Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Quantum Evolution Event EP Cover Art

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 14/01/22
Running Time: 23:27
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Although I had not come across them until this point, Ilium have spent the last twenty years being quite prolific little beavers. Since 2002, there have been no less than eight full length albums (or seven if you don’t count completely re-recording your debut with a different line up) and half as many EP’s. This is the sort of Melodic Power Metal that’s found all over Northern Europe, but seems much more scarce in their native Australia, which may go part of the way to explaining why I had not come across them before. Add to that the endless line-up changes that make it hard to keep momentum and what you end up with is an act that have all the right elements in play, but are not as far out of the blocks as you might expect after twenty years of hard work. This needs to change, as they have all the right elements in play to be a way bigger contender. 

This current incarnation still centres around the lynch pin of guitarists Jason Hodges and Adam Smith, but although credited only as a guest, still retains the vocal services of Lord Tim, and Tim Yatras on the drum and producer stools, as seems to have been the case since 2017. First off, that experience and maturity are loud and clear from the opening bars. This is really solidly crafted and well-written stuff. Power Metal fans lap this sort of thing up, but although it’s got all the standard tropes you expect from the genre it doesn’t sound like it’s been factory produced like so many albums from the genre do. 

The Antipodean perspective means that, although all the usual influences are loud and clear, the overall sound is subtly different, and different again from the American branch of the genre. What this means is that although you’ve got strongly technical flourishes in there, it’s not overtly Progressive and completely avoids the Neo-Classical, which to be honest is no bad things as it’s completely been done to death in my humble opinion (take note Italy). It’s also song-writing with a clearly Traditional stamp too, so if the song is  intended as a high tempo belter, it doesn’t outstay its welcome, slamming its message home in under three and a half minutes. When they slow down, take their time, and craft something more complex such as the really strong ‘Hostile Sky’, the run time subtly grows, but again shows restraint, so no twenty minute epic concept pieces here (at least this time).

Overall this has given me a thirst to find out more about these guys as I’m left curious, interested and hungry for more.

Quantum Evolution Event’ Official Lyric Video

TRACKLISTING:
1.  Quantum Evolution Event
2. Tsetse
3. Undergods
4. Hostile Sky
5. Mothcaste

LINE-UP:
Jason Hodges – Guitar
Adam Smith – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards
Lord Tim – Vocals
Tim Yatras – Drums

LINKS:

Illium Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Trend Kill Ghosts – Until The Sun Rise Again

Until The Sun Rise Again Album Cover Art

Trend Kill Ghosts – Until The Sun Rise Again
Self-Produced
Release Date: 18/11/21
Running Time: 51:05
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Classified as Power Metal, this Brazilian four piece are very much in the European Neoclassical style, so much so that, having started to listen before reading the press release, I had assumed that they were more than likely to be Italian. That just shows how wrong you can be, but there’s definitely a taste of the Rhapsody clan in the influence bucket, and way more strongly than the American influences (both Northern and Southern) that you might naturally expect. Although they are present, as the Italy cadre would be unlikely to use more extreme vocal styles, and although the vocals are predominately clean here, there are contributions in that more guttural style which works, because this is a record that mostly flies by at very high speed (so eleven out of ten for Leandro Tristane on the drums, because that’s a consistently impressive performance throughout).

There’s no credited keyboard player which is unusual, as that’s a big part of any Neoclassical sound. The ivories are very much a supporting instrument here, to the point that I’m wondering if that’s someone doubling up in the studio, or whether they will take an extra pair of hands on the road. I hope so, as there’s nothing worse than playing along to a keyboard click track – given that it’s one of the sounds most likely to be lost in the monitors live and therefore lead to the odd mishap on the night. Adding a full time keyboard player will add a lot of depth to the sound to boot and give that Neoclassical edge a bit more emphasis, as well as giving the significant shredding ability of Rogério Oliveira someone to spar with. And shred he does, and very well too…

To be honest, musicianship wise, the performances are all consistently strong and relentless, but what the album misses slightly is a little of the anthemic and melodic catchiness to accompanying the virtuosity. The weakness seems to lie a little in the vocal arrangements, which follow the instrumental melody lines very tightly – not unusual in Power Metal circles, but it’s when they stretch beyond those confines that you get to see the real power of the frontman. They are also vital hooks to pull a listener in, particularly one not deep in the more technical sounding traditions. This is hard, because I really, really like Diogo Nunes’s style otherwise, and to be clear it’s the arrangements that need a little work, not his ability or performance. He’s got a clear, powerful, yet delicate when it needs it voice, but he’s a little too much a part of the mix and doesn’t quite feel like he’s leading from the front. At least yet, they are after all quite young, and having only got their debut out before the world went to hell in a hand cart, this means they’ve gone straight back into the studio without the opportunity of bringing some road lessons on board with them.

Do I like it, yes, but a little more in the keyboards department, which by its very nature would push Nunes into having to play around a little more with the melody lines, and then this bunch will go stratospheric. However, a very promising sophomore album nonetheless and one that grows on me more with every listen.

Phoenix (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO):


TRACKLISTING:
01. Marching To the Light
02. Puppets of Faith
03. Rebellion
04. Phoenix
05. When the Sun Rise Again (Feat. Elisa C. Martin)
06. Land of Hope
07. Poisoned Soul (Feat. Marina La Torraca)
08. Prisoners in Our Minds (Feat. Roland Grapow)
09. Puzzle Piece
10. Dead Society
11. Mirror Mirror

LINE-UP:
Diogo Nunes – Vocals
Rogério Oliveira – Guitar
Fábio Carito – Bass
Leandro Tristane – Drums

LINKS:

Trend Kill Ghosts Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Manimal – Armageddon

Armageddon Album Cover Art

Manimal – Armageddon
AFM Records
Release Date: 03/12/21
Running Time: 43:01
Review by Simon Black
10/10

Now on their fourth album, Swedish Powerhouse Manimal are absolutely unashamedly proud of what they deliver – and with good reason. In a crowded marketplace you need two things to get you noticed – solid and high-quality delivery, or a unique selling point. To stay noticed, keep focussing on point one. Manimal don’t have anything massively new or original stylistically in their mix – they absolutely and openly wear their influences on their collective sleeve, however in the delivery department they are totally top notch. No, that’s too small a description – ‘bloody fantastic’ is far more appropriate.

Singer Samuel Nyman has a lot to say about the pigeonhole of Power Metal itself. Being Swedish, for him that genre means the mostly upbeat major chord style of Euro Power Metal acts, from Helloween onwards, but Manimal sound more like their North American variant cousins (a movement that really start with stalwarts like Armored Saint). And for the same reason, the common influences of both continental variants are classic Metal stalwarts like Judas Priest, and in this instance, the far Blacker Mercyful Fate (for whom the look and make up is a direct snatch).

Nyman is just plain and simply gifted with one of those voices that makes you sit up, notice, and think “How the actual fuck did a human being do that?” I am very strongly reminded of Ripper Owens opening contribution to Judas Priest’s history, in terms of style – that and the fact that the whole album has a similarly brutal feel to the sadly underrated ‘Jugulator’ album … only a bit darker and dirtier. Not only that, but he has that Scheepers / Halford high end shrieking, piercing scream, which sends a chill down your spine, nailed down to a tee. Add to this the top-notch consistency and standard of song-writing, with catchy and addictive arrangements, clever use of melody, and some absolutely blistering hammering of the instruments, and this album has snuck straight into my top spot for the month relatively unchallenged.

Is it original? No. Is that a problem? Absolutely not. This is blisteringly delivered, solid Heavy Fucking Metal of the calibre that got me into the genre thirty-five years ago, and will keep me here as long as the newer acts can continue to run with that torch, because frankly, it doesn’t get much better than this.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Burn In Hell
02. Armageddon
03. Slaves Of Babylon
04. Forged In Metal
05. Chains Of Fury
06. Evil Soul
07. Path To The Unknown
08. Master Of Pain
09. Insanity
10. The Inevitable End

LINE-UP:
Samuel Nyman – Vocals
Henrik Stenroos – Guitars
Kenny Boufadene – Bass
André Holmqvist – Drums

LINKS:

Manimal Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with SCREAMING SHADOWS

Screaming Shadows Logo

EMQ’s with SCREAMING SHADOWS

Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Italian Heavy/Power/Prog Metallers, Screaming Shadows. Huge thanks to Guitarist and band leader, Francesco Marras, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hi guys, I’m Francesco Marras, guitarist and band leader of Screaming Shadows. We play heavy metal with influences from Power and Progressive Metal. The band was born around 1998/1999 with a different name. After some demo tapes and a mini cd, “Behind the mask”, our first album, came out in 2003. In 2006 we released “In the name of God”, in 2009 “New era of shadows”, in 2011 “Night keeper”.

How did you come up with your band name?

We were looking for a cool name for the band and a friend of ours suggested Screaming Shadows. We liked it right away.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are Italians and we come from Sardinia, the beautiful island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. There are many excellent musicians in Sardinia but few places where you can play.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We have just released 2 singles titled ‘Free Me’ and ‘Heaven or Hell’, which you can listen to on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon mp3, YouTube Music, and Deezer. 

Who have been your greatest influences?

Our main influences are bands like Iron Maiden, Queensrÿche, Sonata Arctica, Judas Priest, Helloween …

What first got you into music?

The first album I listened to was “Piece of mind” by Iron Maiden, because my bigger brother was listening to it, I was only 6 years old, but it changes my life…

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I would love to be the producer of the new Iron Maiden album…

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

I think it would be Donington’s Monsters of Rock, it’s a legend and a dream I’ve always had …

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

I have never received strange gifts from fans …

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Enjoy life, don’t waste your time, life is an amazing gift, but don’t forget to listen to Screaming Shadows’ music!!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Ronnie James Dio!! I miss so much his voice…

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

To play live, meet new fans, and enjoy the stage, those are the things I love and I miss the most during this hard time.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

In my opinion it would be appropriate to sign more young bands … we need more fresh classic metal music.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Piece of Mind” by Iron Maiden

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?

CD for the best quality sound, but I grow up with cassettes, but to listen to a vinyl is like a ritual I love… I don’t like download and listening to music with my mobile phone…

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

I think the best gig is yet to come… I played so many great shows but no one in particular that I want to mention…

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I can’t imagine any other job … Music has always been a part of my life.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I don’t know, five people is a lot for an antisocial guy like me… Can I invite five dogs?!

What’s next for the band?

Our new album “Legacy of Stone” was just released on November 12th this year, under the label From The Vaults. Then, if covid allows, live shows are on the way, so check out our website or Facebook page for news.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

My favourite social network is Facebook, although I’m always afraid it could end up like MySpace … But we try to be present everywhere, we have our official website www.screamingshadows.com,  we are on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Reverb Nation, etc.
Subscribe our YouTube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/screamingshadows
Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ScreamingShadowsBand
and Instagram  https://www.instagram.com/screamingshadowsband/

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Sorry but I have no idea what a Jaffa cake is…I’m Italian!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Greetings to you readers and to all the metal heads out there, I hope to see you soon guys! 

Thank you very much for your support! When you hear the Screams…The Shadows rule!!!

Screaming Shadows Band Photo

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of 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.

Rhapsody Of Fire – Glory For Salvation

Glory For Salvation Album Cover Art

Rhapsody Of Fire – Glory For Salvation
AFM Records
Release Date: 26/11/2021
Running Time: 66:00
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

Few things are more cathartic and more immersive than an album from Rhapsody Of Fire. With fantasy concepts spanning multiple albums, and cinematically bombast soundscapes, my expectations are always going to be high where these Italians are concerned.

Before I delve into this album, a bit of context…the 2nd part of a trilogy of albums which started with “The Eighth Mountain” (2019), “Glory For Salvation” explores themes such as regret, sorrow and atonement in an alternate world. The band line-up changed once again before this album was laid down when, without much fanfare, Paolo Marchesich replaced Manuel Lotter behind the drum-kit. Other than that, the band’s approach doesn’t seem to have changed.

I get the impression that, with “Glory For Salvation”, Rhapsody Of Fire have endeavoured to create a multi-faceted album, without compromising the quality of their own musicianship. Yes, the album is good. Very good. Lead vocalist Giacomo Voli has outdone himself – his singing gave me goosebumps in songs such as ‘Un Ode Per L’Eroe’ (‘Ode For The Hero’), or even the title track. On guitars, Roby De Micheli showcases the range of his skills, from the blazing solos on ‘Maid Of The Secret Sand’ to the heavy riffs of ‘Abyss Of Pain II’.

The style of Alex Staropoli’s keyboard playing remains an essential element of the band’s sound, and wrenches all the emotive content out of the album’s music, sometimes punctuating it with some great keyboard riffs.

I hinted at the album’s layers….’Terial The Hawk’ is a galloping song with some Abba-style choir vocals. ‘Eternal Snow’ is an English-language narration that’s very clearly done by an Italian….it doesn’t possess the drama of, say, Christopher Lee’s narrations….but I’m willing to turn a blind eye on that. ‘Magic Signs’ is an incredibly well-written power ballad, containing some great acoustic guitar. And all the time the music keeps reflecting the concept’s evolving storyline.

‘Magic Signs’, ‘Un’Ode Per L’Eroe’ and ‘La Esencia De Un Rey’ are the same song but with, respectively, English, Italian and Spanish lyrics. So, Giacomo’s not just a great singer but a polyglot too!

As far as I’m concerned “Glory For Salvation” is an album of breathtaking proportions.

‘Chains of Destiny’ video:


TRACKLISTING:
01. Son Of Vengeance
02. The Kingdom Of Ice
03. Glory For Salvation
04. Eternal Snow
05. Terial The Hawk
06. Maid Of The Secret Sand
07. Abyss Of Pain II
08. Infinitae Gloriae
09. Magic Signs
10. I’ll Be Your Hero
11. Chains Of Destiny
12. Un’Ode Per L’Eroe
13. La Esencia De Un Rey

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


LINKS:

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.

Ignea & Ersedu – Bestia (Split EP)

Bestia EP Cover Art

Ignea & Ersedu – Bestia (Split EP)
Self-Released
Release Date: 21/10/21
Running Time: 38:33
Review by Simon Black
9/10

I had come across Ukraine’s Ignea with their “The Realms of Fire and Death” album last year – an album that melded Power and Symphonic, with a Middle Eastern vibe at their heart, and I was quite blown away at their rather unique sound. This piece sees them sharing the release with their old friends Ersedu – a way more Death and Symphonic orientated act, who haven’t so made the same level of impact globally yet – something this record is clearly designed to redress. Although to be fair, Ersedu are something of an enigma, with a minimal internet presence, and no clue on any of their web pages as to who is in their line up.

To be honest, it’s more like an album than an EP, as it’s a concept piece exploring the mythological bestiary of their home nation. And, despite there only being six tracks on there, the run time is the best part of forty minutes. Interestingly, although the two bands have each contributed tracks individually, the recording mix, and cross-fertilisation between the two acts means it’s sometimes not clear who contributed which tracks to a casual listener. Both utilise very powerful female frontwomen who can deliver roaring guttural shred and clean brilliance in equal measure, and the more I listen, the more I realise that this is a country with a very unique take on Extreme music, that I need to dig into more deeply. Ignea take the first two tracks with Melodic brutality, Ersedu the next three showing a more subtle and Symphonic, although no less brutal edge. The epic closer ‘The Symphony of Bestia’ however is a joint affair, which really rams home by point about cross-fertilisation, and is very much on its own as an instrumental piece, far more classical in nature, and really not in the slightest bit Metal at all.

I love the way that the more established act has opened proceedings, but then stepped back to show the world what their contemporaries and friends can do – that’s not a behaviour you see often in the brutally competitive music industry, and for that alone this release deserves credit. But the fact is it’s a fabulous record in its own right. This was a fascinating project, and it’s at moments like this when my frustration with this reviewing lark, and the relentless pile of material I have to cover each month, peaks.

Releases like this have taken a huge amount of thought and I feel like I am barely doing justice to it. Three listens in, and I know that I’m barely scratching the surface of one of the most fascinating pieces of work to cross my desk all year. No, fascinating is not strong enough a word ‘fantastic’ is better…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bosorkun
02. Magura’s Last Kiss
03. Mermaids
04. Black Garden
05. The Eaters of the Sun

LINE-UP:
Ignea:
Helle Bogdanova – Vocals
Dmitry Vinnichenko – Guitars
Xander Kamyshin – Bass
Ivan Kholmohorov – Drums
Evgeny Zhytnyuk – Keyboards

Ersedu:
Good question. Good luck finding that out!

LINKS:
Ignea:

Ignea Promo Pic

Ersedu:

Ersedu Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Skeletoon – The 1.21 Gigawatts Club

The 1.21 Gigawatts Club Album Cover Art

Skeletoon – The 1.21 Gigawatts Club
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 15/10/21
Running Time: 49:05
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Power Metal does have a habit of going crazy ape bonkers with grand concepts album, but this is the first time I’ve come across one that uses Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Back To The Future’ film as its lyrical source material, which is probably why the band prefer to refer to themselves as Nerd Metal.

Vocalist Tommy Fooler’s project seems to have been fairly consistent in their output rate, with this being their fifth album since 2016. They started life as a Helloween covers band, so sound wise the Italian five piece have retained that Northern Euro Power Metal sound fundamentally, which means you have a clear vocal style and upbeat, major chord structures at play. The trouble is, there’s an awful lot of bands that sound like that, and Skeletoon only differentiate themselves with more geeky subject matter, than the usual sword & sorcery, pseudo-historical, or faux satanic approach of their many, many peers.

It is refreshing though in that, for an Italian act, this sound more like their more Northern cousins that the style adopted by the extended Rhaspody family of acts. Is that enough I have to ask? Perhaps not, as the challenge remains one of originality, in a very crowded market.

Although the execution is pretty faultless musically, the challenge is stylistically there’s a lot of this about. The production is very polished though, and gives a warm rich tapestry to work from, but the problem is the lyrics, and song structures, don’t really grab the attention enough in, and of, themselves.

Despite the competent playing and vocal work throughout, what this is missing is some solid, catchy riffage to hook people in with and ladle the subject matter on to. Ironically this only really comes with the cover version of ‘Johnny B. Goode’ at the end of the record (chosen no doubt as a nod to Michael J. Fox trying to be Eddie Van Halen at the end of the first movie), which unfortunately does a great job of highlighting the key elements that were missing from the rest of the album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Intro Unveiling Secrets
02. Holding On
03. Outatime
04. The Pinheads
05. 2204
06. Enchant Me
07. We don’t Need Roads (The Great Scott Madness)
08. Pleasure Paradise (Oh La-La)
09. The 4Th Dimensional Legacy
10. Eastwood Ravine
11. Johnny B. Goode

LINE-UP:
Mr. Tomi Fooler – Vocals
Andy “K” Cappellari – Guitar
Fabrizio “Fabbro” Taricco – Guitar
Giacomo “Jack” Stiaccini – Bass
Enrico “HenrySydoz” Sidoti – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.



Armored Saint – Symbol Of Salvation Live

Symbol Of Salvation Live Album Cover Art

Armored Saint – Symbol Of Salvation Live
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 22/10/2021
Running Time: 01:08:10
Review by Simon Black
9/10

Armored Saint are ones of those bands who really, really, really ought to be much bigger than they currently are. I first came across them when I was given a DJ promo copy of the studio version of “Symbol Of Salvation” way back when and was blown away by a record that across its thirteen songs did not have a duff one amongst them. What I didn’t know at the time was that this was the fifth record from these boys, so what I had taken as an explosive debut was the result of a decade of hard work. That’s work done mainly upstream at a time when America only seemed to care for Hair Metal or Thrash Metal, whilst they ploughed the Power Metal furrow, arguably ahead of Helloween, settling the point, once and for all, why the USA variant is so different from its ultimately more dominant European counterpart.

This was Power Metal with way more groove and soul. Then there was John Bush’s incredible voice – a voice that Metallica once tried to lure away and which ultimately Anthrax succeeded in doing, killing off Armored Saint for a decade, by which time the world had moved on and not helped the fact that Bush still could not let Anthrax go properly until Joey Belladonna’s return in 2005. They’ve been facing an uphill struggle ever since, which is a shame, because I can’t fault any of their recent studio offerings at all – 2015’s “Win Hands Down” and last year’s “Punching The Sky” are absolute masterworks as far as I am concerned, but they don’t quite hold a candle to the last album of the classic line up, which turned out to be original guitarist Dave Prichard’s obituary before his tragically early death from leukaemia in 1990. So, dusting this album down for its thirtieth anniversary makes perfect sense and the band fortunately laid these live shows down way back in 2018 in readiness. Add to this there’s a filmed version of the show in the works, with both recordings being captured at New York’s Gramercy Theatre.

Bush is one of those singer’s whose power has not been diminished by age, even though the tuning may have dropped the odd semitone to help him along, but that makes the material sound darker and heavier than its original recording. That really helps, as even a riotously up-tempo belter like opener ‘Reign Of Fire’ (still the Saint song as far as I’m concerned) sounds better with this darker underbelly. The original recordings always suffered in my eyes, as my ageing vinyl copy never belted out too loud even when turned up to eleven as a consequence of the physical challenges of squeezing fifty-five minutes’ worth of material onto a single disk, so it wasn’t until the coming of the digital age that I could hear a reasonable remastering of this. This live recording goes way farther – the sound is rich, fat and heavier than a two ton heavy thing. Add to which Bush’s performance is absolutely top notch here, with not a note or syllable dropped and although the audience don’t sound too loud, the atmosphere is positively electric.

This release is pretty good value for money too, as well as all thirteen original songs being given the live treatment, plus a radio edit of the title track, but more interestingly five demo tracks featuring Prichard which never made it to the final album. The contrast in Bush’s voice is really obvious played back to back, but his live delivery has a maturity and richness that he lacked in those younger days. Much as I love the original I suspect I’m probably more likely to re-spin this live version in its entirety, as it’s got that darker edge and timbre that the band’s current incarnation has developed combined with some of their absolute best songs in their thirty-seven year career.

‘Spineless’ (Official Video from “Symbol Of Salvation Live”)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Reign Of Fire
02. Dropping Like Flies
03. Last Train Home
04. Tribal Dance
05. The Truth Always Hurts
06. Half Drawn Bridge
07. Another Day
08. Symbol Of Salvation
09. Hanging Judge
10. Warzone
11. Burning Question
12. Tainted Past
13. Spineless
14. Nothing Between The Ears (1989 4-Track Demo)
15. Get Lost (1989 4-Track Demo)
16. Medieval Nightmares (1989 4-Track Demo)
17. People (1989 4-Track Demo)
18. Pirates (1989 4-Track Demo)
19. Symbol Of Salvation (Live Radio Edit)

LINE-UP:
Joey Vera – Bass
Gonzo Sandoval – Drums
Phil Sandoval – Guitars
John Bush – Vocals
Jeff Duncan – Guitars

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

All Seeing Eyes – Reinventing Time

Reinventing Time Album Cover Art

All Seeing Eyes – Reinventing Time
Self-Released
Release Date: 16/08/2021
Running Time: 52:02
Review by Beth Jones
6/10

All seeing eye are a Progressive/Power Metal duo from Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire right here in good old Blighty. We don’t get many Eurometal style bands coming out of our little island for some reason, I think possibly our failure to embrace the more flamboyant side of Metal in case we don’t look ‘cool’ enough. Well, personally, I’ve never been one for looking cool, so I love it when some homegrown metal like this lands in my review pile.

This is only the band’s second album, despite having existed for nearly a decade. A hiatus put things on hold, but, after their original keyboard player left, they decided to carry on as a duo.

So, to the album in hand. There’s a lot of influences in it, definitely – from Classic Heavy Metal, with Euro Power vocals, modern guitar crunch, and even some late 90’s Grunge. It’s certainly a unique plethora of sounds mixed together. It varies from track to track, too, keeping it interesting.

Musically, the songs are great, and there are some moments of brilliance, Ben Colton’s vocals and the guitar solos being prime examples. But I’m struggling with the overall mixing of the album. There are some issues here, that kind of spoil things for me. They’ve recorded it in their home studio, and mixed it themselves, which they deserve credit for…but then, due to the situation we have found ourselves in, so have a lot of bands over the last 20 months. I think the track, ‘Perspicacity’ is probably the most successful on the album because everything is at roughly the same level. It’s a decent song, too. Lots of different elements, from 70’s Progressive to Thrashier sections. However, in other tracks, it can sometimes be difficult to pick out the vocal line, the keyboards are too full on, or the snare sounds like a tin can. It’s a big shame.

The final track, ‘A Sequence Of History’, is pretty impressive at over 15 minutes in length, and doesn’t suffer from too many production issues. This starts quite Iron Maiden like, with pacey rhythms and guitars. It then alternates between this, and sweeping sections that feel more Euro Prog Power. It’s an epic song, and I can see it being spectacular live.

If you like Power or Prog there will definitely be something on “Reinventing Time” for you, but it hasn’t connected with me in the way I had hoped. I don’t like being negative because music is life. But, at the moment we are being spoilt with real quality, in terms of production, from so many bands, and that turns us into music snobs.

‘This Is Cypher World’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Welcome To Cypher World
02. Proselytized
03. Love Is Illusion
04. The Gift Of Madness
05. Perspicacity
06. Ghosts Of Yesterday
07. Angel Fires
08. A Sequence Of History

LINE-UP:
Ben Colton – Vocals/Lead Guitar
Kenny Fraser – Lead Guitar/Bass

LINKS:

All Seeing Eyes Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Rage – Resurrection Day

Resurrection Day Album Cover Art

Rage – Resurrection Day
Steamhammer/SPV
Release Date: 17/09/2021
Running Time: 50:02
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Rage have been at this a long time.

Although from the same German historic Power Metal label stable as Helloween, they have not quite managed to become such a major name outside of Power Metal circles, which is a shame, as the back catalogue of twenty-six studio albums, ten EP’s and four live albums since 1984 is bloody impressive by anyone’s standards. A quick look at the dizzying number of line-up changes that have revolved around Vocalist and Bassist Peavy Wagner over the decades may go some way to explaining that. Line-up changes take the wind out of any progress a band makes by slowing down the momentum and constantly forcing their fan base to readjust and this time it’s almost a completely new line up behind Peavy, with only drummer Vassilios Maniatopoulos still in play from previous incarnations, and even then this is only his second studio contribution. That’s the negative side. The positive aspect is you get to effectively reboot and ditch the parts that did not work, but either way it still does not make continuous growth and brand consistency easy.

The twelve tracks on here all have a huge amount of energy and this doesn’t feel like an old band going through the motions, but then eighteen months of lock downs and practically a new band will put a fire under most acts. The songs all have strength and enthusiasm in abundance and Peavy et al still have a lot they want to say. Musically this is mostly full pelt Power with added orchestrations, a healthy dollop of Speed Metal, with a few Thrashy touches in the time structures and vocal arrangements. Peavey is very much at the front of the mix, as you would expect since basically he is Rage. That said the musicianship from the rest of the band is top notch, but could do with being a bit more present in the mix other than during the solos.

‘Monetary Goods’ is the strongest track by a country mile – it’s anthemic and punchy and it holds its own far better than a lot of the material on here, which could have benefitted from a bit of pruning to be brutally honest. That said there’s nothing wrong with the rest of the material, but with a bit more of this catchiness sprinkled throughout then this would have been a resounding ten out of ten. Nevertheless, Rage remain masters of the genre and continue to be relevant.

‘Virginity’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Memento Vitae (Overture)
02. Resurrection Day
03. Virginity
04. A New Land
05. Arrogance and Ignorance
06. Man in Chains
07. The Age of Reason
08. Monetary Gods
09. Mind Control
10. Traveling Through Time
11. Black Room
12. Extinction Overkill

LINE-UP:
Peavy Wagner – Vocals & Bass
Vassilios Maniatopoulos – Drums
Stefan Weber – Guitars
Jean Borman – Guitars

LINKS:

Rage Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.