The Last Reign – Evolution

The Last Reign – Evolution
Self-Released
Release Date: 18/09/2020
Running Time: 54:25
Review by Victor Augusto
8.5/10

Here it is! 2021! And finally, we can leave the last insane year behind. As always, I use this time to stop for a while and think about everything that’s happened throughout the year, not only in my personal life, but also in all my work on reviews and interviews. Probably you will hear me saying that I need to improve in many areas, because I will never feel like I am doing it properly! Even though I’ve revised a few plans, there are still some simple things that I wish to stay the same. One of them is the desire to be surprised with something exciting in an album, that I find on the first listen, when writing a review. However, when I first got this album, I didn’t find it ‘different’ to start with, and I have to confess that it took some weeks until I finally got that ‘surprise’, and I will explain why. So, here we go!

First, when I talk about not be impressed straight away, it is nothing related to the quality of the band. That is unquestionable. And I loved their music right from the first song. Focusing on the album as a whole, “Evolution” has the sound of the best kind of Swedish Melodic Death Metal, which appeared during the nineties. I could hear a mix of the dark atmosphere from bands like Dark Tranquility, for example. When it comes to the arrangements, this album reminded me a bit of Entombed, and another Swedish influence that I could feel was At The Gates and The Crown, in regard to the aggressiveness and punch, over all the sonority. With these incredible bands that I’ve mentioned, you’ll probably already have an idea how great this album is.

The instrumental intro on ‘Genesis’ is very dense with the sound growing until it explodes into the song ‘Evolution Of A Dying Race’ that is pretty brutal. Actually, the entire album is extremely aggressive, mainly because of the work of the drummer, Vince Mayer. This guy is a relentless machine! He plays fast the entire album. When the rest of the band seems to slow down, he increases his parts. An example of this is in ‘The Hourglass’, where he keeps destroying his drum kit while the rest of the band slows!

The guitar sound in this album is another highlight. Brian Platter does an amazing job with the wall of heaviness, and he fits in interesting melodies, and short solos, to give a new perspective to the music.

Adam Svensson does a good job on vocals with his interpretation, although there are not so many variations in his voice, but it does fit pretty well in the band’s idea of sonority. The only negative point (maybe not so positive) is the bass of Joe Maggio being a little hidden among the dense heaviness of the band. Considering he plays very well, and the band has just one guitar, I wish it could be loud, and have more independent parts, like I heard in a few parts of ‘Ironclad Torment’. It could offer a good dynamic, different from the guitar lines, and maybe the atmosphere that the band creates asks for this kind of sound. However, that is just a matter of taste and it is still an amazing work by Mr. Maggio.

Now let’s get to what really surprised me. The Last Reign is an American band. Yes, this simple detail shocked me. Most American Death Metal bands I’ve heard are extremely brutal. I guess the fact I am a huge fan of the great scene that came from Tampa in the early nineties made me relate Death with those bands, but I could feel this kind of brutality pretty sublimely in The Last Reign’s music. They really brought all the elements from the mentioned melodic Death Metal, but there are a few aggressive lines diluted over it, and that is what I think is cool, the mix of two very different worlds in the same album. Sometimes they even add a versatility from Thrash Metal, as you can hear on the drums during ‘Terminal Threshold’, and I think versatility is the best word to define Vince’s work in this album.

Another detail that pleased me is how all the songs are very well worked. There is not a single weak song. There is no song composed just to complete the album. All tracks are amazing, and you will have fun until the last song ‘Architects of Genocide’ which is an absolute killer! By the way, if you start listening to this album from the last track, going back to the first song, you will have fun in the same way. All these details, together with amazing production, is what makes “Evolution” an incredible album, and I hope it surprises you as much as it surprised me.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Genesis
02. Evolution Of A Dying Race
03. Annihilation Of The Ancients
04. Ironclad Torment
05. The Hourglass
06. Fallen Dark
07. No Horizon
08. Terminal Threshold
09. The Storm
10. Devoid
11. Luminosity
12. Architects Of Genocide

LINE-UP:
Adam Svensson – Vocals
Brian Platter – Guitars
Joe Maggio – Bass
Vince Mayer – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Victor Augusto 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 THE LAST REIGN

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EMQ’s with THE LAST REIGN

Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Buffalo, NY Melodic Death Metal band The Last Reign! 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?

We are The Last Reign and we play Melodic Death Metal. Brian, our guitarist and songwriter, started the band back in 2015. Paying homage to bands of the 90s such as In Flames, Soilwork and At the Gates, hoping to capture that classic sound again which doesn’t exist as much today! Within a year and a half we released our debut accompanied by a two week tour. 2019 marks the return of the band after a 2 year hiatus with a new line-up aside from founding member, Brian.

How did you come up with your band name?

The band name was derived from a few different ideas, but came out quite naturally. First and foremost is our way of fighting to bring back the classic era of melodic death metal. The second is more personal and comes from my own ‘last reign’ so to speak as a person that is willing to put 100% into an original act one last time.

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

We are from the USA (Buffalo, New York). It’s such a big country, and in our area the scene really depends on your flavour of metal. I’ve seen Persefone travel in all the way from Andorra and play for 35 people, and Slipknot play for almost 14,000. We do get a pretty constant stream of touring acts but often we may have to drive a few hours to another city or state. Metal rarely hits the open radio in my experience, but the community is strong in this age of the internet.

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

“Prelude” (EP) was released on October 11 and much to its namesake contains two songs that will continue to evolve and will appear in their final form on our sophomore album “Evolution,” which will be out summer 2020.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Every band member has their own personal influences, but the band as a whole is very much inspired by 90’s In Flames / Soilwork / At the Gates.

Vince: Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater), Ray Herrera (Fear Factory), and Henry Ranta (Soilwork).

Brian: Queen, Jesper Stromblad (In Flames), John Petrucci (Dream Theater)
Seth: Victor Wooten, Billy Sheehan, Brad Smith (Blind Melon), Jim Wynne (Buffalo NY local legend)

Adam: Johan Lindstrand of The Crown would probably be my greatest influence as far as the vocals are concerned, something about his style and placement of his vocal lines always spoke to me. Also, Mikael Stanne from Dark Tranquillity has also always been one of my favourites.

What first got you into music?

Vince: My dad was a guitar/bass player and I grew up going to his wedding band and jazz club gigs. He got me set up with a drum set and lessons as a kid, and made sure I had gear and transportation through high school and beyond.

Brian: At a young age, I was around my older brother a lot in the late 80s/early 90s. He was constantly listening to bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest and I haven’t looked back since.

Seth: I started out playing trombone at a very young age, essentially everyone in my immediate family plays something or have at some point. I picked up the bass and began to teach myself about the age of 14, I wanted an instrument that I could bend and even break the rules on.

Adam: I would have to give credit to my brother for getting me into music, he would frequently blast music on his home stereo system when I was younger. There was always something playing like Metallica, Def Leppard, or Aerosmith. Definitely not my favourite bands these days but everyone starts somewhere.

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

Andy Gillion from Mors Principium Est!

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

Wacken Open Air Festival in Germany because it is one of the largest metal festivals in the world and it sounds like an incredible experience.

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

Sadly, I can’t think of anything to date, but hopefully that will change.

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

Just keep listening and sharing. The scene is oversaturated due to the ease of releasing music which makes it even more difficult to be heard.

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

Chuck Schuldiner, incredibly talented musician. I will always wonder what the album after “The Sound of Perseverance” would have sounded like.

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

I love that I actually get to create! So many hobbies are of consumption, be it a Netflix binge, browsing YouTube, or even sharing memes around. Playing music can be cathartic and rewarding for sure. That said, it’s a very resource intensive hobby, the amount of money, time, and effort that goes beyond just actually playing an instrument. It really is a labour of love and is difficult to expand the hobby into a career.

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

Download and Streaming! Although there are many benefits to the medium, I feel it causes people to not appreciate music as much as they used to. Gone are the days where you’d buy an album or two and listen to that album to death whether it was good or not. Nowadays, you get 30 seconds in to a song that isn’t great and you just move on to the next album.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Vince: Dream Theater – “Scenes From A Memory”.

Brian: What Vince said!

Seth: A Perfect Circle – “Thirteenth Step”.

Adam: The Crown – “DeathRace King”. Although, I gotta hand it to my bandmates, “Scenes From A Memory” is a great album as well.

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

Vinyl all day!

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

April 27th, 2017. It was the final night of our tour and what a show to go out on! It was one of those rare instances where not only all of the bands were solid, but the crowd full of energy for the entire show. It was a sight to behold.

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

Vince: I would probably be the biggest badass in the world…of Warcraft.

Brian: Graphic Designer.

Seth: Working on my car/motorcycle collection.

Adam: Studying geology, mainly volcanoes.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Vince: Ola Englund, David Maxim Micic, Devin Townsend, Keanu Reeves, Chris Pratt.
Brian: John Cusack, Guy Pearce, Sven de Caluwé (Aborted), Jimi Haha (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack), Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon).

Seth: Victor Wooten, Stevie Wonder, Seth Rogan, Steve Vai, Maynard.

Adam: Chuck Schuldiner (Death), Brendan Small (Metalocalypse/Dethklok), George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), Warrel Dane (Nevermore), Tuomas Holopainen and Floor Jansen (Nightwish). I know that’s six, don’t care.

What’s next for the band?

We are hard at work on our sophomore album, “Evolution.” Through the rest of 2019 we will be fleshing out the last few songs and entering in to pre-production, with tracking and mixing planned for early 2020.

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

We primarily use Facebook and Bandcamp to communicate and share our music, but we’ve recently started up on Twitter as well. We also have our music available on Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play music, etc.
https://www.facebook.com/thelastreignmusic/
https://www.instagram.com/thelastreign/
https://thelastreign.bandcamp.com/
https://open.spotify.com/artist/588LSViuxUlGIwSwDYKPrk

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I believe in the states the closest term would be a cookie. Our biscuits are more what would be called a scone overseas!

 

 

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.