Stryper – “Even The Devil Believes”

 Posted by on October 28, 2020 at 01:06  No Responses »
Oct 282020
 

Stryper the American Christian metal band from Orange County, California has been around since about 1983, disbanded in 1993 and came back stronger than ever in 2003. Not many bands have lasted the journey as they have, at the level they have. Also Michael Sweet is still after 37 years one of the best vocalist the metal scene, Christian or otherwise has ever had. He still has the chops to deliver with precision, and has not become some beer belly has been wash up trying to kindle a flame that just does not want to ignite.

Well Stryper’s latest offering, “Even The Devil Believes” off Frontier records comes forth like a flaming sword, and one’s got to believe the devil is paying attention to these guys as they have come back stronger than ever in 2020. Some would call them, “God’s favourite Heavy metal band”. With the longevity of their career that sentiment might just be true. They have managed to stay off the naysayers and build a reliable fan base, and have certainly made their mark in the heavy metal scene as a whole.

Stryper come at it as strong as they ever have on “Even The Devil Believes”, and the album hits hard, loud and fast, three elements crucial to a great rock n roll album. The melodies are bigger than ever, Michaels’ vocals a weapon of metal music’s finest, and the instantly recognizable twin guitar solos still ignite goose bumps for fans as their metal footprint continues to expand. The album gets a lot of its strength through the clean production quality, and placement of the individual tracks. It all comes together quite cohesively as a package, covering any monotony there is in the album. I like the more heavier tone of the album as well, and I feel that aids their sound in given it that modern edge.

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Oct 272020
 

Southern Indiana seems a long ways away from Europe, but Symphony of Heaven bring the death metal on The Ascension of Extinction (ep) that would fit right in with the likes of Antestor, Slechtvalk, and Behemoth.

From the opening fast riffs and driving rhythm of “You Shall Be As Gods”, the song literally grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me awake.  I was instantly reminded of the last Slechtvalk album I reviewed Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide back in 2016.  The main verses have that dark, heavy element that drives the song along with the deep shouted vocals keeping pace and the rhythm section adding an almost groove feel.  I like how the song has a bit of a more peaceful interlude before picking back up and shifting to a double bass driven pummeling to the end.  Production for the genre is great, guitars and drums easily distinguishable and the vocals clear…at least for the genre.

The title track, “The Ascension of Extinction”, is a bit more straightforward death metal at least in the beginning with the fast guitar riff and drums but then slows a bit with some female spoken words and some black metal sounding near shriek-like vocals breaking up the song and providing a nice contrast to the shouted, deeper death metal growls that fill the rest of the song.  Throughout, the guitars are heavy and the drums nicely punctuate the overall sound.

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Anthea – “Illusion”

 Posted by on October 25, 2020 at 19:38  No Responses »
Oct 252020
 

Anthea, an American Symphonic metal band formed in 2015 based out of California, are out with their debut album “Illusion. The album releases on the 23rd October under the record label of Rockshots records. The band has been active for quite sometime and have been known to kill it on stage; with their tight performance they definitely lure in the crowds. Well I wasn’t able to get much on the bands journey since their formative years, so I decided to jump right on to the album and give it a spin.

The album opens up with “Reach” with immense power and prose filling the soundscape, we oscillate from clean vocals to screams, duel it out on the guitars and keys, the song maintains its melody setting forth the onset of the album. “Eclipse” blasts off with a symphonic aura that resonates and surrounds while the vocals picks up the rugged ruthlessness to progress the song to the next bar. What surprises are the tweaks added every now and then giving an element of mystery making it truly an incredible prog track.

“Moirai” takes us on a duet, with collaborations from Chiara and Diego, and as the vocals hits high and eerie notes, giving the song an atmospheric soundscape, which coupled with the melody running parallel and culminating back to where it begins, but wait changing scales abruptly makes this song a treat to listen to . With “Illusion” we foray into aggression and fast paced riffs rummaging between the deathly growls neatly packed with an amazing amount of melody. There are some interesting sound arrangements which makes it a great listen, not only did I enjoyed the guitar rhythm variations that’s embedded into the songs’ core, but also how all the sparse elements come together onto this song.

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Aug 202020
 

While many hope for new material from Saviour Machine, Eric Clayton has released what is in essence a solo album in A Thousand Scars, a gothic inspired view into his personal journey and struggles over the last years.

Any review of Eric Clayton material has to include the story of Saviour Machine, the legendary goth metal band formed in 1989 by Eric and his brother Jeff. Over the course of the band’s career, five studio albums were released, Saviour Machine I and II in 1993 and 1994 and then the Legend trilogy comprised of Legend I, II, and III:1 between 1997-2001. A self-described “unofficial soundtrack to the end of the world”, the Legend trilogy is four full-length CDs and over five hours of music, and yet the project remains unfinished. Saviour Machine is long and complicated story of label mismanagement, problems with business relationships of such a proportion that it would fill a book. Eric himself has dealt with personal and health issues over the years and became inactive in the music scene until be being drawn back in 2015, performing with Ayreon in Europe for a couple of weeks. This led to Eric and his brother Jeff covering David Bowie songs and soon other members of Saviour Machine were reaching out looking to collaborate on new material. After moving to Europe, Eric reached out to some Dutch friends to form a band he could play live with and the Nine was born followed by a string of festivals and club shows across Europe. In 2019 Eric Clayton and Nine began work on A Thousand Scars, produced by Devon Graves (Buddy Lackey, Psychotic Waltz).

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Jul 232020
 

American Arson offer up rock n roll hardcore on their album, “A Line In The Sand” released on Facedown Records. Their debut full album release on Facedown is a energetic blast that offers both melody and aggression with a solid rock n roll punch in the face.

Akin to a top fuel dragster staging you just know you in for one hell of a ride from the first track, and when the rubber gets grip the velocity is maintained at times sending ones brain ears in to adrenaline O.D. The music drives with simplicity yet when complexity is demanded Evan Baker and Jesse Gentry musical relationship does a fantastic job at it, digging into the catalogues of both new school and old school hardcore with star studded excellence.

One of my favourite tracks is “Drop Your Draggers”, which does just that mixing up some old school hardcore with new school elements and its driving momentum hits hard like Thor’s Hammer. Its hardcore punk edges I can identify with as a 80’s hardcore punk kid. It’s also quite poetic they used punk as the back bone for a political message. Well done.

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