John Jackson

Ravenword – “Transcendence”

 Posted by on January 20, 2020 at 01:13  No Responses »
Jan 202020

Ravenword bring soaring vocals, metal guitars, and driving rhythms to bear on material inspired by Edgar Allen Poe in their debut album Transcendence, joining other critically acclaimed symphonic power metal bands on Rockshots Records.

Ravenword actually trace their beginnings back to 2007 when it was a project of keyboardist Davide Scuteri.  The idea was to create a symphonic power metal project inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” by combining the poetic style and themes of that age with the music of bands like Sonata Arctica, Nightwish, and Within Temptation.  Fast forward all the way to 2019 and the project is complete as Davide added Chiara Tricarico (vocals), Michele Olmi (drums), and Cesare Ferrari (guitar and bass) for the recording.

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Adorned in Ash – “Apocalyptic Violence”

 Posted by on December 26, 2019 at 21:17  No Responses »
Dec 262019

Five long years after the release of The Dead Walk Among Us, Adorned in Ash are back with their sophomore album, bringing a more refined, mature sound and vision for their hybrid metal, which in addition to the death/thrash/groove/black influences, now also incorporates some progressive elements into nearly an hour of crushing heaviness.

Although only releasing two full length albums, Adorned in Ash was founded in 2009 and have toured extensively within Africa.  Over the years, as one might imagine, the band has seen some lineup changes that have impacted their sound, with likely one of the more obvious ones was guitarist Robyn Ferguson adding vocal duties and taking them over from Marius Visagie in 2011.  Robyn’s blend of higher pitched near shriek-like black metal vocals and deeper growls and ability to switch back and forth within a song add a unique element to the band’s overall sound.  Within their home of South Africa, the band has been consistently nominated in the South African Metal Music Awards, and winning best Death Metal Band in 2015.  Since the release of the critically acclaimed The Dead Walk Among Us, the band has done extensive touring throughout the region and members endured a number of personal challenges.   Some of the lesser known details around the recording of Apocalyptic Violence play a part in the overall sonic differences between this and their first album, one of which were the drums being recorded on an acoustic kit at the Drum Room by Vinnie Henrico who was Mark Ivey’s drum lecturer in college.  Guitars were recorded by Robyn Ferguson at Tower Studios and the vocals, mixing, and mastering done by Clinton Watts at Watts Productions, a name very familiar to those in the South Africa metal community.

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Cross-Check – “Overwhelming Odds”

 Posted by on December 21, 2019 at 23:47  No Responses »
Dec 212019

Cross-Check have released an ep filled with catchy hardcore songs channeling the spirit and sound of old-school hardcore and some updated demos of older songs on Overwhelming Odds.

Southern California has produced a lot of noteworthy hardcore bands and over the years has been fertile ground for bands producing aggressive, fast, catchy music that packs a punch.  Add Overwhelming Odds to that list… while this is their debut for Thumper Punk Records, they do appear to have some older material from 2017 in an album called  Drop the Puck, which is another place to find versions of the demo tracks on Overwhelming Odds. For Overwhelming Odds, the band recorded with Nick Coffey and the songs were mixed by Zach Bridier at Captive Portal Music with Sef Idle at SImpul Studios handling the mastering.

Hardcore is short supply these days, with most of it being supplied by the old guard bands like Sick of It All, Slapshot, Agnostic Front, and Madball, so to get another band to review, especially a good one, makes for a great day.  My biggest issue with Overwhelming Odds is that I want more.  The first five songs are fully done tracks with the second five on the ep being demos and true to form, the whole thing clocks in around 20 minutes. 

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Dec 202019

Goatscorge lays waste to eardrums with a black metal/grind/noise onslaught on what appears to be their first full length release.

About all I can tell you about Goatscorge is that it is a solo project that has its origins in Russellville, Alabama.  On their Bandcamp, everything was posted in 2019, so the artist has been a bit prolific.  Beside a couple of singles, one could call Awaiting the Apocalypse an ep with Marching Against the Evil One being the first full-length.

In terms of style, one can expect noise, black, ambient, and grindcore elements within the various songs on Marching Against the Evil One.  The album opens up with some distorted background noise with some organ playing way off in the distance on “An End to All the is Unholy” an d at this point, I had no idea what was coming.  “Marching Against the Evil One” is the first real track on the album and it opens up with some incredibly distorted instruments playing and the deep growled, unintelligible vocals, with the song as a whole sounding much like a cd was skipping and being played through a poor quality boombox on full volume.

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Wind Rose – “Wintersaga”

 Posted by on December 20, 2019 at 21:15  No Responses »
Dec 202019

Wind Rose have come roaring back with their brand of “Dwarven Metal”  in Wintersaga, the follow up to Stonehymn, and have further pushed their brand of epic metal to the masses.

While the band has been around for now over 10yrs, the Italian natives Wind Rose, have really come into their own with the release of Stonehymn in 2017 and the brilliant move of releasing  a video for their cover of the Minecraft-inspired song “Diggy Diggy Hole”, which last I checked was approaching 9 million plays on YouTube…crazy large numbers for any act, let alone for some Italians signing metal songs of fantasy and looking like Vikings.  To show that the success of “Diggy Diggy Hole” was no fluke,  their video for “Drunken Dwarves is well over 1 million plays as of this review.  The band itself has certainly worked its way up to this point, releasing eps and albums since 2010 and touring Europe with the likes of Wintersun, Epica, Ensiferum, and Eluveitie.  In 2017 for Stonehymn the band had signed to Inner Wound Records, but after that jumped to the well-known metal label Napalm Records for Wintersaga.

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