Forlorn Hope – Over The Hills

Over The Hills Cover

Forlorn Hope – Over The Hills
Self-Released
Release Date 26/07/2019
Running Time: 49:00
Review by Tsarina Wilson
10/10

I happen to come across Forlorn Hope on a certain social network site and was instantly hooked so when I had the opportunity to review the album “Over The Hills” I jumped at it. I couldn’t wait to hear the entire album and I was not disappointed. In fact, I haven’t stopped listening to it since.

The five-piece metal band from Merseyside combines history and metal with amazing results. The band members consist of Chris Simpson on vocals/rhythm guitars, Alexander Bishop on lead guitar/additional vocals, Jade Mckenna on keyboards, Danny Kell on drums and John Roughly on bass guitar and together they are out of this world.

Ok I have to say, as a fan of the drama series Sharpe, if they ever did a stage play these guys would have to do the music as they would blow the roof off. Chris has a turbo voice and an immense range which can go from pure rock with songs like ‘Rifles’ and ‘War in the Shadows’ to one of my favourites ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’. And not only are the guitar riffs powerful, the drumming is enough to make even the listener shattered, let alone poor Danny who plays them.

This is Forlorn Hope’s debut album and is a collection of stories of horror and heroism from the Peninsular War of 1807-1814. Chris remarks about the album: “This is a blazing, heavy metal tribute to one of the most fascinating chapters in military history, it represents the realisation of a concept several years in the making and the culmination of countless hours of work To see it finally complete is an absolute joy” and I can understand why.

Each song gives an account of a different part of the war, and maybe if this is how they taught it in schools, history would be much more fun. ‘Badajoz’ slows things down for a bit, but not for long as two minutes in and we are back to metal riffs united with crazy drumming. It’s so intense, you will be breathless.

In March 2018, Forlorn Hope released their self-titled debut EP, and throughout that year the band played a series of stand out sets, performing at the “Northern Symphony Festival” and in the Merseyside heat of the national Metal 2 The Masses competition. The quintet also went on to support NWOBHM legends and Swedish symphonic heavyweights “Eleine.

There is so much going on in this album. ‘Man Of Secrets, Man Of War’ shows just what varied vocals Chris’s voice can achieve. Jade’s keyboard throughout is such a powerful bonus and adds just that little something else to the mix and the track ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’ proves this.

The final track ‘Forlorn Hope’ is a stomping track and I was sad it was the last song, I could have just carried on listening for hours. These guys are talented, giving metal a whole new direction and have been an absolute joy to listen to and review.

Their music is infectious, and you will want to hear more.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Introduction
02. Vive L’Empereur
03. Rifles
04. Talavera
05. War In The Shadows
06. The Eagle Hunters
07. Die Hard
08. Badajoz
09. Man Of Secrets, Man Of Honour
10. Masterstrike
11. Vitoria
12. Over The Hills And Far Away
13. Forlorn Hope

LINKS:
https://forlornhope.uk/home
https://facebook.com/OfficalForlornHope/
https://twitter.comForlornHopeBand
https://Instagram.com/ForlornHopeBand/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCsBDf-Mu7bo0NcsYE1ebeXw

 

Promo Pic

 

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.

Chasing Dragons – Faction

Faction Cover

Chasing Dragons – Faction
Self-Released
Release Date: 5/10/2018
Running Time: 46:14
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

We are a little late to the party with this review, but better late than never eh! Seeing the formidable figure of Chasing Dragons lead singer, Tank, sitting on the bar of the ‘G’s Bar Stage’, performing a breathtakingly beautiful and emotive song that moved me to tears, was one of my stand out moments of last years Amplified Festival, so having the chance to review debut album “Faction” is making me very happy. Now, there are those who would say I’m an emotional old sausage who cries at everything! Whilst in some contexts that is true, where it comes to music, it takes something special to move me to that point.

Hailing from Leeds and delivering a brilliant cross over of Heavy Metal and Rock with a really fresh feel about it, Chasing Dragons are made up of Tank on lead vocals, Adam on guitar and vocals, Murf on bass and vocals, and Kate on drums. If you haven’t heard of them yet, trust me you need to. This album is their first release since second EP “Faction: Prologue” in 2016. It is so current, but also has such a great mix of classic styles, that will be one of those albums that will come to be classed as timeless. It could quite easily cross over into mainstream with its sound, all be it at the heavier end of mainstream, with something in there for everyone to like.

Musically, it is punchy and crunchy, but not over the top. It is very precise, and fast paced, but Tank’s vocals take it to a whole new level. She has an absolutely astonishing voice, which is immensely powerful and immensely beautiful in equal measures. It soars above the music, but she has the ability to bring it down in an instant and deliver tender passages with poise and elegance. I am so unbelievably jealous! In a couple of songs, ‘Bareknuckle Lover’ and ‘Whitehorse’ in particular, her voice reminds me of one of my idols; Skunk Anansie front lady, Skin. But musically, the whole band sound has more about it than Skunk Anansie ever did, which I find incredibly exciting, considering in the late 90’s they were my go-to band when I needed to get my head straight! It draws influence from bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Halestorm, Nothing More and New Years Day, and melds every element together perfectly. The whole album is emotive and intense, pulling you in to every note, every chord progression, every rhythm, every word. I love it. Simple as that.

Production wise, it is also an absolute triumph. Everything is balanced, and nothing is out of place, even down to the tiniest differences in the amount of reverb or effects used, it is all spot on.

I wanted to pick a ‘favourite track to talk about’, but I couldn’t narrow it down to less than four! Firstly ‘Parasite’. It is a real angry track! Starting with frenetic staccato guitar, it rip-roars through three minutes of venomous lyrics of hatred bourn of a toxic relationship. It is powerful in every way, and relatable for every one of us – a brilliant succinct three-dimensional description of the angry bubbling of hopeless hatred that we have all felt at some point in our lives.

‘Devil In Her Eyes’ is another of my picks, but this time for more musical reasons. It is full of cross rhythms, rhythm changes, interesting chord progressions, and a ridiculously catchy hook in the chorus, and again amazing vocals. It also has a proper guitar solo in the middle of it, as well as lots of little intricate bits from every instrument, making it a great all-round track. It ends abruptly, leading into my next pick – ‘The Connection’.

Starting with a solitary piano note, with a touch of reverb, then a pause (silence speaks so much louder sometimes, don’t you think?) then another solitary note and pause leads into a minor chord, and crystal-clear mournful vocals that reach into your soul. Then in come the drums, not too much, but you can feel it building, and as the vocals sore, everything kicks in and bam, there are the goose bumps. It just makes me want to shout out with the pleasure and pain and joy and sadness and every other emotion that this record instils in me. Ok, so I actually think on reflection, this is my favourite song on the album, but the other three are very close!

My last pick is penultimate track ‘Whitehorse’. It starts with a nice bit of synth, and then the whole thing kicks in, in real headbanging fashion, again with brilliant little riffs and hooks popping up all over the place, and those same damn awesome vocals that just slay me they are so good. I’m sorry, I’m rambling. That’s it, I’m done.

There is one word to describe this album – passion. Complete and utter passion oozes through the whole thing – passion for the music, passion for the craft, passion for the storytelling of the subject matter. By far the most emotive album I have listened to in a long time, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to get their heart racing or get lost in a perfect storm. I feel invigorated! I’m going for a lie down!!!

TRACKLISTING:
01. We Are The Wall
02. How The World Went Black
03. Parasite
04. Like Gravity
05. Bareknuckle Lover
06. For Kingdom For Glory
07. This Time Is Ours
08. Devil In Her Eyes
09. The Connection
10. I’m No Devil (I’m Just A Girl)
11. Whitehorse

LINKS:
https://www.chasingdragons.co.uk/
https://www.facebook.com/chasingdragonsuk

https://www.instagram.com/chasingdragonsuk/
https://chasingdragons.bigcartel.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/ChasingDragonsUK

 

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.

Thrashatouille – Rise Of The Bludgeonaise EP

Rise Of The Bludgeonaise EP Cover

Thrashatouille – Rise Of The Bludgeonaise EP
Self Released
Release Date: September 2018
Running Time: 13:54
Review by Beth Jones
7/10

There are many things in adult life to be uncertain of; your career choice, where you should live, if your kids will turn out ok, how the hell did you use that much electric in one month, what possessed you to think your first relationship was a good idea, you know – the kind of three in the morning insomnia inducing worries that plague us; but there are two things I couldn’t be more certain of – my love of music and my love of food! So, what better way to celebrate these two wonderful things, than with a good serving of Northwich based thrash metal chefs, Thrashatouille!

Formed in 2017, out of a drunken idea, the band features Head Chef Chris Hargreaves (Bass), Pastry Chef Rob Sutton (Lead Vocals), Sous Chef James Von Gerber (Guitar), and Pot Wash Dan Brown (Drums), coming together to make the perfect culinary thrash metal team! Their Debut EP “Rise Of The Bludgeonaise, is today’s focus for our critique! The EP has been delighting their dedicated fans, new and old, since its release, however they haven’t had a formal review of it, until now!

The foody theme is all encompassing, with even the track list written as a ‘Set Menu’. I like this – it shows that they have thought really hard about the whole package and have a good hold on who they are and what they are about. It explores the themes of love, killer food, and the unfortunate aftermath of too much chilli! On the menu we have a starter, a choice of two mains, and a dessert. As I am critiquing today, I shall be, of course, eating both mains mwahahahaha!! (Ok so I have just made a serious decision about my lack of career direction – why the hell did I not become a food critic?!)

The Starter – ‘Thrashatouille’. I rather enjoyed this dish. From the first taste, it packs quite a meaty punch, offering a host of different textures. It is quite gravelly in some places but does give you a sweet and crisp interlude somewhere in the middle. It also doesn’t outstay its welcome – there is nothing worse than an over egged starter, but thankfully this isn’t it. It is an interesting concept, the birth of an evil being. Full of all the thrashing and writhing that I would want from a good metal lite bite!

The Mains – ‘Chilli Con Carnage’. Continuing the meaty theme, this is much chunkier than the starter, and its lyrical description leaves me wondering if my bowel will survive! The accompaniments are good – fast paced and rhythmical, it has an undeniable tang, with dark and rich undertones.

The Mains – ‘Spaghetti Bludgeonaise’. This dish brings the menu to life! It is peppered with sharp top notes and fatty bass notes throughout. Its frantic mid tones and pulsing dark tones send you into a terrifying sensory party, filled with hallucinations of your food attacking you. Mid way through, it does begin to feel a little sluggish, however this may be the aftereffects of the chilli con carnage!

Dessert – ‘Red Velvet Romance’. Now I do like a good slice of Red Velvet, however this one is not as smooth as I am used to, but then it is thrash food, so that can be excused. It is still extremely tasty, and makes you want to move about. If anything, this dessert was a little small for me, and it has certainly left me wanting more!

This meal is certainly a party on the palette, and whilst there is still room for some little tweaks to the recipes, I think this is a very accomplished first menu, showing real talent and an eye for detail. It is very well seasoned and shows a range of skills in keeping with their style. I look forward to the next encounter in the Thrashatouille Bistro and hope to see a fuller range of menu options next time – may I suggest an aperitif, a fish course, and possibly end it all with coffee and a ‘wafer-thin’ mint?!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Thrashatouille
02. Chilli Con Carnage
03. Spaghetti Bludgeonaise
04. Red Velvet Romance

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

https://www.instagram.com/thrashatouilleofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFmKgvG3tfiuN4WYckdpP1Q

 

Thrashatouille 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.

 

Captain Obvious – Let It Burn EP

Adobe Photoshop PDF

Captain Obvious – Let It Burn EP
Self-Released
Release Date: 01/03/2019
Running Time: 15:10
Review by Tsarina Wilson
6/10

Captain Obvious are two brothers from Paris. They are 19 and 21 years old and are called Joseph and Angus. They spent all of 2018 writing and recording this EP, it was finally recorded in Nashville (USA) in the Sputnik Sound Studios (The Raconteurs, Black Motorcycle Club) and mastered by Brian Lucey (Royal Blood, The Black Keys, Artic Monkeys) for a more professional and polished sound.

The young brothers have been playing music for almost 10 years, which is dedication in itself, and this EP proves their dedication to their music. Self-belief goes a long way in today’s music, and once you hear the tracks you will be surprised to realise there are only the two of them; Joseph is the guitarist, bassist and vocalist and Angus is the drummer.

The EP may only be five tracks long but I’m sure the amount of work that went into them will prove popular to many. With almost a psychedelic rock feel and an anarchist outlook, it has a real rebel vibe and I think the younger generation will find their appeal more so than I did.

Saying that, the tracks are edgy and punchy if a little short but with some great guitar riffs and with the energy that comes across you can tell the lads put their heart and soul into every note.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Let It Burn
02. Head
03. Shadows
04. Pop Songs
05. Psycho Dance

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/CaptainObvious
https://www.instagram.com/captainobviousfr/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFkUU2G8-TQfGQSEIOzO2yw

 

Promo Pic1

 

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.

God Shaped Devil – Dark Fields

Dark Fields Cover

God Shaped Devil – Dark Fields
Self Released
Release Date: 10/07/2019
Running Time: 42:07
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Being a Northerner, one thing that really pleases me is the amount of quality bands from around these parts that are popping up at the moment, and in particular, that of the Manchester scene. This couldn’t be truer of the subject of this review – Manchester based, God Shaped Devil, with their debut album “Dark Fields”.

I first discovered these guys at Badgerfest last year, where they were my band of the weekend, without question. I have been really looking forward to the release of this album since then, and was honoured when they asked us to be the first to give it a listen.

Fronted by Vocalist and Lead Guitarist Bécy Füzéri (Bex), with Matt Morris on Rhythm Guitar, Lajos Borsi on Bass/Vocals, and Luke Ellwood on Drums, they describe their sound as an explosive combination of thrash and groove metal with their own artistic flair. They self-recorded and released their initial EP in 2015, which was very well received, and featured in Terrorizer Magazine. The Manchester underground scene took to them straight away and since then, they have been gigging and working on material for this forthcoming release, which has helped their sound to evolve, and become what it is today, with the addition of Matt on Rhythm Guitar in 2017, making the original three piece into a four piece.

I love it when a band manages to catch me straight away, and I can safely say that God Shaped Devil have done that, both live, and now with this release. From the first chord on the first track, I knew that this was going to be good. Chunky, meaty and down-tuned, it grabs you by the guts and doesn’t let go. The whole album is an up-tempo, thrashy groovefest that you cannot help but bang your head to. It is full on and in your face, with Bex’s solid screams, and the deep growling backing vocals of Lajos, and it is peppered with atmospheric guitar sounds, as well as some beautiful solo work and electrifying rhythms from the bass and drums, which combine to give the whole thing an excitingly terrifying feel – it would not be out of place as the soundtrack to an apocalyptic, end of days, movie. Judging by the track titles, this (I’m hoping) is the feel that they have gone for – ‘Drowning Gravity’, ‘Deadly Sign’ and ‘Becoming Evil’, being just a few examples.

I like to try and write a bit about my favourite track from an album in a review, but I can’t with this album, because I can’t pick which is my favourite – they are all absolute bangers! I do love the first track, ‘Guiding Light’, because it grabs you straight away, and sets the tone for the whole thing. The guitar solo in the middle of ‘Drowning Gravity’ also deserves a special mention, because it is a real face melter!

I am seriously blown away by this album. The creativity is superb, and there are nods to so many styles in it, there is literally something for everyone. Musically, it is top quality, and displays their natural talent, and a professionalism that reaches far beyond their relatively new status. It is also brilliantly recorded and produced, considering it is all their own work. They have such a clear direction, and vision of what they are trying to do both within this album, and as a band, that it is truly enlivening. I really couldn’t give this album less than a perfect score, because I am struggling to find anything that I don’t like about it, and as a debut it is capable of blowing a great many other albums from longer standing bands completely out of the water! On our first listen, I felt like some parts may have been a little too low in the mix, but it turns out that was just our speaker being a bit pants! Listening again on a different system has cleared up that beef, so I literally have no constructive criticism to give. It’s just so bloody good! Damn! Short of something mind blowing, this is definitely going to feature very highly in my top ten albums of the year. I really hope they can sustain this level of superbness for a long time, and if they do, they are going to be one hell of a force to be reckoned with!

Well done chaps!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Guiding Light
02. Drowning Gravity
03. Deadly Sign
04. Barbed Wire
05. Becoming Evil
06. Delusion
07. Bloodstain
08. Dark Fields

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

https://www.instagram.com/godshapeddevil/
https://godshapeddevil.bigcartel.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFuplcVPg4jeuQsdCUtWK6g

 

God Shaped Devil 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.

Footprints In The Custard – A New Low

A New Low Cover

Footprints In The Custard – A New Low
Self Released
Release date: 01/06/2019
Running time: 49:34
Review by Beth Jones
9/10

Do you like metal? Do you like comedy? Do you like newly discovered levels of depravity? If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, well done, you qualify for this exclusive offer of entertainment PLUS FOR ONE TIME ONLY you get a badge and certificate of membership into the elite ‘Custard Willy Gang’!! Ok I lied about that bit. There is no offer, no badge and no Custard Willy Gang, but if you listen to this album, you are going to laugh, even though your morals tell you not to!

Since the release of their last album, ‘The Decent Of Decency’ in 2016, Footprints In The Custard have been gathering a healthy collection of new fans, storming the stages at Bloodstock, Download, Hammerfest, Amplified and HRH Ibiza with their unique brand of catchy party metal, and it is easy to see why they endear themselves to so many of us slightly off the wall types! Their latest release is a masterstroke of genius, very definitely sinking to ‘A New Low’ of naughtiness, which will have you outwardly raising an eyebrow and wincing and chuckling demonically, whilst inwardly bursting with so much pride, you will feel like their mum watching them win the egg and spoon race at sports day!

It is a collection of 13 lively upbeat tracks, giving us lessons in such things as morals (“Don’t Be A C***”), and in the stages of drinking (“Beer Goggles” and “Motherfucking Hangover”) and way, way too much information about Granny (I’m not even going to write the title of this one – you’ll have to go look for yourself [or you could just look at the track list at the end of this review. Damn]).

The whole album is not just brilliantly funny, and full of incredibly dark, tongue in cheek wit, but it is also superbly executed from a musical point of view, and the mixing and mastering is top quality, but being mastered by Chris Edkins, who has previously worked with the legend that is Devin Townsend, you can easily fathom why the production is so good. FITC have hit a high point with this album in my opinion. They have moved on musically such a long way from the early days and have matured and rounded who they are in their sound, whilst still keeping the same joy and absurdity from their beginnings that makes them so unique. Everything, from the production, through to the songs with added instruments you wouldn’t expect, their sordid undercurrents of dark humour, and all the way to John Pedley’s album art is done beautifully, and in the minutest of detail. So cleverly done is all of this, that you don’t even notice the detail and thought that has gone into it unless you concentrate really hard on it, you just sit back and enjoy the ride.
They do have a slight foray into big slowed down anthem metal towards the end of the album, with “The Bar At The End Of The World”, which is slightly more serious than the rest of the ditties on offer, and is probably my favourite track, (although it is hard to pick a favourite). It is full of big crunchy chords, and huge widdly diddly guitar solos (yes, that is a technical term) and is a brief moment of semi clarity amongst the madness.

I am seriously finding it impossible to criticise anything about this album, but it is losing a point from me as I hate, loath and detest the C word, as Matt Jones (Twisted Illusion) knows, and I’m sorry boys, but you are not going to escape my inner prude either – you naughty bunch of rapscallions – you are getting the same treatment as Matt did – so there!

Go buy the album though – absolute belter!

TRACKLISTING:
01. A New Low
02. Beer Goggles
03. Ride, My Little Pony, Ride!
04. Tequila Nips
05. Motherfucking Hangover
06. Don’t Be A Cunt
07. My Granny’s A Gusher
08. Space Force!
09. CLIT Commander
10. Bums
11. The Horn
12. The Bar At The End Of The World
13. Love Custard II – The Second Coming

LINKS:
http://www.footprintsinthecustard.com/
https://www.facebook.com/Footprintsinthecustard/

https://www.instagram.com/fitc_band/
https://footprintsinthecustard.bandcamp.com/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVMVw8NsHKyAaWqtBhAvjeg

 

FITC 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.

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

Torqued – Coup de Grace EP

Coup de Grace EP Cover

Torqued – Coup de Grace EP
Self-released
Release date: 29/03/2019
Running Time: 19:14
Review by: Alun Jones
8/10

Regular Ever Metal readers may remember that Torqued’s 2018 EP, “Resurgence” was reviewed by yours truly not that long ago. You may also recall that I declared a new EP from the band would be released soon. So soon, in fact, that the EP is already out and I’m hurriedly trying to cobble this write up together!

“Coup de Grace” builds on the successful formula we heard on the previous collection, but piles on the intensity. This time, Torqued are taking us into deeper, darker territory – a trip into the recesses of the mind where anxiety and depression fester. Great lead vocals from Marc are spat out with vitriol, the tortured lyrics given malevolent form.

Musically, the four tracks on the EP deliver a battering ram to the senses. Opening with the title track, Torqued are in full-on attack mode with crushing metal. ‘Open Wound’ follows with a relentless pounding, which bleeds effortlessly into a mighty lead guitar break from Rimmy.

Savage riffs are tempered with passages of melancholic breaks, perfectly executed in ‘The Darkest of Shadows’. All of these songs are multi layered, featuring haunting lead and even keyboards (?) beneath the main pummelling. Very cleverly put together – it’s as if we’re hearing the conflicting emotions within someone’s head.

The songs gallop along with a groove thanks to Kurt’s drumming and Marc’s bass, as demonstrated in final track: ‘The Revelation’. Torqued have also tempered their sound with a Trent Reznor-like despondency that’s added a further dimension to their music.

So, there you have it – a blistering hot metal EP that drips with torment. Torqued have cooked up a winner with “Coup de Grace” and I can’t wait to hear what’s next. I predict…

Nah, that would be telling!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Coup de Grace
02. The Revelation
03. Open Wound
04. The Darkest of Shadows

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

https://www.instagram.com/torquedbandofficial/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChhEQIh2k8FTMigyo3EMfRQ

 

Torqued Promo Pic

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun 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.

Hollowstar – ‘Hollowstar’

Hollowstar Cover

Hollowstar – ‘Hollowstar’
Self-Released
Release Date: 03/05/2019
Running Time: 39:23
Review by Paul Monkhouse
9/10

With more and more of the major bands calling it a day as farewell tours by legends such as Sabbath, UFO, Skynyrd, Slayer, Ozzy and others seemingly signal the end of an era, it would be very easy to get too concerned about the future of rock and metal. Truth be told, whilst some of the giants are waving long goodbyes, there are plenty of fantastic bands constantly emerging to inject fresh blood into the scene and acts like Zeppelin, Metallica and Queen had to pay their dues and work their way up in the same way this new generation are. Whilst fame can be found by appearing on talent shows, that is virtually always fleeting, but grassroots artists are going out and playing every pub, hall and festival they can as they learn and grow their skills the hard way. Hollowstar are one such band, road-dogs who are constantly travelling the length and breadth of the country to growing acclaim and with this, the Cambridgeshire quartet’s self-titled debut album, they have shown that all the hard work has paid off.

Few times was the phrase “kicking things off” more apt than with opener ‘Take It All’ as it absolutely blasts out, its rampaging riff hitting you like a freight train. Singer/bass player Joe Bonsons vocals come through urgent and forceful to back this as all four members of Hollowstar bring the experience of those hard-fought hours touring to bear on a powerful distillation of their craft that has translated incredibly well to the recording studio. ‘Let You Down’ and ‘Invincible’ both share a strutting, cocky swagger that are full of the youthful energy that melds classic rock with a very modern sound, a huge part of the growing attraction to the band. Things slow down a little with the more laid back ‘Think of Me’, filled as it is with tenderness and feeling. Such is the songwriting and thought about the flow of the album that this easing of the pace doesn’t kill the momentum but just gives a much-needed breather. Many bands, especially the newer ones, fall into the trap of delivering one note records that are all bluster but no colour. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with Hollowstar and, as such, this debut exudes quality that is built to last.

More of this maturity is shown in ‘Money’ as it showcases the superb intonation of the vocals as Bonson echoes some of the giant front men of the past. Phil Haines and Tom Collett’s guitars also take no prisoners as they add grit and drive to the track which builds beautifully driven by Bonson’s bass and brother Jack Bonson’s drums. A real highlight comes with ‘All I Gotta Say’ that has a riff and bluster that could demolish buildings but also a real sense of dynamics which adds to the heightened drama and epic feel of the track. ‘Good Man Gone’ is another steamroller and ‘Overrated’ is a maelstrom of sound that brings together scuzzy hard rock that is shot through with a real ‘Southern’ feel.

Closing duo ‘Down by the Water’ and ‘Sinner’ are perfect in structure and are full on declarations that the band have arrived and stake their claim on the scene. Brilliantly produced by Dan Lambert, the album is relatively short by some standards these days but presents itself as a lean and dangerous prospect that, as a lot of classic albums do, gets in, does the job and gets out. These are tracks that should be played on stages at arenas, stadiums and huge festivals and the opportunities to do just that keep on coming in. If they carry on like this there is no limit to what Hollowstar can achieve. Buy this album and see them live as this is one party you certainly don’t want to be late to.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Take It All
02. Let You Down
03. Invincible
04. Think of Me
05. Money
06. All I Gotta Say
07. Good Man Gone
08. Overrated
09. Down By The Water
10. Sinner

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

https://www.instagram.com/hollowstarband/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpnRcJGcki7-tX_9za9yW1w

 

Hollowstar Promo Pic - Please Credit Volcanic Rock Photography

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Paul Monkhouse 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.

Photograph supplied courtesy of Volcanic Rock Photography

Obey – Swallow The Sun

Swallow The Sun Cover

Obey – Swallow The Sun
Self-Released
Release date: 05/04/2019
Running Time: 37:00
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

OBEY! CONSUME! CONFORM! Have you seen John Carpenter’s masterpiece of paranoid sci-fi, “They Live”? It’s outstanding. Rowdy Roddy Piper puts on some special sunglasses and is able to see the aliens living amongst us, brainwashing and controlling society. With the constant subliminal media messages exposed, Rod and his mates attempt to destroy the conspiracy and free the human race from subjugation.

I don’t know if Obey – the band – have ever seen this awesome movie, but these guys have definitely (to paraphrase Roddy) come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass… And they’re all out of bubblegum.

“Swallow The Sun” is the fourth album from Obey and it doesn’t disappoint. The listener gets more thunderous, rhythmic riffing that bridges across Hard Rock and Metal, courtesy of Steve Pickin (guitar/vocals), Dan Ryder (guitar/bass) and Ryan Gillespie (Drums). Add in a progressive, exploratory approach that’s open to wide influences, and what we have here is an album full of ideas that constantly reveals new depths with repeated listens.

Take bombastic opening track ‘Back Home’: it starts out in familiar crunching guitar riff territory, but unleashes a huge chorus that’s catchier than Velcro underpants. I wasn’t convinced on first listen, but this melody works so hard that despite being a surprise it’s a winner.

‘Drive’ offers more of the brutal riffing that Obey are known for, but with lush, melodic moments – not to mention a total classic rock lead.

Midway through the album is ‘Esmeralda and the Dam Blues’, a track that begins with a mellower, supernatural sound – giving way to a massive, chunky chorus. These songs are extremely well constructed, taking the listener on a stellar journey that’s refreshing and far from obvious cliché.

Some of Obey’s influences appear to froth to the surface with the album’s title track, which has a feel of Mastodon about it. Mix in some vintage Prong rifferama and the melodic tendencies of Alice in Chains and you’re a tiny step closer to understanding which star system the planet Obey revolves in.

Obey’s ability to meld face smashing heavy with unexpectedly tuneful moments gives this album it’s unique identity. “Swallow The Sun” is the kind of album that you can rock out to (can’t wait to see these guys live again), or take your time and listen on headphones to savour the detail.

If anything, I’d like to see further experimentation from Obey as the band grows. ‘Star Crusher’ is an obscenely huge yet groovy COC style track, but sadly lasts less than a minute. More experimentation with different interludes and variations of pace and intensity can only add more colour to their cosmic palate.

There’s very little to grumble about with “Swallow The Sun” though. What we have is an intricately created collection of songs with maximum power and thoughtful embellishments. Obey are a British band with real talent and ambition – check them out and lend them your support.

And beware of those ugly, skull faced aliens. They want to keep you in line and be part of the system. Get yourself some sunglasses and see what’s going on. Open your eyes and fight!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Back Home
02. Drive
03. Call Of The Judderman
04. Star Crusher
05. Esmeralda and the Dam Blues
06. Swallow The Sun
07. The Mountain
08. Vultures
09. Emerald Eyes

LINKS:
https://www.facebook.com/Obeyuk/
https://www.instagram.com/obey_bandpage/
https://obeyuk.bandcamp.com/
https://www.youtube.com/user/obeyuk

 

Promo Pic1

 

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun 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.

Aonia – The Seven

The Seven Cover

Aonia – The Seven
Self-Released
Release Date: 06/10/2018
Running Time: 01:03:19
Review by Lotty Whittingham
10/10

Think Nightwish meets Epica and throw Coronatus into the mix and you get a strong seven headed, fourteen-legged creature that comes under the name of Aonia. 2018 proved to be a great year for them. They won Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses in Sheffield and secured a spot on the New Blood Stage. They also released their debut album “The Seven”. To say this album will open doors for the band is a huge understatement.
“The Seven” is a remarkable album that takes the listener on a great journey of strong melodies and poetic lyrics. The band consists of two powerful soprano vocalists, brilliant guitar work, mesmerising synth work and pounding rhythms from the bass and drums. These all work together spectacularly to create these remarkable melodies. There are a number of songs that demonstrate this power the band have.

‘Sold My Soul’ is the opening song of the album and it’s one fans of the heavier side of music can relate to. The melody and lyrics are enticing. The line “rock and roll, come take my hand – lead me to the promised land” is empowering and from listening to the rest of the song, it will make you proud. If you are wanting to give metal a listen, this song will make you want to become a metalhead.

‘Wake Up Lucretia’ is a powerful song that tugs at the heart strings, particularly if you know the history behind Lucretia. For those who don’t know, Lucretia is a legendary heroine of ancient Rome. Her tragic fate played a vital part in shaping the Roman Kingdom into the Roman Republic. The lyrics and music fuse together flawlessly to create the heart-breaking emotion behind this account. Definitely one of the best songs on the album, especially if it helps you learn about an important historic figure.

The vocal work at the beginning of ‘Heartsword!’ alone is enough to entice the listener in. Guest vocalist Iliana Basileios Tsakiraki (Enemy Of Reality) provides her impeccable talent on the track. It has many different parts that work together flawlessly to create a symphonic metal masterpiece. In this track, all three sets of vocals harmonise alongside each other perfectly. The song also contains poetic lyrics describing a heroine’s tale who yields the heartsword and goes on to win many battles.

Like metal ballads? Well Aonia have produced a beautiful one. It’s titled ‘If You Dare’ and from the lyrical content it can be interpreted that the song is about staying strong through tough times and not giving up. Lines like “live while you’re alive” and “never give into the fight” are powerful ones that provide hope when times are tough.

“The Seven” ends on a bombastic note with the song ‘Hyde And Seek’. The story of Jekyll & Hyde is the well-known tale of two very different personalities. This story has left an important legacy and has been adapted many times in film and theatre. Aonia’s take could be an opera of this iconic tale. The song gets the mixed emotions Jekyll/Hyde must be feeling inside across perfectly.

This is demonstrated through a number of factors. The lyrical content written from both Jekyll and Hyde’s points of views; The vocal work projecting these lyrics; The musical arrangements portraying the different parts of the story; the piano and acoustics demonstrating the calm behaviour of Dr Jekyll after the destruction caused by Mr Hyde; The heavier arrangements representing the chaos and destruction that is being caused and perhaps the transformation between the two. That’s what is great about this song, it’s open for interpretation and others may have a different opinion on what the song represents.

“The Seven” is an outstanding debut from Aonia. It’s a Symphonic Metal masterpiece that will be hailed by fans of the band, genre and new listeners. It’s also one of those albums where the songs can be interpreted differently by different listeners. Want to know where the future of Symphonic Metal is going? Give “The Seven” a listen and be reassured the future of this genre is strong.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Sold My Soul
02. Violet Hours
03. Wake Up, Lucretia
04. Still, I Rise
05. Sirens’ Lament
06. Eye Of The Storm
07. Heartsword!
08. At The Masquerade
09. If You Dare
10. Hyde And Seek

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

https://www.instagram.com/aoniaband/
https://aonia.bandcamp.com/

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

 

Promo Pic1

 

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.