May 062020
 

Enzo Donnarumma truly knows how to set a mood. “Precariousness” has an uneasy feeling, and this sense of foreboding is ramped up to breaking point as the prelude transitions to “Nothingness (It’s Everyone’s Fate)”. The string arrangement and the percussion immediately propel me to the Middle East even as the ensemble cast sing of traveling from Africa, but the Glory Ensemble interrupt themselves by introducing a progressive rock run toward the middle of the song and suddenly I’m in a different world altogether. How mighty the guitar sounds when backed by a symphony orchestra! Against a choir singing “It’s everyone’s fate” there is a world
of clamouring voices and instruments and you realise very quickly that on the album, “In The Name of The World Spirit” there will be a lot to take in.

This album is the third in a trilogy by Enzo & The Glory Ensemble, and has certainly retained its fiery delivery. The band changes tack on “The Bronze Age”, where the sequenced elements suggest a hive of activity. A lilting acoustic guitar is introduced while the vocalisations of the choir stitch this peaceful interlude to the heavier part that follows. What keeps amazing me are the contrasts achieved in the music. “Try To Put In Pit The Fear” features Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land. The earlier uneasiness has made way for a feeling of celebration. I have found myself listening to increasingly heavier music since we’ve been in precautionary lockdown and while it has matched my somber mood it has left me dejected. A song like “Try To Put In Pit The Fear” is the remedy that blows the cobwebs of negativity away. “To Every Chest” is a beautiful duet and a little slower in pace. The combination of the male and female vocals is very effective, and there is ample room for heavenly guitar solos. The Glory Ensemble are very good at combining instruments that invoke the ancient world with those that fit more squarely in the present, like in “Just In My Heart The Blame”. There is the thumb piano but also a stringed instrument towards the middle of the track that picks up the melody and truly stands out
amongst the modern orchestration. I love the inclusion of the harp on “I’ll Add More” and if ever there were a musical intro suited to the opening scene of a film, it would be this one. It feels like a very personal song, beautifully sung by female voices.

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August Burns Red – “Guardians”

 Posted by on May 5, 2020 at 03:49  No Responses »
May 052020
 

August Burns Red have been filling the metalcore scene with great music for 17 years are back with Guardians, an album filled with fast, heavy grooves, breakdowns, and thoughtful lyrics as everyone has come to expect from the Pennsylvania quintet.

Hard to believe, but August Burns Red traces their roots to Amish country in Pennslyvania, but from humble beginnings has come the heavy music machine that is ABR complete with two Grammy nominations for those looking for critical acclaim.  As if the two Grammy nominations for “Best Metal Performance” weren’t enough, the band has often garnered top reviews from the likes of Alternative Press and Kerrang. From an album perspective, the band’s debut was Thrillseeker on Solid State Records in 2005 and featured Josh McManness on vocals who left before the recording of Messengers in 2007 when Jake Luhrs took over and the band’s sound solidified. Six more albums followed including the Sleddin’ Hill of Christmas/holiday songs in 2012 and Phantom Anthem in 2017 was the last regular studio release for the band prior to Guardians. Unfortunately after only a couple of dates Covid-19 hit and the bands’ tour with Killswitch Engage and Light the Torch ended, but there is an August date still on the calendar and the band looks to be playing the legendary Furnace Fest in September.

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Red – “Declaration”

 Posted by on April 28, 2020 at 22:22  No Responses »
Apr 282020
 

As many of you already know, Red is a popular American Christian rock band from Nashville, Tennessee, that formed in 2002 that has their sound today firmly seated in the hard rock genre. It is also important to note that on the 21st of January 2019 the band made an announcement that they are no longer signed to Essential/Sony and they will record their next album independently. They also announced that touring drummer Dan Johnson will join the band full-time as their fourth member. On January 10, 2020, Red gave an announcement that their upcoming seventh studio album, Declaration, was set for release on April 10, 2020. However on the 25th of March 2020, the band announced that Declaration would be released a week earlier than its original April 10 release date.

The one thing you begin to notice as you go through the musical archive of Red is their progression of articulation and fine tuning of their sound from one album to the next. One gets a distinct perception that they grab hold of the best parts of their sound and try and build on that in giving their audience the best version of themselves at that point in time. Honesty if you dig into their musical history you will discover that they rarely go wrong with that formula or approach if you will.

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Apr 212020
 

Judgement Day, the American Straightedge Hardcore from SoCal is back with an ep showing a much more muscular sound than on their demo and shifting toward slower brand of metalcore from the metal-influence hardcore on their demo.

Around six years ago, I reviewed the demo from JudgementXDay and thought a lot of what I heard had a lot of promise, but then I never really heard anything after that, so seeing this come across my desk, made me go back to the demo.  Since the demo, the band had released a full length in 2016, The Altar, and the sound there serves as a good intermediate between the demo and this ep.  The sound this time around is much heavier, even slower and sort of sludgy at times, which contrasts quite a bit from the faster demo and The Altar from several years ago.  This time around the ep was recorded and mixed by Taylor Young (Nails, Twitching Tongues) at The Pit Studios, Van Nuys, California and mastered by Audiosiege, Portland, Oregon.

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Azusa – “Loop of Yesterdays”

 Posted by on April 14, 2020 at 05:06  No Responses »
Apr 142020
 

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.

Asuza burst onto the scene in 2018 as a 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.  The result was an amazing debut filled with elements of thrash, hardcore, and pop presented in a sometimes chaotic blend of very technical metal with Eleni Eleni Zafiriadou’s beautiful and brutal vocals.  From a historical view, Christer met David at a Benea Reach show in 2014 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. Eventually they remembered Eleni from her time with the hardcore band Jumbo Jet and the result was Heavy Yoke.  For Loop of Yesterdays, the band was anxious to pick up where they left off and in the words of bassist Liam Wilison, “Heavy Yoke was the initial impact, Loop of Yesterdays is the aftermath.” Once again the band recorded at David Husvik’s Hawk Studios in Oslo over a series of marathon sessions that started before Heavy Yoke left the pressing plant.  Like before, Nick Terry (Turbonegro, Serena Maneesh) handled mixing giving mastering engineer Jens Bogren (Opeth, At the Gates) a lot to work with.

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