Impellitteri “The Nature of the Beast”

 Posted by on November 10, 2018 at 19:08  No Responses »
Nov 102018

It’s no secret that I love power metal; Finnish veterans Stratovarius a firm favourite. And so, when the first few bars of “Hypocrisy”, the first song on Impellitteri’s new album “The Nature of the Beast”, rang out, I was enthralled. Add to this lyrics that paint the world in dark hues, and you’ve got something captivating. Chris Impellitteri is a lauded lead guitarist, and is recognised in the media as one of the fastest guitarists in the shred style. Him, Marty Friedman and Paul Gilbert; all in the same league. On this album, Rob Rock is our “master of ceremonies”, and man, can he wail! His falsetto is perfection. Listen to the refrain, “Run for your life…” and you’ll know what I mean. The rhythm machine is anchored by James Pulli on bass, and propelled ever forward by Jon Dette on drums. Phew! This album is unrelenting.

The first couple of songs introduce the villains: there is the devil, the movie star, the werewolf, and the Phantom of the Opera. “Wonderworld” presents the listener with a future dystopia, a surveillance state bent on controlling the minds of civilians: “Computers taking over for you… Dependence on the virtual machine.” It made me think of George Orwell’s terrifying future visions in his book, “1984”. At the “Gates of Hell” a war is waged to end all wars! Continue reading »

Dens – “No Small Tempest”

 Posted by on October 29, 2018 at 19:46  No Responses »
Oct 292018

My immediate impression of “Deadrise”, the first of four tracks on this EP, is that there is a yearning being expressed. When I consider the lyric, “I’ve thrown myself into the deep…” I recall the figure on the album cover suspended beneath the waves. While the storm rages above, he seems oddly at peace. This kind of rock music will get you thinking.

I like how the vocalist’s melodic voice contrasts with the rest of the instruments, and how Dens evoke both the storm and the calm in one song. How often are we indignant of God when he shows compassion to sinners? How quickly are we to call unfair when the godless continue to thrive?

It sounds like a big space opens up on (W)retched. The progression from slow arpeggio to guitars that trill and positively soar towards the end of the song is very well executed, and speaks to a band who know how to sonically translate emotions. I get the same from the Scottish band, Mogwai.

When I reflect on this poignant lyric: “Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say / “Even so, it is well with my soul”” I think of the many teachings about life in abundance. How, through Christ, we may live a full life. How, when we cast our burdens unto Him, we receive a peace that is not of this world. We are known to the Father, and because we accept that Jesus Christ died for our sins, our names are recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Continue reading »

Azusa – “Heavy Yoke”

 Posted by on October 27, 2018 at 22:39  No Responses »
Oct 272018

Azusa emerges from the relatively unknown, combining members of Extol, The Dillinger Escape Plan, and Sea + Air into a frenetic, chaotic, powerful, heavy, and at times ethereal sonic blend that is everything you’d expect and more from this talent.

For those not paying attention to extreme music at all, Azusa is a new project from Christer Espevoll and David Husvik of Extol handling guitars and drums, Liam Wilson of The Dillinger Escape Plan on bass, and Eleni Zafiriadou of Sea + Air and ex-Jumbo Jet on vocals.  Certainly and unlikely combination of talent.  Back in 2014, Christer met David at a Benea Reach show and the two started jamming 6 months later.  During that time the two, who were The Dillinger Escape Plan fans, learned that Liam (from TDEP) was into their former band Extol and they reached out and the suddenly the band just needed a vocalist. After some failed attempts incorporating metal/thrash male vocalists, they shifted to looking at female vocalists remembering Eleni from her time with the hardcore band Jumbo Jet.  During the whole recording process the whole band only managed to be in the same room 5-6 times due to everyone’s commitments and life in various countries, but through the magic of the internet, it all came together.  For those wondering, yes, the band is looking to tour…

“Interstellar Hands” opens up the album and provides a great introduction to what is to come on the album within the first 40 seconds.  After a quick drum roll, the rest of the band comes in with a blinding, furious fast and short guitar riff only to settle into a quiet, interlude filled with clean guitars and Eleni Zafiriadou’s soft, smooth, airy vocals.  That calm is short-lived as the opening riff comes back in force backed by Eleni Zafiriadou’s loud, near ragged, screaming vocals.  The song itself takes many more twists and turns alternating between beautiful and calm and furious and fast.  The band member’s pedigrees come through in this song as one can hear elements of TDEP and Extol as well as the incredible musicianship and flawless production. Continue reading »

Through the Clouds – “Blinded Minds”

 Posted by on October 18, 2018 at 22:04  No Responses »
Oct 182018

Thrash guitarist Tiago James de Souza from Hand of Fire unveils his new side project Through the Clouds, putting together a collection of hard rock tracks carrying his signature guitar work.

Brazilian musician Tiago James de Souza is certainly known within thrash fans for his work as part of Hand of Fire (Rottweiler Records).  For those who really know a bit more about him, you also know that he is guitarist and producer of the album The Reapers by Perpetual Paranoia, a band featuring legendary vocalist Dale Thompson (Bride).  For this project, de Souza worked with Paulo Lima in Brazil while he recorded the music parts in California, making this a truly inter-continental project.  Paulo and Tiago met around three years ago through a mutual friend and the project began.  After a chat with Roxx Records CEO, they agreed to be part of the project and things began in earnest.

So, the tie to Hand of Fire certainly intrigued me when I received this album as their Nuclear Sunrise album made my Top 10, the year it came out.  I’ve always loved thrash, probably because of its close ties to punk, so I was hoping for more of that.  The opening track “Crossfire” put things in a different light as once the long intro with blistering solo ended, the song became a 90’s –influenced hard rock track.   Ever present in the songs is de Souza’s incredible guitar work.  Paulo Lima’s vocals are a bit too loud in the mix for my taste and the rhythm section a bit too quiet but everything is still very listenable and much of the complaints I have might just be my taste, so keep that in mind.  Lima’s vocals even have that 90’s era feel to them, specifically like some of the Seattle bands like Alice in Chains and others of the later Seattle scene. Continue reading »

Oct 072018

The Skull, which derives its name from Trouble’s second album, have released their own sophomore record “The Endless Road turns Dark” on 7th September, 2018; under the record label of Tee Pee Records. Hailing from Illinois USA, Trouble was considered as the pioneers of Doom Metal alongside bands like Candlemass and Saint Vitus. The Skull spun off from Trouble in early 2012 with its three former members Ron Holzner , Jeff “Oly” Olson and Eric Wagner and saw a lot of line-up changes before releasing their first album, “For those which are Asleep”.

With this record, The Skull creates a classic Sabbathian doom with a psych-tinged metal vision which benefits greatly from the pedigree and experience of the band’s members and pushes authentic, old-school metal to heavier and more foreboding places, fuelled by burly riffing, metallic groove and a crushing punch. Ethereal and wonderfully moody with a heart of heavy metal beating at its centre, the record delivers definitive doom metal full of powerful builds and mesmerizing dynamic range. Continue reading »