Band:ASCENSION Title:Far Beyond The Stars Genre:Heavy / Power Metal Year:2013 Label:Limb Music Products Monday, November 25, 2013 : 0 Comments
ASCENSION is a young, Scottish Heavy/Power MEtal band, hailing from Aberdeen. The band was formed to play Metal in vein of GAMMA RAY, HELLOWEEN, HAMMERFALL, DRAGONFORCE and so on. In 2005, a year after the band was founded, the self-titled EP was released. It took the lads, despite or thanks to line-up changes, one more year to put out a second EP, titled “Fortress”.
But all this changing of members led to a proper relaunching of the band in 2009. EP no. 3 was unleashed under the title “Moongate”. To promote this EP, ASCENSION got to share the stage with BROKEN MELODY from Italy. They also played at Metalfest UK, sharing the stage with DRAGONLAND, PRIMAL FEAR, VISION DIVINE and BLAZE BAYLEY. Anno 2010 the band released a new EP, “Alchemy”.
For their debut full-length, “Far Beyond The Stars”, the Scots went to Sweden, to Andy LaRocque’s studio (Sonic Train Studios). The UK tour that followed was shared with AXENSTAR from Sweden. The album was released in 2012, but the German label Limb Music Products re-released it around mid October 2013. (more…) More info at http://www.ascensionband.co.uk/
Band:MASTERS OF DISGUISE Title:Knutson's Return Genre:Heavy Metal Year:2013 Label:Limb Music Products Wednesday, November 20, 2013 : 0 Comments
MASTERS OF DISGUISE is a new band, formed by the members of ROXXCALIBUR, under which monniker the lads revived the NWOBHM classics. So far, two albums were put out, “NWOBHM For Muthas” (2009, see my review here) and “Lords Of The NWOBHM” (2011, see my review here). Both releases are a must for any Heavy Metal and/or NWOBHM-fan. I had the pleasure to see ROXXCALIBUR live at work last year, and I can tell you it was awesome!
But while SAVAGE GRACE is no more and the Thrash band ABANDONED is slowly rising from its long sleep – the band’s last album dates from 2007 (“Thrash You!”) – a new band was formed, MASTERS OF DISGUISE. Their debut full-length, “Back With A Vengeance” just came out (15th November), but there is a 3-track EP preceding it, titled “Knutson’s Return”. This came out on the 25th of October as digital download, for a limited time only.
The EP kicks off with “For Now And All Time (Knutson’s Return)”. The song takes a direct start, offering fast and furious Heavy Metal. Epic vocals with high-pitched screams round it off. This sounds very old school, but a tad faster, I’ve got the impression. The chorus, compared to the verses, sounds rather hymnic. Solos are set halfway the song, after which ist’s back to business. (more…) More info at http://www.masters-of-disguise.com/
Band:ARGUS Title:Beyond The Martyrs Genre:Heavy / Doom Metal Year:2013 Label:Cruz Del Sur Music Sunday, November 17, 2013 : 0 Comments
Two years ago, the American Heavy/Doom Metal band ARGUS put out its second album, “Boldly Stride The Doomed”. See my review here. This release received a lot of positive press, and it was a very good album, so… Two EPs and a live DVD later, the band returns with a new studio album: “Beyond The Martyrs”. This one came out on the 4th of October, again via the Italian label Cruz Del Sur Music. Album no. 3 contains 8 tracks, totalling a playtime of over 40 minutes of eargasmic Metal. The band will embark on a European tour, or rather, is currently on tour in Europe to promote this new release.
It begins with “By Endurance We Conquer”. You can’t start the album with a bang in this genre, it isn’t Thrash or Death Metal, you know. So a nice melodic guitar intro will do the job perfectly. Add the drums and little by little, all is unfolded, and it’s time to ROCK! Butch sings with a certain fierceness and passion, reminiscent (in my opinion) of Zak Stevens (CIRCLE II CIRCLE, ex-SAVATAGE), with the big difference that Butch has more power in his voice. The chorus has a hymnic character, which is very nice. The rhythm section is tight, and the guitar work stands out (leads and rhythm). All ends like it started. While it’s a rather simple song, it is damn tasty and, yes, perfect! First class material! (more…) More info at http://www.argusmetal.com/
Band:IRON MASK Title:Fifth Son Of Winterdoom Genre:Neo-Classical Power Metal / Hard Rock Year:2013 Label:AFM Records Monday, November 11, 2013 : 0 Comments
It’s been two years since the last IRON MASK album, i.e. “Black As Death”. See my review here. That album got a lot of positive press, showed that the band is among the best in Europe. Mark Boals (ex-YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) delivered more than the goods. And since all went so well, he was asked to also sing on the follow-up, “Fifth Son Of Winterdoom”, which is just out, again via AFM Records.
Keyboards were this time played by – and here I’ll need the booklet to be sure, because the press text and Metal-Archives.com are contradicting each other – either Andreas Lindhal (AFM press text), who played the keys on “Shadow Of The Red Baron”, but also worked with MANTICORA, WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and more, or it was Mats Olausson, who played the keyboards on “Black As Death”, and has worked with YNGWIE MALMSTEEN, EVIL MASQUERADE and more.
While “Black As Death” was a rather heavy album, Dushan and co. opted for a more accessible and catchy album this time. However, this new release does have a bit of everything: heavy rocking tunes, ballads, more melodic songs, … But less powerballs than on “Black As Death”. On a sidenote, Roma Siadletski is not singing on this album. (more…) More info at http://www.iron-mask.com/
Band:MYSTERY Title:2013 Genre:Hard Rock / Heavy Metal Year:2013 Label:Metalopolis Records Wednesday, October 30, 2013 : 0 Comments
It’s always nice to get new review material, but if you have to look up info on the album (tracklist) on the internet, instead of finding it on the paper that was sent with the CD… not good. Especially when there’s still room to add it. Anyway, here we have MYSTERY, a young Australian Hard Rock / Heavy Metal band. When I first saw the name, I thought it was from the German band THE MYSTERY.
MYSTERY was formed back in 2010. Its members were then 12 and 13 years old. Very soon the band started sharing the stage with MANOWAR, NIGHTWISH, AT VANCE, KISSIN’ DYNAMITE, JADED HEART and so on. They’ve also played several shows in the US, Germany, Japan, …
“2013″ appears to be the title of this band’s debut album. So far for inspiration. But the guys kept it simple and that can be a good thing. The album contains ten tracks, of which the last two are covers. The playtime is over after about 30 minutes, which means short songs, which means they have to be catchy. No room for extras or fancy stuff. (more…) More info at http://www.mysteryrocks.net/
Band:LOCUS CONTROL Title:Àttavita Genre:Instrumental Rock/Metal Year:2013 Label:Self-release Monday, October 21, 2013 : 0 Comments
LOCUS CONTROL is a Belgian instrumental formation, formed several years ago (2005). I saw them at work at Metal Against Child Cancer in 2009, where they opened the fest. I also found them very surprising, but unfortunately the guys didn’t have a CD out then. I saw the name pass here and there only a few times, but four years later, Stefaan (bass) and co. are back and with a full-length: “Àttavita”, released in February 2013. But preceding this release, it seems the band released a mini-CD “287″, containing 3 tracks.
But onto the new release, “Àttavita”. It contains six songs, totalling a playtime of about 40 minutes. “Six Degrees” (no, nothing to do with the DREAM THEATER album ) takes off with a catchy midtempo rhythm, leading to pounding Rock! And variety is key here, as the drums clearly demonstrate. It can go from ballsy rocking to something firmer, or even slower, or melodic. Around halfway there’s a bass solo/break, in a Jazzy fashion. It could have used a bit more volume, à la Cliff Curton (see e.g. “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, “Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth)”, …). Afterwards, it’s back to melodic Rock. And so the waves continue, all ending with a bang! (more…) More info at http://www.locuscontrol.be/
Band:BUFFALO SUMMER Title:Buffalo Summer Genre:Classic Rock Year:2012 Label:Cargo Records Saturday, October 5, 2013 : 0 Comments
BUFFALO SUMMER hails from South Wales and was formed a few years go. Style of music: Classic Rock. Early last year (February 2012), the band released its debut album, a self-titled one. While I tend to focus on Metal (and the occasional Hard Rock release), I got a mail from Rob from Stampede Press UK regarding the band’s newly released video of “Down To The River” (see it here). I checked it out, as well as the album, and found the material worth spreading the word about. And it’s nice to have something light(er) to listen to now and then, which is where Classic Rock comes in as a very nice option.
“Buffalo Summer” offers over half and hour of catchy, groove-laden songs, inviting you to sing along when you feel the need. It begins with “She’s So Natural”, kicking off instantly with a catchy rhythm and ditto lead. The material is very accessible, throughout the album. The electric grooves vs the soft, clean vocals: a combination that works very well. Somehow this song reminded me a little of one of JAMIROQUAI’s hits. But BUFFALO SUMMER rocks more. It’s a short song, but there is room for a solo, yes indeed. And this break, so to speak, is very welcome; it adds a bit of spice to the song. (more…) More info at http://buffalosummer.net/
Band:SANDSTONE Title:Delta Viridian Genre:Power / Progressive Metal Year:2013 Label:Limb Music Products Saturday, September 28, 2013 : 0 Comments
The sympathetic Northern Irish rockers from SANDSTONE are back with a new full-length release. It was back in 2009 that I got acquainted with their Heavy/Progressive Metal, as Limb Music re-released “Purging The Past”. See my review here. Two years later, the excellent follow-up came out: “Cultural Dissonance”. My findings were posted here. This album resulted in a first European tour, supporting Tim Ripper Owens, together with THE DIFFERENCE, one of Belgium’s finest Prog bands.
This package tore down the roof, back in September 2012. See my little report here. That’s when I also had the chance to exchange a few words with the band. In any case, I had a great time then, and certainly when the band finished its tour in Belgium once more, in a more free and casual way. Support then came from the Dutch Heavy Metal band LORD VOLTURE.
Earlier this year, in June 2013, SANDSTONE’s fourth studio album saw the light of day. “Delta Viridian” is the title. The album is a semi-concept album loosely based on the novel “Cat’s Cradle” by Kurt Vonnegut. See the page on Goodreads or on the website of Gollancz (publisher). (more…) More info at http://www.sandstonerocks.com/
Band:CIVIL WAR Title:The Killer Angels Genre:Heavy / Power Metal Year:2013 Label:Despotz Records Tuesday, September 10, 2013 : 0 Comments
I’ve never been a fan of SABATON, even though they have some good songs in their catalogue. Don’t ask me to name any, because I don’t follow the band, nor do I have any of their albums. Several years ago, I did see them live at work, but they couldn’t convince me. The gig wasn’t bad at all, but nothing extraordinary either.
Last year, the majority of the members left the band and formed CIVIL WAR. SABATON also found replacements to carry on. CIVIL WAR still needed a vocalist and a bass player to complete the line-up. Those two positions were filled by, respectively, Nils Patrik Johansson (ASTRAL DOORS, LION’S SHARE, WUTHERING HEIGHTS) and Stefan “Pizza” Eriksson (HELL PATROL, ex-CRYONIC TEMPLE, and several more).
In 2012, a self-titled EP was released, containing five songs, of which “Rome Is Falling” also made it onto the band’s debut full-length, “The Killer Angels”, the title being taken from the novel by Michael Shaara about the battle of Gettysburg. This release was put out in June 2013 via Despotz Records, like the EP. It contains eleven tracks, including one bonus track. (more…) More info at http://www.civilwar.se/
Band:HAIDUK Title:Spellbook Genre:Death / Black Metal Year:2012 Label:Self-release Friday, August 16, 2013 : 0 Comments
HAIDUK is a solo project by guitarist Luka Milojica, who resides in Canada. This project, consisting of Death/Black Metal, was formed in the same year of his first release, the “Plagueswept” demo, i.e. 2010. The songs are said to be based on themes of magic, evil, nature and myth. Last year, in July 2012, he released his debut full-length, “Spellbook”. As Luka works solo and is a guitarist, he had to make use of a drum computer to fill that void.
“Spellbook” consists of ten tracks, totalling a playtime of more than half an hour. It begins with “Lich”, which takes a direct start. Fast, pumping Black/Death Metal comes streaming out of the speakers. There’s a slowdown for the verses, or what I think are verses. It’s the only vocal passage, growled in vein of BOLT THROWER. The music also resembles a little that of the British veterans. Instrumental talk dominates, as it does throughout the entire album, in fact. (more…) More info at http://www.haiduk.ca/