Video Interview with Christoffer Holm of VENGEANT

Vengeant Logo

Video Interview with Christoffer Holm of VENGEANT
By Sheri Bicheno

Hello all! Sheri here…

This time, I am sharing with you a lovely and deep chat I had with the equally nice Christoffer Holm of Swedish Symphonic Metal band Vengeant!

Vengeant are a brand-new International band, with their vocalist Danae Komodromou hailing from Greece! Currently, they are working on their forthcoming, debut, EP, with their first single ‘Angels Battle Cry’ released in February 2021. Their second single ‘The Unreal’ will follow on 23rd April. Both will be available on all major platforms!

I discover that there is a particular and interesting theme to the much anticipated, forthcoming album with Vengeant and one that will delight many fans of collectible and tradable card games.

Watch this space…

VENGEANT Video Interview by Sheri Bicheno

Vengeant are:
Danae Komodromou – Vocals
Christoffer Holm – Lead Guitar and Bass
Dennis Eriksson – Rhythm Guitar
Alfred Fridhagen – Drums

LINKS:

‘Angels Battle Cry’ (Visualiser)

Vengeant Promo Painting (Artwork by Sanjin Halimic)
Artwork by Sanjin Halimic

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Sheri Bicheno 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.

Avaland – Theater Of Sorcery

Theater Of Sorcery Album Cover Art

Avaland – Theater Of Sorcery
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 62:53
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

France is not necessarily the first country I think of when it comes to exciting European metal. But recently there seems to be a heck of a lot of good music coming out from bands based there. And Avaland is certainly no exception to this rule. The brainchild of Adrien G. Gzagg, Avaland is an Epic/Symphonic Heavy Metal Opera project, and their first album, “Theater Of Sorcery,” has just landed. Now, this genre, I know, can be pretty chalk and cheese. Some people love it, some just think it’s pretentious. Personally, I can’t get enough of it! It is lavish joyfulness, created by melding together musical artforms, in a way that would make the ancient apothecaries fawn! So, what does this latest offering from the guilty pleasure gods bring? Well let’s find out!

“Theatre Of Sorcery” is a tale of adventure; the story of a young sorcerer, Adam Wilstorm, on a quest to bring back the light to the kingdom of Avaland. But, to succeed, he must learn to harness the storm within his powers. It’s a huge production, and a pretty astonishing composition, as Adrien is only 22! And it features some well-healed guest stars, too; Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Zak Stevens (Savatage/TSO), Zaher Zorgati (Myrath), Emmanuelson (Rising Steel), Stéphan Forté (Adagio), and Madie (Nightmare) to name but a few.

The album begins with the title track, which sets the scene for this grand production. It’s theatrical and I can imagine it looking spectacular on a stage. Musically, it’s good solid Heavy Metal, with a twist of Power, and Symphonic. In places, it almost reminds me of Jeff Wayne’s “War Of The Worlds,” but with a heavier, metal twist.

Good solid Metal anthems pepper this album, but they’re embellished with classical orchestration, choral harmonies, and traditional folk instruments, that sit in the mix, making for a very exuberant and indulgent feast of musical joy. But alongside that are crunching riffs and rhythms that you just have to bang your head to. And what Epic theatrical metal opera masterpiece would be complete without some face-melting guitar solos? Well, certainly not this one, as they’re also there by the bucket load, courtesy of some big-name guitarists.

I think my favourite track on the album is ‘Deja-Vu’. It starts with a solitary melancholy piano, but quickly launches into a powerful rhythmic track, with melodic verses, and peaks and troughs that make it punchy and exciting. It also has one of those delicious guitar solos that I alluded to earlier. I’m going to skirt over the fact that this track fades out at the end. As you’ll know, this is one of my pet hates, so there was a touch of inner turmoil for me with this, because I really like it!! I will also add that it’s not the only song to succumb to the dreaded fade out.

Production wise, no corners have been cut either. Placing of instruments, panning, and effects are all used to their full potential, to explore the depth and expansiveness of recorded music, making this a much more mature album than you’d expect from a debut penned by someone of such a tender young age. (I am almost green with envy right now! At 22 I could barely write a second-rate pop song, let alone an entire metal opera!) There’s nothing new or groundbreaking about this album, but if the likes of Avantasia do it for you, then you’ll love this album.

‘Theater Of Sorcery’ (Official Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Theater Of Sorcery (feat. Emmanuelson)
02. Gypsum Flower (feat. Scheepers/Emmanuelson/Zorgati)
03. Let the Wind Blow (feat. Zorgati/Heli/Kanji)
04. Storyteller (feat. Zak Stevens)
05. Escape To Paradise (feat. Zorgati/Kanji)
06. Holy Kingdom Of Fools (feat. Jeff Kanji)
07. Never Let Me Walk Alone (feat. Madie)
08. Deja-Vu (feat. Emmanuelson)
09. I’ll Be Ready For Your Love (feat. Heli Andrea)
10. War Of Minds (feat. Zorgati/Madie)
11. Rise From The Ashes (feat. Zorgati/ Madie/ Stevens/ Heli/ Kanji/ Emmanuelson/ Scheepers)

LINE-UP:
Adrien G. Gzagg – Composer, Writer, Lead Singer, Keyboards and Orchestrations
Christophe Feutrier – Guitars
Lucas Martinez – Guitars
Camille Souffron – Bass, Double-Bass
Léo Mouchonay – Drums

Guests / Characters:
Adrien G. Gzagg – Adam Wilstorm
Zaher Zorgati (Myrath) – Adam’s Inner Voice
Jeff Kanji – Jacob Reiser, Adam’s Best Friend
Heli Andrea (Mobius/Olane) – Solveig Elweiss, Adam’s Beloved
Emmanuelson (Rising Steel/Ellipsis) – The Master Of Sorcery
Zak Stevens (Ex-Savatage/TSO/Archon Angel) – The Storyteller, appearing form the past
Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear/ex-Gamma Ray) – Aloïsius Jestens, King Of Avaland
Madie (Nightmare/Faith In Agony) – The Guardian Angel

Guests Guitars:
Ricky Marx (Ex-Pretty Maids/Now Or Never) on ‘Theater Of Sorcery’
Stéphan Forté (Adagio) on ‘Gypsum Flower’
Ayman Mokdad (Venus Syndrome/Alien Encounters) on ‘Never Let Me Walk Alone’
Virgile (ex-Rising Steel/Schräpnel) on ‘Deja-Vu’

LINKS:

Avaland Promo Pic

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

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3/6/2/4

3/6/2/4 Album Cover Art

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3/6/2/4
Black Lion Records
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Running Time: 40:12
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Good afternoon, my battle brothers and my sisters in slaughter. It is I, Dark Juan, Generalissimo and High Priest of all things metal. It is unaccountably sunny and clement in my mountain fastness of Dark Juan Terrace and as the shining horrible hot thing in the sky shines its baleful eye directly upon my pale and interesting countenance, my spirits lift from the morbid gloom of this most trying of winters and look forward into the joys of spring and possibly going out and meeting some people again instead of furtively scurrying through back doors and hoping the nosey old bitch at no. 42 didn’t spot you. That last sentence was not autobiographical. Oh no. Dark Juan would never countenance breaking any laws or orders. That would be a Very Bad Thing indeed. Never have I EVER even so much as fractured a law. Apart from the time my friend Gary Newgrosh was up a lamp post trying to steal a road sign and two gentlemen in suits with warrant cards asked whether I knew the lad with the road sign under his jacket and my drunken teenage response was “Piss off, I don’t talk to strange men.” And my speeding ticket last month. And all the stuff I have done in churches that I shouldn’t have. Some of them even consented…

None of which has anything to do with the fact that I am listening to Suffolk based gothic/symphonic/progressive blackened metallers Ghosts Of Atlantis’ debut offering, enigmatically entitled “3.6.2.4”. My immediate gut reaction about this record is that Cradle Of Filth have much to answer for as this style of quasi-black metal with added megagoth is now being touted as the Witch County sound (because Suffolk has had more than its fair share of witches and wise women, you see. The lucky bastards. Up North we just hung ours on Pendle Hill or in Alderley Edge.) I’m well aware that the sound of Cradle Of Filth and their ilk (Devilment, The Blood Divine and the like) are something of an acquired taste (I acquired mine in 1994 with ‘The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh’) and therefore a lot of metalheads will discount this as a load of gothic bollocks, which will be to their detriment as there is a lot more to Ghosts Of Atlantis than ever more high-pitched demented screaming and gothic nightmare. GOA happily welds in progressive riffs and time signatures and there is more than an element of power and symphonic metal with the clean vocals and the lyrical content and this lifts them easily above comparisons with the Filth and young Daniel Davey.

Ghosts of Atlantis are men on a mission to make sure that we remain acquainted with Ancient Greece and the lost city of Atlantis (or if you’re Welsh, Cantre’r Gwaelod, apparently just off the coast of Borth and Ynyslas, fact fans!) and base their songs around these concepts. Vocals run the whole gamut from absolute gut churning guttural roar to Filth-esque hellshriek to ZP Theart’s clean howl and some gorgeous harmonies. The high concept and that desire to switch from death screams and violence to progressive storytellers is most evident on ‘Gardens Of Athena’ which is an absolute tour de force as to why most experts about music consider metal a very difficult and complex style of music to play, almost classical in nature, as it moves from absolute murderous power and speed to soft acoustic and keyboard led passages, to Meshuggah style fractured time signatures, to power metal storytelling and back again. The fucking musicians on this record basically are living reminders to the fact I quit playing music because I frankly am not good enough. These people are mutants. Drummers should not be able to play such speedy and complicated rhythms and then change the fuckers mid song. It’s not fair. The guitarists should not have any fingertips left and the lead vocalist clearly has given up any thought of using his larynx in later life because he’s busily turning it to chunky salsa on this record. Commitment is not quite the word when it comes to Mr. Primmer’s vocal style. More, “I hate this piece of comically shaped gristle in my throat region and I am going to reduce it to its component atoms by means of abusing it so hard there should be a court case pending.” I dread to think how he whispers sweet nothings to his significant other. Probably from the next town over.

This record seriously has everything a metal fan (and not a few goffs) could desire. There’s utter powerviolence and speed, complexity in songwriting and riffage (the work of Colin Parks and Dex Jezierski on the guitars is superb – often choppy and sharp, frequently rapid and machine gun like but also classical, fluid and drop dead gorgeous, normally several times in the same song), the keyboard work is swoopingly gothic and sinuous (not unlike Cradle Of Filth in the more goff passages, but also gorgeously Eastern sounding in parts) and the drummer (Rob Garner) clearly has been issued with extra limbs by whoever is in charge of Quartermaster stores for that sort of thing. There’s no other explanation for what the hell he achieves behind his kit. Al Todd on the bass is also excellent but he is sometimes swamped by the sheer grandiosity of the music. The production is also pretty spot on too, although I find the guitar sound a little too highly engineered for my taste and I’d like to hear more bass, but it is a clear and legible sound that Ghosts Of Atlantis enjoy and the tiny niggles I have with the sound do not detract from my considerable enjoyment of what can only be described as a magnum opus, which is staggering in scope and jaw dropping in execution. Where I was blown away by The Machinist for their record’s sheer power and sonic violence, I am blown away by this record because it is a record that is greater than its influences might suggest it would be. Mixing Meshuggah, Cradle Of Filth, Hecate Enthroned, Dragonforce and Luca Turilli could have ended up a huge and disjointed mess, instead we have something that should become classic. The elements employed slot together seamlessly and every song drips uniqueness and splendour.

In conclusion, it’s fucking brilliant. Ghosts Of Atlantis are going to be huge if they carry on like this. My only concern is that the musical influences are that diverse, that the more gothic might avoid them because they are too metal and the metal kids might avoid them because they are too goth, or too progressive. Alternatively, I could just be spouting a load of ultrashite and Ghosts Of Atlantis will follow in the path of their Suffolk witchy, gothic cousins Cradle Of Filth and achieve global domination in short order.

I hope they do. For a debut album, this is absolutely fucking incredible.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Ghosts Of Atlantis a stonking 10/10 for an almost perfect record that has everything. Well done, gentlemen. Well done indeed.

*Polite applause*

‘Halls Of Lemuria’ (Official Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Third Pillar
02. Halls Of Lemuria
03. False Prophet
04. The Curse Of Man
05. When Tridents Fail
06. Poseidon’s Bow
07. Gardens Of Athena
08. The Lost Compass

LINE-UP:
Colin Parks – Guitars, Backing Vocals (Clean)
Phil Primmer – Vocals
Dex Jezierski – Guitars
Al Todd – Bass
Rob Garner – Drums

LINKS:

Ghosts Of Atlantis Promo Pic

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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.

Corporain – Purge // Purity

Purge//Purity Album Cover Art

Corporain – Purge // Purity
Volcano Records
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 52:44
Review by Simon Black
8/10

It’s my own fault, as I keep saying ‘yes’ to them, but most of the music emanating from Italy that lands in my direction to review tends to be of the Symphonic / Power / Progressive bent, is more often than not some great conceptual piece with strong operatic overtones and either directly a part of or at least influenced by the Rhapsody family of acts. So when something like this arrives that doesn’t fit that mould in the slightest, then it makes an incredibly refreshing change. Which is odd, because Progressive and Symphonic are definitely a part of Corporain’s DNA, but they don’t sound like anything else I’ve heard recently from Italy’s fine Metal stables recently.

And bloody good with it they are too…

Unlike much from those more overtly operatic corners of the country, this is highly accessible craftsmanship and a far more modern sounding record than I expected from this Tuscany-based four piece. That said, the classical motes are in there, particularly in the quite frankly outstanding keyboard work from Edoardo Giacomelli, who most of the time sticks to a classical piano sound lending the whole album a distinctive and consistently mature sound. I can’t praise his musical contribution enough and he’s the beating soulful heart of this record. The three instrumentalists all share the vocal duties, running the gamut of styles from Heavy and Hard, to Rock ’n’ Roll, to clean Power, to Nu-Metal, to heart-achingly soulful and so many shades in between. I know this contradicts what I said about a distinctive and consistent sound, but despite the range of vocal sounds they somehow achieve this.

They do exactly the same thing with the songs, which bounce round a whole range of styles whilst still sounding like it’s the same band at heart. It’s incredibly disconcerting, but works a treat and the inherent contradiction that the more progressive elements throw at the ear, such as seamlessly flicking between a burst of brutal heaviness and some beautiful melodic sections without jarring in the same track is quite exceptional. These songs betray a musical skill and song-writing excellence way beyond their years, not to mention no small amount of restraint and focus, meaning the songs are not sacrificed on the altar of overt technical wizardry, but instead just accentuates that structure. It also has incredible depth, with each listen like peeling an onion layer by layer to reveal something I missed the previous time round. This is a highly impressive debut of the calibre that doesn’t come round often, with a well-rafted record that’s like the gift that keeps on giving. This is clearly an act to watch.

‘Rage’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Millenium
02. Inception
03. The Purge
04. Apocalypse
05. Hollow
06. Pitch Black
07. Never Forget
08. Rage
09. Whispering The Wind

LINE-UP:
Edoardo Giacomelli – Keyboards & Vocals
Andrea Singulti – Guitar & Vocals
Iacopo Campinoti – Bass & Vocals
Marco Visconti – Drums

LINKS:

Corporain 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.

Hevilan – Symphony Of Good And Evil

Symphony Of Good And Evil Album Cover Art

Hevilan – Symphony Of Good And Evil
Brutal Records
Release Date: 19/03/2021
Running Time: 55:16
Review by Beth Jones
8/10

Good afternoon again my merry bunch of fellow music lovers! Tis I, Beth, come to give you more of my opinions! I’m in a jolly good mood today; the sun is shining, I’ve painted a door frame, and it is that finest of days in the sporting calendar – the day the mighty Welsh dragons take on the English in Rugby Union’s 6 Nations. That’s why I’ve decided to sit down and write now, as the likelihood of me still being able to write later is slim to none (I’ll either be happy drunk or angry drunk, depending on the score at the final whistle!)[***LATER EDIT*** It was indeed the happiest of days for me, and everyone else in Wales – Da Iawn Bois!!] Anyway, enough of this witty banter and repartee, it’s time to tell you about some music, this time in the form of Brazilian Heavy Symphonic Metallers, Hevilan, and their new album “Symphony Of Good And Evil”.

Hailing from São Paulo, and formed in 2005, this will only be the band’s second full-length release, the previous being “The End of Time”, way back in 2013. Now, I do love a good bit of crossover when it comes to genre, and Hevilan certainly do that. They are no doubt symphonic, but there’s more than a smattering of Prog and Thrash in this album too, along with very deep roots in Power and Classic Heavy Metal. Alex Pasqualle’s vocal style definitely draws influence from Bruce Dickinson and the like, and a lot of the riffs and solos are pure, bang your head, Heavy Metal.

The Album kicks off with ‘Dark Paradise’, a crunching track full of Thrash rhythms and heavy chunky riffs. It’s a fast and furious start that sets the tone and pace for things to come. There are a fair few cross-rhythms in the middle of this track, too, which adds an extra depth of complexity, and displays some incredibly talented musicianship. This track rolls seamlessly into ‘Rebellion Of The Saints’, which follows the same vein, but adds in some choral harmonies, and harsher vocals, giving the whole thing a broader feel.

After a rip-roaring 20 minutes spanning the first four tracks, the intensity comes down a little for ‘Always in My Dreams’. It’s a pure Heavy Metal power ballad, and we get to hear Alex’s vocals in full clarity, as well as a delicious guitar solo from Johnny Moraes. Lush, as they say here in the Wales! BUT, and this is one of my only qualms with the album, this track finishes with the dreaded fade out!!! Argh!

Following that little interlude, the pace picks back up again, with a mixture of Symphonic, Thrash, and Classic metal, in the two parts of ‘Devil Within’. But then it’s time for another curveball with ‘Waiting for the Right Time’, which throws in a stripped back section almost akin to David Bowie.

And then we reach the business end of the album, which really is the pièce de resistance in the shape of the four-movement ‘Symphony Of Good And Evil’. Starting with a piece using purely classical instrumentation and choir, this dark and expansive work is much more progressive, experimental, and exploratory than the previous tracks, and centers around specific musical motifs. It’s a very clever full work, within a work, and the rousing strings and choral orchestration boost everything to the next level.

All in all, this is a very pleasing album. My stand-out track would have to be ‘Great Battle’. It’s a real thumper! And, musically, there’s nothing on this album that isn’t done with technical brilliance and skill. Aside from the qualm of the fade out (which incidentally happens in the 3rd part of ‘Symphony Of Good And Evil, too), my only other slight irritant is that, on a few occasions, the mid-tones are a little overbearing in the mix. But that’s a small thing that is easy to overlook when the standard set by Hevilan on this album is so high.

A cracking listen! Would highly recommend if you like any of the aforementioned genres!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Dark Paradise
02. Rebellion Of The Saints
03. Great Battle
04. Here I Am
05. Always In My Dreams
06. Devil Within Part I: Evil Approaches
07. Devil Within Part II: Hammer Of Gods
08. Waiting For The Right Time
09. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part I: Revelation
10. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part II: Dark Ages
11. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part III: Song Of Rebellion
12. Symphony Of Good And Evil Part IV: Epilogue

LINE-UP:
Johnny Moraes – Guitar
Alex Pasqualle – Vocals
Biek Yohaitus – Bass
Rafael Dyszy – Drums

LINKS:

Hevilan Promo Pic

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

Ruins Of Elysium – Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary In The Sea

Amphitrite, Ancient Sanctuary In The Sea Album Cover Art

Ruins Of Elysium – Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary In The Sea
Self-Released
Release Date: 15/01/2021
Running Time: 73:24
Review by Beth Jones
5.5/10

I love a bit of Power, Symphonic, and Operatic Metal. Its grandeur has an appeal to me. So, I was pretty pleased to get “Amphitrite: Ancient Sanctuary In The Sea”, the new album from Ruins Of Elysium.

Fronted by Tenor, Drake Chrisdensen, Ruins Of Elysium have set out to create a new breed of operatic metal “relying only on the male operatic voice” according to their press release. And that should be right up my street. I’m going to cut to the chase straight away and say that this album is just not quite floating my boat, but that has nothing to do with the actual sound, or indeed Drake’s voice, which is superb.

The album is billed as “A round-the-world trip in 12 songs, since it borrows a lot from Folk Metal, and folk songs, but not only the Celtic folk style already known in Metal. From the Scandinavian Nyckelharpa to the unique sound of Middle Eastern music, to Japanese traditional instruments, to Brazilian and African rhythms, that gave inspiration to samba and capoeira.” And while this is strong and visible in some places, ‘Okami – Mother Of The Sun’ for example, I don’t think I’m getting it as intensely as Ruins Of Elysium had intended. Musically, the album is mostly made up of classic symphonic vehicles – harmonic 5ths and floating melodies which are very pretty, lots of low strings creating a full bass sound, and lots of choral vocal harmony, that enhance the melody, and are well constructed. However, the melodies in which these traveling folk sounds have been positioned make them less of a theme, more of an idea to try and connect the bulk of the song to a specific place.

I’m really struggling with how this whole thing has been put together, too. Firstly, there are places that the drums simply don’t fit with what’s going on in the rest of the orchestration. And I don’t think this has anything to do with the actual drummer, who is very skilled. I think this is a production problem.

There’s also just far too much going on a lot of the time. So many ideas and changes are crammed into each song, that it lapses into the realms of bitty and discordant quite regularly, and this makes it difficult to listen to.

The album features a number of guest female vocalists. This first appears in the opening track, ‘Alexiel – An Epic Lovestory’. Personally, I think they’re a little harsh and didn’t really enhance the track. Drake has a magnificent voice, and just letting that do the talking would have been, for me, a preferable option.

I actually feel really bad about how harsh this review sounds, because these guys are obviously super talented, and trying to do something new and different with this album, which should be applauded. But I really think they need to move forward with the vision of ‘less is more’ – we don’t always need the kitchen sink thrown in too, to make the sound different and fresh.

One thing I will say though is that ‘The Ocean Is Yemanja’s’ is a superb track. While it still has many changes, they make more sense and don’t interrupt the flow, which makes it a much more complete listen. And from this point, things do become more harmoniously constructed. Sadly, this is quite close to the end of the album.

Sorry guys. You can’t like everything I suppose, and I would suggest that everyone gives this album a listen so they can make their own mind up about it, because what do I know, this is just my opinion!

‘Atlas’ (Lyric Video)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Alexiel – An Epic Lovestory (Ft. Melissa Ferlaak)
02. Queen Of The Seven Seas
03. Belladonna
04. Leviathan
05. Oceanic Operetta
06. Atlas
07. Book Of Seals
08. Amphitrite
09. Okami – Mother Of The Sun (Ft. Föxx Salema)
10. The Ocean Is Yemanja’s (Ft. Rayssa Monroy & Zaiiah)
11. Cathedral Of Cascades
12. Canzone Del Mare (Canção do Mar)

LINE-UP:
Drake Chrisdensen – Tenor
Vincenzo Avallone – Guitars and Bass
Icaro Ravelo – Drums and Synths

LINKS:

Ruins Of Elysium Promo


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.

Victoria K – Live Isolation Concert

Live Isolation Concert DVD Cover Art

Victoria K – Live Isolation Concert
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Running Time: 36:00
Review by Simon Black
7/10

This pandemic has been a nightmare for bands who had big debuts planned for 2021. So, you build an underground following, you become a ‘thing’ in your local Melbourne area (in the state of Victoria, natch), you get your long-awaited debut out…and then the world goes to hell in a hand basket. I feel for these guys, as the uphill journey got three times harder, so I am really appreciative of the fact that with the odds stacked against them and a debut record that hasn’t had the benefit of any touring and juicy support slots to get them pushed the band have forged ahead and done a lockdown gig, which is now available on DVD and CD. Frustratingly, all we have been given from the visual side is a short montage of clips from the DVD, so my comments are really based on the music release.

Musically, Victoria K are Symphonic Metal in the Within Temptation snorting Evanescence mould, but mix things up with the addition of some good old extreme grunts from guest vocalist Sheri Vengeance, and the songs, where both of them are given full reign to play off of each other, work really well. I reviewed the “Essentia” album last year and felt that it was a bit let down by production woes and some very average guitar work and given that the material played here is exactly the same (albeit in a different sequence), I was curious to see how this would come off live. The answer is ‘much better’. Actually changing the sequence helps, as another challenge I had with “Essentia” is that the musical tone was fairly samey on record, which is avoided here by a better running order, the presence of the extra pair of lungs and the interplay between the two front women.

And all this despite the fact that the sound mix is very rough and ready, as the two vocalists really have the opportunity to shine. Fortunately, there’s enough live clips to make it clear that the production quality doesn’t matter so much, because they clearly had a blinder playing this, the atmosphere generated is electric and although the guitars are (like the studio record) a bit too far back in the mix the net effect works well because the vocalists utterly hold your attention. The band aren’t big enough to really afford a major production for this performance, but they somehow make this work.

‘Freaks’ (Taken From ‘Live Isolation Concert’)

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Haunting
02. Mist Filled Sky
03. Forsaken
04. Humanity
05. Surreal
06. Freaks
07. Shroud of Solitude
08. Lacuna
09. Freedom Uncharted
10. Matrix

LINE-UP:
Victoria K – Vocals
Sheri Vengeance – Extreme Vocals (Black Like Vengeance, ex. Ne Obliviscaris)
Julia Mammone – Guitar (Enlight)
Martin Kawaler – Bass (Black Like Vengeance, ex Ten Thousand)
James Davies – Drums

LINKS:

Victoria K 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.

Winterage – The Inheritance Of Beauty

The Inheritance Of Beauty Album Cover Art

Winterage – The Inheritance Of Beauty
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 15/01/2021
Running Time: 61:00
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Symphonic Metal is a challenging and complex beast. The simplest definition of it is ‘Metal meets Classical’, but as always this is just the tip of the iceberg in the sea of definition – a troubling sea to sail at the best of times. Is a five- or six-piece band, creating a semi-classical sound on their own, the purist definition of the sub-genre (as say Nightwish are)? What if someone who is more firmly categorised as Metal or Hard Rock decides to play with an orchestra like Paradise Lost, Metallica, Kiss, Deep Purple and countless others have done over the years? Personally, I exclude the latter, as in these instances these are artists playing their regular material in a different arrangement as a one-off activity, usually for the purposes of a specific live gig or tour. The former at least is music written for this format, and so has happily been my guiding principle of definition over the years. The danger of course with defining anything is that sooner or later some cheeky swine comes along and breaks all the rules by throwing all the boundaries into one melting pot, as Winterage have done here.

The core of this Italian band is a five-piece bunch of musicians, although unusually a full-time violin player is part of this core team, along with all the other folk tropes. This particular recording however has also gone crazy ape bonkers with a twenty strong choir and twenty-six-piece orchestra as well – not to mention a Uillean Pipe player and all-round whistle blower (blame Nightwish, they started this one-upmanship when they hired Troy Donockley). Not bad going when you are only on your second album, although given that it’s taken them six years between albums something spectacular was definitely due. Spectacular feels like too small a word…

Like many Italian contributors to the genre, some of the well-trodden path of the likes of Rhapsody et al is visible, but I would argue this is more about the operatic tradition of the country than the influence of these other bands specifically. Either way, this is musically quite as epic, astounding and musically effective a record as you could hope to lay your hands on – which given where Nightwish have taken things with their most recent release is no small feat. Where this works so well is the way the folk instrumental sentiments are joined at the hip with the Classical (almost at the expense of the Metal instrumentation, which feels like a part of the orchestra, rather than one being an add-on to the other. This is also a case of folk instruments playing classical forms and some of the frenetic violin work on tracks like ‘Chain of Heaven’ is little short of outstanding. This of a violinist who can shred like John Pettruci and you will just begin to imagine what Gabriele Boschi has achieved here. He’s been a busy chap, as he also wrote all the orchestrations for the album to boot.

Vocally this is quite frankly dizzying. The challenge with having so many vocal contributors involved is it’s sometime hard to tell where vocalist Daniele Barbarossa ends and the rest of the choir begins, although with every vocal style from soprano to Metal Growl represented, the net effect is like the Metal Opera delivery of the original Avantasia album – only with bursts of operatic Italian. It’s going to be a bitch to play live too. Nothing sums up the achievement of this album more than the epic finale ‘The Amazing Toymaker’, which takes every musical extreme this album has thrown to date back at you in a whopping seventeen-minute epic of staggering proportions, which lyrically may be the maddest thing I have ever heard, and does sound like someone has also been listening to Avatar’s “Black Waltz” album recently as well…

The challenge this album has is that whilst musically and vocally dizzying, it sometimes lacks the immediacy of the more commercially orientated acts. Avantasia may not be for everyone, but Tobias Sammet knows how to leverage the fan base of his array of contributors and achieve the ‘everyman’ broad appeal, no matter how avant garde he gets, whereas as a relative newcomer and no likelihood of being able to bring the full musical ensemble on tour Winterage, have a much bigger uphill struggle on their hands. Everyman is an important word and to appeal to a wider audience you need a song to reach into more commercial territory and this album does not have one. Completely bonkers, but an incredible piece of work, nonetheless.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Ouverture
02. The Inheritance Of Beauty
03. The Wisdom Of Us
04. Of Heroes And Wonders
05. The Mutineers
06. Orpheus And Eurydice
07. Chain Of Heaven
08. La Morte di Venere
09. Oblivion Day
10. The Amazing Toymaker

LINE-UP:
Daniele Barbarossa – Vocals
Gabriele Boschi – Violin
Gianmarco Bambini – Guitars
Matteo Serlenga – Bass
Luca Ghiglione – Drums

LINKS:

Winterage 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.

Lining Redox – The Moral Scenery

The Moral Scenery Cover Art

Lining Redox – The Moral Scenery
Self-Released
Release Date: 10/12/2020
Running Time: 51:00
Review by Simon Black
8/10

Italy has been quite unique in the Metal world in recent years. The biggest contributions to the scene have definitely come from the Symphonic and uniquely Operatic work of the extended Rhapsody family of bands (which is what I refer to the four or five key acts who have at one time or another shared one or more principle members), so it’s nice to hear a new band that although clearly influenced by that movement, is not actually part of the extended family of musicians at its centre.

‘Death’s Cold Lifeless Sound’ at nine minutes and thirteen seconds takes a long time to get going, and as the opening track of the album is not as immediately engaging as it should have been. It rambles somewhat, and needs a little more structure but oh my, when Rayan Resuli and Mattia Rodella open up with that guitar instrumental section at the end that wait all seems worthwhile. It’s a brave and epic song, of the sort most acts in the genre would hold back to the end of the record, but Lining Redox are laying their stall and their influences out clearly for all to hear

‘Faithless’ and ‘Thunderquake’ are a lot shorter and to the point and benefit from a more traditional song structure and format, whilst being no less technically proficient, with keyboardist Gianluca Minto given chance to shine in particular in the latter of these two tracks. Whereas the likes of Dream Theater, who are clearly a massive influence on this album (even to the point of some melody lines sounding particularly like they could have come from the fingers of Petrucci and Rudess) tend to show off the musical skills of their instrumentalists fairly evenly within a song, Lining Redox tend to favour one player in each individual track in turn. I’m going to keep coming back to the comparisons between these two acts, not just because of the musical tropes they share but for the same reason that “Images And Words”first caught my attention in 1992 – because this album has the same ‘wow’ factor as that benchmark Progressive Metal record.

The bulk of the album’s running time is actually taken by the epic three-part ‘Transcending’, coming in with the combined running time of a whopping twenty-four minutes and six seconds, it really cannot be ignored. Now, as time goes by the only problem with opting to do prestigious multi track epics that spread in three or more parts is what to do if one of them unexpectedly becomes the hit and becomes forever an orphan in your live set. That would be a nice problem for any band to have of course. However, it also means with all that material to play with that the instrumentalists start to share the workload evenly between them, although avoiding the synchronised soloing that is one of the trademarks of the likes of Dream Theater. Where this massive mid-album epic works so well are the complete changes of tone away from the traditional Metal tropes into the kind of paces and tempos that would not sound amiss on a Pink Floyd album, with some nice instrumental breaks on piano and sax to really mix up the sound. The album’s title more or less brings things to a conclusion and is a much heavier and tightly arranged piece. Musically this is top drawer stuff, and with a few more tracks of this more focussed songwriting consistency, these boys are going to be a force to be reckoned with…

Where I have a slight challenge are the vocal performances, which sometimes lack flow. Matteo Mancini has a good tone and timbre to his range, with a lovely clear and emotive sound, however some of the tracks don’t seem to have been written with his range in mind (most notably that troublesome opener – which is another reason why it’s an odd choice to introduce people to the record). The press release alludes to an unstable line up leading to this debut, so perhaps this is an older piece written around someone else’s voice, but either way experience in both writing and performing this material will likely iron out this wrinkle whatever its root cause is. One final DT comparison: although the Images album was their major label debut, it was not their first record and I get the feeling that whatever these chaps bring to the table next is likely to be the point of coalescence. Nevertheless, this is a damn fine piece of music from a band to watch.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Reminiscent
02. Death’s Cold Lifeless Sound
03. Faithless
04. Thunderquake
05. Transcending Pt.1: Deceiver
06. Transcending Pt.2: Stillness
07. Transcending Pt.3: Defiler
08. The Moral Scenery
09. Clarity

LINE-UP:
Matteo Mancini – Vocals
Rayan Resuli – Guitars
Mattia Rodella – Guitars
Gianluca Minto – Keyboards and Scream/Growl Vocals
Nicola Prendin – Drums
Nicola Baesso – Bass Guitar

LINKS:

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

Interview with Madeleine Liljestam of ELEINE

Interview with Madeleine Liljestam of ELEINE
By Dark Juan

Hello, dear friends. It is I, Dark Juan. I trust I find you well and all preparing yourself for the festival of the birth of the False God’s equally false son? Anyway, I have been a good little soldier and behaved myself in my past few reviews, so our Lord and Master, mighty smiter, metal king and surprisingly tolerant editor (when faced with my rantings he is never less than gracious and understanding, notwithstanding just how many times I use the word fuck. Which is a lot) Sir Richard Tilley has taken off my leash and allowed me to emerge, blinking and shellshocked from his basement into the drab and reedy light of a gloomy British winter day. After several fortifying cups of Yorkshire’s finest brew, I immediately have cast about for devilry to commit, preferably indoors because this Hellpriest doesn’t like the cold, and I have been permitted to (in flagrant disregard of the panic and fear I caused myself the last time I spoke to somebody famous and popular – I am famously misanthropic and awkward around people. Clearly Rick and I have learned NOTHING from the previous experience) interview Swedish symphonic metal stalwarts Eleine, who have recently released an absolute STONKER of an album in “Dancing In Hell”. Add the fact it appears that I am suffering from puppy paralysis as the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover (no, there WON’T be more of that later) has settled happily next to me and is snoring gently and emitting the kind of smells that should be banned under the Geneva Convention and you will understand that this has made me utterly unable to move and has led to a period of lightheaded, bonehead confidence due to oxygen starvation (but pleasingly NOT paradoxical undressing)  which has led in turn to this collection of questions, of which the fabulous Madeleine Liljestam from the Scandinavian symphonic superstars is now obliged to answer.

Shall we dive in? After you…

Dark Juan: Greetings and salutations. I am Dark Juan, incumbent enfant terrible of Ever-Metal.com. Please do tell whom I have the pleasure of addressing today?

Madeleine: You are talking to Madeleine, the vocalist and one of the founders of ELEINE.

DJ: Thank you for consenting to be part of the nonsense I write and congratulations on a spectacular and wide-ranging record. Could you please tell me about the process of writing and recording the album? Who writes the lyrics and does the music come fully formed from the mind of one person or is it all a group effort? Also, even though it is a bit clichéd and overdone, who are your influences and musical heroes?

M: Thank you, and thank you for reaching out, it’s a pleasure. I’m glad to hear you enjoy our new album. I am very proud of its early success. You can never really know what to expect when releasing something new. But what you can do is create what feels true to you, and that’s the important part We write what we know, what we see and what we feel. There’s a huge piece of ourselves in this album, so it really warms our hearts hearing how appreciated it is.

Rikard and I write all the music/lyrics and we’re influenced by many various things. Games, movies, life. We get this question a lot and never seem to be able to give something short like naming a band or two. There are many bands that inspire us. I feel that good music is good music….and we listen to good music.

DJ: When I listen to Eleine’s music, although it is in keeping with the gothic/symphonic metal genre, I find it much more exciting because it appears to have a much harder edge (Rikard’s guitar work and vocals especially) than Nightwish, Within Temptation, After Forever and the like. Is this a conscious decision of the band or are there members who harbour a (possibly not so) secret love of extreme music?

M: Who said that symphonic metal can’t be heavy or even extreme sometimes? As I mentioned before, we only write and create what feels true to us. We’re going with the vibe we have during the time of writing, you know? I’m glad you like it, thank you very much. Yes, there is a heavier sound on “Dancing In Hell”, and it’s really not a surprise since we like heavier music. I mean, it’s certainly no secret that I myself enjoy listening to black and death metal. I would also like to add that although many seem to believe so, we don’t listen to other bands in our genre and try to write like them. That would be redundant and pointless since they have their sound and we have our own sound.

DJ: It appears to be becoming more and more difficult for bands to draw attention to themselves, especially during this current COVID unpleasantness, and to make a living from their music. What does Eleine do differently, in your opinion, which makes you stand out from the crowd?

M: I don’t think we’re the ones to answer that question, the fans and you should, right? We continue to work the way we’ve always done and I take it as a compliment that you actually ask that!

DJ: As I write this, I am watching Eleine videos, which are richly filmed and produced in a very lush fashion. How important is the visual aesthetic to Eleine, and who comes up with the concepts for videos, and does this transcribe easily to your live shows?

M: Very nice, thank you! We produce, direct, film and edit all of our music videos on our own. Rikard does most of the camera work and when he needs to be in frame it’s often I who film him. In editing it’s all Rikard with cutting things together and creating that extra depth with his mad editing skills. I of course also help out when he gets stuck and needs a second pair of eyes. The visual aspects are very important for ELEINE. I, myself, visualize so much in both stills and moving pictures when creating music. This extends into live performance and also music videos. Everything you see with ELEINE, is an extension of ELEINE and what we do. Choosing to have the sunset behind us in ‘Ava Of Death’ wasn’t a coincidence. Choosing to have the fire and some subtle facial expressions in ”Dancing In Hell” wasn’t either. there’s so much thought behind it all and I’m glad you like them.

DJ: Madeleine, obviously, you are a woman fronting a heavy metal band and the visual focal point of Eleine. You may not be aware that there has been something of a scandal involving a British produced heavy metal magazine recently displaying outrageous levels of misogyny regarding female musicians and using language and terms which a lot of others, myself and the ENTIRE staff of Ever-Metal.com included, found totally unacceptable. What are your experiences of reading or hearing about yourself in the wider press and have you found anything unacceptable or outright sexist? Have there been occasions where you have not been treated with the same respect as a male musician? How did you deal with them and what can us writers, reviewers and interviewers do to improve our coverage of women in metal?

M: That’s terrible! I am aware that idiots rage the earth, but I haven’t heard of that specific idiot. Well, since you bring it up – I do not appreciate reading that ELEINE is a ”female fronted metal” band. What the hell is that? It’s not like every band with men as fronts are called “male fronted metal” bands, right? “female fronted” isn’t a genre. I FULLY get the idea why you’d want to empower women. There is a lot of shit going on. But we are all humans. Sure, we can’t claim other than it’s a mainly man dominated world of metal, but at the same time it is so incredibly wrong to hear that some festivals book 5 bands with female front figures just because they need to hit their quota of equality. Bands should be booked because of their music and delivery when performing, not because of what’s between their legs.

A band is a band. Metal is metal. No matter sex, skin colour or whatever. Don’t judge a band before you’ve actually listened to their music. I can’t count the times I’ve recently heard: ”I usually don’t listen to bands with a female vocalist but hey, I was recommended to listen to ELEINE and now you have a new fan”. It’s GREAT that people go out of their comfort zone and listen to new music. It’s like I’ve said before…good music is good music, and crap music is crap music.

I stand up for humans and animal rights. Regardless of gender. We need to be equals in this. It really pisses me off to be put in a box that says ”Female fronted metal” and not even being given a chance to show what we got. Don’t get me wrong, you can of course call a man a man and a woman a woman etc. But instead of “outing” it with labels such as “female fronted”, just call them metal bands and add the actual genre.

But, as always, I know what we have, I know what we do and I am proud of it. Instead of seeing myself as a victim I’ve always chosen to switch it up a gear instead and make sure I make myself and our fans happy.

DJ: What news are you receiving about the reception of your latest album? I personally rated it as 9/10 and “Sumptuous, richly produced, expansively written and an essential purchase if you enjoy the beauty of female vocals offsetting metal power.” Are you getting many positive reviews?

M: What a great rating, thank you very much. The reception has been absolutely fantastic. I am deeply grateful for this. As I mentioned earlier, this album is a huge part of ourselves. I can’t thank everyone enough for buying it, appreciating it and sharing it <3

DJ: What do we have to look forward to from Eleine in 2021, assuming all the COVID restrictions are done with? This year has truly, truly sucked for live music and surely it has affected Eleine as well as everyone else involved with live music. Are you going to tour sooner rather than later or are you going to wait a bit longer for the sake of increased safety?

M: TOURING! My unholy Satan, I’m starving here. 2020 was rough for everyone and we need to work together to get through it. Even though the year was dark, there were shimmers of light. One very good thing was the release of “Dancing In Hell”, both for us and for our fans. It has been an absolutely devastating year in so many ways, but we will make it. From everything there’s something to learn. I’ve learned to have way more patience than I’ve ever had.

We will tour when it’s safe and allowed, of course. We care about our fans

DJ: Do you have anything to say to your fans and people just discovering Eleine? This is your chance to say whatever you wish about whatever you like!

M: We are aware that we wouldn’t be anything without the beautiful fans we have. We are grateful for each and every one. We have a really close contact with our patrons and our Patreon has also helped us out tremendously. Thank you all so very much, keep on buying music from your favourite artists and we’ll see you soon.

DJ: Please allow me to thank you very much for agreeing to spend your time answering these questions, and may I wish you every success for the future. I truly hope your new record brings you an outrageous amount of success. The only reason this wasn’t done through Zoom was because I am far too much of a coward, having scared myself rigid the last time I did that! Tack så mycket för din tid, jag hoppas att vi snart ses på en brittisk turné och lycka till och framgång för er alla. God Jul!

LINKS:

Read Dark Juan’s album review here:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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.