Tag Archives: Dan Mailer

Avenger – The Slaughter Never Stops

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Avenger, Newcastle’s NWOBHM legends return with a new album! Associated with such acts as Blitzkrieg, Atomkraft and Satan, you know you’re in for something special. Add to this the band’s own old school heavy metal legitimacy and you’ve got an album worth checking out!

The album opens up with the atmospheric sounds of Mace Imperial, which builds up with pianos and strings before slamming into the awesome riffage of Race Against Time which was a little more modern sounding than I was expecting. This is in a good way of course; the band combines some real old school sounding vocals with some great heavy riffs.

For the audience:

People who like proper old school metal should eat this up. It approaches the 80s sound in a modern way, similar to Hell’s approach with heavy riffs meeting passionate and dramatic vocals.

There’s plenty to listen to here, and in just 46 minutes the band delivers an album full of great tracks. Fields Of The Burnt has a really awesome classic sounding riff that should make this one a real hit live, with some great guitar work and a super solid rhythm section! In Arcadia Go is another real powerful number, with some awesome hooks and some really well done vocals here! They’ve also chucked in a cover of the classic Maiden number Killers, which is a straight up cover performed really well, with special mention towards the vocals again which have a nice blend of both Di’Anno and Dickinson, with some nice souped up chunky guitars too.

The band also delivers a nice long track at 7 minutes long with Flayer Psychosis and it’s full of energy right from the get go, keeping at it throughout with hefty riffage and some great vocal moments meeting cool basslines and vocals!

The album ends on Midnight Mass Destruction which has another classic sounding riff given a modern makeover here, with a nice heavy sound on display. This ends the album nicely as one of the heavier tracks, but also has a nice clean bridge section that builds up nicely.

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For the artist:

This is a really solid album, with some great moments and some really good songwriting. The production is pretty good but feels a little dry in places. It’s not really a big problem and the music takes precedence here!

Overall this some really good stuff, here’s hoping the band keeps it up and delivers us plenty of live shows and new material!

The Slaughter Never Stops Is Released on 1st December via Rocksector Records

Check out Avenger at https://www.facebook.com/avengeruk1

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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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Osmium Guillotine

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From the depths of Essex comes a band steeped in traditional sounding riffs and full of attitude. Osmium Guillotine brings the thunder with their debut self-titled album, with a great sense of style, some fantastic musicianship and solid songwriting too!

Opening up with a symphonic style intro courtesy of Chris Saunders (Earthmass, Chestburster, 5 String Drop Out Band and many other projects) and this builds a nice atmosphere to get us started off here, with stabbing synths and cool sounding strings lending themselves to the excitement of the upcoming album.

This leads into the first track with the band is “Martyrdom” with a kind of eastern riff giving way to crushing power chords, before the chugging main riff crashes in. The vocals of Peter Keliris soar over the riffage, with powerful lyrics about religious extremism. The style on this one toes the line between Thrash and old school British metal, but the next track “D-Day,” a classic of the Osmium Guillotine live set, definitely leans towards the latter, with mighty guitar harmonies and awesome old-school riffs meeting with a great vocal performance a cold “gang-chant” style chorus.

“Phobophobia” was the first taste of the album we got in 2013, and it’s as powerful now as it was then, about “the fear of being afraid” with some more awesome vocals from Pete and a great heavy metal attack all around, with an awesome guitar harmony later on too! “Blight Upon Mankind” is another older song from the band, with ominous clean guitars and tense drumming leading way to some evil sounding riffs later on. This is a great track from the earlier days of Osmium Guillotine’s 5 year history and it still holds up on the album!

“City Of Chaos” begins with a great classic metal riff before the drums crash in and the riff grows in power with the backing of the rhythm section. This is a more politically charged song about the state of the country, and the song on the whole has a kind of speed metal meets thrash mentality, with crazy fast riffs and some great playing too! “Hobgoblin” is another live classic about the Ale of the same name, telling the tale of Wychwood. This a great song with a bit of a folky sound to it, and a main riff that you could probably dance a jig to.

“Goomba” takes things in a totally different direction, drop-tuning the guitars and introducing the track some fantastic bass playing from Dan Thurgood. This song has a real groove to it, feeling a little more 90s, and is about the enemy of the same name from Nintendo’s most popular series of games, but this one’s from the perspective of the Goomba itself and is quite clever! The song as a whole is a definite highlight of the album, with great guitar riffs, awesome vocal moments and some super solid drums from James Balcombe.

“Into The Battle” is another classic from the guys, with some great harmonised guitar riffs making it feel a bit more British, but then unleashing blast beats and some more black metal style playing in places, with some great riffage overall, and it’s nice to hear this one on the album as well! “Breathe It In Son” is the instrumental track of the album, and it keeps things interesting throughout with lots of fantastic melodies and guitar parts, with a cool bass solo later on in as well!

“Subhuman” closes the album with one last OG classic; this is quite a lengthy track, with lots of false endings and the like to keep listeners on their toes. It’s a good finish to the album, with some great guitar playing that will keep people listening to the end, and hopefully make them go in for another spin!

The production is pretty good on the album, the drums and vocals are particularly impressive, with lots of nice cymbal sounds going on and some aggressive sounding vocals mixed quite well. The guitar gel well with each other, and though the bass sounds great I feel it could have done with going up a bit in the mix personally.

This is a fantastic debut album from Osmium Guillotine, with the blend of attitude, style and musicianship only true British metal can deliver. There’s a new wave of metal on the way and this is exactly the kind of stuff that ought to be at the forefront of it, dark and heavy without being “brutal”, with great musicianship and songwriting.

Osmium Guillotine is released 6th June via MGR records

Check out Osmium Guillotine at https://www.facebook.com/osmiumguillotine and http://osmiumguillotine.com/

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UnKured – As Reality Melts

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Death Metal and Thrash metal have often gone hand in hand over the years, often with mixed results, and Ohio’s UnKured nails the style really well with their 2013 EP “As Reality Melts” as a precursor to their album “Mutated Earth”

Opening up with “Before Us Heaven Trembles”, I was instantly reminded of the band Death, especially in the vocals, but with a bit more focus on the songwriting, and more thrash leanings too. The song has lots of sinister sounding guitars, and some nice chaotic sounding solos later on too, a little similar to 80s Slayer but more Hanneman than King.

“Dark Dominion” follows that up with a bit more of a midtempo track in places but one that is no less heavy sounding. There’s lots going on in this one, plenty of riffs and some very angry sounding vocals. There’s a really old school progressive thrash sounding riff midway through the song before the solo that I really quite liked, and some mad basslines later on too! “Taking The Abyss” carries on with the super heavy style the band has gone for, with lots of bludgeoning guitar riffs and some jazzy sounding sections later on too.

The EP closes with title track ‘As Reality Melts’ presents a kind of apocalyptic atmosphere, with lots of dissonant riffs and a really furiously delivered vocal, with plenty of different moments ending the EP on a very heavy note.

The production overall is fine for an EP, it’s quite raw sounding yet tight at the same time, the drums sound quite good overall and the bass is nice and audible which is always a plus for me as a bass player myself. The guitars gel well with the mix and don’t sound too muddy really. The vocals are really produced quite well, sounding very old school which benefits the bands overall sound really.

UnKured surprised me with their technical skills and a great sense of style that you don’t normally get right off the bat with a debut EP. This is definitely one to check out if you like Death and Thrash, their album will be one to look forward to!

Check Out UnKured at https://www.facebook.com/pages/UnKured-Band/127769993918598 and http://unkured2.bandcamp.com/

“As Reality Melts” is out now!

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White Wizzard – Marathon Of Dreams

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The White Wizzard saga has taken a step in a new direction yet again. After the well-received album “Devil’s Cut” and the resulting tour that broke the band apart, Jon Leon was once again left as sole member of White Wizzard, and the band decided to leave their longtime record label Earache. But it’s not as bad and as doom-and-gloom as it sounds! Jon has risen up from the ashes yet again with the band’s new single in hand, “Marathon Of Dreams”!

The song starts with an epic drum fill from drummer Devin Lebsack, that leads into an awesome lead guitar harmony that has lots of old-school feel to it. The vocals kick in next, and I was thinking “wow, he’s found another awesome singer, how does he keep doing it?” until I was informed it was actually Jon Leon himself performing the vocals on this one! I was incredulous, why hadn’t he done this before? I had to look it up and it’s true, he’s taken up the singer position himself, and it’s more than just a solid performance. There’s a lot of power in the vocals, not quite as “up there” with high notes and the like as previous White Wizzard vocalists would have done but it has a lot less “cheese” and feels way more serious and heartfelt than many other tracks by the band.

Another thing that really struck me was that although this is a single, it has a really cool progressive edge to it, with some crazy drums and some complex guitar moments, and a nice 5 minute track length that says plenty without being too long.

The production is also really neat, with a tighter sound that gels better than the previous album did, way more consistent vocal production and a nice heavy overall sound, especially with the drums and bass (as you’d expect from White Wizzard)

The artwork is a neat little sketch by Derek Riggs, which is pretty cool as I haven’t seen anything from him in ages!

This is actually a really exciting single, after all the drama and feuds that we’ve witnessed over the last few months, Jon Leon and White Wizzard have spent less time arguing with detractors and have released something of real substance that should make a powerful statement of things to come from the band. In my personal opinion, it would be very awesome if Jon remains as vocalist and bassist permanently, gets two guitarists in and carries this sound forward to an album that should be just as promising as this single was!

Check out and buy the new White Wizzard singe Marathon Of Dreams at http://whitewizzard.bandcamp.com/track/marathon-of-dreams

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Vulgate – EP

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Vulgate is a Sussex based Progressive Death Metal band featuring a multitude of talents and taking influence from the very cream of the crop of Death Metal, from lesser known bands as Cynic, to those at the very heart of the genre like the Chuck Shuldiner fronted Death. With their self titled EP, the band gives you just enough of a taste of their sound to get used to them, but leave you wanted more at the same time.

Opening up with the clean guitars of “Transparence” the band builds up a nice atmosphere with a really chilled out sound that you wouldn’t expect as an opener to a Death Metal EP! This really sets them apart from the word go, and the second track “The Sickening Fanatical Mind” really delivers with the first heavy riffs of the EP, combing both technical and melodic riffing with a twisted lead vocal that blends in well and is supported well by the music. There’s plenty of crazy riffs and different sections here, including another clean section that is a really cool break in the tension before the band smashes its way back into the meat of the song. A very good start to the EP in these two songs.

“Light In The Sky” keeps up the momentum, with a short clean section leading straight into heavy riffage and plenty more snaky guitar lines. This is a very heavy song that keeps up the band’s penchant for doing lots of different things with their music rather than just staying heavy all the time, with lots of great clean guitar moments that add to the tracks overall sound and atmosphere.

“Waves” is an awesome track with a really cool sounding intro that is really out there but at the same time has a really great atmosphere about it, with some really technical playing thrown into the mix too! This is another instrumental but is certainly no less great for it.

The EP finishes up with “Waters Of Judgement” which builds up with dark eerie sounds before the band brings the heaviness back to the forefront for this one. This is probably the heaviest track, and makes for a great ending to the release, with furious drumming and plenty of evil sounding chords and lead melodies.

The production is pretty good, nothing is clipping and you can hear all the instruments fine. The guitars and drums seem to shine the most to me here.

Vulgate’s EP is a really cool release from this Sussex based band, and if you’re a fan of Death Metal you should check it out, as I really do think they are bringing something different to the standard fare here, with a lot of technical playing and clean sections that will certainly surprise any open minded listener.

Check out Vulgate at https://www.facebook.com/Vulgatethrash

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Toby Jepson – Raising My Own Hell

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Toby Jepson, who you may know from his time in the popular band Little Angels, has now released a mini-album called ‘Raising My Own Hell.’ This is an acoustic-rock album featuring lots of passionate vocals and a real ‘in the room with you’ atmosphere.

Opening up with the title track ‘Raising My Own Hell’, an acoustic guitar sets things into motion. The drumming is nice and relaxed here and there are some nice keyboards and saxophones involved too. The vocals are really well performed, melodic yet full of attitude too, the prime example of a rock vocal really. The song has a great groove and vibe to it, with a nice chorus too.

‘Dear Mama’ is equally as raucous sounding as the previous track, with a more emotive chorus this time round. There are plenty more acoustic guitars and a great atmosphere to this one, with a grooving main riff and another powerful vocal performance from Jepson. ‘Patience Of A Saint’ has a bit of a darker feel to it, with a nice deep sound, and some rocking riffs, despite being on acoustic guitars as opposed to electric! There is a cool breakdown later on that adds a little variety to the proceedings too, with a cool build up as well!

‘Four Letter Word’ is an awesome track, starting off with a guitar part that really sets a dramatic scene, with Toby’s lead vocal providing a great story over the top with his really great singing performance.  ‘Shoes’ is a softer song with some great lyrics about looking through other people’s eyes, or rather… walking a mile in their shoes perhaps! This is a really nice and emotive song with plenty to offer, and being the gentlest song on an acoustic album must always be somewhat of a challenge at times!

The album finishes with ‘Shadow Boxer’, and this is a really cool way to end the release, with a nice jazzy feel to it, lots of brass instruments involved and a really swinging groove to it. This one certainly stands out for being very different from the rest of the mini-album, but it certainly doesn’t suffer for it, offering some variety to the already very cool album.

The production is good, considering the amount of different instruments used here. Everything stands out nicely and yet gels well together to form a really nice sound overall. The vocals are nicely recorded with plenty of clarity, and just a little grit.

Overall, this is a really cool release that fans of something a little different should appreciate.

Check out Toby Jepson at https://www.facebook.com/tobyjepsonofficial

‘Raising My Own Hell’ is out now via Townsend Records

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