Album Review – Lunatic Hooker / Embracing The Filth (2017)

Be embraced by the filthy and crushing Grindcore with a Sludge Metal twist crafted by five British musicians who got together to reignite their inner fire and passion for extreme music.

The music business can be spirit crushing and soul destroying, where bands that start as groups of friends with a passion for music can end up disillusioned, with the flames of their passion near extinguished. This happened to British musicians George (vocals), Ross (guitar), Tim (guitar), Duncan (bass, vocals) and Rafael (drums) in their respective bands, but rather than let those last flickering embers burn out for good, they got together to reignite the fire, forging in 2014 a new evil entity that goes by the name of Lunatic Hooker, blasting a roaring fusion of Grindcore and Sludge Metal perfect for nonstop slamming and headbanging.

After the release of a two-track demo in 2015 and a single with their cover version for Motörhead’s all-time classic (We Are) The Road Crew in 2016, this London-based squad is unleashing upon humanity their debut full-length opus, titled Embracing The Filth. Featuring twelve tracks of unrelenting, punishing and pulverizing Extreme Metal, all enfolded by a captivating artwork by Dan Capp (Winterfylleth) and crackling with that irresistible rediscovered electricity, Embracing The Filth is one of those albums you might not know what you’re dealing with at first, but that you’ll get addicted to as soon as you hit play and let its piercing sounds invade your ears.

Rafael and his doomed beats ignite the sludgy party named My God Is Bigger than Yours (what a clever name for a song), before chaos reigns through the putrid gnarls by George and the dirty and fast riffage by Ross and Tim. Once again uniting Grindcore with Sludge Metal, demonic sounds emanate from all instruments in Beard Feared, in special the blast beats by Rafael and the devilish growling by George, with its brutal slamming rhythm drawing influences from Slayer, Napalm Death and other devastating groups; followed by The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword, another song with a very intelligent name that also presents crushing riffs and beats while George sounds more demonic than ever (and let me say that, if you survive the intense circle pit this song can generate, you’re pretty much immortal), and Unearthed Dead Children, a sonic onslaught of Grindcore bursting heaviness through the cavernous growls by George and Rafael’s ruthless drumming.

The title-track Embracing the Filth lives up to its name, being a dirty, crude and absolutely vile composition of darkness. Moreover, it feels like the guitars by Ross and Tim are an extension of George’s sick vocals, consequently enhancing the song’s overall impact, with Rafael once again showing no mercy for his drum set. In Blood Eagle we face an eerie start that lasts for almost half of the song before the band gets back to their sick high-speed musicality, with its guitars and drums exhaling sheer Grindcore, whereas Fucks All brings elements from Hardcore and Thrash Metal to their already aggressive sonority. Tim and Ross keep firing some sick dirty riffs to make the whole song more demonic, also presenting Black and Death Metal blast beats thanks to the unwearying Rafael. And the excellent Cult Chaos begins at full speed, reminding me of some of the most visceral creations by Cannibal Corpse, with all instruments sounding extremely sharp from start to finish. Hence, this slamming composition should work really well during their live performances.

In Transformation Walrus, a song inspired by and featuring footage in its official video from Kevin Smith’s 2014 film Tusk, darkness takes control of the band from the very first second, with George leading his crew with his deranged growls, before See the Light, perhaps the most violent of all tracks, showcases deeper guttural vocals by George and the merciless drums by Rafael highly influenced by old school Death Metal. In other words, Lunatic Hooker offer us two and a half minutes of pure brutality, with some harmonious guitar lines and solos to give more balance to the overall result. There are two more songs to go in this demonic opus, starting with Spain in the Neck, another recommended soundtrack for a sick mosh pit where Ross and Tim sound like two beasts with their flammable strings, while Rafael keeps the adrenaline high with his unstoppable beats. And finally, the closing of their awesome casket comes in the form of a 6-minute demented extravaganza named Sarlac, where George reaches the deepest and most obscure growls of the entire album. Slow and steady, almost sounding like Funeral Doom, this composition is very different from all previous tracks, showing the band’s crisp versatility in Extreme Metal.

If you feel more than ready to be embraced by Lunatic Hooker’s filthy and crushing Grindcore with the sluggish twist coming from their Sludge Metal vein, go join their demented crew at their official Facebook page and enjoy more of their cutting music at their YouTube channel. In Embracing The Filth, available at the band’s Big Cartel, at the Black Bow Records’ BandCamp and on Amazon, Lunatic Hooker were extremely successful in concentrating all their passion for extreme music and transform that metallic amalgam into reality, leaving all doors open for another blast of their vicious music anytime soon, and hopefully for many years to come as well.

Best moments of the album: My God Is Bigger than Yours, Embracing the Filth and Cult Chaos.

Worst moments of the album: Blood Eagle.

Released in 2017 Black Bow Records

Track listing
1. My God Is Bigger than Yours 3:16
2. Beard Feared 2:32
3. The Pen Is Mightier than the Sword 3:08
4. Unearthed Dead Children 2:48
5. Embracing the Filth 3:07
6. Blood Eagle 4:13
7. Fucks All 2:46
8. Cult Chaos 3:24
9. Transformation Walrus 3:32
10. See the Light 2:35
11. Spain in the Neck 2:46
12. Sarlac 6:24

Bonus track
13. (We Are) The Road Crew (Motörhead cover) 2:44

Band members
George – vocals
Ross – guitar
Tim – guitar
Duncan – bass, vocals
Rafael – drums

Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio Promo Hour Of The Day – From Monday To Friday @ 8pm GMT

Featured

http://midnight-madness.is-a-rockstar.com/Great news for all of you metalheads!

FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY @ 8pm GMT, one of our kick-ass partners, Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, broadcasting directly from London, England, will blast the best of underground metal music reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose during the PROMO HOUR OF THE DAY!

So remember, FROM MONDAY TO FRIDAY @ 8PM GMT tune into Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio to get your daily shot of the cream of the underground metal music crop, from Hard Rock to Black Metal, from Folk Metal to Thrash Metal, from Doom Metal to Metalcore, and so on! You’ll have the unique pleasure of listening to the superb music by bands like Charm Designer, Neverworld, Majesty Of Revival, Nervosa, False Coda, Atonismen, Diabolizer, The Silent Rage, Terrifier, Gaerea, and tons of other amazing metal acts from all over the world!

Here are all the options where can blow your speakers with Midnight Madness:

Official website
Twitter
Online Radio Box
Tunein
Streema
Listen2MyRadio
Radio Garden

And if you want to have your new album reviewed at The Headbanging Moose AND played at Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio, simply get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page.

Album Review – Avenford / New Beginning (2017)

A lecture in melodic, progressive and vigorous Power Metal by a band that has all it takes to be one of the greatest names in Power Metal within the next few years.

Rating4

avenford-new-beginningFormed in the summer of 2012 by guitarist Peter Szehoffner and lead singer and guitarist Arpie Gamson in Hungary, inspired by the music by Masterplan, Jorn Lande, Yngwie Malmsteen and Iron Maiden, among others, but currently residing in London, England, Power Metal quartet Avenford has been making a name for themselves in the world of heavy music since their inception, delivering first-class Heavy Metal for fans of melodic guitars, fast and rhythmic drums and epic high-pitched vocal lines. After releasing their debut album in 2014, titled Mortal Price, and after beginning to conquer Europe and the rest of the world with their music, it’s time for Avenford to strike us all again with their fresh new album New Beginning.

The list of guest musicians in New Beginning is quite extensive, each one adding their own share of adrenaline to the final result. We have Apollo Papathanasio (Spiritual Beggars, Firewind), Zoltan Marothy (Kiss Forever Band), Roland Grapow (Masterplan, Helloween), Zoltan Kiss (Iron Maidnem), Bodor Mate (Alestorm) and Piotr Sikora (Exlibis) lending their feeling and refined techniques to Avenford, contributing with Peter, Arpie, bassist Tom Longbottom and drummer Jivodar Dimitrov in crafting beautiful and exciting Heavy Metal perfect for hitting the road, for having a good time with your friends, or for simply relaxing and enjoying it by yourself.

The opening track Dead or Alive doesn’t waste a single second and comes ripping in a heavy and melodic way led by the guitars by Arpie and Peter, suddenly turning into a fast-paced metal feast with guest singer Apollo Papathanasio kicking some serious ass on vocals, resulting in Power Metal at its finest; whereas Back in Time is a Symphonic Power Metal composition with a strong focus on its electrified atmosphere and the fierce drumming by Jivodar, also featuring an amazing solo by guest guitarist Zoltán Maróthy. And progressiveness, intricacy and tons of feeling are the main ingredients in the fast-paced chant Assassin, where not only both guitarists are on fire, blasting beautiful riffs and solos, but the rumbling bass lines by Tom are also very effective and add a lot of groove to the music.

avenfordAlbeit slightly slower, Fury Road is still very progressive and heavy, with the one and only Roland Grapow doing what he does best, which is of course delivering awesomeness though his guitar solo, before the short and pleasant instrumental bridge Maze of Visions builds the ambience for the title-track New Beginning, a heavy power-ballad where Arpie has an amazing performance on vocals while the rest of the band sounds extremely cohesive and focused on delivering top-tier Power Metal to the masses. And in Overlord, a futuristic warlike intro explodes into Progressive Power Metal due to the accelerated beats by Jivodar, with both Arpie and Peter making the perfect dynamic duo on guitars. In other words, if you love high-octane Melodic Heavy Metal, this thrilling tune will definitely please your metallic ears.

With guest singer Zoltán Kiss giving a lesson in melodic vocals, Dark Angel presents the perfect combination of guitars and keyboards the likes of Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, having all it takes to become a classic among fans of the genre. Besides, how not to get excited with the song’s amazing chorus? In Mask, we’re treated to more electricity and passion for heavy music from Avenford, a very traditional sonority led by the potent vocals by Arpie and the unstoppable drums by Jivodar, and featuring a great guitar solo by another guest Máté Bodor; while Return from the Land of Emeralds is the dream of every musician that loves complex and metallic Power Metal. All band members are in perfect sync in this instrumental feast, with Tom and Jivodar crafting the perfect atmosphere for all the song’s inspiring guitar solos. And my favorite track of the album, Unholy Game, featuring the sharp keyboards by guest musician Piotr Sikora, brings elements from old school Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock that truly elevate the song’s electricity to a whole new level. No one can stand still to such amazing tune, with Arpie being absolutely fantastic on vocals.

In a nutshell, New Beginning is a lecture in melodic, progressive and vigorous Power Metal by a band that sounds like veterans of the genre, despite being on the road for less than a decade, and if you’re fond of this always galvanized genre of heavy music I highly recommend you go visit Avenford’s Facebook page and YouTube channel to get more details on this excellent band and their inspiring music. And of course if you want to add New Beginning to your distinct collection of Power Metal albums, you can find it at the Pride & Joy webshop, at Record Shop X, on iTunes or on Amazon. The name of the album might be New Beginning, but what we have is actually a solid continuation to the career of a band that has an immeasurable potential to become one of the greatest names in Power Metal within the next few years.

Best moments of the album: Dead or Alive, New Beginning, Dark Angel and Unholy Game.

Worst moments of the album: Back in Time.

Released in 2017 Pride & Joy Music

Track listing
1. Dead or Alive 4:22
2. Back in Time 3:50
3. Assassin 4:30
4. Fury Road 4:32
5. Maze of Visions 1:21
6. New Beginning 7:13
7. Overlord 5:41
8. Dark Angel 3:43
9. Mask 3:56
10. Return from the Land of Emeralds 5:49
11. Unholy Game 3:48

Band members
Arpie Gamson – vocals, guitar
Peter Szehoffner – guitar, backing vocals
Tom Longbottom – bass
Jivodar Dimitrov – drums

Guest musicians
Apollo Papathanasio – vocals on “Dead or Alive”
Zoltán Maróthy – lead guitars on “Back in Time”
Roland Grapow – lead guitars on “Fury Road”
Zoltán Kiss – vocals on “Dark Angel”
Máté Bodor – lead guitars on “Mask”
Piotr Sikora – keyboards on “Unholy Game”

Concert Review – Iron Maiden (Air Canada Centre, Toronto, ON, 04/03/2016)

Not even a bitterly cold and snowy night in Toronto could stop Iron Maiden from writing another beautiful and epic chapter in The Book Of Souls.

OPENING ACT: The Raven Age

iron maiden_the book of souls world tour 2016Here we go again, another blistering cold night in Toronto when it was supposed to be already warming up, with around 15cm of snow out of nowhere just to make the beginning of this spring even weirder than the warmest winter in history. However, when you have the best Heavy Metal band in the entire world playing live in the city, who truly cares about some harmless snowflakes? My only concern was if we were going to have the same sound issues from the concert Friday night in Montreal also here in Toronto, but fortunately the sound quality at the Air Canada Centre was a billion times better than at the Bell Centre, making the whole night even more memorable.

After facing over 30 minutes out in the cold in a never-ending line where there was even an Elvis with an Eddie mask from Powerslave (would that make him the “Presleyslave” or the “Elvis High”?), I got back to the place where I belong in concerts, the floor section (and not those uncomfortable seats from Bell Centre). I might be wrong, but the floor section was quite empty for a sold out concert, even during Iron Maiden. If that’s for safety reasons, no problem, but I think they could have added at least a thousand extra tickets for that area. Anyway, my comments about the opening act, British Melodic Metal THE RAVEN AGE, are exactly the same from Friday night, which means if you read my review for Montreal you can apply each and every word to Toronto as well.

Setlist
Uprising
Promised Land
The Death March
Eye Among the Blind
The Merciful One
Salem’s Fate
Angel in Disgrace

Band members
Michael Burrough – vocals
Dan Wright – guitar
George Harris – guitar
Matt Cox – bass
Jai Patel – drums

IRON MAIDEN

IMG_1236While some bands look and sound the exact same every single night, there’s something about IRON MAIDEN that makes each of their live performances unique even if they do not change anything in their setlist during the entire tour, as it’s happening during the amazing The Book Of Souls World Tour 2016. We all know which songs they’re going to play, and some people even complain about the band’s predictability, but when the concert starts Bruce, Steve and Co. manage to be different, to sound different and to always offer something new to their fans. Maybe that’s the main reason why they’re who they’re today, right?

Thanks to the almighty Eddie, there were no problems with the sound! Quite the contrary, each instrument was loud and clear, especially the pounding drums by the one and only Mr. Nicko McBrain and the rumbling bass guitar by the band’s mastermind Mr. Steve Harris, who made the epic tune The Book of Souls sound more powerful than ever. By the way, what an amazing reaction the fans had to all new songs from The Book Of Souls, especially the opening song If Eternity Should Fail and what was once again the highlight of the show for me, The Red and the Back. Of course fans went crazy when they played classics such as The Trooper, Powerslave (with Bruce wearing the same “luchador” mask from the past couple of shows due to Wrestlemania weekend), Hallowed Be Thy Name (with everyone at the ACC beautifully singing it together with the band), The Number of the Beast and Wasted Years, but it’s nice to see Iron Maiden are not trapped in the past and are still releasing awesome music for our total delight.

iron maiden torontoNow let’s talk about those special details that made last night unique, and I’m not talking about the cold and the snow. We all know how intelligent and skillful Mr. Bruce Dickinson is, and that was once again proved after the band performed the heavy and fast Death or Glory. Any other musician would have ignored the fact the song has a special importance to Toronto and to Canada, but Bruce made sure he spent the necessary time to explain the song is about Baron Manfred von Richthofen, better known as the “Red Baron”, who was shot down by Canadian air ace Captain Roy Brown in 1918, and that the seat of Red Baron’s triplane was donated by the dauntless Canadian pilot to a museum in Toronto. Bruce only forgot to mention the name of the museum, so if you’re interested in visiting it and seeing the airplane seat from the renowned Red Baron you need to go to the Royal Canadian Military Institute Museum (RCMI). As a side note, “Turns like a devil, climbs like a monkey!” (or something like that) were the Red Baron’s words about the Fokker Dr I, the most successful triplane in history. Guess where you can also find these words? And before I forget, poor Janick Gers, his guitar stopped working in the middle of the song and he had to spend about two minutes backstage trying to fix it. I’m not going to mention that most people didn’t even notice that “small” detail mainly because Dave Murray and Adrian Smith were on fire with their flawless riffs and solos, ans also because I like Janick’s performance (I think he IS important to what Iron Maiden are today), but if you also saw that you know what I’m talking about.

IMG_1225By the end of the show, while introducing the melodic Blood Brothers, Bruce spoke about the differences in terms of safety and quality of life found everywhere the band goes, comparing for example our always safe Canada to one of the most dangerous countries in the world, El Salvador, but also saying if there’s one thing that unites us all and helps us face any adversities in life is Heavy Metal, in special if you’re part of the MAIDEN FAMILY. On the train back to my small city, Oakville, an “old school” couple who also attended the concert sat in front of us and we instantly started chatting about Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anthrax, Slayer, Metallica (the guy even fist pumped me full of joy when I said Metallica is the most overrated band on earth), sports, and several other topics. They even gave us a customized pair of hockey blade tapes from The Book Of Souls without even knowing us! That moment I realized how big, fun and unified the Maiden Family mentioned by Bruce is. And I’m happy to be part of it, so happy I didn’t even care I had to wipe a ton of snow from my car at the train station, at midnight, and under a frigid temperature of around -6oC. Actually, I was very relaxed while doing that, humming the “Oh-oh Oh-oh-oh! Oh-oh Oh-oh-oh!” from The Red and the Black and already thinking about when I’ll be able to watch Iron Maiden kicking some serious ass once again.

Setlist
Doctor Doctor (UFO song)
If Eternity Should Fail
Speed of Light
Children of the Damned
Tears of a Clown
The Red and the Black
The Trooper
Powerslave
Death or Glory
The Book of Souls
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden

Encore:
The Number of the Beast
Blood Brothers
Wasted Years
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python song)

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Concert Review – Iron Maiden (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, 04/01/2016)

Criez pour moi, Montréal! Criez pour moi, Canada!

OPENING ACT: The Raven Age

iron maiden_the book of souls world tour 2016Finally, after endless hours of rain, strong winds, sun, rain again, snow, sun again and snow again on the road, I’m back from Montreal where I had the pleasure to see for the 17th time in my life the almighty Iron Maiden at the Bell Centre. Before I talk about the concert itself, I would like to recommend the excellent Hôtel Bonaventure no matter what you’re planning to do in Montreal. Not only the hotel is extremely well located (for example, it’s only a 5 to 10-minute walk away from the Bell Centre), but the staff is very friendly, the rooms are comfortable and clean, and their heated outdoor pool is a relaxing option after a busy day in the city.

Getting back to the gig, I don’t have much to say about the opening act THE RAVEN AGE mainly because I didn’t have time to listen to their music before the concert. This London-based band plays a solid mix of Melodic Metal and Metalcore, but nothing new to the world of heavy music. If this is your cup of tea, you’ll probably have a good time listening to them, otherwise do not expect to be blown away by their music. One might ask why those guys are the opening act for Iron Maiden during their entire world tour. Well, one of the guitarists is called George Harris, son of the best and most important bass player in the history of Heavy Metal. Do I need to say more?

Setlist
Uprising
Promised Land
The Death March
Eye Among the Blind
The Merciful One
Salem’s Fate
Angel in Disgrace

Band members
Michael Burrough – vocals
Dan Wright – guitar
George Harris – guitar
Matt Cox – bass
Jai Patel – drums

IRON MAIDEN

DSC06715Unless you spent the last few months or so stranded in a space station in Mars like Matt Damon in the fun movie The Martian, you already know how grandiose and special The Book Of Souls World Tour 2016 has been so far for all Maidenmaniacs worldwide. Promoting their masterpiece The Book Of Souls, Heavy Metal titans IRON MAIDEN are better than ever on stage, led by obviously Mr. Steve Harris with his galloping bass guitar and an unstoppable Bruce Dickinson proving us all that cancer can be overcome if your will to live is stronger than your fear of dying.

iron maiden montrealA few marvelous details caught my attention before and during the concert, things that only Iron Maiden can provide you and no one else. First of all, there was a group of friends a few rows below mine proudly flying a flag from the distant territory of Nunavut, in northern Canada. I have no idea if they live in Montreal or if they were there just for the concert, but just for you to better understand this, its capital city Iqaluit is located over 2,000km from Montreal, and it can only be reached by plane in a 5-hour direct flight. Iron Maiden are capable of shortening any distance in such a powerful way it’s hard to describe the feeling, don’t you agree? Secondly, about three rows below me, there was a couple where the mom was carrying a beautiful 6-month (or even less) baby who had a mini Iron Maiden flag hanging from his back (and of course a “fancy” pair of earphones to protect his tiny ears), something so pure and gracious it gives a good amount of hope to our decaying world. Although there were many other kids with their parents at the venue (another thing only Iron Maiden can provide us fans), I’ll never forget the image of that baby and his badass flag. And lastly, that was not only the first time I saw Iron Maiden from a numbered seat, but also the first time I witnessed Bruce interacting with the crowd in French all the time. I have to point out how unique Bruce is. Who else can do all the stuff he does at the same time and thrive in every single one of them?

DSC06719Talking about the concert itself, nothing I say here will properly express all the passion and emotion of watching those six old school British metallers live once again. Blending old classics like Children of the Damned and The Trooper with new kick-ass tunes such as The Red and the Black (my favorite moment of the night) and Death or Glory, they offered all types of fans everything we could expect for. Not even the horrible sound quality at the Bell Centre, which almost ruined the magnificent intro in If Eternity Should Fail, could make the whole experience less superb. From the entire setlist, the aforementioned The Red and the Black, the incredible The Book of Souls, the all-time classic Hallowed Be Thy Name and the meaningful Blood Brothers (or “frères de sang”, as Bruce introduced it), where that mom was literally cradling her baby “metalhead” to the song’s lovely rhythm, were the moments where I felt in another dimension so perfect they were.

When the concert was over it was easy to see a huge smile on everyone’s faces, proving once again the positive power Iron Maiden always have on us all. And please forgive me for such a short review, but I have to get ready to see my favorite band of all time once again tonight at the Air Canada Centre, here in Toronto. UP THE IRONS!

Setlist
Doctor Doctor (UFO song)
If Eternity Should Fail
Speed of Light
Children of the Damned
Tears of a Clown
The Red and the Black
The Trooper
Powerslave
Death or Glory
The Book of Souls
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Fear of the Dark
Iron Maiden

Encore:
The Number of the Beast
Blood Brothers
Wasted Years
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python song)

Band members
Bruce Dickinson – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass
Dave Murray – guitar
Adrian Smith – guitar
Janick Gers – guitar
Nicko McBrain – drums

Album Review – Cherry White / Staring at the Sun EP (2015)

Sit down, relax and enjoy this beautiful display of Blues Rock by an emerging British band destined to conquer the world with their elegant music.

Rating5

cherry white_staring at the sunSometimes we all must slow down a bit in our hectic lives, relaxing our minds before we go nuts with all the wildness surrounding us. In order to achieve that desired level of peacefulness, there’s nothing better than enjoying some soft and passionate Rock N’ Roll, and the music crafted by British Contemporary Rock band Cherry White has exactly what it takes to help soothe our weary spirits. However, do not think the music you’ll find in their brand new EP entitled Staring at the Sun lacks excitement. Quite the contrary, the EP emanates electricity, gripping your attention even during its smoothest passages.

Insired by life in London during its austerity era, encompassed by the greed of the wealthy, the six tracks in Staring at the Sun circle around an aspiration for this London-based four-piece band to reach higher and achieve their goals in the music industry and beyond. Blending the Soft Rock by Fleetwood Mac with the Blues Rock from bands like The Raconteurs, Cherry White seem to be in the right path to accomplish their mission, offering their fans high-quality rock music that sounds incredibly authentic and original, making you feel good while listening to it.

Despite never getting truly heavy, the opening tack Drifter can still be considered badass Southern Rock, starting in a groovy and catchy way with frontwoman Donata Sounds needing only a few seconds to show her exceptional skills as a singer. In addition, it’s when the rest of the instruments hit the music (especially the power of the harmonica) that things get really exciting without exaggerating on the dosage, making it the perfect example for the famous expression “less is more”. The next tune, Do It Better, sounds a lot more commercial, a mix of Alternative Rock and Pop Rock that could be played on any radio station in the world, with highlights to guitarist Russell Jones and drummer Felipe Drago for their superb job building the atmosphere for Donata to deliver her gorgeous vocal lines.

cherry whiteAngel is a smooth Rock N’ Roll ballad that will unquestionably become a fan favorite, and although the main focus is on Donata’s voice there’s room for all band members to shine. Pay good attention to the strong bass lines by Ralph Beeby in the background and you’ll see what I’m talking about, and also don’t forget to enjoy the melancholy in the last part of the song as it will touch your heart in a lovely way. Following that gentle music exhibit, we have the modern but at the same time very old school rock song 7 Days, where the dirty and exciting riffs sound totally inspired by the music from the 70’s, and there’s no way you won’t get thrilled with the song’s amazing guitar solo and chorus.

Then it’s time for Cherry White to sing the Blues in Blue Eyes, an introspective tune where all instruments sound so clean and polished to the point that, by just closing you eyes, you can perfectly imagine a scene at a first-class pub with Donata’s sexy performance in the spotlight while the rest of the band is wearing black suits and playing in the shadows. Moreover, some passages remind me of the classic ballads by Faith No More, and if you know how much I like Mike Patton and his crew you can have an idea of my joy while listening to this song. And closing the EP we have another delicate and progressive rock tune brought forth by these talented musicians, the title-track Staring At The Sun, a song full of passion and sorrow with a short but very enjoyable rockin’ ending that could work as a bridge or connection to their next release, if they haven’t thought about that already.

Cheery White can be found on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and SoundCloud, and if you’re a fan of softer and lively rock music and want to grab your copy of Staring at the Sun, simply go to their BandCamp page to do so. Now please excuse me because it’s time to relax and enjoy this beautiful display of Blues Rock by Cherry White, an emerging band from the UK that will soon conquer the entire world with their elegant music, no doubt about that.

Best moments of the album: Drifter and Blue Eyes.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2015 Independent

Track listing
1. Drifter 3:39
2. Do It Better 3:11
3. Angel 7:06
4. 7 Days 3:25
5. Blue Eyes 4:42
6. Staring At The Sun 6:16

Band members
Donata Sounds – lead vocals
Russell Jones – guitars, vocals
Ralph Beeby – bass guitars, piano, organ, harmonica, vocals
Felipe Drago – drums

Album Review – Deadly Circus Fire / The Hydra’s Tailor (2015)

What are you waiting for to put your hands on one of the best and most professional Progressive Metal albums from the past few years?

Rating3

hydra cover 1500x1500 pxDescribed by renowned British magazine Metal Hammer as “one of the most imaginative and formidable” Progressive Rock/Metal bands available in the market today, London-based four-piece group Deadly Circus Fire will blow your mind with the high-end fusion of raw metallic riffs and complex melodies found in their brand new album entitled The Hydra’s Tailor, telling you stories and invading your psyche in a brilliant way. And especially if you’re addicted to innovative bands such as Tool and Mastodon, the music by these British guys is mandatory to your collection.

Formed in early 2009 in the UK, the band released a self-titled EP in 2010 and their first full-length album The King and the Bishop in 2013, both receiving excellent feedback from fans and critics due to the band’s unique progressiveness and melodic lines. In addition, they’ve already supported Welsh Alternative Metal/Hardcore Punk band Skindred on one of their European tours, counting it among their career highlights so far. Of course, nothing would have been possible if the musicians involved weren’t as skilled as they are, because in the end the music itself is what really matters, don’t you agree?

Now turn up the volume and you’ll feel the reverberation inside your mind while lead singer Adam Grant declaims some thoughtful words in the excellent intro In Darkness We Trust, right before Animal hits you like a bullet to the head so progressive and heavy it is. I love those songs where you can clearly listen to the powerful sound of a bass guitar, and the low-tuned lines by bassist Mike Enort are spot-on. Fans of Tool will go crazy with this song, as well as with Where It Lies, where its acoustic notes open the gates for more creativity and intricacy, providing the listener a good balance between heavier riffs and smoother vocals, closer to what Mastodon do but with a Metalcore touch. Not only that, a Dream Theater-ish voyage was chosen by the band to conclude the song, and once again kudos to Mike for a superb job with his bass guitar.

Victim, which starts in a truly wicked way, showcases powerful riffs by the amazing guitarist Save Addario while drummer Paul Igoe smashes his drums with so much talent it’s hard to explain it in just a few words. Besides, the sounding of bass and drums during the guitar solo is at the same time complex and pleasant, turning the song into one of the best moments of the album. And their vision of a devilish opera couldn’t sound more obscure and interesting than in Devil’s Opera, where Progressive Metal is flawlessly blended with Sludge Metal and tons of groove. I would love to see them replicating that sonority live one day, that should be great.

DCFMore Americanized than all previous tracks, especially the vocals by Adam, Rise Again is an excellent choice for an alternate rock n’ roll radio station, with the duo Save and Mike giving a progressive lesson with their strings. It’s heavier than lots of Death and Thrash Metal bands I know, with its second half being one of those weird trips that musicians like the guys from Deadly Circus Fire always have an awesome time playing. Then we have the calm instrumental intro Martyrs, introducing the listener to the superb House of Plagues, which despite starting in a very groovy way it morphs into a creepier and more violent tune, especially the vocals by Adam when he screams “Lies, lies, lies!”. Although totally insane and progressive, it’s at the same time an easy listen, with its lyrics matching perfectly with every single second of it.

Aeden is perhaps one of the most complete examples of Progressive Groove Metal you can find, with highlights to its wicked guitar lines enhanced by the complexity imposed by Paul on drums. Moreover, pay attention to how the chorus goes from smooth to harsh in a matter of seconds. The title-track The Hydra’s Tailor has a great atmosphere with a strong Doom-ish vein, and its melancholic lyrics guide the music to a heavy ending, followed by Turning the Tide, which proves once again that despite most songs surpass the 6-minute barrier that doesn’t mean they get tiring at all. The band yet again focuses on a musicality similar to the work done by Mastodon, in special the outstanding heaviness generated by Save and Mike with their guitar and bass lines. And guess what? The last track (and also the longest of all) entitled Universe is another feast of progressiveness and talent, where its semi-acoustic beginning marvellously evolves to a much darker sounding. You can sense the music is about to “explode” anytime but somehow the band intelligently prevents it from happening, holding (almost) all their anger inside and transmitting that excruciating pressure to the listener.

To be fair, it’s hard to find the right words to describe such complex and cunning music. With that said, in order to get more details about this work-of-art, you should check the band’s Facebook page or SoundCloud, and also listen to a promo of the album on YouTube. And if you’re more than convinced of the band’s capacity and are eager to buy The Hydra’s Tailor, simply go to iTunes or to the Musicarchy Media webstore to lay your metal hands on one of the best and most professional Progressive Metal albums from the past few years.

Best moments of the album: Animal, Victim, House of Plagues and Universe.

Worst moments of the album: The Hydra’s Tailor.

Released in 2015 Musicarchy Media

Track listing
1. In Darkness We Trust 2:32
2. Animal 4:25
3. Where It Lies 6:44
4. Victim 6:02
5. Devil’s Opera 3:49
6. Rise Again 7:31
7. Martyrs 1:46
8. House of Plagues 6:44
9. Aeden 5:20
10. The Hydra’s Tailor 3:59
11. Turning the Tide 6:07
12. Universe 7:43

Band members
Adam Grant – vocals
Save Addario – guitars
Mike Enort – bass guitar, vocals
Paul Igoe – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Lahannya

lahannya01

Justice ravaged by pain… I surrended my innocence in vain.

Our Heavy Metal diva this month is a tribute to Gothic Rock & Metal, a “love it or hate it” type of music that always divides the opinion of the more traditional metalheads. Fans of Iron Maiden, Slayer, Judas Priest and Metallica, for example, usually tend to despise almost everything from bands such as Rammstein, The Prodigy or Disturbed, mainly because “those bands are not true Heavy Metal”. However, they all have a lot of very interesting, creative and especially heavy material, which is also the case for the dark alternative music by our blue-haired gothic goddess Lahannya.

Lahannya was born in the United Kingdom, and although I’m not 100% sure, I believe her birthday is on January 20. Don’t ask me her full name or the year and city she was born (which by the way might be London), though, as it seems she’s one of those girls that doesn’t enjoy sharing her age nor many other details about her personal life with the rest of the world. Well, that doesn’t affect the quality of her work by any means, as what really matters here are her music, vocal performance and, of course, her stunning dark alternative looks.

Let’s say that Lahannya is not a regular singer, songwriter and performer: she’s a lot more than that, we should say a one-of-a-kind frontwoman, and her talent and skills can be enjoyed not only in the music from her own band, Lahannya, but also in the compositions from many other different bands and artists. Although she’s never made it to the mainstream, it’s in the underground world of heavy music where she has established her pillars and it’s also where she keeps influencing the newest generations of gothic and heavy musicians with her unique approach.

To begin with, it was back in 2004 when she met bassist Lutz Demmler, from German Gothic Metal band Umbra et Imago, at the M’Era Luna Festival where things really started to happen for Lahannya. After several projects since the beginning of her career in 1998, including the song Drowning for the compilation album Amduscias (1998) and her first EP entitled Drowning (2000), she finally formed the band Lahannya together with her then (and still) good friend Lutz in 2005, which is nowadays complemented live by German guitarist Christopher Milden and Italian drummer Luca Mazzucconi.

Lahannya’s Gothic Metal music is a complex and rich blend of the sonority from bands and artists such as The Prodigy, Disturbed, Loreena McKennitt, among many others. Actually, it’s kind of hard to truly define their music or compare it to other artists, although their lyrical themes are similar to what some of those artists also sing about, like darkness, pain, agony and relationships. The band has already released a good amount of material besides the EP Drowning: three full-length albums entitled Shotgun Reality (2007), Defiance (2009) and Dystopia ( 2011); another EP named Welcome to the Underground (2008); the live album Scavenger (2010); and the live DVD Sojourn (2013). You can take a listen at her mesmerizing voice in songs like Cocoon and Save Me, both from the album Dystopia.

The band has been touring a lot since its inception, especially in the UK and Germany, as for example in the Wave Gotik Treffen music festival, in Leipzig, in 2009, as well as many other dates in countries such as Austria, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland, among others, with highlights to their exceptional performance during the Metal Female Voices Fest VII that happened in Wieze, Belgium, in 2009. There are some high quality videos on YouTube with Lahannya’s concert at that festival, like the ones for the songs Open Your Eyes and Burn, where it’s quite impossible to take your eyes out of her moves while her voice “invades” our ears with greatness. Another excellent live moments are the heavy and modern Inside the Machine, filmed at the X-Tra Club in Switzerland in 2008, and  the metallic Never Enough, during the band’s performance at the the M’Era Luna Festival 2012. There’s also a really nice interview with her during that same festival, which can be seen HERE, where she talks about her career and other stuff. It’s totally worth the time spent, especially because she’s a fun and humble woman, and her British accent is beyond beautiful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Among her infinite number of partnerships, projects and special guest appearances, the most important or famous ones are certainly her collaborations with English Electronic band Greenhaus, German Power Noise/Techno act Soman, Norwegian Aggrotech band Combichrist, German Industrial project Xotox, German Goth Rock band ASP, and German Gothic Electro band Dracul. None of these are close to Heavy or even Gothic Metal, but that doesn’t make the final results less enjoyable.

With Greenhaus, she was part of the songwriting and the vocalist for almost all tracks of their album Another life, from 2003, while with Soman she was the co-songwriter and vocalist for the following tracks: Tears, from the album Revenge (2004); Antique, from a compilation album with various artists entitled Machineries of Joy (2004); Mask and Eye to Eye, from the album Mask (2007); and Skin Deep, from the album Soman Noistyle (2010).

Our goth diva’s collaboration with Combichrist happened in the form of a spoken sample for the Soman remix of the title-track from their second EP Sex, Drogen Und Industrial (2004), while with Xotox she recorded a spoken intro for the video of the track [psi], from the album [psi] (2005), and was the vocalist on the song Habitat, from the album In Den Zehn Morgen (2008). Finally, she was featured in the remix of the song Nie Mehr, from the album Nie Mehr (2007) by ASP, and was the co-songwriter and vocalist for the tracks Vampiras Dream and Deathwish, from the album Like an Animal (2006) by Dracul.

There are a few other projects she’s involved which unfortunately I cannot list here, otherwise I would never be able finish this document. However, there’s one more interesting detail about Lahannya in regards to her career that you should know: if you’re in London and you are that type of person that likes to party, you might have a chance to see our blue-haired beauty in person doing something very different from singing with her band, which is being a DJ at the London alternative club Slimelight once in a while. Do you want to know where Lahannya finds all that energy to do everything she does? “I think it’s my purpose for living. I don’t really want to find a family or whatever. For me it’s my passion, it’s the legacy I want to leave behind, it’s how I express myself. If I didn’t do it, I would feel like I’m not actually living or breathing.”, she said. That explains a lot.

In regards to her idols in music, the pretty Lahannya mentioned she enjoys listening to and is constantly inspired by many distinct and excellent artists such as Kidneythieves, Dimmu Borgir, The Prodigy, Tori Amos, Celldweller, Bush, Disturbed, Mankind Is Obsolete, Loreena McKennitt, The Cranes etc. However, her inspiration in terms of lyrics comes from what is happening around her life and from her own emotions. Moreover, Lahannya mentioned a couple of times her “dream tour” would be with Industrial Metal icons Rammstein or English Electronic group The Prodigy, which in my opinion are outsdaning options for a full professional and exciting tour, don’t you agree?

Lastly, this nonstop frontwoman said she hasn’t had any free time for hobbies, but when she did she used to go scuba diving and climbing, which in my opinion are “not-so-common” activities for people who live in the gothic world, but each person does what they feel like doing, right? And in order to chill out, Lahannya’s choices often include a good DVD and a glass of wine, especially after a long day of hard work. That’s something even people like us, mere mortals who are not famous masterminds behind a successful band, can relate to, and maybe one of us is lucky enough to enjoy those rare free moments Lahannya has together with her. In the meantime, let’s keep on appreciating her dark and beautiful music.

Lahannya’s Official Facebook page
Lahannya’s Official YouTube channel
Lahannya’s Official Twitter

“The best piece of advice I can give is, don’t waste your time waiting for a manager, booking agent or record label to make things happen for you. If you are prepared to work hard, not just on the music but also on the business side, and you don’t give up, you can achieve an awful lot. No one will work as hard for you as you do yourself and no one will invest more money into your band than you are prepared to do yourself. If you don’t put the work in, why should anyone else?” – Lahannya

Album Review – Profane And The Sacred / Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming (2015)

The first chapter in the career of this British Stoner Metal band is more than promising: it’s a lesson in heavy and gripping music.

Rating3

p&s_08After listening to Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming, the debut studio album by British Stoner Rock/Metal band Profane And The Sacred, there was only one question that came across my mind: how not to bang my head while enjoying a cold beer to the music triggered by those guys? Seriously, they’re not kidding when they describe their sound as “hard heavy gigantic grooves”, and they will certainly make you feel all that energy flowing through your ears directly into your body and soul with this album.

Formed in 2010 and based in London, UK, Profane And The Sacred were capable of combining the best you can find in bands such as Down, Crowbar, Black Sabbath, Karma to Burn and many other distinguished Rock N’ Roll groups in a compelling and robust way. As you will notice, all songs surpass the 5-minute barrier, but that doesn’t mean they’re too progressive, tedious or anything like that. Quite the contrary, each and every song has tons of interesting elements to offer the listener, strengthened by huge doses of professionalism and feeling, and therefore keeping you hooked on Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming from start to finish.

In the opening track, Bench, we are already able to experience a puissant Stoner Rock atmosphere brought forth by the dark riffs by lead singer/guitarist Luke Alleeson and guitarist Rick Spooner, with highlights to the beautiful guitar solos at the end of the song. However, do not go too crazy with this excellent tune and save some of your energy for what’s about to come: Bleed That Stone is not only a lot more metallic than its predecessor (thanks in part to the intense beats by drummer Kieran Smith), with its last minute or so sounding like a “tribute” to Down and Crowbar so good it is, but also Luke’s voice fits the musicality flawlessly while bassist Rob Taylor smashes his four-string weapon, making the song even tougher and more enjoyable.

Photo 06-10-2014 19 18 51Moreover, if there’s one thing this band knows how to do is filling every single second of their music with solidity and depth. For instance, You Know adventures into even more Crowbar-ish lines, with Luke declaiming the song’s “cute” lyrics while the other band members keep kickin’ ass with their more-than-ruthless Sludge Metal; whereas Weather The Storm focuses on 100% old school Stoner Rock, with kudos to Rob for his melodic and soulful bass solo. An even higher level of dynamism is found in the amazing From The Top, the first single of the album, which is basically what all of us want to hear in Stoner Metal: badass drumming and low-tuned riffs accompanied by realistic and introspective lyrics.

Then we have All For None, which showcases another great performance by Rob and Kieran and some interesting shifts from faster beats to a much slower and sludgier rhythm (and vice-versa) without sounding mechanic or disconnected at all, followed by another good tune entitled Just A Little, where Luke complements the song’s vile riffs, breaks and variations with his unique vocal lines. Finally, one of the best tracks of the entire album, Words, which flirts with more traditional Heavy Metal, is so extraordinary I bet you’ll start air mimicking either the riffs, drums or at least start singing the lyrics with them. It’s a spectacular Rock N’ Roll/Stoner Metal anthem, with the fine tuning of both guitars being beyond splendid. There’s also a smooth instrumental track to close the album, A New Leaf, which invites you to close your eyes and relax to the sound of its acoustic guitars, as simple as that.

You can find more information about Profane And The Sacred on their official Facebook page, YouTube and Instagram, as well as purchase their music on Amazon, iTunes and Cargo Records. Chapter 1 : A Long Time Coming is an invaluable lesson in Stoner Metal, so to speak, and I cannot wait for more of their gripping music in a near future (maybe a “chapter 2” album) to make my beer even more delightful.

Best moments of the album: Bleed That Stone, From The Top and Words.

Worst moments of the album: A New Leaf.

Released in 2015 Cargo Records

Track listing
1. Bench 8:13
2. Bleed That Stone 5:42
3. You Know 7:24
4. Weather The Storm 7:25
5. From The Top 5:01
6. All For None 5:39
7. Just A Little 6:57
8. Words 7:24
9. A New Leaf 5:31

Band members
Luke Alleeson – vocals, guitars
Rick Spooner – guitars
Rob Taylor – bass guitar
Kieran Smith – drums

 

Album Review – No Sin Evades His Gaze / Age Of Sedation (2014)

These young British guys and their sharp instruments keep the fire of heavy music alive with huge doses of professionalism, brutality and progressiveness.

Rating4

Album Art - 1500 x 1500Like French chemist Antoine Lavoisier said once with his law of conservation of mass, “Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed.” That can be said about the music by Metalcore/Groove Metal band No Sin Evades His Gaze who, influenced by bands such as Pantera, Lamb Of God and Machine Head, blended elements from Metalcore, Death Metal and Groove Metal in a very professional way, sounding very contemporary and, above all, very technical, melodic and progressive.

It’s amazing how such young guys, all in their early or mid-twenties (and some not even in their twenties yet), were capable of crafting 100% cohesive and honest heavy music like if they have been together on the road for years in a row. This new five-piece metal band, founded in 2013 by vocalist James Denton and with members hailing from London, Blackpool and Scotland in the UK, has just released their debut album, Age Of Sedation, and let me tell you it’s an awesome mix of brutality and melody perfect for fans of modern metal music.

Right after the short but strong intro A Crack In The Looking Glass, where it’s noticeable the band is composed by young members (only young people can write, say or sing words such as “They’re gonna call you weird… They’re gonna call you eccentric…”), we already have one of the top moments of the album, the title-track Age Of Sedation.  It’s polished and professional extreme metal, with its guitar lines conducting the song enhanced by its heavy drumming and all background effects, and of course the excellent guttural vocals by James. The following song, Motionless In Obedience, is a very good choice for fans of extreme music with an apocalyptic touch, getting very progressive halfway through it due to its technical instrumental, and providing the listener the first dosage of clean vocals by drummer Theo Harvey.

Filth is a much heavier tune than its predecessors, perfect for headbanging, with highlights to the great job done by both guitarists Kevin Pearson and Dan Thornton and to the Industrial Metal elements added to the song, similar to what Fear Factory usually do in their music, followed by the nice Metalcore vibe in Roll Up The Royalty, where its very cohesive instrumental gives it a truly badass atmosphere. Another one of my favorite moments in Age Of Sedation is the violent and apocalyptic Debris, with Theo smashing his drums while Matthew “Moat” Lowe shows no mercy for his bass (and you can actually listen to each note from it), while The Cycle Resets focuses on a more contemporary American Metalcore blended with Industrial Metal, with highlights to the awesome vocal performance by James and its totally melodic and catchy riffs.

No Sin Evades His Gaze Promo photo 2014The last part of the album begins with Biometric Alchemy, which could be portrayed as a darker version of what Slipknot do sometimes, mainly due to its deep guttural vocals, followed by The Guillotine Blade: as sharp as a real guillotine blade, the band offers us more atmospheric chaos full of solid riffs, rhythmic breaks and a melancholic ending. And to close the album the band chose their longest and most progressive song, Affinity, with elements from Metalcore, Melodic Death Metal and even Nu Metal, sounding pretty much like three or four songs in one for the delight of fans of complex heavy music.

As aforementioned, the excellent Age Of Sedation, which is available at the No Sin Evades His Gaze’s official BandCamp page, Amazon, iTunes and many other locations, might not be 100% original (what is today, anyway?), but it’s as fresh and creative as possible, thanks to an awesome job done by all band members with their refined techniques. Let’s say that they’re just adapting what Lavoisier discovered in a distant past, but instead of “mass” they’re supporting the conservation of good heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Age Of Sedation, Filth and Debris.

Worst moments of the album: Biometric Alchemy.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. A Crack In The Looking Glass 0:51
2. Age Of Sedation 2:49
3. Motionless In Obedience 3:39
4. Filth 4:06
5. Roll Up The Royalty 3:50
6. Debris 2:54
7. The Cycle Resets 3:52
8. Biometric Alchemy 4:38
9. The Guillotine Blade 3:40
10. Affinity 6:00

Band members
James Denton – vocals
Kevin Pearson – guitars
Dan Thornton – guitars
Matthew “Moat” Lowe – bass
Theo Harvey – drums, clean vocals