Evergrey – “Escape of the Phoenix”

 Posted by on February 10, 2021 at 21:21  No Responses »
Feb 102021

Evergrey take advantage of the time available with tours being canceled to focus on the recording of their 12th album, Escape of the Phoenix, which adds to their already impressive collection of progressive metal.

Since the release of The Dark Discovery in 1998, the Swedish band Evergrey has been putting their mark on progressive metal. Being a productive band, now in their 26th year, the band has released 12 albums including a live double cd with the Gothenburg Symphonic Orchestra, all the while enduring lineup changes and touring the globe, and dealing with recording during a global pandemic. With the release of The Glorius Collision in 2011 guitarist Marcus Jidell and drummer Hannes van Dahl departed the band and were replaced by Henrik Danhage (guitar) and Jonas Ekdahl (drums). This lineup has remained constant and produced Hymns for the Broken (2014) and The Storm Within (2016). Early 2019 saw the release of The Atlantic, which was one of my top albums in 2019 and thought by many to be the third album in a trilogy from this lineup. Enter Covid-19 and 2020 and the band’s tours canceled, giving them the opportunity to record Escape of the Phoenix with Grammy-nominated producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe) and without the usual distractions.

After the epic nature of The Atlantic, which made so many Top 10 album lists, my hopes were impossibly high for I. Following a quick, short drum burst, the lead track “Forever Outsider” basically picks up where The Atlantic ended. Interesting drum work, heavy main riff, great guitar solo, and Tom Englund’s heavy, dark, and smooth vocal delivery matched with a strong sense of melody make the opening track a great listen and raise the expectations for the rest of the album.

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Doulos – “The Middleman” ep

 Posted by on February 9, 2021 at 17:01  No Responses »
Feb 092021

Duolos join the Thumper Punk roster and bring a catchy blend of thrashy old-school metallic hardocore on their debut ep.

Over the years, I’ve reviewed a lot of bands from Thumper Punk Records and have really been looking for them to get a band like Duolos. This music on this ep ticks off so many boxes for me in what I like in hardcore punk. Fast, thrashy, metallic guitars – check, raw production with a live feel to it – check, thumping low end – check, strong, intelligible shouted vocals with emotion reminiscent of NYHC – check, driving rhythms with pounding drums and some interesting patterns/fills–check, gang vocals – check. Ok, so it’s basically all here… biggest gripe is that it’s only an ep.

Ok, so how do I describe the Riverside, CA band for those who haven’t gone to the bandcamp site yet… I detect some old Suicidal, some SoCal hardcore like Terror, some Leeway.

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Black Fate – “Ithaca”

 Posted by on February 3, 2021 at 23:39  No Responses »
Feb 032021

Greek melodic progressive metal band Black Fate return strong and forceful on their newest album ‘Ithaca’, delivering powerful performance throughout. They bring together a beautiful symphonic landscape that is organically salty and filled with catchy guitar riffs, and big score melodies highlights. It is evident the band has progressively moved forward from album to album, and Ithaca is a wonderful landscape of great artistry matured and seasoned as it is beautiful and epic filled. Chemistry is a very important component in the fluidity of the product, and the musicians ooze chemistry through their skill set. This chemistry allows for easy listening and great enjoyment of the occasion, and one feels allured to celebrate the accomplishment of “Ithaca” with the band naturally.

The vocals deliver a hauntingly and dramatic execution that is a complimentary driving force to the musical landscape beneath. Vasilis Georgiou has a lot of warmth and depth to his voice that draws one into the musical landscape and the adventure story telling.

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Metalite – “A Virtual World”

 Posted by on January 26, 2021 at 12:32  No Responses »
Jan 262021

Swedish band Metalite have found their niche in the metal world with their blend of Swedish pop and power metal in the follow up to Biomechanicals.

Having reviewed previous albums from Metalite, I had a feeling for what I was about to hear. Going all the way back to Heroes in Time (2017) and original vocalist Emma Bensing, Metalite has had an unmistakeable Swedish pop influence in their songwriting and overall sound.

For a bit of history, the band dates back to 2015 when Emma Bensing met guitarist Edwin Prmber and the two began a collaboration with producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Evergrey, Amaranthe). In the next year, the rest of the band was added and the band signed to Inner Wound Records, leading to Heroes in Time with Emma Bensing on vocals and then Biomechanicals, which saw the band has pick up Erica Ohlsson to handle the vocal duties while keeping everything else the same including producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe) and recording at Hansen Studios. This time around, things remain the same and the band seems to have settled into their sound.

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Majestica – “A Christmas Carol”

 Posted by on January 22, 2021 at 18:32  No Responses »
Jan 222021

To be frank and honest I normally not the biggest fan of Christmas albums, as I feel they often cheesy and smell of record companies trying to make money out of a seasonal event. A lot of time they come across rushed and thin in originality. So I often do not pay much attention to them. I will be honest when this arrived on my desk I was like oh why me?! Why do they want to punish me? Don’t get me wrong I don’t dislike Christmas music, but to be honest most of it’s really rubbish. So I decided to give the Symphonic/power metaller’s Majestica the benefit of the doubt, mainly due to their linage of exceptional musical talent. Also a huge fan of Tommy, so was not about to cast him into a pit of fire for making a Christmas al

It’s a pity I did not get this during the Christmas period, as this is a nice stocking find. Look it’s not the first time a metal Christmas album has been done, and some of have been real toilet releases, besides I actually do like the few Rob Holford’s Christmas releases because quality is always stellar. 2020 saw a rapid increase of Christmas albums, possibly due to time on hand because of the pandemic. So a lot more albums to vomit over. This moves me to “A Christmas Carol” by Majestica, formerly known as ReinXeed (Changed name when signed to Nuclear Blast in 2019) which one can hear from the extent of musicianship and quality of arrangements was an ambitious project, which was not quickly mashed potatoed together to fill the stomach of the band or the label. It is filled with showmanship and quality offering a really decent Christmas power metal project. The album see’s Majestica take on the beloved holiday fable of Ebenzer Scrooge and his journey to find meaning in Christmas. In some ways this musical endeavour reminds me like those Christmas movies that actually put a real smile on your face, not the fake one from getting that horrible knitted jersey from your aunt type that she want you to immediately show off to the neighbourhood.

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