Blame Zeus – Seethe

Seethe Cover

Blame Zeus – Seethe
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 08/11/2019
Running Time: 45:37
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
8/10

Good afternoon, my children of the nether face of God. I am Dark Juan, and I bring you this epistle from the dark satanic mills of West Yorkshire, rather than the Brittany countryside. There were no more church altars to defile or virgins left. I’d worked through them all… Yes, I have returned to our sceptred isle of Great Britain permanently because rural France is boring. All those people in Blighty who thought they were safe from my tender ministrations should now be quietly crapping themselves because I have returned with vengeance on my mind, murder in my heart and a total lack of beer to mitigate any bad temper. In other news, there are probably a whole lot of other people fearing my return for other reasons – like workmates who will soon be being subjected to my rapid, unintelligible and insane gabbling due to acute caffeine sensitivity and a requirement for a LOT of coffee when working 48 hour shifts. I am also writing my memoirs. Ex-girlfriends and shitbags who have done me wrong – quake in your metaphorical boots, you set of twats!

Ah, the blessed relief of a good and satisfying rant.

I’ll be honest here, I chose to review this Portuguese prog metal band named Blame Zeus simply because “Blame Zeus!” is a familiar and tediously repetitive refrain in Dark Juan Towers (excuse me, it’s Dark Juan Terrace now!) when looking at a severely depleted bank balance. Normally when Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, DFC and Bar, Croix de Guerre, MM, KCVG has cost us another £80 to get medicine to get him to shit out whatever inedible object he has ingested this time. This is something that happens frequently. Which leads us clumsily into a segue deciding whether Blame Zeus are shit or not. I’m good at this writing lark, me.

This album is named “Seethe”. Opening song “How To Successfully Implode” was not what I was expecting when reading the blurb I got with the album. I was expecting sub-grade Lacuna Coil copyism with added twiddly bits. What I actually got was a fucking kick-ass heavy metal track from an instantly likeable band. I’m always suspicious of a band that labels themselves progressive, because prog done right is absolutely magical. Prog done wrong is a bunch of musicians disappearing rapidly up their own arses playing freeform jazz solos on eight string guitars WHILE SOME PIXIE WAILS ABOUT FUCKING FAIRIES AND TROLLS AND OTHER FANTASY SHIT AND THE DRUMMER IS PLAYING 5/4 TIME! Pardon me and my shouting, I am writing this review sober. This is a rare occurrence.

Vocalist Sandra Oliveira is excellent throughout the record. She is a barrel lunged chanteuse who is best described as a combination of Cristina Scabbia with more vocal control and the much loved (in Dark Juan’s twisted black gutter of a soul, anyway) Helen Vogt of the late and lamented Flowing Tears, and the band’s command of English is actually superb. It is relevant to note this because I now know at first hand just how difficult it is to communicate in another language, let alone compose and create in one. Bonus marks for intelligence…

Blame Zeus’ music is difficult to describe accurately. I wouldn’t say its progressive metal. I’d say its heavy metal with progressive elements. The riffs are meaty and satisfying, the production quality very good (if bass heavy, my poor headphones were buzzing like a swarm of seriously perturbed hornets on more than one occasion – I think the producer of the record is possibly a devotee of Phil Spector’s wall of sound) with generally excellent clarity apart from the previously mentioned overwhelming of my cans, and the musical arrangements inventive – and this is where the progressive elements part of my description comes in – in the middle eight of the song, or in the intro and start of a song is where you’ll find the most progressive sounds. Apart from ‘The Warden’. This song could be off any Tool album in the “Aenemia, Lateralus” and “10,000 Days” era. Luckily, these are splendid benchmarks to be judged against, so please do not count this as a demerit. ‘The Crown And The Gun’ has an extremely unusual start where it sounds like a bizarre three way musical coupling of Muse, Tool and Alice In Chains before the guitars kick in and lay you out with a hobnailed boot to the solar plexus. The solo on this tune is extremely prog though – all Eastern sounding before Sandra launches into ethereal wailing with lashings of reverb, chorus and echo before the song is dragged kicking and screaming back into the glorious light of metal and reminded what it actually is, which is a fucking heavy metal song and its only reason for existence is to be spectacularly violent and to cause ears to bleed. Which it did!

I like Blame Zeus. They were a fortuitous choice to review. Highlights are the opening song, which is an absolute heavy fucking metal triumph, ‘Down To Our Bones’ which has some excellent interplay between male and female vocals and ‘The Crown And The Gun’ which I believe represents EXACTLY what Blame Zeus are aiming for. I want to hear a lot more. I love Sandra’s voice, which is operatic without being overpowering, the music because it is after all heavy metal with added intelligence and the band sounding like they are enjoying themselves. There is far too much totally po-faced prog metal that causes this hellpriest to imagine the band spending hours discussing how to synocapte the drums in the most obscure time signature possible whilst sipping green tea and complaining that seven notes are simply not enough, before crapping out some 22 minute “song” about the siege of the Elven Kingdom of Walpurgia by the Orken Hordes of Shitbaggium. Anyway, Blame Zeus are good. If you like bands like Tool, Visions Of Atlantis, Flowing Tears and the like, then you will like them too. That was a deliberate attempt to see how many grammatically correct “likes” I could fit into a single sentence. You should buy their records. Do it. Do it NOW.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System would have done this bit in Portuguese, but doesn’t have Google Translate as we are currently sans internet (maybe the mighty beast of metal that is Victor Augusto of Ever Metal fame will be able to assist!) awards Blame Zeus a thoroughly disreputable 8/10 for an hell of an enjoyable record.

TRACKLISTING:
01. How To Successfully Implode
02. Déjà Vu
03. Down To Our Bones
04. White
05. Bloodstained Hands
06. The Obsession Lullaby
07. Into The Womb
08. No
09. The Warden
10. The Crown And The Gun

LINE-UP:
Sandra Oliveira – Voice
Ricardo Silveira – Drums
Paulo Silva – Guitar
Tiago Lascasas – Guitar
Celso Oliveira – Bass

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

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

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

 

Promo Pic1

 

 

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

Opeth – In Cauda Venenum

Capture

Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
Moderbolaget / Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 27/09/2019
Running Time: 67:44
Review by Cliff Scowen
10/10

First of all, I’m not going get drawn into the which Opeth is better the old or new, guttural growls or clean vocals, as Opeth fans are intelligent enough to figure it out themselves.

Secondly, having been a massive fan since the “Orchid” album people may think I am a bit biased in my review. Well I’m not. I don’t have to be when an album is this good. In nearly 30 years, I’ve seen Opeth evolve from a full-on death metal band to the prog metal legends they are today.

So, to album number four of clean vocals. The title means ‘Poison In The Tail’, frontman Mikael Akerfeldt recorded two versions one in English and another in Swedish and we get 10 tracks covering 70 minutes of majestic music.

Opener ‘Garden of Earthly Delight’ is a delightful, atmospheric piece with its choral chanting and voice overs, setting the tone of what’s about to follow. With the opening track seamlessly slotting into ‘Dignity’ with some seriously cool percussion and heavy riffs, it’s good finding Akerfeldt in great voice early into the album.

The first single from the album ‘Heart In Hand’ sees us in refreshingly classic Opeth territory, Axenrot’s drum fills alongside Akesson’s riff made it nigh on impossible for me not to nod my head.

’Next of Kin’ has a much darker feel, haunting choirs set around a crystal clear acoustic guitar and I guess you could call ‘Lovelorn Crime’ the albums ballad, hearing those piano chords entwining with Axenrot’s drums and Martin’s bass and a deeply felt solo is a joyous thing to hear, a true masterpiece.

The surreal sound of ‘Charlatan’ seamless musical interludes is backed by operatic monks and ‘Universal Truth’, a huge melody with faultless piano work is so full of angst and emotion. We see ‘The Garrotter’ next with its alluring intro and it’s almost jazzy feel certainly keeps Svalberg busy on keyboards.

We, then, hit more familiar ground with ‘Continuum’, Akerfeldt pushing his band and musical boundaries as only Opeth can. Akessons use of the wah-wah pedal is outstanding and so to closer ‘All Things Will Pass’ which has an almost anthemic feel to it, has enough musical hooks to catch the ear of the listener. I have heard that Akerfeldt’s voice sounds rawer on the Swedish version but I’m putting that down to him singing in his native tongue, just as “Ghost Reveries” was back in 2005.

“In Cauda Venenum” is another watershed moment in their distinguished career, an album combining all the mesmerising qualities of its predecessors “Heritage”, “Pale Communion” and “Sorceress “and taking it to another level.

A very easy……10/10

Standout Tracks: ‘Continuum’, ‘Universal Truth’, ‘Lovelorn Crime’

In Cauda Venenum Track listing (English/Swedish):
1. Garden Of Earthly Delights / Livet’s Trädgård
2. Dignity / Svekets Prins
3. Heart In Hand / Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör
4. Next Of Kin / De Närmast Sörjande
5. Lovelorn Crime / Minnets Yta
6. Charlatan
7. Universal Truth / Ingen Sanning Är Allas
8. The Garroter / Banemannen
9. Continuum / Kontinuerlig Drift
10.All Things Will Pass / Allting Tar Slut

Band members
Mikael Akerfeldt – Guitar/vocals,
Fredrick Akesson – Guitars,
Carlos Martin – Bass,
Martin Axenrot – Drums,
Joakim Svalberg – Keyboards.

Links:
http://www.opeth.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Opeth/
https://www.youtube.com/user/OpethOfficial
https://myspace.com/opeth

 

Review reproduced here with kind permission of Cliff Scowen and MDR

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

 

 

Quantum Pig – Songs Of Industry And Sunshine

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Quantum Pig – Songs Of Industry And Sunshine
White Star Records
Release Date: 01/02/2019
Running Time: 40:36
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
9/10

Well, this is not what I was expecting at all. I am confounded, astonished and surprised all at once. I was expecting some kind of insane industrial blaster. Instead, I have got a Prog Rock band who simultaneously claim they are not a Prog band. This immediately gets the antennae quivering.

Hello, I am Dark Juan and I have stopped the DIY hell I am suffering in my kitchen in order to give you the (drunken) benefit of my wisdom on “Songs Of Industry And Sunshine” by Quantum Pig, which is a fucking great name for a band. Don’t argue. You’re wrong because you don’t know what a quantum state is. I SAID DON’T ARGUE! YOU! YOU THERE, WAVING YOUR HANDS ABOUT AND EXSPOSTULATING! PACK IT IN! NO-ONE IS IMPRESSED AND THIS IS MY REVIEW, SO YOU CAN JUST SOD OFF, OK? Don’t make me unleash the Evil Ones… the Evil Ones being my excuses for dogs. There is Sir Zeusington Zeus KCMG, VC, MM, MC, DFC and Bar who WILL raid your food regardless of what security provisions you have in place, Sir Igor Egbert Cleavage-Hoover who will just shout at you until you submit to his will (don’t ever eat a sandwich in his presence if you are female. You will see why he is called what he is…), and finally Hodgson Fartpants (named for the author Willaim Hope-Hodgson, a criminally ignored and extremely innovative author who arguably wrote the first sf novel entitled The Night Land and once lived in Borth near Aberystwyth, as did I. Wales became too hot for me after I defiled a priest’s daughter on the altar in St. Michael’s in Aberystwyth. At Communion…) Hodgson has just recently returned from a dodgy regime somewhere in the world where he was seconded to their armed forces for his skills at anal chemical warfare… Ooops, sorry. Three hundred words in and I haven’t said a fucking word about the music. I know I’m new here, but you are going to have to get used to this. It will happen A LOT.

Quantum Pig, then. An extraordinary duo based in London, in good old Blighty. A pair of very irritatingly talented men whose music is currently entertaining me mightily. Imagine Pink Floyd seducing Soundgarden to a soundtrack of Rush. Now try to rid yourself of that mental image. Good luck and I’ll see you on the other side of the subsequent counselling you will have to endure. Anyway, this is what Quantum Pig sound like and I have to say although it’s only April, this album is a contender for record of the year. I fucking love it! Remember Sugar? Bob Mould of Husker Du’s other band? This is Sugar on prog steroids, baby! I love the melody of it. I love the fact that I can hear profound lyrics instead of, “WOOOOAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHH! Hurgh hurgh grrrrr waoooOOOOOO!” I like Ian Faragher’s voice and I like Mark Stevenson’s bass playing. I like the production on the record. It is crystal clear and sharp and entirely in keeping with the sound of the record. I like the guitar work and sound and how it doesn’t overpower the rest of the instruments. I like the bass sound’s clarity. I like the vocal harmonies the gentlemen employ. This is a fine record. It may not appeal to the metal purist, though. It could be considered somewhat lightweight for the person who has only ever listened to Chimaera, or who thinks metal starts and stops with Slipknot. This should not dissuade you from expending serious currency on Quantum Pig. Expand thy mind, metal pilgrim. Expand thy mind. There is more to metal than brutality. Sometimes it is composed of the most incredible magnificence and beauty. Sometimes it’s a fanged murder machine. Sometimes it pays to listen to something other than out and out metal. “Songs Of Industry And Sunshine” will reward repeated listens. I don’t want to quote lyrics, because I will ruin the wonderfulness of them, but the words are sublime. You can trust me on this.

The opening track ‘Statement Of Intent’ is just that, a song that sets the tone of the record in a rather remarkable fashion, all biting guitars and thought-provoking lyrics and things improve with the second track. In fact, it’s an upwardly trending curve of wonderfulness until we get to album closer ‘Dirty Old Engine’. Then Quantum Pig falter. You should know that I am not a fan of ballads. In fact, I fucking hate them with a venom akin to a genocidal maniac. They ruin albums. They are turgid, awful, personality-masturbating things that have no place in metal. I have a test for ballads – if it is not as good as Skid Row’s 18 And Life (being the only tolerable ballad I have ever heard) then it’s shite, mate. While ‘Dirty Old Engine’ is not quite a ballad, it does cost Quantum Pig a mark or two because their record ends on a damp squib, and not on the coruscating orgasm of magnificence it should have done. Bad Quantum Pig. Very bad Quantum Pig indeed.

However, drunken ranting aside, this is that rare thing. A prog metal album that is easy to listen to, challenging in parts, thought-provoking in lyrical content and rocks like an absolute motherfucker. Good Quantum Pig. We like it when you do that.

This record will be remaining on The Dark Juan Playlist Of Doom, Horror, Sexual Perversions And Obscure 70s TV Theme Tunes for quite some time. I suggest, no actually, I REQUEST AND REQUIRE YOU ALL BUY THIS RECORD AND CEASE YOUR POINTLESS PROTESTATIONS!

Thank you very much. I’ll be here until I’m fired.

The Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Quantum Pig a genocidally bloodsoaked 9/10. Good job Mrs. Dark Juan is in Blighty, really. I’d have some explaining to do about why the village is so quiet…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Tracklist
02. Statement Of Intent
03.Citizen And State
04. Long Letter Home
05. The Shadows We Miss
06. Things
07. Keep The Nation Warm
08. Dirty Old Engine

QUANTUM PIG IS:
Ian Faragher – Vocals, guitars, keys
Mark Stevenson – Vocals, bass, keys

LINKS:
https://www.quantumpig.net/
https://www.facebook.com/QuantumPig/

https://www.instagram.com/quantumpig/

 

Quantum Pig press photos

 

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

Oh. – Metallia

Metallia Cover

Oh. – Metallia
Self-Released
Release Date: 28/07/2018
Running Time: 25:13
Review by Dawn King
8/10

I don’t know if this is true for everybody, but there comes a time every now and then that I get bored of listening to the same ol’ music and want to find something “different.” Well, you can’t get much different than Oh.

Oh. is Greek progressive metal multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer, Olivia Hadjiioannou who arrived onto the international music scene in 2013, with her award-winning debut EP, “Sleeping World”. She has since released a prog-metal album “Synemotion” on vinyl and four avant-garde progressive ballads and her latest project is this album “Metallia” released in July of 2018.

Since her appearance on the music scene, she has accumulated many honours including, but not limited to, three international music video awards, most recently at the London Greek Festival for single ‘Deserted Eyes’, semi-finalist in the 2017 International Songwriters Competition and she had been added to the Prog Archives in the Crossover Prog Category.

Driven by a passion to musically reveal an “inner-story”, she can play the guitar (electric and acoustic), bass, drums, violin, piano and percussion and her voice has been compared to the likes of Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Happy Rhodes, Céline Dion, Melissa auf der Maur, Sharon den Adel and Anneke van Giesbergen (impressive list eh?). She composes, produces, mixes and masters her music in Athens, Greece.

Playing all those instruments, Oh. is a true do-it-yourself artist but she says; “I never felt as if there were a question of whether I can play music or not. Music is always a question of whether you have something to say.”

And she certainly does have something to say. Her music “evokes intense imagery, entices the listener to journey into epic sonic landscapes and finally escape into intense ecstatic oblivion!” She wants to touch the soul with her music, whether that be in “the dark recesses of sorrow or the heights of elation.”

But you need to listen carefully to her music because there is so much more to her than first appears. Combining frenetic, harmonic guitar solos, multi-layered vocals, head-banging riffs, fantastical violins, groovy bass lines and furious drumming, there are many twists and turns to her progressive rock and metal style. And let’s not forget, this lady plays ALL of the instruments herself!

Since its release in 2018, the album has had 32 different reviews from thirteen countries worldwide, was in the top 10 of the 2018 Progressive Metal EP Chart and was listed as one of the best albums of the year in 2018 by Metal Nation Radio!

Described by the lady herself, the album is an “epical prog-metal compilation in 6 parts – a multi-layered sonic piece of ravishing solo electric guitars, time-bending tempo shifts, grooving bass lines and deranged drums” and she is not far wrong!

Featuring just six tracks and lasting a little over 25 minutes, this album goes against everything that should be considered ‘epic’ but that is the only word I can think of to describe it. It is eccentric (I can see where the Kate Bush and Tori Amos references come in!), atmospheric and really does conjure up all sorts of images in your head while you are listening to it. The guitars whisper of Satriani and Vai and there is a whole host of musical sounds (wails, screams, bongos to name a few) to take you on your journey which Oh. describes as a spiritual one that will “transmute your subliminal mind map.”

‘Experimental’, ‘eclectic’, ‘strong’, ‘packs a punch’ are just a few of the words and phrases I have seen to describe this album and I would agree with every single one of them. Although instrumental (how the album is described by Olivia herself!) prog-metal is not really my thing, I can recognise talent where I see it. And this is one extremely talented woman!

This album won’t appeal to everyone, but anyone with a love of progressive music in general should really check it out!

But be prepared to be gob-smacked, bowled-over and totally amazed all at the same time!

TRACKLISTING:
1. Red Lion
2. Bee
3. Androgyny
4. Resurrection
5. Dragon’s Kiss
6. Triumph

LINKS:
http://www.olitunes.com
http://www.facebook.com/olitunes

https://www.instagram.com/olitunes/
http://music.olitunes.com

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

 

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

Evergrey – The Atlantic

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Evergrey – The Atlantic
AFM Records
Release Date: 25/01/2019
Running Time: 54:07
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
10/10

There are certain bands, that when they pop up on the “reviews to do” list, I always try to get my name against first and Evergrey are one of those bands! Having been a fan since I purchased a copy of their 2008 album “Torn” on a whim, and also having reviewed their 2016 album “The Storm Within” I thought it was only right that I reviewed their latest offering “The Atlantic.”

Evergrey are a Swedish Progressive Metal band from Gothenburg, formed in 1995, and led by frontman and songwriter, Tom S Englund, they have always been synonymous with “technically and compositionally outstanding standards, combined with lyrics and messages which go way beyond rock ‘n’ roll prose.”

Progressive Metal is not one of my preferred genres, but there are a few bands that stand out in the field, and, for me, Evergrey have always been one of the best. With this new album, the band have manifested their reputation as one of the most unusual and innovative progressive metal acts….worldwide!

This album also sees them complete their “Hymns For The Broken” trilogy, which began life with the launch of Part 1 back in 2014, and is all about the adventure of ‘life’.
As on Hymns For The Broken and it’s 2016 successor The Storm Within, the new album is about events and experiences in our lives,” explains Englund, “it’s about relationships, beauty and darkness, about fortune and grief, about love, hate, despair, joy and everything connected with it. Life is like a journey across the ocean, on the way to distant shores.

So, it was rather apt then, to call the album “The Atlantic”, the second largest ocean on the planet, and with it, they take their listeners on a tempestuous voyage across the rough seas, something that only prog metal can really do!

The expressive cover art work was designed by Greek artist Giannis Nakos, who is renowned for his work for Oceans of Slumber and Hades Rising, among others. The album was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and was produced by Tom, himself, along with drummer Jonas Ekdahl.

The lyrics of Everygrey songs have always been of the darker side, as has the band’s imagery, and this album is no different, with the words being delivered with deep feeling and emotion from the talented voice of Tom. I have always been a fan of Tom’s voice and he did not disappoint on this album. He just seems to get better and better.

There are ten tracks in total and, although together they make for a superb album, each one can stand alone with “amazing power, depth and exciting detail.” There are no bad songs here and I don’t think Mr Englund could write an awful track even if he tried.

The first track on the album is ‘A Silent Arc’ and is probably one of the fiercest and toughest tracks Evergrey have ever recorded. Says their publicity notes, it’s “brutal in a certain kind of Evergrey way!” But, this is not the only function of this track. While it also sets the whole lyrical and musical content of the album, it is also the first single release. Quite a cute move to place it number one in the track list!

There will also be videos to accompany the atmospherically heavy ‘Weightless’, my favourite track on the album, and the anthemic and melancholic ‘All I Have’, two highlights from the thoroughly diverse and haunting album. Also, check out track number two ‘A Secret Atlantis’. Those opening riffs are just magnificent.

The band’s Facebook page cites their influences as Kiss, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Korn and The Deftones, and to be honest I can’t hear any of those bands in Evergrey’s music. For me, these guys produce music that is totally unique to them. They have the riffs and the guitars, the drums and the vocals that bands of all genres of metal possess, but the way it is all put together just sets them miles apart from the rest. This is music you could break up and make up to. It’s music that makes you feel emotions that you might not necessarily want to feel. It’s music that gets you right in the stomach and tears at your heartstrings! And there are not many bands out there who can do that!

If you have not heard Evergrey’s music before….where the hell have you been for the past twenty years?? And, more importantly, GO and BUY this album! In fact go and buy them all. They are definitely a band you need to hear.

I hope these guys continue to make lots more of their fantastic music and next time they are in London (question for you there Tom??!) I will definitely be at the front!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Silent Arc
02. Weightless
03. All I Have
04. A Secret Atlantis
05. The Tidal
06. End Of Silence
07. Currents
08. Departure
09. The Beacon
10. This Ocean

LINKS:
http://www.evergrey.net/
https://www.facebook.com/Evergrey/

https://www.instagram.com/evergreyofficial/

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

Twisted Illusion – I Have Music, I Have Life (Live Album)

 

I Have Music, I Have Live Cover

Twisted Illusion – I Have Music, I Have Life (Live Album)
Self-Released
Release Date: 21/12/2018
Running time: 41:02
Review By Beth Jones
6/10

I’m slightly frustrated today, listening to the new live release by the fabulous Twisted Illusion, and I will tell you why.

For those of you who have not come across Twisted Illusion, they are a bunch of uber-talented guys who create a very unique brand of Prog Metal. Front man Matt Jones is a big character, and they have excellent stage presence live, and brilliant musicality recorded. They work hard and live for their art.

Their new release “I Have Music, I Have Life” was recorded live at a recent gig in Norwich. This is where my frustration comes in. Musically, they are as always superb; complex rhythms, outstanding vocals, and ripping guitar solos. Unfortunately for the first three or four songs, you can’t hear anything properly apart from the vocals, as the live mix was not great at all. First niggle. It does improve after about ten minutes, but it is still missing a bit of volume on the Bass for me and is still a bit hit and miss with some of the vocal levels in comparison with everything else.

Once the sound becomes more equal, it is much easier to hear the guitar wizardry of Steve Revier, who was appearing with them for this performance. He has great tone and it works really well, complimenting Matt’s vocals and guitar and adding an extra element to the sound.

The set is a very lively one, full of a whole roster of cracking tunes, which makes it move on a pace whilst the music is playing, but here is my beef number two; Too much rabbiting between songs. I don’t mind a bit of banter, and it is a good thing to be connected with your audience, but I think on a live album, it is difficult to stay connected when you can’t hear some of what the crowd or other band members are saying and responding to. It forces you to lose interest a little. I also have to say that, whilst I am no prude, there is rather gratuitous use of the word c**t at the beginning of the album, and because the album is recorded as one long track, rather than multiple tracks, you can’t skip it! Now, I can get over this because I know that good music is coming, but a lot would have an issue with it and would turn the album off before a single note had been played and that would be a travesty and completely counter – productive to what the band are trying to achieve. It is unnecessary. The music is awesome and can speak for itself, so let it!

Whilst this has got me doing my teacher face a little, there are many, many good elements – the actual performance from a playing point of view is difficult to fault, the vocals are huge, the complexity of the compositions is warped but insanely brilliant and these things combined make Twisted Illusion instantly identifiable, whether it is a live recording or a studio album, and this release is definitely one to have for TI fans old and new. However, I can’t help feeling that maybe it would have been better to take more time over releasing it – maybe recording it at a different gig and making sure that the recorded sound mix was spot on before putting it out there. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe I am in a bad mood. I still love Twisted Illusion and hope that they can continue making great music for a long time.

TRACKLIST:
01 TI Live at Norwich

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

https://www.instagram.com/twistedillusion__official/
https://twistedillusion.bandcamp.com/
https://twistedillusion.bigcartel.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK0IxAnfXG7ibOx4HUyOHQQ

 

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.