Areis – Areis

Areis Album Cover Art

Areis – Areis
Release Date: 10/09/2021
Running Time: 39:12
Review by Steven Hooke

The region of Occitania in Southwestern Europe that acts almost as a centre point to the Venn diagram of France, Spain, Monaco, and Italy, drawing in cultures, dialects and history from a multitude of sources. Hailing from today’s geography lesson is Areis, a four-piece from the French Occitanie region who – much like their homeland – pull in inspirations from a variety of styles, creating a mood board of punk, post-hardcore, sludge and black metal.

On this, their debut self-titled album, Areis offer a fluid amalgamation of genres that share a kinship with the likes of Giver, Pariso and Morokh. A duality of low-end grooves and higher-end melodies dominate the album, traversing the realms of blackened hardcore (‘Born Again’, ‘Le Pain Maudit’, ‘Of Gold And Blood’), melodic hardcore (‘Eternal Curse’, ‘The Wanderer’, ‘Recall’) and post-rock (‘Under The Sun’, ‘Vacillate’). The album’s wonderful production job allows both layers to be heard crisply, revealing a strong library of riffs from axemen Paul Gonzalvez and Pablo Malbec, and bringing forth an extraordinary wall of sound on the final third of the release, with a rich, full climax in ‘Recall’ through to ‘Vacillate’.

Another dual-attack on “Areis” is the tandem vocals of Gonzalvez and bassist/vocalist Michaël Jarrié. A similar attack as their instrumentals, the pair trade low growls and a gritty, hardcore bark to add an extra layer of assault to their sound. Both vocal styles share the limelight in fair and naturally-feeling transitions that do not take away from the momentum a song has built, and even add to the energy of a song when layered, creating a vicious gang-vocal-esque effect, heard from the off on opener ‘A Wretched Vow’.

It’s a fair outing for the quartet on their debut. What could’ve been a muddied sound is in fact a new worthwhile entry into the modern hardcore spectrum, with dynamic vocal and tonal pairings, a cracking production job, and a bounty of jaw-clenching riffs. But while there are a lot of interesting ideas and arrangements, it’s hard to think that Areis have lent on this potential creativity enough. Looking at bands such as Respire, Svalbard and Birds in Row – 3 bands who also craft a sound made from hardcore, black metal, and aggression-tinged melodies, albeit in a much different way to Areis – they push the boundaries of their already-very loose parameters, and experiment from the first note to the last. In Areis, the furthest they leave the core sound of the debut is ‘You Are The Best At Your Worst’, which ironically feels like it takes more away from the broader sound, stepping closer to a more straight-forward groove metal sound when there are so many different avenues at their disposal.

The good news from this is the aforementioned bands are all at least two albums in with a plethora of EP’s and comps surrounding them. The fact that Areis can sniff at their heels, and draw comparisons to Giver, et al. paints the Occitans in a strong and hopeful light for the future, and a group to put stock into now.

‘Under The Sun (Official Video)

01. A Wretched Vow
02. Born Again
03. The Wanderer
04. Of Gold And Blood
05. Eternal Curse
06. You Are The Best At Your Worst
07. Escur
08. Le Pain Maudit
09. Recall
10. Under The Sun
11. Vacillate

Paul Gonzalvez – Vocals, Guitars
Michaël Jarrié – Vocals, Bass
Pablo Malbec – Guitar
Antoine Dineur – Drums


Areis Promo Pic

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Phoenix Rising – Acta Est Fabula

Acta Est Fabula Album Cover Art

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

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

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

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

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

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


Phoenix Rising Promo Pic

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

Temtris – Ritual Warfare

Ritual Warfare Album Cover Art

Temtris –  Ritual Warfare
Release Date: 30/04/2021
Running Time: 48:45
Review by Simon Black

The sixth album from the Australian Metallers opens with a thundering drum line that really whets the appetite for what follows, which is eight tracks of traditional styled Heavy Metal, with just a teensy-weensy hint of Thrash. Temtris have been at this a while so have that heavy guitar delivery down pat, with the solid alternating sparring rhythm and lead split that NWOBHM made so widely popular, although the rest of the time you wouldn’t necessarily spot that there were two guitars in the mix. When this distinction comes clear, my word these boys can fly and I wonder why they’ve chosen to indistinguishably synch their playing everywhere else, as the technical ferocity on display when these instruments open up is little short of formidable.

Song-writing wise there is some great structure and incredibly catchy but punchy delivery, although I struggle somewhat with the vocal phrasing through some of this. I wonder if Genevieve Rodda plays drums, because she follows the rhythm riff melody so meticulously throughout – rather than extending and varying it (much like early thrash singers tended to do as so much of their attention was focussed on the guitar round their necks). This is a bit of a shame, as it feels like she is playing catch up with the instruments rather than leading from the front with more complimentary melody lines even though she clearly has a very good range and a really powerful vocal delivery. That said, in places that gutsy delivery works really well, creating a relentlessly heavy rhythmic and hypnotic effect that pulls you in. What’s missing is variety, although we get snatches of it in moments when the pace mellows out – such as the halfway point in ‘Seven Sins Of Man’. This is one of the longer tracks on the album, so gets to play about with the format more than most and is much the stronger for it by a country mile. Again, when Rodda does lead from the front, such as in the relentless ‘Forever’ or the introduction to the title track, her sustained and soaring vocal delivery is little short of spectacular, gives Rob Halford a run for his money and leaves me wishing that she had opened up a bit more elsewhere.

If I was going to pick a word to summarise this album I would perhaps choose ‘restrained’. They lift the lid on their technical skill at moments, but this doesn’t feels like a band that’s hungry consistently throughout. That said, what it misses in consistency of performance, more than makes up with song-writing and the anger lyrically is palpable and picked up and carried by the rest of the band. Solid stuff, which maybe just needed a touch more pre-production before hitting the studio – although like so many bands at the moment, this is probably just a consequence of the lockdown writing process. Nevertheless, absolutely worth some of your valuable time to listen to.

‘Ritual Warfare’ (Lyric Video)

01. Race To The End
02. One For All
03. Seven Sins Of Man
04. Forever
05. Ritual Warfare
06. Tempus Aeturnum
07. Erased
08. Always United

Genevieve Rodda – Vocals
Anthony Fox – Guitar
Nik Wilks – Bass
Nicholas Bolan – Drums
Nadi Norouzian – Guitar


Temtris 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.

Arched Fire – Remote Control

Remote Control Album Cover Art

Arched Fire – Remote Control
Release Date: 30/04/2021
Running Time: 38:44
Review by Simon Black

There’s been a lot of this of late. This, being bands I’ve never heard of releasing albums with a several decades back story that is. The recent revival in NWOBHM and the 80’s in general has seen a wave of new acts influenced by their parent’s (or indeed grand-parents) record collections in much the same I was by my Mum’s Stones and Beatles records a long time ago. It’s also seen a lot of acts who were around at the time and either did not stay the pace, or never really got going before Grunge et al became the focus of the easily distracted labels searching for the next big thing.

Finland’s Arched Fire definitely fall into that final category who were teenagers when they formed in 1989 and by the time they had got their shit together, the world had well and truly moved on. They folded early, without really getting the chance to even dent a wider, and at that time, burgeoning European Underground scene, with all the members moving on to other projects in the intervening years before reforming very recently and producing this album. After thirty-two years of gestation and the experience gained on other projects the old A&R adage that a band has years to write the first album has never been more correct and it would be interesting to know just how many of the songs were birthed in the 1980’s.

So enough of the history and on to the present.

Stylistically this is NWOBHM with a strong vein of Speed Metal running though it and a few Thrash-like motes and time changes thrown in for good measure. I’m quite enjoying Kristian Herkman’s vocal turn, which alternates from a straight Rock / Metal clean delivery to some incredibly high ranging shrill screams that hybridise Halford’s unique turn on ‘Painkiller’ whilst snorting Martin Walkyier’s Sabbat era delivery. It’s an odd mixture but works quite well and adds variety and tone to proceedings.

Musically the guitar work is fluid and melodic when the solos come around, but the overall musical arrangements can sound a little jerky and I am left with the feeling that even though the material has been simmering on the pot for a long time, that it could have also benefitted for a little more time spent on pre-production. It’s also let down a little by the production, which whilst retaining that retro feel of a hastily recorded demo just doesn’t sound rich enough for the day and age we live in. The drums and vocals suffer from this in particular although the stringed instruments sound punchy and fat. It’s frustrating, as with a little more care the overall sound would have compensated somewhat for the chaotic arrangements. Nevertheless, an interesting start, and I can see the energy and chaos being transferred into the live arena much more effectively.

‘Wormhole’ (Lyric Video)

01. Hindsight 20/20
02. Back On Track
03. Remote-Controlled End
04. Crawling Down
05. …And Ride Away
06. A.T.W.
07. Wormhole
08. Escape
09. Futile
10. From Dust To Dust

Kristian Herkman – Vocals
Aslak Purojärvi – Drums
Mika Rytilahti – Bass
Janne Särkelä – Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Ari Väntänen – Rhythm Guitar


Arched Fire Promo Pic (credit Tapio Wilska)
Photo Credit: Tapio Wilska

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.

Blood Moon Hysteria – My Sacrifice EP

My Sacrifice EP Cover

Blood Moon Hysteria – My Sacrifice E.P
Wormholedeath Records
Release Date: 13/04/2018
Running Time 22.03
Reviewed by Tsarina Wilson

Blood Moon Hysteria are a Norwegian band, founded in 2015 and consist of Runar Beyond (music and lyrics) and Fredrik S.

This E.P is very atmospheric in music but very dark and gritty in vocals with Runar’s impressive gravelly voice. With just 4 tracks, you would be forgiven for thinking you were going to get some run of the mill tracks but this is truly a dark and melancholy set of songs.

The acoustic guitar playing is quite haunting at times and the riffs are enough to give you goose bumps, yet somehow they manage to gel with the fuzzy vocals and everything just seems to work. The spoken part is very dark and, although the words are difficult to understand, it doesn’t leave anything to the imagination. It’s gritty and powerful, almost a throw-back to 90’s black metal.

The band focus on electric guitars, deep bass, eerie mellotron, which separately are good but mixed together are very explosive, and the synths are very clean to listen to. The tracks start slowly, build you up and then take you back down again.

01. My Sacrifice
02. Deception
03. Towards the Abyss
04. Deception Part 2


Promo Pic1_1

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.

Apparition – The Awakening

The Awakening Cover

Apparition – The Awakening
WormholeDeath Records
Release Date: 02/02/2018
Running Time: 52:55
Review by Tsarina Wilson

Apparition are a band from the UK and their music is a mix of so many things. It’s rock, it’s operatic, it’s haunting but one thing it is, is brilliant.

This metal rock band formed in 1997 and David Homer (Bass) first started the band as a female voice project. In 2014 there was the addition of guitarist Amy Lewis and drummer Ashley Guest, also of Benediction and Besieged, followed by returning vocalist Fiona Creaby, also of Fallen Arise, who reunited with the band after 5 years away.

They began writing the material for The Awakening to follow on from various studio projects, including Drowned in Questions (2006), their previous successful EP The Salvation, which was released in 2008, and For Vengeance and For Love (2011).

They have travelled all over the UK and Europe as support band for well-known acts such as Septic, Revamp, The Agonist, Delain, and have appeared at festivals such as The Dames of Darkness festival (UK), Metal Over Malta (Malta) and the Kraken Festival (Belgium)

The 2011 album “For Vengeance and For Love” was well received and it was David’s idea was to record, mix, and master it all at Hertz Studio in Bialystok in Poland, with the well-known Wielawski Bros who have also worked with Hate, Vader, and The Foreshadowing, to name a few.

In 2015, guitarist Paul “Kull” Culley joined the band as co-writer, alongside David and Fiona. With mixing and mastering completed in 2016, planning the release became priority in 2017, when Apparition signed to WormHole Death Records (Italy). This coincided with 20 years of Apparition history and the release was due for early 2018.

Arranged and produced by Fiona and Kull, this album is just brilliant. The first track, The Awakening, being an instrumental, gives the listener a false sense of security, making you think it’s an ok opening for a great film track, then, boom, takes you straight into track two, Hold Back the Night and you certainly know you’re in for something special. The vocals are crisp and spine chilling, with drumming that will almost have you out of breath, and the guitar riffs are truly amazing. The songs take you on a ride of emotions, bringing you up, then calming you down, speaking of love, passion and loss but they are energetically put together and there is a great passion in the vocals.

The lineup of Ashley Guest (Drums), Fiona Creaby (Vocals), David Homer (Bass), Amy Lewis (guitars) Paul “Kull” Culley (guitars/sequencing) works so well together.

I love the artwork on the cover. After all, they say that the eye is the window to the soul and this band certainly gets to your soul. It doesn’t matter where you listen to this, it will give you goosebumps.

Track 8 “Home” is my favorite, as you can just close your eyes and melt away into it, making you grateful for what you have. Fiona’s voice is so gentle yet so strong, and the range of her vocals is out of this world. Although the tracks vary from soft and gentle to more rockier ones, the clarity of the vocals is never lost. The guitar riffs are wow, Ashley on drums is brilliant and the whole package just works so well together.

One thing I will say is you won’t get bored of listening to this album. It just keeps giving.

This album will very much be one I’ll be playing over and over.

01. The Awakening (intro)
02. Hold Back the Night
03. The Ames Of Darkness
04. The Other Side
05. Reasonance
06. The Night an Angel Died
07. Eternity
08. Home
09. Break the Chains
10. Our Story Lives On
11. Twilight
12. As Shadows Play


Apparition Promo Pic1

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

Worhol – The Awakening

Worhol - The Awakening

Worhol – The Awakening
Imminence Records / WormHoleDeath
Release Date: 10/03/2017
Running Time 37:56
Review by Tsarina Wilson

“The Awakening” is the debut album from Texan symphonic metal / rock band Worhol.  If the name sounds familiar that’s because guitarist / pianist / composer Larry Worhol and his daughter, vocalist / pianist / composer Ashley are related to pop art icon Andy Warhol and wanted the family name to be the band name. Larry and Ashley are both very passionate about the music they love, have music degrees and a love of classical music, which is why they decided to form this band along with bassist / visual artist Craig Malinowski and drummer Marty Naul to realise their vision. They have been together since 2013 and have gradually been writing new music and touring, releasing a music video which received much interest. After signing a record deal with Imminence Records and a publishing deal with WormHoleDeath they are now ready to unleash their first album … and what an album it is!

“The Awakening” is one of those albums that, once you’ve listened to it, you have to keep going back to it! I say that because I’ve found myself drowning in Ashley’s vocals!

“Time To Say Goodbye” is my favourite track on the album, full of haunting vocals and lyrics, the whole album is full of twists, turns and musical variation and just when you think you have heard a good track, boom! The next one is equally as punchy!

You can air guitar to the solos in your head and you get lost in another world listening to them. There are very few female singers in this genre who will give you goose bumps but Ashley definitely does this to me throughout the course of the album, it’s so powerful without being overpowering, yet in the background orchestral hints keep you listening throughout without it ever becoming boring.

I could easily see Worhol being sought after by film makers for soundtrack music, with the powerful vocals and intense music this album has, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Guitars in track seven, “We, The Abused” are amazing … they build you up, drop you then pick you up again!

Ashley’s voice is so hypnotic yet so classical and with the background music and orchestral arrangements, you can’t help but listen to every second of the “The Awakening” in case you miss something. It truly keeps you listening and I can only imagine and can’t wait to see what Worhol would be like in concert, they would keep crowds riveted and I for one would be there to see them!

“The Awakening” is a fabulous debut album and it’s been a thrill to have this as my first ever review!

01. Voices From Above
02. Bowing Before You
03. Time To Say Goodbye
04. Already Forgotten
05. Rage And Revenge
06. In This Town
07. We, The Abused
08. Jurisdiction
09. Is This What’s Left Of Me



Disclaimer:  This review is the sole property of Tsarina Wilson and Ever Metal.  It is strictly forbidden to reproduce any part of this review, unless you have the explicit permission of both parties; failure to comply will be treated as plagiarism and reported to the relevant authorities.