Testament and Slayer as influences, they should have been the forefathers of a new wave of UK thrash, so why do they only have just over 4,000 likes on Facebook? (and yes, I do know that Facebook likes is NOT an indicator of how good a band is, before anyone jumps on this comment!)

This no-frills album is fantastic from start to finish, just the type I could listen to repeatedly and still not be bored with it. If this album was their debut back in 1998, then what a debut! There are very few bands that crash onto the scene with a gem of a premier, but these guys should have done just that!

Being a thrash girl at heart, this album gives me everything that I need. The riffs are heavy and meaty, hitting you right in the belly, the trembling basslines and galloping drums are, in a word, superb, and the vocals have just the right amount of grit to give a gruff sound without descending into the dirty vocals that I so hate!

Stand out tracks for me would have to be ‘A Second Chance’ with its hints of Metallica and Pantera and ‘The Downward Spiral’ a brutal groove track that will have you banging your head from the very first note but, in all fairness, there is not a bad track on this album.

It was the advance of the Seattle ‘grunge’ sound that originally contributed to the downfall of thrash in the 90’s and, at the time, I was a huge fan of the grunge scene, thrash not really hitting my radar until later (I was in my late teens so don’t hate me!)

Looking back, I wish I was that little bit older so I could have appreciated this when it was first released. I am, however, now a huge fan and will definitely be buying anything else they have done.

Ever Metal recently reviewed a gig they did in Wrexham and I so wish I could have been there for that! But any time they hit the South East now, I will be in attendance!

These guys are simply awesome!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Within Temptation
02. The Downward Spiral
03. A Second Chance
04. Bitterness
05. Nothing Changes
06. Clutching Straws
07. No Reason
08. Twisted
09. Fear
10. A Second Chance (1996 Demo)
11. The Bottom Line (1996 Demo)
12. What Price (1996 Demo)
13. No Reason (1996 Demo)
14. Fear (1996 Demo)

LINKS:
http://www.solitary.org.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/Official.Solitary/

https://solitary94.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/user/solitarypreston?feature=watch

 

Solitary 2018

 

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

Callus – Hogpocalypse

Hogpocalypse Cover

Callus – Hogpocalypse
Self-Released
Running Time: 49:00
Release Date: 27/01/2019
Review by Rick Tilley
9/10

If you have been following Ever Metal regularly for the last year, then there is a 96.7% chance you have heard us mention Lancaster based Metal band Callus, at least once. Having seen/met them, for the first time at Hammerfest 2018, and being utterly blown away by not only the quality of their music but by how awesome they are as people, Beth and I went on to watch their progress through the Mammothfest Battle Of the Bands competition, which culminated in them winning their regional final, interviewed them twice, managed to get them on the bill at Wrexfest, reviewed their debut EP, wrote multiple gig reviews, watched their joy as they were asked to play The Jägermeister Stage at Bloodstock 2018 (where they went down an absolute storm), did a ‘Callus Day’ on the Ever Metal pages (where we exclusively premiered a trailer for the debut album) and also attended Vocalist/Guitarist Louis Clarke’s wedding, to the lovely Jennie, where Beth was asked to be official photographer. It’s fair to say we have, not only championed them as a superbly talented band that need to be on your radar, but have become firm and good friends with them!

Debut album “Hogpocalypse” has been a long time coming and with everything I’ve written above, whatever the outcome, this review was always going to be a tough one to write. On the one hand, if the album didn’t live up to expectations, how was I going to tell them how I felt and on the other, if it was good, how was I going to write it without you, dear readers, thinking I was just blowing smoke up their backsides? Well I’ve had a good long think and the only thing I can do is tell the truth, as I see it, and hope that everyone who reads this believes my integrity because “Hogpocalypse” is a triumph!

If you’ve not heard Callus before then the first thing you need to know is that they don’t sound like anyone else. They combine a whole host of genres together in a unique way so one minute you are listening to a down-tuned, Doom-laden, Sludge filled, Punky edged riff reminiscent of the Melvins and the next you’re listening to killer Thrash akin to Megadeth or Overkill. Round that out with snippets of Traditional Metal, all quite often in the same song, and their sound is a breath of fresh air. Next up is the fact that this all comes out of three people. Founding members, the aforementioned Vocalist/Guitarist Louis Clarke and Vocalist/Bassist Ben Wormwell plus Drummer Ryan Ormerod make unholy and thunderously heavy music (on album and live) that sounds more like six or seven people, however, everything is incredibly catchy and you cannot stop yourself from moving to the music…try keeping still, I guarantee you won’t be able to do it!

Callus don’t play particularly complicated music or fill it with blazing guitar solos but they hypnotise you with quality riffs and rhythmic playing. It’s all about how vocals, guitar, bass and drums work together to bring power, precision and HEAVY to the table. Every track from the opening, stonking, riff of ‘Boar’ to the closing refrains of ‘Zygote’ are mesmerising and will have your neck snapping in so many different directions that you better hope the local hospital has beds available!

Everything presented here is eerie and horror filled, it’s crusty, rat infested and thick with evil but it’s also beautiful to behold and proof that space in the music is sometimes just as important as filling that space. “Hogpocalypse” is the soundtrack to an H. P. Lovecraft Book/Film where you don’t know if you’ll ever come out on the other side with your sanity intact but you jump right in anyway because the journey is too good to miss. Once you’ve heard tracks such as ‘Leg Slice’, ‘Skunk’, ‘The Dunwich Horror’, ‘The Primordial’ or ‘Where Savage Things Grow’ you’ll want to do that too!

Louis, Ben and Ryan are all young, but very accomplished, musicians and kudos must also be given to Ryan’s beautiful production and mixing which was done at his home studio. This is a complete do-it-yourself album with everything being self-recorded and to have a product of this quality must make the three of them incredibly proud because it puts many ‘more expensive’ albums to shame!

“Hogpocalypse” is everything I wanted and so much more so all I can say is huge congratulations to Callus for their hard work and dedication to get to this point. If they have the guts to keep going then it will be a travesty if they aren’t justly rewarded! Miss them at your peril!

TRACKLIST:
01. Boar
02. Infinite Beef Machine
03. Under The Waste
04. Skunk
05. Leg Slice
06. The Primordial
07. The Dunwich Horror
08. Where Savage Things Grow
09. Dreameater
10. Zygote

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Callus.band/
https://www.instagram.com/callus_uk/
https://callus117.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZOSaYdZBmL8DhLMPjLWggQ

Promo by Beth Jones

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley 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.

All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/