Opeth – Blackwater Park 20th Anniversary Edition

Blackwater Park (20th Anniversary Edition) Album Cover Art

Opeth – Blackwater Park 20th Anniversary Edition
Music For Nations
Release Date: 16/07/2021
Running Time: 76:43
Review by Dawn Smith
9/10

When I asked the good people at Ever Metal if I could return to the family as a reviewer, much to my relief, they welcomed me back with open arms. My first job was to look through the album list and pick an album that I wanted to review. One jumped out of the screen straight away!

I had never really given Opeth much thought in the past, only having a copy of “Blackwater Park”, which I had probably listened to three times (at most!) and nothing of the other stuff they had done. Progressive music didn’t really feature on my radar and the album sat at the bottom of the CD pile, gathering dust.

Now, twenty years later, my musical tastes having become a little more diverse, so I felt ready to give the album the attention it deserved and what better way than with the 20th Anniversary Edition?

But first, a little history!

Opeth were formed in Stockholm, Sweden in 1989, originally, as a death metal band, and over the years have changed their sound to consistently include elements of progressive, folk, blues, classical and jazz as well as death metal and the death metal growls from the early years. Cleaner vocals have appeared on later albums to the point that their last album “In Cauda Venenum”, released in 2019, featured no growls at all.

The band has had several personnel changes over the years, including the replacement of every single original member and Mikael Akerfeldt, lead vocalist, guitarist and songwriter has been the main driving force behind the band since the departure of original singer, David Isberg in 1992.

Speaking of the band’s changing sound Akerfeldt has been quoted as saying “I don’t see the point of playing in a band and going just one way when you can do everything. It would be impossible for us to play just death metal – that is our roots, but we are now a mishmash of everything, and not purists to any form of music. It’s impossible for us to do that, and quite frankly, I would think of it as boring to be in a band that plays just metal music. We’re not afraid to experiment, or to be caught with our pants down, so to speak. That’s what keeps us going.”

In 2001 the metal word was in a post-grunge state, but Opeth were forging a unique creative path and after four albums of imaginative and immersive heavy metal, the first being “Orchid” released in 1995, the band were ready for a career- defining statement and that came in the form of “Blackwater Park”.

Originally released on March 12th, 2001, “Blackwater Park” was the band’s fifth album, and soon become their magnum opus, their flagship album. It became known as the “thinking metal fan’s album” and was something to challenge the listener. It opened the band up to a much wider audience, including the metal underground and the progressive rock world inclusive! To quote the band’s own notes to the album, it “saw the Swedish metallers kick open prog’s ornate doors, fed death metal through the cosmic kaleidoscope and introduced a generation of music nerds to a world of limitless musical possibilities.”

The album was produced by Steve Wilson, a move that was to be the start of a lifelong friendship and Mikael Akerfeldt says that “Blackwater Park was the stepping stone in professionalism for us!”

The album can be summed up as a mix of melodic moments, spine-tingling atmospherics and crushing heaviness, or just simply musical perfection. With the bonus live version of ‘The Leper Affinity’ and several songs over ten minutes long, the album’s popularity has proved that music fans, and metalheads in particular, are more open-minded than they are given credit for, and that metal music can have depth, subtlety, sophistication, and imagination.

With thirteen studio albums under their belt, along with live albums and DVD’s, the band have proven they are now one of the most consistently extraordinary live bands on the planet, and one I need to see…soon!

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Leper Affinity
02. Bleak
03. Harvest
04. The Drapery Falls
05. Dirge For November
06. The Funeral Portrait
07. Patterns In The Ivy
08. Blackwater Park
09. The Leper Affinity (Live)

“BLACKWATER PARK” LINE-UP:
Mikael Åkerfeldt – Lead Vocals, Guitars
Peter Lindgren – Guitars
Martín Méndez – Bass
Martin Lopez – Drums
Steven Wilson – Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Mellotron, Guitars
Markus Lindberg – Percussion

LINKS:

Blackwater Park 20th Anniversary vinyl versions

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dawn Smith 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 #2 – Galactic Quarantine

Devolution Series #2 - Galactic Quarantine Album Cover Art

Devin Townsend – Devolution Series #2 – Galactic Quarantine
Inside Out Music
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 79:32
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

“Don’t let the bullshit get you down”…Never a truer word spoken, and we are surrounded by some monumental bullshit right now, aren’t we?! It’s with that phrase that we are launched into “Devolution Series #2 – Galactic Quarantine”, the latest release in Devin Townsend’s Lockdown project. This album is a recording of a greenscreen lockdown concert given by Devin and a series of other musicians, all broadcasting from their living rooms, in different locations, during the initial lockdown in 2020. Unlike the first Devolution Series album, this one is up tempo and in-your-face right from the start. It’s full of some classic Devin, and the energy and joy are palpable throughout.

The fact that Devin is one of my absolute heroes might be playing a role here, but this album is monumental. The stunning musicianship of every player, along with Devin’s super powerful voice make it the uplifting experience we all need. It never ceases to amaze me that such a mild mannered and humble person can explode with the power that Devin does.

Tune wise, among my favourites are ‘Juular’, ‘Hyperdrive’, ‘Love?’, and ‘Kingdom’, all of which are not only brilliantly intricate compositions, but are also performed perfectly on this album, which is no mean feat, given the constraints that all the musicians had to work within. From the crunching guitars, to thumping rhythms, close harmonies, and sweeping synths, everything is 100% bang on.

There are two tracks that stand out for me though. ‘Deadhead’ and ‘Spirits Will Collide’. ‘Deadhead’ is one of the more melancholy, slower paced tracks that really lets emotions speak through the instruments. The guitar work at the beginning is full of passion, as are Devin’s screams throughout the song.

‘Spirits Will Collide’ is still my favourite song from the “Empath” album, and here it’s performed stunningly – I mean of course it is! This is Devin! Anything less than perfection isn’t within his vocabulary! The thing about this song is it’s full of hope. And its vast expansiveness, musically, always inspires me into somewhat of an existential crisis, but in a good way. What was it that Keanu Reeves said in “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”? “We’re all just dust in the wind…” Something like that anyway – that’s the sort of higher plane of consciousness I end up on listening to ‘Spirits Will Collide’…

I digress, yet again. I don’t need to explain any more about this album. Just simply another smasher from a living legend. Not at all jealous that we’re not going to Bloodstock so won’t get the chance to see him this summer, honest…and I’m still not in the slightest bit upset that we didn’t get to see him in Manchester in 2019 for my 40th, because we were both ill…honest but, as advised by Dev, I will not let the bullshit get me down!

Buy this album. I promise you won’t regret it.

‘Kingdom’ (Virtually Live 2020 Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Velvet Kevorkian
02. All Hail The New Flesh
03. By Your Command
04. Almost Again
05. Juular
06. March Of The Poozers
07. Supercrush!
08. Hyperdrive
09. Stormbending
10. Deadhead
11. Aftermath
12. Love?
13. Spirits Will Collide
14. Kingdom
15. Detox

LINKS:

Devin Townsend Promo Pic

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

Belle Morte – Crime Of Passion

Crime Of Passion Album Cover Art

Belle Morte – Crime Of Passion
Wormholedeath
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 45:57
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Belle Morte is a Dark Symphonic/Gothic/Progressive metal project from Minsk, Belarus, which began in 2017. “Crime Of Passion” is a dark story, of obsession, stalking, and murder, told from the perspective of both the murderer, and victim. It explores contrast in a variety of ways, examining the possibilities that there can be beauty in ugly or disturbing things, and vice versa.

With that kind of theme, it’s obvious from the start that this isn’t going to be a light-hearted album, but that’s to be expected given the genre. The orchestral elements are apparent right from the start, in the opening ‘Overture’, which sets a haunting tone with mournful Cello and flute creating a chilling atmosphere, and Violins that remind me a little of the sweeping passages in Saint-Saëns’ ‘Dance Macabre’.

From there, we travel into a frenetic and dark track ‘Who Are You’. This is pacey and full of spikey guitars, giving it a huge sense of fear and urgency. Musically, it has everything you’d expect from a symphonic track, Sweeping melodies, crystal clear vocals, and a dark and serious rhythm. Here, and indeed throughout the album we find another juxtaposition that works so well in this genre, but also fits with the contrasting theme of the album. Wonderful classical Mezzo-Soprano vocals, sitting on top of heavy, crunching, guitars and thumping bass and drums, alongside the ever-present classical piano and string section.

Vocally, there’s elements of a few different vocalists in the style, but I think for me it’s most similar to Tarja, which let’s be fair, is no mean feat, and should be applauded.

Track 4, ‘To Get Her’, introduces some of the more progressive elements of the album, with cross rhythms, and the various instruments playing separate melodies, all knitted together. This also adds to the drama and tension of the album.

The ambient sounds, and synth elements also add to the darkness, making it a true gothic work. And everything being in a minor key adds to this feeling, giving this a truly haunting sound.

In, ‘My Little Demon’, we get some male vocals. I get why they’re there, but I’m not sure the voice fits with the darkness of the album. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with the voice, and there are some growled parts that are more in keeping, but in my humble opinion, more could have been made out of the contrast element in the parts where we have clean male vocals. They need to be rawer. Let’s not forget that this guy is playing the part of a murderer on the album. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a gruff and unforgiving voice, but I think it would have helped deliver the contrast more effectively in this song.

That’s pretty much my only gripe with the album though. ‘Lace’ is my pick of the tunes. It’s very dark, and relies heavily on piano and vocals, which, as a pianist, and vocalist, always makes me happy! But aside from that, it’s a mournful ballad which appeals to my ever so slightly gothic nature. It’s also got a hellishly catch chorus.

All in all, this is a really good album. But I do feel this project has got further to grow yet. However, having only really been around for a couple of years, and having a large part of that taken up by the shitstorm of a global pandemic, I feel pretty certain that growth will happen. Definitely give it a spin if you like your metal on the Gothically Symphonic side.

‘Lace’ (Official Music Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Overture
02. Who Are You
03. If Only You Knew
04. To Get Her
05. Beauty And The Beast
06. My Little Demon
07. Broken Things
08. Beauty Meant To Kill
09. Lace
10. My Legacy
11. To Get Her (Acoustic Bonus Track)

LINKS:

Belle Morte Promo Pic

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

Seventh Dimension – Black Sky

Black Sky Album Cover Art

Seventh Dimension – Black Sky
Corrupted Records
Release Date: 18/06/2021
Running Time: 48:16
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Let’s face it most bands, despite us journalists trying to pigeonhole them down by genre and geography don’t just come from one place any more. The history of our beloved musical genre is full of stories of small town heroes coming together bound by a musical vision and a dream, but as time goes by the inevitable diaspora occurs and people spread out geographically; band members come and go and the net of contributors spreads even further. In this day and age though, huge numbers of acts come together comprised of people who are not so closely co-located anymore. I can name a dozen acts off the top of my head whose members formed with many miles (or indeed countries) between them, as technology enables those barriers to become increasingly irrelevant. The COVID situation has thrown a proverbial Holy Hand Grenade of accelerant on to that process, as bands have been forced to write, rehearse, record and produce without any physical contact and the gaps in some cases widen from countries to continents. Sometimes this falls very flat and I’ve reviewed plenty of releases recently assembled like a virtual musical jigsaw in this way that miss the spark of magical chemistry and consequently feel by the numbers, with that vital something missing from the final product.

What I personally believe makes the difference, is that Seventh Dimension is a band that has already gelled musically. They’ve spent enough time together in the studio and on stage for that musical shorthand and chemistry between players to form, so that they can trigger the right responses from each other through that hard earned familiarity. Consequently the fact that this opus was taken through its life-cycle with physical barriers makes no difference to what they have pulled off. Recorded remotely mostly in Sweden with key elements coming from Japan, this is a triumph of remote delivery and a slab of Melodic Prog Metal at its finest.

Very much of the Dream Theater mode, this piece is darker in tone than its three predecessors and all the stronger for it. I get motes of ‘V: The New Methodology Suite’ era Symphony X in the tonal structures – keyboard-wise in particular and in the overall arrangements, but they are very much their own beast. It’s also head and shoulders above their previous and interminably long release “The Corrupted Lullaby”, which is a classic example of ‘just because you can produce a double CD, does not mean that you should’…

At forty-eight minutes, “Black Sky” is positively punchy by comparison and despite the fact that it’s dripping with Prog technical flourishes, doesn’t drown you in these at the expense of the song-writing and arrangements. That means that even lengthy pieces like the title track do not drag whilst clocking up a healthy eight minutes of run time. Yes, you can hear how darned technically great the playing is, but it’s not slapping you in the face with it and the song carries you with it. It’s also one of those records that has enough ambiance in it to allow this to be gently ingested in the background, drawing you in with repeated listens. If it has a weaknesses, is that it needs a few ‘everyman’ melodic hooks to hang some of the songs on – vocally, in particular, the focus is on story-telling rather than melodic catchiness, making it an album that you need to listen to over time, rather than in an accessible and catchy way. That said, it’s definitely a grower…

TRACKLISTING:
01. Premonition
02. Bad Blood
03. Kill The Fire
04. Resurgence
05. Falling
06. Black Sky: Assembly
07. Black Sky: Into The Void
08. As The Voices Fade
09. Incubus

LINE-UP:
Luca Delle Fave – Guitars
Rikard Wallström – Bass
Marcus Thorén – Drums
Erik Bauer – Keyboards
Nico Lauritsen – Vocals

LINKS:

Seventh 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.

EMQ’s With A FOOL’S MOCKERY

A Fool's Mockery Logo

EMQ’s With A FOOL’S MOCKERY

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview courtesy of Victor, with Manchester, England based Progressive Metal/Rock band, A Fool’s Mockery. Huge thanks to drummer/keyboardist Jase Tyler 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 Jase Tyler, the drummer and keyboardist in A Fool’s Mockery. The band originated in North Wales, where me, the guitarist Eddy Bleasdale and the bassist Scott Gurnett began recording our debut album while completing our master’s degrees at University. We were joined a year later by Emannuel Thorsen for vocals. It was all recorded in a very “on-the-go” way using my laptop, composing and recording whenever we had spare time.

How did you come up with your band name?

It was Scott who suggested the name; I think the “Fool” part was inspired by the Jester who appears on the cover artwork of the band Edguy. “Mockery” was a euphonious word to complete the name.

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

We are based in the UK, and most of us live in the city of Manchester. Here the rock and metal scene is thriving – before 2020 there were plenty of rock and metal gigs in various venues, ranging from bands making a stop on a world tour, to small performances in bars. I hope to see this continue in the near future.

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

At the beginning of February, we released our debut concept album “Empire of Doubt”. This followed the release of the two singles ‘The Great Lie’ and ‘Plea for Forgiveness’ in the previous month, which were each accompanied by a music video and a lyric video, respectively. These are available to watch on our YouTube channel. We are all extremely pleased with what we’ve come up with, and we look forward to making the next one!

‘The Great Lie’ (Official Video)

‘Plea For Forgiveness’ (Lyric Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

For me personally, the bands Dream Theater, Avantasia, Ayreon, Ghost and The Neal Morse Band have captivated my ears like no others! But one thing I find so refreshing and wonderful about working together with the other AFM members is that we all herald from different musical genres – so if you were to ask any of the other guys the same question, you’d get a totally different answer. I’m also partial to the more “classic” metal bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest etc – but then, who isn’t!

What first got you into music?

It was through learning to play the drums and joining my first band that I became infatuated with music – both in listening and performing. That pushed me into finding out what other drummers were doing in famous bands, so I explored their discographies and learned some of their songs. The composition side of music became much more exciting for me personally with this album “Empire Of Doubt” since it’s my first real use of the keyboard in song writing.

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

I’d love to work with Tobias Sammet, since his voice has always seemed so powerful yet expressive to me. I also think Jordan Rudess’ keyboard playing is in a class of its own, and it would be majestic to jam with him some day. I love Arjen Lucassen’s musical arrangements, so it would be pretty cool to collaborate with him too!

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

Definitely Wacken! I’ve dreamt of playing there since I was about 15. I love the community that is present there, and the pure emotion from all the acts on stage. As Eric Martin said when he was there – it’s the Mecca of heavy metal!

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

A pair of shoes.

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

I would emphasise the importance of perseverance – don’t let circumstance stop you from achieving a goal! I believe our album is a testament to that effect: we recorded it without expensive equipment, while at University, and finished it during the abomination of a year that was 2020. Keep on reminding yourself that there is always another way to accomplish something!

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

Ronnie James Dio.

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

I love how it allows me to be creative and express myself, and specifically in the setting of the band, how collaboration results in a melting pot of ideas. Someone might come up with a riff, which gets reinterpreted by someone else, and ends up in various iterations throughout a song from having different people’s perspectives and input into that musical idea. I hate the tedium that is an inevitable necessity of the recording process: I am something of a perfectionist, so I’ve recorded some parts many more times than I’d care to mention for the sake of them sounding the way I want.

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

More music and less ego.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Conceptual albums have always stood out to me. I’m torn between naming Dream Theater’s “Metropolis Part 2: Scenes From A Memory” and The Neal Morse Band’s “The Similitude Of A Dream” as my favourite! Both feature excellent virtuosic musicianship and storytelling, with brilliant thematic reprisals which complement their respective narratives. If any of the readers have not heard these albums, I can thoroughly recommend having a listen! The artists have each made a huge contribution to the Progressive Rock genre with these albums.

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

Vinyl, Cassettes and CDs for sure.

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

Headbangers Attack Festival.

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

I suppose I’d be doing the same job as I am now, just with less to occupy my free time. I currently work in a genomics company, developing diagnostic products for cervical cancer. I’ve also been involved with microbiological research.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Angela Gossow, Michael Kiske, Doro, Eric Adams and Rob Halford.

What’s next for the band?

Hopefully, after the pandemic we can get together to work on a second album, and all being well we can play some live shows! This depends on a lot of things though, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens.

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

You can find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and you can listen to our music pretty much anywhere! The main website from which you can purchase the album digitally is Bandcamp, and most of our other websites (merch etc) are linked to from there as well.
www.facebook.com/AFoolsMockery
www.twitter.com/afoolsmockery/
www.instagram.com/afoolsmockery/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCE8BkNLxaMi2fErdcBSI8eg/
www.afoolsmockery.bandcamp.com/
www.afoolsmockery.dizzyjam.com/ (Merch)

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Cakes harden as they go off, whereas biscuits turn soft. Jaffa cakes become hard if left out for a while, so I’d say they are cakes.

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

Rock on.

Victor’s original review of “Empire Of Doubt”

A Fool's Mockery Promo Pic

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

A Fool’s Mockery – Empire Of Doubt

Empire Of Doubt Album Cover Art

A Fool’s Mockery – Empire Of Doubt
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/02/2021
Running Time: 63:43
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Music can be a very interesting thing and I am not just talking just about the act of hearing it, but how it connects people around the world. As you probably know, I am the first Brazilian to be part of Ever Metal and during almost 2 years with this beautiful team, I have understood a little more of the culture in the UK, even if I still live an ocean apart from them. But it is funny that, even though I have got closer to them, I still discover things from there, from friends in my own country and this is how I found out about A Fool’s Mockery, an amazing band from the UK, thanks to their singer and my great friend Emannuel Thorsen.

Emannuel is also Brazilian and we lived in the same city when he was part of a great band called Hell Bound. When he moved to the UK, he had to leave that band, but his path converged with the other members of A Fool’s Mockery. Now, this is a new era for him and the band, with their first release. I don’t know exactly how they ending up meeting each other but my advice to you is that, after listening to “Empire Of Doubt” for the first time is not to expect immature music and performance just because it is a debut album. I don’t know their ages, but they are young as a band, however, this is a very mature album. So, let’s understand what it has offer to us, the listeners.

Opening track, ‘The Great Lie’, shows what I consider to be a mix of Classic Heavy Rock (Deep Purple) with Power Metal elements such as the fast drum fills and Emmanuel’s vocals interpretations. The presence of Jase Tyler’s keyboards is another element that navigates between Classic and the more Melodic Power Metal style. By the way, Jase is also the man who holds the drumsticks in the band (at least, in the studio) and I must highlight how astonishing he is on both instruments. Next track, ‘Let The Truth Be Known’ keeps the happy spirit of the band’s sonority and, once again, the keyboards are very present. In this song, the bass of Scott Gurnett also has a strong presence, considering there are almost no guitars, just short and good solos.

I guess the dramatic change of the album’s sonority happens on ‘Enter The New’ where progressive elements take over. If before, I felt a balance between Classic Rock and Power Metal, this time I could feel the influence of bands such as Rush and Dream Theater. This makes it sound a little less Metal and Rock and, as I’m not the biggest fan of Progressive Metal, I started off worried but, in this instance, I absolute love the end result.

As with most material labelled ‘progressive’, you get extensive songs, such as the beautiful ‘The Heretic’ and the eighteen minute long ‘Cardinal Sinner’. The former I loved because it has a lot of different cadences and moments. It is the best time to check out the versatile riffs of guitarist Eddy Bleasdale and, once again, there are excellent independent bass lines from Scott Gurnett. What I admire here is how the band maintain a smooth atmosphere even when things become heavy!

The instrumental ‘Much’ has the same spirit, but with more space for kick ass drum work, even showcasing some blues influence. However, we still have space for heavier stuff such as ‘Wrath Of The Divine’ or the more ballad driven, in a very good Deep Purple way, ‘Plea for Forgiveness’. To epically finish the album, the band present ‘Legacy’ which includes great orchestration. Emmanuel’s beautiful vocal interpretation together with Jase, Eddy and Scott show how incredible they are on their instruments, without creating music full of annoying and over the top virtuosity.

Despite “Empire Of Doubt” being a debut album, it is wonderful how they have worked so hard to create great material. The main goal, at least for me, is how they found a way to mix different genres, that on their own, may be considered a little boring for those of us not fans of them but, in this case, sounded cool and the listening experience became incredibly enjoyable. This album is 63 minutes long, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it.

If you are fan of Rock/Progressive bands like Rush and Deep Purple but like something a little more Metal, or love Progressive Heavy Metal but miss the simplicity of Rock then I am certain that you will love and admire how A Fool’s Mockery have combined the best of these two worlds.

‘The Great Lie’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Great Lie
02. Let the Truth Be Known
03. Enter The New
04. The Heretic
05. Much (Instrumental)
06. Wrath Of The Divine
07. Plea For Forgiveness
08. Cardinal Sinner
09. Legacy

LINE-UP:
Emannuel Thorsen – Vocals
Jase Tyler – Drums, Keyboards, Percussion
Eddy Bleasdale – Guitars
Scott Gurnett – Bass

LINKS:

A Fool's Mockery Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto 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.

Mercic – 7, 8

Mercic 7 & 8 Album Covers

Mercic – 7, 8
Self-Released
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 30:59/34:14
Review by Beth Jones
8/10
8.5/10

Another Sunday is upon us. And it has to be said I’m feeling a little delicate this morning, after another great little virtual gathering of our little Ever Metal global family last night. So obviously, when you’re not quite sure if your head is on the right way round, the best thing to do is listen to some slightly proggy industrial electronica! Thankfully, Mercic, a project from Portugal, has popped up in my review list delivering just that!

Created in 2015, Mercic is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist, Carlos Maldito. The philosophy of Mercic is to move away from releasing singles and videos, instead choosing to only release studio albums and remix other bands. And to that end, albums “7” & “8” have just been released. Now, the eagle-eyed among you will notice that the album track numbers don’t start at 1. That’s because they all follow on from the original album. If you have a few hours spare, you might want to listen to them all back-to-back!

Musically, there are a lot of genres and influences in these two albums. Everything from full on dirty industrial metal, to flamenco acoustic guitar. The albums are mainly instrumental, but “7” does have some vocals, and spoken word, all in Carlos’ mother tongue, which is beautifully expressive, and works really well. It’s a very atmospheric sound, almost painting a picture of a futuristic industrial dystopia. It would be a great soundtrack for a dark film full of barren, tarred landscapes, and industrial factories.

The sampling and orchestration are another big plus of these two albums. I can get a bit annoyed by sampling sometimes if they’re not done right. But I don’t have a problem with this album.

Track 52, ‘Reage’ instantly grabbed me, as it reminds me a lot of another industrial favourite of mine, Jayce Lewis. It’s heavy and thumping, luscious with mechanical energy. And this sets the tone for the majority of “7”, with industrial noises appearing all over the place to compliment the music. It’s a bit of a mind fuck at times, because it’s steeped with cross rhythms and unexpected changes of mood or style in the middle of songs. It’s definitely a thinker’s album.

“8” is a slightly less mind melting affair, with more defined rhythms and refined style changes. And for that reason, I prefer it slightly to “7”. ‘The Determinant Rising’, the first track on “8” reminds me of 8-bit computer game music, which I bloody loved. It’s very atmospheric and would be the music leading up to an end level boss! But I think my favourite track on this album is ‘The Conqueror’ because it’s so different. Harsh metallic drums and low rumbling samples, but with Spanish Guitar played Flamenco style. It’s very clever.

It’s not often that I get stumped for what to say about an album. But these two albums are actually pretty hard to describe, because there’s such a mix of sounds, rhythms, and ideas going on. Now, usually, that would piss me off! But here it doesn’t. It just kinda works. It’s ambient and dystopic, and it tells a dark tale with sound. I’ve really enjoyed listening to this, not just for the actual music, but for the dark symbolism and mood it prompts in me. If you’re looking for something a little bit different to listen to, and like to explore dark ambience, then these two albums could be just what you’re looking for.

‘Reage’ (Audio) Taken From “7”.

‘The Determinant Rising’ (Audio) Taken From “8”.

TRACKLISTING:
7:
51. Batalha De Egos
52. Reage
53. Começa a Viver-te
54. Sê Audaz
55. Já Não Te Pertences
56. Se Pequeno For o Teu Pensamento Jamais Seras Grande em Algo
57. Foge & Liberta-Te
58. Há Sempre Um Vazio
59. Olha-Te Ao Espelho
60. Somos Erros

8:
61. The Determinant Rising
62. The Ruinous Damage
63. The Extermination Of What You Thought To Be
64. The Continuous Uncertainty
65. The Conqueror
66. The Most Perfect Nightmare
67. The Pain Builder
68. Nostalgia For The Past Nights
69. The Crown Belongs To Johnny (RIP)
70. The Last Ramble Of Dawn, Enough!

LINE-UP:

Carlos Maldito – Vocals, Keyboards, Samplers, Drums

Featuring

André Tavares, César Palma, Manuel Melo, Hugo Areias, Cláudio Silva, Luís Coelho, Jorge Caldeira, José Costa, Jó, Tiago Tokinha, Ricardo Gingado, Paulo Dimal, Cristiano Vieira.

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.

Schysma – Schysma

Schysma Album Cover Art

Schysma – Schysma
Wormholedeath Records
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 43:09
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, dear friends and followers of The One Who Walks Backwards. My Pimm’s fuelled rantings continue unabated. The evil Eye of Sauron in the sky above Yorkshire continues to burn its fiery will into my skin and I continue to cower within the shelter of Dark Juan Terrace swearing terrible vengeance upon it, if only I could construct a vessel able to withstand the crushing gravities and stellar heat I would encounter. How I wish I could plunge a spear of ethereal ice deep in the flaming heart of the beast, and then I would not have to experience the milk bottle white, blotchy legs and shamefully awful tattoos of the myriad of howling mad bastards who have unaccountably all not got jobs to go to and have instead turned up in the nearest hostelry in defiance of the possibility of further contagion from the last year… and they are doing this to shout about some grown men in shorts kicking a pig’s bladder around a bit of grass. Except, this time, it’s special because it is international. Bah humbug. I fucking hate football and the propensity of the followers of that sport to turn into gurning, fucktard dribblers as soon as it comes on the television. And people fight over it too. I mean come on…It’s a game. It is a game that has been hijacked by businessmen and NO fucking footballer is worth millions of pounds. Ever. Nurses, care workers, cleaners, deliverymen and any number of other jobs are worth more than fucking footballers, yet the ability to kick an inflated pig’s bladder straight is lauded more than people actually making a difference to other people’s lives. Fuck that for a game of soldiers…

I’m supposed to be doing a review aren’t I? I’ll stop moaning and crack on then…I am now listening to one of the most splendidly demented pieces of music I have ever had the pleasure to hear, in Schysma’s self-titled album. This Italian band have clearly decided that if they are going to play music, then they are going to go straight for the throat and bloody well gnaw chunks out of it as they hang on for dear life. How the fuck am I going to describe this chimeric beast?

Imagine Nightwish, sped up to one and half times the speed and add to that some of the most gloriously unhinged operatic vocals I have ever heard, roaming from alto to soprano with joy and carefree abandon, with a bit of nu-metal mixed into a gothic/ power metal sound and a keyboard player who has decided that the only way forward is to play high gothic keyboards at the speed of a Rhapsody Of Fire guitar solo constantly and without any form of restraint whatsoever.

Jesus Holy High Christ in a chariot driven sidecar – this is beyond magnificent. It’s absolutely fucking mental. The music is actually spectacularly complex and high minded and the entire band are superb players and they had a band meeting one day and have clearly said, “Behold this, our field of fucks. We have none to give, for it is barren.” Schysma are madder than a room full of painted frogs and even their visual aesthetic on their promo pictures is awesome, referencing high goth and The Portrait of Dorian Grey. Gorgeous gowns and militaristic clothing abound and even the production on the record has attained all new heights of bombast. Everything is so lushly produced it all risks descending into a glorious wriggling mess, yet somehow avoids this and from a production perspective this album is one of the richest, warmest things I have ever heard. Gothic metal sometimes risks the keyboards and high-handedness overpowering everything else, yet in Schysma every instrument is distinct and clear even over the powerful and idiosyncratic vocals of Eliana Sanna (think Floor Jansen and King Diamond’s love child, ignoring the unholy sexual congress that would have had to happen to result in this, and add a level of insanity that even Charles Manson would shrink back in horror from) and this is actually a pretty massive achievement, especially considering that Schysma’s entire sound can only be described as colossal. This is the kind of sound that Nightwish and Lacuna Coil wish they could achieve.

What are the downsides? It’s a fucking exhausting listen because there is just so much going on – the complexity in arrangement of Tool, the histrionics of Within Temptation and Nightwish, the drama of opera, the underlying influence of math metal like Meshuggah and Mudvayne and the vocals of an escaped and possibly murderous madwoman combine to slam you against a non-stop wall of sound and pin you there bloodied, helpless and powerless to resist. It also suffers slightly from not deviating from the formula the band have created for themselves – although every track is original and fresh, the sound and the arrangements of the songs are all cut from the same rich cloth. There’s no light and dark here, it’s all gorgeous coiffures, sumptuous lace gowns and frock coats and breeches, fuelled with endless fucking cocaine. Like, all the fucking cocaine in the world in one colossal snort with a fuckton of Billy added for good measure because Schysma couldn’t possibly think of slowing down to mortal speeds. Oh no. And that, while not a problem, does give a bit of a lack of variety to the music. A little bit of black coffee and a cigarette break and a number where they dial back the hell bent for warp speed gothic murderousness would pay handsomely.

I can’t give you a standout song because they are all absolutely fucking splendid. If you love bombast, gothic power metal and operatic female vocals, holy fuck, are you in for a treat! Honest to god I have never heard a more extreme gothic metal record ever. Every single element is turned up to eleven and stays there. For sheer absolute power, there ain’t much that can beat it.

I’m actually totally blown away. This is what operatic metal should sound like. Powerful, massive, absolutely unapologetic and utterly, UTTERLY out to lunch. Although metal purists will fucking hate it, I am in love with this bunch of Italian lunatics!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Il sistema brevettato di valutazione degli schizzi di sangue di Dark Juan) cannot help himself but award Schysma the full beans 10/10 for a fucking fun record. Congratulazioni, ragazzi e ragazze!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Day One
02. Origins
03. Romances For Weak Minded
04. Into My Illusion
05. As World Turns
06. No Lease Of Life
07. Gates Of Omega
08. Redrum
09. Aequilibrium
10. Your Sins Will Find You Out

LINE-UP:
Martina Bellini – Keyboards
Eliana Sanna – Vocals
Vladimiro Sala – Guitar
Luca Solina – Drums
Fabrizio Gaffuri – Bass Guitar

LINKS:

Schysma Promo Pic
Logo (

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.

EMQ’s with DYSTORCHESTRA

Dystorchestra Logo

EMQ’s with DYSTORCHESTRA

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Louisville, Kentucky based Progressive Rock/Metal band, Dystorchestra. Huge thanks to guitarist, David Kisselbaugh, 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?

My name is David Kisselbaugh, and I am the guitarist for the Progressive Metal band Dystorchestra. I’m joined in Dystorchestra by Shawn Dugdale (Keyboards and Guitar), Shawn Matty (Guitar), Tim Owens (Drums), Joe Easley (Bass) and Steve Yocum (Vocals). We formed out of a passion for progressive music and combined that with our love of story-telling to produce narrative driven music that reflects the times we live in.

How did you come up with your band name?

Dystorchestra is a portmanteau of the words Dystopia and Orchestra. We felt like it was a perfect description of the subject matter of most of our songs and the density of the music.

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

We are from Louisville, KY in the United States. We have a vibrant metal and original music scene here. It’s generally more on the metalcore side of the genre historically but we’re starting to see more progressive and technical bands show up.

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

Our latest release is our debut album “Deus Ex Machina Pt. 1” as well as a companion novella to bring the story of the music to life. “Deus Ex Machina, Pt. 1” tells the story of Thomas, an infantry soldier who is conscripted to fight on the front lines of an endless domestic war that has torn the United States apart. He is forced to choose, first, between family and country, and second, between the family he is born into and the family he has made with the fate of the world resting on his decisions.

‘Burn It Down’ (Lyric Video)

‘Anarcadia’ (Audio)

Who have been your greatest influences?

That’s one of the best things about being in Dystorchestra. We all have vast and varied influences, and they all coalesce in our sound. There are the obvious progressive influences like Coheed and Cambria, Queensrÿche, and Dream Theater. But you can also find some death metal, funk, and jazz/fusion aspects in our sound.

What first got you into music?

For me it was the 90’s rock bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, etc. I quickly moved on to the shred stuff that came in the 80’s on the Shrapnel label and heavier metal like death and thrash metal.

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

I would say having Steven Wilson produce the next Dystorchestra album would be an incredible collaboration. I think he would bring out some truly magical stuff in this context. But, isn’t everything he does magical?!

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

I’d love to be on our hometown festival Louder Than Life. There’s nothing like playing a huge hometown crowd.

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

I can’t think of an answer for this. But, in a previous band, we were opening for a big regional band that had a member who went by the name Goat. To thank them for giving us a shot we gave them a taxidermized goat’s head. They mounted it on the inside of their van.

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

Thank you. We put this music together for our own gratification. To make something we believed in completely. The fact that so many others have responded to it is truly touching.

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

Frank Zappa. Hands down. I would love to talk to him about what he truly felt was important in music and ask him about how he went from hearing such crazy music in his head, to putting it on stage.

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

I love performing most. Nothing like playing for others. I hate the load out at the end of the night.

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

Streaming royalties. It remains the most broken part of the industry. I don’t have all of the answers to this issue, but an artist who has thousands of streams a month should be able to sustain themselves financially on that usage. If the business models of the streaming companies who provide the service cannot support that, they either need to get a new business model or find a way to support it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

King Crimson – “Thrak”. It was my gateway to progressive music and stays in rotation today. Doesn’t have a lot to do with how Dystorchestra sounds but it led me to a lot of things that formed my approach to music today.

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

Honestly, I think CD’s were the apex of fidelity. I still like to buy them and listen to the full lossless tracks at least a few times before succumbing to the convenience of downloads/streaming. That is, of course, getting harder and harder to do.

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

A sweaty club gig at Third St. Dive in Louisville, KY. The crowd was amped and a mosh pit developed that spilled out of the front door into the middle of Third St. downtown. The Bar owner was blowing fireballs with Bacardi 151. Truly epic night!

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

If we’re talking artistically, I’ve always wanted to work in sketch comedy.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

I’d like to be a fly on the wall for the conversation if Steven Wilson, Claudio Sanchez, Jake Willson, Mikael Akerfeldt and Guthrie Govan were all having dinner together. I don’t think I would have a thing to say. I would just want to absorb that vibe.

What’s next for the band?

As the Covid restrictions ease up we’re going to be mounting a stage show for “Deus Ex Machina Pt. 1” and start writing songs for Pt. 2.

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

Everything can be found at www.dystorchestra.com. That has links to everything we do.

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Being an American, I’ve never had them. But, Wikipedia tells me they are biscuit sized cakes, so, we’ll go with that!

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

Thank you for having us!

Dystorchestra Promo Pic

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

EMQ’s with VISIONS OF DYSTOPIA

Visions Of Dystopia Logo

EMQ’s with VISIONS OF DYSTOPIA

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Montpellier, France based, Cinematic Progressive Metal band, Visions Of Dystopia. Huge thanks to Damien Maurel and Eric Juskewycz, for taking part.

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

Hi, I am Damien, the keyboard player of the band. Visions Of Dystopia was created in 2018. At that time, I was composing music for films and was looking for a musician to collaborate with for upcoming projects. I quickly thought of Eric (guitarist and composer), as I met him a couple years before, on projects that unfortunately all aborted… Since 2018, Eric and I have mainly composed for audio-visual projects (horror films, Sci-Fi animation films…). Thanks to all these rich experiences, we were able to progressively define the musical universe we really wanted to develop, a universe associating our metal roots and cinema. That’s how the album “A Nightmare On Dystopian Street” was born.

How did you come up with your band name?

We are concerned about the world that surrounds us and we early found in science fiction a gateway to the questions raised by our society and to its possible excesses. So, we looked for a name that referred to all these issues and “Visions Of Dystopia” seemed to be the right choice.

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

We come from France, more precisely from the South, in a city called Montpellier. In Montpellier, the metal scene is very diverse but with a tendency for post-hardcore and modern metal.

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

Our latest release is an album called “A Nightmare On Dystopian Street” available on digital platforms and Digisleeve. We are supported by M&O Music label for the promo and digital release of this album.

‘The Call’ (Official video)

‘Shapeless Dreams’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

For the metal parts, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend or Slipknot and for the creepy music parts, Charles Bernstein or Charlie Clouser, among others.

What first got you into music?

Damien: it was a long time ago. When I was around 13 years old my brother listened to a lot of metal and wanted us to form a death metal band. So, he told that I should play drums (he played guitar) but he also has the misfortune to tell me that I will have to work a lot to play drums well… I was maybe a bit lazy…so…I decided to play keyboards! Why? I don’t really know!

Eric: it was during my teenage years when I realized that it was possible to associate music as far apart as Prokofiev or Stravinsky and metal music. I realised at that time that music will become my way of life…

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

Eric: Meshuggah without hesitating!

Damien: John Williams (it’s ambitious I know ah, ah).

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

Eric: at the Hellfest because this is the place for live metal music in France.

Damien: At the Boston Symphony Orchestra with John Williams of course!

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

Until now nothing weird.

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

Stay tuned and be careful!

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

Damien: Mozart.

Eric: Prokofiev.

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

We both enjoy to compose. Composing music is for us a way to share our feeling and emotions.

What we hate? when music is repeated all day long so that it imposes itself on you, even if you don’t like it. The best way to avoid this, is to choose what you listen to and especially where you listen to it!

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

Leave more space for originality and for musical projects that go beyond the constraints imposed by the music industry.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Eric: Metallica – “Master Of Puppets”.

Damien: It doesn’t matter which one but composed by Ennio Morricone.

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

Something you can touch, something real…

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

We are 100% sure you don’t know the place ah, ah!

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

Artists.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Family and friends are the most important…

What’s next for the band?

Continue to compose music we like, try to renew ourselves as much as possible. That’s all we can do right now…

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

Mainly Youtube, Soundcloud and Instagram.
www.visions-of-dystopia.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCj_9CbC9y3P9FnTtI9ZZAIA
www.soundcloud.com/visions-of-dystopia
www.instagram.com/visions_of_dystopia/
www.facebook.com/vod.composers

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Oh my god! We never heard about Jaffa Cakes!

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

Thanks for this interview!

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.