Band:LA-VENTURA Title:2.0 Genre:Melodic / Groove Metal Year:2015 Label:Ravenheart Music Sunday, March 27, 2016 : 0 Comments
In 2013 – time does fly, doesn’t it? – the Dutch Melodic, Groove Metal band LA-VENTURA released one hell of an album called “White Crow”. Song-wise, production-wise, … it was one of the best albums of that year, to say the least. You can read my review here. This release opened the gates of festivals like Metal Female Voices Fest (MFVF) in Belgium and FemME in The Netherlands.
Last year, in 2015, the band released a new EP: “2.0”. And to properly release it, they got in touch with two labels: Valkyrie Rising for Germany, Switzerland and Austria, and Ravenheart Music for The UK, Ireland and The Benelux.
“2.0” contains four brand-new tracks and a new drummer (Renzo van Poecke left his seat behind the drums for Stef Simons). Ruurd Woltring assisted with keyboards. The new release also shows a renewed LA-VENTURA, as the songs are very and more accessible, which can be considered a good or a bad thing, depending on your taste. In any case, it’s not “White Crow 2.0”, I’d say, but it’s got the LA-VENTURA stamp, in any case. (more…) More info at http://www.la-ventura.com/
Band:MARCHE FUNÈBRE Title:Lost Genre:Death / Doom Metal Year:2015 Label:Self-release Monday, February 1, 2016 : 0 Comments
The Belgian Death/Doom Metal band MARCHE FUNÈBRE is back with a pre-taste of things to come in 2016: the 7″ vinyl “Lost”, which contains two tracks. The first is a new one, “Lost (In The House Of Doom)”, the second is a re-recording of “As In Autumn”, which can be found in its original version on the band’s last album, “Roots Of Grief” (2013), whose review you can find here.
Before the making of this 7″ (only 100 hand-numbered copies), the band played throughout Europe, sharing the stage with many great bands (ABORTED, MOURNING BELOVETH, SATURNUS, AHAB and more). Now, they’re ready to take their music to the next level, hence working with Markus Stock (EMPYRIUM, THE VISION BLEAK). This resulted in a more powerful sound, a little warmer, too.
MARCHE FUNÈBRE will release its third full-length later this year. Maybe they had better put it out last year, in 2015, to follow the previous albums in their two years’ pace: “To Drown” in 2011 and “Roots Of Grief” in 2013. but it is what it is and this little appetizer is a nice offering to bridge the gap. (more…) More info at http://www.marchefunebre.be/
Band:MAGIC KINGDOM Title:Savage Requiem Genre:Symphonic Power Metal Year:2015 Label:AFM Records Sunday, January 31, 2016 : 0 Comments
Belgian guitarist Dushan Petrossi is a very active musician, having two bands to write music for: IRON MASK and MAGIC KINGDOM. The first is set up as a Hard Rock band with neo-classical influences, while the other aims more to please the Power Metal audience, even though both bands, in general, please both audiences. Since MAGIC KINGDOM’s last album, “Symphony Of War” (2010, see my review here), Dushan has been more at work for IRON MASK, for one reason or another. The result: “Black As Death” in 2011, and “Fifth Son Of Winterdoom” in 2013. You can find my respective reviews here and here.
Both bands have undergone some line-up changes in the past few years, so that could also explain why it was easier to focus on one band and let the other in the fridge until the circumstances were right to bring it back out. But Lady Fortuna found the time right to pay Dushan a visit and present him with new members for both of his bands. MAGIC KINGDOM is thus back with a new album, number four since the founding of the band in 1998: “Savage Requiem”, released in March 2015. (more…) More info at http://www.magic-kingdom.be/
Band:BRAINSTORM Title:Scary Creatures Genre:Power Metal Year:2016 Label:AFM Records : 0 Comments
Two years ago, the German Power Metal band BRAINSTORM made a fabulous return to form with “Fire Soul”, which you can read here. The skills of Mr. Achim Köhler were vital in bringing the band’s sound back to life. Of course, it takes more than a producer to create a good album. Thanks to the renewed connection – never change a winning team – the band can continue where it left off a few albums ago.
Now, anno 2016, the follow-up is out and again handled by Mr. Köhler: “Scary Creatures”. The band’s eleventh album begins with an orchestral intro, reminiscent in a way of MEGADETH’s “Symphony Of Destruction” or even a little of the hidden intro, in negative time, of KAMELOT’s “The March Of Mephisto”. Of course, to follow the theme, BRAINSTORM made its intro darker, scarier, … building up until their characteristic music power bursts out of the dark! Massive, obliterating, and more. With the typical slamming kind of Power Metal, the song sets forth, led by Andy B. Franck’s passionate vocals. The melodic bridge/pre-chorus (with atmospheric backing by the keyboards) link up smoothly with the massive-sounding, pounding chorus. The layered vocals add to the voluminous sound. The solo, over halfway, is nicely done. Nothing extravagant, nothing wild, but smoothly laid over the basic track. After that, the chorus returns on repeat, which is a trick they applied in practically every song. I can understand the reason for repeating a certain part, but applying the same trick over and over again is being lazy and in the long run it gets annoying to listen to. Despite that, this first song is killer! (more…) More info at http://www.brainstorm-web.net/
Band:SHAKRA Title:High Noon Genre:Hard Rock Year:2016 Label:AFM Records Sunday, December 27, 2015 : 0 Comments
The Swiss Hard Rock band SHAKRA parted ways with its vocalist Mark Fox in 2009 due to personal (or musical?) differences. In came John Prakesh, who did an excellent job replacing Mark, as you can read in my reviews of “Back On Track” (2011, see here) and “Powerplay” (2013, see here). John had a more diverse kind of voice, in my opinion, but as with many bands the vocalist can help give this or that band its own sound, its own identity. And that’s also what Mark Fox did to SHAKRA. Obviously, it takes several members to create that identity, but nevertheless…
Last year, after John Prakesh decided to leave the band and pursue other endeavours, mastermind/guitarist Thom Blunier wanted to carry on despite having to look again for a new vocalist. The other guitarist, Thomas Muster, however, was ready to call it quits. In came Chris von Rohr from KROKUS, who advised (mainly) Thom to get back in touch with Mark Fox and settle the differences from the past. And so it happened. Mark is back at the helm and ready to keep the SHAKRA train rolling. (more…) More info at http://shakra.ch/
Band:HEAVYLUTION Title:Children Of Hate Genre:Heavy / Power Metal Year:2015 Label:Brennus Music Saturday, December 5, 2015 : 0 Comments
HEAVYLUTION is a French Heavy / Power Metal band that was formed back in 2005 (at least, according to Metal-Archives.com; the band’s website states 2007). With their third release and debut full-length, they thus celebrate their tenth anniversary. It started with the “Metal Is Our Blood” demo in 2009, followed by the “The Architect” EP in 2011. Now, since February 2015, the first album is out under the title “Children Of Hate”.
Looking at the cover, I couldn’t help but think of IRON MAIDEN (“Brave New World”, for example) or GAMMA RAY, who also have their monstrous mascot. The album itself contains eleven tracks, including an intro.
It all begins with that intro, “The Call”. A guitar lead as basis, while slowly the power of Metal is added. The epic intro connects with “Children Of Hate”, which kicks off instantly. The fast kickdrums stand out in the rather slow verses. Leads are key in this band’s songs, without a doubt. As the speed increases, the influences from IRON MAIDEN and perhaps even STORMWARRIOR are crystal clear. And I must add that, in one way or another, Paul’s voice sounds somewhat similar to Bruce Dickinson’s. The slower chorus is quite simple, just look at the title. As said before, leads are important, but so are solos and for that the band invested a lot of effort. All the while, the rhythmic backing is submit to various changes. So far, a job well done. (more…) More info at http://www.heavylution.fr/
Band:CHRIS APPLETON Title:Restless Genre:Heavy Metal Year:2015 Label:Rocksector Records Sunday, October 4, 2015 : 0 Comments
Chris Appleton is known for his vocal and guitar work in FURY UK and ABSOLVA. But also on a solo level, the man seems to write and compose songs. According to Metal-Archives.com he first released an EP in 2005 prior to his latest achievement, “Restless”, which came out in February 2015. For this new album, which consists entirely of acoustic songs, Chris got the help of his brother Luke (FURY UK, ABSOLVA, ICED EARTH) on guitar and Wizz Wizzard (same-named band) on guest vocals. “Restless” was recorded in Lotenhulle, Belgium, which is also where the annual Wizzfest takes place. The album was produced by Chris and engineered by Bart Wyns, who also mixed and mastered it.
Next to six new songs, the tracklist is completed with three covers. Well, 2 “covers”, since “Only When It’s Over” (a ballad, off ABSOLVA’s “Flames Of Justice” album, 2012) and “I See Red” (which rocks more, obviously, on FURY UK’s last album, “A Way Of Life”, 2010) are songs which Chris has (co-?)written. It’s nice to hear such songs in a purer, organic version. The album concludes with the OZZY OSBOURNE classic “Mama I’m Comin’ Home”, a rendition that is very well executed. (more…) More info at https://www.facebook.com/chrisappletonuk
Band:KNOCK OUT KAINE Title:Rise Of The Electric Jester Genre:Hard Rock / Rock 'n' Roll Year:2015 Label:Rocksector Records Monday, August 10, 2015 : 0 Comments
KNOCK OUT KAINE is a British Hard Rock band, formed in 2009 or maybe a little earlier, as they won Kerrang’s “Best New Unsigned Act” competition in that year. This led to gigs with ADLER’S APPETITE, playing at Download Festival, and sharing the stage with STATUS QUO. 2012 was the year of the band’s debut album, “House Of Sins”. Anno 2015 the follow-up was finally released under the title “Rise Of The Electric Jester”. KNOCK OUT KAINE’s music is said to please fans of AC/DC, VAN HALEN, MÖTLEY CRÜE, STEELHEART and many more.
The album begins with “16 Grams Of Heart Attack”. The start reminded me a little of IRON MAIDEN, in that they have a similar kind of melodicness. Once it’s time to take off, it’s time to rock ‘n’ roll! Add the typical greasy vocals and you’ve got a recipe that can’t fail. Full power is reserved for the chorus, as backing vocals are added. The obligatory solo cuts the song in two. The intro theme returns at the end, giving the song a classic head and tail. “Fire & Smoke” starts in a groovy, Bluesy manner. Very catchy, indeed. There’s even room in this song for acoustic touches. Although this song is shorter than the first, the music prevails. (more…) More info at https://www.facebook.com/knockoutkaine
Band:BLACK WHISKEY Title:Heavy Train Genre:Classic Rock Year:2015 Label:Rocksector Records Friday, June 19, 2015 : 0 Comments
The British Classic Rock band BLACK WHISKEY was formed back in 2012. The band consists of former XENTRIX and HELLFIGHTER vocalist Simon Gordon, Kev Ingles (guitar / ex- 3 STATE BLUES and WEAPON), Mark T. Parkin (bass, legendary producer Steve Booker’s band) and Rich Bannister (drums / ex-NAKEDIUM). I haven’t heard of any of those bands, save XENTRIX, since I’ve got some of their albums. Simon Gordon was vocalist in XENTRIX from 1994-1997, during which time the band toured and released the album “Scourge”. In 2008 he formed HELLFIGHTER with former XENTRIX bandmates Kristian Havard and Dennis Gasser, releasing the album “Damnation’s Wings” in 2009.
But now, anno 2015, BLACK WHISKEY is here to present their debut album, “Heavy Train”, released on 9th February 2015. A UK Tour is planned for November and meanwhile the band have confirmed a UK festival appearance at Rock and Metal Circus on 14th September and are special guests with NWOBHM legends CHROME MOLLY on 25th October at the Rock Den in Hatfield. (more…) More info at https://www.facebook.com/BlackWhiskeyUK
Band:TYSONDOG Title:Cry Havoc Genre:Heavy Metal Year:2015 Label:Rocksector Records Sunday, June 14, 2015 : 0 Comments
TYSONDOG is a British Heavy Metal band from Newcastle. The band was formed in 1983, when NWOBHM was going strong. Via the well-known label Neat Records they released their debut album “Beware Of The Dog” in 1984. Cronos (VENOM) produced it. The following year TYSONDOG released the EP “Shoot To Kill”, preceding the sophomore album “Crimes Of Insanity”. Years later (in 2002) a compilation was put out.
I had never heard of TYSONDOG until I got a review copy of their latest album, “Cry Havoc”, a few months ago. The album was released in April 2015 and contains twelve tracks. It all begins with a police scene (shooting, cars, …) in “Cry Havoc”. The bass comes in, playing the main rhythm, leads join to create some tension, after which everything erupts into firm Heavy Metal. The vocals reminded me, somehow, of Blaze Bayley, albeit in a lighter version. Musically you get the kind of music that is similar to IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, BLAZE BAYLEY, and even, one way or another, IRON SAVIOR. The chorus is catchy, with those rhythms and melodies. Of course, with this kind of music, the guitar solo is a must. Coming back to the vocals, and that counts for the entire album: Was there and effect to them? Were the recordings like this? Did he sing behind a screen or something? The singing doesn’t sound or come out like it should. Or was this “effect” done on purpose? (more…) More info at http://www.tysondog.co.uk/