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REBEL COLLECTIVE - MIDDLE AGE FAMOUS

(Independent)

Review by Sloof

 

Sleazy Rock’n Roll with a very high dose of groove and rebellion, that’s what Rebel Collective is all about! This band was formed in 2009 after guitar player Genz and vocalist Haze re-named their old band Machine into Rebel Collective. They wanted to change the musical direction after another lineup change, and decided that it was time to move on, switching into higher gear! A demo was recorded, live gigs were undertaken and the band was ready for their next step in their musical career: ‘Saturday Night Syndrome’ was recorded and released in the same year followed by ‘Middle Finger Famous’ in 2012. After this EP and debut album, the band was invited to play the Getaway Rock Festival for the second time. That year, bands like Manowar, Nightwish, Venom, Saxon, Amon Amarth, Yngwie Malmsteen and Meshuggah were present as well, which resulted in a gig in front of the biggest crowd so far.

 

Rebel Collective started writing material for the second full length album in 2014 and May 8Th. 2015 is the date that ‘Middle Age Famous’ is going to be released. So far, the band is still unsigned, but I guess it’s only a matter of time to get the attention from labels that want to add a Rock’n Roll monster to their roster! Besides playing sleazy with a little ‘Guns N’ Roses meet Pantera’ attitude, they consider themselves as a whisky stinking brutal-blues collective that want to have fun in first place but a little disorder in second. Songs like ‘Baby Blue’ and ‘Rock N Roll Rebel’ carry a message of tattooed-life-story-telling adventures of friendship, middle finger attitude and life’s a bitch topics. This is music from the gutter, this is pure, this is honesty and straight from the heart!

 

No need for gushy and mealy attitude, as Rebel Collective will do the job in 32 minutes and 9 tracks. Those that want a little preview, there is a first lyric video of the song ‘Midlife’, just follow this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CGipSUULLz0 and at the meantime it’s time to get the bottoms up and order some new beers. Rock with attitude, power and a good dose of scurrility, that’s exactly what you will get with this party time quartet!

 

My rating: 84/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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RED CIRCUIT - HAZE OF NEMESIS

(Limb Music)

Review by Sloof

 

Wiesbaden, Germany is the hometown of Red Circuit, a power metal band that likes to bring their metal with a lot of progressive elements and last but not least vocals that will amaze people with silence. It is the perfect example of a band whose result is the sum of all individual parts. After the release of their debut album ‘Trance State’ and ‘Homeland’, it took about 5 years to write and compose the third album ‘Haze Of Nemesis’. Limb Music is still their record label, and they treated fans and band with a little extra on this release, as they added a bonus DVD with a live registration of the band at ProgPower USA XII – edition 2011.

 

There is also an extra track on that DVD disc with a live version of the single ‘Oceans Apart’, shot at the Rock Meets Reggae Festival in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Not coincidentally at this location as the vocalist of Red Circuit is Chitral Somapala, born and raised in Colombo, but also known from his previous bands like Civilization One, Avalon, Ivanhoe, Power Quest and even Firewind!

 

All songs on this third album have good guitar riffing, average pace and a lot of attention to the vocal harmonies and chorus lines. ‘Believing A Lie’ starts with threatening keyboards and when the drums and guitars strengthen the song, we get a dark and minatory song. ‘My World Collides’ is a ballad with guest vocals by Amanda Somerville. I know Amanda since a few years and her main achievement is undoubtedly her contribution to bands like Epica, Kamelot, Luca Turilli, After Forever and Avantasia! She’s a metal chick with a sensitive approach and that’s what ‘My World Collides’ is all about!

 

After a moment of solitude and tranquility, it’s time to sharpen the aggression factor with ‘Spear Of Fate’. Really heavy guitars and whining strings introduce us to this track that keeps the same pace till the end. ‘Soldier Of Fortune’ is the bonus track on this album and this song is originally by Deep Purple and contains fabulous guitars! I missed a few neck-breaking songs and a few highlights, as the overall idea about this album is mainly average.

 

There are no excesses, there are no highlights but a continuous but moderate progress to the end of the album. Red Circuit succeeded in writing and recording a melodic metal album, but 11 tracks with the same ingredients might tend to boredom. Check out their album trailer and decide if this band will appeal to your personal expectations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7j9MBJBYzM

 

My rating: 81/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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REJECT THE SICKNESS - CHAINS OF SOLITUDE

(Target/Mighty Music Records)

Review by Sloof

 

Reject The Sickness is a Belgian band that resides in the Flemish part of our lovely country, and although, I didn’t had the chance to see them live yet, I’m definitely keep my eyes open for their upcoming gigs. Their album ‘Chains Of Solitude’ convinced me all the way, and I’m sure that this audio and studio effort will cause a lot of fun and the perfect vibe, once they’re on a stage. The songs have the perfect attitude to persuade at gigs, the musicians of Reject The Sickness know exactly how to make a song defiant and provocative and the vocals of Guy Vercruysse will do the rest.

 

This band opens their debut album with an otiose intro followed by the title track “Chains Of Solitude”. This direct missile attack, where the guitars of Pepijn Desmet and Ruben Van der Beken show no mercy, deliver what I’m looking for. Excitement, a certain tension, harsh and some auditory violence are the perfect ingredients to become a hymn! When the vocals of Guy Vercruysse change drastically in the chorus, you will agree that this break is the detail that makes the difference between a good song and a very good song! Reject The Sickness increase the pace and blunt force in ‘My Agony’ where the guitars have some Grip Inc. influences. They are capable to lift the songs by adding small details, just like Centinex used to do. The members of Reject The Sickness signed to Mighty Music Records and drummer Jannick Govaert is already familiar with that label as his previous band Powerstroke released their latest album on Mighty Music as well.

 

This melodeath band with prog elements and a twist of core can make us, Belgians, proud on our scene, and I’m sure that this first album of Reject The Sickness is only the beginning!

 

The band has shot a video for the track ‘Hopeless’ and if you want a foretaste on this album, this one is a perfect choice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeurW-smbMc

 

My rating: 81/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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RENEGADE - THUNDER KNOWS NO MERCY

Pure Underground Records

Review by Officer Nice

 

This is another band from Italy and it seems to be their fourth effort they are releasing. It’s a band I have never heard about before but after a few spins I really hope we will be hearing from them in the future. What’s for sure is the fact I really need to dig into that mighty Metal market on the next Keep It True festival, so I can find their other releases.

 

The reason is simple; Renegade is just a first class Heavy Metal band. You won’t hear anything that sounds new but Renegade offers a real fresh sound. Renegade is based on the better American and European Metal bands and that makes me really like this formation. Renegade offers the listener one after another good structured song, foreseen with the better ingredients of the Heavy Metal scène. I hear awesome double bass drums, superb riffing, finger fast leads and a band that knows how to write a good song. The leads are actually terrific because they’re played with intensity, with the right touch of emotions and they are foreseen on the right places, subtle but perfectly planned! The tracks sounds varied and they offer something ‘special’, something I really adore on this kind of music. Add a very gifted singer and you’ll understand that Renegade is more than another mediocre Metal band.

 

Fans of bands like Reverence, Morgana Lefay, Metal Church, eighties sounding Helloween etc. won’t be disappointed with this one. This album contains eight good songs which must please any fan of this particular genre. The catchy arrangements will oblige you to hold this one for a longer time in your CD-player. Stefano Senesi’s outstanding voice and Damianno Ammannati’s godlike leads will show me right. Check http://www.renegadeofficial.it .

 

My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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RESURRECTURIS - NAZIENDA

(Target/Mighty Music Records)

Review by Sloof

 

Believe me, reviewing albums and doing interviews is most of the time very versatile and diverse. Sometimes, you can write a whole page after a few spins of the record, sometimes, it’s hard to write a few sentences. It all depends on a few factors: your own personal mood, the persuasiveness of the product, the overall idea that a new album evokes…

 

When I received the new Resurrecturis album from Stefan, our partner in crime and owner of Metal To Infinity, I knew that a heavy task was ahead of me. I know this band almost 2 decades and I have several albums of them, so they aren’t unfamiliar to me at all, but I’m also aware that this band isn’t one of many. These Italians are so unique that it’s a drudgery to fulfill the task to review their albums.

 

“Nazienda” took 6 long years to complete, and after listening to this album, I know why. They evolved through the years from an unique and special, hard-nut-to-crack-band to a band that goes beyond every possible border or limitation. What they did before seems to be an appetizer of what this new album contains. Never thought that music could become so complex, so difficult and for some, so beautiful at the same time. There is nothing to compare with, there is nothing that might be called influential.

 

Resurrecturis is so unique, so original, so beyond-everything that I guess, that only musicians can estimate what these members are exactly doing. It’s not bad because I don’t like it. It just demands too much from me to get through the day without headache.

 

My personal rating: could be 50 / 100 but at the same time 100 / 100.

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REVENGE - HARDER THAN STEEL

(Iron Shield Records)

Review by Sloof

 

Colombia, isn’t that a country in South America, mainly know for drug cartels and shady business? A perfect place for all Heisenbergs and Walter White dudes that want to make profit in an easy way, preferable illegal. But Colombia is also the country in the northwest of South America who became independent from Spain in 1819 but the name still refers to Christopher Columbus. And last but not least, Colombia is also a very promising country for Metal Bands that want to take the world with quality Metal and outrageous craftsmanship! Revenge is one of those bands! And I’m sure that you will be stunned after listening to ‘Harder Than Steel’, their 6th. album to date!

 

‘Headbangers Brigade’ is a wonderful song with a lot of great guitar solos and while the pace is increasing by the drums of Daniel and the bass of Jorge Rojas, the vocals of Esteban are raving people on to headbanging and moshing around the place! The title track of their 6th. album is the next track and the pace is rather slow but very heavy at the same time! This indicates that the musicians of Revenge are capable songwriters as they are bringing enough variation in the structures of the songs. There are 10 tracks on this album that takes 45 minutes which is sufficient value for money! ‘Gravestone’ is a neck breaker in Slayer tradition and ‘Motorider’ will finish the job!

 

Every song on this album is with extreme precision and with a deadly finishing touch! Just love it to hear Heavy/Speed Metal from Colombia, as it’s a little refreshing and with an own identity! The South American scene is a scene with great potential and Revenge can become the standard-bearer!

 

My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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REVERENCE - GODS OF WAR

(Razar Ice Records)

Review by Stefan

 

By the grace of my everlasting favourite style of music called US Metal, I’d like to present the new and second effort from Detroit quintet Reverence !

 

To start I like to refer to ex MTI co-editor Officer Nice’s review for Reverence’s debut album “When Darkness Calls”, posted right HERE. The satisfaction of our employee those days had no limit, at the end of the discussion, Officer Nice gave the CD a very high but well deserved score I fully accept. It was nothing but the truth Reverence was identified as a new Metal sensation which had made one of the best albums of 2012. The band toured across the UK and the USA in 2013, every performance was lauded with praise and each one hooked on US Power Metal hoped they soon could start the recordings for a second effort.

 

To secure a three album deal with Japanese label Marquee/Avalon, Reverence wrote 23 new songs, their brand new album “Gods Of War” will be released on with eleven songs. Release dates are: October 21, 2015 in Japan/Asia and a worldwide unchaining is planned for November 4, 2015 through Razar Ice Records. Just like the debut, also the new album has a beautiful artwork done by Jobert Mello (Primal Fear/Sabaton/Benedictum/Iron Fire and many others), a world class painting artist and very good friend of the band themselves. Dream away while checking out the man’s official page at: http://www.sledgehammergraphix.com/home/

 

The line-up has remained untouched and I’m really satisfied with that. Describing them as an All Starr Heavy/Power Metal outfit myself, Reverence’s upcoming new album “Gods Of War” brings only the very best type of Metal currently available on the international market! Without any form of boredom, the eleven songs bring a whole lot of variation with regards to powerful, heavy and sharp riffings, breathtaking twin guitar melodic and shredding acrobatics. Mighty good, very technical drums proportional to the talents of present bassist… last but definitely not least, the vocals of Todd Michael Hall still speak to my imagination. In the vein of greats like Todd La Torre (Queensryche), Tim Owens (ex-Winters Bane/Iced Earth/…), Carl Albert (ex-Ruffians/Vicious Rumors/Villain), Tom Mallicoat (Lethal) and stuff. TMH’s very clear/high pitched vocals are just miraculously beautiful in my opinion, every Power Metal band begs for a singer of this calibre!

 

The recording quality of “Gods Of War” is not over-polished which gives me personally, a good feeling. When it comes to a very clean production, modern vibes come show up and I don’t like that very much. Reverence has managed once again to give me thrills all over my body while listening to the new songs. “WDC” blew me away – “GOW” shreds me to pieces… what a great album ! To compare both debut and new one “Gods Of War” albums, I come to the conclusion that the musical skills have increased. I never thought that the high level of their previous album could be exceeded but apparently I was wrong, the new cut achieves an insanely high level with thanks to all the present musicians delivering their best performance up-to-date.

 

The guitar riffs are strong, sometimes extremely heavy roaring without exaggerating – the full option guitar leads bring me very pleasant moments… melodic/harmonic to the bone and offered with a whole lotta shred tactics, superb! The drums and the bass lines form one slab of granite and fits perfectly with the beautiful guitar work. And if this is not yet sufficient, Reverence’s frontman brings the icing on the cake with his over-the top, outstanding and overwhelming voice… sure thing that Todd Michael Hall is one of my all time favourite singers !

 

I can go on throwing more and more words of praise about this band but I’d rather like to conclude with telling ya’ll that the new Reverence album entitled “Gods Of War” belongs to the highest class of current world class Metal recordings. A masterpiece that should be purchased by everyone who like its music in the vein of Winters Bane, early Dio, Savatage, Riot V, Distant Thunder/Seven Witches (‘James Rivera’ era), Metal Church (“The Dark” period), Judas Priest (“Screaming For Vengeance”/“Defenders Of The Faith” days), a.o. http://www.reverencemetal.com/ / https://www.facebook.com/Reverencemetal / https://www.youtube.com/user/ReverenceOfficial

 

My rating: 96/100 (95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !)

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RIOT V - UNLEASH THE FIRE

(SPV/Steamhammer)

Review by Officer Nice

 

Life goes on and this certainly counts for Riot. My old time heroes suffered a very big loss when Marc Reale, a Metal icon ‘pur sang’, passed away in 2012. His memory still lives on and he will be worshipped forever by the fans and the entire Metal community. Most people feared it would mean the end of these lads from New York but the opposite happened. A new guitarist was Nick Lee enforced Riot. Even better news came when we read that Todd Michael Hall joined the band. This man is a rising star in our community and US Metal fanatics should know him from Jack Starr’s Burning Star and from Reverence. I saw both bands with Todd behind the microphone and believe me he’s a top singer!

 

Would it be enough to bring the old times back? That’s another question… I adore the old school Riot the first albums and in that era Riot couldn’t really break through. Heavy Metal was ‘hot’ in the early eighties but there were far too many bands who were trying to be mainstream. Yet, my favorite album will forever be “Thundersteel” and those who has this one in their collection probably understand why. If you don’t own it you are missing an important page in the history of Heavy Metal. The Tony Moore era is one of the most important periods of the band, to change a bit their style when Mike DiMeo was their front man. A few good records were released but Riot sounded different until in 2011 Tony Moore came back to release “Immortal soul”. A good effort but it couldn’t hook up with the former classic ones. And so we have arrived in a new episode for the band, with Todd Michael Hall as one of the best singers in the present Metal scène.

 

And did it work out? Yes and no… Let me be honest. For people who adore Heavy Metal but are not really into this band, which is as a matter of fact a disgrace, this album will be awesome! About this new CD I can say that the fans will be satisfied. Riot delivers the goods as they are used too since many years. Add an ‘as good as perfect’ singer and you have a very good album. Riot’s brand are the typical riffs, weaved with leads that goes with the rhythms of these arrangements. Awesome and technical, varied drums and most of the time mid-tempo and up-tempo compositions are foreseen. Riot gives the listener always some kind of a pleasant feeling, a mood that should make you ‘happy’. Riot has seldom been a real dark US Power Metal band, except for their masterpiece ‘Thundersteel’. It fits the band and it’s good headbanging stuff in which you will witness great musicianship. Todd Michael Hall seems to be the perfect link for this ‘new’ Riot and he’s responsible for the fact Riot sounds old school again, nevertheless not as in the old days. This ain’t “Restless breed” or “Fire down other”. The level of the very first Riot releases will probably never be reached again, ever since Riot stepped into another direction and this record belongs in that last row. This album works further in the style of “Thundersteel”, but dozsn’t reach this surprising quality.

 

I hear a good album, but it’s not ‘the album of the year’ as was suggested here and there on for example Facebook. Some tracks keep on playing on the mind because of the seducing refrains and the strong performances of Todd Michael Hall. Yet I was hoping for an extra overdose of Power and some more darkness and I miss it right here. Maybe it’s not up to Riot to perform it, but I found it for example in the new Sanctuary. Two different bands, two different histories, two different releases. I might be not the one who can compare, it’s just a matter of personal taste. This Riot is good, it’s on the same level as many of their last releases but I can understand the old Riot fanatics expecterd something else. It’s not, it’s just Riot anno 2014, as it was in the nineties with lots of ‘sing along’ passages, either you like it or not. On the Japanese version you will have a live version of ‘Thundersteel’ as a bonus track. At least I’m looking forward to the new Reverence after hearing this one…

 

My rating: 87/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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RIOTOR - RUSTED THRONE

(Infernö Records)

Review by Spirit In Black

 

Riotor is a five-piece Canadian Black/Thrash Metal band, formed in 2007.After two self released demo's and one full-length album, the band is back with their second album 'Rusted Throne'.

 

The album is packed with raw, fast and sometimes chaotic Metal. Chaotic without ending in a mess of noise. A couple of songs do have melodic parts. Nicely worked out in between the fast parts. The riffs and other guitarwork on 'Rusted Throne' are pretty awesome! The vocals are raw and hoarse wich is obvioulsy, a perfect match with the music.

 

The production is the same as the music, raw which suits the whole vibe on 'Rusted Throne'. With that said (maybe because of that production), you can hear the instruments very clear. I must admit,the bass is sometimes mixed too loud in the front. Just a small detail, it doesn't ruin my fun in listening in any way! I'm not a big fan to compare bands with each other but to give an idea what kind of Black/Thrash Riotor plays, the band Nekromantheon comes to mind. Official homepage: http://www.riotormetal.com/ Order at: https://www.inferno-records.net/mailorder/cds/riotor-can-rusted-throne-cd150621182944.html

 

My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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RIPFACE INVASION - TO NOT GIVE IN

(Scorpion Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

 

Got to hand it to these lads from 'Fairview, New Jersey'. For a '3-track' CDEP with an 'average' track time of just under 3mins, that 'Ripface Invasion' actually did a 'jewel-cased' version of their 'To Not Give In' CD. 'Normally' you'd see something like this in a 'slip-case'. And 'props' as well for sending an 'actual-physical' CD copy!!!

 

'Ripface Invasion' are a VERY 'NYHC' metal sounding band. Musically with the 'intro' track of 'The Dominator', 'Ripface Invasion' IMO do live up to 'hardcore' standards. Was VERY 'explosive' with the 'in-your-face' edge to them. You can take a listen right here: https://youtu.be/kE_pJQHKOYc

 

Now as you get into 'tracks 2 & 3', that 'edge' is lost 'musically' with not a lot of 'direction'. 'Additionally' the 'vocals' I find it really hard to get into beyond 'track 1'. Just a bit 'difficult'. Although I 'believe' if there was 'more' material involved such as an 'older' track called 'The Last One On Earth', which can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/JDidIn62R68 , I believe 'Ripface Invasion' are the type of band that 'could or can' pack one 'helluva' punch 'material-wise'!

 

My rating: 73/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)

 

'Ripface Invasion':

*Anthony Paladino (Red) - Vocals

*Ant Lefty - Guitar

*Tom Conti - Bass

*Dan Lockhart - Drums

'To Not Give In' track info:

I) The Dominator II) To Not Give In III) Armchair Politician - total run-time 8:19.

Recorded & mixed by Elviz Christ. Produced by Anthony Paladino. Mastered by Frank Fagnano. Artwork by Joe Martino, Jeff Austin, & Frank M. Cuonzo.

'Ripface Invasion' contact info:

*ReverbNation: https://www.reverbnation.com/ripfaceinvasion

*Bandcamp: http://scorpionrecords.bandcamp.com/album/to-not-give-in

*Website: http://scorpionrecords.com/index.html

*Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ripfaceinvasion

*E-mail: scorpionrec@aol.com

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RISEN PROPHECY - INTO THE VALLEY OF HINNOM

(Metal On Metal Records)

Review by Stefan

 

Formed in Sunderland (North-Eastern part of the UK) by guitarist Ross Oliver and drummer James Charlton back in 2005, Risen Prophecy just released their new official album through Metal On Metal Records. Prior to this, in 2010 they launched independently their debut full-length “Screaming For Death”, but actually they have started their career with a 2-song demo called “Risen Prophecy” (2009). For an underground metal band, everything went really well… they played several gigs alongside bands like Spartan Warrior, Battleaxe, Cauldron, Sodomizer etc.. Every performance had its highlights which was a good omen for the future of their musical career!

 

What was bound to happen happened in 2012, they started working on album number two “Into The Valley Of Hinnom”. Greg Chandler, singer/guitarist of Funeral Doom merchants Esoteric has also a good reputation as a producer and helped Risen Prophecy with the recordings of their new cut, which took place during the winter of 2013 and the summer of 2014. The recordings were done and the band offered the final product to Metal On Metal Records in hope to get a deal. Supporting and writing reviews for this label for several years, I know that MOMR owners Jowita and her husband Simone have a good grasp of what real Metal is all about. Before offering a contract, they thoroughly scrutinize each bands' musical skills and potential strength. I’m sure that for a band like Risen Prophecy it didn’t take too much time simply because these guys have it all! Finally, they were signed by Metal On Metal Records which seems very, and I mean very good news IMO. In the end, all Metal maniacs with a good taste should be extremely satisfied.

 

I would like to say immediately that Risen Prophecy’s “Into The Valley Of Hinnom” is one of my favourite albums at the moment, damn yeah, it’s true! They bring on an excellent, superb, over-the-top mixture of traditional and technical Heavy/Power Metal and Thrash Metal with a strong flavor of the Bay Area scene. Fans of Iced Earth (“Night Of The Stormrider” era), Forbidden (“Twisted Into Form” period), early Testament, Defiance (“Product Of Society” era), Sindrome (“Vault Of Inner Conscience” demo days), Hellhound USA better watch out for Risen Prophecy! On the other hand, their style of Metal is also recommended to all defenders of good old Judas Priest, Artillery, Morgana Lefay, Demons and Wizards or Drifter. Listening to “Into The Valley Of Hinnom” evokes so many good old memories, this almighty album doesn’t let me down for one single second, damn right, I’m speechless!

 

The album opens with ‘The Descension’ and ends with ‘The Ascension’, two short instrumentals which are rather superfluous in my opinion but, and I mean what I tell you right now, the four other songs in between are on an extremely high level! I know, there are only four ‘real songs’, but they have more to offer than many other bands throughout 10 compositions. The production is outstanding and I am overwhelmed by ingenious techniques and constant tempo changes, which are able to grab me by the throat. ‘Brood Of Vipers’ (8:53) opens in style with very early Iced Earth guitar riffs and searing solos. Heavy/Power Metal with a serious wink to Speed and Thrash Metal. Dan Tyrens’ voice undergoes multiple metamorphoses which is the living proof that he is a really talented and unique frontman. From the lower register to high pitch... or maybe you like more aggression in the vocal lines? Not a problem at all for Dan! He’s also the man behind the orchestral and choral arrangements!

 

Those who are familiar with the underground old school Thrash Metal gods Sindrome and their phenomenal frontman Troy Dixler should take a good listen to ‘Knowing Nothing’ (6:54), especially during the first few minutes. The musical character of the song will surprise you, this is what elegant Power/Thrash Metal is all about. And to Traditional Heavy/Speed Metal fans I would like to recommend the next track called ‘To The Wolves’ (6:09) featuring a guest solo by Neil Wilkinson of Spartan Warrior. Risen Prophecy took me completely by surprise so far and the best is yet to come; may I present you to the title track “Into The Valley Of Hinnom”. With a playing time of 11 minutes, several parts of this mighty good piece remind me of a blend between Sindrome and Forbidden. After three and a half minutes, there’s a dark sounding break coming in for about two minutes, then all hell breaks loose again. The high speed increases as the song finds its way towards the end and oh my god, they have some technical shred guitar solos for us in store as well. Best song I’ve heard in a long time… absolutely superb!!!

 

“Into The Valley Of Hinnom” has nothing to do with mainstream Metal music, what these guys offer is pure magic so let nothing stand in your way to look for this masterpiece. A brilliant epic tinted Power/Thrash Metal output with charismatic vocals! Nice cover artwork delivered by the mistress of Metal artwork paintings herself Jowita Kaminska, perfect graphic layout by Simone A. Peruzzi, full coloured booklet… As usual, professionalism shines brightly at the house of Metal On Metal Records, so don’t wait and order your own copy via THIS link. My opinion is as follows: Risen Prophecy have just brought out one of 2015’s best albums so far – check‘em out at: https://www.facebook.com/risenprophecy

 

My rating: 95/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

 

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ROSE'N - WAKE UP

(Independent)

Review by Sloof

 

Almost unbelievable that this band is playing live for almost 30 years, but no album under their belt at all. So finally, it’s time for Rose’n to enter the recording studio and bring their songs to the crowd. Rose’n is hailing from Germany and is still unsigned, but blood is thicker than water, so the time is now, they want to present their songs to the headbangers worldwide. “Wake Up” is the appropriate title of the album and the 10 songs take 42 minutes of playing time.

 

The song ‘Flying’ opens ominous with an intro that leads us into the right direction. When the guitars of Mike Wolf and Mike Vynnez continue, you will get a Heavy Metal tune in the style of Accept their ‘Balls To The Wall’. The vocals of Boris Proegler are typically metal oriented, but he’s above the average. The song on itself is rather poor as it’s really simple. ‘Table’s Turned’ is totally diverse! Good pace from the very first second and the throat of Boris fits better in the arrangement. This is Heavy Metal à la Judas Priest, which means: a heavy layer, great guitars and vocals that demand respect. The band continues with another slow pace anthem titled ‘Tonight’ and again, we must conclude that the vocals are well performed in the arrangement. ‘Take Me To The Top’ is another headbanger but most of the songs have a rather slow, heavy arrangement, so a Speed Metal touch is only occasionally.

 

Fans of Saxon, Maiden, Priest and Accept will be pleased with this album that is mainly focusing on the German market and fans. Typical 80ies oriented influences mixed with contemporary elements. This is a band that would fit on the Metal Assault and the Keep It True Festivals! https://www.facebook.com/ROSEN-494076147337998/

 

My rating: 81/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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ROXXCALIBUR - GEMS OF THE NWOBHM

(Limb Music Records)

Review by Sloof

 

What Powergod did on their ‘That’s Metal - Lesson I and II’ as a tribute to the U.S. and Thrash metal bands, can be compared with the newest Roxxcalibur album, where the titans of New Wave Of British Heavy Metal are hailed once more.

 

Roxxcalibur already released albums like ‘NWOBHM for Muthas’ and ‘Lords Of The NWOBHM’, but this time, they are going to top them all! ‘Gems of the NWOBHM’ is the third album where the band is paying homage to the legendary NWOBHM style. This is the playground of Roxxcalibur, and they do it with so much passion and dedication, that a lot of elders will be surprised how good and originally the bands from the U.K. were! I was a teenager when NWOBHM shocked the world and bands like AIIZ, Weapon, Handsome Beasts, Hellanbach, Holocaust, Witchfynder General, Grim Reaper, Fist, Battleaxe, Quartz and Tytan released albums on obscure labels like Heavy Metal Records and Neat Records. I still have a lot of singles and albums from that era and one thing is for sure, they will never be sold, as I consider myself as a kind of freak that has a huge passion for metal in general. NWOBHM was a different style, something totally new those days, and bands like Metallica are passionate and fans of the genre, with their tribute album ‘Garage Inc.’ as ultimate testimony. Roxxcalibur is, besides a very good live band also known as Masters Of Disguise that can be considered as a Savage Grace tribute band.

 

On this third new album, we get 14 tracks that can be categorized as the ‘lost gems’ and for some they are unknown songs from unknown bands of that era. If you are aware of the NWOBHM years, you will recognize bands like Legend, Trespass, Split Beaver, White Spirit, Budgie and Fist, but at the same time, you will be unfamiliar with acts like Taurus, Bashful Alley, Smokin’ Roadie… Well, they all feature this release with one of their tracks and Roxxcalibur delivered a fantastic job. Finally, we are able to listen to real gems, but this time, the sound quality is present and the producer did a very nice job!

 

‘Why Don’t You Kill Me’ opens the album, in a rather modest and calm way, but once the song explodes, you will agree that this track, originally by Legend, is a real monster! The pace continues with ‘Soldiers Of War’ that contains perfect guitar solos as well. When ‘Paper Chaser’ (originally from Taurus) starts, you might think that this track is from Thin Lizzy. The same vibe, the same atmosphere and the same style in composing is perhaps confusing, but once again, it’s another milestone! The album continues on the same high quality and ‘Running Blind’ from Bashful Alley continues in a rather average pace. The next highlight is ‘Fool’s Gold’, originally performed by Virtue, I must admit that the performance of ‘Stormchild’ is not equal with the original from Trespass. I still remember when I heard this song for the very first time, and it was comparable with an earthquake. I don’t have that feeling with the Roxxcalibur execution, which doesn’t mean that they squandered it totally, but I’m still a bigger fan of the original version. Some songs are meant to be left alone.

 

‘The Age Of Machines’ opens again very modest with some guitars that lead us into a wonderful hymn. This song could be covered by our Belgians of Beyond The Labyrinth as well, as it would fit perfectly to their roster. Roxxcalibur delivered a great job and it’s worthpraising how Alexx Stahl handles all these different voices and timbres. Both guitarplayers Kalli Coldsmith and Holger Ziegler did a wonderful job as well, as the riffing is nearly perfect and the sound of the original is approached best way possible. We continue with a song from 1981, when Split Beaver recorded ‘Hounds Of Hell’ and their album ‘When Hell Won’t Have You’. This track sounds also like The Tygers Of Pan Tang in their Spellbound-era, don’t you agree?

 

I’m really impressed that Roxxcalibur succeeded in this difficult task, as the album, which takes 70 minutes and 14 tracks, is growing stronger and stronger. It’s an album that is going to be played a lot of times the upcoming weeks and months, and I’m sure that peers will be surprised when I’m going to present this material to them! http://www.roxxcalibur.com/

 

My rating: 86/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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RUINSIDE - 10 FORMS OF DOMINION

(Mighty Muisc/Suburban)

Review by Officer Nice

 

Ruinside is a band that comes from out of Finland. They have toured in several countries throughout Europe, Belgium included, but it’s a show I missed… Damn! Their debut “The Hunt” was released in 2012 through Mighty Music. This record was well tasted and deserved lots of positive reviews but Ruinside suffered a big loss when Lauri Aitonurmi died in a car accident. It was the reason for a break, understandable when you lose a friend, but a replacer was pretty soon found.

 

Ruinside just released their new album “10 Forms Of Dominion” and believe me when I say they have delivered something that really captives your attention. Especially when you’re into technical played Progressive Power / Thrash Metal the chance is big you’ll get impressed. I have about the same feeling those days I heard the band Pathos for the first time. I even know where I was when I heard their “Katharsis” the first time, what says enough about how impressed I was by this Swedish band. Pathos is (was?), as Ruinside, also a Scandinavian band that doesn’t fit at all the general view we have about bands from out of the North of Europe. Both are clearly influenced by Nevermore and maybe a few other US Metal bands but they add their own brand to their music and that makes me like this kind of bands. They have something special, difficult to describe… At least both bands have the same way of riffing, the same way of building up songs and compose. Also in the backing vocals I hear similarities. As it was with Pathos, also Ruinside contains a singer with something special in his voice, something I really adore. An issue rather difficult to explain but just believe my words that this kind of clear vocal doesn’t miss its effect. They fit this overdose of powerful compositions although Toni Salminen is’n a new major talent. If you want me to name similar sounding vocalists I give you Paul Shöning (Pathos), Lars F.Larsen (Manticora) and Russ Anderson (Forbidden), without his high screams.

 

What Ruinside also contains are good guitarists (Kimmo Jankkari and Erno Tarvainen), they are really able to deliver a wall of sound without any form of exaggeration. Those razor sharp riffs are hammering in my head and the intense played leads are another trump! Drummer Timo Anttonen and new bass player Pirka Birkstedt are empowering that wall! The music might be too difficult for some of you although the combination with melodic compositions should be convincible enough. It’s a matter of giving it a shot, maybe another one… and if necessary, a third listen. If you’re not impressed on that point, than you will never be! I didn’t need that much time; the first listen was enough to be excited by this record and stayed in my CD-player ever since. At least “10 Forms Of Dominion” brings me in the same atmosphere Pathos did back in the day, that kind of dark mood is really appreciated. Ruinside is able to vary their music from the beginning until the end which is important to me. Every song has its strengths and it is the main reason why this record is really enjoyable to listen to. Fans of dark, US sounding, Power Metal and technical mid-tempo Thrash Metal are as good as obliged to give Ruinside a fair chance.

Ruinside is a promising band to me, although I have the experience that this type of Metal is not able to break through for real. That’s a pity fact but I expect, and hope, these lads will tour throughout Europe again. Hopefully they are able to tour with a bigger band, so they can prove on stage what they are capable of. Ruinside plays a style that is far too difficult to clone, that’s why these guys’ way of acting can be described as quite unique. You don’t hear me say they are a new original sounding outfit but… you can’t name five bands to compare with. I’m pretty sure most of you, who will check the band out, will add this album to their collection. http://www.ruinside.com … maybe a new world will get open.

My rating: 89/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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RUSSKAJA - PEACE, LOVE & RUSSIAN ROLL

(Napalm Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

 

There was some 'intrigue' regarding 'Russkaja' whom hail from 'Vienna, Austria'. Some 'initial' reaction to their ' Peace, Love & Russian Roll' release was 'oddly' perceived as for it's been quite awhile & some time I'd listened/heard to the 'mighty' 'Frank Zappa & The Mothers Of Invention' & 'Chicago Transit Authority' (Rest In Peace Terry & Frank) & basically unfamiliar with 'Russian' folk-music & some 'Polka'.

 

And taking a look at some 'Napalm Records' press release info: "That means no tone will be left unturned! Vienna`s sons and kings of turbo polk metal love catchy rhythms, badass riffing, punk spirit, Russian disco – hell, even country and ska have a place here! And therefore Peace, love and Russian roll isn`t simply a varied and happy-go-lucky party album: this is the perfect tool for international understanding. Forget about easy listening and dive into the sweaty and crazed soundtrack for a better planet!" ... It certainly does hit the nail on the head with the wide array of music received during the 'Summer Of Love' during 'the late-60's'.

 

Are 'Russkaja' my pint of Vodka or cup of tea? They're not, but do 'firmly' appreciate the 'capacity' of talented musicians of most musical genres of the 'past & present'. And of course 'whom' knows of the 'future-tense'? You can catch 'Russkaja' across mainland Europe:

24.09.15 CH - Bern - Gaskessel

25.09.15 CH - Aarburg - Musigburg

14.10.15 DE - Nürnberg - Hirsch

15.10.15 DE - Karlsruhe - Substage

16.10.15 DE - Wiesbaden- Schlachthof

17.10.15 DE - Bochum - Matrix

18.10.15 DE - Augsburg - Spectrum

29.10.15 NL - Groningen - Simplon

30.10.15 NL - Amsterdam - Paradiso

31.10.15 NL - Hengelo - Metropol

01.11.15 NL - Leiden - deNobel

03.11.15 FR - Paris - Glazart

06.11.15 DE - Leipzig - Werk II

07.11.15 DE - Köln Live - Music Hall

11.11.15 DE - Freising - Lindenkeller

12.11.15 DE - Berlin - SO 36

13.11.15 DE - Hannover - Lux

14.11.15 DE - Hamburg - Fabrik

15.11.15 DE - Stuttgart - Das Cann

Make some decisions for yourself & on YouTube.

My rating: 80/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

'Peace, Love, & Russian Roll' track info:

1) Rock 'n' Roll Today, 2) Slap You Face, 3) Hometown Polka, 4) There Was A Time, 5) El Pueblo Unido, 6) Lovegorod, 7) Parachute, 8) Lets Die Together (Mon Amour), 9) Salty Rain, 10) You Are The Revolution, 11) Radio Song, 12), Peace, Love, & Russian Roll ...

​'Russkaja' info:

*​Website: www.russkaja.com

*Facebook: www.facebook.com/russkajaofficial

*Website: http://label.napalmrecords.com/

*E-mail: mona.miluski@napalmrecords.com

*YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/russkaja

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RUTHLESS - THEY RISE

(Pure Steel Records)

Review by Officer Nice

 

Fans of US Metal should know about this band. In the early eighties they released the mighty EP “Metal Without Mercy” and the album “Disciple Of Steel” but the band never broke through. Plenty of times I have said that there was too much to discover in those days when the mainstream bands conquered the world. There was an underground but Ruthless stayed deep under and their straight forwarded True US Metal wasn’t really the kind of music the big crowd was waiting for those days. Nevertheless it were very good efforts.

 

And yes, in 2009 the band reunited to appear at the Keep It True Festival. It was a good performance and the international crowd in Germany really adores this kind of Metal. It’s all about the old school, the kind of Metal my generation is still searching for. This type of cult formations has its fans and therefore I am pretty sure this record will maintain good reviews in the True Metal scène. Ruthless new effort “They Rise” has very good Heavy Metal on board, including all ingredients this kind of Metal demands. I call it US Metal from a high level, foreseen with strong and often high-pitched vocals from Sammy DeJohn, twin guitar actions, great performed leads, a strong base of bass and drums… This is pure Heavy Metal ladies and gentlemen!

 

Fans of Heavy Metal in general, US Metal specific, can blindfolded buy this release. If bands like Armored Saint, Metal Church, Helstar and Liege Lord are your thing, Ruthless will easily seduce you as well. The label added the EP “Metal Without Mercy” on this one, so why doubt the purchase? Check http://www.ruthlessmetal.com.

 

My rating: 85/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)