Mar 082017

Valley is a melodic hardcore band from Belgium near Brussels, they were founded in 2014 after some members of a metalcore band wanted to diverge from the aggressive and straightforward music and make more melodic, emotive music without grunts but screams. Valley is not a band who wants to spend much time in the rehearsal room. They rather are on the road and have shared the stage with bands as; BEING AS AN OCEAN, BURNING DOWN ALASKA, ACRES and CASEY, to name a few.

After having released two EP’s they are now signed to Redfield Digital and the release date for their first full-length album is set on March 31, 2017.

In his own words, Valley’s vocalist is describing his vision of the music: “Emotive hardcore with an intimate atmosphere. Being in another world, accepting the emotions and give yourself to the music. Clean and screaming vocals. Influences of post rock.” Well, somehow this sounds very appealing to me, so let us take a closer look/listen to their new album “Dark Tears//Bright Smiles” Continue reading »

Mar 072017

After each listen of Signum Regis one appreciates what they do more and more. They don’t necessarily win you off the bat, but a love affair grows with them the more time you spend listening to them. Unfortunately into day’s myriad of European styled heavy metal bands it’s a hard job to stand out from the crowd. Also the level of musicianship is growing which makes it harder not to come across average, even when you are nothing like average. Signum Regis get a lot right in what they do, though it’s not perfect, and this is where I found my love affair with them started with the release of Chapter IV: The Reckoning.

Signum Regis is a Slovak power metal band, which was founded in 2007 by the bass player and songwriter Ronnie König. They are a little more than your standard power metal outfit and I found that they have a lot of progressive melodic elements to their interpretation of the genre.

If you like bands like Golden Resurrection and Divinfire then this is a band you need to listen to. Lyrically bold, and excellent musicianship paint the landscape of Decennium Primum. The album is consistent in its material and lyrics throughout, but it’s a hard bat as a band with the likes of a band like Golden Resurrection swimming in the same pool. Continue reading »

Fantosh – “On the Verge”

 Posted by on March 7, 2017 at 19:19  No Responses »
Mar 072017

Dutch band Fantosh started out as a two-man project comprised of Steff and TimQ who toured across a good bit of Europe playing unplugged shows and longing for the intensity of being a fully amplified rock band.  In 2014 Leo joined as a bassist turned drummer and the band was complete.  Pulling out all the stops, the band began working with Travis Wyrick (POD, Pillar, Nice Lashes) who had encouraged the band to put everything into their performances and pushed them each near to their breaking points in order to get the best performances.  The end result is the band’s debut, On the Verge

Ok, so I admit, I watched the video for “Dirty Stars” first and I was thinking Fantosh was kind of a cross between Europop and someone like Skillet, then I was able to hear the first track “The Bullet”.  It does start out similar with some keyboards/sound effects but then this dirty, raucous guitar riff comes in and my first impression is blown.  Shouted, gruff vocals do take a bit of the front part of the mix but they work within the context of the song.  The guitar riff punctuated by the keyboard accents works very well in this song and now they remind me a bit of Blindside but not to the point that anyone would confuse the two bands. Continue reading »

The Tossers – “Smash the Windows”

 Posted by on March 5, 2017 at 22:37  No Responses »
Mar 052017

Straight from the South side of Chicago, the “world’s loudest folk band” is back with their ninth album, nearly an hour’s worth of celtic-punk tunes paying homage to the band’s  Irish roots and the Irish-American experience.

Hailing from Southside Chicago, the Tossers have been performing as a band since 1993, predating some of the other, more well-known celtic punk bands, like Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly.  That being said, to their credit the Tossers have shared the stage with a plethora of great bands, including the likes of Mastadon, Sick of It All, the Pogues, and the obvious Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys.  Interestingly, the Tossers were also granted the honor to play the Kennedy Center in May of 2016.  All in all, it’s a pretty good story for a band that got its start playing pubs in the south side of Chicago.  As a bit of trivia for the curious, the name comes from a slang term for British coins that became worthless when the southern Irish Free State won independence from Britian .  For Smash the Windows, their ninth full length and sixth on Victory Records, the band worked with longtime producer Andy Gerber at Million Yen Studio in Chicago.

The Tossers have certainly not scrimped on this album as it has 17 tracks and runs nearly an hour in length and to make things clear, every song is solid on this release.  To make things easier, there are several types of songs on the album: the upbeat, story-telling songs; the loud, raucous, pub singalongs, a couple instrumentals, and the slower, somewhat melancholy and bittersweet tracks that often have a more traditional celtic feel to them than the other tracks. Continue reading »

freaKINGS – “Toxic End”

 Posted by on February 25, 2017 at 13:26  No Responses »
Feb 252017

The Swiss thrash masters freaKINGS are back with their third album, Toxic End, and it picks up where Gladiator left off and shows the band maturing but not losing the riffs, speed, and intensity that made their previous album so great.

I have no idea what is going on in Switzerland that would inspire a thrash band, but freaKINGS continue to impress.  The Basel, Switzerland band first impressed me with their second album which followed their 2011 debut No Way Out.  The fact that a three piece can make so much noise and power is amazing.  For those looking for some frame of reference, the band cites Vengeance Rising, Moritification, and Deliverance as influences, but even the casual listener will pick up old Slayer and Kill Em All era Metallica in the mix.  This time the band even brought in some hired guns for extra guitar on a couple songs with Damir Eskic (Gonoreas) adding a solo to “Brain Dead” and Lenny Bruce (Dust Bolt) lending his talents to “TxWxNxD”.  Once again, the band had Christophs at Iguana Studios handling the mixing and mastering .

When I first reviewed Gladiator a few years ago, I had no idea what to expect but I was hooked after about 20 seconds of the first song.  Same thing with this album.  Fast riffs, jackhammer drums, screams and the song is off an raging, bringing back memories of thrash bands from long ago. Continue reading »