Ashen Crown – Obsolescence

Obsolescence Cover

Ashen Crown – Obsolescence
Independent
Release Date: 01/11/2019
Running Time: 42:24
Review by Sheri Bicheno
9.5/10

One thing you have to be absolutely clear about when you listen to Ashen Crown… is that you are going to get a walloping!

These guys have been going for almost three years and in that short time have taking a slice of the underground music scene like their very own hot morello cherry pie. SO! GOOD!

Their first major festival was Bloodstock’s New Blood Stage in 2017 and Ashen Crown have catapulted into both headlining and line-up shows including supports for some of the best; Obituary, Memoriam and King Parrot plus storming fests such as HRH Metal, Hammerfest, Uprising, and Manor Fest. This speaks volumes. If you haven’t seen these guys perform and want some filthy riffs to mesmerise you, then you have to give them a go.

Debut album “Obsolescence” does not disappoint.

I’m detecting tones in this album’s concept that a HUGE change will be happening in life before long… to become OBSOLETE! Faith, fate, politics, life and death or destruction! Lyrically, there are several tracks that shine a light on this.

First track ‘Unbroken Faith’ introduces the craft of Ashen Crown with ringing bells and rain, almost like something you would expect from a Black Sabbath track. Then an almost doomy riff slowly sets in… sedate, seductive…and then BAM, vocalist Kieran Scott starts off deep, gnarly and fast paced while the guitars, drums and bass come in hard, matching the vocals. It’s not very often an opening track takes you on a journey of pure onslaught and sets the bar for the rest of the album…however, ‘Unbroken Faith’ gives you tingling anticipation for what’s coming next!

On next track ‘Crimson Sea’, Mike Ellis’ drums are exceptionally fast and ever changing in direction. They absolutely batter you matching the aura of this album exactly. Guitarists Ste Fowkes, Jay Rogers and bass player Phil Milman take you down a winding path with their combination of riffs and strings. Let them take you with them…this is gonna be a hell of a journey!

What I really love is at about three minutes in the polar opposite happens… compete calm and all is quiet. Black and Grey…grieving strings and whispers which say “I wipe the ash from my eyes…, these rotting bodies burning around me!” The elements here are of an expression of loss and a fire burning dim. Use that as a metaphor however you might like. The beauty of music is that you can express it in any way you hear or feel it.
Then… we are taken upwards again through flames and utter destruction until the fade out. ‘Crimson Sea’ is going to be absolutely face-melting live!

Third track ‘Ultimatum’ hammers straight into you from the outset. This is a voyage of pure evil riffs and winding strings, fast paced and aggressive… then a third of the way through, another quiet section and a slowly rising shadow, with Kieran’s whispering growls and one heck of a build-up. The guitars here really shine and give you an utterly transdimensional space goat feel. (Rick here! I’m not quite sure what a ‘transdimensional space goat feel’ is but after listening to “Obsolescence” many times myself I can say that, whatever it is, it’s damn good!). Come away from this track with your mind set on what you should now fully expect for the rest of this album!

‘Right To Rise’ is full of riffing and hammering, the drums here are again, incredibly fast and pounding. There is no break in energy on this track and it full on pelts you. I imagine live it would suit those who like to non-stop pit throughout a song. It is absolutely chaotic and Kieran’s demonic growls are in full swing, in fact this is a very good example of how Kieran’s vocals and the rest of the band sync well with the pace. Fast vocals, riffs, bass and drums throughout… and they are perfectly in unison.

Track five is ‘Guilty Of Hatred’ and I gotta say – this reminds me more of a Thrash Metal Ashen Crown. Higher pitched vocals kick in half way through…“The voices speak to me. They tell me I am not the problem”! Say no more, the message is loud and clear!
This is a track full of energy and jump and I am envisioning a full on circle pit here in my lounge to this. I LOVE how this track is set out lyrically; sending the message of a battle of inner love and peace!

Next up is ‘Blood Beneath Us’ and, if you didn’t know, Ashen Crown have released an accompanying lyric video for this one.

This track introduces us to a suspenseful but mellow opening riff. Some hard hitting riffage and drums then come along and pull the metaphorical rug from beneath your feet for a little while. Then the chorus hits and there is a playful edge to of some of the lyrics. Pure evil tones are right here and then…Kieran’s demonic growls are beautifully accompanied and opposed by the operatic and haunting vocals of Francesca Stevens which places the perfect cherry on the cake to this track. ‘Blood Beneath Us’ is completely different to Ashen Crown’s other tracks and is a welcome change. There is a very beautiful balance apparent.

Nearing the end ‘Fall Of Thine Eyes’ gives us our last journey into that fast space rushing past you with harsh vocals and face melting riffs that get you moving like there’s a twister chasing you. This bit of chaos ironically eases us into the very last track ‘Under The Leaves’ which, shows a very raw, emotional and slightly softer, more melodic side to Ashen Crown. I think this one is one of my favourite tracks. It starts slow and spacey, taking you through the aftermath of all the chaos of the previous tracks… but still retains its own aggression and fire. I tell you what, turn off all the lights, lay down or chill out and blast this track. Let it take you places to still keep your fire burning…euphoria in the dark!

Also, it is worth mentioning that “Obsolescence” was recorded and mixed by Neil Hudson of Krysthla/Initiate Audio – hence, this beast of an album’s fantastic sound quality.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Unbroken Faith
02. Crimson Sea
03. Ultimatum
04. Right To Rise
05. Guilty Of Hatred
06. Blood Beneath Us
07 Fall Of Thine Eyes
08. Under The Leaves

LINE-UP:
Kieran Scott – Vocals
Ste Fowkes – Rhythm Guitar
Jay Rogers – Guitar
Phil Milman – Bass
Mike Ellis – Drums

Links:
www.facebook.com/ashencrown.uk
www.twitter.com/AshenCrown
FATangel PR Social Media:
F: www.facebook.com/fatangelpr/
T: www.twitter.com/fatangel_family
PR: Dan Carter dan@fatangel.co.uk

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno 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.

Atorc – Under The Raven Banner

Under The Raven Banner Cover

Atorc – Under The Raven Banner
Independent
Release Date: 04/04/2019
Running Time: 42:06
Review by Sheri Bicheno
8/10

Hailing from Suffolk, Battle Hardened Folk Metal Warriors, Atorc were formed in 2012. Their latest offering “Under The Raven Banner” comes two years after their first release, EP “Seven Tales Of Swords And Ale.”

They have been absolutely storming the UK, performing their tales and leaving audiences in sheer awe.

First look into the debut album and ‘OOOOOH MY GOODNESS THAT BEAUTIFUL INTRO’! Once first track ‘Hrafnsmerki’ starts, you visualise a landscape of misty mountains and lakes. A Norse linguist passage over Huldra’s violin is stunning here and sets off the album with a calming, yet anticipating medieval ambience.

Then we are thrown into title track “Under The Raven Banner” and this is a prime example of what Atorc are capable of delivering. This brings us that anticipated power and Viking metal mix, with harsher growls and vocals, a slight Iron Maiden vibe, from the power of vocalist Helbard. This tells us tales of riding into war, victory and glory bearing the symbolic flag that was historically flown by Viking chieftains and rulers.
Third track ‘The Mead Hall’ is notably catchy… “We drink, we fight, we dance all night”.

This is something the audience would want to join in on during Atorc’s live performances. The track starts off with a mix of tones and it can be hard to keep up until you get to that catchy chorus – then you’re catapulted into wanting to join in on this fun venture, horn of mead in hand, headbanging and swaying to the violins.

My favourite track, in regards to the way it is constructed, is definitely ‘Hammer To Anvil’ – this track see’s everyone‘s skills prominently on display. Boudikath’s keyboards and backing vocals complement Helbard’s very strong vocal features and give a soothing effect along with Huldra on violin. The guitar and bass from Scallywag and BattleBeast with their melodic and heavy riffing are something to behold. Vilir gives us drums that work well with the guitars, both incredibly fast paced with wonderful cymbal work in the melodic parts. This is a beautiful track and I’m looking forward to seeing it live.

Track ‘Ragnarok’ similarly stands out to me – this has more death growls and builds quite a variety of moods as the progresses. This is my favourite track on the whole album.

If you’re in the mood for a bit of power and folk metal, I’d say this album is the one for you. I have seen Atorc perform three times and they are deservedly making a name for themselves for when people suggest a folk metal band to follow.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Hrafnsmerki
2. Under The Raven Banner
3. The Mead Hall
4. Hammer To Anvil
5. Maidens Of The Shield
6. Sovngarde
7. Voice Of The Storm
8. Isle Of The Brave
9. Ragnarök
10. Shieldwall

LINE-UP:
Helbard – Vocals
Scallywag – Guitars
Huldra – Violins
Boudikath – Keyboard and backing vocals
BattleBeast – Bass Guitar
Vilir – Drums

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

https://www.instagram.com/atorcfolkmetal/
https://atorcofficial.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIxfkWy2qmZ1mpfj2cDHpdg/videos

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno 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.

Bearfist – Smile You Son Of A Bitch EP

smile you son of a bitch ep cover

Bearfist – Smile You Son Of A Bitch EP
Independent Release
Release Date: 18/01/2019
Running Time: 20:54
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
7/10

As I was also preparing an interview for Essex based band, Bearfist, I had already done a bit of research before listening to the EP, something which I never do! But even then, I wasn’t prepared for the sonic onslaught that my ears were about to suffer, and I do not mean that in a bad way!

Screaming vocals have never really been my bag, but one thing that reviewing has taught me is to never judge a band or their music based on one aspect of them alone!

Bearfist are a four-piece band hailing from Chelmsford, Essex (so essentially a local band for me!) and were formed in late 2014. The band’s heavy groove laden songs and intense live shows earnt them a reputation that saw them grace the stage at some of the UK’s favourite festivals. To note, they have played at Bloodstock in 2016, after winning the London region of Metal to the Masses, HRH Metal in 2017 and Hammerfest in 2018.

The band, itself, was an idea that started off as a chat over a few beers between mates (let’s face it, we have all been there after a few alcoholic beverages, just most of us never actually bring it to fruition) and ended up as the “groove laden wall of noise that you hear today.”

Says the band, “we originally just jumped in a rehearsal room with a bucket load of riff ideas to see what sort of animal we had on our hands.”

They didn’t just produce an animal, they produced a monster and they have press quotes to back that up!

Says Metal Hammer, “combining weighty riffs with throat-shredding vocals, Bearfist are just metal AF.” “One of the most complete acts to play the New Blood Stage,” said Virtual Festivals, regarding Bloodstock, 2016 and Overdrive also stated of the Bloodstock performance, “Bearfist just destroy it. If we were to gauge the future of metal on today’s performance from Bearfist, it is safe to say we have nothing to worry about.”

So, what is it about the band that has produced this level of praise?

“Smile You Son Of A Bitch EP” is the third EP from the beast that is Bearfist, after the releases of “The Fifteenth Day” in 2015 and “Foundations” in 2016, and was produced, mixed and mastered by Justin Hill (ex-Sikth vocalist). The cover photographs were taken by Loki Films and the final layout of the cd had been designed and edited by band member Jon Holland.

The one thing that stands out to me about this four track EP is the sheer amount of energy that emits from it. Even with it playing through the earphones on my laptop (and the earphones not actually being in my ears!) the power is there to be heard.

The guitars are heavy, with riffs that hit you right in the stomach, and in my mind, there is nothing better than heavy guitars. The drumming is tight and frantic, with double kicks popping up all over the place and in a live setting this guy must work up a real sweat! Musically, these guys are top notch and even the vocals, which as I said are not my cup of tea, are first class, performed with a raw intensity that you just cannot but admire.

This is a raw and brutal EP that will have you banging your head from start to finish and I would love to the see the mosh pit at a Bearfist gig as I think it would be mental (I wouldn’t, however, want to be IN it though!!)

If you like your metal fierce and right there in your face, then this is an EP for you. And even if you don’t, give it a try. It will blow away some cobwebs and you might just find yourself moshing along with the rest of us!

TRACK LISTING:
01 Death’s Emissary
02 Destroy The Magnet
03 I’m Your God
04 Bleed The Wrong Way

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

https://www.instagram.com/bearfistband/
https://bearfistuk.bandcamp.com

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChDY68CgeuE6zCOzC1AY78Q

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn “The Metal Priestess” 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.

 

A Gathering Of None – One Last Grasp At Hope

One Last Grasp At Hope Cover

A Gathering Of None – One Last Grasp At Hope
Independently Released
Release Date: 06/04/2018
Running time: 44:00
Review by Vikkie Richmond
7/10

American hard rockers A Gathering Of None are no strangers to the music scene; having been around since 2012, in this transigent day and age, that could class them as veterans. “One Last Grasp At Hope” is their third release and their second full length effort.

I don’t like to pigeonhole bands, because the music a group of people create is unique and should not be put into a box labelled as one thing or another, however my first listen to this album (and my first listen to them as a band, full stop) had them partly in the ‘alt rock’ category and partly in the hard rock camp. It doesn’t really matter, the important point is whether the album is any good.

I confess I wasn’t set on fire by the first track, the speedy ‘What For’; featuring some nice guitar licks and some nifty percussive highlights, with a time signature change or two, but it did have me tapping my toes and nodding my head, so it can’t be all bad. Next up, ‘No Stone Unturned’ started off with a lick that was worthy of Thin Lizzy and continued with some nice vocal harmonies, despite a ‘vintage’ whiff about it. Tracy Byrd’s vocals don’t do a lot for me, but he does have a fair set of pipes on him.

Out of a total of eleven tracks, I didn’t dislike any of the songs, they were all listenable, with those worthy of further mention being the soaring ‘Break My Stride’ and the slightly dirty ‘Dissolution’.

Special mention goes to ‘You Stagnate’, which was worthy of Alice In Chains, or any other band that arose out of the dark ashes of the hair metal age at the start of the 90’s. In fact, I felt like I was listening to different albums at times, such were the style differences between some of the songs.

I liked this album; I feel that A Gathering Of None are competent musicians and having listened to some of their back catalogue, they are honing their craft as they go, album by album. It’s not an album I would listen to on repeat, but that’s just my choice. Take a listen yourself and make your own mind up; I suspect you’ll like it.

TRACK LISTING:
01 What For
02 No Stone Left Unturned
03 Break My Stride
04 Fabulous Mishap
05 You Stagnate
06 Reaching Out
07 Dissolution
08 Something You Should Know
09 Predatory Male
10 I Hope I’m Wrong
11 Move Along

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

https://www.instagram.com/agatheringofnone/
https://agatheringofnone.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeIEuZl2EvKKRkMakpH0yJw

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond 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.

The Rocket Dolls – DeadHead

DeadHead Cover

The Rocket Dolls – DeadHead
Independent
Release Date: 06/04/2018
Running time: 44:00
Review by Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond
8/10

The Rocket Dolls are a trio of old rock hands hailing from the thriving seaside town of Brighton; they have been around since 2008 and I can’t believe that I’d never heard of them before I received this album, their second, for review. In a way, that’s always a good thing, as it means there are no preconceptions to constrain a review. “Deadhead” features eleven tracks over nearly 45 minutes of listening time and was produced and mixed by Mark Roberts (Black Peaks, Dorje).

Opening gambit, ‘None Of This Is Right’ had some interesting effects with a impudent lick and some nice vocals, with a headbangingly heavy finish. I was cautiously optimistic about the rest of the songs after listening to this one.

‘She’s Starting Something Now’ featured a heavy intro, which whisked the listener into a harmony laden, soaring, repetitive refrain with earworm lyrics and some cheeky screams at the end. It was at this point that I started to relax; this was an album that I could enjoy whilst reviewing, rather than the pain of having to merely endure it. That, in itself, is worthy of a half decent review …

The title track featured booming drums, vocal harmonies worthy of Corey Taylor and a dirty little bridge to the chorus. It was impossible to sit still whilst it was playing, too. ‘She Said’ started with a punky, formulaic riff and continued with a poppy feel. Not one of my favourite tracks, but I appreciated the sentiment behind the lyrics.

I enjoyed the whole album, but the best of the rest were the vaguely orchestral and rather beautiful, ‘The Last Thing on My Mind’, the dark ‘Drowning’ and the pacey ‘Strain’. Anyone who has read any of my previous reviews will know that I like my rock dirty and I particularly enjoyed ‘Rusty Bones’, for the seedy riff.

This album gave a really good insight into what this band are about musically and frontman Nikki Smash really opened up with strong themes around his battle with addiction, depression and mental health issues. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the songs are downers, though. The Rocket Dolls have taken some pretty heavy subjects and created a heavy, dark yet uplifting collection of songs. I found it pretty exciting to listen to; it reminded me of all sorts of influences, from Stonesour to Apocalyptica, from Alice in Chains to Theory Of A Deadman; they may not be breaking boundaries as such, but “Deadhead” stands, if not head and shoulders above the competition, then it’s got to be at least a few inches and that is enough to get you noticed and pulled out of the fast flowing stream of dirge that can sometimes demoralise a reviewer.

I’m gutted I missed the tour, but I will definitely catch TRD next time around.

TRACKLIST:
01 None Of This Is Right
02 She’s Starting Something Now
03 DeadHead
04 She Said
05 The Last Thing On My Mind
06 Stop The Dead Men Crying
07 Drowning
08 The Desperate
09 Strain
10 Rusty Bones
11 Trigger

SOCIAL MEDIA:
https://therocketdolls.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/therocketdolls/

https://www.instagram.com/therocketdolls/

Photo by Tina Korhonen © 2017, all rights reserved.

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Vikkie ‘Queen of Rock’ Richmond 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.

Hell’s Gazelles – Take Your Medicine EP

Take Your Medicine Cover (1)

HELL’S GAZELLES – TAKE YOUR MEDICINE EP
Independently released
Release Date: 27 July 2018
Running time: 18:00
Review by Chris White
8/10

When this landed on my lap for a review, I remembered the impression that Hell’s Gazelles made at a festival last year with a really energetic and exciting performance and I was intrigued to hear how their second EP would sound in comparison.

Tight riffs, a solid rhythm section and decent production really make the songs come alive, and I only wish more bassists would follow this example and engage in a bit of overdrive to fill out the sound in a four piece lineup.

My personal favourite track would be ‘Stone Cold’ as it has single material written all over it and part of vocalist Cole’s charm is that during the whole onslaught of five tracks, he has great Di’anno styled high screams in abundance.

Next track ‘Out Of Time’ features some nice, simple harmonised guitar parts that feel very classic but blend really well with the more contemporary production.

If I had to add a criticism, four out of the five songs were sub-four minutes and the guitarist never really got the chance to have a really frenzied attack on a longer guitar solo. But as you listen to the five tracks in this EP, eighteen minutes come and go so quickly that you feel forced to rewind to track one and enjoy from the start all over again.
TRACK LISTING

Give me Something
Stone Cold
Out of Time
Take your medicine
She Devil
SOCIAL MEDIA

http://www.facebook.com/HELLSGAZELLES

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris White 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.

Freakings – Toxic End

Freakings cover

Freakings – Toxic End

Running Time 36:39

Independently released on 6 March 2017

7/10 – Review by Dawn King

I must admit that I was a virgin where Freakings are concerned, having never heard of them before being assigned their new album “Toxic End” to review. Thinking they were a new band on the scene, you can imagine my surprise when I discovered during my research that they already have two albums under their belt, and that this was, in fact, their third full length release.

Formed in Basel, Switzerland, in 2008, the band is made up of axemen/speedfreak/shouter Jonathan Brutschin, and brothers, Toby Straumann on the bass and Simon Straumann on the drums, and thrash metal is the last genre of music that you would expect to come out of this county.

But, Freakings “whip up the eardrums with ecstatic, wild, damn precise thrash metal” and are proud to be old school to the bone.

Influenced by bands such as Deliverance, Tourniquet, Vengeance Rising, Mortification and Violator, they spent the first three years of their career working hard and eventually found their own style. Their debut album “No Way Out” was released in 2011 and was based on the Sodom / Venom style of slower, heavier thrash with growling vocals.

By the time their second album “Gladiator” was released in 2014, they had adopted a more vigorous, Slayer-esque sound, which has been retained in this new album, albeit, it is heavier, and the riffs are more dominant.

There is only one way to describe this album really and that is this….

If the world was coming to an end and Armageddon was a foregone conclusion, then THIS is the soundtrack you want playing.

Raw, powerful, fast and heavy modern thrash! I say modern, it harks back to the sound of the mid 2000’s but then compared to the origins of thrash metal, this is modern.

This album has everything that a modern-day thrash album needs, lightning speed strumming, break neck drumming and the dirty vocals to go over the top. The guitar solos are solid, and the drumming is crisp, my two favourite elements of thrash, and it is relentless from start to finish. This is full on pedal to the metal stuff that doesn’t give you time to breathe, let alone do anything else!

This is a brief yet full on thrash attack and I am surprised these guys are still an independent with two albums already to their name and awesome production on this, their third. They have little regard for musicianship, opting for power and noise but to play at the speed they do takes some energy and stamina, so commitment to their art is not a problem.

The stand out song for me is “Violent Disaster”, where the pulsing drums slow to half pace while the guitars remain at rocket speed, before quickening back up again. Definitely a highlight of the album for me.

This album doesn’t bring anything new to the genre and can sound a bit ‘samey’ with each track sounding much like the previous, but I think all thrash metal sounds like this at first! But it is a fun album and at just 36 minutes long, anyone can cope with thrash for that amount of time.

I will certainly go and check out their previous offerings and will be keeping an eye out for any gigs they might do.

I am a thrash girl through and through and in the words of track number four “TxWxNxD” – THRASH WILL NEVER DIE!!

Freakings

Track List –

  • 1 Hell On Earth
  • 2 Future Vision
  • 3 Violent Disaster
  • 4 TxWxNxD
  • 5 Toxic End
  • 6 Friendly Fire
  • 7 Brain Dead
  • 8 Price Of Freedom
  • 9 Wave Of Pain
  • 10 Beer Attack
  • 11 No More Excuses

Stand out track: Violent Disaster

Links –

 

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