John Jackson

Feb 122018

Shadow Puncher make their extreme metal debut for Nosral Recordings with an album that seamlessly incorporates a host of different styles and elements in a brutal sound.

Shadow Puncher was formed by Max Kevin Ølstøren as a solo project in 2016. Influenced by a host of bands Metallica, Pantera and Sepultura and more extreme ones like Abated Mass of Flesh, Max began recording his own music. In 2017, the Shadow Puncher released two albums, The Path of Challenges ep and the debut album, The Throne of Justice and Love, which was quickly followed up by another ep, No Despair.  In October 2017, Shadow Puncher was signed to the new extreme metal label Nosral Recordings and work began on the debut album for the label.

From the very beginning the album has a dark and ominous tone.  The intro track has what initially sounds like a dungeon door being opened and as a person is walking, a bit of the Lord’s Prayer, followed by what sounds like a church organ and some other noise, that moves right into “Shekinah” complete with some pig squeal vocals and pounding rhythm.  The grindcore-like beginning then shifts to a bit of a black metal droning riff that has other guitars layered over the top making for an interesting mix.   The verses shift back to a slow grindcore like riff and vocals with guitars carrying the song.  A rapid double bass line is in the background but a bit lost in the mix dominated by guitars and vocals. Continue reading »

Deliverance – “The Subversive Kind”

 Posted by on February 11, 2018 at 18:21  No Responses »
Feb 112018

Deliverance returns with a thrashy vengeance and not only their first new album in almost five years but also a reunion of Glenn Rogers and Jimmy P. Brown for the first time since their debut 1989 album.

Deliverance is a name well-known within the Christian metal community.  Dating back to 1985, the band has released 11 albums and been on a host of other compilations.  Many first became familiar with Deliverance with their 1990 release Weapons of Our Warfare with the title track gaining airplay on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball , and the album selling over 100,000 copies, leading many to label it the Master of Puppets for Christian metal.  As often happens, lineups changes and by the fourth album in 1992, Stay of Execution, the band had their second guitarist change and Jimmy P.  Brown took the band in a more progressive direction, tired of being known as the Christian Metallica clones.  Changes in sound would continue with the band shifting to industrial for Assimilation in 2000 and then taking another hiatus before releasing As Above, So Below in 2007, which was followed by yet another hiatus until 2010.  In 2011, the band announced they would play a final show later that year, but as before, situations changed and the band reformed with George Ochoa on guitars, former drummer Jim Chaffin, and bassist Victor Macias to play Exodo Fest in Mexico with Grave Robber and Silent Planet.  2017 saw the re-release of their 1989 debut and Weapons of Our Warfare and the return of original guitarist Glenn Rodgers. Following a successful crowdfunding campaign, The Subversive Kind was recorded and features performances from Victor Macias (Tourniquet) on bass, Greg Minier on guitars and Jim Chaffin on drums.  The album was produced by Jimmy P. Brown and Jim Chaffin and was recorded and mixed at 3 Frogz Studios and Valhalla Studio with mastering by Rob Colwell at Bombworks Sound. Continue reading »

The Lead – “Again” (ep)

 Posted by on February 11, 2018 at 15:54  1 Response »
Feb 112018

Surprisingly The Lead, who some label as Christian punk pioneers, don’t get much attention.  From their beginnings in 1984 or so, The Lead released seven different albums/eps to go along with four other self-released titles before ending up on Roxx Records to release This Past Behind and Burn this Record in 1988-1989.  Since then, they’ve been pretty quiet as a group.  For Again, three of the original four band members reunited and even brought on Steve Rowe of Mortification for one track.  The band produced the ep and it was mixed and mastered by Gary James Noland

This album takes me back as it has that basement recording, minimal produced feel to it that “underground” bands back when I was a kid often had.  In all honesty, I had not heard of The Lead until getting this ep to review, which being an old hardcore kid who grew up when the Lead were coming on to the scene, makes me scratch my head a bit.  Looking back through the internet comments on The Lead, they look to have brought on a good bit of disdain from the mainstream Christian community, with is why I didn’t at least hear of them, but also disappointing as I probably would have been a fan.  I also grew up in a bit of a music wasteland, so didn’t get to hear about new music, so I blame that as well. Continue reading »

Voodoo Circle – “Raised on Rock”

 Posted by on January 31, 2018 at 18:21  No Responses »
Jan 312018

Voodoo Circle are back with a new vocalist on  Raised on Rock, their 5th album that hearkens back to the hard rock sounds of late 80’s Whitesnake.

Back in 2008 guitarist Alex Beyrodt (Silent Force, Primal Fear) formed Voodoo Cirlcle initially with David Readman on vocals and the band quickly established a following among the hard rock crowd with their first two albums, Voodoo Circle in 2008 and Broken Heart Syndrome in 2011.  For Raised on Rock, Voodoo Circle debuts a new vocalist in Herbie Langhans (Avantasia).  As the story goes, Beyrodt and Langhans met at the legendary Wacken Open Air in 2015 when they sang the Wacken anthem from the Black Stage before a crowd in excess of 100,000 people.  Raised on Rock was mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, UDO) with production handled by Alex Beyrodt and Mat Sinner at Hansen Studios.

Being a huge Deep Purple/Rainbow/Ritchie Blackmore fanboy, seeing all of the above listed as influences for this album, I was really looking forward to listening to it.  Unfortunately, I really didn’t detect any such influence until song 8 (“Unknown Stranger”) out of the 11 on the standard album.  If I had read a bit further, I would have seen the Whitesnake influence mentioned as well and that really hit me from the very first track, “Running Away from Love”.  The track if a fast, rocking anthem with a catchy chorus and while listening, I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in Herbie Langhan’s vocals to those of David Coverdale (and yes I realize he sang for Deep Purple).  Add in a great guitar solo, that is much more John Sykes than Ritchie Blackmore and the Whitesnake comparison makes much more sense to the point that this song could have been on the Whitesnake album from 1987. Continue reading »

Jan 142018

Nearly five years since their last release, Orphaned Land are back, bringing their distinct trademark fusion of metal and traditional Middle Eastern sounds to release Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs, a timely commentary on challenges facing the world today.

When a band is referred to as the originators of a genre, there is obviously something noteworthy to check out.  Israeli, Oriental Metal band Orphaned Land have done that as well as being named Global Metal Band of the  Year in 2014 by Metal Hammer and have been the subject of a petition by fans to get them on the ballot for the Nobel Peace Prize.  Back in the early 90’s the band was originally known as Resurrection before changing to Orphaned Land in 1992.  In the early days of the band, they released two albums, Sahara (1994) and El Norra Alila (1996) before being signed to well-known metal label Century Media Records and releasing Mabool: The Story of the Three Sons of Seven in 2004, which drew heavily on the story of Noah and the great flood to tell a story of three songs trying to warn humanity of impending judgment, one son for each of the main religions in the Middle East, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Over the years, Orphaned Land has opened for the likes of Metallica and played legendary festivals like Wacken Open Air, Sonisphere, and Hellfest among others. In 2014, founding member and guitarist Yossi Sassi left the band and was replaced by Idan Amsalem. Last year, Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett recruited Kobi Farhi to sing on his solo album along with Israeli-Arab singer Mira Awad, who had performed the female vocals on the Orphaned Land album All is One (2013).  For Unsung Prophets & Dead Messiahs the band recruited a couple of guest artists to contribute, one being Steve Hackett who provides a guitars on “Chains Fall to Gravity” and Tomas Lindgren (At the Gates) who provides guttural vocals on “Only the Dead Have Seen the End of War”. Continue reading »