Greyhawk- Keepers Of The Flame

Greyhawk- Keepers Of The Flame
Fighter Records
Release Date: 16/06/2020
Running Time: 44:05
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8/10

Monday mornings. They’re not great, are they?! They need cheering up. So, for a change, I decided to start a Monday morning with a review of the new release by American metallers, Greyhawk. I have to say, this album had me totally confused at first. I always listen to any album 2 or 3 times before I write anything down, but this one had me truly stumped! Was it a metal opera? Was it metal storytelling, with vocals as varied as the amount of beer on sale these days?! So, this review is the product of a good few re-starts! Man, these guys know how to throw a spanner in the works with their music! Incidentally, Greyhawk are so metal they even have their own beer, and let’s be honest not many can say that!

Greyhawk’s quest started in 2018, when five metal guys (featuring alumni from bands like Skelator, Aggression, Prelude to a Pistol and Prophets of Addiction) met up and brought their unique style to life. This is their debut full length album on Fighter Records, and it brings something new to the table. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but then who is these days! Adding a bit more variety into music is what its all about, and these guys certainly stand out in a crowd, and I get the feeling that was their aim.

‘Gates Of Time’ starts the album. It’s very laid back, very calm, with a hint of Manowar, and short and sweet. This was where I thought I’d got the measure of their sound, but I was wrong! So, what’s next? Well that would be crazy drumming, epic guitar riffs and ear-piercing screams, followed by a voice I just wasn’t expecting! This fast-moving track has vocal variations all over it, and makes you giddy! In some places you think the vocals don’t actually match the content, but that’s what makes this album so different, and we like to be different don’t we?

There’s a lot of storytelling throughout this album. In ‘Drop the Hammer’, you can imagine the guys on stage telling the story with visuals on a backdrop. But that element takes nothing away from some truly amazing guitar riffs that make you sit up and listen. I can only imagine how epic it must be to be able to play like that. The guys take it down a notch for ‘The Rising Sign’, where Taylor’s voice is almost haunting, but still so powerful, and the addition of nicely timed backing vocals blend well. But don’t be fooled! This track maybe slower, but the power and feeling are still very strong here. The track builds and builds until the end, with low lamenting vocal harmonies in the background, which are quite chilling.

I Think my favourite track has to be ‘Ophidian Throne’. The tone of Taylor’s voice makes the hairs on your neck stand up and gives you chills.

This is definitely a Marmite album – you’ll either love it or hate it – there’s no in between! The variations from one track to another are a little hard to get your head around, but who wants to listen to the same thing over and over? It’s storytelling, meets Manowarish (yes, I just made that word up!), with a blend of metal, operatic vocals, crazy but intense guitar riffs, and heart thumping drumming. I found it a bit like a Chinese puzzle, it looks impossible, but you just have to take time to figure it out. With ear splitting screams that catch you off guard at times, it’s also not an album that you will fall asleep listening to! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!!

If this is what these guys can do for a debut album, then the future is exciting! If they grow from this, their albums will be insanely powerful and intense. With this album they have really shown what’s possible and what they’re made of. Great work guys and amazing cover artwork too!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Gates Of Time
02. Frozen Star
03. Drop The Hammer
04. Halls Of Insanity
05. The Rising Sign
06. R.X.R.O
07. Don’t Wait For The Wizard
08. Black Peak
09. Masters Of The Sky
10. Ophidian Throne
11. Keeper Of The Flames

LINE-UP:
Rev Taylor – Vocals
Darin Wall – Bass
Jesse Berlin – Guitars
Alika Madis – Guitars
Nate Butler – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/Greyhawkmetal
www.greyhawkmetal.bandcamp.com
www.twitter.com/greyhawkmetal
www.instagram.com/greyhawkmetal/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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 Tsarina Wilson

EMQ’s with Tsarina Wilson

What Is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

Hi, my name is Tsarina “T” Wilson, my day job is cleaning/housekeeper/laundry at a well-known sausage company in North Yorkshire! My other job is writing reviews for Ever Metal. I met Rick when he was a drummer and instantly hit it off with his crazy sense of humour. A while later he asked for people to help with reviewing music and I asked to help. He knew I had dyslexia but was still kind enough to let me give it a go. I’ve been here since and enjoy all that it has become.

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

I live in North Yorkshire, but in the middle of nowhere so only a few pubs near-by. There are often bands in York etc.

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

My favourite album so far this year has to be “Culto” by Die Ego, but with so many new ones on the horizon then that could change but, to date, it has to be “Culto”. My favourite single is definitely ‘Bangin In Your Stereo’ by Massive Wagons along with their video for the song!

Who has been your greatest influences, in the music or in life?

Greatest influence has to be my Dad (sadly no longer with us) he introduced me to music and how to enjoy it.

In music then Motorhead, Queen, Manowar, Meatloaf.

What first got you into music?

My Dad! He used to have his own nightclub and he had music nights, everything from rock ‘n’ roll to rock nights. He taught me to sit and listen to the lurics and feelings behind the songs.

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

I own a plectrum that Meatloaf played with on stage in Exeter! He would sing, then play some guitar then flick the plectrums out into the crowd. One flew up and when straight down my top. I had a kind offer of help to retrieve it, but I politely declined…

If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?

Be kind, it doesn’t take a moment to say hi to someone or just be there for someone who needs a chat. With all the things going on in the world today you never know if there could be something you could do just to put a smile on someone’s face. One message, text, call, note etc could be all it takes.

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

That new bands get more of a chance to be seen and get their work recognised! So many of them spend all their spare time on the road and promoting themselves whilst holding down their day jobs and having family life. It would be great if there was a platform for up and coming bands to be seen and not spend so much of their own money just to get up and running.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Meat Loaf – “Bat Out Of Hell”, which can always be sung LOUD and PROUD!

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

Vinyl at home, definitely and downloads while out and on the go.

What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?

Out of the bands I have been able to see then Meat Loaf! I have social anxiety so find being in large groups terrifying! Going to gigs is something I am working on.

(Bless her though, Tsarina rarely missed a gig when the band I was in played, but that was probably to do with the fact that large crowds weren’t a thing at our gigs 😊 – Rick)

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/taking photos?

Ooooh good one! Working a lot and running, but my favourite thing is visiting my grandkids (yes, I am THAT old lol)!

What five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Meatloaf, Barry “Baz” Mills (Massive Wagons), Lemmy, Gage (Unto The Wolves) and Yvette Fielding (she makes me giggle so much)!

Jaffa cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Who cares, they are lush…lol!

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

Manners cost nothing so let’s start being kind to others. You may be having a great day but you never know what is going on in another person’s life/mind/home. I don’t care if you’re black, white, brown, green, gay, straight, bi-sexual, trans anything, I will treat you as you treat me. My private life is just that, but if you ever want to chat, I’m always here for anyone who needs help. Music has helped me overcome many things in life and picked me up when I have been down.Lastly, thanks to the boss Rick for giving me a chance (I just give him nightmares while trying to get through my reviews with lack of comma’s and full stops, but joking aside, cheers Rick you will never know how good if felt to finally have someone believe In me and give me encouragement and not put everything I do down, I owe you big time, but will have to settle for a drink.

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.

Die Ego – Culto

Die Ego – Culto
Self-Released
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 40:01
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8.5/10

Die Ego are a three-piece metal band, based in London (UK) and surprisingly this is their debut album, you will get what I mean when I say “surprisingly”. The band was first formed by Diego Fardel (lead guitar) and Gabe Scapigliati (vocals and bass). After trialling a few drummers who didn’t make the band they secured Dave Grosz and then Die Ego officially were formed.

In 2018 they released their first demo “Songs For The Insanity” and gained notoriety for their live gigs, which certainly got them noticed by the metal community. They’ve played such venues as the O2 Islington, and Camden Rocks Festival. The bands description of their debut album is “Culto is a raw and powerful demonstration of our essence and spirit. Our mindset was to produce an honest album that reflects the bands journey and makes a statement of what we are all about”.

Ok on with the review, If you like your music loud, raw, hard hitting, and dark, these are your guys! We start the album with the title track, ‘Culto’, which begins with piano playing and what sounds like a child’s voice, but, within the first minute, you’re catapulted into the rich undertones of the vocals, a combination of deep gruffness with some epic screams, which combined with great guitar riffs, sets the bar for the rest of the album. As you work your way through the tracks it’s a dark but exciting journey. You don’t want to get off the metal bus in case you miss out on something.

‘Demons Have Demons’ gives you total goose bumps with gravelly vocals which sound like they have been summoned from the bowels of hell! These guys certainly don’t want you to not to be entertained while listening to the album! The album has a steady pace, which I liked, because I think if they had gone too crazy, then the gruff vocals may have been lost and the intense vocals, which get into your soul, may not have had the same impact.

This album is one of those that will embed into your sub conscious and give you nightmares! Not bad for a band that hasn’t been around for more than a few years! “Culto” certainly makes an impact. These guys draw inspiration from all the best. From Pantera and Metallica, through to Alice in Chains and Slipknot, and although Die Ego have only just started out, I can see us in years to come comparing new and up and coming metal bands to them. Their music is powerful yet has a deep soul to it, I was asked by my son (who loves metal music too) to describe the album, and I said it was like my soul had gone to hell to visit and enjoy itself.

It may not be for everyone, but all I’d say is don’t listen to it once and think “nah, not for me”. Listen to it a few times and take in the passion and confidence, that the band has in bucket loads. Going back to my comment about “Culto” ‘surprisingly bring a debut album’, well I have reviewed quite a few bands now and I always look up other things they have done. Sometimes as a reminder of forgotten tracks, or just to refresh my mind, but when I couldn’t find anything other than this album, I was truly surprised! The confidence they seem to exude is of a band that has been around for many years, and I have no doubt that some time in their future, I will have the pleasure of their second album to review.

If I had to have a favourite track it would be ‘Don’t Get Close’. From the start, it had me, then in came the intense lyrics – it was just the perfect combination and had me transfixed all the way through. This album has it all, raw gruff vocals that will make your ears bleed, addictive drumming, and guitar riffs that will make you wish you had learnt to play a guitar yourself. Well done guys, this was a great debut album and lets’ hope you’re out gigging again very soon.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Culto
02. Anger is Yours
03. Treatment of Silence
04. Demons have Demons
05. The Grave
06. There is No Tomorrow
07. I Promise
08. Don’t Get Close

LINE-UP:
GABE: Vocals and Bass Guitar
Diego: Lead Guitar
Dave: Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/DieEgoMetal/
www.twitter.com/DieEgoMetal
www.dieego.bandcamp.com/
www.youtube.com/channel/UCi5CxHa83uX70tvQgfFBDcQ
www.open.spotify.com/artist/4Yrsxw1DTctEeGRgPjAYRd

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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 Adam ‘Bowzer’ Bouskill from Massive Wagons

Interview with Adam ‘Bowzer’ Bouskill from Massive Wagons
By Tsarina Wilson

Tsarina recently got the chance to have a really quick chat with, the very busy, Bowzer from Lancaster based Rock band Massive Wagons. Huge thanks to him and Tsarina.

What is your name?

Bowzer!

What do you do?

I am the bassist in Massive Wagons!

Can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

Nothing exciting in how I ended up here. The lads required a bass player, I had played guitar in a band with Baz (vocalist) previously and offered to play… how hard could it be eh? Only 4 strings!!

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

I’m from Lancaster, a small city in the North West of England, The rock scene has always had a decent presence here. There are a few pubs that put live music on non-stop. The Yorkie, The Pub, The Bobbin, they all put on new and young bands.

Who have been your greatest influences in music or in life?

Empyre’s most recent release is absolutely amazing. Everything they do is gold.

What first got you into music?

Musically talking specifically bass it has to be Roger Glover!

My whole family is into music. Only a couple have been in bands, but everyone loves a huge variety of music. In my house it was always The Stranglers, Madness, Ian Dury, Bob Dylan, Tom Jones on the stereo. My uncles were in a punk band called Interference and they supported The Clash at Lancaster Uni.

Which current bands would you like to see collaborate on a record?

That’s a hard question, I would like to see Danny Bowes of Thunder replace Adam Lambert fronting Queen, Danny hands down has the greatest rock and roll voice.

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you chose and why?

Graspop, The line-up is always incredible, and I fancy going to Belgium!

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

Erm I don’t think I own any weird musical items!

If you had one message for your Ever Metal reader, what would it be?

Look after yourself! Smile! And defend people around you that can’t defend themselves.

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

Keith Moon!

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

I’d swop the popularity of god-awful pop/chart music that is written by 25 people working with algorithms with the dwindling popularity of the rock, metal and alternative scene.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

“Blackout” by the Scorpions.

What’s best Vinyl, cassette, CD or downloads?

I have no preference; vinyl looks cool though.

What’s the best gig you have been to and why?

Metallica at the Etihad last year it was awesome.

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

Work, gotta pay the bills.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Keith Moon, Ozzy, Da Vinci, Phil Mogg, Dio!

Thank you so much!

Massive Wagons brand new album “House Of Noise” will be released on 17th July via Earache Records. Order your copy here:
www.webstore.earache.com/A-Z/m/massive-wagons

House of Noise (Official Video)

Band Links:
www.massivewagons.com/
www.facebook.com/MassiveWagons/
www.twitter.com/MassiveWagons
www.instagram.com/massivewagons/
www.open.spotify.com/artist/7xytG2E40s4GeukvZCGqGP
www.youtube.com/user/MassiveWagons

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.

Moonlight Haze – Lunaris

Moonlight Haze – Lunaris
Scarlet Records
Release Date: 12/06/2020
Running Time: 51:46
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9/10

Moonlight Haze consists of Chiara Tricarico (ex-Temperance) on vocals, Giulio Capone on vocals/drums/keyboards, Alessandro Jacobi (also of Elvenking) on bass, Alberto Melinato and Marco Falanga on guitars. This is the second album from the Italian band in quite quick time, as far as albums go anyway, their first release which was “De Rerum Natura” in 2019, certainly put them on the map of great quality music, so I had high hopes for this release. This new album, “Lunaris”, was mixed and mastered by Simone Mularoni at the Domination Studio (San Marino). The artwork and graphics (which are immense) are by Beatrice Damori.

Their music is not only symphonic, it’s up-beat, catchy, enthusiastic, and has vocals that make the hairs on the back of your arms stand on end. It has power and passion which shines through in abundance, and is an amazing blend of metal, folk, electronics, with one track, ‘Birth And Death’, even featuring Elvenking’s violinist, Fabio Lethien Polo.

The opening track, ‘Till The End’ bursts in with a, “hello! I’m here” feeling! It has a great tempo, is catchy, full of energy and doesn’t let up all the way through. Chiara’s vocals are so strong and powerful, and her range is epic. Added to that are great harmonies, and guitar riffs that go so fast it makes my fingers hurt just thinking about them! The ending of the song proves already what a great set of lungs Chiara has, the power in her voice is incredible!

Each track is a mini story within itself, and although some of the tracks are fast pace and can leave you breathless, you do get small lulls in between. But don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll be able to sit and relax, as you wont be left with time to do that! This album will have you sat up and listening, waiting to see where it’s off to next. ‘Under your Spell’, is another stand out track for me. It starts off melodic and is gentle but very powerful, and again the range of Chiara’s voice is out of this world! Add to that brilliant guitar riffs, and you have a very powerful rock ballad.

I was a little taken back by ‘Enigma’, as rather than being sung in English, it is in Italian, but the power and passion shines out in bucket loads. Even though I couldn’t understand the lyrics, it still gives you such a vibe. I am one of those who listen to the album without looking at the track running order, so I was pleased to discover that the last track on the album is the English version of the same song. This wouldn’t be out of place in a rock opera and the immense drumming leave you breathless, thinking ‘seriously how the heck do you play drums that quick?’. Just wow!

I must admit I listen to my music a tad loud, and on a good set of speakers, but, my word, some of the drumming had my chest hurting! You can feel it inside. That and the guitar riffs almost blew the speakers! And I can’t say enough how fabulous the vocals are, going from gritty to operatic in a heartbeat. This is so apparent in ‘The Dangerous Art of Overthinking’ which I have to say is my favourite track. You start off with operatic background and crazy drumming. Calm down to almost ‘monkish’ undertones, then BAM! Back into it! Who needed to catch their breath anyway?! This would make an epic horror film score, the vocals leaping from powerful, to growls, to operatic, and back to ‘monkish’ in seconds, which leave you wandering what the hell is going on! You get chance for a quick gasp of air then off it goes again. It also has some crazy synthesiser twists which really add the icing on the metal cake. I like to call this track the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ of the album.

There are calmer tracks, like ‘Of Birth and Death’, that gives you a folkish interlude, which you’ll be grateful for as track 10 ‘Nameless City’ is 7 minutes and 34 seconds long, and once again leads you on a twisted journey! It starts off all nice and calm before throwing you into the deep end with a sudden change of pace. Operatic vocals switch to normal, and the whole track sounds like they have an orchestra and a team of backing vocals all joining in. And, once again, it’s littered with brilliant drumming, guitars and harmonies, and the synthesizer in the background.

If you wanted dull and boring then stay away from “Lunaris”, as that’s one thing this album definitely isn’t! But if you want powerful, intense, complex, and outside of the box, then hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Till The End
02. The Rabbit Of The Moon
03. Lunaris
04. Under Your Spell
05. Enigma
06. Wish Upon A Scar
07. The Dangerous Art of Overthinking
08. Without You
09. Of Birth and Death
10. Nameless City
11. Enigma (English Version)

LINE-UP:
Chiara Tricarico: vocals
Giulio Capone: drums, keyboards
Marco Falanga: guitars
Alberto Melinato: guitars
Alessandro Jacobi: bass

LINKS:
www.moonlighthaze.com/
www.facebook.com/Moonlighthazeband/
www.instagram.com/moonlighthazeband
www.open.spotify.com/artist/1J9Jg6CEtjR3C4SFXz1elX
www.youtube.com/channel/UC4xfX4XQB0cIO7KsBUf6gng
www.linktr.ee/moonlighthaze

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Thematic – Skyrunner

Thematic – Skyrunner
Self-Released
Release Date: 31/01/2020
Running Time: 68:25
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8.5/10

Hailing from Indiana, Thematic are four very talented guys; Kevin Samuel, Nate Buesching, Ryan Schmidt and Adam Cesarz. Their last album, “The Endless Light” came out in 2014, and certainly stood them in good stead, making people sit up and take notice of the new(ish) kids (men) on the block! Four good looking guys, all very musically talented, who have taken rock music and given it a twist of their own, this is rare these days as so many just follow trends. But these guys don’t follow the pack, they create their own!

The band spent two years working on “Skyrunner” a concept album, which they self-engineered and was mixed and mastered by award-winning producer Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Animals as  Leaders, Twelve Foot Ninja, I am Giant). The band say “the album that tells of a hero’s quest to honour a promise. It is a tale of an epic journey through the fall from grace, the battle for redemption and the ultimate glory and tragedy of salvation. It’s a story of honour and valour to a world and soul consumed by darkness. It is a story of a promise kept”.

This album is definitely a blend of a lot of musical styles. ‘Incarnate’ starts off with what sounds like panpipes, very soothing and relaxing, and you think ‘Hmm ok? How does this fit in to what I was thinking the album was going to sound like?’ and then, like a slippery slide, you hurl into the rest of the album with a blend of great vocals, some hardcore drumming, some great harmonising, and some totally brilliant guitar riffs, with a twist of growl! The perfect mix for a great album.

It twists and turns throughout, with some great metal sounds, and great harmonising, as illustrated in ‘Carry The Fire’ for example. This starts off with an almost laid back calmness, but just as you get into the rhythm of it, it slowly gains speed and hardness, then back to calm, then slam dunk harmonies, and as it reaches it’s finale, you can picture everyone singing it at the top of their voices at a gig.

The artwork on the album is also worth mentioning. It’s stunning and is like a picture within pictures, which to be honest fits perfectly with the feel of the music – it’s genres within genres all the way through, a classic pic and mix, put it on, press play and see which sweet song you get.

These guys take music to a whole different level. ‘Solitude’ is another “twist” track, one you’re not expecting on a metal album! It’s almost hypnotic to start, with some gorgeous vocals, so crystal clear, which leave you expecting and waiting for the BOOM. But no! instead it delivers more harmonising and the boom of drums never come. It leaves you wondering what else they can possibly fit on this album. And then you get ‘Universe Bloom’. Wow! so powerful.

It’s so apparent that these guys work brilliantly together, the magical guitar riffs, vocals that are powerful yet so clear… They sure know how to bring new input into the rock and give you your full monies worth! This is an album you will put on and be totally chilled with, and as it goes on you will be air guitaring, air drumming and hairbrush singing along too! It’s an addictive album. The final track, ‘This Golden Day’ is almost 12 minutes long and is definitely my favourite track. It’s like being told a complete story, and all you can do is sit back, close your eyes and go on the journey with them, it’s just so good. With the combination of this fantastic storytelling, the diverse twists and turns, and 14 tracks to get your teeth into, you really can’t go wrong with “Skyrunner”.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Incarnate
02. Skyrunner
03. The Open Arms of Grace
04. Dirt and Chains
05. The Last Boundary
06. Silence in Thought
07. Abyss
08. Malice
09. Carry The Fire
10. Solitude
11. Universe Bloom
12. With Empty Hands
13. Falling Star
14. This Golden Day

LINE-UP:
Kevin Samuel – Guitar
Nate Buesching – Guitar
Ryan Schmidt – Bass/Guitar
Adam Cesarz – Vocals

LINKS:
www.thematic.bandzoogle.com/home
www.facebook.com/thematicofficial/
www.instagram.com/Thematic Official/
www.youtube.com/user/thematicofficial

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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- Essentia

Victoria K- Essentia
Rockshots Records
Release Date: 24/04/2020
Running Time: 36:17
Review by Tsarina Wilson
10/10

Wow, well this is what I call a good start to my day by listening and being able to review the album “Essentia” by Australian band Victoria K. I then decided to check out some of their videos on YouTube and no wonder they have such a great reputation…

The Melbourne singer/songwriter first released her debut single ‘Monster’ in 2016 featuring guitar work by John Farnham band member Brett Garsed along with her 2019 follow up track ‘Lacuna’, this was distributed in Australia and New Zealand by Warner Music Group (Australia) and was the lead single off this album. This track gained a great amount of interest and media praise creating an opportunity for Victoria K to support Swiss folk metal giants Eluveitie for their May 2019 date in Melbourne. This was received so well the crowd were chanting for an encore. (That one I totally understand)

The idea was for a solo project, but this has developed into the current band structure with each member bringing their own energy, presence and skills to the project

Victoria K added; “I really hope that when our fans and new listeners hear the album, they can all find something they can connect with on a deeper level (Oh yes, I have definitely found that). Whether that connection is found from within the music itself or from specific lyrics, I really hope they find something familiar, which can connect them to some experience they have had, invoking memories and feelings, eliciting an emotional response”

Whilst Victoria K’s talented songwriting and compositional influences include Evanescence, Within Temptation, Nightwish and Kamelot amongst others, they have also racked up hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube with their own creations. They have also covered such songs as ‘The Trooper’ (Iron Maiden) and ‘Nothing Else Matters’ (Metallica) and after checking these out the word ‘wow’ just doesn’t seem enough of a description for this band

Okay, back to “Essentia” (which is Latin for ‘essence’)! I could say it starts of gently then builds into a great album, but I can’t lie…it starts off in epic fashion and keeps going all the way through with no let up. With, what seem like, effortless and crystal-clear vocals, but with an immense amount of power Victoria K shines. Yes, you can kind of hear the influences of Nightwish and Kamelot etc, but Victoria K definitely, and collectively, makes this style their own. Apart from Victoria K the band (on the album) consists of Extreme Vocals from Sheri Vengeance (Black Like Vengeance, ex Ne Obliviscaris), who can be heard on three tracks, the aforementioned guitarist Brett Garsed, bassist Rich Panaia (except on the track ‘Lacuna’ where bass is provided by Chris Rourke), drummer Gerry Pantazis and keyboard, piano and synth man Lee Bradshaw. The Budapest Scoring Orchestra also make an appearance conducted by Zoltán Pad.

For those who have not seen any of the videos released for “Essentia” and were expecting the stereotypical band of a female lead singer, some metal looking guys in the background and a tattooed and grizzled looking bloke singing the extreme vocals, well, take a look and be as shocked as I was as theses vocals are sung by female Sheri Vengeance and ‘oh my god’ she is utterly amazing, it’s like Evanescence meeting Slipknot in a dark alley and it blows your mind, and eardrums, when listening to it through earphones…ouch. Memo to self, next time turn the volume down slightly!

‘Freedom Uncharted’ kicks the album off and it immediately makes you sit up and take notice, it’s hypnotic and then ‘Surreal’ hits you into next weekend. It has a Middle Eastern twist at its finale, and I was thinking ‘mmm, okay, what can they throw at me next’, only to be greeted by breath-taking track after breath-taking track, there seriously is no let up here. ‘Shroud Of Solitude’, which features Michalina Malisz from Eluveitie on Hurdy Gurdy, gives you a few minutes to catch your breath but it’s still outstanding! My favourite track has to be ‘Freaks’. It starts with keyboards that sound almost like a musical box then…boom, another track that hits you, once again, with a vocal range that is just so clear and powerful.

At no time do the guitars, bass or drums take anything away from the vocals but they are still so clear and blend seamlessly. There is so much emotion in all of the performances, things I can relate to and, hopefully, many others can as well, which is exactly what Victoria K wanted. The track ‘Humanity’ so needs to be used as an end film credit sequence. This song is so powerful and haunting and when you listen to it, you can feel/see the orchestra with the band standing out front (any film directors out there please listen and take note)! Another standout performance on the album is the drumming. Gerry Pantazis must have had smoke coming out of his kit in some places, man can that guy drum!

While we are on the subject of powerful and beautiful things, I have to talk about the album artwork. There has to be merchandise with this image on…please, and if/when there is, I will be getting some, wow just wow! It’s not every day you are blown away by such a great band. They have picked up everything conventional about this genre, thrown it out of the window and made it their own! Stereotypical? Hell no…talented? Hell yes…leaving you wanting more? Without a doubt!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Freedom Uncharted (Feat Sheri Vengeance)
02. Surreal
03. Forsaken (Feat Sheri Vengeance)
04. Matrix (Feat Sheri Vengeance)
05. Shroud of Solitude (feat Michalina Malisz from Eluveitie)
06. The Haunting
07. Freaks
08. Mist Filled
09. Humanity
10. Lacuna

LINKS:
www.victoriakmusicofficial.com/
www.facebook.com/victoriakofficial/
www.twitter.com/VictoriaK2004
www.instagram.com/victoria_k_official/
www.victoriak1.bandcamp.com/releases
www.spotify.com/artist/39zoIuFDfHJOQnqAFudiRI
www.youtube.com/channel/UC4hQDGDErqcmakKo-wVjWoA

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Khymera – Master Of Illusions

Khymera – Master Of Illusions
Frontiers Music s.r.l
Release Date: 06/03/2020
Running Time: 45:25
Review by Tsarina Wilson
9.5/10

Rarely is it that an album comes along that I start listening to and I think “ooo this is my favourite track!” then listen to next track and think, “No wait! This one is!”, until I end up running out of tracks! But it sure happened with this album, “Master Of Illusions”. From the first track to the last I was hooked and soaked up every note, drum beat, guitar riff and lyric (anyone who hasn’t guessed – I so liked this album)!

For those not in the know, Khymera is a musical collaboration project, originally started by Italian producer/musician Daniele Liverani and Steve Walsh, who at the time was the Kansas vocalist. Then Bassist Dennis Ward (Magnum and Pink Cream 69), known more for backing vocals, bass work and production duties joined and stepped up to lead vocals, adding another string to his bow of skills! It’s been over four years since the last album, “The Grand Design” (guys, please don’t leave it another four years for the next one, thanks!), and for this release, the line-up consists of Dennis Ward on vocals and bass, Michael Klein on guitars, Eric Ragno on keyboards and Pete Newdeck on drums.

“Master Of Illusion” has quite an 80’s rock vibe, but with a modern twist to it. Whilst having a hint of Def Leopard/ Europe, they certainly make this their own. The melodic vocals, which are so easy on the ear, combined with such feel good songs mean you can easily sit and listen to this and drift away, but just as easily put it on the car stereo and crank it up loud and sing along. Think summer trips out, windows down, music loud – yes that much of a feelgood factor just pours from these tracks.

There is also some properly great drumming that seriously starts you table drumming! On track ‘The First Time’, this quickly leads to air drumming! Again, on this track, the harmonising vocals blend so well, and the addition of the keyboards, then epic guitar riffs, make it superb. The album title track follows this, and once again the hint of the keyboards just makes such a great change from the norm. These guys prove great song writing is still alive and very much kicking, in fact kicking ass, big time!

Track 4, ‘The Sun Goes Down’, has such a good summertime rock vibe – the statement ‘sing loud, sing proud’, certainly comes into its own here! From the first drum beat it’s uplifting, with guitar riffs that explode from nowhere, it leaves you wanting more!

Every great album has to have a badass ballad, and of course the guys don’t fail us on this, with ‘Father To Son’ being such a touching song, with lyrics from the heart. Get your lighters out and be prepared to raise them at any gig this is played at, and sing it damn loud! It actually gave me goose bumps whist listening to it, and I had to keep it on repeat a few times, as I was just blown away by it.

Packed full of excellent vocals, beautiful harmonies, on point drumming, and epic guitar riffs, “Masters Of Illusions” is an uplifting album and proves there is so much great music out there.

Khymera, please promise me you won’t take four years for the next instalment of material! I think anyone who hasn’t heard them yet is missing out, and everyone I’ve told about the album has come back to me with the same reaction – “wow they are brilliant”!! Seriously, get listening to this album.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Walk Away
02. The First Time
03. Master Of Illusion
04. The Sun Goes Down
05. Paradise
06. The Rhythm Of My Life
07. Follow The Sun
08. Father To Son
09. After All This Time
10. Victim Of Your Love
11. Just Let It Happen

LINE-UP:
Dennis Ward – Vocals and Bass
Michael Klein – Guitars
Eric Ragno – Keyboards
Pete Newdeck – Drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/KhymeraTheGrandDesign/ (FAN PAGE)
www.spotify.com/artist/2cauhM67gAJ8ilHvkNNZa4
www.youtube.com/channel/UCAP7bFhhpU6fhnccffaNtCA
www.frontiers.it/album/5584
www.facebook.com/frontiersmusicsrl/

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Hesperian Opus- Chasing The Light

Hesperian Opus- Chasing The Light
Steel Gallery Records
Release Date: 28/02/2020
Running Time: 47:28
Review by Tsarina Wilson
8.5/10

This Neo-Classical Power Metal band from Athens in Greece certainly give a mixture of sounds and styles on their debut album “Chasing The Light”. With a line-up of Tassos Krokodilos on vocals, Harry Loisios on guitars, Christ Stergiannidis on bass, Dimitris Karageorgos on drums, and guest keyboards from George Georgiou, these guys certainly know their craft. With all music written by Loisios and Krokodilos, and all lyrics written by Tassos, they know what they want, and how to get it done. It was produced and mixed by Thymios Krikos and mastered by Kostas Scandalis.

In a time where a lot of bands either have their music or lyrics written for them, these guys obviously work by their ethos ‘if you want to give great music, give it your all and give it from the heart’ and it certainly seems this is where it comes from.

One thing that is very apparent throughout this album is the clear vocals, which is a breath of fresh air, alongside the fast-paced drumming in places and crazy guitar riffs. But that said, the actual pace of the whole album is not what I was expecting. Going in cycles of ‘boom, boom, boom’ then sudden calm, which keeps you on the edge a little. I think this is deliberate – it’s probably what the guys were hoping for – to keep you listening to see what would change next. A prime example of this is track 7, ‘Touch the Sky’, with again clear vocals and a vocal range which is both strong and powerful.

The final track, ‘Out Of The Cage’ was definitely a case of ‘keeping the best till last’! I found myself holding my breath through the guitar riff, which meant I almost turned blue as there was no let up! And, oh my life!! How fast can you physically play?! Well, listen to the track to find out! The speed is unreal, but the drumming matches it too, and I take my hat off to Hesperian Opus for this! Wow! Just…wow! I was exhausted just listening to it! However, I must say the lead guitar is the most featured sound on the album, and I think it would have been good to hear a bit more of the bass occasionally.

“Chasing The Light” has everything a good album needs – catchy tracks, brilliant drumming and totally awesome guitar riffs. It also has great lyrics and strong vocals, which, when added together, make one hell of a good listening experience.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Chasing The Light
02. Fields Of Fears
03. The Prison Mind
04. Rise From The Ashes
05. I Am I
06. Cast Into The Fire
07. Touch The Sky
08. Highest Of Hopes
09. Seas Of No Return
10. Out Of The Cage

LINE-UP:
Harry Loisios – Guitars
Tassos Krokodilos – Vocals
Christ Stergiannidis – Bass
Dimitris Karageorgos – Drums
George Georgiou –  Guest Keyboards

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/hesperianopus
www.twitter.com/harryloisios
www.youtube.com/channel/UCsdqZIDUr8kvFQdFP84-Cgg

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.

Invictus – Eden

Invictus – Eden
Iron Shield Records
Release Date: 24/01/2020
Running Time: 39:23
Review by Tsarina Wilson
7/10

Invictus, who were founded in 2017 in Bavaria, released their first E.P “Burst The Curse” in March 2019 (Mark did a review of that). Now they give us their debut full-length album “Eden”.

The band, which consists of Nicolas Peter on vocals, Fabio Winter and Andreas Honsberg on guitars, Fabian Scharf on bass and David Knobbe on drums come across as a group from days gone by with their sound of Judas Priest/Helloween style Traditional Heavy Metal. This isn’t a bad thing, by any means, but something just isn’t gelling for me. Don’t get me wrong it’s a good listen with strong guitar riffs and great drumming plus the voice of Peter, who has so much energy in his delivery, cranking out some great lyrics, but they seem to be trying to cram so much into the album it gets a bit much for me, personally. It’s almost like putting a Mentos into a bottle of fizzy drink; it overflows so much I cannot get a grip of what’s going on. Tracks, when played individually, seem fine but put them all together and I’m like “stop the world, I want to get off” although ‘Styx’ is a track I was completely not expecting, a classic Power Metal ballad that is well executed.

The guys in Invictus are obviously very talented and this is only their debut, but I think with hindsight, they have fallen into a trap. Rather than sounding like Invictus they have taken a load of bits that worked for other bands and have used them in their own music. Yes, of course you will be influenced by others, but I shouldn’t be sitting there thinking to myself “that bit is from Priest, that bit is from Accept, that is by Helloween/Gamma Ray oh and that bit is Blind Guardian” It sounds like a collection of 80’s Metal clichés that have already been overused.

Every review that Invictus receive is going to be a learning curve for them and I’m sure their fanbase will stick by them, but to gain a wider audience they need to find their own voice and not mimic others quite so much!

TRACKLISTING:
01. Intro
02. The Hammer
03. Inside Your Head
04. The Garden Of Eden
05. Through The Storm
06. Thought Of An Idea
07. Livin’ In The Future
08. Styx
09. Break The Chains
10. Insomnia
11. Burning Empire

LINE-UP:
Nicolas Peter – vocals
Fabio Winter – guitars
Fabian Scharf – bass
Andreas Honsberg – guitars
David Knobbe – drums

LINKS:
www.facebook.com/InvictusHeavyMetal
www.instagram.com/invictus_metal_official/
www.invictusheavymetal.bandcamp.com/
www.soundcloud.com/invictusmetal
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2vXotrzz7JPAa7M2JLE5VW
www.youtube.com/channel/UCMvNHGJU8lZJvZ6UzHCWSaA

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tsarina Wilson 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.