Bjarte K. Helland – Maniae EP

Maniae EP Cover

Bjarte K. Helland – Maniae EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 18/06/2021
Running Time: 22:51
Review by Simon Black
7/10

It takes all sorts to make a genre and body of music that is the Church of All Things Rock And Metal. That means that for those of us who plough through a couple of hundreds records a year in order to encourage you to support the artists (whether we like them or not), it means you have to be prepared to be taken out of your comfort zone and occasionally be pleasantly surprised. This short, but fascinating EP is a solo project of Quadrasonic, FastLoaders and Pitch Black Mentality drummer Bjarte K. Helland. It’s also an entirely instrumental piece, focussing on a complex hybrid of Progressive Rock/Metal and Jazz Fusion. However, you would expect him as a drummer to dominate the sound and the mix, but he doesn’t (although the footwork is phenomenal). If anything, the strings are front and foremost in the mix, particularly Jarle H. Olsen’s rather fantastic and effortlessly fluid guitar work.

This is obviously intended to be a studio project, but despite the choice of style it’s remarkably easy to listen to and although the openers ‘Lyssa’ and ‘Light of Erebus’ are pure Jazz Fusion, the more straight ahead Rock beat of ‘Monolith’ illustrates that there’s plenty in there for the more heavily inclined without losing that subtlety and complexity. Jazz Fusion is often in danger of alienating its listeners by going down an overtly showy road, but because this piece focuses on melody and catchiness first and foremost – rather than appealing only to those who know or care about the difference between a secondary dominant and a tritone substitution, diminished or otherwise. Bottom line is for those with a Prog bent, then this is going to tick a few boxes with its technically dazzling but fundamentally listenable approach to a style of music that isn’t for all but which works like a dream here.

‘Light Of Erebus’ (Official Visualizer)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Lyssa
02. Light Of Erebus
03. Monolith
04. Rabid

LINE-UP:
Jarle H. Olsen – Guitars
Ric Fierabracci – Bass
Bjarte K. Helland – Drums

LINKS:

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.

Rhapsody Of Fire – I’ll Be Your Hero EP

I'll Be Your Hero EP Cover Art

Rhapsody Of Fire – I’ll Be Your Hero EP
AFM Records
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 41:07
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Good morning my lovely bunch of heathens, rogues, and degenerates. How the hell are you? It feels like an age since I last wrote a review. I mean, it isn’t, but there’s a lot going on here at Ever Metal HQ at the moment, and life is fast becoming the shitty gift that just keeps on giving. The sun is shining today here in the Wales, too. Great. Unless you’re the possessor of true Celtic skin, like me. If that’s the case, in this weather you will, like me, find the plight of the lowly vampire incredibly relatable. Even my eyeballs are sweating. I mean come on! This is Wales! We’re not used to this sort of heat! We’re used to rain, and sheep, and the distant sounds of a male voice choir lilting over the hills. Anyway, the saving grace in amongst all the detritus is, as always, music. And today I have a cracker for you.

Italian Symphonic Power Metal legends, Rhapsody Of Fire, have been bringing their melodic powerhouse of sounds to our ears for a fair while now. And they’re new EP, “I’ll Be Your Hero”, certainly lives up to the epic sounds that we have come to expect from them. It’s the build up to their next album release, and contains their new single and title track, alongside 7 other tracks; the Japan bonus track, ‘Where Dragons Fly’, 2 live recordings, and 4 versions of the same song, ‘The Wind, The Rain And The Moon’, all sung in different languages – the previously released English version, and versions in Italian, Spanish, and French, respectively.

Opening with the title track, this EP bounds in like a runaway freight train. It’s brash, and theatrical, and hugely decadent, but I bloody love it! The vocals of Giacomo Voli are just sublime. He has such a rich tone to his voice, and it blends so well with the other orchestration that’s going on. The melody line of ‘I’ll Be Your Hero’ is also hellishly catchy and will become your earworm in no time at all.

‘Where Dragons Fly’ takes the pace down a little, but still has some dramatic sweeping orchestration in the midsections. Then, in complete contract, a live version of ‘Rain Of Fury’ pummels in like a hammer drill! What a song! Power Metal with speed and precision. Stunning guitar solos, stunning synths and keys, drums that could easily turn your brain into pulp, and, of course, blistering vocals. The drama and theatrics stay right in the mix for ‘The Courage To Forgive’ (live), as well. It’s slower, but everything just has so much passion. And again, some ridiculously brilliant guitar work enters into the affray. It really does make every bit of me feel alive (and that’s no mean feat these days, I can tell you)!

But the star of the EP is ‘The Wind, The Rain and The Moon’. It’s beautiful and melancholic from the start. Even though their genre suggests a huge classical element, Rhapsody Of Fire have really pushed into the realms of pure classical with this song. The orchestral strings that make up the body of the song remind me of Barber’s ‘Adagio For Strings’. Sweeping and soaring, mournful and lilting. Stunningly beautiful. Add into that Giacomo’s perfect Tenor voice, and you have something truly magnificent. Then plant into it a climactic point, where guitars, and gentle drums join, and what you have is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect power ballads I have ever heard. And just to make it even more beautiful, we get to explore it in multiple languages, too. Singing in choirs, as I did back in the day, let me experience singing in multiple languages. My favourite (aside from Welsh) was always Italian, because of its full and rounded vowel sounds, which make it so expressive. Listening to ‘Senza Un Addio’ reconfirmed this for me. Italian really is the music of song. This, however, should take nothing away from the Spanish or French versions.

So, to sum up, this EP is rather good. The musicianship, passion, production, and orchestration is as close to perfect as you’re likely to get. You should definitely give it a spin.

I’ll Be Your Hero’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. I’ll Be Your Hero
02. Where Dragons Fly
03. Rain Of Fury (Live)
04. The Courage To Forgive (Live)
05. The Wind, The Rain And The Moon
06. Senza Un Addio
07. Sin Un Adios
08. La Force De Me Battre

LINE-UP:
Giacomo Voli – Vocals
Alex Staropoli – Keyboards
Roby De Micheli – Guitars
Alessandro Sala – Bass
Manu Lotter – Drums

LINKS:

Rhapsody Of Fire Promo Pic (Credit @emanuelealiprandiphotography)
@emanuelealiprandiphotography

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.

Lycia – Casa Luna EP

Casa Luna EP Cover Art

Lycia – Casa Luna EP
Avantgarde Music
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 26:44
Review by Wallace Magri
9/10

Long history; short version: According to the press release, Lycia, an Arizona, US based band, has been around for a while, since 1988, and are possibly one of the pioneers of the Darkwave/Electro-Gothic Rock style. During the 90’s they made their way through the US underground, not in a thunderous way, though achieving cult success, and they have also released several albums over the past two decades. Now, after the Avantgarde Music Label re-issued their 1991 debut full-length “Ionia” in early 2021, Lycia is back with a new release.

And, since I am not reviewing albums to pay my bills, I took my time and got into Lycia’s back catalogue (yeah, I’ve never heard about them before), just to find out how appropriate it was for me having the chance to review their newest release, the “Casa Luna” EP. Because, sometimes it feels good to me to crawl into my darkest thoughts for a while, something like a creepy meditation, guided by slow beats and dragged melodies, that I could describe as New ‘Dark’ Age songs (Shoegaze, Ethereal Wave, you name it).

If you liked the description above, so we can move on to “Casa Luna”.

So, now that you already know that the intention of the EP is to be really minimalistic and dark, you can just let the grey palette frequencies of your brain surface and you’ll be able to enjoy the 30 minute ride through your own mind.

The songs on “Casa Luna” arouse an uncomfortable sensation throughout. Upon listening your aura will cool down and, because everything is so slow and melodic, it feels like you are in an underground lake, with a constant icy wind on your face, as you sail among stalagmites, mainly during the first two songs, ‘A Quiet Way To Go’ and ‘Do You Bleed’.

All of a sudden, when you get inside the boat, the electro beats get a little warmer, inviting the listener to a lone party, enlightened by bright candles, to the sound of ‘Except’ – a Depeche Mode-like Darkwave song. I was also reminded of Dead Can Dance whilst listening to the ethereal song ‘On The Mezzanine’, because of the renaissance touch in the vocals and the beautiful acoustic guitar conduction.

And, to close down this brief introspective journey that “Cold Luna” gives us, the song ‘Galatea’ keeps the dancing beat as a highlight once again, just to guide us back to the nothingness full of rich melodies on final track ‘Salt & Blood’ – and the realisation that time is ineffable, and that there is nothing we can do about it but relax and let go of the negativity hidden in the depths of our souls, just for a moment.

It worked for me. I hope you enjoy the dark meditation, too.

‘Salt & Blood’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Quiet Way to Go
02. Do You Bleed?
03. Except
04. On the Mezzanine
05. Galatea
06. Salt & Blood

LINE-UP:
Tara Vanflower – Vocals
Mike VanPortfleet – Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Synth
John Fair – Synth & Drum Programs
David Galas – Bass & Drum Programs

LINKS:

Lycia Casa Luna Advert

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Wallace Magri 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.

Mad Symphony – Mad Symphony EP

Mad Symphony EP Cover Art

Mad Symphony – Mad Symphony EP
MR Records
Release Date: 13/05/2021
Running Time: 23:57
Review by Simon Black
10/10

Once in a while, I hear some music that takes me way back to the beginnings of my musical journey. For me that story begins firmly in the mid-80’s when bands like Yes, Rush and Magnum first attracted my attention to Hard Rock and Prog, and from then onwards to all things Metal. Canada’s Mad Symphony all look like they may be of similar ages and roots, as loud and clear this band’s tunage is heavily laden with all the hooks and tropes of what is now referred to as ‘Classic’ rock, in order not to make people like me feel too old. These are experienced musicians to boot, with the roots of the band lying in the now defunct Grunge Meal outfit Soulbender, but pulling in a really diverse and eclectic set of musos to fill out the sound, which goes a long way to explain the broad array of influences here.

Don’t be put off by the name – Symphonic Metal this definitely is not, at least not on these five tracks, just plenty of Progressive groove with a liberal smattering of Hammond Organ boogie to keep the retro feel. The tracks cover a lot of musical ground and sound simultaneously old and new in much the same way as Cats In Space achieve closer to home and they are definitely coming from the same angle, but with a more Continental USA feel rather than UK one (although there’s a shed load of early Marillion in the mix too, just to contradict and confuse). Quality wise though, they are bang on par with the Cats, so if they rock your boat, then Mad Symphony will not disappoint either.

This debut EP feels very much a hint of things to come, as the first thought I had when I finished listening was “Is this it?”, five tracks is not enough. The two opening tracks – the anthemic ‘Do It All Over Again’ and foot-tappingly infectious ‘The Next Door’ stand out immediately as guaranteed floor-fillers, but the remaining three indicate a rich writing style that is warming me up nicely for a full length album. I really want to hear what else these boys can do with a good hour of run time. An incredibly promising debut.

‘The Next Door’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Do It All Over Again
02. The Next Door
03. Sell Me Out
04. Nothin’
05. Bittersweet Bye Bye

LINE-UP:
Kevin Wright – Lead Vocals, Percussion
Dave Groves – Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
Ted Tosoff – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mike Russell – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Amrit Prasad – Bass
Wes Hallam – Drums

LINKS:

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.

Fear Of Falling – Breaking Point EP

Breaking Point EP Cover Art

Fear Of Falling – Breaking Point EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Running Time: 21:39
Review by Beth Jones
9.5/10

There’s been some really exciting new music appearing over the fateful year of the 2020 pandemic, and all the chaos that ensued from it. Lockdown has spurred a lot of musicians into a real push to get their music out there and rank up the creativity, which personally I’ve found inspiring, even though the only thing I was spurred into was drinking too much and posting stupid memes on Facebook (my bad, I’m sorry). One of the many wonderments to come out of that terrible period is South African Hard Rock/ Alternative band, Fear Of Falling who have now burst onto the recorded music scene with their debut EP, “Breaking Point”.

Covering themes of depression, anxiety, addiction, and complicated love, this 6 track recording ticks a whole lot of boxes for me, and I can see these guys really making a big impression on the Hard Rock/Alternative scene in the coming months, especially when live shows really kick off again. So much so that I’d be willing to put money on it! They’re already established musicians, with a variety of wins between them in the fields of performance, sound engineering, and production, as individuals. But for me, on the evidence of this EP, their coming together has created that magic alchemy to launch them even further into the stratosphere of global music.

There’s a whole lot of influences going on here which, despite the dark themes, make it a familiar and soothing sound. It’s got smatterings of The Foo Fighters, Seether, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Evergrey, and even a little crossover with mainstream Pop Punk. Now, that kinda shit usually irritates the hell out of me, but here it’s just visible enough to make it really clever. This is an EP that will be equally appreciated across the board, because it will form connections with people who admire a variety of different sounds. That’s something that many just can’t, or don’t want to do, so it’s a big tick from me for having the balls to embrace it.

Musically, it blends really driven guitars, that do dabble in the heavier end occasionally, with tasty rhythms and bass, some lovely synth and sampling work, and vocals that are just gruff enough to be edgy but retain a cleanliness that makes the whole sound crisp and polished. It places anguish in a comfortable blanket, making it relatable. And damn it’s got some catchy choruses. On the second listen, I was singing along, which is always a draw for me. I do love a good singsong, even if it’s melancholy as hell!!

If you like any of the aforementioned bands, or Alternative/Hard Rock that surrounds you with reassurance, despite not being completely the same as that which has gone before, then you need to get all over Fear Of Falling. In a year that’s already held some supremely exciting releases, this is one that I will remember, and I’m already thirsty for more.

‘Fear Of Falling’ (Official Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sex As A Weapon
02. Fear Of Falling
03. Fake It
04. Numb The Pain
05. End Of Days
06. Won’t Let Go

LINE-UP:
Lloyd Timcke – Guitar
Jack Atlantic – Vocals/ Guitar
Brendon McCaig – Bass
Dale Schnettler – Drums

LINKS:

Fear Of Falling 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.

Heretic – Entity EP

Entity EP Cover Art

Heretic – Entity EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 05/10/2020
Running Time: 31:51
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

One thing that will probably never happen is me releasing a book. Firstly, because I don’t have many interesting things to talk about, except Heavy Metal and I already talk a lot about that here on Ever Metal. Maybe, though, I could write a text that includes everything I think is important to survive in the music industry and how bands can create a good fanbase. I often highlight the bad habits of some bands, but today I must mention one important positive detail that I see occasionally, the regularity of material releases and guess what? Brazilian band Heretic is one amazing example of this!

The year was 2019 and I reviewed the album “Are You…Comfortable?”. To my surprise, they then released “(Dis) Covering” (which included covers of great bands from the 80’s) and then “Code Alive” (Their first live album that marked the first few concerts with this current line-up). Not satisfied, they have now appeared with this EP, “Entity”. Is that enough? No! They already have a new full album also ready to be released this year. Isn’t this great in terms of inspiration for compositions? Moreover, it doesn’t stop there (I sound like a telemarketing seller that always has one more good thing to offer when selling a product, hahaha). Heretic is not your typical Heavy Metal band. They have a strong Oriental and Middle Eastern sound present in their music, something that is not easy to do, if you are not from a country that is used to this sound. However, Heretic has been working hard for years to do it.

The trajectory of this incredible Brazilian band is pretty long as well. They started as just an instrumental band, created by the master of riffs, of multi-instrumentalist, Guilherme Aguiar who feeds himself on guitar riffs and Pamonha*. His inspirations, alongside his versatility, are great keys to Heretic’s sonority. He appears to have balanced his influences from all of the Death Metal and Thrash Metal bands that he is, or was, a part of or knew and has mixed these with new elements. The, not so new, singer Erich Martins provides an amazing interpretation with his vocals as well. The high level of this team is completed by Laysson Mesquita who uses a fretless bass to increase the complexity of the music.

I will mention the aggressiveness on ‘Lurking Around’ and ‘Cultural Starvation’, allied to a good cadence. In addition, the beautiful vocal lines on ‘Golden Rule’ allied to the calm guitar that becomes gradually heavier with more desperate high notes from Erich and the heavy bass on all tracks. It is hard to explain what the most interesting thing is here, because “Entity” is such a consistent EP. For me, what makes it so good is how they have found an amazing balance between the Heavy Metal and the Oriental. Sometimes the ‘Oriental’ is the main character within a song, sometimes it just complements the good, traditional, heavy metal structure. Nevertheless, they fit each other perfectly.

Even the closing song, a cover of ‘The Real Thing’ by Faith No More, has been done in such a way, that it fits with Heretic’s original material. All the tracks are examples of how mature this band has become after releasing 8 albums, 3 EP’s and a live album in just 11 years of existence (with another new album being released in July). Here we have great musicians, who look for professional promotion and have an amazing number of releases that offer a pretty unique kind of music. I can use all of those things to define Heretic and what they have achieved with “Entity”. What an amazing job.

*Pamonha is a typical Brazilian food made by corn and cooked with the corn skin as wrapping.

‘Lurking Around’ (Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Deceiver Ghost
02. Lurking Around
03. Golden Rule
04. Cultural Starvation
05. Rebellions
06. The Real Thing (Faith No More Cover)

LINE-UP:
Erich Martins – Vocals
Guilherme Aguiar – Guitars/Oriental Composition
Laysson Mesquita – Fretless Bass
Moyz Henrique (Special Guest) – All Guitar Solos

LINKS:

Heretic 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.

Lasting Maze – Thunder EP

Thunder EP Cover Art

Lasting Maze – Thunder EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 23/04/2021
Running Time: 26:12
Review by Simon Black
8/10

This Brazilian Melodic Metal four piece have been hammering the boards since 2014 and this EP follows their first, “Silent Spring” back in 2016. There’s been a couple of singles in between, which are included on here, but it definitely feels like a full album is the next key step. The musical style doesn’t stay still, which is nice and tells me that this is a band that has depth of writing skills, but is probably struggling with the finances needed to get a full album off the ground.

Musically though, these songs are beautifully written and arranged, with some incredibly nifty and technical instrumental performances to go alongside Grazy Mesquita’s soaring vocals. What’s letting them down are the budget limitations of the recording itself, which desperately needs a bit more consistency in the recording quality. It’s clear that these songs have not all been recorded at the same time. The two singles feel like they’ve been in the can a while, as by the third track the musical tone changes significantly, becoming richer and slightly more expansive sounding. There’s no mention of a keyboard player in the blurb, but whoever it is from ‘To The Wolves’ onwards adds a nice Prog/Power dimension to the music, which is a bit punchier and brutal in its delivery and has a noticeably better recording quality. I’m not going to give them a hard time about this, as when you are just getting off the ground, have no access to the money you need for a decent studio, engineer or mixer you have to make do and hope the songs hold up well enough to move you forward. Which they do – and brilliantly so.

By the time I got to the epic final track ‘Destiny (Carry On)’ the band had me in the palm of their hand. This stands up on two firm feet because of robust song-writing, talented musicianship and sheer belief in what they are doing and they pull it off despite the recording quality. Please get an album deal, and soon, because it’s a win-win for everyone.

‘To The Wolves’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Thunder
02. Greatest Sin
03. To the Wolves
04. Kosmos
05. Destiny (Carry On)

LINE-UP:
Grazy Mesquita – Vocals
Pedro Anselmo – Guitars
Isaac Barros – Bass
Mick Souza – Drums

LINKS:

Lasting Maze 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.

Kardashev – The Baring Of Shadows EP Reissue

The Baring Of Shadows EP Cover Art

Kardashev – The Baring Of Shadows EP Reissue
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/05/2021
Running Time: 51:42
Review by Steven Hooke
8/10

Back in the early dystopian haze of the pandemic, Arizona four-piece Kardashev released their third EP “The Baring Of Shadows”, a crossroad of genres the band would label as “deathgaze”. Listening to the EP at that time, it felt like a difficult sound to put a finger on, as beautiful waves of post-rock washed over the versatile flurry of vocalist Mark Garrett, all the while musically shifting from searing blackgaze to blasts of deathcore, such a herculean task which is then met in the execution. Now the band have returned, nearly a year later, with the re-release, complete with instrumental versions of all four tracks, to celebrate their signing with Metal Blade Records.

Quite what Metal Blade can do to add to the sound of Kardashev is both terrifying and exciting. The production levels of “The Baring Of Shadows” are already of an insanely high quality, every aforementioned layer that becomes the Kardashev sound is clear, concise and compliments each other so effectively. When the full band comes in on a song like opener ‘A Frame. A Light’, it’s hard to think of a layer of the mix that can’t be picked out and isolated, right down to a fantastic, reverberating bassline from Alex Reith.

With the genre fluidity, a captivating vocal performance (essentially the best advert Mark could do for his Kardavox Academy vocal training business), and effective layering being amongst the highlights of the release, Kardashev stray into Devin Townsend territory quite deservedly. Particularly on ‘Torchpassing’, where Garrett’s vocal/drum duets with Sean Lang, the delicate twinkling’s from guitarist Nico Mirolla, and the occasional eruptions from the band as a whole feels indebted to the “Z² – Sky Blue” era of The Devin Townsend Project.

Closing track ‘Heartache’ feels like the cathartic release at the end, with the band’s deathcore side coming out in force and proud. Possessing the kind of slow, gradual, yet still blindingly heavy opening build that invokes latter-day Thy Art is Murder, ‘Heartache’ is, perhaps, the most literal example of the “deathgaze” moniker. A dirged blast of deathcore which is accentuated by the looming clouds of reverberated riffs, for that often-poignant shoegaze sheen, with the desperate cries from the subject of the lyrics, mourning for their lost lover to compound the song’s emotion.

Conspicuous by its absence in this review is sophomore track ‘Snow-Sleep’, which is by no means an oversight, but rather, saving the best until last. The EP’s second track had the distinction of being one of the most gorgeous songs of 2020, up there with the likes of Caspian, Creeper and Respire, and now a 2021 re-release means it can be in contention for one of the most gorgeous songs of this year too. A simply magnificent piece of music, blending prog, black metal, deathcore and post-rock into one symbiotic mesh of beauty and disaster, echoed in the lyrics that appear to deal with loss and punishment. The power in the band during choruses is astronomical, the call of “where have you gone?” could collapse a sun, it is somehow so empowering yet soul-crushing at the same time. The sheer temerity of Kardashev to have released this song at (hopefully) the book-ends of the pandemic is unreal.

The instrumental versions of each track certainly hold their own and will likely be of particular interest to those more invested in post-metal and blackgaze, but given what Garrett brings to the band’s sound, it feels criminal to leave him out.

Kardashev certainly feel like they’ve found their mark musically. While early tasters of “deathgaze” can be heard on the 2017 EP “The Almanac” – which in itself saw a huge development of sound compared to their prior release, 2015’s “Peripety” album – the jump in quality and composition into “The Baring Of Shadows” is astounding. This progression, alongside a newly-forged partnership with Metal Blade should make people very excited for album #2.

‘Snow-Sleep’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Frame. A Light.
02. Snow-Sleep
03. Torchpassing
04. Heartache
05. A Frame. A Light. (Instrumental)
06. Snow-Sleep (Instrumental)
07. Torchpassing (Instrumental)
08. Heartache (Instrumental)

LINE-UP:
Mark Garrett – Vocals
Nico Mirolla – Guitars
Alex Reith – Bass
Sean Lang – Drums

LINKS:

Kardashev Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke 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.

Artaban’s Redemption – Broken Puppets EP

Broken Puppets EP Cover Art

Artaban’s Redemption – Broken Puppets EP
Demons Records
Release Date: 21/05/2021
Running Time: 29:01
Review by Simon Black
6/10

This five track, but still quite lengthy EP, is one of those lockdown side projects that probably doesn’t justify a full album, that was birthed in the chaos and frustration of 2020. It’s the brainchild of Unbound guitarist Alvaro Weik, with support from various members of Dark Moor, Freedom Call/Vexillu, Lethargus and Vision Divine/Derdian, respectively. It’s debatable whether the world needs another late 90’s influenced Euro Power Metal supergroup, but I’m not going to kick down any musician pulling together any project from scratch without the benefit of gelling in a rehearsal room together and finding your musical collective feet under conditions like we’ve all just endured, because, like us, they need to eat.

As ever with Power Metal, the piece is a concept one – exploring what happens when the technological scrapheap decides to get its own back, so comes across like a cross between a white paper on technical debt and The Terminator. It’s a valid environmental topic, given how gadgets so often end up in landfill and asks questions from the Internet of Things perspective and makes a welcome subject matter change from the usual Power Metal Pseudo-Historical / Sword & Sorcery fare.

I guess the challenge I have with it is that, although the musicianship is competent enough, it’s not really until the fourth track ‘Time For War’ that the song-writing hits a groove with a track that feels cohesively like a band. It’s definitely the strongest thing on the EP, with a mid-tempo heavy rhythm and feel, catchy chorus and anthemic feel. The closer ‘Never Again’ keeps the anthemic feel going and adds some speed, but overall, I’m left with the feeling that this is a good idea that needed a bit more time to ferment – or a band that need to work in the same room and find their musical shorthand, rather than remotely. It will be interesting to see whether this experiment gets taken further, as the promise shown in the last couple of tracks implies that there is definitely something in there, but that it needs a little bit of time and maturation first.

‘Shutting Down’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Obsolete Tech
02. Revolution
03. Shutting Down
04. Time for War
05. Never Again

LINE-UP:
Ivan Giannini – Vocals
Alvaro Weik – Guitar
Francesco Ferraro – Bass
Elena Alonso – Keyboards
Roberto Cappa – Drums

LINKS:

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.

ForeignWolf – Your Weapons, Your Words EP

Your Weapons, Your Words EP Cover Art

ForeignWolf – Your Weapons, Your Words EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 14/05/2021
Running Time: 18:03
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Heavy Alt Rock is a genre that’s all encompassing for anything that doesn’t quite fit into the Metal bracket, but is just a little too heavy for Pop Rock, AOR, and general mainstream. That means it throws up a fairly broad spectrum of sounds. Some of it is utter detritus, but a lot of it is very good, and certainly in the last few years, the calibre of new Alt Rock bands has seen a significant bar raise! Thankfully, my dear readers, today’s subjects fall into the latter category, which makes my job a hell of a lot easier, as I really don’t like criticising musicians for trying.

Hailing from Belfast, Northern Ireland, ForeignWolf are a fairly new name to the scene, having released their debut EP in the heady days of 2019, before the world went completely insane. This new EP, “Your Weapons, Your Words” is billed as a deeply personal EP, taking a journey through the emotions and mental health. It’s only a short EP, but every track certainly does have something different to offer, both in its tone, and lyrically, however the sound in its simplest form, is driven by heavy riffs, gruff vocals, and steady rhythms, giving it a ‘Grunge with a modern twist’ feel.

The first track, ‘Alone’, sets a fast-paced tone, and throws out a catchy chorus melody. It has some great breaks in it, too – going from everything to silence quickly. They’re a big risk in any song, because when it comes to playing it live, it can all go horribly wrong and sound horrific, but done well, I think they really enhance tunes. They’re certainly done well on the recording here, although you do still get a bit of ring from the snare drum, which is pretty hard to avoid, but still irked me slightly (yes, I’m a fussy bugger, sorry, not sorry).

This fast-paced punchiness continues through the next track, ‘Afterthought’, too. But we get a change in pace in ‘No Limit’, and here the sound reminds me of Deftones, combined with 30 Seconds To Mars. There are some synth strings in this track too, which add a different depth to the sound.

The thing I like about this EP is its melancholy undertones – it’s certainly emotionally charged and passionately connected, which is something I always desire from a band. I want to feel it, not just feel them going through the motions. The rough vocal style of Gerard McCann gives it a rawness, which always seems to express passion and pain more effectively. The final track, ‘Gradual Destruction’ is my favourite. Call me maudlin and angsty if you like, but sometimes there is nothing better than a stripped back song, written in a minor key, with low rumbling bass, and depressing lyrics, because, you know, life’s not always a bed of roses and it’s nice to feel connected, whatever emotion you’re experiencing.

And on that happy note, I’ll shut up! Another very well created EP from a talented young band, who I’m, sure we’ll see a lot more of in the coming years.

‘No Limit’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Alone
02. Afterthought
03. No Limit
04. Gradual Destruction

LINE-UP:
Gerard McCann – Vocals/Guitar
Dave Brady – Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals
Justin Lee Jamison – Bass
Mick Teague – Drums

LINKS:

ForeignWolf Promo Pic

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