Band:OSTROGOTH Title:Last Tribe Standing Genre:Heavy Metal Year:2015 Label:Empire Records Sunday, April 12, 2015 : 0 Comments
OSTROGOTH is Belgium’s pride in the world of Heavy Metal. The band doesn’t really need an introduction, since even James Hetfield from METALLICA knows the band. OSTROGOTH saw the light of day in 1980. Three years later, a demo was put, containing two tracks. That same year, the EP “Full Moon’s Eyes” was unleashed upon the masses. This release contained four songs. The band was on a roll, as the following years three full-length releases were added to their curriculum vitae: “Ecstacy And Danger” (1984), “Too Hot” (1985) and “Feelings Of Fury” (1987). In 1988, things got too hot and feelings of fury – by manner of speech – caused the band to split.
They came back together in 2002 for the celebration of 20 years Mausoleum Records, for which the songs were recorded for the special live release of the label. But that same year, the plug was pulled again. Until 2010, when the drive to entertain the Metal population was popping up again. One thing let to another and after a series of gigs, it was time to make another recording. On a side-note, the band also has had its number of line-up changes, for various reasons. The last one being in 2014: guitarist Rudy ‘Whiteshark’ Vercruysse lost the battle with cancer. His wish had always been that, when he would have to step down (for whatever reason), Geert Annys (MYSTERY, STAINLESS STEEL, THUNDERFIRE, …) would be his replacement. And so it happened. (more…) More info at http://www.ostrogothofficial.com/
Band:ASTRALION Title:Astralion Genre:Power Metal Year:2014 Label:Limb Music Records Saturday, March 14, 2015 : 0 Comments
ASTRALION is a Finnish Melodic Power Metal band that was formed in 2011, after the demise of OLYMPOS MONS in 2010. The new band consists of members of OLYMPOS MONS (defunct), HUMANGOD, THE ADDICATION and TORNED. The band was barely founded, or two drummers are already counted as ex-members. Anno 2011, ASTRALION put out a 3-track demo, “Roadside Rose”. None of the songs survived for the debut full-length, “Astralion”, which was preceded by the single “At The Edge Of The World” in 2012.
The full-length was released on the 14th November 2014 by Limb Music, which also released OLYMPOS MONS’s debut album, “Conquistador”, in 2004. I did check out that album at the time, but found it too light for my taste. “Astralion” contains eleven songs and a good hour of melodic Metal pleasure.
It all begins with “Mysterious & Victorious”, which offers uptempo Power Metal in vein of SABATON, KALEDON, et cetera. Full melodic power comes out in the chorus and here it’s easy to think of bands like STRATOVARIUS, SONATA ARCTICA, RHAPSODY (OF FIRE), … As is custom in this genre and with Finnish Power Metal: clean vocals all the way, on all tracks. This first track is a bombastic one, by the book, but also well done. “The Oracle” begins with an atmospheric intro, building onwards with hymnic leads. It’s a midtempo song with a focus on heavy guitars, while keyboards faintly operate from the back. It’s also a straight-forward song, but with a catchy chorus. No complaints from my part. (more…) More info at http://www.astralion.org/
Band:UNDER NIGHT'S COVER Title:The March Of Avernus Genre:Heavy / Power Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Sunday, February 15, 2015 : 0 Comments
UNDER NIGHT’S COVER is an Australian Heavy / Power Metal band, formed a few years ago (2009). Last year they released their first EP: “The March Of Avernus”. This EP should have seen the light of day back in 2012, but circumstances weren’t favourable, also due to line-up changes. But with renewed force the band continued their hard work, which did make the release happen last year.
“The March Of Avernus” contains six tracks, including an intro, and has a playtime of a good 34 minutes. It all begins with the intro “Ambush”, which sounds exactly like that: war, shootings, commands or speeches being uttered in the back, … Not exactly a bird and bees kind of track. The violent Metal attack of “Yesterday… When The Peace Ended” kicks in instantly with powerful guitars and thundering drums. Johnny’s clean vocals contrast nicely with the music, yet give the songs also a more epic touch, in my opinion. Straight-forward verses link with the blastbeats of the pre-chorus and so into the Thrashy (or Speed Metal) chorus itself. Awesome and catchy stuff! The obligatory solos are reserved for the end, at which point the music also changes a few times to keep the listening experience attractive enough. (more…) More info at https://www.facebook.com/UnderNightsCover
Band:BLOODBOUND Title:Stormborn Genre:Heavy/Power Metal Year:2014 Label:AFM Records Wednesday, January 21, 2015 : 0 Comments
BLOODBOUND, the Swedish Heavy / Power Metal band, has been around for a long time. Last year, in 2014, they celebrated their tenth anniversary. But it wasn’t until 2006 that a first album would see the light of day: “Nosferatu”. This and the following albums were all in all good albums. And that series came to an end with the solid “Unholy Cross” from 2011. You can read my review here.
One year later, anno 2012, “In The Name Of Metal” came out. I didn’t check out the album at all, because back then I was already fed up with all those songs about Metal, about how great the music is (compared to Pop and other genres), about what a great community is brings together, blablabla. Such songs have been writing since Metal was branded Metal. No need to repeat it all the time, we all know that Metal (in its various forms) is a great music genre.
Two years after that commercial step, “Stormborn” came out and this in November 2014. Eleven tracks, including an intro. It all begins with the mysterious and dark “Bloodtale”. A speech is added to make it more lively. “Satanic Panic” – oh, it rhymes – kicks in next with catchy leadwork and uptempo Power Metal. Screaming vocals instead of regular singing: not bad, but it sounds overdone, as if Patrik is exceeding his limits. A hymnic bridge connects with a sing-along, midtempo chorus in vein of GRAVE DIGGER, POWERWOLF, NIGHTMARE, … Later on, after the solo, all Metal stops and you get only a choir and an organ for the chorus. Well, this sounds quite like POWERWOLF, no? Afterwards it’s back to business as usual. All in all, a good song to start with. (more…) More info at http://www.bloodbound.se/
Band:CREATURE Title:Utopia In Flames Genre:Death Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Saturday, December 27, 2014 : 0 Comments
I’ve seen the Belgian Melodic Death/Black Metal band CREATURE, which saw the light of day in 1998, at work a few times, the first time being – I believe – their participation in the Wacken Metal Battle final of 2010. Their first release came out in 2002: a 6-track demo titled “Apocalyptic Dawn”. This was followed by the 2003 EP “Triumph Of The Unborn”. Four years later, the band’s debut full-length was released: “Dying Nation”.
And now, anno 2014, seven years since the last release, a new EP is born: “Utopia In Flames”. This one contains seven tracks, including an intro, and ends after 30 minutes of playtime. Are they all new, or rather, recent songs? According to bassist Michaela Van Fleteren not exactly, but these songs were bound to be recorded some day and now it has happened.
Live-wise CREATURE has shared the stage with several bands, like MÅNEGARM, ROTTING CHRIST, SUIDAKRA, DYSCORDIA and more; Metalcamp in Slovenia is also on their palmares. (more…) More info at http://www.creature-net.com/
Band:OMEGA CROM Title:Beyond Control Genre:Power / Thrash Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Wednesday, November 26, 2014 : 0 Comments
OMEGA CROM is a Canadian Power/Thrash Metal band, formed in 2002, according to Metal-Archives.com. And apparently Stu Block (ex-INTO ETERNITY, ICED EARTH) used to be part of the band. It took them a while to release a first album, which occurred in 2009 (or 2010) under the title “Blood, Steel & Fire”. Prior to that, a 4-track demo was put out, titled “To Arms!”. Since August 2014, the band’s sophomore album is available: “Beyond Control”.
“Beyond Control” contains ten tracks and promises powerful, shredding and twisting tunes from start to finish. It begins with “Sundering Blades”. Slow Heavy Metal to start with. Gradually the whole becomes more powerful, bigger. Flashy solo, thundering drums… it all adds to the unsheathing of the blades, in a manner of speaking. Verses are pounded out of the speakers, the Metal backing growling vocals. There’s even room for blastbeats. The bridge (or pre-chorus) has clean vocals and the music also flows better in its Power Metal form, whereas in the verses it was almost like Melodic Death. With the (melodic) Power Metal, I had the impression that Johnny’s voice sounded similar to Damian Wilson’s (of British Progressive masters THRESHOLD). Musically, there’s enough change between the verses, bridge, chorus and the instrumental talk à la solos, blasting drums, etc. The vocals are overall high in the mix and Johnny desires to throw in high-pitched screams whenever he deems them necessary. In a lot of cases, they aren’t, in my humble opinion. Still, this first song is a pretty good one. (more…) More info at http://www.omegacrom.com/
Band:BLACKGATE Title:Blackgate Genre:Power/Thrash Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Monday, November 10, 2014 : 0 Comments
A new Power/Thrash band has stepped up: BLACKGATE. Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA, the band saw the light of day in November 2013 (according to their Facebook page). Any data on the time before BLACKGATE is currently unknown to mankind. More important is the fact that the band has been working hard the past year to get a first release ready, i.e. a self-titled EP with six tracks, totalling a playtime of a good half hour.
It all begins with “Caesar”. Again? On offer is fast, Thrashy riffing with of course the rest of the instrumentation following suit. Brutal, devastating Metal is unleashed, clearing the way for firm, straight-forward heaviness with clean vocals to take care of the more melodic side of the matter. Those vocals reminded me, in a way, of Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE, ex-SAVATAGE, …), and that’s a good thing. The music is also reminiscent of the Power Metal of CIIC, ICED EARTH, CROWN THE LOST, maybe a bit of MANTICORA (those Danish masters). The fast, Thrashy music returns in the chorus, which is catchy and headbang-friendly. Feel free to do so, but keep in mind that overdoing it may cause serious problems. Halfway it’s solo time, followed by an ideal moment to let the crowd participate in shouting the words. Back to pedal to the metal then with another solo, before returning to business. So far, a very good start. (more…) More info at https://www.facebook.com/BlackgateMetal
Band:4TH DIMENSION Title:Dispelling The Veil Of Illusions Genre:Symphonic Power Metal Year:2014 Label:Power Prog Sunday, October 19, 2014 : 0 Comments
Italy and Power Metal, it remains an eternal marriage. RHAPSODY (OF FIRE), ANCIENT BARDS, KALEDON, SECRET SPHERE, DERDIAN, LABYRINTH, VISION DIVINE, and many more. Joining this tip of the iceberg is 4TH DIMENSION. This band was formed back in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2011 that their debut album was released. “The White Path To Rebirth” was produced by Alessio Lucatti (VISION DIVINE, keyboards) and featured a guest vocals by Fabio Lione (RHAPSODY OF FIRE, VISION DIVINE, ANGRA), who’s been asked by numerous bands the past ten years. This release resulted in a spot on the “The Days Of Grays European Tour” in 2011, supporting SONATA ARCTICA, together with LABYRINTH.
Now, since March 2014, the follow-up album is out: “Dispelling The Veil Of Illusions”. Containing ten tracks, including an intro, I found a bit on the short side, when just looking at the total playtime of 40 minutes. In any case, the album begins with “Veil 3102″, an atmospheric, symphonic intro that starts softly and then unfolds itself into melodic Power Metal where keyboards lead the charge. The bombast accumulates, in vein of (old) NIGHTWISH, ANCIENT BARDS, etc… and links up directly with the power of “A Circle In The Ice”. Firm Power Metal is on offer, with clean vocals that are typical for this style. Melody is key, especially in the bridge and fast, catchy chorus. The band takes a step back around halfway, offers a sort of resting point by going into ballad-mode. Gradually they restore the power and round it off with the chorus. So far, a job well done. (more…) More info at http://www.4thdimensionmetal.com/
Band:AITTALA Title:Effigy Genre:Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Monday, September 22, 2014 : 0 Comments
Back in 2012 was the first time I heard about the American band AITTALA, led by multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Eric Aittala. In that year the band had released their second full-length, “Haunt Your Flesh”. You can read my review here. On that album you could experience a nice mix of Groovy Rock, Heavy and Power Metal. Aside from the gigs afterwards, the band worked on the follow-up, and experienced (another) line-up change (see below). In addition, the three songs from the “Selling Heaven” demo from 1993 were re-recorded. Even ex-drummer Ed Vereijken came back to help record two of those tracks.
Album number three came out in June 2014 under the title “Effigy”. As the band is still unsigned, this is another self-release. You can get your copy via Amazon, iTunes, Spotify, CDBaby, etc.
“Effigy” opens with “Pigs”. A direct, groovy Metal attack featuring clean vocals that contrast nicely with the music. Harmonic singing is done in the chorus. It’s a catchy song, reminiscent of METALLICA, PANTERA and similar. Solo time is due over halfway, played well and refined, not your typical wild solo. And that’s good. “Effigy”, the title track, is next. No instant attack here, but a building guitar intro, creating a bit of tension. This slowly leads to a full opening and take off of the song, still pretty slow with leadwork to add a touch of mystery. The heavy, groove-laden music works again very well with the clean singing. The chorus is melodic and very accessible, melancholic even. It reminded me of e.g. PARADISE LOST. The song could use a bit more speed, I’d say, on certain occasions. This would have made it a little more attractive, in my humble opinion. (more…) More info at http://www.aittala.com/
Band:DERDIAN Title:Human Reset Genre:Melodic Power Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Saturday, August 30, 2014 : 0 Comments
Back when MySpace was booming, was the no. 1 social medium, DERDIAN was one of the many bands on that platform that caught my attention. They were then promoting their debut album, “New Era Pt. 1″ (2005) like hell. Also, when “New Era Pt. 2 – War Of The Gods” came out, in 2007, again the band didn’t stop posting about it, even offering packages with both albums. I did buy the second album later, found it great that the band played the music that e.g. RHAPSODY (OF FIRE) played ten years earlier (“Legendary Tales”, “Symphony Of Enchanted Lands”).
The third album, “New Era Pt. 3 – The Apocalypse”, was not that good, in my humble opinion. Not only the songs, but also the production lacked punch. I found it a step back, especially compared to the preceding two albums. Afterwards I lost track of the band, which means I haven’t heard DERDIAN’s last album, “Limbo” (2013). Recently I got a mail from the band with regards to their newest release, “Human Reset”, which came out in July 2014. With thirteen tracks, this fifth full-length ends after a good 60 minutes. (more…) More info at http://www.derdian.com/