John Jackson

Jun 062019
 

Back in 2005, Living Fire began as a project without a fixed lineup other than Luis Carlos on vocals and bass as he just wanted to make music and record to have music to listen to..never realizing that the lyrics in English would ever have an impact due to his accent.  In 2011, the cd was recorded with the opening track “Jesus is Not Dead” and a couple of covers leading to the band signing to Thumper Punk Records in 2012.  A couple of videos later and a couple of years, saw the band release Dead to Sin in 2014.  Since then the band has released a couple more cd’s, Eternal Now in 2016 and Every Saint has a Past, Every Sinner has a Future in 2017, which saw the band veer away from a hardcore sound and more toward a Blink-182-like sound.  During recording of Eternal Now, founder Luis Carlos shifted to only vocals and the band brought on Raphael Alcantara to handle bass duties and as a result of this change, the band suddenly had more creative input to their sound.

In full disclosure, I did like the band’s early material which was a bit more like melodic old-school hardcore and I pretty much lost interest in their more recent releases as the change in sound just didn’t fit into what I like to listen to.  With The Flame Still Burns, if it wasn’t for Luiz Carlos’ distinctive vocals and tone, I would have thought it was a different band.  So much more aggression and heavy, fast guitars and drums on this release.  While their last one was more like Blink-182, I would put this one more toward bands like Downset and dare I say some hints of Sepultura.    “Eternal Love” opens innocently enough with some howling wind and a crying baby but then Luiz Carlos comes in with a rap-like delivery and chunky guitar and bass riff with some gang vocals thrown in for good measure until  the song shifts into a more melodic chorus section filled with some nicely layered in guitar leads.  I get all sorts of influences showing up here, early TFK, POD, and the great funky bass work by Raphael Alcantara really helps bring the song along.  Great start to the album and I did go back and check to make sure I had the right album playing. Continue reading »

Diviner – “Realms of Time”

 Posted by on June 4, 2019 at 14:10  No Responses »
Jun 042019
 

As impressive as the debut album from Diviner was, the Realms of Time not only exceeds that on every level but also exceeds the high expectations built from that album.  Fast, heavy riffs, blazing solos, strong, majestic vocals, a pounding rhythm section, and great songwriting make this one of the year’s best albums.

Back in 2011, friends Yiannais Papanikolaou and Thimios Krikos, who had been in Inner Wish back in 1998, got together to start making music and Diviner was born. Late in 2015, the band released their debut Fallen Empires after adding friends and local metal musicians George Maroulees , Herc Booze, and Fragiskos Samoilis.  Fallen Empires was one of those albums that immediately impressed listeners, especially coming from a largely unknown group.  Unfortunately, it took until 2019 to get the follow up album, but after a first listen it became apparent it was well worth the wait.  Right before recording for Realms of Time was to begin, founding guitarist Thimios Krikos decided to leave the band due to commitment issues and Kostas Fitos was brought in.  The album was produced and mixed by Fotis Bernardo (ex-Septic Flesh) and mastered by Henrik Udd (Powerwolf, Hammerfall, Myrath) with artwork by Jan Yrlund (Battle Beast, Apocalyptica, Korpiklaani) completing the package.

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May 112019
 

One listen to Dissident Voices by Veil of Deception and it becomes very clear that metal is alive and well in Austria.  Thunderous, pounding rhythm section, great riffs and solos, soaring and powerful  vocals are found in abundance on this album, which blurs the line between the NWOBHM and power metal and adds bits from several other genres for good measure.

The band itself traces its roots back to 2013 in Vienna when guitarists Dejan Jorgovanovic and Gerd Metzl began jamming and exchanging riffs.  Not long after, Erik Fristad joined on bass and vocalist Daniel Gallar answered an ad and after a quick audition was now a member of the band.  After a brief search, Mike Günther was added on drums and the first iteration of the band was complete.  The band’s debut album, Deception Unveiled came not long after and exposed the world the band’s blend of modern metal, groove, thrash, and stoner metal.  Unfortunately, Erik left the band not long after recording and the band found current bassist Thomas Hava and the band pressed on playing shows and filming a couple of videos.  When it came time for the second album, guitarist Gerd decided to leave the band and Dejan took over all guitar parts for the album Tearing Up the Roots.  Concerts followed with the band even sharing the stage with the likes of Flotsam and Jetsam.  For Dissident Voices, the band returns as a four piece and released the album on Roxx Records imprint, No Life Til Metal records. Continue reading »

May 052019
 

Two-man powerhouse American Arson are back with their Facedown Records debut, an ep sure to whet the appetite of post-hardcore fans.

American Arson is a Detroit, Michigan based band that is a project by vocalist/guitarist Evan Baker (ex-Good Luck Varsity) who started the project as GLV was ending.  In 2015, Baker added drummer Jesse Gentry and the once solo-project turned into a duo.  Not being familiar with the band, I checked out an older track, “Revival in My Lungs” and was pretty much blown away by how full the sound was from the 2-man project.  Fast guitars and drums and piercing, gritty vocals characterized the sound on that track.  Fast forward to April 2019 and the band now has a presence on Facedown Records and has released a post-hardcore filled ep, along the likes of labelmates Comrades.

The ep conveniently enough has three tracks, “Rise” “&” and “Fall” and show a bit of a maturity compared to earlier material to the point that one might say it’s leans a bit toward the more commercially acceptable.  “Rise” is filled with anthemic chorus and gang vocal sections, showcasing some great vocals by Evan Baker, both clean and somewhat rougher in style.  Continue reading »

Robyn Ferguson – “Alizarin” (ep)

 Posted by on April 28, 2019 at 16:08  No Responses »
Apr 282019
 

Guitarist vocalist Robyn Ferguson from the extreme metal band Adorned in Ash makes her solo debut, releasing an instrumental ep highlighted by strong songwriting, heavy riffs, and emotion-filled guitar solos.

Those who appreciate extreme metal should by now know the name Robyn Ferguson as one of the guitarists and vocalist for the South African metal band Adorned in Ash who blend elements of thrash, black, and death metal into their sound.  A band whose debut album, The Dead Walk Among Us was well received and a band who has an eagerly awaited follow up release due out soon.  In the meantime, Robyn has definitely kept herself busy and frequently posts guitar practice, riffs, and play-throughs on social media, creating a solid presence.  Always one to keep busy, and living up to the quote on her website, “Work hard, play hard. Get up and make it happen…”,  Robyn has been endorsed by Ibanez and Elixir strings and has composed, performed, and recorded Alizarin. Continue reading »