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.

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

 

Promo Pic1 (2)
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.