John Jackson

Angel Nation – “Antares”

 Posted by on April 29, 2022 at 18:33  No Responses »
Apr 292022

Five years have passed since Angel Nation released Aeon and the band led by vocalist Elina Siirala (Leaves Eyes) is back with their third album Antares, which is sure to please fans of melodic power metal.

A magnificent ballad orchestration can be heard by the guest musician Jonah Weingarten (Pyramaze). The striking artwork is created by Jobert Mello (Sabaton, Primal Fear) and the stellar job of mixing and mastering is done by Alexander Krull (Leaves’ Eyes, Atrocity) at Mastersound Studio.

Back in 2011 Elina Siirala, ventured away from her classical opera background and started Angel Nation under the name EnkeliNation (Finnish for Angel Nation). As the story goes, the actual origin of the band goes back even farther to a time when Elina moved to London in the UK for vocal studies and fell in love with rock and metal. When her studies ended she formed the band originally joined by guitarist Shadow (Empyreal Destroyer, Stand Aside) and the first years of the band were spent playing shows around London and enduring lineup changes. In 2012 the band released a three song ep and in 2014 a video for the song “Tears of Lust” which gained them notoriety in the scene. That year saw the release of the album Tears of Lust and the band headlining shows and getting a slot at the Bloodstock Festival. In 2015, the band played some shows with Leaves Eyes, wrote and recorded Aeon, and changed the name of the band to the English translation. The time with Leaves Eyes provided a bit of foreshadowing as Elina became their vocalist in 2016. For the third Angel Nation album, the band brought in guest musician Jonah Weingarten (Pyramaze) and had mastering and mixing done by Alexander Krull (Leaves Eyes, Atrocity) at Mastersound Studios with Jobert Mello providing some stunning artwork.

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Apr 172022

Miseration have waited quite a while for the follow up to 2012’s Tragedy Has Spoken, and time has not softened their approach. Black Miracles and Dark Wonders is filled with their unique blend of technical death metal with melodic and orchestral elements.

Since 2006 Miseration has released four albums with Black Miracles and Dark Wonders being the follow up to Tragedy Has Spoken. The band itself is one of the projects of guitarist Jani Stefanovic and former Scar Symmetry vocalist Christian Älvestam, and for this album they are the only two musicians credited which is a departure from previous efforts with this one also having Jani providing some vocals. The album was recorded between 2018-2021 and mixed by Plec, Jani, and Christian at the Panic room with final mastering by Plec at the Panic Room in September 2021. Artwork which perfectly captures the feel of the album was done by y Pär Olofsson.

Much like Tragedy Has Spoken, this album is one of those that wastes no time and literally explodes into a heavy dark riff and guttural growled vocals in “The Seal of the Eight-Pointed Star”. The song itself does provide a preview of elements that will become more pronounced later in the album, namely clean choruses/vocals and the importance of the keyboards providing the equivalent of a string arrangement and eerie atmospheric ambience.

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Impending Doom – “Hellbent” (e.p)

 Posted by on March 26, 2022 at 20:51  No Responses »
Mar 262022

Impending Doom return with an ep sure to leave longtime fans wanting more and showing others some twists on deathcore.

Impending Doom began nearly 17 years before this ep was released with Brook Reeves and Manny Contreras remaining as the only two original members. Along the way, the band has released 6 full length albums ranging from Nailed, Dead, Risen in 2007 to The Sin and Doom Vol II in 2018. As tends to happen, the band has gone through numerous lineup and label changes over the years and looks to actually be a 3 piece at the moment based on promo photos. Over the years, the band has toured with everyone from Winds of Plague to Asking Alexandria and been in package tours like the 2010 Thrash and Burn tour. For Hellbent, the band drafted Will Putney (Body Count, Thy Art is Murder, Knocked Loose) as producer and his touch is evident throughout. The ep is characterized by pounding bass, and drums featured prominently in the mix so as to not get lost in the general wall of sound chaos. Vocals are where they need to be, clear, distorted, and otherwise with some unique stylings by Brook Reeves channeling Corey Taylor in Slipknot form.

From my standpoint, I haven’t really followed the evolution of Impending Doom’s sound over the years since Nailed, Dead, Risen where it was pretty straightforward grindcore complete with pig squeal vocals. Heavy and punishing for sure. So imagine my surprise when I fired up Hellbent and hear “Satanic Panic” which has some electronic elements and sounds a bit like a deathcore version of Slipknot. Regardless of that shift, the song is heavy and pounding and yet somewhat melodic. The bass guitar work really shines here and in other songs on the ep. As one might imagine, there is the expected breakdown, but in this case it’s part of the song and not the focus of the song.

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Combat Faith – “In Your Face”

 Posted by on December 18, 2021 at 19:57  No Responses »
Dec 182021

Roxx Records has yet again resurrected material from a little known Christian band and pulled together enough material for a release. In this case the band is Combat Faith who display their metal prowess on tracks from a 1989 album that was never released, which was really a loss for the Christian metal community.

Back in the late 80s-early 90’s New Mexico apparently had quite the Christian metal scene with bands like Cross, Rapture, Angelic Force, Moshketeers, Ultimatum, and Combat Faith. In 1986 Combat Faith was formed by guitarist Ric Buteau , vocalist, Albert Baca, and drummer Alan Tuma, playing shows locally including opening for some of the legendary bands of the time like Whitecross, Vengeance Rising, the Crucified, and others. Combat Faith began recording their debut 10 song full-length in 1989 but only 4 tracks were ever released to shop to labels. Six of those tracks have been resurrected for this album and the 4 song demo added to create In Your Face.

A fast, heavy riff opens up the album on “Child of Fire” immediately letting the listener know this is going to be some metal. The first thing noticed is the somewhat sketchy production quality and mixing but with this being a never released album and demo, that’s an understandable situation. If you put yourself back in 1989 and think about music from that time, this song would fit right in. Guitars are heavy and drumming very fast and comes through nicely in the mix. Vocals, perfect for the era with some great range and power being shown by Albert Baca, reminding me a bit of Joey Belladonna.

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Bride – “Christmas”

 Posted by on December 18, 2021 at 15:51  No Responses »
Dec 182021

Legendary rockers Bride have made their contribution to the ever expanding collection of rock and metal bands performing Christmas songs.

For those who have never heard of Bride, the Christian rock band was formed back in the 1980’s by brothers Troy and Dale Thompson, getting their first break opening up for the Daniel Band in Pennsylvania in 1986. For those not familiar with Christian rock that may not mean anything, but Daniel Band was big at the time. As one might imagine in the near 40yrs of existence, the band underwent many lineup and label changes, but now without success as to their credit the band has 8 major releases, 12 songs that hit #1 in various charts and 4 Dove awards to their credit.

Christmas albums can be hit or miss and many times it really depends on how much you like a particular band as to whether or not you think their renditions of classic songs are just a novelty or something really good. Personally, the Rottweiler Records Fleas Naughty Dog, volume 1 is one of my all-time favorite collection of Christmas songs, but much of that is due to variety of approaches taken as everything from punk to goth to black metal is contained in that release. Fro single artists releases, the August Burns Red Sleddin’ Hill is another that is really well done. As you might imagine, since it is taking me so long to actually get to talking about this release, it is not one of my favorites, but in all fairness, I’m not a Bride fan either, so that makes this more of a challenge.

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