Stryper – “God Damn Evil”

 Posted by on June 16, 2018 at 15:21  No Responses »
Jun 162018

Reader, you’re going to laugh out loud. This is the first time I’m listening to anything Stryper. You might be wondering what island I’ve been living on and all I can say sometimes it takes long for a ship to arrive on the horizon.

“God Damn Evil” has proved to be a contentious album title, but Michael Sweet says that it comes as an earnest request to God when the band reflects on what is happening in the world. “Take It To The Cross” roars, and I get the feeling that it was fun to record. The enthusiasm is palpable, and Michael’s high register is from another world! As I continue to listen to “God Damn Evil” I get a “new wave of British heavy metal” (NWOBHM) vibe, as personified by Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Saxon. There’s the lyrics that are sung, as opposed to growled, the melodic guitar solos and the choir of voices on the choruses. Sure, that’s not all that makes it sound traditional. Continue reading »

Bassists Alliance Project – “Crush”

 Posted by on May 31, 2018 at 23:14  No Responses »
May 312018

Flipping through the contributing members’ photographs, I thought I’d start by counting the number of strings on each bass guitar. Four, five, six and seven strings were all represented, including Scott Reeder’s Katana 8. That’s quite some range, which had me curious about the sonic experiments that would be undertaken on “Crush”, the debut album by Bassists Alliance.

I am familiar with Alberto Rigoni’s production work on the Vivaldi Metal Project, a baroque and metal celebration of the masterful composer’s “The Four Seasons”, but less so with Jeff Hughell, co-producer on “Crush”. May I suggest that you watch Jeff’s Six Feet Under “Exploratory Homicide” guitar and bass playthrough on Youtube? First class. From the album cover I deduce that different playing styles will be melded together to produce a record that focuses on bass guitar as melody driver. It’s an instrumental album, and if you are able to commit to it, you’re sure of a rewarding listening experience. Continue reading »

Angel’s Fire – “O Conto”

 Posted by on May 10, 2018 at 21:16  No Responses »
May 102018

The glockenspiel that opens “O Conto (The Tale)” makes you feel like a fairytale book is being opened, inviting you to go along on a magical journey. Take a look at the album cover and I think you’ll agree that there are elements in its design that make you think of Sleeping Beauty, for instance. Then there is the figure in the centre, who holds a doll – perhaps connecting with past memories? There is an innocence about her. She’s in a cellar, just like Bastian was when he snuck away to read The Neverending Story. Did you see the hands pressing at the window?

Priscila Lira’s voice shines through a symphony of strings and electrifying guitar on “Anjo de Luz (Angel of Light)”. From the orchestration you get the feeling that something epic is being recounted: “Anjo colhe, Lágrimas faz o rio caminho, Ao céu – Angels reap, The tears that form the river road, To heaven.” She longs for the angel of light to take her to heaven. The classical and contemporary instruments compliment each other; the use of the harpsichord one of my favourite inclusions.

An electric guitar and the drums start at a gallop on “Sacrifício (Sacrifice)”, an invitation for the weary to come to Jesus who will dry their tears. If I had to position Angel’s Fire on the symphonic metal spectrum, I’d place this Brazilian band somewhere between Cellar Darling – their song “Avalanche” comes to mind, and Ignea, a Ukrainian band that recorded their song “Alga” with a symphonic orchestra. Continue reading »

Apr 262018

Linus Serholt shares such a powerful testimony in “I give up breath never spirit”, the first track on Kvit’s maiden EP called “Earth to Earth” (2016). “They may break my body but my soul’s not mine to give.” It makes me think of Daniel in the lions’ den, or Stephen, the first Christian martyr. What I also really like is how the band breaks out into an instrumental chorus, and how they use the guitars to build to a climax with the words, “Even if the walls are closing in, You won’t see me breaking.” While Kvit play alternative rock rather than heavy metal, the music is marked by a seriousness that prompts me to continue listening

Kvit succeed in rendering a sombre mood. I put it down to how both guitarists use chords to colour their sound, and their choices for overdriven and distorted tones. The guitars have a shrill chime that contrasts effectively with Serholt’s voice.

In “Oh say can you see” we are urged to “stop digging holes, and start climbing ladders”. A synthesizer, the bass guitar and the drums feature heavily at the start, providing gravity “As the walls are closing in….” You can mistake Kvit’s sobering outlook as pessimistic, but then you hear a lyric like, “Time to lift our eyes and see that there is more to life….” It is clear that Kvit ask hard questions, to which there aren’t easy answers. There is a yearning for fulfilment beyond what this world can offer. Continue reading »

Crushing The Deceiver – “Self-titled”

 Posted by on April 13, 2018 at 01:08  No Responses »
Apr 132018

“Listen close. There’s a war going on for your soul right now.” My response: “Dude, I’m all ears.” I soak up the sounds of war issuing from my headphones and prepare for the impending confrontation. Johnny’s opening riff takes centre stage, and it’s a goodie. A shell explodes and the drums carry me into the fray. Pretty exciting, huh? And that’s only the beginning!

Crushing The Deceiver are a thrash metal band from Clovis, California. They launch their debut on 4 May, and will join heavyweight metallers Deliverance at the Sacrivox Music Festival in July. If the album is anything to go by, it’s going to be a blistering show! I mean, check out “The Light Inside Me”. It’s like someone’s pulling back on a slingshot and letting go, the momentum carrying Grant ever forward: “You are the passion inside me, The motivation that drives me…” Grant’s growl compliments the overall sound, and on this track the band varies its pace between soulful unblack lament and soaring stomp.

The link to the battlefield is reestablished in “Guide the way to You”. Ryan’s bass pushes forward, while the guitar and vocal rhythms echo one another. While they are adept at delivering riffs and beats at speed, Crushing The Deceiver also experiments with tempo to great effect. The changing intensity keeps me focused on the message. Continue reading »