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TALES OF THE TOMB - VOLUME ONE: MORPRAS

(Independent)

Review by Sloof

 

Tales from the crypt, American Horror Story, Bates Motel, Hemlock Grove, Black Mirror, Fear The Walking Dead… there are numerous ways to give you a scary feeling when you watch television. People want to extend their borders, want to get into a supernatural situation where only fear reigns, and from now on, it’s no longer limited to the TV only, as there is also an auditory way with the Canadian band Tales Of The Tomb. This serial killer-themed death metal outfit supposed to be fun for the whole family, leastwise you will need to be an Death Metal adept! RIYL (Recommended If You Like) Cannibal Corpse, Massacre, Bloodbath and other frivolous groups.

 

This band resides in Edmonton, Canada where the North Saskatchewan River cuts meanders in the tree-lined landscapes, and where a lot of places are too dangerous to go out at night. Forests, natural areas and abandoned regions are the perfect playground if you want to write some horror stories, and as every coroner has seen death in ways that the rest of us could never imagine, it surely was one of the inspirations for the name of the band.

 

This debut EP contains only 3 songs and has a ten minutes duration, enough to slaughter some victims and to maim and kill as much as possible. ‘Snowtown’ is a track with an average pace, and I was a little surprised as I expected Tales Of The Tomb to become a debauchery gang with the speed of light. Except for the chorus, it’s rather modest and the grind is not too exaggerated. It’s a mixture of Grind and Death with occasionally blasting beats and bare knuckle shredding guitars. ‘The Pig Farmer’ is going totally nuts and insane. High speed, a huge dose of machete-swinging drums and vocals that are totally over the top. Welcome to the pig farm, you have found the place of harm!

 

‘Dr Death’ is all about Harold Shipman, the morphine killer, who seems to become the perfect killer. The track is again very slow, a lot beyond my expectations. That’s not a negative issue, it’s only what is stunning me. Those that prefer grind like Venomous Concept better take a good listen to this material first. Besides this, I wonder why they only recorded 3 songs, as it’s a very nice package with lyrics, nice artwork, and a very good sound, thanks to Dan Swanö and his Unisound Studio. Now, we only tasted a little of the corpse while the hunger is still present. Also, it’s a bit premature to describe this band completely, as the three songs on this EP have a lot of variation, which is good, but I don’t have a complete overview or summary of the capacities of this band. Let’s say, that this first blood tasted good, but I want more… http://www.talesofthetomb.com/

 

My rating: 72/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)

 

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T.A.N.K. - SYMBIOSIS

(Symbol Muzik)

Review by Stefan

 

September 21, 2015 will be the release date of “Symbiosis”, the third album of France based T.A.N.K. (Think Of A New Kind). Actually arise from the ashes of a band called Dark Signs, influenced by Gothenburg Metal giants Children Of Bodom and In Flames among others. Some disagreements within the ranks caused a line-up change… shortly after, new members joined forces and also another band name has been chosen; T.A.N.K.

 

First recording came out as a 2 track EP and was well received by the press and fans of Melodic Death Metal. Everything went very well, they even played at prestigious events like Wacken Open Air Festival, Hellfest (France) and Metal Camp in Slovenia. Playing for a BIG audience while sharing the stage with the greatest Metal acts at that moment must have meant the world for this young band T.A.N.K. Fully ambitious returned from these festivals, they were ready to record their full-length debut album “The Burden Of Will”, a 13 song Death Metal assault on the ears, released on Season Of Mist back in June 2010. And again, the band could only receive rave reviews with regard to the end result. So far-so good for T.A.N.K. and we did not have to wait long for the follow up entitled “Spasms Of Upheaval” (2012). Another great album greeted with loads of pleasure and dignity by aficionados of extreme melodic Metal. Former MTI webzine co-editor named Officer Nice reviewed the album and was moderate enthusiast about the end result.

Now it’s my turn to make an overview of T.A.N.K.’s newest cut entitled “Symbiosis”, album number three recorded by the hands of producer/instrumentalist/singer/engineer master David Potvin (One Way-Mirror, Kronos, Phase I a.o.), at Dome Studio. Sound quality is of excellent workmanship, the songlist includes 12 songs which make the ground shake underneath your feet! This time they’ve worked with a few guest musicians like Björn Strid from Soilwork, he can be heard on ‘Blood Relation”. Jessy Christ does not feel familiar at all to me but some research told me she’s located in Mumbai-India and is nationally known as a singer/songwriter and guitar player, meet her during the song ‘The Edge Of Time’. While checking out the group occupation of former album “Spasms Of Upheaval”, I witness that guitarist Charly Jouglet is no longer active in the band. His deputy listens to the name of Nils Courbaron, a shred guitar acrobatic able to take me by the throat, yes he does !

 

The cover art looks darker than the blackness of the night and earns my approval without any doubt, also the booklet has been manufactured in a professional way, fully digital featuring cool images of the players, lyrics and stuff.... great job really !

Right from the beginning, we are submerged in a barrel filled mainly with dark aggression and technical skills all across the entire runtime. I’m sure these guys have been very busy between the making of former and new effort. Still being the signboard op one of the best France based Melodic Death Metal band at the moment, T.A.N.K. has made a lot of musical progression that make them better than ever before. Have to admit that I’m not an avid follower of modern Death Metal but I can handle it with no aversion towards this type of Metal music. These guys are in a position to ensure everything runs smoothly, all done with an eye for detailed perfection.

 

Their frontman is still the supplier of brutal aggressiveness and he does it, as usual, with much vivacity. “Symbiosis” also guarantees plenty of variety what is very important to fascinate the listener throughout the whole nine yards. I’m not such a big fan of the available groovy tuned guitar riffs but okay, it fits with the rest of the music and actually, who am I start complaining about that? What grabbed me personally by the throat are the incredible guitar solo’s, I suppose done by newcomer, maestro in axe grinding service named Nils Courbaron. This album is full of shred guitar tactics and hell yeah, that’s my alley for sure. Firing away solo’s like this, you can count me in right on!

 

The mutual musical cooperation among the musicians works optimally good and I’m sure that “Symbiosis” will reach the highest peaks with reference to the current, highly skilled Melodic Death Metal scene. Fans of Soilwork, Amon Amarth, Mercenary, Sonic Syndicate, In Flames and stuff, this one’s a must-have for all of you ! According to myself, a tad too modern minded but to be honest, I have to admit we have a deal with a great band bearing the term excellent Death Metal service as Top Priority ! Find out more on T.A.N.K. at: www.thinkofanewkind.com / www.facebook.com/thinkofanewkind / http://www.youtube.com/user/thinkofanewkind / www.myspace.com/tgmetal

 

My rating: 83/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

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T.C.F. - SPEED OR BLEED

(Malevolence Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

 

Given straight from Katwijk, Netherlands 'T.C.F.' (ThrashCoreFanatics): "Dare to be different is what they say. This is exactly what Rob Slaughter & Hans Hostile thought when starting out with 'T.C.F.' as a fun project next to their main bands Incremental and Enforcer. In a time when retro thrash was king the guys decided it'd be fun to do some uncomplicated old school crossover and mix in substantial hardcore influence in their sound" ... Couldn't have summed up a better description of 'T.C.F.' better myself!

 

Incidentally 'Rob & Hans', with the addition of 'Nick' did take 'T.C.F.' out of their 'fun project' debut EP release of 'Speed Or Bleed' onto much BIGGER & better things with their sophomore full-length 'masterpiece' release of 'Where Madness Reigns'! Even though 'Speed Or Bleed' may have been a release having some 'fun', 'T.C.F.' certainly did take a 'very' 'professional' approach recording 'Speed Or Bleed'! As thrown together as the members of 'T.C.F.' may have described 'Speed Or Bleed', well, they're just being 'modest' IMO. 'Speed Or Bleed' was VERY well done up & put together.

 

'T.C.F.' past & present have always been a nice flashback to an era of 'S.O.D.', 'Nuclear Assault', 'D.R.I.'. Just some 'excellent' & 'great' memories. Add in a more 'modern' & 'present-tense' band such as 'Municipal Waste', influential elements of the 'Don Doty' era of 'Dark Angel', 'The Exploited', 'G.B.H.', the 'almighty' "MOTORHEAD"; 'T.C.F.' delivers their own style of 'devastating' crossover thrash-metal!

 

An older review of 'T.C.F.'s - Where Madness Reigns' CD can be read right hear from 'Metal To Infinity's' official home page.

'T.C.F.'s' cover of "MOTORHEAD's" 'Mean Machine' can seen on their YouTube channel !!!

 

My rating: 83/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

'T.C.F.' personal:

*Hans Hostile - Vocals/Bass

*Noise Gate Nick - Guitar

*Rob Slaughter - Drums

'Speed Or Bleed' track info:

1) Core '88, 2) Dead On Arrival, 3) Scumbags, 4) Same Shit, 5) See Nothing, Hear Nothing, 6) Mean Machine (Motorhead cover, bonus rack); total run-time 13:00.

Recorded at Haringsound Studios, Netherlands. Produced by T.C.F. Mixed by Hans Hostile. Mastered by Robert Soeterbroek at Temple Of Boom Studios, Netherlands. Coverart from Flickr.com

'Speed Or Bleed' purchasing:

*CD Baby - http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tcf22

*iTunes - https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/speed-or-bleed-import-ep/id675863923

*Google - https://play.google.com/store/music/album/T_C_F_Speed_or_Bleed_Import?id=Bocsmugxr7nzcjvxilzn6vbz7tq *Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Speed-Or-Bleed-Import-T-C-F/dp/B00PU5YEY8/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A1DI5Y03DZVEX7

For more information regarding T.C.F. news, updates, & contact info:

*Website: http://www.malevolence-records.us/index.php

*E-mail: t-c-f@live.nl

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

Additional T.C.F. info:

*ReverbNation: http://www.reverbnation.com/thrashcorefanatics

*YouTube: https://youtu.be/oHUjERd--nY

*Metal Archives: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/T.C.F./3540294791

*MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/thrashcorefanatics

 

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T.H.L. - THIRTEENTH HELL LEVEL

(Sound Management Corporation)

Review by Sloof

 

“The Great Dragon, the Ancient Serpent, the one they call the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole World, was thrown down to the Earth, and his Angels with Him”.

 

T.H.L. is an Italian female fronted classic Rock band that wants to revive the 80ies as all members adore the typical sound of that period. The name refers to a provocation, as it sums all the topics that are faced in the lyrics of each song. Life must be seen as the opposite of something ‘bad’, so the topics of the lyrics are about war, modern society, drugs and the final road to death. This six piece lineup is currently writing new material and supporting this level as much as possible on all stages that are available and Atomic Stuff Promotion handed this album to give it a fair review.

 

The album kicks off with ‘Master Domino’ which is an interesting start as the vocals of Cressi Federica sound very tasty. The musicians deliver interesting riffs and the whole sound is solid and pretty heavy. The second track is a cover song. Steppenwolf’ ‘Born To Be Wild’ gets a 2014 implementation, but to be honest, it adds nothing to the original, and perhaps it was better to keep this track as a bonus, a kind of extra and not as second song on the playlist. But the band repeats the same mistake again as the fourth song is their interpretation of ‘Honky Tonk Woman’ from The Rolling Stones. Both covers aren’t bad executed, but I wonder why they choose 2 covers. I would be proud to play in a band and deliver original and own material instead of Classic Rock tunes that are so well spread around the globe that nothing can beat the original.

 

The band delivers 6 own tracks that have enough variation, but the songs aren’t that strong yet to talk about a milestone. I guess that T.H.L. is motivated to keep up the good work after the release of this album, but they need to surpass the genre and bring on stronger material to convince me all the way. It was a good exercise, a good start, but my expectations are higher.

 

My rating: 71/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)

 

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TELLURION - TELLURION

(Independent)

Review by Stefan

 

Tellurion, consisting of five musicians, originates from a place called Oostburg, located in Holland. These guys occupied themselves with playing cover songs from Pantera, Machine Head and stuff in their early days of existence. Many local venues were plagued by the very powerful and explosive performance of these Dutchmen. Everywhere they walked the stage in a complete dynamic way, the present metalheads were wildly enthusiast and secretly hoped that the band should bring out a first album shortly after. To me, a good band is a band which meets the demands of their fans, may I present you to the self-titled debut effort of Tellurion !

 

Until the moment a promo CD was deposited in my mailbox, I never heard of this Dutch, full force steam engine, so my curiosity about drove me to provide this disc with a thorough listening session. Tellurion was placed under the category ‘Modern Metal’ and due to I’m principally an old school Heavy Metal maniac, I had my thoughts and was a little worried about the end result. Was my concern justifiably or not? I tell you about as follows.

 

Well, the first few tracks feel like a ten-ton hammer on the hunt for a deadly strike… fact is that I had to agree to note the term ‘Modern Metal’. But please, keep in mind these guys don’t come across as a corny or soft band, on the contrary… be prepared for a lethal strike on your neck muscles instead ! The high-gain guitars roar like thunder… furious, heavy/groovy tuned and quit melodious. They use a typical guitar sound we call Djent, a term that is often used within the world of Progressive Metal scene. Absolute founder of it listens to the name Fredrik Thortendal of Swedish Meshuggah.

 

The recording quality fully meets the standards of this genre of music, play the disc at high volume and indulge in this unique experience. With regard to the vocals, well I would like to make a link with Max Cavalera during the mighty Sepultura, “Chaos A.D.”/ “Roots” era and Robb Flynn of Machine Head. Tellurion offer brutal/barbaric, aggressive vocals alternating with clean singing parts, very varied indeed ! The bass and double bass drum techniques give the gravity of the band some extra dimension, Tellurion have a sound that will not let you indifferent, no matter what style of music you prefer. All because of the rousing thrashing rhythms, this band gets you immediately in a headbanging mode.

 

I must admit this is not my favourite taste of Metal music, yet Tellurion don’t let me untouched. I feel the burning passion of a band that has good intentions and ambitions, above all, they are also able to provide a good structure in their music. I advise you check out most discussed songs like ‘Stoned Break The Water’, ‘Mountains Crumble’ and ‘The Gift’ were ultra groovy guitars reign supreme, also the melodic aspect plays a major role ! How refined and thoughtful smart the band really is can be heard on the quite wayward opener called ‘Apex Predator’. Somewhat strange musical movements pass by which for me personally requires some kind of an adjustment but okay, you're never too old to discover new things, right ? FYI - those on the chase for excellent drum works, check out ‘The Architect’ and be excited.

 

That’s all about this full fletched newcomer in the field of Modern Power/Thrash Metal, a band who plays in the vein of Meshuggah, Fear Factory, Machine Head, Pantera, Gojira, Killswitch Engage a.o. Not really my cup of tea but my long time attractive force with Metal music still allows me to mention the fact that these five players of Tellurion just deliver a really good cut. They have not missed their start, first mission accomplished… the future seem well-disposed. Go give them a check up at: www.facebook.com/tellurion

 

My rating: 82/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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TEMPTATIONS FOR THE WEAK - BLACK VISION

(Independent)

Review by Sloof

 

This band joined the famous Redbull Bedroomjam and succeeded in gaining a spot on the Graspop 2014 edition! They started in the area of Antwerp around 2010, and after the recordings of a 3-song demo in 2011, they decided that a first full length album was the next goal to reach. All demo material was re-recorded on their debut album ‘Spoken Silence’ which was released in 2012. A little lineup change occurred but the triumphal march continued and the track ‘Underneath The Skin’ was a kind of precursor to draw the attention of fans and media that a new album was soon to be released. In the beginning of 2015, the recordings for the second album commenced and shortly after, guitar player Benjamin Peters decided to call it a day. A suitable replacement was found in youngster Jonas Heylen and before they released the album, they took one more wise decision: the album needed a new mix as the band wasn’t completely satisfied about the result. After entering Atomika Studio, we now have the final result in hands, and I can tell you one thing immediately: this album rocks like hell!

 

The album starts with the track ‘Feed Off Me’ which I consider as a very nice opener, but with opportunities to improve. It’s very direct, it’s definitely not the highlight of the album, but fits perfect as introduction of the band. We continue with the track ‘Clear Vision’, which is a perfect headbanger song with some Pro-Pain influences but with an own twist. Nice vocals from Djoni Tregub and the chorus line is also worked out well! This band has potential and luckily, the album has a very good sound, which results in pure amusement. I also want to mention the capacities of drummer Timo Opdebeeck as he’s delivering an outstanding job! ‘Controlled’ and the video of ‘Underneath The Skin’ continue with a lot of groove and heaviness! I’m also impressed about the solos that combine and support the songs the best way possible. A lot of attention goes to melody and aggression and it’s because of the craftsmanship of Djoni who lift the songs to heights with his solos, while Jonas is responsible for the rhythm guitars.

 

‘Trade This Life’ opens modest, but the guitars want to accelerate so they do. Heavy, intense, groovy as hell and an eye on details, that’s what this song is all about! All members of the band deliver an outstanding job, and after a few spins of this album, I can only conclude that they are ready for international fame. They have the passion, the skills and the drive, so I’m pretty sure that they will manage to create a stir outside Belgium as well. The interaction between the clean vocals and deathcore vocals is awesome, and almost hard to believe that only 1 person is responsible for this sick twist: Djoni Tregub knows how to handle his throat and I can’t remember that another Belgian band in this category and style reached this level so far! ‘In Time’ contains very nice dual guitar duels and it adds a commercial value to the song, even if it’s hard as hell! A really great job by this young band that is convincing me all the way. ‘Out Of Reach’ opens instrumental and with an average pace, but that’s only temporary. The guitars accelerate once more, and the riffs are praiseworthy!

 

10 songs and a total duration of 40 minutes. Perfect as there are no fillers present on this album so, it’s better to give the album another spin instead of skipping songs. This band has a mature sound and very dedicated members. They go all the way, the songs are very precise and straight to the point. No fringes, no hassle, just a pure attack to the eardrums with high quality metal songs. From now on, we can conclude that Belgium has another talented band and Temptations For The Weak are ready to take you all by storm! http://temptationsfortheweak.com/ https://nl-nl.facebook.com/Temptationsfortheweak/

 

My rating: 83/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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TENTATION - TENTATION

(Infernö Records)

Review by Spirit In Black

 

Tentation is a new band from France and started in 2012.This EP is the first official release from the Heavy Metal band. The band is influenced by bands like H-Bomb, Sortilége and similar bands…. they even sing in French which doesn't bother me at all. That Tentation is influenced doesn't mean they sounds exactly like the above mentioned bands. Ok, they have the same style but the musicians add enough of themselves to sound a bit different. The EP sounds fresh and modern and has an 80's European Heavy Metal vibe all over, you can clearly hear it's 2015.

 

The 'Tentation' EP has six songs of which five self-written and one cover, 'Double Bang' of H-Bomb. Why am I not surprised by that? This great cover song showcases the strength of the band featuring an outstanding knowledge in solid steel! Their own well-written compositions are packed with catchy, fast and melodic Heavy Metal rhythms, pure as can be.

 

If you like old 80's European Heavy Metal and not afraid to give a new band a well deserved chance, give 'Tentation' a try. For more information, I refer you to: https://fr-fr.facebook.com/tentationfrance Order at: https://www.inferno-records.net/mailorder/cds/tentation-fra-tentation-mcd-digipack.html

 

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

 

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THE CASANOVAS - TERRA CASANOVA

(Bad Reputation)

Review by Sloof

 

Classic Rock with a Punk attitude and above all: no boundaries, that’s what The Casanovas are all about. They live down under, took a hiatus for several years, but are back with a vengeance. They aim on only one goal: global domination with a musical approach that will bring on a smile and perhaps a tear of joy on everybody’s face. This band breathes amusement, friendship, fun and living the hard way and their rock’n roll attitude reflects in the songs on ‘Terra Casanova’. Although, this is not exactly my cup of tea, as I prefer a heavier musical direction, but it was fun listening to ‘Terra Casanova’ anyhow.

 

This is music that makes life worth living, that brings a sun after the rain, that simply makes you feel happy, and perhaps that’s the utter essential meaning of playing/listening to music. Their riff driven sound and the way they explore rock fused with pop elements results in an album that contains a lot of variation. There are AC/DC infused elements, there is huge Motley Crue style, and if I want to mention some younger bands, well recently I was at an All Time Low gig, and they brought the same joy to me.

 

This is what youth demands and what older people makes them think that they are younger. It’s like Dead City Ruins, but more polished, more ‘cleaned up’ but sleazier. https://www.facebook.com/thecasanovas.rock/

 

My rating: 78/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)

 

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THE EVIL PONY'S - KLOF IN DEN TROK

(Independent)

Review by Sloof

 

The Evil Pony’s are a bunch of friends that are busy in the music industry but have a kind of gimmick as life is hard and serious, so having some fun while playing music is a bonus! They play traditional Hard Rock, very basic, but add Flemish lyrics to the songs with a lot of dialect and slang words. This results in songs that are suitable for a very small audience, both topics and lyrics have an ‘insider purpose’. The band played a lot of gigs, included are the weird stage outfits of Knurre (Vocals), Teut (Guitar), Röffl (Drummonster) and Ronnos (Bass), the alter egos of the members of the band.

 

‘U.T.B.’ has a prominent part for bass player Sven who takes care of the song from the very first second. Drums (Steven) and guitars (Willem) complete the arrangement, but The Evil Pony’s can’t miss their main ingredient: the voice and lyrics of Manu. This is a band that goes for a laugh in first place and the lyrics are about funny situations in everyday life. The Evil Pony’s have no restrictions at all, as every topic, every situation can be getting a ridiculous twist.

 

The new album proves that a Hard Rock band with a Schlager input is enjoyable and the original idea of this band is applicable to the Hard Rock fan from the Flemish part of Belgium. The strongest properties of the band are the live gigs, so even if you don’t understand a word from the lyrics, check them out live, as you will see that a lot of beer, stage outfit and great tunes will result in a great evening that will cheer you up! http://www.evilponys.be/

My rating: 75/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)

 

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THE HORDE OF TORMENT - DISTORTED RECOLLECTIONS

(Divebomb Records)

Review by Spirit In Black

 

‘Distorted Recollections’ isn’t a new album of The Horde Of Torment from Las Vegas USA. It’s a compilation of the band’s ‘Product of a Sick Mind’ and ‘Inherit The Sin’ demos, a couple of rare bonus tracks plus the 1987 demo ‘Infected’ that had been recorded in days they were still going by the name ‘Pestilence’.

The Horde Of Torment never outgrow the underground status due to various reasons. One possibility could be that there were too many bands at that time playing the same style of Thrash Metal and you had to be lucky as a band if a label offered you a record deal. Great bands like THOF unfortunately enough, never got a fair chance getting picked up by a label to release their great style of Thrash Metal to the masses, the were one of the unlucky bands basically.

‘Distorted Collections’ is a real good compilation album in my opinion. The demo’s are set in order of release dates and this is a cool way to hear the development these US underground thrashers or any other band. The album starts with the demo ‘Infected’ when the band called ‘Pestilence’. I wonder why they changed their name? Was it because of that famous band from The Netherlands or because of a couple of other bands that used to go under the same name? Anyway, back to the demo. Four fast, raw in your face Thrash Metal with a cool (melodic) break here and there. The vocals are harsh and fit perfectly with the music.

Next is ‘Product Of A Sick Mind’ demo from 1989.The style is still the same as ‘Infected’ although you can hear they have grown musically. They added a bit more variation in the four songs, also the production is different and definitely better!

Third and last demo is ‘Inherit The Sin’ from 1991. The band changed their style from raw Thrash Metal into Melodic (almost Progressive) Thrash Metal. Well-written songs I must say, although the link with Forbidden and Testament is made very easy. I don’t mind that at all because I like both bands a lot. The three songs are varied and influenced by the above mentioned bands, ’The Horde Of Torment’ did a good job on this demo.

After these three demo’s we find 3 bonus tracks including one rehearsal song called ‘Incubus’, recorded in 1987. Don’t expect too much of a high quality and all that, the song itself is killer! The other two tracks are from recording sessions with producer/engineer Michael Rosen (Forbidden, Flotsam & Jetsam, Testament…) and played in the same vein as the ones on ‘Inherit The Sin’ demo. These are live recordings from a show in Las Vegas (1987). Again, audio wise the quality is not that good but still showing that each one in the band really deliver outstanding job with regard to excellent US Thrash Metal from the late 80s era!

After listening to ‘Distorted Collections’ I can’t understand why The Horde Of Torment never got a record deal. Ok, it’s not too original but the band sounds skilled and with all the well-written songs, they had potential to become a bit more famous as just a band who only made a couple of demo’s. I guess it wasn’t meant to be…

‘Distorted Recollections’ is delicious food for fans of The Horde Of Torment itself of course and bands like Sacrifice, Num Skull, Epidemic and others in the same genre. Forbidden and Testament fans must check out the third demo, ‘Inherited The Sin’. Additional info and order at: http://tribunalrecords.bigcartel.com/product/the-horde-of-torment-distorted-recollections-bootcamp-series-21

About my rating...I won’t give any points because we are dealing with a (really good) compilation album.

 

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THE LAZYS - THE LAZYS

(Bad Reputation Records)

Review by Sloof

 

Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to roll? If so, and you don’t know a band like The Lazys, you are not worth to call yourself a music addict! The Lazys are a bunch of Australian freaks that inject a good dose of tumult and vigor in the beaten tracks of Rock’n Roll. They aim high, but with one constant factor on board: quality! Rock’n Roll is the devil his soul baby, that’s what The Lazys are all about and they are proud to carry the message of the horned!

 

The story of The Lazys and the musical path of this band is as simple as it gets. Take some instruments, let your hair grow, steal some crates of beer and jump in a van to cross the country. No limits, no boarders, no rules! Rock’n Roll is the fuel, attitude is the law! Mix the best parts of Rose Tattoo with AC/DC and Airbourne, and for those that want to add some smaller names as well, grab the talent of Dead City Ruins and you are ready in taking the world!

 

The vocals of Leon Harrison fit perfectly to the rhythms and all songs on this new album are meant to be played loud! This is the ultimate soundtrack of life where backbiting, slander, envy, distrust and grudge are the common thing. Luckily, we have The Lazys to clean the mess with songs like ‘All Fired Up’, ‘Really Ready’, ‘Wild Heart Races’ and ‘Punk Come N Get Me’. Songs with an attitude, songs with a backbone, but also songs with not an ounce of glamour.

 

This is pure, this is reality, this is hard hitting metal, in a mean, dangerous and edgy way, but always with an honest input as well. Compulsory purchase if you consider yourself as a Rock’n Roll Outlaw! https://www.facebook.com/thelazys

 

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

 

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THE MORGANATICS - WE COME FROM THE STARS

(Dooweet Records)

Review by Sloof

 

I received this album that is categorized as Spleen Rock by band and label, and I must confess that I have no experience in this genre so far, nor do I know what it stands for. This band The Morganatics comes from France and is a newcomer to me, but what surprise. Their album ‘We Come From The Stars’ is a direct hit and it took days before I removed it from my CD player. Having a lot of albums to review, it’s not an obvious task to stay stuck on one release, but this band simply did it!

 

First of all, I am a true Metal Maniac and I like screaming guitars and rolling drums with vocals that may vary from high-pitched to the outer limits of Death grunts, but ‘We Come From The Stars’ really made my day! They bring their music with so much passion and dedication that you can’t skip one track. This album is sucking you inside out, and grows better and better. Outstanding arrangements, superb vocals and probably the most important difference between this band and any other recently releases: they have such a good view on details that you will agree: this band knows how to rock!

 

Fantastic vocals that are fragile, but at the same time powerful. This is what I’m looking for when a new bands presents themselves. Can they handle it to grab me by the throat from the very first second? The Morganatics can! Can they maintain that high quality level from start to finish? Yes, his band is capable! Are the songs evolving, do they have a mature and well-thought-over element? Check! This is a band with so many elements and ingredients that they are going to surprise us and the international market in the future!

 

If you dare to give it a try: check their first video and single release ‘I’m A Mess (But I’m Free)’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKpocOxZwvM and this earworm will infect your brain for days! Check 'em out at: https://fr-fr.facebook.com/TheMorganatics

 

My rating: 92/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

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THE PERCENT - BE A PART

(Independent)

Review by Nathan McLeod

 

'The Percent' from Northern Switzerland was founded by Tom Steiner, Roman Wettstein, & Christian Traussnig in May 2013, with the addition of Chris Kaiser in July 2013. In November 2013, 'The Percent' released their self-released dig-pack debut EP 'Be A Part'. All four members of 'The Percent' are seasoned musicians, veterans of the Swiss-German metal scene, who've unleashed their aggressive style of hardcore-metal with 'Be A Part'!!!

 

There are many varied & mixed influences noted & heard from both hardcore & thrash metal genres. Take note, 'Be A Part' is not a crossover thrash-metal release. Not going to hear remnants of D.R.I, S.O.D., Nuclear Assault, or even The Exploited with 'The Percent'. But equally as heavy, fast, pounding in your face-intense as the aforementioned bands.

 

An 'Attitude Adjustment' approach (less guitar solos) would be more an accurate description! From beginning to end what's delivered on 'Be A Part' IMO would be a 'quote' actually taken from 'Kevin Reed of Attitude Adjustment': "True To The Trade"!

The production of 'Be A Part' is not polished nor is it gritty. (not above-standard / nor sub-standard) It's perfect for 'The Percent's' musical genre. Musically there's simplicity; some areas not. Very catchy! If you are a fan of 'true' hardcore-metal? Then say no more! Great job done with a debut release.

My rating: 82/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

The Percent' personal:

*Roman Wettstein - Vocals

*Tom Steiner - Guitar

*Chris Cent - Bass

*Christian Traussnig - Drums

'Be A Part' track info:

1) Our Way Of Life, 2) Be A Part, 3) No Respect, 4) Call To Arms, 5) No Escape; total run-time 17:06.

Engineered, mixed, & produced by S. Schiess at SOS Basement - Oberentfelden, Switzerland. Mastered by Dan Suter at Echochamber - Zurich, Switzerland. Artwork, layout, & design by Anestis Goudas.

For more information regarding The Percent news, updates, & contact info:

*Website: www.thepercenthc.com

*E-mail: booking@thepercenthc.com

*Facebook: www.facebook.com/thepercenthc

Additional Percent information:

Metal Archives: www.metal-archives.com/bands/The_Percent/3540380839

 

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THE ROAD VIKINGS - REQUIEM OF AN OUTLAW BIKER

(Independent)

Review by Sloof

 

A little history is in place I guess. The American band Hexx started quite a fuzz in the early 80ies with their debut album ‘No Escape’. In 1986, they released the successor called ‘Under The Spell’ and I managed to meet the band in 1988, where I lived about one week in their joint house. My staying in Oakland, California was almost perfect and I even succeeded to meet Hexx again after almost 25 years, but this time the meeting was located in Germany at the Keep It True Festival, edition 2014. Guitar player Dan Watson flew over with original vocalist Dennis Manzo and set the place on fire with a fantastic gig!

 

Hexx encountered some lineup changes again, and if my latest information is correct, vocalist Dan Bryant should be part of it right now. Dan Bryant also has an own band named The Road Vikings and established around 2011. After a serious quest and 24 drummers, they succeeded to release their first album and one thing is for sure: this is a killer release! There have been some problems with the promotional package, so I have to limit myself with a CD-R and 10 mp3 tracks that were forwarded to review.

 

The lineup of The Road Vikings is very interesting as well. The sextet combines the power of a prehistoric man (Dan Bryant, sorry dude) with the excitatory skills of female bass chick Lisa Tonra. Brian Trountree and Aaron Brown are the Vikings with the axe while the battering ram of Sean Scorsonelli is summoning the legions of mighty Thor. I don’t know when the release date of the album is set, but I guess it’s within short time and as an independent release. It doesn’t matter when, it doesn’t matter how, as the only thing that counts is: make sure to get this album in your collection! Several reasons why, so I summon only a few aspects why we can say that this is a must-have album!

 

‘I Burn In Hell’ starts directly with an average pace and a typical chorus line and a very interesting approach by the guitars. Lyrics that are understandable and with a high dose of maturity and when you think that the song gets to an end, magic happens: after a break we get a blistering guitar solo that stands out of the rest. Fast note picking, aggressive but gentle at the same time and a little Eddy Van Halen influence. What a cool guitar solo that definitely lifts this song to a wonderful track! It all fits, it’s all dosed with perfection! ‘The Ballad Of Evel Knieval’ starts furious with outstanding vocals again! This track deals lyrically about this legend as the survivor of ‘most bones broken in a lifetime’. Truly worth to pay homage to this stunt man and this track does it all! ‘The Road To Valhalla’ opens dark and defying, a little Sabbath touch and I can’t repeat it enough, the vocals are deadly! Halfway we hear a typical American intermezzo where Dan tells about the greatest man that ever lived on two wheels. Some kinda special, but the song adapts it! Needles to say that the solo in this track is breathtaking again! When you think that this song is a dark Hard Rock song, you will encounter one of the best breaks on this album. At 3:52, right after the long guitar solo, the pace increases and while the vocals are into a higher range, the song is exploding in a Judas Priest tradition. High pitched, extremely heavy and at the same time a magisterial chorus! This is my piece of cake dudes! This is what U.S. Metal is all about!! It’s like the good old days of Cirith Ungol, as they brought magic to my ears, well anno 2015 The Road Vikings do it all over!

 

Sometimes the vocals remind me of Dio meets Lips of Anvil, and that might seems to be a strange combination but things happens again and again. Some moments we hear the typical Lips accent (‘Road To Valhalla’), while other fragments are Dio inspired, but may his soul rest in peace, Dio is the one and only God.. I was talking about similarities, not equivalent skills… The title track of this album starts with a harmonica, in a typical bluesy atmosphere. Slow, hard and dark, that’s how the title track of this album develops and as expected, you will get much more to hear. The song is getting into its shape and the guitar solo is guiding us into a strange track with a lot of possibilities. I guess that this is pure enjoyment for the members. Everyone is delivering the best of their abilities, and while the guitars demand their spot, the rhythm section of the band is exploring a wide musical landscape! After 3 minutes, we get another great twist in the track and this proves the skills of the musicians! Shouting out loud: ‘In The Night’ at live gigs, I have a kind of premonition! ‘Black Magic Nights’ contains a lot of the great Black Sabbath moments. Dark, evil and ominous but every time with a solid and profound layer! ‘Full Moon’ has nice riffing to start and Sean’ drums continue to get a portion of well dosed aggression in the track. And that’s exactly how this album continues! Every track has a magical approach, outstanding guitar solos and a voice that is reaching for the stars!

 

This is not the typical biker metal band, this is way beyond and will appeal to everyone who likes outstanding guitar solos and fantastic arrangements. Everything is packed as 45 minutes of pure pleasure and the sound by Tim Narducci (SpiralArms) contributes to the ten songs of brotherhood, war, conquest and the fight for freedom. This album is going to take you to the ride of your life! The stars spangled banner recalls a memory of Lynyrd Skynyrd their album Gods & Guns, which evoked the same atmosphere. I guess that the Californian dudes of The Road Vikings are lesser committed that the South will rise again, and that they prefer their 2 wheels monster with a little Sons Of Anarchy attitude. https://www.facebook.com/TheRoadVikings

My rating: 92/100 (Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

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THE LONG ESCAPE - THE WARNING SIGNAL

(Dooweet Records)

Review by Sloof

 

The Long Escape, is a new band from France and they bring music with a mixture of styles. There is an Alternative approach, but some parts can be described as Progressive Metal as well. This fusion of different styles demands a lot from the listener, as the music can be described as difficult and ‘suitable for only few’.

 

47 minutes and 12 songs is a long trip to endure, and when an album starts with an annoying intro, my enthusiasm reduces quickly. The first song showcases the disadvantage of the band immediately: the vocals of Kimo are very limited and sound a bit nasal. The musical interpretation of the band isn’t bad at all, but if you could mix the music with a different vocalist, you will become a much better result! The band is cataloged as Progressive Rock and Metal, but that’s a very vague description.

 

I would advise to take a look and especially, a good listen to their track ‘World Going Down’ (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HSye4hqNMg) to get an idea what this band is all about. And if you like this track, beware that this band has many other perspectives on this album, so like I said before: ‘suitable for only few’.

 

My rating: 72/100 (Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing)

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THE LORD WEIRD SLOUGH FEG - DOWN AMONG THE DEADMEN

(Dragonheart Records)

Review by Nathan McLeod

 

'The Lord Weird Slough Feg' & or known as 'Slough Feg' for over 10yrs now. Originally from the 'New England' area, 'San Francisco-based' for numerous years, their 'Y2K' release of 'Down Among The Deadmen' was 'Slough Feg's' 3rd full-length CD release of 'presently' well over two (2) dozen. Looking back at 'review %'s, #'s, data', their most 'brilliant' CD to date! The music 'speaks' for itself!

 

I'd heard over the years 'Slough Feg' considered 'power-metal'. NO WAY!!! 'Hindering' upon some 'power-metal' moments (less keyboards) maybe. 'Down Among The Deadmen' is some 'traditional' "Heavy Metal". Of course can hear some evident 'NWOBHM' influences regarding 'Slough Feg'. I can VERY much hear some 'Irish' folk-music influences backed with 'Slough Feg'. Musically 'Down Among The Deadmen' initially reminded me of the 'early-mid-80's' 'Saxon' with the same era of 'Raven', (with an addition of duo guitars that of Krokus or Iron Maiden). Vocally cannot place that of 'Mike Scalzi's'. With a recent review of 'Mexican Ape-Lord's - The Late Heavy Bombardment' CD there is a 'touch' of vocal resemblance that of 'Jon Hardy to Mike Scalzi'.

 

If 'guessed' by now, the track titles & names 'resemble' that of 'Celtic' & 'Medieval' times. Reading the 'exceptionally' written lyrics on 'Down Among The Deadmen', was NOT surprised. I suppose if you watch 'The Lord Of The Rings' you'd have a great idea of possibly what 'Slough Feg's' music is 'written & performed' about?

 

The more 'notable' tracks 'preferred' on 'Down Among The Deadmen' are 'Sky Chariots, Warriors Dawn, Traders & Gunboats, Psionic Illuminations & Death Machine'. If you happen to like some 'traditional' "Heavy Metal" from the 'Scorpions', 'Judas Priest', 'Krokus', 'Iron Maiden' tacked on with some 'heavier' elements, then 'Down Among The Deadmen' CD is right up your alley!

 

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

 

'Slough Feg':

*Mike Scalzi: Vocals/Guitar *John Cobbet: Guitar *Jon Torres: Bass *Greg Haa: Drums *Jim Mack: Bass (track 13)

'Down Among The Deadmen' track's:

1) Sky Chariots, 2) Walls Of Shame, 3) Warriors Dawn, 4) Beast In The Broch, 5) Heavy Metal Monk, 6) Fergus Mac Roich, 7) Cauldron Of Blood, 8) Troll Pack, 9) Traders & Gunboats, 10) Psionic Illuminations, 11) Marauder, 12) High Season, 13) Death Machine; run-time 50:11.

Produced by Slough Feg. Recorded, mixed, & mastered by Justin Weis at Trakworx Studios - South San Francisco, CA. Death Machine recorded & mixed by Justin Phelps at Coast Recorders Studios - San Francisco, CA. Artwork by Erol Otus. Graphics by aviom@tin.it.

Special thanks to:

Justin, Justin, Erol, Ross, & Enrico. JT thanks Brian Poole, Tambre Bryant, & Mick Taylor."

Metal Archives:

www.metal-archives.com/bands/Slough_Feg/296

 

YouTube:

https://youtu.be/vDgAAQBlANs

 

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THE SIXXIS - HOLLOW SHRINE

(Glassville Music)

Review by George Falconer

 

The SixxiS, an American project/band brought out Hollow Shrine. This review wasn't easy for me to do. I've had never heard of this project before. Therefore, creating a solid opinion about the record was pretty hard.

 

Is it bad? No it is definitely not bad. They use a lot of different instruments like a violin, piano, synths and several vocalists adding to the songs. This being done without sounding technical. Hollow Shrine has a very commercial sound and is easy accessible. They remind me of the classic 90's rock bands. However, being far from a crap band, they aren't a metal band. Only a small amount of readers of this website will actually dig this, as you will have to be either a 90's or commercial fan or a very open minded music enjoyer.

 

The musicians know what they are doing and created solid rock songs. This was done in the studios of producer David Bottrill, known from commercial bands like Tool, Stone Sour and even Peter Gabriel. So the production was executed in a very professional (and probably expensive) way.

 

I am not going to add more to this review because this isn't my kind of genre. I won't say it sucks, but I'm not into this. Commercial rock fans or 90's fanatics will really love this, so check it out and judge for yourself.

 

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

 

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THE VISION ABLAZE - YOUTOPIA

(Mighty Music)

Review by Spirit In Black

 

The Vision Ablaze hails from Denmark and was formed in 2010. After two EP releases, we are facing the band's first full-length “Youtopia”. The band’s bio is stating that they play Melodic Progressive Metal. After a couple of songs into the album, I discovered that it is just a small part of their music. There is also a lot of ’Groove Metal’, ‘Melodic Death Metal’ and ‘MetalCore’ present on the album. To give an idea of the style I’m talking about: the music of Killswitch Engage and similar bands.

 

The Vision Ablaze use, as many bands in this genre, two vocal styles: grunts combined with clean singing and to be honest, the clean vocals are pretty good! Musically it’s good as well. Same with the production, if you had Jacob Hansen (Mercenary, Aborted, Volbeat, …) behind the buttons, you hardly can’t go wrong.

 

I don’t want to sound too negative about TVA’s debut effort but what can I say more about an album with this style of Metal that is already done so many times? Only fans of this particular genre will appreciate “Youtopia”!

 

The Vision Ablaze do have potential when they add a bit more originality in their music. The band sounds young, fresh and energetic enough to take their musical career to a next level. https://www.facebook.com/thevisionablaze / http://thevisionablaze.bandcamp.com/

 

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

 

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THE WICKED MERCY - SUNDOWN

(Bad Reputation)

Review by Sloof

 

Bad Reputation Records from France signed a Canadian band that is capable to shock the music industry and its adepts! At least you have to love a good portion of Rock’n Roll with a slice of Blues and a smoky voice. The Wicked Mercy delivers it all, as their second album is an album that you will love, cherish and admire! The outfit began playing around 2012 in their Ottawa and Pembroke area, but in only short time, they delivered already a first album in 2013 (self-titled) and another Classic Rock anthem is scheduled to be released December 17th. 2015.

 

The members fused traditional rock with swampy southern blues and different elements like gypsy, psychedelic and a light Metal version. Vocalist Case Bakker leads the group with blistering vocals, sharp lyrics but we also have to mention guitar player Dave Nado and Mark Sudiacal on bass. The rhythm section is completed with drummer Cory Zadorozny and keyboard player Erik Hertzberg. The addition of adding organ to the overall sound of the band is a very good move, as it simply fits in the whole sound of the band.

 

When the first song ‘Tell Me Goodbye’ starts the engine, I feel like I enter a ‘guitar world’ guided by legends like Frank Marino and Ted Nugent. The strings are very well provided, and the vocals tend to Pearl Jam’ Eddie Vedder. This album is a must-have album if you consider yourself as a fanatic that wants to encounter new bands, perfect arrangements, daring compositions and songs that will surprise you, time after time. Can I only give positive comment on this second release? Well, if there is a critical remark, I don’t like the front cover artwork at all. That’s really simple and tends toward a childish approach, but luckily, the music adds a lot! Songs like ‘Wonderland’ and ‘Out Of Your Head’ are my personal highlights on this album, that luckily contains no fillers, just killers! http://www.wickedmercy.com/

 

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

 

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TODD GRIFFIN - MOUNTAIN MAN

(Bad Reputation Records)

Review by Sloof

 

Todd Griffin was pretty popular in the 90ies as lead vocalist of The Graveyard Train, but is nowadays a musician that wants total freedom in composing and recording new material. He wants his solo career in his own chosen direction and after listening to ‘Mountain Man’, we can only applaud this! This release is a typical ‘must-hear’ release, comparable with the ‘must-see’ mark on DVD and movie releases.

 

‘Mountain Man’ was mediocre during the first listen, grew steadily to gorgeous, and is in the meantime promoted to ‘must-hear’ release. Not so obvious, as there are so many releases, but Todd Griffin succeeded in standing out of the crowd! He’s lifting his songs to rare heights and he does so without frills. Just pure, almost naked, but close to perfection.

 

Words can’t describe what you will hear and especially which emotional feelings will arise. Some songs have a CCR vibe, others will bring back the original Sabbath and Led Zep sound and all this magic happens thanks to the help of some friends. Shall I mention some names? Mitch Perry (U.F.O.), Jorgen Carlson (Gov’t Mule), Doug Pettibone (Lucinda Williams) and last but not least Arlan Oscar of Joe Bonamassa. Needless to say that this album is a top-notch product, so like I said before, it’s classified as ‘must-hear’!

 

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

 

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TOMB OF FINLAND - BELOW THE GREEN

(Target/Mighty Music)

Review by Sloof

 

Guess what? This band is hailing from Finland, where winters are cold and the nature still virginal, intact and pristine. But below that magical landscape and far beyond the eye can reach, there seems to be a Tomb, a Tomb of Finland. It all started around 2009 when guitar player Jasse got in touch with Antti Harihtala (drummer of Charon and Kypck) and Ville Lind (vocalist of Seith, Cryptid).

 

Their first demo song ‘Death Of The Sun’ received critical acclaim by press and media, but problems occurred and some lineup changes followed. Ville got replaced by Olli Suvanto and the new drummer became Janne Manninen (And Oceans, Magenta Harvest). Some new recruits were found and in the fall of 2014, the band entered Unisound Studios to work with Dan Swanö, with this product as a final result. ‘Below The Green’ contains 9 tracks and is going to be released on August 21st. 2015, a perfect date to embrace the cold of the North in our sunny area. Didn’t they say in Game Of Thrones that Winter Is Coming..? Well, prepare yourself as it definitely is!

 

There is absolutely much atmosphere on this album, it’s like Black Metal hasn’t been so gentle in years, but that’s only appearance, only a gleam of the pure, dark and evil reality. You can’t deny that songs like ‘Death Of The Sun’, ‘In The Heart Of Winter’, ‘Sunfader’, ‘Dead Forever’ and ‘Life & Slavery’ makes you smile, makes you longing for the next day. No, they create a soundscape of dark worlds, almost medieval, where fornication, lechery, wrath and displeasure rules the land. The musical trips are only a sigh compared with the melancholy moaning of humans versus animals. The realm was devastated by chaos, guilt and misdeeds and only death could bring you the answer, the relief, the liberation and deliverance. That’s probably why the songs on this album are rather slow.

 

They creep inside you instead of overtake you, they sneak around, without a frontal eradication. They are venomous, dangerous and violent, but it’s all smothered, smallish, nearly tucked away. That slow pace in the songs, mingled with the perfect components and ingredients result in an perfect setting, in a perfect soundtrack to death and massacre. Sometimes I had to think on Wolfheart as there are influences and resemblances between both bands, but only one thing is for certain: This is the darkest and coldest sound from Finland in years! http://www.tomboffinland.fi/

 

My rating: 82/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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TRANCEMISSION - PARANOIA

(Pure Steel Records)

Review by Sloof

 

My hearts beats. Obnoxious. This review is totally against my will, but I have to be fair and honest, so there is only one way to reveal the truth about ‘Paranoia’.

 

After an intro of 30 seconds, the first track ‘Queen Of The Night’ starts with a female opera voice, performed by Sabine Deutsch, but it can only be characterized as mediocre, although it’s based on motives from ‘Die Zauberflöte’ from Mozart. ‘Killer’ has the typical Trancemission ingredients, so the vocals of Lothar Antoni are present from the very first beginning.

 

‘Make My Day’ is an ever-repeating chorus, nothing more, nothing less. Same goes for the title track of this album that has some heavy riffing, but we demand more… ‘Lone Wolf’ starts with nice acoustic guitars by Lothar and Andreas Meyer and this song about an Indian chief has a nice interpretation of classic stories. From the Indians to religion is only a small step for Trancemission and ‘Jesus Christ’ shows a totally different aspect of this band. Never thought that they would turn into a White Metal band, but although the lyrics are rather mellow, it contains a nice chorus line.

 

The quality of the songs increases in the second half of the album with songs like ‘Legal Hights’ and ‘The Soil Of A Man’s Heart’, and I feel like I missed Lothar his typical nasal sound until ‘Legal Hights’. I do understand that a band wants to evolve, to grow and to continue their path, and compared with their debut album ‘Break Out’ there is a very large gap. Let’s say that I miss these days where a track like ‘Loser’ was a milestone for the 80’ies.

 

Things can’t be said about this new album, which I tag as a rock album instead of a Metal album. There are a few fragments that I consider well done but they are sporadic and rare which results in a bland final score. Trancemission still has my deepest respect, and I liked their previous album “Naked Flames” a lot, so let’s consider “Paranoia” as a rare misstep. Trancemission slipped into an average Rock/Metal band, let’s hope that they will make a U-turn in the near future and that their next album will contain more power and aggression. Let the good times revive! https://www.facebook.com/TrancemissionRock

 

My rating: 60/100 (Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate)

 

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TRAUMA - RAPTURE AND WRATH

(Pure Steel Records)

Review by Officer Nice

 

With the mighty Keep It True Festival ahead of us Pure Steel Records is releasing some releases from old school US Metal bands. They know the public is there in Germany and that means lots of these goodies will be sold right there. Trauma is one of those bands the old lads amongst us should know because Cliff Burton (R.I.P.) used to be a member of this formation before he joined Metallica. On one of their demos he can be heard and worshipped. The real purists might even know them for the second Metal Massacre compilation album.

 

After 30 years, since their debut “Scratch and Scream” the band is back and this reunion should please the fans of US Metal. This band is active with their own brand of Metal, old school and totally inspired by the old times. Of course Trauma won’t give in and so they deliver tunes we know from the early eighties.

 

Donny Hillier is still the singer containing a good voice, maybe even better than before. He fits this form of traditional Metal very well and this kind of American Metal is really awesome. Great leads, a superb way of bass works and technical played drums, razor sharp riffs and some outstanding melodies. All is covered in that typical style of US Metal atmosphere and so fans of Liege Lord, old Helstar, Ruffians, Malice, Griffin, Savage Grace etc. will surely be thrilled by this one.

 

The reunion of Trauma is a fact and we can only hope to have the chance seeing them on our stages in Europe. Great power, melodies and some speed here and there. Some parts will keep on playing in your head, as it is supposed to be! With this release they strike back after decades of silence and although Trauma will never rule the world they prove the American underground scène is still strong. This isn’t a world shocking album but strong enough to seduce the fans of this genre. Let’s hope it won’t take 30 years again to hear some new stuff. Check http://www.traumametal.com if you’re into US Metal!

 

My rating: 82/100 (Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it)

 

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TRAUMA - RAPTURE AND WRATH

(Pure Steel Records)

Review by Stefan

 

Last week I wrote down my thoughts on the debut cut from Bay Area Heavy Metal band Trauma, entitled “Scratch And Scream”, released in 1984 through Shrapnel Records. Without a doubt, one of all time favourite US Metal efforts and the news that they would release a new album after three decades hit me like a bomb ! “Scratch and Scream” knocked me outta control back in the days so my curiosity on their follow up “Rapture And Wrath” was almost unbearable. The collaboration with legendary Shrapnel Records seems to have come to an end, the band’s new album was released through German label Pure Steel Records a few weeks ago.

 

Frontman Donny Hillier and drummer Kris Gustafson are the only two original members who have survived the test of time. Kurt Fry takes command over the guitars these days, the bass lines are delivered by Steve Robello (Dublin Death Patrol). Back in the early days, the band has two guitar players within its ranks, now only KF have to take care of both riffs and leads and he does it very well, let that be clear! His riffs are razor sharp and Kurt is also able to produce nice melodic leads but still, I have to admit my preference for two guitarists instead of one. In my opinion, Certain qualities gets lost when only one axeman must be responsible for both riff and lead guitar operations. All in all, Trauma’s new guitarist achievesd a high valuation score with regard to the sharp riffs and howling, screaming leads whilst his amp begs for mercy.

 

About Donnie Hillier, well back in the days he sang with more conviction and clarity. I have the impression that it takes more effort to offer his vocal use in contrast to what he showed on the fabled “Scratch And Scream” release, high pitched with easily comprehensible voice notes. Actually not unexpected because we’re multiple decades further now, we all getting older and that, dear folks, has an impact on everyone’s vocal chords. But don’t get me wrong, due to my respect for a long time musician and true defender of US Metal like Donnie, I can guarantee you all that he’s still a very acceptable, rather unique vocalist in its genre.

 

What I really like about Trauma’s “Rapture And Wrath” is to hear is that they kept their faith in 80s Metal after such a long time, actually the right spirit to me. All of the songs still have a strong character like used to know from their early days of existence… loads of power and speed is still present in full glory. I find myself completely back while listening to US Metal music and despite my mild criticism on certain issues, Trauma’s new album is a real good sounding silver shining disc.

Contemporary, modern way of Metal fans will not have a sweet deal - for fans of the old school (Cruella, Savage Grace, Commander, Griffin, Steel Assassin), the feast on US Metal can start right on ! No time to waste, order right HERE. Check Trauma via FaceBook.

 

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

 

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TRAUMA - SCRATCH AND SCREAM

(Shrapnel Records)

Review by Stefan

 

Back in 1980, while visiting a concert at a venue in Hayward CA, guitarist Mike Overton introduced himself to vocalist Donnie Hillier… subject of the conversation was about Mike’s search for decent singer ready to team up with his own band playing Heavy Metal in its highest purity. Those days, Trauma consisted of second axeman George Lady, drummer Dennis Shafer and one of the best bassists ever, Mr. Clifford Lee Burton. Besides Trauma, Cliff also played in Agents Of Misfortune, EZ Street and of course the great Metallica with whom he recorded three albums (Kill ‘Em All, Ride The Lightning and Masters Of Puppets). At age 24 he died in a bus accident while Metallica travelled from Stockholm to Copenhagen during the Damage Inc.Tour.

 

Trauma’s first recording ever was called ‘Such A Shame” (featuring Cliff Burton) and got a well-deserved place on the legendary Metal Massacre II compilation, released through Metal Blade Records. The band went on to LA for several times where they played at numerous legendary venues like Whisky-A-Go-Go, The Stone and The Troubadour, to name but a few. Cliff stepped out of the Trauma core to join Metallica, some other members decided to move on as well. Finally the right substitutes were found by Kris Gustafson (drums), guitarist Ross A. Merson and bassist Lucas Advincula. Mike, Donny and the newcomers were ready for the next step, to record a full length album.

 

In 1984, Trauma was signed by the fabled Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records, their debut “Scratch And Scream” came out a while later on. Recorded at the Prairie Sun Studios in California this high and mighty, superb deluxe US Classic Heavy Metal album received the most appreciation of the most renowned Metal magazines such as Metal Forces, Kerrang and Circus. Ratings that were fully justified because the nine songs added to the tracklist really were awesome, especially to those hooked on the almighty forces of Classic US Heavy Metal music. It took me a lot of money at that time to buy this Import release but the passion for US Metal was (and still is) on me and a purchase was required, no matter the cost ! Up to date, “Scratch and Scream” can be considered as a very rare, hard to find collector’s item but for all those who did not get the chance to buy this vinyl edition, Shrapnel Records came on with the fantastic idea to re-release all of the songs, plus three bonus tracks on CD !

 

“The Day All Hell Broke Loose” immediately sets the right tone ! Fast guitars including flammable, hot scorching, devastating drums closely followed by trenchant bass lines and about the vocal of Donnie Hillier I can only be exultant. Loud and very clear, quite high pitched which distinguishes itself from the average singers using high vocals. Donny’s definitely a unique, one of a kind type of frontman who always knows how to please me. Next ‘Bringing The House Down” is not that rapidly played in comparison with its predecessor but the powerplay guitar tactics are still present and according to myself, this song can be considered as highlight number two ! ‘ I Kill For less’ starts with a great guitar riff and continues with a steady pace, again great vocals and stunning guitar proceedings by the masters in charge Michel Overton and Ross Alexander. The title track is all about outstanding US Classic Heavy Music music and it still fascinates me from start to finish. ‘The Warlock’ and follower ‘Lay Low’ are high quality US Power Metal compositions with a high content of pure grade. More elegance and steadfastness regarding outstanding Classic Heavy Metal comes along with ‘In The End’, followed by equivalent ‘We Are Watching You’. Last on ‘The Flight Of The Raven’ is without a doubt my favourite song. Both restrained and fast rhythms alternate on a very pleasant way, hard pounding drums and bass works constitute a proper foundation for the deafening guitar tactics and the great vocal delivery… what a song !

 

The three bonus tracks have a somehow different character as opposed to the tracks on “Scratch and Scream”, these ones reflect Trauma’s early days of existence in a perfect way. Take a good listen to ‘long distance runner’ entitled ‘We’re Going Off’ and relive the good, almighty days of very early 80s US Hard Rock/Heavy Metal featuring nothing but awesome musical abilities. Once again, I want to underline the great bass actions delivered by the one and only bass king Cliff Burton !

 

Listening to the re-release of Trauma’s “Scratch And Scream” brings pure nostalgia upwards and makes me still proud being an American Metal worshipper more than three decades later. With much praise I would recommend this CD to every fancier of good old-fashioned US Metal, the way it should be! Purchase this masterpiece on the double to make your collection even more comprehensive and complete. Do not hesitate, just do it on the double via: http://traumametal.com/content/home-page/

 

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

 

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TRAGIK - PATH OF DESTRUCTION

(PVM)

Review by Officer Nice

 

Phil Vincent is an all-around musician from out of the USA. In the first place he’s a song writer and in the past he has released several solo-projects and records with bands like Tragik, Legion, Circular Logik. We wrote several reviews about his works in the past and if you read them you should know we were pretty enthusiast about them. Those were good albums, with a high level of musical quality and all were easy on the ear.

 

This ain’t the first Tragik album and a nice slipcase came into my postal mailbox. I don’t know who that woman in the middle of the slipcase is but she has good arguments for being part of this one. Anyway I’m more interested in the music and again, as I am used to from Phil Vincent, I hear very good Heavy Rock. He’s that kind of man who perfectly know how to mix good melodic lines with heavy loaded music. Overall inspired by the more melodic kind of Metal from the Eighties he delivers again an album that is full with songs that gives the listener the right energy boost. The arrangements are good written and the guitars, especially the leads, are really worth checking this one out.

 

This is really enjoyable music for those who are into bands like Dokken, White Lion, Tesla, Kiss etc. Phil’s way of music would have been mainstream in the old days, nowadays it is stuff for those who really adore this kind of Heavy Rock. Loaded with so much outstanding skills, mister Vincent finally deserves attention because no one can deny his talents, nor in song writing nor in his performances. You don’t hear me say he wrote a masterpiece or a classic album but “Path Of Destruction” overgrows easily many other releases that are coming our way.

 

Maybe too old fashioned for many, maybe too soft for others but for me this is really hot stuff and the guitars have a lot to do with it. Check out Tragik's "Path Of Destruction" and order at http://www.philvincent.com/index/

 

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

 

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TYLER MORRIS - AND SO IT BEGINS...

(Independent)

Review by Stefan

 

This young lad from Boston Massachusetts is barely 16 years old who plays flammable guitar chops in the vein of the most greatest world wide suppliers of shred guitar tactics… this is quite unbelievable to me! Since the release of the legendary US Metal compilation series through Shrapnel Records, the sound of a technical-sounding guitar fascinates me immensely. After been submerged in the world of shred guitar Rock and Metal for decades, this young man named Tyler Drew Morris comes to me as a total stranger… he wants me to spread the word of his debut album entitled “And So It Begins”. Actually an offer I can’t refuse at all because Tyler owns the techniques to play guitar in a miraculous manner! I can’t remember that someone of his age has ever grabbed me by the throat as he does right now… incredible !

 

The list of guitar legends with whom Tyler has already shared the stage is truly impressive, to name but a few: BB King Allstars (for at least six times!), Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Leslie West, George Lynch, Lita Ford, Joe Stump, Ronnie Montrose,… prior to this, he played in multiple teenage bands. He was also seen by the musical director of the BB King's Blues Club in West Palm Beach and subsequently placed on stage at the age of 12. There is no doubt about the fact that Tyler will have a sparkling career and actually, with all of his talented skills, he secures the future of shred guitar driven Rock and Metal music.

 

Back in the early days, he was mainly influenced by Blues Rock but expanded his interests to ProgRock, Metal, Rhythm &Blues and even Jazz. Tyler won a scholarship to the famous Berklee College Summer Program where he continued studying by the side of Joe Stump, one of my Shred Guitar Gods as well!

 

All the songs of Tyler Morris’ debut solo album “And So It Begins…” are written and performed by himself, Taylor Barefoot produced, mixed and mastered the cut in full glory, the comic/fantasy artwork has been delivered by Brian Allen . Discover the wonderful world of guitar sorcery spread across ten compositions of which three songs were sung by American singer songwriter, Indie-Pop artist Casey Desmond. The character of the whole CD is situated somewhere in between the Rock and Metal genre, fully guitar oriented - as technical as can be. Right from the start, you feel the rush of a highly talented guitar player who delivers tons of great tones including superior phrasing, soloing and riffing duties. This young virtuoso really takes me by surprise awesome licks you wouldn’t even expect from a 16 years old musician. It would not surprise me if he should sign a contract with the famous Shrapnel or Shredguy Records soon… In any case, he would deserve it!

 

Well, Tyler Morris’ “And So It Begins…” is his first feat of arms that certainly will get several successors as time passes by. He’s barely 16 and already had the pleasure to play with the greatest guitarists on earth, a flourishing musical career lies at his feet! Anyone who gets a thrill when they hear exceptional Rock & Metal guitar movements are recommended to order “And So It Begins…” on the double via: http://www.tylerdmorris.com/ Tyler Drew Morris – pretty young and already a guitar hero !

 

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