EMQ’s with STONESIDE

Stoneside Logo

EMQ’s with STONESIDE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Texas, USA based Alternative Metal/Progressive band, Stoneside. Huge thanks to main man, Crane, 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?

Crane. Vocals live and everything else when in the studio.

How did you come up with your band name?

I’ll keep this vague. I was in a cemetery to visit “someone“. There was a funeral service going on off in the distance. I was kneeling there when a little boy, I assume from the service area, walked over to me. He said to me “are the dead people buried in these rock things“? He was referring to the tombstones themselves. I said “no. Not actually in the headstones. But they are… Around here.“ To which he said “…Well, they are on the stone side now.”

Where are you from and what is the Metal & Rock scene like there?

Well, I live in a tiny town in Texas. I came here on purpose to get away from the chaos of the city for mental health reasons. we are between Houston and Austin. Austin is the live music capital of the world. It has South By Southwest and all kinds of music festivals, so its scene is thriving even for niche “prog” stuff like us…Houston, where we grew up on the other hand, I love the city…but it’s a musical death trap. virtually zero support from radio. no support from press. If you’re heavy or avant garde music, good luck. We have notable country and various Hip-Hop but even that’s a huge struggle for those artists to emerge.

What is your latest release?

Our single, ‘History of Violence’ on all streaming platforms April 16th and then thereafter, our EP, “The Water”.

‘History Of Violence’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Old Darkwave stuff like Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears ,Duran Duran and all the cathartic violent stuff I came up with like Deftones, Machine Head, Pantera, Unearth, Sepultura, Tool…Recently Alpha Wolf, Motionless in White, and Converge’s latest record, and Loathe.

What first got you into music?

My granddad played piano and he was a gifted natural. He couldn’t read a note, but he would simply hear something one time, and that was a wrap. he could replicate it thereafter. He was humble and quiet, but those keys were his….then, when I was in a bad spot when I was a kid, Nirvana’s “In Utero”. I had no idea chaos and sadness in music existed until I heard that record.

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

The guitarist for Loathe or Maynard Keenan from Tool. He’d get me wine drunk and loose!

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

Download and Arctangent. those festivals audiences are truly there because they are ravenous fans of music. I want to connect with them in that.

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

I was asked to sign a prosthetic leg. I was honoured.

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

Get in touch with those in your bloodline who came before you. Pray to them, talk to them, meditate on them, contact them or however you choose to commune. embrace the ghosts and the spirit they survived with through those days that came before you. That toughness. that sincerity… use that to empower you in your struggles. Remember, death is undefeated. Live while you can and stop defeating yourself.

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

Mercury. ‘Nuff said.

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

It makes me feel proud once in a while. It makes me feel like I at least have something I feel like I’m ok at. I try to hang my hat on that when I feel worthless from time to time. What I hate? the bloodsucking, self-worshipping, slimy, reptilian, chew-you-up-and-spit-you-out, promoters and industry “professionals”…and then there’s the downside.

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

That labels would invest in talent. Some of the strong, sharp Indie labels do but majors don’t. They just don’t. That’s why your Twitter and TikTok stars, with a bazlllion followers, get deals and musicians do not. they look for the sure-fire pretty viral face to hit before they’ll even take a look…the labels can’t stand to lose money in the age of streaming and downloading, so the grinders and innovators are forced underground or into production and the escapist music gets promoted by the big well-monied machine. it wasn’t always this severe, but we can’t go back it seems. The underground has to work twice as hard. Let’s not bullshit ourselves.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“In Rainbows” by Radiohead. ‘Videotape’ is the song to drift away to.

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

I like vinyl in the age of the stream. If nothing more than for the hard physical album art and all its words and colours.

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

A lot are a blur just because of the fast paced chaos of live shows. I guess it’s expected to say that I enjoyed our shows with Nationals like Sevendust, Karnivool, etc but I’d have to say when we headlined Fitzgerald’s in Houston before they tore it down. You could feel the energy of that century old club. it was sold out and it was beautiful!

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

Teaching Muay Thai.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Abe Lincoln, Attila the Hun, Hitler, Jesus, and my Grandmother.

What’s next for the band?

Seeking new management to take some weight off ourselves to focus on writing these stories and playing them when this shit pandemic dies…if it does.

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

www.instagram.com/stoneside_music
www.twitter.com/stoneside3
www.facebook.com/stonesidemusic/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/6MecNDGCbFpgjGnmoUwBfn
www.youtube.com/channel/UCpQaGBFe3r1zwFgvbh-Jwsg

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Crap…we’re from Texas. No Jaffa cakes…but do they go with whiskey? we try to down our sorrows over here.

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

I love you. Go have an amazing day.

Stoneside Promo Shot

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.

Deveria – Suicide Forest

Suicide Forest Album Cover Art

Deveria – Suicide Forest
Animated Insanity Records
Release Date: 17/03/2021
Running Time: 50:37
Review by Simon Black
6/10

Deveria describe themselves as being a Progressive Power/Thrash hybrid and are based in Upstate New York, USA. They’ve had a fairly chequered history, having originally formed in 2008, got an EP out and then disbanded for eight years, with this line up once again forming around front man Chuck Woodward. So this debut album has been a long time coming…

Musically these chaps are very, very tight. The intro track ‘The Beginning Of…’ builds up the layers of sound with some thundering drum work before launching into the full on attack of ‘Silent Cries’. The instruments keep those arrangements tight, but suffer somewhat from the production values. The problem is the vocals sound just that little too high in the mix, with the guitars in particular being in danger of being drowned out completely – particularly by the bass which is so high up in the mix that I was reminded of what happened when Iron Maiden let Steve Harris first try out the producer’s chair.

In parts I am reminded vocally of early Queensrÿche, in that period when Geoff Tate hadn’t quite taken hold of the flame with his lyrical phrasing and although that voice showed tremendous promise, the vocal lines tended to meander somewhat. Woodard does something similar – his voice has power and range but sometimes seems slightly at odds with what the music is doing. There’s a fine line between creating an element of musical tension by being half a tone out from what the melody lines are doing and sounding plain out of key, and this album walks that line once or twice – but the bigger problem is that the instrumentation is just too damned quiet. It’s actually the times when he turns on the more extreme vocal styles that he is actually at his most effective, as it forces a dirtier sound from the rest of the band and the frustrating thing is those stronger and more rounded songs are some way back in the running order. We’re well over half way through before things really get going for my money and the intermittent bursts of pure Thrash from ‘Reign of Fire’ is actually the point when the record really grabs me and starts to run.

Mostly the song writing is pretty solid, with some clever technical arrangements – the title track being a good example, but it’s really let down by that production sound, which is crying out for those guitars to be much more in your face, crunchy and dirty than the slightly too crisp and sanitised sound they have. When they do start to get a bit more down and dirty, say with ‘Kingdom of Evermore’ the effect is immediately obvious in a song that takes you along for the ride, rather than wanting to give notes of improvement. I’m far from writing these boys off though as there is enormous promise here, and no small amount of technical skill and proficiency – but desperately needs someone with a good Metal pedigree on the mixing desk to bring out the best in a more consistent manner. Nonetheless a very promising start.

‘Suicide Forest’ (Official video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Beginning Of…
02. Silent Cries
03. Suicide Forest
04. Fate
05. Demons Inside Me
06. Reign of Fire
07. Kingdom of Evermore
08. Miracles
09. IX
10. One Nation
11. …The End

LINE-UP:
Chuck Woodard – Lead Vocals
John Suski – Drums
Marvin Veeder – Bass
Christian Bivona – Guitar

LINKS:

Deveria Promo Picture

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.

Secret Sphere – Lifeblood

Lifeblood Album Cover Art

Secret Sphere – Lifeblood
Frontiers Music srl
Release Date: 12/03/2021
Running Time: 51:33
Review by Simon Black
9/10

This Italian Power / Progressive Metal outfit have been treading the boards since 1999 and having only really come across them latterly, I had to say they had not really registered much on my radar. This is probably because the challenges of maintaining a steady line-up vocally had taken their toll, with the word on the street being that with their original vocalist Roberto Messina having long since departed in 2012, that their best days were sadly in the past. So, the fact that he has re-joined them for this important tenth record, is a significant milestone event for these chaps.

And with his return, comes their mojo, as this record is a very palpable hit.

European Power Metal can be a hit and miss affair, with the Italian acts in particular often having a very distinctive classically influenced sound that makes everyone assume their name is some derivation of the word ‘rhapsody’. Whereas this record, whilst being firmly of Italian heritage, also has a strong transcontinental feel and appeal – which is a convoluted way of saying that these chaps can write lively Power and Progressive influenced material that has the right level of radio-friendly accessibility to guarantee plenty of chorus singalongs in a festival field of your choice with an audience who never actually heard your songs before. A key element of this is the phrasing within individual tracks that keeps melody lines and some of the solo breaks superficially simple and effective, but allows for a few moments of progressive flourish that remind you of how well these boys can play without limiting the accessibility for the more casual ear, that might be put off by the more technically proficient elements. That said, when guitarist Aldo Lonobile and keyboardist Gabriele Ciaccia let rip, they really can shred – ably supported by either a blisteringly relentless when needed or more measured and paced rhythm delivery as required. And because these guys know how to use their Progressive tropes sparingly, it doesn’t jar when a song manages to go both directions within the space of a few bars. This kind of flexible appeal is remarkably rare…

It’s bombastic, energetic and lively stuff for the first half then dovetails into a more melodic and commercially accessible second half, with some real care taken in the song-writing and a highly polished standard of production. For such a long album it also does the honourable thing and does not outstay its welcome. Or worse – drown you in ballads – having only the one. It’s also going to appeal to the more Metal fan base compared to some of the more Melo-Metal sounding releases they have delivered in recent years despite the commercial focus, making this an album with a really broad range of appeal. A hook-laden and well-crafted return to form.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Shaping Reality
02. Lifeblood
03. The End Of An Ego
04. Life Survivors
05. Alive
06. Against All The Odds
07. Thank You
08. The Violent Ones
09. Solitary Fight
10. Skywards
11. The Lie We Love

LINE-UP:
Roberto Messina – Vocals
Aldo Lonobile – Guitars
Andrea Buratto – Bass
Gabriele Ciaccia – Keyboards
Marco Lazzarini – Drums

LINKS:

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

EMQ’s with THE GREY

The Grey Logo

EMQ’s with THE GREY

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Cambridge, England based Instrumental Post Rock/Metal band, The Grey. Huge thanks to drummer, Steve, 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?

I’m Steve and I play the drums; Charlie plays guitar and James plays bass.

We’ve been a band for around 4 years now and have released 2 records as well as a couple of singles. I first met the others quite a few years prior to when we first started jamming when we played a show together in other bands. I have a feeling I was jokingly dressed up as an 80’s rocker in leopard print spandex and a giant blonde wig, picture Dee Snyder haha!

I’m not entirely sure but I think we were supporting one of Bill Steer from Carcass’ other bands which in of itself is pretty cool. After that Charlie and I kept in touch through Facebook and he asked me a few times to come and jam with them but due to living about an hour away and playing in other bands I always put it off until one day I took them up on the offer and the rest is history.

How did you come up with your band name?

So, we didn’t want anything too obscure or something that sounds cool but really didn’t mean anything and so decided upon The Grey for a specific reason. As a band we like to play with the dynamics between heavy and lighter sounding parts and felt like The Grey represents the juxtaposition between this nicely.

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

We would call ourselves Cambridge based however we all live about 30 minutes to 1 hour away and as a result I don’t really feel like we associate with any one scene however we have been “adopted” by the London Doom Collective (www.facebook.com/londondoomcollective/) who put on loads of great shows and play at the Club 85 in Hitchin with bands like Everest Queen and Ritual a lot who while being musically different to ourselves are still great to watch and hang out with.

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

“Dead Fire” album – Released through Ripcord Records.
www.ripcordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-fire

‘Petra’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

This is a difficult one to answer as it really depends on the context. As a fan of music and drumming I would have to say John Bonham, Stewart Copeland, Roger Taylor and Mick Fleetwood and having parents buying records in the 70-80’s. I was introduced to music through their band’s and they are all drummers who help to define the bands they are members of. Later this would evolve into the punk bands from the mid 90’s to early 00’s from labels Like Fat Wreck and Epitaph such as Pennywise and Bad Religion and later developing into hardcore with bands on Revelations, Good Life and Dead & Gone Records.

What first got you into music?

Neither of my parents are musical however I have fond memories as a child of going through their record collection and pulling out classics like the first Sabbath record, Thriller and Dark Side Of The Moon and the feeling of putting on headphones and sticking the needle on the record still evokes something inside me.

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

For me that’s an easy one, Aaron Turner. I’m a big fan of Isis and just about everything he does. I’m also going to answer on behalf of Charlie the guitarist as I know he’s a Big Alice In Chains fan so I think for him, it would have to be Jerry Cantrell.

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

Easy, Roadburn.

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

There hasn’t been anything really weird however Charlie and Jim get a lot of fans nerding out on gear. I’ve had 2 people say they were brought to tears watching us live, one of who cried a little when he told me so that’s probably the strangest fan interaction, I’ve had.

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

Thank you and we really do appreciate your support.

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

Jesus…He’s pretty rocking right?

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

I love the comradery, whether it’s in the studio, rehearsing or playing shows. I hate disco load outs!

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

The disparity (monetarily) between the artists and those who facilitate them.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

First one that comes into my head is “Rumours”.

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

For supporting the band, CD’s. For the experience vinyl, for convenience downloads.

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

We’ve been lucky enough to tour with Will Haven so that will always be the answer to that one.

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

Probably my day job, being an engineer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Jesus, Ghandi, Freddie Mercury and the 2 guys I play in a band with…I’m fair like that!

What’s next for the band?

We’ve just released our latest album on CD with Ripcord www.ripcordrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-fire

and will be back on the road touring as soon as we can.

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

All of them…
www.facebook.com/TheGreyUK/
www.instagram.com/thegreyband/
www.thegrey2.bandcamp.com/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4IOraLrm86hXDzMKNhJEST

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Soft, spongey, orangey delights that are eaten however the hell you like.

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

Nothing other than thanks for listening to me ramble on and please check us out…

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.

EMQ’s with BETRAYAL

Betrayal Logo

EMQ’s with BETRAYAL

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Bavaria, Germany based Progressive Death Metal band, Betrayal. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist, Alex, 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?

Alex (Vocals/Guitar). Betrayal was originally formed in 2005 by Manuel (Drums) and a couple of fellow musicians. An EP was released in 2007 and a lot of live performances followed in the next two years including supporting act for bands like Deadlock, Eisregen, Fear My Thoughts, Equilibrium and many more. In 2009, part of the line-up decided to leave the band, which led to missing spots for rhythm guitar, bass and vocals. Alex joined the band on rhythm guitar end of 2009. After that, a long search for vocals and bass began. Finally, end of 2014, Philipp joined the band on bass and Alex took over the vocals. With this line-up, Betrayal recorded their first full length album “Infinite Circles” in 2015 which received very good reviews in the underground scene worldwide. In 2019 Basti took over the lead guitar position and joined Betrayal in their reinvention. With this line-up Betrayal returns with a new full-length album in 2021. Be prepared!

How did you come up with your band name?

We hear this question a lot and are always disappointed for giving a lame answer! The band’s name has no deeper meaning. It somehow came up and had a good sound to our ears 😉.

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

We’re from Bavaria, Germany. Our scene here has been slowly shrinking in the last couple of years, but we have a strong base on which we rely and build on.

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

Better talk of our upcoming full album release on April 16th 2021 – “Disorder Remains”.

‘War’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

We are definitely a Death Metal band with a strong favour for the technical side as well as the blackened/dark side of this music genre. A big influence, of course, is Death. The combination of Technical Metal, which has that unique groove to it, definitely inspired every one of the band members. We like to keep up the atmosphere and underline the concept of the record. The godfathers of this “atmospheric” metal are Behemoth for us. Their whole concept from music to stage appearance is just amazing. Another great influence is Swedish Melodic Death Metal, especially the guys from At The Gates. I think, we have some progressive approaches on the new album as well. At the same time, we try to give our music the required brutality and rhythm, which in combination builds an atmosphere that leads you to keep listening to the music and make it fun to perform live.

What first got you into music?

Since all of us come from more or less musical families, music has always been a part of our lives and we started learning instruments early on. For example, our drummer was taken to Jazz and Rock concerts very early in his life by his father, who himself is a musician. He played the sax at the end of our song ‘The Shell’.

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

Due to our latest experiences – Belphegor.

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

Hard question. We played some so far and the best ones are typically the smaller ones (e.g., Protzen Open Air). But…who doesn’t want to play Wacken?

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

Can’t think of any weird stuff.

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

Bring some beer.

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

Lemmy.

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

Hanging around with friends and to work on stuff we all have a focus on. As in every good relationship sometimes there are some arguments in the family. That happens…

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

Oh boy…there is so much to say. But we can’t change the whole industry so we have decided to deal with it the best we can.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“The Sound Of Perseverance” – Death.

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

Depends on who you are talking to. For me: Downloads because I am on the road pretty much. For our drummer it’s cassettes/vinyl, for our Tech its vinyl. In the end it comes down to supporting the bands, where you probably should prefer the Hard-Copies over the downloads.

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

For me that’s probably the last gig of our tour with Belphegor and Suffocation at the Futurum Club in Prague just before the Corona lockdown. Incredible intense crowd. A great way of ending this journey for us.

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

We all have full-time jobs and doing this in our free time.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

What’s next for the band?

Promoting our new record, recording some videos etc… Get some stuff ready for the fans to enjoy. Hopefully, get back on stage soon to do what we do best.

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

www.shop.betrayal.eu/
www.facebook.com/BetrayalGER/
www.instagram.com/betrayal_ger/
www.soundcloud.com/betrayal-ger
www.open.spotify.com/artist/6pZ32hZEL726Nz5iWkjwqX
www.youtube.com/channel/UCHt31DIR4UcEHI1JW5bo7CA

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Yes, absolutely.

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

Thanks for having us! Big greetings to everyone out there who keeps on supporting art in general! Keep the cultures alive and don’t forget the small bars, clubs and artists in this weird time.

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.

Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn

The Blue Dawn Album Cover Art

Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 61:00
Review by Simon Black
8.5/10

This Italian five-piece Progressive Metal outfit have been quiet for some time, with 2013’s ‘The Last Embrace To Humanity’ being the last we heard from them and, as always, the inevitable line-up fluctuations that plague most bands have been a significant part of that. With a stable line-up and the passage of time comes a more mature sound and a rich and complex release to emphasise that. This record is a Science Fiction concept piece about a couple of space travellers forging a new race in a musical take on the old Adam and Eve from space concept that has long been a staple of pulp paperback SF fiction.

As often when reviewing these records, having the time to unpick the minutia of the plot is a luxury this reviewer does not have, but needless to say it’s clear from the three spins I’ve given this record that this is a well-constructed and crafted story, with musical themes and flourishes woven into its tapestry. Musically this is somewhat impressive however, and that alone justifies taking it out for a spin. This is rich, mature and well-crafted Progressive tunage of the highest order, not particularly heavy in its sound and therefore likely to appeal to those who like their Prog to sound commercially accessible. Equally it avoids sounding Neo-Classical or Operatic, which let’s face it happens a lot on Italian acts in the genre, and has a more North American feel to it (think early Dream Theater or Fates Warning) with an undeniably radio-friendly vibe despite the technical proficiency on display. Also, unusually the vocals are very high and loud in the front of the mix, and given the power and timbre of new lungsman Jan Manenti’s excellent voice this is perhaps for the best.

As with the most successful Prog records, the musical brilliance is definitely there but it’s subtle and understated, so it doesn’t alienate less technically toned ears with overtly complex melodies, but allowing you to tune into the complexity if you choose. Working on two levels like that is really, really hard to achieve and to my ears, far more clever than an album full of overt fret-work and fragmented time changes ever can be. It’s really only on the title track itself when there is a bit more showiness on display, but then if you’ve managed to get erstwhile Dream Theater ivory-tickler Derek Sherinian as a guest, then be my guest, you deserve a moment of indulgence.

Overall this is an album that flows well, is easy on the ear, but with plenty of depth to dip your toes into should you wish and like all the best Prog, rewards the patient re-listener with more to appreciate despite being more than accessible enough on first listen. Thoroughly recommended.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Mission N°773
02. Landing On Axtradel
03. The Invasion
04. Escape To Blue Planet
05. Solar Wind
06. Life Creators
07. The Blue Dawn
08. Sands Of Yazukia
09. Flags Of Victory
10. The Supreme Being

LINE-UP:
Jan Manenti – Vocals
Gianmaria Saddi – Guitar
Gabriele Ciaccia – Keyboards
Gigi Andreone – Bass
Marco Lazzarini – Drums

LINKS:

Odd Dimension 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.

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3/6/2/4

3/6/2/4 Album Cover Art

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3/6/2/4
Black Lion Records
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 40:12
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, my battle brothers and my sisters in slaughter. It is I, Dark Juan, Generalissimo and High Priest of all things metal. It is unaccountably sunny and clement in my mountain fastness of Dark Juan Terrace and as the shining horrible hot thing in the sky shines its baleful eye directly upon my pale and interesting countenance, my spirits lift from the morbid gloom of this most trying of winters and look forward into the joys of spring and possibly going out and meeting some people again instead of furtively scurrying through back doors and hoping the nosey old bitch at no. 42 didn’t spot you. That last sentence was not autobiographical. Oh no. Dark Juan would never countenance breaking any laws or orders. That would be a Very Bad Thing indeed. Never have I EVER even so much as fractured a law. Apart from the time my friend Gary Newgrosh was up a lamp post trying to steal a road sign and two gentlemen in suits with warrant cards asked whether I knew the lad with the road sign under his jacket and my drunken teenage response was “Piss off, I don’t talk to strange men.” And my speeding ticket last month. And all the stuff I have done in churches that I shouldn’t have. Some of them even consented…

None of which has anything to do with the fact that I am listening to Suffolk based gothic/symphonic/progressive blackened metallers Ghosts Of Atlantis’ debut offering, enigmatically entitled “3.6.2.4”. My immediate gut reaction about this record is that Cradle Of Filth have much to answer for as this style of quasi-black metal with added megagoth is now being touted as the Witch County sound (because Suffolk has had more than its fair share of witches and wise women, you see. The lucky bastards. Up North we just hung ours on Pendle Hill or in Alderley Edge.) I’m well aware that the sound of Cradle Of Filth and their ilk (Devilment, The Blood Divine and the like) are something of an acquired taste (I acquired mine in 1994 with ‘The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh’) and therefore a lot of metalheads will discount this as a load of gothic bollocks, which will be to their detriment as there is a lot more to Ghosts Of Atlantis than ever more high-pitched demented screaming and gothic nightmare. GOA happily welds in progressive riffs and time signatures and there is more than an element of power and symphonic metal with the clean vocals and the lyrical content and this lifts them easily above comparisons with the Filth and young Daniel Davey.

Ghosts of Atlantis are men on a mission to make sure that we remain acquainted with Ancient Greece and the lost city of Atlantis (or if you’re Welsh, Cantre’r Gwaelod, apparently just off the coast of Borth and Ynyslas, fact fans!) and base their songs around these concepts. Vocals run the whole gamut from absolute gut churning guttural roar to Filth-esque hellshriek to ZP Theart’s clean howl and some gorgeous harmonies. The high concept and that desire to switch from death screams and violence to progressive storytellers is most evident on ‘Gardens Of Athena’ which is an absolute tour de force as to why most experts about music consider metal a very difficult and complex style of music to play, almost classical in nature, as it moves from absolute murderous power and speed to soft acoustic and keyboard led passages, to Meshuggah style fractured time signatures, to power metal storytelling and back again. The fucking musicians on this record basically are living reminders to the fact I quit playing music because I frankly am not good enough. These people are mutants. Drummers should not be able to play such speedy and complicated rhythms and then change the fuckers mid song. It’s not fair. The guitarists should not have any fingertips left and the lead vocalist clearly has given up any thought of using his larynx in later life because he’s busily turning it to chunky salsa on this record. Commitment is not quite the word when it comes to Mr. Primmer’s vocal style. More, “I hate this piece of comically shaped gristle in my throat region and I am going to reduce it to its component atoms by means of abusing it so hard there should be a court case pending.” I dread to think how he whispers sweet nothings to his significant other. Probably from the next town over.

This record seriously has everything a metal fan (and not a few goffs) could desire. There’s utter powerviolence and speed, complexity in songwriting and riffage (the work of Colin Parks and Dex Jezierski on the guitars is superb – often choppy and sharp, frequently rapid and machine gun like but also classical, fluid and drop dead gorgeous, normally several times in the same song), the keyboard work is swoopingly gothic and sinuous (not unlike Cradle Of Filth in the more goff passages, but also gorgeously Eastern sounding in parts) and the drummer (Rob Garner) clearly has been issued with extra limbs by whoever is in charge of Quartermaster stores for that sort of thing. There’s no other explanation for what the hell he achieves behind his kit. Al Todd on the bass is also excellent but he is sometimes swamped by the sheer grandiosity of the music. The production is also pretty spot on too, although I find the guitar sound a little too highly engineered for my taste and I’d like to hear more bass, but it is a clear and legible sound that Ghosts Of Atlantis enjoy and the tiny niggles I have with the sound do not detract from my considerable enjoyment of what can only be described as a magnum opus, which is staggering in scope and jaw dropping in execution. Where I was blown away by The Machinist for their record’s sheer power and sonic violence, I am blown away by this record because it is a record that is greater than its influences might suggest it would be. Mixing Meshuggah, Cradle Of Filth, Hecate Enthroned, Dragonforce and Luca Turilli could have ended up a huge and disjointed mess, instead we have something that should become classic. The elements employed slot together seamlessly and every song drips uniqueness and splendour.

In conclusion, it’s fucking brilliant. Ghosts Of Atlantis are going to be huge if they carry on like this. My only concern is that the musical influences are that diverse, that the more gothic might avoid them because they are too metal and the metal kids might avoid them because they are too goth, or too progressive. Alternatively, I could just be spouting a load of ultrashite and Ghosts Of Atlantis will follow in the path of their Suffolk witchy, gothic cousins Cradle Of Filth and achieve global domination in short order.

I hope they do. For a debut album, this is absolutely fucking incredible.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Ghosts Of Atlantis a stonking 10/10 for an almost perfect record that has everything. Well done, gentlemen. Well done indeed.

*Polite applause*

‘Halls Of Lemuria’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Third Pillar
02. Halls Of Lemuria
03. False Prophet
04. The Curse Of Man
05. When Tridents Fail
06. Poseidon’s Bow
07. Gardens Of Athena
08. The Lost Compass

LINE-UP:
Colin Parks – Guitars, Backing Vocals (Clean)
Phil Primmer – Vocals
Dex Jezierski – Guitars
Al Todd – Bass
Rob Garner – Drums

LINKS:

Ghosts Of Atlantis Promo Pic

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.

Corporain – Purge // Purity

Purge//Purity Album Cover Art

Corporain – Purge // Purity
Volcano Records
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 52:44
Review by Simon Black
8/10

It’s my own fault, as I keep saying ‘yes’ to them, but most of the music emanating from Italy that lands in my direction to review tends to be of the Symphonic / Power / Progressive bent, is more often than not some great conceptual piece with strong operatic overtones and either directly a part of or at least influenced by the Rhapsody family of acts. So when something like this arrives that doesn’t fit that mould in the slightest, then it makes an incredibly refreshing change. Which is odd, because Progressive and Symphonic are definitely a part of Corporain’s DNA, but they don’t sound like anything else I’ve heard recently from Italy’s fine Metal stables recently.

And bloody good with it they are too…

Unlike much from those more overtly operatic corners of the country, this is highly accessible craftsmanship and a far more modern sounding record than I expected from this Tuscany-based four piece. That said, the classical motes are in there, particularly in the quite frankly outstanding keyboard work from Edoardo Giacomelli, who most of the time sticks to a classical piano sound lending the whole album a distinctive and consistently mature sound. I can’t praise his musical contribution enough and he’s the beating soulful heart of this record. The three instrumentalists all share the vocal duties, running the gamut of styles from Heavy and Hard, to Rock ’n’ Roll, to clean Power, to Nu-Metal, to heart-achingly soulful and so many shades in between. I know this contradicts what I said about a distinctive and consistent sound, but despite the range of vocal sounds they somehow achieve this.

They do exactly the same thing with the songs, which bounce round a whole range of styles whilst still sounding like it’s the same band at heart. It’s incredibly disconcerting, but works a treat and the inherent contradiction that the more progressive elements throw at the ear, such as seamlessly flicking between a burst of brutal heaviness and some beautiful melodic sections without jarring in the same track is quite exceptional. These songs betray a musical skill and song-writing excellence way beyond their years, not to mention no small amount of restraint and focus, meaning the songs are not sacrificed on the altar of overt technical wizardry, but instead just accentuates that structure. It also has incredible depth, with each listen like peeling an onion layer by layer to reveal something I missed the previous time round. This is a highly impressive debut of the calibre that doesn’t come round often, with a well-rafted record that’s like the gift that keeps on giving. This is clearly an act to watch.

‘Rage’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Millenium
02. Inception
03. The Purge
04. Apocalypse
05. Hollow
06. Pitch Black
07. Never Forget
08. Rage
09. Whispering The Wind

LINE-UP:
Edoardo Giacomelli – Keyboards & Vocals
Andrea Singulti – Guitar & Vocals
Iacopo Campinoti – Bass & Vocals
Marco Visconti – Drums

LINKS:

Corporain 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.

Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #1 – Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds

Devolution Series #1 - Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds Album Cover Art

Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #1 – Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 19/03/2021
Running Time: 60:56
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

The last year’s been pretty weird, right? I’ve felt it, in particular, in the last couple of months. And even though there is now a light at the end of the tunnel, I don’t think any one of us can say we’ve come out of these strange times completely unscathed. There’s going to be a lot of healing to do, and it’ll take a long time. But thankfully, as a community, we’re all connected by one thing. Music. And we should never underestimate the healing powers that it possesses. It calms the mind and soothes the soul. It doesn’t matter what sort of music you dig, if it connects to you, then it consumes you, and brings you back to a place of centring and peacefulness. If ever there was an artist that has that power over me, it is Devin Townsend. His spectacular voice, intricate composition, and flawless understanding of technique and musicianship make him, for me, one of the greatest composers of the modern age, who is in possession of a very special mind. He’s the type of creative who finds, and taps into, a euphoric Nirvana of music, to channel and challenge the woes of life. The last person to do this was Freddie Mercury.

So, it probably comes as no shock to you that I was ecstatically happy to receive his latest release to review. “Devolution Series #1 – Acoustically Inclined, Live In Leeds” is the first part in a series of recordings that Devin will be releasing, to exhibit a culmination of work, including the quarantine project, and live shows from the past few years. Devin describes these as “a grouping of oddities and interesting material that I would like people to hear, but don’t necessarily want to present as a major release.” The double bonus for me with this release is that it’s an acoustic album, and not only do I worship Devin Townsend as a god amongst men, I’m also a sucker for an acoustic album, because it strips everything back to focus on raw talent, rather than modern methodology.

This whole album is essentially a stripped back, acoustic whistle-stop tour of the history of Dev, interspersed with amusing anecdotes, like his dad’s view on life, and how Ziltoid became a thing. The album starts with a 6 minute ‘Intro’. The majority of this is talking – the opening banter of this intimate performance. Here, we see another reason why I hold Devin in such esteem. His jovial, light-hearted, but completely unassuming character is just joyful. He’s funny and quick, but also shy, and not afraid to admit his flaws. And crazily, he still finds it difficult to comprehend why audiences love him so much. He sees himself as just a guy playing some music. In a world full of egos, it’s refreshing. Anyway, I digress, again… So, the music. Well, that’s just as spectacular as the persona of Devin. Even in the intro, where he’s essentially just tuning up.

This sheer perfection continues without effort in ‘Let it Roll’. Stunning vocals, with strength but tenderness, and a ridiculous range, that most would give their eye teeth to possess. He even takes a brief pause, to have a chuckle with the audience after a top end note, then effortlessly drops into crunchier vocal tones. And this is essentially how the entire album continues. Faultless and flawless. Particular highlights for me are ‘Funeral,’ ‘Deadhead,’ ‘Love?’ and ‘Solar Winds.’ But in all honesty, there really are no weaknesses in this recording. Stunningly performed (and damn how I would have loved to see it live), and beautifully produced, mixed, and mastered. Another complete masterpiece from the mind of a genius. And, with every release that this magnificent human drops, my respect and admiration for him only grow further. Thank you Devin.

‘Hyperdrive’ (Acoustic – Live in Leeds 2019) (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Intro
02. Let It Roll
03. Funeral
04. Deadhead
05. Ih-Ah!
06. Love?
07. Hyperdrive
08. Terminal
09. Coast
10. Solar Winds
11. Thing Beyond Things

LINKS:

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.

Blue Hour Ghosts – Due

Due Album Cover Art

Blue Hour Ghosts – Due
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 12/02/2021
Running Time: 38:59
Review by Dark Juan
8/10

Salut! I trust you are all having the most splendid day imaginable? Yes? Excellent. You find I, Dark Juan, in a most agreeable humour considering I have work tomorrow and I am in fact sober even though Argos (a particular shop in the UK, fans from other climes) were having what could only be described as a twat of a day considering their IT systems were down and no fucker could buy anything. This was annoying because I need to buy a hairdryer. Not for me, you understand, as I am somewhat follically challenged (but this just makes me a more streamlined and sleeker killing machine), but because I am SICK TO DEATH of Mrs Dark Juan’s hair trying to kill me while I sleep by infiltrating my throat. Honestly, her hair leads a semi-independent life all of its own and it is frequently homicidal. One wonders whether it would rank among the more unusual deaths ever recorded by West Yorkshire Police when it finally succeeds in its quest to off me and it will probably have half consumed my corpse by the time the plod get here. It once spat out an entire tortilla chip at me once. I shit you not. Also, I have been subject to some mockery from the leek and dragon enthusiast part of Team Ever Metal and other Welsh friends (MANY, many Welsh friends), due to a load of blokes named variously Jones, Davies or Griffiths chasing a funny shaped ball around a field better than us Saesnegs whilst wearing worryingly tight shorts. But the English do that too.

Three hundred words and I haven’t told you a damned thing about the music. Well, if you insist… Today’s offering comes from the land of Ferraris, Birra Moretti, and Cristina Scabbia (sigh…). Yes, Blue Hour Ghosts are from Modena in Italy, and I am listening to their sophomore offering “Due”, which is “Two” for all you dastardly souls who have never bothered to learn another language. Pay attention, you at the back, there will be a test later.

The record kicks off with ‘Walking Backwards’ and I am immediately smacked in the face with shimmering, very 80’s sounding keyboards and a clean (as in doesn’t sound like the vocalist is straining to have a colossal chilli fuelled shit, or more worryingly sounding like he’s on a very gruff vinegar stroke) singer over a meaty riff. I have returned to the righteous path of metal after a sojourn into the realms of industrial and the frankly whacked out bonkers barmy. However, rather than return to the world of the extreme, I have chosen the more melodic and grandiose path that Blue Hour Ghosts tread. Employing a sound that is a melange of Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, more than a little Coheed And Cambria (in the arrangement of the songs) and a soupcon of Paradise Lost, BHG are never going to be a particularly violent band. What they do have are pretty good songwriting chops and a fine grasp of English compared to my woeful knowledge of Italian. I always find it mightily impressive when non-native English speakers create songs in English when I could just about ask for two beers in their language (and can’t even do that in Afrikaans).

Further on into the record there is ‘Lower The Wires’ which marries an epic vocal from Ricky DC and a massive fucking chorus over keyboards inspired by Rammstein in parts, what with the way they swirl and prowl below the dual guitar attack of Diego Angeli and Francesco Poggi. This is actually a record that is somewhat greater than the sum of its parts – When I read the blurb and it said it was melodic metal, I was prepared to be unimpressed, because quite a lot of melodic metal is frankly a bag of shite and needs actual proper talent to make it work. Thankfully, BHG have the talent to make it work and work well. A lot of credit goes to keyboard batterer Simome Pedrazzi for this because his keyboards are never less than stunning, forming Rammstein-esque stabbings and eerie atmosphere before morphing into huge, skyrocketing, coruscating walls of sound that counterpoint the chunky riffing of the guitars superbly, but never overwhelm the band entirely. The vocal harmonies are also fucking brilliant, reminding me of Coheed And Cambria when they are sung in higher registers. ‘Damn Wrong’ is also a good, slowly rocking, melancholy tune that really reminds me of “One Second” era Paradise Lost, having the black misery and nihilism that the Yorkshire miserabilists made famous. I could really picture Nick Holmes singing this song and being as I am a BIT of a fan of Paradise Lost, this is not really a demerit.

Production wise this record is actually pretty damned good. Production and engineering has been ably handled by Giuseppe Bassi, of Fear Factory notability. His handling of the bass guitar of Matteo Malmusi is especially noteworthy as it is easily audible but doesn’t overpower the rest of the band and is a writhing, sinuous underpoint to the music rather than just something there to give the music a bit of a fat arse. However, the drums sound lifeless and artificial (although very competently played) and the china cymbal really can grate somewhat as it appears to have developed a superiority complex over the rest of the percussion and decided that it should be the ONLY cymbal that is heard. Some of the song arrangements can also be a little…choppy on key changes and middle eights but these are really minor gripes compared to the expansive songs and sound that the band enjoy on this record.

So, Italy proves once again to us that the metal scene there is vibrant and wide-ranging. There’s clearly more to the Italian scene than just Lacuna Coil and Corpsefucking Art and I’m looking forward to dipping my toes in further. Forza Italia!!!

Yes, it is fair to say that I am actually more than a little impressed by Blue Hour Ghosts. Solid, experimental, heavy and melodic as well, they cover most bases that excite this perennial enfant terrible and the sex wee quotient is fairly high. While we aren’t going to experience flooding, as Calderdale Council have invested heavily in sex wee flood defences since the last time (that was The Machinist’s fault) the quantity is sufficient to call town planners’ decisions into question about whether they can build houses on the flood plain at the bottom of the hill. This is music that you would play on an epic roadtrip around the warmer climes of Europe with the top down at dusk. I like it.

A lot.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il sistema brevettato di valutazione degli schizzi di sangue Dark Juan – fuck it. Close enough. I’m sure the gentlemen will correct my Italian if they read what I have written about them) has been pleasantly shocked and awards Blue Hour Ghosts 8/10 for a damned fine melodic metal record with melancholy overtones. Surprising and excellent.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Walking Backwards
02. On Black Clouds
03. Dead In August
04. Damn Wrong
05. Shine
06. Fearless
07. Lower The Wires
08. Disheartened
09. Involved/Bored

LINE-UP:
Ricky DC – Vocals
Diego Angeli – Guitars
Francesco Poggi – Guitars
Simome Pedrazzi – Keyboards
Matteo Malmusi – Bass
Andrew Gunner – Drums

LINKS:

Blue Hour Ghosts Promo Pic

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.