Tag Archives: Review

All Seeing Eyes – Trinity Road

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All Seeing Eyes is a band I’ve been keeping an eye on for a little while, with promises of their upcoming album and free tracks on show for last few months. It’s been promoted really well, and now here we are – Trinity Road. Featuring Ben Colton from Neverworld joined by Kenny Fraser and James Thackway, this is a mammoth of an album at 18 tracks of full on progressive metal!

The album is set up perfectly with The Enlightened Ones, a track with some nice guitar harmonies before slamming into a really cool power/prog riff. This twisting, turning track provides a great start to the proceedings, with some fantastic lead vocals and harmonies too. The songwriting on display right away is great, with lots of nice dynamics within the very first track alone!

For the audience:

Prog aficionados are going to want to hear this album. It’s not often enough the UK produces a band like this, with such a strong sense of songwriting and some fantastic musical moments. Tracks like Haunted give us emotive soundscapes with some powerfully written melodies and some great piano playing with a Fates Warning/Redemption sort of sound channelled through a British musician’s sense of melody.

There’s a lot on offer with this album, as you may well expect from an album as long as this (or so you’d hope, many fall flat way before their end!) From solemn sounding tracks that evolve later on into weighty metal titans later on such as The Cube (which features Crimson Glory’s Ben Jackson) to some straight up heavy metal in the form of tracks like Break The Chains which has an old school Queensryche feel to it but again offering that little something different in the form of All Seeing Eyes’ trademark melodic metal sounds. Hunted is also a cool little number, featuring ex Neuronspoiler members Dave Del Cid and Dave Shirman for a mighty flurry of riffage with some real energy and impact.

All Seeing Eyes manage to write progressive metal tracks without falling too much into the temptation of lengthy songs for the sake of lengthy songs (there is Demons which is a fantastic example of how lengthy songs really ought to be done!) and the song on this album are all pretty focusses with powerful choruses and great riffs throughout.

The album closes with The Aftermath and this track really delivers that necessary final blow in a nice dramatic fashion, with a great build up and lots of nice light and shade on display, as I have come to expect from a project prominently featuring Ben Colton now.

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For the artist:

This is a really strong release, with some really solid production. The guitars sound really nice here, with some really great sounding solos and the vocals are produced fantastically throughout, both lead and backing. The guest performances featured have been equally mixed in really well and it all gels together so nicely! I would have liked a little more bass guitar in the mix but overall the mixing and mastering is totally solid to be honest.

My only slight issue is the programmed drums, but it’s not something that has a super negative effect on the album and the experience of it as a whole. It’s been done well enough that most listeners can’t really tell at all, and the drumming has been programmed really well, but nothing for me personally can beat what a human drummer can bring to a band’s sound. It’s really the only thing I can think of for this band to improve, I’d love to hear what they could do with a drummer powering the rhythm of the band, as good as the programmed beats already are!

Trinity Road is an astonishing debut album from All Seeing Eyes. The amount of work that has gone into this is crystal clear for all to see, with numerous really well done guest performances, songs that don’t drag the listener down into boredom territory even at its lengthy 108 minutes, which is a feat even for legendary artists to achieve! This is something to be proud of and something really worth checking out for fans of melodic progressive metal!

Trinity Road Is Released on December 1st

Check out All Seeing Eyes at https://www.facebook.com/ALLSEEINGEYESMETAL

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Christopher Sampson – The Blood Of The Lamb II

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Christopher Sampson is a talented young musician I discovered when I met him at a musicans meeting in Peterborough. I also saw him perform live as a bassist with fantastic local NWOBHM band Untamed, and I could see he was quite talented from the offset. His new EP The Blood Of The Lamb II is a progressive metal journey that although 4 tracks long is in fact about an hour of music in an EP!

Opening up with Welcome… Beast, straight away there’s a bit of a Queen influence before heading into classic prog synths with a vocal slightly reminiscent of Geddy Lee but with a bit more edge. This song is all over the place in a good way, with so many different twists and turns it would take a very long review to describe it all. The fact there is songwriting this strong right from the bat is a massive strength in Chris’ advantage! With heavy riffs meeting tight rhythm sections and well performed synth passages, this is definitely masterpiece, and the risky move of opening with an incredibly long number certainly pays off! There’s some great dynamics on display, from heavy sections to more calm breakdowns that build atmosphere with spoken word too. The vocal range for such a young singer is also very impressive, and the instrumental work on display is also equally impressive.

Follow The Spiders is next up, opening with a creepy atmosphere, before slamming into some awesome riffage with some screamed vocals by Emilio Alucard, contrasting with Chris’ lighter vocal. This song although shorter than that the preceding track is equally full of changes in dynamics, and has some great melodies throughout too. This one feels a little more like Coheed And Cambria and more modern progressive rock and metal, but still has some really cool old school sounding synths and some Dream Theater style riffage too.

A Kiss From The Lips Of Deceit/Climbing The Blue Mountain has a really nice chilled out vibe to begin with, with nice clean guitar chords, some great percussion building up an atmosphere and some vocals from Charlie Cassells providing a really well performed duet from her and Chris here. This is a really nice track, and offers something a little different from the two that came before. There’s some great guitar soloing later on, and yet again great use of dynamics here!

The EP closes with Dancing To The Melody Of Madness (and Drinking The Blood That Remains) and this is another epic at 28 minutes long. Opening up with delicate piano before ripping into a massive guitar riff with some great synth melodies layered on top. This is another track with a hell of a lot going on, even with some saxophone moments and even some stuff that borders on jazz in places! There are plenty of awesome riffs here, with really heavy sounding guitars in places meeting lighter sections later on. Tension is built and released really well throughout the track’s long runtime too! This song has lots of different parts in a very classic but highly appreciated prog rock methodology, telling an epic tale throughout.

I am told there are a lot of references to the genre of progressive rock itself. I must admit personally couldn’t them out on the whole, but at the same time wouldn’t really want to spoil it for prog rock fanatics, so for that reason as well as the music itself I certainly recommend checking this out!

The production is really quite good, with great studio quality and well recorded instruments throughout. Clearly a hell of a lot of thought and effort has gone into this release.

This is a fantastic release from Christopher Sampson, with the advent of him travelling to uni to study the art of music, I am definitely interested in seeing what happens next with this young man!

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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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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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