Coming Soon: Interview With Children Of Bodom, Annihilator, Geoff Tate and much more
Coming Soon: Reviews Of Slayer, Metal Allegiance, Children Of Bodom and much more
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Saturday, August 29, 2015


Collaboration. Duets, duel solos, two bands playing the same song at the same time, and one thousand drummers playing in perfect sync. Listeners will never be hard-pressed when trying to come by collaborative music. In the metal community however, collaboration has always seemed a little more special, and fans tend to lose their minds over it. For those who like their metal collaborative, prepare to be blown away. Metal Allegiance, an all-star band with a rotating cast made up of some of metals most admirable, launch their Self-titled Debut Album on September 18th via Nuclear Blast Entertainment following an album release show the night before at N.Y's Best Buy Theatre. Core members Mike Portnoy (formerly of Dream Theater), David Ellefson of Megadeth, Alex Skolnick of Testament and founder Mark Menghi are a treat in diversity already. But it doesn’t stop here - the allegiance has only just begun. Get ready for some serious name-dropping.

With such hype surrounding this release, it simply had to deliver a killer opening track. And no surprise, it does. Randy Blythe of Lamb of God delivers his trademark vocal style on "Gift of Pain", setting up what’s still to come. Initially, as you’re waiting for this bomb to drop, you get just that - the high-pitched whistle of a long fall before the track explodes. Next up to the bat is Mastadon’s Troy Sanders, who takes the reins on lead vocals for the masterfully diverse "Let Darkness Fall." A strong track throughout, the real magic here is in a long bridge section where Skolnick's personality really shines through. Short, soft and subtle notes cry from an almost shy side of the guitar before emerging slightly into a quick, Santana-esque section. Just as you’re expecting the solo to deliver the usual big, air guitar-worthy pay-off, expectations are shut down and something better is delivered, and the Spanish style, sound and playing instantly becomes the track highlight.  Another song rich in its lyrical content and diverse in its playing is "Dying Song" featuring Mark Menghi on bass and the legendary Phil Anselmo of Down and Pantera on vocals. For the most part, this is a solid track, but it could be argued that it is double the length it needs to be. Songwriter’s choice, or milking an already great track? It’s hard to tell here, but the two minute outro drags on despite the impressive soloing.  

On "Can't Kill The Devil," Testament lead vocalist Chuck Billy gives us the Testament song that never was. Lyrically, the album is at one of its strongest points here, made all the better with vocalist Billy giving a strong delivery. It is also a guitarist’s wet dream as additional lead guitar comes from Sepultura's Andreas Kisser and Machine Head's Phil Demmel. An incredible blend between these two masters closes the track and it is simply a treat to listen to. "Scars" featuring the first duet on ‘Metal Allegiance’ that sees Death Angel's Mark Osegueda handle the verses along with Lacuna Coil's Cristina Scabbia, who takes on the big chorus. Osegueda's performance is on point, and he delivers some of the strongest verses so far, while Scabbia owns every note as she always does. From Ellefson's vicious bass intro to Portnoy's epic delivery in the track’s final moments, along with everything in between, "Scars" could well be the standout track on the album.

Trivium's front- and axe-man Matthew K. Heafy takes both vocal and additional lead guitar on "Destination: Nowhere." In parts old school, in others contemporary, both are blended together perfectly. If you did not already know it was him, it might be tough to recognise Heafy as he lends a different, old-school vocal style on the track that suits it well. The song ends on a fade-out which, in comparison to its charging into battle intro, does fall a little flat, but also adds to the idea of "Destination: Nowhere" as you feel the journey hasn't quite finished but instead gets lost. Another duet of sorts between Doug Pinnick of King's X and Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta takes place on "Wait Until Tomorrow." It isn't big, it's not flashy; it’s just a pretty solid metal track.

"Triangulum I. Creation II. Evolution III. Destruction" is the only instrumental piece on the album and includes a litter of guitarist including Alex Skolnick, Misha Mansoor, Ben Weinman, Charlie Benante, Phil Demmel, Matthew K. Heafy & Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal. Aside from the whole lot of name-dropping, "Triangulum" is an epic wall of sound that Guitar Hero folk will no doubt beg, plead, cry and petition to have included on the next edition. The final track “Pledge of Allegiance” is another banger for the guitarists in the audience, featuring Skolnick along with Charlie Benante, Gary Holt and Andreas Kisser all wielding the axes. Unless you buy the Deluxe Edition that is, which closes with the additional track “We Rock” which features no less than six vocalists, making that extra couple of bucks on price well worth the investment.

There are going to be detractors who will say ‘Metal Allegiance’ is just a gimmick; a kind of “Avengers” moment for the metal world, which is more about the franchises than the music. There are going to be those who will say that given the array of talent on display, it could have been done more creatively. There may be a grain of truth in that last remark. Yes, there are some outstanding moments, and others where you wished for a little more.

But fans also need to manage their own expectations. When it comes to collaborative projects like ‘Metal Allegiance’, there can often be an unrealistic expectation that what’s going to emerge will be some sort of quintessential, definitive metal album. What’s actually created can fail to get a proper hearing when weighed against such idealised standards. What emerges in ‘Metal Allegiance’ are some strong tracks, some great music and some potentially historic moments with artists recording together who may never do so again. But most of all, what emerges is a sense of family; of the metal world as one large, extended family. Brother and sisters in arms playing together for the sheer joy of it all and making great music just to see what happens.

And we’re all invited to join that family.

Click Here To Pre-order

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed By,
Carl O'Rourke

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

REVIEW: IRON MAIDEN - "The Book Of Souls"

Britain’s heavy metal warhorse, Iron Maiden celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with the release of its sixteenth studio album, The Book of Souls. The new album is the band’s first since 2010’s The Final Frontier–an album many fans thought might have been the last for Iron Maiden.The Book of Souls has made the five-year wait worth it, delivering up a double album of material spanning 92 minutes over 11 songs, including the epic final track, “Empire of the Clouds”, which clocks in at 18 minutes.

The Book of Souls finds the songwriting more evenly distributed than ever before with frontman Bruce Dickinson and bassist Steve Harris creating the majority of the record, with the band’s three guitarists; Adrian Smith, Dave Murray, and Janick Gers all contributing as well. Only drummer Nicko McBrain is absent from writing credits this time around.

The balanced songwriting has added depth and maturity to what may be Iron Maiden‘s most cohesive and expansive record since 2000’s Brave New World. At this point in their lofty careers there is little reason not to push their own boundaries. This can be felt right out of the gate on the eight-and-a-half-minute Dickinson penned opener, “If Eternity Should Fail”. The song begins with Dickinson’s emotive vocals over an Egyptian-esque backdrop, before the guitars weave through the chugging rhythms of the bass and drums. The song sets a strong atmospheric tone to begin this odyssey. Dickinson’s vocals are as powerful as ever, pushing every measure of the song forward, his intonation ebbing and flowing with nuance. At the five-minute mark the band moves into a trademark galloping breakdown. The final minutes morph into an acoustic interlude with a garbled voice speaking ominously over the music.

The record’s first single is “Speed of Light”, and the opening riff from Adrian Smith nods back to the band’s earliest New Wave of British Heavy Metal years, bristling with swagger and verve. Bruce’s rising vocals on the chorus are classic Maiden, and his opening banshee shriek adds an air of theatrical madness. McBrain even unleashes some cowbell on the intro–Cowbell on a Maiden song?–and it works brilliantly. Stunning guitar work and addictive melodies make this an instant classic. “Death or Glory” arrives in a similar NWOBHM manner, reminiscent of Maiden’s first two records prior to Dickinson arrival. Harris’ chunky bass recalling early tracks like “Running Free”. This is the second of the Smith/Dickinson offerings.

Harris, long the band’s dominant songcrafter, delivers a mammoth beast with his 13-plus-minute track, “The Red and the Black”. It begins with the toying thunder of his bass, before the guitars and drums chime in to propel the song forward. Dickinson’s vocal line follows the melody like a dark minstrel dancing in the streets. Harris has created a dexterous and meaty composition filled with all the classic Maiden influences fans of have come to expect but pushed to new limits. Some of the record’s best fretwork can be found at the song’s midway point.

Smith and Harris team up for three tracks on the album, “The Great Unknown”, “The River Runs Deep”, and “Tears of a Clown”. The latter is a tribute to comedian Robin Williams who tragically took his own life last summer after a long battle with depression. “The Great Unknown” resonates with a somewhat somber and moody feel. Dickinson whisper-sings his tale until it builds into a soaring monolith. McBrain shines here with well-choreographed cymbal work and his usual spirited intensity. Dickinson almost feels like he is chasing the melody on “When the River Runs Deep” leaving the listener feeling a bit breathless. His vocals rise and fall with the current of the song’s rhythm. “Tears of a Clown” plods along with some of the album’s grittiest riffs.

Janick Gers worked with Harris on “Shadows of the Valley” and the title track. The former instantly recalls the dancing guitar into of “Wasted Years” while “The Book of Souls” returns to the ancient flowing vibe of the opening track. The song features one of the tastiest riffs on the record.

Dave Murray makes his lone contribution with Harris on the winding track, “The Man of Sorrows”, which for me is perhaps the least inspired track on the record yet still quite enjoyable. The most inspired has to be Dickinson’s wholly cinematic epic, “Empire of the Clouds”. Bruce begins the journey behind his piano with a light interlude of strings adding atmosphere and substance to the ethereal solemnity of Dickinson’s melody. Attempting to articulate the scope of this song feels like an injustice. Suffice to say this track alone is worth the price of the record and an experience any metal fan should welcome.

With The Book of Souls, Iron Maiden has further cemented its iconic status among the rock and metal community. This record is but another grand and fulfilling chapter in a legendary career that is distinguished by deft musicianship, intelligent lyrics, and masterful songwriting. Kevin Shirley‘s production is understated yet flawlessly brilliant. Whether The Book of Souls is the final chapter in Iron Maiden‘s impressive and historic catalog of music remains to be seen, but it is certainly among its most memorable offerings since the band’s seminal 80’s works.

Rating: 9.5/10

Review By,
Rustyn Rose

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

REVIEW: AHAB - "The Boats Of Glen Carigg"

Nautical doom metallers Ahab from Germany are one of the most underrated bands out there. But those who do know of them, also know of the power and uniqueness of their music. There really isn’t a band like Ahab in my opinion and three years after their magnificent ‘The Giant’, their latest offering ‘The Boats of the Glen Carrig’ has further highlighted the incredible creativity and dark elegance that defines these German metallers.

The album begins on a strong yet subtle note with ‘The Isle’, Daniel Droste’s voice as soulful as always. Only around the 2.20 mark does the heaviness set in with sludgey riffs followed by paced, deep growls that continue on till the end. The eerie mysticism on this one and subsequently the rest of the album is one of it’s strong points and keeps you captivated throughout. A beautiful instrumental passage takes over halfway through the song in one of the smoothest transitions you’ll ever hear as it beautifully leads into the rest of the track. The stomp of that chugging bass closing this track is an absolue delight as well. 

‘The Thing That Made Search’ begins with a rather enchanting, proggy intro and brings out the more post-rock side to the band but only just. The airy tunes will have you day dreaming - all you can really visualise is sailing across the vast expanse of ocean before the storm tides come in and things take a turn for the heavy. Rhythmic riffs that sail between brutally majestic and catchy grooves are addictive to the extent that you’ll find yourself headbanging in time with every beat. There’s a certain groove that guides the length of this mesmerising 11 minute track.

Fast and deeply melodic ‘Like Red Foam’ is by far one of the heaviest and a track that exhibits the versatility of this band. They’ve clearly experimented more on this album than on their previous works while ‘To Mourn Job’ has another psychedelic atmosphere throughout living up to the typical funeral doom persona of Ahab. To put it quite simply, this album goes through mood swings of airy yet haunting textures of metallic pleasantries to the more crushing phases of heaviness. The beauty however lies in the unknown; never can you predict with an Ahab record which comes first - it’ll happen when you least expect it. 

‘The Light in the Weed’ is another 10 minute opus of mid-paced, ambient melodies that you get completely lost in, visuals of aquatic bliss consuming your thoughts. Distortions kick in for a sudden twist a little after halfway through the track and the soulful voice of Daniel continues to send chills down your spine. The clean vocals balance out more intense, heavier sections perfectly, a balance that Ahab have mastered right from the very beginning. 

Bipolarity in the most positive sense of the word is one describing factor of Ahab’s music as they take you along a rather emotional journey. The layers of melancholic complexity and intracacies are the marks of excellent instrumentation and musicianship. With ‘The Boats of the Glen Carrig’, the German’s have once again proven their multitude of skill, maintaining their signature doom style but also exhibiting the ability to weave in darker, more progressive elements and thus experimenting to create what is undeniably a masterpiece; a work of art that boasts heartfelt music and the sheer beauty of the Seas.

Rating: 9/10

Review By,
Prarthana V

GIG REVIEW: Summer Slaughter Tour Live At Baltimore, MD

The second of two big tours I’ve witnessed in 2015 with the word Summer in the title was the Summer Slaughter Tour boasting a headlining appearance by Arch Enemy and supported by Beyond Creation, Cattle Decapitation, The Acacia Strain, Veil of Maya, and Born of Osiris. This show was undeniably brutal as each vocalist for each band busted out what could easily be called a growl, not your typical vocal styling but also very prevalent in the death metal genre. After having watched this show very intently, I still cannot imagine how these vocalists manage these death growls without making themselves vomit all over the stage. Thankfully, no vomit was seen.

On a side note, traveling to a concert venue in Downtown Baltimore during rush hour should be avoided at all costs. Having said that, we did arrive to the venue after the show started so we were only able to catch Beyond Creation as they were finishing. An outfit hailing from Quebec, Montreal, Canada that’s been breaking out with progressive death metal since 2005, Beyond Creation has a tight sound with high energy. I will be happy to see them again the next time they hit Baltimore.

After a very quick and confused set change, we were next treated to Cattle Decapitation, currently a 4-man group out of San Diego, CA. The experience of these guys showed through, having been together in some fashion since 1996. Their setlist consisted of old and new music alike with head banging riffs and hooks, thunderous drums and more devilish growling. Cattle Decap enjoyed a good fan reaction with some mild moshing and crowd surfing. Despite the fact that there is a nice big sign on the way into the venue which strictly states no moshing, stage diving or crowd surfing. I guess the management knows better than to try to limit crowd surfing at a death metal show.

Next up was The Acacia Strain. Unfortunately for us, during the first half of their set, we were conducting an interview elsewhere within the building. So, we could only catch the last half of their performance. Coming out of Massachusetts, The Acacia Strain is hard to categorize, being described as deathcore by fans and hardcore punk influenced metal by media and fans alike. All I know is that they put on another brutal performance, as seems to be the norm for this entire tour. Of course, just like every other band on this tour, the lyrics were completely indiscernible but they were still fun to see live. Kevin Boutot’s drum lines were complex but had that driving beat that makes for great head-banging.

Veil of Maya was next up. One of the first things I noticed was the guitars. Danny Hauser’s bass seemed to have at least 6 strings which is not very common in metal. Being labeled as part of the “djent” movement in the metal world, Veil of Maya has many characteristics not normally found in death metal, such as complicated riffs and time changes. The one thing that is a standard, however, is the growling vocals. There was no shortage of that with this band. Which segued seamlessly intoBorn of Osiris, a 5-piece tornado whirling straight out of the Chicago suburbs. In keeping with their name, Born of Osiris had lots of Egyptian imagery on their stage set, an interesting light show and also a set of keyboards manned by Joe Buras, who also lends some clean vocals to the mix. Both of these things, keyboards and clean vocals, are not readily visible in this genre, just like the djent aspects of Veil of Maya. Born of Osiris gave an energetic and heart-felt performance, mixing the death growls of Ronnie Canizaro and the clean vocals of Joe Buras which culminated in brilliance. As like many bands I’ve been lucky enough to see, Born of Osiris does NOT disappoint in a live setting.

The headliner for the night was Arch Enemy. The biggest difference Arch Enemy has with the rest of tonight’s line-up is Arch Enemy has a female vocalist, Allisa White-Gluz, whose death growls rival any of the men who have fronted all other bands on stage tonight. If you weren’t looking at her, you’d have no idea she is who she is with beautiful royal blue hair and a high energy stage presence. Another band out of tonight’s line-up with only one original member, Arch Enemy has beaten the odds and enjoyed success throughout many member changes, having had two vocalists prior to Alissa.

Arch Enemy also put on a helluva show, presenting both new and older music to a frenzied crowd both moshing and crowd surfing viciously. Our photographer was even kicked in the head while attempting to capture photos of the show. He’s okay now. Their masterful performance of War Eternal practically brought the house down prompting an even larger, more active mosh pit. Arch Enemy delivered a top-notch set which was met with enthusiastic reckless abandon by the fans.

Overall, this was an awesome show. I think it’s pretty cool how promotors are creating tours showcasing a certain genre of music. However, in this case, all the bands sounded eerily similar. There weren’t that many things that could distinguish one band from the other, other than Born of Osiris with their clean vocals and keyboards, Arch Enemy with Alissa at the helm, or Veil of Maya with the time signature changes and added versatility of expanded string sets on their equipment. With that said, definitely check these bands out if you get the chance!

Review By,
Dawn “Mama Love” Brown

PREMIERE: Stream TSJUDER New Single 'Djevelens Mesterverk' From New Album "Antiliv"

TSJUDER deliver Norwegian Black Metal in the classic raw and rattling style, yet without ever giving in to the temptation of wallowing in nostalgia. On their fifth full-length 'Antiliv' not a single note has to be dyed black, because the roots that are clearly showing are all glistening with the abyssal musical non-colour pioneered by BATHORY, CELTIC FROST, and VENOM as well as those Northern masters MAYHEM, DARKTHRONE, and EMPEROR. The venomous and vicious throat rendering by bassist Nag and guitarist Draugluin entwines with thorny, relentlessly driving riffs and an infernal rhythmical ice storm unleashed by drummer Anti-Christian over majestic melodies. When the Norwegians returned with 'Legion Helvete' (2011), it became obvious that they had honed their songwriting to razor sharp perfection since splitting up after the release of their live DVD 'Norwegian Apocalypse' in 2006. Founded in the year 1993 by Nag and guitarist Berserk with Draugluin joining soon after, TSJUDER quickly established a strong reputation within the underground scene through their first EPs 'Throne of the Goat' (1997) and 'Atum Nocturnem' (1999), which was originally conceived as a demo. The Norwegians' debut album "Kill for Satan" (2000) created general attention and critical acclaim that was strongly enhanced by the following releases "Demonic Possession" (2002) and "Desert Northern Hell" (2004). Now TSJUDER return with an impressive demonstration that they are still growing stronger and the hellishly fierce masterpiece 'Antiliv', which the band modestly describes as "raw and uncompromising black metal". No post, no progressive, no whatever!


Monday, August 24, 2015

REVIEW: RIVERSIDE - "Love, Fear and the Time Machine"

There is nothing quite like the sound of calming keys and vocals to start off an album. From the very first notes of Riversides sixth and latest release, Love, Fear and the Time Machine, you can tell that the Polish prog legends are setting you up for an emotional journey, beginning with a track called Lost (Why Should I Be Frightened By A Hat?).

As with some of their previous albums, this is in many respects a great example of progressive music. Many will argue, but prog isnt merely about going as fast as you can in weird meters; it comes with emotion, experience, and an open mind. That is the beauty of Riverside. Take the track Caterpillar and the Barbed Wire: a beautiful song on many levels. As the title suggests, it describes a transformation, and not just lyrically. The building groove accompanied by the gentle yet catchy vocal lines creates a very peaceful atmosphere that makes you take a deep breath, stop what youre doing, and simply listen. And, of course, my weakness for anything in 7/4 helps.

Saturate Me is another track of note, which features a fantastic riff of three bars of 7/8 in its main section. It draws a really nice contrast to the more mellow verses, as well as to the simpler songs that follow. Even aside from the alternating time signatures of 7/8 and 3/4 throughout, Piotr Grundzinskis guitar sound in itself is reminiscent of the more traditional 70s progressive rock style, as well as the rather magical keyboards provided by Michal Lapaj.

Reflexively, a song like Under The Pillow, which is entirely in common time, happens to be a personal favorite of mine, and has been playing in my head on repeat. Mariusz Dudas vocals and bass lines particularly stand out in this one, complimented by drummer Piotr Kozieradzkis dynamic quarters on both the ride and hi-hat. The entire band knows how to use negative space to their advantage, leaving room for an emotional response rather than creating a wall of noise due to competing instruments.

While the first half of Love, Fear and the Time Machine is superb (as described above), the second half is slightly hit-and-miss. The single Discard Your Fear definitely has its moments, but loses momentum in the chorus. It is followed by the longest track on the album, Towards the Blue Horizon, which, despite taking a few minutes to develop, builds into a captivatingly dark and progressive atmosphere. The final two tracks are primarily acoustic pieces, and while they are beautifully sung, they tend to bring the previously well-developed energy down too much.

Although it is often unfair to compare albums, since its good to try new things as you progress as a band, the heavy and technical intensity of Riversides fourth album, Anno Domini High Definition would have provided a much better and more satisfying finish to this otherwise endearing record. That being said, if you are looking to start your journey with this band, and maybe arent too familiar with progressive metal as a genre, this is a good place to start, working your way backwards through their discography.

All in all, Love, Fear and the Time Machine is a very fitting title for the album, going from Lost to Found, with emotional and dynamic ups and downs along the way. The sound is very balanced, with all of the instruments complimenting each other nicely. Your journey begins on September 4th.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed By,
Sandra Yeomans


Every metalhead in the scene knows of Children Of Bodom; the iconic Finnish band needs no introduction. The band is recognizable almost anywhere, with frontman Alexi Laiho’s unique growled vocals and Janne Wirman’s keyboard wizardry. This year, the band will release ‘I Worship Chaos’, its 9th studio album, and this record is highly anticipated by many. This is because the group’s previous release ‘Halo of Blood’ took us down memory lane to 2000’s ‘Follow the Reaper’ and 2003’s ‘Hate Crew Deathroll’, a couple of mediocre albums having spoilt the fun after that point.

Although ‘Are You Dead Yet?’ was released in this time period, it is by no means a mediocre album. This time around, Children of Bodom have used certain elements they established in ‘Are You Dead Yet?’ and have portrayed some extra maturity in their songwriting skills. Perhaps the biggest and most noticeable thing that’s common between the two albums is the presence of heavy-sounding riffs backed up with some mid-tempo double bass work on the drums. Unlike riffs from earlier albums like ‘Hatebreeder’ or ‘Follow the Reaper’, these riffs aren’t overtly technical (not that they’re easy to play!), and instead, rely on heavier-sounding production to sound great.

While this didn’t hinder Janne Wirman from playing extensive solos on ‘Are You Dead Yet?’, he seems to have taken a backseat on the soloing business this time. The riffs, all played by Laiho (after rhythm guitarist Roope Latvala’s departure in May 2015), are backed up by Wirman’s keyboard lines. However, he does play some solos on songs like “Hold Your Tongue”, “Suicide Bomber”, “Horns” and a few others. The solos are definitely well thought-out, but they’re certainly not mad and ingenious like they used to be.

Nevertheless, the album sounds cohesive and doesn’t lack direction. Jaaska Raatikainen and Henkka Seppala - on drums and bass respectively - allow slower songs like “Prayer for the Afflicted” and “All for Nothing” to take shape nicely, while quicker songs like “Horns” are dealt with in a much-needed, straightforward, and relentless way. Their role, as a rhythm section that allows Laiho and Wirman to exploit their individual skills, has been fairly consistent in the band, while the former’s guitar solos are very effective here as he seems to be getting better at placing them creatively and strategically in the song structures.

For the sake of criticism, one can rightly say that the band are not pushing boundaries anymore (like they used to), and this is true to some extent. In comparison with early predecessors of ‘I Worship Chaos’, the newer songs don’t involve the crazy, unpredictable stuff that the fans used to love. In the band’s defense, it can be said that they have found a sound they’re happy with at the moment and wish to do justice to it. However, when the band in question were considered experimental and fresh when they first achieved commercial success, this criticism is valid.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewed By,
Rishabh P Mansur

Sunday, August 23, 2015


Imagine standing in a picturesque valley, shadowed by tranquil in this time of serenity. Everything is in the right place in the right time. There’s isn’t anything more that you want or anything that you would want to get rid of. This is what it feels like to listen to the latest offering of U.K. based metal act TesseracT’s album 'Polaris'. The music off this album is one sense just there, waiting for you, nothing more and nothing less. It is the cup of tea that completes your evening.

The album features James Monteith and Acle Kahney on guitars, Amos Williams on bass, Jay Postones on drums, and the returning Daniel Tompkins on vocals. The album opens with the track “Dystopia”, and right then, one could begin to expect what rest of the album will sound like. The groovy nature of this song is a brilliant start for the album. This is where we see the grand return of Tompkins with his superb vocal skills. His voice across the album feels very warm, brilliantly complimenting the instrumentals on the songs.

The song “Hexes” is reminiscent of the old TesseracT. The soothing textures and tones in this song give it a very strong appeal, and the vocals just make the already good stuff better. It would be only a matter of a short while before you sing along.

The tracks “Messenger” and “Phoenix” are songs that are nothing short of lively imaginations caught in the form of melody. The instrumentals on these present a host of lovely visuals in one’s mind. There is a lot to relate to in these songs for anyone.‘Polaris’ presents itself as an enigma in the form of the song “Cages”. The slow opening and the mood of the song is such that it would keep anyone engrossed in this piece all the way to the end. There is oodles of sonic satisfaction in this one, and isn’t to be missed.

There really isn’t much to dislike about this album. However, all the songs in the album seem to present themselves in similar rhythmic patterns, making the songs somewhat predictable. All is well in the melodies offered by the album, but surely it would not hurt to have some more intricate guitar melodies and lead sections. The production in ‘Polaris’ is definitely top-notch in quality, and it certainly presents itself with the idea that TesseracT had a clear vision in regard to what sound they want. The bass and drum sections all across the album are great, and they really hold down the groove without going overboard. The guitar tones are kind of unconventional, but they make space and compliment the fabulously orchestrated vocals.

This album is ideal for a long road trip or even to end a fine day with. ‘Polaris’ is here for you.

Rating: 8/10

Reviewed By,
C Roshan Machayya 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

REVIEW: SOILWORK - "The Ride Majestic"

The metamorphosis of Soilwork from the relative underdogs of the modern melodeath scene to one of Swedish metal’s biggest names today has been astounding to say the least. Having been left for dead by many of their core fans during what we’ll call the “metalcore years” between 2003 and ‘10, few expected this band’s career rebound from their 2010 album ‘The Panic Broadcast’. After hitting a creative peak with their mind-bogglingly massive double album ‘The Living Infinite’ in 2013 [as well as an EP and Live DVD in 2014], Soilwork are continuing this majestic ride with, well, ‘The Ride Majestic’.

One thing that Soilwork have made clear in the past few weeks about the album is that it’s one of circumstance, mainly that of death and personal loss. Many of the band’s members lost loved ones during the making of ‘The Ride Majestic’, resulting in them pouring 110% of their skill and soul into the music this time around. This has resulted in an album which might be their most dynamic, confrontational, and yet contemplative one yet.

The album begins by treading familiar territory in “The Ride Majestic”, consisting of a melodic intro followed by their trademark blistering guitar work, brutal yet technical drumming, supportive bass guitar, and Bjorn Strid’s alternating harsh roars and soaring clean vocals. This is where the comfort zone ends though, as the subsequent tracks start to go all over the place in terms of dynamics. “Alight in the Aftermath” for example features more of Soilwork’s furious riffage, but also has a proggy, keyboard-rich interlude that is just a treat to listen to. The catchy “Death in General” is slightly more reminiscent of their sound in ‘The Panic Broadcast’, while the chorus in “Enemies in Fidelity” has Strid crooning over Dirk Verbeuren’s aggressive blast-beats; a fascinating contrast if any.

And from there, ‘The Ride Majestic’ just continues to expand the scope and diversity in its sound. Guitarists David Andersson and Sylvain Coudret are firing on all cylinders, with their requisite melodic guitar-play, blazing guitar solos and leads, and some huge, stomping riffs and rhythms, as evidenced in songs like “Petrichor By Sulphur” and “All Along Echoing Paths”. At the same time, their constant tempo shifts, interludes and meandering song structures along with Verbeuren and now ex-bassist Ola Flink give the whole album a wildly progressive feel. Keyboardist Sven Karlsson further amplifies this aural intensity with his almost-omnipresent keyboard lines and soundscapes, “Whirl of Pain” being the best example of this. Verbeuren on the drums is just as technical and relentless as ever, and as for Strid, he remains one of the very few long-standing vocalists in melodic death metal today who can strike that perfect balance between death growls and clean singing [see also, Mikael Stanne of Dark Tranquillity].

If I do have one small qualm with ‘The Ride Majestic’, it is its relative lack of groove, immediacy, and what I’d call the “recognition factor”. The thing is, every Soilwork album up to this point has had songs that fans could immediately identify from an opening riff, groove, or chorus. This has stretched all the way from classic songs “Like the Average Stalker”, through the band’s middling phase with tracks like “Nerve”, and all the way to their most recent output like “This Momentary Bliss”. With this new album’s stubborn refusal to stick to conventional song structures, many of its songs have a hard time establishing their great riffs and grooves before getting into the next interlude or guitar solo. Verbeuren himself occasionally sounds like he’s going a bit overboard with the fast tempos and blast-beats, instead of settling down into a good groove and spicing it up with some technical rhythms and fills like he has in the past. However, I think this is a small price to pay for an album this adventurous and musically rich.

In summation, Soilwork’s ‘The Ride Majestic’ is an album that definitely lives up to its hype. Soaring and euphoric in one minute and crushing and demonic the next, it might just represent a new era for Soilwork; one where they are for all intents and purposes a Swedish METAL band, for whom the sky’s the limit when it comes to instrumentation and melodies. It may not be as accessible as their previous efforts, but goddamn if it isn’t the majestic ride it promises to be.

Recommended Tracks: “Alight in the Aftermath”, “The Ride Majestic (Aspire Angelic)”, “All Along Echoing Paths”

Rating: 8/10

Review By,
Sairaj Kamath


The Black Dahlia Murder has always been ignored by me, mainly because of the silly name and the metalcore appearance of the band members. Therefore, I judged them as a generic American metalcore band, writing them off completely from my radar without actually listening to their work. Then this album came before me and I finally had to give the guys a chance. So here I am thinking that I was about to listen to those awful and annoying vocals and guitars so distorted that my ears would beg for deafness. Well, The Black Dahlia Murder, I offer you my sincere apologies. 

Don’t let the band name or any other element fool you, because these guys play melodic death metal, and they are good at it. Despite having a few elements of metalcore on their early works, The Black Dahlia Murder managed to evolve their sound into a respectable act, reaching maturity along the way. Good efforts like ‘Deflorate’, ‘Ritual’ and ‘Everblack’ helped shape the band’s characteristic sound, while also contributing to leaving behind what little of metalcore they had left.

‘Abysmal’ is the 7th full length by the band, and it pretty much continues where ‘Everblack’ ended, music-wise. They start out with “Receipt”, a good tune filled with skilled riffs and a cool introduction, with special attention to axeman Brian Eschbachand drummer Alan Cassidy. Alongside “Asylum” and “That Cannot Die Which Eternally Is Dead”, these three songs offer you the characteristic sound that the band managed to accomplish over the years, as the fast and brutal appeals that were present in previous albums are the main course here too. The album has a couple of fillers in “Threat Level No. 3” and “The Fog”, two songs that offer little to the album and feature rather uninspiring songwriting and just an ok performance by the musicians, but nothing that completely ruins the whole experience. The album slows down a bit only in “Stygiophobic”, a welcomed mid-paced tune with a doom atmosphere and heavy guitar work. The true highlight of the album, though, resides in the great “Vlad, Son of the Dragon”, which features a potent choir filled with energy and anger, giving the song a brutal vibe that will make you want to destroy everything in your way. 

A good effort, although a little inconsistent and a step down from ‘Everblack’, ‘Abysmal’ manages to entertain the listener throughout most of the album, and should please longtime fans while also raising the curiosity of the casual listener. If you are like me, who has a strong resistance to anything that differs from the traditional forms of metal regarding appearances, band names, attitude and such, and is unwilling to listen to The Black Dahlia Murder because of whatever reason above, give these guys a chance and you might be surprised. 

Rating: 7/10

Review By,
Bruno Mederois

INTERVIEW: Michael Amott & Jeff Loomis On Summer Slaughter, Upcoming ARCH ENEMY Album & NEVERMORE Reunion

With the success of "War Eternal", Arch Enemy has been continuously touring worldwide with Jeff Loomis joining the band. Currently headlining Summer Slaughter tour, Metal Wani's writer Dawn Brown had a chat with Michael Amott & Jeff Loomis. They discuss new Summer Slaughter tour, Jeff's Loomis solo album later this year, New Arch Enemy material post touring activities, Difference between Alissa Gluz and Angela Gossow, how Alissa is more of a musician as compared to Angela, her contribution to the band which Arch Enemy has never done before, Jeff's opinion on Sanctuary new album "The Year The Sun Died", Nevermore Reunion, opinion on "Female fronted metal" band, touring updates and much more.

Stream The Entire Interview Below:

INTERVIEW: CHRIS BRODERICK On Act Of Defiance Debut Album - "It's A Perfect Combination Of Thrash, Death & Progressive Metal"

Ever experienced that feeling of anticipation transforming itself from mild nervousness to sheer anxiety just before listening to a new band’s debut album? I had one such moment as I was about to push the Play button on Act Of Defiance’s landmark debut ‘Birth And The Burial’. Ever since Shawn Drover and Chris Broderick left Megadeth in November last year, the Metal community was abuzz with the possibilities of the formation of a new band. The suspense was finally broken in February this year, when the duo finally announced the formation of a super-group with Henry Derek (ex-Scar The Martyr) and Matt Bachand (Shadows Fall). With ‘Birth And The Burial’, Act Of Defiance does a good thing by offering exactly what the listeners expect as it starts to unfold. No surprises or weird “super-group” experimentation; only full of attitude, aggressive and in-your-face Metal.

Gearing up for the release of highly anticipated album, Metal Wani's writer Rakesh Pothengil & Owais 'Vitek' Nabi had a chat with the axe-man Chris Broderick. He discusses new album "Birth & The Burial", songwriting, musical direction, formation of the band, why he quit Megadeth, his opinion on "Super Collider", playing with Dave Mustaine, resurrection of Nevermore, his opinion on Jeff Loomis & Warrell Dane, upcoming touring plans and much more.

Stream The Entire Interview Below:

REVIEW: DISTURBED - "Immortalized"

When one thinks of the 2000's and the music associated with that era, one cannot miss out on Disturbed. They date back to the mid-90's as Brawl but real recognition came to them with open arms of success when they released 2000’s ‘The Sickness’. It cemented them as a juggernaut in an atmosphere saturated with the might of nu-metal. With consistently strong releases following their debut, they gathered an endearing fan following and their new effort that they have recently put out is a return to power after a hiatus that began in 2011 and ended with the pre-production sessions for ‘Immortalized’

The guitar sporting instrumental intro“Eye of the Storm” sets the precedent for what is next to follow, a mammoth of a title track. “Immortalized” with its chuggy guitar work and a head-bobbing groove give a gallant take off for the record. David Draiman is back with his signature vocals. The RnB influence is very prominent and the sound is a trip down memory lane. The glory of nu-metal hits you again and again and forces you into a grin. The deluxe edition of this record is a long treat with 13 songs to enthrall you. “The Vengeful One” is sure to become an arena rock favourite with its catchy chorus and very reminiscent of ‘The Sickness'. Things turn for the heavier side with “Open Your Eyes” but I do feel the shout-out-sing-along chorus steals the brutality. 

“The Light” is an unexpected treat because it is something different from their usual formula of song writing. It sounds a bit like Nickelback decided to mash up with Linkin Park to release a single. Now that may sound like the worst thing ever to a lot of people but for people who are well invested in this kind of music, it is indeed a great marriage of two approaches to sound. It’s very radio friendly and most accessible song off the record. “What Are You Waiting For” has a very thick pre-verse riffs but the rest of the song sounds a lot like songs you’ve already heard and the chorus is weak. The experimentation continues with “You’re Mine”taking a sample saturated disco approach with obligatory metal guitars. While it may not sit will the metal elitist folks, as a song it is a nice attempt to channel their inner CREED.“Who”continues larger than life choruses and leads into “Save Our Last Goodbyes”where the experimentation comes back into the mix. Using samples of conversations over telephone or otherwise has been used on many albums; Lost Prophet’s ‘Start Something’ comes to mind on the track “Last Summer.” “Fire it Up” allows Mike Wengren to take charge and drive the song forward with a heavy drum groove. 

“The Sound of Silence”is by far the most intriguing song off the record as it is a slow one, and very smartly done. It breaks off the slightly repetitive routine that had been building up and introduces a new dynamic. “Never Wrong” and “Who Taught You How To Hate” do not differ from how the rest of the album sounds like and to me that was a letdown. Catchy melodies give the guitar-interplay a lot of space to play around and Dan Donegan does a very good job at incorporating minimalistic effects to maintain a evened out sound. With John Moyer on bass and Mike Wengrens drumming in check, the entire bottom end gets thicker and denser. But this record suffers from repetitions which makes the listener expecting patterns in the songs. It takes a few listens to get cozy but one cannot ignore the fact that in order to make all the songs sound consistent; the element of surprise is lost. I love the fact that David Draiman sounds exactly the same as he did on their debut record and is very good with how he sings the melodies and his trademark vocal effects that are better than any electronic circuitry that does a shoddy job. 

This album is more like a clay-figure than a sculpture, but it is a catchy record nevertheless and will make a place in the hearts of fans that have supported the band for decades.

Rating: 8/10

Review By,
Shreyas Gune

Friday, August 21, 2015

INTERVIEW: QUEENSRYCHE On 'Condition Human' - "It's A Modern Approach To Classic Queensryche Sound"

The seeds of Queensrÿche were sown in the suburbs of Seattle, Washington by guitarist Michael Wilton, drummer Scott Rockenfield, guitarist Chris DeGarmo, and bassist Eddie Jackson over 30 years ago. Now three decades after the band released its highly successful self titled album in 2013 with the trio of Wilton, Rockenfield and Jackson, along with guitarist Parker Lundgren once again release a progressive masterpiece with another dynamic vocalist: This time, Crimson Glory frontman Todd La Torre

Gearing up for the release of highly anticipated album "Condition Human", Metal Wani's writer Renu McGarry caught up with Michael Wilton & Eddie Jackson Live at Brighton, UK to discuss the new album, musical direction, pledge campaign, the band’s rebirth, vocalist, and its commitment to ‘Rÿche fans around the world.

Hey Guys, how are you doing? 

Eddie & Michael: Great! It’s a lovely sunny day right by the sea front! 

Is this your first show in Brighton or have you played this city before? 

Eddie: You know that’s exactly what we have been trying to remember all day! Back in the day we went as far as Bristol with Metallica but we can’t quite remember if we made it as far down as Brighton. Michael: We’ve been doing this for over 30 years, it’s hard to remember every show. 

How has the tour been so far? Any particular shows you are looking forward to? 

Eddie: The tour’s been great so far and looking forward to all of them really. Every show is important to us because of our fans.

Michael: We just did 3 weeks of continuous tour with only 3 days off. We have one more to go! 

New single Arrow Of Time has got an amazing response from fans. What about live? You guys playing it? 

Eddie: We have had an awesome response for the new single and we have been playing it live. The response from our fans live has been equally amazing we do this for them so its great to get such a great response at our shows.

With your self titled album in 2013, the band raised the bar and it took us back to first 4 Queensryche albums. Does Condition Human sound similar to your previous album or you guys have changed your sound? 

Michael: Eddie and I are two of the founding band members so no matter how far we progress we still have a certain sound that is deep routed in Queensryche. I’d say that we have made steps away from those records and have a much more modern approach. There are definite stylistic things that we do as musicians and that’s what makes us us. 

Condition Human will be out in October. It's an highly anticipated album keeping in mind that you crowdfunded the album and the response was amazing. So what made you guys proceed with crowdfunding? Was it because the band had shelled out lots of money to get rid of the court case with Geoff tate?

Eddie: The issue with Geoff Tate had nothing to do with it. It was in the past and we wouldn’t want to discuss much about it as we have moved forward. 

Michael: The way record labels work now has changed massively from how it was before. Record labels do not give advances anymore… That makes it difficult to meet the costs of recording and all the other costs involved in record making. A lot of bands have been crowdfunding their records and a lot of them have been successful. We are fortunate enough to have a loyal fan base and thanks to them we have had a successful crowdfund project for this record. 

Queensryche's music and lyrics play an important role in expressing what's happening around the world. In-terms of musical direction & lyrical approach, what topics are you guys addressing on this album? 

Michael: The lyrics on this record focus on the everyday problems that the society is facing. We are not saying that we want to solve all the problems going on in the world but we would like to do our bit by talking about it through our music. 

Mindcrime and empire are my favourite records. They are still very prevalent in today's society. How does it feel to have released landmark records such as these? Do you feel pressured to live up to them?

Eddie: We are really proud of those records. We definitely don’t feel pressured to live up to them in any way because we write what we want to write. We write based on how we feel and what we have to say. It’s expression for us. If people like it then great but we don’t worry too much about that stuff.

Michael: When Mindcrime and Empire were released, music video and MTV was taking off… as a result of that those records catapulted us into the mainstream. It was as much to do with timing than anything else. 

Do you guys take advantage of much modern tech or do you keep it no frills? 

Michael: We have a good PR team that is working on campaigns to promote the new record and also keep our online social networking pages up and active. It is very important to have a constant connection with the fans and our PR team is doing a good job with the same. 

Any tours coming up after this? Maybe a US tour later this year?

Michael: We have our last date on the UK run tomorrow. We are really looking forward to the US tour later in the year with Scorpions who have been a massive influence to us. Being big fans of them we are really excited about that one.

How would you describe the sound of new album "Condition Human"? 

Michael: It’s got classic Queensryche sound but is also very modern, built on what we have always been doing.

Anything you guys want to say to your fans in India?

Michael: Thank you for always supporting us. It would be a huge honor to play India. A dream come true!

Well I hope the Indian promoters are reading this! I’ve to mention this, one of your tracks was my wedding song and funnily my husband who is a bigger fan of the band forgot the track during the reception! It was Silent Lucidity. 

Michael: Laughs! That’s amazing to hear because Silent Lucidity is one of those tracks that has been personal to a lot of people. From weddings to child births! 

It’s an honor sitting here and talking to you and I hope you guys have a good gig tonight!

Big Thanks To Nina Potthoff Of The Noise Cartel for the support \m/