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/
Band:LAST BASTION Title:The Road To Redemption Genre:Melodic Power Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Wednesday, August 6, 2014 : 0 Comments
LAST BASTION is an American Power Metal band from Seattle. Two years after their formation in 2012, its members have a first full-length ready since April 2014. “The Road To Redemption” is the title. This album contains ten tracks, resulting in a playtime of almost 60 minutes. The artwork was done by Caio Caldas from CadiesArt.com, who has worked with DRAGONFORCE, CRYSTAL TEARS, SOULSPELL and many others.
“The Road To Redemption” starts with “I Know When I’m Home”. An atmospheric intro with keyboards leading the way and powerful vocals (clean with a rough edge), ideal for a Heavy / Power Metal band, singing the chorus. The whole slowly grows, builds and erupts indeed into melodic Power Metal. Guitars deliver power, but also do a lot of melodic work together with the keyboards. The song itself, as most on this album, are quite theatrical, hymnic even, and have catchy choruses. For a starter, this is very well done. (more…) More info at http://lastbastionofficial.com/
Band:DIABULUS IN MUSICA Title:Argia Genre:Gothic Metal Year:2014 Label:Napalm Records Tuesday, July 29, 2014 : 0 Comments
2012 was the year I got to know about the Spanish Gothic Metal band DIABULUS IN MUSICA, as they released their second full-length then, called “The Wanderer”. And it was a positive experience, I must say. See my review here. Since then the band played of course the necessary gigs, but also saw their line-up reduced to two people: Zuberoa Aznárez (vocals) and Gorka Elso (keyboards, growls). To be replaced: bass, guitar, and drums.
Several months later, in 2013, the line-up was completed with three new members. And so the band could continue to play gigs and more importantly, work on a new album. “Argia” was again mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen, like the band’s previous album, “The Wanderer”. And like before, the band got some help from guest musicians for vocals (a.o. Thomas Vikström – known from CANDLEMASS, THERION, etc.), choir, and instrumental recordings (a.o. Ad Sluijter on guitar, ex-EPICA). The album itself was released in April 2014. (more…) More info at http://diabulusinmusica.com/
Band:BENEATH Title:Antidote Genre:Thrash Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Sunday, July 20, 2014 : 0 Comments
The Swedish Thrash trio BENEATH was formed back in 1994. Not a lot is known about this band, though. Between 1994 and 2003 the band recorded and released five demos: see here. It wasn’t until 2008 that the band came back together and took the time to work on a first full-length. “Antidote” is the result and came out in March 2014. It’s a self-release, as BENEATH is one of the many unsigned bands out there. The press text also stated that for now there are no plans for a second album, but chances are open. For the recording of the guitar and piano parts, the band got help from several guest musicians.
“Antidote” contains nine tracks, totalling a playtime of a good 60 minutes, also due to a few longer songs. Upon looking at the releases on Metal-Archives.com, several tracks seem to be re-recordings of older songs. Whether or not the band re-recorded them as they were back then or reworked those songs a little, is unknown to me. (more…) More info at http://www.beneath.se/
Band:MEADOWS END Title:The Sufferwell Genre:Symphonic/Melodic Death Metal Year:2014 Label:Self-release Sunday, June 29, 2014 : 0 Comments
MEADOWS END, the Swedish Symphonic/Melodic Death Metal band, first came to my attention in 2011, when they released their debut album, “Ode To Quietus”. See my review here. Since then I’ve played the album many times, for the lads did make quite a catchy and entertaining album with a… charming production, so to speak. In any case, “Ode To Quietus” is an album to be proud of, and one to have in your collection.
Several gigs and a few years later, album no. 2 is out and this since the 13th of June this year: “The Sufferwell”. This is again a self-release, as no label seems yet able to recognize the band’s potential and sign them. “The Sufferwell” was mixed and mastered by Oscar Nilsson (see his page on Metal-Archives.com) from Crehate Studios (see here), who gave the songs a powerful and tight sound. A big difference with the aforementioned “charming” production. Also, guitarist Stefan Sjölander was replaced by Rikard Öqvist last year. The artwork was again done by Fredrik Burholm (website). (more…) More info at http://www.meadowsend.org/
Band:FIREFORCE Title:Deathbringer Genre:Heavy/Power Metal Year:2014 Label:Limb Music Products Sunday, June 15, 2014 : 0 Comments
The Belgian formation FIREFORCE, playing Heavy/Power Metal since 2008, have returned to the battlefield. After their debut album, “March On”, in 2011, and many gigs later, including the one at Wizzfest (see here) in March this year, album no. 2 will be unleashed on the 20th of June 2014 via Limb Music Products. As for “March On”, the band again collaborated with Dimitri Liapakis (MYSTIC PROPHECY) to have a powerful and fitting sounds for their new tunes.
“March On” was a very good album, even if the recipe has been tried and tested several times, FIREFORCE did a proper job on it. And so they do live. Considering the “never change a winning team” (except for the line-up) credo, it’s no surprise that “Deathbringer” continues where “March On” left off. Thirteen tracks, including a TYGERS OF PAN TANG cover (“Gangland” from the “Spellbound” album from 1981), to shake the ground from start to finish, taking no prisoners. (more…) More info at http://www.fireforceband.com/
Band:WARCKON Title:High Treason Genre:Thrash Metal Year:2014 Label:Emanes Metal Records Saturday, June 14, 2014 : 0 Comments
It’s only since last year that I know about the Belgian Thrash Metal band WARCKON. The band was formed in 2009. Two years later, their debut album came out under the title “The Madman’s Lullaby”. Several gigs and a selection among the last 100 contenders of Humo’s Rock Rally, Belgium’s biggest mainstream rock rally, WARCKON signed a label deal with the French Emanes Metal Records, who re-released the aforementioned album in 2012. More gigs were played, including sharing the stage with bands like ARTILLERY, HYADES and ENFORCER. Since March 1st, 2014, album no. 2 is available: “High Treason”.
The album begins with the intro “Mare Tranquilitatis”, on which waves sounds of a music box can be heard, joined by incoming guitar leads. Gradually the whole grows, becomes more powerful, creating a tension that will snap as the old school Thrash of “The Weak” kicks in. It’s got the typical ingredients: shouting vocals, shredding guitars and that humpa-beat. The solo sounds rough, though. Still, quite a good track to start with. Dark, mysterious lead to “(My Very Own) Moriarty”. As the Metal breaks free, it’s got a somewhat dancy touch. I would almost describe it as TÝR (that Folk/Power Metal band from the Faroe Islands) going Thrash. Over halfway, it’s (screamy) solo time. There’s more of those later on, even in dual form. But again, the sound is rough/raw. A matter of taste, I’d say, as the lads keep it old school. (more…) More info at http://www.warckon.com/