John Jackson

Primal – “Humachine”

 Posted by on March 22, 2023 at 19:21  No Responses »
Mar 222023

Primal return with their sophomore album Humachine, an album filled with elements from early thrash bands.

Primal first gained notoriety with the release of their self-titled debut album as they featured members from bands like HIrax and Deliverance as well as the Argentinian bands V8 and Logos. Just like with their debut, Humachine was produced by Grammy –winner Iggy Elisabetsky at D-Organization Studios in Los Angeles with mastering done by Rob Colwell at Bombworks Studios in Texas.

Humachine opens up with “The Cage”, a song with a catchy, heavy riff driving a song that retains a sense of melody. Being my first exposure to the band, I hear element of late 80s-early 90s metal and thrash and to my ears the overall sound and production seems a bit like a throwback to that era. Everything is clear in the mix but the low end seems a bit lost. Alberto Zamarbide’s vocals are smooth and mostly stay in relatively neutral space avoiding the high and low registers.

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Redemption – “I am the Storm”

 Posted by on March 14, 2023 at 14:36  No Responses »
Mar 142023

Redemption are back with their eighth studio release I Am the Storm, an album filled with progressive metal goodness and not to be missed.

Those into progressive metal have enjoyed Redemption since the early 2000s, with the band performing at Progpower USA IV in 2003, the same year their debut album was released. In 2005 the band started gaining a following with the release of The Fullness of Time featuring Ray Alder (Fates Warning) on vocals and then released their third album two years later and toured with Dream Theater. More touring, a live album and three more studio albums followed and then in 2016 the band released The Art of Loss on Metal Blade records which featured ex-Megadeth guitarists Chris Poland , Marty Friedman, and Chris Broderick as well as some vocals by John Busch (Armored Saint, Anthrax). Orignal vocalist Ray Alder left the band in 2017 and was replaced by Tom Englund (Evergrey). The band originally started by guitarist Nick van Dyk has seen some lineup changes over the year in addition to the recent change in vocals and now features, Chris Quirarte on drums, Sean Andrews on bass, and Vikram Shankar on keyboards with Chris Poland and Simone Mularoni (DGM) adding in some guitar parts along with Henrik Danhage (Evergrey). I Am the Storm was produced by Nick van Dyk and Simone Mularoni at Linda Flora Studios Produced by Nick van Dyk and Simone Mularoni at Linda Flora Studios. Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth), Henrik Danhage (Evergrey).

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Mar 082023

When you mix parts Antestor, Grave Declaration, and Vaakevandring and then add in “boredom and bad choices” you get Luteøks and what amounts to a black metal masterpiece with a healthy dose of black comedy thrown in for good measure.

Norway is known for producing great black metal bands and two of them have gotten together in what could be a supergroup project with Luteøks. Having members from Grave Declaration and the legendary Antestor, sets expectations high. Then when you read about potential comedic elements for the album but most of the song titles are in Norwegian, one begins to wonder. Thankfully, there have been some posts on the band’s Facebook page with the song titles and from that one does see there may be some humor involved. I managed to get ahold of the lyrics and with the aid of google translate, it becomes clear.

From the very beginning of “Dritfjell”, the black metal in the vein of Antestor and Grave Declaration really jumps out and is unmistakable. From the characteristic guitar riffs, to the blast beats, to the raspy, growled vocals, this is black metal that I would have instantly thought was Antestor. Lyrically, the song is apparently about a mountain and has some great lines (in Norwegian). Roughly translated, we get,

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Angelic Forces – “Arise”

 Posted by on February 20, 2023 at 09:24  No Responses »
Feb 202023

Holland’s Angelic Forces have finally released a full length album, Arise, sure to please Stryper fans and those looking for an updated version of late 80’s metal.

With roots dating back to 2015, and an ep released in 2018, it has been a long road for Angelic Forces to release a full length album. Originally the band formed from ex-Methusalem members Wilco van der Meij (bass) and Harold de Vries (guitars) bringing in drummer Rudie Kingma and Maurice Glijsman (ex-L.S.D) as a second guitarist. This lineup created the independently released three song ep. In the time since the ep the band shared stages with the likes of Leviticus, War of Ages, Tygers of Pan Tang as well as being in festivals featuring Cannibal Corpse, Cradle of Filth, Pestilence, and King Diamond, some of which are diametrically opposed in messaging to the Christian one of Angelic Forces. During the pandemic, the band started work on Arise which was recorded at Audioshape studio and features new bassist Tjaard Walstra.

In general, for those who grew up in the late 80s as metalheads, Angelic Forces will sound very familiar. Given the Christian message, sound, and especially the vocals and twin guitars, comparisons to Stryper are inevitable, but there are elements from other bands of the time like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and I can’t help but hear some Mike Tramp (White Lion) in Harold de Vries vocals. Production is good and clean with vocals coming through clear alongside the instruments but to my ear there does seem to be a bit of an echo that keeps the sound from being as bright as I would have liked.

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Broken Chains – “Light of the World”

 Posted by on February 15, 2023 at 16:33  No Responses »
Feb 152023

Broken Chains release their debut album, Light of the World.

Metal from Central America in English is not something I come across very often and Broken Chains look to be the first metal album sung in English from Honduras, Tegucigalpa specifically. Guitarist Rob Robbie started the band back in 2020, building on his 15 years of experience in other metal bands in Honduras. For now, Broken Chains is a studio project of Robbie who worked with producer Herber Alonzo and brought in Eduardo Ramirez for vocals and Luis Montesi (tsidkenu) on drums.

Getting new bands is always a cool thing, especially when a band is pretty far removed from where your music usually comes from. Groove metal with some melodic and acoustic elements is pretty much the only description I had to go off before hitting the play button in this case. The track “Broken Chains” opens up with a pounding drum rhythm that builds and is joined by guitars. A good, heavy riff kicks off and the track is off and rolling. In this case we have an instrumental with a couple different guitar parts layered in and pretty heavy track in general. Production quality is good and primarily just guitars and bass in this particular track. The song settles into a nice groove with some fast drums keeping pace, setting up for an extended guitar solo, which has a good bit of melody to it as well taking the place of vocals. I like the raw edge to it all.

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