John Jackson

Malchus – “Dziedzictwo”

 Posted by on November 26, 2019 at 21:46  No Responses »
Nov 262019

Malchus, are back with Dziedzictwo, an album filled even more instruments and complex arrangements than on past albums, while not losing touch with the melodic death metal they play so well.

Believe it or not, but Malchus trace their roots back to a 2006 punk rock demo, a long way from the folk-influenced melodic death metal where the band has come into their own. The band, whose home is Dębica, Poland, was started by guitarist/vocalist Radoslaw Solek and since the punk rock days, one can follow the evolution of the band’s melodic death metal sound from Didymos (2010) to the more folk-influenced Caput Mundi (2011), to the more polished Dom Zly (2014), which was further refined in Ur (2017) and now Dziedzictwo.

Similar to what I said in 2017….in full disclosure, Malchus previous album Ur was on my top 10 for 2017 and the title track for that album is one of my favorite songs, so needless to say, I’ve been looking forward to this album for quite some time. Now that I’ve heard five albums by the band I can look back and see the maturing of the sound as the band has found their niche and grown in their songwriting and arrangements.

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In Mourning – “Garden of Storms”

 Posted by on November 22, 2019 at 02:51  No Responses »
Nov 222019

In Mourning is back with Garden of Storms, their 5th album full of the progressive melodic death metal they are known for.

Metal music from Sweden has gotten to the point where just originating from that country means a quality release and bands like In Mourning is why that statement rings true.  Now on their fifth album, In Mourning released their first one, Shrouded Divine, in 2008, followed two years later by Monolith.  Somewhat surprisingly, the band has had a relatively stable lineup over their greater than 10yr existence, but has managed to go through a couple of drummers prior to Joakim Strandber Nilsson starting in 2018.  At one point, Garden of Storms was #8 on Metal Storm’s top 20 albums of 2019 and was a #53 on the Heatseekers top 200 soon after release showing the critical and fan acceptance of the work.

Given that we are talking about progressive, melodic death metal, it should come as no surprised that the seven song album clocks in around 50 minutes in length, so there is definitely a lot to talk about here.  “Black Storm” opens up innocently enough with some clean guitar chords, but the calm is short-lived as there are short bursts of the full band coming in with a heavy riff and pounding drums, setting the tone for the song.  Tobias Netzell’s deep scream layered into the background is a good touch to the sound, which comes through in a well-mixed blast of noise.  The melodic shines through in the main riff of the song as well in the more atmospheric-like moments that also feature Netzell showing some clean vocals to complement the growled death vocals.  Being my first introduction to the band, I can’t help but be impressed with the drum work from Joakim Strandberg Nilsson who keeps a simple, slower pounding rhythm when needed but can explode into faster, approaching blast beat rhythms to drive the song along.

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freaKINGS – “Rise of Violence”

 Posted by on November 15, 2019 at 02:49  No Responses »
Nov 152019

freaKINGS are thrashing back with their fourth album, Rise of Violence, and show no signs at all of letting up on the intensity.

Back in 2011 in Switzerland, freaKINGS released their first album No Way Out and haven’t looked back since.  The three piece thrash outfit who call Basel home borrow from bands like Vengeance Rising, Mortification, and Deliverance and all the other thrash outfits one can think of and combine it all into their blend. The previous albums I can speak to, Gladiator and Toxic End were both top picks for me and showcase the band’s unrelenting assault.

If it’s classic thrash you’re looking for, freaKINGS is the band for you and Rise of Violence is as good a place to start as any.  Not to mention that the album is 11 songs and 40 minutes in length, which means for a band playing at normal speed, this would likely have ended up on a couple cd’s.  How three people can make so much noise with vocals is simply amazing.  The songs are all played at breakneck speed with vocals barked over the top punctuated by gang vocals here and there for emphasis.  Production is insanely clean, allowing all the instruments and vocals to come through cleanly. 

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Leah – “Ancient Winter”

 Posted by on November 14, 2019 at 03:13  No Responses »
Nov 142019

Leah forgoes the symphonic metal in her latest album that takes the listener on an atmospheric journey through winter.

Leah McHenry certainly has a thing for recording and producing her own material.  The Canadian started back in 2012 with her debut, Of Earth and Angels, the success of which led to two ep’s in 2013 and finally another full length, Kings & Queens in 2015.  From recognized musicians including Troy Donockley (Nightwish), Eric Peterson(Testament), Barend Courbois (Blind Guardian), Timo Somers (Delain), Chen Balbus (Orphaned Land), and Sander Zoer (ex-Delain) to producers like Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe, Evergrey), Leah’s projects have attracted great talent that complement her amazing voice.

For her fifth album, Ancient Winter, Leah recruited musicians who could bring more of the older instruments into the mix that includes the hurdy-gurdy, Uilleann pipes, and a host of stringed instruments.  Guest appearances this time include: Troy Donockley (Nightwish) on Uilleann pipes, Anna Murphy (Cellar Darling, ex-Eluveitie) on hurdy-gurdy), Shir-Ran Yinon on fiddle/strings (Eluveitie), Oliver Philipps (Everon) on guitar and male vocals on “Puer Natus”, and Rupert Gillett (renowned string musician) on cello and salaw.  Once again Leah financed the album herself on her own website for this new approach to what some consider ‘holiday music’ but is really more of a celebration of winter.

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Oct 192019

White Collar Sideshow return with their next iteration of shock rock, pulling out all the stops and adding new elements to their sound, resulting in a heavy, catchy, and thoroughly entertaining listen.

Hailing from Arkansas, the husband-wife duo known as White Collar Sideshow started in 2006 and toured for over 3 years with their original show, make than their original experience or event.  During the first years and up through most of The Witchunt tours, they were joined live by Herr Schwein, and Leach both of which would contribute drums/percussion and add to the overall creepiness of the experience as they were in costume. Seeing them live is an experience you don’t soon forget. Combining frenetic drumming and percussion with a strong bass line played in front of video screens, they have enthralled audiences throughout the US in settings ranging from large festivals to small churches and auditoriums.  The Witchunt (2012) saw them expand their sound with more electronic elements and add a horror like video backdrop to the visuals as well as establish a working relationship with Chris Baseford (Rob Zombie, John5, Avril Lavigne).  That relationship continued as the band worked with Baseford again and now is signed to Curtain Call Records (Sony).

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