Tag Archives: Heavy Metal

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.

Plainview Promo Photo

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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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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Ross Mc Eneff – For All You Cowards

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Irish man of many talents Ross Mc Eneff has recently released an album titled “For all you Cowards” featuring variety of influences and classic sounds, this is a cool release from the artist. Recorded a while back, this still has a fresh sound and plenty of guts.

The album opens with the grooving sounds of “Infatuation”, with a sweet main riff and a really cool bassline. The vocals are very reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne but with better pitch control. This is a good start to the album, with lots of different moments of tension and excitement, daring to be a bit different to the norm.

“Ego’s Taking Over” is a bit more of a straight up rocking tune, with more very Ozzy-esque mixed with cool backing vocals. The main riff is very old school in sound, and the track is performed well overall, and a great lyrical theme.

“Forbidden” takes things in a different direction, with acoustic guitars starting things off. Ross goes for a different vocal approach here that really is a stark contrast, but works really well, nice and emotive. The song picks up in pace and heaviness later on, but with plenty of diversity and change, further solidifying the style of the album.

“Spineless Excuse” has a kind of punk sound to it, with a short running time too. A pretty straight up song but nonetheless a good one, lots of layered vocals and lots going on despite the short length, and a great bluesy solo tops it all off here. “Deceit” follows this one up with a heavier sound with chugging guitars and a cool chorus too.

“Serenity” breaks up the album with some nice clean guitar sounds and synths; a short instrumental track that serves its purpose well and shows off Ross’ skills a little bit. “Devil’s Mistress” moves things on with some heavier riffs that give way to more mellow sections and another cool chorus.

The title Track “For All You Cowards” closes the album, and is also one of the highlights of the album, with a great main riff and a cool sounding chorus. There’s lots of heaviness here and it serves as a great conclusion to the album!

The production is pretty good for a debut album, the guitars are plenty heavy, the bass sounds great and the vocals are nice and clear. The drums are pretty good too. The songwriting is the main thing here though, with lots of nice short songs that make their mark pretty quickly and to good effect.

This is a good album from Ross Mc Eneff and it would be awesome to see a follow-up to this soon!

Check out Ross Mc Eneff at http://rossmceneff.bandcamp.com/album/for-all-you-cowards-2

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Switchblade – Heavy Weapons

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Switchblade, an old-school Heavy Metal band from Israel, has been around since 2005. Battling a tough Metal scene, the band has just released their debut album, Heavy Weapons, and is ready to take on the scene with this release behind them.

The title track ‘Heavy Weapons’ opens up with a riff filled with classic style. A great melodic lead vocal rises up over the track, with plenty of power backing up those high notes, and giving us a great old-school chorus, with a blistering solo topping off a great initial statement on the album.

‘Euphoria’ brings a bit more of a modern grooving riff to the mix, with some awesome fast melodic sections too. Another powerful chorus carries the song forwards here, with some cool guitar harmonies that I can imagine the crowd singing along to live perhaps! ‘Metalista’ gives us a cool main riff, with a great groove to it, and a great solo that gives way to a great lead line reminiscent of Megadeth’s more melodic output.

‘Lost Lovers Unite’ starts off with nice clean guitars and an almost militaristic drumbeat, before opening up into an Iron Maiden style ballad, like something from their earlier years, that then gives way to heavier chords, whilst the vocalist is very able to keep up with the variety of styles on display in this song. This is a nice dynamic song with lots going on and lots of changes to keep listeners on their toes, with a great tight rhythm backing from the drums and bass.

‘The Lost Kingdom’ opens up with a nice technically minded riff, with some cool synth backing. This instrumental song is quite a bit different and quite short at just over 2 minutes long. ‘Infernal Paradise’ introduces us to some cool modern riffing and drumming that makes for a cool song, whilst ‘Curse Of The Father, Sins Of The Son’ blends old and new to present something that really works, with heavy chugging sections meeting power chord riffs reminiscent of the 80s.

‘Into The Unknown’ is a heavy tune with a great movement to it, with lots of nice Sabbath-esque basslines and more chugging riffs to solidify Switchblade’s style, and a great harmonised lead guitar line with lots of technical skill to it.

To finish, ‘Endless War’ is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album, almost bordering on a power metal sound and lyrical style. Lots of staccato riffs power the track along with plenty of double bass drumming and a mighty chorus to finish off a strong debut album.

The production on this album is pretty good, everything is well recorded and audible, and it all sounds pretty heavy, more than suitable for a debut album!

Overall a very strong debut album, as you’d expect from a band with this amount of history to it already! What I like about it is the mix of old and new that keeps things fresh throughout, and this approach is really working for a lot of bands right now! Here’s hoping ‘Heavy Weapons’ sets the band in good stead for the future!

‘Heavy Weapons’ is out now via Killer Metal Records

Check out Switchblade at https://www.facebook.com/SwitchbladesOfSteel

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Monument – Runaway (Single)

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The Second Wave of British Heavy Metal carries on with Monument’s new single, ‘Runaway’ from their upcoming album ‘Renegades’ and what a track to get appetites whetted ready for a new disc!

Opening with a really classic 80s sounding guitar riff, the bass and drums seamlessly work together to bring the song into full motion. With a real groove to it, this is a track that really ought to get some heads nodding. The mighty vocals of Peter Ellis return to us once more, with all the power and awesome harmonies we’ve come to expect from the man, with lots of grooving licks in between to really drive the song along. The band have really come together on this record, with really tight playing overall! A great harmonised guitar solo rounds the whole song off and supports the track like any great guitar solo should. The song is perfect single material, with catchy melodies, great sense of pacing, and all without being too complex and potentially alienating some fans of heavy music.

The cover art is really cool, featuring the band’s Mascot jack fron and center, being chased by an exectioner, accompanied by a Female bulldog complete with long blond hair and lipstick! Quite humorous but depicts the song’s more serious lyrical content quite well!

The production is world class, nice and loud, crystal clear mix, with everything really nice and audible, all blending together really nicely. The track has the feel of the 80s, with all the modern edge that new production techniques have given us over the years. If ‘Runaway’ is anything to go by, the upcoming album is going to be the stuff of legend!

‘Runaway’ Is released digitally on 18th December via MGR Music.

Check out Monument at https://www.facebook.com/monumentuk

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Firebrand Super Rock – Born For The Gallows

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Firebrand Super Rock, Heavy Metal band from Edinburgh. With an already impressive list of achievements such as supporting Slayer and Mastodon to playing at Bloodstock Open Air, the band is on the verge of release of a second album, entitled Born For The Gallows.

Smashing in with ‘Sentinel Hill’ a track full of crushing guitarss and a powerful lead vocal from Laura Donelly, which very much suits this heavier style of music without devolving into screaming riffs as some may be tempted to do. The track has a lot to offer from the word go, with heavy riffage and lots of variety that will keep the listener interested throughout.

‘Beyond The Final Gate’ boasts a really strong vocal performance, displaying lots of range with soaring highs and immense lows, especially for a female singer, a really unique performer here. The song itself overall is very fast paced with lots of speed metal style drumming powering the track forwards. Lots of winding riffs only add to the affair as a whole. ‘Lost At Sea’ opens up with a nice atmospheric build up into a grooving riff that will get heads banging, with lots of chugging guitars leading the way here.

‘Re-Animator’ starts off with a cool drum fill that gives way to an immense lead guitar riff with lots of technicality on show. This is a very speedy song with a bit of a higher vocal register approach that they pull off really way, showing that the band has a diversity not often seen in the genre.

‘Shadow of the Witch’ is another highlight of the album, with epic riffage aplenty and a nice grooving main riff. The band really comes together on this one, with an almost Grand Magus approach to the songwriting, with lots of catchy riffs and a really good chorus, that should make this a staple of live sets.

‘Addict’ starts off with a bassline that sets the song in motion with guitars and drums building upon this as the song moves on. This song is very much old school doom metal with lots of evil sounding guitar riffs and a heavy groove, and lots of melancholic sounding riffs. ‘BFOF’ is an instrumental that  gives us lots of heavy guitars bordering on an almost thrash metal sound, with lots of staccato riffs and furious drumming, with a very driving sound to it.

‘Discordia’ is a very bluesy sounding track with lots of solos and great riffs overall, with some awesome vocal harmonies to top it all off.  ‘Descent Into Madness’ brings the speed back into play with lots of really heavy riffs and technical lead guitars, with a powerful sounding rhythm section that really supports the songwriting.

‘When Worlds Collide’ brings things to a close in a great way, with eerie sounding clean guitars layered over with a  kind of ‘radio voice’ effect on the vocals; this gives way to some really nice heavy riffs with lots of changes and great playing all round, and the song features probably my favourite solo on the album, with a very melodic feel to the playing.

The production on the album is fantastic, guitars sound heavy with just the right amount of muddiness without compromising quality. The Drums are well mixed and sound nice and strong, the bass is very growly and supports the mix greatly. The vocals have been recorded really well and top off the production with lots of nice effects without overdoing it.

This is a great album from an already promising band, featuring strong songwriting, powerful riffs, a tight rhythm section and great vocals!  A band to check out in the future for sure!

Born For The Gallows is out 3rd December 2013 Via Wasted State Records

https://www.facebook.com/firebrandsuperrock

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