Eternal Silence – Timegate:Anathema

Timegate Anathema Album Cover Art

Eternal Silence – Timegate:Anathema
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 08/10/2021
Running Time: 50:28
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Italian Symphonic Metallers Eternal Silence have been ploughing their particular furrow for about a decade and “Timegate:Anathema” is their first full-length album since 2017’s “Mastermind Tyranny” (although the void has been filled with a couple of EP’s in between). There are attempts at more overtly Power Metal tracks in this – the opener ‘The Way of Time’ being a good example, but the band work best when they stick to their Symphonic guns, as the second track ‘Edge Of The Dream’, which almost feels like it belongs to a completely different act or recording block. When they throw these more technical flourishes and time-change complexities into the mix things work much, much better for them and the effortless way that a nice lengthy instrumental section can be thrown at the front of tracks like ‘Ancient Spirit’ tells me that these guys have got the song-writing balance between the technical and the catchy-melodic just right.

The two handed vocal performance between Marika Vanni and Alberto Cassina works really well, although Vanni takes the lion’s share of the work. I also can’t fault the instrumental work at all, particularly their uncredited keyboard player, who whilst avoiding the cliché of inter-instrument shredding with the guitars, has some absolutely superb yet restrained solo spots scattered throughout.

Symphonic Metal works best when the production is top notch, crisp, layered and sensitive in equal proportions to the brutal or heavy when they are part of it. Fuse the two and you get the harmonic equivalent of being bashed around the ears by a concrete melodic elephant. Sadly, the production on this falls a little short of that. Although the vocals are clearly presented at the front of the mix, and given both depth and clarity, the Metallic instrumentals in particular sound very trebly, lacking in depth and way too far back in the mix (even the orchestral elements suffer from the same distance problem in places).

Now to be fair to them, this is probably the first time the band have tackled remote recording – a skill let’s face it that every act is having to grapple with at the moment. In reality this normally comes down to whoever is in the producer’s chair, not the musicians’, as there is usually a world of difference between what gets laid down in the raw and what makes it through the engineering and mixing process. However, in this instance, it’s a combination of Michele Guaitoli and the band themselves, and my gut tells me that they should perhaps step back from this area next time out and trust to a strong producer, as the mix is that little too close to a baseline recording.

The song writing is what holds this record up and the structure and arrangements here are spot on – ‘Heart of Lead’ being the stand out track for me, although the experimental but catchy as fuck ‘Glide In The Air’ deserves mention as well, as you can tell it will be a cracker live. Love the tunes, but let down by the recording and mixing – nonetheless the song-writing and performances still make “Timegate:Anathema” worthy of attention.

‘Red Death Masquerade’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Way Of Time
02. Edge Of The Dream
03. Ancient Spirit
04. Heart Of Lead
05. Lonely
06. Glide In The Air
07. Rain
08. My Soul Sad Until Death
09. Firefly
10. Red Death Masquerade

LINE-UP:
Marika Vanni – Vocals
Alberto Cassina – Guitar/Vocals
Alessio Sessa – Bass
Andrea Zannin – Drums
Enzo Criscuolo – Guitar

LINKS:

Eternal Silence Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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 KULL

Kull Logo

EMQ’s with KULL

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Sheffield, England based Epic Symphonic Black Metal band, Kull. Huge thanks to all of them 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?

[C]: Chris Maudling – Guitars.

[W]: Wak – Drums

[J]: Jonny Maudling – Composer/keyboard player. Kull basically picked up from where Bal-Sagoth left off.

[M]: Alistair MacLatchy – bassist for Kull. Kull formed from the remains of Bal-Sagoth, after Tarkan stepped up to sing for us in Liverpool in 2011, when the previous guy decided to be absent.

[T]: Tarkan – vocalist and lyricist. I was a Bal-Sagoth fan for many years before getting to know everyone personally following my move to Sheffield to pursue a History & Philosophy degree back in 2000. Around the same time, I formed the band Extreme Maggot Infestation (later renamed Dyscaphia) with me on guitar, Wak on drums and a couple of other friends. Some years later Wak was poached by Sagoth after having a few changes to who took the throne for them. It wasn’t until much later that I stood in for Byron at the last minute to play Liverpool back in 2011. It wasn’t my finest moment but I couldn’t give up the opportunity to share the stage with some of my favourite musicians and help out friends at the same time.

Following this, I started attending the weekly Sagoth rehearsals and gradually Kull came into existence from there.

How did you come up with your band name?

[M]: Don’t really know, I wasn’t at that meeting!

[C]: It fitted with the tone and narrative of the material.

[T]: We knew the kind of connotations we wanted with the name; something direct, to the point – a short, sharp shock ,if you will. But also, we wanted something that spoke of the Bal-Sagoth legacy. For those who aren’t aware, the name Bal-Sagoth is taken from the writings of Robert E. Howard – most commonly known as the creator of the character Conan. He was also the creator of another hero – almost a prototype of Conan – a little darker in some ways, a little more introspective – Kull seemed to fit both with the lyrics I was beginning to write at the time, it was short, direct and for the uninitiated kind of continues the great metal tradition of misspelling band names…Maybe we should add some umlauts.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

[J]: UK Sheffield. It used to have a bit of a scene, and there are some notable bands from yesteryear which hail from here. It’s the North that gives the music its metal edge.

[C]: England/South Yorkshire. The metal/rock scene has declined over the last 10 years but we are fighting to keep it alive.

[T]: London born but have lived all over the place. Nowadays I consider Sheffield as my adopted hometown – although currently not living there. I must admit that I had already drifted from being part of any real scene and am pretty unfamiliar with the individual local happenings. Having said that, there are interesting bands coming up all over the country. We’re not a very big island and seemingly growing smaller all the time. I don’t see subdividing the UK metal scene into regions as necessarily helpful. We’re in this together after all and there are plenty in all sub genres of metal pushing the envelope and doing some really interesting things.

[M]: Sheffield, and the metal scene is probably best described as “Underground”. There’s Terminal Sun, and Eoten who are very good though.

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

[T]: Our debut album “Exile” (out on Black Lion Records) – hopefully, we’ll have the follow up completed in the not too distant future.

‘Vow Of The Exiled’ (Official Visualiser)

‘Set Nakt Heh’ (Official Visualiser)

Who have been your greatest influences?

[J]: Everyone I ever got into, Geoff Love, Holst, Thrash/Death, 80’s contemporary, Classical, Tangerine Dream, Queen, The Police, John Peel, to name but a very few.

[C]: Metallica, Slayer, Kreator, Emperor, Deicide and many soundtrack albums.

[W]: Greatest influences on me and my playing style were probably Deicide, Fear Factory, Machine Head and Metallica.

[M]: Any of the musicians I have played alongside over the years (too many to list). You learn more from playing with other people than practicing alone.

[T]: I always find this difficult – In terms of lighting the fire of music and making me want to pursue that it’d have to be everything from Michael Jackson to Max Cavalera – those people that at some point made me look up to them. When it comes to lyrics/vocals etc, again it’s a melting pot. Robert E. Howard of course features prominently and has influenced what I’ve done with Kull as well as some solo tracks here and there. Michael Moorcock, Iain M Banks and a history of reading various historical text and esotericism also play a significant part. Coming to performing with what were certainly childhood idols at one stage, obviously Byron influenced my approach to the style I heard when presented with the Maudlings’ music. Added to that, however, and as someone who never really tried to be a vocalist, I try to learn new things from wherever I can – amazing metal vocalists abound these days; Psycroptic’s “Sceptre Of The Ancients” is a masterpiece, for example, and vocalists like CJ McCreery & Travis Ryan (off the top of my head) are phenomenal, although I’m unsure how much of an influence any of that has really been on my own style.

What first got you into music?

[J]: My Parents record collection, probably a Geoff Love soundtrack thing.

[C]: My parents all made us (myself, brother and sister) have piano lessons at an early age. There was always a classical guitar lying about and many albums.

[W]: Essentially, it was hearing “Appetite For Destruction” and watching Heavy Metal Heaven on VHS, it was a live G’n’R concert hosted by Elvira.

[M]: My Dad was a guitarist in a band, and there were guitars all over the house – it was inevitable that I would follow the same way! The first band I ever really got into was Status Quo, which sealed my fate as a rocker and led me into metal some years later

[T]: In my earliest years it was all about Michael Jackson. As I grew it was discovering bands like G’n’R and then Sepultura and going on from there.

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

[T]: It’d be interesting to do something with Voices – I can’t imagine how that would turn out!

[C]: Hans Zimmer probably.

[J]: It’s not really a desire of mine so I can’t really say. Maybe Tony MacAlpine?

[M]: I’m with Chris on this one – Hans Zimmer. His music is inspiring and varied, and lifts any film that he scores. I saw him live a few years ago, and it was probably the best concert I’ve ever seen.

[D]: Dino, right up to the moment he decides he wants to change the patterns.

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

[W]: I’d love to have been around to play one of the old Monster of Rock festivals back in the day, things were different back then, somewhat less sanitized. Now I couldn’t decide between Download, Hellfest or Wacken.

[J]: Like the rest of the guys probably Download but any metal fest is always good.

[C]: Download would be great and it is in England.

[M]: The old Monsters of Rock at Donington (pre-Download). Back when there were only six bands and one stage – sometimes less is more!

[T]: It would have to be Wacken for me – I’d love to return there as not just a fan but an artist. With that or 70,000 Tons of Metal.

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

[J]: None have been weird. Maybe a box of postcards from a country in the East.

[C]: A crate of Belgium beer. Not very interesting I know.

[T]: Other than maybe drinks after a set, I don’t think I can recall any. That doesn’t mean I didn’t get them, mind…just that I can’t actually recall.

[M]: Never really had one. I recall a case of Trappist beer in Antwerpen though.

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

[J]: Keep open musical minds.

[M]: Never vote Tory

[C]: For all those loyal Bal-Sagoth fans and the newcomers to Kull, thanks for the support over the years. We have loads more to do for all you guys and hope to see you in the live arena very soon. We appreciate every one of you.

[T]: Thank you for sticking by us and showing us so much support over the last few tumultuous years. Your loyalty and fervour speak volumes!

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

[W]: Neil Peart.

[T]: This is such a tough one. So many talented people seem to have gone in recent years. For sheer personality, though, it would have to be Lemmy. He was the link between old time rock and roll and the current metal scene and a symbol of everything metal. Absolute legend that seemed he would outlive us all. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

[J]: There are a few, Cliff Burton, John Lennon, Sid Vicious, Jimmy Hendrix, Bon Scott.

[C]: Freddie Mercury.

[M]: Chris Cornell – the best vocalist ever.

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

[J]: When it comes together & when it doesn’t.

[W]: Playing live shows for me nothing feels better, and the worst…waiting.

[M]: Playing live with my friends is the best feeling. Tinnitus is the worst feeling – wear your earplugs people!

[C]: Beginning as a rag tag unit and improving our live skills over the many rehearsals. It’s like levelling up and nothing feels like a good practice. The bad points are just playing way below par and bad stage sound. You have to be well rehearsed and 100% committed all of the time or there really is no point.

[T]: I love almost everything about actually being a musician form the initial composition to seeing how a song morphs and develops with others’ input to playing a show and connecting with fans.

What I hate isn’t really about being a musician as such but rather how its value is reduced to nothing by the society in which we find ourselves. Save for the upper echelons of controlled, corporate product, everyone kind of expects it for nothing. The value of a cd, a song, a gig – it’s nothing. We used to steal our music by tape trading etc. Now we expect it for free from the source itself. We used to save up for weeks to buy an album that we had ordered in and cherish every moment of that record – the cover art, the liner notes, the lyrics and the music itself. Now we begrudge paying 99p for a download.

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

[J]: I’d make the popular radio stations play more diverse music instead of the banal mediocrity that they currently do.

[M]: Manufactured music – I wish that they would stop programming backing tracks and auto-tuning vocalists, and get proper musicians playing actual instruments again.

[C]: Give more radio play to all types of music. Corporations are sacrificing art for a quick buck.

[T]: See above! I don’t know what the solution is, really. Technology has moved faster than the industry could ever have hoped for. I would like to see a greater diversity of music, especially here in the UK. With the internet people are continuously discovering more music that they love and may never have heard otherwise. Yet this fails to be reciprocated in our culture as the conglomerates and the media have a stranglehold on what actually reaches the people – for the most part churning out lowest possible common denominator detritus to make a few quid.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

[W]: Machine Head – “Burn My Eyes”.

[M]: That’s tough to narrow it down to one, but I would say Pink Floyd – “Animals”.

[J]: Queen – “Greatest Hits”

[C]: Slayer – “Reign In Blood”

[T]: I don’t know how I can possibly reduce it to one but…*flips a coin*…Deicide – “Serpents Of The Light”!

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

[M]: I miss vinyl – there was a sense of occasion when you bought an album back then. I stream most of my music these days though – it’s more convenient.

[W]: I only really listen to music when I’m travelling, so, downloads all the way for me.

[J]: Vinyl for collecting, Download/Streaming for convenience, CD’s for the car, tape-no.

[C]: Not cassettes, they were not robust enough and the fast forwarding/rewinding was a hassle. CD’s are basically a hard copy of a download, but I prefer not having to store a mile of CD’s. I do miss vinyl and the whole size of the purchase; I could look at the album artwork and inlay notes for ages.

[T]: I will always have a soft spot for cassettes – despite the fact that they were shit – there’s nothing better than listening to something you recorded only to be graced by something totally incongruous that you forgot you had recorded over.

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

[T]: For me this probably goes back to one night in Derby. I can’t remember where. I can’t remember when. But I was there. Alcohol might have been involved.

[M]: London Astoria 2 in ‘97, when Bal-Sagoth supported Emperor.

[W]: Close one, Brutal Assault was one of the biggest for me personally, but I don’t think anywhere I’ve played was better than Finland, both Helsinki & Turku, amazing fans there and possibly the most welcoming places I’ve ever been.

[J]: London LA2 with Emperor, Bloodstock 2002 wasn’t too bad either.

[C]: Bradford Rios for Bal-Sagoth back in 2002. I will get back to you with Kull as we only have played twice.

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

[C]: Something to do with motorbikes, either teaching new riders or road racing.

[J]: Some kind of education thing.

[M]: Gaming or building model tanks.

[W]: I have no idea, I’m terrible at everything else *jokingly.

[T]: Being a dad and running a business takes up pretty much all my remaining time. What would I like to be? Either an author or an artist of some kind.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

[C]: James Hetfield, Glen Benton, Valentino Rossi, Sylvester Stallone and Bob Lazar

[J]: Bill Hicks, Vangelis, Stanley Kubrick, Oliver Hardy and Roland Rat.

[M]: Iain M Banks, Hans Zimmer, Mike Patton, Bill Bailey, Scarlett Johannsen

[T]: Brian Blessed, Stephen Fry, Lemmy, Aron Ra and Victoria Coren Mitchell.

What’s next for the band?

HRH Vikings and writing the follow up to Exile!

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

All the usual fare – you can find us on the usual streaming sites, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, now that I’ve set up a new one after being hacked.
www.facebook.com/Kullmetal
www.instagram.com/kullmetal/
www.twitter.com/Kull_band
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2UNSiZhk1eDLyrDYBDH08G
www.youtube.com/user/KullmetalUK

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

[T]: They are a cake but only in the same way that a tomato is a fruit.

[M]: The clue is in the title.

[J]: A small wet cushion that tastes of chocolate. Probably a cake?

[W]: Which option gets taxed the least?

[C]: Toast

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

[J]: Cheers to all the believers that are with us, more good stuff to come!

[C]: Thanks for the interview and to the fans again who totally get what we are about.

[M]: It’s a privilege to still be able to make music with the guys in Kull, after all the years we have been together, and even more of a privilege to have the chance to share it with you lot!

[T]: Thanks to everyone who supports us and have stuck it out for the last few years. Rest assured the follow up is coming! Alea Iacta Est!

Kull 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 party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Beermageddon 2021 – Day 1 – Control The Storm

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Phoenix Rising – Acta Est Fabula

Acta Est Fabula Album Cover Art

Phoenix Rising – Acta Est Fabula
Wormholedeath
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 47:38
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Spain’s Phoenix Rising have been quiet in recent years, with this, their fourth full-length album being the first to hit our ears since 2014’s “Versus”. Their music is pure Symphonic and Power Metal, fluidly and expertly delivered with some absolutely beautifully layered arrangements and technically superb musicianship. They also deliver the material in their native Spanish – a language whose lilting and romantic enunciation lends itself perfectly to the genre. They have recorded in two languages in the past, and English versions of some songs on later albums do crop up from time to time, but I encourage you to embrace them in their native tongue. I know this sort of thing can be a turn off for many English listeners, but I urge you to live a little and get out of your comfort zone (especially if you include a certain German Industrial Metal outfit in your music collection, then you have absolutely no excuse).

Like the best technical instrumentalists in this sub-genre, the boys weave the guitar work, expertly delivered by Daniel Martínez and singer Miguel González, working in conjunction with keyboardsmith Jesús M. Toribio. These guys riff off of each other in the time honoured tradition but do it effortlessly make the melody lines flow as one, rather than sounding like there’s a one-upmanship competition going on between the three players in the way Stratovarius or Dream Theater might. This sacrifice of ego over songwriting makes for an incredibly powerful delivery model, ably supported by some fantastic rhythm work from Cristian Rodríguez on bass and Carlos Vivas on the drum stool. Miguel González’s vocals are gruffer than some might expect from the genre, but they absolutely fit the band and lend the whole sound an edginess that would simply not be there if a purely clean vocal approach had been taken. It works cohesively with the music and he does have a good range to support this, which the rich and lavish production accentuates perfectly.

This is clearly a fairly complex concept piece of music, as the press pack included an eighty-seven page PDF novel which is the back story – although sadly my Spanish skills don’t go much beyond ordering a beer so I am missing out here. Nevertheless, this screams ‘attention to detail’ from every pore, but not at the expense of the music and is importantly still making it easy to hook in the more casual listener. The floor wiper for me is definitely ‘El Último Aliento’, which has an incredibly catchy, folky riff and melody, with bounce along beats and the technical stuff held slightly back for the instrumental and solo flourishes despite including some fairly complex orchestration, making it the song you know everyone is going to boogie along to live. It’s technical, but doesn’t sound it to the causal listener, and shows that this band have accessibility as well as incredible musical proficiency at their heart. A cracking piece of music indeed.

TRACKLISTING:
01. El Portal de Thalogrim
02. Acta Est Fabula
03. Luna de Sangre
04. El Último Aliento
05. El Doblón de la Muerte
06. Deriva Speranza
07. El Temor de un Hombre Sabio
08. Achterhuis
09. Ira Ciega
10. El Caminante

LINE-UP:
Miguel González – Vocals & Lead guitar
Daniel Martínez – Lead guitar
Jesús M. Toribio – Keyboards & Orchestration
Cristian Rodríguez – Bass
Carlos Vivas – Drums

LINKS:

Phoenix Rising Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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 ARYEM

Aryem Logo

EMQ’s with ARYEM

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview, with Mexico City based, Symphonic Metal band Aryem. Huge thanks to them 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?

Hi! We’re Aryem, a symphonic metal band with Karen M-Dozza on vocals, Diego Heero Maaginen as composer and bassist, Javier Días on guitars and backing vocals and Luis A. Echegollen on drums!

The band was formed in 2012, though the current line-up was finally consolidated in 2019. We released the album “DANGEROUS PARADISE” on March 21st, 2020. We’ve played various online festivals with a few bands like Jinjer and Nervosa, and thankfully the popularity of our album in Aryem’s fan community had, as a result, the release of an extended version of the record, including the orchestral versions of the songs, on November 13th, 2020.

How did you come up with your band name?

Aryem is a combination of the words for “Spirit” and “Soul” in Latin because our music explores the avatars of human existence. We stand for unhinged passion and visceral raw emotions in music. We think it was a natural choice for a name.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We’re from Mexico, Mexico City. The metal scene here is awesome for us, because there are so many kinds of bands and styles that we’ve had a chance to listen to or play with. We really enjoy the metal scene here.

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

We released our debut album “Dangerous Paradise” on March 21st, 2020, and our latest release is ‘REBORN’ the first single of the upcoming album “The Bird’s Assembly”.

‘Reborn’ (Official Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

We all have very different backgrounds, though we share a mutual love for metal and especially Symphonic Metal (i.e. Nightwish, Epica, Kamelot, etc.). But composing wise, our greatest influences have to be the Greek composer Yanni, the amazing film composers John Williams and Danny Elfman, along with the greats from music history like Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Beethoven, Mahler, Brahms, Stravinsky, amongst others.

What first got you into music?

Love for the emotions it causes. Music is a wonderful medium to express what you feel, what you think… we were all collectively captivated by it, and it went on from there. The desire to be able to express such things in sound and share said passion with an audience in one of the most honest and expressive styles there is…Metal.

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

If this was a letter to Santa Claus, hands down it’d have to be Yanni, along with bands such as Nightwish, Epica, Skillet, Ensiferum, Mago de Oz…we really look up to them.

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

Resurrection Fest, Wacken, Domination… Those are festivals we’ve visited in our younger years and were astounded by the experience. We would love to be able to perform in them, and give the same emotions to the audience that we got as teens!

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

Besides underwear on stage with a phone number on it? Hahahaha…probably that one time we were gifted crickets. Literally a small Tupper full of crickets.

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

We are honoured that you share our passion for Aryem’s music! And literally, we wouldn’t be able to do ANY of the things we do without you. YOU represent everything Aryem stands for, and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of such a beautiful community as the one you’ve all created around us. It’s amazing, and we can’t wait for all the new adventures that lie in store for us…together!

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

Freddie Mercury or Alexi Laiho, no questions asked.

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

The connection with the audience, hands down. It’s wonderful…and the emotion of performing music is beyond anything we’ve ever felt before.

What do we hate? Maybe the fact that in Mexico, there is a kind of stigma around being a musician. It’s not taken as a real job or career, something we’ve struggled with in society and even from a few family members…It can be tough sometimes.

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

To give more chances to upcoming bands. There are some AMAZING talents out there that deserve a shot.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Live At The Acropolis” by Yanni, “Once” by Nightwish or “Design Your Universe” by Epica. It depends on which of us answers, hahaha.

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

Anything as long as it’s not pirated!

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

Two, Funnily enough, the first one is of the smaller ones. The first time we performed with Karen we did so at a small club, and she just brought the heat! We had never felt like that performing with other singers and it was an AMAZING feeling for us.

The second one, we recently went to a place called Rio Verde in a state called San Luis Potosi. That’s the first time we’ve played since the Pandemic begun, and we were thankful to be back on stage with a live audience after a year and a half of lockdown.

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

We can’t imagine doing literally anything else. Maybe acting, but that’s a huge maybe. We’re terrible actors (And we still have the guts to act on our music videos…go figure…)

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Yanni, James Hetfield, Tuomas Holopainen, Simone Simons and Floor Jansen.

What’s next for the band?

On October 8th, 2021, we’re releasing our second album “The Bird’s Assembly”! It’s inspired by the Persian poem “The Conference of the Birds” by Attar of Nishapur (1177 AD). The record is an intense and explosive experience into the true nature of humanity’s soul. Unhinged passion, visceral raw emotions and intensity roam free in every corner of this album.

To make this album… we had to go through some dark places… and we did and faced things we never thought we’d ever encounter. And now, it’s ready to come to the light.

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

You can find us in Spotify, Amazon, Apple music, i-Tunes, the whole thing! But we do encourage you to come join the Aryem Family in our socials, we’re always connecting with the tribe and having a blast on the comments (There’s also some special music exclusive to each platform)!
www.facebook.com/aryemband
www.instagram.com/aryemmetal 
www.open.spotify.com/artist/0LiR5Xmjnk2veqhjCZ8sMZ
www.youtube.com/channel/UCJtUmRoy__0Zx3RvT4o8yFg

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

They are a biscuit sized cake 😉 Or a cake sized biscuit if you’re 50 cm tall!

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

Thank you, Ever Metal, for having us! It’s been a lot of fun answering your questions! And hey, if you’re reading this and have never heard of us before, come join the party! If you like our music, you can join the Aryem family (Which is full of amazing folks!) and you can share it with your friends! If you hate our music, you can send it to your worst enemy and ruin his day! It’s a win win, ain’t it?

No but, seriously, thank you so much, and we can’t wait to connect with you on our socials!!!

Aryem 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 party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Rhapsody Of Fire – I’ll Be Your Hero EP

I'll Be Your Hero EP Cover Art

Rhapsody Of Fire – I’ll Be Your Hero EP
AFM Records
Release Date: 04/06/2021
Running Time: 41:07
Review by Beth Jones
10/10

Good morning my lovely bunch of heathens, rogues, and degenerates. How the hell are you? It feels like an age since I last wrote a review. I mean, it isn’t, but there’s a lot going on here at Ever Metal HQ at the moment, and life is fast becoming the shitty gift that just keeps on giving. The sun is shining today here in the Wales, too. Great. Unless you’re the possessor of true Celtic skin, like me. If that’s the case, in this weather you will, like me, find the plight of the lowly vampire incredibly relatable. Even my eyeballs are sweating. I mean come on! This is Wales! We’re not used to this sort of heat! We’re used to rain, and sheep, and the distant sounds of a male voice choir lilting over the hills. Anyway, the saving grace in amongst all the detritus is, as always, music. And today I have a cracker for you.

Italian Symphonic Power Metal legends, Rhapsody Of Fire, have been bringing their melodic powerhouse of sounds to our ears for a fair while now. And they’re new EP, “I’ll Be Your Hero”, certainly lives up to the epic sounds that we have come to expect from them. It’s the build up to their next album release, and contains their new single and title track, alongside 7 other tracks; the Japan bonus track, ‘Where Dragons Fly’, 2 live recordings, and 4 versions of the same song, ‘The Wind, The Rain And The Moon’, all sung in different languages – the previously released English version, and versions in Italian, Spanish, and French, respectively.

Opening with the title track, this EP bounds in like a runaway freight train. It’s brash, and theatrical, and hugely decadent, but I bloody love it! The vocals of Giacomo Voli are just sublime. He has such a rich tone to his voice, and it blends so well with the other orchestration that’s going on. The melody line of ‘I’ll Be Your Hero’ is also hellishly catchy and will become your earworm in no time at all.

‘Where Dragons Fly’ takes the pace down a little, but still has some dramatic sweeping orchestration in the midsections. Then, in complete contract, a live version of ‘Rain Of Fury’ pummels in like a hammer drill! What a song! Power Metal with speed and precision. Stunning guitar solos, stunning synths and keys, drums that could easily turn your brain into pulp, and, of course, blistering vocals. The drama and theatrics stay right in the mix for ‘The Courage To Forgive’ (live), as well. It’s slower, but everything just has so much passion. And again, some ridiculously brilliant guitar work enters into the affray. It really does make every bit of me feel alive (and that’s no mean feat these days, I can tell you)!

But the star of the EP is ‘The Wind, The Rain and The Moon’. It’s beautiful and melancholic from the start. Even though their genre suggests a huge classical element, Rhapsody Of Fire have really pushed into the realms of pure classical with this song. The orchestral strings that make up the body of the song remind me of Barber’s ‘Adagio For Strings’. Sweeping and soaring, mournful and lilting. Stunningly beautiful. Add into that Giacomo’s perfect Tenor voice, and you have something truly magnificent. Then plant into it a climactic point, where guitars, and gentle drums join, and what you have is, in my opinion, one of the most perfect power ballads I have ever heard. And just to make it even more beautiful, we get to explore it in multiple languages, too. Singing in choirs, as I did back in the day, let me experience singing in multiple languages. My favourite (aside from Welsh) was always Italian, because of its full and rounded vowel sounds, which make it so expressive. Listening to ‘Senza Un Addio’ reconfirmed this for me. Italian really is the music of song. This, however, should take nothing away from the Spanish or French versions.

So, to sum up, this EP is rather good. The musicianship, passion, production, and orchestration is as close to perfect as you’re likely to get. You should definitely give it a spin.

I’ll Be Your Hero’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. I’ll Be Your Hero
02. Where Dragons Fly
03. Rain Of Fury (Live)
04. The Courage To Forgive (Live)
05. The Wind, The Rain And The Moon
06. Senza Un Addio
07. Sin Un Adios
08. La Force De Me Battre

LINE-UP:
Giacomo Voli – Vocals
Alex Staropoli – Keyboards
Roby De Micheli – Guitars
Alessandro Sala – Bass
Manu Lotter – Drums

LINKS:

Rhapsody Of Fire Promo Pic (Credit @emanuelealiprandiphotography)
@emanuelealiprandiphotography

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.

Interview with BRING TO BEAR

Bring To Bear Ever Metal Banner

Interview with BRING TO BEAR
By Rick Tilley

Hi Everyone, it’s Rick…

There is nothing I love more than introducing people to brand new bands especially ones that, not only know how to write great music, but also embrace the ‘business’ side of things with an excellent online presence and striking visuals.

One such band is UK Symphonic Folk Metal Quintet BRING TO BEAR, who recently chatted to us about their debut single and video ‘THE SHADOW RUSE’ which is being released tomorrow, Friday 16th July.

I’d like to send huge thanks to them for the interview.

Enjoy!

Q: For a new band, this is truly a wonderful debut, how long have you been playing together and how did you get together?

BtB: Thanks very much, that’s very kind of you to say. Hristo and I (Ian) met through being in a gypsy punk band together and played in that band for a few years now. We realised that we both love metal and during May of the first UK lockdown we decided to start a metal band together. We wrote a few short demos to show the style we wanted to play and posted these on the website Bandmix. We then contacted people through Bandmix and Facebook to see if they were interested in joining us. We managed to get the current line-up (excluding bass) by January this year, so I suppose you could say we have been playing together as a band for about 7 months now.

Q: Can you tell us a little more about each of the members in BRING TO BEAR?

BtB: Hristo plays electric guitar and is also a good bassist, so he did the bass recordings. He is strongly influenced by grunge music, and he is originally from Bulgaria. I (Ian) play accordion and keys, and do the growling, and I am originally from South Africa. I’m very much into symphonic metal and folk metal, gypsy punk, film scores, Viking music. Izabela is lead vocalist and she’s from Poland. She’s a big fan of Nightwish and Frank Sinatra. Simon is the token UK local; he plays drums (and a range of traditional Thai instruments) and loves folk metal and death metal. Nik is our other guitarist and he’s originally from Russia and the UAE. He is really into melodic metal and melodic death metal, particularly bands like Dream Theater.

Q: You have a very rich textured sound (inclusive of instruments like the Accordion), accompanied by fascinating complementary visuals. Please can you share some of the inspirations that went into crafting your sound and visual style?

BtB: The sound of BRING TO BEAR is a balance we are learning to find because we basically have 3 lead instruments (both guitarists and the accordion), as well as 2 vocal styles. When we started the band the phrase, we had in mind, was “Amon Amarth with an accordion” and the idea was to have heavy driving riffs as the foundation of the sound, with powerful tremolo sections, and then add the flavour of accordion to that (because what else would I play??), interspersed with strings and brass (keyboard) to give it some more depth and variety. And on top of that we wanted strong and powerful drumming. A lot of the guitar riffs are also influenced by bands like Pantera, Mushroomhead, and Rammstein. And the folk and symphonic elements are influenced by bands like Nightwish, Korpiklaani, traditional folk music, and film score melodies. The visuals are based on creating a scene of adventure because we believe our music is adventurous. Due to the double meaning of the band name, the bear animal seemed like an obvious inclusion in some visuals and also works as a representation of the growling, and it sets the context of the forest too. Then the lady in the hood represents the clean female vocals. And some beams of light breaking through the shade of the canopy and some mist, and it gives it a strong sense of mystery and intrigue.

Q: Your debut single ‘THE SHADOW RUSE’ will be available tomorrow. Can you share some insight on this debut track, as well as why and how you chose it as your debut offering to introduce the world to BRING TO BEAR?

BtB: ‘The Shadow Ruse’ is a song about the balance between light and dark. It’s easy to look at a situation from one point of view and label it “good” or “bad”, but the same situation seen from another point of view can be the opposite. All that changed is the perception, so the situation is effectively neither good nor bad but just in balance. So, our perceptions make us judge things and this affects how we react to them, even if the perception is not real. It’s like a game of shadows in the mind and it can be hard to make sense of it. The song also represents how we often end up leaning into some aspects of ourselves too much that we neglect their opposites, so it’s also about finding the balance of the light and dark parts of our own character. It was chosen by vote really, but the criteria used for the voting was that it needed to be a song that had a strong, in-your-face start and be a balanced combination of the various textures we use in our music. Incidentally, it was the very first song that Hristo and Ian worked on together for Bring to Bear, and it was used to convince the other members to join the band. So, if it was convincing enough for people to join the band, maybe it will be convincing enough for others to join our journey.

Q: Given you are a new band we have no prior insight into the meaning of your name. However, we are dying to know the origin and meaning of BRING TO BEAR?

BtB: The name primarily comes from the phrase “bring [something] to bear”, meaning to bring into effector to make something happen that you really want to have happen. But the dual meaning comes in with the bear animal which is an obvious link in the name, and the bear animal often represents courage and strength, so the courage to go for what you love and the strength to make it happen.

Q: Your Social Media presence and content are especially striking for a band fresh out the blocks. Can you share some insight on your strategic drive and fantastic efforts to invite fans to join your journey and follow your musical adventure?

BtB: We are looking to create a strong online presence first, partly due to the pandemic and partly because that’s where most potential fans will ever see and hear us. We want to use this to tell our story of trying to go after what we love doing, and hopefully we can inspire others to do the same. We’re not looking to rush things, but we want to make sure that each thing we create, whether music, video or art, is high quality and a true reflection of the band, and we’d rather release things in smaller amounts to not keep people waiting too long between releases. Within the band we have a variety of other skillsets and things that we each love doing so we are trying to use these as well. For example, Nik loves photography and videography, so he has been filming all our videos, and I (Ian) love creating visual art, so I am happy to spend time working on that for the band. And then our PR manager, Devo, has done a great job with helping us to craft how we tell the story and with editing the videos.

Q: Where did you record ‘THE SHADOW RUSE’, and please share some more about the BRING TO BEAR writing and recording process?

BtB: The song was originally written as a punk song for the gypsy punk band that Hristo and I met through, but it didn’t really fit with the rest of that band’s songs. So, when we decided to start Bring To Bear, we took that song and made it heavier. First Hristo wrote the guitar riffs and structure of the song and emailed a recording to me, then I added accordion and emailed it back to him (this was during the first UK lockdown). So, the writing process was a back-and-forth process with Hristo guiding this song’s outcome. Once we had all the other band members, we did two rounds of home recordings where each person recording their parts of the song and we combined them into a mix. This worked well to get us ready for the studio recordings, and we then recorded ‘The Shadow Ruse’ at Audiohaus Studios in Wembley.

Q: Starting a band in lockdown with fresh material is incredibly determined, and you must be eager to also get yourselves out there for live shows (as soon as conditions allow). What is on the cards in that respect for BRING TO BEAR, and what can we look forward to next?

BtB: Yeah, we are quite determined to see where the music takes us. Our very next step is to find a bassist so that we can get gigging as soon as possible. We will then look to play some local shows first and apply to various venues and festivals. We’ll have to see how that goes but we do hope to be able to play our music in many different places. We are releasing a 3 track EP in September which will include a cover song and 2 originals. And then we will look to release some follow up singles later this year once they are ready.

Q: Thank you for your time and the opportunity to chat to you. We wish you every success for your debut single ‘The Shadow Ruse’ and very much look forward to the upcoming EP.

BtB: Thanks very much! We really appreciate being able to chat to you, and we really hope people will love listening to our music as much as we love making it.

BRING TO BEAR ARE:
Izabela Smyt – Lead Vocals
Ian Tarboton – Accordion, Keyboards & Growls
Hristo Nikolov – Guitars
Nikiforos Rotas – Guitars
Simon Jones – Drums

CONNECT WITH THE BAND:

Bring to Bear - The Shadow Ruse Cover

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

Metalwings – A Whole New Land

A Whole New Land Album Cover Art

Metalwings – A Whole New Land
Self-Released
Release Date: 11/06/2021
Running Time: 69:39
Review by Simon Black
8/10

This is the sophomore release from Bulgarian Gothic/Symphonic five piece Metalwings. It is a double first for me as both the first encounter I have had with them, as well as being the first band I have reviewed from Bulgaria. The band is the brainchild of Vocalist, Electric Viola and Keyboard player Stela Atanasova, whose classical background and training stands out very loud and clear. Vocally her style is very much in that Classical and Operatic tradition, with the more extreme vocal notes coming from an uncredited member of the band. The downside is that vocally the extreme counterpoint is a little too far in the background and had it been a bit more on an equal footing, this would have felt more of a full on Metal album, rather than a very Classical album with a Metal vein running through it.

Ambitiously the band also utilises a full orchestra and conductor, rather than taking the Nightwish route of synthesising what they need, which really adds to the overall epic quality of the piece, but again this detracts from the heaviness, despite the fact that what’s going on with the traditional Metal instruments is fast, powerful and heavy as hell – it’s just taking a back seat to the orchestra and vocals. I’m not saying this is a bad thing – far from it, as for people like me that grew up on a classical diet before crossing into the dark side as a teenager, then this is musically absolutely ticking all of my boxes. But it took time to get to that viewpoint…

Brevity is not what this band are about. At nearly an hour and ten minutes of run time across the eleven tracks this is not a faint hearted ‘wham bam, thank you ma’am’ delivery in the slightest. The down side of the time taken though, is that this does lack immediacy and many listeners may struggle to continue focussing, which is why even the most complex Symphonic records work best with a couple of accessible hand-wavers to help engage the less-attentive or classically inclined.

The Symphonic and the Gothic work best when they take their time to build up layers of mood with sound and this bunch nail it perfectly. Equally they take time to unpick and appreciate, and a casual first pass listen is simply not going to do justice to the monumental technical and musical effort that has gone into the crafting of the album. I have to stress that, because when you are an independent & self-financing band, the costs of recording and producing “A Whole New Land” will not have been insignificant. I am curious to know how they will tour this, particularly outside of their home market, as taking more than five of them on the road will clearly be something of a challenge and some of the music will lose its sense of majesty if it’s delivered by the click of a switch live.

It’s long, it’s technically complex with superb musical depth, but needs a good three listens before you really start to appreciate the work that has gone into it. With a bit more balance of the accessible and immediate, then this would be top drawer stuff. That said, if the chance to fly to Bulgaria and watch them do the whole thing live with the full orchestra comes up, I will seize it with both hands.

‘Monster In The Mirror’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. A Whole New Land
02. Monster In The Mirror
03. Like A Willow Without Tears
04. I See Your Power
05. Silence
06. Still Believe In Us
07. Killer Of The Angel’s Love
08. Wonders Of Life
09. Passengers Between The Rails Of Life
10. Second Chance
11. Milo Moe Libe

LINE-UP:
Stela Atanasova – Operatic Vocals, Electric Viola, Keyboards
Grigor Kostadinov – Guitars
Vlad Enev – Bass
Angel Kitanov – Keyboards
Nikola “Blackie” Ivanov – Drums

LINKS:

Metalwings Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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 ADRIAN BENEGAS

Adrian Benegas Logo

EMQ’s with ADRIAN BENEGAS

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Asuncion, Paraguay based Symphonic/Power Metal solo artist, and also member of Tragul, Adrian Benegas. Huge thanks to Adrian, 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?

Hello, this is Adrian Benegas, a songwriter, producer and keyboardist. I’ve started this solo project with the release of my debut solo album called “THE REVENANT” back in November 2019.

How did you come up with your band name?

Easy, 😉 My parents did it for me, haha.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I’m from Paraguay, a small country in the heart of South America. Well, we’ve a nice “still growing” community of metal heads over here, there are a lot of bands producing music and trying to be heard.

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

Well, as I mentioned, I’ve released an album called “THE REVENANT” in November 2019. Lately, I’ve been releasing the 2 promotional singles taken from my new EP “DIAMONDS IN THE DARK” released  on May 21st, 2021. The first one called ‘ORPHAN OF LIFE’ and the second, ‘POISONED LOVE’.

‘Poisoned Love’ feat. Herbie Langhans and Sascha Paeth (Animated Short)

‘Orphan Of Life’ feat. Herbie Langhans and Sascha Paeth (Lyric Video)

Who have been your greatest influences?

Tough one because I listen to all kind of music since I was young. But into metal, and during my adolescence I remember listening to a lot to bands like Stratovarius (with Timo Tolkki), Rhapsody (original line-up), Nightwish (with Tarja), Sonata Arctica (original line-up), Ozzy Osbourne, Dionysus, Crimson Glory, and many more. As a composer, I always admired the music of Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, Howard Shore, Enya, among others and my favourite composer and pianist of classical music is Frédéric Chopin from the Romantic period.

What first got you into music?

The need to express myself. As an escapist, I was and am always lost in my own mind and imagination so I needed/need to put all these crazy/dreamy stuff somewhere, hehe. So, that’s why I got into music.

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

I am used to working with the musicians I like. So, more than musicians, I think I dream to work in great studios with great producers. Maybe one of my life dreams is to record and produce an album in Abbey Road with a big orchestra playing my songs. Anyway, if you ask me for a “current” singer I would say Jake E, he is phenomenal.

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

Maybe Wacken because in my opinion, it is the greatest metal festival out there. Anyway, someday I’d love to produce my own festival 😉.

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

Well, not weirdest but the most I liked was a beautiful abstract hand-made painting that is hung in my living room. Love abstract art!

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

More than a message, I’d say THANK YOU.

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

Hmmm…Tough one again haha, maybe Freddie Mercury.

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

The part that I most enjoy of being a musician is that the so called “work” is total fun, I mean, my “work” consists of expressing myself and helps me to manage stress or anxiety, etc. So, I think it’s the best work I could have. And the part that I don’t like too much is the social media madness, I mean, everything that is part of being a musician but has nothing to do with “music” itself, hehe.

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

I don’t know, I mean, it is what it is. I try to understand and manage it as much as I can. Music industry has a good and bad side, same as all things in life so I’m fine with it.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Just one?? Haha, very difficult! I mean, it’s kinda impossible. Sorry! 😊

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

I grew up listening to vinyls (when I was a kid), then I moved to cassettes and finally CD’s. Nowadays, I’m most into streaming services so If I get nostalgic, I would choose cassettes but at the end, life goes on and we have to adapt ourselves to the new generation’s formats.

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

The next one 😉

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

Maybe a writer, painter, movie maker or something where I can express ideas and tell stories.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Well, my closest friends.

What’s next for the band?

Promoting my new 5 track EP, released on May 21st, called “DIAMONDS IN THE DARK”, that I had the pleasure to produce in collaboration with Herbie Langhans (Firewind, Avantasia) and German producer Sascha Paeth during the pandemic lockdown in 2020.

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

You can visit my website: www.adrianbenegas.com, where you will find not only my solo project but also, my parallel symphonic metal project TRAGUL.

Also, my Instagram: www.instagram.com/adrianbenegasmusic and Facebook, www.facebook.com/adrianbenegasmusic

Find my videos on Youtube: www.youtube.com/adrianbenegasofficial and finally, listen to all music on Spotify and all streaming platforms.

Listen to the EP Here
www.sym.ffm.to/yvrx2q1

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Biscuit? haha

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?Thanks for having me! It was a pleasure to answer to all the questions! Rock On and stay heavy

Adrian Benegas Header

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 party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Nergard – Eternal White

Eternal White Album Cover Art

Nergard – Eternal White
Pride & Joy Music
Release Date: 21/05/2021
Running Time: 50:20
Review by Simon Black
7/10

Andreas Nergård has been running this Symphonic outfit for a while now and the fourth album “Eternal White” is definitely a deviation from the love child of Avantasia and Stratovarius approach of the past. Now we all know that bands need to change direction to thrive from time to time, but let’s face it, recording ensemble Metal Opera’s with a cast of thousands in a locked down Europe ain’t gonna be happening for a while, so while necessity may be the motherfucker of invention here, that doesn’t mean that some thought has not gone into pulling it off credibly.

This one has apparently been four years in the making and I am guessing lockdown caused something of a slight rethink. What this means is that they’ve kept the vocals more tightly limited to three core voices in Stefani Keogh, Andi Kravljaca and Mathias Indergård – who nonetheless make it sound way bigger by varying their styles significantly – most noticeably with Keogh who has a quite alarmingly spooky death growl to go with that classic clean Symphonic style.

This particular historical concept piece focusses on the disastrous Carolean Death March of 1790, which is the object lesson of the old adage of ‘an army marches on its stomach’ and illustrates why it’s never a good idea to invade Norway in the winter, as 3,000 soldiers can freeze to death in a remarkably short space of time.

The album doesn’t get off to a great start however – with the overly Symphonic opener ‘God Forgive My Haunted Mind’ taking far too long to get things going and sounding a bit obvious for seven minutes whilst doing it. So my strong recommendation is start with track two and go back afterwards, because the rest of the album is really well crafted and flows with ease through a variety of well-structured and delivered songs. Like most concepts, picking up the story takes repeated listens and this is no exception. It also gathers pace as it goes, which is why I recommend playing with the order on first listen, because you will appreciate the subtlety of the slow build far more once you’ve had a chance to pick out your high spots. By the time we get half way through the album tracks like ‘Beneath Northern Skies’ and the superb ‘Where No One Would Shed A Tear’ you will most likely be hooked, with the storytellers holding you in the palm of their hands in time to surprise you with one extra surprise vocal guest in the form of the fabulous Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, but hey it’s always nice when he shows up soaring at the top of the ceiling as is his want.

Musically it’s not breaking any new Symphonic ground, although it’s expertly delivered and crisply produced. What makes it work slightly above the many similar acts is the vocal tag team’s storytelling. It’s like listening to a great musical audiobook with a Metal tinge and makes a change from the majority of the genre, where the concept remains a complete mystery to all but those who crafted it and the most patient of fans.

‘Carry Me’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. God Forgive My Haunted Mind
02. Pride Of The North
03. From The Cradle To The Grave
04. Carry Me
05. Beneath Northern Skies
06. Where No One Would Shed A Tear
07. Downfall
08. Now Barely There
09. Eternal White
10. Erasing The Memories

LINE-UP:
Stefani Keogh – Vocals
Andi Kravljaca – Vocals, Lead Guitar
Mathias Indergård – Vocals
Ørrjan Halsan – Rhythm guitars
Andreas Nergård – Drums, Keys & Orchestrations

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Simon Black 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.