Coming Soon: Interview With Fear Factory, Chaos Magic, Lamb Of God and much more
Coming Soon: Reviews Of Fear Factory, Nile, Soulfly, Lamb Of God and much more
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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

INTERVIEW: CRADLE OF FILTH's Dani Filth On "Hammer Of The Witches" & Upcoming DEVILMENT Album


The band being interviewed today is quite famous for their use of satanic imagery, arguably more for shock value rather than any serious and/or intentional belief. Started way back in the early 90’s as an extreme metal band, two and a half decades later Cradle of Filth has come full circle breaking through their original niche to a clearer amalgam of Gothic and Symphonic styles of metal as portrayed though their imagery and lyrical themes. This year they give us their eleventh studio installment – ‘Hammer of the Witches’. Cradle Of Filth have not only done justice in making a good album but have been able to capture the magical essence of their classic old stuff and honing the newer elements, thus giving rise to tunes that lie in the balance of the past and present styles of their music. Front-man Dani Filth is impeccable on vocals showing no signs of age or fatigue, and new guitarists Shaw & Ashok are splendid with their riffs and solos thus successfully creating an album that lies somewhere between Cruelty and the beast & the successful predecessor of this new record. 

Gearing up for the release of the new album, Metal Wani's Editor In Chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi had a chat with founding member and frontman Dani Filth. He discusses new album "hammer Of The Witches", songwriting, musical direction, his vocals, how the band managed to balance between old and new fans, Devilment new studio album, his opinion on Ex-Devilment guitarist Daniel Finch, upcoming tours and much more.

Stream The Interview Below:




Big Thanks to Nick Azinas at Nuclear Blast UK for the support \m/

REVIEW: GOD IS AN ASTRONAUT - "Helios/Erebus"

God is an Astronaut, the four-piece, predominantly instrumental outfit hailing from Wicklow, Ireland return with a cracking new album, ‘Helios/Erebus’.  Each piece in the album is less a song and more a carefully crafted soundscape that transports you to another dimension. Deep, haunting, brooding, and steeped in myth and mystery, the Helios and Erebus of the title refer to the Greek deities for light and darkness respectively.  And there’s plenty of both to be found here.

The album’s mythological references are established from the outset. The opening track “Agneya,” referring to the Hindu God of Fire, begins slowly with a heavy feedback, as if the guitar were waking from its own nightmare. A brisk run made up of a few singular notes is more than enough to hit home for fans. With soft, picked notes and a faint drum build, we are eased in before this track properly kicks off. Based around three main parts, the first being a series of broken, gapped notes with a solid beat carrying us into what many consider one of the signature sounds of G.I.A.A - the beautifully layered, sustained keys - the track ends on a heaver section, carried particularly by the drums picking up the pace to the finish.

“Pig Powder” gives us a soft, sombre intro with a clean, picked riff supported by a beautiful bass progression and subtle vocal harmonies. The track moves into heavier territory with palm muted, down-picked, distorted ‘verses’ before closing around synth samples playfully swaying through one another. G.I.A.A take their track listing seriously as “Vetus Memoria” follows on perfectly. Two guitar riffs sit so perfectly alongside one another, that it feels like being taken on a comfortable stroll. More heavily sustained keys and quick sixteen(s) played on high hats clear the way for a quick change as the track takes a turn for the aggressive, before ending on an almost ambient loneliness. This is another piece with transitions executed with absolute precision.

Structurally, a pattern is evident throughout ‘Helios/Erebus’:  slow, brooding intros rising to a crescendo of sound that hits you in waves, often with a long, haunting fade. But somehow, this doesn’t feel formulaic; rather, each song feels like its own individual poem.  The attempt to play with this structure in “Finem Solis” results in the only weak track on the album. Either side of the track is layered with beautiful synth and guitar arrangements, reminiscent of some of their best work on ‘All is Violent, All is Bright.’ However, the mid-section seems made up of sound samples, like a rocket taking off in a storm, which greatly disrupts the music on either side of it.  This maybe the point though: to create a sense of discomfort just as you felt at ease. If so, the track does exactly that, but on such a beautifully layered album, it sticks out like a sore thumb.


The title track “Helios/Erebus” highlights something these guys do incredibly well: taking a simple time signature, one riff to sit at the base, and layering it masterfully. Thirty seconds shy of nine minutes, you don’t notice the time go. With an interlude that separates the pieces beautifully, there is no sense of dragging. More could be said, but only listening will do real justice.

“Obscura Somnia,” with an arrangement of synth by Torsten Kinsella and Jamie Dean, accompanied by acoustic guitar, vocal harmonies and bass by Niels Kinsella, has a drifting, almost new-age quality which hints at the light-at-heart of this album. In contrast, “Centralia” strips back the effect-heavy elements of the band’s songwriting, producing a well-structured track that never repeats itself, always adding tiny details in the playing and progression. This track also features some of the album’s heaviest moments with heavier tones, interplaying and time signatures as Lloyd Hanney powerfully accents on the kit along tough and steady beats, fills and rolls that shine through.

No track is better suited for the end of the album  than “Sea of Trees”. Simple in its playing, familiar in structure and progression, and complimented by an almost soothing arrangement of tones built upon simple picking patterns, it distils all that has gone before into a richly layered soundscape built on simple repetitions that land somewhere between the dark and the light.

Formed in 2002 by twin brothers Torsten and Niels Kinsella, and releasing their debut album ‘End of the Beginning’ on their independently owned label Revive Records, G.I.A.A., still with the original line up and label, show they are here for the long haul with ‘Helios/Erebus’. Once again, Torsten Kinsella wears the producer’s hat, and it is a good fit.  Familiar yet fresh, and always exciting, ‘Helios/Erebus’ reveals itself to be an incredible piece of work as it piles on and peels off one astounding layer after another.


Yes, you could argue that there’s a formula at work here. The striking, structural similarities between the songs could suggest as a lack of diversity. Or you could argue this is an album built on a solid song structure for instrumental soundscapes; a perfect frame on which to hang some amazingly, richly layered music. You could also argue that ‘Helios/Erebus’ is a return to form for G.I.A.A. after their less than impressive ‘Origins’. Or that it’s a retreat to the safety of what they do best. You could argue quite a lot of things. What can’t be argued is that ‘Helios/Erebus’ is classic G.I.A.A.  So quit arguing, and just listen.


Rating: 8/10


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Reviewed By,
Carl O'Rourke

REVIEW: HIGH ON FIRE - "Luminiferous"


High on Fire is a prominent name in the stoner/doom world, with 6 full length releases in more than a decade. The band formed as a result of 'Sleep' breaking up and has been consistently releasing influential albums in the stoner/sludge/doom domain. I admire their earlier albums, and their previous release 'De Vermis Mysteriis' was interesting as well. Their latest album 'Luminiferous' follows the path of DVM with a polished and a lot more groovy sound. The tracks on the album are not one-dimensional throughout, which keeps the listener hooked to it for a majority of the 53 minutes it plays. The drumming as usual is commendable, whether it's the groovy sludge sections or the doom tracks.

The album starts off with the track "The Black Plot" which waits for no one as it begins with a groovy riff and dives in with pace. It is heavy, but not something that will entice you. "Carcosa" begins with a simplistic mid-tempo riff but the riff that accompanies the slower tempo sections drags your attention back. "The Sunless Years" has some strong riffs in and a couple of cute little guitar solos that are really entertaining. Again, the slow tempo part at the end kept my drifting mind in line. "Slave the Hive" is a relentlessly heavy and fast-paced track with a lot of thrash and groove influence. Nothing spectacular yet, just a few interesting pieces here and there.

"The Falconist" is where the stoner riff hits you. This track is your traditional stoner/doom track with a thick riff , a slow tempo and a guitar solo to end it. "The Dark Side of the Compass" is another stoner influenced track, though this one is not as memorable as the previous track. "The Cave" features some acoustic guitars and a bit of psychedelic influences too. This is probably what infusing stoner metal into Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" would sound like. The title track displays quite a bit of the hardcore influence that HoF have showed occasionally in their career. This was the only fast-paced track that I really liked on this album. The final track "The Lethal Chamber" is another one of the doomy tracks that thrives on the chunky riffs that flow into each other smoothly.

I wish HoF included a lot more stoner and sludge in their music than the groovy or the thrash oriented sections. I am not really a fan of the vocals except for on the title track, which had a rougher hardcore stylized vocals. The album was up and down and all over for me, with the doom tracks being the most entertaining, while the modern groove influence of the first 4 tracks were boring. The drumming is consistently good, yet the riffs are not as pumping as they used to be in their early records. I would give this release a 6.5, and I can say that it would have been higher if I had listened to only the last 5 tracks.


Rating: 6.5/10


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Review By,
Prateek Kulkarni

Monday, July 6, 2015

NEWS: Former DEEP PURPLE/RAINBOW Guitarist RITCHIE BLACKMORE: 'I'm Thinking About Playing Rock Again'


Former DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore says that he is contemplating a return to his rock roots for several shows next year.

Blackmore, 70, quit rock and roll in 1997 to form a medieval folk band called BLACKMORE'S NIGHT with then-girlfriend and now-wife Candice Night. Since then, BLACKMORE'S NIGHT has released nine studio albums, with a new CD, "All Our Yesterdays", due in September.

Over the past few months, RAINBOW has been the frequent subject of reunion rumors, with singer Joe Lynn Turner — who fronted RAINBOW from 1980 until 1984 and was a member of PURPLE from 1989 until 1992 — repeatedly claiming that Ritchie was "intching" to play rock music and insisting that he was in talks with the guitarist about a renewed collaboration.

Speaking to the French newspaper Le Parisien for an article that was published on July 4, Blackmore was asked whether there was any truth to Turner's claims that Ritchie will reform RAINBOW and play some shows next year. The guitarist responded: "There's some truth, but also a bit of confusion and uncertainty. I'm thinking about playing rock again, just for a few days, next June, DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW songs. But for now, I'm not decided on the persons I want to work with. I've got a good idea about the ideal candidates, but it wouldn't be fair to say anything now. I will know exactly in one month who I want to have in this band to play DEEP PURPLE and RAINBOW songs. We will probably play three or four shows in June; that's all."

Blackmore confirmed that a festival show in France will likely be part of the small run of dates he will play during his brief return to rock, but added: "I think that Joe [Lynn Turner] will not be part of the adventure, and he doesn't know it yet. He does his thing, I like him, and I made good albums and good songs with him, like 'Street Of Dreams'. But I'm thinking about doing a mixture in the band, with famous people and not so famous ones. That's my state of mind at the moment, and you're the first person I talk to about it."

NEWS: METALLICA Co-Manager PETER MENSCH Says There Is A Lack Of Quality New Hard Rock Bands


Peter Mensch, a co-owner of Q Prime, a talent management company that has handled the careers of such artists as METALLICA, RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS, AC/DC and LED ZEPPELIN's Jimmy Page, spoke about the current state of the music business on the latest edition of BBC Radio 4's "Today" program. You can now listen to the chat at BBC.co.uk. A couple of excerpts follow:

On the record industry has changed in the last thirty years:

Mensch: "Well, the business model was, obviously, great back then. You invested a certain amount of time and energy, even though you didn't get paid for a couple of years. As you put out increasingly successful albums, there were hundreds of people out promoting your records and selling them. Now the record business is contracting. Fewer and fewer records get sold or streamed. Less money is there. So what we've had to do is, basically, expand our management company to almost duplicate a record company. We're making deals with individual record companies in various countries, so they can work our records individually. The global business is fragmenting."

On diminishing record sales and the need for bands to stay out on the road for longer periods of time:

Mensch: "What used to happen, obviously, you used to sell enough records either to not go on tour, but you had enough money to go make another record, or do both. And it used to be, up until probably the '90s, that you'd make as much money on tour as you'd make selling records. Now you make one tenth of that money on record sales or streaming. The biggest problem with the new record business is I don't know who the fans are. Fans are the people who will actually pay for something. [Like] pay for a ticket. I don't really care so much if you won't pay for an album anymore — I've kind of understood that that horse has bolted — but if I don't get you to pay for a ticket, then you're not really a fan of mine. And so, therefore my band won't make any money, and they may, at the age of 33, have to look around and go, 'It's time to join Uncle Simon's car dealership down the street.'"

On where the heavy metal fans have gone:

Mensch: "The golden age of music could be the '60s or the '70s or '80s or '90s. More and more, what people are doing is they're holding on to the acts that they love. Basically, I happen to know there are various members of [the British] parliament who still go to heavy metal shows in their forties and fifties. I've seen the PM [Prime Minister] at a Gillian Welch show, because he likes the record. So if you like music, you'll still indulge. What you won't do is you won't buy new records."

On whether it's easier or harder for new artists to break into the business nowadays:

Mensch: "It's way more difficult. Nowadays you may not care about going to a concert or mucking around in the rain at Glastonbury [festival] to see them due to one song that you now own, because you can buy each album individually. So my job is to convince you that the band that I'm interested in promoting is an album band, a band of your life."

On the appeal of hard rock and where it is now:

Mensch: "The appeal of hard rock was simple, and I still think it exists, except there aren't quality new hard rock bands to keep it up. Hard rock used to appeal, essentially, to your average 15-year-old male: he had bad skin, he didn't like his parents, girls didn't like him, and he was an angry kid; he was frustrated. And, lo and behold, there were ten thousand other people like yourself. The problem is, and interestingly in hard rock, and we ask this all the time, where is the new METALLICA? Please, anybody out there that's in a hard rock band under the age of 25, call me. We need you."

On whether some of the parody of the music business that is portrayed in the "This Is Spinal Tap" movie (1984) is justified:

Mensch: "Of course it's justified, but it doesn't just reside with hard rock bands. Trust me, alternative bands could be just as… interesting to deal with… equally funny at times, but in a different way."

NEWS: AEROSMITH's TOM HAMILTON 'Can't Blame' STEVEN TYLER For Wanting To Make Solo Album


In a brand new interview with Digital Journal, AEROSMITH bassist Tom Hamilton was asked about the possibility of a follow-up to the band's 2012 album "Music From Another Dimension!" He responded: "It's hard to get [AEROSMITH singer] Steven [Tyler] to think about it right now because he's doing his little thing there [referring to Tyler's upcoming country solo album] ... I know Joe [Perry, AEROSMITH guitarist] is into it, I know I'm into it. I think once Steven's been through the cycle of his solo album, he's gonna want to come back and do another one…"

He continued: "We'll figure out a way — whatever it takes. There's still a lot of creativity in the band and there's still a lot of desire to get better and do something better than what we've done before. So as long as that's there, there's always a chance for a new AEROSMITH album."

Hamilton also talked about Tyler's recent comment that the other members of AEROSMITH were less than happy about his new solo project.

"I saw that quote where he sort of made a blanket remark that we're mad at him for doing it, which is ridiculous — that's his own perception," said Tom.

"It's funny; sometimes he'll talk about how he's been persecuted by the band over the years, but whatever... If it causes drama, let's show that! He wanted to do this creative exercise of going and making an album, and I can't blame him for wanting to do it. Joe's done it before, I'd love to do it someday. Why be angry about it?"

Sunday, July 5, 2015

INTERVIEW: GENE HOGLAN On New DARK ANGEL, TESTAMENT Album, FEAR FACTORY Gig & Programmed Drums


It’s no small feat for a metal drummer to acquire the nickname The Atomic Clock. Then again, Gene Hoglan is no small drummer. First, he’s huge in stature (albeit rapidly shrinking, as his recent 160 lb. weight loss will attest) – a hulking beast able to split snare heads with a single stroke. Far more significantly, he’s a giant in his field, an innovator known for playing with precision, groove and flair, but who’s just as capable of manipulating the kit with grace and finesse, as well as power and might. Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward called him, “The new John Bonham, the leading light of a new generation.” Rock and jazz legend Dennis Chambers also praised Hoglan for his creativity and eagerness to play outside of previously established parameters.

Recently Metal Wani's Editor In Chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi had a chat with Gene Hoglan as he discusses Upcoming Testament and Dark Angel album, current update and recording schedule, touring with Testament & Exodus, his opinion on Fear Factory gig, programmed drums on Fear Factory's "The Industralist", whether he prefers to join Testament as a permanent drummer and much more.

Stream The Entire Interview Below:


A Big Thank You To Rob Shallcross at Reversed Records for the support \m/

INTERVIEW: GRAVEWORM's Stefano Fiori On 'Ascending Hate' - "It's A Step Back To Our Roots"


Music relates to our passions making it what it is – special, and expressing a tapestry of emotions and sentiments . It need not always be something off the bright side of the moon. The dark of the moon is by itself something captivating. Listening to the latest Graveworm album ‘Ascending Hate’ is like the exploring that dark of the moon; it isn’t unassuming, and leaves us with no bland moments. The music in ‘Ascending Hate’ seems to mirror life from the innate beginnings to the final passing. Immerse yourself in this world of dark composition, extreme metal and melody. The album has everything that a dark metal fan expects from the music, but personal preferences vary. 

Metal Wani's Editor In Chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi had a chat with founding member and vocalist Stefano Fioro. He discusses new album "Ascending Hate", musical direction, songwriting, vocals. lyrical approach, goth metal scene, upcoming tours and much more.

Stream The Entire Interview Below:



NEWS: JUDAS PRIEST's ROB HALFORD: We Can't Afford To Wait Three Or Five Years To Make Next Album


Veteran radio personality Jenn Marino, who last year joined Mötley Crüe and Sixx:A.M. bassist Nikki Sixx as co-host of "Sixx Sense With Nikki Sixx" and "The Side Show Countdown With Nikki Sixx", conducted an interview with Judas Priest singer Rob Halford at the 2015 edition of U.K.'s Download festival. You can now listen to the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow.

On what still blows him away about being in Judas Priest:

"It's a lot of things, but in a nutshell, it's the persistence of these fans that we've got. And Nikki will tell you the same thing about Crüe fans — they're with you wherever you go, and it's, like, they'll wait for two, three years, maybe more, for you to come back to their town, their city. And it's just sensational to go out on the stage anywhere in the world and know that there's what we call the #priestfamily who's waiting for us. That still blows me away. I mean, I would never, kind of, preempt that that's what I expect, that should happen, because if you lose the fact that your fans have given you this life, then you need to do a reality check. We can't do this without our fans; our fans are our lifeblood, our fans give us this life in rock and roll. So that blows me away. And just the fact that you and I are sitting here, and I've been doing this for 41 years, and I still love it as much as I ever did — probably more so now. The passion and the determination… Again, I'm sure Nikki would say the same thing. When you put your gear on, and he straps his bass on, he's Nikki Sixx, and it's a different Nikki Sixx to the Nikki Sixx that we know. You change [and] you become that person that's important for your band and your fans."

On Judas Priest's future:

"Well, we have such an incredible reaction to [Judas Priest's latest album] 'Redeemer Of Souls' that that really motivated us to crack the whip and get on with making the next record pretty quickly. The clock is ticking, you know. We can't afford to wait three years, or five years now, to make the record. And especially while we're having this great, kind of, vibe with the fans and just this massive Priest family love fest type of deal. You know, who wants to go home and sit down for a year? And especially while the band is buzzing and the energy's there creatively. We had so much stuff happening in the studio, we had to put the blocks on because we were on a time schedule with the label. So we do have some stuff kind of left over from 'Redeemer Of Souls'. Although Richie [Faulkner, guitar], who's this crazy, non-stop, 24-hour guitar writing machine, he's just… Whenever I go in the dressing room, I go, 'What is that riff?' He goes, 'I don't know.' [And I go] 'Put that down. Save that one. Save that one.' So we've been accumulating all that since [the start of] this 'Redeemer Of Souls' tour. So, that's pretty much it. We'll be heading out for the rest of this tour 'till Christmas time, take a break, and then more than likely in the studio early of 2016 and see how quickly we can turn this around. It won't be a rush job, because we treasure everything that we do. But I think that the mindset is there to make this record efficiently and hopefully have it out there for our Priest family as soon as we can."

"Redeemer Of Souls" was released in July 2014. The follow-up to 2008's double-disc concept album "Nostradamus" was billed as a return to Judas Priest's heavy-metal roots.

"Redeemer Of Souls" sold around 32,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release to land at position No. 6 on The Billboard 200 chart.

NEWS: IRON MAIDEN's STEVE HARRIS: BRUCE DICKINSON Is 'Singing Better Than Ever' On 'The Book Of Souls'


In a brand new interview with U.K.'s Kerrang! magazine, Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris was asked if singer Bruce Dickinson's cancer diagnosis at the end of 2014 affected the recording of the band's new album, "The Book Of Souls".

"Well, it didn't at all, because Bruce didn't know and none of us knew anything about… There was no inkling of any of it," Steve said. "He'd finished all his vocal bits completely anyway, and then there were some other bits and pieces we were doing. Really, we didn't know anything — he didn't show any signs at all. I mean, his singing, when you hear it… He's singing better than ever."

He continued: "It didn't cause any problems in that department at all. He wasn't showing any signs of being ill. I didn't even know until a few weeks afterwards, when he got his results back. It was such a shock to him and everybody else, because it just wasn't expected at all."

Harris declined to discuss how the rest of Maiden coped with Dickinson's diagnosis, telling the magazine: "It's such a personal matter for Bruce and the band that I don't think now is the time to talk about it. It's Bruce's story to tell when he feels the time is right. The one thing I can say is that Bruceis a trooper and more than ready for the next chapter of Iron Maiden. What matters now is that we've got an album coming out that I think our fans are going to love and we're all excited to share with them."

Due globally on September 4 through Parlophone Records (Sanctuary Copyrights/BMG in the U.S.), "The Book Of Souls" was recorded in Paris, France with producer Kevin "Caveman" Shirley in late 2014, with the finishing touches added earlier this year. However, the band decided to delay its release so that Dickinson, who was recently given the all-clear from the tumor, would have time to recuperate sufficiently to join in the preparations for the album's launch.

Looking ahead to the touring cycle in support of "The Book Of Souls", Harris told Kerrang!: "Whenever we do a new album, we always go out with a new stage show; that's exciting in itself. We always feel like every show is sacred these days anyway, and I suppose even more so now after the scare with what's happened with Bruce. It makes everything more important to us."

He continued: "'The Book Of Souls' is a really powerful album, we're really proud of it, and we can't wait to come out and play new songs on the tour. We're really looking forward to it."


NEWS: JOEY BELLADONNA Didn't Understand Why His Voice Wasn't Right For ANTHRAX During JOHN BUSH Era


"Somewhat Legendary" recently conducted an interview with Anthrax singer Joey Belladonna. You can now listen to the chat below. A couple of excerpts follow-

On whether there was ever any competition between Anthrax and the other "Big Four" bands (METALLICA, SLAYER and MEGADETH):

"Speaking for myself, I don't try to compete with anybody. 'Cause I've come to the conclusion… You do your thing, be good at what you do, and let that be the way it is. That's the cool thing about being in different bands. Everybody's go their own styles and tastes and approaches the songs and sound and all that kind of stuff. So you just kind of follow that. I'm sure bands have their ways of being competitive, and trying to be competitive, but I don't think it was anything that we would really focus on so much."

On his unique singing style:

"I think there's certain people… They have a knack for a style… That's the hard thing — trying to find your own originality, and I think I have that. I just kind of roll with it that way. It's hard to describe, really. I don't know what it is with vocals. I think it's a feel… You've gotta have a good feel about it, and then approach it with the best intentions. I like to be clear [in my vocal delivery], obviously, at least for me. Sometimes maybe I was a little too clean for everybody. I mean, look at the times where Anthrax didn't feel I was right for their band, which was shocking to me, 'cause I thought we had a cool thing. Obviously, you can see we're carrying on now, and [it's] like nothing… So you get confused — what I used to do and how it wasn't right, at one time, for [the other guys in Anthrax]… It goes with, 'What the hell?' I just think we had a cool style together. I mean, there was something that was very natural about it. It kind of flows with the system. You can't really write it that way. Unfortunately, it sucks that we had to spend 13 years without ever even having a chance to really take that on. It was a long time [for me to be out of the band]…"

On Anthrax's decision to fire him in 1992 and replace him with Armored Saint singer John Bush:

"I'm gonna go… I don't care what anybody says, what they think, and what their story was, and not to go into it, but I don't think that they… They wanted something different. They wanted something with a little bit more of a growl, a grunt, or whatever you may wanna call it — the '90s thing — and they just pushed aside whatever clean and tenor [vocal style] I had; it just didn't fit. Which, to me… Whatever… What are you gonna do?"

On when he first joined Anthrax:

"Every band has to have some connection and some differentials to flow with the style, and that's kind of what we had. And right off the bat, I wasn't even sure, when I did hear them for the first time, where I'd fit in. And I started hearing the songs come across, and [I thought], 'This works. It's a cool thing.' Plus it was something new for me, 'cause I'd never really been super original at that point yet. I finally got to hear myself be someone that I could be."

Anthrax is currently working on the follow-up to 2011's "Worship Music" album with producer Jay Ruston for an early 2016 release.

REVIEW: POWERWOLF - "Blessed & Possessed"


Since 2005, the German priests of heavy metal, Powerwolf, have been releasing bombastic, larger than life albums about sinister and amusing tales of werewolves, and the equally entertaining Catholic religion. Boasting a front-man who was classically trained in operatic singing, a haunting and twisted power metal style, and the ever important church organs, this five-piece knows how to make outstanding music that will make you smile from start to finish. From their debut album 'Return in Bloodred' until now, the band has matured to their sixth full length, releasing mid-July, 'Blessed & Possessed' through Napalm Records. 

Kicking off the record in true Powerwolf style, a Latin chant and chilling orchestration explodes into the title track “Blessed & Possessed”. Within a few seconds it is obvious that this album promises a new level of heavy, driving metal thanks to the great drumming of Roel van Helden, pounding out a hard and heavy force that was sometimes lacking in previous material. The song as a whole, with the bone-chilling vocals of Attila Dorn soaring above beautiful orchestration, and great guitar and bass work, will strike at the heart of all heavy metal fans as one of the band's fastest and heaviest songs to date. 


Immediately following, “Dead Until Dark” features a throwback guitar melody reminiscent of “Son of a Wolf” from 2011's 'Blood of the Saints'. Yet another example of the ramped up tempo, driven by great drumming and guitar riffs, this song is relentless and catchy from the first few notes. The chorus is layered perfectly with chants that scream to be played live with thousands of fans screaming along. Continuing that trend, “Army of the Night” follows with an explosive high energy march-like feel, as if the band has been hanging out with Sabaton every day in the studio (but this is in no way a bad thing). Among my personal favorite tracks on the record, this song features fantastic guitar work provided by the Greywolf duo and perfectly arranged keyboard elements immediately following the solo. 

The album isn't all in your face speed, as it returns to the more mid-tempo style Powerwolf fans know so well with “We Are the Wild”. Featuring a catchy chorus, a short guitar solo, and moving keyboards elements from Falk Maria Schlegel, this track was the first fully expected moment on the album. “Christ & Combat” is yet another personal favorite as it tells a great story of the Christian Crusades in the early 1000's AD. Although the Crusades are the most dark and metal moments in the church's history, it is rarely discussed, so this heavy metal history lesson is truly appreciated. More importantly, this is yet another high energy, driving tune, featuring moving guitar leads and galloping bass from beginning to end, proving that this band has seriously grown up and matured over the years. 

“Let There Be Night” is a nearly eight minute long song ending the record on a hauntingly beautiful note. A distant howl, string arrangements, and those beautiful vocals work their way into the only part of the track I can understand, the chorus. This is an absolute perfect end to a fast and in your face album, as the tempo slows and features every member of the band in their own light. My favorite moments lie in the guitar solo and the keyboard features, but the dark atmospheric touches that close the record on menacing wolf howls, lightning and thunder rolling, and the cries and lamentations of villagers are absolutely necessary.

In all honesty, as a hardcore Powerwolf fan girl, the band could likely release a carbon copy of any previous album and I would love it just the same. However, Blessed & Possessed was a surprising breath of fresh air with faster tempos, guitar riffing, and more intricate drum patterns that truly fit the band perfectly. I didn't think I could love these guys any more than I did, but they may have proved me wrong with this release. This is a new, faster, and harder hitting Powerwolf, and they absolutely nailed it.


Rating: 9.5/10


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Review By,
Power Metal Chick

REVIEW: ARCHITECTS OF CHAOZ - "The League of Shadows"

Architects of Chaoz, a new band featuring former Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’Anno alongside members of his German touring group The Phantomz recently released their debut album ‘The League of Shadows’ via Metalville Records. Besides Di’Anno on vocals, Architects of Chaoz are Joey Siedl on guitars, Andreas Ballnus on guitars, Christoph Lucker on bass and Dominik Fox on drums. ‘The League of Shadows’ came out fifteen years after Di’Anno’s last new original release.

The album features twelve tracks including a Deep Purple cover showcasing aspects of both classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal and modern influences. Although the overall sound of the album is not something remarkably exceptional, it is neat, solid and entertaining nevertheless. For most of the album, the riffs are heavy and the rhythm section ensures the fullness of the sound. The album significantly upholds the glory of old-school heavy metal while exploring a few creative dimensions with songs that actually stand out among the other mid-paced heavy tracks. The most noteworthy aspect of ‘The League of Shadows’ is undoubtedly Di’Anno’s voice, which adds a good dash of uniqueness in the record and makes it entertaining. All twelve songs are strongly reminiscent of the glorious NWoBHM era, and the album at numerous points adopts a Maiden-like approach.

The opening track “Rejected” is a stomping headbanger featuring Di’Anno’s convincing vocals with a punk-ish edge, and is the perfect opener. The song is very catchy, with an assault of heavy riffs, a raw style, and very hard-hitting lyrics. This approach is carried on in quite a few songs on the album. Paul’s versatile vocal abilities are accentuated in the high-pitched renditions, like in the aggressive track “How Many Times”, which is bound to remind one of his association with the rich traditional NWoBHM era. This song experiments a bit with well-thought out thrashy aspects, which are also evident at the outset and the chorus of “Erase the World”.


The Iron Maiden influences assert themselves in a good way in songs like “Horsemen”, another mid-tempo stomper with a good deal of aggression particularly in the vocals. The fourth track “Switched Off (Released)” has a beautiful ballad-like feel to it, with a few progressive rock features nicely incorporated like those in the initial Iron Maiden records. Di’Anno’s musical experience includes a slew of styles ranging from NWoBHM to modern power metal and even metalcore. But ‘The League of Shadows’ shows maturity in that it is a sensible record which is neat and well-thought out, and is not an accumulation of unnecessary facets. The power ballad “Switched Off (Released)” features soaring vocals and screams, and gels nicely with the overall impact of the album.

A European power metal character stands out in the wonderful build-up and chorus of “Dead Eyes”. The song has a melodic, flowing feel to itself despite Di’Anno’s self-assertive, somewhat rough vocal tone. The track “Architects of Chaoz” speaks of the versatile musical acumen of the band, evident in the bold incorporation of progressive metal aspects as well as a few folk-ish melodies which strongly establish a thought process. The experiment continues in “When Murder Comes to Town”, which sounds rather hard rock and thrashy, and is embellished with a melodic edge. The grandeur of both old-school heavy metal and modern influences laced around an impactful power metal character is upheld in “Obsidian Black” and “Apache Falls”. “Apache Falls” explores new areas with tribal grooves and folk-ish chants, and builds up into a nice rendition of heavy metal. The piano melodies closing the track leave a unique impact on the listener. Probably the most remarkable song on the album is the cover of Deep Purple’s “Soldier of Fortune”. Architects of Chaoz retain the glory of the song despite adding a rough character to it, which sounds refreshing and makes it a fantastic tribute!


‘The League of Shadows’ has been recorded, mixed and mastered by Martin Buckwalter, known for his masterly work with Destruction, Panzer and Suidakra. The production is great and accentuates distinctly the diverse elements of NWoBHM, power metal, modern metal, progressive and hard rock, thus making it a good listen.


Rating: 9/10


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Reviewed By,
Debarati Das

REVIEW: BUTCHER BABIES - "Take It Like A Man"


I began to really listen to Heavy Metal when I was about 8 or 9 years old, in 1996. I used to pick up every band I saw on my brother’s collection and spin it, like Agent Steel, King Diamond, Helstar, Jag Panzer, Rage, Running Wild and such. But why am I telling you this? Because I thank my brother every day for making me skip the awful trend that started in the 1990’s called nu-metal, with bands like Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rage Against the Machine, Slipknot and (insert your generic nu-metal band here). I was unfamiliar, then, with Butcher Babies’ work, as they drink from the fountain of the infamous genre. These Americans from Los Angeles are in the scene since 2010, having released just one album, ‘Goliath’, before this one, achieving considerable exposure in the US. Relying on two main vocalists, Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey, the band mixes the more modern approach to heavy music with a little bit of alien elements. 

‘Take it Like a Man’ is the sophomore release by the band, and it continues where the previous album had ended. The attempt to insert thrash metal elements into the tunes – as the band itself notes -fails grandly, as there are no elements of the genre to be found. The album begins with “Monsters Ball”, which starts with an old-carnival-announcer cliché (that keeps coming back throughout the song, with no apparent reason), a feature that has been visited by god knows how many bands before them, and the song itself seems like a combination of elements that should not go together. What comes after that is just a boring and lifeless piece of phonographic work, with just a few glimpses of attitude here and there. Songs like “Gravemaker” and “Never Go Back” are the epitome of everything that is wrong with the metal industry today, relying heavily on commercial approaches to the music and distorted and uninspired guitars, but the negative highlight of the album is definitely “Thrown Away”, a piece that even the most open-minded listener should stay away from, as it seems to have been taken off a No Doubt album, or maybe even Evanescence. I’m sorry, but a band that call themselves thrash metal cannot, on any occasion, record a song like this on their discography. 

To sum it up, ‘Take it Like a Man’ is the band attempt to insert themselves in the money-making business, not caring even a little bit about what the metal fans, or even their own fans, would think of. This should make metalheads across the world scratch their heads wondering how is it possible that a band that makes a sound like this consider themselves to be thrash metal, and I guess even fans of the nu metal genre will find this over the top. In a recent interview, Heidi Shepherd noted that "The way that we see it, we want people to either really love us or really hate us. One or the other” By the sound Butcher Babies makes, the second choice might be the wise one.

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Review By,
Bruno Medeiros

Saturday, July 4, 2015

REVIEW: FIFTH TO INFINITY - "Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire"


Circumstances can be a real bitch sometimes. How else can you explain Fifth To Infinity’s miserable predicament? The band was formed way back in 1997 but is yet to see the light of day! They were about to release their debut album in 2000 but it was put to rest even before recordings could complete. Eight years later, founding member Jonas Reslan reunited with drummer Martin Lopez (ex-Opeth, Amon Amarth) to revive the band. They recruited bassist David Lindh in 2013 to finally start the recording process of their debut album again. However, without any major update after October 2014 on their Facebook page and barely any news about the album release on the Internet, nobody’s sure whether the album is really happening or not. However, I consider myself really lucky to be able to witness this artistic brilliance of their debut album titled ‘Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire’. Fifth To Infinity’s distinct sound is an amalgamation of ambient Black Metal with traces of Progressive Metal. They deliver a sound that is beautifully melancholic at one moment and brutally chaotic at the next, throwing the listener into a roller coaster of emotions.

Fifth To Infinity makes you drool with anticipation as itsdark instrumental opener “Intro - VindarFrån De OsaligasÄngder” slowly consumes your attention, building up an eerie presence in your headspace with a mix of poignant harmonies and haunting notes.It’s a fairly lengthy track considering the typical length of an instrumental intro, however, it seldom derails the attention of the listener. In fact, the haunting melodies get cemented in your brains long after you finish listening to the album. The ambience gets even more sinister as the album progresses with tracks like “Reaper’s Wake” and “Masters Unbound”, alternating between slow ambient passages and short bursts of Black Metal belligerence. Reslan’s devilish snarls of anguish pierce through the combination of fluttering tremolo riffage and ambient melodic passages to suck the listener into a whirling vortex of sound. Lopez is brilliant as usual behind the kit and does bring in a tinge of the older and darker Opeth influences into the band’s sound especially on tracks like “Death Shall Wake Us All”. Reslan’s guitar work is epic and atmospheric as he weaves in haunting melodic notes into the Black Metal chaos. Lindh matches the percussion perfectly providing a meaty lower end to the distortion. The compositions ensure that he has ample of space to be heard on the mix and Lindh fills it up nicely on tracks like “Masters Unbound”and “Death Shall Wake Us All”.

The songwriting on this album is very impressive as the compositions provide enough twists and turns to make the band stand out from the clutter of Black Metal bands that we get to listen these days. Tracks like “The Will To Harm”and “The Fall Of The Seven” sneak up to your ear drums with their melancholic initial moments only to explode into a chaotic storm of Black Metal aggression. “Death Shall Wake Us” features Dan Dark (Torch) and is one of the faster songs on this album that takes the intensity up by a few notches. It sheds away the mellow melodic parts almost entirely and gives us a purely belligerent Black Metal monster. It’s also one of the longest tracks on the album running beyond seven minutes. The album comes to a full circle with the final track “The Blessings of Annihilation” repeating the haunting melody of the opener but substituting the melancholy with pure rage. Reslan’s whispered vocals after the midway mark and his blood curdling cries during the final moments sent chills running down my spine. Lopez’s relentless double bass and Reslan’s moody and atmospheric rhythms combine to give an epic farewell to this album. 

To sum up, this album deserves to be released and listened by every Metalhead. Gems like these mustrise from the underground and shine through. Although the band has definitely lost significant time in releasing the album but I can safely say that their material still sounds fresh as ever. 


Rating: 9/10


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Reviewed By,
Rakesh Pothengil

INTERVIEW: POWERWOLF's Matthew Greywolf On New Album - "It's A Fresh Approach To What Power Metal Is"


After their critically acclaimed number 1-CHART-album "Preachers of the night", Powerwolf are back with their the new masterpiece "Blessed & Possessed". The density of hits and anthems on their sixth epic record is nearly unchristianly - firing hit after hit. The Mystic and bombastic title track “Blessed & Possessed” enthralls the listener from the beginning and leads to a top-flight direction, by presenting metal hymns with emotiveness and pure magic. Powerwolf are bursting with imagination, they have cultivated their well proven trademarks and deliver first class Power Metal "Dead Until Dark“, the finest Speed Metal "Christ & Combat“, great Hard Rock trips "Sacramental Sister“ and even orchestral madness "Let there be Night“. If all of that isn’t enough for you, the limited first run contains a special bonus CD “Metallium Nostrum” with 10 marvelous cover versions of Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and Judas Priest! This is metal at the absolute top!

Gearing up for the release of their highly anticipated album, Metal Wani's Editor in Chief Owais 'Vitek' Nabi and writer Mattie Jensen had a chat with Matthew Greywolf. He discusses new album, songwriting, historical concepts, musical direction, upcoming tour, power metal scene and much more.

Stream The Interview below:


INTERVIEW: OL DRAKE On Debut Album "Old Rake" & Why Thrash Is A Limiting Genre Of Music To Write In

UK guitarist Ol Drake, who left new-age thrash icons Evile in 2013, is now ready to release his riff-laden solo album ‘Old Rake’, on which he has collaborated with some of the legends of the genre like Gary Holt (Exodus, Slayer) and James Murphy (Death, Testament, Obituary). The album is laced with infectious riffs and mind-bending solos, and Ol Drake’s virtuosity doesn’t stop there: there are some beautifully-crafted acoustic pieces too. One can hardly find fault with anything here; perhaps the only thing we can complain about is that the transitions between radically different songs could’ve been more gradual and progressive, but that’s about it. Now, we cannot wait for Ol Drake to bring out his next installment of riff-and-shred-mania. 

Metal Wani's writer Rakesh P had a chat with Ol Drake. He discusses new album "Old Rake", songwriting, musical direction, guests on the album, Evile and much more.

Greetings from India, Ol Drake. How are you doing?

I’m doing great, thanks! Greetings to India.


A debut album is a major milestone in one's career. How are you gearing up for the release of your debut album Old Rake?

I’ve simply been trying to spread the word as much as possible online; that’s where most of the promotion is done these days as most people just spend all their time on Facebook etc. Other than that I’ve been practicing for the few shows I’m doing.


The artwork of Old Rake shows an evil version of you raking up a lot of people. What is the story behind the artwork? Who are these people you are sweeping away...critics? 

There is no real story other than it came from the idea of the name “Old Rake”. I thought it would be funny for me to be raking people up with a rake. The people aren’t anyone, except my fiance, Natalie, is in there hahaha.


We got a chance to listen to Old Rake and the sheer diversity on the album is amazing. It is quite different from how you sounded when you were in Evile. Did you expect that it would turn out this way?

It became a conscious decision halfway through the writing process. I didn’t want any two songs to sound the same. I’d also become bored with the rules you have to follow when writing Thrash. I love Thrash, but it’s a limiting genre of music to write in; it’s already been done the best by the best. I didn’t expect it would turn out like this as I didn’t plan to make anymore music until Earache offered the solo deal; I had no idea how it was going to sound.


Apart from the mind bending shred fest that we did expect on Old Rake, the album also has a lot of intensity and emotions on tracks like “Emperor” and especially, the acoustic track “Karma”? How did these contrasting tracks end up on the album?

Simply from wanting different dynamics on the album. The intro to “Emperor” is a thing i’ve been playing on the guitar for as long as I can remember, so I thought it would be good to incorporate that somehow. “Karma” came from me being sat at a friends house on an acoustic guitar; I just started playing it and someone said “that sounds cool”, so I put it in the context of the album in my head, and it made sense to include.


The opener “Han Valen” is a tribute to Van Halen and similarly, “I'll be Bach (Get it?)” is a reference to Bach. How much of an influence were they for you when you started playing and which other musicians do you look up to? 

Growing up I wasn’t a huge Van Halen fan, I just knew Eddie was a brilliant guitarist. I learned Eruption (to the best of my abilities) when I was young, and while trying to teach someone how to tap when I was about 16 wrote what would later become “Han Valen”’s intro. “I’ll Be Bach” was also a tune I wrote in my teens, it would just never have fit into anything Evile.


Many guitarists especially those who play in Extreme Metal bands display a lot of diversity in their playing style while releasing a solo album or a side project. Do you think being in a band somewhat restricts them from trying out these variations? Should Metal bands be more fearless when it comes to experimentation? 

I think it’s difficult to branch out without disappointing your fan base. I respect and admire Metallica for what they did after the Black Album; most other bands would have had no idea what to do after that, but they did a complete U-turn and did something completely different. I do think there should be more freedom in experimentation, but the fans would need to be more open-minded, and that is sometimes a big ask, as people, in a lot of aspects of life, dislike change.


You collaborated with Gary Holt, Josh Middleton and James Murphy on the album. How was the experience working with them? Any particular reason you chose them? 

It was quite a simple process. I was speaking to Gary on email and mentioned the solo album, and he said he’d like to shred on it. It was a matter of just asking them. I had to get James on there as I was a fan since I was young, and he was mixing it, so it made sense. Josh is a friend of mine and I think his shredding is amazing.


Are you open to experimenting with vocals over your compositions? Who would be that one person be whom you think would go well with your playing style.

I’m still not sure if I’m doing a second solo album or not. I don’ t know if it would have vocals - if it should be me or someone else - I don’t know. I didn’t even plan to do this one!


What's next after the album? Do you plan to tour to support this album and if so, what does your touring schedule look like?

Not touring at all. I’m doing a local show and Bloodstock Festival in the UK. 


Have you heard about the metal scene we have in India? Would you be interested in touring India?

I’d have loved to make it to India with Evile but it never happened. I’ve heard there’s a great scene there!


I have to ask you this before I end the interview. What are the chances of you re-uniting with Evile?

Highly unlikely.


Thank you for doing the Interview.

Thanks!

DVD REVIEW: SLASH Featuring MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS - "Live At The Roxy"


In case you haven’t noticed, many of rock’s most iconic independent venues are in deep trouble. For every club like CBGBs and Roadhouse that shuts its doors, a Best-Buy Theatre or some other hall with corporate branding inexplicably pops up.  Well, Slash along with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators are here to show you the energy and magic of the former with their new live DVD, ‘Live at the Roxy’.

In all honesty, even this DVD isn’t exactly free of commercialism, since it has essentially been released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Guitar Center. However, it makes up for this by showing a band of all-stars at the top of their game in one of the most legendary rock clubs on California’s Sunset Strip, The Roxy Theater.

‘Live at the Roxy’ gets right down to business with some quick visuals of the Strip and the Roxy, before Slash and the band kick off their performance with “Ghost”. From thereon in, they hit every note and beat with panache in a setlist containing the best of Slash’s 2010 solo album, Velvet Revolver, his two albums with the Conspirators, and the requisite Guns N’ Roses classics. Myles Kennedy’s pipes are just as flawless as ever, from his husky singing voice and his high notes to his stamina and breath control onstage. It’s also heartening to see that he doesn’t try to ape any of the original singers of tracks like “Back to Cali” [Andrew Stockdale], “Slither” [Scott Weiland] or “Paradise City” [Axl Rose]. 


About Slash himself... does anything really need to be said at this point? Suffice it to say that he pulls off every riff and lick (as well as a long, bluesy solo piece somewhere in-between “Rocket Queen”) with that rockstar look of cool detachment that he’s been sporting all these years behind that hat and those shades. Right now though, it’s the Conspirators that need to be given their due recognition in this performance. Guitarist Frank Sidoris, bassist Todd Kerns and drummer Brent Fitz are invaluable as the rhythmic muscle behind Slash and Kennedy’s leading talent. Kerns in particular does such a good job on backup vocals that it just might make you miss his work in his past bands like Age of Electric.

As for the actual video, it really does capture the feel of performing/attending gigs in small clubs like the Roxy. Its tight shots interspersed with rhythmic edits and long shots of the entire band and crowd portray the whole gig as a very intimate performance, very different from all the arena and stadium tours Slash has played throughout his career. You can literally see the rivulets of sweat on his Gibson Les Paul as he, Myles and the Conspirators relentlessly churn out their greatest hits for the enthusiastic crowd. Some might accuse the videography here of being unambitious or by-the-numbers, but it nonetheless does a competent job of capturing the essence of the venue, with a great live sound to boot.


All in all, the greatest strengths of ‘Live at the Roxy’ are its simplicity coupled with its good old rockstar kitsch. In an age where ambitious filmmakers and directors are constantly trying new things with live performance video [see Dream Theater's 'Live at Luna Park'], this DVD is content with showing a true rock supergroup jamming at what was possibly ground-zero for the 80s rockstar dream. If you haven’t witnessed Slash live yet, this could be some good filler for you until you do so. 


Rating: 8/10


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Reviewed By,
Sairaj R Kamath