Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Washington State: Cascadian Lightfall

Check out Cascadian Lightfall from Washington State, USA.
"Cascadian Lightfall is a solo project of Halcyon. It functions as the companion to Last Redoubt. It aims to bring the vibe of Cascadia into musical form through ambient electronics and black metal."
Cascadian Lightfall October 14 at 5:20 AM ·
I was going to wait till Friday to publish this, but after a late night working on the mix, I figured I would start the day off with a surprise for all of you! Here is "Seven Crowns of Sunrise". the New Cascadian Lightfall album! It's much shorter, and more of a "metal" album than Astral Rains, but I think it's still very me. On a side note: while my music is "Name Your Price", I have a couple live dates this year performing my dungeon synth/dark ambient and it would mean a heck of a lot if you helped support me with a buck or two if you can spare it for this release, and feel free to share as you see appropriate. If times are tough, as always, feel free to enter 0.
I hope this starts Monday on a cool, positive note!
Best Regards,

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

review: Hot Breath

Hot Breath Hot Breath
The Sign Records
18 October 2019
Sound: The Swedish band Hot Breath plays classic-style, real-deal heavy rock, something like 1977-1979, with a constant, stubborn, persistent uptempo beat and the guitar is always functioning on the mode “big rock on.”
Production: Hot Breath wants the sound of genuine, honest electric heavy rock of the late 1970s, with real drums, big riffs and a whole big sweaty feel like an intense bar band that will play the pubs in Iowa, New York, London, Rio, Berlin or right in your neighborhood.
Instrumentation: Expect a vibrant energy of big rock and roll. Mosh, dance, bang your head or whatever you want to the big riffs and raucous solos. The rhythm section sounds great. You can hear the bass and the drums sound great and real. The band has confirmed to this publication: “All the drumming on the recordings are played live by a real human being.” There you go, straight from the horse’s mouth.
Vocals: The voice is good, and keep in mind that this is a young band and this is their debut. The singing is full of heavy rock attitude and a great energy. There is a bit of backing vocals, but it’s mostly one voice rocking out.
Songs: In 22 minutes the band delivers six rocking, catchy songs. The songs are concise and get to the rocking right away.
Lyrics: The lyrics are all about human problems and the attitude of a young indestructible rocker. These are a young person’s lyrics, the lyrics of a go-getter, basically. If there are any profanities, they are not prominent.
Potential audience: Metal fans and heavy rock fans that want the young energy of late 1970s big rock should find what they need here.
Similar bands: AC/DC 1977 Let There Be Rock; Motörhead’s Overkill (but only the uptempo songs; not the bluesy songs); The Ramones; Van Halen 1978; the rocking songs of The Runaways, Kiss (when they rocked; not the disco stuff), Scorpions 1977, U.F.O., and other bands from around this period, too many to mention here.
Assessment: This is a hot rocking debut for fans who want uptempo late 1970s classic, heavy, hard rock; punk and heavy metal, all before the 1980s. This debut keeps the music uptempo and rocking for the duration. It’s a fantastic start for them. Let’s hope they don’t wimp out nor slow down. We are not ready for this band to start giving us sappy ballads. Let there be rock, indeed.


This summer PIRATES IN BLACK sent in a copy of their debut. Below are three pictures for you to check it out. The band says: "The album will be officially released by NOV-29-2019 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (physical), and worldwide (digital via the usual channels). It took us about a year to record and produce the album. Now we are more than happy with the result." Below you will find an interview with the band, just in case you have not seen it before.
interview: Pirates in Black
The old, classic ways are alive in the form of Pirates in Black (Germany). The band does not even care about what label people put on the music and they just call themselves heavy rock, as heavy metal was known in the early days before the craziness of the genres, subgenres and subsubgenres and that stuff. Pirates in Black for the old at heart, whether you are young or not so much a spring chicken. It does not matter, this is music you can understand easily because the purpose is to rock, and nothing else. Ahoy, mateys! All aboard!
Friends, who is Pirates in Black and how many recordings do you have?
Hi, my name is Falo Faltu and I am the founder (and the Captain) of the PIRATES IN BLACK. I’m the lead singer, play guitar, and wrote all of our songs so far. And I’m very pleased to answer your questions.
The PIRATES IN BLACK formed as a band in late 2016. That was the time when I thought the songs I had written and recorded back in those days should be played live. I asked my friend and drummer Hans Heringer (serving on board of our pirate ship as a Powder Monkey) to join the band. Hans used to play the drums for many years in the band UNIVERSE which you might now as a long time established melodic hard rock band from Germany. On bass we have the Gunner, Carl Clover. I used to play together with Carl back in the early 90’s in our band LYVE WYRE (some great kind of heavy hard rock, though we didn’t get far). And the other guitar is played by the Quartermaster, Accu Becher. In fact, Accu heard about the project, the PIRATES IN BLACK, quite incidentally, and asked me if he could join us. He was a well known guitar player in our local community, with great skills, and a long experience in various local bands. So I was more than happy about his request. And here we are: Four old school rockers, who payed their dues in many ways, with the passion for heavy rock music, and the strong urge to let the good times roll, again! We are Pirates! Ready for plundering. Stealing riffs wherever we can. Destroying them. And devastating the stages with all of our might. And – yes – we do not take it all too seriously! :-)
Back to your questions: The songs available on Bandcamp (and on our website are part of our first album “Pirates In Black” which is going to be released in May. The album will consist of 10 songs (and a bonus track).
How much experience do you have?
Yes. As I mentioned before all of us look back at a long history of playing in different bands. Some of them were (heavy) cover bands. Others played their own songs. All of our former bands played hard and heavy rock. Today Hans and I use to be members of a heavy cover band called BANDOXX. Accu plays guitar in another band of that kind, called MEDLEY CRUE. We all live in Germany in the region around Wuppertal, called Bergisches Land. The next bigger cities are Cologne, Dusseldorf and Dortmund.
Honestly, playing music in a band is not our main profession (although we would describe our musical skills as semi-professional). All four of us are self-employed which gives us the flexibility to play gigs, shows, and festivals whenever we are given the chance to. Until today we played shows in a circle of about 100 miles around Wuppertal. But this will change soon since we are already booked for a gig in Northern Germany. And we keep spreading the word for sure!
What is the inspiration for your band in 2019? For example, do you like the old Running Wild pirate-loving music? What about 1980s music like Ozzy, Accept, Faithful Breath, Scorpions and similar bands? What about 1970s?
Yes, we are grey headed bloody old bastards :-) Our musical roots go back to the 70’s and 80’s. I am very much inspired by Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath, but also by Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society. AC/DC and Motörhead, of course. I love Whitesnake, especially when John Sykes played the guitar (and btw I give a sh*t on Steve Vai’s humpty dumpty fiddeling). And yes, Accept was also a great band from Germany. Did you know that Udo Dirkschneider, the former singer of Accept, was born in Wuppertal? Fun fact: We recorded the vocals of our album in the studio of Udo’s brother Peter Dirkschneider (also known as the singer of Vanize). He was also in charge for the mix of the songs.
Of course, we know Running Wild’s “Under The Jolly Roger”. But believe it or not, I only got aware of that song way after I founded the PIRATES IN BLACK. Anyhow, great (and funny!) song!
Have the German rock publications done any reviews of your music? Is there a market for your music in Germany? I mean, rock fans in Germany still love Scorpions, Judas Priest and Ozzy, right?
In fact, this one is our first serious interview. So you deserve all the credits to be the one who had the PIRATES IN BLACK beforehand of all the others :-) We are still at the very beginning. We are not signed by a label right now, but have to manage all of the PR stuff on our own. Which is fun but also very time consuming. We had some air plays recently, on rock stations like Pure Sound Radio, Metal Only, and Metal Devastation Radio. And we have been listed as a newcomer band on the website of Radio BOB, which is one of the two major rock radio stations in Germany. So I think we are on a good way, but there is still much more way to go.
I have the impression that most of the other newcomer bands are much more into metal, growling, playing faster, than we are. On the other hand those old school guys like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, KISS, even Saxon, and of course Ozzy, are undergoing a kind of revival today. If you take a look at Wacken (the biggest heavy metal festival in Germany) you will find that the kids still go crazy about classic heavy rock. So – back to the question – yes, I think there is still a niche (a market?) for classic heavy rock like we are celebrating it. To undermine this: We took part in a newcomer band contest last year (called the SPH Bandcontest) and made it to the region final (which will take place in September this year). So there must be definitely at least some interest in our kind of music.
“Words Are Loaded Guns” is the first song. It has a cool heavy big midtempo riff that is the basis of the song. The drumming is grooving and the guitar solo is a nice blues-based melodic segment. What is the story behind the song?
The title “Words Are Loaded Guns” is a citation of the French philosopher Jean Paul Sartre. For me, it means that people don’t need real guns, or any violence at all, to change the system they are living in, or at least to force the current leaders to resign. We had the so called “peaceful revolution” in Germany in 1989 where the people in the streets peacefully protested against the socialist system of the German Democratic Republic, and the system collapsed with not even one shot out of a gun. This is one aspect of it. The other thing about it is what we are experiencing with leaders today who try to cut the rights of the free press, calling them “fake news”, knowing, fearing, and using that in fact “Words are loaded guns”.
After the midpaced song “Words Are Loaded Guns”, you respond with a faster tune called “Pirates in Black”. When you all formed the band, what did you imagine that Pirates in Black would be as a sound? Pirates are outlaws. Do you feel like you are outlaws playing music that goes against the grain in Germany? I do not know what music is popular in Germany! I don’t know if Rammstein is big or if bands with growled vocals are popular.
Rammstein is big in Germany (although I think they are beyond their peak in terms of sound and songs). Growling is very popular in the German metal scene. But there are a bunch of other great bands in Germany, too. Listen to Twenty Dark Seven, for example. Great heavy rock straight into your face. Or The New Black. Great bands, no growling, just ROCK!
Are we outlaws? Well, in a certain way I think we are. We describe our sound as “Merciless. Lawless. Heavy. Rock.” And that is in fact how we mean it. We don’t care if anybody else does not like the groove, the style, the rhythm. We really give a sh*t about genres, especially into which genre we might – or might not – fit in. What really drives us is to play music we like, together with persons we like, in front of people, who have fun. We are wearing pirate costumes on stage. We are posting funny things on social media, speaking in a pirate way, arrrrrr!!!! Some so called “professional musicians” do not like that. But we have fun with it. And so have our fans. That’s the only thing that is important for us. I mean, if you go to a rock show, what do you expect? You want to be entertained! You want to have a great evening. You want to sing out loud! Bang your head! You want to see crazy people on stage who give everything! You don’t want to see our next door neighbor. You don’t want to go home later and think, “well, next time I’ll stay at home and watch TV instead of going to that pirate show again.”
In the end it is all about having fun, destroying our ears, pushing up the amps, and rock. Is there a business in it? We don’t know. With rules to be obeyed? We don’t care. We are pirates!!!! Harrrharrrharrr!!!
Is there one general theme in all the songs or are they separate stories? For instance, the song “All Alone” (a cool mitempo song that becomes a rocking uptempo tune). Are the lyrics based on personal experiences or is it a story about somebody else, not necessarily about you?
There is no general theme shared by all the songs. Not so far. To tell the truth, I really love those concept albums, for example Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime” or even “The Wall” from Pink Floyd. And (for me, personally) it would be great to set up something like this in the future. If this ever happens, I don’t know.
Concerning the songs of the PIRATES IN BLACK I can tell you that I like to sing about things that move me. “All alone” is a song about homeless people living in the streets. I have never experienced that on my own, although I used to play guitar as a street musician for a couple of a while. That’s not the same thing. But you get in contact, and you learn about those things, as long as you are open minded and keep your feet on the ground.
Is there anything in particular happening in Germany that has made you write lyrics about it?
I’m not so much focused on what is happening in Germany particularly. But of course I listen to the news. I keep myself informed. I am interested in politics and in all the other things happening in Germany, in Europe, all over the world. As I said before, I like to sing about things that move me. Our Song “Eternal Blood” for example is dealing with terror caused by religious fanaticism. Another song, “Omerta”, is a story about politicians who have their own hidden agenda and use their power only to become richer and richer, “raping your society”. But in the end we are not a political band. I’m convinced that most of our fans like us because of the music, not because of the lyrics – and we feel great with that. Otherwise we might have called us the “Bob Dylans” or so ... but wait a minute, maybe we should name our pirate ship “The Black Spirit of Joan Baez”? Harrrharrrharrr!!!!
Coming back to the music. Now your recording is finished, what do you think about the guitar sound on it? Are you pleased with how it sounds? It has a classic-style heavy metal guitar tone, but it is also chunky, heavy. It’s both classic-style but more modern. Do you feel like that is what you wanted?
YES!!!! That is exactly what we wanted it to sound like. A little tiny bit of Black Sabbath. A small amount of Zakk Wylde. On top a pinch of Judas Priest. Some plundering here. Some stealing there. There you have the pirate sound! :-)
More seriously we recorded the DI-signals of our guitars and sent them through a great ENGL-Plugin at Peter’s studio. A little bit of playing around with them knobs and there you go. Hail to the inventors of digital recording technology!!!!
Given that you love the classics, do you ever wonder if recording in the analog ways would be possible?
If you are speaking about using tape as a recording medium I would say no. Those times are gone. But in means of putting down the tunes live without (too much) overdubbing, well, as long as you go for just a few songs (three or four), that would be an interesting (though demanding) way to go at least as you are a (more) semi (than) professional band as we are. It is technically demanding but not too difficult. You would need good equipment, a good location, and a sound engineer who knows how the things are done. I’m sure that the result would be great as long as we would take our time until we nailed down the songs REALLY good! The main disadvantage would be the studio time you have to pay for. We do not expect to make very much money (if any) with our music. We just want to have fun. And we want to produce the best sound possible keeping in mind our limited financial capacities. So if Napalm Records told us tomorrow “There you go with 100.000 bucks you bloody Pirates! Go and make another record!” we would be more than happy to record it live. Since this will probably never ever happen we stick to our home recording tools, DI-signals, Midi-Drums, and save our money for pirate costumes, rum barrels, and guitar strings.
What is the current situation for touring? How can fans support your band directly?
We are really looking forward to do some more shows this year. We will be on stage in May in Haan which is quite near to Wuppertal. We will take part in the region final of the SPH Bandcontest in Bochum in September. There will be a show in Wilhelmshaven at the northern shore of Germany later this year. And there are still some more options for us. Plans for 2020 are to be part of some bigger open-air festivals in Germany or in surrounding countries in Europe.
Fans are welcome to support us by buying pirate shirts or songs via our website. It is also possible to buy our songs via Bandcamp. And once our album had been released we will offer our songs on iTunes and Amazon as well. But – of course – if you like our music and you are out for a digital download or a physical CD, we are more than happy if you choose our own website for that despite of one of the big players who are going to keep a substantial share for themselves.

EFFLUVIA brings back the Tacoma aroma

Return to Ponders Corner
16 November 2019
The aroma of Tacoma in Washington State is the extreme metal by the sickos who go by the name of Effluvia (don’t bother looking it up, you sicko). Let’s just say that in the past these malcontents have been in bands with truly horrendous names that are so sick, embarrassing, disgusting, and moronic that even G.G. Allin would have say, “Seriously, fellas, that name is cool and all, I love it cuz ya knows I sick, too, but dayum, y’all have gone and done the unthinkable and given y’all’selves the worst name ever, man!”
Anyway, friends who do not live here on western side of Washington State, let me explain something to y’all. Up here, in this northwesternmost corner of the continental United States we have the wonderful people of the city Tacoma (Yes, that one Tacoma, that Steve Miller Band immortalized in the famous black metal grindcore hit “Rock’n Me.”). Effluvia is undead in the City of Tacos (That it is called Taco-ma because tacos are very popular in the city is fake news information that I just invented right now.).
Alright, so, what was I talking about?!
Ah, yes, I remember now, I remember how it all started.
Effluvia is returning with a new recording on the 16th of November of 2019 A.D.
The album has 29 tracks. For real. Twenty nine, y’all! Anyway, this band is not appropriate for children, sensitive hearts, gentle lovers and lots of other people. This music is strictly for degenerates who are going to have their souls impaled again and again and again in the burning lake of fire. Listen to this album if you already know that you are a total degenerate, a registered offender, a convicted criminal, a person with no morals or a Seattle Seahawks fan.
The album begins with an introduction that will offend liberals, cockroaches, feminists, conservatives, antifas, anarquists, squirrels and all the inhabitants of Seattle and Tacoma, except for the members of Effluvia and their nine die-hard supporters in Tacoma.
“Ponders Corner” is next and this track is a grindcore love song dedicated to all people whose life work consists of criminal activity. Goodness, this is a brutal death metal and grind whirlwind of noise pollution rolling down the I-5. “Synchronized Killing” is the third song and this one brings a message of love, if by love you mean low-growl and yelling at full speed and then ending it as fast as it began. Next thing you, it’s “Body Parts in a Suitcase” and we’re going to need some heartburn medicine right about now. “Wake Up and Smell the Feces” is next and this song is a tribute to The Eagles’ “Hotel California” in the sense that it does not sound like that song at all. Help, I need somebody, help, not just anybody.
Ok, well, there are more anti-songs to tell you about, but there’s some Olympic curling that is about to begin and I don’t want to miss that. I’ll return to holler back at you about Effluvia.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Washington State band: IMPULSE NOISE

Impulse Noise is grind from Seattle. They have one recording on Bandcamp. Impulse Noise is sure to bring happiness, health and wealth to you and your loved ones this holiday season. It's never too early to celebrate Christmas, Halloween, Cinco de Mayo and National Grindcore Day by blasting some grind by way of Impulse Noise.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

review: Entrails

Rise of the Reaper
Metal Blade Records
11 October 2019
Sound: This Swedish band’s sixth album continues the sound since their debut album in 2010, which is dedicated lock, stock, barrel to giving fans classic-style Stockholm death metal in the perfect package signed, sealed and delivered with the adoration of loyal raving lunatic zealots, from the logo onwards.
Production: The sound quality is clear and contemporary. The style is from the old school, but the production is from the new school. The guitars, drums and vocals are easy to hear. There is some background effects/sounds in some songs for atmosphere. The bass guitar is not particularly prominent, but the album does not lack bottom end. The drums are rather loud, especially compared to the old early 1990s Swedish death metal albums. On the other hand, the drums do not like real, live drums but like sampled drumming, sadly.
Instrumentation: The band focuses more on delivering a contemporary production. The songs have big grooves. The guitar sound is awesome, but the riffs do not stand out as much as the production, unfortunately. There are some songs that have pretty good guitar solos and for some of them, you’ll definitely notice the soloing. As for the drumming, there’s not much to say because it’s difficult to know when it’s not clear that band has taken the time to have real human drumming on the album. Bring back the drummer!
Vocals: Besides some of the soloing, it is the vocals that stand out. The gruff, low growling is strong and some of it is intelligible. The gruff growling and this music are made for each other.
Songs: The music is predictable, yes, the band is a follower of the old school, yes, yes, but if you are a big, big fan of the style or you are new to death metal and you would like to hear a contemporary interpretation of classic-style Swedish death metal, these songs are a good illustration.
Lyrics: The band focuses on the normal topics of gruesome death, horror and things like that.
Potential audience: The fanatics of old Swedish death metal are hereby called to assemble at this ceremony of celebration.
Similar bands: Nihilist/Entombed; Carnage/Dismember, and the followers of that sound.
Assessment: When you listen to Entrails you are listening for a certain sound that you want, the sound of classic-style Swedish death metal that emerged in the late 1980s. You are listening for the production job, the old-school growling vocals and the guitar tone. When you listen to Entrails you are listening to a celebration of Nihilist/Entombed and Carnage/Dismember, and those other bands, and you are listening to celebrate the legacy of Sunlight Studios in Stockholm, Sweden and of the legacy of the producer Thomas Skogsberg. This is the music of the most gifted students and devotees of classic Swedish death metal. On the other hand, all these songs fall in line with that style. This band dare not do anything to rock the boat, step out of line, and go wandering into new territories. What you see is what you get, bang your head in 2019 like it is 1989.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

review: The Bleeding

The Bleeding
Morbid Prophecy
World War Now Records
18 October 2019
Sound: The Bleeding (U.K.) is moshing, thrash’em, bash’em with shredding and gremlin vocals and some blasting drumming.
Production: The music itself is inspired by the old school but the production is contemporary. Fans of intense, fast thrash should be pleased. The production could be a problem for some fans that absolutely demand real, live drums, and totally reject the drum programming/sampled drumming sound of the clicky drums of this album.
Instrumentation: This is no-holds barred moshing thrashing with the prototypical riffs fans like. It’s music by thrash fans for thrash maniacs. The bass guitar is quite audible in some segments. The riffs function on two modes only: “fast” and “faster.” Some of the soloing seems promising, but is underdeveloped or restrained in the shredding and the melodic aspects. This latter component could stand to be more elaborate. Overall, though, the skills are impressive.
Vocals: There is some lower growling in spots, but by far the dominant sensation is raspy, gremlin, evil cartoon witch vocals. It is a busy vocal approach, and sometimes the vocals seem to take up too much of the space. A bit less vocals would allow more of the music to be heard. The gremlin vocals themselves are way too gruesome and extreme for traditional thrash because The Bleeding is also fond of the more extreme genres.
Songs: Repeated listens have yielded chaos and speed. Unfortunately, repeated listens (some six listens at the very least, maybe closer to ten) have not revealed standout tracks. Lots of moshing thrashing, competent and solid thrash, but no songs that make you want to hear them the whole day long.
Lyrics: The lyrics focus on the sinister side of religion, as in the idea of focusing on religion as a manifestation of evil. Evil rites and evil oaths sworn to evil religions and their leaders.
Potential audience: This music is aimed at love-it-all thrash and headbanging extreme metal fans. Come to bang your head, stay to mosh.
Similar bands: Thrash bands that like to push the extremity by using brutal vocals and some blasting would share some fundamental similarities.
Assessment: This is a pretty good thrash album in 2019. It’s a headbanging good time for enthusiastic headbangers and moshers. The main weakness is that the album does not have songs that have a lasting impact. On the other hand, audiences looking for a fast and intense thrashing experience would find their match here.

review: Narrenwind

Ja, Dago
Pagan Records
24 September 2019
Sound: The Polish-language entity Narrenwind is on the avant-garde side of things, you could say, but it’s not so strange as to render the music as experimental or not song-centered. Despite what you might be told elsewhere, this is not a black metal album. The music is a type of folksy, trippy, melancholic, melodic execution that seems to have as much psychedelic rock as it does folk metal; and sure, there’s some black metal in there, too, on this eccentric album.
Production: There’s a certain DIY/homemade feel to the album, although the quality of the recording is completely within the standard of good do-it-yourself recordings. The bass guitar is not something that is very audible, but if you turn it up really loud, you hear a thumping in the background. The drumming does not seem like it is programmed; it sounds like a person doing the drumming, but this cannot be ascertained by this review.
Instrumentation: The rhythm section, especially the drumming, is good, and the guitar melodies are rather tasteful and have lots of catchy parts. There’s quite a bit of good slow soloing, a kind of bluesy and melodic style of soloing. There are also some other studio sounds that are probably studio magic made to fill out the sound for a fuller, more melodic and melancholic vibe.
Vocals: The vocals are rather eccentric and requires some test driving to hear for yourself. The vocals are sort of black metal but in a peculiar way. Sometimes it sounds like the vocalist is just trying out different techniques to see how it sounds. For instance, there’s a dramatic voice that seems like the vocalist is trying to sound like a giant, like you would find in an old Disney movie or old cartoons. Apparently, the album is about legends of the giants dwelling in ancient land that is today called Poland, so maybe there is some logic to this. Anyway, there is also some definite black metal in some of the vocals, too. In general, the vocals are pretty strange.
Songs: The songs stand alone well by themselves, and are not experimental pieces. At the very beginning, the music might make you think this is black metal, but by the third track you should start to really understand that this is a bit unique and different. The songs themselves have a personality or particular traits that you’ll remember after a couple of listens.
Lyrics: Apparently, the themes revolve around Polish legends. Some of the lyrics sound intelligible, but of course, not knowing any Polish words, this review is unable to help at all with the question of the lyrics.
Potential audience: Fans of folk metal and black metal would be two particular demographics that would be interested in this music.
Similar bands: If you like extreme metal music that is more concerned with vibes of mysticism and obscurantism, as opposed to speed and brutality, then this would be that type of album.
Assessment: In general, the album is for fans of eccentric folk-based extreme metal. Given that it is a peculiar album, mostly because of the strange vocals, it is a pretty unique work. It is not a big-budget production, and that may turn off some picky listeners. However, it is done well and the weirdness enhances the experience. Narrenwind is keeping Polish metal strange. Anyway, this ride is not too bumpy, but it is more like a trip to wonderland, or rather, a trip to the land of the giants.

review: Excalion

Scarlet Records
27 September 2019
Sound: Excalion is 1980s-loving contemporary melodic heavy/power metal with some classic/hard rock sensibilities.
Production: The album sounds like contemporary shiny European melodic metal, with a bit of that pop orientation, with a pretty good amount of studio magic and, unfortunately, a drum production that seems like drum programming/sampled drum sounds. It’s very doubtful that these are real, live drums due to the plastic, stale sound that is not dynamic, just oriented towards a simple beat.
Instrumentation: The keyboards are part of the sound, but they do not overwhelm the sound, although there are moments for the keyboards to shine. The riffs are very ear-friendly and this makes the songs fun and easy to absorb, and it all allows for the singing to be the focal point of the music.
Vocals: The singing is the centerpiece of the band. It is a high voice, like prototypical classic heavy metal, although there is a certain 1980s big rock feel, too, and it is not a big exaggeration to mention that there is a little bit of Journey’s style in the music and the singing. In fact, the singing is much closer to Journey than to the screaming banshee of Judas Priest.
Songs: This Finnish band is all about writing hits for their fans. Mission accomplished!
Lyrics: The album comes across as a band made up of adults. Therefore, love, friendship, relationships and feelings are the main topics. If there are any profanities, they are not obvious to hear. This reviewer has not noticed them. Potential audience: This album is for any person into adult contemporary metal full of melodies and good singing. Anyone who likes rock singing and catchy songs may find it interesting. It’s also metal that kids can listen to because it is memorable and the band is intelligent and keeps the music open to all audiences, regardless of politics, religion and things like that.
Similar bands: Bands that play melodic and catchy metal music without silly gimmicks would share similarities to this one. Your friends might call this music “parent metal,” “soccer mom metal,” and “dad metal.” Then again, your friends are a bunch of bums, anyway.
Assessment: It is important that the audience first hear the singing on the album because this is power metal and the voice is fundamental to the music, but the crooner voice can make or break an album. There is a bit of a Journey or Symphony X tone to the voice. It is a pleasant type of voice. There is no air raid siren or banshee super screaming and yelling. The band’s objective is singing that lots of people can enjoy, and they achieve that on the album. If in the United States radio stations played this type of music, a lot more people would like it, due to the commercial potential. The album shows a lot of good work within the field of contemporary melodic metal and heavy rock in general. Perhaps only metal people who are looking for music to be a mirror of their own personal demons of anger and hatred would object to this album, given that the band delivers feel-good music. Now, if only someone could convince them to bring back the drummer!

review: DragonForce

Extreme Power Metal
Metal Blade Records
27 September 2019
Sound: The long-running veterans continue their tradition of fun-loving fast melodic metal.
Production: The album features the contemporary production of a big use of studio magic to create music that sounds flawless. The band has shown that live they play this music, but it doesn’t sound as grandiose and full when it is live, but this is normal for most fancy production metal albums. This album should be a pleasant listening experience for fans of melodic, happy metal.
Instrumentation: Big guitar melodies, big keyboard melodies and big shredding is the brand of the band, as it always has been the case.
Vocals: The singing is high and melodic air raid siren. The tone of the voice is rather smooth, not gritty nor rough.
Songs: The songs are catchy and it seems like any of them could be a fan favorite.
Lyrics: The band likes lyrics about immortality, eternity, the future and heroic deeds.
Potential audience: Fans of fun-loving melodic metal styles across the board are the target audience.
Similar bands: Keyboard-friendly and shred-friend melodic bands with high singing generally share lots of similarities with this band.
Assessment: Members have come and gone, but the two guitarists Sam and Herman remain. The sound has changed over the years from fast, heroic shredding power metal to more of a fun-loving computer-gamey sound. They have reached a more party-oriented sound. However, big melodies and lots of guitars remain a fundamental aspect of their sound. They still write songs like they want the tracks to become fan favorites at concerts. In that sense, the mission of power metal is still at the center of the music. Often the music sounds like Beyoncé or Lady Gaga with shredding guitars. They are not afraid of being criticized for going over the top, for overachieving and for overdoing things in excess, and their new album’s title is a declaration to their fans that after 20 years and eight albums, they embrace the things that have endeared them to their fans. In fact, this new album even has a Céline Dion cover and frankly it just sounds like another DragonForce song on the album. DragonForce is a show, it’s always been a show, no apologies, and everyone is welcome to the show. Rock and roll all nite, and party every day.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Washington State band: Sölicitör

Sölicitör brings the thunder from the west. You come to see the show, come and get on your seat, hey, you wanna go crazy tonight for the crazy nights of Sölicitör! Seattle does not know what to do with them, but you will!

review: Cult of Luna

Cult of Luna
A Dawn to Fear
Metal Blade Records
20 September 2019
Sound: This is slow-motion heaviness with atmospheric moments and melodic guitar solos, and screamed-growled vocals.
Production: The recording sounds massively heavy. There’s lots of studio magic and layering. It is doubtful the band is playing everything that you hear. The drums seem like drum programming/sampled drum sounds, unfortunately.
Instrumentation: The music has a ton of slow passages and ambient segments. They don’t really do riffs, it’s more like slow grooves, and they have various sounds to fill out the atmosphere. Ultimately, there is one truly outstanding part of the instrumentation and that is the melodies. The band usually waits a long time into a song before revealing the guitar melodies, but they are there as a constant presence. The guitar melodies tend to be in the general style of progressive, bluesy, atmospheric, and post-metal, all done very well.
Vocals: Slow growling and some yelling is the backbone of the vocals. There are moments of soft whispered vocals. There is no melodic singing and no singing in general. The band may be known for experimentation, but the vocals on this album is one area where that is not the case. It is a rather one-dimensional vocal style, although it is done well.
Songs: The band’s approach is generally to do everything slow on the album when it comes to beginning the songs, and after several minutes of atmospheric or spacey segments they generally move into giving the listener the melodies. These are not so much regular rock/metal songs as they are long progressive passages and exercises in the art of slow heaviness contrasting with atmospheric segments.
Lyrics: Human problems and the human condition seem to be the lyrical topics.
Potential audience: The audiences that enjoy slow post-metal (non-riff; non-power chord heaviness) are the expected buying public.
Similar bands: It is common practice to cite Neurosis, Isis, Callisto as similar in some very general ways. The knowledgeable consumers already know that these bands do not sound alike, but they share a passion for expansive non-riff-oriented heaviness combined with light moments.
Assessment: Cult of Luna is asking, as they always do, listeners to have lots of patience. The band is saying that, given that they have been around for two decades, they expect their audience to understand that the album is going to take a long time to be absorbed. After those first youthful wild and crazy days of releasing five albums of 60-70 minutes only a couple of years apart (including some in consecutive years), the band is now settled into a much slower routine: 2008, 2013, 2016, 2019. This new album is almost 80 minutes. The consumer has to trust the band or trust the recommendation of friends that swear by Cult of Luna. This album is probably not appropriate for a professional athlete to listen to and it might not be a good idea for during your session of lifting weights at the gym, but it may be excellent for doing homework, doing dishes, decompressing, for yoga or generally passing out on the bus/taxi/train ride to school or work. If you are driving from Phoenix, Arizona all the way to Tacoma, this album might make you sleepy. Cult of Luna is basically music for relaxation, whatever form that takes for you. The album is super long, but they’re going to give you at least several years before they are coming around again asking you to listen.

Monday, October 7, 2019

review: Lindsay Schoolcraft

Lindsay Schoolcraft
7 October 2019
Sound: The style of the album is dark pop-oriented heavy rock, in the style of goth rock and metal.
Production: The production showcases the rhythms of the songs and the singing. It is not a busy production, but a rather big-rhythm orientation designed to create feeling, above all. The uptempo songs are meant to bounce, and slower tracks are on the minimalist/somber side of things.
Instrumentation: Brooding keyboards/piano, melancholic vibes, dark pop romanticism and the like are the objectives. The rhythm section has a functional, and even the guitar—with its broad strokes and simple, heavy chords—are secondary to the keyboards, vocals and the overall songs. Lindsay Schoolcraft is the keyboardist for Cradle of Filth, and that right there tells you a lot about the skills and experience of Schoolcraft, given the work ethic of the long-running extreme metal veterans.
Vocals: For the most part, melodic singing in a pleasant, soft tone would be a good way to describe the vocals. There’s a bit of extreme metal vocals (track 8), but that’s an exception.
Songs: One category of mood of the songs is the prototypical melancholic goth style, with a bit of guitars and big, simple bouncy tracks (tracks 1, 2, 3, 8). A second type is a pensive/morose feel (tracks 5, 6, 7, 10, 11). A third kind would be songs that are more along the lines of catchy ballads (tracks 4, 9). Track 11 is a The Cure cover. It is a mellow goth rock track, soft enough to be a children’s lullaby but too creepy (lyrics: nightmare about spiders eating a person), and seems perhaps like a horror movie song.
Lyrics: There are no noticeable profanities to be heard, if any at all (This reviewer missed them, if they’re there). In general, the lyrics center around emotions, relationships and human problems like that.
Potential audience: If you enjoy soft keyboards/piano and goth rock, and soft singing, you would be correct to investigate this album.
Similar bands: In metal music there are not many bands that sound particularly similar to this album, in the experience of this reviewer, given that this is not (yet?) a whole subgenre of bands who are pumping out multitudes of albums like this every month. On the other hand, there have been times when old bands like Paradise Lost and Tiamat have come at somewhat similar vibes from different angles, in different era with male singing.
Assessment: Considering that they made a video for track number one, one of the more metal songs on the album, it is clear the album is being marketed as gothic/symphonic metal. In that case, one criticism that can be pointed out is that the majority of the album is not in that style. Fans expecting that sound may be disappointed, while those that enjoy a broader variety might find the album to be a good change of pace. Another matter is that at times the vocals seem underproduced or too minimalistic. The production team could have embellished the vocals a bit more by working more on the decorative aspects of the singing, for a more full and pleasant listening experience, given that today’s gothic and symphonic metal audiences are used to singing that has more production. Anyway, these criticisms are from the perspective of metal music, and are not necessarily true if the album is viewed from a non-heavy rock perspective. For example, like The Cure track itself and The Cure songs in general, that type of song seems underwritten: oftentimes songs by The Cure don’t milk the chorus excessively, and often end just when the chorus could have been built a lot more. To end, the album will be a different type of listening experience for fans of Cradle of Filth, it will be more easily understood by fans of gothic metal and should be also understood by fans of bands like Lacuna Coil, Within Tempation and Evanescence (whose former drummer Rocky Gray co-wrote this album). The album has plenty of personality and plenty of songs that should be considered good by the devoted fans of gothic heavy rock with melodic singing and somber melodies.
Lindsay Schoolcraft - Savior (Official Music Video)

Saturday, October 5, 2019

review: Iron Kingdom

Iron Kingdom
On The Hunt
4 October 2019
Sound: Canada’s Iron Kingdom is a living incarnation of an obsession with the young and vibrant heavy metal that rose to international prominence starting at the end of the 1970s and grew exponentially in the early 1980s.
Production: The overall sound quality is clear and good. The band likes that vintage production and this 2019 album is a good representation of the style. The only question is whether the drums are real, live drums, and it does not sound like it. The drums sound too modern: a little too soft, plastic, like sound replacement technology, which is the way most metal bands do their drums.
Instrumentation: The band lives and dies by the power of the riff. Lots of classic-style riffs and lots of soloing. Shredding, melodic, guitar harmonies and bluesy solos are all part of the tools of the trade.
Vocals: Iron Kingdom goes high on the singing. The singing has a particular gritty personality that tells you that you are listening to Iron Kingdom, and no one else.
Songs: The songs are catchy. For banging your head and for physical movement, for the most part.
Lyrics: If there are any profanities at all, they are not very noticeable. The band has lyrics about stories that seem like fairy tales, others about self-confidence, about rocking out, and things like that.
Potential audience: Fans of classic rock, hard rock, heavy rock, traditional heavy metal focused on guitars, singing and catchy songs might be surprised by this album!
Similar bands: Scorpions 1979, 1980, 1982; Iron Maiden 1980, 1981; Judas Priest 1977, 1978, 1980, 1981, 1982; Saxon 1979, 1980, 1981; Angel Witch 1980; Tygers of Pan Tang 1980, 1981; Anvil 1981, 1982; some contemporaries: Skelator (Seattle); Katana (Sweden); Assassin’s Blade; Axemaster; quite a few of the bands on Pure Steel Records.
Assessment: Given the illustrious tradition that Iron Kingdom takes up as a musical mission, the album is done remarkably well. It is time for fans of the style to give the Canadians a good listen because they have lots to offer. The singing is unique and the guitar heroes of heavy metal have done a great job of inspiring this band. If you are a big fan of traditional heavy metal, you might have some problems moving on from this album: you’ll find that it is worth repeated listens.
By the way, this band does tour, and they are on tour now in October and November, and if they come to your town or a neighboring town, it is guaranteed that they will present to you a serious effort to entertain and rock you.

review: Cell

Ancient Incantations Of Xarbos
October 4, 2019
Sound: This extreme metal album is in its vast majority a black metal sound, with some death metal guitar segments and vocals, and maybe a bit of other subgenres.
Production: The guitar sound is a bit of a fuzzed out black metal. The bass guitar seems to be the factor that is creating the bottom end fuzz. There is an effort to have the drums sound real, not have it too plasticky, although it does not sound like real, live drums. The recording sounds like a combination of homemade components, but it is a good production for a DIY recording.
Instrumentation: The guitar sometimes slows down for a little bit of a death metal feel, but prototypical black metal guitar is by far the most dominant style on display. Some tremolo picking, some thrashing, some blackthrashing, it’s all in there encouraging a mosh pit. This is not melodic, but some of the soloing does provide a bit of melodic sensibilities.
Vocals: The typical harsh black metal vocal style is central to the music.
Songs: It’s mostly headbanging metal music on here!
Lyrics: Obscurantism and mythology are the main topics of the lyrics.
Potential audience: Fans of traditional black metal would be the most logical customers.
Similar bands: This band is headbanging metal music for fans of black metal that leans more towards the old school.
Assessment: It is fast, blasting, thrashing black metal made perfectly for headbanging. This band won’t save the forest and this album does not tell you to join a political cause. If you like headbanging extreme metal, this is a good place to find it in the month of October.

Friday, October 4, 2019

review: Syberia

Seeds of Change
Metal Blade Records
4 October 2019
Sound: Syberia (Spain) is a contemporary progressive instrumental band. Stylistically, they incorporate various elements as will be explained below.
Production: The sound quality is very clear and smooth, with plenty of studio magic for a nice, contemporary feel. The drum sound is also clear, but it feels like sound replacement or programmed drumming (which amounts to the same general result).
Instrumentation: The unsung heroes of the album would be the rhythm section, but the guitar work stands on the shoulders of the rhythm section. There is a certain amount of background sounds (could be keyboards and effects) that fill out the sound. As for the guitar work itself, tremolo picking and melodic playing is an important part of what the album shows and it’s also a main attraction. With no vocalist to distract the listener, the guitar must deliver the goods.
Vocals: There are no vocals, of course.
Songs: The songs are sometimes mellow, sometimes uptempo, sometimes spacey, all done rather well.
Lyrics: There are no lyrics, of course.
Potential audience: Instrumental bands often get a bad reputation because people want a vocalist of some sort, some person onstage entertaining them by being ridiculous, funny, some person gesturing and whatnot. On the other hand, if you like melodic heavy rock, a little bit proggy, a bit post-metaly, a bit intellectual, but still song-oriented, with an effort to give you good songs, then consider this album as an invitation.
Similar bands: Russian Circles and Caspian are two bands that sound somewhat similar to this one.
Assessment: This album is rather fun. It might be good for lifting weights or jogging, but it might be nice for helping with insomnia, too. Good tunes, for sure. This band wants to give you songs for you to enjoy. In that sense, it’s a different type of instrumental album, simpler, more accessible and more melodic, not music for musicians.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

review: Arctos

Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands
Northern Silence Productions
20 September 2019
Sound: Fast, melodic black metal is the cornerstone of the band, and they also have some progressive, atmospheric and symphonic tendencies, all of which enhances the character of the music.
Production: The production meets the standards for this style. There is a lot going on and getting clarity to hear all the instruments is not easy, but this production/band team has done a solid, competent job for a contemporary sound quality.
Instrumentation: They say that they use “piano,” not keyboards. As with so much metal music, when it comes to drums, we don’t know what is real drums and what is studio magic, but this is high-speed drumming, and people will have to wait to see the band live to get a better idea of the drummer’s abilities. Here it sounds very good. The guitar work is also very good in terms of riff and soloing. The guitar melodies are a highlight that the band wants to emphasize. Oftentimes the melodies almost steal the show; it’s that good.
Vocals: The growling is quite intelligible. It’s very approachable and likable extreme vocals, and it shows a lot of effort. It is a black metal scowl, not the screeching style of black metal vocals. Both death and black metal fans should find the vocals to be good.
Songs: Despite the lengthy compositions (48 minutes duration), the songs are memorable and should be welcomed by fans of the genre. The melodies, the tempos and the good guitar work are attractive points in the songs. The songs are complex enough to invite more listens, and they have avoided going overboard with the intricacies.
Lyrics: Lyrics are not available. It seems like the band is concerned with nature, the mountains, rivers and seas, the seasons and things like that. There is no overt political nor religious agenda.
Potential audience: Fans of all melodic black metal will find lots to enjoy. Listeners who have never given black metal a chance are advised to reconsider their prejudices. This album is a potential mind changer due to the good melodies.
Similar bands: The foundational characters of this style come from Dissection 1995, and that is widely recognized as the gold standard in the 1990s. Another similar sound would be Sacramentum 1996, a Swedish band sharing similarities with Dissection at that time. Contemporary bands that fans identify in this sound are Uada and Mgla. The Washington State band Hoth also shares such a dedication to top notch musicianship in this general style.
Assessment: The album should be a welcomed addition to the devoted supporters of the subgenre’s sound. It is the type of album that fans will find themselves coming back to in order to discover smaller details with repeated listens (the piano work, the soloing). Very entertaining.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

interview: Dialith

Earlier in 2019 the symphonic power metal band Dialith (Connecticut, U.S.) issued its debut full-length album Extinction Six. The general consensus has been that it is a rather impressive work. The songs, the skilled instrumentation and the singing have been noticed by reviewers and fans. In the review of the album this publication observed that the music “will be interesting for fans of guitar-driven heavy/power metal with soprano singing and keyboards.” Let’s learn more about the album and the band.
Congratulations on Extinction Six! People say that musicians have all their life to make the debut album. Does it feel that way?!
Alasdair: Thank you so much! It certainly feels that way! In a sense, it personally took me nine years to finally release this album. As glad as I am to have hit this milestone, I have no intention of taking a break. Krista and I made the agreement when we started that we would take this band as far as it would go, and after the success of the debut release, I’m as motivated as ever to write more music!
Cullen: I sought out looking for bands in my high school days. It wasn't until after those years that I found my first band and then later down the road came into contact with Dialith who was seeking a drummer. Finally meeting musicians that shared the goal of releasing an album I couldn't be happier that I can finally say I have recorded on an album.
Was anyone a nervous wreck and doing re-takes during the recording?!! For instance, are there several versions of the sweet guitar solo by Alasdair at the end of “Where Fire Dwells”?
Krista: I had just taken a few days off of my job over the course of three weeks in August, then went back to make a few edits in early October.
Cullen: In the studio I felt confident with almost all the songs. I recorded 8 songs in a 2-day period that I was comfortable with. Weeks later we went back to track remaining songs including the closer “Extinction Six” and that was the biggest challenge as I did not have very long to prepare for it as we wanted drums done first so the others could record along. It was a beast of a song to get through.
Alasdair: I’m certainly a perfectionist! I’ll re-record as much as I need to until I’m satisifed. That’s a great benefit to recording DI at home, I can take my sweet time and not worry about running up a recording engineer’s hourly rate. Another benefit of DI is I can re-use tracks. All the guitars from our first EP were re-used for the album, with only very minor tweaks. So it’s interesting you mentioned the “Where Fire Dwells” solo, it’s simpler because I wrote and recorded it quite a while ago! Fun fact: The fast legato run at the very end was totally improvised since I couldn’t figure out how to end it. Never quite learned how to play that back exactly so I always improvise that part during our live shows.
Is that a cowbell at the beginning of “Where Fire Dwells”?! (“I’ll be honest, fellas, it was sounding great, but I could have used a little more cowbell! I’m telling you, fellas, you’re gonna want that cowbell! I gotta have more cowbell. Guess what?! I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell!” -SNL)
Alasdair: For the intro to that song, we actually incorporated exotic instrument effects taken from Charlie’s keyboard. Of course, any song could use more cowbell ;)
Cullen: I'll keep cowbell in mind for the next release ;)
On “Libra” is that an acoustic guitar or an electric guitar starting at 2:33? It sounds a little bit like a Spanish or Mediterranean bit. Nice. What about at 3:33 again? Is that the same instrument as at 2:33? It seems to make a return there.
Alasdair: People have called that part flamenco, others have called it Middle Eastern. I’m not diverse enough to have enough knowledge of those cultural genres, just something I came up and thought “hey, this sounds cool” haha. What you’re hearing is two takes of acoustic guitar, playing the same thing an octave apart, blended together. For the part at 3:33, that’s a clean electric guitar with a flanger effect.
“Libra” features some very nice keyboards, but currently you don’t have a keyboard player currently, right?
Cullen: Charles Woodruff recorded the keyboard parts on the album. He left earlier this year so when we perform live I play to backing tracks so we are still able to incorporate keys into our sound.
Do you need a full-time cowbell player? I have no musical skills but I want to be on stage rocking out. Maybe I could take some cowbell lessons?!
Alasdair: Depends, how fast can you blastbeat on the cowbell? :D
On your Facebook chat on release day you guys sounded a little less enthused about the ballad “The River Runs Dry.” It almost sounded you were apologetic about it. Do you not like it that much anymore?
Krista: I don’t think we’re apologetic or that we don’t like it much—we’ve just never had the opportunity to play it live and we’re not as invested in it as we are the ones that we’re constantly practicing.
Alasdair: “The River Runs Dry” is technically the oldest song on the album. I wrote it in 2015 and feel I’ve grown as a composer since then and it’s not my best work. I look forward to writing a much improved ballad in the future.
On “The River Runs Dry” your singer Krista gets to take the singing both very high and very gentle. It’s no wonder reviewers call it heavenly or angelic singing. Before you had a singer, were y’all attending shows at the local opera house, looking for a singer?!
Krista: Haha, Dialith always had a singer! I posted the ad on Craigslist that Alasdair responded to. I actually don’t sing opera, though I’d like to take some opera lessons someday. Symphonic metal has always been my favorite genre.
How did your singer Krista figure out that she could sing this way? How much can Krista tell us about her range and all those things related to being a soprano?
Krista: I don’t remember exactly, this is just my natural voice. I have a very high speaking voice, so it follows that my singing voice would be high as well. I used to sing along to Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel, so that’s basically how I figured out singing in this style. I’ve been singing in choirs since I was 12, and then when Dialith formed I started taking lessons on-and-off with a couple different vocal coaches. My goal for the next release is to develop a lower range and practice belting. As for my range, my lowest note is an F3 and my highest is a B5.
How much does making an album set you back financially?
Krista: We did as much as we could ourselves! While this was a big undertaking financially, it was nice to be able to have the freedom to do what we wanted.
Alasdair: One of the biggest cost savings for us was recording guitar, bass, and keyboards at home. For the guitar and bass, we recorded direct tracks which the mix engineer reamped later on. Cullen saved us a lot of money by recording 10 songs in only 3 days! He’s a beast.
Who are the members of the band in 2019? Is your band a dictatorship or a democracy?! Being in a band is like being married to a bunch of people, so what type of marriage is Dialith?! I hope that you won’t need a life coach like Metallica did.
Krista: The lineup as of September 2019 is Alasdair Wallace Mackie on guitar, Mark Grey on bass, Cullen Mitchell on drums, and myself on vocals. Alasdair wrote the vast majority of the music, but he’s always open to our suggestions. I wrote most of the lyrics. I like to think that we’re a pretty stable band! We’re all good friends outside of the band and a life coach definitely isn’t in the cards at the moment.
Have you received offers from labels now after the album?
Krista: We have not received any offers! In the age of self-releasing, I think a label would have to offer us a pretty sweet deal for us to take it, primarily in terms of promotion and booking.
Do you have any ideas about when there will be more music released? What are the best places to support your band without having the hated middle man taking your money?
Krista: We’re thinking there will be something new as soon as next year! Currently you can buy shirts and physical copies of the album in our Bandcamp store, at Buying merch helps us the most! Also sharing our music and the music video that’s available on YouTube is a huge help to us.
Alasdair: We already have new songs written, and we’re hoping to return to the studio early next year. If things go very well, we may be releasing something next year as well ;)
Cullen: Subscribing to our Dialith YouTube channel is a great way to support us as we plan to release plenty of video content. Following us on social media is another good way to keep up with us.
☙❦ DIALITH ❦❧ - The Sound of Your Voice

Thursday, September 19, 2019

review: Sempiternal Dusk

Sempiternal Dusk
Cenotaph of Defectuous Creation
Dark Descent Records
13 September 2019
Sound: Traditionalist, orthodox and conservative primal death metal heaviness that goes into segments of doom; thick, heavy, simplistic and primal death doom with background atmosphere (studio) and dark melodies. The band does launch into segments of intense speed in some segments.
Production: The production is thick and muddy and you can only hear things more clearly by turning up the volume to the max. Therefore, turn it up, way, way up.
Instrumentation: The thick grooving death metal guitar sound and the old-school brutal drumming create a big cloud of Pacific Northwest fog all over the album. This is not sophisticated virtuoso instrumentation, but do not be deceived. It takes experience to sound this way. This is not a low-skill, garage punk metal rehearsal cassette tape by youthful angry people. These are veterans of metal music.
Vocals: The growling is low and incomprehensible, like a monster speaking curses in a cave. There are some screams, but the vast majority is said type of growling.
Songs: If you stick around until your mind clears away some of the fog of the production, you are going to be surprised by how catchy the music is and by the extent of the melodies. Yes, melodies, and they are not ashamed to do them.
Lyrics: It is essentially impossible to figure out any intelligible words. The band, more than anything, wants mystery and obscurantism, and not necessarily to convey a religious-satanic nor a liberal-conservative political agenda.
Potential audience: Fans of old-school late 1980s and early 1990s death metal would understand this music quickly. Death doom fanatics in general will also understand this album.
Similar bands: Some old bands that have stepped into this territory are: 1993 Disenbowelment; 1989 Obituary; 1989/1991 Autopsy; 1991/1992 Asphyxiates; 1992 Cianide; 1992/1994 Incantation, and sounds that are in the same family as those bands. Of course, there are contemporary bands that sound somewhat similar, but for this music the band seems to prefer the old pioneers because they want to sound old, primal, and obscurantist.
Assessment: The album’s muffled production makes it a work almost exclusively for those already initiated into death doom, and for those new enthusiasts who have discovered their own fanaticism/fascination of death doom and are diving as fast possible into these styles in 2019. A candidate for a top ten spot in death doom in 2019?! Time for the zealots to sharpen their debating skills!

review: Midnight Prey

Midnight Prey
Uncertain Times
Dying Victims Productions
Sound: Midnight Prey plays uptempo late-1970s-style heavy metal, a type of heavy rock that is rowdy and a bit rough around the edges, a wild rock and roll style that pushed the limits of speeds of classic, hard rock and punk rock back in those days.
Production: The production/band team wants the audience to feel like they are hearing human beings playing the real instruments. Are the drums real live drums? Who knows, but the point is for people to hear bass guitar, drums, guitar and singing. That’s the band. Three Germans who play the music, and with relatively minimal studio magic. (If they are not using real, live drums, then it’s about time to do it!).
Instrumentation: The playing should be entertaining if you have an interest/curiosity in the sound of the vibrant spirit of the young heavy metal that was forming in the late 1970s until about 1981. The album is much more than just guitars and soft-ware/computer “drums” like today’s metal. The bass guitar has a much bigger role in filling out the sound. Sometimes it’s a very rumbling bass sound and the production really allows the room for the bass to have its own lane that it can run around in. There is some fast bass rumbling as if the bassist is playing the bass like a guitarist would play the guitar. Another thing is that distortion is not the king here; the songs are. Finally, in some segments the drumming goes really fast, in a way that late 1970s bands never did. The drumming almost sounds close to blasting in some spots.
Vocals: Heavy rock vocals predominates. Mostly singing, in a male voice; some yelling; some melancholic crooning in some parts, too. It is not fancy singing, and it’s a bit rough, like a self-taught person who is developing the singing skills, and doing a good job at it. Some punky yelling is present throughout, too. Again, buyer beware: Do not expect perfect pitch singing, but rowdy heavy rock vocals with a bit of melodic overtones.
Songs: The songs are direct and rocking. They are meant to be immediate and memorable.
Lyrics: We do not have the lyrics, but it seems like life and rock and roll are main topics. No profanities in particular stand out, although we cannot confirm if there are profanities or not. Two songs seem to be in German; five in English.
Potential audience: Fans of 1970s heavy rock in general should be the main audience, especially the heavy rock of the second half of the 1970s.
Similar bands: The band sounds like they love both late 1970s Motörhead and Thin Lizzy, more melodic than Motörhead, but faster, heavier and rougher than Thin Lizzy, yet the melodies are very present despite the rough style. The vocals may be described as Thin Lizzy covering Motörhead (but not the other way around), if that makes any sense. Another way to think of the vocals be late 1970s Iron Maiden, or a vibe similar in feeling, in that street metal type of way.
Assessment: The album is done well, with a professional attitude and the band is convincing.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

PDF online: number 193 of Metal Bulletin Zine

The PDF is available at the links below: Metal Bulletin Zine 193: Archangel A.D., Lost Orb, Beyond Our Awfulness