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REVIEWS 2020 - Page 5

Page 4   Index

IGNITED: Steelbound - Album
(Voice Music)
IGNITED was born in 2017 to create energetic heavy metal with great melodies. They soon released a EP, and now their first full length album is here.
And sure, this Brazilian band are energetic, but also hard and heavy. I think of a band like JUDAS PRIEST when I hear this. Maybe not as good as them, but they are on the other hand in a totally different league, and this is absolutely not bad at all.
I don't really know what else to say, but give them a try mate.
Published: July 4, 2020

STORMZONE: Tolling of the Bell - Single
(Metalapolis Records)
This is the first single from the upcoming album, "Ignite The Machine", which will be released on July 31. And so far that is all I know. But it sounds very promising anyway. So if you like melodic heavy metal in the traditional way, then this is something that you should check out.
Now I will listen to that album, and probably get some more details about this band.
Published: July 3, 2020

PARALELUM: Under The Roots - Album
(Label and release date unknown..)
This group is described as bastard sons of metal, rock and hardcore. They have existed as a band since 2013, but this is their first full length album. And this album gives you a little bit of everything - clean and guttural vocals as well as screams, melodic as well as heavy guitars. The music is mainly hardcore, even though there is much metal and some rock too.
Well, what else can I say? This band have both good and bad moments. Among those better moments are "Castle Thunder" and "Absenta". Some of the other songs are either noisey hardcore, a bit heavier or more or less metal. It's not much on this album that is extra good. It's not that much that really sucks though.
Published: July 2, 2020

NEKROKRAFT: Witches Funeral/Return of the Kvlt - Singles
(The Sign Records)
Swedish black metallers NEKROKRAFT have for some reason re-recorded 2 songs from their 2018 EP "Witches Funeral". These 2 songs will be released as separate digital singles. "Witches Funeral" was released on June 5, and "Return of the Kvlt" will be released on August 21.
"Witches Funeral" is a melodic black metal song, but yet hard and aggressive. "Return of the Kvlt" is a little heavier, but just as hard and aggressive. I guess that fans of a band like WATAIN could like this.
The band comes from Linköping, and formed in 2012. They are currently working on their second long player.
Published: July 2, 2020

MERIDIAN DAWN: The Fever Syndrome - Album
(Seeing Red Records - Release date: July 10, 2020)
MERIDIAN DAWN is a duo with Antony Hämäläinen (ARMAGEDDON, NIGHTRAGE, CRYSTAL TEARS) on vocals, and Nick Ziros (INTO THE MOAT, REMEMBERING NEVER) on guitars and bass. Session drummer on this album is Johan Nunez (NIGHTRAGE, KAMELOT, Marty Friedman). The band was founded in December of 2012 as a side project, and has previously released a EP, "The Mixtape EP", in 2014. So it has taken some time, but now their debut album is ready to be released.
And what these guys have created is a melodic death metal record that will take you back to the late 90s/early 2000s, even though they have added a modern touch to it. And this is absolutely not bad at all. I think that you should check this out as soon as possible. That's how good this is.
meridiandawn.bandcamp.com   seeingredrecords.com
Published: July 2, 2020

L.A. WITCH: I Wanna Lose - Single
(Suicide Squeeze Records)
Californian trio L.A. WITCH will release their new album, "Play With Fire", on August 21. "I Wanna Lose" is the first single from that album. And the music they play is described as "reverb-heavy, grunge, punk rock'n'roll". I would rather describe it as garage rock.
It might not be the most brilliant song that I have ever heard, but it doesn't suck anyway. I guess it's a little odd and strange somehow. And I actually don't have much else to say about this song.
Published: July 2, 2020

KANSAS: The Absence Of Presence - Album
(InsideOut Music)
O.k., these veterans have been around for nearly 5 decades, and released their debut album back in 1974. Their catalogue includes 16 studio albums (with this one included) and 5 live albums.
"The Abscence Of Presence" is their first album since 2016s "The Prelude Implicit", and it's what we could call a progressive adventure of classic and melodic rock. But what makes this band a little different is the use of a violin. I mean, how many rock bands use violin'
They have some good songs here, so this is worth a try if you like progressive rock.
Published: July 2, 2020

GEEZER: Groovy - Album
(Heavy Psych Sounds)
Psychedelic blues metal or simply stoner rock as we use to call it? 1 thing is for sure though, this is groovy. Sometimes heavy, sometimes trippy. And there's different tempos and moods all the way.
They have some really good stuff here, so this can be worth a try. No matter if you are a fan of heavy rock, psych rock or stoner rock, you will probably find something that you like here. And if you happens to like them all, well what are you waiting for then?
GEEZER is based in Kingston, NY, and formed in 2012. This is their 4th full length album.
geezertown.bandcamp.com   heavypsychsounds.com
Published: July 2, 2020

DISABLED: The Final Exhumation - Album
(XENOKORP Kvlt Series - Release date: July 10, 2020)
DISABLED was a French death metal band who existed 1991-1998. This album features raw versions of songs that would later end up on their "Faith Ablation" EP, and never-heard-before "studio" versions of songs they were exclusively performing live back in the day.
These recordings were found 6 years after the release of their discography compilation "When All Is Slayed...". It quickly sold out when it was released on good old cassette, but now it will be released on CD as well (limited editon of 500 copies).
DISABLED are nor better or worse than any other death band from the same era. So in other words they are totally o.k. according to me. You should absolutely give them a try.
Published: July 1, 2020

CLIFFORD: Bränn En Mast - Single
(Despotz Records)
Well, the music is good anyway, but I can't really take their lyrical subjects seriously. But it's not impossible that they actually have some deeper message that I have not understood yet. Or maybe it's just entertainment.
Their first single was a salute to the Swedish State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, and this time they want us to burn down a 5G mast because they think that it will spread the Corona virus. I don't have a clue if that would even work, but they obviously like conspiracy theories, and if there's any truth at all doesn't really matter as long as there's a good story.
facebook.com/Cliffordband   despotz.se
Published: July 1, 2020

BLOODHUNTER: Bloodhunter (Reissue 2020)/Live In Madrid - Double Album
(CDuque Producciones S.L. - Release dates: Online July 3, 2020 / Physical Sept. 4, 2020)
BLOODHUNTER is an extreme metal band formed in Galician lands (Spain) in 2008. After a demo, "The First Insurrection", in 2013, they released their self titled debut album in May 2014, which is now being re-released with 6 live tracks recorded in Madrid, Spain during "The Tour Of Faith" (2018-2019). The album also features a guitar solo by Marios Iliopoulos (NIGHTRAGE) on "Bring Me Horror".
The music is mainly brutal, no matter if it goes fast or heavy, but there's also room for guitar melodies and solos. This is actually not so bad.
A second album, "The End Of Faith", came out in October 2017. The band is currently recording their third full length. And their singer, Diva Satanica (as she call herself), is nowadays also a member of the Brazilian band NERVOSA.
Published: June 30, 2020

Steve Hackett: Genesis Revisited, Live At The Royal Albert Hall - Album
(InsideOut Music)
You would think that out of 18 songs by GENESIS I should at least have heard a few of these songs. But fact is that nothing sounds familiar to me here, so I can't tell if he is making good versions or not (like I would know that anyway). To me (as an amateur of progressive rock) it sounds like this will fit the fans like a glove though. So why not give it a try at least?
This album was recorded live in October 2013 at the legendary Royal Albert Hall in London, UK. We get guest appearances by Ray Wilson, John Wetton, Amanda Lehmann and Roine Stolt.
I'm not sure if this album has been released before, but now it will be available as a triple LP and 2CD set, as well as 16bit and 24bit digital album. This new edition has been remastered, and is said to offer you a whole new experience of this show.
Published: June 29, 2020

ONE DESIRE: Midnight Empire - Album
(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)
ONE DESIRE formed as OD in 2012, and spent a couple of years writing songs and recording demos. Many musicians came and left before their first self titled album finally was released in 2017. The follow up, "Midnight Empire", has been in the works for 2 years, but now it's finally here.
This is absolutely not bad at all. Fans of more melodic hard rock should love this band. Just listen to the opening track, "Shadowman", for example, just to name one really good song on this album.
Published: June 27, 2020

FM: Synchronized - Album
(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)
O.k., these British veterans are obviously in the top league of melodic rock, because this album is full of great songs and passion. "Synchronized" is their 12th studio album.
FM was founded in 1984 and toured with artists like MEAT LOAF, Tina Turner, FOREIGNER and Gary Moore before they released their debut album, "Indiscreet", in September 1986. After that they succeeded to be support act for BON JOVI on their "Slippery When Wet" tour. They continued to tour and release albums until 1995. In 2007 they returned for a one-off headline performance at Firefest IV in Nottingham Rock City. And since then they have been back again touring and recording.
And as I said in the beginning, this album is full of great songs, so you should not miss this record. Simple as that!
Published: June 27, 2020

Dennis DeYoung: 26 East, Volume 1 - Album
(Frontiers Music s.r.l.)
I read somewhere that this man is over 70 years old. But that doesn't stop him from rocking. Not that he rock that hard, as this is melodic rock/AOR, but anyway..
You might know Dennis DeYoung from an American band called STYX, who formed as long ago as 1962 in a basement in Chicago. This is his 6th solo album, and "26 East" is actually the address where DeYoung grew up (it was his basement they formed STYX in by the way). Most of these songs are soft and melodic rock songs. But it's absolutely not crap because of that. Sure, there might be some weak moments here and there (the ballads for example), but it's mainly a good album that fans of melodic rock/AOR should enjoy.
Any favorites then? Well, "With All Due Respect" is the strongest card here. But a song like "Damn That Dream" is worth to mention as well.
This was actually meant to be his last album, but he had so many songs written that they decided to divide it into 2 albums instead of 1. So you can take it easy and just sit and wait for volume 2.
Published: June 27, 2020

THESE STREETS: Stay Awake - Single
(Upstate Records/Blood Blast Distribution)
California band THESE STREETS will have their album "Expect The Worst" released on August 21 via Upstate Records on CD and Blood Blast Distribution (Nuclear Blast Records) digitally. And yes, "Stay Awake" is a taste of what to come. The song is about a long night that the band had on tour with SKARHEAD and BRICK BY BRICK.
Well, what else can I say? This is definitely hardcore without any doubt at all. And this song is o.k., but not much else actually. It could be worth a try though.
Published: June 26, 2020

SISTER: Bring Out The Dead - Single
(Flick Records)
Swedish hard rockers SISTER has during the last 10 years released 3 albums and toured all over Europe. Now they are getting ready to release their 4th album, and "Bring Out The Dead" is the first single from that record. 4 more singles will be released before the album finally will be released on January 22, 2021.
Well, this sounds really good to me. I think of other Swedish bands like CRASHDÏET and HARDCORE SUPERSTAR for example. So, sleazy hard rock in the heavier league then. You should check this out.
sisterofficial.com   flickagency.se
Published: June 26, 2020

I'LL BE DAMNED: Through The Walls - Single
(Mighty Music - Release date: June 26, 2020)
I'LL BE DAMNED began their journey in 2010. The 5 members comes from different backgrounds, but are all deeply rooted in the Danish rock- and metal scene. Their music is said to fit fans of BLACK SABBATH and DOWN. It's really heavy rock n roll with a metal edge.
When I reviewed their last album, "Road To Disorder" (2018), I had a little problem with the vocals in some of the songs (not all of them). But in this song he sounds good anyway.
"Through The Walls" is the first single from a new album with the boys, that will be released sooner or later.
facebook.com/illbedamnedrock   mightymusic.dk
Published: June 26, 2020

HAKEN: Virus - Album
(InsideOut Music)
Just because the album is titled "Virus" doesn't mean that it's about the current situation. They have been working on these songs since their last album, "Vector", which was released in 2018. While the last album was an origin story, this album portrays an ascent to power, tyranny and subsequent endgame.
Their sound have many different influences, but the genre that we put this band in is progressive rock/metal. It's very ambitious and melodic. And I'm sure that fans of that will find lots of interesting stuff on this album. Like the 17-minute "Messiah Complex" for example, which is a 5-part suite.
This album also comes as a limited 2CD mediabook, which includes instrumental versions.
Published: June 24, 2020

BLACK SWAMP WATER: Showdown - Single
(Mighty Music)
This is the first single from southern rockers BLACK SWAMP WATER's third album, which will be released in late 2020. The band is not from the American south though, but from Denmark. And what we get here is old school hard rock/heavy metal in the heavier league. It's said to fit perfect for fans of bands like BLACK SABBATH, CORROSION OF CONFOMITY and LYNYRD SKYNYRD.
blackswampwater.com   mightymusic.dk
Published: June 23, 2020

NINTH CIRCLE: Echo Black - Album
(Pure Underground Records - Release date: June 26, 2020)
It looks like this US metal trio released 3 albums between 2000 and 2014, but now they are back again. And it's often a more melodic kind of heavy metal that we get here, but it's really good. And they can be more epic or powerful once in a while too. Their songs are good, so I don't have anything to whine about (not much else to say either).
"Tokyo Nights" sounds like a melodic (hard) rock hit from the 1980s, but I don't know if it's a cover or a original song. "Then & There" is something in the same style.
ninthcircle.us   puresteel-records.com
Published: June 22, 2020

KENZINER: Phoenix - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: June 26, 2020)
This Finnish band released 2 albums in 1998 and 1999. After that no album was released until 2014, and now 6 years has passed since that album.
KENZINER play a mixture of neo-classical metal, progressive metal and power metal. And I think they do it really good. There's not much to complain about here. Well, that would possibly be that I don't have much else to say then, but that's all.
facebook.com/kenzinerofficial   puresteel-records.com
Published: June 22, 2020

BLACK KNIGHT: Road to Victory - Album
(Pure Steel Records - Release date: June 26, 2020)
This is a veteran band from The Netherlands, who formed back in 1981. They released 2 demos in the 1980s and early 90s. Their debut album, "Tales From The Darkside", was released in 1999, and a second album, "The Beast Inside", in 2007.
Now the only remaining original member, drummer Rudo Plooy, return with a new team and a new long player. And the result is classic 80s heavy metal with twin guitars and a powerful singer. Absolutely not bad. You should check this out.
facebook.com/Black-Knight-143989225677932   puresteel-records.com
Published: June 22, 2020

TUPLE: Wooden Box - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: June 26, 2020)
Some Finnish man talking and a zynth. But after about 50 seconds there's finally guitars.
Tommie "Tuple" Salmela is a singer born in Kuopio, Finland in 1969. He is known from bands like TAROT, LAZY BONEZ and RASKASTA JOULUA. But he has also singing background vocals for Finnish bands like AMORPHIS, TWILIGHTNING, CARDIANT and many more. "Wooden Box" is his first solo album, which is a concept album telling the stories of his life. His musical influences comes from JOURNEY, KANSAS, FM, URIAH HEEP, BOSTON, CHICAGO, STRANGEWAYS, BLACK SABBATH, DIO and lots of other bands in the same style. And the music that we get here is something similar - AOR/melodic hard rock.
This album is full of great songs. Almost every song could be a single. I really like this record!
facebook.com/Tupleofficial   aorheaven.com
Published: June 21, 2020

Chris Rosander: King Of Hearts - Album
(AOR Heaven - Release date: June 26, 2020)
Christian Rosander is a young man from Örnsköldsvik, Sweden, who have studied music for about 11 years, and been writing songs in the AOR/melodic rock and Westcoast rock genre since he was 14 years old. His main influences include TOTO, H.E.A.T., QUEEN, CHICAGO, DEF LEPPARD and many others in the same style. And his musical work includes artists such as Michael Ruff, Paulo Mendonza, Frank Ådahl and X-ROMANCE.
Now the time has come for his first solo album, "King Of Hearts". And what we get here is hardly something new under the sun. It's simply very soft and melodic Westcoast rock. And this man is nor better or worse than any others in this genre, so if it sounds like something that you like, then you should check him out.
Chris himself play all keyboards, guitars, drum and percussions programming, as well as all vocals. P-O Sedin (PERFECT PLAN) play bass, and Anton Frengen is doing a guest guitar solo on the title track.
facebook.com/chrisrosanderofficial   aorheaven.com
Published: June 21, 2020

WITHERING SURFACE: Meet Your Maker - Album
(Mighty Music - Release date: June 19, 2020)
In the mid-90s melodic death metal came mainly from Gothenburg, Sweden with bands like IN FLAMES, AT THE GATES and DARK TRANQUILLITY. But from Næstved in Denmark came a band called WITHERING SURFACE, who formed in 1994, and was strongly influenced by the Swedish bands. They released 4 albums and some EP, single and demo releases before they took a break in 2005.
Now they are back again with a new album, and this sounds really good. This is exactly as I want melodic death metal to sound like. They have a good combination of faster and heavier pieces.
They are still mainly inspired by the Gothenburg bands, but I would also like to mention ARCH ENEMY, which at least I can hear in some of these songs.
facebook.com/WitheringSurface   mightymusic.dk
Published: June 19, 2020