Opeth – In Cauda Venenum

Capture

Opeth – In Cauda Venenum
Moderbolaget / Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 27/09/2019
Running Time: 67:44
Review by Cliff Scowen
10/10

First of all, I’m not going get drawn into the which Opeth is better the old or new, guttural growls or clean vocals, as Opeth fans are intelligent enough to figure it out themselves.

Secondly, having been a massive fan since the “Orchid” album people may think I am a bit biased in my review. Well I’m not. I don’t have to be when an album is this good. In nearly 30 years, I’ve seen Opeth evolve from a full-on death metal band to the prog metal legends they are today.

So, to album number four of clean vocals. The title means ‘Poison In The Tail’, frontman Mikael Akerfeldt recorded two versions one in English and another in Swedish and we get 10 tracks covering 70 minutes of majestic music.

Opener ‘Garden of Earthly Delight’ is a delightful, atmospheric piece with its choral chanting and voice overs, setting the tone of what’s about to follow. With the opening track seamlessly slotting into ‘Dignity’ with some seriously cool percussion and heavy riffs, it’s good finding Akerfeldt in great voice early into the album.

The first single from the album ‘Heart In Hand’ sees us in refreshingly classic Opeth territory, Axenrot’s drum fills alongside Akesson’s riff made it nigh on impossible for me not to nod my head.

’Next of Kin’ has a much darker feel, haunting choirs set around a crystal clear acoustic guitar and I guess you could call ‘Lovelorn Crime’ the albums ballad, hearing those piano chords entwining with Axenrot’s drums and Martin’s bass and a deeply felt solo is a joyous thing to hear, a true masterpiece.

The surreal sound of ‘Charlatan’ seamless musical interludes is backed by operatic monks and ‘Universal Truth’, a huge melody with faultless piano work is so full of angst and emotion. We see ‘The Garrotter’ next with its alluring intro and it’s almost jazzy feel certainly keeps Svalberg busy on keyboards.

We, then, hit more familiar ground with ‘Continuum’, Akerfeldt pushing his band and musical boundaries as only Opeth can. Akessons use of the wah-wah pedal is outstanding and so to closer ‘All Things Will Pass’ which has an almost anthemic feel to it, has enough musical hooks to catch the ear of the listener. I have heard that Akerfeldt’s voice sounds rawer on the Swedish version but I’m putting that down to him singing in his native tongue, just as “Ghost Reveries” was back in 2005.

“In Cauda Venenum” is another watershed moment in their distinguished career, an album combining all the mesmerising qualities of its predecessors “Heritage”, “Pale Communion” and “Sorceress “and taking it to another level.

A very easy……10/10

Standout Tracks: ‘Continuum’, ‘Universal Truth’, ‘Lovelorn Crime’

In Cauda Venenum Track listing (English/Swedish):
1. Garden Of Earthly Delights / Livet’s Trädgård
2. Dignity / Svekets Prins
3. Heart In Hand / Hjärtat Vet Vad Handen Gör
4. Next Of Kin / De Närmast Sörjande
5. Lovelorn Crime / Minnets Yta
6. Charlatan
7. Universal Truth / Ingen Sanning Är Allas
8. The Garroter / Banemannen
9. Continuum / Kontinuerlig Drift
10.All Things Will Pass / Allting Tar Slut

Band members
Mikael Akerfeldt – Guitar/vocals,
Fredrick Akesson – Guitars,
Carlos Martin – Bass,
Martin Axenrot – Drums,
Joakim Svalberg – Keyboards.

Links:
http://www.opeth.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Opeth/
https://www.youtube.com/user/OpethOfficial
https://myspace.com/opeth

 

Review reproduced here with kind permission of Cliff Scowen and MDR

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

 

 

EMQ’s with ZEPHYRA

Zephyra Logo

EMQ’s with ZEPHYRA

Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Swedish Metal band Zephyra! Huge thanks to guitarist Tony Netterbrant for taking part!

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

My name is Tony Netterbrant. I play guitar and I’m the main songwriter in Zephyra.

The band started 2009 but we often say that we started for real in 2011 when I switched from drums to guitar in the band.

We have released three full length albums and one stand-alone single since 2014.

How did you come up with your band name?

It was Åsa (vocalist) that came up with the idea to rearrange our dog’s name. Her name is Zaphira and Åsa changed it to Zephyra.

It was never really meant be the final band name. We needed a name in the beginning and it eventually stuck. It’s too late to change now, ha ha!

What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?

We are from Sweden and it has its good sides and bad sides. In the global perspective Sweden has delivered some really good metal acts such as in Flames, HammerFall, Arch Enemy, Evergrey, Dark Tranquillity, Sabaton and the list goes on and on. There are a lot of good metal bands here for sure!

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

Our latest album “Fall. Rise. Conquer.” was released on April 17, 2019 and we have released three singles off that album, the latest being a cover of ‘Nothing Else Matters’.

Who have been your greatest influences?

If we are talking musical influences, Metallica is one of the biggest for me. But bands such as Evergrey, Dark Tranquillity, Megadeth have also played a big role.

Other influences is life in general. The lyrics I write are inspired of real life events, mainly my own experiences but also others.

What first got you into music?

I was never really good at sports growing up, like my brothers were. I think music spoke to me and I have always been a very creative and deep person. The music came naturally in a way.

My oldest brother introduced me to hard rock and metal and it grew on me. A few years down the road when I discovered Metallica, something inside me woke.

I wanted to play drums and I wanted to compose music. I never had a plan to be a musician, it just happened and it just felt right.

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

Oh, wow! Hard question! There are so many so I really can’t say. I’m afraid I will forget someone, ha ha!

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

Wacken! I mean, it’s the biggest and most metal festival there is! Of course Sweden Rock Festival does not sound bad either 😉

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

Maybe not weird but in a way it is. We have, as far as we know, two different people who have a tattoo of our logo on their body. It’s a big honour of course, but also weird in a way because it’s so hard to grasp. Amazing!

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

I would like to say THANK YOU to all you Zephyra soldiers out there who are fighting for us and supporting us through everything!

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

Criss Oliva. Such an underrated guitarist who died too soon!

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

Creating music! It makes my blood flow and when I am performing with my family (the band) on stage in front of our lovely fans, that’s worth all the hard times.

I hate all of the business side. I didn’t start with music to being able to run a business, you know. It’s a necessary part though to being able reach out to more people and to grow as a band.

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

Take away the industry part and make it only about the music.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Gutter Ballet” – Savatage

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

I don’t have an opinion about that, they all serve a purpose. But I’m quite nostalgic about CD’s though.

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

Hard one, but I think I must say that the last two shows on our last UK tour were special in so many ways. We played in Birmingham and Norwich and Åsa’s voice was severely affected by pollen so she couldn’t growl at all in Birmingham and then she couldn’t sing at all (!) in Norwich. But, we soldiered on and played the shows anyway with the amazing support from our lovely fans. I am very proud of the band that we didn’t give up and pushed through. The show must go on.

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

I don’t know, maybe something with animals. I am a big dog lover.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

My band! Wait, that’s only three, ha ha. Well, that’s enough. I like small gatherings.

What’s next for the band?

Next shows are in Norway and the Netherlands in July and August at Totsås Rock and Tattoofest. Other than that we are brewing on some things we can’t talk about yet.

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

https://www.facebook.com/zephyraofficial/
https://www.youtube.com/user/ZephyraVideos
https://www.instagram.com/zephyraofficial/
http://www.zephyra.se/

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I have actually never heard of them so I can’t say.

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

Thanks for this interview and stay metal out there!

 

Promo Pic

 

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

 

Seventh Wonder – Tiara

Tiara Cover

Seventh Wonder – Tiara
Frontiers Records
Release Date: 12/10/2018
Running Time: 01:09:56
Review by Lotty Whittingham
9/10

It’s no secret that Sweden is a vast breeding ground for rock and metal giants. Most notable names include Sabaton, Amon Amarth and In Flames. Could Seventh Wonder be joining this list of legends? Judging from the strength of their album “Tiara”, it’s more than safe to say that there is a place on this list awaiting them. Imagine if Avantasia and Kamelot jammed together, that would be Seventh Wonder.

Seventh Wonder are familiar to me as their lead vocalist Tommy Karevik also fronts Kamelot and they are personal favourites of mine. So naturally I was curious to get to know Seventh Wonder and find out what their sound is all about.

The album is a portfolio of epic, bombastic melodies that sit with you the moment you press play. The tracks are memorable and once you listen to this record, just looking at the name will bring excerpts of these songs to the mind instantly.

The opening tracks ‘Arrival’ and ‘The Everones’ entice you in instantly. I found that the songs have a strong ambience and contain strong sounding melodies. Scar Symmetry and Kamelot come to mind when listening to the songs.

‘Against The Grain’ is a soaring track that sat very well with me. The backing vocals accompanying Tommy Karevik remind me of Eden’s Curse and Avantasia, particularly because these choral vocals provide concrete backing. I also found that the song had a strong eighties vibe to it. This track is just one of the highlights of the album.

‘Victorious’ is the ear worm of the album. The powerful verses and infectious chorus will ensure you remember the song hours after hearing it. I only have to read the title and the song gets stuck in my head. The title alone is an empowering word and the bold musical arrangements match this perfectly. The song gives you strength and hope, even in times riddled with uncertainty.

I like the acoustic tribal tones from ‘The Truth’. It shows a different side to the band and gives us a break from the heaviness for the majority of the song. It then gives us their iconic, bombastic sounds that familiar across the album. I also like the empowering and uplifting tones throughout the song.

With albums you tend to come across a short opening track that leads to the first main track. With “Tiara” you also get that at the end. The song ‘Procession’ is a beautiful short track with a stunning vocal melody from Tommy Karevik. This is the lead up to the mind-blowing closer ‘Exhale’.

When you have experienced something that is so intense it leaves you breathless, you let out a huge breath. So, this track is appropriately named. “Tiara” leaves you breathless and ‘Exhale’ is the final chapter of this fantastic record.

From the exhilarating ride that “Tiara” gave me, I think it is more than safe to say Seventh Wonder will be added to my music collection. Fans of Kamelot and strong melodic metal, I recommend you do the same.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Arrival
02. The Everones
03. Dream Machines
04. Against the Grain
05. Victorious
06. Farewell (Part 1: Tiara’s Song)
07. Farewell (Part 2: Goodnight)
08. Farewell (Part 3: Beyond Today)
09. The Truth
10. By the Light of the Funeral Pyres
11. Damnation Below
12. Procession
13. Exhale

LINKS:
http://www.seventhwonder.se/
https://www.facebook.com/seventhwonderofficial/

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

 

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.

EMQ’s with VNTER

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EMQ’s with VNTER

Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with. Swedish Rock band VNTER. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist Andy Aura for taking part!

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

My name is Andy, I play guitar and I’m the lead singer of VNTER. The idea of the band started when my former band called it quits and I felt that I wasn’t done playing huge arena rock. So I took what I thought was the greatest songs from that era, wrote some new songs and put together a bunch of great musicians and we formed VNTER in 2017.

How did you come up with your band name?

We wanted a Swedish word as a band name and we got stuck on the word vinter that means winter in English. But if you google vinter you get over five million hits so I thought if we take away I from the word it will not only look awesome we will be the first thing that comes up when you google it and everyone can say it. I think it’s a pretty unique band name.

What country are you from and what is the metal scene like there?

I’m from Sweden and man the metal scene here is fantastic. We got so many great bands that made it big in not only Sweden but also the world. Just take In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Dead by April, Avatar, the list could go on forever and the city where I live in is known for its metal sound – the Gothenburg sound.

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

We released 2 singles and a video for one of them one year ago. Now we’re waiting to release the first song of 13 in June and it´s going to be fun to constantly keep up to date with new music for over one year straight.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Simon Neil from Biffy Clyro is a huge influence for me, Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters, Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age. But I also love people who do their own thing like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and even people who don’t play music.

What first got you into music?

I heard the album “Stay Hungry” from Twisted Sister when I was 6 years old and from that day I just loved music. I started to play the guitar a couple of years later but my guitar teacher kept hitting me on my fingers when I played the wrong notes so I quit and it wasn’t until maybe 10 years after that I started to play for real.

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

I would just love to do a collaboration with Biffy Clyro, which would be a dream come true.

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

I would like to play Lollapalooza in Argentina, the South American fans are crazy and I want to experience that.

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

Hmmmm, nothing really weird so far, I got a cook book because I worked as a chef for many years. That was really thoughtful I think.

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

Don’t stop supporting the bands you love. It means the world to us.

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

Easy, Freddie Mercury. I just love everything about that man but mostly his awesome voice and charisma.

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

Playing live, writing songs, being interviewed and recording an album. I don’t hate anything; some things can be less fun like taking promo pictures, mailing a lot and taking care of the economy.

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

There are a lot of places closing and festivals dying I would make sure that up and coming bands have somewhere to play their shows and help finance festivals. It’s the small bands today that you will see on the huge stage tomorrow.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Appetite for Destruction” – Guns n Roses. Now that’s an album!

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

When I was a kid I recorded Brian May ´s solo from ‘We Will Rock You’ with Queen 15 times in a row on cassette and I just loved that format to consume music. So my answer is cassette, it’s something really genuine about it that I like.

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

We have an awesome venue here in Gothenburg called Sticky Fingers and it was back in 2014 I think. We opened up for the legendary man called Strings or Strängen in Swedish. He played in The Hellacopters back in the day and he tragically passed away in 2017. It was a huge crowd and the atmosphere was insane.

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

Probably something else creative. I do have a podcast where I talk to musicians, booking companies, record companies and so on, maybe more of that. But on the other hand if I hadn’t been a musician the podcast wouldn’t exist. I think I would go deeper into being a chef, work in a Michelin star restaurant, like really modern and cool food.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Daniel Ek – Founder of Spotify
Tommy Lee – Mötley Crue
Dave Grohl – Foo Fighters
Lady Gaga
Arnold Schwarzenegger

What’s next for the band?

We’re about to release the first of thirteen singles in June. Every month for thirteen months we are releasing a new song and after that the album comes out, but by then everyone already heard the songs. I’m really looking forward to that long process. We’re planning to go on tour as an opening act and to play festivals next year. So that’s what’s in sight for the near future.

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

We use Facebook and Instagram, just search for VNTER and you should see our page coming up. We also use Soundcloud to send our album as a secret link to record companies and booking agencies. And we’re on every major streaming platform.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Hahahaha, what is even a Jaffa cake? If they are called cake, they must be a cake so I totally say that they are biscuits. Just googled it and they look good!

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

Dont stop working on what you believe in. Who should believe in it if you don’t? Let the struggle be real and have fun doing it. Someday, someway if you work hard and long enough you will make it.
Thanks you so much, this was a lot of fun
Andy

Manimal – Purgatorio

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MANIMAL – PURGATORIO
AFM Records
Release Date: 07/09/2018
Running Time: 42:01
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
10/10

Every once in a while, an album pops into your inbox that just grabs you from the onset and has a lasting impression on you, so much so that you just have to give it ten out of ten when you review it. I can’t remember the last time I gave a ten for a review but this album by Manimal certainly deserves it.

Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2001, the four piece have previously released two albums, The Darkest Room in 2009 and Trapped in the Shadows in 2015, both showing how the band have stayed loyal to heavy/traditional influences and are prime examples of modern and trend-setting power metal.

Fast forward to 2018 and their latest album, Purgatorio, sees the band takes their outstanding qualities almost to the point of perfection. The album is nine tracks long, and the band have pulled out all the stops, creating different tempos and atmospheres throughout and writing choruses that have “true anthem potential!”

Says frontman Samuel Nyman: “our goal has always been to write songs we love and believe in. The challenge is to make a song with strong hooks without being too predictable. It’s just a bonus when we realise that people around the world seem to have the same good taste in music as we do!”

The album has been produced by Manimal themselves, says Nyman: “Just like the previous two albums we produced this one ourselves; mainly because we like to have full control of the production. We are control freaks to the bone, and the thought of putting our creations into hands of an external producer simply scares us!”

Each band member, however, still had their own little piece of the album to concentrate on. Singer Nyman is the epicentre of this amazing album. Inspired by singers such as Rob Halford, Geoff Tate and Michael Kiske, his voice oozes self-confidence and passion, the kind that makes you go “wow” as soon as he opens his mouth.

The fabulous song writing is courtesy of guitarist, Henrik Stenroos, a true riff icon, whose hooks and licks provide the foundation for many of Manimal’s songs and drummer André Holmqvist, whose tight and powerful drum style is comparable to that of legends such as Tommy Lee and Mike Portnoy, co-wrote the lyrics.

Finally, bassist Kenny Boufadene was in charge of mixing the album and also produces the band’s videos.

Despite undertaking much of the album, themselves, they also enlisted the help of some well-known support. Firstly, the drums were recorded by Jakob Hermann (Anthrax, Europe, Machinehead and Evergrey) at Top Floor Studios. Secondly, the album was mastered by Tony Lindgren at Jens Bogren’s famous Fascination Street Studios, and lastly, the album cover work was designed by Claudio Bergamin (Judas Priest).

This album has soooooo much to offer. The title track and “Edge of Darkness” are a typical variety of haunting melodies and classy grooves, with a hidden sadness, that has become one of the band’s trademarks. But, after a little research, there are a few tracks that are a little different for Manimal, such as “Denial” with its Rammstein-esque riff, and “Spreading The Dread” with its remarkable rhythm.

This is an album that, to quote the press release notes, “sounds monolithic despite the fact that the individual songs ooze a wide range of different details and special features.” There is exceptional compositional talent that they have now mastered for the third time.

If I had to explain Manimal’s sound to someone who had not heard of them, I would describe them as this….they are the best bits of a variety of metal genres all rolled into one, Judas Priest meets Primal Fear meets Angel Dust meets every other goddamn band there ever was!

I was in love with this album from the very first note of the very first song. Even now, as I write this review and the album has been played almost to death (although not quite) in my car for my journeys to and from work, I am listening to it again! There really is not a bad song on the album, and although the whole “all killer, no filler” quote is a bit of a cliché, its one that is actually true of this album, and I actually think its gets better the further into the album you get (which is really saying something as it starts on such a high anyway!)

The last three tracks “Denial” (my absolute favourite! Its one of those tracks you can play on a loop time and time again and still not tire of it!), “Edge of Darkness” and “The Fear Within” are my stand out tracks, although the title track, “Traitor” and “Behind Enemy Lines” are just as good. And the remaining two tracks, “Manimalized” and “Spreading the Dread” are not far behind. The first track on the album “Black Plague” is an intro and sets the scene for some awesome metal to come.

I could talk all day about how much I loved this album, but I think the best thing you can do, is go out and get yourself a copy and see for yourself! I would bet anything that you won’t be disappointed!

I just hope these guys are planning on doing some gigs over here in England (hint hint guys!) because I will be right down the front for it!!

The album was only released on the 7th of September 2018 (today’s date is the 12th September!) and I am already looking forward to the next album of awesomeness these guys produce!

You have definitely got yourselves a new fan here!!!

TRACK LIST
1. Black Plague
2. Purgatorio
3. Manimalized
4. Spreading The Dread
5. Traitor
6. Behind Enemy Lines
7. Denial
8. Edge Of Darkness
9. The Fear Within

SOCIAL MEDIA
http://www.manimal.se/
https://www.afm-records.de/en/m/69-manimal-2.html
https://www.facebook.com/manimalofficial/
https://www.instagram.com/@manimalofficial

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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.