Ancient Curse – The New Prophecy

Ancient Curse – The New Prophecy
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 57:48
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8/10

Ancient Curse formed in 1985. Since then, they’ve always had the same line up of singer/guitarist Pepe Pierez (ex-Sons of Seasons), guitarist Gunnar Eixleben (ex-Riot Instinct). Bassist Thorsten Penz (G.L.A.S.S.) and drummer Matthias Schroder, and they’re still making great music today. They’re kind of Power Metal, kind of Proggy, and even though they formed way back when, they’re definitely not your typical 80’s band in any shape or form. Their ‘storm and stress’ phase emerged in the mid-1990’s, with one mini and two full-length albums. And now the guys from Bremen are making a return with 9 new heart thumping tracks in the shape of their new release, “The New Prophecy”, which I’m sure you will agree are unique and just amazingly good.

The album starts off with an interesting guitar section, before you get hit with full on powerful, rapid drumming, and just brilliant guitar riffs. I would describe their metal as speed metal meets Nordic, it has so much power behind it and the guitar execution is immense.

The seamless shift between tracks means the enjoyment of the album is continuous throughout with no let up. And their storytelling is superb. Track three ‘The Shadow’ could easily be used in a horror film – think nightmare scene and you’re there. I will add that this album is definitely not one if you’re suffering a hangover (no I wasn’t, before anyone asks!). The constant thundering drumming makes your head bang all the way through.

One thing that stands out, aside from the brilliant drums and guitar work, is Pepe’s incredible voice, which is not only crisp and powerful, but has variations which are enough to set the spine tingling. The backing vocals are also so complimentary to Pepe; they blend seamlessly together, and it just proves that, even after two decades, these guys have what it takes.

Track six, ‘One Moment Of Fortune’, starts off all nice and gentle, then there’s that head splitting drumming again, epic guitar riffs and, just when you think your head might explode, you suddenly go into slow, deep vocals. This is when you can perfectly hear Pepe’s vocal skills, it’s almost haunting. It’s like he’s the embodiment of the monster under your bed! This track is over 7 mins of pure enjoyment, it takes your through every emotion possible, starting gently, building up, going manic, and slipping back to dark and creepy! And the harmonising is brilliant!

Another track which will leave you in no doubt of Pepe’s skills is ‘Mind Chaos’. At 6 minutes plus, the guys certainly give you value for money! And here, Pepe’s voice shifts to almost whisper singing (if Phantom of the Opera ever gets a sequel, they need this track, it will give you goose bumps).

One thing that is evident across the whole album is the effortless way the guys blend together. The guitar riffs have you either playing air guitar or drift into your thoughts, usually just before you’re brutally awoken again by the drumming that could probably wake the devil!

Overall, I love the album and hope they guys don’t make us wait as long for their next album. They break the mould of the way metal should sound and are unique. So many bands just play what everyone else does, but here we have something different, something fresh, but powerful. It’s been a pleasure to review.

TRACKLISTING:
01. We Follow The Signs02. Fire And Ice03. The Shadow
04. Man Of The Storm
05. Hypnotize
06. One Moment Of Fortune
07. Forever Young
08. Mind Chaos
09. Prophecy

LINE-UP:
Pepe Pierez – Vocals/Guitars
Gunnar Eixleben – Guitars
Thorsten Penz – Bass
Matthias Schroder – Drums

Special Guests
Henning Basse – (Metalium/Sons of Seasons)Oliver Palotai – (Kamelot)

LINKS:
www.ancientcurse.de/
www.facebook.com/Ancient-Curse-417582438351759
www.twitter.com/ancientcursehb
www.instagram.com/ancientcursehb/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCGYAYn3kl25GlzJw0iQLXzg
www.open.spotify.com/artist/6FsoxZ7ETwkzjAeRzs0On0

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Stargazery – Constellation

Stargazery – Constellation
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 29/05/2020
Running Time: 44:42
Review by Chris Palmer
9.5/10

The second chapter in my journey with Ever Metal sees me travelling to the stars with Finnish Melodic Metallers, Stargazery, as the five-piece prepare to release their third opus at the end of this week.

Formed back in 2005 by guitarist Pete Ahonen (Burning Point, Ghost Machinery), the band released its debut album, “Eye On The Sky” in 2011. Four years later saw the release of the band’s follow-up album, “Stars Aligned”, which portrayed their tableau of keyboard-driven Melodic Metal that is heavily influenced by the likes of Rainbow and Tony Martin-era Black Sabbath.

The band, which is completed by ex-MSG and ex-Snakegod vocalist Jari Tiura, Marko Pukkila (Bass), Pasi Hiltula (Keyboards) and Illka Leskelä (Drums), release a third album to a world still struggling with the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

For those still suffering the continuous ramifications of lockdown and self-isolation (like yours truly), this new release is a welcome surprise…

Entitled “Constellation” and containing ten tracks, this musical treasure chest will maintain a firm grip on you for almost 45 minutes, as this quintet will lift your spirits and leave you gazing at the stars, as you reach for the repeat button after virtually every song!

Released via Pure Steel Records, the album’s epicness is immediately obvious as the riff-driven sounds of ‘Sinners In Shadows’ blast from the speakers. Consisting of a chorus to die for, you’ll be singing along in no time, as cobwebs are blown away by the heavy rhythm section and powerful vocal attack.

The keyboard-led ‘War Torn’ is equally brilliant, as the band encourages you to close your eyes and absorb the sounds, before rising again to headbang your way through the heavy ‘Self-Proclaimed King’. After several stoppages to allow for usage of the repeat button, the beautiful sounds of the bass guitar lead you into the melodic ‘Ripple The Water’, which is followed by the beautiful, slow moving ballad ‘I Found Angels’.

The second half of the album begins with the breathless and powerful title track, which leads you into the Melodic Metal masterpiece, ‘Caught In The Crossfire’. The keyboard sections throughout are truly marvellous, as is the guitar solo during the song’s second half, but it’s the entire rhythm of the tune that’ll have you bouncing around the room with a stupid grin on your face! ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ meanwhile, turns the pace down a notch with its brilliant chugging rhythm. However, Jari’s vocal talents really shine here, as he treats listeners to a wonderful mixture of powerful and melodic moments.

Penultimate number, ‘In My Blood’, is another slab of Melodic Metal awesomeness, as it rumbles along at varying tempos and impressive riffs. The keyboard solo during the second half brings back memories of Paul Raymond and Jon Lord, as the song comes to an end. The album closes with the heavy and epic ‘Raise The Flag’, which contains a pounding rhythm that’ll have you punching your fists in the air in sheer delight.

After three quarters of an hour the silence is deafening, but your blood will be pumping and your face aching from the stupid grin imposed upon you earlier. This Finnish quintet have risen spirits and lifted your face to the stars as they’ve hurdled through ten tracks of epicness. You’ve discovered that the music has been so good, it deserves another round…

And what’s not to like? Everything a fan of Melodic Metal could possibly ask for is on display throughout. Each track takes up a life of its own, yet remains on the overall path of the album’s journey by being driven by the powerhouse rhythm section of Marko and Illka. The guitars and keyboards of Pete and Pasi offer moments of sheer beauty, while complimenting the aforementioned duo throughout each track. The solo offerings of both Pete and Pasi bring joy to the ears, as both musicians do what they do best. The entire work is completed by a superb performance from Jari, as the singer treats the listener to a vocal display of power, wonder, and beauty throughout.

“Constellation” has been a truly wonderful album to review, and will remain on my playlist for many years to come…or at least until the next chapter from Stargazery arrives! For any fan of Melodic Metal, this album is an essential purchase. The same can be said for any fan of good metal music… What a delightful listening experience.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sinners In Shadows
02. War Torn
03. Self-Proclaimed King
04. Ripple The Water
05. I Found Angels
06. Constellation
07. Caught In The Crossfire
08. Dark Side Of The Moon
09. In My Blood
10. Raise The Flag

LINE-UP:
Jari Tiura – Vocals
Pete Ahonen – Guitars
Marko Pukkila – Bass
Pasi Hiltula – Keyboards
Illka Leskelä – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/stargazery
www.instagram.com/stargazery_official/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCxR-v9ftG5Rjkud8KKiHn3g

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

Lost Legacy – In The Name Of Freedom

Lost Legacy – In The Name Of Freedom
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 20/03/2020
Running Time: 45:46
Review by Victor Augusto
8/10

It’s not rare that I find myself analysing a band on the album cover art and the title songs names before I hear anything of their music. I must confess that I thought New York based Lost Legacy was a religious themed band, or their chosen subject was historical wars with religion involved. Maybe because the cover art reminded me of something sacred. Well, I wasn’t totally wrong, considering the main band’s theme is war, but the album’s concept is about soldiers sent to fight, not only in your country, but in others as well.

The lyrics don’t mention enemies, neither support any political side, but it is possible to hear parts mentioning situations like defending other nations against tyranny. It could be dangerous being easily misunderstood by the radical defenders of any political sides. But If you’re not like that, you will realise that the main idea of Lost Legacy’s lyrics is an interpretation of all the suffering these soldiers live through during war. From the fear of being in a battle you hear in ‘Front Line’, to a personal question of a warrior – if he will be remembered if he dies – in the beautiful song, ‘Will You Remember’.

It is important to highlight that the album is a phenomenal interpretation by the band. Imagine classic Heavy Metal or Power Metal, but change everything they perfectly interpret about power, steel, dragons and sword, to bombs, guns, death and all the trauma war can cause.

Musically, the band has an important differential in their sonority. Mainly, it is Classic Heavy Metal, but also with Power Metal elements, and they have vocal lines that remind me of Warrel Dane (R.I.P.). For me, the main goal of Lost Legacy is to not talk about the old-fashioned themes of Classic Metal bands, nor repeat things that Power Metal bands do all the time (constant double bass, high vocal screams all the time, etc.). However, if you are not a fan of Nevermore because you think Warrel Dane’s voice is too repetitive, despite being incredibly good, please, meet Mr. David Franco. Good voice and not repetitive or massive.

I must congratulate the guitarists Jorge Pulido and Scott Bennett for the great solos and riffs. Jochen Witllinger also does an amazing job to follow them on bass and AJ Spinelli provides incredible drum lines too, with plenty of variation. But the beautiful piano in the opening song ‘Rise To Glory’ shows the beautiful side of Lost Legacy’s music.

‘My Faith’ is a good song to represent the band’s sonority. ‘In The Name Of Freedom’ explores more fast guitar riffs and solos but, as I said before, everything happens without being massive or repetitive. The guitar work in ‘Take Me Away’ is very similar to Accept in style. All tracks could be considered highlights, but I did really enjoy ‘Enough Is Enough’ for the catchy riffs and heaviness.

“In the Name of Freedom” is an intense album that carries the dramas and feelings of a subject that people think is beautiful in movies but is completely full of pain for those who have to live it. Even though it is only the band’s second release, the experience of being on the road for 22 years has definitely helped them to record an amazing album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Rise To Glory
02. My Faith
03. Front Line
04. In The Name Of Freedom
05. Take Me Away
06. Enough Is Enough
07. Will You Remember
08. Rules Of Engagement

LINE-UP:
David Franco – Vocals
Jochen Witllinger – Bass
Jorge Pulido – Guitars
Scott Bennett – Guitars
AJ Spinelli – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/LostLegacyNY
www.instagram.com/lost_legacy_ny/
twitter.com/LostLegacyNY
open.spotify.com/artist/0ksHjNFgRbn8BWkntku7es
www.youtube.com/user/puresteelrecords

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.

Cloven Hoof – Age Of Steel

Cloven Hoof – Age Of Steel
Pure Steel Records
Release Date: 24/04/2020
Running Time: 50:15
Reviewed by ‘Dark Juan’
Score 9/10

Greetings and salutations, my imprisoned congregation of increasingly desperate metal brethren. And Sisters. And friends of indeterminate and other genders. I am Dark Juan and I’m writing more nonsense that may or may not involve an actual record review because I am fucking WIRED on coffee and words are just spilling out of my head and onto this computer screen and there is nothing I can do to stop them…

It is Day 4 of COVID-19 isolation and I am already entertaining fantasies of eating Mrs. Dark Juan. She would barbeque so beautifully… As I gaze wistfully from the attic of Dark Juan Terrace over the roofs of West Yorkshire I dream of burning it all to the ground and creating my meisterwerk here in the name of our Dread Lord Shaitan and creating a community of heavily armed, like minded people and raising a statue of Baphomet, rendered in glorious Italian stone… Sorry, you are not to know my master plan, mere mortals! If I need you I will seek you out, and your daughters too…. Don’t try hiding them, I can smell a virgin miles away. Just got to fuck this bastard virus off before it really starts impacting my plans for world domination.

Cloven Hoof are a British heavy metal band formed in 1979 and therefore Dark Juan has literally grown up with them. I’ll be absolutely honest with you, I read the blurb for this record and the dread words “The album features the return of the Dominator character who has been genetically brought back to life…” leapt out at me and I thought that I was going to have to take this record apart. For those of you that don’t know, “Dominator” was a Cloven Hoof album released in 1988 which must surely rank as one of the most unintentionally hilarious records of all time. Everything from the cover of some bizarre painted warrior woman in high denier tights, spike heels and the world’s most incongruous bow tied around her right thigh and gleefully perpetrated all of the worst things about heavy metal at that time, even if this teenage Priest of the Damned actually really liked the song ‘Nova Battlestar’. Russ North was also a dreadful, dreadful singer…

This is not an accusation that can be levelled at current throat George Call, however. This howling monster’s voice is a pleasing mix of high falsetto a la Lord Robert “AaaaaahAAAAAAAAHHHH” Halford, the slightly lower pitch of the Air Raid Siren Brucey “Bonus” Dickinson and the rough edge of old Panzer throat Udo “Balls To The Wall Wasn’t ENTIRELY Ironic” Dirkschneider. This is as good a set of classic metal vocalists as you are going to get and gives this record a right kick up its arse. And shoves some chilli sauce up there for good measure. The record sets off at the kind of pace a North Korean achieves when crossing the DMZ towards China on opening cut ‘Bathory’. Which is about Elisabeth Bathory. Lovely girl, Liz, met her once at a Cradle Of Filth gig in Bradford. Gorgeous complexion….  The pace doesn’t let up for second song ‘Alderley Edge’. Which is probably not about footballers living there. Cloven Hoof have eschewed the kind of crystalline production that trad metal bands go for these days and have instead chosen a thicker, bass led sound which suits the music much better anyway. It is heavier than a set of lead underpants, but glossed to a high polish. Think Iron Maiden, Helloween and Accept coupled sweatily together in a meat triangle with classic Queensrÿche being a voyeur and you have the sound of Cloven Hoof on this record. However, if it is innovation you’re looking for you are not going to find it here, pilgrim. The arrangements and lyrical content are most traditional in concept and execution and the soloing from guitarists Chris and Ash also traditional in style, if marvellously performed. The underlying touch of keyboards gives the band an interest just beyond the normal for heavy metal and makes for a very pleasing change. Bass duties are taken care of by the estimable Lee Payne and he does his usual dependable job underpinning the guitars. Mark Bristow’s drumming is also top notch even if the mix is a bit chancy now and again and his mastery fades in and out on occasion. The vocal harmonies on certain songs do sound somewhat ragged at times, but this is not really a criticism as it all just seems to add to the charm of five guys clearly playing their fucking socks off and enjoying the hell out of it.

So, does Dark Juan mock “Age Of Steel” as readily as he mocks “Dominator”? The answer is an emphatic FUCK NO! Where “Dominator” became parody metal earnestly gazing at its own navel and having its head kicked in by thrash, “Age Of Steel” is a snappish, snarling beast not interested in making friends and influencing people, but would much rather be up to its elbows in gore and sinew, gobbets of ruined flesh dropping from its mouth as it turns its malevolent, hungry gaze towards you and starts to pursue….

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Cloven Hoof a most metal 9/10 for a bloody enjoyable record that reminds you of everything that is good about trad. Intelligently played, fun sounding and finally possessed of a good singer, these NWOBHM stalwarts should claim their place in the pantheon of metal greatness at last. Nice one, chaps. Took you long enough!!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Bathory (Surprisingly not the name of an online plumbing store.)
02. Alderley Edge (Has a hanging tree. Nothing to do with Manchester City players living there.)
03. Apathy (Dark Juan has been shaken out of his by Cloven Hoof.)
04. Touch The Rainbow (Taste the rainbow… Couldn’t help myself. Not sorry!)
05. Bedlam (Generally what the inside of my mind is like.)
06. Ascension (Erection?)
07. Gods Of War (Stop nicking Def Leppard song titles, you buggers.)
08. Victim Of The Furies (Is this the name of the Cloven Hoof fan club who are going to come and lynch me if I don’t pack it in?)
09. Judas (Priest? Iscariot? Smith? Which Judas are we on about? Arnold Judas Rimmer?)
10. Age Of Steel (Wins the Dark Juan Unamusing Sarcasm Award for most metal song title in the past ten years.)

LINE-UP:
George Call – vocals
Lee Payne – bass
Chris Coss – guitars
Ash Baker – guitars
Mark Bristow – drums

LINKS:
www.clovenhoof.net/
www.facebook.com/clovenhoof1979/
www.twitter.com/ClovenHoof_Band
open.spotify.com/artist/3OD7fkHK24rI5G6yoaHzmw

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.