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?

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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

Album Review – Rockstar Frame / Rock ‘N’ Roll Mafia (2015)

This distinguished Italian mafia is here to stay with only one objective in mind: spreading their rousing Rock N’ Roll music all over the world.

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RSF_RNR MafiaInspired by the rock music his family played him while he was in a coma after falling from a cliff years ago, which by the way he believes helped bring him back, drummer Max Klein formed Rock N’ Roll/Hard Rock band Rockastar Frame in 2012 in Milan, Italy. Now, after many live performances and after winning several contests such as the national Rock on the Road in 2014, the band is ready to spread their electrifying music all across the world with their debut album, the excellent Rock ‘N’ Roll Mafia.

Obviously, that wouldn’t have been possible without all the talent, hard work and passion for music that have accompanied each band member for years. For instance, frontwoman Faith Blurry recorded vocals for her first commercial on Italian TV when she was only 6; keyboardist Ace Wave holds a summa cum laude degree in classical piano from the Academy of Music, where bassist Andy Di Bella is also finishing up his electric bass studies; and band founder Max and guitarist Morris Steel have been professional session musicians for the past ten years. In other words, all that energy and willpower translates into pure top-notch Rock N’ Roll.

Do you want to know why Rock N’ Roll with piano and keyboards sounds so cool? The opening track, entitled Guilt, has the answer to that question. This is radio material, as catchy as it can be, with the rocking vocals by the red-haired diva Faith matching perfectly with the band’s music. She’s Hot also has all the ingredients to become another instant radio hit, sounding even more powerful than the opening track. Moreover, Ace and Max keep delivering some exciting notes and solos while Faith is totally on fire, and what to say about the song’s chorus? It’s undisputed sexy rock music.

After that kick-ass old school Rock N’ Roll start, the band shows their Alternative Rock side in Addictions, full of background effects and a more atmospheric rhythm thanks to the job done by Ace on keyboards, but quickly returning to their roots in the title-track Rock ‘N’ Roll Mafia. Of course it’s not Deep Purple per se, and it’s not the band’s intention to be so, but this song has a strong Purple-ish vein that makes it truly gripping. It’s not only fast and groovy, but there’s also so much adrenaline in it I believe there might even be some mosh pits when this song is played live. In Song for You, it’s time to slow down and enjoy a nice Rock N’ Roll and Hard Rock ballad where Faith has another beautiful performance while Ace oce again nails it with his piano notes, followed by the heaviest of all songs, This Burning Song, a Hard Rock tune with stronger riffs. It’s a good example of how their “catchy-chorus machine” doesn’t seem to stop for a single second, being highly recommended for fans of straightforward rock music.

RSFWith hints of Blues and its provocative lyrics, the awesome tune Poison has the perfect name and rhythm to qualify it as a hot strip-tease theme, while Cherry Boobs might not be a bad song, but it’s below average, getting a little repetitive after a while. It’s still enjoyable and a good option for a TV ad that needs some rock music, though. The next track, Lie, which is also closer to Alternative Rock than old school Hard Rock, has a very cohesive and creative instrumental with the final guitar solo by Morris being really good, but unfortunately the same can’t be said about Years Gone,  a generic rock semi-ballad that’s too commercial (even if that’s what the band wanted with this song). It doesn’t really harm the overall quality of the album, but it’s just unnecessary filler in my opinion.

That minor “incident” is followed by a sequence of outstanding songs that put the album back on track, starting with RSF (the acronym for Rockstar Frame), a heavy tune with a nice melody and a crucial punch to make it stand out among so many good rock songs in the album. Then we have second song with elements found in the music by Deep Purple (especially in regards to the keyboards), I Don’t Give a Fuck, a very soulful song which old school lyrics fit Faith’s voice nicely; Twisted Double Nature, a modern rock music song that focuses on the passionate vocals by Faith, which ends up enhancing its final result; and finally the last regular track of the album, a fantastic piano ballad entitled Fairytale, where Faith steals the show with her strong but smooth voice. Besides, its lyrics go really well with the music, with kudos to Ace for another amazing performance on keyboards. And if you think 14 hymns of pure rock music are not enough, there’s also an excellent bonus track called Limitless for Life, strongly influenced by 80’s and 90’s Hard Rock.

I personally prefer the first half of the album as I’m more of a metalhead than a rocker, but it’s undeniable that the music by this one-of-a-kind Italian mafia is way above your average rock music (well, the album art says it all). You can check more of their music at their SoundCloud page, give a shout to them on their official Twitter, and of course purchase Rock ‘N’ Roll Mafia at the Musicarchy Media webstore. If you feel you’re ready to join the Rockstar Frame mafia, don’t think twice and succumb to their action-packed rock music. You’re going to love it.

Best moments of the album: Guilt, She’s Hot, Rock ‘N’ Roll Mafia, Poison and Fairytale.

Worst moments of the album: Cherry Boobs and Years Gone.

Released in 2015 Musicarchy Media

Track listing
1. Guilt 3:20
2. She’s Hot 3:24
3. Addictions 3:46
4. Rock ‘N’ Roll Mafia 3:52
5. Song for You 4:22
6. This Burning Song 3:22
7. Poison 3:26
8. Cherry Boobs 3:42
9. Lie 3:49
10. Years Gone 4:08
11. RSF 3:54
12. I Don’t Give a Fuck 3:34
13. Twisted Double Nature 4:03
14. Fairytale 3:22

Bonus track
15. Limitless for Life 4:16

Band members
Faith Blurry – vocals
Morris Steel – guitars
Andy Di Bella – bass
Ace Wave – keyboards
Max Klein – drums