Last Union – Twelve

Twelve Cover

Last Union – Twelve
ROAR Rock Of Angels Records
Release Date:21/12/2018
Running time: 53:58
Review by Lotty Whittingham
8/10

We’re all different and unique one way or the other but one thing we all crave is that morale boost when things aren’t going so well. How would we go about that? Comfort from a loved one, time to yourself or listening to something uplifting. An uplifting album that comes to mind is the debut album from Progressive Metal outfit Last Union.

“Twelve” is a portfolio of empowering and positive sounding tracks that will have you smiling within minutes.

Spurred on by positive reactions to their music, vocalist Elisa Scarpeccio and guitarist Cristiano Tiberi took some bold steps. First they invited Uli Kusch (ex-Helloween, ex-Masterplan) to join the ranks. He had expressed interest in becoming a full-time member after hearing the music. That similar story is behind Symphony X bassist Mike LePond, not to mention that Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie sings on a few of the tracks of this stellar debut.

As previously mentioned, the album provides uplifting and empowering tones. This comes immediately with the opening track ‘Most Beautiful Day’. This soaring melody contains beautiful vocals from Elisa Scarpeccio. She has a fabulous voice that is the icing on the cake of the powerful riffs, sweeping rhythms and a key bass line. This track will place smiles across faces.

“Twelve” is an eclectic portfolio of tracks. For a first album that’s often quite a hard thing to achieve but in the case of Last Union, “Twelve” achieves this with flying colours. The one thing all the tracks have in common is that each has a way of providing empowerment in a straightforward way. They know which notes help people feel positive and they hit them immediately!

‘Hardest Way’ is somewhat the ballad of the album, it has a slower rhythm than the others. It gives the listener that uplifting feeling yet gets them to think at the same time. This is one of the tracks where you can hear all the musical arrangements working so well together. The on-point drum rolls, guitar solos that are bound to become timeless, beautiful vocal work and keyboard melodies that provide the ideal accompaniment. It’s one of the most well-rounded tracks on the album.

From the moment ‘Taken’ starts to play, you can tell instantly from the dirty riff that it’s a punchy song. This is one of the songs that features James LaBrie as a guest vocalist and his voice is perfect alongside Elisa’s. The harmony between these two is on point and the instrumental aspects provide the perfect accompaniment. It’s another example of a song where the elements fit together so well.

The melody of ‘Limousine’ starts off with a brilliant riff that will be swimming around in your head for hours, even days. What follows is a soaring melody that reminds you of living life in the fast lane. The beautiful vocals, excellent riffs, energetic rhythm and pounding bass line work together well to produce this song.

It ends on a rapid note with the song ‘Back In The Shadow’. It gives you one last glimpse of the band’s well put together material in a style they know best. The teamwork in the band’s work can be heard clearly in the songs. Each element of the record works alongside the other in a valiant fashion.

A great debut album all around.

TRACKLIST:
01. Most Beautiful Day
02. President Evil (Feat. James LaBrie)
03. Hardest Way
04. Purple Angels
05. The Best Of Magic
06. Taken (Feat. James LaBrie) – Radio Edit
07. 18 Euphoria
08. A Place In Heaven (Feat. James LaBrie)
09. Ghostwriter
10. Limousine
11. Back In The Shadow
12. Taken (Feat. James LaBrie)
13. President Evil (Feat. James LaBrie) – Video Version

LINKS:
http://www.lastunion.it/
https://www.facebook.com/lastunion/

https://www.instagram.com/lastunion

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCcQ_OpRsicJ3HF4j_v5rULw

 

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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Lottie Whittingham 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.

Zero Theorem – Ataraxis EP

Ataraxis EP Cover

Zero Theorem – Ataraxis EP
Tunecore on ShimSham, LLC
Release Date: 04/05/2018
Running Time: 20:44
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

Since I started on my reviewing journey, I have started to appreciate a few things when it comes to music. One is that you should never base your opinion of an album by the band’s name or the artwork (common sense really but it’s surprising how many bands could get discarded by a listener just because their name suggests an “alternative” genre.) The second is that, despite the music industry as a whole trying to pigeon hole bands into stereotypical genres, there are bands that just do not fall into one particular style.

Zero Theorem are a band that both statements apply to. I didn’t really know what to think when I first plugged my little USB stick into my car to listen to this album. Their name suggested to me either a very progressive band or a death metal one. Opposite ends of the spectrum I agree but Zero Theorem are neither of these.

Blending alternative hard rock with the rhythmic and uncompromising intensity of metal, these are a band that can cover a whole range of genres, having drawn early comparisons to the likes of Disturbed, Five Finger Death Punch and Tool.

Initially set up as a cross country collaboration between cousins, Caesar, who was based in Chicago, and Joe Scarlotti, based in Los Angeles, they began writing songs by sending digital files to each other. Caesar eventually relocated to Los Angeles to further his musical ambitions and the first Zero Theorem demos were recorded in 2017.

Through word of mouth and tireless networking in Los Angeles, the band came together with guitarist Max Georgiev, bassist Eloy Palacios and drummer Jake Hayden, and work began on turning the demos into finished songs, all production work carried out by Kane Churko (Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment) at The Hideout Recording Studios in Las Vegas.

The band soon gained notoriety as a live act by performing with Doyle, Hed PE, Art of Dying and Motograter, to name but a few, and since late 2017, the single “Area” has steadily climbed in the Active Rock radio charts, and even jumped into the top 35, as well as being featured on various key hard rock play lists.

So, what of the EP?

“The Zero Theorem sound is groove metal with big melodies and some progressive material mixed in. Heavy metal itself is a lifestyle choice and we strive to embody that with both substance and wit,” says vocalist Caesar. And I couldn’t agree more.

The EP begins with the explosive “Euthanasia”, a strong song to let us know just what we are to expect for the next twenty minutes. Or so we think!

First single “Area” is melodic and haunting, while fourth track “Rorschach” is heavy and abrasive, probably the heaviest on the EP.

Title track “Ataraxis” is slower-paced but just as well executed as any of the faster ones, and it is with this track that their similarity with the band Tool is noticeable. Time changes all over the place, Caesar’s dark and brooding voice, which makes him such a powerful frontman, easily comparable to that of Maynard James Keenan, lead vocalist with Tool.

This is an excellent and impressive debut. Its heavy yet melodic, with stomping riffs, and driving, bombastic grooves. They make not be the next best thing but they are certainly well on the way. If they continue to produce music of this quality and calibre then they could well be one of the top metal acts of the time.

This EP is only twenty minutes long but what a twenty minutes! I listened to this over and over and over and over again and never once got bored with it.

All I can say, is go grab yourself a copy and see for yourself just what this band can do.
Keep up the good work guys and I’ll see you at a gig in London sometime hopefully!!

TRACK LISTING:
Euthanize
Area
Becoming
Rorschach
Ataraxis
Low

SOCIAL MEDIA:
http://www.zerotheoremband.com/about/
https://en-gb.facebook.com/zerotheoremband/
https://twitter.com/ztheoremband?lang=en

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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.

 

 

Seven Sisters – The Cauldron and The Cross

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SEVEN SISTERS – THE CAULDRON AND THE CROSS
Dissonance Productions
Release Date: 13/04/2018
Running Time: 51:18
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

After having the opportunity to interview Graeme from Seven Sisters recently, I thought to myself that I really should give their new album The Cauldron and The Cross a spin, and why not give it a review at the same time.

Seven Sisters are a four-piece heavy metal band from London, who are, in their own words, forged from the same steel as the NWOBHM acts of yesteryear. Formed in 2013 by Kyle McNeil (vocals/guitars) and Graeme Farmer (guitars) in 2013, they are inspired by the likes of the Paul Di’anno era of Iron Maiden, Angel Witch and Virtue.

Says the band: “we have a mix of old school heavy metal (the NWOBHM movement in particular) and elements of power metal, thrash metal and things like that. We’re pretty progressive in places, but our songs are heavily melodic and hopefully pretty catchy too.”

The band have gained a reputation over the past few years as a stellar act in the heavy metal scene, playing shows all over the UK and Europe off the back of two independent releases, “The Warden Demo” in 2014 and “Lost in Time” 7” in 2015. They have since signed to Dissonance Productions and The Cauldron and The Cross is their second album.

With its main source of inspiration being a book written by Marion Zimmer Bradley called “The Mists of Avalon”, The Cauldron and The Cross is a concept album, a story that involves the two religions of Paganism and Christianity. With its myth and magical title tracks and a cover artwork depicting what looks like a scene from a fantasy film, this album has all the hallmarks of a typical power metal release.

But, this is power metal with a twist. Although, the power elements are unmistakably there, the thrash elements the band themselves stated were an influence can also be heard, but then so can the NWOBHM traits.

But that’s not all. On top of all this are the subtle prog influences too. I have never really been a prog rock/metal fan but the time changes throughout the individual tracks are clear to hear. Time changes are one of the aspects of prog music that turned me off the genre, but in this album, they seem to flow a lot better. And this, along with the changes in key, really does make it seem as if the music and lyrics are talking to you.

This is a band that obviously has an immense talent. Despite the relatively short time they have been together, they work so well and sound like they have been doing this for years. And that is something not found very often.

I read somewhere that the band intended on being a five piece, looking to recruit a singer to fill the fifth place and that Kyle was only a stand in singer. I can honestly say, that in my opinion, NOT getting that fifth person was the best thing for the band. Kyle is an absolutely fantastic singer with a voice that can cover a whole variety of ranges. He is ideally suited to the music the band play and I think that if they were to replace him now (please don’t) the whole dynamic of the band will change.

This album has everything from the speed metal of the opening track “Premonition” to the Maiden-influenced “Once and Future King” to the slower pace of “Blood and Fire.” There is also the ‘obligatory’ power ballad in “Oathbreaker” but this is, by no means, just a track that has been thrown in because people expect a ballad. It fits perfectly into the structure of the album and is one of the best tracks on it.

Stand out tracks for me, apart from “Oathbreaker” as mentioned above, are “Blood and Fire” and the double epic tracks “The Cauldron and The Cross Parts 1 and 2” at the end of the album, but my absolute favourite must be “The Turning of The Tide.” I could have that track on repeat for hours and not get bored with it.

So, should you go out and by this great album from this fantastic young band? Yes, you sure as hell do! This is a must for power metal fans, thrash metal fans, NWOBHM fans and traditional heavy metal fans alike.

I absolutely adored this album, and, for me, this is one of the best albums that has been released this year.

TRACK LISTING
The Premonition
Blood And Fire
Once And Future King
Partings The Mists
Turning Of The Tide
Oathbreaker
A Land In Darkness
The Cauldron And The Cross Pt.1
The Cauldron And The Cross Pt.2

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://sevensistersuk.bigcartel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/sevensistersheavymetal/

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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.