Category Archives: Album Reviews
This is the first time I’ve listened to anything by this band. I must say that I found most of the tracks very catchy and the vocals reminded me very much of Motley Crue. This album has 11 tracks and most are of similar tempo where some lyrics are repetitive and will stick in your head. This is true for tracks such as Trailblazer, which has a very good intro. What I really liked about this track was the softer part which I think worked very well. Mainstream is very much on the same lines as the first and same with Train Wreck.
Out West, is much slower in pace and is the ballad of the album. All throughout the track, the drums beat out a rhythm that I found to be really catchy and enjoyed a lot. The vocals are very soft throughout the song. Up next is title track Mass Vendetta. This track along with the next one called 13 Days, continues in the same vein as most of the album; very 80’s Glam Rock, catchy tunes with simple lyrics that fans would find easy to remember and can sing along to.
Avalanche starts with a soft intro then breaks into a little heavier drumbeat and vocals. The next track, Pretty Tricky is again a catchy tune with easy repetitive lyrics. Wedlock Horns is much slower in pace than the rest of the album. Red Shield has an acoustic guitar intro with soft vocals, which then start to get louder throughout the song. To me this is the most different sounding track on the album and has political lyrics.
The last track on the album is called Apex. This starts with a good drumbeat and the instrumental part is very good, again with repetitive lyrics and a catchy tune.
I did enjoy this album. I found it very lively and one you can sing along to. I think I appreciated it more because I’ve been brought up listening to the likes of Motley Crue. That’s my dad’s fault!!!!!!
I rate the album 8/10
Track 1. Reprisal
What I really liked about this track is the introduction and the change in tone by the lead singer Michelle as her range is amazing. She goes from clean vocals to growly and you would think it was two different people singing. It was quite a long track though. Apart from that there was nothing I disliked about it.
Track 2. Lies
The lead singer is very good at changing from clean to growly vocals, which she does throughout this track. There are also good backing vocals with very quick paced music and drum beats. I loved this track and found it very exciting.
Track 3. Void.
The vocals again are excellent and you would never know it was a female singer unless you had heard of the band before. You would expect the vocals to be smooth but the vocalist wows people with her growling. What I really liked about this track is the crashing drum beats towards the end and I just wasn’t expecting the track to finish. Amazing!!!
Track 4. XII
The introduction is very spooky sounding until the vocals break into a growl. Michelle again shows her vocal talents in this track with softer vocals breaking into louder ones further into the track. I loved it. It makes you wonder what is going to happen next. Is it going to be soft or hit us with loudness.
Overall I loved this E.P. You kind of expect it to be short but sharp, but it shows that it can be longer and keep the sharpness. I just wanted to hear more tracks!!!!!!!!!!
I rate this E.P. 9.5/10
Bad Llama – Shedding Skin E.P
Track 1 – The Healer.
Sounds like sound effects are used at the start of the track to make a mysterious opening. It’s quite mellow; good opening track to the E.P.
Track 2 – The Wolf You Feed
This is a bit more rocky than the first track. A quite catchy song, with a bit of growling going on at times.
Track 3 -Paint In Sound
A mid tempo rock track with hints of indie. I can imagine people dancing to this track.
Track 4 – Ten Years Time.
There is a ballad feel to this song. The singer has a lot of emotion in his voice. A nice track to chill out to.
Overall this is a good E.P. It would be good to just sit and chill out to.
I will give it 7/10.
I would recommend it to fans of Biffy Clyro.
Jovi Hacker (12)
GOD SHAPED DEVIL – CREATOR OF SODOM EP.
Track 1: Lobotomy
The EP starts off with an instrumental track, which features a cool repeated riff.
Track 2: Continuum
The intro leads into shouty vocals. A good mixture of clean and shouty vocals. It has cool guitar riffs and pounding drums throughout the track. A great song to headbang to.
Track 3: Creator of Sodom
The title track of the EP. Again heavy guitars and pounding drums. A very catchy chorus. It’s quite easy to imagine the crowd singing along because of the simple catchy words.
Track 4: Rage inside
A track similar to the previous tracks, but with more clean vocals. I like the guitar solo in this one. A very bouncy track that will get you moving.
Track 5: Pray for Death
Great drum beat that gets you nodding along. Some nice changes of feel, from clean to growl then back to clean. Another really good guitar solo in this song. Nice gentle outro.
Released: 6th November 2015
For fans of Pantera
Self released EP.
Rated 8.5 / 10
Jovi Hacker (12)
HAMEREX – TRAITOR
RELEASE DATE: 7TH OCTOBER, 2016
LABEL: IX MUSIC
Track 1 – Traitor
The title track of the album starts with a bass introduction. Before it breaks into melodic vocals, which is high pitched in places. It’s quite a long song at just over 6 minutes, and is mid paced with a heavy sound.
Track 2 – The Dark Tower
It starts with a guitar intro which sounds mysterious, before the drums kick in bringing the pace up slightly. A dark sounding track, like the title suggests. It has a great solo guitar riff in the middle of the track and has plenty of chugging riffs all the way through the track. A good track for headbanging..
Track 3 – Dead Mountain
Starts off with the drums beating in the intro. A medium paced Heavy Metal track. There are hints of classic N.W.O.B.H.M bands in this track.
Track 4 – The Nameless One
I thought this was going to be a ballad, because of the intro. It is very deep and dark at times, with very strong vocals.There is a burst of energy before going back to the slow pace, which changes often throughout. I like the variety of tempo in this track.
Track 5 – Eyes Of Deceit
There is more energy in this song than in previous tracks. Again, it has a longish intro, but still sounds dark. The drums give a steady beat during the track.
Track 6 – The Abyss
The instrumental and shortest track of the album. It has a nice mellow intro, with the drums slowly building up. There are some nice clean riffs repeated throughout. There is a nice change of feel towards the middle of the track, and it ends with some nice, fast drums.
Track 7 – The Evil Within
This is by far the longest track of the album, coming in at just over 9 minutes. There is a thrashy intro. It’s a quite heavy sounding song with some nice riffs and drum beats. About a third into the track there is a change of tempo, to a more slower and relaxed feel. There are some cool guitar effects and some good riffs repeated throughout the song.
Track 8 – Journeys End
A heavy Black Sabbath style intro, leads into a chugging guitar riff. Another N.W.O.B.H.M style song with Sabbath undertones. Which is no bad thing. I really like the punchy guitar solo and the feedback outro.
Overall I enjoyed the album and will be checking out the other Hamerex releases. I like the classic feel of some of the songs.
I rate the album 8/10
Review of the new SKREAMER album, King Of Crows (released 12/09/2016 via Metal Hammer
- MY DARKNESS.
It starts off slow with a quiet music background and the vocalist talking. The tempo starts to build then suddenly heavy drum beats and growling vocals kick in. It then goes back to quiet with whispering vocals, which then build up into a fast tempo. I could imagine a good mosh pit with this song. I love the sudden changes in this song, one minute quiet the next fast and loud.
- PIG FEED.
This is a lot faster and louder than the first track. With fast guitar playing and crashing fast drum beats.This has deep power chords.The vocals change between shouty and growly. I like this because you can understand what the vocalist is saying.
Starts off quiet and slow but quickly crescendos to a much louder heavier beat, with fast paced guitars. Great track to headbang to.
Very slow smooth harmonic track. Was not expecting this type of song. The clean guitars and vocals show that the band have a good variation of musical tastes. Towards the end of the track it spends up and ends in a crashing cymbal.
- LET ‘EM BURN.
Starts off slow with growly vocals. Gently speeds up and slows down again. More of a middle paced song than all out thrash.The bass is more prominent on this track then the rest. I like the bass on this track.
- WELCOME TO PARADISE.
This is a totally different style of track. The vocalist raps, while the bass sets the tempo. There is a repetitive guitar riff all the way through this track. The drums are slow and quiet.
- THIS IS WAR.
Starts off with feedback, then the guitars, bass and drums kick in. The vocalist goes back to growly on this track. Really like the cool bass line and riffs. Not as fast as some of the other tracks, but heavier than most.
- KING OF CROWS.
The title track of the album. Starts off with cool bass riffs and some rapping. It soon gets heavy with growls and more rapping. Like the mix of growls and rapping on the song. It has some good clean guitar riffs throughout the track. I could imagine the crowd moshing to this.
Overall a good album which I rate 9/10
Fans of Slipknot would enjoy this album
Jovi Hacker (aged 12)
It wasn’t that long ago that I was drooling over the second album offering from Lincoln based rockers Knock Out Kaine, (KOK). It also doesn’t seem that we will have long to wait before the third and, as an interim, KOK have provided us with a hugely successfully crowd funded EP, Cruel Britannia. The title track is a satirical stab at the British Establishment and encompasses the anarchistic edge of punk with hard rocking riffs. It cleverly entwines a sleazy 80’s vibe with a swirl of modern day Foos–esque rock. Love the Way You Hate could probably be described as the staple KOK sound; a gritty rock ‘n’ roll flavour with just the merest grating of hair metal cheese, enough to get foots tapping and people swaying as the band belt it out during one of their energetic live shows. Going Down has been given a bit of a spit and polish from the debut album House of Sins. It’s a solid rhythm and blues number, full of southern charm and executed flawlessly. The icing on a pretty tasty cake comes from the cover of Steve Earle’s Copperhead Road. Featuring in both the live performances I’ve seen of KOK, it is a well-chosen, well-crafted and respectful production of the classic. This track just shows the professionalism of KOK. They can take the piss, they can rock out and have a great time, and they can produce work that is intricate and serious, all on the same EP!
I want to discuss more than just this EP here. What we have is a mere morsel of what KOK can do. Their recorded work is really quite something. However, to really appreciate this band you need to see them live. You also need to take a moment to look around you and see what they do to people when they play. I did just this at HRH AOR when, quite frankly, KOK tore the place apart. Looking around people started moving forward straight away. Groupie wannabe’s, old school rockers, couples, punks, thrashers, just about everyone that got caught up in the crowd had a great time. And what you could see is the band feeding off that and I guess playing all the better for it. For their part the band have and know their roles. You can see that persona of out and out Rock Gods when they hit the stage. Dean Foxx plays the front-man role like it’s a species all of its own that he was born to. Glasses on, glasses off, he rocks the hell out from start to finish. The music of KOK is infectious and not one single person can do it justice with words, you have to experience it. You don’t just listen to KOK, you feel KOK, you catch yourself moving your shoulders and nodding your head and daydreaming of what it would be like to be a rock star. I think in a different time KOK would have been global contenders. Maybe that time will come back again. For now savour the taste given to us on this EP while we await the next instalment in the KOK story.
23rd May, 2016
Nycosia – ‘Pariah’ (EP)
Nycosia are a 4-piece Tech Metal band from the Hereford area. They have been around since around the start of 2015, I believe, albeit in 2 different guises. However, there isn’t much to go on before the addition of frontman Adam Barkley, so that is where we will pick up the progress of this band and their forthcoming debut EP – ‘Pariah’
In between exams and school and all that sort of stuff that gets in the way of being a metal god, Nycosia have been busy carving themselves a path through the underground scene, most noticeably through the South West of England. Having played a Metal to Masses event and shows in Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester, they have ventured out recently and even played in my hometown, Bolton.
Sometimes, just sometimes, a band with members as young struggle to show the maturity in their music that will get them noticed. Not so with Nycosia. The level of talent on display through the debut EP should be taken notice of by those in the industry that can move a band forward.
From the outset Nycosia stick to their promise of heavy riffs. Their sound is of a groove laden, technically proficient wrecking ball. Just listening to the short intro ‘Desert Winds’, the EP’s first track, primed my eardrums for the rude awakening I was about to receive. The muted riffs coming from Billy Kimble’s guitar are furious, technically complex and absolutely infectious. Couple that with the huge performance from skin man Noah Plant to add the thunder to the ensuing storm.
Track 2, ‘Blind Sight’, picks up the EP proper and I’m struggling to get through the rest of the tracks, I keep coming back to this one. There’s dark and light all over the track. Pleasant, ambient guitar leads in to a progressive, technically beautiful track. The layers are incredible. Atmosphere is light in the far off background, sinister riffs in time with deep blasts from the rhythm section make up the foreground, and a blend of frenzied wails and demonic growls harmonise in places and duel in others to give an astonishingly good vocal performance. The groove crammed into each track solidifies this EP as one of the most engrossing releases I’ve heard in a long time.
Eventually, I peel myself away from the last track and move on to ‘Mind of a Hermit’. A distorted, industrial feel to the opening sequence that mimics the lead riff when the intro ends and the song springs into life. This track is a delectable, progressive tune with straightforward, hammering riffs entwined with complex sequences from both the guitars and the drums. The vocal brings in a harsh texture to add an edge of despair. The last 20 seconds of the track wound me up into a frenzied head bang, gritted teeth and all.
The next song, ‘Miscommunication’, is the debut single released by the band ahead of the EP launch. Already it is receiving a strong response so I can imagine the track ‘Blind Sight’ going down extremely well as I feel it is the best one. This song, however, I feel will be easier to digest for those that are a bit scared of the progressive elements of the other songs. The focus is a bit more straightforward, still technically brilliant, but maybe appealing to a wider audience. The vocal has a different texture in the latter part of the track, a bit less frenzied. There’s a massive groove line in the last minute that proves my suspicion that Nycosia know how to end a track dramatically.
As it happens they also know how to end an EP as well. The final track, ‘Asylum Song’, probably displays all of the bands credentials in one song. I haven’t mentioned the bass man yet, he’s been there in the background doing what he should be, keeping it all together. He pokes through for a spell on this track and it’s clear that Theo Beech doesn’t just stand there twanging a few strings. There’s some real flair in his playing to match the incredible variety in each song. The drummer also impresses me on this song. Taking centre stage with some killer blasts that sound crisp and sinister.
In an age where most of our kids with any resemblance of talent are being blindly led by the pied piper of X Factories, it’s heart-warming to hear a bunch of lads with raw, natural talent, not manufactured and pampered within an inch of their butt-wiped careers but working hard and producing music of a quality that belies their ages. This is the current sound of Metal and this young band have harnessed their collective talents on an EP of epic quality. If they don’t start playing good sized festivals in the short to medium term then I will eat my very old, sweaty hat.
A hard hitting, groove layered, technical triumph. Take a long, deserved bow lads.
Release Date: 25th February, 2016
Written by Paul Belcher
TRIAXIS – ZERO HOUR
Since the release of their second cd, Rage and Retribution, through Rocksector Records in what now seems an age ago back in October, 2012, Triaxis have toured extensively taking in several dates in Europe as well as throughout the United Kingdom bringing their brand of Heavy Metal to the masses. Between the recording of the last album and this, there has been a small change in their line-up; Owen Crawford, (bass), left the band. And, after auditioning for a replacement they were able to announce that Becky Baldwin would be joining them, and my first viewing of this new line-up was at SOS Fest in 2014 at Radcliffe Civic Hall where they went down a storm. And, it is perhaps on the back of this and their willingness to tour so much, along with all the hard work the band put into their performances and musical creativity that they have been invited back again this year to headline on the Friday night.
Zero Hour has been crafted differently from the last album, and has moved on a stage from where Triaxis left off with Rage and Retribution, and guitarist CJ Wilson says “this is a natural progression from ‘Rage and Retribution’, certainly heavier and more complex in places, but with plenty of melody and a return to our roots. We can’t wait to play this stuff live.” In fact, those of us have been watching them over the past six months or so will know that they have been playing and refining two tracks from the album in their live set. On recording of the album, lead singer Krissie Kirby had this say, “we initially recorded the drums with Scott Atkins who really helped us form the basis for what could be considered our heaviest album yet. Self-recording all the guitars, bass and vocals, which Glyn took on the mammoth task of overseeing, has meant we have been able to have complete control over determining the way we want the album to sound. Having James Stephenson (Stymphalian Productions) on board to mix and master brings a further continuity to the album, particularly after the great work he did on our previous album”.
LIBERTY opens the album with a spine-tingling arrangement that builds up to a wailing crescendo from the guitar before launching into a hard-hitting rhythm and growling guitars topped with forceful vocals that make an immediate statement of intent. It’s fast-paced with that ability to make your feet try and keep up with Giles’ kick drum, and an instinctive nodding of the head to the tempo. There is plenty of melody at the bridge with great guitar interplay.
DEATH MACHINE is one of the tracks that Triaxis have been spoiling us with in their live sets; one for the headbangers amongst us. A galloping track containing a semblance of Iron Maiden and Blaze Bayley in and amongst, and Giles Wilson is in his element with some ferocious kit-bashing, whilst Glyn has certainly stepped up to the mark to prove his shredding ability. There are some beautiful vocal harmonies in the chorus that belie this animal of a track.
MINISTRY OF TRUTH opens with moody guitar, covered with rolling cymbals before forging itself into an angry explosion of thunderous vitality that races away only to be called to heel for the chorus and guitar accompaniment before setting off on its course of malevolent energy again. Becky Baldwin’s bass solo at the bridge sends shivers down your spine, before Krissie’s narrative introduces some blistering fretplay on the guitar during the solo. The guitar accompaniment to the vocals helps make this one of my favourite tracks on the album. Telling the story of somewhere that is presided over by a ‘Big Brother’ it brings to mind images once formed in my youth by Rush‘s 2112, but with the added influence of George Orwell’s 1984.
TERRAFORM is full of energy as Triaxis take you on their one-way trip to oblivion in this very heavy, yet melodic, tale of a journey into the stars. The backing vocals will carry you off as they catch you up in the atmosphere of the song, and the rhythm of the backline forms your heartbeat only to be whisked away by the pull of the grinding guitar. Prepare yourself for headbanger’s neck!
DYING SUN starts off with the lulling sound of running water, and then the caressing guitar harmony cuts gently through before opening up into a heavier construction of strong chords and a rocking drumbeat. A softer track than those previous but, it has a heavy melodic tone that encourages you to lay back, close your eyes and be carried away by the vocals as you ride along on the bassline. The combination of the subtle drumming and the steady rolling of the bass compliment the guitar harmonies and medleys superbly; add to that Krissie’s sorrowful and longing vocals and I defy you not to be carried back in time to a moment of regret or a parting of ways. This song is a triumph of musicianship and song writing with the ability to lose the listener in a whirlpool of lost embraces and broken dreams.
VICTORIOUS is the first taster from Zero Hour available to download for free. Somewhat anthemic, it has that ‘galloping’ sound with its thunderous drums and chugging bass. The guitars pick you up and while Glyn taunts you with his shredding, CJ smashes you with the rhythm leaving the listener in no doubt that they are a force to be reckoned with. An excellent choice as a first release!
STAND YOUR GROUND opens with a riff reminiscent of the days of NWOBHM, and the track continues in this vein. Outstanding vocal and guitar harmonies resound throughout, whilst the bassline cannot go unnoticed, either; sounding out the rhythm with ferocity to match. In my humble opinion, this track would stand its ground in and amongst the halcyon days of early 1980’s metal, (I know, I was there!).
QUEEN OF THE ICENI rages with heaviness as the historic tale of Boudicca unfolds and tells of her fight against the Legions of Rome. The fire of the guitars inflames you to war as the frenzy of the backline hint of the fury of battle. Krissie’s vocals are full of passion as she tells the story of the Warrior-Queen and we are avid listeners as we are stirred into life as if we were being called to war. This is a song that will captivate you, hold you in thrall and give a smile that will take a week to wipe off your face.
END OF TIME will have you in the mosh pit before the first verse kicks in! This is a kickass track with relentless pace from the drums and some fret-melting riff-work that is sure to make sparks fly. There is a mellow break wherein piano and vocals combine to sooth you momentarily before we are off on a journey to self-destruction following the path to Metal oblivion.
LEST WE FORGET is inspired by an ancestor of Krissie that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War, and tells of the suffering and the sacrifice not only of those gone to fight, but of those that remain in hope of the return of their loved ones. It speaks of the wasted lives of the ordinary man, whilst those who move the chess pieces remain safe from the slaughter. And, of the healing of the land that still bears the scars of the folly of war, and its bathing in red of remembrance. All this is carried in a melodic, sorrowful ballad that opens with piano accompanied by acoustic guitar. An atmospheric track that rises and falls with sadness, defiance and such emotion that it is immensely difficult to avoid the shedding of a tear. It ends with the well-know fourth stanza of the poem ‘For The Fallen’ by Robert Bynion recited often in times of remembrance.
VOICES fires straight into it, no messing about, hitting it hard right from the get go. Perfect song for a good old fashioned mosh. It hits us hard and fast, grinding out a rhythm at breakneck speed with rapacious double kick-pedal drums, scything guitars and thundering bass; truly, Metal at its best!
ZERO HOUR is a true epic of a track! Running for nigh on eleven minutes we are taken on a journey of metal, melody, harmonies and subtle backing vocals during this tale of a Creator’s wrath with those who inhabit the world made for them. It tells of the fury felt at the ruination of beauty and the continual destruction of their surroundings and of the lives that exist around them. Despite all the warnings and portents, the Creator exercises wrath upon the world to cleanse it of the ungrateful infestation. All this and you can’t help but tap your foot and nod your head as we are lead down the trail to face the final reckoning. This is an amazingly well crafted track, and justifiably the title track of the album. It showcases their musical abilities, lyrical prowess, and their growth as a band, and a fitting way to end the album.
Triaxis have certainly made the grade with Zero Hour, passed with honours and risen through the echelons to stand proudly amongst their contemporaries. This has surpassed Rage and Retribution in its construction and production. Metal Hammer chose to stream this album on their website, and I believe that, rightly, more accolades will be heaped upon them before too long. When you consider that this composition was aided by crowd-funding, it makes you realise how loved this band are to be able to achieve what some more well-known artists could only hope to aspire to with backing from major labels. I thoroughly recommend Zero Hour as an album that you should have in your collection, preferably as a hard copy if only to feel the weight of all that Metal!
Giles Wilson – drums
Becky Baldwin – bass
CJ Wilson – guitar
Glyn Williams – guitar
Krissie Kirby – vocals
My rating: 9.5/10
I first came across this band whilst scanning though the Metal Ashes of Phoenix radio show’s email inbox looking for new bands and new music that various record labels and PR’s send us. The surprise I got when I heard Power & Volume on the Nuclear Blast label mailshot was immense! I was expecting some of the hard-hitting metal that they often purvey, but instead I found myself shaking my imaginary hair in a virtual windmill whilst firing off some blistering air-guitar solos in accompaniment to a powerful and infectious track of classic rock influence, in particular UFO with a Bon Scott-esque vocal. I needed more!! Then came World Domination; with a tempo less frenetic than Power and Volume and an introduction that has AC/DC written all over it, it had me moving within seconds and cranking up the volume to annoy the neighbours. Plus, it received a favourable response after airplay on the show. And, I still needed more!! After much pleading and cajoling, and no few tears, (not really – this is just for effect, (-; ), I managed to get hold of the entire album. I was like the proverbial kid in the sweet shop.
This is an album of exceptional construction and passion that will appeal to lovers of the heavy rock and classic rock genres, (if you subscribe to the idea of the genre), and gives us the pause for thought along the lines of “this sounds like” and “where were they thirty or forty years ago”. This is not to say that Free Fall are trying to resurrect a sound long diminished in this era of extremes, more like a salute to those who brought forth the embryo of what we listen to in this day and age. Listen to the album and you can easily hear the influences of The Stooges, The Who, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, some early Van Halen, a bit of Judas Priest, and I think there may be a little bit of the Scorpions thrown in as well.
I often do a track-by-track review, and bore the ass off you with all the superlatives I could muster. This time, I just can’t do it to you with all that crap. This is an album of ten great songs! Every single one of them has something different to offer the listener; be it screaming guitar solos, thunder-like drumming, boogie-along basslines, throaty vocals, catchy sing-along choruses, or just toe-tapping, head-banging heavy rock and roll! (Sorry, couldn’t help myself!) And, I’m already pencilling this in as one of my top ten albums of the year as I believe it is that good! If I had to pick a favourite, Atilla would just about sneak it over World Domination. You can feel the passion and emotion that has gone into the making of this album; it is palpable through every note and every word. The only negative I have for Power & Volume is that ten tracks aren’t enough! I want more!
FREE FALL are:
- Mattias Barjed – Guitars
- Jan Martens – Bass
- Ludwig Dahlberg _ Drums
- Kim Fransson – Vocals
Power & Volume is set to be released on February 25th 2013 via Nuclear Blast, as a limited CD version incl. 2 bonus tracks, a black 2LP version with poster and limited edition Red and Gold LP’s plus a bonus 7” with poster. You can check out debut single Power & Volume by following this link: Free Fall – Power And Volume
For further information, go to: