Tag Archives: Chainmail Metal Reviews

Plainview

Album Front Cover

Plainview is a band made up of talents musicians from various projects, most notably David Smale from The Yardbirds and Chris Williams from Counterpoint. Their self-titled debut release has been featured with Metal Hammer and the band has certainly got a sound you won’t be disappointed by.

Opening up with Slip Through Your Fingers, the band shows off great versatility with some interesting use of dynamics, with soft verses that get heavier later on, and really cool chorus with some nice harmonies involved. There’s a good variety of musical moments on display, with some nice use of clean chords and a layered guitar sound too. The Last Word is a slower track that really shows off Smale’s vocal abilities, with some chunky guitar riffs backing him and a really powerful and to the point rhythm section really giving the track some groove.

The album has plenty to offer in its 40 minute run time. From slightly more upbeat numbers like Wasted Words to songs like Look Away which has a more melancholic feel to it, the band has managed to pull off a variety of different sounds without sounding like they “trying too hard.” This keeps the sound fresh throughout the album, and the band’s songwriting shines throughout.

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No Other Way is one of my highlights of the album here, with some borderline progressive riffage and a keen sense of dynamics on display, and some really great vocal melodies too. The band feels really tight here with some great playing all round. Take What You Want has a kind of similar approach and it would be cool to see the band expand on these heavy, proggy riff fests.

The album closes on The Writing’s On The Wall, which opens with some nice clean guitars and a soft vocal, before slamming into some mighty guitar chords. The dynamics on display are again quite impressive, and this song really solidifies what the band is about.

The production is pretty good here, and the vocals and guitars stand out the most for me. The drums and bass sound great but I feel perhaps they could have been given a little more presence in the mix at times. Overall it’s pretty great though, to be honest.

Plainview have crafted a really great sound with this album, I am especially impressed with their tightness, especially on a debut regardless of previous experience. Working with a new band is never just easy off the bat. This album is well worth your time.

Check Out Plainview at https://www.facebook.com/plainviewband

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 Twilight Messenger – The World Below

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I don’t often get much Power Metal sent in for review, despite it being one of my favourite genres. As such I tend to review it for other sites rather than mine. With that, it’s nice to have been sent this release by Twilight Messenger! The band is a project comprising of two YouTube artists, Andrew Feehan and Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez from the UK and US respectively, and The World Below is the album that resulted from their collaboration with the addition of Chris Johnson on drums.

The album opens up with the moody synth sounds of the track Twilight Messenger. The song takes a heavier turn and when the vocals come in I am instantly reminded of Rob Halford, but way more aggressive in approach, with a bit more of a raspy delivery (not in a bad way, it’s definitely something a bit different on offer for power metal here.) The playing is fast and furious, with plenty of chugging guitars yet also some great melodies from both synths and guitars to counter this. The chorus here is pretty cool, with an impressive range and sense of harmony on display.

Sword And Steel (By My Axe The Beast Shall Fall) offers a much heavier outing than the previous track, with some really deep and meaty guitars meeting with a vocal that feels a bit angrier and more determined here. There are still some great melodies on offer despite this being a somewhat heavier song, and it delivers plenty of great moments over the course of 5 minutes or so.

The Archer, The Battlefield & The Silhouette is a track that really took me by surprise. Its restrained clean guitars and rhythm section support an awesome emotive vocal performance that has a completely different feel from the heavier voice that is then displayed later on in the track. This shows just how versatile this singer is which was really appreciated actually. The rest of the track is also awesome, with a really powerful chorus, some great melodies and well thought out structuring making this one of my highlights of the album.

The World Below has plenty on offer actually, from the super heaviness of tracks like Fireball which has some of the harshest vocal delivery I’ve heard in a power metal release bordering on more extreme metal with some very heavy guitar playing, to more sombre tracks like Embers Of A New Day with deep vocals and nice clean guitars before giving us a really powerful and heavy chorus.

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Title track The World Below is another that really caught me, with a really powerful build-up and some more interesting vocals. The singing actually reminds me in places of David Bowie, strange though it may sound, but with a bit more of a metal timbre. The songwriting here is really powerful too, with big chords, mighty solos and some awesome drumming making this song really moving.

There are two really epic tracks back to back with each other, By Wings Of Destiny and Redemption (Rise Of The Golden Dragon) and they both offer a different perspective on writing those longer tracks. Both are well done, with lots of different movements throughout. These tracks shouldn’t be overlooked just because they’re close to the end of the album, as they offer some of the best moments of the album, with epic symphonic moments contrasted by some really heavy riffage!

The album ends on Lord Of The Dragons, a track that contrasts the last two by being less than half the length! This song is pretty cool, with some interesting sounds and a kind of doomy intro before slamming into a hefty main riff that has some blistering speed to it.

The production is pretty good here. It sounds a little digital in places but the vocals and drums sound the best here, as do the clean guitar moments. Not that the heavy guitars sound bad at all really, but at times they sound a little over saturated. This is mainly a personal taste thing though really! The bass is mainly a support to the overall sound here, so no particularly flashy bass playing but it is done well.

The World Below is a really strong album, especially for a relatively new band that doesn’t seem to have the biggest following just yet. They have really well thought out songs, great melodies, powerful choruses and strong musicianship. With this album, Twilight Messenger offers a more dynamic sound than many bigger power metal artists on the scene today.

Check out Twilight Messenger at https://www.facebook.com/twilightmessenger

The World Below is out now at http://twilightmessenger.bandcamp.com/

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Disposable – At The Foot Of The World

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Scottish thrash metal act Disposable are on the verge of releasing their debut album At The Foot of The Word and after five years I’m sure it’s probably a long awaited release for the guys in the band! They have plenty of determination and energy and it shows in their sound. This is an album that shows thrash is alive and definitely kicking right now.

The album opens up with a cacophony of riffs with Existence. The vocals have that classic thrash rasp from old school 80s riffs, with a more modern thrash revival style chorus. The song has lots of dynamics, from speedy guitars to slower, heavier moments too. Addiction has some super heavy riffs and some mad drums, with some intricate playing throughout. The bass has some cool moments here too, and though generally taking a back seat to the rest of the band it seems, beneath all the thrashy guitars and vocals there is a talented bass player buried within.

Disposable is a band that shows that they definitely have a flair for songwriting, especially within the confines of Thrash Metal. Songs have plenty of dynamics and interesting melodies; it’s not all ball to the wall which I think is a good thing. Songs like Into The Water and Leave This Place show off what the band can do really well. Addiction (Reprise) shows a slightly softer side to the band, with some nice clean guitar chords and a bit of a different feeling to the track and some nice solos and bass melodies.

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Title track At The Foot Of The World is a pretty cool track as well, with some really cool musicianship on display, and a furious feel overall. This one has plenty of stabbing riffs and results in a really cool track.

Now It Ends closes the album, and this one is full of angry riffage. This is straight up thrash to close the album, with some meaty guitars and the bass seems to have found a space properly here. The vocals are really well done on this track in particular as well, and it makes for a great finish to the album.

The production is pretty much spot on for Thrash metal, very much drums and guitar focussed with very aggressive punchy sounds and some well recorded vocals too. I’d like to hear a bit more bass next time but as usual this is probably a personal thing being a bassist myself.

At The Foot Of The World is Pretty damn good, especially for a debut album. The band has a flair for thrash metal, and plenty of fury to fuel their riffs for years to come hopefully!

Check out Disposable at https://www.facebook.com/DisposableThrash

At The Foot Of The World will be available 20th September

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Sorrows Path – Doom Philosophy

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Greek doom metallers Sorrows Path is a band I’ve kept track of for a little while, so being sent their new album for review is pretty cool. Over their long career the band has endured through tough times (even death) and with Doom Philosophy their third album, the band really shows what they are made of.

First Beam Of Darkness Into Light is an introductory short track, building up tension into the first track Tragedy. What’s interesting about this track is its energy. It’s not just crushingly slow as you’d often get with more run-of-the-mill Doom metal. In fact it has a slight European power metal edge, especially in the vocals and the more up-tempo riffs. This song has a killer chorus and is a great start to the album, and it also features Edgar Rivera (ex-Solitude Aeturnus.) A Dance With The Dead is a bit more traditional, with doom laden riffs and a kind of “creep” atmosphere at time.

“Brother of Life” is another doomier track, with some interesting keyboard stuff and a powerful chorus; this one feels like it has quite a bit of emotion put into it as well. “Everything Can Change” features the legendary Snowy Shaw on vocals, and it’s a nice performance he has put in here, this track has plenty of doomy overtones and heavy riffs as well, the band supporting the vocals well yet also showing their own flair for metal too.

The King With A Crown Of Thorns begins as a sort of metal ballad, with some awesome clean guitar work and melodic soloing. The vocals feel nice and heartfelt here, and the rhythm section takes a backseat well, before the band smashes into heavier moments later on with the chorus and solo. This is a great dynamic track, and was one of my highlights. “The Venus And The Moon” is a speedier track with plenty of double bass and snaky riffs. This is a nice heavy one with a bit more energy and chunkiness, with some great vocal layering in the chorus.

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“Epoasis” feels in places, especially in the vocals, like some classic Black Sabbath but with more modern instrumentation, and a bit more focus in the songwriting, with much more modern sounds and some bits with more of the band’s own style. “Clouds Inside me” has a great sounding clean guitar to start things off with a kind of 80s vibe, and when the song gets heavier there are some cool melodies and some awesome vocal lines too.

“Darkness” is another of the heavier tracks on the album, with some really hard hitting riffs and a spoken word acted section that is somewhat entertaining in the way it plays out, before some awesome solos and some great metal riffs.

The album closes on “Damned (O)fish/L.S.D.” and this one’s actually mostly instrumental until right at the end, with some interesting progressive sounding guitar playing, and some clean moments that border a little on Opeth style stuff. This is definitely a different way to end the album, certainly unexpected and showcases the foundations of the band quite well.

The band chose to work again with Vangelis Yalamas (who has sound engineered Fates Warning live shows among other work) at Fragile Studios. The production is pretty good, you can hear everything that is going on, and it all gels together quite well! The drums and guitars shine out in particular, and there are some great moments with the vocals too.

Doom Philosophy is definitely an interesting album. The band showcases their talents and passion for songwriting well, with lot of dynamic songs yet in keeping with their core sound. This one will serve to strengthen their back catalog and hopefully see them to bigger things

Check out Sorrows Path at https://www.facebook.com/SorrowsPath

 

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The Tickturds – Tickturdius Maximus

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The Tickturds are probably one of my favourite punk bands, and with their debut album Tickturdius Maximus due for release imminently, hopefully more people are about to see why. A mix of ferocious punk beats, angry shouting vocals and some great riffs and basslines, this is something a bit different and interesting.

“Now Hear This You Tickturd” is an audio clip that gave the band their name, from Smokey And The Bandit, and leads us into the first proper track, Comfort Zone which has an awesome main riff and some cool stabbing guitars and drums too. The bassline is nice and “bouncy” with quite a classic punk feel to it. This is a slice of proper punk from the start. The double attack of “Monkey” and “Underdog” has been live hits from the band for some time now, and were featured on their live album “Insulting Your Eardrums.” It’s nice to hear these on a proper album, with their catchy main riffs and interesting basslines.

“C.T.S” is the first track on the album sung by bass player Luke Fisher. This is a punked up ska style track, with upbeat drumming and some great riffs too. We go back to Rik Spanner for “Eyes In The Sky” and this is another straight up punk track with furious vocals and some hard hitting drums.

“Revolution” is a nice dynamic track with some cool changes in rhythm and feel over the course of quite a short track, and with this one you can hear the heavy metal background behind James Balcombe’s drumming. “Player” is a track with some more awesome basslines, and some cool riffs as well. “Jesus Creepers” starts off quite slow but very quickly picks up the pace at the end with a mad tempo and some equally mad vocal delivery.

My God” is one of my highlights on the album, with some powerful riffs and interesting structure that shows there’s more to this punk band than meets the eye, with a sense of melody and lyrics that some may not expect. “Invasion Liberation” is a speedy track with some bluesy rock riffage and a nice call and response vocal too. This one almost borders on early heavy metal but has an attitude throughout that perfectly suits the Tickturds.

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“Nigel” is another track fronted by Luke with song angry interspersions from Rik. This is another highlight of their live set, and is often contrasted by Luke’s acoustic slowed down version opening up many a night. “Serious Loss Of Doubt” is the longest track on the album yet still only just over three minutes. This one has one of my favourite Tickturds basslines that makes use of some cool major triads, and overall one of my favourites with some great playing from the mighty Clive.

It’s good to see “Mr Angry” on this album as well, as this is yet another highlight (yeah, there’s more than a few on this album) with its hard rock main riff, frenetic drumming and a really cool bridge later on. It really suits it title and works really well here.

“Zombie Hen Blues” finishes up the album, with exactly as you’d expect from the title; some blues! This is a cool, well played track and offers something different to finish up the album.

I always feel that production should match what a band is trying to do, and with the Tickturds this has definitely been achieved with Tickturdius Maximus. It’s the best sounding release by the band so far, yet it still has that raw energy that defines the band (and their live shows) and really works in their favour really.

There’s plenty on offer with “Tickturdius Maximus” at a massive 14 tracks in just 31 minutes. Each track though short is done well and offers something a bit different. At its core this is some straight up punk exactly the way it should be, but listen deeper for some different stuff going on, bits of Ska, and even some speed metal perhaps. This is definitely worth checking out if you aren’t afraid.

Tickturdius Maximus is available to order now at https://thetickturds.bandcamp.com/album/tickturdius-maximus

Check out The Tickturds at https://www.facebook.com/TheTickturds

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Fire Red Empress – Paint Me The Devil

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Birmingham rockers Fire Red Empress have just hit the scene with their debut EP, Paint Me The Devil. Though a fairly short one in length, this is a powerful and had hitting statement by the band with plenty of energising riffs and a style you really ought not to ignore in an upcoming band.

Opening up with “Left Unspoken” and its awesome introduction riff that feels a little doomey in places, that when it meets with the great layered vocal approach feels like Queens Of The Stone Age meets The Sword. The overall offering on this track is really heavy, with a tense overall sound, with a great sense of groove too. “Paint Me The Devil” has another really great start, with some nice layered guitars painting (no referential humour intended) a really cool atmosphere. The vocals again are really cool here, and the song is nice and dynamic, with softer moments meeting the heavier moments to make something really cool. The chorus is another belter here, with nice vocal harmonies and a nice aggressive approach.

“Behind The Veil” closes the EP in style, with a longer track at just over 6 minutes. This is performed really well and keeps it interesting throughout, showing that the band can handle the longer stuff just as well. The first verse has a nice drumbeat and some more atmospheric sounding guitars rather than straight up riffage, before exploding into the heavier stuff, making it quite impactful. This is a cool song with a lot going on; plenty of different riffs to keep it sounding fresh, and some great songwriting brings it all together.

The EP was produced by Volbeat’s Jacob Hansen, and it’s a nice tight and modern sounding effort, the drums are nice and thumping, and the guitars are very chunky. The vocals shine more than anything, with lots of layering and the like done to make them sound really powerful. The bass is a little low at time for my personal liking but it is all a solid mix nonetheless.

Paint Me The Devil is a great introduction to Fire Red Empress, and says more in three tracks that some can say in a whole album! There is plenty of emotion on show from the band here, with great songwriting combined with skilful musicianship to make something definitely worth checking out!

Check out Fire Red Empress at https://www.facebook.com/fireredempress

The new lyric video for “Left Unspoken” from the EP:

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Gods Of War – Tales From The Dark Lands

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Liverpool’s God’s Of War have an interesting sound with plenty of different things going on, that definitely places on the more extreme end of the spectrum but with an element of musicianship that also gives them a bit of an edge. Their new EP “Tales From The Dark Lands” encapsulates their current sound and style really nicely.

Opening with “Fornost” which has an almost black metal meets NWOBHM vibe to it, with some nice bass guitar playing and stabbing drums meeting the twisting guitar riffs. The vocals sound nice and furious on this one, with some melodic chanting style vocals adding a very different dimension to the proceedings here. With some furious drumming and cool solo adding to proceedings, this is a good start to the EP.

“Gods Of Old” has a nice introduction which reminds me of more old school black metal but again with the style of this band it takes on a new feeling, with some cool bass lines and drum grooves lending themselves to that on this track. A mighty verse riff adds a bit more heaviness to the mix, and there’s a nice clean guitar section in the mid-section that breaks up the action and feels quite chilled out, with some nice thoughtful basslines giving it an almost jazz style. This is then built upon with heavier and heavier riffs and this works really well, feeling quite bleak and heavy overall.

“Operation Engage” has very cool intro that I can see working really well live, with a really energetic vibe to it. Plenty of riffage to this one, with some maddeningly fast drum beats later on and a really angry vocal delivery that works really well here, keeping the tension high throughout, with some shouting gang vocals later on and some overall nice technical playing.

“Angmar” starts off with some nice clean guitar and bass, building a more soothing kind of atmosphere, before we are pummelled with some awesome riffage. This one feels a bit more on the NWOBHM spectrum of metal in terms of musicality at first, but maintaining the heavier style of the band with the harsher vocals and some heavy guitar work too. This is also the longest song at nearly 7 minutes, and it’s pulled off well with lots of different moments throughout the song.

The production is what you’d expect from the genre, and is fine for an EP. You can hear everything that’s going on and the parts are all nice and tight. The gang vocals sound pretty cool as well!

This is a good EP from Gods Of War, worth checking out for fans of extreme metal with something a little different to offer. It would be nice to see these guys head into the studio for a full album at some point!

Check Out Gods Of War at https://www.facebook.com/godsofwaruk/

“Tales From The Dark Lands” Is available now at https://godsofwar.bandcamp.com/

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