RAM – The Throne Within

The Throne Within Cover

RAM – The Throne Within
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 13/09/2019
Running Time: 49:06
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
10/10

Rick and I have recently come up with a system when it comes to my reviews. Whereas all the other reviewers will take a look at the album list and pick what they would like to review, Rick will just send over a few albums for me to review. He knows my taste probably better than I do, and, as I am so busy with posting stuff to the site and news to the Facebook page, it means I don’t waste precious time (Rick is the one who puts together the album list so he is already working on it.)

Anyway, enough wasting time telling you about the logistics of how we work behind the scenes, I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was when I saw he had sent me the new Ram album to review (I think I actually did a little squeal!) I have been a fan since I first heard “Forced Entry” way back in 2005 and although they had kind of fallen off my radar for a period of time, I was glad they were still making music.

2019 marks the 20th anniversary of the band, an achievement the band is proud of. Says guitarist Henry Granroth – “it feels great! I would say it’s quite an effort to keep it together for such a long time, and I don’t think anyone involved would have imagined this to be a mission of that length. Hopefully, we’ll have the strength to keep going if not twenty more, at least ten. Who knows?”

And what better way to mark the anniversary than with this fantastic album.

Ok, a bit of history first though.

Ram were formed in 1999, in Gothenburg, Sweden, by guitarist Henry Granroth. He wanted to form a “real heavy metal band” as he had become sick of the misinterpretation of metal that was ruling the scene at the time. He met Daniel Johansson, a young but very experienced and talented guitarist, who had a very traditional style of playing metal guitar.

After a long search they found Oscar Carlquist, a powerful heavy metal vocalist with a mutual hatred of the current metal scene, who, in turn, brought in drummer Morgan Pettersson, who still played in the old 70’s/80’s hard and heavy drum style.
Lastly, the band recruited the legendary Leif Larsson, a former member of Frozen Eyes and their line-up was complete.

In 2003, the band released their first EP “Sudden Impact” and it was a hit on the underground scene, the first 1,000 copies selling out in just a few months. They hit the road, playing a number of festivals in Europe and went on tour as support for Sebastian Bach. They were also recognised by Germany’ Rock Hard Mag as one of the best newcomers of 2004.

They released their full-length debut, the aforementioned “Forced Entry” in 2005, an album which brought the entire old school heavy metal community to its knees, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“The Throne Within” is the Swedish quintet’s latest album, released on 13th September 2019 via Metal Blade Records and it is clear this is a band who has upped its game to deliver a record with its roots deep in classic heavy metal yet wielding an energy and freshness that places it very much ‘in the now.’

Unlike its 2017 predecessor “Rod” there is no concept that unifies the lyrics and every song speaks for itself.

Says Granroth – “it is unmistakable RAM, there are fast songs, heavy songs, mid-tempo and slower tempos as well. There’s melody and there’s grit. The arrangements are recognizable, but some may be unorthodox. We wrote songs with no particular type of record in mind. Sometimes you have a clear picture, sometimes you don’t, and this time we just got together and started writing and saw where that took us.

The album opens with the epic ‘The Shadowwork’, which explodes to life with a scything riff, making it clear that 2019 RAM are playing at full force.

Having previously released six full length albums, this one doesn’t deviate the band away from their core sound which has its roots set firmly with the likes of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Accept with maybe a tinge of King Diamond creeping in here and there.

Instead, it has raised the bar of their founding principles and this can be placed above anything else they have done before. With a high octane, unmissable, 80’s attitude, this band has both the look and the sound that is able to transport us back to the heady days of the 1980’s when, as some people would say, ‘metal was metal!’

Long have bands like RAM been the loyal protectors of the old guard of heavy metal and this album proves they are still to this very day. People may say ‘it’s all been done before’ and ‘this isn’t bringing anything new to the scene’ but this album is a true tribute to the metal of the 1980’s and I can only say that this is a good thing. I, personally, like to listen to the new stuff being made today but I also do like to listen to the older stuff too, and if it can be done by a band such as RAM then all the better.

The production of this album is of a greater quality than their previous offerings, providing a polished sound with true grit that gives the guitars, in particular, a bit of extra oomph.

With the twin guitars giving us some awesome solos and riffs, and the rhythm section being tight and solid, the other element that sets this album apart is the vocals. Carlquist has a strong, powerful voice that is so suited to this type of metal and provides that finishing touch to already brilliant musicianship.

This is an album of 100% kick ass metal. But don’t take my word for it, go and get yourself a copy and see for yourself!!!

TRACKLISTING:
1. The Shadowwork
2. Blades Of Betrayal
3. Fang And Fur
4. Violence (Is Golden)
5. The Trap
6. No Refuge
7. Spirit Reaper
8. You All Leave
9. Ravnfell

LINKS:
http://ram-metal.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RAMheavymetal
https://www.instagram.com/ramheavymetal/
https://ramheavymetal.bandcamp.com/

 

Promo Pic

 

 

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.

Amon Amarth Berserker World Tour 2019 w/Arch Enemy, At The Gates & Grand Magus – Manhattan Center, New York City, USA – 12/10/2019

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Amon Amarth Berserker World Tour 2019
w/Arch Enemy, At The Gates & Grand Magus
Manhattan Center, New York City, USA
12/10/2019
Review and Pictures by Andy Jansons

…And then came the day when Vikings took over New York. No, that is not a plot for a movie, but a real life event. An all Swedish line-up of Grand Magus, At The Gates, Arch Enemy and the mighty Amon Amarth rolled into NYC with the ‘Berserker World Tour’ North American leg. We all know that Amon Amarth can put on a show, but with these three metal beasts in support this was a spectacle for the ages!

The Manhattan Center was packed. While I wasn’t sure of the official count this was definitely a sold out show. First up on stage was Grand Magus, a heavy metal band from Stockholm who delivered a classic Heavy Metal sound that was melodic and often catchy. Their set received a warm reception from the audience, and while not as popular as the following bands they were watched by an already full room. Nobody was skipping the opening acts.

https://www.facebook.com/grandmagusofficial/

Next to play were Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal legends At The Gates. Supporting their latest album “To Drink From The Night Itself” (2018), they opened with the title song, followed by ‘Slaughter Of The Soul’ and ‘At War With Reality’ which were also the respective title songs from their previous two studio albums. To note; they played only tracks from these three albums and skipped all three of their earlier works!

Although the band were in a prolonged hiatus between 1996-2007 they sustained their fans and popularity and are still recognized as trailblazers of the ‘New Wave of Swedish Melodic Death Metal’ and still have three active founding members, vocalist Tomas Lindberg, drummer Adrian Erlandsson and bassist Jonas Björler.

At The Gates wrapped up their set with the closing track from “At War With Reality” entitled ‘The Night Eternal’ which was loud and with its melodic outro stamped an exclamation point on their powerful performance.

02 At The Gateshttps://www.facebook.com/AtTheGatesOfficial/

Next came Arch Enemy who are probably enjoy the most commercial success compared with the previous two bands, thanks to more melodic choruses and of course their Canadian vocalist Alissa White-Gluz, who is widely considered as one of the most beautiful metal female artists. She does bring a whole different dimension to this musical style, making it more attractive to a larger audience. Metal elitists might not be happy, but their success speaks for itself!

While their set was only eight songs, it was packed with metal anthems one after another; ‘The World Is Yours’, ‘War Eternal’, ‘The Eagle Flies Alone’ and ‘Nemesis’ are known worldwide. Considering that the stage was quite small, to help conceal the headliners stage set, throughout the performance Alissa was aggressive in her movements around the stage and quite a few times jumped off the drum riser. She also sung mainly with unclean vocals! Whilst Arch Enemy have been writing new material, their latest album “Will To Power” dates back to 2017.

03 Arch Enemyhttps://www.facebook.com/archenemyofficial/

Amon Amarth are frequent guests stateside, and every time their shows are spectacular, even if they are not headlining. This time, as the main act, they really brought there ‘A’ game. There was a giant Viking helmet positioned centre stage with drummer Jocke Wallgren above it and guitarists Olavi Mikkonen & Johan Söderberg, bassist Ted Lundström and vocalist Johan Hegg at the front trying to avoid random Vikings, serpents and other creatures appearing on stage. There was a lot of smoke and fire… a LOT of fire and random explosions mixed in for good measure. Why not? It was an Amon Amarth show after all!

The band who are currently supporting their latest studio album “Berserker”, which saw the light of day back in May of this year, opened with the first single from that album ‘Raven’s Flight’. From the start we entered into a loud and powerful Viking world, just don’t mention ‘Viking Metal’ to the band. Even though everything they do is about Vikings and Scandinavian mythology they prefer to be labelled Melodic Death Metal. So it was Melodic Death Metal about Vikings!!

The first creature came on stage during the track ‘Deceiver Of The Gods’, a fantastic demonic looking warrior with burning eyes and long horns. This was the title track from their 2013 album and, altogether, their setlist was pretty comprehensive including material from six of their eleven studio albums to date!

Amon Amarth completed their set with another bang and one of their most well-known songs from the earlier days ‘Twilight Of The Thunder God’. With that, an epic, visually and sonically, exceptional performance came to an end and their Viking ship sailed away from NYC harbour until the next time.

04 Amon Amarthhttps://www.facebook.com/amonamarth/

 

FURTHER LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/ManhattanCenter
https://www.facebook.com/nuclearblast.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/centurymedia/
https://www.facebook.com/metalbladerecords/

 

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Andy Jansons 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 Andy Jansons

Dragonforce – Extreme Power Metal

Extreme Power Metal Cover

Dragonforce – Extreme Power Metal
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 27/09/2019
Running Time: 52:51
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
8/10

Greetings and salutations my dark minions, corruptors of nubile virgin flesh and destroyers of the false church of Christ the Deceiver! It is I, the Dark Prince of Heavy Fucking Metal, the Gothfather, the Groove Ipsissimus and the legend in his own head that is Dark Juan, and I am here to impart wisdom, offer sage opinion and to influence you weak minded souls on to the Left Hand Path and to sell your immortal essence to the Evil One. WHAT? NO! I’m not talking about some kind of Satanic sperm bank, so pack your fucking giggling in, you long haired herberts! Well, there’s another high quality, super heavy metal introduction totally ruined by you filthy minded perverts. You all disgust me. Seriously, what would the One Who Walks Backwards want with gallons of metal kid baby gravy? Litres of metal manfat? IN FACT DON’T FUCKING ANSWER THAT EVER AND KEEP IT TO YOURSELVES! LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!!!

Clearly, I have taught you well.

Anyway, I’m back after a sojourn to jolly old Blighty, by way of Cymru, where a meeting of minds took place with the utterly charming Beth Ever Metal and the truly gentlemanly Rick Ever Metal. We might even have got drunk, howled at Cards Against Humanity (Dark Juan mightily approves of the sheer possible level of sacrilege this game entails) and played guitar till about 3am and were utterly appalled at the level of sheer and uncompromising savagery a teenage girl can attain at said card game. Suffice it to say that I, Dark Juan, well known for my level of silken verbal venom, was very nearly outclassed. Nearly, but not quite! Must try harder, Sian!!!

So, that’s three hundred and thirty four words in and not a damned thing about the record I’m listening to. Are you even interested or have your eyes glazed over yet? Wake up. I’m going to tell you about Dragonforce’s latest album, subtly entitled Extreme Power Metal. Pay attention…

It’s fair to say Dragonforce are something of an acquired taste. And I am yet to work out whether they are a massive joke perpetrated on the metal masses, or whether they are the result of two young men whose parents simply WEREN’T paying sufficient attention to the noises coming out of Messrs Li and Totman’s bedrooms. Imagine the conversation downstairs…

Mrs. Li (or Totman) to Mr. Li (or Totman), “Darling, Herman’s (Sam’s) doing pinch harmonics and two handed tap ons in G Mixolydian again. He’s been at it for hours. Can’t you please have a word?”

Mr. Li (Totman) treads wearily to the foot of the stairs and bellows, “HERMAN! (SAM!) SHUT UP WITH THAT RACKET! WE GAVE YOU GUITAR LESSONS SO YOU COULD PLAY FUCKING CLASSICAL! EVEN TREY FUCKING AZAGTHOTH PLAYS SOME CLASSICAL! WHY CAN’T YOU CONSTANTLY MASTURBATE LIKE A NORMAL TEENAGER?”

“But Dad, I’m moving on to C Ionian! Listen!” (cue a flurry of several million notes delivered in a breathless fashion in less than three seconds.)

Mr. Li (Totman), “There’s no talking to that child. I’m going back to whiskey, guilt ridden wanking and complaining about the neighbours.”

And there we have it. This is a record where songs are just vehicles for Herman and Sam to go absolutely insane on electric guitars and launch with no warning into an extensive, lengthy and ridiculously complex solo complete with pained orgasm faces. Actually, that is far too simplistic a view to take about the music of Dragonforce. Even if it is true as fuck. Dragonforce are capable of writing fine tunes that are so oiled chesty macho that even Manowar would submit before them (if you like that thought, tell me and I’ll write you some stuff that will make your eyes water, kiddo. You’ll never look at Joey DiMaio the same way again. Not sure whether that’s a threat or a promise…)

OK, several minutes later, having finally rid myself of the somewhat uncomfortable images that the idea of Dragonforce/Manowar slash fiction have conjured up in the sewer that passes for my imagination let us discuss the album. Please, for the love of God…

Album opener Highway To Oblivion’s intro sounds so uncomfortably like a poor quality metal Christmas record it actually hurt my ears until there’s some short, glorious two handed tap ons and then it’s blastbeats, double bass drumming, palm muting, whammy bar dives, insanely complex guitar solos and the kind of lyrics that only THE MOST MASCULINE metal bands can write all the way. If there were any justice, Dragonforce would be able to discover the eighth musical note as they are quite, QUITE spectacularly talented musicians. Why they have chosen to almost be a parody of heavy metal eludes me apart from the fact it makes me giggle like a schoolgirl faced with her first picture of Peter Steele in a state of indiscretion…

I do have some problems with Dragonforce and this album. Vocalist Marc Hudson is dreadfully weak and a terrible fit for the musical talent on display here. Coming after Z.P. Theart (who was also terrible as a vocalist) you would have expected Dragonforce to have an absolutely belting singer, but they have appeared to opt for the merely average – perhaps because Sam and Herman are the joint centres of attention? Also, the loss of Vadim Pruzhanov on keyboard is keenly felt (Coen Janssen of Epica performed on this record) as the keys are lacking the coherence and the symbiosis with the arrangement of the music they enjoyed previously. However, polished and crystal clear does not do the production job of this record justice. It is a production masterpiece. Every single sound is rendered with perfect clarity (no mean feat with two virtuoso guitarists jousting with the rest of the band and large and expansive keyboard parts) and there are simply not enough superlatives to describe the joy of it. I could moan about the length of the guitar solos, but let’s face it – everyone knows what they are getting with Dragonforce, don’t they? It would be remarkably churlish to have a bash at them for what they have built their career on, eh?

Now I’ve finished moaning, this record is entertaining as fuck. It’s well known that I am a sucker for theatre and overblown pomposity and the kind of metal that brings back the halcyon days of Dio’s “Holy Diver”, Ozzy’s “The Ultimate Sin” and the like. Dragonforce do this, but they do this at hypersonic velocities and with a sense of fun that metal sometimes seems to be lacking. You do get the feeling that Dragonforce are seeing just how far they can push the outrageous pseudo-masculinity, the pomposity and the egregious complexity of their musicianship whilst people still buy and debate their releases. All while they are fucking pissing themselves laughing behind closed doors. I think I might love this record. I know I DO love the ambiguity of Dragonforce’s sense of humour. It does all sound a bit samey, though. Saying that, there are only seven musical notes and Dragonforce use them with such boundless rapidity it’s all bound to sound like that.

So, as a musician and seventh rate guitarist myself, I am utterly compelled by the musicianship on display on this record. As a lyricist (truly terrible but it still counts!) I am amused, shocked, appalled (at the disgraceful banality of the lyrics at some points – Dragonforce can and have done considerably better) and astonished (the backing vocals are sublime, some of the choruses really do evoke memories of the huge sounds of 70s and 80s AOR like Journey and Toto and Boston) all at once. I adore the absolute gung-ho speed, the sheer conviction of the playing and the obvious amusement and enjoyment of the band setting new standards of melodic lightspeed velocity. It should not be possible to solo convincingly and accurately at the speed Dragonforce operate at. Also, they have even managed to shoehorn a fucking bagpipe intro into the song entitled ‘Remembrance Day’.

All of this enthusiasm though, counts for naught when you get to the twisted, fucked up, bizarre, incredible (probably for all the wrong reasons) and utterly insane album closer. This song is NEXT FUCKING LEVEL DRAGONFORCE INSANITY THAT HAS TURNED MY BRAIN INSIDE OUT AND NOW I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH MYSELF! I have honestly been laughing my arse off for the past twenty minutes, to the point Mrs. Dark Juan has been throwing stuff at me and I have upset the hellhounds and Hodgson Fartpants has been emitting the sort of smells banned by the Geneva Convention. Please, dear friends, allow me to attempt to describe what is possibly the greatest cover version of all time! I’m fucking giggling already…

Picture, if you will, an introduction sounding remarkably like old fashioned 8-bit chiptunes that sound vaguely familiar before Dragonforce launch into the usual hyperspeed riffing they are known for. Then the lyric kicks in. You listen disinterestedly for a moment (because they will inevitably be howling about dragons or swords or some other shit) before you realise that the lyric and the vocal arrangement sounds vaguely familiar. And then it hits you. They have only gone and fucking covered Céline bastard Dion.

Yes, Dragonforce have taken the shittiest wankfest of saccharine pity ballads and turned it into the most balls to the wall, metal anthem I have ever heard. They have managed to take the world’s most obscenely putrid song and turn it into a four minute warp speed guitar solo with occasional vocals. That simply has to be a good thing, right? They have even made it pleasurable to listen to.

Pleasure! Always a good point to finish on!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Dragonforce 8/10 for their breakneck and inventive approach to metal. Two marks are deducted – one for a poor vocalist and ONE FOR MAKING ME LIKE A CÉLINE DION SONG, YOU BUNCH OF ABSOLUTE TWATS!!!

TRACKLISTING: (I’ll be honest; I’ve been wetting myself at some of these…)
01. Highway To Oblivion (OK, fairly normal metal band fodder)
02. Cosmic Power Of The Infinite Shred Machine (Holy fuck this is off the scale lunacy! I approve.)
03. The Last Dragonborn (Too much Game Of Thrones, perhaps?)
04. Heart Demolition (Jokes aside, we have all been there.)
05. Troopers Of The Stars (Metal word salad for Starship Troopers. Literally a few words away from a Sarah Brightman song!)
06. Razorblade Meltdown (Is this a song about sustainability and metal recycling? One can only encourage this sort of behaviour…)
07. Strangers (Three words away from a Saxon classic.)
08. In A Skyforged Dream (Yeah, if you say so, chaps. I know what skyclad is, not skyforged…)
09. Remembrance Day (OK, there’s a message here. No jokes.)
10. My Heart Will Go On (Holy fuck. Holy fucking fuck. Jesus fucking Christ in chariot driven sidecar. Fuck me crossways and call me Roger the Cabin Boy. This actually might be the greatest thing I have ever heard.)

LINE-UP:
Herman Li – Guitar
Sam Totman – Guitar
Marc Hudson – Vocals
Gee Anzalone – Drums
(Frederic Leclercq played bass but quit before the album release.)

LINKS:

Home


https://www.facebook.com/dragonforce/

https://www.instagram.com/dragonforcehq/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIUA7-MNA9NyrpimQo7Dw8g

 

Promo Pic

 

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan 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.

Sacred Reich – Awakening

Awakening Cover

Sacred Reich – Awakening
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 23/08/2019
Running Time: 31:23
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
10/10

You know, dear friends, acolytes, neophytes and zelators, we never sit here and discuss our feelings. Us Metal fans, we are the outsiders, the alternative and one big, drunken happy family united by our love of music and drinking stupendous amounts of alcohol. We should be more aware of ourselves and more especially of others. Make friends and love each other, boys and girls. Love is the law. Love under will. I’m saying this stuff and being serious because recently, as I’m sure you are all aware, it was the recent anniversary of the horrific murder of Sophie Lancaster, one of our own. This has got me thinking about how we all need to watch out for each other. If you’re in a pit and you see someone going down, lift them up. If someone is passing out or throwing up because of too many party treats or too much booze, be the one that calls the fucking ambulance and gets them seen to. There’s enough shit and bias against us tattooed, pierced and Metal/ Goth/ Industrial loving folks without us not looking after each other. Dark Juan loves you all. Rest In Peace, Sophie. You were a friend lots of us never got to meet and that still hurts, so many years after the event.

So endeth the sermon, and I have therefore picked up my glass of wine and I have slapped a new platter on by my favourite thrash band of all time, Sacred Reich (which, due to slight inebriation, I’m having trouble spelling…). For those of you who have been living under some kind of anti-metal rock, Sacred Reich were formed in 1985 and are an Arizona band who should have been absolutely colossal on the scale of Slayer, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax and always had a very polished, Bay Area thrash sound. Think the clean, arctic purity of Metallica’s Ride The Lightning with added bass (because Lars isn’t there to fuck up the production like normal) mixed with Bonded With Blood era Exodus. THAT’S the Sacred Reich sound. Their record “The American Way” is an absolute thrash classic and you should be hitting Amazon right about now to buy it. I’ll wait…
“Awakening” is the fifth album by these grizzled thrash stalwarts. What do you get? You get ultra-classic thrash that takes me instantly back to dying of alcohol poisoning with my friends in a tent in the middle of a field or a beach with a ghetto blaster and a shitload of tape cassettes. This is not a bad thing because thrash always had the perfect mix between power, aggression, musicianship and melody and it was my full on gateway drug into all other known metal. So, we have a classic band utilising a classic style with a classic sound. Have we a new Sacred Reich classic album here?

The answer, dear friends and defilers of the Whorehouse of Christ The Deceiver, is very fucking nearly. Sacred Reich have released a gem of a heavy metal record. It is pretty damned fine. Their sound has evolved too, incorporating elements of southern blues and full on groove metal into that classic US thrash blueprint and creating a new kind of warbeast, a chimerical quadruped cyborg armed with heavy machine guns and a really shitty temper. The groovy, updated sound undoubtedly benefits from the recent joining of Dave McClain, after his split with Machine Head and the infusion of young blood into the band in the form of Joey Radziwill on guitar. Sacred Reich, however, have never been afraid of leaning left of the centre with their music (anyone remember the truly execrable, but fantastically well-meaning ‘31 Flavors’ from “The American Way”? For those of you that don’t, allow me to enlighten you – Thrash metal band are quite possibly massively stoned or utterly fucked up beyond all known levels of sanity on god knows what substance and decide it would be a terrific idea to play a funk song. Oh. My. God. It is hilarious for all the wrong reasons. There’s shocking sequenced brass bits, lyrics of questionable taste and it is possibly the most uncomfortable piece of guitar playing I have ever heard in my life. Saying that, the message is an inspiring one…) what with them breaking into the Batman theme tune in the middle eight of ‘Surf Nicaragua’, but there’s not many shenanigans on offer with this record. This is a band who have rediscovered the love of their music and have decided that they are going to violently kill everyone with it.

What there is, though, is a level of comfort and satisfaction that is seldom achieved in metal. This is a band thoroughly comfortable with themselves, their music and the kind of record they wanted to make. Another one of the manifold reasons I love Sacred Reich so much is the fact that Phil Heal is a magnificently accomplished bassist, far in advance of his contemporaries. It lends the Sacred Reich sound that extra edge that, for this thrash loving Hellpriest, set them apart from the rest of the American thrash bands. He’s also a much better singer than most thrash frontmen as well.

I’m fucking loving this. It proves that thrash is still relevant and is not just some young bands having discovered Dad’s Kreator records and being achingly cool and replicating the sound of them for a modern and young audience who have never heard Sodom’s “Agent Orange” or Coroner’s “No More Color”.

Stand out track on this album for me is the simply jaw dropping ‘Divide And Conquer’. It’s an agglomeration of Slayer style verse and riffage, segueing into a classic Metallica sounding chorus. If there was ever a song this distilled the very essence of the sheer brilliance of thrash metal, THIS IS IT! Who cares that Phil struggles a little bit when he hits the higher notes. The middle eight of ‘Salvation’ also deserves note because of the simply sublime bass and guitar interplay that has caused me to soil myself in sheer excitement and caused me to thank my friend Marion in Laniscat for selling me a wipe clean sofa. Once again it comes in for some abuse, does my sofa when I’m writing for Ever-Metal.com. And serious, strenuous efforts at cleaning too!

I really don’t have the words to tell you how much fun this record is. Mrs. Dark Juan has been throwing things at me for the past hour because I’m A) Not making tea like I promised I would, B) flailing around like an animate, demented windmill, C) Howling like a tone deaf werewolf in mating season along to the album, D) Upsetting the hellhounds, and E) Accidentally breaking every ornament we own. See B) for more information.

To return to an earlier question: Is “Awakening” by Sacred Reich a classic record? I wish to qualify the opinion I gave you earlier. Yes, it fucking is. Ultra-precise, razor sharp classic thrash from the finest band ever to play it, with an engaging sense of fun, and for this record, a serious an uncompromising sense of who they are and where they want to be. Dave McClain was wasted in Machine Head. Sacred Reich is where he belongs. May Phil and Wiley and the new guys live forever. And more importantly, keep giving me records like this because I’m a dripping, spent mess of metal pleasure right now.
I think I’ll leave you with that mental image.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has regressed instantly back to teenage years, and is busily chasing goth girls (and failing miserably at catching them), pouring insane quantities of beer down it’s throat and acquiring new and exciting neck and brain damage from headbanging so hard. 10/10 because it is fucking amazing! Thank fuck that Sacred Reich gave me this record, rather than Rock Goddess levels of disappointment.

To return to seriousness for a brief moment, if I may. Please, PLEASE, everyone support S.O.P.H.I.E. because we NEED to make the loss of one of our own in such a senseless and disgusting fashion MEAN SOMETHING. It is important, no, it is IMPERATIVE that our metal and alternative family love each other as hard as we can. We are the outsiders. We NEED each other. If you don’t yet support S.O.P.H.I.E. please just even buy a wristband and you’re doing your bit.

Thank you. I love you all.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Awakening
02. Divide And Conquer
03. Salvation
04. Manifest Reality
05. Killing Machine
06. Death Valley
07. Revolution
08. Something To Believe

LINE-UP:
Phil Heal – bass and vocals
Dave McClain – Drums
Wiley Arnett – Guitar
Joey Radziwill – Guitar

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

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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6iXZvQxkiWKbEaTX704z1g
And for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation (S.O.P.H.I.E.)
https://www.sophielancasterfoundation.com/

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan 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.

 

Whitechapel – The Valley

The Valley Cover

Whitechapel – The Valley
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 29/03/2019
Running Time: 40:29
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
9/10

Greetings and salutations, my hordes of evil, nefariousness and downright mischief! I am Dark Juan, hopefully you have deflowered virgins of all faiths according to my word and you will all worship at my anointed feet because I have a massive and overweening sense of my own self-importance. In other news, there are no snacks in the house besides crisps and considering I work in the factory that makes them I’m sick of the fucking sight of potato based snacks and therefore I am consumed with righteous rage and furious anger because all I fucking want is cake. There is no cake in the house. WHAT MOTHERFUCKING KIND OF HOUSEHOLD DO I LIVE IN WHEN THERE IS NO AVAILABLE CAKE?

Pardon my outburst, please. It is probably because I am listening to one of the angriest records I think I have ever heard, being Whitechapel’s “The Valley”. This music is visceral, vein bulging fury of the kind that is seen shortly before it has launched itself teeth first at its hated enemy and buried said dentistry in the carotid artery and is busily masticating its way through flesh, tendon and muscle. To say this record is angry is to say that Lewis Hamilton can drive very, very fast and is also boring as fuck as an interviewee. However, Whitechapel are not boring as fuck. Far from it..!

“The Valley” is written from the perspective of vocalist Phil Bozeman looking back at his childhood and the struggles his mother suffered with mental health and other issues. This immediately gives the record a personal, intimate feeling, whereas some metal by its very nature is almost… aloof from the listener. Arch Enemy are a good case to cite to prove that theory – technically super competent, entertaining, but somehow cold and distant. Whitechapel are the wide eyed, staring, drooling madman screaming incoherently at you an inch away from your face, blasting you with spittle and bad breath. You cannot hide from Whitechapel and this album lays feelings and dreams skinned, bare and raw. It is NOT a comfortable listen for me because I suffer from certain difficulties with my mental health and there are certain parallels with my own childhood (hard to believe, I know, what with my jocularity and everything) and this record is the musical equivalent of setting a razor to my vein and slashing the fuck away. I’m literally looking into the soul of a damaged man who has decided to come out fighting everyone and everything forever. Phil’s voice is the sound of a man who has spent most of his life staring into an inky black abyss containing…. something. Something that has tested his sanity, and it’s hanging by a thread and he’s carrying a loaded shotgun. And he’s just caught you shagging his 17 year old daughter…

There are a couple of occasions where Phil sings in a clean style on the record – ‘Hickory Creek’ being the notable example of this. It lends the Whitechapel sound a valuable extra dimension beyond the sheer, uncompromising, crushing rage they normally display. Phil’s vulnerable, wounded side comes out and although not the most accomplished singer in the world, the pathos and raw emotion in his voice makes the whole song… complicated. You don’t want to say you like something that someone is clearly bleeding their soul out on, but I like it. You know what I mean. However, Phil normally employs a method of vocalisation that is akin to flicking the love spuds of a large predatory animal until it is enraged and staying there to be mortally savaged with tooth and claw. It is primal roaring of the highest order, and again, much like Nathanael Underwood of Damim’s vocals, entirely clean in diction rather than an incomprehensible hurricane approximation of words. I can hear what he’s singing about and this is a very good thing indeed.

So, as intimate as you can get then! No mean feat for a band whose sheer brutality normally means they stand apart from the mainstream, and from the affections of some metal fans. Every song on this record is excellent for different reasons. My brain is now liquid. It has been absolutely beaten to a pulp. There’s nothing like music with emotion and soul, and “The Valley” is the epitome of it.

The guitar work of Ben “Perfectly Named” Savage, Zach “Not Quite As Perfectly Named As Ben” Householder and Alex “My Name Is Not Relevant To This Joke” Wade is magnificent, downtuned, semi-djent ultraviolence of considerable class, and the drumming of Ben Harclerode the sound of a man determined to kill everyone in a four mile radius with the power of percussion. The bass is a solid rumble that shakes organs loose and causes internal bleeding. There’s some standout songs in what is an utterly magnificent record – the previously mentioned ‘Hickory Creek’, ‘Third Depth’ (almost Tool-esque in parts!) and the huge and rabid beast that is ‘Forgiveness Is Weakness’. This is one of the most dense listening experiences I have ever heard, running OHHMS’ last record a close second. Extraordinary. Truly a one of a kind album!

Yet again, another metal band proves the naysayers wrong. Metal has never been in such rude health as it is now, and the amount of superb records acquiring my attention has never been higher.

Brothers and Sisters of the One True Faith, buy this record. Buy it now. I command you.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards “The Valley” by Whitechapel 9/10 for an emotional journey (for me personally, at least) that’s ended up covered in blood and viscera. An incredible record of power, depth, complexity and raw fucking emotion!

TRACKLISTING:
01. When A Demon Defiles A Witch
02. Forgiveness Is Weakness
03. Brimstone
04. Hickory Creek
05. Black Bear
06. We Are One
07. The Other Side
08. Third Depth
09. Lovelace
10. Doom Woods
11. Sea Of Trees

LINE-UP:
Phil Bozeman – Vocals
Ben Savage – Guitar
Zach Householder – Guitar
Alex Wade – Guitar
Ben Harclerode – Drums
Gabe Crisp – Bass

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

https://www.instagram.com/whitechapelband/

https://www.youtube.com/user/WhitechapelTV

 

Whitechapel Promo Pic

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan 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.

Amon Amarth – Berserker

Beserker Cover

Amon Amarth – Berserker
Metal Blade Records (North America)/Sony Music (International)
Release Date: 03/05/2019
Running Time: 56:35
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9/10

Amon Amarth’s eleventh full-length “Berserker” is a non-stop beast of an album with killer riffs, growling vocals and more energy than ten well known energy drinks and if you’re not headbanging by the end, I think you need to look into your choice of musical taste!

The band, which consists of Johan Hegg on vocals, Ted Lundstrom on bass, Johan Soderberg on guitar, Olavi Mikkonen also on guitar and Jocke Wallgren on Drums definitely knows how to pack a punch into an album.

Each track is its own mini story with awesome drumming and guitar riffs. Hegg’s gravel voice is epic, yet, unlike a lot of bands of this genre, you can still understand him which is a blessing as the power that goes into all the tracks would be lost and that would be a shame. These fast and heavy songs have brutal melodies whilst not missing a beat and go into some of the craziest riffs I have heard in a while.

The Swedish band recorded the album in Los Angeles with renowned studio guru Jay Ruston (Anthrax/Stone Sour) manning the controls and it was after recording several rounds for the new songs (initially with fellow Swedish metal icon Peter Tagtgren and later with Ruston himself) the band crossed the Atlantic to make the final recording in LA.

The track “The Berserker At Stamford Bridge” is a visceral but vivid historical tale, recounting the Vikings last stand against the English army in 1066 and with epic lyrics such as “Englishmen, I am waiting here, in my heart I know not one ounce of fear”, it conjures images in your head of a Viking stood tall and strong, wielding a axe not scared of death one bit.

Johan Hegg says that this is Amon Amarth 2.0 and I must agree. This album is so intense and powerful. Why would a band want to just keep going over and over the same things? Fans would soon wander off, so the fact they plan to explore themselves musically is only going to benefit us fans and they certainly are a band who wants to please the fans as well as themselves.

Hegg admits he has (and I quote) “the best fucking job in the word” and you can tell this by the album. They are not a band who just put lyrics to music and bang out album after album. There is a definite vibe in the album, a passion, a dynamic which has the hairs on the back of your neck on edge. It’s like listening to a metal story book and you need to keep listening to find out the next chapter.

Amon Amarth give it 100% and it shows, even the album cover is epic.

What can I say? Impressed? Yes! Love it? Hell yes! These guys give it hell.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Fafner’s Gold
02. Crack The Sky
03. Mjolner, Hammer Of Thor
04. Shield Wall
05. Valkyria
06. Ravens Flight
07. Ironside
08. The Berserker At Stamford Bridge
09. When Once Again We Can Set Our Sails
10. Skoll ans Hati
11. Wings Of Eagles
12. Into The Darkness

LINKS:
https://www.amonamarth.com/
http://www.facebook.com/AmonAmarth

https://www.instagram.com/amonamarth/
https://youtube.com/AmonAmarthOffical

 

Promo Pic

 

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.

Satan – Cruel Magic

 

cruel magic cover

Satan – Cruel Magic
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 07/09/2018
Running Time: 49:42
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

With a debut album released back in 1983, it was only after Satan’s 2011 reunion that the quintet started becoming relatively prolific as a recording band. Truth be told, Satan have been fairly consistent in the quality of their material, a fact complemented by a reputation for impressive live shows. With this “Cruel Magic”, the band notches 5 albums and therein lies the band’s dilemma: how do they retain the style that has gained them fame and admiration while not stagnating?

For a start the band has gone for a rawer, more ‘live’ sound. Regarding this aspiration, I read somewhere that in the recording studio they tried to resist the temptation to make too many takes, even if that meant leaving individual mistakes in the final product. And I have to say that’s certainly the impression I got from listening to the album. Rather than put me off, this approach was a masterstroke – it somehow gives the songs more appeal, makes them feel more genuine, more intuitive.

But the biggest achievement of “Cruel Magic” is that none of the songs feel boring and yet you know that they can only come from Satan. This is all down to the excellence of the songwriting. The riffs and vocals phrasings of ‘Into The Mouth of Eternity’ remind us that Metallica were one of the many bands influenced by Satan. ‘Ophidian’ is destined to be a classic in Satan’s repertoire. Besides having some blistering guitar solos ‘Legions Hellbound’ is notable for the smooth way the songs shifts from/to mellow and heavy parts.

I loved the guitar harmonies of ‘The Doomsday Clock’, a song about impending doom. ‘Ghosts Of Monongah’ is about the West Virginia mining tragedy of 1907 while in ‘Who Among Us’ Satan rise to the defence of Jesus Christ’s messages. You can see that even thematically, “Cruel Magic” is diverse, even though the songs seem to have a common thread of a foreboding doom. Suitably enough, the album ends with ‘Mortality’, a song where Satan play around with atmospheres and guitar sounds with interesting results.

Spot-on drumming, great melodies, inspired guitar solos, excellent songwriting….what more can one hope for? This is an album that I am liking more and more with each listen.

I’m generally hesitant to give full marks ratings but “Cruel Magic” is the archetype of all that is great about Heavy Metal.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Into The Mouth of Eternity
2. Cruel Magic
3. The Doomsday Clock
4. Legions Hellbound
5. Ophidian
6. My Prophetic Soul
7. Death Knell For A King
8. Who Among Us
9. Ghosts Of Monongah
10. Mortality

LINE-UP:
Brian Ross – vocals
Russ Tippins – guitars
Steve Ramsey – guitars
Graeme English – bass
Sean Taylor – drums

LINKS:
http://www.satanmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/officialsatanpage

https://satanuk.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuLTFfi-peM ‘The Doomsday Clock’ (Official Video)

promo pic1

 

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

Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath

Conqueror_s Oath Cover

Visigoth – Conqueror’s Oath
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 09/02/2018
Running Time:
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

As many of you who have read my previous reviews will know, there are two genres of metal that I am particularly fond of. One is thrash, and the other is power metal, and Visigoth fall into the second of the two.

Now, being a power metal fan, I personally believe there are two distinct types of power metal, the first being the Hammerfall / Blind Guardian / Iron Saviour-esque metal that the Europeans and Scandinavians are so good at producing. The second could only be described as the cheesier type of power metal, you know, the kind that Manowar make…. hail to the king and all that?!

Well, Visigoth fall somewhere in between the two!

Formed in Salt Lake City, Utah in January 2010, they released their debut album “The Revenant King” in 2015 and earned themselves an underground following worldwide with their impassioned and electric live shows, performing at the highly esteemed Keep It True, Frost and Fire and Pounding Metal festivals, sharing the stage with Metal Blade legacy acts and inspirations Cirith Ungol and Omen.

In the words of their own press release, they have dedicated themselves to “worshipping at the ageless altars of heavy metal with a singular focus on writing music inspired by their favourite records,” and because of this, they wear their influences proudly on their sleeves.

Music to me is all about making the listener feel something and if an album can make you envisage a scene or storyline in your head, just like reading a book can, then the music makers have done their job.

This album is a typical “steel and glory” offering, the kind that conjures up images of hammers, axes and swords, of burnt and pillaged towns and of screaming and crying women and children, with heroic themes of conquest and adventure.

The booming baritone of vocalist Jake Rogers is the driving force of the band and, alongside the consistent drums and duelling guitars, with their savoury harmonies and meaty riffs, brings a larger than life energy to the songs.

This is an album of “8 iron-forged anthems of pure metal magick, guaranteed to satiate the hunger of the rock ‘n’ roll hordes.”

It was recorded at the Boar’s Nest with engineer extraordinaire Andy Patterson (Subrosa, Deathblow, Dreadnought) and mixed by Dave Otero of Flatline Audio (Satan’s Host, Nightbringer, Khemmis) The breath-taking cover artwork was designed by underground album art legend Kris Verwimp, whose work has also graced the covers of records by Absu, Bewitched, Desaster, Horna, Moonsorrow, Skullview, Arkona and many more.

This is a good, old-fashioned album full of solid heavy metal, from the slow and triumphant anthems such as Steel and Silver, the faster paced tracks like Warrior Queen. The band sound like they were formed decades ago, despite being a newish band, and although this album brings nothing new to the table, if you want to stick an album on and reminisce about the simpler times of heavy metal, then this is the album for you.

It is a juggernaut of pure American true metal done right. The only thing that really lets this album down is the track “Salt City.” Not because it is a bad song, I actually quite like it, but it doesn’t seem to fit in with things and it distracts you from the unstoppable march that has been the rest of the album.

This doesn’t, however, mean that you shouldn’t give this album a listen, because, if you are a power metal fan of any sort, you definitely should.

A mix of Manowar and Hammerfall with a hint of NWOBHM and traditional heavy metal can’t be all that bad now can it?

TRACK LISTING
01. Steel and Silver
02. Warrior Queen
03. Outlive Them All
04. Hammerforged
05. Traitor’s Gate
06. Salt City
07. Blades in The Night
08. The Conqueror’s Oath

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://en-gb.facebook.com/visigothofficial/
https://twitter.com/visigothslc?lang=en
https://visigothofficial.bandcamp.com/
https://instagram.com/visigothslc

Promo Pic1

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.

Execration – Return To The Void

Execration return to the void cover

Execration – Return To The Void

Running Time 42:11

Released on 14-07-2017 via Metal Blade Records

6/10 – Review by Lee Preston

The fourth album from Norwegian death metallers, Execration has finally arrived. Clocking in at a concise 42 minutes, its short run time shouldn’t over stay its welcome. Unfortunately for every good thing there is something to annoy; it’s a shame as there are some great ideas which, when realised to their full potential, have some moments of brilliance, the case in point being the third track ‘Nekrocosm’ and fourth track ‘Cephalic Transmissions’.  Eerie guitar soundscapes give an uneasy oppressive vibe before the black metal influenced riffs kick in.

Unfortunately the rest of the album isn’t as convincing, the changing moods from quiet to loud don’t last long enough to make an impression and ideas seem unfinished and rushed without going anywhere. The vocals are the same, some varied styles from Chuck Schuldiner-esque growls and some black metal influenced screaming are functionary and get the job done.

Production-wise the bass has a great full, warm sound and is prominent in the mix without being overpowering, the guitars have a nice caustic cold tone similar to a lot of blackened thrash bands such as Aura Noir and Destroyer 666 and the drums are clear, albeit a bit thin and tinny sounding when things get a bit hectic on the faster material.

Overall, three great tracks, four potentially good tracks and two interludes. If you enjoy eclectic albums with a bit of prog, death metal and some black metal there is a lot to enjoy, if you want a straight head banging, aggressive release you’d be best looking elsewhere.

Execration promo pic

Track List –

  • Eternal Recurrence
  • Hammers Of Vulcan
  • Nekrocosm
  • Cephalic Transmissions
  • Blood Moon Eclipse
  • Unicursal Horrorscope
  • Through The Oculus
  • Return To The Void
  • Det Uransakelige Dyp

Links –

 

Disclaimer:  This review is the sole property of Lee Preston 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.