Brainstorm – Wall Of Skulls

Wall Of Skulls Album Cover Art

Brainstorm – Wall Of Skulls
AFM Records
Release Date: 17/09/2021
Running Time: 49:51
Review by Simon Black

I have a confession to make. Given that I have a deep love of Power Metal, I have somehow managed to not come across Brainstorm up until this point, which is a little embarrassing for a band that have been around for the best part of thirty years. I am however more familiar with one of Vocalist Andy B. Franck’s previous projects – the now defunct Symphorce, which carved a parallel track to Brainstorm for a number of years until Franck pulled the plug on that particular project a decade ago. That outfit had a more Progressive Metal edge which had great appeal to me personally, but Franck’s distinctive and powerful voice is always going to grab your attention and discovering that a vocalist whose work you liked has another ten albums of back catalogue to dig up is no bad discovery on this bleak Monday morning.

The music here is firmly in the anthemic German Power Metal category, something that seems as natural as breathing to natives of that country. It must be something to do with their rather wonderful beer. Far too much Euro Power material gets bogged down with trying to create convoluted concept albums and forgets about building a record around well-structured and crafted songs, but Brainstorm have this down to a tee. Franck’s voice is very high in the mix, which is not a bad thing, but the problem with that approach is you might miss the sheer subtle song-writing craft that guitarists Torsten Ihlenfeld and Milan Loncaric bring to proceedings. The trouble with opting for accessibility for an audience in a festival field to easily singalong to when they don’t know your songs, as many Power acts do is that the tunes can quickly become forgettable after the fact. Not so here. These two really are a pair of riff monsters, with relentless and driven delivery being the order of the day, rather than a focus on overt flourishes of instrumental technical decadence the genre often drips with. The album’s the stronger for it, as the focus is on creating songs that hold the attention with heaviness and rhythm, eschewing the more hook laden melodic catchy anthems that many contemporaries choose.

Not that there isn’t catchiness here, but it mainly comes from Franck, of which the softer ‘Glory Disappears’ gives him chance to adopt a completely different vocal style or the spot on and brilliantly anthemic ‘Solitude’, which takes the top spot favourite song position for me. There’s also plenty of speed and pace in there, with tracks like ‘My Dystopia’ belting out the rhythms and pace without losing the subtlety. Where this record wins over so many of its peers is that it remains consistently strong throughout, to the point where I have struggles to highlight a weak filler song elsewhere. That’s never bad for a Monday.

‘Turn Off The Light’ feat. Seeb from Orden Ogan (Official Video)

01. Chamber Thirteen
02. Where Ravens Fly
03. Solitude
04. Escape the Silence
05. Turn Off the Light
06. Glory Disappears
07. My Dystopia
08. End of My Innocence
09. Stigmatized (Shadows Fall)
10. Holding On
11. I, the Deceiver

Andy B. Franck – Lead Vocals
Torsten Ihlenfeld – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Milan Loncaric – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Antonio Ieva – Bass
Dieter Bernert – Drums


Brainstorm 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.

Sorceress of Sin – Constantine

Constantine Album Cover Art

Sorceress of Sin – Constantine
Release Date: 06/08/2021
Running Time: 61:00
Review by Simon Black

Released just in time for their appearance on the Bloodstock New Blood stage, East Anglia’s Sorceress of Sin are – unusually for bands gracing that particular stage, onto their sophomore album. They are also quite experienced musicians prior to forming this act, so I am not sure they truly count as ‘new blood’, but either way I am glad they got the attention this past weekend as they well and truly deserve a wider audience. Their debut only hit our ears in last November, having only formed earlier that year. The shortness of gap between them and the subtly different stylistic delivery between the two might lead one to think that the debut recording had been around for a while before getting released, but this is clearly not the case and is in fact the perfect illustration of what happens when experienced musicians come together and gel perfectly…and prolifically.

Built around the husband and wife team of Lisa and Paul Skinner the band are that rarity of a UK-based Power Metal act. Whereas last year’s “Mirrored Revenge” was very clean and operatic in its vocal approach, “Constantine” is showing Lisa Skinner in a way more aggressive and brutal light when it comes to her delivery. This absolutely suits the darker, more down-tuned instrumental approach which could be heard on the debut, whilst still giving her plenty of scope to demonstrate her range and blisteringly powerful voice when she does turn on the screams and jumps up a couple of octaves for the sheer bloody hell of it.

The rest of the band are tighter than a gnat’s bum hole when it comes to their playing and musical flow. There is a brutally tight rhythm backbone on display here and some absolutely fluid and beautiful shredding from guitarist Constantine Kanakis – who despite the more overtly heavy and darker sound than is the norm for the Power sub-genre, can still pull in some spectacular Neo-Classical flourishes without it sounding remotely out of place (‘Pathogenic Parasite’ being one of the best examples of this). The only downside I can really call out is that the production is quite raw for the genre and whilst this adds a sense of immediacy and energy to proceedings, does mean that some of the subtlety and layering the band are capable of is lost in a slightly trebly haze, but given that it’s self-produced in the middle of a global pandemic I’m not allowing it to get in the way, and neither should you, because the performances and song-writing more than balance this out.

As much as I loved their debut, this album works so much better, because it’s unafraid to break the mould of clichés that too many cookie-cutter Power Metal albums simply fail to do. Part of this I suspect is down to the fact that Power Metal is very much a minority market here in the UK and that without the extra layer of brutality that the British fans expect, then Power bands in the Euro mould often struggle to get an audience. Sorceress of Sin effortlessly avoid this trap, sounding fresh, energetic and clearly British, whilst still clearly a Melodic Power act of the highest calibre. A triumphant follow up indeed.

01. Necropolis
02. Massacre of Meridian
03. Realms of Elysium
04. Pathogenic Parasite
05. Until The Dawn
06. Dimension IV
07. Erratica
08. Adira
09. Constantine

Lisa Skinner – Vocals
Constantine Kanakis – Guitars
Daniel Mackender – Bass
Paul Skinner – Drums
Tom Maclean – Keyboards, Orchestral Arrangements


Sorceress Of Sin 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.

Phoenix Rising – Acta Est Fabula

Acta Est Fabula Album Cover Art

Phoenix Rising – Acta Est Fabula
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 47:38
Review by Simon Black

Spain’s Phoenix Rising have been quiet in recent years, with this, their fourth full-length album being the first to hit our ears since 2014’s “Versus”. Their music is pure Symphonic and Power Metal, fluidly and expertly delivered with some absolutely beautifully layered arrangements and technically superb musicianship. They also deliver the material in their native Spanish – a language whose lilting and romantic enunciation lends itself perfectly to the genre. They have recorded in two languages in the past, and English versions of some songs on later albums do crop up from time to time, but I encourage you to embrace them in their native tongue. I know this sort of thing can be a turn off for many English listeners, but I urge you to live a little and get out of your comfort zone (especially if you include a certain German Industrial Metal outfit in your music collection, then you have absolutely no excuse).

Like the best technical instrumentalists in this sub-genre, the boys weave the guitar work, expertly delivered by Daniel Martínez and singer Miguel González, working in conjunction with keyboardsmith Jesús M. Toribio. These guys riff off of each other in the time honoured tradition but do it effortlessly make the melody lines flow as one, rather than sounding like there’s a one-upmanship competition going on between the three players in the way Stratovarius or Dream Theater might. This sacrifice of ego over songwriting makes for an incredibly powerful delivery model, ably supported by some fantastic rhythm work from Cristian Rodríguez on bass and Carlos Vivas on the drum stool. Miguel González’s vocals are gruffer than some might expect from the genre, but they absolutely fit the band and lend the whole sound an edginess that would simply not be there if a purely clean vocal approach had been taken. It works cohesively with the music and he does have a good range to support this, which the rich and lavish production accentuates perfectly.

This is clearly a fairly complex concept piece of music, as the press pack included an eighty-seven page PDF novel which is the back story – although sadly my Spanish skills don’t go much beyond ordering a beer so I am missing out here. Nevertheless, this screams ‘attention to detail’ from every pore, but not at the expense of the music and is importantly still making it easy to hook in the more casual listener. The floor wiper for me is definitely ‘El Último Aliento’, which has an incredibly catchy, folky riff and melody, with bounce along beats and the technical stuff held slightly back for the instrumental and solo flourishes despite including some fairly complex orchestration, making it the song you know everyone is going to boogie along to live. It’s technical, but doesn’t sound it to the causal listener, and shows that this band have accessibility as well as incredible musical proficiency at their heart. A cracking piece of music indeed.

01. El Portal de Thalogrim
02. Acta Est Fabula
03. Luna de Sangre
04. El Último Aliento
05. El Doblón de la Muerte
06. Deriva Speranza
07. El Temor de un Hombre Sabio
08. Achterhuis
09. Ira Ciega
10. El Caminante

Miguel González – Vocals & Lead guitar
Daniel Martínez – Lead guitar
Jesús M. Toribio – Keyboards & Orchestration
Cristian Rodríguez – Bass
Carlos Vivas – Drums


Phoenix Rising 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.

Slizard – Slizard

Slizard Album Cover Art

Slizard – Slizard
Mega Metal Records
Release Date: 28/05/2021
Running Time: 65:00
Review by Wallace Magri

Once upon a time…when I was a kid, around 1985-89, I used to buy a record by its cover. Back then, it was very uncommon to listen to Metal music on the radio or wherever, so buying the albums was my only choice to get in touch with such songs. I was incredibly lucky to get into Kiss, W.A.S.P., Twisted Sister, Iron Maiden and a bunch of other cool Heavy Metal bands – judging them by the cover!

Back to 2021, I decided to choose a new release from the Ever Metal’s review list by the name of the band (no Industrial Metal this time). Slizard – was the one that caught my attention instantly: it sounded Metal enough for me and I assumed that I would listen to a little bit of Sleaze Metal here and there…

So, I began the blind ear experience listening to the opening track of Slizard’s, self-titled, debut album, ‘Monster’, and what I heard was a song from a Heavy Metal band from somewhere like Italy, that, sometimes, flirts with Hard Rock melodies. The second song, ‘Mr. Hyde’, sounded almost like Melodic Power Metal. I am not a big fan of that style, so I have few references to compare to. Anyway, that was my first impression on the songs.

But much to my surprise, when I checked the press release, I found out that Slizard are actually from Los Angeles, with a couple of experienced musicians in its line-up: lead singer Liz Fawcett and the amazing guitar and bass player Pat “Buzz” Belrose, who has been on the L.A. scene since the 90’s; Tadd “Toad” Resmen completes the team, playing the drums very well.

Yes, the press release is right, because Liz Fawcett is an amazing singer, but that skill by itself isn’t enough to create good music. And even though she actually is a hell of a singer, what we have here are some great songs and also great mixing and production work, from Chris Wood, who has worked with the likes of Slash, Lenny Kravitz and Vivian Campbell guitarist of Dio and Def Leppard.

It also has to be mentioned that the good results of the album, as a whole, owes a lot to the impressive talent of Pat ‘Buzz’ Belrose, who plays bass and guitar on the album, and what excellent riffs and solos we have here, I tell you!

After listening to “Slizard” a couple of times, I was reminded of old-school US Metal Bands, such as Metal Church and Chastain, on some occasions. Maybe Leather Leone could have been an influence on Liz’s vocals, but there are also Alanis Morissette and especially Dolores O’Riordan (The Cranberries) influences here, such as in ‘Watch N’ Listen’ and ‘Neverland’ – but, anyhow, those are still Heavy metal songs, with simple but effective riffs and great guitar solos and licks!

Sometimes the melodic touch gets more intense, but nothing like something you would hear from Lita Ford or Vixen, forget it, the timbre of the instruments and the lack of keywords always keep things in ‘Heavy Metal mode’. But, even so, songs like ‘Vampire Zombies’ and ‘Down By The River’ have a poppy appeal and catchy choruses, aligned with guitar solos that have plenty of feeling on every note played by Belrose.

Well, I am glad I had a happy blind ear experience: In the beginning, the wrong conclusion over the name could have made me disappointed with the musical style, because the band definitely don’t play Sleaze Metal; even afterwards, thinking that Slizard would be a European Power Metal band, but I loved the vocals, heavy guitars and amazing solos, full of technique and feeling. Then, after realizing that the band didn’t play any of the styles above during my first listen, I can positively say that, if you enjoy basic Hard ‘n’ Heavy music, just choose Slizard by the music they play and you won’t go wrong.

01. Monsters
02. Mr. Hyde
03. Caught Up In The Gears
04. Crack The Whip
05. Skinwalker
06. Watch N’ Listen
07. Vampire Zombies
08. Runnin’ Towards The Zombies
09. Madness Of The Queen
10. Neverland
11. Down By The River
12. Spooks In The Trees
13. Broken Dreams
14. Will You Still Be There
15. Slow Motion Suicide

Liz Fawcett – Vocals
Pat “Buzz” Belrose – Guitars, Bass, Vocals
Todd “Toad” Resmen – Drums


Slizard Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Wallace Magri 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.

Kiko Shred’s Rebellion – Rebellion

Rebellion Album Cover Art

Kiko Shred’s Rebellion – Rebellion
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 30/07/2021
Running Time: 49:16
Review by Simon Black

It’s not quite clear whether this is a slightly new brand and project (the release is distinctly named ‘Kiko Shred’s Rebellion’), or the fourth album extension of the existing Kiko Shred band incarnation (i.e., ‘Kiko Shred – Rebellion’). Either way this record is pure Brazilian Power Metal cum Guitar Hero hybrid at its technical best, as the aptly named guitarist does exactly that. It’s always tricky when an act is named for and built around someone with a reputation for, errr, shredding, as the risk that the virtuosity of one instrument dominates the project cannot be ignored. In this instance we need not worry, as this four piece are razor tight and proficient in all areas, including that most important one of all – the song-writing department.

Musically this kicks off in super high tempo, with the pile-driving ‘Mirror’ and straight away I am struck by the cohesive musical interplay between all the players. This is technically really proficient stuff and even though Shred’s guitar virtuosity is clearly front and centre throughout, there’s some really tight time structures and reciprocity between drums, bass and guitar. ‘Rainbow After The Storm’ has a more accessible and catchier riff-based structure, but when the shredding starts, it’s done by all the instruments working as a seamless whole. And let’s not forget the vocal performance here either, as Ed Gadlin certainly has a set of powerful lungs on him, with a high clean range, but enough guts and gravel to keep it edgy. Central to the record is the title track, which does actually verge into shredder territory more than most, with a few Neo-Classical moments of relentless fret-hammering guitar work, but in general by keeping a Metal edge to it and balancing the musical tones and styles, this works by showing the sheer proficiency of the players at work. ‘Thorn Across My Heart’ is the mid-point of the record and the one point where it seems to lose focus, but the instrumental ‘Mors Non Separabit’ brings it right back – opening with acoustic/electric guitar interplay, we get some really complex technical foot and fretwork when the song opens up the pace a bit. It’s heavy, subtle and dizzying in its virtuosity, without feeling like there’s any showing off going on.

Fundamentally, although a project named after its dexterous guitarist, the cohesion between the players makes this feel like a full-on band, rather than just a vehicle for one whizz player. It’s tight, it’s well-crafted and it’s lovingly executed.

‘Mirror’ (Official Video)

01. Intro
02. Mirror
03. Rainbow After The Storm
04. Rebellion
05. Thorn Across My Heart (Feat. Doogie White)
06. Mors Non Separabit
07. Honour To The Fallen Brothers
08. The Hierophant
09. Voodoo Queen
10. Information War

Ed Gadlin – Vocals
Kiko Shred – Guitars
Will Costa – Bass
Lucas Tagliari – Drums


Kiko Shred Rebellion 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.


Hell Bound Logo


Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview, courtesy of Victor, with Brasília, Brazil based Heavy/Power Metal band, Hell Bound. Huge thanks lead guitarist Fabricio, 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?

First of all, thank you very much for this fantastic opportunity to talk!

My name is Fabricio, you call me Fabricera!! I’m the lead guitarist of Hell Bound since 2015! Hell Bound was born in 2008, I wasn’t there when it happened, the band was founded by Guilherme Peixoto, our bass man! There was another guitarist who is one of my best friends today, Adan Henssen, by the way, who is an awesome guitarist (nowadays, Adan is guitarist of Nightwölf)! Then, he left the band, and the guys invited Jeândilas de Oliveira. These two guys came in and came out a couple of times, and then, tired with this situation, the guys broke up with the band, after a couple of years. I took the position of lead guitar and we make all kind of things that a band have to do, rehearsals, shows, release our debut LP, and then we lost our first vocalist, Emannuel Thorsen (Nowadays with the band A Fool’s Mockery). He travelled abroad and today, he lives in UK, but, before he left the band and the country, he got for us another amazing vocalist, Erick Linhares!! After all, when the new guy came to the band, the world was hit with this awful pandemic and until today we just had one rehearsal with this new formation.

Victor Here. Erick Linhares is also the son of Mario Linhares, a great Brazilian singer who was famous in the legendary Brazilian band Dark Avenger. My first review here on Ever Metal was in honour of his memory by our friendship. We all miss Mario, since he passed away in 2017.

How did you come up with your band name?

I heard once that was Guilherme Peixoto (bassist) who made the baptism of fire of the band hahaha! I don’t know very well why, but I believe that he chose this name (Hell Bound) because it looks like the lyric themes that we play!

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

I’m from Brasília, capital of Brazil! Here, to be a musician is a very hard thing to do, mainly if it was your way of living ! The managers pay bad, and for heavy metal, it’s almost impossible to bring home the bacon ,you know? To play here is a proof of our love for the music! You have to work with other thing to live! On the other hand, we have the moral support of the guys who came to watch our shows! They are awesome!!!

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

Our latest release was our first LP “Hell Bound” in 2018 and the same year, we released too our first video, ‘Race To Death’!

‘Race To Death’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

First of all, Jimi Hendrix!!! This guy made me play guitar! And then, Van Halen, Malmsteen, Dimebag, Randy Rhoads, this is my top five lead guitars of the word! I really love these guys!

What first got you into music?

The guitar!

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

I really would love to make a revival of Pantera with Rex and Phill, the guys who are still alive, and call our drummer for it!

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

That’s really a hard decision, I love a lot of them ! But just one!?? Wacken Open Air!

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

No one! Hahaha.

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

Thank you very much for your support! You rock!! Hold on, the pandemic will be over one day, and we will kick some asses on the stage together!

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

Jimi Hendrix!

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

Playing to the people who came to the show! That is an amazing experience, the energy, for me is almost a spiritual experience! And I really hate the fact that is almost impossible to bring the bacon home with it! I really would love to earn my money by playing guitar!

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

The fact that singing pop music and showing the ass is so valued and that all kinds of metal doesn’t have the same opportunity.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Just one!? The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Are You Experienced”.

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

For me!? Vinyl, definitely!! The bass is awesome, it sounds more deep and real for me!

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

Our release debut LP show, we invited the first guitarists we had in the band for the show. It was sick, man!! We played with three guitars on this day!

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

Pilot! I love airplanes!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Wow, that is low blow, man, because some of them are dead and I would like to continue around here for a while hahaha. But, if they were alive today; Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Hendrix, Galileo, Dimebag!!!!

What’s next for the band?

Waiting until the pandemic is over to continue with our songs!

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

Thank you for that! The people can find us on Instagram and on Facebook.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Dude, what!? Hahahaha. It looks like a woman’s name ! Hahahahaha.

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

Thank you very much! Please, keep doing that, supporting the underground. You’re awesome, buddy!!! Yes, I would like to tell the people who are interested in us, we’re cooking something great for you!! Waiting for us! Rock on, we’re in this together! \m/

Hell Bound Promo Pic

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.

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

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.

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

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


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.

Wings of Destiny – Memento Mori

Momento Mori Album Cover Art

Wings of Destiny – Memento Mori
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 46:24
Review by Simon Black

Another first for me, with my first review of a Costa Rican band (although to be fair the press release says originally from there, and they seem to have relocated since then). Since their inception in 2013, this bunch of Power Metallers have been very busy and done well to establish themselves on a global platform, with “Memento Mori” being their sixth album and showing them now well into their stride. Like many South American Power acts, the Angra, Rhapsody (in all its incarnations) and Symphony X touches are strong influences in their sound, but the band have a clear and distinct identity of their own. The net effect of which is an album that jumps around stylistically within the bounds of the sub-genre and keeps you guessing. Much of this lies with Anton Darusso’s ability to switch vocal styles quite as fluidly as his considerable range allows (in a similar way to Rob Allen) from the gruff to the extreme, and on to the clean and high he can adjust to the needs of the song with incredible flexibility.

This means you get the disconcerting altercation between say, the likes of the brutally thundering album opener ‘Playing With Fire’, to the more straight ahead Power rocking of ‘Death Wish’, and on again to the more technically melodic ‘Holy Grail’ – and indeed, all shades in between. The cracking ‘My Freedom’ even goes one stage further and incorporates all three in the same song! And let’s not leave out Darusso’s not inconsiderable talents on the ivories as well, with his bursts of Neo-Classical fluid proficiency from time to time and the kind of guitar/keyboard interplay that is the backbone of Italian Power acts.

I can think of no finer example of this than the title song itself, which is one of the outstanding moments on this record. It crams a lot into its nearly five minutes of run time and really showcases the musical talents of all band members quite spectacularly. They also find time to head down an almost Symphonic route with the epic album closer ‘Theater Of Tragedy’, which adds an over the top surreal feel to its opening bars that wouldn’t seem out of place on an Avatar album, before belting off at ninety miles an hour on a whirlwind tour of many of the stylistic touches we’ve seen throughout this piece with a good dose of choral orchestration to boot. It’s, technically, the most accomplished piece on here, although perhaps not as immediate in its catchiness and I can’t see it happening live, but it’s certainly an epic musical statement, and one that grows on me with repeated listening. Varied, technically brilliant and engaging, this is an absolute belter of a record.

Playing With Fire’ (Lyric Video)

01. Playing With Fire
02. Death Wish
03. Holy Grail
04. Shadowland
05. Reborn Immortal
06. My Freedom
07. Of Dwarves And Men
08. Memento Mori
09. City On Fire
10. Theater Of Tragedy

Anton Darusso – Vocals & Keyboards
Andres Castro – Guitars
Cristian Jimenez – Guitars
Emil Minott – Bass
Horacio Paris – Drums


Wings Of Destiny 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.

Rhapsody Of Fire – I’ll Be Your Hero EP

I'll Be Your Hero EP Cover Art

Rhapsody Of Fire – I’ll Be Your Hero EP
AFM Records
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 41:07
Review by Beth Jones

Good morning my lovely bunch of heathens, rogues, and degenerates. How the hell are you? It feels like an age since I last wrote a review. I mean, it isn’t, but there’s a lot going on here at Ever Metal HQ at the moment, and life is fast becoming the shitty gift that just keeps on giving. The sun is shining today here in the Wales, too. Great. Unless you’re the possessor of true Celtic skin, like me. If that’s the case, in this weather you will, like me, find the plight of the lowly vampire incredibly relatable. Even my eyeballs are sweating. I mean come on! This is Wales! We’re not used to this sort of heat! We’re used to rain, and sheep, and the distant sounds of a male voice choir lilting over the hills. Anyway, the saving grace in amongst all the detritus is, as always, music. And today I have a cracker for you.

Italian Symphonic Power Metal legends, Rhapsody Of Fire, have been bringing their melodic powerhouse of sounds to our ears for a fair while now. And they’re new EP, “I’ll Be Your Hero”, certainly lives up to the epic sounds that we have come to expect from them. It’s the build up to their next album release, and contains their new single and title track, alongside 7 other tracks; the Japan bonus track, ‘Where Dragons Fly’, 2 live recordings, and 4 versions of the same song, ‘The Wind, The Rain And The Moon’, all sung in different languages – the previously released English version, and versions in Italian, Spanish, and French, respectively.

Opening with the title track, this EP bounds in like a runaway freight train. It’s brash, and theatrical, and hugely decadent, but I bloody love it! The vocals of Giacomo Voli are just sublime. He has such a rich tone to his voice, and it blends so well with the other orchestration that’s going on. The melody line of ‘I’ll Be Your Hero’ is also hellishly catchy and will become your earworm in no time at all.

‘Where Dragons Fly’ takes the pace down a little, but still has some dramatic sweeping orchestration in the midsections. Then, in complete contract, a live version of ‘Rain Of Fury’ pummels in like a hammer drill! What a song! Power Metal with speed and precision. Stunning guitar solos, stunning synths and keys, drums that could easily turn your brain into pulp, and, of course, blistering vocals. The drama and theatrics stay right in the mix for ‘The Courage To Forgive’ (live), as well. It’s slower, but everything just has so much passion. And again, some ridiculously brilliant guitar work enters into the affray. It really does make every bit of me feel alive (and that’s no mean feat these days, I can tell you)!

But the star of the EP is ‘The Wind, The Rain and The Moon’. It’s beautiful and melancholic from the start. Even though their genre suggests a huge classical element, Rhapsody Of Fire have really pushed into the realms of pure classical with this song. The orchestral strings that make up the body of the song remind me of Barber’s ‘Adagio For Strings’. Sweeping and soaring, mournful and lilting. Stunningly beautiful. Add into that Giacomo’s perfect Tenor voice, and you have something truly magnificent. Then plant into it a climactic point, where guitars, and gentle drums join, and what you have is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect power ballads I have ever heard. And just to make it even more beautiful, we get to explore it in multiple languages, too. Singing in choirs, as I did back in the day, let me experience singing in multiple languages. My favourite (aside from Welsh) was always Italian, because of its full and rounded vowel sounds, which make it so expressive. Listening to ‘Senza Un Addio’ reconfirmed this for me. Italian really is the music of song. This, however, should take nothing away from the Spanish or French versions.

So, to sum up, this EP is rather good. The musicianship, passion, production, and orchestration is as close to perfect as you’re likely to get. You should definitely give it a spin.

I’ll Be Your Hero’ (Official Lyric Video)

01. I’ll Be Your Hero
02. Where Dragons Fly
03. Rain Of Fury (Live)
04. The Courage To Forgive (Live)
05. The Wind, The Rain And The Moon
06. Senza Un Addio
07. Sin Un Adios
08. La Force De Me Battre

Giacomo Voli – Vocals
Alex Staropoli – Keyboards
Roby De Micheli – Guitars
Alessandro Sala – Bass
Manu Lotter – Drums


Rhapsody Of Fire Promo Pic (Credit @emanuelealiprandiphotography)

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.

Rubicon – Demonstar

Demonstar Album Cover Art

Rubicon – Demonstar
Rock City Music Label
Release Date: 16/07/2021
Running Time: 59:53
Review by Simon Black

We don’t get too many things to listen to from Russia. A quick look at the major contributors to the genre over there quickly reveals part of the reason why…English is not widely used as a language within the community so many bands seem to stick to their native tongue. Although that should not be a barrier to international recognition (Rammstein being the most notable example of what happens when you stick to your guns regardless), international record labels might think otherwise and without them it’s damn hard to self-produce and promote outside of your native market. Consequently, Russia is still something of a closed Metal shop about which the rest of the world hears far too little. What’s also not helped is the few, that have crossed my desk in recent years, have suffered somewhat from production values that leave something to be desired. If Metal bands themselves are thin on the ground in a given market, then it follows that producers and studios with the right equipment and experience to bring the best out of their music are even more so. Which is what makes this record so refreshing to listen to.

Although Rubicon have been banging their particular blast beat driven drum since the year 2000 it took until 2018 and three years of recording effort for them to get an album released (“Welcome To Wasteland”), making this sophomore piece seem positively exuberant in its haste to follow on. First off, this record shows their twenty years of experience really clearly, even if studio recording is a relatively recent extension to their repertoire. You wouldn’t know to listen to it – as this sounds rich, professional and thoroughly well-crafted…and yes, it’s in English!

The sound is a mixture of Modern Metal, with elements of Power and some quite Industrial motes in the harmonics. Contributory to this, no doubt, is that their bassist Dmitry “Belf” Safronov is an established producer in his own right, which is clearly visible in the amount of pre-production to the arrangements that have gone into this. Not to mention that with a French guitarist and an American session musician in the mix, this really is an international project which has added much more to the richness.

And rich it definitely is, with almost a full hour’s worth of brutally efficient and powerfully delivered Metal that rushes you along like a small, helpless mammal strapped to a white water raft. That pace and momentum isn’t all about brevity and three minute wonders either, as over half the tracks clock in at five plus minutes, showing a maturity and technical ease to the song-writing and structures that hold the attention, peppered as they are with carefully restrained instrumental virtuosity. Pulling off these sorts of long and complex arrangements is a challenge to many bands, who usually save that for ‘obligatory epic album closer’ but Rubicon achieve it at least three times on this record without sounding boring or repetitive.

In guitarist Bob Saliba, Rubicon, have a highly skilled player, who can power the riffs, shred the solos with breath-taking ease and who also finds moments to deliver some beautifully delivered Spanish acoustic guitar that add depth and variety, counterpointing perfectly Safronov’s orchestrations (which presumably will involve a full blown keyboard player when they come to do this all live). Front and foremost in the mix however are Ivan “Ian” Bulankov’s roaring and dark, yet soaring and engaging vocals. As the driving force behind the band, he clearly has a robust vision in his mind, but his delivery is powerful, broad and thoroughly charismatic with a really good range. This is rich and layered but has a surface appeal that easily engages the listener from the get-go. One to watch…

‘Demonstar’ (Official Lyric Video)

01. Demonstar
02. Neon Gladiators
03. Last Floor Of Hell
04. Down The Darkness
05. Speed Of Night
06. Snake King
07. If It Bleeds
08. The Darkness Machine~
09. Robot God
10. I, Immortal
11. Line Of Dreams

Ivan “Ian” Bulankov – Vocals
Bob Saliba – Lead & Acoustic Guitars
Dmitry “Belf” Safronov – Bass, Arrangements
Katerina Pobedinskaya – Keys


Rubicon 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.