Charlotte Wessels – Tales from Six Feet Under

Tales From Six Feet Under Album Cover Art

Charlotte Wessels – Tales from Six Feet Under
Napalm Records
Release Date: 17/9/21
Running Time: 43:39
Review by Steven Hooke
8/10

On the 7th February 2020, Dutch symphonic metal powerhouse Delain released their sixth studio album, the foreshadowingly-named “Apocalypse & Chill”. It was a great album, full of pop hooks, character, and personality, giving hope that not all Symphonic Metal acts just want to rewrite The Phantom of the Opera. However, in a turn of events that caught nearly everyone off-guard, vocalist Charlotte Wessels, guitarist Timo Somers, bassist Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije, and drummer Joey de Boer were all announced to be departing the band.

Undeterred by the events around her, Wessels has opted to double-down on her solo work, capitalising on the success and intrigue of her lockdown collaboration with Arch Enemy’s Alissa White-Gluz. Exploring her creativity via her Patreon audience, “Tales from Six Feet Under” acts as a greatest hits of the songs made during the aforementioned lockdown, forged in the fires of Wessels’ own home studio, dubbed “Six Feet Under”.

What follows is a whimsically diverse collection of songs and styles, ranging from indie, to synthpop, to alt rock, to folk, and everything in between. ‘Superhuman’ sees Wessels working a more intimate style, with gloomy indie pop, and a more refrained vocal style leading the way, offset with folk vocal calls and spoken word passages, before ripples of delicate electronica add a shimmering vibrance to the song. And that’s just the album opener.

“Tales from Six Feet Under” feels like an almost total-disassociation from Wessels’ Delain days. The closest she gets to her previous sound is in the cover of classic gothic rock anthem ‘Cry Little Sister’, the solo to ‘Source of the Flame’, and in the penultimate track ‘F.S.U. (2020)’ which handily out-heavies most of ‘Apocalypse & Chill’. Our self-proclaimed 21st Century witch excels at a modern folk-based sound, with ritualistic drum patterns, and soaring vocal notes often the base of a song to be built around. ‘Victor’ has a wonderful dreampop miasma, whereas ‘New Mythology’ is a bit more sprightly, executing a more electropop beat, and ‘Soft Revolution’ sees off the album as an electro rock stomper.

The true highlight of the album though comes from the appropriately-named ‘Masterpiece’, a cauldron of folk, indie, pop, and EDM, that is stuffed to the brim with attention-stealing hooks and a scintillating vocal performance from our new Dutch Queen. The song, and indeed the album, are all capped off by a brilliant production job, highlighting all corners of the album to perfection.

It almost feels like Charlotte Wessels has been secretly waiting for her departure from Delain, honing her indie pop craft (and home studio) to unleash onto the world at the earliest opportunity. There are many marvelous ideas on show in her debut solo outing, and with her monthly song via Patreon continuing as of November 2021, there seems to be no stopping the creativity. While knowing a lot about Wessels’ own personal creative process, it would be interesting to see what she could come up with, and the styles she could dabble with, were she to have a more traditional writing cycle and time for ideas to breathe, compared to the brainstorming and evolution of a single song at a time per month. Regardless, a rich vein of ideas appears to have been tapped by the former-Delain frontwoman, and it doesn’t appear to be running dry any time soon.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Superhuman
02. Afkicken
03. Masterpiece
04. Victor
05. New Mythology
06. Source of the Flame
07. Cry Little Sister
08. Lizzie [w/ Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy)]
09. FSU (2020)
10. Soft Revolution

LINE-UP:
Charlotte Wessels – Vocals, All Instruments
Alissa White-Gluz – Vocals (Track 8)

LINKS:

Charlotte Wessels 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.

Tragedy – Disco Balls To The Wall

Disco Balls To The Wall Album Cover Art

Tragedy – Disco Balls To The Wall
Napalm Records
Release Date: 30/07/2021
Running Time: 57:55
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

I love funny stuff. I love tributes. I love disco. Three facts about me that I never thought would come in handy when combined. Turns out I was wrong, because New York City based Disco Metal band, Tragedy, require their listeners to like all three of the aforementioned things, alongside good old fashioned Heavy Metal. The latest release from this madcap bunch of loud shirted metal lunatics is “Disco Balls To The Wall”, a homage to that most energetic of eras, which utilizes a host of Rock and Metal genres to breath new life into some legendary dancefloor boogey classics. Everything from Abba to Bonnie Tyler put in an appearance, all with a new reimagined twist of tongue in cheek-ness.

This isn’t going to be a long review, because we already know these tunes inside out, from the number of times the original tracks have been played on radio station, at school discos and wedding receptions, and at every single office Christmas party the world over. So, I’m just going to give you my highlights – the ones where I found something clever and unexpected. But before I do, I will say that if you need something to listen to as a pick me up, you should just stop reading here and go and listen to it for yourself, because I can 100% guarantee it will do the job.

My first highlight comes early in the album, with ‘You’re The One That I Want’. Yes, it is the classic Disco Rock ‘n’ Roll track from the 1978 Hit Musical, “Grease”. But imagine, if you will, that Ozzy Osborne was playing Danny, and Black Sabbath were the T birds, and Gene Simmons was playing Sandy, with the rest of KISS as the pink ladies, and they decide to join forces and rebrand as Glam Punk for the choruses. That pretty much sums up this track, and really sets the tone for the rest of the album.

‘Raining Blood/It’s Raining Men’ is another comedy classic, which would be the obvious product of The Weathergirls getting absolutely monster drunk with Slayer and deciding to do a Christmas single Mash-up together but met in a middle ground that wasn’t quite as extreme or pop-friendly as either of the original tracks. Face-melting riffs next to disco lyrics. Classic!

‘How Deep Is Your Love’ gives more than a gentle nod to Rainbow, ‘Tragedy’ lives in the realms of classic 80s Hair Metal, and ‘Dancing Queen’ hangs about in Melodic Rock territory. Then, to close the album we get the high octane, Classic Heavy Metal of ‘Hot Stuff’…Genius.

Overall, a great album to just have fun to, and by God do we need that in our lives.

‘Raining Blood/It’s Raining Men’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)
02. You’re The One That I Want
03. Evil/Baker Street
04. Stayin’ Alive
05. Sweet Caroline
06. Raining Blood/It’s Raining Men
07. How Deep Is Your Love
08. Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In
09. Africa
10. Total Eclipse Of The Heart
11. Tragedy
12. Dancing Queen
13. Skyfall
14. Hot Stuff

LINE-UP:
Disco Mountain Man – Lead Vocals, Lead Keyboards
Mo’Royce Peterson – Lead Vocals, Lead Guitar
Andy Gibbous Waning – Lead Bass, Lead Vocals
Garry Bibb – Lead Guitar, Lead Vocals
The Lord Gibbeth – Lead Drums

Lance – Towel Boy, Complete Idiot

LINKS:

Tragedy Promo Pic (Credit Michael Blase)
Photo by Michael Blase

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.

Powerwolf – Call Of The Wild

Call Of The Wild Album Cover Art

Powerwolf – Call Of The Wild
Napalm Records
Release Date: 16/07/2021
Running Time: 40:33
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Traditional Melodic Heavy Metal – a genre that covers so much, and is always done in spectacular fashion by European metal bands. Today’s subject, German Trad Melodic/Power Metal impresarios Powerwolf, are indeed no exception to this. They’ve been serenading us with their powerful, meaty tunes for 15 years now, and have just released their latest album, “Call Of The Wild”.

The album title gives a clue to the theme behind this album – Mythical wild creatures. From the “Beast of Gévaudan” terrorising 18th Century France, to the wolflike demon, “Varcolac”, and the Irish “Faoladh”, this album is a true battle of the beasts.

Opening with ‘Faster Than The Flame’, proceedings power in to full flow. Huge orchestration and choral sections give way to thundering drums, heavy guitars, and the gritty vocals of Attila Dorn. And this blistering start continues through the next three tracks, at such a pace, and with such catchy melodies, that you’re almost inspired to pull on your bearskin rug and fashion a spear out of your favourite wooden spoon, ready to join the battle.

Then, just as you’ve got battle ready, a musical interlude is delivered, in the form of a stunning power ballad, ‘Alive Or Dead’. In this song, we see a new side to the vocals of Attila. Gentle, tender and soaring, they float along above the beautiful melody and harmony that this ballad creates. Like the eye of the storm, this serves as a moment of relative calm in the midst of the pace and fury.

But it doesn’t hang around long, and pretty soon we’re transported back to the pummelling freight train that creates Powerwolf’s hallmark sound, smashing through another batch of tunes with headbanging glory.

The thing with the Powerwolf sound is there’s nothing unexpected. It does exactly what it sets out to do – smashes you in the face with a wall of beautiful noise that gives your brain a good old workout! Musically, the talent of all the members of Powerwolf comes together to create a sound that’s tight and precise, making this a very polished album. There are some spectacular examples of individual musicianship throughout, too – the Synth solo on ‘Undress To Confess’ being one of my favourites.

This is a very powerful, and extremely well thought out album, and while it might not push boundaries, it doesn’t need to because it’s been created with a huge amount of passion and purpose. It you want a hefty dose of Trad Heavy Melodic Power to brighten up your day, this is it.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Faster Than The Flame
02. Beast Of Gévaudan
03. Dancing With The Dead
04. Varcolac
05. Alive Or Undead
06. Blood For Blood (Faoladh)
07. Glaubenskraft
08. Call Of The Wild
09. Sermon Of Swords
10. Undress To Confess
11. Reverent Of Rats

LINE-UP:
Attila Dorn – Vocals
Falk Maria Schlegel – Organ
Charles Greywolf – Guitar
Matthew Greywolf – Guitar
Roel van Helden – Drums

LINKS:

Powerwolf Promo Pic ( Credit Matteo Vdiva Fabbiani for VD Pictures)
Photo by Matteo Vdiva Fabbiani for VD Pictures

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.

Crypta – Echoes Of The Soul

Echoes Of The Soul Album Cover Art

Crypta – Echoes Of The Soul
Napalm Records
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 41:40
Review by Victor Augusto
9/10

What makes a band famous? Well…If you find the answer, then quit your job and enjoy all the money you will probably make after discovering it. Maybe, what isn’t a secret, is to have any kind of fame or minimal attention from fans around the world, is just reality and truth which means you must work like hell to get anywhere. If you are in an Extreme Death Metal band, take this work and dedication and double the effort. Of course, you will suffer many frustrations and misfortunes along the way. Who said it would be easy? Nevertheless, it is the strength and desire to keep going that will make you stronger. Is anything that I have said, so far, related to the history of Crypta? Maybe, you could tell me the answer.

If you look into Crypta’s birth and their short career, you will know that part of the band could easily have quit from everything music related after what has happened in their lives, but we are not here to talk about the past. The only thing that I will mention, about the rupture of Nervosa, is how it has allowed this band to finally see the light of the day and I must congratulate everyone, in both camps, for how everything was handled. No fights or drama was made public to the fans. Just two sides that separated kept walking in different directions. So, now I’m going to talk about the present and the future of the amazing band, Crypta?

“Echoes Of The Soul”! What a title. What an album! What a debut! If we expected a sound more connected to Death Metal, after what we heard from Fernanda Lira and Luana Dametto on their last album with Nervosa, then our expectations have been surpassed with something darker and heavier. They have brought the spirit we had already seen from them both but with the addition and incredible technique from two amazingly talented guitarists; Sonia Anubis and Tainá Bergamaschi. As a result, this is a very organic Brutal Metal that is incredibly well worked out with great melody and astonishing solos.

Solos!!! Yes, we have to talk about them! Sonia and Tainá must get a special mention for all the work they have put in on this album. If you love the chemistry among guitar teams such as Smith/Murray, Tipton/Downing or even Hanneman/King, you will be delighted with partners in crime Anubis/Bergamaschi. They have created something special. You can expect melodies and technique from classic Heavy Metal bands and also the aggressiveness from the great names of Death Metal. For me, the solos are the thing that most caught my attention.

Organic drums! I already knew Luana was an incredible drummer, but she has exceeded my expectations on this material. It is a lesson of brutality and versatility. She has mixed incredible blast beats with many tempo changes. The production gives the drums a very organic sound, it’s amazing how they have extracted a natural sonority.

Riffs and bass! Of course, we have remarkable riffs, but don’t you think that the wall of guitars hides Fernanda’s bass. Her sound is very clear and strong here. I also have to mention how her vocal lines work so much better in this band. They are a little different from her previous work. It sounds like Chuck Schuldiner singing in a more Black Metal style.

It is hard to find a highlight in an album so entirely amazing. Probably, I would just elucidate things like the nice lead on ‘Possessed’ and the dense atmosphere where Luana keeps on with blast beats while the main rhythms stop, letting just calm guitars play in the background. The solo on ‘Death Arcana’ is probably my favourite one and the solos on ‘Kali’ show more of a Morbid Angel inspiration. ‘Blood Stained’ brings a more Thrash Metal spirit and this track even has good work on the toms. There is a beautiful and dark intro for ‘Dark Night Of The Soul’, as well as the ending with its clean guitars.

Now it’s time for Victor’s confusing thought. The intro song of the album, ‘Awakening’ is repeated at the end of the final track ‘From The Ashes’, it creates a cycle that connects the end and the beginning of the album. Now, look at the words “from the ashes”. Could it be related to a rebirth? The end of something is always connected to a new beginning! Could it represent life as a constant cycle of renewals? Is it related to the rebirth that partners in crime, Fernanda and Luana, have had after their departure from their old band, which resulted in the birth of this one? What do you think?

What I can say 100% is congratulations for such an incredible album. It sounds like a mix of the aggression from 90’s Tampa, Florida bands, together with the production care and melody from the bands that appeared in Sweden. It amazing how it has an organic production but also a clean production. As I said before hard work, passion and dedication are the basic things to enable a good response from the fans, but when you have a team like this, full of incredible musicians, things become easier. The result couldn’t be more different. A brand new band that can be already considered huge and mature! I hope to see them on tour in a near future!

‘Starvation’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Awakening
02. Starvation
03. Possessed
04. Death Arcana
05. Shadow Within
06. Under The Black Wings
07. Kali
08. Blood Stained Heritage
09. Dark Night Of The Soul
10. From The Ashes

LINE-UP:
Fernanda Lira – Vocals & Bass
Luana Dametto – Drums
Sonia Anubis – Lead Guitars
Tainá Bergamaschi – Guitars

LINKS:

Crypta Promo Shot - credit Renan Facciolo
Picture by Renan Facciolo

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.

Van Canto – To The Power Of Eight

To The Power Of Eight Album Cover Art

Van Canto – To The Power Of Eight
Napalm Records
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 48:20
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

I might be a metalhead now, but I’ve not always been this way. I was a late starter so to speak, only discovering the way of the horns in my late teens. Before that, the majority of my life had centered around classical music and Jazz. My dad and brother were Jazz musicians, and my dad also taught woodwind, and was a dedicated devourer of all things classic, with a particular penchant for Wagner. As a child, music was my entire life. I learnt to read manuscript before I learnt to read words. At 4, I started Flute, then at 9, Piano. Then, when I moved to high school, I discovered choral singing, and the little leftover gap in my heart, which had not quite been filled with the instruments I’d started on, or the music I’d been exposed to, brimmed over with joy.

Some of the happiest times of my life were spent singing with my school’s senior girls’ choir. We travelled to various places in the world, giving concerts, and competing in choral festivals. We sang anywhere, from a catacomb somewhere in Germany, to Cologne Cathedral, and a stone outcrop in the middle of the River Dee (after winning the Llangollen Eisteddfod). It was magical, and as yet nothing has come close to emulating the feeling of joy in its purest form that I got from singing in harmony with those around me. However, I still get a small part of that joy back listening to choral music of all kinds. And this is the reason for me telling you another of my slightly melancholic, dream-like tales of past me.

German Metallers, Van Canto are, for me, like a special little bit of Eutopia. They take my love of choral music, and in particular, Acapella, and make it Metal. And they do it with style (and plenty of rigidy-digidy dum dum)! Since 2006 they’ve been trailblazing their Acapella Metal (much to my joy) and their new album, “To The Power Of Eight” continues this. There are many 8’s involved in this album, which I’m assuming is the driving force behind the name. It’s their 8th Studio Album, and former singer, Philip Dennis “Sly” Schunke, joins them as a guest for this album, making them an 8 piece. There are also 8 original tracks on the album, along with 4 Covers: Amon Amarth’s ‘Raise Your Horns’, Maiden’s ‘Run To The Hills’, ‘Thunderstruck’, possibly ACDC’s most well known song, and ‘I Want It All’, by Queen. So, let’s tackle those first.

Queen, for me, are hands down the best and most influential band of our time. I hold Freddie Mercury in the same esteem as I would a deity. HE was, and his legacy still is, a god amongst men. So, when people cover Queen, I get a bit twitchy. But Van Canto smash it out of the park here. I still forget sometimes that, aside from the drums, every other sound they make is created by the power of their voice, and some distortion to get the correct ‘guitar’ tone. Astonishingly good. ‘Run To The Hills’ and ‘Thunderstruck’ are likewise, too.

‘Raise Your Horns’ makes me chuckle, because I’m infantile, and they say ‘doo-doo’ lots. And for some reason, every time they do, I think of Frank Spencer in ‘Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em’ (a UK comedy series from the 1970’s), uttering the eternal line “Ooh Betty, the cat’s done a whoopsie on the floor”. Those who are old enough will get that reference. Those who aren’t, if you google that line, you’ll find it! But I digress, again, this is a very good cover.

For me though, it’s the original tracks on this album that really are special, probably because they’ve been written specifically for vocals. The way that different instruments and tones are emulated is just so brilliantly clever. To create great Symphonic Heavy Metal, with so much power and depth, really displays the astonishing versatility of the voice, when the singers are also blessed with a vision and enough passion to turn it into reality. ‘Faith Focus Finish’ is an absolute banger, ‘Hard Rock Padlock’ is classic Heavy Metal, and ‘From The End’ is thunderous Power Metal, to name but a few.

But my favourite track on the album is ‘Turn Back Time’. This one really strips it back to just the voice. It’s a beautiful, lilting, folky ballad, brimming with close harmonies, and classic cadences, that lets you hear every voice individually, but also displays how masterfully they blend their voices together. Choral singing is so different to any other type of singing because it’s not about making individual voices stand out. It’s about blending each voice together in perfect balance, so that the whole sound becomes one instrument. And Van Canto absolutely nail that. It really is just perfect. As is the whole album. The easiest 10 I’ve given this year.

‘Faith Focus Finish’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. To The Power Of Eight
02. Dead By The Night
03. Faith Focus Finish
04. Falling Down
05. Heads Up High
06. Raise Your Horns (Amon Amarth Cover)
07. Turn Back Time
08. Run To The Hills (Iron Maiden Cover)
09. Hardrock Padlock
10. Thunderstruck (AC/DC Cover)
11. From The End
12. I Want It All (Queen Cover)

LINE-UP:
Hagen Hirschmann – Lead Vocals
Inga Scharf – Lead Vocals
Ross Thompson – Higher Rakkatakka Vocals
Stefan Schmidt – Lower Rakkatakka Vocals
Jan Moritz – Pad and Bass Vocals
Ingo Sterzinger – Bass and Backing Vocals
Bastian Emig – Drums and Backing Vocals
Philip Dennis “Sly” Schunke – Third Main Vocalist and Special Guest

LINKS:

Van Canto 2021 Photo Credit Tim Tronckoe
Photo by Tim Tronckoe

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.

Video Interview with Tuomas Saukkonen of WOLFHEART

Skull Soldiers Album Cover Art

Video Interview with Tuomas Saukkonen of WOLFHEART
By Sheri Bicheno

Hi all! Sheri here…

I’m back, with an interview that I actually thought I was going to be so nervous about – but instead, Tuomas made it so easy and calming to chat to him.

Wolfheart…one of my very favourites in the Melodic Death Metal genre…are not to be underestimated.

Combining themes; Winter, Apocalypse, Nature, Battle – Wolfheart paint a beautiful vision with their themes and different depths of sound and emotion. A touch upon Pagan Metal at its finest, from Finland!

Tuomas Saukkonen created Wolfheart in 2013 and was the sole musician and creator of the project – he released Wolfheart’s first full-length album, “Winterborn”, in 2014 and this has increasingly become as popular over the years as it was when it was first released. This saw Wolfheart playing stages at the likes of 70000 Tons of Metal, Brutal Assault, Hellfest and Summer Breeze OA, amongst others.

With some added members now in Wolfheart, as a full band, their fifth studio album “Wolves of Karelia” was released in 2020, followed by their most recent EP release; “Skull Soldiers”.

You’ll find that “Skull Soldiers” and “Wolves of Karelia” are linked…have a watch below to find out why…

WOLFHEART Video Interview by Sheri Bicheno

Wolfheart are:
Tuomas Saukkonen – Vocals, Guitars
Lauri Silvonen – Bass, Backing Vocals
Joonas Krauppinen – Drums
Vagelis Karzis – Lead Guitar

Label: Napalm Records

LINKS:

‘Aeon Of Cold’ (Acoustic) (Official Video)

‘Hereditary’ (Official Band Playthrough)

Wolfheart Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Nervosa – Perpetual Chaos

Perpetual Chaos Album Cover Art

Nervosa – Perpetual Chaos
Napalm Records
Release Date: 22/01/2021
Running Time: 44:37
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Hello everyone. Here I am again to repeat something that all of us are completely tired of reading in my reviews, but today I must repeat it here… The lack of professionalism!!! Yes! This phrase is my biggest complaint about Brazilian bands. We have hundreds of killer bands releasing astonishing albums, but I can count on both hands how many are really working to be a professional. Nervosa are, for sure, one of the best examples of professionalism that have appeared here in the last decade. I won’t go deeply into details of what the bands should or should not do, but, if there is one thing that I have to mention, that summarizes Nervosa’s work ethic over the last 10 years, then it is their total immersion in living and breathing the band. Investing 100% of your time into a band is something that I admire greatly. Everything that the band have achieved is purely the result of this work. Ok, now I am feeling better!

The new Nervosa Age! I won’t enter into details of everything that happened last year. Nervosa was a Brazilian power trio, two members left and guitarist, Prika Amaral rebuilt the band very quickly to focus on this album with three more girls from different parts of the world. My honest congratulations go to Prika, the new members and also to the old ones. You haven’t made a soap opera of this split, as most bands do after a huge breakup, at least in Brazil. It is a new era for all sides and the focus is on the new material and the future. I have full respect for both sides! So, now I’ll cut my smooth talk and focus on what really matters, the music.

Is “Perpetual Chaos” the best Nervosa album? Maybe…it is hard to say, considering that every fan of Heavy Metal could have a different taste for music and I respect that. At least for me, I always saw Nervosa as a band full of energy. Great energy on stage, great energy to spread Heavy Metal, great energy to spread their name all around the world, also to spread the Brazilian scene (Have I already said the word professionalism?). Despite my huge admiration for the band, I must confess that I wasn’t a huge fan of their music before. I felt that something was missing; even though they released three incredible albums before this. When I pushed the play button for this one, I immediately heard something mind-blowing, and the word technique was the first thing that popped into my head.

Please, don’t misunderstand me, the previous albums were still amazing, but there is a natural evolution and the new line-up has brought what I think was the missing piece of the band’s sonority. Starting with the only original member remaining, Prika Amaral. Her playing is insane here ! So many incredible guitar riffs! Maybe she had a greater liberty to explore different lines, being the only guitarist in the band for such a long time. She has explored the Thrash Metal style that even incorporates a few aspects of Death Metal, like in ‘Kings Of Domination’. Her solos are short in a very precise Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) way of playing, as you can hear on ‘Pursued By Judgement’.

Of course, she has the incredible Mia Wallace on bass who amazingly fills the absence of a second guitarist. Mia’s bass is not as loud as on previous Nervosa recordings, but it is still clearly heard and she is more present on the groove. Different arrangements, but with new purpose! Moreover, Mia sounds very aggressive in her role.

Vocalist Diva Satanica has an incredible range in her screams, from the low guttural up to the ripped vocals. Her versatility has offered more interpretation and more options to create new ideas for this album. Her singing on the chorus of ‘People Of Abyss In Hell’, alongside the amazing rhythm guitar and bass is incredible. You can hear many guest singers, including Schmier from Destruction (who is also the godfather of Nervosa from the early days of the band) on ‘Genocidal Command’. Erik Ak on ‘Rebel Soul’ makes the vocals even more enjoyable by his totally different kind of voice in Nervosa music. This track also shows a more melodic side to Nervosa.

Now here is the highlight of this new Nervosa era. Eleni Nota! What a killer drummer! If you consider that Nervosa have had many incredible drummers in their line-up, it could have been the hardest job ever to find someone to fill this seat. Eleni has not only filled it, but she has exceeded all expectations. Thrash Metal beats, blast beats or double kicks like in ‘Blood Eagle’. Even Hardcore beats like ‘Time To Fight’ are present here. Everything is played with a lot of aggression and technique. Everything is even better with the organic drum sound that even reminded me of Igor Cavalera on “Chaos A.D.”. I have listened to this album more than 10 times and am sure that Eleni could easily perform amongst the best Heavy Metal drummers if the world. Congrats Eleni Nota 10*

The versatility of the band is well defined by all the styles they are able to perform in an astonishing way. “Perpetual Chaos” is a show of aggressiveness and technique. From the fast, opening track ‘Venomous’, with a killer intro riff, passing by the cadenced ‘Godless Prisoner’ through to the obscure riffs of ‘Under Ruins’ that ends the album, you will hear incredible compositions. The Hardcore/Metal ‘Time to Fight’ made me imagine the band destroying the entire venue of an open-air festival, whilst closing an insane concert.

An Experienced band? Yes, it is the main impression here; even though the team is brand new. There is such a killer chemistry between them all. I am glad that Nervosa have showed that they are still a band that makes all Brazilians proud to see a new worldwide famous group after all the great names that have come from here. Respect and admiration define this. Respect for everything the band has been working for and admiration that they stay strong and look to the future, not the past. I cannot imagine what they will achieve when they tour this album (as soon as it is possible).

Parabéns Nervosa!

*It is just a silly joke from a silly reviewer because the word Nota means grade in Portuguese.

‘Under Ruins’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Venomous
02. Guided By Evil
03. People Of The Abyss
04. Perpetual Chaos
05. Until The Very End (feat. Guilherme Miranda)
06. Genocidal Command (feat. Schmier)
07. Kings Of Domination
08. Time To Fight
09. Godless Prisoner
10. Blood Eagle
11. Rebel Soul (feat. Erik Ak)
12. Pursued By Judgement
13. Under Ruins

LINE-UP:
Diva Satanica – Vocals
Prika Amaral – Guitar
Mia Wallace – Bass
Eleni Nota – Drums

LINKS:

Nervosa 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.

Bloody Hammers – Songs Of Unspeakable… Terror

Songs Of Unspeakable... Terror Album Cover Art

Bloody Hammers – Songs Of Unspeakable… Terror
Napalm Records
Release Date: 15/01/2021
Running Time: 32:13
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

Outside, the nights are starting to get lighter and Spring is on its merry way. The birds chirp merrily and warmth is returning to the land. Which is completely inappropriate for a review of the new album by Bloody Hammers, “Songs Of Unspeakable Terror”. It should be Halloween instead: gloomy and dark with the bizarre and uncanny just outside your door.

Anders Manga (vocals, guitars, bass) and Devallia (keyboards/organ) are the Morticia and Gomez husband and wife team behind Bloody Hammers, a metal/rock/goth creation based in Transylvania county, North Carolina. How’s that for an address? Bet Glenn Danzig’s crying into his Count Chocula cereal.

On this opus, Lily and Herman have left behind their previous established sound of Alice Cooper-style hard rock, crunchy metal and Sisters of Mercy atmos. Entombed alive due to the pandemic, Bloody Hammers have exhumed the bloody corpse of horror punk, in a temporary tribute to the genre.

And it’s huge fun! Fast and furious tracks like ‘Night To Dismember’ and ‘Waking The Dead’ rocket from the crypt like the hounds of hell are on their tail. Huge “whoa-oh” Misfits choruses are of course present and correct. Rousing and energetic, these songs are obvious but loving celebrations of influences that have only been hinted at on previous albums.

There’s macabre melody on ‘We Are The Damned’, with a choir vocal effect to help power the camp horror feel. ‘Hands Of The Ripper’ and ‘Not Of This Earth’ are slower, more metal sounding with a grinding riff.

Little of the occasional Andrew Eldritch explorations exist on “Songs Of Unspeakable Terror”, though ‘Lucifers Light’ unites guitar and keys into a moody Danzig like ballad. A little more of this approach would still have fitted perfectly, however. I don’t know if Devallia can sing, but if she can this was a missed opportunity.

The listener never feels too far removed from the original Bloody Hammers style, however. Likewise, this isn’t a simple, derivative rip-off of “Walk Among Us”, even though ‘The Brain That Wouldn’t Die’ is a nice radioactive “Hatebreeders” mutation. But whereas the Misfits took their inspiration from monochrome B-movies, Bloody Hammers have changed gears to a Kensington gore-drenched 60’s Technicolor horror fest.

“Songs Of Unspeakable Terror” is an album of pure enjoyment, which is just what we need right now. With song titles taken directly from classic Hammer/Amicus movies, a warm rediscovery of horror punk style and some familiar Bloody Hammers rock, you can’t go wrong. Go dig out your Halloween fancy dress, find your “Plan 9 From Outer Space” VHS cassette and get ready for a ghouls night in!

‘A Night To Dismember’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Night To Dismember
02. Hands Of The Ripper
03. Witchfinder General
04. Not Of This Earth
05. The Ones Who Own The Dark
06. Waking The Dead
07. Night Of The Witch
08. We Are The Damned
09. The Brain That Wouldn’t Die
10. Lucifer’s Light
11. I Spit On Your Corpse

LINE-UP
Anders Manga – Vocals, Guitar, Bass
Devallia – Keyboards/Organ

LINKS:

Bloody Hammers Promo Pic (Photo Credit Courtesy Of Bloody Hammers)
Courtesy Of Bloody Hammers

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun 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.

Unleash the Archers – Abyss

Unleash the Archers – Abyss
Napalm Records
Release Date: 21/08/20
Running Time: 55:56
Review by Steven Hooke
8/10

Look deep inside yourself and you’ll know, no matter how much you try to deny it and pretend you’re better than it, you bloody love some power metal. Whether it’s the searing melodies, ludicrous bombasticities, or you just have a thing for loin cloths, power metal is the delicious camembert accoutrement to your otherwise super, well-metal normality.

Sadly, it is not a genre that has aged well. Relying way too much on the attributes that made it such a success in the 80’s and 90’s, modern power metal flag-bearers either rehash the ideas of their predecessors, carry an outrageous gimmick, or are literal carbon copies of themselves (looking at you here Helloween and Rhapsody of Fire / Turilli/Leone Rhapsody). It is then refreshing to see the rise of an ambitious, hard-working troupe such as Unleash the Archers grinding their way to album five, being driven by their own unwavering vision of modern power metal.

The Vancouver band formed in 2007 operating on the heavier end of the power metal spectrum, blending the genre with lashings of melodic death metal. In the years since, Unleash the Archers have found their sweet spot in style, keeping the harsh melodeath growled vocals in reserve, but keeping the pace and riffs, and allowing frontwoman Brittney Slayes to prosper as a vocalist. Unlike her contemporaries, Slayes does not possess the high-pitched wails of Power Quest or Kiske-fronted Helloween, she does have the gravelly tones of Rage and she does not sound like a knock-off Tarja Turunen.

Brittney Slayes sounds like Brittney fucking Slayes.

In a sea of some of the most impressive vocalists in all of heavy metal, Slayes is able to stand out from the pack with her immense range and pure power in her delivery. She sounds like a confident performer throughout the album, and when she is backed by those fleeting growls of guitarists Andrew Kingsley and Grant Truesdell, it only seems to amalgamate together to create a hugely dramatic soundscape, and add some much-missed bite back into power metal.

“Abyss” opens with the immensely powerful and mood-setting ‘Waking Dream’, and whilst it does get you in the right mindset for the album, it then takes nearly a minute and a half for the album to get going proper, with the intro partially overlapping into the title-track. Intro tracks may be all the rage these days, but nearly 5 minutes of table-setting before the banquet makes for a slightly unnerving feeling about Abyss’ pacing.

The album did not take too long to redeem itself. The song ‘Abyss’ slowly turns into a strong outing for all involved, with Slayes’ vocal flexes underlined by Scott Buchanon’s brutal drum patterns and guitar work that feels somewhere between ravaging the streets of Gothenburg and lashings of glitter. The follow-up ‘Through Stars’ is the album’s first truly great song, opting to change out the pace of the opening sequence, with a bounty of beautiful melodies, alongside riffs and vocal harmonies blending together so effortlessly to create a shimmering masterwork of a song.

This collaboration between harmony and aggression is what really sets Unleash the Archers apart, feeling so comfortable on either side of the coin and not needing to go all the way into an orchestral-acoustic ballad to invoke melody and emotion from the listener. Equally, while there are windows into their melodic death metal past, the album never reaches overt levels of aggression. The growls on tracks like ‘Return to Me’, ‘The Wind That Shapes The Land’ and ‘Afterlife’ never feel like they’re outstaying their welcome, and on the whole add to the album’s narrative.

That is not to say “Abyss” doesn’t come without its experimental moments. Penultimate song ‘Carry The Flame’, a self-contained duet between Slayes and Kingsley, could easily out-class most pop rock acts filling up the charts today. Summery riffs leading into a classic power metal chorus, as the two singers trade-off their stoic voices; on paper it sounds like a nightmare but darn it all if it doesn’t come out sounding like an absolute bop. It’s a similar story with the song ‘Legacy’. Probably the closest thing the album has to a ballad, it’s an emotional and searing piece of music that is sometimes interjected with a barrage of blast beats and guitar widdling wankery. Again, sounds like an absolute fustercluck when analysed, but it somehow comes out sounding absolutely sensational.

For the long-term power metal fans who have been desperate for a refreshing new look to the genre, Unleash the Archers’ new album needs to be part of your essential listening. Whilst the pacing does take some getting used to, it doesn’t just copy what was good from years gone by, it identifies what made those things good in the first place and turns it into ideas that work for today, finished off with a Herculean production job by that man again Andrew Kingsley.

Assemble your chainmail and battle axes lads, we reconvene at dawn.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Waking Dream
02. Abyss
03. Through Stars
04. Legacy
05. Return To Me
06. Soulbound
07. Faster Than Light
08. The Wind That Shapes The Land
09. Carry The Flame
10. Afterlife (ft. Francesco Ferrini of Fleshgod Apocalypse)

LINE-UP:
Brittney Slayes – Lead Vocals
Andrew Kingsley – Guitars, Synthesizer, Vocals
Grant Truesdell – Guitars, Vocals
Scott Buchanan – Drums
Benjamin Arscott – Bass (session)

LINKS:

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.

Kamelot – I Am The Empire – Live From The 013

Kamelot – I Am The Empire – Live From The 013
Napalm Records
Release Date: 14/08/2020
Running Time: 97:12
Review By Beth Jones
10/10

You know when you finally get round to paying attention to a band that you should have paid attention to a long time ago. And then when you do, you feel like the dumbest decision you ever made was leaving it until now to do that. Well…um…yeah, that. I know, I know!! I will hold my hands up and you may throw rotten fruit at me and call me an idiot for leaving it this long to pay attention to American Symphonic Metal aficionados, Kamelot. But please rest assured that this sort of oversight will never happen again!

This most recent release is an epic live album, featuring their performance at the legendary 013 in Tilburg, Netherlands. It features 21 extraordinary tracks, with guest appearances from some renowned names, and spans an extensive nearly 100 minutes of play time. And I’m guessing that you may have already worked out from my score, that, for me, this is 100 minutes of pure extravagant joy!

The album begins with a triumphant instrumental overture, befitting of any good Arthurian film to accompany a riding sequence, with Arthur and the knights traversing rocky terrain. What better way is there to open a show for a symphonic metal band by the name of Kamelot, eh? None I tell thee!

From there we travel through hit after hit of grand melodies, from new songs to classics, encompassing intricate harmonies, powerful rhythms, and insatiable instrumentation that fills every beat with drama and beauty. We’re also treated to guest appearances from the likes of Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy), Charlotte Wessels (Delain), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Lauren Hart (Once Human) and Sascha Paeth (Avantasia, Epica and more)!

But for me, the aspect that gives me those excited, ‘tingles down the spine’ moments, is Tommy Karevik’s stunning vocals. They are both powerful and effortless, with a richness and purity that could melt even the coldest heart. If there is some kind of heavenly Eutopia for us to pass over to in the afterlife, I sure hope this is the soundtrack.

One track that particularly stands out for me, and displays these silky vocals perfectly, is ‘Here’s to the Fall’. In a change to the pacey and orchestrated masterpieces that have bathed us to this point, this ballad is more stripped back. It doesn’t have face melting solos, or earth-shattering power drumming. It is a melancholic piece with the perfect marriage of Piano and vocals at the forefront, backed up with strings and gentle bass. It has the feeling of a great operatic aria, steeped in sadness, somewhere in the middle of a Broadway musical, where one of the lesser main characters has departed before their time. Being a huge fan of musicals and all things dramatic and operatic, and a big old emotional softy, this ticks all the boxes for me! And god, that voice!!! I have gone all melty.

Now, my usual gripe with live albums is the production/annoying crowd noise/bits where the vocals disappear in the mix etc, etc. But, because this album has been mixed and mastered by Sascha Paeth, none of this is applicable – everything is placed perfectly, every instrument cuts through at the right level, and the vocals sit beautifully throughout. Even the crowd noise works! It’s like they’re an extra facet to the band, and it really makes you feel like you are there, immersed in the whole live experience! At one point there is a section where, I’m guessing, the band got the crowd to do the old ‘Which side can shout the loudest’ routine, and even this is panned between the left and right channels to give you the correct feel of it! Attention to detail like that is what makes great production stand out.

So, to the bad points. There are none! It’s perfect. That’s the shortest paragraph I’ve ever written.

“I Am The Empire – Live From The 013” is available in digital format, as well as CD digipak, Deluxe Box (including the album), Blu-Ray/DVD, and vinyl. I would suggest that if you like Symphonic Metal, Power Metal, Operatic Metal, Musical Theatre, or simply just want something bloody marvellous to listen to, then you should invest in this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Transcendence (Intro)
02. Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire) – feat. Lauren Hart
03. Rule The World
04. Insomnia
05. The Great Pandemonium
06. When The Lights Are Down
07. My Confession – feat. Eklipse
08. Veil Of Elysium
09. Under Grey Skies – feat. Charlotte Wessels (live premiere)
10. Ravenlight – feat. Sascha Paeth
11. End Of Innocence
12. March Of Mephisto – feat. Alissa White Gluz
13. Amnesiac
14. Manus Dei

15. Sacrimony (Angel Of Afterlife) – feat. Alissa White Gluz & Elize Ryd
16. Drum And Keys Solo
17. Here’s To The Fall
18. Forever
19. Burns To Embrace – with Children’s Choir including Thomas Youngblood’s son
20. Liar Liar (Wasteland Monarchy) – feat Alissa White Gluz
21. Ministrium (Shadow Key)

LINE-UP:
Thomas Youngblood – guitars
Tommy Karevik – vocals
Oliver Palotai – keyboards
Sean Tibbetts – bass
Alex Landenburg – drums

LINKS:
www.kamelot.com/band/
www.facebook.com/kamelotofficial
www.instagram.com/kamelotofficial
www.twitter.com/KamelotOfficial
www.youtube.com/kamtv
www.vk.com/kamelot_official

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

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.