Saffire – Where The Monsters Dwell

Where The Monsters Dwell Cover

SAFFIRE – WHERE THE MONSTERS DWELL
Perris Records
Release Date: 20/04/2018
Running Time: 49:23
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
9/10

Next on my list of albums to review was another Swedish rock band. This time, it was the turn of Saffire, another Gothenburg based hard rock band, and what a band they are.
Formed in 2005 when Victor Olsson and Dino Zuzic were still at school, their idea was to form a band based on old school hard rock and metal, but with a modern twist to it. They claim to be for fans of “80’s melodic hard rock bands like Deep Purple and Rainbow” and, although I can see where this label comes from (at times the singer has more than a resemblance to the late, great Ronnie James Dio!) I would compare them more to power metal bands Firewind and Evergrey.

The band underwent several personnel changes before settling on their final line up of Victor Olsson on guitars, Tobias Jansson (former singer with fellow Swedish band Evil Masquerade) on vocals, Dino Zuzic on keyboards, Magnus Karlsson on bass and Anton Roos on drums in 2010 and a self-titled EP was recorded and released the same year.

The band played a lot of live shows and in 2013 they signed with Inner Wound Recordings for the release of their debut full length album “From Ashes To Fire.” The album was highly praised all over the world and Rocknytt.net, Sweden’s biggest rock website, placed the album in their top 10 list of best albums of 2013.

They toured all over Scandinavia, playing some of the biggest festivals like Sabaton Open Air and the Ton of Rock Gothenburg Sound Festival, alongside bands such as Slayer, Steel Panther, At The Gates and Sabaton.

November 2015 saw them release their second album “For The Greater Good” and, like its predecessor, was highly praised worldwide, leading to a sold-out release show in Gothenburg in January 2016, and many festival appearances that year including the Sweden Rock Festival, Metallsvenskan, Skogsröjet and Rock In Lisch, with bands such as Queen, Ghost, Twisted Sister and The Hellacopters.

“Where The Monsters Dwell” is the band’s third release and is nearly fifty minutes of real quality. This is a band who have mastered the art of song writing and are all superb musicians, two of the most important elements of being a band.

I love rock and metal bands that have strong vocals, whether that’s just in the power and intensity of the singing or whether the vocals have something different or special about them, and Tobias Jansson certainly pulls this off. From the very first note of the very first song I knew he was special. As I previously mentioned he wouldn’t be out of place singing for the likes of Firewind or Evergrey, two other bands I absolutely adore.

It’s not just the vocals that make this album though. The four other members are simply outstanding musicians. The guitar work is almost flawless, with fantastic solos and riffs that will get your head banging, even if you don’t want it to! The drumming is tight and energetic, and I would love to see Anton, the drummer, in action in a live setting. I can imagine him hitting those skins as if his life depended on it.

The album, as a whole, is straightforward, down to earth heavy rock/metal. I don’t like to pigeon hole bands so whether you consider these guys heavy rock or metal, I don’t really care. All I know is this album will have you dancing around the living room, strumming your air guitar and banging away on those air drums like a loon.

I had been listening to the album in my car until today when I decided to buy a set of external speakers for my laptop! And I must say, the louder you play this album, the better it sounds. I thought it was awesome anyway but coming through those speakers, it just blew me away.

It combines elements of a whole range of genre, from heavy, traditional metal to power metal, and there are even some funky grooves thrown in too. Of course, there is the obligatory ballad in Fortress, but it certainly doesn’t sound out of place on this album.

I am rather ashamed to say that I hadn’t heard of this band before reviewing this album, but for a relatively young band still, they have produced something that is mature and, I’ll say it again, of real quality. I will certainly be checking out their previous albums and am definitely a fan since listening to this.

If you have never heard of Saffire then you are missing out in a big way! Go grab yourself a copy of this album and see for yourself.

I just have one question for the band…………. WHEN ARE YOU COMING TO LONDON????
Simply awesome!!

 

TRACK LISTING
1. Wolf Among The Sheep
2. Hard To Keep, Hard To Find
3. Valley Of The Damned
4. Broken Crown
5. Where The Monsters Dwell
6. How Cold Is Your Blood
7. Road To Paradise
8. Perfectly Worthless
9. Dark Horizon
10. Fortress
11. The Rainmaker

SOCIAL MEDIA
https://www.facebook.com/saffiresweden/
http://saffire.se/
Promo Pic1

 

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

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.