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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Video: Tanzwut feat. Liv Kristine - Stille Wasser



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Lyric video: J.B.O. - Wacken Ist Nur Einmal Im Jahr



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Stream: Olvido - Posando en Llamas



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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Stream: Bathyum - Transcending Beyond The Realms Of Humanity



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Album stream: Orobas - Arise In Impurity



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Lyric video: Evil Masquerade feat Mats Levén - Darkness (I Need You)



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Review: In Extremo - Quid Pro Quo


Are you a fan of folk- and/or medieval metal? Heard of In Extremo? If not, check them out, it's a very great and unique band. You already heard of them? Great, you'll be very happy soon!

Whether you heard of them or not, this is about Quid Pro Quo, the album they just released. Quid Pro Quo is really a must-have for fans, while it's also a great starter for people who haven't heard of In Extremo, before now.

Quid Pro Quo starts with Störtebeker, which immediately gets you in the In Extremo-mood. Medieval instruments together with solid metal music driven by the vocals of Das Letzte Einhorn, which are a bit raw, but also very typical for In Extremo.

On second track Roter Stern we hear the first (of two) guest vocalist. The guest vocalist on this track is Blind Guardian vocalist Hansi Kürsch. His power metal-vocals fit perfectly in this song and the combination of his vocals together with those of Das Letzte Einhorn sounds very nice.

The other guest vocalist is to be found in the sixth track called Flaschenteufel. This time it's Heaven Shall Burn vocalist Marcus Bischoff. His Heaven Shall Burn colleague Alexander Dietz is also to be heard on this track, on guitars. This combination is also perfect, but totally different than the one with Hansi Kürsch. In Flaschenteufel there are some very heavy parts with Marcus Bischoff growling combined with a bit less heavy parts where Das Letzte Einhorn is singing.

Quid Pro Quo ends with Sternhagelvoll, which is also the first single. I think it's a great track and when you listen to it, you get the feeling that it's indeed the last song. The feeling that you look back to the whole album as a very nice 43 minutes. The same feeling when a band came back for an encore at an concert and it's really the last song of the encore. The feeling of looking back at a great time and looking forward to the next time. Both at the same moment. So, there are two options here when Sternhagelvoll is ended: You enjoy the fact that you just listened to a great album and are happy about that or you start the album again for another spin. Of course, you can also do both if you want.

This album has a lot of different songs on it, with a lot of variation, so I think it's really hard to find listening to this boring. In fact, I think it's a great album, with perfectly chosen songs that are played very nice.

A few days ago someone said to me (before hearing Quid Pro Quo) that it will be a great album, because In Extremo is a band who can't make bad albums and get better with every album. I think that it's exactly that way and Quid Pro Quo is indeed a very great album.

Great job In Extremo!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

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Review: Game Over - Crimes Against Reality


The third album from Italian thrashers Game Over is yet another incredibly enjoyable and truly rousing blast of revival-inspired thrash metal from one of the most impressive bands in the style. Not really offering much deviation or change-ups from their sound, this ripping and energetic release came out April 1, 2016 from Scarlet Records.

Much like their previous album, this one offers a lot to really enjoy with the guitar-work. Packed with tightly-wound, intense rhythms that are paced much like true speed and thrash bands running along in tight formations along frantic paces much like “33 Park Street,” “Neon Dreams” and “Just a Little Victory” in that these tracks are played in a boundless sense of energy which makes them work quite nicely. The density layered across the rhythms here makes for quite an effective punch by keeping the entire thing in urgent mode with the exception of a few smartly-placed breakdowns which act as melodic breathers in “With All That is Left” or “Fix Your Brain” before going back to those more intense rhythms throughout this featuring fiery, spindly-delivered leads along the solo sections while placing just enough melodic crunch in the main sections. These tightly-wound rhythms offer plenty to like in terms of raging solos and pounding drum-work to give a really kinetic offering, while there’s only a couple things that stick out here. One of those is the fact that there’s so much tightly-wound rhythms that the songs are all short, tight thrashers without really getting any room to grow that it never really shows off any variation in its rhythms. A few tracks display technically-complex rhythms but that’s about it in terms of variety as it never takes advantage with its density which results in some reused patterns to keep going along and holds this one up. The other minor bit of contention here is the real lack of unique rhythms throughout, tending to utilize very commonly-used patterns that further the bands’ familiarity rather than uniqueness. This isn’t a detrimental flaw though and doesn’t impact this all too much.

There’s a lot to like here with this enjoyable, energetic release that really doesn’t have a lot wrong here and manages to get a lot of ravenous thrashing in order which makes this an addictive outing overall. Though it can come off a little familiar at times and doesn’t really deviate much from the norm, it still gives off an infectious attitude to make for an enjoyable experience for any thrash fan to enjoy. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: ADX - Non Serviam


The new ADX album is released and to be honest this is my first introduction to this band. That means I keep the review to this album only and no comparing to any previously releases.

First thing I heard is the language. Lyrics are mainly in French, with a very occasional Latin language in the song Non Serviam.

The band plays a mix of thrash metal with atmospheric melodic speed moments. They don't try to keep a monotone sound at all, but instead they are often looking to put as much color into the songs as possible. A very good example to this can be heard on the song 'L'irlandaise. That song starts with a nice fast paced melodic riff, but the solo-ish guitars at the start show perfectly that this band likes to play multitone a lot.

And that is what they do, nothing new, nothing perfect, but good and steady thrash metal with a lot of twists and turns. Their vocals are great, but in French, which might be a turnoff to some of you. And even though I have no idea what they are singing about, I do like to listen to metal with my mind, not to be distracted by any lyrics.

The album opens with L'aube noire, a classical orchestrated intro. It is a sound that doesn't return on the album anymore, so don't expect any classical influence except for the guitarsolo parts, cause they do have their classical recognition in it.

For me the songs I mentioned, together with the awesome sung 'La complainte du dementer' and the title track 'Non Serviam' are the best songs of this album.

They hold a great speed in them, some good guitarsolos, and even some twin guitarsolos. And that in a perfect blend with the vocals makes a good thrashy metal record.

That doesn't mean that there's nothing wrong. For example I heard a few songs use a fade out, and although I don't take it as a big thing, it feels like the band actually didn't know how to end these songs, so they decided to fade them out. To me that feels a little incomplete.

About the language, it is nice to listen to, but I think in full English this band would be much more interesting.

That said, if you like speed metal with a thrashy sound, some rough vocals that also hold power to go high ranged, with some good guitar-riffs and all kind of colorful guitar attacks this album will definitely appeal to you.

If you look for true traditional thrash metal this is not what you seek. I would still suggest you'd try it, but in that case it might not appeal to you.

I'd say this band is good, not perfect, nothing renewing, just well played speed metal.

So I rate this album with an 80 out of 100.

Written by Maurice Hermans

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Review: Sidhe - Contenebrat


Sidhe is a melodic pagan rock band with gothic and doom metal influences from Italy. Its name, a reference to Celtic mythology, is a clear indication of the band’s sources of inspiration, with Wicca and witchcraft as the focal points. Officially the band was formed in 2005, but after releasing a demo in that same year and a few shows in 2006 and 2007 the band went into hibernation only to awake in 2011. With that awakening a few changes took place. The use of keyboards is abandoned and a few line changes are introduced. With success, because in 2012 their first full-length release called ‘She is a witch’ sees the light of day which now finds its successor in ‘Contenebrat’, which is Latin for ‘Darkness’. The band currently has four members, each with a very specific task according to themselves:

Tytanja: Bewitched vocal melodies
Rob: Baritone heavy guitar riffing
Vins: Ultrasonic bass lines
Mike: Explosives slow-tempo rhythm

The album opens with ‘Confessione’, a song that actually got me worried that either the files I had sent to me were the wrong ones or the band’s description of their musical genre was far off. It has a completely different vibe than the rest of the album, despite the moody intro. It has Metallica-ballad-esque guitar work at times and both the vocals themselves as their atmosphere in it are quite flat compared to the other songs. Thankfully it proved to be a false start, because the next song, ‘Contenebrat’ hits the right note, both in musical and atmospheric aspect.

Enter darkness. Not pitch black, terrifying darkness, but darkness nevertheless, in moderation. Tytanja starts in haunted whisper mode, justifying the ‘bewitched vocal melodies’ I mentioned earlier, and even though that doesn’t last, that bewitched feeling more or less remains throughout the song. It’s clear Tytanja is at her best when a song calls for a more mystical atmosphere. In fact, the same can be said from the other members. Where I got the idea they all were far from their comfort zone in ‘Confessione’, I never got that idea in ‘Contenebrat’. The guitar work is atmospheric, solid and varied and the rhythm section is particularly distinct. Moody, sometimes haunting parts are alternated with brighter, even bombastic, more up tempo pieces. A great song, well worth being the title song in my opinion.

Having such a great song so early in the track list could pose a problem, because it might set the expectations unreasonably high. Succeeding a masterpiece is never easy, but the next couple of songs, ‘Guardian woods’ and ‘ Hekate’s wheel’, actually do a good job doing just that. Solidly played, strongly composed, there’s no doubt these too are good songs. Next up is ‘The land of the young’, a song that, to me, seems to be a turning point in the musical story of this album. It might very well be me, but where this song still has a relatively positive vibe to it, the rest of the album, apart from the sweet, folky ballad ‘Leanan Sidhe’, invokes a more occult, somewhat desperate feel within the listener, culminating in the massive ‘Seven gates’ and the heavy epilogue ‘The spell of the spider’.

Sidhe’s music is tough to describe and impossible to place in a specific genre, which is just as well, since I like my music genre-defying, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Their rock has various metal influences, with doom, gothic and folk as the most distinctly audible. Add to that some occultism, a bit of darkness and a handful of mysticism and you have pretty much described what you get when you give this release a spin. Music-wise it’s solid and varied with the emphasis on the guitar work one moment and on the drums or bass lines the next without favoring the one over the other overall. The vocals are an interesting subject here. I don’t know if it is intentional, but Tytanja sometimes seems to have trouble reaching the right pitch, bordering being out of tune, but for some reason that is actually quite fitting, even adding to the mysticism. So, no complaints here. ‘Contenebrat’ is a good album, well worth your attention and time.

Written by Henric van Essen

Sidhe Official Website
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Review: Ragestorm - The Thin Line Between Hope And Ruin


Born in summer 2004 as a joke, Italian death/thrashers Ragestorm went through major lineup changes and numerous highly-acclaimed demos on their way to their first overall release. Initially self-released on September 25th, 2013, they finally give it a proper reissue from Sliptrick Records on February 11th, 2016 which shows the effects of a band getting to their first proper release while also offering plenty of promise for what’s to come in their career.

For the most part this one carries along the type of melody-infused riff-work that seems to play through that style without any deviation. Switching between tight chugging and extra-sloppy swirling melodic runs in the guitar-work, there’s a pretty simplistic energy attributed to the tracks here that occasionally brings up some fire from time-to-time, such as the short and brutal ‘Polysilicotetrapropryvinylfluorethalene’ and ‘Reaching the Impossible’ though the majority of this one gets stuck with those chugging rhythms holding the paces down in the mid-tempo for the most part. Tracks like ‘Debt Ritual,’ ‘Acid Tears’ and ‘New World Disorder’ tend to feature so many rather bland and plodding rhythms that they’re wholly lifeless at worst, while the best effort about them is that they’re decent-if-unspectacular. This applies to an overwhelming majority of the album as well, which tends to leave this staggeringly overdone and seemingly just filler material on the whole.

While the band is clearly still going through the learning curve when it comes to their style and energy, there’s enough elements at play here to work with in the future that it could serve them well whenever they carry on which leaves this one still only for the most devout fans of the style as a whole at this point. 6/10

Written by Don Anelli

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Review: Votum - :KTONIK:


Votum’s new album :KTONIK: is a very atmospheric album, serene and ethereal almost, with immense outbursts of soundwalls that are very impressive, though at times it is slightly more of the same epicness, which not always makes it an interesting listen throughout. Overall though, it is a very nice effort of the Polish band.

The album starts out with a song called Satellite which is saturated throughout with pianos and strings without becoming a guitarless ballad. The build-up to the climax of the song is very smooth and almost unknowingly it explodes. A very promising start.

Throughout the album this is the setup for most songs; ethereal and almost whispering vocals with few guitars build up to immense sounds. But Votum is not a one-trick pony, and with Simulacra the sixtet shows they can also jump right into a song full force, and think about toning it down only later. It even can get away with a short girl’s choir which turns from heavenly to hellish with the pummeling guitars flying in halfway through. The singers eerie off-key howls after that send chills down the spine, and overall it makes it a very cinematic song.

Influences, intentionally or not, can be found in, amongst others, the French band Dagoba, which among the pummeling noise they produce also had these ‘ballad’ style songs with a long build-up. In some scarce parts it also might remind one of the Dutch band Textures, though that is perhaps mostly due to the singers’ impressive vocal range and style of singing with long high notes held for a very long time and the use of electronic sounds.

Favourite amongst the songs for me would be Greed, which showcases everything that Votum does well in an abundance. But the whole album is a very good mix of heavy and slow, silent and loud, which never really feels repetitive. The only downside would be that sometimes a song starts to become something later on, but it is not a music style to be rushed yet rather taken the time for.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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Review: Asylum Pyre - Spirited Away


Asylum Pyre is a French melodic metal band. They released their 3th album Spirited Away on October 23, 2015.

The album starts with the track "Second Shadow". The beginning is quiet with the text Mommy, Mommy. Then the riffs kick in and it is a metal song again. The second track " The silence of dreams" starts with a bit of grunting that goes to the normal singing. The middle of the song is different from bands that I heard before. The drums are impressive fast which gives pace to the songs. "In Hayao's Arms" is a short instrumental song (50 seconds). It's really peaceful and a resting point from the other metal tracks. Shivers is a fast song with also grunting in it, I just hoped to hear more of her voice and less drum or guitars. This 13 track album ends of with "Fly", it has an opening that gives you goose bumps, really beautiful. Only thing is that it's not a metal song, they don't end strong. The English wasn’t good to understand in most parts, because she has an accent.

If you like melodic with some peaceful parts. This is a band for you, give them a try.

Tracklist:
1. Second Shadow
2. The Silence Of Dreams
3. Only Your Soul
4. Unplug My Brain
5. In Hayao's Arms
6. Spirited Away
7. The White Room
8. Soulburst
9. At My Door
10. Shivers
11. Instants In Time
12. Remembering
13. Fly

Written by Nathasja Voerman

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Lyric video: Negative Thought Process - Masocutter



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Video: Mindwars - No Voice



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Stream: Baptism - Buried With Him



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Stream: Asatta - She Died Long Ago



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Lyric video: Usurpress - Across The Dying Plains



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Album stream: Isgärde - Jag Enslig Skall Ga

Album stream: Fortíð - The Demo Sessions



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Video: Lorraine Cross - At Close Range



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Stream: AUM - Patisandhi

Stream: Abominant - As Evil Rears Its Head



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Stream: Abominant - The Watchers



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Lyric video: Sidhe - Calice Di Sangue



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Stream: Profanatica - Ordained In Bile



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Stream: Profanatica - Magic & Muhr



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Lyric video: Dimlight - Spawn Of Nemesis



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Lyric video: Van Halst - Questions



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Stream: Oracles - Body Of Ineptitude



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Stream: Warfist - Written With Blood



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Video: Sunburst - Lullaby



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Video: The Burning Dogma - Skyes Of Grey



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Stream: Black Funeral - Ankou And The Death Fire



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Stream: Unbegotten - Dreadful Lethargy Of The Unstable

Video: Utmarken - Till Skogs



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Stream: Widow - And We Are One



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Stream: Excuse - Obsessed... With The Collapse Of Civilization



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Stream: Altar Of Oblivion - State Of Decay



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Video: Winterhorde - Worms Of Soul



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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Friday, June 24, 2016

Video: Obscura - Ten Sepiroth



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Video: Ringworm - Shades Of Blue



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Stream: Myrkur - Jeg er guden, I er tjenerne (Live At The Mausoleum)



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Album stream: Psython - ...Outputs



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Stream: Eteritus - Incinerator



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Stream: Eteritus - Hellish Imagery



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Video: Karls - Dead Symbols



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Video: All Else Fails - Antimartyr



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Stream: Ten - Battlefield



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Video: Whitechapel - Elitist Ones



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Lyric video: Soilwork - Helsinki



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Stream: Nox - Ancestral Arte Negro

Stream: Kaeck - Afgod



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Video: Naberus - Drones



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Video: Lord Of War - Embryo



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Video: Denner/Shermann - Son Of Satan



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Stream: Quinta Essentia - Master Of Masters



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Album stream: Hard Charger - Bad Omens



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Lyric video: Revocation - Crumbling Imperium



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Video: Dust Bolt - Mass Confusion



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Lyric video: Be'Lakor - The Smoke Of Many Fires



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Video: Mayhem - Watchers



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Lyric video: Druidas - La Espada De Damocles



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Album teaser: Rebel Souls - The Forces Of Darkness



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Stream: Protean - The Black Army



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Album stream: Sarabante - Poisonous Legacy



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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Stream: C.B. Murdoc - The Green



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Stream: Inverted Matter - Drake Effect

Album trailer: Oddland - Origin



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Stream: Russian Circles - Vorel



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Stream: Excöriator - Excoriator



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Video: Tank - Make A Little Time



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Stream: Denouncement Pyre - Black Sun Unbound



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Monday, June 20, 2016

Sie sind wieder da! - Live review: Rammstein at Pinkpop, Landgraaf, The Netherlands, June 11th, 2016


On June 11th 2016 Rammstein played at Pinkpop and I was there front row (middle) so I could review it for you. After a long day waiting from 13:00 till 22:30 they finally began to count it down. 60 seconds till the music started to play. Flake (pianist) started with a little solo then Schneider (drummer) did so too. Richard (guitar) and Paul (guitar) came down the lights from above. It was a powerful opening. Till (singer) came from the left tapdancing on the sounds, threw his hat in the air, when it exploded. Then a whole new song that comes on the next album started. It's now called Ramm4 and it has all the previous song titels in it with the text wir sind wieder da (we are back ).

The song Zerstören was visually strong, at the end he went backstage and came back with the suicide vest. At the end the vest blew up with little explosives. In this time of the year it was just a little odd, but that's how Rammstein really is. Ich tu dir weh (I hurt you) was a song that Till did with Flake. Flake was in orange jumpsuit with black mask. He went in a kind of bath, Till then poured some sparkles on him, as you can see in the picture below. After that Flake came out with his normal outfit all glitters.


The second last song was Engel. Till putted on his angelwings (see picture below) and they raised him up from the ground. It's a angel like song with a lot of whistleing in it. At the end the wings were exploding and the fire came from both side of the wings. The last song was Sonne, it was fun, because Sonne means sun but it was night already. The fire was intense from the front, back and sides, you almost couldn't feel your face anymore so hot. It was a great live performances from Rammstein. Even if you don't like Rammstein this is a show that you have to see. I am going to see them again at Rock Werchter, which I will also review.


Setlist:
1. Ramm4
2. Reise, Reise
3. Hallelujah
4. Zerstören
5. Keine lust
6. Feuer frei! ( Pauls mask didn't work properly it shooted the fire upwards)
7. Seemann
8. Ich tu dir weh
9. Du riechst so gut
10. Mein herz brennt
11. Links 2-3-4
12. Ich will
13. Du hast (laichzeit riff intro)
14. Stripped
15. Amerika
16. Engel
17. Sonne

Written by Nathasja Voerman
Photos made by Nathasja Voerman

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Review: X-Tinxion - From The Ashes Of Eden


Started as a technical 80's thrash metal band X-tinxion delivers us their first album.
The first thing I noticed is that it isn't at all just 80's thrash.
Of course the influence can still be heard in many songs, but they managed to put other influences in the music as well.
The album kicks off with “Amalgamation”, and what I first notice is the powerful vocals on it.
I honestly had a few sessions listening needed to believe this is a girl singing, specially on the more brutal grunty vocals. There is a strong thrashy sound, which is nicely mixed with melodic atmospheric clean female vocals. The drums also deserve all attention, specially together with the bass guitars it creates a wall of power reaching your ears.

That is exactly what the rest of the album delivers.
It is strong, it has power, the speed is fast enough but never really too fast.
It is easy to hear that this band started as 80's technical thrash influenced.
Specially on a track like 'Uniformity” which is probably the most thrashy song on the album with little bit less modern influences.

I would specially like to recommend 'Survivors of hell'.
It is my favorite track of the album.
It is among the fastest tracks, and the vocals are strong. Monica (the vocalist) manage to use as much of her voice, grunty with pitch changes and kinda deep sounds as well.

I can talk like that about all the songs. There are no songs on this album misplaced, and none of them lack in power.
The production is clear, all the separate instruments can be heard, and it still holds a small 80's thrashy sound.

For anyone of you who likes 80's technical thrash metal without any new influence this album won't convince you otherwise.
But if you like it in a little progressive way with modern influences and some more melodic guitar play with modern vocals, then you will be in good hands when listening to this album.
It brings all, grunty and clean melodic vocals, heavy guitars, flashy and also melody carrying guitar solos, and powerful drums.
While they may not be the most unique band, where other (thrash) metal bands already became influenced with the modern sound as well, they deserve their place among all of them.

I would say go buy the album if you love thrash metal. Be open-minded.
You will not be disappointed.
For me personally this band gave me new ideas about how thrash metal can be modernized.
And I will love it.

85/100

Written by Maurice Hermans

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Review: Pogavranjen - Jedva Cekam Da Nikad Ne Umrem


Well this is a fist for me, a band from a country near to mine, and in a language that is similar to mine. First of all, I want to say that this is a experimental album for me, the intro is pure electronic music, nothing more nothing less. The guitars sound like noise most of the time, but I presume that is the whole point, if you listen to it enough times you will understand that there is a very clear structure to the songs and the album while being chaotic as possible all of the time. Now, considering the quality of the album, the guitars have a lot of compression and it is quite muddy in the entirety of the album. The bass is not heard the best, the drums are tuned and recorded greatly with great care to the snare. The vocals are heard but sometimes in a combination with the guitar compression and the drums they can't really be heard or even understood what the vocalist is singing. All in all, this is a great experimental album and with a little bit of adjustment in the mix the album could be even better. In terms of a grade I give this album a 7.5/10 for the reasons stated in the text.

Written by Nikola Milošević

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Review: Vulture - Victim To The Blade


Paul Balloff is alive! At least that was what I thought when I listened to this four-track EP by first-timers of Vulture. The band started just last year in the Nord-Rhine Westphalia region in Germany featuring members of several other acts like Quintessence, Bulldozing Bastard, Luzifer, Hellhunt and Wifebeater. Oh wait! As if the Paul Balloff’s influence on the vocals was not enough, it is a German band playing US Bay Area thrash metal. Now I am very intrigued.

The first track on the EP takes its title from the band’s name. A song that could easily be on Exodus’ Bonded by Blood or Slayer’s Show No Mercy. And that is a hell of a compliment. D.T.D (Delivered to Die) has a very nice opening riff, less thrashy and more straight heavy metal. The vocals of L. Steeler show a more aggressive approach and the guitar work of M. Outlaw and S. Genözider (also the drummer) is really shown. Next one is the title track of the EP, Victim to the Blade, and it continues to showcase the great work done by the guitar duo. Riffs, leads and solos are all well written and executed. The last song is a cover of Judas Priest’s Rapid Fire, but instead of playing it like Judas would, Vulture makes the song their own. If you listen without careful attention, you may not even notice it is a Judas Priest song.

Victim to the Blade was supposed to be only a demo record as a preparation for a proper release, but High Roller Records was keen to release it in CD and 12” vinyl. I am glad they did. Now they can reach a broader audience and create a lot more of anticipation for their debut album. It is definitely a band I will keep an eye on.

Tracklist:
1. Vulture
2. D.T.D. (Delivered To Die)
3. Victim to the Blade
4. Rapid Fire (Judas Priest cover)

Line-up:
L. Steeler – Vocals
S. Genözider - Guitars, Drums
M. Outlaw – Guitars
A. Axetinctör - Bass

Written by Anderson Tiago

Vulture Official Website
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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Lonewolf - The Heathen Dawn


Hailing from Grenoble, France, heavy/speed metallers Lonewolf have changed little of their sound since forming in 1992 or the full-length debut in 2000, and that continues here in this unbelievably enjoyable release. Their now eighth full-length offering, it was released on May 20th, 2016 by Massacre Records.

The album carries on their tried-and-true standard of unleashing the classic heavy metal sound being brought aboard here. Mainly swinging from the more rousing, energetic patterns that contain tight, swirling and hard-hitting riffing filled with speed-metal patterns, furious straightforward marching and blistering drum-work that winds through the majority of the album here with such stand-outs as ‘Wolfsblut,’ ‘Demon’s Fire,’ ‘Until the End’ and ‘Rise to Victory’ coming into play nicely; there’s a lot of great work throughout here. Also, there’s some rather fun times here with the slow-down periods using more majestic marches with mid-tempo patterns working through the simplistic paces as in ‘When the Angels Fall,’ ‘The Birth of a Nation’ and ’Song for the Fallen’ which make for a wholly engaging time. This here is oddly arranged in the running order, though, in that the first half is more the fiery charging efforts while the second half comes with the more mid-tempo efforts which seem like an odd pairing, which works rather against it by letting the high-energy efforts start up only for the big, majestic efforts to slow down the back-end. Still, there’s plenty to like about the album here.

While there’s nothing really wrong here with the music on this release, the slightly disproportionate set-up of the running order is only enough of a minor let-down but not enough of a truly detrimental problem that it’s still highly recommended to fans of the bands’ previous works, the style in general or fans of classic traditional metal. 9/10

Written by Don Anelli

Lonewolf Official Website
Lonewolf Facebook
Lonewolf Twitter

Review: Abisso - WRNSS


Abisso’s debut album is an absolute killer! Grounded in post-black metal, the album has a great balance between pitch-black heaviness and melodic guitar parts. The deathgrowls are massive and, in my opinion, more accessible than the vocals of –in a sense- comparable bands like Deathspell Omega and Lurker of Chalice. Going for this comparison, the sound feels less rough, a bit more polished than the afore mentioned bands. It makes me feel like listening to early Black Heart Rebellion with a heavier heartbeat.

The album is divided into five songs, artistically named I, II, III, IV and V. The choice for these names can be explained by the thematic unity of the song. Only III has a lighter feel in atmosphere, due to a different mix with less bass and body. The other four songs sound, though different, as different parts of one whole. IV has the biggest differences in softness versus loudness. The song has some sort of schizophrenic feel to it.

The album as a whole has a way of wanting to be listened to over and over again. Due to the unity in sound, it can go on and on, without being boring in any way. For a debut this is a great album for a band that really knows what kind of sound they want to bring over. With full commitment they spread their gospels of darkness, leaving you with an empty feeling that can only be filled with another go of the album.

Written by Martijn Bakker

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Review: Poison Headache - Poison Headache


A project I have been anticipating for a while now.

Poison headache is a really heavy, out of the box sideproject for Wovenwar & (ex) As I Lay Dying axeman, Phil Sgrosso. I found out about the project by following the musical endeavors by all of the ex members of As I Lay Dying. Phil announced that he had a new side project called Poison Headache and it was going to blow your brains out with heaviness. Well, the self titled album proved the next step for Phil Sgrosso was absolutely bonecrushing.

With the sinister sounding guitar effects on the whole album and the heavy, fast hardcore riffs, it sure means a new direction from his other band Wovenwar. Bearing big resemblance to Nails, the punk inspired riffs rip through the whole album. There are some real stand out tracks on here. Starting with the song I love the most from the whole album, ''Gray Skies''! Starting off slow and progressing into a ripping guitar sound with a sinister melody behind it. The vocals on this track are insane. I never knew a scream could sound so real, so full of integrity and anger. When the “breakdown” comes around the corner after a great build-up, the sickening voice blasts a scream into you ear, which will leave your ears senseless and numb.

Other really great tracks are the singles released by the band to create a hype for the album, ''Sin Eater'' ''Conspirator''. The thing with these songs is that you can’t really put a good label on it. It has a lot of punk influences but it is definitely heavier. It’s not even necessarily the overdrive on the amp but also the speed and chord progression which makes it produce a lot more noise than on any other punk record. I feel that Poison Headache has the purpose to produce the angriest album they possibly could! Their philosophy is just the same as the band Nails, which I mentioned before.

While all fans of Wovenwar are waiting for their next (heavier) album which does not have a title for now, people can listen to the heavier side of their beloved guitarist Phil Sgrosso. It’s a banger and I’m looking forward to hear the bands progression. I honestly hope they are going to produce a second album!

8,3/10

Written by Joost van der Leij

Poison Headache Official Website
Poison Headache Facebook
Poison Headache Twitter

Review: Proll Guns - Horseflesh BBQ


Definitely one of the most interesting albums I have reviewed and heard. The first song has a freaking banjo in it! And again, the genre is impossible to pin point for this album. The vocals are mostly harsh vocals used in thrash metal, while the music goes from thrash metal to some more classical heavy metal with melodies and harmonies. The album has some fast parts with heavy double bass and palm muted guitars, but it also has some slower and slug-ish parts on the album. The quality of the album is overall good, there are few issues for me at least. Sometimes the guitars tend to be overwhelming in the mix with the compression and the distortion. Also, the drums are hitting the roof with the snare sound and volume. But in general, the sound is good. The bass is audible, the vocals are mixed great, the guitar effects were mixed great, especially in the blues themed song. All in all, this is a great album. The theme of the album is great, mixing blues and country music with heavy metal and thrash is absolute genius. I give this album 8.5/10

Written by Nikola Milošević

Proll Guns Official Website
Proll Guns Facebook

Review: Cvinger - Embodied In Incense


Storming onto the black metal scene, Slovenian black metal horde Cvinger offers another solid slab of pristine, chaotic-sounding Old-School Black Metal to make it two solid epics in a row following their great debut. Not really reinventing the wheel but certainly hammering out a wildly chaotic and enjoyable variant, this new release came out on May 23, 2016.

That this one goes for the Old-School tone here gives this a great framework throughout here. Offering frantic and brimstone scented tremolo riffing, which nicely echoes the traditional second-wave acts in the mid-90s. There’s a bouncy and enjoyable up-tempo feel to the music here that comes mainly from ‘Psalm, Of a Hollow Man,’ ‘Enchanted Conclave’ or 'Martyr Shrine' that contain a vicious old-school streak to their rhythms. ‘Beheading the Desert Prophet’ and the title track also manage the ability to meld those swirling tremolo riff-works alongside a more pronounced and chaotic series of frenzied drum-blasts that adds a blast-heavy approach to the music in conjunction to the more intense and blistering riff-work, and they stand-out all the more so on the album against the moody atmospherics featured in the slow, churning epic ‘Weak to the Gallows,’ offering up some stylish variety. Though this variety comes across nicely with the use of the three short chanting-filled interludes that crop up, they’re not that enjoyable and detract from the whole experience taking this one out at the wrong moments with its discordant chanting droning on interrupting the flow and chaos established.

Though there’s a minor problem to be had with the album’s structure with all the brief instrumental interludes holding up the pacing, there’s still more than enough blasting chaos and frenetic bombastic on display to really make this a hearty choice for those looking for more second-wave styled Black Metal or are just fans of the style in general. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Cvinger Official Website
Cvinger Facebook

Review: Gorguts - Pleiades' Dust


Finally a new release of Canada’s finest: GORGUTS!

GORGUTS started in 1989 and made their first full length in 1991; “ Considered Dead.” They dropped a huge bomb in Death Metal country with this excellent debut. The follow up album, “ The Erosion of Sanity” (1993), was even better, but it wasn’t until the 1998 album “ Obscura” was released, that GORGUTS defined their custom made sound from old school death metal to technical progressive experimental death metal only GORGUTS can deliver. There are bands that sound familiar (Obscura, Crytopsy, Neuraxis, Beyond Creation) but they will always be a band in a league of their own. After “From Wisdom to Hate” was released, they split up in 2005.

And now, three years, after one of the best ever comeback albums in death metal history (Colored Sands / 2013), they have returned to blow our minds once again. Mastermind and founding member Luc Lemay brings you a 1 song EP called “ Pleiades Dust.” 33 minutes of total awesomeness! The EP is based on the "House of Wisdom", a medieval library based in Baghdad and at the heart of the Golden Age of Islam with its many scientific breakthroughs in various fields of learning. Roughly, the EP is built up in 4 parts and feels and sounds like a bizarre, sick and epic movie soundtrack. There are many atmospheric and bombastic parts and a lot of brutal and experimental death metal parts (of course). It is almost like every riff tells a different and horrible story. There is so much going on at times and so little going on and the other time. This is a well-made piece of art that is never been done before (at least not that I now of). On the other hand; you must be a huge fan of GORGUTS and this genre; 33 minutes is a long and heavy trip. This is a 100% love it or hate it record. The choice is yours, you know my opinion…..

Tip: put on your headphones and close your eyes.

Band: GORGUTS
EP: Pleiades Dust
Release date: May 13th, 2016
Tracklisting
1. Pleiades Dust (33 min)
Line-up:
Luc Lemay: Rhythm Guitar, Vocals
Kevin Hufnagel: Rhythm & Lead Guitar
Colin Marston: Bass
Patrice Hamelin: Drums
Style: Progressive / Technical Death Metal

Written by Remco Kreft

Gorguts Official Website
Gorguts Facebook

Review: Odyssey - Voids


Increasingly in the postrock/metal scene, there have been rehashes of the Steve Vai-like instrumental, solo-filled albums that rely on a lot of weird chord progressions and time signatures out of this world, to keep an album without voice interesting. It has not always been easy listening, because some of these albums tend to drown in the skill part of making music and don’t have enough ‘soul’ so to say, to really hold attention for long enough.

Enter Odyssey, with their new effort Voids. It is indeed a progressive metal album without voice and just three members to fill the music. It is an action packed, fast paced bunch of songs with indeed a lot of the aforementioned clichés, perhaps. But this album is very well executed, nonetheless. It has the feel of freshness, it has the solos and the weird time signatures but there is more in there. Odyssey, while perhaps less known than some other bands in their genre, have managed to create a unique sound and create atmospheres in every song, making it hard to find fault with any of them, really. The balance between a well-established overall sound and the uniqueness of the individual songs is laudable.

The only comparison perhaps holding any merit is a sort of faster paced, less complex variant on the sort of songs Intronaut makes. That doesn’t do Odysssey justice by a long shot though; the progression from one musical theme to another is so seamless and well-executed that it is difficult to compare this to any other band at first glance. Suffice it to say that people who are into Animals as Leaders, Intronaut, Between the Buried and Me and others will all find something in this music, though perhaps all different things.

The sound created by Odyssey on Voids is very full and atmospheric, despite just consisting of three members. Perhaps this is also due to the fast pace and dense variety of styles they dive in and out of on their songs, but it makes for a very good album, in the end. Not just the crazy double-bass metal riffs, but also the atmospheric acoustic sounds on a song like Echoes. The next song, Before there were Eyes to See, goes straight into fast paced powerchord strumming under a pummeling double bass drum blasting open the song in a wall of sound.

All in all, Voids is a very interesting album combining a lot of the good stuff in progmetal these days. For some, perhaps, the solos are a bit too much and more guitarwankery than they can handle, and that is perhaps a fair objection to make to this album. For the rest there is not much at fault with this album, a tremendous effort from Odyssey!

Written by Frank van Drunen

Odyssey Facebook

Review: Ancestors Blood/Heervader - split


This split album was supposed to be released a couple of years ago. Eventually it became December 2015. This is a good thing as now Ancestors Blood gets to add 3 tracks to the split recorded live at the Veneration of the Dead festival in the Netherlands (also the last live performance of the band).

Heervader play a melodic style of pagan black metal. Mostly in mid tempo and drenched in keyboards and the tremolo picked riffs typical to the genre. Vocals are screamed in native Dutch and mixed with spoken word/clean backing vocals. The vocals are easy to identify making it more easy to follow what the lyrics are about if you're from the Netherlands. All three songs are at least 6 minutes and contain enough diversity to keep you interested after several listens. The only part that feels misplaced, in my opinion, is the spoken word intro in "Bloedbroeders van de Aarde". Apart from that, the Heervader part of the split is solid, but not groundbreaking.

By comparison, the Ancestors Blood part of the split feels more powerful, reminding me more of Stormblast era Dimmu Borgir, for example, albeit with more impressive vocals. The keyboards are louder in the mix and the vocals are more impressive. The tempo is a bit lower overall but this only benefits the atmosphere of "Deceiver for Power and Glory".

As mentioned before, Ancestors Blood's contribution to the album is one studio track and 3 songs that are recorded at their last ever performance, at the Veneration of the Dead festival in the Netherlands. You immediately hear that these recordings are rawer. With a more pronounced guitar and raspier vocals. This suits the music well. One thing I find weird, is that they filtered out the crowd response, but they did include the "onstage banter". It's weird to hear the band announce a song title and not hear any response. I personally wish they would have either mixed the banter out as well or kept the crowd in and make it a true live recording. Apart from that, this is the superior part of the split.

In conclusion: For me, personally, the Ancestors Blood part of the split was way more powerful then the Heervader tracks and I found myself listening to those tracks way more often. I personally wasn't familiar with Heervader and this split album has not made me want to check them out. Ancestors Blood, however, I do like and me being at the festival these songs were recorded at, I enjoyed reliving the memories.

Score:60/100 for Heervader side 77/100 for Ancestors Blood

1. "Heervader - Berserkgangr"
2. "Heervader - Bloedbroeders van de Aarde"
3. "Heervader - Voorwaarts!"
4. "Ancestors Blood - Deceiver for Power and Glory"
5. "Ancestors Blood - Ritual of the Sacred Dance"
6. "Ancestors Blood - Revelation (Beyond Death)"
7. "Ancestors Blood - Rise of the Spirits of Ancient Heroes"

Written by Doctor Chris

Ancestors Blood Official Website
Ancestors Blood Facebook

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Interview: Dez Fafara of DevilDriver


Almost a month ago DevilDriver released their latest album called Trust No One. Nino Milillo, writer of DutchMetalManiac and also fan of DevilDriver, already reviewed Trust No One here. Now it's time for him to ask some questions to DevilDriver mastermind Dez Fafara.

The reason I became a fan of DevilDriver is that it sounds very sincere. By that, I mean that I really ‘believe’ the words you are singing and that there is a story behind every lyric. After listening to ‘Trust No One’ countless times, the vibe that I’m getting is that the emotion on the record comes from a few lessons in life learned. Could you tell us some more about the source of inspiration for this album?

Within the last few years I've learned a great many lessons regarding people. I've made my circle very small and it will stay that way. There is many emotions written about, the song For What It's Worth for instance is a love song, while the song Trust No One identifies people who pretend to be friends and truly aren't.

Another thing I have noticed over time is that the entire band noticeably progressed and developed as musicians, as did the music itself over the course of years (and albums). For example, ‘The Fury of Our Maker’s Hand’ is a lot more raw and groovy, rather than the unmatched technicalities and aggression displayed on ‘The Last Kind Words’ and ‘Trust No One’. Seeing as the band’s line-up has lost 2 long time members, how did this affect the writing process and the chemistry?

Chemistry is BETTER, the game has been raised by bringing in players who are more motivated and in my eyes better not only in skill but attitude. VIBE IS EVERYTHING in a band, you compromise the vibe, you compromise the music.

I would like to add that, as far as drums go, you could not have recruited a better drummer than Austin D’Amond. There are few bands that attract my attention for their drums, I normally go for insane guitar stuff, but DevilDriver, as well as Chimaira, have always drawn my ear for their insane drum capacities. On the other hand, Neal Tiemann really fits the spot. He has shown some major riffage and skills on ‘Trust No One’, dare I even say, added a whole new dimension to your music. What’s the story behind the recruitment?

Story is simply this. My old drummer and I didn't gets long for almost 10 years and one night I called him and said we don't get along, he agreed and we split.

Jeff left because there were many problems inside the group do to his lack of contributions over the years so I brought in Neal a real writer and a good friend. Now it's a good time again!

This July, Dutch, and probably some German and Belgian, fans will have an opportunity on seeing you perform live, once again. What can we expect from the new DevilDriver, live? And equally importantly, how do you guys experience the Dutch crowd?

Dutch crowds are FUN! Expect pure energy!

You’ve always presented your music well enough to show your different influential styles, such as punk, but there’s always been a good flow in your lyrics and sometimes, it’s almost as if you’re spitting raps. This happens in your new track ‘’Feeling Un-god-ly’’. What can you say about influential artists in that particular area?

Not really influenced by rap it's not something I actively listen to but I do love cadence and a fast vocal approach, that's what your hearing 👍

Unlike some previous albums, ‘Trust No One’ did not include a cover track of some sort, which is a shame, because your versions of ‘’Holier Than Thou’’ and ‘’Wasted Years’’, for example, are really good. Is there any reason you did not record one this time, and will there be any new cover work in the future?

It's in the works for sure 👍

To get back to your new record one last time, one thing that I was itching to ask is: how DO you guys always get that trademark DevilDriver sound, even in the light of recent line-up changes? It is really nice to see how the music keeps developing without losing the sound that makes you DevilDriver.

Well that's hard to answer really, it's that DD has a sound and we all know it must groove and have a hook that's the only way to explain it.

A little bird whispered in my ear that you will be appearing on the set of a sci-fi movie, care to elaborate?

I can not say but yes I make my acting debut in August and I'm very excited!

Now for something completely off-topic, but interesting nonetheless: do you, or does the band, have a particular pre-stage ritual? Like, do you stare at yourself in the mirror angrily, or chug a bottle of Jack, or something else? And what’s the craziest thing you have on your rider?

Lol, it's like this --- 2 hours before the show we all meet up, smoke weed, have a cocktail or two and jam music. The bonding time before stage is as important as stage itself.

Fan question: The lyrics you write seem to be a collection of life lessons, or maybe even a philosophy as a whole. Is this a philosophy you will be passing on to your offspring? And would you like seeing your kids follow in your footsteps?

I've raised all 3 of my boys to be good stand up men, trustworthy and loyal to friends, to protect the family at all costs, to be kind and to be ruthless when needed in life. I do not want them to follow in my footsteps but to leave a trail of their own, that being said my youngest is an insane drummer and my oldest shreds on guitar 🌟

I would like to thank you for your time and this opportunity to ask you some questions (hopefully most of them were new and refreshing to you). Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of DutchMetalManiac?

See you soon at the shows thanks for your support 👍💀👍

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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Review: Yeti On Horseback - The Great Dying


Yeti On Horseback is a doom metal band based in London, Ontario. It came into existence in 2012, but part of its members had been playing together for quite some time before that and the fruits of that labor resulted in the need to form a band. Despite this need, their releases up until today have been few and far between, in fact, this is their first serious release. As with many bands nowadays, I still fail to see the use of it, its members are only known by their initials, making it impossible to provide you with a proper introduction, so I’m going to skip that. They do, however, make one exception to this somewhat incomprehensible habit, instantly giving you a clue as to what they’re about. They count Satan himself among their members, and according to them, he has a hand in everything they do, setting the tone for Yeti On Horseback’s first (full-length) release called ‘The great dying’. I must admit all this combined with their name which is strange to say at the least, didn’t get my hopes up to high in advance, but we all know that judging a book by its cover is never advised.

On to the tunes then. Even though ‘The great dying’ has only six songs, they do span over an hour, so no complaints there. The lyrical themes are far from merry and pleasant considering titles like ‘Tree of death’, ‘Lynch’ and ‘Dragged down to hell’ and they are, according to the band, a comment on what the world is like nowadays. The world has a surplus of negativity, which they gratefully draw inspiration from. So all ingredients for a dark, depressing album are there, hopefully merged into a coherent release. Opener ‘Tree of death’ has a slow start with an intro where the guitar tunes are accompanied by some sort of sonic storm. From that it evolves into a cumbersome song where hurt seems to predominate the atmosphere, mainly due to the pained growls and ditto guitar work.

The next song, ‘Viking mushroom tea’ (What..?) doesn’t score any better on the scale of oppressive atmospheres. Or worse, depending on how you look at it. It’s a notable song, with a peculiar intermezzo that, even though the eerie atmosphere keeps lurking in the background, almost makes your mood swing from deep dark to bright and light. Almost, because just when that point seems to be reached, the music sinks back to the deep dark it rose from, once again flooding you with misery and anger. ‘Fables and lies’ opening sounds just as peculiar as the intermezzo in the previous song did, but that too is short-lived. Pretty soon, in doom metal standards at least, the heavy burden of anger returns with a vengeance, building towards a fierce piece of music before ending in sorrow.

Next up is ‘Lynch (a prelude)’. My first reaction was, that a prelude halfway in an album is quite a remarkable positioning, but it turns out this ‘song’ is merely an atmospheric prelude to the next song called ‘Elephant man’. Hence the word prelude in the title. Again, a song that engulfs you in darkness and anger, although the relatively light guitar work and the addition of a female voice, which is a gem in this song, act as a shimmer of hope in all negativity. Due to this I classify this as the best song on the album. The album ends with ‘Dragged down to hell’, which the band used as epic teaser for this release. It builds up towards a massive, heavy wall of music halfway into the song, only to release that pressure a little further into the song on its way to a grinding end. Literally.

Burdensome, dark, lingering, unnerving, there’s more than one way to describe ‘The great dying’, but whatever you call it, the result remains the same: It’s an album that will leave you with a feeling of unease and depression, which I think is exactly what Yeti On Horseback is aiming for. Seeing their music and lyrics as a mirror of the world and their vision on it, they’re bound to put a lot of negativity in their work, which is clearly audible on ‘The great dying’, a fitting title indeed. All this didn’t stop them from composing a great album, though. Whether you like your music dark and depressing or not, there’s no doubt these guys are excellent musicians, capable of translating their feelings and visions into expertly composed music with an atmosphere that is a perfect fit. ‘Gloomy Sunday’ doom metal style!

Written by Henric van Essen

Yeti On Horseback Facebook

Review: Rampart - Codex Metalum


Not usually known for its traditional metal acts, Bulgarian heavy metal act Rampart have nonetheless cranked out an impressive catalog of singles and full-length albums, as well as the odd compilation appearance, on their way to this newest release. The fourth full-length from the group, this one came out April 8, 2016 on Iron Shield Records.

This here is nicely traditionalist-leaning classic metal in their riff-work, full of tight churning rhythms offering plenty of crunchy patterns and steady, solid rhythms that make for a truly enjoyable ode to the heavyweights of the classic period of the early 80s. The numerous tempo and pace changes on display, feature some interesting and enjoyable variations with the band able to change-over into steady, simplistic riff-work for ‘Apocalypse or Theater’ and ‘Sacred Anger,’ or a slightly more up-tempo gallop that doesn’t quite border on thrash, but offers that kind of energy and cadence when off-set by the churning rhythm work featured elsewhere here as well as on ‘The Metal Code.’ Also, like most classic metal offerings, there’s ripping, fiery soloing and plenty of tight, pounding drum-work on display throughout the album that makes this quite fun, as well as with the more spindly, melodic leads found on ‘Diamond Ark or ‘Into the Rocks’, as there’s a slew of simplistic rhythms here featuring those melodies running alongside the harder-hitting riffing here. This all leaves the album well-enough, if not exactly all that original, though what really tends to hurt this is the light wailing siren-like female vocals that are as an acquired taste as any in the genre. It’s not terrible, but it takes getting used to this tone and register over the music, but overall it’s not so bad.

Though the vocals are something that really hinders this one at times, there’s little else about this one to hold it back here as the sound has enough going on for it that this will undoubtedly appeal to fans of good classic traditional metal, as well as those curious about metal from the region on the curiosity factor. 8.5/10

Written by Don Anelli

Rampart Official Website
Rampart Facebook
Rampart Twitter

Review: Plebeian Grandstand - False Highs, True Lows


In line with the previous few album reviews I have done, with this album and band, again, I can't make out what genre it is. Again, me not knowing the genre does not mean it is bad or whatever. The first track confused me, as it is most probably a sample track, rewinded a couple of times. But after a couple of times listening to the album, it made sense in comparison to the second track. The second track starts out very violently, with fast blast beats, hard riffs and harsh vocals. The album has a couple counterpoints in the songs, most of the songs are fast paced with massive blast beats parts and double bass. Even in all of that there is one more song that is like the intro, slow and repetitive, and two songs which are more doom-ish and slow paced. The slower songs show a second side to the album, a more artistic side of the band. The quality of the songs is great, the sound quality is also great. The sound quality is a bit counter intuitive, as the fast paced riffs and harsh vocals give a bit of black metal sound quality on the first listening, but after you listen to it a few times you will realise that everything can be heard with any problem. The slower songs also show you what effort was put into recording and mixing. And as usual, my only concern and complaint is the vocals. The mixing of them is, in some parts, a bit unheard and out of place with the riff that follows. All in all, this is a great album and it incorporates quite a few different genres.

Written by Nikola Milošević

Plebeian Grandstand Official Website
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Review: Temple Steps/Wreck - split tape


The cover of this nice tape shows clearly what the listener can expect: Dark, mournful depressive doom.

Temple Steps gives us two great sludge/doom songs, lasting seven to eight minutes each. In a sense, the music is not adding new elements to the genre, but the band is very convincing in the way the present the music. In my opinion their second song 'Cursed and Set Below' is a stronger one, adding a bit more body to the sound, although it is less diverse than the first song. The strong side of this is that the repeating guitar chords hypnotise in a way that takes you deeper to the core of the song.

The other side of the tape is reserved for Wreck. A band that is soundwise less deep down than Temple Steps. The band uses low grunts and clean screams in addition to a guitar sound that could also be used by a stonerrock band. I experience the first song 'On the Gallows' as storytelling, whereas Temple Steps’ music was more like a soundscape. The words 'No Tomorrow' keep echoing in my ear, stimulating my fantasy in the direction of a post-apocalyptic movie. Second song 'Release the Drones' has the same storytelling structure. Where the screams at the start of the song makes me wonder what tragic story I am going to hear, the grunts take me by the gut and drags me through nasty dirt.

This split tape introduces the listener to two bands within the doom/drone/sludge scene. The world they create is not a nice one, the music however is enthralling and makes you want more than just these mere 25 minutes of depression.

Written by Martijn Bakker

Temple Steps Facebook
Wreck Facebook

Review: Lacuna Coil - Delirium


The new album by Lacuna Coil is here and I am very pleased to write a review about it on DutchMetalManiac! When hearing the first few tones of the album, you would think it is going to be a bombastic and melodic metal album, somewhere along the lines of Epica for example., but that’s not really the case! The album sure has its melodic moments, the presence of beautiful high pitched keyboards and of course the angelic sturdy voice of female vocalist Cristina Scabbia, but on this album, the band chose to combine powerful screams and grunts with Cristina’s clear and well-controlled voice.

I have to say that the record sure lives up to its name, Delirium. A delirium is a sort of temporary psychotic state someone’s mind can be in. As I was listening to the album, often I found it hard to concentrate on what I was hearing, because so much stuff is going on in just one song. Awesome psychedelic guitar riffs, creepy kids on “Take Me Home” and the always shifting dynamic between the male and female vocals combined with some electronic effects here and there, Lacuna Coil has it all!

But I am concerned if it all isn’t a bit too much of everything. It seems to me that the band wants to show what they are capable of in under 45 minutes. Which is a bit strange to me because this band is well known and respected in the metal world. So the hyperactive and sometimes somewhat unstructured songs on the album do nothing for me personally. Luckily for me, tracks like “Downfall’, “My Demons” and the title track “Delirium” are a lot more my taste! Maybe that’s because those songs feature the beautiful high pitched voice of Cristina Scabbia more prominently. Who knows?

I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever that this album is going to do well, because despite its restless vibe, it’s produced very neatly. Heavy guitars and powerful grunts and everything else another great Lacuna Coil album needs!

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Lacuna Coil Official Website
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Review: Elm Street - Knock 'Em Out... With A Metal Fist


''Knock’Em Out… With a Metal Fist'' is the second album from the Australian traditional heavy metal band Elm Street. It is going to be released on June 24, 2016 by Massacre Records. The artwork is from the great Ken Kelly (Manowar, KISS) and the production is co-produced, mixed & mastered by Ermin Hamidovic.

The acoustic guitar intro of Face the Reaper gave me the impression that I just got a soft sounding album, but as soon as the guitars, drums, and bass joined in, it was clear that Elm Street was in for the kill. The song has a strong chorus and the heaviest sound I have ever heard from the band. However, it was still too early to make any remark on changes comparing to their previous album, Barbed Wired Metal.

Do you remember that I just told you that Face the Reaper is Elm Street’s heaviest song to the date? Forget it! Kiss the Canvas is heavy as hell. The screams of “knock’em out with a metal fist” on the song’s chorus are sick. Now I think I can say for sure that this record is very different from its predecessor. Will It Take a Lifetime is not as great as the first two, but it brings a Manowar influence, and it is a bridge between their previous and new sound.

The vocals of Ben Batres are also sounding different from Barbed Wired Metal. On the 2011 album, he sounded like a more aggressive Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger), but on the new tracks, I can even get hints of Chuck Schuldiner (Death, on The Sound of Perseverance album) Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom) and Schmier (Destruction), showing the increase in heaviness I keep talking about all the time.

The next awesome song in the riff machine that is ''Knock’Em Out… With a Metal Fist'' is Heavy Mental. Batres (vocals and rhythm guitar) and Aaron Adie (lead guitar) did a great job here, though some songs have similar structures. The bass/drums sections are also very good and very tight. Tomislav Perkovic is the drummer, but I am not sure if Nick Ivkovic recorded the bass parts. The release says he entered the band after the photo sessions for the record, but it does not say if he played on it or even who played them.

Heart Racer is the most melodic song on the album so far and has a mild hard rock influence on it. I liked it very much, especially the leads and solos. S.T.W.A is just an intro to Blood Diamond and its impressive 11 minutes. A good song with some moments that will be perfect time to bang your heads even harder and some slower moments to wave your hands in the air. Blood Diamond has also the best solo of the whole album. Good job, Aaron!

The last song, Leave It All Behind is… a ballad, believe it or not. And it is really great after all. I do not know if I am going crazy, but I could swear that I hear a bit of Lemmy here. Now I wish that Batres had sang more like this throughout the album. Just like the beginning, acoustic guitars end the record. Nice touch!

TRACK LIST
1. Face The Reaper
2. Kiss The Canvas
3. Will It Take A Lifetime?
4. Sabbath
5. Heavy Mental
6. Next In Line
7. Heart Racer
8. S.T.W.A
9. Blood Diamond
10. Leave It All Behind

LINE-UP
Ben Batres - Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Aaron Adie - Lead Guitar
Nick Ivkovic - Bass Guitar
Tomislav Perkovic - Drums

Written by Anderson Tiago

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