Virgin Black – Requiem, Pianissimo

Requiem, Pianissimo Cover

Virgin Black – Requiem, Pianissimo
Self-Released
Running Time: 56:45
Release Date: 30/11/2018
Review by Chris Galea
10/10

“When will my sorrow begin to pale? Gather me, for I am scattered…”

(from ‘Libera Eis Domine’)

“Requiem, Pianissimo” is the final piece of Virgin Black’s Requiem triptych, each one released as a separate album and adopting a specific mood and tempo. “Mezzo Forte” and “Fortissimo” were released in 2007 and 2008, respectively.

I had been deeply impressed by Virgin Black’s debut album “Sombre Romantic” (2001) and follow-up album “Elegant And Dying” (2003), especially the former. Both albums probably weren’t meant for mass-consumption but somehow the music struck a chord with me. However for some reason I missed out on the two aforementioned Requiem albums and “Pianissimo” is but the first of the three I have delved into.

The word ‘Pianissimo’ means ‘very slow’ so I was expecting a very sombre and dark album. And that is pretty much what I got. Virgin Black utilise the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and the Adelaide Stamford Academy Choir and their contributions to the music feel like an integral part of the compositions – a sign of songwriting excellence. The music tends to be scary and nightmarish yet also touchingly beautiful. Case in point is ‘Lacrimosa (I Tread Alone)’.

Virgin Black have always had a (pro-)religious slant – in fact a requiem is a Mass in the Catholic Church offered for the repose of the soul/s of a deceased person/s and it tends to follow specific musical movements. And Virgin Black more or less follow these same movements. So you have songs such as ‘Kyrie Eleison’, with its haunting music, where God’s mercy is invoked. Or ‘Libera Eis Domine’ about the final judgement of man’s soul. The music in “Requiem, Pianissimo” is so evocative that you almost see the album unfold before your eyes and the operatic vocals are particularly amazing.

I wouldn’t be surprised to read diametrically contrasting reviews of this album but I do recommend you listen to it several times before forming an opinion. To be honest “Requiem, Pianissimo” is far removed from Metal with no guitars….and yet it’s darker than the darkest Black Metal album, is more epic than the most grand Power Metal album, is more aggressive than the most aggressive Thrash Metal album. It is, in short, a masterpiece.

TRACKLISTING:
1. Requiem Aeternum
2. Dies Irae
3. Until Death
4. Kyrie Eleison
5. Libera Eis Domine
6. Lacrimosa (I Tread Alone)
7. Pie Jesu
8. Remembrance

Line-up:
Rowan London – keyboards, vocals
Samantha Escarbe – guitars, cello
David Mason – guitar
Matthew Enright- drums

+ The Adelaide Symphony Orchestra and The Adelaide Stamford Academy Choir

LINKS:
https://virginblack.store/
https://www.facebook.com/virginblackofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/virginblackofficial/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCINJMJw3tvu1Fx-XD0_rAiA

Promo Pic2

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.

 

Unto The Wolves -Year Two

Year Two Cover

Unto The Wolves -Year Two
Self-Released
Running Time: 1:04:55
Release Date: 01/12/2018
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8/10

Unto The Wolves gives the expression “one-man band” a whole new concept as John “Gage” Sifuentes performs and records all instrumentation and vocals and is the solo writer too. There is nothing this guy doesn’t do!

“Year Two” is reference to the second year of work being released through Patreon, where the songs are released on a monthly schedule, exclusively for patrons, and then once a full year of content is completed, it’s put together as a full-length album. And I think we can all be thankful for this, as this hard-hitting album is gritty with a heavy edge to it.

The songs are inspired by everyday life with people needing to accept others no matter what their race, culture or background. Hard hitting drums are so prominent throughout, the guitar riffs will leave you breathless, and Gage’s gritty gruffness to his voice makes for some good listening.

‘Doomsday’ starts off like an express train, with no letting up, and references the so-called end of the world but to be honest, with violence and frustration, was it our own doomsday?

Lines like “A time to love, and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace” in the track ‘Conflict Resolution’ certainly bring a few things home in this day and age. Throughout all the tracks, there are certainly underlying questions and feelings all brought together within this hard-hitting album, but at the end of it all we are buried alike and are equal in death.

Each track has its own hidden story and you can see in your own everyday life how these effect people. The album deals with everything, from war to poverty to race wars and more, things I’m sure we have all seen at some point in our lives. Gage certainly gets a message across in this album.

In addition, the track ‘The Catacombs’ features Daniel Graves.

“Year Two” has so much going for it. It’s ballsy, it’s gritty and it’s hard hitting. It questions things and makes you think, and this is all within a hard-hitting metal shell made for our enjoyment. This album isn’t for everyone, but it is such good listening. If this is “Year Two” then here’s to year three!

TRACKLISTING:
01-Validate The Pain
02- The Written Word
03-Immune To The Cold
04-A Will Of Servitude
05-Symptom Of Loyalty
06-Doomsday
07-Conflct Resolution
08-The Catacombs (Featuring Daniel Graves)
09-Judge And Jury
10-Immortal
11-The Gray Of Duality
12-Reprieve From Reality
13-Close My Eyes Forever (Bonus Track)

LINKS:
http://www.facebook.com/untothewolves
http://www.twitter.com/GageSifuentes
http://www.instagram.com/untothewolves

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHXAp_zvy68nAl_H9btijUQ

 

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.

Callus – Hogpocalypse

Hogpocalypse Cover

Callus – Hogpocalypse
Self-Released
Running Time: 49:00
Release Date: 27/01/2019
Review by Rick Tilley
9/10

If you have been following Ever Metal regularly for the last year, then there is a 96.7% chance you have heard us mention Lancaster based Metal band Callus, at least once. Having seen/met them, for the first time at Hammerfest 2018, and being utterly blown away by not only the quality of their music but by how awesome they are as people, Beth and I went on to watch their progress through the Mammothfest Battle Of the Bands competition, which culminated in them winning their regional final, interviewed them twice, managed to get them on the bill at Wrexfest, reviewed their debut EP, wrote multiple gig reviews, watched their joy as they were asked to play The Jägermeister Stage at Bloodstock 2018 (where they went down an absolute storm), did a ‘Callus Day’ on the Ever Metal pages (where we exclusively premiered a trailer for the debut album) and also attended Vocalist/Guitarist Louis Clarke’s wedding, to the lovely Jennie, where Beth was asked to be official photographer. It’s fair to say we have, not only championed them as a superbly talented band that need to be on your radar, but have become firm and good friends with them!

Debut album “Hogpocalypse” has been a long time coming and with everything I’ve written above, whatever the outcome, this review was always going to be a tough one to write. On the one hand, if the album didn’t live up to expectations, how was I going to tell them how I felt and on the other, if it was good, how was I going to write it without you, dear readers, thinking I was just blowing smoke up their backsides? Well I’ve had a good long think and the only thing I can do is tell the truth, as I see it, and hope that everyone who reads this believes my integrity because “Hogpocalypse” is a triumph!

If you’ve not heard Callus before then the first thing you need to know is that they don’t sound like anyone else. They combine a whole host of genres together in a unique way so one minute you are listening to a down-tuned, Doom-laden, Sludge filled, Punky edged riff reminiscent of the Melvins and the next you’re listening to killer Thrash akin to Megadeth or Overkill. Round that out with snippets of Traditional Metal, all quite often in the same song, and their sound is a breath of fresh air. Next up is the fact that this all comes out of three people. Founding members, the aforementioned Vocalist/Guitarist Louis Clarke and Vocalist/Bassist Ben Wormwell plus Drummer Ryan Ormerod make unholy and thunderously heavy music (on album and live) that sounds more like six or seven people, however, everything is incredibly catchy and you cannot stop yourself from moving to the music…try keeping still, I guarantee you won’t be able to do it!

Callus don’t play particularly complicated music or fill it with blazing guitar solos but they hypnotise you with quality riffs and rhythmic playing. It’s all about how vocals, guitar, bass and drums work together to bring power, precision and HEAVY to the table. Every track from the opening, stonking, riff of ‘Boar’ to the closing refrains of ‘Zygote’ are mesmerising and will have your neck snapping in so many different directions that you better hope the local hospital has beds available!

Everything presented here is eerie and horror filled, it’s crusty, rat infested and thick with evil but it’s also beautiful to behold and proof that space in the music is sometimes just as important as filling that space. “Hogpocalypse” is the soundtrack to an H. P. Lovecraft Book/Film where you don’t know if you’ll ever come out on the other side with your sanity intact but you jump right in anyway because the journey is too good to miss. Once you’ve heard tracks such as ‘Leg Slice’, ‘Skunk’, ‘The Dunwich Horror’, ‘The Primordial’ or ‘Where Savage Things Grow’ you’ll want to do that too!

Louis, Ben and Ryan are all young, but very accomplished, musicians and kudos must also be given to Ryan’s beautiful production and mixing which was done at his home studio. This is a complete do-it-yourself album with everything being self-recorded and to have a product of this quality must make the three of them incredibly proud because it puts many ‘more expensive’ albums to shame!

“Hogpocalypse” is everything I wanted and so much more so all I can say is huge congratulations to Callus for their hard work and dedication to get to this point. If they have the guts to keep going then it will be a travesty if they aren’t justly rewarded! Miss them at your peril!

TRACKLIST:
01. Boar
02. Infinite Beef Machine
03. Under The Waste
04. Skunk
05. Leg Slice
06. The Primordial
07. The Dunwich Horror
08. Where Savage Things Grow
09. Dreameater
10. Zygote

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Callus.band/
https://www.instagram.com/callus_uk/
https://callus117.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZOSaYdZBmL8DhLMPjLWggQ

Promo by Beth Jones

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Richard Tilley 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.

All photos courtesy of Beth Jones and PhotograBee Images
https://www.facebook.com/PhotograBeeImages/

Cadence Noir – Physical Copy

physical copy cover

Cadence Noir – Physical Copy
Self-Released
Release Date: 22/12/18
Running Time: 33:09
Review By Beth Jones
6/10

After 8 years of fannying about, Cadence Noir, my favourite Gothic Folk’n’Rollers (yes, it is a genre, shut yer face) have finally released their debut album. It dropped just in time for the Christmas panic buyers to slip it into a loved one’s stocking (shrewd move chaps, shrewd move!) I almost fell off my chair when they announced the news that it was actually happening, so eagerly awaited its arrival, and am now finally getting round to writing my thoughts on it a month after the event!

It is instantly recognisable as Cadence Noir. It is the sound that The Levellers would make if they had been playing all-night drinking games and jamming blues with Jim Morrison, Lemmy and Ozzy! Its raucous, its loud, its heavy, its bouncy and its blues folk jazzy! They are a proper party band, with an unmistakably unique sound, and that has transferred well onto the album. Ade’s scratchy vocals juxtaposed with Emma’s soaring, pure violin, and backed up by solid rhythms and crunchy guitars, with more than a smattering of Celtic influence, makes for a really interesting mix.

The album is a fine selection of ditties, with their classic, and one of my favourites, ‘The Traveller’ kicking off proceedings. It is an upbeat foot tapper which is sure to get things swinging, so it is a great way to start an album. The majority of the album moves at a frenetic pace and keeps your attention, however one song, which is 80% ballad, sticks out for me; ‘A Truth Held Dear’. It has a deep melancholy about it that I really like.

In the band’s press release, they say:

“Is it polished? No. Is it the height of pro audio production? God no. Does it sound like Cadence Noir? Yes it does.”

I have to concur, especially on the production side. The mix is a little top-heavy for me and this lets it down – I’m a bass girl and like to hear a meaty bottom end full of boom! Admittedly that isn’t really what Cadence Noir are about, and they did record their parts in separate home studios, so I will give them a bit of leeway, but I think the top end could do with coming down just a touch! However, I do quite like the rawness of it in a musical sense – if it had been too polished, it wouldn’t have been right.

All in all, this is a pretty fine debut album – let’s not leave it another 8 years for the follow up eh, guys?!

I have based this review on the download version sent over by the band but we shall definitely be buying the CD because…if you purchase the physical copy of “Physical Copy” (It’s an awesome title for an album) you not only get an extra track in the shape of live favourite #FFBB (Fuck Fuck Boom Boom), you also get a DVD of Cadence Noir’s full set from Bloodstock 2018 plus some other DVD extras! Value for money indeed!

TRACKLISTING:
01 The Traveller
02 Remoaner
03 Demon’s Lament
04 Church
05 Voyages
06 A Truth Held Dear
07 Homage
08 Hold Me Down
09 A Dove Amongst Eagles
10 #FFBB (CD Bonus Track)

LINE-UP:
Adrien Perrie – Guitar/Vox
Emma Bennett – Violin
Tom Smith – Bass/Double Bass
David Budge – Drums/Percussion
Nick Chamberlain – Guitars
Martin Jackson – Guitar/Vox (Hold Me Down)

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/CadenceNoir/

https://www.instagram.com/cadencenoir/
https://cadencenoir.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2kb6CwpIEHr_CrL31UgcKg

promo pic1 (photo credit robert balmer photography)

 

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.

 

Novacrow – Black Syrup EP + Criminal Mastermind EP

01 Black Syrup EP Cover

Novacrow – Black Syrup EP + Criminal Mastermind EP
Black Syrup – Self Released 12-03-2016
Criminal Mastermind – Self Released 16-11-2018
Running Time Black Syrup: 19:45
Running Time Criminal Mastermind: 17:40
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

Novacrow are a young band that first popped onto our radar at RockWich this year. We bought their first EP “Black Syrup” then, and I had intentions of doing a review for it, but time has run away with me yet again. So now, with the release of their second EP “Criminal Mastermind” I am going to give you two reviews for the price of one! Think of it as a Christmas special!

Hailing from Liverpool, Novacrow are a fourpiece of young and vibrant musicians with a zany sense of humour, and this is purveyed perfectly by their music. They have a bit of a horror vibe going on, but a healthy dose of on-stage craziness and over the top facial expressions really brings out their sense of fun and makes them compelling to watch. If ACME did Alice Cooper, this is what it would look like! Musically they have a great sleazy, heavy rock sound, with catchy melodies that are easy to sing along to.

The first EP “Black Syrup” is a really good offering as a first release. It has some great, funky bass lines, provided by Federico “Freddy” Spera, with Valerio Pompili providing good, solid rhythms on drums, and grungy, sludgy guitar from Jonyx. This is all rounded off nicely by the powerful vocals and additional guitar of Kitty Staunton, with her vocals set high in the mix, cutting above everything else with clarity and precision.

The EP is five tracks in all, but my favourite is ‘Fight The Horde’, because it has lots of distinct sections, a racing pace, and some great guitar riffs and solo work. The backing vocals provided by Jonyx and Freddy also cut through brilliantly and make the song feel really full. It is a great track to bang your head to and makes you want to move!

I also want to mention ‘Colourless’. This is only a short track but is beautiful in a melancholy sort of way. It is an instrumental piece with classic style guitar and bass, and minimal percussion. In real contrast to the other tracks, it creates an ethereal and haunting end to the release.

02 Criminal Mastermind EP Cover

Fast forward two years and the newly released EP “Criminal Mastermind”. It is still the same old madcap craziness that makes it Novacrow, but you can tell that it is two years further down the line. The production is more thought out and the songs are even more creative.

The guys have ventured a lot further into their backing vocal roll on the first track, ‘Fever Swamp’, which really adds an extra layer to the sound. It is a good punchy track and a great way to kick off the EP.

It all gets a little darker with the second track, ‘Laughing Gas’, which has a much more sinister feel to it. Kitty’s vocals soar high, in an almost wailing banshee style, which gives you a slightly unnerved feeling! It is in complete contrast to the very funny third track ‘Criminal Mastermind’ (if you haven’t seen the video for this, it is a must watch for comedy genius value).

The final two tracks on the EP are again quite dark and twisted, bringing a psychotic air to the proceedings. The final track, ‘Are You Happy’ is my favourite track because it is so dark! In a minor key, and 3/4-time signature, giving it the feel of some sort of freaks waltz. Combined with an odd, funfair style wind organ drone in the background, and strange music-box like twinkly bells, it combines many things that would be the stuff of nightmares. It is brilliantly clever. Kitty’s vocals are, as ever, impeccable as well. Love it!

You may be wondering why I have only scored them a 7/10 collectively for both EPs – well I figure that, whilst these two are great, they still have more to give. I, for one, cannot wait to see how they move on now, and what new weird and wonderful creations come out of the Novacrow mad science lab! Seriously for fans of zany theatrical rock, these really are the band for you to keep a very close eye on.

Black Syrup EP Tracklist:
1. Fat Frog
2. Fight The Horde
3. Black Syrup
4. Set In Stone
5. Colourless

Criminal Mastermind EP Tracklist
1. Fever Swamp
2. Laughing Gas
3. Criminal Mastermind
4. Lab Rat
5. Are You Happy?

Promotional Photograph courtesy of 82 Photography

Links:
https://www.novacrowofficial.com
https://www.facebook.com/novacrowofficial

https://www.instagram.com/novacrowband/

https://www.youtube.com/user/kittysynthetica
Promo Pic1 - 82 Photography (Please Quote)

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.

Winter’s Edge – The Guardians of Our Time Pt 1

 

The Guardians Of Our Time Pt.1 Cover

WINTER’S EDGE – THE GUARDIANS OF OUR TIME PT. 1.
Self-Released
Release Date: 17/08/2018
Running Time: 35:43
Review by Lotty Whittingham
8/10

It was only last year that Winter’s Edge officially became a band. It was initially started as a solo project by guitarist Jeremy Lawler in the year 2009. It was set up to feature different musicians from around the world.

Those years have seen them experiment with their sound; include talent from the underground metal scene and line-up changes. After a two-year break, they have worked tirelessly to bring forth their latest release “The Guardians Of Our Time Pt.1” It shows listeners a solid collection of songs that will open more doors for the band regarding their career and their already huge sound has the potential to grow further. It also shows that the band are back and they mean business.

The album gets off to a promising start with the intro tracks ‘Open Worlds’ and ‘Guardians Of Our Time’; ‘Open Worlds’ is the atmospheric instrumental that has the listener glued and intrigued right away. ’Guardians Of Our Time’ gives the listener a first glimpse of the talent that is to be expected on the album; from the versatile vocal work of Charlotte Jones to the pounding drum work from Ed Anderson.

Across the album, it is clear why over the years their fan base has grown very quickly. The versatile selection of songs on the album showcase what Winter’s Edge have to offer in terms of musical talent and there is something about the band’s sound that makes someone want to be a better version of themselves.

The pounding rhythm alongside the dominant riff in ‘Path Of Desperation’ ensures that the listener is ready and willing for what’s to come next. The fist pumping energy the track gives off is infectious and will bring you to life in a recorded or live setting.

‘Dying Star’ is a beautiful ballad that initially makes the listener think they will be taking a break from the ground-breaking distortion. Don’t be fooled, this is a deception. It doesn’t make the ballad any less stunning, in fact it adds to this great track. The growls alongside the clean vocals in this track work together well, showing the vast range of Charlotte Jones’ vocals.

It ends on an excellent note with ‘In The End’ and ‘Through The Ferryman’s Eyes’. ‘The former provides one last blast of the bands talent before the latter brings the album to a close with an atmospheric interlude. The song contains excellent guitar work, vocal talent and some great musicianship.

Long-time fans of the band will know that The Ferryman has had great significance throughout the band’s career. The title of their first album was “The Ferryman’s Eyes” so it is great to see a reference to their previous material and that they haven’t forgotten their roots.

By the end of the album, you are left wanting more. You are not ready for it to end. “The Guardians Of Our Time Pt.1” marks a triumphant return from Winter’s Edge. Keep your eyes peeled and ears out for them; you would be a fool to miss them!
TRACK LISTING
1. Open Worlds
2. Guardians Of Our Time
3. Path Of Desperation
4. Momentarily
5. Break It Up
6. Dying Star
7. Fatal Dreams
8. In The End
9. Through The Ferryman’s Eyes
SOCIAL MEDIA
https://www.wintersedgeband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/OfficialWintersEdge/

https://www.instagram.com/wintersedge/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCztaNnvN98ItoD-fAxS73Wg
Banner, Promo Pic

 

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