Sep 252022

Evergrey add another progressive metal masterpiece to their roster with A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament), an album that has that rare larger than life feel to it but still manages to display and aggression and intensity in the performances.

The Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) is the 13th album from Evergrey and their first for Napalm Records, so one might expect big things from the band and they certainly deliver. The band itself is in its 27th year, which is a pretty amazing feat in general. When you think about the pandemic, that we are still largely in, seeing a band like Evergrey have three solid releases in the last four years really says something about the commitment of the band to their music. The current lineup came into being and has remained constant since guitarist Henrik Danhage and drummer Jonas Ekdahl arrived as new members following the release of The Glorius Collision in 2011 and this lineup had their first release with 2014’s Hymns for the Broken. The Storm Within followed in 2016 and The Atlantic in 2019, completing what was thought by many to be a trilogy. Cancelled tours and the pandemic gave the band some time for recording and Escape from the Phoenix was released in early 2021. A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) was recorded at Top Floor Studios in Gothenburg, engineered by Jakob Herrman and produced by Tom Englund and Jonas Ekdahl, with mixing and mastering by again by Jacob Hansen at Hansen Studios (Volbeat, Epica).

Evergrey waste no time launching right into a heavy riff in “Save Us”, setting the tone for the rest of the album. Tom Englund’s vocal prowess is on full display as the first verse starts and the fan gang vocal chorus adds some more intensity to the song. Keyboards come in to add some atmosphere during the chorus sections. Later in the song Englund and Henrik Danhage trade guitar solos keeping the intensity going in the song. This is a perfect introduction to not only the album but also the band and it’s good the band also released a video for the song. The keyboard and vocal fadeout makes for a perfect ending to the track as well and the haunting nature of it is something that resonates long after the song is finished.

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Aug 122022

“BROTALITY is band formed by 2 brothers based on faith, love & heavy music! We embrace the brutality of being counter-culture in today’s society.”

Ok so it’s always hard to critique a band that is on the same label as your own band, such as in this case and to be honest I don’t always enjoy it, but I am an impartial reviewer so regardless if you a friend or not or a fellow label mate or band I will always speak as it is, if you like it or don’t like it, it’s not my problem, but yours alone. I will still greet you down the depths of a dark alley.

So it was not so long ago that I was greeted with their first full length album, “Worldwide Desolation” in 2021 on Rottweiler Records. Certainly in my opinion one of the more important signings that Rottweiler Records has made and which was an impressive introduction to Brotality not only as a first full length album, but as a young band, both in its members and the band itself. Their progressively thrash leanings certainly outlaid a group with much talent and a bright future if they play their cards right. That onus also in part falls on the label which has in the meantime changed hands, and plays an important piece of the puzzle with the cards out laid before them, so let’s hope Rottweiler Records does not drop the ball with this band which could be one of the more important Christian metal bands going forward. To bring it all into context these young lads have opened for bands like Deep Purple and Judas Priest.

The Woods Will End You” really starts in my opinion with “Nose Dive”, it hits hard from start to finish and highlights the quality song writing skill of the band and their ability to smoothly transcend through the different movements and moods of their songs. An important quality for me is the retention of energy through a song with a band like Brotality, and this again is something they generally do well, and have matured into from their last album. These New York boys carry that New York aggression that is often harboured in the famous New York Hardcore scene into their brand of progressive influenced thrash metal. For me “Nose Dive” could pass the critics on a hardcore stage. Bryce’s hair by the way is metal in its own right and deserves some sort of metal hair award if there was such a thing.

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Thirty Fates – “Circus Black”

 Posted by on August 8, 2022 at 12:38  No Responses »
Aug 082022

The core members the band Black Fate revisit their roots and resurrect some older songs, bringing new life to the previously unreleased tracks, giving us a great metal album.

Thirty Fates origins go back all the way to 1988 and under the name Metal Invaders, started by Elias Tzintzilonis, Nick Tzintzilonis, and Stelios Papakostas who would later pick up Hercules Fanarakis to handle bass guitar duties and that band became Black Fate. Thirty Fates originally recorded a 4-track demo in February 1991 as well as four videos which never saw the light of day. Fast forward to 2021 and the band decided to play together again and create an anniversary album. One year later the album is finally completed and among the nine songs are the 4 songs from the first demo, 2 unreleased tracks from the 1980’s, and three songs from an 2000’s- era mini ep.

The album opens with an intro that provides an atmosphere of being in a circus of some sort. “Indiffferent People” is the first real track and immediately sets the tone and lets the listener know what is in store. From a sound perspective, this is a bit of throwback to the NWOBHM bands and one can hear all those influences but with the production quality, everything seems fresh and new. Guest vocalist Angel Wolf Black provides some great backing vocals during the chorus section and in other fills complementing Stelios Papakostas own impressive vocals. Having reviewed Black Fate in the past, I knew about Stelios’ vocal talents and they are on display here from soaring highs to booming lows, with a tone and style somewhat reminiscent of Geoff Tate (Queensryche). Very solid song with a great guitar solo thrown in, serving as a good intro to the band.

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Jul 282022

Known to me as the Co-founder of Orphaned Land, Yossi Sassi is an internationally acclaimed musician having shared the stage with a plethora of artists from across the world, such as Metallica, Steve Vai, Marty Friedman and Steven Wilson to name a few. Having given a TED talk on ‘The power of music to unite people’, he was awarded 4 peace and friendship awards from cities and governments. That’s not all, he invented the unique Bouzouki-Guitar instrument (Electric guitar combined with acoustic Bouzouki) and is known to play 17 different types of guitars and traditional instruments.

While the music has a blend of eastern and Oriental scales eclectically blended with Progressive rock we do hear a lot of experimentation with tones. The band loves to drive inspiration from different cultures in the world, while listing Joe Satriani, David Gilmour, Pink Floyd, Iron Maiden, and Opeth as some of their influences. To me that’s a wonderful list of progressive influencers and some of my favourites too. “Hear and Dare”, marks as the 5th Studio album released on the 19th of March 2021, with Production by Amir Rozanes, Concept art by Amir Rozanes, Liza Murashkovsky, Album design by Noa Reshef, Engineered and recorded by Liron Schaffer at Black Rock Studios, Santorini, Greece; Additional recordings at Jaffa Sound Arts; Mixed and Mastered by Liron Schaffer & Jonathan Jacobi.

The album starts off with “Brotherhood” which is an absolute ecstatic Instrumental piece, an amalgamation of different instruments, cultures, seasons, stories and eras. The song arrangement showcases immense maturity and creativity, and Yossi is a master blender. “The Mind Spirit” booms in and takes on a progressive stance, with odd time sequences, a blend of multitude of instruments, where East meets West which sounds as if the melodies are duelling out and eventually culminating into something unique and mellifluous. “Hear and Dare” starts off with crunchy guitar riffs layering on marching drums, and as all the elements mix up, we hear Mats Levén adding a unique blend into the mix with his vocal deliveries. The song carries its momentum and ends the way it starts (only a pitch higher).

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Jul 202022

Here we have a power metal band from Harwich, England formed in 2019 who wear silly hobbit costumes that fortunately can make up that deficit by actually being able to deliver on their musical skills. These guys got the thumbs up from Dragonforce’s Herman Li If that’s any indication of what you will be stepping into on this album. There is a sense right from the start this is in a way a concept album. Its fantasy narrative entwined with musical heart. I will be honest in that I myself are not a huge concept album fan nor a fantasy metal fan but I love good solid music that can hold ones attention and that sticks in your head long after the music has finished. You need to know that “The Saberlight Chronicles ” is a release that unfolds in a mythical story form of self-worth, self-discovery and the quest for courage, The Songs are dramatic and catchy.

So the music and lyrics of such an album hold equal importance, as a concept type album (my opinion) there is a fine balance between the music and lyrics and how they are delivered to serve equal impact yet the vocals require absolute clarity in order for the listener to absorb the full treatment of what’s been delivered. Something easily remembered is clearly delivered.

So let’s get in to the album and see if it meets those criteria as per my standards. “UNTIL THE FIRE DIES” starts off with an enchanted introduction that leads to something that reminded me watching Gummi Bears as a kid. Very catchy vocally and musically with sing a long chorus,

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