Closing the TOM-chapter (2004 – 2018)

Sunday, July 15, 2018 : 0 Comments

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It’s been very calm on this page and on the Thoughts of Metal front, as some of you will certainly have seen. My last review dates from 2016 (Solution .45 – Nightmares In The Waking State – Part II) and even then the frequency of reviews had decreased severely. Because my life has changed a lot since then, both on a personal and a professional level, it’s with a heavy heart that I have decided to close this chapter, a chapter that has provided me with an excellent opportunity to not only discover new music, but also to expand my horizons, to develop my writing skills, to meet great people, and so much more.


I could continue to wait until my muse decides to return from her sabbatical, but so far, no news. Time to move on, right?
I am extremely grateful for the opportunities I was presented and able to exprience, the contacts I established, the (free ) music (obviously, right?), and so much more. When I look at the list of bands, releases, interviews, … it’s a one of a kind experience, especially in a world with hundred of webzines, magazines, millions of releases and bands, and what not.
Metal still is a part of my life, I still love the music very dearly (as Primal Fear wrote: Metal is forever!), I just can’t devote any time any more to reviewing, no matter how much I like writing. As I wrote a few years ago, health also begins to play a role (eye-sight, you know, especially in this digital age where everything happens via screens: laptops, smartphones, and other devices).
Finally, I want to express my gratitude to everyone who believed in me and/or has crossed my metal-path: bands, artists, promoters, labels, fellow fans, … I love you all!
We’ll be in touch, one way or another. Here or at a show or elsewhere. Keep on rocking! \m/
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SOLUTION .45 – Nightmares In The Waking State – Part II

Title:Nightmares In The Waking State - Part II
Genre:Melodic Death Metal
Label:AFM Records
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Sunday, September 25, 2016 : 0 Comments

SOLUTION .45 first came to my attention back in 2010, the year in which they released their debut album, “For Aeons Past”. You can read my review from that period here. This album was a very positive surprise. I recently listened to some DIVINEFIRE again, Stefanovic’s other band, and the music is quite similar, not only because of Stefanovic’s fat guitar sound, but also because Thomas “Plec” Johansson handled the buttons in the studio, as he also did for SOLUTION .45 and many other bands.

I didn’t follow up on the band’s further releases, specifically “Nightmares In The Waking State – Part I”, which came out in 2015. It is said that, at the time, the band had enough songs for a double album. But they found it “more interesting” (marketing, as they call it) to release the songs as two separate albums, due to the musical differences between both releases. As the band describes the albums theme: “Lyrically its core matter is based around ‘struggle’ and the art of fighting your way through the tough times in life.” (more…)

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KALIDIA – Lies’ Device

Title:Lies' Device
Genre:Gothic / Power Metal
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Monday, May 16, 2016 : 0 Comments

KALIDIA is an Italian Gothic/Power Metal band, formed in 2010 by the line-up below (extract Gabriele Basile and add Alessandro Cecchini) minus bassist Roberto Donato, who joined two years later. The first output was the EP “Dance of the Four Winds” in 2012. As this release received positive acclaim, the band was set for a debut album: “Lies’ Device”. This one saw the light of day in June 2014. About the line-up: Drummer Alessandro Cecchini left the band a few months before the release of the album, and was replaced by Gabriele Basile, who can be heard on said album. Recently this year (2016), the band parted ways with keyboardist Nicola Azzola.

So far the Italians have shared the stage with DGM, VISION DIVINE, KALEDON, and others.

“Lies’ Device” was produced, mixed and mastered by Alessio Lucatti, known from his work with VISION DIVINE and ETHERNA. His brother plays an instrumental role on this album, as does ETHERNA’s vocalist Andrea Racco, offering some raw vocals. (more…)

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Genre:Melodic / Groove Metal
Label:Ravenheart Music
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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…)

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Genre:Death / Doom Metal
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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…)

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MAGIC KINGDOM – Savage Requiem

Title:Savage Requiem
Genre:Symphonic Power Metal
Label:AFM Records
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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…)

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BRAINSTORM – Scary Creatures

Title:Scary Creatures
Genre:Power Metal
Label:AFM Records
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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…)

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SHAKRA – High Noon

Title:High Noon
Genre:Hard Rock
Label:AFM Records
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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…)

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HEAVYLUTION – Children Of Hate

Title:Children Of Hate
Genre:Heavy / Power Metal
Label:Brennus Music
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Saturday, December 5, 2015 : 0 Comments

HEAVYLUTION is a French Heavy / Power Metal band that was formed back in 2005 (at least, according to; 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…)

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Genre:Heavy Metal
Label:Rocksector Records
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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 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…)

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