Anaal Nathrakh/Akercocke/Khost – The Asylum, Birmingham – 05/04/2019

Gig Poster

Anaal Nathrakh
Akercocke
Khost
The Asylum, Birmingham – 05/04/2019
Review and Pictures by Sheri Bicheno

Having just had my chat with Dave Hunt of Anaal Nathrakh – myself, Jim Beerman and Dave Wilkins headed into The Asylum to get our metal on.

The Asylum downstairs main stage is dark, big and already starting to get full and down the front at the barrier, a crowd of people eager to get a similar amount of metal on is starting to take shape.

Khost
First band Khost are from Birmingham and if you like your doom, these are the guys to check out. They appear on the stage as a two man act with guitars, synths and raw, deep vocals, chanting and satanic growls, like something you’d expect from a horror movie ritual. Their track played live ‘Subliminal Chloroform Violation’ is a clear example of this. Stage presence is kept dark and smoky with an air of mystery about them. The drawn out, deep and bassy strings deliver an intoxicating feeling with the growling and backdrop of chants and cymbals. I really enjoyed watching these guys perform and liked that the doom and elements of black metal were not compromised.

01 Khosthttps://www.facebook.com/khostband/

Akercocke
Whilst waiting, Jason Mendonca goes along the front line and addresses everyone to ask if they are “READY FOR SOME METAL”. Behind me, the room has filled right up, jam packed to the very back – moving to another spot would be a challenging option here… and the hype is getting more and more intense as the stage fills with red lights and smoke, a red mist effect, and…

Akercocke take to the stage, Sam Loynes smashes right into the long drone of the keyboard synths and then the guitars and bass are let loose on the low and melodic intro to ‘Horns of Baphomet’. Immediately, Jason’s vocals are delivered to us at their full pelt, it is almost majestic. We get a combination of high growls & beautiful whale song type vocals through lyrics “I can hear you calling” to low & deep growling plus the emotion of the wailing for horrifying effect.

David Gray’s drums are masterful, the backbone of what holds Akercocke in place – everything just fits perfectly with the tempo and pace of vocals, strings and synths. How Akercocke can cram so many elements of their style into each song, from one extreme to the other and make it not sound like it’s thrown together is mind blowing.

We are then taken into the song ‘Verdelet’, it is fast paced and energetic. The pit behind me is already going crazy and the crowd surfers have begun. Everyone is having an utterly wicked time. As the set goes on, we get a proper journey through what Akercocke are about, performance wise. How they blend through tones that are hard, fast, energetic walloping into some gentle, progressive and beautifully paced moments to creating devastating emotion, are displayed throughout.

02 Akercockehttps://www.facebook.com/akercockeofficial/

ANAAL NATHRAKH
They enter through a dark mist and the UTTER DESPAIR begins straight off the bat. Behind me, a sea of people are going absolutely mental – this is Anaal Nathrakh’s first home town show for a while and they are welcomed back with so much passion from their viewers. It’s bloody beautiful.

Upon entering the stage, the presence of these guys is something to behold. The utter energy that radiates off the stage… strings and beats just bounce off each other, the pace is ever changing and brings a new vibe around every corner. Dave Hunt’s vocals demonstrate demonic low growls and high pitched wails to a beautifully balanced range… all at once! The concepts that come out in the lyrics are of utter relevance, addressing the global issues of poverty, warfare and depravity.

The live track that stood out for me is ‘Forward’, taken from their most recent album “A New Kind Of Horror”.

Lyrics:
“Forward!
Forget your fear, the guns at your back scream
Forward!
Who gives a fuck if your enemy’s starving?
Forward!
No place for cowards, up and over
Forward!
Your country needs you, so start killing”.

Throughout their set, bodies are floating amongst the crowd and pints are flying from every direction. There’s a guy next to me that tries his hand at sitting on the barriers and getting his friends to catch him as he falls – which hilariously and epically fails but, unscathed, he emerges back to thrashing around in the room sized pit behind me… cue where Jim Beerman’s famous “Nathrakhccident” happened… but it’s ok, he found a new tooth. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with Anaal Nathrakh, now is a good time to get your ears into these guys. – mixing elements of progressive, death, black and extreme metal, they are a force to be reckoned with!

03 Anaal Nathrakhhttps://www.facebook.com/Anaalnathrakhofficial/

Rick Here;
Thanks Sheri, sounds like everyone had a fabulous night! If you haven’t then you definitely need to check out all three bands!

 

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

Oh. – Metallia

Metallia Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

The Paradox Twin – The Importance Of Mr Bedlam

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The Paradox Twin – The Importance Of Mr Bedlam
White Star Records
Release Date: 29/06/2018
Running Time: 51:10
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
8/10

Being a reviewer, I have learnt, is not just about picking the bands that you think you will like, giving them a listen and popping an 8 or 9 out of 10 at the top of a review. It’s about taking a step out of your comfort zone and listening to some bands that you may not have normally listened to and really listening to the musicianship. If you can appreciate this in something that is “not your thing” then you are halfway there.

Now, stepping out of my comfort zone would be reviewing a Black or Death Metal band or, in this case, a Progressive Rock band. In recent times, I have come to appreciate the Progressive Metal genre more than I used to but the idea of Progressive Rock (and yes there is a difference) is still a bit daunting to me.

I have never been a big fan of bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes or Rush (sacrilege some might say but that’s just the way I am!) as they were never heavy enough for me. Progressive Metal, on the other hand, features the heaviness that I like, hence why my love for the genre has grown. So, when a Prog Rock band appeared on the reviews to do list I thought why not?

So, let me give you a bit of background on The Paradox Twin. They are a quartet from Reading in Berkshire, formed sometime in 2012 and are fronted by main songwriter Danny Sorrell. “The Importance Of Mr Bedlam” is their debut album. The band were named unsigned artist of the year in 2014, under the former name of Formby, and were nominated for the best video in the Progress Music Awards in 2018.

The band consists of Danny on guitars/keyboards and vocals, Leland Freeman on guitars, Diane Fox on bass and Rob McGregor on drums.

This is an album of just 7 tracks, ranging from 6 to 10 minutes long each, and the lyrical content can be linked to various alien conspiracy theories (again, not my thing, but each to their own!) Danny explains that he is “influenced and inspired by the conspiracy theories and the idea that humans on earth are being controlled by extra-terrestrial beings.” It seems a good subject, then, to base a piece of Progressive Rock on and “other ideas on the topics of other worldly seers are gradually unveiled throughout this fine piece of progressive work.”

The album features subliminal messages and samples of speeches throughout from the likes of Lloyd Pye, who was renowned for his theories on extra-terrestrial beings, in which he claims that aliens do exist.

The album was produced by John Mitchell, who also features as a special guest along with Kim Seviour, keeping up the White Star Records cross-collaboration ethos. The artwork was created by Paul Tippett of Vitamin P, who has also done artwork for the likes of Kino, Lonely Robot, Black Star Liner, Kepler Ten, Europe and more.

Danny says he is a fan of the works of Steve Wilson, Opeth and My Dying Bride and the “poetic artistry that comes with these bands,” but he tries not to listen to other music during the song writing process, fully immersing himself, so as not to have too many obvious influences creeping into the band’s sound. Now, that’s dedication!

One of the things I could never get my head around with progressive music is the use of keyboards/piano, but I can see from this album, which features them a lot, why they are used. Combining electro synths with Rock gives the album soul and emotion throughout yet gives the band the chance and ability to “rock it up” when they want to.

Danny has a very unique voice, both gruff and melodic at the same time, adding to the atmospheric vibe to the album. Although I could hear a tinge of James Labrie to his voice, there isn’t really anyone else that he sounds like, and being one for distinctive vocals, this only added to the appeal for me.

The guitar solos are haunting yet melodic and sometimes heavy (just how I like them!) and the rhythm section holds it all together superbly. I seem to be able to pick bass lines up a lot more since my son started playing and Diane is a fantastic bassist.

This is the sort of album that I could imagine listening to in a darkened room, the volume turned up loud and really chilling out. I can hear elements of Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree but the band these guys remind me the most of is Cosmograf and their fantastic album “The Man Left In Space.”

There has obviously been a lot of hard work, tears and sweat gone into producing this album as this definitely does not sound like the work of a newly established band. These guys (and gal) sound like they have been doing this for years and have been building up to this, the greatest album they have ever written!

This is a fantastic debut from a very talented group of people (and this is from a thrash girl!) but as with all great debut’s, the question is will they be able to keep it up!? I for one, and as a non-prog fan, certainly hope so! They could undoubtedly give some of the more established Progressive Rock bands a run for their money……and probably win!!

TRACKLISTING:
1. The Mir
2. The Importance Of Mr Bedlam
3. Cycles
4. Earthbound
5. Moonblood
6. Planeta
7. Gravity Time Dilation
LINKS:
https://www.theparadoxtwin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TheParadoxTwin/

https://www.instagram.com/theparadoxtwin/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpWqlus7YIyEMMsrFFehWuQ

 

Promo Pic1

 

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

In The Woods… – Cease The Day

Cease The Day Cover

In The Woods… – Cease The Day
Debemur Morti Productions
Release Date: 23/11/2018
Running Time: 54:43
Review by Chris Galea
8/10

It feels odd having an album from In The Woods… without the creative presence of the Botteri twins. Despite their departure, original drummer Anders Kobro and English singer James Fogarty (the latter of Ewigkeit fame) were determined not to let their efforts go to waste and with the assistance of guitarist Bernt Sørensen gave birth to this album.

Musically, “Cease The Day” is atmospheric Black Metal with Progressive attributes. Onto this are daubed epic and free-flowing emotional soundscapes. ‘Substance Vortex’ and ‘Strike Up With The Dawn’ are apt representations of these qualities. In comparative terms, “Cease the Day” is an improvement on “Pure”, its predecessor, but not as fulfilling as earlier In The Woods… albums such as “Strange In Stereo” or “Omnio”.

Peeling open “Cease The Day”….’Cloud Seeder’ is an excellent and catchy composition. ‘Transcending Yesterdays’ sometimes risks suffocating under its own weight but also contains some bewitching and cathartic moments. Taken as a whole, “Cease The Day” sometimes tries a bit too hard to be In The Woods… but by and large it should please the band’s fans. It certainly pleased me.

“As the fire becomes cold, there’s a story to be told” is a verse from the brief title-track that concludes the album. It’s also an accurate summation of the raison d’être of In The Woods…!

TRACKLIST:
1. Empty Streets (09:30)
2. Substance Vortex (07:26)
3. Respect My Solitude (06:33)
4. Cloud Seeder (06:52)
5. Still Yearning (09:00)
6. Strike Up With The Dawn (06:26)
7. Transcending Yesterdays (07:05)
8. Cease The Day (1:51)

LINE-UP:
James ‘Mr Fog’ Fogarty – Vocals, Guitars, Basses, Keys
Bernt Sørensen – Guitars
Anders Kobro – Drums
Kåre Sletteberg – Guitars on 2.

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/inthewoodsomnio/
https://www.instagram.com/inthewoodsofficial/
https://in-the-woods.bandcamp.com/
https://www.debemur-morti.com/en/234-in-the-woods

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GI6IcuGxbiI ‘Empty Streets (Official Audio)

Promo Pic1

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Chris Galea 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.

Homerik – Homerik

Homerik Cover

Homerik – Homerik
Running time: 46:33
Homerik Productions
Release Date: Halloween 2017
Reviewed by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
6.5/10

I always knew when Rick at Ever Metal asked me to do him a favour and review a band for him that it was not going to be a run of the mill band. I knew there was going to be diversity and that there was a very good chance that I wouldn’t like the album. I think Rick assumed that too, and how I love proving him wrong.

Homerik are an American band formed in New York City but after listening to the album, you could assume that they had, in fact, come from anywhere in the world, and this is where the diversity comes in.

A trio comprising of composer and lyricist, Kenneth Candelas and two further lyricists, Andrew Petriske and Obed Gonzalez, they are a melting pot of different cultures and musicianships.  Unsatisfied with mainstream metal and the amount of “regurgitated” stuff around at the moment, they wanted people to look into the possibilities of metal and how such a brutal genre could be made into something beautiful and unique.

Andrew and Ken both derive their inspiration from the many genres of metal the band are influenced by, but, as a whole, they are not shy of exploring other genres of music.

Swayed by their interests which include (to name a few) Ancient Egypt, Dark Fantasy, Lord of the Rings, Norse Mythology and Game of Thrones, they have orchestrated a force of guitars, drums, bassoon (how often do you hear of one of those in metal music!?) piano, brass and strings, that would be worthy of the inclusion into any film score. All this is complemented by the mystifying and alto vocal work of Carla Candelas and Nilsa Astacio, who, combined together, make a chillingly beautiful narrative of a little girl who suffers reoccurring nightmares of abuse and neglect.

Classed by themselves on their Facebook page as Symphonic, Progressive Death Metal, I would also like to add “atmospheric.” With influences such as (deep breath here) Nightwish, Wintersun, Nile, Deicide, Behemoth, Symphony X, Children of Bodom, King Diamond, Opeth, Epica and Kamelot (and that wasn’t all of them!) it is easy to see elements of every one of these bands showing throughout the music and the band can easily switch from one sound to the next, showing great diversity and, above all, talent!

Says Obed Gonzalez: “what you are about to listen to is a project made by people, for people, and for it to unify the world and their peoples.” If any band could manage to unify the world with their music, then this band could. With classic death metal vocals to accompany the symphonic aspects of the band, there are also the sounds of Asia and the Middle East all thrown in for good measure.

This album is not going to appeal to everyone, but even then, it has an approachability to all music listeners whether they are devout music fans or not!

If you like your metal straight forward and in your face then don’t buy this album, but if you like something a bit different, a bit atmospheric and a bit eccentric even, then this is the album for you.

I liked it, proving Rick and, probably myself, wrong…..you might just do!

 

TRACK LISTING

  • 1. Into the Pits of Oblivion 01:53
  •  2. Unforgotten Kin 03:14
  •  3. An Angel of Darkness 04:49
  •  4. Curse of the Black Nile 05:45
  •  5. The “Ire” of Green 03:58
  •  6. Wendigo 05:00
  •  7. The Balance of Power 05:39
  •  8. Bread and Circuses 03:22
  •  9. A Song of the Night: Part I 07:15
  •  10. The Legion 05:35

 

SOCIAL MEDIA

  • https://www.facebook.com/homerikofficial/
  • https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUcYLfk1tEX4vli_KWUzsBQ
  • http://market.homerik.org/
  • https://twitter.com/homerikofficial?lang=en

 

Promo Pic1 (16)

 

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